#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

“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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Crowning Glory: My Natural Hair Journey

Hey baes!

This post has been a long time coming and I’m so excited! Let’s talk all things hair! My hair is a huge part of my life and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get myself organised so we can talk about it.

*insert joyous cartwheel*

So. Most of you already know that in the black community, hair is life. For us, it’s not just a matter of washing your hair quickly in the morning and heading out to work. Most black women spend hours in the salon every month, preparing to slay you with a fierce new hairstyle that you just weren’t ready for. If you didn’t know, you heard it here first. For us, hair is life. The styling options for afro hair are endless, but over the years there is one issue that has continued to divide us.

Relaxed or natural?

Ooh, CHILE. You don’t know the number of heated debates I’ve sat through. The lectures! The accusations! It is NOT a game. It’s not “just hair.” Our hair, and what we choose to do with it as black women, is a source of constant discussion. Our hair is seen as a badge of honour, an expression, even a political statement. It’s hard to even know where to start. What I will say is this: you cannot make judgments on a person’s character (or lack thereof) from the way they style their hair. All the ashy Brother Hotep types, this is for you. Don’t call me a “race traitor” when I wear weaves as a protective style. Don’t assume that girls with relaxed hair are insecure and trying to conform to Western ideals. Don’t get over-excited when you see me in braids because you deem that to be an acceptable “afrocentric” hairstyle. I am an African woman. Have been since birth, and I will be until the Lawd calls me home. Therefore I don’t need you to tell me whether I am “African enough.” GET ARRA HERE MEHN. Everlasting idiot.

Great! Now that’s off my chest, let’s get into my hair history.

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This pic of me and my big brother cracks me up. Why am I holding his shirt like “B!tch Betta Have My Money?”

So as you can see, my afro puff game was always strong. I took after my Daddy- we both have masses of thick, coily hair. Growing up, my mum would unleash her creativity on my hair and I STAYED slaying heaux in the playground. One week I’d have beaded cornrows, the next week my mum would stretch it with black thread. The week after that, I’d be rocking a fluffy fro. Huge shout out to Mummy because the struggle was REAL! I’d spend hours sitting on the floor between her knees, squirming like a fish and shrieking at every tug of the comb.

My mum’s hair was relaxed, and I used to watch enviously as combs glided through it with ease. After a while the wrestling styling sessions became too much, and I begged to have my hair relaxed too. Finally the day came. I was thrilled. Gone were the kinky curls, replaced with shoulder length black silk. I was entranced.

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(Mega LOLz. The half-up-half-down side pony was fierce doe, so don’t hate)

In my teenage years I went to boarding school in England, and protective styling was the name of the game. Being separated from my mum was heartbreaking in so many ways, but hair was a huge part of the struggle. I didn’t know how to look after my hair myself, so I always braided my hair before leaving Nigeria, and the braids stayed in until I came home on vacation.

Braids were my default style, until my postgraduate years in London, where I got my first weave at age 22. My roommate glued in hair extensions for me (Milky Way, 14 inches, yaaaasss) and you couldn’t tell me nothing!

At this stage I was still relaxing my hair every 3 months or so, because that’s what I’d always done. It never crossed my mind that it might not be necessary. After all, I hardly ever wore it out of a protective style (braids or weaves).

I then hopped over to Australia for a few years. It was there I met someone who changed my life. I met my hairstylist Miss R (@razzyslim on Instagram) through a work colleague and she quickly became a close friend and hair twin! She had thick, long hair too. What fascinated me was that she actually only relaxed her hair a couple of times a year. This was the first time I heard of “stretching” relaxers: lengthening the time between relaxers. Hair relaxers contain powerful chemicals, so spacing out the applications gives your hair time to recover and strengthen. Over the next few years, I started relaxing my hair less. I realised that because I rarely left my hair out of braids or weaves, there was no need for the constant straightening of my coily roots to match the previously straightened ends.

By coincidence, it was around this time that my lifestyle started to change. I found the Clean Eating movement, and started being a lot more aware of what I was putting in (and on) my body. I was reading the ingredients of everything I bought, avoiding processed foods that contained things I couldn’t even pronounce. The same went for my beauty products; I no longer wanted to apply harsh chemicals to my skin and hair. I started making a lot of my own hair and beauty products using natural ingredients like aloe vera and coconut oil #JuicesandBerries

By the time I moved back to London, I was only relaxing my hair twice a year. I hear a lot of women saying relaxers ruined their hair; that the chemicals burned their scalps, weakened their hair and caused breakage. This isn’t one of those stories, y’all. My kinky/ coily hair never really relaxed as straight as other people’s, so that kept it relatively strong.

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This was taken after a fresh relaxer, where my hair had pretty much said “No thank you” and decided to stay kinky.

