Travel & Design Blog - BY YASMIN METZ-JOHNSON

Thursday, 13 September 2018


Can you believe we are well into the last quarter of the year!? As we reach the end of the first week of September. Here are some of my top picks of what not to miss this month. Enjoy! 


This year Afropunk London are taking over Brixton with Talk Series, Battles of the bands and more during this first week of September. Afro punk is an arts and music festival that celebrates and unifies a number of cultures from the African diaspora through multiple mediums. The festival originally started in Brooklyn, New York. The closing events  will take place this weekend at Electric Brixton and The 02 Brixton Academy with the likes of British music legends DJ Spoony and Jazzy B at Electric Brixton this Friday and Saturday. Be sure not to miss it!
Image by Mambu Bayoh

Showcasing the city’s creativity, the two-week festival is back with many shows under its umbrella to choose from. With Design Fair, districts, installations and the London Design Biennale, Londoners are spoilt for choice of potential social gatherings spaces throughout the month.

At the Camille Walala installation at LDF 2017

In my native country Sierra Leone, a collective of inspiring creators have come together to create #SaloneTwitter. On a quest to change the narrative the platform aims to promote, support and patronise products and services from the country by Salone citizens both home and abroad. #SaloneTwitter is working to be a network and directory for both Sierra Leonean Twiter users and Twitter users based in Sierra Leone.  On Friday 21st#SaloneTwitter are hosting their first ‘Meet and Greet’ event at O’Casey’s where there will be panel discussions, vendors and more. If you’re interested fill this application to attend the event. 

OKTOBERFEST| 21stSeptember to 14thOctober 
All this time I assumed that this event would start in October, apparently not! The official dates of the beer fest in Germany are from the 21stSeptember to 14thOctober. Oktoberfest is one of the world’s largest Volkerfest celebrating Bavarianculture since 1810. Find out more about the annual festival here.

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Tuesday, 11 September 2018


Valletta 2018
I went to Malta for the first time earlier this year during the Easter break, where I covered it here on 5 reasons to visit Malta during Easter break. Despite visiting Malta for a couple of days we managed to fit a lot in. Malta’s history and multicultural influences within their culture is one definitely worth exploring. Here are a few of my hot picks of places to add to your own itinerary when/ if you plan a trip!


Sliema is a resort town in the Northern Harbour District of Malta that features many of the countries baroque inspired designs such as the Stella Maris Church

-  ACTIVITY: There are a number of activities to take part in especially as Sliema is by the waterfront where there is the Sliema Ferry that offers trips to The Blue Lagoon, Valletta and more. The Salesian Theatreand one of the oldest polygonal forts in the world Fort Tignéis also located in Sliema. 
-      FOOD: Castelletti Bistro - This place was so good we went back twice for the seafood platter that came with a bottle of rosé all for €25 – what a bargain! (Disclaimer, I’m not certain that the deal may still be on.)
-      EXPLORE: St Julians – It’s not quite Sliema however it is neighbouring Sliema. If you are looking for a night out, St Julians has a wide range of clubs, bars and restaurants to choose from.


Valletta is the capital of Malta and was recognised as a World Heritage Site in 1980 by UNESCO.

-      ACTIVITY– Upper Barrakka Gardensis one of the last places I visited. It is a public garden above the Lower Barrakka Gardens that was built in the 1560s. The Gardens has also been featured in The Game of Thrones.
-     SITE SEE – I do not usually like Train Tours, but this was really informative as we passed by most of Valletta’s attractions and historic landmarks such asThe Auberge de CastilleThe tour is 5 euros with the start off point outside St John’s catchredal. 
-      EXPLORE – St John’s Cathredral and Fort Saint Elmo are impressive tourist attractions according to the World Wide Web. I was unable to see Fort Siant Elmo and the queue for St John’s Cathredral was out of this world. The Roman Catholic church was designed by Maltese architect Girolamo Cassar.

Medieval Town - Mdina 2018

Mdina and Rabat are neighbouring towns in the Northern Region of Malta. The towns are known for their unique mix of both medieval and baroque architecture.

-      EXPLORE– During our visit to Mdina, the first stop was the Medieval Town (Silent City). We walked around the old town and visited the local churches and shops filled with artisan souvenirs.
-    ACTIVITY– Within the Medieval Town is the option to see The Mdina Experience that takes you on a tour set back in time, reliving past times in Mdina.
-      SITE SEE – The Victoria Lines in Rabat originally known as the North West Front spans across 12 kilometres of Malta. This fortification was built by the British military as a physical barrier to other invading force in the late 19thcentury.


Gozo is an island part of the Maltese archipelago that is in the Meditterrian Sea. With influence from Agrigento and Ancient Greek, this is one place I wish I wished able to spend more time at. You can visit the island via The Gozo Channel Line Ferry.

-      ACTIVITY: Gozo Segway Tours – This was one of the highlights of the whole trip, a perfect way to see Gozo in its beauty. There are options in terms of the duration during of the tour. Find out more here.
-      FOOD:Tal-Massar Winery– This is a family owned business that conduct wine tasting in groups of over 10 every Tueday and Saturday. I was only in Gozo for a matter of hours so I didn’t get to do the Tal-Massar Winery, but its an option for your trip.

