I read somewhere that “the best friendships are those that have survived the test of time, conflict and change”. For the past month I’ve been thinking of ways to collaborate with other bloggers in my niche and what better way to start this than with a friend who I can certainly say has become a sister (fact; we’ve been told we look alike on many occasions). There’s something about Mimi that makes everyone she spends time with see her as their best friend. I can’t count the amount of people who have claimed her as their bestie but between us, I’m the number one bestie, lol. Mimi is the kind of girl when you continuously tell her about someone will immediately act like she’s known the person a lifetime upon meeting them. She just knows how to make you feel welcome. I’ve actually known Mimi for over twenty years now. We both went to the same boarding school back home in Nigeria. She was the social prefect which shouldn’t come as a surprise given her personality, and I was a house captain. The funny thing is that we weren’t all that close back then but we were very cordial and social towards each other whenever we found ourselves in the same space.Mimi moved to the UK right after we graduated from secondary school. I remember seeing her pictures on Facebook and thinking she was having a fabulous time over there which made me dream even more of visiting. Once I was done with university, I moved to the UK to further my career as a chartered accountant. I was residing in Birmingham at the time and Mimi in Manchester. We kept in touch and met up a few times. Then that turned into calling each other everyday and now we can’t stop being in each other’s lives. I have very fond memories of Mimi coming to visit me in Birmingham and helping me with my paper rounds (yes, being a paper girl was my part time job). A couple of weeks ago I wrote (in the post titled “how the law of attraction saved my life”) about how a close friend let me move in with her and her family when I was going through a rough patch. Well, you guessed right. That friend was Mimi. She was the reason why I packed up and moved down to Manchester. We had the most amazing times. One time we went to a popular roof top bar as spinsters in a bid to treat ourselves to a girls night out. We got all dressed and took pictures to share on Facebook (that was before Instagram was well known). We were quite the broke spinsters as we opted for the 2 for 1 cocktail deal. Once we were done with our drinks (which by the way took less than 15 minutes), we couldn’t wait to leave as we were bored out of our minds. We ended up ordering some Chinese to the bar then took a taxi home, lol. Thanks to Mimi, I’ve had the experience of being kicked out of the cinema as she’s one to converse and laugh out loud during a movie screening. She’s always quick to cry even at the most silly things. One example of this was when we were both catching up on Glee over dinner, in the episode, one of the students was turned down for a job they really wanted and happened to take the rejection quite well considering how badly they wanted it. The next thing I heard was Mimi nearly choking on her food from crying as she was upset about him not getting the job. Knowing Mimi, I can’t promise that she won’t cry when she reads this post cause that’s just the kind go girl she is. I guess that’s why I feel like I can open up to her as she’s not afraid to show her emotions.When we planned this shoot, little did we know that our faith would be tested. Mimi just acquired a bike and it was the obvious prop to use for the shoot. We chose our outfits carefully to compliment the bike. We made flower arrangements with the flower shop next to my Church. We were in very high spirit, and so was Craig who was excited to shoot us. Come the day of the shoot, it was pouring it down. All of Manchester was wet. It turned out we had planned our day without taking into account the weather. We ended up leaving my apartment around 2pm for a shoot that was scheduled to take place before noon (shows our concept of timing). Once we arrived at our shoot location, it turned out to be closed due to a private event taking place. We found a nearby pub where we stayed and ordered lunch while we gathered our thoughts. Craig feeling quite sorry for us said “I’ve just looked at the weather and tomorrow seems to be a better day, can I suggest you ladies move your shoot till then?”. I was feeling nearly defeated at the time but something in me kept saying this is just a test, you can make this work. So I said, let’s look at the weather by the hour. Upon checking, we could see that the rain would stop within half an hour with the rest of the day being just cloudy. You could see the excitement on my face once we discovered this. We enjoyed our meal and set out with the intention to go to a new location. On our way there, Mimi spotted this beautiful road with trees on both sides which looked quite magical. She said “What is this place?”, and I screamed “This is exactly what I pictured in my head when we thought of this shoot. Stop the car!” By then then rain had completely stopped and we still had time to shoot before it got dark. We wasted no time playing around and shooting. We even had time to get some footage for a short film which you can watch here. Seeing how everything came together in the end was so rewarding. It felt like we had yet again conquered another challenging day, making it even more memorable.
