Cousins by blood, sisters at heart, friends by choice. Because why not start off our blog with a cheesy quote. Don’t worry it wont be all cheese; unless you’re thinking of the kind that comes on a platter with a bottle of wine and a side of olives. There will be plenty of that.
Firstly I would like to welcome you to our blog and thank you for taking time to have a read or a SKIM. We are Charlene and Bianca two cousins who have lived together for the last 3 years. And let me just say it has been the most crazy and unexpected journey. There has been lots of highs (sometimes illegal ones) and unfortunately a fair share of lows, but somehow we always come stumbling out the other end like two strippers after a busy weekend; with an intoxicated smile and a slight limp.
Between us we have lots of talents and have our fingers in many pies most of which you’ll find out about as you accompany us on this blogging journey as we talk about experiences we’ve had (and ones we never want to have again), what mischief we get up to currently in our lives and what we have planned for our very successful futures (fingers, toes and maybe not legs crossed).
It’s Monday so time to get those juices flowing for the week. If you’ve had a heavy weekend it’s time to get some goodness back in your body. Charge up your batteries with this power pumping iron tonic.
All you need is: 2 Apples, unpeeled, uncored and quartered.
1 Beetroot, unpeeled with leaves
1 Cucumber, medium sized
1 Handful of Spinach Leaves
1 handful of Watercress
The Vitamin C in this juice makes the iron it contains even more easily absorbed by the body. While it’s carotene content helps protect against cancers.
I thought I’d review this book as Black History Month is among us and I just generally love books that are based on historical events. I seem to be drawn to WWII at the moment. Thats the time when Hitler was doing an awful lot and when I read about all of the terrible things that happened to Jewish people, I’ve often wondered what the rest of the world were doing at the time; fighting obviously but I mean their stories. What were peoples lives like back then?
Small Island, published in 2004, won the Orange prize, the Whitbread prize and the Commonwealth literature prize.
‘Small Island’ gives us an insight into how it was for the Jamaicans; from the ‘Windrush’ era, who helped England fight in the war and then made passage over to England to start a new life. The story is told from four different perspectives; a Jamaican couple and an English couple who’s lives intertwine in unexpected, humorous and at times heartbreaking ways.
Stories like this mean a lot to me as it gives a bit of insight into what my maternal and paternal grandparents were going through around this time. My maternal grandmother was born during world war two and often tells me stories of being a child and having to go down to the underground for safety during the blitz. My paternal grandparents came over to England some years after the war but this story would have been similar to some of the prejudices they would have faced coming to England.
Verdict: Such an interesting and entertaining read. A real classic and I’m defo not alone in this opinion as its also been made into a mini series, a theatre production and won dozens of awards.
About the Author: Andrea Levy
Born in 1956 in London this award winning author covered topics relating to British Jamaicans and how they negotiate racial, cultural and national identities. Andrea grew up on a council estate in Highbury with her parents whom were both mixed race, Jamaican Immigrants; her father came over on the Empire Windrush in 1948 and her mother followed 6 months later. The youngest of 4 children, Andrea attended Highbury Hill Grammar School and surprisingly was not that good at English.
She was never a fan of reading until she until she went to art school; to study textile design, where she met friends who introduced her to books which made her realise that books could be enjoyable. Unfortunately she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 and sadly lost her battle this year February aged 62 but she leaves behind a legacy of great pieces of history in the form of her works as well as a husband and two daughters.
Occasionally on Friday after work we have a few drinks. First things first though we go in search of something to line our stomachs.
INTRODUCING: Only Jerkin’ (Camden Lock Pl, Camden Town, London NW1 8AF)
It’s in the name. Jerk yes, but with a twist it’s actually fried chicken with jerk fries. Okay so not your authentic jerk chicken but still hella tasty. There’s two flavours of the succulent crispy coated chicken on offer; jerk fried chicken nuggets or mango fried chicken strips. Or you can have a choice of a combo of both options with fries and your choice of two sauces.
Also we need to talk about the F****** AMAZING JERK GRAVY. One of your two choices of sauce (or both choices) has got to be this. Its delicious and is literally the main reason we keep going back I’m mean fried chicken is not hard to find but theres only one place you’re going to get that gravy.
Set in the heart of Camden Lock in the market this pop up is a great addition to the ever growing street food trend. Its great if you’re not feeling the generic sit down meal and just wanna grab a quick bite and have a little gossip with your co workers before heading to happy hour.
£9 for a combo, not the cheapest food in Camden but you get what you pay for and after munching on this we never resent spending the extra couple of quid.
