Drama, Blink Security, books and bad backs!

Hello there!

It’s actually warmer outside than it is indoors today! 14 degrees in the garden, but pouring with rain, whereas indoors it’s a lot chillier, dry and VERY dusty! The renovations are continuing and Colin has now started work on upstairs as well as downstairs, so we are literally living in the kitchen with the upstairs bathroom and back bedroom! I’m actually really rather enjoying the fact it’s quite compact and cosy – well it was until the heating packed up on Sunday and now we are relying on our Dyson fan and a plug-in radiator to bring the temperatures up. The new heating system will run off a completely different set up so we’re not too worried, and as you’ll see from the photographs, progress is definitely being made and so far we’re pretty much on course time-wise. The wall is now down between the bathroom and the bedroom and everything apart from the loo has been removed. We currently have a bath on our driveway but are hoping that someone will want to come and take it away! : )

Obviously to enable Colin to crack on with the rooms upstairs I had to systematically go through each room and decide what to keep and what to throw which wasn’t always that easy! However, Oxfam, Macmillan, Marie Curie and the Thames Hospice have all benefitted and I personally feel ‘de-cluttered’ which is good! It’s definitely better than I felt just after I posted my last blog. Unfortunately having been bending, lifting, stretching and painting a ceiling in the upstairs bathroom, I put my back out, and everything I’d had planned for the remainder of my leave had to be either postponed or performed with gritted teeth and a fair few pain killers! It’s a great deal more comfortable now though and thanks to Caroline Sandry, whom you may remember as one of our fitness guests, I am doing gentle exercise every day to try and keep it in check.

Apparently I’m ‘hypermobile’ which is a great thing when one is younger but not so beneficial now. What with osteoporosis and arthritis I’m feeling older than I’d like but am determined to try and help myself. I’ve been taking the Prime Fifty Fighting Fatigue supplements for several months and they definitely help with working late nights, but I’ve also just started to take the Your Zooki Tropical Hair, Nails and Skin supplement so I’ll let you know how I get on with that – I can tell you it tastes delicious! : )“Age is just a number” said Joan Collins with the rider “Unless of course you happen to be a bottle of wine!” which made me laugh. As someone who eleven years ago wasn’t sure I’d even hit 60 years old, every day is a blessing and having recently celebrated International Cancer Day on the 4th February I know I’m not alone in that thought.

Before I returned to work though Colin and I had our long-awaited and twice postponed meet up with our dear friends Roz and Chris who live in Dorset. Clutching their Christmas presents, complete with pine needles from the tree under which they’d sat for several months, we made our way to The Crown Inn in Upton where Chris had booked us into a “Higloo” so that we could belatedly celebrate Christmas in style! Located half way between Highclere Castle and Andover, the Crown Inn’s location is fantastic as is the pub itself, but set into the grounds are two of these fabulous ‘Higloos’, built from wood with a log burner set inside, our one seated the four of us very comfortably.

We were given rugs and cushions and were treated to a stunning meal created by chef and owner Dave Watts who trained with none other than Raymond Blanc! The hours slipped by and it was so good to catch up with Roz and Chris who are just the best company. We were so caught up with our conversation that we completely forgot to take any photographs of the day, so I’ve managed to capture this little film from the pub’s website to give you an idea of what it was like and to capture some of the magic and I also have this lovely photo of Roz and Chris too.  I’d highly recommend The Crown Inn to anyone who wants to make a lunch or dinner occasion extra special.

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After that it was back to work and straight into QVC’s Spring Sale hours which were very busy and included everything from a Ruth Langsford’s Fashion TSV to magnificent offers on make-up with Tarte and Bareminerals plus bedding from Cozee Home and Silentnight and of course everything in between!

Because of the weird and wonderful hours that we keep, Colin and I have barely seen each other recently, with him working in the bomb site that used to be downstairs and me working at QVC and packing up the rest of the house, so it was a real treat to celebrate Valentine’s Day early on the Sunday rather than Monday. He’d booked lunch for us (pictured above) at one our favourite haunts – The Boisdale in Victoria. It’s a long-established jazz club where they feature all kinds of fantastic artists and what with the delicious menu, beautiful paintings and fab décor we had a wonderful and romantic afternoon.

