Go Ape  🐒🐒

Go Ape  🐒🐒

We conquered the tree top adventure!!!

This challenge right here had a sort of team-building- day-trip-conquering-fears type vibe.

🐒👫👫👫🐒

 

It was my turn to organise the couples trip and in true #25For25 fashion I decided to do something fun and exciting.

After everything was booked, we eagerly awaited the weekend (even though some of us needed a bit more convincing than others lol)

A N T H O N Y

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The journey there was a funny one. I hate being late but I was probably the reason why we were probably gonna miss our slot (damn my urge to always carry snacks and emergency sugar lol).

 

 

 

When we arrived we luckily caught up with our group and listened to the safety briefing.

 

 

 

I can’t lie, as much as it was my idea…when it came to the first jump I was shook. You’ll see a couple of my update as we walk through the sites.

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Several minutes after conquering the first jump, I had to make the decision whether to go on either:

1) the extreme path

or

2) the less extreme path

Before I decided, I let the boys go across first.

(See below)

 

 

Do you see the struggle!? I decided to take the easier route lol.

Hilarious.

 

The further you get on the course the more confident you feel. You eventually forget you were even fearful at the start.

 

 

 

By the time you reach site 3 you’re harnessing yourself without even thinking twice.

You’ll even find yourself encouraging strangers and reminding them to

always stay attached”

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There was one jump in particular that none of the girls attempted.

 

 

 

 

I didn’t quite fancy launching myself of a twig into a giant spiders web.


 

*DANCE BREAK*

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…Always time for a Cunningham dance battle

 

 

 


The weather was truly in our favour. It happened to be the hottest day of the year

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Cue Dwayne.

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As you can see, some of the group were more cocky confident than others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Can you believe it, no one in our group fell.

I repeat

NO

ONE

FELL!

(I’m not gonna lie, I had my bets on Bridget or Anthony being the ones to drop, sorry guys)

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 The thought of falling had all of us a bit anxious at the start. Our guide simply told us

“If you fall, you’ll just be hanging there.”

#AintNobodyGotTimeForThat!

 

*DANCE BREAK*

 

It’s safe to say I’ve overcome my fear of heights!


 

The activity that gave us the most laughs has to be the zip wire. And the award for the funniest landing definitely goes to Paul!

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One of the rules when landing is to keep your legs together then start kicking your legs/run in the air….

Paul over here decided it was time for gymnastics!

At every opportunity possible, he would open his legs wide in split position, ensuring total hilarity when he finally landed… see for yourself!

 

FUNNY VID ALERT!!!

 

 

 

😂😂😂

 

Me on the other hand, I was a bit shaky at the start.

Shak & Bri had a couple of dodgy landings too.

 

 

 

 

 

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Eventually I perfected my landing; and in true ‘Shivy’ fashion used a catchphrase.

Today it was….

LOOK AT THE STRENGTH”

 

 


We made it to site 5!

 

 

And boy, the final jump was massive.

At this point you give yourself and the group a pep talk…

Something along the lines of:

“Ok guys, this is it. No turning back, you’ve made it this far. We have been on the course for 3+ hours. Let’s do this…”

 

 

 

Because I was last, there’s no footage of me doing the final jump, but I can assure you it was epic.

3 HOURS LATER AND THAT WAS IT!!!


Headcount:

Paul, Shak, Ant, Bri, Dwayne and Shiv ✔️

We all made it.

 

 

 

We then received our certificates and we were off on our way.

Completing Go Ape was definitely a huge achievement for me, considering I haven’t been the greatest fan of heights over the last few years.

I would say the real challenge lies with conquering the first jump…then conquering the aches and pains your body feels over the next 2-3 days!

If you’re feeling brave enough, give Go Ape a try!

🐒🌳


Ok, ok, let’s watch Paul’s famous landing one more time

 

🐾 BLACK PANTHER 🐾

🐾 BLACK PANTHER 🐾

W A K A N D A  

F O R E V E R!

 

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If you haven’t watched the film yet, what are you waiting for? I know you may be waiting for the hype to die down…But honestly you do not want to miss the current NUMBER 1 MOVIE THE WORLD!

Black Panther has to be the film of the year and the year has just about begun.

Marvels Black Panther has already celebrated its place in cinematic history as one of the most high profile Black super hero movies to date!”

USA TODAY

Excitement is brewing:

This is a movement that many have anticipated for years!

Because we all predicted utter greatness, we decided to get the squad together for this film! The Whatsapp broadcast was sent in January and we booked tickets immediately occupying a whole row!

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We also made a vow to pay our dues and not stream this film lol!

