CHRISTMAS POST SERIES:THE BEST BITS OF 2017

 

Image:Samir Hussein/WireImage

Very excited to be launching the 12 days of Christmas blog post series and excited to be starting with the bits and pieces that made 2017 truly special for me.

The year was full of surprises,heartbreaks,lessons,challenges overcome and above all miracles from unexpected places.Among the many things that happened over the course of the past 11 months I picked just a few that meant something to me and most seemed to have happened in the second half of the year .

Why the second half of the year had so many lessons in it for me may partly  wholly be due to the realization that I learned to open my eyes to the miracle that life is and to let it surprise me.

1.Royal Engagement

You all know Doria Radlan  ?

She is the kind of woman I would want to have a long talk  ,in a side walk  coffee bar , large mirrors antique furniture with movie posters framed on their walls,we would  watch people walk by  both be wondering where they were all hurrying to .

And we would go back to talking about tolerance for people who do not look like is,talk like us or believe in the same things we do and we would have a blast because she does look like that kind of woman.

That she sports dreadlocks gives  her instant street credentials  to her being very attuned to the very complicated nature of human beings.

Why am I talking about Doria,who up until last week was virtually unknown?

Because she is soon going to be the mother in law to Prince Harry.

Her daughter Meghan Markle, stars in the hit TV series Suits as Rachael Zane , a part time summer associate in a law firm  and is  one of my favourite characters on Suits.

The engagement of Meghan to Prince Harry was announced two days ago and the internet went wild.

Prince Harry as you well know is brother to second in line to the British throne Prince William and being a royal watcher I was elated that my favourite character in suits was engaged to this particular member of the House of Widnsor.

Growing up I admired   Princess Diana (Prince Harry’s mother)   especially for her charity work  and campaign against landmines in Africa especially in Angola where landmines had maimed and killed thousands.It was with shock and disbelief  that I still remember going to buy the paper for my father and seeing  the headline of the Sunday Nation on the morning of  August 31,1997 that she had  died in a car accident in Paris.

The engagement has to be one of my highlights for the year,I am among the millions looking forward to the  May wedding .

And why it is the highlight of the year is because this marriage  it will forever change how we view race especially In Europe and that is a good thing.s otherwise,the British press called the very idea of someone of color joining the royal family scandalous.Find out why.

Who would have thought this would happen when royalty purists made us believe  otherwise .

2.Challenges overcome

Finally I got over my fear of speaking before crowds.

I always wondered how anyone could stand before a crowd and speak,now I know how it feels like .

Yes,I am shy and would literally break into a sweat at the thought of standing up before crowds to say anything.

But the year started with meeting Joyce Mwangi,getting placed in the same group as we studied the book of John heard me mention that I blog,she wanted to start like yesterday and I told her just write.

And write she did,published a devotional based entirely on the Kenyan National Anthem and she launched it and she gave me the terrifying honor of reading a speech.

It was a really  humbling  moment for me was to speak at  book launch of the Kenya National Anthem Devotional,she writes at His Creation blog.She is doing some amazing work,head over to her blog and find out about what she has been doing and order the book from there,she will ship it to you wherever you are.

As a result of what I thought was a daunting challenge,I got to speak infront of a crowd,I did not stammer,sweat or faint.

3.Mentoring

Through my writing,and encouraging other women to tell their stories  I have given wings to 3 other writers who now have their own blogs.One of them,Joyce Mwangi of His Creation,Grace Muriuki of Godly Marriages are Beautiful   and Catherine Mbau of Ripples of Life .

It was not something I set out to do,it just happened and because I am always asking people  ,especially women to tell their stories as it is through stories that we learn and experience life,there are 3 more women sharing about some truly amazing things -God’s love and marriages a God intended it to be.

It is my hope to have a blogging workshop early in 2018 and incase you are interested please fill in your details HERE and I will be in touch.

4.Gratitude

In the fast paced world we are living in right now where when you wake up everyday,there is a newer version of everything and every few hours or so you are updating the applications on your phone,it easy to lose sight of the fact that convenience sometimes makes us self absorbed.

