Molton Brown pink pepper and black pepper body wash duo - 206874



I’ve often mentioned on air that I can’t draw or paint pictures, I am however a dab hand when it comes to interior/exterior decorating which was handy this week as Chris needed help painting the tool-shed he had built. We decided on a deep shade of green so that it would just blend in with the surroundings and I think we have achieved the desired effect.

Garden shedGarden arch

We had also ordered a wooden arch to create an entrance to the area where my gym has been constructed which was delivered on Tuesday, so Chris had his work cut out constructing and erecting that while I was busy at my computer. Let me explain.

The manuscript of my first novel arrived back from the copy editor on Monday and although I had intended not to work on it until Tuesday, my day off this week, I was itching to get started so sat down for a quick look on Monday evening after I got in from QVC … BIG mistake! I finally got to bed at 2am having read through about half the book and accepted or rejected changes as far as chapter 10.

It is all such a learning curve for me as I have never been on any writing courses, so the notes from my copy editor concerning POV (point of view/perspective) and show not tell, which fortunately I seem to do naturally, would have been gobbledygook had she not explained everything in her notes section. It is really labour-intensive but I want my book to be as good as it can be before approaching publishers/literary agents or self-publishing, as my friend and colleague Debs Flint did.

If I self publish, the book will be called ‘Life’s a Beach and Then…’, but a publisher may have other ideas! I have been so busy with it that I haven’t even managed to get in the gym since Sunday, so a long session is required this weekend sometime as it’s my weekend off.

It’s been a very busy week at work too with the Elemis TSV last Sunday – let me know what you think of the serum if you got it. Today I am on air at 4pm with the 2nd show of Molton Brown since its return to QVC last month. I’m hoping it will last the full hour this time although if it does sell-out early again I will simply have more time to spend with Dennis Basso and Fashion on Friday.

Sophie's Mini

On last week’s blog I mentioned Sophie has a new car. It is not brand new, but it is the first car that she has owned that she actually REALLY wanted. She traded in her silver VW Polo for a red, convertible Mini Cooper and fortunately, since buying it, we have had some decent weather so she has been able to have the roof off … unlike the day we went to see it, which was torrential rain! I’ve always loved convertible cars so it is interesting to see her following in my footsteps.

Also, on my blog a couple of weeks ago I promised to post my recipe for Dorset Apple Cake, apologies that it is a week late but here goes:


  • 1 large Bramley apple (about 8oz)
  • 8oz self-raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • half a teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4oz cold butter (I use Brittany butter with sea salt in it)
  • 4oz golden caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon


1. Preheat oven to 190C (Gas Mark 5), and lightly grease 20cm/8 inch cake tin (preferably springform base)

2. Peel and core the apple and cut into quarters. Dice 3 quarters and finely slice the other

3. Put flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a mixing bowl and rub in diced butter to form breadcrumbs

4. Add the sugar, diced apple and lemon zest then gradually stir in the beaten eggs

5. Spoon into cake tin and level the surface. Arrange the apple slices on the top of the cake.

6. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until springy to the touch. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with a couple of teaspoons of golden caster sugar. Leave to cool slightly (about 10 minutes) and then serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
Enjoy it if you make it and have a great weekend

Much love,

Julia xx


  1. Jean Pugh September 12, 2014 at 8:28 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    You have been busy what with the painting of the shed. Love the Arch and it looks like you have a nice garden. You have also been busy with your novel it sounds like it is a lot of work.

    Don’t overdue it in the Gym, still waiting for the fitness video when you have time.

    Love Sophie’s car, my husband said his first car when he started driving was a Mini Cooper, he loved it. Mind you they have altered over the years, and having a soft top is great especially with the weather as it is at the moment.

    No I did not get the Elemis TSV, have a good stock of it so thought must use that first. Did get some Molton Brown again today.

    I am going to try your Dorset Apple Cake. Did make a nice fruit cake today you add marmalade to the cake mixture and it is nice. Also made a Carrot cake, added some pineapple and walnuts, must not forget it is in the Rayburn cooking.

    Enjoy your weekend off.

