Am writing this at a time of major change in my life- new job/ career which is fantastic but has also been a quite stressful few weeks. So this is the perfect time for me to reminisce on my blissful time in St Lucia last month where I spent time with my mum who lives there. It was an active trip but I enjoyed every second and restored my energy each evening when chilling on my mums balcony which has a stunning view of the sea and famous mountains and world heritage site, the Pitons. Although I love the beach I could never be a holiday beach bum so managed to pack in trekking through the rainforest, visiting the volcano and sulphur springs, attending the St Lucia Jazz festival, going to a fish themed street party and catching lizards with the national trust on Maria Island! I also got to learn more about the work of the Vieux Fort Children’s home which is being funded by the Jermaine Defoe foundation. You can learn more about there work on their Facebook page- feel free to add them; https://www.facebook.com/vieux.home?fref=ts. or check out their wesite http://thevieuxfortchildrenssociety.weebly.com/who-are-we.html. Due to the good whether, fresh food and general good vibes I still managed to come back refreshed- albeit a bit tired!
At Jalouse beach in between the pitons- its down a steep hill so we took this cute buggy
My grans local beach!
Wild plants, fruit in the rainforest
My friend from neighbouring Guadeloupe chilling at my mums local beach
The beautiful beach, Lizards and view from Maria Islands where I went with the National Trust to watch their lizard survey. One of the poor creatures got panicked and shed its tail in front of my eyes. I had only just learnt they can do this so was quite stunned!
On a boat ride past the Pitons to Anse Chastenet beach, famous for snorkellig. I saw some beautiful fish but called it a day after seeing a young Barracuda and what I thought was a snake but in fact a yellow eel!
One of my final trips and birthday treat involved a meal at Hotel Chocolat’s restaurant and hotel. They only have shops in the UK but the cocoa comes from this plantation. The meal was curry and rice infused with Cacao nibs and it actually went well together. Dessert speaks for itself!
The beauty of the Islands continued to the skies with this incredible cloud formation en route back to the UK. God really is the Great Artist!
International Womens Day which was celebrated this Sunday, March 8th, got me thinking about who my female role models are. I don’t pay too much attention to celebrities and at the same time I’m not aware of many of the most amazing activists so with my limited knowledge I gathered some inspiring girls / women who have varied achievements but are equally awesome.
Janelle Monae is one of the quirkiest musicians I know- her style and sound doesn’t easily fit into any category and is truly unique. She has most definitely not conformed to the requirements expected of many up and coming artists as she rose to fame when still wearing her signature black and white Tuxedo- and wouldn’t be seen in anything else for a considerable amount of time. She later attributed the look to her parents who wore uniforms in their humble jobs, one of them being a caretaker (Janitor). She mentioned this at her very moving BET awards speech giving the world an insight into the authenticity of her character, someone proud of her humble beginnings and never boastful of her huge accomplishments! And her hair- no words to describe how cool it is!
The Savages are the polar opposite to your typical girl band and are in fact the only indy / rock girl band that I know of (which could be partially down to my limited knowledge of the genre to be fair). They definitely have their own simple style and make a point of being known solely for their music, demonstrated for their love of classic black and white photography. I was lucky enough to met one of the members at a wedding a while back and once again her humility was her defining characteristic along with friendliness. I was shocked to learn she was in a rock band let alone one taking the world by storm. The Savages have just finished a residency at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn, NYC, have performed on the Jimmy Fallon show and will be playing at Latitude festival this year amongst many other shows. Oh and Questlove (The Roots) is a fan and you can’t get cooler than that!
I had to include Sophia Amoruso, founder of one of my fave etailers, NastyGal. her achievements are close to my heart as I would be over the moon if my boutique Realm of Treasure achieved a fraction of the success that this lady has. She’s also giving us aspiring ones a blueprint with her book Girl Boss which is soon to become my study manual! She started with an Ebay store selling vintage and now has a multimillion pound business and is one of the fastest growing retailers in the US!
