Books, Film, Etc

Thursday, 22 March 2018

God Doesn't Owe You a Husband & Other Confronting Truths I Learnt from Party of One by Joy Beth Smith

*I kindly received a copy from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinions on the book.*


Did you enter adulthood thinking marriage would naturally find you, only to end up at a second-cousin’s wedding, dodging yet another bouquet the night before you turned thirty? Maybe you’ve started wondering, is this the best the single life has to offer? Joy Beth Smith says it’s not. The single life doesn’t have to be the runner-up version of God’s best. It doesn’t have to leave you constantly waiting for “real life” to begin. ... Understand that, you don’t have to be married to be wise. You don’t have to be a mother to have supernatural love. You don’t have to own a home to be hospitable. Singleness is not meant to be pitied, shamed, fixed, or even ignored. It is to be celebrated. God doesn’t promise you a husband, but he does promise comfort, intimacy, and satisfaction. With humour, self-awareness, and been-there perspective, Party of One delves into the insecurities and struggles of singleness and encourages you to find the good, the true, and the beautiful, to dive headfirst into community, and to stop pressing pause on a life you never expected.

Getting married isn't something that has really occupied my mental space ... until recently because all of a sudden you see people you don't know get engaged on Instagram, people you grew up with getting engaged and posting it on Facebook and friends entering long term relationships and talking about it all the time ! And while I still don't have a burning desire to get married, it's still something I've always imagined would probably happen ... for most people actually.

So imagine my surprise when I read the title of the first chapter: God doesn't owe you a husband. He doesn't? But I don't want to die alone?! It's not good for man to be alone ... right?! Is this clickbait?!

Which is why I think I really needed this book. This is the singleness manual that isn't about what you do whilst you wait to get into a relationship. Or about "preparing" to be in a relationship. God actually has full on life plans for singlehood ! It's not necessarily a season which ... was a surprisingly hard pill to swallow. But that's why it was so great because it really challenged me to get to a place in life where God is just enough on his own! There's a beautiful chapter about the importance of community and how you can build really fruitful and God filled relationships with people around you and thrive through those relationships ! Because God hasn't reserved that solely for marriage.

Party of One uses the bible debunks myths I'm sure many Christians may have adopted, and not even necessarily to do with relationships. For instance, the idea that God gives us everything our heart desires because duh he gave me desires, right? Joy Beth shows us that might not be the case and God is still good even if we don't get everything we want.

Now, there were 2 chapters that rock the boat a little bit. Joy Beth gives a really interesting argument on what sexuality is which I can't say I fully understood and will likely have to go back to. And then there was another chapter on what constitutes sexual sin which again I don't know if I completely understood but it didn't seem biblically sound. It's a bit difficult to know where the author really stood on these arguments and she does encourage readers and the church, to have more open discussions about these topics which I think was good ! But at the end of the day I do enjoy reading things I won't agree with because I enjoy being challenged and I didn't feel she as trying to sway me one way or the other.

There are also a lot of practical advice about how to navigate dating, flirting etc etc but on a whole, the biggest take-away from it is that it might change the way you look at yourself and the whole "season" of singleness if you're in it right now. Would highly recommend and, think it'd make a great gift for a pal !


Wednesday, 7 March 2018

A Few Feel Good TV Shows

... that make me fuzzy inside !

Flatlay Chocolate Watch

It's pretty apt this post is coming to you on a Wednesday because today pals, is the day I catch up on all my TV of the week. This is my personal self-care time. I normally feel too guilty during the weekend to completely chill but as I have no classes on Wednesdays, I treat it a little bit like a weekend.

Today isn't a How To Get Away with Murder or Homeland kinda day. Comfort and switching off are the agenda so with that being said, here's a list of a my current favourite feel good shows.

This is possibly my guiltiest of pleasures and I have no shame in sharing this with you. This neighbourhood is essentially one big mostly happy family and the love between them all makes me gooey inside :')  Here is a soap opera neighbourhood I would happily live in; nothing super dangerous is happening, no one living there is particularly evil and apart from the everyday hiccups of life, if anything bad happens on the show it's normally an accident ♡. Neighbours is probably the only show on this list I watch on a daily so I rarely have eps to catch up on by Friday. Don't knock it until you've tried it.Unless like most people my age you stopped watching when you were 12 in which case ... come back !

