Joan Collins and glamorous jewellery

45

RingWell I was asked just yesterday if I was still 'out of breath with excitement' following my engagement, and daft as it sounds, yes I am! :)

Thank you so much for ALL the beautiful cards you've sent to me, the comments on this blog, the Facebook messages and all those tweets on Twitter! Incredible! Both Colin and I have been overwhelmed by your kindness and caring, and it has been an absolute joy to share our good news with you all.

I went to see my mum last Friday, and to have a drive in her new car which is a beautiful shade of blue, and quite sporty!  It wasn't quite Top Gear style driving, but we cornered the Bishops Waltham roundabout quite tightly!  She very much approved of Colin's choice of engagement ring, which is not that dissimilar to my dad's choice for her all those years ago.

I know you will have heard me mention more than once, the hours I would spend at her dressing table watching the light create a kaleidoscope of colours from that very ring. I often talk about the memories that are created when giving and receiving jewellery, and as I begin my regular Diamonique Jewellery show this Thursday at 9pm there's something I wanted to ask you, which could become a permanent way of us sharing those memories…


I would love for you to send me a photograph of your favourite piece of jewellery, and we will post these on the blog. You can attach them to a comment on our QVCUK Facebook page, tweet them to me with the tag #JewelleryFave, email them to competitions_uk@qvc,com (with the subject line "Jewellery Favourite") or send a photograph to me thru the post.

It could be an heirloom or a recent purchase, fashion or fine jewellery, gem-set, precious metals, even pearls. The plan will be for you to vote here for whichever piece of jewellery you think is the most desirable, and once we have enough entries, we will compile a shortlist.

Our jewellery buyers at QVC will choose the winning piece, and the design will be recreated in Diamonique so that we can all share in it! Interested? Thought so :) Sorry everyone, we won't be able to create a Diamoniqe replica but I would still love to see or hear about your favourite pieces. Here's one of my favourite things (pictured at the top of this post) - Great Aunt May's ring. It was given to me when I was 18 years old, and the design was one I favoured for years. I really hope you'll want to get involved, and am looking forward to receiving the first entries through! :)

More excitement coming your way tomorrow when QVC welcomes Joan Collins and her brand new range of Timeless Beauty products! Joan's belief is that every woman has the right to look gorgeous whatever her age, and quite frankly I've not seen anyone look as incredible at 81 as Joan! Considering she began her career in Hollywood when she was 18, and has worked ever since, it's going to be a real privilege to spend time with her.

I actually met Joan several times when I presented This Morning, but as you'll see from this clip, she still looks as amazing today, as she did then – I have clearly aged! She was absolutely charming with a wicked sense of humour, so it will be lovely to see her again :)

 

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Pipa and Joan will be launching the range at 2pm, and I'll be with Joan for the second show at 10pm.  The range includes make-up, skincare and fragrance, all beautifully packaged in fabulous Art Deco styling, and although we will have a make-up artist on set with us, Joan will have done her own, as she ALWAYS has done, for film, TV and photo shoots – incredible!  Hope you will be able to join us – I'll have to find out what her favourite piece of jewellery is!

Final bit of news to tell you is that Colin and 'The Sonny Walters Band' will be appearing on one of the pop-up stages at the O2 next Saturday 15th March! We're so excited!

It's part of the Country to Country weekend Festival there, which features the biggest Country stars from the USA, and he was chosen from a short list of British Bands to play there. They'll have a half-hour set from 3pm so do pop along if you can – the stages are in the restaurant area so it's free, and it's the day before my birthday so a double celebration :)

Don't forget to have a think about which piece of jewellery you'd like to have recreated in Diamonique, and do send your pictures in.  I'll leave you with this segment from my last Diamonique show…You've got to laugh eh? :)

 

With love,

Ali xx

45 Comments

  1. Rhona Fenton March 4, 2014 at 12:09 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison, first off all congratulations to colin and the sonny walters band, amazing news and they must be so excited will be thinking off them on the night :) I did enjoy your clip above with Joan, I remember you on this morning and have to say as lovely as you were then you are even more beautiful with age :)lovely to see Joan joining QVC and will look forward to seeing her shows! now Alison you have given me a task asking me to pick from my jewellery to which would be nice done in Diamonique, that bits easy that rules out my Diamonique ha ha! but I have so much to pick from don’t think I have a favy as I love it all, let me ask you Alison, you did see suzi’s shows didn’t you??????? lots off Black Hills also which I love, this would be hard, Can you try something a bit more easy next time ha ha! I will have a look but not sure if I can pick one as I love it all, just don’t tell my colin as I have hidden the key to it all ha ha! love to you and yours from me and mine Rhona xx

  2. maggie shankster March 4, 2014 at 9:23 pm -  Reply

    happy birthday for the 16th march

  3. Elaine sallis March 4, 2014 at 9:26 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Hope the gig goes well. How exciting for Colin and the band. Happy birthday hope you have a lovely day . I will be 58 this week but we won’t talk about that !
    Elaine

  4. Valerie March 5, 2014 at 10:42 am -  Reply

    I am so happy for you and Colin My dear husband of 42 years past away 6 years ago and through all my ops since then I would have loved a Colin. Still I have my blue border collie. We both loved country music so do you know if it will be televised?

