At Montecassino Abbey

An Italian honeymoon


It’s hard to believe it’s been five weeks since the wedding, and we’ve been home for a fortnight from the honeymoon. But life has a funny way of settling back into routine very quickly! Thanks as always for your lovely comments on the blog, tweets and phone calls into the shows that I have presented – it means a lot. I’ve probably pretty much given the game away as to where it was Colin took me on our honeymoon, but as promised, I have put together a ‘travel blog’ for you!

Clockwise L-R: Vatican,  The Abbey at Monticassino, The battle ground of Cassino, The Amalfi Coast

Clockwise L-R: Vatican,
The Abbey at Montecassino, The battle ground of Cassino, The Amalfi Coast

We left very early on Sunday morning, for Gatwick airport, and my only clue to our destination was that I’d been told to pack for somewhere warm. I wasn’t aware until we were actually in the terminal when I found out that Colin had organised an Italian honeymoon! I couldn’t have been more excited : ) Although I’d been to several of the cities over the years, it’s a country he had never visited, but I knew as we landed in Rome to blinding sunshine and 38 degree heat we were going to have a ball!

On the open-top tour bus with selfie stick

On the open-top tour bus with selfie stick

Colin had worked out an extensive itinerary that would take us from Rome all the way to Venice, with pretty much everything in between. A taxi took us to our beautiful hotel that was situated about half a mile from the Vatican, and having dumped our cases, we headed out into the sunshine. Rome is vast, and even with a map, we thought it would be best to take the open top bus to get an idea of what there was to see!

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As you will see from these photographs, we were clearly spoilt for choice!  That night we drank cocktails in the warm evening and then were up pretty early the following day so that could immerse ourselves in all that is Rome. From the Spanish Steps to St. Peter’s Basilica, the Galleria Borghese and the Castel Sant’Angelo, we explored it all. We also invested in a ‘selfie stick’ which was hilarious to use, and allowed us to be in most of the photographs – even on the bus as we passed the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi!

For us though, The Colosseum and Palatine Hill were possibly the most impressive. Not just the fact that the remains are pretty much intact, but the sheer size of it all. It was like looking at an entire city, complete with streets, shops, homes and even an enormous chariot racing course!

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As there was so much to see, we decided to visit The Vatican the following morning, before collecting our hire car and driving to the Amalfi Coast. We paid extra for tickets so that we didn’t have to queue outside the Vatican, as it was incredibly hot and humid.

That said it still took us two hours from arrival to actually ending up in the Sistine chapel! Our guide was a very informative and intelligent man who taught us a great deal about the Renaissance  – a period in history we knew very little of. The paintings, tapestries and sculptures were quite extraordinary, particularly this one (pictured above) attributed to three Greek Sculptors from Rhodes and called ‘Laocoon and His Sons’. It had been buried along with a great deal of other pieces of Roman art, to protect them from the Barbarians. For years I had always believed the Sistine Chapel to be the large Duomo, but it was a relatively small and rectangular building with seats along each wall, so one could sit and appreciate the incredible artwork. Definitely worth a visit.  Having collected our luggage, and then our hire car we set off for our next destination which was Vico Equense in the Bay of Naples near the Amalfi Coast.

The Amalfi Coast 1

The Amalfi Coast 2

Driving in Italy is a joy – very similar to the road system in America – and having brought our TomTom with the European maps (purchased from QVC!) we made our way there taking in some stunning scenery en route.  Of course the Amalfi Coast stretches 50km along the southern edge of Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula, it is not surprisingly deemed by UNESCO as an outstanding example of Mediterranean landscape. I had never been there before and fell in love with the cliff-side views and hillside lemon groves… simply stunning. Our hotel was literally on the cliff side, and this was the view we had from terrace there, plus the sunset from our bedroom – you couldn’t ask for more really could you? : )

View from the terrace at Vico Equense

View from our bedroom window at Vico Equense

Me in the cave leading to the beach

I’ve not really mentioned the food yet, but we had wined and dined on fabulous pastas, pizzas, local buffalo mozzarella (pronounced ‘boof al a’) and tomato salads, and now we were on the coast, fresh fish! We decided that as we were by the sea, we’d have a beach day and had great fun getting down there via the hotel lift which is built into the rock.

You literally come out through a cave – thought you may like this ‘headless’ picture of me walking towards the sunshine! : ) In fact the sun shone throughout our break, as Italy and Greece basked in a heatwave, and it was heaven laying by the sea listening to the waves and soaking up the sun.



Jupiter and Venus - incredible sight

We ate indoors that night, but the following two evenings the terrace restaurant was open, and we had the most delicious menu choices including a fabulous lemon rissotta which we ate while being serenaded on the piano – so romantic. Something else that we found equally romantic was looking out across the Bay of Naples into the night sky where we focused on two inordinately bright lights that we thought were stars.

Our lovely waiter explained to us that they were in fact the planets Jupiter and Venus and on that night, they were the closest they would be to each other until August 2016. They are the third and fourth brightest celestial bodies respectively after the sun and moon, and at this time of year are both journeying towards another planet, Regulus. Fascinating and quite mesmeric to look at, especially considering the Roman link with the Goddess Venus.

This part of Italy is absolutely stunning, and we spent the best part of a day driving around the extremely picturesque coastline to Salerno and through Minori – which we have decided we would like visit again. But it’s not just the architecture and seascapes that make this such a popular resort. The city of Pompeii rises on a plateau of Vesuvian lava, overlooking the Sarno river valley, where there was once a busy port. It was an earthquake in 62AD that first struck the city and damaged it extensively, but just 17 years later when Mount Vesuvius erupted on 24th August, it was completely buried under a layer of ash and rock.

In front of Mt Vesuvius

In front of Mt Vesuvius

Street in PompeiiIt was rediscovered in the 16th century, but it wasn’t until 1748 that excavations began. On our second day, with temperatures in the high 30s, a clear blue sky and not a breath of wind, we walked miles, through the cobbled streets of Pompeii, overawed by the enormity of what remains of this once busy city. Shops, a doctor’s surgery, bakeries, public baths, a library, homes and walled gardens – all lovingly restored for us to see. Over 2,000 people lost their lives the day Vesuvius erupted, and to this day the mighty volcano dominates the skyline.

The next leg of our journey took us to another place that had once been destroyed but not through a natural disaster. Cassino saw one of the fiercest battles of the Second World War, and one in which Colin’s late father fought. Reg Elsworth left England for the Invasion of Africa, and then travelled with the troops for the Invasion of Italy. He arrived in Sicily and fought his way through Italy where he was involved in the five month Battle of Montecassino during the final stages of the War. Having found a place to park in the town we didn’t know where to find the War Museum, and so popped into the local police station. The delightful Agente de polizia actually drove us in his police car to the museum, where we were the only two visitors on the tour.

Colin’s father didn’t often speak of the conflict, and it was distressing to know that so many soldiers and civilians died while trying to break the very strong German lines that crossed Italy.  The building which took the brunt of the British bombing was the Abbey of Montecassino which stands on a hill above the town. It was completely flattened during a three hour bombing raid and the civilians who were sheltering there all lost their lives… Sadly I never met Colin’s dad, but suffice to say, we were both incredibly proud to know that he had been involved in such a pivotal point of the war.

