Taking a trip for some ‘guilt-free spending’

Salisbury Cathedral
Salisbury Cathedral
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Isn’t it amazing how little we know about what’s on our doorstep?

I travel a lot in my job as a TV producer and just this week I’ve been to Manchester, Bristol – and Salisbury.

I was quite blown away by the beauty of Salisbury and its cathedral

We always have to get something called ‘GVs’, which stands for ‘general views’.

This means a few shots of the area we’re filming in so that when audiences watch a TV show and we flick to a shot of, say, Bristol for example, the city is instantly recognisable.

Well, I was quite blown away by the beauty of Salisbury and its cathedral when I visited on Wednesday for Caught Red Handed, the BBC series I’m working on.

It’s really not that far from Portsmouth, but I didn’t know it at all.

How have I lived so many years and not been there more often?

We went to visit a garden centre called Alabare, which is run as part of a charity and helps support people with learning difficulties and special needs.

The centre is set amongst four acres of lovely countryside in a place called Old Sarum and I was so amazed by what the centre offers.

In my opinion it’s absolutely worth a visit from Portsmouth – especially if you’re looking for a local nice day out that means you don’t have to travel too far, but you still want that feeling of exploring somewhere new.

Once I had done my professional bit – i.e. produced the segment, the whole reason we were there in the first place – I then filled the car with two new bay trees, a huge bag of soil and two giant wooden branches which I plan on using to create a nice solar light feature for the garden at our new home.

I think the staff were a little surprised by my shopping spree as they helped me load my car up!

This place had all the things you would want from a garden centre and is made even better by the on-site carpentry workshop.

This means there are some really cute and very artistic pieces to take home with you.

I highly recommend a visit and it’s all for a good cause, which makes it even more worthwhile. It’s what I like to call ‘guilt-free spending.’

A DOMESTIC GODDESS - OR AT LEAST A POOR MAN’S VERSION

I was a domestic goddess on Sunday. No, really I was – or at least a poor man’s version.

You see, I had my mum and her friend over and decided to treat them to a home-cooked roast dinner.

This meant I started cooking at midday and didn’t really stop until they left at about 8pm.

We had all the trimmings – Yorkshires, stuffing, roast potatoes with rosemary and garlic and cauliflower, broccoli and leek cheese bake.

I was rather impressed with myself, but not as impressed as my guests were when I presented them with home-made chocolate and peanut butter brownies with crème freche.

Matt declared: ‘Finally she’s made something I can get on board with.’

Thanks love…I think!

A HUGE CHARACTER WHO WILL NEVER BE FAR FROM OUR MINDS

A whole year has passed since the Kingstons lost their beloved Susie. My gosh, time has flown by.

Sue Jeffery, my husband Matt’s beloved auntie, passed away a year ago on Sunday having lost her battle with cancer.

Family members got together to reflect on her life. Matt and I marked the day in our own way, by talking about her and raising a toast to her on Sunday evening with a glass of wine – something I know she would have approved of, given that she ran the Railway pub in Cosham for quite some years.

The loss of such a huge character leaves a gap that can never be filled.

But us Kingstons are a close family and I know Susie will never be far from any of our minds. Lots of love to you up there, Susie.