Six Defining Moments From 2017.

It's 10am, Supal and I have just finished taking some photos in Russell Square and we are now ravenous. Hmm.. Cheap pancakes? Avo on Toast?...  "How about...noodles..." I say slowly. Supal's face lights up with pure glee "YES" she happily replies. We grab the bus to the tiny noodle place in Leicester square she's taken me to before, we sit down order our noodles and then collapse with laughter at the fact that we've ordered noodles for breakfast. This year has been filled with surprising moments much like noodles for breakfast and I realize that it's only really the start of December but I've been spending a lot of time being reflective and look back on moments that really defined my 2017 and have been a catalyst for big change. Here are my six character-defining moments of this year.

1. [Started Dating Again...]

After a three year break from even glancing at the opposite sex, I found myself with butterflies in my stomach, constantly checking my phone for messages with a big ol' smile on my face courtesy of a new flame that hit me square in the chest out of nowhere. As I type, "Them" by Nils Frahm is playing gently in the background. Framing my thoughts and words with a sweet lullaby that feels a little like the gradual build-up of feelings you get when you being to like someone. Slowly at first, and then swiftly almost violently, your chest feels tight, your stomach uneasy tinged with word vomit and then dizzying, exciting mixture of "Oh my gosh... I think... I like him". Storage almost full - my phone kept flashing, eventually, I rolled my eyes and began to clear out old videos and photos I had on my phone. Pictures of food I'd eaten, blurry shots from our grand tour of Italy and.... a photo of him.  My finger hovers over the delete button and then suddenly I smile as I'm transported back to that night. With studio done for the day and assignments submitted, we walked hand in hand to Tesco to pick up one of those dine in for two meals. He chose the steak and potatoes for dinner, I chose cheesecake and Moscato for dessert. We sat in the living room at the dining table talking about.. something I can't remember, a glass in my hand with my head resting on the other simply staring at him. His eyes always grew about two sizes when he talked about anything astronomy or space-related and his eyes were huge that evening. Two sparkling brown warm orbs under heavy set brows surrounded by some premature wrinkles from lack of moisturizing. I pulled out my phone and snapped a photo halfway through his speech because I knew I wanted to capture this moment forever. He just looked so CUTE my heart squeed. I was happy and he was happy and everything felt... Alright with the world...

2. [Getting Dumped.]

When he pulled the plug, I remember tearily asking him how everything could have come crashing down at once. I was distraught and embarrassed, but quite honestly I saw it coming. I saw the cracks but chose to turn a blind eye, thinking "it'll work, it's just a hiccough". The days after were a blur, I just continued working - I cried in the studio toilets in between clicking away at my desk, ignoring the wondering eyes of my classmates who knew what had happened. Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months and here we are in December when a year ago the fire in our relationship was burning brightly and fiercely. Looking back, I'm glad he pulled the plug and I'm even gladder that he pulled the plug during my submissions because it gave me time to really re-evaluate if I wanted to stay in the North of England or move back South to London. Before the break up I had planned to get an Architecture job in Liverpool or Manchester so I could be close to him (I was lost in the sauce, I know) so afterwards, when all my job offers fell through, and my relationship was over, i had no other choice but to pack my bags, clean out my flat and kiss goodbye to what I had thought would be my future.  I'm ok with the breakup now and I no longer hold any resentment or anger, knowing that the split was for the best as in the long term we wouldn't have been able to give each other what we wanted and needed. In a weird way it really showed me *exactly* what I want in a significant other now and areas where I will not compromise, should another worthy gentleman present himself in the near future.

3. [Getting my MH in check...]

