A Lifestyle Blog by Mwahaki King

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Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Sorrel - A Traditional Jamaican Christmas Drink


As some of you know, I grew up in England until I was about ten years old before moving to my mother's native Jamaica. My first Christmas in JA was a bit of an adjustment due to the heat, but one thing that helped to ease the transition was this splendid Christmas drink called "Sorrel". The beverage is made from the sepals of the sorrel plant and the earliest references to the plant in Jamaica can be traced to the late 1600s and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. 



The vibrant, rich red of the sorrel petals, along with a generous helping of sugar and rum combine to make a flavourful and refreshing Christmas treat. This year, my mum is coming to visit me in Boston and no Jamaican Christmas is complete without a glass or two (or twenty) of sorrel. So, I figured I'd better get a move on! The recipe I'm using is one that was passed down from my grandma to my mum and now to me; and it's absolutely delicious!

Thursday, 8 December 2016

What's for Dinner? ~ Quick & Easy Weeknight Pasta Dish



Recently, I shared a recipe for homemade meatballs in marinara sauce. I know some people don't enjoy spending a lot of time in the kitchen, but for me chopping up parsley, rolling the meatballs in the palm of my hand and making the sauce from scratch is great fun. However, I will admit that all that jazz can be far more time-intensive than I can always manage on a weeknight. So, if I end up with a weeknight craving for pasta I often turn to this meal. It's an updated version of a cheesy pasta dish my mum used to whip up after I got home from school. Now, I will admit that this isn't one of my healthier options, but it reminds me of home. It's delicious and comforting and at the end of the day life is all about balance.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Winter Staple | Caheez Satin Lined Hats


Hello everyone! As December steps in and it's only getting colder I felt it was time for another chat about some of my wintertime staples. If you missed my last Winter Staple post about one of my favourite hoodie brands: Jobedu, you can check it out here. As for today, I'm talking about hats; specifically the brand, Caheez

I stumbled upon Caheez hats quite by accident while scrolling through Instagram about a year ago. The stylish woollen beanies claim to "enhance and protect the hairfrom elements within and beyond our natural control." Having lived through a couple of truly dreadful New England winters, I was desperate for something that could keep me warm while also not damaging my hair. I love the look of woollen beanies, but often the wool can strip curly hair of moisture; which coupled with the dryness of Boston winter, only creates more issues. I've always know that satin and silk products counter this problem by locking in moisture but I'd never heard of woollen hats that were lined with satin before, so I was eager to find out more about this product.

I'm always sceptical about companies that I hear about on the Internet but after learning about the founder Carla Helené 's commitment to the quality of the materials and overall product, it became clear that this was a respectable brand run by passion, hard work and determination. I decided to give it a go. My first purchase was The Purled Newsboy Cap in Cranberry** with a 10" diameter.







Sunday, 27 November 2016

What's For Dinner? ~ Healthy Fish & Chips


Hello lovely people! I'm back at it again with a seafood recipe. Another delicious cod dish. Spending large parts of my childhood in London means that there are few things I love as much as some good fish and chips. And although I'm hoping to do a family trip back to the UK sometime soon, it has been quite a while since I've had decent fish and chips. That was until I puttered around the kitchen and came up with this gem.


Having lived in California and New England in my adult life, I've had my share of mouth-watering fish tacos, lobster and crab; but I must say I've been a tad disappointed with the American attempts at fish and chips I've sampled so far. BUT if any of you know of any great fish and chip places in New England (or the wider US) do let me know in the comments below. I'm always up for trying new places and would love to give them a whirl :)

With all that being said, there is still a bit of American flare to my healthy twist on fish and chips. I'm talking about sweet potato fries! I'm sure other places have sweet potato fries, but it was in America that I found them particularly ubiquitous. Right up there with clam chowdah in New England and BBQ ribs in the South, sweet potato fries are one of my favourite things to eat in America. As such, I thought I'd give them a try at home. 



Trying to stay in the healthy lane, I rounded out the dish with breaded cod and steamed broccoli. 
So yes, while this is a far cry from the greasy seafood fare of my youth, it is still at its core simply fish and chips. Just with a bit of an update...and what's not to love about that?

