What would you serve up for an engagement party?


I have discovered several things about myself over the last week, which I thought may interest you… apparently I weigh the same as a young lamb (approx 54kg) and that I have been ignorant all these years to the fact there is a right and a wrong way round to wear a pair of tights!!

Greetings :) Thanks again for keeping me entertained, nay enthralled with some of your wedding stories, news from home, pet bulletins, and general updates. They make my week – which has been a particularly busy one, I must admit. The random comment about the lamb came from my mum, who was talking about buying a small sheep to keep in the freezer (I'm sure they'd prefer to be kept in a field but still…), and how much it would cost if calculating it per kilo!!! I asked her if that was its weight when woolly or shorn… she wasn't sure :0

The tights issue was altogether different, when I rushed out of the house to get my nails done, and nearly cauterised my thighs with the tourniquet tightness of my 40 denier!!! Good grief, trying to get out of the car in a ladylike manner, whilst the blood supply is being stopped gusset level is no mean feat, but I managed it. Although my staggering back into the house was a little dramatic, according to Sam who thought I'd had a nip of something with my Earl Grey. His bedroom is downstairs across the hall from the front door, and so he doesn't miss anything! 

Girls, is there a tag somewhere within that I haven't noticed? I did once see a little green thread stitched into the waist band, but thought maybe the machinist had forgotten to change her thread! Any clues would be gratefully received or it may be hold ups from now on, and you know how badly I handle those!!!!

A lovely weekend in Ross on Wye

A church in Ross on Wye Thanks too, to all of you who've enquired about Sam. Definitely on the mend, and hoping to go back to Uni this weekend, so I'm praying he'll keep up with the multivitamins and tonics that I've been plying him with. 

Of course he's also had the lovely Ruth (his girlfriend) to minister to him while I've been out, and she enabled me to skip off for a few days with MY girlfriends this last weekend, to Ross on Wye. It's sort of like Hay on Wye but closer :)

The weather was very mixed, but we managed to get out and walk for a good hour and a half before staggering back through the mud for a mighty roast lamb lunch, cooked by our Debbie. It was awesome. To repay the kindness, I set about shaving large parts of my friends' feet with my microplaner, and then titivating their toes with OPI's latest colours. Less carefully applied the more wine I consumed, but all happy at the end of the evening. The picture (top left) is of a beautiful church we came across while walking, and I thought it was sort of Northanger Abbeyesque :) 

Your help is needed!

Of course it's a church/village hall that Lucy will be having her engagement party in this December, and we wondering if you might be able to help us work out a buffet supper..? There'll be about 80 people, and she and I are doing the catering to keep costs down, and save the serious wonga for the big day :)

We're thinking finger things, cos if not, you've got to have knives and forks and it all gets messy, so ANYTHING other than sausage rolls (although I'm quite partial myself) or egg sandwiches would be fab (rather gassy I fear :)) I like sausages on sticks coated in sesame seeds and honey, but that's not going to keep the wolf from the door really is it?? I shall be sitting here with my pad and pencil waiting for your suggestions..!

I've decided against the satin dress too for the evening, cos we think it may be a tad formal, so I'm going to wear that to the QVC party instead… wait for the photos of that one! Debbie Greenwood and Kathy are definitely coming with me, so it'll be lovely :) And of course, it will be dresses of a different sort on Sunday, when Lucy and I are joined by her Dad's wife and their daughter to look at more wedding dresses!! Soooooooo exciting, and no doubt more tissues required on the day.

Do hope all is well with you and yours, and that this rather blustery weather we're currently having hasn't lifted your laundry off the line! We've had to batten down the hatches this end, but were a little tardy in putting the recyclable rubbish in the bin – I have been picking yoghurt pots and baked bean tins out of my borders – not a nice job :) 

Have a lovely week, and I look forward very much to hearing from you.

Love Ali xxx 


  1. Rebecca Robinson November 12, 2010 at 3:31 pm -  Reply

    I know what you mean about the tights. I didn’t realise there was a right way round. I had somme expensive ones and they have a label in them but normally they don’t so it’s pot luck. Oh, the joys of being a woman!!

