Other Articles from Isis Nyongo
Tembea Kenya : No Place like Home for the Holidays
You’ve worked hard all year braving freezing winters. You’ve planned long in advance to enjoy a few weeks at home in Kenya.
Now that you’re a mum, you think differently about how to spend this holiday. Your priority is to create enough time to see your family and have your kids get to know their relatives. But you’re also craving one day to live like a local and experience the ‘new Nairobi’. The challenge is that you’ve been gone so long you don’t actually know how to spend that precious day. We suggest doing it right away before other obligations kick in. We’ve pulled together this Nairobi mummy insider guide for you to make it easy – enjoy!
1) Let me See you Do that Yoga
Start off your day with yoga! A Nigerian friend of mine was just lamenting that there was scarcely anywhere in Lagos to do downward dog outside her sitting room. Lucky for you, we have a suite of in-studio yoga options ranging from Bikram Yoga (book early, it’s quite popular!) to Mommy + Me Yoga at Acacia Studio and loads of ‘mobile’ independent yoga instructors who will come to your house (check out this list Yoga Instructors as we’ve got the largest list of those who specialize in prenatal yoga.)
2) Grab a Gourmet Coffee
Unless you’ve literally not been home in more than a decade, you’ll know that coffee restaurant chains Java exist. Takeaway coffee cups are now mainstream. What you may not know, is that the sheer quantity of cafes and restaurants offering excellent cappuccinos and lattes has accelerated. Java, Vida e Caffe and Mugg & Bean have been opening new outlets in petrol stations and other easily accessible locations.
3) Catch up on work at a Co-working Space
If you’re like a lot of my friends who are entrepreneurs or just generally workaholics, your holidays are ‘working holidays.’ The novelty of using free wifi in a Nairobi café will wear off when you bump into so many old friends that you can’t get anything done. Instead, head over to Nairobi’s answer to WeWork to get real work done while also getting a sense of what the innovation trends are right now. You might get inspired to connect with entrepreneurs here to build a global idea together. Some of my favorites include Nairobi Garage above Brew Bistro on Ngong Road (with a new Westlands location opening up), Foundry in Westlands and Nexus CoWork on Riara Corporate Suites.
4) Get Your Hair Did Au Natural
You’ll quickly notice how the natural hair movement has swept across Nairobi. Even my most weave-loving friends are giving it a shot. With that demand, comes a wide range of locticians and sister-curl experts. One of our favourite top natural hair Influencers suggested these top picks to get a quick curl refresh and these spots to see which products local mums are loving. Spare a few hours after work to get your hair in shape for the holidays. And if you fancy giving your kids a haircut, be sure to check out Sprouts in Valley Arcade and Amadiva Beauty on 14 Riverside Drive.
5) Enjoy a Little Retail Therapy
Instead of buying overpriced curios at the airport in a rush on your way out, you could spend an hour or two shopping for gifts or for yourself.
Mall culture is thriving and new malls have opened including the biggest Two Rivers, The Hub in Karen, Garden City in Thika Rd, which is teeming with a wide range of clothes stores, food stores and exquisite restaurants to visit with your family during this holiday season.
For curated selections of well-made local crafts, you can find great options including Spinner’s Web on Peponi Road, Blue Rhino at ABC Place, Peperuka and hidden gem Amani Ya Juu in Kileleshwa. The Maasai Market is a perennial favorite and you can check the convenience of where it is as the vendors pitch up at different malls each day of the week. And some of the best finds are in small shops next to the growing number of outdoor restaurants so keep your eyes peeled.
6) Catch up with your Girls
Before heading home to see your relas and see how your kids are taking to their first day, you’ll want to squeeze in a catch up with your old pals. Everyone’s so much busier with kids and careers but luckily, there are lots of new outdoor restaurants where you can enjoy the great weather and good food. Some of my favorite spots include the Arbor in Lavington, Sundowners at Captains Terrace on Mombasa Rd, Marula Mercantile in Karen, the River Café in Karura Forest, Sunday brunch at Brew Bistro in Westlands and NewsCafe in Kilimani/Sarit Centre is a must-visit for evening fun.
7. Order your Groceries Online
The holiday season is a time to relax and unwind. Christmas brings with it family and festivities. To get a balance of both, you can opt to stay at home and order your groceries online to prepare for that hearty meal that you will share with your family and friends. Zucchini is a great place to start if you really want to go all-out and throw a Christmas party without leaving your house and worrying about the queues at the grocery store.