Thursday, 29 April 2010

Election Edition Part 1 - Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrats

Ok so the first day of my local ‘campaign trail’. My aim in writing all of these is to remain as neutral as possible so that you get mainly their opinions (although it’s killing me not to add my thoughts and/or sarcasm after every answer!)   I trotted off in my lunch break to meet Mike Willis, the Liberal Democrat candidate for my Area.  Mike had invited me to meet him at his home which I presumed would be a large pile somewhere in the Country but turned out to be a modern flat that was ultra sleek and minimalistic.

I could describe Mike by saying that he is a Train Spotter who runs a radio station from his back room and whilst this is indeed true, I’m not sure that it gives a very fair impression of him! He talks a lot and struck me as being a typical Politican but was very welcoming and entertaining and I hope this comes across in the interview.  Before you start reading you might want to grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine ‘cos it’s a long one!!!

On to the questions:

I’ll start with a nice easy question! Why should I vote Lib Dem next week?
Ok three reasons: 1) we actually care about the community 2) we really have costed all the programmes that we want to do. Much brighter and much more costed and a more positive future than the other 2 parties who have messed us up for 65 years! Our future is us and we are part of Europe and we have to admit that.

So how did you get into politics in the first place?
Utter frustration. About 4 years ago I was sitting on my bottom chuntering and muttering away about how awful the Country was, as indeed we all do. I was a member of the old Liberal party and used to part of the Conservatives.  So, 4 years ago I got out all of the manifestos and said which one resonates with me, which one can I identify with and far above everything it was the Liberal Democrats. 

So you didn’t fancy the Monster Raving Loony Party?
No, the reason being I didn’t like the colours!!! (he was joking by the way!!)

Who do you think will win the election?
I have no idea and if you can tell me who is going to win it then I would get down to the betting shop quickly and put your bets on!  It’s a three horse race....all three are within a point of each other but the current voting system favours Labour.

What  if, as I think it will, it goes to a hung parliament? Positives? Negatives? 
I think it’s all positive. Over 60 Countries in the world have coalition governments including Germany the most thriving economy in Europe.

What about the negatives?
I can’t see any because it means there will be talent from two parties in one government rather than preferment of one party in the government. There will be some yelling and screaming and the media will make a show of it as usual.  Really it’s only the Conservatives and the Media that are afraid of a Hung Parliament.

What do you personally do in the local community that voters may not be aware of?
I do a huge amount.  When I started this campaign, I decided Emma that I wouldn’t take the camera around with me and I haven’t. I have met virtually all the Community groups now in the Town and surrounding Villages and sat down and had a cup of tea with them.  I have met 60% of the different pressure groups in the Area. I am a Trustee at JSH. I decided that I didn’t want to be a cheesy politician who turns up in deprived Areas to take a picture and then whips off down the road again, that’s not my style.

I am a Single Mother who works to try and make the best life for my Daughter and I, when actually I’m not that much better off financially than sitting at home on benefits.  What incentives would you as party offer to me to make work a worthwhile option?
Under Liberal Democrat policy you wouldn’t pay anything at all on the first £10,000 of your salary, that’s on average that’s about £700 a year more in your pocket. We want to put much more money into Primary and early years education that means you could have more of an opportunity to either be with your child in the Nursery or Reception class or you can leave them there and then go to work.  These are proposals and I’m not going to fib to you, they do need to be costed but this is a first year aspiration.

What is your party’s stance on Immigration? Should we allow it, should we put a cap on it? In some area’s i.e. Boston/Peterborough there is a strain on resources i.e. maternity wards, schools etc. How would you deal with this?
First of all under the EU rules we have no control under EU migration in every direction. While places like Boston have a huge Polish community, I have to tell you that places like Spain, Portugal and Italy have a huge numbers of British people living there so it’s the other way round. 

Now, what will we do about immigration?  For non EU Countries, there will be no cap. First of all we’ll count ‘em in and count ‘em out . Re-establish and give proper powers to the Borders Police Force which Labour got rid of. In terms of the numbers, people will only be able to come here if they have proper jobs in a specific industry, in a specific place and that job is guaranteed by the Employer.

How will you run the NHS? I read yesterday on the BBC website that Nick Clegg is giving Nurses more decision making power?  Surely we need to concentrate on clean wards and treatments rather than decision making or pen pushing?
It’s funny you should say that because what Nick Clegg was actually talking about was the huge amount of bureaucracy and pen pushing in the NHS. 41% of all staff in the NHS are Managers which is totally outrageous and 30% of these Managers could go immediately because nobody would know that they’d gone. What we actually need is less Managers and more Nurses.

