Thursday, January 12, 2017

Ghana Video Diary Part I : Kumasi


No you have not lost your marbles and yes you read that right. I, Ama Addo actually have a video made, edited, and published for you guys. I know right? It's not news to anyone that in the past I've been quite anxious about posting videos and have not followed through but this time is different. I was determined to do it. And even though I wasn't able to get it out for yesterday when I normally post, I'm happy that I've actually done it. 

I've worked the past two days on this video, I had a LOT of footage to shift through and I got very nostalgic going through them all. Oh what I'd give to be able to go back whenever I want. 

I couldn't fit everything into the one video so this is just the first instalment. I want to apologise for how shaky it is at times, I tried my very best to take the best non shaky videos I have and also any video stabiliser edits I could avail off.


Pictured Above: Me at Lake Bosumtwe where I frequented with my father and brothers.

Part one of this video diary looks at my time in Kumasi, my birthplace for the first few days of my time there. This is where I grew up. Where my grandmother, great-grandmother, father, brothers, some uncles etc. live.

Whilst in Ghana I got to visit some old places I haven't been since I was a kid like Lake Bosumtwe and my first kindergarten/primary school and spend time with the people I hadn't seen in four years and some even longer. Most of this doesn't translate across in the video so checkout the post I did when I returned to Ireland for more. You can find it here.

Pictured Below: My old school principle and vice principle.



All in all I hope you enjoy this video as much as I enjoyed editing it. Don't forget to hit the like button if you enjoy it and also to subscribe for more because I don't know if you noticed but this is only part one *insert winky face*

Without further ado, here is Part one of my Ghana Video Diary.



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Till next time my pretties xxx
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Sunday, January 08, 2017

2017: My Personal and Blogger Goals



Jumper - Primark
Jeans - H&M
Boots - Similar here and here
Bag - Primark ( similar )
Socks - Primark ( similar )

In my previous post I touched on setting goals for 2017 and although I haven't set goals for the whole of 2017 ( because my goals are liable to change and progress) I have a few that I want to share with you guys. 

If you have any goals I should be adding to my list, let me know below in the comments.

Personal Goals


Feed My Creativity

 Got a few side projects that I'm working on in the back ground and I am pretty excited to share them all with you guys..in due time.

Put Myself Out There

I get described as outgoing a lot ad I can be, when I know the people around me I either tend to come out of my shell too much to compensate for my unease or that unease consumes and overshadows the whole thing for me.







Give Zero F*cks to 2017

As it happens 2016 took all my f*cks and now I have none left to give to anything. Worrying, over-thinking, over-analysing have taken chunks of happiness from me over the years, as with everyone else, but I'm done giving any more f*cks to anyone or for anything. Call me selfish but guess what, idgaf.

Challenge Myself

I really want to use this year out of college to pick up new skills and face new challenges to push my own boundaries. I have projects lined up that you will all find out about in due course so don't you worry. 

2017 is going to be all about me. It may sound selfish but why is that such a bad thing? I will care no less fro my loved ones, I'm merely going to focus more on myself and my own personal growth and development. If that's just a bad thing then so be it.





Blogger Goals


Blog More Consistently

 Somewhere last year I made the decision to post twice a week and it's worked pretty well so far except wees where I have been a little more overwhelmed in my personal life wit work, school, etc. This year I am going to aim to stick with the twice a week, every Sunday Morning and Wednesday Evenings.

Be More Organised

In order to be able to go through with my plan to be more consistent I need to stay on top of my game and that means I have to start planning better and planning ahead. I'm hoping to avoid a juxtaposition of life and blogging not running in line as much as possible.





Start A Newsletter

So 2017 is the year of Albatroz & Co's first newsletter campaign! I am excited. I've got big plans for the Newsletter. I touched on the topic towards the end of last year but I didn't explain too well. 

The idea of the Newsletter is to bridge that time span between published posts and my actual life. There are activities and things I do behind the blog that don't always make it on the blog but are pretty fun and I'd like to share. In the Newsletter will be snapshots of my week ( 3-5) pictures that give a little bit of what goes on behind the blog. 

You may be asking 'how narcissistic and self-centred do you have o be to send out Newsletters about your life' but that's the only thing that involves me. Aside from trying to keep things real with you all, there will be weekly finds for both readers and fellow bloggers such as interesting articles, books, blogger tips and tricks, recipes and much more.

