Wednesday, 23 December 2009

A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!!!

I'm off to my sister's tomorrow so this may be the last chance I get to wish you all a wonderful Christmas.
Here's to a great 2010!
Em xxx xxx

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Feeling Christmassy? Yes? No?

Well, I hope you don't mind me sharing some thoughts with you...

I saw my Mum just now and the awful way she's feeling right now reminded me that there are a lot of wonderful, kind, loving and caring people out there who, through no fault of their own and for whatever reason, are having a horrible time right now.

Sometimes it's too easy to get carried away with the Christmas preparations that we lose the focus of what the holiday is actually about. Many of us feel like we have to force that 'jolly Christmassy feeling' for other people, when inside all we want to do is curl up under our duvet on Dec 24th and stay there 'til Jan 2nd. I remember feeling this way not so long ago, so I totally understand.

For those of us who are starting to get all excited and Christmassy (ie; me!) there's absolutely nothing wrong with that - enjoy yourselves and share that joy - but spare a thought for those who won't be enjoying it, because they can't: the sick; the lonely; the abused; the neglected; those deep in debt and those in downright poverty. Some of those smiling faces you'll see at the office party or across the Christmas dinner table may be masking a very different emotion.

Is there someone in your life who could do with a bit of support or attention right now? A friend, family member, neighbour or perhaps a colleague at work? Send them a card or even an (anonymous) gift. Spread the Christmas love without making them feel like they have to reciprocate or put on a smile when what they really want to do is cry. Your simple little RAK (random act of kindness) might just make their day and restore their faith in humanity.

I'm not trying to bring anyone down, honest, but I was given a short, sharp shocking reminder today; after the hustle and bustle of the shops and the queue to meet Father Christmas and the Band Aid single playing in every shop; that it's not a jolly holiday for so many. I myself am having to keep to a very strict budget this year so I can sympathise with the millions affected by the worldwide recession, not to mention those in the developing countries who'd be lucky to have clean water to drink on Christmas Day, let alone a fat turkey with all the trimmings.

Let's not kid ourselves here: Christmas is the time for excess and presents and pulling crackers and then wearing the silly paper crowns and reading the corny jokes; but it's also about the spirit of giving itself, in whatever way that manifests itself. I'm a devout Christian, so my reasons for celebrating Christmas are religious, but whatever your belief (or non-belief) I wish you all peace on Earth and goodwill to all men (and women) - and if you can't have that then I at least wish you the Christmas you desire.

Goodnight and God bless,
Emma xxx

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Another good thing about chocolate advent calenders...

... (aside from the obvious advantage!) is that December is the one month of the year when I always know what the date is. This makes me wonder whether we shouldn't have a chocolate calender for every month of the year...!

(Any excuse!)

Another nice thing about them is that William can't pronounce it yet - currently they are called 'aunt valeca'(!)

Em ♥

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Saturday...I'm excited and nervous at the same time!

On Saturday (5th) I'll be selling my fine art photographic prints 'in real life' for the very first time! I haven't done it small-time either, but jumped in with both feet and pitched for a place at the 'We Make London' designer arts and crafts Christmas market at the Chelsea Town Hall in the King's Rd! My submission was accepted (yay!) so I've spent the last two months preparing.


As you probably know by now, photography has been an incredible but ultimately therapeutic journey for me, and this feels like a sort of culmination - everything coming together at last. Rediscovering my passion for the medium, formally studying it in two year A level (which I recieved a high A for!) then meeting and making friends with so many other photographers, including the Female Self-Portrait Artists' Support Group on Flickr with whom I collaborated on two published books! I then took the plunge and opened an Etsy online shop and found that people really do want to buy my work, so I then opened an online shop at ArtFire, ImageKind and Folksy! Now I'm selling out in the big, wide world. Two of my prints are for sale at the current West End Centre exhibition and the rest will all be coming with me on Saturday! I've even 'branded' myself with a logo which I have on my online banner, business cards and even fridge magnets! I feel like I've just jumped off the cliff and now it's sink or swim! Exciting, yet terrifying at the same time!

If you're in the area, wanting to do some Christmas shopping or simply looking for something to do on Saturday, come and see us! There'll be a 'creation station' where you can try your hand at a craft, carol singers from 11-11:45am and a cafe selling cakes and hot food!


Wish me luck!
Em ♥

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

I'm sooooo tired...

...I actually feel sick.

I do hope Christmas is a restful time. I may just go mad (again) otherwise!

- - -

Quick roundup:

Sunday: William LOVED meeting Father Christmas. The weather was pretty awful, but we just got on with it!

Monday: Met up with great friends Mark, Amber and Martyn to celebrate Mark's 40th. Went to one of my favourite places, Brighton. Drank coffee at The Sussex, shopped in The (old) Lanes, ate and drank at Al Duomo then saw Eddie Izzard's latest show - Stripped, Live - at the Brighton Centre!

I've got a rehearsal for OWZAT's 2009 Christmas play, which will now be on Mon and Tues, 14th and 15th of December at The West End Centre, Aldershot. If you're about and you fancy an alternative to all the kiddies' pantoes or readings of Dicken's Christmas Carol (not that there's anything wrong with either of those) come on down and watch it - should be a good laugh, it usually is!

- - -

Anyway - Tomorrow I make most of the finishing preparations for the We Make Christmas designer art and craft fair on Saturday (Dec 5th.) I'll be selling my fine art photographic prints and all my dear blog readers will recieve a free gift with their purchase! Just tell me who you are when you get there or leave me a comment below!

Bye for now,
Em ♥

Saturday, 28 November 2009

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

...everywhere you go!"

And I'm starting to feel Christmassy!

William 'wrote' his letter to Father Christmas yesterday (with a bit of help...) and drew him a lovely picture. Well... he covered a piece of paper with a LOT of felt-tip pen, anyway! Today we took it to the Post Office to send it to his workshop at the North Pole (well, local branch situated at Nanna's house...). I can't wait to see William when he gets his reply!

It was even more exciting when, just afterwards, we were going down the escalators, only to see Mr C coming up the other way! I thought William's eyes were going to pop out of his head!!! (Apologies to my OWZAT friend, Oscar, who was also travelling up the escalators and whom I nearly ignored in all the excitement!)

What Wills doesn't know is that he's going to see Father Christmas tomorrow at Paulton's Park! Every year Heals' work organises discount tickets to the park and Christmas Wonderland. It's always really freezing cold (open parkland) and we have to queue for the Wonderland bit for ages, but the children get a great visit with a 'proper' Father Christmas who magically knows their name as soon as they go in ;-) and a very decent, quality gift appropriate to their age. We grown-ups get mincepies and mulled wine :-) Last year I was recovering from the dreaded Norovirus (if you've never had it I don't recommend it) so I was chilled to the bone and the very smell of the mulled wine was making me feel really sick. This year I will be making up for all that! The tickets also include a full day at the park itself, including all the rides and attractions. I am determined that, as my Mum used to say 'we will all enjoy ourselves if it kills me'. I myself will be armed with 4 layers of clothing, including tights AND kneehigh socks under my jeans. I know, most unsexy, but the only man I need to impress is Healey and he's seen worse!
(The recent bad weather is set to continue and according to the MET office it will almost certainly bucket down, but that's what wellies are for!)

Going back to today; I managed to get quite a bit of Christmas pressie shopping done and bought all our charity Christmas cards. Whether they'll actually be written and sent in time is another matter..! A few of the local residents have already switched on their lights... I think this is a good thing..?!

BTW; you may have noticed that I refer to Mr Claus as Father Christmas rather than Santa. It's not that I have anything against 'Santa', it's just that he was always Father Christmas when I was growing up and I'm a sentimental (old) fool!

Bye for now;
Em ♥

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Busy, busy, busy..!

Pardon the rush - I'm having to post this quickly in the 3 seconds I've got spare this week..!

Thursday - Took 46 prints to be mounted and wrapped. They're destined for the We Make designer arts and crafts fair in Chelsea, London on 5th Dec. A good feeling!

Saturday - Took two of my best works to the Westy in Aldershot for the open exhibition. I've entered a very personal piece (A Gentle Freak-Out) and one of my best, older images (The Chapel Gate.) I also managed to convince Mum to enter two of her paintings, including her 'MS' painting, which is a very personal and powerful piece. I inherited my creative, artistic side from my mum so it's wonderful for us to be exhibiting together! Neither of us would've imagined it possible not so long ago!

