My grand tour… Walthamstow 

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!!

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

images-13
 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 😉