Barcelona by bus HOLA! 

Yes, while you've been hopefully enjoying the clear blue skies and warm sunshine here, I've been trying to dodge the rain in Spain on an impromptu weekend in Barcelona!
I know, I feel thoroughly spoilt having been away twice already, but Colin booked it, and we had a great time exploring the incredible sights within this diverse city.

Lucy's cat birthday cake I have loads of photos to show you, but first of all, thanks so much to all those of you kept me entertained – although on occasions somewhat nauseous – with your weird and wonderful phobias. Also some great stories about your precious pets, so as suggested, perhaps we should pick up on that one next time :) 

In fact it was with the photograph of Ella (Lucy's cat) that I have in my phone, that I was able to make her birthday cake.  She's 25 today – the same age I was when I was expecting her… I left the cake as a surprise for her to find when she came round to feed the kitties, and she called me to say how pleased she was with it. Awwww πŸ™‚

Antoni Gaudi's architectureBack to Barcelona!! We decided to take a bus tour of the city and as the sun was shining we picked an open topped bus which gave us stunning views of some of the incredible architecture that makes up this city. I'll be honest I didn't know anything about it beforehand – my only experience of Spain has been the Balearics or a few of the coastal resorts.

It reminded me a little of Paris with the plane trees that line most of the incredible wide roads, but the tiny, and narrow winding streets that lead off these main thoroughfares are more reminiscent of Italy. Fabulous open fronted restaurants with displays of some of the most mouth-watering tapas I've ever seen.

Exquisite confectionary and cakes beautifully lit to catch the eye. Chanel, Gucci and Jimmy Choo were just a few of the designers who caught my eye – just looking you understand – but the designer who stole my heart was Antoni Gaudi… forget accessories and think architecture! I have NEVER seen buildings like these.

Casa Batilo Just feast your eyes on the Casa Batilo. It was actually an apartment that this amazing architect renovated between 1904 and 1906, and has stained glass windows, ceramic mosaic walls, balconies designed to look like Venetian masks and a dragon's back complete with scales, providing the roof space!

Sagrada Familia We then took a different route to see the towering spectacle that is the Sagrada Familia – a Roman Catholic church which exemplifies this man's amazing visionary genius.  He began work on it in 1883 and only stopped in 1936 when his studios and the crypt were burnt… the work continues today and they don't expect to complete it until 2026!!!

It was opened to the public for the first time last month and is to be consecrated and proclaimed a basilica when the Pope visits on November 7th. It is unlike anything I have ever seen in all my 50 years and is extraordinary to think it was designed by someone who had never seen a computer generated image, or witnessed some of the amazing special effects on screen.

Barcelona by night This is seriously something WAY ahead of its time… from there to Port Vell which is very 21st century, and full of the most enormous yachts and cruise ships. We enjoyed a few sangrias before catching the last bus home, and as the sun set over the harbour

I cursed the French Aviation authority who because of their strike forced us to come home a day early… still, at least I get to write to you and share these fab memories πŸ™‚ I'd love to go back one day, so if there's anything I didn't get to see that you'd recommend, do let me know.

One favour I have to ask… if you have any free time this evening between 7pm and 10pm, please join me, Craig, Debbie, Julia, Charlie and a host of your favourite QVC guests as we give it our all for the 11th year, to raise money for Breast Cancer Care.

I know from reading some of your comments that it's a charity close to your hearts too, so you'll be glad to know that we've got some great auctions, amazing guests, and a few surprises too. Why don't you call in, 'cos I'll be manning the phone lines, and then I can put a voice to the names?! 

Have a great week, and I'll be in touch soon,

Love Ali



  1. Julie October 13, 2010 at 12:52 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Glad you had a lovely time away. My friend came back from Ibiza last Saturday and it was the worst flight ever!! Delays,Severe turbulance,seat belts on all the way and people being extremely ill!
    Lucys Birthday is the same day as our Wedding Anniversary-but not 25 years!!
    Hope everything goes well BBC.
    6 weeks to go and no work after tomorrow!
    Take care
    Julie xx

  2. Una October 14, 2010 at 8:28 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    CONGRATULATIONS on such a FABULOUS show last night. I laughed, I cried, I got some bargains, and felt so humble, but also, proud of the resiliance some of these lovely people have shown. Liz and Kate were FANTASTIC. I think we may have some new models in the wings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I cant wait to hear what the final figure is, but as you well know, every penny counts.
    Lots of love
    Una xxxxx
    BTW, LOVED your dress. xx

  3. Susan October 14, 2010 at 11:30 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    So glad you enjoyed Barcelona! It makes me realise how much I didn’t see and would love to return one day! I have to say I watched a couple of hours of Breast Cancer Care last night & it was great. You looked stunning in your beautiful softly coloured dress. You & Craig were definately on something though – you were bouncing round like a pair of those little toy dogs that do back flips!! Very entertaining! Well done to all involved. Fabulous cause. Liz the model was wonderful by the way – do pass on if you possibly can.
    Take care,
    Susan x