Abbey at Montecassino

At Montecassino Abbey


Me on the Steps of the Abbey

Me on the Steps of the Abbey

We left the museum and headed up the mountain to the Abbey of Montecassino, which has been rebuilt according to the ‘Where and as was” program of Abbot Ildefonso Rea, its reconstructor. I have never felt more at peace in such a place. There is a sense of calm and contentment, and we both really enjoyed our time there – I hope you enjoy the photographs.  Our destination that evening was Florence, and I’ll have more photos and memories to share with you next week, as you’re probably worn out with it all by now! I do though have the link to our wedding website which now has more photos on  if you’d care to peruse click here! I will look forward to hearing all your news as always, and replying as soon as I’m able.

1.5ct AAAA Tanzanite & 0.25ct Diamond Ring Platinum

Oh, and before I go, I must let you know about our TSV tonight! A stunning AAAA 1.5ct Tanzanite and diamond ring set into platinum 950! It is absolutely exquisite and I don’t remember the last time we had such a large and rare stone of this quality, which makes up less than 0.2% of all Tanzanite mined, yet we have a £500 saving for this 24 hour period only. It will be an absolute pleasure to spend the hour with you and our diamond expert Laurie Wickwire at midnight tonight.

With my love,

Ali xx


  1. Ann Stowe August 5, 2015 at 9:22 am -  Reply

    It is lovely to read your stories of Italy and see the pics. Its lots of lovely memories for you and Colin xx

    • Anne August 6, 2015 at 6:31 pm -  Reply

      Hi Ali I’ve been looking on your blog and twitter to see your wedding jewellery and I seem to have missed it. I’ve also missed you on the Diamonique shows. Where can I see it please? Congratulations on your wedding x

  2. Joanna Downey August 5, 2015 at 10:39 am -  Reply

    Good Morning from a dark and chilly Stourbridge and a big thank you for all your warm AND sunny photos. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it now – you have a gift for travel writing; bringing places to life and enticing us to visit them. I love Italy and know everywhere you went from Rome down to the Amalfi Coast which is truly beautiful. I also felt a sense of calm at Monte Cassino and found it hard to visualise the destruction and loss of life that had happened just fifty years earlier. Looking forward to Part Two! We go away on Sunday and i can’t believe the forecast for Sicily – a week of heavy showers :((( I always pack an umbrella as a talisman and hope that it works next week. I’ve trundled my way through most of my holiday task list and we completed the major one of decorating our room and ordered new curtains. Colin had a 10K race organised for the evening when the curtain fitter visited and was happy for me to have my choice of material. I loved so many and found it almost impossible to choose and then I saw ‘the one’ in the children’s section, which I hadn’t looked at for obvious reasons. We’re having soft pink curtains with a pattern of beach huts, they’re totally gorgeous and have taken me into a world of beach hut illustrations, material and soft furnishings. I’ve gone on for long enough so will sign off saying you look totally glorious and very happy. Love from Jo x

  3. Beverley Klymkiw August 5, 2015 at 10:44 am -  Reply

    Thank you Ali for sharing the wonderful photos of your honeymoon. It’s a part of the world I’ve always wanted to visit with hubby and even more so now having looked at your piccies. Your wedding photographs were absolutely beautiful and you looked stunningly gorgeous in your dress. The church and the reception venue you chose looked so picturesque. Wonderful to see all your friends and family were there to enjoy your special day too. Wishing you and Colin a blessed life together.

  4. Vivien Gore August 5, 2015 at 10:47 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali wonderful pictures of Italy and yourselves.
    I cant wait for my hols now just hope its not as warm when we go.
    Looking forward to next weeks pics.

    Love Viv

  5. Marie August 5, 2015 at 11:41 am -  Reply

    Thank you Ali for sharing your lovely pics and travels it is a wonderful blog. I feel I have been there. One day hopefully we will do something similar you have certainly given us some wonderful ideas.

  6. Joanna Downey August 5, 2015 at 12:32 pm -  Reply

    Hello again, I forgot to say that when I see Venus shining brightly I know that everything’s alright with my girls so to see both her and Jupiter together is wonderful. Love from Jo x

  7. Gwen August 5, 2015 at 3:37 pm -  Reply

    Hello dear Ali,

    Who but you would take the time to share all of these wonderful memories with us.
    I almost feel that I was with you and Colin thanks to all of the brilliant photos and descriptions of the places that you visited, it does look truly amazing and how romantic!!!!! It is lovely to see you both looking so very happy and relaxed. I have never been to Italy and I have to say that your experience has certainly made me want to see all of those brilliant places.
    Thank you once again, as always so lovely to hear from you.

    Take care and stay well.

    Love Gwen.

  8. Merche August 5, 2015 at 4:22 pm -  Reply

    Thoroughly enjoyed seeing your honeymoon photos, what wonderful memories you will both have. Merchex

  9. Judith lennon August 5, 2015 at 5:03 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    What a wonderful story in words and pictures of your honeymoon. It was beautiful and will hold happy memories for you both. Getting back into every day life after any holiday takes time. I always wander round aimlessly after a holiday. Do I do the washing. Shall I shop? No another coffee with my feet up!!!! We are counting down the weeks now to our holiday in Cyprus in September. After spending our holiday in Mexico earlier in the year, although lovely, was spoilt by me being poorly. Hopefully fingers crossed things will be a lot different. Well the weather has
    been nice today. The sun made an appearance for a short time but as soon as we go to sit out over come the clouds!! My eldest
    granddaughter has been with us today and is having a sleepover.
    Lots of fun on the way. My husband and I love having the girls
    over and they bring us so much joy. We are very blessed. I am
    sure you are beginning to understand what being a grandparent
    means having Honey in your lives. She is growing up fast isn’t
    she? Well I’m off to the kitchen now to cook something for our tea
    party! Until next time take care and lots of hugs and love. Judith xx

  10. Tina S August 5, 2015 at 5:13 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    I can’t believe its been that many weeks already since your lovely wedding! Your photographs are stunning. I bet you wish you could do the whole thing over again. I know I wished we could have as the day of our wedding just flew by. I often wish we could do it over just the two of us so that we could relax and not worry about the trivial thing such as do we need to invite aunty so and so who we haven’t seen since the year dot! At least you got to have such a fantastic honeymoon. We got snowed in so ended up spending our honeymoon in my old cold flat. Nevermind, happy days Lol.
    I can’t believe I’ve managed to get on your blog before anyone else as normally my comment is way down on the end. You must be wishing you were still in that lovely sunshine as the weather has been dreadful again. Me and my 2 sisters are hopefully planning a day out to Llaughne (weather permitting). It’s been a few years since I was there. It’s such a lovely place to visit.
    Anyway all the very best and hope you are enjoying married life. You look well on it any way.
    Take care, Tina S ( in a very soggy S. Wales) x

