What an amazing year full of firsts. And another wonderful Christmas with family. We spent Christmas Day at my sister’s as usual. Being the eldest of five, it means a yuletide surrounded by siblings. But this year it was ‘only’ 16. Then the next day, many of the same gang, together with even more, came to brother Glenn’s where my daughter Lauren and her fab hubby Nick and little baby Phoebe came to stay this Christmas.
A fantastic time was had by all. But I still managed to get away to compile my annual review of the year…
Biggest event of the year – becoming a grandmother of course! This one was an easy one, and will probably be the highlight of my decade, when I do my big ‘ten years back’ blog next September. Regulars will know all this, but for newcomers, my son Brad and his wife Kari brought me little Blake Catherine on 19th January – I can’t believe she’s nearly a year already! Then in early October, my daughter gave birth to strawberry blonde Phoebe Deborah Anne, who will be a Welsh grandbaby as they now live near Carmarthen. I’ve grown into the role, as it was super-weird at first. But now I love seeing them and can’t sleep the night before as I’m so looking forward to collecting Blake from her nursery near Chelsea, for instance, or will be seeing Lolly and the little one, who is not so little. Phoebe did in fact reach the 98th percentile on the growth charts soon after birth and hasn’t slipped far back! Blake was standing by October and starting to walk soon after. I just love how proud she is of each little development. She’s such a happy baby and makes everyone around her smile. Her parents Brad and Kari have done a fantastic job and I’m very proud of them too. Had a wonderful time seeing everyone together on 28th! I’m not allowed to post pics of them as they are not social media babies, at their parents’ request, but I enjoyed every single moment of it. But becoming a nanny – ‘Nanny Debbie’ – that’s me – is definitely right up there with the best ‘TiFFT’s ever! (Try it for the First Time Club!)
Funniest blooper of the year
OMG what other blooper can I possibly choose but this funniest ever moment with Mally, back in July. Oh my sides ached for ages afterwards. I reported on it on this blog – click here to see it. What’s your favourite QVC moment?!
Favourite pic of the year
Over the years of doing this, I’ve had things like being in the middle of Stonehenge, being in the blue lagoon in Iceland, and being in Tuscany with Craigy with the heatwave halo around our heads when we visited Ginetta. But this year it would definitely include all my wonderful pics with my grandbabies and kids. None of which I can put here, of course! My early blogs featured a few of the babies, so go back roughly to the time of the Dear Mrs Bird blog (see book of the week below) to see my first ever pic of grandbaby number one, and the proud look on my face! Anyway, given I can’t show you the ones of my kids and me and their kids, I chose the other top moment of the year…
Favourite performance of the year
It was of course, being on the stage in Devon with my singing pal, Barry The Singing Councillor Parsons and this amazing shot taken by my lovely mate Nicola, mid-‘rising in the east’ from the song ‘Any Dream Will Do’. He loves doing things to help the local area and he and I have done four performances now, two of them in Sheepwash in aid of the church roof! Sometimes we forget the words and use prompts, sometimes we ham it up big time, but it’s fun and people seem to love it as they keep asking us back! Find out what happened in this blog from the one in August here.
Biggest QVC moment
It has to be our 25th birthday doesn’t it?! And all the memories from Julia Robert’s blog as she looked back over the quarter of a century since she first walked onto our original set with John Briggs and launched a legend. It’s been a pleasure for me to have been part of it too – the first six years, then the last nine. In February I and Jilly Halliday will mark our own 25 years since we first began on the same day back in 1994, just three months after QVC went live. I’ll have a surprise up my sleeve I hope – watch this space!
Most popular vlog of the year
Facebook is where I post most of my regular vlogs, on my QVC page (see social media links below). And I do like updating you too, on the latest offers and sneaky peeks etc. But it’s videos like this one – posted around august, of the stuff I get up to when I’m being mischievous at my brother’s house… watch it here. Do follow me on Facebook, or Twitter or Instagram, to be able to see it all!
That I am mildly Asperger’s, apparently. It’s apropos of nothing, except that it’s helped me feel a little bit easier in my skin, and to deal with social situations a little more easily since making the discovery in the summer. I’d met a guy for dinner who informed me he had it, and his son had it. Steve had discovered he was on the spectrum when his son was being analysed, and he said a couple of things that rang true for me – I’ve written about it on my blog on my website previously. Anyway, I’ve felt differently about life and everything since then, and I’m very glad I’m in a whole new era, in more ways than one!
