Sunday, 23 July 2017

MEMORY LANE: NOSTALGIA

Every so often I like to look through old pictures to remind myself of the amazing experiences I've had. A little while ago I found several gems and reminiscing was so much fun! I was firmly reminded that life isn't as bad as we sometimes feel it is when we go through difficult times. So, here's a trip down (my) memory lane to give you a happy boost. Enjoy! 


Primary School: I have such fond memories of skipping around the playground giggling, egg and spoon races on sports days, singing my heart out during the school assembly's, or on the forbidden (shh) veranda and classroom lessons where I was taught how to draw an elephant (I still remember how) by one of my favourite teachers, whose name was Mrs Newman.

Another key memory that came to mind was, when I had an accident in the playground, aged 9 and needed to be rushed to hospital; how caring the teachers were who looked after me until the ambulance arrived.

Carefree childhood: mostly outdoors, playing games and attending birthday parties which were always about the goodie bags, ha-ha!! That's all we looked for the
moment we arrived. After that, it was all about the pass the parcel game because, well, more treats and toys were to be had! I sometimes miss those days when children were just children...

The Devil in Drag: my first professional stage production in 1997, I think, as part of the Theatre Royal; Stratford East Youth Theatre. This was one of the press shots and I (honestly) had the world of anxiety being in front of a camera. Despite always wanting to take pictures of others, I felt very uncomfortable during the shoot by Johnny Munday who was super patient with me as I tried to deal with my anxiety. The production, however, was a huge success and the world of fun! How different do I look in that photo, by the way? Good grief!

To date, The Devil in Drag remains my favourite role and project that I worked on as an actress - Judge Alfonso De Tristano was a no nonsense man (yes, I played a man, a very powerful one) who took his job of upholding the law very seriously! Lol!!

I have a photo of me as the Judge wearing a court room wig, robe and snake skin beard (don't ask) but, I couldn't find it to include in this post. It's actually hilarious!

Caribbean settings: Age 16 I was told that the family will be travelling to Saint Lucia (it would be my first time going) for my auntie's wedding and we were to stay there for six weeks..... "SIX, WHO???!?". Initially I was super annoyed, but, I have such lovely and funny memories that make me smile - beach walks, Sulphur Springs, meeting family I didn't know and gaining a friend who is now like family to me and whom I speak to at least once a week. I actually think the family should all go on holiday together again... Yeah, right! 

Pictured: aunt in her wedding dress (looking so gorgeous), me (tall and broad), my sister beside me (short and cute) and our beautiful cousin Emma leads the way.

Feeling myself, differently: I am forever wanting to chop off my Afro and I did just that many moons ago (I genuinely cannot recall when) and I loved it way too much!! It felt so good to not have braids and to rock short, fairly easy to manage, hair. 

My face was slimmer back then too, and the hairstyle I had really suited my shape. Not sure I could get away with it now, but, I do intend to give it a try again. So, if I do and you catch me suddenly going IN with my instagram stories, that's why! Ha-ha...

Old School: The photo below is from the last rave I attended. It was a 90's theme birthday, in London and I had the absolute time of my life! It was the best environment, loads of fancy dress fun and I'm pretty sure I didn't leave the dance floor for longer than 5 minutes!! Everyone there was having a ball and it was great to be at a party, in a club, where the vibes were super sweet throughout the night! I no longer do raves because, there tends to be too much drama, however, if they were all like this particular celebration I'd be the first one to rock up!! It was a fab time; we were smiles all night. Oh, by the way, I went as Janet Jackson and I did look (a bit) like her before I posed for this photo all sweaty Betty. LOL!

Pictured: actors Michael Salami and Holli Dee.

Radio vibes: I, mean, once upon a time some of us had to broadcast from a garage and now we have evolved to purpose built spaces, or studios, fully kitted out with the necessary gadgets needed to produce quality content for dedicated listeners / supporters. This picture (of Déja Vu FM, 2013) means so much more to me than I know how to put into words. If I had to go back to that very spot and start all over again, I would. Brilliant memories were made and a lot of laughter was had! I'm proud of where I started and super chuffed with all I've achieved. I'm excited to present Charley Time on Westside Radio (89.6FM) Thursday 27th July 2017, 7pm (GMT)! The climb is real. Got to be fully about all of it to be in with a chance of succeeding with it, right?

On screen: I don't know which one I miss more, my weekly radio show, or creating The Real Talk TV Series UK for *YouTube

Again, I wasn't about having my face on camera, however, I absolutely loved all the laughs, meeting new people, developing the project and growing as a presenter. Valuable, hands-on experience that I massively appreciate. The show is still available to watch so, *head on over once you've read this post and leave comments with your thoughts - should I bring the show back?

