Friday, 31 August 2007

Just Lovely School

JB started at his new school today; another milestone reached.

Yes, it was an emotional day!

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Don't shop when you're in a bad mood

It can bring out the worst in you; especially if you are in an overcrowded supermarket. During my torture today I made a few observations :

  • Heelies or Wheelies or whatever they are called should be banned from shops, particularly supermarkets. It is enough to have to contend with a trolley that has a mind of it's own, without having some crazy kid whose shoes are pretending to be rollerskates zooming in and out of you and the other shoppers. What is that all about? And why do said children always seem to have parents that are unable to control them
  • New members of staff should not be put on the checkout until they ABSOLUTELY know what they are doing. It is most painful to endure a cashier referring back to their handbook after each item they scan; particularly when you have are buying more than one item. Don't misunderstand me, I am generally a very tolerant person. BUT, it took nearly 40 minutes for my shopping to be processed.
  • Car parks should have extra big spaces for people that can't park. They are going to take over two or three bays with their bizarre diagonal parking; so just give them enough space to park in whatever formation tickles their fancy without damaging other cars.
  • If your shopping experience has been anything less than highly enjoyable, you should be given a complimentary bar of fat free, calorie free chocolate, to eat in your car as you sit in rush hour traffic trying to get home.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

It's been over a year

No, not since I've had Sisterlocks; but, since my last relaxer!
How I don't miss the feeling of my scalp heating up and the wait to see how long I could endure it, before throwing the towel in and having it rinsed out. Oh that funny rotten egg mixed with chemicals smell; a distant memory now.
If (and I have no intention of doing so) I were to cut my locks of tomorrow, relaxing my hair again would be the furthest thing from my mind.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

"Eh eh gurl, you put on li'l weight!"

I knew my Grandad was going to say that (well, words to that effect), when I saw the look he gave me as I walked into the room. He is over from Guyana and I haven't seen him since he was last here, early last year. "You could take a li'l run roun' de block" he said as he gave me a big hug and kiss! Whilst my Grandad wasn't being malicious, he certainly isn't going to win any awards for diplomacy!
But his observation of my weight gain is not news to me; I know I have put it on and I'm now working to get rid of it. I was pleasantly surprised to have returned from Egypt fractionally lighter; all that time in the pool paid off. It's now just a case of remaining motivated and as I'm sure many of you know, that can be difficult at times. I probably won't blog too much about this again; you'll be able to measure my success by the photos posted no longer being just shoulder up! I have a goal weight in mind, with my birthday/Christmas time as a target; there also smaller target dates along the way.
So BR you are not the only one...

(Pic - My Dad, My Grandad & I. Do excuse the wheel grwing out of my head - sometimes you just need to take your own photos!)

Saturday, 25 August 2007

"Light" reading - update

I spent more time snoozing in the sun in Egypt, than I did reading for work! So I now have just over a week to get through everything; even though I've had nearly six weeks to get this done. There is something about the long summer holiday that makes me a little lazy and I just find it so difficult to get back into work mode. But I'm trying, really I am...

Friday, 24 August 2007

All is tight with my hair

Although I actually quite liked the look of my hair in it's pre-tightened state; a few locks were starting to bond with each other, so it was time for an appointment. What has surprised me looking at these before and after pics, is the fact that the parts no longer really show when my hair has been retightened. Apart from at the sides that is; it's still spacey there.
I'd really like things to thicken up there and be a bit more like the back, where the parts are almost invisible now. Did anyone else have areas of their hair that took longer to develop than others?

Thursday, 23 August 2007


Our hotel was located about 15 minutes from the Taba Gateway; making it very 'easy' for us to cross the border and visit Israel.
I use the word easy loosely, because I actually didn't think they were going to allow me into the country. Having passed the 'pop quiz' on questions relating to my passport and getting the all clear from the metal detector and being frisked, I had to wait while my passport was subjected to a number of tests. This included it being placed in a machine (which thankfully flashed 'PASS') and then the outside of it being tested with with pieces of material in long wands, the material was then run through a machine (which again thankfully flashed 'PASS'). I have no idea why I selected for this out of the group of five I was in; perhaps because I no longer resemble my passport picture...

