Tag: Leanne Creative

Give Blood, Spread Love

At the beginning of 2020, I started my Crown & Story campaign after my mum was diagnosed with leukaemia and lost her hair during chemotherapy treatment. Many people with leukaemia rely on blood donations (for new stem cells), as do people with sickle cell disorder to stay as healthy as possible, so I have teamed up with the Sickle Cell Society and their Give Blood, Spread Love campaign to bring you this new blog post…and there’s an extra incentive to register as a donor at the end!

Donating blood can save lives

The Sickle Cell Society (SCS) is the only national charity in the UK that supports and represents people affected by sickle cell disorder. Sickle cell disorder mostly, but not exclusively, affects people from African and Caribbean backgrounds. Approximately 15,000 people in the UK have this disorder and the Sickle Cell Society works alongside health care professionals, parents, and people living with it to raise awareness and empowers them to achieve their full potential.

What is sickle cell disorder?

Sickle cell disorder affects the haemoglobin in the red blood cells. Haemoglobin is the substance in red blood cells that is responsible for carrying oxygen around the body and people with sickle cell disorder struggle with complications during this process. It can only be inherited from both parents each having passed on the gene for this particular disease.

1 in 76 babies born in the UK carry sickle cell trait. 

The red blood cells of people with sickle cell disorder change shape after oxygen has been released, causing them to stick together. This can lead to blockages in small blood vessels which causes painful episodes referred to as sickle cell crisis. Another common symptom of sickle cell disorder is anaemia.

How does sickle cell anaemia affect people’s lives?

Sickle cell anaemia can cause a lot of pain. This can be a chronic or constant and/or spikes of sudden debilitating pain leading to fatigue. The pain is often treated with strong painkillers such as morphine.

People living with severe sickle cell will often spend a lot of time in hospital and over time they can experience damage to organs such as the liver, kidney, heart and lungs and are at risk of complications such as strokes. 

Living with sickle cell disorder can also have a negative impact on the mental health of patients and may lead to depression and anxiety.

How does giving blood help?

A single blood donation can save or improve up to three lives. 

People suffering with severe sickle cell disorder, often need regular blood transfusions which can help prevent crisis and treat anaemia and other severe symptoms.

Currently, only 1% of blood donors in the UK are of black heritage.

We need more donors of black heritage because we want to ensure more blood-type matches. Closely matched blood makes it less likely to be rejected by people having frequent blood transfusions.

Ro sub-type
The Ro sub-type of blood is 10 times more common in black people than in white, so in order to increase the chance of finding matches for people with this sub-type we need more donors from black heritages.

Does giving blood hurt?

Following needle insertion, you should be comfortable during your donation. It will pinch for the second it takes to insert the needle, and then it will feel like a dull ache at worst. Most likely you will stop noticing it within a few minutes.

Giving blood is quick, safe and easy. A full blood donation is 470ml and will usually take between 5 and 10 minutes.

The whole donation process from start to finish takes only about an hour.

Are there any reasons why people couldn’t or shouldn’t give blood?

Most people can give blood if they are generally fit and healthy.

You need to:

  • Be aged between 17 and 66
  • Weigh between 7 stone 12lbs and 25 stone
  • Not have had a blood transfusion since 1 January 1980
  • Not be pregnant and
  • Not have sickle cell disorder. People with the sickle cell trait are still able to donate blood. 

You can find the full list here

If I can’t give blood, how else can I help the cause?

Ask others
If you can’t give blood, you can still help by encouraging your friends, families and colleagues to donate.

Volunteer
The Sickle Cell Society’s blood donation projects; South London Gives and Give Blood, Spread Love work with organisations, community groups and individuals to raise awareness of the need for more black-heritage people to give blood. 

We have a growing community of volunteers and social media users, ‘The Give Blood Squad’, who represent and share our message, with the aim to eradicate negative perceptions around giving blood. The squad is predominately made up of blood donors and people living with sickle cell disorder.

Educate yourself and others
If you aren’t able to donate, you can still educate your networks around the urgent need for black-heritage blood donors.

