Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Little Miss O says the funniest things...I love your nose!

Me: I love your nose

Little Miss O: Is it soft?

Me: Yes!

Little Miss O: Has it goooooht bogeys?

Me: No!

Little Miss O: Has it gooooooht SNOT!?

Me: No!

Little Miss O: (completely bemused!): Oh...

She's such a character! Why she thinks I would love her nose because of (rather than in spite of) bogeys and snot is beyond me?!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Part iii: Taking care of me!

Taking care of meeee...!

So, I have a system for keeping childcare and home in order, I also have a few things that I do to make my journey to and from work a little easier.. but I also need time for me, right?

Here's what I do:

- I have a restricted work wardrobe. I did a mini spree pre-new job and only bought clothing in 4 colours - navy, black, white and grey. This is now my work uniform. Gone are the days of wasting time thinking ‘hmmm, what shall I wear today’ and ‘oooh, where is that red cardigan that works with the purple dress’ DONE! Now, I just grab key staple pieces from my wardrobe and only have to select an (obligatory) pashmina and some form of jewellery to juj up my outfit...and I’m done. Today, I got dressed in less than 4 minutes! Check me out. Less time faffing = more time sleeping and Lord knows I like my sleep!

- Take my loooong shower at night and my short shower in the morning. I used to do it the other way around but it seems to work much better the new way! 

- Eat breakfast in the car. Genius - though this may possibly be 'against the law'! I'm never hungry when I just wake up. I could easily go until midday without noticing that I haven't eaten. Not good I know. Breakfast is supposedly the most crucial meal of the day, so scoffing an apple, bagel/brioche and sometimes a banana (can you scream foodie!) whilst driving is working well so far. I used to do this too when I worked just 15 minutes from home. I just don't do eating first thing...

- Do my make-up whilst sitting in traffic. Again, this may be ‘illegal’ and I promise I only do it when my car is stationary and secure. Also, I see LOADS of other women who are clearly onto the same thing! It seems strange that car manufacturers don’t put in a magnifying mirror specifically for this purpose! I’m serious - VW take note!!!

- Pop those vitamins and supplements!

- I have also officially decided to run on my lunch-break. I plan to do this twice a week.. we'll see how this goes!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Part ii: The London Commute: Keeping the balls in the air

London driving is just a different experience altogether. Thank God I didn't have to take my test here! Sure sometimes there's a crash/breakdown report that affects my journey BUT whenever my news bulletin alerts me, I just say a little 'Thank you Jesus' that I wasn't involved. It does mean, however, that if I'm in a little later to work sometimes than I might prefer. When that happens then I know I will have to make up my work/time BUT, this is just part and parcel of my choice and so I accept whatever comes with it...

c'est la vie!

Having everything is possible, but not always at the same time (more on this in another post!) - so for now, if the thing that has to give is a ‘commute’, then  I’m OK with it.

- The right equipment: we’re lucky that we have a comfy and mostly reliable car. I have Mr O to thank for that. He’s a ‘boy’ and typically likes gadgets et al. With all the 4-hour drives we used to do just to visit our family, comfort was something he was prepared to pay for - even if I did think some of these items unnecessary at the time!

I have:
* my cup holders - the kind that really hold your drink and not the kind that are just for the sake of having them
* my food tray (though Mr O doesn’t like it when I call it that!)
* all my buttons are on my steering wheel - no fidgeting about!
* my arm rests are in just the right position
* my rear view dimmer (again, I don’t really know what it’s really called, but it just means that other people’s headlights don’t blind me!
* my Tom Tom
* my rain detectors, light detectors, cruise control et al all mean that I don’t have to do a lot - just steer and watch out for nutty London drivers with no obvious fear of oncoming traffic - even buses (sorry, but a bus is bigger than me, so I just let it go; nowhere is so important that I feel the need to drive like a reckless)!!

For me, the commute is doable, but ONLY because it’s comfy. I’m lucky - I know. But if I were commuting by public transport, I’d still try to do as much as possible to make it comfy. Perhaps I’d get on one stop early so that I could grab a seat! I’d definitely tune into my music - anti-social, sure but I feel necessary unless I’m in the mood for eaves-dropping! Then I could also get into a book/paper to pass the time...