It seems like 2017 has been challenging for most people. From friends who are going through cancer treatments to others who have lost their jobs, to relationship breakdowns, this year has truly done a number on our mental health as a collective. Life is such a beautiful thing but occasionally there will be piercing moments of pain that puncture our world, one of the best things I've taught myself to do in order to regain a sense of clarity is to take mental health days. It's become something so ingrained into my routine that even my friends and family know about it - some have even been encouraged to do so themselves. If I'm struggling, I will be gentle with myself, I will sleep, read, meditate, go for a run, avoid my phone and anything else that will make me feel better about the situation. After university my MH was in a bad place because of the breakup and difficulty finding a job, instead of taking each day as it came, I berated myself for not getting a job as quickly as other people, and it became a cycle of me almost hating myself for being so 'useless'. Getting off Facebook and limiting my hours on social media, as well as taking a break from job hunting really helped in the initial stages. If you're feeling on edge, burnt out and teary, please do take a mental health day whenever you feel you need to do so.

4. [Growing in leaps and bounds faith wise...]

My faith journey has been a long one with many twists and turns, growing up in a Catholic family, to renouncing my faith once i upped and moved out for university, to being re-introduced to a different perspective by some course mates, to dabbling in and out of Christianity, to finding my home at Hillsong Central London, meeting people who would be the catalyst for change in my religious life and throwing myself back in with full force serving on team! It's nice to have found a space to call home, friends who are encouraging and never judgemental and something to look forward to on a weekly basis. A lot of the time I associated Christianity with culture, and upon realizing that there are other ways to balance life and faith hand in hand has been quite literally life-changing. 
Catherine mid heel boden

5. [Moving back to London.]

After being dumped and having two job offers fall through - I packed up things and moved back South. For a while, my heart was in Liverpool and I was devastated to have had to move back and start all over again, but looking back I am SO happy that things didn't work out in  the north because so many of the opportunities and relationships I've acquired have been because I've been back in London. My family is here, my friends are here, my church is here, my blog life is here, and eventually, my architecture career will be here. I look back now and realize what I thought was a big loss at the time is now working out in my favour, little by little things are working together for a greater good in my life. It's hard to see in the moment, but I've forced myself to keep busy in between applications and it's helped me look at the big picture and focus on the future as opposed to the present. My journey may be harder than my peers at the moment, but I have hope that it's because my end destination will be more than I could have ever even imagined, both career-wise, and relationship wise. 

6. [Graduated as an MArch with Honours and achieved a merit as well as a first class/distinction on my research project.]

"Sade Akinsanya BA. MArch" my professional email now reads. After a very tumultuous seven years - I finally finished my two Architecture degrees. I can't even explain how proud I am of myself for finally finishing it because there were times where I thought I 100% wouldn't. I doubted my ability, my skill and even my gender in some instances so it is with a great sigh of relief that I can say I finally did it! I did it my way with no compromises, and I'm very proud of my thesis and research project which focused on religion, death and the future as well as hand drawing as a catalyst for truly thinking architecturally. When I eventually get round to my post on my Postgraduate experience, I'll talk through my projects in greater detail, but for now, I have a snapshot portfolio of my sixth-year project 'Alpha & Omega' up on my Issuu here if you're interested...
What have been your defining moments this year?

What I'm Wearing...

COAT (old) c/o boden | TEE - sugarhill boutique | JEANS (similar) - asos | SHOES c/o boden



Archives & Pink Velvet.

Sloane Square, London
It's that time of the year where we begin to look forward to the fresh chapter that January brings, we become pensive and reflective, making notes and lists of the things we achieved this year, or hope to achieve in the next. I myself was thinking about all of the things I 'missed' out on this year and quickly corrected my thinking and instead thought about all the incredible things I've achieved this year. especially those that I'd forgotten about because my focus was on the very small things that hadn't come to fruition yet. Refocusing on the good and the change is the best way to welcome in the new year, and speaking of change... For some reason whilst editing these photos, something made me want to dig through my archives to see how much my style had changed over the years because If you had said to me in 2011 that the 26-year-old me would be wearing a blush pink velvet dress and a pair of burgundy velvet heels, I'd have laughed but here we are! We thank God for growth right?!
I've been clicking on the 'Style' category of my blog and re-reading some of my old posts. I'm sat with a tea that has now become lukewarm whilst I smile to myself reliving the feelings I felt when I first clicked 'publish' on all these archived posts from many moons ago. Whilst the landscape of blogging has changed drastically, (as has my own little space on the internet...) It's so interesting to see how 'the me' then has gradually grown into 'the me now'. The things I cryptically wrote about back then, things I cried over, things I was overjoyed with, for the most part they mean absolutely nothing now, nothing more than a passing memory and that to me is... so wild. Some things have stayed the same though, for example, my love of midi skirts/dresses, high waisted jeans, oversized glasses and the odd kitschy accessory or two... But some changes were 100% for the better including no more spontaneous Dark n Lovely DIY hair dye jobs, no more piercings (My septum, nostril and four earlobes are enough now) and no more bright turquoise lipstick from illamsaqua now that my rebel phase is in resting.
Looking back at where you've come from, and seeing where you are now is such a phenomenal feeling, remember that for the new year, especially  if you're being hard on yourself for not hitting certain goals this year, look back regardless and be proud of your journey. 

