Sunday 28 February 2010

How to Make Lasagne

Heyy blogsville,
I'm sure you can guess what this post is about. Thanks to the movie Julie and Julia I bought loads of recipe books and I've been trying them out. My Nigella Lawson one just arrived, and I cant wait to try it out.
For those that don't know, Lasagne is an Italian dish made from layering sheets of pasta, minced meat, white sauce and cheese. If you have never tried it, its best to try it out in an Italian restaurant first so you know what its supposed to look and taste like before you attempt making yours. In Jand, Pizza Express, Bella Italia, and Zizzis all do excellent Lasagne.

I got my recipe from VideoJug HERE, its a great place to learn new recipes cause they are really basic, and the videos instruct you step by step.

I got the recipe for the bolognase from Gordon Ramsey's website HERE, which I can highly recommend because the mince is the most important part of the dish. The difference with Ramsey's recipe is that he uses tomato puree which makes it rich and adds a bit of milk which makes it creamy, perfect for Lasagne.

I added a bit of chopped red and green peppers to mine, just to give it some body, and because thats how my aunty used to make hers.
I made some mistakes as well. I did not cook the pasta sheets before I used them, as on the pack, it said it could be used dry. Instead of cooking mine in hot salted water as recommended, I just soaked it for a bit, which left the pasta kinda chewy. Also, I used cheddar cheese instead of Parmesan. Big mistake, because cheddar gets so brown really quickly, I had to turn the heat down low in order for it not to burn, so definately stick with grated parmesan.
Regardless of this, it was so so delish, and I would recommend the Dolmino Bolognase sauce, as it was so rich and creamy.

I hope you guys try it out and let me know what you think. A friend of mine tried out my previous recipe and loved it, so even if just one person tries it, it makes me so happy:-))

And don't think I have forgotten my task to watch all the Oscar nominated movies before the Oscars on March 7th. I try and watch a movie a night, but thanks to work I tend to be too tired most weekdays. But I wont let you down, I will post who I think should be the winners on the 6th, so we can judge how accurate the judges are!lol

Miss B.

Friday 26 February 2010

Book Review: Say You're One of Them

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen of the blog world and welcome to my third ever book review for naija daydreamer. There really is no need for a standing ovation. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin:

Say You’re One of Them

Uwem Akpan

“Selling your child or nephew could be more difficult than selling other kids. You had to keep a calm head or be ruthless as the Badagry-Seme immigration people. If not, it could bring trouble to the family. What kept our family secret from the world in the three months Fofo Kpee planned to sell us were his sense of humor and the smuggler’s instinct he had developed as an agbero, a tout, at the border. My sister Yewa was five, and I was ten”

-Excerpt from the story, Fattening for Gabon in “Say You’re One of Them”

No one has experienced the Oprah effect quite like Uwem Akpan, author of Say You’re One of Them. I had heard of the book previously from a friend, thought it had a catchy title but that was it. Cue a mention by the phenomenon that is Oprah (Fattening for Gabon is her favorite story), the prestigious title of Oprah Book Club Selection for 2009 and lo and behold, this book rises from mediocrity of having only sold 31,613 copies since July 2008 to being one of THE MOST coveted books on Amazon.

Oprah had never selected a collection of stories for her book club before; neither had she ever chosen a Nigerian. Infact Uwem Akpan is the first living African fiction author to be featured. The publishing houses got it. Immediately, 650,000 new copies of the book were ordered and Uwem became a bestselling author practically overnight.

Now let me state right away and for legal reasons that this book is not for the faint hearted. The stories alone are mind-boggling material to absorb, then factored in the narrators are children; it is a very difficult pill to swallow.

This book masterfully captures the innocence and the horror of what children in the continent of Africa face. It is a collection of five short stories tackling poverty, prostitution and religious wars and tribal violence across Kenya, Benin, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Rwanda. Still here? Okay snuggle up…

In “An Ex-mas Feast” young boy, Jigana, tells the story of his family’s life in a shanty makeshift home on the streets of Nairobi where his 12yr old sister, Maisha, works as a prostitute to help the family survive. On the night before Ex-mas, she leaves with white tourists who pay her to have sexual acts with a monkey, so the family may have enough to eat. The family sniffs glue to keep hunger pangs at bay and eagerly await her return.

I believe this was the perfect opening story, as you quickly discover if this is your cup of tea or not. The book holds no punches neither does it softly integrate you into the poverty-stricken lives of its narrators. It also introduces Uwem as a poetic writer. Each sentence reads like a verse and you unconsciously expect a rhyming couplet. As Jigana watches his mother decant the glue she intends to sniff, “it glows warm and yellow in the dull light” and when she had poured enough “the last stream of gum entering the bottle weakened and braided itself before tapering in midair like an icicle.” Such beautiful wordplay…

In “Fattening for Gabon” a brother and sister, Kotchikpa and Yewa, are held captive by an uncle who has sold them into a child trafficking ring for the price of a motorcycle. They are manipulated into believing it would be a better life with “Godparents” from an NGO who had previously saved their parents from ‘the aids’ and now had come to bestow their goodness on them as well.

This story has one of the best opening paragraphs I have ever read, you know this is not going to end well and yet you wish it so. Also what was interesting is how no character was placed as a villain for too long. The uncle is not a bad person; he is infact very kind to his niece and nephew and loves them dearly. After the scene in which the ‘Godparents’ meet the children, you begin to hope that they maybe have better lives ahead. The poignancy in this story sets in the fact that as the reader you know right away what the fate of the children is and this makes their excitement and enthusiasm to go to Gabon ever more painful to read.

