Birthdays, barbecues, Davina McCall and Diamonique!

I can’t believe it has been almost a fortnight since I last wrote to you, but the past few weeks have just flown by. Thanks so much for your lovely comments, and for keeping in touch with me. I’m glad that everyone, hopefully, has been able to enjoy the warmer weather we’ve been experiencing – long may it last! 😊

You might remember from my last blog that we celebrated Colin’s 59th birthday at the end of May with a barbecue at his daughter Vic’s house. It was the first time the family have been able to get together since the lockdown and we were blessed with sunshine and a warm day.

Vic and Lew were the perfect hosts and we had a fabulous barbecue and played in the garden with the children until dusk. I made Colin‘s favourite cake in my Vitamix – a Victoria sandwich with fresh cream, strawberry jam and strawberries. Joe and Hayley came with Rhys and baby Corey and I finally managed to get a photograph of the three generations. Definitely one for the family album!

We also celebrated a noteworthy event for my son Sam. You might remember he started his new engineering company in April and has already made the front cover of Land Rover monthly! They included a nine-page editorial and pointed the spotlight on the niche services he and his partner Guy can offer to the automotive industry!

I only had one more day at work before I was away on leave and Colin and I headed to Cornwall. The weather had been a bit mixed, but the weekend promised to be sunny and so we drove up the night before and had breakfast in Brixham. It’s a part of Devon Colin and his family used to visit when he was little, and it has many lovely memories for him. We got there in time for breakfast in a lovely little café by the harbour and then headed down the coast road until we got to Saint Austell.

We’d booked one of our favourite hotels at Carlyon Bay but as we were far too early to check-in we decided to go and sit on the beach instead. How blessed we were! The sun shone, there was a gentle breeze, and we drank cider while watching the windsurfers in the distance. It was bliss.

That evening I wore my Marla Wynn Layers dress in this beautiful navy with the chiffon jacket over the top and prior to our delicious dinner I tried a delicious new gin – raspberry and ginger – it was fab!

Sadly the following day was a complete contrast weather-wise with pouring rain, heavy winds and grey skies. Colin had booked to play a game of golf and so I decided to walk the coastal path but couldn’t see a great deal because of the mist! Both of us were equally drenched by the time we got back to the hotel. After a lovely hot bath and another wonderful meal, we felt totally relaxed.

There was more food to be had the following day when we met up with my cousin Marianne and her husband Len and had a roast lunch in a lovely old pub in the village of St Ewes. The day had started cloudy, but then the sun broke through and it was a beautiful afternoon.

We had planned to stay for a couple more days in Cornwall and to meet up with my sister but as the weather forecast was pretty grotty we decided to head home instead. It’s a pretty long journey so by way of a change we thought we would come back a different way and headed towards North Devon. Years ago my mum‘s sister Eileen lived in Appledore and we would often visit her there during the summer holidays.

We met up with lovely Russell Bristow, our QVC guest,  and his partner Mark who was a cameraman at QVC for years and had a fabulous lunch in a pub on the front where I enjoyed a huge portion of broad bean, pea and pesto risotto. They were great company and had us both rolling about with laughter as we reminisced while walking along the front.

We were lucky when we got back because the weather at home was stunning and gave us an opportunity to do a great deal in the garden. Unfortunately, our planned holiday to Gozo had to be cancelled because of the recent Parliamentary decision which sadly I think will be the same for many of us. So sorry for those who had weddings and events planned but I guess we have to stay safe and keep moving in the right direction. Obviously, we were both disappointed but not that surprised and quite frankly if the weather stays as beautiful as it is now, I’ll be quite happy having a staycation in July.

