Welcome to the first instalment of our ‘Be Inspired!’ series. With this series we will feature influencers, bloggers, vloggers, PR gurus, content creators, illustrators and more who inspire us every day, motivate us to keep going and who we feel you our readers should know and share on their journey to success (yes, I did just quote Shorty Award SnapChatter of the Year DJ Khaled). To kick off this series, we had the chance to sit down with our friend; lifestyle blogger Bids who inspires us with her travels, her fashion style and also her story telling skills that keep us glued to her blog.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you started blogging?
Hey! My name is Abidemi but my nickname is “Bids” and my hair is “Grace”. That’s right, my hair is called Grace, named so after the Grace Jones inspired cut I was rocking when I got my big chop in January 2010. I started blogging mainly to chart my natural hair journey and encourage myself in it. Since then, the blog has blossomed into a full blown lifestyle journal where I chart my style, travel, food and general life adventures with Grace.
You recently were on a panel during Social Media Week Lagos about “Effectively using Instagram for your business”, can you please give us tips on how Instagram/ Social Media has worked for you and the exposure of your blog?
In a nutshell, I would say post regularly and consistently, pay particular attention to the image quality, times and hashtags you are using to get maximum returns/likes on your images. Determine what you want the overall feel of your page to be and try to achieve that through consistent use of filters, frames etc.
You relocated from London to Nigeria – tell us more about this move? How has it been for you? Challenges? Lessons and adventures?
Girl, it’s been a huge learning curve and massive adjustment. I could go on about a whole lot of things but I think the most important lesson I have learnt is patience and being flexible. Being completely honest, there are so many things that one could get frustrated about on a minute-by-minute basis and the difference in culture that can sometimes be quite jarring. But overall, I would say patience and flexibility is key to survival here in Nigeria.
“Be ready to adjust your timetable for things and do not show frustration or anger because it will only exacerbate the situation you’re in. Be polite and respectful and be mindful of the cultural norms.”
For example, I remember walking into a waiting room somewhere with my mother and she walked in and greeted everyone in the room. I just smiled generally in no particular direction. She turned to me and chastised me for not greeting the people. I explained I didn’t know the people. She then explained to me that she did not know anyone in the room either but it was just expected as part of the culture to greet any occupant of a room that you entered.
Talking of adventures – on your blog you share your travel adventures. What has really peaked our interest is you share your travels around Nigeria in a light that is hardly shown – what inspired you to start doing so?
I’m really intrigued by the country and its history. There is so much culture, and yet I know very little of it and I felt ashamed that people visiting Nigeria had seen more of it and knew more of it than I did. I also realised that there is so much to see and do in Nigeria, but there is so much negativity in the media’s portrayal of Nigeria so I decided to do my own little bit in showing that there is beauty in the country and it’s not all what the media portrays it to be. Sometimes, we just sit and complain when there are actually ways we can counter the popular narrative. By my travel posts of discovering Nigeria, I am hoping to counter the narrative that there is nothing to do or see in Nigeria, and hopefully inspire more people, particularly Nigerians to explore and see more of the country.
What have you learnt from travelling around Nigeria and what are some of the tips to anyone who wants to do so?
There is nowhere that you can’t go in Nigeria, it just depends on your appetite for adventure and whether you can be bothered to organise it. Granted, there are some places up in the north of the country which are quite dangerous due to terrorism but there are some still so many other beautiful places in the country to see. Logistics is generally the major challenge in travelling around Nigeria, because the transport system is still underdeveloped so the options are generally road by car or air. But once that is sorted, (and actually it’s not as hard as one thinks), you’re pretty much good to go. As long as one is respectful and interested in discovering new things and the culture, you can’t go too wrong. Of course, I would definitely recommend going in a group where possible – safety in numbers and all that good stuff plus I don’t think Nigeria is ready for backpackers just yet!
To the places that you have visited in Nigeria so far what place stands out and why?
I really enjoyed visiting the Idanre hills in Ondo State. It was really amazing, such a quiet village where we were, the people were so lovely and engaging and friendly. The location itself was incredibly beautiful, people in the group were commenting that they couldn’t believe it was Nigeria. I’m not that much of an active traveller i.e. I don’t do hikes or mountain climbing or that sort of thing, but that trip sparked something in me and made me want to do more trips where I can just be explore and be out and at one with nature like it felt hiking through those hills.
You are a global adventurer – what is the one place in the world you have visited so far that ranks high on your list and why?
