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

 

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 !

 

 

 

 

The Fast.

Hey! How are you!

From the 11th to the 15th of Feb I decided to fast. This was my first official time doing this under my own controlled settings and terms. I must say it has changed me and transformed my outlook on my Christian life and journey, so I decided to write about my experience of it. Also providing some tips on how to go about it especially if it’s your first time- don’t worry I’m a foodian just like you guys and fasting is nothing to be scared about.

night court eating GIF by Laff

So, for those of you who don’t know what fasting is, it is basically when you remove a common thing from your life in substitution of getting closer to God. Now this is mainly associated with food as it is a common thing you need daily; however, I did a social media fast in addition, removing my accessibility to both during this time of my fast. Instead a person fasting would substitute time spent making or preparing food or time on social media and decide to pray, read a chapter of the Bible or just serenade themselves in worship music.

My strategy for doing so was to fast from the moment I would wake up until 6pm on that same day for a period of 5 days. This meant no food was to enter my mouth until 6pm when I would break it. All social media apps were to be logged out of, however I wished I had just deleted them as I was tempted to check my Snap or Insta stories from time to time. The only app I allowed access to was WhatsApp as I have university commitments which uses that app as a means of communication.

My day started off with worship and a reading from the Bible plan ‘Fasting with A Purpose’ which was perfect as it was 5 days, so it could keep me going and I never missed a day. I would then set off to uni, but even through that I tried to incorporate God in everything that I did, so as I walked, I listened to a worship playlist- Tasha Cobbs was really doing it for me lool, or I would just take time to reflect on God whole heartedly. After uni, I would do any work needed then watch a sermon- Michael Todd’s sermons really captivated me, specifically his ‘Charged Up’ series and his ‘Church Sucks’ series. Then by 6pm, I would say a final prayer and break the fast!

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Why I did it ? 

So, the main reason why I did it was to prepare myself. That weekend I went to a retreat in Wales, and I knew I wanted to prep myself for a weekend which I knew was going to be hectic and transforming. But truly it was social media. I WAS ADDICTED! . When I say addicted I think I was truly at my worst, although I was not active by posting messages or pictures, I would be on my phone from morning till night, so badly that my mind was bursting to read a book or prepare for my week at uni, but I physically could not shut my phone off, as if it there was a sprit controlling my hand and glueing it to my phone- weird right ?

I just knew I couldn’t continue so a social media fast was needed in order to free my mind for a while.

Let me just say- IT WAS HARD. I refuse to sit here and type, boasting about how easy it was to not eat or use my phone until 6 pm. Especially with a hectic and demanding university schedule. I was drained and miserable, and had low energy all the time, so concentrating on a lecture was very difficult to do. I guess with the social media fast, I should have had a build up to it- as going from being my phone’s best friend to completely neglecting it for a period of 8+ hours became very difficult to do. I believe on one of the days I had to break my fast in the middle as I was on campus for 9 hours, so energy levels were seriously dropping, but I didn’t let that deter me from continuing.

What I learnt : 

I learnt so much about myself during this time of fasting. One thing that you’re not meant to do is to boast and let others see that you are in this time of fast:

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father” Matthew 6:16-18

And yes, I did just that. Everywhere I went I uttered the words “yeah I’m tired as I haven’t eaten for like 5 hours” and I was waiting for their “Pele’s” in return. I realised this was not the correct way to go about it, we shouldn’t boast about being in this state and we definitely shouldn’t show it in our body language, no matter how weak you may feel. Instead, I learnt just how much reflection I could do, and how Jesus himself must have dealt with the 40 day fast, we are really not like the highest, in a sense of power I guess, our bodies physically can’t go 40 days without food or water, so I guess this shows just how powerful and might Jesus is as he could endure it.

Why you should do it:

– It surrenders yourself to God
– It draws you nearer to him, as the things we spend most of our time doing e.g. scrolling through timelines is spent reading the word or watching a sermon
– Brings humility, you now reflect on your positioning and your priorities, one week was enough for me to realise that I spend an excessive amount of my time on unnecessary things.
-Detoxes your mind: There is more to apps! Walking, chatting with friends, sitting in a park- anything that will allow you to be removed from your phone is great for your spirit and mind.

