Natural Beauty – Justene Josias

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Introduce yourself.

My name is Justene Hilary Josias. I am 24 years old and I live in Cape Town, South Africa. I was born in Johannesburg but moved to Cape Town at a young age. I studied Politics at the University of the Western Cape. I am a music producer and singer and I have my own company called JuJo Productions, focussing on various projects. I attended Riana van Wyk Music school for 12 years before pursuing music professionally. I was on a television programme in 2007 called ‘Supersterre’, which was an Afrikaans singing competition. I actually took up singing because it helped me to speak more fluently after I had developed a stutter as a result of contracting meningitis when I was 4 years old.

How long have you worn your hair natural and what made you decide to do it?

I have been wearing my natural hair for the past 2 years. I did the “big cut” on 3 March 2013. I was working on a project that required me to cut off all my hair and to re-grow it from scratch.

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When did you first realise that you love your natural hair texture and what exactly do you love about it? Describe your hair.

The first month was very hard as  was I used to wearing long hair for 5 years before I cut it. I just decided I have to accept my new look and it grew on me from there. I come from mixed parents. My hair texture is more to my father’s side, who has Sotho roots, than my mother’s Muslim roots.

I love that my hair is extremely thick. When I was younger, my hair was so thick and course that the hairdresser felt the need to relax it. That was the worst mistake ever. Since then my hair was often relaxed until the age of 19. Then I started to do Brazilian straightening until March 2013 when I did the big cut.

I love that my hair is a pure afro. It is not curly, it is kinky. I have a type 4c curl. My hair is dry but big. It looks hard but it is soft. My hair does not touch my shoulders no matter how long it gets. It just grows upwards. The colour has changed from dark brown to light brown as it’s been growing. If my hair had a sound, it would be “loud”. It stands out. One day it’s long and thick, the next day it’s fluffy and thin.

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What is your hair regime, including products that you use. What do you do to keep it healthy?

When I initially started my natural hair journey, I used multiple products like Dr Miracle Curl Care, Twisted Sista, Dark and Lovely Cholesterol Treatment and Protein Feed to name a few. I also used some home-made creams and recipes. In the beginning when I had a small afro I used Soft and Free Moulding Gel and Hair Spray to define my curl. The longer my hair got, the fewer products I began to use as it started to weigh my hair down. I brush my hair only once every 3 weeks. The more I brush it, the thinner and flat my afro is. I try as much as possible not to stress my hair with various hair styles. If I do decide to do a style, it will be low maintenance like adding a simple headband or making a Swiss Roll.

Currently, I am using Tres Emme Naturals shampoo and conditioner. I wash my hair with these products maybe once to twice a week. I do feel sometimes that it weighs my afro down, so I do not use excessive amounts. The other available weekdays, it will be a wash and go where I wet my hair with water only and no product. I do give my hair an apple cider vinegar rinse every 3rd day to get rid of the oil build up.

I also take hair vitamins, namely Nu-Hair. I have been using this since I did the big cut. This has given my hair the strength and thickness it has today. I use these supplements every three months. If necessary, I use them when I am in stressful situations when I can feel my hair becoming thinner as it tends to fall out more. I use coconut oil once a week on my scalp when it gets flaky due to maybe over washing or dry scalp.

When I sleep, I use a silk scarf to wrap my hair. If I do not feel like it, I sleep on a silk cushion to retain moisture.  I drink 3 litres of water a day. I am bit obsessed with water. I also eat lots of fruit and vegetables because they are readily available in my town. This contributes to healthy nails, skin and hair. You need to understand, having an afro exposes your face much more than straight hair does. Your face and neck are exposed, therefore it has to look healthy and clear. Water really helped me in this department.

What have your experiences been as a natural, including reactions from friends, family and colleagues?

