Birthday countdown

The countdown to a big birthday


Nine days and counting… one day and counting… Tom’s light box reflected his countdown to the big birthday. He was 16 on the 4th of May, or Star Wars day as he prefers to tell everyone (may the Force (4th) be with you..!).

I remember it well Tom…

Nine days and counting was the day I said to Alison Young: “What happens if I have a baby with Downs Syndrome?” I must quickly add I had no idea whatsoever and that question came right out of the blue, but I will never underestimate a mother’s sixth sense as something somewhere was possibly preparing me for Tom’s unexpected extra specialness! Her response was “you’ll cope”!

I left QVC a week before Tom was born, promptly sold our house and bought a house, as you do a week ahead of your first baby.

The day finally arrived for my planned Caesarian (Tom was upside down AND in the splits), I totally understood the anticipation and excitement he has for his birthday as I was simply beyond excited that day 16 years ago to meet my first-born.

There are some birthdays over the years that have been hard to handle, spilling over with emotion and memories, yet others that just happily breeze by. There’s no way of knowing which will be which. As this one approached I felt ok (she says) Tom is happy, healthy and is doing super well. There are new beginnings ahead with the end of the safe, secure school life and the start of college life. A moment ago, a mirage in the distance and now, looming large and very real.

The next steps are actually happening, we have a National Insurance number for him (a weird letter to receive). There is a never-ending stream of forms to fill in and various appointments from Social Workers etc etc booked in, so what’s there to worry about. All is positive right?

Tom with presents

If I write it all down, then my worries become real, so perhaps I shall just say there’s much to worry about and sort out and it’s all rather overwhelming at the moment but as ever we will get through to the calmer waters once again I am certain.

Claire Sutton's son Tom

However the ACTUAL Birthday, the meal with his friends, tea and cake with family and the new, almost double bed and furniture we built into the early hours for his bedroom (who doesn’t love a flat pack or 3..!), oh and the Birthday trip to watch WWE at the O2 (Dan drew that straw!) was all simply fabulous, exciting and lived up to his expectations, or almost did!! Tom was most cross as he didn’t get the Chicago Bulls jacket which he had put on his wish list. “But it’s on my list…” “Yes, but Mummy isn’t a fan of it.” “I will buy it with my own money then.” So that told me. I’m now fervently hoping all stock of the afore mentioned jacket has sold out…everywhere. Mean Mummy!

Tom opening presents

The previous weekend we celebrated three special boys turning 16. George, Jacob and Tom were born in March,  April and May 2001 and the friendships I have with their mother’s, Anna and Nancy, mean everything to me. We cry sometimes (ok a lot) but we laugh sooooo much too and have supported each other on this different, varied, spectacular yet sometimes difficult road we found ourselves on 16 years ago. We fiercely adore our boys and are incredibly grateful for each other’s love and support. It was a special day and a joy to see the enriched lives we all share as parents and the super siblings we have because of our extra-ordinary boys.

Tom with plants

Tom and Dan are busy bees at the moment as our plan for Tom’s future I think will be an expensive one and I’m not fully sure we will be supported with by our Local Authority, so, Dan decided that Tom can start to raise his own money for the cause! Here he is planting up his Alliums and Verbenas to sell to family and friends. 50 or so later and a slice of cake was much needed. It’s all about the reward of food for Tom which is exactly why the plants will be well fed with Richard Jackson’s Flower Power. We decided against an experiment of half fed with FP and half not, we decided all the plants deserved the best!

Start small, aim high and the world will be yours, Tom!

So what can I share with you that I am loving at QVC? Too much for this blog, so I will cherry pick a few things.

