Friday, 28 February 2014

The Joys of Afternoon Tea and Remembering Old Times

This may seem like a rather random post, on a very random topic, but I thought I'd share one of my treasured daily rituals. Afternoon tea. If you are a tea drinker, then I'm sure you'll identify... if not, this will all sound a bit silly and frivolous :) 

Afternoon tea is one of my favorite things. It comes at a time in the day when my battery is running low, my mind is wandering and work is the last thing I feel like doing. It doesn't help that I'm a huge caffeine addict and people who know me well know that I'm not a nice person to be around when I'm caffeine deprived. So for me afternoon chai represents not just a caffeine fix, but a 15 minute break where I forget about work, sit down with a nice magazine/book, sip my tea and switch off... no phone, no deadlines, just me, my cuppa and my two Marie biscuits, enjoying the moment. It's surprising how inspiring those 15 minutes can be sometimes :)

That's one of the reasons I try and follow this routine no matter how busy I am. I think it sort of helps to switch off for a bit... the break does me good and I come back focused and relaxed... a much better frame of mind to be in than stressed about deadlines. 

I remember when I was working in a design firm, come tea time we would all turn away from our screens, our cutting chai in one hand, a Glucose biscuit in another, and we'd bitch about work, our boss, our clients and life in general. We also shared a lot of ideas in those moments and critiqued each other's work, often ruthlessly. It was so invigorating, and I can't tell you how many ideas took shape from those animated discussions. We have all moved on from those days and have started our own firms, but those 15 minutes represent great times and wonderful memories that I will always cherish. Tea time is one of the few things I miss about working in an office:) 

It's been a busy week so far - deadlines and clients who can't seem to make up their minds about anything, which means my timelines are taking a real beating. I sometimes wish I had thought about this aspect of the job a little more before choosing this field :) Well, c'est la vie :) At least it's Friday and I have two days where I don't have to think about work! 

I know we all live really busy lives, and it seems like we are always on the go, but I think it's important to sometimes stop and enjoy the little moments, a conversation, a cup of tea/coffee and slow down even, if it's just for a fleeting moment... 

Have a great weekend everyone! 

[Images- Shalini Pereira]

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Design Bloggers Fab 5- Installment V

I'm sure this post is going to brighten up everyone's day... Today the very talented Sruthi Singh of The East Coast Desi shares her Fab 5 list with us. Sruthi has shared some lovely images of her home with us and I'm sure we are all going to be inspired by her vision, as well as her thought process when styling her home. Hope you enjoy!

ACCESSORIES THAT TALK: Accessorizing a home should be more than just selecting a piece from the gamut of common catalog offerings. Personally an accessory to be able to make the cut, has to either talk TO ME or talk ABOUT ME. Every piece I own is surrounded by a veritable tale of passion, travel or cherished memories. One look at my place and you'll know I'm proud of my Indian roots, love travelling and simply adore the heirloom pieces that I've been lucky enough to inherit and make it a part of my daily life. 

TEXTURAL DIALOGUE: The tactile quality of textures tend to bring with them a sense of depth and dimension to a space. Incorporating tarnished and burnished surfaces of aged metals, patina of weathered wood or the replicating pattern of woven textiles and rugs only work together to create a refuge that's warm and inviting. 

VIBRANT PATTERN PLAY: Patterns in bold and vibrant colors are a must have. Coming from India there are so many textiles and patterns to experiment with. I prefer to have bigger pieces of furniture in neutral shades and spruce them up with pillows, throws or bedding in bright hues. It's the quickest and an inexpensive way to give a room a fresh look for every season.

 NATURAL ELEMENTS: Bringing in natural elements to play is important to me. From tucking in the branches of yellow ocher leaves or stalks of flowers in a vase, arranging fruits in a woven basket or adding a potted plant to a vignette, it's all about making an effort to bring the organic and natural quality indoors too. 

FOLLOW YOUR HEART, NOT THE TRENDS: Your home is your haven where you retire every single day with the assurance that you are nurtured, rejuvenated and discover and reflect on what’s really important. To be able to possess this quality, comfort and function is priority. But remember to integrate your individual style and sprinkle it with generous doses of your personality even if it does not fit a style or a trend. Let your heart dictate your home and not the trends for, “Home is where the heart is."

I want to thank Sruthi for her contribution to Fab 5. Loved these images and love the calming quality of her home. I particularly like the way she has created a home that is contemporary, but still maintains a very Indian feel. Her juxtaposition of Indian craft and artifacts with modern elements is so inspiring.

Images:Clicked by Sruthi Singh. Please do not use without prior written permission. Images are the property of Sruthi Singh and subject to copyright.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Ugh! Its Monday Again!