Back at The Q

It was great to come back over the weekend and have such a phenomenal success with the outdoor lighting TSV on Saturday – I hope that Bell and Howell will bring back these disc lights as soon as possible! Sunday saw the launch of our mid-season sale with everything available in Easy Payments, and this week we are shifting from fashion to fitness with a total-body training system from Davina McCall. It’s available now on pre-sale for under £54. If you want to find out what it’s all about make sure you watch at 9pm Tuesday or midnight when I will be with Davina who will no doubt be putting me through my paces! We will also have a five-piece botanicals collection from Liz Earle (243800) – great price and available also on pre-sell so check out our website for more information on that.

Be my guest

You may well have spotted the fact that the regular Tuesday evening Diamonique show has been taking a break – I will be back with it on the 22nd June and I hope one of you will be able to join me for it! We thought it would be lovely to involve one of you in the show so I can chat with you and have you as a guest. It will be lovely to learn why you enjoy the brand, to talk about your life, your love of jewellery and just generally to have a good old chinwag. If you want to take part all you need to do is email me at, include your telephone number so we can call you and then we will draw a name from a hat and you can join in on the 22nd June. It will be lovely to share the hour with you and I look forward to your response! How lovely to finally get to ‘meet’ you after all these years 😊

Book recommendations

I finished listening to a fabulous book that my sister Jenny recommended to me – Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frea – and I’ve now begun listening to Jackie Kabler’s fabulous new thriller The Happy Family. It’s a cracking storyline and I know that it’s going to be available in several major supermarkets over the next couple of weeks so I’m certain this will also hit the bestseller list as did her previous novel. Clever girl! I wish her every success with it.

I think that’s about all for this time so please do get in touch with me when you can and as you know I will always respond. I very much hope that you are well and don’t forget the Diamonique show, it will be fantastic to have that time with you. You can also contact me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter but to be a part of the show you will need to email in.

Take care,

With my love,

Ali xx

27 Responses

  1. I hadn’t watched QVC for a while, due to illness. When I watched a few days ago, I was impressed with how beautiful you looked. Wearing what looked like a Marla Wynn dress, you seemed to glow with health! Very glad to see you looking so wonderful.

    1. Dear Sylvia, thanks so much for your kind words, and I very much hope that whatever you were poorly with, you are now feeling much better. I’m glad you are able to watch the shows again, and thanks for getting in touch here. Love Ali xx

  2. Hi alison well son on your son sam in his new job iam now back to work since april 19th where i work at mcdonalds in aberdeen hope you and family and colin are well.

    1. Hi Martin, and thanks so much! I will make sure I pass your message on to Sam. Yes, we’re all very proud of him and he is much happier in himself these days which is great. I hope you’re happy to be back at work and with your friends. Love Ali xx

  3. Hi Ali
    It’s lovely to hear that you and Colin have had a wonderful time meeting up with your family and that you were able to enjoy a few days away. They are lovely pictures of you Colin and your family – the cake you made for Colins birthday looked absolutely delicious 🍰
    Your next Diamonique show sounds like a great idea – I’ll have to make sure I watch next week.
    Best wishes
    Love Jules x

    1. Dear Jules, so glad you enjoyed the photos and yes, we had a great time with all the family and the weather could not have better! It’s been jolly soggy since then but we did have another visit from Joe and his boys and Hayley for Father’s Day which was lovely. I’m glad you’ll be joining me for the Diamonique show on Tuesday – I think you’ll love Vanessa Brand who is going to be giving me her views on the jewellery. The first of many special guests I hope 🙂 Love Ali xx

  4. Hi Alison glad you had a,great time away nice to do something different, you both look so happy. Well as are finally in our new place and settled in it went well on the day although I’ve had a,few issues getting some things sorted out one of which was the internet which should have been on the same day, it ended up that open reach hadn’t even switched it on in the green box honestly couldn’t believe it,anyway it’s all good and we are happy.I had a lovely surprise from a,second cousin of mine she lives near Oxford and her mum my first cousin lives in beaconsfield unfortunately she now has dementia but we are going to visit them in July and go out a few places together with my second cousin Hilary haven’t seen her for 52 years we spent a lot of time together when we were small, Les and I were going to Brighton but its now,Windsor instead we will spend the Friday on our own and have a nice meal out for our birthdays mine is 26th June then Les is 1st July so looking forward to it such a lot of catching up to do. Well must go a bit more to sort out keep well enjoy the nice weather. Love Loraine xxxx 😀

