Settling into my new home


Ali's new homeWell I wasn't quite sure how the day was going to pan out as it began with me putting black pepper on my porridge rather than salt..!

I know, I know, a strange mistake to make, but I have a pair of those huge wooden condiments and the letters P and S are difficult to read without my specs on!Suffice to say I spooned off the ground peppercorns and ate it anyway – waste not want not! :)

Oh and for those of you who prefer sugar/jam/honey/golden syrup on your porridge, try it with salt and cream (used to be top of the milk years ago) – it's lovely!

How lovely for me to read all about your Christmas and New Year celebrations, and thank you very much for writing to me. So good to know that you managed to spend either Christmas or New Year (and in some cases both!) with your family and friends – it makes all the difference :)

Colin and I have settled into our new home really quickly, and I have to say that the reduced journey time to work makes such a difference. I think if I'd have every actually tallied up how many hours I'd spent driving to and from QVC, it would have come to probably nine months in the car!!! Far better things to do with my time me thinks :)

Something I have been doing is washing all the paintwork down – my nails have really suffered as you may have seen! – but everywhere looks a lot less grubby. I used the 'It Works' blocks and they really do! No cleaning solution required just rub away, and hey presto! Clean paint. Don't rub too hard on emulsioned walls or you'll get through to the plaster or previous colour of paint – in our kitchen it was Robin of Sherwood green – as in the colour of his tights! EEEEK!


We do have some great ideas on how to change the layout of the place, but these will require architect's drawings and planning permission, so for the moment we're making do with tarting up and tidying – oh and trying to fix the leaking roof and work out why there's STILL no hot water in the ensuite!

We do have a pretty good shower though that now works, although you need to switch a pump on that's in the room next door to get any pressure. Ros and Chris came to stay just after Christmas and got up before we did and apparently they were trying to shower by cupping the trickle of luke warm water in their hands!!!!

Chris is somewhat hirsute so it must have been a nightmare, but he didn't let on, unlike Colin, who having completely covered himself in soap and shampoo, was victim to a complete change in water temperature! Lucy could hear him down the corridoor as he was showered with freezing cold water, so I'm rather glad our neighbours live a little distance away :)

Another situation that could have caused an upset was luckily averted by my eagle eye! Colin was changing the CD over and forgot the naked flame – never mind warming your cockles!!!

Luckily most of our furniture fits in perfectly here, but we only had one sofa and chair so we needed to find something else that would work in the sitting room.

Jo on the giant chair

My friend Jo remembered a place in Surrey that provides everything you can imagine for Show Homes, and we found this huge armchair which seats two narrow bottomed adults or one normal person very comfortably! :)

It was like an Aladdins' cave in there, and I will definitely be going back when we next need something.

I have to mention, but sadly don't have photos of, our lovely Sunday lunch with Kathy, Olly, Claire, her Dan and their three unbelievably well behaved children, Debbie G and Miceal.

It's the first of many social gatherings we hope to have, and it was lovely to have some relaxed and unhurried time together.

I made Asparagus and anchovy parcels for the starter, Nigella Lawson's Lamb Tagine for the main course (cooked to perfection in my Morphy Richards slow cooker!) and then created my own version of Italian Bread and Butter pudding for dessert which went down a storm..!

I brought a little piece of it in for my lovely editor, and she loved it so much that I thought I'd share it with you. It's a real rib sticker, and great for these cold days as a comfort food.

Slice one large Panetone Loaf/Cake, and fill bottom of baking dish. Pour over Baileys or Amaretto and then fresh custard (or tinned/carton) Add a few Baileys chocolates or those dark chocolate cherry liquer chocs are good too, and then layer more of the Panetone. Repeat until you have filled the dish and then sprinkle with Muscavado sugar. Bake in medium oven for around 35 mins or until golden brown! Serve with cream or more custard – Enjoy!

Tell you what, that's my recipe, so how about sharing yours?

I remember working years ago with This Morning's chef Brian Turner and he used to make a bread and butter pud with tea bread and jam – delicious! Let's see how many variations on a theme we can get? :)

I hope that wherever you are that you're safe, warm and not snowed in!

Still nothing here, but we are forecast a heavy fall on Friday!

Sending my love as always, Ali xx


  1. Tracy Ambler January 16, 2013 at 6:15 pm -  Reply

    Congradulations Alison, your new home looks lovely.
    I hope you are all very happy here and have many happy years to come.
    Take care
    Tracy Leeds x

