The Heat is On


Notice I said the heat is on rather than the heating, although that has been on too, because although the daytimes recently have been unseasonably warm, the evenings have still been a bit on the nippy side with no cloud cover. That’s what makes tomorrow’s TSV such a good purchase, but more on that later.

I hope you’ve been taking advantage of the glorious weather we’ve just had? I can’t believe we had lunch ‘Al Fresco’ on Tuesday, the first time we’ve sat outside on our new decking. We made do with our old table and chairs as we haven’t ordered the new ones yet, but I am so hoping we get a summer like last year to make full use of it.

We also took full advantage of the weather to finally use my birthday present voucher from last year. The children (I use the term loosely) had bought me ‘A Visit to Kew Gardens with Cream Tea for Two’. Bearing in mind that my birthday is in June, it had only taken me nine months to find the time! The voucher was about to expire (for the second time) so we would have gone anyway but what a bonus to have such amazing weather – honestly it was more like May than February.

I’ve only been to Kew Gardens once before and that must be over thirty-five years ago… it was definitely pre-children… and I had forgotten how vast it is. Our trip started with the lady who issued our tickets at the entrance recognising me from QVC. I’m always surprised when that happens, particularly as I was hiding behind my sunglasses, but I think it’s my voice that confirms my identity. If you ever do see me out and about, come up and say hello because it always makes my day.

We bought tickets for the ‘train’ tour as I wasn’t sure how much walking I would be able to do, having had my blood tests done that morning and in light of the struggles I’ve had recently with my left leg, but actually we didn’t really use it much. We hopped off at the first stop which was the newly re-furbished and re-opened Temperate House. It’s pretty spectacular when you think how many years ago the original structure was built and the renovations have been very ‘sympathetic’.

I found it fascinating to discover the origins of so many of the plants we grow in our gardens and sell on QVC. By the way, I didn’t go for the Tree Peonies in the end BUT I am definitely going to go for the new Gardening Pick of the Month. Pick is the operative word here as it is twelve strawberry plants, four each of three different varieties. I LOVE strawberries and haven’t grown them for years and at £16.99 with no P&P, this is a bargain I’m not passing on!

Anyway, back to Kew Gardens! We walked from ‘trainstop 2’ to ‘trainstop 5’, taking in the pagoda, the lily pond and the tranquil surroundings and then hitched a ride to ‘trainstop 6’ for The Orangery, where we enjoyed our cream tea. Suitably refuelled, we then went to see the Colombian Orchid Exhibition in the Princess of Wales conservatory.

The variety and colours were amazing and it does make me realise just how authentic the Peony faux orchids are that we sell.

The final stop was the hot and steamy Palm House which, as it happens, is the opening scene in the new book I’m writing for Bookouture, the second in the series. Something really strange happened but I’ll keep it to myself for now, as it won’t mean anything unless you read the book – but it was almost like fate saying, ‘yes, you’re on the right track’!

To say I was exhausted from our trip when we finally got home is not an overstatement! It’s the first time I have exceeded 16,000 steps in a day since I bought my TSV Fitbit watch! Speaking of which, the realisation that Chris and my wedding is now only six months away has prompted me to get back into shape. I normally eat quite healthily but I was a bit naughty over Christmas and have allowed it to drag on, which has meant gaining a few pounds I could do without! I don’t do ‘diets’ per-say, but I have decided not to wait for Lent this year to cut out chocolate, unhealthy snacks, reduce intake of delicious home-made bread (and carbs generally) and keep an eye on portion size. We are also banning alcohol consumption in the house for the month of March! That, combined with upping my exercise routine should help trim down my mid-section… hopefully!

So, I’m making good use of my TSV Fitbit watch but even better use has been had from my Dyson Hot & Cool Bladeless Tower Fan, which was a TSV a while back. If you’ve haven’t tried it yet, it is the TSV tomorrow and I can honestly say it is one of my best ever purchases. When I’m writing for hours on end, my feet get really cold, so I can angle it onto them and have a blast of warm air. When it’s hot up in my writing ‘garret’ in the summer months I can have a cool flow of air – I highly recommend and you could be earning yourself a voucher to spend with us too – that ends on Sunday midnight by the way.

