Why Stay In Your Lane? Lanes Are For Cars

Why Stay In Your Lane? Lanes Are For Cars

Stay in your lane! An overly used term commonly thrown at anyone daring to be more and/or do more -well that’s my take on it. I mean how else could it possibly be viewed? I want to know why we’re so encouraged to live within imaginary lines. Why are we so dissuaded to venture beyond what our eyes can see when our hearts plead with us to go further. Let me ask you, when your dreams play out night after night, with sky as their limit do you request that they reign it in a bit? Or do you bask in the bravery of their reach, waking up excited albeit afraid at what you could achieve if you simply chased them. Lanes, what lanes?

Stay in your lane they say when you choose to take your business to the next level and incorporate a new facet. Stay in your lane they say when you dare to fall in love with someone deemed more of a ‘catch’ than yourself or someone from a different race, ethnic or economic background. Stay in your lane they say whenever you decide it’s time to venture beyond their safe perimeter…but lanes are for cars I say. Right?

In relationships how dare we, even in jest imply that the ‘less attractive’ person is punching above their weight or should have stayed in their lane. Are we that fickle? We cannot grade each other in this way, furthermore, is it even our business? We need to stop! It’s the same for race and ethnicity when we begin to shout ‘stay in your lane’ or see one group of people unworthy of the love of another we divide and we go backwards towards the dark places in history we’d rather forget.

I have noticed that there is a patronising air, sprinkled with a generous dose of ridicule that happily goes along with this command also known as a ‘suggestion’ to those that think they’re using it to mean well. It callously cuts you down to size, knocking you for six, totally giving you permission to recoil back into the lane life has without permission signed you up to. Not everyone is fierce and ballsy. For some it would have taken them weeks to have built up the courage to share their aspirations with someone other than their reflection and then with those four simple words spoken with the sinister precision of a master sword thrower, those aspirations simply wither away, dreamer deflated but safely in their original lane.

Now I totally understand the many ways the suggestion to stay in your lane like a broken down vehicle actually means well. It encourages you that in your current line of expertise or craft you are a boss. So as a successful MUA why would you dabble in shoe design and potentially be mediocre at it thus taking you away from your ‘A’ game. I get that as a food blogger throwing in random posts about your post natal depression akin to the mummy blogger crew might just confuse your audience who are just waiting for your Wednesday night Risotto like…huh?! but my thing is What. If. It. Works? What if your fans, followers, your market, buyers, sponsors and audience love it! What if by flicking on your indicators and moving out of your lane actually pays off and takes you somewhere?

Us humans are complex, surely we cannot be confined to lanes and boxes. We have put ourselves on the moon and sent submarines into the deepest depths. It’s deciding to step out that makes amazing things happen. We can wish upon stars, we can pray to God. How about we start changing lanes. Not that hard in the scheme of things.

Are you going to stay in your lane, or change lanes? Share your thoughts with a comment.

Vean Torto

Vean is an avid writer and blogger based in west London. A self confessed big mouth with an even bigger heart, she combines these two attributes as she writes daily on Vean’s Voice an inspirational blog where she encourages women to be the women of their dreams. As a wife and busy mum of four she has a lot to say on all things motherhood, sisterhood, identity and lifestyle. Her battle with severe endometriosis further drives her passion of supporting and empowering women as they face infertility reminding them of their wholeness throughout the storm.

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Want Glowing Skin? It Starts On The Inside…

Want Glowing Skin? It Starts On The Inside…

Photo Team credits: Publication – Schön Magazine. Project – ‘Adorned’. Photographer – Àsìkò. Model – Paula Okunzuwa. Hair – Gracia-Denise Coleman. Stylist – TrendyRail. MUA – Lori Bee MUA.

We live in a society where the need for speed in absolutely everything is on the increase… including gaining healthy, glowing skin!

Quick fixes, chemical and invasive treatments are all readily available as we look for swift turnarounds to cure our skin after traumatising it for so many years!

But what about going back to basics, and looking at what we eat to help us get the glowing skin that we so often crave?

It’s all too easy to search for the perfect cream, lotion and potion, with little time and effort devoted to finding out more about how we can address our skin issues and get that gorgeous complexion – without make up and filters (!) – through our diet.

