Monday, 24 November 2014

Guilty pleasures, healthy meals and the gym life

 Hello!
I have been quite sparse with my posting lately haven't I? Well that's because I have been reasonably occupied with stuff here and there and then I decided to take some time off to spend time with family and friends as well. So I have been busy trying out new experiences, visiting new places, and trying out new meals as well! I am such a foodie and I think I may have gained about 2 kg in the month of October! So I have started my workouts again and this time I decided to take advantage of the relatively cheaper gym subscription fees here in the UK.

Guilty pleasures
 But back to food, my sis took me out for lunch after church one Sunday to Giraffe, and we had a beautiful mocktail called "strawberry smash" that I loved so much, I think I would call it my second favourite cocktail/mocktail after the mojito! I think it's the mint and lemon in it that just does it for me. If you haven't tried this before, trust me you want to!
 So this was one of my guilty pleasures-nachos. Well I couldn't finish all that of course haha!
It was my sister's birthday and we had cake and sparkling white wine. Do you see where I am going with all this? It has not been easy trying to eat healthy, what with my sister's husband always trying to get me to try new goodies and just spoiling me with treats, like mince pies, fish and chips, courvoisier chocolates etc. #lesigh.
 He really loves cooking and we would walk round the shop and pick up things like oxtails, lamb and stuff and I would be thinking, "Gosh Fola all this is gonna make it more difficult for you to stay in shape whilst you are here!".
So I have been trying hard to curb the fatty and unhealthy foods and eat in moderation, trying to stay in shape and work out, eating plenty fruits and veggies etc. But really, why do the unhealthy foods taste so great and the good, healthy ones, not sooooo great? It's just not fair!
 Anyway, I discovered bubble tea about 2 weeks ago. It's basically like a smoothie and the "bubble" part is actually flavoured jelly-like bubbles that you crush in your mouth-you can see the bubbles in the green smoothie on the right. If you ever see Chaboba anywhere please go right in and get yourself a cup of this-it's too real! My cuz had the green apple with honeydew bubbles. As for me, in my quest for the healthy option, I had green tea, red guava with strawberry bubbles. Didn't taste great at all compared to my cuz's choice! I think I will leave my healthy teas for when I am home.

Healthy meal discoveries
I  discovered some new meal combos and foods that are not just healthy but also very tasty-just be moderate with your portions! For example, I have tried scrambled eggs with tomatoes, alongside low-calorie rice cakes. I usually have some fruit by the side.

I have also been LOVING granola and no-fat Greek yoghurt (not the sugar and preservative-dosed ones). I am so obsessed with this. It is so high in fibre, nutritious, healthy as heck, and tastes glorious! I just hope granola and active yoghurt is something I can readily find in Lagos.

A few times, I ate yoghurt with my fruit. If you haven't tried it, please do-it's awesome.

I have been sticking to things like basmati rice, fruits, veggies and healthier options as well.


Sudden Gym Rat
So I don't know if any of my Nigerian readers know how much cheaper it is to be a gym member in other countries compared to Nigeria? I mean I can't even afford a gym membership on my own because it is really highly priced in Naija, but in the UK for example, you can do a 4-month membership for just a 100 pounds or whereabouts. I was excited about being able to go to the gym whilst in this country so what I did was to book a couple of gym sessions and exercises classes such as spinning, strength training, step exercises, aqua-aerobics etc. I am really looking forward to seeing results in a month or so!
 Let's see if I can achieve a more toned body and also get rid of that lower belly pooch!

Laterz,
Fola

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Natural, homemade masks for removing a tan

Source
Hi everyone,

I thought I should share on these 3 natural, homemade tan-removing facial masks that really work!
OK, first you need to know the following about these masks before you continue reading:

1. You need patience with natural remedies. If you are patient, you will see results in a week.
2. You need to be ready to make a fresh batch of the tomato-and-lime mask every 2 days.
3. For severe pigmentation, these masks may not be "strong" enough to take care of the issue.

So here are the deets on the three facial masks that I use every now and then, particularly when I have been out in the sun and see that I have darkened a shade-I burn really easily so I tend to darken pretty quickly!