    1. Hooray! So glad to know that you and Les have finally moved into your new home and I’m sure you’re well settled by now. That’s great you’re going to get the chance to see more of the family, and that they live close by. I was born in Beaconsfield and now live just five miles out of Windsor! Small world eh? 🙂 I’ll wish you a happy birthday for Saturday – it’s Colin’s and mine’s 6th wedding anniversary! We were going to have a small party with the folks but the weather looks dreadful so we’ve postponed it. Happy birthday to Les for the 1st – mum’s birthday was on the 3rd July… Love Ali xx

  5. Hi Ali,
    What incredible news about Sam and his partner’s new business! That’s impressive having only just started up! I wish him all the best. He’s looking well too.
    Your break sounded lovely and equally impressive that you managed to meet up with so many and enjoy great weather! Mind you same old story with the usual weather split!
    I didn’t realise Colin was younger than you, not that it matters and not that you’d know either. Happy belated birthday! I don’t know about you but I’m confused with all the rules! I thought we were still meant to keep a distance even in our homes and gardens but it’s lovely to get that big photo all the same! Hopefully you’ve enjoyed your break and ready to go again. Take care x

    1. Oooh cripes! Susan you may have a point there, but I have to say I like you am somewhat confused by the constant shifting of the rules. Mercifully we’re all well and those of us oldies have had both jabs so all good. Our break was great and it was a real treat to see old friends and family too. Just a shame the weather couldn’t have been as pleasing, but it was still good to get away. I do hope that you and yours are well, and thanks for writing to me, love Ali xx

      1. Hi Ali,
        Yes a shame you didn’t have better weather but as you say nice to get away anyway and by the sounds of it you’re planning a big holiday for Colin’s 60th?! Never mind holidays though, if only we could all visit our loved ones across the globe. I’m sure you feel the same about your brother.
        I was sorry to read that Jack is having a hard time and sympathise. It’s very tough. I hope things will eventually improve for him. Take care for now x

  6. Hi Ali, lovely to hear all your news as always and so nice you managed to get together as a family after all this time. The birthday cake you made looks very professional, I bet it went down a treat 😊.
    Your photos show how lovely this country is and if we get the weather, it is truly stunning. We’re currently enjoying a week in Norfolk in glorious sunshine, a little retreat before returning home to do more packing before we move.
    Looking forward to seeing you back next week with your regular diamonique show. Until then take care Ali, love Anne x

    1. Dear Anne, thanks for your kind words and compliments about the cake. I have to admit that until I got my KitchenAid I used to find it almost impossible to create a sponge that was more than a quarter of an inch thick! It does a cracking job of getting the air through the mix! It’s always nice to find new places isn’t it, and although I’d been to North Devon before it was a first for Colin. We’ll definitely be going back though. I’m glad you’ll be with me for the Diamonique show – I’ll try and give you a wave! Love Ali xx

  7. Hello Ali, What a lovely family photo & a delish cake! I’m sorry that your Cornish holiday was affected by poor weather but your photos are lovely – professional as always. I assume the pub you visited was The Crown Inn, the first time I went there was the day Colin proposed & we returned in 1992 when the gardens at Heligan opened. It was on that occasion that a man came over to me in the garden & said how much he admired my work, it turned out that he thought I was the actress Harriet Walter! Much as it’s lovely to have sunny days at home I’m now longing for a holiday; after we did our daily ‘Freedom Walk’ this morning we were in the garden drinking our coffee under a Mediterranean blue sky, the bees were buzzing & I closed my eyes & said to Colin that I was imagining we were in Sicily & our English bees were cicadas. However, my desire for a holiday is nothing compared to the hopes so many have for their wedding to take place & be the celebration they want not some mean little event, my nephew’s is planned for September so fingers crossed. Well done to your Sam, he’s talented young man & he has your dad’s lovely smile. Blue skies & sunshine my lovely. Love from Jo x