Often times with dry skin, we tend to pack on layers of oil and cream, but abandon the nutritional value that foods such as carrots, butternut squash, bell peppers and even oily fish can add to our skin.

These foods are packed with skin renewing vitamin A and essential fatty acids that not only help our skin cells to renew with normal function, but also provide natural oils that keep our skin moist and glowing from the inside out.

Sensitive skin, skin that is prone to breakouts, or skin that has pimples and rashes are often indicative of inflammation in the gut.

Soothing and hydrating foods such as melon, cucumber and even calming chamomile tea can help to soothe the gut, whilst flushing out nasty toxins that often lead to breakouts and angry looking skin.

The world of beauty makes trillions of pounds from consumers buying several anti-aging products, in their quest to fight and defy the law of gravity, and its effects on our skin!

However, there are several everyday foods that can be used to fight the signs of aging and reduce lines and wrinkles.

Mushrooms, wholegrains, walnuts, oysters and other shellfish are just some examples of the foods that contain the mineral Selenium, and help to maintain elasticity in the skin naturally.

So you see; we do have a choice in the measures we take in our attempt to gain beautiful, glowing skin.

Although it may not bring hard and fast results; wouldn’t you rather have a beautiful complexion that allows you to stay beautiful from the inside out – skin that is manufactured naturally by your own body; rather than skin heavily reliant on laboratory based products? …I know I would!!!

Here’s three of my top tips to help you get started on your journey to glowing skin:

Aim to add healthy skin foods gradually. For example, if you’re not used to eating fruit and vegetables on a daily basis, start with at least one piece per day; rather than trying to factor in all of the daily recommendation of five pieces;

Listen to your skin! Take note of when your skin feels or looks most dry, or when you tend to get spots the most. It could be that your skin is reacting negatively to specific foods or products;

Although getting our beauty sleep is important, having sufficient rest and relaxation is also vital in supporting a healthy complexion. Stress levels reduce and skin cells are able to renew and function normally.

Remember, positive changes to your skin won’t happen overnight and will take determination and consistency on your part. But as you allow healthy eating and lifestyle choices to become your norm; your skin will react positively and allow you to reap the glowing skin that you want and deserve!

What steps are you going to take to get glowing skin? Share with a comment.

Lori Bee

Lori Bee MUA© is a qualified and published fashion/editorial make up artist who is experienced in working on shoots, video, runway, demos, television and film. She is experienced in providing make up looks to a specified brief and confident in working on all skin types and tones; on both male and female clients.

As a qualified and experienced lecturer of health of nearly eighteen years, her ethos encourages individuals to stay beautiful from the inside, where she aims to see as many of her clients ‘live beyond the (makeup) bottle’ as much as possible; one face at a time!

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How To Care For Your Color Treated Natural Hair

How To Care For Your Color Treated Natural Hair

If you have color treated natural hair, your hair care regimen will require some tweaking. Coloring with an ombre effect or even just adding some highlights can have a dramatic effect on your hair’s health.

Your hair porosity can change because of the nature of hair dye. Lightening your hair is also known as lifting the color, and it strips the hair of its natural pigment. The chemicals break down the hair’s structure to open the hair shaft.

It’s the breakdown of the hair strand that causes dryness and damage. When you lighten your curls, you remove color and protein, destroying the integrity of the hair.

If you have grey hair, you may have already tried darkening your hair instead. Darkening the hair is less damaging to the hair shaft because you’re depositing color onto the shaft instead of stripping it of pigment.

So, dyeing your hair black is less damaging to your natural hair, but what if you don’t want to go darker?

Here’s the good news: You can still lighten your hair to platinum blonde if you want to. You just need to change your regimen and become ultra-vigilant about taking care of your hair. Coloring your hair will increase the time and energy you spend maintaining your hair, but you may decide it’s worth it.

In this post, we’ll take you through tips for taking care of your color treated natural hair so you can keep your curls beautiful, healthy, and moisturized.

1. Moisturizing Your Color Treated Curls

You probably already know that moisture is a must if you have natural hair. But hydration becomes even more crucial if you have color treated natural hair. It can make the difference between whether you rock cute honey blonde curls or dry frizz.

