Things you will most likely find in my bag

Now I’m not a load carrier or baggage lover, but I like to leave for wherever I’m going knowing that I didn’t miss anything and have to go back or spend my day without the important thing I need.

For every event means different items to carry, but there are must-carry items I go with, at least past the corner store –he he.

1. A journal

It’s not some fancy leatherback journal, but just a tiny notepad I use to take down notes or anything when I’m out. I could use my phone but, I always like to jot down things just to have it on paper, in hardcopy.

This goes in hand with a pen.

2. My phone

OK, I do a lot of things with my phone, from writing to sketching to catching up with friends, all those. Also, in case I am needed somewhere, it’s just me being available in case I’m needed, by colleagues, family and friends. Now, this is followed up by;

3. Phone charger

OK, I need to get a power bank but, before then I carry with me my charger almost everywhere. Because I do most things with my phone, it comes in handy as it could run out of battery power after some time.

4. A mini bag

You’re thinking ‘uhhh bag in a bag?’ Well, not really. It’s a bag where I keep my ladies tingy from makeup to sometimes, unnecessary tissues and lip gloss. It’s just a way for me to organise my bag and not have poured out eye-shadow everywhere.

5. A mini tripod

As a blogger and someone who likes adventure, a tripod always comes in handy for me. There can be fun places and activities I need to get in video and taking pictures with a phone or camera, balanced on a tripod makes things better.

6. A wallet

Yep, another mini bag in a bag :() like come on, I don’t need to mention what I need a wallet for *laughs*.

7. A book

I carry with me the novel at the time I’m reading. When a book is captivating, you won’t want to put it down. That’s why sometimes I opt to be given a ride to where I’m going instead *haha*

OK, so these are just items that can be found in my bag. What’s yours?

How to prepare sweet potato balls

Let’s cut to the chase…

As I said, I’m not a food blogger but, I had fun doing this and hopefully, you would too😀.

Now it might not necessarily take long to prepare if you’re a fast cook but for me, I had to cut the preparation into two days ’cause I had a lot doing those days.

Okay, now the ingredients…

1. Sweet potatoes (of course)

2. Flour

3. Two eggs (or depending on the amount you want)

4. Bread crumbs

5. Sardines or any additions you want like sausages, shrimps, e.t.c

6. A bulb of onion

7. Pepper

8. Curry and thyme ( including any seasoning you want😋)

9. Oil

10. Ginger (optional)

Preparation:

Now what you want to do is peel the potatoes. Make sure to put them in water so they won’t start changing colour.

Then with little oil, simmer your chopped onion and pepper, in a pot and not a frying pan. If you want you can grate ginger into it. Do it with moderation though, you don’t want too much ginger.

After, pour water into the pot, any amount that would cover the potatoes as they need to boil (see that’s why you needed a pot). Drop your sweet potatoes in the pot. You might want to cut them in halves as they would boil faster. Add some curry and thyme, salt to the boiling potatoes.

When the potatoes have boiled, pour out the water then mash them. You can use a masher or pestle, anyone that works best for you.

After, you pour in your sardines or sausages or whatever you would like to add😀. Add some pepper if you want it spicy, then mix.

After this is done, get out your flour in a bowl, your eggs whisked in another, then your bread crumbs.

If you want to make bread crumbs from the scratch, just heat up your pan – no oil, place 4 slices of bread in the pan (turning them side to side till they are a bit hard and crunchy). Then cut them to bits into your food processor.

Now back to the preparation. Use a spoon to scoop out the mixture and roll it to a ball with your hands. You can use an ice cream scoop to measure and maintain consistency in size.

Roll the ball in the flour, then the whisked egg until it’s covered all over, then roll it into the breadcrumbs.

When that is done, fry your sweet potato balls till they’re brown.

There you have your sweet potato balls!

Do you have other methods of preparing sweet potato balls, have you tried it out before?

Do you like the taste of sweet potatoes? Not everyone does. Let me know, leave your comments😊.

I made sweet potato balls and this was how it turned out.

