Tuesday, 6 December 2016

My reflection of 2016

As we are drawing towards the end of 2016, it’s a time many (including myself) use to reflect on the year. I participated in a meeting last week were we were asked, "has 2016 been an excellent year for you? How are you ending this year?"

Automatically my thoughts went to all the things I did not achieve; like not passing one of the required exams needed to qualify as a US attorney; the multistate bar exam. However, God shifted my mind to think about the way I reacted when I received my results. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, dwelling in self-pity, crying, being overly upset etc, I reacted positively. 

Of course I was disappointed at first because I spent a lot of money, time and effort into the course and travelling to the States from the UK to sit the two-day exam, but I looked at it as a learning curve, an opportunity to see where I went wrong and work on developing my exam preparation strategies and applying myself even more so I can pass next time.

It was my first attempt, having only 5 months to prepare for the exam in the UK, learning the law of a foreign country that is different to mine and still working full time for most of the time leading up to the exam. The score I got was not far from passing, so I just needed that extra bit.

Before I received my results, I was actually afraid to fail this exam.  I was so anxious and constantly praying that I wouldn't fail because I did not know how I would react. I don’t usually fail when it comes to exams, in fact I only recall failing one exam at university. But a week before the results came out, I let it go. I let the fear and anxiety go and decided I would deal positively with the result no matter what it was. Failure does not mean I AM a failure, but that I just have to do better and work harder.

This year I saw that I matured as a person. I matured in the face of adversity, when dealing with bad news, not always getting what I want, how I want and in other things which made this year an excellent one for me. I say this because the way we respond to things and decide to look at them, impacts on our future and how things will eventually turn out. I became more determined, not giving up at the first hurdle or obstacle and finally after so long, I found myself, through investing more in me and loving who I am becoming.

So no, I did not achieve all the goals that I set out to achieve but the change inside of me, the changed mind-set and the way I do things, made it a great year for me. The lessons learned, the experiences I faced and overcame has shaped me into a better person and I look forward to what 2017 brings because 2016 was like training ground.

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

P.S, I received my exam results today for one of required exams I needed to qualify as a US attorney and I passed. I was so happy and it’s like that added motivation and confidence to go into 2017 and smash the multistate bar exam!

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Making time for ourselves

In order to invest in ourselves, we have to make time for US! Proper time to get to know ourselves. Today I did just that.

I made time to write 27 qualities, yes 27 qualities, that I possess. It's something I did a few years ago, which was actually an initiative given to us in the Godllywood, which is a group at my church which works exclusively with women.

I was getting ready this morning and it came to my mind to do it again, so on my commute to work l, started my list.

 At the beginning, I found it quite hard (ironic how we can quickly find faults but not good points), but after number 8, qualities were popping up like popcorn lol.

By knowing my qualities, I know myself and can work on developing them to become better.

I decided to take time out at lunchtime and have a good walk along the canal to reflect on my qualities and think of ways to develop them further.

Rather than just always looking at other people or looking at ourselves through their eyes, dwelling on our flaws, what we don't have or who we haven't yet become,  we should focus on and nurture the good qualities we  already have, which will inevitably  help us to grow and eventually we'll acquire more qualities and become the person we've always wanted to be.


Monday, 21 November 2016

Investing in ourselves

Yesterday while I was doing some housework and listening to an audio message I started thinking about how essential self-investment really is.

Ladies (and gents) it's time we invested more in ourselves. 

Many times we invest more in things or for others to like and appreciate us without realizing that when we invest in ourselves, we don't even need to chase these things, they'll naturally happen. The confidence, audacity, development and growth in us will attract people and opportunities to our lives.

On this journey to investing more in myself, I'll be sharing with you certain things I have been doing to better myself and develop as a person. 

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Combating the Under-Representation of People Of Colour In The Workplace

I moved to a new department last month and it’s very different to what I have been used to during my three years with my current employer. I am one of the oldest (in age) within the team (I’ve not left my 20’s lol). The majority of the staff are trainees and apprentices, so aged between 16-22 years old and from Black and other ethnic minority backgrounds.

