Bajo el sol Canario.

Tenerife. But not as I thought it would be.

It's 20:01pm and I am on a very cold Thameslink train to Gatwick airport. Sniffly and exhausted from the hours earlier, I let my body fall into the blue flecked chairs and I drift. I am tired but I am filled with a childish bubbling kind of ardour because Kristabel and I will be flying to The Canary Islands, Tenerife to be specific. Tenerife, for me, has always been: Drunken Brits, House music, Cheap Alcohol and Hook up Culture, I suppose because that's what I've been fed, particularly at school where after sixth form most of my school mates did exactly the above in various islands around Spain, including Tenerife. When we arrive at the hotel, I lay in bed googling all things authentic Canarian, and I flit in and out of sleep dreaming of churros, beaches and sunshine. I wake up sans alarm at 4am.  A quick shower later and we are dressed and hastily dragging our luggage downstairs. We breeze through the airport and then we're on the flight,  we’re off, the plane propels upwards and it's goodbye London, and hola Tenerife. Every time I travel, be it by car, train or plane,  I am softly reminded of the sheer beauty of this world and I marvel joyously at Gods creation as our transfer car hurtles through smooth roads surrounded by deep blue Atlantic ocean, lapping hungrily at shiny grey rocks. 
Once we arrive at our hotel, unpack and take in our surroundings, our excursionist's feet carry us to the old district in search of a strong drink and authentic Canarian cuisine and we end up at a beautiful restaurant called La Hierbita. The first thing I order is a small glass of house red wine, reader what I received was an extra large glass of red wine and a few sips later I was feeling relaxed and ready to eat. The speciality black pork with patatas for me, and grilled squid with wrinkled potatoes for Kristabel. The speed at which we wolfed the food down was quite frankly inhuman, but we were mere weary and very tired travellers. Post lunch Kristabel asked for a cappuccino to help wake her up after travelling on about three hours sleep, and instead the waiter insisted that she try the Barraquito - A Specialty coffee of Tenerife, layers of condensed milk, an espresso shot, frothed milk, some lemon peel and liquor 43 and topped with a sprinkling of cinnamon. A delicious blend of sweet, bitter, caramelly goodness. After lunch, we took some photos of the interior of La Hierbita - A member of staff exclaimed that we must see the upper dining rooms and we shuffled through the thin corridors whilst he explained that the restaurant used to be a brothel back in the day.
As I was taking a photo of a dilapidated door, an older gentleman stopped to talk to us. Balentine the architect was his name, and his dog Rocky. Balentine, Kristabel and I express our thoughts about Brexit, loss of jobs, gentrification in Tenerife and loss of culture in broken Spanglish, filled with passionate gesticulation to show our thoughts. Balentine kindly invited us for a gin and tonic with his partner, but we had to places to explore so we bid he and rocky adieu but not without me planting a few kisses on Rocky’s nose and giving him a big squeeze.
In between eating a whole lot of seafood (an obvious specialty), tapas and drinking a lot of Dorada, the local beer, which came in a delicious lemon 'Radler' flavour that I would highly recommend and drink forever, we spent a lot of time just walking, somewhat aimlessly around the streets of Tenerife, be it in Santa Cruz where we were staying, or in La Laguna the university town which is also a UNESCO world heritage site, and it felt wonderful and was something I vowed to do more in London. Just to walk and get lost. 
Sometimes heaven feels like warm soft compact sand beneath your feet, the Spanish sun on your back and the Atlantic Ocean quietly lapping at the shore - gently asking you to be at one with her. Playa de Las Teresitas is a beach a short bus ride away from Santa Cruz, located in the San Andres municipality. Think over a mile of beautiful golden sands, like an effulgence. As a self-confessed city girl, the beach was something that truly felt *needed*, just dipping my lower half into the salty blue sea felt like a type of ablution that absolved me of some of the worries and fatigue that had crept into my brain over the trip.

It was a simple and short visit, but Tenerife, I will be back. Volveré pronto...


