Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Uniqueness of being Nigerian

Visiting some Nigerian friends the other day, it struck me that there are some traits that are so unique to Nigerians that you cannot help but know that we are in their presence. So I made up a little list of our ‘uniqueness’

You know you are visiting a Nigerian home when…

1. Within half an hour (sometimes less) of arriving you are being offered ‘minerals’ (soft drinks) and something to eat.

2. To keep you occupied you are given at least four HUGE photo albums to wade through, including the wedding album regardless of the fact that you may have seen them 10 times before already.

3. The BEN TV channel (if you live in the UK and have Sky) is on and/or there is a pile of Nigerian movies stacked up by the television.

4. There are plastic flowers on the dining table.

5. There is a bead ‘curtain’ separating the living room from the dining room/Kitchen.

6. The conversation turns to the state of Nigeria/Politics.

7. The other visitor present tries to sell you Lace, Gele or Asoebi (help me with the spelling here please!)

8. No one really divulges what they do when asked the question ‘so what do you do?’ (and if I hear the answer ‘I’m into IT’ one more time I’ll scream!!!!)

9. There are Eleganza food coolers in the kitchen store along with a large bag of rice and packets of Maggi Cubes.

10. Everyone expresses a desire to return Nigeria because England Hum, hiss, snapping of fingers and slapping of thighs and an ‘all dis oyinbo people sef’ but no real reason given. However, when pressed for exactly when they will be returning it is always in a vague 5 – 10 years time.

Can you think of any more uniqueness to add to the list?

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Of Birthdays and Babies

It was my birthday on the 20th of January. I turned 37. *sigh*

It was a day like any other. In fact I had to remind myself a couple of times through the day that it was my birthday. But it’s been like this for a few years now. Since I turned 30, birthdays have become less of a celebration and more of a time for reflection.

Am I where I want to be? No

Is this how I envisioned my life at this age? No

What do I want to achieve over the next 12 months? Several things spring to mind.

Am I happy? Now, this is a tough one. I am not unhappy. Let’s just say there is a restlessness within me which comes from knowing that my life isn’t going in quite the direction I had anticipated it would when I was say, 25. But that’s not anyone’s fault. If I want change to happen, then I’ve gotta change.


Last week Wednesday I went for my 20 week scan – I know! I can hardly believe I am half way through my pregnancy already – and all is well. Baby is growing fine and all the functional bits are in place and the pregnancy is progressing as it should.

I also had the baby sexed i.e. boy or a girl. And I am happy to announce that come June I will be giving birth to a bouncing baby ……….

Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!! You didn’t really think I would let the cat out of the bag, did you? If I told you what I was going to be having then you wouldn’t have anything to look forward to now, would you? You’ll just have to wait. All I will say is, I am glad I know what the sex of the baby is as I can be better prepared this time around. With my first I had bought all the baby clothes in neutral colours but this time I can be more specific.

One thing I will tell you though is that having a child at 33 and having a child at 37 is a whole different ball game. My body ain’t what it used to be. Four years ago when I was carrying my first, I was full of energy, no aches or pains and I was positively blooming. Everyone who saw me always used to comment on how radiant I looked. But now, I tire more easily and at 21 weeks, my back is aching like mad. If I sit down for any length of time, it’s an ordeal to get my muscles moving again and my belly feels so, so heavy. My husband reckons I don’t get enough exercise –which I don’t actually. So I shall pencil in some evening walks for at least a couple of times a week. Nothing like some movement and fresh air to get the body working again, n’est pas?

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Saturday, January 27, 2007


Went to the movies to watch Mel Gibsons' Apocalypto with hubby yesterday. I have only one word


Never, ever have I watched a movie like this before. It is brilliant but if you are not into blood, guts and gore this will be the one to pass on. You've been warned.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Genevieve - One Puzzled Reader

Although I mostly get to read it a few months late, I am a fairly consistent reader of Genevieve magazine and have been for the last couple of years.

However with each publication, I find myself scratching my head and puzzling over exactly what sort of magazine it is.

I was under the impression that it was a glossy magazine and when I read a glossy I look for the three G’s – Glamour, Glitz and Gossip (gossip meaning articles, information and entertainment) however, I find that with each published issue Genevieve is leaning increasingly towards being a Christian/Religious magazine.

I am a Christian yes, but I don’t expect to buy a glossy magazine only to find almost every article heavily laced with scripture, praise reports and personal testimonies. If I want to read these themes then I will pick up my copy of The Word for Today, Leadership and Lifestyle or Joyce Meyers Enjoying Everyday Life.

