Friday, August 28, 2015

Let's talk Silk

I met up with a couple of friends two weeks ago and one of them was wearing a stylish yellow silk top that reminded me how much I love the feel of silk.   If worn well, Silk can give you a luxurious look. I bought a silk fabric about three years ago and even took it to the tailor but for some darn reason I could not make up my mind on the design nor was I convinced the tailor would't overwork it or know how to cut and stitch it as required. One minute I would want a draped dress, the next a maxi dress, the next a pair of blouses and the next a fitted skirt. As you can see my thoughts were all over the place. Seeing that silk top reminded me how much I want to incorporate more silk items to my look. So below are a few ways that you can wear silk or a few ways that I personally find stylish.

This is one of my favourite looks. This is stretch silk meaning it has 5% elastane. I am not a fan of brown but i would definitely wear this outfit. The top is less fitting which balances with the fitted bottom.
I'm usually wary of prints but this butterfly silk dress is absolutely gorgeous. I have thing about back details and this dress sells me on the back detail alone.
Front view of the butterfly silk dress

Cara is slaying in this high slit silk maxi skirt. 
Before I became self conscious about my arms silk cami tops were a staple in my closet. I really love them with fitted blazers.
I love simple silk tops in monotones. It gives you an expensive and classic look. You can dress it up or dress it down
One of my favourite official looks. Silk tee's come in handy.

I think I'm finally ready to embrace the wide legged and palazzo pants trend and silk is the perfect way to do it. I love this outfit though it needs darker shoes. The way the top just hangs and slouches on her is one of my favourite things about silk. This can be both  work outfit as well as a social look
So chic!

White on white
Now this is fashion. Nicole Richie in a white and blue embroidered silk trouser

High low silk skater dress
This silk print dress is so alluring!!!!
So elegant. Full silk skirt paired with a fitted knit top
Talk about being a siren!
I like the red silk skirt. I don't know the mess that is going on with that top but this skirt would be a stunner
A beautiful transition outfit. The white silk top works well with the red blazer
Asymmetrical silk skirt

Michael Kors Silk Blouse
Animal print silk shirt

Print silk dress in Fuschia

Chinese silk print dress. Those shoes are hot!

Double volume using silk. This is a tricky look and mostly for petite frames
Silk kimono. I prefer them with shorts or tights
Love the oversize silk top

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Our next guest blogger on the hair series will be miss fabulosity Cyndi.

I have what they call steel wool hair. Black and hard. Needs extra time and patience. When I look back at all the things my hair has been through rather everything I have taken it through, I come to come to one conclusion- it’s all good genes.

My childhood hair memories consist of weekly lines being plaited by our good Ugandan house help. It was a routine that was painful. Friday afternoons were scheduled strictly for a wash and plait of 15 small lines but one week when she was away I simply told my mum I cannot and do not want long hair and in under 15 minutes it was all short

So I joined a mixed primary school at the onset of my teens and instantly knew hair was a plus and so the hair journey started, again, plaiting painfully. Fast forward to my adult life and when you have some coins you know you can do as you please. There is choice and variety.

I’m a slave of braided hair because Kenyatta market has made it quick- with 3 people tugging every corner of your head- you just need music for 3 hours and then you hear someone tell you’ madam imeisha’ and you know your good to go. I must also credit Darling Kanekalon for the variety of braids- I’m at the point where I can confidently tell you what braids last, what does not, colour availability, retail price, best place to shop, what is best for hot water use, what is best for what season and what will give you a headache. I can also refer you to several braiding experts in Kenyatta Market. I’m that dedicated.

