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7 habits of people who age well – The REMIX.

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7 habits of people who age well – The REMIX.


Remember when you thought reaching 20 was ‘old’?

(if you’re under 20 you may have wandered on to this page inadvertently. *waves at rapidly retreating figure*


As the eldest amongst most of my friends I was pregnant first, bought a house first, ended a long relationship (not first, to be fair and some of my friends are in wonderfully loving long-standing partnerships). I’ve definitely started Natures gift  that keeps on giving, Menopause, first! So I tend to be looked upon as the oracle of all things aging, parenting and general adult-ing. As someone who, for most of my life, has radiated outer confidence whilst being simultaneously consumed with an inner ‘Help me! I don’t know how I got here!’ panic, this situation is bewildering and bemusing. I still don’t really know what I’m doing, but I’m more vocal and less worried about being found out in some areas (I’m working on the rest). Growing older does that to you.

Anyway its my birthday month. Despite feeling no older than 35 (and acting no older than 15) , for the most part, I’ve approached FIFTY five faster than I could say ‘Where did I put my cod liver oil?’

So here’s a list I found on the inter webs. Apparently its a list of habits that ‘normal’ people  who’ve aged ‘well’ follow. I couldn’t resist some teensy amendments…

  1. Maintain a positive attitude: Hmmm it’s a bit difficult these days isn’t it? It certainly involves avoiding or filtering The News and ignoring any inner demons. Re those pesky I.Ds – Most of us have those. Please don’t think that you’re on your own. Take social media breaks that can allow you to shut out some of the ‘noise’ and to live in the present. Do that.

Definitely not wine, chocolate or crisps….more’s the pity.

  1. Watch what you eat: …when you’ve consumed a large packet of kettle crisps, a bar of salted caramel chocolate and 2/3 bottle of wine for dinner on a Friday night. (not me, of course. My ‘friend’) Yes, eat healthily and get your 52 portions of veg in a day or whatever the government figure is now. But that guilt that comes with eating junk food every once in a while? Stop that.
  2. …And how much you eat: I read somewhere that in order to stay  healthy you shouldn’t eat carbs after 6pm. Does anyone actually do this? I tried it ONCE a long time ago. I couldn’t sleep! Am I the only person who gets the munchies *just* as I decide to go to bed?
  3. Exercise regularly: Some people like to run marathons and gym daily and cross train. Some like to do housework to music and mow the lawn. Some like brisk walks and long stretches. Your body isn’t the same as anyone else’s. Just move with a purpose. And try to do it every day.
  4. Stay social: Log off, go outside and speak to actual people. Arrange to visit a friend. Join a group of like minded souls. Seek the company of others.
  5. Protect your skin from the sun: Actually this is a good one. I would add never underestimate sunlight. Even in the UK. It’s beautiful,  clever, dangerous stuff at times and Skin Cancer doesn’t play. SPF it up.
  6. Get plenty of sleep: All the intention is there. It’s a great idea in theory. But that ‘go to bed now’ reminder gets ignored more times than not. Every time. I’ll try again tomorrow. I mean, tonight. Soon.

Of course I haven’t figured everything out, because no one can. But experience (age) means that I have an opinion on many topics. I’m finding that the more I learn, the more there is to learn. Self awareness is exhausting but its never boring.



On aging ‘well’? Thats debatable. My physical parts sag and creak whilst my mindful parts strengthen and bloom. Perception changes everything. Most days I’m more than happy with that. And on the days I’m not, I know that ‘this to shall pass’. It hasn’t always been this way.   Taking responsibility for my own happiness is a big step. And making sure I wear something that makes me happy – usually colourful – on a daily basis. That works too! (try it).

Therefore I would also put (and these are neither groundbreaking or new but still…):

Read books. Encourage curiosity. Listen to others.  Breathe deeply.  Stretch daily.   Empathise.   Laugh out loud. Hug long and hard.   Cry when you feel like it.   Observe others. Write it out.  Keep negativity at bay. Sit in silence.  Keep learning. Look up.  Wear your ‘happy’.  Dance to music.  Marvel at nature.  Express love often. Be present. Talk.  Appreciate.   Give.   Shed.   Live.

Thats  everything, right? My completely non-complete list. What would YOU add?

P.S. Still doing the business over here. But decided to share on here when the mood takes me. I may end up shouting into a chasm. We shall see.


We have mooooved!

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We have mooooved!



All packed.


But don’t worry! It’ll all be ok! You can STILL keep in touch with news, updates, sewing classes and special offers over at Reddskin. 

It’s been a blast! Don’t go changing.