When I cut my hair initially, my family and friends were so supportive. They made me feel comfortable about my new look. I had low self-esteem while growing up. So when I did not have long hair anymore, I thought I was not good enough. I did not even realise I had this problem until I did not have any hair to hide behind. Once I started doing different hair styles, I started to ease into knowing who Justene truly is. Both my eating patterns and clothing changed. I needed to pay more attention to my clothing because my hair looked so different. You naturally stand out. People on social networks and on the street always stop me and say that they love my hair and look. The opposite sex loves my confidence. There were some people though who thought that I wasn’t “black enough” to have an afro. They took it as a personal insult to their race for some reason. My work colleagues love my hair though. The overall response has been positive.

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Do you know of any other women who wear their hair naturally in your community?

Yes, I know quite a few actually. These are some of the women I truly admire on my natural hair journey: Victoria L Oxford, Lauren Van Der Schyff, Ashleigh Davids, Deslynn Malotana, Desne Jodamus, Shireen Mentor, Jenilee Carolus, Robyn Jessi, Roxanne Francis, Melissa Johannisen, Lisel Melo, Terri-Ann Browers, Carly Hendricks, Glene Vlotman, Chandre Petersen, Natalie Denton , Chante Bailey, Amy Jones, Andrea Coetzee, Donna-Lee De Kock , Lee-Zan Malgas, Leandra Coetzee, Oslynne Williams, Tasneem Hendricks, Chemonley Hartley, Janera Carelse, Kim Lategan, Sharnte Dickson, Simone Thomas, Tracey Leak, Robyn Arendse, Amy Campher, Requel Petersen, Kaylee Sayce, Adelaide Coetzee, Albida McMillian, Grace Petersen, Joy Petersen, Tracey Daniels, Canvas Fielding, Danielle Cupido and Karen Petersen. There are so many other women who I either meet over social media or in the street, or who I know personally who rock their hair amazingly.

Have you experienced any opposition from anyone in your life regarding how you wear your hair? Have you ever been made fun of?

I have had a few people who do not like me wearing my hair in its natural state, especially the older people who knew me with long straight hair. A few women actually stopped me in the road and grabbed my hair to find out why I would wear a wig when I had nice long hair before. A young boy stopped me in the middle of the mall and asked why I wear my hair like Winnie Mandela. I found it quite funny until his mom told me that he is referring to the struggle South Africa went through, so wearing my hair like this is a sign of “poverty”. I felt offended actually. Some people, especially the females from various African cultures would get mad at me because I am English speaking and wear my hair like a Zulu woman, as they would say. So there have definitely been some negative reactions, but they never over power the positive comments I receive.

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Do you ever experience any moments of doubt about your natural beauty?

I did have hair doubts in the beginning, when it was completely short. I could not do anything with my hair until l I read some blogs and watched YouTube videos. Once I spoke to a few other natural haired beauties, I gained more confidence. Since then I’ve never looked back. The messages and feedback I receive from people who have returned natural because they saw my hair, make me realise that people do not have to know you for you personally to have a positive influence.

What is your hair goal?

My hair goal would be to have a thick, long, bum length afro. Not curls. A kinky afro. I know it would be very hot but I’d love that!

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What is your best hair advice to someone who is thinking of returning natural, but who is apprehensive about doing it?

I would say going natural should not be a decision you make because it is the “in” thing. You will get frustrated because you need lots of patience to do this. In addition, if you are not sure what your natural hair texture is, you will get despondent. Do your research – speak to as many other natural haired women. Organise a few women in your network you can talk to daily and who you can ask advice from etc. Check out YouTube videos and join forums. I learnt a lot just by reading blogs and natural hair pages. They give real women with real questions honest answers.

What is the biggest lesson you have learnt during your natural hair journey?

I have learnt how to love myself without my hair being the main reason for my beauty. My hair does not define who I am. It enhances who I already am – a strong, driven South African woman. I love my body, I love my skin and I love my hair. I don’t even remember the last time I was at a hairdresser. I haven’t touched a hair dryer in almost 2 years. How my life has changed from spending at least 1 hour everyday flat ironing my hair to less than 5 minutes a day. I love myself so much more. In addition, I’ve learnt to have patience, something I was never good at. I’ve even found out that my hair changes colour during the different seasons, so I’ve learnt to accept myself more than anything.

