Thursday, 13 October 2011


This is a month that doesn't mean a lot to many people. For me, and the 3% of black people that make up the British population it means an entire month that aims to educate Britain of the cultural backgrounds and reputable achievements of black people. This is Black History Month.

It's not widely advertised or even celebrated, it's just something I have always been aware of. I'm second generation British, and fear that my culture will deteriorate in time, but I'm not prepared for that to happen, and feel it can remain as long as people put in the effort. It's not just about the food and the music but the general feeling of belonging to something that people before me have fought for.

I am intruigued by history, Black history in particular, so when my own race call me a bounty because I liked S Club 7 at fourteen or have just graduated from uni, I don't try to defend it. I got down to the funky beat, I also had the best three years of my life studying at the University of Chester. It is not acting white because I like a certain band, or that I want better for myself, I am just grabbing all opportunities with both hands, and so are the thousands of other educated black men and women.

My Nan and Grandad did not endure racism and rejection for me to run around with knives and guns and sit on the dole. Nor did they share houses with other families, fight to be educated and most of all listened to, for me to throw it back in their faces. Yes, our race is a minority and a lot more needs to be done, but far too many people are biting the hand that feeds them, the recent riots are proof of that. So much has changed in the last sixty years, than ever before, I've only been here for twenty-four of them but history is what needs to be taught, maybe it will change a few of the youths perspectives on things.

I was raised being aware of my surroundings, my Nan went on to marry a white man, he embraced more of our culture than we did his, but I also was maybe one of five black girls in my year. Mixed race doesn't count as black if you are being raised by your single white mother, like the media seems to believe. Ask Obama, he found out about his history on his own. I was brought up on it, and at home I embraced what I ticked on forms Black British/Caribbean.

We did the traditional 'Jamaican' things. Saturday soup, rice and salad with Sunday dinner, hot milk with cereal, nine nights and pardners, but we also did chippy on a Friday, and had sleepovers that weren't just at our relatives, trust me that one's a biggy. When I was younger I was naive to think you are where you're born, I have had this debate many of times, born in England, makes you English right? No, there is a reason why I tick the Black Caribbean box on those forms, not only for statistics, but because of my heritage. My heritage that I embrace when I knead dumplings, just as much when I willie bounce, but like I said,  it's not just about the food and the music, it's about that old saying, knowing where you have come from to know where you're going.

I am grateful that a month is set aside for us to not celebrate being black but to recognise all it has taken to get to this point. Black History is created everyday, whether good or bad, it is molding me and the future generations. I just hope when my four year old nephew reaches my age, he too embraces his heritage rather than the thuggish antics route that so many others have taken.

I cherish this quote 'Learn to dream, believe and achieve!' It's what our forefathers fought for.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Slim Fast...

Everyone aspires to do better, be better and be slimmer. Anyone who claims these statements are untrue are either a size 8 and in their dream job or lying. Most probably the latter.

Growing up, especially with me and my sister being born literally a minute apart, I was always able to make comparisons. We were the same age but growing at such different rates. I was the tall, slim one, our Nan even nicknamed me Longers, and I was always able to eat what I wanted, whenever I wanted. Rachel was the short one, and although we were the same clothes size, they effectively looked better on me. This made my head swell and gave me confidence some of my peers lacked, but it's like my metabolism thought just for the shits and giggs to slow right down. Like puberty wasn't bad enough. Playing sports was my only saving grace. Football, athletics, dancing, cheerleading, and then I turned 18. I quit smoking, was of legal age to drink and getting up on a Saturday morning to kick a ball around, whatever the weather, did not appeal to me anymore. BIG mistake. Don't get me wrong, I have never been a size 8, my bottom alone does not allow for such trivial fantasies, but I was a comfortable 10 on top, 12 on bottom, which slowly started to expand.

Uni... It's true what they say, you're destined to put on weight when you decide to broaden your horizons and educate yourself further. Or what was referred to as shitmix Mondays, Wednesday club, and lets drink just because days. Being catered in my first year slowed this process down but I saw it happening to others. I could bounce a coin off my abs, swell head again I know, but karma does have a way of finding you. Working more hours in a restaurant than what was required to be in lectures meant I was constantly picking at food and discovered the pure and utter genius that is garlic mayo.