One of things that struck me during this fairly uncomfortable experience (I did start to feel sick and did want to cry; not that I am guilty of anything) was the number of women working there. Trust me, they were not women to be messed with; they and their guns made me a shadow of my usual bubbly self. It was a real contrast to our hotel where all of the staff were men.
Anyway, the last part of the process was a little easier; "no, I don't know anyone in Israel", "I've come to sight see and shop", "I am here for the day", "yes I know those people, they are my family", "thank you very much, I will enjoy my stay".

A short and nearly very expensive taxi drive(the driver wanted us to pay $50 which is £25, when I said we were paying in Shekels, he charged us about £5!) and we were in the heart of Eilat; the shops and beach were buzzing with people. We started at the shopping centre; a little bit of retail therapy and a great lunch later and we were ready to walk along the beach.
There was a great atmosphere in Eilat and I'm sure it's really lively at night; the sand wasn't the cleanest I've ever seen, but the water was lovely and blue.

There was a real mix of people there, although it did seem to be the place to be for the young and trendy. We came across a group of crazy boys having the time of their lives, jumping off a bridge into the sea; I thought about giving it a go myself, but worried about what it might do to my hair!

As we were leaving I couldn't help but a take a few pictures of the airport, which I thought was oddly placed in the middle of the road.
I didn't have any trouble leaving Israel; perhaps that means I'll have no trouble getting in the next time I visit!

Wednesday, 22 August 2007


We spent a day at a watersport centre, trying our hand at various activities.

The centre is situated down at Taba Heights resort, a short taxi drive from where we were staying.

My SO and I went out on a catamaran, my sister and my brave little JB went parasailing and the others went out on the banana. Whilst the other activities were fairly short, we were out on the catamaran for two hours. It was an amazing experience and I even managed to sail it! From where we were, we had an excellent view of the coastline of Jordan. Our skipper, Mahmoud, explained that it was about 15km across to Aqaba, 5km of which was international waters; if we crossed this part we'd have been in trouble!

They said it was an experience, but both JB and my sister said they'd never go parasailing again!
The others began their ride, all waves and smiles, but after about 6 minutes they were thrown quite violently into the sea. They were OK; although watching everything from the shore was really nerve wracking. They all decided that they'd had enough of watersports for the day and cancelled the waterskiing lessons they had booked for later on in the afternoon!

I'd love to do the PADI Scuba Diving course to take, but didn't think it was fair to spend 4-5 days of this family holiday doing it. Definitely on my list of things to do; this would be such a lovely place to go back to and do the course.

We met this girl and her friend at the watersport centre; they were selling bracelets and necklaces that they'd made. The girls are Bedouins and lived in the mountains close to the Taba Heights resort. They spoke perfect English and when I asked them who had taught them they replied "the people"; isn't that amazing? The Bedouins are the only real inhabitants in this region; all of the staff at the resorts are given accommodation in the hotels. They work for a month or two and then return to their homes for a week; however if the hotels are really busy it could be anything up to four months before they get a break. They all work tirelessly seven days a week and by all accounts for not much money.
Back to the girls, they seemed to take a real liking to us and spent most of the day talking to us and watching our watersport adventures. This is obviously the way they have developed their skills in English. They both came from fairly large families with 7 or 8 siblings each; selling their crafts at the centre each day was their way of contributing to the family income.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Sand, Sea and Jordan

The hotel had it's own beach a short walk (or very unnecessary shuttle bus ride) down the road, which we visited a few times. We played some football, took some pedaloes out and relaxed in the shade.
I impressed myself by swimming in the Red Sea; although I love to be in water, I usually only paddle in the sea. But, the water was so clear and so warm, I just couldn't help myself; the only thing that got me out was the salt, which became overbearing after a while.
There were some great views to take in from the shore, including this one across to Jordan.
Although we didn't go, it is possible to visit Jordan quite easily; a ferry crosses from nearby Taba Heights to Aqaba in about an hour and from there it's a two hour drive to Petra.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Making a splash

We only had to step out of our rooms and we were at one of the hotel's pools (aah, the advantages of being on the ground floor!). Of course that also meant that we were in with a chance in the 'race for the sun lounger' competition - can you believe that some guests had staked their claims before 6am! What is that all about?
This pool was the quietest one - probably because it didn't have a bar at it!

