14 December 2017

🏑 A new place to call home 🏑

I've heard it said many times that two is better than one and all that said is true but what if 
there was only one of you to hold it down for the both of you?
This has been my story; having stepped into parenthood at a very young age I found myself on this adventure doing the most single handedly. Instinctively, I picked up the pieces and it was then that my aspiration to be my own individual, to not seek to be completed by another was birthed and it is to whom I owe the woman I have become today and still becoming.
The journey began when my daughter, Valerie, was just under the age of 2 when I decided to go back to College to study and four years later I graduated from University. Hoping soon after I would go on to kick start my career, God stopped me at my tracks and pressed on my heart what I ought to have been doing in the next phase of my life. A year later, I graduated from Protege and went on to start my first ever professional job in a field that I was absolutely passionate about.
Here I found myself with a million options of how to best spend my first earnings but head focused I decided I was going to save up and invest in a property. 
My daughter and I had started the motion of faithfully praying over our 'future house' months before the idea was even feasible. Often, my daughter with her child-like faith would dream big and ask big and sometimes I would dampen her prayers by my realistic approach to life.
 I considered the statistics; how much it would cost, how much I earned and that left no room for the supernatural work of God. Until one day when I read a book titled :
The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears and it changed the game. Since reading this book, I incorporated the lessons learnt into our prayer life and I can honestly say for the most part of this year we have faithfully prayed over our new home (+ other things) every single day relentlessly and this alone brings us to this testament!
Excited to share the news of the purchase our brand new home, a journey that began six months ago when Valerie and I started viewing properties way before we were even financially ready to make the commitment. What that did for us was; it served as inspiration, drove me to save up even faster and directed our prayer requests before God. 
As there was quite a number of developments in and around our catchment area we visited all the show homes but particularly Countryside Properties stood out and stole our hearts. The character of the homes they built with a creative approach and a unique detail to their landscape was spectacular to the eye. Unfortunately on the development we were interested in they had completely SOLD OUT. 
Long story short, two months later I received an email from the developer saying a plot had come back on the market and guess what, it was more affordable than all the other homes I had started to consider at the time. My interpretation of this was simply: GOD because hey, what are the odds.
Peace being my guide I went on to reserve the property and began the whole mortgaging process.
As I share this news with you, we have completed on our new home and will soon be moving in.
Words alone fail us but our hearts are eternally grateful to God for the favour He has shown on us, His faithfulness and His goodness.
To Him be the glory, forever and ever, AMEN!
and so;
is there anything too big for God?
does He speak and not do what He says?
does He promise and not come through?
so then;
let us hold steadfast to all his promises, continue to judge Him faithful in all seasons and wait with expectation
as His word sets out to accomplish 
all that which it has been sent to do!
In another post in the New Year I will be sharing a very practical guide on how to get on to the property ladder (for first time buyers), what is actually involved in the mortgaging process and so much more so please be sure to visit again! 
THANK YOU for stopping by this time around.


4 December 2017

A festive season edit

Looking for inspiration on how to get your home festive ready from tree to table, look no further, I've partnered with Double Vision Events to bring you a guide for this festive season. 
To set the mood for the season its no question a Christmas tree sets the scene perfectly. 
Whether you are thinking of an authentic tree with all its pines and needles or an artificial one;
 be it a spruce tree, a cypress, faux fur or cedar tree, I mean, 
the choice is yours and the options are endless, grace your home with at least one.

Over the years I've played around with different colour themes because I love a new look each year. 2015 was blush pink and accents of gold whilst 2016 glittered in silver and white. This year I'm inspired by the rustic look, a style that blends copper accents and an abundance of greenery. For a perfect finish; glittering baubles, lights and glimmering candles dotted on every surface will add a touch.
Elegance, classy and simple is my kind of style so if I had to inspire on a dinner table look, I would say go for a:
πŸ’«simple colour palette.
πŸ’«simple patterns but with varied texture and finishes.
πŸ’«and minimal accessories.
You will hear me say many times, 'less is more'. 
Making cards and presents this simple couldn't be any more easier and neat!

