Hi! Hope Christmas was good for you? I had a good one, and am looking forward to my first New Year down in Devon, as I celebrate a year since I relocated my home and Labradors! As usual, I’m doing my annual look back at 2017 during this blog, so it’s in three parts:
First: News; Second: Review of the Year; and lastly: Upcoming offers next week. Enjoy!
Do leave me a comment to say what your favourite part of the last 12 months was too, and most importantly – Happy New Year!
Part One – Xmas and Recap
To kick off with, a few Xmas pics from my lovely family Christmas 2017. Look at this pic of my son in his new black Xmas polo neck and see who he looks like. Do you agree?
Hope you had a nice time too! Well, the year is nearly over and it’s time to look back at some of my highlights!
Part Two – Review of the Year
Well, what a year it’s been. First, being based in a new part of the world and getting to know the area. And then so many more firsts! I milked a cow and set up a new business down in Sheepwash (welcoming dozens of writers as guests and commuting half the week to Devon).
The new house, called ‘Retreats for You’, is a 1600s grade 2 listed thatched house in a sleepy little village, and naturally needed loads of work done to it – so I got that done too! From basic stuff to one-off upgrading, gradually a total revamp was undertaken over the course of the last 12 months. Yay.
Then I ‘performed’, against my better judgement (given how nervous I get!) but on the back of the super event I took part in last year (see the 2016 Review!). I produced a concert down in Devon and raised funds for my charity Medical Detection Dogs. It took it out of me, but was great fun to be singing alongside the same jazz band.
And if that wasn’t enough, I then sang at another event in December for the Good Grief Trust, which Ali Keenan came along to and joined in! I’m not sure I’d want to do more next year though – I do get nervous!
I had three holidays for my writing this year and two holidays for family weddings abroad, in Cyprus and in France. In Cyprus, I actually got in the sea for the first time in years and had a super massage on the beach with sis. My sis was very ill from sepsis late summer, so we were very grateful this year for her recovery.
And the weather stayed wonderfully warm for the French wedding of my niece too – we all dressed up in our wedding best and had a fab time at the Chateau. It was like the old days of our family Flint big adventures! And one of the top highlights of the year.
It was also the year I twisted my knee and was out of action exercise-wise for months from about June I had my carpel tunnel op and was off work sick for the first time ever with the ‘queen’s cough’ in January.
I had a disastrous flirtation with a hunky handyman who worked at my house who made out like he was desperately unhappy and seemed just my type, but slated his girlfriend of eight years (no kids, house or marriage) to me for months, and embroiled me in his break-up story, ’till I eventually got wise and it crashed and burned. Phew, lucky escape – good job I refused to get involved with him as he wasn’t single and nothing serious came of it. But I am sure there’ll be a nice man in my future – at some point! But I will not be listening to sob stories again! Lol.
Plus, most important of all, my daughter and her ideal partner got married, and my son announced he and his wife were expecting their first baby, my first grandchild. What a year!
Now here are some of my best’s …
Top TiFFT (Try it For the First Time Club event) – milking a cow!
It was a first, to be sure – milking a cow! My Sheepwash pal Wendy has a partner called Graham who has a dairy farm. He invited me to try my hand at something not many 21st century women get to do nowadays – actually milk an actual cow.
First, by placing the milking devices on the teats, and then, doing this…
[Having trouble viewing this video? See YouTube’s Help page]
It was weird, but a true induction to living in the countryside for sure!
Top Film – La La Land
It had to be La La Land, didn’t it? What an amazing film that was – I saw it four times, loved the soundtrack, and would happily see it again. It was a bit marmite, but if you love vintage Hollywood and haven’t yet seen it, do give it a go! Ryan Gosling is outstanding and Emma Stone as ever, stunningly captivating. Loved it – funny, romantic, dramatic, surprising, innovative and enchanting, plus instantly hummable music – 9.5/10.
Top TV – Outlander
I love this series from Amazon Prime featuring the characters from Diana Gabaldon’s famous series of books. Season three hit our screens this year, and I’ve enjoyed watching it with the Amazon Echo Show. Sam Heughan is to die for, in his various outfits, and the premise of a time-travelling female doctor from the 1960s in a man’s world based in 1770s is intriguing. 9/10. Also worth watching – Doctor Foster season 2 on BBC, and The Marvellous Mrs Maisel on Amazon Prime.
Book of the Year
Well this is an easy one for me – the best, most page-turning book all year was the sinister thriller ‘Behind Her Eyes’ with a lucid dreaming theme, and the most amazing twist at the end. I can’t say more, except do get it and read it if you can – it’s brilliant.
Also – another book I really hope it made into a movie, it lends itself so well, is Rowan Coleman’s ‘The Summer of Impossible Things’ – set in 1976 in Brooklyn suburbs where Saturday Night Fever is being made, it gives one woman the chance to go back and change her whole life, and her mother’s. Amazing topic, fabulous plot and greast characterisations. Loved the narration too.
And – ‘Together’ by award winning author and fab mentor, Julie Cohen – another great plot, vivid characters and a super twist – a story told from the end to the beginning… Worth a read and narrated by a Game of Thrones actress!
Best QVC Funny
Mally, what can I say? You just have to watch this, it makes me smile every single time!
— QVC UK (@qvcuk) November 30, 2017
Best QVC Purchase
Facebook Funny of the Year
Doing the rounds right now, it’s a send-up by Saturday Night Live about the Echo and is spot on when it comes to certain older generations I’ve experienced who can’t quite get how to address Alexa – v funny. Search for it on YouTube, you won’t regret it.
Top Xmas Board Game
It’s a new one called Five Second Rule and if you like Articulate you’ll probably love this one! You have three things to say within a five second timer, like ‘name three supermodels’, ‘name three things that are pink’ or ‘name three things never to give as gifts’ – some fact, some more nebulous! Highly recommended – get it if you can!
Part Three – This Week on QVC
This weekend, first up there is the fabulous Centigrade Today’s Special Value today (Friday 29th).
Monday – Cozee Home mattress and pillow protector set – adds a warm, comfy extra layer for chilly nights!
Tuesday – Lock & Lock 22-piece set – I will so be buying that! No matter how many loose dry ingredients we squirrel away when making dishes for our guests down in Devon, Wendy and I never seem to have enough of these clever storage containers.
Wednesday – The Speakmans come to QVC! Check out the QGossip blog all about this dynamic duo who help to transform people’s lives. If you think yours needs transforming watch on the Wednesday 3rd including at 10pm with me as they launch ‘the Key’ DVD set for around £20.
And on Sunday 7th it’s the famous garden event day, which will herald the fact a whole new year is beginning! Have a fabulous New Year yourself, and looking forward to spending time down in Devon for it this year, for a change!
Best wishes and thanks for all your support over the last 12 months. A special message for anyone feeling alone this yuletide too – you are in my thoughts. As I said in my own website newsletter (apologies if you’re already subscribed to that as you’ll have heard me say this already), it’s tough to be alone, so do see what’s available to comfort you online – social media can be a godsend in such circumstances.
I’m also pleased that so many people who can’t generally get out much are enjoying my ‘vlogs’, which I started doing regularly in 2017 on my Facebook page – many more to come in 2018! Finally, watch out next week for what happened over New Year and the unbelievably amazingly comfortable Sealy bed info in my first blog of 2018!