This week was a very pleasant one. We got blessed with a few sunny days in Manchester given the very stormy weather we experienced last week. On this particular day, we were more prepared than usual. We knew it was going to be a beautiful day with lots of sunshine so we started our day pretty early. We knew exactly where we were going to as we had been there before. A pub with a back garden that reminded us very much of Mykonos thanks to the white and blue theme, not the mention the seaside aesthetics adopted. You could say we were in holiday mode as we dressed to match the mood of the day. Stepping out in denim and knit, we were ready to catch our train to in East Didsbury to enjoy some tea and coffee in Ye Old Cock Inn.
As it was early afternoon on a weekday, the outdoor space was empty which meant we could roam free. And roam free we did! I had some tea while Craig enjoyed a nice cup of coffee. We were feeling so at home that we forgot to take pictures of our beverages until we were done drinking, lol. Afterwards, we wandered round taking pictures and even got some footage of our day which we pulled together for an Instagram story. We headed back to the train station where we soaked in some more sunshine. I could see our train fast approaching and it looked like it would make for a great shot. Craig wasted no time making sure we captured it. It was really lovely going out on what felt like a city exploration made even more memorable thanks to the glorious weather.
Welcome back to another series of our weekly Instagram roundup. Today we’re sharing the stories behind the images we captured and shared on our Instagram page last week. This shot was taken a couple of weeks ago for the Pandora and Disney collection campaign. One of my best friends, Mimi, was present to see me in action. She seemed pretty impressed as to how I came up with the concept in less than a minute and achieved the shot in lest than five. She came round as we had arranged a shoot for an outfit post. And just as we were about to head to our shoot location, I decided it’ll also be a good idea to shoot the bracelet while we were out. She said I was thinking out loud. I said the campaign brief had a colour scheme of red and blue so I decided to take my red jumper with me. I also thought it was a good idea to take my red lipstick and serviette paper to draw a heart as one of the hashtags of the campaign was #DoSeeTheMagic. Upon completing her shoot, we came across a restaurant with outdoor sitting that coincidentally had a blue bench. I brought out my serviette and drew a heart on it like I had planned. We ordered a latte which coincidentally came in a cup that had some red details. I wasted no time laying things around until I I was happy before taking the shots. It was nice to hear someone relay my creative process back to me as I often get caught up in the moment and sometimes forget that I actually make calculated decisions to see that the final results meet all the requirements. This photo is an oldie but still a goodie. We took this a few months ago for a brand campaign for a gaming company. It was one of those campaigns where we had to create shots for the brand without sharing on our channels. I came across it while cleaning up my desktop and thought it’d be a good one to share especially since we had a busy day with little or no time to shoot.This day was a fun day out. We don’t always know where we’re going to end up whenever we step outside of our apartment for a shoot. On this occasion we did, by chance. Just before leaving, I went on Instagram and saw that a new place had opened up in town thanks to an account I follow which shares Manchester related news. I showed Craig what it looked like and it was a hit. It’s called Mackie Mayor. On our way there, we stopped by a £1 bookshop to see if we could find some hidden treasures. While going through the books, Craig sneaked a few shots which turned out to be lovely. Afterwards, we headed to the new spot where we were amazed by the open plan design and beautiful architecture. The upstairs wasn’t fully functioning and so very few people were there. We quickly grabbed a spot away from the crowd to take a self portrait. Craig then wandered round and took some more pictures of the place. Craig is always offering to fix up my hair or happy to tell me when it doesn’t look quite right, lol. On this particular day, we were only bothered about getting one shot. As usual, we set up shop right next to the library as Craig pointed out the view. After a few running back and forth to the camera (as we always do for all our self portraits), we decided to switch up our poses. And so I asked Craig to do what he does best, and he obliged. In the middle of him fixing it, we got this shot. It was a very rainy day and I had two looks to shoot for a fashion brand campaign. We succeeded in getting some of the work done as much as the weather would permit as it was a very rainy day. Doing shoots like this means we have to plan an additional shoot in order to keep up with our daily Instagram schedule. On our way back home from the first round of shooting, we stopped by Aldi to stock up on some supplies and I bought some flowers to hang. A habit I picked up when I travelled to Greece. Upon getting home, I posed with the flowers on the balcony before hanging them up to dry.This shot was taken at the end of the of what would prove to be a very hectic day. Walking through the Northern Quarter, we spotted this pub with a bike in front of it. After taking a few test shots, we decided to go with it. I did a lot of jumping as you can see. It was around 5pm, which meant folks were leaving work to go home. Some folks joined in my display for joy and others politely waited for me to get the shot. One dog in particular seemed very fascinated with Craig who was squatting on the ground to get the shot. She kept trying to leave her owner to go after Craig. It was funny and cute to watch. My guess is given his beard, she found him to be another fury friend.Sundays equals plant days in our household. That is, if we remember to water them, lol. Well, this Sunday we did. We had spent the morning shooting two looks for a brand with a deadline that was due the next day. We didn’t feel like going back out as we were still recovering from the cold we experienced earlier on. Just before feeding the plants, we got the camera out and posed for a self portrait.
