Friday, 24 July 2020

Itchy Feet

Itchy feet.  



The lockdown came crashing down on any plans I had for a summer of travel to far off lands. Adventure with my backpack, stuffed mouse, favourite t-shirts and two children in tow.  

Now that it seems to be crawling towards it's end, the lockdown is still keeping me trapped in England.  More than ever I've been day dreaming of sunny beaches and and tan worthy skies.  I've made a million and one suggestions to my daughter about where to go and each one has been shut down by the threat of the dreaded Corona.  She literally laughed at me as I sighed and scratched my head in wonder.  "Mum, you're like a crack addict for travel, calm down.  There are plenty of places we can go to here."





Of course she's 100 percent right, I've already experienced the beauty of the Dorset coastline, the charm of Bath, the hustle and bustle of Manchester and the quiet streets of Rugby.  There is still so much more of England that I have to explore, or even revisit.  You can never fulfil seeing the true wonder of a place in just one trip and I've got more than a handful of new dresses to make for a perfect evening out by a riverside (spoken like a true romantic).  

The weather here hasn't been awful so far this summer and I'm not opposed to the odd rainy day in listening to the sound of the rain against the windows, whilst snuggled up in the warmth of a blanket with my not so little, little ones.  In fact, that's probably my next favourite thing to do, nothing beats snuggles with the people you love the most.  With all that being said I'm now itching to plan a UK adventure, perhaps a week in the Lake District, a night in Oxford, or a weekend in the Cotswolds?  Who knows, maybe you could provide me with some suggestions as to places you've been in the UK that have provided both adventure and rest?




Clothing worn in this post was gifted in exchange for website links

Friday, 10 July 2020

Too Much of a Good Thing

Can you ever have too much of a good thing?
In short the answer is yes.  I remember when my grandmother came to visit from Barbados one year, I must have been about 8 or 9.  To my absolute delight she brought with her a bag full of ackees (guinep if you're not from my little island).  I ate those ackees like I would never see them again, I ate so much that the cotton-like flesh was sticking to my teeth.  

Not more than an hour later the whole lot decided to revisit me in the form of a lovely sea of vomit in the toilet, imagine what you're like after a night out over-indulging on alcohol, that was me, I had an ackee hangover.

Don't worry my sole intention here is not to leave you with stories of ackee and vomit but more to discuss a bigger point.  Over indulgence.  Good things should definitely be a part of your every day, you should be able to buy that black lace body suit or rock a new pair of trousers without feeling guilty but when it gets to the point that your bedroom resembles the boot fair you used to visit with your mum in the 80s it's definitely time to stop shopping.


Self confessed shopaholic.
 The items in this picture were gifted to me in exchange for including links in this post.

With that being said, I myself have been guilty of the odd boot fair looking wardrobe, so much so that my wardrobe hanging rail collapsed under the pressure.  I had to evaluate the situation and start purging and a 'Thank you for your service' later my drawers and wardrobes were back in an orderly fashion and ready to welcome in some newbies.  

This is now something I have to do with my relationships, a good purge.  Not everyone is meant to be a part of your life.  There are reasons and seasons and if there is no longer a reason to keep in touch, perhaps the season is over.  Sometimes we over indulge in the good memories of a relationship, be that a friendship or a romance and we long so much for those memories that we begin to 'vomit'.  We let out anger, frustration, sadness but continue to try and indulge in that relationship because it was once good.  That's not to say that there aren't some relationships we should continue to work on, not all of them are making us sick to the point of no return, but we need to learn when enough is enough.  

How are we ever going to make room for something new if we keep holding on to the old?
I slightly questioned myself as I wrote that line because at the same time as I agree with purging, I do believe that we have become a throwaway generation that doesn't place enough value on seeking things of quality.  Things that have longevity therefore we just throw away our stuff and replace it with something new.  So more than just purging out the old, it's about mindset and renewing the mindset so that when we make friends, form relationships or get a job, we are seeking quality.  In that respect there will be less of a need to throw out the old but more of an opportunity to give it a polish or a quick sew and wear it again and again for the rest of our time.

Now I'm done clearing my mind of today's ramblings, I should probably tell you that as much as I loved ackees, I never ate them again.

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Emerging from Lockdown

We are finally creeping out of the period of lockdown masked up and ready to face what this new way of life has for us.  I’ve got mixed feelings about emerging from this period, a lot has happened, which has meant changes for me on an emotional level.  Not only have I faced the fear of being in two high risk categories (both from being asthmatic and from being part of the BAEM community) but I’ve also fought with feelings of longing to see family and friends whilst circumstances have prevented me from doing so.

