Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Due Too Long Update

So, I have been in a dry spell. I have not been blogging for sure, but I have been up to something or other in real life. A sore throat and a runny nose have been my companions for a couple days now. We had a little trip to London on a rainy day and a trip to Birmingham I have still to write about. But I will maybe catch up on them in some time.

Currently I have been trying my hand at watercolor painting/illustrating. I must say I have improved since I took a few online classes. But of course it takes a lot of practice and patience (on the part of the husband!). But I think it has the potential to become a new permanent hobby.

Also, I completed a crochet jumper. Isn't that wonderful? I think it is. I am not entirely satisfied with the fit of it, but it will do for under the coat jackets for now. I have been brainstorming what to do with the leftover yarn, its much to small so a purse or socks is out of question. Fingerless mittens or baby booties are an option but all my friends with babies are back in India and I wouldn't have the satisfaction of putting it to use right away. Haha. I created this board for inspiration for leftover yarn problems.

Now before I leave, I will leave a few pictures from my sketchbook these days, so if I do get better with time, I will have something to get back to. Ciao!

In progress


You can tell I need better quality paper and paints, but for now I am satisfied. I need to learn a lot, but can you tell? I am incredibly proud of the lady in a saree!Inspired by this photo. The last girl is inspired by this girl.

Monday, October 20, 2014

About Daydreaming and British Radishes

Sometimes you need so little effort to move forward and sometimes it takes a sea. And it is easy to decide if a certain effort or lack of it has been productive in some way. But productive to what end? Everyone knows that each one's success looks a little different. My success or idea of it is different than what success means for you. But where does it end? When I write my first novel, or when I am published or when I get a Booker.
I have realized with time that all that we do and not do is worthwhile. It is not for the culmination of any goal necessarily. Its for becoming who you are becoming and becoming doesn't stop at some point. Am I concerned about being 27 and not knowing where I am going? I am. But so is everyone. I am concerned about daydreaming too much, losing a lot in life's trivialities, cooking, cleaning, being presentable. But we forget that all this, adds to my becoming in some way.
There is this article I read that affirms my belief that daydreaming is important. There is no set framework for success. Being professionally successful is not the only success there is. So to add to your Monday:

Non- Career Advice and why daydreaming is important. I am going to follow this series through.

Chopping Onions and Garlic

What does the world eat for Breakfast. Just spotting the dosa made my day.

There is a hotel for bunnies. Get ready to melt at the pictures.

And just for fun, what not to say to a woman on her period.

You have a good week ahead.

Top photo from my daily ventures into British vegetables. The photo is edited in Pixlr Express on my Android.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Painting roses and other stories

So, the weekend came and went and we had a wonderful outing at Birmingham on Saturday and went out Indian grocery shopping on a foggy and chilly Sunday. I went a little cold with all the cold and shivering obviously. I will share more on the trip later this week and about a funny little incident.

Today though I wanted to share about an obsession I've gotten into, watercolour painting. Mainly fashion illustrations. It happened that I signed up for a free online class on Skillshare (It's wonderful, the videos are high quality and the artists genuine and to top it off, they are all free). You will need to upgrade with some fee if want to watch the videos full screen, but I found it was alright with the small ones too (unless you are taking a miniature things making class or something :)

I have had this obsession come and go, but it came to the fore with this class again and I jumped at my Pinterest board.
Here are some looks I found super inspiring, which would be lovely to practice for this class.

                             First Image: Vanessa Jackman                                      Second Image: Found via Google image search

And this beautiful Dior skirt is a dream.

                              Image source: Via this blog

Or this Sonam Kapoor in Dolce and Gabanna look for Cannes:

So I am gonna give it a try and keep you posted on the progress I make. As it usually happens I go down a rabbit hole to a slew of videos on watercolor painting. Here is a particularly adorable one painting loose flowers. I was pretty scared at the beginning thinking this going to turn out awful, but miraculously the artist turns it into something worth to look at. And the narration is adorable.

Enjoy and have a great Monday!
Top Image from here.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The One with all the Swans (And no rowing) - A day out at Startford Upon Avon

I could not come up with any Shakespeare related innuendo here coz 1. I am not THAT into innuendos. 2. I haven't read any Shakespeare. My only introduction to this supposedly super cool author is via beat up Bollywood movies claiming to be inspired by his work or via a high school teacher who turned the Merchant of Venice into the story I will remember through my adult life.

