Return to Homepage

Debbie Flint

Debbie Flint

Debbie Flint

Regulars will know that I've been volunteering at the mass vaccination centre at Epsom Grandstand weekly since the end of January. And this week I got contacted by a reporter to see if he could put my story in his news piece, and it's out this Saturday apparently*. My sis was the one who got me into it, having gone there herself after registering and being called in to help. The next week they needed people so I trekked along with her and got the Astra Zeneca for my sins as they had one left over at the end of the session. Since then I've done my four hours a week on a Tuesday late afternoon and have loved every minute.

I'm mainly wiping down chairs and guiding people to the right place to wait , to see the nurse for the jab, or to sit for 15 mins afterwards. Sometimes I go wipe down the staffroom (pic) and have to resist the lovely treats kind people bring for the staff, volunteers and nurses. People really are so thoughtful. The homemade cakes go down the best! 

Nicest of all though is the feeling of having helped out and done my bit. People are so grateful, 'are you a volunteer?' they ask. 'Oh thank you so much, for what you do.' It warms the cockles it really does. There's a genial atmosphere and one that's not unlike the feeling of when you are queueing at the start of a vacation or some such. We all help each other out too, taking breaks when needed and finding new cameraderie with family and friends who have stepped up to help the NHS staff deliver these life-changing vaccinations. My brother was also helping and got one, and mum was delighted to have both of hers recently, once she got called up, she came along on a day when we were there. Team Linda expanded and the Rota Central roster was filled!


I have to make a point which I know some won't agree with, but I'm going to see what you think. Well done Government for having the forethought to invest in the AZ vaccine production, for taking a punt and ordering so many doses from several sources, and for scaling up everything so fast - including helping the NHS get it done, even recruiting help from the army etc. It could have been so different - and I feel for my pals in the EU at the moment. It does make me smile though, when certain left-leaning friends will state loudly that they are so grateful for the vaccination, yet say they hate the Tories in the same breath. Or those who say 'well done NHS' without recognising that it was Boris's team who made it all possible in the first place. There are local and mayoral elections coming up in May and it'll be interesting to see if the silent majority who gave him his 80 majority in the Commons, stand up to be counted again and make it a big showing for the Conservatives. Personally I hope so, and will be delivering leaflets in Banstead for the local County councillor candidate and continuing my distanced online support for my association in Devon... watch this space...


I must say it's been weird living an alternative life here in Surrey. Especially with the recent nice weather. My new flat has a super balcony and spending time on it has been fab. I'm even weeding a little section on the edge of the lawns below, in case I'm able to plant some bulbs and beat the weeds. Although it looks right now as though the weeds will win! Devon has some fab holiday let bookings in the diary this summer - it's full, so selling it is on hold for now. But I hope to get back down after Easter and see some of my friends before the holiday season begins again. I'm going to run half a dozen retreats this year too - ones that are postponed from last year and possibly one or two others, but no major new ones till the dust has settled a bit more.


In the meantime, Netflix has become my mainstay and I'm ploughing through catch up TV at a rate of knots. At time of writing I'm thoroughly into 'Grace and Frankie' - Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin knocking it out of the park as a latter-day 'Odd Couple' whose husbands leave them for each other. So I'm off to watch another right now, in the middle of my 11 days annual leave. Well, I did an extra day in the middle of my break, sickness cover, but you know what I mean!

I do hope you get the vaccine and it all goes well. The country is over half vaccinated now, with second doses accelerating and the light at the end of the lockdown tunnel is getting brighter and brighter! 

~Have a lovely week and a super Easter.

Best wishes



ps don't forget to read my QVC blogs each Friday afternoon on - stories plus of course, follow my social media - including the live video each Thursday night - search #ThursdayBantz !

(*The Sun is doing a piece on volunteers and the reporter contacted me saying his wife watches QVC so hello to Sue and Mike Ridley! It's in the ad as well, going out Saturday.). 

How weird. 

I've just been sitting looking through old cards as I take down another year's Christmas decs (well some of them!) and I realised how time has flown. It's almost as tho this little blog has been on hold waiting for the moment I pick up the mantle once more and get my fingers working to type out some prose so you can read it and find out what's been going on in my life. (Apologies to those who said they miss my weekly newsletter emails!)

You'll have realised my focus has been on my QVC blogs and most readers have located them but if not, they are always now here - , cataloguing the shenanigans I've been getting up to over the past few years since this blog took a hiatus. Anyhoo...

Another year gone by means another look back and I'm not about to start banging on about highlights or a review as once again, I've already covered that! (If you'd like to read my Review of the Year blog its' here.) Nonetheless given what a tumultuous year 2020 was, I thought I'd take to the keyboard and, scrolling through the blogs for the last 52 weeks or so, I've realised how much has changed. 

So the new flat, for one. Regular followers of my social media (see my home page, all listed there) will know I've moved into a little flat next to my mum in the same complex back in Banstead, as my sis and my niece. 'Flint Towers' someone called it, but there's another 99 flats apart from ours so not really! But I've loved the forays into the woods nearby and being able to continue my live posts which so many Facebookers have come to know and love. 

QVC has been amazing, not just the job itself but how they've looked after us all - kudos to the bosses - and I feel very lucky indeed.

Less fabulous has been the situation in Devon, where my poor little (well, big) guest house has languished since early March last year. Little did my pal Alison May and I know that her workshop week around March 9th would be the last one for what will probably be almost a year! But what a success becoming a holiday let was, in July and August! And parts of September, and little in October then nothing again, once the rule of six kicked in - people don't want a house that can sleep up to 14! Then Christmas and New Year bookings were obviously cancelled once the next lot of restrictions kicked in. And now I'm debating whether to offer it as a furnished residential letting to at least cover some costs. 