So I end my post here, my first fast wasn’t the easiest to be consistent at but I must say it has taught me many lessons, I hope to repeat this act of fasting throughout the year and pray that it strengthens my intimacy with my Father.

Remain Blessed x

Growing Up As The Only Girl.

Oh. So … we’re really going down memory lane huh?

Okay no problem.

It was so random when I thought of the idea of writing about my experiences growing up being the only girl. So yes if you didn’t know I’m one with three brothers all older than me, one residing in Ghana and the oldest being in his late 20’s. Whilst this may not seem like a big deal, there are probably girls in my position with 5 or 6 brothers, I still thought it was great as I could reminisce on the good old days of begging my brother to play Barbie and watch Bratz on TV with me. This will also include my perspective of being an ‘African’ only girl as I believe so well that this will differ from let’s say the… British perspective.

Oh yeah, you can have the chance of gazing into the pictures of my early childhood as a treat, I guess!

Phase 1: Adolescence

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I always wonder how a girl who grew up with brothers who loved football, Power Rangers and colours of dark greens and blue hues, could end up being a girl who is a lover of beauty, hair and female empowerment. Basically, how I didn’t end up being a tomboy. As a young girl I loved playing with my brothers, and I guess I could say the same about them. Let’s just say at this age I was prone to receiving the palms of my mother’s hand against my thighs in quick motion if she caught me playing with her Fashion Fair foundation or caught me walking in her red pair of heels across the flat. Goes to show that from a young age I was never drawn to those things my brothers loved. Every Christmas I would still crave the longing of a Barbie doll whilst my brothers ran around the other Toys R Us isle for the latest action figure of Spider-man and Ben 10.

Additionally, I had a neighbour who lived 5 steps away from me (literally) who I played with almost every single day. We’re still close to this very day and I must say she was my style icon when I was younger. From teaching me to gel up my hair, to what clothes I should wear for that summer fun fair to applying my first set of individual eyelashes for a party I went to in year 9. So most of my after school evenings were spent at hers. So, around this time, I guess it wasn’t such as big deal that I was the only girl. Yes, I longed for that same Sister-Sister style relationship I had with another girl, but simply I enjoyed being around my bros. There were definitely some hilarious memories that I will never forget- just not the same if I grew up with girls I would presume.

Phase 2: The Awkward Stage.

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Ah who can forget the joyous days of secondary school? The times where you would go in and laugh till tears came out of your eyes, the times where hormones are raging and you’re going through mixed emotions- emotions that only a fellow female would relate to.  See it’s quite difficult to adjust to bodily changes around the female region (you know what I mean, I’m not going into detail, everyone should have done GCSE Biology) and not having anyone to talk to about it besides my mother was not easy. I guess this is the stage where I needed the ‘sister’ I so longed for the most. By the time I joined secondary, my older brother had endured at least 2 years of school, whereas the oldest had already progressed towards college days. It still baffles me how I managed to organise and do my prom all by myself with the help of my mother of course. But even that- the age difference is a bit you know somtin somtin -from time she said I should do pin curls or geri curls to prom I knew yeah “Mum you are really not familiar with our time period are you?”  I must say I have a lot of female cousins, and just like my old neighbour, my summer holidays and half-terms were spent at theirs. Whenever I had an occasion to go to, be it wedding, birthday or any party they were always at my beck and call. For hair and makeup- I guess my personal beauty team, only we were related and I loved them very much lool.

So, with this growing adolescent stage came the time where you may hear the frequent statement of “You are now the woman of the house” “You have to cook for your brothers” etc bellowing from your mother’s mouth. My fellow Africans, why is it that the women is automatically seen as the lady of the house in terms of cooking and cleaning whereas the men are ushered into their careers of money-making, high-position corporate places? It is 2019, and we have come along way for the female. And that’s why I love empowerment so much, but I must say during this time those words began to remain forever in my memory. It is then that I wouldn’t say I gained a bit of envy, but I soon realised my ‘place’ in the household in comparison to my brothers. I don’t know if this was a way my mum used to prepare me for adulthood and motherhood as in reality you do have a duty of providing for your family, maybe a better method could have been used, which could have stopped me comparing myself to how my brothers got treated in the house.

