Happy Friday!


Ali and Colin on Valentine's DayHappy Friday! Hope you've got your vest on, 'cos it's pretty parky out there today! Hard to believe this day last week we were basking in balmy breezes, bright sunshine and a temperature here in the South, of 13 degrees! Still, variety is the spice of life they say, and who am I to argue πŸ™‚

It was lovely to read your various Valentine Day stories, and to catch up on all you've doing during the half term holiday too – Janet I'm hoping you will have become a Grandma by now, and Jo I hope your day with Ellie was fun πŸ™‚

Well thanks to those of you who took the time to think about my dress choice for Thursday's night out, I can tell you now that the dress I wore was the one on the left of the picture – and yes it did look brown but was infact black! I felt the other two left no space for expansion of the waist line, whereas the longer dress had a ruched element in the front which I felt would adequately house a larger tummy due to additional bread rolls and maybe the odd pudding or two!

It was indeed a good choice as Colin and I motored our way through seven courses! To be fair – as this was 'haute cuisine' – four of those courses were little appetisers, but they were gorgeous! We had goats cheese with olives and truffle, a strawberry and champagne sorbet, a tiny blini with three different types of caviar on it, and then chocolates to follow our sweet!

Colin's dessert Ali's dessert

My starter was equally delicious and set onto an incredibly intricate mix of salad leaves and dressing, but my memory is such that I've forgotten what it was!! The main course though is indelibly printed in my mind – rack of lamb with black pudding, caramalised red cabbage, and a little tower of cloud like potato… exquisite!

I had taken my phone with me to the dining room so that Colin and I could have a photo together, but when the sweet course arrived I just had to take a picture of these works of art… mine was a mouth-watering melee of raspberry souflee and sorbets, and Colin's, an incredible chocolate sculpture, lemon mousse and a tiny wee tangy fruit tart! As you can see, the time it would have taken the chef to make these was a GREAT deal longer than it took Colin and I to demolish them…

Colin stealing chocolatesI had to guard my share of the chocolates though, as he finished his pud before me, and I fear there would have been none left! πŸ™‚ Unbelievably the next morning we somehow managed to eat a complete cooked breakfast too! I think the waiter (who had been at our table the night before) was somewhat taken aback when we asked for extra toast, but at least it meant we didn't have to worry about eating anything else until Saturday πŸ™‚

When we got home, I was checking through my emails and found one from my brother in Sydney, who had written to remind me that this time last year we had been with him in Australia… incredible to think that the year has passed so quickly. I do miss him, but hope that one day soon we will have time together again. For those of you who may have spotted me on air over the last five days, I'm no longer wearing my bandage, but thank you so much for your kind comments and concern.

Ali on Valentine's Day Ali posing after a glass or two of champagne

Sadly I don't think it's been as succesful as I had hoped it would be, but I am perservering with an alternative compression sleeve until my 'made to measure' one arrives! May be brave and bare both arms tonight, although a little fake tan is definitely needed as I'm looking mighty pasty! πŸ™‚

One final bit of news is that Colin has his first live 'gig' with his troupe The Sonny Walters Band on Monday next week! Exciting! I'll let you know how it goes, but thought it would be nice to give you a copy of his album so you can enjoy all the beautiful songs he's written. Bearing in mind it's country music, I thought I'd set this simple question…

One of the world's most successful female country artists is Dolly Parton. She has composed over 3,000 songs and sold over 100 million records, but how old is she?

A) 71
B) 67
C) 64

Just list your answer below before midnight next Thursday and all those who get it right, will be put into a draw and I'll ask my lovely editor to randomly pick three winners – good luck! (Was going to suggest you guess her bra size, but it's changed so many times I'm not sure even she'd know!! ) πŸ™‚

Have a lovely weekend, and I'll look forward to hearing from you. With my love always, Ali xx

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  1. john wallhead February 22, 2013 at 6:25 pm -  Reply


