Fabulous food and an incredible Pilates fitness deal!

Hello there,

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been really struggling this last couple of weeks with the passage of time… I don’t seem to know one end of a week from the next! I guess the best way to look at it is we are already two weeks closer to the end of this difficult time and I am certain, now that the vaccine has been rolled out and people are being protected in this way, things will gather momentum and the restrictions will begin to be lifted.

Talking of time, I happen to be in the process of trying to renew my passport which runs out on the 26th of June this year. For some reason I had kept the passport photograph that was taken on the 26th of January 2011. It was a very strange time for me as I had only been told a week earlier that I had cancer and I really wanted to get my passport renewed in case the worst happened and I needed to travel to see my brother in Australia. How blessed am I to still be here 10 years later and feeling well! I thought you might like to see the two photos next to each other. Apart from looking even more grumpy in the new one it was an extraordinarily accurate way to see the difference in my appearance over the last decade! Were we ever allowed to smile in passport photographs? I seem to remember some years back there is a photo of me looking pretty jolly 😊. To be fair this last decade hasn’t been the easiest for me or for anyone, and I have found it very inspiring to listen to the Mental Health and Wellbeing, Inside QVC podcasts that I mentioned last time on the blog. There were so many interesting stories and ways to cope with difficulties, and lots of positive messages on social media too. I also watched a TV documentary looking at the way we are now living our lives and how we can help ourselves get through it all with exercise and diet.

The Podcast Will Gowing and I worked on will be available from this Monday 25th January and if you fancy a listen, you should be able to find it using this link. It was quite cathartic for me to go back over times in my life when things have been challenging and to see how much better I feel I am at coping with things than I used to be years ago. Some of it was quite difficult and painful to revisit, remembering my dad’s death and my son’s accident, but I guess it’s all a learning curve isn’t it? None of us really know what is around the corner but I hope if you do get the chance to listen some of it will resonate.

Quick question, have you had a chance to Spin to Win in the Great QVC Giveaway? We set this up on 4th January and it finishes on 24th. Over 350 of you have won instant prizes – a diamond bracelet and a Julien Macdonald mirror just a couple of them – and of course if you have taken part you will automatically go into the draw to win £10,000! Anything you buy from us will have an order number and you just use that to enable you to spin the wheel. You can try up to three times a day with three different and current order numbers – so give it a go and be lucky! All the details are on our website here qvcuk.com.

I was lucky enough to have my dinner cooked for me not once but twice this last fortnight by lovely husband! He followed a Gordon Ramsay recipe and made this fabulous beef wellington complete with roast vegetables and delicious gravy. Then he created some spicy red cabbage to go with gammon and mustard mash.

I love a challenge so I came up with a lamb casserole and dumplings! Went down a storm 😊

Suffice to say all this eating has put a few pounds on and so I’ve been trying to spend more time each week not just walking, but also using my AeroPilates reformer. I bought it a couple of years ago and have had great use from it, particularly because I struggle with back pain and my surgery makes upper body exercise for weights very uncomfortable. That’s the great thing about this machine it helps to strengthen muscles, improve your posture, flexibility and balance but it enables you to customise the exercises to suit your needs. It doesn’t matter what age you are, whether you’ve exercised all your life or never exercised, you can make it work for you.

With all the gyms closed at the moment and little opportunity to exercise other than outdoors or at home you may well be pleased to know that for the first time ever we have the AeroPilates 4 Cord Reformer 435 and a complete DVD Library (401348) on FIVE interest-free instalments.

It’s launching at 9pm tonight and will cost you £79.99 with the first pay and you’ll automatically have 60 days in which to try it! If you don’t get on with it, we will come and pick it up. Our full price is £399 but it would cost you £649 direct from AeroPilates so we’re saving you £242.05. It comes complete with the rebounder – a kind of vertical trampoline – that I have found absolutely brilliant for working my tummy and leg muscles. I know for a lot of folk it’s the thought of setting something like this up, and then where to store it but it arrives almost fully assembled so all you need do is attach the wheels and the risers and then it folds down flat enough to go under a bed, behind a door or in a cupboard. I do hope it might be something you’d find useful.