Okay back to my hair routine…. I actually don’t have one. I love my retouched hair on week 3 as that’s when it has bounce and body. Dark & Lovely Regular Chemical always works. I treat when I remember which my sister and friends find ridiculous. I use Olive Oil mostly because it smells nice. My salonist gave up on me a long time ago though she is still very kind and calm with me. I actually consider a retouch when the ladies at ‘Kenyatta market start to make snide comments on my ‘growth’ levels. ‘‘hii inataka chemical madam’’ and I feel some hint of rejection-like they don’t want me to look nice in my 3 packets ZoukBal braids after arriving there at 7.00am. Then I know it’s time to give Wairimu that long overdue call. I have actually just retouched my hair this month after 13 months of braiding glory. She was thrilled to see me but dismayed at the state of my hair. Weak and lack lustre. She said it to my face.

My most exhilarating hair experience was colouring it bright red (with Dark and Lovely)…- 2 years ago. I felt sooo fabulous and on top of things… people staring at my red mane was so exciting. I was finally enjoying open hair BUT I did not give it the care- weekly treatments- it deserved and so after 1 year I got bored. This is especially when I noticed the black hair growing and I now had to colours- black and red. I swiftly went back to braiding monthly then it started to cut as it was so brittle and weak. With each braiding style- it got shorter and weaker but hey Darling Kanekalon had my back, no hair so who would know.

I’m finally back to a black mane after just retouching it- it’s kinda boring and I’m considering colouring it again- with a different brand- (Crème of Nature ) but my salonist- Wairimu has advised (begged) me to give my hair time to recover but red hair is sooo fun! I am trying to treat it weekly- so far 2 treatments in 4 weeks so kudos to me. I can say from the feel currently – it feels lighter and still weak compared to 2 years ago before the red colour business but it still looks good. It’s all about the good genes because I really do not give it the attention it deserves. Which side of the gene pool you may ask….well that’s a story for another day but I certainly am thankful. I already know what I’m braiding in roughly 2 weeks. Hi Darling, it’s me your favourite braids client. Maybe if I took better care of it- this hair just might grow to my lower back, maybe. If all else fails I will do a big chop, go natural and yes, colour it red and live happily ever after.

Tips from what I’ve experienced and seen.

1. Hair likes to be oiled.

2. Hair likes to be washed.

3. Hair likes treatment.

4. Hair likes to be loved.

#BEAUTYSEGMENT Guest BlogPost: my formerly blemish-less skin but now acne-prone skin

Nduta is our guest blogger today as part of the beauty series.

I had my first significant pimple in April of 2013; now a little over 2 years ago. Before that I may have had the occasional heat rash or mosquito bite but no pimples. Then come 2013 and a few life lessons later, it seems that one morning I got up and my face had broken out into all manner of hideous and concerning pimples. Of course I ignored them because I thought that they would just go away as quickly as they appeared but they didn't.

I've never had much of a skin care routine - I was always one of those girls who would use whichever soap was in the soap-dish but then I started reading up and learnt that it was near sacrilege to use the wrong soap. It feels like I have tried it all but this isn't very true since I neither fancy nor have the time and money to keep up with pricey facial routines (I don't know if they work). I did the recommended monthly facials but each subsequent facial seemed to make things worse! At my most desperate I even saw a dermatologist for a while but as soon as I completed the course of medication the pimples were back in full swing. I finally tried the famous 'African black Soap' from Nigeria but it left my face feeling overly dry, sensitive and looking raw. I don't wear much make up which led me to the conclusion that this is more a symptom of stress rather than anything else..right? 

Anyhow, a friend of a friend recommended that I try some natural products that she was using made by another innovative nairobian. A lady (from the Coast of course) makes natural soaps for problematic skin - be it oily, acne-prone, dry etc - and she suggested that I try the 'haba soda' soap for my formerly blemish-less skin but now acne-prone skin. Having nothing to lose, I decided to try it and though I don't know what exactly it is made of, I do know that it is gentle on my skin, it removes all my mascara without being harsh on the skin around my eyes (which I've noticed is usually quite sensitive), leaves my skin feeling clean and fresh and does not dry my skin out. I'm on my 3rd bar (I buy a bar at Kshs. 400 and break them in half for each to last longer) and I would recommend it to anyone who's willing to try something new.

