The Other Woman

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This article was conceived in Lagos traffic. There’s nothing new about Lagos traffic; it’s where talents are developed and lost, and majority of the population waste away, slowly, daily, unknowingly.

The Other Woman, Chinma Eke Blog

So, there I was in home-bound, distracting myself with twitter when I stumbled on an article about the late Princess Diana, and since no article on Princess Diana can be complete without a mention of Camilla Parker Bowles, I also did a quick google search on Camilla. I had always been curious about her and it beat looking out at the sea of cars and wondering why we aren’t yet closer to our destination. I had always thought of Camilla as ‘the other woman’, I bet that’s how most of the world sees her. I think I read somewhere there was a time she was the most hated woman on earth! That evening I tried to read up on the woman for whom Prince Charles was willing to give up the throne, I tried to keep an open mind regardless of my views. I’ve always had this feeling this is not the life she would have chosen, it couldn’t have been easy being the world’s most hated mistress.

I’m staunchly #teammarriage or perhaps #teammonogamy I don’t care if the love is written in the stars by the gods, if they are married; leave them alone! It doesn’t matter if they are reasonable in the marriage, you shouldn’t date them until they decide they want out of the marriage. However, the same me loves the series- Scandal, as a matter of fact I loved it better when Fitz and Mellie were married and Olivia was the other woman. Olivia had gumption, she was the strong ‘single’ lady who could make or break the American presidency; while Mellie, though no push-over was constrained by the ‘Mrs.’ title, I think the script writers didn’t do her character justice.

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Either way and inspite of my love for Olivia Pope, I’m still #teammonogamy! I believe marriage is a binding contract and like all contracts should be adhered to with all parties abiding by its terms. At any time either of the parties chooses or needs to walk away all they have to do is notify the other party, have a conversation and observe the terms and conditions of disengagement. Like an employment contract; it’s unethical to be in full term employment with ABC industries and at the same time employed by XYZ industries. The moment you get the employment with XYZ you must leave ABC. Clean break!

Then I thought of the side hustle, most people have one and it does not actively interfere with their day job. Could the relationship with the mistress be termed ‘the side hustle’? Let’s not go down that lane because then we have to think of the sequence of activities that have to take place for *Chike to move to XYZ. He must apply, attend interviews, negotiate with XYZ, while still at ABC! Now liken that to a marriage, the application and interview process is already termed cheating in my mind. For me, the moment you see the XYZ ad and decide to apply; please let’s have a conversation and agree to part amicably. I cannot come and be thinking you are still on my team while you are testing the waters outside. But then, how can you resign when you aren’t sure you will get the new job or that the terms they will offer will be favorable? Also, you could see an opportunity that doesn’t require your full-time attention and allows you to merge it with your day job successfully without either suffering. There are even cases where the boss and colleagues know of the side hustle and even patronize you- lol, I can’t liken that one to a relationship o! It’s mind boggling; very French!

So, I tried to have this conversation with my friend to be sure I haven’t fallen off the #teammarriage wagon by beginning to understand what drives ‘the side hustle’.  She made matters worse by trying to rationalize why people look outside and the economic importance of ‘the other woman’. She cited the 2014 rom-com: The Other Woman. She was of the opinion that Leslie Mann’s character- Kate didn’t have that extra pizzaz a fine young upwardly mobile man’s wife should have and even her biological children will have cheated on her! In her opinion, it wasn’t all bad; Carly and Amber took off a lot of pressure for Kate, her husband came home happy not snappy, etc. I need new friends!  

The other woman

We did distil that thought though, Kate probably wasn’t like that before marriage, she most likely had the ‘extra’, enough to get herself to the alter. Whatever happened after the vows, in the movie she said she gave up a lot for her husband, but we all saw how it turned out. But why are we like that; very promising before marriage or before we are offered a job but quick to get complacent once we’ve settled in be it at our job, in a relationship, everywhere (happens with the best of us). You know, when that happens; we leave room for another to shine just by standing beside our lack-lustre form be it the other woman or a colleague.

Another argument is that it’s not always about the other woman being better, it just might be that: the heart wants what the heart wants! Lol that could be it right? That might explain why Prince Charles knowing he couldn’t marry Camilla at the time never stopped longing for her even after marrying Princess Diana. If is do say so myself, those two have proved their affection wasn’t just a fluke by having been together these long. (I can’t believe I am understanding their relationship! Where’s my #teammarriage hat)?

I refuse to attempt to understand what drives or fuels ‘the other woman’, it could be love, greed, the wife’s inadequacies or plain old curiosity. Neither can I fathom living with that arrangement, no matter how hard I try (I’m too selfish to understand the concept of sharing in the context of marriage). I was once tempted, guy was tempting for days, we gelled, within a day of meeting him it was like we had known each other forever; finished off each other’s sentences, had the same tastes; well except on the tiny issue of monogamy. And it was on that point I stood to say; not today devil!  (be like me, where’s my white hat?) It doesn’t matter if the African society is traditionally polygamous and we actively or passively share depending on our religious inclination or the choices of our partners. I’m firmly #teammarriage!

So, here are my questions; for what reasons can we justify the existence of ‘the other woman’, have you ever found yourself knowingly or unknowingly as ‘the other woman’ or if you are #teammonogamy like me but admire Olivia Pope or any other mistress, how do you cope with the double standards?

xoxo chinma

Images Credit: Google Images

For Adults on Children’s Day

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Children

Aunt Nikki* called out to me as I walked past her shop. I was hoping she won’t see me as I walked past, but alas I wasn’t so lucky. She spotted and called out to me.

I summoned up my trademark smile and turned to her. “Kaa Aunty.” (Good evening aunty) I greeted her.

“Chinma imelagi?” (Chinma how are you?) She asked in response.

“Adim mma. I lua le?” (I’m fine, are you back?) I asked her. I asked her referring to the trip I knew she had taken recently.

“Alua lem. Mommy gi a?” (I’m fine. How is your mom?) She responded and asked.

On and on the conversation went. When I finally continued my journey, a thought occurred to me: I had become my mother!

My mother is the strongest woman I’ve met, just by being, she challenges me to be better. Let’s not even get into her beauty; my sister and I have concluded our family’s beauty is one that gets better with age. That’s the only way to get through the ‘your mom is more beautiful than you’ comments. I love and admire my mom very much, so much that I love it when people say I’m just like her. But I don’t want to be ‘all of her’. There’s some of her character I would rather do without. Top of my mind is the ‘Nigerian’ greeting culture.

The greeting/ conversation with Aunt Nikki that just happened, was exactly how my mom would have greeted her. And if I were with my mom at the time (or maybe a few years earlier) I would have said a simple ‘good evening’ and walked ahead a few paces to wait for my mom and aunt Nikki to ask about everything and everyone while silently wondering why they couldn’t just say a quick good evening and walk away.

But here I am, replicating that same behavior I would love to not do. I imagine a lot of young adults are in my shoes, wondering how we got to replicate behavioral patterns we dislike. Some of us have come to realise that the world isn’t so black and white and issues aren’t so clear cut. The clarity of our childhood and youth has been eroded by this adult thingy and we are on our way to being our parents, guardians, teachers, mentors.

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I have used an example that’s easy, almost a non-issue, but when you really examine every other of your behaviors and mannerisms, you will find yourself replicating your parents or the people you associate with. In the good and the bad. That’s how issues like polygamy, domestic violence, lawlessness, drunkenness, etc. become family traditions. A child will do what he/she sees you do a hundred times befre he/she will do what you have asked him to do once. In the words of Dr. Gregory House of ‘House’ medical series: monkey see, monkey do!

Try as we can, we cannot run away from the influence of our formative years, which is why as parents we need to nurture our children with this consciousness. Knowing fully well that we are the bows from which our children as living arrows are sent forth.

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For our sakes as much as theirs, we need to do better. We need to be the future we hope to see. It’s not enough to want to do better, we need to actually do better. Ko ba le da! (so that it can be well).

 

Teach the children so it will not be necessary to teach the adults. – Abraham Lincoln.

Have a happy Children’s day!

*Not real name.

xoxo chinma

 

What’s in a name?

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A name is an identity, something for which you’re known, which you stand for.

So what’s my hang-up about names?

People have done battle because of a change of name, society attaches so much importance to a name; whatever it may be. Well, as it rightly should. So if I say my name is bla-bla-bla, it is my name. You have no right to change or refine it! Or misspell or mispronounce it.

Here’s the thing: I meet you or I write to you and I introduce myself as; Chinma. What that is saying is; please refer to me as Chinma. Please don’t go fishing, it’s not a time to ask: will that be Miss, Ms. or Mrs. Chinma? Like those irritating customer care agents. Neither do I expect you to reply me mispronouncing or misspelling my name, if you didn’t hear me clearly please seek clarification. Thank you very much.

It’s particularly irritating if it’s a written correspondence and I have written ‘Chinma’ or ‘Chidinma’ as the case may be, and then you reply or refer to me as ‘Chima or Chindinma’. Haba! I know us Nigerians struggle with names of people from other tribes or complicated names, but: the name is there, written in plain text, all you had to do was copy and paste. That’s not difficult nau, I haven’t asked you to spell my name, and it’s not a test, just get the spelling of my name.

You see us Nigerians are finicky about such things. For some, it’s the title: Chief, Dr., Professor, High Chief (definitely different from a mere ‘chief’), Mrs., etc. we all have our names and titles and are finicky about such things.

I think it stems from the fact that our names have meanings and importance; a letter added here or taken out there gives a name a totally different meaning. See the Chinma- Chima example: Chinma- Good God, Chima- God Knows. See why someone will have a problem with you misspelling or mispronouncing his/her name? Or it could be about Chidinma- God is good, Chimdinma- my God is good. In this case, just one letter differentiates the names and its wrong to think just because you don’t understand it that it’s the same. Seyi is not the same as Sayo. Pay attention to the details for that’s where the devil is lurking.

This is like a person saying; this is who I am and you (respondee) are saying; this is who you are! Like seriously? Who are you to change my name? Who are you to decide not to use my title or whatever?

There’s also this thing about special names for certain people based on relationship. If I’m walking on the street and I hear my name it’s Lagos, I won’t turn. Lol, I already have an idea of what kind of relationship I have with the caller or where we’ve met by what he/ she calls me. So that provides clarity. Caveat: If you are present at that meeting, it’s not a call to start calling me honey bun or sweet cheeks because you heard my dear aunty call me that! No, stay in your own lane with regards to what you call me.

There’s also the thing about given names vs preferred names. Say; mama and papa decide to name their child; baby boy, and the child grows and decides to be known as; wizchild. Lol. The rule I will follow for this is; call the person what he has insisted he should be called i.e. what he has introduced himself as. QED.

This name thingy, it can be as e get o, people take serious offence to being called something they will not prefer or not being called what they prefer. It can be the difference between getting a lucrative contract and not getting it. It can be the difference between getting a job and not getting it. Front office and customer facing staff kind-off understand it, hence their asking us; will that be Miss or Mrs.? But…. I think the rule you should follow is: refer to the person as the person has introduced himself. Imagine sending me a request mail referring to me as Chindinma!!! You have successfully pissed me off already nau, case closed.

To avoid this, I will suggest the use of the ma and sir rule. Trust me you can get away with that any day or time. Just politely refer to the person as ma and sir. Uber gets this one, their drivers are trained to ma and sir their passengers to death.

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So, in conclusion; what’s the big deal about a name one might ask? I would say it’s about the fact that it is a differentiating nomenclature. Differentiates A from B, it tells of a story. Mine says my parents looked at me and thought how good God is. Yours might testify that your parents looked at you and felt joy unspeakable or prophesied goodness into your life. Whatever the case may be, it is your name and no one has a right to change it.

For all of you who specialize in misspelling and mispronouncing names; God is watching you. For those who have had or constantly have their names destroyed; I feel your pain, share your story.

Till next week, wishing you love and light!

xoxo chinma

Happy New Month, Welcome to April 

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images (4)It’s the beginning of the 2nd quarter! The first quarter was a blast, or was it? Lol!

Personally, I felt like it dragged. But….. We’re happy to see it go. And this month is Easter!!!!

So, as we begin the 2nd quarter; I  wish us all God’s grace and blessings. May this month be all that we wish it is.

Have a great month y’all, wishing you Joy always.

xoxo chinma

We should all have filters!

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rose colored glasses

My friend Eka* is the go to person when you need honest, no bullshit advice. She serves it hot. However, as time went on we began to notice Eka’s honesty was bothering on brutality/ fault finding. We quickly crowned her the ‘chairperson- fault finders association’. However, as the days rolled into years, we found her ‘frank speaking’ to be a little too…. I don’t know: too frank, tinged with bitterness, I don’t know.

Eka termed it: us being allergic to the truth, she believed we were ‘beginning to do bad things’ which we knew couldn’t hold up under the light! Lol.

I don’t think so, matter of fact; I have this sneaky suspicion Eka is kinda seeing the word through (what’s the opposite of rose colored glasses?) muddy glasses and sees everything as muddy. My thoughts, but in the spirit of this article; I won’t be the one to tell Eka. And if you’re my friend and are reading this and think you are Eka; maybe, maybe not, sha call me.

These days I’m so scared of stepping on people’s toes, I’m literarily working on egg shells and if you know me you’ll know ‘I’m as clumsy as I am elegant. Like one minute I’m balancing a stack of fine china in my left hand, and the next I’m shattering well-arranged on a stack china’- that was just a figure of speech and if you can’t understand it; I can’t help you. Or, sorry; I can and will interpret when I can speak it in plain English.

The point to this whole song and dance is; people are on edge and we should all have filters. I should have completed this article yesterday, perhaps with it fresh in my mind I would have a ‘zen-ful’ evening.

I lost it yesterday evening; like a lot of people have been doing. You see ehn, I’m just as human as the rest of us. Matter of fact, I’m the first to claim our humanity- like I wear it like a badge so no-one ever expects me to perform miracles. Mi le se ju ara mi! So, as I was saying; I totally sincerely regret loosing it last night, but the actions of the other person; like ki lo de? Why is it so impossible difficult for older ones to listen to the younger ones, even when you have been proven right time and time again (that I believe should be a conversation for another day)?

Anyways, back to this article; as we go about our daily activities, we all need filters.

For those not in the know; filters in this case or as used in this article refers to the picture filters used on photography apps. Filters can be used to enhance or edit a picture, blot out or cover the defects we will love to hide. We need these filters to be able to blot out, cover, ignore defect; so we can see the beauty in everyone and everything. As against ‘fault finding’ like Eka.

Filter is what will have you saying; ‘not today devil’ in the face of provocation and avoiding that provocation. Filters will get you to a place of zen, everything looking all peachy; seeing lemons as a call for lemonade and overripe banana as a chance to bake banana bread! Lol!

Why should we have filters? Because you and I are on edge, our reality today is that to survive in Nigeria is HARD! People are struggling with a lot and you don’t know what just might tip the other person over. The economy is in the gutters and nothing spreads despair like lack of money. Wait a minute, the economy is also DEPRESSED! So you can understand why I’m on here asking you all to spread love and light, right? Because you just might not know who is close to the doing something stupid, I’m sure we don’t want anybody’s actions weighing on your conscience.

Here’s what I advise:

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  1. Remember the old saying: ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything’? Revamp it. Learn to hold your tongue if you don’t have anything positive to say. This might be a tad difficult if your opinion is sought and saying something nice will be falsehood. This is where you need to apply the next rule:
  2. Speak with tact: diplomacy. You know that art of speaking where you can ask someone to go to hell and they will reply: ‘with all pleasure’? Learn it. It is profitable.
  3. Count to a hundred, or at least twenty. Sha do some mental calculation before you respond. Not easy to do, yes, but learn it. Lest someone’s foolish action weigh on your conscience.

And if you feel what’s against you is mre than what’s for you? Please read Mountains or Miracles

  1. Finally; it’s never that bad! So long as the person hasn’t killed someone, it isn’t ever that bad. Think this, do not take anything to heart, share love and light wherever you go, and may the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding keep your heart and mind in the knowledge and love of God. Amen.

xoxo chinma

*Not real name.

Images credit: google.com

Product Review: Nature’s Gentle Touch Relaxer

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You all know I’m team #processednaturalhair, right? So recently, I’ve been feeling like something had gone wrong with my preferred relaxer brand, or maybe it was just ‘product adaptation’1, but it wasn’t as effective as it used to be.

I passively considered changing, but the question was; to which one? Relaxer isn’t something I pay premium attention to and I wasn’t about to go on a trial spree with my hair. Then I came across a Nature’s Gentle Touch ad, can’t remember exactly if it was an Instagram ad or one of the online store ads. Anyways, I researched on it, read it’s an herbal blend and all….. I decided to try it.

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My hair is the original comb breaking koko hair. Fast growing, almost unmanageable. I put it to the Nature’s Gentle Touch by Recare test, no, it was the other way round; I tested the product on my hair and I can honestly give it a positive review.

The relaxer comes in regular and super blend, I used the super formula; hooked up by my cousin CJ, applied by my regular stylist. CJ tried to get me to go to Nature Gentle Touch’s salon in VI and I was like; just to relax my hair? Lol.

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In the pack is the crème relaxer, an activator, shampoo, protein rich conditioner and leave in conditioner (in order of usage). Oh and not forgetting the pair of gloves and usage instructions.

So, James2 scooped some relaxer into a mixing bowl and activated it according to instructions. Unfortunately I don’t have pictures from the application process, not even pictures immediately after. The relaxer was applied to new growth (you all know we rarely follow the timing instructions and only wash off when it begins to burn). We used only the enclosed products for washing, conditioning and leave-in conditioning. The only different product used was original organic shea butter, which is all the hair crème I use. The hair was straightened and I was low-key impressed but held back from giving it full praise.

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Four days later and my straightened hair still looked good, I decided to review the product. This is a rare occurrence (last time it happened was in the first few applications with the previous relaxer). And typically by this time I should have had to plug in my flat iron, but no, this held through. Today is its fifth day and I can honestly give Nature’s Gentle Touch thumbs up and will gladly recommend.

You all, go try it out and let me know what you think.

1Product adaptation is whereby you are adapted to a particular product such that it looses its efficacy. Happens very often with skincare products.

2My hairstylist

Mountains or Miracles

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What do you see?

Suicide hotlines

Between the devil and the deep blue sea. Whenever I think of that those words I always put on my analysis hat, like what are my options were I in that position:

  • The devil: death- physical and spiritual
  • The deep blue sea: I could thread water to safety for as long as my strength can carry me, I could be rescued, or I could drown; and die physically. But with the hope of life everlasting.

It’s never that bad.

It really truly isn’t ever that bad!

