Family celebrations and home renovations

Hello there!

So sorry it’s been a while since I’ve been able to catch up with you.  There seems to be so much going on at home and at work that, to be honest, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed, so it’s good to be able to look back over my last few blogs to remind myself that in March we were celebrating several birthdays and since then we have celebrated seven more!

Possibly the most notable was Colin’s mum Kathleen who was 101 years old on the 4th April! Quite incredible that she is still able to walk, was able to just about hear us and talk to us, read all her birthday cards out loud and enjoy her cake. She didn’t truly know who we were individually but recognised us as people who loved her and thoroughly enjoyed herself.  She moved from her sheltered accommodation to this lovely nursing home six months ago and the difference it has made to her life is remarkable. Here’s to the next year. 🙂

Our youngest grandson Corey celebrated his first birthday on the 31st March and most of us managed to get together to celebrate with Joe, Hayley, Rhys and Corey.  I thought you might like to see some of the photographs.  Corey is such a joy, always smiling, happy and content and an absolute credit to Hayley and Joe.  His brother Rhys is great with him too – amazing to think Kathleen is 100 years older than Corey, but wonderful to see the circle of life continuing within our family.

Spring has finally sprung

Hasn’t it been lovely to see an improvement in the weather? I’ve managed to get quite a few walks in recently. I met up with Claire Sutton and we managed to do a 6K circuit in Hertfordshire with her lovely dog Gus. It was great to catch up and she’s doing so brilliantly in her work as a celebrant.  I also had a lovely day with Kathy Tayler although the weather on that day couldn’t have been worse! It was pretty great to start with but then it actually snowed. Thank heavens we were both well covered and warm. Not much snow in Corfu which is where she was headed the last time I spoke to her but we’re hoping to meet up again at some point later in the summer.

I managed to prise Colin away from the renovations here at home and we had a fabulous night away with our friends Roz and Chris in Poole, Dorset where we saw the tribute band Rumours of Fleetwood Mac who to be honest sounded as good as the real thing!  We all love a bit of live music and thought the Lighthouse venue was magnificent.  Having stayed overnight we were then blessed with the most beautiful weather on Saturday so we spent the day at the coast. Me in my happy place. 🙂

The house is coming along well and Colin put in all the underfloor heating himself and is starting work on the wiring and plumbing for upstairs next week.  It’s wonderful to see the progress but we’re both finding it quite stressful living amongst all the dirt and dust, so walking and time away is perfect and I know we’re lucky to be able to do both.

I’ve been trying to be more mindful and listen to my body, and having felt more tired than usual, I did speak to Roz who has a nursing background, and on her advice, I made a much overdue visit to see my oncologist to check out a few niggles, particularly in my back and my bones. Luckily the MRI scan showed no spread of cancer but I have got significant degeneration of the spine and several discs. I need to get on top of this otherwise I’ll find in my mid-60s I’m not able to do very much at all!  I have osteoporosis too and am waiting for my DEXA scan – fingers crossed that it hasn’t worsened over the last two years.

Something else I’m looking into is the possibility of taking HRT as my menopausal symptoms continue into their 11th year! I’m sure you’ve seen me on air at QVC fanning myself or suddenly looking the colour of beetroot! Because my breast cancer was hormone receptive, HRT is not something that’s been available to me but there’s been a breakthrough recently and I am hoping to become part of a trial to find out if it would be safe for me to use. That’s thanks to Pipa Gordon who told me about Dr Louise Newson and her clinic and suggested I get in touch. I’ll let you know how I get on.

It seems we’re all different in how menopause affects us, and I know some folk sail through it, but I am glad that it’s no longer a taboo subject as the more we talk about it, the more we learn.  I chatted to my sister Jenny about it when we climbed once more to the top of Old Winchester Hill on Good Friday.  The weather was sublime, and the view even better than the last time and we rewarded ourselves with a delicious pub lunch – it’s always good to spend time together.