The way our Pensions work is changing and so at the moment I’ll have to work until I’m the grand old age of 68. I currently pay into a private Pension Scheme so my questions are a) what age will I actually have to work too and b) why should I get less of a state Pension just because I pay into a private scheme?
We quite agree! What we are saying is you don’t have to work until you’re 68, I don’t know where you’ve heard that but that’s not true!  (Pension Forecast on the HRWS aware that I need to get out more!!!)  Labour put that out as a frightener! Our plan is quite simple, if you work past the retirement age of 60 and 65 the income tax/capital gains on your private pension will disappear. The tax bill will be 5% on income of over £10,000 per year which is 12% less than you’d be paying now and you also won’t pay National Insurance.

Where will you make the cuts that are obviously needed?
Managers immediately.

Is that in Government or the NHS or......?
Get rid of the Regional Development Agencies.  Regional Governments....what do they do? We’ll also save a £100 billion on Trident as there is no reason for it.  Our biggest threat quite frankly are Terrorists sitting somewhere with a bomb belt on and walking down the Street.  Do you think Trident is going to worry them? I don’t think so! The other way that we will save money is with Aeroplanes. At the moment they are flying around with no-one in them as they only pay when they have over a certain amount of Passengers.  What we are going to say is no, no, no, we are going to charge it on the aeroplane whether it’s full or empty.

I work in Education so I’d like to know what cuts you are planning to make in this area?
We’ll get rid of the Quangos, quality assurance rubbish will all go which will then be monitored by one body. We want to get everyone into a Foundation Degree and then onto a BA Honours degree through Colleges which is equal to being at University. So principally there are no cuts.

What about the people that can’t achieve that because they aren’t academic enough? Not everyone is intelligent enough to be able to complete a Foundation Degree or a BA!
We are investing in them so we will ensure that they get to go to College and do practical courses, vocational course.

What about our Troops out in Afghanistan? Will you be bringing them home and how will you do that and secondly will you put more money into the Armed Forces so that when we send them off to fight wars they at least have the kit to do it with.  At the moment it’s quite frankly a disgrace!
What President Obama has said is that within five years the troops will be out. We want to pull out before then but you don’t give a date to the Enemy because then they will just sit back and wait for three years until we have gone.  In terms of the investment you are so morally wrong is it to send our troops into battle without the right kit? The awful thing about Emma is that they knew.  While these Buggers in Whitehall were having cream tea and scones out guys were out there with the wrong kit.

Do you really think Nick Clegg can lead the Country?
Yes and let me explain why. I’ve met Nick personally twice and I think he is one of the most moral men I’ve ever met, if he says it he truly believes it.  He’s a bright, intelligent man who speaks five languages, he is well versed in European law and he can negotiate with Europe in their own language. He is one of the most brilliant negotiators I have ever known.

In the first debate Nick Clegg talked a lot about the expenses scandal in relation to the other two parties but he claimed almost the maximum in allowances.  How will he clean up your party?
That’s one of the most serious questions you’re talking about because you’re talking about fraud and the reason that three MP’s are now in Court. About a year ago Nick Clegg and Vince Cable put together an early motion in the house to look at a white paper to clean up the expenses. This was all before the Daily Telegraph started the printing the stories that led to the whole expenses scandal being revealed and it was totally blocked by Labour and the Conservatives. If I’m elected my expenses would be on the website every year and would be completely public.

Nick speaks five languages. How many do you speak? 
I speak two.

Not a pre-requisite for joining the party then?
Not really, no!!

How would you describe yourself in a Twitter statement i.e. 140 characters? You might need to think about this one and write it down a few times!!!
A funny chum , who knows how to keep his tootsies on the terra firma (51 characters to save you counting!!!)

What is your secret guilty TV pleasure? Is it like Jeremy Kyle or something?
Anything by Jane Austen, absolutely love Jane Austen.

Tell me something about yourself that your voters may not know?
I run a radio station called B24 today, I have one of the smallest cars in the world a Smart Car, I’m an absolute maniac for Technology!!!

And with that I take a couple of pictures of the radio station studio and myself and Mike:

And scurry back off to my day job!   So what are we thinking? Do the Liberal Democrats sound like the right party for you? Have you already decided which way you are voting?  Did I ask the right questions or miss out something crucial? Did Mike answer in enough detail? Did you get a good feel for their policies? Feel free to leave me your thoughts and opinions in the comments!

