Cheers to the fall

livingroom

In March this year, I fell off my bike and completely shattered my forearm and shoulder.  Three hours of surgery, one metal plate, 9 pins and a stay in hospital later, I was discharged home.  Being “fairly young” (surgeons exact words), I was                    expected to make a full recovery.

Physically, the prognosis seemed likely.  I’m fairly healthy (my exact words) and not shy to exercise.   But I just wasn’t prepared mentally for the initial helplessness I felt after the injury and the impact that had on me psychologically. I had been confronted with the fragility of the human body.  My body.  My fragility. My mortality.

I had gone from being a mother and care giver, to needing someone to help me wash, bath, eat, do my hair and help me to look after my son.

In some ways as time progressed things got harder.   I walked in constant fear and hyper vigilance, permanently petrified that someone would bump into my arm.  With the sling gone, there was no visual clue to say “Please don’t barge me I’m injured”  (Which should be a general rule for all pedestrians – but like anyone who has walked the Brixton High Street gauntlet from the Tube station, past Iceland until H&M knows, it’s each person for themselves, buggy or shopping trolley during rush hour.)

Fear and vulnerability become your daily way of life and after a while it’s becomes a tough mindset to get out of.

Thankfully, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by love and support.  Not just from my amazing friends and family, but with small acts of kindness from complete strangers.  People would stop and offer to tie my shoe laces for me, even when insisted I was fine, or hold a doors, bags or the bubba.  Once a Good Samaritan even carried my bags all the way to my door step.  Those acts of kindness made me remember the beauty of humanity and the resilience of the human spirit, inspiring me to find the strength to push past my fears.

So I’m proud to announce that this week was first time since my accident that I got back on a bike.  Physically, I could probably have done it a couple of months ago, but we are all on our own journeys and this time mine took a little bit longer.

So thank you 2017 for showing me the beauty of true friendship, humanity, my inner strength and teaching me that it doesn’t matter how
many times you fall off that bike- GET BACK ON! Xx

 

 

My grand tour… Walthamstow 

bedroom

When my doctor told me that I needed to reduce my stress levels, a day trip to Walthamstow probably wasn’t exactly the remedy she had in mind.  But after being lured to the urban suburb with the promise of a mani and invite to the Spa Experience bloggers event- that’s exactly where I headed..

And it turned out to be the perfect tonic!

Hopping off at the “other end” of the Victoria line, the Waltham Forest Centre was a five minute bus ride from Walthamstow Central.  Initially deceived by the centre’s outward facade, once I walked through the Spa centre’s double doors I was transported  into what I think could possibly be the largest (and most peaceful) spa relaxation area in London 🙂
After mingling with other bloggers (this is of course is code for swapping IG deets and discretely swiping the last pain au chocolate from the hospitality table) I robed up and headed straight for the sauna and steam rooms.

With squeaky clean pores, I then opted for a Vinylux manicure (as I loath the removal process with gels) and an Elemis Superfood facial.  Sam, my beautician, was friendly, bubbly and a perfectionist! My nails haven’t looked this ladylike since the bubba started walking and I definitely had that post facial glow..

And what a difference it made to my whole day!

Feeling refreshed and ready to face the world again, I decided to delay my journey home and explore E17 with an impromptu visit to the William Morris Gallery. Which turned out to be the perfect place to show off my new lady nails (it was only fair I pointed to each display and slowly nodded my head in a thoughtful manner) and it was also a perfect opportunity for a spot of quirky Christmas shopping.
And since I was in the area and feeling footloose and fancy free…

I popped into Gods Own Junk Yard– Yup from from 19th century arts and crafts movement to a Neon necropolis in about 10 mins.
So the moral of this post?
1. If you want energy to do more learn how to take some time out to do less…

https://www.spaexperience.org.uk/locations/waltham-forest?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIj-qSzeaQ2AIVjpPtCh37-g2mEAAYASAAEgIaZ_D_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds
2. Never judge a postcode by a 90s boyband.

Jerk Season!!

kitchen, london

The title is so accurate in many different contexts #LookingAtYouTrump- but I am of course referring to this years Caribbean Food Week

The CFW festival will return to Windrush Square in Brixton on 26th – 28th of August 2017.

In warm up to the festival, I whipped up a couple of meals using Caribbean favourites with a vegan, high protein low fat twist. Ackee and Mixed Bean Mash up for breakfast, Red Pea & Greens Coconut Soup for lunch and Jerk Breadfruit and vegetables for dinner!

So if you’re also feeling inspired, adventurous or simply hungry you should definitely pay a visit to the festival this weekend….