I would have thought that the main goal of any glossy magazine would be to reach as wide and diverse a target audience as possible but the strategy that Genevieve is knowingly, or unknowingly, adopting is alienating readers who don’t share the same religious beliefs. After all, the Nigerian market is a mixed bag of Christians, Muslims, Traditionalists and people of other religious leanings and people who don’t believe in anything at all. I think Genevieve should be more embracing and broad minded.

If they find it impossible to avoid sharing their beliefs, then surely it must be possible for them to write an article or give advice incorporating basic biblical principles without having to resort to quoting whole chunks of scripture. Oprah adopts this approach quite often in her O Magazine column ‘What I know for Sure’.

I think Genevieve has to tone it down a bit to regain their mass market appeal if not they’ll lose readers, myself included, to their rival True Love.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

International Slow Down Week

Click HERE to watch

Technology – an extension of me

Yesterday my iPod froze up for about an hour on me. I eventually figured out how to reset it but for the 60 minutes I was without it, it was like my right arm had been cut off. It made me realise just how dependent I am on the gadgets I have around me.

Say for instance, I lost my mobile phone I would be beside myself because 1) my major means of communication when I am out and about would be gone and 2) I don’t have any of the numbers on my phone written down anywhere. A disaster waiting to happen.

The same applies to my email, broadband connection and memory stick – all technologies I rely so heavily upon. I am not sure if this is a good or bad thing but it’s something to make you think.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Why Not?

My mood today is reflective. There is a dull feeling inside.

I remember the last time I felt like this was watching the twin towers come down on the small television screen in my office, and then turning back to the papers spread across my table and thinking just how inconsequential everything now seemed. Nothing made sense.

Yesterday I walked into my daughters bedroom and just stood there watching her as she slept. I bent over her, drank in her toddler smells and kissed her, over and over. I felt my fears retreat when I did that.

The tears have finally come and understanding and acceptance of what has happened are desperately trying to fight their way through the dullness of my mind. I have read and re-read all the comments that have been left. I have been surprised at how many of you have suffered the loss of a friend as well and I have been touched by your kind words of encouragement and support.

I think what has rattled me the most is that death, or grief, seems to be coming closer and closer to home. Death, in my naiveté, was the exclusive reserve of the elderly, the terminally ill or those caught up in unfortunate situations like car or plane crashes. But obviously, the joke was on me. The realisation that I, we, are not immune from it is hitting hard. We are now losing friends – people who are our age in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s- the age where we are at our most indestructible, or so I used to think. And the deaths are all so weird – happening for no apparent reason or cause. No lengthy illnesses, no genetic disorder, no apparent ill health. Just normal healthy people dropping down dead.

As a friend of mine told me, When it is time, it is time. I find no comfort in that.

As Ekoya so eloquently put it…

"What's the point?"
I would rather ask: "Why not?".

Since we do not know what life holds for tomorrow and whether we'll even be here tomorrow, I think like your friend did, the best we owe ourselves is to live the things we want today hoping tomorrow will be ours.
And if perchance tomorrow never becomes ours, we would at least die doing what we dreamed. The alternative would be to do nothing, afraid of "struggling" because it may not be worth our while and then tomorrow comes, and we would have done nothing. That would be emptiness.
The baby I carry has begun to move reminding me that as one life departs another is about to be born to replace it.

So I move on, draw a deep breath and ask ‘Why Not?’
My friend, this is for you....
I Squeeze a Little Tighter

When I hug I squeeze a little tighter
When I kiss I kiss a little longer
When I speak I speak a little softer
When I smile I smile a little warmer
When I touch I touch a little firmer
When I listen I listen with a little more interest
When I search I search for a little more understanding
When I question I question with a purpose
When I see I see with a little more clarity
When I am tempted to complain
I stop
Think of you
And I squeeze a little tighter

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What's the Point?

This is a bit of a difficult post to write because my thoughts and feelings are all over the place at the moment. So forgive me if it reads a bit incoherent.

On the 27th of December I was chatting on the phone with a friend of many years who had come over to the UK late last year to do a Masters Degree, about life, future plans and the holiday season. Y’know, general stuff.

Then yesterday I got a call from another mutual friend informing me that she had died.

Just. Like. That.

Apparently she had complained of having chest and stomach pains, a few hours later she was dead. It happened on New Years day.

She is being buried on Saturday morning.

I just can’t get my head around it.

I can’t cry, the tears don’t come. I can’t think because I don’t understand. The question that plagues me is So What’s The Point??

What’s the point of all the struggle? We struggle to get through kindergarten, primary and secondary school. Then we struggle through University. Then we struggle to get a good job. We struggle to get a promotion and when that doesn’t come we struggle to save up money so we can do a Masters preferably abroad. We struggle to get a partner. We struggle to make ends meet, start a business, make our marriages/ relationships work, raise a family, become a success. From the day we are born life seems to be one long struggle. It may not always appear that way but my cynical mind says we do. And at the end of it? Well, we die.

