That was the week that was…


Ali K with Westlife Well thanks to you and your wonderful suggestions, I now have so many ideas for fab finger foods I could write a book!! I will of course be on hand when William and Kate need help with their party planning, but will make certain I credit you ALL :) 

Lucy and I are going to decide on our best options based on what you've given us, and hope to have it all sorted next weekend. You are kind; thank you :) 

I'm sure this week too will fly past, just as last week did, made a great deal more exciting though, when I was told at very short notice that I'd be interviewing Westlife about their brand new album Gravity!! On top of that was my long awaited half hour with classical singer Russell Watson on the Wednesday, so I have to admit I was in a bit of a spin – so many men, so little time, what to wear!!!!

Westlife arrive at the secret London location Clearly I couldn't afford a fashion faux pas, or have another battle with my undergarments (heaven forbid) so I opted to meet Westlife in a girly version of what they normally wear, which I ran by the girls in the office to get clearance :) 

I'd watched Westlife perform their single 'Safe' live on the X Factor on Sunday, and personally thought they were easily the best of the three 'boy' bands. And so it was with great excitement that I headed off the following morning, to a secret destination somewhere in East London to meet with our film crew and the guys themselves.

It's a funny thing chatting to people you feel you know, but you've never met. With record sales of over 45 million, they are HUGE in terms of the music industry, but such lovely, down to earth, gorgeous guys. Food had been laid on for them as they'd had a very early start, and that was where Nicky, Shane, Khian and Mark all headed for when they arrived, but that didn't stop us from having a good old chat about all sorts. 

Westlife From Nicky's twins, to Shane's daughter, and how he misses all his children when he's on tour. Mark talked about his nervousness when performing live and Khian and I talked about our respective fathers, he, like Nicky, having lost his Dad earlier this year… so it felt completely natural to continue those conversations in front of the cameras a little later on. 

What I loved most was watching the interaction between the four of them, their absolute understanding and respect for each other, and most touching, how much they care about each other. Yes, they fall out, no they don't always agree on everything, and when one of them is hurting or unhappy it affects all of them, so they're just like us really :) 

Westlife I have to say though that they all have a wicked sense of humour, and Shane is an excellent mimic… not sure Simon Cowell would have recognised himself, but it made the rest of us hoot :) To top it all, the album is excellent, and they do have beautiful voices and unlike a lot of other albums I've bought in the past, there isn't one duff track! 

After a kiss goodbye from them all – not all at once you understand – I left clutching my camera with this photo safely captured… they made an old woman very happy 🙂

And Russell Watson…

Russell Watson performing live on QVC So, in terms of music you couldn't get much more of a contrast to Westlife than Russell Watson! He's the world's most successful classical recording artist and has been hailed as the world's greatest tenor, so the thought of meeting such a mighty talent was a little nerve-wracking, but he was quite simply one of the nicest men I've ever met!

I had watched him with Piers Morgan a week or so back, and was moved to tears listening to him talking about his battle with cancer, and his subsequent fight to rebuild his life and career. When I first met him, we had chance to spend some time together before the show, and I was then lucky enough to watch him rehearse the songs he was planning to sing. 

Ali K with Russell Watson on set I tell you, the whole of the ground floor reverberated with his astonishing voice, and yet he had us in stitches when he gave a rendition of 'Be My Love' in a true Mancunian accent :) I found out that he loves jelly babies, but can't eat chocolate before he sings as it affects his voice! And he loves his daughters more than life itself, and still marvels at the fact that he's where he is.  

To have been that close to losing everything and to have battled to get it back, and still be the top of your game is incredible. To maintain humility and modesty is even more amazing. 

Ali K chatting to Russell Watson live on QVC Listening to him sing reminded me of my Dad, who would often sit on a Sunday afternoon with his classical music filling the house, transported by the voices he would pretend to be conducting… and I would watch him and wonder… and I never got it, until now. Russell Watson said he believes he's here for a reason… I know he is, and I'm certain that with a voice like that, he always will be.