  4. Caroline Jones October 14, 2010 at 12:44 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, what a fabulous show last night. You’re dress was gorgeous and you looked great! I didn’t manage to snap up any bargains as stuff was selling so quickly but was so pleased that you raised so much money for such a worthy cause. Well done QVC and all your customers!
    Caroline x

  5. Rhona Fenton October 14, 2010 at 2:23 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison thank you once again for a fantastic night off enjoyment you were amazing as always and you looked beautiful hair and dress choice and not forgetting a big thanks to all who took part for this charity everytime you gave us an update on the total I was jumping for joy along with yourself and craig and when we got the last total at 10 and you broke your target I couldn’t see for the tears it was yet another amazing evening well done to everyone who took part:)back to your holiday now I really shouldn’t be talking to you as Barcelona has always been a dream of Rebeccas to go so when she finds this out there will be no living with her!! having said that you have kind of put me in the mood it looks amazing Alison maybe have to drop a few hints do you think it would work the same for me and my colin book it? so glad you both had a fantatic time it looks beautiful:) also could you please pass on a very happy belated birthday to Lucy from us all here Alison:) she is just older than my Alison who is 25 in December but her and keith are off to poland for her birthday, does this mean then I won’t have to buy her a present? Alison I sent an email to you hope you got it ok? well off now to decorate the house with Rebecca for Halloween and I bet Boston will have an awesome time with all the decorations:) and I have to leave a few for my Alison to put up tomorrow when she gets here:) this is the holiday the girls both love the most:)have a lovely weekend and love to colin and the family lots of love Rhona xx

  6. Elaine Martin October 15, 2010 at 4:45 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    The breast cancer care show was absolutely fabulous – lots of fun, informative, touching & best of all raising awareness & money for such a wonderful cause. I snapped up some bargains for me & to use as Christmas pressies, it may be silly but it feels as if the present is extra special because it was bought on such a special night. πŸ™‚ I also loved your dress & it suited you down to the ground.
    BTW probably a little late, but when I worked as a practice sister in a GP’s surgery, if we had trouble finding veins the advice was always plenty of fluids (warm drinks are great as they make you warm & as your body tries to cool down it pushes your veins up), also a warm hot water bottle placed over the arm helps in much the same way.
    Lucky you having such a lovely weekend away – glad you enjoyed it, & wow, how lucky you are & proud you should feel to have such a loving, caring family.
    Love Elaine xxx

  7. Denise October 15, 2010 at 9:32 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Congratulations on a great show for Breast Cancer Care and have to agree with the other comments that you looked fab.Its a very emotional evening.
    Glad you enjoyed Barcelona – I’m green with envy! Love the place. My dear husband took me for my 50th Birthday a couple of years back and had a ball. We did the open top bus like you which is a great way to see everything being that there is so much to see. We also saw the Sagrada Famillia – just amazing,Casa Battlo,Port Vell,Placa Catalunya,Nou Camp etc. When we were there it was during one of the festivals called the Merce and I would recommend going to that.There was just so much going on as part of it – parades,displays,exhibitions we really felt fully immersed in the Spanish Culture.Its held in September each year round the 22nd and lasts for about a week. The market La Boqueria just off Las Ramblas is also worth a visit and puts our markets to shame – fantastic displays of the produce.On the actual day of my Birthday we went to the Nou Camp and did the behind the scenes tour. One of the places you see is the Presidents Cocktail lounge where for a couple of Euros you could have Cava and canapes – so we did. Perfect for my Birthday!
    There is a lovely little square called the Placa Real which is just off Las Ramblas it has a fountain and bars,resataurants all around the square which is just perfect to stop and have a drink or meal and watch the world go by. As you can see I’m a bit of a fan! Sorry this is long but its all come back to me. I must go back again soon. If and when I do go again I want to see Parc Guell and the fountains at Montjuic – can’t wait.
    Best wishes,

  8. Shirley October 16, 2010 at 12:01 am -  Reply

    Hi Alison, I love Barcelona – have been twice. You must visit the Palau de la Musica -beautiful stained glass and architecture – I would love to go to a concert there. Also have cake and coffee on the top floor of the big department store in Catalunya Square – great views over the city. I managed to get earrings, watch and featherbed on BCC night -but everything else sold out – can’t wait for them to arrive. What a massive amount was raised! Well done! p.s. love Elaine’s tip for hidden veins as mine nosedive every time I have a blood test. Must get a hot water bottle! Best wishes – Shirley

