Ghana : Why Everybody Ran Back !

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After seeing this pic on the gram, I knew that the Year of Return in Ghana had to be my next topic I blog about. You guessed it, over 1.5 million people took plane, ferry, catapult or whichever method of transport to get themselves from all over the world, to the sunny and vibrant lands of Ghana. From Ludacris to Cardi B and her infamous chichinga incident to even the Queen B’s mother herself spent new years in Ghana.

Of course, I was watching like a lot of my friends from my phone via SnapChat and Insta stories. Whilst I was drying my eyes of the tears due to not doing up enjoyment like everyone else, I do feel glad that I somewhat saved money. Prices skyrocketed to over 1 grand, and that’s just the tickets alone. If you didn’t get transport and accommodation sorted also, then I guess your bank accounts definitely felt the pain! Nevertheless, 2019 was the definitely the year of African awareness and self-consciousness.

The Year of Return

I actually had to find out from a colleague what it was and why it meant so many people were returning home ( they need to teach this during BHM in schools ).

The “Year of Return, Ghana 2019” is a major landmark spiritual and birth-right journey inviting the Global African family, home and abroad, to mark 400 years of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Jamestown, Virginia.”. yearofreturn.com

In hindsight, it was an invitation of all descendants from years and years of slavery to come back to their original roots, original heritages and come back to their true homes. The project has many goals and targets. One being for people to come and experience culture and enjoyment in their hometown, another to celebrate the freedom that Africans all over the world currently have and also to boost tourism as it can be a leading indicator to business and investment.

What does this mean for Ghanaians, Africans in general?

For me, I think it brings a new sense of emotion and patriotism for not only Ghana, but for Africa as a whole. If you think about it, Africa definitely wasn’t the dream spot that people wanted to spend their Christmas season at. If it wasn’t America, it was Canada. If it wasn’t the UK it was somewhere in Europe ! But the fact that thousands of people dream about going home to see the places where their parents were born and raised, really brings a sense of change and greatness.

Afro Nation, the festival which features many African and Caribbean artists sharing the beautiful and lovely music that Africa has to provide is also a massive contributor to many people going to Ghana. The festival celebrated the vibrant and emerging culture of Africa and it has definitely had an impact on the younger generation all over the world.

Overall, I am proud of where Ghana and Africa as a whole has transformed and come to be in this current year, it’s rise in popularity, public perception and view has made it a number 1 tourist destination. Who would of thought- not me ! and who knows, mabye Ghana will be seeing me this year after-all ! *crosses fingers*

Thanks for reading !

YouTube

Hey !

Now we all know and love the beautiful app and American video-sharing platform that’s known as YouTube. With approximately 1.8 billion users being pulled in every month, it is no shock that it has become a very successful platform which people have used to generate income.

I thought it would be great to put together a compilation of YouTubers that I have loved throughout the year- Note that I mainly use YouTube to watch style, beauty and fashion videos, so this may be slightly tailored towards the female side *sorry*

Without further or do, let’s begin…

The Real

The real consists of 5 ladies who sit around a table and talk about current topics from reality TV, social media and the latest gossip on all thing’s celebrities. (releases my inner Wendy Williams) there are some familiar faces on there- Tamera Housely from Sister Sister and Adrienne Houghton from 3LW. The thing that I love about this show so much is the diversity in the women, we have representation from the Latina community, African American community and the Asian community all coming together and embracing culture, with ranging personalities, I love how they express their views and opinions on current topics- definitely check them out !

Live from Layfield

The LFL girls are girls you would want as your big sisters or big cousins, they consist of three pharmacists (Oh they smart smart !) who are filled with so much wisdom and passion, give great advice videos on life experiences and also great story times. They also give biblical and religious perspectives on topics such as university, relationships and life in general

Rhea Ellen

Famous for her hilarious “Rhea’s Rants” Rhea Ellen’s videos are there for having a great laugh ! She rants on things that we can all find common ground on be it public transport, current trends, love island, customer service etc, and what makes her so funny is that she states things that we all can agree on, make sure to check her out.

Nella Rose

This should be no surprise, by far Nella Rose is one of the most popular UK YouTubers out there especially for the younger generation, from starting her videos in Uni with her friends, Nella has really risen up in the YouTube game as she currently has over 300,000 subscribers who tune in to all her videos. One word I can use to describe her videos is just ENTERTAINMENT – pure entertainment, whether it be tags or challenges

Shirley B Eniang

So, I have to give credit to my OG’s here on YouTube, the people I have been watching ever since I discovered what YouTube was. Shirley B Eniang, is a fashion, beauty and lifestyle youtuber, who comes onto her channel with nothing but class and style. Every video I watch of her, I feel inspired to just go out on a huge shopping trip and just buy everything that she shows in her video !

Peakmill

Another YouTube OG here, Peakmill is a Nigerian youtuber who focuses on makeup, style and HAIR- The ultimate hair guru out there. She is literally the person you would want as your personal hairdresser/stylist you would want for every occasion you have. Peakmill has been around for some years now, and I still watch each video she posts each time with excitement.