I hope you like the 'behind the scenes' photos that I have to thank Vanessa who works backstage for. I'll take my camera with me again this weekend when I go with my girlfriends to see Lulu in her 'Here come the Girls' concert in Birmingham. You may remember I went last year in London and it was fab, so am very much looking forward to a re-run! Have you seen it, or maybe seen someone else you truly admire?  It'd be great to share celebrity stories with you :) 

I'll look forward as always to hearing from you,

Love Ali xxx

Watch my interviews with Westlife


  1. Una November 23, 2010 at 12:50 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    My word, what a week you had. How did you manage to stay so calm? I would have been a gibbering wreck!
    I remember taking my daughter to meet Westlife, when they were mere youngsters. They had supported Boyzone at a concert, and were doing a signing in Woolworths. We had to wait in line from 5.30a.m and didnt actually see them until 3p.m. She managed to get signatures on her CD from all of them, and a kiss from Nicky, so he had always been her favourite.
    They are very talented, and have such different voices, which compliment each other so well.
    As for Mr Watson. WOW, what can you say to that. I saw his interview with Piers Morgan too, and thought he came across very well.
    I could listen to him ALL day, hes amazing.
    SO glad you had no underwear incidents, can you imagine!!!!!!!!!
    I hope Sam is feeling a bit better. No doubt he will make the right decision as regards uni. So long as hes happy, thats the main thing.
    Glad the arrangements are on course for the party. Have read some of the food suggestions, and a lot of them sound lovely.
    Hope you are well Ali
    Love Una x

  2. debi stubbs November 24, 2010 at 10:53 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, Westlife are gorgeous, the hubbie and I are going to see Simply Red at the o2 on the 19th December its their final tour absolutely love Mick Hucknell’s voice but in the looks department he really doesn’t do anything for me.
    Hope you are well
    Take Care
    Debi x

  3. alison keenan November 25, 2010 at 11:41 am -  Reply

    Una, what a lovely mum you are! Fancy queuing for that length of time – worth every minute for your daughter I’m sure – especially as she got their signatures and a kiss! 🙂 They are a really nice group of guys and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them. Russell Watson too – as you say, WHAT a voice. Just incredible and as he said, getting better with age 🙂 Yes an evening devoid of underwear incidents, although crossing ones legs while sitting sideways is always a challenge…! Sam has gone back to Uni, but will be home again this weekend, still don’t think he’s 100% if I’m honest, and like you, I believe things in life work far better if you’re happy. Only a couple of weeks or so before the party, so that’s something to look forward to. Do hope you’re well Una, and enjoying your week. Love Ali xx

  4. alison keenan November 25, 2010 at 11:46 am -  Reply

    Hi there Debi, thanks for writing, and I hope you have a fab time at the O2. It’s vast, but they do have massive screens set up, so if you’re sitting a way back you can still see. Completely in agreement with you about Simply Red. Had an album in the early 90s I played endlessly, and I’m sure they’ll perform most of those tracks on the 19th. Do hope you and your husband have a great night out, and at least you won’t be drooling, as you may have been watching Westlife!! 🙂 Love Ali xx

  5. Chris Page November 25, 2010 at 4:06 pm -  Reply

    “They made an old woman very happy”
    Which old woman did you take with you, Ali? 😉

  6. Susan November 25, 2010 at 5:58 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    What a busy old week you had and what a fame packed week! I have to say I’m not the biggest Westlife fan…more of a Take That gal myself! But a treat to interview them I’m sure and very glad you enjoyed yourself! I too saw the Piers Morgan interview with Russell and it was interesting. I think Piers is a very good interviewer and seems to get the most information out of people in surprisingly a nice way! I am sorry that Sam is not happy at the minute. I really sympathise as I know how hard it is in the world of uni and work first hand myself at the minute. It is not an easy decision to make as to whether to stay or go, especially when you add in the financial implications for leaving, or staying for that matter! All we can do is do what’s right for us at the time and not be pressured into anything we don’t feel is right. Take care and hope you enjoy your weekend.
    Susan x

  7. Jenny Meckiffe November 26, 2010 at 10:00 am -  Reply

    Hi there Ali,
    What a lucky girl you are to have had the opportunity to meet and chat to two such interesting and diverse musical talents. I always find myself wondering about how ‘real’ these people actually are, and then, when I saw you chatting to Russell Watson the other evening, it was easy to see he is a human being first and a talented singer with immense fame second! Verity, my daughter, is jsut completeing her music degree and her voice is her first instrument these days (after all that money on clarinet lessons too!) and it is extrodinary to hear a trained voice live, the volume and range is just breathtaking, literally and metaphorically having heard her sing fairly recently! Who knows maybe one day she will be my claim to fame of meetong famous people! In the interim I’ll just have to make do with sitting on Harry Secomes lap at Chalfont St Peters fete in the early ’70s and the x raying Mr Trubshaw, David Niven’s best freind some few years later!
    Keep up the good work, I love to see you present, you always make me laugh and your knowledge about the products you sell is fantastic, anticipating the questions we may have!
    with love Jenny xxxxx

