I want your birthday celebration suggestions!


Alison and her friends at Luton Hoo My daughter Lucy has just packed her little bedroom up and flown the nest… this time permanently. Pathetic I know but I still can't bear to go in there now it's so empty. I never really expected her to come home to me once she'd left University, but the fact that she's been with me over the last two years has been such a comfort, particularly while Sam was so ill and in hospital. 

Sam too is talking of setting up home possibly next year, and now that Jack's 16, he's hardly ever here… I feel a little as though I'm trying to hold sand in my hands, and it keeps slipping through my fingers. My role as a full time mum is coming to an end. Not quite sure what will take its place, although my expert laundry service is still of use to Lucy, so I may utilise that skill!

Always guaranteed to raise a smile though is time with my friends. The group of girls that I go away with twice a year arranged for us all to have 'tea' at Luton Hoo on Saturday (see photo above). It was a joint birthday celebration and we had a ball! Nothing like putting on your posh frock, jewels and high heels, and eating your entire body weight in scones, cakes and sandwiches. LOVELY! Especially when you don't have to do the washing-up. 

I thought it was quite an original way to celebrate a birthday, but as Sue's is still to come in August, could you possibly suggest anything that the six of us could do that would be completely different? I'd love to hear from you, so we can book it up!

Love Ali xx


  1. Rhona Fenton July 26, 2009 at 10:38 am -  Reply

    Hi Alison, I think for Sue’s birthday celebrations the 6 of you should jump on the Eurostar and head off to Paris for the day, have lunch and do a bit of shopping how exciting would that be, oh Darling were just popping over to Paris for a spot of lunch and do a bit of shopping as one does!! I didn’t catch who the other birthday was? if it was yours Alison happy belated birthday! whatever you 6 girlfriends decide to do for the celebrations have a fantastic time can’t wait to hear what you all decide!
    love Rhona xx

  2. alison keenan July 27, 2009 at 5:37 pm -  Reply

    Rhona you’re a star!!! A Euro Star! what a cracking idea. Not sure if we could run to it though but will check out the prices. May save it for next year when two of us hit the big 50!! No, my birthday was in March and myself and Diane celebrated with the others here at home. We got a takeaway, and had a fab night that ended around 3! I’ll pass your idea on and let you know what they think, Take care, love Ali xx

  3. Eileen. July 27, 2009 at 10:54 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    for the birthday celebration how about an over night stay in a health spa if funds allowed, think of all that pampering, wouldn’t be same as a good old nosh up though. I can empathise with you on going into Lucy’s empty room, my son recently left home and the room whilst it still have some of his stuff in there it feels so empty, but on the bright side he still rings up and comes round when he can. Take care. Eileen. xx

  4. Rhona Fenton July 28, 2009 at 11:02 am -  Reply

    Alison no way are you 50 next year you look far too young to be 50, I will give you a laugh as I was also reading Eileens comments about the kids moving out and the room being empty, when our oldest daughter Alison moved out I never thought anything could hurt so much thought the pain would never stop, but on the good side, I at long last got my pilates machine set up in her what is now old room, she gets to come home for a sleepover if we have any family events on, but thats it shes not getting back my pilates is in there, harsh I know she moved out and left us heart broken, thought I would share that wee joke with you, hope the birthday arrangements are going well? take care love Rhona xx

  5. Caroline Plant July 29, 2009 at 9:32 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison
    As regards to your new car you should get your self a Mazda MX5. I got myself one in october and its the best thing ever, even on the cloudiest of days to get the roof down.

  6. alison keenan July 30, 2009 at 11:51 am -  Reply

    Eileen thank you for taking time out to write and also for your suggestion for the birthday 🙂 I think we could just about stretch funds to do the spa thing, but I like you like the whole eating out or in thing! Complete empathy with you about your son.. it’s lovely though that he does call and comes to see you when he can. He’ll never find another you that’s for sure. Take care and I’ll let you know what we decide.
    Love Ali xx

  7. alison keenan July 30, 2009 at 11:54 am -  Reply

    Rhona – Friend for life!!! Thank you for your complimentary comment. It’s all smoke and mirrors you know 🙂 You also made me smile about your pilates machine. I’ve got one of those Ab Loungers and I’m tempted to put that in there now! Lucy could always sleep in that! Have a good day and keep in touch.
    Ali xx

