How to Live in Beyoncé’s Shadow..

Hello Guys,

My stats tell me that I haven’t posted for the whole of September… As a teacher, this is no surprise.  But it’s not just the new academic year To Do lists that have kept me at bay from my blog.  I have also been busy building a brand new website with one of my closest friends and inspirations.

We wanted to build a platform for women to come together and inspire each other to improve our lives and community.. Otherwise known as

www.thesisterhoodsupperclub.com

I have just posted my first official post (hence the title of this post and it’s linked HERE) Please read and give me some honest feedback! Thank you 🙂

BHxxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just wanted to write a fun post….

…But the world at the moment is playing out like a bad 90s disaster movie…  I mean Boris for Foreign Secretary? As in Mr Brexit Break It Don’t know How to fix it?  

And then we have the Labour Party trying to destroy the first true Labour leader (pronounced decent human) that it’s had in decades.  Apparently, democracy is only allowed if it supports the people on power..

FTS

Time to switch off..

If you need me, I’ll be here…


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qRC4Vk6kisY

Land of the free

Our world feels unstable at the moment. Brexit. Trump. Backstabbing. Resignations. Scapegoats. Uturns. New Laws. Innocents murdered. Victims villianised. Cognitive dissonance.

I can’t keep watching the news and hearing people talk of not being racist then proceeding to find excuses for condoning the murder of a black person by an officer sworn to uphold the law.

IMG_2440

But I’m not racist…

… the KKK hood wearing, Confederate flag waving, violent thug who loves nothing more than to hang out with his/her mates burning crosses, and killing black people- type of racist.

The extremely overt type of racist that frees society from the guilt of ignoring and benefitting from the inequalities and discrimination in our society, whilst proudly proclaiming..

I’m not a racist!

But unless you are actively making a stand against racism – you are supporting the institutionally racist society in which we all live.

I know I’m not saying anything new (and many have said it far more eloquantly than I ever could) but I will not stand at the side quietly: We must not stand at the side quietly.  We must bring about the change, we are change.

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BH xx

Links to articles who have said this far better than I:

 

http://occupywallstreet.net/story/explaining-white-privilege-broke-white-person

http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/11-things-white-people-can-do-be-real-anti-racist-allies

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/07/oscar-pistorius-sentence-an-homage-to-celebrity-and-white-privilege

http://mappingpoliceviolence.org/

https://aeon.co/essays/unconscious-racism-is-pervasive-starts-early-and-can-be-deadly

https://www.buzzfeed.com/michaelblackmon/17-harrowing-examples-of-white-privilege-9hu9?utm_term=.trlEZvWzX#.hkM27NkwZ

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jul/06/alton-sterling-address-police-violence

 

http://jezebel.com/a-black-woman-police-officer-calls-out-racist-cops-in-h-1783271684

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15796700-americanah

https://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2013/08/27/the-racial-empathy-gap/

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

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.

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?

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?

image

BHxx

 

Nude parsnip and pear soup

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.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life lessons Vs Resolutions

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?

Continue reading “Life lessons Vs Resolutions”

10 very unDisney newborn baby moments

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 😉

#BringBackOurGirls 100 days later

Over the past 100 days I have:

pottered in my garden.

tweeted.

helped my husband lay new flooring.

written school reports.

protested for Palestine.

bitched with friends.

received flowers.

been overdrawn.

attended a street festival.

laid in the sunshine.

argued with loved ones.

bought new artwork.

laughed.

witnessed the dashed hopes and dreams of a nation.

taught Zumba to my class.

cried.

received callaloo and cabbage seeds from a stranger.

hoovered (ok I’m not fooling anyone) hoovered.

listened to my unborn baby’s heartbeat.

felt fat.

stalked on Facebook.

watched a human chess match.

daydreamed.

found it impossible to sleep.

eaten Nandos.

watched TV.

participated in a treasure hunt.

joined the TEDx Brixton event team.

had a pedicure.

rushed to hospital.

attended a beautiful wedding.

Over the past 100 days the Chibok girls have:

?

How quickly the world forgets. ©Sarah Peace
How quickly the world forgets. Photograph S Peace ©

Yesterday marked 100 days since the girls were kidnapped from Chibok Girls Secondary School in Nigeria by the group Boko Haram.  In the 100 days since the kidnapping the people of Chibok have continued to face daily assaults from the terrorist group; 11 parents of the kidnapped girls have since died in the fighting.  

 

 

We have no idea if their daughters know of their death.

We have no idea if their daughters are still alive.  

We have no idea.

