Approaching St Mark's Square in the water taxi

The final part of my Italian honeymoon

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I thought that before I conclude my travelogue of the honeymoon, I would add a link to our official wedding photographer’s website. Mark Seymour did an incredible job on the day, and although I know I’ve posted many photos already, this collection really gives you a sense of the day… I also thought you may like to see some recent shots of my gorgeous granddaughter Honey. Lucy had these taken just a week ago, and you will see immediately how much Honey has grown. She is becoming more and more beautiful, and such a joy to spend time with as she has a truly sweet spirit. Those of you told me about the overwhelming sense of love you feel for your grandchildren were absolutely right. This little person, who came into our lives in May, has made a world of difference to us all as a family, and the time we spend together is something I treasure very much.

Honey Bea

As are all the memories I have of our honeymoon, but to conclude this spectacular adventure which Colin had organised for us,  I will  begin where I finished last week –  heading towards Venice!  On the advice of the concierge, we parked at Mestra which is just on the port of Venice. There is an enormous railway station there, and we caught the train which took just 15 minutes to the port. Better yet it only cost two euros each! A private taxi boat from the port would cost you €78, but if you got the water taxi it was only seven euros each, so that’s what we decided to do!  : )

Venice from the water taxi

Venice from the water taxi

According to Colin’s calculations, San Marco was the closest stop to where we believed the hotel to be, but we had to pretty much circumnavigate the edge of Venice itself to get there! I’m sure like you, we have heard many stories from people saying that Venice was smelly particularly in the summer time, but I have to be honest and say there was no smell whatsoever, the water was clear, the sun shone and Venice looked absolutely stunning. Of course being on the boat, we had a distinct breeze blowing on us, but as soon as we were on dry land the humidity was horrendous! We staggered along for about 15 minutes, trying to find our hotel, and having asked for directions, we realised we’d actually passed it! It was a beautiful ancient building, very cool on the inside with thick stone walls.

In St Mark's Square

In St Mark’s Square

Whether it was the humidity, or just the fact that we had been sightseeing for the previous 10 days, we both felt exhausted, so having mooched around St. Marks Square, we found a fabulous little restaurant, enjoyed a lovely meal and then headed to bed. The following day was equally hot and humid, and so we decided to look around Venice that evening when it would hopefully be cooler, and took a boat to Murano which is made up of a series of islands linked by bridges in the Venetian Lagoon, just 1.5 kilometres below Venice itself. I had been there 10 years before when my sister and I brought mum, but it was just as exciting being there with Colin and seeing the glass blowers creating the most incredible things out of coloured glass.  We spent several hours there, and had some lunch before boarding the water taxi that would take us back to the hotel.

 

Murano

Murano

Our timing was perfect as the skies darkened, and we could hear the thunder before we felt the rain, but luckily got back to our room before the heavens opened! The storm was quite dramatic, but it did mean the air was mercifully cooler. After another delicious dinner in a canal-side restaurant, we found a table in St. Mark’s Square, ordered some wine, and spent the evening being serenaded by a fabulous quartet. The rain held off until midnight, but true to one of my favourite sayings, we didn’t wait for the storm to pass, we just danced in the rain, much to the amusement of those who were sheltering from it.

St Mark's Square in the rain

St Mark’s Square in the rain

The following morning after breakfast – where we met Jackie and Bill, two absolutely delightful QVC fans – we headed back to Mestra and the car, as we needed to drive to Rome and catch our flight! Although we took some fabulous photographs of Venice, neither of us felt we had done the city justice, and so vowed to return again one day.

We only just made it back to the airport in time, so my blood pressure was a little raised not just in anticipation of finding out where we were going, but from the fear of not actually getting there! Our honeymoon was to continue in Corfu, one of my favourite Greek islands, and Colin had booked a stunning little boutique hotel, right in the centre of the Old Town. I was thrilled! : ) The flight took just over an hour, and our accommodation took up the entire top floor of this beautiful old hotel. Luxury! Of course we’d been to Corfu the previous August when we took my Jack with us, and met up with Kathy Tayler and her family who were also out there. We’d stayed mainly on the coast during that visit, and so it was great to spend a truly enjoyable couple of days exploring the cobbled streets and learning about Corfu Town.

Exploring the old town

Exploring the old town

It is the capital of Corfu (Kerkyra in Greek), and is built on a promontory, with some fabulous old buildings that dominate the coastline and look out to sea. The history behind these and the town itself is intriguing, and involves many different nationalities that have occupied or had influence over the island in previous centuries. The architecture is reflective of this too with more than just a nod to the Sicilians, the Venetians, the French and the English.  The thing we loved the most was that unlike our own country where we have a mix of old and new, Corfu Town has kept and maintained its imposing buildings, elegant mansions, superb palaces, French-style flowered squares and beautiful fortresses, so it was like stepping back in time.

Corfu's former Royal Palace - a neo-classical mansion built in 1816

Corfu’s former Royal Palace – a neo-classical mansion built in 1816

Our yachtThe weather in Corfu was exactly the same as it had been in Italy, glorious, and mercifully less humid, but as we’d been so busy sightseeing, we hadn’t really had much time for sunbathing or swimming.  Knowing me as my man does, Colin had organised for our final week to be one of complete relaxation, and so having bundled our bags into the back of a taxi he told me we were heading to a lovely location on the coast with five star accommodation! I’d already been spoilt rotten, so this really was the icing on the cake, but nothing could have prepared me for what happened next…

The taxi took a right turn towards the coast and into a Marina where hundreds of fabulous yachts were moored, and which is where the taxi pulled over and stopped. I couldn’t see the hotel from where I was, but as Colin got out of the car and then opened my door, I guessed we’d arrived. I hadn’t though guessed at all that our five star accommodation was on board THIS incredible yacht!  I was speechless, overwhelmed, and then actually quite tearful, because my lovely husband, who knew this to be something I’d only ever dreamed of, had made that dream a reality. Sailing in the sunshine and sleeping on a boat under the stars… Love never felt so good : )

It was everything and more than I could have imagined, and as you can see from these photographs we made the very best of our time on board. Captain Ken our skipper was a sweetheart, and Colin and I will never forget our time on board, swimming in the deep blue water, or sailing past the coast of Albania with the sound of the water and the wind in the sails… heaven.

