Living

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!

Beautiful Nwanne

 

 

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.

Maje Ayida

Feedback from audience member

Marionette giving her opinion

Marionette again

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. 

I have made a few changes to the Ahia (Igbo word for Market) and rather than have folks wade through tons of information to find the changes, here are the highlights:

Discontinued

  • We have discontinued Burdock Root Powder as well as Horsetail Powder.
  • We replaced the latter with the Cut and Sifted (C/S) version as this works better in formulations, for making teas e.t.c. C/S means that it was chopped up and then sifted to get rid of very small pieces.

Added

  • This is actually something we used to carry before – Tom’s of Maine’s Deodorant Sticks. You will find them under the “Other” section.

Back in stock

  •  Aloe Vera Juice from Lily of The Desert. (This usually goes flying off the shelf so don’t hesitate to place an order right away if you want it).
  • Rhassoul Clay – Don’t forget that we sell the Micronized version which is the best.

Quantity Changes

  • We now offer our Organic Nettle Leaves and Horsetail C/S in 100g packs. We have scrapped the 227g version. At N700 for the 100g packs, it makes it cheaper and more accessible to all. 
  • Bentonite and Rhassoul Clay now come in the 1lb version for those that require more than our standard 0.5lb packs.
Delivery Charges
  • We now offer a flat rate of N500 within Lagos, N1,000 to the East and N1,500 to the North. Far North costs N2,000. These are for standard packages. Bulk purchases will be billed more.

To end, I would like to say a big thank you to everyone that has ever bought anything from our Ahia. We have grown over the last few months and it is all thanks to you!

There will be a few more changes in the next few months – more information on what we sell and hopefully a more efficient way of buying – check on us from time to time.

I explained why I would be doing these posts here. If you have any answers to the questions, please post them below. 
Should you relax a girl’s hair at 6 years old.
A big and emphatic NO! There are plenty of ways of managing a child’s natural hair. Click on the Hair category to get some tips. For more on my take regarding this subject, click here.
How long do you leave bentonite clay on hair.
Clays typically do their work in 15-20minutes. There are no additional benefits for leaving them on for longer. More on bentonite Clay here
My hair is super dry when i use a spritz water.
Do you mean before you spritz water on it? If it is afterwards then perhaps you are not sealing the water in and the loss of  water to the environment leaves your hair super dry. Not sure of what the facts are here so I can’t give much of an answer.
Should I comb natural hair?
You certainly may. Whether you should is dependent on some factors. For example, is your hair wet or dry? Are you using the right sort of brush or comb for you hair? Is your hair strong enough to withstand the stresses of combing or will finger combing work best for you?
Does Jergens contain Shea butter?
If you are speaking about this one: yes it does. And from the way the ingredients are arranged, it appears to be available in good quantity too. 
INGREDIENTS: WATER, BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII (SHEA BUTTER), CETEARYL ALCOHOL, GLYCERIN, PETROLATUM, CETEARETH-20, HYDROXYETHYL UREA, ETHYLHEXYL ISONONANOATE, MANGIFERA INDICA (MANGO) SEED BUTTER.
Can you use glycerin as a deep conditioner?
Not at 100%, no. You can use it as part of a deep conditioner. You don’t need a whole lot. 2-5% of your total mix should be fine. 
What is the Yoruba name of Cinnamon and Fenugreek?
I get these questions quite a bit. Rule of thumb is that if they are not indigenous to Nigeria, then they will most likely not have a Nigerian name.  For a post on Nigerian indigenous herb names, read here. Make sure to go through the comments as well as several readers have been kind enough to contribute. 

This is a neat method for extracting or drawing the quality of herbs into any oils of your choice. You only need two ingredients for this: Your herb (you can use more than one at a time if you like) and some oil. Several oils sold in the market are made from using a part of a plant and an oil. E,g Amla Oil. Amla a.k.a gooseberry is a fruit and on its own doesn’t yield any oil. A decoction (this method involves using heat) is made in order to get Amla oil. 

