Crowning Glory

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Yesterday I headed down to the Theatre Royal Stratford East to watch a new play by playwright Somalia Seaton. First things first, the bar at the theatre serves Caribbean food and I had jerk salmon for the first time, so I mean the theatre already has a lot going for it. Secondly, I was served by the most gorgeous, bearded bartender with a hint of a regional accent, so I was lovestruck (I will most likely be back here soon...naughty!)
The play ‘Crowning Glory’ is Seaton’s first full production and is an exploration of hair and complexion politics faced by black British women today. Often hilariously funny, the play uses a chorus of 7 women to examine the way childhood memories, treatment from complete strangers and the media today all contribute to the big debate – to go natural, to perm or to weave?
There are a series of monologues from the women, Half-Breed, Pickyead, Panther, Hair Comb, Token,  Bal-Ead and Bounty, with the others forming a an interchangeable chorus throughout, which worked better for some speeches than others; they seemed a bit irrelevant and lacklustre on stage during Bal-Ead’s but brilliant as bobbing wigs during Panthers’. Sheri-An (Hair Comb) gives a brilliant performance as a little girl getting her combed by her mother while simultaneously narrating in the Jamaican mothers voice and Allyson Ava-Brown (Half Breed) articulated a lot of my own experiences as a mixed race girl, of people being fascinated by her curly hair while she herself did not see the fascination. There is a danger of leaning too heavily on stereotypes in the cases of ‘Bounty’ and ‘Token’ (I did enjoy that the subversion of ‘Token’, with the token being a white girl rather than a black girl however) and although the emotions displayed by many of the actors allowed us to see their acting ability, I would have liked to have seen a more balanced view, with some more positive stories related to hair and skin; out of 7 only 1 was without any inner turmoil.
The split level stage was a visually interesting performance space and the sliding screens for the multi media videos were a nice touch. One element that actually detracted from the play were the interviews with regular women about their views on beauty and when they feel most attractive. These could have been played as the audience took their seats as it interrupted the flow of the piece and cheapened the production values.
The final ensemble piece was an impassioned speech about self confidence and finding beauty outside the realm of Western beauty, it did veer on the preachy side but was a positive message for the women in the audience – and there were a lot. I counted 4 men, including my mate who I was with!
All in all, an assured debut from Seaton with a strong message and some interesting theatrical devices so try and check it out while it’s still on.
(Runs until Saturday 9Th November)

Playwright Somalia Seaton


Saturday, 26 October 2013


Jumper: H&M £9.99
Dress: New Look
Boots: Dr. Martens
Jacket: store on Fairfax in LA
Earrings: Primark (I think!)
Lipstick: Sleek 'Amethyst'
This jumper is so soft! It is actually the definition of cosy. Throwing on an oversized jumper like this one and adding boots is a good way to get some more wear out of your summer maxi-dress.
This lipstick is such a great shade of pinky-purple, a friend of a friend wore it once and I had to ask what it was. Whenever I wear it, I get complimented on it so the moral here is: always ask if you see another female wearing something amazing!

Crazy Homies / Lucky 7

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Date night this week was at Crazy Homies a Mexican restaurant in Westbourne Park that had been recommended to me. I love Mexican food and the rave reviews had me verrrry excited...

I appreciated the crowded shabby chic vibe they were going for in the tiny narrow restaurant, lots of Mexican skulls, tequila bottles and pictures adorning the walls. Unfortunately, when we first arrived we were freezing because they kept the door open and then we were boiling when they eventually closed it.

With the wide range of tequila on sale, I had to try a cocktail, opting for a 'Paloma', tequila, grapefruit soda and fresh lime but it was sooo strong that I couldn't even finish it if I'm honest.
We then waited for an HOUR for our food to come, and it seemed that people who came after us got served before we did. Luckily our Burros were to die for when they finally turned up.
Warm 10" flour tortilla filled with black beans, Jack cheese & salsa, topped with guacamole, sour cream & coriander, served with finely shredded Cos lettuce on the side, there were lots of filling choices; I went for Mahi Mahi fish and the boy had surf&turf; shrimp and beef Carnitas.

Unhappy with the service and long wait time, we decided not to stick around for dessert...luckily Crazy Homies is right next door to Lucky 7 an East Coast American diner that I've been to for big breakfasts and lunch before. And we really got stuck in..

