Saturday, 31 December 2016

2016 Favourite: Top 16 Books of 2016 + My Year in Books!

2016 has come to a close. 
What a ride this year has been. Most people seem to be complain about this year but honestly, I had a pretty stellar year.

 I read 170+ books! 
I am pleased. Though this isn't the best reading year in terms of numbers. 2014, I am looking at you with your 295 books. You've ruined every single year henceforth! 

But I am not bumming out. I really am not!
170 is still pretty fucking amazing. Plus, this year I chose to take it easy with my constant reading. I still read a lot, and very consistently and enjoyed most of the books I read but I also took time to do other things. I traveled. I watched movies. I wrote. I cooked. I baked. I spent a lot of time with my family. I journaled. I art journaled. 
I loved that my year included more than just books. 
But books were my main love. 
I re-read a few of my old loves.
I read so many short story collections, honestly, 2016 was the year of short stories for me. 
I also read so much on my Kindle and fell in love with my e-reader. I sure have come a long way from being opposed to the idea of e-readers to really loving and appreciating it. If you were considering getting a Kindle, I can't recommend it enough. 

My only reading regret for 2016 is possibly not reading enough classics. 
I meant to, I really planned to but I just didn't! I wanted to read some of my Penguin English Library books but I just didn't. Not even a single one. :( I suck! 

I did read a few modern classics. 

I also read quite a few new releases, something I don't often do. 

Book buying was something I so good at this year.I actually bought books I wanted to read immediately and not just books that languish on my bookshelves. 
I also managed to keep things under control and didn't go batshit mad buy any book that caught my eye. I think I bought around 50 books this year. I am not 100% sure on the exact number but I am certain I didn't buy more than 50 books. That is a huge improvement over previous years when I've bought 30 books in a single month. :O 
I am very proud of my self-control. 
Go Pooja! 
*pats self on back* 

2016 was a good year for my bookish heart. 

Now on to my favourite reads. 

I thought I'd list 10 books I loved best but lo and behold I've come up with 16 books I loved best in 2016. 
Isn't that a sign of a good reading year if I managed to find myself with 16 books I loved? 
Also 16 books for 2016 sounds and looks good to me. 

So let's get started! 

I will list my Top 10 books of 2016 first and then mention 6 honourable mentions in the end.

1. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys/// This book was a wonderful mix of all things I enjoy reading about--history, war, lovely and memorable characters, underdogs and bearing testament to a chapter in history we don't often read about. I loved this book. It broke my heart in so many places but I think books like this are essential to read and know what havoc war can create. So good!
A full review can be seen here.

2. Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson/// So good! So much heart and hard work and so much sense of community and kindness. Another war book of sorts, but the main focus of this book was a young girl working so hard to make a new life for herself and finding a place to belong. Full of wonderful people and a realistic ending. I loved this book so much and it works just as well for younger readers and older ones.
My review for this book can be found here.

3. Jorasanko by Aruna Chakraborty/// A more recent read which I loved so much. This book a perfect mix of fiction and non-fiction. A story of Bengal's foremost family of intellectuals and influencers. I loved every minute I spent with this book. So good.
A full review can be found here.

4. The Girls by Emma Cline/// A very hyped and talked about book of 2106 and for once I am on the bandwagon. This, dear readers doesn't happen very often! I loved the writing and the 70s vibes, I loved reading about cult life and the unsettling feeling this book evoked. Totally worth the hype.
Full review is here. 

5. Kismetwali & Other Stories by Reetika Khanna Nijhawan/// I read so many short story collections in 2016 and this was one I enjoyed so immensely. Full of fringe characters and their fascinating people. I loved all of the stories in the collection. This book was a happy surprise to me.
A full review can be read here.

6. The Fisherman by Chigozie Obioma/// Such a rich and layered story. I enjoyed so many things about this book---the writing, the characters, it's setting and the wonderful almost fable like quality in it. So good. A full review can be found here.

7. Shiverton Hall & The Creeper by Emerald Fennell/// I didn't read that many YA books this year. Not an intentional thing but it just happened so. This new (to me) book series just blew me way. A lovely mix of supernatural elements, a British boarding school and some very Harry Potter-esque vibes. So much to love. These books were such a fun ride! I can't recommend these books enough! And I can't wait for the next installment.

