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Sonal Maherali

Wouldn't  you want to sit here, eith a book. Or a drink. Or lost in the train of your own thoughts?
Brands, Fashion

The Sun Africa Hotels; a Kenyan Gem

When you walk into the Sun Africa Hotel- and you should- it is like walking into a fairlytale. A lush wonderland of food, ambience, drinks and the very best hospitality has to offer.

At least that was my experience at their Austen Place in Nairobi.

I’m lucky to have been to a dozen places, vouched by travellers and enthusiasts as the creme de la creme of hospitality, but seated at the Sun Africa, writing over lunch I felt like someone who just discovered their arms.

You know that feeling?

When you suddenly start seeing something that has been there for so long, something so ethereal, hidden a wink away?

Allow you to indulge you. Tell you why this is my new favourite place?

1. The decor, the lighting, the textures and the general vibe is the stuff you catch in movies and interior decor documentaries. Quaint and modern, lush and warm. It is almost dreamy. Like a poem in a far-away castle. 

The decor, the lighting, the textures and the general vibe are the stuff you catch in movies and interior decor documentaries. Quaint and modern, lush and warm.

The decor, the lighting, the textures and the general vibe are the stuff you catch in movies and interior decor documentaries. Quaint and modern, lush and warm.

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Wouldn’t you want to sit here, with a book. Or a drink. Or lost in the train of your own thoughts?

Wouldn't you want to sit here, eith a book. Or a drink. Or lost in the train of your own thoughts?

Wouldn’t you want to sit here, with a book. Or a drink. Or lost in the train of your own thoughts?

The views are beyond words..

The views are beyond words..

2. It its an architectural marvel. And for someone who is fascinated by architecture and style. This place leaps at you, like a mystery, begging to be touched, and uncovered and laid out.

This looks like it was commisioned by Michelangelo, or Raphael Bernini. Ok Kidding. But seated here, taking in the roman-esque nuances, such serenity in the middle of the city is hard to come by, even for a price..

This sculpure looks like it was commisioned by Michelangelo, or Raphael Bernini. Ok Kidding. But seated here, taking in the roman-esque nuances, such serenity in the middle of the city is hard to come by, even for a price.

3. The dining area area is lush and expansive, featuring the dreamy and poetry-worthy ionic style that catapulted the Roman Empire to the pantheon of architectural greats. Seated here, enjoying your scrumptious eats, you will feel like you are seated in Rome. Doing as Romans do. Haha.

As section of the restaurant. Because dining is a lot more than just food.

As section of the restaurant. Because dining is a lot more than just food.

I mean, look at that as you shovel delectables down your mouth!!


4. And because these people at Sun Africa understand that at some point, you made need to hold meetings away from your office, they have the perfect conference rooms.

Meeting rooms so well done, you’ll feel like you are lounging at the oval office.



5. And if you love outdoors, there are just the perfect spots for you to relax. To stop and think.


5. It would be sacrilegious to forget about their outdoor poolside.  Especially when the pool looks like this.  And especially, when the pool’s background looks like that.


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Events, Fashion

From the Tribal Chic 2019, with love

They call it Nairobi’s most glamorous event of the year, but glamorous does not even define the annual Tribal Chic event that goes down at the Tribe Hotel.

It is like Florence’s Pitti Immagine Uomo, but in one night. Or the London Fashion Week bundled in a night of an unforgettable five-star resplendence.

Fashionistas, critics, models, designers and lovers of life and its little thrills wait for it like us plebeians wait for Christmas.

Oh what a sensational night of the year it is.

Last Saturday, everyone stepped out, their best foot forward for 2019’s edition of Tribal Chic. It was like pages off an un-putdownable fairytale.

Yours truly was in attendance and took great pleasure in mingling, ogling at, and loving; the decor, the svelte and the chiseled models and most importantly, the breath-taking designs from a twaddle of fashion magicians.


Yours truly was in attendance and took great pleasure in mingling, ogling, and loving, the svelte and the chiseled models, the decor and most importantly, drop-dead breath-taking designs.

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Me. A whole warrior with an outfit that reminded me to keep fighting, to keep shifting, to keep being uncomfortable, to keep swimming for the shore. A burgundy velvet top, a kitenge skirt, a neck-piece or burgundy feathers for equal measures and some Charles Keith Shoes.

I’m talking Fiona Kay who is riding the coattails of her successful, dreamy new collection “The void by Fiona Kay”, Hamaji the Nomad- an African Boheme designer whose designs borrow heavy nuances from Rural Kenya.

