Dear 2017. You’ve been a wild year. It’s funny, when it comes to December 31, I’m always wondering what happened to the past 12 months. But when I look back, it turns out quite a lot went down. Here are some highlights.
World News & Views
It was a low note for mankind when Agent Orange and his tiny, tweeting hands clambered into the White House. The babes and I, along with my friend Charlotte, joined millions of people worldwide to protest, at the Women’s March in London. A great day out, and a reminder that when the fit hits the shan, you don’t have to sit back and take it.
World headlines were gripped by hurricane after hurricane, and terror attack after terror attack. One of the most heart wrenching events for Londoners was the Grenfell Tower fire. Hearing stories from people I know who lost people they know. Even when you see the tower carcass up close, it’s unimaginable.
Amidst the doom and gloom, there were loads of funny moments too. Like this Aussie MP’s reaction to the Gay Marriage ruling in Australia. What the actual…?!!! I’m still laughing.
And who can forget that BBC professor and his too cool for school toddler, baby and wife, pulling the ultimate ‘video bomb’?
Time Magazine named ‘The Whistleblowers’ as their Person of the Year. 2017 was the year far too many of us said #MeToo. Maybe one day I will tell my stories. For now, I’ll share a powerful campaign launched in Kenya. If we want to see change in the world, we have to teach our kids differently. I think the ‘No Means No’ programme is a fantastic start.
2017 was the year our bathroom ceiling caved in. Uh huh. One day later (and three days before my birthday), I found out I’d won a Caribbean holiday!
Thanks to BritMums and Elite Islands Resorts, we travelled to Antigua for a week at the Verandah Resort and Spa. It was truly the trip of a lifetime and I’ll be sharing a full review soon. We also enjoyed a memorable holiday in Barcelona and the Costa Dorado, on our second football tournament with Ezra’s team.
Arts & Culture
As ever, we saw some fantastic theatre, including the Nigerian spectacle Saro the Musical, produced by Bolanle Austen-Peters. Zoo Nation’s Mad Hatter’s Tea Party kicked off our year in style, and The Wind in the Willows musical was pure nostalgic joy.
I was pleased to take the kids to three art shows that touched me deeply: the powerful and moving Soul of a Nation at Tate Modern. David Bowie Is, the V&A touring exhibition that we were lucky to catch in Barcelona. And My Name is Prince at the O2. Musical heaven.
I know La La Land is the musical some love to hate, but I’m a big fan of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, and it totally charmed me. The babes and I were huge fans of the superhero movies e.g. Spiderman, Thor Ragnarok, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Wonder Woman. Can’t wait for Black Panther!
We closed out the year with Star Wars: The Last Jedi which, in my opinion, was worth the two year wait. My favourite film this year was Paddington 2. Simply wonderful.
We binge watched Game of Thrones 7 and Stranger Things 2. I’ll never be able to watch the 50 Shades films the same way after seeing Jamie Dornan as a psycho-sexual killer in The Fall. My guilty pleasure was a mini drama called Clique that I caught up with on BBC iPlayer. We’re slowly catching on to Peaky Blinders, Taboo and Sherlock. The series that had the most impact on me was This Is England. Raw, real and brilliantly acted.
With the babes, we were consumed with Avatar: The Last Airbender, a stunningly brilliant kids animated series that’s also a cult hit. We love its sequel too, The Legend of Korra. Lately, our whole family has been watching The Wonder Years, which is as poignant, funny and heartwarming as ever. Here’s what the cast looks like now!
The boys are hugely into The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, a show that stands the test of time — consistently hilarious. We’ve also just discovered, Black-ish. Comedy gold.
I loved The Year of Yes by screenwriter Shonda Rhimes. Funny, honest and highly motivational. Her TED talk is definitely worth watching too.
Also enjoyed Caz Frear’s Sweet Little Lies, an addictive thriller with an enjoyably acerbic narrator. I couldn’t get enough of Glow, the Rick James Autobiography. What an incredible, and incredibly sad, life story. I’ve really enjoyed reading more with the boys. Jed and I read two brilliant books: A 7 Letter Word by Kim Slater and All The Things that Could Go Wrong by Stewart Foster. Ezra and I laughed all the way through Who Let the Gods Out by Maz Evans and we’re halfway through the sequel. Kids fiction rocks.
2017 was the year I discovered Alice Smith through her incredible rendition of I Put a Spell On You. Spellbinding vocals.
Out of earshot of the boys, I also had Cardi B’s Bodak Yellow on repeat. Did you see this mum’s version?
I fell deeper in love with DJ Moon Boots and his First Landing album. My top playlist was my Afro Hot Mix, with Davido (If), Tekno (Pana) and Mr Eazi (Leg Over) burning up my ‘kitchen dance floor’ at meal prep time. In 2018, I will be learning all of Reis Fernando’s Afrobeats choreography, trust.
Probably the track my babes and I jammed hardest was Big Shaq Man’s Not Hot. Skreeedi pap pap!
In 2017, we took part in some really fun collaborations, including the McDonald’s Family Fun campaign, revealing the babes in all our nuttiness!
We were thrilled to be Camp Bestival Rock Stars again and to try out experiences like Nibble & Squeak family dining club, and smallcarBigCity’s Mini Cooper tour of London. My friend Rachel and I had good times at a This Morning event at ITV Studios. I think the boys would choose WWE Raw as their top night out of the year.
Top Blog Posts for 2017
The posts I enjoyed writing most, or the ones that had most love from readers:
A review of our incredible family holiday in Italy last year
My annual birthday interviews with Ezra at 11 and Jed at 8
This post about taking time to appreciate our kids
A delicious outing to try some Nigerian tapas
My simple strategies for coping with overwhelm
Wow, it’s been a busy year. My personal highlights include first time snorkelling in Antigua, starting on new TV and book projects, running two successful blogging workshops with Mothers & Shakers… and more to come!
One of the most unexpected things for me was appearing in a Dove campaign, after sending in photos of Ezra for a casting call. They selected both of us for the Dove Self-Esteem project and we’re now featured on their UK and international websites. I might blog about our experience one day, for now I’ll round off with a photo from the shoot. Ezra and I giggling up a storm as always.
Thanks to all our readers for following our adventures over these past 12 months, and here’s wishing you all an incredibly fulfilling 2018!