Thursday, August 23, 2007

30 Things to do before you're 30 (MSN Lifestyle)

I saw this on a website and thought I'd share it. I used to have a list of things I wanted to do before I was 30 but I've lost it somehow. At some point in the future, I'll try and compile another list of things I want to do before I'm 30. Any suggestions? What do you want to do before you hit a certain age? I'd be very interested to know!

1. Go Travelling
2. Get Something Published
3. Watch the following films: Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction, Scarface, The Star Wars Trilogy (don't bother with the new ones), Godfather parts I and II, Psycho, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Trainspotting, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Top Gun, American Pie, Gladiator, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Blade Runner, Kill Bill 1 & 2, City of God, The Deer Hunter, Se7en, Fight Club, Back to the Future, Alien and Aliens, Jaws, This Is Spinal Tap, Die Hard, Life of Brian, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, Ferris Beuller's Day Off, Life is Beautiful, The Breakfast Club, Grosse Pointe Blank, Stand By Me, Chinatown, The Great Escape, The Outsiders
4. Live in London
5. Learn a 2nd Language
6. Run a marathon
7. Drive the Pacific Coast Highway
8. Have Sex
9. Go to a music Festival
10. Try different foods
11. Get on the property ladder
12. Test yourself: Skydiving, abseiling, bungee jumping - never in a million years, you might think, but there are few better things for you than stepping out of your comfort zone and standing up to your fears. So whatever it is you think you can't do, we promise you'll feel proud of yourself after you've done it…
13. Visit Paris
14. Blow £500 in one night
15. Get a savings account.... and use it
16. Do something for charity
17. Get yourself on telly
18. Eat at a Michelin starred restaurant
19. Quit your job
20. Go to a live sporting event
21. Have a weekend in New York
22. Read these books: The Catcher in the Rye, 1984, Romeo and Juliet, the Harry Potter series, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, To Kill a Mockingbird, Brave New World, On the Road, Catch 22, Trainspotting, The Wasp Factory, Lord of the Flies, Fahrenheit 451, Animal Farm, Of Mice and Men, Great Expectations, Tess of the D’Urbevilles, Treasure Island, The Beach, Cloud Atlas, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Ulysses, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time, Life of Pi, The Shining, The Handmaid’s Tale, A Prayer for Owen Meany, The Shining, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, A Suitable Boy
23. Own a convertible
24. Buy something really expensive: When was the last time you really treated yourself? So long as you can absorb the damage, go crazy and spend at least one month's wages on something you really, really want
25. Buy wine worth more than £50
26. Sign up to facebook
27. Record your family history
28. Sing Karaoke
29. Have a complete health check
30. Climb a mountain

I've done 12 of the 30 things on this list and they include singing karaoke (one time decently, all the other times dismally), the greatest two weeks of my life in New York and experiencing the palpable magic of Paris. I have no interest whatsoever in owning a convertible or being on TV but there are 11 things on the list that I'd really like to do before I hit 30. Top of that list are owning property, running a marathon and I have always wanted to do a road trip on the Pacific Coast Highway. And I'm determined to read all the books on the list, watch all of the films and do some extreme sports wah hey!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Summer is Finally on Its Way!

We thought summer had finally come to England but it turns out we were very much mistaken. It’s been raining for the last two days. Funnily, I really don’t mind … because my summer is on its way.

The only season that rivals my love for Christmas is summer. I have spent the last 11 or so years trying to decide which time of year I like more and I'm still drawing a blank ... they're just too different … I have to say I love them both equally! Summer is just so much fun and I feel like I’m high on happy pills the entire time. I challenge anyone to be in a bad mood after looking out of your window in the morning to see the sun reflecting off everything it touches; trees, houses, cars - you just can't!

