SELF CARE? Sometimes be selfish!

One major buzzword of recent times is “self care”. We hear it mentioned all the time and i’m the first to admit that there is no recipe of what this looks like all of the time. I took a break from social media, as part of my own self care. It was only meant to be for a week, I just needed to take some time away from the excess of negative news displayed everywhere. One week turned into two weeks and then that quickly became three.

I am constantly telling myself not to put off to tomorrow that which can be done today. Its a constant mantra of mine as I will easily talk myself out of doing things.  Tomorrow easily becomes tomorrow, until it runs away from me. Its something that I am always aware of and actively working on. 

I have a love/hate relationship with social media, more aptly described as a like/hate relationship and I intend to touch on this in a later post. For me it is a necessary evil of modern times. In the past then years I’ve gone from just having one social site, facebook, to having accounts on far too many platforms. Its easy to get caught up in watching other peoples lives and then not appreciating the one that you have been gifted with, 

Self care.

 For me, a major part of self care is my 6am morning spin classes. This is something that I have been deprived of since March thanks to Covid. I swapped its for 5am insanity workouts but found that this didn’t satisfy in the same way. I then accidentally stepped on a 2 inch nail on the beach and this put a major pause on any and all exercise. I didn’t expect this to have such a major affect on my mood but it did. So I took some time away to concentrate on me. 

Sometimes be selfish! Its ok to take some time for yourself. I felt guilty taking some down time and dodging the many questions that asked me where have I been when I finally took a soft return to social media. Three weeks and i’m still not fully back on all of my socials, but we are getting there. For me sometimes self care is maintaining the fine balance between the two and time away was a stark reminder of that. We conduct a service and MOT on our cars (over three years old) annually but are often remiss in taking time to do the same for ourselves. I often say we get one body, when I am asked why I hit the Gym at 6am daily without fail. We only get one mind too, and there is not manual on the best way to look after it. The Covid-19 pandemic has made for an unusual environment that we have to live in indefinitely. As someone with a type-a personality, it is hard for me to live in this uncertainty. I am the first to admit that I am always mitigating risk, plotting back up plans and preparing for the unexpected. With Covid, everything is unexpected. Personally adjusting to dealing with this has been difficult, even as I am aware that not everything in life can be planned or mitigated.

So I would like to thank you for your patience and understanding. Take this post as notice of me  letting you know that I am now back with my daily posts. I have a few topics in mind, but should you have any suggestions let me know in the comments.

Bread and crust – sample

Incase you didn’t know, i’m not just a writer but also an author! Over ten years ago I wrote my first full length novel, unpublished until now. I have added the first 6 chapters as a sample over on Amazon:

Also available for pre-order in full:

Both books are available with either cover…..enjoy a further sneak peak below!


Elle was like my own personal cheerleader, constantly rooting for me to find love. As much as she attracted every good looking male on the planet and flirted outrageously in return, she was a romantic at heart. Had been with her boyfriend for 5 years, childhood sweethearts she’d say, a cheesy grin pasted on her face. Elle took the phrase “happiness breeds happiness” to a whole other level; I don’t know which of us was more frustrated with my perpetual state of singledom. But I needed no help in finding a man; the worse ones were always finding me.

Steven was one of them. I’d been on a fast train from Coventry (my parents lived there) into London Euston and so had he. For the first 45 minutes I was able to enjoy silence. No chores that someone wanted me to help out with. Silence, I’d forgotten it existed. You would have too if you’d had Five days listening to my 6 year old half-sister Lola singing. Her ambition couldn’t be faulted though; she was determined to be on X-factor, Pop idol, or any similar show. The age restrictions didn’t faze her nor did the fact that she couldn’t really sing. For five days she hadn’t spoken, she’d sing. I could still hear her now: “Gabryelise, will you help me brush my teeth” or “its bed time, get off the phone line”. Every word was sung and every sentence had rhymed.