The Real
Live From Layfield
Rhea Ellen
Nella Rose
Shirley B Eniang
Peakmill

2020 Is That Year.

2020. The year of clear vision.

The start of a new decade. I really had to sit down and ‘deep’ it. I have lived for a decade and I’m about to enter into a new decade. As I listen and read the many phrases of “you are about to enter into your best year yet” and “2020 we’re not slacking” I start to wonder how I can make this year my best.

2019 was hard. I’m sure many people can attest to this, for me personally the combination of second year of university, working on my personal development, my blog and applying for placements (which is too complicated to go into I don’t even know how to explain) it was a tough rollercoaster. It’s weird how people can relate to the feeling of 2019 bringing nothing but disappointments, lack of achievements and hurt.

But hey- it’s 2020, if you don’t remain positive, who will ?

1. Stop saying “New Year, New Me”.

Now I’m not trying to be a negative Nancy here, but stop saying this phrase unless you are actually going to do something about this “New Me” thing. I’m sure many of us on social media have seen the various stories and posts of how 2020 is going to be better than the previous year (including the woman who is stepping up on those steps with a box named “edges” signifying she is not leaving that behind lool) and how this year is going to be the best year yet because “I am now a changed person”. But it’s easier said then done. Don’t just say the phrase for saying sake- act on it.

Yes 2020 is the beginning of a new decade and it is good to have a positive outlook of your character for the year; however, it is important to remember that come December 31st 2020, you are not going to see a change in yourself unless you have worked on it
consistently throughout the year.

2. Get an accountability partner.

So, if you are going with this “New Year, New Me” vibe, at least get someone who can be
accountable for this. My suggestion will be to write down all your goals, either financial,
spiritual or character motivated and hand it over to someone who will be willing to check you up on some of your goals you had for the year. This can be someone close to you like a sibling, parent or a good friend. Make sure they are reliable and motivational though, you wouldn’t want it to be someone who doesn’t care about your growth or wellbeing. Therefore, look for someone who is going to add to your improvement and be accountable for your goals.

3. Get a gratitude jar.

I was introduced to this idea by my friend Tisha, who suggested getting a jar and writing on a piece of paper something you are grateful for within that day. By the end of the year, you can empty the jar and read all the things that you are grateful for within that year. I think as we go through the year, we may go through struggles or difficult time that makes us forget the smaller things we can be grateful for. Just having air go in and out of our lungs each day is a blessing, that can be something you put in your gratitude jar !
If you want this year to be remembered as a year of success, this gratitude jar will help you achieve it.

4. Just live.

This point applies to my generation, the younger 20’s or the older teens. I’m sure you have heard the saying “This new decade is going to be wild- you’re going to be married, having kids and buying a house” wait up, hold on a minute ! Please we are just 6 days into 2020 !!
Yes, the next 10 years ahead of you may look like a lot in terms of life changes, and it’s
nothing to be afraid of, but I urge you to just take this year and just live.

There is nothing wrong with staying focused on your future, but also remember to take the time out and just enjoy the year that is ahead of you. My “New Years Resolution” as people would like to call it is to just branch out of my comfort zone and try out new places and new activities, travel more and just LIVE- Not be so caught up and be strict on the goals I had planned for the year.

Thanks for reading this post, I hope you have a pleasant and peaceful year, and here’s to
new posts within the new year “ *clinks glass*

Remain Blessed.

When In Dam.

So, I officially managed to squeeze in a trip to Amsterdam before the year ended. It has always been a fascinating place for me, somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for a while, not for any particular reason and yes guys not to smoke or anything! I guess it’s a place where young people can just go out for a weekend away. I was there for a total of 4 days and I will be sharing what I got up to plus some useful tips for making your stay there pleasant and enjoyable!

Day 1:

We arrived the day prior in the evening, tired and drained from travelling from the airport to our Bnb we decided to start our ventures on the following day, we went to a lovely place called The Breakfast Club for our breakfast in Sloterdijk, I found out about this place via the gram, and surprisingly they have some branches in London which I did not know about. This location was perfect as it allowed us to go into central straight from there via train, where we walked around, saw various souvenir places and got to experience the Dam trams.

The tram services in Amsterdam are great, as it acts as a mini tour bus, so if you see something you are interested in you can simply get off and walk to it. It runs direct through the city, and majority of trams stop at Amsterdam Centraal station where everything is situated.

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In the evening we explored the nightlife of Amsterdam Centraal, going to a bar called the SkyLounge. This was located above the Hilton Hotel just outside of the station and had a spectacular view of the city of Amsterdam, it had a rooftop for you to take pictures on, however due to the cold winter night we decided to stay inside and order a few drinks. I would recommend exploring the nightlife, just like you would in any city, Amsterdam has plenty of bars and restaurants for you to try out, however I would advise you to book in advance as places can be pretty packed!

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Day 2:
We visited the infamous VenusTempel museum also known as the place full of statues of parts where the sun doesn’t shine!

This is located in Centraal once again and was surprisingly very cheap! This was the only museum we visited, the Anne Frank house and the Van Gogh museum were all sold out, turns out you have to purchase tickets 2 months in advance!