 

The Main Cast:

With an exceptional cast pioneering the film, you can already see how amazing it was going to be. Old with young, legends with new kids on the block. But each actor/actress perfectly suited for their role.

Chadwick Boseman – T’Challa

Angela Basset – Ramonda

Lupita Nyong’o – Nakia

Letitia Wright – Shuri

Michael B Jordan – Erik Killmonger

Danai Gurira – Okoyo

Winston Duke – N’Baku

Forest Whitaker – Zuri

Andy Serkis – Klaw

Martin Freeman – Everett K. Ross

Daniel Kaluuya – W’Kabi

Ooo congrats on winning a BAFTA last night!

 

By the way, we see you Lupita X Michael B Jordan!

I am sooo here for this!


Short intermission:

 Enjoy this gorgeous fan art work

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BLACK PANTHER DAY:

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Tuesday 13th February 2018

Pancake day Black Panther day finally arrived.

After I made some pancakes and did some work, I began to get ready. There was no was we were showing up late to this film. For weeks I had been planning what to wear, yet I still wasn’t quite sure. I settled for the blue Dashiki, headwrap, black leather jeans and over the knee boots.

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I sent out the reminder messages and started my commute to Stratford.

SUDDENLY… I received word that Westfield had been evacuated because of a fire.

This was me.

What more could happen? Is this a set up! Surely someone’s lying?


 

Because I was half way there, I decided to continue my journey. When I arrived I saw huge crowds downstairs and around 30 police officers on the ground floor. It looked more like a riot than a fire. I was super confused, but nevertheless, made my way upstairs to the newly re-opened cinema.

After sending out a ton of broadcasts to update the group we eventually managed to link up, eat and make our way upstairs.

 

You didn’t buy your tickets in advance? Sorrrrry.

No lie, there were about 100/200 people upstairs, tensions were high because many people had been evacuated, missed their showing or were unhappy with the service and demanded a refund.

After waiting around for about 30 minutes because of a ‘movie delay’, we eventually got into our screen and took our rightful place in Row K!


 The Vibe:

It was beautiful to see a cinema full of men and women, people of colour one and alike representing their culture and heritage.

As our film started the first time round, there was no sound, then eventually, an hour after our assigned time this Marvel of a film started (see what I did there).

We were catching so much jokes! We would laugh, boo cheer and clap at the same time, the atmosphere was electric!

 

NO SPOILERS BUT…

True Marvel fans know to stay past the credits *ahem* twice.

The Best Feeling:

I left the cinema feeling inspired, empowered and fulfilled. No lie, I slept so well and felt uplifted the next day.

After the film we bumped into so many people. New faces with beautiful souls. We felt like one, we were united and were feeling elated together. I’ve never experienced this kind of atmosphere, everyone dressed up for one cause and taking photos with strangers… ok well there’s Notting Hill Carnival, but you catch my drift.

 

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At one point, amidst all the madness in Westfield, myself and few others were approached by professional photographer and blogger (didn’t know this at the time lol) Holly Cato. She politely asked to take my photo as she was capturing everyone who came all dressed up for Black Panther.

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📸@h_cato


Backlash?

Backlash for what please? Can’t you let us be great?

I’ve seen so many ridiculous posts about the film being racist and people disagreeing with the fact that fans were showing up in traditional wear…

But when Star Wars comes out we see super fans dressed in costume…

(Disclaimer, I actually like Star Wars)

There is so much more to the film than what meets the eye.

I can see how much positivity and joy this film has brought. Hearing that celebrities are paying for peoples tickets to watch the movie and buying out the whole cinema…

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Speaking of Kendrick Lamar, saints have you heard the soundtrack for the Black Panther movie? Download, buy, stream, do whatever, need I say anymore?

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It was refreshing to see such vibrancy, colour and positivity without the usual drug empowered, gang warfare driven violence we usually see in stereotypical “black films”.

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Our warrior who plays Nakia in the film said this during an interview:

‘We have come from a beautiful country that has been assaulted, abused and exploited. Colonialism rewrote our history – the global narrative is of poverty, war and strife.’

Lupita Nyong’o

 

And this is all you and I have seen, and continue to see…

Whereas in the film, the futuristic Wakanda is a huge depiction of what an African country could have looked like had it not been colonised, it’s mad.

In general, the wealth of the African continent is hardly seen, but in Black Panther we see ‘WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN’ and what’s surely to come 😉

A tweet following the hashtag #WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe

One time for the WOMEN!

Ladies, we are hero’s heroines!

It doesn’t take a film to let someone know that us women are mighty beings

– childbirth duhhh

🤷🏾‍♀️

During the film I saw women and girls who resemble me! A film showing actresses with dark chocolate skin, thick Afro hair and gorgeous features taking lead roles.

