Today, my father turned 80. This in itself is an achievement. The fact that he has remained healthy, able to walk, talk and even exercise, makes it even more so.
I deliberately keep from discussing my family on this blog, but today, I will deviate from the norm because I have an important message to pass across. I will decide if this remains.
Growing up, my father was very involved in my childhood. Not just mine, of course, there were 6 of us and he was as equally involved in everyone’s life. One of my earliest memories of my father was of him giving me a bath. He made it fun, unlike my mom who was very efficient and practical and faced her task with the purpose of getting it done properly and quickly.
My father was domesticated, changing diapers, caring for his babies, washing his clothes, cleaning floors, heating up food (his cooking took too long, abeg! So he would heat up food and make things like Eba e.t.c.). Allow me to share a memory with you – some 20 years ago, we traveled to our home in the village and we got into the task of cleaning the house. Everyone pitched in. And I mean everyone! As you know, Igbo people have big houses in their villages. We were no different (I told you I was typically Igbo).
My dad usually would not sweep because the dust would affect his sinuses. So we were a tag team, I was sweeping and he was either scrubbing or mopping. As was normal for him, he had a dust mask on and looked pretty ridiculous. A female relative that was resident in the village came in and was so shocked to see him cleaning that she clapped her hands, did a mini jig and all at the same time exclaimed: “Hei! Are you now the one sweeping the house?” (if you understand Igbo, click below to hear exactly how she said it).
My young chest swelled with pride at this man that would not allow people’s perception of what his role was, influence him.
I mean, my dad was the sole breadwinner and for a long time, my mother was a housewife (no small task!) who had no income. For a lot of our men, they think this buys them an automatic pass on any housework or “women” work.
My dad didn’t ever fail to take us out during public holidays – boxing day e.t.c. We would go to amusement park e.t.c. As a matter of fact, while I was in boarding school (the first three of us went to boarding school and were away at the time), I was told by one of my younger siblings that they begged my mom to tell her husband to please give them a break. That they were tired of going out. Silly kids! I knew of kids who were never taken out by their dads.
My dad is the sort of dad that went out of his way to do things to make our lives easier. When I started Natural Nigerian, both my parents allowed me to overfill their house with box upon box of products. To give you an idea, at a point my things were so plentiful they overflowed to other rooms. It wasn’t the tidiest of arrangements but I was their daughter and they allowed me to inconvenience them. I remember them both staying up with me just before a meetup, getting my labels on bottles. As a matter of fact, once my parents noticed that my business would require certain herbs, my father started planting them. Unbidden. Because I am his daughter and that is what daddies do.
A few months ago, I had the most annoying conversation with a person who said that “daddy is always daddy, no matter what daddy was”. Basically, the moral of her speech was that it was okay to lower one’s expectations and that one had to love one’s daddy no matter what. I was not annoyed with her, far from it! Her own experiences colored the advice she doled out. I was annoyed that she had a father/parents who had imparted to her that low expectation of what a father should be.
I grew up with a father who surpasses (yes, even now), ALL expectations. This makes my expectations very high.
Why am I sharing this story?
I read all the time that ALL Nigerian men cheat. Whenever I say that my father was always faithful to my mom, there are dissenting voices. “You were a kid, how would you know?” While I would like to counter with “If you were able to realize at a point in your life that your dad was stepping out on your mum, how can you disbelieve that I realized at a point in my life that my dad never did?” but for the sake of peace, I usually respond with “My mom is not the sort of person to help a person hide their shortcomings, especially if it is directed towards her.” Which is true. I am not saying that my perfect father was a perfect husband…it is difficult to be but fidelity was never an issue. It is possible. It is possible.
I know people that have fathers that outsourced their fatherhood or just didn’t think or perhaps even know how to be fathers. I know people my age that are shaping up to be like that.
Where I can, I encourage those that want more for themselves and their kids. Be the best you can be! It is not impossible to be that person. Forget that “the boys” would think you under the thumb of a woman or not manly enough. If you bring children into this world, they are your responsibility and not just a financial one.
