Natural Hair Week UK 2014

Hello My Cakers, Bakers and Beauties!

Despite my aversion to and self-ban from “Natural Hair Events” (NHE’s) I ended up going to, or being involved in quite a few NHE’s over the past few months.

 Earlier this year I had the pleasure of properly meeting and sharing dinner with Vinna Best, after the Divas of Colour Event. DoC was held at the Hilton on Tooley Street which is about 5 minutes walk from my place and it was a very long day so after the event I was so hungry! 

 Vinna, and Georgina (of that Healthy Feeling please read the blog it’s amazing) were also hungry after DoC so we went to a local trendy eatery in Bermondsey Square and shared a few drinks a meal and a lively discussion about the aspects we like and don’t like about NHE’s.

 Vinna Best is the co-founder of Natural Hair Week UK,  (NHWUK) and unbeknownst to Vinna she had managed to convince me to attend NHWUK 2014 the event was held in six cities across the UK ; Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham,  Bristol, Birmingham and London I had a choice between Birmingham, Nottingham, Manchester, Leeds Bristol and London. Since I live in London I wanted to combine my attendance at NHWUK with a weekend visit to a different UK city- I decided to pick Bristol as it’s not too far from London by train and I haven’t visited Bristol since I was a tiny child.

 I bought my VIP ticket to the event for £25.00, booked my hotel and train tickets and patiently waited a few weeks for the day of the event. NHWUK  kicked off in Leeds this year but, I intentionally avoided reviews and photos on social media because I wanted to be surprised on the day I attended in Bristol.

 I travelled to Bristol on 18th July, the day before the event, as I didn’t fancy getting out of my bed at 5am on a Saturday morning in order to get ready and catch a train that would get me to Bristol in time for the event which started at 10:00 for registration.

 I stayed in the Ibis Hotel at Bristol Temple Meads about 5 minutes’ walk from the station.  The hotel was very clean and comfortable I would definitely stay there again.

 On the morning of the event I stopped off at the famous Hart’s Bakery for breakfast, I had a delicious vegetarian pasty with black beans sweet potatoes and peppers, I also bought a Harts Bakery Special “Saturday Bread” a yummy, fluffy, cakey, bready hunk of delightful caramel bottomed sweetness. Sorry I have no photos of the food it was a rainy morning and I was VERY hungry, I’m definitely going back though so next time I’ll take pics.

Harts Bakery - interior

Harts Bakery – Interior

 NHWUK Bristol, was held at the Hilton Double Tree Hotel, there were two main areas the event was held in;  a large room set up with rows of seats and a stage plus a back room area for the vendors.

Trichologist Shirley McDonald, also had a side room set up for private consultations, I thought this was a fantastic idea, so many events are only full of bloggers and stylists – don’t get me wrong I love bloggers and some stylists but until attending NHWUK I hadn’t been to a NHE that provided an opportunity for attendees to get private medical advice relating to their personal hair/scalp issues.

 As a VIP ticket holder I was given a gold swag bag which contained full-size products as well as large samples, additionally I had a front row seat reserved for me in the main hall.

Swag Bag and Contents

                                                   Swag Bags and Contents of VIP Bags

 The Bristol event was much smaller than some other NHE’s I been to, but that is what I loved about it the most, it wasn’t hot and crowded, there wasn’t a crazy feeling of urgency and I got to speak to every single vendor.

During the talks and panel  discussion everyone who wanted to make a point or ask  a question was able to do so and the atmosphere was warm and friendly the event was very much about sharing knowledge and experiences.

The Naturalistas in Bristol were so nice! There were several generations of “Bristolian” Black women in attendance and there was even a teacher and one of her ex pupils!

In my opinion it seems like the “Black community” in Bristol is a lot more tight knit that the “Black Community” in London but that stands to reason because Bristol is a much smaller city than London and there are fewer People of Colour.

NHWUK was hosted by Elle and Neicey from Natural Hair Daily, and throughout the day there was plenty to do:

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  • Seminars from hair and skin care experts
  • Complimentary facials from skin care expert Antonia Burrell
Anthonia Burrell Stand

Anthonia Burrell Stand

  • Free Mini makeovers by Fashion Fair
Fashion Fair Cosmetics

               Fashion Fair Cosmetics

  • Head wrapping workshops by Akhu Designs

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  • Brands selling natural hair and beauty products including LUSH, Beauty Me and Hairfinity
Lush Stand

           Lush Stand

Beauty Me Stand

           Beauty Me 

  • Natural hairstyling demos from celebrity hairdresser Desmond Murray
Errol Styling Loose Afros and Locs

Desmond Styling Loose Afros and Locs

There were so many free gifts and giveaways!