8. The Pearl that Broke it's Shell and A House Without Windows by Nadia Hashimi/// I have always loved books set in Afghanistan. This author has been on my radar for a while but only in 2016 did I finally get to reading her work and I am a fan. I enjoy her writing and her story telling style. I enjoyed both of these books and even did a full review for A House Without Windows.

9. Alphabet Soup for Lovers by Anita Nair/// A delightful little read. I read it on Sunday morning and fell in love with this quick little love story. I don't often (at all) read love stories but this one was sensible and believable and once again full of wonderfully crafted characters. Also this book had darling little illustrations and little lessons on food and ingredients. So fun and yet poignant.
A full review can be found here. 

10. The All Bengali Crime Detectives-II The Mysterious Death of Probhat Sanyal by Suparna Chatterjee/// This is pretty much my favourite Indian book series by a mile. So much Bongness and joy. Plus there is murder and mystery and delightful old men solving crimes. This book just makes me happy in so many ways. A full review can be found here.

You were a good reading year 2016.
I hope all of you had a good reading year and more than that I hope and pray all of you have a lovely 2017.

Thank-you so much for reading my blog folks :)
I can't tell you how happy it makes me when you guys ask me for a book recommendation or tell me you found a book you loved via my little blog!
Seriously! It makes me bookish heart very happy!

Thank-you so much for your love and support my fellow bookworms!


I'll see you next year with more book reviews, book hauls and TBRs and more glimpses of my bookish lifestyle.


Thursday, 29 December 2016

2016 Favourites: Favourite Movies of 2016 {Hindi, Bengali and English}

Hello, Hello!

Today I will be sharing my Top 5 favourite movies of 2016. Since I watch movies in (primarily) three languages- Hindi, Bengali and English- it so happens that my Top 5 includes movies in all these languages. 2016 was a good movie year for me. I watched 120 movies in 2016! :O This includes tons of re-watching of course and new movies as well. I have love movies. Watching a good movie at the end of the day is one of my favourite things ever. I've always been a movie buff, movies were a huge part of my childhood. My parents are both massive movie buffs. My mother and several of her cousins were mad fans of Rajesh Khanna, something we never stop teasing them about. My father was the one who made movies a part of my life. We got a VCR (remember those?) very early on and once we had it our lives were never the same. We watched several movies over the weekend. Bollywood blockbusters, children's films from Hollywood and of course Bollywood classics and Bengali movies. Sitting in front of our TV watching movies with my family are some of the happiest memories of my life. :) I also loved that my parents never ever stopped us from watching any kind of movie. I mean I watched Omen at age 6! And 'It' at age 8, I have never looked at a clown the same ever again.

OK, enough reminiscing and on to my list!

In very a specific and deliberate order, here they are:

1. Dangal/// Very, very clearly and obviously hands-down the best movie of not only the year but, in my opinion, of the decade. Inspired by the true and mind-bogglingly awe-inspiring story of a father who trained his daughters to become India's first gold-medal winning wrestlers. Also, add to that the fact that these two girls- Geeta and Babita Phogat- are from Haryana. For those of you who don't know, Haryana is an India state with the worst sex ratio. It is a state where girls are killed before they are even born. So, keep that in mind and now look at the enormity of Mahavir Singh Phogat and his daughters' achievements! Dangal is brilliantly casted and each and every character performs brilliantly! Special mentions to the kids playing the young Geeta, Babita and Omkar- such naturals! Aamir Khan is brilliant, as usual.. he rises above his stardom and you see him just as Geeta's father. This movie is a total must-watch! I laughed, I cheered and I cried the make-up off my face. So good.

2. Praktan (Bengali)/// Praktan, which means 'former' in Bengali, is a brilliant little movie about relationships, love, adjustments, ego and compromises. It is a simple story, exes meeting after 10 years while travelling from Mumbai to Calcutta in the same train coupe... some may even say that the primary situation is a tad too convenient but worse coincidences happen in life all the time. This is such a brilliant movie! I loved the characters, the performances, the music.. the story.. the lessons learnt.. A must watch! I've seen it twice and loved it just as much on both viewings.

