Monday, 29 March 2010

In sickness and in health...

Today, I'm feeling rough... I told my little girl that 'Mummy's poorly'...but the truth is I'm just downright SICK!
It happens so rarely (thank God), I don't really know how to 'embrace' it.. I'm no good at leaving things to others, sitting on the sofa and watching daytime tv! It just doesn't come naturally to me... I guess it's part of the badge of Motherhood!

Anyhow, yesterday, my dearest Husband prepared a lovely meal for me, which sadly I just couldn't eat! He was up all night with me whilst I puuked my guts out, and was there again this morning. I didn't ask him to get our Daughter up and ready for daycare, but he did and all in time. It turned out she is not feeling so great either, so he dashed home from look after his girls. Bless him, he knew that as sick as I was this morning, there was no chance I could look after her properly, offering my daily doses of cuddles, crafts and general silliness!

Today I am sick  and my Mr is doing what he said he would...being here in sickness and in health. How wonderful is that, how many men make this vow, but how many would stay home to look after their wife and child?

I love that we are so high on his priority list. Of course this how it should be, but it doesn't mean I shouldn't appreciate it. Mr O... you officially got your first shout out!!!!! : )p

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Two are better than one!

"Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up."

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Amen to that!

Friday, 12 March 2010

Sweet Mother...

I'm not one for being told when to appreciate my loved ones and when to buy them gifts. I often scowl at the fuss made over valentines day and hate how as soon as halloween is over, the shops are stocked with 'hohoho'...

When it comes to Mothers' day, I feel slightly differently. My Mum L.O.V.E.S Mothers' day, loves making demands of us and generally being waited on hand and foot. lol And why not, she truly deserve it!

This weekend, I will be spending time with her and showing her how much we appreciate her! Therefore, no posts from me till next week!
Image: RougeAmour

I thought it'd be nice to share the lyrics from a song well known to many Africans, worldwide - it's Sweet Mother. I love how everyone grabs their Mum to dance when it comes on at weddings! Its just great and speaks so much truth - 'when I'm not sleeping, you don't sleep; when I'm hungry, she runs all over the place looking for food for me'... it goes on and is a great song!!!

Check it out:
Sweet Mother - Video
Sweet Mother - Lyrics

Mrs O

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Wedding Stress to Wedding Bliss

There are times when you everything about wedding plan seems to suck! Never mind the cute little details, you're too busy figuring out if the Government will allow you to get married, in which church, which reception venue and caterer to book and that's if you haven't already started rowing with your fiance and questioning if you're ready to marry altogether! Breathe!
Image: twirlboutique

It's understandable to feel overwhelmed and kind of like you 'just can't be bothered'! Event planning is a challenge at the best of times, but throw family politics into the equation, a dash of decision-making, a splash of other peoples' opinions and questions and a handful of trying to organise fittings/tastings/viewings around a 9-5 job...well it's a recipe for disaster really! That's why you gotta keep up your spirits! 

Here are a few tips for this stage: 

Communicate with your FiancĂ©: who better to talk to than your Mr Bride aka Groom

Let it all out to your Maid of Honour or your Mum: That's what they're there for right?

Join a wedding forum: Why seek support from strangers? Well, sometimes you don't want to tell your potential guests all the pitfalls ahead of the day?! Its nice for them to just enjoy the magic that you'll end up creating, no? Also, in general, sometimes its easier to talk to strangers, the bonus here is that you have a shared experience and probably lots of things in common! Newlyweds and 'marrieds' are your best source of information in my book and they are all too eager to share their experiences. Try YAYWweddingbee or hitched.

Hit the gym: Doing something physical will help release the tension!

Go for a massage: too broke from saving for the wedding you couldn't care less about right now!? Find your local beauty college, they usually have a salon where the students 'practice' on real people... it's got to be worth a try? They're not allowed to practice on the public unless they're good enough, so save yourself some ££££ Try London College of Beauty Therapy.

Better still, let Mr Bride do the will be a great bonding activity for you even if he's not very good at it to start with! : )

Take Time Out: Avoid anything wedding related at least until you feel better and more positive! How much can change over a few days/weeks anyway...?

Realise that it's your partner/marriage that is important and not the 'wedding': of course you know this deep down, but all the wedding mags, chats with unmarried folk are likely to go to your head a bit! Just remember this one point and suddenly, the difference between ''cerulean' and 'iris' blue becomes far less crucial to your future happiness!

Mrs O

Wordless Wednesday

I got this idea from a fellow blogger -

On Wednesdays I'm just going to post a photo. It means that on those weeks that I don't fancy blogging, then I will always post at least one thing a week - even if it is just a photo! woo hoo!

