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 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.

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 Is Me Time?

So here we go!

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.

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 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?

I feel a journey brewing…

A Hug and a Hot Chocolate Fixes Everything

Forget everything I said about being flirty and fabulous, the forties so far has given me athletes foot, a urine infection and eczema on my hands so between frequent toilet visits and itchy palms (not the money kind) I’m also banned from playing footsie. There go my plans for Saturday night. Not only does my physical health seem to be on a downward spiral but my panic attacks are on the rise, it’s like my brain has gone from 0 to 100 with thoughts of my ultimate demise. Sorry to be so morbid but I do like to be honest with my readers and that right there is my truth. When it comes to my health my brain seems to zoom straight past the, “Oh dear, you need to rest stage.” to the “Oh my God, you’re not waking up when you go to sleep tonight.” Thankfully, I’m not always like that, in fact most of the time I’m optimism and light so I won’t drag you into a pity party instead I’ll share with you my recent staycation which in all honesty, is one of the only reasons I managed not to fall completely to pieces these last couple of months.

It’s not often that I get to run away from the busyness of London these days, due to the fact that covid rules have restricted our movements, especially as I’m super paranoid about the vaccine, so Devon was definitely the welcome break that I needed.

Dog and boy in tow we hit the motor way, our friends following behind in their own car. We would have travelled together had it not been for the fact that we both have tiny cars and had to pack to not only accommodate ourselves but also our dogs. Packing for a dog is nearly as difficult as packing for a new born and I was sure something would be left behind. Really, it was the boy I should have been worried about, everything I handed him to put in his suitcase went onto his bed which meant he near enough travelled with two and a half outfits for a five day trip.

We ended our journey at the cutest little cabin hidden in the countryside with nothing but horses, pheasants and the occasional rabbit in sight.

As places I’ve visited in the UK go, Devon is definitely one suitable for the outdoorsy type. This was my second trip there, my first having been for a wedding and I think I only partially qualify as that type. I love the outdoors, long walks by the beach and picturesque tea houses where they serve fresh cream tea with a smile and a treat for your doggy friend but I’m a city girl by heart. I need to be near enough to shopping centres, theatres and bars; not that I spend much time in those places; I just need to know that should I wish to, they are right on my doorstep.

As well as that, it’s definitely not the place for rainy day fun. We struggled to find things to do in the rain but as the skies cleared we found ourselves back in the outdoors taking in the sights from the Devonshire Moors. That trip started off well, we love a bit of hiking and exploring but unfortunately for us and probably due to my crazy dog trying to chase all the sheep, we ended up way off track, truly lost and wading through mud, rivers and high grass lands. My boots were definitely not made for that which certainly didn’t do anything to help the athletes foot issue!

I probably could of done with a good pair of hunter’s to keep my feet dry and as I’m slightly in love with Minnie and Mickey (Mouse of course) their new capsule collection Hunter x Disney, would be right up my street. If anyone fancies treating me before my next adventure, they go on sale on November 15th and I’m a size 4.

Needless to say after the adventure (or trauma, whichever you prefer to call it) of our journey through the Moors, a log fire, hot chocolate and s’mores were definitely on the cards for us. What I will say is this, the company that you chose for a trip like this is so important. We went with one of my best friends, who is not only as spontaneous as I am but just like me, she believes a cuddle and a hot chocolate at the end of a stressful event fixes everything.

The best bit about Devon for me was definitely the beaches. If I ever decide to trade in London life, it will be for beach walks and an ocean view preferably in a place where sunshine is the norm. I don’t know what it is about the sound of the waves but I feel my most calmest when I’m by the sea, It’s as though the waves have the power to carry away all negativity and the shore has just enough depth to help me feel grounded.

If you could move anywhere tomorrow, where would you go and why?

Keeping Secrets

I’m always reflecting; be that on world events, personal circumstances or our general existence my mind is always a whirl with thoughts. This week I came across a picture on social media that made me think about how some of us are so compelled to share absolutely everything, the good, the bad and the devastatingly awful.

When Crissy Teigen chose to share the pain filled photo of her grief so many questions ran through my mind. I’ve been in a similar position to Crissy before, I understand that in sharing we can find the strength to move forward, to cope, to heal but at the same time we are putting ourselves in such a place of vulnerability in a world that can be a cruel place. However, in saying that, sharing every minute detail of our lives has become the norm. It’s as though the social media powers have brainwashed us into thinking that it is perfectly normal to announce that you had toast and a coffee for breakfast with a side serving of chemo pills. We consume other people’s lives day in day out to the point we don’t even know what is real anymore.

We question our choices; we can’t wear an outfit unless it’s been on Debbie Le, can’t make a financial decision without consulting The Break but at the same time want to live it up like we’re on Beyoncé’s budget. Our houses aren’t clean unless we’ve used Mrs Hinch’s methods and clothes can’t be put in a bag without thanking them for their service. We are plagued by the losses of our favourite celebs and humoured by the misfortunes of others. We rally around making sure that our favourite Instagram couple are still on track but our best friend’s relationship could be in tatters and we only bother to check in if her WhatsApp status is concerning. We spend so much time smiling down at our phones that we pay little attention to what is going on around us and we forget special occasions unless Facebook sends us a reminder.

Of course we aren’t all living in a social media bubble some of us are pretty good at switching off and paying attention to what is going on in front of us but I have personally lost count of the amount of times I’ve had someone ask me to repeat something because they were too busy watching the latest TikTok dance to hear what I’d said.