Corfu on the yacht

Corfu on the yacht

On our second day we asked Ken where he’d recommend we stop for lunch. His choice for dinner the night before had been excellent, and as he’d been sailing these waters for the previous 20 years, he was definitely the man to ask – and in fact the only man we could ask! : )  He suggested a roof-top restaurant that overlooked the sea and was about half an hour away. We both loved the sound of it, and as he said it was quite smart, I went below to shower and change into a dress and out of the bikini I’d been living in! He anchored up in deep water, and we climbed somewhat precariously into the little dinghy that was tied up alongside the yacht.

It was only a short distance to travel to the bay, but when Ken told me he thought he’d seen a school of dolphins I was glad of the distraction! It was a little bit choppy on the water, and while Colin was filming the coastline, I was scouring the horizon for a sighting of these fabulous sea creatures, but with no luck. As the dinghy turned gently towards the beach, Colin suggested I look that way and so I did… I could see the sand and the umbrellas, but also a large jetty with a whole bunch of people on it… They were waving and whistling and jumping up and down… And then I heard music, and as the dinghy got closer to the jetty I recognised the song… It was Natalie Cole and Everlasting Love… the song we had danced to on our wedding day… “Looks like you’ve got a welcoming committee” said Captain Ken…

With friends and family

With friends and family

I think it was my son Sam I recognised first, but then I saw Jack, Vicky, Dan, Joe, Richard, Rae, Lewis, Abbie, and also my dear friend Jo, her man Simon and his two daughters!!! I’m crying as I write this because that feeling of euphoria is with me every time I remember that moment. How on earth Colin managed to arrange it all without anybody giving the game away, was  extraordinary, but he knew how much it would mean to me, and through my tears I conveyed exactly that to him.

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Jo and Simon were actually at the end of their holiday, and flew home that evening, but as you can see, we made the best of that time together : ) Lily and Lucy hadn’t been able to make it, and were very much missed, but obviously Honey was  far too little to travel. That said, we had a wonderful time. The last family holiday we’d had was in July 2011, when I had a fortnight’s break in treatment before beginning the next three months of my once weekly chemo. I wasn’t terribly well, and although we made the very best of it, I was scared of what lay ahead of me, and whether I’d get through it… Who knew that just four years on, I’d be married to Colin, feeling so much better, and with so many of the people I love. Lucky?  You bet I feel lucky : )  I will let these photographs tell the rest of the story,  but it’s been lovely to share it all with you, and it’d be great to hear about some of your favourite holidays too.

The HavenIn between my hours at QVC, I was invited to a secret photo shoot at The Haven in Fulham, London. You may not be aware but they are a charity who offer complementary therapies to ALL women with a diagnosis of breast cancer. Whether that is emotional help, nutritional help, rehabilitation, prosthesis, surgery – you name it, they are there for women like me. On 7th September the reason behind this photo will become clear, but if in the meantime you would like to find out more and help raise awareness as well as funds, you can go to @BreastCancerH#NeverByMySelfie on Twitter.  If you or someone you know is struggling at the moment with this wretched disease then I would suggest you call them on 0207 384 0011 – that call could make all the difference.

I didn’t want to go without telling you about an incredible TSV from Kelly Hoppen which I’ve been lucky enough to trial! It is a 1,000 thread count set of bed linen – our highest thread count ever!  The most luxurious and fabulous fabric I think I’ve ever slept in, and available at midnight on 18th September!  This is the white option, but there are three other subtle shades too.  I’m off for a couple of days and am hoping to write a little more of my book, but will see you for Diamonique on Thursday 17th at 9pm.

Kelly Hoppen TSV offer

Kelly Hoppen TSV offer

Enjoy the week, with my love, Ali xx

73 Comments

  1. loraine September 7, 2015 at 5:29 pm -  Reply

    Hi alison very quick reply while still in majorca what a lovely blog again and beautiful photos and what a surprise with all your family on your honeymoon happy times well back to the sun for a few more days looking forward to seeing my daughter though scan is next week exciting love to you from Loraine xx

  2. Joanna Downey September 7, 2015 at 8:05 pm -  Reply

    Hello Ali, I wrote a reply, pressed the “post comment” button and got told off for being too fast… If, by any remote chance, that one made it through please ignore this response. As always you gave us a wonderful travel write up with super photos, however, it was reading about your super husband that made it so special. As you said Colin obviously knows you very well, he also loves you without measure and his imagination and thoughtfulness are beyond question – what a lovely, lovely man. Honey looks gorgeous, she is as pretty as a picture and her sweet spirit is clear to see. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Love from Jo x

  3. olwyn james September 7, 2015 at 10:58 pm -  Reply

    What a beautiful dress & your honeymoon & hubby sound fabulous!

  4. Debz September 8, 2015 at 10:25 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Wow! What a fairytale ending to your honeymoon! You’ve certainly found your Prince Charming and no mistake. What a wonderful man Colin is. I have to admit to sheading a few tears myself when I read it!

    I love Venice. Went there on a day trip many years ago with my friend when we were on holiday in Italy. I just loved the whole feel of the place, it was so otherworldly and romantic. It didn’t smell when we were there and one of my only downsides was that, when we were on a Gondola, we didn’t see a water rat! Weird I know but I truly would have loved to have seen one swimming about the place! I hope to go back there one day as I thought it was a truly magical place.

