Christmas party fun!


Ali, Claire, Debbie and Nikki Thanks so much for last week's comments – it’s been busy! I’m still sounding like the late Jimmy Durante, but am planning to give it my all with Diane Gilman tonight, just praying that I won’t need to cough!


Have you had this grotty cold/flu thing? It’s ghastly isn’t it? I Haven’t felt this lack lustre since Ask stopped accepting my Tesco vouchers, or was it when I had pleurisy? I was even mistaken for a bloke while trying to order something over the phone! Either way I don’t like it! I have no energy at all.

Even opening my sachet of cinnamon porridge caused me to break out into a sweat… There are people to see, boxes to unpack, cards to write, presents to wrap, and places to go – like Lucy’s taster weekend tomorrow in Cornwall!

She, Richard, Mel (best friend and all round great girl) and I are driving down to meet up with Richard’s parent’s at the suggested wedding venue. We get to try out all the food (and wine) and suss out the accommodation! Soooo exciting, especially as we’ve now found the dress. I’m saying nothing more, as it’s to be a secret, but suffice to say my girl looks gorgeous 🙂

So, I shall be taking my painkillers, anti-inflammatory tabs, cough medicine – oh and my Lemsip of course – to stave off any latent lethargy.

There was of course none of that the other week when I went with Debbie, Claire and quite a few other QVC stalwarts to celebrate 10 years success with Nicky Gerwitz of Lola Rose. What a corking night! (see picture at top). Ace music to dance to, fish and chips and burgers washed down with champagne, and a whole gang of lovely people to talk to!

QVC Christmas party Almost as much fun as our QVC Christmas party last Friday. It was held in a massive marquee just off the Chelsea Embankment, and was perfect for us all to bundle into, eat, drink and get incredibly merry! There was of course the obligatory dance floor, but also a blue screen against which you could pose with your fave folk and the pictures were printed out while you waited – brilliant!

Ali at the QVC Christmas party Also, there were dodgem cars set up on their own track, which sadly I didn’t find out about until the end of the evening, so wasn’t able to take the guys on – with my newly acquired Silverstone driving skills! Not that my evening was spoiled in any way at all. Debbie and I danced ourselves dizzy, trying to keep up with Craig that is, and when we left and headed off into the freezing cold yonder, we all agreed it was one of the best! 🙂

Well, as the special day draws closer, you’ll be glad to know that Lucy came and spent an entire evening with me, and now I only have to buy three more presents for Christmas! Online shopping is awesome isn’t it!

All that’s left is to organise Christmas lunch, which will be here in the cottage with all the children. I never have a problem with the roast, but now that at least two of them have new partners they’re getting picky about their roast potatoes!! So I need your advice… when it comes to roasties should it be:

a) Beef dripping
b) Goose fat
c) Aunt Bessies or another famous brand!!

Your input would be much appreciated.

Have a great week,

Love Ali xx


  1. Susan December 10, 2010 at 1:02 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    I applaude you for mustering up the energy from somewhere to write a usual fabulous blog! I really hope you manage to have a lovely weekend together in Cornwall and that you don’t struggle too much. Timing is terrible for you! Typical. I am sure Lucy looks stunning in her dress as she is a beautiful girl anyway. I have to comment on your sparkly gold number above!! You look amazing! I love it! Where did you get it if it’s not rude to ask? You always manage to look so elegant and classy. As does Debbie G I think. I adored her black Whistles dress on her blog a few blogs ago.
    Take care of yourself over the weekend.
    Susan x

  2. Anne Bertenshaw December 10, 2010 at 3:27 pm -  Reply

    Definately beef dripping for your roasties Alison

  3. Debbie G December 10, 2010 at 7:42 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    I love those pics of the Christmas party – I look like I am just a passerby on my way to my cleaning job, scraping into a very well styled photo, just hanging in at the edge!!!!
    You, young lady, were supposed to be keeping your eye on me, not encouraging me to be badder than ever!! It was a great night!!
    Love and Nurofen
    Lady Greenwoodxxxxx