But I digress. It's hardly about Shakespeare here. You love that guy or not, you will surely love Stratford. It's that town from old English movies with pretty houses, winding river canal with swans and plenty of Instagramming opportunities.
Getting to Stratford is pretty simple. We booked a National Express Coach beforehand. Ignoring the part where I had to walk all the way to the Station {No biggie, we do that all the time here}. Whatever way suits you, there is a way to reach Startford. The coach ride was in itself beautiful. Little village houses, meandering meadows and slanting sunlight. My raining window doesn't allow me to believe we lucked out on such beautiful weather. You can easily find the way to the main piazza where you can find live musicians performing, lawns where you can have a little snack while looking at frolicking children or feed the swans at the canal. AND real cool bubble blower dudes:

They give you free refills of the soapy stuff throughout the day if you choose to buy that magic stick, just a heads up.

A small mishap happened with our camera right at the famous statue, before anything began; we forgot the camera batteries. So pardon the blurry, not so great camera photos.

Start your trip with a little walk into town. Get a hang of all that is on offer. Vintage Flea Markets, free art galleries/ museums, the Royal Shakespeare Company. There's so much, you can get lost and end up doing nothing worthwhile. Instead of telling you what all is on offer (Which you can easily find out here), I will tell you what we did to spend the day.

We started with walking along the canal and the Bancroft Gardens. It starts with the Shakespeare statue. The history behind the statue itself is interesting. If that's your thing, read it out and go around clicking pictures.

Really cool Canal traffic posts :)

The walk was super. we looked at really old houses. Though we expected a Shakespeare house, but we found out it was destroyed by some maniac, burned it down in the 19th century (Ouch!). But there was this cool Nash House besides the spot where Shakespeare's house existed.

There was a really pretty vintage stuff market, which was perfectly beautiful. You could buy crockery, that cake stand, pretty kaftans or ponchos. Or you can take all the loveliness in and drink some hot chocolate.

It's mostly a trip about going around, taking the sights in, shopping and well, rowing! If you know how to row that is. I tried, I failed terribly, the boat did not move an inch. I was devastated knowing I couldn't row. But Sameer could and that pacified me a bit. We complete each other haha!

All the museums and buildings are worth seeing and if you are ready to spend (19 pounds!) they will take you to a nice guided tour of the Nash House and Anne Hathaway's cottage and all that. But believe me, it was wonderful just going about, without the tour. So my advice, catch a sunny day and have a picnic on the grass.

Don't miss the butterfly gardens. Even if you aren't much interested in the butterflies, the garden makes for a great place to click photographs. And if you are lucky, you will get to watch (pulled by your husband and make you watch for an hour) a cricket match in full swing.

Thanks for visiting. Anything to add? Leave a comment.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

That is funny!

I am probably very very late on this bandwagon, but have you read The Oatmeal? Have a go, you are not going to regret. I don't regret afternoons spent laughing in front of the screen :)

Here's a sample:

You loved that? I am thinking to get this too.
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pearls Before Swine and Bill Watterson

Are you a Calvin and Hobbes fan? I am. The strips are a classic. And I am a pearls before swine fan too. So I was giddy to read about a partnership.
Here is the article where Stephan Pastis writes about the experience and below is the comic strip that started it. It tells so much about the much known reclusive nature of Bill Watterson in trademark Stephan Pastis style.


Friday, October 3, 2014

Happy Dusshera and Happy Friday!

Have you ever visited the Creative Commons section of Flickr or Wikipedia. These are the archive of photos available to all without the usual copyright restrictions. You can use and distribute these and make them your own in art or collages! Isn't it wonderful.

Go on crazy and make them your own. Here are some I found. Hope you enjoy looking at them.

Wishing all my Friends and Family a very Happy Dusshera! Today is the day we celebrate the Vijay (Victory!) of Good over Evil.
Wait for the Stratford upon Avon itinerary on Monday. Happy Friday guys, hope you have a super relaxing weekend.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What are you reading?

Happy Wednesday! Middle of the week can feel so blah. Waiting for Friday, yet you are done with almost half the week. I just dropped in to tell you what I have been reading.

I have been reading these smallish books.
I have reached only up to the first few chapters in A Novel In A Year. Its an edited, added version of Louise Doughty's newspaper columns, published weekly over a year. She writes about a realistic goal of achieving a manuscript, at the very least an idea for a Novel manuscript within a year. I found the book interesting, helpful or not I need to find out. I will keep you informed on it.
Edna O'Brein's Girls in their Married Bliss is a funny novella about two married friends. One of them is a self pitying  housewife who leans on the other one for everything from cover ups to safe havens. While the other friend who is a trophy wife, level headed yet equally frustrated has enough problems of her own. The narration by Baba, the protagonist is funny, not deep, yet entertaining. It's a quick read, I am halfway through it.

