Monday, 31 December 2012

Moonwalk - Michael Jackson - Billie Jean - The First Moonwalk King Of Pop

Party mood on New Years Eve so let's have some fun with the King of Pop!! New Year celebrations are well underway in many places around the world & here in the UK we only have a couple more hours to go... so see you in the New Year!! HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE X

Jaz McKenzie

Sunday, 30 December 2012

In the Blink of an Eye! Live Life~Love Life WK 53

As usual Christmas has been and gone in the blink of an eye!! I think pretty much the same can be said about 2012 really and yet when you look back, most of us have packed a great deal into 12 months!

I am glad to say that the world has survived 2012, the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, which as I stated back in January, would prove to be my year however not as I would have predicted and I am sure it is the same for many of you! My vision was to make ‘Its Braap’ fly and the blog has certainly done just that! However, other events have overtaken life resulting in far less time than ever before on Facebook leading to minimal interaction with my long-distance friends... out of sight but not out of mind in the majority of cases, with energies requiring to be put elsewhere.

Isn’t that the beauty of life... adapting to change?
This refers to the unknown elements that take us in different directions- meeting new people and enriching ourselves on many levels. The greater depth of character we develop, the more we have to give. Some of the lessons we learn may seem pretty futile at the time but are the very things we might draw on in times of need and are likely to be thankful for later. Very often one thing leads to the next as life unfolds in front of our eyes. What we can do is to stop and reflect upon our progress once in a while to keep control of our lives. One of the key questions we can ask is:

What have I learnt from my experiences and how has this changed me?

The key point is that learning should equal change. Maybe the lesson you have learnt is that you are on the right path in life and the change could be to your self-assurance and confidence, knowing that your energies and efforts are purposeful and you will achieve your outcomes. This is a valuable outcome and should renew your energies. Sometimes the opposite is true and for whatever reason we fail to learn a fundamental lesson. We know this because we approach the same situation in the same way, thinking similar thoughts yet expecting a different result. This is so often true with relationships- we have conditioned responses that we trot out every time- especially within our families. We do something knowing that Freddie will stomp to his bedroom, Charlie will break down in tears or Jackie will be stubborn and refuse to co-operate. With only a few more days before 2013, it might be good to spend a little while identifying the changes we would really like to make and trying to find strategies that will assist us when creating a new approach. This can be tough at first but with determination we can improve the quality of our lives and those around us. Often we need to create space to absorb our life situation and to recognize what we need to do as an individual to develop ourselves further.

Failing to evaluate the different areas in life is a sure and certain way to avoid making any serious impact on it and prevents improvement. This in turn impacts upon other people directly by affecting our ability to assist, relate or add quality to other people’s lives. Life cannot be more satisfying if we fail to challenge ourselves, being content to cruise along on a sea of familiarity. There are times we need to coast, usually following a period of emotional stress, but ultimately we need to grow! We have one whole day left this year in which to plan and make resolutions for 2013... which takes us back to the beginning of this Blogathon!!

This is the last Blogathon in our 2012 series and we will be kicking off the new series for 2013 next Sunday... That will prove challenging and I am sure many of you would be able to do a great job with it as we have decided to focus on different Bible verses, staying true to the title, 'Live Life~Love Life.'

All that is left is to wish you a HAPPY & BLESSED NEW YEAR!!

Jaz McKenzie

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Be Braap~Be Inspired!!! Real Quotes from Real People #21

'Don't try to be something you are not, instead try to be better than you thought you could be'~ Jaz McKenzie

ABOVE: Me enjoying a cold December day in London City! Top of the world to you!! Jaz

It can be very tempting at times to try to emulate other people however to do so requires a great deal of energy and to carry it off successfully is another matter. It is far better to take a look at ourselves and decide what qualities we have that can be put to good use. This doesn't mean that we can't learn from others, we can, but it is far easier to do things in our own style with genuine effort and energy; the result is far more rewarding all round! Each of us have talents which, when developed, others will appreciate even more. Make 2013 the year you find more of yourself... at least, the parts you were barely aware of!! Have fun x

BE BRAAP! Send us your favourite quotes or sayings with a few words... you can include a photo of yourself (optional) to: These can be your own quotes or famous sayings and we will include them in this section: 'Be Braap~ Be Inspired.' NOTE: you do not have to be a great writer, simply send YOUR quote with YOUR thoughts in 10 or more words as the aim is to inspire others! NEXT= 21

Thursday, 27 December 2012

P.TCHAIKOVSKY - "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" / Nutcracker - Bolshoi B...

BALLET tends to be a specialist taste & one I savour. The Nutcracker is a traditional Christmas ballet, pretty much aimed at children & this is one of the most popular dances ever. hope you enjoy a classic dance by a classical & world renouned ballet company!

Jaz McKenzie

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Twas the Night After Christmas... Poem!

Twas the Night After Christmas...

Twas the night after Christmas
What more to say?
Ragged remains of the turkey
Plate accessorized with scraps...
And a dab of cold cranberry sauce
Yesterday’s new games played out
And films already viewed
Greatest joy - a few days of freedom
Until the year has passed
Analysis of situations... success or not success
That is the question!
New plans to be determined
With the passing of the midnight hour
As the New Year is counted in!
But for now, lazy days...
Belly full... belly laughter
And a few carefree hours
In the twilight of the Christmas Zone
Soon followed by the long journey home...
Happy New Year!

Jaz McKenzie ©

Monday, 24 December 2012

It Came Upon the Midnight Clear [2006, № 10]

Just sharing my favourite Christmas carol to celebrate the occasion. This carol has appealed to me since childhood as it is gloriously descriptive and so easy to picture. I hope you enjoy it.

Jaz McKenzie

Reggae Christmas Medley :)



Jaz McKenzie

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Every Cloud has a Silver Lining! Live Life~Love Life WK 52

Everything happens for a reason~ at least, we like to think so! Maybe this is why the expression, ‘every cloud has a silver lining,’ came about. Silver Linings were first mentioned in a poem by John Milton; 1934.The original use of this exact expression was by Katty Macane who wrote in a magazine in 1840, "there's a silver lining to every cloud that sails about the heavens if we could only see it."- a nice addition to the phrase and an interesting way to look at it. Sometimes a situation seems so bad that it is almost impossible to imagine that there could ever be any good that comes out of it. Very often we fail to put two and two together, even with hindsight.

How often does something happen and we are annoyed with ourselves because we have blown an opportunity? I was in that position recently and felt disappointed for a brief moment, however being a thinker I analysed the situation and came to new conclusions.

Scenario: Recently I met a well known TV personality and during our brief exchange, asked about the possibility of doing an interview. The person told me that he was always giving interviews and asked me for an example of a question. Naturally I froze on the spot! After a few seconds, I asked something along the lines of, ‘what would you most like to achieve that doesn’t relate to your career?’ He replied that he would fall asleep answering that question, so naturally I felt totally deflated!

Silver Lining: This is simply a matter of perspective and in this case it helped me to realize a little more about the importance of interviews and a little about myself. The first point is that I am not a quick thinker, I am a deep thinker and to assume that one question is a good indicator of anyone’s ability to conduct a great interview is blinkered! If I wanted to I could go away and prepare a ‘spontaneous’ question to use in the future- however this approach lacks appeal. I might consider researching potential interviewees although this always takes time and is a bit of a gamble. What makes a good interview question?... the answer is asking what the fans what to know, even if they haven’t thought of it yet! This is where pre-interview discussions come in handy. The final thought I will include is that all celebrities are there as an inspiration to the rest of us and ideally should be humble enough to constantly answer the same questions with good grace because we are inquisitive and they are our examples. Celebrities are the people who are living the dream and who have put in the hard work to reach their goal. People who strive to achieve tend to continue striving to achieve even more and that is good for the rest of us!