This convenience has made us a little impatient with people and things that do not move at lightning speed,we have come intolerant to faults,imperfections and with each other.Modern technology is giving us convenience but is robbing us of what we need most as human beings-relationship with each other.

After finishing the  Black and white photo challenge,that is when I learned that indeed I had taken so much for granted and had not really been taking time to see the beautiful things around me.Seems I have been living life at 120 km/hour and that I had not time to appreciate life as it is , makes me sad because it means that a lot of things were lost to me that I can never get back because I was busy.

You may want to try the  challenge and see what changes after 7 days,its worth it.

 

5.The value of family and friends

God put us in a family and gave us friends that stretch our limits  on love,patience,gratitude,kindness,peace,joy and a lot of other virtues.The relationships we have with our family and friends shape us,mold us,challenge us and make us better people(hopefully).

A family is the basic units from which all other social relationships are formed,it is the launching pad to all other relationships we will have in adult hood  and the skills we learn in our families determine the quality of  relationships we will have with friends and with our spouses eventually.

Can you imagine what a beautiful world we would have if we put families front and centro of government policies,development agendas locally  and the global agenda?we might just be able to solve 50% of the conflict we have in the world today.

This year I have known what having a loving family and a group of friends is all about.To my family,my kids,husband,sisters,parents a big thank you for a wonderful year.

Of special mention are the girls from my chama that made my year special:Wambui,Flo,Jackie,Belinda,Mwari,Myl,Njeri,Pat,Sue,Kagendo thank you for teaching me the true value of friendship.May we  live to celebrate many more years of friendship.

My friends from my Bible Study Fellowship who are like family to me now.

Kawi and Mukami for being sisters.

Maryanne Waweru Wanyama of Mummy Tales, you are always an inspiration keep telling the stories of the wonderful women you get to meet.

Looking forward to an amazing 2018.

 

What have been the highlights of your year so far,anything interesting happened to you that you would like to share,challenges overcome,goals achieved?

 

HELLO DECEMBER !

 

 

Black Friday kicks off the Christmas holiday season,time to spend more time with family and it is a time we spend more time shopping as well.In light of this  I have decided to  work on a 12 days of Christmas  blog post series.

Christmas get me excited,I have such fond memories of Christmas from my childhood i literally cant keep still once December kicks in-which  might explain my inability to wait till December,1st to post this!

I will do a post on picking gifts for  loved ones,a post on being thankful,one on planning  for the year ahead,okay..let me stop there before giving too much away.

The holiday season is an opportunity to reflect on the 11 months of the year that have passed and getting down to plan  for the new year.

It is time to take stock of lessons we have learned and how we have grown and changed over the past 11 months.

It is a time to let go of past hurts and embrace forgiveness.

I am very excited to be starting the series and I hope you are too because I would love to hear from you as well about how your year has been and what you are hoping to do or see more of in the new year,on the blog as well,what kind of stories,posts you would  like more of.

 

Keep checking to see when we kick off and cant wait to share what I have been working on.

 

 

 

 

HOW A PHOTO CHALLENGE TAUGHT ME TO BE MORE GRATEFUL

Photo courtesy:Santina Nyagah

If you have been on Facebook for the past 3 months,you might have stumbled on the black and white photo challenge.

The challenge involves posting for 7 days in a row,black and white photos that describe your life  with no faces or explanations to them .

My friend Mukami put me up to the challenge and i dived into it with gusto and a theme…no kidding.

Maybe because I love photography and hate how i look in pictures this became a really exciting challenge to do.

My approach to the challenge  was to post black and white photos of things or places I found interesting during the day  that would make people guess or point out where I was  at that particular time.

That is why my first photo on the day of the challenge was that of a door,today as we end the challenge my photo was taken at a cross road on one of the most beautiful university campuses we have in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

I was especially intrigued by the fact that I started out my taking a picture of a door,probably  asking people to take a walk with me through the door of my life.Out of the 7 photos, 2  were of nature,1 was taken at the reception of a luxury travel/destination  company,1 was of an art piece at a mall ,the other was at an office.

The photos may not have meant much to everyone else but in retrospect i can see how  I spent much of my week doing things that i really love and enjoy.And that for me might have been why the challenge was so fun,I got to see,appreciate and really think about the photos I was taking .

