thanksgiving + pizza

2015, December, Family and Friends, Food, Inspiration

it’s been a week since thanksgiving and i have spent much of this past week remembering the many {many} reasons i have to be thankful. as much as i am always working towards something {aren’t we all}, taking time to be grateful for what i already have is as vital for my health as the air i breath.

a special shout out to my mother who has spent so much of herself {physically, emotionally, spiritually} investing in my brother and me. i couldn’t have asked for a better example of what it takes to be a mother.

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the housemates and i wanted to do something to celebrate the day of giving thanks, so my housemate jo came up with the genius idea of thanksgiving pizza.

i.e. putting thanksgiving ingredients on top of a pizza.

hello.

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turkey

bacon

stuffing

cranberry sauce

corn

gravy. GRAVY PEOPLE.

greens

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sides included macaroni cheese, our own take on sweet potato pie, mouth-watering garlic and mozzarella stuffed mushrooms <—— i would eat all day everyday.

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it was so simple and so good.

hope you all enjoyed your thanksgiving celebrations.

next up – CHRISTMAS!!

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life lately according to my iphone + canon 100d

2015, Family and Friends, Food, Inspiration, November

i think i spent much of october baking. from macarons to rainbow birthday cakes… i can’t tell you the amount of eggs/flour/butter i got through!

the bf’s brother and sister turned 18 and 30 {respectively}. with those being milestone birthdays i thought what better way to celebrate than with special birthday cakes?!

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for anna i found a yummy recipe for classic a victoria from the bbc good food gods {check it out here}. you can’t really go wrong with this classic sponge goodness but i needed to give it a bit of a **booom i just turned 30** look. so of course that only means buttercream icing with kit kats and maltesers!

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i strongly believe that this is how you go from “yum” to “get in my belly”.

now, turning 18 is a big deal. so for tobi i wanted to make something a bit more fun. something that screamed **freedom!!! now give me sugar**

if you’ve been following my blog for a while you know i made a rainbow cake for my bff ema back in 2014 here.

now i needed a rainbow cake with a 18 year old twist. hail skittles and more buttercream icing…

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another few months of baking and i just might be great british bake-off good.

ha let’s get real. i wish.

this past summer i invested in a good, what i would call ‘starter’, digital slr camera. after much, much, deliberation and discussions with fellow photography friends i opted for the canon 100d alongside a 50mm lens. i had fallen in love with portrait style photography about 5 years ago and only about 3 weeks ago did i manage to try it out for the first time {with my colleague from work too – she was a great sport!}.

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honestly. this experience made me so happy. i think i found a new favourite hobby.

back to cakes…

earlier in november at work,  our lovely marketing intern turned 21.

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so of course birthday cake.

 

because she has celiac disease i scoured the world wide web for a good gluten free victoria sponge recipe {i’m a bit obsessed} and i found this one. and while it was probably one of the most delicious recipes i’ve tried {seriously delicious}. it crumbled. to pieces. twice.

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**insert violins and tears**

in the end i opted for a gluten free rice krispie chocolate treat/rocky road concoction. thank goodness for friends, pinterest and 24hour shopping at tesco.

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IF YOU KNOW OF A GOOD CRUMBLE FREE GLUTEN FREE SPONGE RECIPE – HOLLA AT YA GIRL. like really. i needed caps to emphasise the seriousness. if you couldn’t already tell.

this quote had me feeling some type-a-way

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never be afraid to fail right? if you don’t ask/try, it will always be a no.

happy thursday. pssst it’s nearly christmas.

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life lately | a mash up

2015, April, Culture, Family and Friends, Healthy Living, Inspiration

// i’ve moved house.

and it’s wonderful.

here was my view from my room to the garden last saturday. it’s not all green yet but spring is dancing it’s way into our lives, so soon it will be.

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and i made a little sanctuary #purebliss

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i’m also addicted to white #allwhiteeverything

// change does the soul some good #evenwhenidontwantit
“just when i think i have learned the way to live, life changes.”| hugh prather

// some weeks ago i spent a weekend in london with my bestie alison. it was a fabulous and chill weekend of sightseeing and gluttony. and i’d do it all over again. this red rover boat cruise of the thames is highly recommended. as is going to greenwich market in east london.

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here’s to more exploring.

// while i think i’ve discovered i might be diary and wheat intolerant {major booo}, i discovered some fun alternatives…like courgette {zucchini} pasta. and lemon + kiwi + lemon + mint leaf water —-> and while that technically isn’t an alternative it is SO REFRESHING.

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// my first #wcw was dedicated to gabrielle union

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she’s 42 people. 42 YEARS OLD. i don’t know what she’s been drinking but i need some.

// my friend jo is in new zealand right now and sent me this pic last week. she was sat on this beach. with a cuppa. looking at the stars as the sun set. where was i?

in the office.

i still need to travel more.

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// i was in a car accident in february {insert sad face} but thankfully, apart from a bit of whip lash and back pain, i’m ok.

my car is now fixed — i’m just going to get hurt by my insurance premium next year.

i’d only had it for 4 weeks {cue violins}.

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// on a happy note my 3 meals, 3 countries, 3 days trip is all booked #london #paris #brussels — more on that #comingsoon

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e do so | it is enough

Family and Friends, February, Inspiration

***disclaimer***
i’ve been sat at my laptop for the last 5 hours writing and re-writing this post. wondering if it was the right thing to share. but then i just hit publish. so here goes. forgive me for my all-over-the-place-ness.

boy oh boy.

you know when i posted forrrreevvveeerrr ago about life + lemons? well rather than handing them to me, life kinda recently chucked them. i think they had thorns in them too because i was scratched. and then it stung.

which hurt.

like a lot.

i know, i know. i’m dramatic. drama queen. hypochondriac if you must.

the past few of months i have felt that i’ve been surrounded by a lot of darkness. so much so i felt like i couldn’t and wouldn’t ever break free.

but then on saturday morning i realised something. or rather, something awoke in me. and i said to my self “e do so”. which is krio (pigeon english) for “it is enough”.

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when you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.
harriet beecher stowe

i had this enormous feeling that i needed to pray. like really pray. so i did. then i got up and had the most productive saturday i’ve had in over 3 months.

i must apologise for not explaining all that has been happening. i can’t put it into words yet, because basically, i do not understand. so for now i am sharing what has happened in between and afterwards.

i  need to express how grateful i am for friends.

friends who noticed a change in my facebook activity (facebook!!!) and they decided to call. friends who, without knowing what i needed ,planned weekend getaways,  weekly lunch and girls-night-in dinner.

for the texts and the emails. oh the emails. you know who you are.

thank you. even though that doesn’t seem enough.

when we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. the friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.
henri j.m. nouwen

when you feel like you are in the deepest darkest corner of life, that fighting doesn’t seem worth it anymore, a friend who reaches out, even in the smallest of ways is, one of the most powerful things that i have not only learnt, but experienced.

and forever have been changed by it. because now i know how i can be that friend.

i want to leave you with this these two images. because they fill me with so much joy.

we have a new princess in the family. and she is absolutely owns that crown.

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she’s my 5 year old niece who stole a big chunk of my heart. now and forever.

here’s to breaking down those walls. here’s to family and friends. here’s to finding solace in the darkest of times.

if for a while, the harder you try, the harder it gets, take heart. so it has been with the best people who ever lived.
jeffrey r. holland

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twelve days of christmas | day 1: gifts for her

2014, December, Family and Friends

i should have posted this yesterday but i was still in the holiday mode {as in i just got back from poland on friday – i will be posting about that trip soon!}.

gift giving season can be tricky and i recently spent a good 4 weeks racking my brain about what to get my girlfriends for christmas this year. if you’re like me then you are someone who likes to make each gift special on some level, while also trying to be creative about it.

if you find yourself at a bit of a loss this year here are a few gift ideas for the woman {or women} in your life, whether that is a girlfriend, mum, sister, aunt, g-ma or wife!

the girl’s night in hamper
create something for a self-pampering girl’s night in (who doesn’t want that on a cold winter’s night?) – you could include the following:

  • hot chocolate (with mini marshmallows!)
  • dvd (chick flick or comedy)
  • nail varnish
  • bathing items (salts, bubble bath etc.)
  • fluffy socks or slippers
  • box of chocolates

