Thursday, April 19, 2018

SPOTLIGHT: Meet Tega Baah

Meet Tega!
There is an army of amazing women rising up in our generation, and it's only fair we know who they are, which is why I am so excited to share our first ever interview on the blog! This will be the start of an amazing series, where we'll shine a spotlight on incredible creative women. Our only stipulation? They need to love reading! 

We begin with Ghana-based Tega Baah. This 'Ghagerian' superwoman is a filmmaker and a fellow lover of books. Her story is so inspiring, and we just couldn't resist the opportunity to peel back the layers of fabulosity which make up this powerhouse of a woman.  We caught up with Tega and asked her to share what she had to say about reading, film production, keeping the faith and natural hair!

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Dust that Dirt Off Your Shoulder! (How to Deal with Criticism)


Criticism is never a nice thing to receive because as humans we thrive on praise (although it can sometimes leave us with reddened cheeks!). But, be it about our appearance or a project we have sweated over, criticism can leave us with a considerable lack of confidence, and even cause us to question the motives of our faultfinders. 

If you are sensitive like me, the effects of criticism can be devastating. I remember crying my eyes out after learning that a handful of my wedding guests had said some unsavoury things about my special day! Thankfully, I have grown a pair since then (I hope) and can share some things you can do to 'dust that dirt off your shoulder'.

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

How To Write a Pretty Damn Good Book Review!


Hello! After my last post, I thought we should revert to something a little more technical. But hey, thanks for all of your interest and comments on the whole #visabae debacle.

Now, this post is for the avid book readers and those who enjoy my book reviews, and for those who would like to write a review of their own! 
Being able to write an intriguing review with honesty that will pique the interest of potential readers and have them run to the bookstore or navigate to Amazon is a great skill. There are many new authors needing exposure for their work, and fellow bloggers, I can't do it all alone!

So, I would like to offer a few tips on how to write a pretty damn good book review! Of course, each person will have their own style, but I believe that these tips are essential!

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Saturday, April 7, 2018

Bloggers, How Do We Strike the Balance Between Real Life and Virtual Reality?


Hey ladies. Please allow us to go off topic today. I want to speak on a current trending issue which sparked a bit of a twitterstorm and had the YouTube world shook! 

So on Wednesday, my sis and fellow blogger Missy May posted this on her Instagram. I urge you to read her caption then come back. This was in the same week Zimbabwean Youtuber RLT released this viral video. If you can't be bothered to watch the whole thing, I'll break it down for you. RLT
 is a Youtuber and Instagram babe who uploaded a sobbing video on her channel, explaining to viewers that her current visa was expiring within a month, and that she needed her followers to contribute towards the £2300 it will cost to pay for British Citizenship. She opened a GoFund Me page and asked if her viewers would drop "even just a pound each". #Visabae was a hashtag thus created to capture the plight of this young lady and the criticism that followed.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Watching Ghanaian Celebrities Flirt and Showing You How to Reframe a Question

Happy Easter and blessings to all of you!

Most people would know that I am a big fan of YouTube. If you don't, you may want to read my about page! My interest in YouTube covers everything from lifestyle to fashion, to beauty, cooking, conspiracy theories and Christian teachings. 

I have recently been catching up on a popular Ghanaian cooking competition show on YouTube called Dining with Cooks & Braggarts which is hosted by the beautiful Ghanaian-Nigerian actress Yvonne Okoro (my girl crush!). Two celebrities are pitted against each other to prepare some of our fave Ghanaian dishes, and whilst they cook, she interviews them. In the latest episode, we see the Ghanaian politician, Kennedy Agyapong compete with his son, Ken Takyi Agyapong.
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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Bookmarked! March Edition

Image courtesy of Instagram @jennifer.garner
Yet another eventful month! As this is the last post of March, I am bringing to you another round up of books and communications related news from the far corners of the web. You might have noticed a slight change to the name of the previously titled "Stories we Loved" series. I decided to get clever and rename our beloved series 'Bookmarked!'.

What do you think? The name is a lot less cumbersome and seeing as this is a book blog and all...(oh, never mind!)
I'll stop waffling. Here are some of the items that caught my eye this month

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Friday, March 23, 2018

The Skills You Need to Make It as a Badass Blogger!


I am sitting here wondering whether Spring will actually make an appearance or if it plans to be fraudulent until Summer. Anyhoo, a couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about how I became a copywriter, which generated a lot of interest, so I thought I'd expand the gift of my knowledge to blogging and give you some advice on how to be a badass blogger!