When I'm done washing my face with this soap (which I usually do twice a day; immediately I wake up and just before I sleep - I don't use an face cloth; just my clean hands and lukewarm or cold water, 
I then apply virgin coconut oil which has a natural SPF 4 (*the benefits of virgin coconut oil are just to many and too awesome - I use it for my hair, my face, my entire body, for cooking and I recently discovered that I can use it as spread for toast as well!), 
Then I add sunscreen on top of the coconut oil each and every day regardless of the weather and I'm good to go.

Incidentally, I don't know if I have dry skin, combination skin or normal skin (I've heard varied and contradictory feedback from one facial expert too many) but I am sure that 
(a) it's not oily and that 
(b) so far this stress-free regimen seems to be working quite fine but now I need a natural, simple, affordable and sustainable solution for the scaring and blemishes..

When I have a particularly nasty pimply I dry it out by putting a little Apple Cider Vinegar (bought in nakumatt or uchumi) on a ball of cotton will and dabbing the pimple.
It's usually gone by morning.

If anyone needs the number of the lady who makes the soap then let me know -

Monday, August 24, 2015

#HAIR-SEGMENT Guest Blogpost Straighteningni pesa ngapi?

Sasha is our first guest blogger for Hair segment and I must say if you grew up in East Africa you will surely relate.

I stepped in to the UK and I gained mad respect for my hairdresser, honestly I miss her even though we fought from time to time but hey ‘wagombanao ndio wapatanao’. Making your hair in the UK is bloody expensive; you can easily fuel a range rover as opposed to doing your hair. A simple blow dry (and you have already washed your hair) so ni ku straighteniwa tu (local salon language) comes to a whooping 3000 bob (£20) which is a lot of money. With (£20), you can buy groceries for a week and that’s inclusive of treats (ice cream, cheese cake or even a bottle of wine). A new blow dry at argos is ksh 3,750 and you can get cheaper ones for almost (£20)

If you are feeling generous you can get one for KSH 6,000 (£40) and its colored and am sure if you call the supplier they could engrave your name on it , okay maybe I'm pushing it a bit.

So better to buy the blow dry and straighten your hair from your house. Sounds very practical, right? Well it is until you get mid hair section and your arms are so tired you feel like you have been lifting weights. To top things up, you finish the whole straightening process and it doesn’t look the way mama Sue does it. One side is shinier and straighter than the other. Also there is no one to hold for you a back mirror to check out how it looks from behind. To finish the whole experience you have now smoked your room because ventilation is limited; the windows don’t open fully but that’s another story altogether. So now you have semi good hair, body aches of a weight lifter and have to stay in a room that smells of mixture of oils and burntness (the state of being burnt). I laugh when I remember how when I was charged KSH 50 to straighten my hair I would think I am being ripped off. Me bargaining mad, ‘huwezi fanya na 30 bob?’, hahahahha. I had not realized how even being held for a back mirror felt till I wrote this. Next time you are in the salon and your mama Sue holds up a mirror for you, enjoy the moment and say thank you.

#BeautySegment Guest BlogPost: Baby Soft Skin

Hiuko is our first guest blogger on this #beautysegment and I must say I do agree with her that plus size peeps have the most amazing skin!

I WILL HAVE BABY SOFT SKIN!! This has become my new mantra. The last time I had baby bottom smooth skin was pre adolescence and then the hormones smacked me in the face. I got black heads and white head and scars and everything that could possibly go wrong on my skin happened in sequence. I steamed, scrubbed and even used oxy 10 (which in hindsight was probably bleach) and then one day the break outs disappeared but the scars remained.

To be honest though, I stopped taking care of my skin as I added weight because it got smooth the more weight I added the smoother it got. MY SKIN GOALS WERE ACHIEVED!! Then I lost weight and the bumps and ridges returned (someone really needs to do a study as to why plus size women have super smooth skin) so I started on a skin care routine to ensure that on days when I do not feel like make up, I still look smooth. 