Let’s talk TV

I did want to tell you about a film I watched with Colin called “I Got Life”.  It’s a French film on BBC iPlayer, about a 50-year old divorced woman who is menopausal, struggling with her life and her job, has two adult daughters and suddenly bumps into her first love. I know it doesn’t sound like a barrel of laughs, and I had to get my head around the subtitles initially, but we absolutely loved it. It was easy to watch, funny, sad, poignant but essentially happy and uplifting. I would highly recommend it.  Equally entertaining but in a completely different way is the spectacular BBC TV drama The Split. All I’m going to say is if you haven’t seen it you need to!  This is series 3 so I’d suggest you go back and watch the first two – you will not be disappointed.

Let’s talk TSVs

Something else you won’t be disappointed with is our TSV on the 23rd April.  It’s the Ninja Dual Zone Air Fryer Max.  An ingenious piece of kitchen equipment that allows you to cook two different foods in two different ways at the same time with the two drawers!  You can use six different cooking methods including air frying, crisping, roasting, baking and warming and the time it will save you along with electricity is astounding.  It is simple to use with a clear digital display and having never tried it before, I managed to cook roast lamb with roast potatoes in 22 minutes as it’s up to 75% faster than most fan ovens.

Presenter Alison Keenan tests the Ninja Dual Zone Air Fryer Max

Alison tries out the upcoming Ninja Dual Zone Air Fryer Max 9.5L AF400UK Today’s Special Value offer

I was stunned by the results and the lack of faff!  The fact you can set everything off at the same time so it all finishes together is a perfect way to make a roast – so much easier than the time plans we used to have to write when I was at school! It is healthier too, using 75% less fat when it roasts meat, fish and vegetables, crisp fries chips and potatoes, and you can bake in it and reheat things too. You can fit a whole chicken in it and make meals for up to six people. Better still, it’s the perfect size to tuck away tidily on the worktop and will save not just time but also money compared to using a normal oven/hob/cooker.  If you fancy giving it a go you’ll be able to spread the cost in Easy Payments and you get your 60-day money back guarantee.  I reckon once you try it, you’ll be a convert like me. 🙂

We had a cracking Easter Bank Holiday weekend at QVC with some amazing deals on garden plants and furniture. Just in case you missed them, these Gudoshnik Tulips from Plants2Gardens are still available -30 bulbs for under £18 and look at the size of the blooms in my garden!  Have a look on our garden and leisure department to see what else is available and don’t forget our regular gardening shows every Saturday and Sunday morning.

Thanks for all your lovely comments on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and for keeping in touch – I look forward to hearing from you here on the blog too.  Oh, and if you haven’t heard, we are giving you the chance to be part of one of our shows. I had lovely Kathryn Stewart with me for my hour-long Diamonique show just the week before last and it was terrific to share her passion for jewellery but also learn a bit about her life. Linda George was also a guest over the weekend and you can be too if you send us an email your-stories@qvcuk and tell us what you love.  I hope I get to meet you one day soon.  I also hope you’ve enjoyed Easter, are in good health and maybe have a holiday to look forward to.

Take care,

With my love,

Ali xx

22 Responses

  1. What a lovely blog Alison. Colin really has done well but I bet you are looking forward to the end of the renovations. Here is hoping all goes to plan. Easter was spent with my sister near Stafford. The first long journey in my new electric car! Highly recommend it so have a test drive soon everyone!

    1. Dear Anne, glad you enjoyed the blog and definitely I’m looking forward to the end of the renovations, but it is exciting seeing you all coming together. I’m glad you enjoyed your Easter with your sister and that the electric car performed well. I drive a hybrid but have never experienced an electric car before. Take care and thanks forgetting in touch, love Ali xx

  2. Hi Alison wow you have so much going on no wonder you are tired and yes need to listen to your body, i’m no saint at doing that Les keeps telling me to get checked out because of on going things my leg swelling etc, but I keep putting it off. Gary’s wife was supposed to have her leg operation on Wednesday after being at Bournemouth hospital for hours and gowned up having seen the surgeon etc an hour before she was,due to go to theatre they said the covid she had previously, was still in her system but not contagious but she still couldn’t have it, they had already been to the hospital three days before for the covid test obviously she was,annoyed and upset that they hadn’t looked at the test before they travelled from Bristol and she been told all was ok so that was two wasted journeys and mentally exhausting, they are going to complain about it Gary having worked in law will know how to deal with it the right way.Now they have to talk to their bosses about more time off in a month when she’s supposed to go again nightmare. Anyway I’m pleased you are managing to get out and about for a break our holiday to Sicily is a month away fingers crossed. Doesn’t Colins mum look good what a long life and nice she still can spend time with you. Hope your renovations continue to go well it will be lovely choosing your new furniture etc when it’s all finished, I can’t believe it’s been a year next month that we moved doesn’t seem possible.Well take care and take it easy best wishes to you all love Loraine xxxx😃

