Keeping warm and busy as we jog through January


Hi there, how’s your January going? Fast eh? Exactly what I thought : ). Possibly moving a little slower for those of you who’ve been struggling with one form of lurgy or another, so I very much hope you’re on the mend now. I’ll be honest I’ve not had a flu jab this year although I am supposed to, but last year I had a bad reaction to it, so decided to give it a miss this time around. I’ve managed to avoid the worst of it up until now, so fingers crossed it stays that way!

Something else I did last year was to make a list of New Year’s resolutions. Looking back, perhaps boxing, taking up Nordic walking, learning to play the saxophone and walking 5K three times a week was possibly a little adventurous! Anyway, this year I once again set myself a number of resolutions that I was adamant I would stick to, but I’m ashamed to say the only thing I’ve managed to tick off my list so far is going to the dentist!

Being a child of the 60s I visited the dentist religiously every six months, and over the years, pretty much every tooth in my head had been filled – whether it was necessary or not!  Along with all the amalgam they’d used to fill my cavities, I had all my wisdom teeth out just after my 21st birthday, and also one of my huge back molars removed because I had an abscess which wasn’t responding to antibiotics!

Unfortunately, since being diagnosed with breast cancer, the drugs that I have to take continuously to block the production of estrogen, cause issues with my bones, nails and teeth. Can you believe it was eight years on 18th January since I was told? I’ve started taking the Prime 50 Bone Supplements we sell at QVC, and am confident that the mix of ingredients will help not just my joints but my teeth also. My lovely dentist who lost her mum to breast cancer, told me to keep up with my excellent cleaning regime which I have to thank Soniclean for!  Their Ultrasonic toothbrush has made all the difference – a bit tickly at first, but I’ve persevered and wouldn’t be without it now. Isn’t it weird though, the older you get the gappier your teeth seem to be! Dental floss is now an integral part of my life : )

Of course my family and friends are also an integral part of my life and I’ve been lucky enough to see quite a number of them over the last few weeks.  Jack and I enjoyed a day together where we spent ages catching up in his cosy flat before managing to consume pretty much our body weight in grilled meat, having ordered a massive flat bread sandwich each!

As Colin and I had failed to get to Bournemouth before Christmas, we headed there on Saturday to see our friends Colette and David so that we could celebrate his birthday with them.  They’d chosen a fabulous restaurant called The Pear and we had a fun evening culminating in this surprise pudding for Dave (pictured above)! He was genuinely delighted.

Colin and mum

With Joe

On our way home the following day we called in on my mum and Joe and took them out to lunch. We all chose the roast beef and motored our way through a mountain of food which left us unable to even think about a dessert! This time I did take a few photos, having missed our opportunity previously when we were together at Christmas : ) I thought they both looked really well and they enjoyed having a little time away from home too.


Staying with the food theme, we’ve had some wonderful TSV’s over the last few months, but last week, one of the stars was The Real Pie Company with their steak and cheese, bacon and garlic pies to name but a few. That said, I must name check my lovely friend Julie who baked the beautiful chicken, tarragon, ham and mushroom pie (pictured above) for six of us when we had a weekend away in the Cotswolds. It was monumental! I was glad of my Joules coat when we went for a long hike across the fields the following day to burn off the calories, and if you’re also a fan of this brand of outerwear you may be interested to know there’s a TSV this Thursday the 24th from Joules that is available now on pre-sell. The Seaham Textured Breton Striped Jumper comes in four colour choices! My personal favourite is the Red/Gold – which do you prefer?Joules top 175180

And from fashion to a fabulous Beauty Weekend where not only are we featuring very special offers from brands such as Benefit, Nails Inc, Gatineau, Margaret Dabbs, NIOD and problem solvers with LAB, but have a set price of £1.95 P&P on EVERYTHING over the weekend.  If you want to keep ahead of the game, keep in touch with me on Twitter @alikqvc or Instagram @alikeenan1 and I promise I’ll let you know what’s occurring! Oh, and I must mention the return of Ali Young’s Beauty Insider show this evening (the 23rd) at 8pm. She and Will Gowing will be together to bring you beauty news, backstage gossip and great guests, and don’t forget to stay with them for live Q&A at 9pm on QVC’s Facebook page.