We hope you’re enjoying the stories behind our images. Let us know in the comment section which one is your favourite.
Welcome to another week in black and white. Rather than talk about the events that transpired during the course of our week, I think it’s best to focus on the underlying lesson learnt. Those who know me well, know that I’m one to always draw a life lesson from any circumstance if I can help it. I really do appreciate that side of me as it gives at least one constant perspective to always view things amongst others. The key message I got from our week was “always embrace life”. Now, how did this come about? Well, it all started when I watched a live Facebook video by a photographer who said the best way to capture a moment was to actually be in the moment. Those words really stuck with me. Somehow it translated into embracing life and it got me really being extra conscious of each moment and making the most of it. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt (speaking from personal experience), its that what you focus on is what you’ll succeed at. Bearing that in mind, coupled with my new level of awareness, I made sure to embrace each moment. Rather than say to Craig, “should we go out and get some shots?”, I found myself saying “let’s go out and see if we can find a place we’ve never been before for some nice coffee”. Making it less about shooting and more about just living life with getting some shots being an added bonus.
It gave a very different feeling, one of being a lot more open to unexpected moments the day might bring with it. And it felt great! I could see beautiful stories unfold. In retrospect, it was obvious that there’s always something romantic about embracing life. After all, that romance triggered my journey to getting here. So I ask myself, how can I not live in the moment? Granted, life has it’s ups and downs. But the best way to push through is to keep hope alive. And with each passing day, we must learn to live a little more – romancing life.
This week’s coffee diaries nearly didn’t happen, thanks to the very stormy days we’ve been experiencing over here in Manchester. Not one to shy away from a shoot no matter the weather, even I found it quite difficult to navigate. Craig was soaking wet as his umbrella got destroyed by the gusty winds and so did mine, but I wasn’t letting go nonetheless. Taking shelter was the only way forward. But that in itself became an arduous task. We found ourselves searching for a spot for close to an hour as everywhere was packed with people trying to stay away from the not so friendly weather. In the end, we decided to join the crowd. Trying to take pictures was very awkward as everyone kept staring. I remember saying to Craig, I’ve paid for two pots of tea and I’ll be damned not to get my money’s worth in pictures, lol. Clearly, this wasn’t the time or place to even contemplate a self portrait. So we agreed to just focus on me as I was ready to take some stares for the team.
Waiting out the storm seemed to be a mistake as it kept getting worse. But at least we had a hot pot of tea to keep us going. Looking around us, we could see people drinking and having a jolly good time despite the not so great weather. In that moment, it was very obvious to me what the lesson was. Although we may experience some stormy weathers in our lives, it is much better when we have the people we love around us. Looking over at Craig, I was happy to see him. I might have taken one for the team, but without him there observing the scene and clicking the camera at every chance he gets, there’d be no team. Coming to terms with the fact that the weather was only going to get worse, we called for an Uber to get us home where we would be safe from the storm. When we got out of the taxi, we saw a man with an umbrella, which had the words “there’s no rainbow without rain”. What a thought to hold on to, especially on a day like this.
