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6/24 books to read in 2016

3 Jan

Reading books is my way of escaping into other worlds and living other lives. It is extraordinary and highly recommended if you haven’t tried it yet. I am quite old-fashioned when it comes to reading and I need to feel the spine of the book in my hand and the wind on my face when I turn a page. Books to me are my loyal companions who I turn to when I am pretty much done with the world around me. I haven’t graduated to e-books yet because I feel it will reduce my love for my faithful companions. I consider buying books as an investment and nothing can stop me from entering a book store, if it happens to be in sight.

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Last year, for  the GoodReads challenge I took up the gargantuan task of completing 60 books in 365 days! Obviously, I failed. I over estimated my capacity to read and the amount of time I had on my hands to complete the challenge. I managed to read 20 good books. Therefore, I do not feel like a failure. Failing, yet not feeling like a failure is success.

Last year which was just 3 days ago, I read enormously delightful books like The Illicit Happiness of other people by Manu Joseph, Bone clocks my David Mitchell, The Signature of all things by Elizabeth Gilbert, The moveable feast by Ernest Hemmingway,  The Secret Garden by Fraces Burnett, After Dark by Murakami, Sophie Kinsella, Maya Angelou and some new authors like Jasmine Warga.  These books were enriching, enjoyable but demanded a lot of time.

I also wasted plenty of time deciding which book to read. Indecisiveness is a time waster. There were many that I took up and didn’t go back to like Ian McEwan’s The Children Act,  JK Rowling’s Casual Vacancy ( I tried several times but it is way too boring) and The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan.

This year, however, I am tad more realistic and decided to do 2 books per month which makes it 24 books in 2o16. I am making a list in advance so that I am more focused. Here we go-

  1. Rosamund Pilcher’s “Shell Seekers”  – I am re-reading this book that I read 9 years back in Cambridge, England. I borrowed it from the local library and I remember not stepping out of my room, the entire weekend. I finished the book the 581 pager book in nearly 2.5 days. I found this book again from a book etailer’s shop and ordered it immediately. I realized I have forgotten some parts of this lovely family saga and this seemed like a perfect excuse to indulge into Ms. Pilcher’s comforting writing.

2. “The Elegance of a Hedgehog” by Muriel Barbery

I picked this book on impulse and I started it last year. I enjoyed the bizarre plot based on the life events of a French concierge who is intellectually superior but is forced to conceal it because of the class -conscious society that she lives in. I do not recollect why I dropped the book but I intend to finish it as soon as possible.

3. “Emma” by Jane Austen

I believe to survive the ugliness of the world that we live in, it is important to go back to classics to restore the peace, beauty and balance in our life. Jane Austen’s works always succeed with me. I am planning to read Emma again.

4. Akhil Sharma’s “Family Life”

This is a Folio Prize winner that made it to the top 10 on the New York Times best -seller list. It is dark and humourous, I have heard and that is just kind of book I am aching to read this year.

5. Ruth Reichl’s “Delicious”

I love Ruth Reichl. Her Garlic and Sapphires was hilarious and insightful. But “Delicous” happens to be the America’s favourite Food writer and restaurant critic’s first fiction -writing attempt. I have heard rave reviews about it and a food book is a compulsory read for me. Obviously.

6. Rachel Joyce’s “Unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry”

I friend I met on one of my travels recommended this book and that is how I got this book. All I know about the book is that it is a story with a savage twist. 

I think this is going to be a 4-part series where I am going to discuss the book that will make it the list for 2016. I will also try and do a review but I won’t promise because I do short reviews of the books I read on my instagram ( @sliceofmylyfe) and Goodreads account.

Have a fab New Year everyone and happy reading.

Eid Mubarak

4 Oct

Wishing all the readers of Slice of my Lyfe, a lovely Eid and happy holidays.

 

 

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I  intend to break this long blog silence with a beautiful, picture – heavy travel post which will include the glorious touristy details of my visit to Doha ( Qatar). Cheers

{Lifestyle Post} HOSS Intropia Brand Launch with preview of ’14 Autumn / Winter collections

13 Jun

Fashion is always exciting. Though am not an ardent follower of trends that come and go every season, I do try to educate myself every now and then. My fashion philosophy is very simple. Keep it elegant and keep it stylish because personal style never goes out of vogue. Also, I believe, fashion should be pocket sensitive as well. I do not believe in blowing up my month’s pay on a dress or a bag. That is just not me. However much I enjoy shopping, I do very select buying which includes pieces that I can mix and match and use more optimally. I automatically veer towards high street brands which are stylish and pocket friendly.