What are you reading? Anything new/old you hope to complete reading this month. The new Lena Dunham personal essays seem like a good idea. But it won't show up in our library as yet. Also I am so waiting to get my hands on this one for so long.

Have a good Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The one with the castle - Day Out at Warwick

We spent the last Saturday in Warwick. It was a fabulous day to be out and the bonus, I got to see my first ever castle. I thought I will put out a little itinerary in case you are looking for a day out kinda break. And let me tell you, the trip could easily be kid friendly, since there's so much to do.

We had booked a train journey a day in advance. And my resourceful husband got a deal of 2 on 1 on the castle tickets. You could find number of offers clubbed with train and bus tickets from anywhere within UK. So I suggest you do a quick search before you do your bookings, ask around, could save you multiple quids.
We booked a Cross Country train journey from Coventry station to Leamington Spa and to Warwick from Leamington Spa. We missed the Chiltern Railways train from Leamington to Warwick since our first train was delayed. But the good news was that there was a second train in ten minutes. Can you believe it. We were so relieved. I suspect its a pretty busy route and you can find multiple trains throughout the day. The train journey cost us about 15.50 Pounds. It was real quick, almost 30 mins in total.

We walked from the station to the Castle Entrance in town. The walk in itself was beautiful. The town is old and you can find multiple local businesses which have been there for ages. Little dress shops, quaint restaurants, bakeries all adorned with flower baskets and topiaries. You can easily take a bus or a taxi ride, but I highly recommend the 10 minute walk.

We got to business straight away. To the castle, got the tickets and went in. Besides my wide eyed grin looking at a castle in flesh, everything was perfect. The weather, the temperatures and the flowers of course.

You can do so many things at the castle. Its a complete kid friendly zone and one could find frenzied, costumed kids all over the place. After all they had a real time castle to frolic and play fake princesses. I almost joined in.

You can do so much. Take your sandwiches or Aloo Parathas along to make it a picnic.

You could take a trek up the multiple towers. The hard work promises fantastic views of the castle and the greens all around. You can see the river Avon and a pretty little boat house. Come back and tell me if you are not inspired to paint!

Walk into a display that shows you knights and Richard Neville the Kingmaker is preparing for battle. Its a little spooky with man like statues and voices. If that's your thing,

Looking for ghosts anyone?

After you have went through that creepy display, very informative if you are paying attention, you find yourself at the entrance of a fabulous smelling Pizza Place. We wanted to head straight to their dining room, I am not even exaggerating.
And then shop for some souvenirs. The shop was cute, except the prices, pretty steep. I wish I had brought that World Map though, would make a great decor piece.

Come down from the towers for picturesque trees and pathways.

You can walk into the Peacock Gardens. And believe it or not, walk straight into at least half a dozen beautiful, human friendly peacocks. The gardens are beautifully landscaped turning them into bird perching spots. The riverside is accessible through here and the walk can be extremely romantic (provided your partner is feeling the same :).

End your Castle trip with a wonderful Birds of Prey show. Its right near the Peacock Garden and unless it's raining, there ought to be shows throughout the day. Ask the attendants. The show was pretty cool with a young (it was huge and young) vulture taking flights above the guests' heads. And a really handsome owl flying on cue. It was something that the kids and adults would equally like.

Out of the castle there is an amazing smelling tea shop, The Oken Tea Rooms. Get your afternoon tea here. As soon as you enter all your senses are attuned to fresh baking and tea of course. And the interiors are too lovely.

I had the fresh scone, which was filling. Next time I would pick one of their renowned Cream Teas.

Now I am gonna tell you about a secret street which is not so secret, but is so tranquil you will think no one knows about it. There is a small street right beside the Main Castle entrance. When you walk through it the surroundings transform into something from an old French movie. You have to go and see it for yourselves. Red and blue doors and a tucked away garden at the end (which is on a ticket! but I'd definitely go if I visit again), with a great view of the castle from the outside.

I am already planning a day in Warwick outside the castle. Its such a beautiful place, you can make it a day without shelling out any money for the castle. If I do go, I ll be the first one to let you know and
if you have any secret hideouts, I am all ears.

Have a great day and week!