  4. Magda Chetty December 10, 2010 at 8:34 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    You poor thing I hope you get better soon and enjoy the wedding venue food and drinks. I did not write to your last blog as I was in bed with a bad tummy, after all the medicine they gave me for my back ( from the car accident),I”ve been told that my tummy linning is more or less gone and have to keep away from eating some of my most loved food, but never mind I feel better this week, so give my love to Sam and tell him that, uni is not important, there is nothing like being healthy and happy.
    Love your photo with Debbie, my Christmas shopping is all done thanks to QVC. And this Sunday I got 12 friends for Christmas lunch and I”ll be using the beef dripping for the roast potatos, it always worked for me and my husband love it.
    Have a fab fab Christmas, you gorgeous lady and all the best to you and your family, and my 2011 be better for us all.
    Much love.

  5. Hgwynn December 12, 2010 at 1:45 pm -  Reply

    dear alsion hope your felling better i got it to on tabblets now poll my neek and arm hope you keep well i have a boot on my foot for the first time in three years i dont know how i am manging to poush my whelcair tske care heather

  6. Chris Page December 12, 2010 at 3:04 pm -  Reply

    You look utterly glam, Hon! Hope you’re feeling a bit better now, and that Sam’s settled in again. And no Youtube vids of your dancing skills this year? Boo-hoo!

  7. Pauline Johnson December 12, 2010 at 4:19 pm -  Reply

    Got to be goose fat, sorry you are not feeling too good,3 of my grandchildren are down with it,just pray I dont get it as we are off to Wales to spend xmas with youngest son and family on 22nd cant wait.

  8. mary morphy December 13, 2010 at 2:43 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, this is my first time blogging and I have read all your blogs and been crying with laughter and sadness. You should consider a secondary career in writing as you have a unique way with words…been reading for hours!!! I hope you are feeling a lot better. I can sympathise having had laryngitis for a fortnight, totally unable to speak much to the delight of my husband and kids and now I have been blessed with a nasty bout of bronchitis…I am falling apart!! Coupled with being a severe asthmatic I have asked my husband for a set of new lungs for Xmas although I am using my pressie from Acer TSV laptop which I persuaded him to let me have early! I sincerely hope that Sam is fine,I feel he has made a good decision…I had a good career along with thousands of others that didn’t go to uni and I am sure he will have to. On the potato front my advice is really really hot goose fat. Par boil spuds cut with lots of lovely angles for five mins, drain, put back in pan with 2tbs seasoned flour, shake pan then put into hot fat. Baste every 15 mins and cook on a high heat for 1hour 15mins. Gorgeous!! Love and best wishes Mary

  9. alison keenan December 13, 2010 at 5:30 pm -  Reply

    Pauline, I’m going to do a count at the end of the week, and make my decision, but you’re all home cooking girls so far 🙂 Will keep my fingers crossed that you don’t get the lurgy and that the grandchildren are over it by the time you get there. The 22nd December is my last day at work prior to Christmas, I wish you a very safe journey there, and a very happy time with your family, love Ali xx

  10. alison keenan December 13, 2010 at 5:33 pm -  Reply

    Chris, no, only still pictures this year 🙂 We did a fair bit of gyrating, Lady Greenwood and myself, but I don’t think anyone stood still long enough to film anything 🙂 Have a fab christmas, and thanks for writing, love Ali xx

  11. alison keenan December 13, 2010 at 5:36 pm -  Reply

    Heather Love the photogaph! 🙂 You look great in pink, and I very much hope that with the help of the tablets you may find life more comfortable in and out of your wheelchair. Have a very happy Christmas, and thank you for writing to me, love Ali xx

