Royal Gazette Bermuda

The story begins in utero. Audrey McLean’s mother was bleeding while pregnant. It’s the start of the memoir that parallels the Jamaican’s struggles and triumphs from childhood to adulthood.

“The story starts with a bang — life or death,” said the author of The Diamond Trap.

“My hardship started in utero. I asked the question, ‘Can’t an unborn baby get a break?’”

The self-published, non-fiction novel came out at the end of last year followed by parenting handbook Twins-to-One and children’s book Miss Underwood.

Contrary to what she thought, it is the most popular book of the three. Readers from Britain and Canada have posted reviews on Amazon and connected with her “harsh” yet “hilarious” tale.

“It’s not a boring autobiography,” said the Bermuda resident. “It’s hilarious ... they say. And engaging.”

She said comedy comes naturally.

“I like to make people laugh, and I like to laugh. I’ve been getting this reaction since the time I was in Jamaica two decades ago.

“Every time I’d give a little excerpt of my life, people would burst out laughing. I wasn’t trying to be funny, but apparently the joke and the experience was extremely embarrassing and extremely hilarious.

“Everybody has a favourite chapter.”

Her favourite is My Pet Rooster.

When her father, the breadwinner, died, he left her mother with an ectopic pregnancy and necessary surgery. Once out of the hospital, she took her five children back home from their grandmother’s, but there was nothing to eat.

“There was no food, nothing. Except for Sammy, my rooster, who was 100 years old,” she recalled.

Her sister was tasked to pick the weevils from the rice; she to catch the rooster.

“Normally, Sammy would be coming up like a little dog and behave like a normal pet. He would eat ice cream and he would eat chicken,” she laughed.

“But Sammy picked up on something when we were approaching him. He started running like Usain Bolt.”

They eventually caught him, but the meat was too tough.

“It was cooking for like ten hours and it was not palatable,” she laughed. “I didn’t eat any, but everybody else had to settle with sucking it.”

Another favourite is The Shoes, an episode she described as “embarrassing”.

Her mother had promised that if she got in to a good high school, she would buy her a new pair of shoes.

Ever “thrifty”, when reminded of the promise, she took her daughter to local shoemaker, Mr Binns.

“I said, please mummy, that cobbler has the talent of a lizard. She didn’t argue with me. We had to go,” she remembered.

Ms McLean wanted Mary Janes. Instead, she got “the biggest ugliest, indestructible pair of shoes”.

“It was as big as a row boat. I used a machete and tried to cut the sole. I walked in water when it rained on the road. I twisted it, but it was indestructible.

Being bullied only bolstered her sense of humour, but the story is not all laughs.

“It has some very sad moments like the death of my father, the death of my mother, the death of my ex, my children being very ill,” she said.

“It carries your emotions up and down.”

The pharmaceutical rep has lived on the island for more than a decade after she married a Bermudian.

She started writing The Diamond Trap three years ago, but was held back when struck by doubt. She identified her target audience, the Caribbean Diaspora, yet doubt still crept in.

Then she dreamt about Oprah.

“Somebody just burst through the door and said, ‘Surprise!’ It was Oprah Winfrey in a red dress,” she laughed. “I thought Oprah ... Book Club ... I should finish this.”

There’s a chapter dedicated to her transformation. Debts were paid off, her divorce settled and she began to see herself clearly.

“It was very therapeutic to write that book,” she said. “I didn’t realise I was so strong until I looked at myself properly in totality.

“There’s a chapter that I titled Déjà Vu, which shows the parallel of Jamaica to Bermuda, childhood to adulthood. There’s also a parallel with the process of diamond formation. Trapped in the core of the earth as charcoal under intense pressure that we can’t even imagine and it can’t move, but it slowly forms into this beautiful diamond.”

“It’s engaging, I can assure you,” she grinned.

She left out some of the “juicy” moments in her relationship out of respect for her children, seven-year-old twin girls.

The second book is a parenting manual for “anybody that feels overwhelmed”.

Twins-to-One is a play on the term two-to-one and it talks about the unbalanced ratio of parents to children,” she said.

“This book was inspired by people without twins asking me how I was doing it.”

She says she doesn’t preach.

“It’s very comprehensive and very helpful. I talk about money management, time management, legal aspects, support, boundaries.

“If you’re a single parent you have to de-stress and you have to get time by yourself.

It also goes into managing a career; she has to travel often for her work with Merck Sharp & Dohme;, and coping with divorce.

Miss Underwood is her favourite book, the name is a play on the word “misunderstood”.

In the book, a primary schoolteacher from a fictional tropical island, Isle of Gold, migrates to teach primary schoolchildren in an undetermined country that could be the US or Canada.

There is no patois in the book. She uses English words and phrases that are commonly misunderstood in different cultures. She wants to see her book in schools in Japan, the US, Canada and Bermuda to bridge the gap between Jamaican culture and theirs.