What I Wore...

DRESS c/o boden | HEELS c/o boden | BELT c/o boden 



My Autumn / Winter Beauty Picks.


The products brightening up my dressing table lately...

Uninspired is my middle name lately. Blame it on the shorter darker days, winters chill or maybe, it's just that time in the year where the 1st of January seems much more exciting than 1st December. With the ground wet with rain and the air sharp and cutting, my outward appearance has slowly veered towards comfort over style, switching out my everyday trainers for some lined UGG boots (Yes it's *that* cold my friends!), and swapping out my summer moisturiser for heavier oils and creme's to combat any signs of ashiness.  I tend to become super lazy in the colder months, both sartorially and beauty wise. My excuse is that.. well. It's cold. Not much of an excuse eh? But lately I've been inspired to really have fun with beauty and try new things - I blame Natalie and Annie who are two of my fave British black beauty babes in the blogosphere, forever inspiring me to get creative with beauty. From finally learning how to apply fake eyelashes, to understanding the key to smokin' eyeshadow is good transitional shades, I am all about the face (and body lately). Here are a few beauty bits that are brightening up my Autumn / Winter dressing table... (alongside these beautiful autumnal blooms from Bloom & Wild)
YSL Black Opium Eau de Toilette | Hello I'm Sade and I'd like you to know that I am a perfume addict. I have around six fragrances in my A/W rotation alone, but Black Opium is the one I've been reaching for the most. It's sweet, but not sickly sweet, a gourmand floral with notes of coffee and vanilla that gives off a warm spicy floral scent that is light enough for daytime use but sensual enough for the evening. The sillage is also out of this world so although pricey, it's definitely worth the money.

Pixi It's Eye Time Palette | When my sister asked me what I'd like for my birthday back in September, I told her I wanted the Pixi It's Eye Time eyeshadow palette, so imagine my sheer unadulterated joy when a package from Pixi themselves arrived bearing the very same eyeshadow palette and a few other pixi pretties! The palette has a solid mixture of black girl friendly neutrals and shimmer shades that work to form the perfect day to night palette. I have used this palette every single time I've done an eyeshadow look since September either all together or used with another palette. Now that's saying something!
Colourpop 'Bad Habit' Matte Lipstick | Sade, wear a pink lipstick?! I know right. My beauty picks usually lean towards something classic; think a red lip, eyeliner, mascara and some highlighter (just for added sass), but I've been digging pink so much lately! I want to wear it in every single form, something about it just brightens up my face and warms things up. This colourpop pink is the perfect dark blue-y berry pink, bright enough to make someone do a double take but still easy enough to wear day to day. 

Zoya 'GAL' Nail Polish | Friends that share their beauty stash with you are the best. Supal, knowing how much I love my weekly manicure session, kindly gave me two Zoya polishes. I'd never heard much about Zoya until reading Soup's blog posts but my goodness! The quality is sensational (future voice), it's right up there with my fave OPI in terms of colour pay off and longevity and this shimmery gold is perfect for a few Christmas parties I have coming up.
MIA 'All Day Sleek Styling Oil' | What would winter beauty be without some sort of oil? I'm big into moisturising and sealing (both my skin and hair), but coconut oil is a no-no for me in winter and I'm beginning to hate the scent of my old favourite, olive oil. In steps in Moisture In Abundance's sleek styling oil. A mixture of heat defying jojoba, grapeseed and argan oils that work to minimise frizz, seal the cuticle and impart shine (something I can attest to!). I've been using this as a 'finisher' to complete my bun's, twist out's and even just for sealing those dry ends after a moisturising session.

