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 πŸ€“

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. πŸ”

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 πŸ’­


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 πŸ”ž

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 πŸ€”)

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

How far would you walk for a bowl of cereal?

How far would you walk for a bowl of cereal?

Cereal…Killer…Cafe

…sounds horrifying right?

Some people think it's a huge gimmic, others a tourist attraction, but for some it's their daily breakfast spot with a hint of nostalgia!

Here are the owners/creators; identical twins Alan and Gary Keery. These cool guys claim to be "obsessed with everything cereal" and it shows.

The cafe my girl and I hit up is in Brick Lane. If you do not pay attention you WILL miss it (as I have done on several occasions)

When you enter you'll see hundreds of different types of cereal from around the world displayed on the walls!

Oh, side note…I didn't intentionally miss breakfast so I could have my cereal in the afternoon. Let's be real, cereal is that meal you can have at any hour and every hour.


When I picked up the menu, I remember putting it down and taking another because I thought it was dirty lol!! (it's the design)

You then choose your bowl size.

  • Small = 1 cereal
  • Medium = 2 cereals
  • Large = 3 cereals

(If you're frugal like me, go for a medium lol)

To create the perfect bowl of cereal you have to be brave enough to choose from at least 30 different varieties of milk and 20 different toppings….trust me it's tough.

Erhumu and I made sure we checked the menu beforehand because we are two of the most indecisive people out there 😂

I'm gonna be honest with you. In the hopes of choosing the best cereal I ended up on YouTube, comparing tastes, textures and consistency 😂

After we found our table in the basement we went back upstairs to order. Overall, it only took us two days prior, 15 mins in store and a few free samples to finally choose!

We were then given a Lion King VCR as the table reference (clever). The party continued as we waited for our cereals whilst bumping to old school songs from the 80s/90s.

Cereal's here ladies! Yes, time to eat! I ordered Marhsmallow Mateys and Cinnabons, with bubblegum flavoured coconut milk.
#TeamNoDairy 🍼
#SweetTooth 🍭
#SugarRush 😝

And my gorgeous girl here ordered a Cinnabon and Chocapic duo, with Oreo pieces…topped with salted caramel milk!

Time for the TASTE TEST!

Ok so I forgot to save the footage of me tasting my food. But I put on my best "wow-this-tastes-so-good-after-the-first-spoonful" face

Here's my sister Ehumu looking cute for the gram 😘

Right, if you're smart you'll pace yourself, this is a £5 bowl of cereal after all!!

When our bowls were empty, we took some more pictures of the venue and had a catch up ❤️

This isn't a review post but I'll give the experience a 5 out of 10. It was fun, and a nice little chill spot but I sensibly spent £5.30 and left hungry (irrelevant because I'm always hungry)

Realistically, I will never spend more than £5 on ONE bowl of cereal again. Coming from someone who is careful with her money…I'd rather get some wings from Nando's mate. 😂


After breakfast comes lunch! I decided to take Erhumu on a trip to the best Chinese place I know. It's called "My Old Place", and they serve the most authentic Chinese food my tastebuds have ever…tasted!

(You know it's legit when there are only Chinese people in there)

The food was fab, I went for a cheeky Low Mein with shrimp, whelks, squid and some greens.

That ain't math!?

Good food, good people, good vibes ✊🏾❤️

If you want to know more about Cereal Killer Cafe their website is:
http://www.cerealkillercafe.co.uk

It all kicked off at the Leyton Orient game βš½οΈο»Ώ

It all kicked off at the Leyton Orient game βš½οΈο»Ώ

We love you arsenal we do! Ohhh Arsenal we love you 👏🏾📢

(That's the only one I know)

As you can tell, I'm not a huge footie fan lol. But I'll conform to a cheer if the atmospheres right haha!

As the title states, I put my hooligan hat on and went to the Leyton Orient VS Colchester match.

I'd like to reintroduce my bestie, Shae. We call her "the plug" because she's a woman of action, she gets things done and she is the Bring-in-Queen.

Bring In: To include your friends in motives/plans they would not usually have the opportunity to be involved in.