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Me and My Bright Ideas

After my post last week where I talked about Politics and the election, I decided that I needed to be more pro-active in my approach of deciding who to vote for! Randomly, I thought that it would be a good idea to e-mail Candidates from each Party to see if they would be interviewed for this blog so that we can all make an informed choice.  My Work Colleagues all think that I'm completely and utterly  insane but in the spirit of fairness and to canvas a wide range of opinions, I e-mailed the following:

Liberal Democrats
The Green Party
Monster Raving Loony Party

To say I've been surprised by the response from my local Politicians would be an understatement.  With the exception of two parties, all have been in touch to say they would try and meet with me!!!!!

Today I met the candidate for the Liberal Democrats and I have a meeting set up for tomorrow with the Conservatives!  The others I am in negotiation with to set up meetings and I shan't yet name and shame the two that haven't responded as I'm sure that they are inundated with a major amount of e-mails!

So the next few days around her are going to be Election Central but hopefully not in a boring manner!!! I aim to ask the questions that you would want to ask!!!  Please feel free to e-mail me or leave comments with any suggestions or even comment on if you think I'm completely insane or uninteresting!!!!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Secret Post Club


A while ago, Heather over at Notes from Lapland came up with this brilliant idea to do a blogging gift swap. It's kind of like a Secret Santa and each month we have a new person to send a gift too and we get one from another Blogger. Not only do we each get a present but we also get to meet other Bloggers, who we may not have met before.

Now any of you that know me well will know that I adore presents. Not only receiving them but shopping for other people too! JoJo always thought I was the best birthday present buyer in the World (although I hear on the grapevine her Hubby is pretty fine in this dept too!!) Anyways mixing presents and blogging in my opinion is a pretty fine idea!!!

I'm also one of the least patient people who ever did live but yesterday this came:

A lovely parcel all the way from Australia from a wonderful Lady called April.  You should visit her blog here and show her some love! Inside my parcel was this:

A very apt book for me because obviously I'm a Sexy Mother but I'm all about improvement too!!!  The only thing better than being sent a book:

A copy signed by the Author!!!!  Yikes!!  What a wonderful present to receive in the post.  A huge thank you to April for putting lots of thought into a great gift!  xx

Monday, 26 April 2010

A Lesson in Feelings

Today at Chick's school they had a special after school session for kids and Parents to talk about feelings. The idea behind it is to get kids to open up and talk about their feelings and to understand them a little bit more and for the parents to get involved in the kind of learning that goes on at school.

To be honest I wasn't expecting anything great to come of it and when I turned up at the classroom there were only 3 other parents there. As an aside this is something that really bothers me about Chick's school.....there are not that many working parents (the Mum's are too posh to have to work!!) but I'm the only one who consistently turns up to be involved in things. Always makes me wonder where everyone else is!?!

Anyway, we were given a set of cards with the following words on:






They were blank on the other side and we had to draw pictures explaining what these words mean to us and then discuss the pictures together. This is what makes me happy:

You didn't know I was an artist huh? ;-)

The funny thing about it, was some of the answers that Chick came up with. The Teacher asked her what she was scared of and she said some of the rides at an Amusement Park but she turned it into a positive with 'I'm scared but it makes me giggle! Does that count'? I'm glad that she doesn't have too much to be scared of!!!!

The Teacher then asked Chick what makes me sad and her answer? 'The X Factor'!!! I started laughing and the Teacher is all 'Why does that make Mum sad?'. Chick said 'I don't know but she always cries at it'!!!!! Erm.....busted!! Can't keep any secrets around here! This is Chick's sad picture:

It's a picture of JoJo. I'm not sure if you can read the writing but it says 'Not seeing Nana and JoJo very much'. Awwwww that kid is just so cute!

The biggest lesson for me was something that I guess I already knew but it's always good to be reminded of......The things that make Chick happy are all to do with other people. She didn't mention a single material thing at all. It makes me so full of joy that I made the decision to do less hours as she obviously needs me rather than a bedroom full of toys!!!

Have you learnt any valuable lessons today? Feel free to share as always!!

Friday, 23 April 2010

Something for the Weekend

So, my weekend is shaping up to look a little bit like this........I am hanging out here:

with one of my favourite people:

Tomorrow morning I will mainly be sitting on the dock, watching the river go by, reading my book and loving the silence.  

The evening will be a slightly different story but will still revolve around being lazy relaxing.  I will be ordering pizza online, probably one of these bad boys:

Then I shall be donning my gladrags and hanging out with several of these beautiful Ladies:

The plan for Sunday is to gently recover whilst watching Something for the Weekend (and lusting after Tim Lovejoy) and then take Chick to have a picnic here:

Absolute bliss, I think!!  What are your plans for the weekend???

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Thoughtful Thursday!?!