From the title of this post, I'm sure you can guess that I'm not a fan of Monday Mornings... I'm pretty sure that 99% of the world's population feels the same! I mean even if you love what you do, I'm sure that you still have an 'ugh!' moment when you wake up and realize that its Monday. 

It also doesn't help things when the weather gods can't seem to make up their minds about whether or not winter is over. Once again we in Gurgaon are waking up to cold, foggy mornings, with the sun only managing to burst through long after 10am! I've also been told/warned/begged by my friends to stop posting pictures of flowers and spring blossoms on FB with the caption 'Spring is here!' because as soon as I do this the weather decides to mess with everyone's plans! Now I know I'm not not capable of jinxing things... although sometimes I wish I was :) but just to be on the safe side I'm putting a stop to any kind of reference to Spring arriving. 

So there I was this morning, nursing my steaming mug of coffee (or as my hubby likes to call it... mud water that's bitter and disgusting), scowling out at the fog and pinning away on Pinterest, when I came across this image that instantly put a smile on my face. Since it brightened up my day, I thought I'd share it with you guys as well. Maybe it will help beat those Monday blues... if it doesn't... there is always chocolate :)

Anyway this image is like a burst of sunshine. I love the contrast of the bright burst of pink, orange and yellow with the blue Indian jali work that forms the backdrop. It vaguely reminds be of Van Gogh's painting of sunflowers... sort of like an Indian version of it. Anyway I just thought it was very pretty and had to share. Hope you guys like it... 

Lots of nice things happening this week on All Things Nice. The highlight being another installment of Design Bloggers Fab 5. This week Sruthi Singh from East Coast Desi will be sharing her thoughts with us. So stay tuned and have a great week everyone!

[Images from Daily Dream Decor]

Friday, 21 February 2014

Design Bloggers Fab 5- Installment IV

What a hectic few days the past week has been. I've been working on designing a house in Baroda and have been slaving away working on the 3-d model. Issues with my back, which is still not 100%, made sitting up and working for long periods more difficult. The hubby has also been busy with work, in fact I've barely seen him this week. But thankfully the weekend is almost here I'm looking forward to a nice relaxing one (fingers & toes crossed).

Seeing as its Friday and I thought today would be the perfect day for this post... hopefully it will give us all some inspiration and we can while away the weekend dreaming about all the stuff we want to do for our own places. I was actually supper super happy when Anu Varma of My Dream Canvas agreed to be part of the Design Bloggers Fab 5 series on All Things Nice. I love visiting her blog and enjoy her posts immensely. So let me stop going on and on and let Anu tell you in her own words about her Fab 5.

When Shalini invited me to her lovely blog to participate in the Blogger's Fab Five , I thought in my head that It should not be a problem :)  However, when I got down to it, I realized that  I really don't have the perfect 5 answers :) I shall try in this post to  explain what  "home" is for me  and the things that inspire me!

My Roots : This is perhaps the single most important element in my home. Decorating my home has been an emotional journey. Moving thousands of miles away from home was hard. I slowly nurtured the idea of making my new home feel like the place where I grew up.  Maybe it is my way of trying to reduce the physical distance between me and my roots. My home has my stamp on it and yet I am delighted to have a piece of my childhood with me :-) I feel happy, safe and secure with things around me that have meaning for my family.  

Flowers : they add instant cheer, charm and happiness to any space. For me it is not about a bouquet of flowers but just a few stems here and there make me smile :)

Textiles : I have a weakness for textiles from around the world. I love the colors and textures and enjoy changing my cushions :) While one can't make big changes around the house. Changing pillows and cushions can change your decor instantly without it being a major expense!

I know I have cheated and missed out on two more elements. Instead I wish to share a few thoughts about home, decor and design. So please do humor me :)  Modern, Eclectic, Traditional, Global, Contemporary are all tags given to different design styles and perhaps our homes. However, in my opinion authenticity is the most treasured tag. Appreciate the beauty around you but be the person you naturally are. Find the beauty and the desire to create within "YOU".

I feel a sense of happiness and belonging when I step into my home and I wish the same for you :-)

As part of the My Dream Canvas journey I have also created a little online store. Whenever, I get the chance, I go treasure hunting........ whether I'm halfway around the world or just around the corner from home :) I love a good find........ and thus began the Shop at My Dream Canvas. The shop hosts a collection of unique home decor items handpicked by me for you. I would love for you to drop by :)

Thank you Shalini !

I want to say a very big thank you to Anu for her amazing images that have an almost dream-like quality about them. I feel inspired, and I'm sure that all of you guys are will be as well.