Kotchikpa says “I began to think of how kind she must be to her own children, if she could be so motherly to us on our first meeting…she was my first contact with an NGO…I couldn’t stop thanking God in my heart for bringing such a woman to us.”

In “What Language Is That?” two little girls- one Christian one Muslim- are best friends until religious intolerant adults around them threaten to tear them apart. They do not understand why they are suddenly banned from speaking to one another and as a result have to develop a secret language in order to communicate.

In “Luxurious Hearses” 16yr old Muslim boy, Jubril hopes to escape the ethnic violence that has destroyed his city and as such disguises himself as a Christian so he may board a bus to safety. This story was the most difficult to read and in an oxymoronic way the most enjoyable. Maybe it’s because I am Nigerian, and so understood the lingua franca better than in other stories. Jubril himself is a conservative Muslim and so battled with mannerisms the entire story.

Situations such as women arguing with men disconcerted him, because where he grew up women weren’t allowed to ride on the same motorcycles as their fathers, husbands or brothers. Where he grew up single women were given a three month ultimatum to marry-even if it meant being third or fourth wives- or face losing their jobs. Where he came from he had participated in fire-bombing churches alongside fanatic friends.

The length of the story you hold your breath, praying he reaches his destination. Every time he is asked a question, you hope his Hausa accent does not slip out. Every time he is jostled by a passenger you hope his amputated arm does not poke out of his pocket. Like I said the most difficult and enjoyable to read…I like to think this is where the title of the book is derived from.

“Suddenly, it seemed the women were everywhere. Because of the crowd, some were pressing in on him. Many of them wore trousers and shorts, and some did not cover their heads. The voices of the younger girls floated in the Harmattan wind like a strange, sweet melody. Then his dispassionate attitude toward these Christian women shifted to humor then irony. To Jubril, they looked funny in their makeup and tight fitting trousers. He caught himself thinking about all the hijab and niqab and abaya that would be needed to cover them and shrugged”

In “My Parents’ Bedroom” nine year old girl, Monique, talks about the Rwandan genocide as she witnesses the terrifying insanity of her relatives. This is the story that will qualify you for therapy. I guarantee that…

“The big-bellied man asks me to hug him and looks at the younger man mischievously. Before I can say anything, he wriggles out of his yellow trousers and reaches for me. But I avoid his hands and slip under the bed with Jean. He pulls me out by my ankles.”

I guess what troubled me was the fact that although the book is fiction; the stories are real. Heart breaking works of fiction that parallel real lives for children in Africa.

They are absent of sentimentality and contain nearly unbearable-to-read violence toward children. His stories span Africa and as a result the book is a multilingual patois. Quickly you must acquaint yourself with glue-sniffing, brush up on your French, remind yourself of the constant threat of living in diverse religious areas and realize that Hotel Rwanda was not just a movie. Uwem’s gift is his open-mindedness, abhorrence of tribalism; he is comfortably able to inhabit the skin of others. The tales of horror are filtered through the wide eyes of the young as they observe the happenings around them, process the pictures they see but do not understand. They lack the words to express it and he cleverly speaks through them. Thus intensifying the horror they go through and shining a beacon of the unyielding hope that African children are inherently blessed with.

UMEM AKPAN studied philosophy and English. He was ordained as a Jesuit priest in 2003 and has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan.

Watch the full Oprah webcast with Uwem Akpan here:

Say You’re One of Them is available at the one and only Amazon.

By S.B

Wednesday 24 February 2010

An Interview with Myne Whitman!

I finally tracked down the 1st lady of blogsville and asked her the questions we are all dying to know. Enjoy.

1) Could you please explain your name?

Myne Whitman is a name I coined myself when I began to write seriously while still in secondary school. Most of the books I read were in English, and since I was writing in English too, I decided my name would be the same. So the pseudonym is a play on the transliterated words of my maiden name.

2)When did you realise that you had a flair for writing?

I was a reserved child, a bookworm and with a keen imagination. When I finished reading all the books around me, I started doodling the stories from my day dreams on leftover exercise books from previous terms.

3)When did you first start writing fiction and what was your first story?

I started writing when I was still in primary school. My first story was a children’s adventure when I was in secondary school. My readers were mostly my siblings and a few friends. I stopped writing for a while when I was overtaken by teenage fever for Mills and Boon romances but before I finished my first degree I was writing again, short stories and poems.

4) When did you realise you could make a career of it?

I always dreamed of holding a book in my hands with my name on the cover as the author. I was discouraged earlier on when I tried to pursue a writing career after my first degree. I was rejected by a couple of the publishers we had in Nigeria in the nineties. I began thinking about a writing career again in 2009.

This time also I sent out queries to several publishers and agents but finally decided on self publishing. I now enjoy writing as my full time career and also act as my own agent and publicity and promotions manager.

5) Any advice for wannabe writers like me?

I will say that you should keep at it. A lot of wannabe writers are actually very talented and just have to continue polishing their craft till opportunity knocks. It was Petina Gappah who said on her blog "A writer is a person who writes...You, at your computer or with your notebook, writing, and writing, revising and writing, and revising again." A writer thus has to persevere, have a story they want to share and push till it's in a forms others can understand and appreciate. I wish you and everyone the best.

6)What did you do as a job before you started writing full time?