Malala Yousefzai is globally recognized as one of the bravest people on the planet. She actually started off as a blogger at the age of 11 writing about her passionate desire for girls in her homeland of Pakistan to remain in School. Her village was a Taliban base and these animals attempted to kill her in 2012 but she was destined for greater things and survived a bullet in the head! She has since been the youngest person to ever receive the Nobel Peace Prize, Travels around the world campaigning for girl’s education and she was particularly active in the bring back our girls campaign, even meeting the Nigerian president. She has unsurprisingly been nominated as one of the worlds most influential people by Time Magazine. I get chills down my spine thinking of Malala’s story, what she has achieved and imagining what she is going to accomplish i future. She was one of the people that came to my mind when I took part in Plan UK’s give child marriage the finger campaign and I’ll be eagerly following her no doubt inspirational next steps.
Last but not least is Lupita Nyongo who whilst has become celebrated for her striking beauty, is also a talented actress who rose to fame after co starring in 12 years a slave, the film for which she became one of the few black, let alone African, men or women to receive an Academy Award, Golden Globe and a Bafta. She has the envious combination of brains and beauty being an Ivy League graduate (Yale). She has also produced and directed a documentary the experience of Albino’s in her homeland, Kenya. Like most of the women I love, she is also challenging conventional standards of beauty and recently gave a moving speech about the insecurities she faced as a youth, when she was tempted to use skin lightening cream, a common practise amongst many black and Asian people. She herself was inspired to accept her own glorious skintone by the stunner supermodel Alex Wek and has in turn passed on the baton encouraging us all to be happy in our own skin. I’ll leave you with the final beautiful words of her speech; ‘And so I hope that my presence on your screens and in the magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation of your external beauty but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside. There is no shade in that beauty. ‘
Although Giuliana Rancis has apologised for her, now we learned scripted slur on Zendaya’s locs hairstyle at the Oscars, it still raises the question of the negative connotations surrounding them and other more natural ‘black’ hairstyles. I wish we could live in a day where all people can wear their hair however they want without being judged (with the exception of a presumed mentally challenged lady I saw wearing a wig after cutting off all the hair from the ‘roots’- leaving a bald Barbie effect #onlyinlondon). However black people who choose to wear their hair without chemical processing- for those who don’t know we don’t have naturally straight hair so use either heat, straight perm or weave to get the look- are often forced to make a political statement. Whilst naturally straight haired people or even those with loose curls can wake up- put a comb through their hair and go to work, the same is often frowned upon if someone like me decided to go to work with my hair- combed but its natural tightly coiled poofy fro. I went though a period of time where I actually did this- as my hair was an awkward length- too short to tie back- and I’ve never been one that likes to spend ages doing the usual styles- braids, weaves even twists on my hair. I’m lucky enough to be living in the most cosmopolitan city in the world and have worked in a lot of very relaxed and cool workplaces where my hair has not been an issue but since I’ve never stayed anywhere that long I don’t know if this would have changed if I had tried to climb the career ladder. I’m not sure how well my fro would go down in a board meeting for example. I understand that some work environments demand very neat styles and even those with straight hair are required to tie it back- and I have no problem with this.
I just think there is still a very dated attitude towards natural black hairstyles like locs and the even sadder thing is that some of the worst attitudes are within our own community. I have Jamaican heritage and surprisingly its not a hairstyle that is well respected in the country where it currently has the strongest cultural links ( although it actually originated in ancient India and Egypt and is said to have been worn in the Bible). I’m glad Giuiliana / Fashion Police made the comments as discussion is always a positive thing. I hope people of all races will be challenged about their attitudes not just on hair but on judging people based on old fashioned ‘backwards’ concepts of beauty.
