Saturday, 31 December 2011

Onwards and Upwards



Hello!

I know I’ve disappeared from Ladygogo land this last fortnight, predictably the main reason for this was Christmas – my favourite time of year! I was making up for being so depressed last year. I don’t actually remember buying, wrapping and enjoying the festive period of 2010 until the day itself – very unlike me. But this year I almost drowned in mulled wine, have gained at last half a stone in cheese and party food, have carefully chosen and wrapped all my gifts and Christmas day was a gloriously mad day surrounded by the Ellard brood and Mike who’s arrived back from New Zealand on the 23rd.

I’m now in Sussex for Christmas II with the Garrick clan, no less glorious or fun, will gain yet another half a stone in cheese and probably embarrass myself playing Articulate and Trivial Pursuit – luckily this is my 6th Sussex Christmas so they’re well aware of my Christmas related habits.

As I write this there are a mere 13 hours until 2012 begins… New Zealand is already there. As always I love to contemplate the year past and plan for the one ahead.

2011 was governed by the safety and arrival of three special packages into the Ellard fold. It’s been a battle and yet totally necessary. I am in complete admiration of my parents, they have a hard 18 years ahead of them and subsequently the entire family do so too. But when the youngest precious package told me over the phone yesterday that not only was he playing with his “Race-ing caaars!” that he “loved me” - my heart melted and the struggle seemed worth it.

Other 2011 highlights included Australia in January, Centre Parks, Butlin’s and Spain followed. The baby boom of 2010 of course resulted in a succession of 1st Birthday Parties including my beautiful Niece Beth sharing her day with her Mummy’s 30th and her Daddy’s 40th in a giant Summer bash. The two very messy hen do's were great fun, I had a ball at Leanne's and Kit's and sadly missed Jo and Jon's due to a suspected heart attack, which was actually just a chest infection - such drama, wouldn't be a complete year without it! 

Can you guess what/where is it yet?


Family Reunion :)

In Spain

Mike’s career seems to be on the up he’s been to Australia, New Zealand, Holland, America, Spain with stop over’s in Hong Kong, L.A and Singapore this has resulted in him being away for 222 days this year – I thought I was being pathetic missing him as much as I have turns out there was a good reason – I’m hoping to see more of him in 2012 lol!

Apart from my own health issue’s getting worse I can’t really complain about the last 12 months, I was lucky not to lose anyone special and my loved ones continue to stay happy and healthy.

As for the new year I want to write, travel, see more of the people I love, start saying no to those I don’t, finish decorating our flat, read more, cook more and maybe feel better via new therapies I plan on trying, since conventional medicine is doing bugger all for me!

I wish all of my readers, old and new; a fabulous new year filled with fun, great health, less pain, mystery and more excitement.

Have a brilliant New Years Eve where ever you are, eat be merry and come back soon!

L x

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Dining with the Stars


Last night I went to dinner, the Piano Pavilion’s annual Christmas dinner. Every year I’m lucky enough to be invited as my good friend Karen is the boss! Although always a fabulous affair this year was a little more special.

We were dining at the Lemon Tree  in Southchurch a Mediterranean restaurant owned by 4 brothers. I’d spent the whole day listening to Michael Buble’s Christmas album to get me into the festive mood; Michael was later joined by my friend Malibu and Ginger Beer to add to the “sprit”.

It only occurred to me this morning that Mr Buble’ may have been jealous of my evening in little old Essex, as we were dining with two legends Mr Buddy Greco, who was part of THE Rat Pack and his beautiful wife Lezlie Anders currently starring in FEVER! a tribute show to Peggy Lee.

The Greco’s have become friends of the Piano Pavilion over the past year and we all (including me!) hope to raise money together for (at risk/young carers) children to have piano’s and lesson’s funded as a creative outlet to their current situation. 80 years ago a four year old Buddy was given the same chance and as I heard him say the first time I met him - In Philadelphia you either became a criminal or a musician. Dozens of albums later we all know which path he took. See about the Project here

We were a 20 strong group and so I wasn’t able to chat much to Buddy and Lezlie, I find myself a little shy and star struck when I’ve met them and have to hold back an embarrassing barrage of questions about their careers and lives!

It was completely satisfying when the brash table next to ours stopped to watch Buddy and our very own local musician Tony Compton duet on the restaurants piano (Of course from the Pavilion) on their way out and to see their jaws fall to the floor when they were informed of their entertainments name and status – now if only we’d informed them earlier!

Buddy and Tony

What I love about the Piano Pavilions Christmas meal is the eclectic set of personalities around one table! I spent my evening chatting to Karen’s friends Frank and Dave who both had long careers in casino’s all over the world, most of the stories I wouldn’t dare repeat, but it makes me appreciate that although I may not be living in London or New York (childhood dreams) you can meet some of the most interesting people on your doorstep – yay for Southend!