I have been a primary school teacher, NGO consultant, banker, skate-hire attendant, researcher and government worker in both Nigeria and Scotland.

7) What are your other hobbies and passions?

My major passion is in the health sector and how systems can be improved and made accessible. I have loads of interests, and not enough time...LOL. I love reading, travelling, meeting new people, sight-seeing, I call myself an adventurer and something of a thrill junkie. When I'm indoors, I love listening to music, playing games and watching TV.

8)Could you give young girls like me some advice on maintaining a healthy relationship?

I am not an expert by any long shot, but one thing I can say is that communication is key. Make sure both parties know where you stand on your beliefs, values and goals and work together as a team. With love you can work out the remaining differences especially when you inject some light-hearted fun stuff in the equation regularly.

9)Do you have any plans on relocating back to Nigeria?

There are no concrete plans right now but it is not entirely ruled out. A lot of my family is in Nigeria as well as friends and fans and it is likely I will be visiting often in the meantime.

10) And the question all of blogsville wants to know is how are you able to make your blog rounds so consistently and comment. I am one of your most avid readers but I rarely leave comments which is so bad cause I always value your comments so much!

Let’s just say I’m a career writer and blogger…lol. I try to be very professional in everything I do. And I love blogville and the citizens so much, so many people, so many stories, I just love it.


Miss B

Monday 22 February 2010

Jungle Justice

I just saw this video. I think it pretty much speaks for itself. I cried.
My bro thinks its sad but it was the only way to deal with this persitent and dangerous problem of radicalism in northern Nigeria. These people went to shut down the university, burning building and threatining people because they said education was evil. They also went and released people from jail and beat up the police men. They were becoming a menace to innocent civilians and drastic action had to be taken to deter other eager fundamentalists.

I understand the reason why Nigerians in particular and most people, believe in capital punishment and jungle justice. It gets hard for people to keep working hard everyday, suffering daily struggles while others try and rob you of the little you have. Everyone has a breaking point

Anyone who watches this video and does not sympathise must be inhumane. What could these guys have done to get burnt alive and then beaten. I don't believe in capital punishment and believe there are hardly any circumstances that warrant robbing someone of the right to life. At least not for the crimes these people have committed. The people that should really be burnt are sitting in mansions and villas somewhere.

I am a lawyer and so believe in upholding the law, but Unfortunately the Nigerian police and justice system does not work, so its unrealistic to expect people to allow things to go through due process.
It begs the question what are the alternatives?
I don't know the answer to that, but anything is better than this. Anything has to be better than publicly shooting people face down on the street. Anything has to be better than publicly burning people alive slowly.
Anything has to be better.

Miss B

Thursday 18 February 2010

An Interview with a Witch!!!

Yes people, you read the title correctly. I think this might be my most interesting title yet!
I just started a new job at IBM on Monday, it is going ok so far, although all the i.t and information systems training is going over my head. I am terrible with computers!
Anyway, the most interesting thing about the place is the people. It has really given me an insight into how oyinbo people think. They can be so brutally honest sometimes, its almost scary. I see why they can get frauded now, its cause they are so damn honest and trusting. Its an admirable quality, but as a Nigerian, we have been taught to treat everything and everyone with caution. The fact that I am a private person to people I just meet, also makes me shocked when I meet people who tell you the story of their life in 5mins.

Anyway, there is this girl called Naomi, and during lunch she started talking about how she doesn't believe in God, and then she said she's a WITCH! I wasn't really paying attention, but as soon as I heard that word, I looked up and said, say what??????
She then repeated that, yes, I am a witch! But its nothing like you see in Harry Potter or Sabrina, its much simpler than that, and we don't all do evil.
Me I was not even thinking Harry Potter witch oh, my mind had gone straight to Naija film, blood sucking night flying witches, yes nollywood fucked up my childhood lol!
I then proceeded to interview her, as in I asked her loads of questions, and I wrote it down cause I found it so interesting, albeit very disturbing! I thought, my blog followers have to see this oh, because how may of you guys have interviewed witches?
I think this might be a blogsville exclusive actually! Your girl is going to make an excellent journalist someday!

So here's my interview with a witch!

B: How did you get into witchcraft?
N: I was questioning the whole concept of religion as a teenager, as most people do, trying to understand the world and the reasons why things are the way they are in the world. I did some research and found Paganism. Its exact definition is varied, but it is technically the oldest religion in the world, and each individual makes up their own rules to suit them. There are various types, but I prefer the Greek mythology, and so I worship the Greek gods. There is no particular book although there are various practices.

B:Are your family pegans as well?
N: Far from it, my dad is catholic and my mum is Church of England. They do not really practice, but they definitely will not agree with this so they do not know, and I do not plan to tell them. My dad in particular would throw a fit because he is very judgemental, and he is against anything that's alternative to the church.

B: Do you know any more witches?
N: I have chosen not to join a convent because some people carry negative energy which I do not want to interact with. Although my boyfriend is also a pagan, I worship on my own.

B: So can you do wicked things to people?
N: Yes I can, but I choose not to because I am a white witch and practice white magic. Because anything you do, you get back to you in threefold, so if you do good, you get good back in threefold. Same goes for those people that choose to do dark magic, they get evil back to them threefold. I can put spells on people but choose not to.

