Hard to believe it's actually a month since we got back from Australia, and we're already in April! Thanks as always for your lovely comments and for keeping me in touch with your lives – you've been busier than me! Thanks too for the lovely birthday cards you sent me and for your good wishes.
I had a lovely time, spread over several days in truth and felt thoroughly spoiled. My dear friend Jo made me a magnificent banana cake – the best anyone will EVER taste, seriously!! – covered with sparklers, and also gave me a whole heap of truly thoughtful presents, including an inivitation to spend a couple of days with her in this magical little beach house on the Isle of Wight! It's tiny and looks like a doll's house, but will be great fun, whatever the weather
Colin met me after work on Thursday as we were booked into the hotel next door to QVC Towers. He had travelled all the way across London, on the tube and train then taxi, carrying the biggest wicker hamper I've ever seen!! It was so heavy and such a lovely surprise!
In it were all kinds of beautifully wrapped presents including hand-painted wine glasses, one of my favourite Thomas Hardy books and a gorgeous heart-shaped crystal bottle stopper. He also gave me a hair straightening brush – ever practical!
We spent my birthday in London and he treated me to a fabulous lunch in a restaurant called Schhhh! It had photographs of all kinds of celebrities on the wall with their finger to their lips making the sound! I was terribly impressed - especially with the Frank Sinatra photo – until Colin pointed out that they had probably just googled famous names, put in the word Schhhh, and this is what they'd come up with! So easily led am I…
The celebrations continued when on Saturday we headed up the motorway for Mel's wedding. Mel is Lucy's best friend, and the woman for whom a very large teepee was erected in my back garden! No it wasn't for some strange tribal ritual, or inhabitated by folk with names like 'One duck roaming', it was instead filled with cushions and lanterns, and Sonia and Tracey who were ready to give us facials, manicures and pedicures!
I'd just got back from an eight hour shift at QVC so was delighted, although I had to forgo a third glass of champagne as I was returning to work at nine the next morning! This excuse also meant I missed out on the belly dancing lesson which is probably just as well… I'd almost had the teepee in a heap when I caught my heel in a guy rope – can you imagine the chaos I would have caused gyrating on loose carpet?!
Although the morning of the wedding was very grey and cold, the whole event was illuminated with the eggyolk yellow colour of the bridesmaids' dresses and the choice of flowers – daffodils, sunflowers and orchids everywhere! As you can see Mel's dress was stunning, and the look on her husband Joe's face when she walked into the room, priceless…. The service was beautiful, the food fabulous, and before we knew it the tables had been cleared and the room opened up for the dancing!
Lucy's Richard was playing drums with his band for the evening, but before they began, Mel and her Dad danced to one of the most moving songs I've heard – all about a father's love for his daughter – "I Loved Her First". My tears and mascara ran in equal measures and I think we were all relieved when Richard's band crashed in with Bon Jovi's 'Living On a Prayer'!
Having glided across the floor with the utmost elegance, Mel turned into a whirling dervish, and somehow managed to stay upright on her five inch heels that were sidestepping the train on her dress like a Lipizanner's hooves!!! She and Joe outdanced the rest of us, and Richard's drumming was awesome… such a talent We all stayed overnight at the venue, and I had the best night's sleep I've had in yonks! I put it down to the dancing
I saw Ros a couple of days later and she had made a fabulous cream tea for me, but also baked my absolute favourites – cheese scones! Her recipe is taken from a garden centre tea room that she and I used to frequent many years ago… fabulous. She had also chosen a whole collection of really thoughtful presents, including a trug for the garden with my name on it and a bottle of her homemade limoncello, which is still to be sampled!
Outside of all these social occasions, I've been trying to see as many plastic surgeons as possible so that I can make a decision as to my breast reconstruction. Having spent time with some charming men discussing the pros and cons of tissue harvest, lipofilling, free TRAM flaps, free TUG flaps, DIEP flaps, and latimuss dorsi transferal, I have to admit that my head was in a whirl, although the general consensus was that pretty much ALL these procedures weren't suitable for me as I don't have enough tissue or fat! I do however have a list of close family and friends who would be MORE than happy to donate theirs to make me a new bust
I have finally decided that silicone implants are the best way forwards, although because of the damage caused by irradiation on the right side I will need the implant changing every two to three years. They think they can make a relatively 'normal' shape though… what's normal any more though eh?
I so longed for a decent sized bust when I was a child, and had to wait until I was 15 to buy my first bra! I do though remember it vividly. From Marks and Spencer, it was a 32AA pale lilac affair with little pink rosebuds on it – I LOVED it…. along with my American Tan tights, that I used to repair any holes or runs in, with black thread… eeek! Do you remember them, and what about YOUR first bra??
Things did improve though, and after much praying and padding I acquired a chest that looked more like a couple of ogen melons – right up and under my chin too! Of course breast feeding three children took its toll, and although I couldn't quite tuck them in my knickers, gravity took over and underwiring became essential! All that said, I did like them, and found the look of myself after the mastecomy last year pretty difficult to cope with. Yet here I am facing a second mastectomy and quite looking forward to having this wretched expander removed and seeing the symmetry surgery will bring… funny how things change isn't it…?
I've been asked to make another speech for Breast Cancer Care on the 11th April to help them find sponsorship and support for the London Fashion Show 2012 – in which I'll be taking part! Yes!! I've been asked to be a model can you believe, so I'm very excited about that. The fundraising evening is being held at the top of the Post Office Tower – the revolving restaurant bit – and I'm wondering if I should take a couple of Qwells incase of motion sickness! I'll let you know how it goes, and maybe QVC will record it this time so it'll be my way of sharing it with you.
Oh, final bit of news is that Mr and Mrs Duck have come back to my garden and are 'courting' on the front lawn same as last year! I think there was a little bit of speed dating going on intitally as you'll see from the photo, but it looks as though the best drake won..!
Have a wonderful week, a Happy Easter, and I'll look forward as always to hearing from you,
With my love, Ali xxxx