Quick links to support


Extra perk!

I hope this blog helped you understand more about sickle cell disorder and what you can do support those who need your donations. Here’s a little further incentive to register…

Have you registered to give blood? Get 30% OFF business card designs with me! Simply contact Give Blood Spread Love for the discount code (offer ends midnight 14th February 2021) and get in touch!

Welcome to My World

I’m so excited to announce that my debut children’s book is now on sale! Growing up, I’ve always loved writing fantasy stories and poems, so this was an opportunity for me to delve into my imagination again and create a story for children and families to enjoy…

What’s the story?

Written in prose and poetry, My World – Mackilli & Seeva’s Switcheroo is a magical story about two young aliens from opposite worlds; Mimpal and Stiplop. Mimpal is calm and dark with rolling hills but not much to do, whereas Stiplop is bright and busy with tall buildings and angular shapes.

One day, Mackilli, who lives in Mimpal, stumbles across an unusual rock on his way to school, which turns out to be an amazing portal into Stiplop. In the portal, he discovers an intriguing alien called Seeva and they are envious of each other’s world, so they wish as hard as they can to switch places.

Overnight, they magically switch worlds and, although it is a very strange experience for them, they each have a sense of belonging because they both have something a little different about them.

Read the book to find out what their differences are!

The message…

Mackilli and Seeva each have something about them that makes them stand out from the other aliens in their own worlds and they’ve hidden it all their lives. After experiencing opposite worlds, they find the courage to be proud of their differences and agree to show them off from now on.

This book helps children (approx. aged 5 – 9 years), who may feel a little different from their peers understand that their differences are what makes them special and with 36 pages of vivid illustrations, I aim to entertain, inspire and boost confidence!

We all may feel a little alien sometimes, but that’s OK. As Seeva says “my differences are what makes me, me!”

Meet the characters…

Mackilli is a brave and inquistive character who has a cute gap in his teeth. He is grey with patterns all over his body, including his special mopspots.

Does your child have something unique about their skin or know someone who does?

Purchase a copy of My World

Seeva is an intelligent, chatty and independent alien with big green eyes, two noses and four ears! She wraps her hair because she feels self-conscious about her grey afro which she calls her ‘grey-tness’.

Does you child have hair that is different from their peers?

Purchase a copy of My World


Thank you!

This is a massive step for me and I’m very proud to have been able to self-publish my own book after illustrating many other author’s books. Please support and let me know what you think by leaving a review.

I plan to write more in this series and potentially some merchandise to accompany the story, so please do stay posted by joining my mailing list or following the dedicated Instagram page: @mackillaandseeva.

If you would like to buy wholesale copies, would like me to read the story at an event or want a signed copy, please do get in touch.

The stories behind the books

As a self-taught illustrator, I’ve really enjoyed working on a variety of children’s books by new and established authors. Being able to dive into their stories is always a great experience and I love getting to know the authors’ visions.

In this blog, I will be interviewing three of the authors I have worked with to share the stories behind their books and a little more about them personally.


Barbara Adu-Darko
Author of The Magic Bubble Wand

Hi, I’m Barbara; a South London based children’s picture book author. Before I got into my full-time role as an account manager, I had applied for an internship at ITN which was a great experience that propelled my interest in publishing. I wanted to write but I wasn’t sure about which genre to focus on. I started with a fictional book (which is still in the works) but was then inspired to write my first children’s book, The Magic Bubble Wand which is about my nieces!

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There are so many exciting things in the pipeline for Barbara, so follow her Instagram page for updates: @colourful_bubbles and purchase The Magic Bubble Wand on Amazon.


Izzie Kpobie-Mensah
Author of Adjoa’s Paddling Pool and Adjoa Goes to Nursery

Hi, my name is Izzie and I would class myself as multifaceted. I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandma, niece and aunt. I am an equality, diversity and inclusion specialist, an author, jewellery maker and love all things that involve creativity and community. Professionally, I have spent most of my career working in administrative and people engagement related roles in healthcare and education. Adjoa’s Paddling Pool is my second book!