South Korea stands out for me as one of the most amazing places I have been to. It’s a bit of a contradiction because on the one hand, it’s a country at the cutting edge of technology and in fact spearheading the technology industry in many ways and yet, it has such an incredibly history with fantastically preserved monuments and sites from centuries past. I loved the fashion scene and don’t get me started on the beauty scene – it completely changed my life! The food too deserves a mention, nothing hits the spot like a good Korean bbq! The crazy thing is that it is a country that is technically still at war…with North Korea. Visiting the Demilitarized Zone is a completely surreal experience; I’m still not sure whether it was my wisest moment visiting an active war zone but I’ll never forget the experience.
What are your beauty travel essentials?
Travel size everything – facial wash, toner, moisturiser. I make sure never to forget cleansing wipes to take off my makeup from partying all night whilst on holiday! I also take a moisture mist and comb for Grace. Usually I will twist her up into big twists in the night before bed and then take them down in the morning to rock a big curly fro or put it up in a puff.
Let’s talk about Grace for a minute – how did Grace adjust to the move? Did your routine for caring for Grace change at all?
Ah Grace! It was a bit of a challenge at first, to be honest. I love wearing my hair out but here in Nigeria, the humidity is on a whole different level. I mean, you take your hair down from twists, rock a fabulous twistout…for all of about 5 minutes if you’re lucky. Seriously, it’s so humid. I have had to research and perfect my updo and protective styling game so these days my go-to styles for Grace are a goddess braid or my hair pulled back in a bun with the aid of a hair donut.
I have been very frank with you that leave me in your closet and 99% of it will be gone. What inspires your outfits? What do you wear when you’re having a ‘not in the mood’ day.
HAHAHAHA! It really depends on what’s happening that particular day but the main inspiration for my outfits is wanting to look fabulous but comfortable. Ladies here in Nigeria always look on point so it’s necessary to make an effort when going out but there is a way to look good and comfortable at the same time. On my “not in the mood” days, I throw on a smock dress and keep it moving. They are super comfortable, hide a multitude of sins and with the right accessories, you still look fabulous.
You’re Fashion God for the day – what/who will you make everyone wear?
A smock dress and sandals – seriously, that’s pretty much my everyday uniform outside of work.
What are your every wardrobe essentials?
In no particular order:
a smock dress – everyday uniform
dungarees – I am so happy these have come back into fashion, because they are so comfortable and so just everything!
a pencil/wiggle dress – for those days you need to dress up and make everyone (or a certain someone!) stand up and take notice
a full skirt – they are so classic and feminine, that you can never go wrong with these.
A white blouse/shirt/t-shirt – everyone should have a bunch of white tops in their wardrobe. Tanks, shirts, blouses, white top everything. Your outfit and wardrobe is not complete without a white top in there somewhere.
You also have flawless skin – what is your beauty regimen?
Thank you so much. It really has not always been the case. I follow the basic tenets of the Korean beauty regime – cleanse, tone, moisturise. It has changed my beauty game completely. I have really sensitive skin – I breathe and a pimple appears, it’s that ridiculous. But having followed my Korean beauty regime has really helped. I never go to sleep with my makeup on, and always make sure that I have thoroughly cleansed and moisturised my skin in the morning and before sleeping. With all that said, I have also had to start paying more attention to what I am eating and making sure I am exercising regularly and generally staying healthy. Drinking lots of water is also essential for keeping the body and skin hydrated.
Check out Bids Harmattan Beauty regime
It is March which we are dedicating to women who inspire us. You’re one of them. Now we’d like to know what inspires you and keeps you thriving and going?
My parents inspire me; I’m only beginning to fully appreciate just how hard they worked to give me the life that I have and enjoy the simple things that are so easy to take for granted. I am determined to leave an even better legacy for my kids. That’s what keeps me going – to push myself to achieve more than what my parents have already done.
If you could impart words of wisdom to the younger women who are growing up in this social media era what would they be?
Don’t be under pressure to be anything other than the wonderful person God created you to be. There’s nothing wrong with having goals to aspire to and icons you look up to but your goals and aspirations should not require you selling yourself or getting rid of your values.
“Everyone is unique and has a unique selling point. It’s important to learn and focus on what is your own USP and develop that, rather than endlessly comparing yourself with others and trying to be like others.”
In the end, being yourself and staying true to yourself, as cliché as it sounds, is what will give you the most satisfaction and personal fulfillment.