The women in the Black Panther are powerful, wise and admirable. These heroines are intelligent and strong and when they fight you can’t help but scream GIRL POWER!

GIRLS

 

What I love about the women is that they are highly skilled, trained warriors who think fast and save the day. I’m so tired of seeing women represented as weak and feeble. The usual damsel in distress, tied down to a rail track waiting for her hero to come and rescue her 😩

Here we have a movie where the women aren’t depicted as their usual rude, sometimes over sexualised, all in your face, snap your fingers and patting their weave stereotypes!

In Wakanda, we have women I would be proud to imitate. Folks, t’s time to create a new narrative. One of classiness, education, sophistication and strength.

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Where do we go from here?

It’s time to build from this.

We have a film where my children have a hero that “looks like them”.

For once, it’s amazing to see that people of colour aren’t represented as poor, criminals or stupid.

Colonialism , racism, colorism, nationalism, these and many other issues were explored in the film and I truly believe the BLACK PANTHER MOVEMENT is here to stay.


 

NO.1

No, one movie won’t make up for years of being excluded and intense marginalisation, but it certainly paved the way in re-educating human kind.

I for one am ready to champion this and make sure my future children understand that they are Kings & Queens. I want my little ones to have positive influences and role models and remember who they’re representing.

Dwayne told me to call him King T’Challa from now on, not sure how that one will go down at the dinner table.

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East London’s very own Nakia & T’Challa

 

W A K A N D A

F O R E V E R

 

I tried Oysters!

I tried Oysters!

Today Stephanie and I decided to take the plunge and try oysters!!

Not one, but six 🤢

It was only right that we took another trip to my favourite seafood joint Crab Tavern in Liverpool Street.

The first time I came here was for my 24th birthday and the service was exceptional, the food was A1 and it left a great impression in my mind! In terms of great seafood, seasoned well and gorgeously presented Crab Tavern was the spot.

I eagerly waited for another opportunity to come back and when it came to sampling oysters for the first time we decided this was the place to go.

When we arrived we waited at the door for what felt like almost 5 minutes, feeling ignored by the staff. Busy or not my excitement for being back there was slightly dwindling.

Strike two occurred when it came to ordering food.

The first waitress had the audacity to make something up about the menu 😳 and when I politely questioned her she said ‘umm be right back’ and got her manager. The manager came and said something completely different 😒

Now I don’t like to get into too much discussion when it comes to food, but as a customer I’ll always ask questions and expect an honest answer. Not conflicting information 👌🏾

Back to the oysters…

Steph and I did some google searching “how to eat oysters” “people trying oysters” “what even are oysters” those kind of videos


 

I think they scared us more than anything.

 

When the oysters came out we decided to take it in turns. The lady presented us with 6 oysters in a bed of ice with lemon and Tabasco sauce.

 

LETS GO…

Slight hesitation at first…

 

Oyster number 1: Taken plain with garnish

 

Verdict: Nasty, do I really want to do this again?

 

 

Oyster number 2: Taken with lemon alone

Verdict: *gags* ok…ok…it tastes better with lemon

 

 

Oyster number 3: Taken with lemon and hot sauce

Verdict: The best. Why didn’t I try this one first?

 

Side Note: Did you hear Steph… she says:

 “It tastes like I’ve been swimming in Southend bruv”

 


 

It’s only right that I upload Steph’s attempt’s. Check out her animated facial expressions 😂

Conclusion:

Oysters are weird, but you just have to garnish it well 😂


REAL FOOD TIME…

We waited almost 45 minutes for our dish to come out; we weren’t happy at all. We spent this time nibbling on chocolate pebbles from Ghana to settle our weary stomachs.

But yeah, now that I’ve mastered how to eat an oyster I can confidently say I have no desire to try them again.

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When I got home I had to drink two fresh ginger tea’s. Sadly, I don’t think raw food sits right with me.

 

Overall, I had a lot of people asking how the experience was and I think my face says it all, try them for yourself gang!

Happy New Year 🎇

Happy New Year 🎇

3, 2, 1!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

You know those people who say “Happy New Year well into January and you’re sort of thinking, that day has passed! Well, I’m gonna be one of those people this year!


 

Welcome 2018, the year of endless possibilities and more adventures!!

This isn’t a challenge blog post, better yet it’s a quick review of 2017!

2017 was the year I began the 25 for 25 challenge

…that I happily completed!!!

Of course,I’ll continue to post the challenges over the coming weeks, what’s the point in throwing them all up at once!!


 

In general, 2017 was a great year for me. I embarked on a ton of adventures, ventured to places I’ve never been before and tried things that I may or may not ever try again!