  2. helen January 17, 2013 at 9:31 am -  Reply

    Hia Ali, long time no write, well on my behalf anyway. Have had a few M.E. issues, partly due to a water infection before Xmas and the horrid antibiotics to treat it, dont know what was the worst, the infection or medication. AND the hectic lifestyle of my daughter before Xmas,I’m very much on a go slow at the moment. Well kind of a go slow as she is in a musical production tomorrow and saturday night, weather permitting of course, and dress rehearsal last night. So I’m looking forward to a PJ day on Sunday!!!!
    So lovely to hear that you have moved and that you and your soul mate are happy. You deserve it!! Havent heard much from Alpa and I do hope that the ‘Army girls’ are ok, debz, una and the others.
    After having a general moan to my friend regarding the amount of laundry, cooking, shopping (as my little one is now almost 4ft 11″) and is chomping her way through the fridge at the rate of knots, the ironing (big moan)…. she sent me this:
    My promise to my children for as long as I live is that I will always be your parent 1st and friend 2nd.
    I will stalk you, flip out on you, lecture you, drive you insane, be your worst nightmare, and hunt you down like a blood hound when I have to, because I love you.
    When you understand why I have done all these things, I will know you have become a responsible adult, and I have done my job properly!
    You will never find anyone else in your life who loves, prays, care and worries about you more than I do.
    How true is that eh? I can remeber my Mum telling me all the above and now I have my girl, I now know why!!!!
    Take care lovely. You havent waited for the storm to pass and you have learnt to dance in the rain! Im so proud of you.
    Luv and hugs
    Helen S xxxx

  3. Mrs Janet Jones January 17, 2013 at 2:30 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali, glad to hear you and Colin have settled into your new home,and what a lovely home it looks. Do you have a big garden ? sounds like you have quite a few plans to change the house. We are just waiting to hear from the builder to give us a quote to knock our small bathroom and shower room together, but I think he’s quite busy at the mo.Not sure how I am going to wash my hair with no bath or shower,we will wait and see.My new job is all over the place at mo as it is as and when they need me, so still looking for something with set hours. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
    It is getting ever closer to the birth of my first grandchild and I can’t wait to meet him or her. Due February 18th, but you never know with babies, my son made his first appearance to the world 4 weeks early!!So watch this space.
    Glad to see you looking so well and happy(your hair looks gorgeous)in your new home with Colin, long may it continue.
    Speak soon, love Janet xx

  4. angela white January 17, 2013 at 3:38 pm -  Reply

    hi ali you alright!? you did make me laugh about the porridge! will have to try it-not!!! your new home looks lovely and so homely im sure you will be very happy there glad to hear you had good christmas and new year ours was quiet because steve only had 2 days but was good really. we had bad news in november his mom passed away she was 95 though and in a lovely care home for dementia she didnt really know us in the end but i went to see her to say goodbye she had chest infection and wasnt expected to live long and i had only been home a few hours when got the phone call it wouldnt be long so i raced back but she had gone she had a good innings though!!! some good came of it in a way because steves children came to funeral (well 38 and 40yrs) who we had lost touch with and now are planning to see more often! theres a new granddaughter as well who is 4years old to get to know as well. im still waiting for my kitchen! got someone calling saturday to help us plan it then builder who did extension is going to fit it yipppeeeee! its just started snowing here its cold init!? take care ali love to you and your family and all of ali”s army xx

  5. Susan January 17, 2013 at 7:57 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    How fabulous is your new home!? So cosy and homely. I’m not surprised you have settled quickly. Glad though. How funny with the flame and Colin’s rear!! I did have to wonder what the photo was of til I read your cockles comment lol!!! And I’m sure Lucy heard some choice words from him in the shower lol. Hate cold showers and living in an old house it’s not that unusual lol..or not so lol. I adore your huge chair too! Shame you don’t have any pics of the gang at your house. Maybe the others will though. I adore Miceal. He’s so sweet isn’t he. And helping 2 years in a row on Christmas Day. His blogs are lovely. Very impressed at Debs G’s kids and hubbie helping then too. Particularly the kids. Your pudding sounds amazing!! I love how you and Kathy try loads of different recipes and not just the same ones. I’d like you to cook for me!!
    Keep safe. Snow is horrible for us all and we’re all going to be affected! Oh no!
    Take care
    Susan x

  6. Mrs Dorothy Hollingsworth January 17, 2013 at 9:35 pm -  Reply

    Hi ali, Congratulations on your recent move to a new house,hope all alterations etc.go well.
    We had agreat xmas ,my eldest son alan and his daughter isabel rose
    stayed over on the sunday night so we had xmas day on monday xmas eve.
    It was just brilliant, isabel woke about 8.30am (not bad)she woke me and said,”grandma he,s been, he,s been,and there are loads of presents piled up.(Bless her)And do you kn ow that all the food we left out has gone, eve the lass of milk.Oh it was just magical.she is 5yrs old and beautiful.Xmas day she spent with her mum.
    But we had a day to remember ,brilliant.
    The snow has just arrived in oldham and it,s a loy Blizzardy,oh no we will be snowed in ,never mind lots of food for me and my younger son scott,and brother jack.
    Keep well and safe ali xx

  7. Sue Jennings January 17, 2013 at 10:44 pm -  Reply

    Oh Alison from your pictures your home looks beautiful….very homely…I agree with your travelling time you can put the time to much better use so well done on a shrewd move …it’s snowing like billio here in Cheshire as I type so as a new driver I’m not looking forward to my drive to work at 6.15 in the morning…I’m kitted out ready for it with my survival pack for the car my family say I think I’m Scott of the Antarctic…but I say always be prepared !! I must say Ali I do keep feeling distracted as I type thinking of Colin and the naked flame … Imagine having to go to A & E :0) I’m sure all your plans for the house will all come together and you will have the Spring to look forward to …I’m off to get my supplies in the car for tomorrow so take very good care…speak again soon…sending much love
    Sue Jennings xx