We then went to the Hard Rock Café deeper into town, turns out they also have branches in the UK also! That’s the great thing about Dam, if you are not up to trying out new/foreign foods, there is always the safe option of sticking to what you know-majority of restaurants/cafes here in the UK are bound to be there also.

Near the Café was a souvenir shop where I could buy some keychains (I have a keychain collection for every country I go to). Although this shop was not expensive, I would recommend going to the market stalls for souvenirs as you can get some good deals there and buy souvenirs for a much cheaper price.unnamed-14

Day 3:

Day 3 consisted of activities galore! We first went to the Magna Plaza in centraal, I would say a slightly less fancy version of Harrods, but still decent. This place consisted of shops such as Mango and Coach, but we still tried to go to Dutch shops to gain a better experience of their style of clothing.

After bike riding around town, we went on the Amsterdam City Canal Cruise. This was a boat ride that took us around the many canals of Amsterdam, turns out there are many landmarks to see along the canal cruise such as the Crooked Houses, the Illuminated Laundry (AKA Neighbourhood) and the Mayor’s house! I would definitely recommend the boat cruise as it allows you to see the city of Amsterdam without going through the hassle of changing trains or trams.

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Useful Tips:

The Amsterdam City Card:

The Amsterdam City Card is a pass that allows you to get free transport on Metro,Tram, Bus and Train as well as access to museums such as the Van Gogh museum and the Rijksmuseum. This pass allows you to gain access to key tourist areas and allows you to go on the one hour canal cruise ride which was very worth it ! In all, you save loads of money and time from buying tickets and waiting in queues. If you are planning on going to Amsterdam very soon, then I highly recommend taking a look at purchasing the card if you are there for a long stay:

Wrap up warm:

Regardless of what time you go to Amsterdam, the city is full or large lakes and canals, emphasis on the canals- THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. Where we stayed had a huge canal outside, the minute we came out of our door, and although they can be peaceful and they provide a serene atmosphere to walk along with, walking along them at night can be very difficult. The combination of winds with the cold waters can make your walk really annoying, therefore a good coat, scar and hat will do you just fine!

Rent a Bike:

One thing I noticed once arriving to our BnB is that there are well developed cycle lanes everywhere, and EVERYONE rides a bike. It’s almost like it’s the norm to ride a bike, from young kids to elderly women all on bikes. When my friend’s said that they wanted to rent a bike to ride I definitely strayed away from the idea. I have never and will probably never ride a bike on these London streets, I’ve heard of too many accidents happening to cyclists and I wasn’t going to end up being in one, especially not in a foreign country!

However, renting a bike and riding along the streets of Amsterdam Centraal was one of the highlights of the whole trip for me, I felt like I got to indulge in the true Dam experience of riding a bike and especially since there were plenty of bike lanes, I felt more safer than ever ! I would definitely recommend renting a bike, they are cheap ( 1 hour was 4-5 euros) and effective in getting you from A to B.

And that’s all folks !

Thank you for reading my Amsterdam travel blog and I hope to document more of my travels in this pleasant upcoming year of 2020!

 

 

 

 

 

 

ESSENCE TALKS 5 – THE BBL DILEMMA.

It’s Friday. You’ve just come home from a long week of work and your girls have invited you for a night out of drinks and fun. Despite your feet aching, your hair not being washed and your heart desperately yearning for your remote to watch Netflix in bed – you decide to go. That silk black dress that you know is figure hugging is eagerly staring back at you as it lays on your bed.. but then your head slowly starts to drop down almost as if you are a baby struggling to stay awake as you look at your “FUPA”

Okay story telling is over- let’s address the elephant in the room. Orrr page…

Yes, the infamous BBL, the abbreviation that is going all around the streams of social media and has now become the new trend/phase lately causing numerous of girls to go under the knife and causes numerous amounts of debates online. And here I am to add my own 2 cents into it.

Why am I calling it a dilemma? :
I decided to name this post the BBL dilemma only based on the reason that I am literally stuck on whether I support the option to have a procedure done and whether not to. I wouldn’t say I’m contradicting myself by supporting two different options but let’s just say I am in support of a person’s choice to change an insecurity if they have the means to and it is not detrimental to anyone’s wellbeing. However, I am also in much support of women not automatically succumbing to social trends based on their body part and then going under the knife is then seen as their only option to getting rid of a body part that society has deemed unflattering. So, since I haven’t come to a solid conclusion about which side, I’m on I will call it a dilemma.

The Biology Lesson:
BBL’S or Brazilian Butt Lifts is a surgical procedure in which fat is transferred from different body parts such as the abdomen, hips, lower back and thighs through liposuction and then transferred to the butt to create a desired look of a larger butt or a curvier body.
I can’t pinpoint exactly when it started to be on the rise in terms of popularity, but I believe it began to be an American craze before it crossed borders to the UK. According to the BBC there are several reasons why BBL’s cause severe damage or even death to women, such as injecting the fat the deep muscle tissue which can be incorrectly put into the veins, fat being transferred to the bloodstream and then to the heart, or it being done by inexperienced practitioners.

