Nightstands tell us a lot about a person. Between jewellery and books, sleep aids and elusive top drawers (is it hot in here, or is it just us?), what someone surrounds themselves with in their quietest moments are what layer up their lives as a whole.
We got into bed with Yomi Adegoke, a journalist who writes about race, feminism, popular culture and how they intersect, as well as class and politics. She's also author of the novel of the moment, her debut The List (yep, it's already been picked up by HBO).
Missoma: Let’s set the scene. Can you describe your nightstand and bed setup to us, and what you always keep beside you?
Yomi Adegoke: Probably the least glamorous and aspirational answer going, but I do have an asthma pump because I’m asthmatic and I might need it at night. I also have a sleep mask, and various assorted pillow sprays, but to be honest I think they’re there more for decoration than anything else!
M: Do you have any rituals for getting a good night’s sleep?
Y: I do struggle with falling asleep so I tend to have a little CBD oil just before going to bed, as it can usually help me get a little drowsy. I usually try and read before I go to bed, and if I’m really struggling, I have melatonin capsules that are really helpful for getting a full night’s sleep.
M: What books are beside your bed at the moment?
Y: I currently have a book called Everyday Nature by Andy Beer. It’s basically about noticing the small wonders of nature, and the changes in nature on a daily basis. It helps you feel cheery in the morning — it’s a nice thing to wake up to — so I try and read at least one chapter before getting out of bed properly. I’m also reading Oenone Forbat’s Bad Influence: Reflections from a life online before going to bed at the moment. It’s basically a book about what it is to be an influencer, straight from the horse’s mouth. It’s very authentic, engaging, and funny.
M: Can you tell us a little about your new book The List?
Y: It’s essentially a book about the internet, about a couple called Ola and Michael who are engaged to be married in about a month’s time. Just before the wedding an anonymous list goes up on the internet, accusing various different men of abuse. Michael is named on it, and Ola has to decide if she believes him and whether they should go ahead with the wedding.
I was inspired to write The List because I wanted to write a non-fiction, journalistic long-read on the phenomenon of lists that was populating the internet around the MeToo movement — anonymously curated and exposing the bad behaviour of men within particular industries. I was interested in the ethics — as a feminist myself, and a feminist journalist — of that approach to justice.
M: Working for Missoma, our nightstands are naturally overrun by jewellery. Are you a night time taker-offer-er or do you sleep in your favourite pieces?
Y: The idea of sleeping in my favourite jewellery pieces is borderline sacrilegious to me, just because I find it so easy to lose my favourite jewellery in the daytime… Let alone in the nighttime. I tend to lose a lot of my favourite pieces just through sheer carelessness; it’s not hard for me to lose an earring back or a bracelet. The idea of me sleeping in a bed and hoping to wake up with all my pieces intact would be tempting fate a little too much.
M: How do you like to style your jewellery?
Y: I don’t have hair, and very rarely wear make-up so I feel like I use jewellery to make a statement and dress things up quite a lot. I’m really big on statement earrings; my ears are double pierced so I tend to always have earrings in every hole. I like to stack rings and wear quite a lot of necklaces at once. I’m really into wearing as many pieces of jewellery at once.
M: What are your favourite Missoma pieces?
Y: My favourite Missoma pieces are both from the Harris Reed collaboration: the Labradorite Cocktail Ring and the In Good Hands Beaded Necklace Set. These pieces very much encapsulate my taste; they’re really fun and quite out there, very much a statement, and they’re in gold — the trifecta of what I’m looking for in jewellery. I think you could wear the most basic outfit and they’d immediately upgrade it.
Get the Look:
Harris Reed In Good Hands Beaded Necklace Set
18ct Gold Plated, Aventurine & Pearl
M: How has your bedtime routine (and your nightstand) changed since you were in your twenties? Have your priorities shifted?
Y: Surprisingly and alarmingly little because I do still manage to get in a lot later than I should at certain points in the week. In terms of how my nightstand has changed, I would say it’s changed in virtue of me having one; before I bought my flat I actually didn’t have one!
M: What TV show are you watching in bed and who's your favourite bedside companion?
Y: Definitely something I’ve watched multiple times because then I feel like I don’t have to tune in. I can just sort of mentally drift off and maybe fall asleep. Likely something like Peep Show, which I can recite line-by-line at this point, or It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. My favourite bedtime companion is.. I couldn’t possibly say, that would very much be telling.
I was inspired [by] the phenomenon of lists that was populating the internet around the Me Too movement — anonymously curated and exposing the bad behaviour of men within particular industries.
- Yomi Adegoke
M: Be honest, did you write any of your latest book in bed?
Y: I do think I wrote a solid 70 or 80% of it in bed. Very unhealthily, I do tend to be horizontal or in bed when I’m working, generally speaking. The vast majority, or certainly the most important parts of the book, were written during lockdown. I was in bed for a lot of lockdown, not necessarily sleeping but just being quite sedentary; it’s quite easy to find yourself in bed when you’re working from home. My writing process largely features bed, but it’s quite sporadic — a bit all over the place to be honest. It tends to be me wasting quite big parts of the day and then catching up quite frantically in the evenings, and then doing it all again the next day because I’ve pushed myself throughout the night. It’s actually a cycle I’m hoping to break with book two!
M: What’s a beauty or skincare tip you wish you’d known earlier?
Y: I was very late to skincare, relying on the good genes of my mum and dad, up until working at a women’s magazine in my mid-twenties. Everything I’ve learnt in the last six or seven years I wish I’d known much earlier. I didn’t have a skincare routine, I just literally used to put E45 on my face, so we’ve come a long way.
M: What do you miss most about home when you’re away?
Y: I would say my living room. I feel like I’ve got quite a living room that is reflective of my tastes. There’s lots of art in here and lots of candles — just stuff that makes it really feel quite homey. It’s really quite vibrant and bright. I spend a lot of time working in this room, and relaxing in this room.
M: Phone on the nightstand or somewhere else?
Y: For my sins, on the nightstand.
M: Big light or little lights?
Y: Little lights all the way.
M: Morning lark or night owl?
Y: Both because I’m always awake.
M: Minimalist or maximalist jewellery?
Y: Definitely maximalist.
M: A scent that makes you think of home?
M: Aside from your own, where’s your favourite bed (and nightstand) in the world?
Y: I’d maybe say between the Tawny Hotel or the 25hours Hotel in Dubai. Both are really great places to stay.