Sunday, 24 June 2012

Keep on dreaming...

As children, we are encouraged to dream creatively and on a grand scale because the possibilities are endless.  Dressing up as fairytale characters, daydreaming, singing nursery rhymes and pondering about life as a grownup are all part of a healthy childhood.  However, as adults the life we dreamt about often becomes a distant memory because we unconsciously push those dreams aside for more pressing matters.  Suddenly we’re paying bills, holding down a job, having children of our own, experiencing pressure from friends/family to conform and getting stressed about all the responsibilities in our life.  As valid as they are, these commitments tend to get in the way of the dreams we initially imagined for ourselves and resentment starts to kick in because we feel unfulfilled.

Many people give up on their dreams because they are “too busy” or allow negative people to stop them in their tracks.  I personally believe that regardless of your age, background and what’s going on in your life; ANYONE can make that step towards pursuing their dream, no matter how big or small.  If someone really has the desire to achieve something and has the self-belief that they can make it happen, then no one and nothing in this world can take another person’s aspirations from them or stand in their way.  Granted, a few sacrifices may need to be made, but if it’s really worth it, you’ll know in your heart that you’re doing the right thing because you’ll eventually be living the dream.
A beautiful quote from Gail Devers, 3-time Olympic Gold Champion says: "Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe."

From the quote above, the word ‘determination’ screams out to me in so many ways.  Being determined always puts a person in good stead.  At the age of 14, I dreamt of a career in media and marketing, because I fell in love with the glitz, glamour and creativity of the industry.  However, when I told my friends and family about my dream at the time, I was faced with opposition with comments fed to me like: “black people don’t work in those types of jobs” and “you won’t amount to much”.  Luckily, I didn’t let this set me back.  The determination in me proved them wrong and I became the first person in my family to gain a university degree.  I was then fortunate enough to go on to work my way up the ranks in key roles at MTV, Endemol Television, Saatchi & Saatchi and the Walt Disney Company to name a few.  I was even invited to be a Guest Lecturer in many subjects due to my experience in the field.  I lived and fulfilled my dream!  And although it was stressy and challenging at times, I am grateful for every experience because I learnt so much and had the most amazing times of my life. 
After a successful career in media and marketing for over a decade, the buzz of the industry no longer appealed to me so I placed another dream in my sights: to be a Primary School Teacher.  This time, I kept it quiet because I did not want naysayers telling me it was impossible to make this career change.  My desire to work in a softer, more nurturing environment and to help shape the lives of children from disadvantaged backgrounds sparked off the determination in me this time.  But how was I going to take this leap from the manic media buzz into the classroom?  I did this by volunteering with children in my spare time.  I also qualified during this time as a Dance Teacher and started running dance classes for children in schools, which I loved and still do!  Eventually, just by a sheer stroke of luck I found a school to sponsor my post graduate teaching degree, enabling me to embark on this career change as a Primary School Teacher full time.

Will I ever stop dreaming as an adult?  Dreaming is what keeps me and millions of people going, so the answer is no.  And as for those negative people and situations which have stopped us dreamers in our tracks, they only make us stronger because they throw in the test on how determined and dedicated we are to fulfilling our aspirations.  Whilst I appreciate not all dreams become a reality (that’s life!), I am confident that we always end up where we’re meant to be in the end because as the Dalai Lama puts it “not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck” - it may just take you somewhere else much more rewarding. 
The YouTube video below features the new song from British urban hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks, entitled ‘Dreamers’.  With lyrics like “I can find my place in my dreams”, “we aim higher” and “we’re the believers”, this song aims to inspire anyone who listens to it to keep on pursuing their own aspirations because life’s too short.
Happy Shimmies :)


Sunday, 17 June 2012

Dad's the Word...

It’s Father’s day today and I’m at my family home chilling with my dad.  With the soft vibe of reggae music playing in the background, and the smell of rice and peas going through the house, it’s always good to visit the folks at home.   

As the childhood memories start flooding back to me, I saw a lovely photograph (right) which uber talented Noel Clarke (actor, writer, director, producer) posted on twitter today of himself and his boys, with the following tweet: “Just in case you missed it. Me n my boys dedicated to good dads (and mums) everywhere” (

Having my dad around throughout my childhood and adult years, makes me realise how lucky I am because a lot of people are not so fortunate to have a paternal role model in their lives.  Many people don’t know who their parents are or what forms their identity (why they act and look they way do); and many people have had their mums and dads sadly pass away during their lifetime, only to have memories in their heart to look back on. 

I personally feel appreciative of all the good times, bad times and special moments I have had with my dad and recognise many of his traits in me which have made me the person I am today. 

As we honour all the dads out there today (good and bad), I also take my hat off to and feel inspired by all the devoted mums who take up the role of the father figure as the substitute dad for children without a dad in their lives.  

Whatever your situation, here's a poem from Louisa Mansfield to hopefully inspire you:

Dad, When I was born,
You were there to catch me when I fall, whenever and wherever.
When I said my first words,
You were there for me,
to teach me the whole dictionary if need be.
When I took my first steps,
You were there to encourage me on.
When I had my first day at school,
you were there to give me advice and help me with my homework.
I still haven’t finished school,
or walked down the aisle, or had my first child.
But I know you will be there for me through all these times and more, the good and bad.
So I just wrote this to say 'I LOVE YOU DAD!!!'

(Louisa Mansfield)
Happy Shimmies and stay blessed this Father’s Day :)


Monday, 4 June 2012

A diamond weekend!

It’s the Diamond Jubilee long weekend and London is buzzing like you wouldn’t believe. Millions of people all over the world are watching as Britain honours Queen Elizabeth II being on the throne for the past 60 years. There are street parties galore, magnificent parades with a carnival atmosphere, a star studded concert at Buckingham Palace and all sorts of other fun-filled patriotic comings and goings to celebrate.   

Whether you’re into royalty or not, 60 years is something to be commended for and inspired by.  As the second longest British monarch reigning since the age of 25 and now at the age of 86, the Queen has seen enormous change over the years with a lot of uncertainty along way, but has always remained poised and dedicated to her duties.  Among others, the Queen has seen the invention of things you and I take for granted today, like the telephone, compact discs, cash machines, the internet, post-it notes; and even the technology to enable people to walk on the moon.  Rumour has it that the Queen now has an ipod which she uses to listen to her favourite musicals on.  Time sure has changed over the years and I’ll bet she looks back surprised at how fast its flown.

So if you're celebrating the Diamond Jubilee, live it up and have FUN!  But remember the next time you start a project, or work towards something out of the ordinary, use the Queen as your inspiration to stick with it and see it through to the very end regardless of how tough it gets.  Give it your all and be a diamond yourself, because if it’s really worth it and you put your heart into it you'll learn valuable lessons along the way and may just surprise yourself at the results.
Happy shimmies :)