Category Archives: fashion blog

She Is My Sister & My Hero ‘Against All Odds’ A Survivor… Debbie Bayvel The Last Chapter After Beating Terminal Cancer 7 Times

Just a quick reminder of the girl I get to call my sister. The ying to my yang, my roomie, my bestie, my person.

Debs has the most incredible story I have ever heard or witnessed with regards to beating Cancer and surviving so very much. 11 years old she received a death medical sentence. 41 she walks this earth as an angel & warrior.

We now prepare for three more major operations (number 71,2 & 3 of major reconstructive ops) – well Debs the legend does – I will update with a full post tomorrow.

This is the book I need to finish; to inspire & help others going through any battle in life. Always remember that no matter how small or big, every fight in any aspect of life is relative. Keep the Faith & eyes up always.

A journey from 9yrs old to 41
7 times terminal cancer beater
70 times major op survivor
Missing quite a few body parts: p but you wouldn’t say
Determined
Faith driven
Caring
Legend
Hero
Muse
Jesus Loving
Angel

Finishing the last chapter of a legends book after the next three ops! 🙏🏼

Looks Fade, Souls Don’t…

This touched my heart.

In an era where what one looks like implicates what defines one’s personality we need to remember the true essence of beauty…. it is a celebration of you, your heart, your soul.

We are inundated with ‘ways’ in which to improve our external selves through the faux world of social media – where are those adverts and posts encouraging us to be us on how to help others, on how to become a ‘heart person’.

When did we stop appreciating the beauty that is what God created INSIDE of each of us, the talents we should nurture and the very features we were born with, painted and sculpted in His image. When did we stop caring about caring for others but instead merely caring about our looks?

Sweet girl,

The world is going to tell you a million things about who you should be, how you should act, and the way you should look.

Very few of those voices will be shouting, “your worth doesn’t lie in your appearance.”

Very few voices will be reminding you, “you are made in the image of God, you are perfectly you, and you’re body is not something that needs to be manipulated.”

A million voices will be telling you the exact opposite.

And lies will be flying at you like burning arrows telling you that you just aren’t good enough. They will tell you to look around at the other girls who have what you don’t. They will try to steal every ounce of your joy.

Believe me when I tell you, it’s not worth it.

Chasing some unrealistic, superficial body or appearance will never be good for you. It will never bring more love or joy into your life. It will never, ever make you better.

Looks fade. No matter how hard you try. Gravity comes, wrinkles happen, bodies age.

Souls don’t.

You weren’t made to be an ornament to look at.

You were made to be a vessel in which God works His good through.

Little one, I pray your days are filled not by chasing after an image, but chasing after Jesus and His incredible call on your life.

Love Always

JoJo

Number 14 Gone Far To Soon, James A Legend For The Boks But Far More For All Of Us

Hey mister big guy, I know that Heaven has gained an angel & you must be entertaining everyone up there with all that charisma & wit; but it’s sad for those left behind. ‬gone forever a few days after I could have seen you more… lessons buddy you taught them.

‭You were indeed a legend on the field #14 but you went far beyond that. ‬

‭Your true legacy lies in being “The Sweetest Small Big Guy” with the softest heart, selfless, humble & a safe haven – you would protect anyone you cared for. ‬

‭You forgave quickly, you loved with everything you had, you lived each day to the full and laughed with that voice that made a girl melt, far to often. ‬

‭Rod Stewart, The Bee Gees, Bruce Springsteen … none of these songs sound the same now that you are gone.‬ And how could i forget the one thing neither of us had/have the thing that made us argue yet you put this stubborn one in her place with kind words and your favourite song “Patience” by Guns and Roses.

‭And you did teach me “it’s in the words sweetest little angel” “Everybody needs a human touch”…and I will listen again, for now. ‬‭My hearts aches & I will miss our chats & ur care for me. ‬Your bear hugs. Your Safety. I guess I need that patience now to heal from the loss of your heart.

‭But your family and best friends have lost a man they cherished like no other … my thoughts & prayers are with them now & always. ‬

‭Your babies adored their Papa.‬
‭May they be reminded of the amazing man on AND off the field, everyday.‬

Fly now sweet mister, be happy.‬
‭Until we meet again. ‬
‭Miss ya‬
‭‘Barbie Bayvel’‬

James Small JoJoBayvel

Dear You….

Note to reader: I’m 37, sitting with my princess – Mia, the Italian Greyhound – listening to Sawyer who has just won The Voice, singing ” A Thousand Years” sob sob and only just realised after some pretty serious relationships, that I have only ever loved one man my father and never truly been head over heels in love.So forgive me my cheese-ball moment. Feel free to laugh at or with me at any time. PS I am a die hard romantic… so in the hopes that this Knight – who is going to sweep me off my feet  – exists and is roaming aimlessly on his trusty steed looking for me – I hope you find this message somewhere, somehow.