I had a whole different post ready and in my drafts, but this came to me and I just had to type up and share. The recent reports of suicide is alarming. I’m just going to stay in my neck of the woods and talk about Nigeria’s recent suicide crisis. We never used to be like this. We used to be so resilient. Remember the jokes about how if you pushed a Nigerian to the wall he/she will break the wall down and keep going, surviving, thriving. Recently it appears as though everything has gone south and a lot of us are taking the suicide route. The despair and hopelessness I see in people is alarming. People are sad, and solace, through joy can only be found in God (I don’t care what anyone thinks).

A lot of people are weighed down with the cares of the world and with the feeling that no one knows what you’ve been through or are going through. Truth is; everyone has their own pain, no one lives on easy street.

There’s always hope!

We need to move beyond seeing the mountains and seeing the miracles. Take each victory and mining it for all its worth.

Where have we gone wrong?

I think part of the problem is our judgmental attitude as Nigerians (my opinion). Every one of us are ‘Judge Judy’ prototypes and card carrying members of ‘The Fault Finders Association’. We are always seeking for where to lay blame or a fault to highlight. I’ve heard people share their burden and find themselves being blamed for something or the other.

Mistakes, Chinma Eke

We have such a terrible culture of shaming and judging the victims that people are wary of opening up. There’s no shame in being depressed, in every mental illness; it’s an ailment such as malaria and typhoid. There’s also not shame in having made bad decisions; financial, marital, career, etc. There’s no shame in having done something bad. Truth is, as much as we like to think we grow older and wiser; we still and will still make mistakes.

PSA:

Dearest Nigerians, it’s not all the time find fault, or proffer solution. Sometimes, just listen. Half the time a solution comes to the ‘sharer’ by just voicing the thoughts. I think Nigerians generally have a problem with listening in silence but….. that’s a topic for another day.

Another reason I think could be responsible for this is the fact that we have few licensed mental health practitioners. And please this does not read: motivational speaker, life coach, religious leader or community elder. The available ones are few and far between. Psychologist and Psychiatrist are not glamorous professions! I remember when in school and even currently, people do not understand what Psychology or Psychiatry is all about. They read Psychiatry to mean; Mad people’s doctor and Psychology to mean: mind reader, and they are like: ‘why should anyone spend school time studying how to read minds’. The more enlightened will think: counselor, and think: anyone can be a counselor. Yes some people are naturally gifted in counselling, but hello?? Are you licensed?

The few times I open up myself to listen and counsel, it almost always ends with; ‘Chinma you are good at this, I feel better already, you should practice your discipline.’ I always remind the person that a first degree in Psychology does not a counselor make, in fact I need at least a Masters with PhD in view to be able to practice. What helps me and what people find most valuable is a lesson I actually learnt from my sister. She might not remember this conversation but years ago she had once unburdened herself to me and I responded in kind. She later told me that there are some times when the person just wants to be listened to and not joined in the pity party. I never forgot that lesson. It sunk in better than the classes my mom paid for. Added to the fact that I’m more of a listener than a speaker.

A problem shared is a problem solved/ halved?

Depends on who you share with, it can quickly become a problem compounded. I know for a lot of people it’s about not being able to see past their problems and getting to a neutral point where they can give good advice, for some others it’s also about not having the full picture of the situation. Which is why full disclosure is required to be able to be helped.

If someone happens to approach you for counselling, listen, pray with the person, encourage the person to get professional help (prayer and medical help are not mutually exclusive). Don’t counter with a ‘if I tell you my own problems you will feel sorry for me’. Listen and offer advice as your opinion, not as the gospel (except unless you are quoting the gospel purely and not giving it your own interpretation).  Help the person to see the miracles and opportunities that can arise from the situation no matter how bad. Don’t give advice you won’t take, if you are at a loss for what to say; don’t say anything, refer the person to someone else you think can help. A hug, a prayer, a reassuring ‘it is well’, will serve better than a judgement or ill advice.

I say to you who feels like the walls are closing in on you, get help. Your need, pain, feelings are valid. Get help, professional help! Yes, you are not the worst hit in whatever situation you find yourself, but get help. yes, no be your own bad pass, but get help! Keep seeking help until you find it. And when all else fails, look to God not man. I pray that your eyes be opened like the prophet’s servant in the Bible to see the angels who are for you and to recognize that they are more than they that are against you.

Most importantly, keep your head up!

xoxo chinma

Your Colleagues are NOT your Friends

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Or maybe they are!

Friendly colleagues

Most organizations are high pressured. The 8-5 thingy is long gone, and for organizations that are still compliant to this timeline, to resume for work at eight means you must have left your home by 7 at the earliest. And if you live in traffic filled Lagos and have to do the Island-Mainland commute, chances are you have to leave your home as early as 5am in some cases and you’re getting home by 8-9pm on a good traffic day. So if you factor in your commute time you see your job isn’t really an 8-5, more like a 4am to 10pm (preparation time included).

For some who are lucky to live in the same neighborhood as their colleagues, carpooling is an option. This in effect will mean you are with your colleagues from as early as 5:30am as the case may be until about 10pm. The argument is; since you spend most of your time at work and with your colleagues, why can’t you be friends with them? Valid question.

The thing however is, the work environment is very competitive and you can only be friends in every sense of the word if you don’t report to the same boss and there is never a reason to compare you both. Which in most organizations with cross functional teams is almost impossible.

I cannot totally rule out office friendships, being that the strength or otherwise of any friendship is dependent on the level of maturity of the parties involved. But the thing with the variety grown in the office is it’s subject to all the roforofo that goes with the office environment. Can you objectively assess your friend (if the relationship is across cadres), or if there’s just a spot to move up as there often is; will you let your friend get it or will your friendship be done in as a result of the competition to move up?

I have a friend which the friendship grew in the office space. Matter of fact a lot of our colleagues couldn’t get over how close the sisterhood grew to be. Not just were we within the same department, we were also from different cultures. We’re no longer colleagues but have remained friends. But some friendships haven’t been so successful. Take the story of Jane and Mary* who were colleagues, friends, and sisters. They both resumed for duty on the same day, their husbands knew each other, and everyone knew them as friends. Until their immediate supervisor resigned and their manager needed to make a decision on who will step into the vacant role. The manager chose to place them on a rotational probation; they took turns being supervisors. Before long, cracks appeared in their relationship. It was obvious a decision will be made one day and each of them wanted the decision to be in their favor. They began competing, each trying to outshine each other and when the decision was made in neither of their favor, the friendship had been ruined.

Like I said earlier, the office environment is one filled with intrigues, drama, competition, etc., and it’s easy to see how friendships will be lost in a bid to get ahead. The male folk tend to be able to manage this things better (guys don’t have wahala). Like someone said to me; ‘if I can’t make friends with my colleagues whom I spend the greater part of my day with, then I won’t have friends’. I agree totally, but with a caveat; remember, you are colleagues first before friends.

This article isn’t meant to scare you off friendly relations with your colleagues, for like every relationship; the work space relationship has its own challenges as well. It’s rather meant to remind you; Your colleagues are NOT your friends.

Have a great day.

xoxo chinma

*Not real name

Dear Women, #Beboldforchange

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It is said that ‘women are their own worst enemies’ and this is largely true. Behind the downfall of a woman is another woman. As we celebrate this year’s International Women’s day with the theme: Be Bold for Change, my question to you dear sister is: what change are you driving?

The IWD has identified the following ways in which we can #Beboldforchange:

  • I’ll challenge bias and inequality
  • I’ll campaign against violence
  • I’ll forge women’s advancement
  • I’ll celebrate women’s achievement
  • I’ll champion women’s education

Visit the IWD page to pledge to be Bold for change.

A lot of us might say all of the things on there are beyond my control. That may be so, but the things within your control, how have you changed the status?

  • Things like the way you treat your subordinates (female bosses are the most difficult to manage)
  • It’s also in the way you treat others less privileged than you
  • How about the way you treat your daughters and sisters-in-law (let’s not get started on the mother-daughter-in-law thingy)

If you really examined it, you will see that it’s not so difficult to stand for change. Like the hymn Jesus bids us shine by Susan Warner says;

Jesus bids us shine,

With a pure, clear light,

Like a little candle,

Burning in the night.

In this world is darkness,

So let us shine–

You in your small corner,

And I in mine.

We can shine, change our little or small world. Challenge gender bias, inequality, campaign against gender based violence; be a woman’s woman! Have the back of your sisters the way guys have each other’s back; so when we speak men will listen and not sneer at us.

As we join the conversations and narratives tomorrow in the pursuit of gender equality and fight against cultural biases that inhibit our growth and potential, let us remember that change begins with how we as women see, treat and fight for other women. Change does not just begin with us, it begins when we change!

xoxo chinma

Conversation: The Price of a Car Ride?

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Hello darlins, how have you been. 

I’ve been MIA a lot of times, I’m sure quite a lot of you have given up on me. E ma binu si mi, ejo!

So, you all know I write based n inspiration, well for a while lady inspiration has gone on a vacation such that I haven’t been able to finish the Breaking the Silence series. (I have faith though, one day I will finish it). 

Rather dear darling Lady inspiration has chosen to gift me with resurrected Random thoughts kind of like the Ms Psyche series of the past. Matter of fact I have a few of this articles in my draft. So I said to myself; I’m just going to post them. Apologies to all ye drama likers (myself inclusive), it’s just not coming, for now. 

So, here you go, I hope you like. Let me know what you think either way.

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We’ve often had to ride with someone; either by carpooling, ride sharing or good old fashioned asking for a ride. On these rides, I gather social norm and expectation is that the least you could do is to converse the driver and co-passengers and enliven the ride.

However, in my rebelling, anti- all things normal mode, I ask: is it compulsory? Must I gist with you because you offered me a ride?

I’m guilty of a lot of projecting, I imagine everyone is, I just am confident enough to say it. I project my thoughts, feelings, reactions to others and I judge that way. I ask myself: what will Chinma do? That helps me have an idea of what the other person will do. I also try to be fair and flexible, making allowances for individual differences and I wonder why others don’t? Like, you should understand when someone isn’t chatty and just let the person be. Don’t come with the amebo-masked-as-concern and be asking leading questions upandan like we’re in an interview session.

I work a busy schedule- 8am to 6pm at the very least, which demands me speaking with people, and moving around the office (or where I need to go), such that at the close of the day I am tired! Bone tired. So the journey to and fro work for me should be a restful one with me relaxing my brain and not having to keep up a conversation. Does that make me antisocial? I don’t think so. If you meet me in my chatty mood, when I’m with my peeps and there’s gist; you will say ‘this girl can talk! Does she ever keep quiet?’ but if you meet me when I don’t have anything to say, you will think ‘this girl is boring’. Lol! All these sides, are all me, the chatty and the moody (or silent). To be honest, more often than not I just want to be with my books, a movie and some music. The chatty side only comes out when I have gist. Most importantly I can’t get why a full grown adult cannot just not talk. Like keep quiet or allow silence sometimes, but that’s a rant an article for another day.

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So, I got thinking on why car rides cannot just be silent. Or we listen to the radio, music, endless options. The radio presents an opportunity for unplanned conversation. Just tune into a talk show, before you know it everyone in the car has joined in on the conversation. No brain work required. Then I heard some people consider this rude! I really truly threw up my hands in surrender at this point.

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I do some of my finest thinking in traffic and if I’m driving, I do not need you to keep me awake or conscious of the road. Thanks, I will do just fine. I was very surprised when a friend said he will not give a ride twice to anyone who doesn’t talk during the first ride. And I was like; bros kilode! It’s just a car ride! And it isn’t just him, I’ve heard people insist that sharing a ride and not chatting is rude. This summation has me wearing my rebellious hat again! I don’t require conversation when I’m driving, why should you require it of me when I’m a passenger in your car? It’s so annoying that some days I wish for the anonymity of public transport.

And that brings me to another point of confusion: the chatty taxi drivers! Like ahn ahn that’s the height of the whole thing! Don’t get me wrong; I have had one very good experience chatting with an Uber driver, but other than that, please let’s keep the ride as silent as possible. This is not because I don’t find the driver a worthy conversation partner, but because I like my peace and quiet during car rides. Thank you very much.  I once rode with a driver whom I noticed was sleepy; I calmly reached into my bag and offered him chewing gum. No long story, no chit chat to keep him awake; and he didn’t sleep again.

The funny thing is; I think this conversation-in-car thingy is like everything else we have come to accept as a norm. The belief that you have to make conversation during a car ride has been passed down from generation to generation such that it’s become the norm and we who do not find it necessary are the abnormal ones.

Maybe it’s because I’m a big believer in self-sufficiency and not depending on another (not being overly dependent that is), I just think the whole expected conversation being the price of a car ride or like it’s widely believed; contribution towards an enjoyable ride is a bit …… I don’t know; unfair, unrealistic, un-something….  

So, what do you think, is not keeping up conversation in a car ride sacrilegious as some think, or is it just ok. What are your preferences?

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*Images credit: Google.com

Happy New Month!

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Its the third month of the year already, how are we doing with the New Year resolutions? (I shouldn’t have reminded you about that, right?)

Anyways, how are you doing? The Christian Lenten season begins today, I wish my Christian brethren a healthy 40 days and may all our prayers be answered. Amen.

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Have a great month, enjoy March, keep slaying, keep winning!

XOXO

Chinma Eke 

Product Review: Hegai & Esther Foundation

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I can’t remember exactly how I got to know about Hegai and Esther foundation, I think it was through Instagram and so I did my research and what I saw and heard online; I liked and I visited their studio and got one. It’s manufactured and distributed by a Nigerian company #buyNaijatogrowtheNaira, I think I saw somewhere its Paraben free, plus it has SPF 20; all these were enough to get me to try I out.

The next morning I happily got out my foundation to tryout. It had taken a lot of self-control not to wipe off the makeup of the day before and tryout my new foundation. I kind off felt I should wait till the foundation is finished before writing this review so you get the benefit of the long haul use.

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Price

The foundation retails for N4,500 (what I bought directly from Hegai and Esther), which puts it in the affordable range.

Product packaging

It came neatly packaged and sealed, came in a glass bottle with a pump. Which gave me my first cause for concern. I had to pump a few times before the product came out. They might want to look into this cos people like myself who like to get every bit of my product will not like this. By the third application I had to screw open the cover and from then on I had to open the bottle to be able to get the product out. Which I imagine is unsanitary and opening and closing daily meant getting air into the foundation, but the product stayed through to its consistency to the end (till when I couldn’t get any product anymore).

Application

The product adds promise full coverage but it’s more of a good medium; not a problem for me. It glided on smoothly and the shade I got- Carrot was a perfect fit. Could be worn with or without primer and still stay on for the full day. Black Opal Duluxe finishing powder in Neutral Light gives it the perfect finish (I love this shade).

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Me, one of the times I applied it.

Pros:

  • Good consistency
  • Slightly matte finish
  • Long wear
  • SPF 20

Cons:

  • Faulty dispensing pump

My verdict: 4.5– I would have given a perfect 5 but for the issue with the pump.

Will I buy again? Most likely, but I would love for them to fix the pump first.

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Breaking The Silence: Drama?

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Here’s the continuation of the Breaking the Silence series. If you haven’t read any of the episodes and/ or have missed any episodes/ or can’t remember them; here’s the first: And the news came, the second The situationshipThe Situationship 2,  The End and a Beginning and The End & A New Beginning 2

Please read, enjoy, let me know what you think (comment) and don’t forget to share. 

****

…… She read all 22 messages, laughing at the desperation to hear gist in Linda’s messages. Rather than text a response, she decided to call her.

After the call, she checked her other whatsapp messages. Regular group convos, and …… a message from Chike “Hi, how are you?”

*****

Like seriously, how am I?

I’m peachy, very fabulous!

Lol! Angry female alert!!!

I need to get over this guy and all other guys and I need to do it fast. Like one line from him and I am cave girl all over.

Seriously, the line probably meant nothing to Chike; he was cunning like that and might just have been catching trips. Meanwhile; here I was, about to burst a vein. Smh for myself.

Anyways, Ada wasn’t going to reply that message; at least not this night. She had had enough of the day.

Just before she drifted off to sleep a text came in. curious she checked her phone; it was from Mofe saying goodnight.

She went to bed with a smile on her face.

***

The coming weeks were drama-filled for Ada.

She avoided speaking with Chike and only responded to his messages r calls when it was absolutely necessary. But he was persistent! Like he invented the word.

At the same time Mofe was pursuing her like with all he had. Mofe was a sweetheart, but she just wasn’t ready to commit to a relationship with him. He said all the right things, made all the right promises, but Ada was like; been there done that! Lol!

She threw herself into the final details for Linda’s wedding and when that day came it was so beautiful, Ada teared up a number of times and she wasn’t a crier.

Their friends came in for the wedding so it was a sort of girls’ reunion.

In one of their men bashing/ advice offering sessions, it just clicked; Sola and Chike!!!

Sola was an ex-coursemate of theirs who rarely kept in touch. She was such a special person, peculiar in her own way. Sola wouldn’t keep in touch for months, but in your hour of need she was one person you could bank on, not just count on.

She came in for Linda’s wedding from Port-Harcourt where she worked and it was like they had never been apart. To be friends with Sola, you just needed to understand her and give her the space she needed when she needs it. And, what set the light bulb off in Ada’s head; she and Chike were so alike in their relationship ideals! With her (Ada and Chike), she had thought the law of opposites thingy would be what they had going for them, unfortunately; that didn’t work out. Their differences was responsible for all the fights they had. So….. maybe with someone more like him; they will be in sync! Why didn’t she think of this all the while? Ever since that text, Chike had been hounding her. He wanted them back together, but she was having none of it. Maybe if she hooked him up (discretely ofcourse on his part), he will let her go; focus on the new catch.

But she will pre-inform Sola though. Sola was too solid a friend for her not to fully disclose.

“Ok!” Was Sola’s response when she spoke with her about it. Her face lit up in a mischievous smile.  “Let’s have a bit of fun!”

Classic Sola! The plan was to get Sola to run into them; Chike had been asking for a meeting, she will indulge his request and somehow get him to meet Sola.

Either way, whatever the outcome of the meeting; she wasn’t leaving the meeting with Chike still nursing a come-back bid.

***

She invited Mofe to Linda’s wedding (more like he made her invite him, lol). She forgot she had also invited Chike sometime in the past. Or maybe she didn’t forget, she just had not expected him to attend. Even when they were together he always had an excuse why he couldn’t be at family events.

So it was very surprising when he showed up at the reception!

They had ushered in the couple, the reception was in full swing with the MC piloting the affairs, the bridesmaids and groomsmen had left the couple and joined the party. Ada had gone to sit with Mofe and his friend, and just like in the movies; Ada’s gaze was pulled to one of the entrances and there was Chike walking in with two of his friends.

