MARIDADI YOGA AND BRUNCH TOUR KICKS OFF THIS SATURDAY

The Maridadi Yoga Tour  kicks off next Saturday at the Coffee Casa on  3rd Parklands Avenue,Doctor’s Park .

This Yoga + Brunch   event will take place at a different venue each month till the month of November and participants will have a chance of experiencing something different and exciting at each of the participating restaurants/venues as well as enjoy the health  benefits that come with practicing yoga.

Yoga improves your muscles strength,posture,flexibility,respiration and increases your energy levels.Would love to have your company as we kick off this exciting tour.

Pay for your tickets well  in advance as we have limited slots available,just 15 for this month,looking forward to seeing you all on the 16th.

 

Regards,

 

Santina Nyagah Bii

THE POWER OF LOVE AND OTHER HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE ROYAL WEDDING

 

Image courtesy of the BBC

Unbeknownst to many the British Royal Family is not as stuffy as we would like to think because Queen Victoria who is Prince Harry’s great great great great grandmother had an African god daughter who was Sarah  Forbes Bonetta.

Millions of royal watchers were waiting with bated breath for the 19th of May to watch as Harry and Meghan took their vows , when they did  on what was a glorious bright May Saturday morning,millions were smiling through out the ceremony and the world would not be the same again.

When we though we would not see another earth shifting moment after Barrack Obama became the first African American president of the US,we were here  witnessing a person of color being welcomed into the British Royal family with all the pomp,color,good cheer and pageantry that the Brits are well know for.

Something you may have missed  which for me takes the picture of the day was Prince Charles  ever  the gentleman walking down the 22 steps of St Georges chapel after the wedding with Meghan Merkel’s mother on one arm and his wife the Duchess of Cornwall on the other .

Image courtesy of the BBC

Being a huge fan of the Royal family and having followed them closely over the years , I was quite excited when their nuptials were announced and was looking forward to watching the Royal wedding.Contrary to what we read in the press many people in Britain are in favor of . the monarchy being retained as it is seen as being good for the country

Of all the things that took place on that day , the most  enduring memory of the Royal wedding of the now Duke and Duchess of Sussex  has to be the sermon that was delivered by the Most Reverend Michael Curry of Chicago.His sermon that lasted 13 minutes and 36 seconds minutes was titled the Power of Love and was a based on text  from the Song of Solomon.

This is a sermon that was watched and  discussed by  millions that watched the wedding and  will continue to be a conversation piece in many homes and social places for days to come.

The Reverend Curry  is the first African American Bishop of the American  Episcopal Church and he was presiding over a wedding where the bride boasted of an African heritage ,  getting married into the British Royal Family,something a lot of people alive today  did not expect to see in their life time.

The sermon  delivered to 600 invited guests of the couple in a  packed  1000 year old St Georges chapel at Windsor Castle was also  watched by an estimated 1.9 billion people across the world.And what a timely sermon that was at a time where we are seeing heart breaking events across the world.

A significant thing about this wedding that took place   at the burial place of many British monarchs in a place  steeped in history by an African American clergy man a descendant of slaves  , where  the Kingdom choir, a gospel choir of people of color from South East London  sang a beautiful rendition of Stand by Me  is  that is was  precedent setting.As Reverend Michael Curry quipped,two young people fell in love and we all showed up.People from all walks of life ,varying skin shades   showed up at the chapel or watched the event were aware time had stood still,we were  witnessing the power of love,of what it can do when it brings people together.

We were witnesses to  history being made and the world hopefully will become a better place,a more tolerant place where we all experience the redemptive power of love no matter where we come from or what history we carry.

Love has been likened to an energy like fire and we know that when we harness energy we can use it to move from place to place,change the form of things ,bring warmth,color,give life,love like all forms of energy is powerful and if  harnessed it it can change the world for the good of everyone.

You can watch the whole sermon here.

Also of interest was that the dress Meghan Merkle wore,designed by the first female  Art Director of Givenchy British born  Claire Waight Keller   had a silk tulle veil that was  5 meters long ,embroidered with flowers from each of the 53 commonwealth countries,19 of which are from Africa.

