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Seeing as I have now changed industry, I was glad to be able to find the time to attend an important conference in my new industry. The Ninth Annual Global Shea Alliance Conference was held in Accra, Ghana from the 21st of March till the 23rd of March, 2016. It was a very educative, enjoyable and insightful few days. I knew that not everyone would have made it there, but there was a lot to gain, so I tried to capture it in pictures, on my Instagram account. If you follow the hashtag #nninghana, you will find all my pictures about the conference and my trip. The highlights for me were:
The President of Ghana, coming for the conference, by himself (no representative). He was on time – no African time. He was awake through it all. He was able to reel out facts and figures about the Shea Industry. He appeared not to have any prepared speech but spoke eloquently all the same. I was so impressed.
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Hearing/Learning first hand what the challenges to the industry are. One can only right what one knows are wrongs. One of these challenges is the traditional belief in some areas that new Shea trees should not be planted. Another is the fair compensation and safety for the women who are in the forefront of picking these nuts and churning out the hand crafted butter.
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A bonus, was meeting Madam Fati Paul who has been a Shea Butter supplier to The Body Shop for 22 years. (Click on the picture to watch short video)
I wish I had gotten to see a bit more of the town but what I saw of Tamale and Accra pleased me. In many ways, I think that Africa is a country (at least West Africa) and this was re-emphasized for me in many ways.
I applaud the GSA for a good conference and look forward to attending the next one and the next one.
I am very happy this morning. Resigning from my job means that I actually have to LIVE in my apartment. I am staying in the same apartment and all, but I always felt that it wasn't a HOME. More like a place to sleep and store my things. I never really had time to lay down roots over the last few years, with the mad schedule I kept.
I have been remiss in my duty about talking about the products that we carry in our Ahia Natural Nigerian. That will change from now on!
To begin with, I thought I should let you all know that we listened to all the feedback we got about being in stores so we have worked with a few stores to stock our items! Yay!
Now, this is by no means a finished list. It is going to grow over the next few months as we add on new stockists. We will ultimately move the list to a page of its own so that you can tell the exact items you can get at any store that we have listed.
Ebeano Supermarket, Lekki Phase One and Chevron
Quintessence, 1, Gerard Road, Ikoyi (just after the Parkview Estate Gate)
KL’s Natural Bar. 29C Ikorodu Crescent, Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi.
Sizzelle Stores. Bounty Brooks Ltd Sizzelle Online Store
Suite B7, Cherub Mall, Km 18, Lekki Expressway (opposite New Road bus stop), Lekki,
Since embarking on a natural and healthier lifestyle, I have found that several habits have changed. An important one is how I shop. The most dramatic change would have to be that my shopping trolley is a lot emptier when I shop at the supermarket, and the happiest change is that I spend less making myself ill.
Hardly any biscuits, candies, artificial juice and other non-natural things find their way to my basket. I say hardly because, let us be real, from time to time I will sneak it some things. However, even the things that are snuck in are inherently healthier than they would have been before. An example is chocolate. I honestly cannot remember the last time I bought a Twix or Bounty Bar.
I would rather buy a Lindt excellence bar that is at least 70% dark chocolate. As a matter of fact, I picked these up because my daughter asked for them. I know that most children prefer sweeter chocolate bars, but my daughter has learned to love these ones.
Bones are very important to me. I buy them and boil them for stock. The stock is a base for most of my cooking and helps me achieve tasty meals. At less than N200 a bag, that is a steal. There are also many benefits of using bone marrow stock from cellulite reduction to an all round healthier body. I may have to get to it in another post.
I buy frozen veggies as they allow me an easy way to instantly upgrade a meal. I put it in everything. Noodles, rice, pasta, beans. If I can boil it, I can vegetalize it (yes, I just made up a word). Frozen vegetables are purportedly about as nutrient rich as fresh vegetables so I always make sure that there is a bag in the freezer.
Now, butter. Hmmm. I do not like eating bread. Even more so since I have just found out that it blocks my pipes (if you know what I mean). However, I have a weakness for butter. So I eat bread to get my butter fix. I only allow myself this 200g pack every other month or so – that is the equivalent of about 12 slices of bread as I pack it on thick. Yes, my weakness.
The glass jars are there because I constantly need containers for my various DIY hobbies. The bigger glass jar now holds moisturizing leave in conditioner for my daughter and I.
This is NOT a sponsored post and I did not get any free products for doing this post.
A few weeks ago, I went to Fig Store in Lekki. I daresay it is the first dedicated health store in Lagos. All the items have been picked out to support a natural and healthy lifestyle.
Their offerings range from cosmetics to vitamins. Grains to sweeteners and much more.
I got talking to the owner of the store, Bimbo, and asked her why she had decided to open the store. Apparently, her husband (and by extension the entire family) had to undergo a lifestyle change due to some medical issues. That was when she discovered how difficult it was to buy certain foods locally. This is something I fully understand as I have friends with autistic children who have to buy E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G from candy to milk abroad. Fig Store is helping to bring these foods closer to those who need them locally.
I was also glad to hear that they weren’t stopping there. They have ambitious plans to expand and add even more items to the store.
One of the things that I like about the store is that they offer to whip your shea butter free of charge there. So you can buy your Shea butter, oils and essential oils and have it all whipped and packed up before you leave the store. Free of Charge. Sweet deal, abi? They also mix black soap for you with camwood and more.
One of the items I have my eye on is a diffuser which I will use for aromatherapy at home. It is my intention to go back soon to pick it up.
