The Christmas decorations are down, the rush hour traffic has returned and things are returning to normal. Except for an extra inch around my tummy (hopefully temporary!) and, perhaps, a renewed intention to create a balance in my life.
First things first, of course, Happy New Year to you all, if I’m not too late. I wish you good health and as much happiness as possible in 2019.
2018 was a very mixed year for me, with the wonderful highlight of the birth of my first grandchild but also the massive sadness of losing my Mum, not long after Dad had died. Neither deaths were expected and both knocked me totally sideways.
Baby Zoe seems to have healing powers, whenever I hold her I feel calm inside, but overall the past year has been pretty tumultuous for me. So this year I resolve to spend more time doing the things that bring me peace and pleasure. I’ve decided to reduce my days at QVC and will be on air a couple of days fewer each month. I plan to devote more time to travelling to Peterborough where Bex and Dan live with Zoe. She is loving being able to crawl now and has started cruising around the furniture – she seems to change every week and I don’t want to miss a thing!
But I find small things can help to create peace in my mind too. One essential thing for me is to spend some time outside every day. It could just be taking a cup of tea into the garden for a few minutes, to listen to the birdsong and simply breathe.
If I have time I love to walk in the countryside and I managed some of that over New Year in the Lake District where Olley and I were staying with my brother Pete and his wife. I love it there, and took myself off into the hills behind their house in Ulverston as soon as we arrived.
If you’re familiar with the area you’ll probably recognise the Hoad monument, built to commemorate Sir John Barrow who was born in Ulverston in 1764. Sir John was a founder member of the Royal Geographical, and held various government posts in the 19th century becoming the Second Secretary to the Admiralty. It was designed to resemble a lighthouse but has never had a functional light – indeed it is a couple miles from the coast – but it has fabulous views over Morecambe Bay.
The sense of freedom and joy I feel when I’ve climbed to the top of a hill and stand with the wind in my face is wonderful – my heart soars! I have a selfie photo on my desk as a reminder of how good life can be.
The photo of Pete and me together is at one of my favourite places overlooking Wast Water, the deepest lake in England which in turn is overlooked by the England’s highest mountain, Scafell.
The cloud was too low for us to see the peak, but it was still beautiful. It always is. It’s easy to see the beauty in mountain landscapes like this one, but how about the shapes and colours in a dry stone wall – such craftsmanship!
As I said earlier, I enjoy spending time in the fresh air of my garden. I’m looking forward to seeing how the many tulip bulbs I’ve planted look when spring arrives, but there’s also great pleasure in simply looking and watching from a window indoors.
We are launching our new season of gardening at QVC this weekend (5/6th January) and on Tuesday 8th we’ll have the first Gardening TSV of the year – it’s really clever as it’s something for your plants and the birds.
From Bernini, you can fill it with flowers, bird food and water as it’s a garden planter, bird feeder and a fountain all at the same time! The fountain runs on batteries so doesn’t need sunshine or wires to work. You can hang it from a bracket, post or tree or just place it on the ground or a table so it will be perfect for most gardens, however small.
Put it by a window you look through from your favourite chair, or while you’re washing up, and watch the birds as you are help them through the winter. There are plenty of other items that you might like to look at if you like the idea of increasing your contact with nature. I’ve just ordered a couple of nesters for robins but there are also ideas for helping the bees, butterflies and even hedgehogs too!
I suppose the message I’m trying to give with this blog is how important it is for us all to find what it is that helps us cope with the pressures and sadnesses that are inevitable as we trundle through our lives. Whatever it is, perhaps doing something creative, maybe listening to music, or, like me, getting outside, it’s really worth making the effort to do it as frequently as possible. I find the more I look after myself the nicer I am to the people around me. And that can’t be a bad thing.
Take care and all good wishes for 2019. Good luck and good health to you.