  12. alison keenan December 13, 2010 at 5:42 pm -  Reply

    Lady Greenwood, would that be cleaning up at the Casino then?? You daft bird, you. You looked Gorgeous!!! And what is not noticeable on the photograph are your unbelieveably sexy knee high boots, that made me momentarily hatch a cunning plan to divest you of them later on….!! It was almost as good a plan as keeping us both sober…! Cracking night though Gromit 🙂 Love and Victory V’s, xxx

  13. alison keenan December 13, 2010 at 10:06 pm -  Reply

    Magda, I will of course pass your words of wisdom onto Sam, and I’m only sorry that you’ve not been feeling well. Sore tummy’s are horrible, but glad that you’re on the mend now. Yes, Deb and I did have fun. It was just staff this year, so we got the chance to actually chat with loads of people rather than haring past them in a corridoor! As you can see we all loved posing in the photos. Sp glad you’ve got your shopping done too. Bless QVC! It’s one of the first years I done so much on line but it’s so much easier. Beef dripping sounds grand – as does the goose fat – but I hope very much your meal for 12 goes brilliantly and that Christmas is all you hope for. Thanks as always for writing Magda, love Ali xxx

  14. alison keenan December 13, 2010 at 10:10 pm -  Reply

    Annie, beef dripping! I remember my mum used to keep a little china pot in the fridge where she would keep the beef dripping and dad used to have it in sandwiches 🙂 I’ll count up the fors and againsts, and decide next week…. thanks so much, and have a lovely Christmas, love Ali xx

  15. alison keenan December 13, 2010 at 10:15 pm -  Reply

    Susan, so glad you enjoyed reading it – I wrote it snuggled up in bed with my blanket on and a lempsip to hand 🙂 Looking back at the posey photographs cheered me up, and thank you for your compliments. It’s actually the dress I bought for my 50th birthday party from French Connection. A tad short, but great with opaque tights and high heels. You’re right about Debbie – she always looks so glamorous, and you should have seen her boots!!!! Definitely got those on my Christmas list! Cornwall was lovely, and I’ll have news of that in my blogg at the end of the week – and yes Lucy looks amazing in her dress….. not a dry eye…. Still have a rotten cough, but will be back at midday tomorrow, so look forward to knowing you’re the other side of the camera. Take care Susan, love Ali x

  16. Gail December 14, 2010 at 4:58 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali, how sweet of you to find time to blog even though you have been unwell and very busy being this time of year and your trip to Cornwall. As always it is lovely to catch up with all your news. Hope your taster weekend went off well and met with Lucy’s approval and expectations. So glad Lucy has found her dress and I’m in no doubt that she looks gorgeous in it.
    You girls do like to party and why not!! You go girl. The Lola Rose party was obviously a great hit and Claire looks on top form, as do you all. The QVC party sounds great too. A marquee off the Chelsea Embankment, how posh. Sounds like you all had a fab evening, including the lovely Craig.
    I haven’t been ill this year, yet, thank God, but my son has been ill for about two weeks now. I have been getting lots of exercise though at the shops trying to dodge all the coughs and sneezing. Everyone seems to be coughing. I do have the Flu jab so hopefully that helps. Hope you are much better now.
    I too remember my nan having a white small basin full of dripping. We use to have it spread on hot toast, made by putting a slice of fresh bread on to a long fork and holding it in front of a real fire – happy happy days …….. Sprinkled with salt of course. Hope my Doctor isn’t reading this. I remember the smell of chestnuts on the real fire too. Lots of lovely memories flooding back.
    Christmas lunch at yours with the children sounds just perfect.
    Love Gail xxxxxx

