There’s a seat at the table for all of us.

“I don’t mind them doing good, just as long as they are not doing better than me…”

The other day, I read an article, talking about supporting each other and just how easy it is to do so. In our current age, businesses and companies all have social media as their way of promoting their brand and as a way of communicating with their customers. The article was mentioning that it really does not cost a lot to support a brand- in a non-financial way. 

Like a post. Share on your story. Give a shout out on your personal page. Sending a DM to someone. Collaborations and much more

So, what is exactly stopping us from believing that there truly is a seat at the table for everyone. For everyone to eat and benefit off of their labour? 

The community.

Now, I didn’t want to touch on this section of the overall topic, but I guess I have to briefly talk on it. Support within the black community. 

I believe there has always been an underlying hindrance in the black community when it comes to supporting each other. Whether it be with businesses, companies, freelance. I guess it’s to do with competition. Everyone’s desire to rise to the top and stay there- for nobody to claim their position

You see it even when we go into music. I find it funny how there are always battles between Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, Remy Ma and so on. But at the end of the day, think of where they would be if we all just supported them equally. 

This also leads me to the topic of comparison, how it really is the thief of joy. Being and independent worker means you have to be your own critic in a way, you have to make judgment on your work and on your service – harshly
So when you see another person doing well, or even better than you, it can fuel the fire of not wanting to support- simply because you have compared yourself to them and have become affected by their growth. 

BUT you have to remember 

In this current day, support could probably be the best thing you can give to another person who is trying to get out there in the open. Whether it may be a share, a like, a promotion – all of these things help in one way or the other. 

Decided to keep this one short and sweet, just a thought to ponder on…

Thanks for reading!

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!

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

My Canada/ Travel Blog

So, at the ending of June till the ending of July, I visited Canada for the 2nd time (I had previously visited there back in 2015) and I went to the city of Toronto, its capital. So I’ve decided to document my thoughts, opinions and some good places that I went to!

Some background knowledge though, Canada has always been one of the places to visit on my bucket list. (amongst many other countries) I’ve always had a weird fascination about the country, you would think everyone’s dream is to go to America, but Canada is one of those countries that is hardly spoken of, mentioned in the news, it’s a chilled-out country really, and I’m fortunate to have relatives who live there so they were happy to invite me.

Toronto in particular is not that different in comparison to London, it has the same shops, entertainment districts and chill spots, just imagine London maximised by 10, the roads maximised by 10, cars, pavements, malls, tourist sites all maximised by 10 and you practically have Canada. The weather is the same, however their winters have been said to be really harsh in comparison to ours. So, it wouldn’t be much of a difference if you were visiting for your first time.

Spots to go:
Scarborough Town Centre AKA: STC. This is like the Westfields Stratford of London, it’s a really urban mall with loads of clothing shops and restaurants targeted for young adults and teens. This is located in the centre of Toronto, so it’s easily accessible by train (although Canada’s train system is pretty crap). So, it’s similar to Westfield as you can access it easily using the tube. I was mostly excited to go there as you all know there is no Sephora here in the UK (rolls eyes) so I spent at least a good 40 mins to an hour there just being in heaven. It’s an extremely fast paced moving mall with thousands of visitors coming every single day, especially during summer time with school kids coming to spend their day with friends.

Niagara Falls: Probably the most recognised Canadian attraction would be Niagara Falls, A huge waterfall located at the border of Canada, almost crossing into the US. It is simply a spectacular sight to see, and I also had the opportunity to go into the falls in a boat that took you round the perimeters of the waterfall, allowing you to get sprayed by the heavy mist the waters spring out. Accompanied by this is a range of hotels and streets filled with arcades and restaurants to make you enjoy your whole day, I must admit it is quite a pricy area, so you could end up spending so much without you knowing, but it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and any one going to Canada should go and see the falls.

IMG_1121

Canada Wonderland: Canada’s Wonderland is very similar to Thorpe Park or Alton Towers here. It is a huge amusement park filled with famous rides such as the Behemoth and the Leviathan. As well as this, it has a massive water park for all ages. It’s a really great place to spend a hot day, as Canada can get quite hot at times. It’s best to go in a huge group as you are entitled to discounts, and it’s just more fun that way really! You can literally spend your whole entire day there and never get bored.

Well, this is just a short post about me documenting my travels in Canada, I hope to this with more countries as I go along my life, thanks for reading !

Why I Write.

 

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So, I guess I could say that from a young age I’ve always loved words. It began with reading and you could describe me as a “bookworm” in the sense that my head was always wrapped up in the latest adventurous story that were printed on pages. Eventually I realised that words put in the right frame have the power to influence, educate and transform people, and that is why I write!

Previously I’ve expanded my work from poetry to Spoken Word which is a format of speaking poetry aloud to a crowd, once again with the motive of either educating or inspiring people. This can be used to support examples of famous speeches from Martin Luther King, to Maya Angelou to George the Poet. These speeches have gone down in history not only as revolutionary but powerful and motivating speeches that have changed the world. Evidently so, it has paved the way for many changes in society.
However, I attribute some of my works to artists such as Suli Breaks and DYLEMA who are both UK poets/spoken word artists. Not only because they are captivating in their words and writings but after seeing them both perform live, they’ve left that impact on me that still directs me to my spoken word pieces today.

Suli Breaks, most notable for his piece titled “Why I hate school but love education” which has gained close to 9 million views on YouTube is what particularly attracted me to his work. I guess what made it gain such prominence is the fact that it was targeted to many teens, like myself making it very relatable to some of the topics raised in the video. Topics ranging from not being able to fully express your uniqueness under subjects such as English or Maths, and topics such as Black History Month being limited to the generic understandings of Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King. He managed to create a distinction between the purpose of school and the purpose of education which many people could relate to sincerely, simply put it was a great spoken word piece.

Likewise, DYLEMA performed her piece “What If a black girl knew” at a university showcase I attended last year, and her words were truly inspiring. In a short space of 5 minutes she was able to poetically translate to a crowd, common issues that black girls face such as stereotypes of girls in society, insecurities relating to facial features and a lack of opportunities we come across. The fact that once again I could disclose my feelings towards this powerful piece is also what attracted me to her work and motivated me to start writing my own.

So far, I can say I have around three or four spoken word pieces that I can say is finished and accomplished in achieving its goals which is to inspire and to motivate people. I hope to develop my skills further in creating more inspiring pieces to showcase to people of my age and to others too.

Thanks for reading!