Here are some absolutely gorgeous celebs rocking locs and showing them in all their glory. Plus the best women I know wears them, my Mum ❤
It was love at first sight since I first saw Erykah Badu’s first single, on & on, TV many moons ago. I was hypnotized by her unique beauty and sound and have been a lifelong fan as have the rest of my family ever since. She is an artist through to the bone and expresses herself through all art forms. Erykah is without a doubt my number 1 style icon as she really brings the phrase wearable art to life- even if sadly I won’t be copying her looks due to being a bit less on the eccentric side- she still encourages me to be different and celebrate my unique qualities- regardless however obvious or subtle they are. Her music has provided a sound track for the past 20 years of my life and has enhanced my best and soothed my worst moments. Queen E, I salute you and have a blessed birthday. Love and peace!
Killing the Givenchy campaign!
With my other love; Janelle Monae
With hottie Frank Ocean (I know hes gay- I think?-but one can dream)
Am so excited to be writing this post after having such a long break as life has been life and got in the way. Now I’ve decided its time for live to move over for a sec so I can get back to blogging! So I thought I’d come back with a post about one of my favourite personalities, a fashion icon and general inspiration in many ways. I was lucky enough to win a competition to get on VV Brown‘s guestlist for a gig she did last month at Hoxton Bar and Kitchen in Shoreditch. I’d never seen her live before and really loved the fusion of different sounds that don’t really fit into a strict music category. She definitely got the lively crowd going especially when playing classics such as Shark in the Water. I had a quick chat with the uber friendly lady before the show and she even introduced me to her beau before posing in one of the most loved up pics I’ve ever seen- too cute.
Me in vintage bag and top and shoes taken from my grandad in some sort of deal.
VV Brown shares my love of vintage and has set up the coolest online store, VV Vintage. She seems to effortlessly combine her love of music and fashion and on top of that shes also a brainiac. I’m dreaming of a world where more female musicians will be celebrated for their intelligence just as much as for their looks, if not more. I was very impressed to learn that VV Brown had been offered a place to study law at Oxford University. She bravely chose to pursue music instead. As someone who has studied law and then chosen to pursue a creative path I can definitely understand that decision and imagine that she has no regrets. Now in addition to running her online shop she has been the face of Marks & Spencer advertising campaigns (UK department store), is one of the judges at the prestigious WGSN Global Fashion Awards, has catwalked for Naomi Campbell’s charity fashion show, and has played at Glastonbury. Samson and Delilah, her new album will be released in September. Here are some of my faves from VVVintage.
Pre concert Moroccan Dinner in Camden
This week I had the unforgettable experience of seeing one of my favourite singers and style icon, Kelis, at Proud Camden. I’ve loved Kelis since her debut album, Kaleidoscope, which I played on repeat for God knows how long when I was at school! So I jumped at the chance to see her play a small gig for the launch of Proud’s new club night, Get Lucky. The never ending wait for Kelis to come on almost put a damper on the evening but when she came on all smiles and full of energy I kind of forgot my former misery. She made a grand entrance wining to Beenie man with a cheeky glimmer in her eye and then started with one of my all time favourite Kelis tracks, Trick me. I was a little sad that she remixed my other favourite song, Get Along With You, but she turned it into a dubstep mix probably to fit in with the party vibe. I guess it was a bit much to expect her to play sombre songs just so I could reminisce about my teenage angst. It was a great performance, a little bit too short but I still left full of love for her. Kelis really has a unique tone to her voice which I’m a bit obsessed with (I even love her speaking voice). She doesn’t do those Whitney power notes but she’s got such a beautiful tone. I can’t think of anyone else that sounds similar which is rare for artists, and her live voice was just as good as her recorded music. Plus I was excited that we both wore similar style keyhole dresses with midlength sleeves (ok the hers was a million times more glam and wasn’t really that similar but I’d like to think we share the same taste as I love the way she dresses- even the new crazy Cruella Devil look!). The hair accessories she wore were also exactly what I would expect from Kelis, fun and funky and she even pulled of glittery thigh high boots without looking trashy (don’t try this at home guys). If it wasn’t for the lateness this would have been the perfect evening but it was still one of the highlights of my year and hoping I get to see her again.
