Author

Onyi Moss

Going meat free means I’ve been on the look out for places to eat that accommodate my new lifestyle. I solicited the help of my friend who’s been on this journey for some time now and she gave me some useful tips. She said you can never go wrong with Mexican and Indian food as there’s plenty to choose from. Barburrito happens to be a Mexican restaurant that specialises in making burritos. Last Friday, my friend and I made a quick stop at one of its restaurants located in the city for our occasional catch up. It had a lovely atmosphere with a choice of indoor and outdoor sitting. The open style kitchen plan allows you to see all the ingredients and make your preferred selection.

Not being one to love a wrap, I opted to have mine in a bowl without the wrap while my friend had the wrap Mexican style. The service was quick, almost like street food which I loved about it as I never like waiting for food especially when I’m hungry, lol. This is perfect for those having a quick lunch break from work. I had the Mexican rice with mushrooms, hot tomato sauce, beans and salad. My friend went for the classic burrito wrap with some guacamole and we were all set to go. The portions were very decent and filling. It was definitely a hit in my books as I enjoy spicy food. All the ingredients compliment each other well. Definitely a spot I will be revisiting soon. 

July 21, 2017
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I’ve always been a fan of Ray-Ban. Who isn’t? The brand has become a classic household name thanks to its iconic frames introduced into fashion in the 60s and the revolutionary ‘pop’ culture. Just until two years ago, I was the proud owner of at least four Ray-Ban sunglasses. Making sure I had different colours and designs that matched with a number of outfits was essential. As with anyone who  is  close with their siblings, you’ll find that they sometimes borrow items from you permanently, lol. This was how I came to lose my Ray-Ban collection. Since then, I’ve been on the look out for the perfect pair that would work with pretty much any outfit. It was a given that it had to be stylish and compliment the shape of my face. Thank goodness to the power of hashtags on social media, I was able to perform a search for Ray-Ban to see what shape of frames best suited folks with an oval shaped face. The RayBan 3447 Round Metal Sunglasses was a definite hit.

The best place to score these bad boys are from Sunglasses Shop who offer them at £33 lower than the recommended retail price at a whopping £92. Once it arrived in the post I couldn’t wait to wear it, hence why you’ve seen it flooding my Instagram timeline. I love how it has a retro vibe to it, giving it this rock ‘n’ roll feel with a touch of mainstream. It does a great job of protecting you from the sun (UV400 lenses) while looking effortlessly cool at the same time. The RayBan 3447 Round Metal Sunglasses is a must have accessory this season and any season as a matter of fact because I plan to rock them even in winter. Talk about making the most out of a statement piece!***If you want to edit like me, you can! Grab a copy of my eBook here.***

July 20, 2017
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When the sun comes out to play in Manchester, you have to be ready to soak it all in. The past couple of days have been good. Full of sunshine and extra pleasant folks. That’s what happens on a nice warm day. I was definitely ready to enjoy every but of it. Out came this lovely two piece set from Shein. Stripes are definitely in season, hence my choice of pattern. Also, the rope gives it the sea look which is something I love. I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about my dream white beach house, lol. The frills make for some character which is something I’m building on, hence my new look. Shein is a brand I recently heard of thanks to fellow blogger Patricia Bright. All the reviews I came across regarding the brand were quite positive. Having a browse on their website got me really excited. They’re a one stop shop for all the latest trend and their prices are reasonable. It’s always hard to tell the quality of a piece online. But when my order arrived in the post, I was super pleased with it. The quality was top notch. So much so that I ordered 3 more outfits which all happened to be stripes too, lol. Be sure to check out my Instagram as I plan to share more of my newly acquired outfits there. How are you loving my Striped Lace Up Smocked Cami And Ruffle Shorts Co-Ord from Shein?

***If you want to edit like me, you can! Grab a copy of my eBook here.***

SheIn -Your Online Fashion Pullovers

July 18, 2017
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Italian food happens to be one of my favourite food. I love pasta and pizza any day. Having recently transitioned to being vegetarian, I’ve been on the look out for spots to eat out that make a tasty veggie meal. Our last experience at Vapiano, inspired us to book a holiday to Venice where we had the most amazing time. We decided to pay it a visit again last Sunday to see what a vegetarian like me could enjoy from their latest menu.