8/10 but 10/10 for the Jerk Gravy
Defo food for the soul but also the arteries (as you will keep going back)
Let me set the scene its late Saturday night; the clocks just about to strike twelve. The curtains are shut tight and the lamp is glowing softly on the bedside table. You’re laying on your bed… spent, your hairs a mess the make up you once had on your face now decorates the pillow. You’ve been at it for hours and the tiredness is setting in but you fight it eager for more; a weary yet attentive glance upwards then you see it pop up.
“Are you still watching?” The Netflix alert is now up on your TV screen interrupting the show that your on season 3 episode 7 of. We’ve all been there; binge watching till were comatose amongst a sea of crisp and chocolate bar wrappers. Not a good look? Probably not during the summer when everyones out living their best life but now (Jon Snow Voice) “Winter is coming” and its time to knuckle down and get a couple of series under your belt. Now if your anything like me half of your evening is spent scrolling through the various categories try to find something good to get invested in. Let me save you a bit of time. Heres my top 5 shows currently on Netflix; hopefully you find something you like.
1. Workin Moms (2017- )
A friend of mine recommended this to me and I literally watched all three seasons in around a week. The episodes are only 25 minutes long so it’s handy to liven up an otherwise frustrating, homicidal thought induced daily commute to into work. The story follows a group of mums who are juggling work and being a parent.
Whats good: The versatility the show has; they cover a lot of real life issues with an array of different characters. There are single parents, same sex and interracial couples. They cover topics such as fertility issues, postpartum psychosis and religious beliefs. I know these are all things that have been addressed in many shows before but they do it with great writing and comedic flair.
Whats not so good: It probably won’t appeal to the masses as it is obviously a lot more targeted to mums but to be fair for me even without experiencing motherhood its still very relatable as a woman.
Stand out character: Anne Carlson (Dani Kind) she’s the tough talking psychiatrist who literally takes no prisoners. The only one that can give her a run for her money is her nine year old daughter and I just love the dynamics of her family.
The third season was released this year but all three seasons are available on Netflix now and a fourth season is in the pipeline for 2020.
2. Power (2014- )
“They say this is a big rich town, I just come from the poorest part” Anyone who has watched Power definitely sang that, if you haven’t watched it then you will be singing that by the time you do. Power is famously co created and produced by Curtis Jackson aka 50 Cent. The story set in iconic Manhattan, New York and follows James ‘Ghost’ St Patrick; a notorious drug lord who is trying to get out of the game and become a legitimate business owner instead; in order to give his family a better life. He opens up night club ‘Truth’ in order to do this but with his ties to the drug world are seeming too strong to break and throw in a mistress who is an FBI agent all manner of problems arise leaving ‘Ghost’ to lead a chaotic double life.
Whats good: The actors. Honestly theres some solid acting in there. Look out for 50 Cent (As if you’d miss him) as one of the shows fearful antagonists. I’m not the biggest action fan but the concept is good and its executed really well so I can’t help but watch.
Whats not so good: Sometimes it gets a bit too focused on the whole crime element of the story for me and I feel like I’m more interested in the character relationship side of things but I mean it is a big part of the story so I totally get it but its just not always my cup of tea.
Stand out character: Theres a few good ones to choose from but Tommy Egan (Joseph Sikora); he’s the ultimate scene stealer in his role as Ghosts best friend.
Season 6 has just started unfortunately this is the last season with the final episodes set to be aired in 2020. You can catch all the seasons on Netflix.
3. Dead to Me (2019- )
It’s a dark comedy; which is one of my favourite genres. An unlikely friendship between an uptight widow (Christina Applegate) and a free spirit who’s a little unhinged. The first season kicks of with Christina’s character Jen losing her husband in a tragic car accident; a hit and run, she joins a grief support group where she meets over friendly Judy (Linda Cardellini).
Whats good: It’s really funny, full of witty remarks and it grips you straight away with a huge twist in the plot.
Whats not so good: If you’re looking for something realistic to watch its probably not the best choice as some of the scenes are a little farfetched but saying that the characters do come across as real.
Stand out character: Its got to be Jen, I just really love the dry, sarcastic humour. Christina Applegate delivers in this role.
Dead to Me Season one is available on Netflix with Season two set to be released in 2020.
4. Russian Doll (2019- )
In a ‘Groundhog Day’ style a young woman (Natasha Lyonne) keeps dying and returning to the same party that was thrown for her birthday. The whole season is based on the main character Nadia trying to figure out how to get out of this never-ending time loop.
Whats good: It’s another dark comedy but the concept is highly original.
Whats not so good: Honestly can’t think of anything I loved it but it may not be exactly for everyone as I feel like not everyone will get it entirely.
Stand out character: Hands down Natasha Lyonne as Nadia, this role is made for her.