  11. Liz Holmes August 5, 2015 at 5:50 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison, I have just read your stunning account of your wonderful Italian honeymoon. As always, you always take so much time and trouble to make your blogs so interesting for us all to read. Reading this one especially made we want to jump on the next plane and fly there now! Colin arranged such a wonderful surprise honeymoon for you, creating unforgettable memories of such a great time. You both look so happy, which you both so much deserve. I was especially interested to read about your visit to Montecassino and the fact that Colin’s late father took part in that particular battle, as did my late father. He was a Lance Bombadier in the Royal Artillery, Eighth Army. Also he never talked much about his experiences either. He was mentioned in Despatches in the London Gazette for his part in the battle. The certificate he received for this is proudly displayed in my home and will be passed down to my daughter and eventually my two grandsons. He fortunately survived and I was born just after the end of the war. I do hope to visit Montecassino myself one day.
    Thank you both so much for allowing us to share in your wonderful wedding day and honeymoon, and wish you every happiness and lots of good luck in your future life together. I look forward to your next blog with more great honeymoon pictures. Xx
    Thank you so much for

  12. Julie August 5, 2015 at 7:38 pm -  Reply

    Hi All
    What a lovely blog as usual but the photo’s are something else. I loved them all especially the ceiling in the Vatican. I’m not surprised you want to visit some places again. I noticed you had lovely weather- like we are having here in Wales at the moment-not!!! Have the wedding this week so let’s hope it will at least be dry. Nothing worse after so much preparation as you well know.
    Did send you a second message last week did you get it?
    Take care as always and love to Honey. I can’t get over how much she smiles-just like her Nana?? She’ll be talking next.

    Julie x The Girls xxxxxx

  13. Diane August 5, 2015 at 8:09 pm -  Reply

    They are beautiful pic Ali, looks like you had a great time. Do x

  14. Pauline Wilson August 5, 2015 at 8:10 pm -  Reply

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog of your travels and look forward to reading the next instalment. My husband and I, also called Colin did a very similar trip to yours for his 50th birthday some 10 years ago but also visited the beautiful islands of Capri and Ischia. ischia is a beautiful island favoured by thermal waters and spas so have decided to visit again in 3 weeks time this time for his 60th birthday, by how quickly time goes by and reading your fantastic descriptions of the places you had visited made me feel as if it was just yesterday what a wonderful way you have with words. It has been wonderful sharing your wedding and honeymoon and wish you well for the future, take care, God bless you both and be very, very happy.x

  15. Lesley Stewart August 5, 2015 at 8:29 pm -  Reply

    your honeymoon looks amazing, I absolutely love Italy, we spent last summer on lake Garda, visiting Venice and Verona. As soon as you arrive in Italy you just fall in love with it so I can imagine how wonderful it must have been for you both, you look so happy, many congratulations & years of happiness xx

  16. Julia August 5, 2015 at 8:38 pm -  Reply

    How magical !!!

  17. Susan Lee August 5, 2015 at 9:13 pm -  Reply

    Beautiful photographs, stunning scenery.x

  18. loraine August 5, 2015 at 9:17 pm -  Reply

    Hi alison what lovely photos so pleased you both had a great time forgive me if I am repeating myself but on your previous blog I sent you a second comment so don’t think you have read it so just wanted to tell you les and I are going to be grandparents. Our daughter Clare is having a baby she has been married 2years now so kept thinking it could happen soon she is planning on giving up her nanny job she works for a ex england hampshire cricketer who has 3children but because she also runs a nanny business she’s going to just concentrate on that for now anyway hope your little grandaughter is well I bet she is growing fast best wishes to you all love Loraine xx

  19. Jilly August 5, 2015 at 9:51 pm -  Reply

    What a simply stunning blog Ali. So full of the most wonderful time but more especially to hear about Colin’s father. That must have been the icing on the cake and shows what the “locals” must think to be taken in a police car to the War Museum. Now that is something else. Piccies are superb and great you share them with us. Just looked at the new wedding pictures and they are very emotional .
    Love the green dress you have on tonight – actually you are looking vibrant and I am thrilled for you and Colin. Cannot believe the wedding was five weeks ago – where did those weeks go???
    Annie celebrated her birthday today and had a super day. I took the afternoon off work to share the time with everyone and a good time was had by all. Just chilling and being together – four generations. Just thought with Lucy having Honey you now have four generations.
    Looking forward to everyone’s catch up. It is so good having your blog as so many share it and it feels like we really know each other for the good times as well as not so good. Just wondering how little Alfie is getting on – big hugs to him.
    Just ordered the card holders – one for me, two for gifts!! Love Jilly and Annie xx

  20. Susan August 5, 2015 at 11:19 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Thank you for sharing your honeymoon photos and information with us, they’re gorgeous! I can feel the peace looking at you on the steps with the birds! I don’t know how you remember all that detail of what happened and when.. Great memory!!
    Look forward to next installment! Nice to have you back. And how is honey BTW?
    Love Susan x

  21. Christine Auchterlonie August 5, 2015 at 11:48 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison loved the photos and story you conveyed of your wedding day and the Italian honeymoon ..I could tell that you both had a memorable time and many treasured moments.
    I look forward to the next episode….by the way love the TSV ring
    It’s gorgeous I guess there will be some very lucky people who will be purchasing it!! Take care till the next time x Chris

  22. helen August 6, 2015 at 9:17 am -  Reply

    What can i say! It looks absolutely stunning, you and Colin look so much in love, i have loved reading your blogs, and the photos are amazing. Thankyou for sharing your life with us :) Helen xx

  23. Sue Stewart August 6, 2015 at 9:20 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali you looked beautiful on your wedding day. Congratulations to you both. Love your honeymoon pictures. My Hubby and me are off to Lake Como in September celebrating40 years of marriage. I hope we have a wonderful time like you. Thank you for sharing xx

  24. Margaret Upton August 6, 2015 at 10:07 am -  Reply

    Lovely photos, have saved them all to my drafts, the wedding, details of how you both met, what a special story it’s just as if your previous relationships were a rehearsal for the real thing!
    Thank you so much for showing all your precious moments.

  25. Lin Craddy August 6, 2015 at 11:08 am -  Reply

    Hi Alison wonderful photographs I was lucky enough visit Rome a couple of years ago and it remains the city I would most like to visit again. My hubs and I also went on a cruise and took a tour of the Amalfi coast it was as you say “amazing” in both beauty and history.
    So fabulous of you and Colin to share your honeymoon photos with us.

    I watched your Judith Williams (a range I love) show and sent a message to QVC asking if the beautiful dress you were wearing was a QVC one but no it isn’t. Any chance you could tell me where you bought it, I would love one for a wedding we are going to next year. Love and Light Lin.

  26. Linda August 6, 2015 at 11:24 am -  Reply

    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, one very lucky girl you and Colin are going to have such happy times together , Rome is somewhere me and my husband have always wanted to visit but not made it yet. An idea for our ruby wedding next year!!!!! With love linda

  27. twinkle August 6, 2015 at 12:14 pm -  Reply

    Hi lovely xx

    Aww what beautiful photos :) so pleased that you and Colin had such a perfect honeymoon.

