Thank you!


Hello there, how was your Christmas? I hope it was all you wanted it to be, and it didn’t pass too quickly? Ours seemed to disappear in the blink of an eye, although it was a thoroughly enjoyable time spent with family and friends.

I can’t believe it’s been six days since I was last at the Q, but I just wanted to drop you a line before the end of the year to thank you so very much for the support you’ve given to the blog in 2016.

I really enjoyed reading about your Christmases past, and uncanny how so many of us share similar memories. Thank you so much for taking the time to get in touch when you were so busy. It was great to hear from so many of you.

It’s probably because we are roughly the same age, but it made me smile to know that for some of us, things never change. Traditions, favourite foods, Christmas stockings and best present ever, I guess that’s what it’s all about.


We had a wonderful surprise when Colin’s daughter Vicky, who was away in New York this Christmas with her boyfriend Lewis, called to let us know that he had just proposed to her on the Brooklyn Bridge! He presented her with a fabulous diamond solitaire, which, as she said, was the best Christmas present ever. We are all thrilled, and will be looking forward to celebrating together later on today.

That was on the 23rd and we were still buzzing with excitement when Sam and Jack came to stay with us on Christmas Eve night. Having raised a glass to the newly engaged couple and stuffed ourselves full of a whole host of calorific nightmares, we spent a very enjoyable evening together in front of the fire.

We opened our presents in the morning and I was given some lovely presents, but my surprise from Colin was in the gardenΒ – more on that later! The boys headed back to Bedfordshire and Colin and I drove towards Swindon where we were treated to a fabulous Christmas dinner at Lucy and Simon’s.

Not only had he cooked a turkey, but venison marinaded in Port, roast potatoes, chestnuts, vegetables and all the trimmings! It was an absolute feast, and we ate as much as we could. Honey did her best too although she, like Lucy, had fallen foul of a horrid bug that I know many of you have struggled with and is very much like flu. Not pleasant at all!


In spite of that, Honey was excited to have her Christmas presents and then happy to put her coat on and take the pram we had bought her for a little spin outside, bless her. She had some lovely gifts but her favourite by a long way were two sheets of stickers! She stuck them everywhere and this morning I was still peeling them off various articles of clothing!


It was lovely to meet up the following day with Simon’s parents, his sister and her family, and, of course, Henry and George. We didn’t get round to charades, but did have some fun reading out the cracker jokes at the table! We headed home after a delicious lunch to meet three of Colin’s children; Lily Richard and Joe, who were on their way to see us at home. We played Cards Against Humanity, which isn’t for the faint hearted, I have to be honest! Call me old fashioned but give me a game of Snakes and Ladders any day!

The anticipation I had alluded to in my previous blog about the whole family getting together today (30th) was in its infancy then, and numbers were only confirmed yesterday. Although we sadly won’t see everyone, I’ll be feeding twelve adults and Honey! Slow-cooked gammon in muscavado sugar and roast turkey with all the trimmings is on the menu, but I’ve cheated with the puddings and let Colin buy those. Not sure little Calla would enjoy the choices but, as you can see, she is growing so quickly and getting more gorgeous by the day.


I’ve spent relatively little time in the kitchen this Christmas, but something I will be adding to my pan collection is our Today’s Special Value from Cook’s Essentials. The three pans come in four different colours for under Β£35 (excluding P&P). Everything you could need to update your collection of pans or for someone setting up their own home.

In fact, if you’re short of space or time, or maybe want to learn to cook and eat a little more healthily, then I have truly innovative kitchen product for you from Panasonic. It’s our New Year’s Day TSV and is a combi microwave with a 23 litre capacity, 16 automatic programs (including cooking food based on its weight), a convenient drop-down door and a catalytic lined oven which then self-cleans at high temperatures.

Microwaved food can be browned in here, or you could roast something in the more traditional way. It’s even got a child lock to keep little hands out of hot places! Find out more on our QCommunity page. It’ll be really special to see the New Year in with you, so I hope you’ll be there just before midnight for the countdown!


Oh, I nearly forgot to tell you about my surprise Christmas present from Colin! There it was standing in the garden on Christmas morning! Something I’ve wanted for a long time – a bird table! His timing is perfect as I’m with Richard Jackson on the 7th January when he has a wonderful offer on his magical bird feed! I hope to get the birds to my table before that and have some pics for you then.

Well I’d better gather my photos together before I post this, and while I was scrolling through them I found some I’d taken over the year of various sunsets in various countries – magical memories.

I do want to thank you before I close, as without all your kind words, regular responses, comments and contributions to the blog, it wouldn’t be the fabulous support network it now is. Ali’s Army will march into 2017 better than ever, and I pray that for all of us it will be a kind year, and one filled with all that makes us happy. Take care and I’ll look forward to hearing from you next year.