It’s going to be a busy weekend for me as I’m working both Saturday and Sunday and as well as demonstrating the AeroPilates, I will be getting the chance to show off the brand new Dyson Red Supersonic Hairdryer. It comes in the most fabulous red presentation case and has all the attachments – what do you think? Not just pretty but a great drier too and with lockdown continuing and no hair salon to visit I need all the help I can get!

Before I go, I just wanted to recommend a wonderful book I have been listening to; it’s called The Midnight Library by Matt Haig – such a clever idea and beautifully written. It’s all about being given the chance to choose another life path – making different choices and changing your future – I’m loving it.

On TV, Bridgerton on Netflix is perfect for a spot of escapism and we’ve been thoroughly enjoying Rick Stein’s journey around Cornwall – great scenery and great food too.

Thanks so much for all your lovely comments last time and I look forward to hearing how things are working out for you at the moment. Take care, stay safe, stay well and I’ll see you soon.

With my love,

Ali xx


29 Responses

  1. Hi Alison bless you have had a,tough few years but always,smiling inspirational lady,and yes we have to look forward each day a step in the right direction. We have been looking at a few property’s even apartments a friend of our daughter Clare is an estate agent we viewed a nice place last Saturday its,ground floor has nicely kept gardens and having your own front door was nice and felt like a,bungalow all on one level it has a shed so Les could take his tools etc as he wouldn’t like to get rid of them incase he gets an allotment at some point thats what see are going over in our
    heads about he loves the garden but I suppose we can take our special plants ie the olive tree the family bought us., so a lot to get rid of it we do it furniture wise, we have never had a leasehold before but Aaron told us the rules are starting to change on that so could work in the buyers favour also we don’t need a,mortgage so its easier for us and still in ringwood which if we’re honest suits us better, I think people are holding back because of the covid so not alot of property about ,if we go for it theres no chain as our buyer has,sold already and the apartment is empty because they live in Jersey anyway sorry to ramble but its all going round in my head all the time a i suppose its natural to wonder if its the right thing. Hope your managing to see Honey and Lucy on FaceTime not the same I know but better than nothing. I was saying I would give anything to have a look round shops,and stop for a coffee etc shows how we took things for granted doesn’t it . Well best wishes and take care will listen to your podcast love Loraine xx

    1. Hi there Lorraine, so glad to know you’ve been able to look at a few properties and that you viewed a nice place last Saturday. Great to have well-kept gardens and I think it’s far better to be all on one level. Do let me know if you are going to go for it? Ringwood is a nice area – I remember going there with Colin because they had a guitar shop! Everything seems to be on hold because of Covid, but it’s absolutely natural to wonder if what you’re doing is the right thing. I’m actually managing to see honey and Lucy because we formed a support bubble last year. She is a single mum and so I help her when I can – more so in the last few weeks because she’s had a bad back and is trying to work from home and homeschool! Thank you for your kind words – I hope you enjoy the podcast and please do leave a comment if you can?Take care and stay well, love Ali xx

  2. Dear Alison,

    I enjoy reading your blogs and feel inspired with the positivity you display when dealing with the challenges you have faced. I really do try to remain positive but having been diagnosed with MS in 2004 the past year has become really challenging. I am lucky because I was managing ok until about a year ago but I knew the course of this disease and I shouldn’t be surprised. I try to concentrate on the positive. Wonderful family, 4 gorgeous grandchildren and married for 45 years. My husband happily prepares all our meals now, Ocado keeps us well supplied and I love my home, garden etc. QVC ensures that I am well dressed without having to drag myself round the shops! Yes, your blogs direct me to positive thoughts and to count my blessings. Bless you! x

