12.02.2018

A Love Letter To The Younger Version Of Myself.

Dear Sade,

You my darling are magic.

Yes. Magic. Fireworks fly from the tips of your fingers in inimitable bursts of colour and creativity, everything you touch is Gold. A magical Midas touch that will only strengthen as you grow older and wiser each year.
Your late teens feel like a vast black ocean that you’ve fallen into and you’re not sure University is for you. You are in limbo - you failed a module in your first year and are having to retake it in a few months and if you don’t you won’t be able to continue on with architecture. But you will pass it, and you will graduate, for the Lord that brought you this far would not leave you to perish. 

There are times where it has almost felt like you were drowning in a deep dark sea of sadness, and my dear, it will come again through the upsets of broken relationships, perceived failures, and intense fear of the unknown, the daily greyness of “what does the future hold?”, but you will keep holding on and with each year that you do, a grand plan will begin to unfurl before your eyes. At age 25 you will see that everything you have gone through, has brought you to exactly the right place. Those stormy mountains you will climb with red raw hands, tears streaming down your face, will not break you. No, at the peak you will look down and you will understand it all.
You look at your body and want to hide, puberty came like a thief in the night and suddenly you sprouted breasts, thicker thighs and the gentle curve of childbearing hips that are well known throughout your lineage. Your body is covered in delicate golden threads that weave from the tops of your shoulders down to the soft lull of your breasts, before beginning again at your hips, snaking towards your buttocks and inner thighs before making a grand and unexpected appearance on the tops of your knees. They make you want to cover up and hide, these shining shimmering scars, symbolic of your now softer, rounder body. I promise though, after a while these thoughts will fade and ironically so will those stretch marks.

You are in love with love. Everywhere you see it. You see the sparkling crackling warmth of those fiery embers all around. And you are enamoured! Like most young women, you have a solid idea of how you will meet your Prince Charming, maybe you’ll bump into each other in the theological department of a huge library, books falling and accidentally brushing fingers whilst picking them up. Or maybe you’ll meet them at some sort of architecture event, glasses steaming up, awkward smiles and one too many glasses of free prosecco. Or maybe you’d meet at church whilst both serving on a Sunday, he’d make his way across the room to declare that he wants to do a bible study just the both of you. But that doesn’t happen, you will meet men and they will not be what the Disney movies said they would be. You meet men who are lessons in naivety. You think you can change this, but my darling that will never happen. These painful memories will be pivotal to your emotional growth. You will realise that breakups will not kill you, they may sting for a bit but I promise you, a year on and you will barely remember what their smile looked like, how they smelt and what they did. You will begin to concentrate on yourself and your surroundings and abandon the idea of love until it is ready, and you will know it is when the time is right. 
At age 21 you sit on your bed at university wondering how on Earth your future will pan out. You are terrified, everything feels so big, too vast for you to comprehend. Even a few years later at age 25, you sit again on your bed at home with a second degree to your name but a sense of fear that feels tethered to your heart. Once you let go, you eventually fall into place, the journey is not easy and even the place you fall into is simply a temporary part of your journey.

Do not worry so much in your youth, but instead take each day as it comes and be kind to yourself, this period may be difficult, but you will look back at these mountains as mere speed bumps in the grander scheme of your life because you my darling will achieve so much! You will become a leader for hurt women, for young women, for women who need a friend or a sister. The seeds that were planted in your chest by the almighty willing you to be a shoulder to cry on and a person to listen, will begin to sprout around age 24 and by 27 you will be a mentor not just to Yossy, but to many women. You will be a role model and wonder how someone who has come from such a bubble of dark confusion could be looked up to and my darling it is because you made it through the treacherous ocean of life and you not only survived, you thrived. And you will swim, again and again, forcing your enemies and demons to drown instead of you. Keep your eyes fixed on the almighty and your arms outstretched in surrender.

