Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Care for Care Leavers... at Christmas

Not woe is me, I don't usually go on about this part of my life.  When you reach the grand old age of 35, you become removed from your teenage self, and you look back on yourself as someone else?  Or perhaps I've come a long way from myself....?

Anyhow, this struck a chord with me, Lemn Sissay is our new ambassador (or such like) at Uni.  He highlighted on our staff pages his festive drive for helping out care leavers.  

Made me think of that time in my life, not quite 17, not long out of care, starting up in a little damp flat off Smithdown Road, with no-where to go for Christmas (I prob did have places to go, but I was proud and who wants sympathy with your sprouts?).  

I worked the late 2-8 shift at good old Wavertree Nursing Home.  But last minute got invited to the Salvation Army for my dinner, I'd just become reacquainted with me ma and she got me in!   So I had a turkey dinner with the waifs and strays of Liverpool's finest homeless, lost and lonely.  And you know what I was grateful to be included.  I went off to work that afternoon (for time and half I remember) feeling Christmassy and festive. 

Mum and Me at Sallie Army Christmas 97

I've got no time, I already volunteer with kids in care (in a different forum), I've got a young family I couldn't abandon on Christmas day (nor would I want to).  But I'll give this some thought, in the least I'll buy a few extra decent gifts to wrap up so these young kids have a present worth having.  Because that's what these care leavers are, 17, 18, 19 still so bloody young, facing the world of adulthood alone... it's dead sad. 

xx Emma-Lou

Thursday, 29 October 2015

WomanFlu Emma-Lou Stylee

That time of year again!   Bugs and colds and snot and head-colds and awfulness... I can't abide it... 

I've been poorly this week (do send your prayers and thoughts), no more than a cold I'd say, but good grief I've moaned about it... I can't stand it, if I just accepted the fact that I was ill and took myself off for a couple of early nights, I'm sure I'd shift it, but I just can't (I'm scared of missing out on owt). 

It's Mr C I feel sorry for most, as he fares the worst from my winter ailments.  Last night in bed, I cried that I was sick of being ill, that I felt like a leper, and was lonely (come on I've only been grounded a day or two), yes a touch dramatic.  In our early courtship we used to write little love letters to each other, mailing them over the distance Liverpool to Manchester.  After a month or two of going out, I fell ill and I filled two pages back to back of finest writing paper simply moaning about being sick. So I use this as a disclaimer, he knew I was somewhat dramatic when it comes to coughs and things. 

Bless him, Mr. C once got quinsy, look it up... nobody since Victorian times gets quinsy and it can be fatal.  Yeah he got this quinsy and I was so preoccupied with my own scratchy throat I didn't give him an ounce of sympathy or care (I did feel a bit guilty when I realised he was actually near death). 

I'm sure I'll be fine, I'm sure I'll make the weekend???? I'm back on The Sudafeds, I've joked about this before, but if I was ever found in suspicious circumstances dead of a mystery overdose... I've told those near to me to pretend I'd OD'd on something more exciting, like hardcore party drugs rather than decongestants!  

Sniffle, sniffle 

xx Emma-Lou x

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Not being a part-time mum (bee in bonnet) x

So the summer holidays as a working mum nearly finished me off.  I'm lucky I work in the public sector as flexi time comes into play and there is a general support for working mums (and dads).  

A few times over the summer I did consider ringing social services and putting them in a home!  Nah just kidding, I did mull over applying for a term time contract but have ruled this out.  It sounds a nice idea, and financially it isn't such a drop from my usual salary over a year... but I reckon it'd make for being really busy before the leave and really busy on my return.  I like work too, reckon I'd lose touch of things with a nearly seven week break, I'm a real use it or lose it girl... once after the Christmas holidays I forgot how to cut and paste!   

The real reason though is.... I don't want to spend so much time with my kids... they'd drive me mad. I'm a good mum, I keep them well stimulated, I give over a lot of my time, I sit and colour, drag them back to base on those rubbish zip wire swings, I indulge their silly made up games, and genuinely I enjoy the time we have together. BUT I would less so if I didn't work.  I'm not a bad person for wanting to work to get away from them, am I?  Staying at home with them simply doesn't appeal, especially now they're both at full-time school. 
Taking them out on the cheap, swimming and library

As a working woman (admittedly I'm not setting the world a blaze with my outstanding career or that) I think it's good for my daughter to see, that you can do it all, manage a work/life balance (although if I'm being honest the standard of housekeeping is poor).  When I say work/life  balance... I mean moaning about both in equal measures.  

