Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Life Updates

Hi everyone,

I don't really know how to start this post.

When I started my blog and YouTube channel, I did it because it was a time in my life when I didn't have a lot to focus on. I couldn't go into teaching, I was horribly ill (yet no less ambitious) and, as a result, terribly sad. Particularly with my YouTube, it gave me motivation, a focus and regained confidence. I was so blown away by so much support from you all and remember coming downstairs at every milestone and excitedly telling my Dad "You won't believe it, I have 100 subscribers!", and even more unbelievably, 1000 and then 5000 - and I am so incredibly grateful. It was something I did once or even twice a week, and then I stopped. And I think everyone who has supported something that has helped improve my life so very much deserves some sort of explanation. 

The long and short of it is - my lovely Dad, my best buddy, died. And my world is falling apart.

On our family holiday to Turkey my Dad became very ill. What we thought was initially a chest infection, then possibly a very bad chest infection was clearly emerging as something more serious as Dad could barely leave the hotel room or lift his head off the pillow. 

We visited the GP the very first Monday we were home and soon after he was admitted to hospital for further tests, with no one quite telling us what they were testing for. Almost two weeks later we were told, by Dad, that he had early stage lung cancer that was probably treatable. Even in the worst times, my Dad tried to protect us from everything. The same week we were taken aside by Mum and told that, in fact, he had the rarest, fastest spreading small cell lung cancer and that it had pretty much spread everywhere. We hoped the worst case scenario was that this would be my Dad's last Christmas. In fact, after two very hard weeks at home, little over a month after we came home unawares from our family holiday, my Dad passed away.

As a family, we were nauseatingly happy. Real best friends who, even at mine and my sisters ripe ages of 25 and 22, still went on family holidays together and made time to eat dinner together every night, laugh and joke with each other. And my Dad was literally the best Dad. The kind of Dad who's big warm bear hugs made you feel instantly better. Who noticed when something was wrong, took your problems onto his own shoulders and sorted them out for you, so you never had to worry about anything. The kind of Dad who was always on the other end of the phone. I could go on and on. 

In so many ways, it still doesn't feel real. I still wait for him to walk down the drive, returning home from getting a newspaper. I still go to shout "Bye Dad!" when I'm walking out the door to work, or start a new text to him when something funny happens. I find no comfort in 'At least he's not in pain anymore' or 'He's in a better place'. Those are not my beliefs and they were not his. He was a man who stopped at the bus stop at the bottom of our hill to take the OAP's waiting there back up the hill with him. A man who went round to the elderly lady next door to help her put her eyedrops in twice a day and make her a tea. The kind of man who took my elderly blind Grandad shopping twice a week, every week. That kind of man never deserved the pain in the first place. He never deserved to leave this happy life when there are so many laughs he had yet to have.

I find writing a good form of therapy and I'm sure one day I will write about how hard it is to care for someone you love with cancer, how bloody weirdly we as a society deal with death or anything else that might raise awareness or help other people. Maybe one day I will start up my YouTube channel again and speak of the mindless happiness a new mascara brings. 

But for now - I don't feel like saying much at all.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Get Lost in LOST.

Yesterday I wrote a post about how I was just going to write, pretty much, whatever I wanted on this blog and I think this post is going to be a prime example of that. It just happened to pass that, as I was kindly informed by my friend Louise on my Facebook wall, the TV show LOST had it's eleventh anniversary. Eleven. Feel old yet? I do. 

It wouldn't be an overstatement to say that my friends and I were obsessed with this TV show. From watching it religiously, to discussing it at every opportunity, to exploring the fictional world and websites it had created conspicuously on the computers at the back of our classroom. We lived and breathed it, but I must admit, even with that level of dedication, parts of the clever and intertwining storyline still went over my head. So recently, I re-watched the series from start to finish and it was one of those shows that was just so much richer and better the second time around.

As a LOST fan, however, and those of you who are fans will empathise with this, everyone always challenges your love with questions or criticisms about the show. "I just didn't get into it" after one episode. "It was too complicated" after watching it half-heartedly. So here, I am going to dispel the three biggest criticisms I always get as a LOST fan in the hopes that you will watch (or re-watch) the show.

1 - I just didn't 'get' it - why was there a Polar Bear?

See also "Isn't that the show with the Polar Bear?".

