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.

#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!

#ESSENCEINTERVIEWS 2

Hey, Hey!

I’m back with another Essence Interview, and this is where I sit down and discuss tips and tricks with people, I find motivational, inspirational and people who have a different outlook on how they live their life. It’s been a while since I sat down with my good family friend Desiree, an Olympic athlete who so happened to be staying at my uni at the time (see how God works ey?) and it was such a great interview, if you haven’t already you can read it here.

So, for today’s post, I have sat down with former blogger Tisha, founder and editor of blog behindtheschmile.com. A blog filled with amazing and relatable posts to do with lifestyle, top tips about friendships and life, and of course her personal experiences that keep us intrigued with joy as we realise, we all go through similar paths in life, isn’t it weird that social media reminds us that we are all the same, like really, really similar in person. Food for thought…

Funny story is, I didn’t realise I had known Tisha from way back, like secondary school times, until a fateful day at a church we both attended during my first year at Uni, and then I saw her, a face too familiar to forget, so I had to approach her, and my assumptions were correct, we had attended the same secondary school and ended up at the same university ! (Really is such a small world) I instantly had to ask her to feature on my blog!

So, Tisha, thank you for taking time out to talk about blogging, so I guess I’ll start with the blog itself, the backstory; why did you start and what made you decide on the name?

So, I started blogging in Year 13; wasn’t anything too exciting and honestly, I didn’t have anything to put on my UCAS lool, so I thought, why not do something that no one else is doing? People have been blogging for a while, but at that time it wasn’t really a big thing. I got with a group of friends and we decided that we should all blog together, covering a range of things from fashion, beauty, makeup etc. At the time I used to get a Glossy Box which was a monthly beauty subscription box, so that was my section I covered every month. So that was how it started, the blog was called ‘Our Thoughts, Your Eyes’ however I never understood the name lool, out of 8 of us, I was the only one that didn’t like the name, but we just went with it.

As you can imagine, trying to get 8 people to run 1 blog- it wasn’t working out well! So, after 3 months, it was only me and one other girl that was writing. By the time I got to Uni, I decided that it was my blog and I was going to handle it on my own. So, I did a series about packing for uni, budgeting, settling into uni. And then I did a post about freshers; because my freshers was a bad experience and it was about relationships during freshers, although I didn’t have one, a lot of older guys were trying to take advantage, so I wrote a post about it- and it did really well. Then I thought, okay why don’t I write about relationships in general. I spoke about networking and being insecure and friendships, which turned into a whole series and did really well- so I thought maybe I can write about something that’s not a Glossy Box, so that is when I started to write more lifestyle/development posts. I then went on a placement year and I had this blog- which technically at this point was only mine, but I still hated the name, I just didn’t understand it, so I decided I can’t keep writing under a name that I didn’t understand, and ‘Schmile’ was something I’d been saying for a long time, when I was in school everyone just wanted to take an ordinary word and make it sound interesting, additionally people were always telling me to smile because I frown a lot, so I turned the word smile into something more interesting- Schmile

At the time, the blog was completely anonymous- I wasn’t associated with it at all, therefore I named it ‘behindtheschmile’ as I was the person behind it writing- so that’s how I came up with the name!

Why blogging, why not YouTube or Instagram, and giving how popular it is today would you have changed it to these platforms if you never started blogging?

Funny story- I actually had YouTube, I’ve never been one to do things by myself and after year 11 had finished that was the longest summer that we had, so me and a friend began a YouTube channel, and she was really into fashion and style, not so much me, but I still wanted to be a part of it, however collaborating with friends isn’t always the best option, so I set out myself and bought a camera and got my siblings to record me doing skincare videos, hauls, OOTD’s when they used to be popular , D.I.Y videos, as these were the most popular videos to film-they would get like 5000 views, and that was a lot back then!

However, I realised, I wasn’t doing the videos out of interest, I was just doing it as those were the videos I had seen. But with blogging, I didn’t see or read any other blogs like the ones that I had written, so it was different.

I stopped the channel because everything felt forced- I would literally make videos on how to bendy roll your hair- meanwhile I’m questioning myself like am I even a hair stylist? So, these things weren’t of any interest to me.