    Love Jean XX

    • Julia roberts September 19, 2014 at 10:44 am -  Reply

      Hi Jean
      We have a very pretty garden thanks to the previous owner and the bits we have done since we moved in last January – not big but big enough for us and nicely private!
      My first car was a Mini (shared ownership with a dancer friend) but it was nothing like Sophie’s. She is very happy with her purchase!
      Have you made the apple cake yet? Sounds like you enjoy baking. I must set some time aside to make one myself …. the apple on the tree isn’t quite ripe enough yet though.
      Enjoy your Molton Brown – they have TSV coming up on 1st October ssshhhh!
      Julia x

  2. Julie September 12, 2014 at 9:27 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julie… You are looking so well at the moment, I hope your health problems are much improved now ?
    I wonder if you might be able to answer a query for me ? or if you would be kind enough to investigate ?
    I absolutely adore the Decleor Hand Cream , and I am pretty sure you do too? But, alas it doesn’t seem to be available anymore on QVC …!!
    Has it been discontinued or maybe there is a production problem ?
    With Winter coming I don’t know what I shall do without it … 🙁

    Kind Regards


  3. linda dunn September 13, 2014 at 9:10 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia, I know you have a pilates machine so I thought you might be able to help me.I developed psoratic arthritus 18 months ago and they have not been able to find the right mix of drugs to help me, so having had to inject methotrexate, and loads of steroid injectons the weight is going up and up I haven’t got much strength in my joints so cant walk to well I can’t swim although when we go back to spain I have a good kick about in the pool ,do you think the pilates machine would help do gentle exercise? regards Linda .

  4. Tina S. September 13, 2014 at 10:29 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    We have also been busy in the garden this week. It is only small but had become so overgrown. So my husband has cut back a lot of the shrubs so it looks a lot tidier. We also had an archway but it had become so big that we had to bend to get through it !So we,ve taken it down. The garden looks a lot bigger now that its been opened out and better especially as its up for sale. We have’nt had any viewers yet but it is still early days. Our last house took ages to sell so I’m not unduely worried. Part of me is glad because I am dreading the whole moving process again as last time was so stressful!
    Sophie’s car looks lovely and made me think of my first car that my father bought for me many years ago. It was a Morris 1100 and cost the princely sum of £50!
    It was great for a while until the 1st gear went then reverse went and I was still driving it! The passenger door used to fly open . I was giving a friend a lift home from work one day and before I could say, “don’t lean on the door”, he did and nearly fell out!! You never forget your first car, especially when you nearly lose a passenger.
    Well I hope you are enjoying your days off. My sister is in hospital so we’ll be down there this weekend.
    Take care, Tina (S.Wales)

    • Julia roberts September 19, 2014 at 10:51 am -  Reply

      Hi Tina
      I hope your sister is on the mend.
      Your tales about your first car were a little scary, particularly the passenger door flying open randomly! I remember my white MGB roadster not having a handbrake because I couldn’t afford to have it fixed. I used to leave it in gear when it was parked which was ok but hill starts at traffic lights and junctions were tricky, I had to have perfect clutch/accelerator balance … a bit dangerous really!
      Hope you get some viewings on the house soon now that you have had everything fixed.
      Speak soon
      Julia x

  5. Heather September 15, 2014 at 12:14 pm -  Reply

    Thank you for the recipe, one will be in the oven soon xx. I have a really good recipe for a carrot cake I call it my Filey carrot cake as it was given to me by a cook In a hotel in Filey many years ago I’m sure you would like it can I email it too you xxx

    • Julia Roberts September 18, 2014 at 7:31 pm -  Reply

      Hi Heather
      Hope you enjoyed the Dorset Apple Cake? Why don’t you post your Filey carrot cake recipe on here and then we can share it with others
      Julia x

  6. michelle (javea September 16, 2014 at 10:30 pm -  Reply

    Hi julia hope you and your family are all well. Derek and i are going to Phuket, we are looking forward to the rest, as Derek has build a gym/man shed at the bottom of are garden from brick it does look great but has taken up all his weekends. I am using the Elemis tsv and i hope it is working.I will be finding a way to get on the internet when on holiday i cann’t miss it ,can i ?. Love Sophies new car lovely colour hope she is enjoying the nice weather out and about in it. Have a lovely week look forward to seeing you on tv soon.Take care,love mchellexx

    • Julia roberts September 19, 2014 at 11:01 am -  Reply

      Hi Michelle
      I’ve never been to Thailand… have you been before? Apparently the beaches are gorgeous.
      How are you getting on with the Elemis serum? Mine is almost finished

