Cooking duck and going Down Under…


Hello there, do hope you're nice and snug wherever you're reading this, cos it's jolly parky outside!  

A question… do you have a failsafe recipe for cooking duck?? I only ask as my hallowed hero of a chef Jamie Oliver, whose gastronomic works of greatness litter my kitchen, failed me! My duck had an oily breast, not crispy as promised, and every 20 minutes when I had to turn the bird over, half an orange fell out of her bottom!!  

I'd never cooked duck before but because Lucy and Jack were round for lunch, I wanted to do something special – I don't think I'll bother again! Some recipes suggested putting the bird on a rack so that it didn't sit in the oil, but Jamie suggested sitting her on a bed of carrots, celery and onion… and also to cook at 190 degrees which seemed a very low temperature to me.

Still, Jack did eat all his to be fair but Lucy wasn't impressed and it took me rather a while to carve it, so having told them to "start without me", they'd nearly finished by the time I sat down! Never mind eh, it was good to see them :) 

The fact that I managed to clog my vacuum cleaner with pine needles is a timely reminder that Christmas is well and truly behind us, but I still find it hard to believe that in two weeks time, Colin and I will be boarding a plane to Australia. We're flying out on Thursday 2nd February – a year to the day since I had my mastectomy and also my Jack's birthday!

We've decided to do the journey in one hit – apart from a two-hour stop over in Abu Dhabi to refuel – and so we'll arrive in Sydney on Friday afternoon 🙂 I've spoken to my brother several times over the last month, and together we're working out a timetable. Both he and his wife Sarah work, so it's good that we're arriving at a weekend and can catch up properly.  

Ali with her brother and his familyIt will be seven years and two months since I was last 'Down Under' and so I thought you might like to see this photograph (left) of us all with his children on the day we flew home. The picture was taken before we said goodbye 🙂 Look at Jack!! He's almost 19 now and six feet tall… where have the years gone?

Peter has never met Colin although we've had Sarah and both their children to stay with us on numerous occasions when they've been to the UK. I know they'll get on, and it'll be good for them to have some time together. We fly to Tasmania in the second week to visit Colin's brother Phil who owns a vineyard out there – that should be fun!! 🙂
Ali (16) with her brother (18) and sister (14)Peter looks very much like my late father and now that my hair has grown back so dark, I look more like him too – minus the moustache thank heavens! 🙂 Mind you Peter wore his hair a lot longer in his teens and was 18 when this picture (left) was taken.

I was 16 then and in my final year at Secondary school, and our sister Jenny was probably 14… I got detention at school for wearing that T-shirt instead of the usual polo shirt – hey ho  :) 

There are so many places in Australia that I hope to visit this time around, and we plan to hire a car while we're there so we can make our own way. It's so much easier than in Europe because they drive on the same side of the road as us! If you've ever been to the other side of the world, particularly Sydney, please do let me know if there's anywhere you would recommend we visit.  

I have done the Aquarium and The Rocks, oh and I think Koala world (?) but I know there's so much more like The Blue Mountains that would be a shame to miss. I look forward to hearing from you with any suggestions, and hope that you have a good week and an even better weekend!  

With love, Ali xxx


  1. sue bayley January 18, 2012 at 2:39 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    If you’re going to Tassie you must have a few days in Hobart – beautiful city…..we got married there! Freycinet is also a must and if you have time go down to Strachan and take the train up to Queenstown via Teepookana. Our house is named after Teepookana – the most beautiful little spot. It means ‘kingfisher’ and you may see some! So jealous – we haven’t been for over a year and it seems like ages. Enjoy. Oh…..Sydney is fantastic too – go out to Bondi Beach and see if you’re surprised too. I imagined it to be huge and never-ending. It’s not!!!!

  2. Mrs Janet Jones January 18, 2012 at 2:44 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali, I have my wood burning stove going at the moment, it never fails to make me feel cosy. How exciting you’re off to Australia in 2 weeks, how quickly has that come round!! Sorry I can’t help with tips for cooking goose as I have never cooked it myself, nor have I been to Australia, so all in all I can’t be very helpful at all!!!(lol)! One of the places I would like to visit is the Great Barrier reef, how I would love to do some snorkling there, will you be able to visit it? How long are you going for? I bet you can’t wait to see your brother and his family. We are still trying to decide where to go for our 30th wedding anniversary, at the moment Lake Garda is winning, still plenty of time for more indecision before we make our final decision!
    You are going to be a very busy girl over the next couple of weeks, packing and going to work, so don’t forget to pace yourself!
    I’m not sure if you will have time to blog again before you go so have a brilliant time with Colin and both brothers and I want to hear all about it when you get back. Happy Hols Ali you so deserve it,take good care love and hugs Janet xxx

  3. martin forbes bucksburn aberdeen January 18, 2012 at 5:57 pm -  Reply

    enjoy your holiday to austtralia alison.hope you are well

  4. Susan January 18, 2012 at 6:16 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    I can’t help with the duck situation and I’ve never been to Oz! Therefore I am useless to you! Sorry. I have heard of a lot of lovely places to visit though…not that I could remember names right now. I think Melbourne is meant to be fab if you like theatre and arts, Ayre’s Rock worth a visit and the SE coastroad is meant to be stunning. Brave lady with that journey! Hope it’s ok. Take care and enjoy after your awful year.
    Susan x

  5. Cheryl Williams January 18, 2012 at 9:27 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Happy 2012 I know its late but wish you all the best.
    Australia how wonderful. I dont know if you remember but my parents and I went out nearly 2 years ago for their Golden Wedding anniversary and fingers crossed we will be returning this year again for ( whispering —-my 50th) birthday.
    If you can have lunch up centrepoint with its revolving restaurant –360degrees view of Sydney– bliss!! What about a visit to The Fortunes of War at The Rocks and have a Aussie meat pie. You must try to go to The Blue Mountains and see The Three sisters they really are spectacular. There’s Taronga zoo. When we were out there it was just after their little miracle was born an elephat Pathi Harn who they thought was going to be stillborn but miraculously ‘Mr Shuffles’ was born alive. What ever you and Colin do have a fairdinkum time and enjoy
    Take care
    Love Cheryl in Morecambe

  6. Liz January 18, 2012 at 9:49 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, I’ll bet the excitement is mounting! We were in Australia 20 months ago, but our son has since returned to Scotland because he missed family and friends. Anyway, we were based in Wollongong south of Sydney. A visit to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains is a must but remember it will be colder there. Try a cruise on a ferry from Sydney Harbour to Manley or wherever. There is a great choice of places to visit plus jazz cruises too. Try having a meal in the 360 Bar and Dining in the Sydney Tower. Take in all the views of Sydney whilst enjoying a superb meal and don’t lose your friends when you go to the counter for food! The outer area turns through 360 degrees and I “lost” my family for a few seconds…they burst out laughing at me as I searched for them.
    The main thing is, Ali, have a wonderful time and enjoy the time spent with your family and with Colin’s family.
    Love Liz.

