The Year of the Goat


I’m sure many of you will already know that yesterday was the start of the Chinese New Year. We have moved into the Year of the Goat, or should that be Sheep or even Ram? My Chinese astrology book has always referred to it as the Year of the Sheep which we tend to think of as quite a placid animal – a follower rather than a leader – so this year I’ve decided to view it as the Year of the Goat which exhibits more of the characteristics the world needs at the moment.

Goats love to climb, reaching places other animals can’t reach, representing progress and achievement and they are sure-footed where others flounder. They have vitality, curiosity, sturdiness, endurance and independence. Apparently, historically, the year of the wood goat, which only occurs every sixty years, has been favourable for signing peace treaties so let’s hope this year follows suit. However it is not necessarily a good year for starting something new, but better for bringing past efforts to fruition and reaffirming existing contacts. There is a big focus on family life so a good year for births and marriages – which I am sure Ali Keenan will be delighted to hear!

I also discovered through a bit of internet research that my number for this year (according to the 9 star Ki chart) is 8earth which corresponds to career, work and life path… I like the sound of ‘Julia Roberts: novelist’! If you believe in Feng Shui you might want to consider having a picture of a goat somewhere in your home or as a screensaver on your phone or computer. I was about to start searching for an image when I remembered I already had plenty… let me explain.


In 1976 my mum and dad sold our family home in Nottingham and bought a croft on the Isle of Skye to escape the rat race. This was quite a dramatic lifestyle change at their respective ages of 50 and 56, but my parents have never been particularly conventional (now you know where I get it from!). Their cottage came with a bit of land so my parents decided to keep chickens and goats. The pictures at the top of my blog and here with my mum are of their first goat Gilly (named after one of my best friends at the time) when she was a kid.

My Mum with Gillie

The pictures of my dad and me with Gilly were taken a year later when she was pregnant with her first kid. Mum and Dad were hoping for a female to keep and rear for milk but unfortunately it was a little boy and there is not much demand for ‘billies’ I’m afraid… as a vegetarian (although I wasn’t at the time) I don’t like to think about his fate.

Although I didn’t live with my mum and dad full time on the Isle of Skye it was a lovely place to retreat to between my dancing jobs, so calm and tranquil with wonderful views to the sea and the Scottish mainland beyond. Funny thing is I found some old premium bonds with a Portree post office stamp on them the other day that I had forgotten I had so the National Savings office doesn’t have my latest address. Wouldn’t it be funny if they turned out to be winning bonds… can’t promise to share if they are but the money would come in handy if we are going to go to Australia for Chris’s nephew’s wedding in May! The invitation finally arrived this week and I’m hoping it’s not too late to get reasonably-priced flights. I’ve always wanted to visit and now we have an excuse… watch this space.

photoAnother arrival this week was the two Instride Walkers I ordered a month ago when mine finally broke after about a dozen years. We used to sell it on QVC and both Sophie and I really like it for ‘getting sweaty’ quickly, so I ordered one for her too so that she can take it when she moves out. Chris assembled them for us and Milo checked that he’d done it properly!

Today’s Fashion on Friday is featuring Etoile knitwear and Bibi Bijoux is the main brand on Spotlight on Jewellery so I hope you will join me for both. I’m on this weekend with Michele Hope, Sealy beds and Mally make-up and then a double helping of Butler & Wilson on Monday afternoon which I hope Simon will be well enough to guest as I haven’t seen him since December.

I hope the Chinese Year of the Goat is a good one for you – Gung Hay Fat Choy and in the meantime have a lovely weekend.


much love

Julia xx


  1. TINA S February 20, 2015 at 11:35 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Enjoyed reading about the cottage your parents bought on the Isle of Skye. It seems an idyllic escape from the rat race, although I don’t know if I would have coped with the cold weather there!
    We have just about recovered after watching the rugby last weekend. It was as always a very tense and exciting game against Scotland. I’m glad to say we won, but only by 3 points! The trouble with rugby is that you can’t relax until the final whisle blows as the score can change in a split second. Especially so if someone scores a drop goal at the last minute, then its goodnight Vienna (lol). There’s no rugby this weekend so we’ve got a chance to recover from the last game.
    Well I must make a move as it’s getting late again.
    Best wishes, Tina S (S.Wales)

