All posts by Annie

The Hot-Day Guide

On a hot day it feels like the sun has a personal vendetta against you. Those days are torturous. You’d love to be outdoors, but the heat locks you in. 

 

It doesn’t matter if you reside in a tropic or temperate region. Sometimes, the climate is hotter than you are used to, increasing irritability and sweating; it generally puts you in an uncomfortable mood. It’s worse when it falls on the weekend or a vacation period when you ought to have time to spoil yourself outdoors.

 

But, like all seasons, there is a hack to make the most of a sweltering day. It starts with breaking out your bright coloured shirts and short shorts. It is also the time to grab a pair of sunglasses and a face cap while strutting through this hot-day guide.

Water Sports are IT

There are no better days for water sports than hot days. Large bodies of water such as oceans, lakes, and seas heat up and cool off slower than land, which makes it cooler on hot days.

 

Kayaking, surfing, snorkeling, and paddle boarding are some water sports to try out. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t a veteran. It is exciting to take lessons if these facilities are close to you. That’s learning while cooling off.

 

Beach Days are LIT

Picture yourself lounging under a cabana with a chilled drink in your hand, while the cool salt air washes over your skin. That’s a definition of a cool time on a hot day.

The beach is one perfect place to be on a humid day. The variety of activities like horseback riding, go-cart riding, Ferris wheels, and beach volleyball, amongst others are good enough to keep you occupied. And when things get too hectic, you can recline and munch on delicacies or take a dive to cool off.

 

Swimming Pools are RAD

Instructor and little girl in the pool on a hot day. Phot Cred: NY Times


A fact about swimming pool centers is some offer lessons. If you aren’t a swimmer and would love to learn, the hot days are the best time to consider it. It’s like a buy one, get one free deal. You enjoy the coolness of the water while practicing swimming techniques.

Some hotels have amazing pools. Spending the weekend in a hotel gives you the luxury to read a book while kicking your feet in the pool or sunbathing next to the pool’s coolness. 

 

The options are extensive. Whatever you choose, know that you can always jump in and cool off.

 

Getting Naked is IDEAL

Sitcom FRIENDS playing Strip Poker


Playing a round of strip poker with the air conditioner blasting is not a bad idea. Of course, you wouldn’t want to try this with people you aren’t comfortable with. Raise the stakes by adding optional dares.

 

It is a fun activity to try out with your close friends while sipping on homemade margaritas.

 

Ice Cream’s real PURPOSE

Ice cream cone, essential for a hot day

Whatever you do during the sweltering days, you must have ice cream. The rush of relief you feel when it heats your tongue cannot be exaggerated.

If you do not feel like going out to get some; you can order in while watching your favourite TV shows.

 

The Corn Magic

The rain season had a strong appeal to me growing up. The appeal was more than the excitement of running outdoors half-naked, feeling the raindrops pelt my skin. It was more than feeling thrilled when we avoided getting whooped for tracking mud on the floors. It was the corn that grew on talk silky stalks.

Corn. Supple, golden, hot, and moist. One staple plant that comes with the rain season.

People have different consumption preferences. Some like it boiled in salted water till tender, others prefer it grilled over hot coals, and some enjoy it cooked with other foods like rice or beans. There are many ways to enjoy it

 

An amazing fact about this produce is the potential it carries for economic growth. According to USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, the United States’ corn exports in 2020 were up to 1.6 billion dollars. China and Mexico export a combined value of 9.73 billion dollars in 2021.

 

This amazing crop is versatile – from adhesives to medicinal teas. Its economic importance spans from importing and exporting corn-based items like food produce, livestock feed, and everyday items.

The Naija Corn Festival 2021 was held in Lagos State. It had a panel discussion that covered topics like the sustainable development for a nation, healthy ways to eat corn as a family, and business opportunities the product provides for individuals. It was a mix of shared knowledge and fun.

An exciting part of the festival was the booths spanned from end to end with a plethora of corn delicacies; thrilling games and tons more.

This year promises to be more. Click here to sign up today!

Making the Big Escape Solo

Sometimes, life gets overwhelming. Work pressure mounts, family responsibilities double up, and it feels like your life is a crisis you have to manage. It isn’t always easy. While going through tough and sweet seasons in life, you should try to live in the moment – experience the moments for what they bring, and take breaks to reset and revive your energy. 

Traveling is one way to recharge your energy. You physically leave your troubles behind; leave your home or state to another where you can declutter your headspace. 

 

One of the perks of traveling is you get to engage in relaxing and curious activities. This either helps you create new hobbies or better coping mechanisms.

 

Here are some reasons why you should make your next trip solo.

