I’m a Survivor


Although the title of my blog could be a applied to me with my medical history and another three hospital appointments to attend this month, I’m actually talking about a plant – a cyclamen, to be precise. I may well have mentioned this particular cyclamen on my blog previously. It was bought as a ‘get well’ gift for my daughter Sophie, following her jaw surgery when she was eighteen, by her then-boyfriend’s parents. I’m not actively trying to kill it, you understand, but it has been at death’s door more times than I can remember. It has survived three house moves, summers in our blazing hot south-facing conservatory and most recently, being virtually buried in building dust. Every time I say, ‘I think it’s really had it this time’, I water it with an extra dollop of Richard Jackson’s Flower Power and the next thing I know, tiny green leaves start to unfurl. You have to give credit where it’s due – that little plant is a survivor!

It’s not in flower yet, but my Christmas cactus is. Why does it always flower so early? All the beautiful pink flowers (which almost match the kitchen splashback) will be gone by Christmas. Maybe it likes to be the star of the show before I purchase the annual poinsettia in early December.

I’m sure most of you know that the birthstones for December are either Tanzanite or Turquoise, but do you know that the November birthstone is Topaz, and that it comes in a host of colours that are not only the most well-known hues of blue? Pure topaz is colourless and transparent, but it is usually tinted with impurities, causing colour. Years ago the most usual shade of topaz was golden and it was referred to as Imperial Topaz. It was then discovered that certain shades of ‘rough’ material could be irradiated and heat treated to produce the array of blues we have become so familiar with.

There are three main groupings, although shades vary within them. The palest shades are ‘sky’ blue, the mid tones are ‘swiss’ blue and the richest, deepest tones are ‘London’ blue – said to be most reminiscent of the London sky, although that is certainly not true this Autumn. We have a stunning London blue halo style ring, set in white gold, with a 12mm x 10mm central stone, framed with white zircons. It is a little pricey at £347, but absolutely beautiful.

If you’re looking for something more affordable, there is a five stone ring set in rhodium-plated silver, which is only £25.

Topaz is filled with positive energy and is said to symbolize love and affection and also to bestow strength and intelligence. Blue Topaz is also the state gemstone of Texas.

While we’re on the subject of November jewellery, have you seen the Diamonique Design of the Month, the reindeer earrings? They are sooooooo cute and affordable too.

Having whet your appetite last week, I’m sorry to say I still can’t share my exciting news… you have been making me laugh with your guesses though! No, Sophie isn’t engaged, or pregnant. And no, we haven’t set a date for the wedding yet, although I think it’s back on, as Chris has forgiven me for buying striped wallpaper for our wonky Victorian walls! He’s finished hanging it now and even he agrees it was worth it!

I have had an idea for a wedding date though. My late dad was born in 1920 which flips to 2019 AND his birthday was on the 19th too. So, the wedding will be in 2019 and probably on what would have been my parent’s Platinum Wedding Anniversary in August – I’ll keep you posted.

Be safe if you’re having fireworks in your back garden this weekend and remember to keep your pets in.

Much love,
Julia xx


  1. Julie November 2, 2018 at 3:50 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Love your new kitchen, it looks cozy. Can’t wait to hear your exciting news. Tell me why we can’t get up your tweets which always used to be at the side of your blogs. I’m not on Twitter & miss your comments. Good luck with hospital appointments.
    Love Julie

    • Julia Roberts November 21, 2018 at 10:52 am -  Reply

      Hi Julie
      Apologies for the delayed response, everything is a bit manic at the moment. I’m actually on my way to a hospital appointment right now (bloods today) but others were all ok.
      It seems QVC decided to take our Twitter feed down – they didn’t tell us so thanks for alerting me.
      You may have read that my news is that I have signed a 3 book deal with a publisher – more info will be on this week’s blog.
      Julia x

  2. Linda November 2, 2018 at 4:59 pm -  Reply

    I like you’re wall paper it makes the room look bigger from the photos

    • Julia Roberts November 21, 2018 at 10:54 am -  Reply

      Thanks Linda,
      It wasn’t the easiest to hang but it was definitely worth it in my opinion
      Julia x

  3. Eileen Mahoney November 2, 2018 at 9:19 pm -  Reply

    My guess is that you now have (or almost have) a publisher!

    • Julia Roberts November 21, 2018 at 10:55 am -  Reply

      Hi Eileen,
      You were spot on. Bookouture (part of the Hachette group) announced my 3 book deal on Monday – very exciting times for me.
      Julia x

  4. Tanya mansfield November 3, 2018 at 2:16 pm -  Reply

    Are you getting the dalmation you have been hankering after?

    • Julia Roberts November 21, 2018 at 10:58 am -  Reply

      Hi Tanya,
      No – when all the building work is properly finished I think we’ll get a puppy but not necessarily a dalmatian (I think Chris thinks they are a bit big and my daughter says they are crazy!) it probably won’t be until after the wedding if I’m honest.
      Julia x

  5. Josephine Lynne Jennings November 3, 2018 at 8:59 pm -  Reply

    Love the Christmas cactus Julia . Your home looks fabulous the decorator needs a hug for a job well done.

    • Julia Roberts November 21, 2018 at 11:01 am -  Reply

      Hi Josephine,
      Yes, the Christmas cactus was looking beautiful a couple of weeks ago but it’s now down to its final three or four flowers!
      The decorator got a hug of course.
      Julia x

  6. ann cain November 10, 2018 at 3:16 pm -  Reply

    Hope everything goes well for you,I have had the big C 3 times and beat it every time,so good luck you are a fighter,xx

    • Julia Roberts November 21, 2018 at 11:04 am -  Reply

      Hi Ann,
      I’m glad to hear you are such a fighter when it comes to your health. Just on my way to have my bloods done and results will determine whether I have to go back on my drugs next month. I know I will at some point but I have been enjoying this drug free break.
      Julia x

  7. ann cain November 10, 2018 at 3:17 pm -  Reply

    Good luck Julia but you will be fine,sending you love.xx

  8. Elizabeth Keenan November 11, 2018 at 3:59 pm -  Reply

    Hiya Julia
    My Christmas cacti flowering its head off as well. A wee tip for cyclamen is to let it soak up the water does not like to be left wet, no soggy bottom Julia. Your home is beautiful ❤️ Your wallpaper.
    Much love
    Elizabeth ❤️

    • Julia Roberts November 21, 2018 at 11:08 am -  Reply

      Hi Elizabeth
      Thanks for the tip for the cyclamen although to be honest it seems to be a survivor however I treat it! My Christmas cactus is all but done now – it will probably flower again just before Easter.
      I am so pleased with the way all the building and decorating has turned out – it’s even more special because we have done a lot of the work ourselves.
      Julia x

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