Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Missing You (Official Video) - Mark Lyttle

Mark Lyttle fans are thrilled by his new single 'Missing You' which is clearly a winner, and like many of Marks songs is easy to relate to. There is something in Mark's voice which is reminiscent of Barry White at times this track clearly brings out the best in Mark.
Current information:  'This track holds the number one spot on the DJ mastermix dancehall empire top 60 promo chart. PRESS PLAY TO SEE WHAT THE BUZZ IS ALL ABOUT!!!!!!'
Mark Lyttle Facebook

Persdonally I love Mark's style and have featured him on ~IB~ previously- enter 'Mark Lyttle in the search box to access interview and previous tracks. This artist needs your support to reach a wide audience and take his music worldwide.

Jaz McKenzie

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Have Questions~Have Answers # 15- Is it Crazy to Talk to your Plants?

Sometimes it’s good to consider subjects that have created much debate and this is a classic!
Once upon a time I would have thought this a bit mad plants don’t have ears however, I have since learnt that along with every single thing in the universe, plants are busy vibrating constantly and will pick up your vibrations, putting us on an accessible wavelength. I know people who talk to different objects as well as their plants because they understand this principle. I think most of us may well have apologized to a chair leg inadvertently before now when we have accidentally ‘kicked’ something, but then again, why not?
Besides plants, it is also considered crazy to talk to yourself, yet sometimes it can help to discuss things with yourself so as to identify the realities of a situation- most of us do this in our heads but there are times when it is good to physically listen. Cast your mind back to movies where lead characters pace up and down whilst speaking aloud! I think there’s actually a case for taping your thoughts and playing them back later to see if you still agree! It is worth recognizing that once things are out of your head you can let them go, so equally you can write things down to free your mind. You can also erase recordings so that no damage is done; quite a good tool for people with anger issues and it is better to have a rant into a recorder rather than at a person.
Returning to plants, they are living matter which serve several clearly defined purposes, a by- product is that they cheer us up, so why not talk to them, especially if they are ‘living at home!’ Like everything else they have to be cared for.  They need to be fed at the right times of year, watered reqularly, re-potted- quite a bit of care really so you may as well chat whilst you tend to them, when you think about it it’s common sense and definitely won’t do any harm.
Sometimes people have a favourite tree and this is quite a good idea especially for those who don’t have gardens. We all need a space to relax in outdoor space and the fresh air is vital for our well-being. To find a nice tree that you can sit beneath, or even a bench in an attractive area of the park is quite beneficial. If you go somewhere regularly it helps you to appreciate nature more as you observe seasonal changes and allow natural beauty to register within you, so take time really looking at the world around and make it part of your ‘living in the moment’ experience.
Suggestion: enjoy and make time for plants- I think that’s the main message, and a little chat might go a long way!

Jaz McKenzie

If you would like to write a short article or poem for ~IB~ contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Etta James Misty Blue 2011

Having just listened to a painful version of this song on Britain's Got Talent, I had a great desire to listen to a great version of one of my all time favourites.

Why do singers think that over embellishing a song is good singing? The best singers can sing very pure versions of great songs which really touch you. Here Etta James does embellish phrases however they work! Hope you enjoy!

Jaz McKenzie

Saturday Night & It's FREE!! ~ MAAD CLUB EVENT

Just a quick share here for those of you in the London area who haven't yet decided what to do tonight! Poster says it all, so pop down to the Excelsior Balham SW12 ~ Jaz

Sunday, 20 April 2014

A TIME FOR NEW BEGINNINGS~ Poem for Easter by Jaz McKenzie


It's a time for new beginnings
Amidst fluffy bunnies, Hot cross buns
And chocolate eggs in calorific abundance!
Centre stage: Cake, sweet cakes
with chocolate nests completing
Modern trappings of celebration
Eagerly awaited and joyfully shared.

Celebration for celebrations sake
Provides a major opportunity to over-indulge
Under the banner of a ready made
Commercialised excuse- It's Easter time;
The proof is in every shop window
along the parade
Whilst churches embrace a somewhat
Swollen congregation for duties sake
-and possibly their place in heaven.

Truth at the very heart of Christianity dictates
New beginnings, as the foot of the cross await.
Arise to claim victory over mortality
Born again, walking the long hard path
Reaching eternity
Claimed in Jesus name
Power immortalised

New beginnings~ physical, emotional, spiritual
Your needs and desires waiting-
Ignore or fulfil?
Individuality is key to personal choice
Listen carefully to your inner voice
Making sure to approve 
Every action
Before making your pre-determined move.

