Finery fashion, hillforts and refurbs!

And so here we are – through January and facing February! Where did the month go? To be fair though it does seem ages since Christmas and looking back over my photographs – which I always do before a write my blog – it’s been a particularly social month for me with work and various events, which after our quiet Christmas has been lovely.

Thanks for getting in touch and for keeping me up to date with all that goes on in your world. So many things affect so many of us and the situation these last two years has put all of us under pressure in ways we would never have envisaged, but it’s always comforting to know that somehow we manage to muddle through. Sharing our news here is always a great leveller I find!

I’m writing this in the back bedroom of the house as that’s where my desk will be until tomorrow when Colin’s moving it into his studio – well a corner of his studio – so at least I’ll have somewhere temporarily to put the computer safely and continue working. One of the main reasons for the refurb is because we have a faulty electrical system and plumbing that only works in half the house!

Consequently, in addition to the ceilings being down in the sitting and dining rooms, we also have the floors up in two of the rooms upstairs to feed the new plumbing through! There’s been sawdust and general grime everywhere and it’s been quite a struggle trying to keep the two rooms we’re living in clean and tidy! Thank heavens I invested in the H20 Steam Mop a while back and more recently the Spin Mop and Bucket. The stone floor in the kitchen constantly needs cleaning and these tools tackle the job perfectly.

It hasn’t been all housework and hard work though as in between some very enjoyable hours at QVC working alongside Davina McCall and Danni Minogue (the latter virtually), I escaped to the country and stayed with my sister Jenny. She and Linda live in a beautiful little cottage in Hampshire, not far from Winchester Hill, which is where we spent a fabulous afternoon in bright sunshine. It was quite a hike up there, but the hillfort right at the top is well worth the climb.

The earliest settlement was in the Bronze Age – around 3,800 years ago – which is when the series of flint and chalk covered burial mounds that still rise up from the ground were made. A thousand or so years later in the Iron Age a large defended settlement was built with a grass bank and ditch surrounding it and then a massive wooden fence created to protect the enclosures, houses and granaries that stood there. There’s a fantastic view from the top and although it was sunny it was very cold.

I was SO glad I’d worn my Cuddle Dudds fleece leggings otherwise I think my thighs would have frozen! The steaming cup of coffee we enjoyed afterwards was very welcome – even managed a bit of coffee art too! Mine was a Hare, and Linda had a Jenny Wren, which to be fair she did edit a little! 🙂

From Hampshire to Surrey, where later in the week I was once again lucky with the weather and enjoyed a lovely pub lunch in The White Horse at Shere with my friend Yo before heading out across the countryside in the sunshine. It’s the village where they filmed one of my favourite movies ‘The Holiday’ with Jude Law and Cameron Diaz, and the pub is the one featured in the film. We caught this gorgeous sunset as we drove out of the village and up the hill – just stunning!

It’s been great to have a little bit of an escape from the building works at home to be honest. While Colin’s been busy gutting the sitting room and dining room, I’ve been packing everything up into boxes – not just downstairs but upstairs also in readiness for the reconstruction there too.

We’ve lived here for over nine years and there have been quite a few cupboards that haven’t really been sorted in all that time, so long overdue! All the plumbing and electrics are being replaced before any of the structural work can be done, and downstairs the floors have to come up first before we can even begin on the upstairs renovation! It’s all go, and all in a terrible muddle but I’m reliably informed that progress is being made and it’ll all be worth it in the end 🙂

I’m on leave until the 6th February when I’ll be back at 9pm with a fabulous TSV from the fashion brand Finery! I’ve been wearing many of their dress designs on air over the last six months or so and am delighted to introduce you to the Edith midi length dress with long sleeves and a tiered gathered skirt. There are three exclusive and very subtle prints in a myriad of colours including black, navy, soft red, cobalt blue and purple. It’s not only elegant and eminently feminine, it’s also great value. I hope you can join me and order yours on Sunday.

Something else that will save you money and features a brand so many more of us are favouring at this time of year is Cozee Home. I would seriously be lost without my fleece sheets and sherpa bedcover since we have no heating in the house! Along with bedclothes, there are children’s and adults clothing plus a range for pets too and for the entire month of February, you can buy it all in three Easy Payments by using the code COZE3Z! Interest-free credit and hopefully items that will save you money on your heating too! To find out more about special deals and exclusive brands follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and I can keep you up to date that way. And do drop me a line here too if you’d like.

In the meantime, stay well and warm, and I do hope you enjoy the rest of the week. I’ll see you on Sunday evening!