Can you believe it’s a whole year since I visited the home of Downton Abbey with my sister’s primary school pupils? No, neither can I, but I’m doing the same again this year, although this time we are heading off to the British Museum. The last time I visited there was at least eight years ago, and to be honest, I really can’t remember much about it! That’ll all change on Thursday, and I’m very much looking forward to it, so I’ll make sure I document it for you next time here on the blog.

Under the microscope

Under the microscope

Talking of schools, I will be looking after Honey at the end of the month as Lucy has another parent’s evening, and I’ve promised Honey we can have another session with her microscope! I bought her the Quick Attach Digital microscope for Christmas and we hunted around for some of the more unusual subjects. I even allowed her to take a few photos with my phone too, and not just with the microscope, so see if you can identify what these are??

We’ve got Jack’s 26th birthday coming up on 2nd February and Colin’s son Dan is 34 on the 10th, so I’m going to have to start baking a few cakes! I hope that all is well with you, and thank you for keeping in touch with me here on the blog.

With my love,

Ali xx













  1. Karen B January 23, 2019 at 4:59 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, great blog as ever and lovely pictures of you all. That pie looked delicious! Yes i know what you mean about the flu jab. I had a bad reaction one year and havent had the jab since. Looking forward to beauty weekend. Cant resist a beauty set or two!! Caught some of your diamonique show yesterday and you looked great and your hair looks fab. Take care xx

    • Alison Keenan February 1, 2019 at 9:25 pm -  Reply

      Hi Karen, So glad you enjoyed the blog, and the pie not only looked delicious but tasted delicious too! Did you order your Tarte Beauty TSV – some great colours in their eye shadows. Thanks for the compliments about my hair. I have to say I’m finding it a tad easier now it’s longer, but that said I’m going for colours and a cut tomorrow! 🙂 Hope all well with you and you’re keeping warm, love Ali xx

  2. Susan January 23, 2019 at 5:33 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Lovely to hear from you and see the photos of your mum and joe. They look great! I’m glad they’re both well at the minute. Did you get much snow this week? It’s been so cold and icy here. Couldn’t we all do with something to look forward to at this time of year?! Hopefully well all get away sometime to the sun! Have you anything planned yet?
    Can’t wait to see your birthday cakes. They’re always fab! And the chicken pie your friend made looks amazing!
    Good luck to lucy and enjoy honey time x

    • Alison Keenan February 1, 2019 at 9:38 pm -  Reply

      Dear Susan, lovely to hear from you – sounds as though you got the first of this really cold and inclement weather! I think a trip away to the sun sounds perfect – I’ll let you know what we’ve booked in the next blog 🙂 Yes we had a lovely lunch with mum and Joe and hope to see them again soon. My Jack doesn’t want a birthday cake but has asked for chocolate brownies instead! I doubt they’ll be as good as Gower Cottage though! I was in Swindon this morning with all the snow but did manage to get back safely and here into work. Take care and stay warm. Love Ali x

