Dropping by Downton and getting ready for Christmas!


Christmas treeIt's official!!! 12 days to go until the Big Day itself! No I can't quite believe it myself. Not just that the last month has flown by; but it's almost a year since I had my life packed away in cardboard boxes, and was on the verge of leaving the little cottage that had been my home for the previous 24 months!

Quite frankly, two years of my life have passed which I'm more than happy to put behind me, and yet I do have many fond memories of my time there 🙂

But this last week or more has been all about keeping up and catching up! Thanks to the vast number of you who entered the competition to win Mally's phenomenal collection of make-up, lip colours and mascara – the majority of which chose the correct answer to my question…

What is Mally's surname? The answer was a) Roncal, and Sarah my editor this week, has randomly picked Christine Collins – Congratulations!!! I will make sure I post it to you Christine while I am at QVC over the next few days, and very much hope you enjoy using all the make-up and tips that Mally has included.

Commiserations to all those who didn't win, but I will see if I can set up another competition before the end of the year – fingers crossed!

After a cracking TSV launch with Dennis Basso, I was rather sorry not to have been able to keep the rather gorgeous faux fur coat and take it with me to the Cotswolds, where I was to meet up with my girlfriends for a weekend break.

We were staying at the same house we'd been to many times before, but the weather forecast was particularly grim, so I'd brought my thermals just in case! We used to all travel together, but now that a number of us have moved further afield, we make our own way to the village of Clanfield.

Downton Abbey churchMy journey is quite straightforward, but I hadn't realised until I was a few miles off, that the village before ours was the one they filmed Downtown Abbey in! Such excitement!

Not that I expected to see Dame Maggie Smith on her way to Budgens, but I was hoping for a sign – just something – that would bring to life one of my favourite TV dramas!

I did see the little church where Matthew and Lady Mary were married, but what me laugh out loud was the sign clearly set in place for myself and the girls warning visitors to watch out for elderly people!! 🙂

We spent our first few hours in the local pub, which has an incredible collection of gins – almost 100 different varieties! I chose the one with Funny signthe green lid as it matched my jumper, and after two of those and a smoked salmon salad, was more than happy to walk back to our house in the freezing cold!

I think this was possibly one of our laziest trips away, although Suz and I ran on Friday and then again on Sunday, and managed an eight mile walk on Saturday! Good job too, as I had eaten an entire melted camembert cheese to myself while watching Strictly, and had trouble lugging my enormity up to bed 🙂

We ate, talked, and, yes, drank a few Cosmopolitans, caught up with each other's lives, and enjoyed home cooked food – a perfect weekend we all agreed.

Alison with ColinI actually left a little early on the Sunday, as Colin and I were due to celebrate his son Joe's birthday, and I needed to get back for the celebratory meal! We did a little shopping first, bought the Christmas tree, and then met up with as many of the kids as possible, including my Sam and Jack which was nice. We also managed to arrange who we will be seeing and when over Christmas, so I now feel far more organised and ready.

So, the tree is up (as you can see in the photo at the top), festooned with the usual knitted decorations, baubles from many years back, and my two new ones from Lucy, as this has become a tradition for her to buy me something for the tree each year – bless her 🙂

The tree lights I bought from QVC years ago worked instantly, and this year we have gone for a more traditional pine with the small needles… having hoovered the carpet three times since Sunday I'm thinking we may regret this decision, but we'll see…

Beck, Mark, and EthanI have also (thanks again to QVC) bought and wrapped most of my presents, which are quite mighty in number due to the extended family we are.

I'm hoping very much to see my stepdaughter Becky, Mark, and their son Ethan over the Christmas holiday too – thought you may like this photo taken the week before last – we had such a lovely day.

Mind you, when it comes to organising Christmas, no-one does it like my dear friend Jo… This is her 'grotto', but I swear the Christmas bagselves must have been busy there too! 🙂 Exciting to think that one of those is mine!

Well, I will sign off now but look forward, as always, to hearing from you and catching up with your Christmas preparations.

Some pretty difficult times for some of you I know, but hopefully by sharing our lives, it will make it that bit easier.

Take care,

Love Ali xx


  1. Elaine sallis December 12, 2013 at 11:11 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Glad you managed to get a relaxing break,although an eight mile walk and two runs sounds exhausting to me!
    We took poppy and Molly to see Santa this week. Poppy told Santa she would leave him a coffee and a sandwich. Geoff asked me exactly how much time she and I spent in the coffee shop during the week. In answer to your question no I will not be going to open door on Christmas morning with Geoff. I am going to breakfast at Adams to see the girls open their presents. A much safer option I feel as Geoff Is team leader and I am not sure I could restrain myself if he questioned my carrot chopping technique!
    Hope you have a lovely weekend.
    Love Elaine xx

