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documenting my life, thoughts and tips, as a 20-something woman trying to figure out her life's true purpose

Monday, October 31, 2016

Americanah Book Review




I was recommended Americanah my Supervisor at work who got talking about this book when she saw that I had had my box braids installed. An imagery that relates to scenes within the book.

Americanah an illuminating book by black feminist, writer and author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, for those of you who are unaware of Adichie, her renowned TEDtalk featured on BeyoncĂ©’s song Flawless. Americanah won Adichie the 2013 National Book Critics Fiction award (insert link), focusses on one woman’s unapologetic view of race and what it means to be black in America, Nigeria and Britain. Telling the story through a complicated love story and various flashbacks from within a black hair salon, to Nigeria to various states in America, Americanah tells the tale of Ifemelu a young Nigerian who emigrates to America to study at University.

For me Americanah confirmed what I had always known occurred in America when it comes to race as it is everywhere to see from the blogs, Twitter Timeline and international news, but Adichie’s writing is even more brutally visual. In no way is this honesty as clear than in several humorous yet sobering blog posts penned by the main female character, Ifemelu, on her race blog entitled “Raceteenth or Various Observations About American Blacks (Those Formerly Known as Negroes) by a Non-American Black”. A few of my personal favourites:

  • “if you are a woman please do not speak your mind as you are used to doing in your own country. Because in America, strong-minded black women are SCARY.
  • “If you are telling a non-black person about something racist that happened to you… don’t complain. Be forgiving. If possible, make it funny. Most of all do not be angry. Black people are not supposed to be angry about racism. Otherwise you get no sympathy.
  • “American racial minorities- blacks, Hispanics, Asians and Jews- all get shit from white folks, different kinds of shit but shit still.” 
  • “sometimes they say ‘culture’ when they mean race. They say a film is ‘mainstream’ when they mean ‘white folks like it or made it”’ when they say ‘urban’ it means black and poor and possibly dangerous and potentially exciting. “Racially charged” means we are uncomfortable saying ‘racist’." 
  • “Here’s the thing the manifestation of racism has changed but the language has not. So if you haven’t lynched somebody then you can’t be called a racist.” 
Then there’s the frank, donts for non-black people interacting when interacting with American Blacks:

  • “Don’t say “I’m color-blind” because if you are color-blind, then you need to see a doctor.
  • “Don’t say “we’re tired of talking about race” or “the only race is the human race” (I see this one A LOT on the TL)
  • Don’t preface your response with “One of my best friends is black because it makes no difference and nobody cares and you can still have a black best friend and do racist shit”
  • Don’t say “Oh racism is over, slavery was so long ago”. We are taking about problems from the 1960s not the 1860s." Come on the daughter of a slave is still alive today! 

What I really liked about Americanah is how relatable nearly all of the main characters and all of Ifemelu’s experiences are to me. For example, take Laura, the sister of the family Ifemelu babysits. In the book, whenever in the presence of Ifemelu all she talks about are subjects that she believes Ifemelu will be interested in, subjects that only focus on Ifemelu as a African woman. With comments such as “I met a lovely Nigerian Doctor who was well spoken” or “you are so privileged compared to the millions who live on less than a dollar a day back in your country”. We all know a Laura to a varying degree. For me, my Laura took the form of a middle class, white, male law graduate who only took the time to speak to me to discuss how his former roommate made the most splendid Fried Chicken. I kid you not.

Then there is the unnamed telemarketer character who compliments Ifemelu’s accent, “wow, cool you sound totally American” after she states that she has lived in America for three years. As if the backhanded compliment “you speak so well for an immigrant” should be acknowledged with pleasantries. Again a real life example, my former work colleague who grew up in Dubai before moving to England told me that whilst she was having a lengthy conversation with another non-black female she was told “wow you speak really good English”.

And finally there is a female character the mother of a public schoolchild described as “... one of those black people who want to be the only black person in the room, so any other black person is an immediate threat to her”. Yet another example is one of my friends who faces this current tension in her workplace. There are countless relatable examples in the book, honestly I urge you all to read it and compare your personal experiences with the fictitious Laura, Unnamed telemarketer and insecure black person.

Overall, the book made me cry, laugh out loud and nod my head enthusiastically in agreement with Adichie’s observations on race, class, sexism and politics. I honestly could not put the book down, it really helped fill my mundane commute journeys. For everyone reading this post, women, men, black, white this is a very poignant and important book. It will be informative to those who already get it and understand the complexities that surround being black in America and in the UK, and educational for the #alllivesmatter folk who need a little schooling on the importance of #blacklivesmatter.

I would rate this book a solid 8/10 I loved the constant changing narrative, the fluidity of Adichie’s storytelling and the credibility of the characters. The book does not come across forced and the story is very memorable. I will definitely be recommending this book to friends and family.

What did you think of the book? Could you relate to the experiences mentioned? Even if you did not like the book or identify with any of the characters, let’s discuss on Twitter. Mainly because I like to talk (lol!) but also because I like hearing new thoughts and opinions.