Sunday - Mark managed to bag an extra ticket for the Formula 1 day at Mercedes-Benz World, Brooklands racetrack. Great day! Met Mark and his Dad, Ted, on the train and William instantly fell in love with Ted! Friends for life, those two..! William already adores fellow racing-car-loving 'Uncle' Mark so no-one's nose was put out of joint :-)

Monday - Pyjama day. Spent most of it painting and crackle glazing frames to display some of my 6x4" and 7x5" prints at the We Make fair.

Tuesday - William and I went for a walk in the woods with Andy, Sarah and their little boy, Benjamin. Kicked leaves, spotted squirrels and mushrooms, played with very large fallen branches (though that was mostly Ben and Wills), stopped at the park then headed home. First signs of a possible cold...

Wednesday - Yep. After three false alarms these past two months, I've finally succumbed to a cold. Sneezing, sore throat, swollen gland in neck. Stayed in PJs, did more frame painting. Benylin Day and Night tablets worked wonders!

Thursday - Postman brought me my new stickers, branded with my phalaenopsis orchid motif, to use as seals when wrapping sold prints. (I also have return-address labels and magnets made in my motif!) I'm starting to look like a professional! :-D Parcel Force man later brought my magnets so I can send a few off to the We Make organisers now to go in the tote bags which they will be selling. Yay! Had some sad news via text from a very good friend - if you're reading this, I meant what I said. I'm here for you anytime. xxx
Caught up with emails, checked on my Etsy and Folksy shops, spent some time in Flickr and Facebook (tending my Farmville farm!)

Friday - no wait... that's tomorrow. Getting ahead of meself a bit there!

Bye for now!
Em ♥

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

'One One was a racehorse'

One One was a racehorse
Two Two was one too,
One One won one race
Two Two won one too!
~
Oh, I did do love that poem as a child!
:-)

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Bad Hair Day

What a day! Awful. Ridiculous. Mad. And all before I'd had my breakfast!

For a start, I'm not well. I don't know if I've got an ear infection or a virus, or if the tablets are just causing bizarre symptoms. [Important note #1: I should mention that my symptoms include neck ache, ear ache and slight trouble breathing.] Basically I haven't felt right since yesterday. But I decided at 8:45 this morning to throw caution to the wind, throw on some clothes and take William for the first session of the new pre-school gymnastics course at our local leisure centre. He loved the last two courses and went to the drop-in sessions throughout the summer holidays, so I thought I'd do the good mummy thing and make the effort to take him today. This was my first mistake!

[Important note #2: William wasn't bothered about going out. He'd already started getting his train track out and wanted me to help him put it together and play trains.]

Anyway; I did what I could with my fringe - my hair could've done with a wash, really, but I have a slummy mummy image to maintain ;-D - slapped on a hat (my nice new crocheted black beret, if you're fashion-concious and interested) and we left the house at 9:05. William sat in the buggy most of the way so I could go faster (hah!) and he walked the last few yards. [Important note #3: Willaim is very heavy to push, especially uphill and especially with my torn shoulder. He usually walks everywhere these days anyway. I only take the buggy for naps and longer trips out.]

We got there - late, despite the hurry which half killed me - and had to wait in a queue. My chest hurt and I was hot and fed-up. Finally got to the counter. "Sorry, that class is full. They're only taking 6 children this time." Well,thank you very much. Perhaps someone could've revealed that important fact a few weeks ago..?! If I'd known I'd have enrolled him during the summer. I was too ill and fed-up to put up the usual public mask so in a break with the norm I actually let the lady behind the counter see my displeasure, especially as I'd made such an effort to get there and now faced the long walk back home again; not to mention William's disappointment. She asked if we like to go into the soft play area instead. I thought about it, but Wills won't play on his own and there were no other children there then, so I suggested we stay for a drink while we decided. The cafe was in the early stages of opening up but the lady said she'd get it open straightaway for us. At this point she disappeared and it didn't open for over half an hour - in other words, its regular opening time. By this time I was feeling very undervalued as a customer indeed. I'd been to TWO of their courses before AND the drop-in sessions AND brought another person (i.e; customer) along, yet I felt like they didn't give a flying fig about us.

Anyway, we waited, which William was happy(ish) to do and had already chosen a large chocolate chip cookie for his snack. They openend up and - lo and behold - the cookies were still frozen. Why were they on display then, for goodness' sake?! Managed to convince Wills to have some Jaffa Cakes instead. Now I must mention that the girl who served me at the cafe was lovely, which was lucky because by this time the tiredness and walk and nonsense was taking its toll and I was going a bit dizzy in the head. I ordered the cookie - then Jaffa Cakes - a drink for Willaim and a breakfast bap for myself. (I needed it!) I gave the girl my debit card and there was that "err...we can't do that yet moment" so before she needed to explain I fished in my purse for my last fiver. She gave me the change and I stood there chatting, which felt a little bit awkward, while the other girl made my coffee... or so I thought. Then I got that feeling something wasn't okay... it was as if the girl was making polite conversation, which it turned out was exactly what she was doing as I hadn't actually ordered any coffee! So I ordered a latte and had to fish about in my small change to pay for it! Luckily I had enough! In fact I gave her too much, somehow?! We joked about it but I still felt like a cross, tired, fed-up, unwell madwoman with unwashed hair. Which was a pretty accurate description actually!

Sat down with Wills and tried to phone Healey to have a rant, although by now I was going almost giggling with madness. Voicemail - which I stupidly didn't listen to (well it costs on a mobile! LOL). Tried again 5 minutes later. Voicemail again. Which again I didn't bother listening to. As my Mum would say 'that'll learn me.' Tried again and actually listened to the message "...I'm not at my desk today so please ring blah blah blah etc." Ah! Rang the main number and spoke to a colleague who got a message to Heals immediately. He called less than 5 minutes later and had a great idea; "why don't you stay there at the soft-play and I'll pick you up after 12pm, in my lunch hour and take you home?" Brilliant!

So I went to pay for the soft-play, as suggested by the lady on reception and now by an excited William, hoping that the Chip & Pin machine was working/awake/warmed-up or whatever by now, and - lo and behold - the soft-play wasn't opening that day until 12pm...

#SNAP!!!# (That was my mind going.)

### I could've bloody well stayed home, wrapped in a fleecy blanket, drinking sweet tea and half watching CBeebies while William played with his trains - which is all he damn well wanted to do in the first place!!! AAAAARRRRRGH!!!!!!!!! ###

So we went to the library and caught the tail end of storytime. Yes, if we'd ledt the leisure centre earlier, instead of trying to kill time there, Wills could've had a whole hour of stories and activities... Ha ha...ha ha...hee hee.. Oh look! Men in white coats...hoo hoo...ha ha!!!


(I laugh about it now - but only because if I didn't, I'd cry!)
Em ♥

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Art Meets Mental Health Issues - A Very Special Treasury

I've just been notified that my photograph 'A Gentle Freak-Out' has been included in the following treasury on Etsy.com:
http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list.php?room_id=90249

As you may well know, fine art photography is a huge part of my life and it's also therapy for me so, although it's always nice to have a piece of work selected, the inclusion in this particular treasury is fantastic for me. If you could just simply click on the link above and maybe leave a comment, we might get this issue on the frontpage of Etsy - and I'm all for promoting good mental health and raising awareness of mental health issues.

Thank you!!!
Em ♥

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Night of the Living Dead...and a nice surprise!

The 'living dead' in question being me...

My 'baby' boy (now 3!) had his first sleepover last night...won't know how it went 'til at least 11am. My hubby is away working this weekend but the new meds I'm on render me a complete zombie 'til around lunchtime so for my boy's sake he's stayed with good friends. He was supposed to be with our fabulous babysitter/nanny but she unfortunately had to cancel on Friday due to the 'flu, poor thing! Thank goodness, though, for Andy and Sarah who were able to heed the call at the last minute!

[Aside: I do wonder how many children end up abused and neglected because their otherwise well-meaning parents are drugged up to the eyeballs on prescription medication. I mean, my illness was reclassified as 'post-natal depression', yet there hasn't been a health visitor or psychiatric professional anywhere near our home in 3 years. I know William is ok...but the world outside our home only has our word for that. #Takes a deep breath# Okay, rant over. ]

~ ~ ~

Anyway, some good news! I woke up this morning to find I'd been featured in this Etsy treasury: http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list_west.php?room_id=73168 which was a lovely surprise!

