Keeping busy, out in the garden and my competition winner announcement!

How lovely are you?! 🙂 I cannot tell you how much pleasure your comments have given me over this past week or more, and how wonderful it’s been to be able to share them with even more of our friends since I returned to work on Sunday the 5th April.  Such an incredible response to the competition I set in the last blog, and as promised, I’ll be announcing the winner of the £350 collection of beauty products at the end of this blog.  It took well over three weeks for me to shake off the cough I was still struggling with last time I wrote, but I’m very relieved to say I’m feeling 100% better now, and thank you so much for all your kind messages and comments not just here, but on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter – they were a real boost.

Being back at the Q has been a tonic in itself, and everyone backstage has gone above and beyond to keep us safe while we work.  After 22 days of self-isolation, it felt very strange leaving the house.  The M4 was almost empty on my journey in,  and although we live fairly close to Heathrow there were very few planes flying overhead.   I wake up most mornings now to the sound of birdsong, and more recently ducks quacking!  Let me introduce Bert and Ethel!  I believe that mallards can live between five to 10 years, so there’s every possibility that these two are the same couple that began visiting our garden four years ago.  It’s not just the pool they love, but they sit patiently at the bottom of my bird table in the hope some of Richard Jackson’s High Energy bird food might land at their webbed feet! 🙂

Since I’ve felt better, I’ve been out in the garden as much as I can – wrapped up in a hat scarf and gloves before this warm spell.  It’s been good to be able to help Colin with the inordinately large number of jobs we’ve been ‘putting off’ over the last 12 months.  Armed with a large brush and equally large rubber gloves, I have finished creosoting the new fence Colin built, and have just the side gates to complete.  I love the smell of creosote, it reminds me of my granddad and the tiny little potting shed he and nanny had in their garden.  He kept all his tools in there and sometimes I would be allowed to help him plant out his seedlings.   I’m so glad that QVC’s gardening shows are still going ahead, enabling us to order our plants and keep up with the pots and borders.  There’s going to be another Lily Growing Challenge amongst the presenters this year – we are just waiting on the delivery of our corms! I’ve been delighted to see how my two olive trees are now flourishing since Colin planted them into the ground last spring.

Our friends Roz and Chris bought this one for us as a wedding present – almost five years ago now.  Look how it’s grown!   I do hope that if you’re not lucky enough to have a garden of your own that there is a least somewhere you can walk to for your daily exercise? I know a great many of our parks are now closed, so it’s not easy.  We just have to take each day as it comes, and keep looking forward.  This won’t be forever…

Having more time on my hand has meant it’s not just the garden that’s had my attention but some of those jobs in the house that I tend to avoid – like cleaning the silver!  That looks so ostentatious written down, but I’m referring to a few silver photo frames, a collection of candle snuffers and a crystal and silver perfume bottle! They look so much nicer when they’re buffed, and it brought back memories of Sunday afternoons sitting with mum, and cleaning the silver cutlery we had then. 🙂 I’ve cleared a few kitchen cupboards too – my prize find being some cider vinegar with a sell-by date of 2011, and I had a field day with my H20 steam mop in the bathroom, loo and kitchen.  So gratifying to get it done.

Something else I’ve been meaning to tackle is my inordinately large collection of photos that are not only taking up space on my phone but here on my computer too.  When I found the photograph of my olive tree, I also found these memories of my granddaughter Honey when she was first born – just six weeks before my wedding in 2015… seems like yesterday.

I’m finding it hard not being able to spend time with her, but we’re keeping up with our bedtime stories, FaceTime conversations and the drawing game.  I took a screen shot of us playing so you could admire Honey’s robot! 🙂

I also found this photograph of Colin and I in Nashville for the CMA’s in 2014.  It made me smile as I mentioned the very same cowboy boots when I was on air with our fabulous Moda in Pelle footwear range on Tuesday.