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Average People:

This whole post was inspired after watching Live from Layfield’s YouTube video talking about the problem of average people (mainly being influencers, youtubers etc) getting these procedures done. It leaves us to really question where the line has to be drawn with it. I like the points they were making, and it really made me question some of the things regarding these surgical procedures, one being about insecurity.

I’ve started to notice that you are never really going to be happy with your insecurities, whether it be the size of your height, your FUPA or the size of your butt, how it doesn’t agree with the size that society has deemed to be acceptable. But the fact that going under the knife to create something that agrees with societal standards, doesn’t mean deep down you have changed your insecurity, you have almost just masked it.

So, when its average people promoting this procedure and ‘influencing’ to follow suit, I guess it leads us to question are they really influencing body confidence, or influencing societal standards?

Solutions:
Like the YouTube video said, I believe the main solution to this is to know who you are in Christ/ or at least know your worth if you are not religious. God did not make any mistake when making you, this is evident by making you very unique to everyone else, no one else has your fingerprint even, if you think God made you the same would he have let things such as the amount of hairs on your head be the same as everyone else’s? I’m not trying to preach here but its’ food for thought.

Others include:
-Limiting your social media time: One tip that Is recommended is to have a limit on your social media time, I would say Instagram the most, bodies are plastered constantly all over the explore page and it can be discouraging to one’s eye. If it’s really affecting, you decrease your time

-Verbal agreements: if this means standing in the mirror every day for 5 minutes repeating to yourself “I am happy with my body” then by all means do so. Verbally repeating something to yourself each day will aid in increasing your self-confidence.

Thanks for reading x

TWENTY.

So…

We’re officially in the adulthood stage aren’t we ?

Can’t consider myself a ‘teenager’ can you Efe ?

Sigh. I would repeat these questions to myself at least twice a week for the 6 months that created the first half of 2019. Boy was I scared !

Yup, so i’ve finally made it to 20. The big 2 0. The cut off point of the word “teen” ,and the time where you realise life is just coming at you really fassss !!

The time where your beloved uncles and aunties will walk up to you and say “Eyyyyy Efe , you have grown paaaa” or the time when your mum travels back down memory lane and constantly reminds me of the time when I was a baby crying with my Eczema skin. Yup, this is the time when I knew these statements will come to pass and , well , it’s finally here.

I must say I was really scared to turn 20, when you realise it, it’s actually a whole 2 decades on this earth. It’s just something about having the word “teen” in your age that sort of preserves your innocence. It’s the time where this new decade will probably see me walking down the aisle, raising a family and starting my new life as an accomplished woman- is it not scary?

Normally I would be so excited for my birthdays, since it’s at the beginning of the month it only leaves me with a few days to countdown to the exact time it hits midnight on the 9th of June before I can celebrate. But this year was different. As each month went by, I was getting more anxious about entering my twenties , and also it being June , making me realise that it’s halfway throughout the year and time is ticking away for me to reach all of my goals.

Jackie Aina’s video on “Things They Don’t Tell You In Your 20’s” came in handy as when I sat down to decide on what I would include in the post, watching her video allowed me to hear some great advice from someone who has enjoyed and lived throughout their 20’s

She gave advice on the things I guess i’ve heard before – making your dreams work, enjoying singlehood and of course wearing SPF 😂 , but the one thing that stood out to me was not being too hard on yourself.

The minute I was settled into the year of 2019, amongst other things I was preparing for, I immediately started to be very harsh on myself and my accomplishments. From questioning how far this blog has come, to my personal achievements and of course ‘comparing’ myself to others and what they had achieved by my age. I guess this is what caused most of the anxiety throughout the beginning of the year- comparison.

Of course your 20’s are vital years , they are the years where your life can change drastically , and your life can transform based on the decisions you may decide to take through it – but one piece of advice I would give to any 20 year old reading this now – is to make it your selfish years. Make it the years where you put yourself first. At least that’s what i’ve decided to do.

Allowing society to impede on your overall outlook on your life is definitely not being selfish. Being selfish is taking a step back and analysing what you want from your life and making decisions that would purely be of your benefit. Your 20’s only come once in your lifetime , let it be a time where you are making decisions for yourself and allowing them to make you happy.

I guess another thing I would say is to take risks, at the end of the day you are still young. So having a trial and error period (of course not letting it be detrimental to your entire future) is no problem. Allowing these years to be a time of trialling and making small risks doesn’t have to be scary at all.

Overall, enjoy this new era ! Not a lot of people made it to 20 , and if you have and are reading this then you have done a pretty good job!

Thanks for reading ! Stay blessed x

SKIN.

Whewww Chileee … she back back !

Hey readers ! I know it’s been a really long time since i’ve written a new post, but second year literally swept me off my feet and I just had to put blogging on a slight pause (wishing you guys can forgive me face 😂) but i’m free now and i’m so excited to share more posts on here !

