Imagine Cruising

Shaken but OK


What I’m about to share with you is not about poor me, more a warning to others to be careful. On Sunday mornings Chris and I have a cooked breakfast of poached eggs (love my Cooks’s Essentials egg poacher) and fried cherry tomatoes with a slice of wholemeal toast. Last Sunday we had the addition of some Quorn bacon style rashers for a change, so I had three pans on the go on our gas hob at the same time.

I always cook Sunday breakfast wearing my towelling dressing gown and that was nearly my undoing. I was reaching across to turn the tomatoes and I felt a sensation of heat. At first I thought it was the handle of the fish slice, which I instantly dropped on the floor, but then I realised, to my horror, that the front of my dressing gown was alight.

I screamed very loudly (sorry neighbours) which brought Sophie running from her bed, where she had been fast asleep, within ten seconds. That ten seconds were some of the most frightening of my life. I was struggling to undo the cord of my dressing gown, all the time panicking that the flames were going to catch my hair which was loose.

Fortunately, with Chris’s help, I managed to get the dressing gown off, throw it on the floor and stamp out the flames before it really took hold, leaving me with only a slight red burn mark on my ribcage. I was however in a state of total shock as I realised how close I had been to disaster.

Chris thinks that a dangling thread must have been caught by the flames of the gas hob. I guess what I’m saying is please be careful when you’re cooking on a naked flame and don’t do the cooking in garments that dangle or have loose threads, I know I won’t again.

So not the best start to the week for me and it hasn’t really improved much as Poppy, my nineteen-year-old cat, is under the weather not having eaten at all in two days. The vet has checked her over and everything seems okay but I won’t be happy until we can get some food down her. It really has been one of those weeks and I’m wondering if maybe Mercury is retrograde at the moment? – anybody know?

Things started to improve yesterday as I went in to QVC to do some preparation work for the next Imagine Cruising show, scheduled for 2nd October at 2pm. I am really pleased to be hosting this show as those of you who read One Hundred Lengths of the Pool will know that I spent six months on a cruise ship as a dancer many years ago.

One of the deals we are offering is a Caribbean cruise so it will be a real trip down memory lane for me. If you are planning your dream holiday, perhaps to celebrate a special birthday or wedding anniversary, I suggest you might want to watch the show.

Also on offer will be a Mediterranean cruise with a three-day stay on Lake Garda (sounds fab) and a cruise from Dubai to Singapore …. I want to do them all!

Today we are looking at Autumn fashion. At 5pm I have The Sak leather handbags – great shapes at really affordable prices for leather – followed by Yong Kim, hopefully featuring the TSV if it’s still available at 6pm.

And then of course more Christmas on QVC next Wednesday and Thursday. The real thing is creeping up on us … less than a hundred sleeps now!

I hope you have a great weekend (be careful when you are cooking).

Much love,
Julia xx


  1. Tina S. September 19, 2014 at 5:20 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    I was really shocked at your close call while cooking breakfast.You must have been shaken up! We all do things on times not realising the perils we put ourselves in.
    I remember years ago going out for the evening. There was a lamp on our table which had a wonky lamp-shade. I went to straighten it and have a horrible electric shock right the way up my arm. I was really shaken up by it I can tell you.
    My sister came out of hospital today thank goodness. We were quite worried and hopefully she is on the mend.I have 2 sisters and there is a big age gap between myself and them. So I do worry as they are that much older.
    I hope you poorly cat will soon be on the mend. It’s awful when they are under the weather.
    We have had another week of fab weather here in S.Wales. I hope it stays for a little
    longer as winter seems so endless. The summer always seems to fly by!
    Well I’m off to catch the last bit of the Sak’s bags.
    All the best, Tina.

  2. Pauline September 19, 2014 at 6:37 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julie in future let Chris cook the breakfast sounds very scary,if you need a companion on the cruise I am available ha ha.have to tell you we are picking up a rescue cat called Joey on Saturday hope it will help David as he is becoming more isolated in himself.hope your cat is ok but she is a good age xxxx

  3. Jean P September 19, 2014 at 6:52 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Your new blog came up on my email. Gosh what an awful experience you poor thing, it must have shaken you up. I guess it is easily done because at the time nothing like that happening would have been in your mind. Poor Sophie must have frightened her and good thing Chris was nearby. I cook with a Rayburn so do not have any naked flames, thank goodness
    Do hope Poppy will be okay, such a worry, shame they cannot tell us what is wrong. How is Wilfie?
    .Have been watching Yong Kim, love her clothes, I have several of her Tunics etc. Some great shows on today.
    Enjoy your cruise show, yes I remember you being on one, read it in your book. Have you got a cruise booked. Where would you go if you had a choice.
    Enjoy your weekend. And be careful when cooking the breakfast.
    Love Jean XX