For me, a picture tells a thousands words and because I'm not going to add any words, it will be open to your interpretation.

It'd would be great top hear your interpretations via the comments box!


Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Coping with the loss of a Father

Sad topic today. 

I literally have just found out that a friend of mine has lost their Father. I'm 'gutted' for want  of a better word. The sun is shining gloriously here today and when I saw my friend's name in my inbox, I smiled. Then I cried. I too lost my Father nearly three years ago and it still feels like yesterday in many ways...but in other ways it feels like something that happened a long time ago, or to someone else. It's strange.
I thought I'd just share some of my personal tips for dealing with the loss of a close family member, in the short and long term and also one how to help someone else through such a time. I emailed this to my friend, but thought, there are bound to be others who will be going through the same/similar right now.

Immediate Issues

Shock - Even when someone is ill, it is still a shock when they're not here any more. All I can say is that, it will pass, I promise. You will come to terms with it, even if not now.

Denial - this can't be real. You sometimes thinks its a dream and that you'll wake up and everything will be as it was before. Again, this is a stage of grief, you will make it through the other side.

It's ok to cry - of course it. You just lost your Father - you've known him your whole life (hopefully). Fine, it has to happen to everyone at some point, BUT this is a big deal, you're not being a baby for crying - even if it's in front of your entire family, in the supermarket when you pop out to get milk or wherever! Cry it out, whether alone or with your family. Let the tears out!

Well-wishers and Sympathisers - It must be hard being a well-wisher. You want to let people know that you're thinking of them, and that you care, but you don't want to get in the way. They may well end up getting in your way, serving them drinks and possibly even food, but just know that they're there because they care. Its a testament to how much you and your family are loved.

Being a pillar for others - I know that when my Father passed, I tried SO hard to be strong for my Mother. I figured the whole thing must be worse for her and that I should be a pillar of strength. I did try, but it was really hard. Eventually, one evening, after a week of smiling, serving drinks to well-wishers and generally being 'supportive', I broke down into a huge mess. I wished I had just cried it out with my MOther and brothers and sisters in the first place. You guys will have known him best, and will all be hurting. Who better to grieve with? 

Finding a pillar of your own - You need someone to support you and just you. Your closest family, named above will be as overwhelmed as you by the whole thing. Even if you're usually the 'strong' one in the family, you still need a pillar of your own. I think this tips applies to men more so than women. Women usually have a support network for emotional crises, but men tend to soldier on and rarely have in place key people to talk to. Now is the time to find them. Whether that be a partner, a friend or even a counsellor, you need somebody who is there for YOU.

The Funeral - This is really a point of closure and a chance to say a formal goodbye. Often, people go into auto-pilot during the time between the passing and the funeral. In the Sierra Leonean culture, this is heavily encouraged and people say 'you must grieve after the funeral, there is no time now, there are things to do!'. Everyone will have an opinion on this. At the time of my Father's passing, I thought 'to hell with you, I'm sad now!' but now, I can see the point. When you're caught up in it all though, being rational is the last thing on your mind.
In some cultures, the funeral takes place soon after the person has passed. In others it can take weeks! If it's all going to happen quickly, just figure out a way to get through the whirlwind - using your support pillars. The hardcore grieving will come later when you can sit down without all the well wishers, and reflect. If you've a long wait, this can be particularly hard. Again, you will get through it. 

In the Long-Term

Shoulda woulda coulda - Of course, there'll be things that you wish you shouldawouldacoulda, but please don't beat yourself up. We can only seek to learn from our experiences and be thankful that you knew him. It may not be much consolation, but sadly, not everybody gets the chance to know their Father. You're actually really lucky.

Integrating the loss - In my humble opinion, one never 'gets over' a loss like this. I think you have to slowly come to terms with not being able to talk to your Father, not being able to see him and not being able to ask him random questions, that only he would know the answer to. Its not easy, but you can integrate this chapter into your life. This is something that has happened, you will continue to live, and will laugh, smile and dance again - in the knowledge that you are still his child and that his memory lives on in your heart.

Helping others who've lost someone - This really is hard too. You're not sure what to say. You're not sure how to act. Do you carry on as normal and hope that if your friend/partner needs to talk then they will? Do you probe them with questions to help them talk about what has happened? Do you stay away all together because it's too hard to deal with. 

My advice, having been on both side of things, is simply to 'be there', if you're emotionally there and available, then if they want to talk, they have the opportunity. If they don't, you can assist them with arrangements and try to help them in other ways. 