2017 is the year I got a new job!

2017 is the year I met the love of my life

(I will post this blog on our anniversary)

2017 was:

  • The year I was on tv
  • The year I ran for more than 5 minutes #SantaRun
  • The year I relieved a childhood memory
  • The year I went indoor skydiving (spoiler alert!)

And many many more things were achieved in 2017!

 

Now as it’s a week into 2018, I’ll let you know some of my goals for this month.

I happened to fall off ever so slightly and I’m not proud at all. I’m back in the gym and I’m currently doing this whole “no meat” diet.

 

That’s right yall, no chicken, no ribs, no turkey, no gizzard, no oxtail (I type this with a tear in my eye) none of it!!

 

I am however having fish only dishes, topping up my plate with veggies and aiming to increase my water intake.

That also means no sugar/sweets

And I’ll continue my no dairy diet.

I plan on seeing great results not only in my physical health, but in terms of my metabolism, my sleeping patterns and my mesntrual cycle.

Many people have New Years Resolutions that they make and don’t stick by…but I’m trying to be as productive and self disciplined as I’ve ever been.

As well as keeping my diet in check, I’m making sure that I keep a sound mind too! Mental health is equally as important as physical health so I’ll be practicing positive thinking every morning, waking up reading my bible, and being thankful for something new everyday.

And as you know, leaders are readers, so here’s my new book for the month!

‘The 7 habits of highly effective people.’

If you’ve read it, drop a comment and let me know if it’s benefited you at all!

So, let us raise our glasses (of water) and toast to the New Year!

Here’s to new challenges, accomplished goals and exceptional gains in the gym

Inflatable 5K Santa Run

Inflatable 5K Santa Run

Santa baby…

Meet young Shivy and old St Nick.

We’ve always had a bit of a love hate relationship. You know, getting me the wrong princess dress, or bringing me the baby born doll in the wrong shade…

Alas, we decided to settle our differences almost 20 years later and do something for the both of us…

The Inflatable 5K Run!

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Before I go on to say how much fun I had and complain about the lactic acid build up, I will say this… I missed the first race 😳

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Originally I had booked to run the Inflatable 5K in August in London with the gang…sadly we were stuck in traffic for 4 hours and missed our race!! I was fuming but the company graciously let me re-book and compete in another location.

…this location being Ipswich lol.

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Saturday 2nd December came around and it was THE busiest day in history. I was invited to not one but  T H R E E  baby showers, had the 5K Run in Ipswich and had a podcast interview in the evening. I wondered how I was going to complete everything but took one step at a time.

 

The morning arrived, early starts are the worst…

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We got on the road on this rainy morning wrapped up with our gym clothes and thermals.

I was really craving McDonald’s. It seems like a bit of an oxymoron, you know running a marathon and eating McDonald’s for breakfast, but the cravings were real lol!

 

We registered and then it was time for a quick photo shoot then a warm up!

 

WARM UP TIME:

We had our own little personal trainer lead us in a warm up before the run. It was so freezing outside so any movement was helpful.

 

RACE TIME!

Well, technically it wasn’t a race, but when you’re dealing with Dwayne and I, you can’t help but be a little competitive lol!

 

INFLATABLES.

The Inflatable Run is just for fun, it wasn’t a race. The challenge is completing a 5K run from start to finish whilst climbing and conquering various obstacles and inflatables.

 

QUICK BREAK

Half way through they provided water and a nice little energy bar. This went down a treat and we were on the go again!

 

LOOK AT ALL THESE SANTAS…

It was only right that you come in costume. A lot of people purchased the Santa costumes to run in…Although as we ran around the course, we saw so many costumes ripped and thrown on the floor… I guess Old St Nick isn’t the ideal running wear lol

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f a t i g u e

I think I mentioned already, but I really don’t like running long distances! Dwayne and I are both sprinters… give us ye old 100m, 200m or 4x100m and we are flourishing. Anything longer, you’re gonna see a couple sad faces lol

 

LEAP OF   F  A  I   T   H

The final hurdle! We had to wait almost 10 minutes but once we were at the front we couldn’t wait to take the plunge. I saw so many people hesitate and turn back. But as I got to the top I remembered the other challenges that I had completed that involved conquering great heights.

 

3, 2, 1 GO!

 

We carried on and approached the finish line! Once we crossed we were awarded with medals and some yummy treats (including some chocolate milk that my lactose intolerant self isn’t really allowed lol)

 

But we did it!! And it was so much fun.

I’m glad I completed a 5K, this was the first and NOT my last 5K…10K next year maybe?

