Broken iPhones, family reunions and busy weeks


MallyHaving just returned from Chiswick Park after a great day with Mally, I was ravenous! So, having demolished a rather large portion of fish pie, my brain is now functioning again, and I’m ready to bring you up to speed with all that’s  been happening over the last week or so, and to give you details of my new competition with a FABULOUS prize up for grabs. Before I begin though, thanks as always for your lovely comments – a delight not only for me to catch up with your lives, but for you to catch up with each other's.

Since writing to you last time, I’ve experienced a mixture of delights and disasters, and as I’m not one to major on the negatives, I’ll get that out of the way first!

As the proud owner of an iPhone and iPad, I do find them both very useful, not just as a way of keeping up with emails, phone calls, tweeting and blogging, but also as a method of cataloguing events and experiences – bit like a diary.

I’ve been doing this since way before I was diagnosed, and so have some really poignant information and memories too. Unfortunately, on Thursday night, having parked at QVC prior to my Thorntons launch, my phone slipped out of my pocket and straight into a water-filled drain!

Top marks to AJ in security, who had the rather disgusting task of fishing it out, and after disinfecting it (!) gave it back to me.  Incredibly it was still working, but totally corrupted, and so I phoned my provider who arranged to have a replacement sent out.

Unfortunately for me, somehow when swapping SIM cards, and trying to back-up the phone, I lost everything – all my contacts, photos, texts, but more importantly my notes – many of which were written during my treatment, and were to be used in my book… my iPad has everything from 2012 onwards, but the rest is gone…such a shame :/ 

All that said, I have had plenty to smile about too as I’ve been catching up with the family, starting with a trip to see mum. Since Colin and I moved last December, the journey time to her has halved, and as Colin was working, I was happy to head off down the M3 to see her.

I arrived in time for lunch, where  I was treated to a delicious beef dinner – mum’s own recipe using brisket and a marinade made cleverly with a mix of mustard, horseradish, tomato puree and vinegar.  Delicious!

There was pudding too, and then cake at teatime, so I felt thoroughly spoiled. She’s always enjoyed cooking and you may have heard me recently, talking about her making our Christmas cake in the washing up bowl! I always preferred the raw mixture to the baked cake.

After lunch we spent a fair bit of time looking online at QVC’s fashion, as mum was trying to find dresses with loose sleeves. She, like I, struggles with Lymphodema and so needs clothes that have Dolman-style sleeves. She was very impressed with our ‘Virtual’ dress-sizing system – brilliant! Check it out on!

After a lovely evening chatting about all sorts, I slept pretty well, and was then greeted with a running buffet for breakfast that would have put any 5-star establishment to shame! My car was slightly closer to the ground as I headed off to spend the rest of the day with my sister who lives just 20 minutes away from mum.

Jenny had a rare day off, and so, having not seen each other since the summer, we had a lovely lunch – more food!! – and then I headed home, safe in the knowledge that she would be coming to see me ‘en famille’ the following week to celebrate her birthday. And boy what a busy week it was, with Colin and I deciding to decorate not just the kitchen but our bedroom too!

We painted by day, and then I came to work in the evenings, while he carried on decorating at home.  The carpet was fitted on Thursday, and we were delighted to have everything sorted in time for our six guests on Friday night. I have to also thank Joe, Colin’s son, and my Sam for helping too, as we’d have been lost without them.

Jenny, Danny and VerityHere’s a photo of Jenny with my  neice, Verity, and her boyfriend Danny – he’s the son of the late Ted Rogers who used to host 321 – such a lovely lad. Jenny’s older daughter, Emily, was also with us, along with her husband Paul – you may remember their wedding 18 months ago. It’s been two years since we were all together in one place, and so, having eaten massively, we all retired to play a mix of charades and other games which were hysterical!


Paul and EmilyI think the point of no return though was with three of us trying to set the Aerobed up…least said, soonest mended, as my granny would have said! I have to admit to feeling a little dusty the following morning, but rallied after a large cooked breakfast and several cups of coffee.

Socialising sorted, it’s been back to work, and as we move ever closer to that ‘most magical time of the year’, things are getting even busier at QVC! I was lucky enough to meet and interview The Tenors – four incredibly talented Canadians whose singing voices made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.


Barb and I in the galleryIf you’re a Strictly Come Dancing fan, you will have seen them perform the Bob Dylan classic ‘Forever Young’ last weekend… They sang  it in our studios too and, having been moved to tears watching them, I retired to the gallery with our director, Barbara, to watch their performance of Nessun Dorma.

You can enjoy that performance (as well as my chat with the boys) over on QGossip!

Their Album ‘Lead with Your Heart’ is available now, and is an incredible mix of Classical, Folk and Opera – ‘You and I’ the first track is simply beautiful, but they’re all soooo worth a listen. We’ve also had some fabulous TSV’s from Decleor, Elemis, Apple, Dyson, Thorntons, and of course Mally, whose 12-Piece Celebrate Your Beauty Collection had the phone lines on fire!

I am delighted to tell you that I have one of these to give to a lucky winner who can answer the following question correctly:

Q. What is Mally’s surname? 

a) Roncal
b) Ronson
c) Racal

With over £200 of value it’s definitely going to make someone’s Christmas, so just enter your guess in the box below, and I’ll draw a winner next week. Good luck!! (See the full terms and conditions here).

With only four weeks to go before the big day, I do hope you’re feeling pretty well organised, and excited.

I’ll look forward to hearing all about your plans, and will of course write back to you. Take care and enjoy this week,

with love,

Ali xx


  1. Heather McLaren November 26, 2013 at 12:15 pm -  Reply

    Mally’s surname is Roncal

  2. Mrs Janet Jones November 26, 2013 at 12:17 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali
    Competition answer is a) Roncal
    So sorry to hear you lost all that info, maybe Colin and your family could help you fill in the blanks. Lovely to hear you live closer to your mum now and that you spent such a lovely time with her and the rest of your family.
    Alfie is no longer wearing the patch on his eye at the moment, they now need to wean him of the antibiotic drops over the next few days, but he will still have to have the other drops to keep the pressure down. We won’t know until Dec 16 if the operation has been successful, so my beautiful grandson will hopefully be able to enjoy his first Christmas and his next operation will be in the new year.We will all keep praying for his sight.
    You have been a busy bee decorating, can you believe we are still decorating out bathroom (we started in march),hopefully the bathroom suite will start to go in this weekend. When we have finished we will have to have a celebratory party for the finished bathroom lol!!
    I have made a start on my Christmas shopping and am hoping to do a bit more at the end of the week.
    I hope you are feeling a bit more comfortable now Ali after your recent op, and all your family are well.
    Take care speak soon, Love Janet xx

  3. Valerie November 26, 2013 at 1:57 pm -  Reply

    Answer to comp A Roncal

  4. sandra catherwood November 26, 2013 at 2:48 pm -  Reply

    A roncal

  5. Rebecca Ellis November 26, 2013 at 3:22 pm -  Reply

    Mally Roncal :) great competition x

  6. Elaine Hoy November 26, 2013 at 3:39 pm -  Reply

    a) Roncal

  7. Jane Duff November 26, 2013 at 5:41 pm -  Reply

    The answer to the competition is Mally Roncal
    I love mally’s products.

  8. Keryn Murphy November 26, 2013 at 6:01 pm -  Reply


  9. niki waugh November 26, 2013 at 6:28 pm -  Reply

    MALLY RONCAL although she can be a bit of a rascal too, love her!!! and her products!!!

  10. Julie November 26, 2013 at 6:33 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Such a shame you lost your notes. You don’t have much luck do you it’s the sort of thing I would do. A few years ago I was expecting a phone call from a solicitor as we were expecting to exchange on a house. I went to the bathroom and dropped my phone down the toilet! I was in work at the time so we had to put it near a radiator etc to dry out but it didn’t work.
    I can see the resemblance between you and Jenny. I’m glad you managed to have a nice time meeting up with your family.
    I think I’ve got everything organised for Christmas-presents wrapped and cards written so just waiting for the big day. Just hope we don’t have any snow!!
    Sent you news of the scan.
    Hope all’s well with the family
    Take care
    Julie x Lily xxx

  11. martin forbes bucksburn aberdeen watching via sky tv November 26, 2013 at 6:37 pm -  Reply

    hi alison hope you are well iam nae bad

  12. Mrs Wendy banks November 26, 2013 at 6:56 pm -  Reply

    Answer is –
    A. Roncal

  13. Jill Cope November 26, 2013 at 7:10 pm -  Reply


  14. Pauline November 26, 2013 at 7:35 pm -  Reply

    Hello Ali,
    The answer is A Roncal.

