A Book and Film Blog

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Best Podcasts of 2018

An infographic showing the best podcasts of 2018. These are, Anna Faris is Unqualified, Insecuritea, Girlboss Radio, Kermode and Mayo Film Review, About Race with Reni Eddo Lodge , Your Favourite Thing with Wells Adams and Brandi Cyrus

My love of podcasts is no secret. I have about 12 I listen to religiously and probably about 20 altogether. So whittling it down to 6 was so difficult ! But, I did it ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰

Is incredible. And so are all these podcasts but really. Sophia Amoruso's book Girlboss which I talk a little bit about in a previous post, truly changed my life. And the podcast is essentially an extension of the movement. Each week she interviews successful women in all arenas of life and, they spill the beans on their career and life journeys as well as their secrets to success. 

This is a weekly 2+ hour show all about the latest cinema releases, interviews with the stars and in depth reviews from both film critic Mark Kermode and their listeners. Presenters' Mark and Simon have a brilliant dynamic and I normally find myself chuckling along as I listen. 

This is such a random podcast to have made it onto this list but I'm obsessed. I think it's because the podcast reminds me of the one I had with my pal while at uni ! Wells Adams (Radio DJ, Influencer, The Bachelor alum) and Brandi Cyrus (Presenter, DJ) are two friends who meet up every week(ish - also an inconsistent as our podcast) and just catch up on life. It's that simple.

Genuinely, a highlight of my week. Anna and Sim (Producer and Anna's best friend) are joined by a guest each week. They play situational games, do improv and then call up a real person to give them real advice. But genuinely try to give advice to very real, often relationship questions. The results are both heartfelt and hilarious.

A powerful, well-made docu-style podcast series detailing what it means to be Black and British in the UK today. I'd really recommend you check y

This is one of those two-great-pals-catching-up podcasts but these two are SO FUNNY. It's easy to say something is funny so listening is believing. Insecure is also one of those shows that demands a response/discussion/analysis after pretty much every episode so this is perfect if you're like me and are desperate to hear some other opinions !

SHARE:

Sunday, 9 December 2018

22 July, Smallfoot and Bohemian Rhapsody


3 Quick Reviews is baaack! And here to stay I promise. These are posts when I give a quick film reviews of new(ish) releases. Let me know what you made of these too and whether or not you'll be checking any of them out ! 

Smallfoot
Source

The premise is fantastic. So fantastic it's enough for you to buy a cinema ticket without thinking too much into how this is all going to play out. Unfortunately, it seems studio execs had as much foresight into the plot of this film as I did when buying my cinema ticket. And so it goes something like this: "Let's have a group of Bigfoot accidentally come across a human (a Smallfoot). Each species previously thought the other was folklore. What could possibly go wrong? Let's find out !" At least this is what we *think* this film will be about. It's a bit tongue and cheek, quite funny . And so we go along with it, thinking it'll be a bit cheeky ! But of course what we forget, and the film reminds us, is that there's only so far you can run with this. And we get a good 15 minutes. But after all the fun is over, Smallfoot tries to grapple with where to take the plot.

We're living in a "woke animated film" (thanks to Disney Pixar) and Smallfoot film desperately tries to follow suit, steering the plot into a film about the prevalence of fake news and the importance of the truth. The world building is perfectly fine, the songs are a bit much but I guess for a mind-numbing animation filled afternoon, perfectly fine. James Corden, even in animated form manages to be annoying but for the most part, the performances from this all-star cast are, perfectly fine.

There are two types of animated films, animated films clearly for young kids (i.e My Little Pony) and animated films for everyone (i.e Coco). Smallfoot is the former while simultaneously trying to be the latter. And so its messages feel clumsily shoehorned. We get a couple of fab verses from Common which if you could follow are stellar. But all in all, it's all little bit too complicated for the film it was supposed to be.