Welcome to our second instalment of our weekly Instagram roundup. For those new on here, this is where we talk about the stories that inspired the shots we shared on our Instagram with the exception of those that already made it to the blog. Let’s get right into it.These shots were taken while in town when we stopped for a quick coffee break amidst a very busy day. We walked past through The Arcade, a place we tend to walk through every now and again but never seem to stop for anything except when admiring the cool barber’s shop filled with very eclectic characters. On this occasion, we were trying to avoid the cold as much as we could, hence my chunky turtle neck knit and coat. We spotted restaurant with an outdoor sitting (which also happened to be indoors as it was inside The Arcade) and grabbed a table. We ordered some coffee to keep warm before heading back out into the cold. By the way, I purchased this red beret earlier on that day to match my outfit.This shot was taken on Tuesday. Much like the previous day, there was much to accomplish on our list of things to do so our daily photoshoot was left till the very last minute. Before we lost daylight, I decided to pose in front the Zara store in town to get this shot. It was just after 5pm, which meant a lot of folks were leaving work, thereby making the streets very busy. All that kept running through my mind was not wanting to encounter a colleague from my previous workplace, lol. If you ask me why that is, I couldn’t tell you.Now its Wednesday. It rained all day long. Which made it easy for us to stay indoors. We did manage to leave apartment though as we had a key campaign deadline to meet. When we got back in, we were soaking wet and knackered. Rather than go back out again for another shoot, we decided we were better off having a cosy indoor shoot. It was another rainy day in Manchester but we weren’t going to let it intimidate us again, lol. Out we went, but it didn’t take long for us to find shelter as it kept pouring down. We managed to find an empty spot in town where we stopped for a drink and some self portraits. It was a really nice place to spend some time together.Craig had an even to attend the whole of Saturday. As we tend to post almost in real time, we had to plan this shoot ahead of time. So after we got in from the rain, we did this indoor shoot on our kitchen floor which we thought was appropriate for a chilled weekend look. The behind the scenes of this shot was captured for our Instagram stories which you can watch here.This shot was taken on Sunday when we found ourselves wandering the grounds of University of Manchester. Let’s just say we spent a lot of time, jumping, flying, running around, Craig carrying me and us laughing every now and again. I think I might have overdone it though as I am still recovering from the aftermath of this session with my shoulders and back aching for the most part. At least it does serve as a good reminder of the really good day we had.
In this weeks black and white series, I’ve decided to talk about the law of attraction and how it saved my life. The reason being because for the past couple of weeks I’ve been telling a lot of folks about it and I figured it’s about time I went in depth regarding my experience with it. For those of you not familiar with the law of attraction aka LOA, in simple terms, it means you attract what you think. To quote Wikipedia, “the law of attraction is the belief that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts a person brings positive or negative experiences into their life”. Lately, I’ve been drawing a lot of inspiration from my old posts. I used to talk a lot about positive thinking and LOA. It made me miss those days. I plan on adopting that style of writing again because that’s more of who I am than just babbling on about style. My close friend Mimi, recently recommended a blogger by the name of Susan (from le-jolie blog) who shared her experience about LOA, and I couldn’t agree more with what she had to say. Right, let’s get to my story.A little over 5 years ago I was in a very bad place. A lot of things had happened that put me in a very negative headspace. The key ones were ending a relationship, the Home Office taking nearly a year to issue my work visa which not only meant I couldn’t work at the time but also meant I couldn’t leave the country, which led to me missing my only sister’s wedding. You kinda get the gist of what I was going through. I was very bitter with life in general and could almost say I reached an all time low. My close friend was generous enough to ask me to move in with her and her family while I tried to get back up on my feet. It was a very kind gesture, one that I am eternally grateful for. So when my tenancy was over in Birmingham, I packed up everything that I owned and moved to Manchester. It was hard waking up every morning and watching everyone around me go to work while all I could do was play the waiting game. I found myself binge watching YouTube beauty videos all day long just to pass time. It was a bit therapeutic, lol. Also I thought I should give dating a go and so I joined an online dating site (oasis.com). I remember my first week on there, I got chatting to this lovely gentleman who happened to be a motivational speaker. I told him how I was feeling and everything I had experienced in those past months. He