3. The Secret Life of Pets/// A movie that takes a gander at what people's pets could possibly get up to whilst their humans are away! What is not to love about that?! This movie is so adorable! All the animals big and small, good and evil, quirky or not are just so super-duper adorable! If you haven't seen this movie yet, go watch!

4. Finding Dory/// Finding Nemo was my jam when it released all those years ago. I had a mini Nemo toy from McDonalds that dangled off my backpack in college, which I sadly lost during my local train commute. :( My best friends very kindly bought me a massive Nemo toy for my birthday, which I still have! I loved the movie and like everyone else was waiting for a sequel. I loved Finding Dory too, I might have loved it even more than Nemo. I loved Dory's journey home and seeing where she came from and I loved the whales and her family. So good. I want to re-watch this soon!

5. Deadpool/// This movie was a laugh riot. And Ryan Reynolds is a delight. A delight! :) I love this man. And the humour in this movie was filthy and irreverent. A super-hero movie with a difference. Man, I can't wait for the sequel.

2016 Favourites: Best of Beauty & Make-up 2016.


The listing of favourites continues. 
For tonight's post I want to list all of my favourite beauty and make-up bits. I am a low-key beauty lover. Make-up always makes me happy and finding the perfect lipstick or eye shadow brings me joy. 
I also love trying out new make-up bits.
Skincare is something I think all of us should invest some time in. 
We all have skin, so why not make time to do something nice for it?

2016 was a challenging year for my skin.
For close to 2 months, June-July and even bits of August I had terrible skin. Active breakouts almost every day and really dry lips. I mostly hate pimples because they are so freaking painful and of course unsightly as well. I tried everything. Changed my face wash and put on spot applicators and prayed and hoped for good skin. Then I let it go. I mean, how much can you worry about something that is mostly out of our control?! 

The one thing that saved my skin and stopped the breakouts was Vicco Turmeric Skin Cream. It also helped me 5 years ago when my skin was wrecked in Bangalore and a friend recommended this simple but versatile product. I switched to this completely in July and my skin went back to normal! 

So I guess that is my big skincare favourite. 

Now on to the rest of things I've loved best in 2016. 

1. Favourite Face Serum///  The Forest Essentials Light Hydrating Facial Gel with Pure Aloe Vera.

I love this stuff!
This facial gel is super light and mildly fragrant and has all good things. Aloe Vera of course but also blends of other beneficial ayurvedic things like wheatgerm and ashwagandha.
I got a tiny sample first and then got myself a full sized product. Love it. I also love the other variant in this which has pure Rose Water. I want to get that in the new year.

2. Favourite Lip balms/// My lips were horrid to me this year!
They were super dry all year round and this is not normal for me. My lips get only mildly dry in winter but through the year they are alright. But in 2016 my lips went a bit mad.
So I went on a hunt for some lip balm to soothe them. I used a bunch of lip balms all year round and these 3 were my absolute favourites.

Nivea Fruity Lip Care..the best 45 bucks I've ever spent! Sweet smelling and nice to my lips. A perfect solution for mildly distressed lips.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Lip old favourite. This doesn't smell that amazing. But this saved my lips. My lips went from super chapped to smooth and lovely over night. I highly recommend this!

Burt's Bees Honey Lip Balm...another old favourite!
I've been using Burt's Bees since 2008 and I am so glad I can find it easily in India now.

3. Favourite Face Wash/// The Biotique Botanicals Bio Honey Gel is also another product that has been very kind to my skin. It cleanses without drying out my skin. It feels and smells divine. So good!
I've used some other face washes as well but this one stood out like no other.
I also loved the Himalaya Herbals Neem Facewash.

4. Favourite Make-Up Remover/// Bioderma for the win!
This is a constant favourite since I discovered it.
Takes off all the make-up and grime and makes my skin feel so good.
Love it!

Now on to the good stuff...the Make-Up!

