Category Archives: Travel Diaries

Travel Diary
Keep up to date with my travels. Get inspiration from my holiday bookings, what to do, what to take and of course tips on how to get a bargain holiday and make your money for further on holiday.

5 things you must know if travelling to Lagos for the first time.

Going to any part of Nigeria can be bitter sweet. Although I was born in Nigeria, my family and I left for the UK when I was about 5 years old. So when I returned after approximately 15 years, I was crazy nervous, worried, excited, happy… all kinds of emotions.

I decided to put this blog together because of the young lady I met on my flight. She reminded me of me 10 years back. She was returning to Nigeria from the states because she just felt she needed to be home. This would be her first time ever traveling to Nigeria.

I really admired her courage and based on the conversations we had, I thought others would find this useful too.

Here are my 5 things you need to know of when travelling to lagos for the first time.

-Forget what you heard. LAGOS can be very enjoyable. Be sure to take advantage of the fresh local foods and ready made Nigeria fashion pieces . The nightlife in Lagos is just as good as anywhere else, from local joints to lounges, rooftop bars and clubs. There is truely something for everyone. You can actually decide that you never want to cook again and you will be just fine.

– Nigerians are know of over packing and carrying too much luggage. The airlines are aware of this and they can be super strict with luggage allowance; especially during peak periods. Make sure you weigh your luggage at home before getting to the airport. There is nothing worse than having to start re-packing at the airport.

– The truth is that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poor at here. As things are with the current govement people are Struggling. People really do appreciate anything you can get them from wherever you are coming from. However, in some cases giving people the cash can go an even longer way. Plus it reduces the chances that you will carry excess luggage.

– When you get to any airport in Nigeria you will see lots of workers wanting to help you out. This is great if you have the money to pay them. Nothing is Free in Nigeria. You even have to pay for the trolley which you use at the airport ( the worse part is that you dont get your money back once you return the trolley 211๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿคจ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‘๐Ÿ˜. Be sure to travel with a little cash which you can change at the airport. I always forget to do this and it can be a little stressful trying to manage my luggages without a trolley. I was so thrilled when I got of the Virgin Atlantic flight and they gave me a trolley voucher for free. Such life savers.

– Finally, nothing is what it seems in Nigeria. Get ready to haggle and put your hustlers hat on, in order not to be ripped off. The locals here will definately try to treat you like a ‘Johnny just come’. Be safe and Have fun.

This list could go on. But will end this post here. Feel free to add your views or any nuggets you have for other travels below.

Thanks for stopping by.

See you soon.

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Travel Diaries- Travelling on a budget? Do you compromise on flight or hotel?

Hi there,

Yes its me, its been a little while since I put my finger tips to a keypad.

There is really no reason other than I have been trying to figure things out in the real world. Plus an element of are my write ups actually benefiting anyone. Thank you all for your support and encouragement. If one person reads and benefits from my post… then my work here is done.

We are back on the road to seeing the world and doing it on a budget. I often get asked how I can afford to take so much time off work to travel (I will leave this for another day) and manage the costs associated with travelling.

I often debate with people on whether its best to compromise on the flight or maybe the hotel to make the cost of travel cheapers.

I live in the UK and cheap no frill flights such as as Rynair, Easyjet and the likes of it will probably only get you as far as Europe. These are often a great way of starting you travelling. However, I find that that the cheap flight sold by these airlines can suddenly become expense when you add baggage cost and in-flight food costs.๐Ÿ˜ฌ.

I prefer to use the British Airways holiday finder to find cheap flight deals. There is always a bargain to be had during off peak seasons. I also find that bigger airlines are more lenient on baggage allowance. Being a British Airways club member, I collect Avios points and can use these to get further discounts on flight. Believe you me .. this is the easiest way of getting discounts and flight upgrades.

Booking Cheap hotels has never been easier thanks to hotel price comparison sites.

With features such as free cancellation, I am able to back a hotel then price watch for better deals. This allows me to lock in any deals that I see. But it gives me the flexibility of cancel if the price drops.

