A Book Blog

Saturday, 15 September 2018

3 Magazines I Read Without Fail

I had all these plans to buy a bunch of cool indie magazines, to show you all what's out there. And while there are 2 or 3 indie magazine stores I love, I found myself staring down the aisles, feeling uninspired and quite honestly unwilling to spend the dolla. The truth is, while there's a lot out there, the heart wants what it wants. And this heart, only ever wants the same 3 magazines.

There was a time people read magazines and we all migrated to reading articles online because we save money and avoid ads ! I feel that but I still love magazines; the way they feel and being able to completely switch off. Which is why I gravitate towards indie mags. The ones I read have so much reading content which is fab because it can take weeks to finish and ! only have about 6 ads. A dream.

Stylist 


Like all the best things in life, Stylist is FREE. The Stylist website is one of my absolute favourites when it comes to sharp, glossy opinion pieces on fashion, lifestyle, beauty, politics, film ... and the magazine is essentially a snapshot of the site. They're super quick to flick through and did I mention, FREE?! Keep a look out if you're out and about in London !

Blogosophere 

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll know it's no secret how much I love Blogosphere. It's time to subscribe honestly; each issue just gets bigger and better! Each issue highlights business, fashion, beauty, books, photography, fitness, travel and food bloggers and has a tonne of interviews with multi-hyphenates from all over the world ! If you're a blogger, it's also the easiest way to get tips on growing your blog.

Courier

I'm really fascinated by the incredible startup culture we're living in and dream of starting a business one day and Courier is just so inspirational ! Everything I read in here excites me. It's full of interviews and articles on startups doing well in the world, smart ideas, business tips ... I could go on. It's also pretty dense despite only being £5 and full of content I honestly don't believe I could find online ... all in one place.

Read any of these? Also do you have any magazine recommendations?!

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Saturday, 8 September 2018

5 Things Commuting has Taught Me

I've literally never cracked a smile on a commute but alas, cute photos. 
I spent my whole life telling people, it's great living in Brighton, and it's only an hour away from London ! Wrong. Very wrong. You see, nowhere is  an hour away from getting to where you actually need to be in London.  The idea of working in London seemed really great until I actually started     But it hasn't all been bad ! And lessons have definitely be learnt. 

I don't like people
jkjkjkjk
However. I have realised I am so easily irritated by everyone else around me. Why does it always feel like people are ... sitting on you? Why can I hear this woman eating? Sir, why can I hear your music?

Enjoying Your Job is Important 
If you don't live in the capital but work there, commuting will take up all your time. It's very early starts, late finishes and getting home even later. You spend so much time working and being around your colleagues so actually enjoying that environment is pretty critical to your mental health. It can be pretty soul destroying to be both stressed and unhappy ... most of the week. 

Weekends are sacred
This brings me on to my second point. When you spend the majority of the week rushing in and out of trains, how you spend your time during the weekend actually matters. Self care - however that looks to you, is so important to your mental health. For me, it's going to the gym, sleeping, eating well and only hanging out with people I genuinely enjoy being around. Chances are, you're probably a bit drained from the week so not physically and emotionally exerting yourself during the weekend is key. 



You'll have many plans for your commute ... You'll likely just sleep
I planned to finish 3 books a week, plan my finances, fill in job applications ... sort out my entire life basically. I lug notepads and stationery with me everywhere but all I end up doing is eating Skittles and sleeping... the whole commute. 

Trust your instincts
This is something work in general has taught me. Leaving uni isn't exactly the smoothest transition and even if you're fortunate enough to get a job, there's so much uncertainty. But the biggest thing I've taken away is to trust your instincts. There'll be a lot of voices giving you career advice and while that's great, you know what doesn't feel right/authentic to you. And as Lyft Bae from Insecure taught me this week, if you don't like where you are , you've got to shake things up (or at least work towards it). 
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Friday, 31 August 2018

To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han: Book vs Film

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash
*This post contains spoilers*

It's been nearly two whole weeks since the release of To All The Boys I've Loved Before.  So I reckon I've calmed down and can now come to you all with a fully composed post that won't just gush about how in love with Peter Kavinsky I am. Ya know? That'll of course still be here but I'll talk about some other stuff too ! 