  15. Judith Kennedy November 26, 2013 at 8:37 pm -  Reply

    a) Roncal

  16. JENNIFER SNAPE November 26, 2013 at 9:09 pm -  Reply

    the answer is b) Roncal

  17. doreen November 26, 2013 at 9:14 pm -  Reply

    Answer a roncal

  18. Susan Skinner November 26, 2013 at 10:22 pm -  Reply

    Mally’s surname is Roncal.

  19. babsq x November 26, 2013 at 10:26 pm -  Reply

    hi Ali the answer is A Roncal xx

  20. Susan Crowther November 26, 2013 at 10:37 pm -  Reply

    Mally Roncal.

  21. Hilary williams November 26, 2013 at 10:50 pm -  Reply

    Mallys surname is
    A. Roncal

  22. Mary Morphy November 26, 2013 at 11:08 pm -  Reply

    Good evening Ali..firstly the answer to the competition is A. Roncal.
    Sorry to hear about your phone accident and losing all your precious work. I dropped my phone in a mug of coffee..despite putting it in a container of dried rice I lost all my photos and like your writing they are irreplaceable.
    Aren’t the 4 tenors handsome…how difficult your job must be sometimes having to interview four gorgeous men. And talking of gorgeous men…Big Ben out of strictly..devastated!!
    So another busy time for you but fabulous to spend time with your mum and to hear that you were thoroughly well looked after…my mum always used a washing up bowl to soak the fruit in rum, brandy and whiskey for the Xmas cake. I don’t, make Xmas cake but I use a washing up bowl to mix up the ingredients for the mincemeat to go in my mince pies…I just chuck in what I fancy;dried fruit, cherries, apricots, chopped roasted nuts foradded crunch, vegetable suet, brown sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and lots of spirit.. don’t particularly care what it is then give it a good old mix…you can do that with a big washing up bowl safe in the knowledge that the mixture won’t end up on the floor during the stirring process! Mine is now in a very large lock and lock in the fridge so the flavours can develop… has a good stir every week and it smells divine. Can’t wait to make my puff and short crust pastry mince pies.
    Glad that you got the decorating done too…as you know I did Chloe’s wall when I was poorly but it does look good and all her furniture is back in her room and not blocking up the landing. I love decorating but hate the chaos and mess. Hubby has got boxes and boxes of Xmas decs down today for me to start putting up the decs…its total mayhem.
    I finally returned to work on Monday and could hear my debit card heave a sigh of relief having been off work for three weeks and enjoying too much QVC in tge daytime. Voice still a bit croaky but it was nice to get back to normality although I was shattered by lunchtime. However that was probably caused by a Xmas shop extravaganza at the weekend in Milton Keynes… suffice to say me and my sister shopped to the max, I had my nebulisers to keep me going and all Xmas shopping is done. Hooray!!
    Well eyes are closing so will finish…really enjoying the xmas build up on QVC and I can’t wait to put my lovely 5 ft blue blossom tree bought this year from QVC in my front garden. It will look amazing and compliment the blue lights in my bush brilliantly!. Also got the Bethlehem lights tsv in clear..they are going around the landing window where I have my nativity scene.
    Have a great week lots a love Mary xxx

  23. Deborah Ryall November 26, 2013 at 11:29 pm -  Reply

    b) Ronson

  24. Deborah Ryall November 26, 2013 at 11:31 pm -  Reply

    a) Roncal

  25. Geraldine November 27, 2013 at 1:42 am -  Reply

    Hello Ali; Sori it’s been a while from I was last in touch with you. It’s always lovely to read your stories they make me smile & sometimes cry,thankfully more smiles recently!!! It must be lovely for you now having your family not so far away,as it’s great catching up & getting food made for you lol nothing like our mum’s cooking,it warms the heart. The reason I have n’t been in touch was I have been having a lot of spinal trouble,resulting me now having to use morphine patches,just yesterday I had a spinal epidural which I’m hoping will help things settle down so I can get of the patches. Well that’s my tales of woe over. Now you take things easy & don’t over do it on the work front as you want to be fit & raring for the festive season. I will good nite take care to you colin & family xox

  26. Geraldine November 27, 2013 at 1:46 am -  Reply

    Sori Ali, I forgot to put my entry into comp at the end of my text silly me,must be the morphine & epidural lol. Comp answer A
    G.white x

  27. pauline bradley November 27, 2013 at 6:57 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali answer A Roncal

  28. Annette Roberts November 27, 2013 at 9:10 am -  Reply

    Dear Ali
    Haven’t written on you blog for a few weeks. So sorry to read of your latest setback and I have everything crossed that it will be sorted out for you in the new year.
    Doesn’t your sister look like you, peas in a pod and sounds like you had a lovely time catching up with your family.
    After 3yrs of trying we have finally sold our little black and white cottage and have been desperately trying to find somewhere to rent for ourselves and our lovely West Highland White Terrier, Bobby. He’s 13 now, I think 91 in doggy years, has a dodgy hip which is kept free with salmon oil and evening primrose, the downside, however, is that we think the salmon oil is coming out through his skin and his fur round his mouth has turned brown, as has is paws where his licks them, not so much a white doggy now!
    We move on 20 Dec eeek! Luckily, we have managed to find somewhere and have a cross-over period so its not all done on the day…phew!! The new place has lovely french doors onto the patio in both the living room and kitchen which was a must, because we don’t have them in our cottage and Bobby will spend hours and hours sat in front looking out in his new cosy bed.
    I’ve spent quite some time at the Drs, with a mystery stomach problem…terrible pain in both upper and lower. I’ve been on tablets for acid (joys of hitting the menopuase), they increased the dose, which is when the pains started. I was put on another one, which after taking I was as sick as a dog, back on the lower dose again, still problems. Spent the last few weeks with hotwater bottle strapped to my waist, not literally, given enough blood samples, at least every week, to start my own blood bank, the last one being yesterday. In the meantime, I started feeling sick after food so I’m now on anti-sickness tablets given after chemo usually. They have helped, but its only short term, hopefully we’ll get to the bottom of it soon, becuase I’m fed up now! At least this move is keeping my mind busy.
    Absolutely love reading your blogs Ali, you cram so much into them, hope to speak to you again before Christmas.
    Annette x

  29. Debz November 27, 2013 at 10:26 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Sorry I haven’t been about for a while but Neal’s mom sadly passed away on 7 October. She took a turn for the worst on the Friday and by Monday she had lost her fight. She has left such a hole in our lives and we still can’t believe she’s gone. Every time we go to Neal’s dads I keep expecting her to be there in her chair by the window ready to impart her weeks news to us. Neal has taken it well considering as she had been in hospital a lot for the two months before she died and he said that he’d done most of his grieving once we were told that all the treatments had failed. He still has his off days and Christmas will be so hard for us all.
    Neal’s situation has been compounded by the complete lack of empathy from his brother who didn’t even go with us to arrange the funeral, register the death or plan the eulogy. Neal has basically had to do everything and also make sure his dad is ok. His brother has only contacted his dad once since the funeral which was a month ago. I know people react differently to grief but I have known him long enough to know that’ve is quite happy for others to take up the slack if it means his life can continue uninterrupted. I know I sound bitter but I am so very angry with him especially when I see Neal struggling to comprehend it all.
    I am so sorry that you’ve lost all your notes and things. Don’t iPhones store stuff on “The Cloud” whatever that is? Maybe the lovely Lee from QVC can help you, you never know. I sound quite tetchy don’t I? Really I haven’t a clue except that I’ve heard it mentioned somewhere!
    Ainzley is well apart from his arthritis playing him up a bit in this cold weather. Have got hi a self heating pad for his bed which he flatly refuses to use! I despair of him sometimes!
    Love to all in Ali’s Army. Una it is so good to hear from you again! Your blogs really make me smile. Alpa my lovely, I do so hope you are well or as well as you can be. Sending you strength and hope and a special lick from Ainzley.
    Lots of love and licks
    Debz & Ainzley (=^-^=) xxxxxxxxxxxxx

