Friday, 30 January 2015

A Few Moments With: Nubian Skin // Interview #12

In October 2014, lingerie company Nubian Skin launched with one simple aim - to provide us ladies with 'a different kind of nude.'  I remember first coming across Nubian skin on Instagram a couple of weeks before its launch and immediately thought 'oh my goodness, this is amazing!!' instantly followed by a sigh of 'why has this not been done before??' You see, I've never thought to own skin coloured underwear or a nude pair of tights simply because the word 'nude' in the fashion industry never applied to me. Skin coloured tights never went so far as to include my skin tone and if I wanted nude, I had to brave the cold and go tight-less or mess around with strapless bras and suitable enough dresses. This doesn't just apply to underwear and goes right through to makeup and even lack of representation in magazine pages and I know that, on the other side of the spectrum, those with pale skin have this exact same issue. The reason why is because 'nude' or anything that claims to 'blend in with your skintone' tends to sit comfortably in the middle; neutral without daring to go darker or paler but now with the introduction of Nubian Skin, this is all set to change. OHHH YEEAAAH. Nubian skin is more than just brown underwear, it perfectly matches skin tones of women of colour, allowing us to wear that dress without ruining the look with a pair of black tights or to hit the town with a sheer top and not worry about an obvious black bra underneath. Basically, it's genius and I am so happy it exists. So, to find out more, I decided to ask founder, Ade Hassan, some questions on Nubian Skin, diversity in the fashion industry and get her opinions on the blogging community. 

Hello Ade! Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m 30 years old and live in London. Before starting Nubian Skin, I worked mainly in the financial services industry, so it’s been quite a change!
How and why did you decide to start Nubian Skin?
Nubian Skin was essentially born out of frustration.  I wanted a product that I couldn't find in shops, so I decided to create it.  I knew I couldn't be the only one who felt the same way.

Why do you think it has taken this long for the term 'Nude' to include a wider range of skin tones? 
I believe a lot of this has to do with who the decision makers in the room are and their personal experience.  The reality is a lot of the people making these decisions, probably don’t have the issue of finding a nude bra or hosiery that matches their skin tone.  

What do you think this says about diversity in the Fashion industry? 
There is always progress to be made, and I believe the fashion industry will get there.  I think part of it is realising that if you give people what they need, they will support you.

Do you think the blogging and YouTube world has had an impact on diversity in the fashion and beauty industry?
Blogging and YouTube has given people a platform to express themselves to whoever will listen, and I think this has a positive impact on diversity in the fashion and beauty industry.  All of a sudden a woman in Manchester, UK can voice her frustration or champion a brand that works for her, and she realises that there are women in New York, Atlanta, Lagos, Paris etc. who all feel the same, and that can start a movement.

How do you get the colours just right?

Over a year’s worth of research went into the colour selection.  No fabric will match anyone’s skin-tone exactly, but the aim of having “a different kind of nude” is for women of colour to have lingerie and hosiery that looks close to their skin colour and disappears under sheer or light coloured clothing.  After a lot of talks with make up counters and artists and testing on countless women, we decided four colours would cover the majority of our target market.
The response leading up to the launch of Nubian Skin has been amazing! How has it made you feel?

We have been truly overwhelmed by the support from different communities of colour and the mainstream media.  It’s been wonderful to see how supportive so many women have been, and it’s amazing to get emails from women across the world just saying “thank you”.
And finally, which women do you look to for inspiration the most?
My mother.  I think the world of her, and she’s my biggest champion.


So, there we have it! A lingerie company offering us a different kind of nude. Make sure to check out the entire Nubian Skin collection here and if you want to know more, check out the behind the scenes video. Also it's recently been announced that Nubian Skin will be stocked at ASOS which is super cool. Oh, and one last thing, Nubian Skin are currently expanding their size range, which you can read about here. Ok, I think that's everything! Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to go and place a very big order...

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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Dear quiet people // Musings

'Just because you don't say much doesn't mean people don't notice you. It's actually the quiet ones who often draw the most attention. There's this constant whirlwind of motion and sound all around, and then there's the quiet one, the eye of the storm' 
- Amy Efaw

Source: Tumblr

It is common knowledge that when you hold up a shell to your ear, you can hear the sea, quietly roaring on a distant beach, wanting nothing more than to escape and show you it's beautiful ocean blue waves in all its glory. Scientifically, this sound that we hear has something to do with air, echoes and sound waves, but I really like the idea of there being an entire ocean inside of a tiny shell, desperate to get out, to be free, and to stretch before you. Maybe you've been told your whole life that you're a quiet person, you 'come across as shy' or that you have a 'reserved personality' but whatever words people want to use, it all pretty much means the same thing.  While you may have come to realise it's ok to not be the loudest person in a group, sometimes you are left feeling like a seashell - seemingly small and delicate with a whole world of thoughts, ideas, emotions, observations and opinions strong enough to make you believe that you could lead a small army or, dare I say it, a country. This is a common thing that a lot of people experience and, whether you are struggling with this fact about yourself or have come to be comfortable with it, there are often brief moments that make you question how your personality can fit in the world around you.