Hopefully things will pick up in the Spring. Or Summer. Or Autumn... hopefully sooner rather than later but having looked around at some very appealing places for an alternative venue for my retreats, I'm not crestfallen - far from it! From the five floor Georgian townhouse in Bristol with a basement hot tub and sauna, to the farmhouse just over the Welsh border with acres to explore, to the Old School House in Gloucestershire, there are many choices. So the writing retreats will carry on. And with at least six postponed workshops all awaiting the go ahead, it'll be fun choosing where to take them, if things end up changing in Devon. 

My politics have gone online, and it's been wonderful having access to some key speakers and online quizzes and fundraisers (Balloon Debate anyone?), as the ups and downs of the pandemic have brought many different emotions to us supporters. We've set about raising funds and getting laptop donations which once refurbished have helped local needy students and their mums in parts of our constituency in Devon. And I've done Facebook sessions for would-be councillors on how to best use social media (Ok I know a bit about that, right! Go here to see a summary of it in an article I was asked to write.) However, with the vaccinations full steam ahead, a resounding success and a return to normality could be on the cards before almost any other country in the world. Won't that be wonderful?

So I sat down to write a short hello, and as usual it's turned out a bit longer than I thought. I just wanted to say I hope you're all ok - please reach out to one of the many many numbers out there that can help you , if you're not. And here's to a much much better 2021 than 2020 - for all of us , and the world!

best wishes





I don’t know about you, but doesn’t having to make yourself number one, makes you re-evaluate things?

So my first bit of news is, in case you didn’t know already, that I already tested positive for Antibodies. Yes I already had COVID-19. Apparently. Because I have no idea! Apart from feeling completely wiped out for about three days, probably early March I can’t really remember, when the only symptoms they were talking about were a cough and a fever, I don’t know when it was. (I paid for a test in Hammersmith at clinic, With a £100,000 machine, blood test, the proper serology test.) Anyway, during all of this time and since, having followed all of the guidelines and really thought hard about my own needs, it made me realise that it’s time to make some changes.


with a £100,000 machine, blood test, the proper Sarah ology test.) Anyway, during all of this time and since, having followed all of the guidelines and really thought hard about my own needs, it made me realise that it’s time to make some changes.


I want to have my own place again! So I’m looking at renting somewhere near my sis Linda and my mum in Banstead. The estate they lived on is a converted hospital in Banstead Woods and the grounds are amazing, tennis court, barbecue, Koi carp et cetera. And I think if I move there I will feel like a proper grown-up! Down in Devon they have obviously been no retreats although I hope that the August ones will continue as planned. In the meantime I am looking at putting it onto Airbnb So people can rent it self catering as a holiday home. My daughters place in Wales which is now finished – the one that Nick built – is already booked for much of the summer assuming things change and people can go to UK holidays. So fingers crossed all will be good again.


