Handbags, hurricane Hannah and happy days ahead


Since I’ve become someone who can’t read or type without my glasses, it’s imperative I have a pair to hand at any given moment. I try and keep them on my desk, a pair on the bedside table, another pair in the kitchen, and an emergency pair in my car. You’d think it was an infallible system, but this morning I couldn’t find any!

It’s a bit like my Gayle Hayman Lip Lift. I tend to squirrel them away and have one in each of my handbags, another in my car and several in my coat pockets, yet there are days when I am completely bereft 🙂

It’s either old age, or trying to do too many things at one time – ‘spreading myself too thinly as my mum would say’ – but I know that many of us are guilty of that having read through my latest lovely blog responses. Thanks for taking the time out to get in touch, and I always look forward to catching up on all your news.

It was great to see the sun over the Bank Holiday weekend, and I hope you got the chance to enjoy those couple of very warm days. I had been to see my Mum and Joe just a few days before to help them a little in the garden, so it was a bonus that it stayed dry! I was up against it with my car, but had luckily been able to book it in with a local garage for its MOT. There was a slightly surreal moment when Joe took me back to pick it up and I was told it had failed as the hand brake was faulty. I was more than a little taken aback as I’d parked it on a slope when I’d left it, and there hadn’t been a problem then. It transpired the chap hadn’t realised that the handbrake was actually the small pedal on the floor next to the main brake, but once I’d pointed it out, the car was passed – phew!

I try very hard not to leave things until the last minute, especially if it means I may miss out on something, and so I was pleased to know that the Radley London Grosvenor Medium Multiway bag was available on pre-launch before it stormed onto the stage at midnight last night. So busy was it that the black leather option sold out prior to the launch, but the remaining five colours have proved to be equally popular.

My favourite was the tan, and I took it away with me last weekend where it’s ability to change from a grab handle to cross-body bag was really useful! Most of my handbags are far larger than this, but I think this is a really well thought out style, and may be the perfect one for you – not least because of the exceptional quality of the leather, but the really clever design. You only need pay £48.32 now with your P&P, and if you change your mind you’ve got your 30-day money back guarantee!

I did a fair bit of walking over the weekend, and was rewarded with the most fabulous views across the Hertfordshire/Warwickshire border. It was pretty heavy going on Saturday because of hurricane Hannah, but I still found these beautiful cowslips in amongst the grass. I remember way back to my childhood when my Nanny Timms told me what they were, and how much I loved the perfect bell shape and the stunning yellow colour. I’ve not seen ones with this hint of red in though – any ideas why that might be?

Talking of flowers, have a look at my orchids – aren’t they amazing? They definitely are the blooms that keep on giving! The pink one started life as a £5 single stem Tesco orchid, but thanks to Richard Jackson’s Flower Power this is its fourth year of flowering 🙂

I hope you managed to get your KitchenAid while it was a TSV? I have more baking to do this weekend, as we have two birthdays. My sister’s partner Linda on the 5th, and then Honey’s birthday on the 6th! Honey’s having a Rapunzel party, so the cake will be themed to match. I’m getting over to Lucy early and she will be doing the decoration this time. I remember picking Honey up from school before Christmas and asking her what she’d like to play when we got home. “Rapunzel nanny, and I will be Rapunzel because my hair is longer than yours”. “Of course” I said “and who will I be?” “You can be Pasqual” “Who’s he?” “A Lizard”… that figures! 🙂

We will of course have candles on the cake, but not the scented variety. Rylan though is back on Tuesday evening at 8pm in place of my Diamonique show. I had a great time with Rylan last time he was at QVC, and was really impressed with the mix of fragrances in his Luxenoa range which has now expanded into a homeware range! There are all kinds of beautiful things within his collection that will add a touch of class and personality and help you to accessorise your home. A little bird told me there may be some fragranced body products coming soon too! Watch this space.

We held our Great Beauty Event last Sunday which was a great success, and so I thought you should know that this event is still active online for the rest of this week with 4 Easy Pay instalment offers and in some cases free delivery! A few of my favourites are the IT Cosmetics Full Coverage SPF 50+ CC cream, Liz Earle’s Cleanse and Polish Duo, and if your eyelashes are looking a little sparse you should try Revitalash – all amazing offers so do have a look.

