Breaking News: Missing Manchester mother found

 

During a newsday for a Journalism Practice module I took at University I was assigned to one of the biggest stories of the day. A mother of two from Manchester had been missing for two days following her works Christmas party at Sugar Buddah on Deansgate Locks. Her family and friends had put out an urgent, desperate appeal on Facebook to help find her safe and well following her disappearance.

The behaviour was deemed ‘unlike Louise’ who was described as a ‘loving and committed mother’ which sparked high concern amongst those close to her. I traveled to the place she was last seen, Sugar Buddah to record an as live to raise awareness of her disappearance with the aim of interviewing the bar owners and also her family who were out looking for her on the day.

Once I was there I began to film my as live and my colleague went and spoke to her loved ones who were gathering outside the bar next door handing out leaflets and deciding on a plan of action to start their search party. They had stated to my colleague, they would be unable to give us an interview as they wanted to focus their attention on finding her and were also too emotional to speak about it on camera at the time.

Once we had began filming, a member of the search party, Louise’s family friend, Dominic Fleming, came over to us to ask what it was that we were filming. After explaining to him what we were doing he revealed to us, exclusively that Louise had returned home and she was currently on the phone to her sister. He explained they had no idea where she had been or in what state she was in just that she was home and alive.

We had to act quickly as we knew it would be a matter of time before larger press outlets found out she had been found so we called back into the newsroom and told the sub editor to get the information we had found online immediately. You can read the story here.

Following this we refilmed my as-live into a breaking news segment and recorded it once again on my mobile phone to send back to the newsdesk to be put into our 10am bullet in.

I am extremely proud of this piece of work as broadcast isn’t my chosen pathway and being on camera isn’t something I am overly confident with. (This might be obvious.) However we managed to get it done when time was of the essence and secured the breaking news ahead of the M.E.N.

Our top five tips for dealing with an incompatible sleeping partner

We all know the feeling of waking up after a disturbed night sleep, the dread of the day ahead and the pain of pulling yourself away from the warmth of your cosy bed.

But for some people that dread is made worse knowing that disturbed sleep is a regular occurrence next to their incompatible sleeping partner. Research shows that there are many reasons why couples may find it difficult to dose off and enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep together, the main one being snoring.

Here at Silentnight we’ve put together five tips for getting the best night’s sleep possible and maybe even saving your relationship in the process.

  1. Serial Snorers: there are so many tips to help with snoring but of course these won’t always work for everyone. The best thing to help is to reduce the consumption of food and drink in the evenings. The more you eat late at night the more likely you are to snore as food which is not fully digested before sleep can push against your diaphragm and increase the pressure on your respiratory system. Other things which may help include: change in sleeping positions, nasal cleansing with saline and of course, the old faithful, earplugs
  2. Duvet Stealer: Is there anything worse than waking up in the middle of the night shivering only to look over at your partner all wrapped up? We don’t think so either. The best solution to this is to buy separate blankets to have on top of your duvet so you will always have a back-up plan without having to initiate a tug of war situation in the bedroom
  3. Cuddlers: More couples than you may think suffer with this problem but it can be so simply resolved. Sleep specialist and clinical physiologist, Janet Kennedy suggests; a designated ‘cuddle time’ for 15-20 minutes can help and then agree to go your separate ways. That way you both get to sleep happy
  4. Lights Out: This can be an age old problem and one that can be a little harder to settle on. It is natural instinct to want to sleep in darkness. Darkness signifies sleep to most of us but there are some people who are programmed to sleep with some form of light on. The typical answer may be to get an eye mask however one way to get around this may be to keep a small, low watt plug in light on through the night as far away from the partner who likes it dark as possible
  5. Wrigglers: Foam mattresses or mattress toppers could be the answer to all your problems if your partner thrashes around the bed through the night. As there are no springs involved, the impact of the movement is minimised and you are less likely to be woken by any sudden movements.

Ultimately, to make for a good night sleep, compromising is key. But if following our five simple tips help you wake up feeling fresh then at least you’ve won.

Share your top tips for a great night’s sleep with your partner on Facebook or Twitter by using the hashtag #MySleepSecret

Manchester’s best alternatives to your regular office party

CHRISTMAS is just around the corner and with that so are Christmas parties. Most companies just opt for a conventional celebration, a meal and drinks but there are more options in Manchester than you may think to spread festive cheer. Here are our top five alternatives to celebrating in a slightly different way this season.