I even heard (on the grapevine) recently that if you’re pregnant, you can get a free upgrade to first class on trains by sending them your MATB1 form - just think, bigger seats, air con, no crowds and no stinky armpits in your face!

- practiced several routes to work before I started (in rush hour!), so that if when the fun mayhem begins, I am not stressing about routes whilst being ushered off the motorway by policemen - this actually happened to me on my first week!

- catch up with friends and family during the commute! When I get home, its Mr O and Baby Girl's time, so the commute is coming in handy for maintaining relationships with people I don’t see regularly. I kind of like booking in my phone calls - something nice to look forward to at the end of the day - other than collecting Baby Girl that it...

- the radio is your new best friend. CDs are predictable. Aside from a few exceptions, I don’t get that ‘oh, I love this song!’ feeling anymore. Ipods are a bit better I suppose with shuffle and all, but I have just never really gotten into it. For me, when I’m not gassing on the phone, LBC and Choice keep me company!

I'm new to commuting, so if you've any extra tips - I'm all ears!!!

Next up - taking care of meeee!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Little Miss O says the funniest things...about GodParents!

We were chatting about the family tree display the kids are making at nursery. All the parents had to supply photos. I obviously selected my best shots, which happen to be wedding shots : ) There's no way I am having screw-faced photos for all the parents in our little village to view on a daily basis!

Little Miss O: Aunty T is in my picture

Me: That's right darling, Aunty T is your God Mother

Little Miss O: Does she live with God?

Me: ahaha, no darling

Little Miss O: So why is she called the God Mother then?

Ahahahah so cute!

From Housewife to Commuter Mum!

I mentioned a few weeks back that I was off work for a bit. I was in between jobs and absolutely LOVED being home with baby forward a few weeks and I'm slap bang at the start of my new job.

I have been on the receiving end of: 

'you have child, I didn’t know that... and you commute! But, you’re so on top of things and so well put together!’

It was a back-handed compliment - I think. I just don't believe that because I’m a Mum and I do a parental ‘shift’ every day before and after work, I have a license to resemble a disheveled wreck! Not so - it doesn’t have to be that way, surely?!

I’m no expert on yummy mummy-ness (by a loooong stretch) but I do have a few pearls that I can pass on that help me keep the balls in the air! Lord knows I have struggled with this before - so this time around, I was determined to have a very organised approach..

First set of tips are to do with what I affectionately call ‘The Mummy Shift’’s what I did:

The Mummy Shift

- found great daycare for baby girl and started phasing her back into full-time nursery 4 weeks prior to me starting work. This means that we don't have any 'clingyness' when I have to run and jump in the car and she is excited to go there everyday. This makes leaving her for the day much much easier on me. Little Miss O is not phased at all by being a full-timer again and tells me herself ' I like 'girls time', but I prefer nursery' - can you spell s.o.c.i.a.l.i.t.e - and which 3 year old do you know that says 'prefer'. This my child cracks me up! Love her.

- also organised fantastic and reliable back-up daycare and after-daycare emergency relief for those inevitable times when I'm either stuck in the office or there's a problem on the road etc... you can just never have enough back-up! The day I am stuck is not the day I want to start stressing about my child's care! I have a childminder who lives 300m from the nursery and is on all call 5 days a week. I also have a standby no2 who lives 400m from the nursery. You just can’t buy peace of mind.

- cook for the week on Sunday. My Mum used to do this on Saturdays and this is something that I did during my last job and have continued so far. It's important to me that we eat healthy, balanced meals (well at least more often than not!), and I like cooking. So, I pop a dish or two in the freezer and one in the fridge and that lasts fine for Monday - Thursday. Literally, a couple of minutes to warm up the food, perhaps boil potatoes/pasta and within 15 minutes of getting home, dinner is served on the table. Et Voila! Friday is free for all in our house - take-away, dinner out when £££ permits, left-overs whatever - at that point, the weekend is in sight and I become a different, far less organised version of myself! Eat whatever, stay up late - whatever. In fact, I actively encourage Little Miss O to stay up and play on Friday and Saturday nights; this means lie ins for us in the morning!

