Saturday, September 28, 2019

Sickle Cell Awareness | Jenica's Story & 'My Friend Jen'

Sourced from 
Our series on sickle cell awareness continues. Honestly, I couldn't be more grateful to the women who have willingly opened up their lives for us in the name of raising awareness. Last time, we caught up with Betty, who shared intimate and moving details of what it's like to be the mother to three year old Jessica, who has sickle cell.

In her interview, Betty shared that one of the ways she has educated Jessica about her condition is through a book she requested from her local library - My Friend Jen.

My Friend Jen, by Jenica Leah is a children's book whose main character, 'Jen', is a sickle cell survivor, just like Jenica. By describing Jen's day to day activities, Jenica hopes to empower other children with the condition, whilst normalising it and educating their friends and family about the condition. 

We catch up with Jenica to find out more about My Friend Jen.


Saturday, September 21, 2019

Sickle Cell Awareness | Betty's Story

The photos used are of models

Aaaaand we're back! So why exactly did I take an unannounced break? Let's just say, the lack of motivation was doing me wicked. But less of that, and more of the matter at hand.

September is an important month for many people in the UK - approximately 14,000 of them and their families. This figure represents the number of people with sickle cell disease. This year, for Sickle Cell Awareness Month, we have gathered the experiences of women affected by the disease in one way or another. 

In the first installment of this new series we visit Betty, who is not only a friend of mine but an awesome mother to her two children Nana Kwame, and Jessica. 

 In fact, credit goes to Betty whose idea it was to have this series on the blog.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Book Review | My Sister The Serial Killer

My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite, is a morbid comedy set in Lagos, Nigeria which follows the story of sisters Ayoola and Korede in the wake of the violent murder of Femi, Ayoola's boyfriend.


Monday, July 22, 2019

We Need to Talk About Plaigiarism

If you spend even just a little bit of time on Twitter the constantly changing drama willbe very well known to you. Last week was no different as the world of literature and publishing was stirred by a case of plagiarism.


Sunday, July 14, 2019

Twenty Practical Lessons From Little Black Book

Ladies, the writer's block has been real! I've been feeling quite uninspired, and the continued travelling for work is not helping much either! Anyhoo, I have been reading Litte Black Book by Otegha Uwagba on and off, and thought I'd share a few lessons I picked up with you.

It's not entirely ground breaking however it is filled with a lot of wisdom to help you navigate through your career as a creative. It covers everything from networking and building relationships, to money management to the wise words of other inspirational women.


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Overcoming Writer's Block & Life Lately

You're probably expecting this to be a helpful post detailing how to best overcome writer's block. But it isn't. The truth is I've been struggling with creating content. I have been feeling very uninspired and tired lately, and even for somone who professes to have all the tricks up her sleeve when it comes to finding blog material, my creativity is seriously suffering. 

So I've just decided to share a few updates about what is currently happening in Madeline's world. 


Sunday, June 16, 2019

My Biggest Blogging Regrets | A Walk Through My Blogging History

If you've followed me from the beginning, you'd know by now that I have been an on-and-off blogger for the best part of ten years. It's part of my story. Thankfully it has been more on than off in the last three years.

Despite my long expereince as a blogger, I can't help but feel that there are some things I could have done to earn me more success. In as much as I love doing this thing, I haven't always put my all into it. This is probably the most transparent I have been with you so far, but I think it's time I shared my biggest blogging regrets.

Here goes.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Five Inspirational Books by Black Women to Help you Get Ahead in Life.

I was speaking to a friend this weekend  about some of the latest happenings in her office. 

"Madeline, last week was a strange week at work", she said. I asked her to delve deeper, and her summary was that within the course of five days, a few unexpected announcements had quickly been followed by a few 'movements' in her  team. Old faces went. New ones were introduced. Everything turned around in just one week. 

Our conversation printed three major lessons in my mind. 

1. Chase your dreams. At (almost) all cost
2. No one should ever feel so attached to a company to move on.
3. People in authority put their friends on (thus tightening the already narrow access to progress for everyone else).


