Good and bad news…


Ali with Sam and Jack Hi there, well I'm still shaking the sand out of my shoes after my brief sojourn to the Desert Island with Alison Young last Friday afternoon! I'd forgotten how much I enjoy working with her, although it cost me a fortune for all those incredible compliments she paid me…

I have LOVED reading all your comments about your first jobs – such a variety of places and experiences and all of them thoroughly readable. Thanks so much for writing πŸ™‚

Salon Prive But… enough of work! I had a day off with my boys last week, and I thought you might like to see the photos of Sam and Jack LOVING our time at the Salon Prive Luxury Super Car Event at the Hurlingham Club in London. 

Sam and I had been there two years before, when I'd very kindly been given tickets to cheer him up following his accident. It was fantastic then, with every make and model of beautiful cars there from Aston Martin, Jaguar, Bugatti, Lotus, Porsche and Ferrari (to name but a few) but this year was even better! 

Sam and Jack suited and booted Both boys dressed up in suit and tie as it was Ladies Day, and I got another day's wear out of the dress I'd worn to Ros's wedding. It's not often I have both Sam and Jack together these days – and even rarer that they're suited and booted, and so I forced them to have their photo taken on the way there. Not terribly keen as you can see, but once we entered the magical world of automobiles, their demeanour completely changed :) 

Ever since they were tiny, both Sam and Jack have loved anything to do with cars, and the faster and more expensive the car, the better they like it! The Aston Martin DBS was my absolute favourite – a cool Β£187,000 plus change – but Jack sat inside a something satisfyingly superior that cost Β£416,000! It had TV, radio, electric curtains, reclining leather-clad heated seats, carpet, outside toilet, window boxes, etc. etc, and he said he'd be happy to live in it! I told him at that price he wouldn't even get a mortgage on it!!  

Ali with Julian, Anthony and Luke While there, we bumped into fellow presenters Anthony Heywood and Julian Ballantyne accompanied by one of our producers 'Cool Hand Luke'… his hand permanently cool from being constantly in contact with the chilled champagne! I think this was his 10th!! 

Of course once together, the boys quickly shifted into conversation about Wankle engines, ceramic braking systems, torque… that was until any one of the beautiful women there (it was Ladies Day after all) swathed in satin or lace sashayed past, and then all eyes moved at a speed reminiscent to those following Rafael Nadal's serve at Wimbledon! All in all, a corking day and one the boys are still talking about…

And now for the bad news…

I have to admit that luck wasn't exactly on our side a couple of days previously when, having made the decision and consequently the booking to take all Colin's children and my boys away for a last minute holiday in Rhodes, we heard the news about Goldtrail going under. Yes, all 12 flights were booked with one of the companies affiliated to them, and along with literally thousands of other holiday makers, we were faced with losing the entire holiday, or having to find the funds to buy 12 more flights.

I consider ourselves VERY fortunate as together we've been able to cover the latter (funny how the price increased by a third overnight!) yet realise that for many, there will be no holiday and for some, who were left stranded abroad with no money to cover flights home, it has been quite literally a nightmare! 

Now begins the process of claiming it all back – with only confirmation of the hotel booking sent to us, it may well be tricky – but with the CAA on the case, fingers crossed it won't take forever.  I sincerely hope that none of you are affected by this, but any nuggets of advice for me or others would be gratefully received. 

Enough moaning: we all get to go, the children are happy, and after last year's wonderful week in Ibiza with the family, I know we'll have fun! πŸ™‚

Have a great week, and I look forward to hearing from you,

Love Ali x x


  1. Gail July 26, 2010 at 5:29 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali, so sorry to hear about the holiday. No-one these days can afford to lose such a large amount of money, but hopefully you will be reimbursed in the future (fingers and everything else crossed). I know it’s easier said than done, but try not to let it ruin your holiday too much. Try to put the worry and anger on hold until you get back.
    What a lovely photo of you and your boys. A proud mum if ever I saw one. My son still hates his photo taken and he’s 32 now. Nice that you all enjoyed a lovely day out together and that you were able to give your lovely dress a second airing.
    Take care, with love from Gail xx

  2. alison keenan July 27, 2010 at 11:43 am -  Reply

    Gail, you are kind, and in truth I’m not angry, just relieved that the holiday is still going to happen. I do believe it’s the last time Sam will want to come on holiday with his old ma, and as you may have gathered, I don’t see much of Jack these days, so a whole week will be a real spoiley πŸ™‚ I think I may get to wear the dress at work too on some of the jewellery shows so it’s not one to sit at the back of the cupboard. I hope you’ve got some photos of you with your boy – grown as he is now – ‘cos every picture tells a story, and I love remembering the occasions, however simple. Hope your week’s going well Gail, and thanks as always for keeping in touch, love ali xx