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I got to meet and have a long conversation with the European Hairfinity Distributor, he was an interesting fellow, let’s just say I wasn’t convinced to buy the product after our little chat…

One interesting product I saw was the Edge Stick, it’s used to straighten and smooth your edges with heat, it’s also designed to minimise the risk of burning your skin. I personally wouldn’t use it because I feel that it’s more suited to ladies with chemically straightened hair who want to blend their new growth. However I can testify that the Edge Stick works and it’s very easy to use.

The Edge Stick in action, the first picture is my hand and I could feel the heat but the actual element was not in direct contact with my skin.

The Edge Stick in action, the first picture is my hand and I could feel the heat but the actual element was not in direct contact with my skin.

After the Event a big group of us from London went out to eat dinner with some of the attendees from Bristol, they were so friendly it was like visiting relatives that I hadn’t met before, one lovely lady even offered to cook everyone dinner at her house!

Coincidentally it was the Bristol Harbour Festival on the same weekend so after dinner we strolled down to the waterside for ice cream before everyone went back to their individual hotels.

After the Event

The next day Vinna, her dad – Mr Best and I headed back to the waterfront to check out the festival during the day time before going back to London, it was a lovely warm day, we had lunch at a restaurant that serves Caribbean inspired food and spotted some young Black males rocking their natural hair too!

Bristol Day 2

Mr Best was kind enough to offer me a life back to London in their car and on the way home I was discussing the Bristol event with Vinna and I suggested that they have a product swap at the London date, Vinna was receptive to the idea which I explained was based on the product swap that Angel of the Natural Lounge had hosted. Vinna asked if I’d run the product swap table myself, I accepted and so I ended up going to the London date of NHWUK as well

Photos of the product swap at NHWUK London:

Product Swap hosted by Me, on behalf of Officially Natural at NHWUK London.

Product Swap hosted by Me, on behalf of Officially Natural at NHWUK London.

 Thanks for Reading

Luv

Sian

x

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My First Giveaway! – Now Closed

Hello My Naturalistas!

Last week I met the lovely Leilu of AfroDeity, I bought some products from her new Joliette range and Leilu was kind enough to give me an extra full sized product to give away. The product I am giving away is the Joliette Curl Me Soft:

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You may choose either the Caribbean Berry or the Guava and Prickly Pear.

Below is some more information about the product, all of you kinky, coily and combination ladies you can also use this  product.

Joliette Curl Me Soft – 60mL

Moisturise with this beautiful shea butter based formula to create beautiful curls!

Fragranced with fruit extracts. Your hair will look, feel and smell great.

Ingredients: Purified Water, Aloe Vera Gel, Organic Shea Butter, Castor Oil, Green Tea Extract, Phenoxyethanol and fruit extracts.

To enter:

1. Please follow @AfroDeityLtd on Twitter and Like their Facebook Page

2. Write “enter me” in the comment box below or on my Instagram post.

Open to UK residents only -excluding the Channel Islands

Winner will be announced at 19;00 on Sunday 30th April 2014

Thanks!

 AND THE WINNER IS…

Chika

Thanks to everyone who participated here and on social media.

Sorry for the delay in announcing the winner, I was at my Mum’s house spoiling her with baked good for mothers day!

Birthday Celebrations, Part 1 -Curlvolution at Crowne Plaza Hotel Docklands.

Hello my Cakers, Bakers and Beauties,

My Birthday was on Saturday 25th May and I had a nice weekend of hair related and shopping events planned.

Usually on my birthday I don’t do anything much during the day, but this year Curlvolution – Curlfriends day out was held on my birthday and I thought it would be a fantastic way to spend the day.

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I wanted to get the special early bird offer three tickets for £9 each, but events conspired against me and I wasn’t able to buy them on time!

However I emailed Curlvolution on the day the early bird offer ended and explained my situation and asked if the deal was still available, I know it’s cheeky but if you don’t ask you don’t get and my slight audacity paid off as the organiser of the event emailed me back and offered me one free ticket if I bought two full priced tickets, at around £15 plus booking fee this was still a good deal so I purchased tickets for my Mum and Sister and I did receive my free ticket straight away.

The weather in London was horrible on 24th May, it chucked down with rain all day and was grey and miserable so I was dreading what I might wake up to on my birthday, but luckily the 25th May was breezy but bright and sunny. I was so glad for the sun as rainy weather would have ruined my plans for my outfit and I always feel good when the sun is shining.

