As the seasons change from cold to warm, colds and flu become all too common and unfortunately for me I have been bedridden, trying to shake of a particularly nasty cold, and generally feeling sorry for myself! As one to shun medication for as long as I possibly can, I tend to prefer natural goodness and remedies in essential oils and soothing herbal teas to get me well, as well as aiding overall day-to-day wellbeing, so it always good to get to know new products. I recently came across Planet Botanicals
, a US-based natural skincare company whose luxurious products, comprising body scrubs, washes, butters and oils; in addition to a dedicated facial skincare range, are formulated to provide healing and nourishment to the skin, as well as promoting wellbeing to mind, body and soul.
Working in accordance to the principles of fairtrade and environmental sustainability guidelines rare, natural and organic indigenous plant oils and flower extracts are sourced direct from local organic producers, cooperatives, and artisan essential oil distillers across the African continent, and other parts of the world; seeing ingredients like organic shea butter from Uganda, virgin coconut butter and cocoa butter combined with Ethiopian arabica coffee beans, baobab fruit extracts, rooibos, marula, moringa, and the fruit from the Kigelia tree, also known as the Sausage tree, sourced from the Zambezi Valley, which is recognised in the skincare industry for its anti-ageing properties.
...natural skincare goodness
Products on the website currently priced at approx.: USD$10-USD$23
For further information about Planet Botanicals and to purchase visit: www.planetbotanicals.com
Africa – David Attenborough/BBC ONE
I have been watching Africa
, the new documentary series by veteran British presenter, Sir David Attenborough. Filmed over four years, so far five episodes have taken viewers through the Kalahari, Savannah, Congo, Cape and Sahara, with the sixth and final episode next week looking at the Future of Africa, in terms of what is being done to help preserve the Continent's precious biodiversity, including how local communities are helping in the war on poaching. If you have not caught it yet and have access to the BBC service I would definitely recommend it; it is amazing; and as an added bonus the programme has segment in the final ten minutes or so called 'Africa, Eye to Eye', which takes you behind the scenes of the making of the series, and what an eye opener. Beautifully shot featuring breathtaking landscapes taken from land, sea and air, for me some of the memorable highlights of the series include; a jaw dropping display that isees a pair of giraffes battling it out for scarce resources in the Kalahari, the filming of the shifting 'singing' sand dunes of the Sahara captured as a series of one-picture-a-day images taken over the period of a year is just incredible, a 'convention' of over a million flamingoes that can be viewed from space, a display of bouncing, yet graceful ballet-like Springbok and a cunning chimp stealing honey from a tree. Such is the impact of the programme with UK viewers, that holiday searches into visiting Africa have gone up by 310% compared to usual the statistics for this time of year, this is according to travel site Sunshine.co.uk, with actual bookings rising by 37%.
For further information about the BBC series, Africa visit: www.bbc.co.uk
Nanga def, ('hello, how are you' in Wolof... and, also the name given to a rather yummy cocktail!)
Four weeks in Dakar have come and gone leaving in their wake a kaleidoscope of sights, sounds and colours. My time Dakar was amazing, surpassing my expectations. There are times when some things are just meant to be, when everything just comes together; I felt that during my time in Senegal. I went to Senegal with no real plan of what I was going to do, having deliberately chosen to adopt a-wait-till-I-get-there approach. Unbeknownst to me at the time of planning, my trip coincided with the Dak'Art 2012 Biennale
, which quickly formed the framework to my days, as the city was taken over by exhibition openings, performances, and discussions centred on art and design. Although I knew about the Biennale I hadn't thought to check when the next one was being held, so it was a pleasant surprise, and I could not have planned it better; a whole month indulging in art, design and creativity in deliciously hot sunshine. And indulge I did... by the end of my holiday I was mentally exhausted, my mind saturated and trying to process all I had seen and done... and above all I came away fulfilled. My research had revealed Dakar to be a highly creative and cultural city, but to step into the midst of it whilst a month-long celebration was happening was something else.