I’ve never worked in a team so diverse like this. I was quite surprised because of the nature of the work we do and the people we serve (our local councillors). However, the more I am here the more I see why the team is so young and diverse; representing the community we live in and preparing the younger generation for work within a large organization, corporate office or for a career in politics (one of our councillors is only 21 years old), social policy, law, or whatever field they choose to embark in where at present, black and ethnic minorities are underrepresented.

The apprentices and trainees are working under a training scheme that provides equal opportunities for people of colour and from low income backgrounds and who do not have higher education qualifications. The organization is called PATRA incorporating ACDA. I am familiar with the organization because I did voluntary work and training with them back in 2010 while I was unemployed.

I remember having a discussion with a former employee of mine who was against the idea of such traineeships only being afforded to people of colour and that it should be ran for everyone. Although I understood her point of view and agree that everyone should be given the same opportunities, this particular organization and others were specifically set up to give black and ethnic minority groups an equal standing in the labour market where once upon a time, this was not happening.

Although times have changed, why devalue the work and stop it when it’s actually been successful? Some of these apprentices have gone on to have full time permanent positions and are doing well. Who’s knows where they would have been if such opportunities were not created specifically for them?

We have to remember that people of colour were not given opportunities to work in corporate offices or in senior positions before and it’s through these types of initiatives and organizations that tackled this issue under legislation, such as the Equality Act 2010, that more opportunities for us were created.

I can remember as a law student at university being told (by another black person) that I shouldn’t think about a career in law because that’s a “white man’s job”. And true it was, until people of colour stepped up and decided to fight for equal rights for us to establish careers in predominately white sectors.

Maybe that particular person who made the comment grew up in a household with that mentally and therefore couldn’t see beyond that. But having organizations such as PATRA opens the minds of our young black men and women, where at home, they are not being aspired to see beyond race as an obstacle.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Why Black History Is Important To Me

Last Thursday while I was going through some old things at home, I came across my school picture from 1998 when I was 11 years old. I remembered the picture so well because I had just come back from a five week family holiday to Zimbabwe and South Africa. Zimbabwe is the birth place of my parents and I have family living in South Africa too. It was my first time stepping foot on African soil and learning about where I come from, where my parents grew up etc.

Over the years I have been learning more about my family’s history how and why they left their home country to study in America and settle down in the UK.

Growing up in a predominately Caucasian neighbourhood and school, I didn’t understand where I came from, why we were classed as a minority, why we were treated as insignificant and the only lesson on black history we received was in year 9 in two one hour classes during Religious Education which baffled me because I didn’t understand why Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Rosa Parks were taught in Religious Education. It should have been part of the history class, but anyway that’s all I got. I remember going home doing my own research as a 14 year old school kid wanting to find out more.

Over the years that’s what I have been doing and learning more about the history of not only my country of origin but also my race. It has actually helped me to understand the struggles my forefathers went through, why family members, especially from the older generation had a particular mind-set and attitude towards certain things and why my parents were so insistent on us furthering our education all the way to university. I remember we even had a private tutor for subjects we weren’t excelling in and we had to get jobs the moment we finished school at 16 instead of depending on my parents. They sacrificed a lot, even their own lives just for us to not have to struggle and live the life they did.

When we know where we come from and what those before us have had to go through, it motivates you (well at least it does me) to work harder, to aim higher, because we have access to things that they weren’t allowed to by law. Because of them, we are able to advance academically, professionally and socially like never before, because of what they did for us! That’s why black history is important for me.

This time of the year is the only time we have events and workshops dedicated to our history where we can learn and appreciate where we come from and continue to invest in ourselves so we can be an example for the generation to come, because boy are they in need positive examples!

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Modern DIY: Sugar and Oil Exfoliate

This week I tried a DIY exfoliate using sugar and oil. I was actually supposed to use olive oil but I had none left so used normal cooking oil this time.

The purpose of this was to scrub off the dead skin from my hands and feet. I left it on for about 15 minutes before washing my hands and feet.

My hands and feet had been feeling rather dry and "rough" but afterwards my hands in particularly, we super soft. I was really amazed, I even asked my siblings to feel my hands!