  2. Diane November 12, 2010 at 7:51 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison,
    What a busy life you lead. Lovely news about Lucy and glad to hear Sam is on the mend. I’ve been full of cold but it seems half the population have the same bug so not suffering alone! Sounds like you have a great bunch of friends, I wish someone cooked me a sunday roast, what a treat! I bet their nails look the business if you did them, glass of wine permitting! Look forward to hearing more about the wedding plans, how exciting for you.
    Diane x

  3. yvonne gillman November 12, 2010 at 8:01 pm -  Reply

    Dear Alison, tights should have a label in them as clothes do and of course you wear the label to the back!!! The coloured thread in the waistband tells you what size they are, the box or packet they came in have the same colour code on them.Very clever when you have more than one tight wearing female in the house and you are different sizes easy !!!!Hope that helps.{yes ok ok ,I do sell them!} Best Wishes yvie.

  4. Magda Chetty November 12, 2010 at 8:27 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    What a great blog as usual, I got a cold and I touhgt I”ll just put my computer on and have a look, and as always you make me smile and forget my cold, you are a star.
    In September a friend had her birthday party with 75 people, and she asked me to do something for the party, as she did all her friends. She also only wanted finger things, so I got white and brown bread, did not butter them, just spread cream cheese, then put a layer of smoked salmon, a bit of black peper and cut them into squares. It went down great and as the bread is filling, you don”t need that much. Hope that helps.
    Have a great party and give Lucy my best wishes and love to Sam.
    Much love.

  5. Lynn November 12, 2010 at 10:01 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali well we had our get together in our local they let us have the room free but had to bring our own buffet,it was a riot and everyone had a hoot getting it ready and a great night was had by all!!!
    here goes we made bowls of various couscos mixes.. spiced, fruit etc
    salad bowls, coleslaw, pickles bits on sticks hot chicken bits coated in tai spice/honey/regular, hot potatoe wedges and the hit of the night was…. hot dogs with onions and ketchup lol lol lol lol crisps, nuts and all the ususal simple stuff, iceland the feezer store have a totally great selection of easy varied party food…ali spend a super night having fun not worrying about fancy hard to do buffets a simple tasty selection of the nations favs are all you need the gang who came to dav and my do still talk about the laugh everyone had …thats 13yrs ago…and still love by request my hot dog suppers at ours when we have get togethers lol enjoy the preps ali and the do and hope sam gets on his feet asap dans having a blast and am getting over pneumonia 7wks of coughing lol hey oh talk soon love as per Lynn xxx

  6. Mrs Janet Jones November 15, 2010 at 11:22 am -  Reply

    Dear Ali, so glad Sam is on the mend helped along with some tlc from you and some home cooking. I saw my son this weekend it was sooo lovely to see him, I got plenty of hugs off him and that should keep me going for another 2 weeks when we are meeting up again for a meal with his new girlfriend who seems very nice.
    Sounds like you had fun on your girlie weekend.Sorry I can’t help with the tights as I haven’t worn them in years,as I usually wear trousers or a long skirt. As regards to the engagement party buffet supper, don’t make it too complicated as you want to enjoy the evening with your family, not stressing too much about the food! Whatever you and Lucy decide I am sure it will be a huge success, take care Ali speak soon love Janet xx

  7. Susan November 15, 2010 at 2:53 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Hilarious story about your tights! I know what you mean though…you do end up walking a tad funny! Interesting that the colour of the thread corresponds to the size. Well observed from your fellow blogger above! I think you’re onto a winner with the cocktail sausages coated in honey & sesame seeds – amazing!!! My friend introduced me to them & you never go back!! And home made wedges are another winner for me everytime. Little chicken pieces are never turned down either. You’ll both be extremely busy, hot & hopefully not bothered ladies with all the cooking! Have a good week,
    Susan x

  8. Suzanne November 15, 2010 at 9:33 pm -  Reply

    Ok – keep it simple , rather than the sausage rolls or as well as, try these, ready made puff pastry – pre rolled -Tesco’s own is my prefered brand at present , Parma ham , bag of grated ( you don’t need all the bag)cheese motzerella/chedder, now lemon olive oil ( from that famous italian cook with the stores) or any othe good quality.
    Roll out pastry – landscape is good,place parna ham thinly over pastry then sprinkle cheese – NOT to much and then drizzel oil – don’t over do it. Roll the whole thing together in a roll ( keep it tight) and cut with a very sharpe knife, cook 20 mins@ gas 6 – all keep an eye may take less time – taste best warm – sure you get the idea – don’t want to teach granny to suck eggs and all that.
    Delia does a version of this in her Christmas book
    For vegg version – M&S red pesto and cheese or what ever takes your fancy. Have fun When I make for work there are never any left. I also make Delia’s Ginger cake , and the new Nigela chocolate/cruchy bar and salted peanuts – goes down a bomb and takes no time at all.