Fingers crossed


I hope that

First, happy birthday to my adorable son and before you say it, yes he does look like 'that bloke out of 50 Shades films' and yes, it one hundred per cent RUINED the movies for me!! For obvious reasons. Had a super get together with him and the two year old, who said 'silly nan-nan' and laughed, when I tickled her under the table on her knee. Growing up so fast. Both of them. Am sure you've had that in your life!
And secondly, Pretty Woman was amaaaazing. Brad was just THREE when Pretty Woman the movie first came out and over the years I've had pretty much every edit of the film, from VHS to DVD to BluRay. Well the theatre production was true to the film and I loved it. Hope to see it again, and highly recommended. Have been feeling a lot happier of late, partly due to all the exercise now I'm 'training it' as my family would say. And the reasons why are all tied up with why last year was such a weird time for me... more of that below.
Well I have completed about three weeks now of almost entirely train journeys and left the car in Devon. There is a reason why - bear with me.
After three years of lonnnng journeys in the car to and from my new home in Devon, I accumulated one too many points after late night journeys on empty motorways and sudden changes of speed limit.
I needed to get lots more steps done more regularly, and obviously lose weight. Mind you, the health scan I have regularly - as part of my work package - at the Nuffield, was okay. Apart from the usual recommendation to drop some pounds, cholesterol was good - really good - blood pressure good, blood measurements good (a couple had had some question marks in years gone by,) Airflow in my lungs, good (despite having had a bit of diary the day before, stupidly! It always makes my chest a little wheezy.) Heart indicators all good.But with my big holiday cruise coming up in May, and everything else going so well, it’s about time I got this in check.
One of the things I have to do is make sure I switch off (missus juggler here finds that very hard. I just completed a 'debbie day' as my pal Craig would call it, which consisted of lunch with Brad, in Stratford, then coffee and admin work in Waterstones cafe in Chiswick, then a brilliant film, Dark Waters, then ... work.) So a bit of reflexology never goes amiss. And I must get back to meditation which always helped me no end, from 1991 till around 2005, when I had an awful f***wit boyfriend and lost my confidence a bit, and had a b it of depression. And de-prioritised my me-time. Not a lot of people know about that era - well, social media wasn't around so why would most people know. I recovered and got back my mojo and have been pretty much ok till last year. Without realising it, I'd slipped into a concealed state that I can only now look back and label as some version of depression. Hence, lack of blogs on here. 
Looking back at last year, it’s interesting to see how things mounted up and I ended up being a little rundown and a lot under the weather. When I eat sugar I feel blue. Simple as that. And running a tea room/cakes/late night drive is where I need sugar to keep me awake/eating pudding is when the guests are at the retreat… It all led to too much sugar for too long. I had a little mini meltdown late November, and had a few days sick off work. That’s so rare for me. The last time was January 2017! And before that, I can’t actually remember being off for an unplanned sickness absence (operation not included.)
I knew something was wrong. And now I see that too many hours in the car, eating rubbish, and not enough sleep, made for a difficult combination. Not paying attention on late-night journeys is an absolute no-no of course. So as my points mounted up, I got precariously close to needing to stop driving. Facing six months without a car, I felt panicky. Then I checked myself.
I began picturing life where the train took the strain. I would have so much more time to do stuff, loads of stuff, on long journeys to Devon and to see Lauren in Wales. With nothing to prevent me from tap tapping away. I may even finish my book! Getting around in London is a doddle, mainly, since public transport might take longer on the whole but it’s quicker compared to going by car to QVC in Chiswick from South Croydon! So I've started leaving the car in Devon and going places mostly by train. It's an hour to QVC, door-to-door. And we have a company cab after hours to take us home. I’ve been on buses and trams and more trains in the last month then I have in the last 10 years, I think. And it really has taken the strain away.
I do updates regularly on my Facebook page et cetera, with the vlogs called 'let the train take the strain' – visit Facebook page to see more and read the regular trip reports! Some funny things happen when you are on the train journey. Some lovely things as well, like the Dawlish train route I took to a conference in Torquay, with the waves barely feet away from the train line. Then I got picked up in Carmarthen in Wales by my daughter, which felt lovely. And family and friends have been marvellous in Devon. By the way Lauren's holiday accommodation cabin which they've just finished is called The Hiveaway and is like a little hobbitses haven high up in a field in Wales - anyone looking for an alternative to travelling near people, please consider this!
Instagram Pic - The Hiveaway Glamping
Devon is obviously the problem, but there is a very tame taxi firm whom we have an arrangement with for my retreat, so failing all else, that’s what I use. Plus as the weather improves I will use my electric bike. Plus from March onwards there will be someone is living at my place on a trial basis, which will help enormously. On so many levels.
Over the past 3 to 4 weeks I have Walked 10,000 steps a day more often than not. One of the measurements of the hill scan was that my waistline was smaller than last year, which I did not expect! And drinking more water means that, with a splash of lemon juice in it, I find myself not having such a sweet tooth. And long late journeys mean I don’t have sweets to rely on.
Recently I met my lovely friend Antthony who is fashions we sell on QVC. He said he had been sugar free for three months. We talked about it, me having given up sugar for January, considering my sister was giving up alcohol. We did it together. And I reckon that was a lot to do with why my bloods were as good come February‘s health scan.
Finally I have been a lot more cheerful in myself. The perennial, perpetual, paralysing tightness in my Solar plexus, was released, ( having been there, I realised, for a couple of years.) But when had it started?
Anxiety over grandbabies, yes. Till my daughter told me off one summer and I let go the responsibility for ALL of their lives! It’s difficult isn’t it, once a mother always a mother, but when your children turn into parents, being a grandparent doesn’t mean you have an extra child, it’s a grandchild. So it should be easier. I’m sure I’m not the only one who got that wrong! And now it’s all great as my kids are fantastic parents.