- night duty: Pack all bags at night and leave EVERYTHING by the door - but not blocking a escape route in case of fire etc!! No more running around like a nutter looking for my file/baby girls scarf etc in the morning.. I just collect everything that is by the door and we’re off.

So far so good... things are falling into’s happy days. Baby girl and I are up and ready and we usually get snuggle/TV/story/play time before we head out for nursery and the same again in the evening after dinner...

Next up ‘The London Commute!’

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Little Miss O says the funniest things...I love you more

Little Miss O: I want you to take me to bed

Me: No, darling. Daddy's taking you to bed tonight

Little Miss O: ...but I love you more!

Me (whispering): Aww, no you don't. Don't say that, Daddy will be sad...

Mr O: What did she say?... she loves you more?!

Me: No no no baby, she didn't say that!

Little Miss O: Yes I did!


I don't know what the world would be like if we were all as honest as little people are!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Blast from the past...

With all the Whitney news, it's got be thinking about the music that I used to listen to - back in the day...

The 'Now' albums... the Kiss albums....Smash Hits, Top of the Pop's magazine - darn it, Top of the Pops even.

Here are some of the songs that would definitely feature in 'my life - the movie' soundtrack circa teenage years - don't judge me!!!

At one point I had posters of these guys ALL over my bedroom walls, ceiling - everywhere!

This song would feature intermittently over the years

We all sang this, right?

And this?

Garage - the theme tune to many top nights out, but allegedly the cause of much bad behaviour...?!

You know what is scary, 3 of the people in these videos are no longer with us... S.C.A.R.Y!

 R.I.P Aaliyah, Left Eye and Stephen Gately!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Little Miss O says the funniest things: model or teenager dilemma?!

Me: Look how tall you are! You're only 3! Beautiful- hmm maybe you could be a model?

Little Miss O: OR a teenager... 

Clearly, we're setting aspirations high in our household! 

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Valentines Day Rant - Scrooge much?!

Year after year, I'm becoming more and  more of a Scrooge when it comes to Valentine's Day. Little Miss O said it herself: 

"... I don't like Valentine's's not fun. Chinese New Year is fun, Christmas is fun, Daddy's birthday is fun, but Valentine's Day is NOT fun!

I have to say, regardless of whether or not it's 'fun' - I just don't like what the whole concept has become. SO COMMERCIALISED and even when you hand-craft things, it still feels, dare I say, 'forced'! I mean 1 Corinthians 13 didn't mention flowers?! 

It's ironic, because I am generally all about the love, the passion, the fire yada yada yada..I'm totally pro-appreciation BUT I hate the idea of feeling obliged to do things. I guess you could call it a pet peeve. I hate that I'm expected to have some amazing story of all the things my Husband has done/bought to show his appreciation and love for me. Eugh!

I overheard someone say yesterday: 

"If you think someone's going to get you a card, you should get them one too - otherwise they might feel bad"

I'm not being funny but I hoped she wasn't serious! I really REALLY would not to get anything from someone who didn't really REALLY want to give it to me. Period.

Gosh, I am a Scrooge aren't I!?!

I've endured enjoyed a whole host of Valentine's Day 'celebrations', including trying to 'out-canoodle' another couple at V-Day dinner. Food was good, great company (Mr O) but being surrounding with other couples all whispering sweet nothings was not for us - so we decided to just mess with the situation. It was funny - we won! Another year, Mr O converted our lounge into some form of boudoir(!) and that was fun - until things got frisky and we set fire to a cushion! Not so fun! It was a nice cushion...

I digress...

So, having experienced such  V-Day treats, I have no problem with people showing love on V-Day. V-Day is as good a day as any other for making changes and showing the love BUT I can't help but feel a twinge of hypocrisy about the situation. Do we really need to be reminded and bombarded with advertising to treat our women and men well? 

Sorry but I just don't buy it.

For me, it's the thought and the thought alone that counts. The fact that Mr O makes the effort and time to do that he thinks  I would like. I appreciate that. To be honest, I probably appreciate it more when it's not Valentine's Day and certainly wouldn't be bothered if I didn't get a card today.

As it happens, I did receive a card today, but I didn't get it until this evening and the timing of receipt had no bearing on how much I loved the words.