  2. babsQ February 22, 2013 at 7:07 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali Dolly Parton is 67yrs old,i do own the old vinyl of her music,such a great music artist. Sorry to hear your arm is’nt doing very good but hopefully will very soon. Love the picks of you and Colin, your menu looked and sounded mouth watering, what a lovely valentine celebration for both of you. You looked lovely in your dress, it was the one i picked so i feel rather happy as i feel i helped choose your valentine celebration dress, if you know what i mean. Good Luck, Colin with your gig i hope it goes well and is a great success and you go from strength to strength. Ihave’nt done a lot this week, i went with my daughter one day to our local organic farm The Pink Pig where we had a pot of tea and bacon butty which was lovely. As it is school holidays it was very busy and noisy but i love children and the sound of their voices so it did’nt bother me. I don’t know why Ali but i have this feeling your arm is getting you down, i understand and i sincerely hope it does get better. Lots of hugs and kisses. Much love BabsQ xxx

  3. Liz, Morecambe February 22, 2013 at 9:00 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Ali and the gang!
    You look like you have been having a great time with treats, Ali and been thoroughly spoilt by Colin – excellent!! Sorry about the lymphoedema issues. It’s a comparatively unrecognised side effect of all the treatment but a real nuisance (that’s me being polite!). I’m due to get some new sleeves in a couple of weeks – boring nude colour though.
    I have been reading the blogs and everyone’s comments even if I haven’t written for a while. Part of that was due to the fact that I had a holiday with my sister……in Swedish Lapland to have a night in the Ice Hotel and then onto another small village even further north to hopefully see the Northern Lights. It was a trip that had been booked for almost a year and was very special. The night in the Ice Hotel was spent in a cold room where we slept in a hi-tech sleeping bag on a reindeer skin on a bed made from ice. At minus 5. Guess who managed to get 7 hours sleep and still have hot sweats even at that temperature? Yep, me! We had an amazing meal at the restaurant there and huge breakfast the next day.
    Then it was on to our next hotel for 4 nights. It was a lodge (well, small sort of portakabin but very cosy), surrounded by so much snow. We went for a trip on a husky dog sled and also a trip out onto a frozen lake to do some ice fishing. And we were lucky enough to see the Northern Lights on 3 nights!! The whole experience was unbelievable and I feel so lucky and privileged to have been able to do it. I came back with so many photos…..
    My back has been playing me up a lot and I was at hospital yesterday to discuss my treatment as the scans have shown a fair bit of progression of the cancer in my bones and a dubious spot on a lung. So after almost 5 years the existing drugs have stopped working and it’s on to a new regime. Fortunately, there are some comparatively new drugs available via the Cancer Drugs Fund which I should qualify for, so my oncologist is putting a request in for me and fingers crossed it will be approved. The drugs have all given good results in trials so it looks promising. Hopefully, I will be able to start one next week and the others soon after.
    I’m sure I’ve forgotten loads of what I was going to write but never mind. Will try to post more often now.
    Love to all, Liz

  4. Jill Foster February 22, 2013 at 10:48 pm -  Reply

    and a very Happy Friday to you Ali – how lovely to have your catch up again and hear about your wonderful evening – the dress looks just stunning – as does the food!! Gutted to hear that the arm has not worked as well as you had hoped. But it may be that the arm is more noticeable to you and not other people – I have said before they look at your lovely face and that smile and do not notice that your arm is playing up. I noticed the other evening that the bandage was off and was delighted for you. My daughter had the penultimate chemo yesterday and was better than expected today. She had her arm (where there had been a blood clot caused by the picc line) checked and also the line in her neck and both are perfect so good news there. The blood clot has gone but the horrid injections will continue for a little while yet. One more chemo to go and then on to the radio – any hints and tips on that would be gratefully received – I cannot tell you how you have become our “font of all knowledge” and I am sure that will not just be for us but other members of your “army”. Looking forward to your next catch up – have a super weekend Love Jilly xx

  5. Elaine sallis February 23, 2013 at 1:09 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    You looked lovely in the dress you chose. Your meal was obviously gorgeous your pictures made me very hungry. I hope the gig goes well for Colin . Sorry to hear that you are still having problems with your arm. Try not to let it get you down too much although that is probably easier said than done as it must be annoying . Just remember how far you have come and how amazing you have been through it all. Yes Molly has a bottom tooth right at the front, I loved your name for them. I have never thought of naming a tooth anything but blooming trouble! I think Cali was a little disappointed with the tooth fairy, it seems the going rate is Β£3 amongst her friends, how’s that for inflation it was 50p when my children were little. Anyway the tooth fairy must have been going through hard times as she only left a Β£2 coin.
    Keep smiling.
    Lots of love Elaine

  6. Linda Marshall February 23, 2013 at 2:14 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Happy Friday to you also. Sorry your arm is playing you up,but knowing your spirit you won’t let it get you down. I am still feeling rather low at the moment as it is only 5 months since Bryan passed away.I would love to hear more of Colins music as i enyoyed it when you put it on your blog.
    love Linda xx
    Dolly is 67 years old.

