Fireplace before

Befores and Afters


About a month ago I was telling you about the saga with the new wardrobes for our bedroom. At the time I also mentioned that we had bought an old cast iron fireplace that Chris was going to install. It all sounded fairly straightforward except that the fireplace in our bedroom was not central to the chimney breast and would have looked a little odd.

Fireplace after

So, over the last couple of weeks, Chris chipped out some bricks from one side of the opening and filled in with brick on the other side to centralise it. In the meantime we ordered a slate hearth stone for the fireplace to stand on and this is the finished look! I’m really pleased with it, especially with my latest Tiffany style lighting addition and my beautiful Peony phalenopsis orchid to complete the picture. Wilfie seems to love it too. Now we just have to sort out a new mattress, bedding and a chest of drawers, possibly a new carpet and a lick of paint and it will be finished, but loving it so far.

Talking of before and after shots, I thought I would share these pictures of my tree fern. When we moved into our house 18 months ago the tree fern was looking very sorry for itself and I almost had it dug up. I’m so glad I didn’t. Having cut back all the fronds to over-winter, just look at it now. It almost looks like a palm tree and gives the garden a Mediterranean feel particularly as we have olive trees too. I have been feeding everything regularly this year with Richard Jackson’s Flower Power and it’s all looking very healthy.

I visited another beautiful garden yesterday – no, not Hampton Court Palace, I popped in to Simon Wilson’s to meet Bella, his cat. Due to off-air commitments yesterday I wasn’t able to do the Butler & Wilson show with Simon at 5pm but he very kindly allowed me to share his taxi back to Chelsea, where I was heading. I was a little early so I popped in for a glass of white wine and to meet Bella. She is jet black, like Wilfie, but is slightly smaller in stature. She was very fussy with me, even allowing me to pick her up, much to Simon’s amazement!

Simon's garden

His garden is quite small but immaculate and so tranquil considering it is in the heart of Chelsea. He has clematis, hydrangeas and jasmine trained around the handrails of the steps down from his lounge – the only thing missing is a tree fern! He was regaling us with funny stories about calling Bella in in the middle of the night dressed only in a tatty old dressing gown … do we believe Simon is ever anything but perfectly dressed?! I’m really looking forward to his August anniversary shows – we will be running a competition on here, nearer the date, to celebrate 20 years of Butler & Wilson on QVC.

I left Simon, Nikky and two friends to enjoy their dinner in peace and headed to Daunt bookshop, on the Fulham Road, for another book launch party – my third this year! The first was Jemma Forte’s, mine last week and this one was Anna Cookson’s boyfriend, Ed Davey’s. I haven’t read his book yet but it is called Foretold by Thunder if you want to have a look at it online. Ed works as a journalist for the BBC and some of his newsroom colleagues were there including Riz Lateef who presents the television news for the south-east. I recognised her immediately and I could see a flicker of recognition in her eyes before Ed introduced us to each other. She watches QVC, particularly beauty shows, and we spent a good fifteen minutes chatting about Liz Earle, Decleor and L’Occitane.

Whilst we are on the subject of books I have another couple of radio interviews coming up next week – on Monday morning at 11am with Anne Diamond on BBC Radio Berkshire and the BBC Radio Sussex interview I recorded last week with Allison Ferns (back to ferns) is going out on Tuesday afternoon at 3.40pm. If you want any more information about ‘Life’s a Beach and Then…’ interviews etc. please check out my Julia Roberts TV Facebook page which has links to previous interviews if you fancy a listen.

On the subject of Facebook, thanks for being so gentle with me on Debbie Flint’s Back To You Facebook chat on Monday night. I’m still not sure if I did it properly but it was so nice to be able to interact with you on there.

You may not be aware that today is Alison Young’s birthday. I couldn’t possibly divulge which one!!! I have now known Ali for over twenty years and consider her a friend as much as a work colleague. She’s probably mucking out horses as I write but I hope she will give herself a bit of time to ‘READ’ my birthday present to her… if you get my drift!


I keep forgetting to mention that my very thoughtful family bought me another pair of Skechers for my birthday (seems ages ago) – sooo comfy if you’ve never tried them and Sophie says the colour is more appropriate for my age than my bright coral ones … Really?

Well I won’t be with you on air for a couple of weeks after today – no, not another holiday, looking after a family member, post op – but I will be blogging.

Have a great weekend.

Much love,

Julia x


  1. Annette Roberts July 3, 2015 at 4:28 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Hope your family member has a speedy recovery from their operation, especially with Nurse Julia on call and lots of your home cooking too. At least it will give you a chance to do some more writing in between your nursing duties. I can remember sending Chris Text messages when I wanted something and he was in the office upstairs working.

    Chris has made a very good job of your new fireplace and the Tiffany lamp looks great there. You can’t beat a bit of new bedding, I’ve just washed and dried a couple of new sets and I’ve been adding Dettol Anti-Bac Laundry Cleanser in Lavender to the wash and it leaves your washing smelling gorgeous for ages afterwards, I use it instead of fabric conditioner.

    I used to take lots of photos of the garden and we had some big tree ferns at our old house, shame we left them, but we did bring my Blueberry bushes, two of which are full of berries, but the third is on its last legs I think.