  9. Lynn November 18, 2010 at 12:58 am -  Reply

    i forgot ali the tight story was brillo! me and tights are a no no lol i get twisted tangled and as i have sclerosis the old hands are dodgy so i land up with my ace kim and co long skirts tucked in my knicks!! so i opt for 40denier knee highs much safer lol also if i sneg them or ladder them ive got spare ones to make a new pair saves on the pennies too lol i agree a label or marker should be in tights for us to know which way to go to get them on! must say even though im a young minded 52 ive always hated tights with a passion lol keep the lovely blogs coming you make us all smile …alot! love as per Lynn x

  10. Susan November 18, 2010 at 10:27 am -  Reply

    By the way Ali, saw you briefly on a show yesterday I think & your hair was amazing! The volume in your up-do’s is fab! You always look so chic & elegant. A true lady. Hope your week is going ok. Nearly the weekend…we’ve nearly made it!
    Take care
    Susan x

  11. gilly November 18, 2010 at 2:28 pm -  Reply

    small slizes of french stick toasted one side topped with finely sliced cherry tomato and olive marinated in olive oil and balsamic vinegar
    mini hot dogs in Bridge rolls (the little tiny ones) – nicer than large ones if they go cold
    prawn and avocado on little cocktail sticks resting in a bowl of seafood dressing liberally laced with fresh lemon juice – could do as a big bowl or as individuals using cake cup thingies
    triangles of rare (ish)wafer thin roast beef on horseradish spread white bread cut into little triangles.
    Enjoy, Gilly

  12. margaret November 19, 2010 at 5:36 am -  Reply

    hiya alison,
    been meaning to write for months, so enjoy your weekly updates, very enjoyable thanks for sharing with us.
    Engagement Party – just finger food, ie crisps/nuts/etc., and i am sure wherever the celebration is being held, it will be near at least one local fish n chip shop, as the guests come into the hall get a couple of responsible young people, notepads and pens to take orders, let the shop know a few days earlier that a big order will be coming on the day, phone the order through, you will get it delivered, usually in poystyrene containers, (no plates) with plastic cutlery, and condiments as well, a few black sacks for the rubbish, easy peasy, and something different for people to remember. When we used this way of “catering” it was great, bit of a novelty, enjoyed by all, also with an order that large you would probably get a sizeable discount, always handy lol

  13. Alison Keenan November 19, 2010 at 9:33 am -  Reply

    Rebecca, the joys indeed!!! The only other undergarment that always mystifies me is the multi-way bra!! Heaven alone knows how you’re supposed to know which strap goes where! Lovely to hear from you, and hope your week’s going well. Love Ali xx

  14. Alison Keenan November 19, 2010 at 9:34 am -  Reply

    Hi there Diane, sorry you’ve been poorly with a cold. It would have been lovely to have included you in our number for lunch – although there wasn’t ANYTHING left at the end of the meal – so you may have saved us from ourselves!
    The nails were surprisingly good, and our Diane went to a wedding last weekend, and her toes matched her dress! Hope you’re keeping warm in this chilly weather. Love Ali xx

  15. Alison Keenan November 19, 2010 at 9:34 am -  Reply

    Yvie thank heavens for you!!! Now I know, and as I think you’ll see from the other responses, I wasn’t the only one to be ignorant of these facts. Thank you for taking the time out, and I shall know where to look in future. Love Ali xx