Tomato-and-lime mask
This mask is my absolute favourite. Tomato has exfoliating properties and lime has lightening properties. The lime could be switched for lemon. This mask stings a bit, though in a minute or two the sting subsides. All you need are half a tomato and the juice from half a lime to last you two days. Just keep it in the fridge after using it. I usually wash my face and apply it on my face. It dries pretty quickly and I sometimes apply it a second time. I leave it on for an hour and then rinse it off.
Some people add cornflour to make it into a thick paste so that the mask stays on. However I just feel the cornflour would make it a little less effective and I don't use it.
My only con about this mask is that you have to blend the tomato in a blender with a few drops of water, compared to the other masks that require very little preparation.

Honey-and-lemon mask
This is my second favourite. The honey has to be the natural kind though. One tablespoon and the juice from half a lemon is enough for the face. Leave it on for an hour and then rinse off.

Turmeric-and-water mask
For this mask, you can use oil, your night cream, lime/lemon juice instead of water. You only need to add a few drops of water to make the turmeric into a paste and then rub it on for an hour before washing off with soap. 
The general issue everyone has with turmeric is that it stains like mad. You have to make sure you don't get orange stains everywhere!

What homemade masks have you tried?

*All images unless otherwise stated sourced from wikipedia*

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Ankara fashion...but ankara socks?

Hi peeps!
Do you like African print? I do. I really do. And I hate the fact that I do not wear it as often as I would like. I would like to wear a pair of batik, adire or ankara fitted pants or a skirt to lunch or the movies some day. You know how we only wear ankara print to weddings and to church-I love it when I see people wear it on other occasions. That's one of my goals for 2015. Wear more african print! 
I am obsessed with that cropped top and peplum skirt above. And pairing a maxi ankara skirt with a denim shirt is just so creative!
 Don't you just love the lady's jumpsuit with the cut-out back?
Or the zipper insert on this skirt?
 Or the simple, casual ankara top-tee teamed with denim shorts...
 And this cropped top and mini skirt...
 And this beautiful mixed-print jumpsuit, incorporating our famous ankara stars print with leopard print...
 Denim shirt on a peplum ankara skirt (too fab!)
 
The ankara insert along the side of this elegant maxi dress coupled with the headwrap....

Ankara print is really GORGEOUS. I have seen ankara bathing suits, bags, shoes, phone cases (I made one here), suitcases, umbrellas, sofas...but when I stumbled on ankara socks on instagram some days ago, I began to wonder if we aren't taking it a bit too far?
 In a way, I like it, because after all, the bright and playful socks are kinda in vogue now, but still, I am not quite sure what to think about it.
 There IS something very quirky and pretty about it though. I just had to insert these pics in my post to find out what you all think!
So what do you think about our African print and also would you wear ankara socks?

"Gotta have it or make it stop?"Lol

*pictures courtesy @everydayafricanfashion and @llulo on instagram*

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Review: Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector


Helloooooo!
OK so the much-awaited, much-asked-for, much-anticipated review of the Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector is finally here! And I get it, I get the hype, I totally do. If you have spots on your skin from former acne, the name of this product is enough to catch your attention. And there are good blogger and vlogger reviews on the product for the most part. I bought it months ago, obviously to clear the spots on my face and all that. To be honest, I have not been entirely consistent with this product for  many reasons, and that is why it took me so long to do this review post. I however now have enough observations to do a honest review.

How I use it: Instructions say you should use it twice daily which is what I did, except when I planned to go out in the sun and then I would skip the day-time usage. A little of this product goes a long way which is great because that bottle is small! It gets absorbed into the skin quickly and also leaves a matte finish (a plus). It has a mild fragrance too.

What it does for my skin: I used this product and in 2 days, I saw a difference. This got me so excited and I saw even more improvement in the next 7 days. My skin was brighter, smoother, and the spots were fading. Shortly after, I experienced another bout of acne, which caused me more spots. Now I am very sure it wasn't the Clinique that caused the spots, because I have used it afterwards and I did not break out. The acne just inflicted me, just because. At this point I figured I had better find a product that would keep my acne at bay, because if spots keep appearing, what's the point right? So I got the Sebamed Antibacterial face wash and used it consistently for a while. Now I use the wash once a week (will do a review on it soon-this product does what it says, only that it darkens the skin a bit!). Anyway back to the Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector. When the acne cleared (read this post on how antibiotics helped me with this), I resumed using the Clinique. This time, new spots had appeared due to the acne scarring. The spots began to fade gradually though I did not get as dramatic results as the first time.
Currently I use another fade cream that is super expensive simply because I want faster results and also because I have some hyperpigmentation now. But I still love the Clinique Dark Spot Corrector and I know it's something I would want to use as a maintenance regimen.