Yes. There was a Polar bear. In season one, I believe, there was a Polar Bear. For any of you put off from watching LOST because of the Polar Bear, please be assured that he did not remain a regular character. 

In the 1960's and 70's the island was inhabited by a scientific research group called DHARMA. The research group knew that the island was special, not least because of the different magnetic frequency's it had, and they conducted scientific experiments on the island. Including experiments on a polar bear. Simple.

The wonderful thing about LOST is that it drops little easter eggs like that for you to figure out later. And with the intertwining storylines, there are plenty.

2 - It was all just a bit complicated for me.

Granted, LOST is one of those television shows you have to concentrate on. If you want something to watch while you scroll through Facebook or refresh your Instagram then, it's not for you.

The wonderful thing that my friends and I lapped up was that it was almost the PLL of it's day but better. Think, finding clues, listening to podcasts, looking up theories but with fake adverts implanted into the break and fake websites with clues. It was SO EXCITING.

3 - But didn't it turn out to all be just a dream?

Short answer is no. It was all real and it all happened. The ending just confused the hell out of a lot of people. 

The final season was split between the present time and an alternate time, which confused a lot of people. The alternate time was a kind of limbo before the afterlife where all of the losties could find each other and pass over together. So in a way, the limbo wasn't 'real' which is where the dream idea came from. But it was all very real and all very worth watching.

Although LOST was full of clever storylines and mysteries, what the ending emphasised was that at it's core, LOST was a show about people. Characters you grew to know and relate to and love. They were all a little LOST and they found family in each other. So I bloody loved the ending and it seemed pretty fitting that they all found each other in the alternate ending and the afterlife.

And if I haven't convinced you, Sawyer was really hot.

Have I convinced you? Are you a LOST fan? Let me know!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Getting Back to Blogging

Ahh my little part of the Blogosphere, I haven't seen you for a while. Sometimes creativity just flows and putting pen to paper (or hand to keyboard) is easy. Other times it's really, really hard. This has been one of those times.

In my hiatus, I had some time to reflect on my blog, what it was and what I thought it should be. I think it's having a bit of an identity crisis and, I suppose, so am I. Is it a beauty blog? A blog to discuss chronic illness? A blog to rant and rave about everything that annoys me so?

Am I writing it for myself, or for you, the reader? I still haven't decided in all honesty. 

I have been going through a really tough time recently and, whilst I'm not one to share my woes in too much detail on the internet, have always felt that writing is rather therapeutic. I have sat at my keyboard many times and tried to write something worthy of having not posted for months and here it is, the random ramblings of my confused brain. 

I thought about some of the blogs I follow most closely and considered what it is about them that keeps me clicking. It's not really the wonderful layout, the precise photography or the inside scoop. It's not even necessarily the subject matter. More than anything - it's the writer. Whether I empathise with what they're saying, feel some sort of a connection or find myself nodding along. 

So that's what I'm going to do. Just write - and hope that you might empathise, nod along or even have something to say about what I'm saying. I'm just going to be me. And I hope that's good enough. 

Monday, 29 June 2015

5000 Subscribers Giveaway!

Hello lovely people!

To thank you all for subscribing to my channel and to celebrate 5000 subscribers please enter my RaffleCopter Giveaway Below!

I'm really sorry to say, on this occasion, the giveaway is UK ONLY.

a Rafflecopter giveaway Terms and Conditions: 1) You can gain one entry by following my Twitter @emmadrusilla1 - this option is mandatory. 2) You can gain one entry per day by tweeting about my channel - this is optional but will give you one entry a day. 3) You can gain one entry by following my Instagram @emmadrusilla 4) I will contact the winner by Twitter or email once the giveaway has ended. 5) If the winner does not respond within 5 days I will contact another winner. 6) I reserve the right to alter or change the giveaway at any time. 7) The giveaway is for UK entrants only.

Saturday, 16 May 2015


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hi everyone! Please enter the giveaway to win the Prairie Charms using the RaffleCopter form above and please see the terms and conditions below.

You can also receive 25% off anything on the Prairie Charms website using the code 'EMMA25' or get a summer mystery bag for only £5.00 by tweeting Prairie Charms on Twitter with EMMA25.