You'll also be first to know about competitions, giveaways,travel announcements and any blog developments and projects, so what are you waiting for?





Thank you to those of you who have already signed up to the Newsletter, I hope you are as excited for it's release as I am. If you have not already signed up to my Newsletter, head over to the sidebar and sign up right now to be in the know and up to date!

Utilise Albatroz & Co. As A Creative Outlet

Taking the year off college my plan for the year is to dive into all things creative and learn new skills and pick up new hobbies. I have photography projects, writing projects and business ideas that I plan on building throughout this year.

I am telling you this because a part of me wants to share it with you all and another part wants to make sure people know so I can't back out. Well I can but I am less likely to now.




All in all 2017 better watch out because I've got big plans and I'm not a lady to mess about with.

Have you got any big plan for this year? Share it below in the comments.

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Till next time my pretties xxx
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Wednesday, January 04, 2017

2016: A Year In Review


Its here!!! 2017 has arrived, as if y'all didn't already know. I wasn't going to do a review post on 2016 but then I realized it was a pretty crap year but also a pretty darn great year.

I tried to condense my 2016 review so I could a mash in my 2017 goals but only found myself with a really long drawn out post that even I wouldn't want to read let alone publish. Therefore this post is a bit of a late review of 2016.

Shall we start with the good bits then?

What was right with 2016?

In the hopes of not sounding entirely narcissistic you can check out this Buzzfeed piece that has captured some of the great bits of 2016 for everyone so I can selfishly talk about myself and my amazing life here pffft *Laughs hysterically*.

1) Graduating

I finished Second Level Education. In an age where many people still fail to receive adequate education I am so grateful for the privilege I have been given to learn the things I have.

                                  



2) Leaving College

Bet you didn't see that coming after the first point. I lasted a whole of approx. TWO months in college and probably only attended about a week's worth of hours. I won't get into the whys of it here although that is to come but making that decision to break from the education mill so to speak has been one of the most freeing and best decisions I made in 2016.

Had I stayed in college it would have been in a course I didn't particularly enjoy or feel challenged by. Its been great having a year break after what was probably the toughest year of my education life: The Leaving Certificate Examinations.

3) Going Home

My Great-Grandmother & I

Whilst most 6th years flocked to Magaluf a.k.a Maga I booked my tickets in February to go back home to Ghana. After 4 years it was much overdue and by far the highlight of 2016 for me or at least up there.


     




I spent a total of two weeks between my home city Kumasi and the capital, Accra trying not to feel like a tourist in my own home. I saw my family, old friends and generally tried to soak in as much as I possibly could of everything and everyone before I left. I'm gonna  have to start saving for the next trip there, I definitely don't want another 4 years to pass before I return.

4) Relationships I Made and Continue to Stregthen

Carrying on from my previous point, one of the greatest things about 2016 has to be the relationships I formed, reignited, strengthened and continue to have. The start of 2016 feels weak in terms of the network of support I felt I had compared to the network of support I have ending it.

There were some things I needed to work on myself and accept, people I had to let go, relationships that changed and all the while I had to work on trusting my network and allowing that support to be there. No man is an Island but its hard to let people onto an Island you've worked hard to protect even if they can't understand why.

5) Moving Out

The biggest change in my life in 2016 and the one bound to have the most effect in my life going into 2017 has to be the fact that I moved out this year and it wasn't for college. I actually moved out.
And now I've moved again!! Twice in one year. It's been crazy and to be honest I don't even know how I feel about it because I haven't given myself time to think about it because it's just like aaahhh and I'm all aaaaahhhh inside. Sometimes it crops up in my head and I wonder why I can't just have a "normal" teenage life where I only have to worry about forgetting my house keys and not rent and bills etc. and other times I just tell myself to get on with it.

That is probably where my hostility comes from when people ask me how I'm feeling about the move, if I'm scared, what it'll be like. Do I really want to live with strangers. They're asking questions I don't have answers to myself which then makes me feel even more anxious and unsettled.
I don't want to look at this change as a bad thing because it's giving me a kind of freedom that is hard to explain but it is a change I am just going to roll with.