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In certain parts of the world, like the UK and the US, the shift from relaxed to natural hair is referred to as the “natural hair movement”. Do you think it’s viewed in the same light in South Africa? What do you think of this phenomenon?

I do not think that it’s a movement in South Africa yet. We are still a developing country. We are still trying to figure out who we are as the country tries to accept itself as being African and not conforming to American patterns. We are just trying out new things and finding out what we like and do not like. In addition, it’s quite obvious the products available for natural hair are not very readily available in South Africa. As the market expands, much more interest will be placed on natural hair  and then gradually it will become a movement.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

I am willing to help any lady who is going through her hair journey – whether it’s to answer questions or to connect you with others who are also going through a similar journey. I will always try my utmost best.

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Is there anywhere else where our readers can find you online?

Currently I’m working on my blog, but in the mean time you can find me on Instagram: @justenejosias, Twitter: @justenehjosias and email: justenehilary@gmail.com

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My 2015 updated hair regime

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For those who have been asking about it, I’ve finally updated my regime. Not too much has changed in the last year, but I have incorporated a few tweaks. My routine does tend to change slightly with the seasons (Japan’s seasons are extreme) and when I’m travelling, but for the most part I keep it fairly constant. In order to meet my 2015 hair goals, which you can read here, I’ve adapted my routine to the following:

I follow this process once a week.

1. Pre-poo and Detangle

I pre-poo and detangle my hair before I wash it to ensure it does not get stripped of its natural oils during the wash process. Pre-poo simply refers to a hair treatment before you wash it. And detangling my hair before I wash it means I’ll have less tangles to worry about in the shower. I use my favourite oil for this – coconut oil. About an hour before I wash I divide my hair into four sections and spray each section with a bit of water to dampen it slightly and then I apply the oil liberally. While I work it into the hair I start detangling. Sometimes I’ll work conditioner into the hair instead of water and apply the oil on top. This combination provides loads of slip and is especially effective if your hair is super tangled. After I’ve completed each section, I’ll twist it up and out of the way until all four sections of hair have been saturated in oil. I’ll leave this on for anything from 30 minutes to an hour before I jump into the shower.

Products

  • Coconut oil, occasionally olive oil
  • Tres Emme Naturals Conditioner
  • Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose Moisturising Conditioner

2. Wash

I wash the hair in the same 4 sections I had during the pre-poo and detangling sessions and twist up each section before I move on to the next. I focus on my scalp and let the cleanser run off to my ends. During the Summer months I’ll alternate between washing with a gentle sulphate-free shampoo and a cleansing conditioner, but during the dry Winter my scalp benefits more from washing with shampoo only. So I’m saving my yummy co-washes for the warmer months.

I do however apply a regular conditioner to each section after I’ve washed it and leave it in while I wash the other sections. Then I rinse it all out just before I apply my deep conditioner.

Products

Cleansers

  • Giovanni Tea Trea Triple Treat Invigorating Shampoo
  • Giovanni Smooth as Silk Deep Moisture Shampoo
  • Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose Moisturising Shampoo
  • As I Am Coconut CoWash Cleansing Conditioner
  • Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Cleansing Conditioner

Conditioners

  • Giovanni Smooth as Silk Deep Moisture Conditioner
  • Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose Moisturising Conditioner
  • Tres Emme Naturals Conditioner

3. Deep Condition

I deep condition my strands every time I wash it, i.e. once a week.  After I’ve washed it I apply a commercial product or make up my own DYI deep conditioner. I continue to work section by section and twist up each section before I move on to the next. Once I’ve applied the deep conditioner to all my hair I pin the four sections to the top of my head, cover with a shower cap and a warm towel and leave it on for at least 30 minutes to an hour.

This year I’m alternating moisturising and strengthening deep treatments on a weekly basis to ensure stronger strands as my hair is getting longer.

