My whirlwind tour


Ali at BasalI must start this blog by thanking you all so much for sharing stories of your friends/penpals/schoolmates with me! Some really great memories that opened up a whole new chapter for me in the importance of our friends – as I've often said I'd be lost without mine, and it appears you would be too! 🙂

Suffice to say life is as manic as ever this end, and since I last wrote to you I have visited Switzerland on a whirlwind tour of the fabulous Basal Jewellery and Watch Fair, spent a short period of time in Brussells (OK just the airport actually), seen the plastic surgeon at The Marsden, and taken a lesson in ballroom dancing with Colin which was remarkably successful! Where to begin…

I think the Basal Jewellery Fair would be a good place, as it's a once yearly event which our jewellery buyers always attend, but somewhere I'd never been, and I was thrilled to have been asked! So Monday last week saw me heading off to Heathrow for an early morning flight to Switzerland.

Flowers outside the fairAs it was literally a 36 hour trip, I had a relatively small case with me, which I thought could be stowed in the overhead locker, but I hadn't taken into account the contents of my toilet bag! All well and good putting my make-up in the obligatory plastic bag in my handbag, but I hadn't thought of everything else!

My choices were to lose most of my skincare and body products, plus some rather expensive perfume OR put my bag in the hold… I of course opted for the latter, and then headed for the departure lounge. I should have sensed things were not going to go according to plan when the steward checked me through and said "Good morning Sir", and yet even I didn't think I'd still be sitting in the plane on the tarmac two and half hours later with my British Airways breakfast in front of me! 

Dazzling diamondsTo be fair, there was a leak in one of the hydraulic systems and it wouldn't have been safe to fly, but when the entire flight to Basal was only 90 minutes, we were all a little world weary when we disembarked some four hours later!!! That said, after a short bus ride I was ensconced in a world of fabulous gemstones, fresh flowers, fast cars, and wildly expensive watches! How gorgeous are these?!

Everywhere I looked I was blinded by the sparkle of dazzling diamonds, perfect pearls, glittering gold and sleek silver designs – I thought I'd gone to heaven!! 

I was there though to work, and having met up with our lovely Diamonique buyer we spent the next four hours choosing original designs for rings, watches, bracelets and even pendants which will be set with Diamonique stones and form our new 2013 collection!

Ali choosing designs Ali's pendant and her drawing

It was fascinating and truly enjoyable – they even sketched a copy of the pendant I was wearing that Colin had bought for me, and that too will appear shortly as a Diamonique piece – I hope you like!

Emily and I met up with the other QVC buyers, and had a very enjoyable meal out that evening in an Italian Restaurant which boasted such delights as 'Lukewarm Lamb with Dandelion Jus"… however, we managed to choose a less alarming selection, and feeling well fed and more than a little languid, we went back to our hotel and bed.

Hotel roomI thought you'd like to see the rather original way they leave the pillows in Switzerland… reminded me of a couple of meringues! After a rather broken night's sleep – the room was VERY warm – I breakfasted on scrambled eggs and 'party rissoles'… a little like sausagemeat burgers, but more fun! 🙂

Back at The Fair, we spent more time looking through tray upon tray of jewellery, and then visited several watch manufacturers. So difficult to choose when you see so many samples, but I am really delighted and excited to have helped decide which watch will be developed for our Diamonique/QVC 20th Anniversary!

Lillies in the jewellery hall Some of the fresh flowers

As I had to fly home via Brussels, I left a little earlier than the others but managed to get a charming Japanese tourist to take a photo of me outside the Fair itself (top photo) – note the Centigrade coat – high heels had been replaced by Emu boots at this point though, and boy was I glad! Terminal A at Brussels airport is approximately 30 minutes walk from Terminal B!! In my book that's over a mile! I had to eat several bars of Swiss chocolate to gain sufficient energy to find the plane!

Such a great time though, and for me, a true lover of beautiful jewellery, I was completely spoiled. Wednesday saw me at The Royal Marsden Hospital where after a lengthy discussion with the Consultant there, it appears that the only way forwards for me regarding further reconstruction, will involve fairly major micro-surgery.

The radiotherapy has damaged the right side of my body, and so tissue and skin will need to be taken from elsewhere to create an unirradiated pocket for the implant. The left side has considerable thickening and cording of the skin so that too poses a problem.

I had photographs of myself taken at the hospital yesterday, which will be used at a multi disciplinary meeting next week, so I'll let you know how they think they can help me… something distinctly depressing about standing in a basement room in your knickers in front of a complete stranger, while he points a camera at you, but it's easier than having to stand in your knickers in front of six complete strangers while they talk about you, which is what happened last time! Every cloud eh? 🙂

Strictly Come Dancing!Before I go though, I did want to tell you about a fabulous fundraiser that Colin and I went to on Saturday night with Ros and Chris. The theme was a Strictly Come Dancing evening, held at a local village hall, and Wendy who organised it, had lost her husband the year before.