  8. mary morphy January 18, 2013 at 7:30 am -  Reply

    Good morning Alison,well Christmas is definately over; I ate the last pickled onion yesterday so all traces of Christmas have gone! I hope you are not trapped in snow! My daughter will be hoping to wake up this morning to a thick blanket of the white stuff but she will be so dissappointed..we always seem to miss the worst here on the most southern tip of the Kent, it’s almost like we have our own micro-climate. We did have a sprinkling earlier in the week and she set off to school prepared and in her sensible grey and pink hiking boots which looked lovely with her black opaque tights and black watch tartan school kilt. She looked like Archie the Inventor from Balamory!! However, we will see what the day brings but hope thaT EVERYONE is able to keep warm and safe. Personally I love the stuff and it’s magical walking the dogs on the beach when it is covered in snow. The dogs are 9 years old but bounce around like 6month old spring lambs in the snow, it’s hilarious!
    ( Hopefully less typing errors this time as I have reverted to my laptop as I needed to clear my emails which even though I have read and deleted on my tablet do not delete from my leptop…there are loads so need to wait for them to load in order to delete…..)
    Your new home looks fabulous. so inviting and so very tidy. The lounge windows are lovely and that chair..I NEED one of those! Sounds like you have been busy with decorating but the end result does give a great amount of pleasure and self satisfaction even if the nails are shot to bits. My daughter’s bedroom is being decorated in half term…Cath Kidston type style. I have been getting bits and pieces over the last few weeks and bought the paint at the weekend ready to start…Pale duck egg blue walls to her boarder then white up to and including the ceiling. As I can’t remove the border I am going to make a feature stripe of it in rose pink so have bought the green frog tape to get a nice crisp edge. Making the curtains too so looking forward to getting out the brushes and sewing machine. I am also in the throws of making two birthday cakes..Chloe is 13 on Saturday and we have a 30th birthday on the same day which I have been asked to make a cake for so I am making two parcel cakes with icing ribbons set on a stand above a tray of deliciously decorated cupcakes with icing butterflies on..will send you a photo.
    Hope the shower gets sorted; we have a drop in pressure and temperature if someone flushes the loo while someone is showering..there has been plenty of screams in our house. I tend to do it on purpose if my husband is in the shower but don’t tell…amuses the kids though!
    So bread and butter pudding..yours sounds heavenly and I love Baileys..fab in’s mummy’s special milk!! I also like the alcohol theme in my b and b pudding here my recipe. ( I have also cooked this in my morphy richards slow cooker which I purchased from QVC..mine is red and its fabulous…and I stick it under the grill to crisp up the top or you just bake it in the oven). OK you need a bun loaf; thickly slice and make sandwiches by sticking together with thick cut marmalade (or whatever one you like) and butter the outside of the sandwich. Its a bit messy but worth it. Cut the sandwiches in triangles and arrange a layer in a dish. Sprinkle on some dried fruit..I like raisins, sultanas and dried apricotts plus a few flaked almonds for crunch then add another sandwich layer. Mix together single cream,milk and eggs and add a good glug of whisky and a little mixed spice. Pour over marmalade sandwiches and leave to soak for 45 mins. Sprinkle top with light brown sugar (be generous as the top will go crusty) and bake until just set. ENJOY!
    Oh and on the porridge front, I make mine without sugar then add a good dollop of easi-yo yoghurt or an activia low fat one..blueberry is fab. Makes the porridge so creamy.
    Hoping to go and see Les Mis this week but need to go when it is on at the small screen cinema rather than a packed huge size as I will blub and sob…saw the show twice; Alfie Boe was amazing and sobbed uncontrollably and embarrassed my husband terribly both times!
    Oh and…I did manage to get tickets to the beauty bash..I was besied myself but also got an appointment on the same day for my mum for Kings Hospital re her brain tumour so I have had to decline…maybe next time. Anyhow have a fab week. I am waiting for my nails inc TSV to arrive! Love Mary

  9. Joanna Downey January 18, 2013 at 7:31 am -  Reply

    Hello Ali, You sound so very happy and how lovely that you both have lots of plans for your home. If I was a house that had been a tad forgotten I’d be delighted to have new owners who wanted me to look my best. Our home looks like Steptoe’s yard at present because we’re having the bedrooms decorated and we just seem to move stuff from one room to another. I’m currently surrounded by books, surplus bedding and Ellie’s Summer clothes – “Our wardrobes aren’t big enough Mum”. I’m also watching large fluffy snowflakes, that look golden in the light from the street lamp, falling on the dusting of snow we had yesterday and it’s sticking. I don’t like it and I’m glad that today’s my day off. Your bread and butter pud sounded totally wicked, it’s one of Col’s favourites and the one I make is similar to Brian Turner’s. I use a fruit loaf spread with butter and either lemon curd or marmalade. I pour a custard of cream/milk, sugar and eggs over it and bake it in a bain marie in a moderate oven for 30-40 minutes. I also do what Nigella does and put a small amount of butter on the corners of the crusts to prevent them from getting too frazzled. I once made this with hot cross buns and it was different but still good. I’ve seen you on a few shows recently and you look wonderful, I especially liked the black dress with the floaty hemline and as I said when you did the fashion show there could be a whole new career for you as a model. Stay safe in the wintry weather. Love from Jo x

