Travel & Design Blog - BY YASMIN METZ-JOHNSON

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.


For more and the latest blog posts keep it touch! 



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.


Active for one week only

For more and the latest blog posts keep it touch! 


Friday, 2 March 2018

Back to Basics: An ode to Wakanda


I’ve been back home in the UK from my trip to Ghana for two months now and its no secret that I find it extremely difficult to blog about the UK – Ok, maybe not difficult as I haven’t tried too hard to do so but that is because enough bloggers do that and that is there niche. Unless I’m going to a cool event, I have no zeal whatsoever to blog about travel in the UK, but who knows that could all change.

This time last week I had no motivation in the world to blog, to be honest I’ve even thought of packing it all in. Only to be reminded of how far I’ve come every time I mention it to my friends. I was looking back at photos I had taken the very first time I visited Dakar, Senegal. I went to find them again after watching the Black Panther movie as the euphoria I felt reminded me of that feeling I had back in 2013; The excitement and relief that a country on the continent is so beautiful and contrary to the pitiful stereotypes of Africa. A highlight of last month was most definitely the long awaited film Black Panther, I’m not here to review it or give any spoilers if you are yet to see it but it is fair to say the film is a game changer. In my twenty-five years of life I had never seen an all black cast depicted as strong and influential characters, it was so refreshing. I know the feeling is mutual amongst many black people as the #wakandaforever and #inwakanda hash tags continue via social media. I was stunned by the amount of research that went into the film in terms of the production as they merged a variation of cultures from West, North, South and East Africa to form Wakanda from the Malian architecture to Senegalese Music to the South African Ndebele tribal graphics. It was overwhelming to process, another similar emotion I feel now and then while creating content online.
All of these blogging strategies, Pinterest and all that jazz to boost your blog profile are time consuming and overwhelming to learn. It almost takes the fun out of blogging. I was speaking to my Dad recently about the pressure around blogging and how everything now heavily revolves around your stats and figures. It is a lot to take in alongside creating great content. It can be difficult not to look at what other bloggers are doing and compare yourself and think you are not doing things right, failing to realize what works for them may not work for you, every blogger is different. There is a general ideology that ‘consistency is key’ but what is the point of being consistent/active if you’re not adding value? I’ve really had to be honest and ask myself that. It’s ok to not be active and to take a step back to rest and prepare, as the saying goes ‘Rome was not built in a day’ and I’m pretty sure Hannah Beachler the Set Designer of Black Panther spent multiple hours grafting before making Wakanda come to life.

Other than thoroughly enjoying the film, I guess it reminded me too of my purpose as a ‘Travel and Design Blogger’. Something I feel that I segregate quite often when I really do not need to. In the words of my Dad “Remember why you started”. The reason I continued blogging was to document travelling elsewhere, especially the continent of my heritage, to the places that are not advertised the way they should be. To learn more about cultural history that was never taught in school. To document the design, people and artisan culture I was discovering on a daily basis, to make comparisons and observe the similarities of neighboring countries in Africa within culture and design.

If you did not know Yasmin TELLS stands for Travel, Explore, Live and Learn. I feel I sometimes stray away from the purpose of my blog, which is not a bad thing, but Black Panther’s virtual city Wakanda gave me the wake up call I needed. Whenever you are suffering from a creative block or feel like giving up, remember why you started and focus on your core strengths.

For more and the latest blog posts keep it touch! 



Monday, 19 February 2018


Often times whether it is consciously or sub consciously, we seek validation from others. But the truth is we can only seek validation from ourselves. No one else will ever know how much an opportunity means to you other than you. That is all the more reason to stop being your own worst critic and more reason to believe in yourself. I’ve listed a few tips below to follow in order to be your biggest cheerleader. I hope you find them useful.

Find your anthem!

I am yet to meet someone who is not a fan of music. Find the song that defines you, uplifts you and most of all overall makes you feel good and stands for something you believe in. Play it in the morning, in the car or include it in your gym playlist. Whenever or wherever, use the song as a motivator. My anthem is this tune right here. I have a few anthems now that I have thought about it..

Silence the noise.