One of the best ways to moisturize your hair is through deep conditioning. Deep conditioning for at least 30 minutes per week will allow your hair to soak up moisture and nutrients. Using an overhead dryer will help your hair absorb the nutrients, but if you don’t have a dryer, you can still use a plastic shower cap and a towel to create body heat.

You cannot get everything you need from one product alone. That’s why it’s a good idea to incorporate ingredients to your deep conditioner that will aid in the health of your newly colored curls.

When you strip the color from your hair, it becomes dry and prone to breakage. Adding vegetable glycerin or honey will combat dryness and add shine. These two humectants draw moisture from the air into your hair.

Vitamin E makes another perfect addition to your deep conditioner because it helps repair the damage that comes from lightening your locks.

You also have a wide array of oils you could add to your deep conditioner. Two of the best oils to add are jojoba and avocado. Jojoba is a wax ester that mimics your scalp’s sebum. It protects the hair strand and helps you retain growth by coating the hair like your scalp’s natural oils would.

Avocado oil is an excellent conditioner for color treated natural hair because it penetrates the hair cortex with ease, and in the end will make detangling quicker.

When you use chemical-free concoctions frequently, you almost guarantee hair health. The key is to build a routine of applying them to your curls.

2. Protein Treatment to Strengthen Color Treated Hair

Coloring your hair will increase the likelihood of having high porosity hair. High porosity hair is easy to moisturize. The problem is, it becomes dry just as fast. The perfect solution is to use a protein treatment.

Using a protein treatment will strengthen the hair shaft and fill in the gaps. Closing some of the pores will make it easier for your hair to hang on to moisture, and you’ll get shinier hair as a result.
Hydrolyzed protein is one of the most effective proteins for hair because its molecules are small enough to penetrate and bind to the hair shaft.

Balancing protein and moisture is crucial when you have color treated natural hair. Your color treated hair needs more protein now, so you want to use it to repair damaged strands, but you don’t want an overload. A protein overload will lead to breakage and sabotage your efforts to have healthy hair.

And if you use moisture without regular doses of protein, your hair will not regain the strength that it lost during the coloring process.

The best thing is to make sure you have both moisture and protein, so they can work together as a team to restore and repair damage.

3. Layering Hair Products with the LOC Method

Layering your hair products are a great way to lock in moisture help your curls to stay hydrated. One of the best layering methods for naturals is the LOC method.

This technique allows you to lock in moisture to the hair shaft and protect your hair. Here is a breakdown of the LOC method:

Liquid. The best liquid to use in this process is water. If you don’t want to get your hair soaking wet every day, you can keep a spray bottle filled with distilled water and some drops of eucalyptus or peppermint oil to use daily. This is also the best time to use a detangler like Kinky Curly Knot Today.

Oil. Layering an oil on top of the liquid will help you seal in hydration. The best oils for color treated natural hair include jojoba, avocado, coconut, and sweet almond.

Cream. Creams will help you coat and lock in moisturization. Your cream could be a butter like shea or mango, or it could be a store-bought curling cream.

Now that you have your moisturization locked into every strand, you’re all ready for styling. The LOC method is one of the most important techniques to master in your natural hair care regimen.

Final Thoughts

Coloring your hair may turn your locks into high porosity strands, but you can maintain health and avoid damage by adopting a new natural hair care regimen. You’ll love your new color if you can define your lightened curls and keep frizz away.

Coloring your natural hair is a great way to express the beauty of your curls. You’ll need to spend more time adding protein treatments and locking in moisture, but it may be worth it if you fall in love with your hair all over again.

Now it’s your turn to discuss. What’s your routine for taking care of your color treated natural hair? Share with a comment.

Patrina Haupt

Patrina is the founder of Natural Hair Queen; a blog to educate and inspire women with natural hair. Patrina just celebrated her 10-year natural hair anniversary, and achieved her goal of waist length hair. With the knowledge she has learned over the years she is dedicated to share her knowledge, and experience to educate women who wish to have moisturized, healthy natural long hair.