Em ♥

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

CRASH

I've fallen back down the rabbit hole. The consultant offered me the proverbial red pill or blue pill and I chose wrong - now I'm paying for it.

Because my biggest problem seemed to be the 3 years without proper sleep (plus the clinical depression/post- natal depression and anxiety disorder) I switched from trifluoperazine started taking Trazodone to help me sleep. The problem is that the low dose I take, as a sleeping draught, doesn't work as an anti-depressant, but if I take a higher dose I need to sleep longer, which I can't do as I have a 3-year-old son to look after.

This means I can only take my full meds on Sunday and Tuesday evenings, because William is at nursery on mondays and Wednesdays. For the rest of the week I can only take a small dose. I already feel guilty enough about being only half a mum to William. I refuse to put him in danger or neglect him due to medication.

Result: I am now in the middle of a massive depressive crash. I can't describe how awful I feel , about everything. I'm trying sooo hard not to be negative about everything.

I'm seeing my psychiatric consultant tomorrow (yet another new one, but he seems nice from what Healey has told me about their recent phone conversation.) I really hope Healey can get the afternoon off work. I know I'll put my public face on and won't explain fully what's been going on.

Confession: I have been self-harming again. It's not that I've ignored the warning s signs of this crash, it's that I was unable to do anything to avoid it.

What I really need: A medication that makes me sleep right through the night, but not too drowsy throughout the next day. Or someone to take care of William in the mornings so I can get enough sleep. Hah, fat chance!



Sometimes, on the better days, I see my mental illness as a blessing...a gateway to creativity and other things. But at times like this I just wonder; will I ever be free of it?

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Good news/Bad news.

The good news:

Despite being ridiculously beautiful and doll-like, my 6-month-old neice was born with a cleft palate and lip. She had the lip 'corrected' (though I don't like that word) very early on but had to wait 'til now to have the first of a series of operations to build a full palate. Basically a small piece of bone is taken from her leg and used to make a new palate (aka the roof of the mouth.)

This first operation occurred last week and was a success and Kimberly is now recovering well - as is her parents and brother and sister! It was a smooth procedure but the aftermath was pretty horrendous for all concerned. I won't go into detail as I don't have my sister's permission, but suffice to say one particular junior doctor was severly told-off by an angry nurse. It may be a while before he goes near a baby with an intravenous drip again!


The bad news:

Two people I know well are seriously ill. One with breast cancer complications and another who's only just been diagnosed with a brain tumour, after having had his lung removed, due also to cancer.

It makes you re-evaluate everything- and makes you feel useless. All Heals and I can really do is pray, so we will.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Bizarre Observation #1

Running upstairs quickly in a dressing gown/robe and slippers makes you fell a bit like a jedi knight...or maybe it's just me?


Yeah, you all laugh now but you'll be trying it...

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Poor William!

My son has been very poorly this week, but is now on the mend. For all interested parties, including the lovely people who've been in contact via Facebook, here's the drama in full...



On Sunday afternoon William started complaining of the occasional tummyache, but nothing dramatic. On Monday afternoon Healey got a call him from the nursery. They said he had a high temperature and earache and were confirming that it was ok to give him Calpol. Healey rang me to let me know. Half an hour later they called again to say his temp hadn't responded to the Calpol so I jumped in a taxi. By the time I got there he'd - predictably - perked up and ran across the nursery to me. He seemed warm and a little miserable but was excited to see the taxi and his usual chatty self all the way home, racing me to the door! I asked Wills if his ear hurt and he said no. He then proceeded to ask for everything edible he could think of: biscuits, fruit, pasta and so forth! I gave him a fromage frais and he watched CBeebies until he finally fell asleep at around 5pm. When he later woke up (after Heals had come home) he had a temperature of 102c and was pretty miserable, still complaing of headache and now also stomach and lower pains, doubling up and crying. I suspected a urine/kidney infection (something I myself am prone to) so I checked the NHS Direct website but all the symptoms were either disparate or conflicting (during this time I also checked William for signs of meningitis, as I was worried about the headache) so I rang the NHS Direct phoneline (as he's under 5 years old and they say to so that in any case.)



That was when mummy lost it, I'm afraid...



"Welcome to NHS Direct. We are sorry but due to the swine 'flu pandemic we are extremly busy. If you are calling about swine 'flu, blah, blah, blah...call the following number, blah, blah, blah. If you wish to use our online symptom checker, go to www dot blah, blah, blah... or call the following number and so forth blah, blah, blah... If you have any other enquiry, etc, please stay on the line.



So I stayed on the line.



"Thank you for calling NHS Direct...blah,. blah. blah...swine 'flu, press 1...blah, blah, blah...pandemic, press 2...other enquiries, press 3..."



So I pressed 3.



"We are sorry that due to the swine 'flu pandemic all our operators are busy. If your call is urgent, please try again later."



Click...and they cut me off!



"IF YOUR CALL IS URGENT, CALL BACK LATER?!!" What the heck??!!!

Listen mate; if my call is bloody urgent - which it potentially is - I'm calling bloody 999!



How then phone didn't end up smashed against the far wall is still a mystery to me.



Anyway, clever Daddy suggested we ring the GP's surgery and listen to the Primary Care Trusts' out of hours service. So I rang it and listened...



"Hello. The surgery is closed...etc...please call 0 something incoherent 5 something else incoherent...voice fading altogether...etc."



So I hung up and rang back...same story, but voice faded on different numbers this time, so I suspected it was a bad line rather than a problem with their message.



So I rang back and it was engaged...



I tried once more, turned up the volume to max, put it on speaker and and dictated the phone number to Healey. Who wrote down the wrong numbers entirely and even added some of his own...



###Deep breath...holding in the scream...###



Rang the GP's number again. Engaged.



###Let out some very angry words I shouldn't have (quietly so as not to reach the ears of my by-now very poorly 3-year-old son.###



Rang back. Listened again. Wrote down the numbers correctly. Had mionr row with heals about our respective listening/dictation abilities.



Finally phoned the Primary Care Service. Spoke to a very pleasant chap and explained William's symptoms. He told me someone would be in touch as soon as possible, but with the swine 'flu pandemic, they were all very busy, so...blah,blah, blah." I thanked him, hung up, took William's temperature again, gave him more drinks...and waited.



3/4 of an hour later a nurse practitioner called and said it sounded like "one of these viruses going around" and that I was "doing everything right but if he's settled (on Daddy's lap) thennot to disturb him but call bak if he gets worse or (as I predicted) take him to the GP in the morning."



Cut to next day (Tuesday) and William was no better, if not worse. I made an appointment with the GP for that afternoon and took him in a taxi. Of course by the time we got there he was much better...but the GP diagnosed an ear infection and prescribed infant paracetamol and antibiotics (Amoxycillin.) I was a little bothered that he hadn't seemed to take the diarrhoea or constant headache into consideration, but I'm not a doctor, so what do I know..To his credit, however, he was great with William and Wills was more than happy to let him do all his tests. We walked round to Boots then to the cashpoint for some money, then into Fizzy Kids soft play centre to wait for Healey to pick us up. Walked in to find a group of very large (in both senses) children viciously smacking each other with the plastic balls and generally wreaking havoc in both he play and cafe areas. One particularly heavy lad jumped right onto and over the back of the sofa I was actually sitting on! The balls were becomingly increasingly more dangerous to me and William and I thought about complaining to a member of staff, then noticed one of their dads sitting right amidst the chaos, seemingly not only ignoring it but actively encouraging it all...



Anyway, William had a little play and a lie-down on the sofa next to me and I gave him a dose of paracetamol. (I was expecting a bottle of the generic stuff, but actually got a large-size bottle of Calpol - for free! Under 16s are exempt from paying for meds, of course.) Just after half five Heals turned up and we went home. I phoned Mum back with an update (she'd called in the morning, just after I'd made the doctors' appointment.)



Next day; Wednesday. William came in our room at 6am with what was now a very severe headache and still had a temperature of 100+ I phoned the GP again as the regular doses of Calpol (and also infant ibruprofen) obviously weren't touching the pain, but after making the appointment I realised we might see the same doc again who might simply stand by his diagnosis and tell us to merely wait for the meds to start working. So I suggested we go to A&E instead (as the primary service is shut during surgery hours.) Heals tried to give William his second dose of antibiotics but he'd remembered how it had tasted yesterday and refused point-blank. It's supposed to taste of banana...! He then lay on the floor, head in his hands, obviously in pain in his head so I took the bull by the horns and insisted we go to A&E. Heals cancelled the GP appointment and off we went.



