Molton Brown, Breast Cancer Month and moving on

It’s quite a relief to be able to sit down for a while so I can write to you. The last week has been quite exhausting – not just physically – but emotionally too, although I’m hoping we’ve now moved into a less stressful phase. How are you? So many changes over the last week or so, it seems as though September came and went in the blink of an eye!

I have to admit to feeling somewhat guilty for having had the chance to enjoy so much sunshine over the last four weeks. It wasn’t until Colin and I were in Norfolk on Friday when we were submerged in driving rain, howling winds and freezing temperatures that I had a real sense of autumn. Looking at the weather map on the TV it was if a line had been drawn down a third of the country with East Anglia hidden under a shroud of grey! I know having read your lovely comments on the last blog that it’s been that way for a fair bit of September so I very much hope that you my faring a little better now.

Well, I’m happy to say that my mum’s partner Joe is now set up in his new bungalow in Norfolk. It was a pretty emotional week what with finally emptying their house of the last of the furniture and helping Joe to leave. His son Philip had packed up two Luton vans with Colin’s help, and so I was left to sort through the kitchen. It was full of Mum’s handwritten notes, recipes and memories; I think she must have bought pretty much every gadget and had doubled up on all her pans and Pyrex bowls too. So hard to decide what to take and what to leave… Having washed and dried Joe’s bedding in the sun and sorted out the few plants we were taking we were ready to go. I’d been okay right up until the last minute when we stood together in the sitting room and said goodbye to the house… “oh Kath…” was all he could say…

My sister looked after Joe until Thursday when she dropped him over to us and we had a lovely evening together as you can see here! We drove him to Norfolk on Friday in torrential rain and howling gales but managed to get him safely into his bungalow with all the beds made up and the kitchen unpacked before bedtime. Colin and Philip went back to the lock up to collect the last of the white goods and to shift the heavy furniture and then we slept. The carpet fitter was early but that gave us plenty of time to sort out where to put the furniture and to unpack the rest of the boxes. Poor Joe was understandably very muddled by it all, but we’re hoping that with enough of his own things around him, he will settle.

We’ve found that writing things down really helps him, and so when the carer calls in each day, she can list what she’s done and how Joe is and that may help him. It’ll be a year since we lost mum on the 21st October… her dementia was very different to Joe’s Alzheimer’s but as I am sure you’re aware, any form of ‘neurodegenerative illness’ is distressing to watch. At least Joe still recognises us, and we can keep in touch by phone so the next time we visit hopefully it will be easier.

In between all this I’ve been at work, and have had a real mix of shows. Over the last few months more guests have been able to come to the studios, but our transatlantic guests are only able to join us remotely. I had an hour scheduled with the fabulous Harry Slatkin and his range of Homeworx scented candles, and as I’m sure you can imagine selling fragrances on TV is a huge challenge, but our expert guests – like Harry and Dom De Vetta from Shay & Blue – really know how to describe every note and essence of a scent although sometimes those ingredients are secret! With just 10 seconds to go ‘live’ I was informed that there was a problem with the video link and I wouldn’t be able to talk to Harry. My first duo of scented candles was called “Black Magic” but had no ingredients list, so it was purely my own personal take on this gorgeous spicy and warming fragrance! Luckily you know your candles, so we virtually sold out of that option and while I was chatting away our technical team managed to re-connect with Harry for the last 45 minutes of the show! Phew!

Of course candles make a wonderful Christmas present, and although it may feel a little early for some of you, QVC will be embracing Christmas from the beginning of October with some great voucher offers. They’ve created a special campaign online and on air – ‘Just For You’ – and begin with our Christmas Launch on the 1st October where there will be a huge selection of products available on three Easy Payments across the weekend until 4th October. If you use the code SHOP3Z at the checkout it’ll take you there.

Here’s the link if you’re interested ahead of time!

Oh, and I must mention our two day Fashion Event that is going to be on air on 5th and 6th October. Radley London will be starting it all off with a fabulous over shoulder bag on three EZ pays for our TSV on Sunday 3rd October, and that’s not the only amazing deal you’ll find from some of your favourite fashion labels.