22 July
Source

22 July
is a harrowing take on the 2011 Norway terrorist attacks and its aftermath. Written and directed by Paul Greengrass, the film features an all Norwegian cast. Making a film of this nature is a tricky one because there's a very fine line between being educational and glorification. And since these attacks are part of very recent history, we could find ourselves asking, what's the purpose of this film ?

22 July rises to this challenge. The film of course doesn't do without the massacre and, the first 20 or so minutes depicts the harrowing and disturbing scenes of the massacre. However 22 July is not so much about the attacks as it is about, how a nation comes together and reacts in the face of such hatred. The heart of this film is found in Viljar, one of Breivik's victims who was left hospitalised after being shot five times by Breivik. We accompany him, his family and the families of other victims through their rehabilitation and fight for justice. These are undeniably dark and upsetting scenes and yet the film manages to be simultaneously uplifting and hopeful. Viljar and the fellow victims epitomise the very liberal values of acceptance, love that Breivik sought to destroy.
In surviving and bearing witness to his trial, Greengrass captures how the youth rise in the face of fascism. This film is an emotive, controlled yet powerful piece of cinema.

Bohemian Rhapsody
Source

Bohemian Rhapsody, for the most part, follows the life and career of singer-songwriter Freddie Mercury. I say 'for the most part' because the film seems to be undecided on whether it's a Freddie Mercury film or a 'Queen' film. And when watching it, you can tell it's trying to make everyone happy, shoving in all of Queen's biggest hits and iconic outfits. It therefore spreads itself a bit thin, particularly in the first half, and we're left with a film that feels like a Wikipedia account of Freddie's life/Queen's career.

So, it goes through the motions (getting some minute details a bit mixed-up) albeit quite satisfyingly. Rami Malik however shines as Freddie. His performance gives the film a much-needed, emotive and crowd-pleasing punch which consequently carries the film through the second-half. He shows us the nuances of Freddie's personality throughout the peaks and troughs of his career and personal life. Bohemian Rhapsody, giving it a much-needed, crowd-pleasing emotive punch. The film should have stuck to Rami's lead, focusing on more on Freddie, the man and less on Queen, the band. Having said all this, I thoroughly enjoyed the piece as a whole ! I didn't know too much about Freddie going in and so enjoyed learning more, enjoyed the songs, and absolutely loved Malik as Freddie. Unfortunately, he was given a script that wasn't always worthy of his performance and I predict, this will work against him in upcoming award shows.


SHARE:

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone Book Review

Source

Children of Blood and Bone is a Nigerian-mythological inspired fantasy novel. The world features different kind of magic; those with power over fire, water, earth as well as those with power over health, disease, life and death. Those who wield magic are called the Maji. The story predominately follows Zelie, a diviner. Zelie has white hair and the markings of a Maji but, she can't use magic. This is because when we meet Zelie at the beginning of the novel, magic has been eradicated by the king. As Maji only come into their powers when they reach adolescence, the king orchestrated mass genocide of all Maji wielding adults leaving a generation of Maji orphans. With the help of Princess-gone-rogue Amari; the two find themselves on the run from the Crown Prince of Orishan in a quest to strike out against the monarchy, and restore magic to the land.

I was drawn into this book because it promised (and delivered) something different, a high fantasy novel set in Nigeria. And while I was thoroughly impressed by Adeyemi's world building, this book is very much high fantasy - a genre I generally struggle with. The author revels in this genre and, the story features many of its classic tropes: princesses, revenge, dark magic and power struggles. These elements are not only well-fleshed out but also woven with Nigerian mythology which offers readers something a little new.

In hindsight, the story was well paced - many fast-paced action sequences that are counteracted with the slower chapters where our central four build relationships. Like I said, you'll enjoy these sequences if you're into high fantasy. I, at times, struggled to stay engaged. My issue with the book lies mainly with the slower chapters where we're left with these characters and the budding romances. The romances were far too contrived for my liking and felt forced. Not only could the story have done without one particular romance; it highlighted how the story could have done without these characters altogether.