We were given box seat tickets which included a free meal and drinks from the bar 🤗

Next step was fill our bellies! I can't remember what the other options were but I can't say no to spring rolls 😍

I'm a fish lover, so any opportunity to indulge in some salmon, I'll take!

For those who are like me, and not a huge footie fan, a match is basically a series of claps and cheers, anticipation and beers 🍻

Randomly, some fans would throw flares out. This would put the game at a stand still whilst stewards would run on and throw them in a bucket.

*strike one*

(I could already tell this was going to be a disruptive match lol).

Yay, it was half time time AKA dessert time!

I had a gorgeous salted caramel cheesecake, then sampled the chocolate and orange tart with clotted cream.

(I'm not meant to have cream, but I couldn't resist!)

We eventually made our way back out. As you can see, Shae and Ayla's bother we're having a blast!

Suddenly, at the 85th minute the tables completely turned!!!

After a red flare was thrown, Leyton Orient fans slowly began to pour onto the pitch.

This steward really tried…

…within a blink of an eye the pitch was filled with kids, OAPs, fans, friends and foes.

"Crowd control crowd control!"
😂

Can you believe, the match was postponed for nearly two hours because hundreds of fans occupied the pitch protesting against the Orient owner Francesco Becchetti.

During this time people started to play their own mini games of football.

Some even sat in the middle of the pitch sharing drinks and singing songs.

Others ran around, took selfies and helped each other climb onto the pitch.

At this point, stewards simply didn't have enough man power to get everyone off. Instead, they stood and almost acted as a barricade to the Colchester fans (who were pretty outnumbered).

After the first hour you could see it was actually a bit of a peaceful protest lol. Nobody fighting, all smiles and chants.

After several failed attempted to clear the pitch, the police decided to announce that the game had been abandoned. They felt this would help clear the pitch, which proved correct.

"Despite requests for the fans to clear the pitch, there wasn't sufficient movement to allow the game to restart following a pitch invasion."

What fans didn't know is that we got word that the match would carry on.

The police and stewards slowly cleared the pitch. Luckily, we were allowed to stay however nobody could take any footage or post on social media, in case people got light of the secret match lol.

Eventually, the police and stadium security staff were happy for the match to restart at around 6.40pm.

After a near 2 hour wait, the players came back onto the pitch and played the final eight minutes without a crowd.

By this point the players had probably admitted defeat or didn't really care because everyone was just kicking the ball around nonchalantly. Or maybe it was hard for them to warm up again and get back into the speed of the game.
🤷🏾‍♀️

A Football League statement said
the game was concluded 'to maintain the integrity of the competition'.

"The decision to play the match to a conclusion was agreed with both managers and with the support of the match officials.

"However, it was deemed appropriate that the game needed to be played to a conclusion in order to maintain the integrity of the competition and in respect of Colchester United's position of being able to qualify for the League Two play-offs."

Oh, by the way, Colchester had already won the match 3-1.

Overall, it was a really fun day! Full of banter and good vibes and free food!

Shout out to Alya and Auntie Laxmi, you gave Shae and I the special treatment and we appreciate you!

I'll let you know if I suddenly become passionate about football like the majority of my peers 🤷🏾‍♀️

😘⚽️

Easter trip to Bristolο»Ώ

Easter trip to Bristolο»Ώ

Over Easter, I had the wonderful opportunity of visiting my amazing mentor and former Youth Pastor in Bristol during the bank holiday!

What made it special was…they had no idea I was coming!

A few week prior to our trip, Jihan asked if I wanted to go on a road trip to visit the McEwens – I said yes straight away.

ROAD TRIPPPP

…well if I'm honest, Janae and I slept most of the journey lol.

We arrived just in time to make the Easter service. Their new church is called E5!

This Easter Sunday, Anoushca was putting on 'The Passion' play that we had done at City Gates a few years back.

It was so cool to see other people play the characters you acted as and how they interpreted their role (sorry that's the inner performing arts student within me talking lol)

I found myself getting really emotional when I saw Pastor Steve on stage giving an alter call (call for salvation).

It was a bit surreal seeing him on stage. I mean this is a man who has imparted so much love, wisdom and guidance into my life. A man who has always seen the best in me, prayed for me and encouraged me during my lowest times as a teen!!