 

When you travel alone, you do everything at your pace. You wake up when you like and decide when to explore. You create a travel experience on your terms.

PHOTO BY BLACK GIRLS HIKE

This is good because work/life experiences may put you under pressure that feels like you have no control over. Solo travel helps reset this mindset. Exerting control over the bulk of your activities can bring back the feeling of being more grounded.

 

Nothing makes you feel like you have things together than being able to sort out your affairs. 

Making snap decisions on your travel journey helps to boost your confidence in your decision-making process.

Decisions as simple as deciding on what to eat from a menu with a variety gives validity that you are good at making decisions to suit your needs. With an ego boost accumulated during your trip, you are certain to come back with a better sense of self-worth.

 

Solo travel gives you quality alone time. Time to meditate, sleep in, and ease your mind. You can choose to book a trip where your schedule is filled with spa dates and indoor activities without feeling guilty about boring anyone. 

Trips with lots of serene activities help declutter your mind or allow room for rest and recharge.

 

Sometimes going on trips with family or friends hinders making new friendships. You become engrossed in what is happening around your travel companions, you actively do not foster new relationships. Other times, you might not want them to feel left out or uncomfortable.

Photo Cred: Can Stock Photo Inc

 

Solo travel throws an aura of openness. You can meet or be met by new people without the drawbacks that come with travel companions.

 

There are many perks of solo travel; there are also some cons. For instance, you might feel lonely if you go on an extended trip without company. It is nice to meet new people, but not having a support system you are familiar with on a long trip can be a downer.

 

There are also places where you stand out awkwardly going by yourself, or would not have as much fun. For trips planned with a lot of group activities, it is better to embark on them with friends.

 

Another con of solo travel is how expensive it can be. When you travel in a group or a party, it is easier to split the costs of accommodations and feeding or have access to more discounts because of the number making the trip.

 

Why you should create a Travel Scrapbook

Do you recall the excitement you felt creating a scrapbook when you were younger?

A part of what makes it beautiful is the emotions attached to the pictures and mementos creating a riot of colours on pages to make your own personal scrapbook. You flip through a page and it feels like a trip back in time complete with the thoughts and sentiments attached to that moment.

Sharing Memories

The most beautiful part is in sharing. Some of my favourite home visits include flipping through scrapbooks to find both embarrassing pictures parents always have backstories for, sentimental trinkets like laminated leaves, tickets, and the look of reminiscence pasted on faces.

A scrapbook made into an album

Imagine a trip to a new state you have mementos for like plane or bus tickets, pictures of you in tourist sites, pictures of buildings and restaurants you find interesting, all taped or collated in one place. It makes for an exciting recollection of tales with visuals to back them up.

A Fun Activity

It is also fun putting together scrapbooks whether digital or physical copies. While digital copies need a bit of editing in your skillset, it is not difficult. Physical scrapbooks, on the other hand, are avenues to show creativity. It is a shared activity family and friends can do together.

A scrapbook in form of a folder

There is a more wholesome experience in creating a scrapbook from trips made with family or friends. Each person has personal pictures and trinkets from memories created on the trip. There are also group pictures and shared moments created together that make reenacting those experiences in a scrapbook more fun.

The Perfect Gift Item

Travel scrapbooks serve as wonderful gift items. They are better than an off-the-shelf picture book especially if it is to a place the intended has on their travel bucket list.

Scrapbook

A travel scrapbook would have pictures of places you visited on your trip that you think the intended should see when they make the trip themselves. It can also include witty fun facts you discovered about those places while you were there.

Trinkets attached to the travel books can have space for a pair to be added to it when the intended makes the trip, filling up the scrapbook with joint memories.

A Way to Escape

Travel scrapbooks serve as a reminder. We all go through tough times in life, and it is wonderful to have something to look at and remember the good times.

African woman making memories with her scrapbook album

Travel scrapbooks are perfect for this. You can flip back to dive into memories of a time that you were happy enough to make a record of it.

 

 

5 Things you are likely to forget on a Trip

There is this feeling of sharp disappointment you get when you are hours into a trip by bus or plane ride, and remember you forgot to pack an item. Most times, those items can be replaced, but it is annoying to have two of them in the end, especially when the item you own is perfect. 

It’s okay; it happens.

The best way to avoid forgetfulness in packing properly for trips is to have a checklist for packing. In this checklist, you itemize details from the purpose of the trip to trinkets you are prone to forgetting. For every item packed, you could cross it out.

Here is a list of some of the top items you are most likely to forget to pack.

Phone Charger

iPhone and the charger

This is particularly miffing because you could have meant to pack it, but forgot it last minute before stepping outside. 

