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

10.12.2018

Books That Have Changed My Life For The Better.

For someone who reads so much, I realised that I have been utterly selfish in not sharing some absolutely delightful gems that have kept me sane on London’s public transport over the years. From more practical advice driven books to books that have caused strangers to ask me if I’m okay (think Kim Kardashian’s ugly crying on the tube), here are just a few literary pieces that have in part, changed my life for the better. I hope at least one of these pieces can inspire you as much as they have me.

'Little Black Book' by Otegha Uwagba.
Size doesn’t matter, in terms of books anyway... The Little Black Book has been floating around Instagram over the last year or so, firstly because of it’s millennial pink covering with a minimalist font, and secondly because of how darn good it is! The little black book does what it says on the tin and more. It is a brief and straight to the point book that shares a wealth of information in regards to building your brand so to speak, with brilliant chapters on marketing, social media and even how one would present themselves, a true must-have for the working modern woman.

'The Alchemist' by Paolo Coelho
Out of all the books on this brief list, Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’ is probably the most well known. A literary jewel that takes you on a pilgrimage through Spain and Africa, offering the reader snippets of concrete advice through the spinning of metaphors, twists and turns and beautifully descriptive text. I remember hungrily reading this back in 2015, turning each page furiously on the Jubilee line at 8:15am on my way to work. It brought an intense sense of peace to my heart and it was a solid reminder to keep on keeping on in life, using whatever the world serves us as a springboard rather than an obstacle. It’s a fairly short and easy to read book and as such, I’d highly recommend it to you if you haven’t already read it.


'Refinery29: Style Stalking' by Piera Gelardi & Christene Barberich.
Rarely do I read or buy fashion or beauty books as I find them too ‘pretty’ to read properly. I like my books transportable and unassuming, but I received style stealing as a gift and it has remained one of my solid favourites as it balances informative writing about how personal style is to each one of us, with helpful hints and tips (complete with images - that are diverse in their subject, think plus size women, Black Women, Asian women, lantinx women!) on how to wear certain colours, patterns, pieces effectively and getting the most wear per £.

'Architects Pocket Book'  by Jonathan Hetreed, Charlotte Baden-Powell & Ann Ross.
This one is very specific I suppose but in all of my architectural education and career so far, this is the book I pick up almost every day in the studio. From u-value calculations to average door sizes this book has all the basics you’d need from a small ‘pocket size’ book. I love how portable it is and I actually have a copy at home on my personal desk as well as beside me on my desk at work, and I’m constantly flicking through it to remind myself of basic kitchen counter heights, and bedroom storage widths. A true must have if you work in the Architectural or building design industry.

'My Friend Fear' by Meera Lee Patel.
I was kindly gifted ‘My Friend Fear’ by Penguin Books during a period of intense fear, hopelessness, and depression and although it didn’t obviously cure aforementioned depression, it did provide a warmth and a comfort during times where it felt like my head was swimming against an impenetrable tide of darkness. From the beautiful water coloured pages to the soft kind wisdom presented, My Friend Fear felt like.. well a friend in a book. The kind of friend who reminds you of your worth in dire times, the type of friend that offers a warm all-encompassing embrace, the type of friend you’d want during a tough period. 

'The Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini.
I read the Kite Runner during a turbulent period of my life back in February or March of this year, when the ground was covered in a soft sprinkling of white snow, the air was bracing and unfriendly and mornings were a blur of blackness, literally and metaphorically. I found the book in one of my local charity shops for £1, after fingering through the pages gingerly, the book came home with me and I had left it on my desk until one morning  I decided to put it in my handbag for commute reading. I’m not quite sure where to start with this important piece of written gold, but what I can say is that it shook me to my very core. I can put up my hands (rather shamefully) and day that I don’t know a great deal about what is happening in the Middle East at the moment and why, but the Kite Runner, although based on the Afghanistan civil war sheds a bright light on what people are going through and it humanises what I believe western media dehumanises. The story follows our protagonist Ali through his childhood till adulthood, with his younger years rocked by the Afghan war, he and his father find themselves as refugees in America and the stories surrounding Amir, his friend Hassan and his father, honestly broke me. Even after crying for days once I had finished the book, I could not stop thinking about it, about wars that we are so blind to, about refugees who are putting everything on the line to ensure theirs and their children’s safety. I was angry with the world for a while, I was disgusted, I was furious and I think that is what a good book should do to you, it should mobilise you, it should cause you to think, it should illuminate and expand, and Khaled Hosseini did all that and more in The Kite Runner. If there’s a single book you choose to read from this list, let it be this one, my friends.

