Someone made a really interesting remark to me the other day about the fact that young girls were embarrassed about growing up and becoming women. Well it’s no wonder that this is the case when we make such a massive deal when a woman decides to show any skin whatsoever. We are taught to cover up and to some extent, feel ashamed when we show our bodies. It’s ok for men to walk around shirtless and show their nipples on Instagram, but a female nipple is somehow too sexual to be seen but that’s a topic for another day.
Today I’m choosing to write a quick post about my 100 squats a day in May for Shelter, not only are squats a great way to build your legs, core strength and booty but this May, you can sponsor someone to do 100 a day and raise money for Shelter, even better you can join in yourself and reap the benefits. There are a lot of charities that I choose to support throughout the year but I’ve drawn attention to this one this month because I understand how important it is to have a home, a good home where you feel safe and Shelter fights to make sure people’s rights to a safe home are protected.
I’m two days into the challenge and loving it, my legs are a little on the wobbly side and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to walk around work after day three but it’s all for a good cause! If you have the time and the inclination please pay a visit to my Facebook sponsor page.
It gets lonely over here on the blog sometimes so don’t be afraid to drop a comment and show some love x
I almost gave up on this blog; my tiny part of the webiverse but as the song goes: almost doesn’t count. I started this blog (my first one by the same name) as a creative outlet to describe the ins and outs of life as a single parent family. When I transitioned over here I wanted the blog to be more of me as a woman and less of me as a mother, of course motherhood would always play a feature, it is after all one of my most important jobs but I wanted to tell the more authentic story of a woman, one that loves fashion, holidays, reading, writing, business, fitness, black excellence and a good time.
In recent weeks I’ve been met with some bumps in the road that mean I’ll have to hold back a little and make sure my content matches the image of a modern day educator, which is basically the same image as a Victorian school mistress so from now on what you’ll get is the same spicy me wrapped in clingfilm for self-preservation.
Since the beginning of this year I’ve gotten back into fitness and I’m working really hard to be my optimal weight and strength. I’ve got a good gym routine (3x a week at 5am) and I’m attending kickboxing twice a week. My friend has suggested intermittent fasting as a way to tone up and build muscle so this will be the next phase in my journey, anyone who has done this before feel free to let me know how it worked for you.
Fitness to me has always been about both mental and physical health, I glow best when I’m taking care of both of those therefore finding time to do things I love, with the people I love, has to be at the top of my list of priorities; especially since the last couple of years of madness. This week I’ve done cinema with my boys, VR gaming with my nephew, basketball in the park with my son, dinner and drinks with my work girls and brunch with a friend I’ve not seen in a long time and I’ve still managed to fit some rest in between. In a world where certain environments can have you feeling stifled, you have to know where to find your peace.
I’d never done proper VR until we visited DNA VR in Battersea, it was good fun and absolutely surreal. I had to come out of one game in which we were gliding in the air because it made me feel dizzy, it’s crazy how it tricks your brain into feeling like it’s really experiencing these alternate universes. What I will say is that although the VR experience itself was great, and the staff were helpful and friendly, the venue however is lacking in any type of pazazz. The toilets weren’t working and apart from the signage it was all pretty dull. I’m not likely to go again as I feel like it should be part of a bigger arcade experience where you can carry on and play some other arcade games with the family and make it a proper day out but for a first experience it wasn’t bad at all. With it being in the New Battersea Power Station development, you do have the advantage of being close to Battersea park so all was not lost, we managed to grab a beef hotdog from a nearby food truck and sit in the park for a while and any time spent with family is time well spent.
Working in a school I’ve heard that popular little rhyme more than a few times today and it was a reminder to me that I promised to write something on my blog today, even if I wasn’t feeling like it. Thankfully, despite being awfully tired, I’m not in a terrible mood which means I have just enough joy to muster up a few quick words for your reading pleasure.
I would have liked to come online and tell you that the month of January has brought me nothing but satisfaction and that I am thriving in this new year however, if I were to tell you that, I’d be doing one of the things I despise the most – lying. I have not had the most amazing January but it hasn’t been all bad. I’ve had a lot to be thankful for and I’ve made it a habit to document at least 3 things each day that have made me feel grateful. Sometimes those things were as simple as waking up that morning, yet some days were as elaborate as my daughter being cast in a TV show (cool I know).