Black-ish is sharp, socially aware, family comedy that fills the middle class successful black family gap we haven't hadd on TV since the Huxtables (and we all know what happened to them). Besides the super witty humour and quick and smart characters, my favourite thing about the show isthe fact that it really has it's finger on the pulse when it comes to highlighting important topics in fresh, creative ways.


Grown-ish is the Black-ish spin-off centred on their daughter, Zoey Johnson and her university experience. As a Black-ish fan it's really nice to see both the character Zoey and actress Yara Shahidi grow into themselves for what was a underdeveloped character on the show. And yes it's a spin-off but it's very much its own show which I'd say has slightly more grown-up audience. I've also never seen a show chronicling the university experience and even though this is an American university, quite a lot of the sentiments, personalities and experiences still ring true which is such a breath of fresh air.

The Bachelor

Not enough people in the UK watch this ! So let me convince you.
25 women, 1 Bachelor - pretty much always ending in a proposal. We also have The Bachelorette which is just the reverse formula and has produced far more successful couples. And you can watch it for the love story; like I said there are couples who've gone on to get married, have kids, live in beaut houses and sell Fab Fit Fun boxes and Slimtea on Instagram - all the goals. I personally watch it for the drama and recap podcasts I listen to afterwards. Because when one person is simultaneously dating and falling in love with multiple women, a lot can go wrong. And it normally does. It's been on air form I believe 15 years so there a so many you could watch. I'd recommend the latest season; the Bachelor was possibly the worst, most dull Bachelor we've ever had HOWEVER the season finale was like ... the best reality TV I've ever seen.

The Fosters
The Fosters follows Lena and Steph, a couple who've adopted 5 kids over the years. It's another one of those feel good but also makes you cry kinda shows and I'm all for it. At the heart of it, is a loving family with each character having a very fleshed out and distinct story line and arc, which is what makes it such compelling TV. AT the moment, the show is exploring men being respectful of women in the workplace, menopause, anxiety at an older age, a trans male coming out, a woman struggling with her sexuality, young teen fighting the DACA system - and so much more ! I cannot recommend it enough !

Thursday, 1 March 2018

March and April: Anticipated Magazines, Books + Films

March is here but Spring hasn't exactly sprung now has it? I personally am so over the snow. Half of me wants to email in to my lecturers saying I can't make it because if we're being honest, venturing out is a bit long. But the other half of me wants to leave because I'm getting a serious case of cabin fever.

Anywho I thought it'd be quite nice today, to share a pretty helpful list I normally make for myself  ! With all the books and films coming out pretty much every day, it can be hard to keep track of the ones you want to check out. And you know when you have those days where you want to see a film or want to read something new but you've forgotten everything you were ever excited about?! Well, voila ! These are a few I've got on my radar at least for the next two months and, I reckon I'll continue making this list every two months so do come back.

I've also managed to get my hands on a couple of the books on this list so I'm really excited to review those for ya. Film wise I think March is fab because although Oscar films are wonderful, it's quite nice to be watching films a. I'm not trying to analyse b. have such high expectations of or c. have seen every review and interview of before entering the cinema room. Side note, who else is going to be  happy after March 4th, we never have to watch another talk show host ask Saoirse Ronan what its like to be Irish and live in the same universe as Timothee Chalamet #blessed. 

Do leave a comment especially if you have any other recommendations or thoughts on the shenanigans on this list xo 

As per usual I'll be reading the latest Blogosphere Magazine. They released the new cover yesterday with Lydia Elise Millen and it is beautiful. Each issue just gets better and better so I cannot wait. Will possibly be a highlight of this month, no lie. Apart from Blogosphere, the only other magazine I read is Red. Everything else seems to have too many ads and sub-par interviews and content. That being said, we've got a great indie magazine store in Brighton though and indie magazines do seem to be the way forward. So I plan to venture in there (or online) and get a copy of Darling and also The Gentlewoman


Speak No Evil
Proud Mary 
Game Night
Red Sparrow
A Wrinkle in Time
Paul, Apostle of Christ

Sophia of Silloncon Valley 
In Conclusion Don't Worry About It
Other People's Houses 
Can't Help MyselfUnwifeable
The Week Of
Avengers Infinity War
Every Day
I Feel Pretty