    Thank you for sharing it all with us. U are so lovely and we all really appreciateyou sharing such precious memories with us..

    im sure these memories will last u a lifetime and what wondergul stories u will be able to tell Honey ( and hopefully more grandchildren) when she is older xx

    take care lovely Ali and enjoy more time with little Honey now u are home

    lotsfof love as always xxxx

  28. Joyce Sharpe August 6, 2015 at 4:54 pm -  Reply

    Oh Alison what a right great time you had! It took me right back there with lots of memories flooding back from my opportunity to go to Italy with a male companion back in 2006 (we each new that it was just friendship and that if either 1 of us found we were attracted to someone else then we would be happy for each other, he found someone in 2008 and I an in a bubble of love with someone who I met in 200). Our trip started off in out local town on a coach tour to Italy, we travelled to dover then ferry to Calais through France, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland to Italy a town called Fiuggi where we stayed at a glorious hotel and travelled around each day following the tour companied Itinerary. I was in utter awe of my chance to go. My Husband of 5 years together 6year managed to go to Lake Garda with mutual friends it was a triple celebration as we had married in July they (second time round too) were married 3 weeks after us and her husbands 60th, we had a group of 20 2 of then were children. That was fantastic too visiting Venice Verona and walking from Garda to Bardalino and local areas. Wishing you both many happy years together. xxxxxx

  29. Mandy Rigley August 6, 2015 at 5:41 pm -  Reply

    Stunning photo’s of your honeymoon, love the story you have put together.. i loved the sunset photo.. x

  30. Sue Radford August 7, 2015 at 3:45 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,

    Glad you had a fantastic honeymoon, and got to see so many fabulous places. Colin’s choice must have been such a surprise for you – well done Colin for arranging such a wonderful honeymoon. We visited Pompeii last year, and I can honestly say, like you, I was in awe of the place. Another place which is certainly on top of my favourite lists of interesting places I’ve visited was Egypt, especially the trip to Giza enabling us to go deep down inside the pyramid – my imagination run riot on both trips – absolutely fantastic! Loved all your photographs. What a great idea that was to take a ‘selfie stick’ with you – something I will definitely consider on my next holiday.

    Many thanks for your card – such a lovely surprise. My husband is doing fine so far, but we’re still awaiting the results of all the tests he’s had. It certainly was a warning for him to slow down, although he’s the type of person who can’t keep still for 5 mins!

    Thanks for sharing your photographs with us.

    Best wishes to all of Ali’s Army.

    Love Sue Radford xx

  31. Ellen Dawson August 7, 2015 at 6:07 pm -  Reply

    Great blog as usual Alison and great photos from your wedding gallery

  32. Elizabeth Keenan August 7, 2015 at 8:41 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali what gorgeous pictures of your honeymoon and all your wee stories really interesting, you both had a fantastic time which you well deserved.
    You are making me well excited for our holidays 3 weeks on Sunday, we are also going to Italy Lake Garda Venice & Verona, been to Venice before just love Italy, this will be our 5th year going to Italy, we went to Rome last year fantastic, all your pics were reminders for us of our holiday last year.
    Just something about Italy you cannot wait to go back there.
    Much love
    Elizabeth KeenanX

  33. Denise August 7, 2015 at 8:41 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, thank you so much for a wonderful blog. Both the wedding and honeymoon photos look amazing. Once again Colin came up trumps with the organisation – it sounds like he’d given it all a lot of thought. Wow that ceiling at the Vatican looks out of of this world. I’m especially looking forward to part 2 and your time in Florence as we visited there 2 years ago for my Birthday. It was my first trip to Italy and boy it really blew me away. I can’t wait to go back again and like you we would like to travel to other parts of Italy. How lovely too that you we’re able to experience where Colin’s father fought during the war – I’m sure it was a moving experience. All in all it looks like you had the most fantastic time and I’m so thrilled for you both.
    Love Denise xx

  34. sue walker August 9, 2015 at 8:03 pm -  Reply

    Hello dear Ali,
    I wrote to you last time on your blog it was my first time ,I could not wait for the
    honeymoon pics I kept checking back, again tears to my eyes you write so lovely
    as if I was there with you, how so very kind off you to share these very special
    moments with us all, Colin is a very lucky person to have found you, also you are
    as well. You are a match made in heaven, stay happy, and healthy you have so
    many more stories to tell. The extra wedding pictures are delightful, as I said before
    With Love
    Sue. X

  35. Alison Keenan August 10, 2015 at 9:09 am -  Reply

    Hello there Anne, great to hear from you, and yes we did have the best of times! Would love to do it all over again! :) Love Ali xx

  36. Alison Keenan August 10, 2015 at 9:12 am -  Reply

    Hi Anne, I have just found the item numbers so that you can see my wedding jewellery. The necklace is 662454 and the earrings are 662412. I hope you like them. Thank you for your congratulations, love Ali xx

  37. Alison Keenan August 10, 2015 at 9:24 am -  Reply

    Dear Joanna, I’m so sorry I won’t have got this reply to you before you head off to Scicily, but will keep my fingers crossed that they got the forecast wrong and you will definitely have sunshine! At least you took your umbrella – I work on that ethos too! :) It was good to know that you too have travelled through Italy and felt the same as I did during your visit to Montecassino.. a remarkable place. I LOVE the sound of your curtain material – how romantic!! My friend has her own beach hut on Portland, and she loves spending time there. I do hope you have a wonderful time away, and will look forward to hearing about it once you’re home. With love, Ali xx

  38. Alison Keenan August 10, 2015 at 9:26 am -  Reply

    Hello Beverley, So glad you enjoyed the photographs, and the Italian scenery. I can’t recommend it highly enough, and even if it was just one of the places you managed to get to, it would be very much worth it. I was going through the photos again this weekend, and yes, you’re right, we were very lucky with the church and reception venue – everything was just as we wanted it. I hope you had a good weekend in the sunshine, love Ali xx

  39. Alison Keenan August 10, 2015 at 9:28 am -  Reply

    Dear Viv, no-one deserves a holiday more than you do after all you’ve been through. I think you should find the find the weather cooler than we had it – we arrived at the beginning of a heatwave – it’s not normally that hot! :) Take care, and enjoy your time away, love Ali xx

  40. Alison Keenan August 10, 2015 at 9:29 am -  Reply

    Marie, that is such a nice thing to say – I love writing these travel blogs, and as Colin and I were chatting the other day, we realised that through the blog, I have a diary of ALL my holidays with him over the last 7 years! I can highly recommend an Italian break though, and hope one day you will have the opportunity to visit. With love, Ali xx

  41. Alison Keenan August 10, 2015 at 9:30 am -  Reply

    That’s lovely Jo – I shall remember that :) Ali xx

  42. Alison Keenan August 10, 2015 at 9:32 am -  Reply

    Dear Gwen, So glad you enjoyed the blog and the pictures – incredible we took them all with our phones!!! We were so lucky with the weather too, but Colin had planned a brilliant trip and the places we chanced upon were equally beautiful. You would very much enjoy your time there I am sure. Take care and enjoy the rest of our summer! love Ali xx

  43. Alison Keenan August 10, 2015 at 9:32 am -  Reply

    Dear Merche, thank you for taking the time to write to me, and you’re right, Colin and I have a wealth of wonderful memories following our honeymoon, and plenty more memories to make too :) Hope life is good for you, love Ali xx