If you have no idea what I'm talking about and the nice photo or boredom brought you here first of all , hi ! and second of all, stick around I bring good news. Two weeks ago, an on-screen adaptation of Jenny Han's To All The Boys I've Loved Before dropped on Netflix and the internet lost its mind. If you didn't know, there are actually two more books which probably means we'll probably be following the Peter/Lara Jean adventures on screen ! Now, I normally don't bother with book-screen adaptations because Spoiler Alert - the book is 99% of the time always better. And while I would say this is still true in this case, I still adore this film and it definitely has its merits. 

Seeing as the book has cropped up the NY Times Best Seller list this week, I thought I'd give you the lowdown on the immediate differences between the characters in both book and film. 

Lara Jean


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Lana Condor who plays Lara Jean is pretty much exactly how I imagined this character to be. She embodies both the really mature book Lara Jean who is terrified of love, takes it so seriously and, the really sweet Lara Jean who loves baking, watching Golden Girls and hanging out with her little sister. As the film has naturally had to condense the source material,  audiences ever so slightly miss out on the depth of book Lara Jean. While film Lara Jean risks coming across as paranoid and insecure, these emotions get a bit more context in the book. We see how deeply her mum's death affects her worldview and, you quickly realise how gravely she takes the responsibility of holding someone's heart. She's super wise beyond her years and this is missing in the film. 

 Peter Kavinsky


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Possibly the biggest surprise of the entire film because I won't lie I wasn't the biggest fan of book Peter K; he was way too involved with Gen. The film downplays their relationship and shoves Gen into this two dimensional, bitchy/irrational Queen Bee trope which only makes us like him more and her less. (On a side note, the film's biggest problem is the lack of development of the supporting characters: Gen, LJ's best friend and the OTHER boys she's meant to have loved before?!) But the tea is, that is not how it went down. Peter was actually in love with Gen. And let's not forget that this whole scheme to use Lara Jean to make Gen jealous, was all his idea. And then my man has the nerve to fall in love with LJ in the process and then turn around and say "are your going to break my heart Lara Jean?"

via GIPHY

Anyway, I forgot all about that because film Peter K really is so swoonworthy and that was enough for me.  And again, a lot of the tomfoolery is downplayed in this film. Y'all are going to love Peter more because once he's committed to LJ, he's so much more vulnerable and guards her heart so fiercely. 😭

Covey Sisters 


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The bond between the Covey sisters was spot on. Margot is just as self righteous, annoying yet loving, wise and sisterly as I remembered her. Even though she's gone for most of the film, the lack of her presence is definitely felt, which is exactly how I felt when reading the book. Kitty was also perfectly cast. As Kitty is the sister that sticks around, the bond between herself and LJ had to be tangible for most of this film to work. Thankfully the two actresses had great chemistry.

Josh 
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Ah Josh. Disappointing both in film and real life. Book Josh actually reveals he too liked Lara Jean and they even kissed ! THEY KISSED. We also see more of Josh and Margot's relationship in the book. The film really makes it look like she was bored and it was time for her to move to Scotland so she kicked him to the curb and he got over it two days later. They were  actually pretty in love and her decision to break up with him was an agonising one. Of course we couldn't have everything in the film but it would've been nice to see some of this in the film. It would've just enriched the onscreen relationships he has with both Lara Jean and Margo.