  10. Pearl Emery January 18, 2013 at 9:31 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali,your new home looks really nice and i hope you and Colin will be very happy there,Dorset is covered in the white stuff and it is still falling,it looks very nice.
    I think i will stay tucked up in the warm,i do hope Amica is doing ok please give her our love,but you look fabulous if people didn’t know what you had been through last year,looking at you they would never guess.
    Take care Ali, love to you Colin and family

  11. sylvie January 18, 2013 at 9:47 am -  Reply

    Hi ali your house looks lovely you are a real homemaker some people take months to settle in a new home,wishing you lots of good health and happiness in your new home.take care, sylvie x

  12. Alison Keenan January 18, 2013 at 3:00 pm -  Reply

    Tracey thank you for your kind words :) yes we’re settling in very nicely, and all that you wish for us I wish for you too! Happy 2013 love Ali xx

  13. Alison Keenan January 18, 2013 at 3:07 pm -  Reply

    Dear Helen how good to hear from you altho I am sorry that you’ve had a tough time of it recently…delighted to hear about your daughter’s musical production and I wish her luck for tomorrow’s performance! :) I think taking it more slowly is definitely a good idea and I am sure things will ease for you if you do this. As for your verse…. Well there I was mopping up tears on the train this morning…. Youre right it’s not always easy with our children but these words ring very true :). Been tapping to the tune rather than dancing just recently but bless you for your kindness and positivity…it means a lot. I too hope that the other members of Ali’s Army are well and happy and that you will continue to get stronger, with love Ali xxx

  14. Alison Keenan January 18, 2013 at 3:12 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Janet and I’m glad you liked the photos of the house. Yes we do have a sizeable garden but NO borders or beds just grass! Lots of ideas over time. I like you rather dread the idea of a house full of builders but easier when it’s warmer outside! :) how exciting to know your gandchild’s birth is imminent! My jack was born on the 2nd Feb but two weeks late altho Lucy was 10 days early as my first! Sam was almost to the due day :) I will wait to hear all about it and hope that work arranges for you to have more regular hours so you can plan the days better. Just having my roots done at the mo but thanks for your kind words re my hair :) with love, Ali x

  15. Alison Keenan January 18, 2013 at 4:18 pm -  Reply

    Angela as always good to hear from you – hope the snow’s not too thick! I remember sliding across the Tettenhall Road in the snow when driving to Beacon Radio! I was sorry to read about Steve’s mum but glad that through your loss you have gained contact with other family members and your new grandchild – that’s all good :) I hope this new year will see plenty of family get togethers and hopefully a new kitchen too! Take care and thanks for keeping in touch love Ali xx

  16. Rhona Fenton January 18, 2013 at 8:03 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison yeah snowed up now:( so glad you and colin have got moved into your new home and we hope you will be very happy there, and you have got moved in before this snow hits, reading your blog I see your colin is keeping the christmas tradition going with his chestnuts roasting,my colin has tears in his eyes at the thought, having said that I hope he got the CD on ok? had to laugh at the story with the water, ahh yes been there in the past, but teething problems the joy off a new house you will both look back and laugh at that if your not already!! hope you both have a lovely weekend and you don’t get too much snow, by the sounds off things it sounds fierce out here tonight, but as your pipa said on air not that long ago us scots are made off steel,eh no we just don’t have a choice, trying to talk Boston into staying in, hope his storage tanks are not too full, he came in this morning doing an impression off a polar bear!! have a good weekend love to you all Rhona xx

  17. BabsQ January 19, 2013 at 2:32 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali Sorry i did’nt blog last time, well i did, a long one, all about my Christmas, and pre Christmas, nearly finished and it dissappeared to who knows where. Congratulations on moving into your new home. I must say it looks lovely, the way you have furnished it and colour scheme.Love the big chair, lots of room to curl up in it. WOW Colin i bet your bott felt warm. I always thought Claire,s children would be well behaved, she always is so happy and careing, the sort of person that gives lots of cuddles and love.How lovely you are all friendly at QVC. Heres to many happy years together in your new home.Stay well, keep warm. Love to you, Colin and your family.BabsQ xxx

  18. Sue Radford January 19, 2013 at 5:38 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    You would never know from looking at your pictures that you’ve just moved in as your house looks so lovely – really homely and welcoming. I can tell that it’s a house that has a good feel about it and you’ll be very happy there. It’s funny isn’t it, but you can instantly tell from walking into a property if it feels right or not.
    The weather is so bad here, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will improve soon and the snow will disappear, as we’re off to Mexico in a couple of weeks time. Nearly booked to go this weekend – so very glad I didn’t!! I guess it’s a chance you take booking a holiday this time of the year.
    You’re looking so healthy, happy and gorgeous Ali, it’s really nice to see that. Keep well and warm!
    Love from Sue Radford xx