For the longest time i’ve wanted to share my skin tips and what I use on my face as a routine, I honestly believe that as girls or even just as people we can help eachother out by sharing our tips, whether it be beauty , style , health or just general life tips. I’m no dermatologist neither am I trained in beauty or healthcare in anyway , so these tips are just personal but I thought why not share !

My Skin:

So currently I would say i’ve fallen off the bandwagon of clear skin goals lool , this was mainly due to exam stress , unhealthy eating due to exam stress , lack of cleansing due to exam stress … basically blame exams , yeah that’s the main culprit here.

I would say I have very oily skin , and unfortunaltey it’s something I have had to deal with for a while. No matter how much primer , setting powder or blotting powder i use my face will still produce oil around my nose and my forehead , it used to really irritate me as it looked like i had pored a whole gallon of cooking oil on my face before I left the house but once I realised its a common problem exprienced by many people I learned to just let it go.

My skin is also uneven , i wouldn’t necessarily say its due to hyperpigmentation but I had eczema when i was a baby , and it only appeared on my face, leading to scarring and discolouration on my face (my face and neck are now darker than the rest of my body) i used to have a hard time picking foundation shades as I would question if I should match the tone to my face or to my body , I now choose to match it to my body, but try to bring in dark tones still to avoid looking ashy.

My Routine:

I get asked this question alot , and the answer I give is that I dont have one. I dont stick to a solid routine where i cleanse , exfoliate or tone, in fact i tend to stay away from big brand such as Freederm or Clearasil as they actually do damage to my skin more than they help. By all means if those products work wonders then continue to use them at your own discretion but personally, I dont draw towards these products at all.

What I have used is my Clean and Clear exfoliating daily wash, this is the only product i can say is safe to use on my face , i use it after i feel my face has been exposed to alot of dirt whether it be from pollution or through contact of my hands. I then use fresh lemon juice as a ‘toner’ you could call it, and wipe that over my face with a cotton pad, it burns but it makes me assured that it has removed all of the leftover dirt. Then I use my holy grail product which is aloe vera all over my face overnight- I use this religiously and it really does make a difference in clearing up my skin even if it be small blemishes. I would talk more about the benefits of aloe vera here however I wouldn’t want this post to be too long so this link should explain it better –

https://www.prevention.com/beauty/skin-care/a25995450/aloe-vera-benefits-for-sk

Some General Tips:

– Water :make it your best friend , live with it , marry it, carry it wherever you go and drink it like you’ve never before ! Honestly it makes a huge difference , and even when I ask people who’s skin are far better than mine , i usually get the response of incorporating water into their daily routine.

– You are what you eat: I know for me , whenever I eat unhealthily, be it junk food or just foods with a lot of oil, i start getting spots and my problem area is my forehead. So eating healthy is honestly really important for great results.

-Knowledge: just like if you know you have an allergy , you will know what your skin likes and dislikes , therefore it will be a trial and error process if you want to find out what best works for your skin , for me it took years of testing products and numerous breakouts that followed for me to realise that me and facial products just didnt get along

-Patience : whenever I go through a a breakout the first thing i want is for it to immediately vanish away but as we all know ‘good things comes to those who wait’ 😛 so it will take time for you to achieve great skin and it will take time for you to get a hold and control of any spots that may occur -patience is key

So that was just a quick post talking about my current skin ‘routine’ (I really haven’t developed one yet ). Although this post was to talk about the benefits of clear skin , the message I want to carry across is that we should be comfortable in our own skin and love ourselves just the way we are !

Thanks for reading !

“Look after yourself from within, and your beauty will shine through on your skin” – Shanina Shaik.

My Paris/Travel Blog

So initially I never had any plans to travel in 2019. I had spent a lot of time, effort and money last year in Toronto, that I said this year I’ll just kick back and enjoy the goodness of the UK. However, when my good friend Yelena invited me on a girl’s trip to Paris in January, I just couldn’t resist! I said yes and we instantly started planning. I was in Paris for a total of 5 days and 4 nights, and it was a packed, fun-filled trip. Here’s some of the activities that I got up to, it was really a lovely trip and I would recommend everyone to do!

Day 1: CHAMPS ELYSEES, EIFFEL TOWER, ARC DE TRIOMPHE

So, on day 1, we went straight into the city and tackled the biggest landmarks possible. Since we had a limited time in Paris, we thought it would be best to tackle the most important things first and then go for other activities later. The good thing about these places is that they are in close proximity to each other, either by walking or by metro, so it was fairly easy to do these landmarks in one day. I must say- the internet does not do these justice, its truly a sight to see by the naked eye, the amount of intricate detail that goes into each design makes each building spectacular in its own way. I never appreciated architecture that much until I saw these buildings, no shade but London’s skyscrapers can kind of be off putting in terms of design in comparison to France, it really makes you value the amount of time and detail that went into the creation of these buildings.
When you go to these places, they can be quite busy, especially during days of clear blue skies, so patience is needed when trying to get a good camera shot! However, it is so worth the time and energy of looking at these lovely landmarks- it truly is a sight to see.

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Day 2: DISNEY VILLAGE, VAL D’EUROPE.