Back to work on Tuesday with Australian Bodycare, Diamonique and Orly Nailcare – three hours that were fast and furious – followed by a few days off until my return on Saturday with something pretty spectacular!

Now that restrictions have been lifted many more of us are heading out and away from home, so there’s never been a better time to make certain we can connect with what’s happening at home no matter where we are. Blink are an amazing company who bring us the next generation of Smart Home Security Cameras AND – new to QVC – floodlights too, with a system that is is an absolute doddle to set up. The camera will provide you with a live view, two-way audio, customisable motion detectors,  long-lasting battery life – two years on the camera and 12 months on the floodlight – and with the app downloaded on your smart device, you can be alerted at ANY time should the unexpected occur. We have an exceptional price for a limited time only with a saving of £85 based on buying directly from Amazon. So whether it’s your own property, or the home of someone you’re concerned about, please make sure you tune in for one of our shows where we will be demonstrating how effective the Blink Home Security System is. I’m launching it on Sunday the 20th February at 9pm so I hope you can join me.

Now that they have lifted the restrictions on the M4 I no longer have to struggle with so many road closures so returning to work has given me the chance to continue listening to my audible books. I thoroughly enjoyed a beautiful book written by a Swiss author, originally published in 2014, entitled “A Man Called Ove”.  If you watched the very dark comedy written and directed by Ricky Gervais who also starred in it – After Life – I think you may enjoy this. It was originally published in 2014 and then only available in the Swiss language but it was translated two years ago and has become a bestseller! At some points I struggled with the key character and his idiosyncrasies, but there were many points where the storylines and the writing really challenged me and truly touched me. It is a story of despair, acceptance, and ultimately hope and I felt it was a beautiful novel and would definitely recommend it.

Thank you SO much for your recommendations regarding books and TV dramas and  – my guilty pleasure! I am totally addicted to Trigger Point and love the fact we can’t stream it but have to wait for each episode : ) Vicky McClure – what a talent! I so wish they’d bring back another series of “Line of Duty”! I am also enjoying The Gilded Age – written by Julian Fellowes who wrote Downton Abbey. This is a drama that is equally true to its history and portrayal of time and place. The costumes and backdrops are exquisite, so if you enjoy the opportunity to delve back into the past I can promise you, you’ll enjoy this.

Please do feel free to recommend anything you are watching or reading, as it’s great to share : ).  Thank you so much for keeping in touch and for giving me a little window into your world. Take care, stay well and I hope to hear from you soon.

With my love,

Ali xx

20 Responses

  1. Hi Alison looks like things are progressing well onward and upward. Glad you had a nice time with your friends we went in that pub years ago, and quite often go to Upton country park. Les and I went out on the Sunday instead of Monday for
    Valentine’s day, but unfortunately he started coughing on Monday and tested positive, there are a lot of of children off school where Willa goes thankfully she hasn’t caught it yet, Les wasn’t too bad but it was his week of so bad timing, now he’s better he’s been painting the lounge and hallway looks really nice. Well not much else to report at the moment can’t wait to see your next photos of the renovations.Take care and look after your back.xxxx😀

    1. Dear Loraine,
      Good to hear from you although I am sorry that Paulie is tested positive for Covid. Thank heavens they will hasn’t got it and I hope you don’t either! I’m glad though that he has started painting the lounge and the hallway and I’m sure it does look splendid. Great that you were able to go out for Valentines like we did on Sunday too! I’m planning to take some more photographs this week – Colin has started can going up the concrete floor so it looks like an absolute bombsite literally! My back is definitely feeling better than it did thank you and I will keep doing the exercises. Stay well and warm, love Ali xx

  2. Hi Ali,
    Great you’re progressing with your house and that your back is improving. It’s a good thing you don’t have to run after your kids or anyone now and can just focus on you and getting your back back if you see what I mean! Lovely you had a great meal out too with Colin and your friends. You’ve such a great circle of family and friends. Hope you enjoy the weekend. I wasn’t sure at all about trigger point at the start but slowly getting there! Take care for now x