With my love,
Ali xxx


  1. Eileen December 30, 2016 at 1:12 pm -  Reply

    New year Alison great pictures and blog xx

    • alison keenan January 6, 2017 at 10:59 pm -  Reply

      Dear Eileen, A very Happy New Year to you too! So glad that you enjoy the blog and I hope you will keep in touch this year too. Love Ali xx

  2. Christine December 30, 2016 at 1:28 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali the grand children are growing so fast. Time goes so fast. I think age thing. HA! hA!
    How are you getting with your book?
    I hope you have healthy New Year.
    Take Care X

    • alison keenan January 6, 2017 at 11:00 pm -  Reply

      I think you are absolutely right Christine! It’s definitely an age thing πŸ™‚ I have actually finished the book, and am just tweaking the last little bits. Possible meeting with potential publisher… watch this space! I hope you too have a very happy and healthy new year, love Ali x

  3. Jill December 30, 2016 at 2:22 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali I want to thank you for sharing all your lovely photographs and memories with all of your friends here at the QVC blog. Some of us know you personally, and many of us do not but through your pages we are all able to share so much. My thoughts and prayers are with you and all your family and friends here on the blog wishing that 2017 is a happy healthy year for all.
    Best wishes
    Jilly XX

    • alison keenan January 6, 2017 at 11:02 pm -  Reply

      Dear Jilly thank you so much for your kind words, but more importantly for contributing regularly to the blog and making it the successful support network and friends site that it continues to be! I’ve always believed a problem shared is a problem halved, and would like to echo your prayers and thoughts and send them to all your family and friends, and those here on the blog. May 2017 be your best yet. With my love Ali xx

  4. valerie blake December 30, 2016 at 4:47 pm -  Reply

    firstly thankyou for your kind words regarding my husbands recent cancer diagnosis.what a wonderful and busy christmas you seem to have had,ours was fairly quite,but our maisie was full of excitment and joy opening her presents,which seemed to go on forever.i had our son and partner and daughter and parnter plus maisie for a joyous boxing day.we are all so blessed. happy new year to you and once again thankyou
    best wishes valerie

    • alison keenan January 6, 2017 at 11:04 pm -  Reply

      My dear Valerie, I have thought of you many times over Christmas and am hoping so much that the beginning of the new year will prove to be a more positive time for you all. Delighted that Masie was with you and both your children and their partners. The little ones make Christmas for us all πŸ™‚ It’s lovely to hear you being so positive – stay strong and lean on each other and I am certain that happier times are ahead. With love Ali xx

  5. Yvonne December 30, 2016 at 7:09 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison. Wishing you and all your family a very happy and healthy 2017 xx

    • alison keenan January 6, 2017 at 11:05 pm -  Reply

      Dear Yvonne, thank you very much for your kind wishes – I wish the very same to you and your family. May it be a healthy one for us all. Love Ali xx

  6. Linda Finch,, December 30, 2016 at 10:44 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, glad you had a good Christmas, as did we ,we had a really lovely day at Simon’s with Harry ,Ellie and Michelle s mum and her partner. Half way through lunch Ellie decided to sing for everyone (I wish I new how to put video’s or pic’s on hear ) cos she was so funny .Harry got a drone as one of his prezzies, which he decided to have a practice flight in the living room, instantly nearly taking the top off the tree and crashing into the tv on the wall, he did get better the more he tried.Ellie got a tablet which she had been wanting since last year ,so she was well pleased,also she got loads of makeup and nail polishes ,and a watch from me and grandad. We have had a quiet time since and it will be a quiet New Year so I will spend it with you at q .Hope you have a happy and healthy 2017 and lots of happy times with your baby’s also you have a wedding to look forward to how exciting, looking forward to next year much love to you both Linda F xxx

    • alison keenan January 6, 2017 at 11:09 pm -  Reply

      Hi there Linda, I saw a little bit of footage of someone trying to operate a drone indoors – much the same result as Harry! A shame you aren’t ab;le to share that and Ellie singing here, as I’m sure it would have been brilliant. Thanks for being with us here at the Q. Colin was at a gig so we’d planned a rendevous to watch the fireworks but forgot to record them! Never mind eh, we had a glass of fizz and watched some comedy moments on the TV instead. Happy and healthy New Year to you all too, and thanks for all your support this year on the blog. I think the wedding may be in a year or too, but you never know! With love, Ali xx