She stopped mid-sentence with her mouth open in shock, her smile froze, her throat was suddenly dry.

She managed to end the sentence and promptly excused herself to go block him off before he came in and made a scene at Ada’s wedding.

Walking on rubbery legs she searched her brain for what she would say to him; empty, she came up empty. She felt like everyone in the party was watching her; which couldn’t be but it felt that way. The MC’s voice fell away, all felt silent and all she could hear was white noise. Her mind went over all the possible reasons Chike could have for coming to the wedding. In her mind’s eye she saw him walking in angrily, seeing her with Mofe and making a scene.

She would just die from mortification.

She was so lost in thought she didn’t see the waiter until she had bumped into him.

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Travel Diaries: Warri

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Every year, I promise myself I will give my adventurous side room to soar, and well……… I rarely do. So, this year; it wasn’t a conscious thought, the opportunity just came up earlier in the year and I took it, with both hands, and was on my way to…. Warri!

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Best shot I could get of Efurun round about

I’m sure a few of you will think? What? Like of all places in Nigeria. Yeah, well, I had a primary reason for visiting the ‘city’, seeing the sights was just by the way. Besides, with the way the Waffi citizens are always going, I expected it to be……..

I don’t know, maybe I’m just not impressionable (I had a similar reaction to Ibadan), but I had fun, good company, got to see a bit of the city and to listen to the lyrical language of the people.

So, here are the five things I found out about Warri:

  1. Waffi people can talk! Goodness gracious! Male, female, don’t get them started. You see all those skits we see where someone talks a thousand words a second; it’s pure Warri.

On a fifteen minute ride from Ughelli to Warri, I don’t think the cab driver kept quiet for a moment. It was from one topic to the other. It doesn’t matter if they are speaking pidgin or Urhobo, it all sounds so lyrical; like I could listen to them all day.

 

  1. I love their blue keke! Lol, I must sound so soppy, but I do. It’s been over a year since I’ve left Lagos and it was nice seeing transport vehicles that aren’t yellow.20170128_162035

 

  1. Warri ain’t got nothing on Obalende or Oshodi! My friend disagrees with me, but I think so sha!

We had the discussion when I repeatedly got out my phone to take pictures out on the road. He kept telling me to be careful as Warri boys can snatch my phone off my hands. Ofcourse I didn’t believe him. Or maybe I did because looking at my camera roll, I realise I didn’t get as many pictures as I would have loved to. But I did return with my phone though, lol.

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I think I just made this guy a star, lol.

 

  1. There are no tourist attractions in Warri! Or so I’ve been told. Their only tourist attraction is Delta mall, or more popularly known as Shoprite! Lol! I couldn’t believe it, and thought it was because my escort was also a newbie jjc like me, so I asked a colleague who grew up in and frequently returns to Warri, and he said the same thing; Shoprite! Yes and Effurun round about; which are side by side!

Oh yes, there’s the Golden Tulip and Silverbird Galleria, which were still all the same to me; like I don’t know maybe I was expecting to see an oil well or something sha! I sha didn’t want to see all of the same places that look same as the ones here in Lag.

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  1. I saw quite a lot of something called coco garri, I think it’s like cassava flakes or by-product of garri processing. Unfortunately I didn’t take pictures of it and this is the only one I can find on google, but I did see a lot of it.cassava-flakes-warri

I didn’t get to eat starch and Banga soup (not like I wanted to), but I finally got to see The Wise men, which is only fitting because I think it’s set in Warri, or should be. The characters are Niger-Deltan and locations mentioned are in Warri. The movie, beyond the funnies has a strong message of not going with the crowd and not being swayed by peer pressure.

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I had a good trip sha; PTI, Warri Township stadium, etc. The road trip from Lagos- Warri-Ughelli- Lagos was cool, the company was great. And to he who made the trip possible; next up is the abroad!

XOXO

Chinma Eke

What’s in Your Makeup? 5 Tips on How to Clean-up Your Cosmetics

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So a few weeks ago, I got this very unsettling email from Consumer Safety on the ingredients in our everyday makeup.

In 2016, I had tried to clean up my cosmetics; going back to natural products (see most of my fave beauty products) in as many products as possible. However, this infographic called my attention to the fact that I hadn’t done nearly enough.

Sadly, most of my cosmetics and makeup failed this test. I was amazed at how many of my cosmetics were still in unsafe territory. Have you seen this link on talcum powder and ovarian cancer? It’s some serious stuff. So, I’m sharing this to spread the awareness on the dangers of some ingredients in our everyday cosmetics.

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It’s alarming to find that most powders, moisturizers, toothpastes, shampoos, shaving creams, and so many more are all filled with toxins that our bodies absorb. Our skin is our largest organ, so we should be more aware of what we put on it!

This year, and going forward, I have committed to cleaning out my cosmetics, here are five ways I plan to achieve that:

1. READ PRODUCTS LABELS: Avoid products with questionable ingredients, and avoid products who do not buy products without product listings. And please, if you have found a cosmetic line that doesn’t contain any of these harmful chemicals, please share. 

I’m going to be that lady in the store reading product labels item by item and crossing off my lists.

2. GO DIY: Do it yourself products are safe but a bit of a problem people have with it is; some of these products are not so easily accessible. There might be some problem sourcing some of the ingredients. But; do your research, go to your neighborhood health stores and source for your products yourself.

3. AVOID THE SALES RACK: I’ve ended up with a bunch of items I didn’t need because they were on sale. And I found that I took my time studying products labels when they were not on sale (probably has to do with the store not being crowded at the time). So this year, I’m going to avoid the discount stores, or if I must buy products at a discount, I will do my research online before hitting the stores.

4. DON’T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT, DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH: That your great-aunt used certain products through her life, lived to be a hundred and passed peacefully in her sleep doesn’t take away the fact that those products might be harmful. Do your own research before you buy or use products, if it’s questionable, please avoid it.

5. DRINK WATER, EAT A LOT OF FRUITS AND VEGGIES: I’m sure a lot of us will be wondering what this tip is doing here. Truth is; a lot of the conditions we treat with expensive creams with complex labels can be helped with a good diet and enough rest. So, eat well drink a lot of water, get some rest and watch your dependence on cosmetics reduce.

There you have it, my five tips I hope to follow to clean up my cosmetics this year. Let me know how you intend to achieve this, and if you have already; how did you do it?

Have a great day.

#beautyfriday, chinma eke's blog

The End & A New Beginning 2

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Hey dearies, how have you all been. 

I’m sure quite a number of you must have given up on me. I apologise deeply. 

I have really truly not tried

So here’s the continuation of the Breaking the Silence series. If you haven’t read any of the episodes and/ or have missed any episodes/ or can’t remember them; here’s the first: And the news came, the second The situationshipThe Situationship 2, the most recent The End and a Beginning

Please read, enjoy, let me know what you think (comment) and don’t forget to share. 

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As expected, he called. Luckily for him it was later in the evening when I was true with the day’s hustle and bustle and able to put my feet up.

He sounded pleasant (don’t they all at the beginning?), we talked for like an hour. A lot of it was just getting to know each other. He said he was Mofe Boboye, worked for an investment firm (more like his father’s investment bank, lol; I have CIA skills), second son of a family of two male and two female children, single (google didn’t help with that), liked water sports bla bla bla.

I gave him the short and simple version; Ada, coincidentally they shared similar birth positions, and no; she wasn’t a fan of water sports.

He tried to get her to open up more but she gave him the short and simple response versions.

The conversation ended when she began to drift off to sleep. He ended the call, promising to call the next day.

***

True to his word he called and several times after. She who said she was on a break found herself looking forward to his calls and messages. They talked a lot and knew so much about each other. He was easy to talk with, and she had told herself she wasn’t looking for a relationship at that time. With the absence of those pressures, it was easy to just enjoy the conversations and budding friendship. Then came their first physical date. He took her to an upscale restaurant where the food was fantastic.

Against her better judgement and with Linda’s encouragement, she dressed up nicely and was happy she did. It would have been disaster for her had she dressed in jeans and top and he brought her here.

There had a nice dinner with enjoyable conversation. Undiscussed, both of them put their phones away for the duration of the meal. Not even for one second did they glance at their phone. That was a rare feat in this social age where a lot of people behaved as though their phones were their life source.

Without her saying anything he ensured he got her home in time. When he got to her front door, he said his aim had been 9pm but traffic saw them getting in at a quarter past nine. Not so bad, it was a Saturday night she didn’t have to get up very early the next day.

Ofcourse as was to be expected there were several update requests from Linda. Lol, the girl liked amebo.

She would reply to the messages after her bath.

While she was in the bathroom her mom came into her room.

“How did your date go?” Amaka Chukwuemeka asked.

Adaeze rolled her eyes in the bathroom. ‘Next thing mommy would start planning wedding’ she thought to herself.

“It wasn’t a date, but it went well.” She replied.

He mother sighed deeply. “You and your sister, do you think you are getting any younger. All my mates already have grandchildren even the males. Yet I don’t even have an in-law not to talk of grandchildren.

“Mommy …” Ada attempted to interrupt as she came out of the bathroom.

“Don’t interrupt me!” Her mom shut her down. “What do you want to say; that will you marry yourself, or that every relationship must not end in marriage?”

Adaeze didn’t reply. She concentrated on selecting a sleep wear as though it were the most important task in the world.

“I’m not asking you to perform magic or do something impossible. All I’m asking is that you and your sister come off these your high horse and choose one of the men flocking around you. In a few years, there will be no one. A woman’s time ……”

“Mommy, we’ve heard.” Ngozi, Adaeze’s elder sister came to her defense.

Adaeze turned around sharply. She hadn’t heard Ngozi come into the room and neither had their mom.

Both Ada and Ngozi held their breath expecting their mom to continue with the scolding, but Mrs. Chukwuemeka just sighed and rather said; “Your Uncle Sam called, the burial has been fixed for June.”

“June!!!!” both Ada and Ngozi exclaimed.

“That’s a whole 9 months!” Ngozi said quickly calculating.

Amaka Chukwuemeka sighed deeply by way of response. “Anyway, it’s their brother, there are the one who have the final say.” She got up to leave the room. She turned back to the ladies at the door. “You ladies need to settle down, you are not getting any younger. Ehn, biko!” with that she left the room.

“How was your date?” Ngozi asked after their mom had left.

“It wasn’t a date, why is everyone seeing it like a date?” Ada sank into the bed.

“Ok, how was your meeting?” Ngozi rephrased.

“It went well.”

“So…….?”

“So nothing. We just had a nice meal; a delicious one at that.”

“Lol, did you go there for the food?” Ngozi teased.

“Ofcourse. I was hungry. Anyways, Mofe is cool, but….. I’m not ready.”

“Why, because of Chike?”

“No, because of me. I just, … I get mommy’s point of view that we aren’t getting any younger. Believe me; I know. But; I’d rather not make a mistake.”

“Isn’t that our fear? Anyways, just to remind you that overtaking is allowed.”

They both laughed. “You and this your overtaking is allowed. I need to reply Linda’s messages before she has a heart attack.” Ada picked up her phone.

“Aite. Good night. Church tomorrow?” Ngozi asked as she got up to leave.

“Sure.” 22 messages from Linda! She read them all, laughing at the desperation to hear gist in Linda’s messages. Rather than text a response, she decided to call her.

After the call, she checked her other whatsapp messages. Regular group convos, and …… a message from Chike “Hi, how are you?”

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12 Beauty Resolutions You Should Keep This Year

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Hey everyone! Welcome to 2017, again. How have you been?

For our first Beauty Friday post of the year, I’m going to share 12 beauty resolutions I stumbled on and I think we all should keep this year (I know I should keep them, it’s just hard sometimes!).

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In no particular order, they are:

  1. Never, ever go to bed with makeup on. No matter how exhausted you are or how late it is: Take. It. Off. Removing your makeup can make the difference between beautiful, glowing skin and a complexion that looks dull and has clogged pores, plus, while you’re sleeping, makeup can get pushed deeper into your pores, leading to acne.
    Another factor you might not take into account: Some dead skin cells are meant to shed every day, but having makeup on 24/7 can cause them to stick to the skin’s surface. This can also lead to breakouts and exacerbate fine lines.
  2. Use a ton of TLC to remove your eye makeup. “The skin around your eyes is the thinnest, most delicate skin on your face. So if you tug too roughly when removing your eye makeup, your skin can stretch out over time and fine lines can become more noticeable. Instead, use light, downward motions to wipe away your shadow, liner, and mascara, and opt for a non-greasy eye makeup removing formula that won’t irritate skin and contains ingredients known to soothe skin such as vitamins B5 and E.
  3. Drink plenty of water morning to night. And not just when you’re hitting the gym or you’re super thirsty (if you get to that point, you’re most likely already dehydrated). Hydration — inside and out — is key to keeping your skin radiant. Wondering how much to drink? Eight 8-ounce glasses is still the recommended daily minimum, so drink up for gorgeous, fully hydrated, flake-free skin.woman-drinking-water.jpg
  4. Use a face cream and sunscreen combo every day. Even the five minutes you spend in the sun running into the mall or work each day add up. People often only think to use sunscreen when they’re out for an extended period of time, but even incidental exposure every day over a few years causes brown spots and fine lines to show up earlier. So, 365 days a year, regardless of the season, use a face cream with SPF 15 or higher, then apply your makeup. She suggests adding dots on your forehead, cheeks, chin, down the front of your neck (and both ears if your hair is up) to ensure that all exposed skin is properly protected.
  5. Always sleep on a clean pillowcase. “Your skin can pick up dirt and bacteria, traces of makeup, dead skin cells, saliva, and hair product residue from a pillowcase that hasn’t been washed,” explains Dr. Karen. So flip your pillow over once a week and wash it every two to avoid a buildup of these pore-clogging substances.
  6. Don’t pick at your skin. Leave that pimple/blackhead/bump alone. As tempting as it can be, unless you’ve got a clear whitehead (that you can use two tissues to gently press out), it’s more likely that you’ll either drive bacteria farther into skin, make it more inflamed, or add more dirt and bacteria to the area from your fingers and nails. If you have a blemish that is red and raised, hold an ice cube on it for 20-second intervals for a few minutes to bring down the inflammation, and then apply a dot of a salicylic acid spot treatment and cover with concealer on top.acne-tips-Chinma-Ekes-blog.jpg
  7. Work regular workouts into your routine. Aerobics, yoga or spin class can have a positive effect on your skin as well as your mood and body, because a workout increases circulation, creating that great glow once it’s done. Another plus: Working up a sweat can help lower the stress hormone cortisol, which is linked not only to skin aging but breakouts and clogged pores.
  8. Don’t binge on junk food. We aren’t talking about enjoying the occasional DC and bag of chips. If most of your calories are coming from the snack machine, your skin is going to pay the price. More studies are pointing toward carbs as the bad guys for skin. Sugar, white bread, pasta, cake, and candy may speed up glycation in skin. (Glycation is when sugar molecules latch onto cells, including those in skin, and cause them to become malformed and accelerate the breakdown of collagen.) What you see in the mirror: loss of radiance, more noticeable lines, and skin that doesn’t look as supple. Overdoing it with carbs and dairy has been linked to acne as well. Instead, eat a well balanced diet full of non-processed, nutritionally dense foods (think green veggies, fresh fruit, yogurt, lean protein, plus nuts and seeds) to make sure you skin stays breakout-free, supple, and on point.
  9. Gently exfoliate. Depending on your skin type, use a chemical peel like a glycolic acid or AHA, soft scrub, or try derma-planing (when you glide a special razor over skin in downward strokes) to remove dead skin for a glowy, glass-like finish. Exfoliating one or two days a week is enough.dv088017-630x300.jpg
  10. Clean your phone daily. And don’t press it directly against your skin when talking either. Your phone is a breeding ground for germs.
  11. Apply a face mask weekly. If your skin is on the drier side, opt for a moisturizing mask that contains glycerin or hyaluronic acid. If you’re more oil-prone, then alternate between an exfoliating mask and a clay-based treatment. For those with combination skin, try multi-masking and apply what you need, where you need it (such as detoxing clay on your nose and chin, and a hydrating mask on your forehead and cheeks).
  12. And at the end of the day, get ample sleep. Put your devices to bed (preferably in another room) an hour before you tuck in (I should try this). The goal is to try to unplug, shut down any connection, and just allow yourself to sleep and fully, fully rest. Ideally, get eight hours of sleep uninterrupted, you want to enter the deep sleep that allows your mind, body, and skin to repair.

Have a great weekend! Don’t forget to share your beauty resolutions with us as well as share this article.

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Article credit: Cosmopolitan magazine, image credit Google.com

As The Year Ends……

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Every year since I started this blog, I write a ‘Motivational’ article which I publish on the last day of the year. This year, I would love for you all to read my epilogue here. That was me sharing a bit of what my 2016 was about.

I have a word for us all, it was a response I gave to Betty Irabor’s tweet sometime ago

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This words are as true today as they were on the 1st of November. It is the year ending and not your life. And just as the age old saying goes; where there is life, there is hope. I wish us all a great 2017; our latter will always be greater than the last.

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My Fave Beauty Products of 2016

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Hello dearies, happy holidays!

As the year ends today, I would like to wrap up the beauty posts with a catalog of my favorite beauty products. some of them I have reviewed on this bog already, others, I haven’t.

We’ll begin from the basics; my favorite face wash, which has so replaced Neutrogena Acne wash in my beauty routine is: RnR Luxury Liquid black soap. Read it’s full review here.

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And my favorite toner, which I should do a full review for is Jules Therapy Witch hazel toner. witch-hazel-5915724

This product is purely amazing. I will be sure to do a full review on it in the near future.

My go-to body oil is Vanity Oils Skin Toning Therapy; I love this oil. Read it’s full review here

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You all know the primer that’s the love of my life; Mary Kay Foundation Primer.

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This primer goes with any and I mean any foundation I pair it with, it sets a perfect base. It contains spf 15 which is an added advantage for me.

For foundations, I experimented this year; stepped away from Mary Kay Timewise Matte foundation and discovered some surprisingly good foundations.

First was Black opal True Color Liquid Foundation, which I reviewed here and Hegai and Esther Duo Cover Photo Perfect Foundation; my newest love! I will do a full review of it soon, till then take my word for it and try out this foundation. dsc_8406-600x600

And yes, its a Nigerian product, so #buynaijatogrowthenaira.

To crown it all; the queen of all my beauty products, the one I’ve been with for years is Black Opal Deluxe Finishing powder in Neutral Light.

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This powder is what I will call a workaholic powder, it’s been with me through many foundations and it’s always held its own.