  7. janet reynolds January 18, 2012 at 10:20 pm -  Reply

    Alison, I watched you a few days or so ago and you gave me so much inspiration as I awaited the results of my mammogram. Today the result was an “all clear”. I have two other close friends fighting this and I pray they will keep as upbeat as you. You truly are setting a wonderful example to tell us all we can beat this thing. I must admit I admire you doing that long trip to Oz in one go…god speed. I am just counting myself lucky and I know you will go from strenghth to strength…you do us ladies proud.

  8. Kay Phelan January 18, 2012 at 10:55 pm -  Reply

    Hi ali i think you are a wonderful person enjoy your holiday what airline are you flying with it a long journey and you need plenty of leg room the weather is very warm out there at the moment safe journey ali and your husband

  9. Alpa January 19, 2012 at 12:05 am -  Reply

    My dear Ali,
    Thank you for another blog and for your lovely reply 🙂 I do think it’s a special gift for someone to be able to read between the lines and one that you certainly do have! Taking it one day at a time sounds good to me.
    I’m afraid I can offer no advice on the duck, although I am sure that one of our wee marching soldiers in Ali’s Army may have the answer!
    So pleased that the countdown to Sydney has begun and that you get to see your brother and his family soon. My suggestion is to visit the Great Barrier Reef, which looks amazing. I hope the rains will have subsided by the time you arrive, though!
    How far you have come in the last year, my friend and what an inspiration you continue to be 🙂
    Take very good care and have the most fantastic holiday!
    Lots of Love, Alpa xx

  10. Alpa January 19, 2012 at 12:20 am -  Reply

    Dear Debz,
    Thank you for writing to me on Ali’s last blog and what a star you are to always think of me. Thank you so much, my friend 🙂
    A big well done to Ainzley for sharing your slanket with you and I hope you have been safe when you needed to get up!
    I am so glad that you are spending your birthday with your friend. Enjoy your day and please don’t forget to have cake! It is your special day and I hope you will be very spoiled. Just think, another year younger!
    Wishing you a very Happy Birthday on Saturday and sending you a big birthday hug and a stroke for Ainzley from his Auntie Alpa.
    Take care, my lovely
    Lots of Love, Alpa xx

  11. Patricia January 19, 2012 at 1:44 am -  Reply

    You are an inspiration, and so happy with recovery, may it continue. Trying to resist being mushy. The reason for my blog is to reluctantly comment on your hair. The short auburn colour looks really great, the long beige colour is ageing, and does nothing for your own colouring. When I saw you I wanted to shout no, go back to the auburn short. I apologise for being insensitive, but I would like someone to let me know.
    Very best wishes,

  12. sue bayley January 19, 2012 at 8:56 am -  Reply

    If I had a brain I’d be dangerous Ali!……forgot to include Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake in Tassie – and if you can fit it in – the Barrier Reef is a memory that lasts for ever. We always have 7 weeks in Oz and there’s never enough time!!!!Hugs Sue x

  13. Linda Marshall January 19, 2012 at 11:44 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Sorry i am no use to you on the duck, but i just want to wish you and Colin a very happy holiday. You deserve it after all you have been through in the past year.
    love Linda.

  14. Annie January 19, 2012 at 12:47 pm -  Reply

    Try Delia Smith, her Duck is always crisp and is cooked at a high temperature on a rack, most fat is left below in the tin. Cannot eat it at the moment as I have gallstones!

  15. helen s January 19, 2012 at 1:20 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali, I have written quite a few times but they must have got lost in cyber space. How are you? Saw you with Charlie the other evening, I text in but it didn’t get show.
    Bet you are sooo excited about your holiday, but take it easy now and dont go over doing things. Just come back from shopping, blimey, the price of food has just shot through the roof!
    Been back to the Dr’s, again!! More bloods and a scan as the Dr thinks that I have fibroids, what a joy!!!!
    Take care my lovely
    chat soon, if it get through
    Love and hugs
    Helen s xxx

  16. helen s January 19, 2012 at 1:24 pm -  Reply

    Hi Debz, how are you doing? Hope you enjoyed your birthday, I must be honest I prefer everyone elses rather than mine,
    Hope that you are doing ok and thanks for asking how I’ve been. Well, one Dr says its M.E. the other perimenopause and that last one didn’t really know except that I might have fibroids!!!! Whatever next?
    Anyway, take care my lovely and bloog soon.
    Also, Una I do hope that you are ok, please let us all know if everything with you is ok?
    Take care
    Luv and hugs
    Helen s

  17. edna munro January 19, 2012 at 7:57 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,Have a great time down under.Relax and enjoy.Tip from Chinese restaurant worked for me for duck.Hang it by an open window
    (top opener in a kitchen ) for 24 hours before cooking.The air somehow makes the duck crisper when it cooks and less fatty.Used for crispy fried duck I believe!

  18. Dee January 19, 2012 at 10:15 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, this is my first comment. I have been watching your return to QVC and your various wigs with great interest as I finished chemo a couple of weeks after you. I love hearing about your hair returning as I await my own to grow so that I can start to look normal again and I thought it was so brave of you to change wigs live on air with Ken Paves a few weeks ago.

  19. SUE RADFORD January 20, 2012 at 12:24 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Sorry – can’t help you with suggestions for cooking duck – there isn’t much in the way of food that I don’t like, but I really can’t stomach (fatty) duck ugh!!!!
    Really hope you’ll have a wonderful time in Australia. Haven’t visited Australia, so can’t recommend places to visit. Plan on a visit there in future though, so maybe I’ll be asking you that very same question LOL! Enjoy every minute there, but in particular have a special time with your brother!! I expect you’re buzzing with excitement – I know I’d be. I love the build up to a holiday as much as the holiday itself – expecially shopping for clothes etc – I’m hoping to have a holiday in Florida later on this year if all is well. Have a great journey Ali – look forward to hearing all about ‘your special holiday’ in your future blog.
    Take care and enjoy every minute! (Onwards we all proceed).
    Love – Sue Radford xx

  20. caroline wessels January 20, 2012 at 12:29 pm -  Reply

    Id love to see you as you are touching down in my part of the world, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi. Enjoy the warm weather and sense of freedom that only travelling can bring. x

