This week I’m serving you smart casual chic with another great cropped shirt top thing that I’ve been loving recently. Although, my favourite part of this fit are these flowy culottes from Zara. Before the sales even started I saw so many people with these on, styling them in so many different ways so it was top of the list of items I wanted once the sales started. Of course, it sold out online in a flash and the store stock availability on the app is quite unreliable so I gave up and said if I find them great, if not cool. The first pair I found was on a random colourful rack so they stood out. They were an XS but I bought it for a tenner anyway, hoping to try it to see what size I would be (you know Zara sizing is dodgy for us girls with curves) and then I sold them, knowing I may never find them again let alone in my size. A couple of weeks later, I spotted them on a rack near the returns desk at my local Zara and literally left my position in the queue to grab them and they were my size *love struck face*! That’s my luckiest sale find story to date. I would love to say I’ve worn these loads since but now the September sun has moved on, I’m sure these will make a reappearance next summer. Similar to last week’s post, I decided against makeup as a way of proving (to myself more than you) that (in my opinion) I/you don’t need a full face to complete a polished look. The week before last was the worst I’ve ever had at a job. So bad that I began to question my career and where it was heading. I currently work in education simply because I love working with young people, inspiring them to be self-sufficient, confident and versatile individuals. However this year made me realise that that is where my passion for working in education ends. What about what inspires me to be the best individual I can be? And If I always put others first, will I ever know what self-fulfillment feels like? My most recent epiphany earlier this year was that too many aspects of my life were focused on helping others and finding solutions for everyone else’s problems rather than my own. Since then, I’ve made some life changing decisions from moving out, joining a team at church and not forgetting launching this blog. 2017 will forever be known as a major paradigm shift. Career wise though…I’m still working on that one. Ideally, I would love to work within the fashion industry but I know that this blog is not enough to stand on in order to stand out. Sometimes we make these big decisions for ourselves, assuming others will recognise its significance when in reality it may look minuscule to others because they lack understanding of your vision whether that be those around you or a company that you’d love to work for. My message with this post is that the opinions of others will never take away from what that decision meant to you. Just keep going and everything else will come in due course. Continue to take your talent and present it in ways that express what a well-rounded, creative person you are regardless of what it is. I think it’s easy to get lost in this new world that revolves around everybody being so ‘creative’ all of a sudden but that’s why you have to keep focused on yourself and yourself only. I tweeted last week that I feel the most motivated when I’m not on Instagram 24/7 and it’s such a great feeling to be in tune with your thoughts minus any influence. I have to trust the brand I’m building and until I get presented with opportunities, I’m going to have to create some for myself and that’s okay.
How is everyone doing? Yes, I’ve been rather low key recently and for that I’m a bit sorry. I say only a ‘bit’ because I know every time I pull myself away from social media and my blog, I always come back with bigger and better ideas and a fresh perspective on the goals I want to achieve. The truth is I was in a bit of a style rut and if you follow me on Instagram @thesaleshopper then you’ll know about my little rant on ‘personal style’. If you didn’t catch the post (which i’ve since deleted as it was messing up my positive vibe feed) then in summary I explained how frustrated I was becoming when going on Instagram seeing everyone in the SAME outfits from the SAME brands who clearly offered every blogger I follow the SAME sponsorship deals. Grrrrrr! The spon is not obviously not the issue but the lack of inspiration and creativity ’pon my feed was getting to me. So I took matters into my own hands and took this as an opportunity to look for inspiration elsewhere.
It’s less than 3 weeks until my 24th birthday and I’m always very reflective at this time. I look at what I’ve learnt and where I can improve, including my style. One thing I wanted to work on was making more sophisticated fashion choices which is already hard when I wear my hair natural and I rarely wear makeup #babyface. When I think of dressing ‘grown up’, crisp white shirts always come to mind. However, I don’t own any because I find them boring and uncomfortable – even for work. So I made it a point to find clothes in the summer sales that I wouldn’t usually go for that make me look a little more mature but were still fun and easy to style. And that’s kinda how I stumbled upon this little beauty whilst on holiday in Malaga for €5.99 in Zara (excuse the moody expression below)!