Then on Sunday, we have a Doll 10 TSV. I love working with Doris and she really has developed some brilliant make-up products that are suitable even on sensitive skin, although I would always recommend a patch test if you are trying something new. I particularly like her Hydragel Lipstick, which I use most days on-air at QVC, sometimes with Laura Geller lip gloss over it, but there is also foundation, blusher, highlighter and the arch master brow product in this TSV, along with a double-ended application brush. I’m with Doris at 11am on Sunday morning, which is also Triple Day.

We have been doing Triple Day for several years now on QVC. Because it is the 3rd day of the 3rd month, everything on air is on three interest-free instalments and we have some brilliant deals coming your way – we gave you a little taster of some of those deals at lunchtime yesterday and again today and my Fashion on Friday today also has everything 3 interest-free instalments, so I hope you can join me for that.

Just back to my trip to Kew Gardens for a final thought – in the Palm House we came across a plant called the Madagascar periwinkle, a pretty little plant that maybe some of you grow. What you may not know is that two of the alkaloids found in the poisonous sap of this plant are now used to fight leukemia and Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. One tonne of leaves must be processed to provide one dose but it is so worth it. In the 1960s, only 20% of childhood leukemia victims survived – now 95% have a chance of remission due to drugs developed from this plant – what an amazing success story.

I hope the weekend is not too chilly,
Much love,
Julia xx


  1. Madeline aka mancitymad March 1, 2019 at 3:19 pm -  Reply

    Lovely photos of Kew – thanks. Will look for a Madagascar periwinkle my mum
    and brother both died from blood cancers.
    Hope your boys do well tomorrow, pity Burnley appear to have turned their
    season around!! ( and hope I haven’t cursed them by wishing them well).
    Don’t forget you took 3 points against the team I have supported in all the divisions
    they have been in.

    • Julia Roberts March 12, 2019 at 9:56 am -  Reply

      Hi Madeleine
      I’m sorry to hear you lost your mum and brother to blood cancer – confession, I posted the wrong picture on my blog of the Madagascan periwinkle. It has pretty little pinky/purple flowers. The plant pictured smells of written cheese!
      We did it against Burnley but sadly not against Brighton last weekend which was a shame as it was my first visit to Selhurst this season!
      I think maybe your boys have done enough to win the league – although you have got us at Selhurst next month 😉
      Julia x

  2. Josephine Lynne Jennings March 1, 2019 at 4:19 pm -  Reply

    Julia you look so well and happy in your photos. Kew gardens are inspirational.

    • Julia Roberts March 12, 2019 at 9:58 am -  Reply

      Hi Josephine
      Thanks for your kind comments – I think the sunshine makes such a difference to all of us. We’ll definitely visit Kew again at some point
      Julia x

  3. Sandra R March 2, 2019 at 9:25 am -  Reply

    Lovely blog, once again, Julia. You look great after your holiday, have you lost some weight? Hugs and a great weekend to you! Sandra x

    • Julia Roberts March 12, 2019 at 10:01 am -  Reply

      Hi Sandra,
      Glad you enjoyed reading my blog. I may have lost a couple of pounds now but not in that photo – it’s the Antthony top I think – I always wear it when I want to look slimmer!
      Julia x

  4. martin forbes March 2, 2019 at 11:39 am -  Reply

    Hi julia hope you chris dan and sophie are well.
    iam enjoying a2week lazy holiday from work being lazy doing nothing

    • Julia Roberts March 12, 2019 at 10:03 am -  Reply

      Hi Martin
      We are all well thanks. Hope you enjoyed your two weeks off work? I’ve just been off for a few days and off again next week using up annual leave before the end of March.
      Julia x

  5. Elizabeth Keenan March 10, 2019 at 4:17 pm -  Reply

    Hiya Julia
    Woo hoo exceeded 16,000 steps that was amazing. Your wedding will not be long going in now, a lot to be doing along with your book as well. Good for you doing great. Much love
    Elizabeth ❤️

    • Julia Roberts March 12, 2019 at 10:07 am -  Reply

      Hi Elizabeth,
      I paid for those 16,000 steps a couple of days later with a very achy back but I’m okay now thankfully, although sitting at my desk writing for hours on end is not great for my back either!
      Moderation in all things is best I guess
      Julia x

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