Predictably, as soon as William saw the ambulances he perked up again, but the triage nurse in the children's A&E dept had, of course, seen all that before so we didn't feel like complete paranoid parents! She tested his pulse rate and blood pressure, took down all the details and we were seen almost immediately by the paediatric doctor. By this time Wills had had enough of being poked and prodded by doctors and made no secret of it...He felt so ill and got so distressed that I had to leave the cubicle so he didn't see the tears in my eyes.

The tests showed that William did in fact have a very severe ear infection which had spread down his Eustachian tube to his throat and beyond. The doc said that Wills must be in an awful lot of pain (correct!) and that it would indeed have caused the ongoing headache. The triage nurse had told us to alternate paracetamol and ibruprofen every two hours, up to 4 times a day, but the doc said to just give the paracetamol every three hours...Hmmm...I guess we just continue to monitor him and use our parental common sense?!

Finally, he had to give a urine sample...and he's not potty trained...so he had to have something which looked like a small, transparent Hoover bag around his 'personal equipment' which he absolutely hated because it was stuck on to his body and very uncomfortable. He moaned and cried and squirmed for a long while, but I distracted him with the dept's toy kitchen and trucks, until 11am exactly when we checked and - yes! - he'd 'given a sample' (we won't dwell on the accompanying diarrhoea...eurgh!) They checked it immediately and it was all fine, which was not really a surprise, thank goodness.

So we left the hospital, feeling much better now that William had had a thorough check-over and we now knew the extent of the ear infection and the reason for the headache, etc. We dropped the car off at the garage (to have the exhaust fixed - yet again!) then popped into the local greasy spoon for a well deserved fry-up each and a little something for Wills. Then time for home and to phone the nursery with the update.

- - - - - - -

That afternoon I had an appointment with my new Consultant Psychiatrist, which is always an anxious time. My Dad drove me and brought me home (Heals was, of course, looking after William) but I needn't have been concerned, though - the new doc is brilliant! Told me some VERY interesting things about my new and old medication and is generally a very polite and friendly chap! (Will give you the details in my next blog post...too much going on right now!)

- - - - - - - - - - -

BTW; An interesting aside: Healey had booked yesterday off ages ago, to do some allotment maintenance and to help with the Holiday Club BBQ at church. If he hadn't been around then I couldn't/possibly wouldn't have taken William to the hospital and he'd still be in pain and without adequate painkillers and I'd be beside myself with worry. Also, I would have had to cancel my appointment with the psyche doc, as Wills was unable to go to nursery and I couldn't have taken him with me. Once again, God has shown that He puts people where they NEED to be, rather than where they simply WANT to be!

PHEW!!! That was a long post - thanks for sticking with me..!

Em ♥

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Things that Make You Go Hmmm...#1

In anticpation of our trip to France in August, I popped into the camping shop for a browse around.

They have a paperback book there called 'Europe on a Shoestring.'

The book costs £15.99!!!


Hmmm....!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Thought for the Day #1

Is it just me or are there more cranes around Britain these days?

Discuss.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Mr and Mrs kindly request the pleasure of your company...!

I'm in a play tonight, Lavender Wedding, at the West End Centre, Aldershot (hereafter known as The Westy!) We had the dress rehearsal last night and all went pretty well - I certainly performed better than I expected!

I've been a member of the OWZAT theatre company for 7 months now and I'm really enjoying it - good fun, good people! We're a small troupe, usually never more than between 9 and 11 of us at any one time, so it wasn't too scary for me to join in. I was given a bit of a baptism of fire - The groups' leader and one of my best friends, Bekki, asked me to fill in after she had to pull out of the role she was playing in the 'alternative' Christmas production, Supermarket Sleep. I literally (and I don't use that word often) had one dress rehearsal, then I was in front of an audience! Luckily I have many years of experience of treading the Westy boards and the part wasn't too demanding so it wasn't really daunting in any way - the worst part was joining in with a close-knit group at such a late stage in the show. Fortunately for me, OWZAT are a very sweet group of friends and I had already met four of them before (Hash, Alison and Bekki's sister, Emma.) The other problem was that I was very out of practice; my previous theatre company - the STC (Studio Theatre Company) - having split a few years ago. I've been doing a bit of street theatre and walkabout performances since, usually with Healey, but that's a whole different ball game! OWZAT's plays are improv-based - so no script and the play writes itself as we go along. Fun but very challenging!

Anyway, the curtain goes up at 8pm so if you find yourself in Aldershot which nothing better to do, feel free to drop by. And the best bit? The audience is 'private - by invitation' so there's no ticket required. In other words, it's free!!!

Friday, 10 July 2009

OK...this could take some time!

I have soooooo many things to tell you about and I'm not sure where to start, so I'll begin at the beginning (a couple of weeks ago) and split it into two or three blog posts. (If I forget anything I'll come back to it later...)

- - - - - - - - - - -

The Friday evening before last I went to my cousin, Becky's, wedding reception. It was lovely to see her and her son, Jake and finally meet her new husband, Jordan. Her parents, my Auntie Sue and Uncle Andy and her 'little' brother, Jamie (who's about 8ft tall!) were all there, of course but so was my Auntie Jane and Uncle Gordon and their daughter, Tabitha.

It was so fantastic to see them all and have a bit of a catch-up. I had great conversation with Gordon re; photography and creative worship. (Gordon is a Church Army captain.) They both live in Brighton - one of my favourite places on the planet! - and have invited us to stay with them sometime soon. I can't wait!

The wedding itself actually took place in Antigua a short while before (jealous? Moi?!) and Becky wore her dress again and frankly she looked stunning! Honestly - it was an absolutely gorgeous dress and she filled it out beautifully, especially with her tan!

My Dad wasn't able to go due to work commitments so Mum was going to jump in our car; then, at the last minute, her illness flared up and prevented her from being able to go. She was gutted as she desperately wanted come and had particularly looked forward to seeing her brother (Andy) and sister (Jane) whom she hadn't seen for far too long.

The evening made me realise two things:

1) I have a gorgeous, loving family. I am truly blessed by that.
2) We need a Woody-do and soon!!! (Wood is the family name...)

- - - - - - - - -

On Saturday I went to my friend Louise's hen do. It was such a great day!

In the afternoon we all met in London and went up to the Paradise Gardens Festival What a fantastic place! Music, fancy dress, all the usual 'interesting' festival-going-types, good food, drinkies and dancing...all in generous amounts and all for free!!! (Well,...alright, you did have to pay for your food and drink but that's fair enough!) There was even a funfair and a Wall of Death! (Video to follow!) At one point somebody said 'fancy dress' to me and I found myself making my way, trance-like, to a corner of a tent where you can dress up for free and for £1
they take a photo of you on a bluescreen background then add a fake background. Jen and I went for it in a big way! We had a shot of us together as mermaids and I had another in a Carmen Miranda-style outfit and headress! The resulting shots were so cheesy they were practically dripping with mozarella - and my solo pic was simply awful! Great fun!!! I did have a little wobble though, thinking how much Heals would've loved it...

One of the best parts of the day was the time spent in the Parlure Spiegel Tent - it was like stepping back into the 1920s! As the Pimms flowed we were given a few lessons in jive dance and opportunities to watch the professionals then give it a go ourselves! The 'tent' itself is a work of art, too - a must-see!

In the evening we went to this odd little place in Soho. It's one of those places that can't quite make it's mind up what it's supposed to be, so it seems to have settled with being whatever brings the most money in - which is, inevitably, a club. This means they can charge a £15 cover charge, then charge you for food and drink on top - not even a first-one-free deal! Just as the conversation was starting to run a bit dry the 'entertainment' started. A kind of blues/funk scratch band took to the 3/4 square-inch stage and kicked off with quite a decent attempt at some blues numbers. Maybe I've been spoilt over the years, but I remember frequenting many blues clubs across London and Copenhagen and they were...well...not brilliant. The lead singer had tons of great, fun personality, the trouble was most of it belonged to Prince. And there's something about a very camp, petite twenty-something mimicking Will Young that just doesn't suit the blues!