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So when I was invited by The Portsmouth Group, Bahrain to attend the HOSS Intropia Brand Launch with a preview of 2014 Autumn/ Winter collections, I jumped at the chance for several reasons.

– It was to my first fashion showcase ever

– HOSS is a brand was new to me and I wanted to know what they had to offer

– Price point ( conveniently placed between the high-end designer brands and the high street brands, it sounded promising)

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On a sunny Wednesday morning, I headed to the Kempinksi Grand & Ixir Hotel where the brand’s presentation was being delivered by Ms. Christine Zanon, the Brand Manager. Soon after the models began their walk on the ramp showcasing the Autumn – Winter collection.

A bit more about the collection –

Collection had four different themes for the season:

1Blue Passion or the elegant flower that bears this name. The colours and shading of this flower have inspired the clothes, ranging from ink, navy, blackberry, bougainvillea and poppy to ivory and black. Gorgeous with androgynous prints were the highlight of this collection.

2. Kokoro  – This Japanese word, which means heart, soul, mind and feelings and is also the name of one of the most important novels in Japanese literature, written by Natsume Soeki, Kokoro, Sensei’s Testament, reflects “the heart of Hoss Intropia” ( in their own words).  Delicate and feminine fabrics and cuts with vibrant colours such as reds turquoise and yellow portrayed a cheery picture among the otherwise black, greys and whites collection for the season.

3. North Sea.  Greys, navy blue and bottle green depicting the cold and grey winter days and nights dominated this theme. Clean cuts and neat lines created a picture of understated elegance.

4. Midnight Shadows ; My personal favourite, this collection was replete with modern and savvy silhouettes. Meant to be worn on special occasions it was a sight to be savoured. Velvet and luxurious without being overly dramatic it still lingers in my memory. 

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What I personally loved about the collection was that it was simple, sophisticated yet affordable. Ranging from BHD 80 to BHD 160 +, HOSS Intropia was definitely my kind of brand. With fabrics, styles and cuts meant for every occasion, I look forward to their opening sometime towards the end of June at the Bahrain City Center Mall which will house the Spring,  Summer and pre – Autumn collection. HOSS Intropia has matching trendy accessories and purses in their collection which were just as interesting.

Thank you Rawia and Kimberly of the Portsmouth Group for having me. It was truly a unique experience!

( Note: It is a sponsored post but all the opinions expressed are solely mine. The pictures are with my iPhone 5 S and a very shaky hand)

I have been getting on..

26 Apr

.. and getting myself into more things than I can manage. This year has been very exciting but its not all hunky dory. Everyday there is something new that life throws at me but I am not complaining. The last 3-4 months have weathered me well. Lessons have been learnt but I have been getting on. The most amazing bit that has happened in all this chaos and confusion is clarity of thought has emerged. A pristine clarity of thought which is not only such a relief but also great for bolstering my shaky confidence.

In the coming months a lot would have changed in my life and I pray to God it should be for the best.

(source: google image search)

(source: google image search)

In the meantime I have a few interesting updates to share.

1. I went to my bestie’s (Namit ) wedding in Mumbai and it was so much fun dressing up, getting henna done,  dancing and meeting people. The bride looked absolutely stunning with all the elaborate jewellery and garments. If you have been following me on instagram, you’d know! If you haven’t been, here’s your chance @sliceofmylyfe

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2. Mimi made me this lovely mother’s day gift which I cannot get over

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3. Attended a social media workshop for professionals conduct by the Social Media Club of Bahrain ( @SMCBahrain on twitter). Here I learnt about how important it is to project a consistent brand image throughout. The speaker, Ernesto Verdugo also emphasized on the various social media tools and tricks to use to make life easy.

 

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4. My baby can make her own cake!