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Pick up a copy of Izzie’s books on Amazon, the Afroclectic website, or via her Etsy shop!


Richmond Osei-Akoto
Author of Dylan’s Dilemma

Hello, I’m Richmond; husband of one amazing and supportive wife and father of three intelligent, beautiful and energetic daughters. Oh yes, I’m also the author of a children’s book, Dylan’s Dilemma. After nearly 15 years of being caught in the proverbial rat race, I’ve finally reached a stage in my life where I feel as though I’m exercising the treasures that have been buried deep inside of me. This phase of my life is an exciting time!

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Dylan’s Dilemma is available on Amazon and if you’d like some special signed copies, check out Pop Up United.


Thank you to Barbara, Izzie and Richmond for sharing your journeys and thoughts with me. It has been a pleasure to work with you all and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for your books.

If you are an author looking for an illustrator, please do have a look at my work here and get in touch to start your journey with me!

Looks like you! Bespoke illustrations

If you’re familiar with the mission behind my greeting cards and gifts, you will know that positive and diverse representation is something I’m very passionate about. And what better way to represent and celebrate a friend or loved one, than a personalised illustration.

As well as my Royalty collection of items, I offer a bespoke service to those who want an extra special portrait illustration. I can create these illustrations using one of two different styles – a poly-vector technique or a flat vector technique.

How it works…

  • Send me the photo of the person you’d like illustrated as well as any wording you’d like featured and any colour preferences you have for the background.
  • Please send an image that is as high quality as possible.
  • I will then illustrate the image in your chosen style and send you the high-quality image for you to print on anything you’d like! (Or, I can send off to print for you at an extra cost).

Poly-vector technique

This style of illustration takes the longest to complete, so please allow up to 5 working days before you need it (longer if you require it to be sent to print).

This technique is best suited for completely front-facing or side-facing close up portraits.

It gives quite a realistic finished product and is my product’s signature style! Watch a video about this style here.

Send an image and get a quote

Flat vector technique

This style is the most versatile. I can work with most photographs and even change the colour of clothing.

It is a great way to revamp old photos or have portraits of multiple people in different poses.

I can produce either a more realistic style or a cartoon version, which is great for kids!

Send an image and get a quote

Although my cards and gifts feature a wide range of hairstyles, ages and skin tones, I will probably never build a collection that represents every single beautiful person in the African diaspora (but I’m trying!), so bespoke illustrations are a great option to get that illustration looking just like the recipient!

PLEASE NOTE: As every illustration is unique and won’t be used anywhere else, prices are more expensive than my existing collection of cards (from £35).

Written by Leanne Armstrong

Don’t JUDGE My Hair

In the Black community in particular, our hair is a huge part of our identity – it is our crown – so the way we choose to wear it often comes with connotations, which can make us feel judged. For example, the Afro was deemed militant and the weave was (and still is) considered by some a signifier of self-hate! 

Personally, I have tried it all; I’ve had relaxed hair, weave and extensions. I’ve even had blue highlights at school to match my blue braces – I know, what I was thinking!? Now, I wear my hair in locs and, for me, it’s been the best decision, not only for the health of my hair but also my self-confidence and current idea of beauty, but I was fully aware that I may be judged for it – we all know what that news anchor said about Zendaya!

Don’t touch or judge

Afro hair is indeed beautiful and magical but strangers should know by now, that touching it (and just people in general) without permission is a big no-no! There are many songs, books and hashtags that have warned the world about touching but in an image-conscious world, unfortunately some of us are still being silently (or not so silently) judged. 

In this article, I will be exploring how and why this happens through an interview with Cristina – a mother of a young boy with long hair. In the Western world, it is deemed ‘normal’ and ‘acceptable’ for boys to have short hair, so I wanted to find out if there are any challenges he and his mum face for having a crown that’s outside the ‘norm’.

Meet Cristina & Joylen

Cristina is a mother of two, journalist and documentary filmmaker, originally from Cape Verde Islands. Her hobbies include reading, watching documentaries, baking, and spending time doing fun activities with her children. 