So! book or film, which do you prefer?! Let me know your thoughts!
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Saturday, 25 August 2018

Mental Health in Black Community + My Fave Wellness Writers + Podcasts

Illustration by @humearaillustrates
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Mental health awareness among young people has drastically improved over the past few years. From bloggers to writers and public figures, more people openly discuss their mental health journeys. And  as someone who's struggled with poor mental health, I really admire people's courage and, appreciate the solidarity !  Every little conversation had, does so much collectively to dispel the stigma surrounding mental health. And yet at the same time, I do also find myself feeling somewhat excluded. Sure, I too have a platform and am free to join in the conversation and unload. But at the same time, being black and navigating mental health and sharing it online comes with its own baggage. It's something I'm all too aware of and it does hold me back.

Black British youth are:

  • more likely to be diagnosed with mental health illnesses.
  • more likely to be experience a poor outcome from treatment.
  • more likely to disengage from mainstream mental health services, leading to exclusion and deterioration in their mental health. 
And I'd also add, many of us are less likely to openly discuss this. One layer, is having to consider the ramifications for your family, friends and extended network of both. Now the ramifications may not be particularly earth shattering but they're often something I'd say many black youth consider. For those of us who are second-generation migrants, it's likely our parents too have faced a lot of adversity but, they've grown up with different cultural values and societal practices to us. They may prefer turning to prayer and keeping things within the family while some of us would turn to therapy or medication. And that can be a real source of contention.


And then there's the issue of misunderstanding mental health illnesses altogether, which can be found in certain pockets of black communities. Mental health illnesses can be so intangible to those who don't suffer from them. This can lead to minimising the illnesses down to "quirks","low moods","just stress" and "the blues". There are studies that show that black youth are significantly less likely to seek mental health services than their white counterparts. And I wouldn't be surprised if this was at least partly the reason.

Bell Hooks writes about black women's long history of subjugation which she argues, gives us the  "the ability to muster through adversity" - essentially echoing the whole "strong black woman" trope. Although possibly empowering, it's also very problematic because it conveys the idea that black  women have built in capabilities to deal with adversity without help or breaking down. And that then means therapy, looks like weakness.

There's then the other layer of outward perception which we're also burdened with. We're all living in this hyperactive world where employers aren't always so forgiving of, taking sick days or having days of to deal with mental health issues. This is then heightened for black youth who additionally navigate a world where we have to work so much harder and prove ourselves so much more than our white counterparts, just to gain equal footing in the workplace. This makes it especially difficult to then disclose when we're struggling to our employers, universities, etc etc. 

I say all of this to say, that while the mental health conversation is taking place, it can still feel like we're on the outside looking in. So, I thought I'd share my favourite resources from the black community, that articulately discuss mental health and mental wellbeing.

Bloggers 
Grace Victory, The SlumFlower , Shope Delano + Nerd About Town 

Writers 
Roxane Gay, Aaron Barksdale + Yolo Akili♡♡♡♡♡

Podcasts 
Therapy for Black Girls + The Friend Zone 

It's super comforting to hear from girls who look like me ♡ ♡ Let me know if there are any others you'd add to this list !


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Sunday, 22 July 2018

Post Uni Blues + Book Chat: Dream Big, Hustle Hard by Abadesi Osunsade

Here I am, at my beaut uni. A zoomed out shot felt most appropriate because my jeans are too big and my wig is out of sorts so it's for the best.

I’d been planning to write this post all year as I've had a heavy case of early onset "post-uni" blues. As in ...  it kicked in from about Week 3 into my final year. If you're at uni and have no idea what I'm talking about, let me do for you what BeCloumar did for me and warn you now.   

Post-uni blues is a phenomena which sees some recent graduates slump into low moods/depression after leaving university. And it makes sense, right? Uni (for many people) is this amazing bubble - you're surrounded and constantly socialising with people your age, studying a course you hopefully enjoy and your daily trials and tribulations consist of whether you go to the 9 am or 2 pm lecture - the answer is neither, catch up online (you probably won't do that either). And then that all ends and you're facing reality. You don't know what you're going to do with your degree which is suddenly looking v random, working 9-5 everyday suddenly doesn't look all that great, you might be unemployed for a bit and if you find a job, it may be a while before you can actually afford to move out. Funnily enough, things have really fallen into place .. a bit over the past weeks for me buuut it was grim for most of the past so I feel v qualified talking about this.