Evenings at home have meant more TV, and we’re currently enjoying the new Julian Fellowes period drama Belgravia.  Are you watching it?  It’s beautifully filmed with a stellar cast and a very clever plot – I’d highly recommend it.  Something else I thought was superb was The Split.   Nicola Walker and Stephen Mangan head up the cast of this complicated drama about a family of divorce lawyers and their clients.  I must have been living under a stone as I’d completely missed the highly acclaimed first series, but thanks to BBC iPlayer we were able to catch up and watch both series!  Of course many of you have been enjoying the Book Club set up by Jackie Kabler, Catherine Huntley’s Beginners Guide to Sign Language and Kathryn Goldsmith’s Cookery Classes!  It’s good to keep in touch this way, and to feel part of something, especially if you’re maybe spending a lot of time on your own.  I’m hoping to set up something of my own now I’m well, so watch this space 🙂

Knowing that we’re in this together always makes us stronger I feel, and so I want to let you know about a special fund raising campaign that was launched by QVC just last week called Giving Back.  It is our way of giving something back to the community by donating to The National Emergencies Trust who have partnered with the British Red Cross to raise and distribute funds to support communities in the UK made most vulnerable by the Coronavirus outbreak.  QVC UK have pledged £50,000 to the appeal and will donate a further £2 for every £1 QVC staff and customers donate, and together we hope to raise up to £125,000.  A special page has been set up on our website QVC UK Giving Back and there you will find a blue button you’ll need to click to donate.  I know under normal circumstances we’d be out there doing our thing and raising funds in all manner of ways, but because none of us can physically get out there and do our bit, I think this is a great way of showing we care.

And so to the competition I set last time – your chance to win all these fabulous beauty products that make up the prize worth over £350.   I asked you to complete the famous quote that begins “If you want to be happy…” It was written by Leonard Tolstoy and required only one word to finish it… That word was ‘be’.   Many of you got it correct, but I have to say again how inspired I was by the extraordinary number of original and thoughtful quotes you sent to me.  So many tied in with the difficult times in which we are currently living, yet all of them were comforting and uplifting.  The correct answers were put into a draw and a winner was chosen at random, and I can now reveal that the winner is…

Kim Barclay!

We will get in touch with you and work out a way to safely the deliver this prize.  CONGRATULATIONS!

I very much hope that you might have had the chance this Easter to raise your face to the sun, get out for your walk, cycle or essential visit to the shops and also managed to contact those you love, even if you weren’t able to be with them.

I’m looking forward to ‘seeing’ you again on Tuesday night at 8pm for Diamonique and will be inviting you as always, to be a part of the show in any way you choose.  Be a part of our ‘Giving Back’ campaign too if you can, and remember that #QVCAlwaysWithYou.

Take care and stay safe.

With my love,

Ali xxxx

33 Responses

  1. Hello Alison, Thank you so much for your lovely blog. I am so happy that you are feeling so much better. The olive trees are lovely. I just cannot believe that it is five years since you and Colin got married. Stay bless. Antoinette

    1. Dear Antoinette, I’m so glad you enjoyed this week’s blog and thank you for your kind words. I too find it hard to believe it was five years ago… I remember it as though it was yesterday. I feel so terribly sorry for all those who’ve had to postpone their special events including weddings. You stay safe too, and thanks for keeping in touch, love Ali xx

  2. Lovely to hear your news, Ali – glad you are keeping well. I miss my grandchildren too, but keep up with them on social media. I’ve also been cleaning kitchen cupboards – my ‘find’ was two spare bottles of washing up liquid! Stay safe and well x

    1. Cherry that sounds like a jolly useful find! 🙂 I’m glad you too are able to keep up with your grandchildren – it’s not the same, but it’s a lot better than it would otherwise be. I hope you’re coping and staying safe and well, love Ali x

  3. Hi Alison. I am so pleased you are fully recovered and like many I have been watching the Q in between completing jobs on my to do list which is mammoth..although I am working from home I did have the Easter holidays off so I have decorated the hall, stairs and landing, cleaned all the outside paint work on the cabin and cleaned the cabin windows and daughter has redecorated her bedroom and I hung some wall paper for her. I have done lots of gardening but that has come to a standstill as my green garden bin is full to the brim and I cannot squeeze another leaf in it..hopefully it will be collected this week so I can resume. I have ordered lots of plants from the Q so I am eagerly awaiting their arrival so I can start giant lillies that o planted last year purchased from Q are already looking like they will make a magnificent display.
    It’s been tough having us all home at times .4 adults can be quite trying all couped up..Chloe is still working as a key worker I the village Co OP in Minster, Jack has been furloughed as the golf course is closed and John is home as the pub is shut. Taken a while I think for him to adjust to being home..and for me too..and he is certainly missing his pub family although they regularly catch up via chat groups.
    Mum is poorly with a cough and we are hoping that’s all it is but the nurses at the home are keeping a close eye on her.
    Keep safe and thank you for a lovely visit down memory lane with your photos . Back to working from home on Thursday..but hoping to get more jobs done in between. Much love Mary xx

