9.23.2018

The Marseille Travel Diary.

Marseille, France
On an icy evening in February, my sister Yossy and I decided categorically that the time had finally come where we, as the mature and fiscally responsible adults we are, would book a family holiday. Our parents, Yossy and I, together under the sun relaxing... somewhere. We scoured travel pages for places we thought would be enjoyable for all four of us, it had to be somewhere with flavoursome food (for my dad), it had to be somewhere with a decent shopping scene (for my mum), it had to be somewhere aesthetically pleasing (for my sister). And for me... it just had to be outside of The UK. We aimed for Marrakesh and Ankara, but with the way, our bank accounts were looking (dusty and filled with regret), we ended up last minute booking the sunny city of Marseille. Our excitement peaked when we presented the booking confirmation in our mum’s Mother’s Day card. Everything was on course for what was to be a brilliant family holiday. Then life, as it does, deals you blows, I ended up losing my job around the end of May and the entire plan fell to pieces like piercing laughing shards of failure that stung and embarrassed me. My parents made the executive decision to abandon the holiday plans as they didn’t want me to spend any more money, but as things were already booked and paid for, I wasn’t about to let a blip in the landscape stop me from living my best life. So Yossy and I made a secondary executive decision to allé à Marseille, sans our parents and declare it a sisters trip.
A few days after the Blogosphere blog awards, we packed an unholy amount of clothes into our very overweight hand luggage and jetted off to Marseille, nervous but wholly excited at the prospect of a sister-sister vacation, with the sting of failure still tart, dancing upon my chest in waves of blackness. Depression. We arrived at l’aéroport de Provence an hour later than expected (cheers Ryanair) and used my très mal française to purchase two coach tickets to the nearest métro station close to our Airbnb in the Vauban district of Marseille. A breathless uphill walk and a few Instagram snaps along the way and we had arrived, our snug little Flat nestled on the eighth floor of an apartment building, with a framed view of the beautiful Notre dame de la Garde. 

On our first evening, we explored Vauban by streetlight and google maps, desperate for food and a nice glass of wine, we found a Vapiano’s, and promptly realised we didn’t know enough French to order at the counters aha! We walked and walked and eventually found a small Japanese bar and ordered food there. We sat outside, clinked our Aloe Vera drinks under the twinkling fairy lights and haze of second-hand cigarette smoke and drank it all in, we were in France, we were together and we felt on top of the damn world.

Sunlight streamed through the windows at 7:00am the next morning and I sat cross-legged on the bed with a coffee in my hand and my wig damp from the dodgy shower I had had thirty minutes earlier. Yossy and I speedily got ready so that we could grab breakfast from a local bakery or coffee shop and experience proper pain au chocolat - French boulangerie style. We stumbled upon the most beautiful café in Vauban, a stone's throw away from where we were staying, called Les Succulentes, which merged, you guessed it - succulents, plants and all things green with delicious coffee, my kinda place. Two coffees and some pastries later... we went back to our Flat to get out of the heat for a few hours before going back out, on our way back we stopped by the little greengrocers opposite the Flat for some fresh Provençal fruit and vegetables. The owner Monsieur Rachid, a sixty-something year old Tunisian French ball of energy and enthusiasm, bumbled over to Yossy and I, declaring in French that he had a lot of delicious fruits for us to try, and so after many mouthfuls of strawberries, apricots and figs, we carried half a watermelon, and a bagful of other fruits, plus a few Provençal specials thrown in for free by the kindly Mr. Rachid on the premise that we were to come and say hi to him and the store every day of our stay. 
And true to our word, Morning, afternoon and evening we would go to say a cheery ‘Bonjour!’ To Mr. Rachid and his employees at the little greengrocers, it is here I should note that Mr. Rachid didn’t speak a lick of English, and our conversations were propped up by a mixture of my shaky a level French and a whole lotta google maps. One sunny morning on our way to a bakery to find more delicious pain au chocolat as usual, we stopped to say hi to Mr. Rachid, on this morning he excitedly greeted us with two kisses upon our cheeks and a ‘trés belle!’ We said hello to his nephew who helped man the store and Mr. Rachid insisted I left him my number as he would make a great husband for me and he thought I would make a great wife and a welcome addition to the family (aha!), after this awkward back and forth in broken French (on my part) and flushed giggling from Mr. Rachids nephew,  Mr. Rachid himself grabbed our hands and told us that he must take us for petit déjeuner at the bakery close to his shop and so we sat, the three of us, Yossy, Myself and Mr Rachid over coffees, quiche Lorraine and croissants learning about Mr Rachid’s North African roots, his children, his wife, his family (with the help of google translate of course). It was a moment that reminded me why we must keep traveling, keeping creating conversations and keep open minded. 