    Ainzley is still going strong and astounding us all. He’s actually put some weight back on which is good as his appetite was so poor. I am a regular at my local pet shop scanning the cat food shelves for anything that I think he’ll eat. I’ve done everything from liquidising food (not for the faint hearted) and also warming it in the microwave which, first thing in the morning was a bit whiffy! Thankfully I’ve now found something he will eat as it comes. A relief for all I can tell you!

    Am just getting over a rather nasty bad back. Tweaked it putting my Skechers on of all things!! Just putting on a training shoe put me in agony for a week!! Thank God for codeine and Arnica gel! Have invested in a Bodyblade as I need to strengthen my core. Thought only apples had a core but apparently we do too! Looking forward to starting this Bodyblade craze providing I can get my trainers on without doing my back in!!!

    Love to all in Ali’s Army and special hugs to those we don’t hear from too often these days. Hope you are all ok.

    Love also to you and yours of course Ali!

    Lots of love and fishy licks

    Debz & Ainzley (=^-^=) XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

  5. Heather Blaber September 8, 2015 at 10:27 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    I’ve just caught up with your fabulous honeymoon. How lucky you were to be whisked off to all the different places in secret. Seeing you in the picture in St Mark’s Square brought back many memories of my honeymoon, 33 years ago! We were staying in Yugoslavia and took a coach trip to Venice for the day, and I stood in St Mark’s Square and my husband decided to throw a bag of breadcrumbs at me, and I had a flock of birds on my arms, and shoulders, all trying to get at the breadcrumbs that had landed on my person. Its very funny looking back on it now, but a bit of a shock when it happened. We didn’t have a lot of time to look around Venice without our guide, and would have loved to have gone on a gondola ride, but just getting married money was tight, and the price was 40,000 lire. So afterwards, we had a standing joke between us, and kept repeating 40,000 lire for a gondola ride, too expensive! I’ve been following Rick Stein’s programme from Venice to Istanbul , which is absolutely fascinating, especially when he started in Venice, you felt that you were actually there. I can’t believe that Colin organised for all your family to meet you both in Corfu, what a wonderful surprise. Its been some years since we went to Corfu, but it still looks lovely.

    Anyway Ali thank you for allowing us all to see your honeymoon photographs.
    You both look very happy together, which you deserve.

    Take care of yourselves
    Look forward to seeing you back on air after your break.
    Heather x

  6. Anne Marie Mason September 8, 2015 at 1:34 pm -  Reply

    Oh what a fantastic honeymoon! I’m so happy for you. I’m a big wuss so had tears just reading through all of that, ha ha. I’m glad you seem to have the life you so deserve. x

  7. Hazel September 8, 2015 at 1:44 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison thank you once again for sharing you’re stunning honeymoon photos and the photos of you’re gorgeous granddaughter. I’m soo pleased after all you have been through that you are well and I wish you all the luck in the world and that you remain so all my love and best wishes hazel xx

  8. Sally September 8, 2015 at 2:05 pm -  Reply

    Enthralling, (can’t wait for your book Ali), I love the way you write.
    Anyway I have enjoyed all the instalments of your honeymoon it’s been like a little mini series thank you for allowing us to be a part of it.
    Honey Bee is blooming and I must say she looks like you she has your mouth shape and her eyes have the same twinkle as her nanny LOL she is so precious to you.
    We are expecting our 15th Grandson in December but her mother (my daughter) does struggle with boys names as we have all the usual classic ones in our family already. Out oldest granddaughter is 22 then it graduates down the line, we have recently had Leo born in July of this year he is a bonny sweet boy they are so far advanced these days. I know you should not have favourites but my daughters daughter Hollie I’m am so attached to, I was there when she was born and I just feel a strong bond with her and her little brother Bradley – Mr. B as we call him I think my daughter will struggle with him at 3 he is already so strong.
    We went to Zante 2 years ago in July and was surprised how green the Island was our tour guide said their hottest time is June but it was way too hot for me, we struggled to find places to get cool even the air con in hotel room only just took the edge off, how the maids clean the rooms in that heat phew, we stayed in a lovely place very quite spotlessly clean and the food very good.
    We visited an olive factory our guide said that greek olive oil from there is the best so I only buy that now rather expensive but it is nice.
    Best wishes to you xx Arrivederci

  9. Elaine sallis September 8, 2015 at 2:57 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali. Honey is so beautiful. Colin is wonderful what a lovely surprise he managed to organise. Molly is three tomorrow I don’t know where the time goes. Josselin is six months and now has two teeth. Hope you and your family are well.

    Love Elaine x

  10. Rhona Fenton September 8, 2015 at 3:14 pm -  Reply

    From start to finish your wedding has been out off this world pictures are so amazing and to top it off your family all there as a surprise well done Colin for arranging the whole thing :) I did reply your last Honeymoon blog right near the end not sure if you saw it? have you come back down to earth yet Alison after all this? as for Honey cant get over how she has grown all ready she is so cute, little penny is doing well and now over 9lb still trying to get used to my sister referring to herself as Granny! hope you are all keeping well? love to you all as always Rhona x

  11. Mark Seymour September 8, 2015 at 3:30 pm -  Reply

    Alison and Colin it was a privilege to be a part of your day and capture those special moments you shared along with your family and friends. Looking forward to catching up soon.
    All the best.
    Mark Seymour ( photographer )

  12. Gwen September 8, 2015 at 4:42 pm -  Reply

    Oh! Dear Dear Ali,
    I really didn’t think I would be shedding more tears with you, but this last blog is truly amazing, as is your lovely Colin. How much love and thought went into the planning of your honeymoon and although we have never met I am really convinced that you deserved every magical second of it, it really was what dreams are made off!!!! May you both continue to be as happy and as in love forever.
    Little Honey is going to be a real beauty isn’t she and a real source of joy and delight to you all.