Location

Vapiano is located right in the heart of Manchester city centre, in the Corn Exchange building.

Atmosphere

Spread across two floors with outdoor sitting good for a hot summer day, Vapiano is a spacious spot to relax in. With nostalgic black and white photographs hanging on the walls, it gives you the Italian experience. The open plan kitchen allows for some entertaining viewing as you watch your food being prepared by seasoned chefs.

Food

For the the starters, we had some green olives. We then moved on to a bowl of vegetable salad which came with cheese and black pepper. Garlic bread followed. You can’t go to Vapiano without indulging in some good old garlic bread. Next on the menu was Risotto ai Funghi. This was my favourite meal by miles. I love rice and the mushrooms gave it a really good taste. A meal I would highly recommend even for non vegetarians. For dessert, we had the New York Cheesecake, which melted like butter and tasted divine. We had a lot of water and pineapple juice that tasted quite refreshing. To see more of what Vapiano has to offer, you can view their menu here.

Service

Upon arriving at the restaurant, you’re given a card which will be scanned each time you place an order. The staff will talk you through how the process works if it’s your first time visiting. You are responsible for going to the kitchen to place your order where you get the chance to see your meal being prepared. The maximum amount of time we waited for a meal was 5 minutes. You have an option to take a timer back to your table which beeps when your meal is ready. At the end of your meal, your card gets scanned and your bill is produced, ready for payment. The staff are very friendly and professional.

We had an amazing time dinning here again and look forward to revisiting.This meal was complimentary of Vapiano. All opinions are my own.

July 15, 2017
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Recently I shared a post on Instagram asking you lovely folks to take part in a Q&A blog post where I answer your burning questions. Thanks to everyone who engaged by leaving comments. Hopefully this should serve as a reference post when similar questions get raised. Let’s begin!

Which other YouTubers do you follow/watch?

I follow quite a few YouTubers but can’t keep up with their content due to time constraint. The ones I religiously watch are not what you might expect from me though. I never miss a h3h3productions and SoSonia video.

Which camera do you use?

Canon 5D MK III.

Favourite place you’ve ever visited?

Mykonos, Greece.If you have NO idea how to style yourself, where’s the best place to start? 😊

Jeans, jeans, jeans! You can never go wrong with a pair of jeans. It makes for an easy start. You can then throw on a tee or top, pair with sneakers or shoes.

I would love to know what to look for when scouting locations to shoot ❤️

The two things to consider are colours and your outfit. Do the colours in the location compliment your outfit would be the question to always ask.

Where’s your favourite place to vacation?

Europe! Something about it feels very romantic.

Whats the best thing about being a Yorkshire lass?

I’m not a Yorkshire lass but I do love a good Yorkshire pie.How did you get your boo to take all of your photos? Is he professionally trained?

I got Craig to take my pictures by having a mutually beneficial arrangement. I know he loves a good back massage so I trade in a 15 minute massage for every hour he spends shooting me. Now you know how much I work my hands off when you see a good picture of me, lol. He’s not professionally trained. We’re both self taught photographers.

What’s your biggest goal that you’d like to achieve by the end of 2017?

To make full time blogging my career.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

A lot of my inspiration comes from music. You won’t catch me listening to mainstream songs as I do love the odd unique pieces. Music sets a lot of the tone for my work. It’s become my way of communicating.

How do you edit your videos?

I edit my videos using Final Cut Pro.

What are the 5 things you can’t travel without?

My camera, glasses, hat, jeans and journal.How old are you and how years have you been married?

I’m 30, soon to be 31 next month. Although a lady in Tesco wouldn’t sell alcohol to me because I didn’t have my ID. Took that as a massive compliment as you can tell, lol. I’ve been married for over 4 years now.

How do you take such cool pics?

Thanks! I try to focus more on taking a good image rather than capturing a product. I always say if you have a strong image, it should capture the attention of the viewer by making them stare long enough which should in turn draw them to the product.

I’d love to know your camera kit

You can find out my complete camera kit as well as my editing process by grabbing a copy of my eBook.

Any posing tips?

Yes! Music! Just before shooting, listening to music that fits your current mood and keep replaying it in your head while posing. This should get you moving.That’s the end of this Q&A segment. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. Looking to do more of these in the next coming months. Leave a comment with your thoughts.

