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Posted on August 9, 2018

3 simple steps to soften coarse hair

product review

3 simple steps to soften coarse hair using Organic Shop products

Anyone who knows me personally would tell you that I suffer from what I like to call an identity crisis between hairstyles. Why? Simply because years of hiding my natural hair under weaves, wigs, braids and extensions has led me to believe that my beauty is reliant on them. So much so that whenever the time comes for me to style my hair au naturel I’m left at my wits’ end.

This week, I decided to make a brave decision of letting my hair down – my actual hair. No weaves, wigs, braids or extensions were going to get in the way of me giving my fro the TLC that I have regrettably been depriving it of.

Before I made the decision to let my fro down, I had to make sure I had the right products to help me see it through and thanks to the Organic Shop products provided by Skinfull Affairs, I didn’t have to worry about that.

Organic Shop’s multi-power Avocado & Honey hair collection was specially developed to restore and soften coarse hair meaning I had the privilege of giving my fro an at-home salon treatment using three products from this vitamin-rich range. As a result, my hair was left softer, smoother and so much easier to manage. As for me? I was left with a smile on my face that had nothing to do with new a new weave.

So without further ado, here are the three simple steps I followed to achieve tangle-free and vibrant hair using Organic Shop Avocado & Honey hair range 🙂

Step 1:

Organic Shop Avocado & Honey Repairing Shampoo

Organic Shop Avocado & Honey Repairing Shampoo | PRICE: €5.50

Wash with Organic Shop Avocado & Honey Repairing Shampoo which helps to bring back vitality to the hair. The vitamin-packed honey restores shine to lifeless hair while keeping frizz under control.

Step 2:

Organic Shop Avocado & Honey Repairing Conditioner

Organic Shop Avocado & Honey Repairing Conditioner | PRICE: €5.50

Condition with Organic Shop Avocado & Honey Repairing Conditioner which helps soften parched hair. This intense repairing conditioner helps soften the hair while adding a natural shine to it. Leave on for 1 – 2 minutes before rinsing.

Step 3:

Organic Shop Avocado & Honey Hair Mask

Organic Shop Avocado & Honey Hair Mask | €5.50

Finish by massaging Organic Shop Avocado & Honey Hair Mask thoroughly onto the hair and scalp. For an intensive treatment, leave mask on for 30 minutes. This will help make the hair more manageable and tangle-free.

Do you have any go to products for softening your hair? If so, I would love to know!  Tweet me @FilomenaKagauko 🙂

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*Please note that these products were gifted to me, but all views remain my own.

Posted on August 7, 2018

Missguided Boss Babe VS Babe Dreams

product review

Missguided is famously known for its statement looks and affordable fashion picks. But following the successful launch of its debut fragrance, Babe Power, the fashion powerhouse will now be loved for its bargain fragrances too.

The fashion brand has recently added three new fragrances to join Babe Power, the orange blossom scented perfume which sold in under three hours following its 2017 launch – it goes without saying that Babe Power set the bar quite high for the three new fragrances, Boss Babe, Babe Dreams, and Babe Oud. 

Thankfully, the sensual notes of the new trio have an equally hypnotic effect so if you need a new fragrance (maybe even a dupe perfume for a high end brand) then I’ve got you covered 🙂

Boss Babe

Missguided Boss Babe, 80 ml, €38.00

Missguided Boss Babe 80 ml | PRICE: €38.00

When I first tried Boss Babe, it immediately reminded me of YSL Black Opium, one of my favourite Autumn fragrances. Since it closely matched one of my favourite scents of all time, it’s only natural that I fell in love with Boss Babe almost instantly.

While the heart of this perfume is centered around a “delicious mix of pistachio and creamy almond milk,” the note that stands out to me the most is the warm vanilla scent. It lingers on for hours after usage, ensuring you enter every room with a warm feminine aroma.

Like Babe Dreams, and the other fragrances from this line, the packaging is incredibly trendy and it really reflects the Missguided brand as we know it – so much yes! 🙂

Babe Dreams

Missguided Babe Dreams , €80ml, €38.00

Missguided Babe Dreams 80ml | PRICE: €38.00

Babe Dreams, strikes me as a light and fruity summer fragrance. It is described as a “sophisticated and inspiring chypre fragrance with a modern twist.” Personally, I think the sweet mix of velvet rose, pink pepper, violet and patchouli would blow anyone away, especially since it is refreshing light!

Much like Boss Babe, this perfume lasts for hours. About two or three spritz lasts a full day and if you’re a dancing diva, then you won’t ever have to worry about constantly reapplying this perfume on a night out.

