Lovely, lovely, Livia.

This post is dedicated to my friend Livia.

I have known Livia since I was 11 years old and we were in the same form group- the B’s.  I can’t remember exactly how I became friends with her at school but we did. We lived close to each other in Islington, and I remember visiting her lovely parent’s house; having a crush on her cousin; us going to the cinema; sleeping at her house; her cutting the knots out of my hair and then under my encouragement, cutting my very long hair to my chin! How her parents didn’t kill her with the amount of hair in the bathroom I don’t know.

A very promising friendship. But as the story goes- we fell out, I took a book of hers and denied taking it. I can’t even remember why but probably because I envied her and the book. I have always thought Livia pretty and remember watching her blow dry with ease her gorgeous bitter chocolate hair; later as a teenager when I first saw her with make up on I remember how grown up and sophisticated she looked.  We went on a school trip to Belgium and with a confidence that would not dim with age, from the start she was talking to the boys on the coach, at an age when we would all giggle hysterically about anything to do with the opposite sex. She stayed in touch with those boys and I believe they visited her in the UK when she was 18.

Many years passed as we went our separate ways to different colleges (hers I now work in occasionally) and on to university. In 2009 I moved to Finsbury Park and I had a housewarming. Livia came to that party and it was as if all those years had melted away. We became fast friends again and her friendship is truly very special. I say this because Livia is one of the most giving women I know; she is naturally optimistic and filled with ideas, plans and energy. Anyone that gets to know her will recognise that she is very easy to be around and easy to talk to. She is also a very gifted cook; artist and photographer; and she never stops encouraging people to be the best they can be. 
Livia is a Gemini and I have always got on well with Gemini’s, we have in common a lively intellect and a need to challenge to the norms; we’re both open and love talking. I love the fact that even if I don’t see her for a month or two at a time, when we meet, it is as if I saw her yesterday- because she truly listens. I write this post because I cannot underestimate how important it is to recognise those that enrich our lives with their friendship, time and love. So today I am thankful for Livia: thank you for being you.

And I set you a challenge: Who in your life do you want to say a huge thank you to? In the next 24 hours tell them. It can be as simple as a text or you could send them a card/ letter/ postcard. Whatever it is, they will be thankful! (Livia will understand why I wrote a blog post). Tell them how they make your life great! I look forward to hearing about it.

If you are now intrigued about Livia, you can check out her artwork here:

Feeling the fear and doing it anyway

I started a job application this evening which I found quite difficult to do. As I am in a reflective mood, I had a think about what was really bothering me about the application. I realised that it was not the tedium of doing the form, but the potential change I was welcoming into my life that was making me feel very uncomfortable. I detest change, hence I am stuck in a rut in several areas of my life. I googled ‘fear of change’ and read several articles which illustrated that fear of change is actually fear of being criticised, of success and so on. I continued reading until I came across a New Year’s resolution worksheet, where you plan to start your resolution in February. I recognised some of the methods in the worksheet and decided to apply it to my goal of going to Brazil:

GOAL: I want to go to Brazil in September 2012.

WHY: I want to go to see this country which really interests me and to challenge one of my biggest fears.

HOW TO STAY STRONG: I will remind myself of this by putting up lots of fun and interesting pictures of Brazil in places where I can see them; and by doing lots of research.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I DON’T ACHIEVE THIS GOAL: If I don’t go, I will be stuck in the UK, not having any new, life changing experiences; listening and reading about others adventures. I also will not have given myself the best gift ever for my 30thbirthday!


  • Save at least £1250 to pay for my airfare and spending money
  • Register with Workaway in February and start applying for placements
  • Start learning Portuguese.

MY NEXT STEP: To collect language resources from Mike.

WHO DO I HAVE TO BE TO DO THIS GOAL: Strong in my purpose, willing to take a risk and more importantly willing to embrace change.

HOW WILL I CREATE ACCOUNTABILITY: I will tell even more people about wanting to go to Brazil; and when I feel more confident, by May I will tell my work. I am creating further accountability by posting this here where I know Hattie and Keith will read it. Please use this position of authority!
I hope that I manage to achieve this goal and recommend that anyone that wants to achieve something use the worksheet as I did; it prompted me to remember why I want to go to Brazil.
Thankfulness today: I am incredibly thankful for Danielle’s generosity. As a Christmas present she bought me a morning in a beauty salon in Chingford, my nails are done a fabulous orange, my toes a sultry carmine and my tense shoulders eased and rubbed

Day 123

Blogging each day becomes harder and harder, but I will quickly surmise my thankfulness from last week:
I am thankful for Devina and her friendship when we met for a chat and some Wagamama’s. I had precious sleep during the week so it was really great to finally sleep well on Saturday night. I had a really nice Sunday, I met with friends for breakfast, followed by book shop browsing on Blackstock road. I finally did some overdue washing and then sat in bed reading for the afternoon and evening, burying myself in yet another fantasy novel.
I had a lovely surprise in the shape of Keith Riglin being at work today; I also had a nice little chat in Lidl with the check out guy Rahaun- who loves all types of films and told me that he wants to see the film ‘The Artist’ and that horror films are very predictable. This ticks one of my Try Something New revolution– more about that later. 