Anxiety over being so far away from people, yes, a bit. Including the anxiety over travelling. Long hours on long journeys alone late at night in the car, when originally I loved it, just got too much for me once I started considering an alternative. My driving muscle (automatic car = numb bum!) always killed me, no matter how many exercises I did. Now I drive so little, it barely registers a twinge! And yes, another signal has been given to me by the universe, prompting me to casually explore other locations for a writing retreat.
Thatched house insurance is getting ridiculous – only one insurer will do it for a guesthouse, and we have a wood burning stove. Apparently that is a problem this year, they’ve decided. So if I can’t get insurance for a guesthouse with a thatched roof, I will be forced to relocate anyway. Now there are lots of other places very nearby, affordable as well. Some, like mansions, not that far away either from where I am now. But if I was to relocate, I would be looking at somewhere closer to transport. Exeter/Taunton possibly.
I actually fantasised for a bit about the idea of a beautiful old courthouse which literally was a courthouse, dating back to the 1600s, on the market somewhere near Bristol, with bedrooms which used to be jail cells. Apparently It was on '4 in a bed' once. But that would mean a whole new environment and I’m not sure I want to do that right now. So we will see. But for now the train seems to be taking the strain and pulley for me. And life is so much better.
I had not realised how I felt so constricted all the time. That’s the only word for it. Not just my solar plexus, but in my daily routine. I actually Watched a programme about being in prison, and that’s how I felt! And freedom is probably my most valuable life attribute, so something had to change.
Fortunately for me, the universe generally intervenes and makes things right. And I definitely feel on a better keel now. Regular reflexology is also helping, drinking lots more water is to, and avoiding sugar as much as I can :-).
New life/new era/new tearoom lady!
Regulars will know that I set up a tearoom in our wonderful place in Devon, but it is only open on Wednesdays at the moment, because I’m building up resources. Last year I had a lovely lady called Pat but she became ill this year and needed to take a break so could not do it. Since I am in Devon three weeks out of four, I figured I could probably do it myself and lovely helper pixie Sian would chip in including when I wasn’t there. So we opened anyway. And lo and behold on the very first day Wendy Green turned up. Well, I've never tasted lemon drizzle like it! Victoria sponge reminds me of the one my Nan used to make, and her carrot cake is to die for. So we are up and running with a lovely new tearoom lady – for now anyway! Thank you universe. And thank you, her hubby Rob, who tends to pop by regularly as well. We will now continue with the original plan to alert people that it is on, and spread the word around Beaworthy in Devon, that we are now open on Wednesdays one till five, with plans to open on weekends from one till five after Easter. Oh and a special opening for Mothers' Day - at Wendy G's suggestion! Possibly if all goes well, she will also help me on Thursdays and Fridays during the summer. So might the new lodger! So that’s that one sorted. Phew.
Another part of the new era is my politics. I have just gained a position in the local Association for whom I love fundraising, and have many plans to contribute over the next few years. More on my politics blog. That makes me very happy and is another reason why I would not move too far from where I am now, for the time being.
But, long-term, I can Foresee a time when I would possibly end up somewhere around the M4/M5 junction. Bristol, Bath? I bloody love bath. And how much closer would it be to QVC! I could probably end up getting to Lauren within two hours if I’m lucky, depending on the trains. Which is a lot better than the four hours it takes me at the moment. Anyway that’s for the future.
Do feel free to keep up-to-date with my shenanigans, via my blogs on my Facebook page mainly. 
 And I do my best to post fun pictures on my Instagram too.
Plus there's lots of info on my Retreat social media too. @retreatsforyou on all platforms and website. Recently we had a big occasion that needed shouting about on social media – two fab literary agents from big agencies in London came down to my retreat for a very special 'ask an agent' weekend. It meant that I was able to offer a whole day session with these experts, for six authors who are unpublished and needed tips and guidance. It was so successful they all contributed afterwards with a list of the Most important things they learned. Go here to my retreats for you blog, to find out more.
I’m also delighted that a top memoirs tutor got in touch and wanted to run a memoirs week as well. So that has now been added to the schedule here. In fact our schedule for retreats with a tutor, is getting pretty full - and they are selling out fast! Our 'Just Write' weeks alternate most of the year, with extras in the summer. Plus I have some yoga retreats coming up as well. It is nice to have a full house.
So everything is working out well. And it’s not long until my big retreat holiday in France assuming nothing happens with coronavirus! Followed by our self Caribbean cruise in May, again assuming nothing happens to stop it. To be honest, I'm thinking it will all be cancelled with every new development and update in the news, but what will be will be. (edited 12th March). And our retreats will remain on until further notice.
I have taken the big step of postponing my Women in Business event in Exeter though - March 28th is not good timing considering all that's going on with advice about crowds. It'll now be September 13th if possible. If any of you are near Exeter then, come along and hear my talk about How to Sell on video. More will be here - we will be changing the Eventbrite date soon as new date is confirmed.
For those of you who are QVC followers, our new blogs seem to have a fresh look, but have caused a few glitches! But you will find them all here each week on the QVC website 'Stories' pages.
Finally, Ziggy the dog is creating quite a stir - and it's always a pleasure to mention him - here's one example, posted on my Facebook page (cos that's where it's easiest to get things quickly.) I love him! He is an Australian Shepherd - a cross between a sheepdog and a german shepherd, and soooo intelligent! Great to see him when I stay with my brother's family in Croydon.
Anyway, am off to see my two kids and their kids on Sunday for our early Mother's Day celebrations, so fingers crossed all goes well and no cancellations. Well, life has to go on on some level, doesn't it!
Best wishes