Something we seem to really be losing a grip on is that..appreciation,thankfulness or being grateful is something modern life has robbed us of.We are taking too much for granted and not pausing enough,enough to see that we live in such a beautiful country,part of an even more beautiful continent and part as well of the most amazing planet-earth.

As I end the challenge today I would like you to take  a walk with me ,down the path called gratefulness.

Have you taken part in the black and white photo challenge? why did you do it and what did you learn about yourself ?

WHY WOULD YOU NEED AN EVENT PLANNER ?

Photo courtesy of Event planner Sonal Shah

You know the holiday season is here when you start  receiving more than the usual  invitations for birthdays,weddings and  end of year parties and  maybe even invitations for  Christmas .

If you are hosting any of these celebrations and are planning on doing everything from scratch,you may wan to reduce your stress and anxiety levels by hiring a planner-an event planner.

Hiring an event planner might seem like a luxury but you may be surprised by how much they can reduce the anxiety that comes  with  event planning .

On this post we thought we might give you 5 great reasons why you might need an event planner this holiday season.

1.Saves you time

A good event planner is a pro at getting things done efficiently and on time.

They will save you the time spent on looking for vendors and suppliers because along with their experience they have with them a network of trusted suppliers and vendors that they have worked with,people they know can deliver on what you need for your event.

And just incase anything unexpected happens,then an event planner will always have plan A,B,C ad infinitum.

2.Saves you money

In my time planning events ,I have found out that there is always room for negotiations and what gives an event planner leeway as well as an edge is their ability  to negotiate,they can get you discounts on  rack rates and this is because of  the relationships they have developed over time with various suppliers and vendors.

It is easier to discuss discounts  with people you have had previous business dealing with than with total strangers,leverage on these relationships event planners have when thinking of holding an event.

3.You will get the right people doing the right job

Sometimes it is very difficult to gauge a vendors or suppliers ability to get the job done if you have no experience of having worked with them before.

An event planner due to their  diverse network as well as experience with vendors will point you in the right direction on whom you need on your team in order to pull of a successful event.

4.You will have a more successful event

Event planners thrive on details-the little details that everyone else overlooks is what planners get their adrenaline rushes from.Ensuring every little thing is in place and imagining all the possible things that could go wrong and ensuring contingency plans are in place is what makes for a successful event.

As the host of the event,you may not have all the time to worry about all the nitty gritty details of your event,let an event planner do the worrying  for you and ensure your event is successful.

5.You can enjoy the event

There is nothing like hosting a great event and you cannot enjoy it because you are busy ensuring that behind the scenes everything flows smoothly.You event forget to eat because you are busy handling all the event details by yourself you have no time to be a great host.

It would be great to have someone that thrives on adrenaline and the little details handle all the anxiety and stress for you,right?

That photo right there,we fell in love with it and it came courtesy of Sonal Shah an event/party planner.You can find her on Facebook.

 

WE WILL REMODEL YOUR OLD HOUSE

 

Are you the owner of an old colonial house and it is becoming harder to attract tenants because they are going for the shinier,gleaming houses coming up across town .

Every time you walk into that empty house,you wonder what you will ever do with it.

And you are thinking that well maybe it is time that you  pulled it down and put up a newer house-maybe ?

Then you think of all the headache and heart ache that comes with construction and with having to watch that beautiful house come down and you decide that you can wait just a little bit longer,the right client will come along.

It is now 3 years and the house has gathered dust,the grass is over grown and you can no longer bear seeing the TO LET sign that has weathered the Nairobi rains and dust over the years yet the house remains  empty.

At Maridadi Homes,we love old houses,we do not call them old,we call them houses with character because they have had feet that have called that house home for years and they have moved somewhere else when their season in life changed.

If you have a house with character that you know has been missing some love and little feet running around in it and think it could do with some makeover,please send us an email at renovations@maridadilife.com,we will set up an appointment and see what we can do-together.

Let us take give your house a whole new look !

MY DREAM HOUSE

By H. Kahenya 

So today I saw a house. A beautiful beautiful house that ticked everything on my list. How possible is it to find a perfect house? I would drive past it and  wonder how people that lived there felt.