Price: N12800 at Foschini Store at The Palms Shopping Mall. This stuff ain't cheap y'all. I had to go through many reviews to finally make up my mind about buying this.

Packaging: Comes in a whatzitcalled, clear in-between-glass-and-plastic tube with a pump and a clear cap. The pump part is a plus, as opposed to if the product came in a pot which isn't too hygienic.
Summary (My verdict): This is a great product IF:
a. You are patient
b. You do not have intense acne scarring
c. You stay away from the sun or use sunscreen (the product does say you have to use it with sunscreen)
d. You find a way to keep your spots-causing acne at bay

I think this product "plateaus" after a while. What I mean is that you may see good improvement for maybe a month, and afterwards the rate of improvement diminishes as the skin gets used to the product. I read somewhere that many products have that effect after about a year or so. One of the vlogger reviews I watched on this Clinique product mentioned this plateau issue actually. So I recommend that you give the product a 3 week break after using it for a month, before resuming using it. Just ensure you keep that acne away, use sunscreen or avoid the harsh sun as much as  you can, and use an exfoliating soap.
Will I recommend?: Yes I will, as long as you follow my advice on what to do, avoid and expect in order to enjoy this product. The truth is that, it is always better to tackle the root of a problem right? And let's face it, if the acne stops coming back or at least is greatly reduced, and if we avoid the sun as much as we can, the spots will fade on their own without any help. These products and exfoliation will only help us get there faster. So bear in mind that your focus should still be on keeping the root-cause of spots at bay. 

Overall Rating: 3.5/5 (Points deducted due to steep price and the possible plateau-factor).

PS: I don't have before and after pictures unfortunately, due to all the back and forth explained above.

Are there any other products you recommend for clearing spots?

Monday, 27 October 2014

Review: Alberto Balsam Conditioner and Pantene Repair & Protect conditioner


Hi!
I promised to do a review on these cheapie conditioners and because I like to keep my promises, here we are. 
I had bought these two conditioners months ago and have been using them consistently ever since.

Alberto Balsam Conditioner (Strawberries and cream)
How I use it: I was intrigued by the strawberries and cream part of it and felt it would be great as a cowash conditioner and a leave in conditioner. I use this majorly as a cowash conditioner.

What it does for my hair: I have type 4C (tightly coily) natural hair. Well it did a better job as a cowash conditioner than a leave-in-although if you are looking for a conditioner with a lot of slip, this conditioner will fail you. It has no slip in my opinion, and other than the pleasant fragrance, it is not something I would recommend as a wow product.
Price: About N1000, at Oasis Supermarket, OPIC plaza, Ikeja.

Packaging: OK packaging. Semi-transparent plastic bottle that helps you monitor product levels.

Summary: Best as a cowash if you are not after slip but just need something to do the job quickly. Good strawberry scent too.

Will I repurchase?: Most likely not. Would want to try something else.

Pantene Repair & Protect Conditioner
How I use it: I use this as both a cowash and a leave-in conditioner spritz (mostly for my weaves). I basically squirt some dollops in a spray bottle, add water, shake, and voila.

What it does for my hair: I have type 4C (tightly coily) natural hair. I had more luck with this conditioner compared to the Alberto Balsam one, as it has more slip, which helps to detangle knots way faster and easier. I have used this as a detangler, and as a leave in when mixed with water. I used the spritz to refresh the curls of my human hair curly weave as well.
  
Price: N1080. Also purchased at Oasis Supermarket, OPIC plaza, Ikeja.
 Packaging: Sturdy bottle. Slightly transparent plastic bottle.

Summary: This to me is an average, cheapie conditioner. Highly recommended for cowashing and for a light moisturizer spritz. It can also be used as a deep conditioner in conjunction with oils and other moisturizing products.

Will I repurchase?: Yes, though I am still on the look out for a better cowash conditioner. So it's a soft yes, not an emphatic one haha!

What cheapie conditioners are your favourites?

