Africa Utopia is Here!

So for the second time, the Southbank Centre is hosting Africa Utopia, which explores the many dynamic and creative cultural elements of Afrika and its affects on the world.

The first thing when I encountered the food market is the sounds of the vibrant, bold beats of African music and the sumptious smells of Caribbean, Ghanaian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, South African and Kenyan food. Oh my gosh.


As I drift away from the outside market and navigate towards the Royal Festival Hall (where the inside events take place), I see lots of beautiful accessories and clothes with glamourous prints. Yellow, orange, wood, metal, cottons, rayons, the chitter-chatter of negoatiations and the bored looks of the chidren helping out their mamas on the stall.

Finding something to observe or participate in is not hard as there are so many events and opportunities. Take for example ‘Meet [the Author] Chibundu Onuzo’. At 25 years old, with two books under her belt (The spiderking’s Daughter and Welcome to Lagos – which is coming out soon!), a coloumnist for The Guradian and overall diva, she has a  young yet impressive quality about her! She was very quick with her back-handers and wit which made us all laugh.

This is her response when asked about her political stance as a hypothetical Nigerian politician: “Am I here to talk about my political ambitions or about my book!” I get you Chibundu. It’s not the one for me either. Despite that, she did answer well referring to education, female sanitation and the high levels of youth unemployement and crime.

In terms of fashion, my partner and I discovered a great talk about lookng beyond African prints in the fashion industry, as it can stereotype some African fashion designers! Unfortunately, we got hungry so we ate and missed the catwalk that was after.

The last day of the festival is tomorrow, Sunday 4th September. If you haven’t been before, or you like African culture and want to explore, please go! Visit the Southbank Centre’s website which will tell you the schedule if you’re pressed for time.

Enjoy!

M x

 

 

 

The city of angels and burgers

Having come from sunny L.A. a few weeks ago, my eyes have definitely been opened up. I went as a leisurely holiday with my partner and stayed in Hollywood through an Airbnb apartment. (Good old Airbnb!) We were welcomed by a raccoon as we arrived exhausted at around 9 pm. That was certainly a unique experience! Luckily it was just hanging out on the roof, cautiously observing our movements, because boy I was scared. I’ve never encountered one before but they look mean. Those white-masked bandits!!

One of the things that struck me the most was the amount of overt homeless people. I mean, we have a lot of homeless people in London, unfortunately, but in Hollywood especially, they’re all examples that chasing the dream ain’t easy!

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Beautiful ‘Birds of Paradise’ dotted all around the neighbourhood

I’ve heard how Hollywood was a little dirty and capital of superficiality – YUP that’s definitely true. The only reason we were staying there is because it was affordable, local and we weren’t planning on staying at home all day everyday! Also, I have to add, there were so much fast food outlets around us! I’m sorry but you American people can get seriously big, like super big and I can see why!

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Tensions in the city – captured outside an LAPD station, ironically.

However, if you’re ever near Little Armenia, there’s a great food truck called Armando’s Hot Food and they sell the usual Mexican food and burgers. This SAVED us when we first arrived in the area as it was already late and we were starving! We did try In-n-out burgers later on our trip, but no, THIS burger was epic. And only $5 with a combo including drink and fries. Mmmmmmmm. I also tried the chicken quesadillas which was tasty! It came with guacamole and ketchup but you can also order a combo.

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Armando’s Hot Food Truck, located at 1277 N Western Ave

Runyon canyon was probably one of my most enjoyable experiences believe it or not! Looking up from below, it looks really intimidating as you see the march of ant-like people following the path. All decked out in their gear, carrying dogs. Getting to the top…OH yes. It was all worth it 🙂

 

Oh yes and a dairy free Pinkberry treat for our trek 🙂

Did I mention the Minions and Hogwarts???!!

I went to Universal Studios of course! My partner and I went on the first day of the Harry Potter world opening. 1 hr and 20 mins to wait for the Harry Potter ride, but it was fun! YAY 🙂

Would I go back, yes for sure! But probably not in Hollywood. The hype isn’t worth it for me. And plus there’s still parts of L.A. I haven’t explored…

Food for thought….

As I was searching for cheap healthy recipe ideas….At first before reading this, I was sceptical thinking, ‘here we go, another ‘How to’ about super foods and such’, but actually Jamie Oliver has got a point.

He focuses more on the spirit of community, (social interactions, sharing food and stress with our support networks) **which is hugely important and can lack badly in city cultures**, the role of religion or belief systems in maintaining a sense of purpose in life, and getting more physically active by doing simple ordinary things like housework or walking more to destinations, which we have an app to do everything now for us it seems (although I’m not completely knocking apps because they can be quite useful). Appreciating more plant based diets and consuming moderate amounts of wine every day if at all.

And if I look back at my parents lifetime when they were growing up, it’s true. I had grandparents that lived till 100 and older relatives that are still mentally, physically strong. Food for thought…