He had been cared for prior to his death, at the hospice where Ros works, and they, like many other hospices, rely entirely on charitable donations to stay open. Wendy had arranged for one of the BBC TV series' Dance Instructors to come along and teach all of us two dances – The Foxtrot and The Chachacha… Such fun!!! There must have been at least 60 couples there, and for many – Colin and I included – it was the first time we'd ever tried anything like this!

Imagine our delight then when at the end of the evening Colin and I were among the final four couples left on the dance floor after everyone else had been asked to sit down!! We didn't win, but had such a great time, it is an evening I will remember forever.

Ali and RosIn fact one very poignant moment, which will also stay with me, was at the beginning of the evening when the instructor said "All of you with partners, it's time to take to the dance floor…" I watched Wendy very quietly leave the stage alone… She did though email Ros the following day to tell her that over two and a half thousand pounds had been raised for the hospice during the evening… I am sure her husband would have been very proud of her…

I have been thinking of you over this last week, and hope that you've all seen the sunshine at least a couple of times! I'm off now until the beginning of next week, but we have Colin's first gig at The Fiddler's Elbow in Camden this Sunday evening! He's rehearsing like mad, and I'm sure will be brilliant on the night. I will of course let you know all about that next week! Whatever you're doing, wherever you are, keep in touch! You make all the difference to my week 🙂

With my love, Ali xx


  1. Mrs Janet Jones May 9, 2013 at 5:14 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali, I am turning a shade of green reading about you trip to Switzerland and all that gorgeous jewellery, and beautiful flowers(lol). I too am a lover of beautiful jewellery. So glad you had a good time(despite the delay) you must have been like a child in a sweet shop!
    Well done coming in the last 4 on the strictly come dancing evening, maybe it is something you and Colin should take up.
    I am sorry to hear that your further reconstruction is not going to be straight forward. I completely understand that you don’t want anymore major surgery,looks like you have a lot to think about. I will keep my fingers crossed for you that the surgeons will come up with something that will make you feel more comfortable.
    Alfie had his glasses fitted on Tues, he cried most of the day and wouldn’t open his eyes. But he’s been a bit better today and we are still waiting for some more blood test results.
    They are all coming up this weekend as everybody has been quite
    upset, and hopefully we will have a family day out to try to take our mind of things!! Alfie needs lots of cuddles off his Gran and boy is he going to get them!!
    Good luck to Colin on his first gig on Sun I am sure he will be fantastic.
    Speak soon Ali, love Janet xx

  2. Joanna Downey May 9, 2013 at 6:08 pm -  Reply

    Hello Ali, What a busy week, I have a vision of you flying around Europe in a action hero outfit with “Special K” on the front of it! The jewellery sounds sublime – I’m sure that there will be lots of us who will want that pendant and the photos of the flowers are beautiful. My Colin has climbed in Switzerland many times and ALWAYS comments on the meringue pillows. I think that the World is a better place when couples dance together, especially when looking as polished as you do in your dancing pose. What a lovely way to raise money, although it must be extremely difficult to watch couples when you have lost your life partner. I’m so sorry that your reconstruction is causing you so much trouble, the ripples in a pool following surgery and treatment seem to just keep forming. I’ve spent the past week suffering with the worst pain I have ever known following my recent dental appointments, I’m not a wimp but I felt as though I lay on the floor and sobbed all through the Bank Holiday weekend. I couldn’t get to see anyone until Wednesday afternoon and finally I have met a dentist who feels that saving this tooth, after others have fitted me with 3 crowns and a bridge, is a pointless exercise and so hopefully by this time next week it will be gone and I will just have to perfect a more refined smile. Love from Jo x

  3. Rhona Fenton May 10, 2013 at 9:48 am -  Reply

    Hi Alison I am going to get in early this time, I was late in replying your last blog as I think you missed it and I had a funny story for you with an old school friend off mine, its at the bottom off you last blog! so sorry for the late reply last time and here I am now ( early ) well you have been busy, you ask suzi the next time she will tell you I would have been in my glory with all those watches you saw, don’t know what it is with me and watches, so looking forward to the Diamonique one:)and Jewellery oh my goodness you would have had to drag me away, you must have had a ball? as for your surgery ahead here’s hoping it will be all good news you are so brave what you are all going through but I know you will be strong as you have the love off colin and all your beautiful family by your side helping you face this and with them you will get through it, and as always my love is with you also:) and before I go any chance you can talk your colin into getting my colin to come dancing, I wish, what a fantastic night you had and what an amazing amount off money raised well done everyone:) wish I was coming with you for colin’s gig as like yourself I can sing along as I love his music as you know:) have an amazing time and tell colin I will be thinking off him on the night:) have a lovely weekend lots off love as always Rhona xx

