Family Christmas do and hosting my first Devon stay


Well I’ve decided I love being a nomad! My new life, which is split into two halves now, consists of staying with family when I’m working at QVC over the weekends, and the rest of the week down at my new house in Devon, and helping out nearby at writing retreats in Sheepwash!

See below for my first week and some surprising discoveries!

It was family get-together time again this weekend! Every year my children and their 14 cousins and two little second cousins, plus parents get together and have a Christmas catch-up! This year there was another little addition, my great niece violet, but it was the usual mayhem, secret santas, board games, and this year even a game of dodgeball! You can see the massive group of us.

I loved the fact that I got a little Yankee Candle votive house for my secret Santa and had lots of fun seeing the family. Here are some of them are memorable moments…

Debbie down in Devon – My first retreat hosting!


I actually had the most satisfying time this week helping out at Retreats For You, in North Devon. See previous blogs or my web page for full info of my new home town. We had a lovely group staying (Amanda, Amber, Clare, and Becky), who came to finish their novels, get some me-time and we all benefited from Deborah’s fabulous home cooking. I  got involved in looking after everyone as well, obviously clearing away et cetera, and also doing things like going round to put water bottles into everyone’s beds and topping up their in-room tea, coffee et cetera. I also helped with breakfasts, although I was not really awake! Good job Wendy was there to help 🙂 I did set the room ready for the next morning though, each night.

However I made some interesting discoveries… Apparently there is a ghost. They call her the shower girl, because every so often, the tap in the downstairs bathroom sink turns full on, like really full on, gushing so strongly that no one would accidentally leave it like that. Spooky! It happens from time to time and freaks people out especially Deborah’s daughter Flo. I, however, like ghosts. But I’m not sure Shower Girl thinks the same about me. Shortly after we joked about it, I caught my finger on something sharp when I was filling the washing machine, yet nothing sharp could be found on the rim at all! I hope you don’t see it on my third finger on-screen this weekend 🙂 – will have to try to cover it up with concealer! Had some super roaring fires, sorted out some new deliveries and helped to make beds. With the new bathroom being fitted next week when I’m back, I’m really looking forward to when my family come down after Christmas.


The dogs are fine when I’m not there, and they are right at home around our visitors. This week they’ve been given lots of fuss and attention, everyone loved them and said how well-behaved they are, which made me very happy. The walks were every bit as amazing as the last time too, especially since it was very mild for this week. More pics of pogs here.

I also went to Holsworthy on market day, and picked up some more charity shop tea sets for my vintage tea rooms, when it begins next summer I hope! Will keep you informed. Next week I’m very excited, about geeky stuff I know, that it’s because I will be having a new bathroom fitted by Fit Mark the handyman! And of course, Ladies Night to welcome me into the village! If you live nearby, email Retreats for You on in case you can come along (Wed 14th 630-830)



Fancy a Trip to Ruckley Estate? Julie and I had a smashing show last week and I promised I’d mention how to actually get to go to see the beautiful grounds. Well Julie said you need to arrange it in the Spring and the best thing to do is actually to arrange a tour of the workshop with the lovely Nicola on (01952) 460427 and she can also arrange to have even have lunch there – you can go around the beautiful gardens but try to come in spring to summer time for that is when the garden looking better. That’s what Julie emailed for me to tell you! Who wants to come on a visit when I go? Leave me a comment below, and I’ll see what they say – we can but ask! Meanwhile here’s some of the amazing faux flower range on QVC.


Under Tens Afternoon Went back to the old hall next to my old house on Saturday, for a little get together for the smallest cousins, and they all had a lovely time – including my niece who decided to face paint me!

Trying in the Chapel Yes another weekend another session trying on wedding dresses – well Lauren was – this time in Ripley in a lovely converted chapel – the lady Emma was really funny and to the point as well, really knew her stuff – highly recommended if you live nearby. Lauren really enjoyed trying on the dresses and looked amazing as ever. No pics of her in dresses allowed tho!


Doing Guest Auditions at QVC I don’t often get to do these days, but Miceal was ill, get well soon, poor guy, so I stood in and met some cool new guests. One was the new guest for Beauty Blenders, one had a terrific new cat flap that only opens for the specific cat with the correct microchip that matches, and one had these clever dog mats – look out for the pet shows in January. Also look out for the return of lovely Bruce from Bodyblade – mid January ish.


Newsletter including more from Retreats For You in Devon… and a walk around the Devon countryside with my Facebook page ‘vlog’ (or click here and ‘like’ the page to keep track of new ones – nb Gatineau launch is Friday next week at midnight,) and the story behind the fish! Just click here to read the latest newsletter and don’t forget to subscribe to keep up with the latest news.


Book of the Week – Christmas at Comfort Food Café by Debbie Johnson. Do you like festive feel good reading fodder at this time of year? If so go read about my newest book of the week over on my Read it Write it Sell it blog – on my website book blog. Also find out about my next book due out in bookshops in January – theoretically! Go here to read about them both, plus a bit about Jilly Cooper’s new one and tons of info if you want to write yourself. Don’t forget there’s a Devon writers retreat where you can go be looked after for a week and just write – Retreats For You info is here. Plus there’s a list of Christmassy books on a special sale from publisher Choc-Lit here.


The Good Grief Trust is forging ahead with its launch plans – had the photo and video shoot last week with lovely Linda Magistris, for the launch site, including meeting up with Shirley from Pepsi and Shirley, aka Mrs Kemp. She was very nice too. More about Linda’s latest news here.