#BringBackOurGirls

We must keep the pressure up and continue to ask questions and demand that they #BringBackOurGirls.

To find out about how you can show your support visit: https://www.facebook.com/bringbackourgirls?

Inspirational Blog Award

Feeling inspired?
Feeling inspired?

As a new blogger I am often overwhelmed by the support and kindness that I have received from the blogging community.  I have been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger award by the beautiful and talented Maria; please take the time to visit her fantastic blog  http://mariabrinkley.com/ and explore Australia from the comfort of her backyard to yours 😉    I love these awards because they give me the opportunity to discover new blogs and corners of cyberspace previously unexplored.    

Here are my 10 blogs that I nominate:

http://thelondonplaneblog.wordpress.com/ 

 http://seemeblackfeministhought.wordpress.com/

http://thedadcreche.wordpress.com/

http://riverwriterblog.wordpress.com/

http://dailyqoutesde27.wordpress.com/

http://theeverydaychronicles.com/ 

 http://rahelapetrescu.wordpress.com/

http://yahgoziemedia.com/

http://squooze.wordpress.com/

http://thesleepsong.wordpress.com/

Enjoy!

BH xx

 

If you have been nominated please read below x

Here are the guidelines for the award:

  1. Thank and link the person who nominated you.
  2. List the rules and display the award.
  3. Share seven facts about yourself.  (To see mine please see my Liebster Award post)
  4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  5. Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.

 

Happy Exploring!
BH xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diaries of a Gardening Novice May

Diaries of a gardening novice

May

My raking handy work had paid off…I had created perfectly flat platforms ready to go forth and prosper.  Then my brain received a phone call..

“Hello….It’s the Brixton Housewife here and I think spontaneity is fun!”

In comes a change of plan and a quick google search for garden ponds…

 

BH xx

Wait... I know what I can do now I've flattened the ground..
Wait… I know what I can do now I’ve flattened the ground..

April

Encouraged by Sunshine, (imaginary) butterflies and the support of my fellow bloggers (Roses delightPam and Maria Mahreeaaah amongst others. 😉 I pushed the murky Stephen Kingesque past behind me and battled on.

And it is an ongoing battle.  When I think of my ideal garden space, I dream of a flat, sunny, spacious affair… Alas just like me, my little patch is far less than perfect.  Yet albeit, shady, sloped and wide, MLP seems to embrace it’s “challenging” label, and so,  inspired by it’s non-conformist beauty I labour on. With memories of my time in Portugal, a terraced wonderland springs to mind, and the words “shovel”, “mallet” and “bad back” (amongst other less flowery words) spring to my lips.

It was however worth it, as this was my chance to put all of my “research” (pronounced “cyberspace procrastination”) into good use and start buying and planting :-). As you can see from the pictures, I didn’t go “craaayzey” (pronounced “like Solange in the lift“) with the purchases.  With a baby and new mortgage on the way, I had to get “creative” with the budget.  Fortunately, with my friends and family and freecycle.org, that wasn’t so difficult and actually quite fun!

One step at a time
One step at a time
April
Let the planting begin

 

March

Ok…so gardening is not sexy. The previous thoughts of toned arms are long lost in the cold realities of British Winter time and dirty finger nails, but the progress is steady… Until it all turns a bit Stephen Kingish and everything comes to a sudden halt. As my mother is a history and archaeology fanatic, I have grown up with the delusion the Earth beneath our feet is just waiting to reveal its treasure. So what was history’s gift to me, well it seemed to have fur, a disregarded Victorian teddy bear perhaps? Alas no, on closer inspection I see a cat paw, as memories of Pet Cemetary flash before me I throw down my spade and seek sanctuary and sympathy in the arms of the Mr. This month’s personal note is to call the council’s special disposal unit. Gardening is definitely not sexy.

What lies beneath
What lies beneath

February

The vision is growing… I have seen the promised land, its just buried under all of this clay and brick. As I begin to dig, I ponder starting a Gardenise exercise class, surely everyone is over Zumba, and who doesn’t want toned arms? I make a personal note to email Gymbox the next day.

I have seen the promised land.
I have seen the promised land.

 

January

My father was an amazing gardener, from Callaloo to Corn he grew all types of local and tropical treats in our garden in the deepest darkest depths of Peckham, London.   So you could say that gardening is in my blood.. I wouldn’t, just like his cooking skills, it seems this talent may have skipped my generation.

But I do have the passion.

This is the continuing journey of how our back garden will become a secret escape..

BH xx

And so the journey begins.
And so the journey begins.