Equally, try not to smother them though, I'm sure they'll be 'ok' going to the toilet alone! Just 'be' there for them when they want you there. If they tell you to 'go away', it's probably because they want you to! Hopefully you have a strong enough relationship that they wouldn't tell you to 'go away' because they don't want to burden you. Either way, stay close, they could easily change their mind.

The grieving is not going to end when the funeral does. Continue to 'be' there for them.

A final note from my Mother : )

 'you will cope, because you have to'. 

She has used this expression in so many contexts, yet it always seems to fit. You will cope, because you have to. If you feel you can't, this is the perfect time to surrender the situation to Christ. Here are a few Bible verses that you may find helpful:

But he told me: "My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak." So I will brag even more about my weaknesses in order that Christ's power will live in me...It's clear that when I'm weak, I'm strong. 
2 Corinthians 12.-9-10

Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. 
Matthew 11:28

pensando en usted Rafa
Mrs O

Monday, 8 March 2010

Lessons from my Aunty A

Last year, I asked my Aunty A  to give me some advice ahead of our wedding and the start of our marriage. She didn't disappoint. Here it is:
Image: RougeAmour

"Wow! Advise and wisdom on marriage! I can go for hours. The major of all majors is to have God in the center of the marriage, which you already know. It goes beyond attending Church. It includes accepting Christ as your Lord and Saviour. That will help you and 'Mr O' to pray together and study the Bible together and be obedient to what you read in the Bible. The Bible gives you all the advise you need. It will teach you to:
Prioritize your relationships: This is VERY crucial!!!!!! If you miss this order of priority, your marriage will be one stressful life of arguments and strife. The Bible will teach you BOTH the following order of priority

1.God - You obviously know that God is # 1

2.Husband/Wife -1st priority-To please each other. Your children should not take priority over Mr O
Image: RougeAmour

3.Children - When parents are fine their children just fall in line.They grow up with love & confidence

Image: RougeAmour

4.Jobs - Don't ignore the upbringing of your children because of your job/career. It is a bad investment

5.Parents - Cannot take precedence over God or Mr O. (See next paragraph)
Image: RougeAmour

6.Others- Cannot take precedence over God or Mr O. (See next paragraph)
Parents/Others - This is a problem, especially for those of us with African descent, it is difficult to cut the apron strings sometimes but you need to do so. As you both get married you and Mr O take precedence over your parents / sisters / cousins/ aunts / grandmother's sister-in-law's cousin twice removed / college friends/ room mates/ workmates/ best buddies since kindergarten and the whole world. 


This means that the decisions you and Mr O make take precedence over whatever any of these people decide. You can respectfully listen to what they have to say and ponder it over with Mr O and then you both decide on which way to go. But you cannot just take what they say and go from there without talking to Mr O.

7. Respect each other - Watch how you speak to Mr O. Don't embarrass him in front of people or in front of his children. Don't speak to him as if he is your 'house boy'. The Bible teaches us that men love their ego stroked. If you do that, he will eat out of the palm of  your hand.

Image: RougeAmour

 8. Sex - You cannot be tired or have a headache every night. You got to give it up! The Bible tells us that we cannot withhold our bodies from our spouses. Don't withhold your body from him because he forgot to stop by the grocery store on the way home like you asked him to do. You got to have sex. 

Image: Sir Shadow

Make sure you do not wear yourself out during the day and save energy for sex. You got to do it whether you are 24 or 34 or 54 years old. Your husband has body fluids that God created him with and he has to get rid off it from time to time. God created you to be part of this process and it is good for you. 

Image: Brian Orion

So sex is not something that is a by-product of a marriage. It is not something you do out of obligation; it is not disgusting and it should not be used as a means of punishment. It is a beautiful thing that God made to be a part of a marriage. The Bible says that the marriage bed is undefiled."

I am really grateful for these words of wisdom. Friends are always eager to give advice and it's easy to speculate 'I would...' or 'I cant believe...'. I can't deny doing this myself! Whilst our friends always mean well and are great for emotional support, for me there's nothing quite like the voice of experience. When it comes to finding solutions or avoiding problems altogether! I always find it most useful to hear from those who have gone before me... who have learnt from their own mistakes and frankly who know a little bit more about the subjects of love, sex and marriage! I look forward to my Aunty's next lesson, which she told me would cover 'communication, vexation, finance and unrealistic goals and expectations'...