Overall, it is fresh, young and girlie! 🙂

Final Verdict

Babe Dreams is incredibly feminine but also quite young. I find it less sensual and sexy in comparison to Boss Babe. However, I do think it would make for the perfect everyday perfume.

Boss Babe has more of a mature and womanly fragrant. Due to the fusion of floral scents with vanilla and musk, I think it is a scent that can be worn throughout the year and not just one season.

Between the two of these incredible perfumes, I think Boss Babe definitely hits it out of the park. The fact that it closely matches YSL Black Opium for just a fraction of the price is just the cherry on top! 😉

Have you ever tried any of these fragrances? If so, I’d love to know which is your favourite! Tweet me @FilomenaKaguako x

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*These products were gifted to me at the launch party of the new fragrances, but all views remain my own. You can purchase them on Missguided, The Fragrance Shop and Boots.

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Posted on July 30, 2018

How to increase productivity when working from home

How To

Working from home can be the ultimate test to both your focus level and motivation, so today, I’m going to share some top tips on how you can increase productivity at home.

These working from home strategies should help you stay focused and have maximum productivity outside the office because I truly believe that your home can be as productive as the office if you have the right mindset!

Whether you have a dissertation to finish or a backlog of emails, here are some sure ways to help you increase productivity outside the office 🙂

Top 5 tips for increasing work productivity at home

1. Get up early. Having an early start to the day will help get you in the right mindset to get some work done. Waking up to an alarm particularly will give you a sense of purpose for the day and prevent you from engaging in unproductive tasks like spending hours on social media or in front of the telly.

2. Have an office space. Having a designated work space will help create a breeding ground for productivity. If you’re someone who gets easily distracted at home, then find a suitable coffee shop with free WiFi and a comfortable working space. You need a place that will help stimulate a working environment for you.

3. Give yourself breaks. Give yourself a schedule lunch time and appropriate breaks during the day so that you can recharge and give yourself the energy and motivation to get through that dreaded to-do list. Scheduled break periods are very important for increasing performance in your next task.

4. Have a set schedule. A set schedule or routine is also good for your morale as it gives you a sense of actually working. Without one, things can get a bit messy and it can be hard to track your work productivity in general. You might even find your day getting away from you without actually having done anything tangible by the end of it.

5.Turn off notifications. Eliminating as many distractions as possible will help increase your chances of having a productive workday at home. That can mean turning off notifications for some and reducing white noise (such as radio/TV) for others. Whatever the case may be, turning off notifications this will help keep you focused on the days work!

Do you ever find yourself taking your work home with you? If so, I’d love to know your tips for increasing productivity at home! Tweet me @FilomenaKaguako 😉

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Posted on July 21, 2018

5 things you should know about the Huawei P20 Lite

product review

If you’re one of my loyal Instagram followers, then you would know that I have recently been made a brand ambassador for Huawei – I know, exciting times! 😀

As an ambassador for the Huawei brand, I was kindly sent a P20 Lite to mother and nurture (which essentially means I had to get rid of my beloved Samsung).

Admittedly, the initial transition from my Galaxy S6 to my P20 Lite proved to be rather tricky. But ever since I welcomed  it to my home, I have grown to love it like my old!

I transferred all my apps (except WhatsApp) to my new phone and have been using it daily ever since.  A month in and I’m now ready to report back on my newly found love for the Huawei brand, but more specifically my Huawei P20 Lite.

So without further ado, here are 5 things you should know about the Huawei P20 Lite:

1. Camera Goals

Huawei P20 Lite Review

The Huawei P20 Lite is most praised for its remarkable camera. The 16MP dual cam  (+2MP selfie camera) has unbelievable features, from pro-photo setting to shooting in pro-video mode, you can always rely on this top quality camera to capture clear, sharp and bright shots.

Unedited photo taken with my Huawei P20 Lite

One of my favourite things about taking the perfect snap with this phone is its editing capacity. The splash feature allows you to transform a colourful photo to black and white and then highlight one colour (or more) of your choosing! Case in point:

Edited using the Splash feature

Another nifty editing option is the Illusion, which allows you to blur out the background of a photo that you have already taken in order to place emphasis on your main subject.

Edited using Illusion feature

I tend not to overly edit my photos in general and I am not privy to the likes of PicsArt. So having these editing tools available on a phone are just perfect for me! 🙂

2. Super Lightweight

As much as this phone is packed with some useful features, I do think it is important to note that it is doing pretty well in the looks department too….

This stunner of a smart phone is slim, incredibly lightweight and despite having a 5.84-inch display, it feels pretty small in the hand. It has a strong metal frame with a hardened glass body giving it a lovely feel. Cherry on top? This smooth and tactile phone is suited for one hand usage!