With my love,

Ali xx

21 Responses

  1. Hi Alison what a muddle you must be in but all will be worth it in a while, nice you got out to see people away from the mess for a bit. Not much to report this end at the moment I got over the bronchitis I had but still don’t feel 100% at times I think the weather helps on the brighter days. Ottilie has now started pre school at moyles court in Ringwood it’s also where Willa used to go some older children stay there as its a boarding school too. I still look after her Thursdays because there wasn’t a space for her that day but one might become available at a later date she really enjoys it. Les and I have booked a break away for our anniversary to Stratford upon Avon in July and we have Sicily in May which I told you I think, in September we’ve also booked Tuscany so lots,to look forward to. Gary and Lamis are visiting this weekend he has passed all his exams so is 5 months,ahead of the others so waiting for his dream job to come up which hopefully will be soon. Well good luck with you renovations look forward to seeing the progress. Best wishes keep well love Loraine.xxxx😀

    1. Hi there Loraine, I’m sorry you’re still not feeling 100% but let’s hope the sunshine we had recently would’ve helped. I cannot believe that Ottilie has already started preschool – where does the time go? Not long for you now before your break in Sicily and it sounds as though you’re planning ahead for lots of and exciting things too. Well done you! I hope you enjoyed your visit with Gary and thank you for your kind words about the renovations. Colin has been sourcing lots of materials this weekend but we managed to squeeze in a Valentines lunch. Take care and thank you for keeping in touch, love Ali x

  2. Hi Ali,
    I hope you’re well despite the works. You look well in your photos at least and I can’t believe you’ve visited that famous pub! How lovely. You really do have some lovely friends and family. It’s hard doing rewiring etc and juggling work and looking after family all in the midst of a pandemic too and rising prices everywhere. Sometimes you think can you take any more but I guess as you say we muddle through. Hope your family are all well x

    1. Dear Susan, I’m very lucky I know to have family and such close friends nearby and I highly recommend a visit to that lovely pub. But you’re right when you talk about juggling life and work and family etc. It can be difficult and I’m just praying that the rising prices don’t scupper our budget! It’s taken the years to save up to do this but it will be worth it. Thanks for keeping in touch and I hope you and yours are well, love Ali X

  3. Hi Ali, I have such sympathy … I feel that half of our possesssions are in boxes too while renovations and redecoration take place. We’re two thirds of the way through now and I can’t wait! Trouble is, we are now thinking of moving in the not too distant future. Have made up my mind that if we do this again, it will be as soon as we buy and we’ll put everything into storage and rent somewhere for six months. I don’t want to live through this again! But it will all be worth it in the end. Looking forward to the Finery dress, although I know it will be too long for me if not in a petite length. Lots of love xxx

    1. Hi there Cherry, it does sound as though you know exactly what is going on in my life at present, and have been through it already. I don’t think I could bear the thought of moving out and on, if I put that much work into somewhere but it’s all about making the right decisions. Renting is a great idea though if you want to avoid the mess next time! I hope you liked the dress, although probably would’ve been more like full length if you are a petite. I am certain they will bring different links in as we had towards summer. Thanks for keeping in touch, love Ali x

  4. Hi Ali, looks like you are very busy with the house renovations,
    So lovely you could get away, we love Shere and have had many lovely meals at The White Horse including 4 Christmas day meals over the years, it really has become our local.
    Love your shows especially the Diamonique hours xx

    1. Hi Elaine, to be honest Colin is the one who’s busy with the renovations but I’ve been doing all the packing which after nine years of stuffing things into cupboards and under beds has been a revelation! Lots of things to the skip but a great deal to charity and I know our home will be cleaner for it! 🙂 I love a recommendation, and the Christmas Day meal sounds great at The White Horse. I think Jo and I ought to book ourselves in early this year. Very glad that you enjoyed your time and it shows – there will be one tomorrow! Love Ali XX

  5. Hi Ali, nice to see you out and about enjoying what looks like lovely scenery away from the stress at home. The ‘Holiday’ is also one of my favourite films and I never tire of watching it. Glad to see that your renovations are progressing and I’m sure it’ll be great when everything is finished and well worth the wait!
    It was my birthday today so I went out for a nice lunch with my boyfriend. I had fish today, although most of the time I’m vegetarian! I wore my Frank Usher leggings and a sparkly jumper (from QVC of course)!
    By the way – I really recommend the series The Responder (Martin Freeman) and the latest series of The Bay (always very good).
    Take care and I hope to see you back soon.
    Love Tina xx

    1. Belated happy birthday to you Tina and I’m glad your boyfriend took you out and spoilt you with a fish lunch! I’m sure you looked great in your Frank Usher leggings and sparkly jumper. Yes, the renovations are progressing – say but surely – but it needs a lot of vision to imagine what it’s going to be like at the moment! Thank you for your recommendations. I did start to watch The Responder but found it quite agitating so I’m going to give it a second go. We are very much enjoying The Bay though and Trigger Point is brilliant! I hope you’ve enjoyed the weekend, love Ali xx