As I relaxed my hair less and less, it gradually hit me. Slopping the harsh relaxers on my hair and scalp no longer fit with my lifestyle. By this point I was drunk in love with kale and chia seeds, and the idea of relaxing my hair was starting to make me uncomfortable.

At the same time, another odd thing was happening. I found myself obsessively checking my curly new growth between relaxers. I was finding all these adorable crinkles, coils and ringlets that I hadn’t seen in as long as I could remember. It was like re-discovering a part of myself that I had completely forgotten.

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#TeamEdges

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Playing with shrinkage!

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And before I knew it, a 6-month stretch turned into 9 months. Then a year.

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Then it got to 17 months since my last relaxer. I didn’t even realise I’d made the decision to transition back to my natural hair texture, until someone asked me about it.

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The two photos above were taken in August. My kinky new growth was clearly visible, and if you look closely at the second picture you can see where my natural hair met the relaxed ends. But honey working with those two different textures was becoming an epic struggle. I decided that I would muster up the courage to cut off the relaxed ends at Christmas.

Then last month, I was sitting in a crowded Accra salon. It had been yet another day of struggling through life in a new country. I was frustrated and stressed out. I had just had my braids removed, and my hair was freshly washed. Without thinking, I blurted out to the hairdresser, “Cut it off.” She was as surprised as I was. A few minutes later…

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*SHRIEKS*

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It was both terrifying and freeing. When all my straight ends were gone, I looked at myself as if seeing my face for the first time. There I was as God created me, with my chubby cheeks and puff of jet-black hair. The hairdresser used thread to stretch my hair and keep it soft so it would be easy to braid the next day. I was excited to see that it was somehow still shoulder length when stretched. Now that’s what I call black girl magic.

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So there you have it. I am now a fully fledged natural hair girl! I’m still learning how to look after my natural texture. From what I can see so far, it’s a mix of soft corkscrew curls and coarser kinks. I will continue making my own hair products, and keep living in braids and weaves. These protective styles will save me time and shield my hair from the elements. And also = FIERCE.

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I’m so happy to share this journey with you! Any questions for me? Comments? Words of wisdom? Holla at your girl in the comments.

P.s. A couple of years ago I wrote this abstract piece about my hair, and how it’s always been a symbol of my mother’s love for me. Enjoy!

Love,
Adjpants

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

OOTD: FELAbration 2015!

Hey boos!

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Felabration 2015 #TurnUp in Accra. The event was a fabulous way to honour the legendary Fela Kuti’s birthday. You guys know I don’t play when it comes to my afrobeats, and I got my love for Fela from growing up in Nigeria. I lost all my home training when Kyekyeku performed Fela’s “Lady.” For me though, the best performance of the night was by Villy & the Xtreme Volumes. Absolutely electrifying. I was screaming YAAAASSS, hitting my shoki and waving my handkerchief like your overly turnt Auntie at the church BBQ.

Anyhoo! Before the event I was stressing about what to wear. It was laundry day and I needed to take a simple outfit from “okay” to “SLAY!” Et voila… a cutesy little black dress and some chic accessories.

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This “little black dress” is actually a vest top from Dorothy Perkins, tucked into a flared mini skirt from my beloved Primark.

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I paired this outfit with a gorgeous deep coral beaded necklace, accented with a chunky bronze section. It was a gift from a very dear friend, and I love it. I’m a fiend for pops of bright colour, so I set off the red/orange of the necklace with a fuchsia lip. This lipstick is “Spellbound” by CoverGirl- I picked it up in Sydney and it is BAE!

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And on my tootsies? These fringed tan sandals from New Look. I bought these babies in the summer for Wireless Festival in London. My aim was to serve Chocolate Pocahontas realness. I love these sandals with shorts and little skirts. The swishing of the fringe with every step gives me life!

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There you have it! I felt fabulous and also like I had cheated the universe by creating an outfit out of laundry day dregs. A little black dress will always be a winner for ladylike chic. I may swear like a sailor, but I am ALWAYS a lady. Like Fela said, “If you call am woman, African woman no go ‘gree… she go say I be Lady o…”

Love,
Adjpants

Accra Update: Two Weeks In…

Hey!

It’s Adjpants, your Fierceness and Slayage Correspondent, coming to you live from Accra, Ghana. I wanted to give you an update on my adventure so far. Hoooo my garsh- moving “home” when you’re essentially a foreigner in your own country is NOT EASY. It’s been a stressful couple of weeks. After two days holed up crying in a darkened room, I thought it was time to put on my big girl pants and share my ongoing story. If I can help even one person who’s going through the same thing, I’ll consider this a job well done.

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So! We’re now two weeks in- here’s what we’ve learned so far.