Youth is such a confusing and challenging space and you will look back on these times almost fondly, laughing at what you went through, knowing that the almighty carried you through to the other side a stronger, kinder, warmer and more empathetic woman, and my darling, there is so much more. More than you would have ever believed. Just. Keep. Holding. On.
To all my women. You my darling are magic. Just. Keep. Holding. On.




What I'm Wearing...

Rebeca Satin Dress c/o Boden | Cordelia Heels c/o Boden | Virgo Necklace c/o Sif Jakobs | Earrings - H&M (old)

[ photos by the very talented shotsbyfifi ]


x

11.21.2018

For Yossy : 50 Days Of Christmas With Boots [AD]

My sister and I are the best of friends, but contrary to what social media may show, it hasn’t always been that way. Yossy and I used to despise each other. I am 27 and Yossy is 20, the age gap as well as our very different personalities ( I am more no-nonsense like my mum, she is more soft and cuddly like my Dad) meant that our communication was strained until I went off to university to do my undergraduate studies. When I moved back home after my first degree, we found that we simply got along much better than we had before.

Christmas is a time to share generosity and kindness with absolutely everyone we meet, so when Boots asked to work with me on their '50 Days of Christmas' campaign to pick out some christmas gifts for a loved one, I thought what better way to share the love, than with my darling baby sister who remains warm, kind and generous regardless of what the world throws at her. The christmas gifts for her section is jam-packed with products for every type of woman in your life, and with so much choice as well as their three for two offer, well it'd be rude not to pick yourself up something too...
From a young age, I (badly) experimented with makeup - think dark black wonky eyeliner á la Amy Winehouse with concealer lips, at aged 20 it was my signature look. Yossy, I suppose got to 13 and thought to experiment herself with her older sisters makeup and I found her many a day making videos on her laptop showing off her glittery eyelids and glossy lips. Now we both appreciate a nice subtle beat, matte nude lips, a brown smokey eye, some mascara, eyelashes, and a lot less eyeliner. Everyone likes a cheeky pre-Christmas gift and my favourite kind is the advent calendar, whether it’s chocolate, a candle or makeup coming out of it, a surprise a day is always lovely. Because of Yossy’s love of beauty products and experimenting, a few new makeup items were definitely a must in terms of product choices. The Sleek 'Can't Wait Another Day' advent calendar, as well as the Missguided Matte Squad Lipstick Set,  were obvious choices, as well as a cheeky Reeses peanut butter cup lip balm for her which will sit on atop our Christmas tree banishing any ashy lips during the festive period! (sidenote, but that girl is OBSESSED with peanut butter cups!)

Yossy is most definitely the laziest bougie person I know in my life. The girl loves a good fluffy dressing gown, towel on the head, face mask with cucumber on her eyes moment, and I suppose to encourage these little snippets of self-care, especially as she’s in her last year of university and feeling the pressures of adulthood to come,  A solid set of Soap & Glory facemasks for quite literally every occasion was a perfect choice for her. I could literally picture her in her room studying with her facemask on declaring that her grades may not be the best but her skin sure is aha! To finish off the self-care routine is chocolate, but not just any chocolate, Green & Blacks Chocolate Tasting Collection. I'll be honest and say I chose this present to 'share' and by share I mean eat about 80% of it as soon as she opens the box. Yossy has some of the best nails I have ever seen in my life, no word of a lie. The girl is a dab hand at giving herself the most creative nail art and knowing that her nail polish collection isn't quite that interesting at the moment, I thought the No7 Gel Finish Nail Colour Collection would find itself at home quite nicely amongst her manicure kit. 
As a person who loves to write, significance has a special place in my heart, when I choose gifts for someone, I always look for small parts of them in the gifts, be it something small or something large. My thoughtful choice in all this was the Yankee Candle Votive set, a symbol of the light she brings into my life (and also her small obsession with Yankee Candles aha!