I enjoyed the journey the Tomi Adeyemi took me on, but always felt as though the book was being set up to be a series (which it is). Progress is constantly achieved, then undone, then achieved, then undone. And while I'm sure this'll look great once it's onscreen, I was left a little frustrated at times. Where Children of Blood and Bone really shines however, is in its handling of racial tensions, class inequalities and persecution this nation endures. Through Zelie's family, we see how a generation handle the effects of genocide; all themes that speak powerfully to the world we live in today.

Whether you're a huge fantasy fan or not, the combination of fantastic world building, strong female characters and prominent themes bubbling beneath the surface mean there's something in here for everyone.

3.8/5
SHARE:

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Where Netflix' 'Nappily Ever After' got it right

Nappily Ever After Film Review

An illustration image showing an assortment of black hair products and, an image of a black woman with an afro.
Source
*May contain unpopular opinions*

So this'll be a quick post ! I just had a some stuff I wanted to get off my chest ! I drafted this a while ago and looking back on this post, I'm now wondering why I felt so strongly about a film that in all honesty ... is mediocre at best. Despite its faults I did quite like it, it's a good Sunday afternoon film as you scroll Twitter. Now before we begin, I was talking about this film with some of my caucasian counterparts. And for some reason they thought 'nappily' meant 'never happy'   So to clarify, 'nappy' is a derogatory term used to describe Afro-textured hair.

A couple of months ago, Nappily Ever After, a romantic-comedy starring Sanaa Lathan was released on Netflix. Nappily Ever After is adapted from the Trisha R. Thomas novel of the same name and follows Violet (Lathan). She's a young, black woman who has a seemingly perfect life - great job, great (allegedly) boyfriend, and great hair. I know, it's sounding v cliched (and it is) but stick with me here. She's been with her boyfriend for years and is expecting him to propose. When he doesn't, she has an irrational seeming breakdown. It leads her to evaluate her life and she realises she's not comfortable with her life and needs to be making some changes. And that starts with going bald !
It's a bit dramatic yes. But in shaving her head, she realises how much she relied on her hair to feel beautiful. She's forced to look within to find strength, beauty and confidence and in doing so, learns to truly love herself.

Is it a bit cheesy/contrived? Yes. Has this been done before? Absolutely. But the film caught a lot more slack than I expected it would. The general consensus was that the black community is beyond this message; it's anti-weave/anti-relaxer; it suggests all our problems are linked to our hair ; it's patronising. While I can see where all these points are coming from (though I don't believe the film is anti-weave), I do feel we judged it a bit to harshly. How many of our well-loved rom-coms repeat the same tropes? And we cannot deny that a sizeable number of black women (myself included) have a complicated history/relationship with their hair - some of whom's stories bare some resemblance to Violet's. European beauty standards have been used to oppress us for decades and continue to do so. This article chronicles this history, starting from the 1800s.

I know black women who don't feel comfortable going to work without a wig/weave. I know black women who would never be caught dead with their afro. So no Nappily Ever After is not going to speak to all black women, but it'll be uplifting and feel good for many.  And we can't expect films with majority black casts to reflect the experiences of all black people.

SHARE:

Monday, 19 November 2018

The Spider King's Daughter by Chibundu Onuzo


Source

First and foremost, let's give this book some cover appreciation ! I mean ... how beaut. It's still only £3 on the Kindle hence why I only have a digital copy but I'm definitely wishing I had a physical copy instead.

Chibundu Onuzo tells this story through the interchanging perspectives of her two protagonists: Abike Johnson and Runner G. 17 year old Abike Johnson is the spoilt daughter of the Spider King, a mysteriously wealthy man. Living in the lap of luxury in Lagos, Abike is surrounded by a sprawling mansion, cars, maids and pretty much everything money could buy. One afternoon being chauffeured through town, she stops for ice cream from a hawker, Runner G. His life is a world away from hers.