The food at the Lemon tree was delicious! I had goats cheese with filo pastry shards dressed in a walnut and honey dressing to start and a beautiful rump steak in a mustard and mushroom sauce followed. Due to the volume of Christmas parties; the restaurant doesn’t have time to ask how you’d like your steak but mine came out medium to well done with just enough pink through the middle, the only criticism was the Brussels sprouts were overdone tasting bitter (yes I am one of those weridos who loves their sprouts) but you had such a large plate of other veg and lovely crisp roast potatoes that you certainly didn’t go hungry! The staff at the restaurant were so attentive and helpful, couldn't do enough for their customers, I will be going back soon!

To finish the meal I had profiteroles with a generous dose of cream, as for what I had to drink I couldn’t tell you, all I know was it was a beautiful white wine picked by the Piano Pavilions resident wine connoisseur Michael and thanks to him we never just do with the house wine but get to sample gorgeous tipple from around the globe, just another very interesting person sat round our dinner table!

Lastly I have to thank my friend Karen not just for a wonderful night out but for her continued friendship and support, as she puts it “Lynsey and my son split up, but we didn’t” and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

L x

*If you’d like to see Buddy in action this Christmas; he’s performing on Jools Hollands Hootenanny on New Years Eve BBC One

Monday, 12 December 2011

Lend a Hand


A motto that’s always stuck with me is “Lend a Hand” those of you who were members before the new Millennium will remember that this was the motto of Brownies and Girl Guides. I was one of them, yes readers I was a vision of yellow, brown and a sash covered in my task badges – such a proud little Brownie. I loved it so much that I stayed as a Girl Guide Leader until I was 14!

I like to be helpful, my lending a hand goes a little further than learning to make my bed, brewing the perfect cuppa for my Mum and Dad and doing bake sales at Christmas (of which we would eat half of the produce).

In a time of social and economical unrest we need to give each other a hand and swap our knowledge and skills to get through it all.

One of my skills is talking and more than that I am an avid “Recommender” if you need something or someone I will whip out my business card book quicker than you can say “Sash and badges”. My Mum has said that I should get paid purely to talk almost like an advertising medium!

An example of this was when my newly trained holistic therapist friend Lauren offered to give me a Hot Stone massage for my back. I suffer a lot of discomfort from being so tense from the CRPS pain. Hot stone massages are exactly as they sound; smoothed stones are heated to approximately 52C and used to relax the muscles via the heat, helping with circulation and calming your nervous system.

It was heaven! I have so much trouble with my shoulders and a stiff back and after the treatment I felt lose; warm and so tired I slept almost 10 hours straight! Compared to my usual 3-4hrs kip I was in a coma! The effects of the massage lasted about 5 days so it is a treatment (I!!) you could do with as a regular occurrence for back pain.



Lauren now owner her own business called Butterflies offers all types of massage including Indian head treatments and Reflexology and a wide range of beauty treatments like waxing, spray tans, manicures and a make up service. If you are a Southend local and contact Lauren via any of these contact details (Click Here!) and quote LadyGogo Lauren is offering my readers 10% off your first treatment with her during December and January.

Whilst talking to another friend about skill swapping she asked if I would consider a holistic treatment from her as a swap for a piece on the blog and a lesson in setting up her own blog. She also has a friend of hers designing leaflets in return for treatments too. I’ll let you know more about this when it happens.

So have a think, what can you do to help your family and friends?  It doesn’t have to cost you anything but time and lending a well meaning hand!

L x

Monday, 28 November 2011

Everyone's a Winner Baby!


Everyone loves a freebie or to win any competition right down to a school fete raffle. I stand and confess I’m a bit of a freebie/competition addict.

After posting my latest product testing project on Facebook and Twitter a lot of people have asked how I’m so “lucky”; truth be told it’s probably more about the odds rather than luck. I must enter up to 25 competitions a week and am signed up to various freebie websites and product testing schemes.  All of which only take a few minutes every morning, but once you start getting odd shaped packages through the post – it’s hard to stop.


Latest Product Testing

In the ten years I’ve had this hobby; I’ve won tickets to the Brit Awards, a 7ft Cherry Tree, A block of cheese, a dozen mascara’s,  tickets to shows, crates of wine and Bailey’s, free dinners at restaurants, perfumes and tons of other weird and wonderful surprises.

As for freebie’s these tend to be smaller but no less fun; free mini Tabasco bottles, boxes of cereal, boxes of tea, jars of coffee, DNA magnets, countless pen’s and badges. As for product testing I’ve had emergency packages of pasta, cheese couriered to my door in boxes of dried ice and books with a 72 hour reading time before a review was needed.

Perks of the freebie lover!


Some of you regular readers may even remember when I was given 48 copies of the same book to give out to friends and family earlier this year!

I started this excessive form filling in the long nights of pain and spasms when I’d watched all my DVD’s, cable TV had bored me to tears and no one was awake to chat to.

I never use any of the above to sell or make any money from them in wages; it’s purely for the love of getting post! I used to have dozens of pen pals as a child/teenager and since we all keep in touch via e-mail I miss beautifully hand written letters, colourful invitations and pretty thank you cards.