My Mum and Sister met me at my place as I live closest to the venue and we used the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) to get to Royal Victoria Station which is 5 minutes walk away from the venue.

On the way we saw lots of people in fancy dress, none of the different groups of people seemed to have costumes that matched each other and we were so confused at first, but my bright spark sis figured out they were all going to Comic Con! All of the interesting and some very bad costumes really made for an interesting journey, in fact we were so busy gawking that we missed our stop!

Once we arrived at the venue it was still quite early so we headed over to the Colour Riot Nails, stall where My Mum and Sister got their nails done. (I’d already had mine done the day before.)

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My Sister’s Nails Before

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My Mum’s Nails Before

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They used a combination of “gellish” and regular nail polish to create this look on my sister:Image

These women have such an amazing talent and I’ll definitely be getting in touch with them in future to have my own nails done.

My Mum had “gellish” only:

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Mum’s Nails After

While the ladies were getting their nails done, I was waiting for my make consultation with Giselle Alie, I had pre-booked my consultation via email and the area I chose for Giselle to focus on was my skin.

I’ve been looking kind of tired recently and wanted to know how to achieve a fresh faced look with make up. I know the proper way to get dewy skin is with plenty of water, sleep, exercise and fresh fruit and veggies but let’s face it some times we can’t manage all of these because we’re burning the candle at both ends or can’t always be bothered.

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My face before: (sorry I look so upset).

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Giselle looked fantastic and her hair was a gorgeous array of loose waves and curls.

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Giselle used Sleek powder foundation on me my shade is “Earth” (middle left).

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This last photo of me is my face after Giselle had finished, it was light coverage which is what I wanted,I didn’t want to look to “made up”. I really liked the look, but I have very sensitive skin and by the end of the day my face had broken out in a rash. I think I need to use a different brand of make up if I were going to try this look out myself.

My Face After the Foundation

My Face After the Foundation

(Sorry about the different angles on the before and after photos, the photos were taken by my Sister and Mother, none of us are photographers but I’m always trying to improve the content of my blog posts)

Giselle was also sweet enough to give my Mum a make up consultation, my Mum wanted to know how to do subtle but defined eyes, I think they turned out very pretty, even though my Mum does not need make up, she looks amazing even on a “bad” day!

All day people couldn’t believe she was our Mum, I won’t say how young Mum is, but she is a Grandmother!

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Look at that Face, not one wrinkle!

While we were getting prettied up the Hair Show had started but I popped my head in briefly to see what was going on, the host Action Jackson was interviewing a couple of Actors.

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I’m so sorry but I didn’t watch any more of the show until after a late lunch, so for a full run down you will have to check out other blogs. As it was my birthday I wanted to spend quality time with my family, which for us includes a lot of talking… LOUDLY and I wanted to mix and mingle with the vendors.

Here are some of the beautiful hand made items from Meen .

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The lovely Root2Tip ladies, that I had the pleasure to meet last week were also in attendance. They sneaked out of the photo this week but left their yummy Mummy to happily pose for me.

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Then I swung by the Shea Decadence stall and had a nice chat with Sharron the owner and creator of the company.

As one of my birthday presents my Mum bought me the “Kinky Girls Essential Kit”, which consists of – Jamaican Black Castor & Nilotica Conditioning Shampoo, Mineral Rich Clay Hair Masque, Fusion Finishing Rinse and Cocoa Frappuccino Leave In Conditioner.

I’ve used all of the products already except the Fusion Finishing Rinse which I will be reviewing once I’ve used it, but what I love the most about the Kit is that everything is in 100ml which makes it a convenient travel size pack, I can’t wait to take it on holiday when I go to the Dominican Republic later this year.

My Mum bought the Clay hair Masque that I love so much, she wants to try it out for herself. Sharron was kind enough to give me the Sweet Marmalade Pomade as a birthday Pressie (Thanks Sharron! x)

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We also bumped into the enthusiastic Stylist at Design Essentials, he “pounced” on us and proceeded to demonstrate their products on us, the stylist found a tuft of dry hair by my ear and used their Defining Creme Gel to finger curl it, I’m sceptical as you can probably ascertain by my expression…

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My sister has a different curl pattern, and the stylist decided that their mousse would be better for her hair.

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He showed us how to apply the mousse and scrunch to define her curls and to get rid of “frizz”.

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He then applied it all over her hair and it did immediately cut down on the frizz so my Sister bought a bottle.