Learning To Walk Through Fire.

[ On Redundancy, Fear & Future ]

On Tuesday 20th November, I heard the words redundancy. That word rolled around my head over and over, smoothing itself over the outline of my heart, seeping into my soul and fitting itself into the cracks and crevices of my brain. Redundancy felt like an ice pick to my chest, at first sharp and stinging and then a dull continuous ache that would not subside. Redundancy tasted like burnt coffee, burning, too hot, a shock to the system. On the first day, I sat mulling over words I saw on the news, Brexit, loss of jobs, redundancy -  and realised that for once, those far away words had finally hit home. On the second day, I awoke with a weight on my chest, asthma attacks triggered by my anxiety and eyes that had been rubbed raw. I sat staring at my computer at work and somehow I’d forgotten how to do anything, my head a mass of cotton wool my thoughts absolutely blank. During lunch I went for a walk, I sat down on a damp bench in the park near my office and I cried. I cried and a choked scream fell out of my mouth. When I got home, I told my parents and they gasped. My usually fairly no-nonsense Nigerian parents both scooped me up in their warm arms and I cried a deep cry, my tears stained their arms, their chests, and their hearts. I could see that they were mourning for me, the toil, the struggle, the past two years of struggle. It felt like I had fallen off the mountainside with the peak in sight. 
On the third day, I didn’t go into work. Instead, I awoke to a splitting headache. Spaced out and exhausted, I lay there curled up in a little ball feeling painfully naked and vulnerable. I turned off my phone and I slept. I didn’t eat much, because my mouth felt like a small pinprick on my face, dry, arid and unwelcoming. On the sixth day I showered, I got dressed and I applied my makeup. I studied myself in the mirror and breathed a sigh of relief. I hadn’t somehow evaporated in the night. I rubbed my face, and I studied my dark circles. Then I picked up my bag and headed to the office.

A month went by and on my last day at the office, my directors presented me with a leaving gift. A book on architectural drawings - my favourites. We ended the day with a drink and some well wishes and I went home with a full heart and a sound mind. If anything I am and was so grateful to have worked with such a brilliant bunch of people.
January is where it really hit me. I had successfully gotten through the Christmas period riding on pure adrenaline and uncompromising positivity, but as the end of January rolled around, it became painfully apparent that I hadn’t found a role and my bank account was rapidly depleting.  I sat downstairs at Joe & The Juice on Kensington high street and tears filled my eyes as I sent our enquiry after enquiry, application after application. And it felt incredibly stupid, “People are dying Kim” my brain yelled at me, whilst my heart whispered it was perfectly normal to cry. But I felt stupid and selfish for crying over being unemployed, I suppose like most of us, I had made my employment status a part of my identity, I had made it an idol. But a job is a basic human need! My heart cried to my brain, lightly scanning over Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
February came quickly and I was out of the house - interviews! Finally! Hope had returned and my faith felt renewed, I dutifully scraped my hair back into a bun, put on flattering makeup, dressed cool enough to make me seem calm - but not too cool that I didn’t look professional and I went on my merry way. One, two, three, four... The interviews all went well, jokes and handshakes and the... “I think we’ll be making you an offer - we’ll get back to you as soon as possible”. Excitement and waiting, one, two, three, four... a week, two weeks. Nothing. You follow up and there has been some miscommunication. You follow up with another and they say they’re just talking to the resourcing department. You follow up with another and they say they actually decided to go with someone who has a bit more experience, and you bite your lip on the end of the phone until it bleeds, holding back tears you cheerily say “That’s okay! Thank you so much for your time, please do keep in touch in regards to any other opportunities!!!”, they apologise again and the call ends. Your face crumples and you fall to the floor like a discarded piece of tissue. Everything feels so utterly, painfully unfair. After everything, I’ve been through... this. More pain. More fear. More emptiness and you begin to wonder if this is a strange punishment for stealing meat out of the pot aged 10, or for pushing your sister down the stairs at age 14. You start to lose it...
A part of me has become incessantly bored of continuously writing about struggle, fear, and faith, but I continue because I realise that sometimes we only show the highlight reels of our lives through social media, so with these nice pictures, comes honest words, infused with all the tears, pain and fears, and in these words, I hope something in there resonates with those of you who wonder how everyone on the internet has their life altogether - most of us don’t hahaha! We just do a great job of making it seem like that!