It wasn't all grim to begin with. In summer 2017, I was feeling on the top of the world. Post-uni blues? Not fo me not my portion amen thank you v much. It was the summer I'd just come back from France and joined Bright Network - a UK recruitment company for graduates. Soon after, I got invited to a careers event and thought - my life begins here. I'm about to embark this beaut career journey.

via GIPHY

Sure I don't know what I want but I go to a great uni, I speak an extra European language, I want to make a lot of schmoney ... that should be enough. Friends, it is not. Anyway off I go to London when I get there, find this mahoosive queue of other soon-to-be grads dressed in suits, heels and pouring over pages of notes. Meanwhile I'm standing here in a leather jacket and multi-coloured Zara hairband - I wish I was joking. Also, what are we all reading?! These businesses need *us* - chilll.

When we got into the building and saw that every stand there was some top bank, accountancy firm or law firm ... I realised a. how intense and competitive the job market can be and, b. what being prepared and unprepared looks like. I would also add that if you don't adequately research, the job market will look like banking and consultancy with your only option as BA student being a GDL. I got really down after this event and consequently lost for the majority of the year because none of these careers were very authentic to who I am, my interests or strengths and just felt overall pessimistic about the future.

I recently read a book I really wish I'd read at the beginning of the year and want to share it with you all ! Dream Big, Hustle Hard: A Millennial Woman's Guide to Success in Tech, is a short, step by step guide to navigating your career and everything that comes with that process, especially as a black woman. Yes, I got it because I''m looking into tech careers, and at a point now where I always seek advice from successful black women in all areas of life.


All these are a huge plus. But it's also very much a millennial guide to navigating confidence, careers and the hustle. Attaining and securing job interviews, internships, CVs, work itself ... there's advice in here that everyone needs. Each chapter ends with a checklist of practical things you can do to better prepare yourself and refine a particular skill that'll help you progress. Not only does Abadesi integrate a whole workbook, she also encourages readers to work through it with friends ! I'll definitely be going back and using it as a reference guide and, love the idea of collaborating, encouraging and learning from your friends and holding each other accountable to achieving bite-size goals! A fab gift for other pals going through the blues. 
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TV in 2018 (So Far) : The Good, The Bad & the Meh

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I had every intention of documenting every TV show I'd been watching since January, every month ... but like many fab plans I have make for this blog, that obviously didn't happen did it. Doesn't matter though because I figured; since most shows wrap up for summer and we're all sitting here waiting for Insecure Season 3, what better time to offer up a comprehensive list of a. every show I've seen this year, if you care and b. (and probably more helpful) some recommendations of stuff to check out ... and avoid !

10/10 Would Recommend

Black Lightning Season 1

Riverdale Season 2

13 Reasons Why Season 2 - Though not without its problems. I'll definitely link an podcast ep I did where we review the entire season.

Jessica Jones Season 2

Stranger Things Season 2

Westworld Season 1

This is Us - Not to be dramatic but discovering this show a few weeks ago has been a 2018 highlight. The ultimate feel-good-make-you-happy-and-sad-cry type of show.

How To Get Away With Murder Season 4

Safe

Grace and Frankie Season 4

Blackish Season 4

The Real Housewives of Potomac Season 2

Meh 

Suits Season 6

Westworld Season 2

Grownish Season 1

The Bachelorette - it's picking up though

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman

Luke Cage Season 2

Issa No From Me

Dear White People Season 2

Champions Season 1

The Break with Michelle Wolf Season 1

I've definitely had a one month period of seeping through pilots of sub-par Netflix shows as I eagerly await some new seasons of some of my faves. What have you been watching during this slump?! 
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Sunday, 8 July 2018

There's a Black Girl Bible, You Say?! Slay in Your Lane by Elizabeth Uviebinen and Yomi Adegoke

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

YES ! And it's out now ! I actually received and read Slay in Your Lane in March and if you follow me on Twitter (if not, the time is now) you'll know I went on about it and promised a review. But alas, because I'm trash, it's now July and here we are. To be honest though, isn't it better I tell you about this fab book now that's it out and you can go buy it?! March would've been a bit of a tease.