On Sundays Yossy and I walk arm in arm around Soho, looking for new coffee shops to perch in, before almost always settling in Soho grind with a black filter and a pastel de nata for me and a matcha latte and salted caramel brownie for her. Always the same order, always at the same time. It has become our Sunday tradition, we sit with warm cups of coffee defrosting our fingertips, lips moving excitedly speaking of what the other is doing in life. For the days where we’re having a coffee or tea at home, Joules twin mugs seemed to be such a sweet touch. Symbolic of the warmth and love we have for each other and the sister chats with facemasks on over a good coffee or tea to come.
Have you begun your Christmas shopping yet? If so, what have you gotten! And for who?

[This blog post was in collaboration with Boots but as always, all words and imagery are my own.]


x

11.04.2018

O C T O B E R .[Journal].


On a chilly evening Sunday evening in October, I brushed my hair up into a bun to put it away for the night, as I parted it, my eyes immediately zoned into a thick grey strand on my temple and my mouth dropped. I had discovered my first grey hair at the ripe old age of twenty-seven. I debated whether I wanted to yank it out or keep it but I took a pair of tweezers and removed it - regretting and somewhat mourning that little grey strand immediately. I’ve always maintained that I feel the same as I did when I was a seventeen year old, but I suppose the grey strand was an amusing reminder that I am definitely not that girl from ten years ago anymore (my waistline most definitely isn’t aha). Anyway, here is my journal for October, a chilly month filled with crunchy fiery red leaves, gloves and cosy warm boots. It's a little later than I'd have liked to have posted it but life gets in the way sometimes - Anyway, I digress...

W E A R I N G: I never thought that I would see the day that I Sade, would ever put a puffa jacket on my body. Ask my friends who have heard me complain about those Michelin man looking colourful clouds called coats, a funny thing happens as you get older, you begin to swap out stylish clothes for comfortable and practical ones so I reluctantly picked myself up a navy blue puffa jacket and it has kept me extremely warm and is... in a weird way kind of stylish too? I love it with a thick jumper, good jeans and a pair of trainers.

E A T I N G: Cold weather calls for comfort food, and I’ve been waist deep in pizzas, soup, rice dishes, eba and more, but at the same time, with diabetes and high blood pressure rife in my family, i finally made the decision to be a little more balanced with what I put in my body, opting for fresh fruit and nuts as snacks in the office as well as taking in my own packed lunch consisting of a protein on a huge bed of steamed and seasoned veggies (which has helped me save so much money!) 

L I S T E N I N G: I’ve been plugged into HELLA Christian podcasts the moment especially Elevation and Transformation Church's podcasts. On my commute, particularly when I’m not feeling like myself I simply plug in, turn the volume up and get encouraged, from topics such as staying the path, relationship goals, feeling lost in life and so much more, both podcasts have really made my mornings much more enjoyable.

D O I N G: October was filled with more activities than I’m used to and my habit of  saying yes to things that are far beyond my scope. I learned the hard way and eventually burnt out, throwing in some towels and taking some time off to just breathe and it feels incredible. 

N O V E M B E R   G O A L S: November is pre-christmas for me, it's a super busy time especially both at work and on the blog with client work on both ends being ramped up in the run up to the festive period. I'm very lucky to have a number of festive pieces that i'll be collaborating with brands with on a paid basis which is brilliant, but it means that November will have to be filled with serious time management! Here are a few of my other goals for the month...
  •  Take responsibility for the things I’ve swept under a metaphorical rug.
  • Work on keeping my spaces consistently tidy.
  •  Go to the gym at least 3 x a week for at least 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  •  Drink 2 litres of water a day.
  •  Try to get my schedule a little tighter to prevent overexertion and tiredness.
  • Wrap up my last two black history month posts. There were supposed to be four in total but the last two topics are quite heavy and I simply can't wrap them up just yet...
  • Take lunch to work every single day instead of buying out to save £££


Here’s to a fantastic November! We're almost at the end of the year #canyoubelieve?! What do you want to achieve before the year is up?


x

10.28.2018

The A/W Red Lipstick Edit x Joanie Clothing.