There isn’t much of a conclusion here, I simply wanted to write and get my feelings out of my head on somewhere that might help someone else feeling the same way. I have seen that thousands of people have been made redundant online, from Buzzfeed to The Pool, much solidarity, strength, and peace to all those who have started the year as such - especially those facing homelessness and more. I am so sorry. I am so very sorry. I pray that we can all give a shout of praise soon. Just hold on. 



J A N U A R Y . [Journal] .

Oops - This post is definitely overdue, but in my lazy defense it was because of *drum roll please*... I filmed a Vlog for January whoop! It's my first ever one so please be gentle on me bb's! February - Finally! Five weeks later and we’ve finally seen the end of January, although for me the month seemed to somewhat fly by, I know it was the opposite for others. January started with a bang quite literally for me and my loved ones - we entered the new year with praise and thanksgiving at HTB which was brilliant and well.. from there January is a little bit of a blur as you'll see in my very brief vlog. January was a month of celebration in a strange way. A félicitation of new beginnings, and a metaphorical closing of the door of last year. This month we celebrated friends birthdays with a lot of two for one cocktails, crazy dancing and even doing the splits before realising that we aren’t as young as we think our bodies are aha!

W E A R I N G : When I say that my priority right now has been comfort! I wore ugg boots out of the house the other day and i really felt like it was an extreme low for me as a fashun influencer - I kid, it was cold af and i wasn't about to freeze my toes and nips off so i bundled up in my biggest, warmest boden coat and mismatched ugg boots and there will probably be more of that in february given the weather warnings.

L I S T E N I N G : I have been obsessively listening to the new United song, it has been so beautifully relevant to the season that i'm in at the moment and the lyrics just hit my soul differently.

R E A D I N G : I picked up two new books from WHSmith on my way home one quiet evening. “The Unexpected Joy of Being Single” and “The Art of Not Falling Apart”, two very apt books for the season I’m in at the moment. The unexpected joy of being single is filled with facts, figures and interesting information regarding love, sex and relationships. It’s not a patronising, pandering read all about forcibly being happy single - but more so a reminder that it’s normal, it’s okay and you won’t die if you don’t find someone aha! The second book I picked up as I saw the blurb mentioned the author was writing about being made redundant at the age of 40, and how she picked herself up out of it and overcame. It’s a witty, well written, no sob story account. 

F E B R U A R Y  G O A L S : I suppose an obvious one is to get a new job (but I'm tired of harping on about it), some others would be to...

  • Get back into the gym (i haven't been since December shamefully).
  •  Get better at writing.
  • Learn to push through in order to achieve my goals.
  • Secure at least two paid collaborations for the month of February.



Three Simple Changes I've Incorporated To Better My Life.

I promise I am not about to type up a super smug kale smoothie style cliche of a ‘new year, new you’ blog post. I am utterly bored and a little worn out by the enthusiastic cries of ‘eat this!’, ‘do this!’, ‘be this!’ In Regards to New Year's resolutions. Sitting on the train home the other night, I pondered what small honest changes I could implement in my life that would not feel invasive, unnatural or unachievable, and I thought to share them with you here, because I realise more people than not struggle with the new year and how to make small changes that will snowball into big advancements by the end of the year.
If you’re anything like me, you may thrive off of clean slates. I love a brand new journal, or a fresh, perfectly crease free book, and a lot of the time I want to apply that to my life. I want to start over, disappointed by the journey so far and I suppose wanting to wipe the slate clean and go again, but every second is a new slate, every minute, hour, day, week, month, year and we can walk into who we want to truly be anytime we desire. I’m writing this post for those of you who feel irrevocably stuck. For some of us, it has felt as if we’ve been stuck buried under heavy soil for years, we’ve been going around and around like a broken record, screeching away in a corner, never moving past a particular chord. We’ve been writing the same New Years resolutions in our journals year after year, growing more and more dejected as it feels certain things aren’t coming to fruition.