    1. Hi Susan, you’re absolutely right there! I remember when I first put my back out – it was in 1986 when Lucy was a baby – I used to carry her around on my hip! It is much easier now the children are older and we are lucky to have such a great circle of family and friends. I hope you manage to pursue Trigger Point? I’m really hoping I’ll be a second series. Thank you for keeping in touch, love Ali XX

  3. Hello Ali
    It’s been quite a while since I last wrote to you, although I have been reading your blogs to keep me in touch. I’m having real problems with my medication and my pain Level has been of the scale! I cannot get a review from the
    Pain clinic until April which is an age away. I shouldn’t mone as I know there are people everywhere desperately waiting also. I know you feel overwhelmed by the building chaos but it will all be lovely when it’s finished. My garden was trashed during the last storm when a tree outside fell on our outside wall demolishing it! My son has been brilliant with gradually rebuilding it. He has had a hard time trying to keep the business going so weekends are precious to him. Fortunately we missed most of the latest storm unlike some who have lost so much. Well Ali I say ttfn. Stay safe and well. Love and hugs as always Judith. Xx

    1. Dear Judith, I’m so sorry to know that you are still struggling with your medication and that your pain is not under control. It seems also you have to wait another month until they can reassess you. Perhaps contact your GP surgery and see if there’s anything they can do for you in the meantime? I’m glad your son was able to help with rebuilding the wall and it’s very kind of him as I know weekends are precious to all our children when they work five days a week. We lost our beautiful Magnolia tree which was in full bud, but luckily the olive trees are fairly bushy now so it doesn’t look too bad. I hope you had some sunshine today and were able to relax a little. Love Ali xx

  4. Hi Ali a brilliant informative and interesting blog from you. You have such a busy life I don’t know how you do it all. No doubt your home will look lovely when it’s finished. I was sorry to hear you have osteoporosis I have recently been diagnosed with the same and am struggling to get my head round it. I feel I have been left high and dry with the diagnosis. I am doing a lot of research to try and help myself with diet and exercise.
    Do you have any tips to pass on? i have recently lost my husband to cancer so am on my own with it. Sorry to sound such a misery but I know you have had hard times and seem to keep strong. I look forward to seeing you on the box!
    Marie xx

    1. Dear Marie, I was so very sorry to know you have recently lost your husband to cancer and are now trying to come to terms not just with your grief but also with a sudden diagnosis of osteoporosis. I think you should try and be kind to yourself, taking each day as it comes, and try not to be too worried about the osteoporosis for the moment as it’s not something that will change overnight. Knowing your bones are more brittle than you realised is a shock, but I have managed to keep mine under control by increasing the amount of oily fish I eat and also green vegetables. I also have yoghurt and eat cereals with milk to try and help my bones. I know you’re doing your own research into it, but maybe contact your local GP surgery or have a look on line as there are a multitude of help groups out there and people who can share their experiences with you. I do hope you have family and friends to support you when you’re down, and I’m sending you my love too. Thanks for getting in touch Ali xx

  5. Hi lovely Ali. Really lovely pic of you and Colin. It sounds lovely there. Your renovations are coming along. Saw you on the Australian Bodycare. Love the range and i got in quick on the launch to secure the Rose option which i cant wait to receive and try. Wow last weeks Trigger Point was so edge of the seat stuff. Cant wait for tomorrows and I am also enjoying the Gilded Edge too. Im like you i do love a drama series too. Thanks for the tip on the hair and nail supplement – i will look into as my hormonal hair is getting more difficult in my 50s. Have just tried the Monpure shampoo and conditioner which i am loving at the moment and am looking to try the serum too. Take care xx

