A bit knackered but very proud of the Akwaaba volunteers today. For obvious reasons we couldn’t run our usual Sunday social drop-in session for refugees & asylum seekers, but instead the community pulled together and adapted to prepare and distribute more than a hundred cooked meals and takeaway food parcels to families & individuals struggling to meet basic needs during the pandemic, those in situations of destitution and homelessness who may not otherwise get a decent meal all week. Thank you to our hosts St Paul’s West Hackney Church for putting us up, food donors including @nandosuk & Rahim’s Wholesalers, the wider Akwaaba community and of course real life superhero chef Yusuf ❤️
If you’re feeling down about the gravity of our current situation, I hope you can find some light in the support and sense of community being shone everywhere. Sending you love and positivity, happy Sunday, peace out ✌🏽

A bit knackered but very...

s t a y i n g p o s i t i v e

In difficult times we’re incredibly lucky to have this platform as a resource and crutch. It’s so heartening to see outpourings of positivity & support being shared online. Here are some ideas to look after our physical & mental health during isolation. 💃🏾 DANCE - The happiest exercise!I’ve found tons of free, at-home dance workouts on YouTube and will keep posting links every day for you on stories (even if you don’t try them you can laugh at my moves). You don’t need equipment or much space. There’s Soca, Salsa, Street, Ballet, Reggaeton, Commercial...such a joyful way to keep active and get your cardio in, whether you follow choreography (picking up steps for the club after all this is over) or totally let go (party for one in the kitchen since we ain’t going out these days)! 📝 LOCKDOWN JOURNAL - Journalling is usually something I do sporadically for my mental health on down days, as a way of articulating feelings and ordering thoughts. If you’re anxious or uncertain at the moment, or your head’s scrambled from the bombardment of news, take a bit of time each day to just get it all out onto paper: as long or short as you want/need, doesn’t have to be high literature just a stream of consciousness or recap of what you did that day. It’s cleansing, helps give you perspective, re-centres and is a great creative outlet. 📸 DAILY SNAPS - Just as it’ll be interesting to read back your journal entries in future, why not accompany with a pic a day, for a snapshot of your own experience of history as the global situation shifts & develops so rapidly. Even better if you can put your phone down and take a non-digital image on a polaroid or disposable camera if you have one. Been enjoying  pritsticking my @instaxhq pics next to each day’s journal entry #sticky 👌🏽 ☀️🧘🏽‍♀️ - This might work for you: take a deep breath in for a count of 10, hold for 10, then out for 10. Repeat 10 times: v calming. I’ll also post good yoga, Pilates, barre & meditation videos to follow that will hopefully help you refocus. Take your outdoor exercise allowance & GET THAT ONCE-A-DAY VIT D GODDAMNIT! 📞 KEEP TALKING - One word: Houseparty.

#stayhome

s t a y i...

In difficult times of relentless, overwhelming news coverage it’s more important than ever to make sure we’re getting the facts straight. I’ve been working on this project with @bbcbitesize to help kids and teens (& parents!) spot misinformation & stop the spread of fake news. If you or your kids have been distressed by the rolling headlines, please check out the swipe up link in my story or visit the @bbc Bitesize website and share. In tumultuous circumstances like the #coronavirus pandemic, let’s ensure we digest news healthily, share it responsibly and use it effectively, so we can all take the correct advice and actions #factorfake

#fakenews #bbcbitesize #covid

In difficult times of relentless,...

‘To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in it’s perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colours of a rainbow’ - Maya Angelou.

So many of us are apart from our mother figures today, but the outpouring of love is palpable and beautiful. Happy Mother’s Day mum, I wish I could be with you, you deserve the world, thank you for being our rock, for the strength, the power, the words of wisdom, the hugs, the dancing, the chats til 5am, the long walks to see the special cows (they were ponies) and your favourite tree. Thank you for the world and thank you for our family.

‘To describe my mother would...

This slipped under my door 🖤 
Let’s pay it forward and support our neighbours.

Ways to help? -Covidmutualaid.org is an initiative to bring volunteers together with those who may be vulnerable or in need of support in your local community. -Workforce have been contacted by several NHS Trusts to help find people willing and able to work in roles in overstretched hospitals (call 01204 393 000 or 07494 129014)
-Choose Love this Mother's Day if you're looking for a self-isolation friendly gift. My friends at @chooselove / Help Refugees and their grassroots network are doing everything they can to ensure that refugee mothers have the supplies they need to keep their families safe and well in these scary times as camps are overcrowded and unsanitary so it's more important than ever for us to do what we can. You can buy a basic wash bag complete with soap, sanitiser and all the other essentials, a month's supply of nappies or a whole bundle of love. There's also an ecard so if you're not seeing you mum you can send it to her!
-I will keep posting links every day to great at-home, free dance and workout videos so you can keep mentally and physically healthy while self-isolating. Also you can laugh at my moves, which may help 🤷🏽‍♀️💗 If you liked the look of today’s @socanomics dance class, join @selenawatkins insta live session tomorrow, we can all have an Caribbean dance party in our living rooms, isolated, together. -A tip: use tins of baked beans as dumbbells.

This slipped under my door...

Happy 60th Birthday to a Geordie legend and the man we love the most. Thank you for loving us back so fiercely, for caring so deeply, for sharing your wit, intelligence, passion and humour with the world, and for giving us your everything every day #kingnige

Happy 60th Birthday to a...

#frockdown

#frockdown

We’re back on @channel4 with more @crufts coverage and my heart is so full 🐕🐩🐶🥰😍😘 Thank you so much @sunsetandvinetv for so perfectly producing this canine celebration, fabulous @drpaul_thevet & lovely @dogtoradem you’ve been brilliant and I’ve learned so much! And @abbiemaymua for the entire weekend I love ya 💗

We’re back on @channel4 with...