  7. Mary Morphy December 31, 2016 at 8:17 am -  Reply

    Happy New Year’s Eve Alison..I have a few moments before I get up to walk Olly on the beach with my sister and her dog Erik..sadly on Christmas Eve she had to have her 12 year old white bull terrier, Phoebe put to sleep. Very very sad and we all miss her. My sister was devastated but it was the kindest thing..she finally crossed the rainbow bridge..
    I have so enjoyed your Xmas blogs but couldn’t find the time to reply …both my mum and mum in law have taken a lot of time..we are waiting a report from Kings from the brain surgeon for mum and awaiting the results of my mum in laws ct and mri scans…the bowel cancer team have been in touch and it’s all a bit scary.
    My tradition follows of from one my mum started. .actually there are two. The first is that come November a special place in the larder or cupboard is the designated ‘Those are for Christmas ‘ treats..not to be touched until Xmas day! The second is as kids growing up we only ever has Mark’s and Spencer shortbread in a tin once a year at Christmas. .opened on Xmas morning before opening pressies…that still applies and my 17 year old was up at 6am this year..a little later than last I was drinking Bailey’s coffee with shortbread very early!!
    It’s been a busy Xmas as we now have the micropub which was open Christmas day…Jon was very busy over the Christmas period and was shattered but he met customer demands! I had everyone to me again and with my sisters served up a feast and played darts in the cabin in the evening in our Christmas comp. My sister won the glitters tar trophy..a tree topper mounted on a bit of 2 by 2!!
    I avoided the dreaded bugs and chest infection before Christmas but it has finally got me today. I will be at the pub tonight but as daughter Chloe is working ..she has a weekend waitress job at a local golf club ..I am taxi service so will not be drinking..need to have a clear head to seat 11 for dinner tomorrow! ! Thank you for the photo you sent of Honey with the penguin I made my day. Well it’s freezing outside so I will layer up and get walking. Have a great evening tonight. Sending you lots of love and thank you for taking the time to reply to blogs etc..I really appreciate your kindness. Much love Mary xx

    • Alison Keenan January 10, 2017 at 6:21 pm -  Reply

      My dear Mary, I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to reply to your comment, but I’m hoping that as this much time has passed since you wrote you will be completely over your chest infection and cold! I also hoping that you had a bit of help with your dinner party for 11 folk! I’m certain your dinner skills are on a par with your baking, so no wonder everyone heads to you for a special occasion πŸ™‚ Did you get to see Jon at all over Christmas or was he stuck at the pub over Xmas and New Year? I hope not. It’s sounds as though your poor sister also had her fair share of upsets with her little dog and of course having to cope with your mum’s pending news… have you heard anything about her scans or your mother-in-law? I am praying for good news for both. thank you for keeping in touch over all these years. I’m glad that you enjoy contributing to the blog as much as I do, and it’s such a lovely way to keep in touch. I hope that your whole family will have a happy 2017 and that things will be easier health wise for you all. with my love, Ali xx

  8. Joanna Downey December 31, 2016 at 10:01 am -  Reply

    Morning Ali, Your Christmas sounded very similar to ours with lots of goodies, thoughtful & appreciated presents and seeing those who mean most to us. My surprise gift was a ticket to see the 2Cellos in concert, Colin’s coming with me which is just as well because the concert’s in Slovenia at the beginning of the Easter holidays. When he said we were going to see them I thought it would be at Symphony Hall and we’d be home within the hour… I finished school on 15th December and this has been the longest Christmas holiday I’ve had since I was at school. Colin is now self employed and decided to have the same break so I have to say this was the most relaxed holiday ever with the alarm only being set on Christmas day to allow us to get to Somerset nice and early. Tallulah also loves stickers, we could have just bought her various collections and forgotten the rest of the gifts and she’d have been totally happy. That’s one very smart bird table and it may be a middle aged thing but watching birds is a delight. My table is a few feet away from our hedge where many of the birds are neighbours, it always makes me think that they are in an avian soap opera, fortunately they swoop down on the food before Sox is aware of their presence and are very grateful for the extra calories provided. Your blog is a delight and the support you give those who write to you is invaluable. I’ve stopped saying “Happy New Year” because it sounds too big so I’ll just wish you and yours the magic of ordinary days. Love from Jo x

    • Alison Keenan January 10, 2017 at 6:28 pm -  Reply

      Hi there Jo, how nice to catch up on all your news πŸ™‚ I can’t say I’ve heard of the 2Cellos, but I’m certain the concert will be fabulous, never mind the trip to Slovenia – how exciting! It’s great that you and Colin will be taking a break together, and what a lovely surprise πŸ™‚ I’m so pleased that you’ve had a decent amount of time off school this year. Lucy too has really enjoyed her break, although it was hard for her to leave Honey at the childminders the first morning… I remember it well… How funny that your Tallulah also loves stickers! Honey had several sheets of them and I was picking them off my clothes for days afterwards – all Peppa Pig of course. Sounds like you and Colin have had some quality time together – much the same as me and my Colin. He’d been caught up on a refurb job for the previous three months and we’d barely spoken to each other let alone seen each other! It’s pretty busy now again, although we just had a day or two in Dorset with Roz and Chris which was lovely. I’ve had to add a bird feeder and nut ball hanger thing as the big birds were monopolising the table. Richard Jackson’s food is excellent though and the birds are getting braver by the day. I will wish you and yours “the magic of ordinary days” also. Take care and thank you for supporting the blog and for your kind words and comments. With Love, Ali xx

