#LittleLuxuryMoments: Imperial Leather Relaunches in Accra

Hi pumpkins!

You know my goal in life is to bring you the best of glamour and fierceness from the Motherland, right? So imagine my excitement when I was contacted by the group behind Imperial Leather, PZ Cussons. Now I know you’re familiar with the iconic Imperial Leather soap bars- remember the creamy beige classic bar with the little sticker in the middle? And then in recent years, they blessed us with a range of shower gels? Well, word on the street was that Imperial Leather was launching a new range of body care products in Ghana!

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The original Imperial Leather products have been part of my routine for years…

PZ Cusson’s Head of Digital Marketing, Stephen Boadi, contacted me and some of Accra’s coolest bloggers (YAAAASSS to being part of this awesome crew), asking us to review the new body care range. He also invited us to the fancy relaunch/unveiling event. Chile, you know they had me at “black tie and red carpet.”

So let’s turn off the lights and light a candle á la Uncle Teddy Pendergrass, because it’s time for some pampering! Mr Boadi gave us these divine products to try:

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Some of the gorgeous goodies

The “Japanese Spa” Body wash
The “Softly Softly” Body wash
The “Active” Bath Bar
The “Classic” Bath Bar
The “Classic” Body Lotion
The “Intense Cool” for Men Anti-perspirant Deodorant
The “Japanese Spa” Anti-perspirant Deodorant
The “Active” Anti-perspirant Deodorant
The “Classic” Anti-perspirant Deodorant

#EXCITEMENT

I dived into the shower immediately to try out my goodies! Let me get straight to it, guys. If you don’t own the Japanese Spa body wash, then I really don’t even know what your life is about. This is my absolute favourite! I always loved the original Imperial Leather Japanese Spa body wash, but the new and improved version is LIT! Imagine a moisturising blend of green tea, rice milk and jasmine. The lather is rich and creamy, and the fragrance is, well, everything. Imperial Leather is formulated by “Master Perfumers” and I am here to tell you that they didn’t come to play. Tap your neighbour and say YAAAASSS FRAGRANCE! The scent was gorgeous and feminine, and I felt like a fancy Far Eastern princess when I stepped out of the shower. This is a winner. It was pretty moisturising as well, and my skin felt soft afterwards.

Coming up in second place was the Softly Softly body wash. Girl they got me with that packaging. I love anything pink and girly. This body wash contains rose tea and hydrolised milk. I really liked the scent- it was floral without being overpowering. I didn’t feel like this one was as moisturising as Japanese Spa, but it’s still a favourite.

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And now let’s get into the bath bars *sighs heavily* Guys, I’ve always liked the idea of soap bars but in practice, I always find them a bit drying on my skin. I was pleasantly surprised by the original “Classic” Bath Bar. The lather was rich and creamy, and my skin felt squeaky-clean afterwards. It was only a little bit drying, but maybe stick with the body washes if you have very dry skin. I gave the “Active” bath bar to one of my guy friends, so he could try it and report back. He said he loved the fresh, invigorating fragrance, and said it would be ideal for use after sports. He did mention that it left his skin a bit dry, so make sure you moisturise afterwards! Ashy ain’t cute…

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And while we’re talking about moisturisation, let’s get into the “Classic” Body Lotion real quick. The first thing I noticed about it was the scent; clean, fresh and almost identical to the fragrance of the original Classic Bath Bar. The lotion was rich and luscious, but I noticed that it took a while to absorb. It left my skin dewy and soft though, and I felt like I was glowing all day long. Winner.

Next up: the anti-perspirant deodorants. I tried all the fragrances and I can safely say they left me feeling fresh and smelling lovely all day. I just have one complaint. These take forever and a day to dry! Now, when we met with the PZ Cussons team, Brands Development and Activations Manager Ewuraba Adusei explained the formula. The new deodorants contain less alcohol, which makes them gentler on the delicate skin of your armpit. The only downside? The low alcohol content means that the liquid takes longer to dry. Darlings, here’s something you may not know about me. I am ALWAYS late. It’s not my fault. I am a Ghanaian. So while I appreciate the gentle formula, I really need a deodorant that dries super fast so I can get dressed and run out in my usual panicked fashion.

