Pearls, Portugal and sale prices!


Hello there, and thank you for your lovely comments on the last blog. It was so nice to share my photographs with you, and to read about your family and the memories you’ve been making. I know that Father’s Day wasn’t going to be easy for a number of us, but I hope that you filled it with things that made you happy. Although I was working on the Sunday, Colin and I did manage to meet up with four of his five children, and that was lovely.

Just the week before we heard the sad news that my mum’s sister Hilda had died. Hilda was 93 and had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s some five years before. She’d lived in Colchester all her adult life, and moved into a lovely care home in Great Horkesley some years after her husband died. They didn’t have children, but throughout her life she’d loved and looked after a large number of cats who spent hours with her in her garden – her other great passion.

She helped me create my very first garden in my two up, two down terraced house on the Harwich Road in Colchester that I moved to when I was first married. I’ll always remember her wicked sense of humour, and the fun evenings I spent with her. She had a beautiful singing voice, and could whistle any tune you could name. I’d never heard of Mantovani’s Music of the Mountains or The Seekers until she played them to me on her record player, but she knew all the words to all the songs. Even in the last few years of her life, she was known throughout the home for her fabulous and tuneful voice.

The last time Colin and I visited her was in March, and she didn’t know who I was at all; she was unable to recognise the photo of my mum either. This had always been the link for her, and made sense of my visit. I could see it was distressing her to try and recognise the faces we felt she should remember, and so we had to leave. I know there are so many of us whose families are touched by this dreadful illness, and inevitably we lose those we love long before their lives are over.

Colin took this photo though of Hilda and I, and so I feel very lucky that I have this last memory. It’s been hard for my mum as she lost her other sister Eileen five years ago, but we’ve put together a lovely eulogy for Hilda that I’ve promised I’ll read for her. It reminds me just how precious time is to us all, and I will continue with my ethos to cram in as much as I can, every day I have left on this earth.

Something else my Aunty Hilda used to enjoy was travelling. She’d visited most of Europe and always sent us postcards of the sea and sunshine. Last week I’d taken a few days off as Colin was going to Spain with some mates to watch the football, and I’d planned to stay home, but a friend who was heading to Portugal for a week, rang to say their apartment had two bedrooms so did I want to join them! I don’t think I’ve ever packed so quickly in my life! Talk about lucky! ☺

The apartment was set amongst beautifully landscaped gardens with three golf courses in the beautiful resort of Quinta do Lago. I remember taking my children to Albufeira in Portugal when they were very young, and although we had a good time, they were very badly bitten by mosquitoes. Not wishing to take any chances, I sprayed myself liberally with Jungle Formula while I was still in the airport… much to the disgust of those standing downwind! Suffice to say, the weather for once was FAR better where I was than at home… as you will know… and although jolly windy every afternoon, the sun shone from morning to night.

We visited the market, spent several days on the beach, and ate out in a number of great places, including The Chicken Shack, and this fabulous beachside restaurant, where my dress matched all the paintwork and furnishings! Definitely somewhere I’d love to return to – the resort not just the restaurant – but then most places I’ve been lucky enough to visit make me say that ☺

I was straight back to work on the Saturday, and as it was so good to see Simon Wilson from Butler & Wilson and to hear about his very special 50th anniversary shows in August. Another guest whom I love to spend time with is Tova Borgnine and she shared my 8pm Diamonique show on Tuesday. Just to let you know, the regular Diamonique show’s moved to Monday 24th June at 8pm next week as we have a Summer Sale Day on the Tuesday.

Of course the month of June is special to many people as it’s one of the busiest months for weddings – indeed Colin and I celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary on the 26th, and his daughter Vicky will marry Lewis next year on the 27th – all very exciting!

Another anniversary worth noting is for our pearl jewellery range Honora. They’re celebrating their 20th anniversary this month, and I wanted you to know that there’s zero P&P on every piece of Honora jewellery until the end of June which is great news! I think what makes it even more exciting is the quality of the pearls we have on offer.

I’ve seen some stunning Akoya single pearl earrings – their perfectly round shape and high lustre make them a relative rarity so at £150 they’re worth considering. 342155 is the item number for the Honora limited edition baby Ming pearl necklace at £669.00. These pearls are a unique shade of purple and are quite rare – our buyers have no idea when we’ll find more so if Ming pearls are your thing, have a look at our website now. You will also find South Sea Pearls in the most gorgeous cream and gold tones – very rare and hard to come by. All at great prices and assured quality, because Honora only use the top 3% of all pearls harvested.