  8. alison keenan July 30, 2009 at 11:56 am -  Reply

    Hi Caroline,
    Thanks for the suggestion. It’s a car Sam wanted me to get ages ago, that or the Honda Z something! My last car was a convertible Audi but I’m guessing you’re braver than me when it comes to taking the roof down. It has to be at least mid 70’s before I’m tempted. Although that said, I have had it down in the winter and just put the heaters on full blast. That was great. Lovely to hear from you, and thanks for taking the time. Ali x

  9. Georgina Paris July 30, 2009 at 7:00 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison – well if only you had mentioned you were going to Luton Hoo earlier my other half is Assistant Head Gardener there and I could have asked him to give you all a tour of the grounds some of which were laid out by Capability Brown! Every so often I get texts from him saying things like “Jordan and Peter have just landed in a helicopter” [this is before recent events obviously]or “Just been chatting to Daryl Hannah..” Glad you had a fabulous day. If a spa is your plan you can’t go wrong at Ragdale Hall – the best three days and two nights of my life and they have a buy one get one free offer at the moment. Elemis, Decleor, OPI and breakfast in bed! bliss! plus the swimming pool is out of this world. I went to New York for my fortieth with two girlfiends and had the time of my life – do something amazing for your 50th.
    and cars… Mazda sounds like a plan but the new BMW Z4 is gooooooorgeous – one of those in black and you will look fabulous pulling up anywhere.
    Empty nests are sad but this is your time now so go on…enjoy it.
    Sarah 🙂

  10. dorothy young August 1, 2009 at 7:53 pm -  Reply

    hi alison
    you should have a day at the races its a brill day,
    we go twice a year have great time dont win much but have good laugh.
    love dorothy
    PS you deff dont look 50

  11. alison keenan August 4, 2009 at 12:25 pm -  Reply

    Dorothy, what a corking idea! I’ll run it by the girls – could do dogs or horses – depends if we want to buy a hat I guess 🙂 Thanks for your p.s….. hang on to that thought til next March, cos that’s when I’m officially ‘of age’! No doubt with your name, you are forever youthful.
    Lovely to hear from you, Ali x

  12. alison keenan August 6, 2009 at 10:38 am -  Reply

    Hi Sarah,
    Was sure I’d replied to you, but memory not as it should be! Thanks so much for your note… wish we’d met up with your husband, it would have been great to catch up on all the gossip! I’ve heard great things about Ragdale Hall, and pampering is something you can never have too much of in my opinion… and as far as breakfast in bed is concerned – what a treat! I have to agree the BMW sounds lovely, but did you see the brand new Aston Martin on Top Gear? Even Jeremy Clarkson was speechless 🙂 I bet you had a ball in New York, the perfect place for your 40th. I took my daughter Lucy there for her 21st and we just had the best time. May be a tad pricey at present to get all 6 of us out there, but I’ll drop it into the conversation next time. Enjoy the rest of your week. Ali xx

  13. Penny Fraser August 10, 2009 at 4:53 pm -  Reply

    Ok call me a poseur but the Aston is the only possible choice of new car. I am on my second and it makes me smile when the garage door goes up! And my Lucy moved out a few weeks ago too so I need a bit of cheering up.
    But my Jack is still here sort of (a student, so just in holidays)so plenty of laundry / cooking etc in between trips in the car. Can’t get a lot of groceries in the boot but I don’t care!
    Birthday treat: How about a half day sushi making course? You get to take the essentials home and enjoy a meal together at the end. Highly recommended – for fish lovers!

  14. alison keenan September 13, 2009 at 2:51 pm -  Reply

    Penny I am so envious!! The Aston is my favourite car – always has been – and I did sit in one once, so how lovely for you to actually have one of your own! Another coincidence that you have children with the same names as mine!! And that your Lucy has also left home 🙂 it’s only Lucy in this family who eats Sushi – I however would kill for the pickled ginger… delightful. Do you know if you can buy it in bulk? Drive carefully and have a great week. Thanks for writing and apologies for my tardy reply. Ali x

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