  4. Elaine sallis May 10, 2013 at 11:02 am -  Reply

    Dear Ali
    What a jet setter you are and how wonderful to have been surrounded by all that jewellery . Congratulations on your dancing success will we be seeing you on strictly? Geoff and I went to dance classes to say I had two left feet would be an understatement. We would be gliding round the floor ( or in my case galloping) when the music would suddenly stop and a booming voice would shout my name as I had messed up. Needless to say I quickly put a stop to that activity and if Geoff ever suggests it now the withering look he receives shuts him up in seconds.
    I am sorry to hear you are having so many problems with your reconstruction. You seem to be bearing up but reading between the lines I think you have some difficult decisions to make. Life is never easy Adam and his family are going through some hard times at the moment. I just want to make everything right for them and that is impossible for me to do. Sometimes being a mother is the hardest job in the world isn’t it?
    I hope Colin’s gig goes well.
    Love Elaine

  5. Chris Page May 10, 2013 at 1:12 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali
    Having had loads of medical photography done when I was a child, I can completely empathise. If I’d had my time again, I’d have opted not to be pictured in my underwear. The good news is that I’ve been discharged by the District Nurse, so I don’t have to have daily dressing now. I just need to mositurise my ‘orrible scabby leg, so it looks more like it belongs to me.
    Next stop – my birthday next Friday. 45 – UGH – help!!!
    Chris xxx

  6. Liz, Lancashire May 10, 2013 at 5:17 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali and everybody,
    What a fab trip Basel sounds and how wonderful it must have been to see all those sparkly jewels. I remember seeing a diamond exhibition in London a few years ago and then the Queen’s diamond display last year at Buckingham Palace. They were gorgeous. The Strictly evening sounds fun – love watching it but gave never danced in my life, even as a little girl, when I was more of a horse riding girl.
    I’ve been missing a bit as I had another blip in my treatment a fortnight ago. Had a temperature at night and felt rubbish so rang the oncology helpline who said I was better going to hospital, which she arranged. Once there, there were a load of tests and surgeons came to see me. After a scan next morning, the outcome was acute appendicitis so I had the opportunity late on the Saturday night. Apparently, I was too old for normally getting appendicitis (48) so that made me feel better!!! Finding veins for the anaesthetic was a nightmare and the anaesthetist finally found one under ultrasound in my foot at the third attempt (20th go for veins in total during my stay). I escaped on the Tues and have been slowly recovering since then. It’s taking longer than I expected but I’ll get there. Have been off my anti cancer drugs since going in to hospital but the plan is to start them again next week, hopefully with few side effects. We are hoping the reason I had been feeling so low for a few weeks was the appendix and not the new tablets after all.
    Unfortunately, this op means my planned holiday to Mallorca has had to be cancelled again so I won’t get to see Magdalena – am gutted. Perhaps later in the year once I’m in a new routine with my drugs.
    I hope that whatever decision is made for your reconstruction adjustment is what is best for you. Enjoy your weekend gig.
    Take care all,
    Liz. X

  7. Susan May 10, 2013 at 8:07 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Another stupendous blog! What a week!!! I am quite sure you were a little weary but the end of it?! Fab trip to Switzerland. Had you been before? I’ll have to go someday..sometime. Swiss choc, yum! You have been through so much already with your major surgeries and I am so sorry you have more to contend with. If it will help you then great though. And yes, not nice at all having to stand there in front of people to be photographed or looked at but necessary all the same as you say. I hope Colin’d gig will go well and you enjoy a few days together. You all looked wonderful in your glad rags dancing away! Just so horrible that so many people have lost loved ones and are alone, or indeed alone for many other reasons. Poignant as you say.
    Happy weekend,
    Susan x

  8. Marion Madden May 10, 2013 at 9:36 pm -  Reply

    A bit unprofessional and thoughtless for the announcer to ask for “..those with partners….” He or she must have been aware that as it was a fund raiser for a hospice there were bound to be people there who had suffered the loss of a partner. Sorry about the set back to your reconstruction but you always look so lovely that is it really that important. Maybe you think it is but the majority of people don’t see you naked and having an operation is such a trauma. I know a lady who has had a number of operations including having flesh taken from her shoulder and back to build up her chest since breast surgery and she still will not show very much of her chest area as it is scarred too much.