Kelis didn’t know the words to her new track Jerk Ribs from her new album FOOD but at least her notebook was stylish
Hey guys am entering a blog awards competition and am need of your nominations. Thanks for all your lovely comments so far – you guys are great – but if you wanna show me a bit more love please nominate- for best newcomer. Cheers xxx
This bank holiday Sunday I was given a complimentary ticket to the Breakin Convention at Sadlers Wells Theatre through a friend who was reviewing the event for SLIK Magazine. I’d heard about the convention but didn’t know too much about it. Now this momentous celebration of Hip Hop dance has got me hooked possibly for life. I am a lover of dance and have attended various classes of practically every type of dance throughout most of my life, but my first experience with breakdance was not great. I just remember not wanting to put my head on the floor and feeling very weak as I tried to to various plank like moves using my non existent arm strength. Despite this experience the breakin convention left me dreaming of being a hip hop dancer, especially when admiring the combined strength, femininity and sexiness of female crew Zamounda and the seductive Emilie Sudre (who danced half naked in heels but in a tasteful way). I’m not sure if I’ll take up breakdance but am definitely encouraged to continue the Hip Hop dance classes I started earlier on in the year. It rekindled my passion for dance and I was touched to see the diverse group of people from old ladies to young kids and entire families that were all brought together at Sadlers Wells to celebrate some of the worlds most talented and inspirational dancers.
Soweto Kinch with Olympic choreographer Kenrick and other dancers of Boy Blue Entertainment
The youngest members of this crew. Soul Mavericks, are the most adorable sister, only 5 and 9! (above)
Fierce and fabulous Zamounda
These guys used a technique called bone breaking to achieve extreme double jointed movements. Wonder if its as painful as it looks and sounds?
Emilie Sudre before she stripped off- can this this be a new dance craze- Breaking Burlesque
The legendary Electric Boogaloos.
My highlight was the the Ill abilities crew who all have disabilities such as deafness, amputated or incompletely formed limbs. These guys not only inspired me to continue dancing but also to pursue all of my passions and goals in spite of the obstacles I will inevitably face!
Photography at its best
This weekend I had one of those moments where it really sinks in how great my city, London town really is. In the whole of the EU there are free museums making the rich culture accessible to all but London took it to the next level with the Hyperlink festival at Tate Modern. Hyperlink was a celebration of creativity with showcases, workshops and performances from the worlds of music, illustration, fashion and photography. It was aimed at 16 to 24 year olds and I’ve never seen so many teenagers in a museum in my life. The screaming girls during the Angel performance took me back to the good old days and I reminisced for a moment about my own often random teenage crushes ( Drassic from Heartbreak High- lol). However there was far more to the festival than me feeling old, with the main highlight being a free photography workshop with iconic photographer, Rankin! Yes you heard right. Participants received a makeover from a team of professionals and then had their photo taken by Rankin himself. They then assisted him with photoshopping the image and were after able to customize the printed photo with arts and crafts materials. The workshop was unsurprisingly fully booked but I got to take photos of Rankin taking photos and at work on photoshop. I even shot him a cheeky grin when he spotted me in the corner taking pics. I wanted to tell him about my desire to place a lonely hearts ad ‘fashion blogger seeks hot photographer boyfriend to take snaps on all occasions and be on call 24/7 ‘. I was tempted to ask him to do a shoutout to his photographer friends and team but didn’t think it was the right moment. I’ll have the balls if we ever cross paths again! I also met another talented fashion photographer, Tom Craig, the day before Hyperlink. I won a Vogue competition to see Craig’s exhibition at Louis Vuittons private apartment on New Bond St. I can’t publish pics until Vogue publish their coverage of Vogue Festival in their July issue but after will be doing posts on the exhibition, Tom Craig and a Rankin profile after he publishes the pics from Hyperlink in his magazine, Hunger TV. I think its ok for me to put a few here but watch this space for the rest.
Angel performing to a backdrop of stunning illustrations
Live graffiti artists at work inside Tate Modern
Cassette Playa’s Tshirt customisation workshop with inspiration from their fashion film
Cassette Playa’s film featuring Britain and Irelands Next Top Model winner Jade