First heard this book was happening on the Mostly Lit podcast last year and from then on, the wait was on. A collection of essays/guide that speaks to the very specific black, British and female experience?! This book did not exist. And if it did why didn't you tell me about it. There is a lot out there on what it means to be black and navigate white spaces, often written by American writers where the conversation on race has been far more developed. But until recently, there's been far less published on this side of the pond, Conversations on race tend to omit the intersection of being black and female. So a collection of essays/guide that speaks to the very specific black, British and female experience?! This book did not exist. And if it did why didn't you tell me about it?!


The chapters range from: education, work, dating and health; each drawing on a wealth of data and research - some you'll likely identify with if you're a Black British woman and also a lot of genuinely elucidating findings which will help you to understand yourself and the constructs in which you're living and working in.

Reading this book was such an emotional experience because it brought up so many painful experiences: growing up being the only black person in my class and all the microaggressions that came with it ... struggling to find hair products ... struggling to find black role models, I could go on. There's a lot in here that'll make you angry. Did you know black girls read more than any other ethnic group? And yet I couldn't see myself in any books in my school library. Samira's current struggle on Love Island, brings up a lot of data highlighted in the Dating chapter. Black women are statistically the least desirable group in the dating pool; our bodies fetishised and our personalities generalised and caricatured.

It's not all grim though and that's where the Bible/Guide aspect of the book comes in. The authors, Elizabeth Uviebinen and Yomi Adegoke, invite a lot of successful Black British women to discuss their experiences and advice within each chapter and guys, all your faves are here ! Clara Amfo, Afua Hirsch, MALORIE, Amma Asante, Dawn Butler, Patricia Bright, and a tonne of other inspirational women (some of whom are now my new found role-models) working and achieving success in all spheres. In this way, the book becomes a real point of reference on how to navigate different situations and overcome, from women who've done it and continue to do so. Their insights are also so seamlessly woven into the book.

 Best Bits   

- The entire health chapter which discusses the lack of mental health attention for black women and the lack of care given to producing products for black women, some of which are actually endangering us. 

- For me, Amma Asante, who so brilliantly captured what it's like being the only black women in a room and, is so inspirational in how she works to use her position to provide opportunities for other black women. 

- The shout outs to Black Twitter and Black Bloggers/YouTubers who have created an incredible community/safe space where we uplift each other, educate each other, make each laugh and feel less lonely. And In Slay in Your Lane, Elizabeth and Yomi have given us just this, in book form. 

5/5
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Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Born A Crime by Trevor Noah Flat Lay

Rarely do audiences  get access to go beyond the glossy, bright-eyed, funny man surface of  many  comedians and there's a pretty well-established line between the two. Born a Crime is essentially, Trevor Noah, drawing his fans in and showing us the other side. 

The memoir chronicles Noah's childhood growing up mixed-race in apartheid South Africa, where laws prohibited any romantic or sexual relationship between black and white people. Trevor's mum being Xhosa and his dad being a white Scot, meant he was a living example of their crime, a crime which could've landed Trevor's mum in jail and Trevor in an orphanage. In the first chapter alone, we see his family having to physically hide him from the police and his mum walking yards behind him every time they were in public, so  people wouldn't clock that they were related. His life experiences are pretty wild and really opened my eyes to the reality of apartheid. Looking at Trevor Noah now, it's pretty unbelievable to imagine his life prior to comedy. And let me tell you, some of these anecdotes will make you reflective, laugh, feel uncomfortable and often at the same time. There's a particular exchange Trevor had with his step-dad that was so laugh-out-loud funny and yet so painful ... I'm still trying to work out what the appropriate response should've been. 