Try to ensure your device is charged the evening of your trip. This way, you can pack it beforehand instead of risking forgetting it because of a last minute power-up. 

Alternatively, if you are a frequent traveler, you might consider getting a separate charger for your travel purposes. This one can always remain in your travel box.

Toiletries

Toiletries for travel as accepted by airlines

This one has some of our names written all over it. Toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, and the likes are easy to forget. You tell yourself you just want the air to dry them up in the bathroom, and you are ten miles into your trip before you remember.

Sure hotels have travel-size collections of this, but if your skin is sensitive or you are picky about scents, you might not want to opt for this.

Frequent travelers ought to have travel-sizes reusable bottles quantities of ointments can be turned into and stored in ziploc bags to ensure they remain safely packed in your travel bags. 

Always check on the expiry dates from time to time, as it will always be in your bag.

 

First Aid/Medication

Fist Aid kit for travelling

This is super easy to forget, and it gets worse when you are on medications you need a prescription for.

People don’t have to tote the entire first aid kit around, but it is safe to have painkillers, antihistamine, antidiarrheal, band aid, and balms handy on travels. One never knows when you or someone else would need them.

Umbrella

Umbrellas that can fit into a hand bag

Forget on travels alone; this is one item almost everyone forgets to take along. Whether it’s fine weather or not, the weather forecast might not be so accurate where you are heading. Plus, the good thing about an umbrella is it can be used when it is too sunny or rainy.

You don’t need a big umbrella making packing even more of a hassle. A small foldable one is guaranteed to take up less space and serve the same function.

Hair Brush

Travel Hairbrush

Imagine  getting ready for your first day out on a travel trip when you realize you forgot your comb or hair brush.

Don’t go around looking like you got zapped by lightning so it’s best to have one stashed away in your travel bag at all times. 

Travel Skincare Hacks

Most times, you’ve filled your box with clothes and shoes, sat on it to force it shut, then remember you didn’t include your body lotion or other skin ointment. It is at this junction I usually shrug, and expect nature to take care of me.

But, the older you get, the more particular you are about certain things. It is never too late to start taking better care of your skin because like it or not, it is one of the first things people notice about you.

It is also important to note that varied climate change impacts your skin negatively when you travel facing elements other than what your skin might be used to.

Whether you have dry or oily skin, it is good to stick with a skin care routine. How do you ensure to stick with your routine while you travel?

Refillable Bottles are your Friends

There might not be enough space in your box to carry around your huge lotion bottle. The best option is to get small refillable plastic bottles for travel. These can be gotten as a set in local supermarkets near you, or shops that sell gift items.

You can tag them in order not to mix up your ointments and use shampoo for body lotion.

Another thing to note is to skip packing bottles that may break, like your perfume, and turn out a quantity in a refillable plastic perfume bottle.

This not only saves space and allows you room for more, it also ensures you have all your products with you anytime you travel.

Ziplock bags are Religion

There is nothing more annoying than pulling out a shirt from your travel bag and finding out compressed packing caused your lotion to squirt all over it. Not only is it a waste of a perfectly good product; you have one less clothing item.

You can never tell how your luggage would be packed, and the smartest way to avoid uncontrolled spillage of products is to seal them in ziploc bags before putting them in your luggage. This way, if it does spill, it is in a contained space.

Non-Liquids are Genius

Ever been to an airport and you have to decide between your shampoo or body wash because you have exceeded the amount of liquid quota you can carry? I know, it is a hard choice to make.

Save yourself the trouble and opt for non liquids for some of your favourite products. Some shampoo have non gel forms, and you can scout if your favourite body wash has a bar soap version. Look on the bright side, you can fit in more liquids this way.

Hyaluronic acids are Dry Skins’ Besties

Studies show that moisturizers, night creams and serums that contain hyaluronic acids better hydrate dry skin. So, if you have dry skin, you might want to check the content of your moisturizers closely.

 

Packing the best product for your skin type goes a long way to ensure your skin is on a constant glow.

 

There are tons of hacks for keeping your skin peng while you travel. Share some of your favourite in the comment section below.

Is Tarkwa Bay worth the Hype?

If you live in Lagos, lived in Lagos, or studied at the University of Lagos; there is no way you wouldn’t have heard of Tarkwa Bay.

Lagos is famous for its beaches (of course, most of the island is reclaimed land), and there are a number of them to have a group or private beach hangout . But Tarkwa Bay is one of the most talked about.

Like me, you might have stayed in Lagos for a long time, but never had the chance to visit the beach. So, it was made a destination point by a number of my friends to spend a day at.

