A bit of catching up to do


Julia floatingFirstly, apologies that I haven't written a blog for a couple of weeks – as those of you who read my blog regularly know, I write it on a Friday and for the last two Fridays I've been on a plane … lame excuse but I'm sticking to it!

Chris and I managed to get away for a week during my time off from work and what a lovely getaway it was. We revisited Barbados, where we celebrated our thirtieth anniversary, as we both love it. It has been a crazy couple of years for us, the second anniversary of my CML diagnosis is looming this month, so we figured we should celebrate that I'm still around.

The beachWe stayed at a resort called The Sugar Cane Club and I would highly recommend it if you want a bit of peace and quiet. It's on a hillside with views of the west coast although sadly we didn't see any amazing sunsets while we were there. We did however see monkeys roaming around in the hotel garden on our first morning, along with two cockerels and a family of hens! There were also lots of birds and one in particular had me panicking that we had a mouse in our room … let me explain.

Sparrow and sugarNeither Chris or I take sugar in our hot drinks so I was very surprised one morning to find two packs of sugar lying on the kitchenette work surface, torn open with the contents spilled. I asked at the reception if it could be a mouse and was greeted by laughter, "No it's the birds, you must have left your French doors open."

Really?? I was a bit disbelieving as I couldn't imagine a bird flying into the room, finding the sugar and flying out again without either of us noticing. How wrong I was. That afternoon I was sat at my laptop writing my novel (another nine chapters written whilst away) when a beautiful, small black bird with a bright yellow breast flew into the room and settled on the counter top about four feet away from me.

It then proceeded to fly to the bowl with the coffee, tea and sugar sachets in it, selected the sugar and pulled it out onto the surface. All the time I was talking to it and eventually it lost its nerve as it flew behind me to settle on the sofa before exiting the way it had come in. Cheeky little monkey! We also had a couple of sparrows visit us for sugar, which we offered them on a saucer when sitting on the balcony.

The poolSugar Cane Club had a decent sized swimming pool so I was able to get plenty of swimming in, usually at the end of the day when most of the other guests were sipping cocktails or getting ready for dinner. I didn't swim a hundred lengths but I did do sixty on a couple of occasions – well I needed to keep the exercise up whilst away from my Pilates machine.

Speaking of which, I have a Pilates show on Thursday at 2pm with the lovely Caroline Sandry. I don't know if you remember but she used to be a model for QVC and she was so impressed by Marjolein Brugman and the Pilates machine that she took her Personal Trainer qualifications, specialising in Pilates. Marjolein can't make it for the show so Caroline and I will be demo'ing for you.

Glass-bottom boatOur week in Barbados seemed to go very quickly but we used up every minute with trips to the beach near Sandy Lane on the 'Boogie' bus, packed lunch and all, and even went on a glass-bottom boat trip before we left for the airport on our departure day.

We were treated to an appearance by the turtles as our boatman threw in bait for them and I was about to go in for a swim until one one of them 'pooped' under our boat … I changed my mind!

Beachside houseThe boatman was also pointing out the houses of all the 'rich and famous' along the coastline. If you watch X Factor you may recognise this as 'allegedly' one of the judges houses … gorgeous isn't it?

Apparently it isn't their house at all but I wonder if you know whose house it was said to be??? No prizes, just for fun.

Although it was a long flight I managed to catch up on four films I had been wanting to see so it wasn't wasted time. I watched Gravity, Philomena (which made me laugh and cry – beautiful film), Dallas Buyer's Club and The Heat with Sandra Bullock, which just made me laugh. Our flight home got in at 6.30am, so just time for a short nap before heading to Selhurst Park to watch Crystal Palace take on Chelsea.

To be honest, I wasn't expecting anything from the game but was hopeful for a draw. What a fantastic effort from the team, especially Ward and Speroni, to clinch a 1 – 0 victory. Brilliant! We had already lost four hours because of the time difference, then we lost another hour with the clocks going forward.

