Full of admiration


Until this past week I must confess I never really realised just how much hard work it is to be a full-time carer. I’m exhausted after a week of looking after my other half and some of you do this week-in week-out, year-in year-out – you have my total admiration … you are amazing! That said, ‘him indoors’ is recovering well and I’ve been trying to make him some lovely dinners to take his mind off the soreness he is experiencing. I tweeted about a risotto I made during the week and had a couple of requests for the recipe so here it is;

Butternut squash, sage and pine-nut risotto (serves four)

  • 300g of Carnaroli or Arborio rice
  • 800ml vegetable stock (boiling water with 1 stock cube)
  • One generous glass white wine
  • Half a medium butternut squash
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 50g finely grated parmesan cheese
  • One onion
  • One clove garlic
  • Bunch of fresh sage (approx. 20 leaves)
  • 50g marg
  • Olive oil

Peel and deseed the butternut squash and cut into 1cm chunks. Place in ovenproof dish with a drizzle of olive oil and half the sage leaves, finely chopped. Mix to coat the squash with oil. Place in oven at 200c for 30 mins.

Chop the onion and press the garlic. Put the marg and a tablespoon of olive oil in a wok or deep-sided pan. Over a fairly low heat, melt then gently fry the onion and garlic until translucent. Add the rice and stir until each grain is coated.

Keeping the vegetable stock at a simmer add a ladle to the rice mixture, when absorbed add the glass of wine. When that has been absorbed add another ladle of stock. Add the roasted butternut squash and stir well then continue adding stock as each ladleful is absorbed.

In a small frying pan dry fry the pine nuts over a low heat to toast them. When there is only one ladle of stock remaining, add the toasted pine nuts and the rest of the finely chopped sage to the risotto then the remaining liquid. When that is absorbed, stir in half of the parmesan cheese and cook for a further 2 to 3 mins. The whole process should take around 25 to 30 mins.

Serve with the remaining parmesan cheese sprinkled on top

I also got mildly reprimanded for forgetting to put my luscious lemon cake recipe on here a few weeks back so here goes, two for the price of one!

Luscious Lemon Cake

  • 4 oz self raising flour
  • 4oz golden caster sugar
  • 4oz margarine
  • One egg
  • Rind of one lemon

For syrup

  • 1 oz caster sugar
  • Juice of one lemon

Grease and line the bottom of a 7-inch square cake tin with greaseproof paper

Melt the margarine over a low heat with the sugar and lemon rind – cool slightly

In a medium size bowl whisk the egg then add the melted marg mixture whilst still whisking.

Add the flour, still whisking gently ( don’t beat out the air bubbles), then pour into prepared tin and place in pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 25 minutes.

Remove from oven and immediately make syrup by adding the sugar to the lemon juice and bringing to boil over a high heat in a small saucepan. Prick the entire surface of the cake with a fork and spoon syrup over.

That’s it! Simples! Leave at least a couple of hours before eating to allow syrup to really soak in.

West Bridgford Wire

As well as caring for Chris, cooking, doing all the cleaning (Chris normally helps) and all the supermarket shopping (Chris normally does that), and gardening, I have been working on my new book, the sequel to ‘Life’s a Beach and Then…’ and publicising the aforementioned LABAT… on Twitter and my Julia Roberts TV Facebook page, where you can go for all the latest news on it. I was really chuffed that West Bridgford Wire, an online magazine in my home town, did a piece about me.

I’m still getting some lovely feedback from people who have read the book – Alana, whose feet I shared with you last week gave me a 5-star review on Amazon – and if you fancy giving it a read please know that a donation from each book sold will be going to Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, so you will be helping to support a wonderful charity.

Talking of Facebook, I popped on to Debbie’s Back To You page yesterday to leave a comment about Beauty Day. I was really sad to be missing it but unfortunately circumstances dictated that I had this time off. I commented about my top five summer must-have beauty products and I was really pleased, but not surprised, that so many people share my love of Liz Earle’s Instant Boost Skin Tonic. What would your ‘summer five’ be?


At least spending more time at home has given me more time to be with the cats – that’s a mission in itself looking after three of them as Wilfie is still living with us at the moment. He still loves to have his cuddles in the morning, draping himself across the top of my shoulders and purring away. He really is handsome but I must get his claws trimmed as he is ripping my skin to shreds! He was a little scared last night though, during the massive thunder storm we had – I wonder if you had one where you are?