What is in your A/W beauty rotation?



Four Things To Know Whilst You're Waiting...

Carnaby St.
My fingers hover over the keyboard and there is a silence in my room that wills me to write.. something, anything. But I simply do not know what to type. I could write about postgraduate depression I think. No, not yet (although I do think it's a topic I should touch on - especially given the outpouring of messages and emails I've received from people who are struggling after finishing their various degrees.) I don't think it's quite yet the time and I want to write about it fairly objectively and with some form of a happy ending (which is coming... that I have faith in). It's quite hard to find something to write about lately, there's only so many times I can say 'hey! I'm still applying for jobs' and it's even harder not to allow it to be the foci of my life right now, but it is, so I must make lemonade out of these lemons and hope that this post helps someone. So here are four things to know whilst you're waiting, in this case, the focus is more so on a job/career/ big break more than anything else.

1. Do SOMETHING.... Anything.

If I stay in the house for more than two days in a row, I guarantee that I will feel awful. Staring at my laptop or phone in bed for hours is counterproductive and for the most part, I'll be scrolling through Instagram and twitter comparing myself to other bloggers when I could be using that time to create content or think of topics to write on. A few times a week I will usually try and meet up with friends who also work from home and we'll encourage each other over coffee whilst making sure we do all the work we need to do for the day. If everyone is busy then I'll carry my laptop to my local Starbucks for a few hours and work there, there is something in getting some fresh air into my lungs and seeing other people - even strangers, that makes me feel that little bit better about how things are. Get out of the house if you can, I know money is obviously an issue whilst job hunting, but even if it's walking to your local park once a week - Do it. Staying cooped up indoors is THE WORST - At least for me, it is (even as an introvert!).

2. Take Care Of Yourself.

Self-care is paramount in these waiting stages. One of the best pieces of advice I've received is to treat myself how I would if I were a small child. I would be kind, forgiving, warm and loving to myself if that were the case, so why not now as an adult? We can be so harsh on ourselves sometimes, and a good thing to remember is that by guarantee, you only have yourself in this world, so we should make ourselves our number one priority and take care of both our physical and mental health. I sometimes have Mental Health days where I allow myself to just 'be'. I usually put my phone on do not disturb, turn my lights low and do whatever is it that I need to recuperate which is usually just sleeping off whatever bad feelings I'm feeling and for me this is the best way to cope with bad MH days. Make a habit of focusing on doing whatever you need to do to keep yourself happy, sane and in a good place mentally. It'll help so much in the long term.

3. Hard Work Isn't Everything My Friend...

I really neglected my MH in the summer and I kept burning out day in day out, I'd end up in frustrated tears on a weekly basis. I'd work late into the night sending off application after application, obsessively amending my CV, redoing my portfolio over and over again, watching youtube videos on how to 'get the job' and not understanding why my hard work wasn't showing any results. Coming to terms with the fact that it's just how things are was one of the hardest, but best things I could have ever understood. One of the biggest things untruths I learned in university was that hard work is all you'd need to get to the top in life, maybe I'll expand on this in another post but once I understood that some parts of this process will, unfortunately, be beyond me, I started to take each rejection with a grain of salt. Things just *are* sometimes, and as hard as it is not to take things personally, I'd say it's important to work on how you take rejection, if not the road ahead may be quite painful. I look back on some of the companies I've been rejected from and realized that it would not have been a good fit at all for the both of us and now I'm much more picky with the practices I apply to making sure that their ethos' aligns with mine and they're much more than a practice that focuses on £££.

