TROPICAL BURST

beach fashion ankara ntoma styles

Given the amount of weekends we spend at the beach (almost every one), this mama has had to get a little bit creative with the outfits in order to keep things interesting.

I believe my favorite combo when it comes to beach outfits would be pretty shorts and a cute top.

Last time it was these favourite embroidered white shorts of mine paired with an ntoma top.

A basic but pretty strong combo, no?

 

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Tropical palms Ghana

All the vibrant hues of green and blue just about made me feel like I was in heaven.

What a beautiful world we live in!

Now tell me, would you rock this combo to the beach yourself? The weekend is coming up! Wink wink.

Loads of love,

Cara.

PS. Say a warm hello to my new texlaxed tresses!

beach fashion ankara print

senya beraku beach fashion ghana

beach fashion ankara ntoma styles

Did I mention this was also a perfect outfit for hot chases through the sand as well? Check out my instagram for what I mean… haha

beach fashion ankara ntoma styles

beach fashion ankara ntoma styles

Have a blessed weekend!

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GET TO KNOW US (OUR MIXED FAMILY) BETTER

attachment parenting

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Good afternoon from the depths of my cozy bed where I currently lay convalescing! I’ve been dreadfully sick. However, today’s post is not about that. It’s become glaringly obvious to me, that for a life+style blog that this space has become, I never actually did proper introductions. I know right, oh my. We must rectify this oversight at once!

So let’s get to it!

First up, we have Papa Bear.

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We know him around these parts as our ever-faithful photographer, M. Milos. (Pronounced like Meelosh…) I know the name might sound Greek but he is actually from the little big country, Slovakia. You might hear us call him Milosko (which means Little Milos, it’s a Slovak term of endearment. 🙂 ) Milosko, love of my life. We’ve been together forever, practically all of my adult life. His arms are my escape, right where I belong. I love him so much. He is our man, our Rock.

Milosko is also a brilliant problem-solver by the way and into telecom engineering.

milos and the boys

(chasing tiny crabs at the beach)

Milos is an only child but he wants a big family of eleven, his own football team with him as captain. 😉 Ummmm… But I think he’ll probably settle for three or four.

Next up, three-year old Alexander!

Alexander

You know this little trouble-maker, Alexko! Just like his name, he sees, he likes, he conquers. Ha. He inspires me with his breathtaking exuberance for life. *His eyes are hard* (direct transliteration from Twi, my local language, meaning he is adventurous and cannot be bullied), but he is very gentle and tender-hearted.

His favourite place is hands down, the beach. But that can be said for all of the family, as you know!

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(Sunset at Sunflower Beach Resort, Senya Beraku beach)

Then we have one-year old sweet baby Milan!

Milan

Just like the Slovak meaning of his name, Milan is such a sweet boy. So intuitive, so gentle. Aaaah, he’s just perfect!

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And then we have Mama Bear right here, me! You know me already, CCC. Cara Caroline Cobbinah aka Cara Siskova (Siskova means “belonging to Siska”) aka Maame Akesi Boah (my traditional name). Lover of books, babies, hair, attachment parenting, and recently, fashion. 🙂

So there you have us, our cozy family of four.

Someone once asked me, “how does it feel to have children who don’t look like us?” and this question comes up swirling in my head from time to time. My answer is, I do not feel that my boys do not look like us. When I see Alex’s face, I see the strong lines of my grandma’s features, our cheekbones and lips, our dark eyes, passed down to me and now to him. He also has long eye lashes just like his father’s. Alex has my hands, my legs, even my ears, haha. Spitting image of me. 🙂 Milan on the other hand is the spitting image of his father, even with mannerisms just like him. “Okoto nwo anoma…” 😉

 

attachment parenting xocara

 

Hope I’ve appeased your curiosity about us!

Till we chat soon, stay safe.

And do enjoy the rest of your week!

With so much love,

Cara.

 

 

 

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Three Simple Rules In Life

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  1. If you do not go after what you want, you’ll never have it.
  2. If you do not ask, the answer will always be no.
  3. If you do not step forward, you’ll always be in the same place.

 

*Author unknown.

This spoke to me and I wanted to share it with you.

PS. Hope you like our new simple header on the top of the blog! 😉 #minirelaunch

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MOMENT BY GOLDEN MOMENT

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A few months ago, Baby Milan said his first sentence. ( Ugh, can’t even write that without tearing up.) He has also long since mastered running, and even climbing.