Now I’m no food blogger but, having fun is part of my lifestyle and I would say I had fun making these. I consider this an art –the art of cooking *laughs*

In the future, I would love to host cooking competitions with my kids and partner…see my husband needs to know how to cook and I mean well!

Well enough said, let’s get to what we’re here for.

OK, so I’ve been meaning to prepare something, like a snack, homemade. Well, I thought of yam balls! I mean, it’s still nutritious so…😗

However, some of the bellies going to be consuming my snack is into “fit fam” “healthy living”, so I decided to use sweet potatoes as it has fewer calories. I was quite sceptical doing this ’cause of how the taste my come out to be…You know sweet with salt, then pepper…

Well anyway, it turned out fine. I enjoyed it and those bellies too!

How to prepare sweet potato balls

Have you tried it out before? Let me know in the comments.

Review: Cantu moisturizing cream & deep treatment masque

I remember years ago, I was complaining to my friend about my natural hair. Our hairs got dry very easily and with the harsh England weather especially in the winter, things got worse. We were battling with our hairs.

Then she told others and I to look at the commercials of the shampoos we used (you know heads &shoulders, VO5)

Girls look at those commercials, those shampoos ain’t for our hair.

well I looked, I sat in front of the television and looked. Did I find myself going to the nearby afro-beauty store? Yes!

We were struggling naturals back then, trying to go back being natural. One of the firsts I tried was Cantu.

Cantu seemed to cover all ranges, from natural to coloured to relaxed, So I said, why not try it out!

The first from the brand I tried, was the

1. Cantu Moisturizing cream shampoo.

I must say, this felt surreal when it touched my hair.

First off, how does it smell?

It smells really nice, sort of like a juice made of tropical fruits. It’s not a strong smell and is suitable for anyone who reacts from too strong perfume, like me.

How it looks like

It comes in a FL OZ/ 400 ml bottle and is orange all over. The look of it is stylish and unusual, with a suitable cap.

My thoughts on it

Like I said before, it felt surreal. It was creamy on my hair, my hair literally felt like melted marshmallows. For someone who had been using drying shampoos earlier, I was blown away!

It removes buildup like it says it does and gentle to the scalp. I didn’t run out of the bathroom screaming “my head is on fire!” My hair still remained moisturised for some time unlike before.

The texture of the product is soft and creamy, it is slippery which is good for removing tangles when washing.

Ingredients

I noticed it didn’t have silicones, parabens, or petroleum in its ingredients which is good ’cause I’m using it to clear buildup not add to it or clog my pores.

Water is the first ingredient! You know if a product is ‘moisturizing’, it should have water as its first or second ingredient.

Did I use it again?

Sure! I still am even. My hair is doing fine with it and it is of great value. The price is suitable, I buy it £3.99p.

I never tried any of the brand’s products before I tried the moisturizing shampoo, so after hearing of the benefits of deep conditioning, I decided to try

The Cantu Shea butter for Natural hair DEEP TREATMENT MASQUE.

The products texture and smell

The texture is creamy and also slippery, it melts into your hair as it is applied. The smell is just great! I would say it scents more tropical and citric *laughs*

It comes in the net weight of 340g. It is a product that lasts and doesn’t get empty in one use (’cause we use no ‘dime size’ amount)

My initial thoughts on it.

What attracted me to the deep conditioner apart from the Wonderful results using the shampoo, was the ingredients one, secondly the restoration and strengthening dry – damaged hair bit.

This product contains many good oils in it like, soybean oil, carrot oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, sweet almond oil, coconut oil, grape seed oil, mango seed butter, and the list goes on.

Using this product, my hair became strong, it broke less and looked healthy as a whole. However, my hair felt stiff and not flexible. I could manipulate it and it won’t break, but I wanted it to be soft and flow with the wind.

So for this product, it’s like a bittersweet. It makes my hair break less, thereby retaining length but, it makes my hair stiff. I guess I have to forfeit one to get the other.

Do I still use it?

Yes, I do, when I notice my hair is getting too brittle, I grab my deep conditioning masque.

Well…

Just because it didn’t give the best results for me doesn’t mean it won’t for you. All hairs are not the same after all.

Trying out other Brand products!