  30. Debz November 27, 2013 at 10:28 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali (again)
    The answer to your competition is A – Roncal
    Debz & Ainzley x

  31. Janice Reid November 27, 2013 at 10:57 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Mally’s surname is Roncal.
    Really enjoy reading your blogs.
    J x

  32. Linda Ravenhill November 27, 2013 at 11:30 am -  Reply

    roncal is her surname

  33. margaret peirson November 27, 2013 at 1:10 pm -  Reply

    mallys name is roncal

  34. Mandy November 27, 2013 at 1:18 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Lovely to read your blog. I look forward to them xx
    The answer to your question is A) Roncal
    I have to say I really enjoyed your show with Mally.
    Best Wishes

  35. Bernadette Carr November 27, 2013 at 1:48 pm -  Reply

    The answer is Roncal

  36. Hefina Mitchell November 27, 2013 at 2:07 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    ,Mallys surname A ,Roncall, you are looking well lately xx

  37. Eieel Archibald November 27, 2013 at 4:11 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison
    The lovely and bubbly Mally is a Roncal.
    I have fingers and toes crossed for a good result.
    So sorry about all your notes being lost.

  38. Elaine sallis November 27, 2013 at 4:41 pm -  Reply

    Hi ali
    Sorry to hear about your phone. We do keep such precious memories on them and our I pads. I have beautiful photos of Cali poppy and Molly on mine. Poppy is an elf in the play school play. Am sure granny will be trying hard not to cry. How lovely that you were able to see your family. For the first time in years Geoff and I are spending Christmas Day on our own. Geoff will be busy Christmas morning as he always serves breakfast at a local open door venue. It is surprising how many people attend that are homeless or on their own. The children and grandchildren will all be here on Boxing Day. I am looking forward to that. Although last year the dog stole the Stilton off the table and ate it, so we will hopefully not have a repeat performance this year.
    I think the answer to the question is A.
    Love Elaine

  39. Annette Roberts November 27, 2013 at 5:11 pm -  Reply

    Forgot to enter your fabulous competition, Ali, you are so kind doing it.
    a) Roncal
    Love Mally’s products and running a bit low, fingers X’d
    Annette x

  40. carol rickard November 27, 2013 at 8:26 pm -  Reply


  41. Catherine Thompson November 27, 2013 at 8:43 pm -  Reply

    Answer. Roncal .

  42. Fiona H Gee November 27, 2013 at 9:09 pm -  Reply

    Answer A- Roncal

  43. Vikki Lawn November 27, 2013 at 9:09 pm -  Reply

    A) Roncal

  44. Lisa Wolf November 27, 2013 at 9:32 pm -  Reply

    A) Roncal
    Love reading your blog

  45. Judy Bown November 27, 2013 at 9:48 pm -  Reply

    A). Roncal

  46. Julie November 27, 2013 at 10:18 pm -  Reply

    a) Roncal

  47. Dawn November 27, 2013 at 11:53 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Mally’s surname is RONCAL

  48. Jay Woodman November 27, 2013 at 11:59 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison, the answer is (a) Roncal. Sorry ’bout your phone!

  49. Louise Shepherd November 28, 2013 at 12:28 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Answer is A – Mally Roncal.
    You must be gutted to have lost so much important information. Such a shame! I found it very important to keep notes when going through treatment, to help come to terms with things, and as a memory-jogger for further information gathering. I think we all keep notes for different reasons when going through medical treatment, because it’s such an alien world you are entering. It’s like a little ball of string you spool out as you negotiate a maze that allows you to find your way back out.
    I hope you will be able to reconstruct some if not all of the lost information (perhaps from friends you’ve shared things with), and you can find a way to ensure it doesn’t happen again in future.
    That said, you have been very busy generating wonderful new memories to store on your smartphone. You seem to have picked yourself up, dusted yourself down and got back to the positive joy of spending time with family and friends. Good for you!

  50. Eng Winter (Lucy) November 28, 2013 at 2:59 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    the answer is Roncal. She is always so cheerful and she looks beautiful with her make up range. I would love to win this so that I might look just as beautiful and cheerful.

  51. adelle howatson November 28, 2013 at 4:18 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali the answer to your question is (a) Roncal.
    Sorry to hear about you losing your notes, but I am certain your book will be a wonderful success. I for one will be buying a copy when it comes out. You are such a lovely lady, a true inspiration and you always make me laugh when you are on QVC. I loved watching you this afternoon with Doris Dalton and the other day interviewing The Tenors.
    Keep up the good work, look forward to the book.
    Love Adelle

  52. rachel thomas November 28, 2013 at 9:13 am -  Reply

    ANswer is a) Roncal

  53. J Fleming November 28, 2013 at 9:42 am -  Reply

    Mally Roncal :) x

  54. Katharine Rogers November 28, 2013 at 10:20 am -  Reply

    A) Roncal.

  55. Lucy Little November 28, 2013 at 10:54 am -  Reply

    The answer is a) Roncal

  56. cheryl Hanks November 28, 2013 at 12:28 pm -  Reply

    A Roncal

  57. Carol Gamble November 28, 2013 at 12:45 pm -  Reply

    Answer: Roncal.

  58. Linda Ravenhill November 28, 2013 at 1:48 pm -  Reply

    the answer is a mally roncal ali

  59. Jane Keeley November 28, 2013 at 4:26 pm -  Reply

    It’s Roncal.
    Best wishes Ali x

  60. susan November 28, 2013 at 5:36 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, firstly I can’t believe you have lost all your notes. That’s dreadful. But good idea to get your contact lee to look? I know there’s probably a lot of not nice stuff which was written down but it’s still part of your life. Second, great that you and jenny had such a great catch up. And lastly, that’s a lot of work to get done in a couple of days! Redecorating I mean. Love to see pics. Lots of love, Susan

  61. Michelle Holyoak November 28, 2013 at 7:01 pm -  Reply

    a) Roncal

  62. Susan Angela Beckett November 28, 2013 at 7:55 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    The answer to the competition is A – Roncal.
    This is the first time I’ve written on your blog, but have enjoyed reading your updates with highs and lows. Losing memories, photos and notes must have been devastating. Maybe there are ways to retrieve some of the information. I had a similar experience with a memory card from a once-in-a-lifetime trip to celebrate my and my best friend’s 40th birthday. We went on a cruise around the Mediterranean, our first one ever, and wanted to capture as much of the holiday as possible by investing in some decent cameras between us and also a camcorder. Whilst the cameras produced some brilliant photos (around 700 in total!) I didn’t realise that downloading the video wouldn’t be straightforward. So when we got back I expected just to install the software, plug in the memory card and be able to view. This didn’t happen and I struggled to access the memory card, to the extent that I hit a wrong button and deleted it! A few months later I had to take my computer to a repair shop and the person there totally surprised me because he was able to retrieve most of the video. Ok, the quality was poor in places but he had been able to get most of it and transfer it onto disc for me.
    As far as Christmas goes, I’ve yet to start, but have booked a few days off work to try and get all the gifts I want. I could also do with refreshing the paintwork in the kitchen, as it’s looking a little ‘tired’, but don’t know when that will happen!
    Take care and have a good family Christmas

  63. Hilary Littlefield November 28, 2013 at 9:15 pm -  Reply

    Answer A)Roncal

  64. Cheryl November 28, 2013 at 9:22 pm -  Reply

    Answer: Roncal
    Hope I am lucky as I have never tried this range!
    Lots of love Ali

  65. Sue Radford November 29, 2013 at 12:15 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    How annoying to have lost all your info. Some years ago I went on holiday to Florida and took lots and lots of photographs of my grandchildren as it was their first holiday there. I’d purchased a new camera and wasn’t used to it. At the end of the holiday I was browsing through them and accidentally hit the wrong key and deleted them all – I was so distraught – so I can imagine how upset you were to lose so much info!
    I love your new bedroom decor, and its nice to see that you’ve well and truly settled into your new home.
    In answer to your question – it’s Roncal.
    Love from Sue Radford xx

  66. Jacqueline November 29, 2013 at 12:20 am -  Reply

    Dear Ali,
    Mally’s surname is Roncal. I love to watch the show when you present. You are so informative and uplifting and when you and Mally are together it is dynamite. How could one fail to be happy?
    Jacqueline xo

  67. Faith Castle November 29, 2013 at 7:39 am -  Reply

    Hi, sorry to hear about your phone, it’s so frustrating when that happens. I am now backing mine up after reading your story! I
    The answer to the comp is:
    A) Roncal

  68. judith mccrory November 29, 2013 at 2:28 pm -  Reply

    Mally Roncal is the name. She’s fun to watch. Sorry you lost all your information, and hope you can piece most of it together again eventually with help of your family and friends.