And has anyone noticed just how much more social summer is? There is always something going on. I could literally go out every night of the week if I wanted to. Everyone seems to be doing something for their birthday, people want to go for drinks after work or grab a bite to eat out at lunch, people have parties just because, friends that live in other parts of the world always pop into London at some point during the summer and bbqs and lazy picnics in the park are regular weekend activities. Oh and one of the hugest perks of the summer is that all the hot guys seem to come out of the woodwork, or whatever cave they've been hibernating in all winter, if hibernating means getting all buff for the purpose of being eye candy in the summer. Hey, all I'm trying to say is summer hones my appreciation for God's good work.

The highlight of summer for me though has to be going to Greece! We go every couple of years and as children, we spent almost every summer there so for me, it epitomises every thing that is ‘summer’ about summer. All my best summer memories feature Greece in some way and every time I smell that salty air which suggests that the sea is nearby, I think of Greece. Let me tell you what I love so much about Greece…

Well first of all, we have a lot of family over there that we never usually see and it’s great seeing them and catching up on the last couple of years. And an added bonus is the fact that they spoil us so much! They always invite us round to their houses for food - Mmmm food, I'll get to that in a bit - and they always get us presents and if they come to visit us, they bring a Tourta (decadent, fresh cake with cream/chocolate/fruit - usually all three) or Pagotinia (little ice creams, either little cones with ice cream or little balls that look like a collection of chocolates but are actually ice cream on the inside) from a Zaharoplastio (Patisserie). And since we're on the topic; Greek food is amazing! Seriously, all you foodies need to visit Greece and make sure you have Pastichio (baked layers of pasta and mince topped with b├ęchamel sauce), Moussaka (baked layers of potato, fried aubergine and mince again topped with b├ęchamel sauce), Kleftiko (the most tender lamb and potatoes cooked in a clay oven in which a fire is lit and let to burn for several hours then all the fire is removed and the meat is put in to be cooked by the hot coals only), Loucoumades (pastry balls fried like puff puff which are saturated with hot syrup) and Souvlaki which is our all time favourite. It's pork skewers barbequed and put in a bbq pitta bread (Greek pitta is different from other pitta) with tzatziki, Greek salad and some chips. It might sound like a Kebab or Shawarma but it's so different and so much better! Oh and the seafood; little fishes cooked whole (I have no idea what they're called), grilled squid stuffed with cheese, octopus ... mmmm. Even regular pizza is amazing in Greece.

We usually spend a couple of days in Athens shopping and visiting friends and family and then we go to Xilocastro for the rest of the time. Xilocastro is in Corinth and it's where my Yaya has an apartment right on the sea front. You come out of the apartment building, cross the road, there is a small forest which you walk through and then the sea is right there. It's not the most beautiful beach in the world and there are always a few days in summer where the sea is full of brown jellyfish who take all the fun out of swimming but I can't even begin to describe how it feels on those very windy evenings when the waves are so huge that swimming isn't an option so we sit on the beach and watch them instead. And I remember the time before, I was lying on the beach as the sun set, listening to Michelle Branch on my Discman loud enough that the music was the only thing on my mind but not too loud that I couldn't hear the sea and for that hour or so, I could 'see' what that saying 'the world is your oyster' meant. There is something about the sea that makes me realise just what a gift life is and what an amazing place the world can be. When I'm by the sea, it's like all the bad stuff in the world is non-existent.

Xilocastro is just so laid back. We wake up in the morning, sometimes to go and get breakfast, sometimes to go for a walk in the woods with Papou. We have breakfast then go to the beach, we swim, hang out with our friends and sunbathe till about 1:30pm then we go home, have a quick shower and have lunch with Yaya and Papou. Then we have an afternoon nap or read till 5:30ish, wake up, chill, then go back to the beach. We stay there till 8:30ish then come home, shower, get dressed and walk into town where all the restaurants, bars and clubs line the sea front and usually where we meet our friends. It’s also where the two outdoor cinemas are. It’s just so quaint watching a movie outdoors, with a 15 minutes intersession so that you can re-stock on food. We always do this walk, even if we're not going to eat out or go to a bar; it's just what we do, what we've always done. We usually get home after midnight, or early the next morning if we go clubbing, play cards (my brother turns into a bit of a card shark in Greece), chat then go to bed and wake up the next day to do it all again. It's just … bliss.