Pictured: Darren Raymond, Artistic Director (Intermission Youth Theatre) and, behind the camera, Emma Obichukwu. 

Journalist? The challenge of creating regular content for Amor Magazine UK was overwhelming at times, yet it pushed me as a writer which has been reflected in my blog. I was blessed with a handful of opportunities and enjoyed all of them. Seeing my articles in print and receiving messages from readers was great! The Editor-in-Chief is known for offering aspiring writers a platform to both showcase and develop their skills!

One of the most memorable times was interviewing Shaggy at a plush hotel in West London and, not entirely for the right reasons (ahem), the dude had me in stitches!! It's an experience I'll never forget, ha-ha.

Cardiff: 3 years ago I went and stayed there for a weekend and it had me feel so relaxed; completely zen and the people were lovely. I literally felt at peace, physically, mentally and the rest. 

I'd like to visit again to see if it still has that same vibe. It truly was bliss. Although my partner at the time was there for work, I was able to enjoy the city which was such a blessing. 

There was quite a bit to see / do. A market with uniquely made products for sale, a festival, stunning buildings, seasonal afternoon tea, galleries, etc. It was definitely the type of weekend you just don't want to end. 

Gizmo: When it comes to pets, it's all about cats in my family and I am no exception! As a child, my animal obsession was kittens and rabbits. My mother sweetly bought us 2 rabbits, but, she didn't realise one was female and they had one too many babies! Some time after they all died, we found a kitten in the bonnet of mums car. Unfortunately we couldn't keep him and I'm sure I shed a tear or ten! I promised myself that, "when I'm grown up, I'll have a kitten". I wish I had known that when I grew up I'd also have a niece who would become the first person to whom I struggle to say "no". 
She met my Gizmo (this was years ago now) and the 2 instantly became chums so, (sigh) I allowed her to keep him only for him to be stolen a little while after settling into his new home. Someone nabbed him whilst he was outside. We all felt awful, seriously and to this day I miss him... He was a cute, playful, affectionate kitten. I want another one.

One of my greatest achievements is shared by 2 men with whom I now have a close friendship. In 2012 we created and produced a short film born from an initiative of mine named Change the Stereo. The cast were a joy to work with and I was surprised that a few of them were previously unknown to me! The lessons learned were incredible and I carry them with me to this day. Pass the Comb has a very special place in my heart. It was a teeny, tiny seed that blossomed onto the Community TV Channel and sparked the beautiful friendship I have with my co-producers from Zone 180 

That's it! End of memory lane. Did you have fun? I may share more pics from the batch I found on my instagram page.

Like you, I have moments when I want to be done with certain people and (the current state of) this world, however, for the most part, I am defo a much happier soul the older I get and am so much more comfortable in my skin. At some point, we all go through a type of hardship, or difficulties and such challenges often make us forget the wonderful aspects of our lives for which we should remain grateful and be uplifted by. 

No matter what you're faced with, how you choose to tackle it will always be the difference between whether the situation quickly and positively improves, or gets worse. To someone you are everything! Maybe you should take a trip down your own memory lane to remind yourself of that fact and, if nothing else, let that be your positive motivation force.

Thanks for reading.
PREVIOUS POST: How To Stay Positive

Sunday, 16 July 2017

HOW TO STAY POSITIVE

"Easier said than done" is true of near enough everything, however, it's always better, I think, to have at least tried than to not bother at all. Plus, there could be amazing benefits that will change your life (around) in the exact way you've been praying, or hoping for. Essentially, the following is all about swapping bad habits for good ones.

Here are 8 ways you can maintain an optimistic outlook!

1. If you enjoy it, stick with it. When you feel good more goodness will come your way.

2. Remember, there will always be an individual who has it much worse than you ever will. Life is not all bad... Look for the blessing in every situation and be thankful for what you have. 

3. Say kind words to yourself and those around you. You've great qualities and are uniquely beautiful, which (I imagine) you sometimes overlook, or take for granted.

4. Be encouraged by your desire to achieve certain things. How else will you get them?

5. Have a laugh with your friends every time you're together. Limit the deep conversations!
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6. Look for ways to make things fun!! Sing at work, dance around your home, skip along the street, etc. Whilst you're at it, think about how you can give back. This doesn't need to involve spending money. Most people just want to know that they are worth your time, effort and being in your company.