Social psychologists have said that it actually takes around 66 days to break a bad habit or form beneficial ones. The compound effect is something I’ve been getting to grips with and realising that every action I take in this moment will compound together to form my future, it sounds scary but I use it as a way to I suppose, push me out of my comfort zones, but I digress, here are the things I've been incorporating into my life lately...

BOOTS: New Look
DENIM JACKET: Primark Mens
The most annoying of them all. Getting up early. During the average working week I’m up at about 6:30 - 6:45, but this leaves time for me to just shower, brush my teeth, get dressed and leave the house hurriedly. Tragically boring, but if I went to bed at a decent time, I could wake up at 6:00am and fit time in for prayer, having a decent breakfast (as opposed to a stale croissant from Sainsbury’s), and schedule some Instagram content so I could hit my goal of three posts per day as opposed to one every other day. Getting up earlier has meant that I have more time during the day to fit in my other interests such as an hour or so for reading or time to catch up on my favourite Netflix shows in the evening. It also means that I end up sleeping properly during the night instead of waking up at 3am in the middle of the night.
I have the brain of a fish. I forget absolutely everything if it is not written down somewhere or lazily thrown into my phone calendar. A lot of time wasted in my life is actually trying to figure and remember where I should be and what I should be doing. To tackle this, I picked up a diary from Paperchase in the January sales and this little piece of joy has made it a little more enjoyable to get organised. Getting organised means I can allocate my time more effectively and get more done. For example, intermediate French is something I’ve been wanting to teach myself so I’ve scheduled in that my days for that will most likely be a Tuesday and a Thursday whilst I’m working. I’ve also been wanting to up my gym but because I often have blog events in the evening, having a continuously updated diary means I can schedule in for morning classes on these days.
(And again, and again, and again) - I can almost hear the collective sigh all across my blog readership, with this one. As the saying goes "If at first, you don't succeed, try, try, try again". Most of my proudest achievements have been born as a result of consistent resilience and trying again and again, and again, and again.. you get it. Even now as I'm searching for a new role, with every non-response, every dead end, every unsuccessful interview, is a woman willing to go again.  After all, it took Elijah seven times before he saw the rain cloud that was promised. 

I hope this helps any of you that feel a little stuck and unsure of what little steps you can take when everything feels overwhelming and it feels like the world is moving ahead of you. 



On: Running After Time.

What are the first things that come to your mind when you see the word ‘time’? Do you think of an elaborately gilded grandfather clock, loudly ticking away in a quiet corridor? Or do you think of days turning into weeks turning into months turning into years? Or do you think of a delicate glass sand timer, barely visible grains sifting quickly as if in a race to reach the smooth glass pooled bottom of the timer, a metaphor for chasing time? When I think of time, the words ‘running out’ flash neon in an erratic manner in my mind. A glaringly uncomfortable reminder of the fact that each second, each minute, each hour, and each day that passes is time moving ever forward. Time that I will never get back. Now, this isn’t a piece to scare you, but rather I think (hopefully when I finish writing this) it will be a piece that will encourage, uplift and light the fire under your ass to go out and get started with all that your heart desires for 2019 and beyond.

