Birthday fun and my Diamonique winner!


It’s 10 past six in the evening, and the sun has just disappeared behind the trees in our garden. Another glorious day and proof were it needed, that spring has definitely sprung, and we are hopefully all enjoying this much warmer weather. I am trying to walk at least two miles a day, and snapped this photo of the pussy willow which surrounds the village green.  The daffodils are already in bud, and we have a whole host of ducks nesting on the pond.

Thank you so very much for all the competition entries – my poor editor has been run ragged trying to post them all : )  As promised, I will be announcing the winner of those beautiful heart-cut Diamonique drop earrings at the end of the blog – keep your fingers crossed! : ) Great too to catch up with so many of you, and to know that the ‘Army’ is pulling together and supporting each other – I realise it’s been another tough month for some of you…

Well it’s been a busy fortnight, and I seem to have been working almost constantly since I returned on the 26th February. Not that I’m complaining – being back at the Q has been great, and although I’ve had a few wardrobe malfunctions, I am getting used to avoiding low-cut tops and dresses, and making sure that ‘Beryl’ doesn’t creep out of my clothing!

With Jo

My friend Jo and I had a lovely day in London together, and this last weekend we had a leisurely pub lunch before heading off around Virginia Water. It is part of Windsor Great Park, and is four and a half miles if you choose to walk the entire way round – which we did! The sun shone, and although a fair distance to walk it was lovely to see so many folk out enjoying the warm weather with their dogs, children, skateboards and scooters. We never seem to have enough time to catch up properly, but she has been very helpful in advising me with my book writing, which has sort of ground to a halt recently. I think I’m inspired again though, and hope to add to the 10,000 words I’ve already written!

With JulieOn a trip of a different sort – purely retail! – I met up with Julie, who is one of the gang of girls I go away with twice a year for our weekend retreats! She is possibly one of the best-dressed and impeccably groomed women I know, and shopping with her is an education! Most of my retail therapy is done online, but it was like having a personal shopper with me, and although we didn’t do so well with trying to find swimwear for me (my fault for giving up) I did get a couple of dresses and a fabulous jacket.

She also gave me some great baby shower ideas, and bought me a rather large piece of gingerbread – suffice to say we will be doing it again!!! This spring I won’t be with the girls though, as Colin’s booked us a last minute break to the sun, so we’ll be heading to Morocco, as they meet up on the outskirts of Oxford. They’re not going to escape my company that easily though, because I’m planning a kind of girls night in/hen do at mine, before the wedding, so watch this space!

With the birthday boyTalking of the wedding, the invites are ordered, church booked and paid for, and we have our taster session at the hotel in 10 days time.  It’s so we can decide what we’ll have for the Wedding Breakfast, and we had to choose two starters, two mains and two deserts from a very elaborate and mouth-watering menu which wasn’t easy! I don’t imagine it’ll be that easy to make the final decision on the night either – but we’ll have fun trying : )

We certainly had fun last night celebrating my son Sam’s 26th birthday. I find it quite odd that while I can visualise every detail of my labour and his birth, I had difficultly in remembering where I’d even hidden his birthday card! He’d chosen an original poster of Back to the Future for his present, which we’d had framed, and although a little unwieldy we managed to get it into the pub without knocking any drinks over. In fact the staff was great, and took both the cake I’d made, and the one Sam’s girlfriend Abbie had baked, and presented them both with great aplomb at the end of the evening.

Birthday cake

Sam loves chocolate and so I’d made a chocolate fudge cake, and Abbie had done the same, but she decorated hers with Cadbury’s creme eggs and mini eggs!!!  An absolute feast! Unfortunately we all ate so much pizza, the cakes barely got a look in at the end of the night, but they should keep the wolf from Sam’s door for at least a few days! Colin’s gang all came for the evening too, and I do feel truly blessed to be marrying into such a lovely family.

Two cakes

They all get on so well which is always a bonus! It was lovely also to see Jack and his girlfriend Aimee, and although Lucy wasn’t able to make it I will be seeing her this weekend for Mother’s Day and my birthday. Today is her last day at school, and I for one will be very relieved to know that she can now relax and look forward to her baby arriving. I’m driving up to see her next week, so that we can go shopping for all the things she’ll need to bring home with baby from the hospital – sooo excited!! : )

Sam's birthday

This year Mother’s Day is the day before my birthday, and so Colin’s gang and my boys will be with me on the Saturday evening, and then Lucy will join us on Sunday morning for brunch before I head into work. Do you have any special plans? I won’t get to see my mum this year, but I do remember when I was seven years old, buying her a hot cross bun a week before Mother’s Day and putting it into a Tupperware box to keep as a present for her. She very sweetly picked the green mould off it and ate it, washed down with a cup of milky tea that my five year old sister had brewed! I hasten to add that my gifts in the years that followed have been hopefully a lot more palatable! I hope that whatever you’re doing, and if you’re not able to be with your mum, you will know that you’re loved and appreciated – as you should be EVERY day of the year.