So I’m back at work next Thursday. My first show back is at 4pm with Lola Rose jewellery, followed by Amanda Lamb luggage at 5pm. If you are packing a suitcase for your holiday, remember to take a book to read…

Holiday book

Oh, and if you’re in the Woodley area, near Reading, tomorrow morning at 11am please do pop into Chapter One book shop where I am doing a book signing.

Have a lovely weekend – I’m hoping to pop down to Wales to see Daniel

Much love,

Julia xx


  1. Amy Wall July 17, 2015 at 7:25 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia. Interesting blog as usual. Hope the OH makes a speedy recovery. Thank you for taking the time to post your recipes, going to try the risotto tomorrow. Congratulations also on the success of your book xxx

    • Julia roberts July 23, 2015 at 11:20 am -  Reply

      Hi Amy
      How did the risotto go? I think it’s a lovely blend of flavours.
      The other half is on the mend – he drove today for the first time since his op bless him.
      Thanks for the congrats about my book. I have managed to write a few chapters of the sequel while I’ve been off and funnily enough one of the characters is called Amy!
      Julia x

  2. martin forbes July 18, 2015 at 2:55 pm -  Reply

    i enjoyed your interview on bbc radio berkshire with anne diamond good listen it was .how did you get on with her

    • Julia roberts July 23, 2015 at 11:18 am -  Reply

      Hi Martin
      I’m glad you managed to listen to the Anne Diamond interview – she was lovely. I know how much you love Christmas in July so enjoy tomorrow
      Julia x

  3. martin forbes July 18, 2015 at 2:56 pm -  Reply

    looking forward to watching some of xmsas in july friday 24th july one day this year i saw on listings qvc tv pages

  4. gillian July 18, 2015 at 4:51 pm -  Reply

    My husband has been my carer for the last 4 weeks due to breaking both wrists the day before we were due to go on holidays he has now realised how much work I do around the home you don’t realise how much you need your hands till you cant use either of them however he still thinks he is washing the car whilst bathing me but cant complain keep up the god work Julia x

    • Julia Roberts July 23, 2015 at 12:33 pm -  Reply

      Hello Gillian
      Oh no! That’s awful! I hope you are on the mend now and will be able to go on holiday later in the year?
      You did make me laugh with your description of being bathed though!
      Julia x

  5. Magda Chetty July 18, 2015 at 6:04 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Hope Chris is getting better, here I am also looking after my other half, he ate something not good outside and ended up in Hospital on drips, thank God he is better now.
    Love the book I am near the end now, what an amazing writer you are, as soon as I finish it will write a review on Amazon. I can not wait for your next one.

    • Julia Roberts July 23, 2015 at 12:36 pm -  Reply

      Hi Magda
      I hope your other half is feeling better now? – funny we were both acting nurse at the same time!
      Thanks so much for the fab review of my book on Amazon – I am so pleased you enjoyed it.
      I have managed to get a few chapters written in between my ‘duties’
      Julia x

  6. Jacqueline July 19, 2015 at 5:53 pm -  Reply

    Ever thought about writing a cookbook?

    • Julia Roberts July 23, 2015 at 12:31 pm -  Reply

      Hi Jacqueline
      Indeed I have. I’m working on an idea at the moment, just need 30 hours in the day!
      Julia x

  7. patricia foster July 20, 2015 at 11:55 am -  Reply

    I’m a great fan of QVC but hadn’t googled Presenters before. Very interesting reading about you Julia. I take it you were born in Nottingham as was my late father Ralph Savidge. I was one of his three daughters, and he always used to say ‘all the prettiest girls come from Nottingham!! He was so proud of us. And you are very pretty Julia , lovely photo’s of you when you were younger too.
    My Father’s brother lived in West Bridgeford, and his Dad owned ‘The Bulwell Soap Company’ in Bulwell. My Father was actually born in Sherwood.
    I’m going to buy your book, it looks very interesting. You might also like to read mine Julia, ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow, my story by Patricia Foster. It is a biography of me. I am a Spiritual Healer. It can be bought on Amazon.
    I hope your Partner is now better, and I will put you on my Absent Healing List.
    Good luck, keep well, and keep writing!!

