General

Reviews: My Top 5 Web Series

One of the best pieces of advice that I ever received came from my Lover who suggested that you should ‘carve out time for the things you love’. This blog is a direct result of that advice. However, carving out time for the things you love is something that I have found very difficult; I am sure I am not alone in this. We live in an age where indeed time is something that we are constantly chasing after.

Nevertheless, I have gotten a lot better at being protective over my time in order to make room for things that are good for my soul 🙂 And one of those things are watching webseries. It has become a Sunday ritual and it is the perfect way for me to unwind before the chaotic week ahead. So this post, is another review but this time on my favourite webseries. Hopefully some of you may be fans already or you may be new to this world of cyber entertainment. Scroll down and have a look at what tickles your fancy. And for the big sister Evelyn, I hope you will appreciate this given that very soon you will have a lot more time on your hands 🙂

Life of Hers 

Life of Hers is a drama series that follows the lives of four millennial black, British women who navigate their way through the complexities of life as a young 20something year old. In addition to exploring the intricate details of friendship, love, family, career and relationships, it also highlights the difficulty of contending with an inherited culture of our parents as well as the culture with which you have been submerged into as a result of being born outside the shores of Africa.

Kaima, Hodan, Cassandra and Valentine all represent a voice which every young woman can identify with. Life never moves along a linear path and Life of Hers demonstrates that. Created by the uber-talented Samantha Chioma, I love this series because of the intelligence that shines through; I could listen to the radio broadcasts over and over again. I was proud to watch such a positive portrayal of young black women with my 18 year old cousin. My favourite character is Hodan whose internal battles resonated strongly.

Watch Season One here and let me know who you identify with most. You can also find out more about Season Two @LifeOfHersUK.

An African City 

Along the same corollary as Life of Hers, An African City follows the lives of five women, expatriates living in the beautiful city of Accra, Ghana. I think that this series reminds me of Sex and The City with high fashion, beautiful women and stories that are all interwoven. Nana Ya is my favourite character and Season Two ends with the ultimate cliffhanger…

Follow @AnAfricanCity to find out more about the series as well as when the highly anticipated Season Three will be released.

Gidi Up 

Gidi Up is a drama series that explores the lives of young men and women who live life in the fast lane in Lagos, Nigeria. It takes a while to get into it, but once you do, its absolutely addictive. I loved this show with passion because it shows the luxurious and breathtakingly beautiful parts of Nigeria dispelling the myths that the media has helped to create. I cannot wait for Season Three and in this series, Eki is my favourite character – super intelligent and a lover of culture and the arts; she is a woman after my own heart!

Follow @GidiUp_ to join the conversation and to find out more about the release of Season Three.

Brothers With No Game

Brothers With No Game was my first taster of a web series and so is my first love! Brilliant potrayal of black, British talent, it follows the lives of four friends (I spot a trend going on here!) who struggle with their respective love lives! The show has a very strong social media following and has successfully secured a slot on London Live. Dorian, is my favourite character 🙂 Watch all episodes of Season One and Season Two and let me know what you think; I really do think it is a refreshing and unconventional portrayal of black men.

Tweet them @TheBWNG

Spin 

This reminds me ever so slightly of Top Boy and I was slightly reluctant to watch it at first but I must admit I have gotten into it a fair bit. This drama series is about a group of friends in their early twenties who deal with living in an urban city. I was impressed by the level of acting and I especially love Dan! His cynicism and sinister nature are second to none… Watch Season One and Two…

Follow them @SpinDramaUK

Let me know your thoughts on any of the series above and feel free to recommend others. I think my next review will be things I have seen in the theatre (anyone seen Scottsboro Boys yet?) and exhibitions I have visited (Black Cultural Archives in Brixton is a must!)

Until the next time. xxx

Advertisements
Standard
Book reviews

Read All About It!! Book Reviews…

Me, top right with Taiye Salesi and the stylish Mary bottom right with Taiye

Me, top right with Taiye Salesi and the stylish Mary bottom right with Taiye

***DISCLAIMER: This is a long one so grab a cup of tea! ***

When I was younger, my mum used to make my eldest brother take me to Shepherds Bush Library fortnightly as I was never allowed to sit in front of the TV for hours on end. It was there that my deep and long love affair with books began…

My favourite authors as a child were Malorie Blackman, R.L Stein, Terry Pratchett, Courtia Newland – I could go on and on. This has now been replaced with more age appropriate authors (lol) such as Chimamanda Adiche, John Grisham and Ben Okri.

