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?

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

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?

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.

Beyoncé 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 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.

How To Show Up For New York Fashion Week

Fashion season is about to be lit! With all of us biting at the bit to get out of our homes and on holiday, we’ll be watching the fashion world for the next new thing to jump off the runway and straight into our holiday suitcases.

I know what you’re thinking, did I watch the latest broadcast from our very own poor excuse for a prime minister? The one who effed up by not listening to any of the early lockdown advice and landed us up shit creek without a paddle? Well yes, I listened to him attempt to make us lose all hope in a summer back on the beaches, enjoying a swim with our loved ones. As I listened, I thought, and this may be very selfish of me, I’m a Barbadian national, so I’m going home!

With that said, how are we going to see all the latest on the runway for Fall? Don’t panic E! has you covered. There will be live broadcasts of all the wonderful new trends beginning on Valentines day, so if you’re stuck for a date, it’s ok I’ll be virtually sat next to you taking front row to watch Jason Wu’s collection at 10pm UK time.

How I’m Showing up fir NY Fashion Week

Being that February is also Black History Month in the US, they will have special offerings during the month to showcase the black fashion icons who have been trailblazers and changemakers in the fashion industry. I, for one, am looking forward to finding out all the inside secrets of what goes into styling Beyoncé, being that I consider my alter ego a bit of a Sasha Fierce.

Alter Ego

So here’s to a month filled with a dollop of love, a sprinkling of fashion and a whole lot of fierce.

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.

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?