Season 2 is airing in 2020 but you can catch season one now on Netflix.
5. Santa Clarita Diet (2017-2019)
Husband and wife Sheila (Drew Barrymore) and Joel (Timothy Olyphant) are a pair of real estate agents that work together. During a house showing Sheila dies and comes back as undead. The family try all manner of things to try to regain some normality in their family set up as well as trying to find a way to stop Sheila from developing further into something more sinister.
Whats good: Its none stop jokes and all of the characters are genuinely funny and really likeable.
Whats not so good: If you don’t like a lot of blood it’s not really for you.
Stand out character: Abby who plays Sheila and Joels teenage daughter is just tips it for me her and the actor that plays her neighbour Eric together are so entertaining to watch together. But like I said all of the characters are likeable so they get the thumbs up from me.
All three seasons are available on Netflix but unfortunately the show is no longer being made.
Next on my list:
Top Boy (2011- ) This show has just been re financed by Drake as he was such a fan when it aired back in 2011 and subsequently cancelled in 2013. Theres a lot of hype surrounding it and I’ve watched a couple of episodes already and so far its good; very real. Also love the array of British talent in the cast.
I went to Bora Bora, Ibiza for a friends 40th. I go to Ibiza most years; last year a friend of mine stumbled across a health juice bar; they allowed you to store your luggage there for a small fee which is handy if you have to check out of your accommodation early and have some time to kill before your flight leaves.
So it was the ending of a great holiday of sun, sea and non stop parties and at this point I think all of us needed something good and healthy, so I headed over to the juice bar straight away. The lady who was making these smoothie shots explained she was using a cold press machine. Which uses a lot slower process than your average juicer in order to kept all the vitamins in the fruit and vegetables.
She said that it takes around 10 mins to make a juice as this machine worked slow; at just 37mph (your average Nutribullet starts from about 240mph). She gave us a lot of information. I had a turmeric shot and a juice packed with vitamins, the turmeric shot was the machines selling point for me; I felt so energised after, it was just what my body needed. I did some research when I got back home on this cold press machine vs my Nutribullet and it was a winner; taking into account the health benefits of getting one. My friend sent me a link for this cold press juicer. Granted it is a bit pricey but well worth it if you juice as much as I do and want to reap the all benefits of your fruit and veg.
Click the link below to check out the one I bought:
So far I’ve made some great juices and I am forever experimenting with new recipes. There is genuinely something for all the family to enjoy most of which I will feature in my coming posts so watch this space…
Plot: Twenty years after their first encounter with Pennywise; the Losers Club come back together for a terrifying reunion to face off against the murderous clown again.
What was great: I’m a big horror fan and not usually impressed by remakes but between this one and the first film I feel like they did the story justice. The casting was amazing, the actors they chose to play the children from the first film, 27 years on were really believable. ‘Bill Skarsgård’ who plays the demonic clown ‘Pennywise’ is amazing in the role and some of the best scenes for me is when he’s chattering on in that creepy and manipulative manner that is so well written. I also like the flashbacks to the first film it really tied everything in well. Both films especially the first really reminded me of good old 80’s movies as they had quite a ‘Goonies’ or a ‘Johns Hughes’ esque vibe to it.
Also I’m really used to watching ‘Bill Hader’ on Saturday Night Live (SNL) so seeing him in a horror quite threw me but it actually worked really well. The role was actually written with him in mind so they didn’t fully rein in his funny side so he had a couple of one liners that provided some comedic relief.
What wasn’t great: It was a good story (I mean its based on a Stephen King novel) but I can’t say it really scared me, I suppose it depends what frightens you really. It was definitely more jumpy than anything. *Spoiler Alert* I feel like the little love triangle between Bev, Bill and Ben wasn’t exactly necessary, apparently it was done differently in the book but I feel they didn’t really explore it that deep in the movie so personally I feel what they did show was a bit random.
Trivia if you’re a movie nerd like me: Stephen King makes a cameo as the Pawn Shop keeper where Billy (James McAvoy) buys his old bicycle.
Tips if you’re going: Dig deep and buy an IMAX 4DX ticket I went to the Leicester Square Cineworld, tickets were £23.70 and were so worth seeing it like this, you get moving chairs, wind, smells and water sprayed at you from all angles (ladies don’t get any Brazilian blow drys before date night if you do decide to go though because you’ll come out actually looking like Pennywise)
Okay so I just turned 29 on the 23rd August and I’m feeling like a bucket list is right up my street for this year. I learned a few hard life lessons last year (I’ll save the heavy stuff for another post) which makes me want to go into my thirties with a bang. I’ve come across this 30 by 30 challenge and i’m thinking I may as well give it good go, so here it is my 30 things to do by the time I’m 30. This is subject to change and adaptation depending on several factors that include finances and general mood swings throughout the year, but if I do make any changes I’ll explain why and replace it with something equally as life affirming or entertaining or both.