Instagram was never a platform for me to be honest- I took pictures but I never thought of me being someone big on Instagram- so I guess blogging was for me as I like writing posts. Also, I feel like blogging is easy in not becoming famous. With YouTube, if nobody watches your videos- everyone else can see that, same for Instagram. With blogging as I first started, nobody knew I was doing it, and nobody could tell whether it was doing well or not. If I wrote something and it went really well then, I was excited. If I wrote something and it did really badly- oh well nobody needs to know! I think that’s the main reason I stuck with it, if it did badly then nobody knew, but most of the time it did really well.

What did you love and hate the most about blogging?

Love- so many things. When I started blogging and writing things that I cared about, I loved that I was able to articulate my feelings, I felt like I was going through a lot of things and I felt as if people didn’t understand what I was going through, so when I wrote things down it became a lot clearer and complete strangers were able to relate to what I was saying for a long time. Until 2016, I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it, so all the views that I had were from random people on the internet that I had never met, and God bless them all as they made me so happy. I was able to connect with people that understood what I was dealing with and could offer advice to. That was really encouraging as I went through a lot personally, I guess from year 13 to Christmas of last year.

Now hate is a strong word, and it’s the word I’m going to use as when I revealed my identity and was no longer anonymous, a lot of people started to make judgements. People that I know and didn’t know, a lot of people had the need to tell me what I should and shouldn’t write and what not to expose about myself, a lot of people were very judgemental as I like to write in a style that was very informative- so I say what I had been through then how I dealt with it, almost as if I was teaching and I knew better than everyone else, so a lot of my personal relationships became very tense, as all of a sudden they had a lot to say about this girl who 5 months ago never even knew was writing this blog. The reason why this was so challenging was because I started this blog when I was figuring out who I was and while I was figuring that out a lot of people had things to say, so I’ve decided to still write things, but keep it to myself.

How did you balance blogging alongside your personal life e.g friends, university, work etc?

When I first started blogging, it was just for UCAS, so I saw it as another homework assignment to write about, I guess I’m not a social person, so when I got to Uni, freshers wasn’t that fun, I wasn’t involved. So, whilst everyone was out, I was writing blog posts, I guess it was something to fill up the time. Whilst I was on my placement year, I was so isolated, in the middle of nowhere, didn’t know anyone, I was the only person that looked like me ( I worked in engineering), so blogging gave me something to look forward to, so instead of binging on Netflix, I would spend 6 hours a day writing blog posts- and I had like 50 blog posts to go and I was just rolling them out and rolling them out. So, I had a lot of posts backed up that were ready to go each week. In terms of balancing it wasn’t a struggle as it was the only thing that I was doing outside of school/work. The blog became my life. The only thing that was difficult to balance was relationships, as if I would write something and somebody would read it, they could take it the wrong way- and that that didn’t end too well.

What would be your top tips for someone considering starting a blog/website?

  • Write about something you enjoy- don’t do it because everyone else is doing it, if you have something passionate that you want to write about then write.

  • Be able to write about something you enjoy so much, you don’t care if nobody reads it. Love it to the point that you couldn’t care if anybody else noticed it

  • Be consistent on your niche. If your niche is makeup, keep up with the latest beauty trends and products so people are updated, if it’s music keep up with the latest songs being released. However, if you are writing a self-development/lifestyle blog then take your time, making sure to take regular breaks.

 

  • Always put out good quality work- never rush anything. There are posts that I’ve looked at and after I’ve thought to myself- why did you upload this? Just because I had rushed it. It got to the point that I was writing just to upload something every week It’s nice to see improvement though after a while, so its optional if you want to keep those posts up
  • Do your homework, blogging is not as easy as people may think it is. Before you write something, you have to do your research, after you write a post you have to edit it and decide on a good structure. You then have to promote your blog, not just your Instagram page, this includes responding to emails and comments left after each post – it can be a full-time job, similar to a social-media marketing job.
  • If you are self-hosted, you have to learn how to run a website securely, this includes protecting it from viruses and hackers, sometimes you have to invest good time, and well time is money

Any last comments?

Starting the blog was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life, I’ve met a lot of really nice people and learnt a lot about myself by gaining these new skills. So even if you start a blog and it doesn’t come out as successful, make sure you find something you can learn from it, as there is always something that you can learn.

Thank you for reading !