If you’d like to try your hand at winning or would just like to get a few free tea bags now and then here’s how....
  •       Check out your favourite companies’ websites and Facebook pages and join their mailing lists, especially as this time of year, there are countless Christmas comps.
  •          Magic Freebies UK http://www.magicfreebiesuk.co.uk/ and http://www.freebieuk.org.uk/ do all the hard work for you finding the best goodies
  •          UK Competitions http://www.ukcompetitions.com/ are brilliant as when you enter the competitions the site logs your entry so you don’t keep going back to the same pages.
  •         Pick me up Magazine have a Comp club http://comps.pickmeupmagazine.co.uk/index.php one of my friends has been incredibly lucky here!
  •         Super Savvy is a lifestyle website for UK ladies and they hold product testing groups and you’ll also find money off vouchers for household and beauty products http://www.supersavvyme.co.uk/home.aspx

·         My only other advice is keep your eyes open – enter all and any competitions in magazines, news papers, websites and even watch for the ads on facebook.  Or if you get really serious about it quite literally Google for UK Freebies and UK Competitions.
     As much of a cliché as this may sound but; if you’re not in it you can’t win it!

        L x

Friday, 18 November 2011

Goodie Two Shoes


Some people have weird notions of what volunteering is. Most envisage being stuck behind the counter of a charity shop or soup kitchens and money collections – not that there is anything boring, less valid or worthwhile about these, but there is so much more you can do to not only help others and gain something for yourself.

A friend remarked once that I was a charity “Ho” (you know who you are!) and although from the outside my volunteering may seem like a glory seeking, goodie two shoes act I’ve gained a lot from these experiences. Getting back as much as you give doesn’t have to be a selfish thing!

I volunteer when I’m able to as I cannot work, my condition CRPS is so temperamental that I’m sadly an unreliable work force and most of the time in too much pain or exhausted from lack of sleep. Volunteering makes me feel like I’m still contributing to society.

Over the 10 years I’ve been volunteering I have:
  • Taught children’s drama classes
  • Help organise a Fleetwood Mac tribute evening
  • Made a few hundred sandwiches in one sitting for a children’s club outing
  • Cooked meals for families who couldn’t afford their own food
  • Held homework classes and I.T tutorials
  • Offered online buddy systems for children with CRPS
  • Dressed up in various costumes/daft hats for promotion of charities and collections
  • Written articles/poems/advertising for various causes

And loads more, and had I been able I would have done more, mind you had I been able to I would have got a job instead!

As I was unable to take the “normal” routes to college and University my grades alone wouldn’t have got me into the courses I wanted to take, but team leaders, tutors and entry boards saw that I was determined, forever trying my hand at new things and committed. Yes my health always governs all of the above but I’ll never give up trying.



Just this week I’ve been volunteering with the Southend Operatic and Dramatic Society (S.O.D.S) helping out in front of house selling programmes and roses for their production of Beauty and the Beast. I’ve only managed a couple hours due to pain levels soaring (although my doctor has, today, doubled my medication – Thankfully!!) but I like meeting new people and catching up with old friends – I sometimes moan about a duty or something I’ve said yes to but 99% of the time I love doing it!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The Machine Gun Preacher


Last night my brother’s girlfriend, Kate and I headed to the cinema to see The Machine Gun Preacher for the absolute sole purpose of, to put it in simple terms, ogle and perve at the film’s star Gerard Bulter, of whom
we are both a little (okay a lot!) in love with! (Sorry Mike!)

We settled with our Pepsi Max and popcorn had a good old giggle at the commercials and trailers for up and coming films. Neither of us had really thought about the film we were seeing, we just needed our GB fix!

We were horrified when the opening scene was a Sudan village being destroyed and the towns’ people being shot, cut or kidnapped. Kate and I looked at each other as if to say “why are we watching this when Tin Tins playing next door?”

The real Sam Childers (L) and Gerard Bulter (R)

The story of the Machine Gun Preacher is about the life’s work of Sam Childers. Sam was a broken man with a criminal and drug fuelled past. To be honest for the first 30 minutes of Gerard’s performance I started to go off not only Sam but Gerard himself who played this disturbing character alarmingly well!

Luckily with the love and support of his family and church Sam Childers became an upstanding member of his community and a pastor from Africa visited his church, telling the congregation of the plight of Sudan under the rule of Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). It’s estimated that the LRA have to date abducted around 50,000 children who have been forced to fight with them as child soldiers or have sold them into sex slavery

Sam, an owner of a construction business and his wife Lynn, decided they were in a position to help. They set up Angels of East Africa charity.

I don’t want to spoil the film too much for anyone but I spent the entire time delicately balanced emotionally between hope and helplessness, joy and disgust as Sam tries to help the Sudanese orphans.

If you get a chance please go see this film, it’s heart wrenching and at times; unbelievably hard to keep watching, but it’s worth it to learn not only Sam's story but the children’s ones too. The film is brilliantly directed by Marc Forster (who previously directed Mosters Ball, Quantum of Solace) and without bias Gerard’s best performance so far!

For more information on Angels of East Africa or Sam Childers please click here and maybe even donate a few pennies – I did!