As I said yesterday, some nights I really struggle with what to write.  Other nights I have so many thoughts I don't know which thread I can go with in a most logical manner.  Tonight is one of those nights so I think maybe I'll just type and see what happens!!!!! (It turns out mainly politics!)

Tonight Chick's Dad came and said that he won't be coming for the next couple of week's as the new baby is due.  It's only taken me 7 months to come to terms with the idea but finally I'm genuinely happy for them.  We also told Chick that she is going to have a new Brother or Sister.  I thought that she'd be thrilled but it turns out she still wants me to have another baby.  Unfortunately I had to explain that it's NEVER GONNA HAPPEN ;-) Bless her.  Actually her first words were 'does that mean I have to have a Step Mum now'!  Poor thing.....we had a long conversation about everything and she seems happy that I'm not forcing her to take on a new step Mum and nor is her Dad!

I've chosen the best time to lose some hours at work.  Today I finished early and the Spring sun was shining.  We got to go to the park and Chick had time to play with her friends as well as eat ice-cream.  Hopefully these are the days she will remember from her childhood....not just being stuck at After School Club!!!

I'm an oddity in the UK and probably the rest of the World in the fact that I only have 5 channels on the TV.  Most nights this doesn't bother me but tonight is the second leg of the Leaders Debate which is on Sky and according to my Twitter stream I'm about the only person not watching it. So that brings me to the next big topic....which way to vote?   I don't know why we have so much secrecy in England surrounding who we vote for, surely it should be open for discussion?

Anyway after watching last week's Leaders Debate I was left wondering how stupid do they think we are? They all wore ties in the colour of their party.  Do they think this is the only way we can identify them? The Sunday Times blames the Americans as apparently this is they way they do things!!! Is this true? How do things work where you live?  If you live in England will you be voting?

That's the other thing!  Why is there such apathy amongst voters between the ages of 20 - 35? Do they not care or do they think that all the parties are as ridiculous as each other? My first memory of knowing anything about voting comes ridiculously enough from Mary Poppins and the Mum who is campaigning for Women's votes!  I don't ever remember learning anything about politics at school (although that may just be my crap memory!!).  I didn't ever learn what a Hung Parliament was (guessing nothing to do with the trouser department ;-) I didn't learn what left wing means etc.  Once you get to voting age though how can you ask these questions without sounding like a complete idiot?

Luckily enough I'm a fairly avid reader and managed to read up on these things myself but not everyone has the luxury of being able to read, so how do these people manage?  Are they another whole group of people who never get to have their say because they can't read and therefore likely can't write or fill in the form to register to vote!

Now my brain has been spewing out words like the Eyfullakilla (?) Volcano, I'm off to see if I can find some live streaming of the Leaders Debate so that I can shout at the screen some more!!!  Please feel free to air your views in the comments!!!!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

All About me!

Sometimes I sit in front of the laptop to write this blog and find that I have nothing witty or interesting to say and I find myself staring at the screen for ages in the hope that a topic will just pop into my head. Tonight is one of those nights and the only topic I can think to write about is the Election but having done payroll calculations all day my brain isn't quite up to political arguments!!! So, instead I think I'll borrow an idea from Emma at Me, the Man & the Baby and tell you 7 things you may not know about me:

1) I originally trained as a Travel Agent just as an excuse to travel the world!!! So far I seem to be doing pretty well at it even if I'm no longer in the travel industry and have randomly fallen into a career in Human Resources.

2) I am one of the World's slowest Marathon runners!! I ran the London Marathon in 2008 and I was so slow that the Turtle could've managed to overtake me but I finished it and raise £2,000 for the British Heart Foundation in the process, so it's not all bad!!!

3) I have a teeny bit of an Elvis obsession which started in Vegas with the Gold Lame 1957 Elvis and took me all the way to Graceland!!  Awesome!!

4)  We moved so many times when we were young that I couldn't tell you how many houses I've lived in. I know that I did go to 6 different schools and have lived in 3 different Countries!!!  Downside - I was always the new kid.  Upside - I have friends everywhere and very rarely get lost!!!

5)  I really, really dislike roller coasters.  Whenever we got to theme parks I'm the one left holding all the bags and taking pictures because I'm too much of a wuss to join in!  Ironically my Daughter is a total thrill seeker so we have to rope people in to take her on the 'scary' rides!!!

6)  My favourite places in the World are: London - it's home and awesome.  San Francisco - it's lovely and some of my favourite people ever live pretty close by.  Saigon - I've never been somewhere so alien and thrilling all at the same time! My all-time ultimate destination - Vegas.  It is whatever you want it to be.  Either cheap and tacky or expensive and luxurious...the choice is yours!!!  Love it!!

