As 2016 is coming to an end, I wanted to review my best outfit posts for the year. I only started my blog last year never thinking that I would be posting my own pictures or modeling my own clothes. Initially, I was only posting links to online sales to help friends get the best deals. Then I started reviewing pieces from my own wardrobe. However, I did not feel very satisfied with that and started modeling my own clothes. I would wake up at 5 a.m. and go out in the front lawn of my house and take my own pictures with a tripod! Still, I did not have the confidence to show my face, so I would always cut out the face in my pictures! It was only after a friend insisted that I show my face, I tried it and got a good response. Then I went to London to learn how to do my own make-up for my blogposts at the London School of Beauty and Make-up. During my stay in London, I would be scanning the streets of London with my tripod, hunting for suitable locations where I could take my own pictures! Very soon I found a community of photographers in London who could travel with me and take my pictures. I realized how important it was to have good backgrounds to get good pictures but more than anything else, all my inmost desires for fashion and travel started getting satisfied!
A very merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to all my readers in India and friends across the globe! Last week I was in New Delhi and went shopping for a red coat to wear on Christmas. I found this beautiful coat that I bought from Zara with high neck and side pockets but could not wait till Christmas to wear it! These pictures are taken just the day after at Connaught Place where I was meeting a friend for coffee at Starbucks - just the perfect reason to wear this coat! After having it on for some time, I found that it was also quite warm! I styled it with a Michael Kors bag and black boots stolen from my sister's cupboard! The inner, a polo neck basic sweater, is also from Zara and I matched the navy color of the inner with the navy of the bag.
I love my black Karen Millen dress! I love everything about it - the embroidery, the style, the cut and the fit! I recently wore it for a late afternoon high-tea at Coworth Park, the Dorchester Collection's luxury hotel and spa, located near London (check out my high tea post here!). After spending a couple of hours drinking tea in the hotel's elegant and richly decorated dining room, my friend and I wandered about the gardens feeling blessed and happy to be there that day!
High tea which is different from afternoon tea, is an English dining custom, where tea is served at the table with high back dining chairs in the late afternoon. I was recently a guest at the Coworth Park, Dorchester Collection's luxury country house hotel & spa near London, and enjoyed high-tea in their elegant drawing and dining room with stunning countryside views. Coworth Park is nestled amid 240 acres of picturesque Berkshire parkland at Ascot. Dressed in a Karen Millen embroidered, black dress and black Karen Millen sandals, I had a taste of a quintessentially British afternoon drinking fine tea in plush surroundings, whilst admiring the beauty of the breathtaking English countryside. The hotel offers an extensive menu of teas including some which are rare and glamorous. If you get lucky, you might even run into a George Clooney or a Russell Crowe, as Hollywood celebrities have often been spotted enjoying afternoon tea here. The service of the staff is exceptional as they serve you with their utmost attention and sincerity. Dress code is smart casual - my advise is not to overdress and keep it simple and elegant.
The Coworth Park Hotel, Ascot, where these pictures were taken, as I mentioned in my last post is a luxury spa located near London. As my friend and I were walking around the extensive hotel grounds, we were immediately attracted to these flower fields richly decorated with flowers in lavender and white. Our hearts danced with joy as we made our way through the colorful fields leaving the world far, far behind us! Honestly, this hotel is such a great place for a retreat with so much beauty all around, that I can totally picture John Lennon writing the lyrics of his famous song Imagine here.
Do you remember the lyrics of the famous song 'Imagine' composed by John Lennon? Perhaps, what we do not know is that the lyrics of this song were written by John Lennon at Coworth House, currently known as the Coworth Park Hotel, Ascot, a 45 minute drive from London. I was there recently and it ended up being one of my best hotel stays ever! I felt quite at home in this luxury resort with an eco-spa, heated pool, polo grounds, horse stables, flower fields and lakes. After a delicious à la carte breakfast, I wandered about the grounds in my Karen Millen trench coat, Karen Millen floral dress, Karen Millen boots and crossbody bag from Kate Spade. Here are some pictures from my first day there. The trench coat has been one of my best purchases this year - the neutral color matches beautifully with almost all of my dresses and the fit is flawless. The dress which belongs to the KM summer collection, has also been a great addition to my wardrobe - I can take it from summer to fall and wear it again in the spring. :)
Even though I am a seasoned traveler and have stayed for long periods in Italy, Germany and the United States, I never really got to London till last year! I have heard from friends on London being one of the most vibrant cities in the world and I could not agree less. Wasn't it the famous English writer, Samuel Johnson who said in the year 1777, that when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford! I was a guest at my cousin's house in London for almost two months and while she was busy with her work, I had plenty of time and opportunity to discover London on my own and get to know the British. Leaving the house early, I would sometimes treat myself to a freshly cooked organic breakfast at Pret A Manger with my favorite soya cappuccino to go, and then head out to explore London.
Since I love to swim, I thought it would be a great idea to make a holiday gift guide for swimmers. So if you have friends who can't stay away from the pool, you might want to try any of the following products to give as gifts to them.
