My natural pregnancy journey + birth affirmation cards

I first started to write this natural pregnancy journey post at 20 weeks. I was loving all the education I was receiving about natural pregnancy and birth. Now, at 31 weeks, I’m even more grateful for what I learned and the decisions I’ve made so far – my pregnancy has been such a pleasurable experience!

The natural path

I appreciate that the information about approaches to a more natural pregnancy and birth aren’t the standard and you often have to actively seek it out. Luckily I love to learn and I’m happy to go out of my way in pursuit of the most natural options possible when it comes to many things. From what I put on my skin, to what I put in my mouth. From how I treat myself when I’m unwell, to what I use to clean my home.

Natural pregnancy resources

When I became pregnant, I had a new and most precious project on my hands and I dived in with enthusiasm. For those of you with less time, or who may not know where to begin, I thought I’d share some books, services and other resources that have been of great value to me. I’ve also designed some illustrated birth affirmation cards for you to download (details below).

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Real talk for creative African women – join in!

Last week I launched the Afri-love Women Facebook group, for creative African women balancing self-care and professional excellence.

When I started this blog, almost 7 years ago, I always had a vision that it would be more than just a one-way conversation. That it would lead to activities and initiatives in the real world. In late 2015, I held the Afri-love Sundown Sessions – 3 intimate evenings of live music, co-hosted with musician Sirena Riley. Late last year, I co-hosted a Nairobi brunch for women creatives, together with the Nzinga Effect. Both events were successful in many ways and, I received such great feedback from attendees. I knew that I wanted to create more opportunities for interaction with like-minded people – in real life and virtually as well – and the Afri-love Women Facebook group is step one.

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My daily routine – pregnancy edition

So far, this year has found me either: on the road; preparing for being on the road; educating myself about and getting to grips with pregnancy; and preparing for the arrival of my baby. Needless to say, “routine” is a word whose meaning I’d totally forgotten. I have a feeling that, once baby comes, I won’t even know how to spell the word!

I’m a person who both hates routine and thrives on it. Or rather, I hate the idea of monotony – of doing the exact same thing, over and over again. Yet, I crave some sort of structure. I’m almost OCD about it: creating lists is one of my favourite pastimes! 

Not too long ago, I discovered a way that has been working for me; a balance between having order but still retaining some dynamism in my days.  Continue reading “My daily routine – pregnancy edition”

Expand in creativity, business and life – September round-up

Regular readers may have noticed my blogging hiatus, as I reconfigured my life and business. However, Afri-love subscribers have been less neglected, thanks to A week of Afri-love: a weekly email I started a few months ago, where I share 5 Afri-love-worthy things. Each edition includes:

  1. Buy African: featuring exquisite African-made/made in Africa goods
  2. Something to look at, read, watch or listen to
  3. Some visual place to get lost in (usually amazing Instagram feeds that will fuel your imagination and take you places!)
  4. Events across the world
  5. Last but not least, an “expand” item – something that I’ve come across that has been useful for me in my quest for better health, creative excellence and success in my business

For those who don’t receive these nuggets weekly, I thought I’d do a round-up of “expand” posts, every 2 months, selecting just 5 of my favourite items.

Here’s edition number one! Continue reading “Expand in creativity, business and life – September round-up”

Black Female Yogis

Black Female Yogis Yoga Racheal Wasia Wasia Koya Webb

 

I first took a yoga class when I was in university, around 15 years ago, and I’ve been in love ever since.

In the many different classes that I’ve taken over the years, I am often the only black person, let alone black woman, in the room. Fair enough I live in England but, London is a diverse and multi-cultural place.

I have come across several people, with complexions similar to mine, who have misconceptions about yoga that prevent them from trying it. Some feel that it’s in conflict with their religious beliefs and some feel that it’s something that only ‘privileged people’ do. I think it’s a shame for barriers such as these to prevent the discovery of the amazing benefits of yoga – physical, emotional and yes, spiritual too.

I’m always excited to discover black female yogis who are breaking the mould (and hopefully some of those barriers). Here are 3 women I’ve come across, via beloved Instagram (which, over the past year, has really encouraged me to concentrate on truly creating the life that I desire). They have inspired me to get serious about something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time: develop a consistent, regular practice.

They are, from top: Yoga Racheal (@yogaracheal) is a yoga instructor who describes herself as a ‘lover – encourager – giver – believer’; Wasia Wasia (@wasiawasia) is an artist, musician and yogi; Koya Webb (@koyawebb) is an international holistic health coach and yoga instructor; Racheal and Koya are run Acroyoga workshops together, in Los Angeles, CA (There’s one tonight!).

 

Resources + inspiration

For those of you interested in practising yoga, here are some other useful resources and inspirational people:

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Why I’m thankful for the toughest year ever

There are 2 hours of 2014 left as I write this and I am extremely emotional. This year has been the toughest that I’ve ever experienced and yet, after a really long time, I feel more authentically myself.
The lows
Business was extremely challenging and along with that, finances. And when you’re responsible for the finances of 10 other people, it’s a whole other level of pressure. I started to doubt my competencies, skills and vision. At some point, I even lost sight of the joy that I derive, working to help passionate people express and present the magic they bring to the world.
Add to this, the health condition which, my body miraculously manages by itself, took a turn for the worse. After 8 years of not having this condition interfere with my day-to-day life, this was an immense wake-up call. I took it as a sign that I seriously had to review my life and start doing things differently.