  2. Mrs Janet Jones December 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali, the weekend away with the girls sounded brilliant so glad you had a good time.Love your Christmas tree, mine will be going up tomorrow, ready for Andrew Emma and Alfie coming to stay with us for the whole weekend can’t wait. I haven’t seen them for nearly 2 weeks so lots of catching up kisses and cuddles to be had. I went to see my doctor about my back and she is sending me for a radio isotope x-ray so will pray that will be clear not sure when that will be done.
    Today I am catching up with some letter writing and present wrapping. where does the time go? I too love Downton Abbey I will record the episode on Christmas Day as we will be be with Emma’s
    parents so we will all be able to enjoy Alfie’s first Christmas, I am so looking forward to that.
    Things are also busy at Cancer Research, the Christmas cards are flying off the shelves, and I am still pricing and displaying the jewellery and shop window. I really feel in my own small way I am giving something back and I really enjoy volunteering there they are a nice bunch.
    Well I must go and give the tree a final shake before it comes into the house.
    Wishing you and Colin and your families a Happy Christmas and a Healthy New Year. To Jilly enjoy your Christmas with Annie and to all the rest of Ali’s army I wish you A happy Christmas.
    Speak soon Ali Love Janet xx
    p.s hope you got my Christmas card.

  3. mary morphy December 12, 2013 at 1:32 pm -  Reply

    Good afternoon Alison..i am in a very surreal situation today…I am watching you on QVC (decleor), typing my blog to you and having a nebuliser all at the same time!! So as you have guessed I am once again off work and am really quite poorly again with asthma, chest infection and a debilitating cough which has refused to leave me now for three months. I returned to work three weeks ago having almost shaken off the last lot and was going along well when a year 10 student who was having a one to one maths intervention session with me decided to shower me with his sneeze..need I say more. By Friday I was back to square one. Now on my fifth rotation of antibiotics since October and after almost choking myself to death at the doctors (and nearly wetting myself despite two tena lady’s) yesterday he decided that an xray was needed and a referral back to my COPD specialist..AT LAST!!! Had Xray yesterday so now waiting.
    Since we last wrote we celebrated my late dad’s birthday at the end of November. My sister and her nest friend who was staying with her so took mum out for lunch; poor mum had forgotten what day it was and was rather upset but that’s part of her dementia and all was well after a cuddle and delicious meat pie apparently. I was at work ..if only briefly…so the rest of the family went to mums house for tea and delicious lemon and cranberry cake and toasted dad with a cup of tea.
    I am collecting his ashes tomorrow and we are going to scatter him on the beach as its a place we all go regularly so I hope no-one from Thanet District Council isn’t reading this as I am not sure we are allowed to do it but we are going to scatter him discreetly over the Xmas period with all the family for a last goodbye.
    So, may I say while I am watching you, how fabulous you look despite your admitted lack of sleep. Your weekend away sounds fabulous…pubs, gin and food; a perfect combination. Your tree looks magnificent and I hope its not bald by Xmas. I have once again decorated the outside bushes with lights plus I have blue and white icicles around my canopy. AND, I purchased the 5ft blossom tree from QVC this year in blue and that is standing proudly to the side of the front door and it is breath-taking.
    The tree this year has been a headache. We have had serious tree trauma with it this year and at one point looked like we were not going to have one. My tree is 25 years old as it was bought with some money that my granddad left me when he died 25 years ago and as he died at Xmas I bought an artificial tree as a permanent reminder of him. Its very heavy but truly wonderful however the stand broke last year and all the replacement bases we have bought have not been substantial enough to hold it and at one point having thought the tree was stable, I put the lights on and within seconds it was on the floor. However, undeterred this tree was going up! It is now in a base which has been modified with cardboard and duck tape and fully decorated but firmly tied to the radiator which it stands in front off in the bay window!!!
    I don’t know if I mentioned last time that I was attending a 30 year hockey team reunion dinner on Saturday; our school team went to America to play hockey and we were all getting together for a Xmas meal on Saturday, some off us not having seen each other for 30 years. However, I was too unwell to go and so very very upset at missing what looked like a great evening. Hopefully we will have another one soon and not in 30 years time. I had even bought a Xmas jumper from Next and some rather classy Xmas tinsel wreath earrings with bells and bows ( A pound from the local post office) for the afternoon reunion beach walk but they remain un-used..could be coming out Xmas Eve though I feel for our traditional family visit with cousins and sisters to the cinema with chips out the bag on the walk home.
    I am glad you are ready for Xmas and have sorted out family visiting, it can be difficult to please everyone if there are lots of family members to see. We are lucky that we can manage to all get together in one go. I have everyone to me this year for Xmas Day but my two sisters always bring contributions and my mum in law always buys the crackers!!
    I have sent you a little something; I hope it arrives safely. Have a wonderful week. On a positive note, being off means I have now wrapped all my pressies!! Much love Mary xx

  4. Julie December 12, 2013 at 2:35 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Yet again I can’t believe another year has passed. Let’s hope next year will be better.(I’m hoping for obvious reason’s as you know!!)
    Lily came down with a cold virus and you’ve guessed it- who’s got it now?? as we speak she’s dancing to a princess film-good old Nick Jr!
    Took her to see Santa last week but she wouldn’t go into his Grotto to see him-she said “he’s got my list now so I don’t need to tell him anything he knows what I want”
    Hope you have a lovely and healthy xmas.
    Will message you as soon as I have anymore news
    Take Care as always
    Julie x Lily xxx