If you've missed the earlier installments of Fab 5 you can catch up on what you've missed here, here and here. And stay tuned next week because Fab 5 will be back with Sruthi Singh of East Coast Desi.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Abode Mumbai - A Quaint Boutique Hotel in Colaba, Mumbai

When I stumbled upon this hotel on the We Heart website, my eyes lit up in joy. As I went through all the images, I kept repeating the phrase, 'Love it!' again and again. I love modern interiors, but what I love even more is when a designed space captures the essence of a place. And since I live in India, I love modern design that is Indian at heart, but still contemporary in its outlook. (I hope that makes sense) 

In this case its Mumbai, the design behind this hotel captures the Spirit of Mumbai. It is just such a wonderful space and done up so perfectly. Located in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Colaba, Mumbai, an area known for its Colonial and Art Deco architecture, this hotel is the ultimate quite escape. It's quirky but modern style is the perfect backdrop for everything that celebrates the essence of Mumbai, from the photographs of Mumabi life, knick knacks, artwork and the old colonial furniture. 

Designed by Sian Pascale of Young Citizens design studio, the hotel is inspired by Art Deco and Colonial styles that are such an integral part of Mumbai's fabric. I love the care with which the team has picked up items from flea markets and recycled elements like the teak wood floor, that came from demolished houses and teamed them with bespoke items of furniture done especially for Abode Mumbai. I especially ADORE the beautiful cement tiled floor, made from a local manufacturer. 

Take a look... I promise you'll be wanting to stay here the next time you visit Mumbai. I know I am!

[All images- We Heart & Abode Mumbai]

Make sure you tune into All Things Nice tomorrow, we have our next installment of Design Bloggers Fab 5 with Anu Varma of My Dream Canvas. Be prepared to be wowed by Anu's amazing sense of style and home decor ideas.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

McDreamy's Malibu Home

I have a confession to make... I, along with millions of other women, I'm sure, (and maybe even a few men) love McDreamy. Yes Dr Derek Shepherd, neurosurgeon extraordinaire and one of the reasons I am hooked to the hit show Grey's Anatomy. 

I mean if there was a doctor who looked even remotely like Dr Derek Shepherd in any hospital close to me, I'd be there everyday with some sort of imagined illness! I mean those eyes... and that hair! In the words of Meredith Grey... seriously... seriously!

So I was very happy when I came across this in AD. I love the way this house, designed by the famous Frank Gehry, has been adapted for Patrick Dempsey and his family.It's modern, warm and arty and the sunlight that filters in throughout the home makes it come alive. This house is a happy and relaxed place that is so perfect for a family. 

Take a look... tell me what you think.

This is my favorite space... it could be a very contemporary Indian home

[All Images - AD]

Monday, 17 February 2014

From Singapore with Love- Madhu's Contemporary Indian Home

Its been quite a while since I've done an installment of My Space, My Style, so it really made my day when Madhu, the brains behind the blog Turquoise Decor, wrote me with pictures of her lovely home! 

Madhu's home is in Singapore and decor wise, Madhu loves all things modern. She describes her design sensibilities as, "I like modern interiors with a heart. A lot of texture and memorabilia but clean lines. My OCD dictates everything is square or rectangle- no circles :p". 

I'm featuring two spaces in her home... one is her living area that's really contemporary but has an understated Indian flair. There are subtle Indian touches that you will notice if you look carefully.  The other space is her lovely quaint and calm terrace, which was completely a family DIY job from start to finish.

"The white panels you see covering the skylights were put up by my husband using cut work bed sheets we bought on our trip to Jaipur. I love bright rooms but the skylight was giving us more than we had bargained for !"

"I like to doodle. I also like to think I can paint ;) Some of my art work is on the walls."

"We enjoy our morning coffee and evening conversations on the swing."

If you love Madhu's home, and you want more, then you can check out more images on her blog here and here. Thanks Madhu for sharing your lovely home with us!

And if you happen to have missed the earlier installments of My Space, My Style catch up with all the eye candy you've missed right here. Also, if you want to see your home featured on All Things Nice, write me at with images of your home. 

And guys don't forget to stay tuned to All Things Nice. Up next is a brand New installment of Design Bloggers Fab 5 with the super Anu Varma of My Dream Canvas. If you've missed the earlier installments, you can catch up here

[All Images - Madhu Palaparthi]


Saturday, 15 February 2014

Bored, Bedridden and Grumpy!

So I was supposed to be enjoying a nice, relaxing and romantic holiday with the hubby in Kesroli. We had planned to use the beautiful Kesroli Fort Hotel as a base to explore a few places close by. I was especially looking forward to visiting an ancient step well in Abhaneri. But as luck would have it I messed up my back getting a little too caught up in re-potting a few plants, and have been stuck in bed since Thursday!

Did I mention how much I was looking forward to this holiday?! We have't been on a holiday in such a long time and I really needed one. The last few months have been quite stressful and this was a nice break before more stressful months that I see coming up. To make things worse I absolutely HATE lying around in bed... I'm not someone who can laze, much to the amusement, and sometimes annoyance of the DH :) If there's nothing to do, I'll find something to do :) So the whole 'being stuck in bed' is so much worse!