  5. Beth Morton March 5, 2014 at 1:12 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    You looked lovely on the earlier clip with Joan and having just seen the Diamonique clip, it gave me a giggle! You have a warmth about you, a sense of fun and a wonderful figure – they aren’t attached to a number.
    I think the ring you have from your Great Aunt May is wonderful- you’re absolutely right, it’s the memories from jewellery which are important. I have a ring which was my Grandmother’s Best Friend’s Engagement ring – I wear it for special occasions or sometimes when I feel I need a bit of reassurance (interviews, scary!).
    I am delighted everything is going so well for you – what comes across is your sheer love of life.
    You take care and have a wonderful Birthday,
    Beth XXX.

  6. TINA S March 5, 2014 at 6:30 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    I have two treasured pieces of jewellery. One being a tiny brooch that I had one Christmas when I was a little girl of 6 or 7. Its a little wooden mouse with tiny green eyes and a leather tail. I thought it had got lost years ago but found it amongst some jewellery after my step-mother died and we were sorting out the house. I remember when I had my presents that Christmas in my pillow case and my mother telling me that I had missed one. It was in one of the corners of the pillow case. It brought tears to my eyes when I found it again and I will always treasure it.
    The other piece I treasure is my late mothers Cameo Brooch.My sister told my of the story of how my father gave it to her. At the time my mother smoked, so my father had hidden it in a match-box and asked her to pick which one from his hand.It is a really lovely Cameo of a Venus type lady and a little cherub at her feet.I don’t think it is made of gold but to me it is the most precious thing money can buy! My father was always surprising my mother and was very ingenious . Sorry I am not up on how to send pictures yet.
    My treasures are not measured by how much they are worth in money but how much they mean to me sentimentally
    Take care and best wishes
    Tina S. (South Wales)

  7. Una March 6, 2014 at 12:19 pm -  Reply

    Hi
    Posted a blog last night, on Alison’s previous lovely engagement post.
    Just a few thank you and good wishes to everyone.
    Ali, really hope Colin enjoys his 02 gig. How amazing will that be.
    Have a great weekend
    Lots of love
    Una xx

  8. mary morphy March 7, 2014 at 7:02 am -  Reply

    Good morning Ali, its just gone 6.30am and the sun is shining here in Westgate. I have just hung out a very long line of washing which stretches from the kitchen wall to my cabin up the end of the garden and it looks magnificent; a true sight to behold or am I just very sad.
    So Colin has an Arena Gig—HOW EXCITING! I am sure it will be an incredible experience for him and all of his family , friends and followers.
    Loved your Aunt’s ring by the way. generally I am not a huge fan of sapphires however, I liked the Art Deco feel and it looks stunning. I have mt Grandmothers engagement ring which is a teenie tiny size. The band is very thin but its in a similar style only all diamonds but much smaller. I think it’s beautiful.
    So what’s been going on here. Well since I last wrote I have been to London with my twin sister Denise and daughter Chloe; we took Chloe to ChoccyWoccyDooDa just off Carnoby street. My oh My and WOw. It was delicious. The dark hot chocolate was like proper cocoa, slightly bitter but rich and creamy and I had lemon and white chocolate cake..So much chocolate..i bhad to leave some!!! Chloe had a melting pot of hot molten chocolate with cake, shortbread, strawberries, Turkish delight, honeycomb and popcorm biscuits to dip in and my sister n=had a chocolate sundae…massive!!! We were looked after very well and ate till we felt sick which of course I don’t recommend but it was a special occasion. After, we walked for miles and miles then did the open top bus tour round all the streets and sights of London which I never tire off; I am like a kid in a candy store! Of course the highlight for us all was the big blue cock(eral) in Trafalger Square….Why is it there??? Anyone know? It started to rain on the bus tour and as we were proper tourists and upstairs in the open air we were kindly given plastic ponchos to put on. It was very wind so a bit of a challenge to get on, in particular for Chloe who couldn’t find the hole for her head. She was standing on top of the bus covered in polythene with red firey strands of long red hair coming out the top of her poncho like volcano molten..hilarious!!
    Anyway after the bus tour more walking then back to Dulwich on the Number 8 bus and home to Westgate. As we came off the A2 at about 9pm there was a overhead gantry warning that the M” was closed to repair the sink hole so we had a bit of a diversion but by the time we were home at 10.30pm ish we were all shattered but a great day.
    Very busy with cricket still and we are now approaching the summer out door season. This weekend Chloe has an indoor tournament from 12 – 6pm Saturday and Kent training as usual at Folkestone on Sunday. I also have to get a Zebra print two tier birthday cake made..not sure when, for Chloe’s cricket friend Molly. She like animal pring, pink, bling and sparkle and its all going on a cake!! I would tweet you the finished article but for some reason my pictures wont tweet from my phone ( Galaxy S3,,anyone know how I can do it). I attach and send but it never goes!!!
    Ok, movement upstairs, kids getting up for school so I will sign off..oh looking fab by the way; caught you on Leighton Denny all nicely sun believabled!. Have a great week. Maryxxx

