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Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Nappy love ... my natural hair journey

Now I am a believer in love 'at first sight/date/glance'. What do I mean by that? I believe in a clicking and knowing that can happen almost immediately between 2 people, and then based upon that, both get to know the other person better, and have 'the unity' grow. This can be a 'love' relationship or a friendship.

However, I have now also discovered that real love can grow from a history of initial mutual indifference bordering on almost disdain. At least, that's how its been with my hair. Nappy coarse hair and I have finally fallen in love after decades of disdain, neglect, abuse and almost contempt. 

As a child, I HATED my hair. It was coarse, very nappy, tangled easily and was a tearful nightmare to comb. So when I first got it relaxer at 15, I was an ecstatically happy camper. When said hair grew and grew until it flowed past my shoulders and was a pretty decent length down my back, I KNEW I had made the right choice. So what if it needed the strongest relaxers possible because its tight coarse curliness resisted chemicals? So what if the chemicals had to be left on wayyyyyy past the recommended time until my scalp burnt otherwise the relaxer wouldn't take? So what if the poor hair got a lil more brittle and dryer as the years passed. Who cared? It was straight AND easy to comb AND long! 

Then I had a bad relaxer experience and over a 2 week period, the relaxed hair broke off from the new undergrowth. Luckily my hair grew fast so I did have some fresh undergrowth (aka the new hair growth after the hair is relaxed). I rushed to the doc panicked (a whole different blog note!!), but he said the natural hair itself was fine and I had probably just had a bad reaction to the chemical relaxer used. Mega sigh of relief as at least I wasn't going bald! So I chopped it off and spent the next three years braiding my hair (which caused damage to my hairline). But my natural hair grew back in long and thick. 3 years later, it was again down to my shoulders - but I noticed something odd - my natural hair structure seemed to be permanently changed. While it was still coarse and nappy, it was also softer and much less tightly curled even in its natural state and it was growing in longer than it ever had before chemicals. 

Buuuuut, stupid me plunged back into the craziness of chemicals, braids and the occasional weave. This time around, my poor hair did not do so well. It stayed long but began to lose some fullness. I also had my hairline screaming from the weaves and braids especially.

Finally 3 years ago, I decided no more chemicals. I hadn't relaxed it in almost 6 months at the time and I simply could not face the thought of the pain of a burnt scalp again. Being the stubborn me that I am, I also refused to chop it off and decided I was going to transition it with braids and the occasional weave, and simply snip off the relaxed ends every time I re-did the hair.

This worked well, but braids and the occasional weave were further destroying the fine hairs of my hair line. With great trepidation, for about 3 months last year, I tried wearing it in an Afro. The Afro was cuter than I thought it would be and seemed to work, but my poor hair was so unused to the freedom of sunlight, air and naturalness, that I lost about half of it over 3 months (a lot of black women trying out an Afro the 1st time have told me exactly the same. It breaks off and sheds quickly.) Disgruntled, I went back to braids until January this year when I called myself to order and decided that no matter what, the hair and I were going to find a way to live together in peace, love and harmony. And I was going to give my hairline room to breathe and do its own thing. 

So, nappy hair and I embarked upon the scariest journey of our lives. I was afraid it would hate me and all my hair would fall out completely. I was scared I wouldn't love it if it no longer was past my shoulders. I was terrified all my hairline hair would fall out.

However, to my total amazement, shock and extreme pleasure, love blossomed instead. This began with nappy hair and I getting to know each other (I read & read & read about black natural hair). We then began developing a healthy respect for the other (if my hair is in an Afro, and I want to comb it without crying the next morning, I have to plait it into 2 or 4 pigtails no matter how tired I am!).  I've accepted that heat is not good for my hair, so while it is extremely convenient to blow-dry it after washing it, I now only do so extremely rarely. I let my hair air-dry after washing it and then plait it into the afore-said pigtails. The next morning, it is manageable enough to comb-out into an afro or put it into twists. I don't load it down with greasy gunk. After washing it, I apply a hot-oil conditioning treatment, which I don't wash out. And while twisting it, I apply 'hair food' and a moisturiser. That keeps it happy for days. Every 3 - 4 days, I moisten the twists with a small hand-ful of hair food. Seems to keep it happy enough. 