Saturday, 24 February 2018

The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

If you follow me on social media at all, you'll know that the New York Times bestseller, The Last Black Unicorn was quite possibly my highest anticipated book of the year, and I haven't stopped laking about it since November last year. I really believe Tiffany Haddish is one of the most authentic, talented comedians of our generation and if you need to be convinced, have a little scroll through YouTube of some of her work ! I'd say she's one of my favourite comedians and, as my love of memoirs + essay collections is no secret, I thought this would be right up my street. The next hurdle, actually getting my hands on this book. Not only was it sold out ... it was also out of print in the UK for what felt like months ! And when I finally got my hands on it, I could see why.

When you watch someone perform , you might think you know who they are at least to some extent, which is what's so great about  well written memoir like this one because it makes you realise you had no idea. Each chapter chronicles an aspect of her life growing up or a specific lesson learnt and is told through some laugh-out-loud anecdotes personal favourites was the one about taking Will and Jada Smith on a swamp tour with a Groupon voucher, whilst being completely high. But also some darker, more difficult moments in her life. She covers being in the foster care system, finding comedy at just age 13, enduring abuse and not so great relationships, growing into a positive person as well as sexism + all other  trials in the comedy industry. Overarching theme I'd say was being resilient and believing in yourself and your craft even when no- one else does which was so inspiring.

Another aspect that lets the book down ever so slightly is the delivery of the dialogue, which is often presented through direct speech and made it just a little bit choppy and awkward at times. Simply describing what happened in paragraphs would've flowed a lot better and I'm pretty sure the jokes would've landed better too. So it would probably be worth checking it out on Audible actually because Tiffany narrates it too.

The Last Black Unicorn is uplifting, feel good and laugh-out-loud funny.



Friday, 23 February 2018

How To Read a Hardback

I'm not a fan of hardbacks. Not only are they far too expensive (who wants to buy a book for £18.99 ... in this economy), they're also bulky and not comfortable to hold.  They actually only look nice on shelves. Hardbacks have also always been the elite format of literature, with paperbacks coming out often an entire year later. And I get why it might be useful for say, a library to have hardbacks in terms of durability, but it just feel really unfair that someone might really want to read a book and would have to wait an entire year before they can afford to own it. It's just so exclusionary.

I try avoid physical books pretty much altogether because of my Kindle but sometimes ... sometimes I find myself having to get a hardback. It's so rare to be honest but maybe once a year, I'll be anticipating a book I just need to firstly own and, read straight away. The Good Immigrant was one of them and this year, The Last Black Unicorn - which was out of print because it was so popular - had to wait for months !

1. First thing's first, take that cover off. If you're like me and its going to take you longer than say 2 days to finish this book, you're planning to take it on public transport, or you'll be keeping it in your bag?! The beaut paper cover will not last. It'll wilter before you've even had a chance to open the book. And if you want this book to sit nicely on your shelf one day, just don't read it with the cover.

2. Don't put toooo many things in your bag if you're going to be carrying it around. I unfortunately learnt this the hard way but my current hardback looks like its been attacked by keys ... and knives I don't even know how. There's also like lip gloss on it, frankly I'm disgusted at myself. If your bag has a separate compartment, just empty that out and put it there.

3. Read in bed. With a duvet. These books aren't comfortable or flexible. They'll prod you all day and restrict your ability to multitask.  You see with a Kindle, I can walk, eat and read at the same time. Hardback? I need both hands because they're so heavy. You need to sit up and rest it comfortably on a duvet. Sometimes I do this in the summer not going to lie. Gotta do what I've got to do.

4. Don't lend. Listen this may sound harsh but frankly, your friends don't know these rules. And giving them the rules would be overkill :L, plus they won't take you seriously because non-book lovers don't understaaand you. Don't do it pal.

5. Read them as quickly as you can. These tips are great and all but we don't want to push it. The goal is to get the book quickly and safely on your shelf in the best possible condition.


Sunday, 18 February 2018

Rom-Coms: So Bad they're Good Edition

Happy Sunday ! I hope you all had a fab Valentines/Galentines if you were celebrating. I don't particularly care for either but did have a few friends and made them watch My Best Friend's Wedding, which they had never seen ! They also haven't seen Notting Hill or When Harry Met Sally so might take one for the team and start a little rom-com film club !