I regularly jumped on a train to Coventry to see my mum and step-dad Joe. I had to make visits to show them I still existed, especially when they were contributing to my University fees. Dad had vanished when I was five, taking with him my mums hope that he would pay child maintenance support. I’d called this visit “Yes, I’m still alive; London hasn’t killed or corrupted me yet”. Easter break meant that I couldn’t fob them off with the usual overnight visit. Instead I’d committed myself to five days of virtual insanity. I couldn’t wait to get back to my own place.

Silence. You take it for granted when you have it, only really missing it when it was gone. My silence wasn’t eradicated by noise; I might have actually preferred that. It was destroyed by a look from a stranger watching me across the train carriage. A look I felt before I saw, that’s how disturbing it’d been. It made me accidentally drop the phone I’d been absently spinning in my hand, providing him (Steven) with the perfect opportunity to come over.

He was a guy you could look at and think yea he’s alright. Smart dresser, dimpled cheeks adding character to a face that I’d predicted was about 27 years old. As I said, to look at, he was alright. Every thing else about him was a contradiction. He’d spoken with a St. Vincent lilt. He’d told me his name (my first thought had been “great I’ve attracted a freshie!”) Before proclaiming ‘ya sweet’. It wasn’t a question so I didn’t answer. He’d continued on like he wasn’t expecting me to say anything anyway. ‘Ya sweet, why ya luk soh sad?!’ ok so I was both sweet and sad. I shut my eyes and opened them again, disappointed to find that he was real, and still there.

No longer standing he’d read the flashing green sign on the bag rack above my head which said ‘vacant’ and taken it upon himself to sit down. Stupid Virgin trains, Branson always had to take everything one step further, his state of the art technology depriving me of answering that question ‘is this seat taken?’ With a big fat YES!!! I felt it must have been a communication error because my mind had very much been willing it to change to the word ‘taken’. It needn’t have been flashing or written in red. I would have settled for one plain word. TAKEN!

I’d smiled at him, assured him I wasn’t sad merely tired. He didn’t get the hint but had gone on to ask me where I was headed. Although it’d sounded more like “Weh ya gaan?” I’d shaken my head not understanding and unnecessarily prolonging our conversation. I’d even laughed before answering. (When he’d said it again his accent thickened making it even more indistinguishable.)

‘I’m going home.’

‘Soh why yah luk soh sad foh?’ he’d asked.

‘I’ve got house work to do.’ I’d replied. My one sentence answers weren’t enough of a deterrent.

‘Yah hussban doh kya???’ he was asking me if my husband didn’t care enough to help me.

I’d looked at him and told him I was too young to be married; hoping he’d get the hint this time as he’d missed the last one. Instead, he’d asked me for a kiss (“Yah luk soh sweet. I juss wannah kiss yah. Yah make mi wannah kiss yah!!”), and I’d pretended I couldn’t hear him. He was whispering to me now “Sweet gyal, sweet sweet gyal….” Great I attracted the one guy that had slipped through immigration’s strictly adjusted rules, he wasn’t an asylum seeker but a sanity seeker. I looked out of the window, concentrating on nothing in particular as the speakers played an announcement: “This train is for London Euston. Next station…..London Euston.”

I half stood up, excusing myself so I could grab my overnight bag from the overhead storage. I wanted to get off the train fast so he wouldn’t have an opportunity to follow me. I was too slow. As my feet touched the platform a voice called out from behind me wanting to know my name. I’ll tell him I decided; he can’t do anything with only a first name, and maybe that will satisfy his curiosity.

‘Gabryelise’ that’s all; only my first name tossed over my shoulder as I swiftly walked away, but I wasn’t fast enough to miss him say:

‘Oh ho!! Ah sweet name foh ah sweet gyal, I’ll see yah same time next week!!!’ Typical!

Three Quotes that I live by daily…

There are many idioms that I follow in my day to day life. But a friend recently asked me to list 3 quotes that I abide by. I thought i would share my answer, so here goes. 

‘This too shall pass’ – In the most simple of terms this means that nothing lasts forever. It is very easy to allow ourselves to get weighted down by circumstances happening to us in the moment and lose sight of the fact that while yes, this may not be pleasant but its not going to last forever. I have had too much happen to me in life for me to not fully live by this. Being able to have the foresight and awareness to see the light at the end of the tunnel can only be a blessing in dark times as we remember that like most things, this too shall pass.