    • TINA S February 23, 2015 at 5:29 pm -  Reply

      Hi Julia,
      It’s me again! Just to let you know I was watching B&W Jewellery when you were showing the Dragon Brooch with the Welsh Flag and mentioned me (being Rugby mad and Welsh!) My husband was there at the time and laughed out loud. I did try and get through to the studio to say I had heard you mention me but apparently there was a problem with the studio lines and they couldn’t put me through. They did say they would get a message through to you as my name had been mentioned. I’ve always declined when I have been asked if I’d like to be a “T” Caller in the past as I’ve heard what I sound like on my telephone answer machine!
      I plucked up the courage to phone and was so disappointed not to get through. nevermind. The QVC Operater laughed when I explained why I wanted to be put through, saying “fame at last”. Best wishes, Tina x

      • Julia Roberts February 26, 2015 at 5:44 pm -  Reply

        Hi Tina
        What a shame you couldn’t be put through to the studio as a T caller, it would have been so nice to talk to you … and I didn’t get a message that you had rung! I had to mention you when I saw the dragon with the Welsh flag. I’m hoping to get down to see Daniel this weekend … can’t believe it is four weeks since he moved, how time flies … so I may be in Wales for St. David’s day.
        You know I never remember it being particularly cold on Skye, maybe we were on the sheltered side of the island. They definitely used to get more rain on the west coast near Dunvegan.
        Enjoy your weekend off from rugby
        Julia x

  2. Steven February 21, 2015 at 11:28 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia hope you are ell. The Instride walkers look great. I might look to purchase one. Hope you get your flights to Australia sorted. That sounds exciting. It was my birthday the other day there and I was at the football last night… lazy day ahead today I think. Caught one of your shows the other night and you looked fantastic. You must be using the walkers well



    • Julia Roberts February 26, 2015 at 5:49 pm -  Reply

      Hi Steven
      Happy belated birthday! We haven’t definitely decided to go to the wedding in Australia yet … I’ve been really busy so haven’t had chance to look at flights yet.
      Talking of football did you see the dodgy decisions given against Palace last weekend – refs still favour the bigger teams in my opinion. We are on television against West Ham on Saturday so I will have an early start if I go and see Daniel in Swansea as I won’t want to miss the kick-off.
      So glad to have the Instride Walkers again … so useful for me to get up a sweat as I can’t run.
      Thanks for the compliment
      Speak soon
      Julia x

  3. Gilli G February 22, 2015 at 5:54 pm -  Reply

    Your fab Julia. I love watching all the shows you present. You are always so delightful , full of fun and well informed. As Bruce would say, your mine and my family’s favourite. Xx

    • Julia Roberts February 26, 2015 at 5:51 pm -  Reply

      Hi Gilli
      Thanks so much for your kind words it really means a lot to get such positive feedback and yes I remember that Brucie’ism!
      Julia x

  4. Hazel Melville February 23, 2015 at 7:00 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia, please can you tell me where you purchased your in stride walkers from. When I was in Turkey last year they had a couple on the beach which my sister and myself loved to use. Would like to purchase them for home use. Please advise. Thank you.

    • Julia Roberts February 26, 2015 at 5:57 pm -  Reply

      Hi Hazel
      Sophie found them online from a place called Outlet Direct – they had been reduced to £49.99 and because we ordered two it was free P&P. they took about three weeks to arrive but it was well worth the wait … Love it!
      Hope you manage to order one
      Julia x

  5. Jean Pugh February 23, 2015 at 7:32 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julie,
    It was interesting to read about the goat, they love to jump. I quite like them.

    The Isle of Sky I expect that was a nice calm place to live. Lovely picture of the Cottage, and quite a dramatic change of lifestyle.

    The Instride Walker I use mine a lot, I got this one from QVC. I do like the colour of yours, my favourite colour. I spotted Milo in the box, they have to be in on everything don’t they.

    It was great to see Simon back on QVC, hopefully he is fully recovered.

    You mentioned you hope to go to Australia, that will be great.

    Take care.

    Love Jean XX

    • Julia Roberts February 26, 2015 at 6:02 pm -  Reply

      Hi Jean
      The Isle of Skye was a lovely place to visit but very off the beaten track particularly as mum and dad lived quite far to the north so it was a distance from the ferry.
      It was lovely to have Simon back. He’s not quite fully better but on the mend. He does so well with all the travelling he does for work particularly at his age.
      Still no decision on Australia – I will try and check out some flights this week.
      Speak soon
      Julia x