What to Expect 

One of the most fun parts of the experience for me was the boat ride. I had never been on any waterborne vessel and it was a treat. 

There is no need for nerves. Asides from my ungraceful ascent into the boat, and squealing at the initial rocking, everything went without a hitch. 

 

It was miles and miles of faultless aquamarine waves that gave the feeling like you could walk on it as the boat glided through the ocean.

There were plants of different varieties floating on the surface of the ocean, interspaced with clear waters and other waterborne vessels. It was a special delight to look at the buildings from the water.

All in all, it felt like riding a bus with a marine view.

What Tarkwa Bay was like

Upon descent, we had to pay a gate fee of 300 naira before we were let in. As beaches go in Lagos, that was really cheap.

There are rows of wooden cabanas facing the beach. The lean-in chairs were the perfect touch for a beach vibe. It looked like the picture of a beach out of a book: shirtless men playing volleyball, people taking dips and pictures in the ocean, and mellow music.

The cabanas cost a thousand naira per head, so depending on the number of people taking one, the price could be split.

Photo Cred: Cassie Davies

You are allowed to take your food and drinks without question, but there are available spots to get a variety of food from chicken and chips, barbecue fish, jollof rice, and lots more. 

We brought our own food and drinks for games and chills.

Some available activities are horse riding and quad bike rides.

What I felt

Unlike other beaches I have visited in Lagos, Tarkwa Bay was quite unimpressive. The sand was more solid than the loose feel you get off other beaches in Lagos. There were a lot of seaweeds and plants on the shore that made it look quite unappealing.

It wasn’t too crowded and there was enough room to settle in; the flipside was that it made it feel like a ghost town-like there was something missing.

The waves weren’t massive which made for a less exciting watch.

But in all, the environment made for better bonding, and it was a trip I was especially glad I made with my friends, if for no other reason, for the boat trip and cruise. 

Valentine on a Budget

The time of the month is approaching: the one lovebirds have marked and started anticipating since Mid-January.

The time of the month puts us in our best behaviors so the surprise that comes on that day is not a lack of surprise. The time of the month that isn’t a holiday, but might as well be with the fervor of energy it brings. Of course, we are talking about Valentine’s Day – the season of love.

Every year, it seems like a war is waged where packages, getaways, dinners, and gift items for Valentine’s compete to see which will be the most highly-priced. Recently, it feels like the day has become a project one has to save up for months to achieve.

But, no more! Love is meant to be expressed, and there are many budget-friendly ways to echo the words your heart feels to your loved ones, be it a significant other, close friend, or family member. 

 

Breakfast in Bed

You don’t have to be a participant in Top Chef to pull this off. Breakfast is one of the easiest meals to make. You just have to get creative with it and make splashes of red in all you do.

Heart-shaped pancakes, strawberry dips, red wine, store-bought muffins, and a love note is a step in the right direction. 

To make it more heartfelt, it would not be a bad idea to time it with your loved one’s wake-up routine. You can sneak back to bed, and watch their reaction when they see the spread waiting for them.

 

Picnic on the Beach

Recommendation: For a more romantic setup, the most preferred time is late in the evening when the glow of the tealights or candles is able to cast that haze of softness over everything.

Grab a blanket, with a spread full of your favourite dishes, and feel the salt air weave over your skin while you clink wine glasses.

The beach is the perfect location but you could use your backyard, or somewhere you have favourite memories in.

 

Dinner Date

This has to make the list. Although some dinner dates can be expensive, there are some affordable restaurants if you do the research and make reservations beforehand. 

It doesn’t have to be a Valentine-themed dinner reservation. It is, however, the perfect excuse to dress up. Wherever you choose, you get to nurture the first date feelings while you pick outfits specially for your loved one.

You can also recreate the experience at home. But make sure to dress up for it, and keep dinner lights dim to make a romantic atmosphere. 

 

Shows and Concerts

Some artists have shows, album listens, and mini-concerts curated for Valentine’s Day. It is even better when it is an artist you both love, or has a number of love songs you can hum together while you revel in the moment.

In Nigeria, John Drille, who is famed for love songs, has an album listening for Valentine’s. 

 

Personalized Gifts

You don’t have to break the bank to get gifts for your loved ones. It is the thought that counts. 

Pay more attention, and pick up hints for what he/she really loves or has wanted to get for a while; have it engraved with their initials, or simply put a smile on their face by handing it to them. Personalized gifts make for a more appreciated gift item.

 

Group Activities 

The more, the merrier…and cheaper. Many restaurants or spots offer discounts for groups. You could plan a group wine tasting, paint and sip, picnic, karaoke, and many more. The list of activities to choose from is endless.