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Tips for Successful Paleo Living: Meal Prep

Paleo-Meal-Prep-Roasted-Squash

Many things about paleo eating are actually much easier than you might think. The first question I usually get when explaining this lifestyle to people is – so what can you eat?! My response – cutting out grains, dairy, sugar and processed foods actually opens your eyes to a wide variety of interesting foods (particularly vegetables and roots) that we otherwise ignore. I’ve become a much more creative cook as a result.

The next hurdle is finding time to cook. Eating paleo means you’re most likely going to have to cook a lot – because that’s the best way of making sure you know what’s in your food (and what’s not!). These are busy times and even for me, the thought of coming home from a full day at work and hours of commuting to cook a nutritious meal is not something I can realistically sustain day-in day-out. It’s easier to grab some greasy take-away or throw some grains in some boiling water and top them with something out of a jar or can.

To successfully sustain a paleo lifestlye, you need to be prepared. You need to make it hard to reach for the unhealthy options. Enter meal prep. It’s as simple as it sounds: taking some time to prepare several meals in advance. Lus and I do this at least once a week. If you plan it well and get several things on the go simultaneously, in 2 -3 hours, you can have a variety of meals cooked to cover you for at least half of the week, if not more.

In this post I share some photographs from a recent meal prep afternoon. On the menu:

  • Roasted sweet mama squash
  • A mustard green and onion frittata (cut in rectangles and voila – breakfast!)
  • Korean beef stew (add raw courgette noodles when you’re ready to eat!)
  • Cassava (aka yucca) cooked in coconut milk and cardamom, with some red and yellow peppers
  • A whole roast chicken
  • Chard sauteed with onions and garlic

You’ll notice minimal vegetables here. Vegetables are so quick to steam or saute and indeed, many are great raw so, we tend to leave a lot of them out of meal prep and prepare them on the day.

See the ‘related’ links at the bottom of this post for more information on paleo eating, my journey and recipe ideas.

Paleo-Meal-Prep-Baked-Eggs

(Frittata with mustard greens and onions – without the potatoes. Image at top of post: squash roasted with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper)

Paleo-Meal-Prep-Beef-Stew

(Korean beef stew. I use this recipe and leave out the soy sauce and sugar)

Paleo-Meal-Prep-Coconut-Cassava-Yucca

(Cassava/yucca in coconut milk with cardamom and peppers. A recipe I learned from my mother, inspired by East African coastal cooking. Details to come …)

Paleo-Meal-Prep-Roast-Chicken

(A very easy, tasty and comforting roast chicken)

Paleo-Meal-Prep-Chard

(Chard sauteed with onions and garlic)

Bon appetit! What’s on your menu this week?

Photos by yours truly, with a little VSCOcam love. Search ‘#mealprep’ on Instagram for some more, mostly paleo inspiration. And follow me while you’re there – ‘lulukitololo’

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Related:

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Paleo Meal Ideas and Templates (+ Results from my Health Reset Challenge)

Paleo-Meals-Egg-Salad

 

A week ago Wednesday marked the end of my Health Reset Challenge. The mission had been to complete a Whole30 – 30 days of strictly paleo, as well as regular exercise and at least 8 hours of sleep daily.

 

Unfortunately

I was not consistent with keeping to my exercise and sleep goals, mainly due to me prioritising working on my fortune. As I’ve gotten into the groove of the new year and put in motion the game plans to achieve my 2014 goals, I have a more realistic picture of where I can make time for exercise and how I can develop a consistent and sufficient sleep pattern.

 

Fortunately

Continue reading “Paleo Meal Ideas and Templates (+ Results from my Health Reset Challenge)”

30 Day Health Reset Challenge: In the Interests of Getting Things Done

30-Day-Health-Reset-Challenge-Getting-Things-Done-Afri-love

 

We all know that, if we’re going to be putting in the work that’s required to make things happen this year, we cannot neglect our bodies. They are the precious vehicles that help us to turn thoughts and ideas into action.

Yet, if you’re anything like I have been in the past, the first things that get compromised when I’m busy are:

  • Exercising
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Healthy eating

Probably in that order!

And it’s January. You more than likely overindulged in some festive eating (my excuse, throughout December, was – “it’s Christmas!”). And you more than likely didn’t move half as much as you usually do (it’s cold! I need to rest! Etc. …).

It’s almost 2 weeks into the month and the resolution fever has probably started to die down for most but, I want to let you in on a challenge that might just change the course of your year. It’s a challenge that I’m embarking on, along with my partner, his sisters and a few of my friends. And I would love for you to join us.

Continue reading “30 Day Health Reset Challenge: In the Interests of Getting Things Done”

2014: The Year of Fearlessness

Afri-love-Year-of-Fearlessness-2014

 

Happy new year everybody! I have an amazing feeling about this one – this moment is pregnant with the raw energy of a boiling pot of water that’s just about to pop its lid off! It’s that exciting.

 

Last year in review

stopped making resolutions a few years back. Instead, I pick a quality/action/intention to use as my guiding philosophy for the year. Last year it was kindness. The verdict:

Continue reading “2014: The Year of Fearlessness”