Social media all listed here, both QVC ones and personal ones – keep in touch! including

 my Facebook page 

my Instagram

my Twitter

Here is the new location for my QVC blogs -

And here on Amazon you will find my four novels, two anthologies of short stories (with other authors) , novellas and non-fiction - go here.


Since 2019 most of my weekly book reviews have taken place on my weekly QVC blogs. Hope you can find them there.

search - debbie flint, QVC blog





New Year, new plan!
Very pleased to be turning the page on 2019 - a fabulous and somewhat challenging year for me personally (hence lack of blogs on this website!). More of that below. 
Now , many of us make new years resolutions, I’m betting that many of you have ones the same this year as they were last year - if you’re like most of us! I’m keeping mine simple this year. Sleep more, meditate every day, & do Bodyblade regularly. I walk a lot anyway, when I’m in Devon. So aiming to walk more when I’m in London. Hereks my latest long DEVON vlog!
Plus Drink lots of water. I got the ‘zero’ water filter for Christmas. It reminds me of Penta water, the purest water I have ever drunk, (which I used to import at one stage from America) so I’m very pleased to be using this and tasting the purity again. I’m encouraging my kids to use filters for their babies as well rather than give them chlorinated tapwater. In years to come maybe they will announce what chlorine (mild bleach) does to gut bacteria, especially in youngsters. After all, it’s there to kill bad bacteria, and isn’t picky. So not drinking it on a regular basis has got to be better than drinking it, I would’ve said. 
My poor brother Glenn was very poorly just before Christmas with a water infection and sepsis symptoms and spent four nights in hospital till he had had a normal temperature for long enough - 48 hours - before they would let him out. It was lovely to get him back just in time for Christmas Eve although it meant a change of plan - rather than everyone at Glenn’s for Boxing Day as normal. Thirty family would be a major stress overload. So we spread out all over the place in different houses instead and it was nice to have him home after a bit of a worrying time. He needs to drink more water as well, and noticed the difference when I gave him some of my green drink. Another one of my musts every day for 2020 for me. All stuff I used to do years ago when I was super healthy and never got ill. In fact I’ve been more I’ll in the last three years of running the retreat (and coincidentally eating more rubbish! – Tearooms/desserts etc) than ever in my life. And getting less sleep, see below. And even if it was brought on by me e.g. playing netball in Devon - for the first time in 37 years and twisting my knee - which then needed an operation, or writing too much and getting carpal tunnel syndrome, and needing an operation… You get the picture... 
But whatever our woes, when you read of the other people in far more difficult situations it puts it all in perspective. 
There’s nothing like helping others to make you feel better.
Bush Fires Perspective
Wouldn’t it be lovely to help those less fortunate than ourselves, to kick off the new year? There’s a lot of news on the Internet at the moment, but none can be much more scary than the bushfires happening in Australia. I read a heart wrenching piece about the poor burned wildlife - many being looked after by so many kind people, and really hard-working charities, so I decided to give a donation. I gave it to the rescue centres one, on the link below, covering people as well as animals. If you want to donate too, do feel free.
New Year New Decade
And, as we pass into the new one, what a decade it was. I was very happy to have a lot of first-time experiences (TiFFTs - try it for the first time club) and memorable moments, list is on my latest QVC blog, link at the bottom of this blog. Hope yours was super as well! From seeing both kids move out then get married, helping them set up home, and mybecoming a grandmother to 2 gorgeous granddaughters. Setting up a new business in Devon with a massive house move which I did not see coming, and which would not have been possible unless my daughter had decided to move to Wales. 
As you may know I bought a writing retreat in a picturesque sleepy North Devon village called Sheepwash. Retreats For You has now been running via me for 3 years and I love it. We have great plans this year including expanding the vintage tea room. I am doing a little more refurbishment - including two more ensuite rooms at some stage - but everything has been more or less brought up to date now and replaced and renovated. One of my highlights was looking at a tiny little shoe with nails in the soles for durability, haRd as rock now, and missing the laces. It’s small - probably only about a size 2 - so possibly that of a child. They put them in the thatch of a new building hundreds of years ago when it was being built, apparently. Fascinating.
It gives me great joy to welcome writers to their full board retreat with us, even down to my love for the little things, eg setting out the breakfast table for our guests, cooking the home-made bread (thank you Panasonic), and making easiyo yoghurt! Organising everything so it is wonderful for the writers to just shut themselves away and do their writing – topics of all sorts, not just novels. But I do need to make some decisions going forward. And due to the toll all the travelling has taken on me, barely having a proper day off, I am going to look at a rebalance. Maybe reducing my London time a bit - maybe a day or so a month from later in the year - we will see. 
The most important thing for each of us, and I know this as well as most, is to ensure that we each get a good life balance. Don’t you agree? And whilst the grandbabies have slid into an increasingly large chunk of my life, over the last 2 years, (and fortunately I don’t have any troublesome partner to worry about!), I must start putting me first. Those who know me well, will know how I will often make sure other people are okay first and foremost. But having had a weekend of exhaustion just before Christmas, I need to redress this.
Sleep is the most important thing for me. If I can sleep then I sleep for England! The book Why We Sleep: the new science of Sleep and Dreams, sheds light on some fascinating facts and rhymes home the need for some good shuteye. So happy there is a good mattress in both of my bedrooms (London and Devon) and I highly recommend the Sealy ones to anybody who will listen :-) (in fact there is a new today special value coming up on QVC today, Saturday 4th).)
Found out in the last three years that I suffer from dry eye , (It’s a thing!), and had several bouts of treatment for with antibiotics drops last year. So trying to be mindful of the time my body tells me it needs to go to sleep, and drinking lots of water, using a heated eye compress, regular eyedrops et cetera, has become the daily thing. But sleep above all is the thing that makes me feel better. And a really good green drink, I use one from Barlean’s , which a friend gets specially for me, and it makes a massive difference to my feeling of well being and just feeling on top of rather than under the weather... so I aim to drink some every day I think. Plus my regular supplements, Fish Oils, probiotics et cetera.
White Peril
I promised my daughter for the new year I will give up sugar... it’s my nemesis. I don’t do much else, no smoking, drinking, or addictions of any kind. I don’t really ever drink actually. Apart from a little bit of almond milk Baileys for Christmas! lol. So when I see people talking about new years resolutions (like on our presenters video funny, see below) where my colleagues say they’ll drink less, it does not resonate with me. But bring up the topic of cake, and oh my goodness then we are talking. Yes three years of tearoom goodies and homemade retreat puddings and the occasional chocolate and popcorn hour on QVC, have led to a thicker waistline, and I’m a bit sick of it to be honest. Middle-aged apron-tum! You know that feeling? LOL But I know how much better I feel when I have not eaten sugar, especially the morning afterwards when my joints in my fingers do not ache. I always feel a bit down as well, when I’ve had too much sweet stuff. And much happier when I don’t. It’s that vagus nerve connecting the brain to the gut, again. The gut-brain axis, your body’s communication superhighway. Google it. The new frontier of modern medicine, just watch - see how it changes by the end of the next decade!
Thank you
So this is my January blog. I’ll report back in February and let you know how I’ve been getting on. And if you made it here from the newsletter , which will now be truncated, then congratulations and thank you. 
Thank you to those of you who follow my ramblings on social media, (listed below for those who haven’t yet checked the boxes!) And for your kindness In humouring me and maybe participating in some of the comments and likes Etc Too, it means a lot. (nb and for those of you who share my politics, a separate blog , post election, on my home page. I had huge proportion of people share my politics, judging from the very few posts I shared during the election. But I also know that you will understand if you don’t think the same as me, and ditto in reverse. Anyway I was very proud to be involved somewhat in a very niche way last year, it was another of my personal big achievements. Plus I will be helping out this year as well in a very limited way, helping with events in Devon. Like a countryside clean up etc.j
Hope you are enjoying my occasional Vlogs, more this weekend if you have a look on my Facebook page et cetera, as I am away at center parcs.  I’m very much enjoying the R word, relaxation! Note to self: must do more of that in 2020. 