To make it clear though, I work part-time (30 hours a week) but I still qualify as being a FULL-TIME mum, somebody doesn't step in and job share that role when I'm at work, I still do EVERYTHING that fills the brief of parent. 

xx Emma-Lou

Just to note, Mr C (also works full time in the building private sector) and it's a combined effort that we juggle/manage it all (in a fashion).  

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Publishing elsewhere....

Silly post... I realise some of my blogs are massive, so I'm going to start posting shorter tit-bits! 

So here I am in last weekend's Guardian Saturday magazine, seems nobody noticed at all, admittedly was only in the 'Letters' section... 

All true... except the ice-cream man didn't use the word 'sodding', in actuality it was the F word!  

xx Emma-Lou

Friday, 21 August 2015

All things Brazilian, Bem Brazil #CelebWatch

More invitations to attend posho events, Stephanie Ledigo asked me along to the relaunch of Bem Brasil in Altrincham.   I was more and more looking forward to going along to this one as every time I mentioned it to anyone they'd exclaim "I've been to the one in Manchester, the food is amazing".  It seems that every single person I know has been except me, hold on have they all been going without me, why haven't they invited me, did they have a party there and miss me out, I'm probably just being paranoid... don't my friends like me...

So I did toy with wheeling Mr. C out, it's right up his street, all that meat on skewers... but after our anniversary break to Harrogate we used up our babysitters. My pal Ruth was happy to go along with me, and we don't see enough of each other. 

Here we are in our Brazil colours 

From start to finish the whole evening was so well laid on.  Bem Brasil lends itself to bigger groups, it's such a social way of eating.  You pitch up, have some drinks at the bar, then you head to your table, where you're directed to a buffet style area where you can fill up on starters and side dishes.  Really authentic Brazilian foods, pastas, salads, rice, fishy things; very tasty and moorish! 

Once you get back to your seat, on the condition your red/green card is flipped to green, the meat skewers keep coming, and they came and they came.  Such lovely service too, once I got to grips with my tongy things, I was away trying things I wouldn't usually, and that's the thing, you can do that here, you can dismiss or fill your boots as little or as much as you want. 

As ever my pics are crap, but meat skewers a plenty!

What's funny and I do this at home a lot, I was well fed and happily sated, so flipped my card over to red.  But every time a new skewer came round, I hurriedly flipped my card over to green.  I'm glad I did too... or I'd have missed out on the sweetest pineapple I've ever had, gorgeous it was. 

I would imagine, in a big group this way of eating would out well, when the bill comes in, you could just split it evenly rather than that uncomfortable long-drawn out working out process (grim I've lost hours of my life here). 

We had live music... guessing Brazilian themed.  We had wonderful dressed for the part Brazilian greeters, gorgeous girls, who were so lovely and gave me a little tutorial on the art of selfie taking, tbh I thought I knew it all... but you have to raise it up and zoom down! 
Always impressed my live music 

Carnival attire! 

It seems though I was in the company of celebrity!  Typically I didn't notice, I did recognise faces, but assumed they must live near me in Chorlton!  I was asked by an MEN newsman if I was famous... strangely for me I as a bit coy... and said "No".  Of course I am, Emma-Lou look at you... next time I'll be ready. 

I did still make it onto the MEN website, and was awed to learn I was in the company of footballers, X Factor contestants and other such famous folk.  If you click 150 times though the gallery you'll spot me and my mate in the celeb section of the Manchester Evening News

Thanks to Bem Brasil for having me, and to Stephanie Ledigo who put on a good show.  

xx Emma-Lou 

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Eating out with Kids, who knew it could be a nice experience... TC Cafe Rouge

Mr. C abandoned us to Blackpool on a stag do' last weekend, so I was left to fend for myself against the two children (tbh I didn't fancy my chances).  So it was timely that an opportunity came about for the three of us to eat out on Saturday afternoon; we were asked by Cafe Rouge to check out their new children's menu.  