Classics aside,  a sub genre of rom-coms I also enjoy are the - so bad they're good selection ! Very neglected. Coming up with a list was a tough task because this entire sub genre really teeters on the very fine-line of good and bad. But, I do now feel confident in my choices. Let me know what you make of this list ! And let me know if you have any more.

The Accidental Husband 

Saw this for the first time this month and oh my word the cinema sins. First and perhaps most importantly Jeremy Piven is not Indian ... right? I don't get it, why not hire an Indian actor?! Or make it so he's not Indian? I'm so confused, were they his family? Because from where I'm standing this man is clearly Caucasian. Well it was the 90's, a far more problematic time. That aside ... and the fact this is Colin Firth in possibly his  least charming role ... and the fact the plot makes little sense ... it's a delight ! It made me really appreciate Uma Thurma whose charm and charisma is enough to carry this entire film and all its faults.

How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days

I'm not 100% sure this should even be on the list because my love for this film is deep.Matthew McConaughey plays prick, changed by the love of a good woman so well.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

McConaughey playing the same character again, in a film with a brilliant concept that's not so brilliantly executed. It's McConaughey though so ...

Something Borrowed

This one went a bit under the radar so I'll fill you in. It's  about a friendship that's tested after Rachel falls for her best friend Darcy's fiance. The book is one of the best romances out there. The film is  ... a little cringe.  Rachel is almost so bland its as though she deserves to be in love with a guy she can't have. And Darcy's so bitchy and such a bad friend its as though she deserves to be cheated on when it eventually happens. A bit harsh but Kate Hudson plays these sort of characters so well !


These two randomly bump into each other and its an instant love at first sight vibe. Only noone watching actually believes this would happen. Not only is Kate Beckinsale low key totally out of John's league, their personalities are so different?! But we all go along with the magic of it all because it's Christmas ! It's not fate. 

Saturday, 10 February 2018

3 Albums Keeping Me Company Through Deadlines

These next few months I feel will be just deadline after deadline. It's already begun and frankly, thinking about everything I have to do by June makes me want to cry. And because I don't like the library, studying and writing coursework can be a pretty lonely experience meaning I do often have something playing in the background to keep me company. Side note - currently listening to Kendrick's Black Panther album for the first time and wot. Incred. 10/10.

Anyway back to the subject at hand; it's no secret I love a good podcast but podcasts aren't great for concentration. I mean, wouldn't we all rather be listening to that instead? The same goes for music. I can't have any Afrobeats, Grime, most RnB because I need to ya know, stay in my seat and not sing along?! It's a struggle. So here are three albums I've had on repeat. I love them just as much as the aforementioned but they also make for chill background music, which helps me stay focused.

Something to Tell You, Haim
New year, new album from Haim ! This album is the definition of feel good, chilled dolcit tones.

Harry Styles
One of the most underrated albums of 2017, for sure. Current favourite track is Woman which very nearly makes me get off my seat and start dancing. Nearly.

Ctrl SZA
SZA is a revelation and nearly every song on this album is an anthem. Treat yo self.

No but this Black Panther album is incredible?! I feel my spirit awakening. What are your Black Panther plans?! Seeing it tomorrow and I cannot wait. 

Eat Sweat Play: How Sport Can Change Our Lives by Anna Kessel +#fitspo

Eat Sweat Play challenges the idea that women, sport and exercise don't mix. Each chapter, meticulously researched tracks the trajectory of women's attitudes towards sport, exercise and their bodies right from childhood and, the factors that influence this. Anna Kessel makes a powerful case for sport and exercise; how it can empower and change your body and mind, at every stage of your life : everything is covered from PE lessons at age 4 to pregnancy to women in professional sport to mums who box.

This book has really inspired me to pick up my sport and exercise game. Many women I think can relate to enjoying sport at some point in our lives and for whatever reason be it, other hobbies taking over or not having the most encouraging P.E teachers, we fail to maintain that relationship with sport. For me, it was becoming more and more self conscious about my body and how I looked playing sport as I grew older. And that's such a shame because I used to play quite a lot of cricket and athletics and loved the feeling of sweating, being active, being competitive and just being outside !