  9. Tricia Coulson- Wood March 7, 2014 at 2:09 pm -  Reply

    Hello Ali, I have some wonderful news today, my daughter Jans bone scan is clear of any sinister problems. it shows bone degeneration which isn’t great but how wonderful that otherwise we are clear. it’s Janette’s birthday on March 12 th so what a fantastic gift for her and all of the family. To think it was on her birthday 12 th march 2013 that she told me following a hosp visit that she had all the symptoms and signs of ovarian cancer. The worst news ever to receive especially on your birthday. . Now one year later following radical surgery and chemotherapy we are in a better place. She can now continue her recovery to get fit again. I must say that the Pilates machine has been great for helping her on the road to getting going again, I recommend it to everyone. Thanks Jilly for your words of support and I hope that Annie and her hubby are continuing to make progressive recovery.
    I must say you are very good to read..I also think it would be great to all meet up one day also. Also Ali you look wonderful..
    Lots of love to everyone, , Tricia x

  10. christina welsh March 7, 2014 at 5:33 pm -  Reply

    HI Alison,
    loving your hair style at the moment it really suits you. do you blow dry it to style or do you use rollers . i,m in the process of growing mine at the minute but its getting to the stage where it needs shape & colour . yours has given me renewed vision for a lovely style. look forward to your reply, Many Thanks.
    Chris. xx

  11. Tricia Dewey March 9, 2014 at 12:08 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    I was delighted to see a reply from you last blog, as I had given up trying for so long to get “through” and failing miserably.
    However on reading your super news about your engagement I so much wanted to congratulate you that I “had another go, and hey ho the gremlins had gone!!
    I must say though that I have been reading your lovely blogs,and seeing you on qvc, in all the long long time since my last message to you failed.
    I absolutely love the natural, but of course professional way you are on qvc, and your dress sense is so “classy” I must add that you have a great sense of humour, which I love so, I do love a giggle.
    Congrats to your Colin, I do love what I,have heard of his happy music.
    Lastly, may I say an early happy birthday to you for the 16th,,I too am a “March hare” and my birthday is the 14th March.
    With love,
    Tricia “D” xx

  12. Alison Keenan March 9, 2014 at 1:40 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Rhona, and thank you for your sweet words :) it’s funny how times change the way you look, and even partnerships can have a bearing in the way you dress and style your hair :). I know I’m more comfortable now generally about my appearance, altho there are always things I would like to change :) Aa you will now see the impossible task I set you of having to choose a particular piece of jewellery as your favourite, is no longer relevant. We did think initially it would be ok but understandably there are legal loopholes, so just stories of favourite pieces are going to feature now. VERY excited about next Saturday and the O2 – have barely seen Colin this last few weeks as he’s been in the studio almost non stop, but I’ll make sure to take plenty of photos for you. My love to you and yours too Rhona, and I hope you are enjoying this fabulously warm weekend, Ali xx

  13. Alison Keenan March 9, 2014 at 1:42 pm -  Reply

    Gosh Maggie you’re well organised! Thank you so much for remembering my birthday…. I have my son Sam’s tomorrow when he will be 25 -wish I was again :). I hope you will have had a lovely weekend, and thanks again for keeping in touch, love Ali xx

  14. Alison Keenan March 9, 2014 at 1:48 pm -  Reply

    Dear Elaine, I bet you don’t look a day over 40 :) wishing you a very happy birthday, and I hope you will be truly spoiled! You should me along to the O2 then we could celebrate together! I can’t quite believe I’ll be 54 myself! Very much looking forward to the live music, and am hoping that the band’s music will be truly appreciated. Have a great week, and thanks for getting in touch, love Ali xx

  15. Alison Keenan March 9, 2014 at 1:52 pm -  Reply

    Dear Valerie, I am so sorry that you lost your lovely husband and that you have had to struggle through these last years, with bad health, and without his supportive arm around you…. I hope you have had other love and support though. I’m it sure if the Country to Country weekend will be televised, but I’m going to try and get a little bit of film for you of The Sonny Walters Band performing :). I’m glad you have your border collie for company… They are Colin’s favourite breed of dog, and so if we have are lucky enough to have a pet, this is what we’ll plump for. You take care and stay strong… I am sure you have many happy memories of those 42 years, with love, Ali xx

  16. Alison Keenan March 9, 2014 at 1:56 pm -  Reply

    Dear Beth how very kind of you :). I’m glad the Diamonique clip made you laugh – a sense of humour is what’s pulled me through some of the toughest times, and I firmly believe that laughter is the best medicine :) I’m glad you have a special piece of jewellery that you enjoy wearing and that empowers you, and if there are any interviews pending, good luck with them! Thank you for writing to me, and do keep in touch, love Ali xx

  17. Alison Keenan March 9, 2014 at 2:02 pm -  Reply

    Tina, thank you so much for writing about your special pieces or jewellery. I can completely understand how important both of them are to you because of the incredible memories that are tied up with them… I have a little crystal horse brooch that my dad bought for me when I was 7 – I still have it :). Your father sounded very much a romantic, and it’s lovely that the story behind the cameo is one your sister still remembered and could share with you… It’s so good to have something tangible sometimes to link with the memories. Please don’t worry about sending photos because as you will see, our competition idea has hit a legal wall, but I know that everyone will have loved reading about your little mouse and the cameo. Have a great week, love Ali xx