‘Do it anyway’ – This quote seems pretty self explanatory, and it essentially is. Anyone who knows me, and I mean truly knows me, knows that I am a risk mitigator. I am very cautious in almost all avenues of life. At one point you could confidently say that I am scared of everything, and you wouldn’t have been wrong. In my early 20s I caught Swine flu (another story) and not long after I had recovered from that, I caught meningitis (another story, for a completely different day) but both made me wake up and ‘smell the bacon’. I realised that life is short, shorter then any of us can imagine and holding myself back from experiencing things in life isn’t going to help me live and enjoy it to the fullest. There is much truth in people only regretting the things that didn’t do. So feel the fear, have your doubts, but do the darn thing anyway.

‘Theres always someone else worse off….’ – There are so many other quotes that mean something to me, or influence me in my day to day life. The next one I have chosen is not so much a quote as a daily mantra for me. I had a really nice telephone catch up with someone whom had gotten to know me quite well but had lost touch with me for the last few years. She commented that I have really gone through it, in terms of both my health and life experiences. We discussed how yes life has been pretty nasty to me and how I have managed to keep on going despite that. Last she knew of was my car accident that left me having 13 back/spine surgeries and a ruptured bladder and internal bleeding repair. I laughed and told her that since we had last spoke I had additional things happen, bringing me to last week and the 2 inch nail being embedded in my left foot.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger (and yes I know I am cheating by sneaking this bonus one in) but I am only stronger from all of my life experiences, and no matter what I may be going through I know without a doubt that someone somewhere is going through something far more worse then I can comprehend or imagine. 

Change isn’t just the left over money in your pocket!

Yesterday my mothers laptop auto-updated, and with that came a new layout and a different way of doing things. 

“Why do they have to keep changing it?!”

My mum proclaimed with total frustration. She wanted the screen the way that it was  before. The way that she is used to, irrespective of if there were improvements within the new style and layout.

It had me reflecting on my own personal relationship with change. Its not been the easiest journey to travel. In fact it was one of the hardest lessons in life for me to accept, that regardless of anything  I may or may not do, everything changes. I am a creature of habit and even as I strive to help change the world for the better, I must acknowledge that I take comfort in the familiar. For much of my adult life I chose to remain comfortable and not administer change where it was my choice. But you do not grow and progress by remaining in your comfort zone. I believe that there are lessons to learn in every experience, and that is not to say that they will be positive or well received.

When it comes to change, there a some distinct and specific ways in which people may react.According to Ken Blanchard there are seven common ways in which people react to change. JM Fisher’s Process of Personal Transition, details eight ways in which people react to change: 

  • Anxiety – can I cope?
  • Happiness – at last something is going to change!
  • Fear – what impact will the change have on me?
  • Threat – the problem is bigger than I thought.
  • Guilt – are the past failings down to me?
  • Disillusionment – this is not for me so I’m leaving.
  • Acceptance – maybe things won’t be so bad.
  • Excitement – I’m looking forward to the challenge.
The Change Curve (based on the model by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross) CREDIT: The IC Space 

 It is often suggested that panic is the most common reaction, driven by the fear of the unknown. And for me that was often a gut reaction. My comfort meant that anything outside of that was not welcome. We have all had to go through much change in 2020,  majority of which has been completely out of our control. The buzz phrase “new normal” is continuously volleyed about in reference to the current climate and the changes we are having to make as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Much of these changes has been met with a lot of resistance, with people not wanting to social distance, quarantine or wear masks. I have heard people proclaim that ‘if it’s not broke don’t fix it’, something I feel cannot be used in relation to a pandemic that shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. 

I have learnt to look at change as a positive thing, you cannot win a race without moving forwards. If a caterpillar didn’t change, then it wouldn’t become a butterfly. And so, as I reflect on the unexpected changes that I have had to embrace this year I will leave you with some of my favourite change quotes.