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I sat at my kitchen table, wearing stained sweatpants, an old T-shirt and raggedy headscarf and idly watched Georgia, my designated make-up artiste of the evening, prepare the tools of her trade. I pondered the mammoth task she had before her.

Ah! Such optimism in youth.

kitchen table takeover in full effect

kitchen table takeover in full effect

Georgia produced all manner of pretty confection (including a bag of cutesy baby pink cotton wool pads I coveted) then set about my face. No mean feat as I was so excited I couldn’t keep my mouth shut! No change there then.

Erm...excuse me? Where are my minions?

Erm…excuse me? Where are my minions?

Various Reddskin creations and different ‘looks’ were experimented with. I even managed to rope/con my youngest diva into taking behind-the-scenes photos with my own groovy new camera. It all went rather smoothly and photographer Kim was graciously patient with me as I posed and tried not to giggle.

Decisions, decisions...

Decisions, decisions…

I should probably explain…

Nubian Nights Out are a ” group of young professionals working in various creative industries including, fashion, photography, music, film and PR”.  In December 2014 they founded their collective  “looking to connect with like-minded people interested in learning more about Black history and identity”. They are a dynamic bunch of people who have already put on several events through their meet up group

Freestyle Locs styling

Freestyle Locs styling

Kim and Georgia have been spending most, if not all, of their spare time (they both work in demanding jobs) running around London photographing many women from a range of backgrounds. Images highlighting the diversity of Women of Colour not seen enough in mainstream media. It’s SUCH an exciting project so I felt honoured when founder member, Relle, who I had the pleasure of working with at Forest Hill Fashion Week, approached me to participate.

Then I thought “Free Make-over? Where do I sign?”

Ready for my close-up.

Ready for my close-up.

This photoshoot is part of a series that will form the basis for their launch exhibition celebrating Women of Colour. The exhibition will launch on 23.07.15 and run for two days for public viewing at a boutique gallery in South London.

Cheshire Cate has nothing on me!

Cheshire Cat has nothing on me!

NNO are currently also fundraising to produce a book of the event. You can read more about these exciting plans and donate here. Every little helps I promise you!

Support us by sharing:

Facebook Nubian Nights Out

Twitter @NubianNightsOut

Remember…you heard it here first.

Photo credits: Maheni Short.

NTU Fashion Knitwear Catwalk Show 20.05.15

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NTU Fashion Knitwear Catwalk Show 20.05.15

Last Wednesday I was privileged enough to attend Nottingham Trent University Fashion Knitwear Final Degree Show where my eldest diva, Kareem, has been studying.

It’s been a looooong haul and a steep learning curve for my woman-child , for many different reasons. A false start on a course that wasn’t right for her meant that graduation year arrived eons after most of her peers. A testing time that we all remember. However it was when she discovered and switched to a Fashion Knitwear BA that her clear passion and talent for design and making in this field truly emerged.

Self doubt chucked a few stumbling blocks in her way but the daughter I witnessed on Wednesday evening had grown into a focused and determined Designer. Yes of COURSE I cried. BLUBBED.

I am deeply, immensely, proud of you, Kareem.

Styling and sorting designs

Styling and sorting designs

I was lucky enough to see both Catwalk shows and, by some quirk of fashionable fate, ended up on front row seats for the second one. *high fives The Universe*.

Below is a selection of images I managed to capture. I have yet to work out what all the knobs and buttons do on my new Canon so the photos may not be amazing …but they give you a flavour of the immense talent of the Fashion Knitwear student Class of 2015*.

You saw them here first!

Kareem Short created contemporary jewellery by knitting cashmere and merino wool using a distinct and complementary colour palette with gold silk accents. These were then draped, twisted and knotted to make individual and strikingly designed pieces of art. Metal rods and fastenings enabled sections to become interchangeable. Stunning.

3 of 4 Contemporary jewellery designs showcased by Kareem Short. BOOM!

3 of 4 Contemporary jewellery designs showcased by Kareem Short. BOOM!

Well done ALL who were involved behind the scenes and in the spotlight and GOOD LUCK to all Final Year Graduates! I, for one will be looking out for you!

*Unfortunately I didn’t get a piece from every NTU Fashion Knitwear student that night. My sincere apologies to those I missed.

It’s not you, it’s me.

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I can’t put it off any longer. It’s happening. It’s HERE!

Tomorrow, 1st June 2014 7am my BRAND NEW SHINY WEBSITE will be born.

I guess it has felt a little bit like giving birth to a precious bundle (metaphysical pain, less fluids). I finally get to show the world – you actually – what I do and what I CAN do. There are handbags, clothes, accessories, home type items (wares?), workshops, classes, parties and events –  all in one delectably BEAUTIFUL PLACE! I’m so excited I can barely keep still! Bear with me whilst I find my feet (they must be around somewhere *chuckles at hideously awful joke*).