I love how the shirring where it crops sits right on where my waist cinches.
I love the cuffs that make it look all shirty from the front but the favourite thing about this top is…
I LOVE the back. Especially as I never saw myself falling for the corset detail trend, the back just makes the top so unique! Comfort wise, its amazing and style wise, I’m yet to find a pair of bottoms it doesn’t go with – even my adidas tracksuit bottoms go really well for that luxe sporty look.
For these shots, I paired the top with these frayed shorts with a stretch waist which is ideal for girls like me with a smaller waist followed by thighs and a biggish bum that don’t like faffing about with belts (that don’t even work/help the problem). I also can’t get enough of these deliberate mismatched slides. I wear them everywhere because they go with every. single. item. in my wardrobe.Moral of this post is to always be you with what you wear. This is not to say you can’t wear what your fave blogger is wearing but just be sure that it’s you even when you’re trying something out of your comfort zone. I think I always look my best when I know I’m comfortable and my outfit reflects my personality even when its just joggers and a crop top. Also ladies, please do not feel pressured to post every picture on social media with a full face of makeup – let your face breathe! Be yourself and enjoy doing it even if others have negative opinions on it. You can only truly live your best life when you’re doing you!
My next couple of posts will feature more summer sale faves so keep an eye out for those! Also, I’ve been receiving a lot of requests lately to start my YouTube channel back up but it takes up so much time (filming, editing, prep etc.) that I’ll need help with what you’d want me to film both fashion and non-fashion related. All suggestions welcome via the comment section below. If you’ve read this post to the end, comment your fave place to catch a bargain or shop in general and see you in my next post.
TOP – ZARA – €5.99
SHORTS – ZARA – £5.99
SLIDES – VANS – £14.00
With the Zara sale starting this week, I can finally feel like the summer sales have arrived and so has an opportunity to revamp your summer wardrobe. Playsuits, halter necks, cute sandals, cheeky bit of sideboob and of course COLOUR are just a few of my fave things about summer fashion that get me very excited about the season! The only thing better than summer fashion is buying summer fashion for less than full price! Now, it’s only right I let you know how to shop the sales correctly to avoid wasting: time, money or too much effort. Well this is what I do anyway, especially since I cut down on my old unnecessary shopping habits.
Do you really need to shop these sales?
I ask myself this every year but the answer is always ‘Yes you do girl!’ Bargains are a-plenty from all of your favourite brands so what’s not to love? As I said before though, it’s all about the way in which you shop. If you have limitless funds, you can splurge till your heart’s content on just about anything. However, I know for the most part, the majority of us young souls have bills and a social life that needs funding. So as much as it’s a time to take advantage of the discounts, don’t feel like you have to give in and buy something, especially in the case where you don’t actually need anything. Summer is the most trend-led season. However, as long as you have a selection of classics as well as some colour in there – you’ll look good regardless and be content that you haven’t splurged all your coins to do so. Classic summer wardrobe essentials (in my opinion) include:
Denim: lighter coloured jeans, shorts, short shorts (they are two different things lool), dungarees, skirts, shirts etc.
Tops: crop tops, classic white tees, vests, strappy camis, bodysuits and lightweight (usually cotton) shirts/blouses.
Lightweight jackets: trench coats, kimonos and the must-have denim jacket.
One piece wonders: when your whole outfit is the ONE item e.g. maxi dresses, playsuits, jumpsuits, cami dresses…I could go on but you get the point!
Sandals: get your toesies out for your flip flops, wedges, gladiators (they never go out of fashion), other strappy sandal heels and good ol’ espadrilles.
Trainers: or keep your toesies away from view in some Converses, Vans or whatever your trainers are both cosy and cute.
Accessories: sunglasses, beach/shopper/tote bags, cross body bags, clutches and my ultimate fave – backpacks!