And so, as promised, let’s find out who won our Seasonal Sound competition. Having been overwhelmed with entries yet again, it seems I hadn’t fooled any of you! Well, possibly a few who suggested raindrops and a valentine card being pushed through the letter box – I liked that : )

Diamonique earrings

The answer was indeed me flipping/tossing a pancake! And out of the 550 or so correct answers the winner is Karen Barrett! I hope you love the earrings : ) For those who didn’t win, don’t forget to join me this Thursday at 9pm for another hour of stunning and very well-priced Diamonique jewellery.

I think that’s all I have room for, but aside from recommending you join Antthony and I at 10pm on Thursday – we have to see if he makes any other marvellous ‘lost in translation’ bloopers – treat yourself to the new series of Poldark – Sunday nights at 9pm on BBC 1. I know it clashes with Indian Summers, but it is brilliant! Watch it on Catch Up if you missed it, you won’t be disappointed. The chap who plays Ross does for Poldark what Colin Firth did for Pride and Prejudice – and he apparently swims without his shirt! : ) Enough excitement for one blog… You take care, I hope you have a wonderful week, and I look forward as always to hearing all your news.

With my love, Ali xx


  1. Christine Russell March 11, 2015 at 6:18 pm -  Reply

    Another great blog as always. What a great picture of you (proud mum obviously) and your two handsome boys. Have to agree 1st episode of Poldark and I’m hooked !! Keep blogging

  2. TINA S March 12, 2015 at 12:36 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Greetings from a rather chilly South Wales! Where has spring gone to? Tuesday we had a lovely sunny day although it was still slightly chilly as we headed off for our usual treat of fish and chips a few miles to the coastal town of Porthcawl. It was amazing to see so many people out, and in just short sleeves and t-shirts! We had a job finding a parking space. We were watching the series” Stella” which is made here in Wales and stars our very own Ruth Jones of “Gavin and Stacy” fame. While we watched one episode we realised it had been filmed at Porthcawl and on the very day we were there as we had passed the bus that they used in the scene!! Yet again we missed seeing the cast members! They have done a lot of filming apparently at Porthcawl. We could write a book entitled ” The Famous Peolple We Have Nearly Seen!!” LOL.
    It was lovely to read about you and your family. It really cheers us up when we can get out in a bit of sunshine.
    Well I had better make a move as we have an early appointment tomorrow.( My husband’s 6 month check-up with the Diabetic Clinic) .I look forward to hearing from you, take care.
    Best wishes, Tina S.

  3. Jennifer March 12, 2015 at 8:40 am -  Reply

    How lovely

  4. Jennifer March 12, 2015 at 8:48 am -  Reply

    I will start again lol like you my birthday is on Mother’s Day a double whammy lol but my family will not be able to join me so will be having family get to together the following weekend , I love reading your blog and hope you have a lovely birthday & Mother’s Day , sadly mine is longer with me she died four years ago 🙁 , so enjoy your time together x

  5. sue m March 12, 2015 at 3:33 pm -  Reply

    Brought back memories when you mentioned ‘Beryl’. My dearly loved, much missed mother had a mastectomy and called hers Betty Boob. You take care , have a lovely Mother Day and Birthday.

  6. ELAINE Sallis March 12, 2015 at 4:54 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali. Lovely blog as usual the cake looked delicious. It was my birthday last Friday I had a lovely meal at jodies a few days before and geoff and I went out for a meal on the day. I was thoroughly spoilt and had lovely cards and presents. Josselin is three weeks old and gorgeous. Molly loves her. I hope you have a lovely birthday.
    Love Elaine x