Love
Rosh xo


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Monday, October 24, 2016

Bonafide Supernova: My body, my choice




As the presence and influence of social media grows year by year. My latest guest post with Award winning fashion and beauty blog, Bonafide Supernova explores body enhancement procedures, the public figures that have them and the potential psychological effects this may have on their young followers.

Read my thoughts on whether instafamous figures and celebrities should be responsible for encouraging body confidence to their female followers on Bona-fide Supernova.



I know this is a sensitive topic so please feel free to message me in confidence with any questions or concerns you may have on Twitter or via email


Love

Rosh xo
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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Commuting 'can lower your sense of wellbeing'


Every working day, Monday to Friday I spend at least three hours of my day commuting into London for work (1hr 25 minutes there and back to be precise). And so every morning at 6.20am when my alarm goes off my travel anxiety kicks in. The other day was especially bad, having left my house at 8.28am I was already running late, having arrived at the train station my train was cancelled, and the next train was due in 25 minutes. As if to make matter worse it had started to rain, big heavy torrential rain and just like that a dark miserable cloud had formed around me. I know this is probably one of the most random things ever to discuss but honestly the wave of sadness was so quick it took me by surprise.

I dislike commuting the endless rushing, passive aggressive commuters who always feel the need to heavily tut and sigh when an unbeknown tourist fails to stand to the right. Or when despite not having eyes in the back of your head, you fail to move out of the way quickly enough for the running commuter playing his own internal game of Tetris. Combined with the frequent delays, overcrowding and poor ventilation commuting via GWR and TFL Underground is hell during peak hours.

I have noticed over the past couple of weeks that I am always on edge whilst commuting, my mind is constantly on the go “if I don’t make this connecting tube, I will miss my connecting train and that means I will only have x amount of hours to relax at home before going to bed and starting the routine all over again”. Yesterday, I found myself sprinting up the escalator in a bid to make my train home which would arrive at Farringdon in approximately 8 minutes. I missed my train.  By a few seconds as well and I was fuming, immediately passing the blame on to a commuter who had failed to take two steps at a time and so had delayed my ability to full on pelt down the stairs and onto the platform. I know how ridiculous!

The other day this all became a little too much for me, I started crying out of the blue! Can you imagine!? I Googled ‘travel commuting anxiety’ and it seems I am not alone. A study carried out by the Office for National Statistics looking at the relationship between commuting to work and personal well-being found that commuters are more likely to be anxious, dissatisfied and miserable. This study was even featured on the NHS website.

“It may not come as a surprise to anyone who’s experienced squeezing into a packed train on their way to work that people who take the train to work recorded higher anxiety levels on average than those who travelled in a private vehicle.” – The Guardian

My annual leave for tomorrow has been confirmed giving me time to enjoy just do nothing, As I look towards next week’s commute, my wave of sadness is slowly shifting.

“The next stop will be happiness”.

Do you suffer from commuting anxiety? What are your tips for maintaining a positive well-being? Let me know on Twitter as I’ll also be sharing some of my tips.

Rosh xo


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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Rosh Does: A BadGal and a Puffer Jacket

Rihanna, aka Badgalriri, aka style icon left us all S.H.O.O.K when she stepped out last week in Paris wearing an oversized baby pink puffer jacket by designer Ella Boucht. The blogs, the press and social media erupted as the Bajan fashion killer graced us with yet another icon look.

It is inevitable that versions of this puffer jacket will feature across high-street fashion stores in the upcoming winter months and so I was on a personal hunt to find a sustainable replica.

Ask and you shall receive! As I trawled through the many charity shops in Luton Town Centre. I found this black puffer jacket in Salvation Army, hung limply in the Mens coat section between a moth eaten tweed jacket and a peeling leather jacket. Surprisingly the puffer jacket was in really good condition minus a few marks on the collar, which came out after having it dry-cleaned. I literally thought Christmas had come early when the price tag had £6 stamped on it.

As an avid thrift shopper, I love finding vintage pieces that the modern day fashion world has revived. Even better because the vintage finds are usually a lot cheaper and completely unique. If you live in the Bedfordshire area I would totally recommend taking a stroll around the numerous charity shops dotted in and around Luton Town Centre. Over the years I have shopped designer clothes, coats and bags as well as vintage tops, jeans and … all of which have received compliments from friends and family (expect from my Jamaican nan who cusses every time, that I have wasted my money on dead peoples’ clothes…eek!).



I teamed the jacket with ripped jeans and greyish black Dr Martens for a more tomboyish look as to be honest, I was not feeling particularly girly. As I type this, I am already thinking of the outfits I will recreate with this jacket. I’ll keep you posted!