  7. Pearl Emery February 23, 2013 at 4:22 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Dolly Parton is 67yrs old,Born January 1946.
    Hope you are keeping well,my it is parky outside so i am staying in in the warm,one of the nice things about being retired is that when it’s extremly nasty weather is that you don’t have to go out.Thoes desserts looked scrumptious mind you i think i would have had to refuse one as am trying to lose weight.
    Take care Ali love to you Colin the family and also Amica and Ali’s Army.Love Pearl Ps/ it doesn’t seem possible that we have been living in Dorset nearly 14months,where did that time go.Pearlxx

  8. Susan February 23, 2013 at 5:10 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    That’s a lovely photo of Colin and you. Shame it was a bit dark but sure you have plenty more where they came from! Sounds like a stunning night. Menu was amazing!! I can never get over how tiny you are! You’ve an amazing figure Ali. I also want to say to Liz I think she is wonderful. You deal with things very inspirationally Liz. Much love to both of you,
    Susan x

  9. Mrs Janet Jones February 23, 2013 at 5:51 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali, I am a Grandma!!! Alfie was born today weighing in at 7lb 9ozs. My son phoned to say that Emma had gone into labor at midnight and he phoned me at 1.30pm to say that there’s someone there who would like to meet me. Well that set me off, and we were in our local church when we found out and we said a prayer for him. He has been born born with cataracts and I am waiting to hear what can be done about it, as the doctor is coming to see Alfie soon, so happy and anxious times. We are going to meet him tomorrow and I can’t wait to hold him, another boy in my life how lucky am I! I can’t stop smiling!! Not sure if I am going to be called nan or gran yet. My friend says I look more like a nan than a gran (she says I look to young to be called gran!!)
    I noticed you not wearing your bandage and I have to say I hardly noticed the difference in your arms, hope the next compression sleeve improves things for you. I guessed the wrong dress, but you look fab in the photo, the meal sounded fab.
    Good luck to Colin and his first live gig and my guess is
    Answer B) 67.
    Well I must write off now and wrap a few presents for Alfie I won’t be able to sleep a wink tonight.
    Speak soon Ali love Janet aka Gran!! xx

  10. Claire Downing February 23, 2013 at 9:46 pm -  Reply

    A very “Happy Friday” to you too Ali. So sorry to hear your arm has not worked as well as you would have wanted, but with time, hopefully it will return to some normality, fingers and toes crossed.
    You and Colin look so happy !! he looks such a lovely man, and from what you say I am sure I am right πŸ™‚ the food looked fantastic, I love wonderful food, and a good bottle of the red.
    I got the dress wrong, but you looked so lovely in the one you chose. When I posted before, I mentioned Amica, and now I read that poor Beulha is suffering the same, I feel so for her and her family, again Alison if you are able please pass my thoughts to her.
    As for Dolly 67 this year.
    Take Care Alison.
    Love Claire xx