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5 Ways to Achieve Personal Growth Success

5 Ways to Achieve Personal Growth Success

Personal growth success is one hundred percent personal, it’s a journey only we as individuals can travel. In our commitment to develop ourselves we become better individuals, can run our businesses more efficiently, make informed decisions and contribute to our families, friends and communities positively. Who doesn’t want some of that right?

So if you’re reading this and want to improve the quality of your life that’s where it starts – with you! With that in mind, I want to share five ways you can achieve personal growth success. They relate to some of the adjustments I’ve made to my life so far to develop myself personally and professionally and I’m still working on them.

I hope they will also inspire you on your quest to making your dreams and desires a reality.

1. Glow Goals

One of my most played tracks on Spotify currently is Kanye’s single ‘Glow’. The outspoken rapper hits the nail on the head in the lyrics “watch out for me I’m about to glow”. On the surface the seemingly superficial track featuring Drake not only address their haters but the celebratory song also tackles progression, showcasing the surpassing of goals by their wildest dreams. Kanye’s verses boasts:

“No more 9 to 5, autopilot dri-i-ive
Used to work the fries, now we supersi-i-ize
We go suit and tie, we gon’ touch the sky-y-y
We so certified, we so certifi-i-ied.”

This sums up personal growth success, it’s about pushing yourself to excel to new heights. Growing as a person includes different factors that challenge, stretch and make us feel uncomfortable, but ultimately will bring us closer to the best version of ourselves.

I’ve written down my glow goals and I’m committed to making them happen. How will you get your glow on when it comes to your goals?

2. Health and Fitness

When I found that my energy levels dipped I decided to sign up to the gym. I did this because I wasn’t satisfied with how I felt physically and made the decision to do something about it. I also found the more junk food I ate, I felt sluggish and was prone to sickness so I decided to switch up my whole diet. Not just train right but eat right. At the beginning the struggle was REAL as most things are in the beginning but I found the perseverance to keep going would also help me outside of exercise too.

If I committed to keep going it would be a principle I could apply to all areas of my life. Right now I’m feeling focused, stronger and healthier. I challenge you to try a new routine, class or activity and swap that takeaway for something more balanced. If you’re on point with your fitness already what area of your life could be improved and what steps will you take to make it better?

3. Skills and Learning

There is a saying education doesn’t end at school. Learning is continuous. We are spoilt for choice with the Internet, videos and books. Its important to upgrade your skill-set and develop your talents. At uni I learned a lot about analysis, screenwriting and theory, but now I’m learning about production too. I want to enhance my abilities so I can have a competitive edge in the market and add value to my ventures. Whether you are job hunting or want to set your business apart, enhancing your abilities will make you stand out. How will you advance your skills? With a language, by coding or taking a course? Whatever it is, go deeper, be an authoritative professional and an expert in your field.

4. Morning Routine

How you start your day can impact how your whole day will turn out. I try not to check social media first thing, you can always schedule your posts. Instead, I read and meditate over a daily devotional I subscribe to called Daughters of the King Daily Devotionals. These are really encouraging and help me to focus on being thankful and turning my day over in prayer. So I can face the day in confidence. Also on my commute I listen to upbeat music, praise or motivational speeches. It also helps that I have likeminded friends that share their uplifting broadcasts as well. How do you start your day and do you have friends that can hold you accountable?

5. Money Talks

Another thing I really want to get in check this year is being disciplined with my finances. This is really important to me. I’ve found that eating out all the time and impulse spending is not a great habit to have. So along with my fitness routine I plan and meal prep my food for the week, which saves a ton. If I don’t, that’s a least £6 a day on lunch alone which could go towards something more useful. Don’t get me wrong its good to treat yourself every once in a while, but I have learned to prioritise, budget and set funds aside more which may be a sacrifice now but will pay off later.

On a final note, to achieve personal growth success, surround yourself with people that will support you and not criticise your desire to upgrade your life! Write down your “glow goals” and get ready to get your shine on. Not just for summer or for a new year but for yourself. Until then keep that chorus on repeat …”Watch out for me I’m about to glow.”

