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Uk Blogger

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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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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I bring you the 21st episode of my week in black and white with so much joy in my heart. Joy that has come about by the immense support I’ve received from strangers around the world in the last couple of days. One of these beautiful souls shared my eBook to one of her Facebook groups which saw my sales hit record high. I couldn’t be more grateful. I received a lot of emails and direct messages from people who have felt inspired after seeing my work. It is beautiful to see how doing the things you love can make someone else go after the things they so desire. The truth is I love what I do when it comes to photography. My passion for it is what keeps me going. I’ve learnt that if I carry on doing the things I love, I am bound to succeed. My passion for creating something extraordinary has led me to want to take Instagram Stories to a whole new level. If you aren’t following me on Instagram, you should. There you’ll find me creating and sharing short stories which I must say do come across as very comforting. There I get to express myself through my choice of music and image framing hence why Carla Bruni’s French pop classic “quelqu’un m’a dit” has been stuck in my head.

Giving back what we receive is only natural. After all, that is what life is all about. We give and we take, only to give again. Keeping in that spirit, I am looking for ways I can give back the joy I’ve experienced these past few days. I came across a fellow Nigerian blogger, Grace, who shared her story on Instagram about her struggle with depression and how she managed to overcome it in the past months. I thought it bold and inspiring to say the least. I know a lot of folks can relate to her, myself included. So when she shared how she’s been trying to raise funds to further pursue her studies to enable her become a professor, I thought it to be the perfect opportunity for us to show her some love. If you’d like to find out more about Grace and contribute towards her post graduate degree please click here.

Well, it’s nearly 1 am and way past my bedtime considering I have to be up in two hours to catch my flight to Hamburg. On that note, I’ll call it a day, or should I say night? Either way, see you folks on the other side.

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

June 24, 2017
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My upcoming trip to Hamburg has come about in an attempt to find a new and cost saving way to travel. I was initially going to visit Paris, but after being faced time and time again with travel tickets that cost more than my budget, I decided to take a different approach.

Flexibility

One of the things I picked up as a travel blogger is that if you want to be cost effective when it comes to travelling, you have to be very flexible. This could either be with your travel dates or location. I opted for the latter in this instance seeing as I couldn’t budge on my travel dates. To go about finding a new and less expensive location on my set dates, I turned to Google Flights. All I had to do was put in my exact travel dates, select my departure airport and the continent I was most interested in visiting. It didn’t take long to get the results I needed. Hamburg was the obvious choice, not only in terms of cost but also what the city had to offer. A quick search on Google showed some of the things that make Hamburg a place worth visiting. From its maritime history to its art and museums to its architectural structures and youthful vibrance not to mention the outdoor lifestyle with parks across the city. It is also very accommodating of bike riders as many residents use bicycles as their main mode of transportation. I haven’t had a chance to ride my bike all year and this seems like the ideal place to go bike riding. When it comes to booking an accommodation, I usually try to take a collaborative approach with hotels. In this instance, as it was very short notice, I was on a mission to find discounted hotels. My search led me to Hotels.com where you get given additional discounted rates on some hotels if you register on their website. Another good thing is that after you’ve collected ten nights, you get one free which could come in handy when booking future holidays.

Packing and what to take

When packing for a short trip, I like to keep it very simple. My go to suitcase is a piece of hand luggage. Because flights across Europe tend to be fairly cheap, there are add ons which could easily double the costs. Most flights tend to have one item of hand luggage allowance with hold luggage for an additional charge. Travelling with hand luggage not only saves me money but also saves me time at the airport. Having no hold luggage to check in means I can go straight to board my flight plus I’m only responsible for looking after one item, which reduces my chances of losing it. Downloading the airline app to access my boarding pass is a must as it costs to have it printed at the airport.

As I’m going with one piece of luggage, taking only essential items is key. I tend to go with outfits planned for the number of days I intend to stay. A pair of jeans is always a must as I can wear them a few times with different tops. Only one pair of shoes as I’ll already be wearing a pair for the journey. I tend to pack shoes using a shoe bag so they stay protected and don’t ruin any other items. Makeup and skincare products not exceeding 100ml are put together in a see-through bag as per the requirements set-out by customs. I like to take my journal with me as it helps me document my thoughts and feelings on my trip. Then last but not least is my camera, which I need to capture lots of moments.