BACK TO REALITY

A tenuously-named blog about my post-Cuban-jaunt return to work, which mainly entailed interviewing some of reality TV’s finest, as well as Single-Ladies-hand-flapping with Rebel Wilson, and testing Sacha Baron Cohen’s nob(by knowledge)…

GRIMSBY

 

…so let’s start with that, because it is pretty much the furthest you can get from anyone’s conception of reality ever. I’m talking: in a room with actual Borat.

Interviewing the cast of SBC’s new one, Grimsby, was an absolute dream. I love my job, but I’m sure I’m allowed to say that over the years, I’ve had to sit down with – or accost backstage, or on red carpets – a lot of celebs about whom I do not give a flying fuck*. I was genuinely excited to spend 6 minutes chatting to the man who gave myself, my friends and family so many full-on-tickle-your-lunch belly laughs…nay, rofl-fits**… as well as cultural references which have become ingrained not only in our speech but our relationships*** over the years. This said, I was also petrified he’d be a shit and disappoint.

He didn’t. I didn’t even ask him to do a Borat impression, he just did it. He obviously loves Borat as much as we do, and that was an ace thing to realise. Furthermore, he likes talking about Newcastle.

Syndicated to ITV, Channels 4 and 5, Telegraph, Huffington Post, AOL, MSN, Yahoo, Guardian and Daily Mail, here are cuts of some of the bits that went out… a.k.a. What went down when ITN met Sacha Baron Cohen, Isla Fisher, Mark Strong and Gabourey Sidibe. Clue: They were all gems.

Nobby v Borat v Ali G v Bruno
I wanted to know how Grimsby-football-fan-turned-secret-agent Nobby Butcher would fair if battling it out against Sacha’s other household-name characters, in some pretty high-octane scenarios (we’re talking chess, ebay, getting served at the bar…of course).

Testing the cast’s ‘Nobby knowledge’
In honour of SBC’s latest character offering (and in a bid to strike up some healthy competition), I pitted him against co-stars Isla Fisher, Mark Strong and Gabourey Sidibe, challenging their knowledge of historical notable Nobbys. Obvs.
How’s YOUR Nobby knowledge?!

Sacha Baron Cohen wants to talk about Newcastle
Does what it says on the tin.

Isla Fisher, SBC’s co-star (and wife), on ‘method acting’-ish

*That’s cool, right? I mean, they definitely don’t give a flying fuck about me either. The feeling’s mutual.
**Yeah, said that. And wot?
***I’m obviously looking at you, Yazza.


HOW TO BE SINGLE

50 Shades actor Dakota Johnson stars alongside the hilarious Rebel Wilson, Leslie Mann and Alison Brie in rom com, How To Be Single. I interviewed them for ITN and the news outlets as before, and had a lovely day of it. MAC were there to do all the reporters’ make-up (cos it’s all about girls and that, y’know), which is why I do not look like an oil slick, as has become my habitual junket styleeee. There was also a photobooth there, which – contrary to the absolute frolics which would normally ensue whenever and wherever there is a ‘booth* – let me tell you, is a very sobering experience when at work, solo and, well, sober. Still, look, I’m doing a right bunch of pouts and have got flamingo glasses and a crown on, so for all intents and purposes, having a mad whale of a time.

Single Or Mingle?!
Who would they have a little mingle with, who would they rather be single than have a little mingle with? Simple.**

Rebel Wilson needs a date for the Oscars
Posting this pretty much purely because it was the day after the Super Bowl and the spirit of Beyonce was within me. We danced.

Dakota Johnson and Leslie Mann’s worst ever Valentine’s
Tbh, just gets weird.

*See: anyone’s Instagram ever.
**Except, according to comments, not everyone knows what mingle means. Came as a shock to me too.


BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT (kinda) PREMIERE

Now for the proper ‘reality’ bit to make my ‘Back-To-Reality’-back-to-work-with-work-being-reality-TV-stuff tenuous link make sense*. The second day of auditions for the upcoming tenth season of BGT were held in London, so as Simon Cowell and co. rolled into town, I headed down to the Dominion Theatre to cover the red carpet for ITN. This, in part, involved SyCo forcing me** to show him my dancing skillz, footage of which will not see the light of day.

Interviews with the Ant & Dec and the judges here:

*‘make sense’ being used in the loosest possible way here
**it’s been correctly pointed out to me that this is probably not the case, given my choice extroversion. And honestly, I didn’t wait to find out if I was being forced, I just danced. Like a performing monkey.


VICKY PATTISON MINI V NUTRITION LAUNCH

Queen of the Jungle and wor lass Vicky is doin’ alreet for hersel’ at the moment. Post-Geordie Shore she hit Ex On The Beach, before bagging her own show, Judge Geordie, then won I’m A Celeb, and now is everywhere from chatting on Loose Women to picking up gongs at the NTAs. And she’s got a new health, fitness and lifestyle programme called Mini V, the launch of which I covered recently.

Yeah, she had real life sex on TV; yeah, she spat in a massive man’s face and threw a shoe at a woman*’s face; she’s a hella angry girl. But I actually (is this controversial??) think she’s alright, you know. Nay, I like her. She’s switched on, very warm in person, and seems genuinely very grateful for how things are working out and keen to make the best of it all. She seems hard-working and intelligent, and was lovely to chat to. Here are our chinwags (for the news outlets, as above, as well as ITV Tyne Tees):

*of undisclosed stature

XOXO
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