  8. Mrs Janet Jones November 26, 2010 at 2:22 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali, what a busy week you have had you must be exhausted, and you looked fab with both interviews.Hope the party planning is going ok and Sam is feeling a bit better, he has a rough time of it, wishing him well. We are off to see The Nutcracker this weekend(hoping it will get me into the Christmas spirit!)I am really looking forward to it.Afterwards we are going to collect my son and we are off for a meal and a catch up(can’t wait).
    Enjoy the concert with your friends,speak soon love Janet xxx

  9. Dorothy November 26, 2010 at 4:16 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison
    You are one lucky lady (5 GORGEOUS MEN IN ONE WEEK)you looked in your eliment. Laura is going to see them next year, she is sooooo jealous of you seeing them up close. hope Sam is feeling better when he’s home at weekend, my friends daughter had glandular fever it took her a long time to get over it,they say plenty of rest but thats not easy when at uni. Just read the tights blog, ALI you are a scream it always happens to you, but if it didnt how would we get the LAUGH’S keep the storys coming.
    love best wishes to all the family.
    love Dorothy xxxxxx

  10. Denise November 26, 2010 at 10:00 pm -  Reply

    Really enjoyed the interview with Westlife. I wasn’t especially a big fan of theres and about 8 years ago my hubby had to go and interview them as part of his job. He asked me if I wanted to go with him and so I went along. The interview took place at the Sheffield Arena prior to them doing a concert there. We got backstage passes and did the interview in the dressing rooms and I chatted with Nickys wife (girlfriend at the time) and also Shanes wife.They are all such lovely down to earth people and they insisted we stop and see the show which we did and from that day I was hooked!! I was on cloud 9 for days!!Lovely memories.The concert needless to say was fantastic and have seen them several times since.
    Have a lovely weekend Alison.

  11. Susan November 27, 2010 at 2:44 pm -  Reply

    Oh PS Ali, you look absolutely tiny in the above photo! You have a figure to die for! Well done you! Heard you mention that you run and had a bad knee recently. I think walking and running are two of the best ways to get in shape and are fabulous for de-stressing, clearing your head and getting out in the fresh air. Not to mention FREE! Winner!
    Enjoy your weekend & take care in the ice.
    Susan x

  12. alison keenan November 28, 2010 at 10:12 am -  Reply

    Chris 🙂 Friend for life!! Hope you are having a good weekend, and aren’t snowed in! Thanks for making me smile, love Ali xx

  13. alison keenan November 28, 2010 at 10:18 am -  Reply

    Hi Dorothy, lovely to hear from you as always, and glad that Laura’s going to get to see Westlife next year – I’m sure they’ll be awesome 🙂 Yes I did feel very spoiled, and it’s a great memory to relive on dull days! Sam’s feeling a lot better than he has, and thank you for asking, but he’s still finding it all a little much… and you’re right, it’s a pretty hectic lifestyle, and very different to how things were when he was at home and college. I’m sure whatever is meant to be will be, and I’ll be here for him whatever the outcome 🙂 Love to you Laura and Davy, Ali xx

  14. alison keenan November 28, 2010 at 10:21 am -  Reply

    Hi Janet, by the time you get this, you’ll already have seen The Nutcracker and I hope will be very much in the Christmas spirit. A night out can only improve by having time with your son too, and it must only be a few more weeks before he’s home for Christmas anyway 🙂 Yes, it has been tough on Sam, and maybe it’s not right for him just now, but as I wrote to Dorothy, whatever will be, will be. Oh, and the girls and I had a corking night out in Birmingham, and actually got to see Lulu afterwards! Pics to follow 🙂 Love Ali xx

  15. alison keenan November 28, 2010 at 10:26 am -  Reply

    Jenny, fascinating reading!! I’ve never thought about the ‘science’ of singing, and yet what you’ve written is exactly waht Russell said, and that the voice training is key, particularly if he ever has a problem, just 5 mins with the right person, and he’s back on track again. I know Verity’s been working really hard on this, so fingers crossed she’ll do really well in this her third, and final year. What a great name ‘Trubshaw’…. I’d never have known he’s was David Niven’s best friend! I do remember though reading The Moon’s A Balloon on the train into work all those years ago, and being weak with mirth when I got to Waterloo 🙂 Take care, and love from me xxx