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I managed to get back to London in time to attend 1 of the 3 baby showers. After that, Shae and I ventured to the podcast interview in West London with @tagmeinpodcast. I’ll send the link when its up and ready!

 

BABY LISHThe mother to be and I

 

Here’s a review video of the day!

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this Christmas special!

Happy holidays to you all, from the champ and I.

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Sky Gardens 🌺

Sky Gardens 🌺


Intense…right?

Folks your girl is a model now!!! No more selfies with my rose gold iPhone 6s it’s all about the megapixels baby!!!

Ok back to the blog.

Thanks to Dwayne, I finally got the chance to go to Sky Gardens (in May) 😍

The first time we tried to go, we hadn’t booked tickets and were told to come back at 9pm when they accept walk ins #myth.

So what better way to celebrate the final Bank Holiday in May…then at the picturesque Sky Gardens.

…ok so there’s a lot more to the day than pretty flowers and ooo la la views.


We started the day off with a workout. I got a day pass at Nuffield Health gym and got my flex on with muscle man himself lol.

After that I made my way home, got ready and awaited my “surprise trip“.

First stop…HYDE PARK.

Man, there were thousands of people around. Seeing all these teenagers in booty shorts, crop tops and jelly sandals is the stuff of nightmares…

Honestly my spirit was grieved, I kept my eye to the sky and prayed that there would be an intervention for when I have kids because this can’t run 😭

Anyway…I walked around Hyde park until we got to the lake…that’s right y’all I was about to dive in

Here’s something I’ve never done before, rowed a boat in Hyde Park. Ok let me not lie, I sat whilst my Dwayne rowed…and rowed and rowed.

 

It was great fun watching him chauffeur me across the lake, as we dangerously avoided colliding with neighbouring boats and dodged deadly seagulls

 

(alright drama queen)

 

After our adventure on the lake we made our way to Sky Gardens. When we arrived we showed our tickets and made our way up…way up to the 35th floor. Oh, I forgot to mention that I’m not the biggest fan of heights 🤷🏾‍♀️)

I’m not gonna lie, my first thoughts were ‘oh, is this it? Aww nice’ 😂

That’s so bad, I probably should of done my research.

 

I genuinely thought Sky Garden was some glass house botanical garden type venue, home to exotic plants and trees that you could only find in the Amazon rainforest #JokesOnYouShiv

 

Ironically, on our commute to Sky Gardens I took this photo saying “I wanna go here” and that’s what I thought Sky Gardens looked like lol!

Now, I was fairly content with my surroundings. The place is real fancy so I’m glad I didn’t turn up wearing my Nike huaraches.

The view of the city was amazing. A Londoner can appreciate her city every once in a while.

Can we just acknowledge how great a photographer my Dwayne is. He takes the most amazing photos that pick up every intricate detail.

And of course, he captures my good side. I’ve never met someone so keen on taking my photo. Mr Rapley you make me feel like a celebrity ☺️

Here comes the photo shoot!

We walked around for a bit, took some more candid photos for image gang and then made our way home!

Honestly, if you get the chance, go to Sky Gardens, enjoy the view, feel fancy for an hour and sip a cute cocktail too 🥂

Until the next post, toodles!

✌🏾

Cocktail Making Class 🍹

Cocktail Making Class 🍹

Fun Fact…

Once upon a time, I wanted to be a bartender…The end.

Honestly that’s as far as it goes. I remember when all my girls turned 18…going to TGI’s for ribs and cocktails was “our thing”.

Seeing all the tricks and watching the infusions of different drinks was enough to make a young girl want to pursue it

…unfortunately I never did lol

So I found a really decent deal on WOWCHER for a cocktail making class at Dice Bar 🎲 in Croydon.

And who was the perfect person to go with…Miss Hanna Banna – the original turn up twin.

The day arrived, Hanna and I met up in Stratford but not even I anticipated the 2 hour drive.

You see we have absolutely everything we need in East, so it’s very rare that you would catch us venturing down South.

Anyway, I digress…The rain was AWFUL which meant the drive was a bit treacherous, not to mention we were travelling during rush hour.

Our designated time was 5pm but we were probably going to be about 45 minutes late.

(how many challenges are you going to be late to Shiv!?)

We arrived at the bar, did a little tour and were introduced to another couple who would be taking the class with us.

Our bartender told us to choose two drinks we would like to make and then we would get started.

Whilst looking through the menu and the ingredients, I could tell they would be pretty strong drinks lol. Hanna avoided these as she was the sensible designated drive 😉

The two drinks I chose were a Candy Crusher and Heisenberg

And Hanna chose a Bahama Mama and Khaleesi’s dragon.