Unbeknownst to Abike, having lost everything he now hawks to support his younger sister and ailing mother. Abike and Runner G form an unlikely bond, one which soon leads to romance. But as the two learn more about each other, secrets from each other's past begin to unravel and threaten their relationship and the lives of those around them.

The Spider King's Daughter adopts the classic, forbidden romance trope but throws in a lot of twists and turns. Abike and Runner's romance is best described as a Shakespearean love story. Though complete opposites, the two instantly fall in love. And yet as a reader, I instantly had a lot of questions. The more they learn about each other, the less things add up. And as the secrets and mystique build up, the story quickly begins to read as a detective / thriller which will make you race to the end.

Onuzo's writing is so eloquent and her characters so provocative. Honestly, Abike quickly became one of my least favourite book characters *ever*. It says a lot of a writer's talent when they're able to evoke such strong reactions from their readers concerning certain characters. This serves the plot well as it's laced with mystery through and particularly fast paced, aided no doubt by the alternating chapters.

It's difficult to say too much without giving away major plot twists but if you're on the hunt for a quick page turner, some sweet escapism perhaps? The Spider King's Daughter is the one.

4.5/5


SHARE:

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Best Movie Weddings


I really need to come up with some better blog post titles but, there was no other way of putting this ! If you like a wedding film as much as I do, these are some of the best ones out there. Oh and if you use these links, you can rent them all on Amazon for like £3 each. So everyone wins here !

Jumping the Broom 
Ah the classic boy meets girl, they fall in love, get engaged and are all set to get married. But then their families meet and hate each other and all the cracks of their relationship begin to show and you don't think they'll make it. It's one of my favourite rom-com tropes! We're normally pretty sure the couple will pull through and this film is no exception. To be honest, there were so many shady digs from both sides of the family I don't know that they should have. But that's what makes this wedding so sweet! Not only do the couple pull through and have abeaut outdoor wedding, officiated by TD Jakes ๐Ÿคฃ, Paula Batton in a beaut Vera Wang looking gown and Angela Batton looking royal as Mother of the Bride; both families reach a mutual understanding and actually become friends. Reconciliation all around.

Bride Wars
Not all the best wedding scenes have to be succesful weddings. Tension mounts throughout the film, between these two once best friends who end up trying to sabotage each other's big day,c ulmilating in a wedding cat fight of epic proportions. Not one to be missed folks.

My Best Friend's Wedding
This list was never not going to feature My Best Friend's Wedding. Starring Julia Roberts as Jules and Cameron Diaz as Kim, this film gives wedding sabotage a whole new meaning. Jules' best friend (played by Dermot Mulroney) is marrying Kim and as soon as he shares his good news, Jules realises she's in love with him. Naturally. In a race against time, we then see her try and break up this couple with frankly a very weak foundation. As in, I doubt this couple would survive in the real world. Jules makes some shocking decisions and you know what she's doing is wrong but you still root for her !

The Proposal 
This is a very underrated romantic comedy and I'd argue one of Sandra Bullock's best. The film features an absolutely stunning barn wedding layout, an arguably pretty ugly wedding dress we're all supposed to like but also ... Betty White! The scene is breathtaking. Unconventionally, the couple getting married only realise they're in love ... at said wedding. But it might be too little too late !

Crazy Rich Asians 
This film features arguably my favourite wedding scene of all time. ALL TIME. Not to be dramatic but I don't think any film is going to trump this wedding scene in my lifetime.


LOOK at this bride. The setting and layout and dress and all guests look insane. Kina Grannis' beaut cover of 'Can't Help Falling Love' playing live and while all of this is going on, we see loving glanes between Nick and Rachel, the film's protagonists throughout the ceremony. They're crying, the guests are crying, I'm crying. (Nearly) It's a lot. And I'm obsessed.

Caught any of these?! And do you have any more to add to this list?!
SHARE:

Monday, 15 October 2018

Favourite Memoirs (So Far!)

Memoirs and personal essay collections are among my favourite genre. Now that I've read my fair few, I feel qualified to give you my best picks !

7. Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso
Described by the New York Magazine as the millennial alternative to Lean In Girlboss tells the story of American businesswoman Sophia Amoruso, who found herself unemployed and broke at 22. She went on to start an eBay store selling Vintage clothing, a business which grew into the fashion retailer, Nasty Gal. Sophia's experiences are not only laugh out loud funny but also riddled with life lessons about starting a business, money, workplace politics, confidence and creativity. Girlboss will change the way you talk to yourself !

6. The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae
HBO's Insecure is hands down one of the best shows of our generation and Issa Rae is the actress, Executive Producer, writer and all-round powerhouse behind the show. The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, is a bold, funny collection of essays about hair, the beginning stages of her career, being an introvert, her childhood - all stories that give you a little insight into the woman she is.

5. The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish 
One of my most anticipated reads of 2018 was this gem ! Each chapter chronicles an aspect of her life growing up or a specific lesson learnt and is told through some laugh-out-loud anecdotes. The book also highlights some of the 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. The overarching theme I'd say was being resilient and believing in yourself and your craft even when no- one else does.

4. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Kaling
I'm a big Mindy Kaling fan and this book made me feel like we were having a sleepover and she was giving me all the tea and unsolicited advice on Hollywood, friendships, the TV industry and just growing up!

3. This Is Just My Face Try Not To Stare by Gabourey Sidibe
Who KNEW Gabourey Sidibe was so funny?! I devoured this book over a few journeys to work (the rare occasions I didn't sleep). If your sense of humour is quite dry, you'll love this one. She talks about complicated family dynamics, being diagnosed and treated for depression, relationship trials, being a call girl and how she fell into and found her now rising career. And while these topics seem pretty dark, I promise you she recounts them in such a hilarious, uplifting way.

2. Born A Crime by Trevor Noah
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 ofcourse being evidence of this law being broken meant a childhood in partial hiding, confusion over his identity and lots more. It's one of those books I saw many people reading on the tube so, join the fam if you haven't already. Check out my longer review here and then find yourself a copy of this book! Using my affiliate link of course ๐Ÿ˜‰

1. Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling / Hunger by Roxane Gay
We've got a joint first ! and these two books could not be more different. I couldn't decide which I prefered because I connected to them for completely different reasons. Why Not Me is Mindy Kaling's second book and luurved it pretty much for the same reasons I loved her first book. I finished that one wanting more and this just delivered to be honest. Her career blew up between the first and second book so it was also great to see her carry on with the life surprises and lessons learnt along the way. Let's be honest, her life has blown up even more since soooo imma need a 3rd installment.

Hunger, where do I even begin with this book?! It is honest and raw and gritty and acutely self aware and beautiful. It is all those adjectives to the 100th degree ... and then some. I know, I'm doing the most but pals, this book is incredible and will leave you trying to process everything months after you read it. It essentially chronicles the author's up and down relationship with her body and her writing is just divine. She's able to articulate emotions I just never thought someone could articulate and every sentence seems so considered and powerful. 

*This post includes affiliate links.
SHARE:

Sunday, 7 October 2018

2018 TIFF Films on My Radar

The Toronto International Film Festival ended about 3 weeks however; the films that screened there will gracing our cinema screens over the next few months so now is still a good time to talk about them. Another reason being, the films that screen at the prestigious festival, are often a good indication of those that'll do well this coming award season. So! Here are the top few that I'll be looking out for ☄

Widows
Dir. Steve McQueen
In this film, the guys we normally see doing big action blockbusters ie Liam Neeson, Jon Bernthal, seemingly die pretty early on. And some ladies we don't normally see in this genre ie Viola Davis, Cythia Erivo ... take over ! What's not to like?!

Lionheart
Dir. Genevieve Naija
Lionheart is seasoned Nigerian actress Genevieve Naija's directorial debut - a comedy about a young woman taking over her dad's male dominated business. Nigerian cinema has been making real strides in recent years and its so great to see a story like this get some (I'm sure) well-deserved recognition. This one will be on Netflix so keep your eyes peeled.