L x

Monday, 7 November 2011

RSD/CRPS - Awareness!


I have Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome also recently known as Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (RSD/CRPS – inventive I know!) November is the international month of RSD/CRPS awareness.

All over my Facebook and Twitter feeds are wall posts and hash tags emblazoned with the bright orange ribbon - our united symbol. There are quite a few variations of the statement ribbon but you get the general gist – orange symbolises the pain and specifically the burning sensation we all deal with.


If you have a couple of moments please watch this video:





It’s been not so subtly mentioned that I should write a piece on my personal story the campaign – uniting with my fellow RSDer’s.  So here I am!

I have had the condition for close to 20 years now, all starting when my left foot suddenly went completely numb, as I have mild Cerebral Palsy, at first it was thought that my odd symptom was a nerve damage and I was later tested for tumours on my brain and spine – nothing was found.

At the time of my mysterious foot numbing the colour in my leg started to turn a dark purple which would fashion it’s self with red spots and blotches after being in water. To be honest being such a young child I didn’t really worry about the foots lack of enthusiasm and in case of further damage  I was banned from P.E lessons – brilliant!!

Sadly the numb foot became a raging ball of fire which left me screaming with agony – it felt as though someone had lit my foot on fire and that the muscles and tendons where trying to rip themselves in half.

Since that horrible day my life changed; I’ve always since felt let down by my own body. The long list of symptoms include pain in every possible way – burning, pins and needles, a sensation as though I had hot rods coming out of the leg, spasms so bad they’ve deformed my foot into a crescent shape with my toes and crossed over and distorted into yucky little features. This is not to mention the permanent circulation problems, hair loss, swelling of the limb, tremors and many more!

That’s the horrible thing about RSD/CRPS – you never know how you’re going to feel when you wake up.  Yesterday evening I was up until 4:30am in pain, close to fainting and on the verge of being sick, when I woke this morning, I just had a horrible dull ache and pins and needles and tomorrow I might wake up with my foot contorted into odd shapes due to severe spasms and cramps. Not knowing how I’ll feel tomorrow, next week or next year is the only thing that scares me but I’m always optimistic that one day it will go as quickly as it came.

For now I’m really suffering as the condition has moved to my right leg and left arm. It had never occurred to me that I would have a certain amount of pain muted in the left leg due to my Cerebral Palsy (as very simple way of explaining CP is a stroke at birth) and the limited feeling I’ve always had in my left side might have saved me from a lot of discomfort. But now the right leg could/is causing real trouble! Still – I’ll live!

It would be a great help if you could share this piece on your Facebook walls, Twitter feeds and Blogs, there still people who don’t believe the condition including medical professionals – despite the very physical signs and we need the support!

L x
(Twitter name Ladygogo84)

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Stop acting gay! WTF!


I think the world went a little mad yesterday! I read these two articles (Sound advice?!? and Charitable?!) and couldn’t believe it! Schools in Essex telling bullied children to “Stop acting Gay” as a form of advice and an American Fast Food chain giving $2million dollars to anti gay campaigns!

What are these people thinking? We worshipping celebrities who are known for..... well what are they known for?? Who send out press releases asking for time and respect in a difficult marriage break up (Ms. Kardashian) – I’ve had longer flu bouts than a lot of these fairytale unions! And yet gay marriages are seen as corrupting our wholesome moral ways - B****ks!!

I have family and friends who are gay, bisexual (who I nickname - just plain greedy! ;) and even asexual, all of them are in long term, committed happy and very loving relationships – not only that ;they’re sweet, intelligent kind people – not sinners or “wrong!” and yet I know straight, miserable, nasty people who I wouldn’t wish anyone to be married to and yet they’re unions would be celebrated and not condemned!

One very dear friend of mine was sent to therapy and another to a summer camp to be cured of their homosexual urges, like it’s a habit, illness or an addiction. After some of the therapists I’ve seen I’m almost sure that the people offering these services are more messed up that any of their patients!

Can you tell I’m angry?

L x

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Benalmadena Part Four – and final!


Thursday in Spain was beautifully chilled and spent doing what we had become accustomed to; sun bathing, swimming and keeping hydrated with Sangria... see I told you there was a theme!

Friday was my favourite day of the holiday! Through the Sunset Beaches excursion team we had all booked a trip to Gibraltar. Still part of our “British Empire” Gibraltar was beautiful but to be honest I knew nothing about the place... so much so when we booked the trip; Mike and I decided to go Dolphin Safari, whilst the rest of the family decided to explore “The Rock” and I asked “Which rock?”... I surprise myself sometimes!

THE Rock!

Anyway, we had an hour and a half coach trip to the town – I was a sleep for most of that!  The week overall was catching up on me, this all might not sound a lot but I generally spend my days, doing a few little bits and resting in between, nights out and holidays take me days or weeks to recover from!

When we arrived in Gibraltar, Mike and I were taken straight to the harbour; we had half an hour to kill so we went boat shopping..... just choosing our yacht for when we win in the lottery, and before I get any messages, yes we do play it!