Make black history a compulsory part of the national curriculum for all ages

“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.”- John Maxwell

“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” – Steve Jobs 

“If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou 

“Just when I think I have learned the way to live, life changes.” – Hugh Prather 

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” – Andy Warhol 

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change” -Albert Einstein

“If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward” -Martin Luther King Jr.

Credit: Good Housekeeping
Credit: Good Housekeeping
Credit: Good Housekeeping
Credit: Good Housekeeping



I am tired of being tired. I am tired in a way that pervades all that I am. At a time when hundreds of thousands have died from Covid, a pandemic that is killing black people at a disproportionate rate, we are forced to watch as the pandemic of racism takes BLACK lives all around the world.

I was recently told by a white English man that England is not America and we should be ‘grateful for how far the country has come since the 50s’. I was not born in the 1950s, but as a child at school in the early 90s (40 years after the proclaimed long way that the country has come) I was called a baboon and a monkey by my peers. Was asked if I really lived in the jungle and faced physical violence simply because of the colour of my skin. Time has passed but we have not come a long way. Just this month, we saw a plane fly a ‘white lives matter’ banner over a football stadium mid-match.

SOURCE: Google

So I will not listen to someone who has not experienced racism, tell me how great and fair England is and so much better than America. Racism cannot be quantified or excused by comparing countries. Racism is not a multiple choice question. I do not want to hear your excuses for why you think your racism is ok or justified, I am too tired of that.

SOURCE: Google
SOURCE: Racism Scale

I am tired of having to bare witness to the countless lives lost as a direct result of racism. On the 10th June 2020 the guardian asked Want to make the UK less racist? And provided their suggestions of twenty positive ways to bring about lasting change. 

I am tired of seeing so many black people killed because their lives are not given the value and protection that they deserve. 

SOURCE: Twitter

Each one hurts just as much as the last. It’s endless. The wound deep and forever open. Our blood spilled and running is never enough for them, but for me one drop spilled is too much! The necessity of having to film each brutality just to prove this barbarity is happening because our words are not sufficient, leaves these tragic images etched on my mind.


For every day adds to the pain. Earlier this week I was asked how I manage to get up each day and keep fighting. This person wanted to know how I do it. I am just as tired as the next person. It is exhausting to have to fight a daily battle whether you choose to or not. It gets to me, and I don’t know how to stop that, or if I would, should I could. I am just as affected by all the news headlines and the negativity that has permeated much of 2020. If the news isn’t reporting another disproportionate death of another black or ethnic minority person due to Covid, then the headlines are encumbered with the heavy load of deaths related to police violence and brutality. The UK is not spared from these prejudices or headlines. I awoke to news that two Met officers were arrested over selfies they took and circulated with the corpses of two black female murder victims. I am not sure why these officers are being afforded the protection of anonymity when any other adult suspected criminal in the UK is not afforded the same.

SOURCE: Guardian Newspaper


This all gets to me. I won’t ever pretend that it doesn’t. I am as human as anyone else.

I am weary from a life time of having to deal with this. To me, we have not come a long way. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Ignoring it will not make it go away. It is not beneficial to “sit back and watch, to see if the government makes changes”. We “watched” as institutional racism in the Metropolitan police force resulted in it taking 19 years for a conviction in the case of the murder of Stephen Lawrence. We have “watched” as the Windrush scandal occurred and still carries on. We “watched” as the Grenfell fire burned for 60 hours, claiming countless lives, and watch still as the government makes paltry excuses and gives empty promises. We have “watched” as the government transparently reports some of the equality or more accurately inequality statistics. We see that watching in history has done nothing for us. No one suggested watching World War 2 to see what happens, instead allies were sought to help end it. You are racist to suggest that Black people should “sit back and watch” as we are killed and disproportionately targeted in all areas of life. Maligned, racially abused, and KILLED because of the colour of our skin.

I am tired. I am weary. BUT I AM NOT GIVING UP. I ask that you do not either, let’s make a difference together. I do not have the solution for such a multifaceted problem. I believe that education is a necessary tool in helping to eradicate racism, and because of that I launched a petition. I hope that you will support me in clicking the link below and not only signing the petition but sharing it too!