Ooooh I kind of like the idea of this, 'Lessons from Aunty...' ... ; )P

Mrs O

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Nice Stuff Shop 1

A few years ago, I went on  a weekend away with my Mum and sister to Belgium. We took the Eurostar, and on the train, we started chatting. I'm not really sure how the conversation started, but at some point I said 'I'd love to own a shop - called 'Nice Stuff Shop', I'd only sell really REALLY nice stuff!'...

I often come across little secret (and some not so secret) finds, and I always say 'I would SO have that in my 'Nice Stuff Shop'. The thing with me is that I'm into so many different things and am still trying to figure out what I am MOST interested in (and good at) before immersing myself in it completely!

With 'Nice Stuff Shop' in mind, I thought I'd share with you a totally awesome Canadian-born (raised in Wiltshire) artisan - Pippa Small. She's a woman after my own heart...both being an anthropologist and a jewellery designer.. so she's kind of like me - but just completely fabulous! See my earlier post on making my own bridal jewellery : ) ...I digress...

Each piece of Pippa's is unique and makes a statement on its own. Even more amazing, is that Pippa works with various projects worldwide, helping communities such as the Kuna Indians in Panama, to rediscover their ancestors jewellery work and often ways of life. I told you she was fabulous! You just can't get better than ethical jewellery, right? 

Her jewellery is featuring this weekend at Paris' Fashion Week. So, if you happen to be reading this on the metro in Paris...pop along to Hotel de Crillon, 10 Place de la Concorde, 75008 to check her jewels out for yourself. I'm just gutted that we're not going to Paris until May! sigh, I shall plan better next year. I think her collection absolutely stunning, it's vibrant, it's elegant and it's fun. I would love to own a piece [ahum..Mr O]...or just have it on display in my 'Nice Stuff Shop' so that I could gaze at it all day long...that is if and when I own such a shop!

Tell me this peacock necklace is not A-MAZING! 

These amethyst cufflinks make me wanna go out and buy a whole new work wardrobe!

For now, I'll admire from afar...sigh... 

If you fancy a little fix of fabulous, head down to Pippa's shop at 
11 Colville Mews 
(off Lonsdale Rd)
London town
W11 2DA. 

Or you could even shop online 


Mrs O

Friday, 5 March 2010

Stand still...

'Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God.'

Job 37:14

How very powerful is this Bible verse. Wherever you are, whatever we're doing, there is no point where if we stand still, even just for a moment, we will not be able to witness first-hand the wonders of God. Whether it's a bird flying high in the sky, a mother cradling a newborn while at coffee with a fellow yummy mummy, or even the very fact that we're actually able to stand... and to think and make a judgement.

Without getting philosophical about it all, this Bible verse alone is definitely worthy of daily consideration. 

Simply, I love it.


Mrs O

Thursday, 4 March 2010


...two young people falling in love with their house...

This couple are BEYOND  inspirational! Sherry and John bought a house,

hosted their own wedding for $3995.. 

and then they turned their house into the most stunning home...light and airy, and seamlessly put together! I am totally loving the duckegg blues and caramel palette used in their bedroom! The use of varying textures is divine. For me, it's actually perfect!

I think this is definitely the sort of blog you just have to bookmark! I know I have.

Thank you Sherry and John for sharing your story...

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Delicate Delights - Our Wedding Catering Company

Buffet vs. Plated Service

I had always longed to have a grand 3 or 4 course meal served to our wedding guests and we explored this option as far as possible. Early on my wonderful Mother advised me that

 “African man just want to eat, drink and dance” ...translation...

“Concentrate on the food, drink and music and all will be well” : )

With this in mind, choosing the right caterer was paramount. Being me, I went through a whole range of ideas/options before settling on the usual Afro-stylee buffet. In the end, it came down to the simple fact that:

THE BUFFET = more food, more choice, fewer staff and less money - whereas,
THE PLATED SERVICE = less food, less choice, more staff, less dancefloor space (due to the need for extra space for the servers to walk up and down - technical I know!) and most importantly more money!

There was another option, giving the best of both worlds –a ‘Lazy Susie’. This is a round glass turn-table that sits on top of the actual table; it spins around, allowing guests to serve their own food without leaving their table. Genius huh? This, however, still incurs some of the ‘staffing costs’, as the food still has to be taken to each table….

For us, it was a no-brainer and it worked out ‘delight’fully (see what I did there!). The buffet created a less ‘formal’ and more relaxed atmosphere. I still think it is lovely to treat guests to a plated meal if the benefits outweigh the costs, and I’ll be keeping this in mind for when I host a slightly smaller celebration!