…. then what better way to digest your meal then dancing the night away at Notting Hill Carnival x

Bank Holiday weekend sorted :- D

BH xx

For more information visit:

www.gracefoods.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/caribbeanfoodweek

@carribbeanfoodweek Instagram

And to get you in the mood 🙂

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sKNrCUHIPnM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What have you learnt from your biggest mistake?

livingroom, Wednesday writing prompt

I may not have had a lot of time (or mind space) to write in recent months but I’ve definitely had to do a lot of soul searching and reflecting, so when I saw this …

…. a blog post wrote itself (and then I had to rewrite it a million times 😉

Sometimes we choose the wrong path because we allow our deepest fears to guide us. When it all goes wrong we call it a mistake.

Some personal events this year have been horrendous…but sadly not unexpected. The cast may have switched roles, but the plot and lead remains the same.

The foreseeability of it all made me question myself. When an outcome is so predictable is it a mistake or a choice?

Sometimes we choose the wrong path because our ego whispers in our ear. When it all goes wrong we call it a mistake…but really we made a choice.

And the lesson?

That I can choose my own path and that decisions based on fear or ego will never lead to happiness

What is the best lesson your mistakes have taught you?

BH xx

Was there ever a time before Scapegoat Britain? Part 1

education, Life Beyond The Kitchen Sink, society, zerotohero

At first it seemed ridiculous to believe that people would believe that all of England’s problems were the result of the EU and of course those “terrible immigrants”.  

We laughed about it in the staff room.  The same staff room where for the past year, disgruntled colleagues have  viciously blamed and attacked the Head Teacher for staff cuts that are solely the result of Government cuts to education. 

I remember a boy at our school who was an amazing football player.  Even at the tender age of five he had incredible ball control.  
The problem was he was arrogant, rude and violent to children and adults alike.  But when reprimanded for his actions, it was never his fault.  Spurred on (particularly) by his mother, it was always another child’s fault or the teacher had a personal vendetta towards him. Rather than changing his behaviour, he changed schools.  

Unsurprisingly his misbehaviour continued.. So he moved back to our school, blaming the teachers and children at the previous school for the move back.  Of course, as soon as he got into trouble again he resumed into his usual routine of pin the blame.  


And that’s how it continued. 

One day he was scouted by one of the big UK premier league teams.  Such a life changing opportunity.  

But he was dropped.  

He wasn’t a team player, couldn’t handle feedback and didn’t respect authority or his team mates.   But, of course, it was the coaches/team mates fault, “they didn’t respect him” enough.  

Such a huge opportunity lost because he had failed to take responsibility or learn from his mistakes.  


I saw him the other day working in a local shop.

Just imagine what could have been.

#scapegoatBritain

What would you do if you had two homeless people living inside your gas cupboard?

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What would you do if you had two homeless people living in your gas cupboard? 

Stepping outside of my front door this morning, I was greeted by a shiny Maserati sparkling in the early morning light.  As I drifted off, wondering which “new Brixton” resident was trying to muscle in on parking this time, the stench of rotting food and sweat dragged me back to reality.

It was the two men in their early twenties who are living in the external gas cupboard infront of our house.  It sounds like fiction, but this isn’t Harry Potter. 

It’s the daily co-habiting extremes of New Brixton…  New Peckham – Wilesdon    -Walthamstow.  New London.  

Many articles talk of the social cleansing of London: but neglect to mention those left behind or over looked.   This is what the growing disparities between rich and poor looks and smells like when you live in it.  

Ignoring the mice, rotting food, urine filled plastic bottles and beer cans – the stench will tell you that the two men live in squalor.  A lifestyle a million miles away from the owner’s of the car worth in the region of £60,000 which is parked less than 1 metre away from the makeshift bed of the homeless men. 

Although I’ve never been inside the cupboard, I know that it mirrors that of the one inside our home.  Maximum, 150cm wide possibly 300cm long.  Not big enough for the discarded mattress that they managed to fit in there, let alone two grown men.  One person’s closet is another person’s home.  Literally.  Again the disparities of London.  

But if only it was just a financial disparity.  When researching how to help the two men,  I stumbled across a homeless forum.  Battling opinions greeted me.   A homeless person was either seen as a victim or villian.

 “I’d just call the police and your building management company. The doorway is almost certainly private property.”

“I wouldn’t even feel bad. If he is sleeping in a doorway (of all places) he is knowingly antagonising the building’s occupants. My guess is that he is hoping for someone to give him a big bag of charity beddings and food (like has been suggested in this thread many times now), in exchange for leaving. DO NOT GIVE HIM ANYTHING. He will just move to another building. Contact a charity for him if you feel bad – but don’t enable what he is doing either.”