Once we got on the catamaran I was parked at the back of the boat, and had no intention of walking around the rocky vessel. Within minutes of leaving the harbour we were being followed by a small pod of common dolphins, these were tiny to what I expected only 1-3metres in length but they were mesmerising never the less! As the engines were fired up and we moved faster through the sea, the dolphins were leaping in the waves behind us! They were almost impossible to photograph, although Mike took the money shot! I did a lot of filming instead.

Mike's money shot!

During the excursion we were told about Billy the Bottle Nose. Usually this breed and common dolphins do not get on, with the bottle noses actively bullying their smaller counter parts. In 2006 the Dolphin Safari team noticed a young Billy swimming with the common guys and it seems they have adopted him and/or he’s a bit confused and thinks he’s one of them!

Half way through our hour long trip, Billy made an appearance, at 3-4 metres in size he wasn't hard to spot amongst the others. As mentioned I was parked up at the back and Billy seemed to be at the front on the opposite side of the boat. I didn't think I’d get to see him close up, then one of the crew next to me pointed and Billy was swimming towards where I was, not only did he come right next to me he stopped pulled his head sideways and looked right at me. I was recording a video as that point and you can hear me in the background – “Woooow....oh my God! oh my God! oh my God!”  - it made my holiday!!

After the boat trip we had some lunch and wandered around the harbour and shops before it was time to head back to our hotel.

On our last evening we decided to cook any of our left over’s and order in pizza from the onsite takeaway. Again we congregated on Mike’s parents’ balcony and listened to A Neil Diamond tribute act, who was actually very good (you would have been impressed Karen!).

Spain is a beautiful country, the people are enthusiastic and helpful (and by the way love children – our waiters couldn’t get enough of my baby Niece Beth), the weather was wonderful (although compared to OZ did nothing for my RSD/CRPS), I wouldn’t recommend going unless you have a powerful motored chair or a strong family member to get you around, but having the latter I had a brilliant time and will one day return and go back to see Billy!

L x

Monday, 31 October 2011

Benalmadena Part Three

Monday in Spain was 28 degree’s; my tan was coming along nicely! My camera had taken 200 snaps in three days (and one of those I was on a plane!) but it was to get a huge working out on Tuesday when we all caught the bus in to Malaga’s main town and shopping district.

We didn’t really know what we were planning on doing, but we soon found the Malaga Cathedral, a magnificent sight it was too! Completed in the year 1588, I’m always dumbfounded that these intricate yet huge structures were built by hands rather than machine. As I’ve mentioned before I’m not religious in the slightest, but churches and cathedrals are so beautiful and peaceful you can’t help feel a little jealous of those who get to spend time there on a regular basis.


Malaga Cathedral

Inside

We moved on through the town of Malaga, and stumbled upon the Picasso museum, I’m kicking myself for not going in, but the outside alone was intriguing! Next to the museum was the Gibralfaro Castle and Fortress.

We decided to walk to the fortress overlooking the city. If Mike thought that Cardiac Hill was bad, he was in for a treat. The route up to the fortress looked fairly close but after an hour up hill to the top, pushing my voluptuous bottom, I expect he was praying for me to go on a diet after all!




Once we’d got to the top, the views were beautiful, the sea one side and mountains the other, even the most modest camera was able to capture a wonderful sight. We had decided to forgo the Castle for the fortress as we thought there might be less steps... we were wrong!  So I popped a few pain killers so that I could take the bumpy roads (The cobbled streets in a wheelchair kills your back!) and take a few steps to see the views. I paid for this day trip dearly in pain levels but how could I not have made the most of this beautiful place!




Mike’s Mum is a big fan of the open top bus tours, their family have done these tours all over the world so it was a given that we would join in, here in Malaga too! Not before we stopped at a restaurant called Lepanto for pizza’s and San Miguel beers (well I had to have a break from the Sangria!)

Wednesday was the Hispanic day bank holiday in Spain and unlike in the UK everything closes, luckily all of the hotels shops and resources were still open so we cooked for ourselves, feasting on cured meats, pasta dishes, cheeses, breads and salads and due to the position of our rooms we could hear the live entertainment perfectly from our balcony’s! This particular night we enjoyed a Saxophonist whilst watching the sunset – lovely!

L x 

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Benalmadena Part Two


We were staying at The Sunset Beach hotel for the week. Although the place is listed as self catering, there are full and delicious meals serviced for breakfast, lunch and dinner should you wish to be lazy.

Mike and I had our own one bedroom apartment with kitchen, living room, bathroom and a balcony overlooking the hotel’s three pools and two outdoor eateries; The Oasis and Tikki Lounge, not to mention the beautiful blue Mediterranean sea!

The Sunset Beach has a real family orientated set list of activities on offer; including water aerobics, a games room with air hockey and pool tables, cookery lessons, scuba diving, live bands and entertainment and dance lessons to name just a small selection. Onsite services include a supermarket, 6 bars and restaurants, a leisure booking team, spa and hairdressers.