Have a healthy and happy one. Will try to respond to you if you reply to the email of this blog, which goes out to subscribers, and apologies if I missed some last time x there was a big response after such a big gap. I promise here on this website, they will be at least monthly, this year. Don’t forget you can catch up with my weekly shenanigans on my regular Friday QVC blogs, where I also kept up my book of the week recommendations last year. Since most are on Audible, the audiobook app, it’s been easy to look back and see how many I’ve read, and there have been many! Including Lee Child’s new one, Blue Moon. And several from John Grisham. Plus Julie Cohen, my author of the year - her ‘Louis and LouiseK has been optioned for a Hollywood movie! Well done, so well deserved. Very proud to call her mentor. Just need to get my 5th novel finally finished now!
biggest ambition of all, that one!
best wishes and look after yourself.
ps if Xmas was tough because of missing loved ones, do look at the Good Grief Trust. They are so helpful.
Useful Links and extra info: 
 Highlights from the 2010s
– work in Beijing for QVC including a trip to the wall of China
– bathed in the blue lagoon thermal spa pool in Iceland with my lovely friend Gill even though we didn’t see the Northern Lights
– indoor skydiving In Milton Keynes. Loved it.
– Became a medical detection dogs ambassador and did lots of fundraising and had lots of puppy love including naming my lovely sponsor dog Derek x he became a diabetes detection dog.
- had some fabulous birthday celebrations including a surprise party from my sis, and a mega 50th including medieval banquet trips with family and friends – including Craig the Jester. Made my year!
- Got a mention on University challenge as part of a question! (which channel do these three presenters work on? (Jeremy Paxman named me, Simon Biagi and I think Dale Franklin!) cool!
and so many more! See them and photographs of some of the highlights on my main Qvc Blog.
Bushfire emergency
How about donating just eg AU$18 (about a tenner) to those suffering in the bushfires down under? Koalas & other wildlife, firefighters families’ charities, community pages or general rescue centres. There is a list on the link below. Each has a link to their Fundraising site. We need to help don’t we? Which of the charities listed, will you help, even if it’s just a fiver? 
They all desperately need help; my Devon friend Alix comes from Australia and she told me how devastating the raging bushfires have been to the communities there. My niece Chloe, working as a yoga instructor there, sent me a b4 & after picture of the campsite they had previously stayed at , which has now been razed to the ground. Scary stuff. One couple has set up a rescue centre for koalas inside their own home.
You can’t imagine how awful it is for them all at the moment, especially with the huge scale of the widespread fires.  Takes two minutes to donate especially if you have PayPal. Just click here.

my social media -
(nb I also have separate QVC ones)
@retreatsforyou on all socials

What a lot of books have been written by me and my writing gang, in the 10 years since we all hooked up. The week full of laughter and learning, in Tuscany, featuring a character called Julio dominating the doorway, much pasta, boiling weather, and delightful company, learning bridge, and how to write nails and bones. Fond memories.


What a lot of books have been written by me and my writing gang, in the 10 years since we all hooked up. The week full of laughter and learning, in Tuscany, featuring a character called Julio dominating the doorway, much pasta, boiling weather, and delightful company, learning bridge, and how to write nails and bones. Fond memories.

10 years later, and five of us still meet up regularly. My QVC blogs over the last few weeks have included pictures of the get-togethers in London. Well my lovely gang came down to Devon as well, to see Alex you can’t travel easily, and to reminisce. She showed us her gods which she had vanished. For the harvest festival (just in case you wondered what the photograph was!) And we talked it up how many books we had written between us. I am writing my fifth one, but I have two anthologies, Lots of short stories, and four non-fiction as well. The others are now on 16 books (Maureen, not pictured), Caroline has done published about six, and Litty has done a Masters degree in creative writing at city University and written two novels as in and is in and is on the verge of signing a deal for her first. Alex has also published a couple of levels under her pseudonym Mary Jane hello well. I’m very proud of our little gang. And it made me think – what else has changed in 10 Years?




You know when you reach the stage of life when policeman are not only young enough to be your son, they’re actually young enough to be your grandson… I know, I can’t believe it either! Well anyway, you kind of get used to realising what’s important don’t you. A really good friend of mine has just been diagnosed with breast cancer, and I know she will get through it, I know she will. But we need to start looking after ourselves don’t we? I have my health check coming up in several weeks time, and without cancelling it and making it next year (which means I miss this years altogether!), It looks like I will be fat shamed. Three years of home-cooked meals, puddings, too much cake at the tea room, a bad knee, much stress, and stretchy fabrics… Mean I need to get back to reading my book. One of my main books that has been pivotal in my life is till the fat lady sings. We freedom eating means you just eat what your body once, connected as I have explained previously, some regulars may remember, to the Gut and the micro biome and the gut bacteria. It seems to me as though it would be a new frontier for medicine as and when they realise how intricately collected what we eat is, to the composition of our microbiota in the stomach, to illness.

I always feel much better when I’ve had green drink and fresh vegetables, don’t you?


I always feel much better when I’ve had green drink and fresh vegetables, don’t you?


I made the most lovely chicken soup this week, I want some more right now actually! And as the rain pours down, having had a couple of bright days here in Devon, And the weather gets colder, and all I wanted a hot water bottle! I need to avoid the cake…


and the weather gets colder, and all I wanted a hot water bottle! I need to avoid the cake…


To be continued (needs editing and photos to be added. Ed.





