Connect with us

For most people, the best time of the year, writes Shahin RAJWANI, has come and is therefore a moment to celebrate and give thanks.  It is time to be with family and friends, to share a meal, to give and receive presents, but also to close the books for the year. 

Well, I hope 2011 was a good year for you. I feel that with all the chaos in the world, our home is becoming an even more important place.  It is a place where one can “just be”.  Hence, should we not create the best possible environment for this to happen?  Food has always been a way to celebrate life and love.  Therefore creating a beautiful dining atmosphere can only enhance the eating experience.

Choice of colour

How do we bring this festive mood into our homes?  What should we do to create an atmosphere where it is easy to be light-hearted and free?  How do we bring celebration into our life?  I always start with colour. The choice of colour can have a remarkable impact on one’s wellbeing.

This year I am veering towards the use of deep reds and bright oranges cooled down with a metallic blue-green – what the Chinese call the YIN AND YANG of life. Do not be afraid of this boldness because you do not have to change your decor.  You can use these colours as accent colours, and if you truly hate orange as a fabric colour, a large bowl (really large) of oranges on the side table with wine-red candles fits the scene perfectly. Or you could have red apples in a red basket or green apples in a green basket.  The balancing of green can come from your garden from any plant with a grey undertone in their leaves.

Collection of little gifts

Those of you who have larger budgets can invest in a side table, which can be placed in the entrance. Cover it with fabric in rich colours of wine red and orange. Add candles and keep the table laden with nuts and sweets, or any other offerings to welcome your guest according to your tradition.  Use some red and orange coloured glasses and keep them ready to offer a drink to your thirsty guests. That way you have your festive offerings at hand. You could even have a small collection of little gifts wrapped and ready for your younger visitors. They do not have to cost a lot. We all know that it is the thought that counts!

New wallpaper in the dining area can add to the festive cheer. All you really need is a little courage and imagination. Perhaps the dining chairs would be better off with new seat covers, or just add seat cushions to add comfort for those festive meals when people sit for a long time around the table. Then add the famous red and orange – onto the table.

Accent for candles

If you have a white linen table cloth, make the colours work by using them for glassware and/or napkins, and then repeat for candles. Orange or red cutlery handles can also be a fun statement on your merry table. Buy the inexpensive ones and use them whenever you are entertaining a larger gathering of people. If your plates are multicoloured, pick out one strong colour from the plate design and use that as an accent for candles or napkins. Balance it out by keeping the glassware clear.

Cut flowers are one of the best things for any decoration. They bring any scheme   to life. We are very fortunate in Kenya to have a wide selection of cut flowers on offer. Pick them from your back garden or purchase them at any market or street corner. Use several small vases in the middle of the table and keep them low. Then add candles to create enchantment on the table.

The reason for keeping arrangements low at the dining table is so that you can converse with your guests. There is nothing more irritating than trying to gaze across the table at your dinner companions over a tall flower arrangement or candlestick. I guess by now you know which colours to use in the arrangements.

Tremendous difference

As a child, l remember there was always a major clean-up before any festivities.   So have a good look around your home.   Perhaps now is the time to give the corridor that fresh coat of paint, or get a fabulous look by adding wallpaper.

Papering one wall can make a tremendous difference to your space.   Another good “quick trick” to refresh a somewhat tired looking interior is to add new cushions and throws.   The old sofa will look much “younger” with new cushion covers.  The odd stain can be covered up with a new funky throw, or instead of full upholstery works, just make loose covers to cover the old sins.  A well-stitched loose cover can give a fresh look to an old sofa and make it as good as new.  So “Botox” your sofa!

Seat covers

Should you choose to entertain in the garden, have a careful look at the chair covers. Change the seat covers on your garden chairs and you are ready for the festive season. There are all kinds of scented candles available to keep the flies at bay in the daytime and mosquitoes at night.

Should it get chilly in the evenings, it might be a nice idea to offer your guests a throw. A good host tries to think of everything in creating that special festive mood.  However do not get stressed if you forgot something.  The festive season is about generosity, love and fun, so enjoy yourself and I am sure this will rub off on your family and friends

Have a wonderful and decorative festive season!

Edition 05

Comfort in the bedroom



Mattresses immensely contribute to the quality of beds. But one wonders, what really makes that mattress a worthwhile one for a quality sleep. Jeniffer MBOGORI gives a sneak preview of the users preferences. 