3. Battery Life

The battery life on the Huawei P20 Lite is truly a breath of fresh air. It is the only phone I’ve ever felt confident enough to leave my house with sans charger! When I used my Samsung, I used to carry a battery pack nearly everywhere with me.

The P20 Lite on the other hand has both a power saving mode and an ultra power saving mode. The latter adds over 24 hours of battery life to the phone once it’s activated! You can literally take your phone out of a Friday and not have to worry about charging it again until Sunday morning – I think I’m festival ready! 😅

4. Maximum Security

Another stand out feature of the P20 Lite is the security settings. This handset has a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor to unlock the screen. But if you ever find yourself with sticky fingers (for reasons I will not judge you for) then you can use face recognition in the front-facing camera to detect, recognise and unlock your phone instead!

Whichever you choose, both of these security options mean nobody can ever go through your phone without your physical presence. Should this improbable incident ever occur, you needn’t worry because you can keep certain files, audio, documents, photos or videos (again, no judgment) in the file safe by encrypting confidential files.

If that isn’t ultimate phone security goals then I don’t know what is! 🙂

5. Mid-range price

If you want a premium build and design phone packed with unbelievable features for an affordable price, then the Huawei P20 Lite is definitely a phone you should consider. Given all its wonderful features (which you can further explore on the Huawei website), the P20 Lite is set at a very reasonable price, yet in more ways than one it is on par with some of the other cool phones in the P20 family!

Price: It ranges from €259.99 (Three Network) to €369.00 (Harvey Norman).

Selfie camera with face beauty set on normal selfie mode. Unedited and Unfiltered.

Are you #TeamHuawei ? If so! I’d love to hear from you! Tweet me @FilomenaKaguako <3

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£5 or less – why you should shop at LOTD.COM

Fashion

I was recently introduced to LOTD.com and since then, it has been my go-to site for making last minute online purchases. While I usually plan my outfit weeks before an upcoming event, there have been times when I’ve needed to make quick decisions on what to to wear before a big celebration. Thankfully, Look Of The Day has always been there to help me with this.

Seeing that I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with this brand so far, I’ve decided to share my top 5 reasons for why you should shop at LOTD.COM or at least check out their fabulous pieces! 🙂

1. Affordable fashion

LOTD have a £5 or less collection where you can shop some of the hottest fashion trends without breaking the bank! This budget friendly collection features season essentials from dresses to bodysuits, to co-ords and more! Best part? You can find bikini sets for as little as £3 – it’s a yes from me!

2. Trendy picks

Between their festival collection and occasion wear, I doubt you will miss a single fashion trend with LOTD this summer. Think ditsy-print dresses, ripped denim jeans and tassel crop tops! If  you have to stay on the glamorous side of things because wedding bells are ringing, you can choose from their glam dress collection.

3. Decent quality

The quality of the clothes from LOTD are generally good for the most part. However, the sizing can be a hit or miss depending on the garments the buy. Ensuring your items are a good fit can be a bit of a gamble, but considering the price you pay, very little is lost if it doesn’t work out! Besides, LOTD offer FREE UK returns!

4. Fast delivery

On the upside, delivery time is incredibly fast! Standard delivery to Ireland  is said to take between 3 – 5 working days. However, anytime I’ve ordered from LOTD my parcel arrived in 2 days! Shipping cost to the Emerald Isle can be a bit of a pain simply because it can sometimes cost more than the garment itself! But if you order multiple items as I have in the past, the £5.99 shipping fee doesn’t feel too bad! 🙂

5. Value for money

Any purchase you make on LOTD.com will give you value for your money. Between the budget friendly prices, the hot fashionable picks and fast delivery, I doubt you will have any regrets shopping at LOTD.com! if you’ve already shopped here then I would love to hear from you!

Tweet me @filomenakaguako and don’t forget to tag #MyLOTD <3

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Posted on June 24, 2018

3 reasons why you should visit Wicklow this summer

Travel

As you probably know from my Instagram stories, last Thursday saw yet another picturesque region of Ireland being ticked off my lengthy travel bucket list. Myself and my gal Lorna drove up to beautiful county Wicklow to celebrate the launch of the Garden Rooms & Bar at Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort.

While this was the main motivation behind cruising on the M50 to Chill Mhantáin, that didn’t stop us from making the most out of our day out of Dublin. Prior to our arrival at the stunning Druids Glen, we drove up the Wicklow Mountains and toured some the most precious gems in the county.

For those of you who don’t have a travel bucket list for Ireland, it probably wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world to consider compiling one now. With promising blue skies and a heatwave ahead of next week, this is the perfect time to start exploring the scenic hidden treasures of the Emerald Isle.