So what am I saying.. you actually dont need to compromise on your flight or your hotel. There is always a deal to be had.

I would like to know your views on whether you compromise on flights or hotels when it comes to saving costs.

Feel free to put your comments and questions in the box below.

Till next time

X๐Ÿ˜˜

Travel diaries -Discovering Africa – Sierra Leone finally thoughts …

Like all holidays I wish my time at SL would not come to an end. I feel there is still so much to see and do.

I had so many first experiences on this trip and at times I was totally out of my comfort zone. Firstly … I like to plan holidays to perfection. This trip was not planned and I had no idea what I was going to face. My host wouldn’t even tell me what the light situation was like ๐Ÿ˜’. However, all this has helped in making this a memorable holiday. 

I really loved/ love how warm and embracing the people of Sierra Leone were towards me. As this is the first African country I have been to outside of my home ( Nigeria), SL and its people will always have a special place in my heart.*sob sob*

I can’t wait to see what the rest of Africa has to offer.  It’s going to be a long road and it may take yearssss but am motivated to continue discovering Africa.

This is my last look from Sierra Leone. Hope you have enjoyed this series of travel diaries as much as I have enjoyed writing it.  Feel free to ask me any questions regarding my travels.  

This is why I love layering… I transformed a basic shorts and cami look to a very trendy evening wear by layering a tulle dress over it .

Cami- Primark

Demin Shorts – Dorothy Perkins 

Tulle dress – Asos 

Shoes – Steve Madden

Be sure to follow me on Instagram for regular updates @ijayheavens. I post there regularly. 

See you soon. 

Xโค

 

Travel diaries -Discovering Africa – Sierra Leone lookbook -Radisson Blu

I might have lost count of the days as life has been happening day and night. It’s becoming difficult to account for each day as it occurs. Anyway… I had the opportunity to go to the Radisson Blu Hotel. This is supposed to be one of the ‘best’ hotels in Freetown. . 

I had heard lots about the Radisson Blu Hotel,especially from the locals so I couldn’t wait to check it out.

This was first location where our car had been properly checked by security. I have felt reasonably safe in SL through out my stay but I felt extra safe with this added security check. 

 I learnt that this hotel was previously called Mammy Yoko but it was damaged /destroyed in the war .

I really liked it here.  Aside for the great ambiance as you enter the hotel,  there is a wonderful sea breeze coming from all over. It really just envelopes you. This is one of the many things I love about Sierra Leone. Despite the HOT temperature’s, there is always a lovely cool breeze.

These tall trees provide shade from the sun and beyond the tennis court is the beach.  You literally can access Lumely Beach from the hotel. 
We sat by the pool side and had some lunch.  I have to say I was not totally impressed with the service provided. The waiter took so long I thought I was going to pass out. 

The choice of what to have was easy.  I think I have had fish everyday since I arrived in Sierra Leone. This is partly because my mother warned me not to eat any meat following the Ebola crisis. But more so because I wanted to make up for all the fish I don’t eat in London. With the sea so close … there’s always a good section of fresh fish available. Today I  opted for the Snapper. 

This came with 2 sides . Strangly the sauce for the fish was cheeky regarded as a side ๐Ÿ˜’๐Ÿ˜’.   For the price I felt a little cheated. Although the food was tasty and well cooked; however, it was nothing to write home about.  We were definitely paying for the location rather than the food. 

In all honestly, the location was pretty amazing. I could see a Tennis court, a Golf course and lots of grounds around the hotel. This hotel is by far the best I have seen in Freetown and am so glad I got to experience it.
For this outing I wore a floral dress.  You cant go wrong with florals on holiday.  However if I am ever unsure I opt for large floral prints in the day and smaller prints for the evenings.

This dress from Marks and Spencer has a very simple cut but the print speaks volumes.

I teamed it with my blue mules an a small blue purse for the kill. Am finding that these mules go with pretty much everythings.  They are perfect for holidays when you don’t want to carry so many things.  