The rest of the band were pretty good though. The whole outfit had that typical 'working-the-circuit/whoever turns up plays' thing going on - which in my experience IS very blues! I suppose that way if the gig goes belly-up, they can always just look at it as an impromptu jam session?!

BTW; I shared 3 pitchers of sex on the beach cocktails, yet sobered up significantly throughout the evening. Magic, perhaps? A physiological phenomenon? Or perhaps merely a distinct lack of actual alcohol in the jugs...? Hmmmm...

- - - - - - - -

While Amber and I were with Lou and co, Healey and Wills drove up to spend the evening with Martyn. They've both been through a huge ton of crap recently - not my place to divulge - but as Heals and I have also been through the mill we thought that, as we girls were having fun, the menfolk should get together and have a boys' night in. The tell-tale smell of curry as we got through the front door at 2:30ish told us that they'd probably had a very nice evening, thank you!

I didn't sleep a wink that night (only slightly unsusual for lil 'ol insomniac-me) but I felt fine the next morning and even had some breakfast - shock horror! But it was a brioche so there was chocolate involved...

William played in the garden for a while and made me feel depressed and guilty all over again that we don't have one. I'm growing increasingly less fond of this masionette all the time...

Anyway - a great weekend was had by all! Amber took Martyn back to the festival on the Sunday and I went home with my boys and finally zonked out at 1pm!

Next year, I'm definately going back to Paradise Gardens with Heals and William. Who's coming with us...?!!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

I have a lot to blog...

...but no time to do it in!

I will update you soon, dear blog, I promise!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Happy birthday to me...

...happy birthday to me,
happy birthday to to me-eee,
happy birthday to me!

:-)

Today I turn 35. I know it's not a 'big one' like a 40th, but it feels like a halfway point for me. I should possibly mark it somehow. I'll probably do a self-portrait, just for me.

- - - - -

William was so cute this morning. He let me sleep in 'til 9am - he NEVER lets me do that! - then he helped me open some cards and sang 'Happy Birthday' to me! I had some lovely cards, presents and birthday greetings from Healey and Wills and some of my wonderful friends. I said it before and I'll say it again - I'm feeling the love today!

- - - - -

Off to work soon...hope the good feeling continues!

Friday, 19 June 2009

WOOHOO!!!!!!

Now this may seem like a fairly small thing, but it's hugely important to me and you'll see why...

Every month I read my favourite magazine in the whole world, Black & White Photography. Not only is it an excellent specialist publication, but one of the finest of any type of photographic magazines. It is always superbly presented and well-written and is great for anyone from beginners to life-long, professional photographers.

Ok, advert over. Why am I so excited? Well, this morning I recieved a pre-released version of this month's magazine - with my 'letter-of-the-month' in it, accompanied by one of my very first still life shots!I knew it was happening as I'd already been told by GMC Publications' editor, Elizabeth Roberts and I was sent a copy of a lovely book for my troubles! It was still a wonderful surprise in the post, though!

I will scan and post the page here, in the meantime, here is a copy of my email as it appears:


LETTER OF THE MONTH - Creative Shot in the Arm

As a huge fan of monochrome photography I have been an avid reader of your magazine for over two years now and every month I am inspired; howeverMarch's issue was especially welcome!
Due to a recurring long-term mental health problem my creativity hit a dry spell and my inability to get out and about much meant my photography became quite restricted. After reading about Andrew Sanderson's still lifes, however, I was motivated to have a go and have included the two best results. I was very pleased with them - especially as I planned, shot and post-processed both images in one afternoon! It's a whole new genre for me and one I intend to persue!
Thank you for the monthly creative 'shots in the arm' - I have just bought my copy of May's issue and have already read it cover to cover and am planning my first close-up nature shots (Assignment) and Lee Frost/Sense of Place-inspired coastal scene - we'll see how it goes!

Emma Newson by email

- - - - - - - -

Liz has also expressed an interest in publishing the whole set when it's finished, too!

#Doing the happy dance!#

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

A Very Interesting Few Days...!

What a busy weekend; I went into work yesterday just to get a rest!

On Saturday my gorgeous friend, Bekki's youngest son took his 1st communion in Aldershot. I'd never been to a Catholic Mass before, so wasn't exactly sure what to expect. Luckily that particular church are fairly relaxed - abiding by the rules but without scaring all the atheistic friends and families!

As an Anglican(ish) Christian I noticed many similarities between our communion service and theirs, with only small differences. Take the creed, for instance; according to this "we are all part of the same catholic and apostolic church" so the words are almost identical - except it's not assumed in our church that we all already know it by heart and can recite the whole thing from memory! Hats off to their Sunday schooling!

Afterwards we all went back to Bekki and Alan's for drinkies and nibbles. William and Healey didn't come to the church (I somehow couldn't see my little ball of energy sitting through mass...or William. Ha ha...) I met up with them at Bekki's and we had a lovely evening chatting with everyone. A groovy bunch - mostly close family and the OWZAT-plus-one crowd.

- - - - - - -

On Sunday we met Mum and my sister, who was visiting with her eldest - my nephew, Cory - and youngest, baby Kimberley. ('Becca had to stay home with Daddy to attend a birthday party.) We had lunch at the Monkey Puzzle and Heals and I got lots of cuddles with Kimberley. She's really beginning to smile now! A precious little dolly, just like her big sister was!

- - - - - - -

After lunch we said our goodbyes and headed back across 'the field' by the Brook for home. Cove Brook Greenway werehaving a sort of fun day but unfortunately just as we reached the marquee where the beautiful owls and falcons were - William fell asleep! Stroked a couple of long-eared owls - one was HUGE!

Later on that evening I opened a new 'branch' of my virtual shop: Emma in Wonderland Photography. Hopefully it'll give my fellow Brits a better deal image-wise as I'll be able to offer larger sized prints and canvas versions. At the moment I can't offer these to customers abroad as the postage charges would be (IMHO) ridiculous!

- - - - - -

Anyway, that's what I've been up to!

Bye for now,
Em x

Thursday, 11 June 2009

It's already been a busy month!

I found myself volunteering for face-painting at a fun day and a local fete. I'm hoping to work some face painting into our street theatre/walkabout gigs. (Healey and I do that kind of work occasionally and we're always thinking of new ways to expand the business.)

- - - - - -

Last Saturday I met up with some lovely ladies from one of my Flickr groups: The Female Self-Portrait Artists' Support Group (FSPASG).

We met at my old local, the World's End pub in Camden Town, London. I used to live in Camden road and went to the World's End quite a bit after a hard days' work in the King's Rd, Chelsea.

We had a couple of drinkies, shot some photos and went for a wander up the High Street towards the markets. It was a great day, rounded off with dinner at a Brazilian restaurant - Casa da Sogra - near the Chalk Farm end.

- - - - - -

I went back to work last week - and it's already proved ridiculously and, frankly, unnecessarily stressful! I just wish the place could get itself together. Oh well, it's only until September and there are some lovely people there.

- - - - - -

Rehearsals are well under way for OWZAT's latest performance. OWZAT (Older, Wiser and Zanier Acting Troupe) is the fabulous group of nutters I 'do drama' with every Tuesday at the West End Centre, Aldershot. It's led by Bekki - one of the world's most gorgeous people! We're a fairly small group, from all walks of life and with our assorted life baggage. There's no big egos (other than the occasional slight luvviness) or any nastiness ever of any sort. Being 'in the room' with this lot is just such a wonderful place to spend an evening!

- - - - - -

In other news: I'm still awaiting the results from the MRI on my shoulder and my smear test. I've also had to put starting my new medication off for another week. Nothing I can't deal with though!

Bye for now,
Em x

Thursday, 4 June 2009

I Love a Bargain!

Popped into New Look before work yesterday - I admit I was drawn in by the huge SALE banners! - and found some absolutely fabulous bargains!

Bought two gorgeous skirts for around £7 a piece and and three great summer tops for about £8 each! I got the lot for £33. BARGAIN!!!

(It was doubly cool 'cos I'd coincedentally paid off the final balance on my New Look storecard that morning and paid with my debit card, so no interest - woohoo!)

- - - - -

So, what's the significance of this? Well, I don't buy clothes that often as I tend to live in jeans and t-shirts and I rarely spend real money on anything I do buy, so I've been carefully building my wardrobe with skirts and nice tops. I'm really into miniskirts and opaque footless tights at the moment!