Without further ado, here are 3 reasons why you should visit Wicklow this summer:

1. Lough Tay

Lough Tay is one of the most iconic places in Wicklow, along with Glendalough. Also known as ‘the Guinness Lake,’ the northern coastline of this small but stunning lake is part of an estate owned by the Guinness family. But that’s not the only reason for the infamous nickname. If you have an eye for detail, you will notice that some of the lake is edged with a white sandy beach. The dark water that follows creates a remarkable semblance to a pint of Guinness – hence ‘the Guinness Lake.’

How to get there:

Driving up from Dublin via M50 took us  just under an hour due to light traffic on the motorway. We did however meet clusters of cyclists on the small countryside roads upon arriving to Wicklow – typical! Other than that, it is an easy drive. If you don’t have access to a car then a tourist bus would be your best bet – we came across a group of tourists when we were enjoying the beautiful views of The Guinness Lake over the Wicklow Mountains.

2. Powerscourt House & Gardens

Powerscourt Gardens was voted #3 in the top 10 gardens of the world by National Geographic. After spending an afternoon enjoying lunch at its Avoca Terrace Cafe and exploring over 200 varieties of flowers, shrubs and trees, I wouldn’t be surprised for a second!

The infamous gardens is not a place you want to visit without being camera ready. Powerscourt Gardens date back to over 150 years and it now has many little treasures to discover including The Japanese Garden, The Dolphin Pond and The Tower Valley.

How to get there:

Powerscourt House & Gardens is about a 20 km drive south of Dublin City Centre. It is located within the 1,000 acre Powerscourt Estate in Enniskerry, against the backdrop of the famous Sugarloaf Mountain. For specific directions, opening times and fees, visit the website.

3. Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort

This five-star hotel & golf resort combines nature and leisure to provide a next-to-paradise experience. Located in a beautiful setting of 400 acres between Wicklow Mountains and The Irish Sea, Druids Glen is the perfect place to get in touch with your inner zen in a stunning luxury setting. Although we didn’t make use of the unique golf courses, we did have an evening of luxury at the launch of the new Garden Rooms and Bar: mouth-watering nibbles, cocktails, live music – it truly was a magical evening.

The following morning, we made use of the health club and swimming area before indulging in the wide selection of top quality breakfast. The staff were incredibly accommodating throughout our stay,  so much so that neither of us wanted to leave. If you want to experience paradise in South East Ireland then Druids Glen will not disappoint!

How to get there:

Druids Glen is just a 30 minute journey from Dublin. For full directions or bookings, visit the website. Note: They have limited mid-week summer madness offers at the moment – be sure to check that out!

While there was so much more to see and do in the county known as “The Garden of Ireland,” the little time we did spend in Wicklow did not disappoint. We made the most out of what we had and if I’m being completely honest, part of me thinks skipping a few tourist attractions in the first visit comes with its advantages because it gives us an excuse to go back again! Yes, our visit to Wicklow was short. But it was also very memorable….and who knows, maybe next time we’ll get to indulge in summer afternoon tea at Druids Glen! 😉

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Posted on June 15, 2018

How to choose the right swimwear for your body shape

Body Confidence

Finding the right swimsuit is only as difficult as you make it. As cliche as that sounds, take it from someone who probably owns as many swimsuits as she does shoes – okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration…but I do own many flattering swimsuits (as my Instagram would probably tell you).

I think the main ingredient to finding swimwear that makes you feel comfortable, sexy and confident is knowing your body shape. Without that knowledge you are destined to fail. Why? Simply because it’s about knowing where you’re packing and where you’re lacking and then having a goal in mind for what you want your bikini to do for you.

I’m no style expert, but it doesn’t take a genius to realise that no two people can pull off the same look – what works for one person, might not work for another. But don’t let that discourage you, there is a bikini out there for everyone, you just have to know what to look for!

So whether you’re a bit heavy on top or want to accentuate your curves, here are my top tips for choosing swimwear that will flatter your body shape and in turn increase your confidence 🙂

10 tips for choosing the right swimwear for your body shape:

1. If you’re a bit busty, always be sure to look for a bikini top with an under wire. Find one that will give you somewhat coverage with a tiny bit of a lift.

2. If you’re not so boobalicious but want to appear so, then try looking for a bikini top with ruffles on them. Ruffles on top help create an illusion of a bigger bust. A padded bikini top also does the trick!

3. If you have a bit of a pot belly and want to make it less visible, then it can always be concealed by wearing a ruched one piece suit. Ruched fabric is key for helping you disguise your stomach by giving it a slimming effect.

4. To downplay your backside, go for dark-coloured briefs or shorts, they will give you all the coverage you need!

5. Not so much junk in your trunk? (welcome to the team) this can be solved with ruffled bottoms as they will give the appearance of volume and a bum. Or putting focus on your upper may take away from people notice where you’re lacking – I’ve got all the tricks 😉

6. Boyish figure types can create the illusion of curves by using a two piece swimsuit with bold prints and feminine details. A one piece with the sides cut out also create an optical illusion of curves.