Thank you for indulging me thus far – I do hope you’ll stay along for this next chapter.

I’ll also be running a competition soon to celebrate all this lovely new-ness so stay tuned!

So have a look, get up early if the mood so takes you, browse, bookmark, read, peruse and SHARE! Please do feedback and let me know what you think.



Reddskinbags you have been SO good to me *sniff* We’ve had some tremendous times *gulp*. But it’s time we parted company.

It’s not you, it’s ME!

K x


Risky business

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Risky business

I’m not known for my lightning decisions. I don’t like to take risks. Spontaneity is what other people do. I’m that annoyingly cautious person who puts a fiver on each way at the races…if I go.

I weigh up the pros and cons, read and research, ummm and ahhh before taking a step towards a final, agonizing choice.

Now I’ve reached the point of no return.


Soon come...

Soon come…

Onwards and upwards.

Coming soon






Your Sewing Machine is your Friend!

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As with many of my ideas, this one came from a casual conversation with some friends over a glass of wine, possibly in my kitchen I can’t honestly remember. Maybe it was more than one glass. Hey ho!

Our comprehensive survey – four slightly tipsy women and their mates – concluded that many people have a sewing machine at home but haven’t a Danny La Rue what to do with it. When one friend quipped “Wouldn’t it be great if we there was a local expert who could teach us?’, aaaaaand then they all stared in my direction, I thought “Actually, they might be on to something”.

Add  one flustered neighbour  ringing my doorbell one evening who was having ‘a bit of trouble’ with her sewing machine. In a fit of thriftiness and blind optimism she had agreed to make the costumes for her children…all three … for the school play…the next day.

I  figured that it was time to don my proverbial sewing cape.

Lea and her welcome cuppa

Never one to shy away from a new challenge (Flamenco style wedding dress with 14 metres of fabric, anyone?) I set about making plans.

I love teaching – I love textiles – and I LOVE teaching textiles. This seemed like a wonderful opportunity to combine the two without leaving my cosy home!

We’ll chalk that up as a WIN.

Jo sewing and thinking “stop taking my picture!”

I have never described myself as an ‘expert’ but I do know my way around a sewing machine. I like to think I have a way of working that gets the point across without it being (too) baffling and is fairly good fun. What’s the point if it isn’t?

Fledgling Sewing Warriors ‘werking it’!

Naturally we all started with a welcoming cup of tea. It’s the law apparently.

Try as I might, Kirsty could not be persuaded to finish MY ironing!

My lovely clients were keen and enthusiastic and we had a LOT of laughs! They even did their homework!

Matching Zebra stripes! WOOP!

Jo and Lea made a fabulous zipless cushion cover. Jo would like me to highlight the fact that she made the back panels match. On purpose. Honest!

Christmas stocking complete with funky border, finished!

Kirsty made a Christmas stocking for one of her boys  so successfully she’s making another one as I write. So clever!

She did it!

Now no self respecting Sewing Course would be complete without a congratulatory certificate. My ladies are ready to go and wield their talent as fully fledged Sewing Warriors!

I’m so PROUD of them! *sniff*

There is something really special about creating. That overwhelming sense of achievement – gained from doing something you never thought possible – takes some beating….in adults as well as children *turns death stare towards the current Education Secretary*

I raise my glass to Jo, Kirsty and Lea, my FIRST Sewing Warriors. May they share their zest for crafting with many more!

Sewing classes are popping up everywhere – as the combination of penny saving and new challenges kick in. If this whets your appetite, why not make finding a local sewing class your New Years Resolution?



Crafty, creative fun anyone?

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A couple of months ago I was approached by Joanna at Canvas and Cream, our new Art Gallery in Forest Hill, to run a craft workshop for a hen party. The bride to be and her friends and family were due to descend upon this gorgeous space for bubbly, tea and baked deliciousness one Saturday in September. Corsage making was to be the icing on their proverbial cake.

Crafty parties  are an original way to celebrate any occasion with friends or family in the comfort of your home. The best part is that you don’t need to have any sewing experience, just a willingness to nurture your creative spirit and some mates to share it with!

Mine all miiiine!

So let me see…crafting….AND cake? How could I refuse?

Now many of you already know that I have been a teacher for a looooong time so you wouldn’t think that this kind of gig would daunt me would you? WRONG.

Teaching a class of 30 pupils, whilst extremely challenging at times, could no longer be described as daunting. Teaching a room of your peers, some of whom will probably have consumed at least one glass of a bubbly beverage is an entirely different matter.

My lovely daughter gave me advice on the drive over: ‘Mum, you’re fabulous! It’ll be FUN!’