    1. Mary you are a whirling dervish! I don’t know where you find the energy! You should have roped in John and Jack to help while they’re off 🙂 I appreciate how difficult it must be, especially as the hours you all work mean you’re rarely there together. I hope that with the finer weather you were able to sit out in the garden for a little – the giant lilies are beautiful – I’m hoping mine will arrive soon too. I’m keeping everything crossed that your mum is now improving and that the cough has gone. So glad the folk at the home are kind and caring, so try not to worry. I’m glad you enjoyed the photographs and I’ll find a few more for the next blog too. Love Ali xx ps Thank you for my beautiful birthday card. I’ve kept it along with the others so I can display them when I finally have my party.

  4. Hi Alison on you have been busy your garden looks nice we go have been gardening put a,few things outside that had been stored in the shed over winter. Les has painted 3 rooms 2 upstairs which have a main wall already papered so didn’t take too long and the spare lounge room downstairs, they are things he planned to do but hopefully when things get back to normal we can spend time doing other things.The daily walk has been nice getting lots of steps in lucky theres a lot of places to walk her in the new forest I feel sorry for people with no garden of conservatory to sit in we have been using ours,alot. Well Willas birthday is friday she has,a mud kitchen from us,and money Clare and Geoff have bought her a trampoline of course we will only be able to look over the fence but grateful for that. I love all your pictures on here and so pleased your better and able to enjoy the sun so glad we have that with all this going on I think I will find it very strange when Les goes back to work he’s on furlough at the moment. Your hair is looking nice are you colouring it yourself ? my hair has highlights doesn’t look to bad yet , I ordered colour wow and must admit I’ve snipped a bit of hair of here and there oh dear don’t know what my hairdresser Jo will think when I see her . Hope you and your family keep well best wishes Loraine xxxx

    ot of places to walk here in the new forest


    1. Dear Loraine, well it sounds as though you and Les are making the best of having some spare time and getting a lot done. I’m loving the sound of a mud kitchen – maybe you could enlighten me?? I am glad that you can actually ‘see’ Willa, although I know it’s not the same as having a real hug! I bet she’ll love the trampoline and who knows, once this is all behind us, you can join her on it? 🙂 I’m so glad you have enjoyed the photos and yes, the sunshine makes all the difference doesn’t it. My daughter Lucy recommended that I use the purple shampoo to keep the brassy tones out of my hair – how funny that your stylist is also called Jo 🙂 I’m not sure if I’m ready to reach for the scissors just yet, but may get Colin to trim my fringe if necessary! Do stay safe and well, and thank you as always for keeping in touch. Love Ali x

  5. Hi Alison. I am absolutely over the moon to win your competition for all the beauty products.. I couldn’t believe it when I saw I had won. I love all the beauty ranges on QVC and have tried most over the years!!! I shall probably share my prize with my daughter!! Thank you SO much. Love Kim Barclay xxx

    1. Hi there Kim, so glad that you are pleased with your prize – it should hopefully be with you towards the end of the week. I wore my rubber gloves to pack everything so hopefully you should be OK with it all. 🙂 I’m sure there’ll be something in there that your daughter would like to use – my daughter thought it was a cracking prize too 🙂 Stay safe and well, and thanks for taking part. Keep in touch, love Ali x

  6. Hi Ali,
    So nice to hear from you and so so good that you recovered from covid. It’s just horrendous what is going on and what images people are seeing. It’s a real worry. It makes all sorts of things seem so pathetic and trivial. I know it’s awful losing a loved one at any point but in a way Ali I’m sure you are glad you don’t have to worry about your lovely mum going through this and the agony of not being able to be with them in care homes. It’s beyond awful honestly.
    At least you will be able to see your children and grandchildren when this is all over. Something which not everyone will be able to do. Hope your brother in Australia is ok. It makes it so much harder when you don’t know when you’ll see them again too.
    Take care Ali x