Mr. C and I quite often when we're out and about in town will head to Cafe Rouge for their lovely late afternoon lunch menu.  We've always rated the service and menu, but I'm not sure why it's never struck us to take the children.  Probably as they jump up and down for Frankie and Benny's. 

So we headed to the busy busy Trafford Centre for 2pm on a rainy Saturday afternoon. From the moment we arrived the staff made such a lovely fuss of the children, not in your face, but I suppose just treating them like people.  The menu was given to the children and the first thing to impress me was how it was presented, the items listed in French first.  I was also impressed that there was more than a couple of mains to choose from.  I always allow the kids to choose for themselves, it's one of the nice things about eating out I think.  

Spoil sport "No cheese mama"

The menu folds out into a colouring page with puzzles, both Liz and Willow enjoyed this, me I enjoyed the peace in between courses. 

Waiting nicely his fork poised for action!

Learning about all things French 

It's not often starters are laid on for kids, so it was a nice surprise they had something as I had my tuna pate. 
Fancy!  Artisan bread

If I'm honest, eating on my own with the kids on a Saturday afternoon at the Trafford Centre, I wasn't expecting to feel quite so relaxed and enjoy the meal as I did.  But I do enjoy the company of my kids, I'm lucky they do wait nicely and are well behaved. I unwound so much, I even ordered a glass of wine!  
Wine and crayola! 

The food brought out was of good standard, like care is given to the kids, rather than all grim fried fish-fingers or chicken nuggets.  Eating out is about good quality food, so why should children be catered for as a second thought, and given dreadful food with limited choice.  

The puddings were great, there are a few options that can be put together, it's nice to see waiting staff interacting with kids as they order (there's no way I could remember their specific orders).  

My dinner dates! 

Tucking in
I was impressed with Cafe Rouge, for more than the quality of food (which at £7 for starter, main, dessert and drink is great value); with a little respect given to children, a decent menu, a distraction of giving them something to look at and colour, eating out with them can be quite nice. 

I'm certain as we get about this summer, London and Devon, we'll look out Cafe Rouge, hell I might even let Mr. C tag along. 

xx Emma-Lou 

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

On Knowsley Safari with Pops and Co.

I'm getting a fair few opportunities these days from my little blog, and I'm pretty excited for most of them!  However when Knowsley Safari came calling (well emailed, they didn't knock on or that), I was really chuffed and it was timely too, because we were going anyway!  But thank you for thinking of me, appreciate that.  

We've already been this year, we went in May half-term, when we piled in the car, picked up Pops, and drove round the park, screaming with laughter (those bloody baboons), mouths open in awe of the lions, and were just simply impressed with how close you can get to the animals. 

Purring away like cats! 

#obviously the windows were wound right up

All pile in the Honda Jazzy! 
What's great about Knowsley is that once the drive is done, you can park up and head to the other attractions, which are almost a surprise as, when you're heading to the park, you're geared up and talking about the animals, because they clearly are the stars of the show.  They have some rides that aren't so expensive, Willow bless him did his usual "I don't like it" scared face as he goes round, then once it stops "Again again".  

Bless on rides he always looks worried!
As I say, at our earlier visit this year, we drove round the park in my car, and it was great; going through the baboon enclosure was brilliant, the kids loved it, those baboons they put on a good show.  Aahh, and the way the mummy monkey's carry their little babies round, it's a real insight into their world.  If I was park keeper mind, I'd insist on undies, erm it's all on display!

What's not to love about having a monkey on your windscreen! 

We went back last week, this time my wiper blades weren't in jeopardy.  This time when we arrived, we were riding high.... we only got tickets on the baboon bus!!  

Three wise monkeys... 

You've got to ooh ooh at the baboon bus stop! 
What I didn't realise getting on the bus, was we'd have a guide talking us through, we had a young girl, Harriet, very knowledgeable in a talky non-scripted way, and was as enthusiastic about the animals as we were.  We learnt a lot going round. 