It was the inimitable Coco Chanel that once said "If you're sad, add more lipstick and attack", and it perfectly sums up my relationship with lipstick, from an early age I was mesmerised by the glamour of it, seeing my mother carefully fill in her lips with 'Diva' by MAC, a dark blood red rose on her smiling mouth, which always left my own mouth hanging, the extraordinary feminity and strength that came from that final touch of lipstick to her outfits were, and still are the icing on top of a very beautiful cake. Lipstick has always been a thing of joy for me even though my lipstick choices in the past have always been a little on the uh... unpredictable side and there are more than enough photos on the blog archives of my bizarre makeup choices (hey in my defense turquoise lipstick was a trend at some point!) 

As the temperatures dip, I now declare that Lipstick season is finally upon us, and it's time for us to put away our dewy finishing sprays, our lip glosses, our highlighters and embrace bold lips with a matte flawless skin.  The cooler months are my favourite time to be a little more playful with my makeup choices because,  a). it won’t melt off my face and b). there’s just something about a solid red lip and the autumn/winter that makes me feel like a powerful woman that has her life together. To celebrate the dip in temperature, I’ve put together a little lip lookbook of sorts, paired with some of my favourite A/W pieces from Joanie Clothing (who I’ve previously modelled!), from K-pop inspired barely there flushed lips and cheeks to a deep oxblood vampy red for those days where you’re feeling a little excitable. Here is my A/W Lipstick edit...

[ Blotted ]
Think fresh-faced, barely there, romantic flushed cheeps and just kissed lips. What is Autumn without warm pumpkin toned dresses, thick fluffy Borg lined jackets and comfortable boots made for walkin’. Mildly obsessed is a good way to put my love of the lazy blotted look, for me it’s the perfect way to brighten up my face in a hurry or when on the move (its especially good for days where you’ll be eating or drinking a lot as it naturally fades as the day goes on and it’s easy to reapply), the trick to this look is having a super simple base, think a swipe of concealer, a pinky red pop of colour on your cheeks, your favourite lengthening mascara and moisturised lips. I dot the lipstick only on the centre of my lips and then smack my lips together or use my fingers to fab out the colour for a muted ombré effect which gives just the right amount of colour to your lips. 

What I'm wearing: Katrine Rust Floral Wrap Dress by Joanie Clothing*

[ Comme Une Francaise ]
Think a classic mid-toned red, a swipe of concealer and a simple coat of mascara à la the effortlessly chic ladies of Paris. Whenever I go to France I am always left in awe by how simply beautiful Les françaises are. From their perfectly coiffed yet undone hair, their inimitable outfits and their makeup, simple and sophisticated. J’adore ça! This key to this look is moisturised semi dewy skin, again like above, we keep this simple with a little concealer (and even a sheer foundation if needed), a good black mascara, coiffed eyebrows, a little highlighter on the cupid’s bow and of course, the pièce de résistance, the French gal favourite red, ‘True Red’ by Sephora. Pair this red lip with a (slightly cliché) striped jumper reminiscent of a modern marinière, with an on-trend cotton button down skirt and a beret et voilà! Instant simple Parisian chic.

What I'm Wearing: Agatha Bold Stripe Jumper by Joanie Clothing* & Gladys Belted Skirt by Joanie Clothing*


