Eating out, fashion, gardening and a fabulous giveaway!

And so it’s been well over a week since Kathy Tayler retired and my granddaughter Honey was six years old! We celebrated with Honey and Lucy on Sunday and I’ll write more about that later. But after an emotional goodbye on her final Morning Show with Simon Biagi, Kathy and I set about clearing the last of her things from our dressing room before Olley and Colin joined us and we headed to the Gaucho Restaurant in Richmond. Colin had booked it for us the week before and he and I were taking them both to lunch.

Of course we were seated outside, but luckily with patio heaters, a large umbrella and blankets, as it was pretty cold and grey. We’d only been there five minutes when I took my phone out to see if it was going to rain and managed to flip my debit card out of my bag and in between the slats of the decking! Good job Colin had his card otherwise it wouldn’t have been much of a treat for Kathy after all! 🙂

We had a lovely meal and heard about all their plans for the next few months, if not the rest of the year! I think looking ahead and actually putting things in place if you can, is the very best way to retire, otherwise I think if not and it was me, I’d feel a little discombobulated!

Luckily for us the clouds scudded off towards the end of the meal and we were able to walk along the river in the sunshine. I thought you might like to see these photos – it was a fitting farewell – or should I say au revoir, and I’m hoping to see Kathy again for a walk later on this week. She’s already tried her kayak out on the Thames and loves it. One of the more unusual retirement presents I think it fair to say!

On Sunday Colin and I went up to see Lucy and Honey and had great fun taking part in the treasure hunt that Lucy had organized and then a picnic with three of Honey’s little friends in the back garden. She hadn’t wanted a birthday cake this year, just cupcakes, so these are what I made for her. She seems so much more grown-up now, and loved the pink dressing table Grandad and I had bought her and the sweet little perfume and nail varnish sets she also had as presents.

I remember Lucy at that age practising with my make-up and dressing up in my clothes – they never stay young for long enough. I took these photos of some of the Wiltshire countryside close to Swindon – just beautiful isn’t it?

Whether it’s my age or just the incredibly efficient vaccine rollout, but I was given my second AstraZeneca jab on Tuesday a whole month earlier than expected. I have to admit to feeling pretty ropey again, but luckily it wasn’t a workday so I just stayed in bed. I’m back at the Q on Tuesday at 8pm with Diamonique as always, and I’m promised some brand new designs and lots more of the coloured stones too, so I hope you’ll be able to join me.

If you’re into your jewellery you may well want to follow Kathryn Goldsmith on Instagram as she has become QVC’s Jewellery Insider and will be regularly updating you on what’s new within our vast collection of jewellery. If you’re quick you can take part in a competition she’s set and you could win a three-piece collection of Diamonique jewellery!

Gok Wan has a TSV launching that evening – a fabulous printed version of his ever-popular Jersey Painter Shirt. It’s already on pre-sell item number 189372 if you’d like to have a look? I know I’ve got a whole hour with Amanda Wakeley and her fabulous bags on Friday night, and I’m excited to see another Korres TSV – this time the Pure Greek Olive Oil Hydrating 6 piece collection. Some great reviews for this range if you want to check them out before Saturday evening at 9pm.

Did you manage to get your Richard Jackson’s Flower Power and Root Boost last weekend? I bought mine and am delighted with how my seedlings are shooting up in the little propagator the children bought me for my birthday. I’ve also just planted out twenty small Photinia Red Robin shrubs and treated them to the root boost and also flower power so that should give them a head start.

Well, we watched the final episode of Line of Duty and unlike a great many, we thought the ending was pretty good – I definitely believe there’ll be another series. We also saw The Pursuit of Love written by the late but great Nancy Mitford and directed and beautifully acted out by Emily Mortimer, but also starring Lily James and Emily Beecham. A very enjoyable three-part series. I’ve also started listening to Maeve Binchy’s ‘Echoes’. It’s one of her books I must have missed out on as I’ve read most of the others. Set in 1950, it’s all about the lives of the residents from the seaside town of Castle Bay. Just enchanting…

Well, it’s all change… for the better from now, and I hope that these new restriction-lifting variations will make life easier for you and yours. We’re hoping to get to see Aunty Edna and also mum’s partner Joe too. It’s been far too long.