I wore a pearl and Diamonique necklace and earrings on my wedding day, did you choose pearls for your wedding? I think they’re perfect, and plan to wear the earrings when Colin and I go out for dinner next Wednesday to celebrate our fourth anniversary. They have refurbished the hotel where we had our wedding, and we have a table booked there. I’ll make sure I get a photograph for the next blog 🙂

That’s pretty much all my news except to mention that from the 2nd July we will be launching our TSV at 9pm rather than midnight. Join me on the day as we have a fabulous collection of Ultrasun at an amazing price. Hopefully will get the weather for you to use it! Do take care, keep in touch, through Twitter and Instagram as well as Facebook, and I promise I’ll always write back.

With my love,

Ali x


  1. Glyn June 21, 2019 at 4:47 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Lovely blog as usual .Glad you look so well and had a good time in Portugal.Love your blue stripy dress is it Qvc ?

    • Alison Keenan June 24, 2019 at 7:21 pm -  Reply

      Hello there Glyn, I’m glad you enjoyed the blog. I was so relaxed in Portugal and really loved the sunshine 🙂 I bought the dress from a market while I was out there! A x

  2. Loraine Plumb June 21, 2019 at 4:58 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison hope all is well with you everything here is ok Clare doing well 4 weeks to go ive been going with her for her scans when Geoff’s been working lovely to see the difference each time ,so full steam ahead now with last minute things. Sorry to hear about your auntie like you say it’s a cruel illness so unfair. How lucky were you to have a few days away at least you missed the terrible weather next week is better though just right for your anniversary and my birthday Les and I are celebrating this Saturday it’s also his birthday and our anniversary on the 1st July. We celebrated father’s Day at renoufs cheese and wine restaurant in wimbourne have you ever been there quite a quaint little town wondered if youve been when visiting your friends in dorset. Oh well that’s all the news for now happy anniversary love Loraine oh by the way I sent you a reply on your last blog not sure if you got it though xx

    • Alison Keenan June 24, 2019 at 7:23 pm -  Reply

      Hi Loraine, thanks for replying before. I’ll have a word with my editor, as I did respond to all the lovely comments but they don’t appear to be showing here on the website! Gosh lots of celebrations in your family eh?! I do hope you and Les enjoyed his birthday, and no I’ve not yet tried Renoufs in Wimbourne, but I will ask Roz about it for the next time I visit. Thank you for your anniversary wishes – mine to you for the 1st! Love Ali xx

  3. Susan June 21, 2019 at 5:41 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Firstly I’m sorry to hear about your aunty Hilda. That’s a lovely photo above of you both. You can see the similarity. She sounded like a lovely lady and must have had such a strong marriage. I often think that when couples have been married for so long and not been blessed with children, or choose not to. So lovely she had her husband and all of you. There’s just so many awful diseases around and sadly not everyone has the support to help them through. I’m sure her home will miss her too.
    How lovely that you have a friend with a holiday home! Amazing! I love your stripy dress.
    Take care and enjoy your anniversary x

    • Alison Keenan June 24, 2019 at 7:26 pm -  Reply

      Thank you Susan for your kind words. Aunty Hilda was a lovely and although she had a tough life, she never lost her sense of humour. You’re right about all the dreadful diseases there are that some folks have to contend with.. I pray that one day they’ll find a cure for all of them. I am very blessed to have generous friends and the holiday apartment was stunning! I bought the dress in Portugal at the big market there – thanks for the compliment! I’ll hopefully have some anniversary pictures to share next time, love Ali x

  4. Ali carr June 21, 2019 at 6:13 pm -  Reply

    You looked a beautiful bride Ali. I always love reading your blog & seeing the lovely photos of your lovely family & beautiful garden x

    • Alison Keenan June 25, 2019 at 8:59 pm -  Reply

      Dear Ali, So glad that you enjoy the blog and the photos. Thanks for keeping in touch on Twitter and Instagram. I hope you’re well and happy. Love Ali x

  5. Sandy Hill June 21, 2019 at 7:55 pm -  Reply

    Sorry to hear about your Aunt Hilda, she sounds amazing especially as she was a cat lover, as am I. Your wedding day photo is lovely, you look so beautiful, xxx