So the bartender talked us through the whole process. We basically had free reign on how our drinks would turn out.

I thought they would make it first then we take our turn, but no.

 

Mannn…I wish there was a huge disclaimer about getting cold hands! If you know me then you’re aware that I hate being cold, I’m always cold and did i mention….

I HATE THE COLD!

I reckon Hanna agrees too, all the ice and shaking…they should really give you gloves 😂

 

Ok so I made a few mistakes but it made great entertainment…

But by the second drink, you become a “pro”

As much as it was a fun experience, I was expecting to see some tricks and even learn some for myself.

 

But the day literally involved a bartender talking us through how to make two cocktails.

img_2277No, I’m not complaining, but if I wanted a tutorial on how to mix drinks I reckon I could look on Youtube lol.

Nevertheless, I had a fun time with Hanna!

 

 

Funny story:

I needed a toilet break so I made my way to the ladies room and when I walked in, an Uncle was stood there by the hand dryer!

He said ‘AH AH. Is this di ladies??’ I said yeah… so he ran out LOL.

And that was it for the cocktail making class!

Dice Bar has a great vibe but it’s highly unlikely that we’ll ravel there again anytime soon!

When we finished, we wanted to find a decent Caribbean restaurant.

(because if you voyage to South you HAVE to eat YARD food).

We found somewhere, we heard great recommendations…but Hanna and I just couldn’t justify spending £11 for oxtail, rice and peas 😂😑

So we settled for KFC.

this is exactly how I felt.

We both agreed that KFC is better in South London!

That’s about it! I don’t remember how to make ANY of the drinks lol. Regardless, we had fun and were featured on the “Croydon story” on instagram!

I can start signing autographs now right?

Click the link below to see a summary video of our cocktail making class 😜🍹

https://flipagram.com/f/1GLq3F0jOVq

Up at the O2!

Up at the O2!

Hello Birthday Month!

There’s been such a build up to this particular Birthday that I found myself super anxious as my 25th slowly approached…

I mean come on there’s been so much hype about turning 25 that I can’t help but anticipate a great day or not …don’t be such a pessimist Shiv.

So a few weeks ago Dwayne told me to keep Sunday 1st October free because it will be my early birthday present.

After a busy day at work we rushed home, I got dressed and we were on our way.

In true Dwayne fashion he didn’t give anything away, nor did he succumb to the pressure or all my questions 😂

I’ve always said that I’m the most difficult person to surprise because I just figure things out. But to make things fair I purposely didn’t ask too many questions.

Instead I just scream internally and fidget in my seat because I’m nervous

WHAT ARE WE DOING!?

Whilst on the central line Dwayne lost focus and said “whoops we were meant to get off two stops before…”

PAY ATTENTION DWAYNE!

Anyway, we eventually got to Canary Wharf and we walked around till we came to this restaurant called Rum & Sugar.

We walked in and ordered or food. Those who know me KNOW that I can’t handle spicy food. But I decided to brave it and order jerk chicken.

BIG MISTAKE.

It was a struggle and Dwayne had to finish my food lol!

He knows me so well lol.

We wined, dined and left. In true Shivy fashion I thought to myself…there’s no way Mr Rapley has brought me all the way to Canary Wharf just to eat then let us go home!?

I thanked him and asked what do you wanna do now? Shall we go somewhere?

To which he replied “no let’s just go home

We jumped onto the jubilee line and I lay my head down to sleep (ofcourse)

BUT THEN…Dwayne quickly got up and I was super confused. He got off the train and I followed after. He had the cheekiest smirk on his face and I just couldn’t figure out where we were going lol.

We tapped out at North Greenwich (The O2) and I still had no clue why! I looked around for signs to see if there was a performance, comedy show or a concert happening… nothing.

Dwayne silently walked ahead with that cheeky grin and as we turned a corner he pointed up and said “that’s pretty high up isn’t it”…

My heart immediately sank…excitement and fear at the same time.

We were about to CLIMB THE O2!

Now, completing Up At The O2 has been one of my pending challenges but I just hadn’t got around to doing it so I crossed it off my list.

But Mr Rapley had gone out of his way to trick me (again) as part of my birthday celebrations lol.

We entered, signed the waiver and watched the safety video.

Then it was time to get suited up. We had an option of using a gilet or a jump suit…ofcourse we went for the more stylish jumpsuit lol

We had a quick briefing then it was time to climb.

For safety reasons you can’t take your phone out to snap as you’re climbing – now that’s one safety procedure I’ll listen to lol!

As you ascend, it’s so flipping steep. You’re basically climbing up at a 30 degree angle and our guide then decides to give us a tour of London from the sky.