Day 2 was spent releasing my inner kid at heart- at Disney village. I swear no matter how old you get, a part of you will always jump at excitement once seeing the castle or the numerous Mickey Mouse signs. That day was a bright and sunny day, causing us to take great photos around the garden areas and release our inner silly selves! The village consists of numerous amounts of shops to buy souvenirs; however, I would recommend buying it at stands at the Eiffel tower, due to a cheaper price and variety.

After this, we enjoyed some lovely Chinese at the Val D’Europe shopping centre near our apartment. To me, it was similar to Brent Cross or Wood Green- many shops and many places to eat for a cheap price, therefore saving us loads of money.

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Day 3. LOUVRE, PALAIS DE VERSAILLES, NOTRE DAME, FOIRE DU TRONE

This day was jumbo packed with activities to do – so by the end of it we were so knackered ! firstly we set off for the Louvre museum, this was the place I was most excited about as of course the Mona Lisa was going to be seen, however my friends and I were just excited that we got to breathe the same air as Beyoncé and Jay Z did. I must say the museum is so beautiful- I know I keep repeating this word but it’s honestly the only word I can use- I was just so in awe by its beauty.
So, my mission was accomplished, and I got to see the Mona Lisa. Guys, it’s tiny. Like tiny…
It has a whole room dedicated to her as she is protected by glass that is most likely bulletproof, two wooden blocks and not 1 but 4 security guards by her side. I took my picture and then I left lool, the crowds were ridiculous !

I would recommend going to see other artworks apart from her, the museum holds thousands of beautiful paintings full of loads of history to learn. You can ponder over statues such as Venus de Milo, St John the Baptist and the Sphinx. Those places are less crowded, and you can really see the beauty of each artwork that is present. Most importantly the museum is free! (gotta love a bargain)

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So, we did end up seeing the Notre Dame in all its goodness and glory. I wish I could go into what happened, but I wouldn’t want this post to be too long. First of all, it truly is a spectacular building. We didn’t get to go inside due to the long queue wait, but simply gazing into the exterior of the church was breath-taking. I thank God for two things- one for his protection as we didn’t go on the day of the fire and two because I got to set my eyes on this building beforehand, not many people got the chance to view the real thing- and although they are rebuilding it, it will never be the same as the original, therefore I remain grateful. However, once billions of dollars were raised within weeks of the fire, it leads you to question where the world’s morality really lies. After all, we know there are people dying and in poverty due to war and conflict, and to this day we choose a building over innocent lives… I guess I may go into this in another post, but it’s just food for thought.

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Lastly, we went to this amazing funfair called Foire Du Trone- and it really put the UK’s funfairs to shame. Forgot what you see at Winter Wonderland or Brent Cross, France has the best funfairs hands down! although it was freezing cold, we didn’t let that stop us from enjoying delicious churros and crepes, as well as all the amazing rides!

Day 4: VAN GOGH EXHIBITION, SACRE COEUR

On the last day we decided to indulge ourselves in our artistic splendour and spend the day at the Van Gogh exhibition, this was held at the Atelier des Lumieres and was honestly one of the best exhibitions I had been to. The exhibit consisted of a warehouse transformed into a digital viewing of all his works. No matter what position you were sitting in, his artworks were projected across all walls, making the atmosphere almost terrestrial. It was a great experience.

Lastly, we made the journey to the Sacre Coeur cathedral. It was so peaceful not only because you weren’t allowed to talk but because of the high ceilings, candles being lit and the stained-glass windows. My friend Yelena and I actually took a moment to pray, and it was so relaxing because everyone in the church was so peaceful and posed. Definitely added to the calm atmosphere. It makes you reflect on all the opportunities you get to travel and enjoy with your friends, so a few minutes to demonstrate some gratitude to God was the least we could do!

And that concludes the post, Paris was an awesome trip and will definitely be seeing me in the near future again! Watch out for my next post where I share tips on travel and travelling with friends. 

Stay blessed! x

 

#ESSENCEINTERVIEWS 3

Welcome back to another Essence Interview!

Today’s post consists of me speaking with the lovely Laila, also known as FusionofCultures on YouTube. Her videos range from showing lovely tutorials of rich and bold hairstyles to sharing useful tips on managing all types of hair, whilst bringing positivity and female empowerment to her channel. In addition, she has recently become a business owner, launching her brand Wild Seed Botanicals in 2018, a skincare brand that focuses on vegan products, bringing benefits to the skin, hair and most importantly spiritual wellbeing. Since I haven’t spoken about my hair journey for a while here, I thought it would be great to bring Laila on here to share some tips, and also share her experience with her brand, for any young entrepreneurs who would like some start up advice!