Moda in Pelle, Skechers, WULI:LUU, Helene Berman, Frank Usher, Phase Eight, Butler & Wilson, Kipling, Lulu Guinness and MarlaWynne are just a few of the major brands that will be featured and throughout the month of October you can buy any of Kim & Co’s fashion with two Easy Payments if you use the code KIM2EZ. She has some fabulous new separates coming up and it might make it easier on the budget if you can spread the cost.

From 5th October there’ll be a special offer on all cosmetics and make-up within our Christmas gifting shopping list online and you just need to use code COSM2Z to get two Easy Payments on many of our best-selling brands within the gifting shopping list. If you want to buy ahead of time, here’s the link to see what we have lined up for you.

For my part I’d like to mention the magnificent British brand Molton Brown who always spoil us rotten when it comes to special offers close to Christmas. With their exquisite and unique fragrances they have a knack of knowing exactly what we love, and this year’s offer is no exception. As part of our ‘With You for Christmas’ event, the gorgeous @jemmaforte will be joining me at 9pm this Saturday 3rd October with a phenomenal 11-piece Ultimate Luxury Collection, which is Molton Brown’s Christmas TSV.

This sumptuous hand and body collection is available in a choice of Warm or Floral fragrances is just £54 but only £13.74 if you use one of the 4EZ pays! All beautifully packaged and ready to gift, it’s already available on pre-sale. Just click here to order yours and make sure you join me at 9pm on Saturday for more from this fabulous brand.

I’m really glad we have the certainty of Christmas ahead as everything else seems to be constantly changing and we’re all having to find different coping mechanisms. I’ve chosen to escape by listening to my Audible audiobooks. My latest listen was a stunning book written in 2007 by Kate Morton entitled ‘The Forgotten Garden’. It covers three generations and moves from Australia to Cornwall with an incredible number of twists and turns. It’s the longest book I’ve listened to at 20 hours or so, but I was genuinely sorry when it ended. I’ve just begun David Nicholls ‘One Day’ as I loved his novel ‘Sweet Sorrow’, and I laughed and cried my way through the recent screen adaptation of his beautiful story of a relationship that has run its course entitled ‘Us’. If you get the chance to watch it on BBC iPlayer, I’m sure you’d enjoy it.

Talking of books, and because October is Breast Cancer month, I’ve gone against the grain and decided to read some of my own book ‘A New Kind of Normal’ for my Saturday night Story Time with Ali. Hard to believe but it was published two years ago this month, and now has 109 five star reviews on Amazon, which I am so incredibly grateful to you for. Since then many women who have been diagnosed with the disease have contacted me. They write because they’re frightened, because they don’t know what to expect and often because they’re isolated, and it’s been a privilege to support and comfort them.

This year has been harder than ever for those going through surgery and treatment because when they ‘ve needed the support most they’ve not been allowed to have anyone with them. Sharing an experience often takes away that fear, and I like to think ‘A New Kind of Normal’ has done that. It’s not just about cancer, it’s about love, loss, friends, family, fear and occasional despair, but ultimately hope, and it’s funny too – I’ve found humour even in the darkest of situations. I do hope you’ll be able to join me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter at 7.30pm this Saturday for Part One.

Something else I’d like to recommend is QVC’s 100th Podcast featuring my friend and fellow presenter @debbieflintuk. These podcasts have become really popular and are a great way to get all the insider information on those you know – or think you know – at QVC! It’s fascinating to hear about all that Deb’s has achieved in her life, and there are some really nice clips from those she admires too. To listen, click on this link.

Well, I’d better crack on with my day – the garden is starting to look a little bedraggled, and along with dead heading and cutting back, I’ve harvested the last of my ‘Big Boy’ tomatoes! I bought a single plant from Homebase for £3.95 and have had over 40 tomatoes from it. Of course Richard Jackson’s Flower Power had a lot to do with it I’m sure.

Thanks for all your comments last time and I’ll look forward to hearing from you when you have a moment. Take care, stay safe and stay well.