Drawing around the corsage template before the cutting commences!

I needn’t have worried at all.

The lovely ladies were seated, fairly sober and eager to get started. Some ladies were avid sewers and some had little experience but all wanted to find their creative side which was the most exciting part!

Where to start?

I gave a short demonstration and before I knew it they were reaching frantically to choose from colourful scrap fabrics and embellishments.

All in an hours work!

It matches my dress!

An apt bridal theme.

I was impressed by their enthusiasm and the combinations they all came up with and I think that they surprised themselves too! I hope that they all had a great afternoon…I know that I did!

Oh…and the cakes were delicious too!

Paradise found.


Barbados. I can’t even say it without smiling. Birthplace of my parents. Home to many members of my family.

Miami beach….in Barbados.

I first visited back in 1983. I was in my final year at Leicester Poly and about to hit the grand old age of 21. My mum saved from her meagre payslip for what must have been a few years to buy me a plane ticket for my birthday . “It’s time you saw where your parents were born”, she announced. I wasn’t complaining. So, whilst she sat at her kitchen table typing up my final dissertation, I jetted excitedly into the unknown.

Relaxing at sunset

The love I have for this beautiful Caribbean island has never left me and I have returned many times.

Years later with a family of my own, it seemed only fitting that I should celebrate my 50th birthday in Barbados. So I, too, saved my pennies for years so that I would be able to treat myself and my divas to the holiday of a lifetime.

My divas

And what a holiday it was! Friends and family flew out to help me end what has turned out to be, six months of birthday celebrations. This may seem a tad excessive or even extravagant to some but believe me it was worth the expense because we have had a BALL!

Beautiful view from the Tiami catamaran.

I enjoyed seeing my Bajan family again and meeting new ones I didn’t know existed. It felt that everywhere we turned there was someone being introduced as a cousin…or maybe that’s just a Caribbean thing.

Young cousins at the beach

We had a brilliant day sunning it with friends on a Catamaran.


I discovered that I hate snorkelling…Hey I like breathing too much – go figure! I reconciled my fear of getting my hair wet (Diva? Moi?) and went swimming with the turtles. I even went to a specialist hairdresser to have my hair done for the first time in fourteen years – having been teased by friends who have never washed their own locs. Who knew?

Hajar of HapiLocs at work

I rekindled my love of all things rum and discovered a new love in Gin, creating a ‘new’ (to me) cocktail we named The Ridge Cooler after the villa we were lucky enough to stay in the final week.

The Ridge. Barbados.

I finally worked out that I no longer feel the need to chase the nightlife on the Island and was just as happy picking La Divas up from a night out knowing that they’d had a great time. I draw the line at clubbing along with my children – although I’m sure I could show them a thing or two on the dance floor.

Why are you rolling your eyes?

Sunset at Accra beach

I slept and I swam and I read. My birthday Kindle (thank you) became my best friend. The girls, friends, family and I talked and laughed until we cried. We made the mistake of playing dominoes with our young cousins. Nothing much beats the humiliation of being thrashed at dominoes by a 10 and a 13 year old..repeatedly..and then being laughed at…loudly.

I am so thankful for having the means to afford such a holiday and for having such wonderful friends and family to spend it with. I loved being with my  funny ladies who, let’s be real here, have driven me to the edge of sanity and back on more than one occasion.

The 3 Degrees. Barbados 2012

But most of all I’m just so glad that my mum instilled in me the importance of saving my pennies…and for giving me the best 21st birthday present EVER.

The view.

I have told my friends that my celebrations are over…for now. I know I milked it and I make no apologies. I have never needed much of an excuse to party!

What about you? Are you a celebration addict? How will you celebrate your next big birthday or anniversary? Or do you hate the mere thought of a party?

Whilst you’re thinking about it…here’s my recipe:

Ridge Cooler/Gin Cooler/Reddskin Gin

1 tsp brown sugar

2/3 capfuls Gin (I used Bombay Sapphire…pretty colour bottle!)

2 slices of cucumber, diced.

Half pink grapefruit – segments and juice.

Chuck all the above in a tall glass half filled with ice cubes. Top up with tonic water.

Drink and relax…preferably in the sun.

For an refreshing alcohol-free version… *blank stare*… omit the Gin.

Reddskin Gin!


One night in Notts…

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Nottingham University – First Year Fashion Knitwear students held their very first show on Monday night.

The atmosphere was electric! I’m only sorry that I can’t recreate it here…but here is a taste (cue loud suitably trendy dance music)

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Well done to all students – your hard work really paid off!

And I’m definitely a VERY proud mum!

Pea Head Vegan

Just me and my head like a pea, eating all the vegan food.

Jack Monroe

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