Confessions Of An Insecure Girl

Hey Readers…

So I remember writing this post back in April of what was 2018 , however something prevented me from posting this , but i thought its’s a new year and why let things get in the way of posting your great work and effort … so it’s not an easy post but it i’m sure it would motivate someone who may read this :

So, let’s take a trip down to memory lane… maybe around secondary school times. The early stages of puberty have just kicked in and you see yourself developing in various ways. Ways that maybe you didn’t quite understand. As unsolicited cushions of fatty tissue, unattractive blemishes and wild pubic hair begin to invade your body.

Then the social construct of insecurities comes along, and you start to realise that as your body changes, the images you’re faced with in a daily basis don’t. The covers of Vogue, Grazia and even page 3 of the Sun, look nothing like you. And before you know it, you’re out of the game. You tick none of the boxes when it comes to the world’s perspective of conventional beauty.

When it comes to insecurities, the thought of the body comes to mind, doesn’t it ? Don’t get me wrong, body image- the major player that men and women of all ages have to battle, even as we mature and emotional uncertainties about our bodies tend to remain forever young. This can range from height and weight, right down to awkward physical assets such as boobs or maybe deeper issues such as skin tone. It has been stated that by as young as 13, at least 50% of girls are significantly unhappy about their physical appearance. Upon reading this admittedly, I fell into the 50%.

University intensified this for me. Stepping into a new place where you barely know anyone and first impressions are imperative to making your mark. The first nights out are always the great ones meeting people and making close friends. However, it stood out to me that I was insecure about my appearance when I wouldn’ even wear certain clothes because it exposed certain things about my body . E.g weight gain. I feel like this was the case for many young men who aspire to be extremely built #Gains and women who want the cole bottle curves.

I guess it became quite serious when I was at the point if virtually starving myself, just to get the look that I wanted. The look that “society” deemed to be perfect. Now dieting is completely fine, and it is considered healthy- only when you are doing it the right way and for the right reasons though. Now, I can admit that I was doing it for my appearance and definitely doing the most unadvisable way. I would have frequent periods of simply not eating ; describing it as my way of “fasting” and adding my ideal body weight to my short lost of prayer points.

I fell deep into the dark side of social media and created a new goal for my weight gain.

Approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape which is mostly influenced by social media. I mean amazing bodies are literally glorified all over timelines and explore pages, and while this virtual fit-fam may seem motivating to one individual, it is a detrimental reminder of a constant insecurity to the other.

With around 800 million people using Instagram daily, it is inevitable to be influenced by the photos posted on the platform and not develop insecurities about it. Especially for a young adult in this generation, you are more or less likely to have at least one type of social media platform you use, whether it be Instagram, Snapchat or even Facebook. So you are bound to have encounters of public figures or celebrities with ideal body types which can be discouraging at times to the viewer.

I really got hit with anxiety with my self when it came to social media. I was constantly checking my weight, my appearance in the mirror, how my makeup looked whenever I was out and constantly reapplying that Fenty glow believing it would magically mask how I truly felt. I was so bothered by how others perceived me and would review old selfies to remind myself of the times I felt I was THE actual sauce. It took me a while to realise that it was in this constant cycle of feeling unfulfilled about myself and how uncomfortable I was to be in my own body. I knew I had to control this urge of wanting to improve something with my appearance, even when there was nothing to work on.

So here are some thing i’ve started to note to ease this feeling of not appreciating myself:

Written affirmations : I would write down my best assets and things that I value about myself and read them over and over again until I started to appreciate these things for their true worth.

My Faith: Being a Christian, I turned to God for help and I found out that Psalm 193:14 really aided me in struggling times, but after a while I started to overcome my insecurities with his help! I started to be honest with him about my insecurities and I started to realise that God has definitely made me the way he is for a reason.

So to end it here , I hope this motivated you to accept yourself for the way you are. This was a long one so thanks if you made it to the end 😂,

Thanks for reading and see you on my next post !

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…

peniel-enchil-pics-10-bellafricana-digest

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

#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 !