    1. Dear Jo, so glad you enjoyed the photos – I think you’d have enjoyed the cake too! And yes, it was indeed The Crown Inn at St. Ewes, how fabulous you went there the day your Colin proposed to you 🙂 I had to rush off and Google Harriet Walter and I’m now thrilled I have an idea of what you look like after all these years of corresponding! I would so like to visit the Gardens at Heligan and it’s on our list for the next visit. I too feel much the same as you about a holiday… I was fine when the sun was shining but all this rain has made me selfishly long for sunnier climes… as you say though there are far worse situations to be in and will keep everything crossed for your nephew’s wedding in September. That said, it looked as though Kathy Tayler’s son Billy’s wedding went incredibly well in spite of the restrictions so I hope it will be the same for everyone else. I’ll pass your good wishes on to Sam… you’re right he is a talented young man and he does have Dad’s smile. I hope you can join us for the Diamonique show on Tuesday and maybe think of joining me one day? Love Ali xx

  8. Hi Alison, glad you had such a lovely break. Shame your holiday has been cancelled – I love Malta and Gozo – but I guess we all know it’s better to be safe. Our holiday to Spain is also off so we have booked a fortnight on the Isle of Wight in August which I’m very much looking forward to. There’s always another year for travel! Very belated birthday greetings to Colin – I’m sure you’re already making plans for the big one next year! Lots of love xx

    1. Hi Cherry – how wonder to be visiting The Isle of Wight! My dear old mum always wanted us to get there, but somehow in the latter years of her life we didn’t get round to it. I hope you all have wonderful time there. And you’re right, there’s always next year for travel unless we can squeeze a break in during September! I’ll pass your wishes on to Colin and yes, plans already underway for next years big birthday 🙂 Love Ali xx

  9. Hi lovely Ali, great blog as ever and lovely pics. Glad you had a lovely time with the family. The cake you made looked gorgeous and very professional. Lovely pic of you and Sam – us mums and our tall sons! Lol – mine towers over me too. Thanks for the book recommendation – i have put Sweet Little Lies in my wish list to remind me. Saw you on the TSV launch with Davina and you looked fantastic on the bike and you were giving her a run for your money! Lovely to see you looking so well xx

    1. Dear Karen, isn’t it lovely to have our boys so big! I can’t believe I actually gave birth to Sam sometimes and Jack is pretty tall too! I do hope you enjoy Sweet Little Lies – let me know, as I’ve just finished Jackie’s latest thriller and moved on to Ruth Jones ‘Us Three’ which is excellent also. I was so chuffed to have an hour with Davina – she is just as nice of camera and I’ve been a fan for years. I can honestly say I could feel my muscles the following day and I thought I was relatively fit! I hope you’re well, and thanks for writing to me, love Ali xx

  10. Hi Ali, glad you had a lovely time in Cornwall but sorry that you had to come back earlier than expected. You always take such lovely photos and the cake you made for Colin looked delicious!
    As I mentioned before, I lived in Cornwall for a short time in St Austell and used to go to Carlyon Bay quite a lot – it’s lovely there.
    I’m glad you’re back at the Q and you always look so lovely. I wish I could go as brown as you but unfortunately I have very fair skin which is prone to prickly heat even though I try to use Gatineau tan accelerator!
    I recently bought the Meaco 1056 fan which I’m finding very good in my 3rd floor flat at the moment.
    Take care and I look forward to your next blog. Love Tina xx