 

 

July 12, 2017
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Last week I shared that I was taking a short trip to Hamburg, Germany. Suitcase packed, Craig and I were ready to hit the road (or should I say, catch our flight). We left Manchester around 6am on Saturday morning and arrived in Hamburg in less than 2 hours. Hamburg is a beautiful city with many canals and a youthful vibrance. It was very easy to see why it is fast becoming a popular tourist destination and knowing we only had 48 hours meant that we had to use our time wisely.

Where we stayed

We checked into our hotel, The Grand Elysee which is located in the heart of the city. Being a 5 star hotel we wanted to make sure we got a good deal so we booked it a few weeks prior to take advantage of the early booking offer through hotels.com. We paid for our stay upon arrival using my new Starling Bank card which allows me to spend abroad but doesn’t charge transaction fees. The hotel was dreamy, full of amazing paintings that make you stop and think and what seemed to be an indoor forest. The room was big and beautiful, stocked with apples and bottled water to welcome new guests, along with a view overlooking the city. We were also allowed to use of the hotel gym, sauna and swimming pool.

During our time at Hamburg airport, we discovered a cheaper accommodation option. If you find yourself wanting to travel on a very low budget, you can use the Sleeping Pods, which are currently free of charge as part of a special promotional campaign. The sleep capsules, as they are called, are installed at the airport and enable passengers to get some rest, away from the hustle and bustle of the terminals.

Travel

Hamburg has a great tram system and this is what we used the most when getting around. We also reached out to a Hamburg tourist company who provided us with 2-day travel tickets to get around the city. Hamburg is well known for their bike friendly streets, so of course we hired a couple of bikes ourselves which we  booked online at €9 each for 4 hours. There are other flexible hire options available, but If you plan on just looking around the city, walking is also a great option. We did a lot of walking while capturing photos, as walking allows you to pay more attention to your surroundings and discover new spots. We came across so many cute stickers stuck on traffic posts and bins which we may not have seen without walking.

Where we ate

I must say we got a bit lazy with our eating options, which was to be expected given that we had very little time in the city. One of the new features on the Starling Bank app Spending Insights, showing you exactly where you money goes by merchant and category – this showed our second largest spend while in Hamburg was at McDonald’s right after our accommodation. We ate quite a few burgers, fries and, of course, strawberry milkshakes.

We also discovered a hot chilli burger which was very fitting  for the cold weather we experienced while in Hamburg. As we were mostly out and about shooting, we got some ready- to-eat food supplies from a city supermarket to eat while exploring, which came in third in our expenditures in the Starling Bank app. We came across so many lovely outdoor restaurants which we hope to try out when next we visit.

Places we visited

We went to The Roncalli Circus which was less than a minute walk from our hotel. Tickets cost €13 per person but we saved 15% on entrance fees by using Groupon. We got to see some really amazing talent — I highly recommend the 8pm show as it just looks so beautiful at night.

We spent a lot of time walking through the city and came across many canals, our favourite one being a canal that had a building in the middle. In the evenings, we sat by the bridge among the other folk and watched the magical lights. We took a trip to the Parliament Square where we saw the beautiful parliament structure, adding history and charm to the city. We watched the pigeons potter and peck by the bridge, while the swans and ducks swam together, it was truly a lovely sight to behold.

Feeling pressed for time, our last stop was a beautiful botanical garden called Tropengewächshäuser Des Botanischen Bartens. There we got to see unique and exotic plants. The cacti was my most favourite and it’s made me want to turn our apartment into an indoor garden! We also encountered a white parrot who must have been a movie star as he was being shot by a film crew. What made the experience even better was that it is free to enter, which is just great if you’re looking to cut costs.

Expenses and Starling Bank

I said I was going to share my experience using my Starling Bank account abroad in previous blog post, and here it is.

Thanks to the Starling Bank app, we were able to track our spending and we managed to stay on budget with over €3 left to spare. Our budget, of course, was in Pounds Sterling and the Euro equivalent offered by Mastercard’s competitive exchange rate, met my expectation as our accommodation ended up costing £1 less than we reserved it for.  