  18. Alison Keenan March 9, 2014 at 2:05 pm -  Reply

    Una, I will go back and read the previous post but thanks for giving me a heads up! Still no broadband or landline at home – so many things that we would automatically do online – and although the iPad is great, we have a dreadful signal here, so it struggles to cope. I very much hope you will have had this glorious sunshine over the weekend to cheer you, and that your health is improving. With love, Ali xx

  19. Tricia Dewey. March 9, 2014 at 3:36 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Last evening I wrote a reply to you having been elated that at last My messages were reaching you, I have just popped on and found that my message to you has disappeared ! !
    Therefore here I am trying again but feel really confused as to what on earth I can be doing for this to happen.
    I won’t write what I did last night incase it comes back ! ! (Although highly unlikely )
    I will just say that if this does go through. have a very happy birthday, mine is two days before yours, I remembered when yours was from a few years back when I was managing to get through with no problem!
    I sign off with my fingers well crossed.
    With love,
    Tricia “D” xx.

  20. Sue Radford March 10, 2014 at 6:41 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    My favourite piece of jewellery is a ring I bought a couple of years ago. It’s a contemporary white gold ring with three diamonds set as if they’re floating in mid-air. Each diamond is in remembrance of my brother, mother and father – I wear it every day. It’s a lovely reminder of three most important people who are no longer in my life, but have such wonderful memories of – it’s surprising how comforting it is.
    Hope you’ll have a lovely birthday. 54! You look 10 years younger!! Happy birthday to Sam too.
    Wishing Colin good luck – everyone’s in for a treat!
    Tricia, so pleased to hear the good news about your daughter – wonderful!
    Best wishes to Una, Alpa, little Alfie and everyone else in Ali’s Army.
    Love from Sue Radford xx

  21. alison keenan March 10, 2014 at 9:08 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Mary and apologies for not replying to your lovely comment, but I needed to charge the Ipad, and then leave for a 70th birthday party! You’ll be pleased to know that this reply is being typed on my trusty laptop having FINALLY got our new faster broadband and line back! It turns out that BT disconnected us by mistake… we’d been telling them that for 7 weeks, but today they sorted it so Colin and I are mightily relieved :) Your description of Chockywockydooda had me salivating and I don’t even particularly like chocolate! And the description of Chloe on the bus with her poncho and hair flying about in the wind sounded hilarious – I hope you took a few photos :) It does sound like a long day, but well worth it, and one that I’m sure Chloe will never forget. How did you get on with the two tier zebra cake? Would love to see a photo, but can’t advise you re attaching from a Samsung as I have an iPhone :/ I hope you had the sunshine on Saturday and Sunday for the cricket tournament? It was stunning here – 20 degrees just as they had promised. Will need to apply more of my Sunbelievable before I head off to Morocco – looking very pasty! Even more so when the sun shines :) Love to you and yours Mary, and thanks as always for keeping in touch, Ali xx

  22. alison keenan March 10, 2014 at 9:13 pm -  Reply

    Tricia that is FANTASTIC news! So pleased for you and Jan – I know how worrying it is to wait for these kind of results – so it is marvellous that there is nothing sinister. I too have degenerative disease of the spine, which is getting worse the older I get, but nothing to be scared of :) Great too that Jan is getting good use from her Pilates machine. I was watching Julie and Marjolene just the other day, and thinking that maybe it’s time I set one up myself. Still enjoying the cross trainer though, and there’s not enough room in the little bedroom for any more pieces of equipment at present…. I hope you will be seeing Jan on her birthday and please pass on my best wishes to her. This year will be so much better for you all :) With my love, Ali xx

  23. alison keenan March 10, 2014 at 9:17 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Chris, and thank you for such kind words about my hair. I actually blow dry it and have found it so much easier since using Philip Kingsley’s paddle brush and Richard Ward’s curling brush! I tend to use heated rollers on the top of my head, as when I have a hot flush (usually just after I’ve put my make up on and before I go on air!!) the top flattens out a bit, but Philip Kingsley’s Maximiser holds the shape from the rollers well, and then Lulu’s hair spray means it doesn’t shift while I’m on air. I have four different colours in it, but am hoping to go a little blonder next visit to the salon :) Hope this helps, love Ali xx

  24. alison keenan March 10, 2014 at 9:20 pm -  Reply

    Dear Tricia, I am so sorry you’ve been having such a problem with your computer when trying to post comments. Very glad though that you persevered, and delighted that you enjoy the shows – thought the Diamonique clip might tickle you :) We are probably very like minded women with our birthdays so close together, and I am sending you every good wish for a truly happy day. Oh, and thanks also for your kind congratulations on my engagement… still admiring my diamond at every available opportunity! :) Have a great week, and I hope the sun shines for you, love Ali xx

  25. alison keenan March 10, 2014 at 9:22 pm -  Reply

    ….oh and Tricia it didn’t disappear! I think after you’ve written it, it goes into a holding box where you can amend or delete it, but when you press ‘post another comment’ it goes into the system, so that my editor can post it up a little later on. Thank you again for taking the time to keep in touch, love Ali xx

  26. Pauline March 10, 2014 at 10:53 pm -  Reply

    Hello Ali,
    Best wishes for a very happy birthday and have a lovely weekend listening to all the lovely music.A message to Valerie I lost. My husband of 44years seven years ago we were together since I was 14years old and he was 15 years old I will be 70 this year and every time I am under stress for whatever life throws at me I get through it and hope he would be proud this gives me comfort I hope it will work for you too. X
    With love
    Pauline. X