  11. mary February 23, 2013 at 9:50 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, before I forget..Dolly Parton is 64…age not bra size!
    Well it certainly sounds like you had an amazing weekend and the food looks incredible. Its not surprising that you ate well, it looks too good to refuse and I think its enjoyed more especially as you have not prepared and cooked it yourself. Good choice of dress too with ruching, you looked lovely and very tiny in the photo taken standing in front of the door.
    How time passes, I remember reading your blog and looking at the photographs of your trip to Australia and seeing your brother and can’t believe it was a year ago.
    As you know I have been busy decorating my daughters room..the grand reveal was Wednesday, Chloe had stayed with my sister for two days ( expected to tidy her breakfast things, make her bed and pull her curtains before going out…however she didn’t and I got a text from my sister…swiftly replied back ‘welcome to my world!’) and stayed with a friend on Tuesday so I could crack on. We had emptied her room of junk on Saturday leaving only her bed and wardrobe in it however its quite a small room but bigger than a box room and you would not believe the amount of stuff she had. At one point I was knee deep in ‘stuff’ that had come out of her wardrobe..it was like the tardis and I didn’t know whether time laugh or cry. Needless to say the whole house was taken over by the contents of her bedroom. It didn’t bother my 15 1/2 year old though who see me to spend most of half term held hostage in his bedroom by some strange force! Anyway, painting was a complete success and have done wonders with frog tape and threecolours creating a striped border of paradise blue, white and rose pink. The curtains I made look fab and Chloe was delighted. During a tea break though I was sitting on the bedroom floor looking at my stepladder. It was a wedding pressie (16 years ago it was the done thing to have your wedding list at Argos!’ ) It revealed our life I colour..all the spills of paint that were on it brought back memories of first time decorating in our home, the kids nurseries, moments of artistic madness when I painted Chloe’s room yellow then drew and painted flowers that matched her quilted bedspread on the walls..what was I thinking! I had tears running down my face and felt a bit of a twit but there will be more memories that will be added in time I am sure.
    On Friday I had a date with the loppers and hedge trimmer…work to do in tge garden. I could see the shrubs trembling! As you can imagine I am a bit if an all or nothing kind if girl so you won’t be surprised to hear that I pulled down two half dead conifers plus a fence post and trellis panel that quite literally came up without any effort. The front bush that goes up the steps to the front door and has my Xmas lights in it has glad a severe trim..I have complete faith that it will grow back……I took 15 sacks of garden rubbish to the tip and was very sire and stiff for a couple of days..my new best friend was Arnica.
    Sorry to hear arm is not so good but hope things improve soon. Choc pudding with baileys sounds a great idea..we have crumble tomorrow as its roast and pudding day. Hope you are keeping warm in all parts of the house this week. Its bitterly cold in west gate with a strong wind giving us a wind chill factor that would be favoured by Eskimos. Had serum, face oil and a thick layer of moisturizer when I went on the beech this morning and kept having to reapply lip lift as my scarf kept blowing upwards and sticking to my lips! Even Scooby had his thermal blue coat on today. Phoebe refuses to walk when wearing hers but speeds up when we get near the cafe then breaks into a trot and waits for us at the door.
    So glad you got the photos. Have a lovely week. Mary xx
    Good luck to Colin with his gig. Hope it goes brilliantly.

  12. Norma Smithson February 24, 2013 at 5:25 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, So glad you had a smashing time, lovely pics both of you and Colin and the mouth watering food, these pastry chefs are clever aren’t they. Sorry about your arm not being as good as you would have liked, but I saw you in your beautiful sleeveless, deep V neck dress on screen and you looked really gorgeous.
    Your right it doesn’t seem a year since you went to see your brother, where does the time go Alison, makes me think of holidays have you and Colin got anything planned? I hope Colin and the bands first gig goes really well, please let me know if he comes up to Yorkshire I would love to go and see them. Any updates on Annika I think of her often please pass on my very fondest regards, I truly wish her well as many of Ali’s army does.
    Hope you have a really good week Ali, take pics of Colin’s gig and look after yourself Much Love Norma. xx

  13. Joanna Downey February 24, 2013 at 10:18 pm -  Reply

    Happy Sunday Evening Ali, You are a multi-talented girl and I think you can add restaurant critic and food photographer to your list of alternative careers; what a fabulous luxury night away. Thank you for including Ellie and me in your blog, we had a lovely day in Cheltenham which is where she did her B Ed degree. She is super company and a good shopping companion, very different from how she was as a child when her lament was “Me no like shwopping me like home”. It is a gracious town with a wide variety of shops – all the well known High Street ones and lots of independents, we both came home with heavy bags and slimmer bank balances. It’s back to school for both of us tomorrow and as from Tuesday we will be looking after Bex and Ant’s cat, a much loved and very spolit boy called Enzo. Colin wasn’t quick enough and gave her the impression that we would be happy to cat sit for a FORTNIGHT so I’ve emptied the Morning Room of all breakables and it will be his for the duration. I am so sorry that your arm is still giving you trouble, can you continue to have massage treatment to keep it in check and hope that it eventually goes away? I can imagine that wearing a tight sleeve must be difficult especially during warmer weather – warmer weather now there’s a lovely thought. Love from Jo x

  14. miss elaine bishop February 25, 2013 at 9:56 am -  Reply

    ‘Happy friday!’Dolly Parton is 67 years old.