  3. Joanna Downey July 27, 2010 at 2:56 pm -  Reply

    Hello Alison, a lovely chatty blog as always but I was sorry to hear about your holiday problem. Whenever I’ve seen people affected by similar situations I think how useless I’d be if I was stranded or left at an airport with no flight available. When IT did happen to us, courtesy of that Icelandic volcano last April, I was, as predicted, pathetic. We were in Rome and fortunately heard about the situation when the news broke. After many texts home we went to the train station innocently expecting to be able to get to Paris and then back to the UK. It was Thursday, there weren’t trains to Paris until Sunday and Eurostar was fully booked… We took the sleeper to Munich, another train to Stuttgart, a third train to Paris. At the Gare du Nord the rumour was that there weren’t trains to Calais, by this point I was spinning on my head and my very patient Husband was considering a solo swim across the Channel to get away from me. We eventually got yet another train to Calais and, after six hours in a queue, we got the ferry. One taxi and two more trains later we got to Bristol to pick up the car. We arrived home early Saturday afternoon, a day later than we had expected to and Β£1000 poorer. We’ve been reimbursed our return flight cost and nothing else. My mini Stone Mountain bag was so useful, Germany looks lovely and we met some super people but it just cofirmed that I wouldn’t have been one of those women who followed their men “out West” or in any other direction and coped with everything life flung at them, shallow is my middle name. Love Jo x

  4. Mrs Janet Jones July 28, 2010 at 10:49 am -  Reply

    Dear Alison,what a lovely photo of you and your 2 sons sounds like you had a great day out at the car event. Glad to hear you can still go on holiday with all your family and Colin’s and hopefully you will be reimbursed! It will be lovely for you to have a week with Jack as I know you don’t get to see him as much as you would like.As you know my son lives in Manchester and I still can’t get used to him not being at home so every bit of time spent with him is precious.Taking of holidays we are hoping to go to Barcelona in September to celebrate my good news and my husbands 50th. I have never been before so I am looking forward to that.As always a lovely blog take care
    Love Janet xx

  5. Dorothy July 28, 2010 at 5:22 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison
    A good day out had by all, you never have a dull moment its a good photo of you and the boys. I love looking back at old photo’s how the kids change some embarrassing ones that they dont want anybody to see but some real treasures.Laura is in Australia now got there save when i phoned her on sunday i was told its not 3weeks but four will deff miss her. Pleased you are still going on your holl’s make the most of it as it will not belong till the boys are going with friends but who can blame them enjoy life when there young we have been there and done it.
    Watched you with Ali Young she doesn’t hold anything back and she is such staight face when she tells you off she is such a laugh. By the way have you had your day at silver stone yet if so what was the car like. love best wishes to all the family.
    Love Dorothy xxxx

  6. Susan July 29, 2010 at 3:37 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    What a beautiful photo of you and the boys. You all look gorgeous. And a lovely sunny day! Sorry to hear about the holiday. I hope you get there and enjoy it still. My word you and Julia do get around during the year don’t you!? No wonder the tans are alive year round! Lovely green belted dress the other day by the way. Really stunning on you. Take care and have a great upcoming weekend.
    Susan x

  7. Mrs Janet Jones July 29, 2010 at 4:01 pm -  Reply

    Dear Alison, I forgot to say in my blog that you really suit your hair tied up,jus thought I would let you know Love Janet xx

  8. alison keenan July 29, 2010 at 6:02 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Dorothy, so glad Laura arrived safely and that you were able to speak to straight away, and I’m sure she’ll keep you posted over the next few weeks. You wait until she comes back and spends days telling you her trip – it’ll be like you were there too! Yes, we may not have actually had the desert island, but Ali Young and I did have great fun on the show. You’re right about her dry sense of humour, although in the past I have managed to make her laugh til she cries… a proud moment πŸ™‚ Look after yourself and Davy, and thanks for taking time out to write, Love Ali xx

  9. alison keenan July 29, 2010 at 6:08 pm -  Reply

    Jo, I think considering the HORRENDOUS experience you had travelling across Europe, you could be forgiven for not wanting to follow your husband ‘out west’ or anywhere else come to that,especially if it was going to leave you Β£1,000 out of pocket! At least if you were following anyone, you’d be pretty much straight there, rather than having to circumnavigate the globe! So glad you got home safely and I think your middle name should be ‘human’ not shallow πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing, and look forward to hearing from you again, Love Ali xx

  10. alison keenan July 29, 2010 at 6:13 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Janet, lovely as always to hear from you, and I’m sure you and your husband will have a wonderful time in Barcelona, especially with so much to celebrate πŸ™‚ You and I sound very similar when it comes to our boys, and as you have a little time before then, I hope very much that you get the chance to see your son this next month. Yes, we are very lucky to have been able to not only find alternative flights for so many, but also to have the resources to pay for them, but I spoke to Jack last night, and he’s very much looking forward to our holiday, as is Sam – all of us infact! Will keep you in touch re the financial side – so far nothing! Love Ali xxx