For my herbal infusion, I have chosen to use: Neem leaves and Premium Palm Kernel Oil. Why did I choose these two? Well, Neem has a lot of benefits (anti-fungal, antibacterial, disinfectant, good for maintaining scalp health and addressing scalp issues like itchiness and dandruff and even the symptoms of psoriasis, lice inhibitor, gives hair a nice sheen, can act as an insect repellent -bye bye mosquitoes e.t.c) that I would like to enjoy. Palm Kernel oil because it is cheap and on its own is great for hair and skin. To me, it is comparable to coconut oil. 

Prepare a clean glass jar. I used a canning jar.

 

Neem leaves

Palm Kernel Oil

 

Put the Neem leaves in the jar.

Fill up the jar with oil. The oil should cover the leaves completely

 

Close the jar.

 Shake like this. 

Store in cool, dark place. Keep it there for about 3 weeks, taking it out every 3 days or so to shake the jar as shown above.  At the end of 3 weeks, put your mix through a sieve.  The resulting oil would have extracted the properties of the neem leaves giving you a rich herbal oil infusion which can be used on your skin and hair. A few drops of essential oil will take it to the next level. 

I bought some Fenugreek leaves from the Indian shop. I think I should go make a herbal oil infusion with that too…

I had mentioned on facebook that I was going to introduce Palm Kernel Oil and Cocoa Butter for sale and someone asked me what the difference between Palm Oil and Palm Kernel Oil (PKO) was.  I gave her a short answer, but would like to post a longer one here. By the way, PKO is also known as mmanu aki in Igbo. I don’t know the name in any other Nigerian language. If you do, please leave it in the comment section.

Update: Thanks to the readers that contributed names of PKO in their local language.

Yoruba: Adin Ekuro

Efik: Mmayanya (sp?)

The palm fruit that we all know and love looks like this:

Source

When extracting palm oil at home for preparing Banga soup, the palm fruit is boiled and the orangey-red palm oil extracted from the soft fleshy part (also known as the Mesocarp). This is about the same method used in preparing palm oil commercially. (I should know, my maternal grandmother had a local commercial palm oil press 🙂 ).

Palm Oil is used for cooking, soap making and food manufacturing. Let me spend a minute on the food manufacturing – Refined (bleached) palm oil is used in Baked goods, Instant noodles, Baby formula, Cake mixes, Breakfast bars, Potato chips, Crackers and other snacks. Vegetable Glycerin which we love so much for our hair and skin also sometimes comes from Palm Oil. 

Once the oil from the Mesocarp is extracted, we are left with a black hard kernel. As children we would take these kernels to a set of stones set up for the purpose of kernel cracking. You place the kernel on a stone, hit it with a smaller stone and Voila! you reveal the nut inside. They look like this:

Source

As children, we would eat these on its own or with roasted breadfruit (aki na ukwa). Gosh, I loved my childhood! My dad used to take these nuts to school as a snack when he was in Primary school.

It is from these kernels that one gets Palm Kernel Oil. It is not an viscous, orangey-red oil like Palm Oil is. Rather it is a dark-ish, nutty smelling oil.

The women of my village use Palm Kernel Oil for their hair, skin and also in making soap. Palm Kernel Oil is used commercially by a lot of soap makers and cosmetic manufacturers.

I will do a post soon on the benefits of Palm Kernel Oil.

To finish, here is an excellent video by Akua Wood (one of my favourite people on the web) of Sheabutter cottage on which of the two oils to use for hair/skin. Which Palm for hair? (Please click on the link as I find it difficult to insert videos…)

Reference:

Uses: American Palm Oil 

On Saturday 18th February 2012, Small World Nigeria held a food festival. 30/31 countries were represented and we had an amazing time sampling food and wines from the participating countries.