I interviewed Amanda Holden on the Baftas red carpet for QVC some years ago. She had just had a baby so we chatted all things such as hold in underwear and breast feeding as you do! Along with the more glamorous line of questioning of course. She was great fun, she looked incredible and as an ex-dancer I am full of admiration for her longevity in the business. Amanda has brought Bundleberry to QVC, her stylish and vibrant homeware inspired by her love of colour and texture and as our new Ambassador I can’t wait to shop and hopefully work with her. I’m loving her set of four coloured Champagne Glasses. These mugs are my perfect shape of mug, it’s funny how we have favourites yet still have way too many in the cupboard. These, however, with their gold accents will be at the front of mine for sure. I have my eye on these trunks too as they look to be the perfect colour for my family room. My house is loaded with colour and stuff as you can imagine with the five of us so these would look great AND be useful.

Peony melt warmer

Talking of looking great and being useful, I was rather taken with our TSV from Yankee Candle. Here it is in my hallway, which was just the place I felt to put the warmer, not least of all because it welcomes everyone in with the gorgeous fragrance of Flowers in the Sun (the one I melted here) plus just happens to be the exact golden shade to match my hall wallpaper! Smelly school shoes, trainers etc all reside in my hall, mostly strewn on the floor even though I have a perfect cupboard to pop them in, oh too easy! So double bonus is it will counterbalance that, Flowers in the Sun… or smelly trainers ??!!!! Yup my thoughts exactly. I love the ease of the warmer too, a simple switch on, and off we go. The full set pictured here will be at a fabulous Today’s Special Value price on Tuesday, first come first served, you know the score!

Having worked with Saira Khan the other week I was most interested to try Saira’s Skin Fruits of Kashmir Face Oil. I am a huge fan of oils and wanted see how it fared compared to my loved Decleor’s Aromesscence and AD skin synergy, both of which I use regularly. I decided to switch it in and have found it to be superb, beautiful to use, the smell is divine and most importantly my skin is nourished and glowing. It is a 30ml size which is larger than most, sometimes it goes solo but just this week I opened a new pot of Liz Earle’s Superskin with Neroli. It’s like a heavenly treat having the pair of them on my skin I must say , I am all about moisture and hydration both of which are delivered by these two beauties.

Some new fashion arrived in my dressing room this week. I’m so glad and I do tend to favour new fresh colours. C Wonder has such a lovely blouse that I have both the cotton candy and mint green, the colours are more vibrant than the pic on the website by the way, click the video to see better! Lots of you were asking about my top I wore on air this week it was by Together and I loved it too. Actually I have had a good sort out of my QVC wardrobe today, as I was at QVC but not on-air so a very productive day was definitely had. I had hauled in a suitcase of clothes that had somehow ended up with me at home… can’t think how that has happened… can you?! Anyway I’m now feeling fresh and sorted I think Jackie will be pleased with me as I have hung up everything and my new pieces too, though I do want to wear home the MarlaWynne duster coat it will go with loads in my wardrobe at home! And this is where it starts… the merge of the home/work wardrobe!

I will try and take some pics as I go along and keep you updated on favourites. Right now my physio appointment beckons, so I will zip off for now and am sending you all lots of love,

Claire Xxx


  1. Diane May 12, 2017 at 2:58 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire, Tom looks so happy, I wish him a very happy belated Birthday.
    I completely resonate with you about a mothers intuition, I had a young lady with Downs following me around at a local fair, we had a lovely chat and ice cream and it got me thinking, could this be a sign?
    Low & behold a few weeks later our 1st Daughter was born to us so maybe it was…

    We have found too that as our Daughter gets older there are more hoops to jump through which does cause me a bit of anxiety, as parents we are expected to understand legal jargon, it can get quiet overwhelming but eventually we get there, we have to to look after them and our other children which is all important.
    I hope your physio is helping and you are getting better.

