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

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Girls on Safari: Dominican Republic, Part Dos

Ola mis amores!

As effing usual, the 2nd instalment of my trip to the Dominican Republic is late. I keep telling you African time is a real affliction. Yes I’m always late, please just love me anyway! Teehee.

So where were we? The last time you saw Miss Fu and I, we were sipping cocktails and working on our tans. Tanning was going well and #OperationDarkChocolate was coming along nicely. Fantastic though that was, we were gagging to get out and explore La Republica Dominicana. So we booked ourselves on a cheeky Outback Safari tour!

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#Excoitment

From the second we got on that truck, we just knew we were in for an amazing time. Our guide was called Angel, and we loved him on sight. He was jolly, hilarious, and most importantly full of local knowledge and passion for his country. He told us he’d been born and raised in the Dominican Republic, and that he would never want to live anywhere else. Kudos to you sir.

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We trundled through the Dominican countryside, and I couldn’t get over how stunning everything was. The colours were so vibrant, the air was clear and the scenery was incredible. We drove through little villages, and then it was off-roading time! As we made our way through thick rainforest areas, Angel pointed out the cocoa and coffee trees all around us.

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Before we knew it, it was time for our first stop! We were taken to a little school in the hills, and peeked in to wave at the kiddies. At least I did. Some overly exuberant people with our tour group strode right into the classroom and got snap-happy. It made me uncomfortable, like Ma’am please have a seat! These children are in class so maybe don’t lean over them with your camera? Cretins. Anyhoo…

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Our next stop was definitely my favourite. We stopped at the family home of a man called Chappy, who runs a cocoa and coffee plantation with his wife. They gave us a warm welcome, and showed us how the raw cocoa is processed into cocoa powder and cocoa butter.

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We got to sample some of the delicious products. Chappy and Senora Chappy laid out some hot chocolate, cinnamon coffee, and fresh sugarcane. Obviously Miss Fu and I have no home training so we were chowing down long after the rest of the group wandered off. Everything tasted heavenly, and I bought some coffee and pure cocoa butter. Needed to make sure I spent the London summer stunting on these heaux with my luminous skin!

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Uncle Chappy is a real G. Just look at him on the packet with his wife! He was kind enough to show us around his beautiful family home and grounds. I don’t think I have ever seen anything so lovely. The colours fam…

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The fun continued as we were taken to see how coconut oil is made. Honey you know I’m all coconut oil everythang so that was awesome. Then it was time to shop! We got to sample some traditional dranks. We sipped some aged Mama Juana (you might remember the “Dominican Babymaker” from Part Uno) and then I was introduced to vino de piña, which is pineapple wine. You have never tasted anything so divine. There were all sorts of delectable items available.20150519_121521

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We also got to see how cigars are rolled by hand, which was awesome. Just a few seconds with his deft fingers, and BAM! Done. Bawss moves.

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El Bae, Miss Fu.

We then had lunch at a country ranch, which was amazing. Heaps of fried chicken, grilled beef, salads, and rice. While we ate, Angel plied us with drinks to keep the party going. It was such a perfect afternoon, and the view from the ranch was breathtaking.

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We hopped back on the bus and made our way to our final stop: boogie boarding at Macao Beach! It was just… guys I want to say it was beautiful but that wouldn’t do it justice. Like, Carol can I get a vowel or nah? No words! Look at it!

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I grabbed a board and looked out at the ocean. I was nervous cos I didn’t fancy drowning on such a beautiful day. The ridiculously hot guide who had joined our tour group asked, “You need help, mami?” I was all “YES HI I NEED EVERYTHING FROM YOU,” so he took my hand and led me out into the water. We went out so far that my tootsies were no longer touching the ground. I lay on the board and Hottie McAdonis held it still, while watching for the perfect wave. He suddenly asked, “Ready?” I was like “Gah! No!” He yelled, “Hold tight!” And I turned my head and saw this huge swell of water right behind me. I barely had time to scream “Jesus fix it” before he let go…

And WHOOSH! I was borne up on the crest of this gigantic wave, shooting towards the shore at high speed! It was like nothing I’ve ever felt before; complete exhilaration and pure joy. I was laughing and shrieking, and I felt like I was flying! I couldn’t get enough, and spent the rest of the afternoon on my #Surfboardt

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And just like that, it was the perfect end to yet another perfect Dominican day. We got on the truck to make our way back to the resort. The rumble of the engine started to put me to sleep… I tasted salt on my lips and felt sand between my toes. As I drifted off, my last thought was, “I don’t want this trip to ever end.”

I can’t wait to share the final instalment of my Dominican adventure- coming soon darlings (I promise, I promise)!

Amor,
Adjpants

How Adjpants Got Her Groove Back: Dominican Republic, Part Uno

Darlings!

It’s your Caribbean Queen here, back in the country and reporting for duty. I just got back from paradise, and I can’t wait to share the amazing experience with you!

Last year, my homeslice/travel buddy/BFF Miss Fu mentioned a Caribbean getaway to celebrate our birthdays in May. We chose the Dominican Republic and did some research. When we came across Dreams Punta Cana Resort & Spa, it was a done deal. Their website described the resort as being “secluded in a lush tropical paradise.” YAAAAASS BISH.

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Miss Fu and I tore thangs up in Cuba a few years ago, so we were totes looking forward to the trip. The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean nation bordered by Haiti, and it’s known for its white sandy beaches and sizzling bachata and merengue music. The people are ethnically diverse; of African, European, and Native American descent. All these things piqued my interest and made La Republica Dominicana my dream holiday destination.