  16. alison keenan November 28, 2010 at 10:29 am -  Reply

    Susan, I’m sorry things are tricky for you too with work and decision making…. but thank you for your wise words, they are a comfort 🙂 You mention Take That, and in our family it was Lucy who was mad for them, and had all their albums – I’ve really enjoyed their music since they’ve reformed, and until I met Westlife hadn’t really appreciated what a huge success they’ve always been. Their new album was a really impressive surprise, and they deserve all that they work for. Yes, I too enjoy Piers Morgan’s way of interviewing. I used to love Parky, and for a while Jonathan Ross, but Piers seems to have found his place, and long may it last. Take care, and good luck with whatever decisions you may have to make, love Ali xx

  17. alison keenan November 29, 2010 at 9:31 am -  Reply

    Denise, how fantastic! And you’re right, they are a truly down to earth and modest group of lads. Wonderful that you got to see them perform live too! I think that’s on my wish list for next year now. It’s a great story to recount, and thank you very much for taking the time out to do it 🙂 It’s bitterly cold here, just hope it’s less worse where you are! Love Alixx

  18. alison keenan November 29, 2010 at 9:33 am -  Reply

    Susan thank you! 🙂 You’re right I do try to run and get to the gym at least twice a week, but life’s overtaken me recently, and I’m ashamed to say that apart from hacking up and down the stairs between studios at work, I’ve not done anything for the last two weeks! Not only do I miss the exercise, but as you say, it’s very therapeutic and a great way to clear your mind…mine is more than a tad addled at present 🙂 Hope all’s well with you though, and thanks again for the compliment Love Ali xxx

  19. Susan November 30, 2010 at 11:23 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Thanks for your thoughts. I also know what you mean about life taking you over and not being able to do as much walking, or whatever it is you enjoy doing. It’s a shame but life is very hectic for most of us and it would do us all good if we were able to do more! Hope you get to the gym soon and release that stress! Take care,
    Susan x

  20. Gail November 30, 2010 at 11:26 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, look at you sandwiched between all those lovely young men, wow………………. You didn’t look out of place either, in fact you looked great as usual. I’m so glad Russell is looking so well and I sincerely hope the worst is behind him. Glad your night out in Birmingham went well; wish I were a fly on the wall. Talking of Lulu, I’ve never seen her in concert but I did, many years ago, late 60’s I think, see her when she opened up a Wimpey Bar in the Harrow Road. In fact, I was right next to her as she sang whilst banging her rings on the table in time to her singing. Funny the things you remember. Does anyone remember the Wimpey Bar?
    Hope your Sam is feeling a little better. I know it takes a long time to get over this virus. It can make you feel quite low for a long time. It really knocks it out of you.
    Also, I suppose your planned visit to Cornwall in December is now cancelled due to the weather. A bit disappointing I’m sure but nothing that can’t be sorted later on. Hope you have finally sorted the food for the engagement party, I’m sure it will be lovely. Shame your mum can’t make it. Hello Ali’s mum, sorry you are still under the weather xx
    In your previous reply you mentioned ‘being dresssed’ when you worked at Granada. I’m very surprised because I think you have a wonderful dress sense and definitely don’t think you need a ‘dresser’. Are you losing weight Ali? I hope you don’t mind me asking, but you are looking very trim lately. Not that you have ever been anything but trim, but just lately you seem to be looking extra trim, if you don’t mind me saying. I have heard you say that you jog and go to the gym or was it that you jog to the gym!! You are a good girl; you must be so disciplined.
    I hope you are not snowed in where you live as I know you have so many things to do. This snow will really slow things up re Christmas; for me anyway. I’m nowhere near finished my Christmas shopping. Keep well and please do give the lovely Claire my love and a big hug.
    Just read this back before I posted it and had to laugh when I read what I had typed about you being dressed when you worked for Granada. Made it sound like you were naked when you worked anywhere else. Too tired to retype it as it is now nearly half eleven at night, but had to write to you as you are always a lady and answer everyone. Really appreciate it as I know how busy you must be.
    Better sign off before I fall asleep and lose the lot. Cor, I’ll be spitting bullets if I press a wrong button and see this lot disappear, so will sign off. Lots of love, Gail xxx

