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5 Things To Consider Before Returning Home This Christmas

Returning home for Christmas this year? Well, lucky you! I can’t lie and say I do not hate from a distance! 

I’m afraid I will be watching you all enjoy the sunshine while I stay in the cold with my headscarf haha! Although I won’t be enjoying the sun with you lucky people this December, I thought it would be good to share a few tips you may want to consider or keep in mind before returning home to the mother island this year! So as usual, carry on reading…

I hope these tips can help you with your holidays and if you have any suggestions on returning home share in the comments below.

5 Things You Should Consider Before Returning Home This Christmas

1. Get your vaccinations

I am going to state the obvious – get your vaccinations!! It’s already December so I would like to believe you have already sorted this out, but if you haven’t book that emergency appointment, please.

yellow fever card

I travel back home at least every two years, so these usually last for me, but if you’re unsure of what you need, contact your doctors immediately!

The National Travel Health Network and Centre and WHO recommend the following vaccinations for Nigeria and Ghana: hepatitis Ahepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, yellow feverrabies, meningitis, polio and tetanus.

Don’t forget your malaria tablets! And please don’t go and spend a fortune in Boots or Superdrug. Head over to Asda the pills are much cheaper than the other companies. I usually get the daily ones, but there are other options for you to choose from. Speak to your GP for more info.

2. Be mindful of the weather

The Harmattan is a season in the West African subcontinent, which occurs between the end of November right through to March. It is characterised by the dry and dusty northeasterly trade wind, of the same name, which blows from the Sahara Desert over West Africa into the Gulf of Guinea. The name is related to the word haramata in the Twi language, meaning the temperature is cold and in most places, it can also be hot. This all depends on local circumstances.

Be mindful of the weather. When I was last in Nigeria (in 2017, which seems years ago now)! I didn’t really feel that it was actually hot. The locals kept going on about haramata time, which made no sense to me. I later realised that it is actually a thing. If I was you, I would be sure to prepare for this weather and don’t just pack for summer clothing. I would also suggest wearing glasses, which may help protect your eyes from the dust!

3. The Shows

Shows and events will not even stop from the moment you arrive in the motherland (without me)! Yes, I am hella hating! Returning home involves some form of turn up. And you know us Africans know how to enjoy ourselves!

In Ghana, you will have Afrochella and the Year of Return. Nigeria, (my motherland) will have a million events to attend. And I am sure the rest of Africa will have some fantastic things planned for those returning home. So please enjoy for me, and make sure you do Instagram lives for me so I can really enjoy well!

In all the fun, please please be mindful of your safety! The level of security is not always monitored as well as us Westerner know it to be so please ensure you make the necessary arrangments for your own well-being.

4. Power Bank

You are going to be out most of the day and night! You know recording for yourself and me of course! Please, you will want to record everything for me to see.

Be sure to have a power bank and even consider collecting a sim card while you are out there! Honestly, you and I both don’t want to miss out on live videos and content! Give me content please and take two power banks!

Get yourself a Power Bank!

5. Be aware of insects

Please note, I was invited to cover the We Drifters event and kindly gifted with a set of pyjamas. All views are my own. 

Insects and mosquitos don’t play out there! I was literally chewed alive while I was out there in 2017! Just take a look at this huge bite!

a mosquito bite
A mosquito bite picture

I was recently invited to an event with a company called We Drifters to hear about four women’s travelling experiences. The owner Naudia shared her story of how she began building her brand, which led her to create anti-insect sleepwear.

At the end of the event, Naudia was kind enough to gift me with the sleepwear. The sleepwear is made of bamboo fabric and technology, which keeps the insects away!

I will definitely be wearing mine when I travel to Jamacia next year. And of course, give a hands-on experience of what it was like! If you are interested in buying yourself an anti-insect sleepwear kit, then buy yours here.

Thank you for taking the time to have a read of my 5 tips in returning home. I would also like to thank We Drifters for my gift and inviting me to such a powerful event.
Do you have any tips to share? Go ahead in the comment section below. Either way, I hope you all enjoy yourself and make sure you take explicit videos and pictures so I can be at home enjoying in my headscarf!

I talk about the importance of going/visiting home regularly. Read – It’s So Important To Visit/ Go Back Home

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[AD] My Hearing Loss Experience

The festive period is approaching — a socially and beautiful time of the year. But with Christmas just around the corner, for more than half of UK adults with hearing loss, the festivities are not such a social, joyous occasion. Hearing loss is often seen as a non-visible disability. Many people feel there is a stigma around the condition and find it hard to ask for help. There are 11 million people with hearing loss across the UK, (that’s around one in six people), so it’s a condition that affects a lot of us.

Please note this post is a collaborative post with Specsavers Audiology. All opinions are my own. 