  7. Joanna downey March 13, 2015 at 8:55 am -  Reply

    Morning Ali, That was another lovely episode of “The Adventures of Ali K” and as you said what a busy couple of weeks! How wonderful to have Sam’s birthday, your day and Mothering Sunday all in the space of a week – cake adds to a happy life I say. We also had a stunning day on Tuesday and even though this morning is dark and very wet I too believe that Spring is making her first appearance. I usually find 1st March a really uplifting day and I love daffodils so always acknowledge St. David but sadly this year it was very different. This comes with a health warning because we read so many sad messages on your blog about losing family and friends so me writing about the loss of our cat may seem self indulgent. Bertie was beautiful both in looks and character, he was seventeen and our last cat to have been part of the girls’ childhood. He became ill very quickly and I had to make the sad, but kind, decision to have him put to sleep, it was rather beautiful – a life well lived given a dignified ending. To say that Col and I miss him is a huge understatement, he is buried in our garden under a pot of yellow tulips and I’m just glad that we enjoyed his company for so many years. On to happier things, your wedding preparations sound in full swing and the food tasting will be a treat – I just had a vision of Fronk in Father of the Bride! Ellie’s booked a visit to a bridal shop for the first Saturday of the Easter holiday, I’m slightly ahead of her because I’ve seen AND bought three dresses, love all and can’t decide but as I had a choice of seven pairs of shoes for Bex’s wedding I’m not doing too badly. I don’t have plans for Mothering Sunday, I’ve found it a really difficult occasion since my mum died because we always had a triple celebration for it, her birthday and my parents’ wedding anniversary. Bex and Ellie know that the relationships we have don’t need a celebration day so they’re fine about my lack of enthusiasm. Oh dear a tad long I’m afraid but lovely to talk to you and to Alpa a bunch of yellow tulips (my favourite Spring flowers) to brighten your day. Love from Jo x

  8. Petra May March 13, 2015 at 10:51 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali. Really enjoyed reading your blog. My husband grew up in Staines and took me to Virginia Water many years ago. It is indeed a beautiful walk. I am giving Mother’s day a miss this year as it will be one month on from loosing my beloved mum, but I know that she would wish all mums have a lovely day. Next Wednesday is R day (results) from my lumpectomy so keeping finger crossed. You looked beautiful as ever last night on your shows. Your family’s are wonderful, and I am lucky enough to have loving and supportive family and inlaws around me too. Have a lovely weekend and Happy Birthday for next week. Petra x

  9. Mary Morphy March 13, 2015 at 2:19 pm -  Reply

    Happy Red Nose Day!! What a beautiful Spring day it is here although there’s a chilly wind blowing off the sea and I was misled by the sunshine and not wearing a warm enough coat dog walking today and froze! A very Happy Birthday for Saturday, I hope you will be spoilt rotten for the whole weekend and I am so glad you had a great day on Sam’s birthday; much deserved and those cakes looked..and probably tasted yummy. I have not let the fact that I did not make it through to the final 12 of GBBO stop me baking and our ”meeting’ cake this week was a triple layer Victoria sponge that got an extra beating when being made as I’d had a bad day at work so I took it out on my sponge…it was superbly light even if I do say so myself! I was disappointed though bot to get through but as everyone keeps saying, I got to the final 48!!!
    I’ve just come in from pottering in the garden; it’s lovely to get outside especially when, at school, I don’t leave the building until I go home. We have had some worrying news at school, our school is closing and being taken over by another and our jobs are decidedly uncertain. I have worked in the school for 14 years 3 months and my redundancy money was £4000 so I am desperately hoping I keep my job. I am looking around though as we have been told the restructure may not happen until September and I am worrying myself sick not knowing what’s going to happen. It’s very worrying as I do not know how we would possibly manage without me working so I’m looking out for something and if anything grabs me then I may go for it!!
    It’s my birthday on 26th March…49 this year so definitely a BIG 50 party next year with my twin sister.
    Retail therapy with a friend…perfect in everyway and I’ve just arranged to do the same with friend Helen although we are looking for a hob, oven and fridge for her lovely new kitchen conservatory extension. We’ve had a brilliant time planning her kitchen over the last few weeks. I drew pictures and everything; her husband was most impressed. Unlike my husband who is not a DIY man, he can do everything and I know
    it’s gonna look fabulous.
    I have received Debbie’s TTFLS version 2 on your suggestion and have now ordered my body blade; I have lost 6 pounds and can’t wait to start my Super 6; thank you for the recommendation. You, by the way look fabulous!
    Have a lovely weekend, I think it’s getting cold. Jack is caddying all day tomorrow and Chloe has cricket training in Folkestone so I’m on the taxi run. Chloe has been doing work experience at her Junior School this week with the Sports Coach and also in the classroom, she loves it and I think may be leaning towards teaching junior school age children as a career; both of mine have no idea what they want to do but this may be a breakthrough. I think she would be brilliant, she is sporty, super organised, methodical and love craft..perfect!!
    So, I’m going to cut the grass now before it get damps; Jon’s elbow is still mending. I have already done the first cut of the season so this will be a breeze however I had an accident with the hedge trimmers last week and trimmed through the cable. Fortunately the wiring is earthed and I had rubber crocs on!!!
    Have a great week. Lots of love Mary

