This & That

Sounding Off..., This & That

Caramel&Chocolate Love Concepts: The Initiative Bringing Singles Together In Lagos, Nigeria

Fueled with an ambition to create a platform dedicated to bringing professional singles together in Lagos, my friend Busola Ogunnaike and her business partner Nkechi Bakare, set up Caramel & Chocolate Love Concepts.


Founders Of Caramel & Chocolate Love Concepts: Busola (Left) and Nkechi (Right).

Starting of their business with a bang, the two ladies were semifinalists in a female entrepreneurs competition led by She Leads Africa(SLA) in 2014. SLA seeks to invest in Africa’s most talented and promising female entrepreneur and hosts an annual flagship program, which is a pitch competition targeted at female-led high growth startups on the continent and diaspora. Sponsors and supporters for the successful start-up company include international and pan-African businesses including GT Bank, Huawei, Etisalat, and Forbes Woman Africa.

Coming from London and Berlin, where dating apps like Tinder and sites like Ok Cupid are de rigueur, I was very keen to find out how a dating business thrives in a city like Lagos, which despite its cosmopolitan nature: is far more traditional and dare I say old-fashioned when it comes to dating. I had so many questions for Busola and luckily I was able to sit her down for a good grilling!

MFSL: What motivated you and your partner to start this dating service company?

Busola: I relocated to Lagos last year and quickly noticed that it’s very hard to meet like-minded Singles in Lagos. This is even more so, if you didn’t grow up in Nigeria, or you’ve spent the bulk of years abroad (which I have). When that’s the case, one tends not to have a network with a pool of eligible men or women you can dip from to date. Also going out socially in Lagos, I noticed more often than not, people stuck in their groups making mingling and getting to know new people that much harder.
Consequently, my partner and I came up with our company, Caramel & Chocolates Love Concepts, so we could create a space with an environment that facilitated mingling and interaction between Singles.

MFSL: How did you go about taking your first Singles event from concept to reality?

Busola: Once my partner and I decided we would do the event in February 2014, from doing research we decided to host the event at 355 Lounge as we felt it was  a good match.

MFSL: What was your thought process when inviting people for your first Speed Dating event?

Busola: For that we tapped into our personal contact and targeted our friends we knew were open and adventurous professionals. We told those contacts to invite their contacts. We wanted the first event to be private and exclusive, so we didn’t do mass promotions.


Busola Ogunnaike

MFSL: What were your thoughts on your first Singles Event?
Busola: We had it at 355 Lounge, which is a nice restaurant slash lounge in Victoria Island. It was on a Saturday evening and it drew a very diverse crowd, people from Lebanon, Europe and of course Nigerians, Indians etc. We put our entrance fee above N5000 which got each guest unlimited cocktails (until our tab at the bar ran out) and delicious finger food.
At the start of the event, people were slightly hesitant but as the night drew on they relaxed and got more involved.
About 20 people came to the event and we had a good ratio of men to women. It was actually an ideal number for a cozy event.

MFSL: This year in April 2015, your company hosted the Singles event, Dating In The Dark at Lotus Lounge at Pattaya, Victoria Island. How did that go?

Busola: Well for this year, we wanted to put more of a twist on the typical dating event, so inspired by the Dating In The Dark TV Show, we did a Dating In The Dark event. But for our event, the way it worked was it happened like a Speed Dating event in terms of the set-up, the big difference was each guest was blindfolded, so we were on hand to guide people from seat to seat.

MFSL: What difficulties have you faced so far in running the business?

Busola: A few include deciding on the right time for an event, for example with our very first event, the men came on time but the women didn’t and that wait can dampen the atmosphere/vibe of the event. Trying to convince people to actually come to the event can be challenging as it involves trying to break the stereotype that dating events are ‘desperate’ etc. However, we are working to address this through, developing alternate marketing strategies and creating more awareness.
Also, my partner and I have 9 to 5 jobs, so it can be hard to balance that with Caramel & Chocolates Love Concepts.

