Spending Christmas Alone This Year? We’ve Got You Covered.

Spending Christmas Alone This Year? We’ve Got You Covered.

by Louise Akrofi.

This year has been a tough one for so many reasons. Thousands of people this year are facing something that – let’s face it – is dreaded by most of us; a solo Christmas. The new Government Covid guidelines in the UK have forced a lot of us to abandon our Christmas plans last minute, and several people are now spending the festive period alone in a bid to protect their families.

It doesn’t help that every Christmas advert on telly shows the perfect family, huddled around a large table laughing, joking and eating Turkey. The truth is that prior to the pandemic, Christmas alone has been a reality for some due to family/relationship breakdowns, work commitments, religious differences and mental health problems.

Christmas alone does not have to be as daunting as it sounds. It can be a day of liberation, pampering, laughter and fun. I’ve spoken to a few people this year who are spending Christmas alone for the first time ever, and I’ve compiled a list based on our conversations and the plans I did have for myself (when I contemplated Christmas alone earlier this year). Give it a read and enjoy your solo Christmas.

1. Stick your headphones in and go for a super long walk, the kind that tires you out

Photo courtesy of agreekadventure.com

Put on your best trainers/comfy shoes and go for a long walk, for at least an hour. We all know that exercise releases endorphins into your body; endorphins are ‘opiate-like’ chemicals that produce feelings of euphoria, happiness and calmness in response to external stimuli including excitement and physical activity. Gentle exercises including walking will give you that boost. Why not try a route that you have never taken before, you may discover a new bakery or shop to check out in the New Year once the Covid restrictions are relaxed.

2. Watch a bunch of Comedies on Netflix

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Photo courtesy of eonline.com

Sounds awfully cliché, but a good laugh really does make you feel better. In fact laughter is scientifically proven to prevent heart disease, boost your immune system and release those endorphins that we love and cannot get enough of. Some of my favourites on Netflix include Dolemite is my Name starring Eddie Murphy, Pineapple Express starring my faves Seth Rogan and James Franco and the comedy series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. If comedy isn’t your thing, I would still suggest watching something for some escapism.

3. Order some delicious food or buy some low maintenance tasty dishes

If you’re in the UK, Marks & Spencer sell the tastiest food – just saying. Go all out and get a nice 3 course meal for yourself and a bottle of something sparkling while you’re at it.

4. FaceTime some family or friends (if you have that option and have the mental capacity to do so)

Keep it short and sweet if you need to, but seeing familiar faces on the day can be a life saver. If this is not an option for you, try my next suggestion.

5. Download the Bumble BFF App and meet new friends online

Photo courtesy of aintilatina.com

When I relocated from London to Brighton 4 years ago I barely knew anyone. Bumble BFF was an absolute game changer – it’s a great way of connecting with new people online. I met some amazing friends who I call family today. Another great way of connecting with new friends online is by joining local groups of people who have common interests eg walking groups, dog owner groups, women only groups, LGBTQ+ groups, POC/WOC groups. There is something out there for everyone. http://Bumble BFF App

6. Try baking something new

Photo courtesy of delicious.com.au

Try following a recipe and making your favourite baked goods. I still struggle with baking (I swear it’s a science), but there is nothing like trying a recipe and it working. It can feel very rewarding.

7. Do an at home spa treatment

Photo courtesy of Everyday Health

Your local Supermarket/large Grocery store will sell really lovely cosmetics, face masks and bubble bath. It doesn’t have to cost the earth, but a good face mask and bubble bath combo really does wonders for the soul. Not to mention for your skin as well. You can even make your own face mask, this link from Everyday health has some awesome homemade natural face mask suggestions.

8. Donate to charity; help those who are in need

So many people are in need this year, some unable to provide for their families this Christmas (or this year in fact). Action for Children have a fantastic scheme called “Be A Secret Santa”, where you could make sure more children and young people have a hot meal, a present or a safe place to sleep this year by donating.

9. Online retail therapy: treat yourself to one really nice thing

If you have the budget and there is something you’ve had your eye on for ages, order it online. If it makes you feel better, make sure it is something you will get a lot of use out of or that will enhance your life.

Queens Matter: A new brand bringing cultural representation to apparel and homeware.

Queens Matter: A new brand bringing cultural representation to apparel and homeware.

by Louise Akrofi.