  1. What made you want to be a part of an online platform such as YouTube?

    For me, it’s slightly different to what it is now. When I originally joined YouTube, it was just a video hosting platform and people used it to upload content and videos for their family members to see. It wasn’t necessarily a destination or a search engine as it has become now. For me I initially joined so I could do just that- to have the link to share with other people. I used to be part of an online community called Keep It Simple Sister (KISS), and this was a platform for black women to come from all around the world and share their hair tips, or healthy hair journeys. I was relaxed back then and when I decided to transition, a lot of people were asking me how you are achieving your hairstyles? you should make videos! That is exactly what I did, I would make videos just so I could share the link within that platform and then overtime it started to grow and then I decided to turn it into a channel, just a destination where everyone could come and see the content that I had been uploading.
  2. What has been the biggest lesson you have learned from YouTube?

    YouTube has definitely instilled a mentality of – there is nothing you can’t achieve or can’t have if you put your mind to it. It has made me bold in my approach to life in my career path that I took initially and my career path that I am on now. It has installed that mentality of being entrepreneurial. I don’t think I would have been that if I hadn’t started a YouTube channel.
  3. In 2019, it’s fair to say a lot of women have made the choice to go natural, do you think it’s due to women like you who can educate on haircare or has it become a trend to do so, so people just follow?I’ve had conversations in the past as to whether being natural has become a trend, and for us to be here now in 2019 still asking that question, it’s already been dispelled. It cannot be a trend as it is still happening. Even if it started out as just a trend, trends do start awareness and awareness creates change. So, something that may have been in the beginning a trendy thing to do, has now created long lasting impact within our community which was very much needed. Not that going natural defines your blackness, or defines you as a black women or man, however it does feed into changing the narrative of self-hate. As much as we try and deny it and as much as we don’t want to admit it, for a very long time, our natural hair or the way it grows on our head was seen as something to be ashamed of. Something that needed to be changed, something that was ugly and wasn’t beautiful and now that narrative has changed. I’ve witnessed people that I started out this journey with, being relaxed and changing to become natural and now their children have become natural,, it’s changing generationally and we talk about generational wealth a lot- and it’s not necessarily always about money, but it’s about building economies, building communities and shifting paradigms and I feel like the natural movement has done and surpassed that at this point.
  4. 4. Do you think women who aren’t relaxed feel a certain pressure from the natural hair community? 

    It could be that they do, within any community online, especially, it could be that there are certain agendas perpetuated and pushed in that natural hair community which we can’t hide from. There are people that do have a certain notion about what it means to be natural and they push that, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a certain pressure from non-naturals by naturals. If you dissect within the natural hair community, there are hierarchies even within the natural hair community unfortunately and certain types of naturals even feel that their type of hair isn’t good enough, and they may feel a certain type of pressure to have their hair look a certain way or be a certain way. I think with any other community, there are so many issues internally, that effect those in it and those around it and those who have a certain proximity to it.Coco Oat Bath Milk - Wild Seed Botanicals

How has the journey been with Wild Seed Botanicals so far?

It’s been amazing! it’s been fulfilling, eye-opening and also very difficult. I think that’s the one thing we fail to talk about on the journey, or on anything. If you start something new, or anything that is not intrinsic to you, something that doesn’t necessarily come naturally to you, it can be difficult. On the same side it’s slightly like a dichotomy as although it has been difficult it has been one of the most fulfilling things, I have decided to do in my life to date. I am very proud of it, to turn 30 and to lookback and see the idea that I had, something that wouldn’t of even been confident to move forward with, I took a leap and I did it and I couldn’t be more prouder. And if the business was to fail tomorrow, I would still feel extremely proud of myself that I did it. There are so many people whose dreams remain nothing but dreams. To know that I have actually tried it and gave it everything, makes me proud of where I am and who I’ve become.

Do you feel pressure to compete against other online brands from influencers e.g. hairlines, clothing lines, cosmetic lines etc?

Not necessarily. I believe we have started to move into an age, where I like to participate in a new age of collaborative effort. For me when I see for example other black women that are now entrepreneurial or starting their own business- I never see that as competition I see that as progress. For me, if they win then I also win. If they are able to break through glass ceilings, that means there is a possibility that I could do the same and vice versa. So, in that sense I don’t see anyone as competition, and I don’t feel pressure to compete with other people that have opened their own businesses or anything like that, however as a business, you have to have a certain level of strategy moving forward. One thing that I say to my current intern, when we are online and following brands within the same industry or niche as us, you see these brands as competition only because they are aspirational, following people that are aspirational allows you to strive to be your best, move forward and see something or understand the processes of how the industry works. So, we do have competition – it is business and that is how competition works, but in a broader sense and overarching sense I am more open to seeing a collaborative effort then I am about individuality.

What would be some tips you would give to a young person in starting their own business?

First tip- you need to have a vision that is extremely strong- something you can literally feel tangibly in your mind. You see it, you know what it feels like once you achieve it and you need to visualise every single one of these things because the journey is never easy. Being able to see that vision clearly will keep you moving forward and will stop you from throwing in the towel.

Secondly, unless you feel passionate about it, don’t do it. The passion is the other element that will keep you going and will help you to wake up in the morning, it will fuel and motivate you. There are things in the world that can inspire us but only you can motivate yourself, if you are not passionate about something, it is very hard for you to achieve it.