Jaz McKenzie

If you would like your poetry shared on ~IB~ send to: itsbraap@live.co.uk

Easter Greetings!!

Vintage Easter Card

Easter Sunday has arrived so here's wishing you all a blessed and joy-filled day!! The card above was taken from an article in the MAIL On-line showing us how long traditional Easter cards have been around- this is from the nineteenth century. If possible, take a few minutes to look at these beautiful cards- naturally we shared the angels!!

It is good to have days in the year which are designed for celebration and create natural opportunities for family gatherings. As usual, we spare a thought for those who are unable to be with their families for whatever reason, regardless of culture or religion, so be sure to share the joy of this day and everyday with those who cross your path.

Jaz McKenzie~Happy Easter!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Have Questions~Have Answers? #14- Can forgiveness be a selfish act?

Why is it that the emphasis on forgiveness is always that forgiveness benefits the offender? We so often believe that the offender needs to be forgiven so that they are able to have a clear conscious and go about their business minus one extra burden.

Let's try a little reversal for a change. How does the act of forgiveness benefit the person who is doing the forgiving? The answer remain more-or-less the same. Forgiveness will lift the burden from your shoulders, the burden of carrying around a painful experience because pain is always the essence of situations requiring forgiveness; pain generates powerful emotions which usually harbour negative feelings- resentment, guilt, dislike, anger. Once you forgive someone it is time to let go of the painful situation and all the bad feelings associated with it. Forgiveness really does set you free and although it may not be instant, you can cultivate forgiveness by harbouring the need to move your thoughts forwards everytime a particular situation from your past creeps into your mind.

Forgiveness can be so personal that  nobody else need be involved- there is nothing that says you have to tell someone they are forgiven, so it is possible to forgive people whom we no longer have any contact with- people from our past who have moved on or people who are still around but we no longer have any dealings with.

What do you do if someone asks for forgiveness before you are ready or able to forgive them? This is a tough one. I think my approach would be to say that I'm not feeling in a position to deal with it at the moment and to go away and try to focus on the positive side of that person. It is when we see the good that we are able to leave the bad behind. This may take time, but a willing attitude will help. If you can't see anything good about the other person, focus on the good things in your own life and be thankful. When we appreciate the good in our lives it helps us to acquire more of a generous spirit towards others and subtle changes are likely to occur in our nature making it easier to revisit difficult times. Once you feel ready to forgive you can always go back to the person.

Some people are quite forgiving whilst others find it very difficult. Most things that we find difficult become easier with practice and forgiveness is exactly the same. Once mastered the person who will benefit the most from a forgiving nature is you, so go ahead and see how much difference a little forgiveness makes to your life.

Jaz McKenzie

If you would like to write a short article for ~IB~ contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk

Collabro sing Stars from Les Misérables | Britain's Got Talent 2014

With the second episode of' 'Britain's Got Talent' winging its way to us this evening, we're sharing one of the highlights from last week. When Collabro announced that they only started out a month ago nobody knew quite what to expect, good chemistry said the guys and this performance is evidence of the extent their natural chemistry plays. Wonderful performance and best of luck for their future.

Jaz McKenzie

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Childcare Expo 2014~ Olympia, Review