With my love,

Ali x

34 Responses

  1. Oh Alison what a busy time you have had ,it’s hard to see your mum’s things to and the house I remember feeling the same I see the house every time we visit Les’s sister it’s opposite always glance over, hope Joe settles well be probably will.Well next Saturday is moving day for Gary (son) and his wife we will be worn out but will stay the night to far to travel back after a busy day, they are living in a place called Bradbury stokes about 6 miles from bristol.We had another viewing of our house the lady loved it and the fact it’s near to the town but wasn’t quiet enough for her she lives in church crookham on a busy road so wants something different ,we have added another estate agent to see if that helps.Willa is getting on Well at school and loves it. Hope you get a chance to get more relaxation now things are sorted out and your mind isn’t racing here there and everywhere, and let’s hope covid doesn’t get any worse such strange times. Best wishes to you all and take care love Loraine xx

    estate agent

    1. Hi there Lorraine, so glad that Gary was able to move in last Saturday, and I hope it all went smoothly? How strange that the lady who came to view your house lived in church Cookham. My late father was there in a beautiful little house by the canal for six years. I think you’re getting a second estate agent is a very good idea, and I’m sure that will help things. Being on holiday yourself and help me to relax, and although I’ve had a couple of bad nights sleep for most part it’s been wonderful. The sunshine I found very healing. Take care and thanks for keeping in touch, Love Ali XX

  2. It must have been hard for you clearing out your mums house. It is so very sad. It must be difficult to decide what to keep and what to let go. I look forward to seeing more photos of your beautiful garden. Have you finished it yet ? Cant believe it’s been nearly a year since you lost your mum. Time goes so quickly, it’s been seven years since I lost mine and I miss her every day. Take care Alison and look after yourself xx

    1. Dear Karen, good to hear from you, although I’m sorry it’s been such a long time for you since your mum passed away. Strange how we just keep moving when there was a Point when it seemed as though time stood still. We still have a few more things to do in the garden, but I will take photographs once I’m back from my holiday. The new flowerbed to be planted by the pergola has come on really well and I added three grapevines a couple of weeks ago. There will be a said it more to do before the autumn is done. Hope you’re well, love Ali XX

  3. Hi lovely Ali so lovely to hear that Joe is now settled. Must have been very emotional for you clearing out the house. Is such a difficult job with many mixed feelings – we are doing the very same thing now my mother in law has passed. You look so well on your diamonique show the other day. Looking forward to the Molton Brown shows. Have placed my order already for the floral one – part xmas gifting and a sneaky one or two for myself! Sheer indulgence! Stay safe xx

    1. Hi Karen, I’m glad you felt able to indulge yourself with the TSV! I treated myself to a couple of the warm options as they include my favourites. I’m sorry you’re having to go through the same situation and clear a lifetime of memories for your mother in law. I’m sure it must be hard for your husband too. Take care, and do keep in touch, Love Ali XX

  4. Aw, Hi Ali

    Firstly, don’t feel guilty at all about having enjoyed lots of sunshine, you needed some blessings for sure and we all share in whatever not life brings for you.!! You ‘ve had so much going on too… Lovely Joe summed it up in two words when he said ” Oh Kath.. ” the love and memories came from his heart and those two words spoke a thousand unspoken words from deep in his soul.. Bless his heart.. X

    Then when you reflected on emptying your mum s kitchen, how that resonated so much. I remember emptying my mum s kitchen and my eldest saying to me ” just take the important things mum and we ‘ll sort the rest” Good advice as my head was in a fog. So, her rolling pin, she made the best pastry!! Then her well used Brown dishes , Pyrex dishes and all her cards and children’s paintings she kept in an old chocolate box and a rosebud covered tea set… All carefully gathered and carried away. Now they have a home here I still use them.. Our mum’s were from a generation, the like of which we ‘ll never see again, but I hope we carry their special love on in our children and grandchildren..

    Thank you Ali for your moving but heart warming blog.. So good to share..