Hearing loss

Hearing loss can have many different causes. For example, sudden hearing loss in one ear may be due to earwax, an ear infection, a perforated (burst) eardrum or Ménière’s disease. Sudden hearing loss in both ears may be due to damage from loud noise or taking certain medicines that can affect hearing.

With hearing loss, it can lead to withdrawal from social situations, emotional distress, and depression. Many people avoid social settings for fear of asking people to repeat themselves. Research shows that it increases the risk of loneliness, but only for those who don’t wear hearing aids.

Heard it Through the Grapevine

Christmas is just around the corner which means the party season will soon be in full swing. With the busyness of the festive period, we often neglect our health and rarely pay attention to our eyes and ears. These two senses are a significant part of whether we can enjoy the festive period.

Last week I was invited to a wine tasting event with Specsavers Audiology. The event honestly changed everything for me! It was an intimate wine tasting evening, where we were all asked to wear hearing moulds which stimulated hearing loss. The event was for Specsavers to raise awareness on the importance of regular hearing checks.

There are 11 million people with hearing loss across the UK, (that’s around one in six people).

The event started at 6 pm at which I am proud to say that I was for once on time. I was welcomed with champagne and canapes of which I indulged in fully. You know me now, guys! 

Later in the evening, we spoke to an audiologist from Specsavers who informed us on the impacts of hearing loss and the importance of having your ears checked regularly.

My experience of wearing hearing loss moulds

I remember the audiologist asking me a series of questions, such as had I experienced any pain or any ringing in my ears etc. All of which I answered no to. The audiologist then checked my ears with an otoscope and told me that my eardrums looked healthy. (This was surprising considering how loud I blast my music daily).

Me and the audiologist

One ear was done at a time. The ear was fitted with a spongey mould and then injected with a cold substance which replicated around 70% hearing loss. Meaning that I was unable to listen to people speak like I usually do.

How I really felt losing my hearing

The experience was rather emotional. So emotional that I cried. Honestly, I first felt like I was physically underwater, you know that feeling when you know conversations are happening, but you can’t pinpoint what it is. That was how I felt not being able to hear.

I also learnt that using a cotton bud in your ear is like rubbing sandpaper on your hand.

I couldn’t believe how much I had to concentrate and look at people when they spoke to me. The majority of the night was spent with me feeling like I was shouting, which was ironic because many people said that I had talked a lot quieter and softer. As I was the first to have the moulds in I could feel a sense of isolation when making conversation with others. Continually having to ask people to repeat themselves, was complicated with people I had only just met for the first time.

Feeling isolated

Several times I felt very isolated and ready to leave. If I couldn’t hear what someone said, I would feel conscious of asking them to repeat themselves, so I usually smiled and nodded for fear of being annoying and praying for them to speak louder. When someone moved their face as they talked to me or covered their mouth, I wouldn’t be able to hear a single word that they said.

Another thing I noticed was the sudden change in my taste buds. Food and wine tasted slightly different. It felt like my other sense became more pronounced when I couldn’t hear. My attitude has undoubtedly changed towards those that suffer from hearing loss. I don’t think I have ever spoken with anyone with real hearing loss, but this evening really opened my eyes and made me realise the difficulties one may have with their hearing.

Me trying to hear what others are saying.

Mixed emotions

I kept the moulds in for just over an hour. Convinced that I had to keep them in as long as possible. I wanted to get a real sense of what it was like to suffer from hearing loss. When they were taken out, I was filled with tears and emotions. The experience was incredibly overwhelming, and the ability to be able to take the moulds out and hear again. Never in my life had I imagined what it was like to lose one of my senses. And for me, it was only for one hour! Realising that I struggled so much with the mould in. And then knowing that this is people’s daily life saddened me. It also made me understand the importance of proper communication and pronunciation.

There are helpful ways of speaking to someone with hearing difficulties:

  • Get their attention by calling their name before actually talking to them
  • Look directly at the person when you are speaking to them
  • Speak slowly and clearly. At the same time, don’t over pronounce the words, or they can’t follow what you are saying.
  • Never shout at someone with hearing difficulties
  • Don’t be dismissive, so things like ‘don’t worry about it’ is not a good idea
  • Be patient

Get your hearing checked

After my experience, I will be certainly getting my hearing checked more often. I would suggest getting checked once every two years. To find out more or book your next appointment head to your nearest Specsavers store or simply visit www.specsavers.co.uk 

I want to thank Specsavers Audiology for giving me such a life-changing experience. I left the event feeling transformed and more willing to understand the issues people may face with hearing loss. Think you could work with me – click here

As a travel blogger, it makes me wonder what it would be like to travel with hearing difficulties? Do you know anyone with hearing difficulties?

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 How To Keep In Contact with Your International Friends & Family Around The World

It seems like more and more people are doing study exchanges, moving abroad, and travelling nowadays. This is great! I LOVE people going and seeing the world. In travelling, moving abroad people can make lifetime international friends around the globe.