I have previously mentioned that I have been on/off blogging for around ten years, and although I have progressed hugely, I made some mistakes on the way. But most importantly, I've learnt loads.

If you want to become a professional blogger, there are a number of essential skills you will need. It is never as simple as merely signing up to a website development platform such as Blogger or WordPress and then typing up your thoughts. There is a lot more that goes into it than this! With that in mind, read on to discover the essential skills you need to have if you want to make it as a professional blogger this year.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Book Review: Confessions of a Frustrated Millenial

Ladies, have you ever read a book that spoke to your soul with such clarity? Well, I have never identified with a book so closely in a long time as I did with Confessions of a Frustrated Millenial. I started the book whilst waiting for my flight from Los Angeles to London, and was almost done by the time my flight was due to land. That's how unputdownable it is! 

Confessions of a Frustrated Millenial focuses on the lives of three women of colour from Chicago, who are in their late twenties are plagued with the real struggles of being a millennial. All three graduated from different colleges ('university' to my UK peeps) with big career dreams which eventually morphe into desperate situations of unfulfillment and disillusionment. 

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Dashed Dreams and Renewed Hope: Why I got into Copywriting

As a child, my mother would always tell me "pay now, play later". This simply meant that if I committed my childhood to books, if I slaved away behind the desk in the first section of my life, I would definitely enjoy the promise of a successful career with no ceilings to smash through. Doors would just swing open and life would be a lavish cocktail of designer suits, dinner parties and holidays. Sure enough, I clung to my mother's words and worked my proverbial butt off. At primary school, night time reading was always complete and homework was always done.

Even at secondary school my coursework was always attacked with the knowledge of my dream job waiting at the other end. This continued through sixth form and university (bar a tiny, crazy period of  raving and missed deadlines in my first year of university!)

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

"Life is Pure Adventure..."

"...and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art."
-Maya Angelou, author.

Having said that, I am on one such adventure! I've decided to take a mini break. I am currently 'adventuring' in LA, California so there is no Sunday blog post this week. But I'll be back on Thursday.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Ghana Independence, International Women's Day & Ama Ata Aidoo (A Review)


Oooh, March really is a busy month! Today is International Women's Day, two days ago it was Ghana Independence, and on Sunday it's Mother's day in the UK! I couldn't possibly choose what to base this blog post on, so I thought I'd go combine two of this month's themes and focus on a woman writer from Ghana.

Please allow me to introduce you to Ama Ata Aidoo (whose birthday is also in the month of March). If you are a regular frequenter of this blog, you'd know I constantly rave about Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie who is a Nigerian author. But when it comes to Ghanaian authors, Ama Ata Aidoo definitely deserves all the accolades.

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Sunday, March 4, 2018

Spring is Here and Five Ways to Spring Clean your Blog!


Finally, spring is here! And whilst the weather might not quite be playing ball yet, I would like to reassure you that warmer days are yet to come. Don't believe me?  Just peep out of the window at seven in the morning and you'll see that the world is becoming a brighter place.

The arrival of spring ushers in the need to spruce up our homes. Many people will be clearing clutter and cleaning away the cobwebs. But, if this is not you please rest in the knowledge that I am not judging you :) But what I will insist on is that you dust off the cobwebs from your blog. I mean, how long have you been blogging? Months? Years? Are you still sure that all your information is up to date?

Don't worry if not. I am about to guide you through how to spring clean your blog. Go back as far back as you want to. It can be in the past twelve months, or even since your first post and do the following:

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Book Review: Year of Yes


Happy world book day!

Well, it's about time ain't it?  But yes the book review for Year of Yes is finally here! But I tell you, it is well worth the wait because Year of Yes is one helluva' book, and this is going to be a cracking review!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me post this picture on the 27th January with the promise of a review, then this one on the 24th February just to let the world know that I hadn't forgotten to honour my word. In fact, it had been so long since I began the book that by the time I was ready to start the review, I had to swing back to the first chapter for a quick reminder on how it starts.

Who is Shonda Rhimes?
OK, now what is Year of Yes? It's the memoir of the author and screenwriter Shonda Rhimes,  served with a measure of humour, and finished off with a sprinkle of motivation. But before I go on, I think I need to share with you a little bit about Shonda Rhimes. 

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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Bookmarked! February Edition

Courtesy of Marvel
Can you believe February is almost over? Wow! Wonders will never cease! But the end of the month signals it's time for another edition of Stories we Loved, where I reflect on my personal favourite communications and bookish articles, and the news stories that got chins wagging. 