5. Favourite Foundation + Concealer + Beauty Sponges///
This has been made favourite face products and the best way to apply it. Sponges!
If you haven't yet tried out the wonder that is a make-up sponge or a beauty blender, you've got it. Dampen it and use it blend in your foundation and concealer. Easy peasy and your make-up looks flawless and natural.
The bright pink sponge is from Inglot and is amazing. It is a bit pricey...over 1.2K but so good!
The light pink one is from Forever 21 and is super soft and really, really good!

Now on to the actual make-up!

The L'oreal Infallible 24H Foundation has been a total love of mine this year. I got it in February and have used it constantly since then. Light weight and long-lasting and feels non cakey. Really good.

My go to concealer, when I've used one, I don't use it all the time, is the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer. Smooth and hydrating and with very decent coverage. I really like it.

6. Favourite Eye-Shadow Pallette/// MAC Burgundy Times 9 has got to me my favourite beauty item of 2016. Above and beyond everything else. I LOVE this stuff!
The colours and pigmentation is simply fabulous and I've used this a whole you can tell from how well loved it looks :)
A mix of matte and shimmer/sparkle/glitter shades this is a great palette for everyday and special occasion use. So good!
MAC eyeshadows are the best and this nifty little palette is amazing and great to travel with.

7. Favourite Mascara + Brow Stuff///
The Maybelline Lash Sensational Full Fan Effect Mascara is my favourite mascara of the year. This mascara makes my lashes look full and long and beautifully curled. So good! Get it folks!

The Benefit Gimme Brow is worth all of the hype. It is fantastic. It is super easy and quick to use and  looks natural and my brows look very on fleek. :) This is a newer purchase but is a total favourite.

8. Favourite Lipsticks/// Sephora Brand Lipsticks in the shades Charmer and Decollete.
Sephora finally came to Bombay and I bought these two lipsticks on my first visit. Love the pigmentation, smoothness and of course the everyday wearability of these lippies. So good and such good quality too.

I also used a ton of oldie but goldie faves from MAC like See Sheer, Mehr, Brick-o-la and Hug Me. But I have talked about them on the blog before so I didn't want to harp on.

9. Favourite Liquid Matte Lipsticks/// Yes, this gets it's own section!
I fell in love with matte lipsticks this year and these are the ones I loved best.

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in the shade Abu Dhabi. It's the perfect nude and stays in my bag at all times.
I have 2 of the new Lakme 9 to 5 Weightless Matte Mousse Lip and Cheek Tint thingies. I haven't once tired using them on my cheek, because why?! I am perfectly happy using them as lipsticks. The formulation of these babies is the freaking best. So good. It feels like you have nothing on. They also do tint your lips a bit so even if they fade out...which they don't leaves a faint colour behind. So good!
I have the shades Blush Velvet & Coffee Lite. Both are lovely.
Blush Velvet is a good, very close dupe for MAC's Mehr which is a lipstick I love.

Finally the Chambor Extreme Wear Transfer proof Liquid Lipstick in the shade 402. One of the first liquid matte lipstick things I bought this year and I love it.

I honestly can't get enough of these!

10. Favourite Perfume/// Coco Mademoiselle from Chanel.
You've got to smell this stuff. Smell it and love it.
I got back to this perfume after a gap of a few years. I last used it in 2010..and then moved on to other fragrances but this year it was time to get back to this love.
It is lovely! So glad I went back to it. Honestly, any perfume from Chanel is perfect. I love No. 5 and also adore Chance.


Have a good one, guys!

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

2016 Favourites: Favourite TV Shows of 2016.


With the year rapidly coming to a close it's time to list my favourites of the year. I am starting with my favourite TV shows of the year. I am a huge TV buff and my nightly routine is never complete without a couple of my shows. 
Some of my favourite shows in general are Criminal Minds, Law & Order: SVU, Modern Family, Blackish, Bones, Elementary and of course Sherlock! 
These are shows I watch year after year and simply love. 

Now on to the shows I've loved best this year. 

These are in no particular order. 

1. Sherlock The Abominable Bride/// Oh my! A year that starts Sherlock is a good thing be. 
I can't WAIT for the new season that starts on January 1st!
I loved Abominable Bride, creepy, spooky and deliciously fun! 