Phase 3: Present

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So here is 19-year-old me, currently typing away right now amongst other things I have to do. I guess the big question is- did I struggle growing up as the only girl, and the answer is no, I haven’t struggled. It’s been a crazy journey and being the only girl has impacted the way I think till this day. Yes, having a sister would have been nice and eventually I will get one once they get married, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that being an only girl has taught me so much about the male mindset. How they think, develop and mature. It’s actually quite funny.

And besides, a sister is so much more than having somebody who shared the same womb as your mother, I consider my friends from school, from church and my relatives all to be my sisters.  I wouldn’t change any arm wrestle, any playfight and any moments of struggling to hold the Xbox controller for anything. It’s the memories that matter to me the most.

So, if by chance you are reading this and you are an only girl in the midst of pulling your hair out of your scalp to help cope with the stress- don’t worry, it’s okay. Years after, you will look back and be grateful for these memories that will never you, and it is with this that I end my post.

(waits for applauds)

Too cringe? Lool

Stay Blessed x

ESSENCETALKS 3

Hey readers, and Happy New Year !

I’m glad to start off the new year with an ESSENCE TALK, and you can find these posted on my Instagram where I state on my stories that I’m about to write one, and you can send your questions in !

So today’s question to open up the year is:

“Can Religious people listen to secular music ?”

Quite frankly, you can write a whole dissertation, book, journal on this topic alone, but for the purpose of this post I won’t keep you guys reading for ages! So the question states “Religious” and I interpret that as all religions, however I only follow one which is Christianity, so I will be basing it off of that, but I’m sure the points I make can be applied to other religions too.

So to answer the question – YES.
I am a firm believer that you can listen to all types of music, whether it be gospel, grime, RNB, hey even the latest drill songs can be enjoyed if you really want to. Now I understand where the controversy and the confusion may arise as how can you be listening to “Great are you lord” on Sunday and then listen to “Gun lean on the beat as well” on the following Monday- some would say you are just contradicting yourself on your beliefs and what your singing during your gospel music sessions

However I believe that the fundamental difference between the two are the words/lyrics to songs. I’m no music expert, but we can all agree that songs have lyrics and then a beat to it. Now some secular songs may have explicit or demeaning lyrics to it, and even I may find it too offensive, so I simply don’t listen to it- BUT, I must say I do love a good beat anything with a good vibe and a cool production of sounds has me hooked instantly- hence why Afrobeats can be considered one of, if not my favourite genres of music to listen to.

Back to the point I was making (I always seem to digress off topic *rolls eyes* lool) I believe as religious people we shouldn’t let words influence the way we act or our lifestyle. Therefore I try not to take lyrics to heart or literally, especially if they don’t go with the word of God.

It’s quite difficult this topic, because I would be lying to you if I said that I listen to gospel music and worship music 24/7 because in reality, I don’t. But that shouldn’t be seen as a negative thing or a downer on your faith, after all I believe in the verse “So whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of god.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) Therefore if you are following a secular song, I suggest if you feel in your heart that you cannot honour God by listening then simply stop. However I don’t feel it’s necessary to cut all secular music out of your life, God wants us to enjoy, as well as enabled us with the freewill to choose what we indulge ourselves in, so I see it as harmless if you do listen to secular music, I guarantee you I will always be having a Wizkid or Maleek Berry song playing in the background if you’re around me , it never leaves me feeling less religious.

I can’t speak so much on other religions, and if I do, I definitely need to go back and do research before I write anything on here- just so my facts are accurate, but I have the feeling that some religions may be a bit stricter and may prohibit access to

So I end it here, by saying that I believe religious people can listen to secular music, however it’s important to note that some music may have profanities that might disagree with one’s religion, so I guess its subjective and it sole relies on the person to make their judgement on what music to listen to.

Thanks for reading !

when the beat drops dancing GIF

What I’m Leaving Behind In 2018

Hey Readers !

So I’m back with a new post today, and I just had to squeeze this in before the year ends, otherwise the title of this post would be completely pointless.