During this period of transition many of us sat in our homes and witnessed the brutal murder of George Floyd in America.  It was not just the murder that awakened dormant feelings of inferiority in me, but the reaction from various groups of people (friends included) to mine, and many other people’s, outrage at the treatment of black people systematically across the western world.  The popular T-shirt slogan ‘If you can be anything in this world, be kind.’ Is exactly what those that have taken a stand against systematic racism are trying to convey.  Kindness and respect are free, but in order to be kind, we have to recognise where we may have gone wrong.  Closing our eyes to a problem will not make it go away, neither will belittling the struggles of others because we don’t quite understand them.


Despite the outcries from the few that ‘All lives matter,’ which I don’t disagree with, there are many others who have stood hand in hand with black people to acknowledge  that Black Lives Matter and for too long they have not been seen as important.  I have seen a change in attitude and a sense of community strength flowing from my black brothers and sisters and it has been a beautiful thing to see.  Whilst sitting in our Loungewear or joggers, we have become activists, artists, entrepreneurs and community leaders.  We have awakened hidden talents and exercised existing ones to begin to build on the rich beauty that has always existed in our ancestral history.  George’s little girl said that her daddy changed the world, this is a statement that we want to ring on for a long time to come, one that will be written in the history books signalling a significant shift in equality for those of all ethnicities.  The world has a long way to go making up for the centuries of oppression but we are pushing towards  A time where our community has access to an equal starting point and for this we must give thanks.


     

Items linked/worn in this post were gifted.


Saturday, 22 February 2020

Self Reflection


As part of my CPD I've been doing a course that at times I just find tedious.  The extra workload alongside managing a classroom with challenging pupils and managing a home as a single parent can get a bit much.  However we were recently set an assignment to 'self reflect' using these 10 questions that everyone should ask themselves from lifehack.org

Am I using my time wisely?
Am I taking anything for granted?
Am I employing a healthy perspective?
Am I living my true self?
Am I waking up in the morning ready to take on the day?
Am I thinking negative thoughts before I go to sleep?
Am I putting enough effort into my relationships?
Am I taking care of myself physically?
Am I letting matters that are beyond my control stress me out?
Am I achieving the goals I set for myself?

These are all very good questions that if I answer honestly in many ways I would find myself falling short.  What is a wise use of time?  If I’m happy in the moment but not productive, is that a wise use of my time?  I would probably argue yes but then the lack of productivity would lead me to feel like I’d wasted time.  Sometimes the drive to get more out of life means I take for granted the wonderful things I already have and have achieved.  I do tend to be a glass half full type of person, which at times can mean I see the best of situations or people when really I should see them for what they are.  One thing you can be sure of is I am completely and unquestionably me.  I’m the woman that goes to church on a Sunday but isn’t afraid to dance around half naked because I’m having a good time.  I’ve gone through so much in life that I’m not afraid to be honest both with myself and with others, even if it hurts.  I wake up in the morning wanting to curl back into my bed but knowing that whatever the day brings I can face it.  Unfortunately, sleep has not always been my friend and I have gotten into bad sleep habits, negative thoughts before going to sleep often surface without my explicit permission but I’ve learnt to silence them, at least sometimes.
Effort into my relationships, now this is a good question.  Sometimes I put far too much efforts into some relationships and not enough into others, I’ve got to work on striking a balance.  Needing to put effort into those relationships that are of benefit to my health is a definite goal.  I take care of myself physically with regular exercise and am learning each day to let go of things that I can’t control.  There are many goals I have set for myself that I have achieved or am well on the way to achieving and some that I know I may have to change for various reason but change isn’t necessarily a bad thing.



Sunday, 5 January 2020

Just Be

I'm pretty sure yesterday was one of those days sent from the devil to test me.  I woke up later than planned as I'd been at a friends house the night before having a whale of a time at her PJ cheese and wine night (as most sophisticated ladies do).  It was about mid day and waking up at that time on a Saturday makes me feel super unproductive as I'm usually half way through my first tutoring session by then so that was the 'get out of the wrong side of the bed moment for me'.  

I then proceeded to have a look in my fridge, I didn't even want anything, there was a bag inside that I had noticed and ignored for the past few days thinking it belonged to my daughter.  What prompted me to look in it I have no idea, but I wish I hadn't.  What I found inside it was a 6 pack of 'K'  I was so triggered that I immediately started crying.  