    • Julia roberts September 19, 2014 at 11:09 am -  Reply

      Hi again Michelle
      Sorry m last comment seemed brief, for some reason the whole comment wasn’t published ….. teething troubles with the new system I guess!
      Anyway… I went on to say that Sophie had a choice between the red Mini Cooper and a purple/blue Mini One, I think she made the right decision.
      Well done to Derek for building your gym. Ours has seen extra use this week as Sophie has been in it twice as well as me!
      Hope this all posts
      Julia x

  7. Beth Morton September 18, 2014 at 9:04 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Well done on all your hard work with your book – I do hope you get a chance to have a rest this weekend :).
    Your garden is looking lovely and the colour you’ve chosen for the wood is perfect as it all blends in so naturally. With our garden, we had to do the opposite! It may sound strange but one trellis is a very pale blue colour – it’s against a red brick wall so I wanted it to ‘stand out’.
    I love Sophie’s car! My second car was a black mini – had it for years then sold it and immediately regretted it. Had a nearly new “boring” car (!) for a while and for the past 10 years, I’ve been driving a convertible.
    You take care,
    Beth XXX.

    • Julia roberts September 19, 2014 at 11:17 am -  Reply

      Hi Beth
      I didn’t really get much chance to rest last weekend as I was still working on the book until about 4pm Monday, but Tuesday I had a more relaxing day.
      I think it’s good to choose more noticeable colours when you want to highlight something and neutrals to disguise …. a bit like make-up in a way!
      I had a few years of driving non-convertible cars when the children were very young but since Sophie was ten (she’s now twenty-six) I’ve had soft tops so no wonder she wanted one.
      Speak soon
      Julia x

  8. Julia Roberts September 18, 2014 at 7:14 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jean
    I can’t deny that my life is very busy at the moment but all the things seem positive so I don’t mind, plus I have a week off at the beginning of October before the busy run up to Christmas so I plan to totally relax (unless I get an idea for my next book!)
    My first car that I co-owned with a dancer friend was a Mini but not in the same league as Sophie’s.
    You have been busy baking … I haven’t had time but I’m hoping to do a bake sale soon at QVC to raise money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.
    Glad you’re enjoying having Molton Brown back on QVC – you’re not alone in that.
    Julia x

  9. Julia Roberts September 18, 2014 at 7:19 pm -  Reply

    Hello Julie
    My health is pretty good thanks – still on the medication and not quite in remission but moving in the right direction.
    I have asked Fiona about the hand cream but she hasn’t come ack to me yet with an answer. We had a kit on last time I worked with her that had a 150ml tube of the hand cream but I’m sure she said the pump was discontinued at the moment. The Decleor mini series starts on Sunday so keep your eyes peeled.
    Julia x

  10. Julia Roberts September 18, 2014 at 7:26 pm -  Reply

    Hi Linda
    I’m sorry to hear that you are struggling with your condition, I hope things start to improve.
    I can’t say that exercising on your Pilates machine will help because I’m not a doctor … I would recommend asking the experts who are treating your condition – medical professionals are usually very keen for us to exercise unless there are specific contra-indications. Any exercise in water is supported so gentle on the joints.
    Hope things improve
    Julia x

  11. loraine September 25, 2014 at 8:36 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia like your daughters car my son has just traded his polo in and bought a red mazda sports car it’s 23 years old with the pop up lights in brilliant condition and low mileage for its age he’s very pleased withit .Knowing you do pilates I’m thinking I should try it my knees get very stiff been up and down stairs for the last 11 years I work in a very busy restaurant where I live in the new forest probably would help me don’t you think? . Glad your health is improving you never know what’s around the corner do you so pleased your feeling much better than you were . I am of to the costa blanca next Friday for a few days my husband and I had a holiday 5 weeks ago also to spain (fuengerola) but we have a few days holiday to use it was cheaper to go all inclusive than a b&b somewhere in this country from our local airport bournemouth so looking forward to it. Take care look forward to your next blog love Loraine x

    • Julia roberts September 26, 2014 at 10:53 am -  Reply

      Hi Loraine
      It’s great when we see our children get things they have worked hard for isn’t it. Just hoping that Sophie will love the soft top as much in the winter – they can be a bit drafty!
      My health has been a very steady improvement but still moving in the right direction.
      Check with your doctor about using the Pilates machine because it depends what is causing the stiffness. Generally GPs encourage us to exercise for mobility but it could be that you need some specific physiotherapy exercises.
      Hope you have a lovely break with some warm Spanish sunshine
      Julia x

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