I've never particularly been inspired to go to the gym having only been ... legit once in my life. I know, I know. The thing is I think my motivations for getting fit over the last three years, have been to change how I look. And vanity isn't a very sustainable reason when it comes to exercise because I just don't care enough. As envious as I am of some #fitspo accounts on Instagram, I'm really happy with the way I look so I've never been able to diet or exercise consistently. And I think the conversation all women are having about fitness is changing ! A fitness podcast I'd definitely recommend is Zanna van Dijk's Fit and Fearless, which talks a lot about strength and how for example lifting weights is important for bone density. The shift in the conversation to general well being I reckon has been far more motivational to get fit than getting that "bikini body".

As I still can't afford the gym, I try and walk for about 3 hours a week and I've started doing  short 10-15 minute exercises from Carly Rowena's YouTube channel 3 times a week and its incred ! I just feel so much stronger, more refreshed, happier and have noticed I have more energy. It's not a lot but its a lot more than I was doing last year. If you're interested I'd recommend checking out Carly Rowena, Zanna van Dijk and the blog Imperfect Matter who are on the ... let's say the right side of fitspo. These ladies definitely advocate for being mentally and physically stronger through sport and exercise which I think is a far healthier way of approaching the topic.

Eat Sweat Play is one to read if you want to be truly inspired to get back into exercise,. Given how well researched it is, it does  read like very in-depth articles - not surprising given the author is a sports journalist. Therefore, it does read a bit dense at times and took me a lot longer to get through. BUt thats not in this case a bad thing. I'd use it as a manual for the year !



Feel Free by Zadie Smith

**I kindly received a copy from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinions of the book.**

Feel Free, a collection of essays, is Zadie Smith's latest offering. This essay collection is split into five chapters: In the World, In the Audience, In the Gallery, On the Bookshelf and Feel Free. I'll just get to the point, if you love Zadie Smith and her style of writing you'll love this collection. There are essays on global warming, libraries, Brexit and quite a good interview I will admit with Jay Z. 

But those of us who find her writing too literary and flouncy and never really getting to the point, well this collection is no different. Throw in the fact that it's non-fiction, there was no real reason for me to finish the book  and I was left quite uninspired and frankly bored. Some of her essays are quite interesting and again if you love her sort of social commentary, this would be right up your street. But most of the most essays for me were pretty obvious social observations , nothing particularly remarkable and a really annoying way of saying the simplest of things. 



Friday, 2 February 2018

Oscars 2018: Predictions + Snubs

It's Oscar Season; the best time to go to the cinema ! My favourite film of the year is normally one I saw between January and March. And this is normally because those gunning for awards come out around this time a. to be eligible but b. to be remembered. So the calibre at the cinema right now is🔥

I'm still working my way through this list and hopefully will have seen everything I want to come March but, I thought I'd share my thoughts, predictions so far and those snubs !

Best Picture Nominees:

Call Me by Your Name
Darkest Hour
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Should win: Lady Bird/Call Me By Your Name
Will win: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Snubbed: The Big Sick.
The Big Sick should've been considered for at least 3 other categories but I'm thinking it maybe didn't have as much of an Oscar campaign as the some of the other films in this category and, it came out pretty early so I reckon they just didn't screen it to the Academy. It was certainly my favourite film of 2017 and moved me enough to write an entire review on it which despite this being a semi film blog, does not happen often.
Lead Actor Nominees:

Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Should win: Timothée Chalamet
Will win: Gary Oldman/Timothée Chalamet

Now, Gary Oldman is the front-runner and under normal circumstances would win. But it would appear that the Academy forgot about those abuse allegations from his ex-wife all those years ago. I reckon James Franco would've made this list too but again the sexual harassment claims, which made headlines a few days before the Academy closed voting, may have swayed things. The Gary Oldman allegations resurfaced after and given the current climate of Hollywood today, it may sway things again.

Shouldn't the Academy be rewarding people solely for their performance? Well of course but when you give someone an award, you also make a statement about the standards, calibre and quality of the industry. So we'll see. 

Snubbed: Hugh Jackman, Logan
This may be the biggest snub this year but I wasn't really surprised. The Oscars are quite elitist and I don't think any film with a whiff of superhero would've even been screened for consideration. 