  5. Eimear Kennedy December 12, 2013 at 3:05 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison today you were on with the lulu Guinness bags at 2 to 3 and you looked beautiful in a black and cream dress cream at the bottom and a while back you wore a black and cream dress with love hearths i just had to write to you and ask where did you buy them if you dont mind telling me i love them you look fantastic
    kind regards Eimear

  6. Louise M Donnelly December 12, 2013 at 5:51 pm -  Reply

    Greetings, Ali.
    Although I always read your blog, I haven’t posted in a while. It’s been quite a challenging year, although not in the sense your’s has; roll on 2014, eh? I haven’t bought my xmas pressies, yet, apart from my two boxers – they always come first, as it should be!
    Can I just wish Colin and yourself, and both families, a peaceful and enjoyable holiday period. Hope 2014 continues to be a positive one for you and, hopefully, you will still be gracing our QVC screens.
    All the best, and take care.

  7. Leanne king December 12, 2013 at 6:35 pm -  Reply

    Hello Alison I hope you don’t mind me asking. I watched qvc beauty today and I phoned qvc to try and find out if the boots you had on were for sale, from qvc. However it was a pre recordered programme so they couldn’t help. It was on today December 12 at 5:15 pm they suggested I try your blog. Hope you can help as they look very slim boots and slightly over the knee which I can never find. Take care and thank you leanne xxx

  8. Jilly December 14, 2013 at 11:26 pm -  Reply

    Hello Ali – I have been waiting to hear how your weekend was so it was lovely to read your catch up. Love the tree photo. I do so enjoy seeing everyone’s trees and how they are decorated – I am naughty and have three!!!! One in the living room which is real (will be put up tomorrow – Sunday) one small one in the window in the kitchen – as we are in there a lot I always say we must have a small one and one in the morning room (not real) then a swag with lights going up the stairs – over the top – hummm, maybe just a tad!! but I love it. This year I am so much more organised than I was last. It was difficult wrapping with Annie and the family here until Christmas Eve last year and I said then that never again would I leave it so late to start the wrapping!!! So I have my pressies wrapped and in bags ready for Santa to take away!!!
    Little Ethan looks yummy. It is so lovely that you are close to them all and super you have such an extended family. Hopefully you will see Lucy and her new chap with his children over the holiday time. How special for Lucy to have little ones to share the excitement.Great that you know what you are doing and where all the family will be over the holiday time. It is all about families and just chilling really and that is what we are looking forward to doing.
    They must have known you girls were coming to put up the golden oldies sign – how very funny that is. The Church looks lovely also. Just needs snow to make is a festive picture. I also love the piccies of you and Colin.
    So good to hear that you will be having a special weekend Janet and able to spoil Alfie. Big hugs from us all and we will be waiting to hear how he is doing – and how you are.
    Tricia I would have put on hold any operation I needed until Annie was fit and well again so know where you are coming from. Hope all goes well and you are able to have a few weeks rest and recovery.
    Looking forward to hearing how you are doing Alpa and hopefully you will be feeling much better than the last few weeks.
    I shall be back before Christmas but wish all of you lots of happiness, good health and onwards and upwards for whatever is ahead – the ops, chemo, radio or whatever there is to face and be sure in the knowlege that with Ali and eveyone here whatever we have to face we are not alone and can get there together even if it is sometime one step at a time.
    Ali I cannot believe that you have moved a year ago as I remember reading about the move – where has the time gone -or is that a sign of old age coming along….
    Love Jillyxx

  9. Vivienne Wallis December 15, 2013 at 1:05 pm -  Reply

    A very warm and Happy Christmas wishes to you Ali, lovely interesting blog. I am looking forward to spending Christmas with my Daughter, 3 dogs and Grandchildren. Like you I have done all my Christmas shopping with QVC, even down to my Ann Griffin cards which I so enjoyed making. Everything wrapped and ready, I so love this time of the year and after Christmas knowing that Spring is just around the corner and colour will be returning to the garden. Vivienne xxx

  10. alison keenan December 15, 2013 at 9:41 pm -  Reply

    Dear Elaine, It sounds as though Poppy and Molly have been very well brought up if they offered Santa a coffee and sandwich! I’m sure he’d really appreciate a change from the usual mince pie and sherry 🙂 I’m glad that both you and Geoff get to do what you’d like on Christmas Day even if you are in different places, and I am sure that the girls and Adam will truly appreciate you being with them. I hope you have had a lovely weekend, and thank you for writing to me, love Ali xx

  11. alison keenan December 15, 2013 at 9:48 pm -  Reply

    Dear Janet, I have been thinking of you over the weekend, and hoping that Andrew, Emma and Alfie thoroughly enjoyed their time with you this weekend, and that you got your present wrapping and letter writing done before they arrived. I bet they loved the tree, and I’m sure it looks beautiful now you’ve got it all decorated. I was sorry to hear that you too have been struggling with your back. I had one of those radio isotope x rays last year, and although it takes rather a long time, it’s one of the easier ones. Mine turned out to be nothing more than degenerative disease of the spine which I’ve had for years, and also a touch of arthritis… the joys of growing old eh?! 🙂 I do hope all will be well for you, but am glad to hear it’s not stopping you from keeping up with your job. I think you are giving an enormous amount back to Cancer Research, as are your colleagues – it’s lovely the shop is so busy at this time of the year too. Do take care Janet, and thanks as always for keeping in touch, with love Ali xxx