Shop the look here:

Pom Pom Hat- Unique Avenue 

Ripped Jeans- HM

Puffer Jacket (the most similar I could find) – Topshop

Dr Marten Boots- Office



Let me know what you think of this outfit and thrift shopping on Twitter

Love


RR xo

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Monday, October 10, 2016

Rosh Does: Box Braids


It has been, 1180 days, 3 years 2 months and 41 days since I last burnt my scalp, straightened my coils with creamy crack in pursuit of a more ‘manageable’ hair type. Fast forward to today and the health and texture of my natural 4c hair has improved. I no longer suffer from excessive dryness and severe breakage. Unlike other natural queens I’ve seen such a Naptural85 and April Bee I chose to transition rather than the more drastic big chop method. Transition involves leaving your regrowth unpermed hair to grow out whilst trimming the ends of your permed hair. Whilst the Big Chop involves cutting or shaving all of the permed hair off into a Teeny Weeny Afro (TWA). Having looked back on my hair journey, I wish I would have taken the leap of faith and cut off all my permed hair as now due to the texturised hairstyle I was wearing before my natural hair is at different lengths, the back of my hair when stretched sits in between my shoulder blades and the hair on the sides sit on my shoulder.

Due to the differences in lengths, I found it hard on a day-to-day basis to think of protective styles, which not only looked nice, but locked in moisture. And so to encourage my hair to grow and with the winter months starting, I decided to give my natural hair a break, and go for a protective style I had seen on friends and family.

Protective styling (when installed correctly) is an important aspect of a natural hair regimen.  It is one of the most effective methods to minimise hair breakage as it protects the ends of hair, which is where a lot of damage occurs from becoming dry, bristly or crunchy. Protective styles can take many forms including, bo-braids, cainrows/cornrows , weaves, braided upo-dos, wigs, space buns, bantu knots, twists and boxer braids, box braids. A protective style is a hair style that protects hair ends from everyday exposure to the elements, sun, wind and the cold air; it should take little to no heat or too much manipulation (combing, brushing, pulling) of the hair to create. As the cold months in the UK were approaching and after many weaves, I decided to try another protective style box braids.  
Three weeks in and I am officially a box braid convert, for me the one pet hate I had when I wore weaves was that I could not reach every part of my scalp to moisturise it, especially when I had a closure which meant that the driest part of my hair (the crown) went with little to no moisture for two months. However, with box braids this is now longer an issue, I grease my scalp every night with a mixture of Jamaican Black Castor Oil and organic coconut oil and sleep with a satin head tie to keep the braids tidy.


Box braids are very low maintenance and an incredibly versatile hairstyle. As side from being a very manageable protective style, I love the aesthetics and history behind box braids. I take pride in knowing I am wearing a hairstyle that originated from Africa, as far back as 3500 BC, way before the likes of certain celebrities made them ‘new trends’.

Are you considering installing box braids? Read my pre-care tips below:
  1. Apply a pre-poo, a hot oil treatment done the night before a shampoo wash. I use organic coconut oil and cover with cling film or a plastic shower cap.
  2. Ensure hair has been washed, or co-washed with conditioner and cleansed thoroughly
  3. Apply a moisturising leave-in conditioner, I love to use Shea Moisture JBCO Strengthen, Grow & Restore Leave-In Conditioner because it smells like [insert], leaves my hair feeling soft and moisturised, without the crunchy feeling.
  4. Seal in the leave-in conditioner with a heavier carrier oil I tend to combine JBCO and organic coconut oil or virgin olive oil straight from the cupboard.
  5. Leave hair to air dry completely before installing your box braids.


What’s your favourite protective style and why?

Let me know me on Snapchat

Rosh xo
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Monday, October 03, 2016

Rosh Does: Thrifty finds & a Camel coat

There’s no doubt that a camel coat is a must-have for fall and winter, especially because of how versatile it is. This statement piece has been a must have in everyone’s wardrobe since 2k13. I love that you can play around with a camel coat: you can dress up an outfit to look smart and stylish or you can throw it over an Adidas tracksuit and TNs. However, you wear your camel coat, imo the outfit will always pop.

I was grateful to find this Camel Double Breasted Banana Republic piece at Battersea Car Boot sale in London. This beauty was an absolute bargain at £8 I couldn’t find the exact RRP but the lovely lady who sold it to me (and had dry-cleaned it) said it is £90. Can I get an amen from the thrifty fashion gods!


I teamed this look with a pair of booty hugging high waisted jeans, a basic white v-neck tshirt, which I had nabbed for 50p from the Keech Cottage charity shop in Luton, and finished the look with a pair of thigh high black boots. I literally chucked this outfit together for a last minute trip to the Cinema to watch the new Bridget Jones’s Diary film, which may I add is hilarious so funny, if not a tad unbelievable! If you’ve seen it you know what I mean.


As you can see the autumnal vibes of this outfit had me in my feels (lol). 


Shop the look:

Camel Coat – TopshopUK

Thigh high boots – ASOS

T-Shirt – H&M 

High waisted jeans – H&M


Rosh xo
Twitter @roshsrambles
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© Roshsrambles

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