He showed us all these landmarks, but I just wanted to keep going up! It was cold and windy and I don’t like clouds (luckily it didn’t rain).

We carried on climbing and when we reached the top we stayed for about 20 minutes to take pictures and admire the view.

I was so glad that the clouds had disappeared but I didn’t realise how quickly it got dark.

https://quicksnapcapturedat.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/img_2926.movhttps://quicksnapcapturedat.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/img_2931.mov

Ok, time for the descent. The guide asked if I would like to lead on the way down, instead of the other couple, to which I responded, “Absolutely…not“.

He was cracking up, personally I love it when people mistake my seriousness for humour. There was no way I was going down first lol.

We stopped…again! Our guide pointed out that every time the Thames tide (fantastic use of alliteration Shivy) goes back that this one lonely seal appears and sits on the bank.

(Didn’t get a pic, but it I can assure you it was in fact a lone seal chilling by the Thames)

No more stops please!

The guide said on the descent you can even climb backwards because it’s easier on the joints. I tried it for a milli second and didn’t really fancy the idea of abseiling down the O2 at night!

The only downfall of climbing down forwards is that your toes and knees hurt but what can you do!?

Andddd we made it!

We went inside and got our stuff back then walked through to the gift shop. Oh Lord, as for this gift shop…we can assure you that the no gifts were bought.

Before the climb the happiest lady in the world (not) took our photo with a semi professional camera. They showed us these extravagant photos at the end, 2/3 were nice and the last was completely out of focus.

It was all fair and well showing us the pics but I wanted to know the cost. I cheekily said “do we get a discount if we are on O2?

Unfortunately no, but the photo is £15 (WHAT!?) and then the rest are £5 after.”

TWENTY FIVE POUNDS for three small photos… hell to the no.

As expected, it was extortionately priced and we couldn’t justify buying (although I was SO tempted to).

Dwayne and I are learning to be good stewards with our money so it was a great decision.

We walked out with our heads held high and our pockets still full. Oh but ofcourse, one more photo shoot!

When we got home I was beat! But overall I was proud of myself, and ofcourse truly grateful for the birthday surprise.

I don’t want to be one of those girls who is constantly boring everyone with comments about their boyfriend…but I might just be that girl!

I’ll keep on singing Dwayne’s praises because he always goes above and beyond for me ❤️

Last night I went to sleep content and ticked this off the list!

I’ve got my own office!

I’ve got my own office!

“What are you doing for work at the moment?”

“Are you working yet?”

“Are you still at uni?”

“Why did you study that degree?”

“You should do a masters”

5 questions that I guarantee someone will ask you after you’ve graduated. If you haven’t had post graduation blues yet, or experienced a sense of helplessness after university…are you even human!?

I promise you, this soon shall pass. And you will find your niche and work a job you love. Work hard, persevere, research and get out of your comfort zone!

Nine times out of ten you may not be fortunate enough to walk straight into your dream job.

– Motivational Speech Over –

The funny thing is, only this morning did I remember that I actually told myself

“I’m going to get a new job in September.”

So when I was blessed with a new job, it wasn’t until I settled in that I realised, “Wow, I spoke about this months ago”

Speak it into existence!

Without further ado, introducing Siobhan (Shiv) Cunningham the new Children’s Ministry Director at City Gates Church.

In short, I’m the manager of the Sunday School at my local church. I have the opportunity to plan session/curriculum, fun events and trips for the children, help direct a Christmas production and many other exciting things within the church.

And…

I HAVE MY OWN OFFICE!

I am blessed.

A little background info didn’t hurt nobody…

I’ve been involved in the Children’s Ministry since I was 15, so that’s what…10 years of experience 🤓

I started off as a Sunday school teacher, involved in planning arts and crafts activities for the kids.

This is something I loved doing but wasn’t entirely passionate about it until I began to lead classes, direct the notorious dance videos and get more involved with the children.

Lo and behold, 10 years down the line working with children has become a huge priority in my life.


In the beginning of the year, I took some time off to really rest/pray/plan and I actually decided to step away from the children’s ministry…

I believe that was an extremely pivotal moment. There was a shift going on that I had no clue about.

I remember stepping back into the ministry after being off for weeks and feeling like:

“I should be here…no I shouldn’t….should I!?”

I spent time praying, fasting and really trying to hear what Gods plan was I received the following words that I wrote down:

I felt as if my time at Sunday school was over. When in fact my role had changed significantly. When I wasn’t there I felt burdened and that I should be there. However, I knew that I had to step away to an extent so that others could essentially step up.”

And step up is what they did.

I remember coming back and I left the room because I felt as though me being in the class was a somewhat distraction to the developing leaders.