7. If you have a curvy figure and want to appear slimmer, vertical patterns will help create a thinner torso and draw attention downwards, rather than outwards.

8. To hide areas you don’t want to show in your plus size physique, look for a one piece with little details such as runching, they do wonders!

9. Petite figures can elongate their body with high-cut leg or strings at the side! Also, avoid polka dots and girlie patterns…. unless of course you want to be mistaken for a teen (it happens😑).

10. And last but not least, if you want to avoid the appearance of love handles remember to go for folded bottoms.

Hope you found these tips useful, happy bikini hunting! 🙂

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Posted on June 11, 2018

10 things all singletons can learn from Love Island 2018

Dating

Let’s be clear on something: contrary to what my Twitter feed will have you think, I am not a Love Island superfan. In fact, this is the first year I tuned in to the show from the very beginning – I know, I was a bit late jumping joining the bandwagon! Last year, my slow addiction to the reality show developed mid-season, after catching a glimpse of the tension created by Muggy Mike.

Watching all the drama unfold in the villa before Amber & Kem took home the prize money, made me realised that you don’t have to be a qualified doctor to diagnose an unhealthy addiction towards television drama. Much like anyone else who has a tendency of investing their feelings into onscreen relationships, the new series of Love Island has already taken an emotional toll on us ITV viewers.

Tuning in from the beginning of the season means I’ll have a better understanding of the inner workings of the show as well as the game plan of schneaky contestants (I can think of a few names). But rather than naming and shaming – I probably do enough of that on Twitter anyways, I’ve decided to compile a list of meaningful love lessons us singletons can learn about dating from week one of this year’s Love Island.

Only a week into seeing sloppy kisses on screen and uncomfortable love triangles, but I’ve already picked up on some major faux pas in the world of dating *puts on Carrie Bradshaw hat*

Here are 10 things all singletons can learn from week one of Love Island 2018:

1. Not all that glitters is gold

2. Insecurities follow you until you mend your heart 

3. Acting dumb will never be cute

4. Girls really don’t want a good guy

5. Never underestimate the power of bro code

6. Female ageing is still highly stigmatised 

7. If it ain’t white, it ain’t ‘right’ 😒

8.Some women truly are masochists

9. Politics isn’t for everyone

10. If you want true love, choose personality over looks – always!

What do you make of this year’s Love Island? I would love to know your thoughts! Tweet me @FilomenaKaguako 🙂 

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Love Island airs on ITV2 at 9pm, every night except Saturday.

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Posted on June 8, 2018

No More Peach Fuzz thanks to Skinfull Affairs!!!

service review

If you’re anything like me – ageing by the second, reminiscing on the prime of your beauty, worried about early menopause and so on and so fourth….then you probably feel somewhat anxious about your skin and unwanted body hair on summery days. It is a known fact that natural light can be unforgiving to skin flaws and those who live a secret life of plucking hairs from their chin – say no more.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way, because there is light at the end of the tunnel! Thanks to Skinfull Affairs, a beauty salon based in Dublin on 34 Exchequer Street, there is a timeless way to remove unwanted body hair while simultaneously boosting your body confidence: threading.

So what is threading according to Skinfull Affairs?

Threading is an ancient method of depilation and can remove even the finest hairs, leaving skin soft and smooth. This gentle form of hair removal is even suitable for the most sensitive skins. No chemicals or tools are used aside from an antibacterial thread that is twisted to pull the hair from the root.

  • It is chemical – free
  • The results are long lasting
  • It is very precise
  • It is quicker than waxing
  • It leaves a cleaner finish

My threading experience at Skinfull Affairs

I arrived at the lovely Skinfull Affairs about 10 minutes prior to the scheduled time and was greeted by a very welcoming staff member who had me fill in a form and offer me a glass a water. When she headed back to set up, I had the opportunity to browse the store and sample some of their body creams and lotions.

When the time came for me to start my treatment, I was pretty nervous. Thankfully, the woman looking after me calmed down my nerves with her words of encouragement. The second she started the treatment, I wanted to scream. I found the first few minutes of threading to be pretty sore as a first timer but I did take a few breaks during the treatment so it was all very bearable.

The most painful area was my eyebrows and the least painful area was my chin – it must be used to all the pain from plucking! Overall, the pain was not overwhelming bad, and I have certainly endured worse!