The inviting aroma of stepping in from the cold to a home scented with warm and spicy candles is nothing short of breathtaking.
Here are a few of my favourite candles + those on my wish list:
πŸ’« the Winter Signature by The White Company πŸ’«

πŸ’« the Christmas Cookie by Yankee Candle πŸ’«  

πŸ’« Jo Malone London Promegranate Noir Home Candle πŸ’«

πŸ’« Mandarine, Clove and Cinnamon scented candle by Marks & Spencer πŸ’« 
πŸ’« Jo Malone London  English pear & Freesia diffuser πŸ’«

Darling, they ain't no good party without good music. 
πŸ’« Bryan and Katie Torwalt - Emmanuel (God with us forever) πŸ’« 

πŸ’« Mariah Carey - All I want for Christmas is you πŸ’« 

πŸ’« Michael Buble - Ave Maria ( his whole Christmas deluxe special edition album ) πŸ’« 

πŸ’« Brenda Lee - Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree πŸ’« 

πŸ’« Andy Williams - Its the most wonderful time of the year πŸ’« 

πŸ’« Dean Martin - Let it snow πŸ’« 

πŸ’« Hillsong Worship - Seasons πŸ’« 

πŸ’« Frank Sinatra - Have yourself a merry little Christmas (plus his Christmas jazz album ) πŸ’« 

πŸ’« Chris Tomlin - Noel ft. Lauren Daigle πŸ’« 
Who I am fooling though, this playlist may last for a while but the truth is half way through I will find myself embracing my roots and listening to some old school African music! 
Now, that's when the real party will start!
Enjoy the festive holidays. Thanks for stopping by.


9 October 2017

Being Me: how I practically do life.

Something about autumn pronounces, its a new season, its time to go again!
I don't know maybe its because for myself it is straight after my birth month,
 the start of a new school term  and normally is and always has been when I'm moving into a new season. For myself stepping into a new season always brings an uncomfortable element of the unknown and in order to stay the path I've found important to press on what matters, recognise what season I'm in, know my margins and identify my grace.
A bit of a background story:
I like to think that I spent a considerable amount of years being a jack of all trades and master of none. I can recall in high school I did everything and when I say everything I mean everything. From participating in most sporting activities (tennis, athletics, hockey, netball, cheerleading, basketball, hated swimming but went anyway), academia (Arts, Languages, Sciences, Business studies),
 public speaking (debates, eloquence), talent shows ( I did a solo for a song with a very high pitched note and the rest is history, not forgetting the one time I joined a dance girl group, that story is for another life) and if there is anything else you think I could have put myself up for, I did that too!
  In all fairness if I was asked today if I was good at everything I did my response would most likely be; "no, I don't think so" because truthfully speaking, I spread myself thin.
At the same time I'm not saying that was in any way a bad thing because advantageously I was opportunistic and in so being I learnt so much through my experiences and can confidently say as a result I know my strengths and my weaknesses. 
Adult-ing as I've done over the years I've had to do away with my old ways because in order to run at full speed and truly be the best at what I do I cannot afford to spread myself thin. This applies to every area of my life be it in my relationships, friendships, career, family, church etc. - I cannot afford to spread myself thin!
As I take time to set out my goals for each year, each month, and even each week I have found that asking myself some of these practical questions below has helped me be as efficient as I possibly can be.

1. What is truly going to be meaningful about this season?
I personally think that different seasons call for different priorities and I've come to learn that there is no perfect balance in life. I've heard it illustrated to be much like walking, in order to move forward one foot takes vault over the other one with each step. What is important to take note of is that locomotion only occurs as one foot NOT both feet takes it in turn to cause the movement. This illustration I believe applies to every day life too.
The Bible talks about there being a time for everything, a time for sorrow and a time for joy, a time to plant and a time to harvest and it goes on and on and on. 
I believe my life is much the same, I've had a time when I was studying and then came a time when I had to apply all the knowledge I had learnt. Some days, I feel lonely but most days I'm doing just fine on my own.  Some seasons I'm in lack financially and some seasons I'm doing alright.
Some months I'm saving and some months I allow myself to enjoy the fruit of my harvest.
I know for a fact this year gone I've been full on focused on my career and if I'm really honest I have not visited my mother in Cambridge much (that's not to say I haven't seen her). That season is past and my investment in my career has served its time and purpose and now I'm at a place where I've got more time on my hands and I can spend as much quality time with her as I wish. 
All that said, its no use prioritising tasks and working through them diligently if you don't determine what is truly going to be meaningful about that season.
Every investment needs a return and I want to look back at every season in my life and say, that was worth it - be it good or bad!
2.  What are my margins?
To operate at full speed, energy and virtue management is key.
Knowing what my strengths and my weaknesses are, what refreshes and what drains me and honestly being true to myself is what determines my longevity.
Focus is one of my strengths but on the contrary I am easily distracted.
Because I'm aware of this, if something is not helping me move forward towards my destination I will get it out of my way in order to come back in focus and keep things moving.
Understanding my margins, in this case, a strength and a weakness helps me filter to be efficient.