Linda Smith

Linda is a Writer, Entrepreneur, Events Planner and Marketing professional with a global mindset. She has 10 years of experience in marketing and media working for the likes of ITV, Sky Time out and Dow Jones. She Founded TNBT Media – an inspirational platform to encourage people to help make their dreams a reality through inspiring talks, panels and digital content. As a savvy events planner she has organised conferences and award shows in London, Boston and Chicago, which recognise women in male dominated industries. Linda studied Journalism in her first degree and more recently completed an MA in Film and Television studies at Westminster

University. As a result she is committed to bringing her media knowledge and creative expertise to help others achieve success and create positive and empowering media.

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What Black Owned Businesses Can Do To Gain Support From The Community

What Black Owned Businesses Can Do To Gain Support From The Community

What black owned businesses can do to gain support from the community without resulting to emotional blackmail.

How many times have we heard ‘Black people don’t support each other’, or the age old comment ‘we are crabs in a barrel’. Of course, you will get people who are envious and disenchanted by the success of their peers, but overall the black community are staunch supporters of their own people and loudly cheer on those of us who are running businesses with our community’s interest’s at heart.

Lately there have been posts on social media about black owned businesses not doing well, and the underlying narrative is that the main cause of their failure is because black people particularly, have not been regular or willing customers. But any business knows that in order to survive there must be a demand for the product or service and a strategy around Marketing, Public Relations and Advertising to ensure you reach your target audience. How many of us were aware that these businesses existed before seeing a campaign to save it?

As a community we generally do not support out of guilt or false obligation. It would be impossible for many businesses in the diaspora to survive without regular custom from a diverse clientele, but the initial support and promotion of any enterprise will undoubtedly come from friends and family proudly spreading the word, these are the people who should also be your first group of loyal customers as long as you continue to provide a high level of service.

When we put the blame in the hands of the community we are not encouraging their custom. Instead of soliciting support out of pride and loyalty, we are bullying our people into parting with their money because of a false sense of sympathy. Ironically in most of the cases I’ve seen the businesses in question could’ve taken some simple steps to help themselves to gain attention and garner continuous support from black people, and those who love our culture, far and wide.

Employing a Black owned Digital Marketing company should be at the top of that list. A short consultation could leave you with the tools needed to move forward proactively with an aim to raise your profile and improve your public relations within the black community.

For a small investment you should ideally learn how to utilise social media targeting black consumers, build a list of current and potential clientele and put a few strategies in place which will help to save the business before it’s too late. Also supporting your fellow black owned publications, online and offline, by purchasing advertising slots is a great way to improve your visibility. Some of these ad slots can be negotiated to include a small article or feature in the publication and mentions across their social media channels. Depending on the publication’s following, one post or retweet on twitter could reach in excess of 20k – 100k people.

That one simple method does two things. Being that the recent campaigns have been for retail based companies, It give the business owners the knowledge needed to build customers online and it also shows that the support you are expecting from the community has been reciprocated by employing a black owned business to hep you strategise. You can’t make a video bemoaning your main customer base or shouting ‘black people don’t support each other’ if you as a business owner has not displayed that same support for your peers.

Hopefully we will see an end to the complaints and more focus on building a team of highly trained black owned businesses which all help each other stay afloat.

Tyrell Miles-Brown

Tyrell Miles-Brown is one half of Merité Media, a new digital marketing & publishing company based in the UK. After graduating with a Law degree in 2016, Tyrell came back to London to help with the family business. Mother Marianne Miles had created a brand as a PR Consultant with Merité PR and together they are focused on expanding the company by providing digital marketing & PR services in the UK & Caribbean as well as creating online platforms dedicated to celebrating Caribbean Culture, Fashion and shaping future black billionaires worldwide. Check out the Merité Media for further developments and launch dates for each platform. 

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5 Tips For Perfecting Your Email Etiquette

5 Tips For Perfecting Your Email Etiquette

How many times have you sat in regret after hastily sending an email?

Many of us have made the grave error of sending an important email with an embarrassing grammatical typo. Or have perhaps accidentally emailed a tasteless joke to the wrong person, leaving us to stare at our screen in despair.

As emails increasingly become the choice method of communication in work and in business, so does our tendency for us to hit those keys much faster than we are processing the content we type. Yet ensuring that our emails are legible, accurate and appropriate for our reader is so important. It is estimated that the average worker sends and receives around 116 business emails a day, and this figure is set to rise to 129 per day*.

