Ode to Gratitude

Hi gratitude, I seemed to have lost you somewhere along the way.

I’m trying to get you back, cos I know you have me covered

I’m promoting to you to my first and last thing of the day.

Why? because you improve my heart rhythm and reduce my stress level and generally make the world a better place.

You flood my body and my brain with feel good endorphins, you can’t be that bad after all.

Let get back together..

 

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Punting on the River Cherwell.

 

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Christ Church College, Oxford

I’ve decided to link up to Bernadette’s posts on thankfulness. So what I am grateful for this week.

I spent Saturday with my youngest teen picnicking and  walking around Christ Church meadows in Oxford, small thing I know, but she’s at an age where going on a picnic with mother is so last year.

With promises of Pokémons aplenty and a visit to Top shop we set off.  Oxford was hot, stifling hot and full of tourists lining up to do the Harry Potter trail, see the splendour of Oxford’s colleges or just being herded into open-top buses to do touristy things in a small city.

We headed for peace and tranquillity of the meadow and sat watching the rowers and punters manoeuvre their boats down the Rivers Cherwell and Thames.  The best thing of all is that we talked about stuff, stuff important to teenagers without the TV, a phone or any distractions except the occasional splash and waddle of the ducks and geese that seemed too hot to move.

“Thanks mum”, she said after we’d stuffed ourselves on cold coffee, sandwiches and cookies. “It’s been great, but can we go shopping now?”

And so we went back to maddening crowd in Oxford city centre.  Two hours of bliss with my Teen is something to be grateful for.

 

 

 

 

what’s going on with marina joyce?

Living life in the public certainly has a few pitfalls, this is a reblog of a post on one of the uk’s most popular teen youtubers. I wish her the very best in getting better. Marina, give yourself a break and look after number one.

Totally Tolu

Hello readers!

So, if you’ve been anywhere near Twitter (or any other social media, to be honest) recently, you’ve definitely heard about the controversy surrounding British youtuber Marina Joyce and the trending hashtag #savemarinajoyce. In today’s blog post, I’m going to take a closer look at what’s happened and share my views on the situation (just for the bants).

To start off, I would like to say that I support Marina 100%, and I truly do hope that she gets the help she needs to overcome whatever she is battling – I feel like it’s pretty obvious that Marina is going through some personal issues, which she needs space and privacy to work through. Unfortunately, being a famous youtuber means you are almost constantly in the public eye – and many people think that this gives them the right to probe in her life.

So, where did it all begin?

View original post 1,020 more words

What are the odds?

Hi, this is my contribution to a Short Story Day Africa prompt.

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Short Story day Africa – Writer Prompt

Zaina glanced at her sleeping husband and then at the bulky belt she was to wear to Jumat prayers, eyes closed, praying seemed futile and sleep wouldn’t come, it was as if sleep knew that something was going down today.

Adamu began to stir, he always woke up a few minutes before the muezzin called the prayer, sixteen months old and his body seemed in tune with life in the bush, she smiled at him as she pushed his thumb back into his puckered mouth. The one good thing to come out of this mess. Gosh, she thought, I’m a 15 year old mother, what are the odds? That was her father’s favourite phrase, said solemnly when anyone was fretting about anything. When mama thought the rains wouldn’t come, “what are the odds that we’ll all starve?” he said. When her sister Felicia had refused an arranged marriage and mama began to wail, throwing herself on the floor as if someone had died. Papa calmly said “what are the odds that her life is over? I’m sure they’ll be others.

Husband was awake.
“Make we do am one last time before you go see your friends for Janaa” he said chuckling.
“Yes sir,” she said fingering the object concealed beneath her hijab.

It went in like a hot knife in soft shea butter, he let out a gurgle as life and air rushed out of him.

What are the odds that I’ll make it home? She thought strapping Adamu to her back.

Worry – unwanted companion

Hi,

I haven’t posted in a while, just been busy worrying about everything under the sun from Brexit to my young adults to my work-life balance!

It’s time banish worry into a box.

This is my  letter to worry in response to a Daily post prompt: Companion

 

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Dear Worry

You seem to be my companion of late

I need to shake you off

Stop following me

You appear when I least expect

taking me down rabbit holes and making my heart miss a beat

I need to hook up with peace

You’re here again, taunting me, giving me endless what ifs

Get thee behind me worry, I’m not playing your games today.

Day 3 of the 3 day quote challenge

 

Life and weekend breaks have got in the way of completing this challenge!

But here is my final quote taken from the lyrics of a lady whose latest album is making waves on all sides of the Atlantic.

Whether you think she’s a feminist, being political or its just bad ass marketing, Beyoncé has got us all thirsty.

Here’s the chorus to Freedom.

Freedom! Freedom! I can’t move
Freedom, cut me loose!
Freedom! Freedom! Where are you?
Cause I need freedom too!
I break chains all by myself
Won’t let my freedom rot in hell

Hey! I’ma keep running
Cause a winner don’t quit on themselves

 

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My third and final nomination is olawritesfiction – check her blog for great African fiction.

 

 

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Day 2 of the 3 day quote challenge

Another quote from a song today.

This quote is from Billie Holiday’s song God bless the child.