    1. Hi there Karen, lovely to hear from you and thanks for the compliment – we did have a Great time at the restaurant. How are you getting on with your rose option of the Australian body care? It was a really nice mix of fragrances I thought. I think by now you will have seen the last of trigger point – wasn’t the ending amazing? I really hope they bring another series. The Gilded Age is also really picking up and I I’m really enjoying that too, as is Colin. I hope you may find more help on our website for Hair and they are supplements. Zooki is one some of the girls are getting a good response from. Take care, love Ali XX

  6. Hi Ali, sorry to hear that amongst all the ongoing stress of your renovations your heating also stopped working and that you hurt your back.
    I know only too well how dodgy backs can be as I had a slipped disc myself about 9 years ago which was very debilitating and painful. Hopefully you’re now feeling a little better especially after doing a little gentle exercise.
    I’m glad you were able to have a nice break with Roz and Chris and stay in a Higloo which looks very cosy and sounds fun.
    Please let me know how you get on with the Zooki hair, nail and skin supplement as I am very interested to know the outcome. I already take the Prime Fifty Fighting Fatigue which I find helps my fibromyalgia and really notice if I stop taking it.
    Please give The Responder another try. I found I had to get into it a little first but thought it was very good. I am now watching the serial Chloe which is good as well as Trigger Point (which I know you are also watching). Fingers crossed that they decide to bring back Line of Duty (my all time favourite).
    In the meantime take care of yoursellf Ali.
    Love Tina xx

    1. Dear Tina, thank you for your response – a slipped disc sounds awful and I’m very glad you’re over that now. My back still isn’t right so I’m going to try and get my DEXA scan pulled forward just in case there’s any underlying issues. We still have The Responder recorded and I’m trying to convince Colin to watch it with me, but if not, I’ll give it a go on my own. I’m also enjoying Chloe which he’s none to keen on…! Thank heavens I talked him round to watching Line of Duty with me – like you I pray it will return. I hope you’ve had a chance to recent sunshine we’ve been having – it was almost warm out there today! Take care and do keep in touch, love Ali xx

  7. Dear Ali, Your renovations are progressing and it’s lovely to follow progress but I do feel for you having to live through it. But as I said before, I’m sure it will all be worth it. Having said to last time that we still haven’t found a home, the one we wanted came up last week, and thankfully we managed to snap it up. It’s a new build so won’t be ready till the back end of the year, but we don’t mind. I always sai I wouldn’t have another new build after buying one back in the 80’s, but they’ve come on leaps and bounds and I’m looking forward to not having any work to do 😄.

    Sorry you’ve hurt your back and having pain, these things do take their toll don’t they, but hopefully you are improving and feeling better.

    I do like to read your blogs, I don’t do social media so its the only way to keep up with your news and your lovely pictures.

    Lots of love Ali,
    Anne x

    1. Hello there Anne, I am glad that you keep in touch with you here on the blog – I fully appreciate that not everybody is involved in other forms of social media and this has always been a fabulous way of providing a network for communication and support. I’ve always enjoyed reading about everyone else’s lives and thoroughly enjoy writing the blog. Delighted to know that you have managed to find a new home and as you say it’s well worth the wait as there won’t be anything for you to do other than enjoy it when you move in. We had nine years of doing very little so although it’s all come at once it will be worth it! I’m just hoping my bones generally improve as I feel older than my years and irritated that I can’t do the things I used to do without any trouble. The exercising is helping tho’ as is walking now that the weather’s improving! They’ll be a new blog with some family pictures coming very soon so I will look forward to sharing them with you. Love Ali xx

    1. Hi Anne, it is a question we’ve asked ourselves a few times but with all that was going on with the family and also our long battle to get planning permission, it was a case of now or never. It’s already much warmer than it was, and there’s far less of the house to clean at the moment which is a plus! Also less of it to heat too which I’m sure you’ll agree is a good thing! My back is certainly better than it was but still not 100% – I’m looking into it though 🙂 I hope you’re well, love Ali xx

