Monday, 25 May 2015

Everybody should have one....

I'm a lucky girl, I get loads of birthday pressies from hub, I won't list them, that would be showing off, but I get an eclectic mix of bits and pieces, he's very thoughtful.  

I wanted to share my best present ever.... wait for this, I only got a Buddha Light, it's amazing...  check out this bad boy!

Ambience Incarnate! 
Only problem is, the kids keep lifting it, robbing bloody swines.  Mr C is a good soul, he's just gone online and ordered them one.  Reckon our Willow could do with some Buddha wisdom and calm!

On the box it links to a FB page: 50fiftygifts... I want the other 49 for Christmas...

It gives off a good glow at bedtime... honestly I love it!  As pressies go, it's up there as a favourite (well just behind a pair of sparkly gold, open-toe, KG heels). 

xx Emma-Lou 

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Older Wiser... probably not!

With my birthday looming...  How can I be thirty-bloody-five... how has this happened, time flies and all that...

So things I know now that I didn't know back then:

1.  I don't like olives, no matter how many I force down, I'm never going to like them.  I'm comfortable these days with looking a little bit unsophisticated when they get passed round... (I mutter I prefer black ones... those too are rank though!).

2.  Everybody in the world has their own stuff going on.  My woe isn't novel, everybody has their own share of mither.

3.  Other mums in the playground, they don't particularly care what I'm doing or not doing.  They themselves are trying to work out how to drop off/run into Tesco/ wrap that present while wondering if they owe Brownie subs.   If I've rushed past and they've not said 'Hi' when I said 'Hi' first... chances are they're mentally replying to a text message and haven't seen me!  Nobody in real (adult) life actually really does go round  'blanking' people.  

4.  Things always come round... in work, in life.... people who you might think are getting away with being a shit... or lazy... but seem to get ahead of you... they fall down, it might take a while.. but they get found out (and it's not big of me... but I always smirk when they do). 

5.  Nobody can tell if you've put on a few pounds... it'd take a good half-stone to look even slightly bigger. 

6.  Linen doesn't need ironing... it's a waste of life. 

7.  Rising above it is quite often the best course of action.. and it winds the argumentative type right up when you shrug your shoulders and think 'whatever'. 

8.  Acquaintances become just that, you have less friends, but the ones you keep hold of, are old and trusty. 

9.  Mixing your drinks is a good idea; it makes for a funny night. 

10.  Those make over shoots you were sold back in the 90s by Olan Mills were a waste of money, they made you look daft.  
I was 17... they made me look twice that!  I should sue! 

xx Emma-Lou

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Read all about it... Emma-Lou makes tabloid news... (not page 3)

So I had a bee in my bonnet last week about a fly poster I saw outside our library.  I snapped it on my phone and uploaded the image to our local resident FB group.  From there it ran and ran, all week the notifications kept coming, a hundred plus people liked the photo and the comments were mostly supporting my viewpoint.  Obviously this a FB group, so of course I got called a range of swearwords and comments implying that I'm an art ignoramus and anti freedom of speech.  

The poster? Here it is now (giving it even more coverage, three people read this blog they'll be scandalised and have to burn their eyes out... sorry).

copyright ELC!

I stand by my outrage.  There are few reasons why I take umbrage (love that word), but these are some of them...

  • It's inappropriate to children, gun images are a no-no! It's right outside a children's crossing, by the library. 
  • It trivialises suicide, one person on the thread posted guidelines from the Samaritans of how this type of thing can be dangerous to vulnerable people. 
  • It's bleak, and needlessly so, yes, the Conservatives got in...  but we can unite in a reasoned voice, join political parties, protest, donate more to food banks. Suggesting HOPE is lost is such a bad message. 
  • It makes me a Leftie from Chortlon look bad. This is not my view, I have not been sharing all those Huffington posts... I don't buy into this propaganda!

Anyhow, the reason of my post isn't so much the point of my blog.  This article featured in the Daily Mirror newspaper. 

"Tory street artist sparks anger with 'hope' poster" Daily Mirror 

I cannot believe that this article on the back of my post was given over as news.  My little photo taken on my phone was the centre of the piece, all my comments were quoted.  I was dubbed 'angry'... as if, I was mildly miffed. Now I'll be forever known as 'angry of Chorlton'.

