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

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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

Christmas OOTD!

Hi darlings! How was Christmas?

Thought I’d post a little something for you to read while you play with your new Christmas pressies! What better day to share my first ever Outfit of The Day?

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I decided to serve Christmas realness in all black with my new Very Favourite Dress. This gorgeous long-sleeved black bodycon number is from River Island (£30).

I also picked up the urrings from River Island (£4). They’re adorable sparkly gold hoops because it’s Jesus’ birthday and it’s what he would have wanted.

I’m also wearing little ankle booties from my beloved Primark, which I picked up last autumn. I can’t remember how much they were exactly, but let’s face it, it was Primark so probably about a fiver LOL!

And now let’s get into the face yah?

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I went for luminous skin, bold brows, a smokey eye and a deep red lip.

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Here’s what I used to create this look.

Base:
MAC Studio Fix Foundation fluid in NW47
MAC Blot Powder/Pressed in Deep Dark
L.A. Girl PRO Conceal HD in Fawn

Eyes:
Sleek i-Divine Eyeshadow Palettes in Storm and Au Naturel
Rimmel Eyebrow Pencil in Black Brown
Benefit “They’re Real” Mascara in Black

Cheeks:
Nars Blusher in Desire
Seventeen Shimmer Brick in Gold Bronze

Lips:
MAC lip pencil in Cherry
Revlon lipstick in Red Revival

Et voila! Instant holiday fierce! I hope you all had a wonderful day. Hugsies!

Love,
Adjpants

Laissez les bon temps roulez: New Orleans!

My darlings, my loves, my pumpkin pies… this has been my summer of dreams coming true. A few months ago, I was having one of my usual lengthy email/Whatsapp conversations with my homeslice Rosie from A Red Lip and a Nude Shoe. She was telling me about the epic trip she was planning to  the USA over the summer. Her favourite band, Def Leppard, was performing in North Carolina, and she’d decided to combine it with several other city stops across the States. As we excitedly talked outfits and locations for Rosie, she said “You have to come too!” Being the anxious, deeply dull person that I am, I immediately said “oh stawp it, I simply mustn’t, think of the money…” And then it hit me. I AM 30 NOW. I have a good job. I’ve wanted to go to America forever. I deserve this. I work hard and gosh darn it, I’m going to go ahead and treat myself.

So I did! The decision was made, tickets were bought, lipsticks were selected… the plan was that I would head to New Orleans and meet up with Rosie, her childhood pal Tez (who I just adore) and Rosie’s American blogger pal, the delectable Karen from KP Says. Before I knew it, I was 35,000 feet in the air, more excited than I’d ever been in my life.

From the moment I landed in New Orleans, I was enchanted. Arriving at the hotel, I yelped and screamed and jumped on the bed, before running out to the balcony to fling the doors open. And there it was. New Orleans.

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Once I had marginally calmed down, I got down to the business of Eating All of The Things. Numero Uno on my bucket list was to eat a Shrimp Po’Boy. This is a Southern sandwich served with freshly baked bread and something delicious inside. YOU GUYS… I don’t know what to tell you. I wept #JesusTears from how good it was.

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Side note: one incredible thing about New Orleans and staying at a hotel just around the corner from the legendary Bourbon Street, is that you can order room service from many of the surrounding restaurants. When the young man (we’ll call him Tyrone) brought me this delightful sandwich, I was almost rendered unconscious by his sexy Southern drawl. Good Lawd. If I hadn’t been so hungry, I would have eloped with him on the spot. As it was, I tipped him approximately $4000 for being hot, and carried on with my evening.

I could barely sleep from excitement, knowing that the next day I would be reunited with my gal pals. The next morning I went to get myself a little snack, wanting to save my appetite for when the girls arrived and we headed out to lunch. I went to a cute little place called Cafe Conti and ordered the special, a grilled cheese croissant. This was how I learned my first lesson about American food portion sizes. This “croissant” came out and I was like O_O

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You couldn’t even SEE the croissant, laden as it was with bacon, tomatoes, basil, roasted garlic and poached eggs. I soldiered on, and then staggered back to the hotel to meet my friends. The reunion was a blur of screams, squeals and hugsies, and I cannot even begin to tell you how overjoyed I was to see my Rosie!

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Those of you who’ve been with me since the beginning know that leaving Melbourne was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, and Rosie and I bawled our eyes out at the airport. Seeing her and Our Tez again gave me ALL OF THE LIFE. I also finally got to meet Karen. Guys, you know when you meet someone for the first time and love them on sight? Karen aka “Mama Karen” is so sweet, warm and caring, and she had me howling with laughter within minutes.