If you have the majority of what I’d consider ‘essentials’ and you still like the look of them and they fit well then there’s no need to really splurge on the sales however you might spot things you’re missing or clothes that no longer fit your personal style. If that’s the case then my next tip may come in handy!
Look ahead…but not too hard!
Start looking in-store or online at the brands/stores you’re a fan of and wear often. See what they already have on offer at full price before their sales even begin. More often, I find that if I like an item before it got reduced, I’m more likely to wear it and keep it. However if it’s the price that makes you want that top or those shoes, think about how you’d style it up with what you already have to see how much you’d actually wear it/them. If you’re browsing in store, you can take pictures of the item as well as the bar/product code and of course you can try it on (the queues will be hella long though). If you’re doing your pre-sale spying online, make sure to use the wishlist option if available e.g. ASOS’ ‘Saved Items’ section. All online stores will ask you to sign up to the website to keep track of your wishlist which I think is worth it and saves you time browsing for the same thing over and over again. Most sites will also notify you if the product is out of stock which is also a time and effort saver.
Having said everything I just said above though, sometimes it’s best to just wing it and rock up to store and just pick what catches your eye…provided you stay within your budget that is!
Decide on a budget
This is so important! Your budget will determine many things from the types of stores you target to what point during the sale period is best to do your sale shopping. I read an article that said the best times to shop the sales are right at the beginning and the very end and I agree (because that’s what I’m used to doing) but don’t spend what you don’t have just for the sake of it! Personally, I don’t have anything I really NEED this summer plus I have a small budget to work with (trying to up my saving game) so I’m looking to make my purchases in the last couple of weeks towards the end where most lines will be 70%+ off for most brands/stores to buy little things. However, if you follow me on Insta, @thesaleshopper, you’d have seen on my story recently that I made a cheeky trainers order from size? the day their sale launched. I spent £115 on three pairs of trainers! Yes, a bit cheeky but I was only thinking of one of my mantras at the time which is…
Buy now, return later!
This is my go-to motto in life. Just think about it. If you don’t buy that item there and then it may be gone forever. Then again, if you do buy it, there is no obligation to keep it! I don’t know about you but I’m very indecisive (it’s a Libra thing) so I’d rather have the item and let it go knowing I don’t want it anymore, rather than to not have had it all and regret it. Out of the three trainers, two were white so I already knew I was going to return one. Then the third pair is what I like to call a wildcard choice – something that caught my eye that I usually wouldn’t wear so that was a 50/50 chance to either keep or return them. I ended up returning these too and at no cost or hassle for free with hardly any hassle thanks to Doddle.
Use Click + Collect
When buying online, the best delivery option in my opinion is to Click & Collect from store. It’s always free and gives you an excuse to browse the store whilst picking up your online order to spot some extra bargain goodness. For shops like Zara, you might have to deal with extra long queues for the tills and fitting rooms but it can be worth it depending on what you find and if you try on your order along with your in-store findings and want to make both a return and purchase, you can wait in the one customer service queue (again always a long one) to return and purchase all in one transaction!
My fave click & collect spot is Doddle. A newish package delivery service with branches everywhere from train stations, to supermarkets, to shopping centres like Westfield. I find this very convenient as I work a 9-5 and I’m hardly at home on weekends to wait for deliveries. They open early and close late 7 days a week so there’s always a day where you can pop in and it takes less than 5 minutes to collect your order and be on your way. The BEST thing about Doddle in addition to their hassle-free order collection is their even more hassle-free returns service. Available for online brands that both have and don’t have physical stores – it really is so simple and easy to use. All you need to have done is the returns form, they can also print spares off in store so you don’t have to bother yourself finding somewhere to print one. No need to trek to the post office early on a Saturday morning.
To make a return all you have to do is:
- Choose the most convenient Doddle location to drop off your returns.
- You don’t have to wrap the item as they can do that for you – totally your call.
- Be on your way and await your return confirmation email within a week tops!