  6. Hi Ali, what a lot of upheaval for you both but it will be worth it in the end, lucky that Colin is so handy! Lovely that you got out and about with friends and family, the sunshine makes everything better doesn’t it, even if it’s cold. You just wrap up warm! We still haven’t found a new house and are living at my daughters second home (crikey that sounds posh 😄), whilst we find something. Hopefully in the coming months……. 🤞. Looking forward to the Finery dress and hope it won’t be too long for me. I must admit to treating myself to a few items from last weekends beauty event, no p&p and easy pays are too good to miss! Take care Ali, love Anne x

    1. Dear Anne, you are right I am lucky that Colin can do most of these things himself he will be bringing in a carpenter and a plasterer too in a wee while. I’m sorry you’re still househunting although I’m delighted you can make the best of your daughter’s hospitality as it were! What did you think of the Finery dress? I hope it wasn’t too long for you at the midi length? Glad you’re enjoying the special events that we are running – if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook I tend to update and give notice so you can get in quickly for the bargains! I hope you have a great week ahead, Love Ali xx

  7. Happy ne year alison to you and family hope you are well iam now on 2weeks holiday from work watching the winter olympics.

    1. Hi there Martin and happy New Year to you too! I hope you are enjoying the Olympics – the athletes also skilful and incredibly brave I feel to launch themselves down such steep slopes or go on a bob sleigh! I’d rather be paddling somewhere warm 🙂 Love Ali x

  8. Hi Ali
    It’s lovely to see you enjoying yourself with your Sister. You are both stunning Ladies. I love watching your weekly diamonique shows. Fab quality jewellery at brilliant prices. I have a wishlist as long as my arm. I am working my way through it. When your house is completed you must take some pics for us to see it.You take care lovely Lady.
    Love Pamela ❤

    1. Hi there Pam, and thank you for your kind words. I will pass them on to my sister. Delighted to know that you enjoy the weekly Diamonique shows – there will be another one tomorrow – and I completely agree with you about the quality and the prices. I have done a lot of sorting out in the house because of the work and I’ve discovered I have a huge amount of Diamonique jewelry that I bought over the years. It is definitely some of my favourite pieces. Take care too and thank you for writing, love Ali XX

  9. Hi Ally,
    enjoy reading your blogs and the fact that you always include your readers. I too love the movie ` Holiday’, really uplifting!
    Cozee home is a favourite of mine ,which reminds me need to start ordering.
    You always look so elegant and your hair is lovely. No need for any help with styling for you, perfect!

    With best wishes

    1. Dear Janet, lovely to hear from you and so glad that you are enjoying the blogs. I write them for you! 🙂 Yes, The Holiday along with Love Actually, Notting Hill and Four Weddings are all films I really enjoy watching over and over again. Thank you for your kind words – I have a very clever hairstylist and it’s easy for me to look after it myself although the colour needs doing regularly. Have a great week, Love Ali xx

  10. Hi Alison, a lovely blog and as usual you have been very busy, as has Colin! The house refurbishment looks incredible and I can’t wait to see the finished result..I love the decorating and dressing bit. How exciting for you both.
    Unusually for me I am writing this in the late afternoon whilst watching the winter Olympics and am exhaustedjust watching these incredible atheletes..i love the snowboardcross..totally bonkers!
    ..I’ve finally succumbed to a nasty cough, chest infection, sore throat etc but thankfully not covid but certainly long ‘to do’ list for the half term my be compromised.. at the moment I can barely get up the stairs because of the effects on my asthma and copd..I can’t see me digging up my bamboo next week, or filling, rubbing down and painting 7 door framed and varnishing 7 new doors..oh well there is alway Easter!
    Keep safe and well lots of love Mary

  11. Hi there Mary, I’m really sorry to know that you have succumbed to a horrid chest infection sore throat. Whether it’s Covid or not it’s rotten for you especially as you have no energy and are contending with asthma and COPD too. Your body is telling you to slow down and heal so you must take it easy if it is half term. As you say, there is always Easter!
    I’m so glad you enjoyed the blog and the photographs. It is a huge undertaking for Colin with all the work that needs to be done and we are literally just sealing off the landing and corridor upstairs. That will leave us with just three rooms not being worked on, so less to clean and dust! I bet you’re missing your Granny cuddles while you’re feeling unwell, so I’m sending you a hug. Love Ali xx

  12. Hello Ali, great photos as usual. Glad the work is progressing I’m sure it will be amazing when all completed. Cant wait to see the results. Hope all the family are doing ok. I’m sure like me you are looking forward to a holiday. Hopefully all be sorted with tests and such and we can have a mask free holiday. Theres always things to find to do on the house but with the last 2 years or more of being restricted with holidays we have managed to get a few things done, although I always seem to find more. Look after yourself. Much love
    Karen xx

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