No mind I still had to get up early Sunday as I had promised Daniel that we would go and watch his CPFC U10s who were also playing Chelsea. It was at the Chelsea training ground in Cobham and what fabulous facilities they have, including a small spectator stand!!! Palace Academy may not have the same facilities but they must have good coaches (I would say that!) because they acquitted themselves well, losing one half, drawing two and winning one … proud mother moment, particularly apt as it was Mother's Day.

Sophie came over later in the afternoon and we all went for dinner to a restaurant called Bluebells, which is close to where we now live. I was treated to Leon's Vegetarian Cookery Book and some reed diffusers, as well as a gorgeous bunch of flowers in pinks and purples.

Wilfy and the Peony orchidTalking of flowers, Peony are back on QVC on Sunday as part of our Founders Day – it's 21 years since QVCUK was incorporated and in celebration everything on air will be free P&P. The TSV is Mally, but not sure if it will still be around for our show at 8pm.

Back to Peony, check out the Sunday Times this weekend as there is a feature on Peony which you may find interesting. Wilfie certainly found this Peony Phalenopsis Orchid interesting!! He loves plants, so much so that we have had to move our yukka outside as he keeps eating it, but I think he was fooled by how real the orchid looked.

Well, I really must stop now or this will turn into a 'novelette' and I'm on air in three hours time -eek! Do join me for Fashion on Friday today at 5pm as it is a Fashion Edit looking at 'top summer bottoms', 'top summer dresses, and 'top summer seperates'.

Have a great weekend!

Much love, Julia xx


  1. Lesley Campbell April 5, 2014 at 12:41 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Where have I been! Didn’t know about your CML diagnosis – so sorry to hear that. Hope you’re keeping ok. You always look great – especially when you’re in your purple.
    Love Lesley xx

  2. Jean Pugh April 5, 2014 at 9:02 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    It sounds as if you and Chris had a great holiday, sounds a beautiful place to relax. I was fascinated to read about the birds and the sugar, they came in so close too you as well.
    You did really well with your writing as well, and the swimming, sixty lengths, wow you must be fit.
    You had a lovely Mother’s Day, it is nice to be spoilt.
    Looking forward to Peony, I do love their flowers, they look so real, such beautiful arrangements. Wilfie is saying what have we here, why can’t I eat it. One of my cats Guinness will eat my Spider plant, naughty boy, I have had to move it so he cannot get at it.
    Anyway glad you had a great holiday and that you are well.
    Take care.
    Love Jean xx

  3. brenda fiet April 6, 2014 at 8:02 pm -  Reply

    you look great juliea keep fighting i too had cancer in my 4th year doing ok love brenda fiet

  4. Sue April 6, 2014 at 9:16 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Thank you so much for replying to me.It was great to hear from you. Trust me I WAS speaking about Ipswich playing better all those years ago! Palace are literally leagues ahead!!
    Yes I knew Debbie had returned to QVC & also that Alison & Jiilly are still there….& none of you look any older!!
    I used to really enjoy the beauty hours with Alison, especially if you were presenting alongside her.
    Also the Diamonique hours. I collected many pieces over the years & was gutted 3years ago when we were burgled & they stole, amongst other things, my jewellery, including all of my 27 Diamonique rings! Individually they all meant something to me & many of the pieces have been discontinued.
    We were at home eating outside, so I guess it was a good thing we didn’t disturb them & end up being attacked.
    I’m glad you enjoyed your recent break & it sounds like your book is coming along really well. It must be difficult finding the time to write, with the different hours that you work at QVC & moving etc!!
    Have you emptied all of your boxes yet??!!…I think ( know) that I’ve still got some with bits in them, even after all this time!! Spanish houses are’nt built for storage!!!….well not all of my storage anyway!!!!!
    Take Care Julia & keep well,
    Love, Sue x