So I am forever indebted to my amazing mother for helping me to cultivate a noteworthy habit; knowledge is indeed power. Enjoy my review on some of the books I have read this year.

Americanah

 

 

 

 

 

 

Americanah by Chimamanda Adiche

I went to see Chimamanda Adiche as part of the Guardian Book Club events and I was sooo star struck (will try and fish out the pic of me grinning like a prat!). She didn’t disappoint. My oh my, it is pretty self explanatory as to why she writes so well. She is super intelligent, eloquent and quick witted. It all made sense.

Americanah follows the love story of Ifemulu and Obinze, childhood sweethearts who leave the shores of Africa to forge better lives aboard. As Nigerians that now form part of the African diaspora, life presents them with a number of challenges that would be deemed as alien back home. And this is the beauty of the book; Chimamanda explores a number of contentious issues that are all too familiar for those living within the diaspora. It is all weaved into this unconventional love story showing just how complicated life can be. Life never moves along a linear trajectory which is why I found this book to be so relatable.

Ghana must go

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghana Must Go by Taiye Salesi

I also saw Taiye Salesi in person at the Stylist book club event but I hadn’t actually read the book at that point. I was intrigued nonetheless because to say the room was packed is an understatement.

However, despite the raving reviews that night, I have to say, I agree with friend and cousin who both said that the book was difficult to read (you were right Kofo and Mary!) The prose was far to complicated which made it hard to follow. The characters were interesting though but overall, it just wasn’t enjoyable.

gone girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

This book is everything. You know a book is fantastic when you jump on the train and everyone is reading the same book, each person peering over the top of their book, giving that gentle nod of approval. Thank you to my beautiful and sophisticated friend Tosin for recommending it and to Stylist magazine too who did a review very early on.

Gone Girl is the twisted tale of Nick and Amy Dunne who paint the perfect picture of marriage. They seem madly in love until Amy goes missing and you start to see cracks in the paintwork. I cannot say anymore without giving it away so if you haven’t read it yet you’re snoozing!

20 out of 10 mate; nothing else left to say here.

lean in

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lean In by Cheryl Sandberg

I was beside myself when the gorgeous Titi presented me with this book for my birthday. I was literally planning to buy it within the next week or so, so it was very timely.

THIS BOOK IS IT. What I love most about this book is yes whilst gender inequality within the workplace is still very much an issue, what we fail to discuss more is the internal barriers that exist that hold us back even more. She challenges women to lean in and sit at the table and to raise our hands even if we are afraid to do so. I really do suggest that every woman reads this book; there are so many nuggets and takeaways and the best part is that Cheryl shares her own personal experience which makes it much more relatable.

And that brings me to the end of this review. I might do a two part series…we’ll see.

P.s. the books I am currently reading are:

  •  White Teeth by Zadie Smith – The cult classic written by one of the greatest authors of our time. It has taken me a while to get round to reading it and I know I am super late but better late than never. I read her second book On Beauty and that was literally one of the best books that I have ever read in my life.
  • Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton – my fav Ibby got this for me and whilst I thought it would be more about Hillary’s political career and life in general, it is actually about US foreign policy and American governance which I used to loathe (I went to SOAS!) But now I am more open minded especially as I am currently studying US foreign policy as part of my postgrad degree. It ties in nicely.

In any case, I will be sure to let you know what I think of them in due course. In the meantime let me know of your thoughts on any of the books mentioned.

Until the next time…xxx

Standard
Womanhood

I am changing it – 100%

It’s official. It’s a done deal. After months of meticulous planning, scurried visits to suppliers, analysing varying shades of emerald green,  the wedding – or should I say wedding(s) (both the cultural AND the English one) are done!! We had an absolute blast and I am now well and truly enjoying what is marital bliss; long may it continue (and the church said amen) 🙂

But it’s interesting because right next to ‘Did you cry?’ and ‘Can I see the pictures?!!’ The other questions I am frequented with are: ‘Are you keeping your maiden name?’ and ‘When will you start having kids?’