Tracey arriving at the Childcare Expo
The Childcare Expo, Olympia proved to be an extremely worthwhile event for my colleague Tracey & myself.  For those of you who are not in the know, my primary occupation is ‘Nursery Manager,‘ so it was great to attend a most productive day. The Childcare Expo has been running successfully in Coventry for the past four years and you can catch it there at the Ricoh Arena 26-27th September 2014.
Great display of educational toys by Eduzone
The Expo covered different aspects of nursery management and childcare from toys that are designed to promote skills across the whole spectrum of development, children's books and professional literature to childcare insurance and debt recovery. Tracey and I were happy to experience the joyful patter of sales people, as opposed to tiny feet, whilst the exhibitors talked us through the advantages and potential ways of using various toys or products. This proved so much more beneficial than reading a brief description in a catalogue and was enhanced by the touchy-/feely process which induced a ‘must have’ syndrome.
Hannah from Westco
Naturally I played ‘happy snapper’ all day to capture a range of information, bringing the expo to you. Take these simple beakers demonstrated by Hannah from WESCO- they actually have a groove system making them easy to hold and ideal for children who have passed the baby beaker stage but have difficulty gripping whilst drinking - very useful indeed.  Wesco  offer a great range or Early Years toys too and a clear ‘must have’ for toddlers were the wooden sequencing puzzles.
Example of Westco puzzle
One of our favourite suppliers of nursery furniture,Community Playthings had a very impressive stall with everything from divides to climbing frames. These quality items are very hard wearing and great value- our staff even visited the community to take a first- hand look  at production and to discuss requirements for a specific project. 
Community Playthings display of beautiful wooden toys
Never Never Land representative Stephen with Tracey and  top-selling Tugboat
Never Never Land    is an independent toy shop in Muswell Hill with traditional toys and big ideals. They are very keen to keep it natural therefore the majority of their toys are either wooden or made from recycled milk cartons. We were particularly impressed with the stacking riders as space is always at a premium in nurseries- pretty useful  at home too if you have twins!
Never Never Land stacking riders
Originally Never Never Land  catered for domestic customers and has since progressed to include commercial clients.The other aspect I particularly liked is the price transparency policy... what you see on the tag is what you pay. Never Never Land's owner explained that another factor contributing to their success is stocking lines that interest children when visiting the shop- what great business sense!
Liam and Josh eager to play Teddy Tennis with the kids!
One unexpected stand was Teddy Tennis. Nurseries are accustomed to dance, drama and music- tennis is an exciting new sport and with taster classes available a great sporting choice. Liam explained that you don’t need a huge outdoor space in which to manoeuvre, making this a real possibility for the children, who would love it.

Anne (left) with Caroline from Jace Traing- The Jancett Group
Several training and recruitment companies were present, amongst whom we found Jace Training, represented by Caroline and Anne. Caroline talked us through the services currently on offer and recent changes in the childcare sector. Besides apprenticeship,s they are able to provide training on a range of nursery related matters and deliver on-site training.out of hours by arrangement. Jace is very keen to discover the types of training that nurseries and childcare workers require and will do their best provide it,
Smart Technologies demonstratation
With more emphasis increasing in the area of Smart Technology, a Smart table has been invented with over 1000 applications to hand ( is that the right terminology?!!) Children can have fun individually or in groups to increase their teamworking abilities. There are many different types of programmes to assist children's learning; adults on the day were clearly captivated. This table is expensive however there is also an option to rent. Of course, there are no substitutes for pencils and paper but this is a great teaching aid in a modern world. My Smart Space
John Hopely brandishing Creative Steps Magazine
Newsagents are crammed with childcare magazines and nurseries purchase some standard professional publications, but the publication that caught my attention is Creative Steps. The content of this magazine is exceptional, containing projects to keep children busy on an individual or group basis. The most surprising point about Creative Steps is its origin- a family run business competing against the media giants.  John says that the ideas for most of the creative projects are simple and always tried and tested- often by John at home! All the old Blue Peter fans will love this, so buy a copy and give it a go!
TTS imaginary play time
The TTS Zone  was fun, being well presented with great information enhancing the display areas- very professional. The idea is to create a neutral environment rather than frequently used brightly coloured surrounds to enhance the children's feelings of natural warmth and security. This idea really works and they definitely have an inspired approach, winning the Queen’s Award for Enterprise. All of their products are engaging and we loved the super hero figures. Toys and play equipment are safe and versatile, how imaginative is the little wooden house above? Personally I think they’re onto a goldmine with their all-terrain bug: if marketed correctly I think he’ll weigh down Father Christmas’ sleigh! Might share the video of this wonder bug in action shortly- and a huge thank you to Jamie Ambler for the time spent discussing TTS products. TTS online shop
TTS neutral play environment
In addition to stalls there were inter-active workshops and seminars, taken by experts in the industry to update knowledge and childcare practice  based on the EYFS. This included many ways to inspire children. Mud play was a great feature and who would have thought of making an outdoor recipe- a bucket of mud, 2 scoops of grass, a small cup of water etc- great idea!
Happy Birthday Morton Michel- great cake!!
To round off, a huge congrats to sponsors of the event Morton Michel, childcare insurance services and more, who are celebrating 50 years in business. Tracey and I finished off with a huge slice of cake to celebrate this auspicious occasion- and a very successful exhibition. 