With the royal wedding over and with Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex now a couple,I hope we all realize where we are headed to in the world, we are  living in a world where the color of our skin should not define how we treat other people.We can use the power of love ,the redemptive power of love to change the world into a place where the earth can become a sanctuary of God’s love.

 

At Maridadi,we want to send our best wishes to the couple and wish them the best as they start a new life together!

WHY I STARTED DOING YOGA

 

Have you ever lived in denial like I have been doing for the last couple of months?

We all do .At least I know there might be at least one person reading this that will identify with living in denial about some aspect of their life.

For me it is the fact that I need to be taking better care of myself.

Am a fastidious eater and I exercise,though not much  .When I started having stiffness in my joints especially when the cold season started I knew it was time to get out a yoga mat and engage in some exercise that would do my joints some good.

Yoga would also give me some me time,Nairobi is such a fast paced city and one can easily forget to take time out for themselves,which might explain why we are seeing a rise in the number of people having to deal with stress related conditions getting younger by the day.

I have tried yoga before  and I like the fact that it is a low impact work out program that will be easy on my joints because I cannot run !

Yoga  is a great option for me because as I said I cannot run and I did not want a work out program that would hurt my joints .

In the short time I have done the yoga workouts which take me about one and a quarter hour every morning,I have righted my posture,learned to listen to the cues my body is sending me and not push it too much.My knee joints feel much better already and I thought to myself why not organize a fun work out for a Saturday morning then follow it with lunch at a swanky upmarket in Nairobi ?

In the hope that some one else out there might be interested,I have space for just 20 people who would like to enjoy a low impact fun work out with some amazing people.

If you feel some time out for yourself on a Saturday morning feels like fun,then by all means sign up for the event.

Use this Yoga Brunch Sign Up Link.

The details of the cost,venue and date will be communicated.

We hope to have our first class on the 26th of this month at a great outdoor venue.

Sign up and invite a friend.

HYPER-REALISM AT THE DUSITD2

When I walked into the Den at the DusitD2 which is  the new location of the Pop Art Gallery I immediately knew it would be a treat,the exhibition had changed locations and anyone who drives into the cul de sac that is 14 River Side cannot miss it.,it is held every last Saturday of the month from 11am-6pm. During these 7 hours you get to meet some amazing Kenyan artists,see their work and hopefully I hope you can engage them on their work which is something I do every time.

The Den’s over head and natural lighting make it  perfect for displaying  art  work and can accommodate more artists and art work.Immediately I walked in  I was drawn to the far left side of the room by what I thought looked like photos..wait I thought this was  an art exhibition…I would soon be pleasantly surprised when I  met Lee Gitahi a hyper realist.

Lee  Gitahi is a student at Kenyatta University he is exceptionally talented and the art form he has taken, hyper realism is extremely rare in Kenya and only goes to underline his talent.Hyper realism is defined as an art form that mimics high definition photography.

He started out doing pencil work and was really good at it till his lecturer took them out on a trip and challenged him to try painting and see how it would go.He did and 6 months later it is hard to tell that he has not been painting for longer than that.

Hyper realism is extremely painstaking , very detailed , involving and at first Lee faced disbelief when he put out his work ,no one believed that the work was his and not a very good digital copy.I also could not get over the fact that his paintings look surreal,I had to touch them and repeatedly I had to catch myself ,touch my fingers to the painting to confirm that indeed it was an oil painting on canvas.

My favorite work of his which unfortunately was sold already was of this elderly Maasai lady in some really swanky sunglasses.The detail in that work as well in another similar photo of an elderly man in his beaded earrings is simply stunning,he has captured all the lines of age  and the stories their faces tell exceptionally well.

Hyper realists are extremely rare and a piece could take anywhere from 2 or 3 months to complete which makes pieces by artist like Lee carry a high price tag . If you are an art collector ,pieces like these are worth every cent you spend and once you have them up on your wall they will from great conversation pieces at your dinner parties.