These are questions that my Mum’s generation (she is a Boomer) couldn’t possibly fathom; getting married is synonymous with changing your name and having children is what marriage is for – it’s a no brainer. But for the women of ‘Generation Y’ or the ‘Millennials’ as we are more commonly known these are very valid and plausible questions.

We are the generation born roughly between 1982 and 1994 and with that comes a breed of women who are highly ambitious, well educated, tenacious, most likely to go against the grain etc etc– the list goes on. We understand and appreciate the value of choice noting that not every woman loves weddings, has a desire to get married and/or have children. And there is nothing wrong with this, it’s a woman’s prerogative and it is what the generation before us have fought so hard to ensure that we maximise – choice.

One of my mentors decided to keep her maiden name because it is her identity; this is a widely held view by a number women. It also doesn’t help that her husband’s surname is ‘quite frankly rubbish’ (I love her wit) and she went on to explain that she had had worked hard to build a reputable and noteworthy career – changing her last name would be doing herself a disservice.

My line manager took an alternative approach – she opted for a double barrel name. This for me is not an option.  With a surname that is 11 letters long, adding his name to mine just gets my knickers in a twist…

In any case, I have made my decision and I am definitely changing my last name.  

Not because my cousin Emman told me in the nicest terms to ‘straighten that back and not lose my head just because I wrote one essay about women and war…’ but because I actually want to do it. It is the start of a new era for me, a symbolism of my commitment, our unification and solidarity.

And it has been met with a few disappointed sighs, even as early as this morning with a colleague stating that ‘she would never ever give up her identity.’ But for me changing my name does not mean I have to give up who I am and what I stand for. I am still Ola – passionate, ambitious, weird and wonderful…obsessed with stationery. And I am almost too certain that the Lover will help me to remain all of those very things despite changing my name; I know my identity will go unscathed…

Until the next time…xxx

Standard
Faith, Womanhood

Diary of a Sane Black Woman….

stationery

The trusted moleskin and bic…

So it’s been a minute hasn’t it?!! I am sitting at my desk, Jhene Aiko (cheers Ibby for the recommendation) in tow, literally pleading for forgiveness!! The hiatus can and will be explained so don’t give up on me just yet…

I have been missing in action due to the following reasons (that sounds horribly formal):

  • Exam season – African civil wars, foreign aid, infectious diseases…you know the drill.
  • Work – super busy but rewarding nonetheless
  • Travel – I visited the Motherland
  • Wedding planning – is in full swing!!!!!! (countdown until I become Mrs O *skelewu’s*)

SO in between trying to coordinate revision notes, prepare briefings for work, decide on wedding favours (who came up with that ‘ingenious’ name anyway?!) and finalise my future living arrangements, blogging kind of fell by the wayside…

But all hope is not lost; I am back minus the vengeance and as a result this post is quite light-hearted. I just wanted to share some things with you that I have chronicled in my journal over the past couple of months…the pages are erratic but there is a method to my madness I assure you:

  • Trust in God – (Isaiah 2:22) this has become more apparent now more than ever. He is constant and consistent always.
  • Spend more time with family – The BEST. PEOPLE. EVER. This doesn’t necessarily mean blood relations too. Its whoever you regard as family. This year I made a conscious decision to spend more time with my family. It is one of the most rewarding decisions I have made.  The laughter, support, love and encouragement is second to none; I love my family to the end of the earth and back.
  • Focus on the positivity – block out the negativity and get rid of anything that is no longer serving your purpose of making you happy. YOU are in the driver’s seat of your life and if someone is bringing you more sorrow than joy then it’s time for them to make a swift exit.
  • Do whatever gives you fulfillment!  – I love two things – stationery and writing. I think there is honestly something very therapeutic about putting pen to paper. So I decided to do something to bring the two things together –  I signed up for a calligraphy class *throws pilot pen up in the air.* Its random but maybe I will resign to just writing long love letters to the Lover and then place them in a bottle under his pillow??? Who knows but one thing’s for sure – I will be doing something that makes me happy and my happiness is paramount.