    By the way, looking at you on your book cover I see Honey so clearly. Beautiful photo, she s so like you…

    Carpe diem Ali and enjoy all the blessings life holds, sunshine and showers on the coast.. Wonderful!! X

    Lots of love and hugs

    Christine x x

    1. Dear Christine, thank you so much for your lovely uplifting comment. It sounds as though your mum is much the same as mine with all the things she kept, and funnily enough I have her rolling pin too, a whole mass of Pyrex bowls and some really old recipe books with her writing in them. I do hope that our children are going to do the same for us and continue using things that are special to them. Carpe Diem… I utterly believe in this Thank you for taking the time out to write to me. Stay well, love Ali XX

  5. Hi Ali, a lovely blog as always. So glad Joe is finally in his new home, I hope he settles in quickly and is really happy there. It must have been very emotional for you finding your mums notes and bits and bobs, together with saying goodbye to the house. He looked to have had a wonderful time with you at your home 😊.
    Hope you get the chance to relax a little now, although we are coming into what is usually a busy time. Where has this year gone! Hard to believe it is nearly a year since you lost your dear mum. Take care Ali, love Anne x

    1. Dear Anne, your kind words and wishes are very much appreciated and having spoken to Joe recently I know that he is settling in very well. Having this last minute chance to get away has been a real joy, and we have had quite a lot of sunshine and generally very warm weather. The sea is beautiful at this time of the year and we hope to return to see more of the island next time. I hope this finds you in good health, I’m not struggling too much with all the changes we seem to be encountering again. Take care, love Ali XX

  6. Hello Ali
    It’s been a while since I last wrote to you, as I have been really poorly with my tummy problems. I just haven’t had the energy to scribble a few lines to you. My GP is now trying a nerve pain drug in the hope that this may well settle things down. I have however enjoyed reading your blogs and it’s nice to keep,in touch with the outside world. Joe looks really happy to be with you and it must have been such a rench for him leaving his home. I do hope he soon settles into his new one. I also love watching you on our screens. QVC have kept the nation going. We’ve had a new central heating boiler fitted this week and I could have done without the noise and chaos but at least it will be reliable for us. We decided to have our garden made a little more maintenance free but the gardener walked
    off site without a word saying he didn’t like his work being critised.The lawn he laid was disgraceful and nobody would have accepted it. The garden now is in a sorry state and I am trying to find someone to come in and fix and finish the job. Happy days. Well Ali I’ll close for now. Take care and safe and as always love and hugs Judith xx

    1. Dear Judith, I’m so sorry to know that you’ve been so unwell and I very much hope that your GP will have improved things with this nerve drug. Tummy pain is something I find very hard to contend with and I’m sure you have found it very debilitating. So glad though that you enjoy the blogs as I enjoy writing them. What a lovely thing to say about QVC – we like to think that there is a connection there so to have your affirmation means a lot. My mum had the same problem with the gardener who came to work for her when she was finding it difficult. When you know how to garden can be tricky to delegate especially if you have a lifetime of experience! Thanks for writing to me and I hope things are easier for you. Love Ali xx

  7. Hi alsipm npw back to work hope you and family are well i have been off work last 2weeks felling dizzy i had vertigo frrling netter now hope your family are well hoe olf i your granddaughter now about 5 maybe

    1. Dear Martin, I’m really sorry to know that you’ve had vetigo! Such a horrible thing to have to contend with – and number of my colleagues at work had it and they were away for quite some time. So glad you’re feeling better now. Yes you’re right, Honey was five back in May and is at school full time now – so grown-up. Take care, love Ali XX

  8. Hii Ali what a lovely photo of yourself and Joe it doesn’t need a caption the love and care is there for all to see.
    Thank you for your supportive message which means a great deal to me.. Also I would like to thank Susan who took the time to send kind thoughts too. I like to think that virtual friends are beside me in thoughts.
    Yes where did September go?! Although this year has felt that time has stood still it seems to have flown at the same time. Once again I cannot sleep I have tried audio books, real books etc but it so hard for the mind to just focus on the now and not race ahead of what’s to come.
    I have had a busy week I have had both cataracts operated on. I didn’t know whether to cancel in the circumstances but my husband, family and nurses said to go ahead. I can’t say it was a pleasant experience but glad it’s over. Have to wait three weeks before I can get new prescription at the opticians etc. Everything is so bright & colourful I need sunglasses inside.
    I haven’t been able to cook so we have had ready meals & chippy teas this week. Keith now is based upstairs he has been so uncomfortable in chairs so he has been lying in the bed in a better position. Unfortunately we are now in lockdown again here in Lancashire it means all my family cannot be here at the same time. Charlotte has decided to come up at half term she will find it hard but feels the need to come and see her Dad.
    QVC has got some great deals at the moment Molton Brown in particular which will be a treat to myself and gifts for others. I think Christmas for everyone this year will be a time to take stock and look at what’s important,
    I will close for now and will try and get some sleep take care until the next time lots of love from Julia xxx