  19. Liz, Lancashire January 19, 2013 at 10:05 pm -  Reply

    Sorry it’s been a long time since I ‘wrote’, no real excuse but I have been reading your blog Ali and have enjoyed the photos and news of your new home. May you both be very happy there and fill the place with loads of family, friends and fun.
    We haven’t had a flake if snow here so I am disappointed as a little covering would have been great. Very seasonal instead of the constant rain and grey…..
    I have applied to be a model on thus year’s BCC fashion show but don’t hold any hope of getting selected. Keep trying!! The weekend before Xmas I had to have a nerve block injection in my spine to try and ease the pain I’d been having from the tumour compressing the nerve. It was somewhat painful as the surgeon had to hit the nerve 3 times to make sure it was the right place. I have a very high pain threshold but this was something else. On the good side, the original pain seems quite a lot better but I now have what I hope is just nerve and muscle ache. Can’t win!!! Having a couple of scans and then go to oncologist to get results and see what is happening in late Feb.
    I hope things are good with everyone else and you are keeping warm in the colder weather.
    Take care, Liz x

  20. mary January 19, 2013 at 10:55 pm -  Reply

    Hi, just quickly apologising for typing errors. The excuse this time is that I was doing it in the dark and my nails are too long. Nails inc tsv arrived..fabulous! Mary xx

  21. Elaine sallis January 20, 2013 at 7:08 pm -  Reply

    Hi ali
    Well you may have set a new trend for winter pepper on your porridge would be warming! Your picture of Colin brought a whole new meaning to burning the candle at both ends! Your house looks lovely and how nice that you have the space to fill it with family and friends. We have been in Exeter this weekend for Jodie’s. graduation. How proud was I to see her graduate after getting her doctorate and and the icing on the cake was Molly was there too. So many people came up to Jodie and asked if the baby was hers and how on earth had she managed to complete her doctorate as well. I can’t believe how much dirt got in my eye!!!!
    Lots of love
    Elaine x

  22. Chris Page January 20, 2013 at 9:29 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali
    Currently snowed-in here in Letchworth. I was supposed to be collecting my new car last week, but the nsow prevented me – and now an even bigger load will prevent me from collecting it tomorrow (Monday). I hate to muck the dealership around again, but as I’ve been waiting for the car since September, I suppose a few more days won’t be a massive hardship. And I really don’t fancy a broken leg. Skating has never interested me, other than on telly.
    I just hope my Tesco food delivery gets through!
    Chris (enduring Snowmageddon) x

  23. Norma Smithson January 21, 2013 at 6:06 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    So pleased that you already feel so comfortable in your new home, ours was a new build when we moved in over fifty years ago and it has changed it’s shape and decor many times. I think you know when you buy a house whether you can make it a home there’s a certain feeling, and I,m sure that’s what you both felt when you chose this house. Bread and butter pudding is one of my families favorite puddings and I shall certainly try your recipe, our favorite is made with brioche, a really good marmalade, whisky, eggs and cream, arrange as you wish leave half an hour for the liquid to soak into the brioche and bake in a moderate oven,the flavours work very well together. Like you my son-in-law who comes from Scotland has salt and cream on his porridge and thinks we are mad to put our honey or jam on ours, everybody has different tastes don’t we. I’m sure you will have had snow by now Ali, my daughter lives in Hampshire and they have had loads this week-end,school closures and havoc on the road, in West Yorkshire we have had round about three to four inches so not too bad. Just watched you on the repeat of Bethleham Lights so at least you must have been able to get into QVC, so glad you now have a better journey now to get there, I know you had a killer journey before. Look forward to seeing the pics of your luch with all your friends fro QVC, it sounds really great. Take care Ali, love to you both Norma x

  24. alison keenan January 22, 2013 at 2:01 pm -  Reply

    Dear Susan as always good to hear from you and yes choice words a plenty during our cold shower moment! I am sorry there are no pics of our Sunday lunch but I think we were all too busy chatting and eating to take any! I think I’ve also confused the issue by not putting in a comma between Claire and Dan’s kids and Debbie G and Miceal’s names! It almost read as tho Deb and Miceal were Dan and Claire’s children, but infact Tom, Joe and Maddy are The Sutton brood and you couldn’t find a more delightful family :) Yes Miceal is a sweetheart, and incredibly generous with his time, so we are hoping this is the first of many visits to our home. The pudding really is very simple to make and if you read some more of the blog replies there are loads of variations all of which sound yummy!! I’m sure Kathy and I would love to cook for you too :) Stay safe and warm in the snow, love Ali xx

  25. alison keenan January 22, 2013 at 2:04 pm -  Reply

    Hi Dorothy, thank you for your congratulations. So pleased to hear that you had your Christmas with your grandaughter and son even if it was on the Xmas Eve – same as us!! The fact that you’re together and having what sounded like a wonderful time means the day doesn’t really matter. Hope the snow has begun to thaw for you now – it’s still thick on the lawn but the roads and paths are clear! Glad you have lots of food in and any recipes for bread and butter pud would be good?! Thanks for writing and happy new year to you and yours, love Ali xx