Doddle works with loads of brands but I’ve put a list below of ones we’re more familiar with:
House of Fraser
Pretty Little Thing
So there you have my advice/tips on how to shop the summer sales a bit more wisely. I have more tips and sale wishlists that I’ll be sharing halfway through the sales so check back in to see those or follow my social medias so you’re the first one to know when a post goes up. I’m very sure we’ll all be looking incredibly on point for all the festivals, BBQs, weddings and all other lovely occasions that the Sun brings.
For everyone that’s asked, here it is! My natural hair routine. I’ve laid it out in terms of how often I do what I do and what I use. I find it really easy to stick to other than when I’m wearing a protective style. As usual, most items linked are on some sort of promo so I’d get them sooner rather than later if you’re interested! If you have questions about any of the products or anything else, please comment below and they’ll be answered in an upcoming Q&A post!
Refresh curls with H20 using a spray bottle
EVERY OTHER DAY (if Shae is dry)
Refresh curls with any or a mixture of the following (depending on how dry hair is):
Argan Oil (the purer the better obvs)
Grapeseed Oil (from the local hair & beauty shop)
WEEKLY (wash and go routine in order of use)
Detangle with H2O in a spray bottle and any cheapish moisturising conditioner like this one.
Shampoo – I’ve had this since last year and there’s still loads left as it’s so big! Oh yeah, it smells amazing too!
Deep Condition with Shea Moisture’s Sacha Inchi Rescue & Repair Hair Masque (bought in the US) for between 2 hours to overnight (if I’m staying in).
Apply grapeseed oil on freshly washed and sectioned hair whilst still wet.
Rake Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie through hair.
Seal with Eco Styler Curl and Wave Styling Gel or the new Black Castor and Flaxseed Oil one.
Protein Treatment which if I’m honest I haven’t done in 2 months but when I do I buy protein packs like this one from the local hair & beauty shop. Now that Shae is longer, I use this which is also an amazing deep conditioner that doubles as a protein treatment too.
EVERY 3-6 MONTHS
Baby trim by a stylist that is confident with natural afro hair.
So there you go! Told you (those that ask me in person) that I really don’t use that much and in my opinion less is more when it comes to hair natural or not. Plus the products you use are important but they aren’t everything! The best formula for healthy hair (of all types not just natural) is:
the right products + the right product application technique (whether it’s your hands or tools and how) + the right diet (as balanced as possible with lots of water) + the right attitude (practising self care and keeping up with your hair routine)
DISCLAIMER: This is what currently works for my hair and its texture. I’m sharing these products because of how many people have asked, not because I’m claiming to be a natural hair guru/expert. Everybody’s hair is different, even those with a similar looking texture. Please please please check out the routines of others, product reviews etc before investing in any and #learnyourhair!
Hoodie – Weekday via ASOS (was on sale on Weekday for £8 but now sold out!!)
T-shirt Dress – One Day via ASOS (OLD – alternatives below)
Adidas Gazelles – Zalando (£25 on promotion!!)
Necklaces – Links of London (Narrative & Classic collections)
Choker – Forever 21 – £2.99
I always get asked what I use on my hair and to be honest there are no specifics. I used to be a major product junkie using like 10 products every wash and go. Yeah don’t worry, I’ve since learnt from my foolishness and only use what Shae needs to get through the week looking as tame and presentable as possible. Since I’m always changing up what I use, I thought it’d be beneficial to share anything new I’m trying every month, especially what Shae has been enjoying the most with you all. My May faves are Shea Moisture’s Sacha Inchi Rescue & Repair Hair Masque and Eco Style’s Black Castor and Flaxseed Oil Styling Gel.
Shea Moisture Sacha Inchi Oil Rescue & Repair Hair Masque
I’ve been using this since I got it in New York earlier this year and I don’t think I’ll be using anything else until it finishes! I had never seen this type before and was immediately drawn by the two words ‘omega’ and ‘rescue’ on the packaging. As I guessed, Sacha Inchi Oil comes from seeds grown in the rainforests of South America. The oil is 90% essential fatty acids (the good stuff) and therefore rich in proteins, vitamins and more. Loved by veggies and vegans for their diet, it’s set to become the latest trend in the world of superfoods. Until I spot it at my local supermarket, I think I’ll stick to using it in my hair lol.