My swimming is not up to much; I can do a few laps and then I am totally out of breath. I have been meaning to book myself some lessons to brush up on my technique for the longest time; I'll have to add it to my list of things to do this lifetime. Anyway, I decided to buy myself a float to take with me and spent about 40 minutes a day using it to go up and down in the pool.
I love being in the water; there is something very relaxing about it. And of course now that my hair is not an issue, I can enjoy it all the more :-)

Sunday, 19 August 2007

8 Months!

And still loving it!

My hair is still wet in these pictures; after all the contact with water in Egypt, it was crying out for a good wash and condition. I don't usually use conditioner, but after all of the sea salt and pool chemicals I felt it was necessary. My locks feel lovely and soft and the conditioner (Alberto Balsam Tea Tree Tingle) hasn't caused any unravelling, so I guess that means it's ok for me to use it!

It is time for a retightening and my ends could do with neatening up after my self-trim, but I couldn't be happier with my hair at the moment.


I hadn't done any major research into the area we were visiting; just booked the holiday and got ready to pack. I knew we were near the sea and some distance away from Cairo, but that was about it. "I think we are landing in the desert!" I said to my SO as I looked out of the window and could see nothing but the lights of the runway; when we made our way to the hotels, through pitch darkness, in a convoy of coaches, with what appeared to be a police escort, I started to worry slightly. I know I wasn't the only one because nearly everyone was sat bolt upright holding onto the backs of the seats in front of them!
Thank goodness our hotel was the first stop, because I'm not sure my poor little heart could have held out much longer. On arrival, we were struck immediately by how quiet it was; not in an eerie way, more a peaceful and relaxing type of quiet. Our rooms were nice and spacious and all next to each other; after dropping our cases off, we sat at the poolside under the most amazing star filled sky.
The welcome meeting with our holiday rep the following morning proved to be informative; not only about things to do, but for learning a little more about where we were.
The last portion of the Sinai to be returned to Egypt from Israel (1989), Taba is slowly being developed into a beautiful resort at the tip of Egypt's Red Sea Riviera. On the Gulf of Aqaba, Taba borders Israel and is directly opposite Jordan. The area is popular with Israeli tourists, although this has decreased since the bombings in 2004.
Situated in the part of Egypt that is in Asia and not Africa, our hotel was backed by the Sinai Peninsula mountains

With the Red Sea to the front

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Friday, 10 August 2007

Egypt... we come!
I'm all packed and ready to go; I've only made minor adjustments to my packing list.
We'll be about 5 hours from Cairo, so no Pyramids for me this time; we will be right by the Red Sea, so I'm intending to try my hand at some watersports.
It's at that point now where the holiday buzz is in the house and everyone is both excited and slighlty stressed. I will start my check, double check and triple check routine shortly; you know, have I packed the passports? yes, have I packed the passports? yes, have I packed the passports? yes. And so it goes on.
It's nice to go away at this time, as it breaks up the school holiday; I had wanted to be away for the entire holiday (Japan in fact), but circumstances left us with only a week to travel in.
So Egypt it is and now I can't wait!

Thursday, 9 August 2007


In an effort to be organised, I have started getting my stuff together for Saturday. Now, I do know super-organised people (including my sister) who would have had their cases packed already; ordinarily I pack everything the night before travelling. The reason for this post is that my SO always complains that I pack too much and of course the lady doth protest! Surely I am not the only person who will throw one or two 'just in case' items into their case? Is it really possible to take too many pairs of shoes?
I think I have got this packing thing down to a fine art and I'm sure that he won't moan this time...
As I don't intend to do alot and I am hopeful of good weather, I think this will be sufficient (and not over indulgent):

  • A selection of swimming costumes/bikinis (a 'selection' is usually unheard of for me, in fact, for the longest time I owned only one swimming costume and that mainly came out for aqua aerobics. So, I will indulge myself with this one; they are light and won't take up too much space!)
  • 3 pairs of shorts - maybe I should take 4. Do you think 3 pairs are enough?
  • 4 vests and 4 t-shirts
  • 4 dresses
  • A cardigan
  • 2 pairs of flip flops, my Birkenstocks and my trainers(for the gym)
  • A couple of workout outfits

That's not too much is it? In fact, I'm worried it's not enough...