    1. Hi julia,
      I know what insomnia is like and it’s not a surprise when you are so stressed that you can’t switch off. So many of us are in lockdown again and with all sorts of issues so just thinking about you and hoping you will manage to keep going. Glad you got your eyes done but that’s a big thing in itself too. Take care x

      1. Hi Susan, I just wanted to add that maybe you too could benefit from the Headspace app? . It has some really good sleep programs on it. Just a thought. XX

    1. Dear Julia, as always it’s nice for you to keep in touch with us here on fit to know how you are coping. I am sorry you’re still struggling with sleep – have you thought of maybe trying the Headspace app? Kathy Tayler suggested it to me and there are a number of different programs that you can listen to quietly, that help you to relax by concentrating on something different? It just might be worth a try? I remember my mum getting her cataracts done, and she said exactly the same thing. Your family were right in encouraging you even though I know it’s not that comfortable. It’s one less thing for you to have to think about. I’m so sorry your facing lockdown once again and fully appreciate the problems this is going to cause for your family. I know you will worry about Charlotte coming up during half term but I think it will be a comfort not just for her for you and her dad too. I hope that by lying flat he is more comfortable now and it makes it easier for you to just sit together rather than bunched up on the sofa? I’m glad that Susan got in touch with you too – this is very much a network and even if folk don’t make a comment I know they are thinking of you. Take care, stay strong and please do keep in touch. Love Ali XX

  9. Hi Alison, think we are following your route through Cornwall this week. Stunning scenery. We have been to St Austell and Mevagissy. We are now staying in a lovely house in Mixtow Creek near Fowey. Beautiful part of the world. Your hotel that you stayed in looks pretty cool though.
    Love Karen x

    1. Hi Karen, so glad to know that you’re also enjoying Cornwall. I hope you’ve been lucky with the weather also 😊. So many parts of the country that we have yet to explore. Yes, the hotel was a real spoiley as I’m sure where you’re staying is lovely too. Take care and safe home love Ali XX

  10. Hi Ali, can I just say you look lovely. You’re the only presenter that makes an effort. You’re outfits are stunning.

    1. Hi Allyson, that’s very kind of you to say, although I have found it a great deal easier since we have introduced so many more fashion brands to the company. So much to choose from! Love Ali. Xx

  11. Oh Ali
    Cannot believe that it’s a year since you lost your mum. Poor Joe, it’s all so sad for the poor old Man and he looks a darling
    It’s been an strange year indeed and glad you are reading from your book. I really enjoyed and related to it Although I waS “lucky” to only have surgery, radiotherapy and Tamoxifen….aged 30! At 62 I’m doing ok so far. You are a breath of fresh air. Xx

    1. Dear Kathryn I am so glad to know that 32 years on you are still well, and although as you say you are “lucky“ – to have her breast cancer and surgery when you were so young must have been terrifying. Thanks for getting in touch, and stay well love Ali xx

  12. Hi Alison.gosh you have been busy it must have been pretty emotional and tiring so I hope you didn’t overdo it.Did Honey get to school? It seems that the virus isn’t giving up without a fight or have we got too complacent? Anyway I too have started putting the garden to bed our midterm starts this Friday so I hope to get it done and pick up a few more bulbs that’ll cheer me up .Take care .🍁🍂🍂

    1. Hi Suzi, I hope you found some nice bulbs for your garden? I also hope the weather was good enough for you to get them into the ground or into your pots? Yes, Honey went back to school although it’s tricky as little ones with coughs or sneezes have to quarantine for 14 days… difficult for parents to cover. Fingers crossed these latest changes all help. Take care, love Ali XX

  13. Hi Ali,
    I hope joe is settling. A big change at his age. It’s so lucky you were able to travel with him and sit inside with him. A lot of us are in the position where we can’t have people inside again and while it’s necessary it can be trying. Especially when you’re on your own. It’s been a pretty awful year! Serious illness, house moves, covid, accident, postponed event, what else?! Hope Sam, Lucy and jack are all ok. Take care x