Other vendors on the day included:

Naturally Nourishing, The founder – Natalie was a Curlvolution attendee last year and within one year she started her business and came back to Curlvolution as a vendor.

Natalie went up on stage in the afternoon and told her story, Natalie is so strong but humble  and was such an inspiration to me, she explained how we can achieve anything we want to even within a relatively short space of time.

Super Funky Me were selling customised jewellery, I got a cute hair accessory, I’ve never seen newsprint fabric before, I think it’s really funky and unusual, which I love.Image

Mane Diva’s were also present with their own line of hair products, as well as hair extensions for weaves and Tropic Isle Products.

Iman from Imanmade had a table too, she was selling her lovely home made products specially for sensitive skin, I’ve used some of her body butters before and I really liked them.

I love Afro were representing with their amazing natural hair product range, I haven’t tried their stuff yet but as soon as I use up some of my “Product Junkie” backlog I’ll be buying and reviewing their range.

Sheabutter Cottage and Beunique Hair Care, had their tables set up inside the main hall, Check out Belinda’s amazing hair and T Shirt!

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I didn’t buy anything from BeUnique as I’d made a purchase last week at Project Embrace and I’m yet to try it.

At this point we hopped on the Emirates Cable Car and went to the o2 for a spot of lunch.

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London’s o2 centre as seen from the cable car above.

We ate at Cafe Rouge but the meal was disappointing 😦 which is why I’m not posting any photos of the food. Normally the food at Cafe Rouge is reliably tasty but not that day.

After lunch we were actually knackered so we decided to head back over the river back to Curlvolution and watch the rest of the show.

Action Jackson was calling some of the vendors to the stage and asking them to speak about themselves and their businesses, it was so uplifting to hear so many success stories from women who are basically just like me, they had a dream, a goal and a talent and they made it into a reality.

There were several “golden tickets” that had been stuck under the chairs before the show and we were all directed to check our seats to see if we had won a prize, Mum sis and I hadn’t won anything and were feeling too lethargic to go charging round the auditorium looking under unoccupied seats but some of the audience were more dynamic than us and about 7 young women won prizes from the various vendors present on the day .

Next Jackson asked for volunteers and my hand shot up ,  even though I didn’t know what it was for, but you have to take risks sometime in life and in this instance it paid off. Jackson asked me to say a bit about myself and tell everyone what I do, so I started by saying hello to everyone, then I told them it was my Birthday , I got a massive cheer for that, then I said I bake cakes and my name is Sian and before I could finish someone in the audience shouted “The Baker” I was so shocked that someone knew who I was, and no it wasn’t my Mum or Sister! Action then told me that  I had  won this exquisite Silk eye mask  by Ayamour

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And since it was my birthday Angela Appiah the creative mastermind of Ayamour also offered me a free hair styling session, which of course I graciously accepted.

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Me and the ladies from Ayamour

There was some more motivational speaking from Action Jackson and then the Darren Scott Salon Hair Show, it started off with everyday styles and then went edgy with the finale being the Avant Garde hair creations, here are some photos.

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At the end of the Darren Scott hair show, all of in the audience were forced invited to go up on stage to celebrate ourselves and our fabulousness as we are all special, some of us were uncomfortable doing this but they actually blocked the doors and refused our exit unless we had been on stage! here are just a few samples of the beautiful and unique sisters in the procession

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Action Jackson and Bukky wrapping things up on stage…

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I missed most of the other bloggers on the day, as we were not in the main room but I spotted Ms Laila-Jean Washington a.k.a Neffy Fro Fro but better known as Fusion of Cultures of course Kaila was there too. I really wanted to speak to Laila and let her know how much her channel has inspired me, but I wasn’t able to get to her.

However I did get to meet two ladies who both, inspire me hugely and encourage me to achieve my aspirations (and hair goals) .

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Cynthia Butare on the left, the producer and director of amazing documentary Kickin’ it with the Kinks and to the right Crystal Afro the lady whose blog helped me to take the plunge and do my big chop over a year ago.

Cynthia even gave me two free “I kick it with my Kinks” badges, I wore one of them on Monday 27th at the “Kickin it with the Kicks” anniversary showing…

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but more about that in a couple of posts time!

All in all I had a great birthday and I would love to return to Curlvolution next year but as a vendor or blogger.

A big thank you to Bukky for my ticket and for organising such a fantastic event, my only disappointment is that I didn’t get a goody bag as they had run out by the time I got to the table, not sure how that happened as I’m sure there would have been enough goody bags for all of the ticket holders but then maybe some cheeky women took two!

Thanks for reading this long post.

Luv Sian

xxx