It would be sacrilege If I did not mention Deepa Dosaja who was at the show too, showing us exactly why this brand showcased at the Newyork Fashion week (NYFW).

And there was Katush by Katungulu Mwendwa, Moksh, Niku Singh and a smattering of other fashion talents who are on the come-up.

It was well-thought out fashion banquet for fashion lovers. Can’t wait for next year guys. Haha!

One of the designs at the show that I absolutely loved.

One of the designs at the show that I absolutely loved.

This year, the event that has stood the test of time so gracefully celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Tickets were sold out and the proceeds donated to Rafiki Mwema, a charity organisation that takes in streetkids.

Some of the kids are as young as 5-years-old. A good number have suffered sexual and physical abuse and are in dire need of a home and psychological support.

If you can, check out the charity oganisation here: Rafiki Mwema 

As always,

Love and lite,

See you in the next post.



Made it to the Forbes!

There is absolutely no harm in a girl who’s been on the come-up tooting her horn.

There is absolutely no issue with such a girl patting herself on the back. Or throwing back a tall pitcher of a celebratory maroon!

Especially for a moment like this! For a time as auspicious as this.

I made it, alongside a twaddle of other super important people (haha) to the Forbes Africa November issue, aptly dubbed “the Collectors Edition”.

It is an edition you need to cop.  To read on who Forbes has baptized;  the “African Afficionados” and the clockwork that makes them tick.

If you follow up on my tales, get you copy and give it a read. It’s already hit the shelves and ready for your lap.


I would also love to hear what you think. So let me know in the comments section.

As usual,

Love & Lite.


In pictures: Another week of my Saree Marathon

I have never really been with the trends. I could never keep up, unless its with the shoes and bags. I love being comfortable but I also  love standing out.  Provided  I make the rules.

Lately, I have been exploring my love for the Saree and challenging myself to a 30-day dressing marathon, discovering, figuring out and challenging myself.

I already did the first week and you can read all about it here;  A look at the first week of my 30-day dressing challenge 

  1. A Lion Queen 

This  one for times when I need to remind myself that I’m beautiful inside out.  That I’m brave. That I’m enough. That I do not need to seek validation from anyone. That I can be all that I’ve dreamt of being.

I don’t know, dressed like this I could be anywhere doing anything. Including those nice tea parties that you are yet to invite me to.



2. A boss babe 

This one for those times when I have to remind myself to boss it up.  To keep at it. To keep trusting in the process of becoming. This is how I pull up to the meetings.  This is how I plan to pull up when collecting those well-deserved accolades.  This is my outfit for when I plan to be out and about collecting the bag.



3.The diaries of a fashion rebel 

At the turn of the 20th century, and for so many years after that, leather was a symbol of rebellion and delinquency. It wasn’t  until in the  50’s when Harley Davidson popularized leather wear for women, making it chic and acceptable and pricking the notion that leather was not a woman’s dress.

Over the years, leather has become a coveted staple,  finding its way into pants, bralettes and all manners of dress. And you know what?  I’m here for it.

Dressed like this, I look like I’m going for what they said I couldn’t have.  And I am.


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4. Lady in Blue

Blue for the skies.  That vast blue expanse of  a universe we know so little about.  Blue for wisdom and trust. Blue for peace, tranquility and the mental relaxation needed to propel us to our best lives.  Oh and this black body suit I’m wearing is available for sale. You can buy it directly here ==>Risque Business Bodysuit <==. It will be shipped to your house, regardless of where you live.


5. Queen Midas 

I hope that everything I set my eyes on, turns into gold.  Like this outfit. Not literal though,  although I would never run out of space. Haha!

This reminds me of Mumbai, the sun, the gold,  the fun, the parties, the food and the people. My people.


6. Black Magic 

No voodoo here. Just a girl who loves playing dressup.  A girl who love re-jigging her sarees because normal is boring even for a normal girl.  Maybe if I substituted my red-bottoms for some boots, we could attend a Fiesta Brava together?

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7. Bollywood 

Dressed like this, I could almost hear The Thumka banging at the back of my head.  A belly dance perhaps? I kid.  This was for a variety show in Nairobi although with the proper champagne, a trip to the dance-floor would not be too far-fetched. 




A look at my first week of my 30-day dressing challenge

In October, I decided to take a 30-day dressing challenge. The plan was mirror my two diverse backgrounds.