Make black history a compulsory part of the national curriculum for all ages


Three weeks later….

Not the usual post today, just a reflection and a few redirections. 

When I began writing earlier this month, it was in response to my writer’s block finally shifting after 10 years. I found that words flowed effortlessly and while that happened I decided that I wanted to use my gift of writing to make a difference. I embarked on a petition to help do my bit in the hope of making a difference for society today and future generations. Misunderstandings, led me to write a my PSA, where I reintroduced myself to those who couldn’t grasp what I was hoping to achieve.

I got the requisite signatures needed for my petition to go to standards to be checked but to my dismay it was rejected. I am a firm believer that a closed door is not a locked one, so I sat down and wrote my OPEN LETTER TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS PETITION COMMITTEE detailing why I thought their rejection was in error. They heard me and they understood me and the petition went live. But I still need all of you to help make a difference. I may have started this alone but I cannot complete it alone. There is power in unity and together we can and will make a change. 

Along the way I have taken the time to share a little more about myself. Ive shown you why one of my nicknames is Casper, and how apt it is. I have taken you along on my journey to a vegan diet and shown you that while I didn’t start out a vegan in the traditional sense, I wont stand for animal cruelty. I have let you see that I haven’t always had the healthiest relationship with food. I have revealed my favourite boss and what lessons I learnt from working at Discovery Inc. I’ve confessed to being a proud Spin Addict, mourned the anniversary of Grenfell, celebrated the second Windrush day, noted the difference power and courage can have. 

You have seen examples of the racism I have experienced in my life, being Black and British. My opinion and reflection on the UK and its systemic racism . The realities of growing up with a black parents love, a black mothers love, and the love that I have for all Black people. I have touched on the hypocrisy of the British public when it comes to the Black Lives Matter UK movement and protests, taken the time to remind everyone that BLACK is not a contact sport, that angry black woman is not a stereotype to be used with me, noted that Covid-19 meant we cant breathe and that we can see through the people treating the suffering and pain of Black people globally as a fad or a phase. 

I have reflected on my activist heart and stated that I care a lot while asking why dont you too?  And I have asked that you look inwards and ask yourselves what did you do?  Before you trivialise the efforts of others.

Aside from all of that, I also wrote a post published by @sistem_magazine (go check them out and give them a follow) where I noted the similarities between Issa Rae and I and asked Am I insecure? 

Credit/Source: Sistem Magazine

I have released a couple books onto amazon for pre-order. The first is “To Be Black and British” which expands on an article  I wrote after I received many requests to tell the stories behind all the experiences I noted. The second is a fictional novel based on my first few years in a student in London, entitled “Bread and Crust” it was first written over 10 years ago when I graduated from university. Samples of the books first 6 chapters are also available

I hope that you have enjoyed the journey thus far and that you will follow my website and continue to join me as I strive to make a positive difference in this world. 

Confessions of a Spin Addict!

I first tried a spinning class at university while I was a law student. It was not a wonderful life changing experience. I watched a lady, who was likely 4 times my age complete the class with nary a sweat on her brow. I on the other hand was completely put off. It had been a struggle that left me, feeling very unfit, despite playing on the netball team and other regular physical activities. 

As a young adult my GP suggested I take up exercise when I was struggling with sleep. Despite struggling with body image, it wasn’t something I had actively done much in adulthood. I took to Zumba, yoga and the gym with vigour and it helped a lot. A few years ago when I was diagnosed as obese I was once again referred back to exercise. Unfortunately the injuries I sustained from my car accident meant that not all activities and classes were available to me given my limitations.  My physiotherapist suggested that I take up Spinning as it was low impact as long as I did not do all the jumps etc. I was very apprehensive having tried before but I always try to also be open minded. 

Three years ago today, I took my first spinning class. It was just as hard as I remembered and I posted the following to my socials:

However, to know me, is to know that I don’t give up. Whether thats with a Petition (Please sign) and getting the House of Commons petition committee to reverse a decisionor in my personal life with my health. So I persevered and carried on going. As time went on it got easier and I started to log my workouts on my apple watch. 