  26. alison keenan January 22, 2013 at 2:06 pm -  Reply

    Sue, last time you wrote it was snowing really heavily in Cheshire, so i do hope things have eased a little now! I was thinking of you driving to work at 6.15 – especially when you haven’t been driving long – and I very much hope that you got there safely and the roads had been gritted! Yes, the photo of Colin and the flame has caused a few comments – a foot further back and I think it would have been A & E!You take care on the roads, and a very happy 2013 to you, love Ali xx

  27. alison keenan January 22, 2013 at 2:13 pm -  Reply

    Mary, always guaranteed to make me smile when I read your lovely long comments. I’m sorry though that you’re going to have to miss the Beauty Bash but hope very much that your mum’s appointment will go well. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be by the sea when it snows and to have the beaches covered – or is it unable to settle because of the salt?? I am loving the sound of the Cath Kidson type bedroom for your daughter – I take my hat off to you for being so handy! Painting and sewing: it’s been years since I’ve done that although I think that may be all about to change! Glad you like the pics of the house – I’d tidied cos the gang were coming round :) Thanks soooo much for your recipe! Sounds delicious and am on a promise to make it for Colin after my three day stint at QVC. Finally I realise that I am going to have to get myself to see Les Mis after hearing such great reviews from so many people! I bet Alfie Bose was amazing, but your tears sound similar to the way I was having seen this – although Miss Saigon was much worse! Hope your Nails Inc TSV has arrived – my Centigrade coat came yesterday – happy bunny :) Take care, with love, Ali x

  28. alison keenan January 22, 2013 at 2:17 pm -  Reply

    hello there Jo and thanks as always for taking the time to write. I don’t envy you the muddle that happens when you’re getting the house decorated! Years ago we refurbed every room in the house except the bathroom and dining room! Nightmare! On a different note I am loving the idea of a lemon curd or marmalade pudding – interesting you bake it in a bain marie – definintely more moist I would imagine, and better if you make your own custard? Just had my hair highlighted and I think the night you watched I’d had my make up done which is probably why I looked lovely! Thank you though for your sweet comment :) I hope your house will soon be back to normal with freshly decorated bedrooms, and look forward to hearing from you soon. Love Ali xx

  29. alison keenan January 22, 2013 at 2:19 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Pearl, and Happy New Year to you! How wonderful to live in Dorset! Colin and I had a fabulous weekend away there some years ago, and I can only imagine how pretty it looks in the snow :) I will certainly give Amica your love – she’s looking and doing very well thank you – and thank you for your kind words too :) I hope all is good with you and your family and thank you for taking the time to write to me, love Ali xx

  30. alison keenan January 22, 2013 at 2:21 pm -  Reply

    Sylvie thank you! Such kind words. I do like to fill a home with my Grandpa’s paintings, books and things the children, family and friends have bought me over the years and there’s a lot more space to hang things here! I am sending you my love and wishing you health and happiness in this new year too, Ali xx

  31. alison keenan January 22, 2013 at 2:23 pm -  Reply

    Hi Rhona, I had heard that you had the worst of the snow in Scotland, although i believe we’re due a bit more here this weekend! You’ll be relieved to know that Colin did get his CD on OK thank you and was far enough away to not even singe!! :) I have to say that laughing is a little way off re the cold bathroom situation – it’s like Ice Station Zebra in there! Still, the other loo is warm and the shower’s working so all good. I hope you had a good weekend and are keeping warm – should be a cracking Burns Night eh?! Love Ali xx

  32. alison keenan January 22, 2013 at 2:26 pm -  Reply

    Babs – how frustrating for you to lose all that you’d written – I hate it when that happens! Thanks though for writing again, and am glad you liked the photos. The colour scheme etc. is actually as we moved in – very neutral which is good. Yes Claire’s children were an absolute delight, letting their mum and dad enjoy their lunch while they sat and played! Definitely perfect parenting I’d say :) I do hope that you enjoyed your pre Christmas and the week itself, and that you’re not too cold in all this snow! Happy new Year to you, with love from Ali x

  33. alison keenan January 22, 2013 at 2:29 pm -  Reply

    My dear Sue, so glad you hadn’t booked to go away last weekend to Mexico – I doubt the planes would have been flying! I am sure though that the weather will have cleared by the time you head off out there, and think how wonderful it will be to be in the sunshine after this! Thank you for your kind words about the house – it does have a good feel to it, and everyone who has so far visited has loved it, so hopefully we made the right decision :D. I hope you and yours are well and happy and managing to keep warm too – struggling a bit here! Take care and have a fab holiday if we don’t ‘speak’ before then :) Love Ali xx

  34. alison keenan January 22, 2013 at 2:34 pm -  Reply

    Dear Liz, please don’t apologise for not being in touch – I KNOW how busy life can get, and its very good of you to always find time to write. So sorry to hear about the pain in your spine – especially the tests to confirm it :/ – but glad that it seems to have eased a little for you… hopefully that will improve each day :) Surprised to hear you’ve not had any snow in Lancashire – although you may well have done by now! I will keep everything crossed that you manage to get through to be a BCC model in October! You so deserve it, and if you write to them the way you write to us all here, I am sure they will consider you :) Stay warm and well Liz, and let me know how you get on with your application. Love Ali xx

