A blast from the past!


Today it is already mid October and life continues at the pace of an unstoppable freight train, everyday is full to brimming with "stuff" it got me thinking what exactly is this "stuff" we do these days that gets us all agitated and "stressy" did we indeed have less stuff to do when we were young? Or did we manage it all a wee bit better?!

I had set aside the chore of bringing down from the loft my winter clothes to swop over with the copious amounts already making my poor clothes rails groan…

The duller palette of greys and beiges once banished with the boots to the smashingly super space of storage … The loft…. are now, once again replacing the more titillating gossamer fine threads of sparkly summer colours.. Thank goodness (I actually heard myself say) as the temperature has plummeted considerably, it’s freezing and it is actually autumn (always takes me a little time to accept!)

During my many trips up and down I was rather shocked to see the take over of the previously defined loft space with …..yes you've guessed it “stuff" I'm talking about the physical version of it this time.
Curtains which don’t fit the windows at this house but are oh so fabulous!
Spare this’s and that's and tat which would and should be used well by others. I realise my next mission will be to cleanse and clear and maybe in doing so enhance the lives of needy people who find themselves without….

During this realisation I saw a box of delight, my things from my previous life!!! My much younger self!!!

The diaryIn I dived and amidst certificates, medals and precious bits I found this, my diary from….1984….
Well, the transportation back to the me of 29 years ago, aged 16 was immediate…it really struck me that with technology as it is the old fashioned " Diary " is exactly that ..old fashioned .
I devoured the pages, shocked myself at some thoughts and feelings I had and laughed my head off at some things I had written…even sharing odd silly bits with Maddie, who found it quite odd that my friend Lulu ( her God mummy) and I were mooning over boys so much!!
“But what about Daddy?" She kept saying, bless her (he probably was still in primary school!)

So, here to amuse is an excerpt from Sunday May 6th 1984

"Got up at 11 am! Amazing to have a lie in. Spots are decreasing! I really can't stop thinking about G, but I bet if I did see him I wouldn't like him so much…..I' m gonna try out a theory on someone..How to make a guy fall in ❤with you! I must try hard to be nice to every one, not too vain, not be jealous of H ..work hard but play too………"

By the way G …did end up being a boyfriend! So my theory worked…quite what it was I' m not sure I recall. I did also manage to control my feelings of envy..I guess at college you're suddenly in with ALL the students who excelled in their local dance schools and realisation kicks in that you’re no longer the best but just one of MANY great dancers…H was the long legged, long blonde haired girl who also gained a place with me at college, we were put together with our family and she became my best friend and yes, still has long legs and blonde hair!

Oh I did smile at the angst and the feelings I had documented..my worries and my wishes and hopes…amidst the early days of college life at Laine Theatre Arts, so physically demanding yet fulfilling all my dreams to Dance , Dance and Dance some more…

The listI also found this letter I had tucked inside the diary, I was 19 at the time of writing and reading it through I recall all my emotions so clearly. I started writing with the words…

"I feel very down tonight, so I thought I would get rid by writing…”…..I then went on to record my feelings and the pressures I felt under and on the second page ( here) was the semblance of a list.

What an interesting read…what would be my list today at 46 I wonder..?!

Did I achieve these things?

Well, I DID get a car and independence….

As to the others… well, that " liked a lot "one ….I suppose that's still me..a weakness? Maybe! And should I really care..? Well, I do, so there!

"Wealthy and successful"…..goodness… I aimed high! Although as we know wealth and success is measured in so many ways and not necessarily in the monetary sense we think in our youth. I consider myself so fortunate.

"Better than the rest"..(Who were the rest I wonder) Mrs Competitive!

"I want to be happy"…. Well that's always important, interesting how at 19 it was I want to be happy as oppose to, I want to make others happy…..