“The whole book is a misunderstanding,” she said. “It’s teaching children cultural diversity.”

• Audrey McLean’s books are available at Bookmart, The Bermuda Bookstore, Nubian Nook Bookstore on Court Street, Caesar’s Pharmacy, Somerset Pharmacy and Robertson’s. The e-book can be found on Ms McLean will hold a book signing at Brown & Co on January 26 and 27

Audrey McClean

Royal Gazette

Royal Gazette Bermuda

Trish Croke was overwhelmed when she first let her hair go natural.The pharmacy was packed with natural hair care products, but none of them worked for her.

“I was becoming a product junkie,” said the 50-year-old. “My bathroom closet was quickly filling with products I couldn’t use.”

So after some online research, she began experimenting with making her own hair care products.

“At first I was giving away what I was making,” she said. “Then my cousin suggested I sell it. I was hesitant at first, but then I thought I’d give it a try.”

She launched her own natural hair care line, Island Potions, last year.

Her line consisted of flaxseed gel, flaxseed custard, tropical ice gel, aloe vera gel treatment and many others, all ranging in price from $5 to $20.

They help with everything from eczema and itchiness to dry hair and hair freshness. She even has something for men with itchy beards. She also sells home-made soaps and candles.

At first, she imagined her market would be small, but there was an outpouring of interest.

“I entered the natural hair movement midstream,” she said.

Knowing that everyone’s hair is different, she decided to give consultations before selling her products.

“I am not a hair stylist or certified in any way,” she said. “I tell my clients not to take what I say as the gospel.

“I am just telling them what I know from experience and what I have found through research. That is what I work from.”

She has found that a lot of her clients are experiencing the same confusion she first felt.

“They are embracing their natural hair for the first time, but don’t know how to care for it,” she said.

Some of her clients have thinning hair after years of using chemicals to straighten it.

“Stress and medication can also affect your hair,” she said. “If you have a weave or dreads, that pulls on the hair and can lead to thinning hair.”

Unfortunately, she said, it is difficult to turn back thinning hair once it has started.

Her own hair journey has not been an easy one. She had her first perm when she was 12 years old.

“As I was growing up my hair had gotten a lot thicker and longer making it unmanageable for my mom,” said Ms Croke. “My mom being black Bermudian and father being Portuguese made my hair a different texture from my mom.

“With the struggle my mom had with my unique hair type she took me to the hairdresser and I got a perm.”

Ms Croke continued to get it permed until she was 45.

The final straw came when her long hair got caught in a car door in 2014.

“I knew it was time to do something different with my hair, but I didn’t know what,” she said.

Years of perms had left her hair dry and damaged. A hairdresser suggested she go natural.

At first Ms Croke balked at the idea. “I said I have to go to work, I can’t have my hair looking like that,” said Ms Croke.

But her hairdresser urged her to try it. “I tried it for three months, then panicked and said I can’t do this, I have to go back to a perm,” said Ms Croke.

But her hairdresser urged her to stick with it. What was left of her old perm was holding back her curls from coming in.

“She said, ‘Just keep doing it and your beautiful curls will come in’,” said Ms Croke. “So I transitioned for a year, and then decided to do what we call the Big Chop.

“It was scary to get my hair all cut off, but I knew it was time.”

She had to go quite short. Her friends and family were shocked but supportive. “Everyone was very positive,” she said.

Three years later, her hair falls to below her waist when it is straightened. When she started Island Potions she was working at Colonial as a full-time legal executive assistant.

“They made me redundant at the end of May,” she said. “That hit me hard because I wasn’t expecting it. Thank God that Island Potions was kicking off. I didn’t think it would be as successful as it is.”

And she loves the work. “At the end of the day I like being natural and I want to help other naturals,” she said. “I get satisfaction from it.”

But she is also hoping to find another full-time job as a personal assistant. “I just love helping people,” she said.

Her soy candles and soaps are available at Nubian Nook on Court Street. Her hair care products are sold from her home in Spanish Point.

For more information see Island Potions on Facebook or e-mail her on

Designing Sistas Magazine

An excerpt from the story...

African American Litrature Book Club

Nubian Nook being advertised on an international website by AALBC.  An entity that celebrates reading, authors and books, by highlighting the best of the best, from around the world.


Heart & Soul Online Magazine


Rosheena Beek....K.I.M's List congratulates you on your future progress and success!


A children’s book by local author Rosheena Beek, is gaining traction as a piece of educational literature, with a number of copies to make their way into Bermuda’s schools.

Copies of the book ‘Mommy Says!’ will be donated to the island’s public primary schools as well as pre-schools.

Ms. Beek said, “It is a distinct honor, in light of a firm contribution by the Department of Education to Moja Co. Productions, publishing house of the vest selling children’s book ‘Mommy Says!,’ to have been given the opportunity to donate seven, “Mommy Says!” books, per the eighteen Public Primary Schools and 2 Mommy Says! Books, per the ten Public Pre-schools of Bermuda, as part of the Dept. of Educations Literacy Initiative.