Nkechi Bakare

Nkechi Bakare

MFSL: Finally, what do you hope for your Caramel & Chocolates Love Concepts in the future?

Busola: Right now we are funding ourselves, in the future we hope to partner with brands. We want to be known as an organization that brings Singles together in unique ways. We also hope to not only host events for singles but to provide matchmaking services as well.

Dear Readers, here is your turn to take part in the growth of Caramel & Chocolates Love Concepts. I would love to know from you what you think the company should do event-wise to attract their target audience, i.e. Late 20 Somethings to 30 Somethings? Your feedback is essential and a great help to give Caramel & Chocolates Love Concepts more of an idea of what their target audience wants in their dating events. So what kind of Dating Games do you think should be played at their events? Which event spaces would you want the dating events to take place? What would you want as a side attraction at their events, i.e. a live performance, comedy routine etc?

Please note feedback is very much welcome from women or men from all over the world.
Like Caramel & Chocolates Love Concepts’ Facebook Page here-

Sounding Off..., This & That

What’s The Difference Between Lagos and Berlin Guys?

Now I’m dwelling in Port Harcourt Slash ‘The Land That The Good Lord Forgot’, but a few weekends ago I was sitting in a club a male friend had taken me out to.  The table consisted of his friends and I, and they had bought me a cocktail, and when I finished it, I turned round to my friend and asked, ‘What would you like to drink?’.  My male friend shook his head, looked at me and said, ‘Biki, we are not in Berlin anymore’.  I laughed, and ‘got it’- I was now in Lagos, a city where its the norm and almost expected for the woman to have drinks poured on her from every angle, and she need not return the favour.

I know what some of you might be thinking- ‘You may not pay that night but you sure will later!!”  But I remember a night which started of with a good friend and I in a bar, it was pretty empty but we stayed nevertheless.  Next thing, we had a rather odious looking guy usher us to his table which was full of more odious uglies and they were happy to literally drown us in champagne.  We played along and when we had drank our fill, we thanked them and bounced!

Could this ever happen in Berlin ladies?  Having done my share of partying in Berlin for about 7 years and been with many a different Berlin Male Beast, I’d have to say- Hell Naaah!

This and a few small episodes have got me thinking about the differences between Lagos and Berlin dudes.  Bear in mind, the conclusions I’ve come to are based on my personal experiences.  Let’s walk through it shall we?

‘Playing The Dating Game’

In this area, I don’t know who one has to be more wary of- the Berliner or the Lagosian.  One thing I’ve found out is with Lagos Dudes,  a lot of them are all about ‘The Show’ and as a woman, you can’t believe The Hype. For example when dating here, its customary for the guy to drive to your house, pick you up, take you out and drop you at your door at the end of the night.  If you get a good ‘un, for the first few dates he can take you to some places were the bill tallies up pretty high. Awwww, doesn’t that kind of effort mean something?  Erm, in my experience, no it doesn’t.  It’s just part of the Lagos Dating Game and chances are, he’s paying (in both senses of the word!) that kind of attention to a bunch of other ladies.

On the other hand, if a guy was doing any of the above in Berlin, chances are you mean something to him/you are the only one he’s ‘courting’, because Berlin dudes don’t roll with their wallets like that. You see in Berlin the Dating Mantra seems to be, ‘The Best Things In Life Are Free’.

Let’s Get Physical’

Ok. So. We know that no matter where a guy is from: it’s best not to sleep with him on the first date. But I’d say this rule applies even more so in Lagos.  Why? I was chatting to a girl in Berlin on how she came to be in Berlin- she said she had travelled down from the weekend from Rotterdam or wherever, went to a club, met a guy, effed his brains out all weekend, that progressed to a long distance thing, which led to her moving over.  Will that relationship last? I don’t know but I’ve sure never heard a story like that in Lagos before.  Or am I wrong, perhaps there are many couples stories like that here and people just don’t talk about it.  But I doubt it.