  3. Joanna Downey January 24, 2019 at 9:08 am -  Reply

    Morning Ali, The title of your blog is spot on as we’ve had our first really cold days of the season this week & I always fill January with lots of activities because she’s my least favourite month & I’m determined not to be a negative Nora – apologies to January & all the Noras out there. You’ve obviously had a good time eating out, how you stay looking as good as you do when you’re such a foody is beyond me. You always look so stylish on air when you must be wearing more make up than you’d normally apply, however, your real loveliness is seen in the photo with Joe & you totally nailed the smart casual look. We’ve also been out & about, finding a new tearoom & seeing The Take That Experience, a brilliant cover band. This week we went to Malvern Theatre, one of my absolute favourite places, to see their first night of Trial by Laughter by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman. We saw The Wipers Times last year & just loved it so had great expectations for this one, we weren’t disappointed & at the end they did a Q&A session which was brilliant. In your last reply you asked if Colin had planned to retire or just did it, the answer to that is that he took almost as long to do it as Frank Sinatra! In reality he stopped his real job four years ago when he took all his occupational pensions, had a month off, did a trek & then started working on a freelance basis four days a week. He saw me enjoy my first retirement year, especially that glorious summer, & it was on my birthday he said that he didn’t want to spend any more time driving up & down the M5 so was giving up, done deal. I think the fact that I’m going to be looking after Etty for two days each week was a major factor in his decision; after six weeks of being together every day we’re finding a balance , I’ve even stopped hissing when he wipes up spills with a very wet cloth… I’ve given great consideration to Honey’s photos, the green & white one looks like a bud & I think the first one is the inside of a tomato – it did look very medical! Enjoy your baking. Love from Jo x

    • Alison Keenan February 1, 2019 at 9:57 pm -  Reply

      Hello there Jo, lovely as always to hear from you, and I may well be a tad ahead of you in the snow stakes, having spent last night at Lucy’s and woken to well over six inches of snow! Luckily I managed to get to the motorway – very slowly! Thank you for your kind compliments. I put on quite a few pounds over Christmas and this month with all the eating out, but now back at work, and not eating or drinking as much I’ve pretty much lost it. How nice for you and Colin to get out for a special evening – I’m a fan of Ian Hislop too. I think there must have been a great many people who thought of retiring while having to work through last summer! Luckily for us, they are saying it should be much the same this year – fingers crossed 🙂 If you’re already finding it easier being together 24/7 just six weeks in, I reckon it’s going to be ok. And you’re spot on with one of your guesses. The green bud is a pussy willow, but the second is a strawberry skin! Thanks for that and for your comment. Take care, love Ali xx

  4. Merche Gardiner January 24, 2019 at 4:09 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, lovely to hear from you, glad that mum and Joe are keeping well. I must admit your friend Julie’s pie looked absolutely delicious. Talking of birthdays my daughter Heidi shares your son Jacks birthday date, the only difference is she will be celebrating her 50th, I don’t know where the years have gone. It certainly doesn’t seem a year since you went on the school trip with your sisters class. Hope you enjoy the next trip! Take care, love Merchex

    • Alison Keenan February 1, 2019 at 10:03 pm -  Reply

      Hi Merche, Fancy your daughter and my son sharing the same birthday! Please wish her a happy 50th for me and enjoy your time together! My son Sam will be 30 on the 10th March, and like you, I don’t know where the years have gone. Jenny and I had a great time on the school trip and I’ll tell you about it in the next blog 🙂 Love Ali xx

  5. Loraine Plumb January 24, 2019 at 7:32 pm -  Reply

    Oh Alison the pear is a stone’s throw from where Les works how strange speaking of work he still hasn’t gone back it’s a long story he hopefully will next week but it’s really getting him down and if I’m being honest me as well I’m having a few issues also where I work they are putting on me and I’m on the verge of leaving to top that Gary had a bit of a knock in his car but thankfully he’s ok it doesn’t rain but pours eh hopefully the redundancy and December wages will turn up at some point such a pain. Anyway glad your all good your mum and Joe look well your lucky to have them around still.Have a nice time at the birthday celebrations we have Gary’s girlfriends 30th on the 8th Feb were also visiting their wedding venue next Sunday it’s like an open day event. Hope you stay free of the germs there’s a lot about take care love Loraine xx

