Book Review: The Latte Years: A Story of Losses, Gains and Life Beyond the After Photo by Phillipa Moore


book-cover

I will title my review as follows:

A candid account about getting on the dreaded scale to shed more than the nagging kilos

I want to begin my review of this yet another awesome memoir by thanking Dyane for recommending it to me. Indeed, it mirrors quite a handfull of my own story.

Philippa nails her soul search in this anecdocte: “Growing up in a small town does one of two things to a person – it either breeds a fierce desire for independence and adventure, so you leave as soon as you can or it gives you Hotel California syndrome (as in, you can check out whenever you want but …)” . However, her lack of self esteem, her abundance of self doubt, her poor choices which ranged from all she stuffed in with regards to food, and the quick ‘yes I do’ to the first ‘suitor’ who barely proposed but took his dance lessons seriously; quickly shoved her desire to the back of her oversized closet.

Philippa got it when one day no matter how hard she tried to lift the size 18/20 pants up, they just wouldn’t zip up. She looked at recently developped pictures and all but threw up… that was it and as she put it: “Becoming conscious of what I had actually been doing to myself had frightened me”.

Gladly enough, this time she had had enough and something had to be done. She started out with the scale and both her eyes and heart near collapsed at the figure she read. Thanks to the encouragement of her friends, family and above all herself, she finally got to her ideal weight. But, it was a journey that involved so many loses and many more marvelous gains. Not only did she shed the kilos as the after photo will show, she shed her old self for a fresh new self confident and independent her. She even ran full and semi-marathons, travelled quite some and met her soul mate. She admits it to the core when she writes: “I had proof in front of me that if I tried, I would find out what I was capable of. It was an amazing feeling that I clung to with all my might”.

Thank you Philippa for sharing your incredible journey with us, your physical and mental aches, your bizzare and super friends, your ever supportive family, and above all a glimpse into your soul mate and your marriage. I will sincerely be failing myself if I give this book any less than a 5 star. I have pretty much walked some of her shoes and closet, and I do mean it when I say I wholeheartedly recommend this memoir to all.

About the Author

philippa-moore

Philippa Moore is a writer, editor and award-winning blogger who has held a lifelong fascination with language and stories. Her writing has been published widely and she also hosts a popular podcast, Book Ends, featuring interviews with leading contemporary writers. She was the author of the award-winning health and fitness blog, Skinny Latte Strikes Back, which was one of the UK’s most popular health and fitness blogs. Philippa now lives in North London with her husband Tom and many pairs of running shoes.

Relax Girl: Dedicated to all who struggle especially single mother


H.E Portia Simpson Miller PM of Jamaica and I
H.E Portia Simpson Miller PM of Jamaica and I: She told me that when I was so nervous and fidgity around her – mind not that smile

In November 2013, I was working for an organization for Women In Parliament and had a great boss – but the rest of team made it clear I was Despicable… I worked my whole self out there in my tasks as the ‘Regional Manager for Africa’, and got this autograph and more from my boss to boost me some… One of the most awesome things which happened to me there was the opportunity to meet some of my heroines in person and get to chat for even 5 minutes with them. On one single day, I met these 3 power women and that day was oh my…

Dlamini Zuma of the AU, Portia S. Miller of Jamaica, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia
Dlamini Zuma of the AU, Portia S. Miller of Jamaica, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia

This morning, I am feeling both low and overwhelmed. It’s kind of weird I don’t feel like replying to calls or text messages, but I am happy to blog. I acknowledge the therapeutic effects of blogging to my mind and it is indeed a corner stone of my Me Moments

I dedicate this short poem to all of us struggling from whatever that maybe, but especially to the single parents with fragile mental healths

Relax Girl

When it all seems like it’s crushing anytime soon

When you can’t put your hands on what’s going on

When you seem not to be cleaning hard enough

When the meals will apparently not be ready on time

When the kids are so uncorperative or so it seems

When you just want to smack and send them off

When you are freaked out you might miss the trip

When you just keep buying and buying while no earnings come in

When you seemingly don’t know or trust someone to talk to

When you think at your age you are sure a failure

When you really think you might be better off dead

When the negative thoughts and actions seem to outweigh the positives

Please remember to first of all:

Relax Girl

P.S: I feel much better now, I am going to fix myself breakfast and come start with my day’s task – hopefully before the boys are back a meal will be ready or there probably is some leftover in the fridge. Thanks to my readers and followers and I sincerely wish us all well

Pray thee: what happened to my Me Moments…


am so full of Gratitude
am so full of Gratitude

It’s been barely a year and month since I relocated back home from yet another of my ‘flights into the wilderness’, but I discovered one awesome thing this last time precisely in Belgium. I discovered there was a Me and that this Me deserved to have her own Moments. Gosh it was like an epiphany. I set out to become best friends with Me, and oh my we so treated ourselves to some moments.

Souvenirs like these boosts the moods tons
Souvenirs like these boosts the moods tons

When I returned home, we went on two great moments to the sea side cities of Limbe and Kribi, and we built further into our relationship.

enjoying some ccnut

On the Limbe trip, I got to finish my fourth memoir and looked at some of my biggest fears squarely, making firm resolves to deal with them thoroughly when the showed up.

