“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”
Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa, 1918 – 2013
My sister-in-law Tohun, is a true inspiration. Coming from a Nigerian family, born and brought up in London during the late 1960’s by a widowed, immigrant mother, together with her brother and sister, she recounts that life was hard. Not only did all members of the family work many jobs to bring in the money, but they had to live against the backdrop of prejudice and ignorance. But that did not deter Tohun. In fact, it created a fire in her belly – the burning sensation to succeed. Not only was she black, but she was a woman, and whilst the glass ceiling had been broken by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980’s, the work place was still dominated by men. Despite the disadvantages of colour, poverty and gender, Tohun worked her way through university and up the corporate ladder at Channel 4.
If ever there was a masterclass in courage, persistence and determination, she would be holding court. She and my brother-in-law, now live in a grand, detached house in West London, have three beautiful, thriving children and are enjoying the fruits of their labour. Money is not a measure of success, but self-esteem, self-belief and satisfaction of a life being well lived is. Tohun has all of these. And I am very proud of her achievements.
The story behind the oil, I hear you ask? Well it was Tohun who introduced me to the need for luxurious pampering. After all, hard work without the occasional pleasure is love’s labour’s lost! She gave me my first bottle of Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil when I visited her in the Summer of 1998, and I was hooked. Smothering the silky oil over my body in the shower was sensational. Not being on the same income scale as the Southern Fradgley’s, I had to find a way of imitating the oil and it’s smell. It has taken me 20 years to perfect. No recipe – just a list of ingredients, my nose, courage and persistence.
I use my oil blend every weekday morning and when I go for a night out, as it does what it says it does – REVIVE! It is a mixture of grapeseed and avocado, rich in antioxidants, these oils have wonderful moisturising properties. Lemon is the key ingredient, as it uplifts and increases lymphatic drainage to remove toxins, ideal if you are detoxing. Rosemary and Black Pepper are fantastic stimulants, increasing blood circulation and energy release. And if you suffer from bloating, due to IBS, PMS or poor indigestion, rubbing a little of this oil onto your tummy will help, due to the peppermint and juniperberry. Finally, geranium helps lessen fatigue and balances mood.
And there you have it, my REVIVE bath and body oil. A little bit of luxury, a boost of energy and a day long release of quiet determination. Now, go and show the world what you are really made of, girl!