A few of the many fun animal facts as learnt from Harriet: 

  • Emu's brains are smaller than their eyeballs (I always think they do look a bit thick) 
  • Halfords in Knowsley sell more wiper blades than any other branch in the UK 
  • White deer in their natural habitats would be offed, as their camouflage is a bit crap, but at Knowsley it's fine, they're not under threat so they can go about being as white as they like! 
  • Baboons, pink bottoms are of the female sex, so the male baboons can spot them, again my vote would be for knickers! 
  • Each year the dominant male deer is decided on by who has the biggest and most wonderful antlers... shallow if you ask me...
Win win for Willow, he loves buses and monkey's

There was loads we picked up, but again going through the baboon enclosure on the bus, was the highlight, they have ropes hanging down so the baboons, have a good old swing, honestly you see it all... 

Back seat buds!  

Second to the monkey's the sealion show, and to note, sealions are different to seals (they get nowty about the continued comparison). They're so beautiful and so clever, I want one for Christmas!  Again, thanks to the design of the park, you get so up close to them.

Honestly two seconds prior the sealion was waving at the window!


The show is great!
We do a few trips a year with my old Pops, he's a star attraction too, the kids love him, they appreciate his rubbish jokes (okay some of them are funny, on seeing a hippo "Watch out they don't charge at the car", "That'll be £3.50"... get it charge...). He's not really my granddad, well not biologically anyhow.  Thing with old Ray, it's quite twee, he was the gardener at my kids home, I've known him 25 years, and he's always seemed dead old, but young with it.  He was a breath of fresh air in my youth, with his many scams to get out of the actual gardening and keep warm and scavenge trifle in Mossfield's kitchen (he used to trick the young lads into the mowing).  He gave me away at my wedding, actually ruined my entrance as I remember.  The registrar said he'd knock when they were ready for us, Pops was convinced he heard the knock, made me take a few premature steps down the aisle!  Suppose at least I got to make my entrance twice!

Handsome brute, he was as nervous as me (and tried to steal my limelight)
We ran him back and he had to endure an ICT/iPad lesson by two know it all 9 year olds 
Back to Knowsley, we love it there, it's a fabulous day out for the young, old and the quite young (that's me, 35 is no age at all).

xx Emma-Lou

To note, Knowsley let us in free for the purpose of me writing a little review, but as I say we love it and would big them up everyday of the week and still pay to get in.

To further note, Help the Aged, did not sponsor my kind words about Pops, they are my own, we love him xx 

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Family Holiday dum dum dum Abroad v UK Cottage

So we've just booked our week away! 

A cottage in Devon, we've been to Devon a few times with the kids now.  Bideford has been great, but we've decided to head further south this time, well that should be we're braving a longer car journey with Willow!  So we've booked a little place called Brixham; by account "The English Riviera".  All seems very twee, the cottage of a good standard, has a telly and wifi. 

We'll have a lovely time, does it feel like a holiday if you don't get on a plane? Mmmmmm it certainly has a different feel to it, as carefrees with no children Mr. C and I had a fair few holidays and city breaks, you know jetting off (well to Bruges, Zante and Amsterdam).  We did favour the Greek islands, all very relaxing, sunny, beachy, exotic, non-british, you know abroad..... 

We have been up up and away with the children, Crete, Lanzarote and Menorca. They were very nice, a good break, but somewhat stressful.  Why is that?  Comparing and contrasting jetting off to a good old British getaway: 

1.  So, in the UK you're able to without worry and too much fuss nip to a 24 hour Tesco to collect the 152 items the baby needs (that you've not thought of).  UK Hol 1 

2.  In the same vein you can travel with your car, rather than the limited (measly) baggage allowance (come on do you know how much wedges weigh... I'm not leaving them lovelies behind). UK Hol 1
Gorgeous sun, but it's hard work keeping Willow factor 50'd up

3.  However, you actually have to drive your car to these southern UK destinations, with children in the car, in heavy traffic as you near your idyllic coastal town... HELL. Abroad Hol 1

4.   Flying with children... is also HELL ON EARTH... between the two of us on a flight back from Lanzarote, Mr. C and I decided that on return to the UK we'd be putting the baby in a home.  Honestly our laid back little lad who was seldom any trouble can only be described as HELL BOY on a four hour flight! UK Hol 1

5.  So okay, transfer from airport... twice our Liz has vommed over me, and then the cheeky mare made me sit away from her because I smelt of sick (funny that).  At least if they vom in the car, you can pull over to services and give it a good fabreeze. UK Hol 1

6.  Weather.... well on the days we plan to beach in a seaside UK town... yes it poured down, however, the kids don't mind, they still make sandcastles and paddle... me not so much, really I'd die in a bikini braving the elements in Scarborough.  Abroad Hol 1 (however bonus 10)
Would you get a free donkey in the Canary Islands?