To give you an idea, there were wonderful deserts from Belgium, sauerkraut and sausages grilled to perfection from Germany, delicious pâté and cheeses from France, cheese and chicken pastries from Jordan, delightful sweets from Syria and so on and so on. For the wine lovers, there were red and white wines being served at the South African and French stands. Americans offered ginger root and lemonades among other things.  By the time I had gone round to 15 stands I was stuffed but I kept on going!

About 3 hours into the event, they put on a circus show with representatives from the different countries performing. It all ended with a parade and fireworks. I score the organizers a 10/10. Things went on seamlessly and that takes effort and attention to detail.

Now, to the serious side of things. Small World Nigeria has over the last 17 years raised N274 million naira and supported 160 charities in Nigeria.  For them, it doesn’t stop there. They ensure that all the money is accounted for and even follow up with inspections where possible to assure themselves that the money was used as intended. The night of this food festival, they raised N37million naira – all of which will go to support the different charities that were nominated by the different countries.

To learn more about them and possibly donate or volunteer your time, please go to their website here. I find that there is no better way to pass time than to spend it changing someone’s life for the better. 

I forgot my camera at home and had to use my phone so please forgive the quality of the pictures below:

Walking into the venue

 

A view of some of the stalls.

Eating, Eating, Eating

The Jordan stand.

Sweets from Syria (hope your country pulls out okay!)

Getting a Falafel made at the (I have forgotten which country) stand

UAE stand

There was generally a menu so you could see what you were getting.

I have been seeing some lovely orange-colored oranges in the market lately. I have bought quite a few and I will be putting it to all sorts of use. For those of you that are wondering, in Nigeria we tend to get green/yellow oranges. Now, these appear to be all over the place.

Source

You can eat oranges as part of your fruit servings per day. Apart from being low in calories, oranges are a great source of phytonutrients, dietary fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin B potassium, folate and calcium.

It doesn’t end there. Even the part that we usually discard of – the peel can be very beneficial.

Orange Peel has several uses and this particular variety that I have been eyeballing has a sweeter odor than our normal green/yellow ones and I have been imagining all the lovely things I could do with them. Right now I am using orange peel powder to brighten up my complexion a bit and remove my “tan”. That actually is a necessity as my work now has me outdoors much more than I am used to. I am fair-skinned means that some maintenance is necessary. The recipe I use is below.

If you are inclined to some DIY, here is how you can make some Orange Peel Powder. Peel your oranges, dry the rind (might take a few days to air-dry properly) and then grind it to powder. It is that simple. A few tips are: Peel the oranges lightly so that you don’t take much of the bitter white part along. The peels can be dried in the sun or a dehydrator if you have one.

Orange peel powder can be used in several ways.

Hair

Orange Peel powder used in the hair leaves it soft and shiny. For naturals, don’t expect shiny. You’ll just get a sheen. It can be used by mixing it with a little conditioner and or water, applying to the hair for about half an hour and then washing it off. This can be done after a shampoo although there are some claims that orange peel powder can clean the hair too. 

Skin

Orange Peel powder is anti-inflammatory, an anti-oxidant and a good source of Vitamin C which is wonderful for the skin.

  • Using water, make a paste out of equal amounts of orange peel powder and milk. Apply to face and then wash off after about 15 -25 minutes. I have been doing this once a week for about 2 weeks now.

Health

  • Make a drink of orange peel powder and water. Drink this as an extra source of Vitamin C as well as for lowering cholesterol levels. It is also said to help in the digestion of fatty foods.
  • Orange Peel powder can also be used as a mosquito repellent: Mix a little powder with water and coat the skin thinly.

Home

  • Boil a few peels of orange and the smell will leave a nice fragrance in your home.
  • Make a spray with Orange Peel powder and water and use it for killing ants. Great for those parents that don’t want to use any toxic chemicals in pest control because of their crawling children.

You can do this with the green/yellow oranges as well. I just really like orange oranges. 🙂

References

World’s Healthiest Foods – Oranges

Green parenthood

If you follow me on twitter (@naturalnigerian), you would have “heard” me mention attending African Dance Class. It is a great way to let off steam, exercise and learn some African dance moves. Can’t dance? It doesn’t matter as it is not a criteria. The only requirement is that you come with an open mind, ready to have fun.