    • Alison Keenan February 1, 2019 at 10:07 pm -  Reply

      Loraine, that is so strange!! Such a lovely restaurant and great food. I am sorry to know that Les didn’t feel able to go back to work and that you are also now struggling with your job. Rotten on top of that do have to deal with the car being knocked, so I do hope that with the redundancy and and your wages you will be able to sort that, and maybe feel a little easier about the future. Yes it was good to see my mum and Joe, and you’re right I am lucky. The girls I go away with that I’ve know since the children were small have all lost their mum.. and most their dads too. Very sad. I hope that you’ll have a great time on the 8th and that you enjoy having a look around the wedding venue this weekend. I hope also that the weather doesn’t scupper any of your plans. Take care love Ali xx

  6. Julie January 24, 2019 at 7:55 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    A lovely blog as usual. I’m just keeping you updated. In your last blog I mentioned my poorly dog. To cut a long story short unfortunately we lost her today. She passed away peacefully and we are devastated. They are like family ( or not!!) Not a very nice birthday present for me next week. It’s a year today I started radiotherapy so my last two birthdays have not been the best. I can’t believe you were diagnosed so long ago but you look so well.
    Speak soon
    Julie xxx Girls xxx

    • Alison Keenan February 1, 2019 at 10:10 pm -  Reply

      Dear Julie, as you know , I am so very sorry to know that you lost your beautiful dog – a member of the family really not just a pet – and am just glad that she didn’t suffer. Hard to believe it was a year ago last week that you started radiotherapy… I know it’s not been an easy year for you for a number of reasons, but I hope you see this milestone as a point of strength… it so is. And I’m certain in 7 years time you will also look well, and that your life will be more positive. Chin up, love Ali xx

  7. Judith Lennon January 25, 2019 at 10:32 am -  Reply

    Morning Ali.
    It’s a bright sunny morning here although damp. I’ve been watching the birds popping in and out of the bird box, the one similar to that on QVC with the camera. I hope the surroundings will suffice for them! I have been trying to do some walking this week. Not far but a start. John and I walked to St Mary’s lighthouse the other morning. It was beautiful but didn’t see any seals. I loved the pictures of your mum and Joe. What a lovely couple they make. That pie looks so tempting although I moved on swiftly as I have been steadily loosing weight over the last few weeks. It’s amazing what a difference a few pounds off makes. My eldest granddaughter is going into hospital on Monday for further investigations connected with her IBS. Not pleasant for a 12 year old. I do hope they can help her. She has dealt with her situation well for the past two years but she has days were she is really poorly. Keep your fingers crossed for her. Well the sunshine beckons me so I’ll maybe have a little wander out. Take care Ali and sending love and hugs as always. Judith xx

    • Alison Keenan February 1, 2019 at 10:13 pm -  Reply

      Hello there Judith. Lovely to hear from you although I am sorry to hear about your eldest granddaughter. I hope the investigations were straightforward, and that there isn’t to be any further treatment for her, but that she will feel better. It’s a rotten thing to have – even more so when you’re so young. Well done for the walking – a little way is definitely the best way to start. What a fabulous place to walk to ! Hopefully you’ll see some seals next time you visit. Well done for dropping the weight too… it’s harder the older we get isn’t it! I hope you haven’t got too much snow? Stay warm, love Ali xx

  8. worwood January 27, 2019 at 4:05 pm -  Reply

    Ali can I be nosiey and ask where you got your jumper from please,Love reading your blogs and it doesent see like 8yrs since you were pooly,so pleased everything went well for you.xx

    • Alison Keeenan February 1, 2019 at 10:14 pm -  Reply

      Hello there, not nosey at all! It’s from Marks and Spencer and this season. So glad you enjoy the blogs and like you, I find it hard to believe it’s been a whole eight years since I was diagnosed. I feel very lucky and grateful. Always have done. 🙂 Thank you for getting in touch, Love Ali xx

  9. Christine January 29, 2019 at 3:27 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali January is almost over, had snow today but did not come to much. Can’t believe 8 years since this happened. David got the all clear, it has been 5 years, so fingers crossed. We have found a house so hopefully moving soon. Just can’t waite .
    Take Care x