    • Alison Keenan June 27, 2019 at 9:41 pm -  Reply

      She was a wonderful woman and a lovely Aunt. I too love cats and if we didn’t live on such a busy road we’d definitely have some now! Thank you for your kind comments love Ali x

    • Alison Keenan June 28, 2019 at 3:02 pm -  Reply

      Dear Sandy, yes auntie Hilda was a very special person and cats were the absolute love of her life. So glad you enjoyed the photos and the blog. Thank you for keeping in touch, Love Ali x

  6. Vivien Gore June 22, 2019 at 11:51 am -  Reply

    Ali lm so sorry to hear about your sad loss. What a lovely lady she was by the way you talk so fondly about her. She did have a relatively long life but it’s never easy l know when you loose family. Thinking about you all 💔 I’m busy getting my clothes ready for our upcoming cruise. Not that l haven’t got a wardrobe full lol. We may travel down to see our friends in Ramsgate who we go away with they were here in May for 3 days we had a lovely time together we always stay with them in there hotel, we don’t have a spare room sadly but we have a better time as we are right in the middle of town so everything is in easy reach. I’ve heard that Michael Buble’ is playing at the Arena in Liverpool lm so upset I’m going to miss the show. We are away on the cruise while he is here. I do hope he come back in the following year l would love to see him in concert here. Well l will finish off and get some work done l will see you on the QVC during the week bye for now. Love Viv 💖💖

    • Alison Keenan June 27, 2019 at 9:44 pm -  Reply

      I’m pretty sure now that his son is completely better Michael Buble may well be touring more . I do hope so for you. Colin treated me to a concert with him a few years back and he was terrific! So excited for you and your holiday and will be interested to hear back from you when you are home. Colin and I have never been on a cruise but are seriously debating on. Let me know how it is. Take care and enjoy your well earned break. With love, Ali xx

  7. Judith Lennon June 22, 2019 at 2:32 pm -  Reply

    Hello Ali
    I have just come in out of the garden having spent all of one hour in the sun! It’s gone overcast and a little chilly. Family photos always bring memories flooding back don’t they. I love your dress you wore in Portugal. Is it one from QVC? Well June has been an exceptionally busy month for us. Our planned BBQ on the 8th for our 50th was turned into an indoor occasion as it danced down with rain all day. My son cooked on the BBQ under a large gazebo to keep dry. The whole day was lovely and the family worked so hard without being asked to keep drinks topped up and plates refreshed. My daughter made a beautiful cake. She made and decorated the top with individual daisy flowers in the shape of a heart. A gold 50 placed on the top and finished with a gold ribbon. We finished off by serving ice cream mini bars which the granddaughters passed around. It was apt they were called Jude’s which I found in the supermarket quite by chance. Jude being my nickname. Five days later we set off for our friends wedding in Germany. Friday our anniversary day was spent in the sunshine and swimming in the warm outside pool at the hotel. Saturday was the wedding and the sun stayed out all day 25 degs. It was truly a beautiful day for all. We were home Monday evening and have spent the rest of the week trying to wind down. Congratulations to you and Colin for your anniversary. I hope you have a lovely day. Gosh I’ve written a lot, sorry. Take care and love and hugs to you. Judith xx

    • Alison Keenan June 27, 2019 at 9:46 pm -  Reply

      Dear Judith – or may I call you Jude? – I am so glad to hear that you had a fabulous anniversary. Wonderful when you can make it a success even if the weather lets you down. The barbecue and your beautiful cake sound fabulous and I’m so glad that you have a whole family together. The wedding in Germany sounds great too! Colin and I had a lovely evening out at monkey Island for our anniversary. I’ll be posting the photographs in my next blog. Lovely to hear from you as always Judith, take care, love Ali x

  8. Irene Delamere June 23, 2019 at 2:44 am -  Reply

    Loved reading your blog it was so interesting sounds like you had a wonderful holiday and best wishes for your forthcoming anniversary Lovly photos as well hope your
    throat gets
    better soon x

    • Alison Keenan June 27, 2019 at 9:47 pm -  Reply

      So good to hear from you and I’m glad that you enjoyed the blog. We had a great time and our anniversary was equally enjoyable. I’ll make sure I post some photographs in my next blog. My throat is almost mended – back to work on Sunday! Take care and enjoy the weekend. Love Ali x