For this dish to serve 2 people you'll need the following:

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Winter Staple | Jobedu Hoodies



As this blog is still very new it's good to give you all more background information about little old me, so we can get to know each other better. Back in 2011, I spent the first six months of the year living in Amman, Jordan. While six months may seem like a short time, they were truly some of the most exhilarating and eye-opening months of my life. To be honest, all of 2011 was a very transformative year for me in terms of personal development; as I spent the latter half of the year working with the United Nations on international finance and development issues. 2011 was a wonderfully exciting year that I could blather on about for ages but that's another blog post all together. However, if you are interested in hearing more about those adventures, do let me know in the comment section and I'll think about doing some sort of Mini Memoirs, Throwback Thursday Storytime type of thing.

But for today, I am discussing the Jobedu clothing line that I learned about while I was in Jordan. I was studying Arabic at the University of Jordan in Amman when some friends told me about this quirky store in Jabal Weibdeh that sold fun and interesting clothes that embodied the city’s growing youth culture. I had complimented the T-Shirt one of my friends was wearing at the time; a black shirt adorned with the phrase “Parental Advisory: Jordanian Content”, and the conversation flowed from there. A few days later, a group of us were walking down the white cobbled streets of Jabal Weibdeh heading towards the Jobedu store. The buildings around us were all a similar blend of limestone and cement with a view of Downtown Amman in the distance, but we managed to find the store with ease. Outside, the powerful afternoon sun illuminated the streets, casting its light on roadside Nescafe and Tea vendors; but it left the Jobedu store in shadow making it difficult to see what lay inside. I pushed open the glass door and as my eyes adjusted to the light, I was enthralled by the brightly coloured fabrics that lined the walls from the floor to the ceiling.

I was drawn to a hoodie with the company’s signature yellow logo of Jordan’s ubiquitous “Camel Crossing” road sign, set against jet black material.



Monday, 14 November 2016

What's for Dinner? ~ Homemade Meatballs in Marinara Sauce



Hello everyone, today I'm sharing my recipe for turkey meatballs in marinara sauce. Evoking your favourite memories of "Lady and the Tramp", this is a delicious dish, sure to delight your taste buds. So, let's get started!

Friday, 11 November 2016

Strolling - A Documentary Series by Cecile Emeke

Image Source: www.strollingseries.com


Cecile Emeke's documentary series "Strolling" strives to "connect the scattered and untold stories of the Black/African diaspora". What began in the United Kingdom has since branched out to France, The Netherlands, Jamaica, Italy and The United States. This potent, innovative series covers a wide range of topics including (but not limited to) the varying ways in which racism is manifested and perpetrated in different countries, the impact of colonialism, issues related to mental health, homophobia and sexuality identity, gender inequality, immigration and religion.  

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Lowkey is BACK!

Image Source: sbtv.co.uk
The wait is over! If you're a long-time fan of the UK Hip-Hop/Grime genre, you will have noticed the four year absence of one of the most politically aware, lyrically conscious rappers to come on the scene, the one and only Lowkey.  

Friday, 30 September 2016

Ancient Future, Protoje - Album Review


Protoje's studio album, Ancient Future is an aptly named, searing look into Jamaica's history and what can be surmised about the nation's future based on the mistakes of the past. This message comes home starkly in the track “Criminal” with its reference to the murder of musical and social icon, Peter Tosh.



The sentiment is echoed in the collaborative single “Sudden Flight” with Jesse Royal and songstress Sevana, which highlights the dangers and hypocrisy of garrison politics[1].

Monday, 19 September 2016

What's for Dinner? ~ Basil Lemon Cod


It's safe to say that I absolutely LOVE seafood (a natural consequence of growing up on islands, I suppose) It's healthy and delicious, so even in America I try to get as much of it in my diet as possible. I chose to make this dish with cod and simple things I had lying around the kitchen. It's quick, easy and flavourful. So let's get started!