  12. alison keenan December 15, 2013 at 9:58 pm -  Reply

    My dear Mary, I am so sorry to hear that you are once again poorly, and hope very much that the x ray will show what the problem is, and that you will be treated with a strong dose of something so that you will be well for Christmas. It was such a shame you had to miss the hockey team reunion, but I’m sure they’ll rearrange another one in the not too distant. I do hope that you’ll be feeling much stronger when you and the rest of the family venture out to spread your dad’s ashes – I think it’s a lovely thing to do 🙂 This year is the first one that we have also got lights outside in the trees and on the house. Colin was way up the oak tree on Saturday before Lucy arrived, and his efforts were very much appreciated! Fancy you still having the same Christmas tree you got all those years ago – that is magnificent! I am sure it will look beautiful in your bay window. Finally a very big THANKYOU for my lovely and thoughtful presents – I had to open the marzipan chocolates in the dressing room so they haven’t even made it home! The other box I will open on Christmas Day – you are very kind, and it was truly appreciated. Keep resting, get others to help you, and remember whatever you don’t get done today, someone else can do tomorrow!! 🙂 Sending you love, Ali xx

  13. Morag Winchester December 16, 2013 at 11:58 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali, Just to say how much I have enjoyed watching you this year, you look truly beautiful and it has been inspirational to see how you have dealt so brilliantly with all the challenges life has thrown at you. May you continue to have good health, and wishing you and your family a very Happy Christmas and a healthy and peaceful New Year. Much love from Morag xx

  14. Annette Roberts December 17, 2013 at 10:53 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Good to hear your girlie get together went well, just what the Dr ordered, sounds like you had a lovely time of it…like the thinking on the choice of gin, the one which matched your top, brilliant!
    Just wanted to wish you, Colin and family a very ‘MERRY’ Christmas and a very Healthy, Happy New Year, whilst I’m having a 5 min break, sat amoungst, bags, boxes and rubbish in readiness for my move on Friday.
    Already got to the point where you stand there, do a few twizzles hoping that you know what to do next, without avail. I do feel a cup of coffee with a tot of brandy calling me, although I think I’ve had enough caffeine having endulged in the chocolate coated coffee beans purchased from the Q, very naughty, but extremely nice in moderation!
    Annette x

  15. Sue Radford December 18, 2013 at 1:05 am -  Reply

    Dear Ali,
    Glad you had a great time with your friends! Your Christmas tree looks lovely. As I’m writing this, I’m enjoying your Centigrade Show – I love so many of the ones featured tonight!
    My grand-children were so excited tonight as they were presented with a new puppy, which my daughter managed to keep as a surprise for 3 weeks – she’s so gorgeous! They’ve called her Betsy. She’s a Shuhitzu (spelling?). My little Yorkie, Lexi will have her cute little nose put out now LOL!!
    Have a lovely Christmas & a Very Healthy and Happy New Year! My best wishes to all of Ali’s Army too!!
    Love from Sue Radford xx

  16. helen s December 18, 2013 at 11:29 am -  Reply

    And breath!! Yes, that’s how I feel at the moment. I would well and truly love some of your endless energy. I cant wait for Friday when school breaks up and no where else to be/go!! Its been chaos, shows, concerts, carol services, parties…….. as is normal this time of year in a childs calendar. Me, well I don’t know what day it is, well yes I do as its the last and final carol service tonight. My little one isn’t out of the woods with these darn water infections but the scan showed no abnormalities thank goodness, so back to the consultant next year and blood tests 🙁 She is such a joy though all be a bit of a diva, but at nearly 11 I think age has certainly something to do with that!!! An individual person is emerging with a fashion sense that I can no longer persuade her to wear. The pigtail days are well and truly gone!!! But she’s lovely and a very smart young lady at just over 5ft 1″ and not even 11 yet.
    Im so glad your enjoying life Ali, you deserve to. Going back to your last blog when you lost your ‘memories’ that you had written your ipad, I think it was for a reason. What has happened is well and truly in the past and perhaps that’s where it should stay. You sound as though your life has turned a corner and you are now in a lovely place.
    Im feeling rather jaded of late, just tired and worn out, but it could be worse and for that I am grateful.
    My love to all the ‘army’ including Alpa, Debz and Una.
    Ali, I with you all the very best wishes and love for Christmas and the New year. Bless you, your a lovely lady.
    love and hugs as always
    Helen s xxxx

  17. helen s December 18, 2013 at 11:52 am -  Reply

    Along life’s paths we meander
    Through good times and through bad
    With happy hearts or heavy souls
    Feeling joyful or feeling sad
    But as Christmas fast approaches
    And with gifts under the tree
    Its time to stop and think awhile
    About what Christmas should really be
    Its time to say ‘I love you’
    To family and friends so dear
    Its time to be giving
    To those both far and near
    But most of all at Christmas
    Lets celebrate your lives
    And hope for health and happiness
    When the New Year arrives
    To my dear Ali and all my dearest friends here on Ali’s blog, I wish you all, from the bottom of my heart, a very happy Christmas.
    Helen s xxxx