And I smiled at the “thinner " bit……3 guesses as to that figuring on the list today!!!
Mad isn't it as there was barely any flesh on my bones….still let’s not forget I was a dancer

And…I JUST WANT TO BE ME……… Did I even know which “me" I was at that stage…

The secret and privacy that the precious diary offers surely isn't able to be replicated by 'blogs' and ' Facebook' …. I'm going to ensure Maddie has the chance to smuggle her innermost thoughts…good and bad! Into the crisp pages of a Diary….will I be able to resist the ultimate sin of reading it…..ooooooooh…. Well lets pray that she and I can talk openly together and I can be there to help her on her journey of life…she has already said she loves Nicholas, the young boy from this years X factor hopefuls and said if/ when he comes onto QVC to sing, she' s missing school and coming to work with me!!!!

Maddie has decided she wants to come to work with me (often) have my clothes and shoes, wants a coat just like my centigrade one I had on the other day, steals my nail polishes (leaves the lids off) practices her "walk" ready to model in the fashion shows….in fact, I should watch out as I celebrate my 15th year with QVC (I know, can you believe it!!!) I think Madds is grooming herself to replace me….!

I must away now and collect Tom, still doing brilliantly at Secondary school, though the joys of Secondary School year 8 .. (Attitudes and even an attempt / copy of “swearing”) are proving a challenge some days!

JoyJoe moves on to Secondary School next and any spare time is taking up deliberating which school is right for him….aaaarrgh. Maddie meanwhile is a social butterfly and doing a fine job of being a lovely 9 year old girlie. I’ll leave you with my latest favourite picture of them… On Joe's 11th Birthday this month, I've titled it …. JOY…!

I shall see you at QVC and always be in touch if you possibly can,
I so, so love your replies back to me, always, so please if you have a moment …lets chat!

Claire xx


  1. Charlotte Burr October 22, 2013 at 2:06 pm -  Reply

    Hi claire,
    I feel so sad that in a fit of late teen pique, I threw my diary in the bin. How I wish that I could read my adolescent ramblings and share (some) of them with my thirteen year old daughter.
    I have made it my mission to ensure that she keeps a diary, no matter how sporadic, so that maybe one day she can look back and share with her daughter.
    Gorgeous picture of your family. Joy sums up the scene perfectly: )
    Best wishes
    Charlotte x

  2. Gwen Tugwell October 22, 2013 at 4:04 pm -  Reply

    You really are a glorious girl, just when I start to think where has she got to up pops another lovely blog. How wonderful to sift through all of those wonderful memories, I am sure you and Maddie will have so many hours of fun and happy moments for you both to treasure as she grows into what will probably be a carbon copy of you, and Dan and your lovely boys will just have to put up with all those girlie moments won’t they?
    Thank you Claire for sharing with us, and good luck with sorting out all of those Winter Clothes, I am sure it won’t seem too long before you are getting the Summer outfits out again, well we can hope can’t we?
    Take care and write again soon,

  3. beverley_y2000@yahoo.co.uk October 22, 2013 at 9:57 pm -  Reply

    That is such a beautiful photo of the children -so lovely ,such happiness xxxx bless xxxx

  4. Angela – Finn’s mum October 22, 2013 at 11:23 pm -  Reply

    What an amazing photo “Joy” is Claire. I love Tom’s protective hug around his younger siblings. Beautiful!
    I didn’t write a diary when I was younger but it would be lovely to step back into my 16 year old self again and say don’t worry (as I used to do) and try and enjoy yourself along the way. Everything seemed like a dilemma at the time when it seems so trivial now…
    Another fine blog post Ms Sutton 🙂 it brightened my day

  5. Vivienne Wallis October 23, 2013 at 12:49 pm -  Reply

    Hello Claire
    Great blog and 3 lovely children. Lovely to read all your reminiscences of your long lost teenage years and at the same time have a good laugh, but great to look back and remember. We as females do accumulate lots of clothes, and we still have nothing to wear. I just cannot let go of those that no longer fit me and have them packed carefully away, and what about all those shoes and boots, still in the original boxes, my daughter mentioned recently that we should go through them as we may find a few pairs that would fit her, more than happy to accommodate that thought. It sounds like I am a bit of a hoarder, yes I will admit that I have cards going back to my 21st birthday, like your diaries, they have some lovely memories and are my treasures. Always read your blogs but this is my first reply.
    Vivienne xx