I’m sure if you’ve been on YouTube lately then you’ve seen the “Things We Need To Leave In 2018” videos piling up on your watchlist. For those of you who remain oblivious to it, it’s just a video of people’s gathered thoughts and opinions of what they believe shouldn’t be carried into 2019. You know, AirPods, bad frontal wigs, Fraud Bae… the list goes on and on and on.

But on some recent self-reflection, I decided to come up with my own version of things that I am not taking into 2019. Now these aren’t materialistic things like wigs or whatever, they are more characteristic and behavioural traits that I think should stay in the year of 2018. So here I present to you some things that I plan to leave here, and hopefully you can relate to these and follow me into it as well !

 

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1. Not sharing my blog enough.
So, I’ve realised that I’ve been holding myself back when exposing this blog. Truth of the matter is, to this day many people don’t realise I blog or that I own one. They may have seen it on my Instagram page that I post pictures and often use the popular phrase “Link In Bio” on almost every caption. However I still feel scared, yes scared, to share my blog. Currently I only share my blog on Instagram as I feel that other bloggers are around, so sharing my blog will be the norm, just how someone shares their hair page, or their music page. HOWEVER, when it comes to other apps such as SnapChat or simply through word of mouth, I never managed to accomplish the act of sharing my posts there. I guess because I know the people on my Snap, therefore I was scared of what they would think of me doing so, and a part of me doubted if they would even read my posts.

In this day and age where everyone is starting up their channels, and gaining follows on all social media apps, little me with a blog on the side must admit it can be hard to compete with others, but what I guess is my New Years revolution is to definitely share my post on all my social media platforms and to actually tell people about it. I mean, it’s not compulsory to read my posts, but if I can bless/inspire/motivate one person by my blog then I think I have achieved my purpose of the blog.

2. Comparing myself to others.
We have all heard the saying, “comparison is the thief of joy” and that is the harsh truth. I’ve realised this year that I have been comparing myself to other people’s success and gains, and that has had en effect on my self-esteem. Not only comparing my blog, but other things regarding education, self-development and also personal life goals. This is a big one for me in the upcoming year, as I have learned that everyone is walking their own paths and is going at their own pace, therefore if I cam slower or quicker than anyone in achieving something, it wouldn’t really matter, we are all chasing our goals individually!

3. Contradicting myself.
Another phrase you have all hear is definitely “PRACTISE WHAT YOU PREACH” and I can admit that hasn’t always been the case for me. Numerous amount of times, whenever I am writing a motivational post, I plan exactly what I am going to tell my readers, things they should cut out of their lives and things they should bring into their lives. But me being me, I fail to state my failures and my trials. Things like praying to God and reading the Bible, chasing your dreams, not letting anxiety get to you, The reality is even after I finish writing my posts, am I strict in doing so myself? I can’t come on here and talk about all the things that would solve a problem or situation for somebody reading, without incorporating these things myself. Everything is easier said than it is done, however I would be contradicting myself, or just simply being a hypocrite if I don’t practise the things that I preach on here- It simply gotta go in 2019 !

So to end here, I don’t see tis post as just a negative rant of myself, but rather an acknowledgment of my wrongdoings in the year. As I go ahead to change these things in my life for the new year, I also urge my readers to evaluate their own selves in preparation for the new year. So this is it for me in 2018, and I can’t wait to be back writing with you guys in 2019.

Have a lovely, prosperous and blessed new year !

It’s December: What are you waiting for ?

Hey Readers !

Funnily enough, I remember writing this post back in November, so initially this post was meant to be entitled ” It’s November: What are you waiting for?” but I thought to myself- Hmm, before I type another word, why don’t you apply this to yourself first before you start writing and directing people to make choices with their life you haven’t even done yourself ( slowly whispers “Efe you really tied it” to herself)

Background story over- the purpose of this post this week is exactly written in the title. We have successfully made it to December 2019. Now I know not all my readers are religious, but I would like to say personally that God has been very good. When you realise it, going out and making it back home safely is a blessing and that has occur for every day of the year, and God definitely deserves all the glory for that !