Its like the  question people ask when you get married…how are you feeling?

 

So last week I drove past the gate and there it was!!! My dream house ,the gate was open and I got to peep and have a glimpse of it.I a noticed something else,there was a   To Let sign on the door. I couldn’t believe it and told myself…on my way back  I would ask about it.

And I did just that, I was given a number to call which I did with one hand on the wheel , the other on my phone booked and booked an appointment to view the house.

Its a rainy Thursday morning and I get there 7 minutes early very pleased with myself.  I am already making a good impression, I tell myself. The agent arrives on time too and I am taken for the house tour!

If houses have character,this one had IT. From the floor,  staircase,  railings,  windows to the bedrooms everything was as I had pictured my dream house looking like. I was smitten! It even had a designated laundry area-indoors. I am talking about a more than 15 year old house…it was beautiful! It took my breath away and I couldn’t stop staring at it. The doors are made of beautiful aged wood and the locks are perfect antiques! Everything in that house was- Perfect! Okay maybe not everything…it still had the good old curtain box, the bathrooms were dated and the kitchen was not only dated but had lime green tiles but that could be fixed with time.

How could I be taken by something in this way? It was insane. The gardens…oooooh the gardens!!! They had swings, monkey bars, trampoline, a pool, a bench or two, guys!!! It was like a little resort in the heart of the city. I asked about the price and I immediately thought-a bit high but I think we can try.

By the end of the house tour, I was already visualizing where I would place my furniture and what I would do with the kitchen. I had a plan.

But first, my husband needed to see this beauty and I book an appointment for a second visit and I tell myself that in just two days I would see the house again and this time I would take pictures.

So the day comes and we arrive at the house, there it was sitting pretty and winking at me. We walk in and once again it embraces me with its warmth and beauty. I became weak and silently promised it a few modern touches. I was in love with this house. My husband looked around and was nodding. That was good for me. There was hope as long as he was nodding. Nodding is a positive sign. We are done with the tour and I say to him, ‘don’t say anything, let’s go for tea and there you can tell me what you think of it’.

So while we are having tea and I am suppressing my joy as I signal him to start talking. “The house is beautiful and it ticks all our boxes but I cannot pay that amount for that house; it is old”.

“huh? I can’t hear you!!!! What did you say?” My heart screams.

It reminded me of when I was younger and my  mum met me talking to a boy I had a crush on.  I was super smitten because I thought he would never give me the time of day. But here we were he was chatting me up and enjoying my company. Then my mum appears, pulls me by the ears all the way to our gate and even before waiting for the gate to be opened and she shouted,

“I never want to see you with that boy again!”

I remember wondering… what do I do with all this love I have for him? Many years later,here I was staring at my black coffee (tea wasn’t going to help in this case) wondering what I would do about my dream house. …how would I live without that house? How will I go on and still be happy? How will I drive past that gate without weeping? I tried to make a case for my beloved but it wasn’t working.

So here I am working my way to putting that house to bed! My heart aches.

Impossible to believe, but there certainly is another perfect house for us out there. This time it will tick all our boxes…even the cost box.

WHERE TO FIND GREAT DECOR PIECES IN NAIROBI

Decorating your home is something that never really seems to get done and if you ever find yourself on Google , asking where to find great furniture and decor pieces in Nairobi,worry no more because I thought a list would make it very easy for you .

It is quite interesting to see that sometimes the piece you have been looking for is hiding right under your nose and  its my hope that this  home owners guide on where to get furniture  pieces in Nairobi will be of help.

Something about Nairobi ,like in most towns is that you have to know where to get quality items from trusted providers .You would rather spend more on quality than go cheap and have to keep replacing a furniture item like a couch,dining table or a bed.

You want to be sure that you are spending money on something that will not need fixing every so often.

1.H.Kahenya Interior Design

A great home decor project starts out with a consultation,preferably with an interior decorator and though there are many who claim to be decor experts,I must say you need to follow H. Kahenya Interior Design Firm .

I like their fresh and fun approach to home decor and you will to when you see the beautiful work they have been able to do on the projects they have done.