First, I prayed that maybe an angel’s wing feather would fall on my face overnight and I’d wake up with the smooth skin but nothing!! I decided to research and top of my list was face towel. The double duty of face and body towel needed to end and closely behind it was that of face and body soap. I invested in face cloths (which are recycled weekly) and face soap (good old fashioned Nuru soap) that is kept in its own soap dish. Then I identified my skin type and let me tell you, the amount of oil my face produces on the daily would be enough to fry obambla so that had to be controlled first and I was introduced to liwa (sandalwood). It comes in a powder form and at first I would mix it with extra virgin coconut oil (yes add oil to oily skin) and water to form a paste and mask daily. Once a week, I would mix it with sugar and scrub then mask. Over 2 months, I realised that my shine was gone. Now I mask every other day with just the liwa and water paste. I will be introducing turmeric soap to my skin regime in conjunction with the liwa. 

I also discovered the power of MOISTURIZER!! It is the one thing that I MUST apply to my face. Make your life easy and buy a moisturizer with SPF so that you do not have to add sun screen over it. And water is truly life so sip it like you are being paid (and your skin will pay you back).

I may not have baby smooth skin for now but I am getting there by keeping it really simple, never sleeping with make-up (baby wipes are a life saver for this) and hydrating my life. Soon tutafika. Very soon I hope.

#BeautySegment: Weekly Facial Regimen

I turned thirty last September  and in about a month I turn thirty one and for some reason that seems more serious like ish just got real. Among other things it means I cannot be my usual laissez faire when it comes to my skin care more so my face as I plan to age gracefully yet remain my smashing old self. I have a facial routine that by some miracle I have managed to follow for two weeks and hoping I can keep at it for at least three months. Consistency is my main challenge as I tend to get bored easily or get lazy. Every healthy skin care regimen includes daily-use and weekly-use products

My skin is oily and sensitive . It throws hissy fits for no particular reason and at times drives me nuts! A product that could have been working for months can suddenly make my skin break out in rashes for no logical reason. It's like my skin is some wicked witch at times. My grandmother keeps reminding me that I will be glad I have oily skin as I age as no one wants beef jerky kind of skin at any age. I am really into natural ingredients as part of my regimen as they are effective, safe, cheap and readily available. They will greatly feature in most of my routines from skincare to hair. That said and done, Clinique products are the ish. When my face is not being a nasty co-wife those products do my face a world of good and I would recommend them for anyone with an oily or combination type of skin.

I got this facial routine from youtube videos and just tweaked it to make it work for me. I don't like the feel of honey/yoghurt etc on my skin hence I don't use them on my skin or hair. If you have dry skin perhaps try them but as I said I have an oily skin hence don't need any of that.

The routine includes steaming my face, a scrub, then a mask , cleansing it, a toner and moisturising it.

I do this routine three times ; Monday, Wednesday and Friday with a break over the weekend but I tend to find that I have more time over the weekend to do the facials rather than weekday so you can start on a Saturday then on a Monday there after on a Thursday. You make it work for you. The other thing it's the steaming part. That for me is the most challenging and one i'm most likely to skip  when I'm lazy, but it's so key so find ways incorporating it in your routine. I do this facial in the morning but some prefer to do it at night and either way as long as you do it then you are sorted. The three times a week is for those times your face is breaking out like mad or is just not where you want it but once my face takes a chill pill and allows me to be great then I will do it once a week . Knowing your face and what is working will help you in determining what frequency is required.