How could I write a post on the literature that has changed my life for the better without including my bible? As an angry judgemental Christian, turned devout atheist, turned open-minded normal Christian. It has been quite the spiritual journey for me (something I will potentially dive into on another post). After delving deeper into my faith, I decided it was time to buy my first study bible to really get to grips with the theological aspects of the Christian faith and it has been so interesting, not only from a faith perspective but also from a historical perspective. This ESV version breaks down the story behind each book, the testaments, and even explores the Hebrew and Latin meaning of certain words that one would come across in the Bible. If you’re delving deeper in your Christian walk then I’d heartily recommend this bible as a solid ‘all-rounder’.

Have you read any of the books above? What are your must read books? PS If you'd like to see what's currently on my bookshelf, please do connect with me on Goodreads.



x

10.07.2018

Part Of My Lived Experience As A Black Woman In The UK | #BlackHistoryMonth

October marks the UK’s Black History Month, and For the last few months, I mulled over what I wanted my contribution to be. I knew I wanted to produce pieces of writing that would be transient, informative, engaging and above all, completely honest in every aspect. My four pinnacle posts for BHM will be a mixture of my documented experience and personal musings, but today’s post will briefly look into my personal lived experience as a black woman in the United Kingdom
My eyes have seen a lot and my heart has felt a lot. 27 years as a visibly black Nigerian woman in the UK will either make you or break you, but resilience is in the makeup of my DNA. I look at myself in the mirror, really taking in what I see and feel. The first thing I see is my skin; shiny hazelnut brown, dappled with the remnants of the afternoons' sun, shadows playing on the surface. My face is oval, surrounded by a mass of thick zig zag and pencil-thin coils, half brushed out, half squashed by my satin bonnet. My eyes are bright orbs of smoky quartz, expressive eyes that always, always, always give away how I’m really feeling. My mouth, thick lips, pink, purple and flecked with brown - melanin. My nose, the cause of my childhood bullying, the culmination of my blackness, my ‘Jackson 5 nostrils’, and not so affectionately called ‘channel tunnel nostrils’ during school. Without really knowing or understanding, I grew up with a deep internalized disdain for the parts of me that reflected my West African origins. I remember searching online for nose jobs at the age of 15, and wondering if it was possible to slim down my lips to a size that was deemed appropriate by western standards of beauty (ironic now I realise, as big lips are the 'in' thing). It has taken years of self-reflection, honest open conversations in safe spaces, deep friendship, and a lot of frustration to unlearn all the damage caused. I still have a long way to go, but I’m on the right track, breathing in radical self-love and breathing out an authentic unapologetic version of myself. Instead of feeling self-conscious of wearing my hair out, I free my fro’, feeling my kinky hair between my fingers and I revel in it. In summer, instead of hiding from the sun for fear of getting darker, I bask in the suns gentle kisses on my skin, embracing the warmer richer shade my melanin produces. Instead of avoiding lipstick for fear of accentuating my features, I pull out bright reds, pinks, purples and I wear them on my lips with pride.
Navigating My Blackness In The World.
For a long time. For a very long time, I disliked myself. My skin tone, my nose, my lips, my hair, the physicality’s that defined me as a black woman. I realised as a teenager that I couldn’t shake off what the world saw when it looked at me, neither could I change the way I looked.  From being followed in high-end shops by Male security guards with Yoruba first names to having to police my tone, how I walk, how I talk for fear of being labeled as ‘sassy’, ‘outspoken’, 'the angry black woman'. It was at aged 19 at university that I really understood how ‘different’ I was. Studying Architecture in Lincoln a tiny city in the Midlands, after growing up in multicultural London was a huge shock, but not as big as the shock I received when I realised that I was in a bubble of safety in London. Lincoln was the first place I was repeatedly called a N*****. Most of my assailants would shout the slur at me whilst running or from moving cars, but one evening as I went to visit a sick friend, a middle-aged white man decided to call me a ‘fucking n*****’ and usually I would avoid confrontation, but this time I walked up to him quietly and stood almost nose to nose with him daring him to say it again to my face. He cowered mumbling over and over again that he didn’t say anything. I laughed a manic laugh and screamed: “of course you didn’t!”. It was also in Lincoln I was kicked out of a pub, for and I quote ‘not drinking alcohol’, my friends at the time all white, stayed in the pub as they were of course allowed to and I walked home alone, terrified, humiliated and feeling very small and very lost. It was an incident that I will never shake off, even as I write this, the emptiness I felt that evening resonates to every part of my soul and I sit and wonder, why, oh why do we as humans treat each other so badly because of cultural, ethnic and physical differences? At university, I realised that black culture is cool, but actually being black isn't and it made me think a lot about performative allyship. 