    1. Dear Susan, I agree that it’s a dreadful situation and I for one, tend to listen to the news in the morning and then try to avoid anything on TV for the rest of the day… And what you said about my mum, is exactly what my sister and I said to each other… This would have been far too much for her to have coped with, and she wouldn’t have understood why we couldn’t visit. I am so sorry for all those who are separated from the ones who need them most.. My brother keeps in touch with me on e mail, although not as often as I’d like, and now that his daughter is back in Australia I feel a long way from them all. But we phone and can now skype or Zoom so will have to persevere with that. I do hope all is well with you and yours, love Ali xx

  7. Hi Ali,
    Lovely to see your photo’s on your blog. How lucky are you to have Bert and Ethel visit your garden. That’s one of the many things I miss, not being able to visit my local park where there are 2 ponds. I usually call up there with some sandwiches and sit and relax before heading off home. I love just watching and feeding the ducks. Will be missing seeing all the new ducklings this year though.
    I think the one of the things I miss the most though, like so many others of course, is not being able to get my haircut!! I have very thick hair which needs cutting every 6 weeks as I keep it short. I had made an appointment with my hairdresser the very week that the lock-down started! I have been cutting the side pieces myself as it grows so quickly. I let my husband cut the back as it was so scruffy. Its alright for my hubby as I always cut his hair. I have been sorely tempted to use the clippers on myself!! So lets hope the lockdown eases up soon or I don’t know what I’ll end up looking like. LOL.
    Had a good sort out of my clothes over the weekend and have a huge bagful for the recycling bin .
    I think the hardest thing is not being able to see friends and family of course, but not being able to just go out whenever we like. I don’t think I will ever take things for granted again. But as you say, we are all in this together and something good has to come out of all this.
    Went to bed early as the news was just too depressing to listen to and listened to my c.d. of birdsong. I try to do mindfulness and picture being there listening to the babbling brook and the beautiful birdsong. I often hear the faint sound of an owl when I’m lying in bed. Nature can be very healing.
    Well, wishing you and your family continued health. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we can see our loved ones and hug once more.
    Love and best wishes, Tina S. (S. Wales) xx

    1. Dear Tina, I think many of us could take a leaf out of your book and try to practice the mindfulness and separation from all we are having to contend with currently. Loving the idea of the babbling brook and the birdsong. My friend Roz who livesin Dorset has a resident owl, and I love the sound of it hooting when I stay. It seems like forever since I’ve seen her and her husband or any of my friends and family, but as you say, it won’t be too much longer before we can. Love to you and your husband, and hold off on the hair for now – maybe tie it back or wear a hat 🙂 Love to you Tina, and thanks for keeping in touch, love Ali x

  8. Hello Ali, first I have to say congratulations to Kim Barclay – you lucky lady (I must admit I am slightly envious – but good for you but I am applauding you in a good way).

    Ah, your little Honey, she reminds so much of my own granddaughter Mia (she turned 5 in February), they are so cute at this age… I am dreading her turning into a teen-angel because she is such a daddies girl (my son and her mother are no longer together, my son has 80% custody of her). I don’t think she’ll have many “boyfriends”! But what makes me laugh now is he is 25 y/o and if he wanted a ‘proper relationship’ I have told him that I will see if they are suitable for him, if not it will be the red button noise from Britons got talent lol!

    I have to say that I love your olive tree! I grew up in Malta from the age of 9 until I was 19 and a half exactly when I decided to come ‘home’ to my own country – Malta started to change so much and it wasn’t for the better tbh, I am 51 now and I made the best choice – all of my family are still living there including my mother. Up until my eldest son turned 12 I used to take them to Malta every year to visit ‘the Malta side of the family’ (I have 2 sons) and one stepson and a stepdaughter from my second marriage, let’s just say it was becoming incredibly expensive for the 6 of us!
    Sorry, Ali, I went off tangent there lol – I am back on track – Your olive tree made me reminisce there! I don’t know if when you went to Gozo, you saw any olive trees growing here there and everywhere, I remember the first house we lived in when we moved to Malta, there were quite a few olive trees in its grounds – I remember the leaves were sort of sticky when you touched them, but they had lovely little white flowers. Whatever you do if it does fruit olives DON’T eat them from the tree, for them to be edible they need to be brined first!!! (remember, this it is a ‘fruit’ if it has pips/stones/seeds inside, the only fruit that has its seeds/pips on the outside are strawberries)! I love food and its facts lol, can you tell?