6b. In fact, go out of your way to make someone else feel great about themselves. Pay them a (genuine) compliment, take an interest in how they are, what they're passionate about, or simply strike up a conversation based on a topic you know they can relate to in a positive way and will also make them laugh. Not only will you have them feeling fab, you will too. It's so rewarding doing for others (within reason).
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7. Push yourself to try something that is completely out of your comfort zone that you can learn from, develop skills and use to take yourself further forward (be that professionally, or personally).

8. At the end of each day, think about all you did, how and the results. What did you accomplish, or overcome? Were you thoughtful, helpful and generous? Did you maintain optimism and a happy disposition throughout the day? How and with whom did you spend the day? Was it worth it? It's good to reflect to see clearly any room for change, or improvements.

8b. Be honest because, that's the only way you can begin to work towards becoming a better you. Regardless, show yourself some love. We're all worthy of love!

TIP: One of the best pick-me-up's (I believe) is to go somewhere unfamiliar, or fairly new, without any concrete plans and an open mind with no particular aim. More often than not, giving yourself a break from your surroundings, routines, same old faces and the daily grind can be just the positive boost you need. Don't wait for a friend, partner, family, or colleages to 'have the time' to go with you. Responsibility of your happiness is with you.
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In the words of Trent Shelton, "it all starts with you". 
To walk positively is a choice that will always be yours.

Photographs 1 and 2: Rebecca Judd
Photograph 3: Caroline Odogwu
Woman with me in photo's 1 and 2: Charline

Thanks for reading.
PREVIOUS POST: A Date With An Artist

Sunday, 9 July 2017

A DATE WITH AN ARTIST...

On Saturday 1st July, my friends and I were blessed with an opportunity to view the stunning creations of the artist known as Karla Cornwall and also meet her in person! She radiates beauty - both visually and on a personal level. Her passion for the work she creates and the excitement with which she speaks in detail about each piece would convert anyone to join those of us who have a deep appreciation for art!
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Karla is a bespoke creator; her work is unique but, how does a gorgeous woman who once lacked confidence progress into a tour guide for her very own mesmerizing gallery showcase in one of London's popular towns? Read on...

When did you realise your passion for creating art? 
It has always been there, since I was a little girl. 

Can you remember the first piece of art you created? What was it?    
CopyrightCharleyJaiThe piece that has stuck with me was a gift for my Dad. I think I was about 6 or 7 and on holiday in Wales at my Grandad's house, it was the day before Fathers Day. I went to the garden, found a piece of stick and engraved the name 'dad' on it. My Mum then helped me to varnish it and I gave it to my dad. He still has it. I remember his reaction when he received it, priceless! 

Do art and fashion have a special meaning to you? 
I look at each field as a vessel to channel my creativity. Art more so than fashion as I feel there are no boundaries with art. I feel freer, more alive. 

If this were not your chosen industry, what line of work would you be in?    
Probably music, or writing. It would definitely be within the creative industry. 

How did you get started and progress to the stage of showcasing at a top, stylish London gallery?
My journey began from a young age. Experiences, or lessons learnt was expressed through creating. I merged my art and fashion skills to create new age textile art. The focus became the perception of one's mind; provoking the senses. Having the joint exhibition with the talented artist Ainsley Yearwood is actually all to do with him. He saw one of my pieces and loved it. He wanted to know about the artist behind the creation. We connected and the rest is history!

What's next for you? 
The sky is the limit! I'd like to travel the world and introduce people to my art. I want to continue to work on projects that challenge me and the techniques I use to create more spectacular pieces. I also want to collaborate and connect with other creative individuals.

Any words of wisdom?
Do what makes you happy. Remove money as a focus and simply live your passion. Enjoy the journey, great things will come to you. Believe in yourself and know that perseverance is key. 
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FIND OUT MORE ~ Karla Cornwall London

Thanks for reading.
PREVIOUS POST - Family Time!

Sunday, 25 June 2017

FAMILY TIME!

So, after last weeks gloomy entry, I thought I'd capture and share with you a few pictures from a very chilled Saturday afternoon, spent in Essex, with my immediate family members... We had a splendid time and, once again, I was reminded of the value in having and nurturing real life connections!
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Park shenanigans with my cousin
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(L-R) My cousin and my niece
We had such a delightful, inexpensive, relaxed, fun and memorable afternoon / evening enjoying one another's company and plenty of yummy food! I am so grateful and thank God for the blessing.

