My Paris/Travel Blog

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

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

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

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Day 2: DISNEY VILLAGE, VAL D’EUROPE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 4: VAN GOGH EXHIBITION, SACRE COEUR

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

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

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

Stay blessed! x

 

The Fast.

Hey! How are you!

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

night court eating GIF by Laff

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

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

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

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Why I did it ? 

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

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

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

What I learnt : 

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

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

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

Why you should do it:

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

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

Remain Blessed x

Growing Up As The Only Girl.

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

Okay no problem.

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

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

Phase 1: Adolescence

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

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

Phase 2: The Awkward Stage.

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

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

Phase 3: Present

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

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

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

(waits for applauds)

Too cringe? Lool

Stay Blessed x

#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 !

#ESSENCETALKS 2

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

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

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

NO 

Simply put. NO
(unless proven otherwise.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading !.

#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 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 !

Blog Feature !

Heyy!!

So I have been asked to write again for Cocoon blogs, this will be my second time writing for them and I absolutley love the content i create for them- do check them out on their website and their instagram – @shop_cocoon

Thanks 🙂

http://www.cocoonblogs.co.uk

 

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