So, share with us, what are your fave beauty products and what products did you discover in 2016 or would love to try in 2017?

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Breaking the Silence: The End & A Beggining

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‘I’m not going to get into how you never see anything wrong with your actions, I’m not going to get into how much you’ve hurt me. But you have and try as I have I can’t get past it. This thing of ours is unlike anything I have ever known; it’s been two years and I can’t get used to it. I don’t want to be friends with you anymore; it hurts too much! Don’t ever contact me; if you do I will block you. Have a good evening.’

Adaeze edited and reread the text. It might not look like much but her heart was in those words. She really needed to pass the message to Chike that they were done for good.

A few hours later he responded. ‘Wow, many words! No worries, I will honor your request. If you want it like this so be it.’

**

Adaeze’s philosophy to breakups had always been; it’s not over until the ex tries to make a comeback and you refuse to go back, avoid Okafor’s law and all…. Then it really is over.

Adaeze tried to move on in spite of the pain of the broken dream and dashed hope. She threw herself into work, life; there was just something about living and not existing, especially when you are living on your own terms and not on the whims and caprices of another in the name of being ‘girl-friend’.

She could go out with her girls without having to check with Chike on convenience or if he would have preferred that they do something else.

The up-side to being in a relationship is it provides for companionship, the downside- is its restrictiveness. When you’re in a relationship you become a part of a pair (as it should be). The downside comes when the relationship is over. Then you find you don’t know who you are anymore. Everything reminds you of your ex; movies watched together, places visited together, you could just be in the middle of a conversation and you say a word that had double entendre and just like that you are back in pity party land.

Adaeze gave herself time to mourn her relationship. She knew she needed to heal. Beyond Chike she knew she needed to get rid of the daddy issues she had. This constant search for a father figure in her relationships needed to end lest she do herself in by settling for a crappy relationship or worse; a crappy marriage.

Linda was a rock through this trying times for Adaeze. Adaeze had always admired Linda’s relationship. Linda had been seeing Tayo Fayemi for about three years at the time and they were the classic ‘point of contact couple’. They rarely had any fights of note, got along famously, were so in sync, could finish off each other’s sentences, and were good old friends. They were getting married the next year. ‘Daeze was sure they were going to do the ‘I’m marrying my best friend’ lol! They were an inspiration and a heartache; the classic Yoruba and Ibo union, their relationship surviving against all odds. They were also a heartache, could drive a sister to envy! Lol!

Adaeze threw herself into helping Linda plan her upcoming wedding. Between work, church and the upcoming wedding, she was kept very busy. Too busy to think about a guy! Lol! At the time, the last thing she needed was a guy distracting her, she just wanted to be alone to ‘find’ herself.

It was a busy Saturday, she was backing out of Sofresh neighborhood market, a parfait in one hand, her phone wedged between her ear and shoulder, her handbag and a shopping bag in the other hand. She bumped into a warm body and spun around so very quickly almost spilling the contents of her cup on the person she bumped into.

“I’m so sorry!” She apologised. “Babes, lemme call you back.” She said into the phone and dropped both the shopping bag on the floor with her handbag on it. She retrieved her phone from her shoulder. “I’m sorry she apologised again. “Hope I didn’t stain you.” She examined his shirt, and well; got a good look at him. He was tall, but not so much; say 5’ 9”, dark and of average build. Adaeze took in the smile, sunglasses and the white ‘Yoruba demon’ attire (as she had come to think of the popular male traditional shirt and trousers) and her defenses rose.

“No you didn’t.” He replied, giving her an appreciative look.

Duh! She could see that for herself. His cocky attitude was putting her off already, she was immediately irritated. Besides, she knew she didn’t look her best, she had been shopping and running errands all day, was in a plain top and leggings, her hair was unmade and she wasn’t wearing any makeup. What was he appreciating?

“Sorry I bumped into you.” She bent to retrieve her hand and shopping bag. She made to walk around him.

“Not so fast beauty. My name is Mofe” He extended his hand in a handshake.

“Nice to meet you Mofe.” She replied with a plastic smile. She raised both hands in an indication that her hands were full.

He followed her out of Sofresh. “Where are you headed?” He asked walking with her.

She pointed to the waiting cab.

He walked with her to the car and extended his phone to her when she got in. “May I have your number?” He asked in perfect politeness.

She looked at him, her perfect smile in place, set to decline. And then she thought……… ’wharrevva

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Hello December…..

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Happy New Month darlins, welcome to December!

How have you all been, I hope the first eleven months of 2016 have been good to you? If it hasn’t; don’t loose hope, don’t despair, that you are alive means there is hope for better.

So, we are in the last month of December; Christmas is around the corner along with its attendant excitement and pressures (yes pressures). The best advice anyone can give or receive in this day is ‘live one day at a time’. I encourage us all with these words, I ask that we do not give in to the pressures of the season. Trust and believe in the one in whom you believe knowing that He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all you could ask of Him.

So, on a lighter note; my tree is supposed to go up today. Between the eight-to-five and traffic I’m not sure today is possible. But by Saturday my tree will definitely go up. Not feeling very festive, as I’m sure a lot of us aren’t; but this little things go a long way to lighten our hearts and moods. I encourage us to try to enjoy the season, if for no other reason but to appreciate the reason behind the season.

I hear Christmas bells ringing……… Jingle bells jingle bells jingle all the way.…….

Have a blessed month, I wish you God’s grace.

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Product Review: Black Opal True Color Liquid Foundation

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Hello Lovelies, it’s been a minute hasn’t it? I’ve missed you all. Hope you’ve been good?

Today on #beautyfriday I’m going to be reviewing Black Opal True Color Pore Perfecting Liquid Foundation.

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I got this foundation as part of my beauty haul from Kuddy Cosmetics at the just concluded 2016 Lagos Trade fair. I had seen so many positive reviews about this product I decided to give it a trial.

I paired it with my trusted Mary Kay foundation primer and finished off my beloved with Black Opal deluxe finishing powder in Neutral light (6).

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My thought around the foundation was? A bottle? How will I get every drop of my foundation out in this hard times? Lol! I gave in sha, the sales rep advised I get the foundation in Nutmeg (that was my thought as well). I applied with my foundation brush blending in as advised on the bottle. The product glided on smoothly and only needed extra coverage on areas darkened by acne scars.

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My first thought was….. reddish? But I said to myself not to despair yet. I finished off with my deluxe finishing powder in neutral light and then I looked like myself again! Lol! I love this powder and someday will dedicate an entire post to it.

I finished off my makeup as usual and was off for the day.

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I really put my makeup to test that day. The day was sunny; I had a seminar to be at and Lagos Island market runs interspersed with other errands and I only dabbed once. This is what my face looked like at the end of the day.

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My verdict: I liked it, it held up really well, felt weightless and transfer resistant. I will purchase again.

My rating: 3.7. I can still see the reddish tint.

So, there it is dearies; have you tried the Black Opal Liquid foundation, what was your experience with it?

 

XOXO

Chinma Eke

 

Breaking the Silence: The Situationship 2

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If only he had left it at that. If only he hadn’t tried to push by asking if she will talk to him this time if he came to her house. For that was when she snapped!

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He first thought was to call him and rant. Second thought; send him a stinker. Pour out her anger and give him a piece of her mind. But then she reflected on who she was dealing with. Railing at Chike won’t make any difference. He was immune, numb as a matter of fact to criticism or suggestions for improvement. She decided to send him a message indicating irrevocably that she was done with whatever it was they were doing. This situationship (for lack of a better word) was over.

She tried to calm herself before sending the message. For if there was one thing she always said to herself it was to never act at a time when emotions are running high. So she called Linda. Linda was her bestest friend in the whole wide world! Lol! They had been neighbors, nursery, primary and Junior-secondary school classmates until Linda’s father got an out of station transfer while they were in SS1. They reunited in University, studied the same course, lived in the same hostel; were practically twins.

“Babe!” She greeted Linda when she answered her call.

“Hey love, how are you doing?” Linda replied drowsily.

“I’m good, but I can tell you’re better. You’re sleeping at this time.” Adaeze teased.

“What’s a girl to do nau? Been running myself ragged for two straight weeks, barely had a moment to breathe.” Linda yawned. “What’s up?”

“It’s Chike.”

Linda hissed into the phone.

“I know you’ve never been his fan but can you listen to me; unbiased?” Adaeze pleaded.

Linda sighed. “Ok darling. What had he done this time?”

Linda had never been a fan of Adaeze’s relationship with Chike and had only tolerated him for the sake of their friendship.

Adaeze poured out her pain to Linda, telling her of Chike’s recent exploits.

“It is well with you and Chike o!” Was Linda’s only response for a bit.

“Chike was the first person I called when I heard the news.” Adaeze went on near tears. “Was it too much to ask for him to just be there for me? Lin, step back am I asking for too much?” She got up off the bed and began pacing. “Maybe you are the wrong person to ask; being female and my friend. I should ask a guy. Because, I don’t get it! This is someone I’m supposed to be in a relationship with but has never been there for me; not once! But he sneezes and I run to his side immediately. And Lin, this isn’t me just praising myself; he has attested to that in an unguarded moment, his brother even said the same thing.

Did I put myself out too much, do I appear like I can carry the weight of the world open my shoulders?” Adaeze was actually sniffling at this point.

“Babes, calm down. You are working yourself up over nothing.” Linda said calmly.

“I am calm. In fact I’m done. I can’t keep doing this. I intend to formally break it off not the unofficial; drifting apart things and we will come back together again! Clean break!” She said affirmatively, wiping her tears.

“My dear; like I said you need to be calm and really think about this.”

“Babes, I’ve thought about it. Can I really continue like this?” Adaeze lay back on the bed face-up. She sighed deeply. “This thing of ours is fruitless o! It doesn’t have a future. Chike himself told me that although he denies it but he said it unconsciously. And you know; n’ibi ere, la ti moo to oro.” Adaeze said in Yoruba, meaning ‘a lot of truths slip out as jokes.’

Both ladies were silent for some seconds.

Linda broke the silence. “You know my problem with this conversation; one word or text from Chike and all your resolve is down in the gutters. Like I don’t know what it is about this guy; na jazz abi? Or is it the age thing? Are you just holding on to him cos you feel age isn’t on your side? This isn’t you Daeze, I can’t understand it. I mean; your exes will strongly testify that this isn’t you. Kilode? I refuse to believe this is love, like how can it be?” Linda asked heatedly. “He’s been trouble from the first moment but you kept on keeping on. You want to change him, are you the Holy Spirit?”

“I ask myself the same questions. I really don’t know what this is about, but I know I’m done.”

“You’re not done until he tries to come back and you stand your ground that you’re done.” Linda reminded her,

“I know. But this is it.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes dear I’m sure. Can we talk later, mom needs me now.” She lied to get off the phone for she was very close to tears.

She ended the call and burst into tears. She bawled like a baby. She cried for what could have been, for the lost hope, time wasted, emotional investment and otherwise, for the uncertain future; she cried for all the pain of the moment. And when she was done crying; she composed the text.

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Happy New Month, Welcome to November

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It’s November!!! The month of thanksgiving! How are you all, hope you had a good October?

It’s that time of the year when the thought of the ending year causes us to take stock and count our blessings. However, most of the time we are stuck in counting the things we have prayed for that we are yet to get and we end up feeling frustrated and or discouraged.

I pray for you that as you go through this season you find peace and comfort in knowing God always gives you what’s best for you, at the right time. I pray we all go through this month with thanksgiving in our heart and lips.

Have a great month you all.

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Breaking the Silence: The Situationship

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……….After taking the call, Adaeze’s mom called herself and her siblings and broke the news to them; their father was dead.

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Then the drama began, we all know in Igbo land an African man cannot die a natural death; someone has to be responsible for it.

His family came with the drama; they alleged his wife and children abandoned him and contributed to his death.

It didn’t matter that he had abandoned them as children and didn’t contribute a dime to their upkeep or education. He was their father and that meant they owed him the duty of care.

It didn’t matter that they were mourning the death of a father they never had, all of that didn’t matter; in Africa it rarely does.

It was in times like this Adaeze asked herself if all the pre-wedding fact finding actually makes sense. Because if with all the fact finding people still end up married into horrible families; what’s the point?

Then came the sympathy and the sympathisers, it felt awkward, almost hypocritical.

The period was a difficult one for all involved, the antics of the father’s people didn’t make it any easier. Mrs. Chukwuemeka had to relieve the pain of the separation all over again; accusations flew all over mainly centered on abandonment. Mr. Chukwuemeka’s people were having a field day.

Then came the story peddlers with their false story telling; they said Mrs. Chukwuemeka abandoned her husband because he lost his job and could no longer cater for his family.

In a world where history is written by the loudest voice there also is the belief in silence being golden. Why do we hush our children when they attempt to express themselves, why do we perpetuate the culture of repression with only a few speaking up, and them carrying the day eventually? It’s in every aspect of our culture, we glorify the silence of the multitude and praise or envy the outspoken few. Lol. Some of the most loved and hated celebrities come to mind.

**********

You know that feeling of being surrounded by people yet alone? Adaeze felt it deeply at this time.

Chike; her boyfriend (or so she thought) was the first person she called to share the news with. He didn’t answer his call at the time; no surprise there, Chike had an annoying phone habit; he was always on the phone but never with his phone when you needed to reach him. So she sent him a whatsapp message. He called hours later. Asked all the questions, said all the needed things and killed it with; “Let me see if I can come?”

That saddened Adaeze. It was a Saturday, what was he doing asides hanging with friends? Could he not see she needed him?

He sent a message later; he couldn’t make it!

Absence makes the heart fonder is a big lie! A more accurate maxim is; nature hates vacuum, or out of sight is out of mind! The next day she was on her way from church when he sent a message asking what time she would be home. She replied with an ‘I don’t know’ for at that point she was upset already. What was he coming to do; to comfort her? If her comfort was dependent on him she would probably be in perpetual mourning.

He called. She ignored the first call, he called back. She repeated the same thing her message said.

‘I’m trying to find time to come and you are being difficult. Just tell me when you will be home?’ He had said clearly exasperated.

Not wanting to get into an argument with him at the time, she ended the call.

He sent a message; ‘Don’t ever end the call on me again.’

Lol! She was done, and this time for good. How Chike could make this difficult time she was in about himself was beyond her. He was always doing that. She had known him for two years and in those two years he had never been there for her. Theirs was the classic situationship where he took all she could give but gave little or nothing.

Birthdays, other joyful moments; he always made excuses. Traffic, something came up, illness, all this were excuses he used to avoid being there for her. Whereas the reverse was the case with her. She was there for him when he sneezed, every event, occasion during their two years; if she knew about it, she would be there. And it wasn’t just her praising herself, he had also attested to it.

She remembered how they met, it was through a joint venture their companies had. In reality, she has been the one to chat him up. Maybe that was where the issue lay. It’s no secret most guys can’t handle being propositioned. Maybe that was why he had never valued her or their relationship. Theirs was a relationship that had never been defined. They weren’t even friends with benefits for they was nothing to benefit from it. They were more or less sexual partners or in a ‘situationship’ for lack of a better word. Well, whatever the case; she was done. Really truly done. For two years she couldn’t think of a 3 month stretch when they were together, but there were stretches that long where they were apart.

What she couldn’t understand was why he didn’t want to let her go. He had said to her severally that she annoyed him but every time she tried to break it off, he refused. This wasn’t the first time she had tried to end the relationship but he always refused. Well. She was done, he just didn’t know it yet.

*********

He came by 3 weeks later. He came with a mutual friend. She ignored him. Ain’t no time for rubbish. It was a Saturday and her family was home so that helped to mask her ignoring him. Adaeze didn’t care though! A week later he sent a message asking if her ignoring him when he came to her house was good. And I’m her mind she was like; ‘I hope this young man is ok’?

Like really he couldn’t see anything wrong with his actions? That must be done serious shit. She ignored the message. It was a whatsapp message so he will be able to tell it had been read but she wasn’t going to respond to it. 2 weeks later he sent another message that he was in the neighborhood and could he stop by?

‘Okay.’ She had responded.

If only he had left it at that. If only he hadn’t tried to push by asking if she will talk to him this time if he came to her house. For that was when she snapped!

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Let’s Talk About This Thing Called Karma…

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Karmathe spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect). It’s that principle/ law that is invoked when something similar to what has been dished by a person befalls the person (usually of the horrible kind). It’s akin to the biblical principle of doing unto others as you want to be done to you.

So, say Mabel snatches Bisi’s husband; Kunle, the law of Karma dictates that Kunle will also be snatched from Mabel and she gets to feel Bisi’s pain. We’re all familiar with the way karma works and we are quick to invoke and cite it when this things occur. Cue Branjelina divorce and Wendy Williams’ ecstatic; you lose them how you get them!

However, there are somethings unclear to me about karma. Like; where does it begin and where will it end? The parties used by karma, how are they selected, are they unwilling tools or people who have their own share of karma coming up and are used to further the cause? Does karma always repay like for like or does retribution sometimes come in another form?

Let’s consider my questions:

Where does karma begin and where does it end? With Mabel and Bisi’s example above; did the trail of terrible happenstances begin with Mabel snatching Kunle or is Mabel a tool in the universe serving Bisi her own dose of karma? When the latter is the case and we cannot justify why a man will walk away from a woman as wonderful as Bisi; we blame it on bad judgement, we explain it away that good things happen to bad people or good old jazz. But if we can find even the slightest hint of Bisi having done same to another woman in the past we happily hi-five the universe! Karma is a bitch and it knows everyone’s address! Lol. So, if indeed the bad cycle began with Mabel, where will it end? If Mabel is able to lock down the man and he doesn’t get snatched do we conclude that karma has run its course or can the trail continue to the next generation or perhaps to people around her? If you ask me……..

Let’s move on to the parties in karma; how are they selected; are they unwilling tools in the hands of the universe or people who have their own share of karma coming up? If they are mere pawns in the game of life what happens to them afterwards? After they have been used to punish the deserving person do they then get punished? Because most likely they would have committed the sin offence for which the other person was punished. Let’s look at a character like Lucious Lyon (the original evil genius); when karma will come calling for Lucious, unless the vessel is a Lucious clone I think the person should get a medal of honor. Lol! Taking Lucious down should be a good deed, a fast-track to sainthood! Seriously, they should be no retribution for whoever brings him down, but the way I see it you cannot achieve that wearing white hats. You have to be as sneaky, or worse than he is to take him out. Hence my plea for freedom from karma for the vessel used in taking him down. Bringing Lucious down should actually be considered restitution for even the worst offender. I’m sure some of us will feel I’m obsessing over a fictional character so much but they are a lot of Lucious’ out there who continue to evade karma while everyone around him suffers, and like the saying goes; every day for the thief…….. When that day comes for people like Mr. Lyon, I hope karma stops there!