  17. Una December 14, 2010 at 5:03 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Hope you are feeling better. How awful for you. At least you are cosy in your wee cottage.
    I feel like I have been living on another planet for the last week!! We had power cuts lasting for hours on end. No phone, or Sky tv for 6 days!!! Was HORRIBLE!!
    We are just getting back to normal, and its due to start all over again by Thursday!!!
    Just wanted to let you know about my latest QVC experience Ali.
    I ordered 6 little glass xmas bookmarks at the end of November, and they still havent arrived. They werent expensive, but I called today to check they had been sent. I understand about all the delays etc, and mentioned this to the lady in Liverpool. She said they left on 27th November and enquired if they were xmas gifts. I told her they were, and she said she would get some sent out to me today, and if the other ones arrive, I can call and she will send a prepaid envelope so that Im dont have to pay postage to return any extra ones. I think that is AMAZING service. It really meant so much to me, as they for the kids in my little book club, that I run for the local children who have reading problems. It just gives them a little bit of extra help, and as its not in a school environment, they seem to settle better. I just do it myself, and have to buy the books myself too, and thought these would be nice little gifts for them. This means Im not out of pocket by having to pay twice.
    Please can you pass on to the powers that be, that the service from QVC is just outstanding, and much appreciated.
    Just incase we get snowed in again, and left with no power etc. Can I say “have a great xmas, I hope you all have a lovely day”
    hopefully this awful virus wont strike anyone else down, and everybody can enjoy the festivities.
    Lots of love and xmas hugs
    Una x

  18. Susan December 14, 2010 at 5:55 pm -  Reply

    Ali what a lovely reply, thank you! And good to know your dress is from French Connection. I love that store. Pricey but great reductions in the sales and very classy. Talking of which, I don’t know if you’ve heard much about Burlesque – the new film out with Cher? I thought on Saturday night, what a risky routine on XFactor considering it’s meant to be a FAMILY show! Lots of ‘intersting’ moves and nearly there costumes. I thought I’d like to go and see it but I’m not so sure now! I’m also glad it wasn’t just me thinking that as there was a discussion on the Alana Titchmarsh show just now about exactly the same thing!!
    Take care,
    Susan x

  19. alison keenan December 16, 2010 at 12:17 am -  Reply

    Susan, i’ve heard a great deal about the Burlesque film but didn’t see the Christina bit on the x factor as I was with Lucy in Cornwall! Perhaps I had better play back my recording…..!! Sale time sounds a good time to pick up on the bargains, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed you may find something you like from said store 🙂 Always a pleasure keeping in touch, so many thanks as always for writing. Take good care, Love Ali xx

  20. alison keenan December 16, 2010 at 12:25 am -  Reply

    Una, how lovely are you?! That sounds like a lovely gift idea for the children, and I’m so glad that our customer services are bending over backwards to resolve the issue. What a fabulous thing to do for the children, and I know it must a real pleasure for them to have special time with you. Regarding the delivery, it’s not been easy with the weather etc., and as we know, more problems are on their way over christmas, but as we say on air, do bear with us, because we will do EVERYTHING in our power to honour all our deliveries 🙂 I pray that the lurgy won’t reach you and that you will have a very happy and healthy Christmas – with your little bookmarks arriving safely. Much love to you and yours Una, Ali xxx

  21. alison keenan December 16, 2010 at 12:26 am -  Reply

    Oh Una and Susan, i forgot to ask….. goose fat or beef dripping!!! Love Ali xx

  22. alison keenan December 16, 2010 at 12:33 am -  Reply

    Dear Gail, so sorry to hear that your son is ill, and pray that what with your flu jab, and dodging skills you will manage to avoid all coughs and colds over the festive period 🙂 Yes the weekend was a great success inspite of my germs, and I think both she and Richard have absolutely made the right choice of venue. I promise I will write in more detail before Friday ) Still struggling a little with the cough and shortness of breath – particularly difficult when trying to keep up with Lenny Feinberg – love that man’s energy!!! How funny thatyour mum too had the little bowl of dripping in the fridge – loved the idea of toasting it on the open fire 🙂 I have finally mastered the art of the wood burner, but so warm was it that the heating decided to turn off in the other rooms in the house, so need to work around that one in the future. I agree that Claire, more than any of us looked STUNNING at the Lola Rose party. She’s not only gorgeous but great fun to be with too, and so am hoping that 2011 will bring us more opportunities to do more of the same! 🙂 Thanks as always for writing Gail – lovely to hear from you and I hope very much that your Christmas will be a truly happy one. Love Ali xx