Please do keep in touch with me here on the blog, or on Twitter @alikqvc or Instagram alikeenan1. It’s always good to hear from you. Enjoy the May Bank Holiday and I’ll be in touch,

With my love,

Ali xxx


  1. Jean Daly April 30, 2019 at 10:39 am -  Reply

    Hi Alison, As always I love reading your news & you always manage to squeeze so much into a week. I see you will be busy making birthday cakes – I have a Kitchen Aid which I purchased from QVC….sadly I haven’t used it yet. However my eldest son will be celebrating his 40th birthday in June so perhaps you would post one of your tried & tested recipes for me (not too complicated) Lots of love Jean xx

    • Alison Keenan May 9, 2019 at 7:00 pm -  Reply

      Dear Jean, I’m so glad you enjoy the blog and the photos too. I really enjoy reminding myself of how I’ve spent the previous week or so, and was staggered to realise that I’ve been writing this blog for well over 10 years now! I’m pleased to know that you’ve purchased a KitchenAid, and fully understand why you may have yet to use it. I think I can guarantee you that once you have, you will find it invaluable. It’s not just for the cakes, but I use mine to whip cream, make buttercream icing, pastry, biscuits and batter. Here’s a recipe for you that you may like to try for your son’s 40th birthday. It’s a traditional Victoria Sandwich, and as our lovely KitchenAid guest told me, it makes no difference at all if you put all the ingredients in together! so….
      Butter two 8″ sandwich tins and dust them with flour to aid the non-stick, and light the oven Gas 5, 190 or 170 fan.
      1) Put 200g caster sugar, 200g butter/marg, 4 eggs, 200g self-raising flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 2 tbsps milk into the KitchenAid and begin beating with the flat blade beater on speed 2. Increase to the fastest speed until you have a smooth and airy batter.
      2) Divide the mixture between the two tins and smooth the surface as best you can.
      3) Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 20 mins or until the sponge springs back when you press it. Try to do check this while it’s still in the oven rather than taking it out!
      4) Turn out onto a cooling rack and then fill with strawberry jam and whipped fresh cream (use the wire beater to whip the cream) and dust with icing sugar.

      Enjoy 🙂 Let me know how it goes, love Ali xx

  2. Vivien Gore April 30, 2019 at 3:25 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali just read your blog l don’t know anyone that can loose all them specs. Lol l have one pair on and a spare just in case l break a pair because l would not be able to drive or read because my eyes are that bad. I do hope you managed to find at least one pair 🤓 your garden always looks lovely l can never keep orchids I’m not very good at flowers apart from roses. I always seem to kill them off or forget to do something that l should. I do hope you have a lovely party you do have a very busy life. Since l retired there’s never enough hours in the day. I don’t know how l managed to look after my twins and still had a full time job. But l guess we manage because we have to. Anyway hope you have a lovely week and enjoy that beautiful Honey there not little long and time seems to fly by she will soon be 21. Bye for now Love Viv 💖💐

    • Alison Keenan May 9, 2019 at 7:07 pm -  Reply

      Hi Viv, probably because I’m very badly organised and have a lousy memory 🙂 Luckily I don’t need them to drive with, otherwise I would be in a muddle! The garden is actually a bit of a mess at the moment, but it will look fab when all the work Colin has in hand is finished. He’s made a really lovely water feature, which is part of a raised flower bed, but he’s been hampered by the weather and not enough power in the pump, so I’m selfishly rather pleased that the good weather we had this time last year has yet to materialise so that we can enjoy it when it does! You’re right about keeping busy… I can’t imagine retiring just yet, but I am lucky that I don’t work full time, and just about manage to cram everything else in 🙂 Honey’s party was a great success and I’ll be posting photos in the next blog. Love to you Viv xxx

  3. Joanna Downey April 30, 2019 at 5:44 pm -  Reply

    Hello Ali, I too have reading glasses in a multitude of places but still end up borrowing Colin’s! Lovely photos, as always, & the same quality as the Mexican selection only different! Cowslips with red petals are quite rare but do appear if they’ve cross polinated with coloured primulas – obviously as promiscuous as aquilegias. In your last blog you asked about making frozen yogurt in my Kitchenaid, I should have explained that I have the ice cream maker bowl, keep it in the freezer & make frozen yogurt when the urge arises. May has always been a birthday month for us & Etty has added to the number, personally I think she’s the loveliest month of the year & going to Chelsea makes her perfect. My Etty-sitting duties start again tomorrow & I haven’t finished all the tasks I had planned to do over the Easter holidays but it’s a very short half term so they’ll have to stay on the list until the end of the month. The sublime Mr Stigers on Sunday evening & then Colin’s off on his second Scottish climbing trip next week. Love from Jo x