  6. susan October 23, 2013 at 5:05 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire, gorgeous photo of your brood! Tom is a pet holding onto Joe and Maddie. So glad he is doing well with school and sure at least he can have the odd teenage moment. Dont know if ywatch diy sos but I often think that at least our tantrums are ‘normal’ if you can call it that..unlike some people’s kiddies who can’t vocalise..reference diy sos last night. So sad. Good luck for your winter clear out. It is nice to have snuggly winter moments but will be lovely when spring returns! X

  7. Jo B October 23, 2013 at 5:40 pm -  Reply

    Claire, your loft sound just like ours! I recently went up there to find out my winter coats, and discovered chandeliers brought from the old house, which won’t fit in the new cottage, as the ceilings are too low! (but I can’t part with them), rugs, huge boxes of sylvanian families, old school exercise books, the list goes on ….. I think that one day all our ceilings will come down with all that weight. I got to thinking about days gone by, and how I thought I wasn’t thin enough, or pretty enough. But when I look at photos of those days, I was really skinny and pretty, but never appreciated it, it was all a matter of confidence, which is SO lacking when you’re young. Can I ask if the fur coat and hat you’re wearing in the Christmas promo video are available at QVC? Also, you were wearing some lovely navy nail varnish a couple of weeks ago – can you remember the colour? Sorry so many questions…… Thanks for your lovely blog – they are always such a joy to read. I don’t know how you do everything you do. With love x

  8. Tony October 24, 2013 at 1:16 pm -  Reply

    Very interesting blog, Claire (as usual). I almost feel dirty reading your diary… And I’m sure it wasn’t even the juicy bits! In any event, keep them coming… and keep brightening our TV screens with your uplifting presence.
    All my wishes,
    Tony xxx

  9. Davina Morris October 24, 2013 at 9:23 pm -  Reply

    Hello Gorgeous BB
    Lovely blog as usual Claire. Can’t believe you store some clothes in the loft?? Would have thought in the house re-design, there would have been a walk-in wardrobe!! 🙂 Myself i have 2 wardrobes, 1 for daywear & another for evening wear!(seeemples).
    What is all this about ‘Tat’….you, ‘Tat’……’Unbelievable’!!
    Myself i never kept a diary which is probably a good job as if anyone looked back at it when i was 15/16 it would have been a case of….’YOU DID WHAT!!!’ And probably taken up 6 episodes of Jeremy Kyle!! lol.
    I hope you manage to get Joe a good secondary school and it doesn’t involve too much more travelling than you have at present. And this need to be ‘Thinner’, if you get much slimmer we shan’t see you if you turn sideways as the saying goes!! And as Gino D’Acampo says, no-one wants to hug a bag of bones!! 🙂
    If Maddie wants a taste of your workplace, there is a day set aside for bring your daughter to work, but not sure when it is.
    I’m back in London twice in December at the clinic, will have to make better arrangement for coffe/chat on one of them.
    love & best wishes
    Davina xxx

  10. Mary Morphy October 25, 2013 at 4:55 am -  Reply

    Hi Claire..thank goodness you too have stuff! I have learned after 47 years on this planet that we can’t keep EVERYTHING which has been hard and my 13 year old Ginja Ninja has yet to start learning this skill and cannot accept that the I Need To Keep This philosophy cannot continue ….it’s not my fault I was born second after Jack and have the smallest bedroom!! Well to be fair, its not however our nice tidy chalet cabin at the end of the garden is getting full if stuff…her stuff!
    Think though she was squirrel in a past life..hiding things away for safe keeping. My father died just over a month ago and the boxes if stuff we have had to sort through have been an Eye-opener.. he had receipts for petrol going back 20 years…receipts and wage slips, bank statements all from an age gone by. Also more importantly found amongst the boxes my mum’s diaries which she started to write in 1995 she said we could read them so we sat amongst piles if paper to be shredded and read exherts from the 10 years from 1995…2005 when she stopped as she was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Reading mum’s entry on 26 Jan 2000 when my daughter was born made new cry..her delight at the arrival of Chloe their first granddaughter after three grandsons was overwhelming. Reading on a couple of years my mum did so much for me and my sister to allow us to go back to work which for both if us was a necessity to pay the bills and not a choice. She picked up grandchildren front scgool, dropped off at nursery, did the lunchtime pickup when they first started school and worked too plus walked her dogs..amazing. It also made me sad..its not that long ago really is it..mum having had two major operations and treatment now has post operative meningioma dementia and cannot drive or go out in her own and has no sense of time or order of day. Dad’s passing has made it tough for us all but a new chapter in all our lives has started. But now its pay back time and reading her diaries and her limitless gift of time time and unselfishness given to us does remind us when things get tough of what an amazing mum she was and still is and we are incredibly lucky to still have her and to be able to look after her. Great photo of the children…any Chance of a topless photo of Dan in a Xmas blog…..lots a Love Mary. x

