New Year Pending…

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 taway 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.

January Spread – bullet planner

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 The F*&! Is Me Time?

Warning – I allowed my friend to read this blog post before posting and her comment after reading was, “You’re like a children’s Christmas movie with innuendos for adults.” In other words, unless you’re over the age of 18 or young enough to still have an innocent mind, switch blogs now!

So here we go!

What the expletive 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.

PR gifted games I’m looking forward to playing

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 for the children in my class on a white board to elicit understanding of our supreme English language nor 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.

One pleasurable (though controversial) form of me-time is of course self-pleasure. It’s one of those topics that’s wildly debated amongst my church brethren but I’ve always been very open about a man or a woman’s liberty to engage with their own bodies in whichever way they like, as long as they aren’t harming anyone. I recently received some natural lubricants from a company called Roam, if you’ve ever used a lubricant before you’ll know that certain brands can be irritating so the fact they were 100% natural appealed to me.

Pr gifted product

So, how do you plan in a good masturbation session? A hotel room, all your toys and your favourite sex-me music playing in the background (not that I’ve ever done anything like that of course). My choice of music would likely be in the genre of R&B with a little grime just to mix it up, my friend on the other hand prefers Puddle of Mudd. (If you don’t know who they are look up their song ‘She Hates Me’ and you’ll begin to question why the two of us are even friends at all).

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?

I feel a journey brewing…

40, Flirty, Fabulous… or not?

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.

P.S. I don’t have favourites!

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.

Dress? House of CB

Is it ok to be Vulnerable?

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 currently leading writing and have been given the additional responsibility of Keystage lead starting in September), 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.

What’s next for you?

Use my referral link https://crypto.com/app/ztcbz9c3dm to sign up for Crypto.com and we both get $25 USD ūüôā

Let’s save the planet

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 only 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.

Jeans all have holes in them nowadays anyway

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?

We’re not racist!

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.

Single and Sharing

This could simply be a me thing but I find when I’m single and by single I mean not claiming anyone as my man, the left side of my bed tends to be occupied by books, devices, confectionery, anything other than a man. I read somewhere once, that you should prepare for what you want; set an extra plate at the table; leave a space in the closet etc and for a little while I actually did this madness. It’s no wonder my favourite ex used to tell me I was book smart but not street smart. In fact he would go as far as to say, “You have no sense of the common kind.” God rest his soul.

There is always so much pressure on a woman to fill that side of her bed. Either to have children, help raise existing children or generally just have a help mate. I get it, all of those things are important, if, you want them. What they do though, is impose a false narrative that without them you can’t be fulfilled. They make men feel empowered because they are needed, yet make some women feel a sense of desperation causing them to settle for way less than they deserve.

In 2019, I was in a long distance relationship with a guy I had met on holiday. I had insisted on the no sex before marriage rule so he was putting on the pressure to come and stay with me in the UK. When I told him he’d have to get a hotel or stay with friends he got very upset.

The offers of marriage had been flooding in from him and had I been back in my 20s, I probably would have agreed. He started getting possessive and wanting to know where I was and who I was with every minute of the day. I get that long distance it can be difficult but I didn’t share the desire to know his every move and at this point, I decided to call it off. His response, “You’re never going to find anyone like me who’s willing to marry you.” Strong words, which after hearing my response he soon retracted, but the fact he had the nerve to even think it, was everything that is wrong with the way society empowers men to think they are better than women.

Beyonc√© put it best when she said, “I can have another you in a minute…”

What men fail to understand is that we don’t have difficulty getting a man, men are always ‘available’. Most of us could have been married 3 times over if we chose to settle. What we do have trouble with is finding a man who is committed and doesn’t view monogamy as a straight jacket made to stop them ‘living their best life.’

I refuse to idolise anyone’s relationships because we all know that behind closed doors anything could happen but I do love some of the wisdom that comes from the mouths of men like Steve Harvey, he recognised his woman as an asset, his best one. He teaches woman that as misogynistic as it may seem, a man should profess you are his, provide for you and protect you. There is a lot to be said for this.

So whilst my bed might be taken up by chocolate wrappers and the latest self help guide to a better life, I’m going to enjoy my freedom and fill my time with friendship and laughter and maybe the next guy that comes along will be at a stage where their community cat days are over and they recognise the value that a good woman has to bring, perhaps they’ll even buy me another bedside table for the left hand side of my bed.

How well do you know your vagina?

If the word vagina gives you shivers down your spine, talk of a cervix has you sweating and the mere mention of discharge has you running to grab a sick bucket, this is just the post for you.