Apartheid South Africa is very much the forefront of this book. As readers, we see how it essentially relegated whole communities into lives of  hardship and poverty which Trevor's family were not exempt from.  Both Trevor and his mum go through some tough times that essentially forge a tangible bond between them - a relationship that also takes centre-stage in the book and is so beautiful and seamlessly executed.

I reckon a lot of us won't fully relate to his life but; he writes with such warmth and affinity for his country (despite its complexities) and his mum and their incredible bond, that is so universal and transcends class and all backgrounds. 

The beauty of this book is the way it navigates the hardship, joy and pain in such a tangible way. He announced a few months ago the book is being adapted into film and I can't wait ! But definitely get a copy of this book before venturing into the cinema. Born a Crime is the most pleasantly surprising page-turner. 

5/5
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Friday, 4 May 2018

Highly Anticipated Summer Releases

The sun came out about 15 minutes therefore, it is officially summer am I right?! Guys, this is the first summer in a LONG while where I've actually been anticipating cinema releases. Honestly, I can't remember the last time I was this excited ! Normally, the films coming out are just so subpar but this summer?! THIS SUMMER?! SO many good popcorn releases. Btw even though I'm still at uni and not feeling particularly summery, I am counting summer as any time between now and the end of August. I've devised a little list so that we can all pencil these into our calendars and chat about them all !

May 
I Feel Pretty
Entebbe
Deadpool 2
On Chesil Beach
Solo: A Star Wars Story

June 
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Ocean's 8
Sicario 2 - don't know if I'll see this as I didn't like the first movie (I know, unpopular opinion) but thought I'd throw it in here for those who care
Adrift





July
A Kid Like Jake
Sorry To Bother You ** Yo check out this trailer
Eight Grade
The Incredibles 2

August
Ant Man and the Wasp
Crazy Rich Asians
Disney's Christopher Robin
The Equalizer 2


Ugh why do I have a tonne of films in May during exams season *le cry*. Which films are you most looking forward to?!
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Tuesday, 1 May 2018

What I've Been Doing, Reading and Watching all April !


Because yes, in case you've forgotten ... it did snow in April

Hey! I'm very excited to be back and posting ! I had a tonne of deadlines which frankly, I still have. But I've decided that blogging is essentially how I'll be spending my revision breaks 


April was v intense and I imagine very little will change in May. But it was till so nice to go back home for a few weeks. Just being surrounded by a bit of noise, a change of scenery ... watching an actual television and not from my laptop, not having to be in your room the whole day ... it's the little things ! I'm really praying I get to live in a student house next year because student halls with people you don't know, are not the one. So yeah, really appreciated going home !

Last month did make me realise that within my overpacked and overscheduled daily timetables, something has to give this season give and unfortunately it'll be this blog. And my French Grammar exam which I have no time to revise for. πŸ’πŸΏ‍♀️

I had this magical plan I'd draft about 10 posts in April, ready to upload this month but ... that didn't happen. And there's no point putting pressure on myself to try and catch up with it now. I'm in my final year of uni and my exams and coursework just have to take priority. So like I said, I'll likely just be blogging as and when I can and feel like it.



As you can then probably guess, I didn't read much last month either. However what I did read: Slay in Your Own Lane, Born a Crime and Brit(ish) were incredible and I can't wait to tell you all about them this month. I also finally got the latest edition of Blogosphere Magazine. What can I say? Another great issue. And I also discovered Lydia Elise Millen, its coverstar! I obviously knew who she was but never had an inclination to watch her videos. But she gives a really raw and honest interview in here. And she's just as genuine on her YouTube channel ! Seeing as Blogosphere is the only magazine I read, I've been looking for some others I could get my teeth stuck into and came across Courier WHICH I LOVE. It's a magazine all about modern-day businesses and it's only £5?! Plus I believe you can order their entire back catalogue online.