Pecan pie. A sundae with toffee, vanilla and banana ice cream, cream, strawberries and chocolate sauce. Yeah, I was happy with that.

London Film Festival: Gone Too Far

Saturday, 19 October 2013

With our beautiful writer Bola Agbaje

Me and lovely co-star Adelayo Adedayo, star of Some Girls and fellow blogger
Check her blog here

The whole Gone Too Far creative team; writer, director, DOP, producers and actors

Sweater and skirt suit: Libertine-Libertine
Shoes and bag: Zara
Chain: Ebay
Nails: Revlon Knockout
Lipstick: Mac Ruby Woo

Last night Gone Too Far premiered at the London Film Festival. It was the culmination of lots of hard work and love, from the stage show at the Royal Court to getting the film actually made to filming in the freezing cold last Autumn. It was great to get dressed up, walk the red carpet and then see the amazing reactions of our friends and family, it really makes it all worthwhile.

This woollen Libertine-Libertine outfit was the perfect edgy alternative to a dress and I thought it would be warmer as it is October!

Hitchcock Heroine X Superhero

Thursday, 17 October 2013


My blog is not a fashion blog. I don't know enough about fashion or designer labels or new cool brands. I just know what I like and what looks good on me. But I do like an interesting photograph, so these are just some from the other days shoot. They make me look part Hitchcock Heroine and part Superhero, I love them!

Flea market Finds as Autumn Arrives

Monday, 14 October 2013

Jacket: 10 Euros, Munich flea market
Vest: Dorothy Perkins
Jeans: Topshop
Boots: H&M
Pisces necklace: Fairfax flea market, L.A
'S' necklace: Brooklyn flea market, NYC
Lipstick: Revlon, Revlon Red
Well the little Indian Summer we had in London has finished and Autumn has really settled in. I picked up this amazing jacket while in Munich this summer, it was such a bargain and my mum said she had one exactly like it when she was 18 so it felt almost poetic me buying it. I love how big and boxy it is with the 80's shoulder pads and how oversized it is, as it's gotten so cold it means that I can wear a cardigan underneath for an extra layer. These necklaces were other flea market finds, the Pisces necklace, because I'm a Pisces and rep my star sign all day and the S necklace I picked up a few years ago in New York. The letters were from an old printing press and I love pieces with some history or relevance.
I love this Revlon Red lipstick for an easy way to wear red lippy in the day time. I'm a MAC Ruby Woo girl, especially for events, but this Revlon lipstick is much creamier and softer but still gives really intense colour and is super long lasting.

Gone Girl

Sunday, 13 October 2013

'Gone Girl' is a book you'll be begging people to read, just so you can discuss it with them' Mail On Sunday

This. This this this! I have been recommending this book left and right and actually asking friends to read it so they can understand what I'm going on about. I woke up the morning after finishing the book wishing there were more chapters and for the last pages of the book I was definitely shouting out loud as I read every twist and turn. I was that invested.

To be honest, Gone Girl isn't the kind of book I'd normally pick up, a crime thriller on the face of it, as that's not a genre I'm that into, but I'd seen so many people reading it on the tube. That plus it was only £3.99 in Sainsbury's and I love a bargain.

What can I tell you about the book without giving it all away? Well actually quite a lot, there are sooo many twists and turns that you just won't see coming. For the first part of the book we are not sure who to believe. There is a dual narrative; present time chapters from Nick and diary entries from his wife Amy, who has disappeared on their 5th wedding anniversary. All the evidence points to Nick, but his voice in the novel is so strong, we are not entirely convinced. The narrative style allows us to hear two differing accounts of a marriage breakdown and we as the reader are not sure who to believe with each page.

The book covers a number of themes; including the effects of the economic climate on communities and particularly male pride, the media and how it can be used to manipulate the general public and also the lies we tell, even in relationships..
It explores the intricacies of marriage between two very complex people and shines light on the notion that sometimes we don't know everything there is to know about the people we feel we should.
"What are you thinking, Amy? The question I've asked most often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the person who could answer. I suppose these questions stormcloud over every marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?"