  18. alison keenan December 19, 2013 at 4:50 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Julie and Lily, so sorry that you’ve now got Lily’s virus – I think it was the same one I had, but am definitely feeling better now! I love Lily’s positivity – she’s very grown up for her age eh? 🙂 I’m sure next year will be a better one for us all… and have everything crossed for you and your whole family. Take care Julie and thanks for keeping in touch, love Ali xx

  19. alison keenan December 19, 2013 at 4:55 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Eimear, and thank you for writing to me. The dress I wore for Lulu Guiness was I believe a Mint Velvet one, and the one with hearts on it is from Phase Eight. Thank you for your compliments 🙂 Have a great Christmas, love ali xx

  20. alison keenan December 19, 2013 at 4:58 pm -  Reply

    Louise, so glad that you enjoy the blog and I do appreciate you taking the time out to write and send Seasons Greetings! Your boxers are lucky to have such a thoughtful mum and good luck with the rest of your Christmas present buying – it’s the wrapping that takes such a long time I always feel 🙂 I hope that 2014 will be a good year for you, and that I will indeed still be working at QVC! It’ll be my 14th year 🙂 Happy Christmas, love Ali x

  21. Alison Keenan December 19, 2013 at 5:05 pm -  Reply

    Annette a very happy Christmas to you too, and I so hope the move goes well for you and yours! Exciting to be celebrating in a new home and I wish you every happiness their in 2014. Save a few beans to crunch with a glass of champagne 🙂 thank you for keeping in touch with me, love Ali xx

  22. alison keenan December 19, 2013 at 5:22 pm -  Reply

    Dear Jilly, I love the idea of having three trees – I hope you had fun decorating them all, and that the lights worked! I think the swag up the stairs is lovely – I have one over the fireplace.. looks really pretty 🙂 So glad you don’t need to leave the wrapping until christmas eve this year – Colin normally does all his shopping on that day, and I remember wrapping until 2am one Christmas – nearly saw Father Christmas! 🙂 Ethan is a sweetheart, and Beck and Mark are brilliant with him, as is Lucy with Simon’s children – hard not to be really as they are all good children 🙂 I’m so glad that this year Annie is feeling so much better and happier and that you’re all looking forward to 2014… may it be a better and happier year for us all. Take care Jilly, thanks as always for writing and have a wonderful Christmas. With love, Ali xx

  23. alison keenan December 19, 2013 at 5:29 pm -  Reply

    Gosh Vivienne you sound incredibly well organised – even Anna Griffin cards! I have been sent several hand made cards and they are beautiful.. I tend to keep them and put them out again each year! I’m imagining you will have a busy time of it over Christmas with all the family – your daughter will be spoiled as will the grandchildren I’m sure. My mum bought me a Weeping Fig tree for Christmas which arrived yesterday – I sure sign that Spring will be on the way 🙂 Happy Christmas to you and thanks for writing, with love, Ali x

  24. alison keenan December 19, 2013 at 5:33 pm -  Reply

    Morag, your words are very kind and mean a lot… This year has been pretty challenging for a number of reasons, but I thank you for your kind wishes, and hope very much that 2014 will be a healthy and happy one for you too. Do keep in touch, love Ali xx

  25. alison keenan December 19, 2013 at 5:47 pm -  Reply

    Dear Sue, So glad you enjoyed the Centigrade show – I too am sorely tempted always to buy more, but I do own at least 6, so feel I need to hold back! 🙂 I love working with Glen too – he was great as I was struggl ing a little with my voice 🙂 How wonderful for your grandchildren to be given a puppy! Betsy is a lovely name too, but I’m sure you’re right when you say that Lexi will have her nose put out of joint 🙂 They’ll be fighting over the turkey leftovers! Wishing you also a very happy Christmas and New Year – I’ll look forward to hearing all about it next year. With love and thanks for your support, Ali xxx

  26. alison keenan December 19, 2013 at 5:53 pm -  Reply

    Helen, it was great to catch up on your whirlwind of a month! I hope that the carol concert you attended was fun, and that your beautiful girl enjoyed herself too. Lovely to read about her, and how she is growing up an becoming an individual – with a fashion sense! 5’1″ and not even 11 years old – they stay little for less time these days it seems 🙂 I hope that perhaps as she matures the water infections will become a thing of the past – hormones can often make a big difference. I think that you may be right about losing my notes and texts… Yes I have turned a corner, and the next lot of surgery will definitely be to improve the situation and so I am looking forward to it 🙂 I was sorry to hear that you are feeling tired and jaded and I hope that your girlie will help you over Christmas and that you get a chance to rest. Wishing you the happiest of times, and all the very best for the New Year. With my love, Ali xx