Eventually, we decided to hop on the métro three stops to the city centre of Marseille, a beautiful port, filled to the brim with vessels sitting on a sparkling shining blue-green blanket of water. The city centre was similar to most other major French cities I had visited in the past but it was laced with a certain je ne sais quoi (teehee had to get that in). The locals were exceptionally friendly and eager to share their recommendations with us. One thing everyone said we *must* try was the bouillabaisse (a Marseillais fish stew) and the Marseille version of fritto misto (fried seafood - sardines, squid, prawns etc), we tried both and I ate far too much of the fried seafood - it was delicious and super light! Another delicious delight we discovered were calissons, little almond paste and citrus peel sweets native to the Provence region. Not far from the city centre was the Panier district of Marseille, a mish-mash of small colourful alleyways, artisans, vintage shop fronts, art galleries and some very sweet cafés for a drink or two under the blazing yellow sunshine. Yossy and I waltzed around the Panier de Marseille as if under a spell, everything was so incredibly beautiful, people were so friendly, and the entire area was so aesthetically pleasing and so very French that I could have squealed.
Would we return to Marseille? Absolutely, I think between the friendliness of the locals, the delicious food, the affordability and my harem of beautiful French boyfriends waiting for me (Aha!) I would most definitely make another trip there for a few lazy days in the Provence sunshine. Next time we promise to book it during the calanque tour season so we can swim in the crystal clear waters and experience the natural beauty of the south of France. Zut alors! this ended up being quite a wordy blog post didn’t it? I could have written and written and written, but it is now half past nine on a Sunday evening and I have had one too many glasses of merlot as I've been a' typing so I suppose this is where my post will have to end, before I wrap this up, I would heartily recommend a visit to the beautiful port city of Marseille.


x

9.12.2018

2+7 = 9.

The number nine has been playing on my mind since the first playful rays of warmth peeked through thick grey summer clouds this year. It has been in my dreams as I sleep, in my head as I click-clack away at my desk. Two plus seven equals nine. And nine is a number that holds a lot of significance to me. Usually, birthdays are painstakingly important for me because I don't take a single day I’m alive for granted. Every breath that bellows through my lungs, every synchronised beat my heart makes, every flutter as my eyes open and close, drinking in the world around me, it is all so beautiful, so perfect, so wonderful. 
Twenty-six was a year of exponential growth, usually, in my younger years, I would have said ‘Oh! 26 was a hard year!’ But I don’t think it was ‘hard’, it was a testing year for sure, but it was everything I absolutely needed to be where I am right now. From my post-university blues to dealing with difficult situations, it was all necessary for the season I was in, and if I’m to highlight just one thing I learned this year, it’s to really ‘live’ in the season you’re in. Embracing every single millisecond of that season, working with the tide instead of fighting against it. I worked solidly in the darkness of postgraduate depression, shooting off applications, meeting up with others who were struggling with life’s blows, breathing encouragement into their lives as a way to deal with the sticky oil slick demons clinging to my back, cackling, whispering untruths into my ears, waiting for me to crack. But the crack never quite came, instead, I sought help, buried myself in the word and rested in the peace of Gods perfect timing. I look back and I squeal with joy at all I overcame and now at twenty-seven, I’m allowing myself to bask in the sparkling lushness of life. 
As a seasoned ‘worrier’ complete with hand-wringing, sleepless nights, and a fearful demeanour, I have had to work dutifully on finding ways to cast off the stained, dark and dusty blanket of ‘what if...’ and carefully drape the glittering, bright cape of ‘even if...’.  Across my shoulders each and every morning.
My early twenties were (Excuse the architectural language) me setting the heavy rough foundations of what is to be. Concrete blocks that grazed my hands leaving thin trails of blood over the pale grey, dust-covered jeans, beads of perspiration erupting on my forehead and my eyes prickling with tiredness. I wanted to give up during this period, but I didn’t and I urge all of you in the foundation building period of your lives to keep toiling, keep building, keep going. I look at the foundations I’ve laid and I can finally wipe the salt-stained trails from my face, look up to the sky and smile, a smile that I feel from the tips of my toes all the way up to the top of my head. The sun has come out again, and it’s time to re-consult my floor plans. The foundations have been completed, but here comes the real challenge. Am I ready for it? Not solely on my strength, but his.

Two + Seven = Nine.

The number of divine completeness and new beginnings.

Here’s to twenty-seven.



What I Wore....

Dress c/o & Other Stories | Heels - Next (old) | Bag c/o Boden (old)


[Photograhy by Yossy Akinsanya]

xo

9.09.2018

The Life Of A Collector | SAMMANHANG .