B: So what powers do you actually have?
N: I am still learning alot of it, as I have only been practising for a couple of years. I can sense negative spirits and evil. I can also see and speak to spirits. I saw the spirit of my grandmother the day she died. When I was in college, I saw a ghost that walked through the walls. Apparently, she committed suicide because she was a cleaner and was in love with the landlord but could not be with him. Her ghost has been living there for a long time. Seeing the ghost was not scary at all, more peaceful.
I am also learning to read tarot cards. Unlike what people think, they do not predict the future. All they do is tell you is that if you continue on the path that you are on, this is a possible outcome.
You can also teach yourself to "astroproject" through the various planes of the universe(this was the point where I knew the babe dey kolo!)

B: So what is your view on Science?
N: I think science is a way for people to try and explain things they do not understand. I am not against science at all, but I do not believe in the big bang theory and things like that, as its just trying to explain the universe.

And finally she doesn't dress up as a witch for Halloween because it mocks the whole religion.

Before I could ask her any more questions, our break was over. I am sure the babe is scared of me cause I asked her so many questions, but she seemed really delighted to explain it and felt like she was talking to someone who was understanding her. If only she knew!

So what do you guys think? Is she really onto something that we haven't caught onto or is she just stark raving mad???LOL!

Miss B

Wednesday 17 February 2010

Pancake Day!!!!

Today is pancake day! I just googled it, and it originates from the 1st day of lent and catholic fasting. I just found this out today, but I just like celebrating any holiday. I celebrate everything, cause am all about 1 love!
So in the spirit of holidays and my new obsession with cooking, thanks to Julie and Julia, I made pancakes. Its one of the easiest and most versatile meals to make cause you can create your own. I learnt this from visiting Ihop last summer in Yankee where they put everything from nuts to pineapple to toffee!!! I LOVE IHOP!
So here's my pancake recipe.

2 eggs

Beat the eggs, milk and salt. Add the flour and beat until well mixed. Add the sugar and a little bit of salt. You can add whatever you like at this point, I like white choclate pieces, banana, or strawberries.
Melt butter on low heat, when butter starts to bubble, spoon the batter in little batches onto the frying pan. This makes it thin, crispy and light so they are like mini pancakes. When the bubbles start to burst on the batter and get brown, flip it and let it get brown on the reverse side.
Put it on a plate, spread with nutella and roll up. You can drizzle pancake syrup or toffee sauce on it!

Miss B

Saturday 13 February 2010

After His First Love.......

"i don't care how long it takes
i don't mind, i'll sit and wait
till the sun goes down
and comes back up again
cuz you're the best thing in my life
without you it just ain't right
so take as long as you like
i'll still be waiting"


I wonder if Neyo was talking about a love gone sour?Knowing that poignant songs are all he ever sings, I think even my little niece would answer a yes to that question.

The circle of relationships and dating are tedious enough with all the issues that come with every boy meets girl story.

The added puzzle of dating a man fresh off the demise of his first major heartbreak is a herculean task to unravel. It comes with the added hassle of your insecurity, of the potential return to this love of his life, as well as the management of his healing process , from the scars left behind after Titanic sank,with you still coming off at the end as datable and not his new best pal.

I personally run east once I notice any signs of this situation, any form of wistfulness in the tone of his voice when referring to his ex,or excessive mention of her name regarding every topic,or extravagant requests and gestures still being granted to lil Miss "Created another insecure he will try to be a player" are tell tale signs for me to take a bow and exit. But I have been told my intolerance to mediocrity is my reason for being single.

To serve justice to open mindedness, I analyse the suggested reactions and tips to this situation that I have been offered. The first is to decline any further discussions of this past relationship. This advice came from my man eater friend Suliat. In fact I believe her exact reaction was:
"Lc, seriously? Why would u even tolerate a man talking to you about his ex. Honey she is out and you are in. He should be talking,eating,breathing you,unless you have not been putting your back to it"

Now I truly believe a relationship should start with open honest communication and stories of past relationships shared, often showcase a persons character and relationship mannerisms. The extent of details shared is subjective,however a persons past can not be taboo.

The second advice I received was to shower him with compliments and elevate his Ego. This advice I found difficult to implement, since my major attraction to men is their confidence. However upon further consideration and testimonials I found this to be a very positive and effective approach to the situation.

The third advice was to ensure a total and complete lack of similarities between your character/ mannerisms and that of the ex. Because the last thing you want to be is another woman's impersonator.
Now this, I completely agree with. So perfumes,dates,restaurants,fashion style,hair styles,sleeping arrangements,pet names and the works all have to be different. Never subject yourself to events or re-enactment of any memories that they shared.

My favourite piece of advice however was to take your time,cultivate a friendship first and trust your instincts. And never compromise on your self esteem or lower your expectations. This means if your instinct tells you he is not over his ex, he probably isn't, you are not just being paranoid.
Settle for a friendship and move on. You deserve to be another mans leading lady and not his best supporting actress.

By Miss L.C

Friday 12 February 2010

Baked Potato and Tuna.....

Thanks to watching the movie Julie and Julia, I have become more interested in trying new recipes and I promised to shaare my recipes with you. I bought 101 Low Fat Feasts, which so far is great. The recipes are easy, cheap and tasty. Its a great way to start cooking simple meals. I tried the baked potato and tuna casserole tonight and it turned out great so I thought its only fair to share it with my amazing readers! I hope you guys try it!