If only you could get your words out... If only people would slow down just long enough to listen to what you have to say... If only someone would take the chance, to pick you up and listen to the roar of your unheard words.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you feel about it), this post is not going to tell you how to 'overcome your shyness' and I have no plans to share tips on how to 'transform into an extrovert'.  What I will say, however, is that one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me was from a teacher who once told me that I was 'serenity personified' which, after years of battling shyness and lack of confidence gave me the realisation that I needed. Essentially, he was repeating what everyone else had been telling me for years, but this time, with a new perspective.  This time it made me realise that confidence did not have to be loud or overbearing and that learning to become quietly confident was just as good. And that being the quiet place, the eye of the storm, serenity among chaos was a skill in itself.

The ocean, concealed in a shell, makes it an unlikely source of great strength while simultaneously being able to calm a torn soul.  There is beauty in being a safe haven and a voice of reason - both calming qualities mixed with quiet passion that leaves passersby speechless.  This is not something to be ashamed of or to wish away. Work with what you have, find the strengths in your quiet personality and use it forge a great future for yourself.


I follow Humans of New York on Facebook and Tumblr and remember seeing this post from last February come up on my feed. It's been almost a year since the post and I still think about it every now and then because it resonates so much with me and my past experiences.  As I can't seem to get it out of me head, I decided to write about it. Let me know if you can relate in any way or have ever felt like this before!

Check out my latest YouTube video: 5 ways to get motivated 
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Saturday, 24 January 2015

5 ways to get motivated // Musings

'You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do' 
 Henry Ford

Lack of motivation is not the best thing in the world, especially when you have about 534589 things to do, goals to meet, resolutions to keep up with and a boss/teacher that seems to be on your case all of a sudden. For me, the worst thing about having no motivation is the guilt that comes along with it - you know you have things to do, and you know that you're wasting time by not doing them, but you also really, really, really can not be bothered. Don't get it confused with laziness though, because when it comes to laziness, you make the choice to not do the things that you have to do.  With lack of motivation, however, there comes a time where it can be extremely hard to get out of such a state and you can often find yourself also feeling frustrated, hopeless and sad at the situation. Sometimes it's short-lived and sometimes it lasts for what seems like months, either way, I thought I would share 5 things that usually help me in this situation. I made a video about it which you can see below or, if you prefer to read, I will summarise the points further down.

Tidy up 

I absolutely, 100%, unequivocally believe in the saying 'tidy space, tidy mind'. I find that when things around me are messy it really doesn't help the situation.  I'm not necessarily talking about cleaning and scrubbing every inch of your place (unless you want to, hey go ahead!) but giving your desk some order, tidying things up and refreshing your work space is great. My work space is a bit of an organised mess and it's situated right infront of the window so the light hits it and that works perfectly for me while my dad, on the other hand, likes his desk completely spotless and works in complete silence.  Find out what works for you, shake things up a bit if you have to, and keep your space organised.

Go outside
How easy is it to stay indoors all day and not do anything but channel hop and watch endless make-up tutorials you're not even planning on trying out? Oh so very easy. But time spent out of the house is a pretty remarkable thing and great for getting you away from feeling unmotivated - it helps you get out of your head and let's you come back to what you have to do feeling refreshed and often inspired.

Visualise and concentrate on one thing at a time
When it came to revision, I was all about hanging up revision notes on my walls, mirrors and doors so that wherever I was, I would see my work and have it constantly on my mind. Creating a vision board is also a great thing to try out, especially if you're working towards a long term goal, so every morning you are reminded of why you are working and what you are working towards. Also, learning to concentrate on one thing and taking things one step at a time is so important!! Hey, all I'm saying is that you wouldn't eat a whole cake all at once, you'd cut it up and eat it bit by bit - it's the same thing with your goals.

Focus on you
So it's easy to get distracted with what others are doing, I mean, we have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs and YouTube where we follow people and their lives. Ain't nothing wrong with that but sometimes you can get caught up with what others are doing, get caught comparing their successes with your failures and just feel even more unmotivated to try. So refocus your energy and time on yourself. Your life is about you, after all, no one else!