Navigating Blackness In Blogging.
I’ve been running In My Sunday Best for a little over 8 years now, and as it’s grown, so have I. The more entrenched I’ve gotten into the influencer industry, the more I’ve almost torn my hair out in sheer disdain. From a severe lack of representation, particularly plus size women of all ethnicities, to brands behaving questionably. The blogging sphere is a tricky one to understand and a lot of the time it feels like black influencers are shouting into the void, but one thing I will say is great, is the sheer amount of support and love black influencers have for each other, and the excitement to build each other up. My platform is considerably small, but I tirelessly seek out talented underrated black influencers of all following sizes to big up and share, because I truly believe in the saying ‘when I eat, my sisters eat too’. For a long time, I struggled to see women who looked like me, who faced the same struggles I did, represented in the blog world but whilst we still have a long way to go, it’s great to see black content creators, particularly those with smaller followings absolutely doing big things with brands. Blogging actually opened my eyes to my own privileges in the black community, most brands are more likely to work with black bloggers who are thin, lighter skinned and more 'palatable' by western standards for their audience, and I can put my hand up and most definitely say I fall into this category. There are tonnes of darker skinned POC bloggers, non-binary bloggers, disabled bloggers, underrepresented bloggers who work harder than I do and get no shine, and as someone with a little bit of privilege, I think it's my duty to uplift these people. 
Navigating Blackness In Careers.
I’ve been exceptionally lucky this far not to have experienced any direct racism (that I know of) from colleagues or directors. However, working as a black woman in a field that is dominated (98%) by white males is never easy. One situation that stands out to me all of these years, was when I was required to undertake a survey of a pub in Southampton. I arrived at 9:00am on the dot to do the photographic and measured survey to be met with the irritable manager of the aforementioned pub. I took her disdain and unhelpfulness in my stride, eager to get the job done so I could get back to London in time for lunch. The pub was empty except for a middle-aged couple who were drinking beer... at 9:00am, but I digress. I began to photograph some structural columns, making notes on my floorplans to adjust the sizes I had previously drawn, when the man began yelling at me to stop taking photos, I walked over to the couple, showed my work details and told them I was doing a survey. The man told me to “fuck off and stop taking photos”, I replied exasperated, with an eye roll, that I was doing my job, he then got up and threatened me with violence, exclaiming that people 'like me' were taking his jobs etc - the usual spiel. Now, readers, this is where I lost it and I won’t type the exact words I said because I’m a child of God and I’m a changed woman, but I lit his ass all the way UP. One thing I noticed is that not a single person in the room came to my aid during this period. Not his white female partner, not the white female manager, not the white male barmen. Nothing. No one uttered a single word. Upon my furious return to the office, my bosses were kind, understanding and accommodating and really made an effort to listen to my recanting of the incident and took the correct steps to fix the issue, using their position of huge privilege to make sure the perpetrator did not walk away unpunished which I really appreciated. The incident shook me and alighted a rage inside me that I would never be able to extinguish. It made me understand that my blackness would transcend my academic background, my career, how ‘well spoken’ I may be, how ‘well dressed’ I may be. To a racist, I’m still simply BLACK an therefore worthy of abuse. It’s something to be addressed, time and time again I see and hear misguided comments such as ‘well maybe if he had been dressed correctly’ or ‘well maybe if she wasn’t so ghetto’ XYZ wouldn’t have happened to them. The blame must shift back to the perpetrators, not the victims. The experience taught me to be unapologetically black in all forms, to take up space as a black female in a male-dominated industry and not to shy away from the uncomfortable.

I know this post only really scratches the surface of part of my lived experience, but it’s leaning towards a dissertation so here is where I will stop, but there are some topics I really want to delve into deeper such as ‘The black excellence conundrum’ and 'Where home is' and 'Mental health and the Nigerian community'. Let me know what you think.



What I Wore...

Jacket - H&M | Top - &Otherstories | Jeans - &Otherstories | Bag - Lekki Market | Sandals - Clarks | Africa Necklace - KIONII


x

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