The Interior Design consulting firm is based at Westlands and  offers both consultation services and finished items ,decor supplies and  has a YouTube channel where they share decor ideas and advice,you may want  really do need to follow them on Facebook and subscribe to their YouTube channel as well.

2.Odds & Ends

If there is a place that has really great furniture pieces,it is Odds & Ends ,they have great furniture and their show rooms are a feast for the eyes.Check out their Jaipur range of furniture,I have a particular liking for the pieces in that particular range and most likely it’s because they have found a way to marry wood and iron give this range a rustic appeal that i find very enthralling.

3.Ngong Road

On your way to Karen using Ngong Road,you will find a lot of furniture shops with beautiful pieces displayed and it’s always a struggle for me   to keep my eyes on the road when they are so many beautiful pieces of furniture to look at.

You will find outdoor/ indoor rattan furniture as well as dining /living room pieces that you might not find anywhere else at very  affordable prices.In choosing some  someone to work with use an individual you have been referred to ,see the work they have done and get commitment in terms of  delivery time.

And just after the furniture shops ,when you think you have seen everything ,you will find beautiful clay outdoor furnaces,hanging baskets of  live flowers  and bright and colorful flower pots  that will look great in your garden  in addition to other landscaping supplies like red soil,manure and landscaping rocks.

4.Mr Price

The Mr Price outlets are in most upmarket malls in Nairobi and if you are looking for unique decor items like center pieces,cushions,throws,candle sticks and a wide range of smaller items that do not include furniture then this is the place for you.

Their range also has cutlery and crockery pieces that you will not find anywhere else,a few weeks ago I was able to find pancake batter dispensers at their outlet at Sarit Center in Westlands.

Their wall hangings and bathroom accessories are especially appealing as this South African brand is not afraid of color and if you are looking to add pops of color to your home,then this is a place you must visit.

5.Game Store

Last but not least is the Game Store at Garden City,they stock a variety of hard-to-find-anywhere-else kitchen utensils and decor pieces you will like .It may be worth the long drive to this side on town as Garden City has adopted pop up shops that have  a very stylish mix of items that you may consider for your home or next decor project.

You must have places you shop for home decor items that have not made it to this list,share them with us in the comments below and we will definitely pay them a visit .

NAIROBI’s BEST COFFEE HOUSES

 

You are a budding entrepreneur and have been looking for an exciting place to hold client meetings and you rather enjoy meeting people away from your office just maybe because you like coffee like i do,right?

I have been to most of the coffee houses in Nairobi and I would like to name just 3 of my favourite places to meet clients or friends over coffee.Good thing that these 3 restaurants I am featuring today also offer lunch and dinner options ad you get to enjoy a filling meal and of course the coffee to keep you going through out the day.

1.Urban Eatery

Urban Eatery sits on the ground floor of  PWC,Delta Towers  in Westlands and  one end of the restaurant has some plush seats  that is quiet on Saturday mornings and you can have your breakfast there as you work.This has to be my favourite place in the whole of Nairobi.

Try the Urban eatery slushies ….love them!

2.Art Caffe-Garden City

You have to love the detail with which the Artcaffe chain has put  into its decor,their modern design is what keeps customers walking through their doors to have what is hands down some of the  best coffee and pastries in Nairobi.

Living around Thika road especially,their Garden City cafe’ with its movie posters dotting the walls and you  feel character oozing from the walls.I could spend hours here and only the thought that I have to be working gets me out of this place.

A definite must try if you happen to be on this side of town and I would definitely recommend their pastries.

3.Khaldi’s

Located smack in the middle of Nairobi,Kaldi’s is along Kimathi Street and on Harambee Avenue as well.I was introduced to this place by my sister , in addition to their great coffee and generous servings I would recommend their smoothies,their blue berry smoothie has to be the best in the whole of the central business district of Nairobi

Having also had the pleasure to have lunch at their Harambee House restaurant I would definitely recommend them as well if your do happen to need a  place for lunch.

Maybe I have left out some of your favourite spots around Nairobi would love to hear about them.And if you live outside of Nairobi…share some of your favourite places where you catch up friends.

Thanks for visiting,let us know you passed by by leaving us a comment down  below…