My final question on karma for this article is; does it always repay like with like. Similar payback for similar transgressions. Like if you steal, your karma is you will be stolen from, or will karma pay you back in more stringent measures? Who gets to decide? Is there a weighing scale or does karma serve as it pleases?

Oh, and here’s another question I have on karma; say a person has been a horrible person in the past and has a change of character; faith based or otherwise. How do you escape karma? Using Mabel and Bisi’s example above; let’s say in a few years, after a few children, Mabel changes; acknowledges her wrong, will an apology to Bisi and perhaps the whole world suffice to erase karma’s memory or what? How does she evade or assuage karma?

So let’s discuss. I would like some clarifications on this thing called Karma and how it acts. Is there a manual that can be studied so as to avoid it or is it an: you know it when you see it thingy?

PS: The Mabel-Bisi-Kunle illustration is to point out how karma acts in certain circumstances and is not about Kunle being a grown man who can or cannot be snatched. Let’s not get into that.

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Karma Image Credit: Shutterstock

Breaking the Silence: And the News Came

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I’m not much of a sharer. I prefer to share my thoughts and imaginations on air, to strangers and friends.

A friend once told me I have a hyperactive imagination. Lol! I’m owning it. I do, so what? A lot of my experiences have been shared through my writing. Some truth, some fiction. You know what they say; truth is stranger than fiction.

I sometimes think my life is too boring. I always long for excitement. Matter of fact I can’t really explain my personality type. I’m the one who will be the first to get ready for an event, but 30 minutes into it; having seen everyone and smiled to jaw aching point, I’m ready to go home and cuddle with a soapy book or movie and a smoothie or tigernut milk. Lol. Soon as I have that, I’m looking for the next exciting outing; and the circle continues.

So here goes the Breaking the Silence series. A diary series of the twenty-something lady. I invite you to step into my imagination with me; I haven’t written in a long while and as such I’m rusty. Coupled with that some of this series will be written in the first person pronoun (which I have difficulty doing but as it is a diary series I have to try) except when Adaeze is narrating. I hope you like, I hope you enjoy, and as usual; lemme know what you think.

breaking-the-silence-series

We have a culture of silence, it’s ingrained in us. Just like our culture of respect for elders, fear for authority, there is also a culture of silence. We all want to keep up appearances, and when it’s not particularly about keeping up appearances, it’s about not showing our shame to the whole world. It’s that inate desire not to open ourselves to the world. We are all guilty of this. Lol, just writing this reminds me of a recent happening that involved my ten year old cousin. He had done something extremely incorrigible and my sister commented on the believability of it. She said; if I say this outside, nobody will believe me. And my response was; who asked you? How can you be answering questions not asked?

It might sound hilarious but it is very true of us. We don’t share, regardless of the fact that sharing may help someone. Or maybe it’s about the fact that everyone has their own issues; the person you’re sharing with has greater problems than you do. I overhead someone say; a lot of people’s current situation is such that if you come to them with a problem, by the time they share theirs you will end up trying to solve theirs first. But then; I think that’s the whole essence of sharing. The saying goes; a problem shared is a problem solved. Abi?

Another danger of not sharing is; if it’s an event that involves more than one person, the sharer controls the narrative. There’s this saying that the hunter will continue to triumph in the story of the hunter and the lion until the lion begins telling his own story. History has always been written by the victor because who writes history will always ensure he writes it such that he emerges the conqueror. So when we keep quiet, we allow others other than ourselves to control the narrative. This Adaeze found to be her predicament.

Adaeze was born into a family of four children; she had the privilege (or not) of being born as the spare, lol (for those who don’t know; the spare child is that child not occupying any particular ‘important’ position; there’s the first child- who doubles as the first son or daughter, then there’s the first son or daughter (opposite gender of the first child), then there’s the last child (lastborn). For the ‘royal or dynastic’ families, the second son can be referred to as the spare for the first son, but in Adaeze’s case; she was the third child in a family of four. She had an older brother and sister (Austin and Ngozi respectively), and she had a younger brother- Michael who was the last born. She was named Adaeze not because she was the ‘Ada’ i.e. first daughter in Igbo culture but because she was named after her father’s sister, whose name was Adaeze (Ngozi was named after her paternal grandmother).

Adaeze’s parents had been separated for as long as she could remember. Probably happened almost immediately after Michael’s birth. None of the children knew the cause of the breakup, and it was either all the adults around were not willing to tell what they knew or they truly didn’t know. All four children were raised by their mother who was a business woman petty trader.

Growing up was tough. It was obvious even to the blind that Mr. Chukwuemeka wasn’t supporting his family. He wasn’t catering for his children. It was Mrs. Chukwuemeka (she didn’t change her name because they were not legally divorced) who paid all the bills- rent, school fees, feeding, etc etc. Adaeze’s mom scrimped and saved and managed to put her children through school; ensuring they all had at least a first degree.

Adaeze and her siblings were raised in a home that was a kind-off church extension. Mommy was very involved in their church and the children grew with a love for and personal relationship with God which saw them also involved in the church.

 

**********

 

On that fateful Saturday morning, Adaeze had rolled out of bed thirty minutes earlier. She was an early riser and if she didn’t get to her chores before the sun was up, chances are those chores won’t get done that day. She was loading the washing machine when her mom’s phone rang. Her mom was in her room and had dropped her phone in Adaeze’s room. She picked the phone and went into her mom’s room.

Her natural curiosity had her looking at the phone screen before handing it to her mom. It was James, a cousin on her father’s side. James was the only one on the father’s side of the family who was very friendly with Adaeze’s family. The rest of the family was estranged from them as a result of the separation. As usual in such separation issues; it had to be the fault of the wife.

After taking the call, Adaeze’s mom called herself and her siblings and broke the news to them; their father was dead.

Chinma-Eke-Chinma-Ekes-blog.png

Up & Out of the home in 30 mins- my daily beauty routine

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Anyone who knows me and follows this blog knows I’m the diy chic. I love and use a lot of natural products. I’m not out to knock the beautician’s hustle; but I believe  there’s a lot of natural ingredients we can use in its closest to natural form as possible befire its refined by the cosmetics company and a minute quantity of it sold to us at an exorbitant price with lots of skin-harming preservatives. 

Because I love diy, I tend to have a lot of stuff to experiment with. Space is one constraint I struggle with in my closet and later in the post, I will introduce Makespace a storage and organising facility which I hope can help me with this, but first lets go through my beauty routine.

I reviewed my face soap- R&R Liquid black soap here. And my go to body oil- Vanity oils Skin Toning therapy  here.

In today’s post, I’m going to take us through my daily beauty routine and the products I use.

In the morning, I wash with my face using a soft baby towel (I’m holding out for a foreo Luna mini face brush- do I have any volunteers?).


I follow that with my tumeric-gram flour-bentonite clay mixture face mask.

I bought them all separately from Jules therapy. You should visit their online shop, they have a lot of good stuff for the diy chic.

I make a paste of the tumeric mixture by mixing with water or lime juice for an added punch, or coconut oil when my skin feels dry; and I apply directly to clean skin.

Rinse off after 5-15 minutes and you’re good to go. Tumeric is a herb that’s good for acne treatment, oil control, etc. I should do a separate post on tumeric and it’s numerous uses soon.

I brush my teeth, pack my bag and do some other things while the mask is on my face.

I don’t use the tumeric face mask on all mornings, on the days I don’t; I cleanse with Dermatess facial cleanser. It’s a local product I’ve found to be as effective as Marykay Blemish control toner.

Depending on what time of the month it is; I either follow with neo-medrol acne lotion (or Marykay Acne treatment gel) or I skip that step and go right to my moisturiser.

My morning moisturiser is Marykay timewise pore minimises. It’s the step 2 in the micro demabrasion set.

Next up, I follow with Marykay foundation primer- spf 15 and the rest of my makeup routine (that’s a post for another day).

Next up; I need to dress up. I approach my closet which is full and bursting at the seams, with me having to store some clothes in bags above the closet.

It is very scattered.

A few weeks ago, I learned about a company called makespace they are a self-storage facility. That help you keep your personal stuff which you don’t need atm and you can retrieve them as needed.

I’m not sure they are in Nigeria atm, but I could sure use them. Please MakeSpace get back to me on if you’re in  Nigeria presently; I could sure to with some space.

So, I rumage through my closet for something to wear (‘coz of the space constraints I have clothes hanging in themselves with one hanger holding as many as 3 clothes). I get dressed, pick a matching shoe and I’m off to work.

Evening

Tired, ready to fall into bed, but I always ensure I take off my makeup before bed.

I use Johnson’s no more tears baby wipes to take off makeup. Then I follow with facial cleanser and Marykay Micro- demabrasion scrub twice a week. I cleanse, moisturize with vanity oils skin toning therapy and it’s off to bed for a sound sleep.

I couldn’t show my show and bag closer on here cos it’s FULL, bursting and impossible to organise. Lol! Short of extending beyond my room I see no other option to create space except storage- which is where Makespace will come in.  Makespace is not just about storage, they also organise your stuff in your home. Get in touch with them today and check out their self storage locations.

Also, share your daily beauty routine with us. We would love to hear from you.

XOXO

Chinma Eke

How To: Tigernut Milk/ Smoothie 

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A few weeks ago, I stumbled on a post on how to make tigernut milk. This peaked my interest for 2 reasons:

1. I’m lactose intolerant and welcome any alternative to dairy.

2. I grew up eating tigernut ‘ofio’ as we called it growing up; I’m so impressed we could make milk out of it.

3. I read up on it and it’s so nutritious.

So, I bought a large batch and followed the directions I found online; which I will share below.

Ingredients: 

The main ingredient is the Tigernut

For the smoothie you’ll need:

  • Ginger
  • Bananas/ Avocado pear
  • Lime/ Lemon/ Orange

1. Wash the nuts thoroughly and soak in water for about 2-3 days. This will make blending easier on your domestic blender; or if your blender is up to it; you can blend right away.

If you soak; store in the refrigerator so it does not ferment.

2.After it has soaked; transfer to the blender and put about 5oo – 750ml water to help it blend.

Blend at high speed for 5 minutes at a minute intervals.

3. Sieve. Using a cheese cloth or any sieve that guarantees only the milk will go through. I like this mini hand sieve; I find it easier to manage. But the downside to it is I have to use my hand to strain.

You might nwed to reblend as you will find not all the nuts will blend on the first go. For a concentrated milk; blend With pre-sieved milk or if you don’t mind; reblend with fresh water.

With this; your milk  ready. You can drink immediately or refrigerate. It tastes so good.


I also tried blending with ginger and it tastes like kunu.


Tigernut Smoothie

To make this; add some bananas, ginger and a dash of citric acid I.e. Orange, lime or lemon to slow down the banana’s oxidation rate.


Blend together and you have delicious creamy smoothie.

I also tried an avocado pear variant, and it tasted good as well.

I typically make 2 days worth and store in the refrigerator in smoothie bottles. It’s as filling as it is delicious.

Try it today and share your tigernut recipes.

XOXO

Chinma Eke 

Happy New Month, Welcome to September 

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It’s September! The year is wounding down.  How are y’all doing? Hope August was good for you?

Each day presents an opportunity to do better, to take the joys, pains and experience of the past and do better.

I pray for us all that this month will bring exceedingly abundantly above all that we have asked in Jesus name; amen.

Have a blessed month!

XOXO

Chinma Eke

Before Getting Pro Makeup; Read these tips

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Hello dears, how have you all been?

This week’s post on #beautyfriday is both a post and a rant. Lol.

So, my friend got married recently, and I gave in to pressure and allowed my face to be beat professionally. Here are a few things I observed and  few tips I have to give;

1. If you are the bride (or the celebrant); have a makeup trial prior to your big day so you agree a look with the mua and ensure he/she sticks to it. 

Agree brands and products, read product labels, ensure you are comfortable with what will be used on your face.

2. Never let the MUA touch your face with dirty hands or dirty instruments.

This might sound like a given, but you will be amazed how a lot of things slip through the cracks in the rush against time. Ensure all hands, brushes and applicators are clean and if something accidentally drops in the floor; please ensure it’s cleaned before it comes in contact with your face (And the hand that picks it as well). 

3. Work with a makeup artist who respects time; not one who will spend all day making you up and leaving you rushing to catch-up. 

4. Now this is for the mua: dear Mua, unless it’s a makeover don’t change the client’s look. You are meant to accent and highlight not change. Don’t have your client looking so different from herself such that she is unrecognizable. Lol! 

what

This is one of the looks for the day

People said I looked years older! 

Me on a regular day

You be the judge. 

And who says I have to have pro-makeup? Why can’t I just #diy?

Product Review: Vanity Oils Skin Toning Therapy

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Hello darlins,

 

This week on #productreview I have another #buyNaijatogrowtheNaira product review: Vanity Oils Skin Toning Therapy.

I stumbled on Vanity Oils late last year on my quest for natural oils that could offer quality skincare same as the known brands but with less ‘unknown products’.

Have you taken a look at your regular brands products; there’s so much chemicals you don’t know what they all are.

Product Pricing
The 240ml bottle is priced at N3,500 and delivery within Lagos is N800 (good).
It might seem like a lot to pay, but this bottle will last quite a while before you need to re-purchase.

Product Packaging
So I bought my first bottle in January and I have been a convert since then, but what impressed me with my recent purchase is they have really improved with product packaging.

This is how the products arrived:

In a Ziploc with materials to ensure it travels well (I like!), before the courier packaging.
I prefer the pink bag it used to come in to the ziploc, but…. I have that already so this will do just fine.

It now has a pump head (yippee!) and they even included a spray bottle! Now this is a brand after my heart!

(Pardon the picture quality)

Ingredients
Now this is the koko, it contains 100% pure and natural:
Sweet almond Oil
Grape Seed Oil
Jojoba Oil
Argan Oil
Lemon Oil
Rosemary Oil
Lemongrass Oil
Vitamin E Oil
Olive (Extra Virgin) Oil
Sunflower Oil
Unlike the chemicals and preservatives in the other creams and oils, this is just perfect.

Usage
I apply directly to damp skin; morning and night. It’s safe for face and body, it promotes soft toned smooth skin, gently fades scars and dark spots, reduces and prevents acne and other skin infections, etc.
If you’re searching for a bleaching oil; this is not your product, it gives you a glowy brighter complexion, but won’t bleach you or fade your spots in 7 days (lol).

I’ve used it for months and I can safely say it’s a good product. I’ve had no irritations, not even product adjustment.

Will I buy again; yes, and I recommend it too.
There’s a link to Vanity oils website below, please follow the link to shop and enjoy.
Till another product review; have a blessed week.

PS; this is not a sponsored review, and I will be back to update if I have any issues.

XOXO

Chinma Eke

A chance at love

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Hey dearies, how have you all been?

I trust you’ve been good. I’ve missed you all, missed writing been battling with some serious writer’s block. but last night, my laptop loved me.

I wrote this short story and just edited this morning. I hope you like, I hope you really like and spare some thought for Bisi as she goes through this difficult time. 

a chance at love, chinma eke's blog

 

‘…. It’s not you, it’s me.’ With those words he shattered her world.

We’ve all heard those words, jokes and memes have been made of those words, but you can never understand those words; their impact until they are said to you. That five letter sentence. Perhaps in analysis it might be that it isn’t quite a correct sentence. But none of that matters when those words are said to you; all that matters at that moment; is that those words signify the end of a journey for you.

Bisi had known Akin for a while, perhaps known off is the correct terminology. They had mutual friends, acquaintances, etc. they were even friendly, said hi pleasantly whenever their paths crossed. So, when on that day they met at his cousins wedding; they said hi, Bisi introduced him to her friend; Funke whom she attended the wedding with and tried to match make them.

A few days later she followed up with Funke to find out if they had been any progress with Akin. Funke said they had spoken a few times but she doesn’t get the vibes Akin was interested. Bisi followed up with Akin, extoling Funke’s virtues to the highest heavens. She and Akin got talking, got to know each other better.

It was on one of such follow up sessions Akin asked her why she was trying to push him to another when she could have him for herself.

Bisi couldn’t believe it; as much as she liked Akin (well, what was there not to like?) there was this little thing of a six months age difference.  Being that they ran in the same circles; everyone had an idea of how old the other was. It was an age difference that didn’t matter in friendship but could matter in a relationship especially if things got serious.

Akin’s question got Bisi thinking. What she knew of him, she liked and would have been content with just being friends if this seed hadn’t been planted. Akin pushed and Bisi who would hitherto have sworn she could never date a younger man began to consider it. history and society was littered with couples where the woman was older.

It was just six months which happened to fall on different years, and Akin had a good head on his shoulders; better than his elders Bisi had had the misfortune of dating. She reminded him of her age, and he didn’t seem to mind (or so she thought). For looking back now, she couldn’t remember his response if any. Perhaps she had just taken his silence for consent.

She thought it through; what were the implications of being with him? No more themed birthday parties; as much as we Nigerians attempt to form enlightenment you can’t have your birthday with your stated year and your husband have his the next year. She thought about the fact that they ran in the same circles and those in their circle knew each other’s age; were they going to be fodder for back talk and gossip? This also meant a future walking on shells. She couldn’t be too opinionated lest it be seen as she showing her age and treating him like a younger brother. Like this literarily meant she was going to have to be super extra submissive!

This also meant a lifetime of always being on her toes beauty and fashion wise. She would never be able to just chill and let nature take its course; like she couldn’t afford to let herself age naturally and she asked herself if she could keep up. Marriages with a much older husband still had husbands trading their wives in for a younger model not to think of one in which the wife was actually older.

However to Bisi, all this paled to the fact that she really liked Akin. Like really liked him, she wasn’t just needy because she wasn’t in a relationship at the time, she really liked him. She had gotten to know him and loved what she knew. Best of all, he didn’t mind (or so she thought), afterall he was the one coming for her.

Against her better judgement, against her sister’s advice she decided to give it a shot. Well; in hindsight, she had about three good months. Three months in which she fell deeper in love with Akin. She glowed, she raved about him, and everyone could tell she was in love. The pessimistic, non-emotional, commitment phobic Bisi actually saw a future with Akin. She told her friends, family and loved ones about him, wanted to show him off to the world, factored him into her plans; was willing to go the long haul; this was it, this was really it.

….. And then the end began.

Akin had always had a demanding job; she had one too so she could understand. It wasn’t the easiest task to get him on the phone; she had to call many times or leave a message and wait for him to get back to her. His reply time became more and more distant, he never initiated any call or contact anymore. She went through a really trying time and he wasn’t there for her, she even got more empathy from the random colleague and neighbor than from her boyfriend. Still she made excuses for him; he was busy. Little did she know that was the beginning of the end.

