I’m being a little cryptic with the title of my blog today, as later on you will have the chance to win not only one of the QVC teddy bears I mentioned on last week’s blog, but also a gorgeous Merchant of Venice fragrance with it, each worth at least £63 on our website. However, the heavenly scent I am referring to is Sweet Peas, my dad’s favourite flowers, which were in abundance at Debbie Flint’s writer’s retreat, where I spent the early part of this week.
Debs has been there almost two years now and she has been asking me to go for a visit throughout that time and I really wanted to see her new home – now I finally have. Set in the heart of the village of Sheepwash, it is a 16th century thatched cottage which has in previous lives been a pub and the village shop. She has done an amazing amount of work on it already, but there is still some to do. I think she is incredible taking on this project on her own.
As we didn’t arrive until midnight on Sunday, my first inkling that she may have a flower-filled garden was the vase of sweet peas and lavender on the window sill of my bedroom – very welcoming – but the next morning I was amazed by the amount and variety of flowers she has growing in containers around her courtyard garden. She is also growing a variety of vegetables including runner beans which, as you can see from this picture, are doing rather well! There is a lawned area too, so she has plenty of outdoor space for her two labradors, Gracie and Daisy.
Of course I wanted to see Deb’s home and spend some time with her as we have known each other since 1990 – that’s twenty-eight years – but I also needed to get on with some writing. Over the course of the three days, I wrote 10,000 words of my latest novel, which starts with a five-year-old girl going missing from her home overnight, so I am now not far off finishing it, the writing that is – the process of editing starts after that.
I was also trying to encourage Debbie to write, but she has such a busy life down there, including a yoga class that she dragged me along to. I’ve never done a yoga class before, although I do know some of the movements, and I really enjoyed it. I got my own back the following evening, by making her watch the Colombia v England game in the World Cup. Well, I say she watched it; she was actually making two flat-packed chairs throughout the 90 minutes and extra time. When it came to the penalties she couldn’t stand the tension and went outside to water the garden, which I had done for her the previous night. How nerve-wracking was that penalty shoot out? It’s a wonder I’ve got any fingernails left, but I was mindful that we have Jewellery Day coming up tomorrow.
I can’t tell you how unspeakably proud I am to call Gareth Southgate a friend. He could possibly be the most popular man in this country right now after the picture of him consoling one of the Colombian players who missed a penalty made it on to social media. Could we really win the whole tournament? I don’t see why not – the team have the talent and the management seem to have them thinking like winners!
After another few hours at my writing desk, I had a break for lunch and went through to meet some of the customers in Debbie’s tea room. It was mostly people from the village, but I must admit to being relieved that I had put some blusher and mascara on, Bad Gal Bang of course, when these two lovely QVC viewers, Sheila and Bernadette, came in. Apparently, Sheila has been watching from near the beginning of QVC and I was the first presenter she saw – we had a lovely chat about the old days… 2005/06 is coming up later in this blog, but first I wanted to share a little bit about rubies, the birthstone for July.
You probably already know that as well as being this month’s birthstone, it is also the stone for the 40th wedding anniversary. How appropriate, as it is meant to be a symbol of love and passion. It is part of the corundum family – all other colours of corundum are sapphires, either in the traditional blue or all the other shades which are referred to as ‘fancy’. It takes its name from the Latin word for red, Rubens. I will be wearing a few ruby pieces on air during July, but I’ve picked out a couple that I particularly like. The first is a classic three stone look with a central ruby weighing 2 carats, flanked by 2 diamonds each weighing 10 points (a tenth of a carat).
It would make a lovely engagement ring if you’re not a fan of all white stones (and no, still no actual wedding plans made!) The second piece I selected is this beautiful heart pendant, featuring ruby, rhodolite garnet and framed with white topaz. There are many more styles on our website and I’m sure there will be some on-air on Jewellery Day tomorrow, when the TSV is the Lola Rose Joelle bracelet, which I hope to be showing you during my 11am show.
So, as mentioned above, it’s time to look back to 2005/06. In the November of 2005, we did an outside broadcast from a fabulous old manor house not far from High Wycombe. It had been dressed with a huge Christmas tree next to the sweeping staircase leading down to the room we were filming in, where we were set up in front of an inglenook fireplace, not dissimilar to the one debs Flint has in Devon. I’m not sure if they were intending to light the fire, but by the time we got to the evening two-hour Butler & Wilson show they had to because it was absolutely freezing! We had goosebumps on our goosebumps!! Even with the fire lit, it was a relief when the show sold out early so we could put our winter woollies back on!
The following June, it was my 50th birthday and not only did we have a huge party at my house to celebrate, attended by almost all of my QVC presenter colleagues, we also had a 50th birthday show on air the previous evening. I was allowed to choose lots of my favourite products like Pilates, Butler & Wilson and of course, loads of beauty goodies. I think that was the show where Alison Young asked my son, who had demonstrated the Pilates machine on air, for secrets about me and he told her about the time I had stopped behind a parked row of taxis on the way back from a Palace match, thinking it was stationary traffic.
Funnily enough, England’s World Cup campaign that year kicked off against Paraguay on my birthday and we won. I think I’m right in saying that was the last time we progressed beyond the group stages. I’m excited and nervous in equal measure for tomorrow’s quarter final against Sweden. In August, we held a Gold Day Preview event at Harrods. I used to love these events, as it gave us the opportunity to meet you guys, our customers.
I hosted that two-day event with Charlie, but I had changed partner for the Gem Event the following month, also held at Harrods. I’m sure you all recognise the very debonair Glen Campbell. He has been a fabulous guest presenter for fashion over the years and I absolutely love doing shows with him.
In the picture you can see the goody bags we used to hand out, which leads me nicely into the competition. I mentioned last week that I have doubles of some of the QVC year bears who are looking for new homes. Well, I’ve paired them up with different fragrances from the Merchant of Venice range and all you need to do is choose which bear or fragrance you would prefer and then simply name the bear in a comment, saying whether you are naming A, B or C bear, on this blog. There will be three winners and it will simply be which names we like best. We’ll keep this open for the next two weeks, so you have to enter before midnight on the 19th July. Here are your options:
Bear A comes with Flower Fusion:
Bear B comes with Gran Teatro La Fenice:
Bear C comes with Rosa Moceniga:
I wonder if you will choose which one to name by the fragrance or the cute bear? Good luck.
So, just before I finish, a little prompt that we have an Elemis TSV this Sunday and it is already available to pre-order here.
I’ll see you with Keeley at 11am and 1pm, hopefully in a fabulous mood after the footie on Saturday.