[ Dress c/o  &Otherstories | Boots c/o Boden | Hairclip - Asos ]

Whilst time is indeed a man-made construct, it is something that has always scared and baffled me. On my drown days, lying in bed, eyes fixed on the ceiling, my body still but the thoughts in my mind crawly dully, bumping into each other thinking, thinking... thinking about time. Ironically it’s usually about the time I’m wasting by allowing my fears to freeze me into doing absolutely nothing. And I suppose that’s the revelation I've had, time will continue to pass in front of me, whether I choose to step into what I’ve been called to do or not. Time is always passing yes, but time is not running out for you my darling. Hold tight to my words, heed them and hold them close to your heart. Whether you start today or start tomorrow, or even next week. Time is passing, but not running out. Don’t let that thought paralyse you into never going for the things you’ve always wanted to do.
The concept of time running out for me because I hadn’t achieved certain worldly milestones at a particular age or time was shattered last year when I realised that a.) in the words of my people, I can’t come and die and b.) I cannot let something that is simply a man-made construct dictate how I feel about myself and my life, and indeed how I live my life. I have actively had to choose to just live life, gently acknowledging each sunrise and sunset and everything in between, but realising that my achievements do not have to line up with the seasons changing and the days turning into nights. Life is to be lived, we are here to thrive and not simply be alive, let’s start really living outside of time this year. Promise friends?

[ photos by shotsbyfifi ]



Planted Not Buried: 2018 A Year In Review.

A brief few words...I’m typing this with a warm pastel de nata in my mouth and a piping coffee in my hand. Thoughtfulness, reticence, and tranquillity fall over me like a veil.  Last year was interesting, to say the least, filled to the brim with uncomfortable experiences, I had thought 2017 was a difficult year - but boy did 2018 come through hard. There were times where I quite literally thought I could not and would not make it through. It seemed that I would carefully take one step forward only for the ground to give way, forcing me to crawl back to the starting line like an injured bird. 
I had initially wanted to write this post similarly to how I wrote last years post 'Six defining moments', but I typed it up - and scrapped it all (hence the late upload) because it didn't feel quite right and I felt like I was forcing myself to find six defining moments. For me there weren't specific defining moments last year - I can honestly say that the entire year was a learning curve that taught me how to deal with disappointment, hostility, fear, sadness and so much more. More specifically I learned how to be more vulnerable and I really opened up my heart to people that I trusted and in turn, they held my heart like a prized possession, gently, and they soothed my fears with gospel before allowing me to place her back into my chest. My job situation was probably something you've all gotten a little bored of hearing about oui? I myself am honestly exhausted about forever talking about academia and careers but I have a duty to write about ALL the things - good and bad. Last year, I started a job - and subsequently left that job (along with every other employee) due to a highly aggressive director. I then started another job - and subsequently left that job on a mutual decision due to it not being the right fit. I then started another job - finally, the job of my dreams, wonderful directors and an office dog to boot, with a direct train from my house to the office - and subsequently was let go of just before Christmas due to uncertainty in the construction industry (thanks Brexit ugh). So astonishingly I'm back where I started this time last year, except with a huge amount of new work in my portfolio and a lot of new skills and programmes under my belt. I spent December packing up my things in the office and wishing my old employers well (they really are the best!), and spent the holiday period with family and friends, laughing, drinking and eating. If anything, this has been a wonderful year for friendships, from my friends gathering together to send me flowers and a stupendously sweet card (covered in images of all of us *sob*)when they heard about my bad news to friends quite literally holding my hands whilst i cried.
I spent a lot of time in 2018 listening to Pastor Michael Todd's 'Planted Not Buried' series, and it truly redefined the way I looked at my circumstances, now in January 2019 I can look back at last year as either being buried in the dirt or planted in it. The dirt is dark, it is uncomfortable, it feels like you're trapped, but it is the very place in which a magical work is being done, and it is a choice, whether you yield to it, or you push against it. I'm choosing to yield and I'm allowing the 'dirt' to do a work in my life that will be transformative, spectacular and beautiful... All I have to do is keep working, even when it's dark, scary and uncomfortable. This year will be the year I drop good news on the blog and it will stay because it was planted in good soil and built on sturdy foundations.
I'm looking forward to what this year brings. Hopefully, new career prospects and so much more to come. Happy New Year Family, let's make it a good one.

photography by Yossy Akinsanya - Edits by myself.


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