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London to Lagos – Part 2 #traveldiaries

It has been so awesome and rewarding to get such great feedback from my blog post on flying Arik Air! Honestly, when I was considering (or shall I say reconsidering) flying with the airline, I really hoped to see more personal reviews and experiences online. So I wrote that post wishing it would be seen and of some use! So far, I know three people who have flown with Ark Air. Phenomenal right? and five in total who have considered it… so Arik Air you should come pay me – Ehn! look at all this promotion I’m doing for you now?!

Anyway, if it wasn’t obvious enough, I flew Arik on my last flight to Lagos. I primarily travelled there to attend my boyfriend’s sister’s wedding. I had to land with one day to get my dress fitted and made, and then travel up to Ibadan for the ceremony. Funny how things in Africa move so fast and yet so slow at the same time. 

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Mango & I are very much in love

I love Alsatians, and I’m lucky to have a few as close friends.

The closest four-legged friend of mine is Mango, she’s a bit over a year old, chilled and loves a lot of affection. I guess that’s why we gel so well.

Over the summer, we enjoyed a fun stroll through Langley Country Park in Buckinghamshire, which hosts a pleasant mix of historical sites and artefacts, plus a beautiful and blooming public garden, originally built in the 20th century by Sir Robert Grenville Harvey.

From the formal Temple Gardens and Arboretum, Mango & I had a lovely historical stroll in a place we spend much time, but know little of.

We agreed that although most of what we learnt won’t be of much relevance to either of us, we both appreciate the importance of heritage, and that it’s a blessing to be anywhere (or anyone) with a story to tell.

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My first on an African Airline – Flying Arik Air

Time flies! I can’t believe I haven’t shared my latest trip to Lagos with you guys, especially since I’ve already been to and back from Uganda since too!

The highlights of my trip were definitely experiencing my first flight on an African Airline and wearing the Nigerian traditional attire Gele and all (more on that soon).

In mid-June I travelled to Lagos for my second trip to Nigeria, and as usual (and as expected), the Visa application was a stress, but with Gods grace (amen!) I got there. What was particularly interesting about this trip was that I flew Arik Air for the first time, a Nigerian airline operating both domestic and international flights.

At the time, Arik Air was the only airline offering a direct flight from London to Lagos for under £700, half the price of an equivalent flight on British Airways. I asked around, and failed to find anyone who had taken a long haul flight on the airline lived to tell the tale. To add to my scepticism, there was an inactive Twitter account, meagre Facebook page and the reviews online varied from horrific to ‘ just okay’. Nevertheless, but the cost saving, I figured I would chance it.

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Winners & Losers – The Body Shop, Mizani, NYX Cosmetics

I’ve been meaning to share how I feel about some great, and not so great products I’ve been using lately. So I’m rushing to write this review tonight before I finish the great products and throw away the not so great ones. 

By the way, miss doing some of my old spontaneous posts, when blogging was about writing and sharing my  personal view in bed, and eagerly waking up to check my comments and correct my 1million typos. Blogging has become so planned and well… professional, and that’s made me lose interest. So I’m back to keeping it personal and casual. 

Anyways, back to the point. I’m pretty consistent with the hair and skin products Iuse, but I recently dropped into the L’Oreal HQ for the launch of Mizani’s 25 Miracle Milk, a lightweight leave-in treatment that provides 25 benefits in just a few sprays. Mizani’s 25 Miracle Milk comes packed with Xylose, for strength and protection, and coconut oil to moisture and soften hair. I enjoyed the product, but I would still prefer to use Activilong’s Actirepair Thermal Protection Spray with Olive and Organic Avocado. The consistencies are relatively similar, however, Activilong’s Actirepair feels and smells just that bit more luxurious and delicious. I also prefer the use of Avocado oils over coconut, it’s more of a treat; and also retailing at around half the price. 

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Afro Pop + Euro House ÷ The future = Anbuley

I’m feeling over excited today, primarily because it’s Friday, further fuelled by the fact I have African dance class later!

I’ve been meaning to share Anbuley with you! She’s like my African Kelis, love her. Anbuley is born of Ghanaian and Austrian herigage and raised in Vienna, having grown up in Europe, her submergence into the Pan-African music scene music became her refuge of home.

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Haircuts of Hackney- The remix feat. ManBun & Queensbridge Quiff

This is a book that I don’t need, but I absolutely want! Haircuts of Hackney, illustrated by Daniel Frost is a playful encyclopaedia of Hipster Hairdos you will find in North East London and Hillsong Church.