So instead I became a shadow and tidied/cleaned and observed from a distance.

Don’t get me wrong, people who tidy and maintain a class room are equally as important. But for me, someone who has a heavily upfront persona…to be in the background was humbling.

All that happened in the beginning of the year… it wasn’t until July/August that I was offered the job. The funny thing is, I kind of knew it was coming and I remember saying to myself

“If they asked me this last year, I definitely would of said no.”

City Gates Church has played a huge role in developing me as a leader and a worker in the secular industry.

I have been volunteering here since I was 15 and I’ve had many pastors, leaders and mentors who have invested time, said prayers and supported me through the many highs and lows of life.

At this church I learnt how to lead large groups of people, work with children/youth, plan huge events and speak to crowds of up to 400 people and so many more things!

I won’t lie, after receiving the offer, I did have my concerns. It is really important to my family and I that I don’t stray away from my degree/career path/vision… and that I won’t.

Whilst I work at church I’m still studying and developing in my field of Sports Therapy.

Everything is lining up just the way God intended it to be. This season of me being more involved in the church is definitely part of the greater plan (but that’s between me and God).

It has been a week since I started and everyone has been so supportive already.

It’s my duty of care to look after all volunteers and ensure the safety and well being of the children. And this is something I thrive in doing!

When I’m there it doesn’t feel like work because I’m working with friends (shout out Shae and Joseph)

…plus I’m literally always there.

It is definitely and honour to be called a staff member and be rewarded for all the hard work and efforts I’ve put in to grow God’s Kingdom in the heart of Ilford!

Yes, i will be involved in Girl Talk, City Gates Youth and the Choir… all the things that make me happy.

But now it’s time to grow into this new role, get creative and bring some new exciting things to the church!

Watch this space!

– Tracy took a tour of my new office –

– Thanks Mum –

http://www.citygates.london

What? There’s a farm in Hackney!?

What? There’s a farm in Hackney!?

Not sure how I missed this!? But there’s a cute little farm in Hackney called “Hackney City Farm

Before I go on, allow me to introduce you to my special friend, Dwayne.

This dapper young man will be featured in a couple of my challenges that I need to write up…but I thought now would be a good time to show the world of WordPress the guy who’s been keeping me occupied for the past couple months.

So every weekend Dwayne, has made the effort to take me somewhere I haven’t been before. Of course this is super helpful when you’re trying to do 25 new things #25For25.

On this day in particular, he told me to dress casually and meet him in Mile End. I’m super inquisitive and probably the most difficult person to surprise…so to make life easier I didn’t ask ANY questions.

After a little walk and a bus journey we arrived, and I saw the sign “Hackney City Farm”

Now for some, they may be thinking “is this it!?”…But when you’re Shiv, the animal lover and miss ‘easily pleased’ you’ll be super excited.

Awwww” I think my reaction was.

My first initial thoughts were “how much is it? Can we go through here? Are you sure this is for us lol. Can you imagine.

The farm is free to enter and you walk around at your own pace.

The farm gives the local community the opportunity to experience farming right in the heart of the city.

“Hackney City Farm provide trips, volunteering sessions and opportunities to plant vegetables. They allow you to learn new skills to live a healthier, happier life with a lower environmental impact.”

I’ve always had a slight obsession with chickens. I don’t know why they’re just the best. We came across this cute baby Cockerel who hasn’t quite mastered his crow. 🐔

I’m a meat eater… sorry to hurt anyone’s feelings (not), but all I could think about was the potential dishes all these gorgeous animals could be.

…Curry goat, fried chicken, jerk pork 💭


Something unusual happened whilst at the farm. I noticed quite a few ducks chasing this one particular duck. I thought they were merely playing a harmless game of chase me. When in fact, I believe I was witnessing something that should of happened behind closed doors 🔞

Hackney Farm, the place where ducks just procreate; I have no words.

I always seem to catch the most jokes when I’m around animals, hence the silly captions and voice overs.

‘When the squad links up and all you want to do is sleep…’

#TeamNatural

‘Pecky with the good hair’

Enough of the puns, photo shoot time!

(it’s always difficult to get pictures of a photographer – they don’t even want to be on the other end of a camera 🤔)

After we were finished at the farm, we spontaneously made our way to a museum nearby.

What

Doesn’t

Hackney

Have!?


Overall, the farm is nice if you don’t want to travel too far (especially if you have young kids). When you end the adventure, you can even take yourself to the toy museum 10 minutes away.

That’s about it!

Oh, if you’re eagerly awaiting more blog posts featuring Dwayne, they’re coming! ☺️


http://hackneycityfarm.co.uk/events