    Best wishes

    Diane x

  2. Lucy May 12, 2017 at 4:50 pm -  Reply

    Hi Clare,You must be really proud of Tom,he looks a very happy young man,with lots of exciting times ahead!Im sure you never stop worrying but things always work out in the end!!X

  3. Eileen davies May 12, 2017 at 8:48 pm -  Reply

    What lovely photos Claire Tom as grown in to a fine boy wish him a belated birthday from me I have been with QVC from the start I have seen you have all your children you have come a long way you and Dan must be very proud of your family they are a credit to you both. You takecare xx

  4. Bev taylor May 13, 2017 at 9:18 am -  Reply

    Claire! What a fine happy young man. Happy 16th Tom. What a journey you’ve all had and what a strong loving foundation he has in his family … who clearly adore him! Love and prayers to you xx

  5. Claire sutton May 15, 2017 at 1:01 pm -  Reply

    Hi Diane,
    Thankyou so much for your lovely comment and Birthday wishes for Tom. My Physio is jolly painful but…I think it’s going to help immensely , albeit bruise a little!!!
    Yes…we are hoop jumping as you say, but all is well. I hope you have a lovely summer, off to Special Olympics tonight , keeping Tom busy and off his I pad !

  6. Claire sutton May 15, 2017 at 1:08 pm -  Reply

    Hi Lucy,
    Thankyou so much for replying and yes exciting times ahead! I do have to remind myself that I worry about the others too…its just a different kind I guess!
    With love to you,
    Claire x

  7. Claire sutton May 15, 2017 at 1:09 pm -  Reply

    Thankyou so much Bev, such lovely words which I very much appreciate ,
    Take Care,
    Claire x

  8. Claire sutton May 15, 2017 at 1:14 pm -  Reply

    Thanks you so much, it’s lovely to read your comment and very humbling. I shall pass on your lovely Birthday wishes to Tom. Can you believe it’s 19 years at Qvc for me…!!! Wowzer..and longer for you of course. Time surely does fly…
    Claire xx

  9. Emma May 16, 2017 at 4:36 pm -  Reply

    Hi Clare. I love reading your blogs. I remember when Tom was born (I worked at the hospital). 16 years have flown by!!! So glad Tom is a well and happy boy. If he has your spirit and energy he’ll do well in life. Looking forward to your next blog and seeing you on qvc obviously!!!

    Emma x

  10. Claire Sutton May 17, 2017 at 12:01 pm -  Reply

    Oh gosh Emma really… I remember a lady bringing me tea when I was having a tear or three!!! I wonder if it was you? It’s funny I bumped into one of our wonderful SCUBU nurses out and about some years later, she wouldn’t have remembered us but oh how I remembered her!! Lovely to hear from you , have a lovely day ( tho it’s tipping it down here!!) Claire xx

  11. Christine May 18, 2017 at 8:49 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire Happy Birthday Tom, You should be proud of your son. I think he will do well in life with such a loving mother.
    Take care X

  12. Claire Sutton May 19, 2017 at 3:15 pm -  Reply

    So nice of you – Thankyou very much,
    Love to you x

  13. Maria May 21, 2017 at 8:50 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire, would love to wish Tom a belated Happy Birthday! What lovely pictures you posted of his special day. I know how you feel having those good days and those days you shed a few tears. When my son was small I always wondered and worried about the future, time has flown by and he’s 18 years old and enjoying College. Would like to wish Tom all the best in his new chapter at College and his little enterprise growing his plants! Would also like to say that when my son was diagnosed with autism I thought my world had fallen apart, but I now believe I was sent a special gift that has filled our family with lots of love, joy and laughter and we wouldn’t want it another way! Sending you and your lovely family all the best!

  14. Claire Sutton May 22, 2017 at 10:17 am -  Reply

    Morning Maria,
    I was so pleased to read that your son is enjoying his time at college , I’m sure Tom will too, he had loved the day a week he has been doing and is very confident about it all so that’s always good isn’t it?!
    Yes, days of fun and laughter for sure in this house too!
    Much love to you Maria and may your son continue to do well xx

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Cast your vote!

Never miss a post!

Sign up to our QGossip feed to get the latest posts in your mailbox.

QVC uses first and third party cookies to enhance your use of this website and provide you with a personalised browsing experience. We do so in accordance with our Privacy Statement and our Cookie Policy. To learn more and change your preferences click here. By actively continuing to use this website, closing this banner or clicking the OK button below, you consent to our use of cookies.

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.