words and photos by Terembe Cherono
Feels like I was just sending out ‘Happy New Year’ messages the other day and now it’s that weird twilight period between Christmas and the end of 2021! Indeed, the days were long but the year was short! 2021 has been mostly challenging. Nevertheless, one must find ways to stay afloat and hopeful! To round up the year, this is an A-Z list of a few things that made my year.
Here’s my favourite…
- As usual, I’ve enjoyed an eclectic range of music this year but none touched me like Dave‘s ‘We’re All Alone In This Together‘. Prior to the album, I was only familiar with a couple of his most popular songs so the excellence of the album truly shocked me. A poignant reflection on both internal and external struggles. This body of work truly embodies the personal as political.
- Earlier in the year, I read Akwaeke Emezi’s ‘The Death of Vivek Oji’ and enjoyed it thoroughly! This was my second read of an Emezi text (I struggled through Freshwater’s jaggedy flow a few years ago!) and it was really compelling and well written! Vivek was so lovable and layered and I resonated with the themes of identity, family and love in the book.
- Creating content is one of my favourite pastimes. I’ve churned out a lot this year across my Instagram and website, but the most challenging and rewarding have been my reels. In 2022, I’d like to remain consistent and invest more in my production.
- The Blueberry Kiss from Barista & Co. A most refreshing, delicious drink – perfect for warm weather!
- Taking my niece Sage to her first swimming lessons! She loves being in water, so watching her learn how to float was truly enjoyable. We stopped after a while because the weather was getting quite cold but hopefully she’ll be splashing again very soon!
- I had the Kingfish Ceviche on my first (and only) visit to Cultiva on the recommendation of a lovely lady sat on an adjacent table. So glad I listened because it was a fantastic meal! Not something I’d usually gravitate towards, it’s made of marinated kingfish, tigers milk, glazed sweet potato, charred sweet corn, coriander oil, crispy lentils and homemade rice. Just delicioussssss!
- Earlier in the year I was surprised with the Reggio candle from Trudon. It’s a crisp and cool citrusy candle that’s reminiscent of a lush boutique hotel on the Mediterranean, late in the summer. I loved it so much I had to get it again (also as a gift lol!).
- These braids done by Adesh Parlour were my favourite style this year! They were a mix of 5 different blonde and brown extensions, braided medium-sized up to my waist. I love how the colour brightened my face!
- This year I discovered and binged on London-based creator, Noorie Ana. Not only is her style impeccable (dark and moody), she’s incredibly charming and just lovely to watch! I especially love her car mukbangs with her boyfriend Trieu and styling videos with her twin sisters.
- These gold chain earrings from Mango were an essential in my wardrobe this year! Simple, timeless and versatile enough to dress up or down. Almost had a panic attack when I thought I lost them a few weeks ago because they are sold out! Tsk.
- Earlier this year, Scents by Zoljke sent me some candles to try and I immediately became a fan. Their candles are well crafted and they waft across the room well. The morning after I burn one, my house smells amazing.
- These silk pyjamas from Olivia von Halle have been on my wishlist for a while and I’m so glad I finally got them! They are comfortable and plush, perfect for lounging around the house.
- Bought a new red lippie this year based on a recommendation from a make-up artist at MAC – the shade is ‘Feels So Grand‘. It’s a neutral red that matches my skin tone really well. It also has a fantastic applicator!
- I watched the series ‘Maid‘ in October – a sad portrayal of the realities for women leaving abusive relationships. I cried so much watching it because of how relatable the story is. I’d highly recommend watching it!
- I had nothing to wear to a fashion show in October this year and at the last minute paired these hot pink shorts from Studio Fit with a Kai Collective scarf (worn as a top). I’m not usually inclined to colour but this neon combination made my heart sing! My blonde braids and make-up also went perfectly with the look and felt suitable for the warm weather. An absolute fave!
- I picked up Byredo’s ‘Bal D’Afrique‘ from Cierra Perfumes in the latter part of the year. It’s categorised as an amber woody fragrance but smells quite fresh and fruity to me! Although it wears off a little too early for my liking, I’m happy to re-apply because it smells divine.
- “You’re doing better than you feel” – meaningful words from my therapist who really carried the year for me in many ways. As someone who struggles with self-doubt and overthinking, I use this quote as an affirmation and it helps me focus and release the tension.
- I loved the vibe and views from Fifteen Rooftop! A great menu, delicious drinks and good service, I also love that they have a DJ. I’d recommend this spot for pre-drinks or if you want a little bit of a buzz without going over the edge.
- I tried lots of different products this year but three stand out for me – the Bellalussi Essence from KumKangKind, Neulii Ecto-Cica Cream (which is sold out unfortunately, but click here for an excellent alternative) and my trusted bentonite clay from Bu.ke.
- I loved the efficiency, ease and professionalism of MyDawa! They are incredibly reliable and well-stocked. I trust them for medicine and skincare purchases.
- Getting an airfryer changed my kitchen experience entirely. As someone who doesn’t enjoy cooking, being able to make quick, healthy meals with low effort thanks to my airfryer was an absolute delight. Please do consider getting one if you don’t already!
- I did a few local trips this year but my favourite has to be the one trip out of the country to visit a loved one in April. London is a city I adore and visit often due to personal and professional commitments. This particular trip was riddled with uncertainty due to the pandemic (Kenya was put on the red-list the day after I arrived 🙃) but somehow ended up being fairly seamless and a lot of fun!
- Launching my website in September was a really special moment for me! It was in the works for months and I was really excited to finally share it. The site gives me much more scope creatively and allows me to have ownership of my work. Another important win related to the website was launching my first ever gift guide. I’ve thought about curating one for almost five years now but couldn’t quite execute it the way I wanted until I had my own platform. Overall, I’m really excited for the opportunities opening up thanks to this site! Please do subscribe to receive regular updates from me.
- The Nike Training App helped me stay consistent with my fitness this year. It has a variety of routines for different levels with really helpful guidance.
- I watched a lot of episodes of Cleaning the Airwaves this year. The show profiles stories of Kenyans in the public eye (artists, media personalities etc) and shares the behind-the-scenes of culturally relevant moments. It’s also fantastically produced and well-researched.
- Discovering that I was experiencing my Saturn Return (coincidentally while reading Adele’s Vogue features) was a game changer for me. It aligned so specifically with my current reality that I had to do further research and reconcile my thoughts. It’s a period of your life when the planet Saturn returns to the position it was in when you were born and is marked by significant life changes in key areas of your life (here’s a good explanation if you’d like to read more). Although it’s been rough, I’m so grateful for what I’m learning and I trust that I’ll be better for it.
Wishing you all a fabulous end to the year and a 2022 filled with the desires of your heart! Thank you for keeping me company.
P.S Listen to my ‘Best of 2021‘ playlist on Apple Music here.
Terembe Cherono is a creator, curator and digital strategist based in Nairobi, Kenya. For the last 10 years, Terembe has used her social media platforms (particularly Instagram and YouTube), to share lifestyle content using extremely compelling storytelling formats. In the last two years, she has developed a highly popular technique for Instagram Stories known as a ‘Daily Recap’ used by numerous content creators globally. She has supported several influencers and small businesses to leverage social media for brand building and sales.