  16. Alison Keenan November 19, 2010 at 9:36 am -  Reply

    Hi Magda, sounds like you’ve had the same kind of cold that poor Diane’s been suffering with. Do hope you’re better soon, and glad that my blog cheered you up. Your suggestion of smoked salmon cheered me up too, and it’s on my list.
    I did it once before with Irish soda bread and butter, but I’m liking the sound of the cream cheese more. I will of course pass on your best to Lucy and Sam, and thank you for it.
    Sam’s gone back to uni, but I know he’s struggling… not sure what we do from here. Lovely to hear from you, and take care, love Ali xxx

  17. Alison Keenan November 19, 2010 at 9:36 am -  Reply

    Lynn you sound like my kind of woman!! Loving the sound of the hotdogs and I know the hot chicken things you’re talking about – Jack loves them! You’re right of course, the evening and being together is the most important thing, so cartons of food, here I come. Thank you, love Ali xx

  18. Alison Keenan November 19, 2010 at 9:37 am -  Reply

    Janet so glad you had a great time with your son, and how nice he’s going to introduce you to his girlfriend – I’m sure you’ll like her. Thanks too for your advice re the party – which is the same as Lynn’s, so I shall be taking a leaf out of both your books. Take good care, Love Ali xx

  19. Alison Keenan November 19, 2010 at 9:38 am -  Reply

    Susan, it was funny looking back, but bloomin’ uncomfortable at the time! Yup, the sausages are definitely a winner, and if you want to cut down the time, buy the cold pre-cooked chipolatas, and whack them into a really hot oven with the honey and sesame seeds, and they cook in about quarter of an hour.
    I may well cheat on the wedges, cos they sound good, and I could get dips for those too. Yes, hot and definitely not bother, will be the aim of the night. Thanks for writing, and have a great week. Love Ali xx

  20. Alison Keenan November 19, 2010 at 9:39 am -  Reply

    Suzanne, I think I’m going to have a trial run of these savoury pastries this weekend when I’m not working! Loving the idea. Vegetarian version sounds equally tasty.
    It’s very kind of you to have taken the time out to write out the recipe which I will duly ‘cut and paste’ then print out! May reach for my Delia book too. Thanks so much, Love Ali xx

  21. Susan November 19, 2010 at 5:38 pm -  Reply

    Ali, just have to say how fab this party sounds!! Making me hungry hungry hungry just reading about all the party food!! Make sure & take plenty of photos now! Knowing how full of fun you & your family sound I bet the party will be absolutely wonderful. You really sound like a great family & it must be a pleasure to know you all. Have yourself a fab weekend & I hope you get some time off. I am sure it will take Sam a god few weeks if not months to recover fully so I hope he takes time out if he needs to. Nothing is worth it & I have had friends who have had to do that in the past. Hope you’re looking out for yourself too in amongst looking after your lovely brood!
    Take care,
    Susan x

  22. Gail November 20, 2010 at 5:56 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali, what is it with you and underwear? I bet you’re a scream to watch getting dressed; a kinda female Norman Wisdom springs to mind. Drawers at half mask and tights the wrong way round, you are a scream and that’s why we love you. I do so look forward to your blogs; they are always guaranteed to give me a laugh. Hope the lovely Sam is fighting fit again, although I do believe the recovery is quite long with this illness. Your weekend away sounded fun; don’t know if I fancy the touching of so many feet though. I’m afraid I don’t have any ideas regarding the buffet, although I was thinking on the lines of what Margaret said re fish and chips. If it were me, I’m afraid I would hand round the hat and see what could be done re caterers so that most of the stress could be taken off you all. Yourself, Lucy’s dad and her fiance’s family, I’m sure would contribute and then a stress free party could be had by all. I’m sure you will think of something and as long as you are all together a good time will be had by all, regardless of what food is around. Please give Claire Sutton a hug from me as I think she needs a bit of pampering at the moment. Remember ladies, NO STRESS, it really is bad for your health, literally.
    Love Gail xxxxxxxxxxxxx

  23. alison keenan November 21, 2010 at 4:06 pm -  Reply

    Lynn I’m thinking the 40 denier knee highs sound like a great idea!! Especially if, as you say, you snag one, you can easily have a spare one! If I had a ladder in my tights years ago, I used to cut one of the legs off then when I had two pairs with only on leg I’d wear them together. A little too much reinforcement around the undercarriage I felt, but times were hard then :) Lovely to hear from you, and do keep in touch, Love Ali xx