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i found cute hamper baskets at wilkinson’s with ribbon and cellophane but there are plenty you can find on the world wide web such as this and this one too.

spa deals
i signed up to receive groupon emails – it’s fab! i get great offers on spa deals, massages, manicures + pedicures from local beauty spas and nail salons. definitely worth it! lastminute.com, timeout london and travelzoo also often have great spa deals.

perfume

ted baker

shopping gift card from her favourite store

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jewellery

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12 days of christmas pack
if you want to get creative (and have the time!) create a 12 days of christmas pack. this is something a friend did for me some time ago but i received 11 small packages and 1 larger to open in the build up to christmas – i thought it was ace! plus it made the build up to christmas that much more fun.

want some more ideas? check out some of my favourite bloggers and their gift guides:

IT’S ALMOST CHRISTMAS PEOPLE!

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its been a while | giving thanks

Blogging, December, Family and Friends, Inspiration

november went past all speedy gonzalez-like and everyday single day i thought i need to get a post up on the blog. 

alas. A LOT has happened in november, and biggest of all was moving out of my parents house. i have so much stuff btw. but i don’t want to bore you with the details (because i know you were all just dying to know).

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i’m a bit late on the thanksgiving celebrations, not that i really celebrated it here in england, nor do we have to wait till november to be thankful. but after having enjoyed two wonderful thanksgivings stateside i couldn’t leave it too long without showing some thanksgiving love.

i’m thankful for many things, but mostly for love, forgiveness (of others and of oneself). i’m thankful for hope, for sunrises and sunsets. i’m grateful for family, friends, food and of course ice cream.

i’m really grateful for crispy leaves.

i’m thankful that i live in a world where the world wide web makes our world a little smaller. and therefore a little easier for my little feet to get out and see the beauty that it is.

books. i’m thankful for books. and netflix. and coffee shops. and hot chocolate.

i’m grateful for hugs from the bf. he is a gentle soul and i’m grateful for that too.

this is my favourite thanksgiving video of all time.

here’s to the season of chocolates, golds and sunset yellows. as well as that white stuff we call snow.

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life lately.

2014, Blogging, Culture, Family and Friends, Food, October, Travel

gahhhhhhh

that’s how i feel since it’s been 13 days since my last post.

oops.

anyway, these lovelies make me want to have braids again #hairenvy

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these ladies remind me why i started my natural hair journey…

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which i haven’t really talked about much on this blog of mine. but these are my inspirations. and i’m over a year free of hair chemicals. yay me.

and thank you pinterest.

this past weekend one of my very good friends visited from the states. well he’s actually brazilian but he lives in utah, where we met. it was his first time in the uk so of course, london was a must. on his first morning here i decided what better way to be introduced to british life than a big full english breakfast. after a bit of browsing i stumbled on a cute cafe (thanks tripadvisor). mimo’s cafe is a fabulous italian cafe bar just outside of paddington station. you can’t beat £4.50 for a good breakfast. especially in london. mimo’s gets a huge thumbs up from me!

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oh did i tell you that this happened?

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never in a million years did i think i would see my name on a coke bottle. i celebrated by not drinking it and posting a picture of it on instagram instead. besides, i’m not drinking anything fizzy anymore remember?

while i spent the majority of the weekend in london this past weekend my mum and niece had a fashion show without me. i loved the photos!

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with my fedora and floppy hat they definitely wore it better.

talking of my niece….we caught her watching cartoons on her dad’s phone rather than napping….which is what she was supposed to be doing.

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and this is my favourite quote on pinterest from this week…

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i hope you’ve had a lovely start to october. here’s to autumn days, halloween, nights in, lots of hot chocolate, duvet covers on rainy/windy nights and 5th november. i do love autumn in the uk.

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day 20: a diary exert

2014, Blogging, Family and Friends, July

instead of sharing my “wo is me” diary exerts of recent years, i dug around a little and dusted off my journal from the delightful 11 year old me {let’s pretend i was delightful}.

if i could just copy and paste all the entries i would. and of course if you had the time/desire to read it. but having spent a good few hours rifling through the entries i couldn’t just pick one. so here is a collection of some of my favourite parts…

** i didn’t change a thing – spelling and grammer included. in some cases though emphasis added or commentary added **

sunday 3rd november 1996 
dear diary,
today was very exciting because it was fast sunday…..
{what the????}

monday 4th november 1996
dear dairy,
yes yes as you might have known i had school today, and of corse i went to school with my hair done in an uncle bob {i don’t even know what that is} and of course everyone said wow mariama you have nice hair. which was very annoying because they always touched my hair and i didn’t like it…

saturday 9th november 1996
dear diary,
…i asked mum if she could give me some work to do for money so i hooverd her bedroom and then ironed some of mum and dads clothes {how was i ironing at this age? must have looked atrocious!} which was very exciting…{again what the?}

saturday 30th november 1996
dear diary,
today was fabulous (just like me!!) — i actually said that — to start with it was saturday and i had finished all my homework on friday so i hardly had anything to do. i got told off though for not getting dressed (in the morning) — some things never change — and for screaming at alimamy {my cousin}. 

friday 6th december 1996
dear dairy,
today was brilliant because well it was friday! …jim and hassan {my cousins} came round. and hassan every two minutes he would come into the kitchen and ask “what’s that?” in other words he was hungry.

thursday 2nd january 1997
all i wrote…
went to the cinema and to town. watched matilda at the cinema.
i honestly can’t believe that was 17 years ago!

there was so much more. but you and i could be here for hours! to read what i wrote, what went on in my mind at that age, the things that were important to me…has been quite incredible. as has some of the things i actually noted, like the day my paternal grandpa died in sierra leone and the day i “joined the club” aka started my time of the month. ok fine. i’ll say it. my period. there.

anyway to have recorded all those thoughts down? absolutely priceless.

did you start a journal when you were young? whether you did or didn’t, what does it/would it say?

m.

day 15: a day in pictures | day 16: the meaning of HOME

2014, Blogging, Family and Friends, Inspiration, July, Love

day 15: a day in pictures

i’ve failed you. quite terribly. 2 days straight of no posting. and i don’t have much of an excuse. to make things slightly worse, i don’t even have pictures from day 15.  my dslr camera no longer had battery life and my iphone decided to tell me i didn’t have enough memory to save any pictures {although it’s been fine since – typical}.  so instead, i will share with you a few photos from my birthday and last week ..

Wagamamas
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^birthday lunch with one of my besties at our favourite lunch spot wagamama | i realise that this is a pic of just me. julia took the photo then we didn’t take any more! but trust me when i say she was there 😉 and that coconut ice cream with passion fruit goodness and coconut flakes was devine^^

Kelsie
^^my favourite little human being, kelsie standing on her own. best. day. ever. doctors hope by 7 she’ll be able to walk on her own. life’s little things.^^

birthday fun
^^birthday fun with some of my favourite people in the entire world^^

TGIs with Jo^^only the greatest dessert in the history of desserts {given to us by tgi friday’s}. a taste of america #nostalgic | with the bestest train / work buddy = great company!^^

Paul A. Young^^ONLY THE GREATEST CHOCOLATE KNOWN TO MAN. given to me as a birthday gift from my alison. i literally screamed. in the no-she-didn’t-but-she-really-did kinda way. paul a. young’s salted caramel chocolates is the food of the gods. just putting that out there^^

m.

day 16: the meaning of HOME

security.

big hugs & bear hugs. full tummies and “are you sure you’re…” okay{s}?

“one of the oldest human needs is having someone to wonder where you are when you don’t come home at night” — maragret mead —

braided hair and swept floors.

laughter and never-feeling-alone.

shared tears. arms over shoulders. encouragement. partake in triumphs.

broken hearts. mended hearts.

“i believe that one can never leave home. i believe that one carries the shadows, the dreams, the fears and the dragons of home under one’s skin, at the extreme corners of one’s eyes and possibly in the gristle of the earlobe.” — maya angelou

“kushe”. plasas. groundnut soup. fufu. africana. sierra leone.

no nonsense.

love. forgiveness.

“strength of character may be learned at work, but beauty of character is learned at home.” — henry drummond —

m.