Thursday, June 6, 2019

Book & Event Review | Don't Touch My Hair

One evening last month, I was sat in the basement of  Waterstones in London's Gower Street, having been invited to hear Emma Dabiri speak about her debut book, Don't Touch My Hair. I knew I was in for a treat having previously attended an event at the same venue (for the launch of Michelle Obama's Becoming).

On the evening of the event, a flustered me practically fell through the doors almost twenty minutes late.  But my fraught nerves were quickly soothed by a friendly host. The atmosphere was calm yet engaging. I was offered a glass of wine as I found a seat to settle in. 


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

What Is Good Record Management?

If there is something I've learned from blogging and freelancing, it's organisation. I remember back in November 2016 when I was a fresher to the copywriting game. I had acquired my first client so went about designing and sending out my first welcome pack, contract, and invoice (before I discovered PayPal invoices). I relied on the fact that all could just be stored on email, until a minor dispute ensued over the terms of the contract. It was only then I learned the value of having all documents properly saved classified by client rather than having to trawl through emails just to prove a point. I also learned a big lesson in confirming by email any agreements made on the phone.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Book Review | Queenie

Meet Queenie Jenkins, the heroine and protagonist of the self-titled, Queenie. She's black British, twenty-something, and hails from South London. She's from a Jamaican family, works as an underpaid journalist, and most pivotal to the story, has just been dumped by her posh white boyfriend, Tom.

If there was ever a protagonist, more flawed, and more f****d up, yet more relatable, she would be Queenie.


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Film Review | Side Chic Gang

By now you'll know that I'm in equal parts proudly Ghanaian and British. Does that make me British Ghanaian or Ghanaian British? I don't know! However you'd like to describe me is up to you! Me I'm just here to share this Ghanaian film review with you.

I haven't reviewed a Ghanaian film before, mainly because the industry went through a sad decline, and although there has been the occasional great production, I just didn't have access to them. So in as much as I love all things Ghanaian, I'd just come to accept that movies might not be one of them. 

Then I watched Side Chic Gang.


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Why You Should Read a Short Story Collection | Heads of the Colored People

I'm sitting on a Southeastern train, heading to our Kent office for work. I am so bloody late, but the good news is I've just finished reading, Fatima the Biloquist, whose protagonist, a young lady called Fatima from a well to do family, is taken through a make-shift ghetto finishing school of sorts by her more 'culturally aware' bestie Violet, who is determined to make her 'more black'. As uncomfortable as this 'molding process' was to read, as someone who used to be often referred to as a 'coconut', I actually identified with Fatima's frustration.


Friday, April 19, 2019

The Money Behind Your Blog

Ever since I stepped away from copywriting for businesses, I've been thinking about what else I can do to restore that revenue stream. Having that side hustle money was great when it came in, but I hardly wanted to be up all day and night to earn it. So I had to do some research, and I had to be willing to be focused and creative.


Sunday, April 14, 2019

Open Book | Berry Dakara

We've turned to a new chapter of our #OpenBook series, and this time we visit a blogger I have followed for years! Berry Dakara has captured my heart and my attention for a long time, primarily due to her transparency and great storytelling. 

What I didn't know prior to embarking on this project, is that Berry's name is actually Anita (we'll learn where the blog name came from later.) Berry will be 37 this May. She tells me she 'can’t believe she's this close to 40'. 

Berry is Nigerian but has lived in the US since she was a teenager, bar a five-year stint back in her country of birth in her early thirties. She has a daughter, who she calls Cocoa. 'She's my absolute joy', Berry tells me.

It's time to find out more about Berry Dakara!


Monday, April 8, 2019

Open Book | Beaton

I don't know about you, but I'm absoloutey  loving the #OpenBook series so far. Today, we have the first man ever to be interviewed on the blog! Meet 35 year old Beaton, who also goes by 'B'.  Beaton is a digital storyteller; freelance content creator and social media manager; when not writing, he reads and when he's not doing neither of those, he's helping to grow and build African bloggers, because 'blogging means community'.

Read on to learn more about what Beaton thinks about blogging as a way to preserve the art of African storytelling, and how much can be achieved, if you were to 'just write'. 