Apple watch logging

I found my body changed drastically and quickly. It works a lot of areas all at one time, with my legs and thighs changing first. They got noticeably thicker and more toned, my mother noticed and implored me to stop spinning. I did for a little bit but must confess that I was already addicted to it and the hiatus didn’t last very long. Along with my body, my heart and lungs got healthier, I witnessed my recovery time come down and found that I wasn’t so breathless when I took a flight of stairs. Spinning is a mental and physical battle and thats perhaps what appeals to me most. It is often your mind that wants you to give up long before your body has to. 

After a few months of spinning

I got into the habit of getting up early to go spin at 6am before I had to go into work. On the days where my meetings were early and I couldn’t attend the early morning sessions, I would leave work early (i always had a working lunch at my desk) and make the evening classes. One surprising outcome of my love for Spinning has been that it has motivated others. I never expected that it would inspire or motivate people, and yet it has. From the offices I’ve worked in, to one of my other health professionals recommending it to her other clients because she witnessed how beneficial it has been for me. I sleep better and eat better when I am spinning regularly.

Usual start to the day

You are on the bike alone but the spinning community has taught me that you are not alone! I have met some amazing people during my time spinning from various walks of life. I am not the most sociable person but have enjoyed getting to know the people that take to the pedals with me each week. I am lucky that my local gym has a great and varied collection of instructors, with extensive experience and even greater playlists. Of course I have my favourite, and the WhatsApp group I am a member of is perhaps the most telling of who that is. I have enjoyed the Christmas dinners and charity bike rides and hope that I get to enjoy more of these unexpected benefits of being a member of the spinning community. 

My regular spin class
First Spinning Christmas Dinner that I attended

The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that this is the longest that I have gone without spinning since I started 3 years ago today. I miss it a lot, maybe more then I should. But I am a self aware spin addict who has enjoyed daily spinning for a while now. I take a spin class everywhere I travel to if I find one available, be that in Miami or Amsterdam. 

So this spin addict is confessing that I am still addicted and cannot wait to be back on the saddle as soon as it is safe to do so! 

Damned if I do, Damned if I don’t

Trigger warning: Discusses eating disorders, mental health and body image. 

I actually had another couple of pieces planned for today, but had some things that I want to express first.

For much of my life I have not had the healthiest of relationships with food. Before I knew what food was and that my body needed it for sustenance and to survive, I had an issue with it. As an baby, my mother was unable to get me to eat food. Something that she took me to the health visitor for, up to that point she had taken to extreme measures of making runny Weetabix and serving it to me in a bottle with the top cut off. The health visitor fobbed my mum off with a response of ‘as long as I’m eating I’m fine’. 

Me just under 2 years old.

I didn’t eat solids in a ‘normal’ manner until after my little sister was born and had been weaned and I witnessed that. I was over three years old by then. As I grew and became vocal, if you asked me the issue I would tell you I was scared of being fat. I had never been fat, but looking back and even thinking about it I can remember how terrified I was of that. I always felt like I needed to lose weight. Meal times were the biggest issue for me. I wasn’t a breakfast person, and my father was always chasing me with toast and demands that I have something before I left for school. 

I couldn’t ever see how slim I was, convinced that I could always be slimmer. I hid food, and threw food away, flushed it down the toilet. Did everything that I could to get out of eating. My parents, who worked in the mental health field recognised my problem, even as the health professionals around me did not. My mother would often ask me what I wanted to eat in compromise, and went out of her way to ensure that she could get the foods that I asked for. This meant searching far and wide when the local butcher shut down and nowhere else made their tomato and beef sausages that I loved to eat. She would buy entire entenmann’s chocolate fudge cakes for me to eat, that my siblings were not allowed to touch. Barter and bargain with me on how much food would be put on my plate, I’d cycle through claims that I didn’t like certain foods, one week it could be salads and I didn’t like or want tomato, cucumber or lettuce. I can recall my mother counting out cucumber slices, chips and other foods as she placed them on my plate because I had decided I was only going to eat 6 cucumbers or 10 chips that day. All while, I would be hovering to make sure she wasn’t tricking me. Often I would be the last one at the dining room table as I wasn’t allowed to leave until I had cleared my plate. As I got older, she would have me dish out my own meals, we had an agreement that I would eat everything that I put on my plate. That was a lot of bartering and haggling between us. 