Now, more than ever, we ought to be spending as much time as we can with those who mean a lot to us! Love my family to absolute pieces. Yes, we get on each other's nerves now and then, but, for the most part, we are a very loving, (some would say) wacky, fun time bunch of people!! Lol...
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God bless you and yours! x

Thanks for reading.
PREVIOUS POST - Is Britain Doomed?

Sunday, 18 June 2017

IS BRITAIN DOOMED?

I didn't want to write about this because, it's negative, which goes against the aim of my blog. However, I have become increasingly affected by the influx of crime and tragic events occurring around the world, most notably in the UK, and therefore felt the need to express my feelings and where better than here?!?

In my opinion, the Grenfell Tower inferno was a corporate attack, in fact, it was murder! Supposedly, 500 - 600 people occupied those flats yet reports stated that the "number of casualties" are somewhere between 30 and 50. Have we been taken for idiots? We saw the speed and aggression of the fire as it took hold of the tower. It's unlikely anymore tenants are to be found alive, so, as far as I am concerned, the crime of murder has been committed! Those responsible (the fools that failed to take seriously the warnings from residents and action their concerns promptly and sufficiently) need to be arrested and sentenced!! 


Here in the UK, we're overpopulated (but, I'm not even going to go there) and many of us have also 'woken up' to see the UK Government for the cockroaches they truly are. They are killing us and by 'us' I refer to the poorest and most vulnerable. Worldwide devastation is happening and the ones mostly affected are those already at the bottom of the food chain. Coincidence, or calculated?

We, the so-called 'little' people, are a larger group / party than those in control of the country. As quick as we are to 'unite' and raise thousands, or millions for the causes we deem as worthy, is as quickly as we should be coming together to hold the Government to account! Forget the online petitions, let's come out of our homes, away from our online social media profiles and stand outside the offices and buildings of those responsible with a strong, firm stance and demand they put in place the necessary changes required to see those born and raised in the UK and those living here without grave criminal convictions (first and foremost) begin to thrive instead of die!

The real travesty is the fact that we are no longer shocked by reports of more killings, more stabs, more terror attacks, more murders and other criminal activities both in the UK and around the world. Once upon a time, as a child growing up in the 80's / 90's, I'd listen to TV and radio broadcasts and gasp as bulletins disclosed details of heinous crimes that were happening in countries I hadn't heard of before and which seemed so far away. Now, they tell of such things happening less than 1 hour from my doorstep!!!! Something is disgustingly wrong with that!

Whether the UK has a governing body, or not, we seem to forever be up poop creek! In addition to that, I don't believe it to be a coincidence that from one "tragic story" to the next, there is always something 'sent in' to distract us. How quickly they had us forget about and move on from the random acid attacks earlier this year, the Manchester concert bombing, the London Bridge attack / murders.... Hold on, wasn't there an election recently?.... Should I laugh, cry, remain silent, shout, bother with voicing my concerns, or just coast through as best as I can and wait my turn? What are any of us to do? What can we do?


There's so much more I could write about the severely damaged, corner cutting, lying UK Government and what it feels like to live in 21st century Britain - how uncomfortable I feel no longer hearing my own language, or accent as frequently as I now hear foreign tongues, the insane checks I have been subjected to before being permitted entry to another country in comparison to how 'chill' it seems to be to enter the UK but, like way too many, I'm beginning to feel as though there is no point expressing these feelings; my worries for England; the UK.... I am so upset by the things going on; my heart aches real bad for everyone so tragically and mercilessly affected by the incomprehensible madness spilling into and around the world!

I don't blame certain Brits for evading tax. Do I agree with it? No. Do I feel that I understand why? Yes. When I stop to consider the London Bridge attacks and the alike, I wonder, how is it that we pay to house some who are here only to hurt and take from us (did you check the news report about the homes of those responsible for the London Bridge attacks? Fairly decent). The 'little' people (the likes of you and I) aren't aware of whom such individuals are until it's much too late, but, the so-called powers that be; the governors of the UK are aware - these wicked people have usually had a brush with the law previously, or were reported as a 'cause for concern'; the red flag had been raised but, they are left to roam among us as they plot their evil. Ask yourself: why? Why do the so-called official persons responsible for the welfare of the UK seem to be standing back and allowing such atrocities to happen? Why do they often only surface to give redundant speeches with empty promises coated in fake empathy (or none at all) after evil has had its way? Is the UK Government in cahoots with such people? I actually believe they are, as much as I believe them to be responsible for Grenfell Tower, London Bridge, Manchester and the rest!