The Results

Before Threading

After threading

The results were impeccable, I had never seen my face so smooth before. The redness caused by the threading  didn’t last very long which was surprising to me since my skin is very sensitive. I looked and felt young and fresh again! 🙂

Aftercare

A skin-calming product for after threading

I was told not to use any saunas or steam rooms, no swimming or makeup for 24 hours. Avoiding the steam room was hard, but it was worth it after!

How often do you need to get it done?

Eyebrows after threading

I am four weeks into the treatment and I don’t seem to need a top up just yet. The amount of treatments a person needs depends on their hair growth of course and everybody is different – some need threading done every month, while the results for others can last for up to eight weeks!

Would I recommend it?

All smiles here! 

I would 100% recommend it to those who use waxing or other chemicals to remove hair since threading os natural. The staff in Skinfull Affairs were lovely and very informative, they were incredibly patient with me also.

For your free assessment and a price list of all threading treatments, check out www.skinfullaffairs.ie

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A massive thank you to Skinfull Affairs for looking after me! All opinions  remain my own.

Posted on June 2, 2018

10 inspiring body positive women

Confidence

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, body positive means accepting your body as is, even with the flaws. Body positivity sounds easy in theory, but in practice, it can prove to be a bit of a struggle since we are constantly being bombarded with images of unrealistic beauty standards in the media.

Although I am a self-proclaimed fitness bunny, my battle with body positivity varies from the usual “I need to loose a few pounds,” instead, it comes from – dare I say it – skinny shaming.

Yes, skinny shaming is a thing.

You see, it is often assumed that people who are slim automatically have body confidence and are therefore never subjected to being body shamed or feelings of insecurity about their body. This is simply untrue.

Growing up as a skinny teenage girl – please note that ‘skinny’ is never a compliment – come with its negatives when you are from a community that praises larger women.

Not living up to the stereotypical black girl features of beautiful curves and a ‘big black booty,’ in many ways, made me feel that I was lacking as a woman. It led to my obsession with becoming an avid gym goer and doing an excessive amount of lunges and squats in a helpless attempt to build my bum and make so called booty gainz.

I’m now pushing into my thirties and  dealing with being hairier than I was growing up (as if having starving black girl card wasn’t enough😑). I’ve become increasingly fearful of having to deal with the dreaded changes that occur in a woman’s body around menopausal age – early menopause, eh? Just another thing to add to my growing list of irrational fears and phobias….

Overall, my body confidence journey has been a rollercoaster of happy tears and sad ones. I’ve had moments when I channelled my inner Emily Ratajkowski  and thought “You look good girl,” while looking at my naked reflection, and I’ve had times when I couldn’t bear to even look at my skin in the mirror.

Thankfully, I’ve met some wonderful women of varying shapes and sizes that have helped me come to the realisation that body changes are normal and more importantly, there isn’t just one type of body that exists for women – regardless of your skin colour. Being a black woman doesn’t mean having big lips or a ‘big booty,’ it just means being a woman.

Women are not homogenous creatures, we are all individuals with unique features.

It took me decades to realise this and I am finally happy to be at a place where I recognise it is impossible to be one hundred percent body confident 100% of the time. There will be days when we feel good and days when we don’t. It’s just the reality of it. As long as we remember that it is less about fitting into a specific box and more  about creating your own box of what being a beautiful woman means to you.

So today, I wanted to celebrate female bodies of all shapes and sizes for the simple reason that being body positive  is not about everyone looking a monolithic way. It is about embracing the beauty in the differences. Whether you are softer in some areas or are constantly on the lookout for skin improving  products, you don’t have to have one look to be body positive or have body confidence.

These are women who I have met in the past or know personally. I feel that they exemplify true body positivity. I’ve asked them about everything from skin problems to maintaining body confidence to perception of female bodies during motherhood.

Thank you to all the beautiful women for getting involved in this. But most of all, thank you ladies for being you 🙂

1. Brooke Moore

Beauty Vlogger & cast of Channel 4’s Genderquake

I’ve been thin, I’ve been fat, I’ve been in good shape and I’ve been out of shape. We are so hung up on body image but whose body stays the same their whole lives? It’s so important to love your body at every stage of your life. If you’re lucky enough to live a long life it will change 100s of times.

2. Rachel Martin

Vlogger & Social Media Influencer

Normally I would edit a photo like this to give me a ‘better’ shape but I decided not to – there’s no reason to hide! ‘It doesn’t matter what size you are, it doesn’t matter if things juggle where they’re not supposed to. That’s still beautiful #ashleygraham

3. Nadine Reid

MUA & Ambassador of courage and self-love

I learned to walk each day with courage and the belief that I am beautiful. Not one person has ever told me otherwise, why would they? I am beautiful, kind, talented, joyful and some days fabulously stunning. I pray every woman can beleive in their beauty too, it is a life changing feeling.