Size 14... I was borderline, meaning I didn't have the luxury of running into a shop seeing something I liked and buying it. Trying on clothes is a drag, the queues are long, the rooms are small and it means you have less time to spend your money on what you see as a necessity. It also limits your ability to shop online yet this didn't stop me using my student card to get the free burger at Maccies, would be rude not to. The change in mentality came six months after graduating, getting weighed at the doctors and the words noone likes to hear 'you are overweight.' Some people are influenced by celebrities, but it took a medical professional clarifying what I knew all along, that according to my height vs my weight, my bmi was in the overweight catergory.  This was the push that I needed.

Diets... I joined a gym and was conned into paying for the annual membership to save a whole sixty pounds. I went sporadically for the first three months then literally stopped. Sweating with strangers is not appealing.
Cutting out take aways worked for the first few weeks but I did not dare break the pay day chinese ritual. Then there were the diet pills, I had bought some from ebay years ago and they didn't work, then I heard about some random chinese ones from a friend. I tried them, I did not know what was in them, could not read the instructions and still decided to take the risk. The side effects, well, I had constant headaches, and at times thought my heart was going to combust, so I tried the old fashion way of eating breakfast, something I hadn't done in ten years, living off grilled chicken and plain rice, the portion sizes fit for a child. After the initial shock to the system and nearly tearing my weave out everytime I drove passed a McDonald's, it seems to have worked. In the last three months I have been slimming down fast, my bmi is considered normal after losing a stone and a half and I am now back to a size 12. Well done me. The only worry I have now is...

Zante... I go in 8 days, the downside of this is that I still want to lose an extra 10 pounds, which I am aware cannot happen in a week. I am going with model looking friends too, so here come the natural insecurities oozing out of pores I didn't know existed, as I prepare to get into a bikini and strut that extra stuff God thought necessary to give me.

Monday, 29 August 2011

About time...

So after much deliberation of titles, format and subject I have decided it is about time to start a so called web log. The cliche of actions speaking louder than words comes to mind after years of talking of my ambition of becoming a writer, suddenly stopping the moment I handed in my dissertation with the relief that the last three years, although the best of my life had come to an end. University now over and into the the reality of shitty jobs to get by and not quite wanting to give up on the lifestyle that comes with spending thousands on a degree I am currently finding difficult to use.

Now the real world. Grown up, as my friends and I joke, as I have left the bubble that was Chester and up and moved to Manchester. On my own. The last six weeks have been adventurous to say the least, moving to a city that I had been to around five times in my whole life some may say is stupid. Me on the otherhand, likes the risk, the fear almost pushing me into being more responsible than my friends who have moved back home.

First on the list. Job. The first one lasted all of three weeks due to the unwelcoming staff whose ambitions seemed achieved the moment they walked into the call centre. Four years of calling the same people, day in, day out, is not only boring but lacks the fulfilment we are all promised by furthering our education. I can pretend to like anyone. The fake smile was mastered before I could walk, but never in my life have I been made to feel bad about myself for wanting better. See ya.
I am now two weeks into another call centre job, boring as one expects but it will pay the bills for now and my colleagues seem decent. Helpful not only with getting me familiar with the new systems, but actually starting conversations that are worthy of my time. The manager Chris, has ridiculously tiny hands and what I call Ken hair. I'm not sure whether it is his own but until I have been there a while I feel it is inappropriate to ask him this question. I've asked around and the results are inconclusive. Regardless of my opinion of his hands and hair, he has welcomed me and the other new starters into his team, more than the first job even tried to do.

Flat. After bumming around my friend Becky's for 2 weeks and numerous flat viewings, which included a 1 bed that although decent inside I was sure to get attacked in the day in this area. Nevermind stumbling back drunk after a night out. I have finally found somewhere I can call home. For now. Never in my life did I think shopping in Ikea would be a highlight, but choosing what colour the kitchen bin, drainer and washing up bowl would be, amongst other things, gave me a proud feeling. This was something I was actually doing on my own. No Rachel (my twin sister) and Rochelle who had to decide together what colour we wanted our room to be, or what channels we wanted to watch. Strictly me. Three weeks in and its not scary like I assumed. Yes, I look out the window sometimes to check that my cars still there, after all its Salford I'm in, but so far so good.

Ambition. Now it's time to get settled, make more than the two friends I already have here and continue to chase that dream. To write and get paid for it. This blog is the start of that. My opinions on.... well we'll see.