I am pretty lazy & like a no-fuss routine, so I don't bother with loads of the tips given by the envagelically zealous natural hair crowd. My hair is very coarse and springy, so in twists it becomes quite short. I actually pretty much like that. Maybe because I've had longish hair, I no longer care whether my hair reaches my shoulders. In fact when my twists are done and initially at their straightest and longest, the way to keep em that way is to plait the twists into 6 pigtails overnight. But I don't really like them long and straight, so I often leave them and the individual twists will curl up tightly overnight. It is such a joy watching my twists and my hair take on a life of its own. The hair is having a blast. The fine hairs of my hairline are growing back in. And best of all, the other day, while out walking, it began to rain. In my chemical days or weave days, I would have run for the nearest shelter, however, this time around, I simply laughed. Rain simply means the twists twist up a lil more curly.

Yes, love has grown. Knowledge and respect, commitment & honesty, have grown into full-blown real love. So natural hair, what can I say but ... 'I love you to bits baby - let's stay together always'... 


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Soar like a Butterfly ... Life is beautiful

Sometimes you have to be smart enough to hold on, and at other times brave enough to let go. Have the tenacity to stick like glue but always retain the courage to walk away.

Open your hand, so you don't crush your dreams.  Dreams can be as beautiful & as fragile as a butterfly's wings. Cradle your dreams lightly and gently in your hands, don’t be as careless & heedless as a child who destroys the beautiful fluttering butterfly in the frenzied attempt to grab it.

If you've let your dreams grow wings, then give them the freedom to soar, to experience life. Lay down all that's dear to you and have the courage to raise the knife. GOD will provide a replacement Ram.

Grow, stretch, develop, challenge yourself. Let yesterday be a building block for today. Let today be a stronger foundation for tomorrow.

Life is a series of options and choices - some good, some bad, some brilliant, some dismal.  Some will turn out well, others extremely badly. But every choice, every decision made, every option taken, every avenue explored, creates the huge canvas that is our individual story. Your canvas is made up of many colours; some restful, others jarring, some muted, others vibrant. But in the paintbrush of the talented Master Artist, the busy but restful, bright while dark, colourful yet soothing, painting on your canvas becomes a unique one-off. A timeless priceless masterpiece.

Soar like your butterfly. Life is truly beautiful... 


Saturday, 25 August 2012

Man on the Moon ... RIP Neil Armstrong

Sonshine just burst into my room to tell me the first guy on the moon, Neil Armstrong is dead.  Now because I've been following the Lance Armstrong story, I was a trifle staggered. My mind leapt to a million and one scenarios did he die? What had happened after he said yesterday he would no longer fight the doping allegations? (Something I totally support - seems like a witch-hunt to wear him down. Spending millions to defend yourself for years against an agency that is tax-payer funded and seems to have a personal agenda against you must be nothing but a frustrating no-win battle). Then I heard sonshine say he was 82?? Ok, wrong Armstrong!! I immediately thought of Louis Armstrong but thought 'didn't he die ages ago?' You can tell my brain's a lil slow today ... LOL. Sonshine said - Mom!! Neil Armstrong!! I immediately remembered that I have a space geek for a son, so of course, it would be about THAT Armstrong.

And the REM song 'Man on the Moon' immediately came to mind. Now, I know that the REM song is a tribute to Andy Kaufman and nothing to do with the Moon etc but the two have always been entangled in my mind. I also have a nature that reaches for things that are out of reach .. the difficult .. that which stretches .. I call it it 'reaching for the Moon' ... don't ever tell me anything that I really want is impossible, I actually simply think you mean I should try harder... *giggle*

So, I totally respect Neil Armstrong - Astronaut, first man on the Moon. He conquered a out-of-this-world surface everyone said was impossible. Millions over the centuries had stared at the Moon and must have dreamt about going there. Many tried and failed but Armstrong and his team and NASA believed and believed and worked and worked and refused to give up in the face of the failure of other teams, of the tragic deaths, of overwhelming odds. They dedicated their lives to chasing this ideal - to conquering this cold white surface that was totally out of reach but seemingly close enough to touch.