They limped along with her in ignorant bliss until he suddenly became incommunicado. She one day realised it appeared she was in a relationship with herself. She was literarily the one carrying the relationship and she asked herself; na so I like man reach? It wasn’t pride which stopped her from contacting him, neither was it self-respect. It was concern that if three months into a relationship she had to be the one doing all the running, what kind of future did that hold for them?

To test this she decided she won’t reach out to him, let him do a bit of the running. And just like that her fears were confirmed. She could see his prints on social media, he was ok, communicating with others, just not her. Four days on she broke and called him.

‘Are you ok, is there a problem?’ she asked.

He replied that he would call her back and they would talk as he couldn’t talk where he was.

He called her back four days later, late at night on her birthday. He forgot and had to be reminded by seeing the felicitations on her Facebook that evening.

Like every normal female she had raved about her birthday for weeks preceding that day, but her boyfriend forgot her birthday and had to be reminded on Facebook.

He apologised, but by then she already knew they were not ok. It was probably over. All she wanted was to know why.

He came to her office the next day with a cake, she joined him in his car and barely glanced at it as she mumbled a tense ‘thankyou’. She was very nervous, in the next moments she was going to hear the life changing verdict or reason if you please. But a verdict to her because it was obvious his mind was made up.

‘I know you’re angry with me.” Akin began. “I’ve been thinking, thinking a lot about us. About taking this relationship to the next level and I can’t get past this age thing. The fact that you’re older than me. Is it something we can get past or is it something that will become an issue later in life. If you notice I’ve been withdrawing for a while, I’ve been giving this a lot of thought. And well, what do you think about it?’ He asked.

While he spoke, Bisi felt like the bottom of her world had dropped away. This was her deepest fear confirmed. Regardless of the question, it was obvious he had thought it true and felt there was no way forward; hence his withdrawal. She couldn’t speak. She felt like screaming out in pain. She tried to get a grip on herself; she couldn’t afford to break down in tears, she had to go back to work.

‘I have a question.’ She tried to speak through the pain. ‘You knew our ages before we began. If this was going to be an issue why did you bother beginning?’ She asked when she could speak.

For the life of her she can’t remember if he replied or what he replied. She just knew she had to get away.

‘I have to go back to work.’ She mumbled, opening the car door she fled into her office premises.

He called her on her mobile. ‘You forgot your cake.’ He said.

‘Thrash it.’

“Sorry?’

‘Thrash it!’ She repeated. ‘Just like you’ve thrashed our relationship, thrash it.’ She ended the call. The tears were now falling freely as she made her way to the nearest restroom. She spent the next hour weeping her heart out. She wept for her lost love. She wept for a lost dream, she wept for she had dared to dream.

She wept, for age is nothing but a number was the biggest lie of all.

 

XOXO

Chinma Eke

Happy New Month, Welcome to July

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july, chinma eke's blog

It’s the second half of the year! Welcome to July.

Hope you had a good first part of the year, if you did not; don’t despair. ‘But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day’. (2 Peter 3:8)

The above verse say it all; God is not bound by human calendar and times, He always comes true in His time.

I wish everyone a beautiful month of July, I hope you have the best of days.

 

XOXO

Chinma Eke

Product Review: RnR Luxury Liquid Black Soap

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Hello all,

It’s been awhile, how have you all been?

I’ve missed you all too, I hope you missed me?

So, I have decided to start a new segment called the beauty review where I will review beauty products I’ve used and share my thoughts.

As a beauty addict and merchant, I have used some truly wonderful products and some not so good ones, and one of the problems I have always encountered is finding credible (not-sponsored) reviews online, or any reviews at all especially about Nigerian products.

So, I have decided to incorporate it into my blog and share my experiences on my fave products, especially Nigerian made products. I mean, we need to #buyNaijatogrowtheNaira

So, Here we go; the first product to be reviewed is R&R Luxury’s Liquid Black Soap of their Shea Luxury range

liquid black soap

Product Pricing

This product is nicely priced at N1,000 for a 250ml bottle (good).

I stumbled on this liquid black soap after seeing it reviewed on a post on Bellanaija, I searched the web for it, got on to R&R Luxury’s website, ordered and it was delivered to me the next day (nice!) I didn’t like the fact that I had to pay N1000 for delivery from Lekki Phase 1 to Ikoyi, but I couldn’t go pick up, so I paid.

black soap and bag

Product Packaging

It arrived in a paper bag, with a clear film sealing in the product. I don’t think this packaging will travel well with an out of town delivery, but I had no issues, no spills; so I’m fine with it. But, like I said; I hope R&R luxury has a better plan for out of town deliveries.

Ingredients:

R&R boasts their skincare products contain all natural products with 100% pure unrefined shea butter as it’s main ingredient. Others are; coconut oil, cocoa pod and cocoa butter. And they say it’s perfect for the whole family.

facewash

Usage

So, I got home that day and excitedly used the soap that night. I followed my normal wash routine; wipe of makeup with baby wipes; wet my face with water, squeeze some soap on my hands and lather my face.

It lathered very well, smells like black soap (I don’t mind), didn’t irritate (I have sensitive skin and products can irritate in a second).

The attendant I spoke with on the phone in the course of placing my order had advised me not to let the product sit on my face for too long, i.e: not use it as a mask; but altogether I think it was on my face for about 30 seconds or more (the time it took me to use the washcloth on my face). I used it with the regular baby face towel and it cleaned really nice.

But then, I discovered another problem; I’m used to my face wash bottle having a pump, this didn’t and I found the lifting and the dropping of the bottle cumbersome. So, I searched for an old bottle of  face wash which had a pump head and transferred. R&R Luxury might want to invest in a pump head bottle for ease of application.

black soap pump bottle

So, I’ve used it for over two weeks and I think I can safely say it’s a good product. I’ve had no irritations, not even product adjustment. I transited from my old facewash to this seamlessly.

It can be used on the face and body, it’s non-drying, not excellent, but a good product.

Will I buy again; Yes, and I recommend it too.

There’s a link to R&R luxury online shop below, please follow the link to shop and enjoy.

Till another product review; have a blessed week.

PS; This is not a sponsored review, and I will be back to update if I have any issues.

R&R Luxury: Shop R&R Luxury

 

XOXO

Chinma Eke

Miriam’s tale E10

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Miriam's Tale, Chinma Eke's blog

The shoe box held a lot of papers, something told me I wouldn’t like the contents of the box, but I had to go through it, so, with a resigned sigh I settled in on the floor to go through the papers.

Bank details and data; I had all that already, work documents, his last promotion letter; my jaw dropped at that one. Huh? Ken at his death was earning over 10million Naira per annum? What the …? And I remembered pleading with him for just 500 thousand Naira in the months before he died to set-up a small business, and he had rejected that on the grounds of ‘no money’. Hmmm! Anyways, factor in the fact that he had been running two parallel families, I guess that explains the ‘no money’.

Riffling through, I found more papers, Ken kept both the useful and inconsequential, or so it seemed to me. I found even a receipt for dinner at a restaurant; I would love to hear the gist behind that receipt being kept, it must have held some sentimental value for him to have kept it. I found an envelope at the bottom of the box, it was in an unaddressed envelope, and it wasn’t sealed, so no one can claim I trespassed. Neither did it have any conditions attached to its being opened, so I went right on to open the envelope.

It contained what looked to be Ken’s will, and it was recent; dated a year from his death.

The doorbell rang just as I was about to open it. Insistent ringing typical of Susan. Talk of wrong timing.

She knew I was home, and they was no way I could ignore her. The will wasn’t running away, right? I stuffed it back into the envelope and went to get the door.

“Susan!” I said by way of greeting on opening the door.

“Hello sister dearest, how you doing?´ She tried to do an imitation of Wendy Williams.

This made me smile despite my irritation with her dropping in unannounced. “I’m good, come on in.” I stood aside for her to come in.

“Duh, was there a chance you wouldn’t let me in.” She asked wryly.

“Yes, I wanted to ignore the bell, especially knowing it was you.”

“But I brought chicken!” She brandished a bag from a popular chicken restaurant. She knows I love their chicken. She came with a bribe, lol. What was Susan up to?

I sank into a chair and watched in amusement as Susan went from room to room opening doors and peeping in. she returned shortly.

“Miriam na wa for you o! So you shipped the kids off to our place so you can be all alone by yourself.”

“That’s tautology Susan, you need to mind your grammar.” I teased.

“Forget the grammar! You mean you’re all alone in this house, no guest? Haba sis, you can be boring.”

She collapsed into the chair beside me, opened the chicken pack took a piece and offered the pack to me.

I picked a piece of chicken and bit into it remaining silent. It infuriated her when I did that, patience wasn’t one of Susan’s strong points, but it was mine. Lol.

“Are you certain there’s no man in this apartment?” I teased her.

“Are you saying there’s a man in this apartment?” She countered.

I laughed out loud. “I was sorting out Ken’s stuff, come help me.” I decided to put her out of her misery. I got up and she followed me into the room.

“I’ve sorted out his clothes, I was sorting out his shoes when I found this box of papers.” She was my sister, and I knew I could trust her.

‘What’s on the papers? Any more skeletons creeping out of the closet?” She asked as she settled in opposite me.

“Not really, this one I haven’t read, but I have a suspicion it contains something explosive.” I waved the envelope in the air.

“Open it already!!!!” Susan urged excitedly.

And just as I was about to open it, the doorbell rang again.

Ahn ahn! “Who was that again?”

“Uhm, my guess is that’s Emeka.” Susan said uncomfortably.

“Emeka?”

“Yeah, well, I ran into him this morning, and he said he was going to visit you. Uhm, that was why I searched the house when I came in.” She looked uncomfortable.

This was distraction I didn’t need. Was Susan encouraging Emeka?

A part of me wanted to ignore the door, I didn’t want Emeka around me or my kids. While I wasn’t sure of Daniel’s paternity, I didn’t want to risk him coming around lest anybody see the similar feautures and suspect…… If Daniel was Emeka’s son, who would believe me when I tell them I didn’t know and only began to suspect recently?

Everyone would feel betrayed. Where do I begin? Do I tell Daniel the man he called father isn’t his biological father? Do I tell Ken’s parents Daniel isn’t their grandson?

How do I tell Emeka I gave his son to another man to father.

Who would believe I didn’t know or suspect? If I were on the other side would I believe me?

This whole thing was sordid business and had the ability to destroy lives. I couldn’t risk that happening.

“Aren’t you going to let him in?” Susan asked startling me out of my thoughts.

“I, I don’t want to.” I replied. “Susan, I don’t want to encourage him, I’m done with men.” I said wearily.

“Miriam you are still young, you cannot end your life because of one bad experience. Yes Ken betrayed you, but you have to move on. Not all men are the same.”

“What if I also betrayed Ken?” I whispered.

“What do you mean?” She asked sharply.

“It’s nothing. Go and get the door. I’ll finish up here later.” I replied composing myself.

“Miriam, you were about to say something….”

“It was nothing. Get the door.”

“Miriam…….”

“Go get the door Susan, mind your manners, and don’t keep a guest waiting at the door.” I put the unopened envelope in my bedside drawer to be read later at night, and tried to tidy-up the room. Susan hesitated for a bit before she went to get the door.

*****

I joined them in the living room a while later, Susan had offered him refreshments already.

“Hi Emeka, how are you doing?” I greeted him.

“I’m very well, and you?” He replied rising to his feet.

”Please have a seat, no need for formality in my house.” I said.

“Not formality, courtesy. When a lady walks into the room, it’s proper to rise in greeting.”

“Perfect gentleman.” Susan whispered aloud.”

I rolled my eyes inwardly. Susan had started again.

“I ran into Susan this morning on my way from my morning jog and I promised her I’ll come see you today.” He said as he returned to his seat.

I quirked my eyebrows at Susan. ‘Promised’ ? That wasn’t quite the way she told it.

“How nice of you.” I said instead.

“It’s not niceness, I enjoyed catching up with you at your parents. You know I’m still in the process of renewing friendships, been away for a while.”

“I can imagine.” I said dryly.

“It’s no hardship, and I love your kids. I don’t know how you manage to be away from them.” He smiled brightly.

Susan beamed when he said he loved my kids, and in my mind I said ‘whatever’. My kids were wonderful, who wouldn’t love them?

Yeah, I know, Overdose of mothers pride!

“So, what’s up, thought you said you were in town for a few weeks or so?”

“I decided I’m staying. I’m back for good.”

“Wow! Such good news” Susan said excitedly.

God help me get Susan out of my house right now!

“Good for you. I’m sure your parents are thrilled.”

“Yes they are. Let’s not talk about me, let’s talk about you. How are you spending your alone time, with the kids at your parents? Let’s hang out. You can show me all the interesting places to be.”

“I don’t know the interesting places to be.” I replied wryly.

“That’s not true. Remember that new mall you were just telling me about last week, the one with the cinema, that you hadn’t visited. You guys should go there.” Susan urged excitedly.

“I’m tired, been on my feet all day, I don’t want to go out.” I replied forcing a yawn.

“We could just go see a movie, minimal movement, you get to sit still for the duration of the movie.” Emeka urged.

“I don’t want to go out.” I insisted. “This is my alone time, I need to spend it resting, not battling traffic.”

“Its fine, we could work with that. Order in food, see a movie, gist, whatever you want. Or I could help you with the house chores. I have a spare set of hands, and I’m willing to work.”

‘Oh, she’s done already. You guys should order in pizza; Miriam likes pizza. And I have a movie on my flash I know she’ll love.” Susan replied.

I would gladly have stuffed her in a toilet at that moment. Lol.

“Okay, that’s settled then.” Emeka agreed.

“So, I’ll just start this up.” Susan said rummaging in her hand bag and emerging with a flash drive.

She connected it to the TV and selected the movie she wanted to play.

“I’ll order the pizza for you guys while I go see a client.” Susan said picking up her hand bag.

Sneaky little girl! She got him to come visit now she was leaving me alone with him.

“Thanks Susan.” Emeka said as Susan practically ran out of the door.

“You’re welcome darling. Pizza should be here in thirty minutes.” She replied from the door.

“Thanks for nothing.” I said under my breath.

“Pardon?” Emeka asked.

“Oh nothing.” I replied airily. “I hope you like chickflicks, because this is one.” I said to him focusing my attention on the movie on the screen.

“Oh, I’m versatile.” He replied with a smile.

I replied with a smile of my own. My phone beeped. Message from Susan.

Pizza ordered. Enjoy the afternoon.’

I quickly typed; ‘thanks for nothing

‘Lol’ She replied. ‘We’ll pick up that discussion on the Ken betrayal later, meanwhile, ENJOY your afternoon.’

 

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Miriam’s Tale E9

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……Emeka was having a conversation with Daniel. I got to the living room door and stopped short in shock.

I was plunged into that day many years ago. Emeka had returned to Nigeria for a brief vacation and I had greeted him with the news that I had a new boyfriend; Kenechukwu. He had been disappointed for when he was leaving for school we had childishly promised to wait for each other.  We had argued, then he had tried to convince me, and …….. Oh my God! It couldn’t be……

Miriam's Tale, Chinma Eke's blog

I did a mental comparison; the fair skin, the dark hair, slight dimple, ….. Oh my God! No! It couldn’t be. There must be another explanation for this. Ken had been light chocolate in complexion, and his mother was very fair. So, I hadn’t given a thought to it, but….. No! My mind must be playing games on me. This was like a mirage sighting on dry land. He looked up and caught and held my gaze. I snapped out of my reverie and smiled brightly at him, my smile masking all the tension and apprehension in my mind.

He returned my smile and got up slowly. “Hi Miriam, good to see you.”

“Same here Emeka. How are you?” I moved into the room. Daniel turned around and smiled at me, I smiled back. My smile concealing my inner turmoil.

“Where’s Ada?” I asked Daniel.

“She’s in grandma’s room, they are putting on make-up.” He made a gross face and I laughed genuinely. Daniel and Ada were typical boy and girl. While Dan liked all things masculine; sports, clothing, girls, etc, Ada liked all things feminine; from make-up, to clothes, to shoes. Lol! I had my work cut-out for me in the future.

Ada’s location worked perfectly for me, I needed Daniel out of the living room, I didn’t want anyone looking closely at he and Emeka and drawing undue conclusions.

“Go and stay with them and ensure she doesn’t stress grandma.” I said to him.

In my minds eyes, I saw those memes of African parents sending their kids on unnecessary errands to get rid of them. Lol, this was me now.

He went grudgingly. Bless his soul, Daniel was such a sweet child, very obedient and sensitive to my needs.

“The young man and I were just bonding. He’s a good boy, you did a fine job.” Emeka said after Daniel had left the living room.

“Thank you.” I replied sitting down in the sofa nearest to me. “So, what’s up, are you back for a holiday or finally?”

“I’m back for good. I’ve been feeling homesick, and I got a fantastic offer and I’m back!”

“That’s nice. I hope you don’t find this rude, I know you’ve told me what you do, but, I’ve forgotten.” I grimaced in apology.

“No worries. I’m a software programmer.”

“Oh, ok. Yes, rings a bell. Don’t mind me; old age.” I joked

He laughed out loud. “I remember your sense of humour.” He mused.

Susan chose that time to come into the living room. She practically snuck in as though hoping to catch us doing something sneaky, lol. No chance of that happening.

“Hi Emeka, can I get you refreshment? What would you have?” She said.

“I’m good, thanks.” He replied.

“Apologies, where’s my manners. We should get you a drink.” I joined her in persuading him.

“Ok.” He acquiesced.

“What would you like? We have soda, malt and some beer.” Susan offered.

“Soda is fine.”

“One soda coming up.” She flounced off, like really flounced off. Susan was such a drama queen, her theatrics knew no limits.

My dad joined us in the living room, and I left him and Emeka to gist manly stuff while I want in to conclude on the cooking before Susan gets experimental and something goes wrong. Not that it’s ever happened but there’s always a first time, and I didn’t want to have to deal with the kids having running stomachs, not to mention that we had a guest.

He left soon after the meal, and I dragged my family home, it had been a good visit, it was nice to see Emeka again, albeit unsettling but I refused to think about it. I promised the kids they could go over for the weekend at my parents soon and they were overjoyed. I was also happy about the visit. Them out of the house meant I could rest more, sleep a few more hours in the morning without them bouncing all over me. Other parents had difficulty waking their kids in the morning, I had my kids jumping over me at the crack of dawn. Lol.