I continued to grow with the fear of being fat, but I also grew into an awareness that my eating habits were not ok. I challenged myself one year with a new years resolution to try some new foods every month and to eat three times a day. I settled into routines but admittedly better habits but I still always worried about being fat. I suffered with tonsillitis, that led to them being removed during the school holidays when I was 9/10. I have also struggled with various digestive issues throughout my life. What came first? Im not sure. Thats like asking was it the chicken or the egg. 

As an adult I could still wear and fit clothes that I wore as a teenager. I lost a lot of weight while I was at uni because I bowed down to external pressures and comments. For the first time in my adult life I was wearing size 0. I had the unhealthy habit of living of off cheeseburgers, hot wings, Doritos and Evian, something that only changed during my journey to veganism. It was no secret that I was really scared of being fat. I didn’t have the best body image and was always super hard on myself. I can remember meeting a friends mum during uni for the first time and she came to hug me with the words “don’t worry you cant catch fat”. 

Wearing a vest top pulled from my 13 year old wardrobe at a ‘Army dance’ student event

Seven years ago I was in a car accident, I may share on that another time, the post injuries treatment left me being classed as obese by my GP. I suddenly found myself fat, and many people that knew me were commenting on the weight gain, even knowing I was on a large amount of medication and had had multiple surgeries. My worst fear, something I had worried about my entire life had come true. The necessity of taking medications and the reality of having to eat full meals to do so, stopped me from reverting back to past bad habits. My GP referred me to a specialist who reviewed my diet, at that point I was fully on plant based and determined that the only help they could give was referring me the gym with a subsidised membership and sending me off to Slimmingworld for free. Limited with what I could do I took to spin classes with vigour. Low impact, and not too much of a strain on my spine I found a love for it that I hadn’t expected. My body shape changed along with my mindset and I found that I was able to embrace the bigger thighs and love the body that I have. Its not been an easy journey, according to my BMI I still have a way to go. I have learnt that I don’t need to restrict my food intakes in order to stay slim, I am eating more per day and more regularly then I ever have in my life. For that I credit food optimising and the Slimmingworld plan.  I learnt to be more compassionate to those around me and understand that not only do people come in all shapes and sizes but people can carry ‘extra’ weight through no fault of their own. 

Spinning and Slimmingworld journey…..Left is at my biggest.

So why do I say I am damned if I do and damned if I don’t? 

Throughout all of my years of issues with food, I have also struggled with body image. In primary school and secondary school I was called Teeny or Teeny tiny because I was so slim and slender. My mother would buy the smallest available size clothes and then tailor them in to ensure they fit me. A lot of the time I used to dress with the confidence I wished to have. This continued on into adulthood til I had my car accident and I came to the mindset that I didn’t want to care so much what other people think. I get comments if I don’t post pictures of myself and comments when I do. I am aware that my body is disproportioned. If I post pictures ‘hiding’ any chest I get comments that I must be ashamed, if I post pictures ‘showing’ my chest I get comments that I must want attention on it. 

At a time when people were constantly commenting on my body size and shape.

Damned if I do. Damned if I don’t. 

I will not be ashamed of my body. I will not allow others to shame or dictate when it comes to my body. It has been through a lot and is still going strong. It has weathered Swine flu, meningitis, 12 back/spine surgeries, ruptured organ/internal bleeding, suspected Covid-19 and more. I am pro-choice in all areas of life, irrespective of my own opinions.  So the next time you think to give me your twopence, stick it in your own piggy bank! 