These Me Moments have helped me tremendously, but alas they were toned down or near written off when I moved into a place of my own and took my boys with me… This was my main reason for coming back anyway, so that was hurray and neither Me Moments nor Blogging as I used to do it, could take my mind off from that Graceful Vocation of Motherhood…

wp-1449944449323.jpeg

I have however come to realize to my pleasure and our satisfaction, that Me Moments are still possible… I take off for them in the minutes when I wake up and have time to meditate and pray; while I step out early for my workout in all that quiet; when on a work trip I treat us to a lunch and get to discover new dishes like Green Rice; and much more…

And now oh my, I get a week away in Ivory Coast precisely in beautiful Abidjan; and although it’s actually a conference am attending on yes a full scholarship, I would have all my nights and pre conference mornings for Me Moments. There is even a 20 free hours after the conference before my return flight…

So dear world, I am super grateful to the Universe and my Lord for these twists and turns, and for the possibility to embrace them and make the most of them for my holistic wellbeing. And you, any such Me Moments?

Happy midweek to us all…

He does His thing: Not all kids go for Playstations – Listen to Them


David with his local bow and arrow: A hanger and some broom sticks
David with his local bow and arrow: A hanger and some broom sticks

Hello world,

Since deciding to move back to bloggerville, I am also fighting the urge to post twice a day🙂 So for now, let me calm my fingers with daily post and hope the ‘bloggania’ dies out by Saturday…

Yesterday, I did a quick post on my boy David finding such joy in kicking the dang football. You know, I think he will bloom into an artist of sorts, and I just keep marvelling at his imagination and his style🙂

I just saw the above picture of his taken this past summer while he was doing his thing, crafting a local bow and arrow and having fun while his siblings were glued to the screen watching whatever🙂

I don’t prefer any one of them to the other, I just love that I can appreciate their styles and stars, and share same with us all. Maybe something in here will inspire us too? And I have learnt to listen to them all, and listen very attentively especially to David who still has a little difficulty keeping up his speech with his ‘age or age mates’, and who equally takes all his time to do whatever it is he is set at doing.

I even admit am glad he is not into play stations, nor are his siblings really because this saves me headaches and bucks anyway🙂

Dear gentle readers and followers, what do you think of him doing his thing? Do you have any such experience to share?

Happy Tuesday to us all🙂

His Joy is in the kicking: And yours?


Hello World,

Hmm another Monday, hope not so grumpy for most of us. When I worked corporate, Mondays were definitely my worst. Fortunately, I wasn’t alone to hate it, and so we voted for our department meetings to start from 9 – 11 which we somehow often saw drag to noon and hurray that was half the day gone… Well the work load piled up anyway… But one thing I learnt from those years, was to love what I was doing or better still make the best of my loss🙂

Yesterday, as I watched my boys play football, I concluded my middle son David 10 years (the special meek and docile one who grew up fearing those team games where he could be hurt), had found a way to mingle and play with joy. Oh my, you needed to see him get ready to kick the ball. The sound he’ll make like a goal was a second near… And he’ll literary clap for himself if he kicked right, goal scored or not…

It dawned on me there was another big life lesson again. What was I after? Winning at all cost, being declared a ‘success story’, or just living to my best…?

My joy today is definitely in living my best, being grateful for the least obvious instead of grumbling for not having the most glaring…

And you gentle readers and followers, what makes you laugh out? Keep going for it, and have a  great week🙂

Am Back and Am using His Phone…


Am trying to be safely anchored ship
Am trying to be safely anchored ship

Grief can make, mould or mare you… Take it from it I have experienced grief and its various effects… Obviously to different extents but … a recent Grief ( Ulla’s passing )propelled me to rush right back to my e-family via our communication outlet par excellence: our blogs or vlogs …

Dear world,

Am Back… I can’t say if it’s gonna be any consistent, but I know for sure Am happy to be back… I didn’t leave altogether, I stayed around reading some of my favorite blogs… But I just realise writing is part of the deal and going by the number of followers I had when I last checked, others sure like reading some of my posts… writing has equally been so so therapeutic for me, I really can’t leave it alone…

Another Grief, one of the most poignant next to the loss of my own daughter, is on another note making me currently… I never knew two years ago I’ll get to this point of smiling when I think of my brother… I think it’s because He Lives on in Me

Am using his phone since Thursday

That's Gaby's phone ontop of my fav kindle, and I put his lone selfie I sound in it on the wallpaper
That’s Gaby’s phone ontop of my fav kindle, and I put his lone selfie I sound in it on the wallpaper… his face is so swelled, probably the meds meds meds…

When he died in August 2014, I wanted so badly to inherit lots from the little he left. I was living in Belgium then, and couldn’t take back lots of his clothes or few house utensils you know… The clothes weren’t going to fit anyway, although I did resize a few and cared less wearing his big snickers… But, I so wanted his mobile phone ans I pleaded with mum then to no avail…Her own Grief was so raw I left it at that

Today, I am finally in possession of one of my priciest legacy from my brother, second only to the memories we shared of things we thought, said and did together…

I sincerely am grateful to mum for giving me my brother’s phone which was successfully unblocked and charged up after two years of non use… I have lots of him physically in my home like most of his house utensils and even beddings… And some clothes… And now the very phone he was using – and sure that on which we last spoke two days to his passing on… his call log was still there oh my …

And you gentle readers and followers, what are some of your priciest legacies from your departed ones?

