I had the weirdest dream last night that involved me being locked in the Great British Bake Off tent when I was due on air for a Skechers show, and stressed to the gills because my son Jack was due his next feed!! The fact that it’s my son Jack’s 25th birthday today is the only relevance I can attach to the dream, but let’s just say I was glad when I woke up! I hope you’ve managed a better night’s sleep, and I’m glad to see from your recent comments that you’ve seen off the worst of the coughs and colds. Thanks as always for keeping in touch
Bitterly cold again here this morning, but after a clearish night when I took this photograph of the moon, we’ve got one of those bright blue sunny skies. In fact it’s identical to the day I went with my sister Jenny and her class from school to visit Highclere Castle for the Egyptian Exhibition they have set up in their cellars. I’d stayed overnight with Jenny as she lives and teaches in Hampshire, and we needed to pick the school bus up at 8.30am! She’s got a special licence to drive these 20 seaters, and I take my hat off to her for having the gumption to take the wheel!
I had trouble working out how to open the side doors, and the thought of reversing in a tiny car park with a van full of 10 year olds filled me with dread. But she’s a pro, and led our convoy of four vehicles all the way to Highclere. I did my bit though as keeper of the sick bucket, and even managed to Google 10 Unknown Facts about Tutankhamun, which I duly got the children to try and answer. Jenny’s teaching abilities shone through as they got more than just a few correct, and it taught me a thing of two about the young king – just nine years old when he took to the throne as Pharaoh.
As we rounded the corner of the driveway and saw the Castle for the first time, I could hear the Downton TV theme playing in my head. If anything the building is even more impressive in real life than through the clever eye of the camera. We were given a tour of the gardens before seeing the Egyptian exhibits and I managed to take these photos – it’s beautiful isn’t it?
The children were divided into groups of four and while one lot looked around the Exhibition itself, we were taken to an activity room where the children dressed up as Egyptians, wrote their names in hieroglyphics, and used rubber stamps to recreate some of the fabulous symbols of the time. Then it was our turn, and we filed into the cleverly constructed rooms that were filled with artifacts gathered by the 5th Earl of Carnarvon during his 16 years searching for Tutankhamun’s tomb. The actual tomb, body and mask remain in Egypt, but the replicas at Highclere were fantastic! Our guide explained the history behind the young king, and showed us some incredible jewellery collections made from silver, bronze and of course gold. There were more practical pieces like pots and cookware, but all in very good condition considering their age. Incredible to think they were made all those years ago. The children loved the description of how bodies were embalmed, particularly the bit about hooking the brains out through the nose! My favourite part of the exhibition though was when we were all given a tiny candle (faux of course!) and then guided into a very dark area which had a brick wall at the back of it. In the wall were openings like letter boxes, simulating the small hole made by the explorers to enable them to see into the tomb. As I peered through the man-made gap and my eyes became accustomed to the dark, I saw an unbelievable collection of treasures! Gold chairs, a huge golden lionesses and a cheetah, jewellery, statues and other practical things to help the King in the afterlife. It was honestly breathtaking. Howard Carter was the first to witness all this in 1922, and when Lord Carnarvon, who was right behind him asked him if he could see anything, he replied “Yes, wonderful things.” Sadly I couldn’t take any photos from inside the exhibition, but I would highly recommend it for a fabulous day out.
As you’ve probably gathered I’ve taken a few weeks off just to catch up on things at home and to see the family. We always seem to be stretched for time, and this had made it easier. I’ve already seen Lucy and Honey, and we’ve got a few days together at the end of next week too. On Saturday Colin’s son Richard is coming to stay with his girlfriend Jordanna (who’s a huge QVC fan ) and we’re going out for dinner. Today is Jack’s birthday and so I’m meeting him and hopefully Sam for lunch after I’ve seen the physio. Hard to believe Jack’s 25 today. My youngest child, and my biggest baby weighing in at 10lbs two and half ounces! Not sure what that is in grams, but I can tell you he was a whopper! I’m very proud of my boy, as he’s managed to keep his head above water during what’s been a really difficult year, but I feel that now the tide is turning for him. It’s so much easier when they’re little and you can just kiss and make it better…
Being at home has meant I’ve had more time to do all those long overdue jobs like clearing the fridge, sorting out my kitchen cupboards, and catching up on the ironing! I don’t think I’d manage it if I didn’t have the Morphy Richards steam iron. My shoulder still isn’t quite right since surgery.
I’ve also had time though to cook, and I made this fab Sicilian squash and chickpea stew the other night. It’s a Jamie Oliver recipe, and is delicious. Really easy too in just one pan – thank heavens for my Cook’s Essentials! I’ve also made banana bread for Jack. His request for a birthday cake this year I went to see mum on Monday which was lovely, and she’d made her own leek and potato soup for lunch, and then Bolognese for supper. I think I may be several pounds heavier when I return to work
I’ve got my six month check up with my oncologist too, which I’m hoping may become just once a year as it’s seven years today since my first mastectomy. Hard to believe so much time has passed, but there’s not a single day goes by when I don’t thank my lucky stars for still being here…
I love getting outdoors as you know, and I’ve squeezed in a few walks although it’s been a bit muddy underfoot, and most days I’ve managed my 10,000 steps on my Fitbit! I took this picture on an otherwise grey day when the sun unexpectedly shone through. Of course I have a much longer journey to take to the other side of the world for my niece’s wedding in April, and Colin and I have almost worked out our itinerary. Watch this space….
Even though I’m not at QVC you can write to me here on the blog, and I’m constantly on Twitter @alikqvc, so if you follow me you’ll be able to stay ahead of the game with our special events and Today’s Special Value’s. Talking of which, the Diamonique Design of the Month I featured in my last blog is now available and absolutely stunning. If you truly appreciate beautiful jewellery, you won’t want to miss this.
I’m back on Sunday the 11th February at 9pm with some Home Solutions but will start the new week at midnight when our TSV is from the fashion label Grace – a batwing chiffon overlay tunic top. The item number will be 193621 and it will be a really great price too!
I’ll look forward to seeing you then, but in the meantime, stay warm, stay well, and stay in touch
Love Ali xx