  27. Alpa March 11, 2014 at 9:13 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali,
    You are looking fabulous and I love the red/orange dress you were wearing Sunday before last. Glad to hear you are ‘still out of breath with excitement’ following your engagement and why not :)
    Fantastic news about Colin’s gig. So exciting! I am at the opposite end of London and if my body were not quite so decrepit at present, I would have been there.
    I see I’m in very good company with all the March birthdays :) A very Happy Birthday to Elaine and Jan. When I turned 30, I thought I was ‘old’ I can’t quite believe I was 40 a week ago (when you posted your new blog) I was hoping to have a nice peaceful day at least but it was not to be. I don’t know what is wrong with people, Ali. They just seem to be getting worse! I was very spoiled though with beautiful flowers and chocolate.
    I saw the ‘other’ doctor at the surgery which was a waste of time She couldn’t be bothered to help and didn’t want to listen to anything I had to say. Chest x-ray was done last week although the doctor didn’t want to do the form. The fact that the hospital doctor said this was to be done two months ago was ignored. There’s no point in going back to see the other doctor there. He’s just as arrogant and rude. Things are worse as they are being left untreated. Until I can find someone who might help, there is nothing I can do. Just as well we have a Plan B then!
    Lots of love to Una, Debz, Sue, Jilly, Tricia, baby Alfie and all in Ali’s Army x
    Happy Birthday for Sunday Ali. Hope you enjoy your day. Wishing Sam a very Happy Birthday as well :)
    Take care
    Lots of love, Alpa xxx

  28. TINA S March 12, 2014 at 9:44 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    I have another treasure I wanted to share with you that I remembered after your reply.(I told you about the Cameo and Mouse Brooches). It is not an item of jewellery however but a little tattered Christmas card that my mother had sent to my father during the war. He had kept it all those years. The verse and contents are so tender I get a lump in my throat every time I look at it.
    “Somebody cares a lot for you,
    Wherever you are, whatever you do,
    Cares if you’re troubled, or ill, or sad
    Cares if you’re happy, well and glad,
    Somebody loves you’re voice, you’re smile,
    The touch of you’re hand, that makes life worthwhile,
    And somebody perhaps, as the years roll on,
    You’ll look behind o’er the rod we’ve gone,
    Then you’ll discover, by and by,
    The someone caring so much was I.
    Inside the card : “There’s a spot within my heart ,To memory ever true,
    And a little corner always warm, With kindly thoughts of you.”
    I will always treasure this.It makes me think of them as young and so in love, separated by the war. I think they were both so romantic and adored each other. My mum passed away when she was only 46 and my father kept this card all those years!
    Best wishes, Tina (South Wales)

  29. Una March 13, 2014 at 9:29 am -  Reply

    Morning
    Meli and I will be away for a few days, don’t think there will be WIFI connection. Just need a few days to relax and recharge the batteries, after Melis wee bout of tonsillitis followed swiftly by a rotten, snotty cold, followed by a tummy bug! These nursery kids are bug ridden little horrors! We are constantly washing our hands, also use my loccitane hand cleanser, steam cleaner is permanently attachmed to my hand, but still, the bugs find us!! Its a good thing apparently, building up her immune system! What about my immune system! Might invest in one of these surgeons mask for my trips to nursery!
    Just wanted to wish you a very happy birthday Alison, hope you have very a lovely day.
    Tina, the sentiments on the card is beautiful. I’m not surprised you treasure it.
    Have a lovely weekend all my lovely army friends.
    Lots of love
    Una x

  30. Sylvia Anderson March 13, 2014 at 10:15 am -  Reply

    I wish you all the best hope all goes well for and the better half. SYLVIA x

  31. angela white March 14, 2014 at 11:07 am -  Reply

    happy birthday ali!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope your having a wonderful day have a great weekend love angela x

  32. Jilly March 16, 2014 at 3:10 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali and a very very Happy Birthday to you. I am sure you will have been having a wonderful birthday weekend what with being a groupie again at the Sonny Walters gigging. How wonderful for Colin and his group to be playing at the O2 – special or what!!! I have a lot of friends who have birthdays in March so it must be a special month!!
    Like Chris earlier, I also think your hair looks just fab Ali. I use Philip Kingsley products and brushes and my hairdresser was saying yesterday how good my hair felt etc. All down to him I feel.
    Things are good in our household. Annie’s husband had his last chemo put on hold for a week (this was one that would not have mattered too much if he could not have it) as two of his blood results were below what they should be (95 rather than 100) and if he had had the chemo he would have felt really low so they were back this week and I am delighted to say his bloods were perfect – better than the nurses she said! he had the last lot (well tablet on Wednesday) and all he will have to do now is build himself up. I say All but you know what I mean…. What a last 18 months we have had but we can move on and go from here. Thank you all for your kind words and for thinking of us all. I feel so much how good it is for us all to have each other for the good times and the bad times.
    Oh how wonderful it was to read that Jan is good. Brilliant and I can imagine the tears of joy you all had Tricia. I think it was only a few days after Annie’s birthday that she had found her lump and the rest as they say is history. Never a good time but worse when you should be out celebrating and being happy.
    A very belated Happy 40th Alpa. Delighted you have a plan B to fall back on. I feel some Drs or surgeons are rather full of themselves and not looking at the real person but then you get the wonderful ones who cancel out all the negative thoughts for these others. It is just finding the wonderful ones!! I am afraid I have not been too quiet when I have met the “too full of themselves ones”!!!
    Just wondering how little Alfie is doing Janet – hope all is well with you all.
    I love Great Aunty May’s ring Ali – how very special to have that. My husband was given his granny’s wedding ring and I should have been able to wear it but it was too big so we decided that he would wear it instead – it is nothing special to look at just a silver band but so very comforting for him to wear as he loved his granny.
    Looking forward to hearing all about your birthday weekend Ali and lots of love to you and yours Jilly XX