Friday, 24 October 2014

This weekend: Massive Clearance Sales At Kaymu SME Saturdays






The Kaymu team sent me this some days ago. Check it out! This should be a fun thing to do this weekend. :-)
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Get your fashion, beauty, gadgets and much more for the cheapest prices at the maiden edition of the Kaymu SME Saturdays!

It promises to be fun with rib cracking jokes from your favourite comedians and lots of food and drinks!

There will also be exciting  freebies to be won!

Date: October 25th 2014

Venue: LCCI Conference & Exhibition Centre; 10a, Nurudeen Olowopopo Drive, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.

Time: 12 noon.

EVERYTHING MUST GO!!!

Attendance is absolutely free!!!!

For more information email: smesaturdays@kaymu.com.ng or like our facebook page @facebook/kaymu.com.ng
 
Laterz!
Fola

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Nailed It!: 08 (Calcium-infused base coats)


Just a brief update on my nails and progress in terms of length. Well, so far so good, but what I really wanted to point out was that calcium-based base coats really do help to strengthen the nails. 
I used mine regularly and then later slacked because I would change my nail polish in the salon and forget to take the base coat along with me. It was at this slacking period that I noticed that one or two of my nails began to have tiny splits or partial splits and then eventually split all through.

I guess it was an unintentional experiment! But yeah, if you crave long natural nails, do invest in a calcium-infused base coat, and remember to pop it in your bag if you plan to get your nails done at a salon- you won't regret it!




Laterz!
xoxo

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Style Crush Feature: Cassandra Ikegbune

Eclectic. Casual chic. Creative. Androgynous. Eye-catching. Those are words that come to my head when I think of Cassandra's style. I actually do have a number of her pictures in my style lookbook on my computer and I should have featured her a long time ago!
Here's why I love her style:

She is not afraid to go all black and make it work...
She dares to rock floral sneakers with a skirt and she also wears brogues-something I do not see a lot in this part of the world...
She embraces and rocks our African print SO beautifully and elegantly...
 

 Even adding a fedora to spice things up...
She can colour-block and incorporate layers all in one outfit...
 She takes the formal look to the next level with a vintage shirt and bag, trouser shorts and pumps.
 She would wear brogues with a fitted skirt and wear a bow tie to accessorize...
She always kills the androgynous look by layering a sleeveless jacket over a loose sheer shirt and a bowtie...
 She sometimes softens the masculine lines of the look with a flowery jacket and fitted, bright pants...
 Or with shorts and sneakers...
She mixes prints and you don't even realize it...
Working with stripes, dimensions and colour...
 She dares to rock vintage pieces like a floral jacket...
 And dons a turban or head scarf whenever she wants, adding a cute twist to her look.
Need I say more? I have a woman crush on Cassandra haha! Wanna know more about her? Of course you do :-)

Please introduce yourself! What do you do?
My name is Cassandra Ikegbune and I'm a Medical student, fashion and lifestyle blogger and a model.

Tell us a bit about your blog
I blog at www.cassiedaves.com, which at first glance might look like just a fashion and lifestyle blog but its a bit more than that. I share more than my outfits and fashion views. I share bits and pieces of my life and lessons I've learnt on this life journey. I have a soft spot for those still in the process of figuring life and love out and dealing with the many issues that come with it so i try to write and share inspiring pieces. I also share some of my medical school and modelling journey on my blog.
What are 5 fashion items (clothes, shoes, accessories, etc.) that describe your personal style?
Hats - Especially the fedora and wide brimmed hat. I also love other quirky hats like the fez hat
Scarves- because I love my turban and head wraps so much.
Sneakers
Brogues
And Bowties

 Please share about 2 or 3 style tips that you think would help people improve their style
Firstly, I'll say don't just go with what is on trend.
Invest in a hat, really it adds a little spice to your outfit any day, anytime and its also good for dressing up on lazy days.

What advice do you have for fashion lovers who are on a tight budget but still want to look stylish?
Re-rock! You have to master the act of re-rocking with style. You don't have to keep stocking up your wardrobe with new things when you can wear one thing in multiple unique ways.

Where can one find or follow you on the web?
Website : www.cassiedaves.com
Twitter : @cassie_daves
Instagram : @cassiedaves
Facebook : www.facebook.com/cassiedaves


 So what do you think of Cassandra's style?