Amidst all the pleasure and pride of witnessing these milestones is also a melancholy because well, my baby is growing up. I just want to freeze time and preserve his nozzles and baby smell, hold him tightly in my arms forever.

Life is so damn short, isn’t it?

So I hope you get caught up in these day to day moments that make up your life, because they are golden. Yes, even these seemingly mundane, because they are magic! One day you’ll be gazing back at them in nostalgia.

I hope you shut down the noise sometimes, I hope you spend enough time in getting to know and love you.

And even more importantly, I hope you spread the love.

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Today’s fashion featuring my latest tentative steps into the hat wearing world again, and a beautiful romper I picked up from Eye Candy Ghana. Check them out on Instagram, I loved their stuff in the shop and picked up a few.

Do have yourself a wonderful week!

Lots of love,

Cara.

 

 

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BOY IN BLACK

Little Alex www.xocara.com

Boy in Black- Alexander at Three

Sneak peek of a series of shots my 3 year old Alexander and I shot together. Really seizing this second half of the year to work on my photography!

Working on the full series to come on the blog soon. Beautiful exciting shots I’m so stoked to have had the chance to capture!

Hope you’re all doing well.

Lots of love from us.

Cara

Little Alex www.xocara.com

 

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call me crazy

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but I miss these red, pink and blue highlights in my hair.

I’ve been doing a word of the month thing where I pick a quality that I’d like to work on / see more of in my life.

Last month, the word was courage. So I looked for ways to show more courage in my life. One of the ways I applied the concept was wearing my hair in long spiky African threaded style. In public. (just because I love it in that style and it stretches my hair out nicely. )

Oh the stares I got! Ha!

You would think it was a foreign unheard style or something, but it’s our culture. haha.

Anyway, the word for this month is compassion! Just thought I’d share this with you so we’d do this together. I’ll probably elaborate in another post soon.

Talk soon.

Love, Cara.

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WHITE OUT AT SAKUMONO BEACH

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Stirring grouchily awake at 5am, packing up supplies and sleepy little ones, tempers running high as the sun slowly but surely rises and finally a peek of a rocky terrained beach between a road lined by shrub and trees and we are at Sakumono beach.

Situated close to Tema and the Spintex area, it’s perfect if you live in that area (about 30 minutes or less drive from the Spintex road). To avoid the huge crowds that throng the beach on the weekends, go at dawn and be treated to a spectacular sunrise as well!

I’m so excited to share these images with you today. They fit so well with the mantra that has been running through my head all this year. “Let’s have a glorious love affair with life!”

You see, I’ve kinda been one prone to intense emotions all my life. Hinging all my emotions on particular outcomes, feeling everything deeply, and then beating myself up for it. No more, because oh my darling, what is life for if not to live, with all intensity through its ups and downs? The defeats sure hurt, but the joys, oh my dears, they are everything.

So here I am, saying I love life, even when it makes me cry mama, and I love you. I hope these images inspire you, as they do me, to just live.

This is a reconfirmation and rededication to always make those around me feel welcome, loved and valued. All you offline and online, because truly, there’s little distinction you know? Energies are contagious even through the screen.

Sooo, welcome back to my blog!!! Where it’s all about sharing, positivity, joy and laughter. Welcome!

PS. See what has been lurking on my computer all year just waiting to be shared. These photos! And 23284628236 more just waiting too. See, there’s a silver lining to every cloud indeedy. 😀

Just feel the magic!

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Call me coocoo but I absolutely love wearing white to the beach. (My friends say that’s like bringing sand to the beach but I don’t care, hmph.) This is a thrifted offshoulder vintage dream that made me feel all senorita-ish glam and ish, lol. Which goes to prove style never about the price tag, but definitely about how it makes you feel.

Happy hump day!

Love,

Cara.

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AHOJ JUNE! || A TIME TO LET GO

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Seasons changing.

Ahoj sweet diary! How vibrantly the sun shines this noon, when just this morning it was dark and gloomy out. Sudden but sure the rainy season is upon Ghana this June. Sometimes it rains and drizzles all day and thwarts my attempts at doing laundry, but I can’t complain. I love the rain.