  9. Joanna Downey June 23, 2019 at 8:14 pm -  Reply

    Hello Ali, I am sorry for your loss & please tell your mum I’m thinking of her. Your aunt sounded a wonderful person & her passion for cats & gardening match mine. Dementia, in all its forms, is an awful illness for those who suffer, & those who love them, & your words about losing a loved one before they die describe it exactly. The photos from your trip to Portugal will have made many people long for some sunshine to brighten up this dreary June & I absolutely love your blue & white dress, you look a peach! I also love pearls & wore them when I got married; I have a vintage pearl & diamond tiara that I wear when I’m doing the housework & I’ve received many odd looks when I go out to collect the post having forgotten that I’m wearing it. Etty is starting to talk, her first word was Boo, which is the name of their cat, & last week she came out with hello & there, she’s totally gorgeous & makes me laugh for most of the time I’m with her. Having said that I’m looking forward to the school holiday so that I can start on my ever-growing list of tasks. Here’s hoping for a return to sunny & drier weather as June ends, especially for those poor people whose homes have been flooded, what a nightmare. Love from Jo x

    • Alison Keenan June 28, 2019 at 3:19 pm -  Reply

      Dear Joe, as always lovely to hear from you, and thank you for your kind words. Mum is currently in hospital having taken a turn for the worst and I’ve been visiting her so will definitely pass on your good wishes. It does mean she won’t be able to make her sisters funeral sadly, but my sister and I will represent her. So glad you are enjoying your time with Etty although I’m certain it will be good for you to crack on with your chores once the summer holidays begin. Grandchildren are the most wonderful distraction aren’t they? I love your story about the tiara – even better that you wear it out and about! 😀 we’ve had some lovely sunny days here which is help me get over this ghastly cold I’ve had, and I do hope you’re also enjoying the sunshine? So good of you to keep in touch Joe, I was at forward to hearing from you. Lovee Ali x

  10. Merche Gardiner June 23, 2019 at 10:21 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, lovely to read your blog as always. It doesn’t seem five minutes since you and Colin tied the knot. Like you I love my pearls and when John and I renewed our wedding vows on our 40th anniversary eleven years ago, I wore my Honora pearl necklace, earrings and bracelet which are in different shades of brown, they matched beautifully with my outfit on the day. I am so sorry to hear of your loss and I’m sure your mum is going through a difficult time, but you will both be able to remember the good times you all had together which is a great comfort. Love MercheX

    • Alison Keenan June 28, 2019 at 3:21 pm -  Reply

      Dear Merche, thank you for your kind words. You are right – the news has hit my mum who is struggling a little not just with that but also with loss of mobility. She is currently in hospital so my sister and I are trying to get things sorted for her return home as soon as possible. I love the sound of your hair Nora pearl collection – it’s wonderful that we can get pearls in all the colours isn’t it? They do seem to be a favourite for weddings. Take care and enjoy the sunshine, love Ali Xx

  11. Christine June 25, 2019 at 4:17 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali you look as if your enjoying your holiday. Congratulations on your wedding anniversary, you just looked beautiful on the day. Can’t believe it’s four year.

    Take Care x

    • Alison Keenan June 28, 2019 at 3:23 pm -  Reply

      Hi Christine, I still find myself struggling to believe it’s four years since our wedding! But then it was honey his fourth birthday at the beginning of May and she was only just six weeks old when we were married. It was such a lovely day, and Colin and I returned for our anniversary meal. I will be posting photographs in the next block. I do hope you have some of this sunshine to enjoy, love Ali hi Christine, I still find myself struggling to believe it’s four years since our wedding! But then it was honeys fourth birthday at the beginning of May and she was only just six weeks old when we were married. It was such a lovely day, and Colin and I returned for our anniversary meal. I will be posting photographs in the next blog. I do hope you have some of this sunshine to enjoy, love Ali xx

  12. Tricia coulsonwood June 25, 2019 at 5:53 pm -  Reply

    Hello Ali, so sorry to hear of your Aunt Hilda passing away.
    We share your loss of a senior family member..My own mother
    has just died on the 22nd of June age 94 & 3/4s..She became ill several weeks ago and once diagnosed she hunkered down and she sped up her last weeks to quickly “join my Dad,” she said..
    I’ve not been able to do very much the 22nd as I feel in turmoil…
    I thought she would reach 100 !.
    I wore qvc akoya pearls for my daughters weddings, special birthdays ,at my sons recent big birthday celebration..
    I send my love to everyone .
    Congrats on your fourth wedding anniversary…have a lovely time.