In my opinion, to which I am entitled, as are you, the UK Government is busy doing the job of increasing the riches of those already wealthy and killing off the poor to make space for more of their 'elite'. Any survivors of the Grenfell Tower crime would not be immediately housed in suitable, permanent accommodation. Why not? Theresa May would never have to wait 12+ hours (or up to 3 weeks, "or as long as 1 year"), to be rehoused, have supplies restocked and be further supported with whatever she may need to get back on her feet if her home was burned down. Why is that? Is hers and the lives of all others who are financially secure regarded as more valuable than the rest of us?


Am I racist? No. Do I have a problem with foreigners visiting, or coming to live in the UK? No. Do I detest the Government? Debatable! The bottom line is, I AM SICK of England being a 'free for all' spot where it appears that anyone (irrespective of their background, beliefs, previous convictions and the rest) can, it seems, enter and remain so easily. Said people often bring with them their ill habits (spitting, gobbing and blowing their open nostrils on the street, littering) and no social awareness / behaviour (interacting without their manners and respect in check, feet up on public seats, unnecessarily loud conversations and outlandish antics on our streets and transport). Pollution has risen and let's remember that certain folks entering the UK are responsible for some of the most despicable criminal acts!! Most importantly, I am so beyond sick of the senseless and unnecessary loss of lives (all life) with such matter of fact statements delivered by the country's officials about the circumstances in which lives are being lost. Again, what can I do (on my own, apart from share this one article via my blog unashamedly disclosing my honest thoughts and feelings) to make a change? The Bible and prayer provide me with comfort, faith, hope and gives me perspective so, that's what I do.... Read the scriptures and pray.


#PrayForTheWorld
We must keep voicing our feelings, continue to ask questions, make sure we are being listened to... Speak daily and openly about Grenfell Tower and all other such crimes! Things cannot go on as they are, right? We need to see a massive bright shining positive light real soon at the end of what is the most disgustingly dark, murky tunnel!

I know of people who, as a result of how bad it has become, have considered leaving England permanently. I have considered doing the same, but, unfortunately, nowhere in the world is without its dark corners, so wherever you go, you'll find devastation and, with that in mind, perhaps it's about looking at how we better our lives wherever it is we reside? Either way, it's about survival.

I'm sorry for this crazy long post! It was on the verge of ranting but, I had to get this off of my chest. Maybe my question should be, is the world doomed? Things are getting progressively worse. We need a revolution! Literally!!


DISCLAIMER: 
AT THE TIME OF PUBLISHING THIS ARTICLE THE THREE (3) GOOGLE IMAGES INCLUDED ARE RELEVANT 
AND VALID TO THE WORDS / CONTENT PUBLISHED.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

HOW TO: Avoid Conflict at Work

If you've managed to survive every job without confrontation, or drama, I really want to hear from you! Too many of us, not necessarily through any fault of our own, have experienced the worst problems whilst employed and overcoming such ordeals is not easy at all. However, it is possible, without feeling as though you're having to change who you are, or remain on mute, to avoid conflict at work.

1. Don't share too much of your personal life - this can lead to people thinking they know you and as a result can have them speak to you in a way they feel is absolutely fine.
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2. Be more about your work and associated tasks than social activities with your colleagues - there's no need to say, "yes" to every after work party, or event plus, more time, such events can lead to awkward interactions that may then cause tension in the office! I know you know what I'm talking about...

3. While it's great to have work friends, remember those you work with are colleagues and not your long time friends, or people with whom you have developed a solid trust over a number of years - it's possible that everyone is out for themselves and would happily 'screw you over' to get ahead.

4. Genuine kindness is a must, however, being too keen to please might have you come across as overbearing - you can give compliments and the alike, just don't overdo it!
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5. The more you learn, the better for you. So, go the extra mile where possible; within reason and seek to educate yourself on all aspects of the business / organisation - your success depends on the knowledge you acquire and then how you apply that knowledge.

6. It will never be a good idea to join the gossip crew, NEVER!! 

7. Always take the opportunity to ask questions and to voice your concerns - improvements can only start where the relevant conversations begin.

8. Stay focused. You can do this by making sure you surround yourself with information about the job and / or the policies of the company which will take you some time to read. Also, ask for work if you have little to do - you'll thrive, which may lead to being given more responsibilities (but, not too many, be careful with this), or a promotion. Being busy will also reduce distractions, plus your shifts are less likely to drag!
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9. Yes to diplomacy, no to personal opinion - stay true to who you are, however, know that diplomatic contributions will likely be favoured more than what you truly think. Essentially, be tactful with your honesty!