To the love of my life,

I don’t know you yet. I don’t know how we meet or where you live. I don’t know the names of your siblings or if you like listening to jazz or to alternative, or if your favorite kind of love is for an animal  — the same as me. Perhaps we find each other organically, as I have often dreamed of.

Me, casually glancing at a bestseller and you, reaching to pick it up as we both peruse the same fiction stack – to take our minds off of the hum drum that is daily life. Or perhaps you’re fond of the outdoors and passed me at dusk riding along whilst I jog, when it’s quiet and thoughts turn like gears on a bike. I don’t yet know.

I want to. I want to know all these things and more. I want to know what you look like when you first wake up and the day’s demands have not yet set in.

I want to know what you love most in this world and for you to share it with me. I want to know what buttons I can push, how you’ll react when you’re edgy and where the line is drawn. I don’t yet know.

But what I do know is that I will treat you like I treat myself because your happiness is my happiness. And I do know that I won’t stop trying. Even when we’ve both found what it is we’re looking for in each other, I’ll keep surprising you.

I do know, regardless of where we are or who we become or what happens, I do know I plan to do my best to make you happy every day that we spend our lives together. And here’s how:

I’ll never make you feel inadequate

If you fail at something (which is to be expected), I won’t put you down or hold it against you. I’ll build you up so that you have the confidence to keep pursuing your ambitions. And when I find success in my own life, it won’t be because I have made you my competition.

Whether it’s as small as taking the time to learn a new recipe or as big as a career change, I’ll celebrate you and your achievements, and I’ll ease your losses. And I’ll always be proud of you for putting forth the effort.

I’ll love you with the same passion as when we first met

I promise I won’t take your touch for granted or forget to appreciate the small pleasures you give me.

Even if our lives become routine and we fall into a familiar pattern of sleep and waking, I will work to keep that spark in our relationship alive — the same one that sent chills through my body when we shared our first kiss in the park.

And though you will have good days and bad, and tempers flare and stress makes us behave in irrational ways, that won’t stop me from loving you to my full capacity.

I’ll learn new things and constantly grow alongside you

Paths change, and with each year that passes, we advance a little differently, becoming closer to the things we want out of life. No matter how much we evolve or how much we change, I’ll strive to make sure it’s with you.

What I learn and what I hope for will be in sync with what you need and what you want to discover. You’ll enlighten me with your vast intelligence, and I’ll enliven you with the richness of my stories. Even in the stillness of silence, we’ll forever be in constant connection.

I’ll inspire you

There is something incredibly special about falling in love with someone who makes you a better person. Let my achievements inspire you to find your own personal success.

My presence should be one that excites you and motivates you to go beyond your limitations. Every day I wish to be your muse and your fulfillment. The one who makes you realise how much you are capable of and how much you have to offer.

I’ll relieve your anxieties

Whatever wears on you or whatever obstacles you feel you can’t overcome, I’ll show you that you can on your own. I’ll do my best to attend to your needs without crippling you. When you feel like you can’t get away, I’ll be your escape.

We’ll get lost in our adventures together even if it’s in the comfort of our beds. I’ll be your imagination when you’re stuck inside your own head and I’ll be there to fall back on when you occasionally slip.

I’ll challenge you to your full potential

I won’t let you get away with mediocrity or doing the bare minimum. You might temporarily hate me for pushing you too hard, but I have your best interests at heart — and deep down you know that too.

I’ll care about you enough to be upfront and honest even when the truth is harsh and sometimes hurts.

And even though we might bruise, we’ll also heal. Challenges are what make us stronger in the end. Our relationship may not be as easy or as carefree as we thought, but neither of us has ever really wanted to coast.

We’re drawn to the risk, we’re drawn to the dare and, most importantly, we’re drawn to each other.

So until then. I pray that God keeps you safe and that you have amassed a fortune of homeless hounds for me to babysit.

I cannot wait to meet you.

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Raw, Real & OH So Inspirational ‘A Note from Maya: Life, death & the dentist’ by Maya Amoils – Aren’t I Lucky Enough To Call Maya My Cousin & BFF. My Cancer Fighting Bumble Bee

To preface this piece written by my cousin is near impossible. But, here goes.

Maya in her typical ‘pose’

What I can say is this. I have always been so incredibly proud of you my ‘little cousin’ Maya. To find out at 28, you would be; and are fighting against the dreaded ‘C’ was|is devastating. I am amazed at how inspirational your post is, how much courage and strength you possess and how absolutely beautiful you remain.