And we were OUT! The debauched and wanton pleasures of Bourbon Street called from just around the corner. This day will go down as one of the happiest days in my life. We munched on seafood platters and deep-fried eggplant sticks at Oceana, got drunk (in luhhhhve) on the famous Hurricane cocktail at Pat O’Brien’s, continued drinking in style at Carousel Bar, became famous for our  karaoke at The Cat’s Meow, and rounded off the perfect night with an oversized pizza slice at The Big Easy Daiquiris & Pizza Cafe.

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We had a good perve n’ flirt with the hottie behind the counter at the pizza parlour. He had a face carved by a benevolent God, and an accent that caused instant arrhythmia. Tez tells me that I leaned over the counter towards him and whispered, “I love you.” I can neither confirm nor deny this of course…

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*coughs discreetly* ANYHOO. The next day we met up with one of KP’s blogger friends, the adorable Chelsea from Tiger Love Beauty, and her lovely friend Ashley. We met at the famous Cafe du Monde. I was beyond excited to try their world-famous beignets, and I was not disappointed. These folks don’t play- the beignets were huge! Fresh, crisp and golden, piled high with powdered sugar.

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We then visited the breathtaking St. Louis Cathedral, and walked through Jackson Square. Just outside the cathedral we stopped to watch some live jazz. I’m a jazz and soul fiend, and I just couldn’t take my eyes off this band. They were having a whale of a time, and I wanted to give up my worldly possessions and tour with them.

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When it was time to hunt down breakfast, we headed to The Old Coffee Pot. Now, I’m sure you guys know by now that I’m an epic foodie. My telly is permanently fixed on The Food Network, and one of my all-time fave shows is Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives hosted by Guy Fieri. So imagine my delight when I saw this by the doorway of The Old Coffee Pot:

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Guy ate there! HUZZAH! We swiftly proceeded to do the same thing. It was absolutely divine, and due to over-excitement and stuffing of faces, no photos were taken. We continued on, with the day getting better and better. We walked through the French Market, and stopped to gaze at the mighty Mississippi river. With every moment, I was falling deeper and deeper in love with NOLA. Around every corner was a different adventure: The Pepper Palace (an entire superstore dedicated to thousands of different hot sauces), The Central Grocery (where we ate the Best Effing Sandwich Ever- the hilariously named Muffaletta), and finally more live jazz at Maison Bourbon Jazz Club.

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On our last day, we had breakfast at a place called Stanley’s, which was amazing. Cheese eggs, bacon and cheese grits, poached eggs with fried oysters… all of these were washed down with gallons of my new favourite drink, sweet tea. Sweet tea is basically iced tea that has been used to wash down angel wings, before being strained through gold dust and unicorn’s tears. I quickly got into the habit of asking “D’you have sweet tea?” everywhere we went, until KP explained that they were guaranteed to serve it everywhere in the South #winning

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We then took a tour down to the swanky Garden District, Mardi Gras World, the St Louis Cemetery, and saw the very beautiful and poignant Hurricane Katrina memorial. Afterwards we wandered through the streets with their lacy wrought-iron balconies, and soon it was time for lunchies. KP took us to a place called Fiorella’s Cafe for fried chicken. Listen… I’ve eaten a lot of fried chicken in my life. But THERE ARE LEVELS, and this was the pinnacle. This teeny little place doesn’t look like much; it’s a no-frills dive bar with the customary sticky floors and low lighting. But guys… when the chicken came out, the cherubim and seraphim burst into triumphant song.

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This was the most perfect fried chicken that has ever crossed my lips and you must try it immediately. Like, go now. I’ll wait.

*cue Lionel Richie hold music*

So?! Right? It was golden-fried to perfection, and when you bit into it… I’ll be hearing that crispy crunch sound in my dreams forever. I also got to try fried pickles for the first time- so good! Then it was time to head back down Bourbon Street, soaking up that frenzied late-night atmosphere I’d come to adore. There were people everywhere, hollering and whooping and generally having the time of their lives. From every doorway spilled live music (special shout out to the band at Razzoo Bar for their amazing MJ medley!) and guys, you could take your drinks in a “go cup” and wander the streets! That evening we tried the famous Hand Grenade, and all I can say is Yow. Za.

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(NOTE: Green shirt guy wins the prize for Best Photo Bomb Ever, obvs)

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(NOTE: See Our Tez with that two-hander situation? Profesh.)