Budgeting

One of the initial things I tend to do is set a budget for my travel. A number of factors determine what the final budget will be. I budget for my flight ticket based on the average cost of three low cost airlines (Ryanair, Monarch and easyJet). For accommodation, I always want to stay in a three to five star hotel with good reviews based on customer experience. With this is mind, I tend to reserve the cheapest with the most value to offer which locks in the price. The next most important thing to account for is my daily allowance. I usually set this after researching the cost of eating out and visiting certain places in my itinerary. This cost can sometimes go up if not careful. In the past I’ve always had to take money out of  my account to change it to the local currency before I travel, in order not to incur additional charges when making purchases on my card abroad. It isn’t the most ideal option for me as I like to keep track of my spending. It means making use of safes in hotels so I’m not wandering about with cash, with the downside that  I limit spontaneous purchases by not having enough money on me. This time, ahead of my trip, I managed to set up a bank account with Starling Bank. A bank that doesn’t charge any fees when you’re spending using your card abroad or taking money out of  ATMs. The account opening process was easy thanks to their efficient app. To set up an account, I had to download the Starling Bank app and input my personal details. I went through a number of checks to verify my identity, which the app does by scanning your relevant documents. It took me less than fifteen minutes to get set up and my card, which arrived in the post within a few days, had no delivery cost attached. To activate it, I scanned it using the app and it was good to go. The thing I love about the card is that it is a MasterCard which is widely accepted in many retail outlets across Europe, as well as the Pulse feature and detailed transaction feed in the app that will keep me on top of my spending — it’ll also handily show me the transaction costs in GBP and local currency via notifications.

And because the account is a current account with an overdraft facility (subject to approval, and interest rates do apply), you have access to additional funds which allows for a bit of flexibility. Finally, there’s 24/7 in-app support if needed. I’m really looking forward to going to Hamburg with my new card and app where I hope to spend and save money while doing so. And of course, I’ll share my experience in my Hamburg travel post.This blog post has been sponsored by Starling Bank. All opinions are my own.

June 20, 2017
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For the past couple of weeks I’ve been asking myself the same question over and over again. What is going on? This is mostly due to the events  that have taken place very recently in the UK. Also, hearing troubling stories from friends sharing difficult experiences is making all kinds of worried. It’s very easy for me to think worse case scenarios in the face of difficult times. Trying to gain control of my thoughts is something I’m learning which isn’t easy especially with someone like me who tends to bottle a lot in. I was away in Mykonos when I woke up to the news of the attack in Manchester. I remember going through the motions in my mind and finding a way to make peace with it as I always try to do to avoid my thoughts spiralling out of control. When I returned back to Manchester, I could tell that things were different. My Church happen to be located in St Ann’s Square where flowers and messages of condolences are being put down. I and Craig were asked to volunteer on Saturday to help with the candle stands in the Church as people kept coming in to light candles in memories on the people who lost their lives. It was hard to watch people cry. One thing that was clear though was how it’s brought people together. I remember the curate saying to me how a man wanted to buy a condolence card from the book stand and was short of fifty pence. She said, a number of people waiting in line to sign the condolence book offered to give him the fifty pence which was very beautiful to watch. It made me hopeful. But sadly, that same night, another attack would take place in London.

As much as I appear somewhat public with my life by sharing on my blog and social media, it’s sometimes very hard for me to gather my thoughts when bad things happen. All I want to do is be alone and listen to music that somehow holds a meaning to it all and eases my worries. One that makes me feel like everything will be okay. Having accidentally stumbled upon “Jane The Virgin”, I can’t help but think it’s fate. Something about the way things can go all so wrong but somehow they manage to find their way back to a place where everything was fine even in the midst of troubles. Trying times are to be expected and they draw strength from the relationships they have. Something about the music when kind words are spoken make me want to tear up from all the emotions I’ve been bottling inside. Laughter is not absent too because tears of joy is proof that it will all be okay, again. As I write this post I’ve got Moody Jane playing in the background and I can’t help but hold on to the feeling of hope. Hope for a better us, and hope for a better world.

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

June 6, 2017
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