The first one was my African upbringing which has shaped so much of the woman I have become by giving me some sort of identity.

The other one was my Indian background. A background so entrenched in everything I know, it is like my second skin.

The outfits I chose are actually an interplay of two cultures meshing; a conservative yet titillating Indian side and wild and free African side.

I have done two weeks so far, and I cannot wait to complete this challenge which has really pushed me to challenge the boundaries of my creativity.

So week one went like:

  1. A little pink for the breast cancer awareness month in this matchy-matchy saree. 

    I wore this one to some event, accessorized it with a Gucci belt and have I never felt so chic in my life.


2. Some Gold and some orange, like the fiery sun, for the Lion Queen.

This was an outfit for the office.  Because sometimes, you have to motivate yourself by being a little extra. I love extra.

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3.  Love and lite in a world badly opened up by hate, bile and negative energy.

I wore this one to my daughters school in the AM and later on strode it off to see some friends for lunch.  I especially how the sleeveless tee from my luxe line gelled beautifully with the Saree.

It is like they are siblings. Non jealous ones. Haha.


4. A little shade of green because a girl has to remind herself that she is growing and becoming.

This one was effortlessly chic, making me feel like all I needed to be the modern day Nefertiti was a crown.  And I’d take the world by the scruff of its neck, and command it to heed to my pining.

Some green, because how else would they know you were growing and becoming the better version of who you were always meant to be?


5.  A litte luxe into the gold, because, sometimes, all that glitters is probably Gold

Everytime I walk into my closet, I feel like I’m playing dress up as a kid- but with more variety now. Its exciting, feels like being a kid in a candy store,  sorrounded by toffee and tarts.

I loved this look, it flirty and sweet, a little modest and a little playful. It was a balance between so many things. Like life should be.


6. And this one, for when I want to relax in the house, say on a day off watching my kids play and thinking about life’s little conundrums

This one for when I mean business.  When its my day home, to get some sun by the pool house, watching my kids enjoy whatever it is that makes kids happy on a Friday morning.


7. And this shimmering red and gold goodness that reminded of Mumbai nights, and fine-dining nights.

Dressed like this, looking like this, where wouldn’t we go? Which sojourns would we shy away from? What mountains would we not climb (mountains are used here very figuratively).



I will attempt to do a weekly post on everything that I wore and maybe what I have been upto.

So be a sweet sport and tell me what you think of the outfits.

See ya.

Love and lite.


A 30-days Saree Challenge

Hi loves,

I have been trying to challenge myself into trying out new things, experiencing different things and feeling different things.

And quite appropriately, Navratri began yesterday – a nine-day festival of supplication, worship and thanksgiving.

The festival prominently celebrated in Gujarat, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Karnataka symbolizes the triumph of good over evil.

It marks Goddess Durga’s victory over demon Mahishasura. Long story but the short of it is that I’m looking forward to a weeklong of blessings and fullness of joy.

And what a time to be alive. An entire year of battles, triumphs,progress, setbacks wins and losses. This week couldn’t have come at a better time.

This entire month, I have challenged myself to wear Sarees in different styles. I have particularly taken a keen interest in representing vibes from my two worlds; my Kenyan and Indian identities.

Outfit details: Tee shirt from my luxury line. Lesso: Kenyan. Maasai Necklace and the bindi

Outfit details: Tee shirt from my luxury line.
Lesso: Kenyan. Maasai Necklace and the bindi

I wore a lesso-inspired Saree to the Nairobi Flea Market yesterday to start off the month-long Saree marathon.

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Do let me know what you think of the first shot in the comment section below.

As always,

Love & lite.


A look at my new office: The Simba Maharani

This whole shebang started years ago. One Louboutin at a time. And now we’ve opened office. Dreams come true.

In 2018, I was talking to a friend about the idea of setting up my office. I had gotten tired of working from the house.

At the time alot was still pending. My luxury line was still a mirage. Throughout the year, I made a dozen trips to Mumbai where production was ongoing.

Looking back, those were tough days. Long hours and sleepless nights and I dare say, they paid off. Or are paying off.

Towards the end of the year 2018, production for the first items from my line- the luxe tee-shirts was complete.

And when this was happening, something else was happening in Nairobi. My office was coming up. I didn’t know what I wanted it to be but I knew I wanted comfort and luxe. I wanted my office to be stunning. I wanted space that would be a projection of myself. A second home.