7.  The cost of a decent meal in the UK is possibly twice that on the Greek you don't eat out every night... Abroad Hol 1

8.  Here, you don't have to miss the Bake Off while you're away... UK Hol 1

9.  Cottages anywhere in the world are cosy cosy cosy... oppose to that of a villa or an apartment, or worse still a ch√Ęteau, they just haven't got the same charm? Snuggling down evening times with kids tired out after a day at The Big Sheep, bottle of wine, good film, cuddling up, take away, BLISS  UK Hol 1

10.  Warm evenings drinking wine on a balcony, in my living memory in this country I've never not worn a cardigan sitting out in the back at night.... Abroad Hol 1

Waterproof jacket a must, but still smiling!
Summing up, for us at this time in our life, we need the home comforts of the UK, but you know what we've had some lovely times, and I'm sure one day, in about ten years we'll chance flying with Willow again....

xx Emma-Lou 

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

I love parks...

So, School holiday's coming up, I do have to work some of it, and have a holiday to South Devon booked towards the end of August. But there's still a lot of days left to fill, I haven't got pots of money to spend on days out.... I will spend up in Drayton Manor and the like I'm sure (perhaps having to re-mortgage the house...). However I am lucky that my impoverished children like a trip out that costs nil: museums, libraries, art galleries, a little ride on the bus (although bus fare is nearly as expensive as air travel in Manchester). 

Where we live in Manchester, we're lucky to have brilliant park action going.  On Instagram, I've been charting my park activities, not a single person is interested mind, but I'll share on here my park summer tour to date. 

Bad Mother, I do take beers....

Round-about and Round-about

Park Selfie (have to... sorry it's an affliction I have!)
Phwoarh handsome husband alert

Sorry I am a gobshite... I do yoga in the park (I'm just learning) 

There will be more in the series of #parklife... follow me on Instagram @emmaloucul80

xx Emma-Lou 

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Bucket List

I was chatting to pal just back from Glastonbury; she was full of it, really buzzing from her first festival experience, she's  not dead old or that, but she said it was on her sort of bucket list, got me thinking.... What's my bucket list, so I'm 35... by the time I'm 55:

1.  I'd like to see an Ashes test match in Australia. 

2.  Tour through Europe, take a few weeks from work, fly into France, then train it across the continent, stopping and staying as the mood took me (this is a pipe dream, there's no way I'd ever not have a hotel pre-booked... my biggest fear.... I'd end up in one of those.... *breathe*... hostels.... shudder). 

3. Learn to play an instrument of some sort, I've toyed with the acoustic guitar, but I'd have to shorten down my nails.... I just couldn't do it! 

4.  Learn to swim properly, I currently can manage 60 seconds of breast stroke; but I don't look great, I look like I'm drowning. 

5.  Finish my OU English Literature degree... thing with OU study you have to be self-motivated, that's where I struggle!  It's not that really, kids/work/house/pals/pets seem to take priority on my time.

6.  Bake bread.

7.  Print and organise the 15,000 photos I've got ready for snapfish. 

8.  I'd like a doggie, a little westie named Trevor (wuff wuff) 

9.  Write something, not to be published, but I think I have a short story in me, prob of the Mills and Boon calibre... I'd like to pen something anyhow. 

10.  Get back to my rightful place on breakfast telly... 

Right, so I'm not that ambitious, I'll have these boxed off no doubt!  

xx Emma-Louise 

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Father's Day at our house (week late no breafast in bed)

I was asked by Roberts Bakery to throw a little surprise Father's Day Breakfast in bed for Mr. C.  On Father's Day, the kids usually make a little card for Mikey.  We don't usually get him a gift, although last year in Tesco on the Monday after, I picked up a gimmicky pint glass 'Dapper Dad', it was reduced to about 50p, so he got that!