Be Kind
We are undoubtedly our own worst critiques. And while it can be a good thing that we wont accept anything but the best from ourselves, sometimes the words we use for ourselves are more scolding than encouraging. Talk to yourself like you would talk to a friend - honest, but comforting.

What are some of your tips to get motivated? 

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Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Currently listening to: International Music playlist

I thought I would delve into my Spotify playlist and share with you guys some of the songs I've been loving recently but, adding a bit of a twist, I decided to have an international focus.  I've been listening to a lot of songs from countries other than America or the UK, namely from Latin America/Spain, France and West Africa. A couple of friends from University speak Spanish (which is great until you find yourself at the dinner table not having a clue what they're laughing at because someone decided to tell a joke in Spanish!) and my sister is currently studying French at college so she decided to create a french playlist on Spotify (French rap is actually pretty cool, who knew??) that I've been listening to aswell so I guess you could say I've been influenced by them! Oh and Afrobeats because, well, this genre of music isn't exactly new to me but it's just great music to dance to when you've got nothing else to do on a Friday night!

Indila - Derniere Danse
Kendji Girac - Andalouse // Gitano
Jill Barber - Petite Fleur

Enrique Iglesias - El Perdedor // Bailando // Bailando (English Version) //
Prince Royce - Darte Un Beso
Marc Anthony - Vivir Mi Vida
Romeo Santos - Propuesta Indecente // Eres Mia

Bracket - Yori Yori // Mama Africa
Falz - Marry Me (Insert cry laughing emoji here)
Banky W - Yes/No

I can't speak a word of French or Spanish by the way (although I am learning), but a quick google search for lyric translations and it's all good! So, a couple of my favourites at the moment, enjoy and let me know what you're currently listening to!

Check out my latest YouTube video: Unexpected Crushes 
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Friday, 16 January 2015

Saying No // Musings

'One day, I'll find the right words, and they will be simple' 
 Jack Kerouac

Image Source

Scrolling through twitter on the bus, trying to ignore how packed it was and how close some guys armpit was to my face as he clung to a railing to avoid falling over, something was retweeted on to my time line that caught my attention. I should have taken a screenshot of it but the gist of the tweet was:

'Learn to say no. Without explaining yourself after. No. Just no. Because no.'

And, let me tell you guys, this is so hard to do.  I always think that the word 'no' needs to be followed by an explanation as to why. And in some situations this may be the case. But sometimes, if you don't feel like doing something, a suitable explanation as to why might be hard to come by and that is ok. 'Not right now' and 'no thank you' are perfectly fine as complete sentences and can be used in a number of situations - at work, with friends, with a guy.

At work
Not wanting to get involved with something or if you are too busy to even think about taking on any extra work are probably the biggest reasons that you would want to decline work. I know that at work this might seem pretty hard to do, especially if you are new to the company or you are at a trainee position, declining work does not paint a great first impression. But if there comes a time where extra work would prove to be a detriment to your health, causing stress and exhaustion, then saying 'no' becomes a necessity you can't escape. Valuing your time and understanding your priorities are important and a courteous 'not right now' or offering a solution/different contribution is a great way to do this without offending.

With friends & family
Spending time with friends and family is great. Obviously. Making memories, telling stories and just laughing till it hurts are things every single person has the opportunity to enjoy. But sometimes, you need some 'me time', you know?? Saying no to a meet up date but offering an alternative date is a great way to balance it out. And besides, sometimes you don't even have to explain your 'no' - that's the great thing about friendships, they are understanding and empathetic if you're just having 'one of those days'.

With a guy
Ever been approached by a guy and the words 'no, sorry, I have a boyfriend' naturally fall out of your mouth? Yep, same. Regardless of whether or not you do have a boyfriend, this sentence is pretty standard in avoiding followup attention. It pretty much translates to 'I would love to give you my number, but because I have a boyfriend and I'm not the cheating type, I am forced to decline your offer. Gutted.' Which is wrong in all kinds of ways but the bottom line - 'No' is sufficient and 'no' is a complete sentence.  Buuuut obviously we don't live in a perfect world and you get the guys who are annoyingly persistent, even when they can see that you are uncomfortable and unwilling to engage in conversation. But with getting into the habit of putting weight behind a 'no' and not following it up with a reason, after a while, the guys gotta accept reality, right?? Or you could just do The Face and hope it will scare him away.

I think that saying 'Yes' and saying 'No' to things are two important lessons to learn - you don't want to cut things off without ever seeing what opportunities may come your way, but at the same time, you don't want to exhaust yourself by bending over backwards to accommodate for everything people ask of you or every opportunity that comes up.  After all, life is all about a happy balance.