Lead Actress Nominees:

Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”

I want Meryl to win because I route for Meryl in life in general but admittedly like Denzel, its just Meryl giving a fab performance. Ugh but its been a while since she got an Oscar so like can we? can we?

Should win: Saoirse Ronan 
Will win: Frances McDormand
Snubbed: Holly Hunter, The Big Sick

Supporting Actor Nominees:

Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Should win: Willem Dafoe
Will win: Sam Rockwell

Supporting Actress Nominees:

Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Should win: Allison Janney
Will win: Allison Janney 

Best Director Nominees:

Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan
Get Out, Jordan Peele
Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig
Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson
The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro

Should win: Jordan Peele/Guillermo del Toro
Will win: Guillermo del Toro

Animated Feature Nominees:

The Boss Baby, Tom McGrath, Ramsey Ann Naito
The Breadwinner, Nora Twomey, Anthony Leo
Coco, Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson
Ferdinand, Carlos Saldanha
Loving Vincent, Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Sean Bobbitt, Ivan Mactaggart, Hugh Welchman

Coco Coco Coco Coco Coco Coco Coco Coco Coco Coco Coco Coco Coco Coco Coco Coco 

Adapted Screenplay Nominees:

Call Me by Your Name, James Ivory
The Disaster Artist, Scott Neustadter +Michael H. Weber
Logan, Scott Frank + James Mangold and Michael Green
Molly’s Game, Aaron Sorkin
Mudbound, Virgil Williams + Dee Rees

Should Win: Logan
Will Win: Call Me By Your Name

Original Screenplay Nominees:

The Big Sick, Emily V. Gordon + Kumail Nanjiani
Get Out, Jordan Peele
Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig
The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Martin McDonagh

Should win: The Big Sick
Will win: Lady Bird
This is by far the fiercest category this year and I think The Big Sick could win if Lady Bird wins somewhere else.

Let me know which films you loved and your predictions !


Sunday, 21 January 2018

We Have a Podcast !

Aaaaaah!! This has been such a long time coming!! We had a few complications along the way and around November I just didn't even know if it would happen. So I'm so excited to tell you all about my podcast with my pal Shreya !

It's a chatty discussion show; we pick topics we want to get off our chest/have a little bit of a rant  and often find ourselves going off topic, hence the name.We're going to some guests on tooo and I just can't wait for people to listen to it. Do give it a download here, follow us on Twitter and share with yo friends ♡


Friday, 19 January 2018

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I reread Purple Hibiscus on a long ass coach journey last week and couldn't believe I'd forgotten everything about it ! In my defence, I was pretty young when I first picked it up, probably about 13, and just don't think I was emotionally prepared to really process this story. Now, I've been waiting for a new Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie book forever and I 100% do Google at least twice a month, to see if one's coming. Sigh. But reading this was like reading it for the first time.

We follow 15 year old Kambili and her brother Jaja, who are growing up in a strict household in post-colonial Nigeria. Their father, Eugene is a religious zealot who subjects his family to emotional and physical abuse and uses his Catholicism to control them.  Kambili and Jaja take a trip to visit their Auntie Ifeoma and her 3 children, where they're suddenly exposed to a world of laughter and freedom. And soon enough, Kambili starts to change as the family begins to unravel.

Purple Hibiscus is first and foremost Kambili's coming of age story. Growing up in a house that expects her to be silent, she's quite socially awkward and isolated at school. The book is also about family and how a family can hurt and scar you in the deepest of ways but can also heal you. Chimamanda's writing is so poetic and engaging in a way that doesn't take away from the story telling. I normally struggle to focus when writers are trying to do the absolute most, to say the simplest things. And I think Chimamanda strikes that balance really nicely in every book she's written. She's also able to navigate the political situation in post-colonial Ngeria and we've it seamlessly into the story without taking away from the main plot.

Kambili's Auntie is also a Catholic and I have to say, it was a relief to see that Catholicism wasn't going to be painted in a really bad light. Yes on one hand you Eugene who represents what can happen when you, in an extreme sense, replace faith with "religion"; how it can consume you. And on the other hand, we see how Christianity can bring joy.