  21. Tracy King January 20, 2012 at 4:39 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Duck is it?? did you read my last post where i said i had just cooked my first turkey haha, sorry i am no Nigella – well not in the cooking sense! My friend is going to Oz in april to visit another friend who moved out there last October, it is her 50th in april so Carol thought about surprising her but now she’s been in touch to tell her just in case they’re out when she turns up at the door!! I’m already dreading her return as last year she went to Uganda to visit her sponsor child and we had to sit through 1054 photos!!! Trip of a lifetime tho’.
    My only other nod to anything Aussie is that years ago I was a fan of Dame Edna so I called my new kitten Possum!! haha, everyday I got to shout the phrase -Hello my little Possum!
    My other best pal is having a freaky as she is due to go on a cruise for her 25th anniversary in March – I told her not to read the papers or watch the news! She is going to wear her life jacket for the whole trip!! What a tragedy for all those involved though eh?
    I am a home bird. we prefer up in the highlands in our tent haha.
    Fronk is in full swing at the mo – I produced the first prototype wedding invitation yesterday for the bride to see – here’s hoping she likes and then I can go to print. My nephew has approved his so it will be all systems go soon! I hope i dont mix up colours, ribbons etc haha.
    If I dont post before you go have a fantastic holiday and as I say to everyone who goes – Remember my stick of rock!
    Luv and hugz
    Tracy (Fronk) and Cath by proxy xxx

  22. Tricia January 21, 2012 at 12:30 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Such fun reading your “blogs” I so giggled about the Duck – oranges falling out of the bottom ect! ! Seriously though its quite sad when you go to the trouble of cooking what should be a lovely meal – and in “your eyes” its not “right”
    I am sure that you are a super cook, I always have loved cooking and have loads of cookery books – love them. Delia,I find never fails me, and I have done Duck her way, and also Nigel Slaters way – both are more or less the same way.
    Take off the bag it comes in -let it rest in the fridge a while -it will dry out somewhat. Tear out any lumps of fat that may be inside the carcass, prick the skin all over well, rub the skin with salt, hot oven about 220C for about 20/30 mins, then cook at about 180C for the rest of the time(depends obviously on the weight of it)
    Oh gosh,what a mouthful I have just written – sorry!
    Ali, have a wonderful wonderful time in oz- pace yourself, don’t get too tired, I am so happy for you.
    Take good care of each other,
    with love,

  23. mary morphy January 21, 2012 at 7:22 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali, your dealings with your duck had me chuckling away..not quite so early in the morning for this blog..just watching you on QVC nightime..In the Kitchen with Simon the chef.I think it was from Thursday as I ordered the TSV frying pan. Unusually I watched the the Morning Show as I was feeling under the weather and not at work and as Kathy was poorly you were on so it was great and good remedy to feel better and you’re looking fab! Anyway, back to the duck…I dont like duck so have never been brave enough to cook a whole one however the men in the house do so I have occasionally cooked duck breasts…no mess, no carcuss and no waste! I cook them on a rack on a high heat first then reduce to crisp the skin…usually I pan fry to brown it before it goes in the oven and it goes crispy very quickly. Might be worth doing that next time and if you cooked breasts at least you may all be able to eat together!!
    So you have had real epic journey yourself and will soon be embarking on another, this time a fabulous one to Oz. You are obviously teribly excited and it will be lovely to see your family again..i fear more tears but of happiness. I have never been to Oz but a very good friend of mine emmigrated four years ago..rather selfishly i feel as she was a beautician and I used to have ‘The Works’ done once a month and now I don’t…plus side of that is that I buy lots of lovely creams now from QVC but downside is that I miss our chats and putting the world to rights like only us girls can. We email and send pictures of the kids growing up in birthday cards etc but they now have a super life, lots of time outdoors plus a new baby..a fully fledged Ozzie!
    The old photos are lovely to see..aren’t you a devil for not wearing a regulation shirt!!
    So you too have January birthdays in the family..My husbands was last week and my daughter is twelve on Thursday ..more like sixteen though! Fortunately I budgeted well and got pressies before Xmas..we get paid a week early in December and that means 6 weeks to January pay day..a killer! I bought my husband a Skagen watch, from QVC of course, he now has three. My daughter has a new cricket bag,(not purchased from QVC but I feel that branching into sports equipment is a road QVC should investigate) a lego camper van which to me looks impossible to assemble but she is very good at that sort of thing and a photobook of her Kent cricket season last year full of pictures of her and her cricketing friends. She loves pugs but as we can’t really have one ( expence and practicality) her brother has got her a pug bag from Harrods, bought and paid for by me on my recent visit with Tour Guide Sarah!
    Well Ali, have a super week and I imagine you are so excited and ready to burst. If we dont speak before you fly have a truly memorable and wonderful time. Lots of love Mary xx

  24. Magda Chetty January 21, 2012 at 1:23 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    I have not been to Australia, so can not advice much. But have a friend who live in Sydney and she always talk about how good the sea food is, so try some, you can tell me all about it when you get back.
    It is amazing as you said what you were doing last year at this time, but please put it behind you and only look forward, I hope you have the best time ever on your trip with Colin. I will be thinking of you and wishing you a great time.
    Like you I keep thinking last year like this I was called to be told that they found a lump, and now I look back and think how lucky am I to be where Iam now. Iam sure 2012 will be a much better year for us both, so far it has been good. God bless you and keep you safe and happy, enjoy, enjoy enjoy.
    Love to Alpa, hope you are feeling much better my love.
    Una, we all miss you, do let us know how you are.
    Much love to everyone in the army, we shoud try to get together some how, any ideas??
    Much love.

  25. Kathryn Sheehan January 21, 2012 at 7:47 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali,
    Lovely to have you back,hope you have a wonderfull time on your holiday. My htb and i hope to visit one day soon. Did you have to have injections for the trip. ?
    Take care.
    Warm hugs
    Kathy x

  26. alison keenan January 22, 2012 at 6:51 pm -  Reply

    Sue thanks so much for this – I have taken note of all the places you mention and just need to clarify where Colin’s brother lives! Hobart sounds a lovely city to be married in – I’m sure it was very much a day to remember :)I agree completely with you about Bondi Beach – much smaller and it was raining while we were there too! Manly Beach is much nicer. Have a good week, and thank you for writing, I will of course have lots of photos to share once we’re home, so will see if I manage to see any kingfishers 🙂 Love Ali xx

  27. patricia pelham January 22, 2012 at 6:55 pm -  Reply

    hi alison i too am going to oz we fly out to adelaide on the 28th january,we was over there three years ago and when we came back i was told i had breast cancer and just getting over skin cancer . we are going to see my son and daughter in law and my can tell them on the phone you are ok but till they see you for themselfs it makes them feel better
    so i will say have a wonderful trip we are flying into singapore as a stop over with singapore airways they are great and singaporeis a dream.i am taking kim and co with me as well as some artascape as you can not get much in winter for the sun perhaps you can surgest to qvc to stock winter sun clothes take care and rest and enjoy your family we have been given a second chance xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxpatricia ann pelham