  11. Beth Morton October 25, 2013 at 5:41 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire,
    Your energy and happiness just shine off the page! Your 3 children look so wonderful and so happy. Glad to hear that Tom is enjoying school and doing well there.
    I used to keep a diary at the age of 14 and kept it secret from everyone – my 6 year old niece allowed to look at her “Secret Diary” recently. It has a lock on it and I felt very privileged she wanted to show me what she’d written. I am sure that Maddie will always discuss things with you as you are such an open, kind person.
    Amazing that you’ve been at QVC for 15 years! You really look great on it.
    I hope you’ll stay on for a long time to come!
    All the best,
    Beth XXX.

  12. Sue Lawrence October 25, 2013 at 9:21 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire it’s wonderful remembering our younger days I did not keep a dairy as I met my husband at the grand age of 14 and he was 16 my secrets were best kept in my head like you I’ve 3 children all boys, now grown up and producing their own children I am lucky still together after 40yrs and like you happy and so thankful for all my memories . God bless Sue xx

  13. Sue Kemp October 25, 2013 at 11:04 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire
    Great blog as always, I can understand why new blogs are not high on your list of priorities and rightly so. I have to confess at being a hoarder myself, just like your other readers, I dont have diaries, but I do keep cards Birthday and Christmas cards going back to my teens, its lovely to go through them on occasion, they bring back lovely memories especially of people who are no longer with us.Sometimes it is just lovely to take the time and remember. Make the most of the children , as you say they grow up so quickly these days and the time is gone before you know it. I now have 3 Grandchildren and cannot believe how quickly they are growing and how grown up my Granddaughter is these days at the ripe old age of 7 and half. Its frightening.
    take care
    best wishes Sue

  14. Linda Richards October 26, 2013 at 8:00 pm -  Reply

    Dear Claire,
    What a beautiful photo of your children, as always I read all the blogs and enjoy them so much. I never wrote a diary reading yours I think I should have, it would have been nice to be able to read all my thoughts of all them years ago. Look after yourself and you lovely family.
    Love Linda

  15. Tina Dunning October 27, 2013 at 4:42 pm -  Reply

    What can we say about memories, I think they give us a sense of belonging and continuity. Your blog is just a lovely read and the photograph of your children is aptly named as JOY.
    I no longer have to go to the loft for my seasonal clothes as this year we acquired a lift up bed with loads of storage space beneath which is easy for me to manage. Summer clothes in one half and winter in the other (lucky me).
    My SEN son (now 33) only swears very very ocassionally and we find it hard not to laugh because it sounds so strange coming from him.
    Tina xx

  16. Claire Sutton October 28, 2013 at 8:29 am -  Reply

    Charlotte..Thankyou so much, lovely to hear from you…and yes get your daughter a diary…I also try and ( very sporadic tho) right in a book about the children, what they’re like, funny things, personality stuff…trouble is it is sporadic, but oh so lovely! Take care Charlotte ,
    Love Claire x