  10. Teresa Lane March 13, 2015 at 2:26 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali lovely blog as always, you sound as if you have been having a busy but fun time over the last few weeks. Hope you have a great Mothers Day, this will be the first year without my Mum so will be a strange one for me.
    Hope you have a wonderful Birthday on Monday you deserve it lots love xxx

  11. Linda March 13, 2015 at 3:18 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    great blog as always what yummy looking cake!! Its so good to be able to get outside and do something I will be watching Richard Jackson !! Sad news my Aunt who was 99 passed away last Friday just slipped away In her sleep I am so glad It happened that way Glad to hear your Wedding plans are going well take care Ali

  12. martin forbes March 13, 2015 at 6:34 pm -  Reply

    hopeyou and your family are well
    i am not bad back from alazy 2week holiday from work doing nothing being lazy.

  13. Petra May March 13, 2015 at 10:13 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali. Lovely to read your blog as always. We live in the Midlands now, but my husband comes from the south, and he took me to visit his old haunts some time ago. This included Virginia Water and we walked all the way round too. It is very beautiful. Going to hibernate this mothers day as it is only a month since my lovely mum passed. Hope you have a lovely time with your family and have a wonderful birthday also. Get the results from my lumpectomy next Wednesday, so fingers crossed for good news. Take care xx

  14. Judith Lennon March 14, 2015 at 8:43 am -  Reply

    Morning Ali
    It’s a miserable day here and I’m propped up in bed feeling sorry for myself! I hurt my back a few days ago and I’ve been in a great deal of pain since. However with the brilliant help of my therapist I am now feeling much more comfortable. I decided before I venture out of bed I would catch up with you. What lovely happy photos of you with your family and your friend. Those cakes look very appealing!! My husband celebrated his birthday this week and he was delighted to have his grand children sitting on his knee helping to unwrap presents. I was hoping to send you a card for your birthday but being indisposed it didn’t happen. I hope you have a wonderful day. Happy Mother’s Day to you for Sunday and to all mums also. I loved the show you were on with Anthony the other evening. It was so nice to see you making light of your missing “boob” and it made me really laugh. Well done you. It’s now time for me to get myself out of bed and make the most of my day in moderation. I thought how positive you are and that alone has got me going. Take care lovely lady and as always send you hugs and love. Judith xx

  15. Mandy Mitchell March 14, 2015 at 10:57 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Hope you are ok.I’ve just found out you are a fellow Piscean, my birthday is 19th.I don’t know about you but I love having a March birthday as I eagerly look for the signs that spring is arriving & everywhere is waking up after winter.You made me smile & think of my late nan, bless her who always had pussy willow in her garden & as a child I was fascinated by it & still love touching the velvet buds!Mum told me the other day that when I was on holiday camping as a youngster I picked up a lamb & proudly carried it to the car to take home as a pet lol! I think it was my mums fault for teaching me “Mary Mary quite Contrary!I can’t wait till I can go outdoors without a coat & without shivering, hopefully it won’t be long now!I want to send you a big big thankyou Ali for helping me out with my Mothers Day pressie!I usually order Mum a bouquet from my local florist but shes gone away today for a break in Scotland so I needed to buy something she could take with her. I saw you presenting a beautiful Rose vermeil Diamonique ring with a Champagne stone which you accurately described as “weak Pimms” & thought what a gorgeous gift as it is such a change from the clear or blue stones we normally wear.Mum opened it last night & called me saying it is beautiful & has gone in her case so thanks Ali, you’ve saved me running around the shops getting stressed!I saw you again with Anthony & waited with baited breath incase we had another episode of “fanny gate” but you kept him under control.Have a lovely Mothers Day & a great Birthday & glad your wedding plans are going well!
    Love & Hugs
    from Mandy(snaffle) xx

  16. Gwen March 14, 2015 at 11:45 am -  Reply

    Hello Dear Ali,
    Just a few words to wish you a wonderful magical Birthday and a very happy Mothers Day, with so many glorious things to look forward to in the coming few months I am sure you will be beside yourself with excitement, you really do deserve it all. I know that I will be very spoilt on Mothers Day an I realise how very lucky I am, so I wish everyone a great day.

    Take good care of yourself, it is lovely to see you looking so well.

