Motherhood: 4 weeks in + baby bump photos

Tonight marks 4 weeks since my baby boy, Laoleko, was born and my motherhood journey began for real! I thoroughly enjoyed my pregnancy. Despite initially feeling detached from my body and all the changes it was going through, by the second trimester I was completely and utterly in love with everything about the little one growing inside me.

I’d received a lot of motherhood wisdom from friends, and read a lot too, in preparation for what to expect once the little man was here. 4 weeks in and the reality is on a whole other level from the expectation. Levels more intense! For example, the sleep deprivation and the lack of time to do anything other than baby-nurturing tasks. But also, the love for this little guy is more than anything I could have imagined. I get it now. I get why my parents worry about me so much, and why they insist that I’ll always be their baby, even when I’m 60!

To celebrate Laoleko’s 4-week birthday and my 4 week initiation into motherhood (or is that, 9 months and 4 weeks, hmmmm…?), a list of things I’ve experienced, observed, learned so far. In no particular order: Continue reading “Motherhood: 4 weeks in + baby bump photos”

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”

The Afri-love List: 4 (East) African Photographers to Follow on Instagram

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This is the first of many lists as I’m constantly discovering amazing African photographers (and other creatives), through Instagram. The four featured here all hail from my part of the continent – the east. This is just a slice of their repertoire so be sure to check them out their Instagram feeds. In alphabetical order …

Continue reading “The Afri-love List: 4 (East) African Photographers to Follow on Instagram”

African style / 1

I have a Pinterest board called ‘African Style’ and finding pictures for it brings me much joy. We are truly a creative and beautiful people! I’ve decided to do a regular round-up of some of my favourites. Here’s number

1.

African-Style-1-Swahili-Kanga-Fulani-Hairstyle

Continue reading “African style / 1”

In Technicolour: My Winter Colour Palette

In January, I noticed a trend in the photos I was taking – there were a lot of peachy, coral colours alongside different shades of green. I love this combination of colours and can’t wait to apply it to some illustrations or designs.

It’s freezing and grey outside so, I’m just happy that my spirit is still vibrating on a more vibrant frequency!

What colours are speaking to you right now?

 

Continue reading “In Technicolour: My Winter Colour Palette”

In Pictures: When Darkness Meets the Light

Photography-Contrast-Darkness-Light-Lulu-Kitololo-2Over a decade ago, I came across a quote which has stayed in my memory since:

“Had I not fallen, I would not have arisen.
Had I not been subject to darkness, I could not have seen the light”
Midrash

The quote has special resonance for me now, given how good I feel about this year, in contrast to the last. Incidentally, as I look back through my Instagram feed from the past couple of months, there are quite a few photos that play with this contrast between darkness and light. Above and below are a few – catch the full story behind each, over on Instagram.

Continue reading “In Pictures: When Darkness Meets the Light”

Recent Art Adventures: Appreciation, Inspiration and Making

One of the things I'm really enjoying at the moment is all the art that I'm discovering, experiencing and making. Here are some photos from recent adventures …

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While in Manchester recently, it wasn’t all about plant photography. I chanced upon graffiti artist Akse (P19 Crew) working on a Mandela portrait.

 

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A few days later, I finally checked out the Return of the Rudeboy exhibition at Somerset House. Created and curated by photographer and filmmaker, Dean Chalkley, and fashion-industry creative director, Harris Elliott, the exhibition “showcases a sartorial subculture through a series of portraits, installations and set pieces” (exhibition site). Beautiful photography and amazing style – inspiration to up my own game!

 

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The exhibition features a few rudegirls too. Here: Zoe Bedeaux.

 

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I was digging the colours, textures and patterns in this corner of the We Are Cuts barbershop/salon installation.

 

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A few days after that, the Asilia UK team went to check out Pangaea: New Art from Africa and Latin America, at the Saatchi Gallery. You’d think from this picture that I forced them to go!

 

5b Boris Nzebo Art Pangaea Exhibition
 

I loved the colour, lines and layering in the work of Cameroonian artist, Boris Nzebo.

 

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Kathryn and Lusungu mesmerised by a painting by Ivorian artist, Aboudia.

 

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This is a detail from a piece by Dakar-based artist, Vincent Michea. This and the piece below celebrate African music. Vibrant, simple but striking.

 

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Over in my maker's corner …

A couple of years ago I shared my desire to spend more time creating. Even though I own a creative business, over the past few years, I’ve found that I haven’t been doing as much making as I’d like. You may have caught my post from a couple of months ago – "Beyond Making" – explaining all the other things that are involved in running a creative business. 

I’m happy to declare that, things are changing! Particularly since June. I’ve been getting my hands ‘dirty’ much more and not only has it brought me much creative satisfaction but, opportunities too! I’ve been receiving such a great response to my illustrated portraits, for example. Here are a few snippets of things I’ve worked on recently.

 

9-Lulu-Kitololo-Art-Asilia-Design-Work-in-Progress-Painting-Patternmaking

 

I’ve been designing the upcoming album cover for musician, Namvula. I created a pattern, inspired by some kitenge (wax print) fabric on a dress she owns. The first step was painting the elements that would make up the pattern.

 

10-Lulu-Kitololo-Art-Asilia-Design-Work-in-Progress-Pattern-Making
 

I then played around with them on the computer and the pattern began to take shape. It was a really hectic week for me – moving offices and preparing to travel, while trying to keep on top of the usual demands. For the first time ever, I took to working on the bus, between meetings and errands! I prefer taking the bus to the tube anyway, especially when it’s as hot as it has been lately. Since the bus usually takes longer, I thought I’d capitalise on that time and be productive.