He says he's not bothered, I'm bothered about Mother's Day, I like the fuss, and now Lizzy is older, she drags her poor old Dad round the Trafford Centre looking for the perfect gift.  The days of homemade necklaces are behind me... but how fetching they looked!
Morning face, wooden bead bling! 
So last week on Father's Day weekend, we had chance to off our kids on the Saturday night, sod Father's Day morning, off the kids went to stay over with Nana and Granddad. This week, I tried to get up earlier than Mr. C, but he was out running before I could get the toaster on! 

So here we are all of us having breakfast come brunch, as usual for convenience, all of us having something different... 

Thinking about the bread from Roberts Bakery, we use the half white/half wholemeal loaf, very nice bread and worth noting, it was 50p less than the other big brands (in Morrisons anyhow).  Roberts Bakery sells itself on being light and fluffy, yes I concur, very fluffy and soft, even after a few days, we shopped for this Weds and it was still good going on Sunday morning.  A fairly local, lesser known brand, we should be supporting bakeries such like. I'll always look them out now anyhow. 

Going back to Fathers Day, Mr. C I don't think he really does mind, us skimming over it that is, we did pick him up some chocolates and a beautiful Man City keyring (these were late too....).  I didn't even upload a picture of him with the kids last Sunday (I am crap aren't I?).  But bless him, he knows we love him every Sunday... and besides he's not my dad...
Found this on her laptop, ah she loves him xx

See this link for those that got breakfast in bed right, I love all the homemade cards, very sweet.

xx Emma-Lou

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Blissful Sunday Morning... (no kids allowed)

We're quite lucky in terms of having evening babysitters; mostly because we'd leave them with pretty much anybody... We use a company that send round babysitters who are qualified in child-centred occupations.  I prefer to use this service, yes we have to pay, but it's not ridiculously pricey, they don't need too much notice and you don't have to clean your house ready for them coming. 

Now, where we're really lucky is, the grandparents have the kids overnight... and that is without being dramatic, blissful.  It's not so much being able to get out in the evening (although we always get out and do something nice); it's the next morning.  There is nothing better than waking up under you own bidding... having a Sunday feel like Sunday.  

So this morning, I come down, it's not like we want to sleep all morning... it was a respectable 9:30, Mr C on hearing me up and about made me coffee, there he is looking all relaxed actually reading the Sunday paper.... I snuggle next to him and finish my book. 

I quickly sort washing, organise dishes, even this without the kids around, is a joy, it takes me no time, I listen to the radio... I haven't had a child mithering for potato cakes or can I listen to her practising 'It's hard knock life'. 

We nip out for brekkie on Beech Road, we see people waltzing by; wouldn't it be nice to live round here they're thinking, we do!  But only really see the inside of community halls attending birthday parties.    

The holiday is over, he's gone to fetch the kids... I'm nipping to Morrisons for the weekly shop! 

(can't really complain mind, I've got a relaxation day this afternoon in a posho hotel... Father's Day is postponed here until next weekend, then the kids can jump all over him with bacon butties and novelty gifts) 