The whole article was lifted from the thread. Wow!  I thought as a journalist you have to write pieces and research a bit more than trawling through Facebook?   Maybe, at least like phone somebody up for their direct opinion?  I was really surprised not to have been expressly contacted. Not that I mind, of course I fully realise that everything I write in a public group, is of course public. But to have it lifted to a national news website gave me a bit of shock!  Fortunately, I don't mind the whole world knowing my political leanings (Labour party member for those that think I might be a shy Tory and scared to say), I write a blog, have been on breakfast telly, I'm not shy of giving over my viewpoint.  It was just a big surprise to be used in such a way. 

So there you have it, be careful what you post on social media... it might end up in the tabloid press.... or at least in a really massive blog... 

xx Emma-Louise 

PS I'm not a art ignoramus... I know loads about art; I've got posters of Albert Cuyp's work on my bedroom wall (Dutch artist who painted cows)

Saturday, 16 May 2015

New Dawn Fades... Leeds will tear us apart....

I ventured from Manchester last night to see a play in Leeds. Was a right faff getting there, organising work and kids, but we made it on the train with seconds to spare.  I was never more glad to see two plastic glasses and bottle of fizz come out of Priya's handbag (we have to have a little drink on the journey!). Time was so tight we had to make ourselves beautiful on the train.  Well it was easy for me as I realised I'd left my dress hung up on the back of the bedroom door.... useful that! 

Anyhow we dumped our bags, and raced off to theatre... to the wrong theatre, which was a smidge embarrassing!  The City Varieties Music Hall was the actual place, a gorgeous looking place.  I was told about thirty times that Charlie Chaplin played there once.  Joking aside; the venue looks the part; old-fashioned upholstery adds to the theatre experience, dahling. 

So New Dawn Fades, is a play/story about Joy Division.  It covers more than that though, it's about the scene at the time, Tony Wilson, Manchester, Factory. Running through there's another dimension; it centres round the troubled being of Ian Curtis.  As it goes I know and love Joy Division, I knew Ian was ill with depression, epilepsy, insomnia.  I didn't realise how debilitating this was for him, this portrayal is nailed by Michael Whittaker's performance, in years to come, I'll look back at this lad and remember I saw him early on and he was a genius then. 'Shadowplay' was almost uncomfortable to watch; the awkward mannerisms of Ian Curtis were perfectly done but not overdone.  

I don't want to make it sound bleak; but fact of matter is, it is.  It doesn't end well (sorry hoping not being a big, fat #spoiler).  Tony Wilson bolting in with funny quips, mostly taking the piss out of himself, levels out the melancholy.  Ian Lee Joseph is genius in this role, with every flick of his scarf, Tony himself could have been on that stage. 

Ian Curtis
The final scenes, I've never been so moved in theatre.  Beautifully done.  Suicide needs to be discussed.  It's seen by some as a selfish act, perhaps I've thought that myself.  Ian's suicide wasn't the act of selfishness, god no, it brings to light the desperation of one young man who was on the brink of massive things. 

On a lighter note, the after drinks and bars were great.  Well I mean, I drunk loads of red wine.  I chatted with the writer and producers and agreed with them on this.  If Tony and Ian were with us, they'd be happy with the play. 

Go and see this, the last date is Friday 22nd May at the Dancehouse Theatre in Manchester.   

xx Emma-Lou 

PS Show is also playing in Bury, on Wednesday 20th May! More info will follow...xx

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

A to Z of Me

A to Z of me... idea stolen from Ally from MessedUpMum

A-Z of me!

We're so proud of our lovely lad Willow, who is about to be diagnosed with autism.  We play it down, I hardly mention it, it's not a big thing.  We decided that Willow will always be a child with autism not an autistic child. 

When I was 16; I went on a 18-30 holiday to Benidorm; looking back it was grim, but I bet at the time, I revelled in it and had a riot!

We live in Chorlton in Manchester and I feel at home here, I can't see us ever moving out of the area. 

I prefer dogs to cats (but don't tell my two pussycats Jimmy and Betty).  