  33. Alison Keenan March 16, 2014 at 11:05 pm -  Reply

    Dear Sue I love the sound of your three stone diamond ring, and am grateful to you for sharing the sentiment behind it…. I am glad that this piece of jewellery brings you comfort and happy memories and is a great way of keeping those who may feel far away, close to you. Colin’s gig was a huge success, and I have had a lovely birthday celebrating with my family and friends. I hope you will have had chance to enjoy this glorious weather and thank you for keeping in touch. With love, Ali xx

  34. Alison Keenan March 16, 2014 at 11:08 pm -  Reply

    My dear Pauline, I was so sorry to read of your loss, but am so inspired by your strength and determination, your husband would no doubt be incredibly proud of you, and I am sure your comment will help Valerie also. Thank you for taking the time to write and share this. Take care, and stay strong love Ali xx

  35. Alison Keenan March 16, 2014 at 11:16 pm -  Reply

    My dear Alpa I am so sorry I missed your birthday, and that you didn’t quite have the day you were hoping for. However chocolates and flowers were nice I’m sure :) Frustrated for you that you’re still struggling with finding an understanding doctor so maybe as you say it’s time for plan B? Whichever route you decide to take I wish the very best with it, and hope you can keep the faith that one day it will be sorted. Try to stay positive, and keep in touch – we’re all here for you :) oh, and yes thank you my birthday today was lovely and my mum, sister and my Sam were here too. Following in the heels of a cracking day at the 02 yesterday and it’s been a great weekend. Love to you, Ali xx

  36. Alison Keenan March 16, 2014 at 11:20 pm -  Reply

    Dear Tina I have to say your little poem actually brought a tear to my eye… What perfect words and so sweet that your Dad kept it all those years.. So nice for you to know that your parents loved each other that much, and altho you lost your mum far too early, I am sure the memories of you all as a family are sweet. Take care, and thank you nice mo for sharing such lovely things, with love, Ali xx

  37. Alison Keenan March 16, 2014 at 11:22 pm -  Reply

    Dear Una and Meli I hope you both have a relaxing time away where the sun will shine, and you will be free of bugs and colds! So difficult to keep these germs at bay, but Meli will certainly get stronger for fighting them! You take care and enjoy your time together :) Love to you, Ali xx

  38. Alison Keenan March 16, 2014 at 11:24 pm -  Reply

    Sylvia thank you for that :) All going pretty well at present, and Colin’s gig was a great success, as was my birthday today. Felt very spoiled. Hope all good with you love Ali x

  39. Debz March 18, 2014 at 9:21 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    First of all belated Happy Birthday!! Hope you had a fabulous day and were well and truly spoiled.
    Well, being engaged seems to suit you Ali!! Every time I’ve seem you on QVC you are positively glowing.
    Neal is still trying to come to terms with the loss of his Mom and with Mothers Day coming up as well it’s really hard for him. Plus, he’s had an MOT at the doctors and they’ve put him on blood pressure tablets and he also has to go for a liver and kidney scan as his liver readings were high. All that together with being stuck in a job he hates and our money worries I’m amazed he is coping as well as he is. I do my best to lift him up and try not to let him dwell on things but it gets so exhausting sometimes. I am holding everything together and just hope the light at the end of the tunnel is not a speeding train!!
    Ainzley had his MOT at the vets last week and was his usual charming self! They have a lady in the waiting room that comes and has a chat to you whilst you’re waiting and just generally talks to you about your pet. She started (as everyone does) with “Oh, look at him, what a lovely boy!” At which point Ainzley hissed at her and then wet himself!! Not any way to impress a lady is it?? That earned him a visit to their Sluice Room to be cleaned up. His howls of protest could be heard in the waiting room, and, as we were the only folk there without a pet carrier, everyone knew who’s cat it was causing such an unholy row!!
    The vet quickly sedated Ainzley and scanned his heart. He informed us that Ainzley’s heart walls had thickened by 8mm which is quite an increase from his last scan 2 years ago. He said this was an indication that his condition was progressing and that Ainzley had about a year left to live. It felt like he was talking about another cat not the one that had just caused chaos in the waiting room or the cat that can still outrun me up the stairs. I can’t and won’t believe it as, to me, he is just as he always has been. We knew he was on borrowed time 7 years ago when he was first diagnosed when the vet gave him 18 months then, so, until he breathes his last, I have to go on with my usual thought that he’s going to live forever just to annoy Neal!
    When we got back home Neal was very quiet so I found myself assuring him that everything was OK and Ainzley is nowhere near old enough or smelly enough to leave us yet. Plus, there are people he needs to bite that he hasn’t met yet!!
    All in all, we’ve had a rough 12 months and things don’t seem to be getting any better any time soon but I just keep on slugging it out with everything that assails us and just hope my strength holds out! The sunny weather has helped as mad as it sounds as I’ve been able to sit in the garden and listen to the birds. Simple pleasures eh?
    Would like to thank everyone who sent me good wishes on Ali’s last blog. I really appreciate it, some of you are really going through terrible times but the fact that you can still support me and everyone else on here is truly humbling. Thank you so much.
    Love to all in Ali’s Army and I hope you all have a good week.
    Lots of love and licks
    Debz & Ainzley (=^-^=) XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