“Currently, Mommy Says! is being considered by the Children’s Defense Fund, out of Washington D.C., to become a part of their “Freedom School Program”, curriculum listing 2016.” “It’s also being considered for the Atlanta-Fulton Library to become a listing of their 34 branches throughout Atlanta Georgia in 2016. It has become a current listing into the Auburn Avenue Research Library, Atlanta Georgia, a library dedicated to the Research of African Studies.

“A lesson plan based upon my book has been created by Janiece Montoya, Mental Health Counselor of Third Way Center in Denver, Colorado. The lesson plan is created for all teachers, counselors and parents of the world, as an aid to help all children in the P1 – P5 classes learn more about themselves and their feelings.

“This lesson plan will be introduced to the world in 2016 also.”

“I couldn’t be more happy than I am today, to be able to give such a donation to the Department of Education being that I was taught by this school system. Also, as an author, it is a great example for all of the children coming through this system, to show them that with hard work and dedication, anything that they put their mind to is possible.”

‘Mommy Says!’ is currently on sale at The Bookmart, Bermuda Bookstore, Caesars Pharmacy, Robertson’s Drug Store,,, Uptown Sisters Bookstore and Grandma’s Place in Harlem, New York City, Nubian Bookstore in Atlanta, Georgia, A Different Booklist, and Knowledge Bookstore of Toronto, Canada.

PinkSand Entertainment

Dear Rosheena,

I write to express my sincere appreciation for you having served as one of our Readers at the 16th Annual Children's Reading Festival. 

This year we had 2,600 people attend the event; 1,000 of which were children!

The purpose of the event continues to celebrate the love of reading in the hopes of inspiring life-long readers.  

We sincerely thank you for sharing your very own book and love of reading with the children last week. You are an inspiration to many for authoring such a special story!

Lisa Reed
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Bermuda Alumnae Chapter

First Read Expo 2015


I am a featured author at the First Read Expo 2015.  I will also be presenting on the "My Own Master Piece" stage on Saturday, November 21, 2015 at 5:15pm.

Royal Gazette

Grandmas Place in Harlem Blog



This is a heartwarming critique about my books made by Bermuda College students. 



Hey former school counseling classmates and teachers, Rosheena's books are amazing on every level. I created a bibliotherapy school counseling lesson plan for "I Find it So Hard" and will gladly pass it along. Just inbox me your email if I don't have it and I will send it ASAP. Rosheena is truly an amazing writer and your students will grow and learn from the experience.

Royal Gazette





Bermuda National Gallery

Royal Gazette



Bermuda Sun

Royal Gazette Bermuda

A new production company that encompasses film, theatre, photography, and image building for potential stars has opened its doors.

Playwright Patricia Nesbitt, videographer Rosheena Beek and choreographer Michelle Laylor are the key players behind The Four Women Production House – they cite God as the fourth member.

Their focus is talented women. The group believes that a society with mentally, physically, and spiritually balanced females works well.

  • Balanced approach: Rosheena Beak (left), Patricia Nesbitt (centre) and Michelle Laylor (right) are the key players behind The Four Women Production House and they cite God as the fourth member. Their focus is on talented women." />

    Balanced approach: Rosheena Beak (left), Patricia Nesbitt (centre) and Michelle Laylor (right) are the key players behind The Four Women Production House and they cite God as the fourth member. Their focus is on talented women.


A new production company that encompasses film, theatre, photography, and image building for potential stars has opened its doors.

Playwright Patricia Nesbitt, videographer Rosheena Beek and choreographer Michelle Laylor are the key players behind The Four Women Production House – they cite God as the fourth member.

Their focus is talented women. The group believes that a society with mentally, physically, and spiritually balanced females works well.

"This is not to negate or leave out men," said Miss Laylor, "but we find that a lot of women are hurting and they need something positive to help lift up their spirits.

"I believe that spirit wants to express itself, be it one way or the other. In this society, we used to celebrate the culture of Bermuda. We used to express ourselves through song, dance, art – be it visual or fine art – and right now the focus seems to be business. So it is out of balance, we definitely need the arts."

One of the organisation's first ventures was grooming local singer Twanée Butterfield for her album launch.

"We had seen Twanée at an event and we were talking about how she needed to create an image so that when she went overseas there was something about her that was an attention getter," explained Mrs. Nesbitt.

"Michelle had the opportunity to work on her choreography and Rosheena filmed the process – when she talks to a producer she can just slip the DVD in."

The idea is to develop into an international company with a focus on training and developing performing artists for a professional market.

Upcoming events include the DVD release of 'The Wedding' – the final play in Mrs. Nesbitt's 'Pastor Will You Marry Me' trilogy – and a summer programme based in Atlanta, for teens interested in the performing arts.

Royal Gazette