 The lack of empathy was astounding.   It seemed to contradict the public outcry condemning poor doors, homeless spikes and other designs aiming to segregate poor and wealthy residents in new housing developments across London.  I remember reading articles heralding “hipsters”* turning anti homeless spikes into libraries with comfy seating.

Hoorah for Hipsters!

But where did the “hipsters” involved actually live?  Would they have made such a stand on their own door step?

Have you ever walked into a “hipster” bar as a non-hipster? The inconvenience your presence causes stabs at your dignity almost as deeply as the bill for buzz word bar food hits your wallet.  But why does the presence of some make others feel so uncomfortable?  Because it is a reminder of the other side of London.

The side of London that is replaced every time a new luxury apartment development is built on hardcore made of the social housing which once stood on the same spot.  If you have purchased a new “luxury apartment” in inner London recently, it is very likely that your new pad displaced a low income family.   It is an uncomfortable truth.  A truth which taints the aspirational image sold with the luxury apartment purchase.  A truth preferably ignored and forgotten by wealthy residents and developers alike.

How would you feel if a homeless person slept in your door way?

BH xx

 

 

 *After researching the piece further I discovered the “hipsters” were actually a group of artists, who have also been priced out of housing in London.  So not actual “hipsters”but people who face and understand the financial pressures of housing in London.

Polite ways your friends tell you they think your baby is fat.

motherhood, parenting, pregnancy, zerotohero

How many times have you had to politely smile, nod your head or feign interest when the village (well meaning friends and family members) comment on your baby’s weight?   As I take him to get weighed regularly I know that he is perfectly within his “percentile”, tracking along nicely, but this of course is irrelevant, amateur expert opinions dominate conversation.

Annoying as it is at times, I have to admit hearing the creative multitude of euphemisms and round about ways villagers use to broach the tubby bubby topic makes me chuckle. (Very discreetly of course, as I nod my head and look concerned).  So being it’s a long weekend and I clearly have a lot of spare time on my hands today, I decided to order them on a scale of intensity from Mild Adoration to Severe Concern and share them and hopefully a giggle with you.

Do you have any to add to the list?

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BHxx

 

Nude parsnip and pear soup

kitchen

It seems competition is the only way to get me to take pictures of my food and post them on the net.  This time it was the allure of my soup being made in bulk and delivered to my work place (a primary school) on the soup scooter.. oh the mayhem 🙂 !

A simple competition, create a soup using a Kallo stock cube then upload a picture on Instagram with the tag SoupScooter.

So here’s my entry!  Wish me luck and why not enter too!  BHxx

4 shallots

3 large organic shallots 

1 large garlic clove

400g borlotti beans

1 Kallo vegetable stock cube

1 pear for decoration

Slice the shallots into thin discs and then fry on a low heat until golden. Dice and add the garlic. Crumble in stock cube and stir.  

Rinse and drain beans then add to the pan.  Mix together and place lid on pan for a couple of minutes.  Meanwhile wash and dice your parsnips.  Add the parsnips to the pan making sure they are covered in the stock and onions. Cook for a further two minutes then add 600ml of boiling water and allow to simmer until parsnips begin to soften. Remove from heat and garnish with a slice of pear, salt and pepper.

ishare. weshare. YOUSHARE.

Life Beyond The Kitchen Sink

I was delighted to receive an email today to say that my post The N word had been featured on the YouShare Project.

youshare-website-logo-sept-16-20151

 

The stories that shape us…

The N word is definitely a story that has shaped me.

What stories have shaped you?

Find many more inspirational and thought provoking stories from across the globe..and maybe even the odd one from a small corner in Brixton.

http://www.youshareproject.com/the-n-word/

xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Fresh! Hello discount!

kitchen

I’m not the best chef in the world.  This is no secret. But I have definitely improved since we subscribed to Hello Fresh almost a year ago.   Besides saving money, waste and cutting down on Take Aways Tuesdays (…Wednesday’s et al) a quite unexpected benefit has been my husbands willingness to experiment more in the kitchen!! ( Yes this may simply mean a willingness to cook and EAT vegetables- but that really is a big step in a world filled with kale and Cavalo Nero.. )

If you haven’t already tried Hello Fresh receive £20 off you first box by using this code:

z9GDYKF

Leave a comment on my Facebook page to be in with a chance to win a free box.

Good luck and Bom Apetite! Xx

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Life lessons Vs Resolutions

bedroom

It’s that time of year.

But I don’t believe in new year resolutions.

I believe in

Looking back.

It’s that time of year.

I am reliving the times of frustration, sadness, overwhelming happiness and achievement over the past 345 days.