xx Emma-Lou

Monday, 15 June 2015

Booze and Emma-Lou

How much do you drink?  It's a tricky question?  How honest are people in their reply.  People have me pegged as drinking a lot, mostly as I do show off a bit on FB! From time to time I take stock and look at my intake. I don't think I drink too much; well not enough to worry about, I tend not to binge drink (people will be spitting their coffee out with this statement... but I'll come back to it).
So, in a normal week, I'll do my shopping, mental list, bread, milk, cat food, red wine... I do buy one bottle of red wine every week on my weekly shop.  I tend not to drink Monday and Tuesday (not sure why these days are left out, but I try and head to bed earlier on these nights as per my new year resolution).  So Weds/Thurs/Friday that bottle of red wine, will be one or two small glasses after tea, when I'm settling down.  To be honest I'm a bit weak when it comes to red wine, even one small glass has me giddy, I certainly wouldn't be able to drive I don't think. 
Saturday, Mr C and will share a bottle of something (Cava is my Saturday booze of choice), I'll always have a little port before bed (okay, okay it's not to be described as a small measure, a hefty measure of port... I love the stuff!).
Sunday, I might have a bottle of two of beer if we head out visiting, or perhaps a glass of wine. Sunday evening, I usually have one or two glasses of wine.
Now, if I go partying, out for dinner, clubbing, work do's, BBQs, weddings, christenings, hen do's, etc I will drink more, and I won't lie, I do get more than a bit pissed.   These occasions, aren't that often perhaps once a month? What's funny about me, I'm not mad keen on cocktails or shots (obv I will drink a shot if one is foisted on me, but I can live without it). My drink repertoire: wine, water, coffee, port, Becks.... and Pimms on a sunny day).
Is that a lot, when in the past I've tried working out units... I get confused... but I don't think it's enough to worry about? 
Anyhow, what got me thinking of this, I was asked by Eisberg to try some alcohol free wine!  I know; me!  At first I was like "As if!"... I'm big and clever, I don't drink alcohol free booze...
But on thinking about it I thought 'yes', I'll give it a try.  So I did, I opted for a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.  Taste wise, yes I liked it a lot, it doesn't necessarily taste unlike alcohol.  I'd liken it to a really sweet bottle of red.  Worth noting for those diet conscious, it's really low in calories. 
It was honoured to use my posho Malbec glass
So would I drink this again, do you know what, I would.  As it goes, I don't like to have more than a beer or small glass during the day (I try to hang on till early evening).  There are loads of occasions when not drinking is a better idea... when you're miles from home and would prefer to drive, when you're up the duff, breastfeeding, have kids about.  If I went to an afternoon party and this was in the offering, I'd certainly choose it over a soft drink (I've an aversion to fizzy drinks that are on tap in pubs). 
Just this Friday I went to a BBQ, I noticed a lady (who actually was very kind and drove me home) was drinking alcohol free beer.  She was clearly having a good time, she danced and joined in the merriment.  Perhaps too much emphasis is put on having to drink to unwind and you need it to have fun.  Surely, chatting and relaxing with friends, and the actual event is the key feature?
I don't know, perhaps I'll take stock again, but if Eisberg was available on one of my Sunday drives out to a rural pub, I'd deffo have one.
xx Emma-Lou
This was actually my beverage of choice this Saturday evening!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Thursday drinks out.... Revolution Wilmslow

So out and about again, on the back of my little here blog!  This time to Revolution in Wilmslow.  I'd been in touch with their events organiser, Nicola and she'd invited me for a meal and cocktails.  As if I need inviting twice!  
Serious Blogger Selfie

So of course, mid-week I took Priya, one of these days I will take faithful old Mr. C on one of my blogging outings, but it seems a shame to pay a babysitter, when Priya is equally as faithful and keen! 

I have been to Revolution quite a bit, well the one in town on Oxford Road, I work at the University so it's a staple party venue, and we've used their function room upstairs loads.  Always, well organised, with light food and drinks vouchers.  Nicola mentioned Oxford Road was the first in the branch of Revolution bars. 

So a couple of Thursday's ago.  I bobbed over to Wilmslow, Revolution.  Wilmslow itself is proper smart, driving through the village; it's bar upon bar of flash looking places.  Parking was easy enough at the back (or front, not sure, it has entrances from the main road and a bigger entrance near to the carpark).  

I was impressed the minute I stepped in, Wilmslow Rev' is a smart looking bar, so slick in layout and so stylishly done out.  Nicola was enthusiastic to show me round, it's almost devious in design, as you wouldn't expect to turn corners and see such space. The function spaces can be adapted to suit smaller hen type parties or larger work/corporate dos.  I'd certainly like my Christmas party to be held upstairs, you'd feel like a VIP heading there (of course I did; I am celeb blogger these days).   

Food, really nice, menu a nice read giving a good description, I was between a few things, but went for burittos (pulled salted beef); Pri had a burger, when I say burger, it's not like just a burger, lifted from the menu "Smoked cheddar, streaky bacon, BBQ fried onions, Wotsits, smokinnaise, chorizo ketchup"... yeah nice. Food nicely served, attentive service, friendly. 

I'd eat them all me... difficult to choose

Of course, to give a good review I had to have a couple of cocktails.... I'm nothing if not thorough! A good few to choose from, first I had 'The English Windmill'; I don't actually go in for cocktails; but if I do, I go for old-school 'Long Island Iced Tea'. But I'm glad I opted for a change.  The drinks look good as they arrive and are obviously mixed well as they taste really nice (very alcoholic but not wince-ingly so, nice alcoholic!). 