Once I jump back into the shower to rinse I detangle the hair under the stream of the shower. If I need more conditioner to help this process along, I’ll reach for one of my regular ones.

Products

  • Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Moisture and Shine Hair Smoothie
  • Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Hair Mask
  • Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque
  • Aphogee Keratin 2 Minute Hair Reconstructor
  • Favourite DIY deep conditioners

4. Moisturising, Sealing and Styling

After I’ve rinsed out the deep conditioner, I wrap my hair in an old cotton scarf or a T-shirt to absorb most of the water. Working in sections again I’ll start by applying a leave-in conditioner. I follow that up by sealing in all the moisture with coconut oil and currently my home-made whipped shea butter cream.

Then I twist the hair up into 2-strand twists and let it air-dry over night, wrapped up in a silk scarf. I always sleep on a silk-lined pillowcase since I don’t actually own one made of silk.

Products

Leave-In Conditioners

  • Mixed Chicks Leave-In Conditioner
  • Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in Conditioning Repair Cream
  • Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Original Leave-In Moisturiser

Butters / Creams / Stylers

  • Home-made whipped shea butter cream
  • Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie
  • Carol’s Daughter Marguerite’s Magic Restorative Cream

Oils

  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Sweet Almond oil

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5. Weekly Maintenance

During the week, I keep the twists in for 3-4 days, after which I need to restyle. Once I’ve taken them down I’ll wear my hair in another protective style, or at the very least, a low manipulation style, like 2 braids on each side of my head, jumbo twists or buns. These styles I re-do every morning. I mainly wear my hair out over the weekends,  in which case I’ll wear a braid-out or a twist-out. But like I said I want to up my protective styling game over these Winter months, so I may just continue with protective styles over the weekend as well.

To maintain the moisture in my strands I spritz it with a little water daily, applying a bit of leave-in conditioner,  shea butter cream and finally some oil. (Layering the products like this is also referred to as the LCO and LOC methods of moisturising – see this post for more info on this method.)

I’ve been thinking that I’d like to keep my twists in for longer, which I’ve been trying over the last 2 weeks. But in all honesty they tend to go puffy and frizzy by the 4th day, even if I do re-moisturise and seal. So for now I’m going to stick with my modus operandi above.

As usual, I make sure that I wrap up my tresses in a silk scarf every night.

I’ve also just recently introduced a completely new product into my regime, which is a spritz made from bay rum, bergamot essence, placenta, castor oil, aloe vera juice and water. I spray this on my hair, mainly at the roots 2 – 3 times per week, but more on this in a later post. 🙂

I realise that I’ve written quite a lot here and that it seems like a lot of steps, but actually it’s not. With this regime I literally saved my hair and brought it back to life when it was breaking off so badly when I first moved to Tokyo. My hair is now longer and healthier than it’s ever been, so while it’s working for me, I’m going to stick with it.

Hopefully my regime can help some of you if you’re still trying to figure yours out. Although I do use other products as well, the ones listed in this post are the ones I currently have in high rotation. If you have any questions regarding my routine, please leave it in the comments section or feel free to Tweet or Facebook me.

Love your curls!

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Eleanor J’adore is 1 year old + my first natural hair giveaway!

Eleanor J'adore - 1 Year Anniversary Giveaway

Hello Everyone

I’m very excited to announce that Eleanor J’adore is officially a year old today – whoohoo! And I’ve decided to celebrate and to say thank you to all my loyal readers by hosting my first  ever giveaway.

Aren’t you excited? I know I am!

I’ll be giving away a selection of some of my favourite natural hair products to 2 lucky readers.

Here are the products up for grabs:

Eleanor J'adore Product Giveaway

  • Coconut Oil: A firm favourite in my beauty stable, coconut oil is great for pre-pooing and detangling, oil rinsing, deep treating, moisturising and sealing the hair. I don’t go anywhere without it.
  • Mixed Chicks Leave-In Conditioner: This is one of the first leave-ins I tried when I first started my healthy hair journey. My hair loved it from the very beginning and I especially love using it during the Summer as I  can get away with using only a little. It leaves my hair looking fabulous without weighing it down.
  • Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie: This must be one of the most popular natural hair styling products on the market and has reached cult status in the curly world. Doing exactly as it says, it enhances your natural curls and keeps them popping for days after you’ve applied the product.