  4. Denise September 19, 2014 at 7:35 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia, my word what a fright that must have been for you. At least it will be a lesson learned for the future albeit the hard way.
    I agree with you about there being something in the air so to speak and had been wondering the same thing myself. Hubby and I have had so many things going wrong etc etc and in our case its been going on since April. I think when the end of the year comes around it truly will be one we will be glad to see the back of but hey ho we carry on and try and remain positive.
    I didn’t get to reply to your blog last week but thank you for posting the Apple cake recipe. A man that works with my hubby has a tree in his garden and brings me a big bag in every year. Just received them on Tuesday and I intend trying out the cake. I have a flapjack recipe that I’ve been making for many years that is a firm favourite – the first thing my son said is when are you making the flapjacks! I made them today and they are lovely. Basically its a flapjack mix and you put half the mixture in the tin add cooked apples on top and then the rest of the flapjack mix on top. Its delicious – I had some for dessert tonight with a little extra cooked apple and Greek yogurt.
    I’m looking forward to seeing the cruise show especially the Lake Garda one as that is top of my list. Having visited Florence /Pisa last year I can’t wait to see more of Italy.
    Take care Julia and have a good weekend.

  5. Wendy September 19, 2014 at 7:41 pm -  Reply

    Hello Julia. Sorry to hear about your awful incident on Sunday. When things like that happen it really makes you appreciate your life though doesn’t it? No, Mercury isn’t retrograde at the moment but it goes retrograde on 4 October from early Scorpio back in to Libra!
    I have a big birthday coming up so hope to watch the cruise show. You never know my luck…!!
    Take care,

  6. Joanna Downey September 21, 2014 at 9:00 am -  Reply

    Hello Julia, I am relieved and grateful that you are alright. What an awful experience for all of you, fire is terrifying because it takes hold so quickly. I also hope that Poppy gets her appetite back and eases your concern, as with children pets bring us different worries as they get older. Mercury retrograde does not start until 4th October and it lasts for three weeks. However, I thought it may have started early on Friday when my plans of having work done in our garden went badly wrong. We needed four sizeable trees reduced and our contract stated that payment would be direct to the company account when we were happy with the work and had been given a receipt. When the “boss” had finished the work he asked for cash payment, I showed him the contract but he would not listen and became increasingly aggressive. After several phone calls to Col, who was working 80 miles away, I agreed to take as much out at an atm as I could and said that the rest would be paid as per contract. He insisted that Col also had to pay some in cash that evening and to get rid of him we agreed. Sitting in my locked home that afternoon with the main phone unplugged and mobile on silent I received over sixty missed calls, I have never experienced harassment and feel really angry that I was powerless in my own home. Anyway after a few grey and mizzly days the Sun is shining and the sky is a soft autumnal blue so I am going to my favourite garden centre to buy wallflowers and get our garden ready for the new season. Stay safe – even more than usual. Love from Jo x

  7. Steven September 21, 2014 at 10:19 am -  Reply

    Jeezo Julia. Hope you are ok now. Must have been a very frightening experience. I would get dressed now before trying to cook. Tough game for Palace today. Are you working or maybe going? Take care and watch for those frying pans xx

  8. Ros Greening September 21, 2014 at 2:13 pm -  Reply

    So sorry to hear of your bad luck I Also have 3 cats and know how upsetting it is when they are poorly good luck

  9. martin forbes September 21, 2014 at 3:09 pm -  Reply

    Hi julia glad you are alright from your cokking hope chris sophie and dan are well how is daniel getting on with his job.iam do nto like the new look comments layout it was easier before.

  10. Chris September 21, 2014 at 7:29 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Sorry to hear about your close call & thanks for sharing so others can avoid doing the same. I wanted to tell you what my 20 year old cat eats – Chicken skin! I buy a cooked chicken – Quite brown/well done is the best – We have the meat & she has the skin. I have to cut it into small pieces for her but so far it’s the one thing she’ll eat when all else fails.
    Looking forward to Kipling TSV on Tuesday
    Best wishes

  11. Gill May September 21, 2014 at 9:37 pm -  Reply

    I had a terrible burn in 1981 set fire to frying pan picked it up dropped it on floor and the flames went up my legs and caught my tights alight badly burnt ankle in bandages 12 weeks. Husband and his mum saved my legs from having worse burns. So please be careful. Loved Anthony fashions. Also Nina Leonard fantastic. Can you let me know where Lenny has gone. Look so forward to his visits. He makes me laugh.I have about 12 dresses now. I tweeted Debbie but no reply. Stay safe. Have watched QVC since it started.