  21. Una December 1, 2010 at 11:48 am -  Reply

    HI Ali
    Haha, it was no problem waiting for hours!!! You have seen them up close, it wasnt really a hardship!!!!!!!!
    Whatever Sam decides, Im sure it will be the right decision for him. Just so long as hes healthy and happy, thats all we can ask for our children isnt it.
    Dont know what the weather is like where you are Ali, but its dreadful here.
    We live on a main bus route, but have had no traffic since SUNDAY! It is so quiet, its a bit creepy! I know we live at one of the highest points in our town, but its not exactly the Himalayas!!!
    We had so much snow in one day, that the weight of it has actually caused my greenhouse to collapse. The metal is bent and the sides are bowing out. Its crazy. No idea whats happening to my poor plants, but I would imagine theyre not too happy either!! Im a bit scared to go inside incase the entire things collapses on me.
    We have an old table in the garden that I use for potting my plants. My husband went out yesterday, and measured the snow on it. 17 INCHES since Monday evening.
    Oh well, it will soon be summer!!!!!!!!!
    Stay cosy
    Love Una x

  22. alison keenan December 1, 2010 at 11:15 pm -  Reply

    Gail, we certainly are women of a like mind – I thought exactly the same thing when I read what you’d written about me being dressed! I think to be honest, my dress sense was helped enormously by those who dressed me – Lesley Ebbets to name but one. I was pretty hopeless prior to that, and looking back at photos of myself, I think I looked far older in the choice of clothes I wore. Oh, and yes I do remember the Wimpey Bars = there’s still one in Guildford! I used to love that circular sausage they served in a bun… can’t remember the name of it tho 🙂 We’re keeping our fingers crossed re the Taster weekend in cornwall. It’s not until the 10th so hopefully things will be better by then! I think you may be right about the weight… not intentional, just a lot going on, so much so that I’ve not been able to get to the gym for the last two weeks! I got a great photo of me and the girls with Lulu which I’ll post next time – rather tardy with my writing, but will try and explain why! Thanks so much for writing Gail, I love hearing from you and always look forward to it. Take care, and do hope you’ve not too much snow where you are. Love Ali x x

  23. alison keenan December 1, 2010 at 11:21 pm -  Reply

    Bless you Susan, because you’re so right. Haven’t had chance yet to get to the gym, but it’s been a pretty hectic couple of days, so I’m hoping that will help! Lovelhy to hear from you, and hope that this freezing weather isn’t making life difficult for you – how I miss the sunshine! Love Ali xx

  24. alison keenan December 2, 2010 at 9:27 pm -  Reply

    Una where are you writing from!!!!! The Antarctic?! I watched some chap on TV this morning with a blue plastic ruler measure out 3″ of snow in Kent and was impressed….17″!! And PLEASE DO NOT ENTER THE GREENHOUSE! (to be read with a stern voice) Sounds frightful, and I very much hope that you will have the thaw soon. We’ve been pretty lucky in Bedfordshire, although the road I live on is black ice with snow and lethal! That said, all main roads into London from there were gritted, so all good. Thank you for your words of advice re Sam….. things have changed, as I knew deep down they would, and will write soon. Take care Una, and you too stay cosy… Love Alixx

  25. Una December 3, 2010 at 10:42 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    We are in Fife, and having it easy compared to my poor sister in Grampian. We had MINUS 9 here last night, but they had MINUS 22. How scary is that. Its snowed every day here since Saturday. Dont even know how deep it is now, Im not venturing out!! but put it this way. i went to put some rubbish in our big black wheelie bin last night, and couldnt find it!!!!
    Maybe I will hibernate till Springtime. See you in April!!!!
    Love Una

  26. alison keenan December 7, 2010 at 12:37 am -  Reply

    Crikey Una that all sounds desparate!! I don’t think I could bear it! The coldest I’ve ever experienced was minus 21 in Switzerland, and I thought I would expire from the cold! Awful, still and freezing. I send you love and hope for an immediate thaw! Love Ali xx

  27. Val Blackburn December 27, 2010 at 5:36 pm -  Reply

    Hello Alli
    Just wanted to say.. (rather belatedly!) that I thought the interview you did with Russell was great… and I have watched a lot being a huge Russell fan. I thought your questions were really good and just a bit different from the usual stuff. Well done!
    Hope that you and yours had a lovely Christmas.
    Love from Valx

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