Another example of silver linings can be seen on the reality shows. How many times are people criticized and knocked back before they manage to reach the magic inside? Louis Smith is a perfect example. The man could dance but had no acting skills. Once told that he would not be able to progress without improving the characterisation of the dance he managed to let go of his reservations and live the characters he was dancing. The result, Louis won the competition.

There are many examples in our own lives when we look back. Times when we were struggling yet we bounced back better than ever.

Often people turn to religion during the hard times and the Bible tells us to give thanks for all things. There is a reason for that which maybe it is difficult to comprehend however, a thankful state of mind is a positive state of mind and all things are possible when we are open to receive blessings.

Writing this blogathon, ‘Live Life~Love Life’ every week has proved very challenging and I was surprised to discover 53 Sundays in 2012!! I even re-counted in case of error!! It has felt a little like a cloud when I have been exhausted and needed to produce an article, yet it has been a definite blessing and taught me to be more disciplined than previously- an essential quality that required work. We will continue running the blogathon in 2013 and will base it on Bible verses... anther challenge and if anyone would like to send their favourites in with a relevant comment please do!

I will close by wishing you all a Merry Christmas and we return next week for the final write up in 2012.

Jaz McKenzie

Friday, 21 December 2012

The Twelve Days of Christmas - Frank Kelly - With Lyrics

This is probably THE funniest Christmas song around.... parody or literal take on the 12 days of Christmas... quite a few considerations here! Very clever script.

Jaz McKenzie

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Just A Thought! Poem

After a time of trial and in the calm before the storm, these are the thoughts that have come to mind...

Just A Thought!

Today I am at peace because
the boundaries of my life have been defined.
And so it will remain
until the shifting sands of time
re-draw new lines.

A calm day, a new day, simply- today,
quiet and still without even the notion
of a whispering breeze.

Hush... don’t be fooled child, for the wind of change
... is nigh...
soon to stir your mind,
creating a storm of Gi-normous proportions.

We change with the seasons, bow and sway,
whilst the reasons for our existence will keep on
Drum, Drum, Drumming... tippet-tap then BOOM
exploding in our heads.

What is the purpose of life?
Maybe there are as many answers as there are souls
who once inhabited the four corners of this earth.
Or maybe, there is only the one- according to the righteous-
‘To serve the Lord your God with all your heart, your mind, your strength.’

Yet, I maintain the very sweetness of diversity to be salt, enriching the earth;
preventing uniformity- as bland as milk jelly, from becoming our daily food.
A colourless, robotic uni-cultural existence
can never be mistaken for perfection!

So be careful, lest you remain within the aura of mundane!
Existence being its word, twinned,
caught up forever in tow, like a rolling plain.
However life, by its very nature,
DEMANDS to be lived, enjoyed and appreciated.

So in peaceful times prepare to be surprised!
The un-predictability of life is as certain as
the day is long with blessings, ours for the asking.
And patience will bring its own rewards.

Jaz McKenzie ©

If you would like your poetry featured on Its Braap~Its Life send to:

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Kimberley Walsh American Smooths to 'Fever' - Strictly Come Dancing 2012...

MAXIMUM POINTS.... Hardly surprising & when you consider how quickly the contestants reach such a high standard it's a miracle... would love a shot at this... sexy dance if ever there was!! No wonder this show has taken over from the X-Factor... talent to the max no question, all you can say is ~Its Braap!!

Jaz McKenzie

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Global Battle of the Bands!!

Global Battle of the Bands !!

It’s been a very busy time and some exciting things have been happening. Recently I reviewed ‘Jack & The Beanstalk’... brilliant modern pantomime for those of you who wish to re-live your childhood with an adult edge!!

Another exciting event I went along to was The Global Battle of the Bands... what a buzzzzzzzzzzzzz... As a great lover of rock music whose greatest inspiration is the totally gorgeous & highly talented Lenny Kravitz... who, incidentally, has accepted the role of Marvin Gaye in a new film about Marvin's life provisionally entitled 'Sexual Healing' (apparently Marvin's son is unhappy about the portrayal of his father and has asked Kravitz to withdraw), I have to say this was a sensational evening. Each band had 8 minutes in which to perform, so most of them chose to do 2 songs. The standard of the music was very high with bands appearing from as far away as Australia- Heston Drop- who were seriously cool finishing in 4th place and Norway’s Xinfu District finishing in 6th place. Some of the bands had brought their fans along, the Irish band creating quite a stir.

One lead singer had clearly tuned into ’The School of Rock,’ or possibly believed he was related to Ozzy Osbourne, as he screamed insanely and moved amongst the audience... he even found an elevated alcove to display himself in... self-made pedestal!! That was the very comical low light of the evening.

Highlights on the other hand were numerous, from some amazing hair swirling by the heavy metal bands to the intriguing mixes that created exciting new sounds, almost new genres. Wanderlust from Cyprus had a very feminine lead singer and with a clever use of dischords created amazing dance music- highly original and intriguing. Another great surprise of the evening was a band from Lebanon who performed well & clearly loved their rock!

Di Blue Print the winners

Some of the bands would appeal to the mainstream rock market having a highly commercial sound with one of the most surprising sets coming from the Bahamas. Their band, 'Stinkin Ways,' played some heavy rock whilst telling us to party hard which worked as the whole room was singing along. Man Felleow, from Romania, took second place with Di Blue Print, Jamaica taking well deserved first place. Di Blue Print took an original approach with their R&B Lyrics and fantastic harmonies, grounded in a rock however revealing a little electronic reggae... a brilliant performance witnessed by the Jamaican Commissioner came along to support them. Let's hope we hear more of this band who were awarded a recording contract- and I will add that the prize money was phenomenal. Final note: This is definitely an event to watch out for next year.

Jaz McKenzie

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Can you do it? Yes you can! Live Life~Love Life WK 51

One of the great things we can do in life is to encourage others and that is basically the aim of this blog. Its Braap is designed to provide a positive framework to encourage people to feel good about themselves and finds ways of making the most of their lives- hope it’s working!!

Besides improving our own lives, helping others is something we all do and is an everyday part of life. It can become much more than this however, it can become a way of life, something that once cultivated will flow naturally. I have realised how much more of a positive outlook and encouraging manner I have adopted since starting this blog because I am continually brought back to a positive place despite the events in my life. Positivity definitely gives rise to more of the same.

It’s not rocket science but we sometimes overlook the obvious, in this case the obvious being: that in order to really help people we need to try to understand them. It is no good always doing things for others in line with our way of thinking because everyone is different. The following questions are guidelines to help our understanding of a situation and the advice people will appreciate:
• what is important to that person
• how do they view the situation?
• what do they want to achieve (desired outcome)?
• how much effort are they prepared to put into the project (for want of a better word!)

Sometimes we can want things more for others than they do for themselves... how many people apply for the X-Factor because their families have pushed them into it? Children are another good example- It can be very difficult helping children decide what career path they are interested in when they have little life experience- we might only look at the familiar rather than their potential. Some people even try to live through their children which is not good for either party.

However well we think we know people, it is possible that we are unaware of their desires or perceived limitations. Sometimes people who appear confident actually have internal conflicts and do not believe in themselves as much as other people believe in them. Some people need more space in life than others and tend to internalize whereas others surround themselves with people and constantly ask for advice. What type of personality do you have and how does it compare to the person you are helping's personality? You might need to adjust your thinking slightly. Once you understand someone’s personality it is easier to gauge how to help them, when to help them and what advice/support you can provide. In some cases people have a hidden agenda which prevents you from understanding each aspect of a situation. These agenda’s might be revealed with time or understanding, however if the person concerned is unaware of their own hidden agenda for whatever reason, it might never surface but may well affect their decisions. Very often the past affects the future and we may need to take action to address existing issues.

There are occasions when the most we can do to help people is simply to let them know we care. Making the effort to turn up for important occasions, making a difficult phone call. By providing consistent support & positive input we help people to believe in themselves and the ‘I can’t’ attitude has a good chance of turning into an ‘I can’ attitude, the opportunity to be the best that person can be. With that said- Job Done!