6) Travel

2016 saw Albatroz & Co add a new category to it's niche which was Travel!! I travelled more last year alone than any other year of my life and t was wonderful. Second to going back to Ghana has to be my solo travel to Belgium because of the great time I had and all the things I learned. You can check out this list I made of lessons from my first solo travel here. I visited Krak√≥w, Poland with my 
school back in April, Ghana in July and four cities in Belgium.












And the bad bits:

The whole of 2016 just has this downside that I can't even put into words. It was just dreadful at times it seemed for everyone. There's been so much suffering and wars, deaths, refugee crisis that is still ungoing, natural disasters, my family moved away to a different country, just so much globally and in my personal life that I can't even make a list for it and frankly I don't want to. It's time to look to the future with intent to shape it for the better and not focus on the bad that has happened and the consequences to follow.

I say this having had a little bit of a meltdown a few hours into the new year day because I just couldn't stop thinking negatively about what has been and what is to come. I began to sound like a broken record to my won ears, it was terrible.

I haven't yet looked at goals for 2017, yeah I know I'm way behind on the band wagon but a recurring goal so far for me has been to stay positive about what is to come and be prepared, to change, adapt, fight and shape the future.

I hope your own 2016 reviews focuses more on the goodness on the year, whilst taking into acknowledgement the bad that can be changed and also looking forward to the future with positivity. 

I'd love to hear what goals you've set yourself for this year and if you're like me and haven't made any goals yet, what are you thinking about? Maybe we can all gain from sharing.

Till next time my pretties xxx

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Sunday, December 18, 2016

8 Things I Learned From My First Solo Travel



So 2016 has been the year of travel for me. I visited Poland earlier in the year with my school, I went back to my beautiful native land Ghana in July after finishing college and most recently I visited Belgium. Out of these travels my visit to Belgium was the first one in which  I had not been with friends or family that either lived in that country or travelled with me. Until Belgium I had never even stayed in a hostel. 

I was looking forward to learning more about myself and was quite surprised at what I learned about myself and travel in general.

1) I Love Travelling Alone

The attraction to solo travel for me comes from is tge utter ease and hassle free of it. When I am travelling alone I have no one else's needs to care for but my own. I can be spontaneous in my plans or lack off. I can decide to spend the day in bed and have a short exploration of Brussels later instead of going to Leuven because I am so incredibly tired. And you know what? No one will care or get annoyed that I am screwing up the plan because there's no one to worry about.




2) Travelling Is Bloody Tiring.

Following on from the previous point I'd like to point out the obvious here and say travelling is bloody tiring! I mean after landing in Brussels I went for an exploration of the area of my hostel and had dinner. The following day I dove into the city's capital with all the enthusiasm of a 19 year old looking to be amazed by another city surrounding. Following that day was my trip to Ghent which started early in the morning and ended with a night in Delirium surrounded by some new Canadian friends, flirty bartenders and the chillest spotify playlist.

 The next day was Brugge and following that was a day in bed with a massive and cheap doner kebab. After all the walking tours, walking to bus/train stations, walking looking or sights and squares and help etc. I. was. shattered and it had only been two days! So I am.not ashamed to say I spent a day in bed doing nothing and went for a short stroll in the city to watch street acts.






3) The Money Doesn't Last

You learn fast and hard the importance of money in a foreign country. I am not a money driven person for the sake of having it. I tend to work hard for the money I need and sometimes come across as a pretty happy go lucky all unicorn and happiness makes the world spin. But when you have to get up and go get your flight 7 hours early just so that you can use £5, the only remaining currency on you to buy food at the airport the realisation of the great power of money hits home hard. I mean I know money is important and I'd had to be really careful after the first few days being a little more generous than I could afford to be on tips and my bus journeys dwindling etc.

But sooner or later the money starts to run out if you're not careful so be careful what you spend it on.




4) Research The Networks In Your Chosen Destination And Check Your Roaming Plan. 

This seems obvious and I thought I had it sorted but I was wrong. I had enough money to spend on network...in Ireland. It quickly depleted in Belgium and the network not being available there I had to buy a Sim card and thus threw more money away on that and credit on top of that. I know I could've gone online and bought more credit but it worked out cheaper just buying a new sim which did come in handy at the airport when I was able to watch 3 movies in my 7 hour wait.