And just in case Mr O reads this (which he doesn't much!), Baby, I did appreciate the previous 7 years worth of meals, chocolates, flowers, candles, oils et al - even if I dis them here! lol Of course I also love 2012s glittery red card (you know I love uber-sparkly objects which can stay up on my pinboard without screaming 'V-Day is over, take me down!') and the box of Lily O'Brien chocolates. Yum. Thank you boo.

I am grateful, honest. But I would have been just as grateful last week...and if you get me the same choccies next week, I promise to be doubly thankful!

Much love on Valentine's Day (for free but with time and effort)

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Whitney : (

Wow - what news.

I'm sure everyone has heard by now that Whitney Houston has died. I am sure the tech savvy have updated their facebook statuses and tweeted about how the news has made them feel.

For me, the 140 character limit (or whatever it is) on Twitter just wouldn't suffice. I updated my facebook status, but I actually feel compelled to share more on how the news makes me feel.

My first reaction was 'Oh God, be with the family'. To us, Whitney was an icon, a legend. But to her family, she was a Mother, a God-daughter, a friend. I have lost people close to me and I cannot imagine how much more intense it must to be to grieve in public. To crave for quiet time, when the world is in a frenzy and wants to talk, and write and speculate, when all you need is peace in your heart. I just guess it must be really hard. That was my first thought. The same as when Princess Diana died - I thought of her sons - who were the same age as me and had lost their Mum. The same as when MJ died, I thought of his kids (biological or not, MJ was their 'Daddy').

My second reaction was 'she was so young!' 48! I grew up listening to her, I own her albums. I have her greatest hits and I know all the words. I was sad about MJ because he made a BIG mark on music, and I loved his music, and I also owned his 'Number One's' album...but I can't say I knew all the words. With Whitney it's was different. If I could only listen to one artist for the rest of my life - it would be Whitney. The fact that the Greatest Hits album is divided into 'throw down' and 'cool down' explains why. She had a song for every emotion. She had the words and the voice.

My third reaction was 'the memories'. I grew up listening to Whitney, just like I grew up listening to MJ and the Beatles (thanks Dad), Mariah, Beyonce, Usher (and Shaggy - but that's a different story!). These are the people that I have heard about since I can remember. These are the people whose lyrics I always return to. I have two very special and old friends (I call them the originals), who I hold near and dear. At school, practically all day, every day, we would sing. In class, at lunch, on the field, at people's house parties. We used to arrange to sneak out of lessons to listen to our walkman and sing. Yes, I said 'walkman' - the ones with a cassette that you had to turn over to get to the B side! We sang Whitney, we sang Mariah and these artists were always in our playlists! Whenever I do karaoke, I know what my song is: I wanna dance with somebody. I love that bit at the end where she says 'heeeeeeeeaT'. I LOVE it. I just feel saddened that Whitney had such an amazing career and was SO inspirational to SO many people the world over. I'd hate for her to be remembered for the wrong things.

Life is life and these things happen, sure - but when God blesses us with such a talent and gives us a bank load of phrases to draw on throughout our lives - there just has to be a moment of pause.

'I hope life treats you kind, and I hope you have all you dreamed of, and I wish to you - joy and happiness, but above all this I wish you love'

That is just such a deep line people.

'It's your fault you didn't love him enough; that's the problem, I loved him too much'

Again - if you've been there and you get it - these words cut deep

'Could I have this kiss forever?' - that really gets me! So many times I have wished the kiss would last forever....seriously!

'If you say my eye are beautiful, it's because they're looking at you!' - this just gets me because I believe that.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

'It's not right, but it's OK'

'Each day I live, I want to be, a day to give, the best of me. I'm only one but not alone, my finest day is yet unknown'

'There can be miracles, when you believe'

We can only hope and pray eh? 

Anyway, I am sure there are tonnes of tribute posts to Whitney rolling out today, so I wont continue on here. Just to say, my heart goes out to her family and to the families of other people who have lost a loved one at this time and who will inevitably be surrounded by images of grief/tribute even if it's not of their loved one. I pray that God gives all those that need it a shoulder. Well, the shoulder is always there, but I hope that he opens up their hearts so they can use it!