  9. pamela Richards December 31, 2016 at 10:35 am -  Reply

    You have been busy so your Blog as always a joy to see that life and our Families are what is Important and keeping Happy and Healthy into 2017 Pamela x

    • Alison Keenan January 10, 2017 at 6:30 pm -  Reply

      Dear Pamela, so glad that you enjoy the blog, and I hope you will continue to do so this year too! You’re right about the importance of family, even if you’re not all able to be together, it’s just letting them know you care that makes all the difference. I do hope that you have family and friends around you and will enjoy 2017. Love Ali xx

  10. helen s December 31, 2016 at 12:51 pm -  Reply

    Oh my, I haven’t written in such a long time, although I have read your blogs but time has run away with me and never seem to catch a minute to reply. An ‘Army’ member from the start, I do hope that all the other ladies are doing ok?

    Our Christmas has been busy and with a gorgeous teenager, Mum cabs has been working overtime. Oh the life of an almost 14 year old.

    I can’t figure out whether it’s the M.E that has raised it’s head or hormones (being that certain age), but I’m feeling oh so tired.

    Just a quickie, but have a happy and healthy 2017. Will promise to keep in touch more often

    Luv and hugs as always
    Helen s xxx

    • Alison Keenan January 10, 2017 at 6:33 pm -  Reply

      Helen, how lovely to hear from you! Happy New Year to you and your almost 14 year old – I cannot believe she is already that age! I’m glad that your life is busy and that your Christmas was good, although sorry to hear that you are struggling with such tiredness. Maybe worth a visit to your local GP to get your iron levels checked or just general check up? I hope it’s not the ME, and if it’s the menopause there are some great natural remedies out there which they can advise you on. So glad to know that you are well, and will be able to keep in touch more often. As one of the original Army members, it’s lovel to have you back! πŸ™‚ Love Ali xx

  11. Merche December 31, 2016 at 6:40 pm -  Reply

    Wishing you and Colin a happy and healthy 2017!
    We had a lovely Christmas in Norfolk with our daughter and family, although her husband succumbed to the virus and I came down with it on Christmas Day. But we did n let it spoil our special time together.

    • Alison Keenan January 10, 2017 at 6:34 pm -  Reply

      My dear Merche, so sorry that both you and your husband succumbed to the miserable virus that laid so many low over Christmas. Well done for not letting it ruin your time together, and I very much hope that you are feeling better now. Great to get away, and sometimes being with other folk helps you to crack on with things. Far too long since I’ve been to Norfolk, so it’s on our To Do list this year. Happy New Year to you, and thank you for keeping in touch, love Ali xx

  12. Elaine December 31, 2016 at 8:03 pm -  Reply

    I hope you and your family have a Happy New Year xx

    • Alison Keenan January 10, 2017 at 6:35 pm -  Reply

      Dear Elaine, I wish the same for you and yours too. Thank you for keeping in touch and for supporting the blog. Love Ali x

  13. Christine Auchterlonie December 31, 2016 at 8:28 pm -  Reply

    Well Ali you were right Christmas seemed to past with the blink of an eye and although it was spent with family and a lovely Christmas lunch and the same on Boxing Day … It’s seems it passed too quickly… And now it’s New Years Eve ! You too seemed to have had a busy time with family and of course Honey with her lovely pram the same one my two grandaughters had in navy blue…. They used to sit in it and the dolls were on the floor!!! Great news of Colin’s daughters engagement … The Same day as my birthday .
    Yes we too received some nice gifts and as usual Jessica and Katy were very lucky and as they are going to Canada in 2017 they did received plenty of Canadian dollars.Fiona was working night shift on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so although she did come to lunch she had to leave just after teatime to get some rest before work…. But she too received some very nice gifts,she has been working back shift today so is bringing some Indian food in with her and will see the new year in here.. Before heading off home.
    I do like your bird table ,I have a couple of bird houses in the garden and have blue tits that go in and out and have some blackbirds that come and sing and tell me that their bird bath needs filling up … They are fascinating to watch from the window.
    Well I will probably be watching the midnight hour with you…so will close here for now and I wish you and your family a Very Happy New Year and look forward to keeping intouch into 2017 with love Chris x

    • Alison Keenan January 10, 2017 at 6:40 pm -  Reply

      Hi there Chris, Happy New Year to you! So hope you were able to join Charlie, Gail and myself for the New Year celebrations – I only got one swig of my Bucks Fizz but it was lovely. Your Christmas sounds filled with family and good times. It was a shame Fiona had to work, but I’m glad that she was able to spend New Years Eve with you at least. How funny that we chose the same dolls pram for Honey that you already had for Katy and Jessica. We did get her a doll too, but it fell apart as soon as it was out of the packaging! Luckily she has another baby she can put in it πŸ™‚ It must be the blackbirds that I can hear singing in the garden, although I think Robins also are quite tuneful? I hope you are well, and haven’t succumbed to the horrid flu like virus that so many folk have struggled with. Take care, and thank you for keeping in touch, it’s always good to hear from you, love Ali xx

