Travel & Design Blog - BY YASMIN METZ-JOHNSON

Friday, 13 April 2018


Over the Easter break I visited Malta with two of my friends. What felt like a short trip was nearly one week! A 5-day get away that came around at the right time. Malta is a Southern European country with a unique history. Sharing influences from the Arabians, French, Greeks, Romans and Britain. The island became a British colony in 1813. Malta gained their independence in 1964. During the trip I was learning new information about the country day by day, if it was not through conversations with locals like our lovely taxi driver in Gozo, Maria (who explained the division of Gozo to the rest of Malta) it would be in physical attributes such as the Old City of Mdina, the old architecture and churches in Valletta. Here is just an insight to Easter spent in Malta and a few reasons why you should visit:

1.The Procession:

Easter was a great time to visit this country, with the people of Malta being predominately Roman Catholics we got to experience the Maltese culture heightened by events like the Easter. One of Malta’s religious traditions is to the display of the Crucifixion Procession to the public at half five in the afternoon on Good Friday, not to worry it is not as graphic I as I thought it would be. It is more of a parade meets memorial rather than a play reenactment. This ceremony take place in the different regions of Malta, we decided to watch the two-hour long display in Mosta. Where the members of the 17th Century Catholic Rotunda Church dressed in the historic attire and carrying decorated shrines that symbolized significant moments of Easter. A spokesperson recalled the story in both Maltese and English. It was interesting to see how others celebrate Easter.
Tip: There are seats at this event that are free! As I assumed however if you get there too early there will be ‘organisers’ lingering around attempting to charge you for a 3 or 4 euros for a seat. We stood and watched behind the rope like many others, however I would suggest that if you want to be seated during the procession, wait until a few more of the locals arrive and follow suit into your chosen chair.

If you are craving some sunshine then Malta is the place, with rays of 22 degrees its fair to say we were not missing the British weather. It gets chilly in the evening time especially as we were staying in Sliema near the coast but the wind is nothing a jacket cant handle!


Exploring the different regions of Malta was honestly more than enough adventure for me because everywhere is so scenic! The one activity we did take part in that I would recommend to anyone, is the Gozo Segway Tour! Only 15 euros for an hour ride, not to forget a tutorial. It is so worthwhile.
4. Food

During our time in Mosta we managed to taste some of Malta’s treats they have to offer. Sfineg is fried puff of pastry snack filled with anchovy. I loved the Anchiove spinef, I definitely got through a good 5 or 6 of them! Which were on offer at the time. I also tried the fig tarts, which was concentrated paste out of figs in between pastery, but I think I will stick to the original fruit. The Maltese cuisine is heavily influence by surrounding countries such as Italy. Fenek is stewed rabbit often identified as the national dish. I didn’t get a chance to try that, but a dish I did try more than once was a delicious seafood platter from Castellio in Sliema.


The Maltese have a distinctive style with many of the residential houses had protruding first floor windows alongside shutters painted in a variation of colours, however I did pick up on the fact that many finishes such as the doors and window frames were in the same emerald green. This is a colour that the British implemented during their rule. If you appreciate architecture and design then you will have a field day in Mdina and the capital city of Valletta which capture the elements of the baroque era in the pillars and balconies of Valletta.
 Places you must see.

  • Barakkas Garden
  • Old City Mdina
  • One of the many Fortress

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Saturday, 17 March 2018


I recently made a first time trip to the West African Gourmet restaurant IKOYI in Central London where Tribe Diaspore hosted a ‘Tales of the tribe’ themed brunch. Tribe Diaspore founded by Seun Ogundiran is a platform that keeps people connected through conversations about the African Diaspora. The founder presented the event alongside Ra’ifah Rafiq of the podcast Mostly Lit. The question of the day was ‘Where is home?’ inspired by the author Yaa Gyasi’s novel ‘Homegoing’. Before we dived into the trick question for many of the demographic who attended the event ;(being of African and Carribean descent) Seun read a poem of his own. The poem looked at his love for his birthplace, the UK and his Nigerian heritage but not quite knowing where ‘home’ is.

The notion of being in limbo sits with many first or second generation Black Brits. Not quite knowing where to call home. However that being said not everybody has this issue. This made the discussion interesting to see how and why others identify themselves the way they have chosen to. The question was then thrown to us the attendees. Although the opinions varied many had similarities. Many identified as British going on the basis that the UK is where they were born and is the life they have known yet still having immense pride for their country of heritage. At the same time others identified as African regardless of where they were born. One lady made a great point that “your identity (place of birth) is not necessarily your home and your home is not your identity”. This will depend on the individual. Your birthplace can be your home but it is not set in stone, it does not have to be. Someone else added that you might not have found home yet referring to future opportunities in terms of travelling overseas.
Photo of mariamtijani.com
Just as the conversation was in full swing amongst us, it was time for brunch. Ikoyi served crispy yam and scrambled egg with a special pepper sauce followed by plantain french toast and peppered bacon drizzled in Zobo Jam. The last dish was Roasted Mushroom and Suya Flatbread not to forget the tasty Papaya and Roasted White chocolate Shake. It’s fair to say Ikoyi have put their own twist on African delicacies to create their own signature dishes. It is a fine dining experience to say the least. Another element I admired was the ambiance of IKOYI, the interior designed by Studio Ashby, the neutral yet warm colour scheme against the ceramics details and lighting features worked perfectly against the statement terrazzo flooring. The brunch was a great opportunity to meet and discuss with others on their own viewpoint of the question.

I wish the conversation lasted much longer, but before we all knew it brunch was over (as brunches always go). However I did leave that event thinking ‘where is home/what is identity?’ is a discussion that should be had more across the board.

What is the Diaspora?
The dispersion or spread of any people from their original homeland.

Where is home?
Honestly, when I’m asked ‘where are you from?’ it would depend who I am talking to but majority of the time I would answer Sierra Leone (even though I’m UK born). I do this because I really dislike the ‘No, where are you really from?’ question and tone (as if I’m telling a lie when I mention my birthplace). So I tend to beat whoever is asking at their own game and say my hereditary country Sierra Leone. 

On that note I am someone who believes that your home does not need to be where you were born or the place you have ancestral connection. They are the most logical places to call home but they are not necessarily ‘home’.  I totally agreed with that point someone made as I remembered my sister calling me ‘fake Senegalese’ during my time there and how I would talk about the place. I’m not from there but I felt very much at home there. Home is where you make your home. Home is where you feel comfortable. The event got me thinking; can you have more than one home? But I will save that for another day/post.


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Wednesday, 7 March 2018


Image of Onua Home

Yesterday marked the 61st year of Ghana's Independence. What makes this milestone remarkable is that Ghana in 1957 was the first African country to gain Independence from Great Britain lead by Ghana's first president Dr Kwame Nkrumah. To celebrate Ghana 61 years on I have partnered with Onua Home to offer a lovely discount to the subscribers and visitors of Yasmin Tells. Onua is a word in Ghana's native language Twi that translates as 'sibling'. The sibling duo Emmanuela and Phillip Frimpong inspire to dress household ornaments in a same richness as Ghanian clothes and materials are. Onua Home provide a range of accessories from Andrinkra Symbol Mugs to Cushions. Check out their online shop and don't forget to make use of the 25% off discount code.


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