3.  What am I truly graced for?
People often ask me; how do you juggle a full time career, single parenting, a home and everything else that comes with adult life. My answer is often simple, I believe God has graced me for the journey that I'm on and I can only operate at full speed because of the grace that is on my life. 
On the other hand, I too have other things that I wish I was about but I'm not and I wonder how people do it BUT hey, what is the grace on my life?
 I have to accept other peoples gifts and be comfortable in my own!

In short, the point I am trying to drive at is simply this: BE YOU!


11 September 2017

All at once, summer collapsed into fall!

But, did we even have summer in the U.K?
A few sunny days, beads of rain, grey skies and gusty wind = an English summer.
Seriously though, summer is actually over and autumn is fast approaching and its sad to think that my summer capsule wardrobe was not fully employed.
In this post are a few versatile pieces that I absolutely love to wear:
River Island top
Miss Selfridge shorts
Zara sandals and last but not least,
my Karen Millen jacket.
BUT to even think that I didn't even get to wear them much... πŸ˜”
Anyhow, summer has collapsed into fall and I await the autumn and all that it brings;
the early sunsets. sweaters. boots. bonfires. fireworks. fall. leaves. scarves. hot chocolate. cuddling. jeans. pumpkins. tea and crisp air. 
 A few things I never got around to doing last year in Autumn and this spring/summer that I still hope to check off my list (+ a few new ones):
  1. Going for a walk in the woods and playing in a pile of leavesπŸ‚.
  2. Going to a theme park.
  3. Visiting a market.
  4. !Audacious Conference πŸ’›
  5. Visit my special mother in Cambridge 
  6. Foraging.
  7. Attend a music concert (with friends) & a Disney concert (with my daughter)
  8. Spa day at Mottram Hall.
Follow me on Instagram and Facebook to watch the adventures unfold.
Thanks for stopping by! 


6 August 2017

Meet Carly

Meet Carly. Carly is a head turner. Crafted in smooth tan leather with a bright orange interior, her design has been darted creating a trapeze inspired silhouette. Bringing a touch of individuality to an otherwise elegantly and simplistic tote bag she truly has been a personal favourite of mine since my purchase in December. 
Styled with a red scalloped dress and a pair of tan caged sandals, Carly wears this outfit so well I'm not surprised.
I mean, she's universal and that is what I love the most about her!
No doubt she will be around a long time.
Carly is part of the Russel and Bromley tote handle bag collection, available in stores and online.
The scalloped dress is a Banana Republic steal and last but not least, these tan River Island caged sandals ...
... hey, thanks for passing by!


29 July 2017

pre-University advice, in between & post-graduating experience ...

I cannot believe that it has been two years since I graduated from University and believe me when I say my post-University experience is nothing like the expectations I had set.
Now everyone's story is different and in this post I am only sharing my experience, my story and all the lessons learnt along the way. Whether you are still in University, are thinking it or have just graduated I hope you get a great deal from this post. Let's get right in shall we:

1."Wherever you are, be there".

First things first, be present!
Honestly three or four years goes by so fast and before you even blink, time is up and you are off onto the next adventure. I say, cease the moment and enjoy University life (whatever that looks like for you personally).Whilst you are at it, build friendships because life is better with others + some friendships will genuinely last a lifetime.

