ESSENCE TALKS 5 – THE BBL DILEMMA.

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

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

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

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

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

Image result for bbl surgery

Average People:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading x

TWENTY.

So…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading ! Stay blessed x

SKIN.

Whewww Chileee … she back back !

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

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

My Skin:

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

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

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

My Routine:

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

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

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

Some General Tips:

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading !

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

#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!

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

small pic

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.

prom pic

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

now

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

#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 !

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