  14. lorraine December 31, 2016 at 9:22 pm -  Reply

    happy new year ali and colin and family-i know 2017 will be a year of laughter and good tidings for you all x

    • Alison Keenan January 10, 2017 at 6:41 pm -  Reply

      Dear Lorraine, thank you for your good wishes to Colin, and our family. We send ours back to you and hope very much that your year also will be full of laughter and good tidings. Love Ali xx

  15. Jilly January 1, 2017 at 10:43 pm -  Reply

    And a very Happy New Year to you and all your family Ali and also to everyone here. Wonderful reading about your Christmas and seeing Honey with her dolly pram. What a treat to spend the day with them all. And such a beautiful photo of Calla.
    Your garden looks lovely and I laughed at the bird table. A few years ago we had opened all our pressies in our living room. My hubby then asked me to go into the morning room to turn some lights on. I thought it funny for him to ask me but went in and saw what I thought was a bird table wrapped up. Including the long pole and a cut out bird sitting on top of the wrapping. I did think it rather a big table but when I unwrapped it the surprise was it was a dolls house I had seen a few months before and said how pretty it was. (I have a couple of others!!!) it was my best surprise ever and so funny in the way it was wrapped to look like a bird table. I think I may have mentioned to hubby that a bird table would be nice.
    We have wonderful birds in the garden in the lakes and also at home. It will be wonderful being able to watch them come and go.
    We have also had a lovely relaxing time with a little too much to eat but will get back into a better routine this coming week.
    Our card games were “happy families” and “old maid” but good fun. We also have a jig saw on the go.
    We have cooks essentials pans and my hubby s wears by them. All the family have them now.
    Looking forward to your catch ups and again good health and all the best for this new year love Jilly xx

    • Alison Keenan January 10, 2017 at 6:46 pm -  Reply

      Dear Jilly Happy New Year to you, Annie, and all the family. How lovely that you also had a relaxing time, and although like me, you may have eaten a little more than usual, it’s good to be able to enjoy yourself and let others spoil you every now and then. What a lovely story about your dolls house! Brilliant idea of your husband’s to wrap it up as though it were a bird table. I have to be honest and say that Colin hadn’t wrapped mine, but it was a complete surprise to see it out there in the garden. I was writing to Mary a little earlier on and told her that I’ve added a feeder and a water dish as well as nut ball hooks to the table to try and encourage the smaller birds, and we also have a separate feeder now hanging from our giant magnolia tree – looking forward to welcoming new birds throughout the year. We played Trivial Pursuit and Tipping Point this last weekend with Roz and Chris! Great fun and not too competitive. I’ll look forward to hearing from you, but once again, thanks for keeping in touch here on the blog, love Ali x

  16. Dorothy hollingsworth January 2, 2017 at 12:19 am -  Reply

    Hi ali, happy new year to you and your family.It is lovely to read your blogs about your Christmas sounds line you had a great time.Honey ix growing up fast nut she’s beautiful.Me and the boys had a good Christmas but our Christmas day we have on Christmas Eve as my granddaughter has to go home to her mum later in the day so she can have christmas day with mum& family,now she is 9yrs old more technology Is required so she got a new phone along with many more.I was watching on new years eve when you did the tsv it was great.once again happy new year. Love Dorothy. X

    • Alison Keenan January 10, 2017 at 6:49 pm -  Reply

      Dear Dorothy, lovely to hear from you and I’m glad that you had a good Christmas. You’re right about Honey, she is growing up so fast and her talking is coming along beautifully! She says Love you Nanny now which makes my heart smile πŸ™‚ I’m glad you were with your boys for Christmas, and that you saw your grandaughter. I had many years of sharing the children over the two days, and although it’s seems sad at the time, it’s great that you can still make it work even when families are no longer together. How lovely that she got a new phone – I bet there were a lot of very happy children who got presents like phone, tablets and computers! Thank you for being with me on New Year’s Day! It was fun working with Gail, and I hope that it is the beginning of what will be a good year for you and your family. Love Ali xxx

  17. Denise Pilcher January 2, 2017 at 9:40 am -  Reply

    Just like me , you have had a family filled Christmas-just the way its supposed to be! How blessed are we in the little things that happen all around us?
    I love your present from colin-when i was 30 I asked for a bird bath and I just love it. Infact only yesterday i saw a kestral-yes a kestral, drinking from it!
    I so love your blogs Ali-they have so much meaning and kindness in them. So, I wish you a storming 2017 , with health ,happiness and more family blessings. With love,Denisex