Thanks so much for writing to me on the last blog and I hope that you’ll find time to keep in touch this month too. Take care and stay safe and well. I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

With my love,

Ali xxx

23 Responses

  1. Hi Ali
    I haven’t left a comment before for one of your blogs (and Im not on social media), but just wanted to say that the cupcakes that you made for Honey looked amazing – I can’t imagine they lasted for long 🙂 They are also lovely pictures of the countryside and of you and Kathy – hopefully, you’ll have lots more opportunities to spend time together in the future too. I always try and watch your Diamonique shows on Tuesday evenings – I like to see the new pieces being presented and am really pleased with my purchases from the range.
    Wishing you and your family all the best
    Jules x

    1. Hi Jules, very pleased you’ve decided to leave a comment and wonderful to hear from you! So glad you enjoyed the blog and the photographs and also the Diamonique shows. I’m sorry there won’t be one this week, but we have a couple of weeks where they rest the program and then it will be back. Wishing you and yours all the very best, love Ali xx

  2. Lovely pics of you and Kathy (how we’ll miss her) and it’s good to know you’ll be keeping in close touch. Glad you enjoyed Honey’s birthday – I love the grandchildren’s birthdays – your cupcakes look very professional! I have also had both vaccinations, it feels so good to be ‘as protected as possible’.
    Have a good week – looking forward your Amanda Wakeley show!

    1. Hello cherry, great to hear from you and we’re all missing Kathy! That said we did meet up just last week and will do so as soon again as possible. It was wonderful to be part of Honey’s birthday and yes the cupcakes went down very well! Great to know that you are also vaccinated and feeling protected. I hope you enjoyed the Amanda Wakeley show? Love Ali XX

  3. Oh Alison what lovely photos of you and Kathy glad you had a nice time and also got to see Honey and Lucy. Sorry to hear you were feeling ropey after your Jab, we have ours in two weeks not looking forward to it after last time but at least its after we move didn’t want to change it incase I felt unwell because yes the contracts are finally exchanged and we move the 28th may hoorah, now for all the address changes🙄, feels like it’s taken over our lives we are all going out for a meal in Ringwood on the Friday night at love Italy and the taking the girls to a,farm on the saturday while Clare and Geoff spend the day in Bath for their 8th wedding anniversary. Anyway take care I must start the ball rolling and contact people. Love Loraine xxx😊

    1. Hi Loraine, Only three days to go before you move! Feeling very excited for you and delighted that finally this is happening. I hope you enjoy your meal out this Friday – Colin and I are going for a Thai meal tomorrow evening, we’ve waited 18 months for it! I hope that Claire and Jess enjoy the Rachel wedding anniversary and that you have fun with the girls at the farm on Saturday. Good to hear from you as always, love Ali xx

  4. Hi Alison,

    Your lovely countryside scenes are views of Gloucestershire (not Wiltshire) from the top of Crickley Hill near Birdlip – I can nearly see my house in the first one. We don’t think of being near Swindon but will forgive you!

  5. Evening Ali, It’s always difficult to say goodbye to someone, even though you know that you’ll stay in touch & probably have more quality time together, & you held it together really well. Honey obviously had a lovely birthday, I’ve always thought that six is when children really start to grow up, a year+ at school & increasing independence are big changes in the lives of small people. I’m very impressed with your seedlings, some of mine have learned to swim over the past week, I’m also a big fan of Photinia Red Robin – have you planted yours as a hedge? The Pursuit Of Love is one of my favourite novels & even though I saw the first adaptation I decided to give this one a miss; partly because I have my idea of how the characters look but mostly because we’ve hardly watched anything during these interminable lockdowns (bucking the national trend) & I now have a very short attention span for television. However, books are a different matter, I’m reading The Missing Pieces Of Nancy Moon & limiting myself to ten pages per night because as much as I want to know what happens to this lovely girl I don’t want to finish the book. We’re having our second jabs on Friday. I didn’t even have a sore arm last time so it’ll be interesting to see what happens. Colin did a good impression of Napoleon for a couple of days, I think he was peeved that I got a sticker & he didn’t..! Love from Jo x