I had a fabulous time trying out the new Imperial Leather products. We had a week or so of lavish bathing and tweeting about #LittleLuxuryMoments… and before we knew it, launch night was upon us! The girls and I slipped on our finery and got glammed up by the amazing Glow With Maj. This young lady is now one of my favourite makeup artists- she was warm, fun, and had me looking like Beyonce’s hot (chocolate) cousin. Holla at Maj and tell her I sent you!

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Getting my face beat for the gawds by the delightful Glow with Maj
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The #GlowUp was real

Once we had all reached maximum slay, it was time to hit that red carpet.

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The stunning blogger and model, Laurie Frempong. LOOK AT GOD.
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SLAYAGE x 3: Kiki Ochieng, Jemila Abdulai and I fanning our fine selves
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Kiki and I serving opulence
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Blogging Dream Team pt 1: Laurie Frempong, moi, Kiki Ochieng, and Jemila Abdulai
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Blogging Dream Team pt 2: Jemila, Kiki, moi and Naa Oyoo Quartey

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The launch event was delightful. We had Jessica from CitiFM as our MC, and there were talks from keynote speakers. We were given goody bags containing more body care products (huzzah!) and these adorable scented fans. I’m now obsessed with my pink feather fan and I use it to slay at church. Can’t tell me nothing.

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The lovely ladies in red who hostessed the event

There was also an interesting (coughs discreetly) episode with a standup comedian, and some catwalk action. The models were featuring the different products in the body care range, but it was a bit confusing because they weren’t holding any of the products. I thought it would have been cute if the models had strutted down the catwalk in costumes inspired by each scent. Like maybe the Classic body lotion could have inspired a classic red gown, or the Japanese Spa body wash could be carried down the runway by a geisha. You feel me?

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Anyhoo, all the ladies in the audience perked up real sharp when this young man appeared. I wish I had taken a better photo, but my hands were shaking due to his ludicrous hotness. THE WAY THIS MAN’S BODY WAS SET UP… Lord! He smoothed his hand down his arm to demonstrate the smoothness of the body lotion, and I got instant hypertension.

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… But I digress! Finally it was the moment everyone had been waiting for- the unveiling. In a shower of sparks, there it was: the new range! It included the new-look bath bars, body washes, deodorants, body sprays and lotions.

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Faaaaancy

The new logo was also unveiled, and I loved it. Gimme luxury, gimme gold, gimme sumptuousness. I have to say, as a huge advocate for self care and self love, I really appreciate what PZ Cussons is doing with the Imperial Leather brand. #LittleLuxuryMoments is all about encouraging people to find a touch of luxury every day. It’s about finding beauty in the little things, in the quiet moments. Sometimes after a rough day, you need to shut the door on the world… and escape into a sanctuary of rich lather and beautiful scents.

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I’ve always been a fan of Imperial Leather. Thanks to the new range, it looks like I always will be. Congratulations to the team at PZ Cussons, and a huge thank you from me and the girls! We had a great time working with you, and it was an honour to be part of your journey. Here’s to luxury.

Love,
Adjpants

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“An African City” Season 2 Launches in Accra!

Oh hey dolls!

It’s Adjpants here, your Slayage and Fierceness Correspondent for West Africa *flips hair*

Let’s dive straight in! So if you’ve been following me for a while, you probably know about my obsession with Sex and the City. I loved the directness, the openness and the sheer ballsy courage of the show. It was the first time I had seen women on screen openly discussing all manner of bedroom debauchery.

So imagine my excitement when I found out that there was an African, nay, a GHANAIAN version of Sex and the City? I stumbled across “An African City” on YouTube a while back, and I was hooked within seconds. The first season of the web series followed five young Ghanaian women on their return home from the diaspora. During the series we see the returnees settling into life in Accra, navigating the (hilarious) sex and dating scene and gallivanting in incredible outfits. The show is groundbreaking in its openness, especially in an African setting where sometimes these topics are taboo. It was particularly thrilling for me because this was around the time I was considering moving back to Ghana. Watching their adventures was like a glimpse into a possible future. Sadly, my hotline doesn’t bling like theirs doe. But I digress.