Just a quickie.

Just wanted to say not only did I have a few technical web problems earlier in the year, and then lost my lovely doggie Gracie recently, but grandchildren duties took over, hence the radio silence on this blog. However!


I have plans to revamp ...

Firstly. Did you miss me? LOL.

Secondly. How many of you have been following my antics via my weekly QVC blog anyway?

Thirdly. Or have you kept up-to-date via my social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter?

Finally,  perhaps you have seen our regular newsletters on my retreats for you North Devon guesthouse/writing retreat page? I have two spaces left on my yoga week coming up on the 15th of July till the 19th. You don’t have to be a writer, you just need a break, someone to look after you, full board including wine at supper, afternoon tea coffee cake, hot drinks... from £98pppn all in. Yes really. Email me This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details. Book now tho.

So do take a look on my QVC blog if you want to catch up with my antics of the first part of this year… And standby for regular updates on my website again :-) it’s going to be a busy summer :-)

Best wishes




ps  I thought this might tickle you – a post for throwback Friday, from when I was on the children’s BBC broom cupboard :-) someone posted it recently so I thought I would share it! Enjoy. PS do reply if you like my regular newsletters – do you prefer them to be weekly? Monthly? What?



A fabulous author who has achieved something quite extraordinary in over 90% of five star reviews on this enchanting tale.

I picked this since Claire is one of our regulars down at Retreats for You in Devon. As one of the professional writers, we look forward to her latest books and it gives us great pleasure to report on this one.

"They say three's a crowd but when Boyd moves back into the family home with his now amicably estranged wife, Vita, accompanied by his impossibly beautiful twenty-seven-year-old girlfriend, Honey, it seems the perfect solution: Boyd can get his finances back on track while he deals with his difficult, ailing mother; Honey can keep herself safe from her secret, troubled past; and Vita can carry on painting portraits of the pets she dislikes and telling herself she no longer minds her marriage is over.

But the house in Albert Terrace is small and full of memories, and living together is unsettling.

For Vita, Boyd and Honey love proves to be a surprising, dangerous thing and, one year on, their lives are changed forever...

I look at what fellow professionals say and it includes the following:

"The Last Day is an exquisitely written story of love and loss. With a poet's hand, calm clarity and true wisdom, Claire Dyer paints a picture of real people dealing with very real emotions. Turn your phone off, put a Do Not Disturb sign on the door, and curl up with this gem of a book." - Amanda Jennings, author of In Her Wake

"A tender, beautifully written book about marriage, love, grief and fear: how all can be lost in a moment, and how hope survives." - Julie Cohen, author of Together

And if Julie Cohen says it's fab, then isn't it worth a go if you're looking for a new novel to read this Spring?

Amazon's link for it is here so you can go read the wonderful feedback from reviewers - go here.

Well done Claire! Looking forward to the next one!

Other news -

We are still offering some wonderful retreats at last year's prices. Just £95pppn to come and 'just write' - meaning you can lock yourself away in a cosy room with all meals provided and absolutely no chores! 

You can look up some of the dates on our blog on our website including several with taxi included, several with a yoga session every day to stretch out those aching writing muscles, and a couple of opportunities to come. 

Writers love our 1600s thatched, grade 2 listed house in deepest North Devon, along with home cooked meals, a dash of doggy therapy, or stint in the mini home gym, or a walk in the beautiful North Devon countryside right on our doorstep. Email us for more info!

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Here's a summary -


  •  Pitch to a publisher weekend – incl talks from Harper Collins commissioning editors Phoebe Morgan (Avon) and Charlotte Mursell (HQ) March 7-11th. Includes talk and one-to-one pitch session afterwards. More info here** £459 now, £489 later)
  • Alison May  – tutored workshop (SOLD OUT June 17th-21st), Second week September 23 – 27th ) Developing Your Novel – for anyone with a novel in progress, or just starting one; incl in depth one-to-one tutorials as well as optional workshops. From £555 if you book before end March 2019. You book direct with Alison – email us to put you in touch or see more here.
  •  Julie Cohen – tutored workshop, November date just announced! November 25th – 29th  – always sells out early – please email us asap to be put directly in touch with Julie or see more here.
  • Also – May 6th – 10th  Developing Your Novel – another workshop for beginners  – tutor is experienced teacher and Jericho Writers tutor, Rebecca Horsfall. Two places already gone so be quick to email us!
  • OTHERS TO FOLLOW – stay signed up to our newsletter to get first refusal and early bird offers.
  • If you are a tutor and would like to run a week using Retreats for You, pls email us.

Best wishes




Beginners’ Guide And if you’re a complete beginner and want to self-publish, my basic guide can be found here - beginner's tips for self-publishing - a summary of info, sites and links to help you on your way. Including my guest blog on prestigious industry website,, which is also a fabulous resource for beginners. And advanced writers!  Go here to read more.

Also - launched  in 2018, Jericho press is the new name for Writers' Workshop - and their £30 a month subs will get you all sorts of free info about how to write a novel and how to self publish. MORE HERE.

Archives Don’t forget to check out the other archives (to the left) for even more fabulous hints, tips, links and blogs.

My books - For the full list of my fiction and non fiction novels, novellas, short stories - info and links to buy them just go here. or see below.

As usual, here’s the round up of my own titles! I’d appreciate a review on Amazon (go here) and Goodreads (go here)! Enjoy! x


eBooks - all available on Amazon – paperback or eBook (kindle or kindle app or kindle on PC or Mac)

paperbacks – five fiction titles all available in paperback – via Amazon – see below.