  28. alison keenan January 22, 2012 at 7:06 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Janet, and thanks for your suggestion of The Great Barrier Reef – I would love to think we’ll be able to get there, but not too sure where it is! I have a lovely Travel Guide that I’ve borrowed from Mum and plan this week to make a list and look things up 🙂 Lake Garda sounds beautiful for your 30th Anniversary, but I hope you won’t mind me suggesting Lake Maggiore as a possible alternative? The Borromean Islands are stunning and so easy to get to as they’re on the lake. I went there 18 years ago, and it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited 🙂 I’m going to try and squeeze one more blog in before I leave, but am glad that you are well and enjoying your lovely log burner. Love Ali xx

  29. alison keenan January 22, 2012 at 7:07 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Martin, yes I’m very much looking forward to Australia, and apart from feeling rather tired these days I’m well 🙂 I hope you are too, love Ali xx

  30. alison keenan January 22, 2012 at 7:10 pm -  Reply

    Susan you would never be useless to me! 🙂 Ayres Rock looks and sounds fab, so will be adding that to my list too. I think I shall be so excited about seeing my brother that the flight out will pass quickly, but coming home we’re stopping in Dubai for a few days so that will break the journey. Thanks for writing, and have a good week, love Ali xx

  31. alison keenan January 22, 2012 at 7:14 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Cheryl, I think I’d only just started writing my blog when you went out to Australia, but I thank you for your recommendations. My brother took his wife for dinner in the revolving restaurant to celebrate their anniversary one year and the photo he sent had the most amazing view. I must try an Aussie Meat Pie – what is the meat??! Taronga zoo sounds lovely – do they keep kangaroos and wallabies there?? I very much hope that you will be able to return to Oz this year as it would be a very fitting way to celebrate your birthday. With thanks for writing, and love to you, Ali x

  32. alison keenan January 22, 2012 at 7:17 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Liz, and thanks for the suggestions – loving the sound of a jazz cruise… The children went on a speedboat around the Harbour which looked terrifying but they loved it! A slow boat is much more my thing. You’re not alone in recommending the restaurant, so I think that’s a must, but you can guarantee that I will forget where the table is – I do most times anyway, and that’s without it revolving! Have a great week, and I hope you’re well, love Ali xx

  33. alison keenan January 22, 2012 at 7:20 pm -  Reply

    My dear Janet, I am so glad that your results were clear, but am sorry that your two friends are currently fighting cancer. I am sure having you in their lives, and being able to lean on you will help with their recovery and positivity, and I’d like to give you a quote from Thomas Nash that was on the front of a card I received from Cynthia and Sue Jones…. To the Soul, there is hardly anything more healing than friendship….I know this to be true 🙂 Take care, and thanks for writing, love Ali x

  34. alison keenan January 22, 2012 at 7:24 pm -  Reply

    Hello Kay, we are flying with Etihad Airways who sponsor one of the major football teams in this country apparently! I think we will have plenty of legroom as when I rang to confirm the flights, the lady very kindly upgraded us to Business class as a treat!! Can’t wait to sleep on the plane 🙂 I’m very much looking forward to the sunshine when we get out there, although it’s been a good day today. I hope you have a good week, and thanks for writing, love Ali xx

  35. alison keenan January 22, 2012 at 7:49 pm -  Reply

    Dear Alpa, lovely as always to hear from you, and I’m hoping that as another week has passed, so things are becoming easier for you… Yes, only 10 days to go before we fly… I still can’t quite believe it and neither can Colin! I’ve just checked out the Great Barrier Reef and found that it’s off Queensland, so am not sure if we’ll make it there this trip, but I’m going to look into flights etc just to see 🙂 Do take care of yourself, and keep in touch, with love, Ali xx

  36. alison keenan January 22, 2012 at 7:54 pm -  Reply

    Patricia, thanks for your comment, and I also prefer the auburn wig to the blonde one, but am seriously considering going without either as my hair is getting longer and is so dark, it doesn’t look good if it peeps out from under the wig! Ali x

  37. alison keenan January 22, 2012 at 7:55 pm -  Reply

    I’ve just been looking at the map of Tasmania, and have found both those places Sue – thank you!! Ali x

  38. alison keenan January 22, 2012 at 7:56 pm -  Reply

    Thank you Linda – I will make sure to take many photos to post up on our return. Have a good week, love Ali xx

  39. alison keenan January 22, 2012 at 7:58 pm -  Reply

    Oooh Annie, gallstones, nasty 🙁 Do hope you’ll be relieved of them soon! I have a Delia cookbook, and will search out her duck recipe – sounds similar to Nigella’s – thank you, love Ali xx

  40. Lindalou January 22, 2012 at 8:01 pm -  Reply

    Have a fab holiday,Ive never been to Australia so I am afraid I cannot help you. but if you ever want any advice on what to see in America I’m your girl I’ve been ten times. There are not many places of great interest that I have been. The Grand Canyon five time and many more places of great interest. God Bless and enjoy yourselves the both of you. Love Linda xxxxxxxxxxxxx

  41. alison keenan January 22, 2012 at 8:01 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Helen, and I’m so sorry that the text you sent to Charlie and I wasn’t forwarded on – it was very kind of you! I’m sorry too that you’ve had to have more tests done – you must feel like a pin cushion – but I very much hope that whatever they find from the scan, it will be something they can treat to make you finally feel better. You’re right about the price of food, it’s a shocker, although I’m usually only cooking for one, so it’s not as bad. You take care too, and keep in touch. Have a good week, love Ali xx

  42. alison keenan January 22, 2012 at 8:07 pm -  Reply

    Edna, I’ve not heard that before! I’m a little worried though if I did hang the duck in the window, as all the live and feathered ones who frequent my garden may see and be horrified!! 🙂 I think I might just buy one of those pre-prepared ones instead, love Ali xx

  43. alison keenan January 22, 2012 at 8:11 pm -  Reply

    Hello Dee, I’m so glad that you are now through treatment, and although it takes a long time to get any significant hair growth, once it starts to come, it comes through thicker than before 🙂 Not sure if you’ve been wearing wigs or scarves, but Ken Paves has quite a number of lovely ones – including my short red one – and they’re nice to wear until you feel you’ve enough hair to go it alone! I wish you the very best of luck with your recovery, and hope that you are feeling much much better, love Ali xx