    1. Dear Helen, how lovely to hear such a positive attitude to life when heaven knows you have had to deal with such a lot. This last year has been difficult for most of us but even more so I can imagine because of your condition. Fabulous though you have a wonderful family, your grandchildren and a very long marriage. Bless your husband for cooking – I hope he may attempt to beef Wellington – that is if you’re not vegetarian! So glad that QVC keeps you company and in style! Thank you for keeping in touch, love Ali xx

  3. Dear Ali, I do enjoy your blogs. It has been such a difficult time this last year hasn’t it. But, like you say I think we can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s hope so anyway! I’m usually a quite positive person, but have found the last few weeks hard going, but today finally managed to meet up with my friend for a socially distanced walk. What a joy it was to head outdoors, away from the traffic and have a good natter 😉. Even though we got caught in a hailstorm it didn’t matter. A few hours later and the sun is shining in a clear blue sky, how quickly things change.
    Speaking of change, you’ve hardly changed at all in the last ten years, a lovely bubbly lady who has dealt tremendously with what life throws at us.
    Colin is a treasure, just what you deserve and he can turn his hand to anything! Amazing 😊.
    Take care Ali, lots of love, Anne x

    1. Hello there Anne, so glad you are enjoying the blog and I’m in total agreement with you. This last year has been truly difficult but I honestly feel everything just get through this next month everything will change. How lovely you were able to meet up with your friend for a socially distanced walk. I normally walk with Kathy Tayler, but she’s had Covid and is now recovering. I miss her but we are planning to walk just as soon as we can. Thank you for your sweet comments about my passport photographs – I rather like the fact I can see myself ageing – I just thank God I’m here for that. You stay well, and thank you for keeping in touch, Love Ali xx

  4. Hi Alison, your lamb stew looks beautiful, so does Colin’s meals too. I myself do Headspace which is another good thing to do to help us through these troubled times. Your book you wrote I have lent, as i would like to read it again, to our friends daughter who has breast cancer. She has had a rough year and just had her operation with removal of lymph glands too. She also has to have more chemo and radiotherapy this year which they are all really upset about. I do hope reading your book helps a little. It’s great to listen about what happens in your world. Take care both. X

    1. Hi Karen, good to hear from you and to know that Headspace is something you also benefit from. Kathy Tayler introduced me to it awhile back and there are certain programmes on there to help me to sleep. That means a lot to me that you have read my book, and that you are passing it around for others to read too. I’m so sorry that your friend’s daughter has also had breast cancer and the removal of lymph glands. Maybe if she is able to see the chemo and radiotherapy as a positive thing – to give her her best chance, that may help? I hope my book is also a positive for her. You stay well and keep in touch, with my love, Ali xx

  5. Hi Ali thankyou for your blog and your positivity. It is only when you look back you realise what you had to deal with and how somehow you find an inner strength to deal with what life throws at you and the good times help us through the bad times. You are an inspiration to others.
    I think this second lockdown has given us time to reflect and focus on what is important. Just saying hello to a person passing to do their only shop of the week could have made their day especially if they live on their own.
    My little granddaughter Ivy unfortunately has now lost another grandparent. Adam has now lost his Mum so over the last nine months Charlotte has lost her Dad and Adam his Mum and Dad. It is all so unbelievable.
    On paper I could go and help with child care but they all want me to get the vaccine first which I hope will be over the next couple of weeks.
    I continue to get support from my beloved family and the hospice team. Julie the hospice nurse rang today to ask if I wanted a ‘memory Elephant ‘ made. They would use Keith’s shirts or anything of meaning – he had a tie with a North of England Orchid Society on so will give them that. A donation is made to the hospice. I am still crying at the drop of a hat but I am surrounded by love and kindness.
    I watched your Lola Rose show and ordered a lovely deep red heart necklace so I was able to spin the wheel so am in with a chance to win …! Good luck everyone.
    I look forward to listening to your podcast. Take care everyone and look after each other much love from Julia xxxx