For those that have tried the Jamaican Black Castor Oil Masque from Shea Moisture, the two are similar in the way that they add moisture to my hair however I think the Sacha Inchi masque works better with my hair type and texture as it doesn’t leave my hair feeling too heavy. To be honest, Shae is not a fan of shea butter (a key ingredient in the castor oil masque) so maybe that’s why. Overall, I would definitely repurchase and if you spot the Sacha Inchi oil in the UK somewhere, let your girl know please!
Eco Style’s Black Castor and Flaxseed Oil Styling Gel
Eco Styler (I don’t know why my tub says ‘style’) gel is the only product I’ve used from the day I big chopped until now. Once you learn what products it works well with for your hair, this stuff is amazing. For a long time I was using the pink one (smells amazing!) with #8 hold. This was ideal as I felt the other lines with #10 hold were making my hair too crunchy and caused flaking. Although this new line has #10 hold, the ongoing online craze made me super tempted to give it a go, especially as I managed to find it in my local hair shop for less than £2 (for the smallest sized tub)! Both castor and flaxseed oil promote hair growth and are good at adding as well as keeping the hair moisturised and you can see them at work in this product. Since using it, my wash and gos have never looked so defined and are moisturised for longer than usual. Also, I’m yet to experience any flakes or crunchiness.
Look out for the next Shae post where I’ll be sharing my hair routine so be sure to check it out if you’d like to see what other products I use as well as these two!
If you asked me which brand I purchased from the most last year (and so far this year), I would certainly say Weekday without hesitation.
A member of the H&M group, this Swedish brand is opening its first physical store in London sometime this year *several flamenco dancer emojis* and I cannot wait. When people ask me where an item I’m wearing is from and I say Weekday, the majority just give me a weird confused look assuming I meant to say a similar sounding brand e.g. Cheap Monday. Coincidentally, Cheap Monday is also a member of the H&M group and definitely the closest big sister to Weekday but I still think they have their respective differences. I’m increasingly recognising people wearing Weekday when I’m out and about however there’s still so many people that have never heard of it and if that’s you, read on and get rid of your fomo.
I have all sorts of items from Weekday from jackets to skirts to accessories (you’ll no doubt be introduced to them in future posts) so I’ve grown to form a well-rounded, honest opinion on what they have to offer and whether it’s any good. Trust me when I say, their clothes are of amazing quality! I am the biggest fuss pot when it comes to how clothes feel on my skin and so far I have no complaints. Even before purchasing, the customer knows exactly what each item is made of. What’s more, many of their clothes are actually made up of recycled materials and it feels good knowing you’re representing a mindful brand, helping the environment and looking good whilst doing it. Their designs are very clean, minimalist but by no means boring. In fact, Weekday is very similar to American Apparel (RIP to their UK stores and site) in the sense that they have a set of classic basics available all season that come in numerous colours. However Weekday also have one-of-a-kind prints, patterns & cuts as well as limited edition collabs, adding that edge to effortlessly casual clothing. An example of this edginess being this beautiful floral printed sweatshirt.
If I’m honest, shooting this outfit was the first time wearing this sweatshirt (and my Stan Smiths) out. Partly because of my fear of wearing white (full explanation here) but mainly because there has been no occasion worthy enough of its presence! To be fair when I go out, I will definitely end up eating so wearing white just doesn’t make sense lol. I even surprised myself buying this as I’m usually very apprehensive when buying clothing with printed designs as it can look quite tacky, not wash well and therefore only last a couple of wears. Granted, I haven’t washed it yet but as you can see the design was so beautifully printed, it looks as though the flowers were hand painted on. I can’t get over how well the yellow and blue go together especially against the white and I just love how the print grows onto the one sleeve (see what I mean about the added edge!).
