I haven’t been to Nigeria since before the pandemic but had a lovely reason to return this Summer. My lovely Mum turned 70!
So I landed from the month-long trip in Cape Town, South Africa, unpacked and repacked back home in London to fly to the continent again, this time going West, to the most populous African nation.
I now tend to have a mixture of feelings when going to Nigeria as it’s so different to life in England which I have become used to. I often joke with friends that I have to switch off my England brain and switch on my Lagos brain. My Lagos brain is hyper sensitive, quick on its feet, a mean haggler and a smooth talker, it can get away with anything and smell deceit miles away.
I went shopping at The Ladymaker, a Nigerian Fashion House on the Island and got what is now one of my favourite dresses. The kind of dress that people stop you in the London Underground to ask where they can get one. The shop is small but well stocked with a nice variety and I stopped by when they were having a sale. This was great because the clothes are pricey.
Next up my brother took me to Orile, a boutique restaurant in Lekki Phase 1. It has beautiful decor, think raffia and grass. I ordered some traditional Ofada rice which was delicious but I couldn’t complete devouring as I forgot I can’t handle hot food. I struggled on for a bit until it felt as though my mouth would burst into epic flames. So I let it go..sadly. The smoothie was great though!
A final experience of note was getting my hair done at Bloom Hair Atelier also on the Island. Now I don’t trust people with my hair but had been following the salon on Instagram for a while and was convinced from what I saw that they knew what they were doing when it came to Afro hair. So I set off for what was to become one of my best salon experiences in a while. The stylists are incredibly knowledgeable and polite. They are so considerate that when I had to tilt my head to an awkward angle so they could braid the side of my head, they brought a rolled up towel to wedge between my neck and shoulder to place my head on!
Additionally, the salon is aesthetically beautiful and stocked with contemporary hair equipment such as their soothing steamer which you lay back to experience. I highly recommend visiting this salon.
Going back to Nigeria this time showed me how much I have changed over the years and made me question and settle on where home really is for me.