    • Alison Keenan May 9, 2019 at 8:01 pm -  Reply

      Dear Jo, unfortunately my Colin and I have very different sight issues, so that wouldn’t work for me. Thanks so much for solving the mystery of the red edged cowslips – there were definitely a fair few primulas around that area too so it makes sense. Thanks also for explaining about the icecream; I don’t have one of those bowls sadly! How lovely that Etty also has a birthday in May, and I hope that you enjoy your sitting duties once she’s back with you. The weather could be better though eh? Judging by the start of the month, I’m not sure how warm it will be later on! Last year it was so hot for Honey’s birthday folk were fighting for the shade! This year it was so cold, Lucy had the heating on 🙂 Do give Mr Stigers a wave for me, and enjoy your night out. I hope Colin enjoys his Scottish climbing trip next week, and that you will get a chance to catch up on a good book or maybe some TV drama?! Love Ali xx

  4. Tricia Coulsowood April 30, 2019 at 6:37 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison, Gayle Haymen lip lift,. Stood out on your page to me today..Since Ive been in post op recovery Ive just been happy to get through another day with slow improvement over the past several months..I appear this last week or two to have looked in the mirror!!..What I saw was a pair of plump less lips…mere thin lines where my lips used to be…Please tell me Gayle Haymen will be able to rescue to my poor lifeless lips!.
    Its very difficult to get back to where you left off no matter what surgery you have had. It took my daughter over a year to start to feel more like herself once again.I know you’ve experienced the same , as so many others have who have been recovering from surgery and chemotherapy .Any more beauty tips from you or your followers …You look fabulous, au- natural…Love to all ,Tricia .

    • Alison Keenan May 9, 2019 at 8:05 pm -  Reply

      Hi there Tricia, so good to know that your op is now behind you, and although your improvement is slow, it’s still an improvement! I can definitely endorse Gayle Hayman’s lip lift. Having never been blessed with full lips, as I’ve got older they’ve definitely got thinnner. It really does make a difference, and just feels so much nicer too. You’re right though about getting back to normal post op. It’s a long haul, and requires a great deal of positive thinking – I know you’re good at that though, so I’m sure you’ll be feeling much better soon. One other beauty tip I can give is to treat yourself to one of those exfoliating mitts – 99p from the supermarket. I use mine every time I shower and then I always use body moisturiser. I think it helps hugely in making your skin smoother and more youthful! Love Ali xx

  5. Merche Gardiner April 30, 2019 at 7:20 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, like you I love orchids, I have three plants, ages range from 5 yrs to 11 yrs, they take over my kitchen windowsill, as I have no gas appliciances in there, whereas we gas fires in my dining room and lounge which they don’t seem keen on, the flowers last so long. It’s a busy month for me as well in May, my Grandaughter Hollie wil be 20 on the 11th, my oldest grandson Julian will be 29 on the 20th and his dad my son Gerald will be 52 on the 30th. Look forward to seeing Honey’s birthday cake I’m sure it will be a show stopper! Love Merchex

    • Alison Keenan May 9, 2019 at 8:08 pm -  Reply

      Dear Merche, lovely to know that we share a love or orchids and interesting to hear about the gas fires. We have radiators and a log burner in the sitting room, but the orchids really enjoy being on my kitchen windowsill too! It’s south facing and they enjoy the sun as much as I do 🙂 I hope that Hollie enjoys her birthday, Julian too, and that your Gerald will also – he shares his birthday with my Colin! 🙂 I’ll post the pics of Honey’s party and cake next time. Enjoy these special occasions won’t you, and thanks for writing, love Ali xx

  6. Karen B May 1, 2019 at 7:25 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, lovely blog as ever. Look forward to pics of Honey’s cake – you always make lovely cakes. Loved your show with Rylan last night – what a lovely range which i will no doubt dip in to at some point! xx

    • Alison Keenan May 9, 2019 at 8:09 pm -  Reply

      Hi Karen, so glad you enjoyed the hour with Rylan – so did I – such a lovely man, and really hands on when it comes to his own business and these beautiful candles. They really have the most fabulous fragrance and I think the black wax is a masterstroke! I’ll be posting pics of Honey’s cake and party in the next blog, so do keep your eyes peeled. Love Ali x

  7. Judith lennon May 2, 2019 at 2:15 pm -  Reply

    Hello Ali
    I seem to be spending my time catching up and racing around these days! I thought retirement was all about chilling and relaxation, but not in my case. I have less time now than when I was working. Us ladies all seem to be the same don’t we? As for loosing things and forgetting what we went upstairs for well, we don’t talk about that. I would like to know when this sudden change of life happened as one day I was fine and the next old age took over lol 😀 I’ve decided to carry on as normal as I can’t do anything about it 😂 we did however spend quality time over Easter relaxing in the garden and enjoying the wonderful weather. Your springtime flowers are lovely and a good sign of better days ahead. Today I have had the company of my eldest grand daughter as her school is closed for the local elections. We’ve had a lovely day and she is great company. Wait till you and Honey are doing things together. I really cherish my time with both my girls as they are growing up before my eyes. Time now to have a much needed cuppa. Until next time sending love and hugs. Judith xx

