It’s difficult to describe how thrilled I felt when this picture appeared on Facebook earlier in the week. These are not my legs and feet, it’s not my holiday but that is my book and Alana, who writes on here sometimes, has taken it to Turkey with her!! Jackie Kabler, whose first book is out in October, Debbie Flint and I all agree that part of the pleasure of writing a book is when you see someone else reading it. I have more exciting book news later but first I thought I would tell you what I’ve been doing with my time off so far.
I’ve been quite lucky with the weather so I’ve been able to get out and do some much needed garden sprucing up. Although the previous owners of my house have planted some beautiful trees and shrubs, I noticed last summer that it was a bit lacking in colour through July and August so I’m starting to rectify it.
I love purple (as most of you know) and it goes beautifully with silver grey so I have planted a fragrant deep purple buddleia, also known as the butterfly bush, and three shades of clematis in the area at the bottom of my garden, outside the gym. I already have lavender planted in that area so I’m continuing the theme.
I bought some bright blue delphiniums to plant under the tree palm that I pictured on here last week, and an apricot-coloured begonia to replace the one my mum bought me for my birthday last year. I also took inspiration from Simon Wilson’s garden and planted up two beautiful cala lilies in pots either side of a garden chair.
Talking of lilies, do any of you remember the lily growing competition we presenters had two years ago? Dale’s were judged to be the best so I hope his have flourished as mine have this year. Last year mine were attacked by lily beetle but Richard Jackson advised a spray for me to use to combat that and they are fabulous, as are Anna Cookson’s. I took Anna’s home to look after as she had no outside space and have nurtured them for her until she wants them back!
Richard really is a mine of gardening information and I would highly recommend having a look at his new website richardjacksonsgarden.co.uk As well as advice from Richard, there are articles from a host of other experts, including James Wong, the ethnobotanist that Liz Earle now works with …. I am sooo disappointed to be missing the Liz Earle Today’s Special Value launching at midnight tonight!
I haven’t only been buying new plants for my garden, I’ve also been moving a few around. We planted out a tree peony that had been housed in a pot for four years, it is already looking much happier, and we moved some hydrangeas as there were quite a few clustered together and they weren’t doing particularly well.
They are all coming into flower now and I could kick myself for not waiting to see the colour of the blooms first. I’ve separated this gorgeous blue hydrangea from a red one. I hadn’t realised I had my own little patch of Crystal Palace although I think the intention was to be patriotic as I have white ones too. I planted these terracota pots in red, white and blue and have been feeding them with Richard’s Flower Power so they are coming along nicely.
I have also been making use of the stretch hose I bought earlier in the year. It is brilliant, easily the best hose we have ever owned and it wraps up so neatly. I can highly recommend it so far.
Speaking of Crystal Palace, they are back in pre-season training now and have already been making new signings, most notably Yohan Cabaye, who lots of other Premiership clubs were after, and it looks like we are keeping Scott Dann as well as James McArthur, which is great news. It seems impossible that the first game of the new season is only a few weeks away – time flies!
I haven’t been permanently camped out in the garden though. On Monday I drove over to Caversham, near Reading, to appear on Anne Diamond’s radio show on BBC Berkshire. Do any of you remember when Anne was a guest judge on QVC’s Search for a Presenter back in 2007? It was a lovely chat and you can listen to it on their website if you would like.
On the way home we called into a well-known local bookshop, Chapter One in Woodley, who are stocking my book. They have had lots of well-known people do book signings there and they asked me if I would like to do one … Yes please!!! It’s organised for next Saturday, July 18th, at 11am so please drop by and say hello if you’re in the area or it could be quite lonely.
Again, can I thank those of you who have left reviews on Amazon, including Alison Keenan who interrupted her honeymoon in Italy to leave hers. I am so thrilled it has been so well received and so many of you want to know what happens next … I’ve been working on that too this week with about 5,000 words written.
The other big news about my book is that QVC are going to be selling signed copies on the website. It won’t be until August so if you’re on holiday before that you may want to get it elsewhere, but it is coming and you will be helping me raise money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research from each book sold.
I hope you will enjoy Fashion on Friday today – I think it’s with lovely Kathy Taylor, who also left me a five-star book review. And, talking of fashion, don’t miss Clearance Day all day Monday on QVC Style – we all love a bargain.
I’m back to my nursing duties now but hope to catch Andy Murray at Wimbledon later on … Come On, Andy!!
P.S.: Check out my Julia Roberts TV Facebook page