Jaz McKenzie

Apologies on behalf of Blogger for all links that have failed to highlight!!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Have Questions~Have Answers? # 13- Why do children cry?

The sound of children crying affects us in many different ways as the sound of their cries vary and produce different emotions within each one of us. There are times when it is necessary to try and calm children down quickly whereas on other occasions children may be left to cry 'for their own good.' A debatable point.

In small babies crying is their first form of direct communication- I wonder why we learn to cry so much sooner than we learn to laugh- couldn't nature have nurtured these two fundamentals simultaneously? Maybe it was meant as a subliminal message,' life is tough so you may as well get used to it!' or- 'He who cries loudest and makes the most fuss is more likely to get what he wants fast!' This idea might sound far fetched but as babies we only have a set of lungs to use to alert people to our hunger or other forms of discomfort. All subsequent communication is learned communication.

As parents, you will need to make decisions as to how you will handle your crying child. This will depend upon the situation, age of your child, their level of understanding and your personal views. So many parents do everything by the book, probably because most of us no longer have regular access to the extended family where traditional childcare flows effortlessly between generations. Instead, we rely upon the childcare experts for guidance and what a minefield that is!

How you handle tears will determine the way in which your child is likely to use them. If a child gets what they want when they cry, whether seeking the parents' attention or a treat, they are likely to cry a great deal more than children who are encouraged to resolve little difficulties- from picking themselves up following a fall to sharing toys with other children. Sadly some children are always given what they want immediately so fail to learn the art of sharing and negotiation, gaining a reputation as a cry baby. If you think you are doing your child a favour by making life easy for them, think again- you are actually complicating the process. What happens when your child goes to school? Very often they will be picked on by the 'bullies' because they cry at everything which satisfies the unhealthy power desire in other children.Over protected children may well lack confidence and find it hard to stand up for themselves or even speak up in class.

Tears are a natural part of our persona and many things will bring tears to our eyes from physical pain to emotion. Tears have a cleansing value acting as a physical outlet for bottled up feelings- we shed tears of anger and tears of joy. Children have tears for the same reasons and we may need to help them to identify the deeper emotions behind their tears. Sometimes children will enter new phases, particularly the birth of a sibling or major move and need help adjusting. For all of us, life is a matter of identifying the way we feel and finding different strategies to cope rather than blaming other people for our fears and upsets.Emotional independence leads to happier people and we can encourage this in our children.

In summary~ Children always cry for a reason. There is always a cause but how often they cry may well be down to us!

Jaz McKenzie

If you would like to write a short article for ~IB~ contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk

Placido Domingo - Somewhere over the Rainbow

Yes we're back to the eternal rainbow which I blogged about recently in poetical form.
I just came across this particular version of the song and it is musically so rich I thought it worth sharing. Isn't it a great thing when the familiar takes on a new dimension and in this instance the song impacts so powerfully that instead of visualising the rainbow as bringing us blessings within this world, I found myself considering this song as a bridge to next, and what an amazing song this is to accompany that transition.

Placido's version is glorious and what an incredible lease of life this song has had, being used in a children's film yet having the ability to inspire so many people and generate version after version. There is something about this song which is as mystical as the rainbows it refers to. So press play and add a little magic to your day!

Jaz McKenzie

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Stepping Up~Stepping Out!

I find this photo quite encouraging as life is particularly challenging at the moment. There are so many lessons that nature can teach us if we take the time to really look around. These trees for example- securely rooted to the spot and withstanding all seasons. How well rooted are we in our beliefs and outlook? For the first time in years I am studying this question in detail and know that we have to experience change in order to grow. This does not mark previous years as wasted; they simply were a different season containing lessons of value in other areas, but now is the time to consolidate life values and discover the best ways to make the most of time.

Coping with frustration can be particularly challenging and limited access to the internet is creating huge frustration for me as it interferes with previously good routines and the running of the blog. Frustration can impede motivation and once identified we need to find different resources to keep the fires burning! On that score there are a few new items to follow shortly here on Its Braap so I am anticipating being given better internet access~ keeping the focus!

What I love about the angle of this photo is that the branches are stretching towards the light- reaching for the stars; a great expression which is quite inspirational. How often do we reach for the stars? Metaphorically we could decide upon a star for the day and try to achieve it- maybe stick up a paper star with a daily target written on it, to be removed when achieved.