    • Alison Keenan May 9, 2019 at 8:13 pm -  Reply

      Hi Judith, I’m sure we women ‘of a certain age’ could write reams about losing things and forgetting things… although we may forget what we were planning to write about! 🙂 So glad you got the chance to enjoy the Easter weather. I was working on Saturday and Sunday, but I did spend some time in the sun on the Monday which was sublime. So glad you get to see your granddaughter and even though she is growing up she still has time for her granny. My nanny lived a long way from us when I was young so we were only able to see her when Mum took us there. I don’t feel I really knew her that well, so it is an absolute blessing to know Honey as well as I do and to have this special time with her. Love to you, and take care, Ali xx

  8. paam stephens May 3, 2019 at 1:27 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali I love reading your blogs that’s when I can find my glasses ///( only kidding ) I would be lost without my glasses even though I had a cataract operation on one of them 3 years ago but that’s another story …I received my first ever Orchid as a gift on our 60th wedding anniversary in March ive never really cared for them in the past although I love my small garden and although its a bit boastful of me I do get many compliments but I am really taken with the Orchid and hope I can keep it looking good and healthy I do have Richard Jacksons flower power and he said it can be used on Orchids so im going to give it a go ….your cakes always look beautiful Ali but as I don’t have a Kitchen Aid I have a good excuse not to make them and even though I cant taste them I shall enjoy any pictures you post…Take care Ali love Pam xx

    • Alison Keenan May 9, 2019 at 8:15 pm -  Reply

      HAHAHA Pam 🙂 Hope you’ve found your glasses now! Sorry that the cataract op didn’t go as well as you’d hoped. Mum had hers done recently and she’s found quite an improvement which is good. Great to know that you now have an orchid, and YES do make sure you use Richard Jackson’s Flower Power when you feed it. Just a little once a week, and it should do really well. I made a chocolate cake for Honey’s birthday and everyone loved it – I saved a bit for Charlie Brook as he loves cake 🙂 I hope you enjoy the weekend, love Ali xx

  9. Christine May 3, 2019 at 9:32 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali just you saying you remember flowers when you were kids. My brother and I were remember the ones we seen, they wild flowers when we lived in the country side, they were primrose, violets, so many others are not there any more.

    Take Care x

    • Alison Keenan May 9, 2019 at 8:16 pm -  Reply

      Dear Christine, lovely to hear from you and I was lucky enough to see some violets too the other weekend. Cow parsley was everywhere and that picks beautifully – often included in Peony Flowers faux arrangements! Nice memories for you and your brother to share too 🙂 Love Ali xx

  10. Aileen Miller May 7, 2019 at 12:31 am -  Reply

    Hi Alison, I took delivery of your beautiful Hope earrings recently and I just wanted to tell you how chuffed I am with them. They are perfect for what they represent and I will wear them a lot. Kicking myself that I didn’t order the large Hope pendent on the longer chain while it was in stock as it doesn’t seem to be available now. Really enjoy your warm, friendly, chatty blogs especially when they involve Honey, so cute! Thank you for designing such gorgeous earrings, they’ll be worn with great pride! Kind regards Aileen

    • Alison Keenan May 9, 2019 at 8:19 pm -  Reply

      Dear Aileen, I’m so glad that you’ve received your I Hope earrings and that you plan to wear them a lot. I am really sad that the range is no longer available, and that the larger pendant is now out of stock. Someone wrote to me recently about the bracelet but that too has now gone. I’m happy though that you will wear your earrings regularly, and thank you for your kind words. So nice to know that you enjoy the blogs and particularly the pics of Honey. I have some lovely ones coming up that I took for her birthday. Take care and enjoy the weekend, love Ali xx

  11. Mrs Janet Jones May 9, 2019 at 2:48 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali, I have some very happy news, my results came back benign YAY! I don’t mind telling you I cried with relief as its the second time in the last 5 months. A letter is being sent to my oncologist to decide if I stop taking the tamoxifen or persevere until next year. As always i will go by their advice.
    My boys are coming down tomorrow I can’t wait I have seen quite a lot of them these last few weeks and as always it’s a joy.
    We can now press on with our Singapore /Australian holiday our trip of a lifetime somewhere my husband has always wanted to go.

    Let me know if you have any travel plans for the rest of the year. You certainly peaked my interest in Mexico.
    Take care Ali speak soon Love Janet xxx

  12. Diane Robinson May 9, 2019 at 8:47 pm -  Reply

    HI ALISON .You had a lovely yellow dress on the beauty finale show it had animal prints on it .please could you tell me if it was off qvc if so the product number tyvm xx

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