    • Alison Keenan February 1, 2019 at 10:16 pm -  Reply

      Christine, I do hope that you and David did something nice to celebrate his five years and is all clear. So happy for you both. I accept I’m always to be in remission, but as long as I feel well, then that’s all that matters 🙂 Great to know also that you’ve found a house! Fingers crossed you’ll be moving soon. Take care and stay warm, love Ali xx

  10. Merche Gardiner January 29, 2019 at 4:06 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, always enjoy your blog, it’s lovely to catch up on your family.
    My daughter will be sharing Jacks birthday, only she will be 50! I don’t know where the years have gone, too quick I think. We are going to go out for a family meal so looking forward to that. Enjoy your day out with your sister and her class. Love Merchex

    • Alison Keenan February 1, 2019 at 10:17 pm -  Reply

      HI there Merche, think we must have had gremlins in the system as this posted twice! But thanks for persevering! 🙂 Love A xx

  11. Mandy January 29, 2019 at 8:58 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali! Brrr! The weather here has taken a turn from the bright crisp day we had yesterday. It has taken much longer to get home tonight because of the snow but we have just put on our Cozee Home bedding so looking forward to snuggling down later(although I will be throwing off the covers a few times no doubt & soaking my Andrew with my facial spray lol ) Your photos are lovely & it sounds like you have been quite a social butterfly this January- can’t believe it is February on Friday. I must say Julie’s pie looks FAB-U-LOUS!!! One of my resolutions is the spend time in the kitchen- my husband does ALL the cooking as he loves it so I am aiming to do a meal a week at the moment. Any tips or recipes will be gladly received if you have any tried & tested recipes Ali. I have bought a few of the digital microscopes for presents before although didn’t want to part with them- they are fun & keep little ones occupied! I mentioned going to the Lakes in March for my birthday on your previous blog- I actually travel there on your birthday (is it the 16th?) so I will certainly toast you when I arrive. Mine is on the 19th so will be nice to have an extra long weekend to celebrate. My hair is now long again (opa!) so am really pleased especially now it is colder weather as it keeps my neck warm. I don’t know if I have mentioned it to you before or not but I think a Diamonique compact mirror would be gorgeous! I use them all the time but think a Diamonique would be rather classy.

    Keep Warm Ali

    Love & Hugs

    From Mandy xxx

    • Alison Keenan February 4, 2019 at 2:03 pm -  Reply

      Hi there Mandy, lovely to hear from you, and good to know that you’ve got your Cozee Home bedding on! I have an hour with this brand at 11pm tonight, and I’m certain you’re not the only one who’s been benefitting from this snuggly bedtime experience – give or take a few hot flushes 🙂 Wow! Fancy having a husband who does all the cooking! Colin rarely if ever cooks, and to be honest I rather like it that way 🙂 I have a few tried and tested recipes – not least Rich Beef Stew which is a doddle, involving braising steak, 2 carrots, 4 rashers of smoked bacon, lemon zest, tablespoon of redcurrant jelly and beef stock. Just put it all in the casserole and voila! I often use the BBC Good Food recipes online if I’m looking for something different or my favourite chef – Jamie Oliver. So glad that your hair has grown back well – so nice not to feel chilly around the back of the neck! Yes, my birthday is the 16th and I shall hopefully raise a glass to you on the 19th too. I’m loving the idea of a Diamonique compact… I’ll see what the buyers think. Stay warm, and thanks for keeping in touch, love Ali xx

  12. Nadine Farrow January 29, 2019 at 9:00 pm -  Reply

    Cannot believe how quickly January has flown by! Thankful for the weekly Diamonique fix on Tuesdays xxx

    • Alison Keenan February 4, 2019 at 2:04 pm -  Reply

      Dear Nadine, good to see you here on the blog! I hope you enjoyed reading it, and I’ll make sure to give you and Oban a wave on Tuesday – so glad you enjoy the regular show. Love Ali xx