    The builder dropped the keys off on Monday and we have taken a few bits over there. This will make you laugh though, Chris went over to water the lawn the other night and heard the boiler kicking in, which he thought was funny especially it being the hottest day. All of a sudden the hosepipe got very hot and flimsy…they had only connected the outside tap to the hot water pipe!! The builder was mortified when Chris told him.

    Love the new Skechers, they are sooo comfy aren’t they? I treated myself a couple of weeks ago to a taupe pair, to go with anything…I do have a bright orange pair and a black pair with bright pink soles…a real treat for the feet!

    See you back soon and I hope your patient behaves themselves for you.

    Annette x

    • Julia roberts July 10, 2015 at 3:15 pm -  Reply

      Hi Annette
      I’m so pleased you’ve finally got the keys to your new house – brilliant! I hope you and Chris will be very happy there. What a mistake to make with the outside tap!! Would have been handy for car washing though!
      I never use fabric conditioner as my skin doesn’t like it – also I don’t like the feel of the fabric, sort of coated. I am so into the deep sleep pillow spray at the moment – need to order some more.
      My ‘patient’ is sore but out of hospital so lots of TLC required.
      Good luck with the move in
      Julia x

  2. Tina S July 7, 2015 at 5:50 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    I tried leaving a reply the other day but there seems to have been something wrong with QVC’s blog connection. Anyway lets try again.
    I love the fireplace you’ve put in. It must look really cosy at night. I am still waiting for more viewers for my house. It feels I’ll never sell at this rate!!
    I’ve finally got onto facebook. Its all so daunting at the moment . I’ve had quite a few people getting in touch from when I started my nurse training back in 1973!! Its amazing to speak to them after all these years. I even had a friend request from someone I was in Infant and Junior school. It is truly an amazing thing.
    Well I must make a move as my favourite Welsh soap, “Pobwl y Cwm” will be starting in 10 minutes. It means People of the Valley.
    Hope you are keeping well- take care , Tina S.

    • Julia roberts July 10, 2015 at 3:10 pm -  Reply

      Hi Tina
      I’m sorry to hear you’ve had problems posting on here – me also … I’m way behind with my replies but partly because it will only let me do a few at a time! We’re trying to get it sorted.
      I’m a newbie to Facebook too. One of my 60 things to do in my sixtieth year (full list to be revealed soon) is to trace my best friend from school. Anyone out there know Annie Middlemiss from Bingham aged 59?
      The fireplace does look particularly pretty at night.
      Hope you will get some more viewings soon – not really the season for it just now though.
      Fingers crossed
      Julia x

  3. Jeannette Fitzpatrick July 9, 2015 at 11:23 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia, I have just finished your book and I must say I really enjoyed it did not want to put it down. As I have just returned from Mauritus it made the book feel even more real, but when I got to the end and saw that you had dedicated it to Stretch I thought that was really nice gesture for him and his family. Once again brilliant, just get back to writing and compose another.

    • Julia roberts July 10, 2015 at 3:05 pm -  Reply

      Hello Jeanette
      I’m so pleased to hear you enjoyed my book particularly as you have been in Mauritius – gorgeous isn’t it. I have done a few thousand words on the new book this week – need to step it up if it’s going to be ready for November.
      Stretch was such a support to me in the early stages of my illness – I wanted to honour him.
      Julia x

  4. Ann July 9, 2015 at 8:13 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia, I absolutely love the fire place, especially with your Tiffany lamp where did you get it from, I NEED it 🙂

    Love Ann xx

    • Julia roberts July 10, 2015 at 3:02 pm -  Reply

      Hi Ann
      My Chris found it on eBay – we had been looking at some reproduction ones but they were a bit expensive – this was only £90 – what a find!
      Good luck searching for one
      Julia x

  5. Joanna Downey July 9, 2015 at 8:49 pm -  Reply

    Hello Julia, A lovely “newsy” blog as always. Your fireplace looks lovely, they are wonderful features and can be dressed up for each season. I’m sure that relying on a small fire in a bedroom years ago must have meant many a chilly morning but I think the little bedroom ones are particularly attractive. As is your tree fern and I think I may be indulging in one for the Mediterranean corner of our garden. I too find it hard to imagine Simon in anything remotely tatty, a vintage dressing gown sounds more appropriate and the thought of him calling in his cat in the middle of the night is just delightful. My book was collected from the sorting office earlier this week and is packed away with my holiday clothes ready for Sicily next month. See you on your return. Love from Jo x

  6. Julia roberts July 10, 2015 at 3:00 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jo
    It certainly gives the bedroom a focal point – we have really high ceilings so it’s good to have something to draw the eyeline down.
    Lots more about my garden on my latest blog which should be published today.
    I’m pleased you are exercising restraint with keeping my book for your holiday in Sicily – do take a picture of it in situ & send it to me.
    Julia x

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Never miss a post!

Sign up to our QGossip feed to get the latest posts in your mailbox.

QVC uses first and third party cookies to enhance your use of this website and provide you with a personalised browsing experience. We do so in accordance with our Privacy Statement and our Cookie Policy. To learn more and change your preferences click here. By actively continuing to use this website, closing this banner or clicking the OK button below, you consent to our use of cookies.

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.