18 Things you can do to get set for the new year

Happy new year! It’s 2020 and we are going in well prepared and ready to be productive. This is the year to unveil that hidden talent and use it for good.

In this post, I share things I did and things you can do, to prepare you for the new year. You aren’t late if you do them now anyway , we are in the beginning of January.

Get set for the new year, things to do

1. Email detox

2. Wardrobe detox

3. Bank statement check

4. Social media detox (This is unfollowing accounts that add no value to you and following one’s that do. I hope I do😉).

Music detox- 18 Things you can do to get set for the new year - hopeasfro.blog

5. Music playlist detox (Remove songs that you can’t dance to on a good day and fill up your playlist with uplifting music).

6. Create a calendar for the new year and set reminders. This can include events or dates.

7. Find and try out new food (try foreign foods🍜).

hopeasfro.blog 18 Things you can do to get set for the new year

8. Make a diet plan🥗

9. Experiment on daily routines to see which one helps you be productive.

This is the year to unveil that hidden talent and use it for good.

10. Get more (better) stationary

11. Check your skincare routine 🥑

12. Detox your cosmetic bag

hopeasfro.blog 18 Things you can do to get set for the new year

13. Research natural remedies (some berries 🍓reduce phlegm and mucus, shea butter for hair prone to sun bleaching, aloe Vera for skin burns)

14. Make a list of books to read📚

15. Draw up a list of places to visit🏖️

18 Things you can do to get set for the new year

16. Make a list of activities to take part in in the new year 🎨(including new hobbies).

17. List of online courses to apply for

You aren’t late if you do them now anyway , we are in the beginning of January.

18. Set goals in aspects

– Spiritual goals (more closer to God, faith, trust)

– saving goals

– work goals

– attitude goals🤗

– hair goals

– hydrate goals🥤

So these are stuff I did just to prepare for the new year. It helps to draw out plans and mind maps to help visualise your goals.

This is going to be a productive year for us, I prayed for this and I can just smell it already!

Remember to take time to spoil yourself (wisely) and celebrate the wins little and big.

5 Reasons I started a Gratitude journal

The mind can sometimes get clogged with everyday life and forget the blessings. It’s easy for most people to not remember, at those times where they question if God answers their prayers or they’re just tripping. Try writing down your blessings and you’ll see how one – two – three will run over pages.

I started a gratitude book mid 2019. Apart from seeing it somewhere and being advised to do so, I also felt I didn’t really pay attention to the little blessings —sometimes I wouldn’t even regard them as blessings or things I should be grateful for. Thus, some months ago and led by the Holy Spirit, I started a gratitude book (or journal).      I started putting down a lot and was surprised…like wow! I’m not really used to keeping journals so I don’t write in it as often as I should, but I try to push myself to and find time.

With that,

Let’s cut to the chase!

Reasons why I started a gratitude book

    Record of blessings

This is basically why I started it. It’s a gratitude journal, where I put down all the things I’m grateful to GOD for, day to day.

The mind can sometimes get clogged with everyday life and forget the blessings.

   Makes me more conscious of GOD’S work in my life

   The best thing you can dare to do,  is to be conscious of God’s hand in the workings of your life (most especially if you give it all to him).
    Like I wrote earlier, sometimes the mind gets clogged up with daily activities and one might forget. Journalling and referring back keeps one grounded. I need to say, being conscious of GOD and the Holy Spirit makes all the difference. It gives hope 😀.

To look back at things I’ve overcome by His grace

Ah, ever prayed “Lord help me love” then you get pissed but immediately remember not to cuss out or kiss your teeth, but respond with a smile?  Yess.  That’s the Lord’s doing and worth being grateful for.


A gratitude journal is simply used to refer back. I can’t stress this enough.

Ignoring the liar

    “Am I tripping”
    _ when you pray but it’s just bueh😛

      What do you do? You pick up your Bible and speak God’s promise, then you go on to your journal and see what HE has been doing for you.You cannot write down everything, there’s a lot of things we people ignore or just look over — if we plan to, it wouldn’t contain the biggest books on the planet.

   However, it’s best to write down things you remember and are dear to you.If you can’t find any, being a able to crease your lips into a smile is one of them..being able to read or listen to the Bible is a blessing 😊. 

Have you started a gratitude book?

How is it going?
 What are your reasons for a gratitude book/ journal?  

Please share with us in the comment section.

Where to find and buy art in Nigeria

We sometimes want to invest in our places, gadgets and refrigerator surfaces, with beautiful and eye-catching art but things like delivery period and getting it at a good price can be a problem.If you stay in Nigeria, you might think finding artworks to buy is hard or only available at a particular location, (e.g Lagos) so you opt for nonlocal artists —which is ok, but for finding local art is hard, I’m here to debunk that.