Shelves lined with books from 1998, a blue China trinket box found in a Lincolnshire charity shop for fifty pence, a turquoise and opal cabochon ring - a gift from a very kind French creator who is now residing in Ireland. My bedroom is a smorgasbord of well... varying shaped pieces of me I suppose. A warm toned oasis with shades of whites, creams, and yellows covering the walls and furniture, contrasting against the lush thick greenness of my budding plant collection. Various bits and bobs acquired over the years which make it an interesting reflection of me, that which I hold dear and the things that make my brain tick, my heart skip a beat and my soul say ‘ooooh!’.
IKEA SAMMANHANG
IKEA SAMMANHANG
[I am a collector. I am a collector of objects. I am a collector of things. I am a collector of memories]...
IKEA has launched a new collection called SAMMANHANG which is centered around the idea of putting your most prized possessions on display, celebrating one's passions and belongings in the most tangible way. As I unpacked my SAMMANHANG glass domes, I already knew what I wanted to put inside them for safekeeping and display. Two weeks ago I went to Brighton with my friends, we waded into the sparkling cold water and yelped with both excitement at the waves crashing in mightily and the sheer iciness of the water. We skipped rocks excitedly, throwing our worries and cares into the sea with a resounding plop! I ran my fingers over each pebble, feeling for a familiar type of smoothness, looking at them for any peculiarities. I found four perfectly imperfect stones. I held them, thought good thoughts, and then put them into my bag as a reminder of that weekend. The rocks sit proudly in their glass home, with my favourite smooth grey almost Carrara marble-ish Henry Moore looking one perched at the top, a daily reminder of skipping stones one cold August morning in the south of England.
IKEA SAMMANHANG
IKEA SAMMANHANG
On my dressing table now sits a wide glass structure which houses everything from my daily moisturiser, to odd pieces of kitschy jewellery, all the way to my graduation shoes. The shoes that carried me across the stage to collect my postgraduate degree, the shoes that walked me over to my professors to give them my utmost thanks, the shoes that took me to the pen factory to have one too many drinks and a slurred joyous dance with my fellow graduates, the shoes that, upon my waking the next morning had given me painful blisters. Totally worth it though. They are beautiful and the part they played on one of the most important days of my life is the reason they sit inside the glass casing, also I hope it’ll encourage me to wear them more (without toppling over).
IKEA SAMMANHANG
IKEA SAMMANHANG
As I write this, I look at my mish-mash collection of things and realise I most definitely have more ‘things’ than the average person. Minimalism, Maximalism, ‘Me-me-me-lism’ I suppose is my calling. There are things that once held memories which are now nothing more than just that I suppose. My old Practika nova sits atop my black SAMMANHANG stand, a brushstroke of intense black against the whites and creams of my safe space. Fond memories of carrying the heavy cold metal camera around in summer, shooting blades of overgrown barley in the park near my house, catching a wry smile and the cheeky wink of my friends, capturing the first rays of the morning peeking through my mesh curtains. I’m not sure old practika is still working at the moment, but for now, until I take her to be fixed, she sits proudly atop the stand a reminder to keep on documenting.
IKEA SAMMANHANG
IKEA SAMMANHANG
Looking through my boxes of bits and bobs from around the world (quite literally), bringing out each beautiful piece, tasting each memory attached to them before placing each one proudly in their new display homes felt incredible. In the pair of earrings I purchased from my sister when she opened her online store, I felt the surge of excitement and proudness I felt back then again. In the leather elephant embossed box from Bangladesh that my friend Prova gifted to me once she returned from her travels home, I could feel the warm fragrant air of Dhaka against my skin. In the 1893 book I found for fifty pence in an anarchist bookstore, I am transported into the words from one lover to another. Little reminders to continue to collect, to store to display, to remember.


[Photography by myself and Yossy Akinsanya]

This post was sponsored by IKEA. All words & Photography is by yours truly.

xo

9.05.2018

Twenty-Six Things I've Learned In Twenty-Six Years.

27, The words roll off my tongue with an unexpected softness. I say it, again and again, waiting for the numbers to pierce my tongue, waiting for tiny fear embedded shrapnel to scratch my throat, stop me from speaking. But it doesn’t happen. Instead, twenty-seven feels like Honey in my mouth, sweet, rich warm embracing amber that drips slowly, softly. It feels... welcoming. 

