Inspired: Tropical Flora from my East African Travels

 

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I recently returned from a wonderfully rejuvenating trip home to East Africa. Here’s the story of my trip, told through the tropical flora!

First stop was my hometown of Nairobi. I felt so lucky to wake up each morning to this – such a diverse, colourful collection of foliage. If you’ve been following my #plantsomethingdaily challenge, you know how much inspiration I derive from nature!

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A Summer of Pictures

African Corset Brooklyn Bridge Park NYC

 

Summer is a distant dream for many of us living in the northern hemisphere (climate change aside, that is – only 3 days ago I was out and about in short sleeves!). Indeed, it's now 2 months since I returned to London from my trip to a hot and humid U.S. and, I've been meaning to share the highlights since. What better timing than when I need a reminder of how good it feels to have the sun kiss my appropriately darkened skin.

My 5-week trip was a glorious respite from what has been a very challenging year, in so many ways (more on that another time).

(Corset by Evie Nix)

 

Governors Island Hammock NYC View

 

It was a time for perspective: I find being away from your 'normal' environment great for seeing things clearer.

(Hammock grove at Governor's Island)

 

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Buy African: Statement Necklaces

Buy-African-Statement-Necklaces

 

Accessories are this girl's best friend. Drawing them, making them (way back in the day), working with people who design them and of course, wearing them! I love a good pair of dramatic earrings but, when it comes to really making a statement, nothing beats a fabulously bold necklace. These are a few on my wishlist (from top): Pichulik; Nyumbani Design; Mikuti; Pichulik; Dannijo; Christie Brown.

 

Images via the various online shops linked to above. 

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Related:

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Buy African: Beaded Jewellery from Sidai Designs

Sidai Designs Beaded Jewellery Bracelets African Maasai

 

I came across beaded jewellery by Sidai Designs at a Shake the Dust stall during the Open the Gate African market at Old Spitalfields. I loved the different spin on Maasai-inspired jewellery and the quality finishing.

Sidai Designs collaborates with Maasai women in Tanzania who use recycled materials to create the handmade

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13 of your Favourite Afri-love Posts in 2013

13-Most-Popular-Afri-love-Posts-of-2013

 

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you all for reading these posts and engaging with me. I'm so happy that this blog has given me a platform to meet so many incredible people; to be continuously inspired and; to share the sometimes tough, but always enlightening, lessons that business and life in general throw my way. I look forward to more great discoveries and learning, new relationships and further exchange in 2014!

For this year's round-up, I've decided to do things a little bit different and feature the posts that were most popular each month. Enjoy.

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Inspired: Children’s Entertainment – Tinga Tinga Tales

Tinga-Tinga-Tales-Group-Image-Tiger Aspect

Tinga Tinga Tales is inspired by traditional animal stories from Africa. The aesthetic is inspired by the Tingatinga artwork of Tanzania and I really like how they've interpreted it for the animation medium. 

The show is produced by Tiger Aspect Productions in association with Homeboyz Entertainment in Kenya and the first animation studio in Nairobi trained over 50 Kenyans in design, animation, editing and sound engineering. 

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[Inspired] For the Love of Collage

Ellen-Gallagher-DeLuxe-Collage-Plasticine

I managed to check out the Ellen Gallagher AxME exhibition at London's Tate Modern gallery before it ended at the start of this month. I left making plans about how I was going to find some time, somewhere, to indulge in one of my favourite creative pastimes – collage. 

Why do I love collage so? It can be so many things at the same time: ornate and gritty, playful and provocative. For me, the process is quite cathartic – it forces me to relinquish control because, the end result is rarely close to what I expected or planned. Plus, I do like to get my hands dirty!

Here are some pieces from some artists whose work I'm enjoying …

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Buy African: New Khanga-Inspired Fashion from Chichia London

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I'm loving these new vibrant prints and zany combinations from Chichia London, the fashion label of Tanzanian-born, London-based Christine Mhando.

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TGIF! with Bi Kidude

Bi Kidude Photo by Andy Jones

The legendary singer and maverick (look at that photo!), Bi Kidude, passed away yesterday at over 100 years of age. Born in Zanzibar as Fatma Bint Baraka, she is considered the undisputed queen of Taarab and Unyago music. 

A grassroots advocate for women's rights, Bi Kidude participated in the Unyago movement which involves educating young girls against the dangers of sexual abuse and oppression. She herself escaped her forced marriage at age 13 which, was no doubt quite a feat, especially in 1920s Zanzibar.

Bi Kidude received the prestigious WOMEX award in 2005 for her contribution to music and culture in Zanzibar and a 'Sports and Arts Award' from Tanzania's President in 2012.

Today, a celebration in remembrance of the feisty Bi Kidude.

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