Fashion & Lifestyle


by Akumbu Uche

Whether the reader buys locally made perfumes that come unlabelled in recycled bottles or an aluminium-canned Hot Kiss; whether he or she buys a Chanel full price at Sephora or for a discount from TJ Maxx, I hope that these tips make interesting if not helpful insight into choosing and using perfumes.

(Please note that my use of the word perfume covers body sprays, colognes, eaux de parfum, toilette, and any other kind of body scents and fragrances there are).

  • Perfumes are meant to complement clean skin; they are not substitutes for soap and water.
  • Apply moisturizing cream first, if you want your perfume to last longer, a must if you have dry skin. (Now you know why those boxed sets often come with accompanying lotions)
  • Perfume stains are unsightly. Spray on your body before wearing clothes.
  • A perfume is not an air freshener; neither does it kill all insects dead. Overdousing is so 2008.
  • Apply your fragrance of choice delicately, to the crook of your elbows, wrists, behind the ears and cleavage or as the French say, wherever you want to be kissed.
  • Follow noses, not faces.  Owning a Dolce & Gabbana creation for each day of the week will not give you Scarlett Johansson’s allure. Instead, find out the perfumer (or nose) behind your favourite scents and check out other scents they’ve created. My favourite nose is Annick Menardo, creator of such deliciously addictive scents as Lolita Lempicka, Dior’s Hypnotic Poison and Lancome’s Hypnose.
  • The first sniff is not the deepest. Most perfumes start and end differently.
  • Oriental, Woody, Floral or Fruity? Discover what kind of scents you like and never apologize for your taste.
  • What smells nice on your cousin may be a completely different kettle of fish for you, may even smell like fish on you. Scents are like glass slippers, they either fit or they don’t.
  • If you find a perfume, you love too strong, try the eau de toilette version. Can’t find it? Apply the former about two to three hours before leaving the house. (A good case for waking and dressing early)
  • Carrying around that 100ml glass bottle in your handbag is like asking for trouble. There are portable roll-on applicators you can pocket away for touch ups. Better still, apply a little heat to say, the crook of your wrist to re-launch your Flowerbomb.
  • The latest Estee Lauder is all the rage now and all the ladies in your office have a bottle each including you. Mixing different scents is a great way to develop your own unique potion. Feel free to mix, blend and layer away. Until you master it however please experiment within the vicinity of your home.
  • So, three different people gave you three different perfumes on Valentine’s Day and you can’t make up your mind? Save the best for last by starting with the one, you like the least (err… perfume that is).
  • Take a break every now and then from your usual fragrance. Just because you can’t smell yourself, it doesn’t mean others can’t either. You may have simply become accustomed to it. There is really no need to increase the volume of application in proportion to rate of depletion.
  • You do not have to spend a fortune on perfume. There are a good number of inexpensive brands, which smell just as nice if not nicer than so called designer perfumes. Victoria’s Secret Beauty Rush has a delectable range that can be found in many markets and supermarkets across the country.
Music · Science & Tech · Sports & Fitness


by Akumbu Uche is a new user-friendly website that plays exclusively Nigerian music tunes.

Updated daily, it pretty much plays on almost every platform out there (iOS, Android 2.3+, Blackberry OS 7+ and PlayBook) and it is a good idea to have it running in the background while you check your mail, browse and download e-books.

Although the blog section of the site is yet to be activated, I like that, users are encouraged to request for not-yet-featured songs and register for personalized playlists.

The brain behind it all is none other than founder of and (fortunately) friend of the blog, Nnoduka Eruchalu.

I asked him to design for me an up-tempo, beat-filled playlist groovy enough to make even the most chronic dawdler enjoy a challenging workout routine.

He kindly obliged and in the spirit of ‘pay-it-forward’, I would like to share it with you all:

Gets you fired up, right? Just don’t play it too loud ; )

Books · Reviews · Writers


by Akumbu Uche

As a voracious consumer of fiction, I always look out for new and exciting writers to add to my shelves as enthusiastically as fashion tastemakers hunt for the next ‘it’ apparel.

My method however is less glamorous. Rather than attend runway shows and visit ateliers around the globe, I am more likely to surf the Internet and read as many short story anthologies as I can get my hands on.

One of such compendiums that I have read recently is the Naija Stories Anthology*. Subtitled Of Tears and Kisses, Heroes and Villains, the book features 30 fictional pieces edited by novelist and founder of the, Myne Whitman.

I know the interactive website well and I think it a good answer to pessimists who insist that Nigerians have no reading culture and the cynical notion that new Nigerian writing is only imitative of Achebe and Soyinka.

The same spirit permeates through its printed counterpart and though I must admit that I am unconvinced of the printability of all the stories, I cannot deny the writers’ talent and inventiveness.

Lulufa Vongtau’s Jesus of Sports Hall had me in stitches; the narrative of Bankole Banjo’s The Writer’s Cinema kept me guessing and I found Rayo Abe’s Mother of Darkness hair-raising. After a thrilling start, A Glimpse into the Mirror by Yejide Kilanko and The Devil’s Barter by Raymond Elenwoke, the alpha and omega (literally) of the collection, disappointedly turned out to be sermons in camouflage.

Given that non-residential Nigerian writers are well represented in this compilation, I thought it unfortunate that only one story (One Sunday Morning in Atlanta by Uko Bendi Udo) detailing the ‘Nigerian Abroad’ experience could be found.

On the bright side, Henry Onyema’s Rachel’s Hero, Kingsley Ezenwaka’s Best Laid Plans and Tola Odejayi’s Co-operate! with their larger-than-life, gun-wielding, reality-bending characters proved interesting reading, a  foretelling perhaps of an imminent explosion of the crime/action genre.

I also predict that we will be reading a lot more from Gboyega Otolorin (What Theophilus Did), Uche Okonkwo (Blame it on a Yellow Dress) and Lawal Opeyemi Isaac (It’s Not That Easy). Not only do their stories stand out but also one gets the impression that they have fine-tuned their talent to construct unique literary styles.

Who knows? Maybe in the future, when they and a good number of the writers featured would have become household names, teachers of writing or much anthologized, the NS Anthology will be a collectors’ item.

* As of press time, the book is available on Amazon but not in Nigerian bookshops.