When we seek advice it will usually involve asking somebody that we know well or someone who you can more or less predict what the advice would be. An encrypted format that really means ‘I know what to do but I would feel more certain with the confirmation of someone else’. Although everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, it is usually advice to take into consideration.  Trust your instincts always.

Speak it into existence.

I have not yet got my head around the many ‘Law of attraction’ readings on the world wide web, but from what I understand from ‘speaking it into existence’ is that it is one of the main elements of LoA that reflects the cheesy yet famous saying ‘you’ve got to believe it to achieve it’. Speak about the things you would like to achieve that should prompt you to act on it.

Feel the fear and do it anyway!

I created a post with this title a while ago; fear is associated with the unknown. Doing what you have not done before. As fearful as the challenge ahead can be, the best way to deal with it is to embrace that fear and champion on. You usually come out the other side if not fearless, less fearful.

Imagery Location: Aburi Botanical Gardens, Ghana

For more and the latest blog posts keep it touch! 


Monday, 12 February 2018


I carry your heart by Poppy Papercuts

As I mentioned in my previous post about Valentines Day being that day we either look forward to or we dread, I think it is a day (like any other day) everyone can enjoy with these fun cards stocked by Papier!

In a day and age that is very much digital these handcrafted cards by various artists caught my eye. Papier aim to inspire and connect people in a thoughtful way as they partner up leading designers and illustrators to create cards to remembers. What I like about the cards I’ve been able to select from their Galentine's Day range, is that each card has its own style that reflects the artist behind the magic. 

Here are a few of my favourites I chose, that you could surprise that special person with! Enjoy!

Friendship by Poppy Papercuts

I love the stencil style and illustration of ‘ I carry your heart’ by Poppy Papercut as the literal imagery plays of the titled piece comes across ever so fierce! Poppy’s creations are not only animated but I feel they are the backdrop of a story. These two are a part of her latest collection with Papier.
Find out more about the artist here.

'I love you more than pizza' - Carolyn Suzuki Studio
Whoever receives such a card is a very special person indeed! ‘I love you more than pizza’ by Carolyn Suzuki Studio makes such a statement against a subtle contrasting baby pink back drop, its priceless!
Find out more about the artist here.


Valentine Day is a day to celebrate anyone you love, not necessarily just your significant other. Somebody you know and love receiving a 'Treat Yourself' card by Jade Fisher might do them the world of good. You never know the kind of day someone has had and a unexpected Valentines Day card like this one may make it all the better.
Find out more about the artist here.

This one is so cheesy its perfect!  This ‘We’re better together’ duo by IldlewildCo. says it all!

Wishing everyone a lovely Valentines Day!

This post is in collaboration with Papier Ltd.

For more and the latest blog posts keep it touch! 



Sunday, 11 February 2018


I definitely should have posted this nearer the beginning of the month but here it is! My top 4 events of this month. Enjoy!

The most anticipated Marvel movie of this year finally awaits us! Black Panther directed by Ryan Coogler and focuses on he sequel of one of the original Marvel Comics character named Black Panther. That is all I can tell you! I have purposely not read too much about it so I can enjoy the film with no spoilers!

Black Panther will be showing in UK cinema from 13th February 2018


Are you ready for GoWonder’s largest online travel conference? #WanderCon18 brings your most requested and shared travel content to life. 

Over the course of two intensive (but fun) days, we’ll gather for a series of industry leader interviews, keynotes, and interactive sessions from travel influencers and experts. Addressing everything from solo travel to travel fitness & wellness, and you’ll also get exclusive access to never been seen content related to travel. 

It’s all online so you join no matter where you are. 

WanderCon starts from 10th - 11th February.

3.Valentines Day

Image by Lucian - weheartit.com

Valentines Day, the day we love or dread! Regardless of your relationship status celebrate Saint Valentines Day, treat your other half or move your self-care Sunday to a evening in the week and have some quality alone time or with your friends!

Valentines Day is 14th February 2018

4. Design Indaba Conference

The highlight of South Africa’s creative calendar since 1995! The Design Indaba Conference in back for the 2018 edition. With three days of design speakers and showrooms, it’s the perfect reason to visit SA at this time of year!

Design Indaba Conference begins 20th February – 23rd February

For more and the latest blog posts keep it touch! 


Blogger Template Created by pipdig