    • Alison Keenan January 10, 2017 at 6:52 pm -  Reply

      Blessed is definitely the right word Denise. So glad that you also spent this special time with your family too – it’s what Christmas is all about in my book. Wow! A bird bath! My birthday is in March – maybe I’ll ask for one although I doubt I’d be lucky enough to see a Kestrel in it! We have the most fabulous Kites that fly in pairs over the garden during the summer months. They fly incredibly high, and I had no idea how enormous they are until one flew across the garden. They are like eagles! Thank you so much for your kind words about the blog – it means a lot to me that you feel that way. I wish you also a ‘storming’ 2017. May it be your best year yet, with love, Ali xx

  18. Elaine Mynott January 2, 2017 at 1:40 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison, hope you are well. Glad you had a lovely Christmas.
    Your grand-daughters are lovely.
    See you on QVC again.
    Health and happiness for 2017

    Elaine XXXX

    • Alison Keenan January 10, 2017 at 6:53 pm -  Reply

      Hi there Elaine, thanks for your kind words, and yes the girls are both gorgeous aren’t they! I hope you also had a lovely Christmas, and I wish you and your family health and happiness in 2017. Love Ali xx

  19. Teresa L January 2, 2017 at 8:39 pm -  Reply

    Happy New Year Ali. Paul and I had a very quiet Christmas in our New Home but it was very enjoyable with lots of lovely gifts from family and friends, with lots of lovely food and drink. To much of both I am sure.
    We had a lovely long Skype with the family in the USA on Christmas evening, it was so good to talk to them all and as it was Christmas all the family was there to chat. Great Niece is very excited as she is coming to Europe this week for a month with her collage, it is one of her term assignments before she takes her finals in April/May.
    What lovely news you received about your stepdaughter Colin must be vert proud and happy.
    Lovely pictures of Honey with her new pram she looks like she loves it. You did make me laugh about the stickers I can remember our two in the US loving stickers and me finding them stuck in all sorts of funny places and on most of my cloths.
    Little Calla is growing so fast and gorgeous.
    On Boxing Day we went for a nice long walk along the beach, it was cold but the sun was shining and brought back many happy memories of Christmas past when my Aunt and Uncle lived here, and we did the same walk on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
    Well dear Ali I think that’s all the news for now, except to wish you and Colin a very Happy Healthy and prosperous New Year.
    Love Teresa xxx

    • Alison Keenan January 10, 2017 at 6:59 pm -  Reply

      Hi there Teresa, and a very Happy 2017 to you and Paul. So glad that your Christmas went well even though it may have been a little quiet. Great though that you had a long Skype chat with the family in America on Christmas evening. It’s almost like having them there with you. I love it when Lucy FaceTimes me with Honey or my niece Emily gets in touch and there is little James! It used to be so much harder years ago when families are separated, and there was only a telephone to make conversation. Being able to physically see people makes missing them a little easier. I hope that the haps in the future your family will come and visit you in your new home and you can all be together. Colin and I are both thrilled about Vicky and Lewis. She is an absolute sweetheart, and he is a lovely young man with who clearly thinks the world of her. I envy you your Boxing Day walk along the beach. Lovely to have those memories of your Aunt and Uncle tied in too. Not being near the sea is the only thing about living where we do that I would change if I was able. You can get into the fields, and more of the countryside but you always have to walk along side a road to get anywhere. Thank you as always for keeping in touch, and I’ll look forward to hearing more news from you soon. Take care, love Ali xxx

  20. Jean Daly January 3, 2017 at 9:56 am -  Reply

    Hi Alison & a Happy & Healthy New Year to you & all your family. Will you tell me please how you do your slow cooked gammon in muscavado sugar please.

    Many thanks,

    • Alison Keenan January 10, 2017 at 7:02 pm -  Reply

      Hello there Jean, and a very happy new year to you and yours! Of course I can tell you the recipe. Basically buy a large smoked gammon joint, and a large bag of Muscavado sugar (500g). You’ll need 400g of the sugar, and you need to put 300g of it in the bottom of a slow casserole. Place the gammon joint on top of that and sprinkle with the remaining 100g of sugar. Close the lid tightly and turn the slo cooker up to High. Leave to cook for 6 hours when after which you will find the Gammon cooked perfectly, and the sugar turned into a beautiful rich sauce/glaze. Delicious with jacket or roast potatoes and sweetcorn or glazed carrots. Lovely! Ali xx

  21. Chris Page January 3, 2017 at 6:03 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali – I’ve been away for a long time, but congrats on your expanding brood of grandkids. There was excitement for my family when we decamped to southern France for my younger brother Glen’s wedding to his partner Sarah in August. We stayed at her parents’ massive renovated farmhouse, and the wedding was at the local Town Hall. A few days later, they went to their blessing at a winery, which sadly wasn’t wheelchair accessible. But I was content that I fulfilled my promise to be there despite my continued dodgy health. But I had a bit of a shock over Xmas, when Mum confessed she secretly had a malignant polyp removed from her colon THREE years ago. She’s OK, but I wish she’d trusted us to deal with the information at the time. I hope you continue to thrive as well. Love, Chris xx