  8. Hi Alison,
    I hope you are fully recovered from your back problem although i expect you’re still bending and stretching whilst cleaning up dust and dirt from your renovations. I must say Colin is a marvel..a musician and a builder..a man that can! My man can’t..so i do and my sister is brilliant..she’s got a very extensive tool set and all the drills, circular saws and everything!
    I am still suffering from a horrible cough and lost my voice which came back yesterday after 2 and a half weeks of silent bliss for my husband and daughter..although I think the novelty for them wore off on day 2!
    My to do list remains full although tomorrow I aim to, with my sisters help, dig up a bamboo..job number 1!
    My sister bought a bungalow near me and it needed completely new electrics, heating, kitchen, bathroom..its being done now. I has a look in today but had to come back out because of the dust. Not good for my knackered lungs..its going to look amazing though like I’m sure yours will.
    I am glad you finally caught up with your friends..I think for all of us getting back in touch with those we have missed is do important.
    I have missed my Arthur cuddles because of being poorly but I’m seeing him Monday and giving his mum and dad dinner so looking forward to some smiles and lots of dribbles from teething!
    Hubby is off to Yorkshire on Monday for a few days with some friend of his so its going to be lovely and peaceful at home and I get the tv remote!
    Have a good weekend.

    1. Dear Mary, I am sorry you’re still struggling with a bad cough and that’s one heck of a long time to lost your voice for! I’m pretty sure the novelty did wear off as you all the way it seems who rushes around doing everything for everyone so I do hope you had a little bit of help. Your sisters bungalow sounds exciting – is she going to rent it or move in? You’re right about the dust – it just gets everywhere! I’m becoming quite adept with a mop and bucket though 🙂 I’ve recently had chance to meet up with more than just friends with a special surprise birthday party that Lucy organised. I didn’t go completes a plan but it was magnificent and I’ll be writing about it in my next blog. So glad you’re going to be able to see Arthur again. We do miss him so much don’t worry? I’m sure his mum and dad will have missed you too and I hope that the dinner went well. I think your husband may well be back from Yorkshire by now but I hope you enjoyed the peace and quiet and the remote control! Take care and try not to overdo it – your lungs sounds as though they still need a bit of rest. Take care of yourself, and thanks for writing to me as always, love Ali xx

  9. Hi Ali
    I loved reading your story. I hope your house is more beginning to take shape than what it was. You seemed to of had a nice time at the couple of pubs you’d been to. Your friends they look a lovely couple!
    I know your birthday is approaching and I hope you have a lovely one! I had mine the middle of January and I approached sixty-seven years but I don’t feel it!
    I have just read about your story on the beautiful and elegant Tova. I was so sad to hear of Tova’s passing at the time. She did such wonderful shows on And and I remember a number of years back when she came on a couple of shows with Ernie! I remember he showed his autobiography book to sell and signed! What a wonderful couple they were! I have many pieces of her jewellery and I have just bought another couple of pieces too! We will be lost without her on the show but I hope QVC continues to show her designs and show photos of her! I hope Linda carries on designing her designs!
    I was lucky enough to receive a beautiful photograph of Tova and fully signed from her a few years ago. I shall surely treasure this!
    Thank you Ali for taking the time to answer me in last month’s story as this means a lot to me with me being a totally lonely lady!

    Much Love to you &Colin

    Debra Ward-Harris

    1. Dear Debra, there is definitely progress being made although Colin has to explain everything to me as I’m not remotely structurally minded! There’s some fairly big things they are working on at the moment and it’s all beginning to take shape. Yes, we are so lucky to have such wonderful friends – I went to stay with Roz and Chris just the other week and had a lovely few days in Dorset with them. It was great to be dust free for a bit! Thank you for your kind words about my memories of Tova. I was so sad when I heard the news especially as we’ve not seen each other for over two years because of Covid. I can reassure you that QVC will be continue with her beautiful jewellery and no doubt Linda will be able to design some more pieces for us. I don’t recall Ernie being on the show but I would’ve loved to have met him too. They were a great couple and now they are together forever… I had a few photographs taken with Tove and I do remember making a short film once but I can’t seem to find it now which is sad. I’m sure you will treasure your photograph and I hope you keep it somewhere safe. Do keep in touch here Debra and don’t be lonely – I’ll always get back to you. Take care, love Ali xx

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