Thursday, April 4, 2019

Open Book | Olliviette

#OpenBook is back! In case you've missed it so far, this is my series of honest conversations with fellow bloggers from the over 30 and fab crowd. In each instalment, the featured blogger opens up to me about the highs and lows of their journey so far, and the lessons they've learned on the way. If you need to, catch up quickly on the series so far here. We'll wait.

Today, we're having a candid chat with Olli who will be turning 34, and boy is she excited! Olli is a digital marketing queen, which basically means she works hard to make people shine online.  She's also an artist and a beautiful dreamer. Her hobbies are staying weird and being loud with a dash of enjoying anime and mimosas.

Read on to find what Olli had to say about the danger of comparison, learning about a new city, and never being in love!


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Meet Raimah, author of 'From Anna Wintour to Zadie Smith'.

Meet Raimah Amevor, author of From Anna Wintour to Zadie Smith

From Anna Wintour to Zadie Smith
 is an ABC book of inspiring women around the world. This creative children’s book features inspiring quotes and beautiful illustration of powerhouse women like Zadie Smith, Princess Di, BeyoncĂ©, Michelle Obama and Serena Williams and many more.

In our last post, we spoke about the importance of diversity in children's literature, and how books such as this one, written by Raimah Amevor is helping bolster the range of different images young kids are exposed to. 

Raimah the author of From Anna Wintour to Zadie Smith is also the founder of Mindfully Kids, a brand which seeks to empower children around the world to be mindful and
independent thinkers that look beyond stereotypes and limiting beliefs. She's a proud black British intersectional feminist who is on a mission to challenge stereotypes which are formed as early as 4 years old.

Find out what she had to say when we caught up with her. 


Friday, March 29, 2019

We Need to Talk About Diversity in Children's Books

What was your favourite, or most remarkable book as a child? What made it stand out for you? I am not speaking of the much-loved rhymes or picture books that were read to you as a baby to help you to formulate speech, but the books you were able to read for yourself, understand, and carry everywhere.

Mine was Afro-Bets a book about a teacher, Mr. Amegashie, and his inquisitive students, who he takes on a journey through Africa whilst they learn about the different countries.  At the age of five or six, I could probably only tell you that I loved the colourful illustrations and the funny banter between the young characters. But at age thirty-something, I can't help but wonder whether it was because I was seeing a representation of myself in Glo and Stef and the other Afro-Bet kids?


Friday, March 22, 2019

Book Review | In Dependence

In Dependence is written by Sarah Ladipo Manyika. I discovered this book through Cassava Republic who is its publisher.  Firstly let's say that In Dependence exceeded my expectations for so many reasons. However, there are a few loose ends I felt the author could have tidied up. 

The story begins in the early 60s, in Ibadan Nigeria. Tayo Ajayi has won a scholarship to study at Oxford University  in the UK. After a brief relationship with Christine,  a fellow Nigerian also studying at the University,  Tayo meets and falls in love with Vanessa Richardson.

The problem is she's white and the daughter of a former colonial officer.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Madeline's Top Netflix Picks

Aside from reading books by women, one of my other pastimes is to enjoy an enthralling show on everyone's favourite streaming service. With the sun playing tag these days, my preference would be to snuggle under a blanket, armed with a hot drink and a bowl of snacks whilst watching Netflix on a screen such as the 4k led tv Panasonic

But with such a busy schedule indulging in some visual entertainment during my commute to work seems like a good plan for now. If you read through some of the archives, you will see a growing collection of film reviews already on the blog. Today, I would like to discuss with you some of my hottest Netflix picks.


Monday, March 11, 2019

Open Book | Sabrina Hamilton

Chapter three of #OpenBook is here! If you need to catch up quickly on the first two, you can do so here.

Today, we are in the company of the amazing Sabrina Hamilton. Sabrina is 32 years old and describes herself as being "happiest when eating brunch with the girls, sitting out in the sun or reading a good book with a mug of herbal tea". Sabrina also works in marketing within the travel industry, and of course, writes a blog!

Read on if you want to find out more about Sabrina.