It might be an age thing, I turn 40 in a couple of days, but I’ve become really conscious of not wanting to be so engaged with phones and consoles that I miss life. I’ve also come to the realisation that some things just need to be kept to myself. Sometimes you offer up too much of yourself and then everyone thinks they have a right to an opinion. I’m tired of hearing unsolicited opinions, they have a tendency to make me question my own mind and in all honesty, I question it enough as it is! That’s not to say I’ve magically turned into a “private person”, I write a blog for goodness sake! I am however a grumpy middle aged woman who doesn’t want to share my relationship status nor my lack of bedroom activity with anyone that isn’t on my phone’s favourites list!

Can we Survive the IG generation?

I often take a little time out from blogging and social media to have some element of rest. As much as I love writing I find that sometimes sharing my thoughts can be a bit too much, especially when there are things in my life that I’m struggling to deal with.

Recently, it’s been tough, I’ve had appointment after appointment to try and get through a health issue that we just can’t seem to put a finger on and I’ve been avoiding Instagram because it’s full of pictures that show people living the dream and at present I’m scraping at dream life from a distance with a dinner fork when really what I need is a flight and a forklift. You know that feeling when you’re so close you can smell it but far enough away that your fingertips just about scrape the surface? It’s that. But the kind of person I am means that I’ll just shuffle the deck and hand out the cards again until I’m winning.

I know that people mainly use social media to show their highlight reels and I’ve heard a million times that we shouldn’t compare our everyday to someone’s highlight reel but when it’s in your face constantly even the strongest of people can’t help but make comparisons. I know of one girl who chose her car because a girl who she thought was after her man had an older version of the same one, it’s sad really but is what has become the norm for so many.

This is why I’m trying to be different. Yes I will probably still post my highlights, I mean who really wants to post pictures of them at their unhappiest? What I will do though is avoid digesting anything that makes me feel like giving up and I’ll avoid posting things that make it seem like I have it more together than I really do.

I’m human like the rest of you, I cry tears, I worry about finances and health and I battle with my emotions. I also have 2 amazing children that keep me going, a job that I enjoy and a handful of people who make my heart smile. There are twists and turns on our journey and in reality we are all heading in the same direction so each and every one of us should enjoy to the fullest and let our worries, worry about themselves.

There are no how to guides to parenting.

Top: Urban Outfitters, Jeans: Boohoo, leather shirt: Bershka

21.  I can just about believe it myself.  The little princess who used to hang on my every word and cry at the mere thought of leaving me, is now officially an adult by the world’s standards.  How on Earth will I console myself?

Her lockdown birthday celebration on Monday was absolutely lovely, being the daughter that she is, I had no doubts that whatever I did for her she would accept with love and gratitude and in all likehood an anxious smile.  I was right.  All except for the anxious smile. 

My baby girl, in true Tianna fashion, showed up as the authentic beautiful soul I know her to be, she laughed, joked and didn’t let a single thing bother her, at least thats what she showed on the outside.

For all I know, that beautiful smile could have been masking a multitude of emotions.  In that respect, she really is the child of her parents.  In many ways we raised her right; taught her to be conscientious and caring; to respect other’s rights to their own opinions and make choices that created beauty in this world for herself and others.  However, in other respects we taught her how to mask pain and push through every situation.  Despite it being ok to cry, it was not ok to stay in a state of unhappiness and allow others to see it.  We put on a brave face and shone, no matter what.

There are no perfect parents but part of being a good parent is learning from your mistakes and making adjustments to make sure your children have the best possible life chances.  These realisation don’t always come immediately, infact they hardly ever do but when they do, that’s the check in point.  Check in with experts, check in with other parents, check in with your children.  All of these people have an insight into how you can do better and be better.

I suppose the case of Aisha Kudi had me reflecting on how we parent and how we can put ourselves in a position to assist others to do so. Is it possible to avoid these tragedies by being a community accountable for our young people? I won’t delve too much into that story as I’m sure there is much yet to be revealed but what I will say is we as a society need to be better at looking out for vulnerable people, be that the parent, or the child.

I just pray that changes will be made at a systemic level to avoid something like this occurring again. After Victoria Climbie, we would have hoped never again to see cases like this. Unfortunately, here we are.

How to Succeed in the Struggle

I sometimes find it hardest to write when I’m happiest, it’s as though pain causes me to express myself in a way that no other emotion does. Strange that. Or is it?

Pain is, in my opinion, the body’s way to trigger our minds into searching for solutions. Without the pain of slavery causing my ancestors to be separated from their loved ones, would they have found a way out? Without the recent pain of watching George Floyd murdered on our TV screens, would my community have pulled together in such a way to start a wave of change, unity and passion to break down systemic oppression?

Without the pain of rejection and the fight to be seen for the work we do would migrants continue to create great works in London, ‘the melting pot of creativity’?

This week’s London Fashion Week has shown a great deal of fashion created through struggle. Whether that be the struggle of acceptance in the mixture of Western meets West Africa (Labrum SS 21 ‘The Cotten Tree) or those who champion fashion design for social change (Tolu Choker).

Labrum
Getty/Tristan Fewings
Labrum
Getty/Tristan Fewings

The offering this year, in these unprecedented times has been bold and exciting. From collections that get you thinking about what you would do if you knew these moments were your last (IA ‘Hour Glass’) to the fun vibrant crystal jewellery collections. We have surely been spoilt for choice.

IA London Women’s Fall 2021

What have been your highlights of fashion week so far? Last week I touched on New York Fashion Week. Do you excel in pain or triumph in happiness? Let me know.

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 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.