    1. Hello there Julia, I always look forward to your comments and it’s nice to have this conversation here on the blog. I’m so terribly sorry to know that Adam has lost his mum, And that your Charlotte is not only having to come for him but cope with her angry. So desperately sad to lose both parents in such a short time. I hope you’re able to get the vaccine and then you can help with childcare. I think it would not only help them but I think it will be hugely positive for you to. I’m loving the idea of a memory elephant. Lucy made me a teddy bear out of honey’s baby clothes and I treasure it. Of course you will still be crying at the smallest of things, but I believe that is good for you, And I’m so glad that those around you understand and can comfort you. Do you let me know what you think of the podcast, and if you think it might help anybody else please share it. Take care of yourself, stay well and thank you for keeping in touch, love Ali xx

  6. Hi Alison – I just want to say that it’s good to see you looking so well. Wishing you continued good health and happiness.

    1. Dear Christine, That’s really kind of you 🙂 I wish you the same. Take care and thanks for writing to me, love Ali xx

  7. Hi Alison, what a wonderful cook Colin is, he is like my husband he often cooks special dinners for me. He is an amazing husband of 46 years and is my very best friend. also if im not well he cares for me with such special love. I had breast cancer when you did and i fought it and after lots of treatment i started to feel better. This miserable Covid virus is something we all have to cope with and we all deal with it differently. I was diagnosed with lung cancer last January and had a lung removed in April, i had blood clots on my other lung in July also Pneumonia. This means ive been shielded since March last year, my hubby has Parkinsons so we are shielding together and looking after each other.
    Im still very weak but we are having short walks weather permitting. I have an Aeropilates reformer but cant use it yet but hope to one day. Keep well Ali and Colin and stay safe. love from Penny xxx Look forward to seeing you on QVC very soon

    1. My dear Penny, how lovely to hear from you and congratulations on your 46 years of marriage! I know I will never reach that many years with Colin, but I make the very best of the time we have together. I’m so terribly sorry to know that you have struggled not just with breast cancer but also lung cancer too, but I genuinely believe that your positive attitude will stand you in good stead for the future. Shielding must be so incredibly tough but at least you and your husband are together and looking after each other. Short walks as the spring progresses will no doubt help and I very much hope that you will be able to use your reformer soon. You stay well too Penny, and do keep in touch, love Ali xx

  8. Hello Ali
    I always look forward to your blogs but so much you have covered this time has rung very true with me. I’m still struggling with my health issues but am getting good support from the medics. This is not going to be a quick fix so each day is challenging. I think the biggest challenge for so many families is the lack of physical contact with loved ones. Just before lockdown my son “employed” his daughter 7 years old and his niece 14 to help do some jobs around the family business. Small jobs but time consuming for him. They loved it, and even got their own company sweatshirt and logo! The youngest was adamant to have a pay slip also. She’s been here before😂😂 both were kept out of public reach and has given us all a good much needed giggle. The days and mornings are getting slightly lighter now so that will lift us all. Your photos haven’t changed very much. You still look a lovely lady and have concurred so much. You should be proud of yourself. Take care and stay safe. Hugs and love as always. Judith xx

    1. Hi Judith, nice to hear from you although I’m sorry you’re still struggling. I guess you have to take each day as it comes but I’m glad that you’re getting good support from the medics. And you’re right, it is the lack of physical contact with people we love that everyone is struggling with at the moment. It just seems so endless but it will change, it has to. I love your lockdown story of your son employing his daughter and his niece. Sounds great, and definitely just to lift they need it. The lighter mornings do help, although with my dreadful sleeping pattern I really see you early morning. Thank you for your kind words – we all have our challenges but I think it’s important to realise how lucky we are compared to some. You take care and stay safe too, much love, Ali xx