Sunday, 14 January 2018

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi's debut novel begins in the 18th century with two half sisters living in different villages in Ghana - they don't know each other. One marries an Englishman working in the slave trade and she moves to the Cape Coast Castle with him. The other is captured and sold into slavery. The book then splits into alternate chapters, each narrated by someone who is a descendant of the two sisters. We get a snippet into their life and, get to experience the effects of the slave trade on their descendants.

This concept was fascinating. I actually grew up in Cape Coast but up until last year, knew so little about the history of Cape Coast so on a personal level I felt like I learnt so much. And I also absolutely loved the idea of following their descendants, the parallel paths they end up on and really seeing the legacy of slavery. We start in Ghana (then Gold Coast), go through Mississippi, the American Civil War ... it's incredible. I will say that the first half of the book is definitely better than the second half.

It's very much about human nature, compassion and how we're all ore connected to each other's experiences than we realise. Homegoing goes does as one of my favourite books of all time.


Friday, 12 January 2018

Award Season Films on My Radar

This film gives me major Spotlight vibes. You know in the same way the tension and suspense in  Spotlight was completely driven by people sitting in offices, looking for files? Seems kinda dull but I found myself on the edge of my seat. Anyway the stakes also seem really high because, Meryl and Tom could go to jail for publishing the Pentagon Papers and like Spotlight, the film engages with the pre-internet publishing world.

Image result for Three Billboards Film
This is a bizzare one and I feel, has had no advertising in the UK because I literally heard about Three Billboards for the first time, about 3 days before it swept up all those Globes, Critics Choice and Bafta nominations – on Kermode and Mayo when the director was interviewed. I love the concept, which I believe was loosely inspired by a true story; a mother looking for answers after her child goes missing and shames the authorities for not doing enough. Expecting some strong performances and a whole lotta drama.

Elle was nominated for best foreign film at the Golden Globes, which only confirms that the Golden Globes is just a party for celebrities and doesn’t take itself seriously. Because I’m pretty sure a. the film came out in 2016 and b. it's already done the award circuit - last year. Should it even be eligible?

Well, I’ve already seen it and it must’ve been the most unsettling film viewing experience I've ever had. It’s about a woman who gets raped, finds out her rapist is her neighbour and then plays a sort of cat and mouse game to lure him in. Only she does it multiple times and it’s not really to expose him. So the entire mystery of the film is working out why she’s luring in someone who rapes her every time and whether she’s enjoying it? Isabelle Hubert is incredible and I’d watch it for her performance alone but it’s one of those films that asks of a lot of its viewers.  

Being the avid Neighbours fan that I am, it’s still a bit surreal seeing lil old Margot Robbie as a leading actress. I’m a fan and can’t wait to see her lead her first film, which she also executive produced yas. I'm not really going in, expecting to be convinced that Tonya had nothing to do with Nancy Kerrigan's attack because ... well I just don't think I can be convinced. But I do want to understand her better. 

Simply because its Daniel Day Lewis’ last film. I wouldn’t see this for any other reason, as the plot seems pretty basic; a wealthy tailor who falls in love.  


Disney are doing the damn thing. The reviews for Coco have been amazing and I’m so here for the new direction they’re taking. It’s meant to be a really beautiful portrayal of the Mexican culture, a message about familial bonds and fab music. I am just living for this new Disney era. 

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo

This lil book was all the rave last year. It's a debut novel by Ayobami Adebayo  and it was shortlisted for the Bailey's Women's Prize which is the first time I heard about it. Now, I'm just going to get this out of the way.

Lets👏stop👏comparing👏all 👏black👏female👏writers👏to👏Chimamanda.   Please. 
Because another reason I kept hearing about it was because it kept on being recommended to me ... was because I love Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. 

Yes they are both Nigerian.
Yes they are both women.
Yes they both write books.

But they are not the same.  
And it just meant I had really different expectations going in. Because when you tell me a book is like another writer's books, I think you mean similar in terms of style. And then I can't stop comparing the two writers when I'm reading and I don't want to do that ! I just want to enjoy the book for what it is.  

Now, I did enjoy reading this book and I couldn't put it down. But the not all African writers are the same okay fab.