1. Artyrama

Where to find and buy art in Nigeria hopeasfro.blog hopeasfroArtyrama is an art gallery located in Lagos, but apart from showcasing artworks of artists from all over the country, they are also on sale on their online store. You are sure to find really good art from different art mediums. That is, oil paintings, acrylic on canvas, ballpoint, digital art, e.t.c. You also find a variety of art forms like surrealism, hyperrealism, abstract and so on ready to buy and as for a digital product, print out (and even as desktop wallpapers!)

2. Printivo store

hopeasfro.blog It’s safe to say this is one of Nigeria’s leading print stores. Apart from being able to print your illustrations and designs on available items, there is an option to pick designs by designers and illustrators from the store, for the not so arty ones. You can see items like
•square and round stickers (lovely for the refrigerator Hahn😜?)•Notepads
•Business cards
•Phone cases & much more• Plus art on canvases.And one good thing is that, some designs are customisable.

3. Red bubble

Where to find and buy art in Nigeria– hopeasfro.blog    I haven’t personally bought artistic
products from here, but being a large online sales market, you have access to different forms of visual art on a range of products.
Red bubble is not based in Nigeria but ships to Nigeria.

      Where to find and buy art in Nigeria

4. The local souvenir market

   Tourists can’t resist getting souvenirs and you shouldn’t too. There are nice paintings, beadwork and woodcarvings (not fetish) you can get from your local market. Sometimes, it might be a bit pricy ’cause you might be mistaken for a foreigner. Show them who you really are and you’ll be fine😜.
    If you’re non-Nigerian, try to get the best deal. Also, some of these things are actually expensive due to materials used. Put it in mind, these artists need the money.

5. Auction sites

     Another good place to get artworks are auction sites. Arthouse.ng is an example of auction sites in Nigeria. They deal with contemporary art from across Africa.

6. Art galleries

     See the art you like? Buy it! Apart from showcasing art, some galleries also allow you purchase them. Also, it’s a good opportunity to meet with the artist one on one and understand the inspiration behind the artwork you are getting.
      These are some of the good galleries in Nigeria according to TripAdvisor here.where to find and buy art in nigeria– hopeasfro.blog hopeasfro

7. The Artist’s website

      Most artists have a ‘shop’ segment or a link to a ‘shop’ page on their website. If you see an artist’s ( painter, sculpture artist, digital artist’s, etc) work on perhaps social media, and want to purchase from them, it’s best to check their websites. Most professionals make their sites easy to navigate, you’ll be fine.I hope with these few examples will help.Comment down below if you’ve tried any of these art purchase sites and what was your experience.

Process shots : village in the forest + brushes used

Hi! Welcome to the blog. On this post I will be sharing how I finished this artwork through process shorts and also some techniques and brushes I used to achieve texture and shapes. I hope you find it helpful and enjoy how art is made 😄

About the artwork.

Also check it out on Instagram

Sketching this, I pictured a cliff in the forest. Two cliffs opposite each other, thick forests at the yonder, a sunset and it’s reflection on the trees and the huts built around the cliff, Civilisation to add more noise in the artwork.

Process shot 1

I start my artworks on digital platform using a grey background. Not dark grey nor White, something in between. This is to help me pick the right colours and not something too light or dark because I see it next to a white background.

Next, I drew the cliffs first as they are the centre of the artwork.

Process shot 2

On this next shot, I drew more on the left cliff to create an illusion of distance. This is where other objects will go on. These additions were done on another layer because I wanted to reduce their opacity initially but it was ok this way, so there wasn’t any need.

Process shot 3

Now more on the background. Using Autodesk sketch book, the trees were done on the layer before the rest. This way, whatever I draw on this layer will not affect the ones I have already drawn. I decided to draw the trees first rather than the sunset because I already had an idea where the Sun’s reflection will be.

Process shot 4

Next is the painting of sunset. There’s not too much colours with the sky because there’s a lot of colours lately (😁) so a basic blue sky with orange and yellow lights if the sun will do.

Process shot 5

After painting in the huts, next was to add more texture into the art. The tree is one of the objects used to achieve this. It appears in quite a distance and also has the Sun’s reflection on a part of it and the rest, a dark shade. The power of lighting in texture!

Painting trees

Painting trees can be tricky especially when you are going for something quite realistic. I love the fact Autodesk sketchbook has a series of brush shapes to choose from. They also have tutorials and help tips on their website here.

For trees, I used the wet frayed bristle brush to get that look.

I hope you found this helpful or perhaps just like to see process shots.