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Tuesday, 7 August 2018


Where is 2018 going? How is it August already? I’m not sure but here are a few events not to miss this month!

Chale Wote Festival is an street art and culture festival showcasing the work of African creatives and artists such as Stacey Ravvero and photographer Ofoe Amegavie. This year is the 8thedition of the event brought to you by Accra (dot) Alt Radio. 

Image by accradotaltradio.com

How official this day is, I do not know, but I feel as if the older I’ve become the more ‘world appreciation days' I hear of. Jollof Rice is a staple dish promindatly founded in West Africa. At Pop Brixton the public will have the opportunity to judge for themselves, what country/company makes the best version of the same dish? Find out more here.

Image by JollofRiceDay.com

Shades of Beauty Live is a new Beauty and self appreciation event created for black women emphasizing there is no one way to be a black woman. Founded by sisters Grace and Christina Adesina who are committed to challenging beauty standards with a line up of panels, beauty products, live music and good vibes not to be missed! Get your tickets here. #MyShadeMatters

Notting Hill Carnival: 26-27th August 2018| London,UK

The Carnival happens every year in London, celebrating Caribbean culture in the UK since 1966. Enjoy one of Europe’s biggest street carnivals with a variety of sound systems, floats and street food in Notting Hill.

© mubus/Shutterstock

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Tuesday, 3 July 2018


As we officially enter the second half of the year here are some things I suggest you do not miss out on this month! 

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives| Arcola Theatre London| until 21stJuly 

I saw this recently the week it came out, and it was phenomenal, we thoroughly enjoyed the play edition of Nigerian author Lola Shoneyin’s book. The play is performed in a box setting with the audience surrounding the performance. I won’t give too much away, however I will most definitely recommend seeing the play that has a 7 week run here in London.

Image from Arcola Theatre

The World Cup Final| Worldwide| 15thJuly

As we are all aware of the World Cup, the season will soon be coming to an end. Use the date to get together with family and friends, host a BBQ or go to your favourite pub. Make the post of the day as it only comes around every 4 years. May the best team win!

AfroPunk Paris | France | 14th-15thJuly

Afropunk Paris is just around the corner and artists such as SZA, WizKid, Davido and Damien Marley will grace the stage for the weekend extravaganza. Afro punk is an arts and music festival that celebrates and unifies a number of cultures from the African diaspora through multiple mediums. The festival originally started in Brooklyn, New York. I’m yet to attend an Afropunk event, its on my bucket list though! The London Afropunk will take place next month.

Image from Un-ruly.com
Nelson Mandela: The Centenary Exhibition | Southbank London | 17thJuly to 19th August

The exhibition explores the life and career of Mandela; the freedom fighter for equality and justice throughout South Africa, who was more than influential on the end of the nations apartheid. The exhibition is presented by Apartheid Museum and Anti-Apartheid Movement Archives. There will be an official Nelson Mandela exhibition opening early next year to mark his 100thbirthday and 5 years since his passing.

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Wednesday, 13 June 2018


I love the link between travel and food; one of the luxuries about the UK is the vast majority of cuisines and dining experiences to choose from. If you can’t afford a ticket to Japan it only makes sense to do the next closest thing and eat the cuisine! In Hackney, East London there is a Japanese restaurant by the name of UCHI, I recently went there for the first time for a friend’s birthday. Not only was the food great but also I loved the décor. From the calm pastel colours and windows to the natural finishes.  The food took a little while to arrive, therefore when it did arrive, I wanted to do nothing more than eat. Yes, I completely forgot to take the food galore snaps by the time everything arrived. Not to worry there are many here. The service could have been faster but I will give them the benefit of the doubt, as it was extremely busy for a Sunday.


From the menu I tried the following:

Robata  炉端- aubergine marinated in miso                        (£5)

Sarada サラダhijiki seaweed, carrot & deep fried tofu      (£5)

Kara-age 唐揚げ  - marinated and deep fried chicken        (£6)

Tempura 天ぷら – battered deep fried vegetables              (£6)

Ramune – Sparkling Soda (Lemon)                                    (£3)

TIP: I would suggest going in a group so you can make the most out of the experience with sharing dishes.


I love how the menu graphic design is in sync with the interior, using pink similar to the interior. This tone of pink on the stonewashed walls gave a calm and cosy ambiance to the restaurant despite the fact we were sitting on stools. (I thought I would let you know, as I know some people are particular about having that back support whilst they dine). What makes the interior authentic are the mix and match finishes from the steel workshop styled tables in contrast to the wooden stools, the brickwork partition between the kitchen and dining area, AND not to forget the intricately crafted ceramic objects we were eating from. The LED lights surrounded the recess ceiling in the centre of the restaurant and were only lit as it got dark in the evening, the wall sized windows do a great job in terms of natural lighting. At the far end of the restaurant, you must open an oversized sliding door if you are heading to the bathroom, however to my surprise what else lay behind this door was an area I wish we were seated in! No one was sitting there but it did look a bit VIP to me, but I was here for it, with the slippers and draping cloth hanging from the rail.

Overall Score:

Despite the fact I’ve explained this place to a T, I would recommend going to experience it for yourself especially if you are a fan of Japanese food. All in all I will give UCHI a four out of five, hope you enjoyed the review. Let me know if you would like more posts like this!

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