  6. Kathryn Tranter February 24, 2015 at 12:00 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Love the cottage up in Scotland, only been as far as The Lake District, but very similair in scenery would think. Catching up on blogs been a bit behind as we have adopted a rescue dog, a pretty Border Collie called “Lulu” we had to think hard as we do have quite a few holiday’s in the year and also our home in Spain. But she has had a bad time and needs a lot of love which she will get from us. Family are falling over them selves to look after her while we are away. ! She is a real pleasure to own and sleeps a lot. lol. Ollie our cat is not to impressed, but getting there. Our trip to New Zealand next is on hold for now till we retire and can go for a few months rather than weeks. Bet you are looking forward to your trip to Australia, May is a lot cooler too ,and there are alway’s bargain flights there Julia, look on line first, and check with Travel agents and see if they can do better. My Farther in Law is in Auckland New Zealand at the moment on his annual visit but has gone for 6 weeks this time, can’t remember who he booked with, but they upgraded him about 1 month before he went and has a bed and shower and all sorts of Luxury things, and the same on his return flight. Sure you will find something. One thing having a dog now, the walking does your legs good feeling quite toned a ready. Especially walking on heathland and the beach.

    Speak soon. Have fun looking for flights.
    Kathy x

    • Julia Roberts February 26, 2015 at 6:09 pm -  Reply

      Hello Kathy
      How lovely that you have adopted a dog. When eventually our beautiful Poppy goes to cat heaven I think we will have a dog … I couldn’t do it to her now as she is so timid and has been so accepting of having first Wilfie, then Milo and now both of them living in her home.
      We haven’t 100 per cent decided that we are going to Australia – obviously my health is a slight issue to take into consideration but if we do go the wedding is in Sydney (to answer your second post). Sophie has already been but none of the rest of us have apart from Chris’s mum but she won’t be making the journey at 81, and I don’t think Daniel will be able to get the time off from his job at Swansea City.
      Julia x

  7. Valerie Shotton February 24, 2015 at 11:27 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia, could you tell me the name of the hotel that you stayed at in Dubai, what was it like and also was it a good location for sightseeing, shopping etc, thank you from Valerie.

    • Julia Roberts February 26, 2015 at 6:20 pm -  Reply

      Hi Valerie,
      We have been twice. The second time was a long way out of Dubai City but we quite enjoyed that.
      The first time we went we stayed at Le Royal Meridien Hotel & Spa. It was positioned really well for shopping etc. (not that we moved from the hotel as we were only there for five days) and the hotel gardens were beautiful and extensive with three good size swimming pools and views out to the Palm. It’s right on the beach and the sea was like a warm bath.The rooms were nice but the decor was a little dated though overall I would highly recommend it.
      Hope that helps
      Julia x

  8. Kathryn Tranter February 25, 2015 at 2:53 pm -  Reply

    Julia, Sorry i forgot to ask which part of Australia will you be going to. ??

    Kathy x

  9. Yvie G February 25, 2015 at 5:33 pm -  Reply

    Hello Julia, I am an Aries Ram and I think you told me once I was a Sheep!! so lets hope this will be a better year for me and my family. Its been a strange week for us one way and another, we went to a tea shop miles from home, sat having a nice coffee when I noticed a lady sitting opposite I thought i knew, and I did!!!! She and I were friends way back in the seventies, we worked together forty years ago, so we had a lot to catch up on!!!! I seem to be bumping into a lot of people from way back lately, which is nice really, so when I read your blog this week about the seventies , I noticed you had the very same coat on that I owned ( from petticoat market, i seem to remember) which we had only been looking at in old photos a week ago!!! AND my husbands Aunt and Uncle lived (and still do) in portree!!!! Wouldn’t it be funny if your parents knew them. So… is it Perth in Australia you are going to, cos my brother lives there!! lol. On my second month of Diet Chef, lost 16 pounds so far, will just keep going, found it quite easy. love Yvie G.

    • Julia Roberts February 26, 2015 at 11:58 pm -  Reply

      Hi Yvie
      I hope you have a better year – are you sixty this year? If so you will be a wood sheep/goat the same as this year as it is a sixty year cycle.
      Sounds like you’ve ad a few strange goings on lately – how funny that you ave relatives living in Portree.
      We haven’t definitely decided to go to Australia yet but the wedding is in Sydney rather than Perth so no coincidence there.
      Big congratulations on your weight loss. I also found Diet Chef quite easy once I got started but eventually became bored with the lack of variety for vegetarians – also I like cooking! Keep me posted.
      Julia x

  10. Julie Griffiths February 25, 2015 at 6:13 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    I was wondering if you could tell me how you style your own hair & what tools you use to get it looking so nice. Like you I have curly hair & have to blow dry it smooth first. I usually use the Ego hair dryer which is soooo light. Putting heated rollers in mine never really works. Was wondering whether to purchase to Ego ones? Good luck with your trip to Australia. Enjoy all of your shows.
    Julie xx