  12. Julia roberts September 23, 2014 at 2:52 pm -  Reply

    Hi Tina
    I’m pleased to hear that your sister is out of hospital and on the mend. I suppose we should all expect a certain amount of health problems as we get older but it’s not much fun!
    Poor Poppy has had a really bad time. She had to go back to the vet on Saturday morning and be put on an intravenous drip as she still hadn’t eaten anything and was dehydrated. She had to stay in the whole weekend but came home last night before going back today to be attached to the drip again. Her kidneys are fine apparently and her blood test was ok so the vet is going to try her with some steroids to see if we can prompt her to eat again. It’s awful to watch her looking so bewildered.
    We have been so lucky with the weather this September but starting to feel more autumnal now.
    Hope you enjoyed the Sak show?
    Julia x

    • Tina S. September 27, 2014 at 2:50 pm -  Reply

      Hi Julia,
      It’s me again- just to say I was watching Yankie Candles Thursday and did hear you mention me as one of your blogger’s and about using the candles as I am trying to sell my house! ( Fame at last.) My husband was upstairs and I ran up to tell him that you had mentioned me!(I don’t get out much l.o.l ) Anyway thanks for the tip, I’ve just got to get someone in first to view the house.
      Hope you are enjoying you’re days off.
      Best wishes, Tina.

  13. Julia roberts September 23, 2014 at 3:20 pm -  Reply

    Hi Pauline
    Chris is not a bad cook, particularly roast dinner, but he’s not so good when things have to be timed specifically, liked poached eggs. I managed it this week without setting fire to myself.
    I hope Dave will take to Joey – cats are so comforting to have around. Poppy is not great still but hoping the steroids will improve things.
    If I win the lottery we’ll go on a cruise
    Julia x

  14. Julia roberts September 23, 2014 at 3:27 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jean
    I managed to get through the weekend cooked breakfast and all! My sister has a Rayburn, which she loves, but I think I prefer the instant controllability of gas …. when I’m wearing suitable clothing!
    Poor Sophie indeed – she doesn’t get much chance for a lie-in as she’s up early all week and that was certainly a rude awakening.
    Still not much progress with Poppy but hopeful we will be able to get her eating soon.
    I haven’t booked a cruise (yet) but having done the Caribbean when I was working on the ships maybe the Far East, Australia, Hawaii and the west coast of America ….. better start saving now!
    Speak soon
    Julia x

  15. Julia roberts September 23, 2014 at 3:35 pm -  Reply

    Hi Denise
    Oooh – apple flapjacks sound yummie. The apple on my tree isn’t quite ripe yet but looking forward to baking the Dorset apple cake again – definitely use the salted butter it really makes a difference to the taste.
    My friend Denise, that we have holidayed with a couple of times, was telling me about Lake Garda so it is on my list of places to visit. That cruise sounds very appealing so watch out for the show next Thursday.
    I hope the rest of your year improves
    Julia x

  16. Julia roberts September 23, 2014 at 3:39 pm -  Reply

    Hi Wendy
    Crikey if mercury isn’t retrograde yet what’s in store from October 4th?
    You didn’t mention which BIG birthday you have coming up but I hope you will be celebrating on an Imagine Cruising holiday.
    I think I’ve learnt my lesson re cooking in my dressing gown.
    Julia x

  17. Julia roberts September 23, 2014 at 3:48 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jo
    What a horrible experience with the ‘tree man’. We had a lovely chap called Julian cut ours back earlier in the year. If I remember rightly I had to send him an email to remind him that we hadn’t paid. How ridiculous to be so aggressive. You won’t recommend him to anyone else and it’s not as though he doesn’t know where you live.
    Hope you picked some nice things up at the garden centre and that the weather stays nice enough for you to plant them.
    Poppy is still not eating but the vet had thought that maybe she had lymphoma which would have meant a course of chemotherapy that I don’t know if she would have been able to endure and has since changed her opinion so we’re trying steroids from today – keeping everything crossed for my darling old girl.
    Maybe Mercury retrograde will give us a change for the better.
    Speak soon
    Julia x

  18. Julia roberts September 23, 2014 at 3:53 pm -  Reply

    Hi Steven
    Awful experience and not one I’m keen to repeat! Let’s talk about something nice ….. Crystal Palace!!! I really wasn’t expecting to get the three points on Sunday even though we have a good record at Goodison Park. That was hot on the heels of Dan’s u11’s doing really well that morning against Chelsea, who have the most fantastic Academy set-up. Goes to show that it isn’t all about money if you have the right coaching staff!
    I’ll be more careful in future
    Julia x