Monday, 26 September 2016

Black History Month

So, Black History Month is fast approaching (starting on Saturday) and I have decided to dedicate some posts on my blog to share my personal experiences and thoughts about being black during the month of October, what I think about certain initiatives and movements that are current which has helped to promote black people in society and created opportunities that before we did not have.

You know those thoughts and opinions that you’ve always wanted to share but the timing wasn’t right, the platform was inappropriate or you lacked understanding on the topic so decided to educate yourself on it first? Well now I see I’m ready to voice my opinions so I’ll be sharing those kinds of things too!

It’ll be a mixture of written blog posts and video blogs.

Stay tuned J

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

My first attempt doing a Bantu Knot Out

Last night was my first attempt to curl my hair with Bantu knots. I know of few people who curl their hair this way and it comes out beautiful. 

I want to go as long as possible without straightening my hair (so far I am on day 3) and thought this could be a way of keeping my hair curly and presentable without having to apply heat to it.

I followed a YouTube tutorial I found after searching through a few and voila, below is the final result. 

Some parts were a bit frizzy because I didn't use a product that controls frizz which was recommended so I'll ensure to buy one when I can, but despite that, I really liked the volume the style gave my hair and I will definitely be doing this more often. 

Monday, 19 September 2016

Embracing my hair

So, Sunday night I washed and conditioned my hair with the plan of straightening it in the morning. Morning came and I looked in the mirror and decided that I would leave it out natural. I combed it out into a little afro (or at least tried to lol) and didn't think anything of it. In fact I thought it looked cute. However, the moment I set off on my journey to work, I started a feel a little vulnerable and insecure.

I don't even know where it came from but all of a sudden when I caught the bus and saw people looking at me, thoughts like how ridiculous I looked; I shouldn't be sporting my afro hair like this because it's ugly; it's not 'normal'; it's not nice and sleek like when it's straight and so many other thoughts bombarded my mind. However, not one to feel sorry for myself (finally overcame this annoying trait haha), I became ruthless towards the thoughts and eliminated them quickly.

I liked the way my hair looked. I did not see a problem with it (and neither did my mom because if she did she would have told me straight away - momma doesn't sugar coat things lol). Yes it may not be everyone's cup of tea but I don't care. I was not about to go back home and straighten my hair so I didn't look the odd one out and neither was I about to walk around feeling insecure all day.

Constantly straightening my hair only damages it because of the heat. So I want to keep it out natural (ish) for a least two days in the week before I straighten it. The less I strengthen it, the better.

  This experience actually inspired me to have my hair out natural more often. Kind of like a statement of embracing my afro hair and not being ashamed of it. Letting young girls know that they don't have to have long straight hair to be beautiful and cute.

  I wash and treat my hair on Sunday evenings and until I put them back in braids, which will be soon (the weather is getting colder so it needs protecting) , I'll be leaving it out and doing different styles at least twice a week (I'll try and stretch to thrice.

As strange as it may sound it's quite liberating.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Using Mayonnaise for beauty treatment

Mayonnaise! Oh how I love my mayo. I know it's quite fattening but I do like to use it when making tuna sandwiches or when eating fries! When a fiend of mine sent me a list of beauty treatments using mayo, I raised my eyebrows while reading her message lol! Straightaway I thought about food because that's what I always associate mayonnaise with.

A few weeks later, I decided to do a few DIY beauty treatments using Mayonnaise. I searched online and found out the benefits of using mayo for my hands, nails, feet and face. 

My feet: As the back of my feet has been feeling quite dry recently, I used the mayonnaise to exfoliate whatever dead skin may be on my feet. I simply put mayonnaise all over both feet, slipped on some cotton socks, and tied two plastic bag over both of my feet to prevent the product from seeping out and get all over the floor (hence why my feet is covered in plastic bags in the picture).

My face:  I applied the mayonnaise on my face as a facial mask and let it set for 20 minutes before washing it with warm water. I did this to remove any dead skin cells.

My hand / nails: I slathered mayonnaise all over my hands and massaged them. Not only is this good to soften dry cuticles but it also helps to strengthen our nails. 