    • Julia Roberts February 27, 2015 at 12:04 am -  Reply

      Hello Julie
      Mostly I blow dry my hair using Aveda Pure Abundance spray and then put Ego rollers in it. I really like them as they heat up in seconds. You could try a stronger hold styling spray if your hair doesn’t usually take the curl too well. Also when you take each roller our unravel the hair gently to preserve the curl and just run your fingers through rather than brushing.
      Goo to hear you enjoy my shows – thanks.
      Julia x

  11. loraine February 25, 2015 at 7:30 pm -  Reply

    Dear Julia really enjoyed you blog memories are so important love watching you on qvc hope you don’t mind me asking what eye liner and
    mascara you use I’m always trying to find different ones have you ever used revitalash mascara many thanks Loraine xxx

    • Julia Roberts February 27, 2015 at 12:10 am -  Reply

      Hello Loraine
      Thanks for your lovely compliment. I have used the Revitalash eyelash conditioner, in fact I’m currently two months in on this latest session, but haven’t tried the mascara. At the moment I’m using Eyeko Magic mascara in black and Bare Minerals eyeliner in a dark brown shade BUT there is a new beauty product of the month Eyeko mascara and liner starting in March so maybe try that.
      Julia x

  12. Annette Roberts February 26, 2015 at 5:55 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    What a brilliant blog this week, not that they aren’t all brilliant of course. It must of been quite something for your Mum and Dad to ‘up sticks’ to a croft on the Isle of Skye, the scenery would be to die for, but I should imagine quite windy at times. You look really happy cuddling the little goat and lovely pictures of your Mum and Dad, nice memories.

    Wow, you’ve got a trip to Australia to look forward to, although quite a lengthy flight. My cousin emigrated back in the late 60’s with Shell and came home for a visit in the late 70’s, but has not been back since because it was too upsetting going back to OZ. I had the chance to go and visit in the 80’s, but couldn’t take 6 weeks off work, the length of time my Auntie was going for…had I known that a few months later the company closed down making everybody redundant, I wouldn’t have hesitated!

    Hope Sophie’s house hunting is going far better than ours, we’ve viewed about 20 places over the past couple of weekends…you find the right place, but then there’s too much to do on it, or there’s nothing to do and its in the wrong area. I’ve spent literally hours and hours on the internet…something will turn up soon, I hope! Totally agree with you though, Agents tend to forget what a big thing it is buying a house, it has to be right and you’re not talking pennies here!

    Glad you enjoyed wearing your pink Go Walks last night, they looked brill and are ever so comfy. I ordered they natural colour as I already have bright orange and a pair of black ones with bright pink soles. They will be a must for your trip to OZ.

    Absolutely love your Instride Walkers…another piece of equipment to think about…birthday in June maybe, but then we would have to find a much bigger house LOL!
    Annette x

    • Julia Roberts February 27, 2015 at 10:52 am -  Reply

      Hi Annette
      Glad that you particularly enjoyed this week’s blog – I enjoyed writing it and finding the pictures of Skye …
      As I mentioned in earlier replies I haven’t 100% decided to make the trip to Australia for the wedding. The flight is rather daunting so we would probably want a stop somewhere and that could get expensive! Also I think I would rather go in their summer months … it’s a long way to go if it’s going to be rainy and cold! Decisions, decisions.
      Sophie and I saw a really nice flat last weekend but it was top floor and had very slanted ceilings – also slightly overpriced. She hasn’t ruled it out but is hanging on for one to come on the market in a development she really likes.. fingers crossed, and for you too.
      The Skechers Go Walk TSV’s were sooooo comfy. I have very difficult feet with high arches, big toe joints and one foot almost a size bigger than the other – not to mention narrow at the ankle and wide across the front. They were perfect on me – hope everyone else who got them loves them too.
      You know the Instride Walkers fold up flat? Before the gym was finished I used to move the coffee table and use it in the lounge so no excuses particularly as they were only £49.99!
      Happy Birthday Gemini
      Julia x

  13. Steven February 28, 2015 at 11:16 am -  Reply

    Yeah I saw that Julia. You could be right but to be really honest I’m going to disagree with you for once! We always get that in Scotland that ‘the bigger teams’ get all the decisions. I know I’m slightly biased but I don’t see it that way!

    Alan Pardew has done a decent jb since he came in though. I think he’ll keep Palace up. Fingers crossed.

    Hope you have a nice weekend xx

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