    1. Dear Joe, you’ve made me laugh with your comment about Colin and his sticker! My Colin got one but I didn’t! I hope that you have got away with no symptoms this second time around? Yes I have planted the photo in your red Robin as a hedge – Colin thinks I’ve planted the ceiling is too close together but we’ll see. I’m happy to dig them up and shift them a bit later on. I have never read The Pursuit of Love but I’m intruiged by The Missing pieces of Nancy Moon…? I have been listening to echoes by Maeve Binchy and it is beautifully written and very well read by I think her grand daughter. However it has a sad ending which I was not expecting… Maeve Binchy wrote one of the saddest books I’ve ever read – The Glass Lake. I seemed to remember her other novels all ended happily! My seedlings have come on even further and I have just had to dig them all out and put them separately – especially tomatoes. I’m sure yours will pick up now it’s getting a little drier 🙂 Take care, love Ali xx

  6. Hi Ali – lovely to hear that you went out for lunch with Kathy even though the weather has been so up and down recently and also that you were able to see Lucy and Honey. I cannot believe that she’s six now!
    I’ve also had both jabs now (AstraZeneca) (as I’m in one of the vulnerable groups) but didn’t feel as rough as I did after the first one.
    I haven’t been able to see my sister as yet but did manage to meet a friend for coffee which was nice.
    Have been watching two new series – The Pact and Innocent (series 2) which have both been good so far.
    Take care and I look forward to reading your next blog as always. Love Tina xx

    1. Hi Tina, yes it was lovely to take Kathy out and we have since then met and had another long walk. Just a cup of coffee at the end of that one but it was great to see her. I’m glad that you didn’t feel rough after your second jab and hope that you get to see your sister soon. Thank you for recommending the two new series – we have just finished watching Leonardo which was fabulous. Take care, and do keep in touch, love Ali xx

  7. Hi Ali, Lovely to see your photos and I’m glad you managed to get out for lunch with Kathy (despite the mishap with your card!) 😱 I’m sure you’ll still find time to meet up for your walks when time allows.

    Sounds like Honey had a lovely birthday, they do grow quickly don’t they. I see the similarities with my little granddaughter, who is just 12 months older and they do make you smile.

    I’m having my second vaccination next week and hoping for no after affects, last time I just felt really tired the next day, but better safe than sorry. We’re hoping to move house anytime soon, just waiting for completion date so with that, and a week away next month it’ll be good to tick another thing off the list.

    Love Anne x

    1. Hi there Anne, gosh it seems like a lot of people are moving at the moment! My niece Emily moved last Friday with her two small children finally to a lovely house of the garden. They have waited months and months for completion and I’m so pleased it’s finally come through. I do hope your move will go smoothly and that you won’t have had any after affects from your second vaccination. Yes it was great to see Kathy and we have since had another walk. And Honey enjoyed her birthday very much but you’re right, they grow too quickly. Take care and thank you for keeping in touch, love Ali XX

  8. Hi Ali, lovely to hear from you, as usual your photos of the countryside are lovely. Glad you had quality time with Honey on her birthday the cupcakes looked yummy! and also special time with Lucy. We will all miss Kathy but it’s nice that you will still meet up. Merchexx

    1. Hi there, glad you enjoyed the photographs – it was a wonderful afternoon and we were so lucky with the sunshine! The cupcakes didn’t last long but we’re good fun to make and it was wonderful to see Lucy and Honey as always. I’m sure you will miss Kathy but I promise I will keep you in touch whenever I meet her. I do hope all is well with you and yours, love Ali xx

  9. Hi Alison.

    So pleased you were able to go out for a meal with Kathy Tyler.
    Hope you’re feeling better now after your Astra jab. I’ve got my second one this week to look forward to!