    • Steven September 27, 2014 at 2:50 pm -  Reply

      Ha ha it sounds like Dan is doing very well with his coaching though. Mourinho in the making? Leicester today isnt it? Are you away to it? WE play Hibs on Monday night x

  19. Julia roberts September 23, 2014 at 3:57 pm -  Reply

    Hello Ros
    Thanks for your concern. Poppy hasn’t turned the corner yet. She came home from the vet last night but had to go back today to be rehydrated. I feel so helpless watching her retching and being unable to make things better. We’re hopeful the steroids she is starting today will work.
    Julia x

  20. Julia roberts September 23, 2014 at 4:00 pm -  Reply

    Hi Martin
    I managed to do cooked breakfast last Sunday with no problems!
    Dan stayed over with us on Saturday night (with Wilfie cat too) and then we all went to watch his u11’s play Chelsea – they did very well with one team winning and the other drawing.
    Speak soon
    Julia x

  21. Julia roberts September 23, 2014 at 4:06 pm -  Reply

    Hi Chris
    I’m not working this weekend so will miss the Kipling TSV.
    Thanks for the suggestion about chicken skin but I don’t cook chicken as I’m vegetarian. I have been trying to remember what my old cat Dylan used to eat when he went off his food. I have a feeling it was scrambled egg but not sure if Poppy would touch it – she has always been a fussy eater. Just hope the steroids will work for her.
    Julia x

  22. Julia roberts September 23, 2014 at 4:15 pm -  Reply

    Hi Gill
    So sorry to hear about your horrible burns but how lucky that there were people on hand to prevent it being worse.
    Antthony is a hoot isn’t he? I think there is shortly an announcement to be made regarding Lenny so I will be able to let you know more soon.
    Thanks for being loyal to us
    Julia x

  23. Beth September 23, 2014 at 4:16 pm -  Reply

    Dear Julia,
    I’m sending you my very best wishes. I am someone who used to think things would happen to other people and when things did happen, it would throw me. I am delighted to hear you’re ok but these things can happen so quickly and I know of someone within my family group who was killed in a fire so thank you for your thoughts and advice for others.
    I sincerely hope that Poppy is ok. I’ve been there myself with much-loved cats who aren’t well and I know you are doing what is best for her and I’m sending you a hug. Hope you receive it :)
    Oh, last but not least, I’ve only been on one cruise – I was only 16 and went with the school to Greece, Egypt, Israel and Turkey. It was wonderful! Unfortunately, since then I’m not very good with sea travel and prefer terra firma! ENJOY the shows and I’m sure they’ll bring back good memories for you.
    Beth XXX.

    • Julia roberts September 26, 2014 at 10:44 am -  Reply

      Hi Beth
      Thanks for the hug – I passed it on to Poppy who is just starting to respond to the various medications she is on and is eating a little now without us having to get down on the floor with her and pretend to eat! It truly has been a horrible week for her and us and I’m hoping we are over the worst!
      I do a lot of cooking and have noticed how much more aware I’ve been of the flames from the gas hob … sometimes things happen for a reason!
      Although I was on a cruise ship for 6 months, I was seasick when I went on the SS Canberra with Chris when he had a gig and I’m rubbish on smaller boats.
      Speak soon
      Julia x

  24. loraine September 25, 2014 at 9:09 pm -  Reply

    Sorry Julia I posted you a message but it’s on your previous blog apologies for the mix up x

    • Julia roberts September 26, 2014 at 10:45 am -  Reply

      Hi Loraine
      No problem I’ll reply on there

  25. Sadie Gower September 27, 2014 at 5:01 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia, I just wanted to send my love to Poppy. I have been hearing about her ill health. I was going to name my cat after her 12 years ago, but he turned out to be a boy. Lots of love and hope she will soon be well. You have been through a rough time lately! Lots of love to you and keep with QVC, you are fabulous! Oh and many congrats to Chris on his 60th! lots of love, Sadie.

  26. Pauline Hunter November 17, 2014 at 8:28 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia, hope you get this as I don’t tweet or do facebook. There is something bugging me and I think you will remember the name of the brand I am trying to dredge up. QVC used to do a range of clothing that was quite distinctive very decorative jackets, patches and beadwork. I’ve seen “Rita in Coronation Street” wearing a jacket from this brand. Sorry I can’t give you more, hope you can help, its driving me nuts. I’ll get an early Merry Christmas in and wish you all the best.

    Kind Regards

    Pauline Hunter

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