Maya & Mishie | Maya & Honey

Sharing these words is a privilege. For those going through any battle – let it light and guide your way, and I hope you look forward to your next visit to the Dentist!

You may be thinking wow, your sister, aunt and now cousin? No it’s not genetic; it’s a ‘bad luck’ of the draw & it sucks. You should know we actually have pretty damn awesome genes thanks to dip (carol ann), dorry (dee) & ducky (sands) I mean HELLO, our amazing Nana survived for a couple of years in complete heart failure and with a triple G cup which by 84 meant her b**bs reached her knees, which could kill anyone! We are all fighters !

Me, the three sisters, momma and aunties & My

My, My My, just don’t you ever forget we ARE in your corner, we have done it with debs, aunty dip and we will do it with you!

Here are a few tidbits about our My My you may not know.

When younger we were all enthralled by our littlest cousins antics – her bronx accent? Whilst born and raised in Cincinnati? Giving herself timeouts (yip herself), her refusal to wear socks if they weren’t inside out, her not so soft renditions of all the songs from the Lion King, her mushroom hairstyle and refusal to change it, her dress sense *cringe* and then her ability to melt anyone’s heart with a little smile and those dimples.

Mishie & Ultra Cool My My

At that tender age her stubbornness and tenacity shone through (even getting my tough rugga bugga dad dressed up as a ‘pretty ‘pretty princess’).

My My, Dad & Mishie

Who knew that so many years later these traits would become crucial in her world and to her existence.

As Maya grew up and the age gap between us shrank figuratively ,us girls Mishie her sister (another beauty and rocket scientist I adore) become far closer than cousins. We truly are the best of friends and heart sisters. Soulmates who share the same stars in the night sky – even living 10 000 miles apart.

Soul Sisters | Cousins | BFFS

In fact Maya and I are incredibly similar…. in personality, humour and perhaps a few (or more *big eyes* quirks here and there oh and our stubbornness.

Cousins?

That’s where it ends, unfortunately for me 🙂 She is the beauty, brains and ….. b**bs.

I stand in awe of a cousin who grew up to be absolutely magnificent, incredibly capable, successful beyond.

Someone who literally walked and worked with the ‘stars’ whilst to me, outshining them in every way.

My My thinking of you today and always my mind drifts back to memories of you belting out and of course making us all sing “Hakuna Matata” – “Means No Worries For The Rest Of Your Life” and “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” – my cousin let it be so, and not just tonight but every night until I see you later this year, I hope you feel the HUGE amount of love I have in my heart for you.

Now for that post | note | most inspirational entry

A Note from Maya: Life, death & the dentist

Journal entry by Team Maya — May 22, 2019A few days after I got my diagnosis in November, I went to the dentist. A few days following that news meant that the world was raw and triggering. Every minute felt terrifying. So when my hygienist asked, “Have you had any recent changes to your health?” the poor woman really had no idea what she was unleashing.

I spent the hour fighting through tears and silence and awkwardness. When I checked out, the receptionist asked if I would like to schedule my next appointment, six months from now. I froze. I didn’t know much about my diagnosis,  but I knew enough from the glimpses of terror in my mom’s voice to know that things did not look good. That there might not be a six months from now.

Today, I got a reminder that my dentist appointment is on 05/28, six days from now. 05/28 also happens to be the birthday of one of my very best childhood friends who passed away in a tragic hiking accident. I made 05/28 the password on my phone as a daily reminder to myself to live my days as fully as she did. I couldn’t help but marvel at that coincidence and reflect on how much has permanently changed. So much can happen in an instant, yet the world keeps turning and everything’s the same. It still rains on days you want it to be sunny and is sunny on days you want it to rain. There is still life, death, taxes, and the dentist.

I haven’t written much about this whole experience, but lately I started to write a letter to myself, to the Maya who stood in line at reception wondering if she should make her next appointment, from the Maya now.

In it, I talk a lot about odds. The odds of getting into Stanford. The odds of getting a job at Google. The odds of getting stage 4 ovarian cancer as a perfectly healthy 28-year-old. With 0/20,000 cancer genes. With parents, an uncle, and a sister, as doctors.  

What I conclude from these head-scratching odds is this: life is going to be short for everyone, no matter how long it is. And while we walk the planet, the only thing any of us has is our ability to extract meaning from experience.

What I have taken away from this experience is:

1. That life is a sport, best played as a team. And my team fucking rules. My parents are the most phenomenal souls I know. My sister is my hero. My friends and family are who you want by your side in a boxing match, in an ER, or in bed on a lazy Friday after chemo. Soulmates come in all shapes and forms if we let them. They can even come as dogs.