The one area I have significantly improved upon is spending more time outdoors amongst nature. Having a huge common at my back door there is plenty to observe and that time can be used to still the mind and reflect on the past or plan for the future. Dream building is a valid activity and spurs us forwards taking steps towards our desired futures.

That's enough thoughts for now as it is time to pop out and enjoy the rest of this glorious day... hope you are feeling the same!

Jaz McKenzie

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Have Questions~Have Answers? #12- Why do people have such unrealistic expectations?

Having watched quite a few property programmes over the weekend I have come to the conclusion that so many people remain picky and dissatisfied with life, holding out for unrealistic dreams.

One woman burst into tears when she was shown a modern home having requested original features, and this particular couple had already been looking for three years, finally contacting the programme in the belief that the presenters would magically conjour up the perfect property to meet all their demands despite their limited budget and the fact they couldn't agree in the first place!
The real question here is: ‘why are people’s expectations so unrealistic in the first place?’  I think that today people are given the impression that they deserve everything they desire regardless of circumstances- an idea constantly thrown at us via the media with advertising being hugely psychological, playing to our weaknesses.
Common sense dictates that if you have financial restrictions you should expect to make some compromises and this can be applied in different ways to meet our general expectations. What do we expect from our children or our partners?  Are our demands realistic when we look at their likes, dislikes, abilities or even earning potential? The point about expectation is that it sets a standard and in so doing sets us up for delight or disappointment. This can be avoided by applying a good dose of realism. Negotiation at the outset between parties helps create a sound platform in any situation. This does not mean that we shouldn’t expect the best however we may achieve it in stages rather than as a one off transaction. How much more do we appreciate the things we have had to work for? On the occasions when all the boxes are ticked we can enjoy extra feelings of amazement and gratitude.
I firmly believe in expecting what you want rather than wondering if you will ever come by it but sometimes it is good to leave a few blanks for the universe to fill. This can lead to more surprises and variety which enhances life.
The big question is~ how much are our expectations affected by greed? We should want things for the right reasons, not the wrong. I was stunned recently when I watched a quiz show in which the final two players can share or steal the winnings. One of the contestants went on about her dream board and how she would win- which she did. I was fully expecting her to share as she was tuned into the universe and presumably the 'fair' factor. I was shocked however when the other contestant decided to share and she decided to steal, walking away with all the money. I think she missed the point- and as she had effectively cheated him out of his half I expect the universe will take it back later! Greed is not to be applauded, especially when she would have had £9000 even if she had shared- not a nice person at face value.
Of course the most important aspects of live which we need to concern ourselves with are those emanating from within. We can have joy, peace and a cheerful disposition which will ultimately attract a whole range of good into our world and make life worth living. Life is not all about the perfect roof over your head, it is about striving for perfection within ourselves and in our dealings with others. Does it really matter how many bathrooms you have or whether you live by a main road? These are considerations that add a little something to the quality of our lives but are not really the best place to put all our energy. I certainly wouldn’t delay moving for 3 years  feeling miserable every day just to get perfection!

Jaz McKenzie

If you would like to write an article for ~IB~ please submit to: itsbraap@live.co.uk

Jaz McKenzie

Thursday, 3 April 2014

LAP UP the UK LICK every Friday & Saturday night ON Buffaloo Radio!!!

When it comes to promoting UK Reggae, Andrew Sloley has the ball rolling every weekend with his show UK Lick, going out live on Buffaloo Radio every Friday & Saturday night, 7-11pm GMT

This is such a great opportunity for UK artists to have their music played to a new audience and all we ask you to do is send jingles to Andrew FACEBOOK or call him on 07946 598110. We also ask you to sign up to BUFFALOO RADIO + spread the word~ Not much to do for for free air play is it!

www.buffalooradio.co.uk is a licensed station aiming to support artists and DJ's across a range of musical genres, so whatever your flavour get involved and be a part of this project.

~IB~ works in conjunction with Buffaloo Radio station and recently interviewed Andrew about his own music live on air @ UK LICK~ a first for us and the interview will be available later on Youtube.

If you like your reggae or gospel, get signed up and tune in over the weekend- chat room available for comments and interactions with other users.

Finally, please share this info on Facebook and other social media networks!! Thanks.


Jaz McKenzie

If you wish to share your project with ~IB~ contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk