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.


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.









cranberry sauce





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








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?!


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!



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…



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!}.




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.


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.


**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.


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


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 according to my iphone + canon 100d

2015, August, Culture

hey, it’s been a minute.

life got a bit non-stop in july (family visiting from the states, i turned 30, went to paris + more) AND it’s not going to stop for a few more weeks (the next free weekend i have is not until 26th september). yikes!

it’s all good things so i can’t complain. too much. 

here are some life lately photos from my iphone and canon 100d.

also let’s just pause a moment to celebrate the 50mm 1.8 lens. as an amateur photographer. wow.


^^it’s like i’m in paris every other month this year. not that i’m complaining one bit ^^


^^ this is one of my bff’s ema. she’s hawt. in the #breakmeofapiece kinda way. she’s a yummy mummy, fashion & lifestyle blogger and one of the sweetest humans i know. go see what she’s all about –> ^^


^^ i just need to share with the world these attractive cousins of mine #itsintheblood ^^


^^ mum and i at my future sister-in-law’s hen party ^^


^^ and me giving it a go with my photography and photoshop skills. SO much fun! ^^


^^ the #bf getting real excited about a old school phone box. i mean. that face **insert kissing sounds** {i give you permission to judge the mushiness. but. i. just. can’t. help. it}


^^ the #bf with his nephew. these two play fight and it scares me a little. but hey, they’re boys ^^


^^ i’ve been 30 for a little over a month and it’s. fabulous. ^^

30 isn’t old. It’s a young mature.
– Melanie White

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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?


day 18: dream BIG

2014, Blogging, Career, Inspiration, July, Travel

i absolutely loved birthday twin’s dream big post today. it’s fun to read about big dreams, and especially when those dreams can very much become reality. check out hippiechickj’s post here.

you should also check out her life smells better when you make your own detergent post here. genius i tell you. genius.

dream big1

here are some of my big dreams:

1. a villa in greece: i go on and on about this but in all seriousness i want to purchase a villa in greece, one i can use as a holiday home as well as rent to other folks. and when i say greece i really mean a greek island.


2. i have so many business ideas. and you all know i want to eventually run my own business. perhaps from that greek villa.

3. build a retirement home for my parents in sierra leone. they’ve done so much for me. that’s the least i can do.

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4. to have a husband and children. this is oh-so-precious to me. so much so i don’t often tell people it is a dream. is that weird? maybe.

5. visit every continent on this planet of ours. there is so much to see and what feels like so little time.

you know what’s crazy? only recently i realised that i can do anything i want. within reason of course. and i’m the only person in my way. well i guess with the husband thing that’s a joint decision…ya know, i can’t really go marrying someone without their permission. or mine.

all joking aside though, we have the ability to make our dreams a reality. we really do.

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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 ..

^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^^

^^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^^


day 16: the meaning of HOME


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 —


day 5: a letter to 16 year old me

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

dearest 16 year old mariama,

first off congrats on taking your GSCE exams. i’m saying congrats because it was hard work and you made it. you’ll probably won’t be happy with all your results. BUT trust me when i say it’s not the end of the world.

right now you can barely speak to boys. just the thought of trying to smoothly connect a coherent sentence to mr. s seems completely and utterly impossible. it doesn’t seem to bother you so much that you haven’t had a boyfriend yet though. you’re just enjoying being a 16 year old. you love your friends, your family and your life. and all the endless possibilities, all the things you are dreaming about. you’re excited about life. keep it that way.


i wanna tell you of a few of things:
– in just a couple of years you’re going to face your first biggest trial. it’s going to hit you like a ton of bricks and that ton of bricks will rest on your chest for sometime. it gets a little easier but this will help you grow. and will help you learn how to forgive. this experience will begin to teach you the real meaning of unconditional love.
– the friends you made will stay friends for a long time. in fact, including your cousin, there are a couple who you’ll be friends with for many, many more years to come.
– that girl, let’s call her miss c, the one in the year below who hates your guts for some unknown reason {which we never really find out}, she teaches you to stand up for yourself. she teaches you to be strong in front of a bully. you don’t know it yet, but it will help you in future scenarios.
– continue to be honest in all that you do, even when it’s tough. people will come to recognise that in you and it will play in your favour in your career.
– you skin colour does not define who you are and who you are supposed to be. when someone tells you you speak a certain way or your lifestyle isn’t typically “black” ignore it.
– in 2 years you’ll get to travel to italy on your own. this is where you catch the traveling bug. and it will never leave you.
– boys. some will break your heart. some will like you but you won’t be interested. you’ll go on lots of dates, with an array of characters. it will definitely give you stories to tell. but there will be one, you won’t him meet for another few years, but he will love you like no other. and he will leave an impression on your heart.
– that shyness eventually leaves as you challenge yourself to do scary things like moving to a different country on your own!

i know. it’s a lot to take in. i could go on but i don’t want to overwhelm you. best advice i can give you? be patient with yourself. you’ll have some regrets but do not regret what these experiences give you, they shape you into the person you will become. you will make mistakes, you will cry until are no tears left and you will cry some more. you will laugh and laugh till your stomach hurts as if you’ve done 1000 crunches. you’ll learn that life has it’s ups and downs, but really happiness isn’t some destination you’re racing to get to with your cup of cocoa and plate of biscuits. no, you learn to love those pockets of joy, because they’re worth it.


life lately | 100 happy days

2014, Career, Family and Friends, Food, Inspiration, May

Rash and Kelsie^^day 34: sundays with my brother and niece. i sure do love these two.^^

Pageant Memories^^day 42: nothing but great memories from the miss africa utah pageant.^^

^^day 40: the gym. we have a love/hate relationship.^^

Curry Goat
^^day 41: i eat too much on sundays. but i love it. curry goat #getinmybelly.^^

My Quote of the Week
^^day 44: i’m working on this. quote of the week.^^

i’m doing the 100 happy days “challenge” on instagram. add me if you’d like to follow along! @thisismymdot


dearest owen family

2014, Family and Friends, Love, March, Travel

dearest owen family, i think i left a part of my heart with you.

thank you for…

my first nba, baseball and american football games. my first thanksgiving, black friday, superbowl sunday, july 4th, pioneer day and american christmas.

my first trip to vegas, first time to lagoon, first american halloween, first real american fries and shake at dairy keen {remember that time i panicked at the numerous options and got a vanilla shake?!} for cheering for me at the miss africa utah pageant. for the signs that you held up that kept me smiling while i was on stage.

for showing me that family doesn’t mean you have to be blood related.

for putting up with my countless questions about how ‘america works’.

thank you for your endless kindness and love. i felt like an owen. always.

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**i don’t know what’s going on with my face here…

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yes i think i left a piece of my heart with you.