Junkyard Golf Club

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Manchester’s answer to mini golf with a twist has had a Christmas make over. The courses have been decked with festive gear and fresh seasonal cocktails will see you around the holes on a Christmas outing different from the rest. Junkyard Golf has been a huge success since its arrival in Manchester and that’s no different during the Christmas period, with two brand new mash up courses available there something to suit every work team and inject some fun in your festive gathering.

Bookings are essential for large parties and play time can take up to an hour but the party doesn’t stop once all the holes are potted. The golf club is open every day and offers dreamy food at their #junkfoodkiosk serving up seriously tasty post game treats and cocktails to keep the party going.

Hayley, bookings manager at Junk Yard Golf explains, ‘we do get very busy this time of year and tickets sell out quickly. Bookings are important especially for large parties. The majority of our bookings are corporate so we are used to dealing with large parties. To make things easier groups can pre-order food and drinks to make things run smoother on the night.’

Bongo’s Bingo

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This alternative takes on the classic game makes for the perfect Christmas do. Bongo’s bingo has taken the city by storm since its arrival in 2015.

The event is strictly over 18’s and takes place in Manchester’s centrally located Albert Hall, just off Deansgate and takes place every Tuesday. The idea behind the themed nights is to make the game more relevant to a younger generation and that it does. A combination of rave intervals, dance competitions an d buckets of prosecco make for a Christmas party to remember.

The Elf Rave

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Your favourite Christmas film combined with a house party, what better way to celebrate the start of your Christmas break? It’s like a sleep over with your work colleagues only better.

This one off night at Albert Hall promises to offer a memorable evening with a ‘party screening’ of Elf, a festive rave, spaghetti eating competition and a Christmas beer festival and food stall a brilliant combination of all things festive for everyone to enjoy. Fancy dress is optional but festive cheer is guaranteed.

Tickets are still available but limited so be sure to snap them up before they go. They’re available from Albert Hall’s website for £15pp for the event on Saturday 17th December.

Black Dog Ballroom 

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If a private alternative for your office party is more up your street, why not give the Black Dog Ballroom a visit in the Northern Quarter. The private ballroom is free to hire through the week with your very own pool table, bespoke cocktail menu and a private karaoke booth so you can sing to your hearts content.

The room accommodates between 30-80 people and is yours for the night. Food is available so take your chance to eat, drink and be merry.

All Star Lanes

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How about some healthy competition to kick-start your Christmas party, luxury lanes are available for private hire with unlimited bowling, party food and cocktails on tap to increase your team spirit. With access to a retro photo booth for picture perfect memories to last you well past the festive period. With three different themed rooms to choose from we’re all about the alternative Christmas parties to get your adrenaline pumping.

As well as bowling fun, there is an all American diner for you to fill your face, a real change to traditional turkey dinners.

‘My boob lift saved my life’

IT’S not the typical way to get over your ex, some may say it’s a little extreme and extravagant Most people just opt for a hair change or buy a new pair of shoes, but 32-year-old Sharon Maxwell went a little further when trying to put her past behind her.

The self-confessed ‘surgery addict’ has been pumping her lips with fillers for almost eight years and claims to have had more than 60 lip enhancement treatments and botox top-ups every six weeks but when she bravely walked away from a violent and abusive relationship she decided it was time to focus on herself.

The Scottish mother, has undergone a number of surgeries including an eyebrow lift, countless botox and lip fillers, cheek fillers and more recently full body liposuction and a breast lift costing over £40, 000 and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. We chatted to her to find out her reasons for having so much work done and finding out if she had any regrets after years of surgery.

The owner of Supreme Property Lettings, explained how she worked her way up from having nothing to be able to afford her lifestyle of luxury treatments and how she has more in store for the future. Glasgow based, Sharon is not ashamed to admit she suffered from insecurities her entire life, suggesting that witnessing her aunt’s murder at just three-years-old was just the start of her troubles.

Throughout her school life, a notoriously difficult time of change for young people, Sharon started to develop a little earlier than most, her breast rapidly grew to a double G cupsize and she suffered with bullying and pain ever since. She explains, ‘I was always teased about them. I was actually called ‘jugs’ at school that was my nickname and I absolutely hated it. It got worse when I was old enough to have boyfriends because every guy I was ever with would slag them off and call them saggy when we fell out and that’s just something that’s always been with me.’

The 32-year-old admits she had always wanted something done to her breasts, whether that be a reduction or a lift but didn’t have enough money to fund it until recently. She goes on to tell us how, with her most recent partner the ridiculing got continued; ‘It got worse when I was with him, he wasn’t a very nice guy at all. He used to say and do horrible things to me all the time so when I left him, I left with the clothes on my back. He used to tell me how much he hated my boobs and that can really knock your confidence that someone who’s supposed to love you would hate something about your body. But since leaving him, I have noticed it was more so his problem than mine and I’ve been able to build my business up and get my boobs lifted which has really given me my confidence back.’