  44. Mandy Mitchell August 11, 2015 at 7:42 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali-Eeeeee!
    Thanks for sharing your special moments & memories from your Italian Honeymoon, the photos are beautiful & what a well thought trip(well done Colin) Your view from your balcony was priceless, nothing nicer than relaxing with a drink & looking out to your own pricate view! Your headless photo was funny & will give you giggles for years to come!I loved the photos of you on the steps of the abbey & I agree there is something humbling & calming about venturing in such places, leaving the hot hustle & bustle of everyday life behind for a while & having quiet time to just “have a moment” in peace & tranquility! I have never been to Italy but it is certainly on my list as I love architecture & your photo ofthe ceiling in the Vatican is breathtaking.Since I was a child I have always looked up above so as not to miss anything so would love to see it for myself. I remember learning the months of the year by looking up at the twelve Latin decorative plaques on the side of the side of my local library & shouting them out to my dad every time I walked past(poor dad, I always made him carry 8 books home every Saturday as I loved reading!)
    Loved your mention of “godets” on Yong Kim hour, reminds me of Julian Mcdonald when he always used to say it on “Strictly”.I loved the Morganite show & your chum & lovely lady Debbie Greenwood would definately have described “that ring” as a STONKER!!!
    Just to say Ali, hubby has commented how nice it is that you chat & ask the models opinions on the jewellery they are modelling & its nice to get to know them although I wasn’t expecting Sally to confess she got her toe stuck up the hoover, bless her!!!
    Have a lovely week
    Love & hugs
    Mandy xxx

  45. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 5:42 pm -  Reply

    Dear Judith lovely to hear from you and to catch up with your news – I’m sure you had a wonderful time with your granddaughter over to stay the night! You are absolutely right – being a grandparent is just marvellous. We had Lucy, Simon, his two boys and Honey over to stay yesterday into today, and we had such fun. It takes me back to my life when my three were small – such a happy and fulfilling time. It’s lovely to be able to help too and take some of the pressure off. You’re right too about trying to adjust after a holiday! I’m like you, I know there are umpteen things to do, but I don’t feel like doing any of them! I hope the next few weeks pass quickly for you so that you can get away on your holiday. So much nicer now that you are feeling better. With love, Ali xx

  46. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 5:44 pm -  Reply

    Dear Tina, I do hope that South Wales has warmed up now and that you and your two sisters have already planned your weekend away! Maybe check out the long range weather forecast and see where is going to have the best of the sunshine! Certainly a contrast to your cold flat where you were snowed in after your wedding – at least you had your love to keep you warm :) Very much enjoying married life I am, and we had the family over yesterday so that was great fun too. You take care, and thanks for keeping in touch, love Ali xx

  47. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 5:49 pm -  Reply

    Dear Liz, thank you so much for writing to me – I told Colin about your Dad and we both agree that it would be a marvellous thing for you to visit Monticassino one day.. it is truly beautiful and peaceful. Incredible when there was such devastation there during the War. I am glad your Dad got his worthy mention, and that you are keeping the certificate in the family. Colin’s elder brother has both of Reg’s medals – it’s important I agree to keep their memories alive and to teach the new generation about their courage. I am so glad that you enjoyed the blog, and yes they do take quite a while to write, but I am always so heartened by the lovely responses, and it’s great to share too! I hope you’ll enjoy the next instalment which I should have written by next Monday! Have a great weekend – I’ll see you tomorrow at 9pm with Diamonique. Love Ali xx

  48. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 5:53 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Julie, I do hope your wedding went well, and that it wasn’t on Thursday with all that rain?! I’m glad you enjoyed the photos – hard to believe that Colin and I only had our phones to take them all – and they aren’t even the latest models! We were both very pleased. Of course having lovely clear sunny days and stunning scenery helped a little too :) I did indeed get your message last week, but have been incredibly busy, so apologies for having missed it! :) We’ve just had a couple of days with Honey, Lucy, Simon and the boys – my family came over too, so it was great fun. You take care, and thanks for keeping in touch, love Ali xx

  49. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 5:53 pm -  Reply

    Diane, thank you – we had a great time, and the photos are a testament to the beauty of the country we visited, as well wonderful memories for us both. Love Ali xx

  50. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 5:55 pm -  Reply

    Dear Pauline, I am so glad you wrote to me and mentioned Capri and Ischia… I have googled both, and they are now on our To Do list! How lovely for you and your Colin to be returning 10 years after your first visit – I am sure you will have an equally wonderful time :) Happy Birthday to Colin! Love Ali xx

  51. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 5:56 pm -  Reply

    Hi Lesley, it seems a great many of us do love Italy! Having visited all the places you mention, I know you will have had a wonderful time. We were very happy there, and are really enjoying ‘married life’ – daft when we’ve lived together for years, but it does feel a little more special than before now. :) Love to you, Ali xx

  52. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 5:57 pm -  Reply

    Julia, it was indeed magical! We hope to return one day soon. Have a great weekend, love Ali xx

  53. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 5:57 pm -  Reply

    Dear Susan, I can highly recommend an Italian holiday, and am very glad that you enjoyed the photographs and the scenery. We will never forget it :) Love Ali xx

  54. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 6:00 pm -  Reply

    My dear Loraine, I do apologise for being so late in replying to your previous comment – I have done so now, but will repeat my hearty congratulations to you on becoming grandparents! I can tell you, there is nothing quite like it, and having spent the last two days with our grandchildren, we had a ball. They make you feel so happy, and young again too! I wish your daughter Clare all the very best with her pregnancy and also her business – clever girl! Honey is just beautiful, and is growing so very quickly – she fell asleep in my arms this morning for nearly an hour. It’s the longest I’ve sat still for in ages!! :) Heaven. Love to you, and again, many congratulations, Ali xx

  55. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 6:05 pm -  Reply

    HI there Jilly, nice to know you were with me last week, and I’m glad you liked the dress – its one from our new range Belles of London – I think the green is gorgeous too – very summery! I am glad you enjoyed the blog – it was lovely to write and relive it all :) A very special time for both Colin and I – and that isn’t all of it either! I will hopefully be posting the next instalment on Monday. I am glad that Annie had a good birthday, and that you were all able to be together. You’re right, we are now a four generation family, and yesterday we had my three, my sister, Linda, mum, Joe, my niece Emily, Honey, Simon and all three of their children too! It was great fun – I can’t remember the last time I fed twelve people! So nice to relax together as you say :) I’m glad you got the card holders – I tried to order them for mum, but we’d sold out! I too am hoping little Alfie is OK – maybe Janet will have a chance to write when she has a moment’s rest from her new job :) Thanks for always keeping in touch and for your kind words, you take care and stay well, Love to you and Annie, Ali xx

  56. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 6:09 pm -  Reply

    Bless you Susan, I did write a dairy, and then found I had somehow managed to delete it from my notes on the iPad! It’s true though that every picture tells a story, and just looking at the photographs brought it all back to me – good times! Monticassino is one of my favourite memories though – the peace I felt there was extraordinary. Thanks for asking about Honey – as you will see from the previous comments, we’ve just spent two days with her, and it was bliss. She is an absolute treasure. I promise to have photos in my next blog. Love Ali xx