[ Everyday Everlasting ]
Think the bold red that takes you from your first client meeting of the day, all the way to drinks with your friends on a Friday night after leaving the office. Almost smudge proof and wine-friendly. Ironically, these photos were taken about thirty minutes before I had a client meeting aha! Ruby Woo by MAC has got to be one red lipstick that is universally flattering on what seems to be every single skin tone out there, from dark to light, I think the neutral slightly blue-ish tone looks beautiful on everyone. The trick with this type of matte lipstick is to have a well moisturised and exfoliated base because it is intensely drying (which is why it’s staying power is unrivalled). I will always exfoliate with a product like Pixis lip exfoliator or even simply a mixture of brown sugar, Honey and olive oil. 
I was actually on my way to a meeting just before shooting this and my client meeting get-up is a lot more high maintenance than my day to day office wear (think the most comfortable chinos, a fluffy jumper, and my trusty vans). I’ve been digging high waisted cropped cotton flares due to their modern vintage style, add a simple button-down white shirt, some leather loafers and you have instant lazy girl architecture chic.

What I'm Wearing: Dietrich Wide Leg Crop Trousers by Joanie Clothing*

[ Vampy ]
Think dark, autumnal warm purple red’s. Paired with soft velvets, smooth leopard prints, and complimentary tones. My A/W favourite as seen in many a blog post or Instagram has for sure been Colourpop's LAX matte lipstick, the tone, the staying power and the intensity - even on darker skin tones has made this one of my go-to lip products and dare I say even an A/W holy grail. Leopard print is back with a bangddadag (shout out to speedy baba), but it doesn’t have to be Pat Butcheresque, go full vamp with an oxblood red, and simple accessories to keep the focus on your lips.
What I'm Wearing: Corey Leopard Print Dress by Joanie Clothing* & Johnson Slogan Jersey Bomber Jacket by Joanie Clothing*


I always get asked what red lipsticks I would recommend, particularly which ones work well with darker skin tones so I hope this has been a helpful and enjoyable read! What are your go-to red lipsticks that make you feel on top of the world when you wear them?

As always, have a blessed week!

x

10.16.2018

Lagos Through My Lens & Words #BlackHistoryMonth

Lagos, Nigeria
Almost a year later and I’m finally getting round to putting pen to paper as it were, to my fairly disjointed thoughts about my trip to Lagos last December. My extended family, from across The UK and America all flew into Murtala Mohammed airport in Lagos for our Grandmothers 80th birthday party. We arrived at 7pm, the air thick and heavy, with a heat that I found both welcoming and slightly suffocating. The passport check lines went quickly, with shouts of "Oga move now!", and a smile crept upon my face, thinking of how impatient we Nigerians love to be. We finally made it out of the airport thoroughly soaked in sweat due to bad wardrobe choices, with our luggage being swiftly pushed towards my aunts cars, winding our way through the busy Lagos night, twisting and turning from touts and street sellers with the enticing scent of suya wafting in the air, making my mouth water. The dizzying hum of mosquitoes mixed with the sounds of pidgin English flying through the night brought me back down to earth again. We were back in the motherland. 
The next morning I awoke in Lekki, with a mug of instant coffee in my hands and my eyes fixed on the vast wealth of untouched green about 20 metres away from the balcony on which I was standing, I breathed in the warm morning air and sighed at the burnt yellow and pale pink African sunrise, feeling a type of joy in my soul that I would not be able to put my finger on until my return to London two weeks later. After breakfast we headed to my Grandmothers house in Ikeja, on the car ride there, my face was pressed to the glass of the car window like an excited child, my eyes were bright orbs of maroon, hungrily taking in everything that was on the other side of the glass. Blithe, bitter coffee toned women, expertly balancing round trays of Agégé bread on their heads, Men in jalabiyas weaving in and out of traffic, selling everything from sweets and snacks to sandals and magazines. We zoomed past Aunties with colourful Ankara wrappers tied around their waists laughing loudly with their friends whilst roasting plantain on the street side, we passed places with names that rolled softly off of my tongue, longingly. 
My Grandmother, Stella Bamgbose. The Matriarch, The Prophetess, Mama Dayó as she’s affectionately called, welcomed us dressed in cerulean blue, smelling of a Dolce & Gabanna perfume that was familiar. She felt smaller and softer than ever before, her grey eyes less focused but her body still waxing strong. With the family photo shoot finished, we all sat in the compound, a collective buzz of Yoruba and English with a sprinkling of raucous laughter and the odd ‘AYYYYYYY!’ Thrown in for good measure.  
After a few days in Lagos, I started to wonder where home was for me. Was it here under the blazing African sun, a glass bottle of coke pressed to my lips, gazing at the coconut trees lines in my grandmothers compound? Was it back in London, a coffee in hand, sat looking out onto the rainy streets of Soho? I wasn’t sure anymore. I had previously been hell-bent on forever living out my parent's British dream in the United Kingdom, settling down here, a successful job, marriage, kids, being able to support my parents, the works. But the warmth I felt in Nigeria planted a seed in my heart that I found I would not be able to shake. One of the things that stuck with me about Lagos was that it simply did not seem to sleep. People were sharp, always on the lookout for opportunities, jobs, connections, it felt almost like a more familiar London in its constant buzz, but there was intense warmth and familiarity about it. For the first time, in all the times I'd been here, this was the first time that it felt somewhat like home.
We went full tourist mode in Lagos, from spending New Year’s Day on the beach drinking Hennessy whilst dipping our toes in the sea, to visiting The Nike Art Gallery, to buying too many basket bags and beautiful handmade artisan jewellery in Lekki Market, to eating five (yes five) scoops of agbalumó sorbet (I am OBSESSED with it). We also spent a great deal of time eating our way through the days, from chicken suyá, poundo, and seafood okra, puff puff, mosa (my fave), fresh agbalumó, oranges, coconuts, streetside roasted plantain with groundnut, and so many more delicacies. It felt like I was experiencing Nigeria from a different lens, but through my rose-tinted glasses, I also saw how incredibly privileged myself and my extended friends and family in Nigeria are. Poverty runs rampant in Nigeria, and myself and Emmy spent a good amount of time lamenting the issues of inequality and the difficulties facing everyday citizens in Nigeria.  

