Mother’s’s Day Part Deux

Because of these men & my siblings I am alive today. My uncle on the left urged my Father Musa on the right to send us older 5 children to boarding school after our mother died because he knew 7 new step children were not a young & new wife’s first choice with 2 newly born twin babies. By my father regarding my uncle as a father figure ( with over 10 years difference in age) that’s what he did & still today I say boarding school saved our sanities.

Literally if we hadn’t been able to escape to the peace & safety of boarding school I doubt we would be sane let alone alive today. Boarding school provided structure, discipline, taught independence but most of all provided peace away from the madness & unbalance of our family home life. We were able to see how other children were regarded with love & care when we broke for Exiat (a weekend stay away from boarding school once every other month).

I would go to my friend Rachel’s house & would continuously be reminded that our normal was not THE normal & that in itself was shocking to witness at first. I remember being puzzled that children didn’t have to stay up until midnight to mop the entire kitchen floor only to be up the next day at 6am to get breakfast ready for everyone. I was shocked that children were not cut up with razor blades & black powder (which was bought by a witch doctor) placed in the wounds (which stung like hell by the way) so it could take away the evil from our bodies… The most shocking of all was that when children challenged their authority figure they were not threatened OR beaten but listened to & a compromise was made. All of these things were a shock I tell you.

I decided to finish my story as after my Mother’s Day post last May so many more questions arose about my hinting of there being another story to tell regarding the Stepmother Aunty P. My older sister warned me against further opening these can of worms speaking from the place of fear thy was instilled in all of us children of abuse but I knew in order to be true to myself I had to speak about it.

Let’s start at roughly where I left off from Mother’s Day (I suggest you read that first installment to understand this one!)

On what would be my mother’s death bed before she was due to deliver the last set of twins, she gathered us older 5 siblings together alone & told us she was going to be going to heaven soon. Mummy told us Daddy would soon after marry Aunty P (whom was our home Technology teacher at the time & not a very good one might I add🙄) Mummy told us that when daddy married her we would have to be strong & stick together as she would not be very nice. I was 6 years old at the time & had no idea what she was talking about but I remember my older siblings looking at her in disbelief & crying saying over and over again Mummy no! My mother reassured us that as long as we stuck together & looked out for each other like she taught us to do we would be fine. I was more interested in tasting my favorite black currant juice Ribena drink being 6 years old & all so I wasn’t paying much attention or believed it. Neither one of us did to be honest, unknowingly my mother was predicting a future that would soon come to pass…

2 days later our mother Victoria was laid to rest & yes we had a new stepmother Aunty P within the year whom we loved! She doted on us at first but me specially being my dad’s doppelgänger & favorite (sorry siblings😊) Aunty P was due to give birth & we were all excited to meet our new baby brother. After he was born that’s when everything turned upside down, we went from being in a family to the “help”. Aunty P regarded us as the wicked step children using the divide & concur method whispering when our father was out of town on business (and he was a lot with his profession in the shipping industry) that he hated us & wanted nothing to do with us. All the while Aunty P was telling our Father when he arrived from being out of town that we’d said & thought the same thing about him. She ruled us with fear & voodoo medicine she procured from a witch doctor in London . Aunty P was the first one to preach in the name of Jesus being in the front pew at church but in darkness she would go to witch doctors & pay them to maintain her beauty, keep her in sole control of our family & tell her what the future held. She did it all so her first born son would inherit my dad’s businesses, she did it for power & money but control was the ultimate goal.

When Aunty P had originally gathered us children with my dad shortly after our mother Victoria had passed away to announce they were getting married, she’d asked us to call her mummy. We chose not to seeing as we had already had one & lost her so suddenly & with my late mother’s prediction of what would come to pass we just continued to call her Auntie P. My sister Ruth had challenged her with her fierce spirit shouting to my Dad “Don’t marry her Daddy she’s a witch!” My father flabbergasted, blindingly reacted to Ruth’s statement by going to grab her to apologize. You see he only saw Aunty P’s beauty & assumed she was that way on the inside (we all did) As all of us 5 older children were present Aunty P stopped my Father saying “Don’t darling it’s okay.” Later that afternoon we heard Ruth being punished screaming in pain as Aunty P had indeed punished her for defying her in secret.