  5. Tina S. April 7, 2014 at 4:01 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    So glad you had a lovely break. It looks really stunning in the photo’s. We all need a break to recharge the batteries now and then. I know I’m biased being a Welsh Lass but I absolutely love going to Pembrokeshire. I know we don’t always get the weather, but I still love it. Last time we stayed in a lovely Hotel on the cliff-tops over looking Cardigan Bay. We glanced out of the window and saw Dolphins the first day we were there.We are so fortunate to live in an area where we can see such marvels of nature.
    We are hoping to go to a little place on our coastline called New Quay. The Dolphins can be seen near the Harbour wall as well as taking boat trips.
    Seeing the bird that came into your hotel room reminded me of a little robin that used to come to my garden. He was so tame. I used to sit outside with my coffee and tap on the garden table and he’d be there like a shot.
    I must say I’m at a loss now that the rugby is over. Wales certainly went out on a high beating Scotland 51:3 !!
    They are touring South Africa in a couple of month’s , but I don’t know if any of the games will be televised over here.
    Well enough of my rabbitting. Time for a nice cup of coffee!
    Best wishes Tina (South Wales) xx

  6. Diane gilbank April 8, 2014 at 3:24 pm -  Reply

    Lovely to read you had such a good time away and yes very well deserved after the last 2 years. Great to see the photos too,and lovely story about the birds!!
    You are doing the aurora show as I type this, you look beautiful in the Kim and co top julia. Really good colours on you. I must say I love these shows because of the mans voice!! It is mesmeric, he should read audio books and I would buy every one!!
    I am having a bit of a rough time at the moment health wise, but hope it will pass, I just have to be sensible and patient!!! The bonus has been Elsa! She has kept me company laying by my side in bed most of the day which has been so lovely for me, to have her close to stroke.
    I have very busy with my cardmaking recently, as we have 3 weddings in the family and I have about 7 cards to make for people. They are my favourite to do, so having good time choosing all the bits and pieces.
    Glad to have you back on screen julia,take care much love dianexxx

  7. Carole (London) April 8, 2014 at 5:18 pm -  Reply

    Julia, I am really sorry to hear you have CML , my Mum had it , she found out just from a routine blood test, she’s a lot older then you and I thought it was an older persons illness, there you go it shows there is no age to who it wants to attack. Good Luck and am thinking of you , you are so bright and cheerful . Best wishes always , take care .
    Carole XXX

  8. Beth Morton April 9, 2014 at 11:47 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    A bit of a “belated” hello and reply to you as our internet line has been playing up.
    Your holiday looks and sounds wonderful! I always mention it but I have an obsession with water, particularly oceans and the sea! Really glad to hear you enjoyed it – the photo of you in the pool is wonderful, you look so relaxed. I love doing the “Star” shape in a pool and just listening to the “gurgling” of the water – so relaxing!! The photo Chris took of the lovely bird was great – Ian and I are proud Twitchers and we love looking out for birds at home and on hols. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to visit Tobago and we had a little bird, probably a Wagtail, which would visit regularly for crumbs near the pool – we nicknamed him “Hopalong” as he unfortunately had a damaged leg. He was a welcome visitor!
    Great to hear that the book is coming along, well done you on getting so much done.
    You take care and I am keeping fingers and toes crossed that your next hospital appt. will give you good news.
    Lots of love, Beth XXX.

  9. Julia roberts April 9, 2014 at 4:38 pm -  Reply

    Hi Lesley
    I’ve been responding really well to treatment – not quite remission but still hopeful. Thanks for the compliment
    Julia x

  10. Julia roberts April 9, 2014 at 4:47 pm -  Reply

    Hello Jean
    It seems so long ago now – that’s the trouble with holidays! Good to ear that Wilfie is not the only cat who is crazy about plants …. he likes the Christmas cactus and cyclamen too and is a devil for cut flowers getting them out of the vase with his teeth!
    I’m not really that fit at the moment but swimming is not too strenuous for me and Pilates of course.
    Did your daughter move yet?
    Julia x

  11. Julia roberts April 9, 2014 at 4:48 pm -  Reply

    Hi Brenda
    Hope your treatment is going as well as mine …. positive attitude really helps too.
    Thanks for the compliment
    Julia x

  12. martin forbes bucksburn aberdeen watching via sky tv April 9, 2014 at 5:33 pm -  Reply

    hi julia glad you enjoyed the holiday is it the same caroline that did the joan rivers jewellery when she modeeled joan s earings.