10. Look for the fun and positive aspects of your role and the company - make sure you have a laugh every day. Your mental and emotional well-being will remain intact and is, of course, super important where your overall health is concerned. Look after yourself and work well so as to get those professional boxes ticked!

Truly hope these tips are helpful to you. 
There's plenty more on Google so, head over there and have a browse... x

Thanks for reading.
PREVIOUS POST: DEAR SPERM DONOR

Sunday, 4 June 2017

DEAR SPERM DONOR

Father's Day definition
Dear Sperm Donor,
I have just one thing to thank you for: being alive! For that, I will always be grateful, The End. You give me no reason to respect you, or to regard you as anything other than a sperm donor....

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In so many ways and for so many reasons, the definition of Father's Day is everything to numerous people all over the world and forever will be. However, for some, the idea that there is a day on which dad's are celebrated is both daunting and uncomfortable.

An absent parent can have the most devastating consequences on a child that may later manifest during their teenage, or adult years, following a negative impact on their development - mental, emotional, social etc. It is a well known fact that children raised in single-parent families are more likely to experience far more difficulties in their life.

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I once dreaded Father's Day! I'd try to avoid it at all costs. I didn't want to see anything about it, speak on it, actively engage with anything associated with the celebrations and I most certainly did not want to discuss the one who contributed to me being on this earth!! I was all, "scrap Father's Day and Mother's Day and instead let there be one day known as Parents Day", until I became an auntie.

I've probably said this before, but, there's something about knowing that I have a responsibility to the youngsters in my family; that I have a heartfelt and moral duty to do right by them. Despite not wanting to become a parent myself, I am very maternal and am passionate about doing and being the best I can be for the young people I work with, or come into contact with. It's so important. Now, more than ever, we adults need to be positively influential in the lives of every child we meet!
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Getting into my own story about being raised in a single-parent household is long, real talk. Suffice to say, I use the term 'sperm donor' to refer to the dude partly responsible for my life. I don't know if I, or my siblings, would be considered as one whose struggles have been a direct result of an absent father, however, I do know that understanding can provide the most wonderful perspective and perspective (for me personally) is the new everything.

If you have questions about your absent parent, ask. Having the answers might be just what you're in need of and you've a right to know. If you're unsure how to approach the subject, perhaps write down your queries / concerns in a letter. 

No matter what, stand by your responsibilities, especially as a parent. Be positively present in your child's life from the day they are born. If nothing else, do so because, you want to ensure you are never the reason for the permanent psychological damage of another human being.

Sunday 18th June 2017 - Father's Day

Thanks for reading.
PREVIOUS POST: GET READY FOR SUMMER!

Sunday, 28 May 2017

GET READY FOR SUMMER!

Now, hold tight, it's all good.... I'm not going to tell you how to get in shape, oh no! This post is all about having as much fun as you can during the best time of the year without going broke!! 

TREATS - even if you have mounting bills and credit cards to pay off, you can reserve a little at the end of each month for a tiny indulgence, or a treat for yourself. From a full body deep tissue massage, to a day trip perhaps, or maybe just a chilled afternoon at your favourite park, you deserve something nice each month 😉
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BEYOND YOUR CITY / STATE - travel somewhere you've never been. It doesn't need to be abroad, or somewhere far. Just a place you have yet to visit, or haven't visited in a long time. In the UK, we have small (very affordable) beaches, seasides and towns that so many of us haven't even heard of let alone explored! 
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GET BONDING - do something special and memorable with a friend / loved one. An impromptu photo shoot, for example (your mobile phone camera will suffice), or go on a tour of your hometown together (typically speaking, this will cost a day travel card, or a one day bus pass). I, mean, how much of it have you actually seen and what do you know about its history? 
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In a relationship? Why not create a memory unique to the 2 of you by doing a fun, creative, outdoor activity (risk free, ahem) such as playing a sport, drawing each other (you don't need to be good at it, it's all for fun), make / build something together (those Craft Design Technology lessons might just come in handy, lol), or simply enjoy some time playing quirky card and board games?
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START NOW - everything and everywhere looks so much better underneath the summer sunshine which tends to have people feel all the more motivated. So, whether you want to launch a YouTube channel, spruce up the garden, take a long distance bike ride, start painting (you might find basic starter kits in discount stores), or take a course in photography (there are free online classes), now is a brilliant time to stop thinking about it and to make it happen!
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Thank you for reading. 

Sunday, 21 May 2017

KEEP THE JOB, GET THE CAREER!