I had the pleasure of meeting the show’s creator, Nicole Amarteifio, at a Blogging Ghana event last year and she was warm and delightful.

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So guys imagine my delight when I heard that there was going to be a launch party in Accra for Season 2! I died. The launch paree (yes, I said paree) was held as part of “SheHive Accra,” a women’s entrepreneurship conference brought to you by the incredible She Leads Africa organisation. SLA inspires young African women to shatter glass ceilings, be their best selves, and rewrite the rules on success. Talk about your sheroes.

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Anyhoo! Of course your girl was able to get her hot little hands on an exclusive ticket *insert flamenco dancing emoji* On Thursday night, I joined Accra’s glitterati to celebrate the launch of Season 2 with the exclusive screening of a never-before-seen episode.

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Red carpet hugsies with awesome celeb blogger Ameyaw Debrah

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The stunning venue: One Airport Square, Accra

It. Was. Lit. LAWD! We were actually shown an episode from halfway through the season, and it became clear that the ante had been upped. Production quality has improved, outfits are even more gorgeous… and… girl. The sexytime has increased to the tenth power. Neither I nor the auntie seated in front of me were quite ready. I wish I had brought pearls to clutch! I guess the only teensy thing I would say is that I’m hoping for a lot more depth and character development in Season 2. The show’s concept is gold and I can’t wait to see more.

Next up was a chat with the panel- the creator Nicole Amarteifio, actress Maame Adjei (possibly one of the nicest people I have ever met), and writer Esther Arma. They talked us through some of the decisions they had made with the show’s direction, including the fact that Season 2 will be sold on a new channel (as opposed to streamed on YouTube). We finished up with some Q&A.

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Blurry but still amazing fangirl moment with “An African City” actress Maame Adjei

I was seated next to my blogger bae Kiki of Ayiba Magazine fame, and she asked Nicole about the decision to show more #surfboardt action on screen in Season 2. Nicole responded my saying that so many people complained that there was too much sex in Season 1, so she had decided to serve up more in Season 2! WELP!

And then the evening was over and we had time to mingle and sample some of the fabulous champagne cocktails being whipped up by the lovely people from Moet & Chandon. Each of the cocktails was named after the characters in the show. You know I headed straight for a Berry Sade (Sade is the “Samantha of Am African City and my fave). It was a gorgeous end to a fun evening.

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Season 2 launches on the new channel, An African City at midday today! Y’all better run home after church! Tell Sister Beulah from the Usher Board you don’t have time to stay behind and discuss the Easter bake sale.

Until next time my darlings!

Love,
Adjpants

 

 

 

 

 

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Raising a New Generation of Ghanaian #CodeGirls

Who runs the world? GIRLS.

We should all know this by now. Girls are incredible. And yet here we are in 2015, and the tech industry is still a male-dominated one. Did you know that only 7% of tech start-ups are led by women?

So when I was invited to attend the premiere of the Made With Code “CODEGIRL” film, I screamed and pretty much cartwheeled all the way to Google’s Accra office. The film was being shown to Google staff, leading ladies of the Accra tech world, and a group of secondary schoolgirls from Adabraka, Accra. The girls were viewing the film as part of the awesome Tech Needs Girls program.

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CODEGIRL is a docu-film that follows groups of girls from 60 countries, participating in the Technovation 2014 competition. Technovation is a tech entrepreneurship competition that encourages millions of girls to explore the beauty of code. The girls identified problems within their local communities, and developed apps to combat these issues. They tackled problems like violence against women, lack of access to clean water, teenage drink driving, urban waste removal, and negative body image. The film follows the teams as they work on their concepts, design their apps, and travel to San Francisco to compete.

As the competitors shared their stories, I was struck by how familiar their sentiments were. They spoke about the challenges of being a girl in a mostly male field. “People think computer science is for boys,” one girl said. Another expressed her frustration by saying, “People try to ‘pink-ify’ coding and opt for the cute factor. It should be as simple as this: a problem exists in the community. Can you use technology to fix that problem? Gender shouldn’t even come into it!” Preach, mama.