  13. Kathryn Sheehan April 9, 2014 at 5:44 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Glad you had a good time on holiday, but how can you go all that way for just 1 week.! My neighbours go to St Lawerence every year as they like a “bit of life” and they are older than us. lol.
    We havn’t been back from The Gambia long, it was wonderful as all way’s, in the 30- 35 every day, but came back to my Glucose Blood test results and at 6.1 my doctor wasn’t very happy. I’m still a size 10 don’t eat hardly any sugary thing’s, only eat white meat and only wholemeal pasta and rice, can’t think what am i doing wrong. ?
    Ian’s father had a wonderful time in New Zealand, his friend’s are looking forward to meeting us in a couple of years time, we have been looking at flight’s and wondering where to stop off at the journey. Bill stopped of at L,A. this time.
    I’m going to Cyprus with the girl’s in July for 12 day’s, i have to many booking’s to go to Spain. Which is good for the bank balance. I supose.
    Hope your results are good.
    Speak soon.
    Kathy x

  14. Julia roberts April 10, 2014 at 9:57 am -  Reply

    Hi Sue
    You currently have a Palace Academy graduate on loan at Ipswich – Johnnie Williams. He is a cracking little player (plays for Wales) and a really nice lad too. He did a coaching session with my son Daniel’s Palace U10’s and had no hint of being ‘Billy Bigtime!’
    I know it’s not nice to be burgled, happened to us once when the children were little, but thank goodness you weren’t hurt …. lucky escape.
    We still have lots of stuff in boxes but not all of it is ours. Daniel is still living with us at the moment but hoping to get his own place soon so no point in unpacking stuff and then moving it. I avoid the room on the second floor which is piled high with ‘stuff’.
    I used to love doing the shows with Alison – as well as being great fun I used to earn so much about skincare …. maybe an email to the powers that be????
    Speak soon
    Julia x

  15. Julia roberts April 10, 2014 at 10:05 am -  Reply

    Hi Tina
    Aren’t robins sometimes referred to as the gardeners friend? I think it is because they are savvy enough to hang around and let the gardener dig up the worms for them! I love to see them in the garden … always makes me think of my dad.
    I have been to Wales a few times … twice to the play-off finals …. once when I was a baby (just before they diagnosed me with polio) and when I filmed Citizen Smith at Port Merrion. Now we live to the west of London I shall make an effort to visit the Gower peninsula, something I have always intended to do.
    Julia x

  16. Julia roberts April 10, 2014 at 10:18 am -  Reply

    Hello Diane
    I’m sorry to hear things have not been so good for you health-wise. Perhaps the anniversary trip away was a bit too much for you? It must be exasperating when there are things your head wants you to do but your body lets you down. I am so glad you have Elsa and that she is ‘in tune’ with you …. when I used to be so tired in the early days of my diagnosis Poppy used to curl up and have a sleep with me in the afternoons. She is rapidly approaching her 19th birthday and we have a trip to the vet on Monday for a check-up and annual booster. She is starting to look like a little old lady now but she will still play fisticuffs with Wilfie occasionally!
    Speaking of weddings, my brother just got engaged to his girlfriend of six years on her birthday. He will be sixty this year, three weeks after my Chris, so maybe they’ll organise the wedding for then … no point in long engagements at his age!
    I really hope you start to feel a bit better soon
    Julia x