I have always wondered how Neil Armstrong felt in that moment of stepping out unto the Moon. July 20th 1969, 22:56 hrs EDT, watched breathlessly by over half a Billion people around the world, the first man stepped out unto the Lunar surface. His words 'One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind' were a lot more prophetic than he might have thought. After the first successful Moon landing, mankind has gone on to do greater things. We routinely send people into Space.  We have Satellites that Orbit the earth. Now commercial firms offer space flights for ordinary people. Ruinously expensive at the moment, tis clear, the day will come when prices comes down and are affordable. We are discovering our Universe and nothing seems out of reach any more. The World watched breathless a few days ago as live video feed was beamed from the planet Mars, by NASA's 'Mars Lander'.

That's what happens when you let go of your fears and reach, strive, fight, push back obstacles for what you really want. Suddenly, a whole new world of opportunities open up. You grow, you challenge yourself, you reach for the stars, and if you are my son - you want to be the first man to land on the Sun. Yes, yes, totally crazy eh? But do you think someone told Neil Armstrong he was crazy the first time he said as a kid 'I wanna go to the Moon'?

Dream new dreams. Dream CRAZY dreams. Reach for the impossible. Let nothing stop you. Refuse to settle for less. Refuse to settle for the mediocre. Refuse to accept the commonplace. Refuse to hear everyone tell you 'this is how it's always been done'. If you have a burning driving passion inside you, then reach out, pursue it, grab it, live it. 

Do you refuse to settle for 'pat' answers? Do you keep questioning? Do you refuse to be like everyone else just so you can fit in? Many people think having faith in GOD means you should have no questions. When I read my bible, I see different. I find a GOD who delights in engaging with man. Who freely gives the gift of Wisdom. Who is thrilled when a man or woman refuses to take no for an answer and instead appeals to His grace, mercy and love. What kind of GOD would want dumb followers who do not ask questions? Who do not seek deeper knowledge? Who do not want to know Him deeper? GOD is not afraid of your questions for one moment. GOD does not think in the box and is delighted when you think out of the box and stop trying to enclose Him in the tiny little box that is the close-minded human mind. 

He chuckles when you refuse to accept the logical and begin banging down Heaven's door. He delights in people who refuse to accept the discouragement of the crowd saying 'it doesn't make sense - just accept the inevitable'. So when the Shunamite woman's child died, and she refused to swing into funeral preparation mode, but instead was - 'If GOD gave me this child, then GOD will resurrect this child', you could almost hear the tangible excitement in Heaven. Finally, someone who understood that with GOD 'Nothing is impossible'! 

So, here's my lil tribute to Neil Armstrong, to you, to me, to everyone dreaming impossible dreams ... REM's  'Man On The Moon'.  Enjoy.


Porridge at 04.30 am ...

When you find yourself eating calorie-laden comfort food at 04.30 am, tis time to acknowledge it isn't the greatest day! LOL

So why am I tucking into a bowl of organic oats, topped off with a jugful of evaporated milk, sugar, brazil nuts, adding up to a gazzilion calories at a time when dawn is just breaking? Why did I leave home at 4am, head out to my 24hr superstore to buy all the ingredients and then get home to cook em?

The evening was not meant to go this way. I should have been on a smoking hot date in the West End and probably just be getting back in now. I found the perfect lil black dress, demure and sexy (a good dress can be both), the killer shoes and the bling jewellery to set it off. Now my hair is in its lovely new world of twists, all it would've needed was a quick wash/condition/run hands through it/colourful flower to set it off. Cute guy too - but guess who pulled out?Yup, me. Long story, many reasons, I pulled out but might re-schedule (maybe). I decided the 'suitcases' I have on my mind would have made me pretty poor company.

So what did I do instead? I spent time killing time. Cleaned out the fridge. Tidied the hallway. Cleaned out the bathroom drain (hot water and bleach are the key there). Read a lil, caught up on the news, read a lil more, thought a lil more, read a lil more to stop thinking, realised sleep was not forth-coming. Read 'The Times' cover-to-cover. Began reading 2 books simultaneously. And then I began thinking about porridge.