I’ve also started kickboxing this month in the absence of my gym membership, which frankly needs to make a return ASAP. I contribute some of my moodiness to lack of exercise, the rest I’ll have to mark down to being my general disposition as not much seems to alter it at the moment. Even the prospect of pandemic measures easing hasn’t done much to put me in a bright and cheerful mood.
One of the things that did cheer me up this month though was a meal out with one of my friends and her sister. I discovered many years ago now that quality time is my favoured love language, so going out with people I love, chatting and laughing together definitely helps to fill my love cup.
Speaking of love, it’s the month where countless members of society will spend their hard earned cash on cards, jewellery, chocolates and flowers. Now I can’t tell you that I don’t buy into the consumerism that is Valentine’s Day because if a bouquet of flowers arrived at my door with a singing telegram, I’d be equally as mortified as I would be ecstatic. I’m what many would refer to as a hopeless romantic. I love, love. I’m guilty of creating cheesy cards and buying gifts that at any other time of the year would make me cringe. I once brought an ex a container filled with date night Ideas and encouraged (forced him) to choose 3 of them that he’d like for us to do. The thought of that now makes me sick to the stomach, but that’s what love can do sometimes. That sickly sweet kind of love that clouds your judgement and shows your loved one through rose tinted glasses. I question that kind of love.
Love to me these days is something completely different. It’s working through problems, it’s sharing in pain, it’s making time to understand each other and it’s choosing. Choosing to chose that person over and over again. Love isn’t always fluffy clouds and rainbows, it’s building the ark in preparation for the flood because nothing is ever perfect and if it is in your world, you’ve won the lottery in life and should teach me your magic.
What are you plans for Valentine’s Day this year? Are you a romantic or do you wish people would just shut up about the crazy little thing called love?
My apologies for not having posted sooner to wish you all a Merry Christmas. Unfortunately, my Christmas plans were disrupted by the dreaded Covid which decided to clothe my family in its angry mist and have us laid out like sunseekers on an Egyptian beach (but a lot less happy). I’d like to make it up to you by wishing you the very best for the season and for the new year ahead. Whatever this year may hold in store for you, I pray that it is riddled with laughter, love and a whole lot of living your best life. I for one never miss the opportunity to embrace the feeling of expectation that a new year brings.
I don’t know if it’s the same for everyone, for me however, the whole fact that we are going into another year brings me a sense of excitement. I look back on the year and think about my achievements; some years are more fulfilling than others. I did this year, celebrate my 40th year on Earth, had a promotion and pay rise and (don’t tell anybody) I am working on some moves to increase my streams of income. I don’t go into too much detail with anyone about money moves unless I know they will encourage or support, there are far too many people out there that believe if you’re winning, they can’t and that is such a detrimental mindset for growth of communities.
Another thing that gets me excited about a new year is setting out my vision for the year. I normally create a digital vision board and have it on my phone, I’m not sure if I’ll do that this year but what I have gotten into is creating a bullet journal, thanks to my friend who inspired me when she started hers.
If you’re into TikTok (which I am not) you will probably know a lot more about bullet journaling than me. To my understanding an awesome guy with ADHD had great difficulty organising his life and thoughts and came up with the bullet journal to do just that. For me it’s perfect, it’s a way of organising my life that doesn’t have to have an order to suit straight forward thinking. I always say I am the most organised, disorganised person you will ever meet.
This type of journaling lets me be creative with my methods of organisation so hopefully I’ll be able to keep it up.
Now tell me, are you excited for the new year or are you more than happy to just sleep through the festivities?
What is me-time? I always promise it to myself and sometimes even get out of the house on my own, under the pretence that being by myself is the meaning of me time, whilst in reality I’m either sat completing planning for my day job or running errands related to my side hustle. What I’m here to tell you ladies (and the handful of gents that engage with my content) is that being by yourself does not – in my humble opinion – constitute me-time. In fact, me-time doesn’t even have to be time spent alone. Yes giving yourself time for growth, self-reflection, meditation etc. are important and valid ways to spend your time but are they things you enjoy? For some, myself included, the answer would be yes so they do take up space in my limited free-time however, for me at least, it is time spent doing things I love and sometimes that includes the people I love.
For instance, when was the last time you sat down and played a game with your friends or family? No time restrictions, no rush to get the dinner on or do homework before bed and no nagging feeling that you should be doing something ‘more productive’. Well I can tell you, for me it has been ages. I vaguely remember being very intoxicated playing a random game of ‘Words Against Humanity’ for a friends birthday and do you know what? I was bloody happy.