    • Alison Keenan January 10, 2017 at 7:06 pm -  Reply

      Dear Chris, thank you for your kind words and for bringing me up to speed with your news over this last six months. It sounds as August was a fabulous month for you all in France and I am glad that you were there for your brother Glen’s wedding to Sarah. How lovely to travel somewhere different for such a special occasion. I’m sorry you couldn’t make it to the blessing though, but as you say, wonderful that you’d fulfilled your promise to him and made such an effort to get there. I was a little shocked to hear of your mum’s news, and can completely understand why you would have preferred to be told at the time. Some folk prefer to keep things to themselves until they feel it’s necessary to involve the rest of the family. Never easy… I am so very glad that she is in good self now though, and long may it continue. I wish you and your family a very happy 2017, and please do keep in touch. Love Ali xx

  22. Sue Huskisson January 3, 2017 at 7:38 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali. Lovely to hear about your Christmas with the family. The photo of little Honey with her doll and pram took me back 60 years to my own doll and pram! It was my favourite thing ever and I insisted on taking it everywhere in all weathers. My mum used to knit lots of little outfits for my doll and I had great fun dressing and undressing my ” baby”.
    Little Calla is growing fast, she looks so snugly in her outfit and so pretty!
    We had a quiet Christmas, just the two of us but we enjoyed it. All the calorific treats which we are still ploughing our way through. I think I’ve mentioned before that my husband is the lollipop man at our local primary school and this year he was given a record 27 boxes of chocolates and biscuits! I think we’ll still be eating them at Easter!!
    We had a lovely New Year as we went to spend a few days with our niece Lisa, her husband Matt and our little Charlie. He’ll be 2 on the 29th of this month and is so adorable now he’s talking. My husband is a Derby County supporter and has taught Charlie to say “up the Rams”. It is so comical to hear him! He wouldn’t leave me alone, kept taking my hand and taking me to play with his new toys. I told him I was cream crackered and it was so funny to hear him tell everyone Auntie Sue’s cream crackered! They are funny aren’t they?
    Anyway Ali bye for now. Looking forward to your next blog and can’t wait for your book. Love Sue xx

    • Alison Keenan January 10, 2017 at 7:11 pm -  Reply

      Crikey Sue that must be a record – not just for your husband but for lollypop men and women throughout the country! πŸ™‚ My sister always does very well at school with presents from her pupils, and I seem to remember eating chocolates last summer that had been given to her at Christmas! As Colin said, they wouldn’t have lasted that long in our house! How lovely that you were able to be with your neice Lisa, Matt and Charlie at New Year. Even better that Charlie is so close to you, and obviously loves to have you near him. I can imagine him saying “up the Rams”. Hee Hee.. I’ve taught Honey to say “Hello Pancake” as my friend Jo and I when we were at school used to frequent the Pancake House for a cuppa and a bun, and the girl who answered the phone would always say “Hello Pancake!” It’s hilarious. Cream crackered is on a par with that πŸ™‚ Looking forward to hearing from you next time, and I should have a new blog with you by the end of the week. Hoping for news of the book at the end of the month …. fingers crossed! Love Ali xx

  23. Denise January 4, 2017 at 4:03 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison, sounds like you had a fab Christmas with family and how romantic a Christmas proposal in New York. Our celebrations were quietish due to babies imminent arrival and my hubby falling foul to the dreaded lurgey doing the rounds. Well baby is now with us Joseph Michael was born last Friday 30th weighing in at 8lb7ozs. Due to various issues the birth ended up as an emergency c section. My son is a big football fan and his team were playing that evening and the stadium is only about a 10 minute walk away and as labour was progressing (or not) slowly at 6pm he was going to the game with daughter in laws approval. Then things happened quickly and baby was here at 7.15pm! Not surprised he sounded shell shocked when he rang us with the news. He’s a gorgeous baby – but of course I’m biased! They are now home and I’ve just returned from a visit. My daughter in law is a bit of a night owl and up to now looks like baby is the same -poor parents but it’s early days and I’m sure he will settle in to a routine soon.
    Happy New Year
    Much love Denise xx

    • Alison Keenan January 10, 2017 at 7:14 pm -  Reply

      CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Denise such lovely news to begin the year with, and please do pass on my very best to baby Joseph Michael, your son and daughter in law. Such a blessing. I’m sorry your husband was unwell over Christmas, but I’m sure the new arrival will have helped his recovery. So good for you that you live close by, and will be able to visit. I feel very blessed to be able to see Honey every week or so. Give the baby a cuddle for me, and I hope that he will soon learn the difference between night and day! Happy New Year to you all, and thanks for keeping us all in touch with your life and your grandchild. Wonderful news, love Ali xx