When I shop for clothes I often take my theatre/self-portrait wardrobe into concideration, so some of my stuff is a bit...well...'fancy dressy'! I don't care though - I can always start going to more festivals and theme nights!

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Well, I did it!

I went back to work today and it was...ok! Pretty good, in fact!


That is all.

;-)

Back to work today...

...I won't say too much. Suffice to say that I haven't even set foot through the door and already nothing seems to have changed! (This is not a good thing.)


It's a good job I do this work for God as much as anyone - or I probably wouldn't do it at all!

(Oops..I've already said too much. SSsshh!)

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

A Day of Two Halves

Yesterday morning I went for the MRI on my right shoulder. I had to have x-ray fluid injected beforehand which was the part which I'd been dreading, so I took a couple of my strongest anti-anxiety tablets and was basically stoned throughout! I was actually giggling in the car on the way! The consultant and nurses were great and it was all over very quickly and with the least anount of fuss and pain.

The MRI itself was a wierd experience. I had headphones on to block out some of the noise - whoich was still very loud - and they piped classical muzak in! I just closed my eyes and daydreamed (the medication helped...) It wasn't really claustraphobic at all, as it's open both ends and plenty of light gets in. They also blow oxygen in so it's not stuffy either so if you ever need one - don't fret!


- - - - - -


In the afternoon (after a nap) I went across the road into the woods to take some photographs. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. I then went onto the field over the brook and it was full of buttercups! A wonderful sight! I got a couple of good shots and there's one in particular that I'm very pleased with. I've added a little bit of texture in post-processing to soften the image and slightly mute the pretty yellows and greens. I can't wait to print an 8x10" version to see how it comes out!

As I walked back from the field I had to congratulate God for such a lovely day and such beautiful buttercups. I also thanked him for sharing it with us. Awesome to think He created each and every petal!


Thursday, 21 May 2009

A quick reminder...

...about my other blog Emma in Wonderland Photography.

I'm constantly updating it, letting you all know what I do and why I do it!


Bye for now!
Em x

Friday, 15 May 2009

New photography blog!

I've started a blog to keep people abreast of my photographic goings-on!

http://emmainwonderlandphotography.blogspot.com/

As with this blog, I welcome all nice/constructive views and comments!

:-)

Books That Changed My Life...

...or at least had a HUGE impact on me in some way or another!


The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (trilogy) by Douglas Adams

Don't panic! :-)

I've read the entire 'trilogy' of five books...many, many times! I've probably read 'The Restaurant at the End of the Universe' alone a hundred times! It was the first book that made me laugh out loud and I did so, frequently, on the way to work. People are supposed to look at you funny on the London Underground though, aren't they...?

One character in particular, Wonko The Sane, is a man after my own heart!

TIP: Don't bother buying the books separately. If you read one I guarantee you'll read them all so save a few quid and buy the complete trilogy in the first place.



The Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett

Please don't ask me my favourite in this wonderful series - it changes all the time. (The link is to the very first book.) Pratchett looks at the world as I do, that is, from a funny angle. I've never read Tolkien and now I don't have to!

I'll read anything this man writes - I'd read a bus ticket if Pratchett wrote it!



Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

The only book to ever make me cry out loud. I read it when I was a girl and it's been with me in spirit ever since. If you haven't read it I won't spoil the plot, but I will say this: I'm terrified of spiders yet during one chapter I cried my eyes out. Brilliant.



Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (and What Alice Found There) by Lewis Carroll

Two of the most enduring, inspiring, intriguing and fantastical books ever to be written. The characters, quotes and Charles Dodgson's (aka Lewis Carroll) nonsense verses will live on forever. (It probably comes as no surprise that I like this, considering the title and web address of this blog!)


A typical conversation:

Alice: But I don't want to go among mad people.

The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you can't help that. We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.

Alice: How do you know I'm mad?

The Cat: You must be. Or you wouldn't have come here.

Alice: And how do you know that you're mad?

The Cat: To begin with, a dog's not mad. You grant that?

Alice: I suppose so,

The Cat: Well, then, you see, a dog growls when it's angry, and wags its tail when it's pleased. Now I growl when I'm pleased, and wag my tail when I'm angry. Therefore I'm mad.



Total Forgiveness by R.T. Kendall
Kendall is both an amazing speaker and an amazing writer. I've never really been one for religious literature, self-help books and suchlike, but this book was recommended to me by a good friend and I now owe that friend a great debt of thanks!

I've been practising 'total forgiveness' every day since I read the very first chapter and it's completely changed my outlook and attitude to life, the world and everyone else in it. A truly remarkable book which EVERYONE should read, Christian or otherwise!

(BTW; I've already bought the companion book, Forgiving ourselves and am looking forward to reading all his other books, too!)



Monkey by Wu Ch'eng-en (translated by Arthur Waley)


I love this!!! Buddhist teachings, spirituality and early Eastern politics all beautifully wrapped up in a great tale of friendship, sacrifice and courage. So funny and easy to read, you could think it had only been written last year! The central character, a monk called Tripitaka, really did exist and really did go on a great pilgrimage. Such was his fame that many legends and stories abounded about his travels. Ch'eng-en has collected all these stories and presents a coherent version version which is simply a joy to read!



The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
My absolute favourite book in this series is the very first one; The Magician's Nephew. Many people think that The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is the first book, but although that was written before The Magician's Nephew, that book was written as a prequel and was always, even according to Lewis himself, intended to be read first.

I got so lost in that first story - I was completely there - and have been looking for just the right setting to do a photographic tribute. If anyone knows any magical beech woods with a carpet of lush green grass and possibly some pools of water, PLEASE let me know!!!

(Again, buy the whole set - you won't regret it!)

Bye for now!
Em x

Thursday, 14 May 2009

# Quick 'Positive' update #

* Kimberley had her stitches out and all is fine! Of course there's more difficult operations to come, but it's great so far!

* Had my blood tests results back: B12 low, glucose high. The rest is fine. I wasn't surprised at the B12 level - could well explain the chronic fatigue. The high glucose is more worrying... anyway booked an appointment with the GP this afternoon just before my smear test.

* Saw my consultant psychiatrist yesterday. We can't change my medication until I know if I already have or if I'm a high-risk for diabetes, as one of the tablets affects blood sugar levels. Dr B will ring my GP, Dr J, tomorrow to get his decision/opinion before discussing it further with the psychologist. It's so nice having someone from the mental health services actually doing something proactive without me having to scream 'til I'm blue in the face!

* Liz from GMC Publications (Black & White Photography Magazine) emailed yesterday for my address. Apparently my email is their 'letter of the month' and I've won a lovely book on photographic composition! Letter of the month! In my favourite magazine! Woohoo!!!

* Had a ladies' night out at Pizza Express, Camberley last night. A bit of a last-minute thing, but it was a friends' birthday and I really wanted to be fit and well enough to go. Had a single vodka and lemonade but that coupled with my anti-anxiety pills and an empty stomach meant that I found myself yakking on, holding court and talking for England! To everyone sitting at my end of the table -sorry for be such a rambling loudmouth. I don't get out much these days...!

(The birthday girl was Becky - a friend from church who's daughter also goes to William's gymnastics class, so Becs and I get to sit and chat every Tuesday. I get to feel 'normal' - whatever that is - for 45 mins a week so I'm grateful for that!)

Monday, 11 May 2009

Positive stuff!


After dumping all over you before, I feel it's only fair to point out that there are (of course) good and/or positive things going on in my life, too! (It's worth pointing out that none of this has really 'cut through' the depression or fatigue, which is why I'm especially worried.)


Anyhoo; in no particular order:

1) My baby neice, Kimberley's operation to correct her cleft lip was a complete success! Later she'll have more surgery to fix her cleft palate then, when she's about 16, she'll probably be offered cosmetic surgery to reduce the scar. Cleft lip or not, she's seriously gorgeous!!!


2) My Etsy shop is slowly but surely growing. I'm in the art showcase today and I've been rotating the image featured hoping to generate more interest in my wares. I'll soon be adding a new shop, selling off the hundreds of beaded bracelets I made when I was first signed off work! I can also get shot of some of the beads and charms I've collected over the years!






3) William is in 'big boy' pants...some of the time, except when he wees all over the carpet! One step nearer to being toilet trained, though! (FYI: He has Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder and In The Night Garden pants. If anyone knows where he can find Spiderman pants he'd be very grateful, as would his mummy!)