The debate between soft versus firm mattresses rages on even after decades of us appreciating the need of quality sleep nursed on worthwhile foams. There are benefits and drawbacks to options of having the sleeping surface softer or harder according to MekanMatresses a leading East Africa mattress household name.

With its firm roots in Kenya and design aerials in Turkey, Mekan has steadily cut a niche for themselves in the now competitive mattress market. It is they who continue to lull quite a number of those desiring quality sleep with enviable mattresses.

According to YasinCenk, one of directors at the firm comfortable sleep isn’t chanced. “The ingredient for quality sleep hinges on a quality mattress,” he stresses.

While some people opt for the stable support of harder, less forgiving mattresses, others choose softer and more lenient mattresses on their beds.  With selection of mattresses increasing constantly, Cent notes that a mattress’ style, functionality and option to select which design and material are right matters.

Comfort vs. Support

One difficulty in the pursuit of the perfect mattress is the division between comfort and support. For years, hard mattresses have been recommended as essential for proper back support, and the only option for maintaining healthy spine alignment during sleep.

Contrastingly, more and more mattresses are marketed purely for comfort, claiming to mimic the softness of sleeping on a cloud. While sleeping comfortably is an obvious aspiration for most people shopping for a new bed, an aching back lacking adequate support clearly presents an obstacle to a good night’s sleep as well.

Orthopedic mattresses are an example of sleep-well products that hit the market with a bang owing to the fact that they do not only offer comfort and a good night’s sleep. They also help to align the body structure appropriately, thereby providing valuable health support. In this category are also the latex mattresses.

Innerspring Mattresses

The most common form of mattress available, the innerspring, uses a layer of metal springs, covered by a small layer of fabric. The springs are designed to support the weight of your body, while sinking just enough to feel comfortable. Depending on the gauge of the coil, spring mattresses can range from firm to moderate support, and then eventually reach soft with age and wear. Within the spring layer, one of four types of coils that may be used:-

Continuous coil

Each row of interior springs is made up of one continuous spring. The use of one spring as opposed to many is thought to increase the strength of the coil, providing stronger support, and extending the life of the spring’s original resistance.

Open coil

The oldest style of spring mattress, open coil spring form the shape of an hourglass, and are bound to each other by a series of smaller wire spirals. While open coil springs initially provide adequate support, they tend to lose their resistance relatively quickly.

Offset coil

An adaptation of the open coil, offset coil springs forms a square head rather than circular. This design change is thought to increase the mattress’s ability to conform to the weight of a person’s body. Offset coils are also connected to each other within the mattress by a series of smaller wire coils.

Individually wrapped coils

Rather than using a chamber of coils spanning the entire interior of the mattress, this style uses individually wrapped coils, each enclosed in a fabric pocket. The separation rather than connection of coils attempts to reduce the transfer of motion from one coil to another, stabilizing the mattress’s surface.

Continue Reading

Edition 05

Enchanting Sani Gardens




Picture this beautiful setting – a lush green landscape set among beautiful gardens, surrounded by exotic flowers and mature trees in a quiet, serene and inspiring environment.

As we drove around the Karen suburb trying to locate the gardens, little did we imagine that we were about step into the most mesmerizing place in Nairobi.  As the gates were opened, I couldn’t take my eyes away from the green green grass and the most fascinating flowers – some of which I had never seen in my life.  I actually had to touch the grass just to make sure it was real.

Astonishing landscape

Lost in the astonishing landscape and the amazing view of the Ngong Hills, we were ushered into the gardens by the charming and most pleasant owners who explained to us the meaning of the word “Sani”.

A fairly new home in the area, the gardens were once just a vast land of stones and gravel, that were quickly transformed into a haven of tranquility and peace.

Step into the trendy Sani Gardens – a unique recreational garden filled with breath-taking greenery, covering a large area of peaceful parkland.  Nestled in the serene suburb of Karen, the gardens epitomize a relaxed garden scheme of uplifting colours and scents.

The gardens run by a group of entrepreneurs, are a popular spot for visitors looking to rejuvenate and relax their senses after a long hard week, picnics, corporate events, wedding parties, among many other activities.

Beautiful extension

Surrounding a most enchanting home, the gardens are a beautiful extension that comprise of a series of spaces the each feature distinctive elements that are sure to enchant anyone spending a day here – a truly enchanting spot.

With the remarkable expanse of unique trees, amazing botanic gardens and the tranquil park, there is something melancholy about the nature surrounding the Sani Gardens.