I wanted to step out from my home and into my office without missing a step. So alot is inspired by the house.

To put it aptly, it is white, chic, luxe and screams fashion a space where creating comes to life- and hopefully, expect a lot of this.

This is where you began, vast emptiness:

This is where we began.

This is where we began.

And slowly, but surely, started taking shape:

office 2

The we got to this:

office 3

Of course, it would take 17 pages to document the whole transformation journey, so pray I save your bundles,or your bandwidth by going into the current look.

Welcome to Simba Maharani. The Lion Queen.

So this is where I sit, thinking about the meaning of life, and penning poetry and making decisions. Securing the bag.  Basically.


And right here is where you would sit if you came over to see me.




A wall to my left upon which, bits of my life rest;  photos, stuff.  Stuff you are not allowed to touch.

These little glasses are what’s used in the streets of MUMBAI. They’re called “cutting chai” and a symbol of a city I’m head over heels in love with.


That tree in the vase is a reminder to be grateful, all seasons. Regardless.


A photo with the Mister, a photo in Vegas and a photo with the legendary Christian Louboutin taken at his Mount Street store.

The Elephant below was painted by my last-born daughter Ely. It is my most favorite possession. Hands down.


Lets move over to this other side of the office where visitors can enjoy the peace and tranquility of being themselves.  Before you are ushered into my office, you would be propped up here. With the president grinning behind you.

A little about the decor which was done by yours truly.

French tapestry, a baby pink sofa, designer guild throws and white stools that also double up as storage and a coffee table adorn this side of the office.




And not to forget this painting. a Flock of birds soaring and gliding to new heights. A reminder that we are limited only by our imagination.


Or this one:


Are you still following? My team sits here, surrounded by lions.



And a different angle that brings us to the end of the office tour..



A tall tale of my ten tattoos

Canadian writer Charles de Lint wrote in the Mystery of Grace that; tattoos are the stories of your heart, written on your skin.

And honestly, no one could have said it any better. I feel like mine have made my skin more “me”, by painting out things I felt about deeply.

And yes, they painful but some people derive certain odd comfort from the repeated stinging of the needle.

Lets get this rolling.

  1. The rose and the dagger

My first tattoo was on my left arm. A dalliance between a dagger and a rose. I was around 19 or 20 when I got it. I might have been drunk because I got it during a night out.


The dagger was indicative of the experiences I had been through, pain, heartbreak and depression. The rose was the sliver of hope. Beauty in chaos.

The interplay also means, rather aptly, that despite being feminine, I’m not here to play!

2. The pouncing Panther

The second one was a Panther that I got at Yaya Centre in Nairobi. It was largely about power. It is on my right shoulder.

Sis was Black Panther long before Wakanda forever!


It was at a time that I needed to remind myself that I would rise above the chaos that was my life at the time. And I did.

3. A number for my darling mother

My third one was on my left wrist, a Hindi equivalent of ‘mother’. It was around the time I got my fourth child and also around the time my mum was diagnosed with cancer.

mother tatoo

A tough time. Stuff i’ll never forget.

4. My Guru

My fourth tattoo was inspired by my adherence to Shirdi Sai Baba. He did not believe in religion but humanity and his teachings are dear to my heart. It is on my right wrist and was done two years ago.


5.  A convenient one for the Mister

My fifth tattoo was done on my ring finger and rather conveniently, bore my husband’s pen name; AFM. It was done last year in October during his birthday when he flew to Mumbai where I was down for work.


6. A crown for the Queen

My sixth was a crown on my left hand. A reminder that I’m a queen. A stark reminder that no one defined who I am or what I’m becoming.


7. And another one for Africa’s Louboutin Queen

The seventh tattoo was inspired by my love for Christian Louboutin shoes. It was done in red and black. A beauty.


8. Self-Love

The eighth tattoo was on my right hand’s ring finger. It was letter S next to a heart. A reminder that the best love is the one you give yourself. Love yourselves, boys and girls!

self love

9. Of growth and butterflies

The ninth one was a butterfly on my neck rather hidden behind the mop of hair. Hi Kendrick Lamar fans?


The tattoo is symbolic of growth. From the egg, the larvae, the pupae and into the colorful butterfly.

Growth makes you beautiful.

10. Branding myself 

The tenth tattoo is of my logo. A lion face done in white. A reminder that I’m feisty and brave and powerful. Forever.


You can also watch a video of the same on my channel here:


As usual,

Love & Lite.

I will see you in the next post.