The Good Look is excited to announce that we will be the content writing partner for Queens Matter: a new brand bringing cultural representation to apparel and homeware.

Queens Matter is a collaboration between Art by Amulinde and Culture Asylum, which are respectively run by sisters Carolyn Baguma and Corazon (Coco) Baguma.

Corazon “Coco” Baguma – Co-Founder of Culture Asylum

Inspired by her own experiences of racism and colourism, mixed media artist and freelance professional consultant Carolyn Amulinde Baguma is turning negative experiences into positive pieces of representative art and clothing.

In her 10-year career as a freelance professional consultant in development, Carolyn has worked with several reputable businesses and charities including Harvard Business Publishing, D&A [Diversity and Ability], Victim Support and many others. Carolyn was able to take her skills and dynamic experience to East Africa in 2019, where she worked in Tanzania with YAAPHA to deliver a Business workshop for local businesswomen.

The first UK Lockdown saw a slowdown and ultimate halt to most Carolyn’s consultancy work. During this time, she was reminded that the only constant thing in this world is change. As a freelance professional Carolyn was used to the fluctuating nature of self-employed work, but this time she decided to prioritise her first love; art. Art became her solace, it was always there during the hard times and she fell in love with creating again this year. Her mission became to merge her leadership and development skills with the creation of art. While the pandemic raged on around her Carolyn began to adapt in her offering, while bringing art to the forefront of her endeavours.

Carolyn Baguma – Mixed Media Artist and Consultant, Original creator of Queens Matter

As an artist, Carolyn has been majorly inspired by bold artists such as Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keefe, Gustav Klimt and Sonia Boyce. While admittedly being able to draw inspiration from anything around her, Carolyn’s main influences are from nature and the human form.

Queen Afua – Biodegradable iPhone case £18.99 via Culture Asylum (click image to shop)

The original piece for Queens Matter was created using pieces of fabric which were given to Carolyn as a gift to make her own face masks. Carolyn fell in love with this vibrant, mish-mashed collection of material while simultaneously being inspired by silhouettes. What started off as one portrait of a beautiful Queen, soon became 5; Afua, Yara, Izabella, Jemima and Lauryn. Once her Queens were complete, Carolyn felt inspired to merchandise – something she had never done before. The Queens Matter collection was then born; a range of organic t-shirts, biodegradable phone cases, minimalist backpacks and more. The process was very organic, and Carolyn has fulfilled her dream of being able to share these beautiful women.

Queen Izabella Organic Crop Top £21.99 via Culture Asylum (click image to shop)

As a Black woman, representation is everything to Carolyn; it “confronts the voices and messages that are constantly telling you that you are not enough”. In her facilitation work at schools and workplaces, Carolyn understood that her presence could potentially have an impact on at least one person who may not be able to see a future for themselves. This really shed light on how important representation is. The emergence of contemporary black female portrait artists like Tyra Powers, Reyna Noriega, Donice Bloodworth Jr has also been empowering for Carolyn and her artwork.

The Queens Matter Collection touches on four areas which are key to representation for women of colour:

  • Identity
  • Diversity
  • Hair
  • Skin

Interestingly, everyone could tell that Carolyn’s portraits were all women of colour before she put the Queens Matter title on it, a clear indication that the vibrancy of “Queen Magic” is prevalent even in the absence of skin colour or tone.

Queen Yara Minimalist Backpack £41.99 via Culture Asylum (click image to shop)

With this project, Carolyn aims to connect with organisations and collectives that are run by and serve women, to run workshops and offer skills for the communities. Carolyn also wishes to engage with fellow Queens to share their experiences and vulnerability.

For Queens Matter, Carolyn has teamed up with her sister and close friend Corazon Baguma (aka Coco) who is the Co-founder of Culture Asylum. Culture Asylum is the perfect collaboration partner for this project as a lifestyle and Humanitarian brand which is pro civil rights, pro equal rights, pro human rights, pro Black rights, pro LGBTQ rights and pro animal rights.

The beauty of the project is the fact that Queens Matter began as a recycled piece of art & crafts and has become a stunning representation of women of colour.

To shop the range, visit Carolyn’s online store via this link: Queens Matter Online Store.

Look out for features, the #QueensIdentity challenge, blog posts and more to come!