Looking forward.

I start to plan the future and digest the life lessons that I have received.

My mind jumps back to November.

Heart pounding, I crash into the spin studio at the gym. I’m late. By this I mean I have arrived five minutes early for the class, but a minute too late to procure my trusty spin bike. Nestling quietly in the corner in the back row, my trusty companion now had a new owner. My chance of back row, dimly lit anonymity had vanished.

The 90s House and Garage starts to pumps as the situation gets worse.   The only bike left is at the front of class. The bikes reserved for the ‘Gym Fit ‘ Girls (GFGs). The type that run to the gym in Dry Fit outfits that colour co-ordinate with their Free Runners: gym hair (high messy pony) and perfect face of nude make up complete the uniform.

I am not her.

Nor do I want to be.

But the pressure and fear of sitting on that bike was real. As I mounted the pedestal bike, I could hear myself doling out the obligatory compliments, apologies and excuses for my presence and upcoming performance.  Gripped with fear, I hear the pace of the music picking up.  I approach effort level 11 worried about what I must look like compared to my GFG neighbours.

Rationally you can tell yourself “Nobody has the energy to waste looking at you!” And it’s true. But then we get to the Solo Sprints. The part of the class where everyone has to stop spinning and watch you, as your row sprint as fast as they can for 60 seconds. Even safe on old faithful, in my dimly lit corner, I’d fear this part of the class. And now, being in the front row, I had the honour of going last.

As I wait for our turn to “..show the class how it’s done!” my anxiety mounts.  The Mexican wave of sprinting spinners descends on the front row like a tsunami.   The buzzer sounded and instinctively I just closed my eyes.  And then the most liberating thing happened.

I was alone.

I stopped worrying about what I looked like to others. Stopped worrying that I didn’t belong there. All I cared about was cycling as fast as I could.

I had stopped worrying about how I was perceived by others.

I remember the anxiety I first felt when starting to write my blog.  The feeling of vulnerability and exposure and judgment.  The concern of what my family and friends would think of my writing. My parenting skills.  My questionable gym wear choices.

But the less I worry about other people’s perceptions – the happier I am.

Whether I fail or succeed, I am happier.  I am free.

And that is my life lesson for 2015.

What’s yours?

I’ve run out of toilet paper… Goodbye Socks.

livingroom

I’ve run out of toilet paper. Goodbye socks!

bca-page-1-cropped-620-349

This is my current Facebook status. For those who have already been fooled by a status similar to this, you know it’s part of the latest Breast Cancer Awareness game. For the uninitiated, anyone who comments or likes my status then has to update their current status from one of seven random, awkward or randomly awkward status’ and so it continues. Brilliant campaign…. Although now my mind is racing as to who saw my status and thought “I’m never shaking her hand again!” but didn’t comment or like. They will never know it was a joke and privately – thats the worst part, forever question my personal hygiene standards. (…No comment necessary Husband)  The best part at least will be the money and awareness raised for Cancer Research.

On the other (clean and sanitised) hand of the February tis Charity season spectrum is the Dettol Baby Blanket drive.  Following in the footsteps of Rachel Stevens, oh yes, I was also asked to donate a blanket to the Dettol Baby Blanket Donation campaign.  Each blanket donated will find new homes with families and babies who really need them, moreover for each baby blanket donated Dettol will donate £1 to the Sparks Children’s Charity.

High Res Dettol Blanket

Just like the Breast Cancer Awareness game, of course, no modern day charity campaign would be complete without a social media “presence“.  The #sharethememories hashtag encourages parents to share special baby and blanket memories and photos on twitter et al before donating their blankets.  Yes absolutely lovely idea! Yummy Mummy Alert etc.. But after eagerly donating one of little man’s blankets, why didn’t the relentless proud parent posting and hashtagging follow suit, yet I didn’t hesitate to choose one of the most embarrassing status to share with all my friends?  Alas.. It seems that motherhood hasn’t quite straightened out my “quirky” sense of humour just yet.

This Friday is the last day to donate your old baby blankets to the Dettol Campaign.

Donate here:http://www.dettol.co.uk/csr/donate/

DBBD logo

breast-cancer-campaign-logo-2

sparks-logo1

10 very unDisney newborn baby moments

Nursery

I should probably state very clearly at the beginning of this blog I love being a mummy and how it has changed my life and of course my little one means EVERYTHING to me.  Now that I have made that perfectly clear, lets cut to the chase..