    Thanks again Ali for all the news,

    Lots of love to you and Colin,

    Gwen,
    XXX

  13. Christine Auchterlonie September 8, 2015 at 8:33 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali and Colin….isn’t she beautiful little Honey,I love little girls they are such a joy! I love my granddaughters they are eleven and thirteen now and still bring great joy into my life.I have read with interest (three times) your final part of the Italian honeymoon it reads like a fairy tale, lovely treasured memories to hold forever.
    How did Colin manage to keep all that a secret especially the last leg, when your family were awaiting you… I can only imagine how you must have felt ! the photographs were lovely and the weather was beautiful and everyone looked so happy.Just though I would mention that you made a very good stab at the pronunciation of my surname live on air the other night … You can imagine I do get called many funny things with a name like mine…thanks for that you were spot on…thanks for sharing your very special times I have enjoyed reading your blogs ….till next time take care love Chris x

  14. Keryn Murphy September 8, 2015 at 9:46 pm -  Reply

    Really enjoyed reading your blog , I have been lucky enough to have visited all the places you went to in Italy a country I love , beautiful photographs of honey x

  15. Sue Radford September 8, 2015 at 11:26 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,

    What a lot of organising and thought Colin put into your fantastic honeymoon. It must have been such a wonderful surprise to see your family and friends when you arrived at Corfu.

    Just had a look at your wedding photos – they are so lovely! I also love the beautiful photos of little Honey, and the little top she’s wearing is so cute. She’s growing so fast isn’t she? My granddaughter was ten in May, and my grandson was 13 today! just don’t know where the time has gone!!

    I’ve visited the places you’ve mentioned, so you’ve brought back so many happy memories for me. I have a photo of myself with my children in the very spot you’re standing in St.Mark’s square taken over 30years ago! Venice was also one of the stops on our cruise last year. I will never forget how VERY hot it was, and the huge crowd of people we had to fight our way through, it was so overwhelming! We only had 3 hours there as we had to get the water taxi back to the boat, so it was a very hectic trip. We didn’t get to see Murano but, like you, I intend to visit again, so will definitely visit Murano next time.

    I’m so happy that you’re so happy Ali, and long may it continue!

    Love from Sue Radford xx

  16. Fran Whitehead September 9, 2015 at 12:15 am -  Reply

    What a lot of thought and love Colin put in organising your honeymoon. You both have such wonderful memories to cherish. Thank you for sharing with us. Honey is a cutie, she is at that age where her own wee personality is forming. Ali I am looking for some advice. My friend is having a double Mastectomy on 22 Sept. As she lives in London and me in Scotland I won’t be able to help in person but will support her in an way I can. I would like to buy her a gift…Lola Rose Scarf or beauty products etc. Was there a gift that you received that was either luxurious, practical or comforting that you just loved. Thank you Fran x

  17. Susan Walker September 9, 2015 at 3:34 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, ive been waiting for the final instalment to see where you finished your wonderful honeymoon, I had a guess and was right, you write so lovely I didn’t want it to finish, what a wonderful time you had and to be with family and friends at the last week, wow Colin is a wonderful person and clearly loves you very much, and I know you him. I shed tears again for your happiness and feel you have finally got through all the bad times.
    As I said I read all your blogs but have never liked to reply, but I am so glad I did, I feel I have known you for ages with the lovely tales you tell. Stay well, I know you are very happy, and I wish you all the very best.
    With Love Sue Xx

  18. Judith Lennon September 9, 2015 at 8:46 pm -  Reply

    Hello Ali
    Well you saved the best until last didn’t you! That’s quite some story, and as for the ending with your friends and family well that truly takes some beating for anyone to organise. I sat reading and had tears streaming down my face. Colin is a very special man and I know how much you treasure him. Honey is so beautiful. Our babies change from day to day don’t they. What a year it’s been for you and you family!! Perhaps your wonderful journey may one day be turned into a film! Stranger things have happened and would be far more tasteful than some of the rubbish we see in our cinemas. The photos were lovely too and your photographer did a splendid job. Well I’m off to bed now to try and shake off a cold – feeling yuk.. Take care lovely lady and as ever hugs and love from me. Judith xx

  19. janet groves September 10, 2015 at 2:52 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Honey Gorgeous!
    You Sfarzoso!
    Colin Sfarzoso!
    Wedding Magico!

    Hope the spelling is correct?

    Love Janet Groves XXX

  20. Denise September 10, 2015 at 3:56 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, well what can I say?! That was some honeymoon without a doubt! It sounds amazing and you have memories to last a lifetime. Colin certainly put a lot of thought into it and I’m so thrilled for you both that it turned out so wonderful for you. I have to admit to a few tears myself there. To top it with family and friends must have been the icing on the cake. Like one of the earlier replies I have been following and enjoying the Rick Stein series from Venice to Istanbul – did you manage to see it?
    Enjoy your days off – it’s lovely and sunny here in Yorkshire as I type I hope it is with you.
    Love Denise xx

  21. Tricia coulsonwood September 10, 2015 at 11:05 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali and everyone..I just loved all your pages about your honeymoon..I was in tears also with you at the end.
    I was treated to my trip of my lifetime by my mother for my birthday.to the fjords. My husband escorted me !.as he said he would be bored as we went by ship from Tilbury..as it happened he didn’t get time to open his suduco books!.no time to get bored.
    Well its our wedding in three weeks on Saturday..Oct 3rd, as mother of the bride I have bought two outfits. I couldn’t
    decide between them. My daughter Liz has everything in place. Her dress is similar in style to yours…she chose it a week before we saw yours..My daughter Jan is matron of honour , we’ve had a scare with her last month but CT scan of her head did not show anything sinister apart from a extremely severe inner ear and mastoid infection. i expect you are ready now for another break away very soon. Baby Honey is absolutely gorgeous, so pretty. She looks so much like you and Lucy..Lots of love to everyone, Tricia. X

  22. Catherine Nicholson September 11, 2015 at 12:06 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison. Lovely to read the final bit of your honeymoon blog. I was staying at the Marbella Corfu Hotel when you turned up on the beach and also had my photograph taken with you in the bar at night. It was so lovely to see you looking so happy and with your family and your lovely hubby. Lots of love Catherine

  23. Michelle Coley September 11, 2015 at 1:52 pm -  Reply

    Alison, after having just read the final part of your honeymoon blog I am in floods of tears! So amazing, beautiful & emotional !!! You really are a truly remarkable, inspirational & beautiful lady both inside & out & I wish both you & Colin the upmost of happiness & love for the future xxx

  24. Teresa September 11, 2015 at 4:54 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali again you have managed to capture the beauty of Italy in your latest blog have really enjoyed your trips.