1)All you need is potatoes, cut in wedges with the skin left on. Put it in a baking dish and toss with oil, salt and thyme. Put in the oven for about 25mins at 200c.
2)While the popatoes are in the oven, chop onions, red, green and yellow peppers and fry in a pan. Add tinned chopped tomatoes and fry with whatever spices you desire.
3)Add the tuna to the tomato sauce when its done. Take out the potatoes and turn the sauce over the potatoes and toss until well covered4)Bake in the oven for about 15mins or until nicely browed, and serve.

Miss B

Thursday 11 February 2010

A Lost Generation

I belong to the lost generation of Nigeria.
I am part of the youth that has been robbed of the opportunity to be proud of my country.
I was born just as things in Nigeria began to rapidly decline, after the hope that came with independence slowly began to look more and more like a distant dream.
I was born around the time Nigeria started suffering from the biggest brain drain in Africa, with young people trying to seek better opportunities left the country because they started to loose their hope in Nigeria.
My dad was not one of those people. He got a scholarship to study in France, and lived there for about 10 years but regardless of advice from his friends who are still scattered around Europe till today, decided that he had to go back to Nigeria to help his country develop its untapped potential and become one of the greatest countries in the world.
He said he had encountered a lot of foreign students from India, Malaysia, China and Egypt, all on government scholarships as well, who spoke of nothing but the ways they were going to go back home and improve things.
He was filled with so much hope, ambition, and dreams for his motherland, and also spoke of how things were going to improve as soon as democracy was instilled. Boy was he wrong.
My dad is one of those people that could never live anywhere else in the world, he is a Nigerian to the core, and believes in the Nigerian dream. But at the same time he is their biggest critic.
This post was inspired by our conversation last night, as I got a job, and I have decided to stay here for a while as opposed to going home.
And he said, the saddest thing about your generation is that you have been given no reason to be patriotic. My generation robbed you of the opportunity to believe in your country. You grew up in the age of degeneration, Nepa, water, fuel crisis, religious conflict, armed robbery, Niger delta, kidnapping, poverty, failing universities, strikes, bad roads, no health care, greed, selfishness, and the worst corruption humanly possible.
How can you believe in a country when this is all you have ever known. He said when he was growing up, yes they were poor, but so was everyone.
There was no mass accumulation of wealth that created a ridiculously wealthy upper class in the fastest time known to man.
There was a dream then that could be fulfilled with hard work-- go to school, get educated in a school that doesn't strike every week, with infrastructure that works and lecturers that care. Get a degree you worked for, not paid for or gotten through a number of disturbing ways and apply for a job.
Although the jobs were few and far between, they were chosen based on merits, and there was a chance to make something of yourself aka "the Nigerian dream"!
Don't get me wrong, there are people that are living out this dream everyday, but its harder with our generation because we have lost hope.
We have not lost hope in ourselves or our abilities, because the Nigerian spirit is too strong for that. The Nigerian music industry is the greatest example of that, an industry that is fuelled entirely by the resilience and talent of the youth.
But we have lost hope in Nigeria as a nation. When we think of our future, we don't think of how we can improve the country, but how we can improve ourselves in the country.
We see it as being out of our hands, the country is beyond what we as individuals can do to make it better. It doesn't help that the few people in Nigeria that have tried to do good have been made examples of. During military rule it was arrests of Ganni Fawemi, Abiola and death of Ken Saro-Wiwa and Dele Giwa.
During my time, the hell that Dora Akunyili, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, El-Rufail and one of my icons Nuhu Ribadu have been put through proves that its not worth it to try and "change" Nigeria unless you are ready to die.
And Nigeria is definitely not worth dieing for. The deaths of Bola Ige, Mr Dipo Dina, and Funsho Williams, all show that people will make noise for maximum one week, no one will be arrested or be held accountable and whatever point you were trying to prove will die with you.
We live in a country where people don't vote because we believe our votes don't count. We do not protest about anything because we believe it is a waste of effort and nothing will be done about it. We do not give feedback or take part in citizenry because you as an individual do not matter. We do not count. Our opinion means nothing. What is going to happen will, and we have accepted that our hands are tied, if we even have hands at all.
So the million dollar question is what should my generation do? Do we keep holding on to this dream that "e go better" even when we know that it most probably will not. We seem to getting to a point where something really drastic has to happen before we rally up and say enough is enough.
At this point we have to ask ourselves, will I be willing to lay down my life for Nigeria and all it stands for?

Miss B

Wednesday 10 February 2010

New Story:The Northern Prince....

Due to popular demand, we are back with another story. Please let me know what you think of it!

The Northern Prince

The first time Jamal and Nabila were pronounced husband and wife, he was chatting on his Blackberry and she was pushing the food around her plate with a sterling silver fork.
The French Impressionist table legs groaned heavily under his weight as Uncle Dauda hoisted his large frame to its feet. He then raised a glass of non-alcoholic wine although his slurred speech would make Nabila’s mother suspect otherwise. Clearing his throat roughly, his baritone drowned out the festivities of clinking glasses and high laughter that dominated the surrounding tables. Looking at the 20meter high photograph of the happy couple displayed in the Grand Foyer of the Hilton Hotel, Alhaji Dauda adjusted his emerald green baba-riga and began “It seems like yesterday my niece informed me that she had met a young man who she wished to marry and now I am pleased to introduce to you the newest Ango da Amariyya in town, Jamal and Nabila Mujahid.” The applause stunned the bride and groom out of their respective reveries and looking to Rabi, Nabila merely reflected the expression her little sister wore. She strained her fake smile as far as it would go and waved till her wrist was sore, she was tired and just wanted to go home. Then she glanced at her husband and realised that she would never return again to her brightly lit bedroom with its lilac walls and large view of the garden. She would never again have her own bathroom. She would never again walk Didi, her Black English Spaniel, while sipping on the zobo that Oda, their chief cook of 14years, brewed specially for her.
Nabila wanted to cry; Rabi rushed forward and hugged her, rubbing her back “It’s almost over Nabsy. Then you and Jamal can go away and be alone ok.” Nabila looked at Jamal as his second cousin Mahmoud pumped his shoulder and slapped his back in congratulations.