The Menu

Round 1: We served canapĂ©s to our guests – but we didn’t even remember to taste any – having gotten distracted by the steel band when we walked into the foyer!

Round 2: For the main meal, we wanted to reflect both our cultures in menu and so had a combination of savoury rice sticks, jollof rice and waakye (Ghanaian style rice and peas) as our main starch component (gotta love the carbs!). This was accompanied by stews, chicken, fish, amongst other items. It was all beautifully presented. Louise did us incredibly proud!

Image: RougeAmour

Image: RougeAmour

Round 3: After everyone had served the main meal, Delicate Delights cleared the buffet spread away and turned it into a dessert station – fabulous. Can you believe that we didn’t eat any dessert – we were just having too much fun!

Round 4: Later in the evening, some ‘small chops’ were served, included roast beef kebabs and ‘pepper’ chicken – YUM. Again, we didn’t eat this either – but, Delicate Delights packaged a bit of EVERYTHING and had it delivered to our hotel suite. Now that was exactly what we needed at the end of the long day.
Needless to say, nobody went hungry!

So, how did our 230 guests serve themselves without pushing, shoving,  cuts and/or bruises! ? !

Onto logistics…
* Firstly, it helped that our guests had already had something to eat (see Round One). They weren’t starving! Big bonus!

* We had a long buffet table set up to the rear of the dance floor. We had duplicates of each dish, so that guests could serve more quickly. Essentially, it was two identical buffet tables joined together – clever huh!

Image: RougeAmour

* Although we had a buffet, we tried to retain a few elements of the sit down meal, by having table names, designated seats and a table plan. We also laid all the tables with the appropriate crockery, cutlery and glassware – so guests simply served their food and returned with just a plate of deliciousness...

Image: RougeAmour

* Mr O and I were the first to ‘view’ the buffet table; I figured we wouldn’t get a chance to see it otherwise. Dinner was then served for us and the rest of the top table…at which point we decided not to eat! Lol and went round to greet our guests. By the time we took a break to eat, the food was no longer piping hot, but is still DELICIOUS! I might just be asking for the recipe of those rice sticks!

* We also had a fabulous Chairman, who expertly encouraged guests to serve. He did this in an orderly fashion - calling the next table to serve as the preceding one was nearly finished. It helped that we gave him a ‘map’ of the room, with all the table names and their locations on it, so that he knew exactly which table he was calling to go up! There was no mile long queue and lots of guests remarked at how smoothly the whole buffet thing went.

Overall, I’d give the catering a 10 out of 10! There really isn't anything that we would changed! The food was amazing, the presentation was great, the staff were fantastic at clearing tables and assisting with the serving of food. What more could we have asked for? Louise, of Delicate Delights, did an outstanding job and as with most of our vendors, has our highest recommendation!

Image: RougeAmour

Delicate Delights

Mrs O

Monday, 1 March 2010

The Hen Do!

A close friend of mine is getting married soon, and we've been thinking of fun and fabulous ideas for her Hen Do! Just yesterday, I reminisced about my Hen Do! I thought it'd be nice to case you're planning for someone else and need ideas...

My Hen Do - in 30 seconds

…in one word…FANTABULOUS! May I make words up?! I had such a great time, and my bridesmaids did such a great job – a sign of more to come. I’ll probably say this a few times, but they really could rule the world! A Doctor, Journalist, Lawyer and Accountant. I couldn’t have a more skilled team if I paid them! On the morning of the hen do, I had a dress fitting for my wedding day evening outfit (yes, I’m a bit of a diva – it had to be done)! Following this, we arrived at Canary Wharf, where I was blindfolded with my sister’s ever-so-chic purple bandana! : ) 

The Kidnap...

Sexy Penthouse Apartment - ours for the night!

The Cake - sexy huh and VERY Scrummy?

Let the games commence...

...with wedding/film/song related stuffs e.g. 'Father of the Bride', 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' etc...

‘The Perfect Man’. 
We all had to make a different body party from plasticine. Then we had to assemble them into the perfect man.

'Kiss Tyrese'
We each applied red lipstick, were blind-folded and then spun around. We then had to find Tyrese - and smooch him...on the lips! 

'Advice for the Bride...'
I was told 'keep it krispy'; 'don't take any crap'; 'nobody's perfect' and 'always shave your legs!'.

All glammed up

Enter Don Blade...

...ooops, we forgot mum was watching! lol

Dinner time...

Hen Balloon

Fun! Fun!! Fun!!!

All up in the *VIP* ; 0 )P

Thanks Girls!

Mrs O
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