I love each and every one of these three products and when combined, layered on top of each other,  they work especially well.

How to enter in 2 easy steps: 

  1.  Like my Facebook page and comment on the give-away pic with the following: “Enter me in the Eleanor J’adore 1 year anniversary giveaway”. Make sure your real name is visible and state which country you’re from.
  2. Subscribe to my blog and leave a comment below stating the following: “Enter me in the Eleanor J’adore 1 year anniversary giveaway”. Make sure your real name is visible and state which country you’re from.

For a bonus entry: Follow me on Instagram and repost the giveaway pic. Use the hashtag #eleanorjadoregiveaway so that I can see all your entries.

Rules:

  1. The giveaway is open to readers in the following countries: South Africa, the UK and the USA.
  2. It officially opens today, 20 January and will run for 2 weeks, so I’ll accept the last entries on Tuesday 3 February.
  3. 2 winners will be selected randomly and each winner will win three products as pictured and described above, although the specific brand of coconut oil may differ.

If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments section.

So start entering and good luck!

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Setting your 2015 Hair Goals

Setting your 2015 hair goals

I recently conducted a mini-poll among those in my Facebook network to try and gauge what their hair goals are for this year. Some of the goals included: “Learn how to handle my natural hair”, “Moisturise, treat and protective style more often”, “Protective style more regularly”, “Aim for bra strap length”, “Grow healthier and stronger hair” as well as “Go for alternative protective styles such as havana twists.” Although there are some differences, I’d say the common thread throughout these goals are centred around growing longer hair. I guess that’s no surprise, and it’s no different for me.

My 2015 hair goals are to: 

  1. Incorporate more strengthening treatments for my fine strands to prevent breakage from everyday handling. (I’ve got my moisturising routine down pat, so keeping my strands moisturised isn’t really a problem).
  2. Increase my protective styling regime. I’m fairly happy with the way I currently protective style as it generally involves minimal manipulation, but I’d like to increase the length of time I keep my styles in.
  3. Reach mid-back length by the end of the year. It might seem crazy that I’m giving myself the entire year to reach this length as my hair is mostly already bra-strap length, but I do find that it’s becoming more challenging to hold on to my longer hair as it’s increasing in length, which is why I’m upping  both my strengthening and protective styling routines.

So with that said, I’m currently tweaking my regime and will update you soon with the specifics. But in the meantime, here are a few tips to help you set your own personal goals.

  1. Set specific and realistic goals – Decide what it is you want to achieve and by when. Write it down and regularly refer back to it to make sure you stay on track.
  2. Create/adapt your regime in line with your goals – For example, if you want to reach mid-back length by the end of this year and know that you have fine strands, make sure you incorporate strengthening treatments to aid in reaching that goal.
  3. If you experience a hurdle along the way, don’t give up. To be honest, I feel like I’m constantly battling both single strand and bigger knots, but if I were to give up on my natural hair journey every time I experienced a setback I would not have reached the milestones that I have so far.

So we can do this Girls! Let’s keep each other accountable with our objectives. Not everyone is aiming for longer hair, so let’s support one another, whether the goal is simply to have stronger hair, less single strand knots, come up with funkier styles or grow hip-length hair. Remember, it’s easy to lose sight of your objectives as the year progresses. Dedication and commitment are key, which is why it’s important to write down your goals so that you can refer back to them when your enthusiasm wanes. Encouragement from others with similar objectives can also help you back on track. Although it’s not really a personal hair goal,  I’m definitely aiming to encourage other woman to embrace their natural hair in whichever way they choose, more-so than I did in 2014.

What are your hair goals for this year? Let me know down below in the comments section. 

To keep up with me on the rest of social media,  please go ahead and follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, all @eleanorjadore. I love chatting and getting to know more of you.