Thursday, 1 September 2016

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto - Mitch Albom


Well, Mitch Albom has captured our hearts and imaginations once again. This time with his latest novel, "The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto." Centred around the life of fictional pop star Frankie Presto and the transformative impact his music has on the lives of those around him, it is a wonderful novel for bibliophiles and music lovers alike.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Seasonal Favourites - Summertime



While it's still sweltering by midday, there is now a crisp bite to the early morning air as we rush off to work, subtly reminding Bostonians that Autumn (and ultimately winter) is coming. As I am in no mood to say goodbye to summer and delve back into New England winter, I thought I'd share with you some of my favourite things that I found and loved over the summer. Have a look below: 

MUSIC

One song that I have had on repeat all summer is from up-and-coming Jamaican songstress, Jane Macgizmo. In "Babylon", the young singer delivers a powerful and unique sound, her voice at once melodious, haunting and utterly captivating.  Aesthetically, the production quality of the music video is phenomenal; crisp and clean with the natural beauty and majesty of the Jamaica countryside on full display.

In post-colonial Jamaica, the term "Babylon" is often synonymous with systematic, structural and/or mental oppression. For at least 4 minutes however, the soothing tones of Macgizmo's music help her listener transcend the turmoil of the world around them and be at peace, with the world and within themselves.




Another favourite that is a bit more up tempo and in keeping with the summer vibes is Shakira's latest release with Carlos Vices, " La Bicicleta". It's safe to say that I've been a staunch Shakira fan since "Whenever, Wherever"
(En Español: Suerte) came out in 2001 ...a while ago and "Hips Don't Lie" was a staple of my adolescent playlists. So, it's always exciting for me when she releases new music and this song did not disappoint. "La Bicicleta" was released in May, with an accompanying music video in July, that will have you up and dancing in no time. You'll want to grab your best friends, a bicycle and head to the nearest beach to catch the last moments of summer ASAP.





BOOKS
The only thing I love more than new summer music is having my nose buried in a good summer read (preferably by the pool or in a hammock on the beach). This summer, the book I could not put down came in the form of Mitch Albom's "The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto". Having loved everything Albom wrote since "Tuesdays with Morrie", I actually got this book on pre-order last November, but life has been so hectic I didn't have a chance to crack it open until the summertime and it has been well worth the wait. Centred around the life of fictional pop star Frankie Presto and the transformative impact his music and talent has on those around him, it is a wonderful novel for bibliophiles and music lovers alike. For a more in-depth book review, see my post here.






HOMEWARE
To me, the Malibu Citrus Glow scented candle from The Bath & Body Works is just heavenly. When burnt the candle produces a strong scent of salt and sand evocative of a hot summer's day at the beach, coupled with the citrus aroma of orange and lemon. And with the name "Malibu", you will be hard pressed to find a candle that more truly captures the warmth and excitement of summer. It's a simple, elegant way to brighten up your home in the summertime or to bring a little sunshine to the cold winter months :)

I can't seem to find a link online, but it may still be available in select stores, so check your local Bath & Body Works.



SKINCARE
The Body Shop - Oils of Life Sleeping Cream
This product is part of a larger skincare range, but I only used the sleeping cream in conjunction with my regular drugstore moisturiser. However, if you're interested in learning about the other Oils of Life products you can find more info on the website here.   

Now, I will admit that I usually have clear skin and don't worry too often about pimples etc. BUT work, family, finances and just life generally can get the better of all of us...not to mention those time of the month cookie/cake/chocolate cravings -- am I right, ladies? And it's often our skin that pays the price. Well, I must say this little jar of goodness from The Body Shop has seen me through a lot this summer. It carried me through the stresses of grad school, finishing my thesis and the hell of  moving apartments.

I may have been overwhelmed, but the combination of black cumin oil, camellia oil and rosehip meant that my skin never showed it. The infusion of chamomile into the sleeping cream is also very calming, which made it a great addition to my bedtime routine.

My skin can get rather dry in the Boston winter, and while the Oils of Life Sleeping Cream has been wonderful in a hectic summer, I'm sure its moisturising powers will truly come in handy in the brutal winter months to come.