Once the film ended, it was time for a Q&A session with some of the most inspiring women on the Accra tech scene: The lovely Estelle Akofio-Sowah (country manager of Google Ghana), Regina Agyare (Tech Needs Girls Gh) Doris Anson-Yevu (Founder of Photowalk Ghana), Cassandra Mensah-Abrampah (Program Manager at Google Ghana), and Naa Oyoo Quartey (Creator of lifestyle blog naaoyooquartey.com).

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L-R: Estelle Akofio-Sowah, Regina Agyare, Cassandra Mensah-Abrampah, Naa Oyoo Quartey

Estelle reminded the schoolgirls that engineering could help them solve problems in a fun and creative way. She asked them about some of the problems they saw in their local community, and whether they could think of apps to alleviate the issues. There were some real gems! From apps that could help with urban flooding awareness, to ones that could ease Accra’s ongoing electricity crisis. You better look out for these girls- I feel like our first female president was in that room!

The girls were then asked who their favourite team in the CODEGIRL film was. The unanimous answer was Team Charis (spoiler alert- they won the competition); the Nigerian girls who created an app to deal with ineffective waste removal in urban areas. I could see how excited the Adabraka schoolgirls were. They were seeing girls who looked exactly like them on screen, smashing gender stereotypes by winning a tech competition. Listen, people! THIS is why positive representation of young black girls in the media is so important.

We then discussed the challenges that female coders and engineers face in Ghana. A couple of the ladies from the Google office explained that in this male-dominated field, they had to work extra hard to shine. Is there a woman reading this who doesn’t know that feeling? This quote in particular stuck in my head: “In Ghana, as a woman, people already doubt you. So [being an engineer] is challenging, but the outcome is awesome.”

Estelle asked the girls how many of them would like to become coders or engineers when they grew up. One shy hand went up. Then another. And then another, until I legit felt like I could cry with pride.

The schoolgirls were given some useful resources, so they could start to learn how to code. Some of the resources named were Code.Org and The Code Academy. Dang, I might even join them and upskill myself! Being able to insert a cheeky line break does not a coder make…

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Finally, Estelle gave the girls a few words of advice:

1. The biggest risk is not taking a risk. So go for it.

2. Keep at it. There will be times when you don’t get a good grade or you’ll struggle with coding. But don’t quit.

3. Always think about the user and keep their experience at the front of your mind.

I left the event feeling inspired and hopeful. I remember years ago when I was working in Australia, I met an elderly Kenyan gentleman at the bank. We got chatting and he asked what I did for a living. When I told him I was a digital marketing specialist, he looked at me in shock and said, “Ah! Isn’t that a white man’s job? How come you’re doing it?” I was taken aback.

But then I smiled and replied with the truth: “Because I was raised to believe that I could do anything I set my mind to.”

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I’m so proud that thanks to inspirational role models like Estelle, Naa, Doris, Cassandra and Regina, a new generation of unstoppable Ghanaian girls is on its way.

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Huge thanks to Google for the invite!

Love,
Adjpants

Africa Writes 2015

Hi darlings!

So I’m gagging with excitement to share my thoughts on last weekend’s event “Africa Writes 2015,” the African Writers’ festival hosted by the Royal African Society at the British Library.

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It was a bit of a whirlwind visit, but I’m so glad I attended. My bestie Miss Fu and I stepped into the auditorium just in time to catch the reading from Frances Mensah Williams, who was promoting her new novel “From Pasta to Pigfoot.” It’s the tale of a UK-born and bred Ghanaian woman who returns to Ghana, and the challenges she faces trying to settle into life in her home country. Guys… you know when you read a book that you could swear was written about you? For you? I got effing chills!

Let me spill some tea on my life real quick. I am Ghanaian. 100%. Both my parents are Ghanaian. However I have lived in several different countries, I have two passports and I call at least 4 different cities “home.” I can swear in 6 languages. I have never lived in Ghana for any extended period of time. A few years ago, after living in the UK for what seemed like ever, I tried to move back to Ghana to work. It was a nightmare- I was unprepared for how different everything was, and how I couldn’t fit in with my own people. I was too Nigerian (I grew up there), too British, too feisty, too… just too much. I was heartbroken and frustrated, and left after only a few months.