If you have any questions, please let me know and do you want to see more of this? Let me know in the comment section.

While your here, check out the Instagram page.

The Spider King’s Daughter | book review

The Spider King’s Daughter by Chibundu Onuzo is a work of fiction that tells the story of two young people from different social classes.

Abike is a rich, seemingly spoilt brat and runner G, a boy who fell in hard times and into the slum parts of the industrial city of Lagos. Both find each other and develop a romance.

It can be identified as a coming of age story – a bildungsroman, that takes the reader into the lives of these two, their hopes, their dreams and what led to their current point as these lovers navigate each other’s life.

Favourite scene

    One thing I love about this book is its storyline. It’s simply pleasant. I love the author’s style of describing the different settings, one can picture the scenes well. As for scenes, one of my favourite scenes was one at the earlier part of the novel where Abike made her driver intentionally cause the car to breakdown, just to meet with runner G. It made me curious on why a girl from such background has a sudden interest with an ice cream hawker.

   Another interesting scene was when the two went out into the city of Lagos and Abike kept making excuses to have to not eat in a food shack located at one of the suburban parts.
“Uhm, I need to wash my hands”, girl really?


    The novel exposes the ongoing class struggle in west African cities. And class division as this is distinct in the lives of these two major characters and also significantly portrayed in the novel’s settings.     
Sometimes I’d wondered what would happen if the rich girl climbed from her car to speak to me instead of sticking her head out of the window.  
                      — Runner G

     Secondly, the novel highlights corruption as a deterring element in countries like Nigeria and its citizens. Eventually, we see corruption linked in the relationship of Abike’s father and runner G’s, Aunty Precious and Mr T.

As the love between Abike and runner G grows, runner G finds out shocking truths about the person of Abike.
  The girl is not who she seems

Overall thoughts

       However, I felt there could be more. Apart from some unnecessary dialogues and taking the reader on the different point of views of some characters which do not differ significantly, and seems like plain repetition;

I felt there could have been more to Abike. It felt static, her views didn’t change and why?  Did nothing change in her through the course of everything, still a brat?  I wished the book had shown more light on the workings of her mind. 
     There was some effort to really make the reader understand runner G  but it was like Abike was forgotten even when she is one of the main characters.

     It was pleasant and quite good for an author’s first novel. Her second novel ‘Welcome to Lagos’, was really good and was the first book I read from the author.

I’ll rate this book 6/10

Hey, y’all have you read the book before, how did you see it?

How to choose the right book

Whether it’s for leisure, to learn new things or for a book reading club, we find ourselves needing to find and choose the right book that will actually be helpful.

I one time thought I could easily pick a book by just turning over and reading the description or synopsis. I was wrong, and that made me buy a novel I ended up not liking. It wasn’t badly written or plain boring, the subject matter was just not my thing and the themes weren’t something I cared much about. These weren’t stated in the description instead it was a funny write up making me think the novel was humorous all the way.

I don’t want you to make that mistake so, these are my tips on

How to choose the right book

Check the reviews

This is an important step to choosing the right book. Go online and check the ratings and reviews. There are many book-reviewing sites that review lots of books (with different genres) also, there are bloggers like me, who review books we love.

These reviewers sometimes give an in-depth analysis of the book. Don’t worry, if it’s a good reviewer, they wouldn’t tell the end.

Visit the library

Most of the books I love were found in the library.

Some books aren’t so popular to have tons of reviews on the internet. However, you can find some of these in local libraries but especially national libraries! Authors in some countries are required to deposit copies of their book in the national library. So, you have access to tons of books when you visit the library.

You can easily turn the pages of these books and read some of it before deciding to take it home and you are saving money.

Visit Bookstores

Online bookstores are ok but preferably physical bookstores. With physical bookstores, there are attendants that will be happy to give you recommendations.

Also, you are exposed to different books you could buy. Online stores will only show you book recommendations and that’s it, except there’s a live chat on the site where someone is ready to attend to questions.

Ask for recommendations

Ask ask ask! Those book-loving friends are great for recommending books. Ask them. If it’s a genre they love, you are going to get best recommends.

Find books by your favourite authors

Find books by the authors you love. Try to be on the loop on when any of their new books are coming out.

Favourite authors are those you agree with and share in some of your values and interests. A book by them is sure to be interesting.

These are a few tips on how to choose the right book. They will be helpful for you to choose your next best read.

Book review | funny men cannot be trusted

On this post, I’ll be reviewing the book funny men cannot be trusted, an anthology by poet Tolu Akinyemi.

back story

I took some time off Instagram and I stopped posting in general, to just sit back and get inspired.