Emeka tried to re-establish the friendship between us, but I refused. I wasn’t comfortable being around him. I didn’t want any funny issues to arise. Besides, I hadn’t processed the possibility of ‘that thought’. I was a fresh ‘widow’, wasn’t looking for a relationship, I wasn’t even sure I wanted a new relationship. Being single had its perks, I didn’t want to have to start again, begin dating again, yuck! I was past all that, to old, and I have baggage. I have kids. Anyways, not thinking about that. How can I be thinking about dating when I have bills to pay? Kids to cater for? Ah! No time.

It had been over a year since Ken died. The weekend the kids went to my parents, I seized the opportunity to clean out my room (more like cleaning out Ken’s stuff). It was a bittersweet cleansing ritual for me, I hadn’t removed or gone through any of Ken’s stuff since he passed. Couldn’t bring myself to then; too emotional.

I was down to his shoe boxes, Ken had a thing for shoes, and he had quite a lot of them. I opened each of them, mentally tallying up a list of people to gift them with when I found one that didn’t have any shoes in it, but held a lot of papers…….

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Happy New Month, Welcome to November

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It’s the month of thanksgiving! How have you all been, hope October was good for you?

So the year is almost over, we’ve got two months to bid 2015 goodbye and welcome to 2016, I pray the year ends well for us all, Amen.

So, I wish you all a  great month, may we all have reasons to be grateful every day, enjoy the month, keep visiting Chinma Eke’s blog.

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12 Natural Ways to get rid of Scars

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Almost everybody has a scar they’d really rather not see every day. I’ve got a few from the chicken pox I had 15+ years ago, some others from injuries and cosmetic trials (yes I do!), and some from hot water burns. So first of all, not great memories! And secondly, even though the scars are faded, they’re still a little unsightly.
If you have scars from cuts and scrapes, injuries, acne or surgery, chances are nobody else is noticing, but they can be annoying or make you self-conscious. While scars are inevitable, there are a lot of natural remedies you can use to minimize their appearance. Note that it may take several consistent applications—daily is ideal—for results to be really noticeable.

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  1. CUCUMBER

Especially helpful for acne scars, a cucumber treatment like a face mask or lotion can minimize inflammation and the appearance of scars.

  1. FRANKINCENSE OIL

This essential oil helps treat dry skin, reverses signs of aging, and reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scars.

  1. ROSEHIP SEED OIL

Mix frankincense oil with another scar-fighting oil, rosehip seed oil, to make an anti-aging facial oil that also works on scars. Rosehip seed oil is high in essential fatty acids that heal dehydrated skin. It’s a “dry” oil, meaning that it soaks into the skin easily and doesn’t leave a greasy residue, so you can use it just about anywhere on your body.

  1. APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

Dilute ACV with anywhere from 1 to 4 parts water (depending on how sensitive your skin is) and dab or swipe on with a cotton ball to help fade scars and sun spots. If you have acne-prone or oily skin, try this wonder ingredient in an acne-fighting turmeric-ACV astringent, too.

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  1. ALOE VERA

This worked wonders on my ankle scarring—you can still see some discoloration but it’s not nearly as raised as it used to be. Among many other benefits, aloe reduces inflammation, swelling and redness.

  1. LEMON JUICE

Another great treatment for acne scars. Lemon juice helps fade any dark discolorations in the skin. Combine it with aloe’s inflammation-fighting power in an aloe-lemon face pack (you can use it elsewhere, too.)

  1. VITAMIN K CREAM OR SERUM

Leafy greens are the best natural source of vitamin K, which helps with blood clotting. When it comes to skin, a topical application of vitamin K can help minimize spider veins, bruising, scars and stretch marks. Make sure to eat your kale and collards to promote healing from within, too.

  1. BAKING SODA

DIY beauty mavens swear by baking soda for discoloration and acne scars. It’s also a gentle exfoliant. Baking soda works like a magnet, pulling any ickiness out of the skin. Mix a little water with baking soda to make a paste and apply to wet skin, then let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. (Hold a warm compress on it for even better results.)

  1. VITAMIN E

Vitamin E is super soothing to the skin and helps scars disappear over time. Open up a vitamin E capsule and apply the liquid to the affected area. FYI, this will be messy!

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  1. EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

EVOO helps loosens dead skin cells, and lighten and soften scars. You can even leave a little olive oil on the affected area overnight for extra moisturizing.

  1. COCOA BUTTER

In addition to working well for stretch marks, cocoa butter (go for organic, raw versions if possible) is a highly concentrated fat that penetrates deep into skin to heal, smooth and soften. This is a great remedy if you have larger scars.

  1. LAVENDER OIL

In addition to helping treat burns, eczema and acne, lavender’s healing and soothing properties also help diminish scar tissue. Lavender is gentle enough that you can apply a couple drops to the affected area daily (do a small test patch on the inside of your elbow if you’ve never used it before). Bonus: lavender is great for anxiety and insomnia.

What are your beauty recipes, share with us!

*Article credit: Bloglovin

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Miriam’s Tale E8

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My ringing phone startled me out of my reverie, an unregistered number. I knew instinctively it was Emeka. This was confirmed when I answered the call and heard a familiar male voice say; “Hello”

Miriam's Tale, Chinma Eke's blog

“Hello” I responded.

“Am I speaking with Miriam Ikoku?” He asked.

“Yes, this is her, Miriam Okoro now.”

“I’m sorry, my bad. Susan told me you’re married now, I should have asked for your married name.” He apologised sincerely.

“It’s fine, I understand. I have girlfriends who still refer to me by my maiden name.”

“I’m relieved I’m not the only one who’s made such an error. This is Emeka, Susan gave me your number.”

“Hi Emeka, how are you?”

“I’m very well, and you?”

“I’m good.”

“Great. So, I’m back in town for a few weeks and I thought I’ll look you up.”

“That’s nice.”

“So how have you been, I heard you lost your husband about a year ago, accept my condolences.”

‘Thank you, God has been faithful.”

“You have kids, how many?”

“Two; Daniel is seven and Ada is two.”

‘Wonderful.”

“And you? Are you married?”

“Unfortunately, no. so how have you been coping?” He tried to change the subject back to me.

“Why haven’t you married yet?” I brought the discussion back to him. Since my husbands’ death, I had gotten weary of talking about ‘poor lil me’ . People need to give me a break and talk about something else.

He sighed. “Three years ago, I was engaged, she died. Road accident.” He replied quietly.

Immediately I felt bad for prying. He clearly wasn’t over it from the tone of his voice. “I’m sorry for your loss.” I whispered. Wait a minute, why were we whispering? I sat up in bed, we needed to ‘re-formalise’ (if there was a word like that) the discussion.

“It’s fine. Was a long time ago.”

“Ok. So, you just visiting, or?”

“I’m just visiting, been a while I’ve seen my folks.”

‘It’s really been a while. Twelve years?”

“Yeah. You have a good memory.” He chuckled. “Although my folks visited a few times.”

“Oh, ok.”

“I would love to see you Miriam, can I come visit you, it will give me a chance to see the city further.”

Huh? Come and visit me, why? After ‘uncle Pius’ visit, I’ve been wary of men visiting me at home. “Tell you what, I’m bringing my kids over to their grand-parents tomorrow, you can pop over then.” I quickly improvised, ignoring his offer to visit.

“Ok, that should work.” He replied after a while. “So, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow?”

“Yeah, sure.” I agreed. Daniel and Ada were always up for a trip to their grand-parent’s.

**********

The next day, I doubt Daniel and Ada heard anything that was said in Sunday school. It had actually been a while since we had gone over to my parents, recently, it had been my parents coming over to ours. We drove straight over from church, they could barely contain their excitement, and my parents spoil them rotten.

Amebo Susan, immediately she saw us began to grin. She took in my dress and her grin widened.

“What?” I asked her.

“Nothing.” She replied in false innocence.

“Yeah right.” I muttered, passing her to go into the kitchen and help with lunch preparations.

“I like your dress.” She said following me.

“I like it too. I replied sarcastically.

She laughed. “Why are you grouchy?”

I ignored her.

“Aren’t you too old to be using your parents’ house as a cover to check out a guy?”

“Huh? Really?”

“Yes nau! He called you yesterday, and today, you’re here. Dragging my lovely neice and nephew along as a cover for your meeting.” She laughed longer.

Please can someone help with where I can return my younger sister!

Our doorbell rang. “Uuhhh!” She shivered excitedly. “Is that him?” She ran out of the kitchen to get the door. She returned a while later even more excited than when she left.

“He’s here!” She announced excitedly. She loosened the apron from behind. “Shoo! You can go.” She shooed me out of the kitchen.

I dashed to the bathroom and quickly looked myself over, passable. I wasn’t dressing up for nobody! I made my way to the siting room, I could hear their voices before I got there, Emeka was having a conversation with Daniel. I got to the living room door and stopped short in shock.

*****

I was plunged into that day many years ago. Emeka had returned to Nigeria for a brief vacation and I had greeted him with the news that I had a new boyfriend; Kenechukwu. He had been disappointed for when he was leaving for school we had childishly promised to wait for each other.  We had argued, then he had tried to convince me, and …….. Oh my God! It couldn’t be……

Miriam’s Tale E7

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Miriam's Tale, Chinma Eke's blog

What was discussed outside, I didn’t know and didn’t care. I was too relieved to have my children back. I busied myself with preparing them for bed, there were sleeping with me that night. I had asked Amaka to see to my mother-in-law and step-children, while my mother made dinner should anyone want some.

The kids were exhausted and promptly fell asleep. I joined the adults in the living room, they were mid-discussion. I came in when my father was telling them they had to leave the next day, that I was just managing to make ends meet and it would be unfair of my in-laws to burden me with their presence. I wanted to scream I wanted them gone immediately, but I was too tired to say anything. My parents left shortly after that and we all went to sleep.

***

The next day I called my boss and told her I was going to be slightly late. I made sure I drove them to the buspark. I paid their fare and waved them off, ensuring they were no last minute hitches that might necessitate them going back to my house. With a relieved sigh I went back to work. Hopefully by the time I returned home my life would be back to normal. Or the normal I had been plunged into since Ken’s death a year ago.

**********

“Guess who I just ran into?” My sister Susan squealed into the phone. I had to move the phone away from my ear because she was so loud.

“I don’t know.” I replied dryly. I had just forced Daniel and Ada to have a siesta and I wanted to follow suit.

“Guess.” She prompted.

“No Susan, I can’t. I’m tired, your nephew and niece have been running me ragged all day!” it was a Saturday, and the kids hadn’t given me a moment of peace all day.

She laughed. “How are my darlings?” She asked fondly.

“Terrorizing their mother! I almost feel sorry for Amaka if this is what she has to contend with every day.”

She laughed again and I yawned. I was tired out. Doing chores with over-energetic children underfoot was extremely tiring.

“Anyways, guess who I ran into today?”

“Tell me.”

“Emeka!”

“Emeka who?”  I racked my brain for any Emeka I knew and came up empty.

“Emeka your secondary school sweetheart!”

Huh! Who was she talking about? Emeka…. Oh! Emeka! My first boyfriend, I remembered him. He had left for the States to further his studies immediately after secondary school to further his education; he hadn’t been back in the country since then as far as I knew. “Oh, you saw him where?”

“At his parents, he’s back in town.” His parents and mine were neighbors.

“Oh, how nice.”

She chuckled. “He recognized me immediately, well, I did too and he asked of you.”

“That’s natural.” Emeka and I dated in Secondary school, we were also neighbors so it was natural that he ask of me.

‘He’s so fine!” Susan went on as though I hadn’t spoken.

I rolled my eyes despite we were on the phone and she couldn’t see me. Everyone was ‘so fine’ for Susan.

“Anyways, I gave him your number.”

“I’m sure.” I mumbled dryly. I wouldn’t be surprised if Susan had also brought him up to speed on the happenings since he’d left town.

‘…And he said he’ll call you. So I just thought to give you a heads-up.”

“You’re so kind.” I replied sarcastically.

“Lol sis! Stop being such a fuddy-duddy, you’re just twenty-nine!”

Where was she going with this? “What does that have to do with anything?” I asked her.

“You sound older and older every time I speak with you. Lighten-up! Ever since….”

I knew what she had been about to say. “Yeah, ever since Ken died, I’ve changed, I know. Susan, Ken’s death opened up my eyes, opened me to reality, you and I know all the truths that have been unraveled with his death, and who knows what else is out there that I’m not yet aware of, so, excuse me if I’m a lot less excited than I was!”

That was a rant, a full blown rant, but I just felt like I needed to let off steam.

“Yeah sis, I know. But I want you to be happy, to live again. I feel your pain, but joining you in the doldrums won’t help you. So, I remain your entertainment. I have a date, which I need to prepare for; I just wanted to tell you Emeka will be calling you, so you aren’t caught unawares.”

“You have a date, who with?”

“Nobert ofcourse!”

“Really Susan, I’m impressed, you’ve been going with Nobert for a while now.” I teased. Susan had short attention span with guys, with most everything except fashion and cosmetics, that’s why she was a successful freelance makeup artist and fashion stylist.

“I like him, I really do.” She giggled.

“Oh my stars! Is my sister in love?” I teased.

She giggled some more. “No Miriam, not yet. I like him a lot but we aren’t there yet.” She said seriously.

“Early days.”

“Yeah, early days. So, I’ve got to run, we’re hanging out with his friends, and I want to look my best.”

“I trust you to knock them out.”

“Later sis. Love you. Give the kids my love.”

“Have fun.” I lay back on the bed and attempted to sleep.

I loved Susan to the heavens and beyond. She was so free-spirited; she brought sunshine into a room by stepping into it. My parents had her when I was seven, according to my mom, she and dad had agreed on two kids, my brother and I and had actually closed the birthing door when Susan happened.

Susan had been such a delightful child we all had spoilt her silly, she was a good selfless person, and very talented too. I doubt there was an art she couldn’t master.

My ringing phone startled me out of my reverie, an unregistered number. I knew instinctively it was Emeka. This was confirmed when I answered the call and heard a familiar male voice say; “Hello

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Miriam’s Tale E6

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Hello darlings, how have you all been? I apologise for not posting on Wednesday, work as a little extra busy. Here’s this week’s post, hope you enjoy, and do let me know what you think by leaving  a comment.

Also, don’t be stingy, don’t forget to share. Share with your friends and loved ones, and share on your social media timelines.

XOXO

Miriam's Tale, Chinma Eke's blog

The next day dawned bright, when I was ready for work, mama and the kids weren’t ready yet. I explained to her that she needed to hurry so I could drop them off at the park on my way to work. She said I should go ahead, that Jude was going to come by to take them to the park.

That made me uneasy, although I couldn’t pinpoint the reason for this unease. I tried convincing her that if they didn’t get to the park on time all the good buses will be gone; she insisted she wanted to wait for Jude. I left for work, leaving Amaka instructions not to forget to take the kids for their summer class in time.

When I got to work, I tried Amaka’s mobile, it didn’t go through, the usual Nigerian network error. I thought nothing of it; every Nigerian knows we experience network challenges often.

I returned from work the next day to a veerryy silent house. I had gotten some ice-cream for the kids because I knew they will be missing ‘the guests’ already. I refused to call them siblings; I just refused to process the thought.  Amaka opened the door even before I rang the bell, and I could tell she was worried.

“Welcome aunty.” She greeted me taking my bags.

“Thanks Amaka, how are you?”

“I’m fine aunty.” She led the way into the house.

“Where are the kids?” I asked. The house was too tidy and quite, very unusual.

“Aunty.” She dropped the bags on the dining table. “Uncle Jude came this morning and took everybody out, they are not back yet.” She blurted out wringing he hands.

My head spun. As in I could actually see white dots in front of me. What was Amaka telling me? That my brother-in-law came over since morning and took everyone out including my kids and they weren’t back yet? “How?” Was all I was able to utter, I began to panic. How could Amaka have let my kids be taken out without my permission? ‘He took my children to Abuja and you let him? Why didn’t you call me?” I screamed.

“No ma, he said he was taking them to the beach, not Abuja.” She replied fearfully.

“So their things are still here?”

“Yes aunty.”

I ran into the bedroom to confirm this, and truly, their stuff was all there. Still, the beach? Jude took my kids to the beach without informing me? It was past 7pm and they weren’t back yet. I ran back into the living room and got my mobile phone out of my handbag, I dialed my mother-in-law’s number, it rang though without her picking it.  I tried Jude’s number, he didn’t pick as well. My panic intensified.

I called my mom, my dad had been sickly of recent and I didn’t want to alarm him. My younger sister: Susan answered my mom’s phone and I poured out the whole story to her, sobbing through the tale. While we were on the phone I heard my mom ask her who was on the phone and she told her the story. I heard my mom say immediately that they were on their way. I was so scared, I didn’t know what to think. What if something bad had happened to them? Why hadn’t they returned? What if my mother and brother-in-law had kidnapped my children? Those children were my life, I couldn’t survive it should anything happen to them. I turned on Amaka who was standing silently in a corner.

‘Why didn’t you call me? Immediately he said he wanted to take the kids out you should have called me for permission. And to make matters worse you didn’t go with them? Haba Amaka? When I lefe for work this morning I told you there were going back to Abuja, that Jude was coming to take them to the park. So I leave for work and Jude comes and gives counter instructions and you obey his instructions. Why?” I scolded her through my tears.

This was so unlike Amaka, she had been with me for years and was usually very dependable, I totally trusted her with my kids. Why had she let this happen?

She began to cry and I got up and began to pace.  I tried Jude’s number again, he answered on the second ring. “Where are my children?” I asked without preamble.

“Relax sis, we’re on our way back.” He replied.

I struggled for calm. “Give Daniel the phone.” I demanded.

“Hello, mommy” I heard Daniel’s voice a moment later and I could have wept for joy. He sounded both excited and tired.

“Daniel how are you?”

“I’m fine mommy, we went to the beach.”

“That’s nice, Amaka told me. How is Ada?”

“She’s fine mommy, she’s sleeping.” He replied.

The poor child must be exhausted. “Okay love. How close are you, do you know where you are?” I hoped they were in the neighborhood.

I heard him asking his uncle where they were.

“Uncle Jude said we’ll soon be home.” He replied a moment later.

“Okay dear, see you soon. I love you.”

‘I love you too mom.”

Immediately I ended the call the doorbell rang. Amaka opened the door and let in my parents and my younger sister.

“Have you been able to reach them?” Susan asked.

“Yes, Jude finally answered his call. He said they are on their way back.

“Where are they, how far away are they?” My father barked.

“Daddy I don’t know, but I spoke with Daniel.”

He sat down, obviously very upset. This was why I didn’t want to tell him, I didn’t want to cause him any distress.

My mom went to the kitchen and got him a glass of water, which he sipped with a quiet thank you. She sat beside him and they held hands.