This quirky and colourful book folds out to show 35 paintings of the backs of Hackney heads. From the all-too-common Man Bun and Moptop to the less-sighted Well Street Waterfall and Queensbridge Quiff.

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#Afrobeats and the beats that’ve followed us ever since

Last Friday I partook in an African dance class, primarily as a source of exercise, but most importantly just for fun. As the 20 or so of us gyrated and stomped ourselves across the studio floor, it occurred to me deep and wide global audiences have adopted African rhythms and so much of Africa’s contemporary art forms into our everyday life.

My African dance class, is part of a series of activities offered by my local gym, alongside Pilates, Spinning and Legs Bums and Tums; and despite being Ugandan, with hips that don’t lie, my plans to be the fourth member of the CEO Dancers have officially been debunked!

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A bit of natural hair nostalgia

With an increasing number of black women choosing to stay away from chemical hair processors, the Afro hair industry has seen a significant revival, particularly in the last five years. I vividly remember in the early years of blogging and exploration into the natural hair scene, such words as ‘Natural Nazis’ and ‘Naturalistas’ being thrown around. All encapsulating the different levels of self-identification that came with having natural hair.

A few more years down the line, the more politically inclined natural hair movement has matured into an appreciation of the variety of afro hair textures and what can be done with it. It’s a healthy place to be in, where natural or not, nothing is added or taken away from your sense of self.

Afro Hair Insights Natural Hair MRX Africa Afroblush Afro Culture Drying Weave Reusing

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Loving these African home furnishings by Bespoke Binny

Inspired by her West African roots, Bespoke Binny founder Natalie Yaa Obenewa Thompson, has designed a line of home furnishings that are reminiscent of a colourful African marketplace using a mixture of vibrant wax prints and cotton twills tailoring cushions, kitchen & dining ware and lampshades.

There’s no place like home. So for anyone looking to update their interiors and lift their spirits, Bespoke Binny provides the perfect answer…

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Ivory Coast, West Africa → Photography by Moustafa Cheaiteli @mcheaiteli

Photography by Moustafa Cheaiteli

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“There is something sinuous about culture” – Tawanda Mudzonga, Harare: The Places That We Come From

There is something sinuous about culture.

Sometimes it wraps around you reassuringly, grounding you, letting you know who you are and your place in the world. Other times, it binds and constricts, arresting, correcting, and constricting every movement.

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THE WRAP LIFE – African head wraps by Nnenna Stella @thewraplife01

This stunning image (left) has been floating around on Tumblr and Instagram, and I’ve been meaning to give light to the entire collection, and its creator. The photographs themselves were shot by New York photographer Dexter Ryan Jones, for Nnenna Stella, owner of the online store The Wrap Life.

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…The Future of Africa- portrait photography by Oliver Kruger

the future of Africa…

“Golden Youth” by Oliver Kruger.
Dedicated to the Cultural Preservation of the African Aesthetic

Through his ongoing series Golden Youth, Kruger documents new currents in Johannesburg’s youth culture. Artist Oliver Kruger finds his subjects in the urban metropolises of Johannesburg and uses portraiture to expand on the aesthetics and tradition of African studio photography.

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“If it were back in the 90s I would have opened up the album sleeve to look at who he was”

I’m a big Sampha fan. You know you have that artist no one knew and now everybody knows, that was Sampha for me.

I first heard him on SBTRKT’s first studio album back in 2010, and I said in these exact words “whose that guy on this track”. If it were back in the 90s I would have opened up the album sleeve to look at who he was, but I have Google so…yeah.

Something about his voice just moves me. I’m so pleased to see his career go from strength to strength.

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Introducing Letters from Africa, a special gift to lovers of African literature and digital media

I’m so excited to share Letters from Africa, a brilliant concept for anyone who loves African literature and digital media. Letters from Africa is about life as it is really lived in Africa’s thriving metropolises, piercing the often hysterical headlines from western commentators.

Right now, I’m reading Lagos in 10 links, by Tolu Ogunlesi who offers ten different ways in to the megacity that is Lagos. It’s so good!

Multimedia extra content will include photo diaries, Q&A videos, guest posts on tech industry and must-read literature, and a round-up of the best music from around the continent.