So, I'm not trying to make you jealous or anything but I'm going away in three weeks with my brother and Gavity. Onada was supposed to come to but I don't think she'll make it. It’s only for 10 days but I can’t wait, my summer is finally on its way!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I think I'm in Love again ...

... WITH R&B! Ha ha gottcha! Sorry no juicy goss of that sort today.

My music taste is pretty eclectic, I love everything from pure unadulterated Pop (Especially boy bands - The Backstreet boys, N Sync, Blue) to Hip-Hop (I'm a huge Eminem fan). If you asked me if I liked Country, my first instinct would be to say no and yet I love Keith Urban. I like some dance, especially the stuff that reworks classic songs like Bryan Adam's 'Heaven' and I love, love, love alternative/rock/indie music; Linkin Park, Michelle Branch, Lifehouse, Evanescence, Snow Patrol, Keane, Damien Rice ... I could go on forever. But my R&B was my first music love and good R&B will usually trump the others.

All of my favourite teen memories were played out against a backdrop of my favourite R&B songs. I think the first tape of my own I ever owned (that wasn't stolen from my father's extensive but somewhat outdated music collection) was the Boyz II Men album that some friends of mine in Lagos copied for me. I loved four songs on that album; 'I'll Make Love to You', 'On Bended Knee’ and 'Yesterday'. I still love every single one of those songs but my favourite then and now has to be 'Water Runs Dry'.

Toni Braxton and Tevin Campbell were favourites while I was in boarding school in JSS 2 and 3, and I thought all the older girls were so cool when they tied bandanas round their heads back to front the way Aaliyah did. I loved Shai and 3T, Michael Jackson and Jodeici, Montell Jordan and After 7. When we moved to Lagos and I started going to ISL, I remember getting ready for school every morning to Mariah Carey's 'Daydreams' album. Wow, there were so many amazing songs on that album - Underneath the stars, Melt away, Always be my baby, Open arms and One sweet day with Boyz II Men. I had one of those 'I'm really getting old' moments when I was in a car with my younger cousins and this album came on and they had never heard any of the songs. Cue a really long rant (by me) about ‘how they totally missed out on Mariah's best stuff and how they don't make R&B like they used to’ and two very bored cousins.

You know what? I really do believe that though. I think all the best stuff has already been done. Don't get me wrong, there are some good songs around these days but not many AMAZING songs. You know, the kind of songs that you love from the very first time you hear them, the kind that you don't have to let grow on you because they almost jump out of the album at you. The kind of song that against all self restraint, you put on repeat till you're absolutely sick of it. The kind of song that had you sitting in front of MTV for hours on end (back in the day when we didn't have youtube) so that you could watch the video which you always hated because it was never what you imagined it to be, and didn’t do the song any justice in your opinion. The kind of song that literally gives you goose bumps from listening to it. The kind of song that brings the memories flooding back with every note and lyric. Songs like Allure's 'All cried out' and more or less everything on the 'Enter the Dru' and '8701' albums, Nelly & Kelly's 'Dilemma' and Neyo's 'Sexy Love'. In the last few years, these songs have been few and far between.

A few weeks ago, a friend who has taken it upon himself to keep me updated as to what's going on in the world of music and truly believes that if it weren't for him, I'd still be listening to the golden oldies, made me a CD and for the first time in a while ... I found myself listening to a few songs over and over again. I'm loving Joe's 'Life of the Party' and 'It's me' and I hear the rest of his recent album is pretty good too. I also love Neyo's 'Make it work', 'Go on girl' and 'Do you'.

I'm remembering what I loved so much about R&B, and I'm loving the process!