Another form of me time I enjoy is writing, you would never have guessed that would you? Writing is most definitely one of my favourite things to do, not to document the amount of great reviews we’ve had for burgers in the last week but I love writing when it has anything to do with letting my creativity flow. Writing a blog post, a poem, a short story or simply just mini musings in a note book; of which I have many.
Last but not least, reading on a beach combines another two of my most loved avenues of me-time – travel and books. What better thing is there to do than be engrossed in the escapades of someone else whilst being on your own?
There are conflicting views as to what happens when one turns 40 as though entering your 40s has some magical secret that you only become aware of as the clock strikes midnight. I’ve heard it said that this is when life begins, that this is the time that you really come into yourself, all your life’s experiences so far have been preparing you for this moment when you are the best version of yourself; the most free; most passionate; most fulfilled that you will ever be. On the opposite side of the spectrum I’ve also heard whispers of everything going downhill from here on out. You get more chin hairs, your fat gathers at your waist without your permission and if you’re not married yet be prepared to sit on the subs bench until some poor widower comes along and takes you in to ease his broken heart. Of course neither of these perspectives is accurate. I mean yes, your hormones are changing so you might find a hair or two and if you’re not an active member of the gym beware but these years are neither chalked out to be the best nor the worst of your life. They are merely just more years where the pen is placed in your hand and you need to choose your journey.
I’ve recently been fighting with the stresses of life, so much so that I’ve developed eczema on my hands and feet, trying to decide what the next best step is. If I decide to leave the area, am I running away from my problems or am I seeking to find the life I desire? I’m currently the epitome of what it means to work yourself silly. I’m often working in one or the other of my roles from 6am until 1am the earliest which means sleep evades me. I’m tired, grouchy and feel highly undervalued. The thing is though, even with this list of cons I often find that the pros outweigh the feelings of negativity. In my day job for example, I love being with my ‘school babies’ as I lovingly refer to them and I get a great sense of pride and accomplishment when they manage to learn something new or feel good about themselves because of something I’ve said or done. I really don’t know if I could find another career that would match that feeling and being practical, match my pay scale. The other job on the other hand is more a labour of love. I saw the perfect image on the internet which depicts exactly how that makes me feel at times.
I happen to think that love is not something you only come by once in a lifetime. What I honestly believe is that love is something you have to choose and you have to work on, it’s not a one way road but more a merging of two roads, separate journeys combining to become one. It’s not only romantic love that I see this way, even loving your children is a journey, when they are born they physically separate from you and you begin to learn each other. You choose to get up out of bed at their first whimper or wait until they are in full fledged tears. As they get older you learn to work through their tantrums as they grin and bare your rule over them, until one day, you’ve learnt to value each other so much that you do what it takes to see them smile. I totally get why the brain functions differently when love is involved, it’s difficult to see anything better than love behind the door of decision because the truth is you will never see it until you choose to open the door.
When I blog, I usually just have a sentence or a simple thought in my head and I just start writing, this post should have been about what a fantastic birthday I had so I’m reverting back to course. With all that was trying to bring me down, on my birthday weekend my daughter brought me right back up. I told her that if she keeps spoiling me like this I might hold off on getting a significant other and just let her spoil me for the foreseeable future.
This is the year where I can chose to be flirty and fabulous. 40 is just another number, another year to tick off the calendar of life and if you want to mark it as a milestone, choose to make it the year you want it to be; set your goals in motion; find opportunities to laugh and dance and continue to send out positive vibrations – the universe is listening.
It’s been a while, I’ve been busy making work and life balance exactly how I want it too and so far there is some success. I’m enjoying my role in school. I’m spending time with my family and friends and I’ve even done a cheeky bit of shopping. The only thing not currently happening for me is travel; I’m itching to jump on a plane again.
I’ve tried to write a couple of times but each time what I want to say either doesn’t quite come out or has made me feel overly exposed. Funny that, I write this blog with the aim of being 100% authentically me but when things get too personal I pull back and give 0%. If I was like that in my every day life I’d never get anywhere. So this post is just a catch up to say hello and perhaps make myself a little vulnerable in the process.