Our last hurrah was eating at The Gumbo Shop, where I had my first taste of crawfish etouffé, a rich and delectable stew served with rice. The food was incredible, and we had the opportunity to gaze at yet more fine figures of Southern men (apparently New Orleans just insists on hot employees at all times). We later stumbled upon an awesome gay bar, where there was a drag show on! I love the hell out of drag queens (I hope to be one someday) and I screamed myself hoarse with delight! Those ladies were made up and dressed for the Gawds, honey. Of course we ended up on stage…

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And then much too soon, it was time to leave. I wanted to drink in every sight, every smell, every second of those few days. New Orleans has stolen my heart. I adored those Southern accents, and my new favourite phrase is the greeting “How yo’ Mama n’em?” closely followed by “Who dat?” I kept noticing signs saying “Shops Dat Way” and “We Will Ship Dat” When I asked KP about it, she explained dat (see what I did there) this everyday phrase actually originates from a New Orleans Saints football chant: “Who dat? Who dat? Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?”

I loved everything about New Orleans- the famous Southern hospitality is very much alive and well. I couldn’t believe how charming and polite everyone was, how flirtatious the vibe was (men of London please take note, for the love of God). It goes without saying that the food and music were phenomenal, but it goes much deeper than that. There is such a beautiful sense of history in those streets; the crumbling but still-proud buildings, those timeless jazz melodies. There’s just something about that this place that puts a spell on you.

New Orleans, I will be back. You can believe dat.

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Love,
Adjpants

Pssst! Look out for the next stop on our USA adventure coming soon! 

Soundtrack to my (long) Weekend: Awilo Longomba- Karolina

Ooooooo CHILE! You guys, it’s the May Bank Holiday long weekend here in London, and the sun is shining! I’m deliriously happy right now and feeling so blessed. Life is fabulous. God is so good; can I get an exuberant “Amen” in this place?

*breakdances down church aisle, holding onto ludicrously large hat*

In celebration of the long weekend AND my birthday month, I’ve decided to share one of my very favourite songs with you. I don’t even know where to start! How do we love it? Shall we go ahead and count the ways?

1. This track, by the legendary Awilo Longomba, is one of West Africa’s favourite songs: Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Awilo rose to stardom in the late 90s and pretty much refused to quit. Congolese makossa music (or zouk-soukouss as it’s sometimes known) has ruled the charts back home for years now. Just the other day I ran into an old friend, and while reminiscing he said “Ah yes, back when makossa was still relevant.” I got all intense like:

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Um, makossa will always be relevant
2. The love for this track is universal: From Lagos to Accra, from Freetown to Cotonou, this is the song that’s guaranteed to tear up the dancefloor every single time. It’s deeply embedded in my childhood party memories. If you’re ever invited to any West African function, whether it be a wedding, a birthday party or a christening (true story bro), this song will feature at some point. So best get your moves ready and bring your A game.

3. The aforementioned moves: The Congolese are revered throughout the African continent for their dancing prowess. I’m talking pelvic thrusts that could take your eye out. I think the secret is in the music- I mean listen to those pounding drums, that bassline and those frantic soukouss guitars! They put this track on and things get really real, really fast.

4. Finally, I just adore this video so much: This party is wild as all hell and I LOVE IT! I mean are we not going to talk about Ms Karolina and how she gleams for the Gawds? You just KNOW she basted herself in the Good Cocoa Butter before heading out to the club. Not the Palmers stuff either, I mean the good kind that her Auntie Doris (it’s always Auntie Doris) brought back from her last trip to Ghana. The gleam/fierce bod ratio was so high that my man at the door said “Pour vous, c’est gratuit!” (For you, it’s free). You bet your ass it was free.

5. The cheeky lyrics: Let me go ahead and translate one of the more salacious lines for you:

“Elle est sucré partout… elle est sucré devant, elle est sucré derriere… je ne peut pas la laisser”
“She is sweet throughout… she is sweet in front, she is sweet behind… I can’t leave her alone”

YOWZA! Awilo didn’t come to play games… I also love how some of the lyrics don’t quite make sense. Awilo is known for shouting out random names- I don’t know if they’re shout-outs to his buddies or? In this track, you’ll hear “George Weah waka waka” George Weah is a famous Liberian ex-footballer/politician who did incredible humanitarian work in his home country. But why is he mentioned in this track? Are they pals? We’ll never know. I think it’s fab.

6. The man himself: I have always been a huge fan of Awilo’s style- or should I say STEEZ because this is a serious situation! I know you saw those gold-tipped locs, and his pristine white jeans. Listen… I love that he dresses like that over-excitable Uncle that shames everyone at the family barbecue, dressing like someone a third of his age. I love Awilo and I’m here for his fuchsia shirt (complete with medallion and complementary nip-slip).

And finally, let it be known that this track is actually my alarm clock! One of my favourite comedians/YouTubers Clifford Owusu demonstrates why here. Watch it now, thank me later.

So my loves, crank it up and Get. On. Down!

Love,
Adjpants