  27. alison keenan December 19, 2013 at 5:55 pm -  Reply

    …and having just scrolled down on my Ipad I found your beautiful poem. I’m a little teary now as I write this, but thank you for sharing those sentiments…they are perfect. Love to you and all of Ali’s Army at this special time. xxxx

  28. martin forbes bucksburn aberdeen watching via sky tv December 19, 2013 at 6:29 pm -  Reply

    hi alison hope you and the family are well
    iam nae bad just to say your christmas card arrived in the post today thursday 19th december hope you got my card merry xmas and happy new year are you going out for xmas lunch

  29. angela white December 20, 2013 at 11:29 am -  Reply

    hi ali! you alright!? I would just like to wish you and your family and all of ali”s army avery very merry Christmas and a happy healthy new year!! I hope you have a wonderful time and santa brings you all that you wish for! CHEERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! XXXX

  30. Mrs Janet Jones December 20, 2013 at 2:11 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali, hope all well with you. The hospital have said that they want to stop all drops in Alfie’s left eye (the one that was operated on) to see if the operation has been successful. He still needs them for his right eye. So we have another 4 weeks of waiting to see if the operation was a success, we will continue to pray for his sight.
    We had a lovely weekend with them, we all went out for a Christmas meal on the Sunday , Alfie found it all a bit too much and fell asleep for part of it, he was as good as gold. I am hoping to see them for a few hours tomorrow and then of course Christmas Day.
    The hospital phoned me yesterday to say they have a cancellation for my bone scan on new years eve! They will give me an injection of the dye and I have to do something else for 2 hours, come back and have the x-ray that will take approx 25 mins. I don’t know how long it will take for the results, but as you know Ali it will be an anxious wait.
    I have braved the shops this morning for a few last minute things, I just need to get fresh food and I am done. Washing machine humming away in the background, ironing board at the ready and then I think I might just put my feet up for 5 mins!
    Have a lovely Christmas Ali with Colin and your family, take care and speak soon, love Janet xx

  31. Alpa December 20, 2013 at 3:52 pm -  Reply

    My dear Ali,
    Thank you for the festive blog and lovely photos, made me smile 🙂 Ethan is so sweet. Your Christmas tree is very pretty and you are most organised. I found myself writing cards after midnight! I hope you receive my card in time and if not, it will have to be the thought that counts 🙂 Have a little something for you that I will send later on. Just haven’t been organised over Christmas at all. The weekend away sounds just like what you needed, although the long walks and run sound anything but restful 🙂
    Thank you for your kind words. No worries about the email. It was just to let you know I wasn’t able to write on your blog before last, what was happening before several hospital visits, and not to worry. I found myself at A&E Saturday before last. I had an allergic reaction to the antibiotics, as I can not have penicillin. Despite that, I was given penicillin as I had been able to tolerate it previously. I wanted to go back to the same hospital, where at least they had been able to read my chest x-ray properly! The paramedics insisted on taking me to the hospital before that. As expected, it was a waste of time. Eventually I was given a second course of the same antibiotics, which had not worked before. That was the third time to the hospital that week, and I had been there the week before. Coming home after 3.00am the next morning, I was not best pleased!
    The hospital contacted the surgery and said my doctor needed to see me in 5 days. I was told if I could not go in, he would come and see me at home. I did talk to him and he said I ‘should’ be feeling better after the antibiotics. Antibiotics finished a week ago and pneumonia still not cleared up. If my doctor won’t see me at home, I’ll just go back to hospital.
    Sue, thank you so much for your kind words. I’m sorry your Dad had pneumonia x
    Jilly, bless you for thinking of me. I love that you have three Christmas trees. I may try to put mine up if I can conjure up some energy 🙂 I do hope your son in law is feeling a little better and Annie is as well as can be x
    Helen, sorry you’re feeling tired and worn out. I hope you have a chance to rest x
    Tricia, keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Hope all goes well x
    Mary, so sorry you have been poorly again. Hope you are not overdoing things x
    Lots of Love to Una, Debz, Elaine and all in Ali’s Army x
    Ali, will try and write before Christmas. Wishing you all the happiness, good health and love in the world.
    Take care,
    Lots of Love, Alpa xxxx

  32. Christine Collins December 21, 2013 at 9:50 am -  Reply

    Good morning Ali,
    Very dark & blowing a gale here but hey, that’s all outside. On the bright side,my Mally beauty prize has arrived as has my Centigrade TSV from the other day. To say I’m abs delighted is an understatement. I will have a wee practice with my make up & maybe even send a photo when I get it right. My coat won’t need any practicing tho & couldn’t have arrived on a better day. It will get a good tryout later when I go out later. My daughter,Shirley,granddaughters,Lucy &Polly are taking me to Gleneagles Hotel Ivor Afternoon Tea with a bit “Jingle Jam” – songs from the musicals etc. sounds great,will let you know.
    Thank you so much again for my make up. What great service too by del service getting my coat so quickly.
    Ps Nearly forgot to say,have a great Christmas,silly me.