I haven't eaten porridge in months. I like the stuff but the way I like it is soooooooo unhealthy, I skip it most of the time. But this time, my mind fixated on it. Luscious oats. If I wallowed in a luxurious bowl of organic oats, surely I would get some sleep? Thus my thinking went at 3am while I was struggling to sleep. One hour of tossing and turning, and I gave up the fight. 

Sooooooooo, that's the story of how I came to be getting my oats fix.

Have the oats made me sleepy? Kinda done their job I guess as it's 06:15 and I think I'll get more than the 2hrs sleep I've been getting lately. 

Has it dealt with all the stuff on my mind? Nope - but then again, comfort food doesn't solve any issues - just packs on a few inches around waistline.

Sometimes I wonder at me? I shovelled a gazzilion calories down me when date night dress and the additional lil cobalt dress I couldn't resist were both a UK size 10? (American 6 or 8)? Am I trying to sabotage my own waistline? Talking of clothes, I also have my eye on a cream lace above the knee dress (now, I just need it to go on sale!! LOL). Saw it and began thinking - team it with brown or purple boots, a leather jacket, large bag and I'll have the cutest outfit. Ahhh, so, my mind's now dwelling on clothes?? Awesome!! Better clothes than food anyday. And better clothes than all that serious stuff that's been crowding up my thought space. 

Groan!!! Ahhhhhh well, I guess the Women's fitness book 'Guide to Body Toning' that I just bought is going to come in very useful. I refuse to let 'loadsa stuff on the mind' take me back down the fat road. *shudder

Ahhhhh, the joys of porridge at 04:30 am!! Next time, it will be loads smarter to try some celery instead!! *giggle*


Sunday, 12 August 2012

Will you Sacrifice 'Isaac'?... Laying what you love most upon the Altar.

‘Take your son, your beloved son whom you love more than life itself and go and sacrifice him upon a mountain which I will show you.’

These words, which would strike total dread in the heart of any parent, are told by GOD to Abraham - the Father of Faith. The Friend of GOD. The Patriarch of Patriarchs. The one whom was given the promise to be Father of ALL those of faith.

For those of us who do not know the story of Abraham, Sarah and Isaac – Abraham is made a promise by GOD – He will become the father of GOD’s people and his descendants will be more numerous than the stars and the sand on the sea-shore. However, when GOD makes Abraham this promise, Abraham is 75yrs old, happily married but childless. But hey, that’s no big deal – GOD has promised, hasn’t He? So, Abraham listens to GOD, obeys him and sets out to the promised land GOD promises to show him and give him. So, 1st year passes, no child, 5th year passes, no child, 10th year passes, no child, 12th year passes, no child – by this time, Papa Abraham is 87, and his still extremely beautiful but barren wife,, Sarah, is 77. So, Sarah comes up with the extremely 'smart' plan for them to have a child by her slave girl. Pappy does the ‘business’ with young beautiful slave girl and Ishmael is born. Now clearly, Ishmael is the promised child? Since GOD keeps quiet and says nothing, it must be all right. However, out of the blue, 12 years later when Abraham is 99 and Sarah is 89, GOD casually strolls in again and repeats His promise of a ‘promised child’. Abraham is convinced GOD must have become a lil senile in his ‘dotage’ and has not quite noticed Ismael is a strapping 12 year old boy – so he tells GOD ‘Ummm, may Ishmael live before you'. GOD says ‘Yeah, I know Ishmael (I named him, remember). Ishmael is a wonderful young man and I will bless him for your sake; however he is not the child I am talking about. The child of promise will come through Sarah.’

Long story short; despite disbelief from both Abraham and Sarah, Isaac is born a year later. While it might have taken 25 years, the promise has arrived and all is fine, right??? Abraham has both Ishmael, the child that is the work of his hands, and also, Isaac the miracle child of promise. Clearly, all is well that ends well. WRONG! 