Jaz McKenzie

If you would like to contribute to Its Braap contact:

Saturday, 15 December 2012

WaterAid - Give water. Give life.

I know that we have touched on this subject recently on ~IB~ so it is good to take a look at this video and allow it to impact fully on us. We can never have equality in this world but the the balance of life is severely out of sync between the 'haves' and 'have-nots.' What I like about this video is that they show us how they are dealing with the situation, how money is used.

Now, I hear some of you saying that these charities use up so much money in admin, premises etc. Yes, money is wasted but at the same time it is used to provide these essential facilities. While our children are busy writing to father Christmas, these children are barely surviving and many suffer with excruciating illnesses, not just the usual bugs we contract here in the West. There are so many natural disasters and everyone needs our help so we can give generously where our hearts lead us.

Back to the video- We don't even stop to consider our drinking water, we take it for granted and probably complain about the water bill! One way of approaching the situation is to consider giving to a charity such as Water Aid as an extra Christmas present, a thank you for all that we have and you can give one-off donations rather than regular monthly amounts. If you pay tax you can tick the box so that the charity keeps the full donation... very important source of increased revenue to the charity.

Let's hope the new year will be a little kinder to us all!

Jaz McKenzie

Friday, 14 December 2012

~IB~ BABIES- Fairfield Halls- Jack & The Beanstalk

Jack & The Beanstalk~ all photo's courtesy of Paul Clapp

Daisy with Dame Trott (Quinn Patrick)

Once again it’s the season for goodwill and pantomime. Being a kid at heart, I was thrilled to go along to the Fairfield Halls and watch their fabulous, fast moving and hilarious panto, ‘Jack & The Beanstalk.’ Loved it and can now say that Christmas has officially started.

Expertly written and produced by Paul Hendy & Emily Wood for Evolution Pantomime, this panto was filled with traditions from beginning to end including all the classic characters & finishing with goodie bags for the brave children who graced the stage prior to the grand finale; as essential to panto as the story itself. The traditional story was supported with ‘hot off the press jokes’- SHAMAZING- which rolled off the tongue all night long to the delight of the audience who were busy counting the ‘Tamara’ jokes as instructed!! The Tamara jokes combined with countless cheese jokes, added a new individual flavour created by the company... and just when you think you’ve heard them all, up pops another one- a clever switch indeed as Fleshcreep the 'baddy' had the final laugh! Which leads us nicely to the characters!!

Have to say that the casting was spot on with everyone giving a brilliant performance. The ‘Vegetable Fairy’ played by Laila Morse (Mo in Eastenders,) was first on stage and warmed the audience up instantly, setting the protocol for the evening and delivering a clever spiel of rhyme; Laila's London accent making us all feel at home! As with all great pantos, naturally we experienced the fun peculiar to both drag and the classic panto Dame, with Quinn Patrick as Dame Trott. Patrick did a fantastic job being hysterically funny with a natural sense of timing which milked the audience anticipation, especially when he developed an enforced 'rapport' with audience member, John... Dame Edna Everage without the Gladioli comes to mind here! Dame Trotts costumes were great, literally wearing the garden... as all the costumes & scenery were on point, big up to wardrobe, set and props here people- fit for the West End.

Princes Tamara (Gemma Sutton), Giant Blunderbore (Neil Fingleton) and Fleshcreep (Jay Worthy)

The children were excited by the entrance of Sid Sloane, CBeebies presenter, who was very at home playing Jack and had a natural way of pulling the characters together. Sid had the fun job of climbing the inflated beanstalk, wired for something other than sound! Must slip in that the sound was exceptionally clear and did great justice to the singing- in fact, when Gemma Sutton, playing Princess Tamara, sang, ’When a hero comes along,’ you just knew she would have passed her X-Factor audition with great comments- an excellent rendition. The chorus, which included several children, worked very hard all night and produced very good song and dance routines, working through new and popular re-worked songs such as ‘Cow wash,’- Great to hear that old Rose Royce number used expertly to compliment the story. 'We buy any,' was both a surprise & great take on the jingle... in fact it was my highlight of the night & I still giggle when I think of it!

Herbie Adams played Jack’s brother Billy Trott and was responsible for delivering a multitude of jokes, many of which were directed to the adults keeping us on our toes. Herbie also bore the brunt of the slapstick comedy being deluged a few times with ‘milk’ in Trott’s Dairy. Sadly for the Trott Family Daisy, the family cow, was kidnapped along with Princess Tamara by Fleshcreep, Jay Worthy, whose deep, snarling voice may well have left a few children trembling in their seats whilst booing him! It was quite literally a HUGE moment when all 7’7.56’’ of Neil Fingleton, pantomime giant, finally strode onto the stage and addressed the audience in true fe fi fo style- great snoring job there too! The Giant’s Kitchen worked very well ans hosted a novel element of audience participation enjoyed by one and all which neatly led to the conclusion of the story.

Jack Trott (Sid Sloane) Billy Trott (Herbie Adams)

Gareth Williams (The Flying Pickets) played the King who was forced to tax his subjects insanely and almost lost his wealth. As King, Gareth came up with the novel idea of creating Trott’s Dairy as a business proposition and following the rescue of his daughter Princess Tamara, happily gave Jack her hand in marriage by the end of the show. In fact there were several marriages and sadly the baddy Fleshcreep was turned into a goodie... sigh, typical of today’s modern thinking- can’t upset the children anymore and leave them with nightmares!! Bring back the Brothers Grimm! All in all it was an amazing evening and I would recommend you to get on line and book your tickets now, otherwise you will never really know what you were missing!
Jack and the Beanstalk, Fairfield Halls, Concert Hall, Park Lane, Croydon; until January 6, adults £19.50 to £27.50, children £19.50 to £23.50; 0208 688 9291,

Jaz McKenzie

Monday, 10 December 2012

James Arthur sings Nina Simone's Feeling Good - Live Week 10 - The X Fac...

Congratulations to James Arthur for his well deserved win on the UK X-Factor last night. I love this artist and his interpretation of this song is like no other. The renewed power that surges through such familiar works is quite startling as this somewhat beautiful, mellow song now rocks!! I am looking forward to following his career.

Jaz McKenzie

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Music- more Than Just A Heartbeat! Live Life~Love Life WK 50

It is common knowledge that our own heartbeat is the first rhythm we ever truly associate with, hence the subconscious sense of security we feel when it is emulated in different ways. Often it is used within a piece of music but even without, music has the most profound affect upon all of us and is very much a marker for individuality regardless of whether you are actively producing it or, like the vast majority of us, a recipient.

Drums especially send out very clear messages and are a direct means of communication. The beat of the drum is infectious and makes a primordial connection with a point inside our mind, triggering a reaction. It is extremely hard to stay still and just listen to a lively drum beat. By comparison, there are beautiful orchestral works which are designed with the primary purpose of inducing relaxation and taking us away from the moment to a very tranquil spot either deep with ourselves or some place else.

We all need music, whether it is traditional or modern, heavy metal or alternatively a piano symphony- music has an active part to play in our lives and the world would be a dull place without it. Most of us use it subconsciously and will seek out music to match our moods. The unfortunate effect of music can be felt when you are happily engrossed in something and a song with sad associations pops up on the radio cutting straight through your mood and bringing feelings to the surface that are inappropriate at that moment. We can learn to use music to help us cope with our emotions during difficult periods in our lives and also to celebrate joy. The origins of music always encompass emotion with lyrics being used to express a multitude of thoughts, feelings and ideas. If we stop to consider the early negro spirituals, they outlined the harsh reality of life and hope of the life to come. This can be seen as a constant theme through music across the ages and in present day genres such as rap or rock and roll. Whatever the subject of a song there will be people who can directly relate to it or simply enjoy the story.