4.Lesley Goulding

Skin Blogger

Love the skin you’re in. No matter what shade it throws your way. This thick layer of white, beige, yellow, pink, chocolate, mahogany, whatever coloured, elastic stuff protects you. So take care of it.

5. Rosee Daisy Byrne

Health & Beauty Blogger

It’s really hard [to post these photos] but I’ve learned to not give a s**t somehow!

6. Grainne

Skincare Ambassador & previously competed in the bodybuilding bikini category to gain stage experience.

Always focus on yourself and your own progress. What works for me may not work for others. Your body is beautifully unique and responds and develops differently. So admire but never compare!

7. Aicha Salif

Model, Fitness Instructor and Mother of two

I think social media and celebrities expect you to have a quick snap back after birth and celebrities make it worse. They have the time and money to get their body “right” and then lie to people that it’s all natural. And also, people judge you for dressing a certain way once you’re a mum. They expect you to be more covered up and wholesome looking. There’s constant judgment about the right and wrong way to be a “good” mum. Eventually I just looked at my kids and realised they are happy and healthy kids. They love me for me regardless of how I look.

8. Jen Morris

Social Media Manager & Beauty Vlogger

Steps to the perfect bikini body are as follows: 1. Have a body 2. Put a bikini on it. Do I have the perfect body, no! Do I own my curves, you betcha!

And my final two gals who are also kindred spirits with Emily Ratajkowski and embrace nakedness….

9. Funmi Obadeyi

Fitness Enthusiast & Mother of one

There is some huge problem with body confidence that I don’t seem to relate with. I’m so happy in my body, if anyone thinks I don’t look amazing due to whatever, F them! So please speak it out to these girls that they are beautiful the way they are and no one is perfect.

10. Deborah Bux

Lead Makeup Artist & Freelance Fashion Stylist

Fake it till you make it!

These women are all living proof that there is more than one look that can attribute to body positivity, the beauty lies in the differences.

I came across a quote on Twitter recently that has stuck with me since, ‘if tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, think about how many industries would go out of business.’

The problem doesn’t lie with your body, it lies with the people who profit from convincing you that’s where the problem lies.

To follow these beautiful ladies on Instagram, click on their photos 💗

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Posted on May 22, 2018

“TERFs are trash!”| Twitter’s reaction to Genderquake

vlog

First and foremost, a massive thank you to everyone who tuned in to Genderquake this time last week. I am still so overwhelmed by the overall reaction to my contribution on the show! As expected, there was a bit of name calling. One insult in particular is still very new to me – typical lefties! But in general, the feedback was very positive and I’m happy with it!

If you weren’t glued to the Genderquake hashtag on Twitter during broadcast of the show the way I was, then be sure to check out my recent YouTube video to hear some of the truly hilarious Twitter reactions to me featuring in this two-part  Channel 4 documentary 🙂

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Posted on May 18, 2018

The 8th Amendment: 8 pro-life arguments debunked

Uncovered

repeal the 8th amendment

On the 25th of May, the voting citizens of Ireland will be given the opportunity to make history. We will be given the chance to vote on whether we want to repeal or retain the 8th Amendment, which was voted into the Irish Constitution in 1983 and currently protects the life of the unborn.

The tension created by the upcoming referendum over the past few weeks seems to have polarised the nation, with activists from both sides of the debate playing dirty. I am aware that this topic is incredibly delicate for a lot of women and men, alike and that people have their own personal  reasons for why they will vote ‘Yes’ or  ‘No’ this day next week.

My intention is not to change the votes of those who have a firm and legitimate position in the matter, I understand that when a person’s vote is so deeply rooted in life experience, very little will sway them to the other side.

Instead, I want to help those who are unsure about the 8th and inform them on how it negatively impacts the lives of their sisters, daughters, neighbours and friends – not only when in need of an abortion, but during a continued pregnancy too.

What is the 8th Amendment?

So for those of you who don’t know, the 8th Amendment equates the life of a pregnant person to that of a foetus. It says, ‘the state acknowledges the right to life of the foetus and, with due regards to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that.’

This makes abortion services illegal in Ireland, even in cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormalities. Irish women who need abortion are either forced to travel abroad, adding more expenses and trauma to an already emotional experience, or they can order illegal abortion pills online and risk facing a 14 year prison sentence for perpetrating a crime.

But let’s not put all the focus on abortion or forced pregnancy, the 8th Amendment also affects women while pregnant. The HSE National Consent Policy restricts informed consent and informed refusal of treatment for pregnant individuals.

It states, ‘because of the Constitutional provisions on the right to life of the unborn there is significant legal uncertainty regarding a pregnant woman’s right to consent.’