  9. Kay Salisbury May 10, 2013 at 10:42 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali-those diamonds, those lilies-fabulous-they were the ones I wanted for my wedding in 1977 but my mum said they used them for funerals—I didn’t have them but wished I had-very Art Deco? What a lovely trip! I always say that when I look at really good diamonds-usually through a shop window!!!!-they make my eyes go ‘googly’-do you know what I mean? Sort of emotional due to their stunning qualities-I LOVE diamonds!!! and to see those must have been sensational. I am sorry to hear about the damage to your right side-to cure one thing damages another I suspect, but you are well and improving all the time-you sound so happy and it makes me so happy for you.As I have written to you before-be kind to yourself-rest when you can and do the simple things that renew the soul. God bless. Kay.XXX

  10. Jilly May 10, 2013 at 11:52 pm -  Reply

    Hello Ali – goodness you certainly know how to pack in a week with so many different things. Delighted to hear your trip to Switzerland was so successful – it is a place that we have always fancied but cannot make up our mind the best time to go – or maybe we will just stick with the Lakes again this year! Great that you and Colin got so far along in the dancing – well done and what fun – and better still to make so much money. My boss had a birthday ball for her 60th and we all went for dance lessons before her big day – it was a great laugh and we all enjoyed the dance party knowing a few steps.
    Good luck for Colin and his band for the “gig” and there you will go again as the “groupie” I am sure it will be a great night had by all.
    So very sorry to hear the news that more surgery is necessary and also gutted to hear that you have been having such a time of it with the damage that has been caused. That really is dreadful and very upsetting when you have been through so much before hand. I would also prefer having photos taken rather than standing in pants in front of any people. We really do feel for you and send you big huge hugs. Also sending them to Janet and little Alfie and his parents as it is just so upsetting when a child gets upset and cannot understand what is happening. It is good to hear that the family will be together this weekend as little Alfie will need his grandma and his parents will need the love and support from her. Sometimes it is very hard being brave for others and we all need that shoulder to cry on every now and again.
    My daughter continues to improve each day although she has to make sure she does not “overdo it”. She goes on Tuesday to get the implant filled up a little (not sure what the real term is) as the surgeon wants to stretch the skin to make sure when the final surgery happens there is enough skin to make a good job of it and to “give a natural droop”!!! my daughter said forget the natural droop – she is not going through what she has been through to have droopy breasts which is what she had before the op – she wants firm young breasts that do not droop at all. She is going to buy a pretty bra and say to the surgeon “fill me to fit this”. We will have to watch this space and see and I will update as to what the outcome of Tuesday is and also wait to hear how things pan out with you. Love Jilly xx

  11. mary May 11, 2013 at 8:45 am -  Reply

    Good morning Ali, its Saturday morning and I am going to get my blog done as time is of the essence this week and I have a window before I wash my hair and get ready for a journey to Middlesex where daughter Chloe has a county cricket match..journey is about 2 1/2 hours and we are leaving at ten. Firstly I am sorry to hear about your surgery dilemma and was horrified to hear of your first experience with the in sensitive and traumatic but hope an agreeable outcome is always look gorgeous on TV but I appreciate that cancer leaves people scars that only they can see. Good luck with all that is to follow.
    The diamond pendant in your photos looks amazing and I too would have been in my element with those beautiful gems..shine bright like a diamond!
    Your hotel pillow photo made me giggle. It reminded me of tge dessert floating islands..two quinelles of meringue sitting on top of a bowl of runny custard! The flowers were amazing especially those wonderful favourite.
    So tge sun has finally been shinning and we walked barefoot on the beach last weekend and watched cricket on Sunday in hot sunshine…I have a dip dye tan from where the sun moved round and I didn’t….would have been rude to have had my back to the game and as Chloe was playing for the ladies with my twin sister it was a rare aunty and niece moment both playing cricket together on the same being 13 and the other being 47!
    The washing line has been full of cricket whites of different club shirts, trousers, special cricket knickers.. jack’s kangaroo ones with a pouch for his box and Chloe’s specially sought nude lady boxers so they don’t show through her trousers. We only had Monday night off cricket last week…the after school matches start at six and boots and blankets come out as its normally blowing a gale and very chilly. This week I am off with chloe today round tge m25 to middx. Both Chloe and her brother are playing in Bridge near Canterbury tomorrow against a touting team from Belgium…have to leave at 9am so its an early start. We hope they bring us loads of chocolate! Have Monday off again then cricket every night for one or the other or both including a nice trip to Bexley on Wednesday for an evening game which could be an hour journey or two depending on M2 and A2 but not a good time to travel we are leaving west gate at 4pm in time to hit comnuter traffic. Suffice to say, I have not done much myself this week but am potting up my pots and baskets at very odd times of the day one by one. Hope the week is a good one for you. Good luck to Colin for his gig. Lots of love Mary xx