The human skin has essentially three layers and the Chanel Sublimage penetrates all three layers, leaving the skin soft and smooth from within. I have been using this cream fro the past three years and can hardly live without it. Priced at US$ 400, you might consider it expensive, however, since it lasts a very long time (8-10 months), on an average it works out to $40 per month which I think is great for such a quality product. It is essentially anti-ageing and has regenerative effects on the skin. Catch my full post on Chanel here.
My first evening at Edinburgh, it started to rain heavily while I was stuck at the Starbucks Old Town Edinburgh, without an umbrella. However, what followed was the most delightful sight of passers-by in colorful clothes and umbrellas, as I watched them from the glass windows of the cafe. Here are some pictures from that evening that I took from inside the Starbucks Cafe, and as I was looking at them, I realized Scottish people love color!
I was first introduced to Dorothy Bohm through my friend Joe Crosby, a building and design contractor, who was doing a restoration project at her daughter's home. Joe invited me to visit Dorothy's exhibition called the 'Sixties London', being held at the Jewish museum in London. Being interested in photography myself, I was immediately struck by Dorothy's work and how she was able to go beyond the ordinary and find meaning in the seemingly insignificant moments of life. Later I met Dorothy at her London home in Hampstead where she invited me to have tea with her.
It's an honor for me to introduce on my blog today, the very talented and accomplished landscape designer Geeta Singh, who designs gardens that make you feel at home and that you never want to leave. In her career spanning more than 25 years, Geeta has designed gardens for resorts and hotels, private homes and farmhouses. Using locally sourced material like pebbles and stones, as well as terracota pots and marble water fountains custom-made from craftspeople in Jaipur and Pokhran in Rajasthan, her work is a unique and rich blend of culture and heritage with a contemporary design that is stylish and sophisticated.
Radisson Blu hotel is the only five star hotel in Ranchi, the "City of Waterfalls" in India. I go there almost every year to visit the ashram of Paramahansa Yogananda for a yoga and meditation retreat. The Business Class room is very comfortable and quiet with all the amenities like tea and coffee-maker, complimentary mineral water, cookies and fruits and an evening turndown service that I enjoy very much. There is nothing like getting fresh towels and having your bed made again, when you return to the room late in the evening!
Eurostar tickets can be purchased 4 months in advance and become more expensive the closer you are to your travel date. I bought my tickets two months in advance from www.eurostar.com and paid as less as 29 GBP from London to Paris and 44.50 GBP from Paris to London! There is also a special price for youth under 24 years of age. Tickets can either be downloaded and printed at home from the Eurostar website or picked up at the railway station. In my case, since I had booked two passengers on one ticket, I was not able to print them at home and could only pick them up at the railway station. This meant arriving half an hour earlier to ensure I had enough time to pick them up!
2. Boarding at St Pancreas
The Eurostar between London and Paris runs between London St Pancras International and Paris Gare du Nord. Boarding at St Pancras involves scanning your tickets at the automated check-in gates, x-ray screening and passport control. Sometimes the queues are long which is why you need to ensure that you have enough time to check-in before boarding the train. My train's departure time was 8:31 a.m. and I did not have the slightest idea about the check-in process. I reached around 7:40 a.m. to pick up my tickets and meet my friend (who was traveling with me) for breakfast at the railway station. However, when we saw the long queues at the check-in gates, we had to sacrifice our breakfast and get in the queue to make it in time for our train! We eventually did get our breakfast-to-go - hot croissants with cheese and tomato with coffee, which we had in the train! I would give it atleast an hour before the train's departure time for picking up tickets and checking-in for the Eurostar.
I visited Edinburgh, Scotland in the summer and booked my stay through AccorHotels.com at the Ibis Edinburgh Centre, Royal Mile. Even though I booked three weeks in advance, I got a rate of 133 GBP per night, which I thought was very expensive for an Ibis. But I guess since it was summer and peak time for tourists to visit Scotland, I did not have much of a choice. At least, the location was good and I had read some great reviews on TripAdvisor about this property, so I went ahead and made the booking.
Urquhart Castle is a ruinated 13th century castle in the Scottish Highlands located on the banks of the Loch Ness, the largest (by volume) lake in the British Isles. It is one of the most picturesque landmarks in Scotland lying close to the village of Drumnadrochit and easily approachable by road from Inverness. The castle, situated on a headland overlooking Loch Ness, is one of the largest in Scotland in area. It was raided through the centuries and was completely abandoned in the 17th century. In the 20th century, it was placed in state care and opened to the public and is now one of the most-visited castles in Scotland.
Even though I had only one and a half day in Inverness, I could not leave without a visit to the Urquhart Castle in Loch Ness. There is a regular shuttle service that runs between Inverness and Loch Ness, and it is a good idea to get your bus tickets in advance. In case you can't get your ticket in advance, you will have to wait in line to get on the bus, and if the bus gets full, you will need to wait for the next bus - this is exactly what happened to me. However, I did not mind it so much because it gave me enough time for a quick visit to the nearby Victoria Market, which was recommended to me by the Mercure hotel staff where I was staying. Also, I was able to take time and relax on a nice cup of coffee before getting on the bus.