 

 

 

#ESSENCETALKS 1

Hey readers, I recently mentioned on my Instagram stories ( if your not following me on there then really, what are you doing ? @essenceofefe) that I wanted to talk about my opinion on some controversial topics that I think about but do not really discuss. Weird fact about me is that I love debating on topic’s surrounding politics, race, gender etc. I guess it brings out the sociology side out of me (not that I studied it anyway lool). So my first segment of Essence Talks is about a question posed by one of my followers:

“Why do you think the rate of teenage pregnancy/pre-marital pregnancy is pretty much the same between atheists and Christian Women ?”

My initial reaction to this was, hmm interesting viewpoint, something that I hadn’t considered before, so I decided to delve into this topic and give my opinion, the perspective of a young adult who is also a Christian woman.

My first thought to this was, well we are in 2018, almost going into 2019 and as we know times have definitely changed from the traditional viewpoint of relationships, or let’s say the cultural viewpoint of relationships (as I am from an African background) you know the normal, go to school, go to university, graduate, get a job, find a boyfriend, start dating, get married, live together, start a family, and the list goes on from there. It’s not knew to think that times have changed from the conservative way of planning out life. As a 19 year old girl, I know of so many people who are parents or in a serious relationship at my age. And whilst my parents may be shocked to know about it, I don’t really see it as a shock to me. Women are either having babies  really early, or really late and it has completely become the norm.

 

Now as a Christian, I’m sure we have all become familiar with verses such as “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” or ” Because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband”  which pretty much explains the instructions about pre-marital sex. However, I believe that in this generation, sexual freedom is out in the open. Whether it’s through movies, music, media, or friends it is a common topic in comparison to years back when it was such a taboo for girls to start having children before being wed. But in reality, as we progress on to a new year, the topic has been exposed and it is not uncommon for young women to be involved in relations, even before marriage. Let’s just say that girls are expressing their right to their sexual freedom. They are just getting… jiggy.

(Sorry, I just had to add the GIF, spice up the blog, they’ve been too dry lately lool )

Moving onto teenage pregnancy, this year hasn’t been so bad. According to the BBC, there were about 23 conceptions per 1,000 15-17 year old girls in 2014 compared to a high of 55 in 1971. So in reality, we are doing pretty well. Doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not still happening. This is why some may say the rate between teenagers and older women who are married are the same. And yet, this reason can mainly be attributed towards changing times. Hey, who thought in 2018 that the LQBTQ+ community would gain such large prominence in the public eye ? Times are moving on and we just have to learn to adjust to these changes. I guess we are not so strict on the rules and guidelines of the Bible, or we have just moved out of the ways of the Old Testament. I like to see it as, since God gave us the opportunity of free will, we are choosing to exercise this right, if not I guess many people wouldn’t be in this situation or in others such as getting tattoos, smoking or even drinking alcohol. It’s something that happens and its accepted socially, no matter what religious background you are from.

I could go on forever about this topic, but to save myself from rambling , I guess I will stop just here. So far this piece has been really interesting to write about, and I have enjoyed it as I can express my truest opinion on controversial topics ( I like a bit of controversy, yes I do) hope to do more post like these in the near future and I hope to whoever is reading this, you find this interesting !

Remain Blessed !

My Culture is Not for Sale !

So, this week I have decided to blog about my opinion on the idea/theme/social construct or whatever you would like to phrase it as – Cultural Appropriation. The whole scepticism around the concept, and how it has affected me directly or exactly how it has affected girls my age or around my ethnicity.

But first, let’s define the term as: “the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas, etc of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society”

In simpler terms, it’s the process of taking another group’s culture, or traditions or lifestyle and adopting it as your own, and therefore making it accepted in your culture, rather than theirs, hopefully that makes sense?

The term arose around 2016/2017 and it came to it’s prominence due to its association with celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry and Justin Bieber all facing criticism over it. Even celebrities we recognise today such as 6ix9ine who regularly use the derogatory word “n*gga” in his lyrics is facing high criticism from let’s say the “black culture” after using the term quite frequently

So why would anyone be offended over this idea? Let’s look at it in depth. The whole process of it is when you are taking a person’s culture (mainly of a lesser dominant race) and using it as your own. An example of this could be when Kim Kardashian wore braids and posted it on her Instagram account. On the outside, there is nothing wrong with it, after all she is just wearing a hairstyle, isn’t she? However, the problem starts when she referred to the braids as “Bo Derek” braids after the famous actress who wore the hairstyle in a movie. Many black women were highly offended by this act, stating that she completely disregarded the history of braids and cornrows, as it can be traced back to relating to slavery, as those were the styles that women wore before they boarded slave ships and had their hair removed, it was apart of their culture and customs, and unfortunately it was stripped away by the slave owners, due to their wanting of them to assimilate to western types of hair which is mainly straightened.