It didn't belong to my daughter, thankfully, one of her friends that had come to celebrate new years at ours had left it there.  I wasn't angry at them, they were not to know that a couple of cans of K could bring a grown woman to tears.  They were not to know that each Christmas is a reminder of doing this parenting thing alone, each new year means another new year without my Scott Disick equivalent. I lucked out with my choice for who fathered my first child in so many ways; we were young, we loved each other, we were dedicated to our families and no matter what, together or not, we had made the decision that we would always work together to parent our child.  Unfortunately, in this life, ALWAYS is temporary.

The amount of times yesterday I was asked if I was alright and chose, "Yes, I'm just tired." can't be counted on one hand.  I often tell myself that I'm just tired but in reality that's code for I want to give up, I want to feel normal again, I want to take a moment out from being positive and just be.  Thankfully this isn't my daily narrative but it's part of my narrative all the same.  Last year saw more loss of loved ones which is a constant reminder that this life is temporal, hence I value my salvation more than anything.  That still doesn't stop the pain of loss.  When my counsellor asked me over the phone if I'd had any recent trauma I said no, the fact is, I've had so much trauma in my life that I don't even class it as trauma anymore.

This post is not a cry for help, most people who know me know that I never ask for help, I just get on with it.  This post is just a release.  It's the best way I know how. Perhaps the only way.  So indulge me a little.


Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Transformation

The start of another new year and the beginning of a decade.  We look back to reflect then firmly place our eyes forward setting goals for the future with the hope of better days to come.  We are grateful for the here and now and we are grateful for the possibilities of tomorrow.

I don't know what I've named my years before this and I can't say what I will name them after but I truly believe this is my transformation year and I don't say that lightly.  I can honestly say I know myself better than I ever could have claimed to before.  

I've always been someone that finds letting go difficult if not impossible so much so that I would find excuses to hold on to things or people even though they were harmful to my mental state.  I don't know exactly what it was that happened for me in 2019; perhaps the strengthening of my faith in Jesus?  Perhaps the loss of yet another loved one?  But what I do know is that what ever happened has lead me to a true understanding of self.

I have a commitment to improving the flaws that I know I have and being the cheerleader for myself as I so often am for others.  I will remain the optimist and see the glass as half full rather than half empty because that is the only way I know how to be but what I will not do is paint people in the light in which I want to see them rather than the light of truth.

I've had some great wins this year and one of the best was taking myself and my children to Barbados to see my mum for the first time in 3 years.  When you have the type of relationship with your mother that I do with mine a hug from her is the best thing in the world; it's like winning the lottery whilst eating toffee fudge ice cream on a Caribbean beach.  There is so much I have to be grateful for I won't list them here but what I will say is God is great, yes we suffer sadness, grief, emotion turmoil but we also encounter love, joy passion and peace.

I am now in a place where I am ready to take all that God has to offer me, I'm ready to build an empire and to slay every challenge that comes my way.  This is now documented in writing so if you see me slacking remind me of my own words.


In this, my year of transformation, I give thanks for all my blessings and I pray that all who read this will find themselves blessed and will take all the pleasure that this life has to offer them and use it to grow and glow.


Happy New Year Kings, Queens and In-betweens xoxo



Monday, 19 August 2019

Barbados - Codrington College Visit

I've just come back from the most amazing visit to my country of birth, my little gem in the Caribbean Sea, Barbados. It had been 3 years since I'd last seen my mum and if you know how close we are you would know that 3 years without a hug from her is a mighty long time.  

Although the island is small, if you're a lover of nature then you'll find so much to do in Barbados.  The beaches are breathtaking and there are many opportunities for water sports such as diving, snorkeling, jet skis and so much more.  



Despite being born there and having many visits it's still always a pleasure for me to tour the island and either revisit or discover places that I've not yet had the opportunity to experience.  One such place we visited this year was Codrington College in the parish of St John.  






Set in beautiful grounds which alone are a great reason to visit, Codrington College was founded in 1745 on the grounds of 2 old plantation houses, Christopher Codrington had requested in his will that they be used for the purpose of Christian teaching.  They are therefore now used as a college of theology.  The buildings have undergone many works over the years and had to be recovered from a devastating hurricane in 1831 and then in 1926 a fire gutted the college.  Thankfully generous donations were made to return the building to it's former glory and  in 1879 the Government overtook the running of the college.  




There is a small fee to enter the grounds of the college (around 10$ BDs for adults and 2$ BDS per child) but this is totally worth it.  

Being the absolute nerd that I am this is probably one of my favourite places of my visit this year and somewhere that I will definitely go to again due to the beautiful scenery and relaxing atmosphere that can be found here and echoes of exactly what my little island is best known for.  

Have you visited Barbados before?  What were your highlights?