Terms and Conditions
  • You can only enter using the RaffleCopter form above.
  • You can receive one entry by following Prairie Charms on Twitter - this is mandatory.
  • You can receive one entry by following myself on Twitter - this is mandatory.
  • You can receive one entry by following myself on Instagram - this is optional.
  • You can receive one entry per day by tweeting about my video or channel - this is optional and can be done up to once a day for the duration of the giveaway.
  • The giveaway is open internationally.
  • The giveaway will run from 12:00am on the Sunday 17th May until 12:00am on the 1st of June.
  • I will contact the winner by email and pass their address to Prairie Charms who will send out the prize. 
  • If the winner does not reply to my email letting them know they have won within one week I will pick another winner.

Monday, 4 May 2015

The Budget Coat

Everyone who wears clothes (and I hope that is everyone...) has a 'thing'. Be it shoes, bags, belts or briefs. For me, and many others, that thing is coats. So much so that it has become a bit of a running joke in my family that if I come through the door with a shopping bag - it's probably a coat.

Some of the best coats I've come across have honestly been from the supermarket clothing brands. My £25.00 cream trench coat from Florence and Fred gets more "WHERE did you get this?" comments than any other coat I've owned. So when I wandered into Asda to get some household essentials I, of course, browsed through the George clothing section.

I have been looking for a smart black oversized coat for ages. I have camel coats, beige coats, navy coats, even a purple coat - but I don't own a black coat. This coat caught my eye immediately. With a really nice cut and quality material I looked at the price tag and expected it to be £30.00 or £40.00. I was astounded when I saw £15.00 on the label - a complete bargain.

Here is the coat in action. It's oversized sizing means it's easy to wear and layer and it's smart cut means it smartens up any outfit. I can't find it online but they had tonnes of stock in store - they must have known it will be popular.

Have you made any bargain clothing purchases recently?

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Tip Culture

The beauty of having a life blog is that you can talk about any old rubbish that you like and today, my friends, that thing is tip culture.

I contemplated the idea of tip culture after a recent trip to the hairdressers. I went on the spur of the moment and took up the offer of a stand-by appointment at a nearby salon. For those who don't know a stand by appointment is offered at salon's for a discounted price, on the day, if they are not fully booked. The hairdresser was one of those hairdressers who just did not want to chat - fine by me - but left a slightly awkward silence apart from when she humbly declared the following: "You're lucky with a standby appointment that you got me, a senior stylist. It's luck of the draw with a standby. A lot of people won't tell you that - but I will" most matter of factly. She seemed annoyed by the whole thing.

When it came to the awkward paying situation I paid for my £25 cut with three £10 notes and she handed me back £5 in pound coins. It seemed a little odd to me at the time but I now realise she was looking for a tip as it was unlikely I would hand back a £5 note. Spoiler alert: I didn't.

I believe tipping became commonplace before the national minimum wage was created. Those who could afford to use the low-paid service industry could afford to give a little extra to thank them for their good service. Now, however, it's quite likely that your hairdresser, taxi driver or even waiting staff earn more than the minimum wage. They possibly earn more than you - they certainly earn more than me. What makes them more eligible for a tip than a supermarket worker who goes out of their way to help? Why does simply doing your job, the absolute minimum expected of someone with a job, constitute me to pay them more?

I remember an amusing thing that happened when I was working at a beauty counter in a drugstore. A very elderly lady approached me (I was nearest the door), she must have been at least 80, with a box of tampons. A Saturday girl hadn't quite understood her need for incontinence pads and sold her tampons (which is, quite frankly, idiotic). The lady was too elderly to have noticed. The lady dangled an opened tampon in front of me, yknow, just incase I didn't know what it looked like. 

She had trouble walking so I sat her down and trotted in my heels to the other end of the store to get incontinence pads. After closer inspection the lady wasn't happy with that brand so, with a smile, I trotted back to the other end of the store and grabbed several types to show her, walked back past several customers arms filled with incontinence pads (I know how to do cool), swapped them over and brought them back to where she was sitting, called her a taxi and walked her out to it safely. 

I was happy to do it, that's what customer service is about. I have a million examples like that - so why does a grumpy hairdresser who didn't speak to me deserve a tip when shop workers don't? Why should the taxi driver who charged me £40 to get back from Brighton after a night out get a tip for literally doing his job (whilst charing me a fortune in the process)

Do you think there's a place for tip culture anymore?