  69. Vivien Strange November 29, 2013 at 3:05 pm -  Reply

    Mally Competition
    Surname – Roncal

  70. alison keenan November 29, 2013 at 3:29 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Janet, so good to hear from you, and particularly happy to hear that Alfie isn’t having to wear the patch any more, and that hopefully the drops will keep the pressure down. I will have everything crossed for the 16th, and hope that you will have time to let us know that all is well – I will be praying too. i hope you get your bathroom finished this weekend, and that your Christmas shopping goes well. I’m feeling a tad smug as I have already bought about half my presents – all from QVC! I was feeling a great deal better after my op but have somehow managed to put my back out, so had to miss work last night as I couldn’t sit up! It’s feeling a bit better today and has given me a chance to snuggle down in my Northern Nights sheets and listen to The Tenors, so all is not bad :) Love to you and yours, and thanks for updating us Janet, love Ali xxx

  71. alison keenan November 29, 2013 at 3:31 pm -  Reply

    Thank you Heather, Valerie, Elaine, Jane, Keryn and Niki! All correct answers will go into the draw and I’ll announce the winner in my next blog :) Be lucky! Ali xx

  72. alison keenan November 29, 2013 at 3:34 pm -  Reply

    Dear Julie and Lily, so sorry to hear about your phone mishap too! Drains and toilets – not the nicest of things to fish a phone out of! :) Yes, Jenny and I look more alike the older we get I think – we sound almost identical though, and I once had a long conversation with my neice when she thought I was her mother! Was so pleased to hear that the scan was fine, and well done you for being so well organised with your wrapping as well as cards! My Lucy has done all her wrapping too – heaven knows where she gets her organisational skills from :) Fingers crossed we don’t see the snow until Christmas – Hope all well with your family too, Love Ali xx

  73. alison keenan November 29, 2013 at 3:35 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Martin, I’m struggling a bit with my back at present, but am sure it will ease off. Glad to hear that you are good though :) Enjoy your weekend, love Ali x

  74. alison keenan November 29, 2013 at 3:37 pm -  Reply

    Great to hear from you Wendy, Jill, Pauline, Judith, Jennifer, Doreen, Susan, Babsq, Susan Crowther and Hilary Williams! The draw is beginning to fill up now, and all correct answers will be included, so thank you very much for taking part, and check out the blog next week. Have a great weekend, love Ali x

  75. alison keenan November 29, 2013 at 3:43 pm -  Reply

    Mary so glad to hear that you are now back on the road to recovery, although having read through all that you’ve been up to, I wouldn’t be surprised if you weren’t exhausted this weekend. You do make me smile – yes The Tenors were very handsome, and extremely charming to talk to :) As you say, an incredibly hard job for me to do!! As far as Big Ben from Strictly – perfect in every way – even Colin agreed! I do think he’d had enough though by last week, and so can hopefully sit in the audience and watch the finals :) Reading about your Christmas cake reminded me that Colin and I have a lock and lock full of dried fruit in whiskey from last year – do you think it’ll be OK still? Would love to make a cake this year, and didn’t get round to it with the move last year. We’re also going to have to heave our Christmas decs out of the landing cupboard, as they’re behind all Colin’s gear! Good luck with your decorations, and I hope that you have a relatively relaxing weekend :) Thanks as always for writing, always good to hear from you love Ali xx

  76. Anne Bell November 29, 2013 at 3:44 pm -  Reply


  77. alison keenan November 29, 2013 at 3:55 pm -  Reply

    My dear Geraldine, I am so sorry to hear that you are struggling with spinal problems, and hope very much that the epidural will help, and you will no longer need the patches. Having done something to my back this last week, you have my complete sympathy… I got stuck in the car on the way to work for over 2 and a half hours and had to almost be surgically removed from the car! Thankfully my shows were ones were I was standing, but I seized up in the night, and have only really today been up and around… the joys of getting older I’m guessing! Let me know you’re improving won’t you, and thanks for taking time out when you’re still feeling poorly. Love Ali xx

  78. alison keenan November 29, 2013 at 3:56 pm -  Reply

    ….oh and Geraldine, I will make sure that your entry is with the others to be sorted for the draw! Thank you xx

  79. alison keenan November 29, 2013 at 4:01 pm -  Reply

    Annette you poor thing! I hate anything to do with tummy pains, and it sounds as though you’ve really been going through it. I am still on those anti sickness tabs that I had thru chemo, as my esophagus was damaged with the treatment, and they seem to do the trick – very much hope they will for you too. Your new home sounds beautiful, and I am sure that Bobby will love it as much as you and your man. We moved on the 18th December, but like you had a couple of days to get it all sorted which was a huge relief! Can’t believe we’ve been here almost a year! I will be thinking of you, and hoping that the weather stays mild and dry for you. Do keep in touch, and thanks again for writing, love Ali xx

  80. alison keenan November 29, 2013 at 4:08 pm -  Reply

    My dear Debz I was so sorry to hear about Neal’s mum, and understand totally that you are both devastated by her passing… It also hard sometimes to comprehend other folk’s reaction to this kind of loss, but perhaps the only crumb of comfort will be that Neal was involved all the way through, and did everything he could before her death and for the funeral. He should be proud that he was strong enough to do that, and I am sure his Dad will be grateful that Neal is also watching out for him too.. Your bitterness is understandable when you see someone you love going through a difficult time, but the fact you are there for Neal will make all the difference to him I believe…. Stay strong, and I hope that Christmas will bring back happy memories for you all… Glad to hear that Ainzley is well, and if he doesn’t want his heat pad I’ll have it for my back! :) Sending you a big hug Debz, and love too, as I’m sure all those in The Army will also, Ali xx

  81. alison keenan November 29, 2013 at 4:09 pm -  Reply

    Pauline, Linda, Margaret, Bernadette Carr, Hefina Mitchell and Annette – thank you for taking part – keep checking next week when I will be drawing a winner! Love Ali xx

  82. alison keenan November 29, 2013 at 4:12 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Mandy, and I am glad that you enjoy reading the blogs :) I too very much enjoyed my shows with Mally – she definitely keeps the energy going and has a wicked sense of humour! She is also an incredibly kind human being as well, so it’s always a pleasure to spend time with her. Thanks for your entry to the competition, love Ali xx

  83. alison keenan November 29, 2013 at 4:13 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Eieel – that’s an interesting name! :) Thanks for writing, and yes it was a blow to lose my notes, but I am sure I will be able to rewrite most of it. I’ll make sure your entry goes in with the others and all the correct answers will of course go into the draw! Be lucky! love Ali xx

  84. alison keenan November 29, 2013 at 4:17 pm -  Reply

    Dear Elaine, how I envy you the Christmas play this year… The thought of Poppy being an elf is making me cry! I remember when Sam was a tree – not a dry eye in the house :) How kind of Geoff to spend Christmas morning with the homeless… do you think you’ll go with him this year as the family aren’t with you? It’ll be lovely that you are all together on Boxing day though. We’re still not sure what’s happening with all the children – Sam and Jack definitely with us on Christmas Day, but this year we won’t see Lucy until Boxing Day. All Colin’s children are still deciding! :) I hope your dog is a little better behaved this year – either that or shut him in the kitchen when you serve the Stilton! Thanks for your competition entry and for writing to me, and have a wonderful weekend, love Ali xxx

  85. alison keenan November 29, 2013 at 4:19 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Carol,Catherine, Fiona, Vikki, Lisa, Judy, Julie, Dawn and Jay – thanks for taking part in the competition! Love Ali xx

  86. Paula Pegler November 29, 2013 at 4:44 pm -  Reply

    Answer A. Roncal

  87. Susan Moore November 29, 2013 at 6:27 pm -  Reply

    A) Mally’s surname is Roncal
    I’m in a funny space this week. Bought your “I hope ” pendant on Breast Cancer Care Night, I lost a really good friend to B.C. so I bought it thinking of Julie really.
    Long story short found a lump . Hotfooted it to my G.P. Referred to breast clinic, mammogram, ultrasound,and biopsies. Just got the results and it is the dreaded cancer, there are three of the blighters, surgery booked for Christmas Eve, have said I would be happy to accept short notice if someone else has to cancel……
    So the pendant has changed for me from I hope that a cure is found to I HOPE that I’m one of the lucky ones who beats off this attack on my body ! Especially as I am the full time carer for my 23 daughter who suffered brain damage when she had open heart at 1 yr old.
    Fingers crossed huh x x x

  88. Pauline Brown November 29, 2013 at 10:36 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    The answer o the comp is:
    A). Roncal

  89. Lynda Domenech November 29, 2013 at 11:15 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Answer to Mally competition is : A . Roncal
    When I dropped my phone in the sink I was told to plunge it straight into a bag of rice grains for 48 hours – it worked and I didn’t lose anything! Worth a try if it ever happens again which I hope it won’t!