7)  Sunshine.  I'm sure in a previous life I lived somewhere hot because I'm just not made for crappy English weather.  I love, love, love the sun!!!

I'm sure that some of you already knew some of these things but maybe you learnt something new!!  Fancy sharing something about yourself?  You can either share in the comments or feel free to post on your own blog!!!

Monday, 19 April 2010

Enough Already!!!

I know that I spend a lot of my blog space bitching and moaning but what else is it for, if not to stop me self combusting! I've written a couple of times previously about judgment. Of me, of Chick, of my parenting skills. Well now I've had more than enough and the next time somebody feels the need to judge any of the above in the Supermarket, I am likely to ram them in the ankles with my sodding trolley!!!!

I'm sure that you remember Chick had a really hard time adjusting to life back at School when we returned from Australia. Well it seems like it's been an almost constant struggle from January to Easter to get her to settle back down. It's taken a Team effort from me, her Dad and the Teacher to get her back on the straight and narrow again. I'm not sure what's triggered the change but last week she was a complete diamond at school and the Teacher stopped me twice to show me brilliant work that she'd done. I think you'll agree it's a bloody marvellous turnaround, yes?

So on Saturday I said that she could have a present as a reward for good behaviour (I find bribery and corruption works every time!!) Chick chose a High School Musical iPod type thingy which cost the grand total of £1.99. A bargain for good behaviour in my opinion!

On our way out on Saturday night we stopped at the supermarket to get some nibbles etc to take with us for our evening. Chick still had the iPod glued to her head as a 7 year old would with a new toy. Do you know what? Every single person in that store stared at Chick in disbelief that she had an iPod. Now I'm sure that it looked quite real to some people however(finally) I come to the problem......

a) Even it it was a real iPod, what the hell has it got to do with anybody else? I work extremely hard to provide for my child and if I can afford an iPod for her, good for me!

b) I don't care even if she's dressed like a Clown, staring at a 7 year old in a supermarket for whatever reason is a complete outrage!

c) It's a good job that I'm very polite otherwise several people may have been poked in the eye!!!!!

Yet again I'm now stepping down from my soap box. However if it was you judging me on Saturday, watch out that your ankles aren't hit by a trolley next time you are shopping ;-)

Friday, 16 April 2010

Custom Blog Designs

So you may have noticed that I'm looking all shiny and new!!  What do you think of my new Header and Layout?  I'm loving it.  The lovely Diana made it and you can check out some of her other work by clicking on this button:

Custom Blog Designs

Diana also made me an Adventures of an English Mum button so that any of my followers can have it on their site (if they so choose!!)

English Mum

I'd better get adventuring and living up to the blog name to keep up with my lovely new look!! Thank you to the amazing Crystal & Co for recommending Diana's work to me!!! Hope that you all have a fabulous weekend!!!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Officially a Slacker!!!!

When I got ill last year with my liver thing I decided drastic action was needed and being the Drama Queen that I am, I was all 'If I was on my deathbed, what would I regret'?. Luckily for me the only thing that I would change is the amount of time I spend with Chick. Now it's taken some time to organise but finally this week I have dropped some hours at work.

The first week thus far is absolutely amazing!!!  Normally on a Thursday we wouldn't get home until around 6.15pm, I'd throw something together for Dinner, force Chick to do her homework whilst I'm cooking (yes, I use the term 'cooking' very loosely!!), then it's bath and bedtime before I get to sit on the internet for a couple of hours and then sleep!  I know you're jealous of my busy life right???

Well today has been almost a revelation!  We got home at 3.30pm and so far have managed to watch an hour of kids TV whilst Chick actually told me about what she did today at School!  Then she went off to play and I actually got to read my guilty pleasure for half an hour in peace:

I had a quick tidy (we aren't houseproud!!!) loaded the washing machine and then joined Chick in singing and dancing around the Living room to a bit of Miley Cyrus....go ahead judge me, I don't makes Chick and I happy and giggly!!!! Then I made a masterpiece for dinner:

Homework was done with no fuss at all and believe me that's almost a miracle!!! She was scrubbed and tubbed and in her PJ's for 6.15pm!!!!  I'm thinking I might need an early night after all this bonding and tidying!!!

In other exciting news, I'm having a new Header designed by a professional blog design angel and that should be ready very soon so we'll be looking all new and shiny around here!!!!  Winner of the Urban Massage Giveaway is here:

I'll be in touch in the next couple of days with contact details etc.  Well done....hope you enjoy it xxx

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Adventuring with an English Grandma!!!