    I have to say that yet again you made me cry when you talked about arriving in Greece and finding a fab yacht awaiting you and Colin, this is something I would love to do.
    Then tears again when you arrived for the evening meal to find everyone waiting for you. How Colin managed to organize all of that without you getting a little idea I will never know then to get everyone in the right place at the right time amazing.
    The new pictures if Honey are just lovely and as you say how she has grown.
    Have a great weekend much love
    Teresa

  25. joyce September 11, 2015 at 6:07 pm -  Reply

    So thrilled for you, what a lovely couple, I wish you both and all your family, good health and lots of happiness. With love & best wishes, Joyce xx

  26. Lynda Newman September 12, 2015 at 4:36 pm -  Reply

    Lovely blog & photos, nice to see you having good times after a tough time. Can I ask what was the beige/ taupe top you wore when presenting Kelly Hoppens TSV, I thought it was nice & you looked very elegant in it ?

  27. Alison Keenan September 14, 2015 at 10:13 am -  Reply

    Hi Loraine, not sure if you will have returned from Majorca when you get this, but am delighted that you will be relaxing and enjoying the sun. Glad you enjoyed the blog, and do let me know how you get on with your daughter’s scan – exciting!! love Ali xx

  28. Alison Keenan September 14, 2015 at 10:15 am -  Reply

    Dear Jo, there are so many likenesses between you and I, I think we must have been separated at birth! I am constantly being told by my computer that I am writing too fast – bit like my talking really :) That said, it was lovely to hear from you, and I’m so glad you enjoyed the blog. You’re right, Colin does know and understand me very well – I feel very lucky. Sending you love, Ali xx

  29. Alison Keenan September 14, 2015 at 10:15 am -  Reply

    Olwyn I think based on the comments I’m getting on the blog, Colin would definitely win a popularity poll! And rightly so :) Thanks for writing to me, love Ali xx

  30. Alison Keenan September 14, 2015 at 10:19 am -  Reply

    Hi there Debz, you are right Ainzley sounds like an absolute miracle! So pleased he is still with you, and brings you joy. So sorry to hear about your bad back though, it is incredible how flexible we are when we are younger, and then the slightest movement when we’re older, can cause a problem! I think the Bodyblade sounds like a really good idea, and I know that Debbie Flint got great results when she used it. I do have one, but I’m struggling a little bit with it because of my stupid right arm. I’m not one to give in tho, as clearly you aren’t either! You take care, and thank you for keeping in touch – oh, and I’m glad you enjoyed the blog and hope that one day you will get back to Venice, love Ali xx

  31. Alison Keenan September 14, 2015 at 10:21 am -  Reply

    Good morning to you Heather, and thank you very much for your comment. Lovely to hear about your honeymoon 33 years ago, when you also went to St Mark’s Square in Venice. I have to meet the gondola rides were off the scale when it came to expensive, so we enjoyed the water taxi instead. I haven’t seen Rick Stines TV program, but think I will have to look at it now on catch up. So glad you enjoyed the blog, as I really enjoyed my time away, and the thoughtfulness of my husband. Take care, love Alixx

  32. Alison Keenan September 14, 2015 at 10:21 am -  Reply

    Oh bless you Anne Marie, it made me a bit teary reading it back too! I hope that life is good for you too, and thank you for writing to me, love Ali xx

  33. Alison Keenan September 14, 2015 at 10:22 am -  Reply

    Dear Hazel, thank you for writing to me today, and I am a complete agreement that my granddaughter is gorgeous. Very sweet of you to write to me, and thank you for your kind comments and thoughtful words, my love to you also, Ali x

  34. Alison Keenan September 14, 2015 at 10:27 am -  Reply

    Hi there Sally, so pleased you enjoyed the three honeymoon blogs, it was my absolute pleasure and fun to go back over all the memories and the photographs. By jingo! 15 grandchildren, how exciting. I am sure the names are a problem when you have that many grandchildren… I think Leo though is a lovely name, and Hollie also. I am thrilled you think that honey looks like me, and although she is completely beautiful, there is far more than just a passing resemblance to her Uncle Jack (my son) when he was the same age. Colin and I were in Zante six years ago, and have the most fabulous holiday. Like you I remember the greenness of the island, but also how warm it was as we to went in June. As far as olive oil is concerned I am in complete agreement, Greek Olive Oil is some of the nicest in the world. You take care, love Ali xx

  35. Alison Keenan September 14, 2015 at 10:28 am -  Reply

    Elaine, I cannot believe that Molly is three years old already as you say, where does the time go? Jocelyn six months with two teeth? Maybe Honey at 17 weeks is teething, as she seems to be consistently chewing her little hands! I hope that you are all well, and enjoyed the summer together, love Ali . Thanks as always for keeping in touch :)