I am so grateful for the memories that I have and I the mark that Whitney's voice has left on my soul. Sounds cheesy, but it's true. I really regret that there will be no more from Whitney.


Saturday, 11 February 2012

Can black people really be well spoken?

How many of us have been on the receiving end of such comments?

I know I have. Man, if I had just £1 for every time someone gave me the look of 'goodness, I wasn't expecting that'...

Now, I'm not saying I've never judged a book by its cover, but when it happens to you a lot, it becomes tedious. Most recently, I jumped in a taxi and said 'thanks for waiting for me' [I run on 'BMT']...the driver turned around shocked and said

'I'm not being funny but it's not often you meet a black girl who is so polite - most of the time I just get rudeness!'

Yikes! I wanted to stick up for my 'sistas' BUT, I can't deny there are a lot of 'feisty' black girls out there. But if you look closely, feisty girls really do come in all shapes, colours and sizes! I prefer to think of it as being passionate, a fire perhaps, I guess you could call it 'sass'...

Now, on this occasion, I just smiled and said 'thank you', after all I didn't want to prove him right by saying by playing the 'but are you being racist?' card! He was merely making an observation and it's a shame that he had to be surprised by me being plain courteous. I wasn't even over-apologetic of anything.

Have you ever been on the receiving end of such comments?

Thank you cousin Dre for sharing this with me - yonks ago and inspiring my post!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Children put the fun into snowdays!

Little Miss O and I attempt a jump-shot , ANTM style!

Mr O luring Little Miss O in for a nasty surprise! 'Hey, come and look at these' 


I'm not playing anymore! 

Meanwhile - look what I did - my BIGGEST snowman ever!!

 And then along comes Mr O!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Addiction: For the love of Palmer's cocoa butter!

I am an addict - there I said it. And this is my poison... cocoa!
More than chocolate, I absolutely love cocoa butter, I won't even lie. I should tell you actually, I was waaaay ahead of Vaseline and could often found in the P.E. changing rooms at school, mixing lumps of cocoa butter into my little vaseline pot. Purleese! Y I've been slapping that stuff onto my lips for yonks - and Mr O can testify that the results speak for themselves. 

Now, I did try mixing up a cocoa butter moisturiser once. That was an interesting experience. I bought a couple of blocks of pure, raw cocoa butter straight from Kaneshie market in Accra, Ghana....but it just took so  long to melt that I gave up and just used it in its natural state. When I applied it straight to my skin, I found that it was greasy, a bit impractical to carry round and I wasn't really feeling that 'shiny' look. If you've had a better experience with cocoa butter, let me know how you used it please!
I had never set eyes on cocoa before, despite 10 years of using it on my skin and about 20 years of eating it!  
I was eager to bring one back home to the UK to show Little Miss O where her special ezcema cream came from. (That's right, only cocoa butter gave her relief from the itch!) of the many ironies of 'medicine'!
Since the big chop in 2009, I've generally tried to keep my use of store bought products to a minimum. I've just become more aware of my hair and skin and what I put on it. I still use some store bought products (it can be hard not to sometimes) but I try to choose paraben-free products or just to mix up my own. 

When I don't mix my own, I'm very very choosy. In fact, I'm the girl that takes an hour in the shop reading all the labels before deciding that none of the products is good enough to touch my skin...or Little Miss O's skin for that matter and you know what, there is only one brand of cocoa butter that I let touch my's paraben free and I just have to tell you all about it, just in case you've been living under a rock for a while and are still using what I affectionately term an 'imposter' (or 'bootleg') version?!!!?

But despite this experience, I still love and use cocoa butter - at least 4 times a day I should add! Like I said, I'm addicted. I always have been. Now I've discovered that my fave brand has lots of new products in their range... 

I feel a 'Cocoa butter bust cream' review post brewing... or perhaps Mr O can write a guest post reviewing their 'man friendly' products...

Oh the possibilities...


Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Hair Inspiration: For Mothers and Daughters

I'm not sure where I stumbled across this photo but I loved it enough to save it... It makes me think of Little Miss O and I in 2 years perhaps... Now that would be some impressive hair growth on my part... better get working on it!

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