  44. alison keenan January 22, 2012 at 8:14 pm -  Reply

    Dear Sue, as always, it’s good to hear from you, and you’re right, fatty duck is not enjoyable! Lots going on this end with Colin and I working and Sam’s house purchase, that I haven’t really had much time to start getting things together, but I’m hoping to make a start tomorrow on my day off. Just Zumba class in the morning – thought I’d give it a go! Will need to go to bed soon and record Birdsong, as I’m shattered and don’t think I’ll manage an hour of manic movement if not 🙂 Love to you, Ali xx

  45. alison keenan January 22, 2012 at 8:17 pm -  Reply

    Caroline how lovely to realise how well settled you have become, when writing about ‘my part of the world’ and meaning Abu Dhabi 🙂 It will be a wonderful feeling to jet off and to travel so far, although it’s a bit of a wrench when I think about the children, but the weeks will fly past I’m sure. Stay well and happy, love Ali x

  46. alison keenan January 22, 2012 at 8:22 pm -  Reply

    Tracy you do make me smile reading your comments 🙂 I’m now trying to visualise you as a mix between Fronk and Nigella – doesn’t really work in my head!! Crikey that was a lot of photos, although I downloaded over 5,000 of my own from my computer – not realising that I’d duplicated about a third of them… it took hours!! I love the idea of a kitten called Possum, and I too used to love Dame Edna and her long suffering and silent friend Madge – very funny. I am certain that your bride to be will be delighted with her invitations as your nephew has been, and so it will be all systems go as you put it…Good luck!! Perhaps once you’ve finished all this hard work you can have your weekend in the Highlands under canvas! 🙂 Love Ali xx

  47. Gail January 23, 2012 at 12:06 am -  Reply

    Dear Ali, can’t help you with the duck I’m afraid as it’s something I’ve never cooked before, or plan to actually. I know you’re going to have a lovely holiday in Australia. Of all the places in the world, Australia really is the one place I would like to visit most, but as I’m terrified of flying my dream holiday will never happen, but I can live with that. You, on the other hand, are going to have the holiday of a lifetime with Colin by your side and I can imagine the excitement you and your brother will be feeling at this moment. You take care and safe journey. Look forward to your blog telling us all about it when you get back. Lots of love as always, Gail xx

  48. elaine sallis January 23, 2012 at 10:34 am -  Reply

    Dear Ali
    I am useless on both counts as have not done either!!!! Only 4 days now until Adam gets married, a day which I never thought I would see after all the turmoil we have gone through with that couple. I am soooo excited, although now having doubts about my outfit, but hey ho its bought, so it shall be worn!!!
    Have a wonderful time in Australia and when you return we shall hopefully be looking forward to Spring. What a lovely thought after the dull days January has given us.
    Will look forward to all the news and the photos on your return.
    Lots of love

  49. alison keenan January 23, 2012 at 11:15 am -  Reply

    Hello there Kathy, lovely to hear from you, and luckily the only injections I need to have our blood thinning ones I will have to give myself before each of the long flights! It’s incase of DVT, but I will have my flight socks and my compression sleeve so am sure I’ll be fine 🙂 Have a good week, love Ali xx

  50. alison keenan January 23, 2012 at 11:19 am -  Reply

    Dear Magda, thank you so much for the delicious chocolate!!! Debbie passed it on to me, and we spent a lovely evening together eating it! 🙂 Yes I too have heard the seafood is good in Australia and there is a restaurant on the harbour called Doyles that my brother took us to last visit. Trouble is Colin doesn’t like fish too much, so we’ll have to find somewhere that does both!! I too would love to hear from Una, and am hoping that she’ll chance upon the blog, and drop us a line 🙂 The Army needs you Una!! 🙂 We are both lucky to be where we are now after last year, and I feel sure that this year will be kinder to us both. Take care, love Ali xx

  51. alison keenan January 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm -  Reply

    Mary, I do love reading your messages, and thank you very much for your advice re the Duck! I think that may well be the way forward…. although I did buy a frozen crispy duck with all the trimmings for the next time Jack and Lucy come for supper. It’s not a favourite of Sam’s but I can make something else for he and I 🙂 It’s a shame that your friend emigrated and I’m sure you do miss not just the treatments, but also the chats. I would miss Colette (who does my nails) terribly if I didn’t see her every week, and no-one’s ever done as good a job, especially with the challenges faced cos of the side effects from chemo! I’m sure your daughter will have a great birthday and well done you for being so ahead of the game! I know what you mean about 12 going on 16 – my friend’s daughter is 14 going on 21!! Scary! I hope your husband liked his watch – I love the Skagen watches too – I bought one for Colin some years back – the one with the deep blue face, and it looks lovely 🙂 Well I’m going to sign off now and venture into the loft to get my summer clothes out for Australia – didn’t get much chance to wear them last summer, so it’ll be like having new! Love to you and yours Mary, and thanks for writing, love Ali xx

  52. Susan January 23, 2012 at 2:49 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    That’s such a nice thing to say that I/we would never be useless to you. I just have to say how lovely I think it is that you say you will be so excited to see you brother on the way out. So nice you clearly get on. Anyway just had to share.
    Hope you get some shuteye on the flight! I’ve a busy time of it while you’re away but will look forward to your next blog about Down Under!
    Take care
    Susan x

  53. Mrs Janet Jones January 23, 2012 at 4:49 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali, thank you very much for your suggestion of Lake Maggiore, I will certainly look into it. We have several brochures to look through, which I will do while sitting in front of my log burner, as you know it makes the room feel sooo cosy!! Hope Sam’s house purchase is going through okay and he is feeling a bit better.
    It sounds like when you come back from Australia you might not be wearing you wig any more. Oh Ali it will be such a relief for you as I remember it felt hot and itchy when my hair started to grow back.
    Remember you still need to pace yourself and rest when you can, so you can enjoy your fab trip to Australia(lecture over lol).
    Well take good care Ali speak soon love Janet xx

  54. alison keenan January 23, 2012 at 7:36 pm -  Reply

    Tricia that sounds great!! thanks so much for the tips on cooking a Duck… I have to admit to having bought one already scored etc. which is frozen, but I’m game to have a go using your method. I too love cookery books and have several shelves of them – almost as good to read as a novel sometimes 🙂 Thanks for writing, and I’ll update you on Oz as soon as I’m able. Have a great week, love Ali xx

  55. alison keenan January 23, 2012 at 7:41 pm -  Reply

    Dear Patricia Ann, I’m so glad to hear that you are recovering and are now well enough to fly back to Adelaide to see your family. I am sure they must have been worried about you, and as you say, seeing you will make all the difference. Sounds like a good choice of clothes to take with you, and I too loved Singapore! Even the airport was beautiful with all those orchids. I did find the humidity a little tiring though, but like anything you can get used to it when the sun’s shining 🙂 I hope you have a WONDERFUL trip, and do drop me a line when you’re home and we can exchange notes! Love to you and yours, Ali xx

