It’s hard to believe that this time last week I was sitting with Jack, Colin, Kathy Tayler and her family looking out across a beautiful bay and enjoying a fabulous Greek meal. “Not another holiday?!” I hear you cry and, bashfully, I have to admit, yes, another holiday! But to be fair, this is one that Kathy and I have been talking about for many many years.
As you know, we met in 2000 when we first started working at QVC, and have shared a dressing room ever since then. Because we work opposite ends of the day, we rarely see each other and so this was too good an opportunity to miss.
Corfu is the second largest Ionian Island, being 62km from north to south with a coastline that covers 217km in all. The north side, which is where we were staying, is, in my opinion, one of the prettiest. Beautiful little bays like Kassiopi, Nisaki, Agni and Kalami are all accessible by car, but we were lucky enough to hire a boat so were able to explore all the uninhabited beaches and swim in the clear, clean sea.
It was idyllic and the weather couldn’t have been better. As Kathy and Olly regularly visit Corfu they knew all the best places to eat and so most days saw us mooring at one or other of these tavernas where we’d all sit in the sun eating, talking and relaxing, before piling back onto the boats and heading for home. Jack got on famously with Billy and Bex, and it was so good for me to have some special time with my boy as I rarely see him these days now he’s working…
Lovely too to have some relaxed time with Kathy, rather than it always being under pressure or in a rush at work. On Sunday Colin treated us to a cruise to visit the islands of Paxos, Antipaxos and the Blue Caves. We set off early from the port in Corfu town and had the most fabulous three-hour boat ride across the sea to this immense cave where the water is the most amazing shade of blue!
The boat we were on was huge but, with skillful navigation, we sailed inside the cave, which is where I took this photo. We always like to bring back a souvenir or two from our trips away, but this time we found something very unusual! One of the coves we came across had an incredible collection of driftwood and, having checked with the Airport authorities, Colin decided to find a piece for us to bring home …
This is it!!! I’ve left my Birkenstocks in the photo to give you an idea of scale … trying to get it onto our little boat was hysterical, and nearly had us all in the briny, but it’s home with us now, and a permanent memento of a very happy holiday.
It’s been pretty busy at work since I came back, but what is most exciting is that we are getting closer to this year’s Be Aware Show You Care, Breast Cancer Care fundraiser. It will be on Monday 13th October and I am thrilled to be hosting it with the delightful Craig Rowe For me, the highlight from last year’s event was being asked to design the ‘I Hope’ pendant, which so many of you very kindly bought and wrote to me about.
Well, this year I was again invited to create another piece of jewellery that would epitomise that same all-important message and, as before, it was Colin I spoke with about some ideas. I am delighted to say that, with expert help from Lynne Law (who is currently on maternity leave) and our jewellery department, we have designed for you a beautiful ring in the same sleek yet weighty silver which has just the most perfect flow, fit and feel. It also bears the same message, which is as true today as it was this time last year…
I know the last 12 months have been very tough for many of you, and your faith and belief in hope has been stretched … mine too. Sometimes we all need a little reminder of those beautiful words from Emily Dickinson to give us strength, “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all…” I hope that this ring will be just such a reminder.
Well, as this is the second time I’ve written this blog – spent over two hours on it yesterday only to somehow manage to delete the entire thing – I must crack on with the rest of the day and my preparation for tonight’s (Tuesday 2nd September) Diamonique Day finale with my dear friend, Charlie Brook. It would be lovely if you could join us from 9pm tonight.
I will leave you with a photograph of possibly the largest tomato I have ever seen, grown by my friend Ros with, yes you’ve guessed it, Richard Jackson’s Flower Power! I put a pound coin in the photo to give you an idea of its enormity!! Any amazing veg stories will be gratefully received
Looking forward, as always, to hearing how you are, how your summer has been, and if you still have a fabulous holiday planned but yet to be taken. Keep in touch, and you know I will always write back to you – makes my week
With my love, Ali