 HAWAIIAN TRILOGY (2013/4) – romantic fiction in either steamy or PG options!

 Book 1 Hawaiian Escape Steamy or Hawaiian Escape PG, the prequel to Hawaiian Affair - is now available on Amazon in eBook or paperback.

 Book 2 Hawaiian Affair Steamy - now called Take a Chance on Me, with Choc Lit publisher available on Amazon. Paperback can be ordered from almost all bookshops. Reached no 79 in WHSmithsTravel charts.

 Book 3 Hawaiian Retreat - Helen's Story - Just click this link to see steamy version. Paperback also available


DIARY OF A WANNABE SHOPPING CHANNEL PRESENTER – a stand alone story – Bridget Jones meets Alan Partridge meets Eddie Murphy in ‘Holy Man’ –click here to buy Ebook on amazon, and click here to buy paperback.



 ‘When Dreams Return’ (2014) – spooky romantic short story – when Chelle’s pal Sara gets her to conjure up her ideal man with a full moon magic spell, she gets more than she bargained for… also appears in Hocus Pocus anthology.

 The Valentine’s Surprise (2010) is a short story proving it’s never too late to find your Sir Galahad!

Also – for Hallowe’en – an anthology of short spooky stories by 13 authors including many new shorts and my When Dreams Return in paperback! Hocus Pocus ’14 – ebook or paperback.

 'Battle of the Exes', written for Valentine's Day 2015, features in 'Roses are Red' anthology of six short stories on Amazon ebook and paperback too.



 Till the Fat Lady Slims 2.0 – the ‘When’ Diet - is my semi-autobiographical weight loss book – originally published in 2000. It was updated for 2014 to include the latest thinking about nutrition. Learn how to eat like slim people do and published on Amazon as TTFLS 2.0

It was followed a year later by Till the Fat Lady Slims 3.0 – Tips and Tale to Inspire on amazon which introduced new concepts and latest theories on gut bacteria and the inner chimp plus six guises of Freedom Eater.

 Go here to get its predecessor (read 2.0 first) Till the Fat Lady Slims 2.0 – the When diet on amazon

Choc-Lit, UK independent publisher, gave it a revamp and put it on order in Bookshops early 2017 - published just as 'Till the Fat Lady Slims' and with a black silhouette cover, it pulls together elements of all the predecessors, and is a good place to begin if you haven't read any of it yet. Go here to get the Choc Lit 2017 Till the Fat lady Slims on Amazon or order in bookshops.

Amazon review - January 2018 - 

This is a great book and so easy to identify with the author. I have been there and reading this book was like a breath of fresh air. I took on board what was written and lost 3 pounds in the first week. I am still losing but I don't dwell on food or think about it all day which is brilliant. I feel I can get on with my life and food is in its proper place. I eat when I'm hungry and because I am hungry, I enjoy the food all the more. If you are struggling and have tried every diet known to woman - like I have - buy this book. You will not regret it. It is turning my life around and I feel so much more positive than I did.

Had a fab Xmas - did you? Just to say a very happy new year to you! I will be seeing out the final hours alongside my lovely mate Miceal, on QVC. Join us between 10 & midnight, with two smashing hours of cuddly Charlie Bears, which I of course have a fair old collection of! 

Meanwhile, I wanted to just point you to my latest QVC blog - it's my annual Review of the Year.

When you look back over the last year, what are the highlights? Mine are listed in this blog - including quite a few which will make you smile, including what has to be one of the best bloopers ever! And a funny vlog link, and some lovely memories of another momentous year. Two grandbabies, making it extra special, and there's a pic of Lauren my daughter her hubby and her bubba (turning the other way of course, not allowed baby's face on social media!) Do go and look - the QVC Review of the year blog is here. Loved being with my own two kids as well, even though they've now got kids of their own - so much changes in a year, eh!

Plus we had some lovely times at my brother Glenn's for an elongated stay over Xmas - Lolly and bubba and hubby also stayed and we took several trips out including to Ikea in Croydon where I was allowed to carry Phoebe around a bit whilst the kids looked at kitchens. They are building a lodge down in Wales and are very excited about it being finished for February. Chips off the old block!


So I'm looking forward to the festivities over New year with yet more family get togethers and meals - then it's full steam ahead preparing for my cruise holiday to the caribbean in Feb and unless I want a new wardrobe, a determined steam!

Book recommendations - inc John Grisham's the Reckoning. Had a bit of a lull in doing my book reviews, mainly cos of knee op and then xmas break so didn't drive around as much! Also got wrapped up in listening to podcasts more, incl political ones, since I'm a politics geek! Anyway I've got stuck into the new John Grisham and it's a good one! Go here to see it, and also to find out about some of the top books to watch out for in 2019 - including from my mentor Julie Cohen! 

Lots to do over the coming weeks, including getting all the new dates up online for my retreat down in Devon. If you're a writer or know one, do ge them to sign up for our newsletter via our website, as the next one is about to go out with some new dates and exciting info about upcoming events. 

Have a fabulous New year and look forward to some more regular posts in 2019!

best wishes



ps My guest house in North Devon has spaces for non-writers too. We are mainly a writing retreat but that doesn't mean we don't occasionally have non-writers.i (£95pppn inc full board and wine at dinner!) Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to enquire about non-writing dates for 2019, and have a little look here -

- stay in touch with me via my social media - go here to see it all

- find out about all my novels and my own books, some in bookshops, some on amazon - check out all my paperbacks together! Very proud. More about my writing is here



Page 1 of 82