  40. Debz March 18, 2014 at 9:40 am -  Reply

    Hi there Una
    Have just been catching up with Ali’s last blog and felt I just had to say how sorry I am that yet again life seems to have dealt you another body blow.
    I am full of admiration for you that you are not bitter or angry. Many women in your position would have raged and screamed and have felt that you couldn’t go on. You have carried on for your little granddaughter and she truly has a fantastic role model in you.
    Please don’t feel that any of this is your fault. You shouldn’t have had to test the strength of the knots of your marriage, you had lost your girl and that took up all you had. You were let down by the weakness of others not by any weakness in you.
    The fact is that the two people you trusted most have dropped a bomb in the middle of two families and you now have to deal with the consequences.
    You will get through this with the help of your granddaughter. Sometimes life can be both cruel and kind at the same time. You are going through a dark time just now but you also have the brightest light to guide you through.
    Stay strong Una, we are all only ever a blog away.
    Lots of love
    Debz & Ainzley XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

  41. Debz March 18, 2014 at 9:47 am -  Reply

    Hi Alpa.
    Happy belated birthday!
    So sorry to hear that the other doctor was as ignorant of your condition and needs as the last one. I can only imagine how frustrated and let down you must feel. Is there another practice in your area you can join? My friend did that recently and they basically started from scratch with her and she’s much happier now. She felt that her old doctor had stopped listening to her as she’d been going to see him for so long.
    I do so wish I lived closer to you so we could sort this out together! All I can do is send you strength and hugs and let you know that I’m always here, as are we all, if you need us.
    Ainzley sends a special lick for his very special Auntie Alpa and has offered to give your doctor a good old bite if you feel it would help.
    Stay strong my lovely
    Lots of love
    Debz & Ainzley XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

  42. alison keenan March 18, 2014 at 9:35 pm -  Reply

    My dear Debz, I am sure that Una and Alpa will join with me in thanking you for your kind and thoughtful comments, and the way you pull us all together with the fact that ‘we are all only a blog away’. I was though very sorry to hear that there has been no let up in the stresses that you and Neal have been having to cope with. Fingers crossed that his recent health issues will resolve themselves with the help of the medical profession, and of course he has you by his side, and that’s the best support he could ever get. That said, I know it takes its toll on you, and trying to constantly find ‘reasons to be cheerful’ is sometimes difficult.. Take strength from the simple pleasures in life, like the sunshine and the birdsong, and be glad that Ainzley is still his incredibly sociable self! He really does sound indestructible, and I have a strong belief that cats sense our struggles and adapt to help – he will be there for Neal. I pray that maybe with the onset of Spring and as we move into the summer, you will find life is less exhausting and brings more moments to cherish. Thank you again though for being so kind and supportive to so many of us – as far as me positively glowing – the secret is faux tan! Although I am hoping to catch a few rays of Morocconn sunshine next week :) Take care Debz, and keep in touch – we’re all here for you, love Ali xx

  43. alison keenan March 18, 2014 at 9:47 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Jilly, and so good to hear from you that things are going well for Annie and her husband, and that they can now shut the door on this last 18 months and crack on with their lives…. we both know it’s not quite that straightforward, but the hardest part is over, and if his blood results rectified themselves that quickly, that is a sure sign he is a healthy and strong man now :) Thank you so much for your kind words about my hair – I have enjoyed having it slightly longer, but was finding with the constant hot flushes that it started to look really flat, so today have had a few more layers cut in, and a little more blonde threaded through! Result…. my curls have gone! :/ Part of me really sad, but part of me delighted…I can always use velco rollers! I will of course be posting a blog before we head of to Morocco, with some photos from my birthday and from Colin’s gig at the 02 – he was brilliant! But I did want to personally thank you for my beautiful birthday card. It is standing up on the dresser in the kitchen with all my other cards, and the words inside brought a tear to my eye when I opened it on Sunday morning. I hope you don’t mind me sharing them with Ali’s Army, because I believe the arm of friendship extends a long way with all of us, and this quite frankly says it all….
    I asked for a flower,
    He gave me a garden
    I asked for a tree
    He gave me a forest
    I asked for a river
    He gave me an Ocean,
    I asked for a friend,
    He gave me you…
    Have a wonderful week Jilly, Love to you, Annie and her husband and to the rest of your family, and I look forward to hearing from you again soon, Ali xx