2. American Horror Story- My Roanoke Nightmare/// I have been an on again off again fan of AHS. There are seasons I loved and those I couldn't stomach. This season was one I loved. A show within a show. A haunted house. A reality TV show and serious scares. And a good dose of history and urban legend. I loved it so much! 

3. The Missing Series-2/// I watched and loved the last season of this show too but man this season was on fire. This show deals with missing people and the effects it has on the family of the missing and the guilt and wreckage it causes. The first season is about a little missing boy and it was great. This season was even better! It dealt with 2 teenage girls abducted and kept in a cellar sorta nightmare and then one of them comes back home. 
But is she the one she claims to be?
It is a little slow and not supremely action packed but it's intense and lovely. 

4. Secrets and Lies Season 2/// I watched one episode of the last season and didn't quite take to it. 
This season, about a dead wife and the husband being the prime suspect and a family that is full of secrets and hidden agendas. 
I loved this show and I love that this show is truly an independent deal. In the sense that you really don't need to watch season 1 in order to watch season 2. I didn't feel lost or felt like I was missing something. Only 10 episodes per season, this is a great show to binge watch. 

5. Stranger Things/// Of course, this one had to be on the list. How can you not love this show?! 
It is freaking genius. 80s have never looked so genuine and real. It didn't look fake for a minute. So fun, spooky, heart warming and all around fantastic. 

6. American Gothic/// I highly, highly recommend you check out this mini-series. It is so good. A wealthy family with a closet full of dark secrets. A serial killer and family secrets. I adored this season and I can't wait for more. 

7. Lovesick Season 1-2//// Man! This show is superb. Funny, sweet, romantic and just adorable. I binge watched both seasons over a weekend and I could honestly watch it again. It's on Netflix and I highly recommend it. 

8. Dead of Summer/// This was one of the best summer shows and another throwback to the 80s. A summer camp and a whole lot of mystery and scares. This was such a taut and fun show with lots of twists and horror and the metaphysical world building was quite engaging. I am quite excited about the next season! This is an anthology series and there will be a new story next season. So fun! 

9. Goenda Ginni/// This is a Bengali show that aired on Zee Bangla and got over (boo hoo!) on December 26th. Goenda Ginni tells the story of Paroma Mitra, a housewife, who through a quite interesting turn of events becomes a private detective. Each case ran for 2-3 weeks and was quite gripping.. you could guess the killer, but not very easily. The characters were also nicely etched and this was the only Indian fiction show that we loyally followed this year. We miss it so much! 

10. Timeless /// Last but definitely not the least is Timeless. A story which combines sic-fi with history and a super-duper conspiracy theory type intrigue track. Each and every episode is a massive roller coaster ride and the characters are just so, so amazing. This show is a total must-watch! 

What shows have you loved this year?

Do please, please share your recommendations in the comments! 

Have a good one, folks! 

Monday, 26 December 2016

Blogmas Day- 25! Christmas Day + My Main Christmas Present - Accessorize Floral Backpack.


And just like that Blogmas comes to an end. 
I've really enjoyed blogging every single day this month and even twice on some days. 
I've missed being so regular on here. I was looking at my numbers and I've blogged very little (comparatively) in 2016. I've done way better in the previous 3 years. I was bumming out a bit on that account and Blogmas with it's daily blogging made me feel so much better. 


Moving on...

Merry Christmas folks. 
Well, in my time zone Christmas is over.
I hope you've had a lovely day.
Mine was good.
Quiet but good.
There were flowers.
Yummy food. 
Goan Christmas treats--lots of guava cheese!
Reading a Christmas appropriate book. 

A good day.

I also wore my fuzzy shoes since today was thankfully a cold day in my otherwise blistering city! 
An Xmas miracle I tell you! 

Scenes of festivity all around.
You've got to love Christmas for the colour and enthusiasm it infuses in everyone around. 

Now on to my main present this Christmas. 
This gorgeous little backpack from Accessorize which I got last week from my sister. 
My sister and I are terrible with gift giving. We never gift wrap anything and we never..almost ever put things under the tree. We have the patience of a 2 yr old when it comes to gifts! 