Her son, Joylen, is four years old and he enjoys playing football, dancing to African music, baking delicious cookies, watching cartoons, drawing and playing with his older sister in the garden. Joylen’s favourite superhero is Black Panther, and when he grows up, he wants to be a football player and a famous super hero to save the world!

Tell us about Joylen’s hair story. Has he always had long hair?

Joylen’s hair story started, when he was two years old. He had short hair at the time but after seeing his sister as a character in the book I‘ve Got My Hair, he was inspired and asked “Mummy, can boys have long hair too?”. From that moment, I promised him that I would not cut his hair and explained that Kings can have long hair.

How does he feel most confident wearing his hair and why?

Joylen loves his hair and he became more confident and happy when he realised that he can do a lot of different hairstyles; from ponytails to braids. When I am doing his sister’s hair, he always asks me to do his hair too. Sometimes I ask him if he wants to cut it and he always says no. He truly believes that his hair is beautiful and gives him super hero powers!

Have you or he ever felt judged (positively or negatively) by the way he wears his hair?

Yes, I receive both positive and negative comments. Unfortunately, there are a lot of negative stereotypes and assumptions made about boys who wear their hair long. When Joylen wears a ponytail some people would say “What a cute little girl?” or ask me why I don’t cut his hair. Others may say that he has a beautiful hair, so it depends.

Do you think black boys and girls are judged more based on their hair?

Definitely. Brown boys and girls are judged based on their hair because it is much more than a style; it’s political. There is more flexibility in accepting girls with long hair than boys, because in society’s eyes, the norm is that boys should have short hair.

What does Joylen say about his hair?

Joylen always says that he wants long hair because he wants to look like mummy and his sister. Furthermore, Joylen loves football and after watching some footballers with long hair, he is much more confident. Sometimes when I am combing his hair and it hurts, I ask him if I can cut it and he starts to cry, saying “No I don’t want to cut my hair!”

Would you cut his hair if he asked?

It depends on the intention. If he wanted to cut his hair because he was tired of it, or for any positive and natural reason, I would cut it. But if he asked to cut his hair because he was being bullied, I would not cut it but teach him that he should be proud of his hair and explain that it is more precious than a crown.

Do you let people you don’t know touch yours or your Joylen’s hair? Why/why not? Why do you think people want to touch afro hair so much?

No, I don’t let people touch mine or my son’s hair because some people look at our children as museum pieces. When they see a mixed-raced child, one of their focusses is the hair and making comparisons between the white and black side. I think people like to touch afro hair so much because they consider it exotic or a trend.

What do you think about the Western social standard of boys having short hair and girls having long hair?

Unfortunately, the Western social standards of beauty doesn’t reflect us (black people). I feel as thought they want to transform people into “ginger bread men”; copying and pasting standards but we should all have the chance to choose our hairstyles. Hair also represents culture, religion and power relations. For example, in certain groups wearing their hair bald is celebrated and in others having long hair is a sense of pride, like in the Rastafarian religion.

Do you see Joylen’s hair texture or length represented in the media?

The media tends to represent a stereotypical image that boys are less sensitive and their short hair is symbol of strength and masculinity. Joylen’s hair is fine and is closer European hair types, so I can see Joylen’s hair texture represented but the length is not.

What do you think of Leanne’s Crown & Story campaign?

I think that Leanne’s Crown & Story campaign is phenomenal because it raises awareness of an important conversation; the need for representation of different hair types and lengths. It is absolutely inspiring to watch the combination of digital art and hair politics and this art is a crucial tool to fight against discrimination. 


If you are interesting in my Crown & Story campaign, please read other interview here. I sell a range of greeting cards and gifts featuring men, women and children with different hairstyle and textures, so let’s celebrate them all. Visit my online shop here.

Written by Leanne Armstrong
Interveiw with Cristina (@thecriolamum)

Character design and illustration

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I’ve been a professional graphic designer for just over seven years but always had a creative mind from a very young age. I grew up loving to dance, write short stories, paint pictures and sketch animals and fictional characters.