Priya chose my next one... not sure I get her point... 
It's called a smug b*, I'd be insulted but it tasted so good!

Summing up, Wilmslow Revolution is worth a trip, it has a nice vibe, a twist on a usual bar menu, and cocktails that would make any night a riot! 

xx Emma-Lou 

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Girls night in with Macmillian

The things I do for charity.... 

Last night a mate invited me round for a girls night in party round at hers.  Ah she'd obviously gone to a lot of trouble, with lovely food and wine a plenty.  She'd sent off from Macmillian, for lovely green table wear, and lovely green three tiered cake stands.

One of the girls had organised party games, very silly really, us with sticky bits of paper stuck to our foreheads, I was Audrey Hepburn... (who knew she was Belgian). Prior to the party she'd emailed round asking us for three interesting facts, this ended up a riot, guessing which fact belonged to who.  From this I gleaned I have very interesting friends: 

  • One of us streaked at a cricket match 
  • One of us got dry-humped by a prolific indie-band super star (unless it was all in her imagination ----clue----)
  • One of is a descendent of a nobel prize winner 
  • One of us is a div and wore clear framed glasses to a job interview without realising one of the lens had come out (yes that was me)
Ahh... loveheart girls night in!

We had a little raffle, some prizes were better than others (The Jackie Collins novel was a hoot!).  I picked up, a bag of swizzels sweeties (worth the tenner I paid in raffle tickets alone), bubble bath and a bath pillow.  
What a win, have jaw-ache now though!

So with a little organising, one of you host the event at your gaff and lay on a bit of food, one of you do some little games (my fave was win, lose or draw), the others bring bottles of fizz and a few quid. 

Lindsey my pal raised £150 for Macmillian, we had a riot, win win! 

Now the weather is warming, a great excuse to get your girls round and do a little bit for a wonderful charity, link here MacMillian Night In

xx Emma-Lou 

Friday, 5 June 2015

The start of a beautiful relationship and the demise of another... Hungry House & BB

When I was at Blog On a few weeks ago, I picked up a little voucher from Hungry House, the takeaway ordering website.  To be honest, ordering the takeaway falls under Mr C's remit, and he usually uses JustEat.  Anyhow, we had a lovely meal (think it was Thai the first time), and Hungry House got in touch and asked me did I want another voucher and would I like to do a little review.  Now, who'd turn down takeaway food?  My little here blog is moving forward and I'm to do reviews it seems... Fancy one day I might get a luxury cruise... 

It was a big night for us....
My 27th birthday fell on the Saturday of the last bank holiday weekend, so we'd been out for slap up meal in town. We wouldn't usually have a takeaway on a Sunday, but with it being an extended weekend and we'd been gearing up to this particular night... our final episode of Breaking Bad.  I can't tell you how much I've loved having Walt and co in my life for the last 12 months, it's with a sad heart we finished the series (I might future blog my BB enthusiasm).  

So as I say Mr C usually orders the takeaway (bless him), in years gone by we'd phone through orders and then have to scrabble round for cash in the house; more than once we had to break into the kids money banks.  It's miles better being able to pay securely online, also having a menu there on screen is handy (instead of pulling out your rubbish correspondence kitchen drawer trying to locate the dog-eared Indian menu). 

Info gleaned from Mr C about his ordering experience using Hungry House (and comparing to JustEat): 
  • The website looks better, well designed (and frankly like they've spent money on it)
  • The choice of outlets to our postcode is great, can't think of a cuisine we weren't able to access 
  • After your transaction is complete, an email is generated, confirming your order and notifying you of any time changes that might occur

So we used, Bella House a Chinese and Oriental establishment, they got my thumbs up as soon as I unearthed this beauty. 
Mr C's favourite price!

Nice food, delivered in good time, pleasant exchange on the doorstep, would be keen to use again.  

We liked Hungry House so much we used them again the next night (greedy piggies that weekend!), we used them for Thai at Wendy Thai Fusion, we've eaten here before and been impressed with the quality of food.  So it's worth noting the choice of eateries isn't limited to straight up takeaway places. 

So, to sum up, cheers...
To, Walt, Jessie, Saul, Hungry House...
I kid you not I really did toast Breaking Bad. 

xx Emma-Lou