    1. Hi there Loraine, lovely to hear from you although I am sorry to hear about Gary’s wife. It’s so difficult when there is a pending operation and things get changed especially if there’s a long distance to travel. I do hope it can be resolved. How lovely that you have your holiday in Sicily to look forward to. We are hoping to get away at some point but obviously the work takes precedence. Very much looking forward to buying the furniture though! I’m into pre-loved things and it’s amazing how much choice there is out there and great value too. Take care, love Ali xx

  3. Glad you love your Ninja. This is probably the best thing i have bought from QVC when it was on last time as the TSV. Hardly ever use the oven now. It is absolutely brilliant for all the family and their varying food habits !. Fabulous for young and old and especially those on their own. Two compartments to wash up and a huge variety of foods can be cooked which you would not heat the whole oven up for. You will be surprised as it will soon become your go to kitchen appliance. Cannot recommend enough. Keep on using Alison. Home made chips are fab

  4. Hi Ali, a lovely blog and photos as usual – not surprising that you are feeling tired with all that you have going on! Colin’s mum looks amazing!
    I am hoping to see my brother early next month as he’s in this country for a few days with his work (touring with Keith Urban) if his schedule allows and really want to go to Keith’s show (fibromyalgia permitting). I don’t get to see my brother very often as he lives in Chicago so I’m really going to try and get there!
    I also love the series The Split (Nicola Walker and Stephen Mangan are both great in it). It’s such a shame that this is the last series😕
    Take care Ali.
    Love Tina xx

    1. Hi Tina, good to hear from you and Colin was really impressed to know that your brother works with Keith Urban! We both loved his performances when we saw him at the CMA’s in Nashville all those years ago. I do hope you get to see your brother and enjoy the show. So glad you watched The Split too, although I agree wholeheartedly that it’s a great shame it was the last series. Try Julia, the new series on ITV with Sarah Lancashire – it’s about the TV Chef Julia Child and is superb. Take care, Love Ali xx

  5. Hi lovely Ali great blog as ever. Lovely pic of you both with Colin’s mum. Wow she is amazing bless her. How cute is Corey. So lovely that you caught up with Claire and Kathy. I too have seen the tribute band and yes that really do sound great. How clever is Colin putting the underfloor heating in. You will be over the moon once it is all finished. I also have never been allowed to have HRT due to my health problems and it is so difficult struggling through without it. I will keep my fingers crossed for you. Take care xx

    1. Dear Karen, so glad you enjoyed the blog and the photos – Kathleen is incredible and little Corey a sweetie too. Nice to know you also have had the chance to enjoy the Fleetwood Mac tribute band – I think they’re currently touring in other parts of the country. I’m sorry you too struggle with the menopause and are unable to take HRT… I guess it can’t be forever though so I hope maybe you’re through the worst of it. You’re right about the work to the house, it will be great when it’s finished. We got the new copper fixings for our bathroom today to go with the copper bath, so that’s exciting! Have a good weekend, love Ali xx

  6. Hi Alison have just come back from a lovely holiday on the edge of Exmoor in a little village called Hawkridge the piece and quiet is wonderful and the scenery is beautiful . Hope you are well sending love xx

    1. Dear Kay, loving the sound of Hawkridge – it sounds as though it could feature in a TV series! I may well check it out next time I drive to Cornwall. Have a good week, love Ali x

  7. Hi Ali, what a delightful blog, you never fail to impress! Colin has made great headway since you first wrote about your renovations . Lovely to see young Corey it’s doesn’t seem that long ago since you told us of his entrance into the world. With the glorious weather we have been having, we have been spending time in our garden, it’s so nice to see it coming alive with colour with first the daffodils and cyclamen then the aubrietia and today I noticed my president clematis has started flowering. Take care. Love Merchex