There is loads more I could say about the brand but I would love for you to check it out for yourself. What I will end this post on though, bringing it altogether, is by letting you know that Weekday does one of the BEST sales (psst..they have one on right NOW (perfect timing I know!)). You know that brand you love but can never afford even when its on sale and the most you can get without breaking the bank is like…a pair of socks?! Well you’ll be pleased to know Weekday is not one of those! I grabbed this sweatshirt for £18 reduced from £30 and it was worth it. Apart from one coat I’ve got, this is the most I’ve paid for an item during a Weekday sale – brill right? It’s no wonder why I don’t mind paying the £6 delivery fee however now that I know the The London store’s coming soon, it’s harder for me to make online orders (unless I’m spending < £100). Can we just take a minute to imagine how cray the summer sales will be?! All I know is that I need to start saving for them now! In the meantime, as well as shopping their site, you can also browse a range of their items on ASOS. The pieces I like from what’s on offer there atm are:
Okay #backtotheoutfit time! The weather in London has been very up and down as we transition into summer so for this type of weather, culottes are always a good idea. They’re flattering and comfortable at the same damn time and can be worn with any type of show from ankle boots to slides (obviously I mostly wear trainers with mine). I can be quite the minimalist so since last year, my thing has been accessorising to jazz up my outfits a bit. I only carry a handbag when needed so I always opt for jewellery. I think the one piece of jewellery every girl needs is a personalised name chain in both gold and silver so you can match them with an outfit of any colour. I layered mine with this gorg Evil Eye choker from Regal Rose and of course WHAT IS LIFE without some classic bamboo hoops.
Go and check out the Weekday sale and if you buy anything, let me know! (no this post is not sponsored lol..I wish!). The purpose of this post was not only to introduce you to a new brand but to highlight that sale shopping does not mean limiting yourself to the pocket friendly brands like Primark for example. Sale shopping is a skill that enables me to go for top quality brands that without sales I wouldn’t able to afford as often and that’s what TSS aims to promote. If you made it all the way to the end of this lengthy post, comment below with your fave clothing brand and why if you’re feeling expressive lol! Have a great week!
Sweatshirt – Weekday
Culottes – Zara – £5.99 (Jan Sales)
Choker – Regal Rose – £14 (Jan Sales)
Name necklace – eBay – (can’t remember but nothing more than £20)
The mid-season sales are slowly coming to an end and unlike my days as a student, I haven’t gone wild buying every single thing I liked. I made sure to buy items that 1. I actually needed, 2. would help me with my style resolutions and 3. that would go with what I already have in my wardrobe. The weather has been all over the place recently. One minute the sun is melting my face off and the next minute it’s raining heavily (typical of April tbh). Dressing for transitioning weather is like a lucky dip but you gotta make it work. This turtle neck is one of my recent purchases that I got for only £6 from my new fave brand Weekday (there’s a post all about the brand coming up)! It makes for a cute pop of colour and the turtle neck bit comes in handy when it gets colder in the evenings.
The other new thing is this faux leather skirt, part of Zara’s Special Prices section. I’m not one to really wear short skirts but the paper bag elasticated waist is very flattering and perfect for tucking any top into. The slight A-line cut also means it’s not tight so you could wear this all day long and not get annoyed. If you are self conscious about the skirt riding up and exposing your bits whilst walking, get a size up and you’re good to go. Or just wear a long coat like I did here and hope for the best lol.
This coat from Monki is honestly my ride or die. I’ve had it for two winters now and it has definitely served its purpose and then some. My mum calls it the duvet coat because she says I’m always in it but I can’t help that it keeps me warm and goes with every single thing in my wardrobe. Throwing this on instantly makes the short skirt seem appropriate in case it started snowing out of nowhere.
The classic oldies but goodies are my Old Skool Vans. I’ve had mine for a while now and they still look great and are very well loved. Again, they go with everything and I ca wear them for hours on end. Comfort is the most important thing when buying clothes and shoes. I can understand why these have gotten so popular recently. That’s the beauty of these though, that they will always be in style. The classic colourway is unlikely to ever go on sale so if you want these cheaper, wait for the random 20% off days that ASOS and Office put on. That’s how I got both my Vans and the Monki coat.