The port-holed roads are now swirling muddy pools, and oh, it’s such great fun to jump and splash in them (according to Alexander and Milan). On my side, I love to run with them in the pram, zig-zagging around the pools of water and letting the wheels run through the very edges. It’s so much fun. Especially to imagine that if one is not careful and steps inside, one is going to step through to China! You really should try it if you don’t already. 😀

Almost half the year gone, and almost a year and a half since I started blogging. If this year has taught me anything, it’s how much I have to learn and how much I need to slow down and breathe. Breathe in, breathe deep, it’s essential, if one is to truly learn and retain the lessons. We live in a very fast-paced world, it’s true, and even though conscious efforts are made to slow down and live moment by moment, working on the internet especially, has a way of pushing one headfirst into the new online-induced “rat-race”, so to speak. Where it’s starting to look like a faceless blur of uniformity and commercialism. The more I discover, the more of the same, it seems. Perhaps we need a revolution. 😀

No, but seriously, perhaps it’s time to let go of traditional notions of doing things and step into the unknown?

This is the year of letting go, remember? Let go, and step into the new with me…

I have missed you. How have you been??

xoxo

Cara.

PS. About a month ago, my trusty old computer decided to go on a strike, refusing to recognize any USB device attached to it. As I was on the verge of a burn-out anyway (so much stress), I decided to take it as my cue to slow down a little. Hence my absence. Sorry, my dears! Not to worry, I have so much coming to make it up to you. kiss kiss

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featuring

vintage dress, atmosphere shoes, h&m gold accessories, handmade traditional necklace

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MY COAT OF MANY COLOURS

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When we were small, Mother used to make almost all of our everyday clothes (except for our Christmas clothes ((Bronya ataare)) of course, which we also got already-made clothes as a special bonus!).

There was this particular dress she made for me which I loved.

She gathered together all the various colours and patterns of left-over material (or cloth. In Ghana we call it material 🙂 ) from her past sewing projects and sewed a shift dress for me. Oh, how I loved that dress! It was magnificent. A glorious clash of happy dancing patterns and colours. All those different patterns of ntoma (cloth) should have turned out mix-matched, yes? But somehow, they didn’t. It was simply magnificent!

It was my very own coat of many colours. Quirky and unique, just for me.

I wore that shift dress everyday and everywhere! It was loose but not too loose, just the right amount of room and length, so I could wear it when we went to fetch water (from the neighbour who owned one of the town pipes) downhill. It was a bit of a difficult trudge uphill, so the roomy fit was great. I also loved to wear to Saturday classes and very especially, for dance rehearsals after the classes. Because my body swayed in it just right. 

And you know what? Bestest of all, it was unique to me. Made with love, made with care, just for me. Nobody else there wore that kind of crazy dress.

There’s just something about lovingly crafted personalized items that just speak volumes to us, isn’t there?

So imagine my excitement when I recently had the chance to discover this glorious online shop, UncommonGoods. Their story of how it all began really caught my eye. That they are literally bringing together an army of talented artisans from far-flung places, uniting them with individuals with an eye for truly special goods. Getting these creations to the clients, regardless of the physical distance between the maker and the shopper.

Every piece is special, has its very own story. Quirky, beautiful and unique. As an avid reader myself (as you guys know), with dreams of owning an extensive inspiring library one day (and also building one in the town where I grew up, because trying to find storybooks there was just torture!!! BUT that’s a story for another time.), I am literally LIVING for their selection of bookends here. (Check them out and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Aaargh, I just want to get everything! )

While you are it, their selections of home decor (check it out here), wedding and anniversary gifts ( here!) are just heart-melting. Just look at that bamboo clock wall!

Everything uniquely designed, creative, quirky and fun. Uncommon goods indeed. If you’re looking for that special gift for mother’s day, well you know where to go, M… (*cough, cough* ahem, ahem, just saying 😛 )

Overall I loved discovering their commitment to fair practices, sustainability and design. That they strive for sustainability through the use of up-cycled and recycled materials for the goods and environmentally friendlier packaging is commendable, won’t you agree?

Discovering my love for that quirky kaleidoscopic dress of my childhood, I guess you know now part of the reason why I love to thrift shop….

This little navy-black number I’m wearing today is also another thrifted gem. Matched with my staple of a red blazer and ankara (ntoma) accessories, I got a bit of that feeling back. That feeling of wearing my coat of many colours that my childhood dress always gave me.

And guess who decided to photobomb mommy while she shot her photos? Baby Milan, that’s who! He thought it would be cute to come display his hanging prowess, and I can’t say I disagree. 😉

Have a lovely weekend, my lovelies!

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Do have yourself a wonderful weekend!

Let’s have a glorious love affair with life!

Love,

Cara.