Love your curls!

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Natural Beauty – Samara Taylor

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What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Samara Taylor and I am California born and raised.  Ten years ago I picked up and moved to Virginia and this is now home!

Tell us a bit about yourself.
By day I work with my local community college in the finance office as an Administrative Specialist and by night I am a Style, Beauty, and Natural Hair blogger of my personal blog www.StyledChic.net!  I live in Hampton, Virginia with my husband and sweet little black labrador.  I love cooking, wine tasting, and networking as a blogger.  Traveling is also something I enjoy as well as getting together with close friends and family.

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How long have you worn your hair natural and what made you decide to do it?
I’ve worn my natural hair for 5 years now. Initially I wanted to stretch out my relaxer to go on a healthier hair journey, but during that time I stumbled upon natural hair.  After discovering this alternate way to wear my hair I was sold and was convinced to never relax again.

When did you first realise that you love your natural hair texture? 
I realized I loved my natural hair texture when I was able to achieve a great coil out.  This was back in the Summer of 2010.  I was only about 6 months in and so my hair was still significantly short.  I completed coils throughout my hair and when I took them down I absolutely loved my hair and how springy my curls were.  I loved how my face looked with short hair!

What is your hair regime? What do you do to keep it healthy?
I wash my hair once a week along with deep conditioning and styling it.  2014 has been a year that I got regular trims to prevent breakage and tangles.  That’s important along with deep conditioning and maintaing a clean scalp.

What have your experiences been as a natural, including reactions from friends, family and colleagues? Have you experienced any opposition from anyone in your life regarding how you wear your hair?
My experience as a natural has been very positive.  In the beginning however, there were a few people who laughed and asked what did I do to my hair.  The funny thing is now that my hair has flourished and grown those same people are asking for hair tips or are loving my hair.  For the most part though, it’s been nothing but positivity.

What is your favourite go-to hair style for days when you don’t have a lot of time?
Most likely a textured bun or a braided crown.

What is your hair goal?
Just continued growth and fullness.  I love big, thick hair!

What is your best hair advice to someone who is thinking of going natural, but who is apprehensive about doing it?
Don’t do it unless you are ready to put in time doing your natural texture.  Don’t do it until you’re confident, or absolutely sure about your decision.  Don’t do it until you’re ready to receive unsolicited opinions from others.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt during your natural hair journey?
Learn your own texture and what styles work best for you.  Stay patient with your hair.

 Do you have a favourite life lesson? If so, please share it with us.
Give yourself a chance.  Be unique and confident in who you are and what you have to offer.  Don’t look to the left or right at what others have and are doing but look to God where our help comes from and he will grant you the desires of your heart when you seek him first.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Be confident in your own unique hair journey.
Where can we find you online?
Instagram: StyledChic_
Twitter: Styled_Chic

That moment you finally meet your online curlfriends

Curlfriends: Samantha-Jane, Eleanor, Mandy

Naturally all of us who spend time on social media have people we communicate with regularly but every now and then you connect with someone online and instantly hit it off. Amanda Cooke, aka The Mandy Expedition, has been one such person. Over the course of the last year we have been in regular email contact, we’ve been following each other on Instagram, featured each other on our respective natural hair blogs, and have since also become Facebook friends. So when we finally met up in person during late December 2014 we both knew it was long overdue.

We had arranged to meet at Tasha’s, a cute café at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, for brunch along with one more of my online friends, Samantha-Jane Samaai. When I walked in and told the waiter  that I was meeting two girls he immediately asked me if it’s the 2 other ladies with big curly hair. While he pointed me in the right direction I couldn’t help chuckling to myself as I once again realised the attention that curly hair attracts, in fact demands.

Excitedly I approached the table, saw the girls and we were off! In short we exchanged hair products, talked nails, men, food, festive season diets, blogging and natural hair care of course, all over a bottle of bubbly as laughter ensued.

Mandy and I have featured each other over here and here. Have a look if you’re interested.

xx