Over seven years ago as an intern in a PR agency, the most I knew about emails was that they were a tool to send and receive messages. I had little understanding of what good email etiquette was or the extent to which my emails were a reflection of me as a professional. I also hadn’t fully grasped that at any time my emails could be retrieved and read over! There was one day when my manager pulled me aside and advised me to, “take a little more care” when typing. It turned out that an important email I had sent to a client with her in copy read, ‘the press release is set to go public’, instead of ‘the press release is set to go public’!

Now with more experience as a professional and a communicator, I can say that I know better. I have come to realise that following good email etiquette is key in maintaining professional dignity. For me, the craft of writing a winning email is as important if not more, than being able to deliver a good speech or hold an interesting conversation. Unlike verbal communication, evidence of every word typed can last for years, so following good email etiquette is a must when it comes to staying ahead. Below are 5 tips for perfecting your email etiquette.

1. Accuracy – The first and most basic rule for maintaining professional dignity, and perfecting your email etiquette is to ensure your spelling and grammar is accurate. Not only is poor spelling and grammar a waste of time and productivity because your emails run the risk of being misunderstood, but badly written emails also call into question your credibility as a professional. A simple spell check or tools such as Grammarly can help in improving your accuracy.

2. Responding – In business it is best to respond to emails in the same day. If this is not possible then at least within 24 hours. In the corporate world, things move fast, and people have little time. So waiting too long to send a response is often perceived as a snub. If you are not able to adequately respond in good time, then it’s advisable to send a holding email to let the sender know that his or her message has been received and that you are working on his or her enquiry. Many organisations have these automated. You should also remember to switch on your automatic replies if you will be taking some time away from your business or work so people know not to expect an immediate response from you.

3. Subject line – Put informative and relevant headings in the subject field. Remember, every word you write is a reflection of your professionalism. So ‘Meeting: 28th February’ is more appropriate than just “meeting”. Leaving the subject field blank is definitely not advised, as it portrays a lack of care. Not only that, a good subject line will help you when retrieving old emails later on.

4. Carbon copy – This is popularly referred to as the ‘cc field’, and anybody added to this field will receive the exact copy of the email you’ve sent to your intended recipient. Make good use of the cc field. It helps when handing over projects to colleagues and business partners. They will be able to take over from you easily as they’ll have an email trail of your progress so far. I also tend to copy my manager into my emails when making awkward requests from difficult colleagues. Just her “presence” alone helps me to leverage the results I require!

5. Tone – Unlike verbal communication, the written word lacks the ability to convey your tone as the reader is free to interpret your message without the aid of your voice, your facial expressions or body language. More effort is therefore needed in not coming across as harsh or cold. To lighten the tone of your emails, you can always begin with a friendly salutation such as, ‘I hope you’re well’. Avoid at all cost impoliteness. Remember, once you hit “send”, you can’t take it back! Like any model of professional communication, you are representing your company. Don’t write anything from behind your screen that you are not prepared to say in person. One of the best pieces of advice I received is, “never write an email when you’re angry. Calm down first, then come back to it later!”

*Email Statistics Report, 2015 – 2106, Radicati Group

Madeline Wilson-Ojo

Madeline is a copywriter and a communications & book blogger. Her website, features her Communications Academy where she offers advice to professionals to help them communicate effectively in the workplace and in business. She is a Master of International Communication & Diplomacy and has vast experience in PR. Madeline is of Ghanaian descent, hails from London, and speaks French fluently.

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Womanhood Is A Journey, not ‘one size fits all’

Womanhood Is A Journey, not ‘one size fits all’

Womanhood is a journey like no other, each and every day we discover something new and have the ability to mould and shape ourselves over time. It’s not something that can be rushed and following your heart aids everything falling into place at the right time. Like on any journey in life we embark on the ride may not always be smooth but with persistence and the right navigation, the destination is assured. In the modern day, there are so many options; bun or braids, Indian or Laotian, heels or flats, khaki or nude? These are just some of the few decisions we make in our quest of expressing our femininity and showing our confidence as women. But is this the same for all on their journey to womanhood; the qualities considered to be natural to or characteristic of a woman.