Last November when I was doing my Christmas Shopping and looking for a present for my Grandma I happened upon some tickets for a Jazz and Jive show in the nearest big City to where we live.  My Grandma absolutely loves Jazz and I being an obviously outstanding Granddaughter thought that these would be the ideal Christmas present.  Fast forward 6 months and last Thursday I found myself on the loveliest day of the year so far in the City with Grandma:

Knowing that I wouldn't get any tea, Grandma even made me a pack-up to eat in the car on the way to the Theatre!!!!  Our first stop (surprisingly!) was the bar and then we positioned ourselves at a view point overlooking the front door.  After a couple of minutes watching everyone arrive my Grandma said 'Gosh, they are all a bit old aren't they?'!!!  I looked at her and burst out laughing......Grandma is 80!!!  In all fairness I believe I was the youngest person there by at least 40 years!

First of all we had the Jive section of the night with the 'Jive Aces'.  I wasn't too sure when they started playing the first song but by the end of it I was hooked.  They sang some Rat Pack songs like 'Mack the Knife' as well as 'Sing, Sing, Sing' and 'All of Me'.  The Lead Singer was very amusing and they were all round a fun, toe tapping, fine sounding bunch!!  Grandma thought that they were amazing especially when the Piano player was playing and jumping around at the same time!

After another wine water break it was time for the Jazz.  Now I'm not really the biggest lover of Jazz anyway but as I say Grandma loves it and that's why we were there!  Apparently she's been a fan of Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen for a while but they seemed really old to me (as an aside my Mum said they seemed really old to her back in the '60's!!!)!!  Again Kenny was very amusing and they were just outstanding musicians but I'm all about the singing and Jazz hands and they did a lot of Instrumental stuff which just wasn't for me....sorry Kenny!!!

One of the nicest things about the evening was Grandma reminiscing about her past and telling me about the places she used to go dancing at and how she met my Grandad!  What a jolly good evening and so nice to see Grandma enjoying herself!!  

Monday, 12 April 2010

A begging post...

So I know that I'm about two weeks behind everyone else but I'm very, very excited to announce that somebody delightfully beautiful and gorgeous has nominated me for an award:
Thank you so much to the people that have already voted for really is too kind.  However now that I have been nominated , I'd really appreciate it if some more of my lovely readers would consider voting for me here in the category of 'Best MAD Blog for Family Fun'!!  It's a very simple process and will hopefully only take you about 2 minutes and I will be eternally in your debt should I make it through to the shortlisting stage!!!  I'm sure that I don't have much a chance with some of the other amazing Blogs that have been entered but it's very nice to be loved!!!!

Friday, 9 April 2010

Urban Massage Giveaway

Today's giveaway is a Sports Massage treatment worth £35 from the lovely people at UrbanMassage, London.

Urban Massage was set up by Chris last year and offers a flexible service to fit in with your lifestyle.  Their team of qualified therapists allow you to receive professional care whilst in the comfort of your own home, office* or in their clinic in Clapham, London, at a time to suit you.

Now I know that some of you don't live in London but I'm sure that you have friends that do or you at least make it to the Big Smoke on occasion! To enter todays giveaway you need to do the following.    Head on over to the Urban Massage website at: and see what they have on offer.

Then you need to leave a comment here telling me that you:

a) Have become or are a Follower

b) Follow me on Twitter @emmylouvic

c) Follow @Urban_Massage on Twitter

d) Become a fan of Urban Massage on Facebook

Please feel free to share with any friends that may live and work in London or surrounding areas and Good Luck.  If you have any questions please feel free to e-mail me. The winner will be picked at random on Thursday, 15th April 2010.

*Unfortunately this giveaway is for the treatment only and doesn't include the travel to London!!  Home or Office within 5 miles of Clapham, London.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010


* I apologise in advance for the overuse of the word Exciting in this post!!!!

Thus far this year has been quite exciting.  Starting with a month in Australia and my best friends Wedding, making new friends through this blogging lark, being offered paid writing work, doing my first Giveaway and my Big Hollywood interview. I've now got the chance to go along to a special bloggy meet up with Author Lisa Jewell in London to talk about her new book!  I'm sooooo excited by this that I can't even begin to tell you. Reading is one of my favourite things ever and I also happen own a couple of Lisa's books!!!  Not sure how I will contain my excitement over the next few weeks until it happens!!!!

In other very exciting news my beautiful Auntie Shel is unexpectedly expecting again!   It's been a long, hard, miserable road for them to get to this point but she is now 23 weeks gone and all is healthy so I'm allowed to tell the World and start shopping!!!  Chick and her Cousin El are both hoping for a Girl but the rest of us don't care as long as 'Bump' and Shel stay healthy until her due date in July.  Please keep everything crossed and pray for them that it will all work out ok this time! I'm not sure they can deal with any more heartache.