Jamal’s lanky frame shook and he rolled his eyes at her barely containing his exasperated smile. Nabila giggled and it stopped to matter that she had been up since dawn, her jewellery weighed her down, or her gold lace itched, or her makeup was so heavy she was sweating even in the air conditioned hall, even the theme of green stooped making her feel nauseous. She stopped resenting her mother for turning her wedding into a circus, it was okay that her wedding idea had been used to spun an Ovation photo opportunity; the constant flash of cameras no longer gave her headaches, not even the stupid reporter who kept trying to shove his microphone under her nose. Rabi pulled away to look at her sister’s tired face just in time to see genuine warmth sneak across it.

At a quarter past midnight, the couple finally managed to pull away from the still strong festivities, and they slowly trudged to their bedroom upstairs, one they had secretly booked in a fake name for privacy. Nabila was fatigued. Her husband freed her skinny frame of the heavy garment, unadorned her of the family heirlooms at her ears, throat, fingers, wrists and ankles and laid her on the bed gently. He kissed her eyelids goodnight, and sprawled beside her fully clothed not caring that her makeup soiled his silk kaftan and they both fell into exhausted sleep.


It was a hot Wednesday afternoon in Asokoro district but Nabila turned down the air conditioning in her Grand Cherokee; it was so easy for this huge car to turn into an ice box. The stereo played her Usher CD in monotonous annoyance; if it could talk it would beg for variety. She already knew the exact point in ‘How do I say’ to expect a skip and she adjusted her vocal chords accordingly. She had the most horrible singing voice as she managed to be faster than the record and still miss every note but her stone white jeep and her beloved Usher loved her nonetheless. The mai-guard opened the black metal gates with a gap toothed smile
“Ina mijinki?” he asked like he expected Jamal to be glued to her side
“Ya na aiki” Nabila replied her mood already soured
He waved her in and she drove up to the white mansion that was her family home. Taking up a large chunk of Iro Dan Musa street, the home she had lived in from age 8 still looked as imposing as when her family first moved in from Kano. The capital city of Abuja was merely a town then; and Nabila and her sister cried for days on end missing their old friends and old life. She parked her car and made the leap from her driver’s seat to the ground, it was true what was said about petite people in big cars. It is all about compensating. Nabila adjusted her cream abayah and made her way through the marble hallway to her mother’s parlour. She became even more annoyed as the sound of her mother’s entourage greeted her when she came into view. The loud sound of forced laughter and gossip irked Nabila to no end, especially as she had booked this slot to speak to her mother; she had even called to verify mama would be available. Farida Bello looked up from the woman entertaining her and saw her daughter walk in. That child never had a smile on her face, and her sulk worsened as she took in the women who she should be half way greeting by now.
“Ya Jamal ne?” almost all the women seemed to ask Nabila at once. Ask him yourself she wanted to respond but she nodded and smiled instead.
“Lafia” she answered over and over again.
“Mama I want to speak to you” she turned her direction to her mother
“Mene ne?” her mother responded
“Alone” Nabila replied
“La!” the gossipers echoed. Nabila did not budge. Eventually her mother ushered the women out, saying they could reconvene their ‘meeting’ after lunch. Nabila arranged herself on a large cushion and stared at her mother, the woman had refused to age over the past five years, and it was strange. Nabila canvassed her mother’s features and wondered again why she took after her father. It would have been lovely to have a Fulani nose like her sister instead of the Hausa one she got from her father, or the dark complexion, or the gaunt cheeks. The only resemblance she bore to beautiful Mama was her height; they were both 5’5in with size 4 feet. Papa’s long frame was bestowed on Rabi.
If she did not love her sister so much she would be incurably jealous of her. Her mother retied her yellow scarf and waited for Nabila to begin, probably with an apology for her curt behaviour but Nabila did not have time for that. Mama was so busy nowadays chairing her Government wives’ meetings, running Women Affairs conferences and the like, that she cut straight to the chase...
“I want a divorce from Jamal”
“Astaghfirullah” mama exclaimed letting the scarf fall to her lap
“No child of mine will ever be returned to her father’s house” she declared
“I am not being returned. I am leaving” Nabila repeated for emphasis.
“Kiyishuru! Shut up and do not say any more. What is the meaning of this?” Her mother put her hands in her thick plaits and shook her head “Ya yi me? Eh? What did he do, that you want to leave?”
Nabila began to answer as carefully as she could but her mother would not let her. She looked afraid that it was something she would not want to know. “He is not hitting me and I do not think he is cheating on me, although I cannot be sure about that” Nabila responded sadly, she could feel the tears coming on. She looked down and played with the hem of her dress. Mama visibly relaxed, it was not some horrible thought, her child was merely being her child. Jamal had probably not showered Nabila with enough attention and now she was rebelling. Threatening to leave her husband’s house was just another tantrum.
“You are no longer in Baba’s house. Making wild promises will soon force Jamal to insist you see them through. Do you understand?”
Nabila looked at her mother and knew why she took so long to come to her in the first place, how Mama could think that is all it would take for her to leave her matrimonial home. Nabila could not go through with it. She made to get up without saying the main thing that brought her home. Mama pulled her back down
“If you really feel you are being mistreated talk to Jamal’s family, tell them to speak with him”
“I have already done that. Nothing has changed”
“Domme ka ke kuka?” Mama used the back of her scented palm to wipe away Nabila’s tears. “What are you crying for?” she asked again. “You are a lucky woman! Allah! The sooner you start to see that the more content you will be, and then...” she patted Nabila’s flat tummy “Insha Allah”.
Only mama had the power to make a bad visit even worse, instead of consoling, she reminded her of the one area she had no success in. The herd of women began to clamour outside the large glass bi-fold doors that lead into the North-East wing of the garden, their necks straining for a piece of news. Nabila wrestled her wrist from her mother’s strong grip and excused herself. Her mother did not ask for a hug, they had never been emotionally expressive, she and mama, and never pretended to be so. Nabila made her way through the 7 bedroom, 5 bathroom architecture of her home. The walls lining the stairs were covered in framed pictures of her and Rabi; running free in the garden, bathing their dogs with water hoses, coiled around Mama, with her mother’s eyes fixed only on Rabi, her favourite child. Every parent has a favourite and Nabila was her father’s; they both felt awkward in social situations and much preferred being alone, with books or music, alone with no one else around to disturb their thoughts. Rabi managed to move between both extremes of their family, tolerating mama’s love of the spotlight and consoling Baba out of his study.