    1. Hi there Tina, Yes, it was a bit of shame to have to leave early, but we plan to re-visit later on in July so hopefully the weather will be kinder then. I remember you saying you lived in St. Austell and I’m not surprised you visited the bay there. It was beautiful! I’d suggest you try Gatinuea’s Golden Glow faux tan – it is the one I use all the time as my legs don’t tan as fast as the top half of me! It’s really natural, and doesn’t have a smell to it which is great! I also bought the Meaco Fan which I too find really useful when it’s hot at night. I hope that you have a park or a place to walk in nearby. Take care, and thanks for getting in touch, love Ali xx

  11. Hi Ali, lovely to hear about your family and friends and the happy time spent with them all. Belated birthday greetings to Colin I’m sure he thoroughly enjoyed that Victoria sponge, something that I have made this morning, when lockdown started last year I got back into baking to pass the time away and didn’t realise how much I enjoyed doing it again, now I bake regularly for John and I and for my daughter, granddaughter and a great granddaughter who love’s nanny’s cheese scones,
    Like you we had planned for a holiday this year as last year’s got cancelled, but I think we will hopefully get one in 2021. Take care. Merchexx

    1. Oooh Merche! Cheese scones – my absolute favourite. I hadn’t even thought about making some for myself but always remember my dear friend Roz and I spending many a lunchtime in a garden centre somewhere in Bedford where they served home made scones. Gorgeous! Honey loves cheese too so I bet she’d enjoy them. So glad you’re getting to see your family too and although I’m sorry to know that your holiday was cancelled let’s just keep looking forwards eh? Love to you and yours, Ali xx

  12. Hi Alison, hope you have been enjoying the hot weather, I know you live the sun. I have been struggling in the heat with asthma and a general feeling of been wilted, like a flower with no water. It’s been horrid and school has no aircon so most of us have been glowing permanently! Cornwall is beautiful although I have only been once. Chloe and 4 friends have hired a huge house somewhere in Cornwall during August and already have a full activity list! Half term has been and gone and we break up for the summer in 4 weeks and 3 days..not that I’m counting. I may well be painting again as Jack’s rental house isn’t working out well.. no shower as its leaking everywhere and hasn’t been fixed..they have a plan B so will hopefully moving soon. Congratulations to Sam’s amazing achievement, I know its been tough for him but he’s done brilliantly..proud mum moment.
    I did order the disc solar light tSV..2 sets..but have just received a letter to say my order can’t be a bit cross as I ordered at 9pm the day before..I hope you get them back soon.
    The weather is very wet..its good for the garden.. ihope you get a peak of sunshine this weekend. Love Mary

    1. Hi Mary, you’re right I was very much enjoying the hot weather, but it’t taken a bit of a back seat here in the south and we had the garden completely under water on Friday! A little better but still raining today. I think Wednesday and then Sunday are meant to be fine but Colin is taking me away on Thursday early for our anniversary so I don’t really care about the weather on that day 🙂 I am SO sorry that Jack’s flat hasn’t worked out… I very much hope they will be able to move to somewhere suitable so they’re settled well in time for the baby to arrive. I know you’ll do all you can to help them. My Jack is a little unsettled at the moment and wants to move, but not that easy for him with very little work… I wish he’d come home for a bit, but at 28 he reckons he’s too old.. I am very sorry to know about the disc solar lights… That is extremely frustrating and quite unusal for us not to be able to fulfil the order. It may be worth you calling Customer Services to put yourself on a waitlist for whenever they’re coming back in. I hope the weather’s cooler for you now with bracing sea breezes and that the next four weeks pass quickly for you. Thanks as always for writing to me, love Ali xx

  13. Glad u had lovely time at the Carlyon bay hotel lol I spoke to you both as you were leaving telling you to have safe journey didn’t realise it was you until you went down the stairs xx

    1. Hey Connie, it was lovely to see you just as we were leaving! Shame we hadn’t spotted your earlier in our stay or we could have had a cup of tea together. Maybe next time 🙂 Take care, love Ali xx

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