I know that this is perhaps a very bleak way to look at life but that’s the place I find myself right now.

My friend was full of life, full of plans, full of strategies for the future. Asking her if she intended to settle down over here after she finishes her Masters ‘Abeg no-oh’ she replied emphatically ‘Naija is too sweet. I’ll be going back O!’

I keep seeing pictures of her flashing through my head – her skinny legs sticking out from beneath her school uniform skirt, making noise at the back of the classroom during lessons, growing up, going into University. So many pictures. But the worst thing is I keep playing the last conversation we had over the phone in my head over and over again. I can’t believe it was barely two weeks ago.

Life can sometimes be so crap. What the heck is the point of it all??


Monday, January 08, 2007

Women Explained

For all the men who ever wondered, this explains us in a nutshell.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Baby Update

This is just a quick baby update to let you all know how I am faring.

I am now 17 weeks pregnant – yes, isn’t it amazing how time flies - and I have had my first scan. I have also had my midwife’s appointment where I got to hear baby’s heartbeat for the very first time. How exciting. Baby is well I was told, heartbeat is very strong and my belly is the right size.

Talking of bellies, mine is huge considering I am just over four months so I dread to think just how much bigger I will become by the time June rolls in. I have also outgrown all my normal clothes but, good news here, I found a shop which does quite trendy maternity clothes so I have managed to get myself a pair of brown tweed trousers, a lovely embroidered black corduroy skirt and some other stuff.

Thank God for changing fashion! It seems this seasons big fashion hit is going to be Babydoll dresses which I am all excited about –not because I particularly follow fashion trends but simply because the style of the dresses lend themselves well for use as maternity clothes. Hoorah! So I walked into Topshop on Monday and got a lovely dark olive green baby doll dress which will last me throughout my pregnancy and hopefully beyond (if I haven’t rocked holes into it by then).

There is something I must mention though as I am faintly bothered by it.

I have not been able to connect with this pregnancy as I did with my first. I’ll explain.

With my first pregnancy I couldn’t get enough information about it. I bought books, magazines; I trawled through the baby section of Boots buying all things buyable. I out did myself picking up bargains during the sales of baby grows, booties and other nick knacks. But this time around I have done zilch. I have not bought a single magazine, I am weeks behind on my entries into the pregnancy journal I started, I haven’t even looked in Boots for baby stuff and I have walked right past the aisles of baby clothes on sale. I haven’t obsessed about this pregnancy for one day like I did with the first.

Is something wrong with me? Why can’t I seem to connect or form a bond this time with the child growing within me? Why am I not sitting around dreaming up possible names or talking to my bump? Other second time mums that I have spoken to have assured me that it is quite normal to feel this way. With first time pregnancies you have all the time in the world to sit around and day dream about the coming baby. You have time to shop and prepare and sit and read endless mother and baby magazines and besides it is a journey into the unknown so there is a lot of build up of excitement surrounding the whole experience. But the second time around, you are occupied with your first offspring- making sure they are washed, clothed, fed, entertained and occupied and this eats up a lot of a mother-to-be-second-time-around’s time. Second pregnancies are also tinged with a feeling of been there, done that.

I know they are right of course but I can’t help but be concerned about it.

Some other news to share is that my morning sickness has finally abated but has been replaced by acid reflux so I need to contact my GP to get a prescription for an antacid. My energy levels have also risen and I don’t feel so tired anymore. My friends and colleagues tell me that I am glowing although I take this with a pinch of salt as I personally do not think so. My walk has also developed a distinct waddle as well.

In the next three weeks, I will have my 20 week scan where I will have the opportunity to find out the sex of my baby. I think that this time I will ask for the sex to be told me. I didn’t check the first time around as I wanted there to be an element of surprise but this time I want to know so I can mentally prepare myself. Besides it would be helpful to know what to buy when then baby shopping bug finally bites me.

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A Colour Meme

Thanks to Starshyne for this idea.

[ RED ]

1. Closest red thing to you? The box that holds my index cards at work
2. Has anyone ever cheated on you in a relationship? Yes, several times actually.
3. Last thing to make you angry? Watching the idiot behaviour of Paris Hilton on TV.
4. Are you a fan of romance? Real life romance yes. Romance between the pages of a book, No.
5. Have you ever been in love? I am now.
6. Do you have a temper? Unfortunately I do, but I’m working on it.


1. Closest green thing to you? The office Post Record Book.
2. Do you care about the environment? Not as much as I should
3. Are you jealous of anyone right now? No. It’s not in my character to be jealous of others.
4. Are you a lucky person? I don’t really believe in luck. I believe in circumstances coming together and working out just right (or wrong) for me and so far, life has been good.
5. Do you always want what you can't have? Sometimes.
6. Are you Irish? No, not even close.