 

The mix of artist at the exhibition was eclectic and among them was  Otto Gohole who was exhibiting for the first time , from his work you can see his obsession with the palette knife,lines,structure and vehicles.He was exhibiting for the first time  and is  a student as well  in his second year at the University.He uses a palette knife for all of  his work and I was taken in  by his Beach scene painting that used just blue and red which  I thought was a very clever use of complementary colors.

Otto Gohole’s work

It is interesting to see the revolution taking place in the Kenyan art space and it is quite intriguing as well to see the fascination as well as the increase by artists in not just painting wildlife but in people as well as in life around them.

Lee Gitahi’s detailed work of the elderly Maasai man and woman which I would dare say are exceptional pieces of work I hope will  open doors for artists to see the richness and diversity of our culture and to use them as sources of inspiration for their work.

 

 

 

WHY YOGHURT IS A WOMAN’S BEST FRIEND

 

At one point in their life,a woman will get her first yeast infection and she will go rushing to her doctor,scared , confused and itchy.

Yeast infections  are fungal infections,pretty common among women and are caused by the organism Candida albicans and affect the skin and mucous membranes of a woman’s  vagina ,they could also affect your oral cavity as well.If you are a mother and have breastfed your baby,you maybe familiar with oral thrush,these two conditions are caused by the same fungus.

Candida albicans is commonly found in our mouth,digestive tract,vagina , skin  as well and is usually harmless.The reason for the harmless existence of this fungus is because good bacteria is also present and this ensures  a  perfect balance is   maintained between  the candida albicans and the good bacteria .

However some certain conditions do occur which affect this balance and the result is that  there is overgrowth of the candida albicans which then results in  a yeast infection.

The conditions that favour an increase of the candida albicans could  be  illness or  if someone is on  medication like  antibiotics .

Antibiotics kill both the good and bad bacteria and the death of the good bacteria causes an increase in the amount of the candida albicans.

The main symptoms of a yeast infection  are  itching of the vulva and area around the vagina and there  may also be  discharge.

Left untreated it is  possible for the infection to be passed on to her partner or it may end up in a woman’s blood stream which then makes it very difficult to treat.

Normal treatment for yeast infections is a topical cream or oral antifungal medication.

Something  you might want to do to ward of yeast infections  whether you are on medication or as part of living healthy  is  take natural yoghurt.

Natural yoghurt contains lactobacillus acidophilus, “a good bacteria ”  which is   present in your intestines as well as the  mouth,vagina  and helps provide the good bacteria your body needs  to  keep yeast infections at bay.

There is no set rule on the amount of yoghurt to take while on a dose of antibiotics  but a serving or two a day  of natural yoghurt  while you are on medication is a good idea.

(A serving of yoghurt is a bout 175 grammes or 3/4 of a cup.)

There is a lot of anecdotal advice on how to treat yeast infections but it is always advisable to seek the advice of a medical professional  first .

 

DANS LE NOIR EXPERIENCE

 

It is some minutes to 7 pm on Thursday and I am walking towards Soi Restaurant at dusitD2 Nairobi, excited for what I  am sure will be a thrilling and fun evening .It is the  launch of their dining in the dark experience,part of the #dusitD2moments.

The first dining in the dark experience was held in Paris,France in 1997 and over the years the idea has been taken up by many other restaurants around the world  in order to deliver  a novel  and multi sensory experience to their diners.

The French call it “dans le noir” which in English translates to in the dark.

As the hostess at Soi was walking me to my table ,the questions swirling in my mind were :

What do I expect from my first dining in the dark experience ?

What really happens at a dining in the dark experience ?

What  happens when you cannot see what is on your plate , does it really  heighten  your enjoyment of food ?

Seated  with me at Soi the Thai  Restaurant   are other food bloggers like Susan Wong Editor at Capital Lifestyle,Kaluhi of Kaluhi’s Kitchen,Katy Fentress of Yummy Magazine  and Ravneet Sehmi of The Asian Weekly ,we are on our second course , and we are trying to guess what it is  on our plates and sharing it with Karim the F & B Director.