As an individual you will be drawn to certain types of music and there are ways you can help yourself by using it to your advantage. If you are on a very down day, instead of playing music that will emphasize your feelings, try to change it up and play cheerful music whilst thinking about some positive aspects of your life, maybe planning for the future. It is easy to sink into a depressive mode, but whether we allow it to envelope us or not is entirely our decision. Yes, it takes practice to learn how to shift your mood however music can be a useful tool to aid the process. If you had a particular tune that made you feel good last summer, play it and take your mind back to that point. The alternative is to waste those minutes feeling, depressed or sorry for yourself- none of which are going to benefit you!

When was the last time you listened to live music? If you haven’t done so for a while see what’s going on in your area. There are often free musical events, especially in London with free lunchtime concerts and other happenings... pubs are a good source of live music. If you look hard enough you will usually find something you like. There is definitely a different vibe to live music that wakes you up so to speak. Music is incredible and the mystery of music is such that even deaf people have been known to play instruments extremely well, even professionally! The vibrations clearly communicate as potently as sound which is extraordinary. We all know that music is a therapeutic medium and used directly as such. We use music for meditation, relaxation and also enjoyment such as exercise and dance. A highly valued use of music is in worship where it is specifically focuses on thanks and praise.

CHALLENGE: Why not jot down your top 10 pieces of music or do your own Desert Island Discs!! Maybe I’ll blog mine next year!

With the X-Factor finals tonight, it is a very important day in UK TV 2012!! May James Arthur win... such a talent!! So my last point- music symbolizes hope, a better day and a possible future of angels playing harps as I mentioned in my poem a couple of days ago... music eternally, now that is a nice, positive thought to end on... so turn up the music and rock & roll!

Jaz McKenzie

If you would like to write an article of poem for Its Braap please contact:

Saturday, 8 December 2012

The Pogues & Kirsty McColl Fairytale Of New York

This song is extremely clever and totally unique. Such brilliance, to take a slice of life and project it in this way. At Christmas our minds go to happy times with the media projecting a cosy Christmas image. The reality for many people is totally different and some people can find it a struggle to get through this period, especially if there are emotional issues attached. When you just see the title you are totally unprepared for the type of story that follows and this is great story telling with excellent banter throughout.

For the first time ever I pulled up the lyrics for this song and took a good look at them... here's the link.

I did this in order to study the context of the last verse which is a stroke of genius and almost a line of mediation. To take someones dreams and put them with your own, if done successfully is an incredible accomplishment. In this situation with two equally dependent and inadequate people it will never work... obvious from the anger and roughness in this song which mark the mutual dependency on one another. The only other song that I can think of where this is achieved successfully is 'Angie,' by the Rolling Stones.

You tend to love or hate this and to me it's a very special work of art, marking Christmas for those who face it with a great deal more than joyous expectation in their hearts and on their minds.

I perceive this song as being a little reality in the middle of the tinsel mist and fairy lights! Merry Christmas xx

Jaz McKenzie

Friday, 7 December 2012

Be Braap~Be Inspired!!! Real Quotes from Real People!! # 20

“If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today.” - E. Joseph Cossman

This quote helps us to put our lives into perspective!!

First question:
What were you worrying about this time last year?
Most of us cannot remember~ which is the point of the quote! We spend far too much time worrying needlessly over minor issues. Take toddlers for example. How many parents tie themselves up in knots over potty training? I always say, that by the time your child goes to school you will have forgotten all about this particular challenge so a few accidents are really of no consequence! Most of the things we concern ourselves with are at a similar level of importance or rather, non- importance!

Second question:
Are you worrying about something right now?
Stop worrying! Instead, decide how important it really is and what you need to do to help resolve the difficulty. If it is out of your hands, what is the next best course of action OR do you just need to change your perspective of the situation.

Example: You didn't get the job you wanted.

The possible options open to you include:
a) keep applying for different jobs
b) Upgrade your CV and practice interview techniques
c) Look carefully at your skills and see what other opportunities are available
d) Focus on putting more effort into your current job and see how you can extend your role

Third question:
Are you worrying about the same thing that concerned you last year?
If the answer is yes then you have not moved your life on. Why not? Are you afraid of the future? Have you sought help- counselling/practical advice? Even in the worst situations we can seek help. If you have severe money worries you can receive help and advice. Whatever your problem you will have more peace of mind once you take any form of action. Knowledge leads to control and understanding. People can help you approach the right authorities to help your situation and help you to strategize.

Warning: Never run from trouble it will catch up with you!

Returning to the quote- This quote is a way of advising us to go about our business with the intention of making life easier and letting go of worry. What is Worry?~ a ball of negativity that will cloud your judgement and inner resources. Take control and make the most of your life using that same energy to create a better environment and happy memories.

Jaz McKenzie

BE BRAAP! Send us your favourite quotes or sayings with a few words... you can include a photo of yourself (optional) to: These can be your own quotes or famous sayings and we will include them in this section: 'Be Braap~ Be Inspired.' NOTE: you do not have to be a great writer, simply send YOUR quote with YOUR thoughts in 10 or more words as the aim is to inspire others!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

G. Haendel - Harp Concerto 1st. p. Alisa Sadikova - 7 years old harpist

~IB~ has occasionally featured talented children and this young girl  is definitely a favourite who has to be heard to be believed. Alisa has incredible musicality to back up her technique and is a joy to watch. Such concentration maintained throughout a technically lengthy and difficult piece which would be very demanding for an experienced adult. We must also remember that Alisa's hand span cannot be fully developed at this age yet her determination to emphasize the tune ensures her success, as does the look on her face when she has finished playing! Such a nice every day child with a huge talent. See her teacher's comments beneath the video for more information.

Jaz McKenzie

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Angels and Eternal Sunshine

A quick consideration about life & the after-life. Controversial, maybe, however this poem is not intended to be disrespectful in any way and is an expression of my fear of eternity which I've suffered as far back as I can remember.

Do not think for one minute that I don't value life; this is not the case but the quality of life and the fact that we all experience pain and hardships, especially those born into extreme poverty, does throw up some serious questions which are simply hinted at here. We did take a look at pain in the previous blog to help us understand its value in relation to the lives we lead and here on Its Braap we constantly look at the positive side of life & love.

My problem is specifically with eternity. I definitely believe in it however can't get my head around this alarming certainty, so given a choice would opt out- one life time is quite enough despite the possibility of eternal joy! It's the thought of never ending and having no choice in the matter that has always freaked me out!

Just for the record, I believe in God, the love of God and in this poem 'Mother Earth' is referred to as the creation of God therefore including us as children of God.

Angels & Eternal Sunshine

What’s the purpose of life?
The dream behind the divine plan?
The point of creating man?
Lives lived in poverty?
Lives lived to excess?
Each & every one of us facing some sort of mess!
Who do we thank for our birth?
Our earthly Mother or Mother Earth?
Life runs a short course-why?
We learn a few lessons
Shed some tears
Have a laugh
And finally we die...

Episode 2... Eternity....
The open book remains
A mystery- and one I do not wish to solve
For the fear of infinity is greater than the fear of death
In me- which I cannot resolve
Eternal life- to live with no end
I wish the buck stopped here my friend
BUT most will shout me down and disagree
For the vanity and hope of man cannot conceive
Death to be the end and therefore believe
There must be more than this life
With abundant blessings to receive

Angels and eternal sunshine in God’s presence
So amazing, so divine
A new lease of blessed life
No worries or strife
For evermore & evermore & evermore....

BUT while the Heavenly Angels sing
And shelter immortal souls
Beneath their out-stretched wings
I would choose to sink into oblivion
For surely when everything has ceased
There is only one outcome-
The perfection of total peace
To have been and be no more
And not meet the Saints
At the Pearly Gates
Of Heaven's Open Door...
and suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God and saying,' Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.'

Jaz McKenzie © 2012

We would love to share more original poetry on Its Braap and welcome your contributions. Please send to

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Pain to Gain! Live Life~Love Life WK 49

Pain to Gain... I think we are all very familiar with this expression and most of us automatically associate it with post exercise aches! I believe it has a greater universal application that we rarely take time to consider.