    • Alison Keenan June 28, 2019 at 3:26 pm -  Reply

      My dear Tricia, I’m so terribly sorry to hear about your mum. Such a shock when these things happen so suddenly and I’m not surprised you are struggling to make sense of it. I hope your family are rallying around you and supporting you? It makes times easier for everyone. Sending you my love, and know that I’m thinking of you. .. Ali xx

  13. martin forbes June 29, 2019 at 2:51 pm -  Reply

    Hi alison as we say here in aberdeen fit like whic means how are you hope you and gfmily are well iamnot bad enjoying apeacful lazy 2week holiday from work doing nothing from mcdonald in aberdeen.

    • Alison Keenan July 4, 2019 at 9:26 pm -  Reply

      Hello Martin, good to hear from you, and yes the family and I are doing OK, although my poor mum is in not so well and in currently in hospital. We’re hoping with their care she’ll be able to get home soon. So glad that you have picked the Wimbledon fortnight to have at home, and I very much hope that Scotland has the same fabulous weather that we have here right now. Love Ali xx

  14. Mary July 3, 2019 at 6:22 am -  Reply

    Gosh Alison is ages since I wrote and I have just caught up on the last couple of blogs and loved all the photos and storys. It’s just been a bit hectic here and at 6 am the sun is out and I am wide awake with painful Sciatica so thought I would catch up whilst rolling my left buttock on a tennis ball…not sure if it helps but certainly leaves you a bit tender although I used a cricket ball yesterday as we didnt have tennis balls…I think I’ve definitely given myself a bit of bruising!!
    You’ve certainly been busy with birthdays family and a holiday..all looking fabulous..I lovedcthe photo of you with your mum, Lucy and season started back in May with T20 competitions where no tea is required..the 45 over matches started this week so I was baking in the heat on Saturday and produced a bakewell tart, Victoria sponge and a dozen fresh cream scones ..all with the aid of my fan on full blast and a few large pink Gin and tonics!! Thankfully Sunday was cooler and it wasnt too hot in the clubhouse kitchen were we prepare the sandwiches pasta etc.
    Olly, our dog is now 5 weeks post operative having luxating patella surgery. He cam out of full leg bandages a week ago and is allowed lead exercise only and swimming no thinning, jumping or stairs…we went to the beach to the beach early on Saturday and wearing his orange life jacket, my sister took him out of depth and he seam back to me…I will send you the video, Honey will love it!! Just over two weeks left at school now and its do busy..we have our annual Summer Fayre on 17th July and since I’ve been at the school I have always done a fudge stall…Calico Cottage of course and I always sell out and I make about 100 bags worth..this year will be the same so I will be fudge making soon!
    Gonna be hot today..since menopause began I don’t cope very well with the heat and hope it doesnt8get too hot as in the summer I am painting and up cycling my kitchen!! Never a dull moment…have a great day. Mary x

    • Alison Keenan July 4, 2019 at 9:31 pm -  Reply

      Dear Mary, So sorry to know that your sciatica is causing you pain, and making you wake up early. Not sure about the tennis ball, but I think a cricket ball may well be too firm for your poor buttock! Have you tried physio? Any idea what brought on? I had to change my car eventually as it was the shape of the seats that was causing my sciatica – had to change the last one because of my back – what an old crock! 🙂 Fingers crossed it sorts itself soon and you can enjoy the summer. I’m loving the sound of your Bakewell Tart , Victoria Sandwich and the scones – never mind the Pink Gins! My favourite gin at the moment is Rhubarb and Ginger gin with Mandarin Tonic – lovely! 🙂 Thanks so much for the video of Olly – he’s done brilliantly! And well done to your sister for braving the icy British sea to get him out there! Lucy made some fab cupcakes for her friends baby shower – well done you for bringing out the Calico Cottage again. I do feel for you with the menopause – it always seems to ramp up in the warmer weather. Mind you, if you maybe sat down a little more and relaxed you’d be less hot LOL. New blog coming in the next few days, but I’m glad you enjoyed the photos on this one. Take care, love Ali xx

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