With Valentine's Day, the 100th anniversary since women won the right to vote, American Black History Month and the release of Marvel's groundbreaking film, Black Panther all taking place in the same month, February has been quite eventful.

So without further ado, here are the Stories We Loved: February Edition
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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Ten Ways Black Panther Destroys Narratives about Africa

Image courtesy of Marvel
I watched Black Panther with hubby and some friends last night, and even after a night's sleep, I'm still buzzing! I didn't really want to write about Black Panther, not because I didn't think it was going to be a groundbreaking film, smashing box office records and raking in over $400 million worldwide in its first weekend, but because there are already so many articles, blogs and analyses about it and I thought my voice would be drowned in the millions of others on the internet. But then again, how could I not say anything? If you have seen the film you'll know what all the hype is about, so please indulge me a little, ok?

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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Why People are not Reading Your Writing


I didn't mean for the title of this post to sound so harsh, but I needed to grab your attention! What I actually wanted to say was "five ways to make your writing more legible". 

With that said, I know in this day and age we are a generation who does not have the patience to sit and read through long or bulky articles. A study on people's online reading habits showed that 6 out of 10 people will share an article without reading it until the end.

With so much to read or watch, I find myself hurriedly skimming over text and even omitting a few of the middle paragraphs if what I'm reading is too long. Frankly, it is a very bad habit. I mean, what happened to taking our time to fully immerse ourselves in the fabric of the text? Whatever the reasons are, and whether rushing our reading is the virtuous thing to do or not, this is the current trend. 

So I am going share some tips to make your writing more "scannable", ie more attractive, easier on the eye, digestible - however you'd like to describe it.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The 5 Love Languages and 10 Ways to Say 'I Love You' Without Actually Saying It.


I recently began a book called The 5 Love Languages. I am not going to lie, I never finished it! It could be because I had already heard so much about what the love languages are. I even took the love languages online test! I've discussed love languages with my best friend, and I've discussed it with my husband, so I think by the time the I actually ordered the book, there wasn't much for me to actually look forward to.

For those who haven't heard about the 5 Love Languages, it is a book based on research carried out by Gary Chapman, who concluded that the reason why relationships break down is not because of a lack of love, but because of too much of the wrong type of love. He summed up his findings in his groundbreaking book. What unites us as human beings is our emotional need for love, but we all differ in the kind of love we need or the kind of love that makes us feel good. 

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Valentine's Day and My First Erotic Novel (Review)


As a teenager,  I never had a Valentine. Who would want to take out the fat girl with the coca-cola bottle-thick glasses, and chunky corn rows atop her head? Not when there's Emily with her shiny brunette hair and Becky with her slender proportions!

Don't feel sorry for me though because, until the age of around seventeen I would have much rather engrossed myself in a good book, and whatever I couldn't make a reality, I lived vicariously through fiction. Whether it was by reading about rich teenagers going on weekend shopping sprees (we didn't have money for that) or reading about a hot hunk's pursuit of his sexy love interest protagonist (I was anything but), books gave me the life I wanted.

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Do These Ten Things And You'll Never Run Out of Blog Post Ideas



Blogging is difficult. That's the truth. I find that the writing itself is not the problem, but when you also have to be a researcher, editor,  photographer, social media expert, marketing pro and general multitasking guru, the business of blogging can become tedious.

In addition to just about maintaining your blog, keeping it afresh with interesting blog topics can be difficult - especially if you are trying to stick to your niche and adhere to a blogging schedule. 

As you gain experience in blogging you kind of learn where to look for ideas, to keep your blogging inventory bountiful. But if you feel you need a little assistance here are some ideas below.
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Saturday, February 3, 2018

The Code Switch Part II: Speaking to Get Ahead?



Hi ladies.

In part one, I discussed life as a child and how language weaved itself so intricately into my existence. Click here to read it!

In 2005, I started my degree in French and Linguistics, which opened up my world beyond black and white. It was now no longer important to use language as a means of being cool. I was sat in a classroom with students from around the country, and around the world. There were mature students and young professionals. I was amongst some of the most intelligent people and if I am being honest, I was intimidated. But in the midst of it all, I learned a fast lesson: that in the grown-up world, especially when trying to learn a modern foreign
language all pretense had to be put aside. I quickly became humble and allowed myself to be taught.

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Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Code Switch Part I : My Life in Languages


Hi everyone! Please take a few moments to appreciate the new logo. Do you like it? It took a lot of to-ing and fro-ing but we finally nailed it I think.