Go see Leeds Castle Xmas fayre and meet MDD dogs how Christmassy does my little sponsor dog, Derek, look here? Bless him! I guess he’s about 18 months old now? If you go along to the extravaganza for yuletide at Leeds Castle you can meet some Medical Detection Dogs – they are truly amazing, do go if you can. And watch the impressive video of the festive event here. Next week – guess which famous QVC face has joined the support team?


Like Tipping Point? Go here to find out more about appearing on this popular TV show yourself! I’d go just because of Ben Shepherd! Lol.

Facebook Funny So for a dare I went to work with the under tens face paint on – and this was the reaction I got – love their faces!


Blooper – Something a bit different this week!

Watch – Moana – the new Disney movie is out – seems like another good one – and this caught my eye – the true story of the Tiare flower – one that Elemis seems to feature quite a lot I think?

This week on QVC –

Some amazing deals ahead – here is today’s Lulu Guinness glamorous Paula handbag Today’s Special Value – click here to buy it now.


Saturday join me for household helpers with Dyson at 10 PM including this Dyson handheld vac offer at a brilliant price and includes accessories.


Bareminerals 7 piece divine decadence collection is Sunday ‘s offer! Click here to get it now! 


Gifts at under £50 with Debbie continues on Monday at 8 o’clock and  Yankee Candle’s Today’s Special Value 28 piece favourites collection


And looking ahead to next week there is a seven piece Nails Inc #TSV, a super Tuesday deal of two cosy home duvet sets . Then early bird links will appear on my Early Bird blog on my website, QVC tab, a couple of days before Thursday’s Benefit 4 pc collection and Friday’s links of London large maze pendant.


Sneaky Peek – Gatineau 5pc perfecting skincare set Well, join me Friday night next week (16th) at midnight for the launch of four hero products and a brand new launch from this top French skincare brand. Their new Perfecting face cream is multifunctional and crosses into cosmetics, as well as being a very effective anti-ageing moisturiser it also gives an immediate smoothness, almost an invisible veil over the skin acting like a protective layer and a smoothing primer which reduces the appearance of pores and leaves the skin so smooth you can apply foundation straight away. One lady told me she  is using a liquid foundation and normally uses 3 pumps for her face but since using gommage twice a week and PU cream every day she only needs 2 pumps. Uneven skin texture is helped too – comforting and supporting which is needed at this time of year when our skin tends to be dryer and more fragile, older skins may find this all year round. More about it and the Early Bird link in next week’s blog.

Next week, Grand-pog sitting at my daughters they are away for the weekend and I will be looking after and Luna, and Baloo for three days… 🙂 yes I definitely I do like being a nomad…

Have a great week!

Best wishes



Till the Fat Lady Slims 2017 version – ‘how I broke free from Food Prison forever’ Well a January date has been set and the new book is on its way to the printers, ready for the New Year New You bookshop frenzy (lol) and Choc Lit are aiming to get it in WHSmith Travel as they did last year with my first novel Take a Chance on Me. It will contain a revamped version of book 2.0 (the one that I did for QVC in hardback a year ago) plus much more extra material about my story, so far unseen. And a big ‘how-to’ section of course. Big cover reveal next week – Watch this space!


KEEP IN TOUCH – come join Facebook groups and Twitter, links here; follow my official QVC Facebook page here and subscribe to my weekly newsletter here.

MY NOVELS, SHORT STORIES AND WEIGHT LOSS BOOKS – just go to my website for all the info on my writer page – it’s here.

My paperbacks – all online –



  1. Lynne Booth December 9, 2016 at 3:19 pm -  Reply

    Think you may need a new proof reader Debbie, unless you really do give out secret centres and have new product to launch on Monday ;o) x

  2. Judith Brown December 9, 2016 at 9:32 pm -  Reply

    Really enjoy reading your blogs, especially now you have moved down to Devon, its a part of the country my husband, Peter and I know quite well, in fact, last week we were staying in Shebbear for our third time and we were in Holsworthy on Wednesday to look at the market as well (small world.)

  3. Janet December 10, 2016 at 1:44 pm -  Reply

    I would be interested in a trip to see the Peony gardens as above.

  4. Anita December 10, 2016 at 11:12 pm -  Reply

    Would love to join you on your trip to Ruckley estate if I’m not working!

  5. pamela Richards December 13, 2016 at 3:25 am -  Reply

    How do you do it all ! I just love your blogs SO happy for you and Devon move, wonderful things come to those who wait. But please have a little me time , ha-ha xxx

  6. Lesleyanne Cade December 13, 2016 at 6:18 pm -  Reply

    Hi Debs I am so happy for you and your life changes, I wish u had the courage to up sticks and move to Devon, I adore it there and have always felt a calling as my Grandad was born in Cornwall and my Mum spent many years in Devon as we did as kids x

  7. debs f December 16, 2016 at 12:26 am -  Reply

    LesleyAnne – bless you – not sure why, but I ‘ve felt the same ever since I started going there regularly to see my pal Alix! thanks for your comment hon x

    Pamela – yes I needed the me-time and achieved it well, this week! Lots of sitting in front of the roaring log fire – bliss!

    Anita – oo good! Just email me hon! x

    Janet – great! you can come when Anita and I go! Just email me please, with your contact info so I can put you on file for nearer the time! x

    Judith – great! When I set up the vintage tea rooms next summer you will have to come by! x

  8. Dawn Shearing December 19, 2016 at 5:39 am -  Reply

    Hi Debbie, i would love to come to Ruckley Estate, it would be lovely to see all the beautiful flowers being made, and to see the gardens on the Estate. Lol Dawn x

  9. Pauline kirkbright February 11, 2017 at 3:47 pm -  Reply

    Hi Debbie we spend several weeks in Devon every year, would love to visit your tea rooms. Let us know where and when. Good luck with everything x

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