Floral print dress – Marks and Spencers 

Cross over mules – Dorothy Perkins

Handbag – DKNY

Thanks for reading to the end. Be sure to follow me on Instagram for regular updates @ijayheavens I post there regularly. 

See you soon. 

Xโค

Travel diaries -Discovering Africa Sierra Leone lookbook -Day 6

I am worried that I will return from this holiday and need another holiday to recover from the holiday. 

It’s been non stop with activities morning and night.  I spent some time by the beach and spotted a Gelato joint called Gigibonita with free WIFI.  My plan was to spend the afternoon there.  Catch up on emails, connect with my friends and family, browse a little; just the usual online stuff. I am strangely missing ‘me time’ and this would have been just that. This plan went right out the window when I met a tall, dark and handsome man. 

Tall guys certainly have an ora about them, especially when they are nicely built. He joined me at my table and we spent a few minutes explaining pleasantries. 

I learnt that Deen  (a pseudonym) used to live in London and relocated to Freetown some years back .  We continued our conversation over lunch at Roys Restaurant.  Slightly taken about by his boldness my only consolation was that he knew my host. Freetown fairly small and everybody knows everybody.  

I did my usual wedding ring finger check. There was no ring…. no ring tan line either. Hummm….. warraheck, so are you married, I asked? 

I appreciated Deen’s honestly- 

Got 3 kids ๐Ÿ˜’

Separated ๐Ÿ˜•

Still stays in the same home as your ex each time you are in the UK ๐Ÿ˜ฉ.

Am done. I had retracted so fast that I was down the other side of the road. He was all the things I didn’t want for myself. This fleeting romance ended at lunch. 

This gorgeous frilled hem dress is from Zara. 

White mules – Primark 

Handbag – Zara
Thanks for reading to the end. Be sure to follow me on Instagram for regular updates @ijayheavens I post there regularly. 

See you soon. 

Xโค

Travel diaries -Discovering Africa Sierra Leone – Independence day weekend (lantern Parade)

Am thrilled to be celebrating independence day with my Sierra Leonean friends.  It’s a long weekend and celebrations start with watching the Lanterns at the city centre.

I was not sure what to expect but my host made  a fuss about not taking our phones or valuable’s with us. This made me wonder about the safety. 

I was advised to wear covered shoes to avoid having my toe’s stepped on and to dress down and blend in. No problem! Am 6ft tall and blending is what I do. Lol. 

I kept my dressing simple and put on minimal makeup.

The lantwen show was supposed to start at the Cutting Tree. I am told that this used to be the location of the slave trade. Slaves were taken from Sierra Leone to Banana Island.

The streets were hiving with people. Its like the whole of Freetown was gathered on the street. I would liken this to Nottinghill Carnival except it was in the middle of the night(11pm), there was mess music and more people milling around being very loud. 

I felt very unsettled and just couldn’t get into the grove of things.  I saw lots of kids and was so concerned about there safety. 

After much waiting around we saw 2 poorly constructed floats pass by. ….๐Ÿ˜ฉ๐Ÿ˜•๐Ÿ˜ฏ.

I couldn’t decide if I was more disappointed or confused. At this point I was ready to go.   I was told that through the night various other lanterns/floats would pass and there would be a price for the best float. 

We headed home at approximately 1.30am. The worse part of the night is that I couldn’t take any pictures while out and we came home to NO light !๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ

This is a very tired and reluctant Ijay. Nonetheless, I can say I experienced watching the lantern on SL independance day. 

My outfit is pretty basic 

Basic Tee – Primark 

Black high waisted jeans – Dorothy Perkins 

Trainers- Nike 

Kimono -Zara
Thanks for reading to the end. Be sure to follow me on Instagram for regular updates @ijayheavens I post there regularly. 

See you soon. 