Let me get into the nitty gritty of each step :

1. Steaming
Before you steam, wash your face because you don't want impurities getting into your pores as steaming will open your pores and help in pulling impurities deep within your skin to the surface. Initially when you start steaming be warned that you will have some break outs as impurities are pulled to the surface. If you persist with steaming and doing a facial mask regularly then you will see these breakouts clearing up. There are various ways to steam your face from face steamers, steam rooms or a bowl at home. I usually boil water in a kettle or microwave then I pour it into a bowl while it is still steaming hot. I fill the bowl halfway then lean over it with a towel to keep the steam from escaping. Ideally you should steam your face for 10 minutes but so far I've only managed to do 5 minutes as I get claustrophobic, I've  also noticed that my posture at this time contributes to my discomfort leading to the 5 minutes. The other option is plug your sink so water can't escape and fill it with hot water and lean over it as you cover your whole head with a towel.

A twist to the steaming is to boil the water with freshly cut lemon or lemon juice in the water and steam your face using the mixture. Others add essential oils like tea tree oil but if your face is sensitive and prone to acne then stick to simple hot water. Lemon is also drying more so if your skin is the dry type so be cautious when adding elements to the steaming process. Peppermint oil is also a good addition if you have it.

2. Scrub/Exfoliation
Immediately after steaming your face you need to scrub your face to get rid of the impurities that have been brought to the surface and to prevent them from clogging your pores. Further to that a scrub ensures that dead skin that usually gives you a dull complexion is removed and you have a glowing refreshed look. You can opt for a store bought scrub or exfoliator but in my opinion there are plenty of natural ones in your kitchen from sugar,coffee, floor to bicarbonate powder.

My favourite scrub is Sodium bicarbonate, most commonly known as baking soda not to be confused with baking powder which will burn your face if you dare use it on your face. I like using bicarbonate as a scrub by adding water or my facial wash which is a liquid. The beauty of it is that it's not as abrasive as sugar or coffee so you gently scrub your face and it leaves your skin so soft and smooth. You only need a small amount about a tea spoon size . Add a few drops of water then scrub your face in circular motion. There after you rinse your face till it's clean. This shouldn't take more than 5 minutes. On days when I am super lazy then clinique has a great ex foliating scrub that I use but I must say bicarbonate of soda still beats it in terms of effectiveness.

3. Mask
Most people don't do masks since they believe the daily cleansing and toning does all the cleaning that their skin needs. The daily cleansing and toning only deals with surface dirt while the toxins deep within your skin keeps bringing you issues such as breakouts and acne if left untreated.  I love how masks leave your skin feeling tightened and refreshed plus the whole ritual is like being at the spa being spoiled senseless. There are different kinds of masks for different kinds of skins and depending on the condition your skin as there are times you will need hydrating mask rather than a clay mask etc. The store bought masks will tell you what type of mask it is and for what skin. The home remedies ones you need to do your research. As earlier stated my skin is oily and sensitive hence I can only give my experience from that point of view.

The two masks that I frequently use are turmeric mask and bicarbonate lemon mask. The turmeric mask is more of an every day or long use mask as opposed to the Bicarbonate lemon which is effective when I have blackheads and breakouts.

Turmeric is yellow in colour and is a spice used in cooking or colouring. If you can get it from your Indian shops then you would be getting the freshly ground one. I use it in powder form rather than the root itself which would be too much labour. Your local supermarkets should have it or try Ng'ara or Biashara street at the spice shops or wherever it is you are sure you will get fresh spice.

I did the daily mask for about ten days and for that I used to mix a pinch size of turmeric with water till it was a paste and apply it on my whole face other than my eyes and lips. I would leave it on for 5 minutes as I brushed my teeth and generally got ready to shower then I would wash it off using my facial wash.  I left my face really clear and smooth but I got lazy and it really stained my fingers and I realised the daily mask thing was a bit harsh for my face.

For the weekly one I mix about a handful of turmeric powder with my facial wash or just water. I tried to do it with milk once but I didn't like it . Once it's a gooey paste i apply it on my face and leave it on to dry. This should take about ten minutes but you don't have to time it as you  will feel the mask tightening your facial muscles . You can then wash it off. You will need your normal soap or gel or whatever you use to wash your face to remove the yellow colour but your face will feel so great. It's better to do this mask in your bathroom or outside to avoid staining your stuff.