4) Blood tests over and done!!! I am EXTREMELY needlephobic (what IS the actual, correct term for that? Must Google it later...) but the nurse, Eileen, was fantastic -as she always is. I lay on the bed, William at my feet and Healey holding my left hand, and just concentrated on my breathing and not passing out! Seemed to work! Results due Tuesday...

5) I'm having an email 'letter' and two of my images printed in the next issue of my favourite magazine: Black and White Photography!!! (No prizes for guessing what the magazine is about!) I sent a message to a lovely lady in their publications office and she sent such a nice, personal response. I'm pretty housebound lately so I've been trying my hand at still life - a whole new genre for me! I'm very pleased with the progress so far, it's not perfect, but then that's what practice is for! They're interested in publishing my B&W and sepia still lifes in the future, too!

6) Spring Harvest 2009 was at once the worst and the best Springy ever. It started badly - already exhausted and stressed out and Wills playing up and running off didn't help. I started work immediately and by lunchtime, day 3, I just wanted to sit in the middle of the path and sob my heart out and I didn't care who saw me. Instead, I went back to our chalet and prayed on my knees for gudance, strength and help. God answered that very afternoon -and He just kept on answering! Even at closing time! It was one amazing event after another, and I didn't even need to move from the Veritasse stand. It all just came to me! He sent sign after sign that He was looking after me. Of course, our Father in Heaven looks after us all - we just sometimes forget or choose to ignore Him, then we don't pray and wonder why life goes belly up and we don't have the wherewithall to cope. Lesson learned!



Anyway, I got great feedback from customers, made some lovely friends and good contacts in the (Christian) art world. I picked up some great tips for selling and exhibiting and now I know I can do it. Which leads me neatly on to...


7) I've recently sold a few 10x8" prints through my Etsy shop and exhibited in the Farnborough Festival of Arts. I will also be taking part in the ever-popular art exhibition at the West End Centre, Aldershot around Christmas time. I'm hoping to take part in the Westy's first ever arts and crafts fair in November.

I'm really moving forward with my photography! From little acorns...


8) Friends and the people at work have been so supportive and generally lovely about my various ailments. I started to name names, but at the risk of forgetting one and offending somebody I'll just say that they all know who they are and it has been sooo appreciated. It keeps me going, truly. You're all beautiful people and don't let anyone tell you different!!!




9) Summer is coming! That's got to be good, hasn't it?!









'Til next time!

Take care and God bless,

Em x

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Sorry I've not been around...(Warning: long moan!)

...my health has taken a massive downturn. I've missed a month off work and am about to have blood tests on Friday, then an MRI scan on my shoulder and the dreaded smear test next week.

Just to fill you in: my depression has been at its worst since 2006; my 'bad' shoulder has got worse and the orthopaedic consultant suspects a SLAP lesion (possibly torn muscle/ligament) so I need an MRI which means having x-ray fluid injected deep into my shoulder first and I have a condition called vestibulodynia (did I tell you that already?)which means smear tests are particularly painful.

I'm missing out on work, the theatre company, photography and just having a regular, adult life.

I am very needle-phobic and my anxiety is out of control. My sleeping pattern is worse than ever so I'm constantly fatigued. All in all I'm having an awful time of it. I can just about do one thing a day. By 6pm I'm wiped out, but still can't sleep properly. I'm self-harmong again. My photography business isn't exactly taking off and so Healey is still having to work extra hours so he's always tired, too. My Mum's MS is really bad at the moment, she's almost housebound and I can't help her.

I've really, really had enough.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

"Spring has Sprung...

...da grass is riz,

I wonder where da boidies is?

'Da boid is on da wing'

But dat's obsoid,

I taut da wing was on da boid?!"



I love that rhyme!!! (Best said out loud in a broad Brooklyn accent!)



- - - - - - - - - -



I'm off to Spring Harvest on Saturday. Apart from joining in as much of the worship, workshops and sessions as possible I'll also be exhibiting and possibly even selling some of my work. I've had five 10x15" prints framed and will also have some greetings cards and 6x4" prints for sale.



But the real aim for me, personally, is not to sell but to praise God and share the gospel through the artworks. I'm volunteering to work with Veritasse - the Christian Arts Society - who have a stand at Springy. It was there, at Minehead, in 2002 or 2003 that I first discovered Veritasse. At that time I didn't even consider photography as a viable career move and it certainly never occurred to me that I could actually minister through the medium!



For ages I prayed and prayed that God would help me be a better Christian witness and that He would use me in the church. As ever with prayer, God answered in His own time - which is fair enough, He is God, after all! - but answered in a way I couldn't have imagined! Not only has He found a way for me to stay 'in my safe place' behind the lens and still work for the church as an events and portrait photographer, but the final images can be used to spread the Word! He's given me my own ministry!!! The work has already begun. Last year one of my 10x8" B&W prints - The Boot - was used as an A3 poster by a church in Wallington, Surrey, to promote their church and Christianity in general.







A few weeks ago I took part in 'An Audience of One' - a day of worship through creative gifts and art followed by an evening worship session. It was such an intense and amazing experience! We're planning more ways to continue creative worship. I'd love to see artistic and creative gifts used for praise in regular worship services. Somehow I know we can implement this - everyone is too passionate about it for it not to happen! The weird thing is, even though I'm sooo passionate and verbal about this, when it came to talking about my photos in church, I had a 'wobble' and couldn't do it. God knows this and has given me other ways to 'shout' about it and about Him - the final images and something else which I'm keeping under my hat for the moment in case it doesn't come off... ;-)

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Anyway, Springy 2009 is about to kick off! We thought we wouldn't be able to go this time, due to lack of finances, but where God guides, He provides and I had a little windfall in Autumn which meant we could go after all! I felt God wanted me to volunteer for Veritasse and for Healey to help out with the youthgroup -Discovery - so we put down to lead one of the chalets. As it worked out, we won't actually have any teenagers in our chalet, so William will have his own room! We are, however, sharing with a lovely girl we've both known for ages, but haven't seen since she moved away. Result!!!

I probably won't be able to post here for a few days, so I'll see you soon!
Emma x

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Ouch!

Had a very 'exciting' day yesterday. When I woke up my depression had caught up with me and I was feeling very miserable and ready to burst into tears at any moment. I don't think being on my period helped either...

Anyway, I took William to toddler group as I always do on a Tuesday and just sat by myself in a corner while William played. We decorated some Easter biscuits together then I returned to my lonely spot. My friend Sarah noticed and came over to ask if I was alright. Now, if you're anything like me, as soon as someone asks you that or is even remotely nice to you the tears will start to flow - which is exactly what happened! She asked if she should 'stay and chat' or 'go away and leave me alone' and I asked her to stay. Another mum came over and joined us and as the morning wore on I seemed to cheer up considerably - although the mask was firmly in place!

During songtime however, it all came crashing down - literally! Wills and another boy ran into somewhere they shouldn't so I went after them. Squeezing back through the chairs, though, my foot got caught and I fell down flat on my face...well, flat on my hands and chest. I just lay there, flat on my front, as some mums/organisers came rushing over. The perfect end to a perfect morning. It was just all too much. Weeks of stress and anxiety welled up and finally spilled over, as did the tears. Well, I hate crying in front of people (it's one of my 'issues' which I'll fill you in about at a later date) so I just lay there, facing the wall. I could hear William crying at the edge of my hearing but I'd sort of 'zoned out.' I just wanted everyone to leave me be, but at the same time I sooo wanted someone to just hug me and let me let it all out! Then someone actually did all that and I couldn't. Typical!

Anyway; when I sat up no less than three nurses were taking care of me, including my friend Sarah! The side of my hand had a nasty bump appearing so they decided I needed checking out at the hospital. Sarah offered to take William to hers and give him lunch while one of the ladies who make the teas and coffees took me up to the hospital. She stayed with me and let me chew her ear off until my husband arrived. I just want to say at this point that I am sooo grateful to all the lovely women who took such good care of me and William yesterday - and kept my embarassment to a minimum!

Upshot: I have a fractured fifth metacarpal (the side of my hand) and my little finger is numb as a result of the swelling. I also have a painful right hand and bruising on my upper left breast, which really hurts! I've also bruised the bone on my arm, just below the elbow and I have a weird, sore little bump there now! I've also damaged my already bad right shoulder, for which I'm already awaiting an MRI for a suspected SLAP Lesion (torn cartiledge/ligament or something like that...)