My sister kindly bought me this backpack and I've already used it and love it. 
It's roomy and oh-so-gorgeous. 
I absolutely love the print and all of the darling illustrations all over it. Seriously, every single inch of the bag is covered in illustration. So lovely! 
Plus it's roomy without being boxy of inelegant. 
I like it a whole lot! 

In all of it's glory. 
Free Spirit front and centre! 

This front zip compartment is very generously sized and holds several things-- my iPod, hand sanitiser, tissues, hair brush, phone and candy. 

Some close-ups of the print.
All of my favourite things.  

It has these nifty little side pockets to hold a bottle of water or gum.
Or receipts and such like. 
Very useful. 

I love my gift and it is such a joy to carry it places and it goes with every single outfit. 


You can still find it in stores. 

2016 is nearly over. 
Get ready for a bunch of favourites posts coming up all of this next week.
I still need to look back and pick my Top 10 Reads of 2016!!! 

I better get to making those lists! 

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Blogmas Day- 24 Book Haul/// Books of December 2016.


December has been a quiet month as far as book buying goes. I've only bought 4 books and haven't really been drawn to any other books lately, which is a very good thing for my shrinking bookshelves and of course my wallet. 

But these books I wanted for a while and I can't wait to jump into them in 2017. 

I got these books on Amazon. 

Let's see what I've added to my bookshelves this month. 

I've gotten all literary fiction books which makes me very happy. 

Books Bought: 

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett 
Seahorse by Janice Pariat
The Adivasi Will Not Dance by Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar 
The Vegetarian by Han Kang 


Lots of happy reading in my future. 

Happy Christmas Eve folks. 
I hope you've had a good day.
Mine was a fun day.
Today is my Dad's birthday and we spent the day celebrating him.
We watched two Bengali films Praktan and Sankhachil. 
I loved both the movies, Praktan I've watched before and enjoyed immensely. 
Sankhachil though was a little sombre and sad but very good nonetheless. 

We ate cake.
And for dinner we cooked him tandoori chicken and dhaba style dal fry. 
Both of which were a success. 

We've also finally put up our mini Christmas tree. We've had this tree since 2011 but hadn't put it up since then, we had misplaced it and only found it this year. 
So happy. 
We dressed our little fellow up and now we are the crazy people who have 2 trees in one room!
I have no regrets. 

Friday, 23 December 2016

Blogmas Day- 23 Things That Bring Me Comfort.


Thank God it's Friday! 
Coz I have had a day and a half.
I spent like over 5 hours on the roads today. Ugh! 
Bombay traffic is killing me. Killing the joy out of my life. I seriously am considering moving to the hills and give up on city life. Seriously, the roads and noise and traffic and chaos is so not worth it. 
It sucks. 
I've always been a city girl but lately there has been a disconnect. When I was in Landour I honestly didn't want to leave. I just didn't want to come back to Bombay and it's largess and noise and people everywhere. Of course, a big city has it's advantages but overall it's not the special. 
I would move to the hills tomorrow if given a chance. 

Sorry for being such a grumpus but I've just had a rotten day today.


But let's focus on the good! 

Things That Bring me Comfort and soothe my frayed nerves. 

1. Ink Pens/// I am old fashioned when it comes to my writing instruments. I love ink pens and the old world charm they exude. 
I also love having different coloured inks on hand to make my writing even more interesting. 
Pictured above are my Lamy Ink pens with a medium sized nib. 
My floral pen which is from Korea (?) it was a gift. 
The Private Reserve Ink is in a gorgeous Turquoise colour. 

2. Colouring Whimsy Art/// Instant therapy. 
Cute little animals and happy little colours. 
The art is from a little book from Accessorize. 
The colour pens are from Muji, Camlin Brush Pen and a Zebra Midliner. 

3. Glitter Washi Tape/// So much joy! 
These slim washi tapes are from Itsy Bitsy. 

4. Kurtas/// I am in a total boho mood these days. All I want wear lately is long, flowy kurtas in happy block prints and colours. 

5. Pins/// Loving, LOVING pins lately. 
Such a fun and colourful way to add some quirk to a bag or jacket. 

These are all the things that bring me joy. 
What has brought you joy lately?