Green Book
Dir. Peter Farrelly
My goodness do I just love Mahershala Ali ๐Ÿ˜ญ So glad we all got to see him do something different in Moonlight so he could land opportunities like this. He has such range too and from the trailer alone, I have a feeling he's going to top every performance he's done before.

If Beale Street Could Talk
Dir. Barry Jenkins
Still yet to read a single thing by James Baldwin (I know, I know, what kind of black person am I) so this will be a good introduction. And after Moonlight, I'll always be curious to see anything Barry Jenkins gives us.

First Man
Dir. Damien Chazelle
Controversial Opinion: I don't like space films. But I do like Claire Foy. And I do know we'll be talking about this one till March next year. So for the sake of FOMO, I'll catch this one too.

Beautiful Boy
Dir. Felix Van Groeningen
A drama starring Timothรฉe Chalamet and Steve Carell. Cannot wait I genuinely think this is going to be my film of the year. Steve Carell is another actor with incredible range and there's no doubt in my mind one of them will pick up something this award season.

Can You Ever Forgive Me
Dir. Marielle Heller
This blog post has unintentionally ended up being all about range. But one actress whose range I don't see much of is Melissa McCarthy. So what a fantastic role to step into ! The funny thing I never doubted Melissa McCarthy as an actress, she's good in everything she does she just doesn't always get the best scripts. So I'm so ready to her do something completely different.

I've said it before, this is my favourite time of the year for film. Bit disappointed we still aren't seeing many female directors though. What are you looking forward to seeing over the next few months?!
SHARE:

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Hold by Michael Donkor


Hold was one of 2018's hotly anticipated new releases. Set in both Ghana and England, it follows 17 year old Belinda; a dutiful housegirl working in Ghana working in Kumasi until she is one day summoned by her employer's family friend, the Outo's to London to keep their 17 year old daughter  Amma company. When uprooting her life, she leaves behind Mary, a fellow housegirl who is somewhat of a younger sister to her.

Amma is a straight A student and grown up being a dutiful child to her parents. Nowadays, she's more sullen, withdrawn and just not herself. Her parents imagine see Belinda to be a shining example and perhaps just what she needs to get her out of this rut. And so the story is pretty simple, Hold is about the relationship and bond between these two girls.

It only occured to me when typing that synopsis,  how much of a stretch it is that you would literally have your family friend fly in a housegirl to be her friend. And the novel itself addresses this to some extent. Although the Otuo's treat Belinda really well, and she's encouraged to focus on her studies instead of cook and clean, their decision to uprot her from everything she knows, to keep their seemingly spoilt daughter company, does not sit well with her. Yet Donkor doesn't explore this further. 

The author's touch and go approach to all of the book's themes, made for an overall unsettling reading experience. We can tell Belinda has a lot of emotional baggage surrounding her own upbringing in the village, but this isn't thoroughly explored. We can tell Amma is struggling with her sexuality, but again this isn't thoroughly explored. It seems Donkor's style is to meander through characters without much structure or plot. Whether or not you'll enjoy this style I believe rests entirely on whether you enjoy a stream of consciousness style of writing or not. I went in expecting a solid plot and didn't find one which made it incredibly difficult to settle into. 

Perhaps the biggest obstacle to overcome when reading Hold is the language. While I did enjoy the seeing the Twi language thrown in once in awhile, alongside this Donkor attempts to write in Ghanaian pigeon dialect. 


Sigh. 
You can tell he tried but it was so painfully and badly executed and; there was too much of it to ignore. A clear example of someone who thinks they know how Ghanaians speak without ever really listening to or speaking to Ghanaians living in Ghana. I appreciate that dialect is a hard one to pull off in fiction but in which case, he should've left it alone. Hold, feels aimless, cliched and lost. 