1. Taxi Drivers Are Thieving Knobjockeys.

I just… I can’t. Taxi drivers in Accra have left me so unable to deal, like I’m fresh out of being able to deal and there is no chance of stock replenishment. They are the bane of my effing life here and I really wish I had a car. Any rich Uncles reading this who want to buy me a Camry, please #CallMeMaybe.

I have previously only spent short periods of time in Accra/been on family trips with our own car. So this level of f*ckery is new to me. The taxi drivers will cheat you on sight. Yes, even if you speak Twi they can tell you’re a foreigner and they will double or triple the price. Haggle them down mercilessly- I usually like to cut the number they give me by half, take off a couple of cedis, and start bargaining from there. Even then, sometimes you’ll get to your destination and they’ll claim not to have change so you have no choice but to overpay. This happened to me the other day and I straight out lost it. We almost came to fisticuffs and I am normally such a peaceful, jolly person. So lesson learned- carry small notes and an old lady bag of change if necessary.

Another tip: if you’ve managed to haggle the price down in Twi, don’t then get in the taxi and start talking to friends on the phone in Queen’s English. You’ll notice the driver peering at you as if you lied to him, and suddenly there will be loud claims of how the agreed price needs to increase due to traffic/time of day/the crisis in Syria. May God smite them all with herpes. Also ladies? Always sit in the back seat. Some dudes are pervs.

2. People Have No Filter and Zero Chill.

Lemme tell you a story, paint you a little word picture. I met a friend of a friend the other day, nice gentleman, friendly and fun. I thought huzzah new friend, right? Wrong. He called me and we were chatting away, and suddenly out of nowhere he asked, “Are you watching your weight?” I was like, “…Um, no…” He replied, “Don’t you think you should be?” I was like O_O and he chirped into the icy silence, “I mean, don’t you think it’s getting too much?”

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WHUT.

Do you see why I am so unable? What fresh hell is this? And this sort of piping hot nonsense is commonplace. People here are for the most part, pretty judgmental. Which would be fine if they were using their inside voices- but they’re not. They’re telling you their opinions at every opportunity. I’m sure there will be many more of these occurences. Just keep an eye out for the headlines: “Crazed Non-Weight-Watching Ex Londoner Cuts Man In Public: Says She Regrets Nothing”

3. Slow Your Roll- You’re The Only One Rushing.

Coming from London where my life was a constant race against the clock, I find the slooooow pace of life in Accra maddening. I’m used to the big city where people will throw you into oncoming traffic if you’re walking just a touch too slowly. Here everything takes forever. FOREVER. There’s a general laid-back attitude to most things which can be so effing frustrating (some things need urgency bruv). It’s been driving me insane but then it hit me. Why am I hurrying when nobody else is? Why am I rushing to be on time for an appointment, when the person I’m meeting has no intention of being on time? I’ve been told that I need to relax, slow down, and just accept things as they are. I might have to do that, but not because I agree with constant delay and inefficiency. Because I don’t want to die of stress and or/rage.

4. Don’t Expect Everything To Make Sense.

There are so many things which just don’t make a lick of sense. Examples below:

How can I be asking a salesperson a question, and they can’t be bothered to answer me because they’re chatting to a colleague? How can it then be other customers who step in and try to help, while the salesperson continues to ignore my increasingly loud questions?

How can Accra be just as expensive as London? People tell me the prices for things and I just want to flip tables.

How can Ashanti be on this sign for the omotuo (rice ball) special at a local chop bar?

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This is a switch to turn on the air-conditioning, isn’t it?

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No, it’s not. It’s for the water heater. Is this life?

*Puts fingers on temples and sighs* Just don’t expect things to make sense.

5. The Kindness of Strangers Is Heartwarming and Awesome.

Moving to a new country can be extremely difficult and heartbreakingly lonely. I came here knowing almost nobody, and I thought I would just have to fight it out myself. BUT GAWD (I love how my people do that, just be halfway through a sentence and suddenly scream out to the Lawd)! See the way God is set up, he sometimes places people in your path to show you the way.

When I moved to Accra, someone blessed me with this golden piece of advice: join the Ahaspora mailing list. This group is made up of awesome young African “returnees” who have come to make Accra home. They have a huge network, and they’re a resource for almost everything you could ever need. Advise on housing? Done. Recommendations for good legal advice? Yes. Where to get your nails did? No problem. When I first moved to Accra, I went out on a limb and sent out an email introducing myself to the group. The response was overwhelming; within minutes I had invites to lunch, general friendly greetings and even some potential job opportunities. Chile if you’re moving to Accra, GET ON THAT LIST NOW.

My advice would be to reach out to people, and keep your heart open. I’ve already made some new friends, and I can’t thank them enough for welcoming a stranger with open arms. They’ve checked in on me, taken me out for cupcakes, welcomed me into their homes and given me a wealth of advice and support. Y’all are the real MVPs.