  56. alison keenan January 23, 2012 at 7:44 pm -  Reply

    Linda thanks for that 🙂 Ten times to America – you’re way ahead of me! I’ve been to San Diego twice and New York and of course Philadelphia with QVC – all fabulous. Lucy and her husband Richard are taking in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas this summer, so any tips you could pass to me for them would be very welcome 🙂 Have a good week, and thanks for writing, love Ali xx

  57. alison keenan January 23, 2012 at 7:48 pm -  Reply

    Dear Gail, happy new year to you, and if you haven’t received my thanks already, I loved the necklace you sent to me, and have worn it many times 🙂 It’s such a shame you can’t combat your fear of flying – have you ever thought of taking a really strong sleeping tablet, and zonking out for the flight? I guess it’s actually getting onto the plane in the first place really though! Yes, am feeling more excited as the days count down, and plan to mail our dates and times through to my brother who is currently on business in Dubai! I will of course have plenty of photos and stories to tell on my return. You take care, and thanks for writing, love Ali xx

  58. alison keenan January 23, 2012 at 7:51 pm -  Reply

    Gosh Elaine – 4 days!!! – I can’t believe it’s come along so quickly! I am certain your outfit is perfect – it’s just pre-wedding nerves on your part – and all the turmoil up to this point will be forgotten on the day I am sure. I shall look forward to hearing about it when I next write, and thank you for pointing out that I shall return in the Spring – what a lovely thought! I’m sending you my love and hoping that you truly enjoy your son’s day, and that it will be one filled with love and happy memories. Ali xxx

  59. alison keenan January 23, 2012 at 7:54 pm -  Reply

    Well I meant it Susan, and thank you for keeping in touch 🙂 I hope that whatever busy time you have ahead it will be doing nice things, and I’ll look forward to hearing all about it on my return. Ali xx

  60. Debz January 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Think my last blog went awol, Alpa’s is there but yours seems to have vanished!
    Anyway, not long now until you’re off Down Under as it were!! Bet you can’t wait. Don’t forget your Ultrasun. I am sure ALi Young will sort you out!
    Can’t help you with the duck I’m afraid as I don’t eat it as I can’t quite bring myself to eat such a lovely bird. Ainzley has duck cat food occasionally but I really don’t think you’d want to venture quite that far with your culinary exploration!!
    Thanks for posting the pictures on your blog. You looked like butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth as a teenager but I’m sure it would!!!
    Hope you have a fantastic time in Oz. Enjoy every minute Ali. What a fantastic way to put last year behind you. XX
    Alpa, I had a lovely birthday thank you. My friend really made a fuss of me which was nice. She even bought me a cake! I haven’t had a birthday cake since I was 6. Ainzley says a special hello to his Auntie Alpa and promises to let me have use of my own slanket very soon!! You take care my lovely.
    Helen, yes, I prefer other people’s birthdays to my own but I must admit that this year I quite enjoyed myself! I do so hope that you get a definitive diagnosis soon as all the doctors visits must be very tiring for you especially with no result at the end. You take care and try to stay positive.
    Lots of love to all in Ali’s Army
    Debz & Ainzley (=^-^=) XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

  61. Susan January 24, 2012 at 5:49 pm -  Reply

    Hi Gail & Ali,
    Sorry I just had to pitch in on the flying conversation – I too have issues Gail. A combination of hypnotherapy – just a couple of sessions – and diazepam from GP really helped. Just a tip.
    Btw if you haven’t read the comments of Claire’s blog from the boys…do lol…so funny.
    Susan x

  62. Paul Mahoney January 24, 2012 at 7:34 pm -  Reply

    Hi Lady,
    Good to see you back on QVC, always liked you, can’t say the same about some of your compatriots,but thats the way it goes,I hope you get well permanento, and have a long and happy life. You are one brave woman, and I hope you get the ultimate reward.
    Lots of love, Paul, xxxxxx

  63. Linda Stoddart January 24, 2012 at 10:33 pm -  Reply

    Dear Alison
    It is wonderful to see you regaining your health and it’s great to have you back on QVC.Have a marvellous time in Australia ,We are missing you already !
    Take care
    Very best wishes
    Linda x

  64. Rhona Fenton January 25, 2012 at 1:03 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison thankyou for sharing your story’s and pictures they are fab:) can’t help you out with cooking Duck never had it but I prefer seeing them swim about past my house at the bottom off the garden:)we were just about at Australia when our Alison was 5 but saddly got canceled as the couple we were staying with split and never got round to it after, but we were to go sailing round the Great Barrier Reef if thats any help to you both:) it will be great for you both and to spend time with your family will make it so special for you and of course they will love Colin whats not to love he is a very special guy:) have a fantastic time and can’t wait to hear all about it when you get back:)now as I said can’t help out with Duck but since it’s the 25th of January one thing I will be cooking tonight is good old Haggis neeps and Tatties for Burns night it’s Colins tradition but let me just say not mine I don’t like it, and just because your scottish doesn’t mean you have to like everything ha ha!!wish Jack a Happy Birthday from us all here please, Rebeccas 18th birthday is the 31st and she finally has her tattoo booked for the 4th of feb she is so excited:)have a fantastic time on holiday enjoy the heat because if your coming to scotland next you will need jumpers and thats in the height off the summer lot’s off love to you all Rhona xx

  65. Liz, Morecambe January 25, 2012 at 9:20 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Just a quick message to say I hope you have the most wonderful and exhilarating trip to Australia. It will be wonderful for you to see your family there, especially after your last year. I’ve only ever flown within Europe and that’s enough for me!! I get too restless. Will look forward to seeing pics when you come back in the Spring (that sounds so lovely).
    My plans for the balancing mastectomy have hit a slight problem in that my blood pressure appears to be through the roof when I’m at the docs for a reading. It’s fine at home so must be ‘white coat syndrome’. They need to sort it out first so I’m not best pleased as I just want it done and then I can plan my next set of trips away!!
    Anyway, have a fab, fab, fab holiday and remember to pace yourself!!
    Lots of love, Liz xx

  66. Jean Richardson January 25, 2012 at 9:48 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison, I too follow the Delia method of cooking duck, and it has never gone wrong (more by luck than judgement!) Hope you have a wonderful holiday, I have been to Australia, but only to Perth in 2009. We had a wonderful time. Hope you enjoy, take it easy. It has been so lovely to see you back on the TV, after all that you have been through, you are a trouper!! Lots of love, Jean x