1/5


*This post includes affiliate links.
SHARE:

Monday, 1 October 2018

Sierra Burgess is a Loser + other Netflix films that did not deliver

This post contains spoilers.
Source
Sierra Burgess is a Loser
After watching To All the Boys I've Loved Before, I had a new favourite genre: Netflix rom-coms starring Noah Centineo. So imagine my excitement for the release of Sierra Burgess is a Loser,  a modern retelling of the Cyrano de Bergerac story. This time about the smart, witty Sierra (Shannon Purser). The film also centres around mean girl Veronica (Kristine Froseth) enjoys making Sierra feel small and often tears her down with hurtful comments about her appearance. One day, Jamey (our bae Noah Centineo) asks Veronica for her number. In yet another attempt to embarrass her, Veronica gives him Sierra's instead, under the pretence that it's her. Low and behold Sierra and Jamey start texting, talking and falling in love. But what would happen when Sierra and Jamey eventually crosspaths?

Now don't get me wrong, I could tell that if the film was going down the catfishing route ... things were going to get problematic. But I really thought they'd tackle the issue head on, making it a learning curve for both Sierra and audiences. That didn't happen. Not only is catfishing romanticised  despite being a complete violation of trust (which btw, is illegal), the film also throws in a tonne of other questionable plot elements. Veronica and Sierra do become friends yet Veronica never apologises for bullying Sierra; Sierra pretends to be deaf to continue to fool Jamey ... while there is a real deaf person in the scene; Sierra kisses Jamey while he thinks he's kissing Veronica therefore without his consent; Sierra hacks into Veronica's Instagram account and then proceeds to publicly slut shame her and; Jamey's remarks when he finally realises who Sierra is are quite fatphobic. What makes this all worse is that neither the film nor the characters apologise for any of these actions, leaving a really bad taste in my mouth when Sierra and Jamey do eventually get together.

You Get Me
I'm still not entirely sure where I stand on Bella Thorne. I do believe there's an actress in there and yet, I've never liked anything she's ever been in nor have any of her performances been particularly convincing. In You Get Me she plays Holly, a girl who has a one-night stand with Tyler during the summer holidays. Once summer is over, he gets back together with his ex ... something that soon becomes a problem for Holly since she's transferred schools to continue their "relationship". Safe to say, things get a little obsessive.

While Holly is definitely unhinged, we don't understand why. We also don't understand what it is about this pretty dull guy that is so interesting. And alas, we don't care. This entire trope is very tired.

Source

The Week Of
Maybe expecting an Adam Sandler film to be great was too much to ask. But these meet-the-family/wedding films are among my favourite genre of film ! And adding Chris Rock to the project seemed like a real money move at the time. The Week Of does have its heart in the right place and, this is quite possibly Adam Sandler's best work in a while as an endearing working-class dad grinding to give his daughter the wedding of her dreams. Unfortunately, the film as a whole feels like a poor man's My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Source

The Meyerowitz Stories
I'm well aware of how much people seemed to love this film. Me, not so much. The Meyerowitz Stories screams, "look at me I'm an art house/edgy/intellectual drama and I have big stars !" It follows three adult children, their individual relationships with their delusional father and how this relationship has impacts their lives. And while the film does do this effectively, with fantastic performances from Dustin Hoffman and Adam Sandler; it is painfully slow. The film feels like it's building up to an explosive final act which never happens and simply sizzles out.


Have you seen anything recently on Netflix that just didn't live up to the hype?
SHARE:

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?!

SHARE:

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). 
SHARE:

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


Source
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


Source
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. ๐Ÿ˜ญ

Covey Sisters 


Source

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 
Source

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!
SHARE:

Saturday, 25 August 2018

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

Illustration by @humearaillustrates
<3 nbsp="" p="">
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 !


SHARE:

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. 
SHARE:

TV in 2018 (So Far) : The Good, The Bad & the Meh

Source

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?! 
SHARE:

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
SHARE:
Blogger Template Created by pipdig