I'm funny about the hyphen in my name Emma-Louise, I might say I don't but if you call me Emma, I get the hump!

I probably give my kids fish fingers far more than I should. 

Great Expectations is fabulous and I truly believe that anybody who hasn't read it, is missing out. 

I love overnight stays in hotels; I love the little freebie shampoos, very well made tucked in beds, black out curtains and breakfast buffets. 

I loathe and detest In the Night Garden; Macka Pakka and his curly bum freak me out! 

I've always fancied Jason from Take That. 

I have a dodgy right knee; it creaks  and pains when I stand up and use the stairs, I wonder it might be an idea to go on a waiting list for knee replacement now.  

My daughter Lizzy makes me laugh and smile every single day. 

My mum died a couple of years ago; and I miss her very much. 

I'm an optimist; even in light of this new government. 

I'm saving Northanger Abbey by Jane Austin; it's the only one I haven't read, but once I've read it, that's the whole catalogue... so I'll keep it a while longer. 

I love port; sad but true. 

The Queen is Dead is by far the best album of my life.... take me out tonight, where there's music, and there's people, who are young and alive....

I'm a massive bookworm; I love reading.  My reading list is varied, high-brow literature to absolute trash. 

I've four siblings:  Lynne-Marie, Sarah-Jayne, Lucy-Anne and bro Ben.   

I've been married this time for thirteen years; I love being married, my husband is a stud. 

I'm very proud to work at the University of Manchester.

My favourite place in the whole world is the Vondelpark in Amsterdam; it reminds me of my honeymoon and the days when we didn't have to go on holiday with our children (oh how I'd love a city break with just Mr C. Is it frowned upon to check your kids into a children's home for a couple of nights?). 

My maiden name is Wilkinson; which I much prefer to my married name. 

Weirdly, I do my bit with eXercise; I gym and run quite a bit. 

My favourite colour is yellow

The worst holiday we ever had was in Zante

xx Emma-Lou

Tagging in: 

Kezzer WifeMumStudentBum  (you've probably already done this mate) 

Cheryl EardleyBird 

Catherine FromLittleThings

Blogging about Blogging....

It's been well over a year since I started my little old blog.  I have come and gone with it; but more recently over the last couple of months, I've really got into the whole blogging community. 

I've been asked why I write it? What do I get out of it? Will I keep it up? Does anybody read it?  

Answering those questions:  

Errr why?  

I like writing, I especially enjoy writing a really long-winded facebook comment, I write quite easily.  I write as I talk, it's been spotted from those who know me in real life, my voice and style of conversation comes through (i.e. all over the place, making no sense for the most part, but quickly wrapping it up in the end!).  I hope I've raised a small laugh to at least one person out there with my silly insight. 

What do I get out of it?  

Lots!  As as I say, I enjoy the actual writing of it, you know good to have a little hobby!   I get little outings out of it.  I went to the BlogOn conference and was laden down with goody bags.  I've met some lovely people, who have happily shared knowledge and time with me about the intricacies of blogging.  I also read more blogs as I'm blogging and have been entertained and informed, there are some amazing blogs out there (obvs not as good as mine like!) 

Will I keep it up? 

I think so, I do come and go with it, and that's fine.  My blog will always be there.  I'd like in the future to be more open and honest about things that go on with me, perhaps I'll open up more of my life as I get into the swing of things (don't be excited about anything scandalous coming through.... suppose I could make stuff up to spice it up a bit!). 

Does anybody read it? 

I think so, my view count is high (by my low standard), people in the playground comment they like it, one famous DJ indie star of the 90s likes it (and his ma). People have emailed and made comment that they've connected with me in small ways.  My 'health anxiety' post was well received and from that I had a couple of people say "good to know I'm not the only one with these mad crazy worries".  Again in that blog, I make light of a serious worry I have; that's how I feel comfortable writing.  One day, I'll flip over and fill these pages with pure unadulterated misery!  

The future? 

