Is Clubhouse as good as they say?

Fresh new week and after the Sunday snow, there is sunshine.  There is nothing like a sunny day to bring a smile to my face and a dance to my feet.

Last week for me was all about Clubhouse and getting to grips with the app famed to be the next best thing in virtual communication. As a bit of a social introvert, who isn’t the most confident in a room full of adults, the prospect of speaking on a platform full of strangers was not something that appealed to me. However, I went in to network and see what golden nuggets I could pick up from the goods and greats of society.

One thing I’ve noticed so far is that in my corridor there seem to be a lot of people on club house talking about, clubhouse…

Boring.

Those are the rooms that I started off in, as obviously when you get onto the app you want to know how to use it but a couple of weeks in, when the same people are in the same rooms speaking about the same nonsense, it gets tedious. I’ve now found myself in the other rooms in my corridor where business and property are the focus. I have to say that it’s a great space to be in if you really want to learn but it’s also a great space to be in to speak if you know you have something of value to offer.

Club house is a space where, if you want to you can gain tips and tricks from the business world, you can philosophise with brilliant minds and you can pitch to investors. It’s full of creatives, educators, marketing gurus and the like but is also a place where you can bump into sharks if you don’t know which waters to swim in.

Where would little old me land in a room with Keisha Cole and 21 savage? Only in clubhouse. What did being in that room show me? It showed me that these people, at the top of their game industry wise, are just as damaged as the next person and the scary thing is, some of them aren’t dealing with their issues and are living walking time bombs waiting to explode. I won’t repeat some of the things I heard, masked as jokes, but I’ll just say this, revenge is a dangerous game.

So would I recommend Clubhouse? In short yes. It may not be all flowers and roses but it is a space where you can grow in confidence and learn from the best of the best. Don’t go in looking at yourself as an underdog as I’ve heard some people refer to themselves, you have as much to offer as the next person. Our lived experiences give us insite and you never know who can benefit from what you have to say.

And what to wear when you’re there? It doesn’t really matter, they can’t see you. 😉

The Write Stuff – How to write creatively

Let’s say this is not going to be your usual how to guide. Yes I lead writing in a primary school. Yes I write this little ol’ blog in my corner of the interweb and Yes I studied creative writing at university but does that mean I have the right to tell you anything?

Technically no.

I’m unpublished, except for that one poem hidden in an out of print book somewhere; the name of which I can’t remember. That technically means that I know absolutely nothing. However, what I do know is how to write from the heart and to me that’s what creativity is all about.

Nobody has exactly the same thoughts or opinions about the same thing. I mean let’s test it out… what 3 words come to mind when I say the word morning?

For me it’s stretch, work, yoga now if you chose exactly the same words as me I’d like you to hop out of my head and make your own way in the world because this lane is taken. However if by some non-miracle you chose different words to me congratulations, that is the beginning of creativity. The best exercise in creative writing I got was just to sit and allow your mind to wonder and write EVERY SINGLE THOUGHT that comes to mind. When you’re done you have so much on the page that can create something beautiful.

This poem was composed from random thoughts.

If I could sit in a different city everyday and write for a living, I think that’s what I’d do. Creativity is often born out of experience. The more you allow yourself to experience in life the more you have to write about. How many of us can write about stripping off in the Caribbean on a back road up a mountain and jumping into a river in the mid morning sun with soap and flannel in hand for a river bath, before climbing into the back of a strangers pick up truck to head into the nearby town?

Though it can be taught in books, it’s probably better to read a wide range of books about everything than to read one book on creativity and think that you can unlock the power of creative writing.

So to be clear, what I’m telling you is this.

1. Write anything and everything.

2. Live a life worth writing about.

3. Read widely.

Get those creative juices flowing and when you’ve done that share it with me. I love to see it!