  15. Kay Salisbury February 25, 2013 at 9:55 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali-that food looks amazing-I’m drooling just looking at the photos-How do you keep your fab figure? At 58 I am really piling on the pounds lately, which is a nasty shock as I was always able to eat anything I wanted-wish I’d made the most of those lucky years. You are looking very well and I never notice your arm but hope it gets better for you soon. Hope the family is well-loved the photo of you with your lovely mum in an earlier blog. Love Kay.XXX

  16. alison keenan February 27, 2013 at 2:11 pm -  Reply

    Babs bless you, you’re very intuitive… I have been struggling a little, purely because it was a bit of a nuisance and I had high hopes for the end result. Still, it really has improved quite a lot so I shouldn’t grumble πŸ™‚ The Pink Pig sounds wonderful! So does the bacon butty, and I like you always love the sound of children playing.. never tire of it πŸ™‚ Thank you for all your kind words and for helping me choose my Valentine’s dress! Colin’s gig went well, and it was great to see them perform in public for the first time as a band… here’s to many more gigs! I will be announcing the winners to my competition tomorrow, so do make sure you check in! Take care and thank you as always for writing, love Ali xx

  17. alison keenan February 27, 2013 at 2:19 pm -  Reply

    My dear Liz you are such a brave soldier… I don’t know how you continually manage to be so positive, and to crack on with your life and your travels with so much energy! I really hope that the new regime you will be moving onto will work well for you, and that the drugs you need will be made available to you… Your trip to Lapland sounds fabulous and you made me laugh when reporting back on the night in the Ice Hotel! Marvellous that the hot sweats helped you through your icy nights sleep!! I can only begin to imagine how beautiful the Northern Lights were and to see them three nights on the trot! That must be something reserved for just those really special folk πŸ™‚ My new sleeve is also in a nude colour.. not quite the same colour as I am in the nude but hey! πŸ™‚ Liz keep on keeping on… you’re an inspiration to so many of us, and I am sending you my love and prayers that the pain in your back will lessen with the new treatment and that you’ll get the all clear after your lung scan.. do keep in touch. Ali xxx

  18. Sue Radford February 27, 2013 at 6:12 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    I chose the wrong dress (even though I think it’s fab), but you looked lovely in the one you opted for – lets be fair, you’d look great in a black plastic bag! Glad you enjoyed your Valentine’s treat – the food looked absolutely scrummy!!
    I think Dolly is 71, but I expect I’m wrong as everyone else seems to think she’s 67. Isn’t she a lovely person? I love her personality and her outlook on life.
    So sorry to hear Beaulah is having to deal with this terrible ordeal. Wish her and Amica all the very best from me Ali please.
    Oh how I’m wishing this winter away Ali, the cold is really getting me down – lets hope we’ll have a great summer this year – miracles do happen LOL!!
    Love from Sue Radford xx
    Liz, Just a little note to say I’m thinking of you and praying the new medication will be a success. It’s great to read that you’re still getting on with life despite everything. You’re an inspiration to everyone – just like Ali!

  19. Edna Munro February 27, 2013 at 7:37 pm -  Reply

    Hi ,Ali,
    So sorry I have not been in touch for a while .I have read all your blogs but not had a minute to sit down for long enough to reply.Husband was in hospital just before Christmas with pneumonia.The hospital stay,short though it was ,did nothing for his Alzheimers and since then things have got steadily worse.Your new home looks absolutely fabulous and I hope you and Colin will have many happy years there together.Your arm is barely noticeable to those of us watch you,so worry not!Your photo of you and your mum is great.So pleased she got to see your new home.Bet she loved it.Your special meal out seemed like a wondeful evening too.Not so sure I could have managed so many courses ,even if they were so many small starter type portions!!!Whilst I may not reply to all your blogs,I do always read them.Take care,Ali and good luck to Colin and the band for
    the live gig.Love,Edna . PS I do have some bread and butter pudding recipes,and a super savoury one for a main meal.