  23. Una December 16, 2010 at 12:08 pm -  Reply

    HI Ali
    Beef dripping for me every time!!
    Thank you for that. I enjoy my little book club as much as they do. I only have 5 readers at the moment, and one little boy who comes along every week, just to listen. Hes losing his sight, but still comes along, which I think is lovely. We are having our little xmas party on Tuesday, so heres hoping their little gifts are here. So sad, but a couple of them may not get much more than that. It breaks my heart when I think of all the gifts under my little grand daughters tree, and there are many out there who may not get anything.
    My daughter emailed last week actually. Our little one isnt 3 till next May, but came through from her bedroom with a handful of her little toys. She handed them to my daughter and told her she had to take them to the boys and girls who have no toys, because Santa is bringing her lots. I was in tears reading the email.We have no idea how she would even think like that at such a young age.
    Hope you are feeling a bit stronger Ali, and are fit and well for xmas. Love to all of you
    Una xx

  24. mary morphy December 16, 2010 at 4:35 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison, feeling left out as you replied to all bloggers apart from me!!!!!! Mary ( Blog sent 13th December) x

  25. Liz December 16, 2010 at 9:40 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, goose fat is far the bestest for roast tatoes… my sister and brother in law have this dreadful fluey thing, we cancelled our weekend away in the Cotswolds because of it, and the rotten weather of course. My beautiful daughter gets married on the 31st, so weather and flu permitting it should go with a swing, I shall take tips from you and Lady Greenwood in the dancing department and take to the floor, never mind the bride watch out for the mother-of-the-bride-godzilla !!! Thats what my daughter calls me. I can’t believe it !! 🙂 take care and Happy Crimbo to all! xx

  26. alison keenan December 17, 2010 at 2:35 pm -  Reply

    Mary how incredibly rude of me!!!! So sorry, especially as you wrote such lovely things about the blogs, and took time out, when you clearly aren’t feeling the full shilling either 🙂 Firstly, I very much hope that you’ll be over the bronchitis in plenty of time for Christmas and so glad you got the Acer TSV so can at least keep in touch on line rather than struggling with lack of voice and breath! I was sent home yesterday and landed poor Dale in it, as I have a chronic chest infection and was wheezing like an old boiler. Now on antibiotics, and hoping to be fit enough to at least sort out the food for Lucy’s engagement party tomorrow, if not drink and dance the night away! Sam will be there, and I’m glad that you too feel it was the right decision for him to make. I too have had a very varied career, and ended up working in an industry I love, having left school at 16. It takes all sorts. Thanks Mary sooooo much for the tip about the potatoes… now I will know exactly what to do with the potatoes to get the perfect result. I very much you have a healthy and happy Christmas, and please don’t let the tardiness of my reply put you off writing again, love Ali xx 🙂

  27. alison keenan December 17, 2010 at 2:39 pm -  Reply

    Liz, so sorry that you and yours have also been struck down with this blessed virus. Wise choice although no doubt disappointing to cancel the Cotswolds weekend, and a decision that I hope will leave you all in fine fettle for the wedding on the 31st! How exciting! Debbie and I are delighted that you’ll be taking a leaf out of our books and dancing the night away 🙂 Mother of the bride Godzilla I think not!! I’m sure you’ll look gorgeous. Every happiness to you all for not just a wonderful Christmas but a glorious wedding, love Ali xxx

  28. Gail December 17, 2010 at 2:43 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali, as gorgeous as Claire is, I disagree that she looked more stunning than you all, and I’m sure Claire would be the first to agree. You are all stunning and beautiful in your own individual way, as are we all. (Wish I had Claire’s hair though). I forgot to mention that I am so impressed re you buying most of your presents on line. I wouldn’t even know where to start so thank goodness for good old QVC. How did I cope without QVC; it’s hard to imagine now.
    Speak soon, Gail xx

