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Review: Wasp & Sprout

I found a cute place near me! I had been meaning to check it out for so long and I really wish I searched it out sooner. Wasp & Sprout is my new favorite place in Nairobi!

It’s a really cute cafe/shop in Loresho, tucked inside the Loresho Shopping Center on Loresho Ridge Road. Once you get there (parking is pretty decent, by the way), go to the left of the apartment buildings. You’ll walk a little bit into an alleyway. Then go up the stairs at the building on the right.

The space is really nice with ample tables, comfortable chairs and outside seating as well. Toward the back is the shop.

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The food was really good. I went specifically because on Fridays and Saturdays they now feature oyster specials from the Indian Ocean Oyster Company.

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J. got the fish tacos.

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Accompanying the tacos

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Oysters!

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Great drinks!

I’m not a big “work at a cafe” person, but I want to go back one afternoon and do just that. The space is that nice. It’s lively without being overly loud. It’s cozy and comfortable but not cramped.

How did they get their great name?

“The Wasp symbolizes the resilience of Africa and its people. Sprout, the new beginning and growth of our team.”

Indeed. The whole concept started out with a single mother who needed to provide for her family. It’s now grown to a successful cafe and shop with a team of local artisans selling their hand crafted ware. So, not only are you indulging in great food and drink and enjoying the peaceful atmosphere, you’re also helping local artists. It doesn’t get better than that.

Details:

Loresho Shopping Center on Loresho Ridge Road

Mon-Thursday: 8am-5pm

Friday: 8am-8pm

Sat/Sun/Public Holiday: 8am-2p

Check their Facebook page for up to date details.

Review: Bella Maria’s Little Italy

We found a hidden gem the other weekend: Bella Maria’s Little Italy. It’s a cute, vegetarian, Italian restaurant on Peponi Rise (off of Peponi Road, just past Kitisuru Road if you’re heading north on Peponi). How hidden it is?

The road is easy to miss and the sign for Bella Maria’s isn’t the easiest thing to read. Look for a yellow/cream sign that has a small Italian flag on it. As you go up Peponi Rise, keep going up and fully around the bend. You’ll pass a Montessori School (which we at first thought was the restaurant). The restaurant (with a big sign hidden behind branches) is just past the the school (go all the way around the bend) on the left.

You’ll arrive at the cutest place ever.

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The restaurant is beautiful and nestled in absolutely gorgeous grounds. You’ll forget you’re in Nairobi and think you’re tucked away in an enchanted forest. It’s worth taking a walk around the grounds.

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The interior is nice too, with ample seating (indoor and outdoor plus a covered, outdoor private party area), a nice bar, and cozy lounge area.

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The setting is great for kids and large groups. It would work well for a romantic dinner as well.

The food was great. It’s vegetarian, but sometimes they’ll have a special with some meat in it. The service good. We were with a large group and with a lot of kids so it was a little haphazard—but I think they did a really great job considering we sort of brought a lot of chaos.

They just opened earlier this year and things have been quiet. I would say this is partly because of a lack of marketing (even their Facebook page is empty) and poor signage. I hope this post gets them some well deserved attention. It’s great place and I hope it will be successful.

If you live north of the city around Kitisuru, Gigiri, Rosslyn or Runda, this is in your neck of the woods. It’s worth traveling to if you’re father away. Check it out. You won’t be disappointed.

Review: The Arbor

The other night we did something wild and crazy. We went out on a school night…and…we crossed Waiyaki Way. This kind of shenanigans is simply not done! But, we did it. Why? We got a voucher via some friend to The Arbor and we needed to use it before it expired. (Thank you Sarah and Andreas!)

Being old, we got there a little past 7 pm and were the only ones there. They were happy to serve us and it was kind of nice to have the place to ourselves. If you want things more lively I would suggest going around 8:30—people started to come in around the time we left. (This is much easier to do if you live south of Waiyaki Way.)

The food was good. They have a mix of fare ranging from classic pub fare appetizers, to Asian, to standard meat and potatoes (which is what I got). The food was good. The house wine was decent. The atmosphere was nice. You really can’t ask for more.

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The restaurant is part of a small complex that includes a day spa, a shop, and a plant store. It all kind of works together. The area is open and airy yet feel cozy. Can I get a place like this closer to where I live, please?

Details:

The Arbor Cafe

Open Tuesday-Sunday

904 James Gichuru Road, Lavington

PS They also  have a cool sink by the bathrooms!

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Trying New Things #4: CrossFit

Fitness is important to me. I’ve written about how I found the right fitness fix for me. Now, I’ve changed it up a bit. I’m still doing Fitness Blender. I’m still putting the miles (or kilometers) on the spin bike. And now, I’ve added CrossFit to the mix.

I really wanted to do more with strength training. I thought about getting a personal trainer. However, every trainer I met talked about how women shouldn’t lift weights because that will make them bulky. First, this is not true. Second, any trainer who thinks that way is not the right trainer for me.

Enter CrossFit. I figured that this was a place that wasn’t afraid of women with weights. (We want muscles with our mascara, thank you.) I’d have gone there sooner but I was worried about the high impact work, which would not bode well for my herniated disc. With CrossFit, you can make adjustments so I knew that part would be okay…but…it’s no fun if  you can’t do what the rest of the class is doing.

It turns out that they do offer personal training sessions during the open gym hours. I’ve been going for a while (ten sessions in) and I am very happy to be training with Coach Leeroy. I get my butt kicked twice a week and I love it!

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Coach Leeroy near the rowing machines

I’m doing things I never thought I could do. I’m feeling stronger. I did my first handstand (against a wall but still)! I’ve even stopped wearing gloves when I lift.

If you’re in Nairobi and want to try it out, they’re in Gigiri off of UN Crescent. Check out their website for more information.

Back to Work

Well, sort of back to work. My sabbatical is over. It’s time to ease back into the workforce.

For now, I’m taking it slow. We will be away for a month for home leave (every two years…wow it’s been two years!). I am not going to work during that time. That is reserved for my loved ones and shopping. (We’ll actually have some time to take in the city and enjoy New York this trip. We miss home.)

I have reached out to people and let them I’ll be available. There are some things in the pipeline but nothing solid yet. I’m not worried though. One thing I’ve learned is that there will always be work. There will not always be time to enjoy life and take care of myself.

That’s where my sabbatical really helped. I feel rested and refreshed. I’m ready to work again. And—this is the best part—I have a clearer sense of what projects I want to take on and how much I want to work. That’s what excites me the most: I figured out the way I want to work.

As I said, it’s a slow pace right now, which is fine…good actually. Come September I think things will pick up and I’ll be ready.