And what is up with the weather? I mean its almost the end of February, and Spring seemed to be slowing coming in, and then all of a sudden the fog, and rain and cold come back! I mean come on... seriously! SERIOUSLY!

Anyway I'm better today... able to sit up for short spells so at least I can get some stuff done! So I thought I'd vent a little... And now that I've had my fill of cribbing, I wanted to share a few images I took a few days ago... before this entire sad fiasco! 

It was was a lovely sunny morning and the warm rays of the sun were streaming in through the balcony. It got me inspired to get out my camera and click a few images of our home in Gurgaon... A friend once described our home decor style as New Age Indian, and I love that tag. So here are the images... I'm no photographer mind you, and one or two of them are a bit blurred, but thought I'd share anyway. Enjoy! 

I love these traditional brass urlis that I picked up on our last visit to Kerala

[All Images- Shalini Pereira]

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Rosemary & Orange infused Southern Comfort Whiskey cocktail

Firstly, please forgive the long boring name, I have't figured out a catchy name for this one, so any suggestions would be welcome! 

OK, getting down to business... so I know its a little early in the week to be doing posts on cocktails, but... wait, who I am kidding, it's never too early in the week for cocktails! Besides this one is really good, and hopefully something you guys can try out over the weekend. 

I made a batch of this on Saturday night. We had originally planned to go out for drinks and dinner, but the hubby had to work- a call that kept getting postponed all day, and then finally happened just as it was time to go out! I was pretty annoyed, and after throwing a bit of a tantrum, I thought why not have some boozy fun at home:) 

On a trip to the Philippines, DH picked up a bottle of Southern Comfort, and I've been thinking about trying out some cocktails with it. Saturday night, at home, a little miffed at not being able to go out... perfect for a little cocktail experiment and the two other musketeers could be my guinea pigs! (Evil laugh)

I have to say, I was expecting a bit of a disaster,especially considering the mood I was in, but it worked out quite well and trust we when I say this cocktail really improved my mood... a few sips and I was feeling downright mellow:) 

This is a nice drink that went down really well... a drink that would be especially nice on a warm spring day. Ideal for a BBQ, if you want something that has a little more kick than beer. And let me warn you that this has quite a kick! Since it was an experiment (and I didn't want to waste a good single malt on an experiment) I used Vat 69, but next time I plan to replace it with a nice non-smokey single malt.

Here's the recipe

1. Chill 3 lowball glasses

2.Add a few slivers of orange rind in a cocktail shaker with a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper and a dash of cinnamon powder

3. Use a muddler  to lightly crush the rind to release its oils

4. Add a lot of ice to the shaker

5. Add a stalk of rosemary, 1 measure of Southern Comfort, 3 Measures of Whiskey, 1/2 Measure of orange juice

6. Stir for 30 seconds and leave to stand for 2 minutes

7. Add 1-2 cubes of ice in each chilled glass, along with a few chunks of orange 

8. Pour the chilled mixture through a strainer into each glass and garnish with a twist of orange rind.

Enjoy! And write in with your ideas for a name for this one!

Serves 3
1 measure = 60ml

[All images- Shalini Pereira]

Monday, 10 February 2014

A Visit to Humayun's Tomb

I had planned to do this post ages ago, but somehow never got around to it. But since I've recently done a post on Delhi sights, I thought I'd follow it up with this one.

Sometime back I had visited Humayun’s Tomb with family who were visiting during Diwali break. This was my second visit, the first being years before, when I was too young to remember/appreciate much. It was a cool Novemeber day when we visited, but the sun was shining brightly and the sky was clear and bright blue. We arrived late in the morning, and luckily it wasn’t too crowded.

Located in Nizamuddin, East Delhi, Humayun’s tomb is a must see if you are visiting Delhi. It is a UNESCO world heritage site and I think it’s magnificent, bearing a striking resemblance to the Taj Mahal. This structure of red sandstone and white marble is a beautiful example of Mughal Architecture. The Tomb lies in the centre of a Char Bagh Garden, a Persian style garden with a quadrilateral layout. The highly geometrical layout of the garden, with its channels of flowing water creates a soothing atmosphere- its as though an air of tranquility hangs over the entire area. This was one of the things I really loved about my visit here, the sense of calm that the garden was originally meant to provide could really be experienced, unlike the almost manic experience of visiting the Taj, with its noisy, surging crowds that detract from the serenity the structure was meant to portray.

Come here on a weekend, with family or friends and enjoy the architecture, breathe in the history and the atmosphere in peace. There are also several spots surrounding the structure, where you can sit under the shade of orange trees and catch your breath after all the exploring.

Here are a few images I clicked...

Facts- Open daily

            Nearest metro stations is JLN Metro Station or Central Secretariat metro station

[Images- Shalini Pereira]

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