And don't get me started with Anoushca! This gorgeous lady mentored me through my teens. She has and always been a great example to me and because of her I'm able to flourish in ministry and serve others to the best of my ability!

The show was over and the cast were thanked and applauded. Steve then gave his beautiful wife Anoushca a special shout out for putting on the show.

At this point Anoushca spotted me and shouted 'Shivy! I'm coming down'! Honestly I was so happy to see her!

It had been roughly 7 months since I'd seen Steve, Anoushca and Anastasia so we were ready to catch up and take a trip around the town.

It's not a reunion without a cheeky nandos lol! We spent the afternoon catching up and filling each other in with what's new at our respective churches.

As we walked around Bristol, I honestly thought I was in a different country! The atmosphere was just so different

Pastor Steve gave a proper tour of the town and explained that Bristol is the home of Banksy! I captured many of his original pieces painted on walls and buildings 😍🎨

"Break dancing Jesus" guys I cannot 😂

Steve and Anoushca then had to get back to their church for the evening service so Ian, Jihan, Janae and I made our way to our hotel!

When we arrived Janae and I found our room and it was playtime – it's always playtime with Auntie Shivy 😁

It's not an Auntie Shivy occasion without Peppa Pig. I must say this is one of THE funniest episodes I've seen #PeppaCanNotWhistle (see below)

The night ended with a few bed stories and then we were counting sheep😴

"GOOD MORNING SHIVY!"

Janae and I were up and ready nice and early so we had a little photoshoot 📸

The next day we said our goodbyes to Steve Anoushca and Anastasia and went to be tourists for a few hours until it was time to drive back!

A huge thank you to the McEwen's! Thank you for taking the time out to be our tour guides 😁

I seriously thought that I was back in Germany, the area was so clean and I could enjoy being a tourist for a few hours at the aquarium and outdoor cinema.

It was a great end to an amazing Easter weekend. We went one one more adventure and got ready to travel back to London!

When I was finally dropped home, I bid the Greaves family adieu and ran indoors!

To top of the amazing Easter weekend I was blessed enough to enjoy an Easter feast with my family!

Thank you Ian and Jihan for taking me! Honestly you continue to be a blessing to me and I appreciate all you do!

I'll see you soon Bristol x

 

Zippos Circus

Zippos Circus

Never have I ever… been to a circus!

One thing I love about these #25For25 challenges is that every time I ask someone if they want to join me… they say yes duh


But not only that, the majority of them haven’t done the challenges either! So it makes things even more exciting

Meet Liz, singer-song writer-natural hair extraordinaire, did I forget to mention she’s also my twin πŸ€₯☺️

This gorgeous girl decided to put up with me for a few hours and join me at the circus.

When we arrived we were welcomed by your standard large red circus tent and these circus workers in penguin suits.

​​Liz and I waked in and the first thing my Scooby-doo nose picked up was candy floss and popcorn πŸ˜‚

Do you think it’s free?” Liz and I said simultaneously as we watched the workers offer sugary snacks to other attendees.

It’s not free.” Said Liz and I, once again in true twin fashion.

Then came the plate spinners… they make it look so easy… sorry Liz, Sorry Shiv.

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​​The clocks ticked and a ‘clown’ came out to do a bit of a crowd warmer. I don’t even know if you can call him a clown though…

SHIV’S CLOWN CHECKLIST:



Big red wig – nope

Over-sized floppy shoes – nope

Rainbow coloured overalls – nope

…but he did have a goofy sense of humour so we’ll give him that.

The show began with the African gymnasts who made me want to jump in and be part of the human pyramid.

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Then came the legend himself, Mr Norman Barret, MBE. Another audience member was so happy to see him she mentioned how Norman looks good for his age and that he’s been doing the show since she was a kid.
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Guys, the next act was crazy. This lady Kim who was a boss of an acrobat, but honestly if i was her age I’d prefer to be sipping on pina coladas in my mansion with my grand-kids running around lol!

 β€‹β€‹β€‹

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You need to clock, she has the thing around her neck folks….Liz and I DID NOT want to witness any fatalities today.

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​I don’t really need to go into much detail about the show, the proof is in the footage – it was lively!