April was also very much a TV month. Caught up on Jessica Jones, Grown-ish, Black-ish and Stranger Things! Finally. Have to say I'm super impressed by Black-ish introducing this separation storyline?! It's pretty brave for a family comedy so I'm really curious to see where that goes. 

At the moment I'm rereading Maria Chapdelaine, a book set in the Canadian countryside in the early 1913 and no, not by choiceπŸ™ƒπŸ™ƒ. Also Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi  and Sophie Kinsella's latest - Surprise Me! What are you currently reading?! 
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Friday, 30 March 2018

Coco, The Post + Black Panther *No Spoilers*



A film blog, bringing you film reviews  for the first time in about 6 months. Consider yourselves blessed. I hope to be doing these quicker reviews/thoughts of all the *new* films I see this year. I'm about 12 films behind but ya know, better to start somewhere !

Coco
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Pixar have raised the bar yet again in their latest offering, Coco. Set in Mexico, Coco tells the story of Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), a boy who loves music. His great great grandfather however abandoned his family to become a renowned musician, embittering his wife and daughter who as a result, ban music from their family. Miguel therefore can only play his guitar in secret, learning from old video tapes of his idol Ernesto de la Cruz. This changes when the Day of the Dead comes around and he plucks up the courage to play publicly for the first time at the festival. His grandmother however broke his guitar in anger, after discovering he's been playing music this entire time which leaves him in need of a guitar for his performance. In a stroke of genius, he decides to borrow Ernesto de la Cruz's from the town museum. But guys, the guitar is magical ! One strum and he's thrown into the Land of the Dead where, with the help of some unexpected friends and his dead family members, he must escape before dawn else he'll be stuck there forever.

What ensues next, you won't see coming. Coco is so many things. It's about a boy who just loves music and wants to play it and be seen, it's a full on family soap opera with good.juicy.twists, it's about the importance of family, it's about mortality and where we go when we die and; all of this is presented to us with breathtakingly intricate stunning visuals and music that honours the culture and language and folklore of Mexico ! Big sentence right there.

Coco took me through a roller coaster of emotions: I laughed, I caught feelings, I sang, I gasped - genuinely one of the most enjoyable cinema experiences I've had in a long time - I cannot fault this film. Best Disney film to date. That's right, I said it. And yes, better than Toy Story I have no idea why people still ask, as if there aren't about 10 Disney films better than Toy Story and Finding Nemo smh.

The Post
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Set in 60's America, The Post follows editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) and The Washington Post publish Katherine Graham (Meryl Streep) as they try to publish The Pentagon Papers and consequently expose 3 decades worth of government secrets. Doing so could lead to The Washington Post being shut down and, themselves and their entire team thrown into prison. While they're debating whether or not to print, they're also racing against The New York Times. All these elements together perhaps explain why the film marketed itself as a political thriller and for the most part , it does just that.

The Post will no doubt remind audiences of 2015 Oscar winning film, Spotlight in that both films are centred on newspaper exposes, set around the time period and even share the same screenwriters. And while all of this is evident, it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the film ! Like Spotlight, this film relies quite heavily on the meticulousness of looking through documents and waiting on phone calls to drive the drama - something it does really well. What separates the two were perhaps the hallmarks of all Steven Spielberg films: the dramatic music, the stars and an emotive central theme - the press being  an incredible force and essential to a democratic society because it keeps powers in check and protects all citizens. While the latter may to an extent be true, all these elements together came across as slightly heavy handed way.

Black Panther
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The internet is very surprised that Black Panther is a. one of the highest grossing superhero films of all time and b. one of the highest grossing films ... ever. But Marvel Studios would maybe rather you forget was that when deciding which superhero would start the cinematic universe, they went with the lesser known Iron Man, over Black Panther which was then Marvel's best selling comic book character. Probably because back then, that would've seemed preposterous. A risk. Not commercially viable. Maybe a fear audiences wouldn't "connect" to the characters.

And you know what, I'm glad we had to wait because it really feels like the stars aligned for this film to get made: from Roxane Gay and Ta Nehisi Coates rewriting the comics to it landing in the lap of Ryan Coogler who takes such care and time in creating characters with humanity (find his back catalogue and watch everything).