Well who knows... perhaps glamour magazine will pick me up to do a column... I don't know.  Since BlogOn I've had one or two little offers to write about a few products, I might do a few of those.  Any invitation to go somewhere, I'm unlikely to turn down (I'd go anywhere to have an outing away from my kids), so I'll keep up with that.  I'll keep writing about me, the kids and hub and our life as the mood takes me.  Don't want any pressure you know, as I say I love it, don't want it to become tiresome and chore like.  One thing is clear though, the girls I've met who have amazing, slick, well read blogs, work bloody hard at it and deserve all the credit they get. 

Me, I'll keep playing at it and you just never know, some famous film maker director type might pick it up and make it into a film... of course they'd cast me to play me... 

xx Emma-Lou 

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Blog on at MOSI - fully fledged delegate...

So my first blogging conference.  Blog On.  I only got a late waiting list place, so the event crept up on me.  From getting my ticket on Thursday it was on my mind: 

What to expect? 
    What will they (not sure who the 'they' actually are) think of me? 
         Will they think I'm a big fat fraud? 
              What if they ask me hard questions? 
                   What if nobody likes me? 
                         What will I wear? 

Other concerns were,  will my husband actually kill our children having to fend for himself, him against them all day on a Saturday (it was touch and go!). 

I love MOSI and was glad of an excuse to use their conference space (as a PA I'm always nosy for what's available). I lined up for registration, at this point I was at my most nervous, everybody was dead pally and seemed to know each other.  Once I got through and steadied my nerves with a cuppa, I was calmer and chatting to other girls (I only recall seeing one dude, so I will refer to you all as the fairer sex, sorry to said gentleman). 

The opening session, was from Nickie O'Hara...  I got fired up about getting on top of my many to-do lists, and get organised, following her talk on time management.  As a PA, I'm great at work, making lists, getting organised, prioritising tasks coming in, juggling many projects at once (at the same timing answering emails/phone calls and looking after academics coming in needing me to hold their hand when they need a post it note from the stationery cupboard!).  But this proactive approach hasn't transpired over to my blogging life... Well I'm making a special trip to Paperchase to buy a beautiful notebook, specially for all my marvellous ideas and plans!   This notebook will transform me into a super-duper blogger... mark my words! 

The second session was about cameras and photos, I was impressed with the photography displayed by Jenny Soppet Smith.  I realised that with a little effort and learning to edit my photos they might look half decent. I will work on it.  What about this for a photo, mostly with Jenny, I was impressed by her leggings. 
Vlogging... I'm not sure I'm brave enough just yet, but it was interesting to hear how this medium is taking off.  Who knows, perhaps I'll be massive on youtube, but I worry my Scouse accent becomes a million times thicker when the camera rolls. 

Lunch, all very tasty, was nice to take a minute to sit down and chat with a lovely new blogger Cheryl Eardly, she was a giggle, as new and thick to all the blogging jargon as I am.  The beginner blogger session, was interesting, and perhaps a lesson that I should learn more about the intricacies of how it all works.  

The stands outside were brill, I was nervous at first, but was gassing along like the best of them after a few stalls.  I loved the hula-hoop (I was rubbish), and was massively impressed with the wallpapering (in the past, wallpapering hasn't worked out for me! But I'd certainly use that brand). Not sure how or why I agreed to this, but I may have to clean my oven... for the good of mankind (and Oven Pride)... I'll attempt this. 
The things I'll do in the quest for fame!

Now, here is where I started to really enjoy myself, I've known Kerrie (Wife, Mum, Student Bum) for a few years and she's a love and a riot, she was dead good to me, when I say good, inching us nearer to the prosecco stand (thanks to TheCo-op).  From here, we hooked up with Ally (Messedupmum) who I met at another do (think we could be kindred spirits), and a truly lovely lady Philippa (Soundinglikemymother).  Well the four of us got quite squiffy, there was just so much fizzy wine. 
The Co-op know how to throw a party!