Stay With Me is about a couple that fall in love and it's all fab and blissful and everything is going well. And then two years into the marriage our main character, Yejide, has not produced a child despite the fact that they've been trying ever since they got married; and she's absolutely devastated. Despite being super smart and a successful businesswoman, she doesn't feel fulfilled so it's really difficult for her and was pretty heartbreaking to read. Akin, her husband doesn't seem too fussed. I think he's more upset by the fact that she's so devastated and there's nothing he can really do about it, especially when she slips into a depression.  But his family are so embarrassed by the situation to the point where his mum, gets him an additional wife, so that she can produce a child. 


I'll have to stop there I'm afraid because what ensues next is a little crazy and in heavy spoiler zone. There are quite a few juicy twist and turns that I mean no-one will see coming and it gave me such Nollywood vibes at times which I bloody loved !

But I was super impressed by such a bold choice of theme for a debut novel ! Infertility, at least in West African communities isn't really openly discussed. There's still unfortunately a stigma attached to it and women who cannot have children or chose not to, I think are still sort of shamed or mocked, some people may think you're cursed or its punishment etc etc etc. And this isn't just an African thing, it presents itself a little differently here. Women are still generally expected to want children. And if you don't, people tend to think you've got some deep rooted childhood trauma, or you're just selfish. And infertility is still met with a lot of faux sympathy. 

Yejide really takes all of this pressure on and the weight of it all was so well executed. I will certainly be reading anything that Ayobami brings out now !



Friday, 5 January 2018

Girls Trip + 3 Fab Black Girl Comedies

I finally saw Girls Trip this week and honestly, what a treat. I think the reason it resonated with so many people, including myself, is because it showed the pretty normal side of black women that we so rarely see on screen. Girls Trip gave us a representation of black women that wasn't tied to our struggle or stereotypes or the caricatured angry black woman, black women best friend or the slave narrative. It showed that can be  carefree and have fun and we're sensitive and we're smart and we're loyal and we're our own bosses and we're great friends anddd I could go on.  And it also showed the power and strength of female friendships and how good friends are your home. And in a world of Real Housewives (though I do love me some Atlanta Housewives), we don't get to see a lot of non catty, bitchy women on screen. It showed black joy! And all the black girl magic !

This film is able to keep the amazing comic sequences and laughing out loud one liners coming and while developing all of its characters. Tiffany Haddish, I should add, gives a scene stealing performance and deserves all the accolades going her way.Its not a super long film but you get a really good sense of who these ladies are as people, we get some good cameos that are woven into the plot nicely and, we genuinely believe these 4  have been lifelong best friends, a chemistry that is so hard to get right in 1.5 hour film.

In case you haven't seen it yet, Girls Trip is about the "Flossy Posse" a group of best friends from university who have grown distant over the years. So, when Ryan Pierce (Regina Hall), dubbed as "the next Oprah", is invited to be the keynote speaker at the Essence Festival, she extends the invitation to all her friends and turns it into a girls trip. Of course they all have some issues going on in their personal lives and a little bit of chaos ensues !

Now what did surprise me, was how everyone was talking about this film, as if it's the only all black female comedy, because I've seen quite a few.  We 100% do need more and this will only happen if we have more POC behind the screen producing, directing and writing. But we also have to put our money where our mouth is and support the ones already out there.

Here are my 3 favourite black female comedies.


No not the ITV show ... this one:
This is honestly one of the most underrated TV shows. I'm telling you Girlfriends was doing everything we're praising Girls Trip for ... in like the year 2000. Smart, successful, confident, funny, sharp black women with their own very distinct personalities on screen ... for 8 seasons're very welcome.

Think Like A Man + Think Like A Man 2

Do you know what, if you want a longer list just Google Regina Hall movies. Again,you're welcome. The plot of this film is:  there's a best selling book by Steve Harvey called Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man (real book) and this friendship group are all in a bit of a rut regarding their love lives.  So they all read it and take on the book's advice, quite literally.

The Best Man/The Best Man's Holiday

You know what? Imma just tell you about The Best Man's Holiday which I've talked at length about here if ya want more details. It has Christmas and families and really strong black female friendships that have stood the test of time and been though the best and worst of situations. It'll make you laugh and cry and it's just all the feels. And do you know what it doesn't matter that it's no longer Christmas watch it, I first saw it in like June.
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