    1. Hi Merche, how lovely to know your garden has come alive with the latest bout of warm weather. That’s pretty incredible to have a clematis flowering already! My mum used to grow aubrietia and I have purple, white and pink ones in the front garden from the seeds that my son Jack bought for me the Christmas before last. So pretty and they pick well too for a bud vase. Enjoy the bank holiday weekend, love Ali xx

  8. Hi Ali
    well a full on blog for sure. Its interesting that you are still getting the hot flushes etc years after menopause. I had my last period at aged 46 and, like you, with a hormonal breast cancer in my 30’s, I was not allowed HRT but would be interested what you find out. My hot flushes seem to have come back with a vengeance (age 643) which I gather is common. I assume you are on Alendronic acid and a calcium and Vit D supplement for osteoporosis / osteopaenia as I am and the DEXA confirmed the suspected diagnosis. Alas degenerative discs are a sad part of this awful ageing process which is why I really need to get down to using my Pilates Reformer!
    On a positive note, looking at Colin’s mother, my aunt is 107 and looks after herself in a sheltered flat with the aid of my cousins. Also this longevity is not on my side as its an Aunt by marriage! He ho xx

    1. Dear Kathryn, sorry to know that you too are still struggling with hot flushes (although I know you’re not 643 years old!) and there doesn’t seem to be a shut-off age as far as I can gather. Unfortunately I can’t take any of the meds and Vit D that you’re on as my tummy just won’t tolerate it. I’ve had to try and alter my diet to make up for it. You’re right though about the Pilates Reformer. Once mine is out of the container I will need to start using it too! Wow! Your aunt is 107! I think that is the oldest person I have ever heard of..incredible that she still looks after herself with a little help. Take care and enjoy the Bank Holiday Weekend, love Ali xx

  9. Dear Alison, how lovely you have been able to catch up with family of all ages! Colin’s mum looks remarkable for her age, and you can definitely see the resemblance between them both. Glad you managed to catch up with Claire and Kathy, its nice to hear how they are doing now in their new ventures. We have had some lovely days haven’t we, and like you I try to get out into the open spaces when time allows, it does make you feel better. Hope you find a suitable resolution to the menopause, I’m trying to get through without medication but now that it is being talked about more you realise that there are more options to explore, so if it gets too bad I will definitely try something. Thanks for your blog, always look forward to hearing your news. Love Anne x

    1. Dear Anne, how nice to hear from you and I am so glad that you enjoy the blog and look forward to hearing my news. I also enjoy hearing back from you, and it’s always interesting when we find common ground to relate our experiences to. I am sorry though that you are going through the menopause but managing without medication. There are always options and if being hormone based isn’t detrimental to you then I’m sure there will be something out there for you. Take care and enjoy the weekend, love Ali xx

  10. Dear Lyn, so good to know that you are getting great value out of your TSV. I have made several more meals in ours since Friday and I know it’s going to be extremely useful to me. Have yet to try making chips but the halloumi was delicious. I hope you’re having a good week and the Sun is shining for you, love Ali x

  11. Hi alison as we say in aberdeen fit like which means how are you iam well no more masks on at work now hope your family are well how old is your granddaughter now

    1. Hi Brian, glad to know that you are well and yes, it’s so good not to have to wear masks anymore – although on some occasions I still do – but I realise you will have had to keep yours on all day in the job you do! We are all well thank you and Honey will be seven years old on the 6th May – where have the years gone? Love Ali xx

  12. Hello Alison, I hope your taking a respite in order to R & R .I read you had covid in December, it has protracted effects of feeling exhausted long term. My daughter Janette and yourself both continued to work tirelessly since returning to work following surgery & chemotherapy.Absolutely to be admired, all of the women in similar situations. There comes a time when you have to think about giving yourselves a break away from it all.
    Now coronavirus has taken her down , recovery is hard, affecting her lungs and she suffers extreme tiredness .
    Good wishes and love to you and your family.

  13. Hi Ali
    Hope your well.It will be sadnot seeing you on qvc,i loved watching you on the beauty ,fashion hours.Always came up with some good advice.Takecare my lovely and hope to see you back on soon.

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