Really she didn’t deserve that title of mother with all the grief & misery she caused.

There are so many more stories to tell you being called a prostitute at the age of 12 when I had never seen a naked man before, so many more stories…

However in writing this I will say with as much feedback, love & people sharing their own stories of abuse & or trauma which was such a beautiful thing as they have a voice too, what made me react the most was my siblings, the ones I’m taking about in this post. We send voice messages in a family chat room at least once a week. We send each other voice messages of love. After posting my Mother’s Day blog post & urging them all to read it they started to send voice messages of memories forgotten. An example of one was of our brother who had repeatedly run away from home 3 times at age 11, 15 & 21 because he couldn’t handle the abuse, accusations of being a liar. Forgotten memories of child services being called from school friends mothers or friends themselves to our home & having to lie to the authorities for fear of the repercussions that the other siblings who we were told would face being left behind. Also what brought me most to tears was my sister mama’s & brother & I thanking each other for saving each other’s lives over & over again. Unknowingly doing so by being there when one of us at one time was attempting to commit suicide… little did we know our mother’s warning was imbedded in us as by sticking together we saved our selves, we saved each other.

  • Thank you for reading my story & I know you probably have the same reoccurring question that many have asked me, my therapist asked me this! Where was your father when this was all happening Afi? He was your flesh & blood, surely he would have believed you when you told the truth?? Why didn’t he step in? The answer I’ll leave you with is this when someone is beautiful (& Aunty P really was that on the outside) people tend to believe their beautiful on the inside & believe everything they say. Add manipulation, age,fear, love, Vodoo medicine from a witch doctor & you guessed right, your screwed!

My Father was for 14 years under her thrall & we’ve spoken about this whole period with him & there was a lot of denial on his part & there will be more speaking about it in the future for sure. In the end he did the right thing by us children, a little late but better late than never. He pulled us away from under her by moving us children to another location without her knowledge where we began to free our selves. Scars still remain today of body issues from being told we were ugly, fat, not good enough but we’re rebuilding ourselves individually as well as together as always, even across many miles we still save each other.♥️

This story is for everyone who has suffered abuse in any way, shape or form. This story is for those who’ve lost their voice like I lost mine, you can find it again, keep trying.This story is for my sister mamas & my brother. I’ll love you forever BBF (Big Black Family). This story is for you reading this. I am stronger now.

Thank you 🙏🏾

Catch you next time lovies & please ask any questions & leave comments, I so like to hear your perspectives.

Cheers & Best Wishes,

Afi Like Taffy A.L.T

New Year, New Goals, Same Me!

Happy Happy New Year Lovies! First of all lets take a moment to celebrate!! WE MADE IT 2019! Whoop WHOOP!! Through the trials & tribulations, struggles & successes we survived so high five friends!

My holidays were work motivated (its like our super Bowl for a Stylist) however it was riddled with me contracting a cold that progressed into a sinus infection due to my weakened immune system as a Type 1 Diabetic but by the magic of antibiotics, I was cured! Cheers baby Jesus!🙋🏾‍♀️

Christmas Eve I worked so the hot husband Zacko made his Italian Nana Josephine’s meatballs & sauce which were insanely good! So good that if I wasn’t already married to that man, that meal alone would have sealed the deal!😭🙋🏾‍♀️🍝 We rented movies & just enjoyed each other.

Christmas morning was spent opening our gifts to one other, my favorite gifts from Zacko this year was my Wonder Woman Christmas ornament, Diana Gabaldon books (author of the Outlander series) & my Pump Peelz stickers (stickers designed to customize the face of my diabectic pump Shanaenae). Christmas day also consisted of us going to see the blockbuster action movie Aquaman which was so riveting, a little cheesy but I loved that. I highly suggest it if you like the Justice league, Marvel/super hero movies!

 

Later that day we ventured across the street to my in laws house (yes they live across the street from us😯) for a casual dinner of eating fondue, playing games, gift exchanges & exchanging white elephant gifts.

For my white elephant gift I left with a fun Snoop Dogg Holiday apron with his typical lingo.