I am excited to try out the Cantu come back curl spray, (’cause I saw people’s results and was wowed!) and also the cleansing cream shampoo! When I try it out, I will definitely do a review.

Have you tried any product from the brand, have you tried other brands and do you have suggestions?

Would love to know.

A blogger and want to review products yourself?

How to review a product

What’s your take on Cantu products, have you tried anything from the brand?

Please let me know by commenting down below ⬇

Are you looking for colourful, modern nature art, animals and flowers, this is the right place. Our prints are high quality, a mix of the minimal and vivid!

A Sand Mile by Idoroenyen Udoh

a-sand-mile--idoroenyen-udoh--okadabooks

Available on Okadabooks

Book written by Idoroenyen Udoh

About the book

Efa, a taxi driver in the suburban region of Nigeria, takes in a passenger one evening. He soon realises the passenger needs help and not from the authorities.

Laraba, the youngest wife, is kicked out from her husband’s house and forced to wander. With nowhere to go, she heads to the desert were

she finds companions. One searching for happiness, the others healing and one, an audience. All heading to the city for good.

Things I am most grateful for in last year

• It was a year of clarity. Honestly, I discovered so much more on things I did, I thought was right, on behaviour and what have you. This has transformed my thinking for the better.

• I made bold steps. Normally, before I make a move, I tend to over think things even when the chances of it flopping is low, or won’t even matter. It restricted me to do certain things but, last year, I found myself taking bold steps! Cutting off the issue of what would? How would?

I even shared my poems, which I hardly do ’cause I was quite shy and yet proud of myself for writing.

• I published my book! My debut novel was published on okadabooks . A Sand Mile. It is a collection of short stories and poems, I will be posting excerpts soon.

I am super glad!

• 2018 was a year I grew more in love with my Faith. I gave the Holy Spirit control of my life, was more Spirit-led and in total, enjoyed the fruits of the Holy Spirit. I saw a change in character and earlier, I said I normally made a fuss about just anything. This year, I saw a change in that, which I am so grateful to God for. The Holy Spirit is with me forever.

• New friends, followers and subscribers for this blog.

This year, I got so many views, engagement on my blog and I’m so glad about it! At first, I didn’t think there would be lots of views on posts of poetry or artworks, or book reviews, compared to lifestyle posts or product reviews I also did. However, I got almost equal engagement for both sets of posts.

• Got inspiration for blogging

Seeing bloggers like Cassie Davies, black writer, really got me inspired to continue blogging and just give my site a makeover! I found the excitement to attend webinars and to get tips on editing.

I also learnt how to love what I do, love what I love (if that makes sense :)).

So with the start of the new year, what are you grateful for, what are your goals for this year?

What would you like me to share?

Leave your comments below

And if you are a newbie here, honey why not follow and subscribe 😀

Waiting for an Angel (book review)

Waiting for an Angel is a novel written by Helon habila, set in the years and time of military dictatorship in Nigeria. It tells of the story of Lomba, a young journalist who is thrown into prison to languish, after being charged for inciting a riot.

As Lomba is in prison, he gains access to papers and a pen, for his sanity and to express himself.

Today I began a diary, to say all the things I want to say, to myself, because here in prison there is no one to listen.

His poems and write-ups are discovered by the prison’s superintendent and a friendship sparks.

The story also takes the reader back in time to when Lomba was still free and tells the tale of other characters related to Lomba one way or the other. Some give their own interconnected narrations on what led to that ‘bloody’ day.

We are told of Joshua. Joshua is employed to teach Kela a fifteen-year-old boy in preparations for his exams but later becomes a resistance leader to fight oppression. Nancy, a waitress in a kiosk at Poverty street, copes with life by covering the walls of her room with graffiti and motivational quotes while she takes care of her little son and awaits a time when she can finally reunite with ‘her man’, her son’s father. We are also told of Alice who happens to be Lomba’s love and Bola, his roommate.

The underlining topic in this novel I would say was the evils of military rule in Africa. The times where there was no form of democracy and when free speech was a crime. It also told on the monotonous life of fear and poverty.