GOD will always test to us to find out whether we value the gift more than Him, the Giver. Is our focus the promise He has given us, or is our focus GOD for Himself alone? Will we turn away from GOD if He does not give us what we want? Do we love Him only for what He gives us? If He asks us to give up what is dearest to us for His sake, will we do so? And before we grumble about how unfair this sounds, and how 'mean' GOD is, let us be clear - GOD will never ask us for what He Himself is not prepared to give and has already given. He gave up His own beloved son, Jesus, to save us. GOD loves us passionately and would die for us (He actually did die for us), and in return, He asks for only one thing – our love for Him. He does NOT demand it – it is a request. No-one has to love GOD. GOD will not force any man,woman or child into a relationship with Him. However, if you choose a relationship with GOD, then remember, He gives all of Himself freely but in return, He asks for all of you.

So, first GOD strips Abraham of Ishmael when Ishmael is 16 - and Hagar and Ishmael are sent away. Abraham now has only 3 yr old Isaac to cling to as the fulfilment of the ‘promise’. But, then GOD turns up again a few years later, and says the dreaded words I began this post with – ‘Take your son, your only son, and sacrifice him upon a mountain which I will show you’.

We know how the story unfolds and ends. Abraham is obedient, takes Isaac to this mountain, lays him upon the altar, raises the knife, and then a voice from heaven stops him. GOD tells Abraham – 'Do not lay a hand upon the boy. 
Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly love and fear Me. You have not withheld from Me even your son, your only son.'

Would GOD ever have allowed Abraham to kill Isaac? Of course not. The bible says, that Abraham obeyed GOD’s request in complete faith, believing that even if Isaac was killed, GOD would raise him from the dead. That is mind-boggling faith. Abraham knew the promise was from GOD and GOD is big enough and powerful enough and trustworthy enough to uphold His own promises.

What is our personal 'Isaac'? We all have cherished dreams that if we choose to walk with GOD, we will one day have to lay down upon the altar. GOD will come to us to find out whether we love the gift more than the Giver. What promise is it you think GOD has finally given you that He then has the ‘temerity’ to ask you to sacrifice? Is it a dream job? Is it a marriage that seems to be falling apart? Is it rebellious kids you seemingly cannot reach? Is it good health that has been taken away from you? Is it a great relationship that is snatched out of your hands? Is it prayers that do NOT seem to ever be answered? Is it your rights when another person has wronged your terribly? What is it GOD is asking you to place upon the altar of sacrifice?

Whatever it is, be obedient and trust GOD. Hand your promise over to GOD. Take your dreams, your hopes, your wishes, your rights and lay them down upon that altar of sacrifice. This is not easy. It HURTS! You might do so with bitter tears – but let’s face it, no sacrifice wants to be sacrificed! Getting sacrificed is extremely painful. (Go ask the Thanksgiving Turkey, Ileya Ram and Christmas Chickens and Turkeys!). If however, that dream, the plan, the vision, the hope is of GOD, He will intervene and provide a replacement Ram before the ‘sacrifice’ is butchered. Like Abraham, have total faith that as you place your ‘sacrifice’ upon the altar, GOD will give you back your ‘Isaac’ even from the dead. Believe GOD will provide a replacement Ram to be sacrificed in place of Isaac. If the dream seemingly dies, GOD will give you something far better. If however, GOD gives you back your ‘Isaac’, it will be a better, more blessed, more fruitful Isaac. Isaac was a goodly child and an upright man. Even after Abraham died, Isaac never swerved from following GOD. He continued to carry out the promise given to Abraham and passed GOD’s promise down to his own sons. It is said of Isaac, that he was a man who loved, feared and respected GOD. Wow – what an amazing testimony.

How do you know if your dream/promise/vision is an ‘Isaac’ or an ‘Ishmael’? Both are seemingly well-formed, beloved, healthy ‘children’. However, the test is simple: is your promise/dream/vision given solely by GOD or has it come about from your own efforts? There’s one simple answer – if you lay it down when GOD asks you to, AND it then comes back to you, it is an Isaac – (GOD will uphold, fulfil, and bring about His own promises). If however, you give it up, and it continues walking, doesn’t look back and flourishes somewhere else, then it is an ‘Ishmael’. Don’t worry though - if you can trust and believe GOD enough to give up your Ishmael in obedience to Him, then He will send you an Isaac that will not be taken away from you.