  67. Dorothy January 26, 2012 at 5:44 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison
    Just want to say hope you both have a great time, you deserve it you have come a long way.Keep going forward.Laura went to The Blue Mountains, she said the scenery was magnificent worth a look.Look forward ton hearing all about it, and lots of photo’s please.
    Save journey and enjoy
    Love Best Wishes
    Dorothy xxx

  68. pauline fooks January 26, 2012 at 10:17 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, have a lovely time in oz I got married on dec 20th 1996 and my husband who was in the navy was posted to oz for 8 months leaving on Jan 6th 1997 (could say bad timing) but he had 2 weeks shore leave in the May so I flew out (like you in 1 go) just refuelling stop we had 5 days in Sydney the flew up to the barrier reef for 6 days and then back to Sydney again where I waved another tearful farewell for another few weeks, we went to (Karanda?) rain forrest which was stunning, whatever you do enjoy you deserve it
    Lots of love

  69. alison keenan January 27, 2012 at 5:47 pm -  Reply

    You’re more than welcome Janet – I hope you like what you see, and good luck in making your decision. Sam’s house purchase is going through well thank you, and we’re looking at mid February I think for completion. Yes I think if my hair’s lengthened enough to be slightly less curly then I will be able to go without my wig although I’ve become really fond of the red one now! It can get a little itchy and hot now though, as I seem to have an alarming amount of hair growing back! Sadly my eyebrows have all but disappeared and my lashes are thinning out, so I’m praying they don’t go…. that would be heartbreaking! Don’t think there’s much chance of slowing down before we go away, but I know we’ll have plenty of time to rest once we’re out there 🙂 Take care and continue to enjoy your log burner, love Ali xx

  70. alison keenan January 27, 2012 at 5:55 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Debz, so glad that you had a great birthday and I hope this weekend will be a good one for you too 🙂 I have indeed got my ultrasun ready and have also just bought some of those small plastic travel pots and bottles for my beauty products and shampoo! No I certainly don’t want to venture into the realms of cat food for inspirational tips on cooking duck, and will make use of all the excellent advice I’ve been given on these pages instead 🙂 Stay well and happy and give Ainzley a cuddle for me – if you can ever get him off the slanket! Love Ali xx

  71. Helen January 27, 2012 at 10:24 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Regarding the duck – stab it all over with a fork and then just before it goes in the oven rub salt into the skin. Sit the bird on a rack over the roasting tin – it will drip grease like you wouldn’t believe! I have a fantastic receipt for orange sauce/gravy if you need it. Keep the fat it makes great roast tattles!
    Still you won’t be taking bout duck for a while – have a gret time in Oz!
    Helen x

  72. Jo January 28, 2012 at 7:17 pm -  Reply

    I love Australia Zoo, I have an adopted koala there (Bailey) who is a gorgeous boy.
    The Blue Mountains are beautiful, but one of the best places to go is Mt Tambourine, there is a jewellery shop to die for there. Lots of semi precious gem stones set in sterling silver, loads of varieties, lots that I recognised thanks to Lola Rose and many more that I wish to own!!!!

  73. Eileen P. January 28, 2012 at 11:31 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, I have never experimented with cooking duck and have just roasted it on a wirer rack in the roasting tin. I don’t like it but my family do. My son is going to Australia on Wednesday 1st Feb for three months to stay with school friends who now live in Bondai beach. Not sure if spelling is right on that but never mind. Hope you have a lovely time with your brother and family in Australia, make sure you have plenty of rest for the first few days. Safe journey.
    Love Eileen P. xxx

  74. Gail January 29, 2012 at 8:33 pm -  Reply

    I’m so glad you received the necklace Ali xx You will really be buzzing with excitement right now as well as being very busy packing, or are you super organised and everything done!! No, I didn’t think so, ha ha. I’m afraid I’ve tried everything for the fear of flying and nothing worked. I flew about 4 times and each time I got worse. Eventually, I think it was about 1991, we got to the Airport and I refused to get on the plane. Yes, my husband and son left me at the Airport and my dear old Dad, who is sadly no longer with us, picked me up. I’ve never been on a plane since. Never say never though. Have a wonderful time and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. I’m thrilled to see you looking so well when I see you on the TV and I always blow you a little kiss. Safe journey and lol, Gail xx
    Thank you Susan. I think a lot of people are scared of flying, but they do it and I take my hat off to them. It is definitely restricting but I try to concentrate on the things I can do rather than the things I can’t – works for me xx
    Safe journey, Gail xxxx

  75. SUE RADFORD January 30, 2012 at 9:11 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali,
    Just a short note to wish you a lovely and exciting holiday. I can imagine your brother is as excited as you are! Hope you received the little Angel I sent you – you can’t help but feel a sense of peace and calm when looking at her sweet little face can you?
    Take care Ali, I will look forward to hearing all about your exciting adventure!
    Love from Sue xx

  76. Debz January 31, 2012 at 1:30 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Have just watched you on the Fabulous at 40 and Beyond, and aren’t you just!! You looked stunning. Those leggings/trousers were gorgeous and please, please get your newly growing hair coloured red when the time comes as it really takes years off you.
    You out sparkled those diamonds at midday too!
    Enjoy your trip down under Ali you deserve it.
    Lots of love and licks

  77. Susan January 31, 2012 at 4:06 pm -  Reply

    Hi Gail,
    I’m so sorry you have tried so much to no avail for flying. I completely sympathise though…I had the same thing happen to me…frozen to spot an cried lol when they called us! I did get on the plane though as there were 11 of us and I couldn’t not – it was the worst journey though…and 10 hours! Whatever works for you though as you rightly say.
    Take good care,
    Susan x

  78. alison keenan January 31, 2012 at 10:54 pm -  Reply

    Paul, I’m liking the sound of the ‘ultimate reward’ – no less than I wish for any woman who’s been where I am now…. I pray it’s all behind me now, and thank you for your kind words, love Ali xx

  79. alison keenan January 31, 2012 at 10:56 pm -  Reply

    Dear Linda it’s great to be back, and I am certain that the weeks will fly past, and then I’ll be home and writing to let you know how it all went! I hope you’re having a good week, love Ali xx

  80. alison keenan January 31, 2012 at 10:59 pm -  Reply

    Rhona, I hope very much that your haggis neeps and tatties went down well on Burns night, and there weren’t too many of you with headaches in the morning! I hope that Rebecca also enjoyed her birthday today, and that she will be happy with her tattoo!) I will of course pass on your best to Jack for the 2nd…. can’t believe it was a year ago since I was in hospital… would never have predicted that, but then would never have thought I’d be heading off to Australia a year later 🙂 Every cloud eh?? You take care, stay warm, and keep in touch. Love to all, Ali xx