New Years consisted of Zacko making hot ham & swiss cheese sandwiches using Hawaiian bread, more vegging out, watching the  New Year countdown on the tele & a toast at midnight.

This new year I set myself 3 realistic goals

  1. Say Yes more in life. Life is too short & also why not?
  2. Plan ahead in business with better content & try to take my blog posts to the next level as a result.
  3.  In saying Yes also don’t be afraid to say “no” when certain things don’t fit my lifestyle or brand.

Making strides so far I’ve started creating New Year, New You Style videos. 3 times a week I post videos of combined high end designer pieces, resort wear & affordable contemporary items. Being we’re immersed in resort season & all I wanted that to reflect on my looks but also give you guys options with playful & more professional looks. Check out my Instagram account if you don’t already follow along @afiliketaffy & @afi_maita to watch!

 

 

In addition to taking my blogging to the next level I have my Valentine’s Day photo shoot scheduled for the end of this month & it’s a different shoot as its “Love” themed being so close to the holiday but even more special as I have my husband Zacko participating. I have my magicians glam team all ready to go so keep a lookout friends!

Happy New Year once again & catch you next time Lovies!

Cheers & Best Wishes,

Afi Maita A.L.T.

 

50’s Style Photo Shoot!

I’ve always loved retro clothes, dressing up in full skirts, fitted tops with pops of color & fun prints from different era’s especially the 1950’s. Celebrating a friend’s 50’s themed birthday party last summer reminded me of my love for that time. However,heading back home to London 2 months ago was so inspiring to me in every way but especially in fashion. Hitting up one of my favorite 50’s inspired stores called Collectif Clothing in Camden Town (best city in London) was the inspiration I got for my latest fashion shoot.

Location.
Deciding to have the Photo shoot at Hotel Adeline was a no brainer being one of the newest boutique hotels that re-opened up this February in Scottsdale, Arizona.The aesthetic was perfect from the welcoming influencer inspired pool area to the old school air conditioning unit in their suites, vintage orange-colored mini fridge, classic chaise lounge chair & spacious bathroom with funky tile work.

Hotel Adeline are willing to work with influencers & gave me free rein to rent the suite, explore & take pics all over their Hotel so cheers Hotel Adeline!

Clothing.
I went with a classic white & red gingham print dress from Collectif clothing that portrayed true retro style from the 1950s. My Photographer Alyssa recommended swimsuit looks (especially as they had a pool to-die-for) so I went in search for the right swimming costumes to compliment my curvaceously strong figure. I asked all around for thong swimsuits as I planned to get a little steamy in these shoots & I was informed the term is now called “cheeky bottom” lol
My last hope after finding no swimsuits with a cheeky bottom was Everything But Water the designer swimsuit store at Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall. Ironically I was the Assistant Manager there 10 years ago so it was sweet visiting it. I found my 2 swimsuits so quickly & the help that I got from the Staff was outstanding! A nude Luli Farma & yellow Vitamin A swimsuits were the winners.

Props/accessories.
I already had my Vintage dress picked out, bag, shoes & accessories being a fan of that era i’d accumulated bits & bobs over time so next up was setting the scene & I needed Props. A coverup & sun hat for my swimsuit looks & possibly flowers… I headed to Victoria Secrets & found a green printed kimono style floral silk bathrobe, done!
Finding a sun hat was impossible as I looked everywhere & wanted something unique & still couldn’t find it so I thought why not try vintage stores, take it waaay back!
I perused Old Town Scottsdale & came across a quaint & boutique called Twice Boutique (instagram: Twicescottsdale). I met the owner Brittany whom was lovely jubbly so I bought a flamingo sunhat (which I LOVE) & Her store was full of so many hidden gems & I can’t wait to visit that Boutique in old town Scottsdale again! Furthermore whilst I was admiring the decor at Twice Boutique Brittany very generously offerred me all the sunflowers she created herself that you see strewn in the picture below… how sweet!!After that my looks were complete!

Hair, Makeup & Lashes.
Looking for a typical 50’s era hairstyle online, I went with one pincurl & loose waves that my hairdresser of 5 years Renata Henderson (instagram:rhhairstylist) styled so effortlessly. She is a joy to work with & I can’t tell you how the entire staff at Hotel Adeline knew which era I was representing based on my hair alone. We added a wire covered bandana first in white with black polka dots then an animal print loose scarf.