In the end what we got was a film that celebrates the Africa diaspora; black women being strong, intelligent, beautiful, funny and unapologetically black; fleshed out characters; a sharp script;a superhero film with a damn good (looking #jokes #kinda) villain and we know how rare they are; a superhero film with a third act that didn't lag (who'd have thought I'd see the day) and as the numbers suggest, one of the best films ever made.

Side note to all of this, I also went through about 12 different emotions in the lead up to watching this film. Firstly one of my friends bailed because she didn't want to sit in the front row ... does it matter?! Have we not all been waiting over a year to see this?! Then a "friend" made a remark about having superhero fatigue and this film really just being for black people (same "friend" then watched it later and said it was amazing *eye roll*). Then I nearly didn't get a ticket because the website was acting up and I had to call - never done that before. And the guy on receiving end was taking his time in booking my ticket - at this point there were 2 tickets left and a friend I was going with already had one so you know, stress. And thennnn I got to the cinema super early and was all of a sudden really emotional to see so many black people and families turn out for this film! Emotional as if I made this film myself haha. As a regular cinema attendee, it only just dawned on me that I'm normally one of the very few/sometimes only person of colour in a cinema room. And to see a film that includes everyone was so beautiful. 

Anyway Black Panther, a cultural phenomenon. Go and watch it if you haven't already.

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Saturday, 24 March 2018

Misogynation: The True Scale of Sexism by Laura Bates

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

Misogynation is the latest collection of essays from founder of the Everyday Sexism project, Laura Bates.

Synposis:
   Drawing attention to both hidden and blatant sexist acts and attitudes, Laura has exposed the startling truth behind misogyny in our society: systemic, ingrained and ignored. From Weinstein to Westminster, a torrent of allegations of sexual harassment and assault have left us reeling. One hundred years since some women were first given the right to vote, we are still struggling to get to grips with the true extent of gender inequality that continues to flourish in our society. 
   In this collection of essays, originally published in the Guardian, Laura Bates uncovers the sexism that exists in our relationships, our workplaces, our media, in our homes and on our streets, but which is also firmly rooted in our lifelong assumptions and in the actions and attitudes we explain away, defend and accept. Often dismissed as one-offs, veiled as 'banter' or described as 'isolated incidents', Misogynation joins the dots to reveal the true scale of discrimination and prejudice women face. 

Let's just get straight to the point ! If you're looking for a book that will put together all arguments to reveal the scale of sexism and how it permeates every.single.little.part of our society and, uses in depth research from multiple sources to provide the best case for feminism today? Misogynation is the one. It's important too to note that  Laura Bates is also one of the very few white feminist writers who addresses intersectionality and does so consistently and thoroughly. While like Laura's first book, this one is written in a rather journalistic style, it only adds more credence to what she's saying. Just the meticulous way in which every essay is written, with many real life examples from girls and women all over the world really hit home in that it made me hyper aware of how deep-rooted the issue of sexism is and, how damaging and life changing its effects can be.

Some of these essays first appeared in The Guardian and so when compiled in this way, some of her arguments can seem repetitive. As someone very rightly said on Goodreads that's kind of the point. Sexism is arduous and repetitive to everyone who's a recipient of it. It's also everywhere if you look properly which is why I think it was so essential to ram this point home.

If you've read a bit of feminist lit or or other feminist collections of essays, you'll unlikely be surprised by much of the information here. That said, its still important  in helping us reinforce the language we use to talk about sexism and, having some cold hard stats to back us up. And I'd say is more important for those who have read v little to none - this is the book to start with. Or perhaps start with Everyday Sexism and go from there because this book definitely builds on those themes.

So, if you only read one book this year, let it be this one ! 

5/5

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Thursday, 22 March 2018

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

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


Synopsis:

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 !
4/5



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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.

Neighbours
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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 !
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