To make it fun, everyone can invite their significant other or close friend. This keeps the number even and vibes positive. With this, it doesn’t matter where you go, you are sure to have a fun experience at a discounted rate.

It is the feeling you need to express. We show love every day, and in many ways, but take this time out this year. Tuck your kids in bed early, pamper yourself at the spa, bake something to be shared. Enjoy the season of love.

 

You need a Workation

There was once a world where people had to go to work every single day. In this world, you spend your regular 9-5 work hours in a building staring at monochrome walls, laptops, and sipping coffee off mugs dedicated to working hours.

Imagine telling your kids this post COVID, and all it has turned the work system into. They probably won’t be able to picture it. You probably would have a hard time recalling it too.

The COVID outbreak showed that many office tasks could be carried out outside the workstation. This also brought to the awareness that a lot of operational costs could be shaved off by having your staff work from home. On one end, it is brilliant. The company saves more and the staff gets the option of avoiding tedious traffic systems by doing what they would have otherwise done in the office from home. Many organizations stuck to this routine, while some revived a hybrid structure where some days are spent working from the office, and other days from home.

The flipside, however, is in the peak of the outbreak, working from home became suffocating. It is different when your hours are spent amidst colleagues with a collection of daily tales and trends, but at home, it is you and yourself for company. That got old really fast.

Being that productivity is largely connected to mental wellness, one of the best ways to revamp your mental state of mind even while working is by going on workations. Office workers bought into the idea rapidly. 

Workations are a merge of work and vacations. It is carrying out tasks you would have done from the office in places of leisure. 

This takes a considerable amount of planning, and hotels, cafes, and resorts also put structures in place to aid the idea. For instance, some hotels offer check-ins as early as 8 am and check-outs as late as 6 pm; the work hours duration. 

Some resorts have workation packages at affordable costs. You can take spa breaks, or take a walk on lush grounds to stretch your legs, and get your creative juices flowing before going back to work.

Some cafes have isolated booths that allow seamless working in a quiet and cozy ambiance. 

Some travel organizations curate workation packages that allow you to network, have fun and get work done with all the necessary work facilities needed outside of the work environment. You can speak to us to TBAH to organize one for you .

All these packages and provisions ensure that one can avoid the monotony that comes with working from home, and also make work a pleasurable activity. And as a person, you only need to pack lightly, plan ahead to revel in all the wonders the experience of a workation provides.

COVID Travel Lessons for the 2020s

COVID shook the reality of travel and tourism, but above it all, we saw uplifts in the sector. 

It proved true that necessity is the mother of invention because we saw tech take over with virtual reality tours, robots to safeguard guests and control costs. We saw creative ideas like workcations, solo travel, and contactless deliveries blossom. We saw how travel and tourism preserved our mental health by actively trying to revive bits and pieces of the sector.

Overall, some activities have become more than a way to enjoy ourselves while keeping sane. They have become a preference. 

Here are some of these activities:

 

Exploring Local Cuisines

You might not have paid much attention to that Amala seller by your junction until you figured you couldn’t get into your favourite restaurant without a reservation. 

Surfing for more reserve or hidden spots or areas for food specialty was a downside COVID brought that turned into something good. There is more attention paid to vendors closer to us, and a revival in taste for local delicacies that reminds us of growing up, or a life with more freedom.

Call it nostalgia or reduced options, trying out local cuisines is an activity that would fade out any time soon.

 

Workations 

Already, it sounds odd going to work all through the week. Remote working was a gift from COVID. 

It eventually made us want to eat the walls from boredom and lack of social interactions, and this resulted in workations. 

Working from exotic spots or hubs outside your home where a group of friends or colleagues can link up made the thought not only appealing but relaxing. Some hotels subscribed to this idea by creating special offers for work, and other travel bodies like TBAH created the Beach Bum where you get to work from the beach on Mondays.

Being that working remotely sometimes in the week or completely is something that would definitely make workations a trend to stay.

 

Solo Travel and Tourism

Sometimes, the lure of the outdoors is hard to ignore. For people who love traveling frequently, COVID put a cold blanket over plans and destinations. But as travel restrictions reduced, solo travel became trendier.

You really do not want to spend a lot of travel time in the same space with people you aren’t sure of their vaccination status. Solo road trips, exploring rugged paths, and traveling with a small group of friends are all easy ways to still put on your outdoor boots and brave the world outside.

Along the way, you find you are more in tune with your inner thoughts, and travel begins to look more like an adventure within than an escape.

What trend did COVID bring as a habit to you?