With this post, I am trying to say:
Men, Women, People: Do good by your kids. They notice.
Women: Encourage your men to be all they can be. Do not assume that “All men must cheat.” Granted, it is getting easier and easier for men to do so, but it was also pretty easy during my father’s time.
Women: Do not lower your child’s expectations of what they should expect from a father. Even if those father’s are not in a child’s life, I do not believe that one should settle for crumbs of attention.
Parents: Be careful how you bring up your children. Impart to them a sense of responsibility for those they bring into the world.
My parents are pretty awesome and if that was not your experience, I hope you are able to set things right with your children.
I am beyond proud of all the locally made products that one can get now. For Christmas, I think there is no way we cannot include these products in hampers or stocking or even give them out on their own. I have made an (inexhaustive) list for you!
A Christmas tradition is giving greeting cards. There are more than enough Nigerian themed cards to choose from now. Wish folks a Merry Christmas or a Merry Keresimesi by choosing cards from Not Just Pulp or Amama Design Studio. Amama Design Studio also sells yearly planners, leatherbound notebooks e.t.c for that special someone in your life (which could be you :)).
With all the parties, family get-togethers and outings during this period, hair has to be on point!
Want to try a contemporary, threading style? This not like any old threading style you know. This allows your hair to bounce. You can choose different thread colors, choose to add extra hair for bulkiness and even choose any length you want. The style lasts for several weeks. Please note that you will need to book an appointment for this particular style.
If this is not your style, they offer many many other options – updos, twists, crochet braids e.t.c.
Help out with this resolve by getting your friends sportswear that is sewn in Nigeria. Yep! Sewn here. Joagh Sports is totally local and have a very comprehensive line. An added plus is that the prices are nothing that will break the bank. You can get an exercise bra for as low as N990. That is a massive bargain! You can mix and match as you like, so pick a grey top and a pink bottom or a black top and a purple bottom. You have total freedom to choose! Purchase here. Follow them on Instagram here.
Set the Mood at Home
During the holidays, give your home that extra special smell with the handmade candles, scents and more from Abela World. There are quite a number of variants to choose from. They even have beeswax candles for repelling mosquitoes. All the products are wonderfully packaged and would make a great addition to hampers and Christmas stockings.
This Christmas we have made it easy for you to give away Natural Nigerian presents. You can purchase our Christmas box for the natural-haired person in your life or a Pack which holds our new baby range.
Both gift packs will also be available at Yellow Sisi Salon. They are open until year end!
Something for the Men
Men, don’t feel left out! We have something for you on our list. Azke Handcrafted has been making beautiful shoes and other footwear for years now. These Black Patent Brogues below are 100% handmade, with each hole carefully pierced by hand! (How many can you count?). If this is not your style, they have others you can choose from.
To contact them, leave them a comment on Instagram and they will get back to you!
Natural Nigerian™ Herbal Baby Oil is a blend of soothing and healing herbs infused in oil to keep baby’s skin smooth and healthy. massage oil onto moist skin to keep in moisture. Can be used for massages and for the cradle cap.
To use, pour a little oil in the palm of your hand, rub both palms together and apply to baby’s skin, delicately.
No Mineral Oil
No Synthetic Fragrances
Natural Nigerian™ Herbal Baby Lotion – With Red Acalypha and Nettle
Natural Nigerian™ Herbal Baby Lotion is a light, non-greasy lotion made from a blend of soothing and healing herbs designed to keep baby’s skin smooth and healthy. Red Acalypha has been used for years by Africans to maintain skin health of their babies and children. Nettle and Vervain are known for their superior skin healing and conditioning properties. These herbs are liberally used in the formulation of this herbal lotion.
Use liberally on baby’s skin after a bath. It can be layered with Natural Nigerian™ Herbal Baby Oil.