  90. MISS JANE E FRENCH November 29, 2013 at 11:37 pm -  Reply


  91. Aynslie McKeith November 30, 2013 at 12:00 am -  Reply

    Answer is a) Roncal – thanks for the competition. Great prize.

  92. Hilary Schofield November 30, 2013 at 11:21 am -  Reply

    Answer is (a) Roncal

  93. priyanka November 30, 2013 at 1:54 pm -  Reply

    a) Roncal

  94. Marie pillinger November 30, 2013 at 2:19 pm -  Reply

    Mally Roncal

  95. Beth Morton November 30, 2013 at 3:20 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Firstly, Mally’s surname is RONCAL.
    Thank you for your long and interesting blog. You always describe things so well and then spend ages writing back to everyone so I almost hesitated in writing too!
    Really sorry to hear about the notes being lost/astray on your phone. I hadn’t realised you were writing a book. You strike me as a very intelligent and astute person so I do hope most of your notes in the form of thoughts come to mind. I don’t like to say it but since I had chemo back in 2005/6, my memory hasn’t been the same (everyone IS different) and I drive my other half mad with all my written reminders everywhere!!
    Your comments about your mum’s Christmas cake brought back long ago memories of me too enjoying the mixture but yes, not so keen on the actual cake!
    ‘Forever Young’ is one of my favourite songs, shame I missed The Tenors on Strictly. Think I’ll need to buy their album.
    Last but not least, so glad you and Colin enjoyed time with your family.
    Beth XXX.

  96. Meeta November 30, 2013 at 7:23 pm -  Reply

    A) Roncal

  97. Carol Perren November 30, 2013 at 9:04 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Love your positive attitude. Would do us all good to concentrate more on the positive things in life and less on the things that annoy or upset us. I feel my New Year’s Resolution coming on!!
    Mally’s surname is Roncal (A)
    Thank you
    Best wishes

  98. CHRISTINE KEYWORTH November 30, 2013 at 10:59 pm -  Reply

    hi ali sorry you lost your information from your phone putting it all in a book will be an a great read and i am sure help to many an once you start on the book i am sure all will come back to mind and you wont need what you lost from the phone.Glad all your family are well and must be nice to live near to them now so making the journey better. answer to your question is A) RONCAL All the best to you Christine

  99. Sharon Joseph December 1, 2013 at 9:10 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Answer is A) Roncal

  100. Jilly December 1, 2013 at 1:38 pm -  Reply

    Hello Ali – I am gutted for you and could not believe what I was reading with regards to your notes etc. I understand so much as it is funny but I have kept all the text from Annie from over the last year. The ones when she said I will speak later which meant she did not have good news to the ones when she said she was feeling a lot brighter. I cannot delete them even though I don’t want to read a lot of them again as it makes me remember the horror of the first few weeks etc. I wonder if your old blogs might help in reminding (not that you could ever forget) you of some of what you went through in order to help with your book. I say that because I kept nipping in and out of them to see you at the stage Annie was at and they helped me so much.
    Lovely to have your catch up again and see your sister and her family. Lovely pictures so thanks for sharing them with us all.
    Great for all that you live nearer your mum now. We moved my mum so that she was ten minutes from us and two minutes from Annie and even though we may not see her everyday we know we are on hand if she needs help etc. It gives comfort to us all.
    How good you are decorating so close to Christmas – I have said in the New Year we will make a start and cross off all little jobs but also we must get down to the bigger ones – not a thought I shall look forward to but needs must and all that.
    Annie had her hair cut yesterday and was told it is in such good condition and thick. Because it is curly it still looks short (well down to the collar) but looks as if she has paid a lot of money to have it done. Last night she was at the Chrismas “do” for her husband’s work and they were out until after midnight. A year ago they went to the same do and were out for two hours I think it was so once again we notice a difference a year makes.
    Such good news for little Alfie and we will all continue to pray for the little darling that this operation has been a success – what a Christmas present that will be for all the family and for each of us who sort of know him.
    Hope that Jan has managed to get back to her work and for a while can put behind her the last months but also give herself a pat on the back that she has come out the other end.
    I have made a little start on my shopping but wanted to get the last week out of the way first as I had a lot of houses to buy and sell this week (my work not for me!!) The last completed at 4 on Friday which is much later than I would want but it was out of my hands. I don’t have as many coming up this week so will take a day or two off and sort myself out.
    Oh before I go I have to say the Elemis TSV is wonderful – never used it before but am delighted I have given it a try. It really is fab and my husband said I don’t look my age – not sure what he was after though!
    Looking forward to “seeing you” again soon Ali and catching up what what you and your family have been doing. Love Jillyxx

  101. Patricia Daly December 1, 2013 at 3:59 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison
    Answer A Roncal
    Fab Competition. From a Fab Person
    Merry Xmas Pat

  102. Donna Iles December 1, 2013 at 10:08 pm -  Reply

    Answer A Roncal.

  103. Marion Madden December 2, 2013 at 2:35 pm -  Reply

    Her surname is Roncal. I love her infectious enthusiasm and her products are lovely. Sorry about all your data being lost. Having lost hundreds of photographs once when pc was infected with a virus I now back up or burn photos to a disc or memory stick regularly.

  104. Susanne Fitzpatrick December 2, 2013 at 5:17 pm -  Reply

    Hello Ali
    Answer is: A (Roncal)
    Thank you for entering me into your competition, and all good wishes to you.

  105. Shona Livingstone December 2, 2013 at 8:34 pm -  Reply

    A- Roncal

  106. Jim Milligan December 2, 2013 at 10:05 pm -  Reply

    Answer is a) Roncal

  107. Mrs Janet Jones December 3, 2013 at 10:54 am -  Reply

    Dear Ali, sorry to hear you have put your back out, I too am having back problems at the moment. Like you I could barely move for a couple of days and it was keeping me awake at night along with the hot flushes, such fun!!! lol. I was going to go to the doctors but I will see how things go and will just be extra careful at the moment!
    Hope you had a nice relaxing duvet day listening to the tenors. Hope your back is soon feeling strong enough for you to be out and about again.
    Jilly hope you had a lovely time in the Lakes, good to hear of Annie’s continued progress and thank you for your kind words for Alfie.
    Well must write off now am going to write my Christmas cards and post them today(that is the plan!) My bathroom remains unfinished, my hall has no stair carpet and the walls have been stripped, so definitely not going to be finished for Christmas, but hey ho there are more important things in life to worry about and I will be spending Christmas with my son, his girlfriends family and of course my beautiful grandson I feel truly blessed.
    Take good care Ali and I will let you know how Alfie gets on the 16 Dec, rest that back speak soon love Janet xx