  57. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 6:11 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Chris, and thank you for taking the time to write to me. We certainly did have a memorable time, and have some fantastic memories which we will keep for always. I’m glad you liked the ring.. I also thought it was stunning, and as I sold all my old jewellery just before the wedding, I have bought it! I felt at least that way I will have something stunning to pass down to Lucy and Honey too :) Feel very lucky! Take care, Love Ali xx

  58. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 6:13 pm -  Reply

    Dear Helen, Seriously there is nothing like an Italian holiday to lift the spirits and cheer the soul! We had such a good time, and yes are very much in love, as I guess we always have been :) Selfishly I loved having all that time just the two of us – it was magical. Love Ali xx

  59. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 6:14 pm -  Reply

    Sue, a little early, but congratulations anyway on your 40th Wedding Anniversary! I am sure you will have a wonderful time at Lake Como – that’s the only one of the three lakes I haven’t managed to visit – maybe next year! Enjoy, and I’m so glad you liked our photos, love Ali xx

  60. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 6:16 pm -  Reply

    Dear Maggie, so glad you were able to access our little Wedding website, and enjoyed reading about how Colin and I met, and also seeing all the additional photographs. And yes, it’s strange the route life takes you, and although it hasn’t always been this easy, I believe that everything happens for a reason, and we wouldn’t be where we are now, if our lives had been different. Take care, and please do keep in touch, love Ali x

    • Margaret Upton August 19, 2015 at 9:09 pm -  Reply

      Really looking forward to the next instalment!!

  61. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 7:13 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Lin, I completely share your view that Rome is definitely worth a second visit, and having read about your cruise along the Amalfi Coast – that’s one for the To Do list too! Thank you for the compliment re the Judith Williams show – the dress I am wearing is a Hobbs dress – this season – it’s navy and multi coloured with buttons all the way down the front. Am guessing best fits the description of shirt dress! Take care, love Ali xx

  62. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 7:14 pm -  Reply

    Linda I think you should start looking at brochures now!!! Maybe choose earlier or later in the year as it really was VERY hot, and we both found it quite exhausting sightseeing in the heat. Let me know if you decide to go – we can recommend a few restaurants! Thanks for writing to me, with love, Ali xx

  63. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 7:17 pm -  Reply

    My dear Twinkle, thank you so much for your sweet words. I am so glad that you enjoyed the honeymoon photographs, and I am really pleased to be able to share our special time with you. You’re right about Honey – I really missed her, but we have just had a fab two days with Lucy, Honey, Simon, all the children and my mum and family too! I’m trying to see her once a week, as she is growing up so fast. She slept for an hour on my lap this morning – her little eyelashes were just perfect. She really is a beauty :) Love to you, and thanks for keeping in touch, Ali xx

  64. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 7:19 pm -  Reply

    Joyce thank you so much for sharing your memories with us… I think your tour of Italy sounds equally splendid. I am glad though that you both found the ‘right’ people and are now celebrating 5 years of wedding bliss! How wonderful for you to be able to visit Lake Garda, and then to have the children join you too – I hope you can read my next instalment of the holiday, as we had our share of surprises too :) Wishing you and YOUR husband many happy years together too, love Ali xx

  65. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 7:21 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Mandy, so glad you liked our wedding website – our friend Mitch has done a marvellous job with it, and I am hoping to post even more of the official wedding photos there over the next few weeks. I too love the sunset photo – I can feel the warm breeze through our balcony doors every time I look at it :) Love to you, Ali xx

  66. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 7:23 pm -  Reply

    Dear Sue, rather than buying a ‘selfie stick’ before you leave, wait until you get to your holiday destination as they’re far cheaper then! So glad you got the card, and that your husband is improving. I always feel the more tests they take, the closer they will get to sorting everything for him. I hope he continues to get stronger and healthier, although I know forced rest is hateful! I would have loved to visit Egypt one day, but with the current state of the world and the unrest there, I don’t think it’s somewhere we will be going for a while. Thanks though for the heads up – it sounds as fab as I thought it would be! Love from Ali xx

  67. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 7:24 pm -  Reply

    hi Helen, so glad you found the link to the wedding website easy to navigate and enjoyed seeing the new photos. We hope to have a few more to add to the gallery in the next few weeks. I’m glad you enjoyed the blog too,and thanks for writing to me, love Ali xx

  68. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 7:27 pm -  Reply

    Dear Elizabeth, I think we may well be following your lead and visiting Italy several years in succession! Lake Garda, Verona and Venice definitely worth a second look, and I very much hope you will have a wonderful time when you get there at the end of the month. I look forward to hearing from you and hope the photos have given you a flavour of what you’re going to be seeing – again! :) Love Ali xx

  69. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 7:29 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Denise, and I have to say I agree completely with you that Colin did an incredible job of organising the honeymoon – and this is only the first half of it!!! There were even more surprises to come, and I will write about those next week. How lovely for you to have visited Florence as your first taste of Italy. Just stunning. I would highly recommend Rome and also Tuscany, oh and the Amalfi Coast… infact EVERYWHERE :) Thank you for taking the time out to write to me, and I hope you have a great weekend, love Ali xx

  70. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 7:32 pm -  Reply

    My dear Sue, how kind of you to write back again, especially as last time was your first time! :) So glad you were able to access the additional wedding photographs, and I promise I will be posting more from the professional photographer in the next fortnight. I agree, Colin and I are very lucky to have found one another.. we have both lived different lives before we met, but we know that this is for keeps… it’s all I’ve ever wanted, and luckily he feels the same way :) So glad you enjoyed the honeymoon pics too, and I hope you enjoy the second instalment which I should be posting at the beginning of next week. Take care, and thanks again for taking the time to keep in touch, love Ali xx

  71. Alison Keenan August 12, 2015 at 7:45 pm -  Reply

    Dear Mandy you’ve just made me laugh out loud, reminding me of Sally’s comment about getting her toe stuck up the hoover!!! What can you say?! I was more than a little taken aback! :) Thanks too for your lovely words about the blog, it’s nice that you felt the connection with the places we’ve had. I loved reading about you as a young girl always looking up to make sure you didn’t miss anything.. like the Latin plaques on the side of your local library. Priceless memories of your dad too I’m sure – thank you for sharing. You’re absolutely right that Debs would have described that fabulous morganite ring as a ‘stonker’! It was absolutely stunning, and although I don’t normally like larger designs this one was beautiful because of the colour. If you only visit one place in Italy, then I think for you it should be Rome. If you go in the autumn its still lovely and warm, but the queues to get into the Vatican are shorter apparently! Take care and do keep in touch, love Ali xx

  72. Deborah Stubbs August 12, 2015 at 9:24 pm -  Reply

    Wonderful photos. After what you have been through you deserve this happiness. I have just come back from a cruise which included Italy. We visited Portofino which was beautiful and we visited Rome and whilst my Hubble went off to take pictures of the Colisium I sat next to a lady and talked ‘Kipling’. We were on the cruise celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary.