Sharon elaborated on how she used to get a lot of modelling work when she was in her twenties and how since her breast lift surgery, earlier this year she has been offered more of the same. She explained, ‘it can really help improve your confidence when you can improve your body, it means you can wear more things and can make you feel a lot better, all my confidence was knocked out of me and that was a huge reason behind getting it done.’ The 32-year-old explained how she gets all of her plastic surgery done in Turkey where it is much cheaper than it is here and says how she is pleased with the results. On her most recent visit in February (2016) Sharon underwent her much anticipated breast lift. Unusually whilst she was there she was also gifted free full body liposuction through one of her friends.

She added, ‘The liposuction was good but I’m probably fatter now than when I got it done now to be honest and I only got it done nine months ago. It’s a good quick fix if you want to get toned up but I didn’t have to pay for it so I don’t regret having it done. My initial plan was to get the fat taken out of my body and then have that injected into my bum, which I don’t even know why I wanted that done because I think I’ve got a great bum but there wasn’t even enough fat taken from my body, only two and a half litres so I couldn’t have that done.’

Apart from her breasts Sharon had always been unhappy with her lips stating she ‘had absolutely no lips whatsoever’ and always expressed the desire to have them done. This was the first thing she had done at 25 years of age and arguably began her addiction to the needle. She had initially booked in to have them done when she was 21 but a comment from an ex-boyfriend put her off until she was 25. She said, ‘I was with my kids dad at the time and he told me not to have them done because I would look like a fish, that night I dreamt of my face on a fishes body with these hug lips and it put me off. He had always told me he didn’t like the fake look.’

From her first procedure followed many more in the clinics chair and although she now runs a successful business she hasn’t always been able to afford the life she now leads. She explains how she was referred to the NHS for breast reduction surgery to ease her of her pain which was extremely bad during her pregnancy. Sharon however turned this down, she says, ‘I would have been able to get them paid for on the NHS. But I decided against that because I didn’t want to get them done with tax payers money it just wasn’t right. So I said I’d just save up and pay for them myself. I work hard to have things done. I have worked three jobs, worked days, nights and weekends but now because I have my own business I don’t have to do that anymore but I worked hard to pay for what I’ve had done.’ Sharon also explained how she occasionally promotes her friends’ salon and receives free botox but insists money is not a deciding factor on how much work she has done.

The blonde bombshell’s transformation hasn’t been without criticism. Whilst she says her family and friends are for the most part, behind her decisions, she admits that when she first started having work done friends would comment and ask her what she was doing. However now Sharon claims that she’s given all her friends the surgery bug. She explains, ‘I look completely different now from how I used to look, it’s like I’m a completely different person. People who I went to school or people that I’d known for years will just walk past me in the street and not recognise me, which is a good thing.’

Not everyone has been so welcoming, Sharon states tells how she is exposed to online trolling and says, ‘I’ve been told online that I should model balaclavas for a living, that I look like Pete Burns, I get that a lot. I do get quite a hard time online from people who don’t like me but that’s not people I know, just people who have nothing better to do.’ But the successful business woman filled with new confidence doesn’t let their opinions get to her.

Sharon added how she feels the breast lift she had earlier this year gave her a second chance at a new life and explains the reasons behind the dramatic post break-up decision. ‘A bigger reason for me getting the lift was basically a way of me sticking two fingers up at everyone who had ever slagged them off or said they were saggy. I think they were pretty good before so I think I did it more for that than myself to be honest.’

Surgery is rarely far from Sharon’s mind, as she is currently in the process of planning a lower facelift and a return to Turkey. Whilst she insists she has calmed down on the surgery professing, ‘I think when your older, you notice you don’t need as much work as you think you do when you’re younger. I only get things done if I feel like I need them doing now to improve my confidence whereas five years ago it was more down to experimenting with everything. I’ll always get my botox and I’ll always get lip fillers but I wouldn’t ever get my cheeks done so I think I’ve just learnt what works for me.

‘When I broke up with my ex I had nothing and I was in a really sad place personally. I needed to prove myself and make something of myself so I concentrated a lot on my business and then in turn was able to work on myself. I suffered with post-traumatic stress following the violent relationship I was in and it was really important for me to be able to focus on something else.’

Despite the thousands spent on treatments and procedures, Sharon remains grounded and true to herself. Her journey shows just how important appearance can make you feel and just about how it can change your life in more ways than one.