2.  Do a placement year.
A little bit of a story
So I moved to Manchester after completing my 1st year of studies in Cambridge with the aim of taking a year out to pursue some work experience. However, that did not go according to plan and in hindsight I could arguably say that was probably the worst mistake ever (especially in my field of study). One of the reasons why I did not end up securing a placement was because I was ill-informed.
If a course says "with placement year" it doesn't automatically mean one will be offered to you.
In actual fact in most scenarios what it means is you have to find yourself an internship / placement / work experience and the University will give you their full consent to go and pursue it.
After the gap year the University will welcome you back and allow you to finish off your final year of study. You would think that was general knowledge, not for me it wasn't (at the time).
*Lessons learnt ...
Try to secure a placement when you are in your 1st year of University. 
If you live in the U.K, most companies offer placement / internship opportunities between September and January. Make sure that you are constantly checking their careers websites and signing up to their newsletters, attending careers fairs...
Another way of getting the best work experience is by doing a graduate scheme / an early careers opportunity and most companies offer these to graduates (of course) but applications are normally a year before you complete your final year of study. Unlike placement opportunities that open at the beginning of the academic year, graduate schemes are open around May time all the way until end of September. 
Make sure you get the time scales right.

3. "Saving requires us not to get things now so that we can get bigger ones later".
University life and all its demands can cause us to forget about securing a better future financially.
If I could offer any advice at all it would be, save up as much as you can!
For example, if your finances allow you, open up an ISA mortgage account, deposit the £200 minimum every month and by the end of three / four years of study you will probably have enough money for a mortgage deposit and you would have done yourself a lot of good. Find out more about Help to buy ISA here.

4. Hard work always pays off!
Your study years are no longer than the many years ahead of you.
Studying is an investment in yourself, work hard at it, achieve the best results possible and trust me when I say you will enjoy the fruit of what you've sown. Hard work always pays off!

5.  "Do not despise the day of small beginnings ..." [Zechariah 4:10]
Its important to remember that no one ever started from the top.
Personally I think if you are at the start of your career, humble yourself (you are not selling yourself short) and be willing to start from somewhere then work your way up. 
Don't underestimate what opportunities arise from simply getting your foot in the door. Getting in means you can prove yourself, take every opportunity as it comes, advance your skill set and then secure positions you would have always aspired for from the very beginning.
Arguably it can be said that it all depends with the industry that you are in but whatever the case, humility is a key asset in life and a coachable spirit will take you places.
Another thing I would highly recommend is to have someone that mentors you in your career that has either gone before you and/or is where you want to see yourself. Make them your friend!

6. "I know the plans I have for you ..." says the Lord.
On the night of my graduation I received my certificate and a note that read,
"Congratulations, now what?"
Society or rather the world in which we live in has arranged patterns and conformed standards we are to fit in, for example, education comes first (at least up to the age of 18). 
A"perfect" model would look like this; 
education ➡️ career ➡️  house ➡️ marriage ➡️ kids ➡️ everything in between then finally retirement but  I think who we are should be determined by whose we are and that should govern how we do life altogether. 
If you've been reading my blog long enough then you would know that after completing University I went on to do a leadership and character development course (Protege as it was known at the time, Audacious School of Ministry as it is known as now) and if I'm really frank those were not my plans. I battled with the decision to do what I felt God was calling me to do because my default setting that was instilled in me was to follow the "perfect model".Knowing full well that I had heard God about what I ought to have been doing in that particular season obedience became no option. Doing what God wanted me to do as opposed to being on my own wild good chase in this thing called life was by far a better option.  
With that said, when it comes to the different seasons in life the question always is what is God saying now? 
Subsequently it is our duty to be faithful with the next step (pro-active) as His children. Sow the seed {apply for jobs}, water the plant {follow up on applications / attend interviews) and {leave it to God} watch God make the plant grow 
{1 Corinthians 3:6-7+context added}. 
Even though I was on Protege I applied for many jobs and attended countable interviews that came to nothing. [in hindsight it can be argued that maybe my only focus should have been on the assignment at hand (Protege)]. Soon after graduating from Protege I kid you not but that same week I had back to back interviews lined up.The beauty of it all is that now I understand why I had to wait and why obedience was key because there are lessons I couldn't have learnt elsewhere but only in that season (Protege). The adventure that did await was above and beyond what I could have ever dreamt or imagined and anything I could have settled for prior would only have been a bowl of soup{Genesis 25:19-34}.
In another post I would like to share on:
  •  one of the most controversial subjects: is going to University worth it? 
  • and even though I don't think I've mastered the art of interviews, CV and cover letter writing and I don't think one ever does I'm sure I can share a thing or two.
  • last but not least: how to deal with disappointment when we don't get the job because it has happened to me and inevitably it happens to the best of us.
Thank you for your readership and please do join me again as we continue this two part series!