    As always, thoroughly enjoyed your latest blog.

    Take care.

    Graham. x

    1. Hi Graham, nice to hear from you and yes it was a real treat to have time with Kathy and her husband. I’m feeling fine now after my jab – I hope your second one went well? Nice to know that you are enjoying the blogs. Thank you for keeping in touch, love Ali XX

  10. Alison, I have to say you looked extra lovely this evening with the black and white zebra print jacket on. Please could you let me know if it’s from QVC. I can’t see it online. Thank you xx

    1. Hi there Marianne, yes the jacket was Helene Berman from QVC and was at an outlet price. It’s item number 188793 and I’m afraid is only available now in the Leopard print. I hope that may appeal to you too? Take care, Love Ali x

  11. Hi Alison, I hope that where you are is less soggy than here and that your garden hasn’t succumbed to wind damage..we lost a fence panel and the hanging baskets that I had planted in the rain last Saturday with two types of begonia from QVC have been truly battered..they look woeful..totally obliterated! However my 2 Luxform victorian 3 lamp stands with planter survived the winds..I took advice from one of the reviews and put a broom handle down the pole to give it a bit more stability and each one has two heavy house bricks in along with plants and compost..they are absolutely I said I have two in my garden, my sister has 2 in hers and we bought one for my mum in law for her birthday.
    Only a week to go to half term and quite frankly I can’t wait, school has been tough, plus I have so many things to son and his girlfriend move into a rented house in a couple of weeks so I’m upcycling furniture for them and no doubt will be wielding my paint brush at some point.
    I have taught myself to crochet and gave them a white grey and lemon pram blanket last week that I had made and they found out that they are having a I’m going to have a grandson..we are all very excited..October 23 is her due date.
    The wind is still howling outside but it looks like half term might have better weather. Fingers crossed 🤞.
    Lovely to see your news and is Honey 6..that’s bonkers!!
    Have a great week ahead love Mary

  12. Hi Julie, you are absolutely right! It was Birdlip and definitely Gloucestershire not Wiltshire. It took us a good 40 minutes to get home from there so apologies. Mind you there are some wonderful views in Wiltshire too! x

  13. Hi Ali lovely photos as always especially of you and Kathy. We are lucky in this day and age we can get instant photos compared to a reel of 36 where you would get 4 or 5 worth having! Happy memories in an instant.
    I am now home from my month away on my return Emma had popped round & put the TV on (rather than a silence when you walk in) plus the heating was turned on!! Sarah picked me up from the station & to my surprise she had painted a cupboard I wanted to paint. I am very lucky having such loving daughters. Although Emma is still struggling with Long covid she attended a long covid clinic & collapsed while there. She was taken to hospital & they are now looking at her heart to see if there has been any problems there. Everything crossed for her.
    Edith is coming on and Ivy is still the doting big sister. While I was still there Ivy said Edith had said her first words & they were “Hello Ivy!!” We are hoping they will be able to come over when Ivy breaks up so Sarah & Emma can meet their new niece Edith.
    It has been strange being back but Keith’s garden looks lovely everything in bud or blooming despite the awful weather. I was so pleased to see that. I just hope my sunlounger from QVC will get used soon….
    I have just watched the lola rose you presented lovely pieces. The red blouse you wore looked lovely was it from qvc? You really suit red it is such an uplifting colour.
    Take care and we can look forward to sunnier days we all need some warmth in more ways than one!
    Sending much love from Julia xxx 🤗🤗

  14. How lovely to hear that you and Kathy will be meeting up regularly so we’ll still be hearing about what she’s doing. Looking at the presenters now left it’s so sad to see that so may of the ‘old hands’ have now gone, I hadn’t realised that Jill Franks was leaving I do hope it’s not to do with ill health. It was a delight to see Alison Riley back on a Diamonique show recently, if she’s on with you sometime please pass on my good wishes for her good health.

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