4. Consider Alternatives.

A few weeks ago after what seemed like intense interest in my CV and portfolio from a practice I'd have really loved to have worked for, there was as always is the case... Silence. I slurped my lukewarm coffee, wiped the remnants from my lips and with a loud sigh I closed my MacBook, jumped into bed and watched episode 31 of Bleach. Hours later I awoke from my nap, opened my laptop once again and this time I typed in 'volunteer abroad', driven by a mixture of extreme frustration with my situation and at the world, I knew that there had to be somewhere I could put my skills to good use. I didn't quite muster up the courage to continue with my volunteering abroad applications, however, I did find some charities I could lend my interior design and social media expertise to which felt great! The most difficult aspect of being out of a job for me is not having things to do, by nature I am a woman who loves structure, I love having clear tasks that I need to do and I enjoy the feeling of doing things for others in a professional capacity, so, for now, volunteering fills that void, and it also allows me to get out of the house and meet new people whilst doing something good. Although this isn't a long-term alternative, it is something to do for the time being whilst I slowly continue my job search.

“Wildflower; pick up your pretty little head, It will get easier, your dreams are not dead.”  - Nikki Rowe

What I Wore...

COAT c/o boden | ROLL NECK c/o boden | SKIRT | c/o boden | BOOTS c/o boden



A Hair Update: Goals, Setbacks & Products.

As I type this from The British Library, my hair is haphazardly sitting in braids under a very secure wig. Protective styling is the name of the game at the moment due to my own sheer laziness and mistreatment of my hair this year. I'll be honest, throw my hands up in the air and proclaim that I am very lucky that my hair is resilient and grows quite quickly, for I have absolutely abandoned any form of a strict regimen that I once had, and I just left my hair to do its own thing (aka becoming a dry matted mess - oops!). But this post will be about getting back on that wagon and enforcing a simple wash, condition, moisturise, braid and do whatever after regimen. 

I'm blaming university and job hunting stress for the amount of hair that has fallen out of my head these past few months. In July it was quite literally falling out in CLUMPS! On top of that, it was feeling super dry, uneven and just not as good as it could be and I'm making it my goal to stay in protective styles such as wigs and buns more regularly. Although I'm loving the 'Lob' (long bob) my hair falls into after a braid out or twist out, I still want it to be healthier and I still want to continue with my growth journey - aiming for a solid waist length straightened by December 2019. I'm currently just scraping bra strap length in the back which is an achievement in itself as my hair has never grown past collar bone length in the past!
Appropriate products and good hair practices are the way to go for healthy hair which translates into retained growth in the long run. A mixture of protein, moisture and gentle manipulation is what I'm doing to nurse my hair back to health. Palmers Coconut Oil Conditioner has been incredible for detangling in the shower, I will say that I don't think it's moisturizing enough for an actual deep conditioning treatment but it's good for a quickie detangle. In a bid to amp up my growth, I searched high and low on youtube for DIY oils for scalp stimulation and I came across an interesting video by Curly Proverbz on Ayurvedic practices for long term hair health, growth and retention which led me to my local asian grocers for fenugreek powder, henna, castor oil and jasmine oil which i mixed together and let sit for approximately 48 hours in an glass spritz bottle before using. I'm delighted to say that the mixture works and it works wonders! My edges were quite literally snatched during my graduation back in june because of the crochet braids i had installed, and my regrowth can definitely be attributed in part to the fenugreek oil mix. Definitely check out this video on growth oils too if you're needing a boost in that department. Following on from more natural homemade hair solutions, i've got to give a quick shout out to bentonite clay - IT IS THE BEST at clarifying, and i mean a solid deep clean from scalp all the way to your ends. I use a bentonite clay 'shampoo' between once and twice a month as a clarifying treatment and to get into the places where my usual shampoo cannot. I've been very into French Pharmacie for my beauty needs lately and for daily moisture, Kloranes' Leave In Cream with Mango Butter is a solid staple at the moment, it's a little pricier than my usual leave in's but a little goes a long way and i simply adore the scent. It's particularly great if i'm wanting to wear my hair heat styled as it doesn't make my hair fluff up (high concentrations of glycerine, which is a humectant does this fyi!). A good cheapie panic buy that i'm also loving for my braid outs is Boots Curl Creme which is a steal at £1.99! It's obviously not as good as the Klorane leave in but it's great find for the price i think.
I'll be back with updates and a few more in depth reviews on products that are killing it in terms of reversing the damage i've done to my hair. Hope some of these help! 