  33. Judith Lennon December 21, 2013 at 4:10 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    What a busy bee you’ve been again. It’s always nice to have time away and very exciting to think you live so near to Downton
    fame. We used to live quite close to Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields. It cane also be a good talking point when you are chatting to people and they recognise your accent and ask “do you know…..” I hope you enjoyed catching up with your family and extended family and making arrangements of when and how you can all meet up. I have my sister staying with me from London and we are hoping to see our new granddaughter and have Christmas lunch with our daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter. Our new addition to the family is being Christened the first Sunday of 2014 and family members will be attending from various places including New Zealand. I hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas and to you personally I wish another year of good health and happiness. You so deserve it.
    Love and hugs Judith

  34. alison keenan December 23, 2013 at 1:04 pm -  Reply

    Dear Martin, I did indeed get your card, and it is now in my dining room where I can see it. Have a splendid Christmas and do keep in touch in 2014, love Ali xx

  35. alison keenan December 23, 2013 at 1:08 pm -  Reply

    Angela, a very very Merry Christmas to you too Angela and a healthy happy New Year as well 🙂 Take it easy and we’ll speak again in 2014. With love, Ali xx

  36. alison keenan December 23, 2013 at 1:13 pm -  Reply

    Dear Janet, so good to hear an update on Alfie, and I am sure that I won’t be the only one praying that the operation on his eyes has been successful. I hope the four weeks will pass quickly…. And I know that you will worry re the bone scan, as I did when I had to have mine, but I will keep everything crossed that like me it’s the medication an maybe just getting a little older 🙂 All my washing and ironing up to date, and so blogging for a little while longer and then a snooze as we plan to do overnight food shopping!! The weather is desperate out there, and I’m hoping it may be better by tonight. I am so glad you enjoyed your weekend together, and I hope that Christmas Day will be just as much fun. Take care and speak soon, love Ali xx

  37. alison keenan December 23, 2013 at 1:16 pm -  Reply

    Alpa, I was so sorry to read about your continued battle with pneumonia, and the problems you’ve been having with your medication. Remembering my poor mum who is also allergic to penicillin, I know the reaction’s can be severe! I’d try to get your GP to see you at home before you venture out and to the hospital again. If the recommendation for a home visit is on your file then hopefully he will fulfil it. I hope very much that you find the energy to put your tree up and that you will also feel well enough just to relax and enjoy some stress free time. Thank you for keeping us all in touch, and I hope more than anything that 2014 will be a kinder year to you. Take care, love Ali xx

  38. alison keenan December 23, 2013 at 1:19 pm -  Reply

    Christine that’s great that you got your make-up in time for Christmas, and also delighted that your Centigrade Coat arrived! Told you you’d love it didn’t I! 🙂 Just the best thing for this awful weather – quite frightening sitting here listening to the howling winds and watching the huge trees bending …. bit worried about the Old Oak in our front garden! How did you get on at the Gleneagles Hotel and your afternoon tea? It sounded great fun! So glad you got the coat in time, and hope that you, Lucy, Polly and the entire family have a wonderful Christmas, love Ali xx

  39. alison keenan December 23, 2013 at 1:22 pm -  Reply

    Dear Judith, lovely to hear from you, and to know that you’ll be with your family and hopefully get to see your new grandaughter over Christmas too! I don’t actually live near to Downton, but it was just a weekend away 🙂 I fairly close to Windsor Castle tho! 🙂 I remember also when I worked on This Morning and it was in Liverpool. We used to drive up Penny Lane most mornings, and once ventured off to find Strawberry Fields, just so we could say we had 🙂 I hope that the Christening goes well and that you have a fabulous time meeting up with folk you no doubt won’t have seen for a while! New Zealand! That’s a fair way to travel from 🙂 I hope that throughout Christmas and the New Year you are well and happy, and thank you very much for your kind wishes to me too. With love, Ali xx

  40. Elaine sallis December 23, 2013 at 4:20 pm -  Reply

    Hi ali
    Just wanted to wish you and everyone in Ali’s army a very happy christmas .
    Elaine x

  41. Liz, Lancashire December 23, 2013 at 4:57 pm -  Reply

    Sorry not to have written for ages but I have been reading the blog regularly to keep up with the news. Always a good read!
    I have been under the weather since September, although it’s not been cancer related. Suffice to say I wasn’t able to sit down for over 2 weeks, could barely move around and had district nurses to come and do dressings daily. I was finally discharged last Friday from their care after 3 months. The care from the nurses has been amazing and I cannot praise them enough. To say the whole experience has been a real pain in the bum sums it up in more ways than one!
    Unfortunately my back has also been playing up and a scan has shown a bit of spread in my spine. Am waiting for an mri scan now and they will decide then what to do treatment wise. May be cement in spine to prop it up, radiotherapy and/or a drugs change. Don’t care which as long as they sort it!! At least my organs appear ok still.
    The worst bit has been that we had to cancel a few trips away as I just haven’t been up to it. Hopefully we can make up for it once my back is sorted.
    Anyway, wishing everyone a peaceful and restful Xmas and a much better 2014.

