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

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