So when Ms Williams read from her novel, expanding on some of the struggles of a young woman trying to return home, I felt like I wanted to jump out of my skin with excitement. She described her novel as “a journey of self-discovery… not just a coming of age but also a coming of culture.” On being an African writer, she said “There is so little out there about us.” When she said “Going home is not the same as feeling at home,” I wanted to jump up and scream YAAAAAASSS.

At the end of the reading, there was time for questions. I piped up and asked Ms Williams what her advice would be for someone who wanted to try and return home for the second time (Me! More on that later) She was lovely. She looked me right in the eye across the crowd and said, “Moving back home is not just a physical move, it’s a mental one. When things get tough, when you are frustrated by the system, just remember: these are my people. This is my country. Forget your second passport and remember that you are home.”

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It was then time for a panel discussion called “African Non-Fiction: Moving the Boundaries?” The panel featured Kwasi Kwarteng, Noo Saro-Wiwa, Jackie Kay, and Pede Hollist. I really enjoyed MP Kwasi Kwarteng’s reading from his book “Ghosts of Empire,” which touched on the colonisation themes from one of my favorite novels, Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart.” Now… all the intellectual chit chat was amazing but I’m not going to lie to you, I was thinking how nice it would be to have Uncle Kwasi read me a bedtime story! That clipped Etonian baritone though… I’m here for it.

Another highlight was the reading from Noo Saro-Wiwa’s book,”Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria.” She was sassy and fabulous and I want to be her BFF. Noo, if you’re reading this, let’s totes do brunch? One of my favourite snippets was when she said, “I prefer to see where serendipity takes me… I had only a vague outline of where I would go.” She then gave us a few hilarious anecdotes on “prosperity gospel” in Nigeria, and the unintentional humour found in intense Pentecostal churches.

At this point there was a comment from a young woman a few rows behind me, who said she felt like it had been open season on Pentecostal Nigerians during the panel discussion. As a Pentecostal Nigerian herself, she felt it was unfair to tar everyone with the same brush. I turned around and was like O_O

Because it was only Chibundu Onuzo herself- author of “The Spider King’s Daughter.” At this point I was like “Lawd I am READY for this debate!” Whipped out the popcorn and watched. Definitely a lively and fascinating discussion…

imageAll in all, it was an incredible event and I enjoyed every moment. There were so many amazing talks and workshops, but unfortunately Miss Fu and I had to depart (social butterflies, you understand).

I’d like to say a huge thank you to the peeps at Africa Writes- it was a great event and I can’t wait until next year! I’m so proud of the work you guys are doing.

I want to end with this inspiring piece of advice from Frances Mensah Williams: “Just write. Not enough of us are writing. African writing shouldn’t just be a niche. Eventually it should be known as just writing, not African writing.”

You betta write, hunty.

Love,
Adjpants

OOTD: Ghanaian Independence Day Slayage

Friday March 6th, 2015, marked 58 years since my home country Ghana declared its independence from colonial rule. Formerly known as the Gold Coast, Ghana was the first sub-Saharan nation to gain independence. This is a source of great pride, and we have so many reasons to celebrate. Every time I go home, I’m excited and awed by our progress. Yes, we still have some work to do but as the great Kwame Nkrumah said, “Forward ever, backward never.”

I wanted to celebrate the day with my nearest and dearest, so I got my friends together for a night of Ghanaian food, fun and as always, tomfoolery.

What did I wear? GLAD YOU ASKED *flips hair*

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I wanted to serve African Queen realness. For this I always turn to ankara (West African wax print). I wore a gorgeous strapless dress with a cinched waist and a full skirt. Last time I was in Nigeria my lovely Auntie Safi had this made for me. Oh, the fierceness.

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I wore it with my favourite grey coat- you may remember this from my previous OOTD post! You know that one item of clothing that makes you feel fierce and powerful? Chile, the second I put this coat on, you can’t tell me NOTHING. Just try me.