9 July 2017

DIY Shellac Manicure

So I've been doing my own shellac manicure lately and I thought I would share a step by step guide.
Step 1:
Before beginning, make sure your nails are clean.
What do I mean? No oily or greasy finger nails.
In the event that you would have just removed shellac not long before,
use a cuticle stick to scrape off any excess old shellac
(after soaking in acetone and wrapping in foil of course).
File and buff nails to desired shape, do a hand wash and dry blot with a clean towel.

Step 2: 
Following on I go on to apply the first coat which is my base coat and place my finger nails under a UV Lamp, allowing them to dry for up to three minutes. One hand at a time.
Step 3:
Then I apply my first coat of colour and once again place my finger nails under a UV Lamp for up to three minutes. 
*TIP* --> the first coating is always very thin AND with every coat I always tip the ends of my nails to avoid them chipping and peeling. 
Step 4: 
Depending on the colour that I would have chosen and the finish that I'm after, I normally would go for a second coat (very thin layered) followed by up to three minutes under a UV Lamp.
Step 5
At this point I check if I've achieved the finish I'm after and this normally will determine if I should go for a third coating or not. Deciding this is normally based on the nail polish that I will be wearing. I find lighter shades on dark skin tone may need a few coats to allow the colour to pop whereas darker nail polish colours are the opposite.
Step 6:  I then apply a top coat and place my finger nails under a UV Lamp.

Step 7: After three minutes is up I put a bit of nail gel cleanser onto cotton wool and wipe over the nails to give them a lustrous shine. THAT IS IT!

Trust me when I say the first few times were a hit and miss and I still sometimes fail dismally at obtaining the "perfect shellac manicure" but all is well that never stopped the world, did it?
What you may want to know (or not)...
  • manicure genuinely last up to two weeks especially if you tip the ends.
  • no chipping maybe peeling at the most but like I said before make your coating very thin.
  • it looks nicer and neater if your nails are filed, buffed, shaped and cuticles are removed. 
  • its a one off spend - obviously initially they are investment costs to consider but once you are up and running you are good to go.
  • its so affordable you can literally build up your own nail polish collection with the same amount of money you would spend getting it done professionally somewhere else.
  • it takes less than an hour to complete your shellac manicure process - do it whilst you are watching your favourite show that doesn't need maximum concentration.
  • GDI is slightly cheaper than CND and if I had to offer my opinion I would say, they are both really good brands but personally I prefer CND!
Lastly, as said before, you will get it wrong a few times and that's ok. Just make sure you have a friend who knows better than you do, like I did.
Thanks for your readership, it is much appreciated and I hope you will find this useful!


19 May 2017

This Spring

First things first, can I take a minute or two of your time to talk about this Karen Millen leather jacket that I have off late found every excuse to put on with every single outfit that I own.
Even better, it comes in my favourite colour to wear and not only that, orange is one of the in season colours this S/S17! 
In other matters I thought it would be great to share a few of the adventures I will be on this spring. 
Nothing too exciting;

  1. Go Ape.
  2. Going to Big Church Day Out. 
  3. Going out with my Life group!
  4. Visiting a market, for example, a farmers market.
  5. Going to a jazz club.
  6. Baking a cake for my work colleagues 🍰. 
  7. Luminous Conference πŸ’›
  8. Visiting my special mother in Cambridge πŸ’.
  9. Changing my hairstyle πŸ’‡(undecided - I might/ I might not).
  10. Foraging.  
 I've posted a similar post before titled This Autumn and shared photographs on my social media networks. Watch this adventure unfold by following me on Instagram and Facebook 
Thanks for passing by!
Outfit details:
Leather jacket -  Karen Millen.
Jeans -  Jack Wills.
Top - Zara.
Rucksack - Primark.
Shoes -  Zara.


