Thursday, August 27, 2015

Escape to the Wild 2 - want to take part?

Has anyone watched Kevin McCloud's new series 'Escape to the Wild' yet? It's sort of a follow on from his UK Grand Designs but with a twist. This time he's seeking out people who are living in remote places 'off grid'. The program is not necessarily about building projects this time - or people who have recently moved, but just more an investigation of people who are living remotely in this day and age.

Does this chime with you? The production team are researching for a second season and if you happen to be living 'off grid' in this way, especially in East Africa - then would you like to take part? If you (or one of you) are British and currently 'living wild', drop at email to this address:

If you want to find out more, the website is here:

It doesn't have to be a beach and it doesn't have to be glamorous. I know that there are still lots of people in East Africa who don't turn a hair at churning their own butter, fishing snakes out of their shoes and growing all of their own veggies. If so, you might be the perfect match.

In Tongo during series 1
P.s. I also get a lot of queries from production teams asking about British families who plan to move out to Nairobi or East Africa, wondering if they might be interested in taking part in a 'reality' type of TV series or documentary. Expat life - the reality! Despite hearing of a lot of interest via direct approaches to this blog, I am not sure if anyone has actually pulled this types of series off yet.

This Wild Life
P.p.s Saba Douglas Hamilton's BBC2 10 part series 'This Wild Life' following her life running Elephant Watch camp in Samburu is due to start this September.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Off the line...and potential Africa Expat vlogging

Apologies for being offline for so long. I've been soaking up a glorious trip back home to see family and friends and more family again.  We were so spoiled by everyone. It was so much fun that nobody wanted it to end.

As usual, I experienced something of a culture shock there. The UK's biggest religion is still definitely 'shopping' but my, how that national obsession has grown again! Don't get me wrong, I love shopping. I'm the first to admit it but nowadays it's actually scaring me!  No wonder international fashion bloggers and vloggers rule these days. Why? because you need a degree in shopping to have the first idea about what's out there, the choice is so bewildering. Just a stroll up and down the supermarket aisles is enough to send you into a cardiac arrest.

In comparison in Kenya, choice is far more limited, prices for everything is high and items often can't be returned, so basically you put a lot more thought into every purchase and get used to living with slightly less.

That said, I managed -  so wind up today with x7 bulging suitcases to unpack - (shared between 4 people I hasten to add but it's still a very ugly amount of 'things').  I did bring gifts for the guys who work in and around our house (new shoes, hoodies etc) - but that makes up just a tiny percentage of the stuff we bought for ourselves (mainly clothes, shoes, stationary, more clothes ...)

Plus the UK is so rammed with people.  Crazy numbers of people. And there is an absolute ton of fun stuff to do but it all absolutely hinges on how much money you have to spend. (apologies for stating the obvious but for me, even that is pretty mind blowing).

The rest of the time spent in UK saw me trying to play serious catch-up on popular culture and technology. My mum has mastered her smart TV and has got the hang of replaying stuff she likes (I haven't. I sat in a rented cottage for a week only watching a limited number of 'live' broadcasts, while my daughter managed to find her favourite episodes of anything by scrolling through menus at the touch of a button). I spent a bit of time trying get to grips with the remotest idea of what goes on in our 15 year old's head since she started school in UK. That's a tough one but I think that I might have managed to get just one step closer (or am I kidding myself?).

And now there's the culture shock of coming home to Nairobi to the following;

  • A very sick dog :(
  • A stolen car - not stolen in the way you might think. We were selling it and the bankers draft that we/the bank accepted turned out to be fraudulent.
  • The story of how the nightwatchman fell in the pool and nearly drowned on Sunday night (my husband pulled him out)
  • A panicky, sinking feeling about work that has been pushed aside for ages. Got to get on with putting together a new magazine asap.
  • Yet another month of kids' summer holidays - can you believe it?!
  • A member of staff at home who is away dealing with a sad family funeral
  • Shopping for and preparing food again. (shock horror!).

While I was gone - Obama visited Kenya. Yay!  I loved watching all the BBC footage of his speeches and also loved (and am still loving), the BBC 'pop up' videos showing life in Nairobi, in much the same way that the Snapchat Life created a picture when it chose Nairobi.  However, I still don't feel that these videos are particularly relevant to the expat moving here, so while I'm still getting numerous emails from potential Nairobi expats around the world - I'm toying with the idea of doing a little vlogging, to liven up this blog.  Short videos will give you more of a realistic idea of what life is like here - shopping, traffic, answers to questions and random fun stuff.  The videos could be taken inside and outside. Here I am - trying to move into 2015 and change things up a bit in a flush of enthusiasm.

So what is standing in my way? Just a few things:

  • Zero experience of talking to a video camera
  • No video camera (or will my iphone 5 do?)
  • No any idea of how to set up a Youtube account .....

In fact, Just watch this clip of Vince Vaughn from the Internship and you get a pretty good idea of where I am right now technology-wise:

When I had the brainwave of a new 'billion dollar' app this summer, one that would allow people 'clean up' their social media profiles by removing tagged images that they were not happy with on Instagram, Facebook etc. Wouldn't that be brilliant?- My 15 year old pretty much shot me down in flames....
'You already get notified when somebody tags you and you can ask for the picture to be removed.'
Oh. I said.

Don't even ask me about my brilliant idea for her to earn some extra pocket money while at school. Suffice to say, she's not yet convinced.

p.s. I learned from the same 15 year old that Facebook 'is just something that people who are your age do' (i.e. over 40s). I think that the same might go for blogging too. Is is dropping out of fashion? Apparently Snapchat, Instagram and Vlogs rule (if you are a teenager).

Oh my goodness, this could be a disaster....

Again - apologies for being 'off the line'....

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Nothing could have prepared me for arriving in Africa...

I dusted the cobwebs off the outer reaches of my memory and had a think about how I felt when I first arrived in East Africa 16 years ago for my first living overseas adventure.  We never went home. The UK Telegraph Expat kindly published the piece; We arrived on honeymoon in Zanzibar just two days after our wintery UK wedding in Feb...

Link here:

The Start of my African Adventure; Nothing could have Prepared me...

or see below:

The Telegraph
Tuesday, August 4, 2015



English food festivals: 10 events celebrating local produce

From honey to cheese, scallops, eels and garlic, these events pay homage to delicious local dishes
Expat pensioners in visa limbo in Oz fight for their right to stay

Holders of the now-defunct 410 retirement visa want permanent residency in Australia if they've lived there a decade or more
How (not) to forage like a Dane

New Nordic Cuisine revived interest in foraging worldwide, so our columnist in Denmark gives it a go…with interesting results
Expat rates: good news at last for offshore savers

A major offshore bank has raised its fixed and variable rates – we round up the best available now
The start of my African adventure: nothing could have prepared me

Two days after a winter English wedding 16 years ago, this newly-minted expat experienced a baptism of fire rather than a honeymoon

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Obama Karibu!

Obama Waving Air Force One

So excited about Obama coming to Nairobi. Thank goodness Kenya is in the news for a positive reason for a change. After a disasterous Nairobi Life featuring on Snapchat - let's hope that this is the opportunity for the international community to understand more about Kenya.

And lots of funny stuff too...

As a post script: what he actually said/slang used:

Barack Obama could not resist his happiness to be back at his fathers home land - Kenya. On his opening speech at Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, where even POTUS greets Kenyans with a popular slang version of Kiswahili — 'Niaje wasee? Hawayuni!

Niaje wasee? Hawayuni - is translated as "How are you folks?"