The hallmark of our faith is our willingness to give up everything for GOD. Every-one who seeks to follow GOD will find the day comes when like Jesus and Abraham, you or I will either bow the knee in tears and pain, submit and say 'Not my will but Your will alone, here is my Isaac' or you or I will walk away from GOD because we cannot go to the 'cross' or the 'altar of sacrifice' that He asks us to.

But in closing, I say - remember the glorious end of the story of JESUS and Abraham. Trust GOD. He can be trusted with your 'Isaac'. It is impossible for GOD to let you down. Hold on in faith always.

Biblical References:

Genesis 22: 9 - 18.  "When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. 
10 And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. 
11 At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!”
12 “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.”
13 Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son.
14 Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
15 Then the angel of the Lord called again to Abraham from heaven.
16 “This is what the Lord says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that
17 I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants[a] beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies.
18 And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.”

Hebrews 11: 17-19. By faith, Abraham, at the time of testing, offered Isaac back to God. Acting in faith, he was as ready to give up the promised son Isaac, his only son, as he had been to receive him—and this after he had already been told, "Your descendants shall come from Isaac." Abraham figured that if God wanted to, He could raise the dead. And, in a sense, that's what happened when Abraham received Isaac back, alive from off the altar.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

15lbs to go... My Weight-loss journey continued...

Up until 2 weeks ago, the previous 6 - 8 weeks had been a disaster weight-loss wise. Not only was I stuck on a plateau and not losing anything, but work, ill health, stress and no exercise and eating like tomorrow was going to bring a famine meant that my scales climbed upwards rapidly!! LOL. Thankfully, the madness passed and I came to my senses before too much damage was done. Even more mega-thankfully, the last two weeks have helped deal with the ravages of the pounds put on during my crazy indulgent season! I am wayyyyyy too embarrassed to even discuss how much weight I put on during them crazy days - let's just say that during that time, my jeans began protesting when I tried to button em up! LOL. Annnnyyyyyway, the last 2 weeks of very carefully watching what I eat, and walking 3 miles everyday, have shifted all those nasty temporary pounds and inches. And those aforementioned jeans? Welllll, they still don't fit - but only because they are now loose... yahhhhhyyyyyy!

Okay, soooooo, now I am back on track. I finally have only 15lbs (7kg) to go. Gosh, I gotta pause and hug my laptop, embrace and gaze in wonder at those numbers. Yup yup, I know that's still a fair bit but as I started out on this weight-loss journey needing to lose over 90lbs (41kg), please allow me to dance a jig of pure delight.

Okay, so for those who ask me for numbers, I have listed my weight and measurements as of today and then shown my previous starting weight and measurements back in 2010. Starting weight/measurements are in brackets

I began this seemingly never ending journey at the end of October 2010. Today, I weight 62kg (used to be 96kg). When I began this, I measured myself everywhere so here goes: Bust 36 inches (used to be 44inches), Waist 27.5 (was 38), Hips 34 (was 42), stomach 32 (was 42), Thighs 21 (was 28), Arms 15.5 (was 12.5). So, that's 34kg and many inches lost. Dress size is now a size 10 UK (I used to be size 20UK). While being 5'2 (and not having a skinny frame) means I'll never ever be tiny, I am still a happy camper who is mega grateful to GOD. 

I do still want to whittle off about 2 inches off most of those measurements and I really really really really want to be 55kg. However, I am not greedy - I'll settle for 57kg/58kg. *giggle*

When I say I measure(d) everywhere, I really do mean everywhere; wrists, knees, calves, ankles, neck etc but I won't bore you with every pesky lil detail. It might sound mega-weird but taking all over measurements really did help me because every inch lost gave new encouragement. Sometimes when those 'nasty' scales refuse to budge, an inch lost somewhere can help prevent discouragement. Tis nice to be able to wear normal medium ring sizes but I was shocked to find I have also lost weight off my feet! As a teen, I was a 5.5 UK shoe size, then shoe size increased to 6UK after having a kid and putting on weight. But over the last few months, my old shoes no longer fit. I am now a 5 UK shoe size. Yup, I dropped a shoe size.