4 May 2017

But even if He doesn't

I've had much to learn in life
 but if I had to pick one that was most profound 
it has to be this line found in the book of 
 Daniel 3:18,
"but even if He doesn't"
In reading this line what strikes me the most is the resilient faith that was demonstrated by these boys in this teaching and even more mind blowing, how unconditional it was.
I grew up in a Christian home "doing church" and my parents were very involved in ministry. However my understanding of the faith itself is one that I have had to personally develop and grow over the last couple of years. There is still a vast majority of stuff that I don't know but then again that is the beauty found in this journey we are on, I am on, to keep on learning.
For many years, I conducted my relationship with God on the basis of conditions.
I thought once I was His child all I had to do was be good and He would give me good gifts (like Santa Clause) and ultimately I praised Him only if He got me out of the fire.
If He didn't, I questioned if He was still good?
Obviously growing as that is part of the faith journey I've come to learn that,

... He gives me good gifts because He loves me and that's who He is and I don't have to strive for a single thing ...

but before coming to this revelation I had lived out a length of my life with the ideology that it was a 'tit for tat' kind of relationship.
In July 2015 I graduated from University and began my hunt for the "perfect job".
Not long after, God spoke to me about what I ought to have been doing in that particular season (September 2015 onwards) and I took the leap of faith and was obedient to his call (completed Audacious School of Ministry in August 2016).
Responding to the call initially was not immediate but obedience for me was not an option.
However, if I'm honest in the back of my mind I thought surely my obedience is also going to pay off, somehow. Much like a child who is exceptionally GOOD before Christmas in the hope of getting their checklist ticked off by Santa Clause, that was me.
I basically thought since I've been obedient this is going to be a smooth sail and whilst I'm on this ride I'm sure God is going to throw in a few favours, like the dream job etc.
F O U R months in and the road started to looked hazy.
This is not what I had signed up for!
 Oh I can tell you even up to this day I still think that was the toughest season I ever had to go through in my life thus far and I wish I could say with each passing day it got better, it did not!
Ironically this was the very same season I had been called into so you would think it would come without any suffering but it did.
I felt like the boys, remember the boys in the fire, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
They were exactly were God had purposed them to be yet even so faced a fiery furnace and their words in Daniel 3:18,

"If the God whom we serve is able to save us from the blazing furnace and from your power, then he will. But even if he doesn't, Your Majesty may be sure that we will not worship your god, and we will not bow down to the gold statue that you have set up.”

so inspiring yet I can only wish that was how I too declared my faith.
Instead I mourned and asked God where He was, what rescue plan He had sort in place and when He was planning on executing it. Like, hello.
Yet I don't think a big rescue plan was the kind of deliverance that would save me because what I needed was a complete renewing of my mind and unless God had changed my way of thinking towards my relationship with Him, He could have delivered me from the blazing furnace but like a dog that goes back to its vomit so would I.
I would have never known what it is to have the kind of faith that says,
because remember for many years of my life I had lived out with the ideology that God was my Santa Clause.
With that said, I am mindful that as we go through everyday life it is so easy to box God into the parameters of our thinking, time frames and ideologies but then;
if He doesn't heal our dying relative, is He still God?
if we don't get the job in our timing, is He is still good?
Say he doesn't come in the shape or form that we imagined, will we recognise him?
 Daniel 3:24-25 goes on to read,

"Suddenly Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement. He asked his officials, “Didn't we tie up three men and throw them into the blazing furnace?”

They answered, “Yes, we did, Your Majesty.”
“Then why do I see four men walking around in the fire?” he asked. “They are not tied up, and they show no sign of being hurt—and the fourth one looks like an angel."

I would have thought it would have been more ideal had God turned up before the boys jumped into the fiery furnace yet He was with them the entire time just not how human nature would have normally perceived.
Besides, whether God had turned up before or after the boys had already decided that this would not change their faith. Their hope was in the finished work of Jesus Christ (whatever that looked like).
Shall this be the same hope we have.
Thank you for your readership.
Be blessed.

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