During the height of the pandemic, when gatherings were locked down, restaurants weren’t available and church was an online only event, I spent a lot of time doing not much at all except work, in some ways this was a good thing, it gave me time to do things around the house and make some financial investments however it also left me secluded, I forgot how much fun it was to go out with friends and family and instead got very comfortable with being in my home. As things have gradually started to normalise my feelings about getting out and about haven’t. I’ve converted to forcing myself to attend social events because I know once I’m there I’ll have an amazing time. I’ve even told my friends and family that with my 40th birthday coming up, barring catching a flight, there is nothing I would rather do than stay at home and cuddle up with a hot drink and a book. This of course has been met with hard resistance and family telling me I have no choice but to celebrate with them. In my heart of hearts I know I’d probably regret it if I didn’t celebrate but currently my mind is screaming a big fat NO.
I’ve joked at the presence of a mid life crisis but in reality I’m probably just about to step into the best days of my life. Yes, I’m still single and longing for my Boaz to take me out of the barley fields but I’m also glad I didn’t choose to settle out of desperation. It’s easy to look back and think perhaps I missed out on the person that was for me because I wanted the complete package, even though I wasn’t the complete package but in reality they were never for me because I wasn’t ready.
Now I’m ready.
I have an adult daughter and a son who is in his last year of primary school. I have a good job and a decent side hustle. I have investments and savings for the first time in my life and a handful of solid friends who I wouldn’t change for the world. That’s not to say I don’t miss some of the friends that drifted. I’m a very sentimental person and there are people who for whatever reason left my life that I am not afraid to admit I miss. I’ve always said that love is something you can’t just erase, once someone had my love, they will always have it, perhaps not in the same way but love doesn’t just vanish.
So what’s next? God knows. I have plans and dreams to accomplish so I’m going to stay focused and continue to work towards the life I desire.
Is it ok to be vulnerable? Yes!! We have all been there and in those moments you have the opportunity to grow the most.
After a very serious topic last week I thought today I’d go for something a bit more light-hearted. The simple topic of saving our planet sprang to mind. We are absolutely terrible at protecting our worlds resources. We chop down the trees, pollute the oceans and send toxic fumes into the atmosphere on a daily basis yet we sit in our coffee shops with a latte and some avocado on toast claiming that we’re interested in building futures for our children.
I got a major case of the guilts this week when I read that it takes 10,000 litres of water to grow the cotton needed for my favourite pair of jeans, yet there are still hundreds of millions of people who don’t have access to clean drinking water. My little monthly donation to Water Aid is like putting a pacifier in front of a 3 week old baby and expecting them to get it themselves. I’m not saying don’t donate of course, the more of us that do that, the better but perhaps what I am saying is, maybe don’t buy that 6th pair of jeans that look like the other 5 in your closet, except for the ribbed detailing over the left pocket. There is nothing wrong with re-purposing an old pair or going to vintage or charity shops for a second hand bargain.
Water is just one thing, the amount of plastic waste we produce is beyond ridiculous and where is it all going? The answer may seem simple, it’s goes to landfil, our oceans, our parks all over our environment. It’s so widely spread it’s even in our food and our excrement. It’s definitely a worrying trend and not something that we can just wait for the plastic industry to respond to. Yes they do react when there is government direction to do so but we all know that when consumers speak with their money, companies listen.
I was lucky enough to receive a gift from one such company who wants to ensure our children are not met with toxic play toys. For me that’s definitely one way to make a change.
This gorgeous set is made from bio plastic, is toxin free and as environmentally friendly as a new toy can get.
I haven’t got babies anymore, what else can we do? This is a good question and one that I’m still trying to answer. So perhaps whilst we’re still looking for solutions, let’s start by walking more, jumping on our bikes or, in my case, our roller skates and taking on some of this traffic pollution. I have to admit that I’m rubbish at swapping my car for my legs because I hate the cold but we are still a little way off affordable electric vehicles so I will have to make more of an effort and get peddling.
Another thing I really want to do is pick up some of the trash in my local park. I literally saw a bird trying to eat the ring from a plastic bottle that had been chucked in the bushes. F.Y.I litter bugs, parks have bins and if you can’t seem to find one there’s nothing wrong with shoving it in your pocket until you get home. If anyone fancies a day out litter picking with me please let me know and we’ll make an event of it, if we don’t start trying to save our plant, who else will?
The outraged voices of white Britain have spoken. Even the hint of such an outdated critique on the morals of our Great British soul has us hiring the other, to write reports that defend our covertly racist systems. Though The Comission on Race and Ethnic Disparities: The Report, admitted to “some evidence of bias.” It placed the onus on black and ethnic minority stumbling blocks, squarely at the feet of the individual.