I’m the true definition of a late bloomer, I started wearing makeup three months before my 27th birthday, went to my first rave at twenty-six and until three months ago the only highlighters I owned were a Stabilo Boss fluorescent assorted pack. Throughout my teenage years when most girls were interested in make-up and parties, I was more passionate about cooking, sports, mountain bike riding and everything counter ‘girly’ culture; I was the tomboy in the group of Barbie’s. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel the peer pressure (the cloud of conformity that overshadows individuality and influences individuals to follow the crowd) but I wanted to be different or even better said, I just wanted to be myself without the ever-changing standards of society telling me who and what I should be. I enjoyed the freedom of knowing that one day I would want to try new things and develop my own personal style because womanhood is a journey of self-discovery.

Confidence is like a house, it’s built over time unlike the resurfacing of a road which can be done overnight. In my younger days, I didn’t really have someone showing me the ropes and guiding me on how to grow in confidence or more importantly how to maintain it. My interests and hobbies were always different from most girls who were age but I didn’t want to sell myself out and conform to the norm so I decided to look for communities of young individuals just like myself and began to network online. I connected with people who were passionate about their interests and loved who they were, I became more confident in who I was knowing there were others like myself out there.

One of the best pieces of advice I can give is to never compare yourself, ever, it’s an absolute no-no! Every human on this planet is on their own path, moving at their own pace, with their own unique destination (carpooling is not allowed lol). The comparison can be a major cause of unhappiness often leaving you feeling that you’re not good enough or not meeting society’s false standard. I for one can say that at times I’ve been caught up in the hype of the false realities of the social media world and focused on what others were doing so much that I forgot I was my only competition. Learning how to love yourself no matter what stage you’re at in life is essential; whether you’re still going through the tomboy phase, practising to walk in heels or are a make-up grandmaster.

I love that womanhood is a journey with so many choices to make, we’re able to take inspiration from others and adapt it to fit into our own style; an outward creative reflection of our inner selves. Whether it be the clothes I wear or how I do my hair I remind myself daily that this journey is about becoming more of me. Without fail, I strive to maintain my focus in this loud reality TV-driven world and I encourage all of you girls and young women to create you own because womanhood is a journey, one that isn’t ‘one size fits all’.

Almaz Parillon

Diamond London is a blogger from East London, documenting her journey of life lessons, personal growth and development into womanhood. A self confessed late bloomer, Diamond marches to the beat of her own drum and is passionate about challenging young women to create their own identity in the social climate of fitting into the status quo.

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Redefining Feminism: Who and what are we fighting for?

Redefining Feminism: Who and what are we fighting for?

After having spent half my life performing, I woke up one morning and decided that I no longer wanted to.

I had just got back from working on a music project in The Netherlands for five months, where I’d travelled back and forth from London doing the odd commercial acting gig.

When people ask me why I left the entertainment industry, I usually give them the least politicised answer “I was aware that I was a woman that was ageing, and until there’s more of a female presence behind the camera the work produced will continue to be for the male gaze”. This is true, though the reason that really moved me to leave was: being a woman of colour who performs is loaded in a whole other way, it’s a position that societally we almost expect, and a position that perhaps we’re more comfortable with.

On January 21st 2017, 3 million people took part in one of the largest demonstrations our world has ever seen. The Women’s March for many was in direct opposition to President Trump and his highly publicised derogatory statements about women. Though, I ask the question: can we only be stirred to take action by issues that have the potential to directly affect us?

Or the people that we hold dearest? And, if that is the case, does this explain why so many who attended wouldn’t conceive of attending a Black Lives Matter march, which honours women such as Sandra Bland who have had their lives brutally taken at the hands of institutional prejudice? Or, is it because societally we’re more familiar with the idea of the black female body enduring violence? Being objectified? In exactly the same way that we expect to see black women entertain?

So, was this march for all women? Was it intersectional feminism at its finest? Did it represent women from all walks of life? And does feminism only have meaning when it’s in direct opposition to men? Because I have many men in my life who I consider to be truer feminists than many women that I know.