Watching my parents brought tears to my eyes. This was what I wanted, being so in-tune with your spouse that no words were needed to communicate. That was the kind of marriage I wanted, the kind I thought I had until Ken died and his death exposed what a fraud he had been. My parents had been married for over thirty years and still going strong. We hadn’t heard of any parallel family or love child. Ken hadn’t even gone two years with me before he started another family.

The doorbell rang a while later and I sprang up. I ran to the door and yanked it open. I was both surprised and disappointed to see my elder brother and his wife. Apparently, Susan had called them on their way over

I let them in and relayed the status update to them, and they joined us in waiting.

The next time the doorbell rang, my brother sprang up at the same time as I did. He asked me to stay back and let him get the door.

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Happy New Month, Welcome To October

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It’s October already!

Happy New Month darlings, how are y’all? Hope September was good for you?

It’s a new month, and yes: Happy Independence day Nigeria!

Here’s to a great month, may it be for you all that you wish it to be. Have a blast, keep visiting Chinma Eke’s blog, share with your friends and family, and let me know how you feel by leaving a comment.

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Miriam’s Tale E5

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You know how it’s said; that the darkest part of the night signals the breaking of the dawn, or something like that. That was my story, Ijeoma’s goods was taking forever to arrive, I was fast running out of money with no hope in sight. Just when things had gotten so very bad, the dawn broke.

One day, I got the usual job alert emails from all the job boards I had subscribed on, it was the position of an admin officer in an FMCG. I applied, and wonders of wonders, they called me in for an interview, and offered me the job on the spot!

Miriam's Tale, Chinma Eke's blog

It wasn’t much, but it was something. My first job. I couldn’t believe it, I had gotten my first job!

What made me even happier was that I had gotten the job on my own merit. Without having to know anybody, which y’all will agree with me was fast becoming a rarity in our world today.

So, because I didn’t have a previous job which I needed to give notice at, I resumed almost immediately. It was exciting for me. New job, having to see new faces, interact with adults all day, lol (my day had been occupied with Daniel and Ada, I was so happy to rejoin the ‘grown-up’ world.

The day I resumed at work, Daniel and Ada were as excited as I was, if not more excited. Lovely kids, God bless them. My kids were a delight, my rock through the recent storm. Daniel was my checklist, he reminded me of every single detail I needed to have covered. Ada was just happily cooing. She could easily tell by her expressions whether she was pleased with a thing or not, and I could tell she was pleased. I left for work at the same time they left for school, their school bus drove off just before I did. Thank God for Ken’s car, that afforded me mobility.

In no time, I was settled into my job. It came with good benefits. I was starting at the bottom but I didn’t let that deter me, I was going to do my best, make myself indispensable, lol.

Ijeoma’s goods finally came in. She had some good stuff and thankfully, I now had a wider range of clients, I sold the goods, and got her money back to her. Things were truly looking up such that by the time our house rent was due, I almost had it all saved up.

***********

The long holiday came around, and my mother-in-law said she wanted to visit. She said she missed us (read the kids). Ofcourse I was uncomfortable with this visit. My mother-in-law was ok, on the mother-monster-in-law scale, lol, but……..

Firstly; my kids and I were just ‘managing’; it was just us and our maid; Amaka. We could eat anything, ‘go without’ as needed, but if she came over we would need to cater for her specially a-la-mother-in-law style. Also, thank God my job was on the mainland, so I got to come home earlier than most working class people, but I was conscious of the fact that the kids spent some time alone with our maid, I didn’t want her coming over and criticizing my parenting style or standard of living. And finally, when she was leaving, won’t I be required to at least pay for their transport if not give them some extra money. Money which I didn’t have, I was just managing to get by and didn’t need any additional burdens.

On the flip side; maybe she should come. She should come and see our current standard of living; some of it was thanks to her son. Him dying on us, and having to share his entitlements with his second family. Anyways; she should come. If she doesn’t like our standard of living, up to her. Besides, my family was in support of her visit. My mom said it won’t do to severe the bond between the families

She came. My mother-in-law came to visit us with two kids in tow. A boy and girl. And one look at them and I knew they were Ken’s from the other Lady.

How could she? Like really, how could she? What was the point? Bringing those kids to my house? They got to my house before I did, I got home to see all four kids playing in the living room. My kids; God bless them, welcomed them innocently without knowing who they were. Really if they did, what difference would it make?

“What’s the meaning of this?” I asked my mother-in-law without preamble. I had smiled at the kids, not betraying my boiling anger; but no; dearest mother-in-law, the architect of this whole mess wasn’t going to escape my anger.

“Miriam, my dear, you see, I thought….”

“You thought what?” I interrupted her ramblings. I tried to control myself. Tried to do the deep breathing thingy. Like seriously why would this woman tempt me like this?

“For the sake of Kenechukwu. Kenechukwu of blessed memory. Biko nwam, for the sake of the children. ” Her voice broke.

Who cares, she shouldn’t come with any theatrics. She lost a son, I lost a husband! Gini? She wasn’t getting out of this one with tears o. I waited for her to continue, she had to explain herself, and I doubt if there was anything she could say to make this acceptable.

“It will be good for them to know each other. They are one blood.” She clasped her hands together to show oneness. “Their father is gone, I don’t want them growing up not knowing each other, and perhaps growing to be enemies. It is for your own good. Let them spend a week here, bond as children, without any cares in the world. Look at them.” She opened the door a crack. Playing together. Blood is thicker than water. Biko nwam Let us help them bond now that they are young and innocent, so we won’t have problems of them growing to dislike each other in future. Biko.” She made to kneel.

I pulled her up and began pacing. How does this whole thing make sense to her? Where was she when Ken took the other lady for a wife? Ken had set-up a new family without my knowledge under the guise of visiting them and they hadn’t raised eyebrows. When Ken had been alive they were content for both families to be apart, now he was gone and they suddenly wanted a united family. No, they could spare me all that. I wasn’t interested.

“Mama,” I said slowly. “The respect I have for you, is what’s keeping me from asking you to leave my house tonight. But tomorrow is soon enough. First thing in the morning, you and those children are leaving my house.” I walked out on her and left her gazing open-mouthed at me.

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Miriam’s Tale E4

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……. I opened the door to Chief Pius mirroring the smile on my face. Chief Pius had been my husband’s mentor while he was alive. He was one of the people who hadn’t abandoned us since Ken’s death. He had a habit of dropping by unannounced, and always with treats for the kids.

“Good morning sir, please come in.” I welcomed him in.

He came in, his driver; Kunle behind him carrying two overflowing shopping bags.

“Please sit.” I ushered him to a seat. “Please drop it in that corner.” I pointed to the corner closest to the kitchen. “Is there anything in it that drips?”

“No ma.” Kunle replied.

“Then it’s fine there. Sir, what can I get you?” I asked Chief Pius.

“Nothing my dear.”

“Ahn ahn Chief! It’s not yet that bad.” I teased. He was probably refusing out of consideration for us.

“Ofcourse I know it’s not that bad, but I’m fine.”

“Ok sir. How’s your family?” I sat down facing him.

“We are fine, and yours?”

“We’re very well, thank God. The children have gone to school. They’ll be sad they missed you.”

He laughed. “ It’s ok, ofcourse I’ll come at another time when they’ll be at home, but today it’s you I’ve come to see.”

“Oh, ok. What’s it about?   

Miriam's Tale, Chinma Eke's blog

He laughed softly. “It’s nothing serious, I just want to talk with you. You know, find out how you’ve been coping, you know.”

I don’t know if anyone else feels that way, but, I get irritated by: ‘you know’, I always want to scream ‘I don’t know.’ I mean, why can’t adults talk without saying that? Now, back to this conversation; I was beginning to have a very creepy feeling that this man was trying to get ‘fresh’. “I’ve been coping. God has been my sustenance, like the Bible says; ‘He won’t give you more than what he knows you can bear.’ I replied calmly and primly, wiping all smiles from my face.

“That’s good, that’s good.” He looked around nervously. “I’m here for you, you know, whatever you need, whenever you need it, you can call on me. You see, I want us to be closer, very much closer.” He gestured by rubbing his palms together and anger boiled within me.

I said nothing. I guess he became uncomfortable, he shifted nervously on his seat. Still, I said nothing. He got up, I remained seated.

“Ok, let me run along. Remember, I am here for you.”

“Ok, thanks.”

“Won’t you see me off?” He put his hands in his pocket, and as a sharp girl that I am, I knew he had money in the pocket. I hissed in my mind. What? For what? Do I look like a beggar he could lure with money? Or all those shameless runs girls littered around the world with no brains.

I got up calmly. “Thanks for coming. We appreciate it. I’ll tell the kids you came by.” I said, trailing him behind.

“No hug?”

“No hug Chief Pius.”

“Okay, bye.”

He left, and I almost slammed the door behind him.

What nonsense! I turned in anger on the things he brought. Common-sense was the only thing keeping me from thrashing those gifts. Ah! Ken! Can you see the insults I’m receiving because of you? Tears rolled down my face unchecked. If ken hadn’t died would the likes of Pius have the guts to speak to me like this?

I was known as the ice queen back in school, men thought twice before they approached me. Even Ken confessed I was his toughest conquest. Now, in a very short while, I had been propositioned by two old lizards! How insulting!

My doorbell rang. I turned on the door. If it was that dirty old man I will give him a piece of my mind.

I stormed to the door. Wiped my tears and composed myself. Lai lai he won’t see me cry. I opened the door in anger; it was the gateman; Bala.

My emotion at the time was both relief and anger. Relief that it wasn’t Chief Pius; because him returning would have meant he thought he could get lucky. Anger that I had lost the opportunity to vent.

‘Bala what is it?” I said a tad rudely, some of my aggression still transferring.

Madam, na nepa bring bill.” He extended an electricity bill to me.

I collected it and sighed; what else is new? I was still thinking of where to get money, and bills were steadily piling.

“Jesus!” I exclaimed when I saw the amount I was billed “FOURTEEN THOUSAND, THREE HUNDRED NAIRA?” I screamed out loud. What? In all my years on earth, I hadn’t ever seen a residential apartment receive a bill that much, just current charges.

Haba nau, Nepa, PHCN, or whatever they were calling themselves at the time. How could they do this to me?

I turned away back into the house, leaving Bala at the door.

I went into my room and wept.

***********

You know how it’s said; that the darkest part of the night signals the breaking of the dawn, or something like that. That was my story, Ijeoma’s goods was taking forever to arrive, I was fast running out of money with no hope in sight. Just when things had gotten so very bad, the dawn broke.

One day, I got the usual job alert emails from all the job boards I had subscribed on, it was the position of an admin officer in an FMCG. I applied, and wonders of wonders, they called me in for an interview, and offered me the job on the spot!

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Dear valued readers, 

I thank you for your loyalty and patience to and with me. I appreciate each and everyone of you. I acknowledge this episode is a tad short, and I apologise, bear with me.I promise to do better. 

Have a happy holiday to my Nigerian readers, keep visiting Chinma Eke’s blog.  

How to get a Fresh-Faced-Glow After a Very Busy Week

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Hello ladies, welcome to #beautyfriday it’s been awhile, hasn’t it?

This week, we’re talking tips on how to get a fresh-face-glow after a very busy week. We work hard, play hard, but as fun and satisfying as this lifestyle is, it takes its toll on our skin, leaving it dull and lifeless. Fret not. There’s no need to stay home after a long day’s work to look awake and radiant in the morning. You can have it all: a fun night out and a gorgeous, fresh-faced glow.  Here’s how:

Slough it all off

I’m talking about dead skin cells. Those that accumulate on the surface of our skin are old, rough, and so dull! An exfoliant with glycolic acid, will get rid of them all, leaving our skin smoother and brighter. Plus, it allows skincare products to penetrate more deeply into the skin, so they work better and faster!

A vitamin boost

If you’re not using vitamin c, you’re missing out. This powerful antioxidant boosts collagen production and fights the premature signs of aging, like fine lines and wrinkles. Best of all, it has brightening properties that make skin instantly glow!

Fake it

Strobing is all the rage now. That’s great news for us. There is no easier way to brighten up your skin immediately. All you need is a highlighter and a concealer brush (the beauty blender works well too).

Now, all you have to do is place the highlighter on the places where the sun naturally hits your face. That’s the apples of your cheeks, the bridge of your nose, cupid’s bow, chin,  brow bone, the inner corners of your eyes, and the center of your forehead. Now, blend well. Hello, radiant beauty!

Powder up – sparingly!

If you have oily skin, your makeup will melt faster than an ice cream in the middle of the desert without a powder. But powders give your skin a matte finish. So, if a healthy glow is what you’re seeking, you must hold back on them. If you really must, apply a light dusting. But only where – and when – it is absolutely necessary.

How do you achieve that beautiful, fresh faced glow? Share with us.

Miriam’s Tale E3

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Miriam's Tale, Chinma Eke's blog

My very first interview; I was a bundle of nerves. I was older than all the other applicants in the waiting room, with no experience to boot. I hadn’t even ever attended an interview; Ken had wanted me to stay at home with the kids until they were older before I could start a career.

I wanted to laugh out loud. If only we could see the future, we would have seen the foolishness in that. Now, he was gone, and I was left all alone to cater for our kids. At the thought of our kids I remembered the other two kids he had with Ifeoma. No. I wasn’t going to let that thought weigh me down. Those children were not my problem, I had been magnanimous enough; the entitlements paid by Ken’s company I had shared on a 60/40 basis. When Ken’s family had come to me to concerning the entitlements, I had wanted to tell them all to go-to-hell. I was the only wife known by his employers and my kids were his only kids on record, and considering how Ken had hurt me I was well entitled to that money. I was the wife who packed him breakfast every morning, kept dinner warm late at night, and sorted out his laundry every weekend. I was the wife who smiled and attended company social events even when I didn’t want to. I was the wife who gave up a shot at a career for him and our kids so he could be free to work the oddest of hours, and take business trips at the drop of a hat, which earned him high flying promotions, bonuses and commendations.

I don’t know what made me change my mind, it wasn’t even pressure from my in-laws; they could go to blazes for all I cared. I think it was the thought of those innocent children; like it or not they weren’t to blame for their parents’ behaviour. Anyways, I split the money with them. Ifeoma could do with it what she pleased, I had put my kids share in a school fees trust for them, what she did with hers, I couldn’t care less, and now was the wrongest time to dwell on any unpleasantness. ‘Today, I will be great.’ I repeated to myself over and over again. I was going to go into the interview and I was going to wow!

The interview went in a blur. The panellists smiled a lot at me, and I think I impressed them. I had all my fingers, toes and limbs crossed lol, I was going to get a job, I could feel it, somebody say Amen.

So, I called Bunmi, my friend who worked in the bank and told me about the vacancy. She said she was aware the interview went well, and we should commit the result to God in prayers. That, I could do, so I went to God in prayers.

Four months down the line, I hadn’t gotten any feedback from the bank on the interview. I was getting desperate, no other interviews were coming forth, everyone was singing the same song; the economy was bad, and no one was hiring. I didn’t know what to do, I had some business ideas; I could either open a convenience store, or I could go into clothes and fabrics trading, I was very good at picking clothes and fabrics, when my husband was alive my friends bought clothes of my back. Like I would buy a dress and definitely someone would want it so bad she wouldn’t mind buying it off my back. I had some savings left but I was wary of committing money into a business. If it failed, what would my children and I eat? I was good at trading, I knew that from the little trading I had done in the past, but I had always had a safety net, I couldn’t gamble my kids welfare now. Besides, if I went into trading, wasn’t it the same people screaming about a rotten economy who were going to be my customers?

Hmmm! It is well.

So, back to the present, I needed to make some money quickly. With the most care and careful budgeting and spending, the cash I had available could only last me two months at the most. We were half-way through our house rent, and if I couldn’t get a job soon, I probably might not be able to make the next rent.

I had considered moving to a smaller apartment, but the extras on it billed by the lawyers and agents were probably going to come to the same as the old rent. I considered subletting; we lived in a three bedroom apartment, I could let out one. My family and friends kicked against it, regaling me with tales of flat-sharing gone wrong, that when they were done, I think I was sufficiently scared. But support me with rent money now? Everyone said ‘they would see what they could do.’

One of my ‘friends’ went further to tell me of a job opportunity, what she had described to me sounded like an escort role, and I was like; really? Was that what life had reduced me to? I told her off, but it hurt nonetheless. Anyways; I can’t be dwelling on negativity.

*****

As though our minds were working in sync, my friend Ijeoma called me. Remember Ijeoma, my friend whom I met Ken at her brother’s wedding all those years ago? She and her husband lived in the United States with their four lovely kids. Ken and I had been planning to go visit them when tragedy struck. Ijeoma called that she wanted to send a shipment down to Nigeria for sale, but didn’t want to send it through family who might not return her money. She called to enquire if I was interested.

I was like; is this an answer to my prayers or what? I almost screamed for joy.

“Offcourse I was interested.” I replied her immediately.

“Ok, I’m yet to ship the goods, I’m tagging them right now.” She said through the phone. “Miriam please, this is a business, and I know what people say about friends and money; please let it not be our story. I’m sending clothes; new ones, and I’m sending them at very competitive prices such that you’ll be able to make a good profit.” She went on. “I could send you pictures of the goods for you to have a view.”

I agreed, and made some suggestions on things I thought she could include in the shipment. We ended the call with sharing tales of our kids just as my doorbell rang.

I happily went to open the door, the kids were away at school, and I was done with the morning chores. I opened the door to Chief Pius mirroring the smile on my face. Chief Pius had been my husband’s mentor while he was alive. He was one of the people who hadn’t abandoned us since Ken’s death. He had a habit of dropping by unannounced, and always with treats for the kids.

“Good morning sir, please come in.” I welcomed him in.

He came in, his driver; Kunle behind him carrying two overflowing shopping bags.

“Please sit.” I ushered him to a seat. “Please drop it in that corner.” I pointed to the corner closest to the kitchen. “Is there anything in it that drips?”

“No ma.” Kunle replied.

“Then it’s fine there. Sir, what can I get you?” I asked Chief Pius.

“Nothing my dear.”

“Ahn ahn Chief! It’s not yet that bad.” I teased. He was probably refusing out of consideration for us.

“Ofcourse I know it’s not that bad, but I’m fine.”

“Ok sir. How’s your family?” I sat down facing him.

“We are fine, and yours?”

“We’re very well, thank God. The children have gone to school. They’ll be sad they missed you.”

He laughed. “ It’s ok, ofcourse I’ll come at another time when they’ll be at home, but today it’s you I’ve come to see.”

“Oh, ok. What’s it about?  I asked.

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