How To Get The Best Deals for Your Family Photoshoot Sessions

Now that back to school season is over, I’m sure that many of us are already thinking about the fast approaching holiday season and all the expenses that go with it. We’re also probably hoping to squeeze in a family photoshoot.

As a photographer and frugal mama, I thought this would be a great time to share my six top tips for getting the best photography deals for your upcoming milestones and events.

So here we go!

Our Baby Weaning Experience and 7 Important Things I Learnt

Oh weaning! [insert very mild barely audible sigh]

Even before I had a baby, I totally looked forward to the weaning and introduction of solids to my kids. I remembered some of the fun things we had done when my little sister started eating solids and how in particular we’d mash up potatoes for her.

With new generation Instagram mums and social media it also seemed uber cool. Lots of ideas, recipes, tools and information surrounding weaning. Cookbooks too - with modified Nigerian recipes (our kids got to love Nigerian food yes!).

So yes, I was determined to be that “extra” and diligent mum who made colourful purees and fed her child nicely in the cutest baby high chair.

10+ Female African Fiction Writers to Read (other than Chimamanda Adichie)

I was reading an American Middle-Grade (junior secondary) textbook when I saw Purple Hibiscus listed as a Middle-Grade novel.

No surprises really as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is undoubtedly the most famous female African author right now. But it feels especially good to have Nigerian stories read by a wider public because Nigerians are voracious readers even reading many books by non-African authors.

Still, many people would like to and should have a broader view of the African continent asides Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. So, I decided to introduce you to, or remind you of about seventeen other female African authors of fiction whose works are worth reading.

This is not at all an exhaustive list, rather, consider it a starting point!

So here we go, in no particular order:

Four Things to Keep in Mind When Thrift Shopping

I feel like I've been thrift shopping longer than I've been walking or sleeping. But in truth, I officially begun in 2013 when my mum introduced me to the wonderful world of sustainable fashion. Isn't it lovely how we get to buy unique clothes of a superior quality at a cheap price and save the environment and the same time?

I don't really believe in buying things on a whim as a lot of thrift shoppers seem to do - thanks to my somewhat minimalistic lifestyle. So, I carefully plan my purchases ahead of time.

For the novices and even the more experienced shoppers, here are a few things to keep in mind while thrifting:

10 Days of Fun in Los Angeles (+ recommended tourist activities for first-timers)

I lived on the US East Coast for a couple of years and never visited the West coast - blame it on my budget student life.

And so when the time came for our usual girl time away, my bestie and I decided to explore the West Coast and had to pick a state. California came up first - then the battle for the ultimate city began: Los Angeles vs San Francisco. As each city has its unique experience and vibe, Los Angeles blended with the holiday we had in mind.

The journey to LA from Lagos was quite a distance but I broke it off with a transit in the UK for a couple of hours. I left Lagos on a Saturday morning and arrived in London by evening but my connecting flight was the next morning. I checked into a nearby hotel which I had pre-booked, sank into the bed feeling cozy with the feather pillows, ordered some room service and had dinner in bed while re-watching my favourite movie - Love & Basket Ball.

A Day in the Work Life of: Clara Affun - Health Policy & Systems Researcher

Even if you have no interest in medical research, you should read this piece. Clara, at 34,  has had an interesting career path and life in general - including two self confessed midlife crisis.  From attending secondary school in Nigeria like many of us, she now speaks 4.5 languages: German, French, English, Yoruba and Italian (the .5).

Clara is British-Nigerian: but unlike the standard validity of 10 years, her current British passport is an awkward 11 years 5 months. Despite this extra cherry of validity on top, she’s currently chosen to live and settle in Belgium for some reasons. In her words “One is that I love the country and want my future children to grow up in such a multilingual society, and two is because Brexit kind of means that I am marooned in Europe because of fears of losing my residency if I ever leave”. She loves travelling, languages, cooking (without ever tasting in the process!), reading, learning in general and living a nomadic life. In the last 12 years, she has lived in  6 countries with the most remote location being Chandraghona, a little village in Bangladesh on the border with Burma/Myanmar.

In terms of career, hers has definitely not been a straight line.

The 20/80 Rule: How To Get More Out of Your Blog Posts after Hitting Publish

It’s been a while since I blogged about blogging! And I missed it. No idea why it took a back seat per se. I’ve lately been a bit concerned that I’m not blogging as much as I used to do. Writing makes me happy - and many times that’s the bit I enjoy. But blogging should really be approached on a 20/80 rule. 20% writing and 80% promoting. So except you have a whole team or people sorting out the promotion for you, the hard job actually starts right after you hit publish! And this is something I know I’ve been ignoring.

A relatively recent tweet by a popular African musician - Mr Eazi caught got my eye and sums up this rule. Referring to his new music video here’s what he said:

“Cost of Production  - $6,000. Cost of YouTube Advertising - $10,116. Revenue generated in 10 months - $89,620. Don’t play yourself - Mark(et) ... if you can!”

So as a note to me and a note to you, to ensure we aren’t playing ourselves, here’s how we can get more out of the 20% once we’ve had a read through the post and are happy with it!

6 (+1) Ways to Read More Books

One of the questions I get asked all the time is “How you do you read so much?!”

The general answer to the question is that I prioritize reading. I certainly understand that a flexible schedule and the fact that I have very few responsibilities are a huge reason for my freedom to read as much as I do. Still, like anything else, I believe that to read more, we need to be intentional about making time for reading.

Here are six ways (+1) you can make time in your schedule to read more! 

No More Cranky Mornings: Five Tips For a Better Night Sleep

I’m sorta doing cartwheels right now, because this post is sponsored by Leesa Mattress, which we three have been using for the past month and absolutely loving it. I say “three” because yes indeed we’ve been co-sleeping with our son. It seemed unfair to have this new amazing mattress to ourselves so we let him join us! Okay I kid. Truth is since he outgrew his bedside crib I mentioned in this post, we hadn’t got around to setting up his cot and we welcomed him into the big people bed. But at the time of typing this post, his cot is being set up! I know he’d miss us and our new mattress, because honestly even he obviously slept better the first night we had it - not a wink or his usual attempt to move his hand around and search for me in the middle of the night!

Anyway, let’s leave out co-sleeping situation and actually get to how we, i.e. adults can improve our night sleep. I think two major life experiences have had an impact on my night sleep pattern.

How to Make Overnight Guests Feel Welcome: 7 Easy & Helpful Tips

I think it’s lovely having guests stay over with you. Okay let's caveat that - lovely provided they are reasonable guests. It’s heartwarming to know that people have chosen to spend time with you even when they could afford to stay in a hotel or other accommodation. One of the things I’ve come to love is actually having guests over - and you’re likely to catch me running around at the very last minute to make our guests relatively comfortable. And many times it’s the little things; which you can do whether or not you have a little space or a big space. Admittedly having a bigger space may be better but nonetheless hosting guests in such bigger space could still come across as impersonal and they could still not feel welcome.

So whether they’d be sleeping on the couch and sharing a bathroom, a mid size or make shift guest room or have a whole separate suite with chef and maids at their beck and call, I believe these tips will hep them feel very welcomed, and help you be a good host too.