Poverty Street in this book is used as a symbol to represent the majority and their standard of living. Poverty Street is not the initial name as I am told in the story, but it was given by the residents as a reflection of their lives. It spoke on the need for a revolution, as this is pushed for by passionate Mao.

This country is in dire need of a revolution – Mao

Something I got to understand from this book, is the human mind incapacity to take what is beyond them. This was Bola’s story, which is one of my favourite characters. His jovial and lively nature made me enjoy his appearance in the novel, so when he started blowing punches in the air, shouting and chanting in the students’ rally before the boycott, I found myself getting excited and throwing a fist in the air too.

The narration was mostly in the first person and few times in the third person omniscient.

This is not the first book I’ve read from the author Helon Habila, the first was Oil on Water, which was really good. Then was Measuring time, a story of two boys, twins. I got to know ‘Waiting for an Angel’, was his debut. Quite impressed.

I would rate the novel a 6 out of 10!

More reviews:

Oil on Water by Helon Habila

Items to gift this Christmas & Newyear

‘Oh what a wonderful time of the year…’

December is here, Christmas and New year are fast approaching and a time to share also!

However, bear in mind, Christmas is not just for giving presents and putting up the Christmas tree, it’s a time to celebrate someone’s birth, Jesus Christ. He is the one we are celebrating.

With that, let’s dive in to things you can gift and share this New year! There are so many things to give and it’s up to you. However, it can still be hard to decide ’cause…well, there are lots.

So let’s break it down to five.

1. Starting from the basics,

A large box of chocolate is nice for a chocolate fanatic like me,

laughs

Just make sure you get ones they like, some popular chocolates are nasty still.

2 Gift that book lover an interesting read.

Do you have that book worm friend or family that can read a 300 page book within hours?

Give them what they love. As a novel lover, I did a blog on books you can gift this season here

3. Surprise that hair enthusiast!

Make a hamper of their favourite hair products. Most people treat their hair like their babies. Giving them such is like gifting them with baby apparels, they would love it!

4. Gift your blogger friend

Gift your blogger friend something they need

It sounds odd, but a tripod can go a long way. Even though they have one already, there is nothing wrong with having a spare. It will still come in handy.

5. Nice festive cards

We know we all love these. A card with good prayers and wishes is all we need. Write something from your heart and share.

Do you have other suggestions?

Please feel free to leave your comments.

Novels to gift this Christmas & New year

These are fiction books by African writers that are really good and I think are worth giving. The mood and atmosphere around the plots are pleasant to fit the season.

They are not necessary novels with the setting in winter, or Christmas or new year.

No1 On the list would be my favourite, Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzu. I’ve been meaning to do a review on this novel time ago, it is interesting and just beautiful to read.

It is the story of five different people who meet during their way to Lagos, a city in Nigeria. Two are runaway soldiers, one is a tired house wife, a boy named Fineboy who tries hard to perfect his borrowed American accent and a young girl in search of her parents after a crisis. It gives a brief and vivid picture of the Niger delta crisis of old as well as the hustlers’ life in Lagos and corrupted Nigerian leaders.

No 2 The Spider King’s daughter by Chibundu Onuzu. Yup, the same author. I haven’t read this one yet though, but I really would like a copy. I have read reviews on it and I think from the story line, it is not going to be boring. It’s sort of like a ‘the princess and the pauper’ story. A boy falls in love with a girl and such relationship obviously can’t thrive due to the different social classes they belong to.

No 3 Black ass by A Igoni Barett. A young man who is meant to go on a job interview, wakes up and finds himself white. He’s now a white man. This is one funny but informative story!

A year old, let’s cheers!

Today marks the day, ‘Hopeasfro’ was made, yay!!

The thing is, blogging was what I wanted to do from a start, in fact, it was more of writing. I had a lot in my head and they sure needed to be let out, so i thought, “why not make a blog”.

Before making this blog, I was so skeptical, like will it grow? Is it the best thing to do?

Well now we are celebrating 1 year!

This is an achievement and I am so grateful. Thank you God.

To you all, thank you for reading, for your likes, comments, sharing. Thank you so much.

Please do not forget to subscribe to the blog’s newsletter, visit the website and the button will pop up.

Hopeasfro is 1year old!