  24. alison keenan November 21, 2010 at 4:10 pm -  Reply

    Susan, thanks for the comment re my up do!! I checked the date you wrote, and was about to credit Ken Paves with it, but see you meant the day before, when I’d pinned it up myself, so thank you!! Hope all well in your world, love Ali xx

  25. alison keenan November 21, 2010 at 4:19 pm -  Reply

    Margaret, that sounds like a great idea! I’ve been to quiz nights where they’ve done that, and here in our village, we actually have a mobile fish and chip van! Could always get him to park outside :) thanks very much, and hope that you’ve had a lovely weekend. Love Ali x

  26. alison keenan November 22, 2010 at 12:04 am -  Reply

    Gilly, you should set up your own catering business!!! All I need is balsamic vinegar and olive oil and I’m a very happy bunny :) Thanks so much for your suggestions, Lucy and I are meeting on Tuesday to go through all the different options and will let you know what we decide on. I really appreciate your kindness. Hope you’ve had a good weekend, Love Ali xx

  27. alison keenan November 22, 2010 at 12:26 pm -  Reply

    Susan, I have to say I’m a little peckish too, although looking at the time it’s not far off lunch!! :) Yes, it will be a lovely night I know, and as a family it’s great that we all get on at these occasions. Sadly my mum won’t be able to make it as she’s not quite 100% yet and my sister had this horrid op on her foot, and so is literally hopping around! Still, I’m sure we’ll rally and I promise I’ll take as many pics as I can so you can get a real feel for it :) Got some nice pictures to show you in my next blog which I hope to finish today…. some rather lovely young men!!Enjoy your day and go get some lunch – plenty of ideas above! Love Ali xxx

  28. alison keenan November 22, 2010 at 12:32 pm -  Reply

    Gail, it’s a fair question!! :} Not sure how I get in such a muddle, but I think it’s because I’m always rushing around at work, and trying to get suitable underwear that will hold a mic pack and talkback aint easy! I tried once clipping them onto my small smalls, but they descended rather a dangerous way down, so had to go for slim and lift instead which are perfect! Years ago when I worked for Granada TV I had a women who actually dressed me! Can you believe it…?? Obviously tights I could handle myself, but the rest of it she sorted… such a spoiley. So glad I make you laugh, because you always give me a chuckle when I read your replies. Long may they appear, and thank you as always for taking the time. I’m seeing Claire on Thursday night, and will give her a hug. She is such a lovely girl, who runs an incredibly busy life, I seriously don’t know how she does it. I’ll make sure she takes some time out to relax when we’re together. And I’ll pass on your kind concern too Gail, love Ali xx

  29. Susan November 23, 2010 at 11:05 am -  Reply

    Glad to comment on your up-do by the way Ali – you’re a genius with your hair!! Can’t wait to see the pics & sorry to hear your Mum & sister aren’t to well. Hope they get better soon – keep us updated if you don’t mind.
    Take care
    Susan x

  30. sue November 28, 2010 at 2:37 pm -  Reply

    Ali, no matter what you blog about you really give me a laugh you have a terrific wit…..have you considered doing a “blog Book” I’d defo buy it and share with my mum who at 83 says “she can’t do the internetty thingy” love Sue xx

  31. Pam Davies November 29, 2010 at 4:58 pm -  Reply

    Oh Ali you always make me chuckle with your updates. I love reading your blog you always cheer me up! Now i thought it was just me that had issues with the dreaded ‘Tights’…. i hate them! They either twist themselves aound you (I have myself been caught walking in a very strange manner before now!)or they start to work their way down towards your knees when you are in a public place and cannot stop to pull them back up!!
    I am just so relieved to find out that it isn’t just me so thanks again..
    Take care and much love

  32. Heather December 6, 2010 at 10:47 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison,
    I have never laughed so much in a long time. You are an a breath of fresh air.The story of the tights hahahaha! i,m of again in fits of laughter!! Your bloggs are so readable. I just love to hear about you and your lovely family. Hope Sam continues to get better..and how great to hear that Lucy has got engaged. Busy times ahead for all of you.
    Hope all goes well at the Engagement party and your other party’s etc.
    Love Heather x

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