Later in today’s blog, I will be announcing who will be giving new homes to the teddies from my competition – thanks for all the fabulous suggestions, but there could only be one winner for each bear I’m afraid. We’ll also be having a look back at 2007/08 in my series of blogs celebrating each of QVC’s twenty-five years. First though, I’ve been promising you a progress report on our building work.
I’m pleased to say that the actual extension structure is now up, has a roof, and all the skylights are installed, making it weather-proof if the threatened rain should ever materialise in my part of Berkshire – looking unlikely at the moment! The opening is now boarded up for security, as the former back wall of the house has been knocked out and all above is being held up with acro props. Hopefully the steel support beams will go in today and the rubble will be cleared although, to be fair, Wilfie has been having a fabulous time exploring the building site and coming out covered in dust.
We are currently finalising the choices for our kitchen, having had to re-select the units twice; first, because the range I chose was being discontinued, and the second choice I made was so new they didn’t do the curved units I wanted. Oh well, third time lucky… you have to stay positive, don’t you! I think we will be looking at the end of August or early September before the whole job is finished because of the delays at the start, but I’m sure it will be worth the wait!
While all the banging and crashing of the building work has been going on, I have been busily tapping away on my computer and am pleased to say I have written thousands of words this week and the end of my latest book is in sight. This one is both a psychological thriller and an emotional story of trust and learning to forgive. It’s been trickier to write than Alice in Theatreland, which I completed in four months, but I think my perseverance has paid off and I’m really looking forward to sharing it with those of you who enjoy reading in a couple of months.
So, time for a look back at 2007/08. On a personal level, the end of 2007 was dreadful for me. We lost my dad on 21st November after a fall had ruptured an aneurysm in his head that he had probably had for years. It was a massive shock, as he had always been so active for an eighty-seven year old, but looking back now, I can appreciate that it is a better way to go than a long, painful decline through illness. I took some days off to be with my mum before my sister came down from Scotland to take over. My first show back was Butler & Wilson and I will never forget Simon’s kindness. The funeral was held a week or so later, which meant I had missed the rehearsal for the Molton Brown TSV and that’s always the busiest TSV of the Christmas period. I remember my then boss coming to me to ask me if I felt up to doing the midnight launch show. I knew my dad would have wanted me to carry on as normal – he was very proud of my role at QVC. To this day, the midnight launch show is the only million-pound hour in QVC UK’s history. I should give a huge amount of credit to Jill, our lovely guest, who sadly we lost to cancer a few years ago, and also to my producer Geoff, who recently returned to the fold after a stint at QVC Italy. They were both so kind and supportive, which helped me to focus on doing my job.
A week later, I was in Liverpool again filming the Christmas delivery rush in full swing at our warehouse, before heading over to Nottingham to spend some more time with my Mum and trying to persuade her to come and spend Christmas with us, which in the end she agreed to.
Talking of Christmas, I found this Christmas card from 2007 amongst my memorabilia. There are also a couple of later ones, which I shall put on future blogs, where the photography was done by Alan Olley, Kathy Taylor’s husband. The cards are fab and he is a brilliant photographer, so much so that I used him for the front cover of One Hundred Lengths of the Pool, my memoir.
In May 2008, Alison Keenan and I flew out to Italy for the Vicenza shows. They were to be broadcast live from this stunning manor house and the plan was for them to be outside with it as the backdrop.
Unfortunately, despite it being quite bright when we arrived at the location, as you can see from this photo before we had been into hair and make-up, the weather let us down.
It was cold and rainy by the time we sat down to present the two-hour silver show in the late afternoon. Ali and I were under a canopy not to shade us from the sun, but to protect us from the rain! The rest of the crew were in rain jackets!
By the time we were all dolled up for the evening three-hour gold show, the decision was taken to relocate to inside. You would expect warmish temperatures in Italy in May, even if it was raining, but no… it was freezing! We were wearing strappy evening dresses with heat pads attached to our bodies underneath. I remember looking at the close-up shots of the stunning Italian models with goose bumps clearly visible. We also had a giant moth fluttering around the set which was so big, Ali and I initially thought it was a bat!
I must say a huge thank you to our director, Christian, still with QVC, who provided me with most of these photos, and I thought you might like to have his view during the show. I think he had six or seven cameras to direct on that shoot – it always amazes me how they manage to get such fabulous shots.
He did also send me some pics of the whole crew winding down in the hotel lobby after the show, but I think there were enough photos of me, wine glass in hand, on last week’s blog – I don’t want you to get the wrong impression!
So, it’s time to announce the competition winners:
Lots of you suggested Sweet Pea for Bear A and I agree that’s a lovely name, particularly with the Flower Fusion fragrance. Randomly selected from those of you who suggested it, Amanda Porter is the winner.
For no reason other than I liked the name, the winner of Bear B is Darryl Marley with the name Burdock.
And, because I’m a huge football fan and very proud of what the manager and the England team achieved, Bear C goes to Sarah Wise with the name Gareth.
I hope your bears all enjoy their new homes.
If you have been watching any of the jewellery shows I’ve presented over the past couple of weeks, you will have spotted three of the six colours on my nails from the OPI ‘Grease is the Word’ TSV launching at midnight tonight, with Jill Franks. It’s not live on our website yet, but the item number for your reference is 235243. You also get Nail Envy with the collection.
It is a whole day of beauty, which sees the start of the Gatineau mini series, and I will be with you at 11am for Beauty Loves, midday for Shay and Blue fragrance and a whole hour of OPI at 2pm. I have taken a day off on Sunday, as we have been invited over to my daughters’s for a barbecue and a birds-eye view of the Farnborough Air Show, but I can tell you the TSV is a pair of ultra-light, slip-on trainers from Skechers.
I’m back on Monday for some Kim & Co fashion at 3pm and more Beauty Loves at 4pm, this time featuring the Calista StyleDryer TSV. If you struggle to blow dry your hair with a dryer and brush and get it into any kind of style, you should watch out for this on Monday. It comes with several different attachments and Ali Young informs me there are YouTube tutorials on how to get the best out of it.
I hope you all have a lovely weekend.