Do you guys have any advice to offer on saying 'no'?

Check out my latest YouTube Video: Having an unexpected crush
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Monday, 12 January 2015

Mistakes of a 20-something // Musings

I recently stumbled across this blog post from The Sunday Blah and I loved it so much that it got me thinking about my own continuous mistakes that I should probably stop making. Everybody makes mistakes, some are small, some are big but you're always supposed to learn from them right?  But there are always be those poor acts of judgement that are misguided, wrong or regrettable that you seem to find yourself making again... and again.... and again. So I thought I would compile a small list of my own silly mistakes in an attempt to gain some reassurance that I'm not the only one!
Image Source

Staying up late
And by late I mean scrolling through blogs till 4am when my alarm is set to go off in about four hours time. Sleep?? What is that??!!!?!!! I always find myself getting tired at around 11pm but by the time I've gotten up from where I'm sat and completed my night time routine, I find that I am fully awake and ready to partaaay (ok  maybe not exactly partaaay).  So, you know, I'll just check twitter/bloglovin/facebook/youtube/my emails/that new app I downloaded again and hopefully it'll make me sleepy. Fast forward a couple of hours and I'm halfway through watching a new TV series or I've found myself in an endless scroll of tumblr reblogging all the cool images. Time to sort out my sleeping schedule and be part of the rise-and-shine-at-6am-all-refreshed-and-totally-not-grumpy gang

Being disappointed that everything isn't figured out already
As much as everyone keeps saying that your 20s are for figuring out what you want to do with your time and trying new things, a big part of me wishes that I already did have it all figured out so that I can chill with the constant thoughts of 'omg, what am I doing with my life?!' And it's all very well saying that everyone is also in the same position because Facebook begs to differ. Ah, Facebook. When did it go from a place to laugh at last nights photos to a place of status updates about the new job/home/holiday/marital status?  I guess this is a mistake that will keep on happening until things really are figured out but until then, it's a perfect time for growth, ambitious dreams and determination. 

Waaaaaaay too much chocolate eating
Chocolate is both my love and my kryptonite.  I mean, it's delicious, but also probably not the best thing for general health, you know??  I once vowed to give up chocolate forever; a resolution that lasted all of 5 months.  I guess that was still somewhat of an achievement and I have definitely cut my chocolate intake in half (hey, some people are trying to quit smoking, I'm trying to quit chocolate!) Now, I always find myself doing some food shopping and just slipping in a couple of bars of chocolate, or snacking on a Snickers bar while doing some work or munching on KitKat while waiting for the bus and I reckon my arteries are screaming for me to stop. I think it's time I made the transition to making my own chocolate snacks with cacao powder so I can feel less guilty!

Refusing to check the bank balance
Who else just does not check their bank balance for ages and pretends like everything is ok?! Of course it's ok, why would it not be ok?? It's not like you have failed to save more than £200 or you continue to spend your money on frivolous things that you don't actually need...  It's not like every time you go to buy something your heart does a little leap of worry just incase today is the day that the shop assistant will look up at you with a sympathetic face and asks 'do you have another form of payment? This card's not working...' Yep, been there, done that, got several t-shirts.  It's definitely time to build a better relationship with the bank!

What are some of your mistakes that you keep making and should really put in effort to stop?

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Tales of a wanderer // Musings

'Today, find a point of stillness:
Brief, but precious. 
Slight, but full. 
Small, but luminously real...'
- Na'ama Yehuda

I'm pretty sure I've already mentioned this about 542987 times before but the University of Nottingham has such a beautiful campus and it shares its grounds with Highfields Park which is quite possibly my favourite place in Nottingham (apart from my house of course, because, you know, food and my bed. Oh and my family I guess).  It's nothing spectacular but it's the place I like to go when things get a bit blearuurrrghhmehhharghh (oh yes, that familiar feeling) as it's always really peaceful or, as my friend likes to say, 'tranquil'. 

So I go, wander around for a bit, find a nice bench with a lovely view, sit and just people/squirrel watch before heading home.  Sitting on a park bench and doing nothing or wandering aimlessly around the grounds may seem like a complete waste of time, I mean, time is the biggest commodity we have, so why waste it right??  As the one thing we strive to use efficiently and constantly crave as we get older, time is the most important thing there is. As the saying goes, time is money and however we spend it builds up who we are as a person. But among the deadlines, exam revision, house chores, life errands, work schedules, social dates, family commitments etc etc etc, sometimes you need a moment, some space and some time to just be still. Some people like meditation, others choose yoga while for some a run on the treadmill works best. For me, it's a moment on a park bench. It's a place of sanctuary and peace, a place to be still while the world keeps going and a place to think with no distractions, no messages, no stress... no worries. 