Both Nick and Amy are deeply flawed characters, and at times highly unlikeable, but the fact that we can find admirable traits in them both speaks volumes about the writing. One of my favourite parts of the book was Amy's theory on the Cool Girl. Cool Girl is the 'hot and understanding' girl that all guys want, a girl who basically is into all the same things as him, who looks hot and makes his life easier and is essentially not a real girl but someone girls pretend to be to get men to like them.
"It may be a slightly different version - maybe he's a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he's a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing, but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn't ever complain."

One of the most interesting/disturbing notions of the book, is that someone who is ostensibly bad for you, can actually bring out your best qualities, can make you more focused, think clearer, work harder, be your best self. This works against all the principles I've learned and re-learned recently so kinda fucked with my head a bit. Ooops....
"I'm the bitch who makes you better, Nick" Amy antagonises Nick in an argument and he concedes to himself, "Because she was right: As a man, I had been my most impressive when I loved her - and I was my next best self when I hated her. I had only known Amy seven years, but I couldn't go back to life without her. Because she was right: I couldn't return to an average life."

My main criticism of the book would be levelled at how it ended. In some ways it was a complete success, as it seemed like it was heading in one way and then flipped right at the end and because by the end you're not really sure who you want to triumph anyway. Arrgh it's hard to say without saying too much!
However, the last few chapters did seem rushed in pace compared to the languid, hugely detailed style of the rest of the book. It did increase the tension but it means that the book didn't flow completely, it was a little disjointed.

I was verrrrrry excited to hear that the book is being made into a film though! Reese Witherspoon's production company and Twentieth Century Fox have bought the rights to the book, with David Lynch lined up to direct, Ben Affleck playing Nick and Rosamund Pike as Amy. Also, the brunette from Robin Thicke's naughty 'Blurred Lines' video has been cast as Andie...I don't know why this makes me lol but it does. I just know it's gonna take ages to make and I actually wanna watch it, like yesterday so I'm going to have to work on my patience...

Shanika Says: One to read! 

Gillian Flynn, who is also writing the screenplay for the movie.


Saturday, 12 October 2013

A Saturday lunch at KAFF bar in Brixton...


My friend Louise and I went to check out Kaff, a cafĂ©/bar in the heart of Brixton. Sitting on a corner of Atlantic Road I'm not entirely sure why I've never noticed it before; it's pretty big with full glass fronts on two sides letting in lots of lovely Autumn sunshine. Lou and I were actually the first customers in there so we were able to pick a huge comfy leather sofa on a raised platform next to a huge painted wall with this guy above on. Other than a few sofas, all the rest of the tables and chairs are wooden, and with the menu and music that was played (1950's country and western, lots of Johnny Cash), the wall art and almost graffiti-like walls in the toilets seemed a bit out of place, if I'm honest.

I think I will be back to check out the cocktails as I saw it's £3 all day on certain ones and these ones look pretty interesting..

But as it was pretty early and I'm a tea addict we settled on a nice pot

While the waitress we got was pretty moody (we put it down to a hangover), the chef, Richard Myers, was an absolute darling, joking with us in his Southern drawl and delivering and collecting our plates himself. Myers, from New Orleans, Louisiana has brought his Cajun cooking style over here and incorporated the Caribbean influences of local cooks, for example with Mrs Taylor's Guyanese roti flats (curried potato roti sandwiches with fried cheese), which I had with stuffed shell crab. The idea is that you choose your filling and then your base from a range of Southern options with a few West Indian ones thrown in too (Jambalaya or Cajun seasoned fish compete with jerk lamb and chicken)

My deep fried crab in a cornmeal batter stuffed with Blue Crab on Mrs Taylors Roti flats
Louise's slow cooked Cajun pulled pork on a Louisiana style Po'Boy
To be honest I think Lou lost this battle lol
We rounded it all up with a Waffles Bananas Foster, waffles with a special caramel Bananas Foster sauce and chocolate and vanilla ice cream. Delicious!
Kaff offer a range of food at affordable prices and are really committed to supporting the community in Brixton, using local food suppliers and cake makers for their cake club. They also host a number of different nights, like stand up comedy nights to raise money for local charities. The bar is open until 2am on weekends and they have DJ's spinning, a monthly supper club and a cake club. Shanika Says what's not to love?