I turn a whole twenty-seven next week. Everyone keeps asking me how it feels to be solidly in my late twenties, and I usually reply with a far-away smile and say that I’m blessed to have reached this age. As a teenager I always associated 27 with the greats who passed away too soon; Jimi Hendrix, Curt Cobain, Amy Winehouse and more, so I suppose you could understand if I had any apprehension heading towards my late twenties. But all throughout August, I kept getting signs that this last quarter of the year, and indeed this new age would be reckless in its blessings, wonders, and beauty - and I claim it with eyes, heart, and soul wide open, ready to step into anything I’ve been called into. I could write and write about the significance of 27, but then I wouldn’t have anything to post on my actual 27th birthday next week so without any further ado, here are twenty-six things I’ve learned over my twenty-six years of life...

1. Things do indeed get better with time. Wine, heartbreak, cheese (I think?). So just ride that season until the ice of your winter begins to thaw and the pink blossoming buds of your spring begin to emerge, signaling a change.

2. Always, always, always invest in a good quality pair of boots and a warm coat for Winter. Fast Fashion will not keep you warm!

3. Save at least 1/3 of your paycheck if at all possible. This will be your saving grace in case anything happens that you weren’t planning for. (This helped me a lot when I lost my job!).

4. Other women are not your competition and never will be. Focus on your own road without looking left or right.

5. Investing time, love and warmth into friendships really pays off and the reward is well... friends that become family.
6. Learn to self-evaluate no matter how hard it is. Call yourself out before other people do, I’ve seen many a person be their own undoing...

7. Carry a reusable coffee cup and a reusable water bottle with you at all times. 

8. As you get older, there will be things you won’t be able to eat anymore. *sigh* goodbye dairy (lol jk I eat cheese then cry on the toilet more often than not.

9. Dating / getting a partner isn’t the be all and end all of life. Just enjoy the ride, relationship (or not) does not determine your worth.

10. Always put a book in your bag. It makes commuting actually enjoyable to a degree when you get lost in a book.
11. Invest in the perfect red lipstick for your face, skin tone and skin type. Red lipstick on an off day can honestly turn the whole ship around.

12. Be completely yourself in all capacities, at a job interview, on a date, with friends, with family. Don’t make yourself smaller or bigger, just be you.

13. Mind. Your. Business. It will save you a lot of wahala (Yoruba word for ‘trouble’).

14. Be careful who you associate yourself with. Be kind, but keep your eyes open and your ears to the ground. Not everyone will be happy when you prosper - remove these people with a quickness. Who you surround yourself with is who you become.

15. With age, you will learn to appreciate your parent's monumental wisdom, their behavioral quirks, why they are the way they are and it’ll soften your heart.
16. Invest in your hobbies or your side hustles alongside your main career goals, eventually, these may diverge into one, and even if they don’t, it’ll keep you thinking, creating, doing in a different capacity. My blog is a testament to that I suppose.

17. Faith will take you to places you could only imagine. Even if you’re non-religious, manifestation, speaking things into existence, projecting good energy, it is all more important than we give credit to.

18. Men will break your heart, and it will feel like you are quite literally dying. But you will survive and you will thrive after. Try to hold no anger, resentment or sadness towards the past as it’ll only hinder you. Look forward with expectation.

19. Supporting your friends is paramount. If they run a business, be a customer. If they’ve posted sponsored content, interact with it. If they’ve dropped fire music, listen to it. If they’ve written pieces, read it and share it with your own audience. 

20. Always, always, always, listen to others points of views during disagreements and understand where they’re coming from (discernment is key and this should be within reason). Apologising if something has been misread, or taken the wrong way. 
21. Drink water and look after your skin. It is the only skin you’ll ever have.

22. Let people know how much you appreciate them whenever you can. Either verbally or through their preferred love language.

23. Say yes to the uncomfortable but don’t overwhelm yourself with too much. Balance is key, but the key to growth is stepping out into the unknown and taking risks.

24. Be careful with what you use your mouth to say, it always, always, always comes back to bite, and the bite will be painful.

25. Getting older is a blessing and something to be celebrated. As I’ve grown older there are people who I’ve lost along the way to cancer, suicide, health issues and more. I try to take each day I’m alive as a wonderful gift and not something to take for granted or take lightly.

26. Learning to love yourself will be one of the most important things you will ever do. It will be the catalyst for immeasurable exciting growth. So go forth, look at yourself naked in a mirror, trace your round belly, the light stretch marks draped across your hips and butt, the sag of your breasts and the thickness of your thighs. Drink it all in. You. Were. Wonderfully. And. Fearfully. Made. Bask in it all and always remember this.

WHAT I WORE

BLOUSE c/o & other stories | JEANS c/o & other stories | BAG - vintage | SHOES - zara

{photography by Yossy Akinsanya}


Sade

xo

9.01.2018

A U G U S T . [Journal].