When I left college, I decided to enrol in a Graphic Design Foundation Diploma at the University of Arts. I then went on to do a degree in Dance and Media Cultural studies at Kingston University where I learnt more about the theories and strategies behind media production and marketing. This degree opened my eyes to different techniques for advertising, animation and brand development and I fell even more in love with graphic design during a design module.

Film Africa design by Leanne Creative

Fast forward to 2016 and I entered a design competition for Film Africa, where designers across the world were tasked to create artwork for the front cover of their programme. The above artwork was my submission and I was selected by industry professionals to be one of the top three designers! It then went to a public social media vote and I came second place.

Seeing as this was my first attempt at bespoke illustration, I was extremely proud of myself and my passion for illustration (portraits in particular) grew, leading me to start designing my own collection of greeting cards.

What is Illustration?

Illustration us a strand of design that can be broadly classified into two categories: traditional illustration and modern illustration. Traditional refers to hand-drawn using pencils, pens, paint and paper etc, whereas modern illustration, which I do, is created using software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator on a computer – although my work often does start off with a pencil sketch.

The Magic Bubble Wand by Barbara Adu-Darko. Illustrated by Leanne Creative

Illustrations are pieces of imagery that accompany text to aid understanding or visualisation. They could also simply be purely decorative and used in anything from books to magazines, annual reports to posters, video games and films. Illustrations are an effective way to communicate with readers in a creative and visually descriptive way – as they say… an image can paint 1,000 words!

What’s my style?

Many illustrators have their own unique style of working and drawing. For example, the work of Quentin Blake, Matt Groening, Dr Seuss and of course Disney, are all recognisable simply by their illustration styles.

Matilda by Quentin Blake
Princess Tiana by Disney
Homer Simpson by Matt Groening
Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss

Over the years I have experimented with a few different techniques to create the portraits featured on my greeting cards and gifts. These include:

Polyvector trianglesA time consuming but extremely detailed, decorative and effective technique, great for close-up portraits.

Free-hand digital Starting from a hand-drawn sketch using a digital pen. This gives the artwork a traditional feel but with a lot more creative flexibility.

Black girl modern hipster illustration by Leanne creative

Vector illustration – Block colours and shapes put together to create recognisable features with simple shadows and highlights.

No matter the technique, my personal style uses bright block colours and I tend to embellishing the portraits with shapes and patterned backgrounds, which I believe has given my items their signature look and feel. I also like to use a range of different black and asian skin tones and hair styles to make my brand as representative as I can.

Children’s character design

I really enjoy working on children’s books and creating dynamic and expressive characters, so recently, I decided to start developing a style of character that I hope will be recognisable as a ‘Leanne Creative character’ in the future…

Meet my LC family! They will be the basis of my children’s characters (unless the client requests otherwise, of course) going forward. I wanted to create a black family of different ages that can be adapted to the client’s needs but can still be recognised as my artwork.

Here’s the break down:

Crescent eyes – They are simple but effective in portraying different emotions. They also portray an openness and positive engagement, which many children respond well to.

Button nose – It was important to me to capture black features and the nose is one of the them. The rounded shape and shadow above, I believe captures this.

Low ears – This was a cute a playful feature I thought would relate the characters to each other.

I really look forward to developing them further and working on more books and characters.

If you are interested in working with me, feel free to drop me an email and we can start to bring your ideas to life!

Written by Leanne Armstrong

Being an introverted entrepreneur

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Growing up I was a very shy and quiet child – a classic introvert. I enjoyed playing with close friends and family but felt very uncomfortable speaking in front of people I didn’t know or large groups. I would happily play by myself and found large gatherings where I had to say hello to aunty, uncle and great-aunty’s second cousin quite daunting! 

Fast forward several years and I’m much more confident. I enjoy meeting new people and seeking new experiences, however, my introverted tendencies do pop-up now and then. I’m grateful for them as I find myself being more productive and happy during these times. I feel more than content when taking time to myself or with a partner and escaping the bustling city-life for something more calm and isolated and I’ve found that being this way has helped me grow as a creative and well-rounded business woman as well. 