After the treatments I noticed how softer my skin felt. It's definitely a cheap and cheerful way to take better care of our skin without having to spend lots of money. As DIY homemade treatments are the trend nowadays. It's worth a try :)

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Poetry Is Dead Good

On Tuesday night I attended a poetry event which my work colleague Cleo invited me to. I only decided to go so I could watch her perform but I left with a wider understanding and outlook on certain things.

I arrived half way through a set. The poet who was performing as I walked in had a stammer, like me and I was intrigued by how he was performing and what he was saying.

It was fascinating seeing him force himself through certain words and sentences that were difficult to say but the more he spoke and became confident, the less he stammered. I rarely come into contact with other people who stammer so when I do, it’s a unique experience for me and I always leave learning something from them.

Openly speaking about his experiences with his stammer through poetry was really inspiring. I could identify with what he was saying, especially about being placed in a box and expected to stay there until you die but deep you know there's more to you. There’s a creativity, a dream as passion, something within you that’s bursting to come out, and you just want to break out of it and live, like everyone else without restrictions just because of a speech impediment .

There were other poets who recited poetry that were deep and really caught my attention. I felt like I was getting to know some of them through their poetry.

Some who appear shy and reserved when you see or speak to them, on stage were the complete opposite. It's like they came out of their shell and the stage was the place they felt at home and could be themselves.

I could feel the pain that some have gone through or are currently going through because of a break up, traumatic experience or another life event that has affected them.

For some they feel free to express themselves through their writing. Quite therapeutic I can imagine.

I was thinking how sad it is that people only feel comfortable to be themselves when they are in a certain place or environment (mostly when they are around people who share similar interests to them) but the rest of the time they hide behind a corporate suit with tension on their shoulders and a serious face, or they have to tailor themselves to what society or tradition deems as the norm, so they can blend in and fit in with the crowd. A lot of people are afraid to be themselves. I used to be like this but I thank God I changed.

Being different is difficult at first. You’re  misunderstood, misjudged and even ridiculed. But you know what? Different is beautiful and in fact people admire and respect you much more for being different then they do for being like everybody else because it takes courage! You’re your own person. You stand out, even without intending to.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Modern Sis' Adventures: My Lunch time Strolls

As you can see from my blog and Instagram posts, I love being around nature and taking walks.

I am fortunate to work behind a canal and like to spend if not all, at least half of my lunch hour walking along the canal. I work in a very busy office environment and generally have an overwhelming workload, so I like to spend as much of my break time as possible outside, getting a bit of fresh air.

I also use this time to talk to God, read my Bible or an inspirational book or simply listen to music.

Here are some pictures I took over the past few weeks and also a new chill out spot I discovered during my lunch hour last week, which is just a few minutes bus ride from my work place.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Style of the week: Sequin skirt with Faux Fur Gilet

Meet my friend Sandra, the most stylish women I know personally. Yesterday she rocked this black sequin skirt with a stripped blouse and faux fur gilet. I absolutely loved her elegant look, so much so that I had to share it on my blog as style of the week.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Style Saturday: Smart Casual

Hello everyone.

When it comes to style and clothing, wearing the right clothes for your body shape and complexion is very important. Get it wrong and it can ruin your look! I've done it countless of times. If I liked something, I would buy it, even if it was not right for my body. Not everything we like or that's in fashion suits us.

Lately, I have come to learn the importance of wearing clothes that suit my body shape and complement my skin tone.

I use a site called dressipi.com which helps me to see the kind of clothes and styles that are perfect for me.  By measuring my shoulders, waist and hips, as well as my height, I've learned the kind of body shape I have and how to dress according to my shape.

One of the things I've noticed is how fitted longline tops, complement the upper part of my body. These kind of tops have extra length which means it perfectly skims over my hips.

Friday, 22 January 2016

My day with the Traveling Accessory

Happy Friday Y’all .

I am part of a woman’s group within my church called the Godllywood. Each year we have what we call “The Traveling Accessory”, which is chosen accessory by our mentor for each of us to spend a whole day wearing the accessory. After we've had it for the day, we pass it on to the next person.