  35. alison keenan January 22, 2013 at 2:35 pm -  Reply

    Mary love it! My excuse is my nails are too short and I didn’t have my glasses on – I had to get my editor to change an entire comment as it looked as though i’d pressed all the wrong keys and called Magda Mazda!! Ali xx

  36. alison keenan January 22, 2013 at 2:38 pm -  Reply

    Elaine loving your comment about burning the candle at both ends! :) I will make sure I tell Colin! What a wonderful way for you to spend the weekend at Jodie’s graduation – I’m not surprised you were proud – heavy going, especially with a child, so well done Jodie :) …..dirt in the eye is par for the course at these events though isn’t it :) She’s a credit to you too Elaine, and don’t forget that bit either. Take care and good to hear from you,love Ali xx

  37. alison keenan January 22, 2013 at 2:40 pm -  Reply

    Dear Chris I do hope things have eased a little and you are no longer having to struggle through Snowmageddon and that your Tesco delivery got through – more importantly! :) I am very glad that you didn’t take delivery of a new car and then attempt to drive it in such hazardous conditions and I’m sure the dealership would have completely understood. Fingers crossed a thaw is on its way to you, but thanks for writing, Ali xx

  38. alison keenan January 22, 2013 at 2:45 pm -  Reply

    Dear Norma, thanks so much for your recipe for bread and butter pudding – I’ve had a number here and several on my twitter page @aliqvc! Brioche, marmalade and whisky sound like the perfect combination to me and the texture would be similar to the pannetone! Plan to try it out when I’m next home for the evening and not working. I’m glad your son in law enjoys salt on his porridge too – I know people here think I’m mad too! My mum and sister both live in Hampshire and Jenny’s a teacher, but was sorry that the snow day they did have, she was off anyway! Yes my journey in is so very much easier and all main roads and motorway so no worries yet about being snowed in! Sadly none of us took photos of the lunch as we were too busy talking and eating, but next time we’ll be sure to :) Take care and stay warm, with Love Ali xx

  39. Bernadette Blackman January 22, 2013 at 7:04 pm -  Reply


  40. Rhona Fenton January 22, 2013 at 7:45 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison, I did mean to say thanks for reminding me about Burns night, oh how it’s a must have for colin every year how you remember me telling you that last year, but hey hey yes the Haggis, Neeps & Tatties are at the ready for friday but he’s on his own with that one Rebecca joins him I only do the cooking off it all, as long as he doesn’t go getting the Bagpipes out for the dressing off the Haggis!! I think it was the school dinners that put me off that one plus I don’t like cooked turnip unless it’s added in a lovely bowl off homemade soup:) Glad you and colin have got moved in and it will all come together wait and see you will have hot water and heat in your bathroom soon, but for now gives you an excuse to cuddle up for longer eh:) hows the snow down your way now? colin said we had about 8” today and still snowing, Rebecca didnt get to college she will try again tomorrow, and colin got sent home early too, roll on spring:) have to say Alison love love love your hair your are as alway’s looking beautiful hope you are keeping well also? love to you both Rhona xx

  41. Rhona Fenton January 22, 2013 at 7:55 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison, and before any other fellow scot corrects me I know it’s to address the Haggis, not dressing the Haggis just thought mine sounded funnier:) xx

  42. martin forbes bucksburn aberdeen January 23, 2013 at 4:51 pm -  Reply

    hope you are settling in to your new house alison.hope the chiodren are well is one of yoyr sons at uni how is he getting on and how is your daughterr getyting on with married life is she happy.

  43. Gail January 24, 2013 at 3:18 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, what a funny blog. There wasn’t a bit that didn’t make me chuckle. I love the look of your new home; bright and cosy to say the least. Love the bit about the pepper on the porridge, ha ha. I put sugar in my tea the other day; I haven’t taken sugar for 36 yrs – where did that come from!! I’m delighted for you that your journey into work is a lot easier; hope the snow didn’t hinder your journey too much.
    Love the bit about the colour of poor old Robin Hood’s tights; you’re so funny; love it xx Poor Colin, I bet he won’t make that mistake again, ha ha.
    Glad you managed to get another chair; it looks very comfy. I love places like you described; I could browse all day (in fact, I do). Now Ali, re your bread and butter pudding. I don’t cook it myself I have to say, but I do have it made for me by good old M & S. It comes so nicely packaged and all I have to do is shove it in the oven – PERFECT, so I’m sorry I don’t have anything to contribute re the pudding. I’m not a big fan actually. Anything chocolately is my thing. If ever you need to know how to cook anything Greek, I’m yer girl. My husband is Greek and I was taught by his lovely Mum and Dad who, unfortunately, are no longer with us.
    I’ve just had such fun and games with my computer and printer. It’s not often I use the big one; I mainly use my netbook so this morning it took nearly an hour for it to do all the stuff it has to do. Made a tea, dried my hair, came downstairs and it was still doing its stuff. Then after all that was done and dusted, printed what I thought it was I wanted, only to find I had printed 3 pages of absolute rubbish. I now have to wait for my son to come home to help me out. Why aren’t the men around when you need ‘em?
    I saw Amica recently on the TV and she looked great. I truly hope all is going well for her; such a lovely, lovely person. Lots of love Amica xx
    It’s always lovely seeing you look so well, take care.
    Lots of love, Gail xxxxxxxxxxx