  108. Alpa December 3, 2013 at 2:37 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali,
    I’m sorry for not writing recently, although I have been reading your blog. I emailed you but not sure you received it. So sorry you have lost memories on your iPhone. I hope that through your blog, friends, family, and excellent memory, you’ll be able to piece it back together. I lost everything on my Blackberry apart from my contacts! I hope as Debz said, Lee can advise you.
    Well, the flu symptoms didn’t clear up after two weeks. I usually have flu symptoms although more intermittent and I thought nothing of it. I caught a cold and it want straight to my chest, which usually means bronchitis for me. Even when I knew I had a chest infection I thought I would be ok. Ten days later I went to A&E, only to find out I have had untreated pneumonia for almost a month. There are so many things not right in my body, that even when something is slightly different, it seems ‘normal’ to me!
    I went back yesterday as I’ve been much worse. I did take the first course of what I can only describe as ‘horse tablets’ I only spent four hours there last night, lucky me! Have second line antibiotics and the doctor said if they don’t work there’s nothing else. I’ve only take these antibiotics twice and they make me sick. They usually give penicillin and I have an allergic reaction to it. He said it will take longer to clear up because of the ME. Also more worrying ME stuff has arisen, but they can not deal with it as they deal with only what you go in for. They wouldn’t be able to deal with it anyway! Unfortunately, I just don’t recover from infection. Doctors here have no clue how dangerous it is to have pneumonia on top of ME. When I got home, I noticed that the information on the letter I was given was not correct. Trying to chase that up but so far it’s been impossible to even get through to talk to anyone today. I can’t afford to have wrong information on my medical records again. Although I did change doctors in January, I am no further forward than before!
    Rest, which is the only thing that will help is impossible. There are too many things to deal with that can not be delayed. I did try and take a break from those who are unhelpful but it does not work. I found that the only way for me to have some measure of peace of mind is for there to be no contact at all. It takes a lot to make me upset and angry but it’s been happening far too often.
    I hope your back is feeling a little better now. Lovely that you now live closer to your Mum and Jenny and have been able to spend time with them. Glad to hear that Sam and Jack will be with you and Colin on Christmas Day and lovely to see you’ve settled into your new home. I will be home on my own and it is fine. This year has been challenging enough for all of us!
    Debz, I’m so very sorry about Neal’s Mum. My thoughts and prayers are with you both and Neal’s Dad. I’m sorry you have had to deal with Neal’s brother on top of that. Bless you for sending your strength and hope. It makes all the difference, my friend. Thank you to Ainzley for the special lick. Sending him a special stroke from his Auntie Alpa. You did make me smile when you said he refused to use his self heating pad. I have an electric blanket for my bed and the closest I have got to using it is putting it on the bed and then taking it off again, without even switching it on! My bones do not like this cold, damp weather and neither do I. Take care x
    Una, lots of love to you and your little monkey x
    Janet, keeping your family in my thoughts. Praying that all will be well with Alfie x
    Jilly, always good to hear your news. My love to you x
    Love to Helen, Sue, Magda, Marg, Susan, Elaine, Shauna and all in Ali’s Army x
    Take care, Ali
    Lots of Love, Alpa xxxx

  109. Karen Williamson December 3, 2013 at 3:01 pm -  Reply

    Dear Alison
    Please could you enter me in the competition.
    The answer is A) Mally Roncal
    Thank You

  110. alison keenan December 3, 2013 at 4:03 pm -  Reply

    Dear Louise, So sorry to hear that you have had to get through chemo, and I very much hope that you are now feeling much better and definitely on the mend. I like you, wrote my experiences down, because when things were difficult I knew I would one day look back and see how much of an improvement I’d made :) I will definitely call my friends, who were all such a help to me, and I’m sure that between us we will be able to recollect most of the missing material. Yes I am feeling very much as though the worst is behind me now, and the surgery in the New Year will be the beginning of being as ‘back to normal’ as I can be. Thank you for writing and taking part in the competition. I hope you and your family all have a great Christmas, with love, Ali xx

  111. alison keenan December 3, 2013 at 4:04 pm -  Reply

    Lucy I am sure you do look at beautiful and cheerful as Mally, and I will make sure that your guess will be listed with the others, and will keep my fingers crossed :) It’s a shame there can only be one winner! Take care love Ali xx

  112. alison keenan December 3, 2013 at 4:06 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Adelle, and many thanks for taking part in the competition. I would love to think I could crack on with the book, and am hoping to be inspired when off this next time following surgery! So glad you enjoyed the show with Doris – I thought she was great – and The Tenors are just remarkable. The album is well worth treating yourself to :) Love Ali xx

  113. alison keenan December 3, 2013 at 4:07 pm -  Reply

    Adding your names to the draw, and many thanks to: Rachel Thomas, J. Fleming, Katharine Rogers, Lucy little, Cheryl Hanks, Carol Gamble, Linda Ravenhill, Jane Keeley and Michelle Holyoak. Love Ali xx

  114. alison keenan December 3, 2013 at 4:09 pm -  Reply

    Susan thank you for your suggestion. I think it may well be worth my while talking to Lee Hobein – he really is an amazing fount of knowledge when it comes to any Apple products, so will keep my fingers crossed. Yes, the decorating has made everywhere look far cleaner, but may have been the reason behind my damaged back. Feeling far more flexible now, and Colin has started on the hallway. Will post some pics next blog :) Have a great week, Love Ali xx

  115. alison keenan December 3, 2013 at 4:13 pm -  Reply

    Sue what an amazing rescue operation, and such a relief for you to be able to retrieve most of the video you took. You’re right, it wasn’t just the notes I lost, but also recordings of some of the jazz and country bands Colin and I had seen performing in Memphis last year… There may be a chance to resolve it, and so on other blogger’s suggestions, I will speak to Lee Hobein our IT expert. Far sadder than my notes was the VHS of my late father at my daughter’s christening…. I recorded Prince Andrew and Fergie’s wedding over it…!!!! I hope you and yours have an excellent family Christmas too :) Love Ali xx

  116. alison keenan December 3, 2013 at 4:17 pm -  Reply

    Gosh my third Susan in a row!:) Hi there Sue, lovely to hear from you too, yet so sorry to hear about the lost photos… I hope you were able to get a few alternatives from your son/daughter if they were there? I remember Sam hitting the delete button on Christmas Eve in Sydney Australia, and removing over 150 photos we’d taken during our first week down under…. Not a lot one can say really, and he was so upset bless him. Yes I too am thrilled with the new bedroom – everywhere has been so tatty for so long, that it’s great to spruce it up in time for Christmas. Thanks for entering the competition, and have a great week, love Ali xx

  117. alison keenan December 3, 2013 at 4:19 pm -  Reply

    Aaaw Jacqueline, that’s very sweet of you to say :) I always enjoy my hours at work – not like work really – and Mally’s infectious joy of life, and energy are infectious. Good luck with the competition, and thanks for entering, love Ali xx

  118. alison keenan December 3, 2013 at 4:19 pm -  Reply

    Faith I would highly recommend you do that – and your computer as well! Thanks for taking part in the competition – winner will be announced next week, love Ali xx

  119. alison keenan December 3, 2013 at 4:21 pm -  Reply

    Judith, I think that’s a corking suggestion, and one which a number of you have said. I will indeed try to piece together as much as I can by talking to my mates, and I am sure I’ll be able to fill in the gaps with their help. Thanks for your competition entry – good luck! Love Ali xx

  120. alison keenan December 3, 2013 at 4:22 pm -  Reply

    Dear Vivien, Paula, Cheryl and Hilary Littlefield – thank you! All correct entries will go into the draw to win this mega prize. Have a great week, love Ali xx

  121. alison keenan December 3, 2013 at 4:26 pm -  Reply

    My dear Susan, I have only just scrolled down and found your comment… So stunned and sorry to hear, but you know what, I am also relieved. If you hadn’t have gone immediately to see your GP you may not have been diagnosed until it had spread… This way, your surgery and treatment will give you your best chance – as it did me. I am so sorry that you lost your dear friend, and am sad too that your surgery is on Christmas Eve – I am sure they will do everything they can to get in you in earlier if at all possible…’I hope’ you are surrounded by family and folk who will be able to ease the burden for you and your daughter, and will be strong too, when you need to lean on them… Please do keep in touch with us here – The Army helped me so much over the last few years, and continue to help each other. Let us help you, please. With my love and prayers, Ali xxx

  122. alison keenan December 3, 2013 at 4:29 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Lynda, and thanks for your entry! Great to hear that you saved all your info by using the bag of rice method. Unfortunately as I dropped my phone at the beginning of a shift, it wasn’t until eight hours later that I could put it into the rice, and so that probably didn’t help! I hope you have a good week, and I will be announcing the winner in my next blog, love Ali xx