I LOVE people going and seeing the world

If you’re like me and have friends or even family that live abroad. Then I’m sure you know that it can be hard to keep in contact with all of them. So, I’ve shared some tips on how to stay in touch with your international friends.

I have been doing this for more than six years now so I would say I have done pretty well. Follow these, and you will be absolutely beautiful!

Make Good use of Social Media

I have all my international friends and family on all my socials, this includes Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and whatever else there is! Use these tools to your own advantage.

They are relatively easy to use and free (as long as you have internet). It can also be used at any time of the day, month and year. I like to watch my friends and families stories. It sparks up conversation, rather than the long-winded how are you and hi conversations.

Treat WhatsApp Like Your Best Friend

Use WhatsApp to make calls and message of course! Why I like this app is because you can send voice notes, which can make someone feel like they are right next to you. The app is pretty much free as long as you have internet! The time difference might be a significant pain in the neck – so I would suggest making time for your friends or family. Book in a time when you can speak. Or message them they will get it when they wake up.

If you’re like me, you sleep with your phone in your hand (literally) so are always awake to speak to your loved one.

Arrange to meet in a different country

The other two are being pretty obvious things to do, but this is the best tool I can give you. I have been meeting one of my international friends every year since my study exchange in Singapore. That was in 2013. We have met in several countries around the world, which has been amazing to catch up. Read – 8 Things To Know Before Studying Abroad.

Pay them a visit

Me in New York I visited my friend Ivy

Why not head over and pay them a visit? I love having international friends because it means I have several countries to visit and get this – accommodation is free! I recently went to New York and was able to stay with my friend that now lives in Manhattan! I’m also lucky to have family that live in Nigeria and a Dad that lives in the states. Free accommodation!

Send Christmas Cards or Postcards

I only started this last year, and it seemed to work out really well. It can be quite expensive, but if you can send them why not? I live in the UK (London), so I sent Christmas cards that had a London Theme. It’s an excellent small token gift for your loved ones.

Do you have international friends? How do you keep in contact with them?

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Are You Broke This Christmas?

Oh the 25th of December has not always been the best day for me until. Well not until the last few years when I have spent it with family that actually count. It’s a day for many of us to spend with family or friends (I say that with caution). To buy presents and to simply stuff your face until the sight of food makes you want to throw up.

Apologies for the imagery on the last one. But as we get older or as I have gotten older, I noticed  that my Christmas list continues to grow longer and longer and the presents become more expensive. As an adult you can no longer buy your cousin a cheap mascara right? I’m beginning to feel the dizziness of present buying and gift wrapping… I’m sure you are too. It’s estimated that over 25% of us spend more than we actually have on Christmas presents – ouch that’s a lot! Hence the reason I have decided to write a quick process on how you can save some money and if you carry on reading this, you can even save a lot of money or not spend a dime.

Right, let’s get started!!

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Merry Christmas..??

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Don’t buy anything for anyone!

I have never done this before. Come on. The awkwardness when you are opening up presents and you haven’t got anything for the person giving you is not the best scenario anyone wants to be in on Christmas Day.. I will be taking my own advice this time around. Think I’m quite lucky as I won’t be spending Christmas as I normally do because of a scheduled minor operation. The not buying anything for anyone would need to be agreed with everyone. At least those that you plan to spend the day with of course; as that could be again extremely awkward. I know many families that do it now and they feel that Christmas is a day to be spent with family and be warm and cosy.

Make your gifts yourself.  I have to say, last year my cousin was proactive in saving money at Xmas and to be fair she made some really lovely presents that I used throughout this year. Yes, you’ll be surprised what you can find on websites such as eBay and Amazon. My cousin found natural ingredients to make lip balms, hand creams, shampoo, perfumes, the lot. It was the best selling point is that when a friend or family member opens the present it was all made with love and the natural goodness. Ohh and it’s good for you!

Secret Fanta AKA Secret Santa 

Now I think this can work really well if you come from a big family and even a small family. Why not buy one present for the family, something they all can all use or share. I think everyone knows how this goes right. But if you don’t … like you do with your friends or work colleagues. You get your families names in a bag ( go by surnames if you can) and you have the youngest (within reason) pick the names out of the bag. Your family will buy for that family. Warning! It does require reuniting before Christmas or whenever you decide to exchange presents. And the present. Well I’m not the best at presents, but it could go really well and will be coat effective.  

Why not? A fave series may go a long way – Game of Thrones maybe? Or why not a good old box of celebration or quality streets. If your family is like mine they can then give that to another family who will appreciate it. I would like a holiday. But that may be pushing it especially if you only get a box of celebrations in return. Hey it is the thought that counts and in life I’ve learnt you don’t give to receive. All the same, please remember the reason for Christmas and try to enjoy it for yourself and even for me.

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