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...

THAT’S NOT ME

A huge congratulations to the team behind That’s Not Me, a short film I presented recently exploring the effects of airbrushing, which has been awarded the BBC Award for Factual Entertainment at Visions Festival 2015.

We investigated the use of retouching in fashion, advertising and media, meeting fashion photographer Jose Pope (jphotography.org.uk) and Kara Eschbach, co-founder of Verily Magazine, the only Photoshop-free fashion magazine in the world (verilymag.com), as well as hitting London Fashion Week and conducting a social experiment to gauge whether members of the general public prefer their natural selves or an image retouched to magazine cover standard.

For such a young crew, I was so impressed with their ideas, development and drive, as well as being an incredibly organised and highly intelligent bunch, who worked hard on the doc in pre-production, throughout shooting and with meticulous care in post-production, to create something about which they should be very proud. I wish them all huge success, and look forward to seeing how the film does at the other festivals into which it’s been submitted this summer.

Watch That’s Not Me here:

Featuring music from Korda Marshal and Cardinal Jack
facebook.com/kordamarshall
facebook.com/cardinaljack

For more information about the film, follow on social media:
facebook.com/retouchdocumentary
twitter.com/retouchdoc

Contact: retouchdocumentary@gmail.com

Director: Liyana van der Sijp
Producer: Sarah Drage
Director of Photography: Ulrik Lyng
Production Designer: Morgan Cooke
Sound Mix: Morgan Cooke
Editor: Sarah Drage
Colour Grade: Ulrik Lyng

The Visions Festival 2015 BBC Award for Factual Entertainment was judged by David Williams, Creative Director of Entertainment North.

XOXO
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