  123. alison keenan December 3, 2013 at 4:31 pm -  Reply

    Hello there to Pauline Brown, Jane E French, Aynslie McKeith, Hilary Schofield, Priyanka, Meeta and Marie Pillinger. Thank you ALL for your entries into our competition, and I will be announcing the winner in my next blog, love Ali xx

  124. alison keenan December 3, 2013 at 4:36 pm -  Reply

    Dear Beth, I am so glad that you did decide to write, and it is always a pleasure to write back to you – although sometimes I am saddened by the things I read that are happening to other folk… I am hoping very much that although you had your chemo some years before me, that you are now in good health, and inspite of the memory loss, enjoying life :) Your words are very kind, and although I’ve only written the first three chapters, it’s a start! I like you do though struggle with my memory – short term particularly bad – so am thinking it may well be because of the treatment. It’s a bit like Groundhog Day at QVC with some of the guests, as I have to be reintroduced to them all over! :) DO treat yourself to The Tenors – Forever Young is fabulous, but Anchor Me and You and I are incredible… reduce me to tears every time. You take care too, and please do keep in touch, love Ali xx

  125. alison keenan December 3, 2013 at 4:37 pm -  Reply

    Carol I wish you luck with the competition and also the New Year’s Resolution – not always that easy to stick to things, but the long term benefit of remaining positive far outweighs the alternative I find :) With love, Ali xx

  126. alison keenan December 3, 2013 at 4:39 pm -  Reply

    Dear Christine, lovely to hear from you, and thanks for encouraging me with the book writing.. It is all there in my mind somewhere, but may take my friends and family to jog me a little! It is good that I am a little nearer to the family, and mum has said she will try and get over to me a little more often next year which would be nice as we now have more room for her to stay :) Thanks for the competition, and be lucky! All the best to you too, love Ali xx

  127. alison keenan December 3, 2013 at 4:50 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Jilly, so good to hear from you, and so astute you are too… In the same way you kept all your texts from Annie while she was going through treatment, I had all my texts from Amica and Beulah, and these are now also gone… Looking back over my blogs would probably help, and I did write a far more detailed account for the BCC website too, so I should dig those out too. I was delighted to hear that Annie’s hair is still looking gorgeous – great too that she enjoyed her husband’s work do! As you say, what a difference a year makes :) I’m still an hour away from mum, and as she finds it too difficult to drive on the motorway now, it does make it a slightly longer journey for her. However, she did visit us once this year, and we are hoping it may be more often next year once the weather improves. I of course can get down to her and my sister so that’s good :) You sound like the kind of estate agent worth your weight in gold! Great to get a completion with still a few weeks before Christmas – it was such a muddle leading up to ours last year that we didn’t move until the 18th December! That said, we had the tree up and everything in time for the children to arrive on Christmas Eve :) So glad you are enjoying the Elemis TSV – it really is a remarkable brand, and I must admit to buying more than a few TSV’s to give to family and friends this Christmas. I will be with Dennis Basso for the TSV, but am then off this weekend with my girlfriends for our winter weekend away. Six of us with nothing planned for three days – bliss :) Do take care and keep in touch, and I hope that the build up to Christmas isn’t too exhausting for you. With Love, Ali xx

  128. Denise Thomson December 3, 2013 at 9:20 pm -  Reply

    A – Roncal

  129. Julie Tierney December 3, 2013 at 10:04 pm -  Reply

    A – Roncal

  130. jenny from Castleford December 4, 2013 at 2:00 am -  Reply

    A = Roncal

  131. Wendy Cameron December 4, 2013 at 2:33 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    The competition answer is a) Roncal.
    Glad you have a wee break from your surgeries etc over the festive season, enjoy this special time & good health & happiness for 2014. xx

  132. Alpa December 4, 2013 at 10:23 am -  Reply

    Dear Ali,
    Only me! Thought I’d write again! So pleased that you’ve written the first three chapters of your book, very exciting :) Found myself at hospital again yesterday. The antibiotics didn’t agree with me and I didn’t see how they’d treat the pneumonia if I couldn’t keep them down! I have now been given a different one with penicillin, which I’ve taken before and it was ok. Just hoping that it’s still ok, as I now react to everything! The doctor I saw thought it best to start afresh, so ran all the tests again. Usually, it takes an hour to get blood tests results back from the lab. As there was a glitch, I had half the results and had to wait 3 hours to get the rest. It was midnight when I got home but I am glad that I didn’t delay.
    Enjoy your weekend away and very much look forward to hearing your news. Hope Lucy, Sam and Jack are well and of course, the lovely Colin.
    Take care,
    Lots of Love, Alpa xxxx

  133. Marcia December 4, 2013 at 11:11 am -  Reply


  134. December 4, 2013 at 11:23 am -  Reply

    The answer is A) RONCAL !! MERRY CHRISTMAS xx

  135. Debbie December 4, 2013 at 10:47 pm -  Reply

    Hello Ali the answer is Roncal merry christmas love Debbie x

  136. Debz December 5, 2013 at 10:35 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Hope your back is on the mend and thank you so much for your kind comments. They really mean a lot. We are taking each day as it comes. Some are happy and some are sad. Neal’s Dad sent us a Christmas card with just his name on which was hard for Neal as his Mom usually wrote all the cards. It’s always the little things that floor you isn’t it?
    Alpa, I do hope you are feeling a little better now that your tablets have been changed. I wish there were more that I could do but all I can do is keep you in my thoughts and prayers and send you special Ainzley licks. Stay strong my lovely. We are all here for you.
    Susan, so very sorry to hear of your diagnosis. Like Ali has said, at least they’ve caught it early which should give you the best possible chance. Will include you in my prayers.
    Lots of love and licks to all in Ali’s Army
    Debz & Ainzley (=^-^=) xxxxxxxxxx

  137. Edwina hicks December 5, 2013 at 4:27 pm -  Reply

    A, Roncal

  138. Karen December 6, 2013 at 11:38 am -  Reply


  139. Karen Willows December 6, 2013 at 11:57 am -  Reply

    Answer is Roncal.
    Merry Christmas Ali

  140. Samantha Balcomb December 6, 2013 at 12:42 pm -  Reply

    A: Mally Roncal :)

  141. kirstie ferrari December 6, 2013 at 12:57 pm -  Reply

    The competition answer is A, Roncal.
    Wishing you a very Happy Christmas with only good things that happen and I hope your spolit rotten. :) xx

  142. Christine Collins December 6, 2013 at 1:09 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Aren’t you looking good,hope you feel it too.
    Mally’s surname is a Roncal.
    I haven’t tried her makeup yet so hope I can win a kit, that’d be just super duper.

  143. Alpa December 6, 2013 at 2:55 pm -  Reply

    Dear Debz,
    You are kind. Bless you for thinking of me, especially when you and Neal are going through so much. I have been keeping you both in my thoughts and prayers.
    I’m not feeling any better with the new tablets. The good thing is while they make me feel sick, they are not making me sick! My concern is the effect that this is having on the untreated ME. I can not do anything about that at present and try not to think about it.
    You do more than enough just by being my friend. It makes all the difference to me. Thank you so much. Special Ainzley licks are also much appreciated.
    Take care,
    Lots of Love, Alpa xxxx

  144. Alpa December 6, 2013 at 2:57 pm -  Reply

    Dear Susan,
    I’m so sorry to learn of your diagnosis. I hope you know that Ali’s Army are here for you.
    Take care,
    Love Alpa xxxx

  145. loraine plumb December 6, 2013 at 3:47 pm -  Reply

    A. Ronald

  146. Tricia Coulson-Wood December 6, 2013 at 8:55 pm -  Reply

    the competition .answer A. Roncal.
    I wish to take this opportunity Alison to wish you, your Mother and all your family together with Jilly, Annie and all the girls and boys a very happy christmas and a much, much better new year in 2014. I am posting my best wishes early as I go into hosp for a op next Tues which I put off over the past six months to look after my daughter Jan. Now hopefully with her being stable I will now get myself sorted out. love to all Tricia x