I added a black & gold belt from Primark to cinch my waist even further- because I’m disrespectful like that. I completed the look with a cascading gold leaf necklace from Forever 21, because my mummy always says, “A queen should wear gold.” Final touches were my favourite black Mary Janes from Clarks, ASOS faux fur snood and Primark black patent clutch.

Now let’s serve face, hunty.

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The lighting wasn’t great in the restaurant, so I hope you can seeeee! I wanted to feature the colours of the Ghanaian flag, so I went for a green smokey eye, paired with a classic red lip.

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I used the Sleek I-Divine Eyeshadow palettes in “Garden of Eden” and “Storm” on my eyes, and Maybelline’s “Red Revival” on my kisser.

What did we eat? Everything! I was so excited when I saw the menu- all my old favourites were there. Banku (fermented corn and cassava dough) and roasted tilapia, fufu (pounded plantain, yam and cassava) and groundnut soup, fried yam… and chofi (fried turkey tail). LAWD, the chofi! Jesus be a fence to high cholesterol.

It was good eatin’. That cute belt had to come off real quick, fam. Didn’t even make it past appetisers. I went home so full that I fell asleep standing up in the elevator.

Side note: I’m thrilled to be heading off to the motherland this weekend! Really looking forward to spending time with my family and EATING ALL OF THE THINGS. Look out for “Love, Adpants: African Edition!”

So my darlings. Until we meet again, as we Ashantis say, “Ebeye yie”… It shall be well.

Love,
Adjpants

Fifty Shades of Galentine’s Day

Hey boo hey! How you livin’?

So let’s dive straight in. I recently told you all how much I love Valentine’s Day. This tends to confuse people, since I am the quintessential single girl about town. It’s not like I don’t like menz no more (I’m not #deliverdt). Idris just hasn’t arrived with my bride price yet, so I’m waiting patiently. In the meantime, I usually spend Valentine’s Day doing something fun/silly with the gals.

This year was no exception. A few years ago, the world was whipped into a tizzy of over-excitement by Fifty Shades of Grey, by new author E.L. James (I’m using “author” in the very loosest sense of the word here). The book was EVERYWHERE. Women were blushing on public transport, and passing it on to their friends. Now, I LOVE to read. I am obsessed. But when a book has such a massive PR budget that everyone is talking about it, I’m skeptical.

I love a heaving bosom and a throbbing manhood as much as the next girl (probably more). Filth is fab. But here’s the thing. It has to be The Good Kind of Filth. Just because your subject matter is naughty doesn’t mean you can do away with good writing and believable characters!

When I lived in Oz, my sidekick Rosie said “Bruv listen, this book is truly the worst thing you will ever read.” CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. I read it, and it was The Worst. The characters were one-dimensional, the dialogue was hilariously teenaged, and even the S&M was contrived and on the tame side. Not that I know, myself! A friend told me *coughs*

So anyhoo when I heard that the movie was coming out on Valentine’s Day, I was delighted. I knew it would be hilarious and silly, with a side of wang. So I gathered up my darlings Miss I and Miss T, and we were off!

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The film was BRILLIANT in its badness. Unlike the book, it had some comedy value (no idea if it was intentional or not). We found it highly entertaining, and the back row was filled with cackles and shrieks. If you want a fun night out with your girls, go on ahead. No, you will not get Oscar-winning performances or a stunning screenplay… but look me in the eye and tell me that’s what you went for? Ok then.

So what did I wear? Mostly this:

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Coat: This Olivia-Pope-esque coat is just giving me so much life right now. It turns every outfit from drab to fab in seconds. I got it for £29 at a cheap shop somewhere between Leicester Square and Tottenham Court Road tube stations.

Hat: This fierce hat is Gone with The Wind Fabulous and I plan on wearing it every day until the end of time. It’s especially useful in church, when Pastor starts to preach some serious truths and you need to fan yourself and scream out YES LAWD. £15 from the same cheap shop as the coat.

Scarf: I got this luxe faux fur situation from ASOS years ago. Think it was about £10.

Black bodysuit: Forever 21 Plus, from last year’s Vegas trip. Fits like a glove and I adore it. This was purchased during a wild F21 shopping frenzy so I can’t remember how much it cost.