  44. Alpa March 19, 2014 at 1:11 pm -  Reply

    My Dear Ali,
    Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. So pleased that you had a lovely weekend and look forward to hearing about it. Thank you for your birthday wishes. Flowers and chocolate are always welcome. I love having fresh flowers at home. Glad that you felt very spoiled on your birthday. Forgot to say I love your Great Aunt May’s ring. It’s beautiful. Whenever you are presenting, my eyes are automatically drawn to your stunning engagement ring. So good to see you so radiant with happiness :)
    Well, a new washing machine was installed. Apart from clothes coming out looking like they had been dragged through a hedge backwards, the element in the machine is not heating up, and the rinse cycle doesn’t rinse properly! It’s being replaced next week, by the machine I wanted that was not expected to come back into stock.
    Plan B is to update Invest in ME with the latest and to ask my consultant at the Autonomic Unit to make some referrals, that can be done on the basis of what they are investigating. Honestly Ali, I am beyond frustrated with doctors and it does make me most irate. The level of denial is beyond belief. At least, after going to the doctor and saying what I had to say, I did feel better!
    Some good news I think! Had a message last Friday from the Autonomic Unit and was offered a cancellation appointment. Usually the tests can be done in half a day and then you are sent home with a 24 hour ambulatory heart and blood pressure monitor. The equipment has to be returned to the hospital and can’t be done via post/courier. As there is no one to do that except me, I am going to be admitted tomorrow morning and discharged late Friday afternoon.
    The tests for POTS mainly concentrate on blood pressure and heart rate. There is a machine that better measures blood flow to the heart, but they don’t have the equipment there. It is available in cardiology and that may be another option as the tests they are running are not conclusive. If I didn’t take this appointment it would mean waiting another few months at least. I’ve already waited over a year for the tests and many more to get this far. It is part of the diagnostic testing for ME that is available in other countries. Been booked overnight into a hotel nearby that the hospital uses for patients and have just called to get the details. Paperwork not arrived but everything will be done at admissions.
    As Jilly said, your hair is fabulous Ali. I had mine cut recently and that was long overdue! It’s gone from long to shorter than yours. That’s how it usually is and I have had a few more layers than usual cut in. It’s just so much easier to have wash and go hair than have a palaver hair! I feel much better for having it done.
    Una, thanks for your message. You are such a sweetie :) Hope you and Meli are enjoying your time away. Also hope that she is a little less germified now! Sending you both a big hug x
    Jilly, thank you for your birthday wishes. Where does the time go to?! Fantastic news that Annie’s husbands bloods are all clear. I hope that he will gradually be able to build himself up over time. It’s not an easy thing to do at all. You certainly have had a nerve wracking 18 months. So pleased that you can move on and go from here. I am exactly like you when it comes to doctors. I too, have not been quiet with the ‘ones who know it all’!! Some times are harder than others and all each one of us can try and do is keep moving. Thank you for thinking of me. Love to you and Annie x
    Tricia, such good news about Jan. I hope you are feeling a little stronger yourself. Sending my love to you both x
    Lots of Love to all in Ali’s Army x
    Ali, thank you for your support. I know that without you and my lovely friends here, it would be so much more difficult. That someone thinks of you and is kind despite the hardships they face means everything. Thank you to you all x
    Take care,
    Lots of Love, Alpa xxxx

  45. Alpa March 19, 2014 at 1:19 pm -  Reply

    Dear Debz,
    Thank you for the belated birthday wish my lovely. It made my day to hear from you. I am sorry for all you and Neal are going through. It’s exhausting when there seems to be no clear end in sight to a situation. Please do let us know the outcome of Neal’s liver and kidney scans.
    I see Ainzley is still on form despite what his heart scan shows. Poor Ainzely cat. I really do feel for you at this latest news on top of everything else you have to deal with.
    So hospital for me tomorrow. Tests are for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) It’s dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system or as I call it the automatic nervous system! This regulates all the automatic responses in your body, e.g. heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, blood flow to the heart. Usually you have an increased heart rate on standing and a drop in blood pressure. With me, it seems that my heart rate is constantly high even when I’m not standing up. Just find being upright and moving is intolerable and lying down brings no relief, which is not unusual.
    Low circulating blood volume means my heart has to work harder to pump less blood around my body. The quickest way to bring up blood volume is to increase fluid and salt intake. Although I’ve been doing this since last January, it doesn’t seem to make any difference. The consultant believes this may be one reason why I feel so sick all the time and why I’ve been having blackouts. There is no cure. In some cases it may be managed by medication except now I react to everything I take.
    I did change doctors last year January. The difficulty with changing again is that ME is simply not recognised as a neuroimmune disease here. That’s in the government legislation and any challenge to that does not seem to be tolerated. If I have to hear one more time how psychotherapy and exercise will ‘cure’ me I will not be best pleased! Been there, subjected to that twice and it was terrible. Glad that your friend is happier after finding a good doctor. It does make all the difference to have a doctor who listens to you.
    Thinking of you my lovely. Bless you for your strength and hugs which are very much appreciated. Sending my love to you and Neal. If there is anything I can do, please let me know. Thank you very much to Ainzley for his special lick and offer of giving the doctor a good old bite. I think that would be most helpful! He could also give my neurologist a good old bite! Sending dear Ainzley some virtual smoked salmon (if he’s partial to that) and a very special cuddle from his Auntie Alpa.
    Take care,
    Lots of Love, Alpa xxx

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