  42. Rhona Fenton December 23, 2013 at 8:59 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison what a fantastic time had by all by the sounds, so glad you all had a great time with everyone, and a happy belated Birthday to colins son, it was our Alisons birthday last week also, so we went through to see her and her new flat which she is loving, never mind getting the all the boxes unpacked first thing on her list was getting her Christmas tree up and decorated, she is as bad as me Ha Ha!! Hope you are all ready for Christmas? we are just about there as you say can’t believe its here already! Hope you all have a lovely Christmas, and will talk to you in the new year, sending you all our love as always merry Christmas love Rhona xx

  43. Jilly December 23, 2013 at 9:19 pm -  Reply

    It is the night before Christmas Eve and all is well in our house – not so outside as it is pouring down and very windy. We have the outside lights on but have had to put lights round the door rather than on two bay trees by the front door – we had to move them as it was just too windy but hey ho a front door without bay trees is not the end of the world (although I do think it looks strange without them being there).
    I just want to wish Ali and everyone of you dear friends in the AA (Ali’s Army) a good next few days. I am sure there will be a time when we all will need to just sit down and take stock of what the last year has brought to us – joy as well as sorrow but lets go forward into 2014 believing that things will be brighter and better than they have been and also know that if there are times ahead that are hard we are all here for everyone. We cannot quite hold each other’s hands or give hugs but it is the thought that helps us all and I know that without Ali and all of you being there for me and Annie this last year would have been much harder.
    Next year there will be surgery for Ali and Annie but that is a while away so we can put the thought of it in a box on the shelf until nearer the time. Hopefully Tricia is recovering from her surgery and Susan will be in safe hands for her op tomorrow.
    Delighted to hear that maybe there is progress for little Alfie and we will continue to pray that his little eyes recover and the op has worked better than could be hoped.
    Alpa good to hear from you and hope that you can keep well over the holiday time and you get the energy to put your tree up.
    Ali and Colin and your lovely family I wish you well and look forward to your pictures and news of your Christmas time.
    Now I have to go and decide what to wear to a sort of Crib/children’s service tomorrow at teatime – It is a first for our chapel and should be good fun. Optional dressing up and I feel I should go as a fairy as I love anything that glitters! someone is going as a white rabbit as this is the only dressing up outfit that she owns. It is so old the zip won’t do up so she puts brown paper over the tummy part!! It will be interesting if nothing else and I am not sure what a white rabbit has to do with Christmas but that does not matter one bit.
    Love Jilly XX

  44. babsq x December 24, 2013 at 7:29 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali Happy Christmas to you,Colin and all your family. love BabsQ XX

  45. Sue Jennings December 29, 2013 at 10:08 pm -  Reply

    Hi Dearest Ali…sorry for my late entrance during this festive time but I’ve been laid up in bed with the dreaded flu….I feel a bit better tonight hence my appearance….as you know my daughter Claire is in her new home and celebrating her first Christmas there with her gorgeous partner Chris…they insisted on Brian and me having Christmas lunch with them…first time in 36 years I haven’t cooked and it was fab and I was so glad due to already not feeling to well..they did us proud…..glad u enjoyed your girlie weekend and Downton is my fav too. …what a lovely photo of the little church …..I will write again soon when I’m feeling normality has resumed inside my very woolly head …..take care Ali
    Love always
    Sue Jennings

  46. Alison Keenan December 30, 2013 at 12:01 am -  Reply

    Elaine thank you for your kind wishes.i am very much hoping that you had a great Christmas and am sending you love for the New year! Ali xx

  47. Alison Keenan December 30, 2013 at 12:02 am -  Reply

    Dear Babs I wish the same to you too! Thwnk you for continually keeping on touch throughout the year, and here’s hoping 2014 will bring you all you wish for, love Ali xx

  48. Alison Keenan December 30, 2013 at 12:09 am -  Reply

    My dear Liz how trilby sorry I was to read your news, and to know that you have been struggling over the last three months or more… Back pain is so debilitating, and anything in your nether regions even worse – so glad that you have the support of the district nurses and that it wasn’t cancer related. I hope also that the spread in your spine will be treated as non invasively as possible, and that you will be up at at ’em early 2014…you are an incredibly brave woman and an inspiration to me. Take care Liz, and I pray that this next 12 months is kinder to you, with my love, Ali xx

  49. Alison Keenan December 30, 2013 at 12:13 am -  Reply

    Susan, just hoping that your op on Christmas Eve went as well as could be expected, and that you are now home and comfortable. There will be a lot for you to adjust to, but maybe if you look at it as being the first step on the road to getting better, it will help. Sending you my love, Ali xx

  50. alison keenan January 2, 2014 at 8:35 pm -  Reply

    My dear Jilly, so sorry I didn’t get to post this prior to Christmas but I hope that your bay trees like mine (how weird is that we both have bay trees by our front doors) they survived the storms! I loved your good wishes and hopes for 2014… very much hoping that you had a great Christmas, and that your entrance as a fairy for the Crib/children’s service was well received 🙂 Sending you my love, and I will of course keep in touch with you over the next few weeks, love Ali xx

  51. alison keenan January 2, 2014 at 8:36 pm -  Reply

    Sue I was sorry to read that you like so many have been struggling with the flu, and am hoping that by now you will be completely recovered… I hope too that it had released its hold in time for you to enjoy New Year! Love Ali x

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