Jeans: Marks & Spencer’s. I KNOW RIGHT?? For my international darlings, M&S is where your Mum & Auntie Janet go to buy their sensible twin-sets and A-line skirts. In earth tones. They’re trying to become a bit more modern though and I really like these jeans.

Black patent clutch: Always and forever, Primark. I want to say £8?

Now let’s get into the face real quick- I was going for saucy, salacious, you-know-you-want-some chic. I used the Sleek i-Divine eyeshadow palette in “Garden of Eden” for an Earth-goddess green smokey eye. Paired of course, with my favourite nude lip, “Tweek” by Sleek.

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I loved this look!

For more 50 Shades foolishness with a side of flawless fashion, check out my pumpkin Rosie’s 50 Shades of Oh Heyyyyy OOTD extravaganza.

So ladies (and gents, don’t be shy) let rip in the comments! Did you see the film? Did you delight in the badness of it all or were you clutching your pearls in shock?

Love,
Adjpants

I Saw D’Angelo Live in Concert and He Was Perfect

I’ve told you guys before how D’Angelo was my first love. His 2000 “Voodoo” album was one of the first CDs I ever bought, and I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve listened to it almost every night for 15 years. D’Angelo was known as the face of the Neo-Soul movement in the 90s, and he shaped my love for good music. Real music. I was enchanted by his stunning vocal range, raw magnetism, and conscious lyrics. A few years after Voodoo, D’Angelo disappeared from the music scene. There were personal and legal problems, drugs, a jail sentence. It seemed like he’d crashed and burned. And then last year I started hearing that he was back…

So a few weeks ago, I was on my way to work when my eyes caught a brightly coloured poster on the wall. As I got closer, I stopped in my tracks.

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You know when your heart jumps into your mouth, you can’t breathe and you want to snatch your wig off and run screaming down the street? It was that kind of situation, honey. I jumped online immediately, terrified I was too late and tickets would be sold out. Thankfully God had my back and I nabbed the last ticket in the stalls. WOOP!!

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Fast forward to last night and there I was at the Hammersmith Apollo, screaming with the crowd as the lights went down. And then suddenly, a burst of blue lights, wild horns, pounding drums and there he was!

We fans lost our goddamn minds as he prowled across the stage, laughing and waving. You guys… every note, every hum, was like a caress. I screamed myself hoarse. He served us with the big hits from his new album, Black Messiah, stirring us into a frenzy with “Sugah Daddy.” But shiz got real when he took us back to the Voodoo days. Lawd I was dancing up a storm, stomping my feet, clapping my hands, shouting “THAT BOY GOOD!”

After those troubled years away from the limelight, people were skeptical about how he’d handle this new tour.Let me be the first to tell you, he is still EVERYTHING. That incredible voice has matured and broadened, and his energy was just astounding. He was bounding across the stage, running back to play gorgeous trills on the piano, strapping on a bedazzled guitar, and interacting with the crowd. It was amazing to see the passion he has for the music, the way he and his band (who were just off the chain) were like a well-oiled musical machine. I loved seeing the old James Brown call-and-response style of working with the band.

A couple of hours later, thousands of fans hollered and clapped, demanding an encore. D’Angelo and the band burst back onto the stage to bring us home with his biggest hit: “Untitled (How Does it Feel?)” This is without a doubt my favourite song ever, so I was just overwhelmed with joy at this point. The heartbeat-heavy-bassline, wailing horns, and gorgeous vocals were better live than I could have ever imagined. This song was for anyone who was harbouring doubts about his talent after the long absence. The famous falsetto was flawless. And when he sang that line “I’d love to make you <insert pearl-clutch> in between your thighs” there were no knickers left in the crowd. Honestly. Panties just ceased to exist. Good Lord.

As the song went on, the band and backing singers left the stage one by one, to thundering applause. Finally it was just him on stage, behind the piano. The last few notes he sang were the sweetest and richest I have ever heard. After the last “How does it feel?” he looked out at us and laughed, “It feels so good, London, thank you! Goodnight!”

And it did feel so, so good.

Love,
Adjpants