Follow them on twitter here. They are located at 20, Fola Osibo Street, Lekki Phase 1.
Here are a few more pictures of the store.
Have some tea!
Remember local Pumice stones? I grabbed 3 of these.
My last post was about Apples and Oranges Spa offering free hairdos as a way of celebrating their first anniversary. They also used the opportunity to declare themselves a salon capable of handling natural hair.
I had already gotten my hair done, by them before that day but I popped on upstairs to get an affordable underarm wax (N 1,575). Interestingly, the natural hair stylist I spoke about here now works there. I did not know this the first time I went to Apples & Oranges but it was a pleasant surprise.
Anyhoo, they organized a whole event with speakers (I was one of them, Yay!), vendors (the Ahia was well represented) snacks, drinks and more. I met a lot of people and ran into people that I had seen at NITC as well. Hey, ladies*waves*!!
I did not take too many pictures but here are some of the ones I did manage to take. Enjoy!
At the meet up, a lady that had attended the last NITC and follows me actively on facebook came by my stall with her niece, Fernande Browne. Little did I know that meeting was going to change my hair styling woes forever.
Fernande Browne contacted me on Facebook a day or so later to say that she styles hair and would like to volunteer to speak at the next meet up. I have heard that claim quite a few times so of course I had to go and verify for myself. By Wednesday, I had presented myself to her with an open mind to see if she could substantiate her claim.Here is what I was looking for:
How she would part my hair
How she would comb my hair
What style she would give me – I left that up to her.
How long the hair style would last. (indication of the value I would be getting for my money)
After about 3.5 hours of working on my hair, here’s what I got.
Now, am I satisfied with this? On a scale of 1-10, I would easily give her a 9. I only deduct points for something which is not really her fault – my hair is like a dense forest and parting it is never an easy task – even when it is detangled. However, once I mentioned this to Fernande, she immediately tried to do it a bit gentler.Now, I will score her:
How she would part my hair (4/5). I have explained why above.
How she would comb my hair (5/5) –She held it at the roots and combed out the tips properly before tackling the roots. I hardly felt any pain.
What style she would give me – I left that up to her. (5/5) – She gave me a style which was wearable at the office – I did not look like a child which is what I have found that a lot of people that claim they do natural hair style my hair as – they don’t handle adult natural hair so cannot really come up with a style that would work for an adult.
How long the hair style would last. (indication of the value I would be getting for my money) – I honestly thought I was going to get a style that would last a few days, I was going to call a lady in to braid my hair on Friday but there is absolutely no need now. This hair style can absolutely last 4weeks if properly taken care of. I am probably going to do 3 weeks and go back to Fernande Browne for another style.
After she was done with my hair, I hugged her (I was so happy to have finally found a natural hair stylist that whom I could afford and whose work I did not have to “manage). You want to contact her? Let me know below and I will email you a number.
UPDATE: Fernande now works at the Apples and Oranges Spa in Lagos.
10 Balarabe Musa Crescent,
Off Samuel Manuwa, Opposite 1004 Flats,
NITC5 held in Lagos on the 6th of April. As always, we had a good turn-out. It never fails to surprise me just how many people come out to these events. While we have a team of people who have pretty much never missed an event, we also get new people at everyone. It is very humbling that we can draw such a crowd every time.
We had over 10 vendors in attendance selling products that a lot of people obviously came a long way to get. I would like to thank our vendors – apart from the fact that they ensure that all your junkie needs are met (and exceeded), they also help to fund the meet up and make it free for participants to attend. Another big supporter is the Omenka Gallery in Ikoyi which allows us to use their space. They have a lovely garden with a water view where one can purchase drinks, snacks and food when not viewing the awesome paintings they have inside.
Unfortunately, we had some challenges on the day of the meet-up – a speaker could not make it, our compere – Chigo, was unavoidably absent, the projector didn’t work – but I think it worked out in the end. However, thanks to the experience at this meet up, we have determined that we will definitely begin planning for the next one earlier. The date has not been chosen yet but it will be in July.
We are already in talks with a stylist who will be on hand at the next one to offer tips, styles and more. Expect to see a few things being done differently at the next one.
Enough talk, you want to see the picture from the events…I have loads!
Let’s start with the close-up views of the hair styles that were on display that day.
Let’s look at faces now shall we? Pictures thanks to Maje Ayida of Eden Lifestyle
Sherese Ijewere of Caribbean Health Nigeria. Co-organizer of the Meet-Ups
Ladies, I hope this is sufficient proof that all are welcome – including those that have weaves and relaxed hair 😉
We love children!
Dr Ijewere, his wife Sherese, Lola of Namaste Organics and Maje Ayida of Eden Lifestyle
We had speakers who spoke (naturally) on several topics
Freddy of Freddy’s beauty touch. Cosmetologist talking about Growing hair healthy with Aromatherapy.
Sherese Ijewere of Carribean Health (Certified Nutritionist)
Maje of Edenlifestyle giving his perspective on natural hair
Dr Ijewere (Oncologist) receiving feedback after sharing his view on natural hair.
Feedback from audience member
Marionette giving her opinion
Now, let’s step outside. Omenka Gallery boasts a lovely garden and a calming view of the lagoon.
The African Naturalista Stand
Fashion Strings – Hair Accessories
The Bubble and Scents stand
Left: Namaste Organics stand on the left, Natural Nigerian stand on the right.
Sizelle Store Stand with Dr. Fomsky
The Namaste Organics Stand
There were more vendors there but unfortunately I don’t have more pictures…if I find some, I will upload them.