My cousin who is now living in Nigeria with her husband and her two beautiful daughters asked me “Could you come and live in Lagos?”, and I thought about it and thought about it. And I couldn’t answer. She laughed and said “You know visiting during Christmas and New Year is different to actually living here” and I understood what she meant completely. As a British born Nigerian, it opened my eyes to the privileges I have. I could fly into Nigeria during the ‘fun festive seasons’, play tourist for a while, sit on white sandy beaches with a cocktail in one hand and a plate of Jollof and grilled chicken in the other, fairly oblivious to what was *really* happening in Nigeria, and then I would fly back to the UK, go back to my comfortable well paid job and comment on Nigeria’s affairs within the safety of my little London bubble. A lot of the time I have to check myself in regards to the way I speak about Nigeria, sometimes I find myself slipping into a saviour mode, wanting to ‘save’ the downtrodden and poor like some sort of bizarre Nigerian Mother Theresa, scooping up kids in my arms by the three and promising them a better life. I asked one of my uncles living in Nigeria what my generation could do to make a difference, and he told me “Come back to Nigeria. Once you have those skills, come back...” and my heart sunk a little. As a British Born Nigerian, the disparity and differences between the two worlds are so great that often I feel stuck in the middle. I feel both at home and alien in the UK, and I feel both at home and alien in Nigeria, in both places as a black woman, I have to make myself smaller, fit into the prerequisite box. 
One thing I will note about my visit back home is that each time I go to Nigeria and I’m surrounded with my family and loved ones in an environment where I don’t have to deal with the race aspect of the micro-aggressions I face being both black and a woman, is.... so calming. Of course, we have serious issues with sexism in Nigeria, but in the UK I suffer from both of the ‘isms’  hand in hand. So where does that leave me, dear reader? I’m not sure, I suppose I’ll have to revisit this post when I go to Nigeria next year. Will I be in London or Lagos in the future? 



We make plans and the universe laughs at us. 


x

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