We are clearly getting something right guessing from the encouraging response we get from him who though he does not tell us exactly what is on our plates is keenly following the progress of our meal and making sure we are comfortable,that we know exactly where our plates are placed,ensuring we have our drinks  and his cheerful banter keep us engaged and relaxed  throughout the course of the meal.

Karim has such a delightful and engaging personality , has worked in a number of countries and has a genuine love for great food an  interview with him is something I am looking forward to doing.

On our second course  I am chewing on something really delicious  – a vegetable wrap  with  a filling of what tastes like pork or is it chicken I cannot tell as clearly  I am in the dark (pun intended).

Later after the plates for this course have been cleared, we find out that it was  a salad of spicy grilled pork with Tom Yum paste made by the chef whom Karim introduces as   Supa Chai .

All food at dining in the dark experiences is served in bite sized pieces ,has no bones and you can use your hands (we got hot towels before this course) . I  used my fingers to finish my  prawns and egg fried rice with a thick red curry and relished every bite of it.

 This course  was pretty hilarious  because around me I kept hearing prawns being mentioned , I had not yet started on  mine and I kept thinking..what are these guys talking about…where are my prawns?!

The dining in the dark experience at dusitD2  will be happening on the 1st Thursday of every month, officially it begins with the first dining in the dark experience on the 8th of this month (be sure to make your reservations early).

We had a connoisseur of Asian food on our table   and she got the third course which was  chicken  wonton soup right on the first few seconds of this course .Wontons are little squares of dough  and can be filled with chicken ,pork,shrimp or vegetables  the edges are  brushed with some water and  crimped to seal in the fillings ,they are boiled and served with soup.This course was  delightfully delicious and got rave reviews from everyone at the table and  I   remember getting surprised then disappointed  when I started scraping the bottom of the bowl with the soup spoon and finding that the delightfully delicious  soup was over!

Wontons can  also be served  deep-fried or baked with a sauce.

Would I do it again ?

A definite yes , the dusitD2 will be offering a new menu for each dining in the dark experience in the coming months and with 2 new chefs ,diners will be getting some really great  things on the menu.

My suggestion  when you are making your reservations would be to go for the experience as a group ,either as a family,a group of friends or with  your colleagues from work ,that way you get to share your experience through out the course of the meal.

Overall ,it was a great experience and I would definitely go back.

It had me paying more attention to my food,I remember trying to use my sense of smell to try to guess what was on my plate every time we got a new course and deliberately taking longer to chew my food and getting thrilled with the burst of flavors on my palate through out and I realized  how powerful our senses are and  how little  use we make of our other senses when enjoying  food.

Bon appetit!

 

Walkway from the parking that leads through 14 Riverside Drive to the Soi Restaurant

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE POP ART GALLERY AT dusitD2:A SPACE FOR KENYAN ARTISTS

 

Katanu Kay (right) and Santina Nyagah CEO -Maridadi Life (left )

“Art when used well is a powerful , creative force that can change how we see ourselves,the world around us and how we respond to the challenges life throws at us.”

Art has been with us for millenia,for as long as we have had human beings on earth ,we have had art and an appreciation of art is a skill that is as a result of exposure.

The art  scene in Nairobi has become very vibrant and this activity   is what is attracting global attention to the city’s art scene.This vibrancy has been fuelled by a  burgeoning and  educated middle class as well as the high number of expatriates who live in the city who have beome very appreciative of the talent that  resides in the city and its environs.

With no distinct  home-grown art event ,the pop up trend has created an opportunity for artists to showcase their work to an appreciative local and international audience .

dusitD2 has filled this lack of a home-grown art event with the  pop art gallery exhibition  held at its upmarket location on 14,Riverside Drive.

The art exhibition  held every last Saturday of the month  has    a children’s  corner which runs concurrently with the exhibition and is  a partnership with Capital Kids club and  offers  an opportunity for children to get art lessons while  parents  enjoy the art work  from  very talented artists.