  44. alison keenan January 25, 2013 at 4:50 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Bernadette, and thank you for your comment. I am feeling pretty well at present, and am loving the fact I now have enough hair to put it up (little bit of help from Ken Paves but hey! ) Your compliment was very kind. Hope all is good with you, love Ali xx

  45. alison keenan January 25, 2013 at 4:52 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Rhona, and you’re very welcome to the reminder… your kitchen is probably all steamed up now as your prepare your Haggis Neeps and Tatties! Hard to believe you have SOOOOO much snow up there, and we have absolutely none here in Berkshire! There are signs up tho over the motorway signalling a Severe Weather Warning…. so am guessing it’s probably on its way. I hope that Rebecca has found enough to fill her time while unable to get into college, and that your Colin is enjoying his ‘snow day’ away from work :) Love to you all, Ali xx

  46. alison keenan January 25, 2013 at 4:53 pm -  Reply

    Oh and Rhona I did guess it was a joke re addressing the Haggis, but bless you for confirming! And thanks too – glad you like my hair up :) Ali xx

  47. alison keenan January 25, 2013 at 4:55 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Martin and thank you for writing to me. The children are all well thank you with Jack’s 20th birthday just around the corner! Hard to believe really :) Sam did begin University in 2010, but due to getting glandula fever he came home and didn’t go back…. He may well give it a go another year though. Lucy is hopefully coming over on Sunday lunchtime and it will be lovely to see her. She managed to avoid most of the Christmas bugs and is also well. I hope you are too! Love Ali x

  48. alison keenan January 25, 2013 at 5:01 pm -  Reply

    Gail so glad you liked the blog – plan to write my new one over the weekend and add a birthday picture of my baby boy – at 20 years old!! If my blog made you smile, your M & S bread and butter pudding recipe made me smile too!! You could always add the chocolates into it as I did, before you cook it – scrummy!! As far as wanting know how to cook anything Greek – with me it would be EVERYTHING Greek! I adore Greek food – moussaka, Souvlaki, Sheftalia, Stifado – you name it I’ll eat it :) Do have a recipe book but prefer the real thing. Is there a Greek version of bread and butter pudding?! Sorry you’re having such a nightmare with the printer – I have to haul mine into the kitchen and plug it into my laptop to make it work. I have promised myself a new desktop computer with a linked in computer – for my birthday perhaps:) I’m glad you saw Amica and I have passed your message on. the medication she is on is working brilliantly and she is very relieved – we all are!! thank you for writing to me Gail, and stay well and happy, love Ali xx

  49. Rhona Fenton January 26, 2013 at 10:39 am -  Reply

    Happy 20th Birthday to Jack hope he has a good one? Rebecca will be 19 this coming thursday also but I know what you mean by hard to beleive!! tell Sam Rebecca is away getting another tattoo today for her birthday this will be number 6, but have to say she has had lovely tattoo’s done which all have special meaning to them, there not all random ones all over the place very tasteful, the ones on either sides off her ankles are stunning when she has her heels on :)has Sam had anymore done? glad to hear Lucy is well also, well off out to clear more snow away dig our way into town, hope you all have a lovely time celebrating Jacks birthday, love to you all Rhona xx

  50. Susan January 27, 2013 at 6:21 pm -  Reply

    HI Ali,
    Just to say I have joined in on the bread and butter too! I made a new recipe today so will see how it is eating wise in an hour! x

  51. Susan January 27, 2013 at 6:30 pm -  Reply

    Ali Ali, I just read Catherine’s new blog and came across her Xmas one which I never saw! My my what a fox you are! Gorgeous look..not just dress, I mean makeup and hair and everything! And of course Catherine and Claire too. Just thought I’d say you all looked lovely. x

  52. Judith Chambers February 5, 2013 at 1:23 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison
    The furniture store in Surrey that you mentioned, selling furniture for show homes, sounds amazing – just what I am looking for. Could you tell me the name and address. Many thanks

  53. alison keenan February 5, 2013 at 2:18 pm -  Reply

    Susan you are a sweetheart! IT was a cracking night, and one that made me feel when catching sight of myself in the mirror, that the last two years maybe had never happened…. we can dream can’t we :) xxx Hope the bread and butter pudding was delish!! xxx

  54. alison keenan February 5, 2013 at 2:21 pm -  Reply

    Rhona, thank you for your kind wishes… I will pass them onto Jack when I next speak with him. I love the sound of Rebecca’s tattoos, although I seem to remember Sam saying that anything around the bones ie ankles, elbows etc were pretty uncomfortable to have done! No he hasn’t had any more tattoos since his 21st birthday, but was talking just the other day of maybe changing that! I think from your recent comment the snow has finally gone, so drive safe, and stay warm, love Ali x

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