  12. Claire Downing May 11, 2013 at 7:46 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, you have certainly been a busy bee. I have had the pleasure of Basel and found it such a wonderful place, the jewellery is fab, and was very fortunate that when we visited I was gifted by Alan (my hubby) a beautiful watch to coincide with my early retirement I was like a child in a candy store 🙂 lovely memories. The pendant looks really beautiful can’t wait to see it. How lovely your dancing night sounded and for such a wonderful cause, there are so many generous people. My friend is doing the Walk the Walk tonight, I am so proud of her !!!
    I am so sad that your reconstruction is not so straight forward Ali, but hopefully things will correct themselves, I will be thinking of you :-).
    I wish Colin’s first gig at The Fiddler’s Elbow in Camden this Sunday evening a big success and sending you all my love, hope to hear from you soon Ali. Claire xxxx

  13. Sue Radford May 12, 2013 at 4:04 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    My idea of heaven would be to visit a jewellery fair – how lucky were you! I love jewellery and diamonds are my absolute favourite. I’ve been very lucky to have acquired a few lovely pieces throughout the years. I love the pendants in the photographs, they’re so beautiful. The one Colin bought for you is really lovely.
    I was sorry to read that the reconstruction isn’t going to be straight forward, and really hope they can find a way around it to cause you as little discomfort as possible. You look so lovely now Ali – I hope you’ll keep that in mind whatever the outcome.
    I didn’t know your friend Ros worked in a hospice. My dad spent ten weeks in a hospice as he was so ill, but recovered well enough afterwards to be discharged. He then went on to live a further 2 years. It was a miracle really! The nurses at the hospice were special nurses, very special nurses and from what I’ve read about your friend Ros she is one of those special ladies Ali, you are so lucky to have a friend like her.
    I really enjoyed my week in Menorca. It was made all the more nicer sitting next to a family of six children ranging from 3 to 11, who had never flown before. They were so excited, and very well behaved, and I must admit seeing their excitement brought a tear to my eye. The weather was warm during the day with a cool breeze, but quite nippy during the evenings. I forgot to pack a warm jacket – silly me! My husband had a very bad cold, but was convinced he had double pneumonia – I guess that’s men for you lol! It didn’t stop us from taking our stunning walks along the coastline though. There were four ‘look-out’ points along the way and to say the views from them were absolutely stunning is an understatement. It was the first anniversary of my dad’s passing (a day before my birthday) and as I gazed out towards the stunning views in front of me I thought of my lovely dad, and how much he had loved his holidays, and how much he would have loved this beautiful island. At that moment even though he wasn’t with me, it felt as if he was in a way – it was a lovely moment!
    Good luck to Colin – I’m sure everyone will be blown away by his music.
    Take care Ali,
    Love from Sue Radford xx

  14. edna munro May 12, 2013 at 7:25 pm -  Reply

    Sorry I have been out of touch.Husband in hospital again,this time with a blocked bile duct.Home now though so no more hospital visiting for a while I hope.The luggage hitch must have thrown you a little especially as you planned in advance and sorted you hand baggage out.My choice would have been the same ,I’m sure.The visit to Switzerland sounds great.How amazing to see so many processe in your visit, from design to manufacture etc.So much new information to share with us when you are on air.The dance sounds like fun,as well as very worthwhile raising so much money for such a good cause.I’d love to be able to dance.My favourite is tango and I am an avid ‘strictly ‘ fan.
    My mum at 4’11’ tall was a fantastic dancer.I have several photos of her in her competition dresses.Nothing as elaborate or flamboyant as todays dresses,but I alsways thought she looked like a fairy when she was going out!!Standing in your knickers to have photos taken for surgery decisions must be quite nerve wracking,and I hope the photographer was kind and humorous.I have no doubt you now take these things in your stride.I hope it all goes well ,Ali.Do take care,and good luck to Colin for the gig.Hope it goes well and you all have a great evening.Love,Edna x

  15. Pearl Emery May 13, 2013 at 2:33 pm -  Reply

    HI Ali,
    Hope Colin’s gig went ok on Sunday,sorry to hear about the problem with your reconstruction,hope they will be able to sort it out.Ali do you think Colin could do a gig in Dorset,as it would be great to see him and the band,and you of course for real not just on a c.d
    I have just had an operation to have a bone implant behind my ear so that in three months time they can fit a processor on to the implant so that my hearing will be much improved i tell you what i can’t wait.Ali that c.d that i won from you is great,i do hope Colin will do some more.take care love Pearl

  16. lindalo May 13, 2013 at 10:32 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali,
    I have not written for some time, but always read you blogs. Ive not been very well,the consultant is trying me on a new drug. So fingers crossed. I would have been like you at the jewellery fair. I would have died and gone to heaven.Jewellery is one of my big weakness, I think I was A magpie in another life. Hope that your health problems will all work out. Keep your chin up,and keep up with the dancing you both look lovely in the photo and it looked like you were having geat fun.
    Lots Love
    Lyn. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  17. alison keenan May 15, 2013 at 10:30 am -  Reply