Personal Space Bubble

I didn’t post yesterday, I’d like to say that it was purely an oversite and I forgot, unfortunately that’s far from the truth. After having spent all week staring at a computer screen, which is the new normal for teachers, I took Saturday to break away and have no computer screen time at all. Sunday I was back at it again uploading and creating files for the week ahead, to say I’m tired would be an understatement. I’m exhausted and I absolutely would rather be back in the classroom with my school babies than hiding away at home because the government failed to implement a successful track and trace system to protect people from the dreaded Covid.

So here I am today, late, to fill you in on my exciting life of glitz and glamour. I would love to say that I have a whole lot to report but apart from meeting a couple of new dogs and their owners, I really haven’t had time to do anything and even if I did, there isn’t anywhere to go that doesn’t involve standing in a queue.

Speaking of standing in a queue, I was doing my weekly shop and the woman behind me clearly didn’t understand the 2 meter rule and hit me with her shopping basket. She did apologise, she wasn’t the one that was rude. That, I’m sad to say was me. My response, “You can move back and give me some space you know.” She apologised again and I overheard her telling her mum she had “forgotten the 2 meter thing.” If I’m honest, it isn’t even Covid that made me feel that way, unless I’m out at a party dancing with a good looking member of the male species or snuggled up at home with loved ones, I don’t enjoy people in my personal space bubble.

I’m going to try and get better with that. I know now is probably not the best time to learn to get closer to people but at least I can attempt to be a little more welcoming in my demeanor and connect with my inner yogi when the mere thought that someone is getting too close sends my mind into asylum mode.

So that’s me for this week folks, no real glitz and glam and no place to wear fancy shoes, I might have to throw a zoom party just for an excuse to dress up.

Why So Serious?

Today has been a long day, in fact I’m tempted to say this year has been a long year and it has only just started. That being said, Happy New Year everyone and welcome to my first post of the year. I probably shouldn’t start the year with a moan but having spent the last 3 days between bawling my eyes out and hysteria it may be best that I do just that.

The beginning of the year is great. It’s all about renewal, replenishment, revival, it’s the time where we feel we can have a fresh start and look at life from a whole new perspective. It is of course also a reflective time and many of us, myself included, can spend it beating ourselves up about what we’ve yet to accomplish. We are left questioning the decisions that took us to the place we are now and at times we are left hankering after change or simply a way out.

When I called my best friend at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, I’m pretty sure she wasn’t expecting to be met with a barrage of tears and a snotty rendition of why nothing was wrong yet I was falling to pieces. Thank God for friends like that (including the one I had already spent the morning lamenting to before this). You’d think that one conversation with the bestie would have me sorted and back to bliss but no by 7pm when another bestie called I was at it again and after approximately 5 hours of talking and laughter I had snapped back to the positive version of me that it took me years to develop and even longer to fall in love with.

Now, 3 days in, where am I? I spent the whole of the day working (by the whole of the day I mean after my morning ritual of affirmations, exercise and coffee) I finished working at 7pm and popped on here to write this post. Preparing for a week of remote learning combined with an inset day and 2 days working with the Keyworker children. I can guarantee you that by the end of the week I will not be fresh faced and full of energy but I will be proud. Working in education you can’t help but feel proud at least one day in the week, whether that is pride in the progress of a child or pride in your own practice as an educator.

Despite my moaning I have a lot to look forward to this year. I have many private plans, which once accomplished, I will share with you and give God the glory. I also have some big birthdays to look forward to. My step daughter will be 13 in a matter of days, my daughter will be 21 in March, My son 10 in August and I will be the big 40 in October (don’t tell anyone, they won’t believe you). So for now I’m just going to revert back to my attitude of gratitude and make the most of every moment.

I did tell you I was a self proclaimed mess didn’t I?

P.S. if you get a moment to visit my Depop store I will be listing items for sale across the year as the mood takes me.

What are your new year plans?

Almost

I almost didn’t write this post today,  stuffing my face with Christmas food, I was so carried away with writing poetry and the children’s story I’ve been working on, that my weekly post was temporarily forgotten.