Back for the last session, sorry to say, I was on the giggly naughty table (I blame Kerrie).  To give real appreciation to NortonMum, her poetry always makes me smile, she's a real talent, and I actively follow her blog. 
Networking and all that...
Goody bags!  errr WOW... I wasn't expecting to be so spoilt!  I'm a girl who likes random items, in no particular order, my top five:  

      e-cloths (for wiping down and washing up, very handy, I love em')
      Beautiful buttons (not sure when I'll use them but they're so pretty) 
      Note book (ewe are my sunshine with a lovely picture of a sheep on it it, get it)
      Drumstick MEGA lollies (gorgeousness on a stick) 
      Fox waterbottle (my daughter has her eye on this) 

'My' water bottle
I won the toy prize, I never win anything, so to win a handful of toys... I gave a hell of a whoop.  I'll blog separately about the dinosaur, but my little lad received all the toys with giddy excitement, very cute to see (Brainstorm Ltd Toys) 

With all these bags, I was literally stranded in town and had to call my husband to fetch me, I think he thought I was being dramatic, but once he saw all my bags he understood, as a thanks for the lift I shared my takeaway voucher (from Hungry House), I'm good like that.  

Saving my biggest thank you till last; Laura Seaton, wow you pulled it off, and never once looked flustered or fed up!  Well done mate, I can't wait until next year!  

xx Emma-Lou

Monday, 4 May 2015

Chorlton Fun Running

See, very pretty
For a few years; me and Lizzy have taken part in the Chorlton Fun Run.  It's ace, there's two distances, 1.5k or a longer 6k.  It's a very pretty run out, through the nature paths in Chorlton. 

Very lucky to live two mins from all this nature

Today was a momentous occasion; Mr Willow's first run; and bless him he was ace. Here he is, in an action shot! 

He didn't want his number on, so I sneaked it on his back!

Of course a pre-run-selfie

Miss Lizzy ran the longer distance with her mates; it's a long way I reckon 6k in the sun, one of the dads went round with the girls, and bless him I'm guessing he had his work cut out, keeping motivation up!   Here's my girl, finishing in style with a sprint.   Bless she was knackered after the run; pink and puffed out, she did really well to run so far. 
Is it a bird... 
Taking it very seriously

So we're a family of runners.... dead fit and all that! 

As if... 


xx Emma-Lou 

Friday, 1 May 2015

Fancy pants hair do

I was invited along (my blogger status is rising!) to TopNotch Hair and Beauty to celebrate the launch of their express blow dry service.  TBH I wasn't really sure what I was expecting, maybe I thought I'd get a shampoo and blow dry.  What I got was so much better, I got a proper posh hair do. 
TopNotch is based in Eccles, dead easy to find off the M602, I say that, I didn't drive, my steadfast PlusOne and driver, Pri managed to get us there without hitch.  There's a car park nearby, as it was an evening after 6pm affair, the car park was free, but from memory it was minimal charge (maybe a pound or two).  From there it's only a two minute walk (if that). 
The Salon is a busy, lively shop.  A nice waiting area, was warmly welcomed.  They must of knew I was coming as they got the Bellini in!
Fizz Fizz
So the stylist talked to be about what was on offer, showing me a few photos; but aside from this she asked me if there were any styles I'd seen or fancied.  I quite liked the 'Go Fish' style.  So, she started plaiting...
17 minutes later, and ta-da... this is my amazing hair. 


Priya had a looser style and it made her colour look fab.

So the service they're launching is an express for going out hair, wedding hair, that sort of thing.  These hair styles can be done in 20 minutes.  If you want your hair washing it'll take a little longer (with a little more expense); but these 'up' styles work better the day after a wash. 
The thing with my style, it'll hold all day from a day do through to an evening wedding reception and that's exactly why I'm booking in for the couple of weddings I have this summer.  I really was impressed with the speed, service and friendliness of the whole set up.  The girls said appointments aren't always necessary, so call in.
Once I was styled ready for a hair model shoot (ideas above my station); they gave me a little tour of the beauty area upstairs.  This has been so nicely furnished and decorated and has a sort of spa calmness to each of the rooms.  Clearly someone with a know-how of the industry has designed the space.
Two problems following my hair do:  1.  All dressed up and nowhere to go (we felt we had to sport our new hair do's somewhere so went for pizza and red wine at the Nip and Tipple near us in Chorlton); and 2. Morning hair was hell... about 30+ kirby clips plus hairspray!

Thanks to my stylist too for the demonstration on how to do fishtail plaits, our Lizzy was well impressed with my skills the next morning.
xx Emma-Lou