    My dear Janet, I am so sorry to hear of poor baby Alfie’s distress because of his eyes, but am sure that having spent a weekend with his Gran and all your cuddles, you made everything so much better – for his mum and dad too!! :)I am so glad that you are all as close as you are, and can gain comfort from each other. Early days with babies who aren’t going through all this, are stressful and tiring anyway, so I am very much hoping that you have been through the worst of it by now. Bless you as always for your kind and wise words, and yes Colin’s gig was knockout on Sunday – I was so proud 🙂 Love to you Janet and little Alfie, and thank you for keeping us all in touch, Ali xx

  18. alison keenan May 15, 2013 at 10:39 am -  Reply

    My dear Jo how awful for you! I hate to think of you in that kind of pain with your teeth, and am horrified that you had to cope with it over such a long period of time without any relief…! Dreadful! Looking at the date you wrote this, I am hoping very much that by now the offending tooth will have been removed and you are no longer suffering… please let me know! How funny that your Colin also mentioned the meringue pillows! Yes the dancing was wonderful, and I should have mentioned that Wendy did have the last dance with a dear friend of hers and her late husbands… it’s lovely to see 🙂 You take care, and hope to hear from you, Love Ali xx

  19. alison keenan May 15, 2013 at 10:47 am -  Reply

    Hello there Rhona! And thank you for getting in there early with your reply 🙂 I did find your story about Gillian last week, and indeed it made me snigger – interesting how the years change us. Yes you would have LOVED the watches Rhona, they were exquisite, and also all the gem stones.. In one place they had reinforced glass in front of selection of large diamonds – all graded and in glittering – marvellous! If I hadn’t have had the flight to catch I would have been more than happy to spend another couple of days there! It would have been grand if you could have made it on Sunday night – Colin and the band were awesome 🙂 Maybe one day he’ll be on tour in Scotland… I hope you had a lovely weekend, and love to you and yours, Ali xx

  20. alison keenan May 15, 2013 at 10:56 am -  Reply

    Dear Elaine, loved hearing about your dancing experience with your Geoff – I only cracked it towards the end of the evening, so it was a good job Colin had firm toes in his shoes! 🙂 I am sorry that your Adam is going through a difficult time… I am sure though that with your help and support, he and his family will get through it…but yes being a mum is sometimes really hard…. You are indeed perceptive, and reading back what I’d written about my hospital visit, it does sound a little negative. If it wasn’t for the discomfort, I think I’d be happy to settle just for matching the size up a little better, but I feel I should give it one more go, before I accept it as part of the whole deal if that makes sense 🙂 Colin’s gig was a great success, and he’s already booked for quite a few more and also the huge Americana Music Festival in Newark this July! You take care, and thanks as always for writing, love Ali xx

  21. alison keenan May 15, 2013 at 11:03 am -  Reply

    Oh Chris you poor love… do hope your leg will get better soon with the moisturising.. have you tried L’Occitane pure Shea Butter? It’s possibly the most concentrated product we have. Let me know if you struggle to find it, and I will see what I can do 🙂 That must have been miserable for you to have to go through all that when you were a child, I just hope that things improved as you got older, and that you will have a very happy birthday on Friday – 45?! A whippersnapper compared to me! 🙂 Love Ali xx

  22. alison keenan May 15, 2013 at 11:07 am -  Reply

    My dear Liz, just found your comment and am so sorry to hear that yet again, you’ve been going through such a rough time of it! Appendicitis! You poor thing – I had it when I was 13 and it was grotty, but the whole trying to find a vein thing leaves me cold…I think you, like I, have been compromised cos of the chemo, and I wasn’t too good before even! I will keep everything crossed that it was the grumbling appendix rather than your new medication that caused the problem, and that you will be able to rebook your trip to Mallorca asap. Magda too no doubt is disappointed. Please take care, and chin up, you’re our hero 🙂 Much love, Ali xx

  23. alison keenan May 15, 2013 at 11:13 am -  Reply

    Thank you Susan!!! Very nice of you to say, and yes I was exhausted at the end of my trip to Switzerland but thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn’t see much of the Swiss chocolate I brought home, but did bring extra to leave in the Presenter Lounge and that was well received too 🙂 Colin’s gig was a great success thank you and we have quite a few more in the diary to look forward to as well! I hope that you had a happy and warm weekend – mum’s just texted to tell me it’s snowing in Halifax – roll on the summer eh? 🙂 Love to you, from me xx

  24. alison keenan May 15, 2013 at 3:11 pm -  Reply

    Dear Marion, thank you for taking the time to write, and I should really apologise for making it sound as though the announcer was being thoughtless. Wendy was standing with her when she said it, and did indeed finish the evening being twirled around the dance floor with one of her close friends so it was a happy end to the evening 🙂 You are very thoughtful in your comments about my reconstruction, but my main reason for wanting the surgery is to allieviate the discomfort that I have to cope with on a day to day basis… it’s not purely aesthetic, cos as you rightly say, who gets to see! 🙂 I will think long and hard though about my options and speak with the surgeons before making any decision, love Ali xx

