13 Oct 2015


I know that I haven't blogged in ages. The summer was a bit of a weird one for me and I felt a bit all over the place. 

But recently I've been doing a few things that have brought me lots of life. The main one being going to see Florence and the Machine with my friend Luffy at Allypally!

If you have never heard of Florence and the Machine (shame on you) I am almost convinced you will have heard some of her music. She is a bit like marmite, people either love her or hate her. I am definitely in the love category. 

Today I am going to give you my top #3 of her songs for you to enjoy. 

At number #3 is probably the most famous of her songs 

You Got The Love

Number #2 for me is


Number #1 my absolute fave at the moment is....

Make up your mind

Now all of these are subject to change and I think there is one from each of her 3 albums there - basically I cannot commend her highly enough to you. Seeing her live was incredible!! Florence has this insane energy, she was on stage for 2 hours leaping across the stage and singing her heart out. 

People might say that spending money on tickets to see people perform or play sport is a waste - but I think experiences like this make us enjoy life more. It was a quality night with a great friend. 

25 Jun 2015


This last week has been difficult to say the least. 

Life as a youth worker in London is a colourful mixture of joyful break-throughs and devastating set backs. 

In the last week in Lewisham alone I've had interactions with the Police, weapons found in the possession of young people I work with, a boy I work with got stabbed on the way to school (not fatal thankfully) and there was another stabbing in the middle of the day today.

It is so rubbish.

The last few years I have been incredibly blessed with limited violence in the borough. Violent acts have mainly happened with adults rather than young people. Now there seems to be a shift. It's not just in Lewisham either. There have been a number of violent incidents across London with stabbings in Islington and Greenwich in the last couple of weeks too. 

It feels like attack. 

I don't know how else to describe it. I can't understand the reasoning behind such senseless acts. It feels like there is another power at work. I'm not someone who normally jumps to over-spiritualise situations; however, at the moment I feel like there is a greater force at work than just people making stupid decisions.

Maybe that sounds weird. Maybe I'm wrong. 

But I would really encourage anyone who prays to pray for peace in this city. To pray for young people to not get caught up in retaliation. 

At the moment it's all I think will help.

28 May 2015

Few things beat life in the sun

If you didn't already know, I am a sun lover. Whilst generally I am not blessed in going super brown (as my mum and brothers are), I enjoy the way my freckles make a seasonal appearance and my cheeks go pink as I greedily absorb as much vitamin D as humanly possible. 

I have no doubt that I have a form of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) as my spirits can be hugely impacted depending on whether the sun is out or the rain is pouring. So it is with great delight that I write, whilst we are officially still in Spring, to the benefits of sunshine in my life.

In the past month I have been able to:
  • Visit Wales 
  • Go to the BAFTAs
  • Go to weddings

  • Enjoy being in countryside

  • Go see an incredible band (Needtobreathe) and be really near the front!

All of this has been good for the soul in terms of enjoying creation, being sociable, escaping the bustle of London and general adventuring. 

However, I've also undertaken a different kind of adventure too. In April I started speaking to a counsellor. I was finding that it was getting increasingly difficult to move forward when I was clearly carrying baggage from the past. This is an ongoing journey. Quite a few people have asked me how it's going and while I would say that I'm definitely not enjoying it, I am finding it helpful. It's amazing how giving yourself some space and freedom to actually articulate thoughts and emotions can help you to see things for what they really are. Also it's crazy (and a bit frustrating) how having your own thoughts spoken back to you by someone else can completely change your perspective or induce some kind of light-bulb moment. If you are on the fence about speaking to someone I would definitely say go and give it a try. 

I really do feel like I'm in a new season of life and that it's being defined by taking action. For instance - 
  • Speaking to a counsellor - I've been thinking about this for about 3 years...easy to put off!
  • Applying to be on the Island - QUALITY TV show, everyone go watch on catch up if you haven't seen it.
  • Undertaking the massive challenge of cycling 100km in 1 night for the charity I am a trustee of (www.kisumuchildren,org.uk). If you can please do consider sponsoring me, even a few quid goes a long way in terms of motivation for me to keep going. 
  • Taking opportunities to be kind. I saw a quote recently that said, "You will never regret being kind" I think a lot of the time I can become a bit self obsessed, getting on with my own agenda - but we are all called to be people who look out for opportunities to love others. 
  • Reading a book that is reminding me who to listen to and how to live life fully and with purpose 
Too often I am sucked into believing that everyone is sorted and I'm the messed up one. It's a lie and slowly I am coming to see that. In the meantime I am enjoying life in the sun and all the joy that brings.  


28 Apr 2015


Life goes on. If you are a fan of Noah and the Whale (they're a band) then you'll know that they sing a song of this title. While I haven't blogged in a while my life has done just that - stuff has happened.