For the short bit, I decided to read more of poetry especially the contemporary ones, and have a look at literature coming out of Africa or by African writers.
So, I picked up this collection of poems :

‘funny men cannot be trusted’ by Tolu Akinyemi

and it was a good decision.

The point of the book — well according to the writer, is to get people to love and understand poetry, poetry that is not “boring, and obscure”. The book is the third and newest of the series ‘poetry for people who hate poetry’ by the same author.

book review funny men cannot be trusted hopeasfro.blog hopeasfro

Even though I don’t hate poetry, I don’t think anyone will dislike this. The poems are well written, there’s no one I disliked. It’s not unnecessarily esoteric, it’s simple yet interesting — more with the use of imagery, its comical nature still retaining the deep meanings.

The poems centre around the themes of love, absentee fathers, hope, human interaction and things relatable.

One I particularly liked for this was the poem ‘a sharpened knife’. It lightly addresses the uncommonly talked about bias in marriage

” when quietly the housewife
sharpens the knife, nobody cares
but when it cuts her back
suddenly, there is an uproar”.

It’s not unnecessarily esoteric, it’s simple yet interesting

There are the ones that made me laugh like ‘when you are single’ highlighting the pressures of marriage (typical in African cultures LOL )

“Like ‘pretty Rita!
When are we eating
your wedding rice?’
You drag a smile
with your reply.

‘Nosey Aunty Nosa! tó n bé bí òyà…
(If only you could say it loud)”.

(that springs like a cane rat. Nosa pries into people’s privacy).

In particular, I enjoyed this and also the writer’s humour. Lovely book. I will rate it somewhere above 8/10


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Thank you.

Freebie ideas for art bloggers to get email list opt-ins

These are 5 Freebie options to choose from to get readers opting into your email list.

The things I blog about on my blog are lifestyle art and literature. As an art blogger who wants my readers to join my email list, It will be nice to have a freebie to give to the new contacts. That’s where the brainstorming comes in. As also a lifestyle blogger, I can easily come up with anything but, I wanted to represent Art as part of the blog — what’s another way than to incorporate art in my freebies?

Part of my audience are people artistic, budding artists and newcomers. I came up with these freebies to share with them and I’m sharing this with you.

Freebie ideas for art bloggers

1. Free printable art resources

Hey, lover of printable(s) and wallpaper!

This is the one I like to go for. Whether it’s wallpaper, gift wraps or colourful sheets, these are awesome freebies to give newcomers to a blog or to get people to opt-in for your emails.


They can range from

• colouring sheets

• wallpaper

• designed drawing sheets /worksheets

• templates

and lots more

what’s another way than to incorporate art in my freebies?

2. Free colour palettes

Apart from Pinterest, colour palettes examples can also come from you. If you are a pro in choosing colours and matching them, that’s a freebie option you can carry out.

freebie ideas for art bloggers hopeasfro
color pallette & theme examples

You can find more examples on my Pinterest

3. How to draw guide

They want to see how you draw trees, fruits, how you shade, light effects — ‘yes, how do you do that?’

This can come as

1. Free tutorials

2. A Guide (in PDF)

3. Free workshop

4. Free webinar

5. A free Ebook

6. Free review of their art

By knowing your audience, you know what best serves as a freebie. If I don’t want to bother learning how to draw but still appreciate art, well sorry, I don’t want that free stuff.

Freebie ideas for art bloggers--hopeasfro.blog

4. Blog launch starter kit (printable)

There are artists struggling to have a bomb website or blog. If you are a multi-niche blogger helping others to know the ins and outs of blogging and also an art blogger, then this is for you.

1. A blog starter checklist

2. Help with seo related questions

By knowing your audience, you know what best serves as a freebie.

Freebie ideas for art bloggers hopeasfro.blog hopeasfro

5. Free tools for art and Graphic designs

To get readers to join your mailing list,

–sharing your favourite tools for designing some precepts from your favourite editing app is not a bad idea, this can also be in form of a resource library too…As far as it’s free😜

6. Discount in your art shop

A discount code for items in your art store is a good way to get people to join your email list. Tell them to sign up for the Newsletter to be given a discount code.


If you liked this, please share so your friends can see it. Thank you 🙂

Wisdom teeth

And so what if I come out with pain!

You remember, I only grow out at a certain period.

You should be grateful you lived that long.


Does not my pain make you shut up,

Does it not stop your jaw from opening too wide?

Or are the wise meant to speak too much?

And you say my name does not follow me.


Be quiet adult! In fact child

Do you know what patience is?

Do you think I’m like others, that just make

The gum itch and wala!


You must feel my presence,

I am here to stay and

Oh don’t even try to remove me, try it!

And you will see I am much stronger than that your dentist!