The first thing most of us experience in life are the crudity of birth pains; no wonder the majority of babies cry once the shock of ejection has subsided! This is just the beginning however we should learn to recognize the validity of life pain because it will return to us time and again as the years roll past. Pain was our starting point and it can be considered a living fertilizer because a good dose of pain, however difficult to cope with at the time, is essential being a bed for growth which allows us to learn new lessons and pass to the next stage. The proverbial idea of acorn to oak tree is relevant to us as individuals... we start small, learn lessons and grow in experience and wisdom.

What causes pain in our lives? Once again we are going back to the beginning. We have the pain of separation. Some would say that being human, during this lifetime we are separated from God our creator- therefore everything we experience inadvertently stems from that separation. Human independence allows us freedom to experiment in our lives, make good and bad decisions ultimately becoming the person we choose to be. There will be times when people feel separated from God whereas others do not believe in God and have made a conscious decision to create their own moral framework and work ethics. If you believe in God you will probably believe that this is a transitory period until you will be reunited for eternity. If not, this lifetime may be seen as your total existence to be fulfilled as you desire. Life is tough- a new born baby is physically separated at birth from its natural mother and has no choice as to how to handle this... on the plus side the infant is now able to bond with its entire family. A newborn’s cry is an instinctive reaction to an unknown situation and once learned is something we repeat when appropriate throughout our lives- let’s overlook gender expectations at this point! When we cry we provide a physical outlet for pain... likewise angry expression is another outlet for pain. Primal reactions give way to emotional release and we need to use them to help us move forwards. Healing and growth can follow once our emotions are back in check.
Why do we cause pain in other people’s lives? This will depend upon the individual however people who deliberately cause others pain tend to do so because of inadequacies in their own upbringing or self esteem. No time to study the nature/nurture argument! A strong person can overcome their own adversities and treat others well whereas weaker people might like to see others suffer as a result of their actions, which makes them feel stronger. This is a form of self deception and the injured party may go on to do well in life because the pain they have suffered makes them stronger. Incidents in our lives build up our coping mechanisms. They help us to identify the people who are genuinely on our side from the imposters! Pain can be used as a ‘get back at’ technique and sometimes affects people who do not deserve to be hurt... children are often affected when their parents are angry at one another and may suffer emotional deprivation as a result.

Why does love so often hurt? I think that love usually hurts because we place too high a price on it, having great and often unrealistic expectations. Those we love are people too and will make many mistakes in their lives. Love starts out as a beautiful sentiment- which can be confused with lust- and we are often too inexperienced to handle this gift properly. Many of us find love as we leave childhood and are too inexperienced to handle the highs and lows of young love. Love is an emotion we have to work with and there is no formal training to assist us! Once in a serious loving relationship, every decision you make is done so so with another person in mind and that is hard work! Even in the best relationships there will be times when love hurts. If you are lucky you can repair the damage... forgive and move on. If not, there will be consequences to face and decisions to make dependent upon the individuals concerned.

Why do people have to suffer? There is a great deal of suffering in this world. People die everyday and death itself may be painful, usually leaving pain in its wake. Grieving is a part of growth, coping with pain on a personal level or as a friend /relative teaches us things about ourselves we need to learn; even if we cannot understand it. I cannot understand why so much of the world is in severe poverty yet there are lessons for all of us to learn. As humans we cannot understand why some people have to walk miles for a cup of dirty water. This is unacceptable in our society yet it is happening everyday. Compassion is limited and blessings are in abundance yet we fail to recognize these basic facts.

Why Pain? Simply this- Pain is the ultimate expression, the ultimate challenge, the ultimate motivator. Through pain we can identify need, we can heal and we can gain a true understanding of blessings.

Jaz McKenzie

If you would like to write a short article for Its Braap~Its Life contact:

Friday, 30 November 2012

"Caged Bird" by Maya Angelou + commentary!

Now that blogger is co-operating (!!!) we will continue by following on from Oprah with  a little Maya Angelou and share her highly perceptive poem about the caged bird. Why does the caged bird sing? I think we have all spent time in cages of some sort or another  metaphorically speaking- domesticity placing major bars around us.

Maya is right, when there is nothing you can do to change something singing is a form of mental release making you feel better. I wrote a poem years ago about a prisoner I used to correspond with and was amazed that despite being behind bars he had mental freedom way surpassing the majority of us, his mind being free to pursue his ideas etc.

We do not live as nature intended, but then again nature has had to evolve and in the process we have managed to clip our own wings... can't go anywhere these days without your location being tracked online!! In a society of plenty, we have become caged birds and as the generations pass, today's children do not know of the freedom that existed a couple of generations ago... no playing in the streets- they are no longer safe... yet abductions have not actually increased. We are hemmed in by the press coverage on TV, our ever handy phone apps, the need to make money and even the freedom to bring up our own children which has been overtaken by the need to pay the mortgage, hence increased childcare provision.

The question becomes, what tune are we singing in free society? Do we only hear them on X-Factor? JOKE! Are we any more free than some of the African or Aboriginal tribes that have changed comparatively little over the years? What do we need to do to change our lives so that we sing for joy and not for freedom?  We have said before in our series 'Live Life~Love Life' that life is about choices. Making the right choices which suit your lifestyle is probably the closest you will ever come to finding true freedom & a song that comes from the soul!

Jaz McKenzie.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Powerful Lesson Maya Angelou Taught Oprah - Oprah's Lifeclass - Opra...

Instead of the ususal 'Be Braap~Be Inspired,' today we will look at something a little different, a direct lesson from Oprah which speaks for itself in an extremely powerful way. Behind every inspirational person is an inspirational person! This is a great truth and the greatest lesson Oprah learned is one that we can all learn... no matter what age you make those mistakes... learn to keep on moving. Press PLAY to find out the secrets!!

Jaz McKenzie

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Stop. Take a Look Around! Live Life~Love Life WK 48

Familiarity can creep up on us like a tiger stalking its prey. Imagine you are a deer, happily chewing a mouthful of grass; you may become temporarily unaware of your surroundings and before you know it- the tiger will pounce!

Similarly, we become used to our environments and may not place too much importance on them. This is a quite a common outlook, yet our environment can so easily reflect upon our ability to work well or relax fully. Good business people work in a clear environment; likewise it is easier to relax in a clean and tidy home. A well-organized area actually inspires us to work better because we know exactly where everything is when we need to get a job done. Whether you require your pen or a duster, an organized environment saves time and is user friendly.

Good organization calms the mind. If we are continually looking at mess our heads can become hot. We can’t stand it and may well end up in an argument... all those of you with messy teenagers, small children or untidy partners will be familiar with the feeling of permanent frustration when trying to create order out of chaos... OR having to nag others continually into doing the tidying up. At work, it can be difficult to prioritize when all the paperwork is in a muddle and important documents can get lost, making us appear incompetent- similarly, if you lose your passport or birth certificate at home it will create the need for a replacement.
ABOVE: Feng shui compass
The world of interior design has infiltrated our lives, to a very large degree, through the internet and a host of reality shows. Whatever the trends, you need to feel ‘at home’ in your home and comfortable at work. Trends come and go. Besides individuals who are famous for their designs and artworks example: Laura Ashley, one of the major trends during recent years has been Feng shui with its Eastern Origins. Feng shui sounds intriguing and is clearly popular, being founded on the balance between Heavenly time and earthly space. As with other Eastern religions and practices such as meditation, it has been well received worldwide. The origins and practices within Feng shui are very complex, having religious connotations giving rise to historical outcomes. Mostly people are familiar with the Yin Yang aspects and apply these when decorating their homes, following the basic belief that it will improve their health and well-being. Whether it is any more effective than decorating your rooms to suite personal taste in ways that make you feel happy and content may be considered questionable.

As we have said before, life is always about making the most of every situation. If you live or work in an environment that you don’t like and are not in a position to change, find time to go out to places of interest... shopping at lunchtimes, strolling through the local park in the evening. If the place is a mess and the thought of tidying up is overwhelming, set time aside and do it in realistic chunks AKA bite size pieces!! The sense of achievement one tidy cupboard creates should spur you on to the next area.