Kenyans are not avid consumers of art and through this  collaboration with Google Kenya ,dusitD2 is offering Kenyan artists the space to exhibit and sell their  art as well as   promoting  an  appreciation of art which offers an opportuity  for  artists to  earn a living through the sale of their  work.

On this particular Saturday the artists whose works were on display were:

  • Ssegujja Godfrey
  • Victor Binge
  • Katanu Kay
  • Ronnie Tindi
  • Jak Katarikawe
  • Sam Githui
  • Louis Chvetsova

 

I was very taken by the work of Katanu Kay which incorporated Kitenge fabric ,of particular interest to me was her work Euphoria 2 . We stood in front of that painting  talking about art , what inspires her and in that half hour I forgot she was just 1 month shy of her 20th birthday and that she  had  been exhibiting for just 2 years and  a month . Thanks to the exhibition,which  attended last year for the first time,  her work had found its way to   art collectors  in South Arica,Nigeria,the US and Australia.

 

Euphoria 2 is as a result of  a meeting with a lady who after seeing her work on Euphoria 1 asked for an exact copy of that particular piece.Katanu ,however does not do replicas of her work  and asked if  she could do something different ,the client agreed and the result is Euphoria 2.The two pieces ,Euphoria 1 & 2 are  inspired by the same thing ,a celebration of Katana’s African heritage and culture. It is her desire  that through her work  people take every   opportunity to  embrace being African and to  celebrate it.

She is a graduate   of the  BTEC Art and Design program at Brook House school and is headed to SCAD where she will be pursuing  her   studies in  Fine Art & Interior Design which she wants to pursue up to   PhD  level.

Art for Katanu  is a channel that  she uses to express herself , her ideas and it is a platform to share these ideas with the world.She would love that through her art people are able to ask questions,explore ideas and think outside the box of what society terms as the norm and that through this we develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of each other.

It is why she took the very unusual route of incorporating African fabric in her art work – which I thought was such a  great   conversation starter  on her work and what inspires her.

Read:African fabric making its presence on global runways.

When it was time for me to leave ,I found myself on the terrace of the Soko restaurant   thinking about what an amazing point in time it was to be alive,to hear artists like Katana talk about her   hope to have her work exhibited at the New York Art Gallery .

Thanks to dusitD2, this is not the last we have heard of this young lady and all the other equally talented artists who have found a  space to exhibit their art  work as well given an opportunity for Nairobi residents to enjoy local art.Before leaving,I  made a quick trip back to the exhibition to have one last look and some pieces had already been marked as sold and set aside  which only goes to  emphasise the quality of the work on display.

 

Look out for the next edition of the Pop Art Gallery on the last Saturday of this coming month of February and get ready to sample  great art and food .

See you there!

 

KONNICHIWA,HAVE YOU BEEN TO MINISO ?

 

These bags would be perfect for carrying make-up.

Konnichiwa (hello or good day in Japanese said with a deep bow from the waist)

Last year on May 16,2017 Kenya and Japan signed a cooperation agreement that would see Miniso a fashion brand from Japan make forays into the Kenyan market.Seven months later on December 22nd , Miniso would open its first retail store at the upmarket Village Market shopping  complex  and barely a month later they would open their second store at the Thika Road Mall .

The two  Kenyan  Miniso stores all located in Nairobi city  join a growing list of the over 2,600 outlets it has globally with its presence in Africa being in South Africa,Morocco,Nigeria,Egypt and Madagascar.Kenyans love the brand already as the few times I have been there the aisles have been busy and the staff are always very courteous and helpful.

Whenever I think of Japan it is the  vivid memories of cherry tree blossom season, the geta(the very fashionable wooden sandals) and kimonos that come to mind and sushi,how could i forget how the Japanese gave us Sushi!

Japanese culture intrigues me ,it is so prim and proper ,steeped in tradition yet  as a country is so technologically advanced it is mind boggling.  Tradition and technological advancement  can co- exist we just have to find the balance and African countries are coming into themselves and we have  seen an ever increasing appreciation of African culture globally over the last decade.