  147. Julie December 7, 2013 at 10:51 am -  Reply

    a) Roncal

  148. Jilly December 7, 2013 at 10:32 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    How wonderful your weekend will be with the girls – I remember seeing pictures and reading about your jolly weekends away with them in the blogs. I bet it felt an age away when you were getting dates and places sorted out and here you are half way through. We will be looking forward to seeing piccies etc.
    House moving is stressful and moving so close to Christmas last year must have put pressure on you all. I do the legal side of the buying and selling although when I see the Estate Agent’s invoices for sales I feel that maybe that should have been our line of work!!! I have another busy week ahead and then it will go quiet (I think) until the New Year. The 18th would have been rather close to Christmas for a move but super to have been sorted for Christmas Eve – that will have taken some doing but we know you so well Ali and know that nothing has been or will be impossible for you.
    Alpa you are in the wars – it is so horrid that you have to keep having these tests and you must be exhausted with it all. Big hugs to you. My son in law had pheumonia six weeks ago and was in Intensive Care on a drip in order that he could take in the antibiotics quickly. So it is awful to have this on top of not feeling 100%. Hope there is some improvement by the time we hear from you again.
    Susan so sorry to hear you have to have an op and even more so for the date – it is never good but Christmas is not the best of times to be in hospital – but remember two things – first it is just a day in the rest of your life and second next Christmas Eve you will be sitting with a glass in hand and saying “where did the last year go?” and it will go so quickly believe me. Annie and I have said this so many times this last year. She is fighting fit again and will be looking to have her final reconstruction in the New Year sometime.
    Another week and we will hear how little Alfie has been. It will be a Christmas present to all of us if the news is good Janet so we will continue to pray for the little darling that we have never seen but feel we know so well.
    Cannot wait to hear what you have been up to Ali and hope that your back holds up while you are away. Love Jillyxx

  149. Heather Don December 9, 2013 at 9:22 am -  Reply


  150. Sue Radford December 9, 2013 at 10:39 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Hope you enjoyed the get-together with your friends. I also hope the pain in your back has eased. I’ve hurt my back three times in the past and the pain was excruciating, but I found the ‘Back Magic’ I purchased from QVC was a godsend, and I still use it occasionally now, and fingers crossed haven’t had any problems since (oh no what have I said lol). Try it.
    Alpa, I really hope you are now on the mend. (I did leave a message for you last week, but it hasn’t been listed here). My Dad had pneumonia a couple of years ago, and I know how horrid it is. On top of everything else you’re having to deal with it must be awful for you. I hope and pray things will improve for you quickly.
    Look forward to your next blog Ali.
    Take care,
    Love from Sue Radford xx

  151. alison keenan December 10, 2013 at 10:05 pm -  Reply

    Oh Marion, I so sympathise with you having lost all those photographs. As the weeks pass I realise exactly how many photos, videos, audio recordings and notes I have also lost, and of course my texts from Amica and Beulah… all very sad. Thank you for your competition entry – all the correct ones have been entered into our draw – Be lucky! Love Ali xx

  152. alison keenan December 10, 2013 at 10:07 pm -  Reply

    Thank you Patricia Daly, Donna Iles, Susanne Fitzpatrick, Shona Livingstone, Jim Milligan, and Karen – all correct answers will be entered into the draw and we will announce the winner tomorrow! Love Ali x

  153. alison keenan December 10, 2013 at 10:12 pm -  Reply

    Dear Janet,I am sorry to read that you too have been struggling with back problems, but please don’t leave it too much longer before your see your GP? Promise? My oncologist always says the rule of thumb is two weeks and no longer :) Mine seems to have moved from my mid back to coxix!! not even sure if that’s how you spell it, but it’s bloomin’ annoying. I very much hope that it will improve for you, and that probably without the worry of dear Alfie you will relax a little… I have everything crossed for him for the 16th. How marvellous for your to be spending Christmas with him, your son and his girlfriend too – the perfect mix. As you say, forget the bathroom, and the rest of the decorating – I have been glossing tonight and am exhausted.. it looked just as good with the undercoat! :) Please do let me know how Alfie is on the 16th, and I hope you got your cards in the post – With love, Ali xx

  154. alison keenan December 10, 2013 at 10:18 pm -  Reply

    My dear Alpa, I am so sorry to read that you have been feeling so poorly, and no, I haven’t found your e mail, although again, it may have been something to do with losing everything in my phone, as e mails were there too, and now aren’t! Pneumonia must be terrible for you, and I am truly surprised you have not been hospitalised with it – how are you supposed to look after yourself? I understand that feel it is better for you to be on your own at the moment, but this illness has a horrid habit of worsening, and I worry that no-one is keeping tabs on you… Please do plug in that electric blanket too! If your bones are protesting against the cold and damp, it is definitely the best thing. My dear friends Ros and Chris bought me one before I started my chemo and it was a godsend when I felt shivery and unwell. Promise me you’ll try it even if only once – it may well make all the difference :) I am sending you a hug, and hoping that when you receive this you will be feeling better. Please do keep in touch, because all those you list at the end of your comment, care about you too… With love, Ali xx

  155. alison keenan December 10, 2013 at 10:22 pm -  Reply

    Well Karen Williamson, Denise Thomson, Julie Tierney, Jenny, Marcia, Sophie Biggs, Debbie, Edwin Hicks – all those of you with correct answers will be entered into the draw and I will announce the winner tomorrow! Thank you, love Ali xx

  156. alison keenan December 10, 2013 at 10:23 pm -  Reply

    Thanks also to Karen, Karen Willows, Samantha Balcomb, Kirstie Ferrari, Lorraine Plumb, Christine Collines, Julie and Heather Don! You will also be entered into the draw if your answer was correct :) Love Ali xx

  157. alison keenan December 10, 2013 at 10:25 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Debz, and thank you for taking the time to write back to me.. I am sure this Christmas will be hard for you all, but in some way, once you have been through each special date/occasion once, it is never quite that hard again.. But, as you say, it is always the little things that floor you…
    Big hug to you and Neal and a cuddle for Ainzley – take care, and do keep in touch, love Ali xx

  158. alison keenan December 10, 2013 at 10:27 pm -  Reply

    My dear Tricia, you are one brave lady, and I very much hope that the operation you postponed for the last six months will be carried out and leave you feeling far more comfortable for Christmas.. I am certain Jan will be incredibly grateful for all your love and support.. it’s what we mums do :) I hope also that she remains stable. Be kind to yourself, and please do let us know how you get on, love Ali xx

  159. alison keenan December 10, 2013 at 10:31 pm -  Reply

    Jilly, thanks for your response, and yes we did all have a lovely time – possibly our most quiet and relaxed weekend yet! I will fill you in with my next blog :) Have just decorated the tree and finished glossing the skirting boards doors and frames in the hall… plan a hot shower and then bed! Back a lot better though which is a relief. Your advice to Susan is exactly what I would have said, and we both know that it is true. So glad that Annie is feeling fighting fit – hope too that your son in law is now on the mend – Pnemonia hospitalised Colin for over a fortnight when he was in his 30’s and he is an incredibly resiliant sort! Hoping you are looking forward to Christmas and are a little more prepared than I am! With love, Ali xx

  160. alison keenan December 10, 2013 at 10:33 pm -  Reply

    Dear Sue, My back has definitely eased with the pain travelling southwards, so although a little uncomfortable to sit for any length of time, it’s better than it was! So sorry to hear you’ve had problems too, but glad that the back magic has helped! I lost mine in the move, so really should invest in a new one. I’ll be writing a new blog towards the end of this week, but announcing our winner prior to that :) With love to you and yours, Ali xx

  161. martin forbes bucksburn aberdeen watching via sky tv December 11, 2013 at 6:55 pm -  Reply

    hope you received my xmas card alison and that your family are well iam nae bad

  162. Lorraine McGill December 11, 2013 at 11:42 pm -  Reply

    Hello Ali
    The answer is A) Roncal
    I am so sorry you lost all your notes, it happened to me once and you just don’t realise how much you keep on your phone until something like that happens. I have three birthdays coming up before christmas and one is my granddaughters first birthday. I just don’t know where the year has gone. I wish you all the best for Christmas and the new year.
    Take care Ali

  163. boe nelson November 2, 2015 at 5:30 am -  Reply

    Roncal is the anwer .hope chrismas can be spetaculur for all

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