But at this time of the year, you see the various tweets, Instagram memes and our dear famous sister reappear on our various social media pages. I don’t know her name- but she looks like a Beatrice… So we are … going to call her Beatrice I guess…

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This time of year, we are always talking about the things we intend to do for the next year. Whether it is to start that new diet, or to start that new business plan, page or YouTube channel. Whether it is to start on a new project or to start saving towards that dream car of yours. It is always projected over into the new year. Yes of course, it is good to have visions and dreams for the new year, after all a new year presents that start for everyone. But really, what’s the harm of starting that new thing in December? after all we do have 31 days to start ahead, so why not just – start ?

My friend always used to say “life is too short”, and I’m sure we are all familiar with the phrase YOLO as well, and I certainly have applied that to my life. This very blog that you are reading this post on is a perfect example. I had been contemplating starting this blog for God knows how long and I was also adding all the worries of life on top of it- so it seemed as if this blog was never going to come into existence.

But I revisited the phrase, and simply thought- Life is really too short ! Not to scare you or anything- but our days here are numbered on earth, and wouldn’t you want to have a peace of mind that that thing that has been your long lasting passion was developed into a great idea ?

For a long time, I had suffered from what is known as the “what will people think of this” syndrome. I thought to myself, I can’t do this and expect people to actually pay attention to this, its pathetic. I do want to write a post about my initial thoughts about this blog- but that’s another topic for another day.

Let me not digress any further. The point is, I think we need to just start whatever is bugging us to do, and this doesn’t have to be massive things such as buying a house, because obviously it takes some time and preparation. But whether it is investing in that book, or starting your own website. Even calling that friend you have been planning on speaking to ever since September- NOW IS THE TIME.

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Don’t let December and this Christmas atmosphere deter you from getting head start on that dream you have been thinking of every day since the year started. Even if it’s a brief plan or blueprint of how it would plan out to be, there’s no harm on starting a bit early, to ensure that it all works out successfully.

Thanks for reading and Stay Blessed x

#ESSENCETALKS 2

Hey readers !
It’s good to be back with a second segment of Essence Talks, this is where I get people to send me a message on Instagram (@essenceofefe) about a question or a controversial topic that they would like me to talk about or comment on. I really enjoyed the last segment where I talked about the topic of pre-marital pregnancy in christianity. If you haven’t read it, you can catch a sneak peek of it here.

I must say, I got a range of wild topics -from plastic surgery to the topic of black people not supporting each other to even Madeline McCann ! (but I small small love me a conspiracy theory though) However, I decided to pick upon the topic sent in by one of my readers-  university (Here we go again…. lool)

The question sent in was –
“Is university meant for everyone ? ”

NO 

Simply put. NO
(unless proven otherwise.)

Now I can end the post here, since I’ve addressed the question there. It’s not one of those things where i’m undecided or I’m stuck in the middle of maybe and no – it’s simply put, I believe it’s not meant for everyone. But I guess it would be kind of a wacky post if I just end it here- it’s not an Instagram Q&A – you’re expecting  full answers – so let’s dig in shall we !

giphy-2So, the way I see it is that in my 2 years of being at university, I must say it is a crazy, crazy ride. Apart from being entirely responsible for your own self whilst being at university, it can also change your life drastically, unfortunately for some this being a negative.

1. Most people, not all, but most people would leave home for university. Many may move out to a campus, many will even move cities and some might even move countries. With that being said, your Mother, Father, annoying brother who refuses to put down the toilet seat and that annoying sister who refuses to stop touching your makeup bag simply isn’t there for the majority of your university life. Whilst for some, this may be a dream come true, for others it slowly becomes a thing that affects them deeply. Simply the loss of family support systems around them can really damage a person. That’s why I wouldn’t completely recommend jumping out to the furthest city away from your parents if you know you need them around you every step of the way for moral support- campus life and learning by yourself is definitely not for everyone.