A friend who works at the same luxury brand I run my business through Britney-Rae Sanchez (instagram:brinnyrae) who is an internationally published celebrity makeup Artist offered to do my photo shoot & what an offer! Britney decided to create a natural glow with retro cat eyes & finished my look with her own custom lipstick concoction of an Armani red lip gloss then added red glitter from a costume store to seal the look! Genius! Britney warned me the glitter would get everywhere & she wasn’t wrong as it got on my teeth,face,inside my mouth & all over my chest but cheers to Britney I was prepared.I had tape & 2 touch ups worth of both said glitter & lip gloss & it turned out so well…

I’ve been seeing my Lash lady Miss Carmen (instagram: eyelashedarizona) for over 6 years & I never go anywhere else. Carmen is a true Artist battling my insanely curly lashes adding extensions to accentuate my big eyes & give me that glamour that I truly believe cemented my Pin-up look.

Photographer.
This was to be our second photo shoot working together & if the chemistry between Alyssa Ryan (instagram:Alyssaryanphotography) from the first shoot was anything to come by then we had no worries. True to that thought we began in the hotel suite,took it outside to the balcony,by the hotel restaurant,influencer signs & lastly the pool, bar & shower. With Alyssa’s talent & openness to explore 3 hours later we got all the shots in the bag! I truly recommend Alyssa as she’s just so easy to work with, eager to make her own suggestions but willing to explore yours & is fearless.

What an amazing experience that was with all those collaborative forces coming together to create magic! I want to thank each & every one of these amazing people including Hotel Adeline who helped me live out my dream as a 50’s pin-up girl. Please go & follow them & show support.Catch you next time loves!

Cheers & Best Wishes,
Afi Like Taffy A.L.T.

Spring Trends!

Ello Lovies!! This past week i’ve been getting my ducks in order. New year plan is to shape up this website & really focus on polishing it into what I DREAM of it becoming. I met an amazing blogger called Josie (her handler name is hellosilhouette on the Gram so follow her) & we had a couple of brainstorming sessions & a photo shoot at my house so we could create some content for my social media & blogs as content is KEY! It went exceptionally well as Josie has a knack for bringing out my goofy side in pics that I was admittedly too nervous (or too British) to share. She has been in this blogging business for quite sometime coming up with ideas some of us are too afraid to say out loud let alone act on but she is DOING it! Cheers Indeed love!

Here are some of the images taken in my newly renovated sitting room area & home office. Our color scheme in our sitting area is mostly maple cognac, granite, browns’s, cream & white. We wanted to create a calm space to relax in after a hard day at work.

For my home office above I only wanted  3 colors to be used for my personal space, white, light gray & green & that to me is perfection coupled with the wooden flooring! Combined they opened up the space whilst being photo friendly & ready for my fashion blog shoots.

Spring 2018 trends we are looking at pops of color from all pinks to crystal embellishment, pearls, vertical stripes, the Trackstar (tracksuit) is back. Denim sweatpants have made a comeback, the ultimate cuff denim, deconstructed denim, ornate embellished denim & lastly asymmetrical denim. Low slung, utility & mum jeans are going to be more popular than ever.

For the next 13 weeks i’ll be going through each trend showcasing how I would style it & how adaptable a pump User (Tandem T: Slim X2) such as myself can navigate around them. Yes I got a Diabectic pump readers! Just after I met my insurance deductible for the year I invested in my health so that means we payed very minimal cost. Felt like I cheated the system which was bloody brilliant! I’m still on my first week so still adjusting but can’t help feeling like i’m looking after a small child that is my “pancreas”.

Catch you next week lovies where I will begin my Spring Trend Investigations.  Can you guess which title i’m going to investigate…you’ll have to tune in to see!

Cheers & Best Wishes,

Afi Like Taffy A.L.T

 

Le Diabetic!