I received a few texts from Gambia today and the clear sky and stars in the sky on the way home were a portent for my phone call to Gambia- the line was crystal clear. This was followed by a nice evening in with Magda. So blue monday ends better than it started. 

A week of thankfulness

It is a week since I last blogged, I kept meaning to write but felt knackered; and of course the more I put it off, the harder it was to find the time to write.

I have been recording my thanks at home, on a lovely Erte calendar my younger sister got me for Christmas. So here is my update:

Friday: Thankful for the great conversation with friends old & new after seeing my first viewing of feminist porn. I was grateful also for the artists that seek to push boundaries and show that there is more than one view of sexuality.

Saturday: I arose unexpectedly early that morning and decided to enjoy the peace and warmth of my bed with a cup of tea and a book I had ordered as Christmas reading called ‘The Belly of the Atlantic’. Translated from French it tells the story of a young Senegalese woman torn between her life in France and in Africa, through the life and dreams of her younger brother Madicke. I devoured it in several hours and recommend it.

Sunday: This was the 15th birthday of my twin sisters. I had long imagined this birthday as I am exactly 15 years older than them and used to think incredulously of this day as it would mean that I would be 30! And 30 seemo old then; it seems rather grown up to me now. I had a lovely afternoon and evening hanging out with one twin and my mum and learnt of the sweetness of unasked for kiss from the other twin sister. I do not take affection from any of my siblings for granted, they are all growing up so fast and like a parent, I fear the day that they will be all grown up and flee the nest.

Monday: A taxing afternoon in school, ameliorated by excellent fish and chips on the way home! I spoke to my Dad that evening, the first time for this year, it was nice to hear from him and reconfirmed to me that I am lucky to have him in my life. Later on at home, I rediscovered the pleasure of making something from scratch as I made a fresh carbonara for the first time.

Tuesday: I finally made the decision thanks to Livia’s advice and ordered a new camera! My old one had been stolen and I had dithered for weeks until Livia’ august advice forced me to make a purchase. I received a rather lovely text later that day from Keith, my favourite Vicar at work; attached was a lovely picture of myself and my boss Ed, at the work Christmas party. Finally, I started the fantasy novel ‘A Game of Thrones’ at New Year but was unable to immerse myself in its pages- until now.

Today: Well my camera arrived in excellent time this morning, it is absolutely tiny but I am sure it will give me another 6 years of joy and stunning photos. Watch this space! I continue to bury myself in ‘A Game of Throne’s, I can see myself seeking out the other two in the series rather soon given the rate I am reading!

Today is a good day.

Thought I’d write while I am excited and pleased- I have finally got the date finalised for the next Urban Mashup, which is my big fundraiser for B.A.C.E (Gambia). The last one was a huge success with me exceeding my fundraising target so I am aiming high this year. Get the 7th of April in the diary! Thank you Dece at the Rhum Jungle!
Also a friend just sent me an email introducing me to someone that might be able to help me set up a project at a local 6th form. And Ed is cooking me tea. And my lovelife may not be as desolate as I think. Mere conjecture at this point but its enough to make me feel good!

Is this what happiness feels like?

Feminist book club- better than a date?!

Yet another fantastic evening at Feminist book club, we were discussing The Myth of Mars and Venus, a very interesting read which dispels the myths that women talk more than men; men are more direct in their language, amongst other myths. There were lots of new members today, the table I reserved at Drink, Shop, Do was quickly submerged as more and more people arrived. I do love DSD but as it gets more popular, it gets more lively which makes it less suited to our purpose.

I came home full of the evening, telling Magda about the various debates, the lack of takers for the feminist porn on friday by the newbies and as I spoke with genuine enthusiasm, I was reminded of the excited debrief you have with friends after a date. Feminist book club is one of the more exciting things that I do and initially I thought it couldn’t be more exciting than a date (I haven’t been on a date for a while) . Then I remembered all the boring dates I’ve been on; where I’ve had to carry the conversation and looked for a spark of intellectual commonality and suddenly FBC with all its consistently interesting, lively debating, genuine questioning is better than many dates I’ve been on.