Over the next few posts, I’m going to share the best sales (in my opinion) to shop and why plus how to shop them. If you’d like to know when these posts drops, be sure to sign up to the TSS mailing list or follow me on the gram @TheSaleShopper.
Long Oversized Puffer (SOLD OUT)
Photography by JKG Photography
I appreciate the increasing growth of/admiration for the natural hair movement. It’s what inspired me to try it for myself and I love encouraging other people of colour to do the same. I recently attempted a list of ‘the pros and cons of being natural’ and realised there were quite a few things that others do or say in response to my hair that annoy me…
Asking if your hair is real and why. I get that we grew up with stereotypes that have conditioned us to believe that the texture of your hair is dependent on your ethnicity. Fair enough that is partly true. BUT, as with everything there are always exceptions. I also get that people are curious and I love answering specific questions about natural hair but I cannot stand when someone asks whether your hair is real. You say yes. THEN they have the cheek to ask ‘why?’ or ‘how comes?’. You might as well ask me why I have two ears!
Touching my hair before asking me. I don’t mind people touching my hair but why ask me AFTER you’ve just rolled your hands through it and made it all frizzy?! Then afterwards, they’ll look at you super confused when their hands are sticky/shiny with styling products #sorrynotsorry #donttouchmyhairlove
Criticising naturals that dye/cut/straighten their hair. The great thing about natural hair is that it’s a versatile blank canvas to play with. I cannot stand when others (including other naturalistas) condemn or criticise naturalistas for experimenting with their hair. Not all naturals are hippies and therefore against chemical hair practices such as dyes or relaxers. Let me do with my hair what I please and if I don’t like the result, I’m very happy knowing that I can cut it all off because it will grow back again eventually.
Commenting on protective styling. When I chopped off my relaxed ends and my natural hair was ‘short’, people would straight up ask me when I was looking to book a hair appointment to get extensions put in. This made me very self-conscious and aware of my huge head, facial features and the fact that short hair clearly didn’t suit me. So since year one (of being natural), with the help of YouTube, I taught myself how to do a variety of styles such as faux locs, marley twists (okay maybe not so many lol) and I made a conscious effort to do them as often as I could. Fast forward to now and my hair is much longer, people are so confused as to why I still feel the need to do protective styles and say ‘just leave it out!’. I can’t please everyone and at the end of the day, it is my hair. Natural hair is not only presentable when it’s ‘long’ but then again that’s up to the person’s preference. Keep your opinions to yourself.
Have you experienced any of the above? Are there any that I’ve missed out?! Let me know in the comments. Feel free to leave any recommendations for hair posts or any questions about my natural hair journey below. If I get a more than a few, I might film a vid answering them!
In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God, and the word was God.
John 1:1 (NLT)
Hello April! I’m feeling much better physically than I have in a while but mentally I’m still feeling a bit all over the place. A lot of good and bad happened in that unnecessary fifth week in March, leaving me feeling a type of way. Being twenty-something and doing this thing called ‘adulting’ is really tough but I’m slowly learning to take it in my grasp, not be so hard on myself and just keep on going. One of the things I know I can do to help me refocus and get motivated is to seek comfort in the Word by reading my Bible. However, since childhood, I have found reading my Bible really difficult and if I’m honest a bit boring. And as silly as it sounds, I feel very uncomfortable to ask those around me how to tackle this. If you feel the same, this post will outline what I currently do to help overcome this and also some things I want to try in the near future.
- Pray, praise and worship before you read. I’m still working on this as most of the time I tend to forget to do this but when I do I really think it does make a difference. The prayer part resembles what happens in church before the Pastor gives Word but the personal praise and worship was introduced to me by the Bible Study group I joined this year. It really helps to calm me down and get my mind and spirit ready to take in the Word. Even if its the same prayers and songs every time you do it, the impact is still the same in my opinion.