    Lots of Love,

  17. Sandra March 14, 2015 at 12:07 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison Happy Birthday and have a lovely day love reading your bloggs

  18. theresa March 15, 2015 at 12:37 am -  Reply

    Loved reading your blog and to hear all your family are well plus you will be awaiting the arrival of your granchild, hope you and Lucy have a wonderful time baby shopping (the first of many) and all the preparation for your wedding are going well, take care x

  19. Sue Huskisson March 15, 2015 at 11:55 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali. Lovely blog as usual. What a lovely photo of you and your lovely boys. You made me laugh the other night when you were on air and said you’d forgotten your boob! I think you are brilliant with how you cope. I’d like to think I could be the same in your position but I’m not so sure! Mother’s Day is usually a non event for me as I lost my mother at 11 years old and I have no children of my own. This year, however I have my lovely niece Lisa’s baby Charlie. I wanted to mark her first Mother’s Day as a mum and found a lovely electronic card to send her. It showed various world landmarks and said Happy Mother’s Day in each appropriate language. The words at the end I thought were just right, they said” To the world you are just one person but to one person you are the world”. Anyway Ali I hope you had a lovely Mother’s Day and a wonderful birthday tomorrow. Love Sue xx

  20. Rhona Fenton March 16, 2015 at 11:24 am -  Reply

    Hi Alison what a lovely lovely blog as always yes I agree spring has sprung and we to have had some really nice sunny days and as you say things are on the move in the garden 🙂 Happy belated Birthday to sam loved the pictures everyone looked to be having so much fun 🙂 so good to hear colins bunch was able to join in the fun and everyone gets on so well that does make a difference! glad to hear that Lucy has finished work now time to rest as you say its all so exciting 🙂 hope she is keeping well? also a very Happy Birthday to you Alison which is today hope you have a lovely day, and also hope you had a lovely mothers day yourself yesterday? one off my gifts was the special mothers day rose which Richard Jackson’s son Nick brought on, Richard knew I was getting it but I also bought one for my mum which she was so over the moon with, I know the way to her heart anything to do with the garden 🙂 Glad to hear all is going well with the wedding you do have a busy few months ahead 🙂 and your wee holiday also 🙂 have a lovely week and Happy Birthday again enjoy your day! love to you all as always Rhona xx

  21. Susan March 16, 2015 at 2:24 pm -  Reply

    Happy birthday Ali! Hope you have a lovely day and enjoyed your day yesterday? It’s been a fun time for you all with the birthdays of sam and now you.. And of course Lucy’s baby soon! It must be confusing with your boys girlfriends names being similar.. Abbie and Aimee!? Looked liked great cakes. Hope you have a massively well deserved break in Morocco and you find a swimsuit. Tried online? Lots of love Susan x

  22. Sue Radford March 16, 2015 at 6:26 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,

    Best wishes! Hope you’re having a lovely birthday!

    Love Sue Radford x

  23. Alison Keenan March 16, 2015 at 6:56 pm -  Reply

    Dear Christine, I’m so glad you enjoyed the blog – it was good fun collating the photographs and also announcing the winner! Delighted you too are a Poldark fan – I hope to convert the nation! 🙂 Have a great week, and thanks for writing to me, love Ali x

  24. Alison Keenan March 16, 2015 at 6:59 pm -  Reply

    Dear Tina, I’d lay bets that it’s pretty much as chilly here as it is in South Wales! I agree, and am at a loss as to know where the spring has gone, especially this day last year, we were having lunch in the garden for my birthday, and basking in temperatures in the low 70’s! I think I am missing a trick by not watching Stella, although I can probably get it on catch up – I think Ruth Jones is genius 🙂 I do hope your husband got on ok with his check up and has been given a clean bill of health for the next six months. You take care, and thanks for keeping in touch, love Ali xx

  25. Alison Keenan March 16, 2015 at 7:01 pm -  Reply

    Jennifer belated happy birthday, and I was sorry to read that it wasn’t one you were able to share with your mum… Mother’s day making that even harder for you I’m sure. As far as celebrating next weekend – at least you get to hold onto your current age for a few more days!! I hope you really enjoy being together and can share your memories of mum, even though she won’t be with you. Thank you for being in touch, love Ali xx

  26. Alison Keenan March 16, 2015 at 7:03 pm -  Reply

    Sue, How ironic that your mum called her boob Betty – so does my mum! I am sorry though that you’ve had to get through Mother’s Day without her, and I am sure she is very much missed. Take care and do keep in touch, love Ali xx

  27. Alison Keenan March 16, 2015 at 7:04 pm -  Reply

    Very many belated happy returns to you Elaine! Delighted that Jodie spoiled you, and you also had time out with Geoff too. I have had a somewhat elongated birthday which has been lovely, and am just writing to you whilst waiting for Colin to get home any my dear friend Jo and her chap Simon to turn up so we can have supper together 🙂 I hope you got extended cuddles with Josselin – I can’t believe she’s three weeks old already!!! Take care and stay warm, love Ali xx