Anyway, onto today's blog post.

Code-switching is a linguistic practice which refers to the alternating between two or more languages, dialects or registers (for example the Queen's English vs. Pidgin English) in a single discourse. Many people do it, including members of my family who'd often switch between our native Ghanaian dialect (Ga - a melodic, tonal dialect) and English in a single conversation. This is also often the case for bilingual people and students of foreign languages.

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Saturday, January 27, 2018

Bookmarked! January Edition

The Jack Jones Literary Arts Team - Image courtesy of Google
One thing I do to keep me up to date with current stories is to set up Google Alerts. I also watch a lot of news and love to browse the Flipboard app, which is amazing for delivering stories you are interested in direct to you.

What I will be doing monthly is collating the best of these features and news items based on what trended and what I took a particular liking to. I will try and make them as relevant to the world of books and communications as I possibly can, but we all know there is more to life than that, right?

So without further ado, here is my first post on Stories We Loved, January edition.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Book Review: Dear Ijeawele, A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions


With 'adulting' in full swing, it is often very difficult to finish a book in one sitting. In fact, I never do it. So I knew I had a good one when I was able to devour this beautiful piece entitled Dear Ijeawele: A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions in a single evening. (That, and the fact that it's quite a short read - eighty pages in total).

Dear Ijeawele, a non-fiction literary piece, written in letter form, is from my all-time favourite author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and proves why she continues to hold that prized spot in my heart. In her introduction, Adichie explains that her childhood friend, Ijeawele, asked her 'how to raise her baby girl a feminist', so she decides 'to write her a letter, which she hope[s] would be honest and practical'. And this sets off the tone for the rest of the book.

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Saturday, January 20, 2018

How to Apologise Sincerely (Featuring H&M)


With the storm surrounding the H&M debacle, aka "monkey gate"* calming down, I thought it was time to reflect on lessons learned. Whilst I have my own opinions on the company's sense of judgement, what I'd like to focus on is the apology the company's spokesperson issued after news of a bit of marketing gone wrong went viral, and the global fury which ensued. 

The company firstly issued an apology along the lines of "we apologize to all those we have offended". This apology was disingenuous for the following reasons:

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Madeline's Must-Read List for 2018

I need to read more. Seems like a strange comment to come from a book blogger. But contrary to what you might imagine I don't spend all my time pored over a book. Also, if I am going to produce lots of great content for you, I feel I may have to step up this year.

So today I am sharing a short list to which I have added to my "to be read" pile. This compilation consists of books that have been released in the last couple of years and books that will be available to read this year.

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Blue Monday and the Problem of Speaking for the Sake of It


How are you today?

This week we've had Blue Monday, which is apparently the most depressing day of the year. The 15th January 2018 has won the undesirable accolade for the following reasons:

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Three amazing books I read but never reviewed

2017 was such a topsy-turvy year for me that it affected my blogging. If you were following me last year, you would have noticed that I took a big break from blogging (just look at the archives in the side panel!)

One thing that I did manage to keep up with was reading. One thing Kindle Reads have allowed me to do is to download books at a whim - which I love! Today, I would like to quickly share with you three great books I read but didn't get to review.

These are not full book reviews per se, but a brief on what they were about and why I loved them.

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Saturday, January 6, 2018

Book Review: The Smart Money Woman

The Smart Money Woman by groundbreaking author, Arese Agwu was a book I picked up hoping to learn a few lessons from. However I only had to read the first few pages of the sample I'd downloaded before I realised that I had chanced upon a life changing literary masterpiece.

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Six Need-to-Know Blogging Hacks that Have Helped Me!




Happy New Year!

Whilst I am not quite a fan of new years resolutions, I can definitely see why people see January as the perfect marker to start something new. As exciting as starting a new job, embarking on a new hobby or simply making the decision to be more sociable can be, the big push out of your comfort zone can be a daunting journey.

This is the same for starting a blog. Being a writer and creating your own content is fun and fulfilling - one reason why many of us spend so much of our free time doing it! But the risk of sharing your life and having complete strangers judge you and your writing can be scary. 

Believe it or not, I have been an on and off blogger for years, starting and abandoning blogs for different reasons. In 2007 when blogging was brand new, three of my girlfriends and I started this blog. When that fizzled out, I decided I would embark on my own little project here. Years later, I started this with a colleague of mine, before beginning this one (my longest term blog apart from madelinewilsonojo.com) 

But praise God, I think I have finally overcome my fear of commitment!
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