The lyrics are so true today as they were back then.

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Billie Holiday

Them that’s got shall have
Them that’s not shall lose
So the Bible says and it still is news
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that’s got his own, that’s got his own.

I would like to nominate acookingpotandtwistedtales.com, the lady behind this blog is a great wordsmith and is sure to come up with an original quote or two.

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I is for Inspiration

 

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I is for Inspiration

Do you ever wonder what makes us write, put pen to paper, keep tapping away at the keyboard way past bed time?

Sometimes it’s a phrase, a smell, a photograph or a section of our history that we wish had been different. Or it could that conversation you overheard in the ladies/gents toilets, you didn’t mean to listen, but gosh they were talking so loud you couldn’t help it!.

Sometimes it’s the bits of conversations you hear at the train station or bus stop and just sometimes you get on the wrong bus or miss your train just because you want to know what happened next! Ok may be that’s just me.

Every now and then, it’s the daily prompt or a challenge such as the A to Z challenge which has has inspired me to keep tapping away, even when I am tired and my bed’s calling.

Every so often, it’s the voice of a character that comes and weaves it’s story in my head, speaking to me and lulling me into a world less ordinary, until I burn dinner and smell of burnt rice brings me back to earth.

At times, it’s just looking at what other writers and bloggers  are doing, and being inspired to join in, to like and give a little feedback. Hey, if she/he can do it, so can I.

I just need to find my voice.

So here’s a big thank you to all the inspiring writers and bloggers with their daily prompts, moral Mondays, streams of consciousness, weekly challenges and general come join the fun challenges. You inspire me.

Enough of my rambling, what inspires you?

E is for Esther #atozchallenge

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Starry night@ image

Today’s post is based on my first trip to Nigeria as an 11 year old, many many moons ago!

Eight o’clock in the evening and the power had gone off again, the sky was jet black and the stars twinkled like diamonds, my brother and I sat with my nearly identical twin cousins watching them cheat at Monopoly, they kept coming up with rules I’d never heard of and saying this is how we play the game in Nigeria!. Grandma sensed the tension and suggested a story. She didn’t bother when we were watching t.v, she couldn’t get our attention she said, we were more interested in the box with little people she would say.

Grandma didn’t speak English, her stories were in Yoruba(local language) –with sprinklings of Pidgin English. She started the words Alo oh Alo! (story story), we replied Alo (story) – she had our attention… Esther the little girl from the next house walked in and my cousins began to whisper.

“What is she doing here?” said Kenny – I called her twin one

“We don’t want her and her friends spoiling the fun, she’s possessed by some spirit.

“How do you know?” I asked

“Look at her face, she has cuts and bruises all over her face and she fits and then goes into a trance every so often”

“and does that make her a spirit child? I asked, and as if on cue, Esther fell and started fitting

“See, I told you!” said twin two, “she is talking to her spirit friends”

My grandma got up and rolled Esther onto her side.

Esther had epilepsy – her parents did their best, but people in the area especially children of my age made fun of her because we thought she was possessed by a spirit.

Her extended family helped by taking her to church and praying, they took her to the local medicine-man, who prayed for her, offered libations to a few different gods and made her drink and bathe in a thousand different herb infused potions

I have lost touch with Esther, but as an adult I look back and think how easy it was to let beliefs, customs and ignorance cloud my reasoning and judgement.

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D is for Dowry

 

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Hi, In keeping with my look at culture, today’s post is D for Dowry.

In some Nigerian tribes, the woman brings a dowry as part of the marriage agreement. So here’s a bit of poetry for today.

 

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Kola-nuts – a key component in Nigerian ceremonies@image

My Dowry

I come to you with a dowry on my head

Not so you should want me dead, but that we should plan for the road ahead.

I come to you with my father’s sweat and my mother’s fear that no one would ever love me so dear.

I come to you with innocence and hope, not giving you permission to destroy my soul

I bring gold, a bag full of kola-nuts and a trunk full of promises to share

I bring honey, so our life will be sweet

I bring salt to preserve and keep us

Most of all, I bring a start to our new life

C is for Culture

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I can’t remember the number of times I would ask to do something as a child and be told by my Nigerian parents that it wasn’t part of our culture. I must admit I have used the same phrase with my children, I got away with it until one day, my then thirteen year old daughter caught me out with a barrage of questions: what is culture anyway?, why does it matter? who determines what becomes culture, isn’t culture supposed the made up of the  ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular society, and why do we have to conform to it. The bone of contention was respect for elders and the fact Nigeria society expects respect for people older than you, more powerful than you no matter who they are, so we prefix the first names of people that have no familial relationship to us with –  uncle, aunty, brother or sister. I have no problems with this, but what if those people you respect take advantage of you or your family– respect and culture go out of the window and common sense should prevail.

I ask myself if culture is always based on customs of a people, or is this something handed down to us by our forebears, and where does what some people refer to as high culture come in – am I cultured because I love literature and I don’t read gossip magazines? Am I cultured because enjoying going to a gallery, and gazing at paintings that cost a tidy packet?, I am still figuring it out and creating my bit of high and low culture along the way

No matter what culture you’re part of, the truth is, cultures change and so do people.

Continue reading “C is for Culture”