 

11-Lulu-Kitololo-Art-Drawing-Work-in-Progress-Illustrate-Me-Asilia-Design
 

Above, detail of a drawing I made to be used as a background for an illustrated portrait I was working on …

 

12-Lulu-Kitololo-Illustrate-Me-Asilia-Design-Illustrated-Portraits-Lizzie
 

… for marketing whiz, Lizzie Phillips. This is the final product. Another satisfied Illustrate Me customer!

 

And that's all for now. Follow me on Instagram (@lulukitololo) for daily adventures in appreciating, finding inspiration for and making art.

 

What are you working on this week?

 

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Creative Muses: Plant Life

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The weather in the UK has been refreshingly wonderful for the past few weeks. I've tried to spend as much time outdoors as I can which means, more encounters with one of the greatest sources of inspiration in my book – plants! The colours, the patterns, the sheer diversity –  plant-gazing is surely one of the purest delights. 

 

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Fruits and vegetables count as plant life for me. I've found that my paleo journey has exposed me to varieties that I had not come across before! I've been frequenting my local farmers' market where I can buy organic produce at prices that rival those of even conventional veggies in the supermarket. Above, round courgettes (aka zucchini) from Wild Country Organics

 

3-Nature-Creative-Muse-Dahlias-Northern-Flower-Manchester

 

Spotted these Dahlias this past weekend in Manchester, at a charming quirky boutique flower shop called Northern Flower. It was stocked with the most interesting selection of plants, including venus fly traps!

 

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Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that the gardens at the Horniman Museum count as one of my favourite places in London. The image above was enhanced with a little help of that wonderful tool, VSCOcam.

 

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I find it hard to walk by florists without pausing to take a picture. Especially in summer when their wares are out on the pavement begging for it. This one is in Bethnal Green and unfortunately I didn't note the name …

 

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I do have quite a bit of fun manipulating enhancing photographs on my phone. It has become one of my favourite commute-time activities!

 

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Horniman again. And there will be more …

 

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Chilli peppers at the Northern Flower. I was so tempted to purchase a pot or three!

 

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Horniman …

 

10-Nature-Creative-Muse-Flowers-Tate-Modern-Bankside-London

 

This regal beauty caught my eye as I was walking along the riverbank, not far from the Tate Modern museum.

 

Nature, the universe and mother-love

I came across some quotes by environmentalist, naturalist, traveler, writer, and scientist, John Muir, that I totally resonate with:

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.

There is a love of wild Nature in everybody, an ancient mother-love ever showing itself whether recognized or no, and however covered by cares and duties.

 

I found them here, where you can read plenty more from his book, John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir (which is now on my wishlist!).

 

What about nature inspires you?

 

All photos by Lulu Kitololo. 

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Pins of the Week: Eclectic Global Boho Chic

That mouthful of a title summarises much of what visually turns me on. I think of an abundance of pattern, colour, prints – and wacky combinations of all three! Despite the diversity of traditions and design output, I think it’s interesting to note the similarities when you look at Africa, Asia and Latin America. Similarities in feel and creative energy – i.e. something rather intangible – perhaps, more than anything else.

 

2 Abacaxi NYC Skirt

3-African-Style

4-Boho-Prints-Accessories-Bags

5-Kilim-Chairs

6 African-Print-Jekkah-Mens-Shirt-Asos-Africa-Kanga-Top-Trousers

 

Follow me on Pinterest for more eclectic global boho chic.

 

Pins – left-right, from top: Photo by Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou; fashion from Abacaxi NYC; skirt from Abacaxi NYC; stylish dudes; prints galore; backpack; chairs; men’s top from Jekkah; Asos Africa outfit.

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Last Week in Pictures: Tropical Hints

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2-Typography-Tropical-London-Instagram

 

As the weather warms up in London, being outside becomes so much more compelling and, I have more excuses to pause and take note of the sights around me. Here are some from the past week. All the visual stimulation is motivating me to procrastinate less on making (hence the first photo above) – an extra win! 

 

3-Creativity-and-Noise-Tshirt-Lusungu-Chikamata

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That's Lusungu in one of his new Creativity and Noise Brazil World Cup tees. We found that tropical backdrop at Shoreditch Food Village. Below, the entrance to London's Ace Hotel – a super cool space to work and no doubt staycation in (wishlist!). Below right: beautiful mirrored patterning at the Brick Lane Jamme Masjid.

 

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6-Box-Park-Flowers-East-London-Housing-Patterns

 

A sobering warning from the bees. I actually witnessed the graffiti artist finishing this piece in Shoreditch. It's a pretty long wall, this is probably less than a quarter of it. Below left – I love yellow and I love flowers. These were in Boxpark near the pop-up Cotton's caribbean restaurant. Below right – I kept noticing this pattern on several housing blocks in East London. 

 

7-Southbank-Centre-Roof-Garden

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Finally checked out the Southbank Centre roof garden. I also caught this beautiful typography at the end of the Alchemy South Asia festival. Below left – kitsch colourful ceilings in Edmonton!

Check out more pictures from my daily adventures on my Instagram feed – @lulukitololo.

Happy Monday in advance everybody! Here's to a vibrant week!

 

All photos by Lulu Kitololo

 

Continue reading “Last Week in Pictures: Tropical Hints”