  28. Alison Keenan March 16, 2015 at 7:10 pm -  Reply

    Dear Jo, I was so sorry to read of Bertie’s passing, and I know that any of us who have had a pet for even a short amount of time, will completely empathise with the feeling of emptiness once they are gone.. 17 years is a very long time to have spent with him, and although I’ve never been lucky enough to have any of my cats for that length of time, your words sum up beautifully what he was to you… That as well as memories of your mum on Mother’s day must have made this weekend rather difficult, but i hope you’ll feel less sad soon…. Yes, the wedding preparations are definitely in full swing, and I am meeting with the florist at the church this Thursday to discuss the flowers for the alter! I have a surprise though for the table centres which I’ll share in my next blog! I’m still laughing at your tales of shopping for an outfit – 7 pairs of shoes!!!!! I haven;t even got one yet 🙂 lovely adage ‘cake adds to a happy life’ – perfect, and a bunch of yellow tulips would cheer us all I’m sure. Take care, with love, Ali xx

  29. Alison Keenan March 16, 2015 at 7:12 pm -  Reply

    My dear Petra I am sending you a big hug, and my love and support through what I realise is a very trying time for you.. I will keep everything crossed that your results on Wednesday will be clear, and please do keep in touch with me…. I remember a lady called Lorraine waiting for hers and she never got back in touch, so it plays on my mind… The best thing is you have a loving and supportive family as do I, and whatever happens in the future you know you’ll be OK. Thinking of you, love Ali xx

  30. Alpa March 17, 2015 at 12:38 am -  Reply

    My Dear Ali,

    Wishing you a very Happy Birthday for yesterday 🙂 I hope the sun has been shining for you and you have been spoilt rotten. Also, a happy belated Mother’s Day. I hope you had a lovely day with your three musketeer’s (it’s how I think of Lucy, Sam and Jack :)) before heading to work.

    Thank you for a very spring like blog and the lovely photos. So pleased you’ve been enjoying spending time with friends. It is good you feel inspired to write again, perhaps you just needed a break after the hectic time you’ve been having. Like you, most of my retail therapy is done on line. No doubt you’ll be able to find swimwear when the time is right for you. Only you could inject Beryl with a sense of humour! How lovely that Colin’s gang all came to celebrate Sam’s birthday. There is nothing quite as good as cake especially chocolate cake. Your wedding plans are certainly moving ahead and you now have the fun of the taster session to look forward to. I did like Jo’s reference to Fronk in Father of the Bride 🙂 Great excitement for your shopping trip with Lucy this week.

    I ventured out to have a hair cut. Let’s just say I should have listened to my instinct and not gone! If anyone can recommend a decent hairdresser/salon in West London or Central London, I would appreciate it. There will be no more delinquent hairdressers anywhere near my hair, that’s for sure!

    Dear Jo, so sorry about Bertie. There is nothing self indulgent about the loss of your much loved cat. I can imagine he has left a gaping hole in your lives and I am glad you enjoyed the time you had together. On a happier note you seem to be super organised with three dresses for Ellie’s wedding. Time enough to decide which one will be the one. I’m sorry Mothering Sunday is really difficult as it would be with the triple celebration you used to have. Thank you for the yellow daffodils to brighten my day. Thank you also for the sweet message on Ali’s last blog which I replied to. It is good to have you back Jo and you were missed in your absence. Take care x

    Love to my dear Debz, Jilly, Tricia, Sue and all in Ali’s Army x

    Take care Ali
    Lots of Love, Alpa xxx

  31. Janet Jones March 17, 2015 at 7:58 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali, a belated Happy Birthday to you, I hope you were spoilt rotten. I love the picture of you with your boys and Sam’s a lucky boy with 2 birthday cakes!. I was on a plane home from Iceland on Mothers Day so didn’t get to see my boy the first time I have missed it since he was born ! We were there for two and a half days, mainly to see the Northern lights. They did make an appearance on the last night very faintly,and we swam in the lovely waters of the Blue Lagoon. One of the days we were stuck at the hotel as the wind was so bad, so we did miss a full day trip. The landscape has no trees just lots of lava rock were we were. a bit like being on the moon! I would definitely go back, but my husband wouldn’t as he is like you Ali and loves the warm weather!! Glad to hear Colin has booked a holiday for the 2 of you in Morocco some healing sun will be just the thing the doctor ordered ! Lily of the valley in your bouquet how lovely, as well as snowdrops they are also a favourite of mine, I have tried to grow them in my garden but they don’t seem to like an acid soil, so I treated myself to a small pot the other day , can’t wait for them to flower and release their beautiful smell. Hope all is well with Lucy, and she can finally put her feet up before the baby arrives. The book you are writing is it about your breast cancer or fiction? whatever it is about put me down for one , autographed of course lol. I hope you are continuing to heal, as always you are looking fabulous.
    Hope all is well with you and your family Jilly, and Alpa stay strong.
    Take care Ali speak soon love Janet xxx