This week I will be talking all things fannies and pleading with men and women to normalise talking about changes in your intimate areas. 

Once you’ve had a team of doctors staring up your canal to check if you’ve stretched enough to push an entire human out of you, all sentiments of dignity go out the window.¬† From that moment forward you know doctors have seen it all.¬† That being said when I made a call to my surgery this week to discuss intimate matters, they did ask if I was ok speaking to a man about it, very considerate, though at this stage of my life the sex of my doctor is irrelevant.

I’ve always been very aware of what my vagina looks like, I was never afraid to sit in front of a mirror legs akimbo and check what I was working with.¬† To some extent the “pretty” vaginas in porno and songs that talk of “designa vagina” had a lot to do with that but I also wanted to know me so I could spot any changes.

Having been obsessed with human mortality since the age of about 5 I’ve always needed to know what my normal was so I could keep it that way.¬†

This goes for your discharge too.¬† Throughout a woman’s cycle our discharge changes slightly in texture and colour but at no point should you have green or smelly discharge and think things are still “A ok” down there.¬† Don’t get me wrong, it could just be a mild infection that triggers drastic change but any change is definitely worth getting checked.

The same goes for you fella’s too, grab your balls cop a feel and know what your normal is or better still let your significant other have a feel for you!

This Monday marks the 12th Anniversary of Jade Goody’s passing and that in itself is a reminder to get yourself checked out and don’t miss a single smear test.¬† My recent smear came back all clear but the nurse did notice a cervical entropic, which explained a number of issues I had been experiencing.¬† Thankfully it’s nothing serious and I’ll live, I may even be lucky enough that the issue fixes itself but once again it is a reminder to keep checking, know your body and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Now on another note, the first (living) human to exit my vagina turns 21 tomorrow!¬† Yes, that means I’m no longer a spring chicken and will have to stop insisting that I’m still 21 myself so happy 25th birthday to me!

Mother’s Day 2021

Mothering Sunday has arrived.

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.

What is a family?

Strange title today I know, surely everyone knows the answer to that one, or do they? I literally had to wonder if I was missing something when a friend of mine told me she had lost out on a property because they had given it to a “family”.

It angers me that on a clubhouse stage another friend of mine was told that she shouldn’t talk about mental health from the perspective of race, and it certainly angers me that despite living in a so called libral society free from the bonds of slavery my people are still shackled.

I can only speak as a single mother, because I am a single mother. I can only speak as a woman because I am a woman and I can only speak as a black person because I am black. When you ask me to offer my opinion on something I offer it as a black woman who also happens to be raising her children alone and the thought that in the eyes of someone else that means my children and I are not a “family” makes me angry beyond words.

I am unapologetically black and nobody has the right to tell me I shouldn’t talk about my trauma from my perspective as a black woman. Like it or not, we face the system differently to others. I remember the pain I was suffering on the labour ward with my son and being told I was exaggerating and just needed to use the gas and air and I’d be fine, before having to be rushed into surgery for an emergency c-section because apparently my word as a black woman means nothing. Before you tell me that this happens to other women too, black women are 4 times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than a white woman and it’s no coincidence that black people are more likely to die of covid either. Why do you think the results of those investigations are still hushed? The only reason for it is the disparity of care they receive due to their perceived “strength” After all isn’t that the reason we were brought and sold in the first place?

I remember as a teen, being told that perhaps I should be a nursery nurse instead of my ambition to be a lawyer or social worker, despite having better grades than many and I’m not saying there is anything wrong with being a nursery nurse, I did go on to do the job and love it but why couldn’t I get a job that required a degree? What was it that the career advisor saw in me that told her it was unachievable for someone like me? Nothing but the colour of my skin. P.S madam career advisor, I now hold 3 degrees.

I also remember sitting in the staff room of one of my previous work places and listening to the other teachers rant about particular children and how, “It’s the single mums that are the problem.” I kindly had to remind them that this single mother sat right next to them as a peer, not only works her ass of to provide for her children but has worked since the age of 15 and is raising children to be non-judgmental human beings. This is one of the reasons I got into teaching, I didn’t want children, especially black children, to continue to be told they could not achieve all that they wanted to in life.

So back to my initial question; what is a family? A family is, in my humble opinion and closely agreed with by Google, a group of people who love each other where there is at least one adult that has people that depend on them. When you start saying that single parents living with their children are not a family, you shackle them, you tell them that in your eyes they are not whole. You tell them that despite how they got to that position, they are not worthy of the same life chances as everyone else and you feed into their already fragile self confidence.

Something has got to change and I will be one of the change makers.