  17. Julia roberts April 10, 2014 at 10:26 am -  Reply

    Hi Carole
    I hope your mum is doing ok? You are right CML does normally attack the over sixties and slightly more men than women so your mum and I were unlucky particularly as there are only about 600 cases a year in the UK. Thank goodness for charities like Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research who have helped fund the research that have brought about the fantastic new drugs that are able to treat the condition …. it was a very different story only ten or twelve years ago.
    Thanks for your kind compliments
    Julia x

  18. Julia roberts April 10, 2014 at 10:39 am -  Reply

    Hi Beth
    I have never been to Tobago but have heard it is lovely …. maybe next year! My brother in law and nephew write articles for the RSPB … he would have loved all the birds twittering away in Barbados …. mind you they are doing a pretty fine job in sunny Berkshire this morning!
    Actually Chris told me off for floating in the pool like that, he said from the balcony of our room it looked like I was dead!!! It’s a lovely feeling though isn’t it just lying back and letting the water support you – a bit like a floatation tank!
    My only day off this week was Monday. I started writing at 11.30am and finished at 7.45pm with only a half hour break for lunch! I finished a really crucial, difficult chapter and wrote two new ones …. it is coming to the climax of the book now and is really quite exciting that the story is nearly told! Will keep you posted on here with a few excerpts nearer the publishing date.
    The prof is still pleased with my progress, even though it as slowed down, so I just have to trust in him.
    Speak soon
    Julia x

  19. Julia roberts April 10, 2014 at 10:41 am -  Reply

    Hi Martin
    Yes it is, what a good memory you have!
    Julia x

  20. Julia roberts April 10, 2014 at 10:50 am -  Reply

    Hi Kathy
    It was a long way to fly for a week but we had to fit it in with stuff I had to do and Chris’s work commitments and at least I wasn’t flying the plane!! ….. it was good to be able to sit back and relax with no-one phoning or emailing me – bliss!
    Has your doctor suggested any possible cause for the high glucose level in your blood? It’s not always about the way we look after ourselves (I don’t smoke, hardly drink, exercise regularly and eat a balanced diet) sometimes your body just makes a mistake …. the human body is incredibly complex.
    I always made sure I kept some weeks free for us to enjoy the house in Spain – I love Javea. Take a good high SPF for Cyprus in July it could be even hotter than The Gambia … hope you will have a great time.
    Julia x

  21. Annette Roberts April 10, 2014 at 10:54 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    What gorgeous photos, so pleased you had a good holiday in Barbados, its always nice to go back to somewhere special you’ve been before.
    Love the story about the birds pinching the sugar…now who wouldn’t have thought it was a mouse, I know that would be my thinking too! Must say, getting the birdies to help you write your novel on the laptop is something else though lol!
    We had a good few days away and even some lovely weather to boot. Did the usual trip to Tywyn to have a bag of chips on the seafront, which they have managed to clean up pretty well after those horrendous storms. Took a few pics on my mobile even though I couldn’t see the screen, it was so bright and very warm, first time the old arms have been out in ages, thought I’d better stock up on Vitamin D!
    It was fascinating to see all the Petrified Wood, which was really scared! (Sorry warped sense of humour) that has appeared on the beach following said storms. To think that the beach used to be forest and peat bogs all those years ago and it has just come to light, makes you think.
    We also went to Lake Vrynwy again, one of our favourite walks and the history of the building of the dam, whereby they flooded a whole village all those years ago to make the lake to supply water…wonder if any of the buildings are still down there?
    It was nice to get away after the last few weeks and to take my mind off my hair, at least its coming out even and not in patches and there is new growth, which is encouraging. The new medication appears to be OK and I’ve not had any side effects another bonus.
    Nice to see you back again, amazing what sunshine and a change of scenery can do!
    Annette x

  22. Diana Cuff April 11, 2014 at 10:50 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia So glad you enjoyed your stay at the Sugar Cane we have been there twice and as you say it’s such a peaceful and relaxing place. I have photo just like yours sitting on the balcony with a bird eating crumbs from the saucer. Did your see the frogs at night I’ve never seen such large ones. Wishing you continued good health. Love Di.xxx

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