Friday, March 8, 2019

#IWD Special | Why I Write for Women

I have been labouring over this for a while now, wondering how to shape this post so it packs a real punch. I don't believe this to be my eloquent piece yet, but it's from the heart. Having typed my last full stop, I have returned to the start to add this small preamble. I hope as you sit with a cup of tea in hand reading this, or perhaps at your desk trying to conceal this page from your manager, you realise how incredibly amazing you are, you gorgeous, multitasking, heel wearing, or trainer sporting, child rearing, board sitting, uniform wearing, insecurity hiding creation of wonder! Happy International Women's Day!


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Wonderful Ways to Make Your Website Shine!

A few blog posts ago, we spoke about the importance of blogging as a business owner. As important as a business blog is, it is one piece of your marketing strategy as a brand. Your online voice, logo, colours, magazine ads, and even your face to face communication with clients all form a part of the communications jigsaw puzzle, when in business.

It's clear that there are some areas of business that matter more than others, and one of those is the website. What you have to keep in mind is the fact that your website is both the digital blueprint for your company and a hugely important marketing tool as well. This is why a website plays such a massive role in improving your brand's chances of longevity.


Thursday, February 28, 2019

Open Book | Miriam Kyasiimire

Our #OpenBook series continues with another 'fab at 30 plus' blogger!  Click here to read the last installment.

This time, we're in the company of Miriam Kyasiimire, a Ugandan by birth, nationality and choice!  Miriam runs a tour agency based in Kampala called Kagera Safaris which plans for inbound tourists into Uganda and Rwanda.

"We love to create memorable African expressions for our clients", she explains. Read on  to find out more about Miriam, her blogging journey and the power of adding value to others through writing. 


Thursday, February 21, 2019

Open Book | Charlene Chinn

Meet business and lifestyle blogger, Charlene!
We are starting a brand new series!  Open Book is a series of short, candid conversations between myself and my fellow over thirty bloggers. I've found that the blogsphere is a space which is very much populated by the twenty somethings - either that, or they are just better at promoting their craft! 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, however as people in our thirties, blogging as a form of expression began when many of us were in college or university - in short, we were the first bloggers! Open Book aims to highlight the honest experiences, triumphs and lessons of the thirty something blogger. 


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

10 Reasons Why You Should Blog As a Business Owner

If you work for yourself or have a side hustle, you will know that the business of conducting business can be choppy at times. A few weeks back, a client of mine whose website I'd been writing monthly blog posts for called to tell me that she would no longer be needing my services. After some probing, I discovered that someone had told her that such as investment was a waste of money (the same person who had initially referred me to her!). 

So I asked her if she felt as if she'd been wasting her money.  Her response? Well, she confessed she loved the blog posts but had been confused since hearing that piece of advice. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Film Review | If Beale Street Could Talk

Fonny and Tish: when friends become lovers 
 If Beale Street Could Talk, based on James Baldwin's 1974 novel is a heartbreakingly beautiful film which is in equal parts a love story and an honest portrayal of America's recent racial history. 


Saturday, January 19, 2019

Smash Your Reading Goals on a Budget!

January has long had the reputation of stretching on and on. December's early payday, coupled with the overspending throughout the Christmas period can make for some very tough times in the opening weeks of the new year, which is why any financial advice particularly valuable. 

If one your goals for 2019 is to read more books, then you will definitely need to set a budget aside for it. As a book blogger, I can testify that books are not cheap. But acquiring so many books also means I have discovered wonderful ways to achieve my reading goals without spending so much. (Sometimes.)


Monday, January 7, 2019

Film Review | Lionheart

Lionheart is a transport company based in Enugu in Eastern Nigeria, which has transported Nigerians around the country for years. Ran by Chief Ernest Obiagu (Pete Edochie), with the assistance of his daughter, Adaeze (Genevieve Nnaji), Lionheart is a much-loved company based on family values.


Thursday, January 3, 2019

Madeline's Must-Read List for 2019

Orion Books
Happy new year readers and writers!

Being that it's January, it's that time again to make my list of reading wishes and predictions for the year. My last list was quite interesting seeing as I managed 50% of the books featured. But alas! A new year has arrived and I am here to share my must-read list for 2019.

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