So thank you for FBC and the many lively minds and friends that come along- Livia & Doerthe being the pleasant surprise guests this evening.

So Monday was swings and roundabouts but today I was was cheered up by a funny text from Hannah this morning; and also from several positive responses to an email I’d sent asking for donations of children’s clothes for Gambia.

I had a little chat with the lovely Ivana in the afternoon which raised my spirits, Ivana is one of life’s human pick me ups, always positive and willing to help out anyway she can. Thank you for Ivana and people that want to support you.

Finally this evening someone from school emailed me about Gambia: ‘I think what your doing is wicked btw! Its one of those things a lot of people think about/talk about wanting to do but are never passionate enough to actually do something about it!’. This made me smile and here is to me doing more things that I have so far just thought about but will become reality this year.

Le weekend

On Friday I was pleased that Charlotte came to back to work, it was nice to catch up and hear about her Christmas.  I am lucky that I work with colleagues that I consider friends.
Saturday I went to reggae aerobics with Magda, Hattie and Jo- and boy did that
class put us all through our paces. The instructor clearly believes in ‘picking it up as you go along’ as there was little instruction as she moved at what felt like a rapid pace through the dancehall moves. The music was an absolute joy, felt like being in a club except having to dance at a much faster tempo, sweating a large amount and forgetting which way to turn! However i’m hopeful that I will have mastered enough moves to pull them out at the Urban Mashup fundraiser. Maybe the girls and I can put on a performance?!
I was grateful that the ladies joined me as I know that the social aspect of seeing them was a massive motivating factor. 

Later that day, Sam and I went to the cinema to see the Iron Lady. We both enjoyed it despite its clear sympathy for Thatcher, but felt that more could have been done with the storyline; there was no development or scrutiny of any part of her life, instead it was as Sam said ‘the Meryl Streep show’. Sam and I then walked to Highbury and ended up chatting in Macdonalds for a few hours, much to the delight of the local teenagers, who probably couldn’t help over hearing our sometimes raucous conversation! I’m thankful that I have friends that render ordinary things fun.

Sunday is a practical day and I am thankful that I cleaned my room as it was getting a bit messy- floordrobe anyone? I’ve read nearly the entire Saturday Guardian; sent a few emails regarding fund raising for Gambia; watched This is England ’88 with Ed after a lovely, if oniony tea and sat reading blogs and websites about travelling South America until I am slightly confused about where I want to go and when and how. The plan will be sorted by the end of the month- I hope!

Some of you may have noticed the jazzy new look, i’m very pleased,  a new look for the new year and all that.
So today I am thankful that several of my friends want to go to reggae aerobics on Saturday, thereby helping me to keep one of my New Year’s resolutions.  As ever I am grateful for my lovely housemates that I can watch rubbish on 4od with and who also cook me dinner. And finally I am grateful that it is nearly the weekend!

The first blog of 2012

I have not wrote here for a while for a number of reasons- lack of internet, the whirl of festivities, traveling from Wales to London, then London to Scotland and back again; and partly just getting back into the sway of things. Today was my first day back at work and I am grateful for a lightness of spirit that comes from a restful break.
As some of you know, I spent the Christmas in Wales which was lovely; my stepdad had decorated the entire house and covered the front room with fairy lights. I am grateful that I had a lovely time with my family; my annual watching of Eastenders took place with my sisters and mum; we drank lots of Baileys and I learnt that my youngest brother is a massive Star Wars fan. I got lots of lovely Christmas messages when we went out of the valleys.
In Edinburgh, I was grateful to the very generous Kate who gave over her room for myself, Sam and Devina to share. Her hospitality seemed to know no bounds as she walked us over town, cooked for us and took us to see the most amazing firework display on Carlton Hill. I spent New Year with friends that I love and believe that the amazing fireworks were a positive omen for a wonderful, sparkly 2012.
And finally, having thought about the highlights of 2011 which were many, I have  decided to make this year one of the best in my life, well when I say best, I mean to challenge myself and survive.
I want to go to South America and volunteer there. I would love to go to Brazil but maybe will go to Venezuela so I can get to Trinidad and finally see some of my Caribbean heritage; or Colombia because I can and it would be interesting. 
Therefore I will need to learn some Portuguese or some Spanish- if you can help, let me know.
I definitely want to go back to Gambia in November to help build the clinic. Therefore saving lots and being frugal is definitely a big part of this year.

The main other resolution is to get fit through dance and I mean to take a dance class each week with my lovely friends, as I know it is the only way I’ll go. I’ve already had a very positive response, so fingers crossed this is one resolution that I keep to!