In Berlin sensuality and sexuality is the norm, and to a point, women don’t get judged for that. That’s certainly not the case here, in Lagos to get that wedding ring, it’s best to wire your legs shut and sit pretty.  If you don’t, if you dare show that you are a woman with neeeEEeeeeds, seems to me you are branded with a scarlet ‘A’ on your back. Why do I think this? Maybe its because every other week on Bella Naija (the most popular blog out here), there’s always some article promoting Virginity till Marriage which is often followed by many comments from the public quoting some form of scripture…

Appearances Can Be Deceiving’

But the average Lagos Boy wants to be deceived!!! He can protest till he is blue in the face (which is quite a feat, due to our skin complexion)- hammering on about how he hates the Weave Culture, how we are wearing so much make up that men are taking women home, and not recognizing them the Morning After bla bla bla.  To all that I say, SHHHHHHAARAP!! (Erm, Shut Up): Don’t hate on the Beast you goddamn created.

Men love beautiful women, I don’t have a problem with that. My issue is the level of beauty most Lagos/Nigerian men want you to live up to.  All Day, Every Day.  I said ‘most’ not ‘all’ O!  Why do I think this?  Here’s one of many examples- Last Christmas, I met a new male friend of mine looking like this:

biki11Now this ‘Biki’, received nothing but praise for him.  I then met up with him several Sundays later to hang, and I was wearing a full midi skirt, top, my turban and Shock Horror my TWA could be seen at the top.  Oh! and I had my new purple glasses on. This Biki, got a whole lot of silly (in my opinion) questions thrown her way- ‘Are you wearing glasses for medical reasons?’, ‘Why don’t you wear tighter clothes…?’ ‘Why have I never seen you in jeans…?’ etc.

Did I mention that I’m not dating this fool and it was Sunday?!  How about this- that day included, he had seen me a total of about 4 times- and based on that, felt he could summarize who I was and give me advice. This is another pet-peeve of mine in Nigeria- people/men are only too happy to quickly come to conclusions, lock you in a box and throw away the key.  Now everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, but do you know how insulting it is to receive criticism from a dude wearing generic jeans and an Arsenal T??!! Arsenal was playing that day but that’s still no excuse!  I have to add here that I still like this friend, even more so as he introduced me to another male friend of his who I am doing a Group Hang with this weekend…

But back to the ‘tory at hand- I didn’t get insulted by my friend’s slamming because at this age, I’m really like-Whatever, you are not my target audience so… I am an eclectic moody dresser, and so depending on my mood I can serve up 70s Glam, or 80s a la Madonna or African Swag but at the moment I’m really into the retro look- fitted tops, corset belts, midi flared skirts…speaking of which, I recently watched a fab 50s Elizabeth Taylor film called ‘Rhapsody’, where this was pretty much her style.

elizabethBut I digress, its 2015 and I’m in Lagos, where a lot of men seem to prefer this look-

Don’t get me wrong, I like this look on this Pretty Damsel, it’s just not me.  At this point I have to say, that of course there are exceptions to what I’m saying, but like I said, I am coming to conclusions based on my experiences.

Berlin dudes are a totally different kettle of fish, they seem to understand the Theory of Low Maintenance more and as a result so far, I feel the most ‘myself’ style-wise with Berlin dudes.  They don’t give you as much shit when you don’t treat everyday like a Red Carpet event. Ps every other Lagos occasion is stamped with the label, ‘Red Carpet’ (!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Anyhoo, I’m more open to show my imperfections with Berlin guys and they seem more receptive towards it.  I’m sure there are a bunch of shallow ones out there but…

Anyhoo, I could go on, there are several other differences between Lagos and Berlin guys- e.g. Lagos guys are far more driven and accomplished whilst the average Berlin guy is happy to plan his future by tossing a coin and seeing which side it lands, but I’ll stop here for now.

If anyone wants to weigh in, please do!

Sounding Off..., This & That

Oops! My Website Design Makeover- Work In Progress!

Hello everyone-well, this post was supposed to be my- ‘Hey, look at the new design for my header and background!’ post!!

Now its my- ‘Hey, the lovely illustrator, Nadia PR and I worked together to create a new header and background illustration. The header is good to go, but as you can see the background illustration needs a bit more tinkering!!’