    1. Dear Susan I am sorry to know that on top of the Covid situation it sounds as if you have had a huge amount else to deal with. You’re right about Joe and being on his own – I know it’s much harder for those who have family they can’t see or are just left to fend for themselves. I hope that things will be easier for you moving forwards. Love Ali xx

  14. Alzheimers is one of the saddest disease processes ever having watched my lovely mother-in law suffer. On a porfssional level as a nurse i have watched many families go this as well. I hope Joe is settling into his new home. I can only try to imagine how difficultit was claering your mum’s home. Thank you for the blog, great read. You take care and keep delivering fab programmes.

    1. Dear Cecilia, so sorry to know that you have to go through this with your mother-in-law – I lost my godfather to the same disease 15 years ago and it was an appalling situation. Joe is settling in well though, and as his son lives nearby he’s getting more company than he used to. It’s nice to know you enjoy the blogs, and thank you for taking the time to comment. It’s nice to know you enjoy the blogs, and thank you for taking the time to comment.Love Ali xx

  15. Alzheimers is one of the saddest disease processes ever having watched my lovely mother-in law suffer. On a professional level as a nurse i have watched many families go through this as well. I hope Joe is settling into his new home. I can only try to imagine how difficultit was clearing your mum’s home. Thank you for the blog, great read. You take care and keep delivering fab programmes.

  16. Good morning Ali, it’s a sunny, crisp Saturday morning in Westgate and I hope it’s the same where you are although apparently the rain is coming later!
    I must admit to shedding a few tears reading your blog and about moving Joe, so sad for him and the family but he sounds like he’s going to be very comfortable in his bungalow with lots of support around him. It reminded me of sorting through my dad’s things when he died..boxes of stuff, receipts etc all years old and a lawn mower manual going back to 1966!! Then if course, we had to empty and sell the bungalow when mum went into care.. that was very difficult and sorting through mums nick nacks stirred up buried memories.. .Mum has been ok through lockdown..but we haven’t physically touched, hugged or kissed her since the second week in March as her nursing home went into lock down early and she is struggling with that. Us three girls each get a 45 minute visit each week and we sit behind a huge plastic screen..mums losing her hearing so we are shouting at her as she cant hear..about all sorts of things..i sound like a real fish wife!! Its so hard as we all just want to give her a huge cuddle. But, the rules are there to protect them and sadly they have had two deaths from Covid early on but happily they have kept it at bay.
    You certainly have been busy, I’ve been watching lots of the Christmas shows and me and Chloe are going to out our decorations up in November this year to spread some Christmas cheer. I bought the Molten Brown TSV as I di each year and I also bought the candles so I can give a candle and matching fragrance body wash as pressies. We have molten brown hand soap at the pub and the customers love it, especially the men!!
    Well I must feed Olly his breakfast as its 8.18am..18 minutes past his breakfast time and I can feel his eyes staring at me..his body clock is amazing..then a walk avd hopefully going to pick some plums ..I feel a plum and almond crumble moment is needed!. Have a great weekend. Love Mary xx

    1. Dear Mary, How did the plum and almond crumble turn out? Lovely to hear from you, and glad that you managed to get the Molton Brown TSV – me too in the Warm! IT’s such a great deal, and I took the little travel sizes away with me to Kos. I am sorry to hear about your mum and the fact you and your sisters are still unable to physically touch or hug her, but having listened to the news last night I fully appreciate the importance of keeping everybody 100% safe because of their vulnerability. I do hope the latest news won’t affect the pub? Keeping everything crossed for you. I imagine you won’t be alone in setting your Christmas decorations up early this year, and I think you’re right, maybe a bit of sparkle and cheer is just what we need. We got back yesterday in relatively warm weather although it’s pouring with rain today… exactly a year since mum died and the weather was the same then. Hard to believe that long has passed, but with my brother’s first grandchild due in December I am focussing on the circle of life and in truth am glad she’s not had to contend with the world as it is now. Are you watching the Bake Off? Bit of a choux pastry disaster last night! 🙂 Take care, and do keep in touch. I hope you and Olly can keep p your coastal walks. Love Ali xx

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