Hi friends, if you have been following my blog, here is another post on Inverness. Victoria Market is a charming shopping mall in Inverness that dates back to the 1890s. The original market was destroyed by fire in 1889 and rebuilt over the next two years. Here you will find shops selling souvenirs, jewellery, kilts, flowers as well as fish and meat. This market makes an ideal spot to enjoy a cup of coffee at one of its cute little cafes, especially when it is raining outside. In the short time I had at Inverness, I made sure to visit the market as it was strongly recommended to me by the Mercure hotel staff where I was staying. Here are some pictures of the market.
This Thanksgiving I want to remember and be grateful to the Universe for the love of my family, for my beautiful friends and for all those little incidents that have so blessed my life, that I can honestly quote 'I don't believe in miracles, I live by them!' In this post, I want to share some of the wonderful experiences that have happened to me, which make life blessed and full.
Almost everybody will agree how effective a tool Facebook is to reach out to people, connect with old friends as well as grow your business. However, if we don't use this tool with restrain, it can also become very addictive, and like any other addiction prove to be extremely detrimental to our happiness by killing our initiative and will-power. With all the craziness that is happening in the world today, the first thing I have been doing on waking up these past few days, is to check my Facebook account. I remember a couple of years ago, a friend telling me how her life had changed and how happy she had become after she had stopped checking her Facebook the first thing in the mornings! I could not relate to what she was saying as I was not on Facebook back then, but I did give her a couple of condescending glances which meant that I was way above all of this! Then my blog happened and then Facebook to promote my blog, and even though for the first few months I did not check the news feed and only posted links to my blog posts on Facebook, very soon I too was addicted!
Meet Utkarsh Narang, a Delhi based photographer who is changing people's lives through his camera lens. Utkarsh's Happiness Project is an initiative to ask one person every day for a period of 365 days, the most basic question of life - what makes him/her happy? Here is a brief interview of Utkarsh where he talks more in detail about the project.
The other day somebody sent me an article written by a mother of two grown-up children, now married and how by practicing detachment in her attachment towards them, she was able not only to let go off them but at the same time give them her complete unconditional love. This helped her to start accepting people and things around her as they were, developing in her a sense of peace and contentment. I am not a mother of two, in fact I am not even married and I am not sure that my love for others can match the unconditional love a mother feels for her children, but one thing I know for certain, that if I do not practice Conscious Detachment in my relationship with others, I may hurt myself and end up feeling lonely and miserable.
One of the most exhilarating of all human emotions is the feeling of falling in love and the churning sensations it causes in your stomach that makes you almost want to throw up! This feeling of nausea accompanied by a loss of appetite, breathlessness and a dimming of all other sensations of taste, smell, touch, hearing and seeing, are some of the most immediate signs of having fallen hopelessly in love. Of course, there are other indications too, like the enlargement of a vivid imagination, making you believe in a fanciful perfect life with your fanciful perfect mate in some fanciful part of the universe!
As I started working on this post, the irony was not lost on me--I had just come back from an intense swim session and was feeling so exhausted that all I wanted to do was sleep or watch a movie or while away my time on social media--in other words, I was just not in the mood to use my brains even though this post was scheduled to go out today. As soon as I was about to sink in this unholy state, I quickly picked myself up and switching off my greatest distraction--my IPhone 6SPlus, started working on another post that did not require so many brains. After working 2 hours at a stretch and battling with dryness and lethargy, I felt positively good for having done the right thing.
I recently saw this movie and I cannot say that it is the best movie ever, but I can definitely say that this film was hugely inspiring to me. It is the story of Becky (Rachel McAdams), a TV producer, who after getting laid off from her job with a successful TV program, is hired by another TV program which is not only low-rated but is facing serious problems on the sets with warring co-hosts. The film focuses on how Becky, with her power of positive thinking and indomitable will, revives this struggling morning show and also brings harmony on the sets between co-workers!
Love Actually is the love story of eight different couples filmed during the Christmas season and their tryst with love. The film begins with a voiceover from David (Hugh Grant) commenting that whenever he gets gloomy with the state of the world he thinks about the arrivals terminal at Heathrow Airport, as friends and family welcome their arriving loved ones; for David this means that love still exists in the world.
Quite contrary to the reviews, I enjoyed watching Aloha very much. Bradley Cooper with his deep blue eyes and handsome good looks wins my heart as he plays the military contractor Brian Gilcrest, who returns to Aloha after many years for a U.S. space mission. His ex-girlfriend Tracy Woodside (Rachel MacAdams) is now married to an Air Force officer. In the meantime, Brian finds himself falling in love with Allison Ng (Emma Stone), a fighter pilot and also his guide for his stay in Aloha.