  73. C Ferguson August 12, 2015 at 11:31 pm -  Reply

    Dear Alison,
    I read your blog all the time. Have followed you through the horrors( which you bore with true grit) and now the happy times.. You do look so happy and so well.. Colin could not have chosen a better honeymoon vacation.. My husband and I have spent two fab holidays there, but I have to disagree on one point. It was not the British who bombed Cassino it was the Americans. But they also paid to rebuild it. This was done because the thought the Germans were in there when they were in fact dug into the hillside around it. This was a scene of one of the most bloodiest battles of World War Two. If you want to know more you can buy the book Monte Cassino.. Perhaps an idea for a gift for Colin.. My husband reads it on average twice a year and maintains he finds something he missed the time before.. Anyway Alison again I think you are a remarkable women and I am glad to see you get the happiness you truly deserve..

    With my good wishes.

    C. F

  74. loraine August 13, 2015 at 2:25 pm -  Reply

    Thank you for your lovely reply makes us feel even more excited baby is due in March so early days yet something nice to look forward to happy times love Loraine xx

  75. Sue Jennings August 13, 2015 at 9:31 pm -  Reply

    Dearest Ali….WOW !! What an amazing blog . Your honeymoon looks truly magical in Italy. Brian and I spent our 25th Wedding Anniversary in Rome so I know exactly how it takes your breath away standing in St Peters With the Vatican in front of you. I would of loved to visit Monte Casino as my Dad also fought in that battle. he was originally part of the 8th Army fighting in the Africa campaign. He then went on to fight in Italy. It is moving to know Colins Dad also fought there too in such an awful battle.
    On a much happier note I loved the link from your blog to the Wedding , absolutely beautiful from beginning to end. Monkey Island is so unique . What wonderful memories you will cherish from that day.

    Can’t wait for next weeks blog . take very good care .
    Sending much love

    Sue Jennings xx

  76. Sue Huskisson August 13, 2015 at 9:37 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali. Thankyou so much for sharing your honeymoon photos with us. You both looked so relaxed and very happy. Loved your wedding website too!! I won’t forget the date of your wedding as three days before my husband fell and broke his hip (75 years old and playing football mind you). He’s well on the mend now, thankfully, and resumed driving this week, much to my relief as I don’t drive, and rediscovering public transport is a shock to the system! Anyway, enough of my woes. So pleased to see you looking so happy and healthy and long may it continue. Looking forward to your next blog. Love Sue xx

  77. Sue Radford August 13, 2015 at 11:34 pm -  Reply

    Hi again Ali,

    Thanks for letting me know it’s better to purchase the ‘selfie stick’ when you get to your destination – I will remember that.

    Yes, like you, due to the unrest in Egypt nowadays I’d be reluctant to visit again, but so glad I had the opportunity to do so 5 years ago. I’m not sure, but I don’t think you can go inside the pyramid anymore, but I may be wrong. I wanted to visit Tunisia too, but with the tradegy that’s happened there recently it’s another place struck off my list now. I feel so very sad, as a lovely lady who looked after my late dad at the nursing home was a victim of that terrible tragic day! She was such a happy, caring and lovely lady – everyone loved her, including my dad.

    Looking forward to the next instalment of your exciting adventures in Italy, as you describe everything so well. So much so, I feel as if I was there with you (not such a good thought though as you were on your honeymoon lol).

    Thanks for your good wishes.

    Love Sue Radford xx

  78. Heather Blaber August 15, 2015 at 12:53 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Looks like you had a lovely honeymoon travelling around Italy. We were fortunate to go on our first cruise this year. I must admit I was very apprehensive because I’m not a good sailor. The longest I have sailed was on a Nile Cruise for our 25th Wedding Anniversary, which was lovely and calm, hectic, but worth every penny. We just love Egypt.
    Anyway it took me a couple of days to settle, but then I started to relax and enjoy myself. I took travel sickness tablets for a few days, but then found I didn’t need them. It was lovely sailing to different islands in Greece, Turkey, and Italy – Pompeii, and being able to go on different excursions each time we docked. We spent 7 days on board. Our last excursion was Pompeii (like you and Colin), which we thoroughly enjoyed. (We kept thinking Frankie Howard was going to pop up)! We then sailed to Rome, where we spent three nights. But we found it very hot and sticky, and it sapped your energy. So didn’t manage to visit as many places as we would have liked, but saw them from the “hop-on”, “hop-off” bus. We then had to decide which guided tour we really wanted to go on, before we travelled home. So we booked a trip to Palentine Hill, and the Colesseum. We thoroughly enjoyed both, and we have many lovely photos, like yourself to look back on. Must start my scrap book soon!
    After wanting to visit Rome for such a long time, we were disappointed to see all the graffiti on the walls, especially where we stayed at the Radisson. It was a five star hotel, which was situated just in front of the railway station. Unfortunately we looked out on the station, which wasn’t very pleasant. But going back to the graffiti, and seeing all the militia guarding everything, I don’t know how they managed to get past them to vandalise such lovely architecture.

    Anyway thank you letting me see your lovely photographs.

    Congratulations, and wishing you and Colin a very happy, healthy, fun life together.

    Take care.

    Best regards,


  79. Sandy August 15, 2015 at 1:28 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful pictures of your wedding, your beautiful granddaughter Honey and now your honeymoon, you have had a pretty rotten time over the last couple of years and I’m so pleased for you as you seen truly blessed. The picture of you on the Abbey steps is beautiful.I wish you and Colin a very long and happy life together you deserve it.
    Love Sandy xx

  80. Alison Keenan August 15, 2015 at 3:11 pm -  Reply

    Hello Deborah, and how lovely to know that you too enjoyed your visit to Portofino, and squeezed in a trip to Rome too! I have to say that Colin and I are beginning to realise that a cruise may well be the perfect way to revisit some of our favourite places! Thank you for your kind words, and I’m glad you liked the photos – more to come next week! Love Ali xx

  81. Mary Morphy August 16, 2015 at 6:43 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison and Happy Sunday 15th Aug, cannot believe we are halfway through yet another month. I has fully intended to write this last week but as you know, my foot injury has been causing me aggro!!
    Your honeymoon photos episode 1 are stunning and you and Colin look relaxed, happy and completely in love! The scenery and hotels that you stayed in are idyllic, what a perfect choice.
    Last day at school was very emotional although I do not hand my notice in until 24th August so I do go back for a couple of weeks before starting my new job. After 14.5 years I knew when I walked out of the Marlowe Academy ( it officially closes on 31st August) that I had made the right decision and although lots of tears were shed..proper sobbing at one point..the new school will not be the same and I am happy to move on to a new chapter in my working life although sadly, because I am taking a pay cut, I will have to work on Friday now, doing 35 hours a week so we have had to make sure mum has carers and transport to her club on Fridays as I am no longer able to do that.
    So, having got on great guns with my ‘to do’ list during the first week of the school holidays everything has ground to a halt, well almost, as I wait for the bone infection to heal; week two of mammoth amounts of combined antibiotics, foot swelling has reduced so I am hoping that I can soon step into something other than a flip flop…I have two beautiful pairs of Clarks wedges bought in the sale ( two pairs for £45…original price was £50 per pair, would have been rude not too) but I cannot put any pressure on my toes yet…
    I will attempt to re grout the patio and build my brick wall..its fallen down in the front garden and has been like it for nearly 19 months so I am really fed up with it now; paying someone to do it is not an option so if I can ice a cake I am sure I can build a wall! I have got a spirit level and two buckets of ready made cement bought from B and Q sitting patiently in my shed. The re roofing of the cabin will wait now until October half term but I have to say the newly painted cabin and fencing look fab.
    I will however be resealing the bath sidetracked from doing that in the week…so I can cross that off my list.
    Chloe resumes cricket practice this week as she has had a nasty hip injury and has been un able to play any sport for 6 weeks so hopefully she can ease herself back in; she has missed it so much. Jack got his AS level results…lets just say that as a non academic he struggled and not having a Business Teacher for the year did not help but school do not want him back and so we are off to the |Job centre tomorrow to get some much needed advice and support. He has applied for a couple of Apprentice jobs but I am really worried for him. He did however, get his GCSE English C grade so that was a bit of good news for him.
    Well, I think that is all for now. Have a great week love Mary