  36. Alison Keenan September 14, 2015 at 10:30 am -  Reply

    Hi there Rona, I think I have replied to your comment, but will definitely doublecheck – it means a lot to me that you take the time out to write so I wouldn’t want you to think I hadn’t bothered to answer. So glad you enjoyed the honeymoon blogs, and particularly the photographs of honey. That’s amazing to think that Penny is now 9 pounds in weight! I’m sure your sister is thoroughly enjoying being a granny even if you do find it odd referring to her as such! Love to all, Ali XX

  37. Alison Keenan September 14, 2015 at 10:31 am -  Reply

    Mark, it was an absolute pleasure to have you as part of our day, and thanks to you we will always have these beautiful memories to cherish. I think you will see from the comments here, that everybody enjoyed looking through your work! Ali XX

  38. Alison Keenan September 14, 2015 at 10:33 am -  Reply

    Dear Glenn, your words have made me feel quite teary, and your thoughtfulness means a lot also. I hope so very much that Colin I will have the chance to remain as happy and in love as we are today :) I hope also that you have plenty of love and good times in your life. Thank you for writing to me, love Ali xx

  39. Alison Keenan September 14, 2015 at 10:36 am -  Reply

    I have absolutely no idea Christine how Colin managed to keep this all as a secret! Our children at the best of times are quite a chatty lot, and the fact that on the morning after the wedding, when I said goodbye to them all, I suggested we should plan a family holiday soon, and none of them said anything! :) How lucky am I. apologies for making a bit of a muddle when trying to pronounce your fabulous surname on air! It must be quite difficult spelling it out to people too! Thank you for taking the time to write, and I hope you will keep in touch, love Ali xx

  40. Alison Keenan September 14, 2015 at 10:38 am -  Reply

    Keryn I feel as though we must have shared memories! Such a beautiful country to visit, and even if it were only one of the many places I was lucky enough to see, it is a country that I would recommend to everyone! I am sure you treasure the memories of visiting Venice with your children 30 years ago, but how funny that the weather was exactly the same as we had it, and just as many people :) Thanks for sharing those memories, love Ali xx

  41. Alison Keenan September 14, 2015 at 1:43 pm -  Reply

    Dear Fran, Firstly thank you so much for writing to me and for your kind words. I was though so sorry to hear about your friend who is to have surgery. It really doesn’t matter that you live so far away from her, just a line, or a text whenever you can, or a phone call makes all the difference. I think as far as a thoughtful gift is concerned, a scarf would be a great idea. Pipa Gordon bought me a fab selection of scarves, and I used them all, certainly more often than I wore a wig. The other thing that was an absolute Godsend that I bought for myself was a little fleece hat. You have no idea how cold your head gets at night, and i took it with me everywhere until my hair grew back. Please pass on my best wishes to your friend – I know she will get through this because of friends like you… my friends here and around me were my lifeline. Please do keep in touch, love Ali xx

    • Fran Whitehead September 16, 2015 at 2:00 am -  Reply

      Dear Ali thank you for replying and your suggestions. I will look online for some Lola Rose scarfs and will look for a fleece hat to. I think I will hold off on sending the hat at the moment and choose the appropriate time to send it to her. Thanks Fran. xx

  42. Linda September 14, 2015 at 2:03 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali ,so sad your honeymoon blog has come to an end it was truly romantic, magical, surprising and so full of love I really loved reading it ,it was just like being there with you. Just been watching you on centigrade and really loved the top you were warring ,can I be cheeky and ask where it came from .I have just spent a magical day with my granddaughter she is 9 going on 99,she loves all girly stuff ,makeup, false nails the lot and she is the ideal shopping companion she will shop all day and tell you if something is not right I love her to bits,especially when her and her brother harry come to stay for the weekend,they come from school on Thursdays too ,they only live 10 min walk away so we do see them often. You have things like this to look forward to with honey bet you can’t wait . Much love to both linda f, xx

  43. Alison Keenan September 14, 2015 at 2:08 pm -  Reply

    Susan, bless you, I’m so glad you enjoyed this final instalment, and am so glad that you’ve felt able to reply to them too. It’s such a good way to keep in touch on here, and now that you’ve ‘broken the ice’ as it were, I’m hoping you’ll become a regular :) Take care and enjoy your week, love Ali xx

  44. Alison Keenan September 14, 2015 at 2:11 pm -  Reply

    Dear Judith, I do hope by the time you read this your cold will have well and truly disappeared! You’re right the surprise was certainly something I would never have guessed, and the fact they all managed to keep it a secret from me, even more amazing. It was good to be able to share the photographer’s blog too – he did a lovely job didn’t he. Who knows if I manage to get this first book written, there’s probably another story in there waiting to be put down on paper :) I hope all is well with you and yours, and thanks for writing. Love Ali xx

  45. Alison Keenan September 14, 2015 at 2:13 pm -  Reply

    Janet, LOVE your Italian phrasing. You too are definitely Sfarzoso! So glad you enjoyed the blog, Love Ali xx

  46. Alison Keenan September 14, 2015 at 2:17 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Denise, pretty sunny here today too, although blowing a hoolie! I hope you still have a hint of the summer in Yorkshire. I’ve not visited your part of the world for over 30 years, but would LOVE to get there again some day. Maybe I should plan a secret trip for Colin and I! :) I am glad you enjoyed the blog, and I am definintely going to check out Rick Stein’s series from Venice to Istanbul. It sounds very interesting. Thanks for writing, and do keep in touch, love Ali xx

  47. Alison Keenan September 14, 2015 at 2:21 pm -  Reply

    My dear Tricia I can’t believe you are so close to your incredibly special day!!!! So you have two outfits, and can’t make up your mind.. ? Do you have shoes etc. to go with each? Perhaps you could let Liz help you decide? :) So glad to hear that Jan is OK – you must have been beside yourself with worry.. Little Honey is just gorgeous – I will be with them again on Wednesday. Today she is swimming with Lucy – can you believe it at that age?! Apparantly they love it – total immersion – sounds a bit scarey, but Lucy will be with her, so all will be well :) Love to you, and keep in touch during your countdown, and let me know which outfit you decide on love Ali xx

