What Made this Year Special | Highlights of 2018

So, it’s already that time of the year! With the year coming to an end, I just want to share the highlights of what has turned out to be a beautiful year filled with lots of fantastic memories, lots of foodie and travel adventures, cute dogs and a little art.

These are just a few moments of 2018 that have made this year special. I…

Launched Women Who Inspire

Something I’ve wanted to do for a while, I started a series, Women Who Inspire, highlighting women who motivate me, especially right here in Kenya. The first post in the series was a piece on the wonderful ladies at Conkrete Roses and later followed by a post on the remarkable Shreya Karia.

Photo | Shreya Karia
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Photo | Conkrete Roses

Celebrated my great-grandmother’s 100th birthday

Early this year, we flew to the coast to celebrate my great-grandmother’s birthday. She turned 100 and the celebrations were lovely. I can’t believe that she is still as strong as ever with a pretty powerful memory.

Attended the ever-popular Fashion High Tea

Held at the Zen Garden, the annual Fashion High Tea is something I’ve always desired to attend. This year, I got lucky and attended this fabulous event. Despite the rain, it was so much fun to see how well people had dressed up, shopped from some amazing local and international vendors while indulging in some delicious food and drink.

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Photo | Akruti Shah

Started writing for The Asian Weekly

Early this year, I started writing a monthly travel column for The Asian Weekly, a local free publication for the Asian community in East Africa. Each month, I write a travel article based on my own travels.

Courtesy of The Asian Weekly

Experienced lots of brunches

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Photo | Ekta Shah

This year, I feasted. From the Asian brunch, called the Weekend Wok, at the Pan Asian Yao to the spectacular Sunday brunches at the Fairmont Norfolk and the Sarova Panafric Hotels to discovering my peculiar love for Bloody Marys. I did it all. I also ventured beyond buffet brunches to check out the updated brunch menu at Wasp and Sprout (now, a firm fave for me!) and the now-closed Pharley’s Cafe at Spinners Web.

Photo | Jamila Kadernani
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Photo | Shreya Karia

Enjoyed several adventurous safaris

From dreaming of visiting Treetops after being inspired by Netflix’s TV show, The Crown, to actually visiting the historically-famous lodge to enjoying luxurious one-night stays at Chui Lodge and Lentorre Lodge. With different landscapes, each safari has been uniquely different, creating some pretty amazing memories for me.Processed with VSCO with c6 preset

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Photo | Hitesh Shah

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Relaxed by the beach

For the first time in my life, I flew directly from Nairobi to Diani Beach for a three-day beach getaway at what I can only call paradise – the Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa. Not only were we pampered, but we were also treated to some scrumptious food and swam by the beautiful Diani Beach. It was a dream come true and Diva and I came back home with fun souvenirs including monogrammed pillows and napkins.Processed with VSCO with c8 presetIMG_2704Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

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Photo by Hitesh Shah

Celebrated the third anniversary of my blog

It’s been over three years since I started this blog and this May, I celebrated the three-year blog-versary with a fun Instagram competition where I grabbed a cuppa with my winners at the Spring Valley Coffee.

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Photo | Akruti Shah

Hosted many giveaways

Speaking of giveaways, I started the year off with a giveaway with Conkrete Roses. Then, after a fun Instagram contest for my blog’s three-year anniversary, to celebrate my birthday, I gave away two vouchers to the winners of my How Well Do You Know Me Quiz for breakfast at the new Nyama Mama Capital Centre.

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Photo | Conkrete Roses

Developed a new logo

To kick off my birthday month, I announced a brand, new logo, something I had been working on for a while. The new logo shows my love for elephants, as I continue sharing travel, food and lifestyle content on the blog.Jaini's-Diaries-Final-Master-Copy-thicker-1 copy

Got a new (elephant) baby & my other baby graduated

For my birthday, my wonderful friends fostered an orphaned elephant from The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust – Dololo as a gift for me. Dololo was found submerged in Mzee Kirema’s Dam on 9 September 2018. Found by the local community, it was concluded that Dololo had slipped into the well. With only his trunk raised for breathing, the elephant herd may have abandoned him as they were in a community area.

Courtesy of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

With the assistance of Kenya Wildlife Services and the DSWT Voi Relocation Unit keepers, the elephant was stabilized. To ensure a higher rate of survival, he was flown into the DSWT Nursery in Nairobi, where he is slowing coming alive as his condition improves.

Courtesy of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
Courtesy of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

And in other news, my brave little girl, Mbegu, made the long relocation journey to Tsavo to the DSWT Voi Relocation Unit. She has quickly settled in and has excitingly taken to her leadership duties as the matriarch of her herd. I can’t wait to go see her in action!

Courtesy of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Some of you don’t know this but I had also previously adopted Pare, a young bull named after the Pare Mountains that shadow Lake Jipe at the southern end of Tsavo West. He was rescued after being reported to be alone by community members at the Rombo Group Ranch, neighboring the Tsavo West National Park. Having arrived weak at the DSWT Nursery, he recovered with the profound love and care he received. In December 2017, Pare was moved to the DSWT Ithumba Relocation Unit in Tsavo National Park. Despite this move, he still remains very much dependent on both his milk and Keepers as just like us, elephants take a while to gain the confidence to spend nights out with older ex-orphans and wild friends, and the process is a gradual one, so even once they fly the nest they still return regularly to visit their human family.  I hear that Pare is loving his new home.

Courtesy of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Played with lots of cute dogs

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Photo | Meera Shah
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Photo | Pooja Patel
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Photo | Hitesh Shah

Travelled to India

In December 2018, I took a break from blogging as I was off to trail the adventure path to…India. Returning to the home of my ancestors after 15 years was incredible! We spent a couple of days in Mumbai, shopping and mostly eating. Then, we headed to Goa for a big, fat Indian wedding, before going back to Mumbai for a few more days. I’ll be recounting all my food and travel adventures in Jaini’s Indian Journey, a new series on my trip to India, so stay tuned.

Now, join me in 2019 for a refreshed, energized and highly entertaining blogging journey. 

Happy Holidays from your favorite blogger-photographer duo!Processed with VSCO with 4 preset Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Photos, unless stated otherwise, are by Diva Shah


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