Other instances include singers such as Katy Perry being criticised for wearing Geisha which is the tradition of Japanese culture which includes wearing pale white make-up and elaborate hairstyles. This stemmed from her American Music Awards performance in 2013. Many people again were hurt and offended by the act, which she later apologised for. Now there is not anything wrong with wearing other people’s cultural attire or materials, it can simply mean you show appreciation for their culture and are interested in it. However, when it is culturally accepted by a person of a dominant race, whilst the weaker race is criticised for it, it becomes a problem and many people who view it happening on social media become very offended by it.

So, what is my opinion then? I completely understand the hatred and the annoyance coming from the receiving end of cultural appropriation. After all, imagine wearing something you find attractive, but when a person of a higher status or wealth wears it they are praised and adored for it whilst you are ridiculed for it. However, I believe we have to look at it from both sides. Taking the example of black cultural appropriation, with hairstyles and facial features such as lip shapes, aren’t we doing the same by doing processes such as contouring noses and wearing weaves and wigs? There is the argument of it being protective styling and beautiful, however we happen to take the culture of Europeans or Caucasians by wearing straight wigs, even with the emergence of frontals to make it look extremely realistic (as you can see I am digressing into hair talk)

But the point is, in realistic terms, we take things from people’s cultures all the time, sometimes without realising that we are doing so. This is not necessarily wrong, as it can be considered as a way of appreciating the beauty in one’s culture, I think where the problem lies is when the persons culture is not being accepted for its originality and praised when someone of a different culture takes it into the public light. Whether culture appropriation would ever be solved is the question, as time goes by, people’s cultures are being shared and intertwined with others rapidly. So, should we start to accept that this is occurring, or should we put an end to appropriation due to the harm that it causes to the lesser dominant race ?

Thanks for reading !

Issa Testimony !

So, I’m back with a new post, it’s been a while as usual (I’m familiar with my inconsistent uploads now ha!) but today I decided to write about how important it is to talk to God- like literally how important it is to tell God everything.

As we all know prayer is when you are having a conversation with God right? And we think that God is this super being who is bigger and powerful (which in fact he is) therefore our prayers must be super formal as if we are writing to the Queen herself. But I’ve learnt that telling God the smallest thing, even though it may be embarrassing or uncomfortable to mention to God really does help as God answers prayers.

Lately I’ve been struggling to talk to God – LIKE REALLY BADLY. As in I can’t even formulate a sentence to say to God in the mornings as I am usually cranky and tired from sleeping all night, and then before bed I usually watch a little YouTube or scroll through Instagram and that usually puts me to sleep- but not talking to God. It’s got me quite worried as in desperate times of need e.g. exam season I can spend hours with God, but in times of enjoyment e.g. holidays, I struggle so badly to have a conversation with God. But then I try and remember the times when I was honest to him about my feelings and struggles and things turned out for the better from then on.

Little Testimony: So this year I created an Amazon account as I had some old textbooks I didn’t need any more so I decided to sell them, now I’m not sure if anyone would agree on this but Amazon is a very complicated website, like very complex so of course I made a mistake and set up my account wrong, so by doing this they deducted £15 from my account which of course I was very angry about. So about over a period of 2-3 months I battled with them back and forth constantly about getting my refund as there were several steps involved in the refund process. It was a long and frustrating time in getting my refund, however I realised I had not even spoke to God about it. It just hadn’t come to my attention that I hadn’t told God about my problem that I had. So, I decided in the morning that I would actually talk to God about this problem and within a week or so of doing that, I received my refund. Lesson learned.

So, this is basically a lesson to you and to myself really about the essence and benefits of telling God everything, even from the littlest thing to the biggest. Even things you may think you can handle on your own and in your individual time can be helped by the power of God. I would say this is a contradiction as I honestly do struggle with this myself and I hardly tell God about the real deep things that I may be feeling, however I guess this is something I need to develop on and be more serious about as God really does care about every single detail in your life. Hope this helps !

Stay Blessed x