  20. alison keenan February 27, 2013 at 9:42 pm -  Reply

    Dear Jill, thanks so much for writing again to let me know how your daughter is getting on..Only one more treatment to go!! I am so glad that she has coped as well as she has, and that although she still has to have the rather nasty injections (I sympathise :/) that the blood clot has gone.. you must both be very relieved πŸ™‚ When it comes to radiotherapy, the most stressful thing I found was trying to find a parking space at the hospital!! Seriously it is completely painless and the only thing that may be a little uncomfortable is the incredibly cold temperature in the room where the scanner is! She will have to have an appointment first to have the area ‘mapped’, and for this she will have to lay very still on the scanner while the practitioners talk in a very strange code and red and green lasers are positioned across the area of chest that needs treatment. She’ll probably start treatment a week or so later and apart from the time taken to line her up so that she is in exactly the same position each day, the actual radiotherapy takes around two minutes. By the third week I had a red rash over my left chest wall but although pretty itchy it wasn’t really painful. Your daughter will be given cream though which she can use to help with it. Please give her my very very best, and congratulate her on her positive attitude and strength… you must be very proud of her πŸ™‚ Anything else I can help with, please do let me know – you are a lovely mum πŸ™‚ Ali xx

  21. alison keenan February 27, 2013 at 9:47 pm -  Reply

    Elaine, thank you so much for your kind words and positive vibes. I think I was just a little tired of all the bandaging and having to do everything left handed (badly)!! It’s not so bad really, and I now have my new sleeve which I leave on all day and only take off sometimes when I’m on air… I actually presented my gem show without sleeves and it felt fine πŸ™‚ I was staggered to hear that the tooth fairy is now expected to leave Β£3!!!!! it used to be three pence when I was a child and 50p when my children were little – I thinbk Cali did really well with her Β£2 coin! Keep smiling too Elaine and thanks for keeping in touch as always. Love Ali xx

  22. alison keenan February 27, 2013 at 9:50 pm -  Reply

    My dear Linda, I am sure that the last five months have felt at times, more like five years… I am sure you miss Bryan very much and I hope that you have people around you who will love you and look after you so that you aren’t lonely. I am sending you a big hug, and hope that you feel better soon. Thanks for taking part in the competition and I will keep everything crossed that you are in with a chance of winning the album πŸ™‚ Love to you, Ali xx

  23. alison keenan February 27, 2013 at 9:56 pm -  Reply

    Hello Pearl, thanks for taking part in the competition – we’ll be announcing the winners tomorrow afternoon! The gig went well and I’ll be posting a few photos with the blog. The desserts on Valentines Day were delicious, and I’m sure you could have managed just one as they weren’t that large πŸ™‚ I hope that you have had some of this warm spring sunshine we’ve seen a little of today – although Dorset is beautiful whether the weather be foul or fair! I worked with Amica yesterday and she looked and felt very well as her medication is working for her – such wonderful news. You take care, and stay well, love Ali xx

  24. alison keenan February 27, 2013 at 10:00 pm -  Reply

    Susan, glad you liked the photo, and trust me it was a great deal darker before my lovely editor photoshopped it! It was indeed a stunning night, and I felt very spoiled. I think the photo of me in my dress is a little out of kilter – I’m not really that small, but bless you for your compliments. I, like you also think Liz is wonderfully inspirational, and makes the very best of every day of her life…I have learned a lot from her πŸ™‚ Love to you too Sue, Ali xx

  25. alison keenan February 27, 2013 at 10:06 pm -  Reply

    YAY!! Congratulations Janet on the birth of baby Alfie!! What wonderful news, and thanks so much for sharing it with us all! By now you will no doubt have held him many times, and hope that you’ve decided whether you’re Granny or Nanny. I hope too that by now there will be a simple answer to the cataracts issue – try not to worry. Thanks for taking part in the competiton – the winners will be posted tomorrow on my blog πŸ™‚ The gig went well, and it was great to see him and the band playing live for the first time – I was very proud πŸ™‚ You take care and please do pass on my very best to your son and Emma and give little Alfie a hug for me. Lots of love, Ali xx