Little Rock, Arkansas. 2016


Today is a celebratory day, and it should be recognised as that. Happy Windrush day! It isn’t something that has been celebrated or acknowledged in recent history. First introduced on the 22nd June 2018 after a successful campaign by Patrick Vernon, it is not a bank holiday but instead an observed day.

Credit: GETTY

Today we celebrate the Caribbean community and the contribution that they made to post World War Two England. The Second World War left a void in many areas of the economy. A call was made to the commonwealth citizens to help rebuild the community and adverts placed around the Caribbean islands was answered by many.

Credit: Daily Gleaner, GETTY 

The first of which (802 migrants) came over on 22nd June 1948 on the HMT Empire Windrush. I don’t want to make this post about the scandal, you may read about that over in my article A racist country, led by a racist prime minister: WINDRUSH SCANDAL PART 1. Part 2, coming soon.

As mentioned before. My mother was a Windrush child. My grandfather came over first, worked hard and eventually sent for my mother and my great-grandmother (his mother).

Grandad and I, Dominica 2004

She came over with her grandmother and some of her cousins. She barely spoke English when she arrived, faced bullying, harassment and extreme racism, something I grew up hearing stories of. 

My great-grandmother, my mother (on her lap) and my mothers cousins. Bradford, late 1960s
Mum, Bradford 1960.

My father came over after immigration adjustments were made to curb in the influx of commonwealth citizens to the UK, on a student visa. He studied at University to become a nurse. He was still training when he met my mother, who had not yet embarked on her own NHS career and was working as a clerk typist for a travel agency in London. They met at All Nations nightclub on the 16th April 1977. The rest, as they say, is history.

Mum – Derby, 1970s.
Mum and Dad, August 1978

My parents have spent over 70 years combined, working for the NHS. But that was not the only area that migrants from the commonwealth came and worked in. During the war ‘thousands of Caribbean men and women had been recruited to serve in the armed forces.’ You can learn more about this by heading over to Black Poppy Rose 

My black poppy rose, worn with pride.

Post-War Britain found plenty of work within various industries, not just the National Health Service but also British Rail etc.

Like my mother, although encouraged to come to the UK with immigration campaigns by the government, many were subjected to great prejudice and extreme racism. The 1958 attacks in Notting Hill London, led to the first Caribbean Carnival on the 30th January 1959. A celebration of what is it to be Caribbean, and what would later become the Notting Hill Carnival that still carries on today.

Credit: GETTY

So today I would like to show my own gratitude and appreciation for the Windrush generation, the sacrifices they made and the hardships they went through while assisting post-war Britain. 


A ship carrying West Indian people arrives at Southampton docks in 1956
Photograph: Haywood Magee/Getty Images
People carry their belongings as they arrive in Southampton
Photograph: Bentley/Popperfoto/Getty Images
A group of women from Jamaica buy train tickets at Gatwick airport in 1962
Photograph: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
West Indian people wait in the customs hall at Southampton in June 1956
Photograph: Hulton Deutsch/Corbis via Getty Images
A group of men wait outside the labour exchange in Liverpool in 1949
Photograph: Hulton Deutsch/Corbis via Getty Images
A newly arrived couple travel by train to London
Photograph: Haywood Magee/Getty Images
A child takes a nap after a long journey to Victoria station in London
Photograph: Daily Herald Archive/SSPL via Getty Images

What did you do?

Firstly, Happy Fathers day! I won’t be speaking on that today as I have previously touched on it in my article ‘A black parents love is tough….’. Following on from yesterday’s question, today I am asking you another one. What did you do? I have asked this question before and I by no means says this to belittle or begrudge anyone for their efforts or lack thereof. I ask, in order that you reflect inward and decide if you are doing everything you can to see positive change in the world. Many people have reached out to me and said they want to help but don’t know how. You can start with this petition and the many others that are out there. 

Click the link, sign the petition and share it:

“Make black history a compulsory part of the national curriculum for all ages”

It takes a moment and together we can make a change. Lets make a better present and future. Thank you and once again have a wonderful Father’s day to all the dads out there. 

Credit: Metro, My brother and his daughter at a #BlackLivesMatterUK protest. Happy Fathers Day!