Final thought, your environment is an extension of you, so show it some respect!

Jaz McKenzie

If you would like to write articles or poetry for Its Braap contact:

Saturday, 24 November 2012

X-Factor UK... What an upset... the people Vote!!

ABOVE: Ella Henderson
WOW the X-Factor results last weekend shocked everyone and especially the judges when 2 of the hottest contestants- James Arthur & Ella Henderson, landed in the bottom 2, thereby having to compete against each other in the sing off. The judges were stunned and didn't really know what to say. Most of their comments went over my head however I do recall someone saying it was ridiculous and Tulisa expressed the age old view that the public were clearly voting for the wrong people and had made the mistake of assuming that their favourite contestant was safe; thereby implying that they had voted for the less obvious singers.

I am not so sure that this was the case and will use this opportunity to express a different opinion. Whilst watching Saturday’s show I was contemplating the fact that Christopher and Rylan were still performing and clearly had the public on their side. With regard to quality singing this is a surprising outcome. Over the years the trend for the British public to support the under-dog has become apparent leaving many people convinced that the voting is rigged. For arguments sake let’s assume that the vote is a true reflection of public opinion, the question then becomes, ’what opinion are the public expressing?’ We have witnessed many altercations amongst the judging panel, experts in the industry, who at times have succumbed to ‘playground talk’ making snide personal remarks towards one another that have no relevance to the competition. This does not create a good public impression. In my opinion the only judge who has maintained a good sense of decorum is Nicole who avoids engaging in conflict and has a positive approach overall.

This year I hold the view that Gary Barlow’s domineering approach and attitude towards the public vote has not worked in the programmes favour. Gary was furious when Louis saved Rylan in the early stages of the competition and the final result was decided as a result of the public vote. The public voted Rylan in and Gary could not believe it, becoming more enraged cleary ignoring the fact that the public pay to vote and tune in each week- therefore having a right to watch the people they support perform. If people love to watch Rylan put on a show rather than listen to a quality vocal rendition that is the public's choice for their Saturday evening viewing... even Robbie Williams loves Rylan's showmanship and Christopher was the wild card, the public clearly connecting with him.

RIGHT: Rylan performing on the X-Factor

Last week we lost the extremely talented Ella Henderson, very unfortunate as we now have an all male competition since Tulisa has run out of acts; never mind she won last year with all girl group 'Little Mix.'

Time to get real!! The X-Factor will only run as long as people are prepared to watch it and pump up the income through text votes and uploads, therefore it is time for the judges to show a little respect towards public opinion and reign their personal feelings in.

Ultimately there can be only one winner so even at this stage if the voting had retained the best vocal performances, quality singers would begin leaving the competition shortly. Next year the judges might need to give more consideration to the contestants who go through to the live shows, however there has to be an entertainment factor to grab the public interest otherwise the programme might fall flat becoming a forum for unengaging earnest hopefuls!

At this point in the competition the best singers will undoubtedly be offered recording contracts and have a future in the music industry so we will definitely hear more of 16 year old Ella. The probability is that James Arthur will make the final and I expect Jahmene and Union J will reach the final stages too... but just supposing by some twist of fate Christopher or Rylan actually win? To the public it’s just another year and to the music industry, a little spoke in its eternally spinning wheel. Final thought: why on earth should Christopher or Rylan feel guilty about anything? They are keeping their supporters happy and that is the exactly what we expect of them.

Jaz McKenzie

We have a very good readership, so if you would like your work featured send your articles or poems to:

Friday, 23 November 2012

Robbie Williams ~ Candy (Live X Factor UK)

AND... here we have the genius, Robbie Williams performing his latest release 'Candy.' Carnival meets playground in this catchy bouncy number that has you singing along immersed in Robbie's charisma.... Hear the shout out for Rylan?  Well, tomorrow ~IB~ will be giving him a mention with reference to last week's result. Did you hear Robbie say that he was blown away by Ella? Shame that she's been blown away and is no longer a contender. Reality TV... don't you love it!

Jaz McKenzie

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Guessing the Odds!!

The only certainty in life is that we have periods of uncertainty... oh yes, mustn't forget the age old cliche which loosely interpreted means we don't live forever!! This poster is very challenging and I believe it embraces the idea that we need to take chances in life.

Odds are fascinating, so fascinating in fact that people spend hours calculating them; even betting on them and when fortunate can make good money or great decisions. Let's stay positive!

If you are unsure about calculating odds you can try the pragmatic approach- ultimately every single set of odds comes down to the same basic odd which is 50/50... you either get it right or wrong... when you bet on something there is no in between.

Even when not betting there are many instances where odds come into play and these are usually attached to choices, especially where serious medical decisions are concerned and these cannot be truly calculated leaving a tense period during post operative recovery. There are many factors to take into consideration when calculating odds but no matter how careful you are there are at least 2 considerations that are almost impossible to calculate- individuality and the element of surprise.

Soooo... the odds of our work syndicate winning the lottery are... nope, too huge a calculation but as I have already said, either we will or we won't... and the odds of you reading to the end of this article? Pretty good because it's quite short... however the odds are that I'll never know whether you did or not!

Jaz McKenzie

If you would like to write a short article contact:

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Rowan Atkinson - Invisible Drum Kit

A little humour is needed in the world right now and what better than one of the world's best loved comedians, Rowan Atkinson. Here we have a first class exhibition of the art of mime. Not only is the concept unique but the skill phenomenal. I don't know quite how the timing is so spot on or how many rehearsals it took to achieve this. Not only that, the number of comical elements woven into the sketch keep you focused throughout the entire 5+ minutes, quite an art. Incase you haven't seen it before I will not reveal the surprise element towards the end... suffice it to say- Pure Genius!

Jaz McKenzie

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Snap, Crackle & POP! Live Life~Love Life WK47

Why are we describing life as a bowl of cereal? Possibly because so much is going on in our lives at any one time, a mixture of ingredients all stirred up together and full of mini explosions. Inevitably some of this is down to our genes in the first instance as they are responsible for our basic characteristics... and let’s face it; physical appearance often does have a direct affect upon our personal experiences. It’s not only children who can be cruel, some of us will hold very biased views as adults and this often shapes our initial opinions of others and dictates the way we treat them. It is frequently the unexpected that causes life’s little explosions- the occasions when we haven’t had time to prepare mentally. If we focus on learning some coping mechanisms this may help with our overall communication especially with regard to stressful situations.

SNAP... we all reach breaking point at times. Ideally we need to use our internal barometer to measure stress and be careful not to take on too much. There are times when stress is unavoidably piled on top of more stress. You may need to be able to identify what makes you feel the most stressed and find the best strategies for coping. No action = increased stress. A problem becomes larger when it is left to its own devices, causing us to feel out of control which exacerbates the challenges. Certain situations in life are major stress factors and these are often life changing events. Changes in marital status, having children or moving home are all in this category. Where possible, try to plan changes in ways that cause minimal disruption and encourage ease of transition. Try to take whole family needs and feelings into account; it is worth remembering that young children are usually more adaptable than we give them credit for when it comes to changes such as school. Obviously there are children who require additional help to cope with change and routine.

CRACKLE... Sometimes we don’t quite know what’s going on in life. There may be covert agendas bubbling away that need to be brought out into the open. Quite often we are unsure when deciding our next move. Write your options and reasons for them down... find a way to score and make decisions! The usual battle here is head verses heart and getting the balance right is crucial. Decisions leaning too far in one direction are usually unsound however we must always listen to gut instinct and not ‘reason’ it away.

POP... Pop is a great way to describe achievement and celebration... sounds like releasing a champagne cork! When things go well how much attention do we pay to them? Why did they work? How can you apply this process to something that is not going so well? What rewards will you use by way of celebration? How does success make you feel? How does it affect family/friend relationships? Being pleased for others is a gift and is far better than being resentful of their achievements.