  32. Petra May March 18, 2015 at 10:41 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali. Had my results from the hospital today and it’s great news. They got it all out, with clear margin. The lymph nodes are clear. The cancer was hormone receptive but HERE negative. So hopefully, one course of radiotherapy and 5 years of Tamoxifen could see me clear. I think mum was looking down on me today. Hope you had a lovely birthday xx

  33. Alison Keenan March 19, 2015 at 11:40 am -  Reply

    My dear Mary, I was so disappointed for you that you weren’t included in the final 12 of the GBBO – I had been hoping against hope that they’d seen sense and taken you on! Please don’t let that deter you though from having a go next year – I always think it’s looked upon well that you’re not a quitter! : ) It would have nice for you to have had good news in light of the other news re your job… I will keep everything crossed that it doesn’t mean the drastic changes you are fearing.. I am sure you are eminently employable though, so perhaps put a few feelers out now. Horrid though if you enjoy your job, and genuinely don’t want to change 🙁 Have you thought about maybe going into interior design? I was very impressed with your kitchen design. My Colin is very creative in that way too, but it is a real gift.. maybe you could utilise it? Congratulations on losing that 6lbs – do let Deb know how helpful her book has been – she is very dedicated and has some lovely stories on her blog of other folk who’ve found this system works for them. I’m glad that Jon’s elbow is finally mending and hope it won’t be too long before you can hand over some of this additional chores you’ve been doing! Sending you my love and every good wish for a truly happy birthday on the 26th. I’ll be posting a new blog tomorrow with my birthday pics in, as I’m off to Morocco on Monday for some early sunshine – feeling very spoiled 🙂 Ali xx

  34. Alison Keenan March 19, 2015 at 11:41 am -  Reply

    Dear Teresa I was thinking of you on Sunday and do hope that you got through the day without feeling too sad… It’s always those first anniversaries that are the hardest.. Sending you a hug, and thank you for writing to me, love Ali xx

  35. Alison Keenan March 19, 2015 at 11:44 am -  Reply

    Dear Linda, so glad you enjoyed the blog, as it was fun gathering together all the photos – more to come tomorrow! I was sorry to hear about your Aunt – 99 years though is quite incredible. So glad that she just slipped away in her sleep, although I am sure you will miss her. I do hope you’ve had some of this lovely sunshine, and that you will enjoy Richard Jackson’s garden with me at 11pm tonight! Wedding plans on course, although I’d be happier if the invites had arrived from the printer!! 🙁 With love, Ali xx

  36. Alison Keenan March 19, 2015 at 11:44 am -  Reply

    Martin, your kind of holiday sounds like the one I’m about to take, and plan to do nothing but be lazy for the next week or so! So glad you had a good time, love Ali x

  37. Alison Keenan March 19, 2015 at 11:47 am -  Reply

    Hello there Petra, Nice to know you’re settled in the Midlands – I had many happy years living there some years ago. I am sorry that you lost your mum, and so recently too.. I am sure this last Sunday was hard for you.. I remember my father passed just a fortnight before Fathers Day, and I felt desolate… Please let me know that you are OK after receiving your results yesterday? I am thinking of you, with love, Ali x

  38. Alison Keenan March 19, 2015 at 11:49 am -  Reply

    My dear Judith, how awful for you to have a bad back! Absolutely wretched pain, but I am so glad that the therapist who has come to you has helped to alleviate your discomfort. Belated happy returns to your husband, and how lovely to have the little ones with him to help celebrate 🙂 I’m glad you were able to join Antthony and myself for our hour – I know I’ve got a memory like a sieve, but he is such a joy to work with, it was easy to make light of it. I do hope that your back will continue to improve, with love, Ali xx

  39. Alison Keenan March 19, 2015 at 11:53 am -  Reply

    Happy Birthday Mandy! I hope you have sunshine where you are – very grey and cold here, which is a complete contrast to last year, when I spent my birthday having lunch in the garden in sunshine and temperatures in the low 70’s! Your story about the lamb is brilliant, and I will make sure I pass that one on – bless you! You’ve really cheered me, knowing that the Diamonique ring I loved appealed to you for your mum. Even more gratifying that she was delighted on Mothers Day with it too! I hope you will have a lovely day, and will be spoiled this evening – if you happen to be home, I’ll give you a wave at 9pm 🙂 With love, Ali xx