proceeded to ask me if I had ever heard of the book ” The Secret”. My response was a resounding no because I wasn’t one to read, only when I had to sit an exam of some sort. He recommended that I read it and put it into practice. So, while trying to find the book online, I came across the documentary on YouTube, and opted for that instead.The key message from “The Secret” was LOA coupled with stories of the success people had experienced with it. It also shared how to go about putting it into practice. First be grateful, then ask with specificity, all in writing. I figured I had absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain if it worked. And so I began writing. For gratitude, I wrote down things like being grateful for life and the wellbeing of my family and friends, for having a roof over my head, for coming across “The Secret” documentary etc. For the things I wanted, I wrote down things like the exact job title I wanted and in what industry as well as the exact salary, the Home Office reaching a positive decision on my work visa in the coming weeks, and finding love again.A couple of weeks later, I got contacted by another guy on the dating site who seemed to know exactly what he wanted and immediately asked for my number to ring me. I remember thinking, this guy is pretty bold. He did use his full name on the dating site which made it pretty easy for me to stalk him on Facebook. After I did so, lol, I concluded he was kinda decent. And so, I gave him my number and we got texting and speaking for a couple of weeks before going on our first date. I found out he was also into LOA and positive thinking. Bearing that in mind, I decided to make some additional “ridiculous” (or so I thought at the time) request just to test the power of LOA. I updated my journal and wrote down that I wanted to be engaged to this guy whom I had only known a few weeks within 3 months of meeting and married within 6 months, lmfao. Yep! That was my exact request. We met every day for some coffee since our first date. We went to the cinema a few times too because he loved the movies. I remember him asking me to be his girlfriend two weeks later and I said no as I was still getting to know him. A few more weeks later, which turned out to be his birthday, we made it official. We were now “boyfriend and girlfriend”. A couple of months into our relationship, he asked me to move in with him and I said yes. It looked like LOA was definitely in action. In fact, I was very certain of it. Just after 2 months of living together, he proposed to me at the movies which was were we had our first kiss. It happened exactly 4 months into our relationship, not quite the 3 months as I had written in my journal, but still, very close. We tied the knot 2 months later and have been married ever since. And that’s the story of how I met Craig.Still waiting for the Home Office to reach a decision on my work visa application, I found myself passing time watching reality TV shows. I was up-to-date with all The Real Housewives, a show which in hindsight was filled with quite a lot of negativity. During the commercial break of one of The Real Housewives, I came across an ad for a TV show called “Fashion Bloggers” and was very intrigued. The ladies featured in the show were photographers and bloggers too. It somehow struck a chord a with me and drove me to want to learn about photography. The good news is that I didn’t get stuck at home for very long. Some months down the line, I received my work visa in the post one very early morning. A few days later I went for a job interview and got the exact job I wanted, in the exact industry I wanted and my wage was very close to what I had written in my journal as the company offered me £400 more. How weird is that? I was floored at the results of my experience with LOA. My life had changed completely for the best within 6 months. What I did find though is that getting your request granted doesn’t mean you’ll be happy. But what can almost certainly lead to happiness is gratitude. I ended up not being happy in my job after a few years. I felt very uninspired. My blog and photography became a way for me to escape it all. As some of you already know, I quit that job in July this year to focus on my blog full time. It would seem that all the while when I thought I was sitting idol at home, encountering the TV show “Fashion Bloggers” was the main catalyst that led me to pursue the lifestyle I currently have. You could say I used LOA to also achieve this, as a blog post which I wrote back in May talked about the dream of doing the things I love someday in the not so distant future.They say “knowledge is power”, and I couldn’t agree more. Knowing and understanding the power of LOA has made me recondition my thinking in many circumstances to my benefit. Rather than focusing on the things I don’t want, I make a very conscious effort to focus on the things that I do want. Still, making sure to show gratitude along the way. So, if you ever find yourself at a point in time where absolutely nothing seems to be going well, I’d suggest you try out LOA. Just like me, you have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain if it does work. A lot can happen it 6 months, it did for me, for the better if I might add.***If you want to edit like me, you can! Get my Lightroom preset or grab a copy of my eBook here.***