In this blog, I explore what it’s like to be an introvert determined to be a successful entrepreneur and how I’ve made it work for me.

What is an introvert?

Introverts are often labelled as shy, reticent and reserved. We tend not to seek out special attention and social engagements leave us feeling exhausted at times. Society often sees these traits as flaws and mostly rewards extrovert behaviour – think Instagram and Love Island – but I know that introverts have so much to offer the world, albeit behind the scenes.

We may not be the life and soul of a party or the loudest in the room but we tend to be extremely thoughtful, reliable and strategic problem-solvers, who are good at building strong and meaningful relationships. As Caroline Castrillon, a Forbes contributor said, “Introversion is often misunderstood… it can be an advantage if you follow the right strategies.” 

A study showed that qualities that make a good CEO include:

  • Being relationship masters; building good relations between clients and the business
  • Reliability; being able to stick to a plan and be there when needed
  • Decision makers; the ability to make a decision with conviction and speed
  • Adaptability; being able to rise to the occasion, whatever is thrown at you

As mentioned above, introverts tend to excel in these qualities and so there is no reason why we can’t be successful employees, business people and entrepreneurs. After all, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and J.K Rowling didn’t do too badly!

Making it work

I love being a graphic designer/illustrator and enjoy going to events to promote my work but some may say that being reserved is a hindrance to my growth as a business woman. I disagree – it’s just a different route from extroverts and I strongly believe that I can make it work whilst staying true to who I am. 

My sales style is probably more personal; I find doing the ‘hard sell’ technique quite difficult, so striking up a conversation with people and getting to know what they are looking for is more comfortable for me. It allows me to really listen and build genuine connections with my customers and I find that they are more likely to invest in my brand this way. Don’t get me wrong, I know when it is necessary to grab opportunities that lie outside of my comfort-zone, but don’t beat myself up about not being the centre of attention every time. 

As Ghandi said “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”

Stepping outside my bubble

In January 2020 (on my birthday), I definitely shook MY world and stepped outside of my introverted comfort-zone! I was blessed (and brave) enough to have the opportunity to speak about my greeting cards and gifts on BBC Radio London with Aurie Styla! Me… on the radio… speaking to thousands of people… I know right! It was a crazy experience that I am extremely grateful for and shows that I can and will step up to the plate when the feeling is right!

I also dance which has taken me on amazing journeys, performing in front of thousands at venues such as Wembley Arena and Hammersmith Apollo. Dance allows me to really take hold of an extrovert persona where I can portray huge amounts of confidence (and even cockiness at times) which makes me wonder… am I actually an ambivert? An ambivert is someone who possess both introvert and extrovert qualities depending on the situation.

Just doing me

At the end of the day, us humans are complex beings. Whether introvert, extrovert or ambivert (or anything in between) we are all just making our way through life, doing the best we can to make it work for us!

Have conviction in your goals, make a plan, stay true to who you are and you’ll be able to build a business in your own way, in your own time… maybe just a little quieter than others! 

Check out my small-business; illustrated greeting cards and gifts, here.

Written by Leanne Armstrong

Embracing hair loss

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This is my first post and one that is very important to me…

After my mum was diagnosed with leukaemia and lost her hair to chemotherapy, it dawned on me that all of the women I’d illustrated on my greeting cards had long hair or large billowing afros. My cards are all about beauty, celebration, empowerment and representation, but I had left out a group of women who may not have this typical feminine standard of beautiful long locks… and this bothered me.

For 2020, in celebration of my mum’s recovery as well as the diversity of women’s hair, I’ve launched two new cards featuring women with short hair as part of my Crown & Story collection. As my mum had lost her hair due to leukaemia treatment, I’ve also decided to donate £1 from every sale of a card to the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT).

To purchase my greeting cards, please click here.

Below is an interview with my mum, Yvonne, on her journey of hair loss and I hope it inspires you to see beauty in her crown and story...


What was your relationship with your hair?