  17. Claire Sutton October 28, 2013 at 8:33 am -  Reply

    That Glorious GIrl title…I LOVED it!!!
    I realise September is a total write off for me…and the next 2 years at least ( school changes) will be the same..a sharp shock back into the routine…it takes till now to get it sussed…but yes here I am!! And I’m so very grateful that you bother with me…
    Winter woollies so necessary now huh…still need some new grey boots I feel, every season has a silver lining!!!! Hope all is well with you,
    Lots of love for a lovely day xxxx

  18. Claire Sutton October 28, 2013 at 8:34 am -  Reply

    AAAAh Beverly, Thankyou! I was sp thrilled to see that picture..I have 2 lovely special ones of the three of them and this is as gorgeous to me… Thankyou for your reply,
    Hope this weather is all ok where you are?
    Sending my love,
    Claire x

  19. Claire Sutton October 28, 2013 at 8:37 am -  Reply

    Angela, I’m thrilled I perked up your day!!!
    Tom did a huge hug to Joe as we walked round his school! I asked joe later if he felt embarrassed …a tiny bit, but I kind of loved it too…was his reply!
    Tom is a protective bigger brother it is lovely as for years Tom was so weeny!
    SO…today Don’t worry…ha ( as if) and relish being older and wiser..!
    Lots of love ,
    Claire x

  20. Claire Sutton October 28, 2013 at 8:40 am -  Reply

    Vivienne, I am honoured. Thanks !!! Really nice to hear from you. Boxes? I leave mine in the shop , I hate them, tho I bet your shoes and boots are well worth a borrow… I am the same as my mummy too…was fab, back in the day of her glam shoes!
    I too have hoards of stuff , so amusing to re read the love letters to Dan!!! Not for sharing!
    Have a super day, Claire xx

  21. Claire_sutton@qvc.com October 30, 2013 at 11:53 am -  Reply

    Hi Jo,
    Lovely to have your reply. Tho I’m stumped at the navy nails… Black this week… But can’t think , I’ll search my brain. The coat and hat are Qvc . Centigrade was the coat I’ll ask for details for you..
    And yes, maddening isn’t it how we never see ourselves as we really are.. You wait today’s pictures we ‘ll say gosh how young we look.. Yet all we do is lament at the time!!! Maaaaadness!
    Hope you’re well,
    Lots of love,
    Claire xx

  22. Claire_sutton@qvc.com October 30, 2013 at 11:55 am -  Reply

    You so know the salacious bits were kept hidden!!! I was sweet 16 I’ll have you know!!! Hope all is well with you. Thankyou Tony for such nice things you write! My love to you, Claire x

  23. Claire_sutton@qvc.com October 30, 2013 at 12:00 pm -  Reply

    Well look at you! 2 wardrobes so organised !! I’m still at the rails part of yes what WILL be my walk in wardrobe!! That’s the next project but.. Pesky children keep taking all my pennies… Soooooon ( before I go mad) mind you my loft is actually a staircase, balustrades and will be a room , so it’s not the hardship of crawling thru a hole… Rather climbing some stairs( I do like to dramatise!)
    Dec .. A firm appt required for us.. Definitely,
    Glad not to have watched your diaries on J K… Eye opening I am sure!!!
    Lots of love this end,

  24. Claire_sutton@qvc.com October 30, 2013 at 12:04 pm -  Reply

    It truly is beyond scarey the speed that they grow up ( especially girls) .. I guess it’s all they are exposed to ALL the time.. I’m glad you keep things too, it’s lovely now sharing ( some !!) things with the children… Tho Madds is horrified about the thought of other boyfriends before Daddy….!
    Hope you have a lovely day and I send my love . Claire x

  25. Claire_sutton@qvc.com October 30, 2013 at 12:07 pm -  Reply

    Tina, Oooh the bed storage sound brilliant , tho knowing my children they’d think it fine to empty out the clothes and… Use it as a den!!!
    I know what you mean about laughing re the swear thing… It just is so odd coming from them.. Luckily a one off , so far any way! He certainly knows it displeased mummy!!!!!
    Hope all is good with you,
    Sending my love ,

  26. Claire_sutton@qvc.com October 30, 2013 at 12:08 pm -  Reply

    Thankyou thankyou thankyou for reading my chatter, and liking it too!
    You are lovely.
    I’m just about to frame that picture today … Happy ..
    Have a lovely day Linda,
    My love from Claire x