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Before we knew it, it was May 14th and we were OFF, hunty! As our plane touched down in Punta Cana, we peered out of the windows, practically climbing over each other for the first glimpse. I squealed at the sight of the heat shimmering off the concrete, and the thatched roofs of the airport buildings. As we taxied to our gate, I noticed crowds of deeply tanned “gorgoisie” (my word for the gorgeous bourgeoisie dahling- you can borrow) sipping dranks on balconies. At the airport. #WinningAtLife

We made our way through customs and immigration, and out into the sun. Moments later, we met the uniformed driver who would be taking us to our resort. He was a tall, jolly black man (who looked not unlike my Uncle Kwabena), and he broke into a smile when he spotted us. He shook our hands and cried out, “Mi colores! Mi familia!” He gestured to his skin and we realised he was excited because our complexions matched his. Throughout our time in the Dominican Republic we would hear delighted calls of “Oye morenas” (hey brown girls) and the ever-passionate “Familia!” I loved it.

About an hour later we were driving up a long, curving driveway to our resort. Listen- I have never seen anything so beautiful in my entire life. Gleaming mahogany floors, soaring ceilings with ornate fans, and everywhere lush flowers and swaying palms.

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We could barely contain our excitement as we were led to our room. It was stunning- decked out in white decor with splashes of red and lime green. I opened the curtains and…

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It was like looking out on the Garden of Eden. Also… how could there just be a peacock chilling on our patio? PARADISE, that’s how. We soon realised the resort was full of flamingos and peacocks, taking naps and preening for the gawds.

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By this point all the travel, excitement and shrieking had tired us out, so we were like “quick nap, then we’ll head out to explore.” Needless to say jetlag knocked us out, and we woke up in the middle of the night like “BRUH”

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(Introducing the gorgeous Miss Fu, who stays ready so she never has to GET ready!)

Early the next morning we headed out for a jog, excited to check out our new home for the next ten days. They say a picture paints a thousand words so lemme just leave these here real quick…

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Right?! Next was breakfast! Freshly showered and gleaming with shea butter (we didn’t come to play), we headed to one of the resort’s many restaurants. As long as I live, I will never forget the reception we got. Let me tell you a little something about Dominican men. These men are SO FINE that they look at you and you forget your name and address. The good news is that you’ll never need those details again, because you are now drunk in love. And they’re not just easy on the eye. Their swag is on ONE HUNNID. Charm? Yaaaaass. Twinkle in the eye? Check. As we sashayed past the juice station, I caught the eye of one of the waiters and he gave me the most thoroughly salacious wink I’ve ever seen. Miss Fu and I giggled, and suddenly men were hurtling across the room towards us. Pulling out our chairs, declaring us “caliente” (hot) and “linda” (pretty), elbowing each other out of the way. I think someone was injured in the fight to pour Miss Fu’s drink. By the time we finished eating, I was ready for permanent Dominican citizenship. They had me like “AND I AM TELLING YOU I’M NOT GOING” (you’re gonna love me Carlos).

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We spent the next couple of days in the blazing heat, sipping cocktails and frolicking between beach and pool. Things escalated when someone urged us to try the national drink: Mamma Juana. A potent blend of rum, red wine, honey, tree bark and local roots and spices, Mamma Juana is also known as The Dominican Babymaker. It’s reputed to have aphrodisiac qualities but of course I couldn’t possibly comment (I can) on whether that’s true (it is). As the bartender poured us a shot each, he laughed and said “It gives you potential!” HEY NOW!

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As we languished on pool mats, I trailed my fingers through the water and bopped along to the merengue blaring from a nearby speaker. The sun was warm on my skin and the Mamma Juana was warm in my belly. I remember being happy and calm. In that moment I thought, “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Hope you enjoyed the first instalment, pumpkins! Look out for Dominican Republic: Part Dos, coming soon! Besos!

Amor,
Adjpants

Happy Birthday Rosie! ♥

Today is my homegirl Rosie’s birthday! Festoon the streets with glitter! Let balloons fill the sky! LET THEM EAT CAKE!

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I’m always going on about how much I adore this chick, and I’ve missed her every single day since moving back to London. She is my pumpkin, my moon and stars, my liebschen. Let’s do a quick recap of why I love her:

1. She makes me cackle to the point of tears. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… she has the face of an angel, and swears like a sailor.

2. The very first time I went for after-work drinks with Rosie, I hesitated before doing a tequila shot and she yelled in my ear, “Go on! That’ll put hair on your balls!”

3. Her lifestyle & fashion blog, A Red Lip and a Nude Shoe, is EVERYTHING you have ever needed, and more. I save up her posts greedily and then binge on the fabulosity and eleganza. So much YAAAAASSS. I couldn’t be more proud of Rosie, and I know this is only the beginning for her.

So please join me in raising a glass to Our Rosie! Happy birthday dollsnatch! I love you. A little somethin’ special for you below…

Love always,
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

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I know what everyone says about Valentine’s Day. It’s overly commercial, it’s meaningless, it’s just another marketing ploy to pressure people into spending money, etc.

But in the world we live in, nice things like love are in short supply. Life can be hard. Sometimes it hurts. Terrible people do terrible things to innocent people. Innocent people do terrible things to themselves.

I think love is exactly what we need, now more than ever. And I don’t think there is such a thing as too much love. I say bring on the kitsch heart-shaped balloons! Festoon the streets with pink streamers! Let those heaux eat cake! I love Valentine’s Day because, behind all the garish cards and overpriced roses, it’s really just an annual reminder to love one another.

And what did Whitney say was the greatest love of all? That’s right. It’s the love inside of me. Self-love is empowering and life affirming. Never forget that you are precious. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Like Auntie Ru Paul said, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?”

Tell someone you love them today.

And then please do me a favour? Tell yourself too.

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With all my love,
Adjpants xo