When children are young we are often very encouraging. Most of the things they are learning we are in agreement with. Problems may occur later, especially when a teenager wishes to follow a different plan to their parents mental map. It can be difficult celebrating achievements that do not match up with your expectations. If you wish your child to go to university and study engineering and they go off of their own accord and are offered an apprenticeship at a hairdressers you may feel deeply unhappy. Ultimately we recognize individual choice as a basic right and it is better for your child to enjoy their career choice. Flexibility in your approach shows understanding and openness making it easier for children to seek your advice.

Achievements can be regarded as retrospective carrots!! They should spur us on to the next step and are meant to be enjoyed. We often reward children with stars and adults with pats on the back! You can always manufacture a small reward for yourself based on the things you enjoy and it may be helpful to keep a record to act as a positive springboard.

Are you ready to wake up in the morning to the snap, crackle and pop of your life? If you take a more relaxed view of these ingredients and accept them you are more likely to stay afloat rather than feel as if you are riding and crashing the waves! A few minutes peace or meditation are good mental preparation for the day and simply a way of taking stock and seeing the overall picture.

Jaz McKenzie

If you wish to write an article of interest or inspiration please send to:

Friday, 16 November 2012

Puppy Love!

I wrote this poem back in the day when my son arrived home, puppy in arms, saying he had offered to look after it for a weekend!! He had always wanted a puppy however I am sooo not a doggy person. Having objected initially, here we have the inside story in just a few words!!

For Dolce

Cute little puppy... AND a pit bull at that!
Tell me...
How did you manage it?
How did you manage to reach out with that paw
and claw
your name through the sign
nailed to my heart
that said,
'Dogs are OK but they're not allowed here?'

2 days... 4 days... 6.5 weeks?
But all it really took
was that first little look!
... you were soooo sweet
cupped in the hands or my strapping great lad!
Nose twitching with curiosity
Eyes brightly focused on mine
while your tongue flickered swiftly across my hand
and I found myself stroking your neck
...WHAT... the heck happpened here?
I guess this is what they mean by puppy love!

Jaz McKenzie

If you would like your poems featured contact

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Be Braap~Be Inspired!!! Real Quotes from Real People!! #19

No squares in my circle~ only rectangular knots!!!

I am told this is a quote from AV J.O.E. - artist on the Break Bread record label.. check out their Reverbnation.

I love this quote... makes you stop and think as it is definitely out of the ordinary thereby setting a different challenge. Open to interpretation. So here goes!!

We all have circles within the different hemispheres of life – family, business, leisure- & mix with different people hence a range of personalities. Some people you might think of as pretty straight forward- square, but the reality is we’re all pretty twisted one way or another which leads us to the ultimate question... what’s NORMAL!! Sooo... all you have to do is enjoy living in a world of interesting people!

ABOVE: Gangster and A Gentleman!! ~ Owner of Break Bread Entertainment
Check out the website:

Jaz McKenzie

BE BRAAP! Send us your favourite quotes or sayings with a few words... you can include a photo of yourself (optional) to: These can be your own quotes or famous sayings and we will include them in this section: 'Be Braap~ Be Inspired.' NOTE: you do not have to be a great writer, simply send YOUR quote with YOUR thoughts in 10 or more words as the aim is to inspire others!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Jimi Hendrix - best ever live solo. He plays Red House live at the New Y...

Time for some serious music!!!  This is a sit & listen blog... nothing else... Blues it is for a change so feel the vibes & enjoy. You could drown in these notes if that were possible and nothing in my book beats serious solo's... guitar & drum at the top of the list. Press play now & off you go!

Jaz McKenzie

Monday, 12 November 2012

Wild Things With Dominic Monaghan - Wild Things With Dominic Monaghan: S...

~IB~ has never shared an entire programme before however short clips from this episode are not available!
Dominic is known to many as an actor which, considering the amount of passion and theatricals displayed here is not surprising! I think Dominic was in his element searching Venezuela for the world's largest centipede; a carnivore shown here eating a bat. I was almost stunned by the way Dominic talks about what could happen throughout the episode, at one point casually picking up a tarantula and deciding to put it down before it becomes annoyed. The centipede on the stick was worse than a horror movie! We watch Dominic carefully switching the stick around so that the centipede walks from end to end and back again... at one point becoming angry and rearing like a cobra. Does Dominic put it straight back down? Of course not... he happily tells us how serious a bite can be and if I remember correctly there is no antidote.

You have to admire Dominic's total lack of fear hence his ability to handle these dangerous species. When it came to the ;Bat Poo' cave even the guide decided to sit it out... whilst Dominic enters the cave wearing safety trousers & breathing gear yet with only a t-shirt on his upper body... very cringe worthy indeed.

We need a few people like this in our world so that we can discover secrets of the wild and improve our own knowledge... and let's face it, most of us don't wish for a first hand view! It does make you wonder though, with Dominic in his mid 30's, what more is he going to do to fulfil his sense of adventure and need for adrenalin? Mountaineering and potholing come to mind but they are not really in quite the same league.

Well, I am looking forward to the rest of this series and It will be interesting to see how things  pans out... roll on episode 2!

Jaz McKenzie

Time for a challenge? Live Life~Love Life WK 46

Are there times in your life when you suddenly realise that every day is more or less the same?

It is so easy to fall into routines and habits- a comfortable place but all of a sudden, instead of feeling that familiar sense of contentment, instead we have a niggle of dissatisfaction that grows and grows until we find that there is an issue to address.

The times in life when everything is going well are to be treasured and it is good to keep everything flowing nicely. It is a good feeling to wake up everyday in keen anticipation of what lies ahead and this generates a drive of positive energy that inspires us further. Having said that, sometimes the best time to consider a new challenge aka 'change' is when things are going well and you still have more to give. This means that you will be clear headed and have plenty of time to consider options; especially if you are looking at changing your job or career path. When things are going well we are likely to maintain standards and lack the sort of desperation that people who have become tired of their job are likely to emanate.

There are many different challenges that we come across in life and especially our personal relationships are often challenging; familiarity easily breeding contempt as most of us know only too well. Taking others for granted is pretty much a universal occurrence because we become so settled in our ways and everything becomes a matter of course. Showing genuine appreciation is important and not the same as a quick thank you. Long term relationships hold different challenges in order to keep the spark alive. The point with relationships is that they are always a two way thing and sadly they can go wrong; it’s a real shame when a challenge is presented and refuted!

Sometimes we may become mentally lazy and stop using our intellect. It might be for a valid reason eg: we have small children to care for and put our own needs to one side. Exhaustion can also prevent us from applying our minds fully to different things. Sometimes we may just become complacent and not feel a need to extend our minds. Interestingly, once we kick it back into action- possibly undertaking training, the knowledge we gain spurs us on and we actually enjoy life more. The equation is that challenges create new challenges and from this we can derive an increased sense of satisfaction. Challenges do not have to be hard work. There are many challenging games available to stimulate us in different ways from general knowledge to improving our memories!

Another type of challenge is physical. You might like to undertake a charity leap out of a plane, or maybe take a short flight if you have a phobia of planes. Challenges will require mental stamina and nerve but might make life easier in the long run. You might set a simple challenge and build up from there, example: if you address a need such as too exercise more! There are other types of challenges which are hard to deal with including anxiety. Sometimes we need to take the first step and seek help either medical or counselling. Seeking help is a strength and not a weakness because it is a stepping stone to an improved future- a more confident YOU. Interestingly I was just watching a programme in which people managed to conquer their phobias with the help of an invented drug- Rumyodin, which was actually a placebo. Derren Brown, who instigated the experiment, said that sometimes all we need to do is to give ourselves permission to overcome our fears. We can recondition ourselves by tapping into our will power and the drug Rumyodin is an anagram of your mind! This is a challenge because it means that we know we can be in control when we choose.