Word Vomit, Encouragement & Another Midi Dress.

alice teal floral midi dress
"You've gone MIA again!", a WhatsApp message from Emmy flashed up on my phone at about 15:04 pm on Tuesday. I yawned, rubbed the remnants of that morning's mascara across my face, pulled my feet into the warmth of my bed covers and finally messaged her back. It was my usual "Sorrrrrrrrrrrry" "I've been soooooo busy!" plus a few love heart emojis sprinkled in for dramatic effect). I have indeed been very busy, so busy that my eyes are burning with warning that I should probably put down this cup of coffee and go to sleep soon. The thing about job hunting is that it is something that feels never-ending. All of your conversations come back to ways you could improve your CV or portfolio of professional work. Friends and family alike (with the best of intentions) mention the top times to apply and even suggest manually dropping off your applications to practices (To show that you're 'really serious'). And after hordes of well-meaning advice and pushes to do this, that and the other, it became exhausting and I didn't want to talk about it, or even think about it so I submerged myself under a cloud of annoyance at the world and frustration at not doing a normal project for sixth year. Eventually, it got worse and worse and now that we've almost come to December, I have a confession to make, I stopped. I threw in the towel.
gola mustard trainers
alice teal floral midi dress
Maxwell scott bags
You see, after some choice words from family and friends in regards to how I was coping with life post-university (i wasn't coping at all despite trying to be ok), I decided to cut my losses as it were, and throw myself into anything that would a.) keep me productive and b.) do some good in the world. So in between helping friends launch projects, giving a talk to teenagers on staying hopeful in life, serving at my church, forcing myself out of the house to meet new people and doing volunteer work for a charity, I've been chugging along like a little steam train. It has been a blur of Oyster card tapping, coffee slurping, note jotting and handshaking these past few weeks and I'm still not really sure where I should be or what I should be doing, but I feel a little more at peace with my brief break from applications. I recently got back to applying after re-reading my thesis and looking through my reports and feeling proud of the work I produced and marvelling at the graphics that I managed to put together on photoshop with such little sleep under my belt. So I haven't thrown in the towel altogether, I realised I've studied for way too many years only to trip at the final hurdle, and instead of quitting the race, I suppose I've just been taking a little time off to heal before stretching my legs and running again.

Everyone keeps telling me to just keep at blogging, but I've always written on this blog as an aside to architecture, so I don't have much to write about at the moment except well... that I'm still hanging in there applying for jobs and keeping on, keeping on. I'll stop talking about the job situation now because I will combust if I see the words 'application' or 'job' again in this post! There are worse things in the world after all! I've been trying to refocus on gratitude and servitude during this period of waiting and figuring things out and it has drastically altered how I'm dealing with things.
alice teal floral midi dress
alice teal floral midi dress
alice teal floral midi dress
alice teal floral midi dress
Apparently, our minds are hard-wired to focus on the things that aren't going the way we'd like them to as opposed to the good things that are happening all around. My task for myself and for you this week is to write out a list of all the incredible things you've achieved so far this year, they could be anything from finally purchasing your dream home, to getting out of bed on days when you really want to hide from the world. Read through the list with a warm drink or an alcoholic beverage if you prefer (I'm going to crack out the mulled wine..), and really take in each achievement, savour each word you've written and digest with it the thought that you've made it through your best and your worst days and you're still here to tell the tale, with many more seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and years to fill with more achievements. This is just the tip of the iceberg for what the world holds for you.

Just. Hold. On..... 

What I Wore...

DRESS - sugarhill boutique | BAG - maxwell scott | TRAINERS - gola | LIPSTICK - mac 'ruby woo'


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