Since we’d got up very early to get to Gatwick none of us were feeling very energetic, but were all hungry since we were 30,000 ft above France at lunch time. So we had a wonder , which became more of a hunt for food since we’d failed to remember that the Spanish eat late and nowhere was open for dinner at half 6!

After initially discounting the restaurant right next to our hotel due to the amount of steps down to its beach front setting, we established that it was the only place open. The rest of the family made their way down steps whilst Mike and I made our way down a large hill; which would later haunt us!

The restaurant; Las Ramos was a sea food specialist place where we ate various paellas, mine being a sea food feast that freaked out my sister-in-law as everything still had eyes/fins attached. The one thing I’m not queasy around is food and I ripped those creatures apart!! (Sorry!)

Yum!!

At Las Ramos was also where I had my first  jug  glass of Sangria – I believe I drank this sweet wine more than water in the following 6 days – oops!

Remember the aforementioned hill? Mike almost died getting me back up it again, he struggled so much his Dad had to push him in some weird convoy. The morning after we went to the hotels welcome meeting and found out the said road was nicknamed Cardiac Hill by the locals – you don’t say?? What made it worse is that we found out that there was a flat access route at the back of the hotel complex – doh!

Sunday became a haze of Sangria by the pool, eating testing my new water/freeze/drop/Lynsey proof camera – oh yes people there is no escaping my snapping now – even under the sea! .... A common theme you’ll notice in the next few blogs!

Super Mike!


L x

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Benalmádena Part One


Before I start regaling you with the full Spanish adventure, in regards to my last post where I mentioned big personal changes on my horizon, I would like to say that there is no need for baby grows or for any of you to purchase any big hats or fascinators  just yet! The big changes are in reference to Mike’s work taking us to possibly live abroad – although a very exciting prospect it’s scaring the be-Jesus out of me; leaving everyone and all I know behind. My close family and friends are no doubt sick of me contemplating this but next month we should have a definite idea as to what, when and most importantly where. I’ll keep you posted.

Coming at the perfect time, since my good leg has decided to catch up with the bad one, I needed some heat and rest. So my holiday began at 5am last Saturday; when we were picked up at Mike’s folk’s house (affectionately known as our country retreat!). Along the way we picked up Mike’s sister, with her husband and their 1yr old beautiful little girl.

We arrived at Gatwick; I’ve become very familiar with airports this year with all of Mike’s trips and several “Love Actually” moments picking him up after long trips away. Mike saw TV chef Antony Worrall Thompson wandering round, I would have liked to have had a chat; his red lentil soup is in batches in my freezer – very tasty.

Annnnyway… we had a few hours to kill so we had a Frankie and Benny’s Breakfast – mine an American – basically a fry up with pancakes all swimming in maple syrup – hey don’t judge, I would say holiday calories don’t count, but my belt would beg to differ!

We were flying with Aer Lingus, the Irish budget airline. None of us had used them before so I was a little worried as to the given help and special assistance I need. Although they were a lot less formal in their instructions and advice than Singapore Airlines and First Choice (only two other companies I’ve personally used) they got the job done and my wheelchair arrived with me in Spain – always handy.

View from the plane


The flight it’s self was only two hours long, having had a huge breakfast I didn’t need to buy any refreshments, to be honest I was glad of this since a small tube of Pringles was £2.10!! I spent the flight snoozing with an end of flight game of Mike and I listening to my MP3 player and him guessing who the tracks were by. This ended in him telling me that I “listen to a lot of s**t” – how rude!

When arrived in Malaga airport at midday and we had a taxi booked to take us to our hotel The Sunset Beach. I quickly realised that being told main land Spain was a lot less hilly than the Spanish Islands I’d been to before, was lies - all lies, poor Mike was going to get a good work out, lucky he’s a 6ft strong lad!

Arriving at the hotel; it does what it says on the tin, a beach front hotel our apartments looking out to the Med and three large swimming pools. I was going to feel very at home here!! 

L x

Thursday, 13 October 2011

I'm alive - I promise!

Hello!
No I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth as one reader has put it! I’ve just temporarily moved around the globe! I really must remember to pre warn you of prolonged absences, although the sweet concerned e-mails I receive are rather lovely!
If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that my guy Mike, works as a Geologist and two weeks ago he returned home from a two month work trip in Papua New Guinea and Australia. So we’ve spent our time catching up with family, friends and each other. Relishing in the simple pleasures of catching up on Glee and cooking dinner together – it’s weird when Mike’s away our flat feels like a B&B and I tend to spend 80% of my time out and about and when he’s back it feels like a home again.

Anyway a week after he returned Mike and I headed to Sussex to stay with his family, we also had a cheeky afternoon sharing fish, chips and wine with friends of ours who live on a boat in Brighton J.

Last Saturday along with Mike’s parents, his sister and her little family, we flew to Benalmadena in Spain.  And that is where I’m writing from this very second! On our apartment balcony facing the Mediterranean Sea, of course you’ll be treated (or bored) with several parts of my time here next week. I would have written daily but to be honest – I’ve been busy lol! Unlike in Oz when I had whole days whilst Mike was at work to write to you!