The gardens give meaning to the phrase “maximizing space”. The sheer size of the park is a challenge to anyone and an outdoor space has never been this inviting.

This enchanting garden features exquisite and striking spaces like a tranquil “pergola” where one can hold a romantic dinner or a family get-together.

Graceful plants

There are also unique areas around the garden where graceful plants define the gardens in the countryside by the city and manicured archways that line the gardens.  The gardens are also graced with beautiful and one of a kind sculptures that offer the African theme of embracing family and unity.

In line with going green and being friendly to Mother Nature, the mission of the founders of Sani Gardens is to promote relaxation, enjoyment and appreciation of nature.

Enjoy days and evenings filled with the fresh scent of nature and fragrant plants at the fabulous Sani Gardens.

Continue Reading

Edition 05

Golfing transformed at Aberdare Hills



If you ever thought of refreshed international standard golfing, then Aberdare Hills Golf Resort, with homely interiors, a nostalgic environment and manicured landscapes designed by world renowned designers Wimberly Allison Tong and Goo (WATG) would definitely be your next big bet by Kelai WANJIRU.

Sitting in grandeur at the foothills of the world famous Rift Valley, is a beauty unknown to most people – facing the Aberdare ranges is the highly anticipated Aberdare Hills Golf Resort. Thanks to Panda Development Company initiative speaks volumes of fantastic interiors graced with beautiful surroundings and manicured landscapes.

Going on a tour to this eco-friendly golf resort is undoubtedly a nostalgic experience. Set on a massive 1,650 hectares of prime land in Naivasha, the resort boasts of a five star hotel. It is designed as a self-contained residential community with recreation, leisure facilities and amenities that offer a unique and luxurious lifestyle. One quickly sees the opportunity of an international golf championship talking place at this well kempt arena. Within the golf course’s vicinity is a commercial centre.

With wide views of the mountains and the feel of the soft breeze of the rift’s air on one’s cheeks, pure relaxation and contentment is what the developers – Panda Development Company had in mind when this world class resort was incepted.  It affirms its quality space around the neighbouring flower farms that’s known of Naivasha – a town equally popular with those who are keen on the finer things of life.

Jells pretty

The generous spaces of the Aberdare Hills Golf Resort boldly make it a site to behold. Its 18-hole golf course and endearing vehicle parking yards jells pretty with the green mother-nature that serves as a special sanctuary for birdlife. Several species of the birds abound.  One can easily see why the resort is mother-nature’s best friend.

According to the chairman of Panda Development Company, Dr.PritamPanesar, the integration of the East African Community makes the incomparable major regional development a sure determinant of Naivasha’s future in Kenya’s growing global market position.

The development comprises two phases with the first phase comprising of 216 Ultra-Luxe Villas each with a choice of three to five bedroom rare units, an 18-hole golf course that’s built to international and USGA championship specifications, a Golf and Country Club House and infrastructure to support the first phase.  Construction of the golf course has already started and the first phase will be completed in 2014. Design for the second phase has been completed.

Superb views

Dr.Panesar, so passionate about the environment, states that the golf resort is environmentally sustainable as it will contribute to alleviating some of the pressures of the city and ease congestion. He notes that the golf resort has a safe and secure environment that provides freedom for children and adults alike to play and explore the natural landscape accessed by well maintained paths and trails.  With superb views from elevated areas, the Aberdare Hills Golf Resort is designed by world renowned designers Wimberly Allison Tong and Goo (WATG), who have done a superb job of creating a visionary mix of housing and commercial space – a first in Kenya.

David Jones, the golf-course design team leader was certainly out to make a difference at a location that is away from the hustle and bustle of the Nairobi – Kenya’s capital city. However, by virtue of being only an hour’s drive the city, the golf resort offers luxurious living with excellent services that surpass the expectations of the East African Community and international travellers. The resort, which has changed the face of the small town of Naivasha is a sound investment that is sure to elevate the country as the destination to be.

The exquisite and stimulating design of the villas is a summary of inspiration. Each villa is uniquely designed to capture the spirit of nature and the feel of the Aberdare Ranges that stands tall in a not so far-off distance. That contemporary and modernity feel couldn’t escape the designer’s mind.  While it is almost difficult to capture the designer’s concept, kudos goes to the unrushed and well thought-out process of the awesome and inviting Aberdare Hills Golf Resort.

By creating beautiful spaces to live, work and play, the Panda Development Company offers an exceptional experience that combines opulence and nature.

P.O Box 46235 – 00100 Nairobi


Continue Reading