Starling Bank offers a current account that you can use overseas with no fees – that means there are no transaction fees and no ATM withdrawal fees for spending abroad, hurray! And because it’s a current account, it means you are able to earn interest on your balance just like you normally would at home.

I found the app to be an effective tool to manage costs as it displays a percentage split of transactions based on categories e.g. Holidays, Eating Out and Groceries, and merchants e.g.  Grand Elysee Hotel, McDonald’s etc. The app is also cool as you receive instant notifications every time you spend money, allowing you to track your spending in real time, so if you happen to be charged the wrong amount this allows you another chance to double check!

When traveling it’s super important to be careful with where you spend your money —, Starling are big on security, so much so that there’s this really cool card locking feature in the app. If you misplace your card you can simply lock it in the app so it can’t be accessed by anyone else, but if you happen to find it again, you can  easily unlock it!

Although I didn’t really need to take any money out, Starling allows you to withdraw up to £300 (or equivalent in foreign currency) which is the same as in the UK unlike some restrictions you may have with some travel cards.

Because the card is a Mastercard, it was accepted for all our transactions. It is a card I plan to use more often even when not on holiday, mainly to get an overview of my expenses and identify ways in which I can cut costs. So If you’re interested in trying Starling Bank, they have kindly given me a Starling Pass for my readers to skip the queue. If you download the app, simply input this pass CNLALET1 to apply for a current account.

Overall, Hamburg is a very beautiful city which I believe is currently underrated in the tourist scenes. I’d say pay it a visit when you get a chance and enjoy all it has to offer. We hope to visit for a longer period sometime in the future.

This blog post has been sponsored by Starling Bank. All opinions are my own.

 

July 4, 2017
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This blog post is not my usual style of writing but a topic I think needs to be touched on as it forms part of my experience as a blogger. An African blogger to be precise. Everything I will be sharing is mostly based on my personal encounter which should give you some perspective into my life as a content creator. It’s very easy to look in from the outside and think all is well and rosy when the reality is somewhat otherwise. And I don’t blame you for having that perspective. You mostly get to see the glamorous side of being an influencer being flaunted all over the internet (don’t get me wrong, I too I’m guilty of this) but very little is shared about the struggles that come with it especially for someone like me. Before moving to England, I always had this notion that if I could “make it” a very western world, then I can make it anywhere. I guess somehow I was aware of the trying journey of succeeding in a foreign land however familiar it may seem from a distance.

I suppose this is where I do a full disclaimer stating that this post isn’t an attack on a particular group of people but merely highlighting some of my encounter.You have to work twice as hard 

If you’re very familiar with the TV show, Scandal, you should be aware of the famous scene where Olivia Pope‘s dad tells her quote on quote “You have to be twice as good as them to get half of what they have”. At first I didn’t get it and thought that was just dialogue appropriate at the time to have the effect he wanted on his daughter. Still, that scene stuck with me. For those of you who haven’t watched the show, a bit of context seems appropriate. Pope is a Washington, D.C.-based crisis manager who runs her own firm, Pope & Associates, that specializes in political situations. Fast forward two years later, I would begin to understand what Eli Pope meant. That was around the period I started taking my blog seriously but saw little or no growth with my engagement on all platforms. I remember telling myself “focus on improving and perfecting your skills and the rest will come”. Perhaps it wasn’t so much of a shocker as my subconscious mind almost expected this to be the case. I found myself having sleepless nights learning and practicing photography, and still do.

Putting out mediocre content will put you at the bottom of the pile and great content might get you in the acceptable league even though your work speaks for itself. The struggle is definitely real. If I had a penny for the amount of times people have said to me they think I deserve more followers because of the quality of my content, I’d probably be eating out every week.  No wonder there are so many avenues dedicated to promoting the work of black folks and people of colour alike. At first I didn’t want to engage with these platforms because I thought I would be limiting my audience which was a whole load of nonsense to think in the first place. I soon began to realise that these platforms are a safe space for people like me to grow and share knowledge. The benefits of being part of such communities is very rewarding and inspiring to say the very least. Very few friends 