Now, this blog post is as diverse as the leaders in the education system or the board of directors in a finance company. It’s diverse in reverse. The people I spoke to are a group of 30+ year old professional women 4 black, 1 Asian and a white woman thrown in for good measure. If you dig deep enough, you might even hear the echoes of a man I spoke to in passing. He’s not quite made it to leadership in my established friendship group, so his voice doesn’t really matter.
This may sound crazy to you, but this is our lived experience. We are used to being the only ‘ethnic minority’ in the room, or for some, the only woman at the table. When the colour of your skin grants you privilege, you tend to forget that not everyone has access to life in the same way you do.
The report suggested that, “we have a reluctance to acknowledge the UK had become open and fairer.” This leads me to wonder who did they actually speak to? Every one of the women I interviewed led with the fact they acknowledged things had become better from when they were younger, they were no longer subject to having abusive language freely thrown at them as in their 1980s and 90s childhoods, yet being told, “I hope you catch Sickle Cell or Thalassemia.” Was a reality for one of them. Sophisticated use of language that might be missed by the more liberal of society, has become the new way.
Us women are the first to admit that the breakdown in families plays a part. It seems stupid to ignore the fact that slavery ripped our men from the family home and created a damaging mindset for both men and women. Our women are used to being ‘Strong, independent,’ doing things for ourselves. We don’t need men. But of course this is not true, we know that the more successful of our children are those that grow up in well rounded households, something that the report agrees.
A couple of the women I spoke to questioned the use of stop and search and suggested that it was more used to assert dominance than to actually impact on knife crime. Why if police are stopping and searching more, are our young men still being killed 24 times more than their white counterparts? It’s not that they are apposed to stop and search, they just want to see a correlation in the number of searches and a downward trend in knife crime. The report recommends a ‘reconceptualised idea of stop and search.’ Of course we will have to wait and see what that actually entails when the time comes. What we want are to know our children will be safe walking the streets.
We agreed that access was a key stumbling block and although the report states that there is no evidence of systemic or institutional racism, it does highlight that the doors to opportunity, although open, are still only half open to some and the “snowy white peaks at the top of private and public sectors” don’t do much to indicate lasting change.
The most Impactful thing I did get from my friendship group is that all of us wanted to see change, all of us want to be a part of that change and all of us recognise that the change must come not just from the way systems operate but also from an individual level. What are we doing to grow our communities and push through the media blackout when it comes to our successes? What are we able to do to ensure our youth are not wrongly prejudged before even lifting a hand to knock the door?
We call “bullshit” on the idea that systemic and institutional racism doesn’t exist in Britain and yes it does exist alongside geographical, family, socio-economic, cultural and religious issues but our experiences are not to be swept under the rug because they are not understood.
What we need is meaningful discourse that doesn’t wipe out our truth like the history books entwined in our outdated education system. We need leaders that aren’t afraid to push for the black man or woman because they’ve worked to hard to get in position. We need representation that lets everyone know that we are an integral part of this country’s success. We need people to stop gaslighting us as though we don’t know what racism is and we need to “self govern, protect, teach and nurture,” in order to become the community we desire to be.
Our rebellion does not have to be armed with weapons meant to kill or harm, our rebellion will be one armed with knowledge and wealth to promote change.
There is always so much to be thankful for when it comes to mother’s, whatever your story, there is at least a little gratitude for the woman who brought you into this world. Today, and every day, my cup overflows with it.
Although Barbados has a different Mother’s Day to the UK, I still take this day to salute the matriarchal figures of my family. I am blessed to still have my grandmother and mother available for chats and laughter at the end of a phone line, when many of my friends have lost theirs. The wealth of advice they have to offer, wanted or not, is something that I will always cherish.
I’m also very blessed to have my daughter’s other Grandma, who blesses me with hugs, laughter and prayer in the absence of my mum. When you lose your only child, as she has, mother’s day can be heart wrenching. We are so grateful to be able to love on her like she loves on us.
My own journey into motherhood was not an easy one so I don’t take for granted what a blessing it is to have someone call you mum and despite this being “my day”, I am so thankful that I have my babies to love on.
So I end this post by saying to all the mothers out there, enjoy your day. Find gratitude for your blessings and hug a mother tightly, be that your own mother or someone else’s, acknowledge that most of us are out here trying to be the best we can. Have a blessed day.