Balcony View


Anyway, I’m off to the beach via the poolside bar, the next month may signal some huge personal changes in my little world so I’m going to relish in my last few relaxing, stress free days here.

L x 

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Butlins - Final day


Sunday Morning, I must have been ill as I still didn’t have a hangover!! Feet we’re ironically killing me  - since I don’t walk around, but having my feet down for long periods causes the RSD – swelling, purple with red blotches look – sexy I know!

It was decided that we would take the day easy... not that we’d been exactly hard at work! We again went swimming. It was surprising how many people had already gone home, you pay for the Fri-Monday as part of your package... I suppose they’re not hardcore like me! (I actually laughed at my own statement there!)

For lunch we sampled the Italian Ice Cream parlour on site – it’s expensive but so worth it!!

Now fully fledged karaoke addicts we headed straight to the Irish bar after a rather scrummy Sunday Roast in the canteen! We went for a hung over casual Sunday jeans a top look. Our poor old Bride was so hung over that she clung to her diet coke like her life depended on it!

I must mention the legends that are Josh and Ben who ran the karaoke at the Irish Bar’s – perfect red coats!

By 11 Bride was ready for bed but again my hardcore (still giggling!) attitude kicked in and Mrs P and I went to see Damage (last Google search for you!) another 90’s boyband at the main stage.

Our “team” of security staff – Jade, Sarah and Mark all made sure we were safe and that no b**ch slapping would occur again. We’d made it to the venue a little late so we were placed practically back stage for the show... we could have been disappointed but we had 4 rather lovely bottoms to ogle at – we were in hen mode, we aren’t usually this bad......!

No photo opportunities this time, much to Mrs P’s disappointment, it was thought that Damage might be molested by too many Hen’s for a photo call lol!!

On Monday, my bubble had popped and I was knackered! Absolutely exhausted, all self inflected, but I’m actually quite proud how well I did keeping up!!

Butlin’s Big Weekends are highly recommended by me! Had I been a meeker version of myself Friday’s events could have made the who weekend very miserable, but the Butlins staff and my beautiful friends made sure that I was safe and happy – what more could I have asked for?

L x

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Butlins Pt 2


Much to my two friend’s annoyance I awoke Saturday full of bean’s despite the drama on Friday. We headed to the restaurant for a full cooked breakfast – since we didn’t get lunches included in our package I made the most with two of everything to last me until dinner! Clever or tight?

We went to guest services to see what had happened in regards to the cripple beater. Because of the volume of people security hadn’t managed to spot her and amongst so many fancy dress costumes I’m not surprised! 

We were advised that when we entered the main stage or larger venue’s to let security know and they’d help us through the crowds and be on alert.

After a quick drink restock at Tesco’s, to wake up the other two, we decided to use the swimming pool. We spent most of our time, eyeing the boys floating along the lazy river and (me) trying not to drown in the wave pool. There are half a dozen slides and water rides within the pool, but all with a lot of stairs, this put me off since when I spend any time in water my legs do a rather impressive Bambi impression!

Since my two lovely friends are both Mummies, it’s not often they get to really let their hair down, and as we’d had such a rather nasty experience the night before we got ourselves masks, put on our longest, fanciest dresses and we were once again in the Irish Bar for more Karaoke by 6!

We were greeted by the “cast” of Baywatch including a very touchy feely shark and a disturbing “Pamela Anderson” impersonator.

The girls quickly signed up for 4 goes on the stage, we were on first name bases with the red coats by the end of the evening.

Between 7-11pm the memories are more likened to flashbacks.... when I looked at the photos.... here’s why I thought I might have dreamt the entire night! It’s probably best I don’t explain the events in words!

Sexy I know!

Michael Lives on!

Moo

No words....

Honey Monster Hug!


Karaoke finished and we made our way to main stage, security recognised us straight away and escorted us to a space right at the front of the stage and a lovely safety guide called Mark stayed with us.  

We were at the main stage to see 90’s Boy Band 911 (again you’ll have to Google!). When I was about 12-14 I was a bit of a fan of the highlights and dodgy tracksuits. As soon as their first track started I screamed and grinned just like when I saw them at the Smash Hit’s Poll Winners Parties, these were award show run by a music magazine – no longer in print – we all grew up – or so I’d thought. I was so ridiculously lost in the cheesy music that even Mark took the mickey!

When Mark then asked whether I was excited and would I like to be more excited, I didn’t know whether to be flattered or blush...... stupid Malibu only makes my brain more perverted... what Mark was actually asking was would I like to meet 911 and have my photo taken with them. The squeal I let out could only be heard by dogs (or nasty cripple beaters).

And so there I was getting a kiss (on the cheek – sadly) and having my photo taken with the boy band.... yes I was excited acting like a 13 year old but did I care, did I hell! I spent the rest of the night singing to Mumbo No. 5, Barbie Girl and I’ve got the Power (you’ll need to You Tube these too!)

And I loved it!!

Final part tomorrow!

L x

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Butlins Pt 1


Butlins the British Family holiday camps have been open since 1936 a place for good wholesome fun... not this weekend! Two friends and I visited the Minehead resort for a 90’s Reloaded Weekend.