1. Last purple thing you saw? My new suede covered journal.
2. Like being treated to expensive things? Of course, which woman doesn’t?
3. Do you like mysterious things? No, especially mysterious men. They usually turn out to be slimy gits.
4. Favourite type of chocolate? Hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmellows on the top. Costa does a fantastic hot chocolate.
5. Ever met any royalty? A couple of Bini chiefs. Does that count? LOL!
6. Are you creative? I’d like to think so.
7. Are you lonely? Not usually. I really enjoy my own company and regularly look forward to being on my own when I can.

[ BLUE ]

1. Closest blue thing to you? My jeans.
2. Are you good at calming people down? Yes.
3. Do you like the ocean? I love it. I can just sit and stare at it for hours. I’d love to live by the sea one day.
4. What was the last thing that made you cry? Watching the opening of Oprah’s Leadership Academy in South Africa. I don’t know why I burst into tears when I watched it. High levels of pregnancy hormones perhaps?
5. Are you a logical thinker? Yes.
6. Can you sleep easily? Usually yes but not in the past eight weeks or so.
7. Do you prefer the beach or the woods? Definitely the beach.


1. Closest yellow thing to you? A post-it note in my post it dispenser.
2. The happiest time(s) of your life? When I lived in Abuja and when my husband (then boyfriend) and I got back together after breaking up for about a year.
3. Favourite holiday? Jamaica!!
4. Are you a coward? On dark and stormy nights – yes.
5. Do you burn or tan? Tan.
6. Do you want children? I have one already with another one on the way.
7. What makes you happy? Tough one. Being with family, writing, creating stuff.

[ PINK ]

1. Closest pink thing to you? The flowers on the little cactus I have on my table.
2. Do you like sweet things? Yes.
3. Like play-fighting? I do, I do – especially with my husband. Hehehe
4. Are you sensitive? Yes, sometimes overly so.
5. Do you like punk music? NO, NO, NO!!!
6. What is your favourite flower? Lilies.
7. Does someone have a crush on you? Not a clue.


1. Closest orange thing to you? A biro.
2. Do you like to burn things? No.
3. Dress up for Halloween? No, can’t stand Halloween.
4. Are you usually a warm-hearted person? Usually.
5. Do you prefer the single life or the security of a relationship? They both have their advantages. I got a lot more done when I was single in terms of my self development but I’ve had a lot less time to focus on myself since getting married, and especially since having a child. Marriage shifts one’s focus. I will confess though that in stressful times, I long for the single life, albeit temporarily.
6. What would your super power be? The ability to see into the future.


1. Closest white thing to you? A4 paper in my printer.
2. Would you say you're innocent? No. Not anymore.
3. Always try to keep the peace? No. Sometimes a good fight is necessary.
4. How do you imagine your wedding? Been there, done that.
5. Do you like to play in the snow? No, too cold. Give me the African sun anytime.
6. Are you afraid of going to the doctors or dentist? Not in the least. I have been poked and prodded so many times in my life that all my fears have been dispeled.


1. Closest black thing to you? The telephone
2. Ever enjoy hurting people? No, not knowingly anyway.
3. Are you sophisticated or silly? I’m not silly but I wish I could say sophisticated.
4. Do you have a lot of secrets? Yes, and they’ll remain just that.
5. What is your favourite colour(s)? Browns and Beiges.
6. Does the colour you wear affect your mood? Yes. When I wear varying shades of brown I feel calm and sophisticated. When I wear red I feel vibrant and like a sexy vixen, when I wear grey I feel distinctly dowdy.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007


I was moved to tears today when I watched on CNN the opening of Oprah’s Leadership Academy in South Africa. We so rarely hear about good things happening on the news that this just overwhelmed me. It is completely free – board, tuition, the facilities, uniforms – EVERYTHING is free. Oprah’s generosity and kindness of spirit just takes my breath away. If ever there was a good woman, she definitely is one and along with millions of other women around the world, she is my number one mentor. I wish her well. For more information see here.

So, 2007 is finally here. What are your hopes and dreams? What habits will you be changing this year? What is the one thing you’ll be doing differently when you wake up in the morning? Which friendships are you going to nurture and which ones have got to go? Is this the year when you’ll reconcile with your enemy? Start that new business? Forgive some who needs to be forgiven? Grow in your faith? Love yourself more? Sow a seed of good into someone else’s life either with your time, compassion, generosity, patience, goodwill, kindness and yes, even your money?

Whatever you chose to do this year, let it be the year where you make a positive impact on someone else’s life because one thing I am beginning to realise is that the good you do onto others always, always comes back to you.

I wish you all the best for 2007!!

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