  81. alison keenan January 31, 2012 at 11:02 pm -  Reply

    Liz, you are so much the traveller, I hope very much that they can sort out your blood pressure so your op will be over and done with by the Spring. Saw my third consultant yesterday for reconstruction, and sadly very few options open to me…. am going to think about it while I’m away, and then decide once back. We were very lucky to be upgraded on the flight, so I’m not worrying particularly about the length of it, as I will be able to catch up on some much needed sleep 🙂 Look after yourself Liz, and I’ll be in touch on my return, love Ali xx

  82. alison keenan January 31, 2012 at 11:04 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Jean, and thanks for your kind words 🙂 I’m not sure whether Perth is similar to Sydney or not, but I’m glad you enjoyed your visit. I’m just hoping the weather will perk up a tad, as this summer has been one of their wettest yet my brother was telling me! Still, it beats minus 5 which we currently have here! Keep in touch, love ali xx

  83. alison keenan January 31, 2012 at 11:08 pm -  Reply

    Dorothy how lovely to hear from you..I remember when you first wrote and told me that your Laura was heading off Down Under, and how concerned you were that she was going so far away. I’m sure she had some wonderful stories to tell of her visit, and I will indeed make sure we visit the Blue Mountains. I have a little leather bound note book that my sister bought for me, and I have noted every single place my ‘army’ have suggested… I’ll let you know how far we get! I do hope you are all well, love ali x

  84. alison keenan January 31, 2012 at 11:11 pm -  Reply

    Crikey Pauline, if anything was ever going to test a relationship that posting must definitely have been very hard to take! Especially as you didn’t see your husband again for another five months! It must have been heartbreaking after being together for that fortnight to have waved goodbye yet again 🙁 I hope you have precious few reasons for be apart these days. Thank you for your suggestion – it’s going in the book! Take care, love Ali x

  85. alison keenan January 31, 2012 at 11:13 pm -  Reply

    Helen I may well call on you for the orange sauce recipe ! I don’t want to give up on the Duck just yet, and I think Colin may well enjoy it were I to make it another time. I hope that all is going well for you and that you are feeling a little better than when we last ‘spoke’! With love, ali xx

  86. alison keenan January 31, 2012 at 11:16 pm -  Reply

    Jo, Mount Tamborine (great name!) is now in my book, and I am determined to find the jewellery shop! So glad you were able to recognise the stones, and lovely that you were able to treat yourself. thanks for writing, love Ali xx

  87. alison keenan January 31, 2012 at 11:18 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Eileen – one day later, and I might have been on the same flight as your son! 🙂 I do hope he enjoys Bondi – he will if he’s a surfer – and let’s hope the weather out there picks up for him! I’m sure you’ll miss him, but thank you for taking the time out to write to me before you wave him off.. Love Ali xx

  88. alison keenan January 31, 2012 at 11:21 pm -  Reply

    Gail you have such a positive outlook – definitely best to concentrate on what you know you can do, than beat yourself up about what isn’t possible for you! It seems rather odd heading off for a holiday at this time of the year, but amazingly I’ve been back to work for three months now! I do feel tired if I’m honest, so this has come at a good time, and I shall look forward to telling you all about it when I’m home. Love Ali xx

  89. alison keenan January 31, 2012 at 11:25 pm -  Reply

    Yes Sue, we’re both very excited – I had to mail him the flight number tonight, so he’ll be there at the airport to pick us up..!! Thank you so much for my beautiful angel. I have her on my bureau, and hope to write to you before I leave. It was very kind of you. Do take care, and keep in touch, with my love, Ali xx

  90. alison keenan January 31, 2012 at 11:28 pm -  Reply

    Debz bless you! So glad you liked the leggings – the whole outfit was courtesy of Kim and Co, and will be on at midnight tonight (Tuesday!) Thank you so much for your kind words about the diamond jewellery too. I so love presenting those shows, and thought the jewellery was exquisite – nice to think you were just the other side of the camera 🙂 Take care of yourself and Ainzley, and love to you both xxx

  91. Lynn Hind February 1, 2012 at 12:46 am -  Reply

    hi ali this is my 5th reply that has never appeared lol begining to think your blocking me lol only jokeing lol
    hope you have a fantastic time just whats needed a happy time with family, rather than tears of fear and feeling the worlds come to a end. youve done so brilliantly and so brave, i know the road isnt clear yet but enjoy the ‘stop off’ to enjoy some well earned boosting of the morale. your never far from keenans toon army lol always here to pick you up
    lynn xx

  92. Barbara( Boosie) Isle of Anglesy February 1, 2012 at 1:06 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    My daughter flew to Sydney in December 2010 to see the fireworks on New Years Eve. ( Her luggage stayed in London for another 24 hours) The best part of her trip was the 3+ hour tour of the Harbour bridge, so worth doing. Watch the weather for the Blue Mountains, she went on a dull day and would rather have been at the last day of the Test match against England which England won! back So lovely to see you back looking so well.

  93. helen February 1, 2012 at 9:22 am -  Reply

    Dear Ali, have a fab holiday and do take time to relax as you said you have been feeling a little tired of late. Enjoy this special time with your family.
    Take care lovely
    luv and hugs
    Helen s

  94. angela white February 1, 2012 at 1:00 pm -  Reply

    hi ali, you alright!? just to wish you a wonderful holiday and hope you have a fantastic time, you so deserve it!!! it will be lovely catching up with your brother and family. try and pace yourself and dont overdo it though! looking forward to hearing from you when you return i hope all of ali”s army are well love to you all xx take care ali and once again have a fabulous jollydays!!!! xxx

  95. Jackie February 1, 2012 at 4:46 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison,
    Our eldest son and his family live in Sydney and we will be setting off again on March 8th for a months stay. They are expecting a new baby in March so we are very excited to be there when the new one arrives.
    As for sites to see, I can recommend the Blue Mountains as we did the Christmas in July thing in 2009, staying in a beautiful cottage for 3 days. Stunning. If you are feeling up to a 7km walk why not try the Coogee to Bondi walk, along the coast, again a great walk. Have you shopped in the QVB building? Well worth a visit in the centre of Sydney.
    Just a few suggestions. Have a great time.
    Happy holidays
    Jackie x

  96. Joanna Downey February 1, 2012 at 5:51 pm -  Reply

    Hello Ali, A tad late in replying to your latest blog; a crisis with Ellie has taken up all my time recently. I suppose having your first major “wobble” in life at the age of 22 means you’ve been doing it right previously and hopefully she’ll soon get her balance back. The purpose of this is just to say have a wonderful holiday and we can’t wait to hear all about it when you return. Please hug a koala for me! Love from Jo x

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