Amongst the littered and dusty landscape beats the rhythmic pulse of a vibrant, energetic city going about it days; it wasn't brash, more like a continuous hum heard through voices blending in with traffic drifting up to shady balconies, and through open windows, backed by the steady beat of construction work in shaping new silhouettes across the city. I met artists, some of whom I've featured, others I had on my list waiting to be posted, and yet others who will now be added. I visited exhibitions and attended openings; some good, some not so good; some planned, others I just happened to stumble upon following the sounds of enticing music drifting in the air. I sought refuge from the heat in airy cool gallery spaces, such as the Raw Material Company
and Biscuiterie de Medina. I peeked into open-air workshops to watch artisans at work, carving objects or recycling metals; and wandered round the studios of artists at Village des Arts de Dakar
, near the airport. I engaged in lively dialogue, challenged my perceptions and conquered my fears. I had the pleasure of meeting with several readers of African Daydreams who took me to their favourite places in the city; introduced me to renowned local artists such as textile artist Aissa Dione Tissus; and toured art collections like the contemporary pieces from local artists that can be seen displayed throughout the sophisticated interior of the Radisson Blu
; which I was told was designed by South African architectural practice, Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen
, previously featured on African Daydreams. I saw and interacted with products I have featured on African Daydreams; including the innovative stools and tables by Bibi Seck
. I sifted my way through colorful fabrics, jewellery and basketry as I 'discovered' local arts and crafts geared towards the tourist market; taking a particular delight in the colourful kitsch 'sous verre' glass paintings that ranged from contemporary illustrations to simplistic stylised renderings of Senegalese people and everyday life; and was overwhelmed by way too much samey-samey objects like the skillfully carved wood carvings lining the streets and gracing the stalls. I thought I knew what an 'African' market was like until came face-to-face with Sandaga; Zimbabwean markets are tame in comparison! Wow it was an experience, overwhelming... once was enough and I opted for the more smaller, quieter markets where I could practice my bargaining skills! A generalisation, the Senegalese marketeers know how to sell and can talk the talk! Away from Dakar, took the ferry to the beautiful, yet poignant Goree Island which invoked a period of quiet reflection; and spent another day strolling the beaches of Saly.
[Image credits: clockwise from top left; Fishing Boats via Senegal.co.uk; Obstacle Serge Alain Nitegeka, Installation at l'Institut Français © Tapiwa; The Millennium Door Statue © Tapiwa, Ocean View © Tapiwa; Sous Verre Paintings via Le Pays De la Teranga; and Baobab Treetop © Tapiwa]
Add good food, creamy cocktails and being serenaded by the sounds of waves crashing along to the shore, I could spend all day trying to capture the essence of my experiences. For someone who doesn't speak French or Wolof I didn't do too badly methinks. I got to know Dakar well, but I couldn't have done it on my own. Thank you, I am truly grateful to everyone who looked after me, translated for me, gave of their time to take me out and about or simply offered advice. PS: if you are reading this and wondering if that includes you; yes it does!
Filed away in my mind, as the days go by I will be sharing my 'finds'
Fed up after the deafening sound of another slammed door, my sister took her kids to task telling them that when she was a child, also going round slamming doors my dad, also having had enough would tell her '...you must treat a door with respect, it lets you out [to achieve and experience things in the world] and it keeps you safe [protecting you from the dangers that can enter]' wise words indeed and even today as grown adults we still get stern looks from my Dad should we happen to 'accidentally' slam a door in his presence. By sheer coincidence later that evening I found myself on Pinterest perusing a board by Monika Ettlin
featuring some fine examples of traditional and contemporary African art and craft, including an amazing collection of doors, gates and entrances from carved to patterned; from Mali to Zanzibar.
...an endless source of inspiration
To view Monika Ettlin's entire board and for individual image source links visit: http://pinterest.com/monikaettlin