Nabila missed her sister then and began to regret scheduling her visit when she knew Rabi would be at the hospital, fulfilling recommended hours for her Residency. She knew if Rabi saw her now she would be unable to hide her unhappiness, she did not want to disappoint her little sister by being a divorcee at only 26years of age. She was not the smart one, or the pretty one, or even the friendly one. The least she could do was make a marriage work. Oda called her name then and Nabila turned to see their beloved housekeeper at the bottom of the stairs, she beckoned and Nabila followed to give her a big hug. She could tell what was for lunch because Oda smelled of daddawa. Her grey apron was stained with the green leaves of spinach and she tried to keep Nabila at arm’s length to prevent soiling her outfit as well. They walked hand in hand down the long corridor to the kitchen

“Menene ka ke so?” Oda inquired as she opened the fridge. Nabila smiled at her Hausa which after nearly 20years of living with Northerners still bore an Igala accent. Nabila remembered the first time she saw Oda, the family was driving in through those black iron gates for the first time and a plump woman with wild hair ran in front of the car offering her services as a maid. She explained she had come down from Kogi State looking for work and saw the sign outside this house that it had been bought. She would work for any amount offered as long as accommodation was provided.
This was not new to the Bello family; the streets of Kano were littered with people continuously offering their services in return for next to nothing pay. It was a walking, breathing Job Centre. They approached luxury cars and flashy house estates, optimistic with the assumption that rich families would always need more staff. Citing local Imams as references and pledging prayers for the kindness prospective employees will display. Apart from cattle owners herding their flock across the desert, this was the first recognisable image of home they had witnessed on the 4 hour drive from Kano to Abuja.
The driver tried to shoo her away but Mama in her usual display of charity beckoned Oda forward
“What is your name?”
“My children back home call me Oda”
“Oda, this is Rabi” Mama handed Oda a crying 6year old girl and pointed to Nabila who stared bored, “her older sister Nabila”. “This is your Oga,” she pointed to Baba who merely nodded. Oda, cradling a restless Rabi, genuflected to all three and walked in through the gates, beside the car. She never left.

“Kokaka” Nabila replied. “However”
Oda merely smiled and unearthed a jug of Zobo with large chunks of pineapple in it. She served it in a glass containing 6 ice cubes and handed it to Nabila. “Extra honey” she said. Nabila sipped the delicious beverage with a smile on her face, she missed this.
“Jamal is missing” she said cheekily
“You could make it for your husband” Oda said slicing onions
“If he wants, he should come and get his own” Nabila smiled
“You would be surprised at how men feel when their wife prepares a meal” Oda gave Nabila a side-glance
“Like I said. He should come and get his own” Nabila left the kitchen then walked out into the grounds. She didn’t mind the heat and strolled through the compound till she got to the sunken swimming pool. Taking of her fake snake skin sandals, Nabila hiked up her dress and dipped her toes into the cold water staring at nothing. She heard the bark of dogs, the trainer Mama hired tried to house break the new puppies she had acquired, she heard the whish of the garden hose as Babayaro, their gardener watered the red hibiscus, she saw the mai-guard gearing up to the mosque to begin the call to prayers for Asr. She missed home.
Nabila got in her car and drove home to Wuse II. Ademola Adetokunbo Street was not as secluded as Asokoro so her neighbours honked their cars in greeting as she drove into the twin duplex. The security guard greeted her and offered to park the car in the garage because she hated doing that herself. On her way in, Nabila stopped to admire her aloe vera plants in the garden when her phone rang; it was Amaka.
“Nabsy” she shrieked
“Maka baby” Nabila responded affectionately “How goes it?”
The sound of the twins drowned out her friends initial reply until the curt “Mommy is ON the phone” was issued out
“I said how you are my dear” Amaka repeated tired. Nabila was not a good liar so asked instead of her Goddaughter and Godson.
“Well Chibuzo woke up today and decided that he was one of the X-men and ChiAmaka is upset that she cannot fly” Amaka responded annoyed
Nabila began to laugh
“Please do not tell me I am blessed. Not today” Amaka begged
Nabila was going to say exactly that. She looked up at her empty, quiet home, at least her mother’s crew injected life into her old home plus it had Rabi. This was too silent, she could go in and blast Usher from the living room speakers or she could offer her ever needed babysitting services to Amaka and escape her drowning marriage.
“I miss them, let me come over”
“Isn’t Jay due back soon?” Amaka asked
Nabila walked into her house, and dropped her keys in the little silver tray by the door “What will my being here do for him? He’ll just walk upstairs to his room and stay there.” She hissed
“So your mother had no advice for you?” Amaka asked
“She told me to stop throwing tantrums before my husband decided he would rather let me see them through”
“Oh” Amaka responded
“I am so sick of this sham called a marriage Maka. This is not what I signed up for, I feel like I am being punished but he will not tell me what I did” Nabila heard the guard close the gate
“You know marriage is a two-way street Nabsy. Stop waiting for him to snap out of it or relatives to help. Get up and fix your marriage”
“Why do I have to do all the work? It’s his marriage too. I don’t see him trying” Nabsy was tearing up. “He should go back to the house of whoever he’s being loving towards because it is definitely not me.”