Wishing us all peace, joy and love in abundance…

Ulla, let me grieve you out and wish you well…


Dear Ulla,

Vanilla scented candle with a butterfly for Ulla's Vigil
Vanilla scented candle with a butterfly for Ulla’s Vigil

I hope you smile at this candle I picked for you on my way home.

You see, I went to help a friend with some decoration project for a wedding she had lined up today, and while there I kept keeping in touch with what was up on your special day over on your street. I also reblogged a few post from other tribes’ buddies which celebrated you and what you taught, thought and shared… She freaked me out at one point by saying I was ever on my phone… I sighed saying if only she knew I was there just to escape from melancholy at home where I would otherwise have been glued to my laptop reading and writing away with tear filled eyes. She overstepped her boundaries when she sent someone into my handbag without my permission. I just screamed in me f… it and left.

I stopped by the supermarket and got a vanilla scented candle for you. Hope you don’t mind the scent. I think you’ll find that butterfly inside sarcastic or what…

You said I was a good writer and could do excellent if I kept at it? Ok now, I will need to find another proof reader and ‘candid sounding board’.

Ulla, today, I can’t and wouldn’t write much. I am reading all I come across on and for you, and keeping the vigil with the tribe. I know one day it shall be over for each and everyone of us too, but for now, we are here trying to strong for each other, trying to come to terms with life and its own ‘mental illness’, trying to survive this one more other day of grieving a dear one’s passing on…

I wish you well Ulla, sincerely and candidly I do… it just hurts to think it got so bad and there was nothing I or any of us could do… I thought I had learnt so much about the ‘illness’ to help someone since I failed so woefully to help my own brother (yes I know what you kept telling me about this), but hmm … I still have so much to learn even about my own self…

I grieve out you passing on, but I retain every memory of your gentle and kind soul. I’ll treasure the few emails and chats and I’ll always wish you well…

Burn away all night for Ulla
Burn away all night for Ulla
Hence I say Adieu Ulla
Hence I say Adieu Ulla

Delay, Light & Dark: World Suicide Prevention Day


Today is world suicide prevention day

sheila north

Here be dragon Here be dragon

A wise friend once told me that even the most negative of character traits can be helpful, in the right circumstances. Take, for example, procrastination. Also known, by those of us who use spellcheckers a lot, as delay.

Today  (10 September) is World Suicide Prevention Day, as per the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) As anyone who has tried or considered killing themselves, been bereaved by suicide, or worked in mental health would tell you, every day is suicide prevention day. So is every minute.

Here be dragon ... Here be another dragon

As someone who has tried to kill herself, and nearly succeeded, when it comes to feeling suicidal, delay can be good.

Want to die? Thought of a way to do it? Then hold on, and wait. Delay taking any kind of action long enough to think of what, for you, is at least one good…

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For Ulla: Because You Believed In Me


What comment will ease grief? Which will do this reblog justice?…

lettersnevermeanttobedelivered

10 September 2016.

The following contains quotes from Ulla, aka Blah from Blahpolar Diaries, in italics. I have no hope of reaching the locutions I feel are needed to remember her, so I used quotes. She wouldn’t want anyone putting words into her mouth anyway.


wpid-1445585268728-01.jpeg Beautiful, beautiful Ulla

Her death tastes like a handful of her medications: bitter. I gobble it down *gulp, gulp* in one bite but it chokes me and makes me sick.

“I believe that our tears honour our dead, but it’s got to be real.”

Oh, it’s real. Too fucking real. My brother suggested twice that the news may be some sort of sick joke. However much I hope to see an email from Ulla telling me that rumors of her death are largely exaggerated, I know I won’t see it. I knew it the moment I read the news: Blah is gone…

Are you still there? 5…

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I’m not going to commit suicide


I have no comment to make here…

blahpolar

There’s another aspect to the general concept of not talking about suicide, and that’s the total freakout that sometimes ensues. I’ve been told very clearly on more occasions that I care to remember, not to mention suicide.

I can’t listen to this,
You shouldn’t have said it.

One person just said I can’t, and stormed off.

Funny thing is, none of those who reacted that way to me have had any experience with it beyond that. And I haven’t threatened suicide dammit, I’ve said

I want to die,
I don’t want to be alive,
I can’t cope with life.

Those are not statements of intent. The upshot of negative reactions is me keeping quiet about those things. It’s a nasty, twisted, frightening, lonely, painful silence too. And now even I feel selfish, petulant, fraudulent about the fact that all I want is an ending. There is no fucking empirical…

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