  25. alison keenan May 15, 2013 at 4:58 pm -  Reply

    Kay I am sorry that you weren’t able to have those lilies – I think they’re gorgeous too! Ros grows them in her garden, and they pick really well which is an added bonus. I completely get the ‘googly eyed’ when it comes to diamonds. They were simply stunning, and like you, they’re my favourite gemstone 🙂 Thanks for your kind words too about the reconstruction, and as you suggest it’s often one thing that offsets another, but I know they’ve given me my best chance with this treatment, so for that I will be eternally grateful. Have a wonderful week and thanks for writing, love Ali xx

  26. Liz, Lancashire May 15, 2013 at 8:36 pm -  Reply

    Ali, that was such a sweet post. People have many, many worse things to put up with than me so I really shouldn’t grumble, it’s just that when you feel grotty, a little self indulgence goes a long way!!
    As you and some of the other ladies know, I had an elective second mastectomy last year to help with the imbalance as I never had a reconstruction and don’t regret it for one minute. For me, it was one of the best things I’ve ever done and no-one would really know unless I wore something really low cut but that is not happening!! It’s easier getting clothes now, too. Comfort is so important as it affects how you feel.
    Don’t think we’ll get away abroad for a while but there are a few exhibitions and places I want to see in this country so that will make up for it. My sister lives in London so I can always stay with her for a break. She has just redone ‘my’ room at her house, including with Northern Nights duvet, so it would be rude not to visit!!
    Anyway, enough from me. Good luck with the surgery choices. Hello to everyone else, too.
    Liz x

  27. Cindy Corrigan May 16, 2013 at 6:42 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, I read with interest your item about going to see your Consultant and the radiotherapy aftermath. I had surgery on Monday May 13th for endometrial cancer, they did a radical hysterectomy and I was allowed home on Wednesday May 15th. The surgery was done at Northampton General Hospital and I have to tell you they were marvellous, I was so well looked after, and the staff were all so helpful and friendly. I am obeying instructions for walking about as much as possible interspersed with naps. I am awaiting the results of the lymph gland biopsy to see if I will need radiotherapy – do hope not. However Ali, you continue to be a lovely example to us all to ‘just get on with it’.
    Kind regards
    Cindy Corrigan

  28. alison keenan May 17, 2013 at 3:39 pm -  Reply

    Dear Jilly wonderful to hear that your daughter is continuing to improve. She really must take it easy though, as she’s been through a lot, and although she’ll be feeling so much better in herself, her body has a lot of healing to do 🙂 I remember having my expander filled with more saline, and I had to get them to take a little out otherwise my right side looked more like Katy Price’s orbs!It’s actually a very clever and effective way to preserve the skin, and I am delighted they chose this for your daughter. I too have had the ‘natural droop’ comment, which was fine with me as I’m probably a great deal older than your daughter, but was ok with it as long as we weren’t talking about ‘sufficient to tuck in your knickers’ droop!!! 🙂 I think my only option is to go much smaller, so hopefully not droopy, but still awaiting my appointment. Thank you for your kind words though, and also the hug – much appreciated 🙂 I’m sure it’ll all be grand, just some days it’s harder than others.. Your dance lessons prior to your bosses 60th sounded like fun, and I may have a look around locally and see if there’s anywhere colin and I can hone our newly acquired footwork 🙂 I hope very much you will have a good weekend, and thanks as always for keeping in touch with me and the rest of Ali’s Army….. oh, and I’ve written the first chapter of my book! Love Ali xx

  29. alison keenan May 17, 2013 at 3:43 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Mary, I hope you have a few moments to sit down and read this, as it sounds as though you’ve been rushed off your feet what with Chloe’s cricket, your washing and then your son’s matches too! I will keep my fingers crossed that you didn’t struggle too much with the traffic, and that all the matches were won, or at least gracefully lost! How lovely though to have been able to watch your daughter and your sister play in the sunshine on the beach… have you ever picked up a bat dare I ask?! Can’t imagine you’d have time,what with potting your baskets and pots too… you seem to have boundless energy – but then it keeps us young, or so I’m told 🙂 Here we are the end of another week, so I hope you get this before the weekend, and will have a chance to relax a little. Take care, and thanks as always for keeping in touch with life in Westgate, love Ali xx

  30. alison keenan May 17, 2013 at 3:46 pm -  Reply

    Well Claire, as you have also been lucky enough to visit Basal, then I know you will have truly appreciated all that you saw. How lovely to have had a watch to commemorate the visit too! I have chosen so many pieces from there for our Diamonique range, I’m not sure I’ll recognise them all, but the watches are fab!! I hope your friend did well on her Walk the Walk night… So many people, and all so kind in doing these things to raise funds. Colin’s gig was marvellous on Sunday – so well received, and we’re all looking forward to his next one on June the 2nd! Still no news re my appointment, but thank you for your kind words, love Ali xx