It can be quite difficult to pursue your purpose; the career you want so badly, whilst having to ensure you secure a regular job to keep your head above water. There can be the world of stumbling blocks in the shape of drama with so-called friends, the breakdown of personal relationships, or conflict with colleagues that leads to you being unemployed. Again! All of these things can bring you down. However, I wholeheartedly believe that (near enough) everything comes down to how you choose to see it and not necessarily what it 'appears' to be. If you're someone for whom the struggle is currently way too real, I hope you find these tips encouraging...

Understand who you are and why
What / who excites you, inspires and motivates you? Why those things, or person / people specifically? 

What are you most passionate about? 
This is likely to be connected to your purpose, or it is your purpose and you've yet to realise.

Get to know the way your mind works and how it responds to your heart
If you're easily distracted, or made to feel upset and are forever torn between your thoughts and feelings, thus preventing you from living a healthy and balanced lifestyle, it might be a good idea to see your GP (real talk) to discuss why and how you can prevent that from happening. You need your mind to be clear, able to think logically / rationally and you also need to be able to control your feelings. I know, easier said.... Definitely possible though.

Know where you stand with yourself
Being comfortable in your skin is key, literally. If you care what others think you need to know why and you then need to work on getting rid of those 'reasons'! You need to have a word with yourself and get it together!!
Look in the mirror and have a word with yourself!
See yourself as someone worthy of respect and one who is valuable
Intuitive and instinctive people will pick up on a lack of self appreciation fast and, while perhaps not deliberately, those who can see that you do not like / love yourself, are likely to treat you that way.

Have a plan and marry them to your goals
If in 6 months time you want to have cleared a debt, so you can then begin putting money towards your dream, yet you've taken no time to formulate a plan of action you'll remain exactly where you are!

Create as many CV's as are applicable to your different skill sets and career goals
It's great if you've worked as a Secretary, Builder, Fitness Instructor and have also volunteered as a production assistant because, you aspire to be a Production Manager. However, if applying for an administrative role, your CV should only include your admin work history and the relevant / supporting skills and achievements. It's the same for your personal statement!

Apply for (temporary / short term) jobs you have some sort of interest in 
It will be incredibly unfair to the prospective employers and also a great disservice to yourself if you send applications for everything you know you're capable of doing, while knowing that you've no real interest in over half of them. Have a strategy (and don't be put off if you have low funds. Some resources are free), be realistic, keep your real career aim at the front of your mind and remain honest with yourself about what you want from the temporary job (s) and why. 
FREE Metro newspaper - not the best but, you do occassionally find some gems!
Always be prepared!
Thorough preparation for an interview is a must. You need to work - lengthy gaps on your CV doesn't look good, you've bills to pay, maybe debts to clear and, most importantly, you're in pursuit of a career that requires you to be in a good place financially before you can even begin to get started with the official chase. However, you must also be prepared for any sudden career related opportunities that pop up - you don't want to miss them but, you want to also keep your paid job. What will you do if the most amazing career related opportunity crops up and clashes with a day you're at work? You've got to know what you'd do in this situation well in advance.

Keep it real
Let the prospective employers know (at the interview stage) that, whilst you're passionate about the role you're being interviewed for, long term, you see yourself with a career in your chosen field and intend to pursue non conflicting opportunities outside of the job. This will be fair and better for you in the long run rather than pretending you have no other interests, goals or passions.

Balance is essential
Establish a routine for yourself so that you can fit everything in giving priority to that which is a necessity. You will need to make a realistic and achievable list, perhaps change the time you wake up each morning and rearrange other commitments.

Trust those who stick by you
Self belief is crucial if you're going to stand any chance of being able to successfully hold down a job while also chasing your dreams, but, you've got to have a huge amount of belief (and trust) in your nearest and dearest, that they will support you any way they can. If you don't have anyone (which I hope is not the case), pray. If you don't believe in God, step out of your comfort zone at least once a week to go and meet new people at events, or places relating to your career goal, with whom you can (potentially) create trustworthy friendships.
Abi Lawal, Duval Akonor, Caroline Odogwu
No shortcuts
Do things properly, always. Cutting corners may get you to your destination sooner, however, amongst many other things, you might find yourself without the knowledge, education and capabilities needed to sustain your achievement (s) long term. Be patient. Where you want to be begins with knowing where you ought to be right now! Check-in with your instincts...