I didn’t really shop the sales this year and have no intention of doing so unless a lottery win comes my way, which is near impossible as I’ve opted to stop playing, at least until I’ve met my savings goals.  It’s scary to think that I have to force myself not to shop, that indicates a bit of an issue.  I’m not quiet ready to admit to a full on addiction but we’ll see how the rest of the year goes.

The temptation from Instagram almost had me pressing uninstall on the app and hiding under my covers in a cold sweat.  My only saving grace was the M&S vouchers my pupils had given me.  A new pair of school shoes and a couple of good bras later and my gift was well and truly spent and my spending craving partially satisfied.

How was Christmas for you?

I did my annual thing of dressing up for my living room. I’m pretty sure the dog appreciated my efforts, the approving wag of her tail was all the confirmation needed, though when I phoned my mother to say Merry Christmas, she thought I’d just gotten out of bed and told me I could have at least put on a Christmas day face so we can’t win them all.

Feeling Myself

If you’ve been following since launch day you may have read my post Boss Moves you will also note that my tag line is ‘A mix of lifestyle and fashion, from a self proclaimed mess’.  The last few weeks has been one of those weeks were the ‘mess’ rears it’s ugly head.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very proud of myself but I’m also feeling very sorry for myself. 

Every once in a while depression tries to take over this beautiful mind of mine and drag me to a place I really don’t want to go!  It may also be a dose of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), I hate the winter.  The darkness of it, the cold of it, it makes me spend all day wishing I was anywhere but here.  It also makes me feel moody, unattractive and absolutely miserable.  I don’t have to be scantily clad to feel beautiful, but it helps.

Joggers and a T-shirt in the house hiding from the cold is no comparison to a bikini on any beautiful hot beach in the world you can take me to right now.  I don’t think it’s just me, there must be millions of people wanting Covid to do one so we can get back to hopping on planes in the winter to alleviate our aching bones and energise our tired brains.

So this weekend, what you get from me is lazy day outfits and throw backs to some time sunny where I could walk around half naked because I wanted to.

Outfit Ann Summers

Festive Finds

It’s almost Christmas and if you’ve know me for a while you’ll know that I’m not the biggest fan of the festive season. It’s probably because it’s advertised as this amazing family filled occasion with lots of food and family fun. I’m not disputing that I have had some great Christmas’ filled with just that but as the years have passed and my mother has disappeared back to our sunny island of Barbados, I have found myself looking forward to another normal day spent at home with my children. Don’t get me wrong that’s lovely, I’d rather that than a day forced to spend time with people I barley talk to.

However, all that being said, I’ve decided to make this Christmas a good one and completely embrace the spirt of Christmas with all the love, laughter and enjoyment that it brings.

The children haven’t asked for much so their gifts are sorted and with it being just us, I have no need to go overboard with the cooking but I will make dinner special. I’ve also decided that as I probably won’t have anything under the tree I’ll probably treat myself to a little gift and here are the ones that top my list.

1.

If I had a spare £6000 laying around then this would definitely be one of the items I’d place under the tree for myself, as an alternative, Boohoo has this little number that is by no means the same quality but at only £16 but there were no lambs killed in the making of this one, and it’s cute.

Boohoo alternative

2. I’m very much a reader so a book has to be on my Christmas list and this one seems like the perfect addition to my book shelf. It’s a collection of essays written by black female authors and as an aspiring author myself it’s I’m going to sink my teeth right into it.

3. It’s all about the knits for me this season and this Jumper dress from Boohoo has just the right amount of detail to make it interesting but is simple enough to keep it classy, just like me.

4. There is something about these boots, I’m not usually into patent items but these almost sing to me, the lyrics are sex appeal, sass and an all out good time. I don’t know where I’d wear them as tier 3 is looking more and more likely here in London and my mood fluctuates between stay home and take a walk around the block.