On those days when i feel my face is being some alien with breakouts and scars I use the bicarbonate of soda with lemon juice mask. When you mix the two you will see a fizz as they react, worry not that is just chemistry. This mask may sting a bit especially if you have pimples but it's quite effective. I usually leave it on for less time around 7 minutes then wash it off.

3. Cleansing
This part should be part of your daily routine both morning and night. That's another post. In my quest to get the ideal cleanser I have tried several products and my skin for most part can only tolerate two store bought brands- Clinique and Neutrogena. I use oil free facial washes or gels as the creams just leave too much oil on my skin leading to clogged pores. I use them as I shower hence my love of facial washes rather than traditional cleansers that you use with cotton pads. I need to feel like i am fully washing my face as water runs over it but that is just my quirk. I am tempted to try the Black African soap though i fear it may over-dry my skin leading to overproduction on my already oily skin. So after the mask you need to use cleanse your skin to ensure all those ingredients and dirt are all washed off.

4. Toning
This is another step that is both in the weekly and daily beauty routine. Again your skin type will determine the type of toner that you will use. It can either be a moisturising or clarifying toner I used to really disregard the toning process as I felt it was superfluous and just annoying but you need to tone your skin after cleansing it. A toner restores the natural ph of your skin which should be 5.5 but may be distorted by the water you use to clean your face or cleanser that you use. In addition to that a toner removes any excess oil or dirt that may remain on your skin after cleansing. If you doubt that take a cotton pad with a toner and wipe your face after cleansing it and I bet it will have stuff on it .  A friend swears by rose water as a moisturising toner but I really can't say since I don't use it . I used the Clinique Clarifying toner on and off when I was not being lazy and presumptuous. I am currently using a natural one I saw on youtube. It is an ACV with water toner. ACV is apple cider vinegar which is another home remedy I swear by. I mixed  ACV  with water on a 1:1 ratio some say use 15% of the ACV with 75% water. Your skin will determine the ratio. I really love this toner and for some reason I have been mostly diligent with it. You will need to buy cotton pads and have them nearby. You pour or spray the toner onto the cotton pads then wipe your face avoiding your eyes as it will sting. I include my neck area in the cleansing and toning part. Let the toner dry on your face

5. Moisturize

Every skin needs moisture! It took me a long time to really get this key fact. If I don't moisturise my face then my skin works overtime to produce oils to compensate. This part is both part of my daily and weekly routine. For this part I wholeheartedly recommend Clinique's dramatically different moisturising gel. To me that product is a work of art. For a person with an oily skin there's nothing as uncomfortable as the feeling on oil on your skin yet Clinique was able to create a product that moisturizes the skin without that yucky oily feeling. This product is so light that I only use a tiny amount. I bought the 125ml a year ago and it's only halfway done.  Moreover it has sunscreen, something that is so important seeing as global warming has wreaked havoc on our climate. For night time I try to use the  clinique night cream though it's a bit more creamier hence I use it thrice a week.

So below are some pics of me and products used or mentioned in this post. Feel free to comment or ask questions or share.

The steaming water with lemons

Steamed face...only lasted 5 minutes :(
I'm so random decided to use the lemons to scrub my face after steaming my face
I used this with water as a scrub

Turmeric with water paste. I use my hands since I know it's clean no cross contamination

Without flash. My camera is always trying to lighten me and stuff so I decided to have two pics of the turmeric paste

I scared a friend of mine by sending this pic. The Turmeric mask is on and making faces as I wait for it to dry.

I decided to do the facial after my workout hence was in my trainer bra which wouldn't get stained by the turmeric. 

Could feel the muscles tightening

I realised that I had used too much turmeric. Next time I would use half the quantity shown in the palm pic
Face all clean

Toner applied

Face moisturised using Clinique Moisturizing gel

My day to day low maintenance look. No foundation. Eyebrows done and lipgloss.