Yes, it's a lot and can be stressful at times, but, I think it's better to walk down the road filled with challenges and major learning curves than to walk down easy street. Stick with the challenges because, once over the hurdles, the rewards are likely to be long lasting. YOU GOT THIS! Stay focused and don't watch the moves that anyone else is making! God bless x

Thank you for reading. 
PREVIOUS POST: Black Women's Hair 

Sunday, 14 May 2017

BLACK WOMEN'S HAIR

Let me start by reminding you that I write from personal experience so, please make sure you take that with you before you take anything else.

You're either here because you're in need of inspiration and ideas, or you just want to know what others are doing with theirs and how, or you are not a black woman but, you're curious about our hair, the various types and why we're so anti having our hair touched by random hands!!

I talked about my teen hair journey (sort of) in a previous post here but, with some encouragement from @remifications, in this entry I'll share with you the products and methods I use to look after my hair in its current form and I'll also speak on the reality of managing (my) 'black' hair. 

In my mid twenties, I decided to stop trying every recommended product and the many suggested ways to 'look after' my hair. I tested (on strands at the back of my head) a few researched products (ingredients, compatibility, benefits) and stuck with whatever had me see positive results. Since then the relationship between the fro and I is good and *that's the real 'secret' to having a nice head of hair that is of decent quality. We still have a way to go, but, as of 2015, we're on the right path and I'm seeing results (albeit super slow). I went from having a pixie cut (due to how damaged my hair was) to a mini Sideshow Bob afro!
Sideshow Charley at home
I prefer wearing braids though! Simply for the fact that they're a lot easier to look after and I can just get up and go. We each treat our braids differently (hair extensions plaited into our natural hair). For me, it works to apply a teeny bit of pure coconut oil to my roots as and when I feel my head is dry, to massage olive oil into my scalp, then have a steam (weekly) and to spray the hair every other day. I use both of the oils to treat my natural hair too. I usually keep my braids in for about 3 - 4 months and am likely to have washed it (with Palmer's Coconut Oil Formula conditioning shampoo) no more than 4 times during this period. I also allow my natural hair to breathe for up to 2 weeks (as well as moisturising my hair, I will also plait and wrap my hair when out and about) before I braid again.

NB: My natural hair is super fine (hence minimal product use and kids range) and so, to wash it daily, or weekly and to add heavy creams and the alike regularly would drown my head piece causing the hair to break (which I've had enough of over the years). For me, health is the focus not the length. 
My actual hair products
In my younger years and throughout my twenties, I realised that I was spending a lot more time and money on my hair than my non black (female) friends and all of the experimenting, treatments, magazines and hair shows attended saw me damage my (natural) hair quite badly which is why I had to cut it (not trim, CUT) really short more than once! However, that struggle was nothing in comparison to having my (black) hair be misunderstood by those outside of my race and also ill judged (back when I cared what others thought of my hair) by my fellow black women and black men! 
Pixie Charley
The desire to touch my hair, be that in its natural form, or braids, I find weird and to reach out and do so without my permission is RUDE!! Black women's hair can be very sensitive, like a person's skin can be. The wrong hand might cause increased dryness, lead to breakage, or weakness. NO JOKE!!!! Even if that were not the case, we're all well within our rights to not allow some random individual (other women, mostly) to touch our hair 'out of curiosity'. Nobody has ever seen me try to touch a woman's overly made up face just to see if my finger will sink into her cheek past the layers of slap she's wearing! Choopse!

A black woman's hair is her identity not a statement, or a flag to be flown for all other black women, nor is it to be worn, or styled the way any other individual, regardless of their race, believes it should be so as to have the black woman 'fit into' someones ideal. Once upon a time, black women were encouraged to adopt a more european look, hence the use of relaxers (chemicals used to straighten a black woman's natural hair) and now there's a not so subtle pressure for us to 'return to our roots' from all types of people, for whatever reasons...
The length I wore my braids 2014 - 2015
The choices you make about your hair, my fellow black women, is entirely yours to make and (to a degree) depends on your lifestyle because, the management of our hair, as you know, is no quick step!! It's time consuming, takes a lot of planning, prep, strict routines (to see real benefits), money and the world of patience (especially if you wear your hair in its natural form). So, while all of the related / relevant YouTube videos, Instagram pages, Facebook groups and Twitter accounts are 'showing' you 'How To Do This', when, why and telling you what the so-called results would be, know that your goal must be realistic, affordable and the success you'll see (if any) will be a reflection of your lifestyle not just (if at all) the tutorials you follow. No 2 heads of hair are the same, there is no one size fits all.
2017
2017
*I believe less is more and if you commit to a routine, that will be super effective.


What has been /is your experience with your own hair?

Thank you for reading
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