I still want to lose more inches. My stomach, waist, arms and thighs still make me unhappy, with my stomach being my biggest bane. Childbirth and the weight lost mean I'll always have crappy stretch marks, cellulite is a friend that refuses to say good bye, and weight loss does not mean my previous fat self has simply bounced into toned muscle (I wish). LOL

However, once the weight is all off, my next goal will be a 6weeks - 3 months fairly intensive exercise programme. I hear someone ask - why not do both at the same time? Well, I've found out that when it's come to losing weight, I find it easiest to concentrate upon one area at a time. Not saying that's the way everyone should do it, or that it's the best thing, but I have a lot going on with me and I found out that trying to combine healthy eating, losing weight, and intensive exercise, was doing my head in, making this whole thing a not-fun experience, and had the potential to get me discouraged (And what does this carb-lover do when discouraged?? Yup yup, have an extra plate of rice!! LOL). So I stopped stressing me and began doing only what works for me.

Now, let's talk exercise (one of my least favourite things). Sooooo, last weekend, I was on a real bicycle for the first time since I was 11yrs old; despite wobbling precariously, almost falling numerous times and my sheer inability to cycle continuously for more than 1 minute before having to brake to stop myself running into cars/people/lampposts/lil kids (lol), I really did have fun. I am seriously thinking of getting myself a bike. Oh, btw, I refuse to blame my total incompetence on my extremely poor cycling skills, BUT on the fact that Boris Bikes (the bikes for hire one can pick up from a number of London stations), are NOT designed for my 5'2 self. The seat height even at its lowest is still too high. Hmmmm, maybe I should begin a campaign against this discrimination against my vertically-challenged self... *giggle* Or is this a poor workman blaming her tools??? *wink*

Ah well, back to talking boring exercise! Over the last couple of years, I have exercised mainly by walking, a tiny bit of running/jogging and a few sessions in the gym. While I really would like to do the intense 'boot-camp' type experience, I don't think the gym is my thing on a long-term basis. I find myself more willing to commit to walking 3 - 5 miles 4 or 5 times a week. Maybe I could combine that with a spin class once a week or a box-exercise class or the afore-said cycling - above all, what I want is long-term maintenance and not just short-term zeal.
But first, there are still those 15lbs to go. *sigh*

Ok, so I am still not where I wanna be but I inch a lil closer every day. Thank-You LORD.


A few peeps have asked for pics - thing is during my fat days, I hardly took any pics and hid/deleted most of the ones I came across (really and truly). I have however been taking loads of pics over the last couple of years primarily to visually document this journey for myself.  So, I'll collate some of those pics, scan any old fat pics I can find and then do an album with dates from then to now and put that up on FB one of these days. xx

A Quiet Place

I have been off all Social media for a couple of weeks - it's been a great time of re-connecting with my inner self and the things that are important to me. I like Facebook and I am blessed by the friends I have made, I love the platform it gives me to write, read and gain a deeper understanding of Naija politics, the state of the Church etc etc but in the blur of talking, reading, listening - we sometimes can lose sight of who we are, and what our dreams and visions are.

I've had a fab time chilling with GOD, spending some time hanging out with sonshine, catching up on work projects, reading loadsa fiction, going to the cinema (back-to-back nights of watching Dark Knight and Spiderman on the big screeen made my action-flick inner chick go ahhhhhhhhh with sheer joy), and generally just packing in a lot of non-serious stuff. Buuuuut NO more Starbucks! My waist-line canna take it! LOL!

I've re-connected with me, spent time cutting out the never-ending noisy din of the world to hear GOD's voice, to listen to my inner voice, to nurture my soul, to feed my spirit and to calm my mind.

I love writing but all I've been writing for a while now is such serious stuff that I've almost forgotten how to write 'romantic fiction'. Tis good to be serious but tis also great to also be light-hearted. This has been a pretty 'serious' year for me; I guess it's about time to re-embrace the not-so-serious again.

What are your passions? What are the dreams you've laid down, shut away, forgotten, decided are impossible/too difficult/or too late? It is never too late, you are never too old, gold medals are still within your reach - you just gotta reach out and grab em quickly. Life is for living - we only get one shot at it.