Last Thursday was my day with this year’s traveling accessory, a hand bag. I received the bag nicely wrapped and presented in a pretty pink bag by the person who had it before me. She even left a personal written card for me which said "capture the moment" at the front and had a nice message inside.

When I first glanced at the bag, I thought it was quite small, but very simple and elegant. I don’t use small bags a lot. I like to use big bags so that I can carry a lot of things inside, especially when I am going to work because I will be out the whole day.

I took the Traveling Bag to work with me and selecting things to put inside of it was not an easy task. In the end, I could only carry a few items: my purse, a bottle of perfume, hand cream, mobile phone, and deodorant and ear phones. I didn't have room for anything else.

The word selection came to mind and I started to think about the importance of selecting the right friends, the things we say and do, selecting carefully what we allow to stay in our minds and hearts because what we feed ourselves with internally (insecurities, fears, doubts, grudges, resentment, bitterness etc), will have an impact on our thoughts,, attitudes and the decisions we make. Just like I couldn't fill the bag with lots of things, I can't fill my mind , my heart and my life as a whole, with just anything. What is positive and good for me I should accept and keep and get rid of the rest!

By doing this, I'll travel light all the time.

They are two other lessons I learned from the traveling back which I will share in another post. Bye bye for now!

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Modern Sis Adventures: Walk at Wollaton Park

There's something about being outside in the midst of nature that I find quite calming. I spent most of my days around a lot of people and where there's a lot of noise. My days are quite busy and I anticipate they will only get busier, so at least once a week, I like to escape somewhere for the afternoon by myself. Somewhere quiet where I can just chill and reflect on recent events.

This afternoon I went to one of my favourite places for a nice walk, Wollaton Park. There's so much to see there and it really is beautiful. I was in awe with the scenery around the lake and as I was walking towards the hall. Although there were quite a number of couples and families with their children, walking around the park, it was still very peaceful.

I spent some time talking to God and He brought to my attention a situation that I had recently gone through. Without realizing, the way that I was looking at certain things and even holding back doing certain things, showed that I was still carrying hurt within me from that situation and that I had not really let go, even though I had convinced myself that I had. God made me to see that my actions and reactions as well as the feelings I was harboring inside of me, was a sign it was still affecting me. I had to really let go. At that moment I decided to do just that, a simple decision and action that blessed the rest of the day.

It wasn't just simply praying about it and thinking it was done and dusted, but after the prayer, changing the way I saw the situation, acting against my feelings, doing the opposite to what I wanted to do which was to continue holding on to the feelings and justifying myself!

Here are some pictures I took whilst on my walk.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Modern Sis' Looks: Entering New Year in Style!

New Year's Eve is one of those events of the year where I like to dress up! I already had in mind what I would wear for this occasion. I purchased the jacket about 8 months ago but could never quite find the right occasion to where it.

I decided to wear the jacket with black pants and a black top. It was definitely an effective choice that went well with the jacket.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Modern Sis Adventures: Walk at Bestood Country Park

 Welcome to a New Year!

Many people are excited about entering a New Year. They see it as an opportunity to make new goals and resolutions, kick bad habits, invest in a healthier lifestyle and start a new chapter in their career. For others, it's just another event in the calendar!

During the last week of December, I took time out to reflect on the year; things I had achieved, things I didn't achieve and looking at why that was.

I really looked deep within me to see what baggage I was carrying that caused problems for me in 2015 and which attitudes and behaviors I was holding on to that could be detrimental in achieving some of the goals I have planned for 2016.

I also analyzed certain environments and friendships that I needed to let go of, which were not doing me any good or not adding anything to my life in any way! It was a painful truth I had to face but making the decisions I made will surely make way for new things, new attitudes and behaviors, new friendships and experiences in 2016.

During the holidays I have been spending time at my mom's house with my siblings. While they were sleeping I decided to take a walk to the local country park. I ended up spending 2 and a half hours there, by myself; walking, talking with God, and having that moment of solitude that I needed to reflect on my life.

I was reminded of childhood memories of cross country running at the same park while at school as my high school is just behind the country park.

Here are some pictures I managed to take while I was on my walk.