Ello Lovies! The last 2 weeks have been hectic with life & me trying to get back on my gym game. I’ve been slacking, still trying to hold on to that summer Holidaze “feels” of chilling. As a type 1 Diabectic it’s essential for me to exercise as it lowers my blood sugars naturally & the less insulin (which is a protein that keeps me alive) I use, the better. I know I haven’t touched much on my condition but I was diagnosed a month before my 27th birthday for juvenile (or type 1) diabetes which is pretty old in age diagnosis. Some children get it as young as 3 years old but at almost 27 years it was rare & I’ve been living with this condition for 6 years (shhh don’t tell anyone my age 😊). Firstly there are 2 types of diabetes if you don’t know. Type 1 is hereditary & Type 2 is not. Type 1 diabetes is an incurable condition that can only be managed & I do that by checking my blood sugar about 5 times a day, (pricking my finger with a lancet & placing my blood drop on a test strip that produces a reading) counting carbs I eat & calculating that by how much medication (insulin) to give myself to control it, exercising & trying to eat well. Doctors nicknamed my condition Type 1.5 (which is even more uncommon) as I got to lead a relatively normal childhood without syringes, blood tests, insulin & such…

This all came about when my Hubster Zack & I decided to take a trip to Las Vegas as we were promoting his Printing & Embroidery business in 2011 & after much debauchery of late nights, drinking, no sleep & eating all the wrong foods we got back home to Arizona & I found it hard to look at the television or images in general. My gym workouts were a struggle as I had no energy to run on the treadmill & was easily out of breath which was abnormal being an athlete my whole life.The real kicker came when I started to vomit everything I ate & in 3 days lost 15 lbs. My extremely worried husband took me to a random doctors office & after checking me out (with no blood test) told me I had a “cold” & prescribed me sugary syrup cough medications. BIG MISTAKE! (oh I feel like Julia Roberts in Pretty Women when she gets shunned by the snooty sales associates then goes back to said store with all her new shopping bags to tell them off !!😂) After taking the prescribed medications I disintegrated further becoming disorientated & my Zack & mum-in -law Kris carried me to the hospital. The doctors & nurse did some blood tests & said a normal person’s blood sugar should be between 80-120 mg/dl, mine was tested at 1200 mg\dl. Firstly I was diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabectic (basically my God given pancreas stopped working) secondly I was entering a Diabectic coma, and lastly a couple more days going untreated & I would have been dead.
I was in the I.C.U for 3 days & the hospital for 5 more days after that…it’s a miracle I’m alive today.

Zack says he would ask me the days leading up to my diagnosis if I was awake or asleep & I would say disorientated shaking my head “I’m in between, I’m in between!”. We laugh about it now because we were crying at the time…what doesn’t kill you & all…literally! Very dramatic but there you have it with my diagnosis story. My pancreas was in a honeymoon phase & was producing insulin from somewhere nobody knows but it had a limited supply hence I was labelled a Type 1.5 Diabectic. It eventually shut down after our Vegas trip just before I turned 27! Happy. Freaking.Birthday.To. Me.

So exercise is a big part of my life like my condition I have to do it. Boxing, running, stepping, eliptical, cycling, weight & circuit training  fitness, you name it i’ve done or am doing it 3-4 times a week. I want to live a long life & between seeing an endocrinologist ( my diabetes doctor) & dentist every 3 months I hopefully will! I now manage my condition with a CGM (continuous glucose monitor) and an Omnipod (wireless pump) personal diabetes manager, pre-filled flex pen with insulin & syringes & My last A1C (how i’ve managed the sugar in my blood for the last 3 months) was 7.3. (could be better & working on that but not perfect)

I find ways to incorporate my Diabectic style into my wardrobe by either hindering my pump (when I wore one) with fun & funky armbands to secure it for my workouts or swimming. Or just showing it off. My favorite experience was when a lady walked up to me at a supermarket & blatantly pointed at my arm & asked “what is that?” I replied it’s my outside pancreas! She looked appalled & started to walk away but I explained to her what it really entailed & she ended up offering to take me out for tea! Lovely jubbly!!☕️🙋🏽

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed how I became “Le Diabectic” feel free to leave comments below, I welcome them! Catch you next time!

Cheers & Best Wishes,

Afi Like Taffy A.L.T