Positive note: After Sarah explained to William what was happening he came over to me and said; "I'm going to have lunch at Sarah's and play with N***'s toys and you're going to go to the doctor and he's going to make you all better." How cute and grown-up! After that some other little tots came up to me and gave me toys to make me feel better. How cute is that?!!


Soooo...my husband had to tell my boss at work that I wouldn't be in today. Seeing as Monday was so bad and everybody was doing the job of two people and there's just as few staff in today I wouldn't want to be in earshot of my supervisor!!! Seriously though, it is a ridiculous situation and something has to be done soon...but that's a moan for another day!

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BTW; no April Fools' so far...how disappointing!

Friday, 27 March 2009

Awesome to Awful and Back Again...

I don't care what anyone says - prayer works! Sometimes God answers in a way you weren't expecting - and it's actually better than you were expecting! - and sometimes He answers immediately. A couple of days ago I experienced the latter:

I recieved an email which, for no real reason, rubbed me up the wrong way. Time of the month? My cold coming on? Possibly. Anyway; I was feeling anger, an emotion I don't do well at all, welling up inside of me throughout the morning. My anxiety started to kick in, too. Not a good way to go to work. So I took myself into the hall, away from William's noise, and prayed. I asked God to help calm the anger and help me get some perspective. I also asked Him to help me with 'the Veritasse situation' and before I'd even finished praying I felt happier, calmer and had total perspective on the whole situation! God is truly awesome!!!

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For the past three years I have been persuing a complaint against the NHS regarding complications surrounding the pregnancy and subsequent birth of my son. I'm not going to started mud-slinging on this blog as there was also plenty of good support, but I will give you the background and basic outline: I have a condition called vulval vestibulitis (click for more info.) It means that I can't use tampons or have normal penetrative sex, so you can imagine my fear of giving birth naturally! Imagine a huge sore blister on the inside of your bottom lip. Now imagine pushing a melon out of your mouth past it. Exactly!

I didn't recieve the correct information or support throughout my pregnancy (as has been admitted by the trust) and women with VV are apparently not eligible for a caesarean section, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO.)

My consultant midwife was ineffective which made my anxiety worse. I have a witness to my initial consultation - my husband - but the trust are backing her completely and are refusing to admit she was in any way culpable. It's basically my word against theirs and my notes 'apparently' show her to be in the right. Interesting...

My depression re-occurred and was re-named Post-Natal Depression (as it recurred as a direct result of the birth trauma) and I was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, for which I was treated for a year.

I'm now getting back on my feet, but I begrudge the mental health problems I and my husband and new-born baby had to be subjected to. For two years before I had William I was in recovery and felt strong enough, emotionally and mentally, to cope with a baby. Complications meant I was unable to breastfeed (which I'd intented to) as I was in so much pain for the first few days after the birth and even unable to pick William up for changes or feeds.

Anyway, now I'm in the tricky position of deciding whether to keep going with this. I'm not going to sue - I've missed the three-year deadline, anyway - and it's not money I want, it's justice and the hope that another woman won't go through what I went through. They have made some policy changes as a direct result of this, which is brilliant, but they're still goverened by what I think are ridiculous WHO guidelines beyond their control.

So there's only one way for me to go really, straight to the WHO and appeal for a change in policy. The idea that women who find sex nigh on if not actually impossible don't automatically qualify for a caesarean is frankly ridiculous!

Sorry for going on a bit...I actually held back quite a lot! Anger and blame doesn't solve anything. What's needed (as ever) is a change in the system. Just like with the mental health services in this country, it's usually the system that's at fault.

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But back to awesomeness (is that a word?)... It's worth mentioning that because of the VV diagnosis, 11 years ago, I was given to understand that having a baby by natural means would be out of the question. We prayed and prayed and I got more depressed, then God sent us a beautiful boy - when we were ready for a baby. He probably had William earmarked for us all along, but waited for us to be in a better position to deal with a new baby. Any earlier and we'd have had less money, deeper mental illhealth and been less able to cope. Awesome!!!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Hooray!

I think my mojo is back!

I made two new images today. I even managed to post-process them and upload them to Flickr and Facebook - all within a few hours!

Sadness is a shot of my wilting Mother's Day tulips. Dying flowers are such a depressing sight.

Easter is a silly photo with a serious message. A reminder (to me as much as anyone) that Easter is more than just chocolate eggs.






















Incidentally; if you want to find me on Flickr, my username is: Emma in Wonderland! (With the exclamation mark.)

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Personal Memo

Emma, pay attention! Things to do in the not-too-distant future:

  • Buy a new swimsuit, suitable for taking a toddler to the local pool. The deeply plunging neckline and high-leg cut of your other one really should be saved for summer holidays!
  • Start eating fruit. You know you won't, but you keep putting it in these sort of lists in hope...(NB: the orange in a Terry's Chocolate Orange doesn't count.)
  • Buy a new wheely suitcase for Spring Harvest, etc. One that won't split just because an airline baggage handler merely looked at it.
  • Wear skirts! You promised this last year and even made it a New Year's resolution...then used that crappy summer as an excuse to carry on living in jeans. You have four gorgeous new skirts. You even have tops to go with them. So wear them, dammit!
  • Dry clean some clothes. You have several items that need dry cleaning so get off your backside and sort it!
  • Find the time to do some more photography. You have ideas coming out the wazoo (love that expression!) so go for it!!!
  • Watch all those programmes you Sky+'d all those months ago! Just do it!!!
  • Collect your A Level photography certificate and dissertation from college. It's only been there since November, for goodness' sake! You earned it - so go get it!!!
  • Remember all the other things you were going to put on this list that made this list so important and which have now fallen clean out of your head since getting home...

Sunday, 22 March 2009

A great Mother's Day!

Today was a brilliant day!!!

After church I helped foil a crime! We stopped at a petrol station and when Healey (my husband) went inside I saw a bloke with a handbag looking very shifty. Turned out my instincts were right - he had nicked it. I saw him dump it and take something out (a piece of paper, possibly a banknote) then walk off. While sat in the car, totally frustrated because I had my son in the car so I couldn't go after him or retrieve the bag and I'd left my phone at a friend's the night before, so I couldn't ring the police. Anyway - he came back and I shot across the road to get a good look at him. I then fetched the bag out of the dumpster and reported it to the centre security. Turns out a girl had seen him seconds before and rung the police and an assistant at Sainsbury's reported him for trying to pass a bad cheque just after I'd seen him with 'the piece of paper'!

The police caught him and I'm at home now, after eating a delicious roast chicken dinner, lovingly cooked by my other half, awaiting some coppers so I can give them my statement.

The guy got caught. There were at least 3 reliable witnesses. I ID'd him on the CCTV and the woman got her bag back. Result!!!


In other news: I had a lovely bunch of tulips and a box of my favourite chocolates (Dairy Box) from my son this morning!

Saturday, 21 March 2009

So...I'm finally starting a blog. To be honest, I'm not sure who I'm writing this for. Me? Friends? God? My therapist? The fellow blogger who happens to pass by and stop? Who knows? I don't and I don't think it really matters to be honest. What counts is that I'm finally getting all this stuff out of my head and 'on to paper,' as t'were.

A good place to start might be a bit about myself. I won't go into too much detail at this stage. I mean, I don't know you and you don't know me and I can be a bit full-on, life-history-wise. Tip: Never ask me how I am unless you really, really want to know, because I will tell you. In detail, if necessary!

So...a quick summing up
At time of typing...34-yr-old, married, mostly-stay-at-home mum; blonde; pt-time cafe assistant; semi-pro actor and photographer with a long history of mental illness and a very serious addiction to milk chocolate. My pet hates are rudeness and spitting. My phobias are spiders and hypodermic needles. The most important things in my life are my husband and our 3-year-old son, my Christian faith, my parents and my friends. I enjoy photography and am currently exploring ways to both use it as a tool to praise God and share my faith AND trying to make it pay. Not easy!

That's probably enough for now. We'll get to know each other better as we go along and if you hang around here a bit you'll find out a lot, lot more, I'm sure. I have (like most people) a few secrets and skeletons on my closet, many foibles and much weirdness about me and when I open up, I really open up! The medication has a lot to answer for, too...

Welcome to Wonderland - stick around for the ride!

God bless,
Emma