Common to most Mums To Be, I savagely devoured every book, magasine, and website about pregnancy and parenting that I could lay my chubby little hand on.  Even so, for the first few weeks I often found myself fretting whether something was “normal” and would end up spending hours trawling the internet for reassurance and relief.  Was it just me or had those books censored out the “Not So Disney moments”?

So I’m defying the censors! Here are my top ten “Not So Disney” moment experiences, those random things that have kept me amused, confused and bemused over the past couple of weeks as a new mum.

Please feel free to add yours in the comments and reassure me I’m not alone 😉

1)  The Circle of Life

simbaNewly born babies do not look like they do on the TV.  Oxytocin had blinded me to the white slime and blood splattered across Our Little One’s body BUT his head shape startled me.  The distaughted conical shape of his head was concerning simply because no one else seemed to acknowledge it.  Were they just being polite?  No, they were just aware that this Not So Disney moment would pass and was part and parcel of birth.  Unaware of how his fleeting looks would change, my main thought  was that he was healthy, a mothers love is boundless.  My son was this beautiful grey baby; covered in blood, white slime and slicked back hair covering his conical head and I loved him to pieces.

2) Shadow Land

luminaireOur Little One was born with a full head of black curly hair, fuzzy arms and legs and we watched (practically) his eye lashes grow within the first 24 hours…. But not one lash on his brow.  This seems pretty insignificant but a 5 0’clock shadow over your first son’s eyes for the first couple of months is a slightly distracting sight.

 

3) Can you paint with all the colours of the wind?

pocohuntus Ante natal classes were brilliant for showing me how to wind my little one correctly, but never did they mention that- ahem- the  wind would blow from Northern and Southern directions.   Previously, it was inconceivable that such a loud noise could originate from something so cute and little.  Although rather amusing (accept in public when suspicion naturally falls on me – and is almost 50% of the time misplaced), OLO’s gas became so excessive that I had to change my diet completly.  Bizarrely it was all the healthy options that were the worse culperits.. greens, brocoli, onions, chick peas..  Yep Pizza O’clock.

4) The Bare Necessities 

timonIn the first couple of days of life bowel movements are one of the few obvious ways of telling whether a newborn is ‘thriving”  or not and so naturally we were on instant nappy watch.  Now the consistency, colour and range of baby poop is well documented but the regularity not so!  Our Little One went for  three days without passing,  and I kept worrying until I hit the parenting forums and discovered that even up to four days is perfectly normal!    Never had I imagined I’d become a nappy stalker, willing him to soil his nappy just so I was reassured that everything was working fine.

5) Friend Like Me

snake jungle book We spent a fair amount on time and molah decorating the nursery, buying all those eye catching educational toys and wall stickers.  But OLO loves nothing more than staring at a blank wall, ceiling, window, shadow, the metal bracket that holds up the expensive educational toy etc.   It must be pretty cool when EVERYTHING is a brand new hypnotising experience for you to explore, ok that’s a Disney moment, I can feel a song sequence brewing as I type.

6) By the Light of the Silvery Moon

images-4Sleeping through the night is a myth.  The Not So Disney truth is that “sleeping through the night” actually means sleeping for a period of 5-6 hours.   Pre baby that would have been a sign of a good night out, now that’s considered a good night’s sleep. That said OLO has recently managed to “sleep through the night” and it did feel marvelous.  How things have changed.

7) Let It Go

dumbo

Planes fly low over head, pneumatic drills pound the pavement outside, Guy Falkes Night firework displays light up the night sky and still OLO will stay fast asleep.  That is until I sneeze.  OLO’s selective hearing is incredible, his timing comedic,  although most of the time he is the only one who seems to be laughing 😉

8) Under the sea

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 The first night we laid OLO in his crib all I wanted to do was watch him sleep and listen to him breathe.  If I had known that babies breathing patterns can include ten second pauses this experience may not have been so traumatic.  Turns out after swimming about in a sac of water for nine months, baby lungs don’t have much on the job experience.  For the first couple of weeks breathing regularity was more novelty than function.

9) A Whole New World

images-10The first couple of weeks in OLO’s social calendar was fully booked.  What with midwife, doctor, health visitor, and immunisation appointments; and friend and relative visits, OLO was very much the baby about town.  However, the unDisney truth is newborn babies have their own plans and from the moment they are born they then become your plans.  You cannot rush a newborn you will miss that 9 am doctors appointment and you will breastfeed your baby in a public place.

10) Hakuna Matata 

images-6 For all his strange smells, sounds and eccentricities OLO makes my heart explode with joy, pride and love.  The amount of love and happiness he has brought into my life is overwhelming!  Never could I have known how amazing being a mother would feel.  Ok – that is also a very Disney moment, but you knew this blog post had to have a happy ending 😉