This means the requirement for informed consent is eliminated and pregnant women are often forced into procedures without the proper information or consultation. While many on the pro-life side claim to love both the mother and foetus, it is clear that the 8th Amendment favours the life of the unborn. It directly removes the person’s right to consent for any procedure during labour and birth where it is deemed to endanger the life of the foetus.

Where do I stand in this debate?

Advocating for the choice to perform an action is not the same as advocating for that action to be performed.

pro choice pro repeal

While I do have ethical opinions on abortion as far as gestation period goes, I personally believe that people in Ireland should have access to legal abortion services in their own country. For that reason, I identify as pro-choice rather than pro-abortion. I feel that being labelled as pro-abortion makes a false claim that I want women to have abortion, when in reality I want women to have a choice to make that decision for themselves. I think using the term pro-abortion places a significant amount of emphasis on the unborn and completely ignores female bodily autonomy.

When I say I am pro-choice, what I really mean is that I am pro-women having agency over their own bodies. When I say I am pro-choice, what I mean is that I don’t believe a person’s moral opinion on abortion should  override another woman’s right to choose and when I say I am pro-choice, what I really mean is that I believe the government should not get to police my body, because forcing unwanted pregnancy on any woman or girl is a form of female oppression.

I often find myself getting riled up when I get into the politics of it all, so to avoid getting overly emotional about this – if I haven’t already – I’m going to introduce some important facts, that may help swing voters make an informed decision on voting day.

With the help of social feminist group Rosa, I was able to compile a list of common arguments from the pro-life side to do some myth-busting about abortion. A massive thank you to the lovely Una for providing me with the information to share these myth-busters with you:

MYTH #1: Abortion is used as a form of ‘birth control’

Abortion is a costly procedure, making the use of contraception much easier than having an abortion. Also, there is not just one reason to have an abortion. People usually have a number of reasons for why they wish to terminate their pregnancy. It is a decision that no person takes lightly.

MYTH #2: Adoption is a better solution

Adoption is still a forced option that puts a woman’s mental health at risk. Forcing someone to continue an unwanted pregnancy affects their mental state and overall well-being.

MYTH #3: Where abortion is legal, women are more likely to be forced into it by abusive partners

Taking autonomy away from women who need abortion will not solve violence against women. If anything, the 8th Amendment causes further damage to women who are in abusive relationships and want to access abortion without the knowledge of their abusive partner.

MYTH #4: Abortions are more dangerous than child birth

Abortion is only dangerous when done illegally and in an unsafe environment. When done under the care of a trained practitioner, they are safe. In fact, the World Health Organisation puts abortion pills on essential medication list. In regards to giving birth, a woman is 14 times more likely to die during childbirth than during an abortion procedure.

MYTH #5: Having abortion increases the risk of mental health problems

Forcing someone to stay pregnant and give birth against their will increases the risk of mental health problems. In fact, 98% would recommend it to other women in the same situation, according to Abigail Aiken Study (2016, North & Southern Ireland).

MYTH #6: Abortion is used to prevent the birth of persons with disabilities

Having a baby with a disability is not an easy thing. Since the severity of all kinds of conditions vary widely, the woman and her family should be best placed to decide if they can handle caring for such a child, not the government.

MYTH #7: Having an abortion increases the risk of infertility, stillbirths and miscarriages in the future

A properly performed abortion will not impact future fertility. It is one of the safest medical interventions. Illegal, backstreet abortions performed with untrained practitioners put women’s lives and fertility at risk, not abortion.

MYTH #8: Countries that have adopted ‘abortion on demand’ legislation have seen a drastic  increase in abortion rates

The abortion rate is stable, with Western Europe having the lowest abortion rate worldwide. In fact, abortion is less frequent in countries with the most liberal abortion.

What is the bottom line?

The focus of this issue should not be on the unborn, we need to prioritise the lives and choices of women. The dialogue surrounding this debate  shouldn’t be about a person’s moral opinion on abortion, it should be about women having the freedom to do what’s best for them and their family. Just because you wouldn’t have an abortion yourself it doesn’t mean you should rob another person of making that decision for themselves.

As I’ve already expressed, people will have their own reasons for why they think the 8th Amendment should be repealed or retained. But for those who are still undecided, don’t be influenced by the false arguments being made by the pro-life campaign. Don’t make this about what you would or wouldn’t do.

It shouldn’t be about you.

It should be about trusting women to make their own choices.

It should be about women having agency over their own bodies.

It is about the continued fight for female bodily autonomy.

In the words of Claire Balding, “At the end of the day Ireland, no human in pro-abortion. But in the democratic society that we live in. we should all be pro-choice.”

Vote ‘Yes’ on the 25th of May.

Vote ‘Yes’ to repeal.

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