  48. Alison Keenan September 14, 2015 at 2:22 pm -  Reply

    Hi Catherine I remember meeting with you – what a fab hotel eh? So glad you enjoyed your holiday as we all did too! It’s definintely somewhere we’d love to return to – maybe en masse again! Thanks for getting in touch, love Ali xx

  49. Alison Keenan September 14, 2015 at 2:26 pm -  Reply

    Michelle you words have touched me.. thank you for taking the time out to write, and for your good wishes, and sweet blessing. I hope all is well in your world too, love Ali xx

  50. Alison Keenan September 14, 2015 at 2:28 pm -  Reply

    Teresa, we truly did enjoy our time away, and I hope that this is a country that one day you may be able to visit. I did find out that the children all contributed to a secret page on Facebook, and kept in touch that way! But, as you say, WHAT a surprise :) I will never forget it… Little Honey is changing each time I see her and I will try and keep you up to date with photographs each time I blog! I hope you enjoyed your weekend, love Ali xx

  51. Alison Keenan September 14, 2015 at 2:29 pm -  Reply

    Joyce, thank you so much for your kind words – I wish exactly the same to you and your family :) Good health and lots of happiness, love Ali xx

  52. Alison Keenan September 14, 2015 at 2:31 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Lynda, good times indeed! :) Glad you enjoyed the read, and hope you will stay and become part of Ali’s Army! The beige jumper I was wearing when on with Kelly Hoppen was a design by Ronen Chen… I was asked by a number of people about it, and having checked, I think sadly it is out of stock!!! It’s one of my favourites, but perhaps there is something else from that range or Marla Wynn you could choose instead. Have a great week, Love Ali x

  53. Michelle Roberts September 14, 2015 at 2:37 pm -  Reply

    Dear Alison, I have just seen your amazing wedding photo’s my goodness they brought a tear to my eye, how pretty damn gorgeous do you look ! just thank you for sharing and warmest hugs to you xx

  54. Sue Radford September 15, 2015 at 10:36 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali,

    I think you got a bit confused with your reply to me lol! I’m assuming the reply for Keryn was meant for me lol!!

    Love Sue Radford xx

  55. Alison Keenan September 15, 2015 at 6:48 pm -  Reply

    Michelle, so glad that you enjoyed looking through them – such a special day, and a pleasure to share it with you. Thank you for taking the time out to write to me, love Ali xx

  56. loraine September 17, 2015 at 4:10 pm -  Reply

    Hi alison back from majorca,now nice time apart from horrendous thunderstorm early one evening which flooded part of the hotel felt so sorry for the staff clearing it up .clares scan has gone well all is normal will see the picture at the weekend hope all is well with you all love Loraine xxx

  57. Mary Morphy September 18, 2015 at 3:59 am -  Reply

    And so I finally get to write!! Hello Alison. It’s 3.38 am on Friday morning and I cannot sleep..three reasons for this. Firstly its my last day of work at the school I have been at for almost 15 years. Secondly it’s absolutely pouring outside and daughter Chloe is doing her three day expedition for her Silver D of E..she is perched on a campsite somewhere on the cliffs at Folkestone so hoping she’s under canvas and safe and thirdly its so hot..fan on full blast and hubby now on sofa.. My personal power surges are not conducive to a good night’s sleep for either of us!
    I have so enjoyed reading your very romantic honeymoon trilogy and the final episode had me shed a tear..Colin is a diamond! What an incredible piece of organisation and determination by all concerned to keep everything so secret.
    So Westgate life continue s in its hectic manner..I am working 5 days a week now since the change to the new school which I have to say I am finding very hard but I start my new job on Monday which is Monday to Friday so its got me into the swing of things. It’s just getting used to realising I don’t have Friday’s anymore to do stuff. So need to be organised.. Trying to cook dinners in advance as I go to my mum on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday after work to cook her meal and get home about 6.30 so at least the kids can heat up their meals. Washing machine goes on at night so I can hang out before work..mind you not much hanging done recently cos of the rain! I will get into a routine no doubt now the winter is here only for it all to go pear shaped when cricket starts again in January!
    As I said last day at work today..think I will spend most of it in tears.. It’s been a tough gig for 15 years but the staff are amazing and I am proud to have supported so many kids that had real issues in their lived but have gone on to work and become decent human beings. One of the very first students I supported works ascs home shopper delivery man for Tesco and he stopped his van and got out and have me a big hug when he saw me. I was overwhelmed. He said some lovely things and that I had made a real difference to his life.. How amazing is that..
    So..I best try and get a couple of hours sleep..still raining hard may have to shut the window and turn the fan up!!
    Hope you got the pics I tweeted of the cake I made. Lots of love. Mary x

  58. Ellen Dawson September 20, 2015 at 5:11 pm -  Reply

    Great blog as usual love reading it its always from the heart and so are your replies stay well

  59. Alison Keenan September 23, 2015 at 4:34 pm -  Reply

    Dear Fran, I agree, I think I’d hold of buying the fleece hat for a wee while.. the scarves are still feminine and a little less stark.. please do keep in touch with me and let me know how your friend is getting on. Anything I can help with or just maybe talk through, please let me know, love Ali xx

  60. Alison Keenan September 23, 2015 at 4:37 pm -  Reply

    Dear Linda, I am so glad you enjoyed reading the Honeymoon blog – I was a little worried that I had over egged the pudding – to use one of my Nanny’s expressions – and that folk would be bored with it all! You can of course ask where the top I was wearing came from – it was in the sale at H & M – not sure if they’d have any left now sadly! Your granddaughter sounds like a delight, and I’m sure that with Harry too, you get the best of both worlds :) Terrific that you live so close to each other too.I’m only an hour away from Lucy, but would love to be closer. So much to look forward to as you say! I hope you are having a good week, with some of the lovely sunshine. Take care and thanks for writing, love Ali xx

