JAMAICA 2018 – Celebrating Dad’s 70th

Jamaica………..

Where do I start?! 

To celebrate my dad turning 70 this year, I decided to book a big family holiday to Jamaica. My dad is originally from Jamaica – he came to live in England with his family – his mum, dad and 9 siblings (sadly now only 3!!) aged 11. My uncle has a place in Negril, so we decided that’s where we’d visit – that way we’d get to see him and some of my cousins while we were there.
There was a group of 14 of us – my four children, my husband Bob and me, mysister and her two kids, my two younger siblings, my mother-in-law, my god mother and of course the main man himself – my dad! The group ranged from the youngest being my niece who is 7 to my mother-in-law who is 72.
 VNDSNV
Being such a large group I thought it would work out best to stay in an all-inclusive hotel. That way everyone would be catered for, so we stayed at the Riu hotel. My sister and I  have stayed there before, so I knew it would be perfect and it didn’t disappoint. There was honestly something for everyone – the kids loved the kids clubs and entertainment, the teenagers loved all the water sports (all included) and us adults got some well deserved rest we needed. Actually not all the adults! Bob, my younger brother who is 22 and my son 12 played tennis in 35 degree heat most days!!!!! Us girls thought they were mad, but like I said, something for everyone…………?.  The Rum was flowing and the food, oh the food…..it was incredible!! Ackee and salt fish for breakfast, jerk chicken on the beach for lunch with rice and peas, callaloo (green veg), salt fish fritters and curry goat was just an average day for me (pescatarian diet out the window for the 2 weeks!). What was brilliant about the all-inclusive was that my mother-in-law (she doesn’t like the spice)was able to have roast pork or risotto or whatever else she fancied. There was so much variety you didn’t have to eat Jamaican food everyday as I chose to. Bob was in his element – he loves Jamaican food, so he really made the most of it!!!

I really have nothing negative to say. It was just so good, I can’t believe it has taken me till my mid thirties to discover Jamaica! I can’t work out if I’m so drawn to it because it’s in my blood or because it is just such an amazing country to visit?! Yes, there is poverty in places. Yes, there is violence but I can honesty say I didn’t experience any negativity on my visits. Everyone was lovely and welcoming – I look forward to exploring more of the country in future years. I will definitely be returning as I just feel such a massive draw. I would love to see the small village where my dad was born and raised one day, which I’m sure must be so different to the England which was then to become his home. That 11 year old little boy arriving in London on a cold January afternoon in sandals and shorts – he didn’t even own a pair of trousers or closed toe shoes (why would he?!). My grandad and grandmother were so brave taking that step with their family to offer them what they felt would be a wonderful opportunity for their 10 children – such a courageous decision to make. My father and his siblings have all individually led full and adventurous lives and that is thanks to the example that was set to them at such a young age. Follow your dreams, be daring, be brave but the most important lesson which has come right through to my generation and I will be giving it to my children is that family is everything – we must always stick together no matter, where in the world you end up or what different paths our lives may take us on. We are bound by blood and nothing will change that. Each and every one of us will always be there to catch each other when we fall.

I’d like to finish this month’s blog by highlighting that although my mother was English (from an extremely middle class family – setting the scene), she was influenced most by my Jamaican grandmother when it came to bringing up her children. She learned to cook from her and also to keep an open-house, where all her children, grandchildren, in fact anyone from the family or who was a close friend of the family was always welcome and when you went to Grandma’s you would never leave hungry! My mum ran a similar house – I grew up never feeling lonely, always wanting to be at home – never trying to escape but in fact always drawing closer and bringing all my friends into my living environment – sharing the love my mum had given to me. So sadly, as most of you know, I lost my mum to cancer when I was 25 but that love, that love she shone on us, I will continue to shine and spread and those lessons from my grandmother all those years ago live on in me and my family.

I NOW REALISE JAMAICA IS MY HOME TOO……

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To see what really went down under the Jamaican sun check out my JAMAICA HOLIDAY VLOG  on youtube.

New year, New beginnings

2018 January

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

New year, new beginnings! This year has started with a bang!  My feet have hardly touched the ground, which I’m massively grateful for as this year’s main resolution is to try and earn a s***  load of money! Having 4 children pretty young, as you can imagine brings financial strain (especially when you like nice things!), what with dance and drama classes, gymnastics, football, instrument lessons, holidays ,clothes………….. you get the picture. Bob has worked so hard building his business whilst I was the home-maker, looking after our 4 young kids, cooking, cleaning, washing and a thousand things more but as all us mummies know, it’s UNPAID …ha…ha. On a serious note, (Bob’s not getting any younger!) I’m ready to get out there and start earning and try and take some of the financial strain on. My children are at an age where I now feel I’ve given them the tools to flourish and I think I can allow my apron strings to loosen (just a little), leaving me the space to pursue my own career-destiny, something I believe is incredibly healthy for the children to see.

In a nutshell, no one choice is the right choice – young mum v older mum, working mum v stay-at-home mum, be a mum v don’t. What’s important for us women is CHOICE. This year marks 100 years since women won the right to vote which just highlights to me, now more than ever, ‘I can, I will’.

 

MODELING

Argos – Jewellery shoot

Frankie and Bennies – in House training Video

Tesco – Hand modelling

QVC – laura Gälla and Packshots

Wellington Hospital – booklets

Not a bad start…… I’ll add images as I get hold of them.

 

NEW IMAGES SO FAR 2018:

These are just a few of the pictures from a shoot I did for FIIThttps://fiit.tv/connectedfitness/ in December 2017

Stock image taken by the fabulous photographer Ian Hooton, LOVE!!

Mid adult woman holding sunflower.

 

PRESSENTING

I’m currently writing this on the train back from Stroud in Gloucestershire where I’ve been to visit the amazing Giffords Circus. My first cousin Nell established Giffords in 2000 – her father and my mother are siblings. Nell had a dream as a child to have her own circus and boy has she created it! The circus is just magical with handmade costumes, rows of hand-painted wagons and fields full of magnificent horses. They have the most amazing talents from Russian jugglers to acrobats from Cuba. I’ve been to see the circus perform with my family for the past 3 years and we all loved it.

I am excited to announce I’m going to be presenting some coverage for them at numerous events on the build-up to their opening show on 4th May 2018. To start I’ll be with them at the pop-up event at the V&A on 13th Feb 2018, chatting with the acts and generally getting a feel for what we might expect from this year’s ‘My Beautiful Circus’.  . https://www.instagram.com/officialgiffordscircus/

http://www.giffordscircus.com/

V&A coverage

 

 

Wigs!

So this month I got to feature Trendco’s brochure featuring ‘me’.

The shoot took place in the summer at a basement studio in Brighton and I was lucky enough to work with the lovely photographer Zara Clark and make up with Emma Pargeter.  We laughed from beginning to end as my look changed from Whitney through the decades to Leona Lewis.  I developed a persona for each and every wig it was such a laugh!!!

I was truly amazed how much the change of hairstyle can alter your whole look not to mention age!  I aged at least 10 years with the short hair which In fact I really liked but I’ll be saving those looks for my later years (wink).   I definitely felt most like myself in the real hair wig and the price of it reflected that.

My opinion of wigs has changed dramatically – I now realise they can look realistic, natural and give you an entirely different look and persona in seconds.  There are lots of women who are turning to wigs not through choice but because they have to, due to thinning hair, hair loss or cancer treatments.   Company’s like a Trendco who are providing these wigs are really doing a fabulous job giving so much choice and enabling women to find a wig that they really feel comfortable in.

So to sum it up, wigs ‘why not?’