  26. alison keenan February 27, 2013 at 10:09 pm -  Reply

    Dear Claire, thank you for taking part in the competition – winners announced tomorrow! Colin and I did have a wonderful evening and he always makes me happy – we did indeed enjoy a good bottle of red and it’s a night I will always remember. Thank you for your kind wishes for Amica, and yes sadly Beulah has skin cancer.. she is fighting it though with new treatment, and we are all helping where we can.. I will of course pass on your thoughts. Take care with love, Ali xxx

  27. alison keenan February 27, 2013 at 10:18 pm -  Reply

    Mary fab to catch up on all your news, and it sounds as though you did an amazing job on Chloe’s bedroom! She is a very lucky girl to have such a talented and determined mum… The thought of all that ‘stuff’ made me feel exhausted! I remember when I was 16 mum said I could decorate my own room and so I set about it with wallpaper, paint and a strip of carpet to cover the bare bits! I had to pile all the furniture in the middle of the room, and it was a really small area to work in, but I was thrilled with the end result.. I had a tear in my own eye when you said about your ladder… memories are funny things, and the clarity of them is extraordinary all these years later..It sounds as though you have always been artistic and a home maker – your family are lucky to have you! It’s been pretty cold here too, and I have to admit to staying indoors for a fair bit of it – either that or at work, but today the sun shone and it felt like spring. Competition results tomorrow – thanks for taking part. You take care and thanks as always Mary for keeping in touch, with love Ali xx

  28. alison keenan February 27, 2013 at 10:26 pm -  Reply

    Hi Norma, lovely to hear from you, and yes the desserts were delicious! I love cooking but find puddings are usually the hardest things to make a success of – never tried anything as complicated as those though! Yes hard to believe 12 months has passed since Colin and I were in Australia, but I’m happy to report that we’re heading off to the sun for a week in Agadir end of March πŸ™‚ Colin’s gig was fun and I have asked him to include Yorkshire in his tour as I LOVE that part of this country, so fingers crossed! Watch this space πŸ™‚ I am happy to report that Amica is doing very well… the bad skin reaction she been suffering with has now cleared up thanks to some anti biotics and if you’ve seen her on air you will see how wonderful she looks πŸ™‚ I know that she reads this blog so will get your kind wishes, so thank you for them. I hope that your week has gone well, and I will post pics of the gig tomorrow πŸ™‚ Love Ali xx

  29. alison keenan February 27, 2013 at 10:33 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Jo, and I was so pleased to read that your day with Ellie was a great success. Cheltenham is a beautiful town as you say, and it’s the little boutiques and quirky shops I love the most. I’m glad you found plenty to tempt you πŸ™‚ How’s Enzo getting on in your breakfast room?! I’m sure he’s enjoying his holiday – just hope you’re coping with the litter tray! I have one more massage due for my arm, and although it is a great deal smaller than it was, it will never go away completely and if left will swell up again, but , as I always say, it could be worse! And for a great many it is, so I will stop moaning on about it πŸ™‚ I hope you had that little bit of sunshine today, and that you’ve had a good week. Take care, love Ali xx

  30. alison keenan February 27, 2013 at 10:34 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Miss Elaine! Thank you for taking part in the competition, and I will be blogging the winner’s names tomorrrow! Be lucky! Love Ali xx

  31. alison keenan February 27, 2013 at 10:36 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Kay, yes I was rather pleased with the photos considering I took them on my phone! I think the photos of me in my dress are a tad distorted, but there was built in shapewear in it!! πŸ™‚ Glad you saw the picture of mum and I – she looks really well doesn’t she? I am much closer to her now – only takes an hour to get there – and so I am hoping we’ll see more of each other now. Enjoy the rest of your week and the weekend, and thanks for writing, love Ali xx