I remember very well when I first started out blogging, I would tag everyone on Facebook I thought was my friend in my posts and would get little or no support from them. Sometimes they’ll remove themselves from the tags  or unfriend me altogether. I was quick to notice this and decided it was unfair to put that amount of pressure on the people I considered friends at the time. I got to realise that people closest to us sometimes don’t believe in our dreams as much as we do and this reflects in their reactions. The truth is I’ve managed to convince so many strangers while on this journey that my work is worth looking at and I couldn’t be much grateful. You’ll find that the people who doubted you the most want to get close to you when they think you’ve become a success. Only then will they openly admit to knowing you. It’s become apparent that in order to succeed in whatever you do, you have to surround yourself with the right energy and this includes people that push you towards your goals. I’ve slowly learnt to keep very few friends and that’s fine with me. I’ve heard quite a few people say the older you get, the less friends you tend to have. This is true for me and some of my friends alike. When you factor in the amount of hours needed for creating content, you’ll find that you can barely keep up with social engagements which results in a somewhat natural decline in the number of friends you have.

The entitled folks

I get the odd request from folks who don’t show any form of support towards my work send me private messages asking me to share my photography secrets which I imagine they’ll implement and shine even brighter than they already do. Very recently, I had a blogger in London with nearly 300k Instagram followers who followed exactly 0 people, message me to ask about my editing techniques which is no secret as I’ve found a way to share that knowledge in my eBook. I guess he wasn’t interested in purchasing it and might have thought I would be smitten by his online presence enough to give him this information because he asked. I did the sensible thing by ignoring his message. The interracial couple stigma

“She’s only successful because she’s with a white man”. Really? This is usually my reaction when I see this fallacy being hurled around the internet. The so called “interracial relationship” craze comes into play which puts less focus on my work as a content creator. I have received at least 50 emails and private messages criticising me for riding off the back of my “white husband”. The double standard really amazes me. Anyone who needs photography for their blog knows they have to rely on the support of family and friends to help get the shots every now and again. For a lot of bloggers I know this tends to be their partners or their spouse. So why does it matter in my case? What many folks don’t realise is that I and my husband work as a team. He takes most of my pictures when he’s available and when he’s not I shoot self portraits. I do all of the post production work. So how come when a fellow blogger like myself dates/marries from a similar background, who gets equal amount of support from her partner doesn’t get judged on that? I fear I will never really know the answer to this. The way I deal with it is to completely ignore these messages. After a while you can’t help but feel sorry for these folks.

Inclusion for the wrong reason 

You might also find that you get included in certain projects not by merit but because of your origin so they can demonstrate diversity. In those instances, taking advantage of the “disguised opportunity” as I like to call it, is a good way to show unsuspecting spectators the stuff you’ve been practicing behind closed doors. It’s a chance to gain respect for your work if you play to your strengths. I have been included in a couple of projects like these, without being very specific, I can say I did my best to go above and beyond. And the next time they consider me, I can almost certainly say it’s as a result of my work due to the offers they present my way.Love or hate

I’ve found that my biggest supporters are other Africans in diaspora. Maybe it’s because they have a sense of what it feels like to survive in a foreign country and perhaps relate to my journey. The amount of support and love I get from these folks is indescribable. I can tell by their names when I look at my eBook sales. However, this can be a love hate relationship. Some of these folks for some reason unbeknown to me do not like to see others succeed. They pick at everything you do. First they criticise your accent, then your mannerisms, and then they tell you why you’re not good enough as you do not represent their ideas of someone from their community Some even go as far as disowning you which I find very bizarre. I mean, how sad must your life be to want to make someone feel guilty for personal choices they’ve made in their lives that remotely has nothing to do with you? Maybe you folks can help me out with this one. My usual approach would be to ignore these folks. But sometimes I can’t help but think they need educating on certain matters.

 Awkward blogger events 

Being an introvert doesn’t quite help me here. I sometimes think that not growing up here and engaging in the social scenes makes me hold back at blogger events. It’s easier for me to connect with other foreigners because I fee like like we get each other just by sharing this one experience of living abroad. Sometimes I don’t attend altogether if no one I know is going. This can potentially hinder my growth and is something I have to overcome. I do not want to change who I am in the process. I just want to find a way to exist as my true self in a space where I can grow.

This has been my experience so far. I’d love to hear some of the things you folks also have to deal with behind the scenes as content creators and how you’ve overcome them.

July 3, 2017
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