For me, feminism is also about everyday feminism. It’s about challenging the fact that women are unable to show their nipples in on/offline media. It’s about supporting Poetesses like Rupi Kaur who have had their works censored and deemed inappropriate by some social media channels. it’s about praising and taking a stand for women who choose to not hide away in toilets to feed their babies.

It’s about not policing other women’s sexuality. It’s about – not objectifying other women. It’s about realising that just because we’re women, this doesn’t mean that we’ve had the same experiences and that we can speak for all women. It’s about having empathy.

I hope that the momentum continues, though also, evolves past, dare I say it, mainstream feminism, to really challenging the everyday discrimination that happens without us batting an eye. There are differences between us, though these differences do not need to divide us.

Sereena Abbassi, Founder of All Here

Sereena Abbassi is the Founder of All Here, a social enterprise that supports creative agencies to move away from quota driven diversity; to helping them create a truer inclusive space. Sereena is Britsh-Persian-Iranian-Jamaican. And has lived and worked in the U.S, The Netherlands, Iran, Spain & UK.


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5 Tips On Why Your Website Needs A Blog

5 Tips On Why Your Website Needs A Blog

How many times have we heard the word blogging recently? It has taken over the internet and for good reason too. Not only are bloggers giving up their 9-5 and sharing content full-time, they are making a living doing it. Plus, as odd as it may seem to say this, blogging isn’t just for the individual, it has monumental benefits for your business. So, I have broken down a list of tips to show you how your business could reap the rewards of blogging.

Tip 1 – Search engines love good content

You may have paid hundreds on a good ad to reach your target market in your chosen search engine, but have you thought about how much value a blog in the search engine can bring? Your blog will be an anchor for SEO (search engine optimization). This means someone searching for tips on how to improve their sales technique may come across your blog post titled “How to improve on your sales technique in 3 steps” – this may then be linked an ebook you are selling on being a sales expert. Your search engine will bookmark this blog post based on the keywords you have used and will pull it forward whenever someone uses the keywords you have incorporated in your blog.

Tip 2 – A blog makes content marketing a doddle

Your blog will be the hub for content heaven, especially if you take advantage of social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. We all love to read content that adds value to things we find interesting. This opens up the door to start a conversation with your audience and shows off how authentic you are. It also spurs people on to comment, like or share your posts to an even wider audience.

Tip 3 – Naturally creates free PR

Having a blog that showcases your expertise is a great way to land in the hands of journalists searching for comments for an article they may be writing. While also being the beacon for customers who are searching for a reliable source to answer their questions. Your customers would then recommend you by word of mouth – which over time generates even more free PR for your business.

Tip 4 – You can tell your brands story

Don’t be afraid to get personal in your blogs – it doesn’t have to remain all business. Share your story with your audience and allow them to get to know the person behind the brand. Even the giants of the business world are working very hard on becoming more personal. No one appreciates a logo anymore, but would rather see the face of the person they are talking to on their phone screens. So, share your story – why you started and why they should listen to what you have to say.

Tip 5 – Gain a strong insight into your audience

Google analytics will be your best friend – add it to your blog and learn even more about the readers you attract. Are they male or female, age 25 – 36 or 18 – 25 and where are they based? With this addition you can even tell when the most popular time is to post content and what topics are the most popular. Now you can sit down and create a content strategy that directly works in your favour and pulls in the audience you need to grow your business. Think about it this way – if you find out you have lots of readers in Turkey, you may want to run a giveaway competition that incorporates your Turkish reader.

It has never been easier to tap into markets that were once only available if you had thousands to spend on an ad campaign. If the big guys are pouring money into an editorial team, then you know blogging plays a massive part in marketing. Blogging has leveled the playing field and provides a tool that anyone can use to reach the right audience at the right time. If you haven’t started blogging for your business then get ready to get left behind or get started now and reap the benefits.

Nadine Sandcroft, Founder of Just Entrepreneurs

Nadine is the founder of Just Entrepreneurs – a platform created to support startups, small businesses and entrepreneurs through networking events, workshops and actionable content. Nadine strongly believes that the power of creating the right content has never changed, content is still king! She has executed consistent business networking events in Lewisham Borough with the intention of fueling the entrepreneurial spirit one community at a time.

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