So darlings that’s it for now. Keep your eyes peeled for more Accra Updates! And anyone else who has recently made the move back, or is thinking about it? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re all in this together.

Love,
Adjpants

Homecoming.

My dearest loves. It’s been a while since my last post, and I’m sorry I’ve left you for so long without providing some sort of foolishness or tea-spilling. Why have I been absent? Because I moved away from London 2 weeks ago…

*cue gasps*

That’s right. The last couple of months have been an insane emotional rollercoaster, a whirlwind of goodbyes. I wanted to write about what was happening in my life, but can I be honest? I was avoiding it because it hurt and I was scared. But someone once told me to “write through the pain,” so here goes.

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(FYI this is my brave face. The hearts are cute non?)

A bit of background for those of you who are just getting to know me. I travel a lot and I call four different places home (Ghana, Nigeria, Australia and England).

I was born in Australia to Ghanaian expat parents. We then moved to Mexico for a few years before settling in Nigeria. I had a blissful (and hilarious) childhood there before heading to boarding school in England.

After I graduated from uni, I worked in Australia for a few awesome years before heading back to the UK for another stint. After a rough start in London, I slowly started to feel a strange and unfamiliar sensation. I was starting to settle in. Settle down. Everything started clicking into place and for the first time in my life, I could actually see myself staying in the same country for years to come.

But bruv, you know how life sometimes throws you a curve ball? Things changed very suddenly and it became clear that this just wasn’t going to happen. I would have to leave, yet again.

While my international background is interesting, it is by no means unique. Apparently people like me are called “Third Culture Kids” and we’re everywhere. Children of expats, we went to international schools and were taught the capital cities of every country in the world (shout-out to my IITA peeps WOOP! I know you remember Stripies). We didn’t know what racism was, because our friends looked like a United Colours of Benetton ad. For us, constant travel was normal and stability was never guaranteed.

The last couple of years in London, I started to realise how much I craved that stability.

But sometimes things don’t work out the way we want them to. I was now faced with a choice- where to next? Back to Australia made the most sense. I lived there for 3 happy years, and Melbourne wasn’t voted “Most Livable City in The World” for nothing. It’s funky, fresh and fabulous. And yet I didn’t feel quite ready. Something was telling me it was time to go home to Ghana.

But “home” can be a problematic concept when you have never actually lived in your home country. I tried to move back about 6 years ago. Saying it was a bit of a train wreck would be like saying Uncle Donald Trump’s hair is a bit off.

I wasn’t prepared for the culture shock, wasn’t ready for how my own people would see me as an outsider. They said I was too British, too feisty, too Westernised, even too Nigerian. My grasp of my parents’ language, Twi, was… well…it was dusty. This added to my frustration and sense of isolation. I only lasted a few weeks before fleeing to Melbourne.

So. When I found out I would have to leave London, that still small voice of calm said, “Go home.” After my previous experience, I was definitely nervous. Nah let’s be real- I was terrified. What if it doesn’t work out? What if I fail? What if I still can’t fit in? What if I still feel rejected? What if I can’t find a good job?

As I started packing, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed. At one point I sat on the floor of my rapidly emptying bedroom, surrounded by bits and pieces of my past, and I just sobbed. It seemed so unfair- why was this happening to me?

Now check this out. Somehow at my lowest moments, when I’m just about to fall to pieces, my mother knows. Even though we live in different continents, there seems to be an invisible string connecting my emotions to hers. Right at that moment she called, and she waited patiently while I cried and cried and cried. Then she said, “Dry your tears. God has never failed you, and He won’t fail you now.”

With those words, she reminded me that there is someone looking out for me. She reminded me that you can’t miss out on your destiny. Whatever is meant to be, will be, and you have to trust the journey.

So my darlings, as I write this I am in Accra, Ghana. In the distance I can hear rushing traffic and the ever-present thump of hiplife music. My grasp of Twi is still rusty, but it’s better than it was 6 years ago. When I arrived in Accra recently, I managed to negotiate the price of a taxi without being royally ripped off with the “abrokyire” (overseas) price. That, my friends, is progress.

I’m effing scared, and there’s no shame in that. But I’m going to try and give this a shot, and I’m taking you guys along for the ride. We’ll explore the city together. We’ll go and see all the landmarks. We’ll hunt down the best brunches and the stiffest cocktails, and we’ll find out where all the hipsters hang out. Welcome to Love, Adjpants: The Motherland Edition!

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Is it possible it won’t work out? That I’ll fall flat on my face? BISH IT MIGHT BE- but there’s only one way to find out.

They say you can never go home again. I’m going to try and prove them wrong. As Dr. Maya Angelou said, “all God’s children need travelling shoes.”

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And if those travelling shoes happen to be serving Pocahontas realness… well that’s a bonus, hunty.

Love,
Adjpants