Book of the Year
Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce. I loved this book. I cannot wait for the TV adaptation – which is already underway apparently, as the penchant for period drama continues. Acting as a stand-in agony aunt brings Bunty and her pals into conflict with their principles against a backdrop of World War Two. It’s charming with a capital C and makes you smile, cry and be tense in turn. AJ is a writing pal and I’ve loved watching her amazing journey – and she’s only just begun. Looking forward to book two coming soon! Find out what I said about it in my blog at the time here.
Also – alert for Best Book 2019 – Julie Cohen’s ‘Louis and Louise’ – the same story told from two different points of view – if the hero was a man, or if the hero was a woman… can’t wait! Julie is my mentor too and also worked with AJ. Her writing is brilliant – do get her books, also, including Together and Dear Thing. Top ‘book club’ fiction and she’s a Richard and Judy author too.
Best film of the year
There are several, including Bohemian Rhapsody, Mamma Mia 2 and more, but I’ve chosen ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’. This is a stunning period piece, Lily James is great and the story is original, thrilling, fraught and filled with funny scenes as well as emotional moments. Highly recommended, please try it!
2018 also included… a knee operation. Which I’m still having challenges with, but will get there. And consequent weight hiccups, again which I will overcome – hopefully in time for the February vacation. I have loved having the tea room’s events every Wednesday down in Devon this year too – through the summer – a really lovely way to bring people together down in Sheepwash. I loved seeing the ‘lest we forget’ play by ‘HATS’ the Holsworthy drama group which commemorated the local WW1 heroes in a highly original way – I got invited by my lovely pal Sheila. I went to several political events and enjoyed every one, including some hosted by my fave politicians, and have spent much time following politics in my own geeky way and helping locally. My dad was a shop steward so it runs in the blood – maybe something for the distant future who knows?! I have loved doing yoga lots and spending time with yoga lady and pal Jennie down in Devon including some super outings, and ditto with Sheena one of my besties, and my regular pow-wows with Alix in the pub on Tuesday market day followed by doing my bit to help the village shop. Succeeding in obtaining planning permission for two en-suites in my listed building so two guest rooms have bathrooms which should help – and I drew the drawings all on my own and did the whole application without employing a professional – phew! I also took the nieces out lots in London – it’s been amazing having super times with them, now my own kids are 31 and 29! Had a wonderful holiday in Cyprus in June with family and a fabulous writing retreat with friends in France in September. And the usual involvement in the super dogs helping humans charity, and with my Facebook groups and friends. All in all it’s been a very enjoyable year!
Ambition for next year
It’s not an ambition, it’s GOING TO HAPPEN… to finish my fifth novel, French or Dutch. Julia and Jackie have both written four fabulous full length novels now, as I did very quickly early on in my writing career. But my fifth book has proved more… problematical shall we say?! Amidst moving home twice and embarking on a new career of running a guest house and writing retreat and a new home in Devon, I’ve managed to write some more, but mainly by escaping home and going on my own personal writing retreats in France again. But this coming year, it will. Be. Done… Also looking forward to my Caribbean cruise including Mayan ruins in Mexico, in February. And more lovely times with grandchildren!
Back to the present…
Saturday’s is Beauty Bioscience Rose Gold Edition – available early here.
Sunday is the Shark Duoclean Pet Vacuum Cleaner.
Monday’s is the Skechers Dynamite Bungee Heathered Mesh Trainers, also on early bird link – watch out for it!
Tuesday – New Year’s Day – is the very efficient Morphy Richards handheld garment steamer with brush attachment, which we’ve all been trialing in our presenter lounge – it’s very good!
Wednesday (2nd) is a big 18-piece Lock & Lock set – for those New Year’s resolutions to tidy up those shelves!
Thursday is from Vercella Vita, a super new bodysuit with medium control.
And finally, there’s a very good quality seated elliptical trainer from Cubii coming on Friday (3rd) which you use sitting down on a chair – like an exercise bike, kind of, but on your own sofa.
Have a superb new year and let me know what you’re up to. If the answer is ‘nothing’, then why not join Claire Sutton and me on New Year’s Eve at 10pm for a two hour Charlie Bears show, to see in the New Year with QVC. I dislike New Year, so am glad I was off for Christmas and am looking forward to a wonderful year ahead. Hope you are too! Plus, next week, there’s a superb competition for anyone who loves Elemis – wait till you see the fabulous bumper bundle you can win! Details next week – join me then and every Friday!
Next week on the blog – seeing in the New Year on-air and a family reunion with both grandbabies celebrating Christmas.