    I also have to apologise, because in my last post on your previous blog, I don’t think I said HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you so HAPPY BIRTHDAY you beautiful lady xxxxx I still chuckle at the time you and Charlie were doing a Diamonique show together and you licked the biscuit – in fact I am in hysterics right now – that was the best ever!!!!

    Lots of love to you and yours xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    1. Dear Tina, how lovely to hear from you and thank you for sharing your memories of your life in Malta and all those years you lived there. Thanks too for the tips re the olive trees. We did actually have a few olives on both trees last year – black olives on the tree in the photo and green on the other one. I don’t honestly think they were large enough to brine, although I’ll do a bit of reading up! I love your granddaughter’s name, and am glad that you get to spend time with her and your son. Loving the Red Button! I think most of our children once they are grown do pretty much what they decide, but I hope he’ll be happy again one day soon. I’m hoping that Charlie and I will get the chance to work together again one day soon and I too remember the biscuit incident. Did you see he and I and our ‘poo curling’ game – it’s like curling on the ice but with plastic poo – hysterical! You take care, and thanks for keeping in touch. Love Ali xx

    1. Hi Adele, so glad you enjoy the the blogs, and thanks also for keeping in touch with me on Twitter especially on Diamonique days! I hope that you are staying safe and well, love Ali xx

  9. Hello Ali
    What a lovely blog. I loved seeing your garden phots and it’s amazing how relaxing being in a garden makes you feel. John and I have spent endless lovely days catching up on our outdoor jobs like most of us are trying to do. He even managed to remove a 38” tree root coming up under our patio, lifting the slabs,which was getting dangerous. After spending nearly twelve months in conversation with local counsellor and council, ( the problem tree is outside our side fence and 12 feet away from our patio.) we decided we would have to do the job ourselves. In normal circumstances we would have had a garden specialist in. We’ve also spent time relaxing and reading outdoors. Some days have been so warm we’ve had to apply our Ultrasun. We too have been in contact with family through FaceTime. John played chess with our eldest granddaughter a couple of times. To say it was interesting is an understatement! I’ve been busy also sewing scrub bags for the NHS. Every little helps. I’ll close now and have a cuppa. Take care and I am pleased you are feeling better. Look after yourself and as always sending love and hugs. Judith xx

    1. Dear Judith, Lovely to hear from you, and although I’m sorry to know you weren’t successful with the local council regarding the tree root, well done John for managing to rid you of it! It’s been so good to be able to sit outside in the sunshine but glad you’re using the Ultrasun. I’m trying to be far more careful with my skin as we’ve had far more sun than we normally do, and I like the fact it’s just the one application. I’m like the sound of chess! I never learned how to play it, but used to be quite good at draughts! We’re still trying to pull the children together for a Zoom quiz… wish me luck! Yes, I’m feeling much better and I do hope that you and John remain well too. Love Ali xxx

  10. Glad your well on the mend.I too am gardening we just have a courtyard but as its left to me I get a great deal of pleasure pottering.Its also a car park for the flats and careless parking and exhaust fumes are a pain.I even got told off for parking my wheelbarrow ! Anyway please take and send my love to Honeypie .