Dress -thrifted

Blazer – H&M

Accessories – Biggles Kreations

Shoes – Tesco

Bag – random shop Topolcany

(Post in collaboration with Uncommon Goods)

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A Tribute To Mother And To Motherhood

Sasha and Mama 2014

 

When I am asked about a role model, I don’t have to look far for an answer.

My mom.

The answer just falls naturally from my lips like it’s been lurking there all along, just waiting to be asked.

My mom.

This woman is hands down the strongest person I know. Warm, vibrant, caring, hugely flawed, the queen of the side hustle.

She had a major surgery barely a week ago and she is already up and about her business. She is not one to lay convalescing in bed.

My mom.

She made a decision early on that her children would be educated, and she strove to make that a reality.

She got us as many storybooks as she could ( Jane and Peter – Ladybird books, anyone else read those??) and when our heads begun filling up with fancies of our own, she found a way to give us books to fill with our imaginings.

She cut out the unused portions of old exercise books, papers from her nursing practice, plain paper from any source that could spare them really, and sewed them together. For the covers she carefully cleaned off the cement from brown cement paper bags (cement is usually sold in such bags), cut them into shape and sewed or glued them to the homemade books she created.

She is the epitome of do what you can, with what you have.

Her homemade and store-bought flashcards ensured we knew how to read and spell before we ever stepped foot in kindergarten.

Most of our clothes she made herself, often staying up through the night to sew them. She would take the leftover pieces of different cloth from her sewing projects and make me stripped multicolored dresses.

I loved those clothes!

I wore them with romantic pride, feeling like the Biblical Joseph of old, with Dolly Parton’s song running throough my head…my coat of many colors that my mama made for me…

Recently, I got it in my head to learn to sew with the machine, and tired of me lamenting about how I didn’t have the the opportunity to learn from her or to receive formal training, she revealed to me she never did herself. All that she learnt about sewing she learnt out of trial and error, with no formal training of any sort!

Lesson: seeking perfect circumstances or perfection from the start will only end up in you doing nothing. Just bust out and do it. Persist, and learn on the job. You will get better.

When it comes to side hustles, she takes the crown – apart from her full-time nursing job, she has operated a restaurant, always had a small provisions store, sold any and everything she could to support the family.

When she was left alone with three girls to raise, she didn’t wring her hands and give up, she butted ahead with strength and determination. She not only survived, she thrived.

My mom is such an inspiration for me. Growing up, we used to call her assembly woman. She was urged to go for office, but she never did.

She knew everybody, and she was the one everybody went to for all sorts of reasons – from dispute mediation to loans to wound dressings.

Her work has always been her passion, her calling. She is at her best when she is assisting and caring for people in need.

Lesson learned: always seek to help others, and use your talents and passions to contribute to the community.

I used to think her weak, thinking she could have made a better choice in men, but now that I’m a woman and a mother myself, I understand her so much better.

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Lesson: Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes and to make amends for them. Don’t be paralyzed by them either. Learn the lesson and move on as best as you can.

I understand her strength and courage to leave an abusive relationship that wasn’t working, I understand her sacrifices and her determination. I understand that I have been privileged to be her daughter, and I am happy for the that twist in fate that brought us together.

More than anyone now, she understands me striking out on my own.

She shook her head at me in bewilderment and pride when I came to the capital on my own at eighteen to pursue modeling and acting. This was the daughter who was always on top of the class or among those at the top; the one she had such high hopes for, the one she wished to be the first doctor in the family, but she let me go anyway. She let me try.

Lesson: Our kids are individuals, their own people, and we should let them make their own choices.

She understands that I am taking the entrepreneurial path now to follow my passions. She understands me better now, because she realizes that even as I am my own person, I am a reflection of her too. Safety doesn’t appeal to me for too long. I am pulled toward the unknown, to where my deepest yearnings take me.

She understands me now.

She sighed when I defiantly decided to keep my first baby and yet not rush into marriage. Sighed but understood. She told me, you are my daughter you know.

Yes.

Sasha and Mama

 

Soon, I’m going to be 24 and a mother of two.

I tell her, I am scared.

She tells me, you will be ok.

You have my spirit. You are my daughter. 

You will thrive.

And she is right, I am. I am determined to be strong, for myself and for my children. To nurture them as I had been nurtured. To be their pillar, as she is my pillar.

I am my mother’s daughter, and Jehovah is our strength.

This was written right when I was on the cusp of having baby Milan…now a full-on mother of two. 🙂

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Baby Milan a few hours old, being welcomed into the family…

And now all grown up…

xocara.com

 

 

How is your relationship with your mother, and how was it growing up?  🙂

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