  13. Pam Stephens January 30, 2019 at 1:46 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali I love your blogs and the look of that pie YUMMY /// sounds like you have had a busy time lately keep up the good work and pictures please of the cakes you make I don’t make many now as only my husband and myself at home both sons long married and I tend to get a little ( maybe a lot ) greedy and scoff the lot I try telling myself at my age eighty this year why worry but I do still like to look good in my clothes so need to reign myself in at times/// my husband and I are off to Scotland next week we are treating ourselves as we shall be celebrating our Diamond anniversary on March 21st and looking forward to it very much /// sorry to have gone on Ali please take good care of yourself I enjoy your presenting soo much Love Pam xx

    • Alison Keenan February 4, 2019 at 2:07 pm -  Reply

      Dear Pam, thanks so much for the update, and delighted to know that you’ll be celebrating your diamond wedding anniversary on the 21st March! What a fabulous achievement. And I don’t think you’re ever too old to stop worrying about how you look or what you wear – but I also believe a little of what you fancy does you good – so maybe bake just once a week 🙂 It’s fabulous that at 80 you and your husband still get out and about and are heading to Scotland next week – I hope it’s a little warmer than at present. Thanks for your sweet words about the shows – I’ll try and give you a wave if I remember! Love Ali xx

  14. Patricia Lacey February 1, 2019 at 3:37 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali… It seems we have both kept well minus the Flu vaccine. My second winter of trialing without….. I was very ill 2012 and then prone to every bug .. being so low. i then looked to nature to balance out the drug treatments…. began dosing myself with pure ROYAL JELLY and sometimes Propolis when the pennies can stretch. ( from our local Norfolk honey farm) ….. never felt better. Best beloved he’s the same…No lurgies here in seven years …Just saying and much better than Manuka or plain honey… Oh well peace and love to you and yours….Patricia xx

    • Alison Keenan February 4, 2019 at 2:11 pm -  Reply

      Patricia, I think we should all trek over to Norfolk and try some of your local honey! That said, we have a local honey maker literally just across the fields from us here, so maybe I should try that. I’ve heard a lot of good feedback about propolis and Royal Jelly too – my bone supplements are all I’m currently taking, but I’m hoping they will help. Glad that you and your beloved are keeping well, and thanks for writing to me, love Ali xx

  15. lynn tervit February 5, 2019 at 12:53 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, hope you are well. Please may I take the time to say how grateful iam for the lovely poem you sent me on your last blog, after losing my beloved dad.
    I have just read it again, and I do so every now an then when iam feeling I need a bit of support. You are so thoughtful Alison, and I really appreciate your love at this awful time. I love your blogs, I just feel as if you are a dear friend, and I also feel as if I know your family, thanks to you letting us be part of them. Your dear mum and Joe look fabulous and I hope they are coping with the cold. Just a short note to you Ali, to let you know how helpful your advice and poem has been to me. Sending you and your loved ones all my love.
    Lynn xxxx

  16. pam stephens February 7, 2019 at 6:16 pm -  Reply

    Oh what a lovely reply thank you Alison xxx

  17. Vivien Gore February 10, 2019 at 12:02 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali sorry I’m late with this blog but I’ve had a terrible January and beginning of February. My older sister Lily died on 26th January. Her funeral was Thursday 7th February. She had been in a care home for about 3years. She wasn’t very well at the best of times but it was a terrible shock to us all. She was the oldest of us then me. She was 70 last year there’s only 12months between us. There was 7 of us now down to 6. It’s so sad when you loose someone like a big sister. It was bad enough my son loosing his battle against bowel cancer that was 14 years this June. I can only hope they are all together with my mum and dad. You have to cherish the times we all had together. It really makes you think of your age when something like that happens. Sorry unburden myself on you. As my Des says it can only get better this year. We are looking forward to are holidays that we have book for March and November. You have to grab life while you can and keep going forward. I enjoy reading your blog it makes me realise we have a lot to be thankful for. Here’s hoping this year will be happier for us all. Lots of love. Viv 😘😘😘

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