  31. alison keenan May 17, 2013 at 3:51 pm -  Reply

    Dear Sue, we really are from the same mould aren’t we – love of diamonds being just one of the things that seem to be similar in our lives 🙂 Your memories of your father brought my dad back to me – he died 25 years ago this month, but I still miss him. Sometimes I am spoiled with a really clear image of him and better yet, the memory of his voice and laugh…lovely moments as you say. I am glad you had your time in Menorca and although your poor husband was struggling with his ‘flu symptoms(!) you managed to get out each night and enjoy the coast. I can’t believe it’s only three weeks before Colin and I head out to Nashville – can’t think what to pack – but all the travel stuff is sorted, I just need to order my dollars 🙂 I hope you have a lovely weekend, and that the sun shows its face even for a short time. Take care, and keep in touch, love Ali xx

  32. alison keenan May 17, 2013 at 3:55 pm -  Reply

    Edna, I am sorry to hear that your husband has been in hospital again with such a nasty problem, just relieved that he is feeling better and home with you again. I remember when Sam was in hospital for over four months the visiting is exhausting! Great to read about your mum – the same height as my mum! I bet she was a wonderful dancer, and can imagine her in the dress your described perfectly 🙂 I too am an avid Strictly fan, and would give my eye teeth to have a go at it! There was no dancing but a great deal of whooping and applauding at Colin’s gig last Sunday – he was fabulous, and I was very proud. I hope your husband remains well and at home, and that you have some time to rest. thank you for writing to me Edna, love Ali xx

  33. alison keenan May 17, 2013 at 3:57 pm -  Reply

    Wow Pearl, that certainly sounds like pioneering surgery, and how marvellous if it is to improve your hearing without having to wear a hearing aid! I bet you can’t wait – hopefully you’ll enjoy Colin’s CD even more then 🙂 He’s already written four new songs for the next album so things are moving in the right direction! I will mention Dorset and if he can I’m sure he will – we had such a wonderful time there while I was still having treatment in 2011. Look after yourself and do keep in touch, it’s always good to hear from you, love Ali xx

  34. alison keenan May 17, 2013 at 4:00 pm -  Reply

    My dear Lyn, I am so very sorry to hear that you’ve not been well, and hope more than anything that the new drug they are going to try you on will suit you better. Please do let me know – my decisions are nothing compared to what I’m sure you’re struggling with, but thank you for your thoughtfulness 🙂 Yes, Colin and I did enjoy the dancing, and I’m glad you liked the photos of the jewellery – I hope you will have spare time each Thursday evening at 8pm, because from July 1st I will be bringing you a Diamonique show – next best thing to real diamonds in my book 🙂 Take care and keep in touch, love Ali x

  35. alison keenan May 17, 2013 at 4:04 pm -  Reply

    Liz you are so very welcome, and I meant it.. I think you do such an incredible job of putting a brave face on things, when understandably they must get you down, and worry you too. I am glad that you will fill your time now with visits to wonderful places in this country, and it’s great that your sister lives in our capital so perhaps you could get to have a look around Buckingham Palace if you’ve not been before? Debbie G and I loved it last year 🙂 I do remember you writing to me about your second elective mastectomy. I’m so glad it worked out so well for you – my mum very much wishes she’d have been offered the chance as she feels very lop sided, although she always looks great to me with her padding and posh bras 🙂 I’ll let you know how I get on – it would be great to wear a proper bra again! Take care Liz, love Ali x

  36. alison keenan May 17, 2013 at 4:07 pm -  Reply

    Cindy you are a brave soul, and I will keep everything crossed that your lymph gland biopsy will be clear and you can crack on with your life and not need radiotherapy. So glad that the staff at the Northampton Hospital were good to you, and I hope that you will continue to heal well and gain your strength. Please do keep in touch – it’s good to know how things progress 🙂 I hope you have plenty of friends and family around you and will enjoy the weekend, love Ali xx

  37. Cindy Corrigan June 12, 2013 at 3:15 pm -  Reply

    Just an update on my womb cancer and subsequent hysterectomy. The good news is that the biopsy of the lymph glands was clear, but because the cells were so aggressive, it has been recommended that I not only have radiotherapy, but chemotherapy also. I only found out today (Jun 12th) and the chemo is to start on June 28th. I am not sure how I feel about this at the moment, but I am sure I will get my head round it eventually. On a brighter note, the wound continues to heal well and I am feeling a bit better.
    I trust you are well and that all your tests etc are good.
    Love Cindy

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