So, what have you been enjoying this summer? Tell me all about your favs in the comments below; maybe you can share some gems to help me bridge the transition into Autumn :)

--
*Always check the labels on any skincare products before beginning use to ensure that you're not allergic to any of the ingredients 

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

SCROTAL RECALL – A NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES

Image Source: Netflix
I know, I know, the title is a bit ludicrous but bear with me. Moving beyond the title that has been bemoaned across the Internet, you’ll find a very well-written and well-acted piece of work. The programme originally aired on the UK's Channel 4 but is now available to American audiences through Netflix.

Image Source: Netflix
At times hilarious, at times heart-wrenching and always entertaining; Scrotal Recall set in and around Scotland follows hopeless romantic Dylan (Johnny Flynn) as he is diagnosed with Chlamydia and attempts to contact his former lovers. Along for the ride are Lothario flatmate, Luke (Daniel Ings) and artistic best friend Evie (Antonia Thomas). Through the use of flashback sequences, the viewer gains greater insight into the trio’s friendship and their past romantic relationships.

Underlying Dylan’s awkward revelation to previous girlfriends and hook ups, is the unrequited love story between himself and Evie. Timing and miscommunication seem to consistently thwart any chances they may have with one another…but we continue to hold out hope!

Scrotal Recall is a Netflix series of genuine characters, dry wit and true friendship with which you’re sure to fall in love. By the final episode you will undoubtedly end up among the multitude of fans anxiously awaiting Season 2.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

ACKEE & SALTFISH - A Cecile Emeke Short Film & Web Series

Image Source: http://www.ackeeandsaltfish.co.uk/about/
"Ackee & Saltfish" is the witty and insightful brainchild of London-based cinematographer, Cecile  EmekeThe original short film follows best friends Olivia and Rachel (played by Michelle Tiwo and Vanessa Babirye respectively) as they embark on a Sunday afternoon search for Ackee and Saltfish takeout in gentrified London. It is a dish that is usually easily accessible due to the history of British colonialism (1655 – 1962) and years of Jamaican immigration to the UK after World War IIHowever, as gentrification spreads through traditionally immigrant neighbourhoods in the capital city, restaurants serving cultural classics like oxtail, curry goat or ackee and saltfish are becoming scarce, rapidly replaced with juice bars and hipster coffee shops. Emeke’s short film tackles this issue of gentrification with honesty and humour.


The web series,which consists of a trailer and 5 full episodes, delves deeper into Rachel and Olivia’s friendship with a lighthearted look at music, culture and the quotidian experiences of being a 20-something woman.  Each episode is approximately 5 – 7 minutes long and while the series is set in London, the emotions represented are universal. From practical jokes to spontaneous dance parties in a store while taking refuge from a rainstorm, the joy and beauty of true friendship shines through with remarkable clarity.  



As negative stereotypes about black women abound in media, it is refreshing to see Cecile, Vanessa and Michelle take control of the narrative and demonstrate the serious and the silly, the goofy and the genuine. It is a sharp, nuanced depiction of the black female experience too often forgotten in mainstream film. Ackee and Saltfish is a must-see for you, your best friend and maybe even someone with a craving for Caribbean cuisine. 

ABOUT


Well, hello there! Welcome to Mwahaki King's little slice of the Internet. Here's a bit about the woman behind the blog:

Mwahaki King is a 20-something budding lifestyle blogger who spent her childhood in the United Kingdom before moving to her mother’s native Jamaica for high school. She later relocated to America for university and work and is now currently based in Boston, Massachusetts. In between that she spent six months living in the Middle East during the Arab Spring. All of these places have left an indelible mark on her; shaping her culinary, musical and literary interests. 

The world can be a troubling place and this is a space to share some of the things that brighten hers. As such, Mwahaki has named the blog “It’s a King Thing”; and she is eager to share her thoughts on her favourite foods, albums, books and much more with YOU!

Feel free to look around :)

TO CONTACT
EMAIL: contact@itisakingthing.com