  9. muriel October 17, 2010 at 2:52 pm -  Reply

    hi Alison love the show,, could you answer me do you have any connection with ireland at all? you share the same surname as myself and its a pretty commom name here, so i was just wondering,, also i was watching your show last night and it was fabulous,, except for the fact that every few minutes my husband who was supposed to be reading a book,, kept coming out with ” look at the legs on her” and a few other things i shant repaet,, anyway keep up the good work,,

  10. alison keenan October 18, 2010 at 5:45 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julie, and sorry for not replying to you sooner, but been back to mum’s. Your poor friend – what a ghastly experience on her flight home. Takes me back to our phobias – people being ill! Eeeeow πŸ™ Not good! Onto better things, and as you will now have gathered BCC was a runaway success and the total we raised fabulous, so all good. You’ll be enjoying your no work status by now, so enjoy the next 6 weeks – exciting time!! Love Ali xx

  11. alison keenan October 18, 2010 at 6:05 pm -  Reply

    Una, bless you and thanks to you who along with everyone else gave their time and their money to this cause. I agree Liz and Kate were amazing and it was quite hard to ‘do jolly’ having listened to their stories when I felt quite tearful, but it made us even more determined to hit the target. We finished at 10pm on Β£407,000 but I know that figure has risen quite dramatically so will let you know when I do. Lovely as always to hear from you, and I hope all well with you and yours. Love Ali xx

  12. alison keenan October 18, 2010 at 10:49 pm -  Reply

    Oh and Una, thanks for compliments re the dress. I got Kathy to make the final decision for me this year πŸ™‚ Right one I’m guessing πŸ™‚ xx

  13. alison keenan October 18, 2010 at 10:52 pm -  Reply

    Susan, we definitely were on something, and if we could bottle it, and sell it at QVC we’d make a fortune πŸ™‚ It was an amazing night, and it was all I could do to hold it together at the end when we hit the 407k!!! So hope I’ll get the chance to do it all again next year. I will pass on yours and Una’s compliments to both Liz and Kate, whom I had the good fortune to meet prior to the night, and thought they were both brave and beautiful women. Thank you for your comments – lovely to hear from you, love Ali xx

  14. alison keenan October 18, 2010 at 10:58 pm -  Reply

    Caroline, thank you!! I’ve had the dress for a year now actually – one of Frank Usher’s creations, and I’ve never felt happier to wear it, although between you and me we had a bit of a do trying to hide my microphone and talkback in my knickers!!! Luckily they were big ones πŸ™‚ It was a phenomenal night and one that I am humbled to have been a part of…. here’s to next year πŸ™‚ Love Ali xx

  15. alison keenan October 18, 2010 at 11:06 pm -  Reply

    Rhona, thank you so much for your lovely long reply. Yes the night was terrific, and I’m so glad you managed to get a few bargains, all for a good cause! When we beat the target it was difficult not to cry – I was delighted πŸ™‚ On to Barcelona – I am sure it would work for you and your Colin…. whatever else is going on in life, this is sheer escapism….leave it all behind and just have fun, it worked for me! I’ve passed on your best to Lucy, and please pass on mine to your Alison for her birthday. I have some great pictures of me and the children over Halloween and hope to post them next month, but I hope that both Rebecca and Ali have a great time with you over the next week – it’ll be great for you to have them home πŸ™‚ And no, just because Alison is going to Poland you STILL have to buy her a present!! Hope they have fun πŸ™‚ Make sure Boston doesn’t eat too much tinsel. Love Ali xx

  16. alison keenan October 18, 2010 at 11:10 pm -  Reply

    Elaine, firstly many thanks for your timely advice re hot water bottles and veins! I’ve passed it on to mum and told her that yes, it is entirely acceptable to sit in the waiting room clutching a hot water bottle!! Thank you too for your compliments re the dress. It’s one I’ve only worn once before, and I had to get poor Kathy to take a photo of it, and send it to me, as I’d forgotten to take it out of my wardrobe and couldn’t remember the colours properly!! You’re right, I am extremely lucky, and it’s a weekend I’ll remember always. Love to you Elaine, and thanks for writing, Ali xx

  17. alison keenan October 18, 2010 at 11:19 pm -  Reply

    Denise, never apologise for writing too much! I love the fact that my words remind you of somewhere or something you’ve been, explored or enjoyed πŸ™‚ You’ve actually made me realise just how much we missed, and on the strength of that I am determined to make a second visit – September sounds prime considering all that is going on. I guess I felt truly spoiled… I would never have thought to book it myself, and the fact we had sunshine was such a bonus… I did take a bathing costume just incase, and we spent all of Monday on the beach… not bad for October! I feel the President’s Cocktail lounge has my name written all over it and the Placa Real beckons too. Thank you so much for drawing my attention to these havens, and as soon as I visit, I promise I will report πŸ™‚ Have a great week, and thanks again for taking the time out.
    Love Ali xx