I think everyone needs their own place of stillness - a place of quiet among the raging noise of the world - so I challenge you guys, if you don't have one, to find one. A place and time where your phone goes off and you just listen to the sounds around you, to your own breathing, to your own thoughts... completely aware of your being in that present moment.  I sound like I'm a new found Yogi telling you to 'search for your inner eye' but I can promise you this - learning to take a moment to be still is priceless and one of the greatest lessons I've learnt.  It's one of those things where you start doing it you think to yourself 'why the hell have I not thought about doing this before??!!' 

What do you like to do to find a moment of peace?

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Monday, 5 January 2015

A Few Moments With: Such & Such // Interview #11

One of my blogging goals in 2015 is to expand my interview series to not only include a diverse range of bloggers, but also companies and individuals doing great things online. I love coming across small companies or bloggers/youtubers/general amazing people who share their work online and why not pick their brains a little in an interview and share with you guys?! 


So, to start off the interview series in 2015, I want to introduce to you Such & Such - an online store founded by brother and sister, Ali and Nikki, that aims to sell nothing but products with great design. From an indoor swing (seriously cool) to a USB Jar this is the place for unique and original gifts, and the best thing about them?? Every single product is hand crafted and would make any living space or work environment look that little bit more snazzy, ohhh yeaaaah.  One of my favourite things is how simple yet awe-inspiring the products at Such & Such are while Ali and Nikki also share stories about the designs and anything else they find inspiring. To find out more, I decided to ask them a couple of questions about how they set up this unique and refreshing space on the internet and any plans they have for the future. 

Hello! Could you tell us a bit about yourselves?  
We are brother and sister, Ali and Nikki. We grew up in the Peak District and now Nikki lives in Bedfordshire with her husband, Jake and two girls, Bessie (aged 3) and Anna (aged 10 months), whilst I live in London with my wife, Gee. 

Before we started Such & Such, Nikki was an artist and studied fine art at University before working in a number of galleries in London whilst continuing to paint. She then went on to study Interior Design at KLC School of Design and worked for a short time as a lighting designer before moving to Vietnam for a number of years.  

I studied Geography at university and then became a lawyer and spent a few years at a City law firm and a couple of years working in-house for a large finance company before we started Such & Such.  

How and why did you decide to start Such & Such? 
We started discussing the idea that would become Such & Such whilst I was out visiting Nikki in Vietnam. We went to some old furniture warehouses and a couple of design stores and started to chat about some of the great things we saw and how good it would be if we could bring them back homeWe knew that there were a lot of great designers and makers out there but that it wasn’t always easy to find them or to buy their work. Over the next couple of years the idea developed as we started to look for potential products. We found time and time again that we loved to know how a product was made and to hear the stories behind a product or learn all about a designer or maker. We continually felt that we connected with a product and the designer more when we understood the provenance and the time, skill and care that had gone into making the products. 

What are your favourite items currently in stock?
Nikki – my favourite product is the Torbuschka storage bags. I love the way they look and that they can be used for loads of different things, I use mine for kids toys, magazines and they are great for logs too. I also think the fact that the felt is squeezed from recycled plastic bottles is brilliant. 

My favourite product is the iPad easel by Peg & Awl. It’s really useful, well designed and I love the history it brings with it as the reclaimed oak is primarily sourced from the 1800s.  

How do you pick the designers you work with? What do you look for? 
Working with the right designers and selecting the right products is extremely important to what we are trying to do and create. We spend a lot of time looking for new designers that are passionate about original design and that are making things with care and skill. We seek out products that catch our eye and then try to learn about how it was made and find out about the story behind the product and/or designer. By researching the designers/makers and products, and hearing the story behind them, we usually learn whether or not the designer and the process by which the product is made fits with our ethos.

Where do you look for inspiration?  
We are slightly addicted to design blogs and magazines and so probably spend a bit too much time reading those with the excuse of trying to spot trends in materials and colour. We also attend a lot of the design events to look for designers and products. 

Thank you! What can we expect in the future from Such & Such? 
We did our first pop-up this year and really enjoyed it so we are planning on doing one again next year, possibly for a couple of months. We also released the first product designed in-house at Such & Such, the Reclaimed Wood Dining Table, which was designed by Nikki. We are really keen to create more of our own designs going forward. Plus, we have a list of exciting new products and designers/makers that we want to work with. 

Check out Such & Such on Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Tumblr

Check out my latest YouTube video: New Year Resolutions 
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