Miniso brand specializes in lifestyle products and the range of items in their stores range from play dough , nail polish to kitchen saucepan and mobile phone accessories .I found their products favorably priced and I would dare say they will disrupt the lifestyle retail sector with their high quality but well priced items.

 

As a brand Miniso gives the best of what we appreciate about the Japanese culture,their precision to detail,courtesy(we had an attendant follow us and bring a shopping cart) and a whole new way of doing business .

Konnichiwa(deep bow)

CHRISTMAS POST SERIES:HIDDEN GEMS

 

So there is this little gem,hidden somewhere past Kiserian town about 90 minutes drive  out of Nairobi,along the Magadi road,on a private road  and next  to Ole Polos are  the Ol Talet  and Ol Oika Cottages.This lovely little getaway is nestled in the beautiful wilderness of Kiserian ,from the balcony,you get a lovely and breath taking view of the Rift Valley and you can see the black winding ribbon of Magadi road as it winds its way to Lake Magadi.

Later in the day,as you  sip Kenyan tea or coffee ,it is to the accompanying rattling of the bells on the necks  of Maasai cattle, grazing a few  short meters down the hill.Across the ridge are the herds of goats dotting the landscape as  they make their way up the ridge nibbling on the shrubs and jumping over the rocks that litter the hill.Maybe they will end up on some of our plates over the Christmas season(how sad I think and it almost puts me off eating dinner later).

Ol Talet cottage can accommodate 6 people comfortably as it has 2 double rooms and one room with a double bed,the cottages  are self catering and on hand are David and his able assistant who will roast succulent  goat ribs to perfection.Each of the cottages comes with a fully equipped kitchen and a coffee maker(best news).There is hot shower in their bathrooms ,very  beautiful bathrooms,especially at Ol Talet  where  the excitement of hearing the curtain of sea shells rattle as I walked in for a cold shower  took me to the  beautiful sandy beaches at the Kenyan coast.The bathrooms have wide open windows which let in the morning light and you can see the wide expanse of beautiful African wilderness as far as the eye can see.

Ol Talet cottage has 3 bedrooms,one of them with the 2 single beds is located on the ground floor of the cottage while below ground are the other two bedrooms.The cottage has beautiful,tasteful well done decor and as you walk down the stairs  to the other  2 bedrooms  and shared bathroom below ground ,you walk past a wall filled with  African masks and can admire the stained glass window and the tasteful use of African art and craft pieces in the decor.

There is ongoing work to have a swimming pool ready in 2018.

 

In the morning,I could not wait to wake up to watch the sunset on the balcony ,while listening to the sweet sound of birds chirping and cast my eyes over what seemed like an unending expanse of breath taking views of the Rift Valley.It is so quiet up there ,you want to spend time just watching and listening to nature as it talks to you and whispers that life is a beautiful thing , we are here for a reason and season and we need to make the best of every moment we have.

When it is time for breakfast,we walked up the hill and to the dining area  of Ol Oika cottage where David had set out for us a Kenyan breakfast  and amidst the cheerful banter , we heard nothing except the  familiar voices of friends.If you live in the city long enough ,the honking of cars,matatus becomes normal,that blissful  quietness up there is  a beautiful quietness and we did not want to leave,not yet.

I was  at Ol Talet, with a group of friends,my chama friends,some of whom I have known since Primary school through high school and over the years we  have become   business partners and we had a thoroughly great time  ,occasionally seeing  grey vervet monkeys in the trees that surround the cottage,certainly they must have been curious about us as we were about them.

Before breakfast I had time to look for the   fish pond and almost felt like I was on a Finding Nemo Mission.Remember Bruce the nice shark wit his line “Fish are friends not food.”

The cottages have TV and board games incase you are looking for a little more activity,we were happy to just sit back ,enjoy the scenery,strategize on our plans for the next year and each others company.

If you are looking for a place not too far from the city for a quick getaway then Ol Talet is the perfect location,just over an hours drive from Nairobi,leave on Friday evening and drive back on Sunday after a sumptuous lunch.Bookings at the cottages are done strictly in advance.

Contact Ol Talet .