  32. Liz, Morecambe February 28, 2013 at 2:56 pm -  Reply

    Bless you all for your lovely remarks. So very touching. I’m not brave at all – I just have the attitude of get on with it because the alternative doesn’t bear thinking about and sadly there are always too many people worse off than me!
    I’ve been to the hospital today and am delighted to say I am now the proud owner of the new, very expensive drugs!!! Funding was obviously granted very quickly so yet again I thank the NHS and it’s wonderful service. I’ve also been given some pain-killing patches to wear and they seem to have helped with the very bad back pain I was getting.
    To Jill, I would say to your daughter to make sure she uses the cream the radiographers give her or as an alternative, try the 99% aloe vera gel. You go on cooking with the rads after the course of zaps finish and need to keep the skin well moisturised then as well. The other thing is that although it seems like the radiotherapy isn’t doing anything, it can make you very tired. It’s a unique form of tiredness so I hope your daughter can get plenty of rest and tell her not to beat herself up if she does need to take time out. It will get better!
    I’m sorry to hear so many of you have struggles to deal with but hope there will be ways of each of you having the difficulties eased.
    It was terrible to hear about Beulah and her cancer fight but again I hope she and Amica get great results from their treatments.
    It’s lovely and sunny here again today so I’m going to make the most of it and sit with my face towards the sun for a few minutes. Get in practice for later in the year when hopefully I’ll make it to Mallorca and spend time with Magda.
    Take care all and many thanks again for all your kinds words ladies.
    Liz x

  33. Sue Radford February 28, 2013 at 6:01 pm -  Reply

    Hi again Ali,
    Forgot to wish Colin good luck – I’m sure he doesn’t need it though, as he has such a great voice!
    That’s great news Liz! My prayers (and everyone else’s) have been answered so far. I will keep sending positive thoughts your way.
    Best wishes,
    Sue Radford xx

  34. Christine Jones February 28, 2013 at 8:35 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Thank you for your reply to my blog and kind comments on the eucalyptus tree analogy.. They still there doing their thing.. Little inspirations and all that.. Lovely that you gave your mum my love, you have that bond like I used to have with my mum who is no longer with us.. So special and a treasure beyond measure..XX Well I keep praying for your arm to fully recovery Ali, meanwhile you always have a moment to share and encourage which is so typical of you and selfless.. You are a blessing. You look as if you had a very special Valentines Day, Me, well I had a tummy bug and missed out on that and my Hubbys birthday meal, still, I made him go out anyway with our family and they spoiled him which I was so proud of them.. Still we went out the following week for a re run and to celebrate my late mum s birthday, she always loved that special evening and so we kept it going, our eldest gives a little speech and raise a toast to a very special lady who was a joy and mentor to us all.. There was the usual debate from the little ones about Gan Gan being in Devon!!! (Heaven).. Bless X
    Ali, I just had to share this with you as I looked through your foodie photos and how the bitter things in life are made easier by the sweet things in our lives along with our wonderful families and friends Ill see how it goes..
    Must nt grumble I ll have an Gooseberry Crumble…
    Not another prang I ll have a Lemon Meringue…
    Oh thats not very nice Ill have an custard slice…
    Now whats that in my eye!! Ill have an Apple Pie…
    Another heavy load Ill have a chunk of Rocky Road..
    Ow, that feels tender Ill have a gooey Peach Melba…
    Feel a bit dizzy I think I ll have a mivvi!! (i know it does ny rhyme but I fancy one anyway and no, its not a pudding but it still is good!!
    what! another injection? Ill have another creamy confection..
    The doctors get another eyeful( as modesty goes out the window!!) Ill have to have a Sherry Trifle …
    And of course with all of the above , Ill have a Scream.!!!. (I mean.. Ice Cream!!
    There s a few thoughts to make us feel better Hee!!
    I have odeama where they took some of my liver away, its alright but cant wear anything too clingy, I think others dont notice it as much as me, but Hey ho there you go, spanx do a good job!! Well kind of..
    Eeeee Ali, sending you and yours a BIG HUG and to Amika too, she looked smashing when I saw her the other day XX
    Bye for now Lots of love
    Christine XX

  35. Alison Keenan February 28, 2013 at 10:31 pm -  Reply

    Oops I’d forgotten about the tiredness Liz… Although I think my mum struggled a little more than me. Good point too about the Aloe Vera… Liz Earle’s after sign gel is also very comforting once the rash sets up. I’m glad you get the support and encouragement you so deserve, and I hope very much that it win’t be long before you will be in Mallorca with Magda πŸ™‚ Take care, love Ali xx

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