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5. Couple of weeks ago, I had a chance to attend a arts and crafts exhibition. It was conducted my La Creation who host series of workshops for anybody who is interested in learning crafts like quilting, painting, baking and such. In a place like Bahrain where if you are new to the island it can get quite lonely. Groups such as this are such a wonderful way to get in touch with the community whilst being creative. This exhibition was a treasure cove of hand made lovelies such dream catchers, necklaces, household decoration pieces, trinkets, quilts, paintings and what not! Here, I share with you some pictures from the event.

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The next post, I shall share a wonderfully healthy oats and egg white uttapam recipe which I love so much! Until then, have a good week ahead people!

A Guest post about the top 5 things to do in Bahrain for Amelia – Chai : A cup of Life

17 Mar

When Amelia  of Chai: A cup of life asked me to do a guest post for her, I agreed immediately without really thinking what I was going to write about. I know and appreciate the fact that Amelia wrote about her life as an expat in India and now Dubai. She gave such profound cultural insights about the Indian way of living that it sometimes shocked and surprised me how these escaped me when I lived there. Anyways, coming to the point.. I decided I’d do a TOP 5 Things to do in Bahrain post for her.

An excerpt from my post on Amelia’s blog.

“Living an expat’s life in Bahrain for the last four years has been the most enchanting one. Every single day, I get a new cultural insight that leaves me enriched with life lessons. Initially, I had reservations about adjusting to the Middle Eastern culture but I was proved wrong in no time by the openness and the warmth of the people of Bahrain. It has been four years now and I can confidently call Bahrain my home because even when I am on my annual vacation to India, I miss the comfort of my routine in Bahrain.

Bahrain, also known as the Kingdom of Bahrain is a small island-country on the western shores of the Persian Gulf. In four years, I have had a chance to enjoy most of the sights that the country has to offer. It cannot be compared to the touristy offerings of Oman or Dubai but it is quite special in its own way for its inhabitants and tourists alike. For the longest time, Bahrain was the financial hub of the Middle East and it still is in my opinion (though many would contest that because the 2008 financial downturn was hard on the Bahrain economy). Yet, the charm of Bahrain has to be lived to be experienced, which we as expats do every single day of our life.” 

For more head over to Chai: A cup of life

Meanwhile Happy Holi to everybody!!!

I share with you some instagram pictures of Holi Celebrations in Bahrain

Holi celebrations at the Temple in Manama - the capital of Bahrain

Holi celebrations at the Temple in Manama – the capital of Bahrain

"Gheear" A Sindhi Specialty like a Jalebi for Holi

“Gheear” A Sindhi Specialty like a Jalebi for Holi

 

Bahrain International Design Week – GO NOW!!! #BAHRAIN

6 Dec

Celebrate . Connect . Grow.

Those are words that resonate with the all new Bahrain International Design Week (BIDW, 2013 ) that debuted on the 1st of December. The idea behind BIDW is to provide a platform for designers and creative people in the Middle East. It is also a platform that will be visited by buyers, investors, developers, collectors and the public. BIDW showcases three main areas covering design on the personal, architectural/interior and other creative services angle

I was given this opportunity to write about the event that spans over a week starting 1st of December to the 7th of December, 2013. It is exciting for me personally to be a part of this national event as I get to witness and document my observations of the creative best in the region.

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The event is being held at the  Bahrain International Exhibition Centre (between 10 am to 10 pm). I went last evening (Thursday, the 5th of Dec) and found myself amazed at the cutting edge innovation and creativity enclosed in one place. I tried to capture a few snapshots of the display that caught my eye.

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Some of the local talent is remarkable. I had a chance to chat with Noof  Alresaei (instagram : @noowood) whose coco cola bottle creations and the torso of man with a lampshade for a head were quite popular for the evening. Do follow her to see her other creations.

The other popular tents for the evening were the clothes and the jewellery display for obvious reasons. Many international designers and universities have also been invited to participate. This is an opportunity for the creative lot of Bahrain to connect with some of the international exhibitors.

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The event also hosted the fashion show showcasing jewelry and some speeches from the who’s who in the design field. For more information please do visit the website at www.bidw.com
Facebook: BahrainInternationalDesignWeek
Twitter: @BIDW2013
Instagram: @BIDW2013

We have 2 more days of BIDW to enjoy and I urge all of you to come and take a look at what BIDW has to offer.