  61. Alison Keenan September 23, 2015 at 4:39 pm -  Reply

    Dear Michelle, so glad you enjoyed the photos! We were both looking back over them just the other day as we need to choose some specifics to put into an album! My greatest pleasure in sharing them, and thank you for taking the time to write to me, love Ali xx

  62. Alison Keenan September 23, 2015 at 4:39 pm -  Reply

    Sue, you are absolutely right – I did get my responses confused! So glad tho you realised that Keryn’s reply should have been yours :) Will have to make a manual list next time!! Love Ali xx

  63. Alison Keenan September 23, 2015 at 4:42 pm -  Reply

    Loraine, I’m glad you’re back safely, although I’m sorry to hear you had such an horrendous thunderstorm which flooded part of the hotel! I remember Colin and I in Barcelona early October, and I’ve never seen rain like it! I’m so glad that Clare’s scan went well, and that all is normal. Thanks for asking after me – I’ve been off with a really bad back this last week, but am feeling a lot less worse now, and have an MRI tomorrow. Hopefully back with you on Sunday. Love Ali xx

  64. Alison Keenan September 23, 2015 at 4:49 pm -  Reply

    Dear Mary thanks so much for giving us the chance to catch up on your life, which sounds to have been as busy as ever! As you say though, perhaps good to have got more used to the five day a week scenario with the job that you knew so well, before starting a brand-new five day week. My sister is also a teacher, works in a school, and has over the years met many of her old students who greet her with enormous gratitude and affection and as she has always said, make her feel very special and appreciated. I do hope that Chloe enjoyed her DoE 3 day adventure – thanks for the tweeted pics – and that she will also enjoy her return to school. I hope you’re teaching her all your fabulous cookery tips? It would be nice for you to get home to a meal you hadn’t had to prepare yourself one day I think :) Have you tried sage tablets for your hot flushes? Or black cohash? Both are meant to make a difference so I’ve heard. I loved the cake you made – don’t know how you managed when your icing ribbon curler broke! I have a Honey Bee cake to make for Honey’s naming ceremony in December – so may well have to come to you for a few tips!!! I hope you are settling well into the new job, and aren’t too tired. Take care of yourself, and thanks for keeping in touch, love Ali xx

  65. Alison Keenan September 23, 2015 at 4:50 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ellen, that’s very sweet of you to say.. I love keeping in touch this way, and it’s great to all be able to share in each other’s lives this way. Hope to hear from you again, love Ali xx

  66. Ellen Dawson September 24, 2015 at 6:12 pm -  Reply

    Hope you are feeling better Diamonique is not the same with out you

  67. martin forbes September 26, 2015 at 6:14 pm -  Reply

    your granddaughter is getting bigger by the dsay four months betr yuou spoil her being grandmother of course hope your sons and daughter and youself and husband are well
    i am taking a9 day holiday from work next thursday being l;azy doing nothing

  68. Tricia coulsonwood September 28, 2015 at 11:54 am -  Reply

    Hello, Ali and everyone..hope your all keeping well. Thank you for your good wishes..its now 5days to my daughter Liz and Paul’s wedding. on Saturday 3rd Oct at 11.30 am…we are in that limbo place where we are ready to go!. Must try to chill out !.
    I must say weddings are so full on these days with the evening DO it being more like show time .luckily the wedding itself during the day will be more composed but happy of course..I have decided on my outfit..its my second choice..my first choice made me feel too queen mum ( bless her memory) no offence meant . .My second choice is quite formal but more me..
    I expect Jilly is busy preparing for their wedding!. Hope alls alright as I have not read any news lately..kind wishes to all. Tricia.

  69. Alison Keenan September 29, 2015 at 4:27 pm -  Reply

    Dear Martin, you are so right! Little Honey literally changes each week I see her. Lucy is very well and thoroughly enjoying being a mum. I saw Sam recently when he and his girlfriend came to stay with me while Colin was away. I am meeting up with Jack tomorrow for supper which will be lovely as I’ve not seen him for a while, but he’s doing well at work and is happy. Colin is glad to be home from the USA, and is busy editing his film! I very much hope you enjoy your well deserved break! Love Ali xx

  70. Alison Keenan September 29, 2015 at 4:29 pm -  Reply

    Oooh Tricia how exciting! It looks as though the weather will be good too! I am glad you made your final decision on the outfit – so important you feel right on the day :) Like us, having an evening do makes the day a really long but great one. I do hope you have a fabulous time, and I’ll look forward to hearing all about it :) I also hope that things are good with you Jilly, and Jo, with Debz, with Una and Alma too… Seems a long time since we heard from you all….With love, Ali xx

  71. Elizabeth Keenan September 30, 2015 at 6:35 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    So sorry to hear about your back problems, glad you are ok now.
    Well Ali back from Italy, had a great time, Sirmione beautiful, want to stay there, think its the best place yet.
    Really enjoyed your final honeymoon blog Ali. My daughter and granddaughters Sophie & Caitlin came to get all the gossip on our holidays and I was telling them about you and Colin and your family all waiting to greet you, I could not speak I was getting so emotional I just all welled up just thinking about arriving by boat and having a big surprize like that, they were wondering what was up with their gran, they just rushed over and gave me a big cuddle, even now when I think about it I feel tears, crazy isn’t it Ali, but it was all so lovely, lucky to have Colin.
    You take good care of yourself, and wee Honey she is so beautiful, getting really big now.
    Much Love
    Elizabeth Keenan.

  72. Vivienne October 8, 2015 at 8:34 pm -  Reply

    I have loved reading about your journey Alison as good as a novel, just could not put it down. What a wonderful man you have married, thoughtful, kind, generous and obviously very much in love with you. Thank you for sharing with us all.

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