(P.s. I have FINALLY read Americanah! So ready to have a conversation about it…let me know your thoughts on it? I am currently now reading the infamous Gone Girl! Anyone read it yet?!)

Until the next time…xxx

Standard
Faith, Womanhood

He Heals the Hurt…

photo

I actually wrote this post months and months ago but I kept battling in my mind as to whether I should post it. But then after reading an amazing post by my spice of life, Covey (the girl can WRITE! Check out her blog which is so real and refreshing here) I knew it was time. And then I read this scripture 2 Corin 1:1-3 and it was a done deal:

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

So here goes. I hope that you experience the same comfort which God gave me during my darkest hour…

*************

As I mentally prepare to enter into the world of Husband-and-Wife-Life, I cannot help but look back and thank God that I made it through. I survived the good, the bad and the extremely ugly. I think at one point in our lives we have all been hurt by someone in some shape or form and you feel like you are never ever going to get over it. The pain is real. Tooooo real. And no matter how many times you pray, hear the word of God, read something encouraging, at that particular point in time the voice blares all too loudly telling you that you will never, ever get over it. (The devil is such a liar…)

But I can assure you that you will get over it. You will move on, you will heal, you will laugh again… It may take a while but you will get there. You will survive and you will live to tell the tale just as I have done. I have many scars from the wars that I have fought but they are living proof that I am stronger than I thought I was, more resilient than I could ever imagine and evidence that I always have hope. And if you are presently dealing with a hurt that runs deep, be rest assured that He does Heal the Hurt…you just have to trust God completely.

And there are no fancy steps I can offer or catchy slogan that you can immortalise, I just want to say three things and then I will be out of your way:

  1. Learn to forgive. No matter how badly you’ve been hurt, it is not worth your peace of mind. There is no point carrying around an emotion that is all too draining and quite frankly soul destroying. Forgive. Let go and move on. No seriously, let it go. You owe it to yourself to be happy and to live the best life you possibly could so don’t let anyone have that much power over your life because aint nobody got time for that.

 

  1. Soak yourself in His word. It is food for your soul. Find every scripture that is pertinent to how you are feeling and immerse yourself in it. I have shared some of the scriptures that literally gave me life and I hope that this should give you something to work with as a starter for ten:

 

  • Psalm 147: 3 – ‘He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.’

 

  • Nehemiah 8:10 – ‘The joy of the lord is your strength.’

 

  • Psalm 30:5 – ‘His anger lasts a moment, His favour a lifetime, weeping may endure for the night but joy comes in the morning.’

 

  • Deuteronomy 33: 25 – ‘As your days are, so shall your strength be..’

 

  • Isaiah 43:18-19 – ‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.’

 

  • Habakkuk 3:19 – ‘The Lord God is my strength and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet and he will make me to walk upon mine high places…’

 

  • Isaiah 41:10 – ‘Fear not for I am with thee; be not dismayed for I am thy God. I will strengthen thee, I will help thee.’

You have to take it one day at a time and in between each tear, pray like your life depends on it according to the promises He has given you in His word.

  1. Lastly, don’t play superhero and I cannot stress this enough. Talk to close friends/family that you can trust. Rest on them whilst you are weak so that they can help you to fight whilst they are strong. I am talking about people who all it takes is one word and they are ready to pray for you (Yinka Oye, you are a gem) and when they say they will pray for you, they really do mean it or the ones that pray for you without you even asking them to (Ade thank you…)they are the silent warriors…the ones that are in your corner always. They are the people that you can open up your closet to, reveal all your skeletons, bear your soul and never, ever, ever feel judged. They are few and far between so when you find them, value them but more importantly utilise them.

So to every person reading this who may be hurting be rest assured that there is hope. The joy that I have now is deeply gratifying and I do mean deeply. Everything that I have been through, every battle that I have fought pales in comparison to where I am now. There is absolutely nothing like the peace of God (Phil 4:7), I am such an amazing place right now and I can only thank God.