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5. Then last but not least there is this:

It’s advertised as a gym bag but I think it’s the perfect weekend bag for the weekend in Morocco that I’m sure someone will be kind enough to get me for Christmas.

What’s on your wish list this year?

Embrace the Fro

I don’t know about you but embracing my afro was a real journey. I used to beg my mum to hot comb my hair and for those of you who have been through the experience, you’ll know that having your hair hot-combed is a mild form of torture. Those burns to the scalp and ears were well worth the pain just to flick my hair like the white girls in movies.

This is where representation is important, if you don’t see yourself on the television, in the classrooms, in the business world and in books what you aspire to becomes something that is so far detached from you that in your mind it is virtually unobtainable.

Top: Boohoo

I’ve been so enthused to see a rise of representation in the media of black and ethnic minority people and my only hope is that this doesn’t just fizzle out as a fad but instead becomes our new normal.

I was very privileged to have been sent a copy of the book ‘Lily and the magic Comb‘ by singer songwriter VV Brown. The book is a great addition to any little girls collection. It’s a great book for teaching rhyme in the early years and inspires little black girls to harness their imaginations and dream big.

I’ll be running a competition over on my Instagram to win your own copy of Lily and the magic Comb so head on over and enter.

Love Yourself

During the summer I was sent a days worth of Veto Diet meals from a company called Love Yourself. Now anything that promotes self love and wellness is right up my street. Though it’s not something I’ve always been good at it’s something that I ultimately desire to live by. Who in there right mind doesn’t?

Having struggled with weight issues, at times being overweight and struggling with over indulgence and other times being underweight and having to remind myself that eating is a necessity, the Veto Diet offered a vegetarian balanced option to healthy eating.

The promotion for the diet is great the photos are enticing and I was really looking forward trying it. Did it meet with my expectations? unfortunately not.

Picture from website

It’s not that the meals were completely tasteless in fact quite the opposite they tasted ok but for £130 for 5 days worth of meals ok just doesn’t cut it. The portion sizes were ok and I did feel adequately full after eating them but it honestly doesn’t take a lot to make me feel full.

Photo of meal received

So to sum it up, the meals are ok and if you have a spare £130 to spend on them the Veto diet is a great plant based protein alternative to kick start your weight loss journey.

Black Pound

One amazing thing to come out of this tragedy of a year, is Black Pound Day. I will openly say that although I’ve always made a conscious effort to shop with my black friends who are in business, I never made the effort to actively look for black businesses to shop with. The horrific murder of George Floyd by police officers in the US brought protest and change. It’s encouraging to see how many people, black and non-black, are making an active effort to support systematic change.

Black Pound Day was launched by So Solid Crew’s Swiss on 27th of June to coincide with 72 years of the Windrush Generation and is now on the first Saturday of each month. It has already made an impact, with may black business having reported an increase in sales and new customers steaming from Black Pound day.

So far Black Pound day has led me to purchase great products from amazing art pieces to skincare, I even took myself out of my local area to shop in Ades Cash and Carry in Woolwich. This month, in an attempt to update my fall fashion accessories, I made a purchase from Gods Gift London who aim to deliver ‘stylish, affordable and unforgettable accessories’

https://godsgiftlondon.com/collections/handbags/products/suede-chain-handle-quilt-bag

My overall experience with the company was good, but make sure you check out their returns policy carefully as there are a few conditions that you should be aware of.

Unfortunately the top I brought, though it looks great on and the colour and quality are fabulous, is too small and there are some serious boob slippage issues so this needs to be returned.

The handbag is absolutely lush, the only downside I would say is that the straps are not made to be removed, although the links can be opened, that is a pretty tedious activity and it would have been better if the straps were made with a removeable attachment so you could use the bag to it’s full capacity when wanting to use just the smaller handle rather than having to place the handleinside the bag.

I would still recommend the items because of their overall quality and will pop back to the website to see what other treasures I can find.

What have you found because of Black Pound Day?