Feeling slightly old that the 90’s is now a nostalgic theme, I was looking forward to spending the weekend with my girls and maybe relive some memories through the music. Little did I know I would revert to being mentally 13yrs old, screaming at “boy” bands and remembering dance moves to “Saturday Night”, “The Macarena” and “Tragedy”.

Our weekend started Friday morning with a 5 hour car journey to Somerset, to get the holiday rolling I made CD’s  and called the mix tapes as homage to cassette tapes we all used to make by recording the top 40’s with Dr Fox.

We got to the resort and were sorted with our room keys, disabled parking a meal times. We’d gone for the silver package which includes bed, breakfast, dinner and entry to all big events and gigs.

Our apartment was basic two bedrooms, 1 bathroom, living room and kitchen – we didn’t expect to be there much anyway!!

We started exploring the site looking for shops and scouting out the evening venues. We started drinking getting ready by 3pm and planned to go watch the Karaoke at the Irish Bar. I’m always happy to go wherever, tag along and give most things a go but watching people murder my favourite songs – I could feel the headache forming hours before! 

As this was Mrs T’s post wedding hen do I wanted to please and she was/is it turns out - a karaoke addict and I found that although I won’t get up to sing myself watching those with the guts to do it – bore a new love between me and the Japanese “art” form!

Friday night all glammed up we headed to the Irish bar and encountered HOT! Smurfs, middle aged men in bikini’s and an abundance of other hen/stag do’s we were in good company!

After a quick make up check we headed to the venue’s main stage to watch Chesney Hawkes (90’s pop star most famous for “I am the one and only” – you tube it!)

The main stage is a huge open plan room with bar’s lining the edges, lit with pink and blue neon’s, there’s a large stage with a photocall stage to meet and greet acts after their performances.

In high spirits we were ready to relive out youth but the night was to end on a sour note.

As the three of us made our way through the crowd so that I had a chance of seeing the act through the mass of people I started what I call the “Excuse me, sorry, thank you” - tapping peoples backs and nicely asking if I could get through, usually running their feet over and me apologising – it’s ritual we encounter in every club, gig, theatre etc.

It seems I tapped the wrong shoulder when a woman spun round, grabbed my wrist, slapped my hand and told me I was a F*****g cripple! I have never in 17 years of using my wheelchair had such hostility directed towards me. I was completely taken aback by this act of rudeness and a few minutes later (somewhat helped by a few drinks) started to cry and asked if we could go back to our apartment. I wasn’t going to make a fuss, it wasn’t ours or Butlin’s fault but as we exited the venue their security staff stopped us to find out what had gone on.

The Butlins staff were brilliant I couldn’t help but laugh as they mocked the angry cripple beating woman and promised if they could find her on site they’d quickly have her removed.

The manager said to go home, put my face back on, freshen up and come back out. We had all intentions of doing so, but our momentum and mood for the night had been somewhat hindered. As we all said our goodnight’s we all vowed no more tears and a better night should be had Saturday.... boy did we make up for it.....

Tomorrow.... Part 2

L x

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Epic Doh!



I'm not always the brightest star in the sky, but I think this may be a new level of dozy even for me! I got up this morning excited that my blog had reached its 1st Anniversary, although there have been some gaps in between posts – I've stuck with it.

I’ve come to love the readers’ comments and the thrill of when you see people enjoying your work enough to repost/retweet a link. 4500 reads in a year isn’t bad... accept it hasn’t been a year it’s been 13 months - Epic Doh! I’d read my first post as the 08/09/2010 when in fact it was on 09/08/2010. We shall call this lost month “The Codeine Phase”.



So it’s been a “year” and 57 posts... and you guys are still with me! Are you sick of me yet? It’s said that a good blog writer writes at least 3x a week, could you, my friends, handle that?

When I started I chose the name ladygogo84(inset why? link) – a name to hide behind because I thought I might not be received well and least it wouldn’t stick forever imbedded in Google under my real name. 

I’ve considered dropping the Alias and to “come out” so to speak and there are so many ladygogo’s online... usually Gaga tributes, the latest being Lady Bah Bah – the inflatable sheep who is currently following me on twitter (@Lynseybee). To be honest I’ve not been great at hiding any kind of identity – too much hard work!

So what have I learnt since I started... Firstly that I have to take criticism on the chin, and not crumble as soon as anyone’s “mean” to me... for the love of God woman grow up! I suppose this is closely linked to my very evident lack of confidence in my posts – seems I need to grow a pair too!

On a more personal note after the last year or so involving a court case, 6 months without Mike, re-homing my beloved dog Pyro, a long and unrelenting relapse amongst other big changes in my life I’m doing fine (as fine as you can in a codeine haze it seems!) so I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was – just need to keep reading the above paragraph! Maybe that should be my mantra Grow up and Grow some – catchy!

Where from here? Well assuming you all keep reading, I’ll keep writing – as long as you and I are happy – let’s begin continue the 2nd year!

L x