  24. Judith Lennon January 5, 2017 at 7:54 pm -  Reply

    Hello and Happy New Year Ali
    Well all the excitement of Christmas and New Year is over and I’m trying to get back into some sort of routine again. Christmas was quiet but lovely and New Year was spent with special friends. I have had quite a bit of spare time for a change so have treated myself to time for me with my kindle. I can’t remember the last time I have been so lazy. My son and his family are safely home from South Africa. They had an amazing time and the weather was brilliant. It was a bit of a shock to come back to the UK to such a change of temperature. I was also glad they were back home especially with the troubles in the world. They had traveled via Turkey so you can imagine the thoughts running wild in my head. Who’d be a mum eh! The older they get the more you worry.
    I’ve no news as of today but just wanted to wish you and your family a happy and healthy New Year. Loved the blog and photos and very pleased you had a good Christmas. Take care and love and hugs. Judith xx

    • Alison Keenan January 10, 2017 at 7:18 pm -  Reply

      Hello there Judith, and a very Happy and Healthy New year to you and yours too! Good to hear about your Christmas, and I’m glad that although some of it was quiet, you got to spend it with those who mean a lot to you. It’s good to know your son and his family are safely home from South Africa, I can imagine it was an enormous shock for him to return to such cold weather here. My godmother travels to South Africa quite regularly over Christmas, and has had temperatures in the early 40s before now. It’s meant to be getting much colder here this weekend, so I hope they have got their jumpers out of storage! I know what you mean about travelling. Last year before went to Cyprus there was a shooting at the airport in Turkey… we were stopping off on the tarmac there and Lucy was very concerned! I remember years before she and her friend went on a cruise, and I worried for days about it, being scared of deep water as I am! I hope that you get some time now with your son and his family, and will hear all about their holiday and hopefully see some photos. Enjoy your kindle, and who knows maybe next year my book might be on it!! Love to you all, from Ali xx

  25. Diane January 8, 2017 at 8:43 pm -  Reply

    Happy new year and all best wishes for 2017. I am due to start chemotherapy following a lumpectomy. Would you be able to reccomend any must have beauty products to help with the possible side effects please? X

    • Alison Keenan January 10, 2017 at 7:23 pm -  Reply

      Dear Diane, I am so sorry to hear that your new year is beginning with a course of chemotherapy. I’m glad to hear though that the lumpectomy has already happened, and this is the surgeons way of being absolutely certain they make you as well as possible. I found that I was able to continue with Liz Earle’s Cleanse and Polish throughout my chemo, and also Elemis Pro Collagen marine cream was gentle enough for my face initially. I went on to Vit E capsules which I cut open and used directly onto my skin. I would avoid any heavily scented soaps, but a gentle body moisturiser like Gatinueau is good. It may sound odd, but extra virgin olive oil is comforting too if slightly warmed, and I found it was good on my hands and feet when gently massaged in. I wish you well, and hope that like so many patients, you will not react badly to the chemo. It’s not forever, and will give you your very best chance. Stay strong, and please do keep in touch. With love, and a hug, Ali xx

  26. Sue elliott January 10, 2017 at 2:14 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, this the first time I have blog you although I watch you when you are on.Ali I was wondering if you could tell me the colour of the nail polish you was wearing on last nights show many thanks Sue.

  27. Gwen January 12, 2017 at 2:15 pm -  Reply

    Hello Dear Ali,

    A very happy New Year to you and yours, I am sorry to be a little late in catching up with your latest lovely blog but I have been fighting off this horrible cough and cold thing that seems to be doing the rounds, I think probably similar to the wretched thing that you had before Christmas. I had a wonderful Christmas, but the New Year was saddened by the sudden loss of a very dear and special friend, finding it hard to come to terms with it right now.

    Let us look forward to Spring and seeing the gardens waking up again, always a lovely time, and to more lovely news of you and your gorgeous family.

    Thank you for being there Ali,

    Love to you and yours.

    Gwen X.

  28. Diane January 15, 2017 at 6:54 pm -  Reply

    Thank you so much for your advice and kind words. I am a big cleanse and polish fan so that is good. I will look into the Elemis and Gatineau suggestions. Isn’t it strange how much your sense of smell can be affected by the chemotherapy? Thanks again for your response. Love and best wishes to you xx

  29. Jean Daly January 18, 2017 at 9:26 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali, Thank you very much for the slow cooked gammon recipe, I have my family coming for dinner at he end of the month so the main course is sorted any suggestions for desert please. Keep well.

    Love Jean xx

  30. Angela Marshall January 30, 2017 at 8:07 pm -  Reply

    Hi, enjoy reading your blogs especially about your gorgeous grandaughter honey, was wondering if you could tell me the name of the pram you brought her for xmas as looking for something for my grandaughter who will be the same sort of age when we are looking to give present, all the ones I find are targeted at 3 plus and I can see that honey can reach and handle that particular Pram, hope you and all your family are well , look forward to your reply.

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