  18. alison keenan October 18, 2010 at 11:23 pm -  Reply

    Sadly Shirley we don’t sell hot water bottles as far as I’m aware, but no doubt you can pick one up easily :0 so glad you enjoyed the evening and got some bargains too… it’s a bit like Christmas waiting for them to arrive isn’t it?! Missed out on the Palau de la Musica but it’s on my tick list for next time. Like the sound of the coffee and cake too, although Sangria and Tapas was much more our menu this time round…. ! Thank you for your support for such a worthy cause, and also for taking the time to write to me. Much appreciated. Love Ali xx

  19. alison keenan October 18, 2010 at 11:27 pm -  Reply

    Gosh Shirley, rather late in the day, and I very much hope I attributed my reply to you and not someone else!! Thank you for writing, Love Ali xx

  20. alison keenan October 18, 2010 at 11:30 pm -  Reply

    Muriel, how lovely to hear from you. Yes, the name Keenan is my married name and part of a lovely family from the south of Ireland near Dublin. Sadly I was divorced some years back, but my own roots are Irish with the name O’Keefe from County Cork. All my memories of Ireland and people there are good ones. It’s a country I’d like to return to one day… do hope all is well with you and yours – and say Hello to your husband – the tinker!! πŸ™‚ Love Ali xx

  21. Una October 19, 2010 at 1:02 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Cant wait to hear what the final figure is, but as we know, every single penny counts.
    I dont blame you for being emotional, I was emotional watching, and thought how amazing you guys are to manage to keep it all together.
    Cancer is the one word we never want to hear, when its in reference to someone we know and love. Unfortuantely, we have had a horrible year. We have lost 4 this year, 3 to cancer. All relatively young, and all very suddenly. Having events like BCC is SO important, both in raising money, and simply to make people aware. Thats life, we just have to get on with it, and remember that every second counts.
    On a lighter note. Your Barcelona trip sounds wonderful, I was there years ago, and always said I would go back. I havent been so far, but maybe next year. You have reminded me how lovely it is, so I am going to make sure I do go back.
    Lots of love to you and your lovely family
    Una xx

  22. October 20, 2010 at 9:34 am -  Reply

    Hello Alison, this is the first time i have actually wrote something on here, although i have often enjoyed reading them, I too noticed you were showing a “bit of leg” the other night too, as Muriel was saying earlier,, and good for you,, if you,ve got it flaunt it, i enjoy the shows,

  23. Caroline Jones October 22, 2010 at 1:26 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    I love Frank Usher and have a couple of his outfits – well not his but you know what I mean lol, so will keep a lookout for something similar to your dress cos it was so beautiful. Your comments re the mic and talkback made me smile and it was a good job you weren’t wearing Spanx like I was ;o)Congrats again on raising so much money – you and Craig were fantastic to watch and I’m sure inspired people to donate. Here’s to the next one!
    Caroline xx

  24. alison keenan November 1, 2010 at 9:52 am -  Reply

    Victoria – Bless you!! Wasn’t aware I was showing a bit of leg, although had my knickers have stayed on my shoe it could have been a lot worse!! Thanks for writing πŸ™‚ hope it’s the first time of many. Love Ali xx

  25. alison keenan November 1, 2010 at 9:53 am -  Reply

    Oh thank you Caroline πŸ™‚ I saw Craig just the other day, and we both commented on how much we enjoyed working together. It’s a big show to keep up and running, and there are many people you never get to see who make it possible, but it’s so lovely to have the kind of feedback you’ve been kind enough to give. I’ll pass it on to Craig when I next see him. Have a look online for the Frank Usher outfits – occasion dresses I think they come under – but the fit and fabric are beautiful. Look forward to hearing from you again, love Ali xx

  26. alison keenan November 1, 2010 at 9:54 am -  Reply

    Una, I was so sorry to hear your news, and have complete empathy with you and your family for your loss. It’s a wretched disease, and ANYTHING we can do to raise money for research and to raise awareness has to be a good thing. We too lost four close friends/family – and the children and partners who now have to deal with the empty space in their lives are incentive enough for us to keep on fighting to find a cure….. As you say – on a lighter note – do go back to Barcelona. It’s a city where you can leave your other life behind, and I think we all need to escape sometimes πŸ™‚ Really do appreciate your keeping in touch, and hope that you’ve had a great weekend, love Ali xxxx

  27. Caroline Jones November 4, 2010 at 10:46 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Your very welcome :o) Yes please pass it on to Craig….I did put a comment oh his blog but he may not have seen it. I’ll definitely have a look online for Frank Usher (now that I’m back online after my pc had a melt down!)so ty for giving me the details – its much appreciated.
    Will look forward to your next show
    Caroline xx

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