2.Following from my first point, the INDEPENDENCE is real. University is the only time where you are fully responsible for going to that lecture, going to that tutorial, emailing that tutor, submitting that coursework- it’s all up to you. You would think that gaining independence would be a great thing (which honestly it is) but if you haven’t been slowly eased into it, it can be very difficult to grasp. For some people, they need that extra added push by a teacher or a loved one to tell them to start on that essay or to finish revising before going on a night out. This is how people get led astray and end up loosing themselves as they don’t have anyone to guide them on making university work

3.Quite frankly, university isn’t for everyone simply because there are different paths to set goals and plans. Going into 2019, there are no surprises that there are various ways of  earning a living without going through the traditional route of university. Hey, our good friend Ferdi coming fast literally secured himself a deal with BooHoo simply because of a funny video that went viral. I’m not saying to get a friend to record a funny video of you, be put up on social media and it blows- because it doesn’t always happen like that, let’s just think of this guys fortune as luck. But getting to a career through the world of social media, apprenticeships, freelancing, businesses are just some of the numerous ways people are avoiding the £9.25 k amount of uni fees. Quite frankly, not every single career needs a degree, sure some qualifications would look nice to show you have studied the expertise of a field, but as we are progressing into 2019, it is slowly beginning to become an optional choice to have one, not an essential thing.

So there you have it, I decided to put it into 3 points to stop me rambling on about the topic, as I have plenty of more things to say, but I could be typing for ages. This was not done to put anyone off going to university or to any form of higher educative institution. Rather, it is just an insight into my opinions of everyone applying, I guess you can compare it to certain foods, you either like it or you don’t- University is for some and for others, not so much !

Thanks for reading !.

#ESSENCEINTERVIEWS 1

Hey Readers!

So I’m back with something exciting and new, since September I’ve been pondering on this new segment called ESSENCE INTERVIEWS, where I interview successful people on tips to do with motivation and their journey to get to where they are now. It wasn’t until the beginning of October that I put this plan into action, and by the beginning of November, this planned was birthed into reality !

So I start off this segment with a very dear friend of mine, someone I’ve known since I was like 4 years old and someone who inspires me more than ever- Desiree Henry. Desiree is a British sprinter from North London who competes in the 100 and 200 meters races. So far she’s acquired an amazing bronze medal in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and a silver medal in the 4 x 100m relay in the World Athletic Championships in 2017. Amongst these many achievements, she is an Adidas ambassador and lover of photography ! It was such an honour to catch up with her since I haven’t seen her for over 7, maybe more years ! I’m glad that I got the chance to start off my new segment with her, and I look forward to continuing with this with more great people to interview! Check out the interview here :

  • So Desiree, how did you know you had a passion for athletics ?

    I feel that my passion for athletics began when I attended multiple competitions and just found that I was winning ! Of course everyone wants to be the best, everyone likes to win and feel successful and have their moment, and after winning a few races, I just wanted to do everything in my power to maintain this and be successful, become an athlete and be successful at it, so I believe my passion started from there.

  • Do you feel pressure to stand out amongst thousands of athletes that are around the same age as you, if so, how do you deal with this pressure?

    Most definitely , in terms of the pressure I have to realise that, yes athletics is an individual sport, and the competitiveness is extremely high in the UK, but I think what puts things into perspective is when I went to America, and found that not only are there girls my age running just as fast as me, working just as hard as me, but it was the numbers. I’m sure that there are 100 girls that could do what I do, and that could knock peoples confidence. But that could make me think how am I going to make myself feel even more special, I just think to myself my drive is completely different to their drive, it’s just remembering who I am, remembering the work I have put throughout the years and not discrediting it and just giving myself a pat on the back and realising that all my efforts haven’t been for nothing, and I’m going to be successful regardless, even if it means I’m my own cheerleader you could say.

  • What is your favourite thing about being an athlete ?

    Hmm, my favourite thing about being an athlete would definitely be the travelling aspect of it, being an athlete has opened up my eyes to so many cultural experiences, and not only cultural experiences but being able to experience it through travelling and going to different countries, a big thing for me when I started off being young, was travelling around the UK. I thought that was the greatest thing, but now athletics has brought me to places such as South Africa, China, The Bahamas, America etc. It’s just incredible that I’ve had these opportunities to go to these places ,so that’s not only comepetition experiences but life experiences, that have been amazing and have been able to achieve through athletics.