  82. Sue Radford August 17, 2015 at 2:59 pm -  Reply

    Hi again Ali,

    It was 22 years ago when I went to Egypt and not 5yrs as I mentioned! Lol!

    Love Sue Radford x

  83. Alison Keenan August 18, 2015 at 9:55 am -  Reply

    Dear C Ferguson – good to hear from you, and thanks so much for putting me right re the bombing of Montecassino! Of course, as you say it was the allies who bombed the Abbey not the British, and I will ask my editor to change this. I will find out about the book as Colin may well like it – thank you. Yes we did have a fabulous holiday and it feels as though the tide has definitely turned for me now.. onwards and upwards. Take care, love Ali xx

  84. Alison Keenan August 18, 2015 at 9:56 am -  Reply

    Ooh Loraine – maybe the baby will be born around my birthday on the 16th?! :) You’ll be surprised how quickly it’ll come around after Christmas though. Definitely a great deal for you to look forward to, love Ali xx

  85. Alison Keenan August 18, 2015 at 10:00 am -  Reply

    Hi Sue, good to hear from you, and interesting to know that your Dad also fought in the same battle.. I fear there were a very large number of our troops drafted in from Africa for that five month fight. As you say on a happier note, the new photos of the wedding are on the link, and I’m glad you enjoyed looking at them. I am hoping to post a lot more over this next month – don’t seem to find enough hours in a day though! Take care and thanks for writing to me, love Ali xx

  86. Alison Keenan August 18, 2015 at 10:02 am -  Reply

    Crikey Sue, your husband sounds incredibly fit – if not unlucky! Fancy playing football in your 70’s! So sorry to hear he broke his hip, but am delighted to know he’s on the mend now. The wedding website seems to be a hit, and I will pass all your comments on the Mitchell and Katie who put it together. I know they will be pleased. I hope to post the new blog tomorrow – taking a long time to get all the pics together! Love Ali xx

  87. Alison Keenan August 18, 2015 at 10:05 am -  Reply

    Sue you made me laugh with the line on the end of your comment – but I know what you mean!! :) I envy you your visit to Egypt, as I would have loved to see the pyramids and maybe even go inside one. I was though desperately sorry to hear that you knew one of the victims of the Tunisian tragedy.. Such a shock.. and on our wedding day too, so a date I will never forget. I visited there in 1978.. it was beautiful.. so sad. On a happier note, I’m glad I have persuaded you to buy a selfie stick, and I hope you have fun with it! Thanks for keeping in touch, love Ali xx

  88. Alison Keenan August 18, 2015 at 10:08 am -  Reply

    Dear Heather, You sound very much like a woman after my own heart when it comes to sailing, but larger boats I know can be incredibly comfortable and smooth too. I am glad that you grasped the nettle and went for it, otherwise you would have missed out on all those fabulous places. Rome, clearly is always pretty hot in the summer! We were lucky with the hotel we stayed in. It was fairly small and not a 5 star, but it was tucked away in a very pretty street. Unbelievable that folk managed to vandalise the area you were in! I hope that you have another holiday planned soon, and thank you for writing to me love Ali xx

  89. Alison Keenan August 18, 2015 at 10:10 am -  Reply

    Hello Sandy, and I thank you for your very kind words. This year although it didn’t start so well, has certainly improved more than I could have every hoped for, and it just continues to get better. I too love that photo of the Abbey – it reminds me of the peace and tranquility there. I hope all is good with you and yours, Love Ali xx

  90. Alison Keenan August 18, 2015 at 10:17 am -  Reply

    My dear Mary, I’ve just sat down with a coffee and a garibaldi, feeling exhausted just reading about all that you have done and still plan to do!!!! And all this with an incredibly painful foot – you’re a marvel. I wish you lived nearer as you could teach me how to make magnificent cakes and re seal the shower :) I completely understand your emotion at leaving a place you have worked in for 14.5 years… I will have been at QVC for 15 in September, so it’s well over a third of my working life! That said, I am certain for you it is the right decision. My friend works at the little school Sam and Jack attended and that became an Academy several years back. The changes there were huge, but luckily well thought through – I know this isn’t always the case. I wish you every happiness and success in your new job though – you’d be a boon to any company who were lucky enough to employ you. So glad you liked the photos – the honeymoon was perfect and Colin did a marvellous job of setting it all up in secret. Good luck to your Jack.. my Jack was exactly the same and although it’s been tricky at times, he has been consistently employed since he was 18.. not sure he’s found his true vocation yet, but he’s a grafter. Take care, and thanks as always for filling us in on your life – I very much hope the foot continues to improve – but hold off building that brick wall until it does, OK?? Love Ali xx

  91. Alison Keenan August 18, 2015 at 10:19 am -  Reply

    Hello again Sue – thanks for that – it was 37 years ago that I went to Tunisia!!!! :) Ali x

  92. Tricia coulsonwood August 18, 2015 at 3:56 pm -  Reply

    Hello Ali, it is lovely to see your photos of the lovely places you visited whilst on honeymoon..its a beautiful part of the world.
    Its been a while but we lost my wonderful father several weeks ago, age 90yrs..he was a ww2 royal naval engineer.My daughter Janette was selected to present HRH prince Charles his commemoration wreath VJ Day last Saturday. You may have seen her, she also laid the wreath at the Mountbatten memorial and walked with a veteran to lay a wreath at the cenotaph . Very poignant as she was selected because my father was on the South Pacific until 1946 after the end of WW2..she wore his medals under her uniform..He would have been very proud of her.
    I do hope everyone is keeping as well as possible. Love to all x

  93. Alison Keenan August 19, 2015 at 6:15 pm -  Reply

    My dear Tricia, I am so sorry to hear about your loss… how terribly sad after such a long and full life.. I am sure you are missing him dreadfully. But how proud you must have been to see your daughter Janette presenting the wreath to Prince Charles and then the Mountbatten Memorial… Your father was clearly a very brave man, and yes he no doubt would have been very proud of his granddaughter. Do take care, and lean on those who love you, Ali xx

  94. martin forbes August 22, 2015 at 2:21 pm -  Reply

    hi alison hope you colin and your family and granddaughter are doing well i am not bad lovely photos of your honeymoon

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