“Who are you discussing our marriage with?” Jamal asked her as he leaned on the still ajar front door. Her husband was home.

Monday 8 February 2010


You guys have to check out, its is freakin hilarious!
Miss B

The Dangers of Impulsive Handbag Shopping.....

Miss B is in BIG trouble again oh! I went to see my friend in Oxford on a spontaneous trip. Oxford is a gorgeee town, very quintessential, posh, lots of old buildings, cobbled streets, environmentally concious old and young people seeking knowledge from one of the greatest learning institutions in the world. Here are some pics I took with my blackberry!

So my friend decided to take me to Bicester village, which is a designer outlet mall just outside oxford. It was so lovely, and had so many designer stores at discounted prices. We had so much fun going in all the stores, taking pics, acting a fool and gossiping about rich people laden down with bags from Gucci, Prada, Dkny, Miu Miu, Jimmy Choos and Dior.

Now the whole point was to window shop, walk around and just have a fun day out. I am broke as a joke, and have been living like a church rat on my minimum wage salary. That was before we came across this stunning work of art in Ted Baker.

Once we touched it we knew there was no way we could walk away. It was on sale for half price, and we both bought it! I have a deep weakness for handbags and purses. I think I need handbag therapy. It is the only thing that freaks me out. I love shoes too, but not half as much as I love bags. Most of my clothes are cheap, and so are most of my shoes. But all of my handbags are expensive. It started from my 18th birthday when my mum gave me a valentino bag from her trip to Italy. She is also addicted to bags, so alot my bags I get from her. From my Dkny, BCBG Max Azira, Guess, Marc Jacobs, Tods, Calvin Klein and now T.B, I LOVE my handbags!

The problem is that like I said I could not afford it. So I had to withdraw money from my savings account to pay for it. I knew it was a very bad idea, but I wasnt thinking rationally at that point.
As if to re-enforce how bad it is, as soon as I got back home today, my water bill was waiting for me. I opened it, and it was the EXACT same price as the bag. It was as if God was punishing me for my foolish deed! Sigh!
If it was anything else, I would be considering a return or getting depressed, but I love it way too much!
I guess I will be soaking garri for a while.

For the ladies, here are my tips on how to get the best handbags on a budget.
1)Invest in SIMPLE designs, especially when you are spending a lot of money. You don't want to buy a bag thats very seasonal because it will look out of date quicker. For designers with logos such as Dkny, C.K and Guess, always buy their classic logos, not the re-invented ones.

2)Choose classic colours, black, brown, beige, cream, and your favourite colour. For me this is purple, so I would buy an expensive purple bag. At the same time, certain bags look better in shocking colours such as white, yellow, green and of course red. But for these always make sure they are plain. A brightly coloured bag with loads of detail and pattern is a no no for me.

3) Always opt for leather. Once you are spending over £60 make sure it is a genuine leather bag. Spending that much money on a cloth bag or any other material is not worth it to me, but some people don't mind.

4)Make sure it has a long handle. Bags with short handles always look so cute and lady like, but they are a pain to carry and usually not practical in the long run. But if you feel you can hack it and its hot enough then go ahead.

5) Check the body for any markings. As you are spending that much money, it has to be in PERFECT condition, with no dents, scratches or creases to the leather. If it has this, then show them at the counter and they'll usually sell it at a reduced rate. I got 10% off the bag today cause there was minute scratch on the bag that my friend never noticed until I pointed it out. You have to demand perfection.

6) Try as much as possible to buy expensive bags when you are away from England, especially if you have the chance to go to America, Dubai or China. The currency conversion from pounds will make your purchasing power so much stronger, and they are always over 50% cheaper.

Most importantly, you have to LOVE it. If you like it or are unsure, then its not worth it.

If I had a million dollars, I would buy these luxury handbags, all of which I saw today and lusted after......

Can you guess which designers these are??

All this knowledge is not going to pay my bills sha, so its indomie and garri soaking for me for the next month until I get paid!
Sigh, I need some money managent skills and some self control. Any advice???

Miss B