    1. Ooh I love the sound of a courtyard Suzi. Not too dissimilar to my pots on the patio!So sorry though that you have issues with parking and exhaust fumes.. I hope it was OK this evening? I’ve just weeded fed and re-composted most of them this evening, so they should feel even happier in the sunshine tomorrow. I’m waiting on a delivery of plants I ordered from QVC on advance order for May! You take care and keep pottering – I’ll pass your love onto Honeypie 🙂 Ali xx

  11. Hello Lovely, What a super catch up & trip down Memory Lane. When the world wobbled on its axis I decided that because I had no control over what was happening I had to live in a bubble & use my time in positive & practical ways. Nobody wanted us as volunteers or modern Land Army workers, shame as Colin would have looked good in long socks & breeches, so I wrote a list of tasks & like yours one of them was sorting photos, the printed variety, & there were thousands. Hidden among them were my birth cards & I was horrified to read four that included words of commiseration to my mum over her disappointment that I was a girl, one even wrote that she was sure my mum ‘…would love it anyway’. How rude! This glorious weather has meant we’ve been in the garden every day & on the one chilly day that kept us inside I painted a wall in the kitchen & we tidied out Colin’s climbing cupboard. The amount of time it takes to do any shopping has stunned me & I don’t think I’ll ever walk close to people in the street again. I know just how much you are missing Honey, we’re also in touch with the girls & grandchildren remotely & watching Etty name all 10 colours in her jigsaw reduced me to tears because it’s been four weeks since I saw her & I can’t believe how much she’s changed. Best thing for me is that while modern life is suspended this beautiful little green planet is healing & mankind has to learn from this & stop messing with nature. Blue skies & sunshine. Love from Jo x

    1. Dear Jo, I like you prefer to live in my own little bubble for the most part limiting myself to one new bulletin per day… I’ve not been anywhere other than home or QVC since 13th March, and am getting quite used to it. We are SO lucky that we have space around us, and so many jobs to do in the garden as Colin had been working non stop since last August… But like you I very much miss all my children and Honey .. I talk to her most days on FaceTime and we invent games and make up stories and do drawing games, but it’s the physical thing of a hug that is so hard… from all of them. I like you prefer to think that modern life is suspended… although as I saw in the recently ploughed fields life continues and the world keeps turning and we will get through this. Like you have to forget the cards you found… it’s very hurtful I know, but it’s not who you are, and not how you are with your children, and that’s all that matters. Take care and I’m sending you sunshine too, love Ali xxx

    1. Dear Tina, Hello again, just have a look on the ITV Hub, as the final episode aired last Sunday. It was superb and I’m sure you’d enjoy it. Ali xx

  12. Hope you an dfamily are well iam not bad enjoyed that photo of you and colin at cmas will be glad when ockover is over

    1. Dear Martin, nice to hear from you. I’m guessing you’re not able to work at the moment so I do hope you’ve had some sunshine in Scotland? Yes, Colin and I had a fab time at the CMA’s – feels like a lifetime ago. Take care and stay safe, love Ali xx

  13. Hi Glad you are lot better. Spring cleaning down hubby got lovely tomato plants vegetable plants and flowers growing in the greenhouse ready for summer. But with lockdown I am running out of things to do, never mind just have to do as we’re told. My niece read a book about this happening the author said the whole world will suffer.

    Take Care x

    1. Hi Christine, how lovely that you already have your tomato and vegetable plants growing in your greenhouse. I know that QVC have had a huge run on anything related to the garden, and sadly none of our local garden centres are open, so I have celeriac and potatoes and some herbs, but it’s better than nothing! I have ordered flowers though from QVC and have my pots at the ready. I hope the garden will keep you busy and that you won’t find the lockdown too difficult. It won’t be forever, that’s what I keep reminding myself. Take care and stay safe, love Ali xx

  14. Hi Ali

    I loved the yellow dress you were wearing this weekend, 19th April. Could you tell me if it was a QVC one and if so what the number is please.
    Thank you

  15. Hi alison hope you your family granddaugher and your husband are getting on alright i have sti;l got ajob my franchisee boss has promised myself and colleagues at mcdonalds in aberdeen we still have ajob so far.80percent paid by the govermnent be glad when this virus is over get bacl to normal back to the theatre i have missed not goingout t live shows..look after yourself.

  16. Hi there Kim, so glad that you are pleased with your prize – it should hopefully be with you towards the end of the week. I wore my rubber gloves to pack everything so hopefully you should be OK with it all. 🙂 I’m sure there’ll be something in there that your daughter would like to use – my daughter thought it was a cracking prize too 🙂 Stay safe and well, and thanks for taking part. Keep in touch, love Ali x

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