    • Julia Roberts July 23, 2015 at 1:00 pm -  Reply

      Hello Patricia
      Thanks so much for your post – particularly the bit about the prettiest girls coming from Nottingham! Don’t know about that but it made me smile.
      My mum & brother still live in the Nottingham area.
      Thank you for adding me to your Absent Healing list – I truly believe positive vibes play a part in the healing process.
      I will have a look for your book on Amazon. I hope you will also keep writing?
      Do write again on here
      Julia x

  8. Tina S July 20, 2015 at 3:29 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    I bet you’ll be glad to go back to work for a rest! I hate it when my hubby is ill even though I was a nurse for over 25 years it’s different when it is one of you family.
    We have still been having problems with our house. I am waiting for the Roofer to do my roof . We have had problems for over a year. We had someone to look at it a while back but obviously he has not rectified the problem. The roofer was supposed to have come today but of course it rained, so hopefully he’ll come tomorrow. Trying to get someone is a miracle in itself.
    Hope Chris is on the mend and good luck with the writing.
    Regards, Tina S.

    • Julia Roberts July 21, 2015 at 10:06 am -  Reply

      Hi Tina,
      I’m having real trouble replying to your post this week! My first attempt was in Aveda on Friday but I got chatting to Jill Franks and was timed out. I just wrote you a reply a few minutes ago but it wouldn’t let me post it, so I am hoping it is third time lucky!
      The ‘patient’ is doing much better now thanks so doesn’t require an extra nurse but thanks for your offer 🙂
      I’m hoping I may be able to organise a book event of some description in Wales, probably Swansea and probably October so maybe you would be able to come to that?
      Not going to write more in case it won’t post again but speak soon
      Julia x

    • Julia Roberts July 23, 2015 at 1:03 pm -  Reply

      Hi Tina
      So you get two replies this week as the other reply was meant to be on last week’s post – so many gremlins playing games!
      Chris is much better now and in truth hasn’t been a bad patient – main problem has been the snoring because he has had to sleep on his back!
      I hope your roof gets fixed soon
      Julia x

  9. Jean Pugh July 20, 2015 at 5:24 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Hope Chris is on the mend, nothing serious I hope.

    I hope to get your book when it is on QVC. Lots of people seem to have been enjoying reading it.

    Oh lovely photo of the cats. Very relaxed, what a life.

    I am going to make your Lemon Cake, sounds delicious.

    Had to have my Border Collie put to sleep today, this is the third dog of mine within six months that had cancer. So sad as there is not much you can do for them. I will miss him like the others terribly.

    Hope you are keeping well.

    Take Care.

    Love Jean XX

    • Julia Roberts July 23, 2015 at 1:07 pm -  Reply

      Hi Jean
      I’m so sorry to hear you had to have one of your dogs put down – devastating to lose a pet isn’t it. Cancer really is a dreadful disease and clearly not just in humans.
      Chris is on the mend – he had to have a small operation but it went well.
      Did you make the lemon cake? What did you think?
      I think the book is coming to QVC on 10th August – will keep you posted
      Julia x

  10. Joanna Downey July 20, 2015 at 6:42 pm -  Reply

    Hello julia, I too have total admiration for carers who have to do so many different roles and deal with wide variety of issues. I work in a school and we have a small number of children who are the main carers in their families – all that and school commitments. I hope your Chris is getting better and I’m sure he appreciated all your care. Colin and I are awful patients and totally useless nurses, in fact we just ignore each other when we’re ill and he says it’s because I didn’t say “in sickness” when I said my wedding vows..! As usual you’ve been busy with lots of other things and spending time with cats comes high on my happiness list; I’ve just started the Summer holidays and Sox has loved all the attention bestowed on him, we’ll see if he’s as happy after six weeks. It will be nice to see you back on the Q and I can’t believe we’ve reached Christmas in July again but today has been so dark it did a good impersonation of late Autumn. I’m off to start your risotto recipe for supper – it sounds like sunshine in a bowl. Love from Jo x

    • Julia Roberts July 24, 2015 at 4:51 pm -  Reply

      Hi Jo
      How was the risotto?
      Chris is much better now – still occasionally uncomfortable but he drove for the first time in a fortnight yesterday, and he made me dinner when I got in from work.
      As a patient, I agree with you. Wasn’t it Marlene Dietrich who said ‘I want to be alone’? That’s me – don’t like constantly being asked ‘how are you?’
      The weather is truly dreadful today – lots of people staying indoors watching Christmas in July.
      Wilfie & Milo say hi to Sox
      Speak soon
      Julia x

  11. Cathy Davies September 17, 2015 at 11:41 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia, I’m enjoying Sept fashion shows but where’s Joy? I was sure she’d be on with the A Team (Tanya,Sally and Sharon). PS the risotto recipe was fab and I’m not vegetarian. A recipe book is def a good idea.

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