I hardly sweat. I am the original Miss Cool. It takes a lot of physical exertion on my part to get me to break into a sweat so anything that has me dripping a few minutes is always welcome. This class had me jumping, twisting and working out every part of my body. The sound of the drums draw you in and encourage you to do more, do more!! One of the drummers even broke into song reminding me of Kegites (a fraternity) in Nigerian universities. It was really nice. 

I went this Wednesday, camera in hand because I wanted to share pictures from the class with you. Thanks to the gracious ladies that gave their permission for the pictures to be taken and shared here.

Enough talking, here are the pictures:

The Crew with the drums

 

To the Left

To the right...

 

Kick!!!!

 

Taking a well deserved break

Also available at the venue are healthy drinks and snacks made by Carib Health.

Healthy Homemade Zobo (Hibiscus Flower/Sorrel) drinks

Healthy cookies made from oats and raisins

Want to participate?

Classes are held every Wednesday from 1000hrs to 1130hrs. 

It costs N1,500 per class (snacks and drinks not included).

Call Sherese Ijewere on 08068754464 to book a spot. 

Disclaimer: I wasn’t paid in any way (cash or kind) to promote this. 

 

Source

Have you made your resolutions for the year? If you haven’t, here’s a cheat sheet you may want to use. I don’t mean to go all preachy on y’all, just sharing what has worked (and is still working) for me. Feel free to click on the texts in blue – they are linked to other posts which will provide context.

Hair

  • Your hair is part of you. Treat it right. Don’t give precedence to weaves, add-ons and extensions. What I mean by this is that you should challenge some of the things that seem normale.g. 
    • Applying relaxer to a small section of your hair or dying it just so that your weave looks nice.
    • Allowing your hair braider pre-dispose you to traction alopecia (by overweighting your hair with add-ons or braiding too tight) because you want your braids to be popping!
  • If you have natural hair, Moisture! Moisture!! Moisture!!! I can’t say that enough.
  • If your hair is relaxed, consider spacing out your touch-ups. The benefits speak for themselves.

Health

  • Drink enough water per day. It helps with everything. Your bodily functions, your skin, your hair…everything. Here’s a guide  that will help you know via your urine when you are dehydrated. Yep, I said the U word!  😆  
  • Eat your greens and fruits. Introduce a splash of color into your diet (carrots, tomatoes, green leaves).  The brown of baked goods and most processed foods isn’t a splash of color.
  • Try the green smoothie at least once. It is not expensive and the benefits are amazing.  

Skin

  • Try to lay less emphasis on topical applications of creams and products. Instead, nourish your skin from the inside. Products should support your effort. They shouldn’t be your only effort.
  • Learn to read ingredient labels. It makes you a more discerning customer and eventually saves you money.
  • Remember that there are no magic potions. No silver bullets. You won’t be disappointed if you bear this in mind.

Self and others

  • Love yourself. Really. No matter what is going on, give yourself a break.
  • Do amazing things for others. Help someone with a heavy load, speak up when things just aren’t right, volunteer at a school. Just smile at someone.
  • Challenge status quo.
  • Read. You will discover many wonderful things.
  • Live consciously. My cousin said this to me in May 2011 and it completely changed the way I looked at things. I leave it up to you to interpret for yourself.

Natural

  • Consider being even more natural than you are now. Baby steps will lead to taking leaps one day.

Nigerian

  • Preserve your culture. It is a beautiful thing.
  • See Nigeria. I went on a road trip last year with a few friends….I would definitely do it again.
  • My fellow Nigerians, I make a conscious effort not to talk about Nigeria’s problems and politics on this blog (you know there is no stopping us when we start). I will say this though…pray for Nigeria. Y’all know she needs it.

 Now this is the most important of all….if you do nothing else, I highly recommend you do this: “Love your neighbor as yourself”

 Be peaceful.

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