  40. Alison Keenan March 19, 2015 at 11:55 am -  Reply

    Dear Gwen, your choice of words for my birthday were very apt – magical it certainly was, and spread out over the entire weekend too – I felt very spoiled 🙂 Seeing so many of the children and my family always makes it extra special and I have some nice photos to share with you in my new blog which should be up tomorrow 🙂 I very much hope you were spoiled on Mothers Day, as I was, and of course this time next year, my Lucy will have a little one to spoil her too! Exciting times ahead 🙂 Take care and thank you for writing, love Ali x

  41. Alison Keenan March 19, 2015 at 11:55 am -  Reply

    Hi there Sandra, and very many thanks for writing to me. So glad you enjoy the blogs and are now part of the Army! Hopefully a new blog for you tomorrow, love Ali x

  42. Alison Keenan March 19, 2015 at 11:57 am -  Reply

    Dear Theresa, yes, Lucy and I had a lovely time shopping for all the things she’ll need to take into hospital and also for a few spoileys for her baby shower 🙂 Wedding preparations are going well, and I may need your help with some decision making – watch this space for my next blog. Enjoy the rest of the week and the weekend, love Ali xx

  43. Alison Keenan March 19, 2015 at 12:02 pm -  Reply

    Dear Sue, Your lovely comment had me welling up .. what a beautiful message to be able to send to someone, and I am certain your niece Lisa was very touched by your thoughtfulness. So sorry that Mother’s Day for you is a bit of a non event, and having read through these comments I realise it is the same for many… Infact in this last month three of my friends have lost their mums, so I realise I am very lucky to still have mine. I’m glad I made you smile when I was on with Antthony – I couldn’t believe I had left ‘Beryl’ at home, and to be honest, it was a case of either laughing or crying, and I’ve always preferred the former 🙂 You take care and thanks as always for writing to me, love Ali xx

  44. Alpa March 19, 2015 at 3:41 pm -  Reply

    My Dear Ali,

    Happy belated Birthday for Monday 🙂 I did write to you and Jo on the same day but that seems to have disappeared 🙁 Never mind!!!

    Lots of Love, Alpa xxx

  45. Petra May March 20, 2015 at 8:46 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali. Thank you for your lovely good wishes. Hope you caught my post above about my results. They are all good, cancer gone with clear margins, lymph nodes clear, HERE negative. It was estrogen responsive so as well as a course of radiotherapy I will need to take pills for at least 5 years. However, I couldn’t have asked for better news. Next step is to meet my oncologist in a few weeks time to discuss the treatment. Before that, this weekend we are visiting my in – laws to break the news that I have cancer. They live 3 hours drive away and we didn’t want to tell them over the phone. At least we can reassure them that long term chances are good. Hope you are well. Won’t be long now before you get to hold your grandchild. I bet you can’t wait. Love Petra xx

  46. Alison Keenan March 21, 2015 at 7:21 pm -  Reply

    Dear Alpa, thanks so much for the birthday wishes, and for keeping us up to date with all your news. What a nightmare re your hair! It’s been a long while since I’ve been unlucky with cut or colour, but remember how awful it makes you feel when it’s not right! I like your three musketeer analogy for my children, and it’s always lovely although rarer than I’d like, to have them spend time together. The taster session for the wedding went well, and I will be blogging about that, but I do hope the warmer weather returns soon, and that you feel strong enough to venture out in it. Take good care, and do keep in touch with my love, Ali xx

  47. Alison Keenan March 21, 2015 at 7:26 pm -  Reply

    Janet, so good to hear from you, and if I haven’t mentioned it already, then I would like to thank you for the beautiful card you sent me – much appreciated. Thanks too for letting me know how your Icelandic trip went, although I like you would have been a tad disappointed to have only just about seen the Northern Lights! That said, the Blue Lagoon sounded fab, and I think you should try to get back there – maybe with some sunshine booked for another time. I have now organised the flowers for my bouquet and for the church, and they will include Lily of the Valley which I’m thrilled about – its the perfume I love too. Yes, all is very well with Lucy, and she is beginning to wind down and relax before the baby. I am certainly feeling a lot better than I did, and am looking forward to some extra time with Colin and hopefully some sunshine! Love to you, and I watch this space for my Birthday Blog! Ali xx

  48. Pauline wilson March 21, 2015 at 9:58 pm -  Reply

    Ali as always love, love, love reading your blogs you are a beautiful lady and such an inspiration to women.x

  49. Alison Keenan March 22, 2015 at 12:49 am -  Reply

    My dear Petra I am SO relieved to hear your news. Clear margins and lymph nodes are such a positive, and I’m certain the combination of radiotherapy and Tamoxifen will keep you safe. I hope you’ve managed to celebrate this weekend 🙂 Thank you VERY much for letting me know. Take care, and do keep in touch, love Ali xx

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