  9. Hello Ali
    Gosh you haven’t changed a bit in the photos. My last passport photo made me look like a convict! At present no country would allow me in or out!!!😂😂 So much of what you have written in the blog rings very true with me also. There are so many people struggling for various reasons its hard to keep positive but positive we must be. My daughter and son in law have both been unfortunate to get Covid but thank God are now on the mend. The outcome could have been so different. The biggest thing which I find the hardest is the lack of physical contact with my grandchildren. They keep in regular contact with me but what I’ve give for a cuddle. My son has kept both his daughter and niece busy (before lockdown) by employing them to help him with the mundane jobs at the office which frees him up to keep the business going. He provided logo embroidered sweatshirts for them to wear and masks with their names on. The youngest insisted on a pay slip also (she’s been here before!) they have loved it and not only been useful but occupied. They have provided us with lots of laughs and tales. I’m still struggling health wise but the medics have been so supportive I can’t complain. I am so wanting to be “me” again.
    The sun is shining today and the evenings and mornings are beginning to be a little lighter. I hate the dark as everything closes down. Take care lovely lady, stay safe and well. Lots of hugs and love Judith xx

    1. Hello again! Seems you wrote to me twice so bless you. I’m really glad to know that your daughter and son-in-law have recovered from Covid and I pray that you will stay safe from it too. Look after yourself, love Ali xx

  10. Hi Ali quick message to thank for your lovely reply and I am thrilled to say I have now got the red jumper dress I love it ,not shore I look as good as you in but I feel quite nice . Thank you for helping me get it.
    Lots of love Chrissie xxxx

    1. Hi Chrissie, more than happy to help and I’m sure you look great in the dress! Gok is so good at designing clothing that works for every woman, that’s why he has so many satisfied customers 🙂 Take care, love Ali xx

  11. Just a huge Thankyou to Ali your always look stunning and you have been through so much . I love your diamonique hour my favourite every week. You always make it fun and you always take time to describe the pieces beautifully. Would love a 3 hour diamonique show with you and Jill my two favourite presenters as you both have that sense of humour the show would be amazing and full of fun.

    1. Hi Caroline thank you so much for compliment! Lovely to know that you join me for my Diamonique hour each week and you will know that it is one of my favourite ranges to present. I am sure there will be another three hour Diamonique finale coming up with Jill and I. I love working with her and you’re right we have exactly the same sense of humour. Take care and stay well, love Ali xx

  12. Hi Ali, lovely blog as usual. I hoped 202 was going to be better but it appears not as Geoff’s nephew died suddenly on Saturday.. it’s just been one thing after another. I hope you are ok Elaine

    1. Dear Elaine, I am so sorry to hear your news… such a terrible loss for the whole family especially in these trying times. I do hope you are all able to support each other, and I am sending you my love. Take care, and stay well, love Ali xx

  13. Hi Ali just like to say I listened to your podcast today and found it heart breaking and uplifting, it did bring a tear to my eye but it was really interesting too. Love to you and your family, stay safe with love Marilyn

  14. My dear Elaine, I am so terribly sorry. Your news must be devastating for your family and I’m sending you my love. We just have to keep on keeping on… Look after yourself and your family, and please do keep in touch if you can, love Ali x

  15. Dear Marilyn, thank you so much for taking the time not only to listen to the podcast, but for commenting here too. It is very much appreciated. I think you would enjoy many of the podcasts – I’ve learned so much about so many of my friends through listening to them. Take care, Love Ali xxx

  16. Hi Ali,
    Hope you are keeping well. Yes indeed it is just as well none of us know what’s around the corner! Never in a million years did I think I would lose my darling husband last year in such a short space of time. It certainly brings everything into perspective when we have silly falling outs with people . Life is too short is never a truer statement especially in these terrible times. I have struggled over these past months I must admit . Not being able to see friends and family or get counselling that I so desperately need. I am trying to stay positive but its not easy. As you can see by the time I am writing this that my sleep pattern has gone out the window ! I have been trying to get a little rescue dog but not had much success so far. I so need something to focus on and give me a reason to get up in the morning. I guess I’ll just have to keep on trying. At least we have had some good news as far as the vaccines are concerned. My sister had hers yesterday and also my nephew who is on dialysis 3 times a week. Am hoping if all goes to plan to have had mine in the spring.
    Anyway, take care of yourself. Hope your family are well.
    Best wishes, Tina S. ( S. Wales. ) x

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