August left as quickly as she came. Bursting at the seams with 26-degree sunshine, sitting in Russel square crossed legged with an ice cream in my hand, a sticky sweet smile stretching across my lips. August ran, leaving swirling winds, grey skies and the first signs of autumnal bliss in her wake. It has been a busy month, so busy I’d have forgotten what I did, where I was, who I saw if I hadn’t made teeny tiny notes in the margins of my books. 
I am terribly forgetful and one of the things I’m trying to get better at is remembering. Remembering the good as well as the bad. Remembering the small as well as the big. So I decided to write up a monthly journal looking back on what really made that particular month. So here is August I suppose...

W E A R I N G: One day I wonder if I’ll ever get bored of the midi skirt, chunky sandals, and a basic top combo. If I do, that day is certainly not today, even with the winds of change quite literally lapping at my ankles, I’m still going strong with no tights, no leggings, no socks. I will milk every last bit of sunshine that we have left okay! 

D R I N K I N G: I am a coffee gal through and through, my Instagram account is a testament to it. My colleagues are obsessed with The Gentleman Barista’s, and for good reason to, their coffee is one of the best I’ve had in London. Pop to Union Street in Bankside and ask for an Almond Milk Flat White and you’ll get a perfectly made one, topped up with a smile and some banter (also very cute dogs if you’re lucky!).

L I S T E N I N G: In between tip-tapping away on my keyboard at work, I’m often stifling intense laughter because of The Receipts Podcast. Audrey, Milena, and Tolani, the women behind the podcast are my older sisters in my head, they tackle topics like sex, relationships, family drama, careers and more with a funny twist and I’ve found myself cry-laughing at times because of Tolani’s humour, nodding along to Audrey’s wisdom and blushing to Milena’s uh... honesty aha! In regards to music oooooohweee has August brought me some BANGERS, ‘Fine Girl’ by Zie Zie, ‘MICHUUL’ by DUCKWRTH, ‘Got Friends’ by GoldLink.

R E A D I N G: It has become second nature to me to always, always have a book with me wherever I go. Bored on your commute? Read a book. A friend running late? Read a book. Need some alone time? Read a book. Feeling blue? Read a book. I could go on and on, but you get the picture right? Books solve many a problem and have been a comfort during the highest and lowest periods of my life. This month I read, Butterfly Fish by Irenosen Okojie, which i'll be doing a small review on soon, but i loved it. Three diverging, dark storylines set is pre-colonial Benin, 1980's London and 2010's London.

D O I N G: What have I been up to? Too much honestly. I have a horrible habit of saying yes to absolutely anything and everything, which means I constantly overstretch myself and I end up burned out and exhausted, but I also know 100% that if I wasn’t this busy I would be bored so swings and roundabouts I suppose. This month in a bid to get away from ‘it’ all, my friends and I headed south to sunny Brighton for the bank holiday weekend, just for us to spend more time together as our schedules don’t quite align in London because of work and other commitments. It was honestly one of the most heartwarming weekends I’ve had in a long time. We laughed (so much that I choked on my pasta and had to go into the garden to calm down), we cried whilst digging deep and breaking chains, we ran with reckless abandon, jeans rolled up, feet slippery over smooth rocks into the salty sea. It was perfect.

S E P T E M B E R   G O A L S: September is my favourite month. September ushers in autumn with blinding sunshine, playing hide and seek behind ivory cotton candy clouds. Leaves begin to turn orange and red and they fall, leaving a crisp crunchy carpet in their wake. An extra cardigan or a scarf becomes the norm, wrapped loosely around one's neck, not quite knowing whether it’ll be warm or cool.  September is also my birthday month, and I’ll be twenty-seven on the twelfth, so as far as goals go for September, it’s really for me to take this month as a month of reflection, self-care, and enjoyment, but at the same time I do have some gentle goals I’d love to smash come to the end of the month...
  • Book in for a full body massage as a birthday gift to myself.
  • Finish reading ‘Captivating’.
  • Start my Sisterhood connect group in Bankside.
  • Catch up with more friends to see how they’re really doing.
  • Begin my Part II log books (so boring ugh).
  • Learn how to use the Sony A6000.
  • Write up at least 2 pieces of thought-provoking writing for Black History Month.

That’s it, a fairly boring but quite achievable list right? I’m trying to be softer on myself, to smooth over any jagged pinpricks of self-doubt, fear, imposter syndrome and panic I’ve dotted all along myself in the past and welcome twenty-seven with peace, clarity and most important of all, reckless self-love.

Here’s to a brilliant new month. Speaking and affirming good things to everyone reading this post, walk into it. It. Is. Yours.

xo

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