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This week is South Africa Menswear #FashionWeek @samenswearweek #SAMW

This week is South Africa’s Menswear Fashion Week #SAMW, a collaboration between city of Cape Town and Cape Town Fashion Council, showcasing 24 of Africa’s leading designers for the country’s first ever Fashion Week dedicated exclusively to menswear.

The goal of #SAMW is to be the leading platform for innovation, trends, production whilst building credibility for the platform that will enable designers to grow their businesses.

SAMW is clearly modelled heavily on the world’s leading platform, London Collections: Men, #SAMW  will aim to eventually see leading SA designers showcase in London, both as a drive to build exports and bring awareness of these brands in South Africa.

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Getting that ROLEX right! #Uganda #Food Photography by @namuganyi

A piece of advise I gave you after my latest road trip through Uganda last year was to eat a Rolex! I quote:

* Eat a Rolex. A Rolex is an filled burrito looking snack, usually filled with egg. Obviously tastier than the timepiece.

Post: Latest from Uganda: “On the road”- Part One- April/14

Awesome to see lifestyle photographer Namuganyi Photographer capture a local food stall in Kampala town getting his Rolex on.

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Natural Hair and Style Bloggers @UrbanBushBabes in Vogue 2015 <3 it!!

Extremely thrilled to see NYC based natural hair and style bloggers Cipriana and TK Quan of Urban Bush Babes in a two-page spread in US Vogue!

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Is she a tramp or a trendy setter, who knows? Depends on the shoes she’s wearing…

You will find me living in duster coats of various forms until April, or at least until I start to see daffodils again. It’s not just something I wear, it’s somewhere I go. Deep into my dark, comfy and baggy abode, finding refuge away from figure hugging anything.

Is she a tramp or a trendy setter, who knows? Depends on the shoes she’s wearing…

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My non-New Years Resos

I was going to write a post about new year’s resolutions, possibly how it’s going and possibly share mine with you. However, I think there are enough new year’s resolutions floating around that I needn’t bother.

Plus, looking at how packed my gym has been since the beginning of the year, I see so many of you have enough your plate! So with that in mind, here’s a few ‘non-resolutions’, but overall positive decisions I’m stepping into:

  • [Spoiler alert] One of which is to try reading the bible in a year, however, as you’ll see below, I did this, but I started in July last year. So the fact it’s January means NOTHING! It’s about making positive steps in your life, whatever the month that means EVERYTHING.

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POW-ER-FULL #FakeDeep @CecileEmeke

“Generally speaking, I think we live in world that enjoys black culture, and dislikes black people” Cecile Emeke. 

Just watch…

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Nykhor x Dannijo

Nykhor Paul shot with the power duo, Dannijo jewelry and P&P flowers

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Unravelling beauty with model, Editor and Social Entrepreneur Yomi Abiola

“It’s everywhere and we can’t escape it, beauty is part of our lives. Regardless of being a model since the age of fifteen, I have always grappled with beauty.

I have struggled with the contradictions that beauty has exposed me to. ‘Be yourself, be gorgeous and confident, be classic yet trendy, be sexy but not too trashy and be yourself, but be someone else at the same time.’

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Antidote Street, the way forward when shopping for black hair and skin care products @AntidoteStreet

No more trekking all the way to Harslesden and/or Brixton to buy Jamaican Black Castor Oil!

Antidote Street is a brand new online destination for black hair and skin care products. Born out of a desire to revolutionise access to these products in the UK, Antidote Street offers a curated selection of products to meet the beauty needs of the woman or man of colour.

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@MyCafeNeo are the stars of Nigeria’s growing coffee house culture

Self-proclaimed coffee fiend. That’s me, and as soon as Pret A Manger start opening outlets in Kampala I’ll move back home!

I joke…

But in all seriousness, I know it’s no surprise that Uganda has a growing coffee culture with the popularity and global endorsement of ‘Good African Coffee’, but I’m beginning to see cosy coffee houses gaining traction in West Africa too. One West African coffee chain who were quick to ride this wave is Café Neo, owned by Ngozi Dozie and his brother Chijoke. Café Neo is chain of coffee houses created with returning Nigerians in mind in the full knowledge that years spent abroad came back with Espresso and Frappe additions, just like me.

“So, it’s a new way… a new approach to coffee, a new approach where we, as Africans, drink the coffee that we produce, that’s been a gift for us, as opposed to exporting it and importing sub-grade coffee.” Ngozi Dozie

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