Saturday 31 December 2011

Onwards and Upwards


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