Finally enjoy the journey, at each stage that you achieve something, you always have to acknowledge it and celebrate every single win, and celebrating the small wins is what will make the times that seem difficult, easier as it would remind you- if I could overcome this, then I could do the next thing! 

CHECK OUT: 

IG: wildseedbotanicals, neffyfrofro
W: wildseedbotanicals.com

Thanks for reading, stay blessed!

Essence Talks 4

Mo Money, Mo Problems !

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Hey guys,

So, after a long-needed hiatus (blame uni of course *rolls eyes*) I’m back with a new essence talk- this is where I discuss my views on a topic that has normally been chosen by my followers on IG- so keep a watchful eye on my stories where I announce when the next essence talk is coming up!

Today I am talking about teens and finances- the handling, the spending, the saving, the preparation, the cash losses, and the numerous, numerous amounts of L’s taken (slowly reminisces on those struggle times lool)

I guess my talk begins with growing up. I always questioned why in the UK, young children are not educated on the processes of taxes, credit scores and mortgages. I mean unless you’re going into a career such as engineering or construction, or anything lab based- I don’t necessarily see the need in me learning how to find the value of X or how to do simultaneous equations in math lessons.

Secondary school times consisted of me spending away my weekly allowance as if I was Bill Gates himself lool- back then, something like a tenner was a lot guys, it was a lot. Little did I know the importance of spending in moderation and saving and investing. I remember watching a video from Debbie Crown, as she is quite fond of spending and handling business. She said something that really stuck with me- imagine from young if she had saved at least £20 a month up until the age she is now (let’s say she’s like 24-25) she would actually have a lot right now to indulge in any investments, start up businesses or simply the ability to treat herself whenever she worked hard. Man! – I thought to myself “why didn’t I have that same mentality of money preservation when I was younger!”

It wasn’t until my late teen years on this earth, that I started to realise the importance of money management. Since having a personal accountant or banker to guide you through your finances is not available (they also cost money) I decided it was high time that I focused on my finances and took control of how I was utilising it. Now you may be wondering- you’re not married, looking for a mortgage, or own a business, so why are you so fascinated with handling your money? I believe starting or getting into the habit of doing so will lead me into setting myself up for success by the time it is time for me to go into all of those requirements that need me to spend. (God willing)

Teens and Money Today.

What I must say is, I feel empowered. Almost everyone around me is “hustling” or trying to find their path to earn an income. This is what makes me proud of my generation, and majority of it is done through talents- whether it be hair, makeup, fashion or simply having a part-time job on the side (which is very hard to do when you are enrolled as a full-time student) everyone is trying to take on a hustle that would allow them to be financially independent and that’s what I respect.

Unfortunately there is the negative side to this-the pressure to aspire to be a part of this rich percentile that fits into the brackets of designer shoes, diamond chains and luxurious accessories- now I’m not judging and I’m definitely not throwing any shade, but I guess teenagers today live in a world where social media presents itself as a platform to display your luxurious items all over, for the world to see. The thing is, many of these things don’t come through from legitimate means, and that isn’t shown on social media, so these “luxurious” items act as a disguise to the reality of things- the realities of how these items were bought in the first place. Well that is a different topic for a whole different new day.

Financial Education.

If I had the power to change the current syllabuses of Maths in the UK, believe me I would. I don’t believe it takes a university fee of 9 grand and over for young adults to realise that handling their finances takes priority and should be done with serious consideration. I believe that if we were taught with the ability of handling our finances appropriately, we would be able to make smart decisions. My parents have always been advisable when it comes to managing your money, none of them work within finance, but of course they have had years of experience of surviving in this Britain to know the ins and outs of utilising your cash, therefore I think I’ve been alright so far. Of course, I get out of control sometimes with the occasional unnecessary purchase (usually make-up) but I’ve learnt that yes, whilst money comes and goes, it should be wise of you to slow down on the spending and save up for future investments.

Tips:

1. Control your spending:
Whenever I go on my shopping trips, I play the value game. I literally ask myself if this is valuable to me? do I really need it? And what benefit is it going to give to me? If I can’t answer these things, then it’s probably not worth me tapping my card of the machine for it. It’s imperative that the money leaving your account is worth the time you spent to earn that in the first place.

2. Get a savings app
Now I’m probably playing myself as I am yet to invest in a savings app (don’t worry it will be done after this post is uploaded lool) but there are some good apps out there such as YOLT or MONZO that help set you weekly or monthly budgets and help you to track when you are overspending. I think this is great as everything we need is normally stored on our phones, so we can track our daily spending. Alternatively, we can have someone accountable for your spending e.g. a parent or close friend who can monitor when you are going over budgets

3.Have a savings account
Now this can cause a love hate relationship- but I love it more than hate it. Having a savings account is great as it allows you to store money away into another account which can help contribute to things like Christmas or holidays. Also, most banks give interest on savings, therefore you will get more money accumulated over time. However, I’m guilty of transferring between accounts most of the time as it’s so easy to do so (literally done through a phone app) so it can get tempting to pass over money to the current account- I guess you have to be really strict on yourself to avoid doing so.

Thanks for reading !