- Download the Bible app. In the same way everything else has been adapted technologically, I love that the Word has too. I feel like in an app format, the Word is much easier to access and get to grips with as its more practical. The Bible app by YouVersion is free and very customisable. There are so many features including Bible plans which help get you focused on any one theme e.g. anxiety or God’s love. My current favourite feature is Verse of the Day as well as Highlight which is self explanatory. All the verses I highlight form a list on my profile page which is helpful when I’m praying – another thing I’m working on at the moment.
- Change the version. For as long as I can remember, pastors would preach in the New King James or Amplified versions so those were the ones I stuck to reading for the longest time. Although my English Language A Level came in handy in terms of translating specific words/phrases, the time taken to do that took away from me actually understanding the true message behind what I was reading. Using the Bible app, you can browse through a wide variety of versions, have a little read and see what works best for you in terms of your grasping of the Word. Currently, the New Living Translation is the version I read the most. I feel like its translation is ideal for new Christians or those that need the Word in as plain English as possible because it breaks it down very well. In the case I still can’t get my head around a verse, the Compare tool on the Bible app allows you to see a verse in all versions.
- Read in a group. As I mentioned before I joined a Bible Study group this year. Not only has this motivated me to read my Bible more but has given me comfort and the confidence to come forward with any questions or insights I may have. What I realised after a couple of sessions is that I’m not alone in my lack of understanding at times and within a group, any doubt or confusion can be nipped in the bud together which is very empowering. If you’re not sure about finding a group to join, I would say start with just the one friend or family member and see how it goes.
- Start with the Gospel. This is what my study group did and before I didn’t get why but now I see why it was a good choice. Our faith as Christians is founded upon the contents of the Gospel so starting there should help with your understanding of every other book in the Bible. There are articles online like this one which give a more specific order to try out but to each their own. Overall, starting with the Gospel has intrigued me to keep on reading because the more I do, the more I learn about Jesus which has been very interesting so far to say the least.
In the near future, I am hoping to attend some sort of Bible course like an Alpha one and by the end of the year, I’d love to be able to lead and facilitate a Bible Study session from start to finish on my own.
For those that came for outfit details, this set was definitely one of my star buys of the March mid-season sales. I bagged the set for a lovely £38! I did have to get the jacket and joggers at different retailers though but the faffing about was most certainly worth it. It’s super comfy and I like how the jacket has bomber padding inside.
Lipstick – MAC Spirit (lined with a brown lipliner)
Photography by My gorgeous auntie <3
I have been so excited to start this series but before I do, I should probably start with some context on how I came to fall in love with all things bubble tea and what it even is!
Bubble tea is a Taiwanese flavoured milk or fruit drink that can be customised with different toppings, the most popular being small blackish brown balls called tapioca. Don’t worry; it’s not the same as the porridge stuff that resembles semolina. You’d be surprised to know that tapioca actually comes from a plant!
The first ever time I tasted bubble tea was summer of 2011. One of my friends suggested we go to Portobello Road and that’s where I came across Bubbleology, which was new to me, but if you’ve been to Portobello, you’ll know it’s the spot for original quirky startups. Anyway we tried this so called ‘bubble tea’ and I remember thinking it was alright but nothing special.
I don’t think I tried bubble tea again unitil summer 2013 when I went to Cali to visit an old friend. She had a Japanese roommate and for her, buying bubble tea was an everyday thing. I went with her one day to the nearest shop on her campus and was amazed by the taste, quality and price compared to that of Bubbleology in the UK. Since then, I’ve kinda made a hobby out of finding new places to buy & try bubble tea, exploring the variety of flavours and toppings that exist.
Bubble tea is definitely more well known now than it ever has been so I thought it would be cool to review the places I have tried and give them ratings based on: taste, variety of flavours, variety of toppings, tapioca quality, price and overall experience out of ten. Hopefully this might make you open to trying somewhere new or just trying a new drink in general. Please let me know of your fav bubble tea spots in the UK and beyond in the comments and I hope you enjoy the series.