the week that’s been

What are you grateful for from this past week?

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This week, I’m grateful to live in Kenya. I really am. I always wanted to live overseas and it surprises me a little that it’s happened this early in my life. While the change in culture and environment sometimes does my head in, I love that I get to live and explore this part of the world.

Here’s a round up of African-inspired links for your weekend:

The top 25 hotels in Africa. Wow!

My favourite African author.

And next on my reading list.

DIY glitter safari animals.

An 84 year old Kenyan man goes to school for the first time.

I keep seeing these Moroccan rugs everywhere.

An amazing ballet school in Rwanda.

A cute giraffe print clutch.

Yevu, gorgeous outfits from Ghana, available in Aus.

For the men, ENZI shoes from Ethiopia.

Our favourite restaurant in Nairobi.

And Brisbane friends, check out this yummy Ethiopian restaurant.

toto knits

A few weeks ago I put up a post about l.i.f.e bags and how I’d like to share some lovely bits and pieces I’ve picked up while here in Kenya. So today I’d like to introduce Toto Knits!

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Toto Knits is a line of organic cotton knitwear, made with love by a group of single mothers in Nairobi. Founder Erin Brennan Allen designs the pieces and the women who produce them are paid per item – allowing them the flexibility to work as much or as little as they like. Funnily enough, I stumbled upon Toto Knits on one of my favourite blogs before discovering them here in Kenya.

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After discovering the safari sweaters, we sent our nephew and niece a lion and elephant sweater for Christmas – even though it’d be months before the weather would be cool enough to wear them. The great thing with Toto Knits is they provide international shipping, so all I had to do was jump online and click buy – no negotiating with postal staff and the assurance they would actually get to Australia! I was home in August and it was great to see the kids wearing something special from Kenya.

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In addition to the safari and farm animal sweaters, Toto Knits has some other gorgeous pieces – I especially love everything in the Heart + Habit collection. So if you’re needing a special gift for a little person, be sure to consider the organic and ethical items from this lovely line!

glitter safari

When I saw gold glitter and a packet of plastic safari animals within a few metres of each other at our local supermarket, I snapped them up straight away. Art supplies are a bit hit and miss here in Nairobi, so if I see something I like it’s best to buy in then and there – it could be months until it’s in the store again! And I knew exactly what I should do with these cheap new treasures…

IMG_6666 IMG_6667 IMG_6668 IMG_6670 IMG_6671 There are lots of DIY instructions on Pinterest and the like. With my basic supplies, I found I got the best result when I painted the animals in gold nail polish, let them dry, smeared a layer of glue across the animal and then sprinkled glitter on them (with non-sticky fingers). When I rolled the animal in glitter, things tended to get clumpy or the glitter stuck to each other in the bowl, rather than sticking to the animal!

IMG_6674 IMG_6676 IMG_6677We hosted our first Kenyan dinner party on Saturday, in belated celebration of the Christmas we missed. Sparkly safari animals seemed like the perfect mix of Christmas and Kenya, no? A long procession of creatures weaved through our table centrepiece and looked especially pretty by candlelight!

snail mail

postcard-kenyaOne of the reflections that has stuck with me after reading The Happiness Project is Rubin’s ‘Second Splendid Truth’:

One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy; One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.

Surprising a friend with a hand-written postcard makes me happy, hence #10 on my birthday listSend 52 tidbits of snail mail.

The fun of picking out the postcard, the challenge of squeezing in as many details as I can, the satisfaction of pressing down the stamp and sliding the whole thing into a mail box – I love it all! The process itself makes me smile.

Then, depending how reliable the Kenyan postal system is, a few weeks later I get a whole new ‘happiness hit’ when I hear that my little bit of snail mail has arrived safely in the mail box of a dear friend, and that they were thrilled to receive it.

And then, I break out into a Lion-King inspired “It’s the circle of happiness…” and off I go to write another note home.