I had a positive relationship with my hair; I took pride in it. I’d had my locs for 25 years which began as a political stance because there is so much beauty and cultural politics tied up in hair, particularly for women. I had initially shaved off my curly perm in rebellion against the expectation that black women needed to chemicalise their hair in order for it to be beautiful and manageable. I wanted to prove that natural was beautiful and eventually decided to grow locs.

There is so much beauty and cultural politics tied up in hair, particularly for women.

At the time having locs wasn’t something many of my friends and family approved of, however, after seeing how well I looked after them, I would often receive compliments. Having locs for so long meant that they were a visible part of my identity, however, they did not define me and as time went by they became less about politics and more a style choice. I would style them, colour them and trim them, enjoying their increasing versatility as locs became more popular and more specialist salons sprang up. 

How did it feel when you lost your hair? 

I had reconciled myself to the inevitability of hair loss pretty much as soon as I was told that I would have to have aggressive chemotherapy treatment. On the day when the first clumps started to come away in my fingers and the reality began to kick in however, it was still a bit of a shock. On the day of cutting of my locs I was a bit tearful; firstly because it was symbolic of the gravity of my illness and secondly, much as I was ok with the prospect of not having any hair, the fact that I had no choice in the matter was difficult. After that initial sadness, I was fine.

On the day when the first clumps of hair started to come away in my fingers, the reality began to kick in.

How long did it take you to embrace the change?

 I had decided that I would shave my head at the first sign of it falling out as I didn’t want to have to deal with the strange ‘patchy’ look. Unfortunately, I was unable to do this as quickly as I would have liked as my platelets were low but once they were healthy enough my daughter cut off the locs and a few days later my brother shaved off what was left.  

I embraced the bald head immediately. It couldn’t have been a better time to have a bald head as a woman. Increasing numbers of black women were shaving their hair off out of choice, so other than the fact that my scalp was completely clean and shiny and my eyebrows were a bit thinned, there was nothing particularly remarkable about my look. For this reason, I chose not to cover my head and wore my bald head with a sense of pride – unless I needed to keep out the cold with a hat!

I chose not to cover my head and wore my bald head with a sense of pride

I suppose for those who were used to knowing me with a full head of locs, it took them some time to get used to my new look but most said that it actually suited me – apparently I have a good shaped head! The Film Black Panther that had not long been released was also instrumental in promoting female shaven heads and empowered many a black woman to adopt this look, so this helped a lot – WAKANDA FOREVER!

Are you now fully accepting of this change?

Yes,  and have actually chosen to keep it short for the time being. I’ve trimmed it several times since and am experimenting with different colours. I’m still receiving compliments about my hair so it’s all good and just the other day a work colleague told me that this is my best look.   

What advice would you give to women going through this journey?

Each woman’s experience is different and there is a lot of emotion connected with hair. My advice would be that although it is initially upsetting, the consoling fact is that it is only temporary – it will grow back. Your hair does not define you or your beauty.  You may look different but that is not necessarily a bad thing.  Embrace this time and use the opportunity to try different styles, head wraps, hats, bold make up etc. 

Your hair does not define you or your beauty.

Did it affect your self esteem?

Nope – in fact I felt/feel quite empowered. It is the visual of my story of overcoming adversity. A constant reminder of my blessings, that I am still here. 

Do you still think about your hair before?

Yes, at times I have to admit to finding myself looking admiringly at people with beautiful locs and reminiscing about the days of my own.   

Do you feel different now that you have short hair?

I feel liberated! Swimming in the sea on my Caribbean holiday was a whole new, joyous experience as I didn’t have to concern worry about my hair getting wet and ruining a style!

What you do you think of Leanne’s new cards?

I am so pleased that Leanne has included these images to her collection. It’s lovely to see black women with short hair represented and myself reflected – I don’t think I have come across this before. I love that her range depicts black women in their varied splendour, including different  skin tones and hair styles.  Well done and thank you Leanne, you are sending a powerful, positive message not only to black women but to wider society about black women’s diverse beauty. I look forward to seeing what comes next!

To purchase these greeting cards, please click here.