Become fluent in French. I’ve maxed out Duolingo as I’ve been on there everyday for over a year but I have now found I can read French better than I can speak French so my plan this year is to at least be able to communicate effectively in the “language of love”.
Take an acting class. Just for fun. I used to love drama and I’d love to express myself in that way again.
Try not to complain for an entire day. This may sound easy but you’d be surprised how much complaining you can fit into one day especially when you’re working in a doctors surgery. To spice it up I’ll make it a Monday and who knows it may last the week.
Look after my body better. This doesn’t just include exercise but actually think about what I’m putting into my body and also looking after my mental and emotional health with meditation and mindfulness etc.
Write a big bulk of the screenplay I’m working on. I started a screenplay at the end of last year and I want to get a rough copy finished and pitchable by next year. If I want to be the next Tarantino I have to start somewhere.
Have a technology free week or weekend. I haven’t worked out the logistics of this one yet it will be quite difficult as on my average week as I use computers for work plus regularly posting on this blog but I may have to do it on an annual leave week and get Char to do the posting. It will be interesting to see how I feel about not having my phone to hand for a week.
Take a spontaneous trip. I’ve always just wanted to book something and go last minute with little or no planning and not even think about it. This year may be the time to go for it.
Discover somewhere new in London. Living here you sometimes take for granted how interesting a place it is. I sometimes feel I’m so focused on travelling abroad I miss some of the great places London has to offer.
Keep up to date on the news. I hardly ever watch or read the news, sometimes I get phone calls from my mum asking if I’ve seen certain things and I’m so in the dark. I rely on getting my news from word of mouth mostly because it gets quite depressing but I’m ready to be up to date on current issues this year.
Learn something new each week. Thats 52 things this year! Okay so this may be just expanding my pool of random trivial knowledge but it seems like it’ll be fun and besides I may end up on a quiz show one day.
Get another tattoo. I really want another tattoo and I’ve been meaning to get one for a while so I think this year has to be the year. P.S. It will be Harry Potter themed.
Manage my money better. I’m so bad with spending so sorting out my finances is so needed.
Go camping. Me and a few of my cousins have been talking about doing this for a while and haven’t got round to booking yet and it’s looking more likely now you can get those glamping pods.
Volunteering. I’ve always wanted to volunteer in ideally something to do with animals.
Plant a garden. I have a community garden at the bottom of my road and I’m hoping to grow some produce there at one point or even just pimp my back garden.
Eat in a Michelin-starred restaurant. Because I haven’t yet and I wanna see what all the fuss is about.
Go for high tea. Ideally at the Shard. Its meant to be a great place to visit and I’ve always wanted to go for HIGH tea (get it?).
See a play at the globe theatre. Kicking it Shakespearean style.
See a comedy show. Not like I haven’t been before but I haven’t been for ages and I love a bit of stand up.
Visit Imax Cinema or rooftop film club or both. I’m always trying to find more innovative ways to watch a film.
Go swimming in the lakes in Hampstead Heath. Totally forgot to do this, this summer and unsure if I’ll get another hot day now Septembers rolled in but will defo fit this in next summer.
Dress up for Halloween. I haven’t done this in years but I’m finding an event going all out this year.
Fall completely in love… with myself. Sounds cliché but I can’t stress the importance of loving yourself; flaws and all. Its all about embracing your imperfections and if you can’t show yourself love how can you expect to be truly loved by someone else. For me this means staying single, focusing on myself and doing whatever makes me happy at all times. YOLO.
Get a Hamman massage. I had one last year in Morocco which was amazing and if I don’t add this to this list I probably won’t get round to getting another.
Buy myself a new item of clothing at least once a month (and replace one old item). Because not all girls shop to the drop. I’m really bad at buying clothing until I’m desperate and then it’s such a headache as I’m usually rushing.
Go back to Scotland. I’ve been twice already but I fall in love with it every time I go and theres so many places I haven’t explored yet.
Try as many new foods as I can. This is just because I love food and I feel like theres so much more out there for me to try. Plus it makes for a great blog post so really I’m doing it for the readers.
Go wine tasting. Ideally somewhere abroad (watch this space).
Start a blog/keep the blog going strong. So I started this one a bit early but I am definitely going to be consistent with it.
Plan an amazing 30th birthday. Again ideally somewhere abroad but depending how well my saving goes this year this could be anything from a picnic in the park to route 66 (fingers crossed).
So here it goes, wish me luck and I’ll be blogging through this year with Char in tow for most of it obvs.