Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

It’s now that time of year where the shops have swept out the last of their Christmas goods with January sales and are stocking their shelves (all be it virtual at this point) with chocolate roses, stuffed teddies, drinking mugs with affirmations of love plastered all over them and fluffy socks, just in case your partner has cold feet.

Now, I’m going to start off here being very cliché and letting you know that the best gift you can give is the gift of love. I can almost hear you cringing but hear me out…

We are in the middle of a pandemic and Covid is killing off loved ones and ripping away the finances of many. It has been attributed to the rise in domestic violence and some studies suggest a rise in suicide rates. Now, I’m no expert in those areas but what I do know is that the mental health of our nation has been hampered by the lack of available services.

Reaching out to people, especially those who you know live alone, is even more so important in times like this when popping to the local community centre and having a chat with those around, is no longer an option.

It’s evident, even when I take the dog out for a stroll, that people are hankering for human connection. The amount of people who have stood at a distance and attempted to strike up conversation is above and beyond what I’m used to. It’s no longer just a smile for the dog and a nod in my direction, it’s people telling me where they’ve walked from that day, how many days a week they work from home, what they do for a living and whether or not they’re bothering to cook their solitary Sunday roast.

I must say, having my 2 children at home with me is an absolute God send. My 20 year old, the socially conscientious child of my two, struck up conversation about the number of cancer patients that have died, likely due to the cancelling of their treatments because of the pandemic. Not only does this sadden me but it makes me feel truly grateful for the current state of my health. So the next gift I would put on my list is gratitude. Let someone know that you are grateful they exist, let them know you are thankful you can call and hear their voice. We aren’t going to be here forever so let’s make our moments really count.

You get the gist here, the gifts I’m suggesting are more acts of service over physical items however that’s not to say physical items can’t play their role in our humanitarian efforts. I was gifted this great little bracelet from Refocus Bands.

At first glance it’s just like any other wrist band but when you flip it over, there is a reminder on the other side.

They come with many options of messages and there is even the option to create your own message. It’s an affirmation on your wrist and a cute, meaningful alternative to the generic box of chocolates and single stemmed roses (though if you buy me a rose I’ll be beaming).

Now to the more traditional gifts, this one is traditional with a twist. Me, just like a lot of people, love a sweet treat and my girl Nikita over at Kitaskakes has so many offerings for the valentines season. For example this beauty of a cookie, the promo version features my ugly mug but don’t worry, you don’t have to scare your loved ones off with my face, if you get your orders in on time the choice of face they eat is entirely yours.

If all else fails, order in a takeaway, grab a bottle of wine from the supermarket and Netflix and chill the night away.

If you have a product or service you’d like me to share, ask away, I don’t bite but I usually charge a fee, after all, how am I going to pay for the takeaway?

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.

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.

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 I’m going to sink my teeth right into it.

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

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

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5. Then last but not least there is this:

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

What’s on your wish list this year?

Embrace the Fro

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

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

Top: Boohoo

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

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

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

Love Yourself

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

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

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

Picture from website

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

Photo of meal received

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

Throw it Back

I’ve been a good girl and against all my travel loving instincts I’ve done as told and stayed put in the UK all through the pandemic. I’m not asking for a pat on the back, I’ve given myself one already. It’s very easy sometimes to ignore all the rules and do what what I feel like doing. I’m one of these people who think yolo and just do it, but being that the elderly were being disproportionately affected, alongside the black and ethnic minority population, I thought it best to stay put and make sure I didn’t contribute to killing off some of the most vulnerable in our society.

Thankfully, I did get a little reprieve when we were able to travel within the UK and took myself off on a jolly jaunt to the picturesque county of Dorset. Staying in an Air BnB gave me the freedom to come and go as I pleased and walk around as I felt like.

Dress Boohoo

Of course when I got there, I had to make known I wasn’t a local by strutting around the countryside in heels and a short dress and taking a million and one photos doing just that (first world priorities and all). So this post includes a little recap of the best bits, just for you 😉

Dress Boohoo

Boss Moves

You lucky lot are so spoilt, 3 blog posts on launch day. Thought I’d go right on in there and be the cherry to top off your working week, cliché I know. I blame the children I teach, it’s them that come up with these quirky sayings and don’t I just love them for it.

Anyway, back to business. Whilst some folk were out there complaining about having to stay in for a few days (or a few months who’s counting?) I was securing the bag and tucking a promotion in my back pocket. That’s not to say I don’t empathise, it’s hard out there and not enough is being done to support those who are in the lowest earning brackets, I know what it’s like, I’ve been there. So hell yes when I take a step up, I’m going to have a little moment of bragging. I’m proud of me.

To go with my new job role, I felt it important to step into it with the right shoes and no that’s not a metaphor, I’ve literally brought a few pairs of new shoes and up-levelled my workwear. Which was really just a case of wearing my going out clothes to work, as much like the rest of the nation, I have nowhere else to go.

Dress Boohoo Boots Ego

My primary love language is words of affirmation and my work colleagues have been filling my bucket with complements over my outfit choices this academic year so why not come on here and share a couple of them with you guys, I’ve gone for monochrome looks as they seem to be my go to.

Go on, fill my bucket. You know you want to 😉

Exchanged the socks for tights when I wore it to school. Dress from boohoo