Challenges keep us alert and make our lives richer whether achieving new heights, improving relationships or overcoming fear. The more challenges we seek the more we grow and stimulation and success are very important qualities. Try to make time to look at your life and seek out appropriate challenges to interest you and bring a little more light into your life! It is better to die reaching for the stars than to be in the passenger seat of life!

Jaz McKenzie

If you would like to write a short article send to:

Friday, 9 November 2012

Work Appraisals- ‘A Waste Of Time’ ... Or Maybe Not!

MSN Article + My views as a manager!

'More than one in three people believe workplace appraisals are a waste of time and do nothing for their career development, according to a new report.

A survey of 1,000 office workers found that 37% spent at least seven hours a year on appraisals, increasing to 15 hours for one in 20.

Recruitment firm Badenoch & Clark said appraisals were in danger of becoming 'tick box' exercises that wasted time and failed to help employees.

Managing director Nicola Linkleter said: "Many organisations adopt a once a year approach towards appraisals which means the process is scheduled and collation of employee feedback is often carried out through standardised forms or systems.

"Dedicating time to appraisals is only beneficial for organisations and individuals if they are effective in identifying and developing talent in return."


I find this article both interesting and in a way, sad. Personally I think the way that appraisals are often carried out does not do justice to the employee. If an appraisal is hastily scribbled in just before a pay review you can guarantee that little thought has gone into the process. The purpose of appraisals can be two fold, being used as an annual review and performance monitoring tool, sometimes in preparation for possible disciplinary situations to identify specific training needs.

I love motivating people and trying to get the best from them. In order for this to happen, people need to feel secure at work and able to discuss situations within their teams and with their immediate boss. The more you know your employees the better the groundwork for the appraisal. Why wait for a once a year meeting? It is far better to sit down with your employees every couple of months and keep up to date, not just with their performance but also their feelings about the team and the organization. If you do a good job staff will feel happy at work and volunteer their suggestions to improve the operation and share the company vision. Your staff are also your direct internal customers and should be treated with respect and courtesy at all times. Sadly bullying at work is a serious problem and people who are bullied should keep notes, save offensive emails and not be afraid to tackle the situation. You can always get advice from ACAS if you do not have your own union.

Disciplining staff is part of a managers’ job however keeping track of achievements is equally important.- nobody wants their appraisal to be a bunch of negatives! It is far better to look at the positives first and areas to expand in order to consider the negatives within a positive framework. By giving people their job descriptions and a carefully thought out appraisal form in advance, people can have a go at evaluating themselves. This system helps us to see how employees view themselves- some will be accurate and others totally off the hook! Whether people are under or over confident you will need evidence to back up your comments on their progress. You may have overlooked some of the contributions they view as important or that you were unaware of.

Appraisals should help identify strengths and weakness and the ways these can be addressed and put to use in the organization. Training might be required, promotion or more responsibility given: possibly help with acquiring more skills to enable the person to seek employment elsewhere. It is better to help people move on rather than holding them back and this will strengthen your company’s reputation as a considerate employer, drawing better job candidates in the future.

If you work well with your staff they will not live in fear of their appraisal and if these are implemented successfully they will be a great management tool that helps you to accurately assess the quality of your work force.

Jaz McKenzie

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Barack Obama's Victory Speech Full - Election 2012

Congrats to Barack Obama and wow... what a speech! Definitely have to blog it as a source of inspiration and oneness. When it comes to speeches Obama gets it right, playing to people power and pulling everything out of the bag. A well deserved victory and reassuring because it shows how much the average person accepts changes in society and I really like the graceful acknowledgment bringing the opposition into a very positive light. When we feel sorry for ourselves let's just be grateful for our losses compared to Mitt Romneys!
There is a great deal to be learned in the art of public speaking here and let's hope that despite the tough political climate the majority of promises made will be fulfilled,

Jaz McKenzie

Monday, 5 November 2012

Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot

Remember, Remember the 5th of November~Gun Powder, Treason & Plot... so what are we remembering & why? Here's a quick history lesson with some excellent detail to brush up your knowledge of olden day goings on in London Town. All of you who are off to the fireworks... Enjoy!!

Jaz McKenzie

Sunday, 4 November 2012

What's In A Promise? Live Life~Love Life WK 45

There was a time when a person’s word was their bond, probably going back to the days when only the rich were literate. A person’s word was everything and interestingly if you offer someone a job strictly by word of mouth that still holds as a verbal contract here in the UK- strange when you think about it; the way we need to reinforce so many things by having a witnesses to the fact.

We really should take our word seriously so that others know they can rely upon us. Many hearts are broken, not just romantically, due to unfulfilled promises and we do not wish to cause disappointment to others and let ourselves down in the meantime. Everybody knows how essential it is to think before we speak, particularly in stressful situations were an immediate reply is required; yet how often do we promises things without considering the consequences? It can be a good idea not to make instant promises but to come back to people later with a reply, especially when making a commitment before checking our schedules! If you promise to help out at an event and later find that you cannot manage it, the person is not only let down but may have lost other possible offers of help in the meantime.

Being reliable is a great asset to have in your personal specs! People will view you in a positive light and want to be on your team because those who fulfil their promises tend to achieve results more often than those who don’t. If we need something important done we need to consider the best person for the job and that is not necessarily the person with the most time on their hands. People with loads of time often delay doing the necessary whereas busy people will be more likely to schedule everything in.

There will be times in life where we are genuinely unable to fulfil our promises so it can be helpful to say things such as, ’I’ll try to fit that in later if I have time,’ when we hope to do something but are not sure what else might crop up. After all, there are many unexpected surprises in life ranging from running into an old friend or catching the latest virus! Both will take up valuable time one way or another. Sometimes we are given priority work unexpectedly or have deadlines brought forward which will need to be attended to and may leave us playing catch up.
Little Red Riding Hood who broke her promise & the rest is history!!

Promises consist of words- during our lifetimes we waste many, many words; some in idle gossip, some in anger but a promise is one area where we can make good. Promises are so often made to smooth over a situation and we start quite young... how many times do we hear young children promising not to do something again? Sometimes all a promise amounts to is a guarantee of good intention but sometimes that is good enough. As adults we should be able to discern how much importance to attach to a promise and have an idea of what to expect.

Sadly, the greatest lottery of promises is that of marriage vows. Most people undertake these vows following a great deal of consideration however others get married on a whim. With marriage being so easy these days following the introduction of the civil ceremony and with our current attitudes in this throw away society, it is not surprising that vows are broken and divorce is on the increase. We expect so much from our life partners along with an increased expectation in every area of life- is it little wonder that we have such a sense of discontent with our lives and our partners?

Next time you go to make a promise do a quick mental check to see whether you are being realistic. With the New Year on the horizon we will all be making some resolutions which highlights the need for self control and determination. Some of us will succeed and some of us will give in! Whichever way it goes, ultimately a promise is a promise until it’s fulfilled or broken.

Jaz McKenzie

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Aliens (playlist)

This new Argos advert really put a smile on my face. The aliens clearly have a semi-understanding of life on earth  but in some ways they are not far from the truth! Having watched Super Nanny in the USA having to intervene to stop the children racing around the garden with machetes ... gasp-horror- I guess even intelligent adults find it hard to draw the line sometimes! The most alarming aspect was the mother who felt sorry for the children being told not to do something they have been allowed to do for years!

Working a nursery I have seen some strange things arriving with the children from time to time and the most amusing of all was a teapot. 'Why's he carrying a teapot?' I asked... 'because he wouldn't leave home without it,' came the reply... sigh, who's the parent around here?

Children do need to play with natural materials and safe household items so there is a definite place for small pans, wooden spoons, nail brushes and yes, the all important cardboard box, especially in times of recession when high street toys are so expensive. It is even better when parents join in with their children's games and help them stretch their imaginations.

Back to these adverts- very clever way of looking at everyday life from a new perspective. There's some great information too if you keep watching.

Happy Shopping!

Jaz McKenzie