  29. alison keenan December 17, 2010 at 2:44 pm -  Reply

    Una your lovely comment brought tears to my eyes too…. what a lovely little soul your grandaughter is. Your daughter has clearly taught her well – no surprise with you as her mum though! I hope very much that the little party you all have on the Tuesday is fun, and I am certain that the children will truly appreciate the gifts you have bought for them. It’s not always the number of gifts, more the thought that’s gone into some of them. I still remember the doll I had from mum and dad, and my nanny had knitted two outfits for her…I loved them 🙂 Just struggling with a chest infection at the moment, so will leave blog til after party tomorrow, to fill you in on both weekends. Thanks as always for writing, and I hope you manage to avoid all these ghastly germs. Love Ali xx

  30. mary morphy December 18, 2010 at 4:47 am -  Reply

    Get well soon Ali and hope the antibiotics kick in quick enough for you to enjoy your daughters engagement party..a few glasses of you favourite tipple will help relax you and make your breathing eassier. Trust me I know! Feeling much better so having a shopping day in Canterbury with my sister who needs to take her skis to the specialist to be serviced so would be extremely rude really not to visit the shops and Xmas market for a medicinal mulled wine. Snow not yet arrived in East Kent but its on its way so leaving at the crack of dawn!. Have a lovely evening and look forward to reading about it. Mary x x

  31. Una December 18, 2010 at 9:39 am -  Reply

    HI Ali
    Hope you are well enough to enjoy the party tonight. Will be waiting to hear all about it when you are able.
    Juat to let you know that my little bookmarks have arrived. Honestly Ali, they were quite inexpensive, but they look FAB, the kids will LOVE them. I got a book for each of them too, just to be on the safe side, but have told them theres something on its way that they have to use in the book. They all left the other day scartching their heads and wondering what it is LOL!!!
    Lots of love
    Una x

  32. Mrs Janet Jones December 18, 2010 at 5:37 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali, you can tell you have alot on your mind at the moment, as you didn’t reply to my blog posted 9 dec. Not to worry as you are very busy at the moment and I know you haven’t been feeling very well.
    Hope you are feeling better and Cornwall went well, speak soon
    Love Janet xxx

  33. M Davies December 18, 2010 at 11:09 pm -  Reply

    Ali – sorry I didn’t reply to this one sooner, I have also had the cold bug/flu. The reason why I say this is because this is not a normal cold, I feel awful, but my GP says it isn’t flu. Surely I can’t feel as bad as this with just a cold?
    Anyway, for the last few years I have been taking a tip from my Italian friend’s mum and using olive oil on my roast potatoes. And no need to par boil. Add a few herbs, a huge glug of olive oil on baby potatoes (with the skin as this is where the nutrition is), a sprinkle of sea salt, e presto – perfect roast potatoes. Remember to give them a shake and toss half way through. In a fan assisted oven they should only take 45 mins. Works every time – and is a tad more healthy than the saturated animal fats.
    Don’t do the Aunt Bessie’s!

  34. alison keenan December 19, 2010 at 10:23 am -  Reply

    Gail you say the loveliest things – although i do agree with you 100% about Claire’s hair – mine would never grow that long and stay that thick!! 🙂 The shopping online is so easy, and honestly the fact that you can comment and write regularly here means you could very simply buy from us online. They even send you updates to let you know where your parcels are!! Although at the moment we, like most suppliers, are struggling with the weather, so although mine have all arrived, there may be some still in transit. Am just about to write my pre-Christmas blog, cos lots has happenend in the last week or so, so will update you. I’ll pass on your compliments to Claire and Debbie, and hope so much that you are safe and not having to brave the weather. Love Ali xx

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