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All the performers are incredibly talented but i reckon the one that had me on the edge of my seat the most were the knife throwers. WHAT ON EARTH!?

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The shows finale involved ‘The Globe of Death’ with about 4 motor cyclists riding around leaving all audience member thinking ‘I could do that.’ lol
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Overall, the show was great, not too long and not too short. I couldn’t say that I had a favourite act. The end drew closer and all performers came out to receive a roar of applause and a standing ovation.

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Liz and I decided to join them on the road so look at for us when they’re next in town. We’ll be the two clowns, attempting to juggle and dropping plates everywhere…

​​Thank you Zippos Circus!

X

 

Escape Rooms πŸ‘½πŸ•΅πŸΎβ€β™€οΈ

Escape Rooms πŸ‘½πŸ•΅πŸΎβ€β™€οΈ

Challenge numero Quattro – Escape London πŸ•΅πŸΎβ€β™€οΈ
So here’s something I’ve never done before; purposely get locked in a room for fun and try to escape – casual.
I got some of my girls together and thought that this would be the perfect team building exercise…plus we all love a challenge!
These are girls that I mentor, Bridget, Leanne, Mary and Esther…as well as the lovely Ore; they’re actually good friends of mine too. 

When we finally agreed on an evening we could all do we literally counted down the days.

The website doesn’t say much about the experience itself, I guess they don’t want to give too much away. And not only that – it adds to the mystery.

The first task of the day was to get everyone to the venue on time…head count:
Shiv check βœ”οΈ

Bridget: check βœ”οΈ

Leanne: check βœ”οΈ

Esther: check βœ”οΈ

Mary? uh oh…

Things were going so well but we couldn’t start without all our team present…

Eventually we all made it to the venue and realised Mary was there all along – panic over  we were finally  ready to start πŸ˜ƒ 

…Well we couldn’t proceed without snapchatting the entrance, the door, the sign, each other…our entire surroundings 

*rolls eyes* 


​​…heck I think we even snapped our feet walking into the building haha

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Once we were finished playing the over excited “I need to film everything in my path like a millennial” game, we were ready for our slot.

Our guide explained the task in the most cryptic way possible. He gave us a safety briefing and explained that there is no video footage aloud. 

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​​My only concern was that nothing or nobody would drag me to some basement

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Our escape room theme was ‘Area 51’, so that’s all things space, extra terrestrials, government conspiracies, UFOs you name it!

Once you get in, things are intense. We’re naturally competitive and brainy women so we all got into role from the get go. 

When you’re in there and the clock is ticking, you find yourself thinking into things way too much. You literally try to decode everything in sight until you realise ITS NOT THAT DEEP lol.

Honestly it’s so fun, I really wish you could film inside because you could see how serious we all took it. 

I think when it came to the half an hour mark (when we managed to get into the second room) we all split up and looked for clues.

The majority of the time was spent running around shouting and trying to decipher hieroglyphic type writings on the wall.

You guys will really have to use your imagination because without footage it’s difficult to paint a picture…

It’s not escape rooms without cool costumes! Man I really got into it πŸ˜‚

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We finished with about a minute to spare (with a little help lol) and were greeted with an open door and our guide saying CONGRATS!  

We were all given a certificate…you can tell how excited the team was…
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Photo op.

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We did so well but the real challenge was finding somewhere to eat afterwards… ​
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The gang and I ended up at Westfield White City. I really really wanted to eat Chinese; and everything that began with the letter C looked like CH-CH-CH Chinese to me…​

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We eventually ate and made our way home. But of course we had to have an eventful commute back East…

Meet this lady here below. 

She proceeded to tell us how she had just met her favourite celebratory crush, and how she wiped the sweat off his body…all the while her BOYFRIEND was stood there shaking his head.

She was super drunk but so entertaining…well until she tickled me!? (Yes, she actually tickled me) Saints it took every inch of restraint to not react πŸ˜‚ #ImmaStaySaved

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All in all, I would recommend going to an Escape Room activity. Great team building and generally so jokes because you see everyone’s competitive side in a light hearted but ever so serious setting!


Here’s the contact info of the place we visited ‡️
πŸ‘½