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

A little "light" reading for my trip

As you all know, I have been on holiday from work for nearly three weeks now. I have done my best to avoid doing anything work related and bar answering a few important e-mails, I've managed so far. But, I knew the time would come when I'd have to give in; I have a few plays and two new exam specifications to familiarise myself with. So, I'm thinking I will take some of them away with me. I know, I know, I shouldn't take work away with me, but my goodness the school holiday is nearly over! If I wait untl I get back I will only have two weeks left and will end up cramming; that would too stressful. While I'm away I don't plan to do much more than chill by the pool or at the beach; perfect reading time. I think I'll take the plays and leave the exam specs at home; save the deep stuff until I return relaxed and refreshed!

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Any idea what this is?

It was in my hair!!! I'd been outside and when I came back in I felt a slight itch, instinctively I put my hand to my head. I felt something move and pulled at it and sent it flying to the floor; I actually thought it was a wasp because I was sure I'd heard a buzz. I took this picture quickly so that I could compare it with insects in my gardening books. I surprised myself by releasing it humanely back into the garden and not clobbering it with the closest object; I think it was because my son suggested it may have laid eggs in my hair (kids, don't you just love them). I ran upstairs so fast to wash my hair; braiding and banding wasn't even an option! It actually felt great to be able to get to every part of my hair and scalp and my hair seems to have survived. But my curls are gone, so I still haven't managed to keep a Soft Spike set for more than a few days; I was really starting to enjoy the curls. It's probably best to keep it freestyle for a while, just in case I need to wash it in a hurry...

Monday, 6 August 2007

More locks

There was no end to the number of people at my niece's christening who had locks; but I got really excited when I spotted this lady

Her Sisterlocks are three years old and they are lovely. She has loads of them and no, she has never counted them. They are thin, perhaps too thin for me - there would be no chance of me maintaining that many myself. We spoke for quite a while about her locking journey which, by all accounts, has been stress free and her hair regime. I couldn't stop touching them, of course I asked first!

Sunday, 5 August 2007

No more click and go

I decided that it would be a good idea to get to know my camera; it's nothing special - just what I need! I bought it before going to Austria in February and I have been just pointing and shooting since then.
Who knew that it had settings?
I went into the garden this morning to take some practise shots; I thought it might be useful before we go away next weekend. I spent a few days last week tidying up the garden, so it was nice to have the weather today to enjoy it. I was quite pleased with my pictures; I really like this one, it's nice and green!

Saturday, 4 August 2007

The sun shone

We were blessed with great weather for my niece's christening today; in fact at times it was a little too hot!
The service was lovely and my niece took it all in her stride; she didn't even make a fuss when the water was poured onto her head.

I set my hair on soft spikes last night; my hair was damp and I rolled all of my hair towards the back of my head. My main aim was for the ends of my hair to look neat, but I also wanted the curls to go in the same direction.

I chose this lovely shell hairtie (I'm not sure of the name) to keep my hair in place.

I'm not the only one in the family with locks!

My aunt Charlotte had her locks started at Morris Roots; I love the splash of red she has in her hair. This look was achieved by having her hair plaited and then loosening the plaits.
My Gran and my aunt Kim started their locks themselves. My Gran likes to keep her hair shorter than it is at the moment; I think a cut is imminent...
Kim has a head of long and healthy locks, which just beg to be touched!

Thursday, 2 August 2007

A little can go a long way

I was really inspired by Brunsli's Thank You post and the information she gave about the organisation Kiva; so much so, that I immediately signed up to be a lender. The hardest thing for me was trying to decide who to help, although I knew I wanted to help women. In the end I chose two women who were very near raising their requested loan and I made up the difference.
Do have a look at the website and see what you think; if you are moved to help, there are many, many people who would benefit greatly.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Second time around

In preparation for a family celebration at the weekend, I decided to give the soft spikes another try. I think I'm going to wear my hair up in a hairtie; I figured that this would help the ends to look a little neater and give the style more volume. This time I put the curlers in whilst my hair was dry and then gave a light Tea Tree Oil spritz when I'd finished. I found it quite hard to put them in this time due to the length of my hair; when I'd finished there were lots of stray locks poking out all over my head, which I had to re-roll. As soon as I took the curlers out this morning I knew I'd like the results more than the last time; the curls were a lot softer and easier to loosen and style. I'll probably set my hair again on Friday night to ensure that the curls are fresh for my up-do and to make sure that there are no stray locks!

(I tried to manipulate the picture to make my hair clearer; I might have gone a little too far!)