5) Free Walking Tours Are NOT FREE

Free walking tours are the biggest lies of travel that I came across. The word free implies in gratitude yeah? However when someone takes two hours out of their day to walk a group around telling them about a city that is a job and not a hobby. And working people need to be paid and who pays them? The people they provide the service to which is well...you. A chunk of my money was spent on tips for guides both walking and boats. And after 4 cities, 5 walking tours and 2 boat tours it all adds up. So although the idea of a free walking tour is great when you want to learn more abut a city, prepare to spend a little for the service that is provided to you as in fairness it is only right.







6) As Much I Enjoy Learning About A New Place I'd Rather An Adventure Holiday

I love learning new things there's no doubt about it and although chances are I wont remember everything, I'll remember the feelings I had seeing and learning. With that said I don't think I'll like to go on another trip like the one in Belgium. Learning about cities is fun and all that but if I'm going to go away I'd like to DO something fun as well. I found I enjoyed the boat tours in Ghent and Brugge because I wasn't just walking around having things pointed out to me, I was in a boat instead. It's not much of a difference but not your conventional tour either. That's it. I'd rather have unconventional holidays, one or two lazy days lying by the sea is fun but what about one or two days Snorkelling and a day water skiing and lazing by the beach instead? I wasn't entirely surprised by learning this about myself but it's made me want to go even more on an adventure holiday. Bring on 2K17!!! 


7) It Gets Lonely

As much as I loved travelling alone I didn't like the parts where I felt alone. When you're doing things and learning and meeting new people you don't have time to be alone let let alone feel alone. With that said there were exceptions like the time I walked into an Irish pub wanting some home comfort like even hearing an Irish accent and didn't even hear a single word of English.

The loneliness set in most between activities when I was trying to decide what to do next. It'd have been nice to have someone to talk to and make plans with then. The worst times were those where I had no one in my hostel room for about three days so each day I returned to 5 other empty beds and lockers. But as one of the Costa Rican girls, a longtime traveller, that stayed one of the nights said, you just get used to it or find better ways to deal with it. I guess I'll just need a few more trips.





8) Coming Home Is The Best Part

I'll admit stepping off the plane at Dublin airport, no money, tired and having pined to return to Ireland I'd have gladly hopped on another plane somewhere. Perhaps after a shower and some sleep but I'd have gone without. I was so happy to be back and in my own bed. Happy to be in a country where I understood what people were saying and didn't need to rely of my knowledge of French or complete lack of knowledge of Dutch, Turkish or Flemish! Happy to be in a city who's transport and alleyways I knew.



All in all Belgium will always be a country with at least four cities for now that hold good memories for me and I'd most definitely be returning to. You can check out my other posts of Brussels, Ghent, Brugge and Leuven if you haven't already.

What was your first solo travel experience like? I'd love to hear what lessons you learned that we share or are different.

Till next time my pretties xxx

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Because I Like Pink










Last weekend I attended my work's Christmas Party. It was a much anticipated evening for me as I had had a particularly gruelling week with work and other arrangements. By the time the date rolled around I was ready to let down my hair and blow my drink allowance sky high. Of course I hadn't had much time to think about what I'd be wearing when I barely had time to eat or sleep.

I threw together this quick outfit about a half hour before I left. For the night it consisted of some blue heels and a small pink bag. However considering the weather has been so uncharacteristically warm these past few weeks I thought it'd also work pretty well as a day or night outfit.

Everything I'm wearing bar the long cardigan came from my mam's clothe farm. The shirt is from Primark and the skirt is from Boohoo ( found in my mam's closet but owned by my sister). You can find a nude version of the skirt here for only €14!.The Cardigan was also purchased from Primark and the shoes are from Topshop, you can pick up a similar pair here. The Ted Baker bag is from well...Ted Baker. My bag id pretty old season but you can pick up a more recent one here.

I love the baby pink colour of the skirt and how it pairs with my TB bag. I've always been more of a backpack kinda girl as opposed to the hand bag but I really love this TB bag. It's not your conventional handbag, I mean it's pretty see through at times to I am a little extra cautious about what I'm putting inside and leaving on display. 

I paired the outfit with this cardigan to add some cosiness and texture and the belt to add shape. The glasses are to tie together the brown and black accompanying the pink and as such to tie everything together.

This whole outfit to me is very relaxed and speaks off my girly pink loving side too. What are some of your favorite fashion pieces in your wardrobe?



Till next time my pretties xxx

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