More exciting Mum is getting married again and we all know what this means....yep, Chick is being Bridesmaid for the Fourth time, although is a little disappointed with my Mum's choice of Wedding location.  Previous locations that she has been a Bridesmaid?  Oregon, Rye and Australia!  Not bad for a 7 year old English girl........Honestly my girl is better travelled than most people I know!!!  Anyway back to Mum....She has already chosen her dress, which is completely gorgeous and a really nice colour and she has a bag to match.  Just need to decide on shoes and hairstyles but she has plenty of time to worry about that as it isn't until September.  I just need to lose 10 stone pounds and find a nice no stress!!!

I just knew that this was going to be a good year!!  Do any of you have any great plans for this year or next?  I'd love to hear about them!!!

Monday, 5 April 2010

Easter Fun!!

Another Monday and I feel another picture post coming on after a lovely and surprisingly sunny weekend away!! You just know that Easter is my kind of holiday, what with being a chocoholic and all but do you know what my second favourite thing is?? Ice cream and a sign like this just makes my heart sing:

Mmmmmmm......this is me enjoying said ice cream (and some donuts)!!!! was the nicest thing I've tasted in ages!!!  Then the girls had an Easter Egg hunt on the beach and under the Pier:

They'd also done some posing for the camera in the style of The Jolly Fisherman:

Before going on the fair (I'm such a wuss that I couldn't even watch!!)

Then time for a nap before putting on our glad rags and having a boogie:

And then some Bingo:

Unfortunately we didn't win any cash prizes but what I did get was the time to chill out with my Little Chick and my best friend and a chance to relax.  Now we are home again and I'm in serious need of a detox and a night in my own bed.....When did I get so old???!

What did you all do over the Easter weekend?  Hope that you had a good one!

Friday, 2 April 2010


This was previously posted on my blog back in September 2009.  My next Giveaway will happen on Friday 9th April when I'm back from our Easter break!
On Saturday I found myself in the ridiculous position of having to try and explain to my six year old daughter what racism is! Before I launch into my tirade about narrow minded people that need electric shock therapy, maybe I should explain a little about my background and how I’m going to generalise and use the word black to describe anyone who isn’t white, not to offend anyone, just to include everyone I love without having to catergorize anyone.  I am as English as they come.  I have a peachy complex and freckles and I only have to look at the sun before it burns me and I have to use Children’s factor 50 when I’m on holiday in the sun.  I tend to go from white to red to major freckles with a brown nose and arms and back to red then white again.
I have a huge family and one of the branches of my family happens to be half Caribbean.  I’m not sure what it was like for my Grandad’s Sister to be married to a Jamaican back in the 1960’s but I’m guessing it was pretty unusual around these parts.  I know that they had seven children, five of whom survived and that at least the oldest three were born at home. Growing up we were all quite close as the youngest and I were pretty similar ages so I kinda always knew I was white.  It never occurred to me that this was out of the ordinary until a couple of years ago. 
As I work for an educational establishment we have to have certain compulsory training every three years and one of these courses is Race Relations Training.  So like an obedient puppy I attended the training (which was actually really interesting!!) The first question that we were asked to think about  to write down, and not discuss, was when we first realised we were white. So I wrote down that I always knew I was white because my cousins were black and I remember being fascinated by the difference for as long as I can remember.  Well, I thought that my answer was normal until I listened to everyone else!!!  We worked around the room and listened to everyone else’s answers and I was one of the last people to speak.  Everyone before me couldn’t tell the training guy when they discovered they were white. They all said ‘well, I guess I was five or six???’. Then it was my turn and I told him, as above, that I always knew I was white.  Turns out that this is pretty unusual for a white person, who knew I would be the special one.  Normally (apparently) it’s only people of colour that can pinpoint the exact moment they realised they were different, generally from some insensitive white person pointing this out!!
Anyways, I am getting to the point of my story, which is basically where does all this hate come from?  When Chick was two or three she was desperate for a Baby Annabelle.  They are super special dolls that annoy the fu*k out of me cry, laugh and feed.  Initially I refused to buy one on principal as they cost around £40 each which, correct me if I’m wrong, is a ridiculous amount of money for a doll for a three year old without the cost of the batteries.  One day however, when I passing the local toy shop I noticed that they had an ‘ethnic’ Baby Annabelle in the sale for £10.  Now call me cheap or racist or whatever you want to call me but I bought Chick the Baby Annabelle and she was overjoyed with it.
During that Christmas there were many snide comments about the colour/race of her doll and about me being too cheap to buy a white baby but I naivelygenuinely thought that folk around these parts were joking.  Apparently not!!!!  Chick has taken the baby with us everywhere.  To Scotland on a camping holiday, to Barcelona on a family holiday, to bed most nights and basically everywhere a child would take a comfort blanket.  I don’t recall ever having the comments from Christmas repeated or any snide remarks about us being white and the baby being different until this weekend.  Chick asked if it was ok to take out her pram with the black Baby Annabelle, which is still her favourite after all these years, even though she now has four Annabelle’s all of different origins. So, as we weren’t in a hurry to get anything done I was all ‘Sure honey, bring your pram and baby’.  Now I have to admit that as we were walking into town I did notice people (of all races) checking out the baby and pram and then looking at Chick and I and they were either smiling or grimacing but I just put it down to the fact that I’m so hot that they were ignorant, and thought that I would simply choose to be ignorant too.  We decided that we would get some lunch from the sandwich shop and that because it was so busy Chick and the pram would wait at the door so as not to run over anybody’s toes. All was fine and well whilst I bought our picnic and off to the park to enjoy, or so I thought.
As soon as we left the shop Chick told me that some people queuing up by the door had been discussing why she could possibly have a black baby?????  Look away for a second please if you are offended by bad language…..What the FUCK!!!!!!!  This is a picture of Chick with her baby:
Chick and Baby Annabelle
Terrible image isn’t it?????  Again WTF!!!!!!  It has never occurred to Chick to question why she has a black baby Annabelle as she has a multi-racial class at school, she knows who is black, brown, chinese and white and she knows that her family are all different colours but it has never been an issue, nor does she understand why it should be.  So, in my infinite wisdom I started to explain to her what I consider racism to be and about narrow minded people.
Chick cut me off about half way through with this comment ‘Mum, you are so boring!  Why would I even talk to stupid people who would be bothered by something like that?’!!!!!!   OMG, my daughter is possibly smarter than I will ever be!  Has anyone else ever come across this ignorance and had to explain to their children at such a young age????