  11. alison keenan July 29, 2010 at 6:14 pm -  Reply

    Dorothy how very rude of me! Completely forgot to answer your question re: Silverstone. No, I’ve not booked it, but you’ve jogged my memory and I must get it arranged for once we’re back from Rhodes as this dry warm weather is perfect for the track – so Sam tells me! Eeeeeeek πŸ™‚ Love ali x

  12. Una July 30, 2010 at 10:31 am -  Reply

    Awe, dont you all look so smart. Nothing like getting the glad rags on, to make you feel good.
    Sounds like a fantastic day. I do think you are a bit mean though Ali. You could have bought your poor son that 416K car!!!!! I bet its on his xmas list LOL!!!!!!
    What a shame about the holiday. Such a nuisance. They take ages to sort everything out too. Friends of ours who were caught up in the ash fiasco, are still waiting to be recompensed.
    Hope it all gets sorted out soon.
    Love Una xxx

  13. Sandra Collinson July 31, 2010 at 5:31 am -  Reply

    I can sympathise with your holiday predicament, we booked a holiday for last Jan on the internet and our flts were with GLobespan, we did seperate flts and hotel so not a package, credit card company were not interested and the company we booked it through also tried it’s best to wriggle out of paying us back, but i found a clause in the terms and conditions which they hadn’t applied when were booking the flt part and by keeping at them i eventually got ALL my money back after 8 weeks, i know your situation is different and it may well take longer, but i think you will be sucessful eventually, it seems no one is 100% secure when booking travel arrangements these days.

  14. Rhona Fenton August 1, 2010 at 7:39 am -  Reply

    Hi Alison, loved hearing about your fantastic day out you never said was the Stig there:) your boy’s are so handsome no wonder your a proud mum:) and I know what you mean when saying nice to see the kids dressed up:) I sent you a few pictures to your email hope you get them ok a proud mum to another just wanted to share them with you:) sorry to hear all about your holiday hope it all gets sorted out:) thanks for sharing your news always love to hear from you, enjoy the rest off the weekend love to you and yours Rhona xx

  15. Helena August 1, 2010 at 11:18 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison,
    I recently saw you on the Craft show and you were wearing a gorgeous soft lilac top/jacket. Is it availalble on the QVC please, or could you tell me where you got it from? You always look so cool and elegant.
    Keep up the good work.
    Many thanks, Helena

  16. alison keenan August 2, 2010 at 9:41 pm -  Reply

    Rhona, if the Stig was there, he may well have been disguised in a dapper suit and wig! Thank you for your lovely comments re the boys, and thanks for sending me the photos of your two … not surprised your so proud of them :)! Yes, all a bit of a do with the holiday, and still trying to work out who to approach next, but in all honesty, very much looking forward to some more uninterrupted time with the children πŸ™‚ Take care, and do keep in touch, love me xx

  17. alison keenan August 2, 2010 at 9:43 pm -  Reply

    Dear Sandra, thanks so much for your words of advice. I too was told by the credit card company to go via the CAA, but without proper documentation it’s all a little shady… will perservere though. You’re right about not being 100% secure in booking anything, although to be fair up until now, I’ve not ever had a problem. Hope that if you’re due to go away or have been this year, it all went well, love Ali xx

  18. alison keenan August 2, 2010 at 9:51 pm -  Reply

    Una, what can I say…. I know, I know….. I’ve opened an account entitled ‘unlikely events and purchases’ which has Sam’s name written all over it…! Oh, and Jack’s incase I’m accused of favouritism πŸ™‚ Yes, it’s on both their Christmas lists – although the new Ferrari featured on Top Gear caught their attention and was Β£200k less! Happy days πŸ™‚ Hope your friends are a little closer to sorting their holiday horror – ours still seems a long way off, but fingers crossed. Thanks as always for writing – lovely to hear from you. Love Ali xx

  19. alison keenan August 2, 2010 at 9:55 pm -  Reply

    Hi Helena – lovely name – thank you for your kind words. I feel the need to share a secret with you: the reason I may well have looked cool during our craft shows is that the temperature in that particular studio is pretty close to freezing! So, while we like to appear summery in our choice of clothing, we have to bear in mind the temperature! The top is actually from Oasis, although we have a couple of similar knot design tops in both Kim and Co and also Nina Leonard you may like. Thanks for writing, and hope to hear from you again soon, love Ali xx

  20. alison keenan August 2, 2010 at 9:58 pm -  Reply

    Janet, you are such a sweetie πŸ™‚ Thanks for the compliment. Truth is I’m loving it a little longer so I can wear it up, although I think come the autumn I may well go for something choppy and shorter….who knows!! (in truth the ends are a bit ratty πŸ™‚ x Love Ali

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