  • Do you feel that the sporting community is lacking in black females, form diverse areas e.g London ?

    To an extent, yes. I am lucky in the sense of  the generation of sprinters we have are top female sprinters , that are London sprinters, so I feel like we have the representation there. Of course we have to think about the future, what are the future generation looking like for upcoming sprinters ? and I wouldn’t say a lot of them are from London, but I think we are lucky for the support and for me to do my job which is to represent London the best I can, even if that means winning a medal. Just giving the younger generation, hope and a future. Then I would also look at a wider scale, London is partially represented in out sport, but on the grand scale, are black women represented in sport in general ? If it just means that I can do my role and get my face out there as much as I can, then I’m doing a great thing, we are on the right path of having well represented black female athlete.

  • What makes you gain confidence in times of anxiety, for example when you have a huge race coming up or a big interview etc ?

    Well for me, when it comes to races, I’m at the stage where I’m running against my heroes, my idols and all that kind of stuff. It’s really easy to crumble and get sucked in and forget all he hard work you’ve put in, but now I’ve been able to train my brain, that when I’m standing there on the line, those days of sweat,blood and tears that I’ve put in at training, it’s going to be for a reason. This is the moment that it’s all been worth it for, and I think it only takes me a few seconds to simply realise that and once I believe that all the work that I’ve put in has been worth it, and all the work is going to help me with my performances, I just feel unstoppable! I can look to my left and to my right and be like ” right, let’s go, bring it on!” because I’m confident in my work.

  • In terms of motivation, what would you tell your younger self ?

    I would tell my younger self, the hard work that you’re putting in right now, maintain it. It’s going to define you as a character and separate you from not just being an average sprinter but being one of the best in the world and a world class British athlete, so I would commend myself on that, on my perseverance and determination. I would also say- enjoy the journey ! You are going to experience a lot and in experiencing alot, take a moment to just appreciate every single opportunity. Whether that’s going to a new country and racing there- take a moment to walk around and explore the country because another thing is, you’re gonna travel the world a lot, but just make sure you get the real experience and not just see the tracks, the hotels and repeat that cycle but try and get that experience in. 

  • What would you say to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps and gain exposure for their career e.g boosting themselves on social media ?

    I would start to think how can I help myself, and I would start with things such as charity events. That way you are doing a selfless act, something that is not going to bring financial gain out of it but to gain experience and communicate with people, that could be an amazing thing. So by charity events, this could be giving away old clothes or speaking at schools etc. Because it ultimately helps you to build your own character and it gets you think to think from another perspective, so if you’re going to a school and you are going to speak to people from another generation, if you’re an individual or an athlete, everyone has had life experiences, and everyone can learn from a moment and if you can share those experiences and what you’ve learnt to to a younger generation, again through that you have done a selfless act- share it on social media! It’s not a problem at all. And yes people can say, “oh well, you’re only doing it for social media clout” but also you did something amazing, you took time out of your day, not getting paid by it, but taking time to help others, I feel like that is a  major important thing. It’s important to build yourself first, build your own self confidence and to get to a place where, you don’t feel as well that you need outsiders to tell you are great or amazing, but simply spending time and building on your own self confidence it the best thing. 

  • And girlllll, I need some fitness tips so, what are the essential/starter-kit basic things to getting that body in shape

    Right, we are getting right in there ! When we say “fit body” people have to remember, it is not going to happen overnight. If you are going to the gym, I’m telling you don’t look in the mirror the next day, thinking you’ve made an improvement – because you haven’t. But this shouldn’t discourage you, but I think the number one thing is – brace yourselves- CARBS !
    As much as we love our rice, bread, pasta etc, that is the number one thing I would reduce on my list. I personally don’t have any carbs, but for someone that isn’t an athlete and they are doing their day to day things, I would reduce the amount. By this I mean having 1-2 carb dishes a week, eventually progressing to having no carbs at all. I tell you that is where a lot of fat comes from.
    Tip number 2 – everyone loves a good ab circuit workout. and if you can implement at least three ab workouts a week, roughly 10 exercises for each of them =, I feel like that’s an amazing foundation for you, just to introduce exercises into your body. Nothing too strenuous, something easy, maybe if you are watching a Netflix show or just chilling, something that is not taking major time or is taking out time from your busy day. I believe those two, would be my top 2 things, if you want to start your journey to a healthy and fitter lifestyle.