  27. Claire_sutton@qvc.com October 30, 2013 at 12:10 pm -  Reply

    Beth,I had a diary with a lock on too! So secretive weren’t we! And I thought your niece showing you hers was so lovely.. A special moment.
    Hope I’ll hear from you again,
    Love claire x

  28. Claire_sutton@qvc.com October 30, 2013 at 12:13 pm -  Reply

    Crikey… 14 .. Yes I should think no diary…. Head only, very sensible!!!
    But wow 40 years , that is wonderful.. Well done to you two .. And come on to dan and I, tho I was somewhat older before I found my lovely one!!
    Lots of love,
    Claire x

  29. Claire_sutton@qvc.com October 30, 2013 at 12:18 pm -  Reply

    Yay Mary,
    I love your replies.. Hearing about the Ginja Ninja!! And her exploits.. A red squirrel of course in a previous life!!!
    Thinks Maddie is the same … She’s a cancer..wonder if its related to star signs?!
    I read about your mum and dad too, with sadness yet also with a smile.. What an amazing and selfless lady, it truly is so hard when illness takes so much away …
    I hope you enjoy all you can with her and that those spectacular diaries continue to ensure you recall her fab spirit and love … Wow. Reminded me of how every week mummy came up at the crack of dawn for 2 days to have Tom for me when I returned to Qvc … Selfless indeed..,
    Sending lots of love , as I write this I have the children making their own lunch.. Oven is peeping! I had better go!!

  30. Rosemary Thompson December 1, 2013 at 12:34 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire
    Yet again a real heartfelt blog and one that I am sure everyone can relate to at different stages in our lives. I wrote to you the last time just after your lovely tribute to Amica and wonder with your really busy schedule if you ever read “The Love Verb”. Although this was a really sad story it was about family and love which shines out from your blogs every time I read them. I can empathise with all the comments in your latest blog. My son,who is now 35,also has a disability although to all intense and purposes no one would believe it as he is severely dyslexic. From a very early age when I first noticed that things did not seem to “click” the same as my daughter, he has had to cope with knowing what he wants to write but not being able to put this down on paper.Anger and frustration were one of the side affects but he was very lucky and went to a brilliant school in East Sussex called Northease Manor. I will never thank them enough as even though the dyslexia will never go away, he is very clever with numbers and guess what? He qualified as a Landscape gardener at Plumpton College. In some ways, challenges like this add to our children’s character and make them stronger and indirectly us as Mum’s as well. The protective gene in most of us is very strong in these circumstances. When I had the chance to move from a three bedroom house which I rattled around in on my own, I to had to sort through thirty odd years of hoarding everything and had to do this again when my mum died and sort through her life as well. Mine I did with my children (woops now 35 and 38)but still my babies!!!!. It was funny reading all the school reports and seeing all the birth cards, wedding cards(although I have been divorced for over 21 years) and everything that held special memories. I am glad they were with me and we decided to burn everything as a sort of ending of the past and beginning of the future. Sounds sad and it was tough in some ways but also cathartic.This was brought on by having to go through my Mums hoarded items which although meant something to her, some of the paper work and people I did not even know. The photos were different and were all saved so the memories are still there. I now have three grandchildren and see through them how quickly our children grow and become adults in their own right. Enjoy your children which I can see your are because you turn round once and they are gone and have families of their own.
    much love and look forward to reading your next blog. Take care rosie

  31. Kathleen December 2, 2013 at 10:26 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire,
    all I can say .. is.. ‘Lovely family’, I hope your xmas is jolly and good.. just Enjoy and don’t stress about anything..
    Time goes so quickly, relish the time with your children they soon grow up.
    My eldest and partner have just had twins. a boy and girl… a big surprise as they are both in their 40’s.. They live a long way from us.. so we can’t be with them for xmas, it’s a time for children, although they are only a few months old I’ve seen a change in them, I had twins myself and they are still at home..!
    I love reading your blogs.. I hope you are well.. Lots of good wishes

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