I am more than happy to talk to anyone about this; just email me. I really do mean it. I have been sooooo blessed by the messages I have received from complete strangers about my blog so feel free to get in touch. After all, Gal 6:2 says we should ‘share each other’s burdens and in this way you obey the law of Christ…’

There is always a next time, so until then…xxx

Standard
Faith

Consistently Consistent

Revert to Plan B

The title of this post may seem grammatically incorrect (although I beg to differ; no squiggly green line has appeared underneath) but it is a phrase that I have grown to love. I wish I could lay claim to the fact that I created it but unfortunately, my creative juices have been trickling through rather slowly this month. This idiom actually belongs to my lovely sis, Lola SMD who casually slipped this into our regular perambulations about life and love (*taking a moment to appreciate my Captain. Exhale*)

She said that if there is one thing that is incomparable, it is a man that is consistently consistent. I couldn’t agree more as there is nothing more debilitating than a man that lacks consistency but I think it also applies to life in general, across the whole spectrum…not just in the context of love…

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit but I think the real underlying message here is consistency. Whatever you commit to, stick at it…

This isn’t always easy and I have had my fair share of downfalls along the way especially since starting my women’s network, Something Borrowed. Two failed launches, two wrong web designers and a botched plan for my next event. I was so down about it that I actually decided that I wasn’t going to continue with it at all. But thank God for great family and friends that have been a constant source of encouragement and this year after my life calms down a bit, I plan to get back on the horse.

It is absolutely essential to be consistently consistent with everything that we pursue not just in 2014 but beyond. We cannot afford to botch every failed plan just because it didn’t go right and I am definitely talking to myself more than anyone else. It is important that we remain steadfast and do not quit.

I will end with this example which also inspired me somewhat: watching vlogs are my guilty pleasure. I admit it; unashamed. And I enjoy the likes of YouTube sensations Shirley Eniang and Patricia Bright, the Brit Pop Princess; they easily have about 500,000 followers between them. But what is truly admirable is that they both started off with hardly any followers and the quality of the videos was not the greatest to say the least. Fast forward a couple of years and it hard to believe that their channels were ever in such a state. With endorsements flooding in left right and centre, they have shown how something small can truly flourish into something great. Again, I reiterate, we must be consistent with everything we pursue.

So I am heading over to my bin to fish out the things that I penned concerning some of my projects, business ventures and dreams. I might fail but I could also succeed. I have absolutely nothing to lose.

As my postgrad partner in crime, Fran Danmole would say, the journey continues…Day 1 of 21… xxx

Standard
General

Bigger…Better…Bolder.

I think the novelty has kind of worn off so I guess I will refrain from saying Happy New Year but in either case I am glad you made it over!
2014 arrived really quickly and I feel like as I get older, the years are racing by a lot quicker; I don’t know if anyone else feels like that? Nevertheless, 2014 is here and there is no going back and I am excited for what the year has in store. It looks set to be a busy year for me albeit a very exciting one so bring it on.

One thing I haven’t done this year however is set goals. I don’t know why but this year I found it particularly difficult. At the end of each year, I have a ritual: I have an annual review of my goals with my super amazing friend Kofo (she is just a genius) and we discuss what went right, what went wrong and what we hope to do better in the following year. We then set our goals for the forthcoming year so that we are accountable to each other. We have been doing it for a couple of years now and we both love it; it is a great way to make sure you stay on track and I would definitely recommend it.

However, at the end of last year, we just couldn’t do it and we don’t know why (ok so I was busy shoving my face with food every minute of the day but that has never stopped me before) We both struggled to write down goals and here we are coming up to the end of January and we still haven’t managed to muster up something concrete.

My journal this year is just blank. I have some sketchy notes and some things that I hope to do but it is nowhere near as extensive as it usually is so I have been thinking about trying something new this year…I am going to have just a few goals and one overarching principle that will govern everything I do: I am going to do everything bigger, better and bolder and I will try and use the talents that God has given me as much as possible. That’s it! To be honest I don’t know if I can do it (my cousin Adeola always complains I am too structured) but I will see how it goes…

All the best in 2014 and thank you for following my blog! I didn’t think I would have any followers (aside from my family) when I first started but it means a lot knowing that my writing is appreciated as I love to do it. Anyhoo, I would love to hear how you construct your goals if you even set goals at all?! Let me know how you get on.

Roll on 2014…xxx

Standard