In the end, I would like to commend the efforts made by A1 Services for organizing this event and  the PR agency TalentFreeFlow for promoting it so successfully. (@talentfreeflow on FB, twitter and instagram)

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Mimi turned 4…. ( A pirate princess party for my princess)

19 Oct

…. a month ago.

My little baby is grown up now. It is delightful and scary at the same time. Sounds cliched. I have heard every parent say this – Oh they grow up so fast and we with them. But as parents, we are such emotional creatures and it is easy to spot us if you find someone:

1. Tearing up in a movie hall anytime there is a emotional scene involving a parent and their child
2. Always ending every conversation with some detail about their children
3. Scanning the internet for kids toys, costumes, clothes, books, shoes etc
4. Vacillating between moods of extreme happiness ( while flitting through kids pictures on the phone) to extreme anxiety (on receiving a phone call from school reporting the kids behavior)
5. Appearing to be burnt out and sleep deprived yet smiling at the end of the day when it is time to go home to their child

What I describe above is the journey of being a parent ( sometimes all of it in a single day). But birthday party planning is something else. The madness starts a month before and continues till the child curls up and sleeps- tired and with a smile on her face dreaming about the wonderful birthday party. That is the sign of success and makes all the effort well worth it.
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Each year, I try to do something different keeping up with whatever is Mimi’s favourite. She enjoys the ‘Jake and the Neverland pirates’ and ‘Sophia the first’ shows on Disney junior and informed me that the theme of her party had to be either pirates or the princess. I wondered if it was possible to have them both and that is how the Pirate and Princess themed party idea was born.

I couldn’t have done it without my husband’s help and all the creative ideas from Namit. Starting from the pirate -princess themed invites to the cake to the decorations and the games – was planned, dropped, re-planned, dropped and planned again several times before finalizing on the details.
We urged the invitees to come dressed up as pirates or princesses and we supported them with more pirate/princess props. Even the adults were sporting enough to wear the props and pose for photographs.
The decorations ( entirely Namit’s idea and effort) were mostly pirate-y but balloons were mix of pirate and princess colours of black, white and pink.

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For the cake, we ordered a two -tiered chocolate buttercream cake with pirate -princess them. The cake was delicious and all the guests had several helpings.

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We had the caterers come in and serve tasty Indian food with desserts.
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We couldn’t go through with all the planned games because the party started later than planned. But all in all the kids had a good time playing in the play area outside the party hall. They all left the party tired, happy and with return gifts ( that Mimi had a huge problem distributing and wanted all of them for herself)

thats me (left) and a guest

thats me (left) and a guest

Pirates and princesses

Pirates and princesses

Party games ( The birthday girl)

Party games ( The birthday girl)

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For me the highlights of the party would be:(by now you should know I am a big list maker)
1. Mimi wore a dress (yoo hoo). Considering how she abhors dresses and all things girly, it was a big win for me. She even wore a head band with butterflies and such.
2. The 2 tiered chocolate cake- Mimi’s eyes lit up when she saw the cake in the morning. She quickly changed her mind about wearing pants and decided to wear a dress that matched the cake. All pink and girly, she looked like a star.
3. I baked a gluten free and diary free cake for a guest’s child who was intolerant. It came out wonderfully which wasn’t surprising as it was a Nigella recipe. Unfortunately I don’t have pictures and can’t do a post on it for the moment. What this means is, I will have to make it again to post it on the blog. ( I hear a big shout out from Gayathri for this)
4. My get up inspired by Penelope cruz from the Pirates of the Carribean movie. It was so much fun wearing the eye patch and the pirate hat!

I am sure the party was as fun for the adults as it was for all the children. All party pictures courtesy – Namit Bhatia

For a parent, their child’s birthday is the most important date on a calender. We strive to make it memorable for us more than our children (because they are too young to remember except when they would see pictures in the future). We do this for us, for our satisfaction and somewhere to allay some fears of how time is just bounding past us. I see my baby girl turn into someone new when I spot she doesn’t have chubby cheeks anymore, that her features are more prominent and that she is becoming her own person giving her point of view about everything ( sometimes it shocks me when I realize every moment she is learning something new and spinning her own thoughts around it).
This pirate princess party was for me and my joy+sadness of seeing my child move into another glorious year.

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