Thursday, 1 April 2010

The (almost) end of the Great Kitchen Saga!!!

Oh! The great kitchen saga and where to start?  For those of you who want the full (and somewhat) amusing story of the kitchen you can go here and here!  For those of you who don't have time to read my blog all day, the short version is that some Americans came to visit me last August and they destroyed my kitchen which still isn't properly fixed!!!!

So now that we are all caught up....a couple of weeks ago I had a visit from some lovely men who came to take a look at my kitchen and decide if it should be condemned or not! On the phone they are all it'll only take 10 minutes for us to have a quick look and then you can get back to work!  Now, you'd think from my previous experiences that I would be too wise to fall for this line but alas no, I am a complete dumbass and fell hook, line and sinker!

Along they come with their clipboards and within 10 seconds of looking at my not so gorgeous kitchen they say Gosh! Miss. Brooks we think you need this replacing....he was obviously a Rocket Scientist in a previous life!!! Ok I say that sounds good.  Right says he, we just need to look at your boiler whilst we are here too and assess that.  Oh no! I think we need to get rid of that too and give you a new one.  Only problem with that is that we'll have to give you new radiators! radiators, not sure that I need those I say.  Well mutters Tweedle Dee they go with the boiler and once we put in a new boiler you'll need more efficent radiators. Doesn't involve much we just take up the carpets and the floor boards, strip it all out, put the new stuff in and replace it all!

As you can imagine by this time my head is spinning and I'm thinking 'I'm sorry mate but your other Guys couldn't put up a bleeding cupboard, what makes you think they can rip up and put the floor boards back'??? I've also been gone from work for 40 minutes by now, not the 20 I promised!  So I sit rocking backwards and forwards in the living room thinking about how we are going to live in the house when they are ripping it apart and what the holy hell I'm going to do with the 7 years of crap that has gradually accumulated whilst they are muttering and measuring in the kitchen.

Then just as I think it's all over and I can properly start freaking out, Tweedle Dee goes ok, one last thing I just need to look at your electrics and I'm all Holy Fuck, I know where this conversation is going 'cos although not an expert I know my electrics are at least 30 years old, if not more! Sure enough he took one look at my electrical box and says no, no, no Miss that will all have to go too but we'll get an Electrician to come take a look.

The Electrician has been today and what do we think he said my Lovely readers?  Yes of course, the whole damn house needs re-wiring!!!!!  The moral of the story is to never have Americans* over to stay!!!!!

* I am obviously only joking...I love you guys xxx

p.s. we are away over the weekend so I'm not sure if I'll have chance to post....forgive me if you see re-runs of previous posts!  Hope y'all have a Good Easter xx