  • Any lasting things you would like to say..

    I used this quote the other day “dreams don’t work unless you do” and this can be applied in every aspect of your life. How I relate that to me- if I don’t go to training, if I don’t put in the work and effort, how am I going to be successful ? You or anyone else can apply that by making sure your going to lectures, going to seminars guarantees you graduating or getting the grade that you want, whether your a teacher or something, going to work inspires the next generation and helps them too. So that has been my quote for the day, – ” dreams don’t work, unless you do.” 

So that’s the first post of this new segment completed ! I’m so excited for starting this and can’t wait to see what come out of this. I would like to thank Desiree for contributing to this and you can find her on :

Instagram : desiree_lh
Twitter: @DesireeLHenry
Facebook: Desireehenryfanpage
Youtube: Desiree Henry

Thanks for reading !

 

 

 

When Faith comes to an all time low…

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Hey Readers !

I feel as if I haven’t spoken about my Christian journey on here in a long time, I’ve been blogging about other topics apart from my journey with Christ, and I guess the reason behind this post is a great way to get back into doing so.

Unfortunately I haven’t been in the greatest state of mind when it comes to my relationship with Christ. Who knew that behind me sharing motivational scriptures on my IG stories or writing about topics that are fun and enthusiastic, there was a girl sitting behind a screen suffering from a mixture of emotions and uncertainty with God?

Long story short, I had suffered two major disappointments in the past week and a half, mainly to do with my education. I had cried, strayed away from God and doubted he had even listened to my prayers. The fact that I had to wake up the next day and walk into university, engage in conversation with people with a wide smile on my face was the most daunting part of it all. It was hard.

I really believed that my prayers were answered and that God was going to pull through for me. So when I was hit with the disappointments, I was really angry with God, I questioned him with all sorts of things- “God why didn’t you answer my prayer” “Did I do something wrong, is this a punishment or something ?” “Surely the things I ask for would have brought great joy and glory to you, so why did you deny them? ” and I was just left confused.

The ironic thing was, immedialtey when I had discovered the disappointment, the first thing I did was to go on my laptop, play a worship song, fall on my knees and cry out to him. THAT’S WHAT MADE ME PAUSE. After drying my face from the black spectacles left from my mascara ( typical of me to not buy waterproof ey? ) I turned off the music, and just sat in silence for a while.

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I realised that whatever trial I go through, God always pulls me back towards him. The minute I have an unanswered prayer, or things are just turning out for the worse I immediately call out to him. Isn’t it strange that the person I would expect myself to be the most angry at is the one I am driving towards as my immediate help and guider? This my friends is the ultimate and indescribable power of God. Just face it, once you’ve given your life solely to God, there’s no turning back- he has you in his grasp until the very end. That’s why in any situation you may come across- think of the first thing you turn to…

Yes you may turn towards friends, and family for support, But when you lay in bed thinking about those things, those thoughts go directly towards God. It’s taken social media and a good church service today to make me realise that God listens to us when we pray. Social media because I just happened to come across a SnapChat post by a friend, sharing her thoughts on God putting us through tough trials and seasons for a reason and then from the church sermon, I learnt that God simply listens to us when we pray- it just might not be the answer we were expecting.

In the meantime, I’ve started a new Bible plan titled ” What Hinders Answers To Prayer” and it’s going well so far, given me all the answers I need. So hopefully I will completely overcome this overbearing hurt that I am feeling.

I decided to share this post because to whoever is reading, I know you’ve been in my position before. Even if you are not religious, you’ve wanted something so bad and it just never happens… I anticipate that once you read this post, you will find some kind of encouragement and motivation from this, so I leave you with some quotes that have uplifted my spirit :

Verses to lift you up whilst in disappointment:

Philippians 4:6 : Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God

John 16:33 : I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace . In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world

Psalm 46:10: He says ” Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth”

Psalm 55:22: Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

Remain Blessed x