2. That you should write down 3 things you are grateful for each day. Especially on the days you feel like you have nothing to be grateful for. The last entry I wrote in the gratitude journal that sits by my desk reads, “getting to start chemo tomorrow.” Tonight, I will write “getting to finish chemo tomorrow.”

3. That you should be kind to strangers and generous to the world. You can learn a lot from your neighbors. Even if they are 82, they can become your friends.  

4. That in the face of the unknown, the only way through is one breath and one day at a time. One song at a time can work, too (thank you Rachel Platten, thank you Lupe, thank you GRiZ.)

5. That with all my unexplainable odds, I am no more, or less, special than anyone else.

Throughout this journey, I have held mantras sacred. My dad shared one a while ago that I use often — relax, trust, go downstream. He also taught me a very important one, “I am not attached to the outcome. No matter what happens, I will handle it.

I do not know the outcome of tomorrow. Or the next six months. I pray it is the end of treatment for me. But it may not be. What I do know is that I will go to the dentist next week. And I have never been more excited for a dentist appointment. That horribly mundane, dreaded experience has now become a chance to celebrate that I’m here and a chance to remember everyone I love.  

I end my letter to Maya-At-The Dentist saying this:

Your experience has been an extraordinary one. Let it undo you. Let it break you and make you whole again. Walk away from it bigger, brighter and filled with what you need to live like your soul is on fire.   

That is how you live a vibrant life in the face of death, darling. You stare it down and blind it with compassion and laughter and love and human connection. You defeat it with the conviction to make it better.

I would not be here, able to have any conviction, without you — my team in the arena, on the bench, and in the stands far away. For the unwavering messages of love and support, for “being there” in every sense of the term — thank you. Thank you thank you thank you. I cannot say it enough.

I hope someday I can find a way to repay the amount of generosity I’ve received back into the world but, in the meantime, I hope you can find a way to look forward to your next trip to the dentist.

With love and appreciation, 
Maya

Follow Maya’s journey here

Still So Apt But I Am Finally Ready: My Darling … Yet To Discover

Turning 37 and thank goodness genetically blessed from both folks physically and with youthful looks (knees now do feel the rain coming though 🙂 ), seems like a good time to repost these words I wrote in the middle of a game farm under a star filled African sky next to a mesmerising fire.

I was full of hope and yet I guess whilst the words were straight from the bottom of this heart, I don’t think I was quite ready to be … discovered let alone discover someone and give them my all.

I am ready now…. BUT not ready to discover just anybody. He must be my soulmate and best friend, my forever one, the man who loves me when I am no longer youthful looking but still blessed with the same kind heart and sense of humour ( perhaps with less wits about me but still witty) …because I know that I am capable of; and want that soul quenching, inner beauty loving…forever happiness.

If you asked me what I wanted my darling a thousand times over it would be the same thing,
I want a life filled with adventure, never letting the mundane and boring become a part of who we are,
My love, I want to explore the earth: in its entirety,  every last crevice of you, the earth, the oceans and each little thing that the moon shines upon and my love, I want to explore this with you …

Darling if you had to ask me what would make my heart happy and what would make my soul come alive I would tell you this;

Take my heart and hold it in your hand as though it was the very thing that keeps you alive,
Guard it and guide it,
Treat it with the utmost and gentle care, but never allow it to grow tired and still,
As my heart sweet darling needs to be touched and whispered to: so that your heart too, beats with the fire of a thousand African sunsets.


My love if you want to know the secret to hearing my laughter erupting from the depths of my very soul just know the answer lies in allowing me to be me,
for my love, my beauty lies not in the colour of my eyes nor the shape of my lips but rather in the way I live;
to feel free and alive;
And laughter, my love, is the way my heart sings, it allows you to pen lyrics to the sweetest melody your ears have yet to hear.


My darling if you want to know how to make your arms my safe haven then simply do this –
Treat me my sweet sweet darling as though I were the most special and incredible gift;
hold me in your arms, unwrap each layer that encases my body, heart and soul

BUT

Do this with care my darling as the rarest gifts need to be opened slowly and patiently in order to truly appreciate what lies inside the gilded paper,

black-and-white-love-photography-Favim.com-534735

My love, the answers to most of the questions your mind yearns to know are simple:
For darling  they are the very questions you have had the answer to, since the beginning of your mortal time.

Moments Of Impact – Turning 37 24.05.1982

Sorry for the short post, today is sad and happy. More later.

🌸thank you🌸


In the past year, moments of impact have taught me to value love, family, friends, nature and special moments I can treasure as memories in this beautiful world, rather than gifts and material things. 


And so turning 37 today has left me overwhelmed at all the beautiful and heartfelt wishes, calls and messages I have received. I have so many very special people in my life.


Thank you for making my heart smile.

Love always,

JoJo