Xโค

Travel diaries -Discovering Africa Sierra Leone lookbook -day 4

I have noticed that most of the lovely venues and restaurants that I have been to are owned by foreigners.  I am pleasee that foreigners want to invest in Africa as it’s brings growth.   However my prayer is that my people (Africa as a whole) will be united and achieve greater heights. 
We started the day very late and made our way to Lakka Beach.  I have never been to the beach so late. We arrived at approximately 9pm.

 I am glad that I didn’the let my fears and worries get the better of me because I was able to experience the wonderful breeze. I listened to the waves and enjoyed the feel of the cool sand on my feet. 

We ended up at the palm Lakka beach. The owners Peter and Abby were so welcoming. I had my first grilled fish here. It was tasty and well worth the wait.

 My only wish is to return here during the day. My eyes can’t wait to take in all the beauty.

This maxi dress was purchased from Asos Tall.  I Love the fit and grecian style. The long side split adds a little character to it.  Tall girls want there maxi dresses long but this dress was incredibly long. I had to hold it up most of the night. 

Thanks for reading to the end. Be sure to follow me on Instagram for regular updates @ijayheavens I post there regularly. 

See you soon. 

Xโค

Travel diaries -Discovering Africa Sierra Leone lookbook -day 3 pt2

There is no doubt on my mind that Sierra Leoneans love to live and enjoy life.  This country has so much history.  From the war that took place approx 17 years ago to the Ebola crisis. I was shock to hear a local say that the Ebola crisis was more devastating than the war. 

My heart bleeds for the people here. I don’t know where they get their resilience from after so many set backs.

My host was keen to show me how they dance their stress and worries away. 

So we hit the night Club 232! 

Apparently, this venue has only been opened a few month. It’s located along the beach front at Lumley.  

We managed to pull some strings, jumped some queues and landed in the VIP area. 

The DJ played a great selection of music.  I heard lots of Nigerian music so I felt right at home  ๐Ÿ˜Š.

We danced till our feet couldn’t anymore. I loved this experience, however if there is one thing I could change…. it would be for there to be no smoking in the club ๐Ÿ˜ฅ. 

I am wearing the following 

Velvet dress- River Island 

Black Shoes – Primark 

Handbag – Tory Birch 

Thanks for reading to the end. Be sure to follow me on Instagram for regular updates @ijayheavens I post there regularly. 

See you soon. 

Xโค

Travel diaries -Discovering Africa Sierra Leone lookbook -day 3 pt 1

Hey guys… things have been pretty non stop.  My host has been so fabulous and her friends and family have gone the extra mile to ensure that am having a great time.  

I was so tired from the concert.  Am begining to understand that Sierra Leoneans like to party till the early hours of the morning. 

After a very lazy morning we headed out to a place called Family Kingdom for a kiddies party. Not sure how to describe this place.  It is almost like a hybrid resort with guest houses, pool,  function areas and kids play areas. 

I really should never have worn this dress. The neck line is wayyy too high for the heat. But you live and you learn, plus I liked the low back.

Dress- Marks and Spencer 

Mules – Primark 

Handbag – Zara

Thanks for reading to the end. Be sure to follow me on Instagram for regular updates @ijayheavens I post there regularly. 

See you soon. 

Xโค

Travel diaries -Discovering Africa Sierra Leone lookbook -day 2 pt 1

I woke feeling so tired today. I think all the travelling and excitement has caught up to me.

I took a well  needed nap after breakfast before heading out to the sea front.

I can not get over these cute mules. I will soon be sharing how I customised this.  For now am just going to leave this right here. 

We had dinner at Montana by Lumbly beach. The breeze here was so refreshing. Apparently Sierra  Leonians are night crawlers.  Despite leaving the venue at 9.15pm there was hardly anyone at the restaurant. However at 4am when we passed the area again it was a road block.  

I am still making the most of this Zara dress. The hem is so much fine and it moves with the wind.

Frilled hem dress- Zara

Mules -Dorothy Perkins

Handbag- Zara

Follow me on Instagram for regular updates

 @ijayheavens I post there regularly. 

See you soon. 

X