If you don’t know- I loooove fashion illustrations, and if I had more time I would do more work to reflect this…when I can,  I enjoy to surf the net looking for new fashion illustrators, seeing the new techniques out there…so I always jump at the opportunity to work with illustrators for my blog when I can.  For this project-I briefed Nadia on what I wanted and from that she came up with these final drawings.  As you can see I was inspired by colour and print…

Look at me writing away- with my new background illustration, CAN YOU EVEN READ WHAT I’M SAYING?!! It’s making my laugh actually, because if I don’t I’ll throw myself on the cold, hard floor and wail…DAMN! Now there’s more work to do in this area and I have no idea if we can pull this of or what has to be done to reduce the size of the background illustrated images, so they don’t obstruct the text but I guess I’ll find out!

During this uncertain time, I’d love to hear your comments and feedback on the problem.  What do you think of the header illustration? How should we go about the background illustration?

Here are 2 of the images for you to look at, it may be easier for you to critique them this way: bloggerimage2backgroundheader1Have a good weekend everyone! Bisous

This & That, Uncategorized

New Year, New Website: Take A Look

Hello All, I do believe this is the longest time I’ve been away from the blogging world.  Why Oh Why?  For starters, I moved continents, I’m no longer in Nigeria and was in London not too long ago, now I’m in Berlin for a short while.

Work-wise: I’m juggling working on projects for London Fashion Week, it was Berlin Fashion Week last week, I’ve been trying to create my new website with my developer- and that my friends, was quite a killer.  It’s all done now and on a side note, in the spirit of moving on: I’m looking for a new website designer and developer- anyone have any leads from personal experience?  On top of all that and more, I’ve been continuing the marketing communications work I do for the school in Nigeria. And then the cherry on top is having a social life, meeting up with old friends I’ve not seen in months as I was in Nigeria, going to old and familiar haunts etc etc.

But back to the Blog Topic Post at hand- I’m really excited and happy to show you my new website.  The old website I had was doing my nut because it in no way reflected how I’ve rebranded myself, in terms of the services I offer.  Honestly, my new website is still not ‘me’, there is so much more I want to do to make the content more interactive, more visual… But I contacted some website developers and what I really want to do would cost me an arm, leg and other numerous body parts.  So I decided to do some minor but essential revamping of my old site, to make a change, to do s-o-m-e-t-h-i-n-g; so it wouldn’t be a non-productive case of being unhappy and complaining about a situation, and yet doing nothing to change it apart from making excuses…know what I mean?

This year, I’m going to try and smell the roses along the way by celebrating little victories. So take a whiff of this-

I’d love to know what you all think about it!

PS I haven’t been on my favourite blogs this year, and this weekend, I’m going to start and can’t wait to see what you’ve all been up to!

Sounding Off..., This & That

Eat Good, Feel Good, Look Good

In Nigeria, I’ve been making a conscious effort to eat healthier.  When I left Berlin my food habits were shot to shit, and its sad but true: you are what you eat.  Leaving the weight aspects of things, the one thing I noticed was my face had taken a beating; my skin was less smooth and I lost my ‘glow’.

So now I’m in Nigeria, I’m living in Green City baby, i.e. I’m eating a lot of spinach, broccoli, lettuce and slowly but surely, I’m beginning to see the difference on my face.  I still have a looooong way to go and everyday I have to work on my self-discipline.  That’s what it all boils down to at the end of the day.

Last weekend, a friend came to my place and we made brown rice and chicken vegetable stir-fry.  It was beyond scrumptious and super simple to make.  The latter is what’s most important to me, I’m all about ‘The Lazy Girl’s Guide To Healthy Cooking’.

???????????????????????????????For this recipe we used cauliflower, onions, green pepper, carrots, garlic, brown Basmati rice and chicken.

The veggies and chicken went in the Wok which was lined with Olive Oil and for seasoning, we used black and white pepper, salt, soya sauce and sesame seed oil.

??????????????????????????????? I need to take some selfies of myself to show close up shots of my face, but until then:


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