No Mineral Oils
No Synthetic Fragrances
100% Natural Ingredients
Natural Nigerian™ Herbal Baby Wash With Red Acalypha and Nettle
Natural Nigerian™ Herbal Baby Wash with Red Acalypha and Nettle is formulated with traditional Nigerian black soap which is healing and mild enough for even those with skin sensitivities. This baby wash boasts herbs like Red Acalypha which has been used for years by Africans to maintain skin health of their babies and children. Stinging Nettle is also a superior skin healing herb. These will work in
Wet baby’s skin with warm water. Apply soap to sponge and apply to baby’s wet skin. Avoid eye area. Rinse baby’s skin with warm water. Apply Natural Nigerian™ Herbal Baby Lotion.
Naturals in the City, Lagos’ quarterly natural hair meet-up is rolling back around this December! I had so much fun at Naturals in the City 16 in September, it really was my favourite one yet. Naturals in the City 17 is on December 17, the last weekend before Christmas, so let’s top the last experience, shall we? I look forward to hanging with you at our usual joint, Cafe Neo on 6, Agoro Odiyan Street, Victoria Island.
As usual, we will be having impactful talks and practical workshops. The theme for the meet-up is “Head into 2017 Strong!”, because you are so important to us, we want you starting on the right foot in the new year. Prepare to treat yourself, and the ones you love, by shopping from the great brands in our marketplace.
See photos from the last meet-up in this post HERE and more on the official website: nitcnigeria.com.
One of the inquiries I get most is about making natural skin care products and if I can teach a class. Due to the demand, I created the Emulsion 101 course and have successfully taught 2 classes. One in Abuja and another in Lagos. I have to say, that both times, I met awesome ladies and ended up having more fun than I thought I would!
The class has come round again and will run from Tuesday, 29th November and end on the 3rd of December. We will begin with an online class that will span 3 days – 29th, 30th and 1st. We will then meet face to face to practice all we have learned during the week. (more…)
Ingredients:Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa Pod) Ash, Aqua (Water), Butyrospermum Parkii Shea Butter or Elaeis guineensis (Palm Kernel) Oil, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice, Aqueous infusions of Acalypha Wilkesiana (Red Acalypha) Leaves, Urtica Dioica (Stinging Nettle) Leaves and Salix Alba (White Willow) Bark; Vegetable Glycerin, Salicylic Acid, Peppermint Essential Oil.
Natural Nigerian™ Black Soap Shampoo with Nettle, Red Acalypha and Salicylic Acid is formulated with traditional Nigerian black soap which is healing and mild enough for even those with skin sensitivities. Carefully chosen ingredients with antibacterial and antifungal properties heal the scalp, while the black soap cleans properly. The use of Red Acalypha leaves in this dandruff shampoo is to provide a soothing and skin healing effect.
Directions: Dampen hair with a little water. Apply a little quantity of shampoo to hair. Using the pads of your thumb, massage soap into scalp to loosen dirt. Rinse thoroughly. Repeat if required. Follow up with any Natural Nigerian™ Deep Conditioner.
I have always been pretty reluctant to answer any questions regarding hair growth, hair conditions e.t.c. If you have ever DM’d me or sent me an email, you may have noted either my reluctance or been the recipient of a delicious new option that opened up to me: I refer you to an actual professional whose business is everything hair. Someone who has taken several courses specifically detailing hair and scalp diseases and who has even done an internship with a reputable “senior” in the business. (more…)
Natural Nigerian™ Herbal Hair Strengthening Oil with Hibiscus and Horsetail is a herb packed, all natural route for strengthening hair strands. Stronger hair strands lead to less breakage thus, supporting hair growth.
Directions: Pour a little quantity of oil on your palm and rub with other palm to spread. Distribute evenly from hair root to hair tip until it is all covered. This can be done as the last step in a moisturizing regime like LCO (Liquid-Conditioner-Oil).
Natural Nigerian™ Stimulating Hair Growth Oil is a mix of carefully chosen oils and essential oils. These oils have been chosen for their ability to stimulate the scalp to increase blood circulation which in turn stimulates hair follicles to encourage hair growth.
Pour a little quantity of oil on your palm and spread to the pads of your fingers. Using the pads of your fingers, massage your scalp, concentrating on areas of concern. Doing this for 3-5 minutes daily, 5 days a week will stimulate scalp effectively to yield results.