Since January a lot has happened:
  • I've moved house
  • Been on a work retreat
  • Celebrated my birthday 
  • Hosted my 4th Arts Showcase
  • Finished building my bike* 
* Massive respect and thanks has to go to Bec Lemen-Hogarth for actually building it for me
  • Met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Will and Kate)
  • Led Spring Harvest 11-14's
  • Ate 17 different cuts of meat in 1 night
  • Hit the beach
  • Had my room re-modelled/designed
  • Learnt how to play Settlers of Catan
We're now near the end of April and I'm wondering why I haven't blogged until now. I guess sometimes I have felt like I have a lot of stuff in my head but it's hard to know how to articulate thoughts. Then loads of things happened in quite quick succession which meant I didn't really have a chance to process anything properly and so didn't know what to say. 

Loads of people have asked my about the Royal visit and whether I got to speak to the Duke and Duchess - well yes I did. I got to introduce them to residents and young people on one of the estates I work on and then facilitate a discussion where they were able to articulate what they feel about their community and the work XLP does there. Will and Kate are actually really great listeners and asked some solid questions and made insightful comments; that's not just me saying that, they genuinely were brilliant guests to have. 

Now the sun is coming back out I almost feel like my head is coming out of hibernation. I am having loads of thoughts about how time keeps going by and if you don't make choices to do the things you want to do then you will never do them. Post uni I feel like the years have all blurred into one and I don't want to get a few years down the line and still be in the same place. 

I read a quote which said "a year from now you will wish you started today" - I love that. It motivates me to take action where I can now. 

So in practise that looks like:

  • having a better work/life balance
  • setting physical goals (like cycling 100km through the night in June)
  • planning holidays
  • making time for myself
that's where I've got to so far. I'm sure there are plenty more to be added. Feel free to let me know ideas or things that work for you.

29 Jan 2015

Say wha?!

In true Naomi fashion I have once again delayed a blog post in January. Think it's happened every year I've written this blog! I always feel like the first post of the year has to be something particularly profound and then feel like I don't have anything massive to say...so then say nothing. 

Recently, however, I have had many things I could write about. I mean lots has happened, lots of thoughts have shifted, I've read loads of things, been encouraged/inspired, had opportunities etc. But then that pushed me to the other extreme of having too much to say and not knowing what to focus on. What should I say??!

So I felt like I had better crack on and just write something.  

Naomi's Dec/Jan in an overview.


  • Had some excellent youth work sessions doing fun things - outdoor laser tag, bowling, chinese buffet
  • Decided to move out of Braidwood Road
  • Enjoyed some quality family time over Christmas and actually just stopped for a while
  • Had opportunities to catch up with a number of people in the run up to and over NYE

  • Started by making some new friends
  • Found a new house
  • Temporarily living with a family who have 2 little girls - means I have had a Personal Trainer for the trampoline and a Hair Stylist.
  • Spoke in Belmarsh Prison
  • Sorting things for Spring Harvest 11-14's in Easter
  • Trying to make life more sustainable

So there's some general info.  

More specifically I think that God has been talking to me a lot about life and how to stay connected. He's been challenging me on my attitudes and thoughts. Like yesterday I was driving home from Church (of all places) and I got through some traffic lights just as they were changing. I was thinking "wooo go me" until I saw that the car behind me had whizzed through too - totally running the red light. So then I turned it into a little race between me and that car, making sure I wasn't breaking the speed limit, but driving "defensively". Then when that car got caught at another set of traffic lights and I got through I broke out into this crazy laugh - imagine evil villain in a film and that was pretty much what my laugh was like...and then I realised what I was doing and was like "how are you so weird?!" 

In January we generally use the time at the start of the month for reflection on what we want the year to look like, what we want to change and what we want to achieve. I totally did that! I was thinking about the type of person I want to be, the boxes I want to be able to tick...and then I really just felt like I needed to chill out. 

I don't know if you ever do this thing where you set really ridiculously high expectations for yourself and then get really annoyed/down when you don't reach them or when life doesn't turn out how you expected? I feel like I have a lot of lessons to learn from 2014 about myself and about God. 

I think in the past I have put a lot of pressure on myself to try and be this super-giving, super- serving, super Christian person. Generally the motives have been right - I do want to help people, I want to love people the way God does and I want to be able to bring truth and life to people. However, behind all of this trying I was getting bitter about how even though I was giving everything life wasn't turning out how I was planning. I was getting more and more drained trying to give and serve and love thinking that that was the good Christian thing to do...but slowly realising that God hadn't asked me to do half the things I was doing. 

You probably know if you read this often that I love the Christian Pastor/Author called John Ortberg - and recently my pastor lent me a series of talks that Ortberg had recorded on "Restoring Weary Souls". More and more I think I'm being reminded to be a Mary instead of a Martha. I've always lived my life with lots of action, not necessarily knowing how to just "be". But I guess that is my aim for this year - I don't want to pile on loads of pressure but I think maybe if I can just "be" with God then he will show me what I need to do. 

Practically I've tried to work out how I connect with God more and I don't think I'd realised how much I love being outside and reading. I've always known that I love being with people which is still true, but trying to push into some of these other ways of "being" is just an experiment really. 

Any thoughts, suggestions, ideas from those of you who are well practised in "being" are welcome 
(photo courtesy of Nom and Malc Photography)