Monday, 31 July 2017

Monthly Favourites/// July 2017.


July is at it's end. 
And what a long and yet quick month it's been. 
I can't quite wrap my head around the fact that August is here already! 

But we'll get to my plans for August in a later post. 
For now let's jump into the things I loved best in July. 

You were good July. 
There was rain.
Cosy days.
Reading 21 books! 
Blogging frequently. 
Watching a ton of movies...31 or so! 
Making plans.
Art journaling. 

You were good July, really good! 

Come back soon. 

1. Kindle Case/// We got new Kindle cases in July. I especially love my vintage book style Kindle Case. It is so beautiful and it's so well made and pretty affordable, we got ours from Ali Express, which is a fantastic place to find affordable but cute Kindle cases. Do check it out. 

2. Bujo Set-Up//// I love how lovely my Bujo looked in July. 
I will share the full lay-out soon. 
I really love setting up my Bujo every month and making my monthly lists and setting goals. 
I really, really love my Bujo! 

3. Favourite Films via Amazon Prime/// Earlier on in the month, we signed up for Amazon Prime. I can't believe we waited so long! 
I buy a ton of stuff from Amazon and getting Prime was the best decision! 

Via Prime Video, we watched a couple of movies. 
And I finally even saw some new-ish Hindi films. 
The ones I loved best were ... Hindi Medium which was so relatable and funny and such a joy to watch. 

A Death in the Gunj was a sublime little movie. A story of a family and an ignored and often bullied young man. 
I cried buckets!!! 
Directed by Konkona Sen Sharma this movie is a delight and I highly recommend it! 
So good! 

4. Cat Stamps and Stamps in General/// I really got into stamping in July. And we got so many beautiful and whimsy stamps in July, I love decorating the pages of my journal with stamps! These cat ones are sooooooo darling! 

5. Rainy Days/// Oh the cloudy, grey and rainy days of July were the best. 
Truth be told, the monsoons aren't the best this time around. 
We had some glorious rainy days and then several dry spells. 
I really hope August is more rainy and lovely. 

6. Chai/// In July, well in the last week or so, I've kinda taken a wee break from Coffee. 
I love Coffee. 
I've been drinking coffee since I was 15 years old! 
I love tea but not with the same passion as I do coffee. 
But there is something infinitely comforting about a milky, sweet and spiced cup of chai. 
And this month I've fallen in love with chai. 
I make mine with a chai masala I picked up in Mussoorie and I love it! 

7. Art Journal/// I spend sometime doing some art journal spreads and I find it such a good way to be creative and unwind and find little joys. 

8. Favourite Bag/// I am so in love with this Owl mini-backpack. 
It is from Jugaad, a brand I have loved for years. I was introduced to it during Dastakar Mela, where they were a regular fixture. 
They make the most amazing eco-friendly products, bags, jholas and jewellery and clips. 
I got my bag from iTokri. 

9. Cat Bookmark// My inner cat lady is most pleased! 
I love this magnetic cat bookmark! 
So pretty! 
I've had stickers from this range before. It's from a brand called And Cabinet. 

10. Favourite Earrings/// This style of jewellery is so on trend right now. 
My sister got me a couple of these Afghani earrings from Delhi, from M block market. 
I love the colours of these earrings and they aren't even that heavy. 

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Stationery Sunday: Floral Washi Tape Haul

Today I want to share some of these pastel delights with you.
I am a big fan of using slim washi tapes in my journal and my planner. They are perfect to spruce up plain pages and decorate my Bujo as well. 
We got all of these floral washi tapes from Ali Express and gosh even their packaging is so freaking pretty! 
I just love the whimsy floral illustrations! 
So darling! 

Ah flowers! 
I couldn't love you anymore if I tried! 

 I just love how vibrant these are. 

A page in my journal dedicated to a happy haul. 

All of the tapes in action! 

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Book Review: The Mahabharata Murders by Arnab Ray

Book: The Mahabharata Murders

Author: Arnab Ray

Pages: 304

Read: via the Juggernaut App and Website

Read in: 3 hours

Publisher: Juggernaut

Plot Summary: Duryodhana claims to be reborn. In modern-day Calcutta.

A beautiful model. He cuts her open. His DRAUPADI 
He hammers surgical needles into his SAHADEVA. The head of NAKULA he severs.
Will Detectives Ruksana Ahmed and Siddhanth Singh be able to keep him from his ARJUN, BHEEMA and YUDHISTHIRA?
Or will Duryodhana finally win?

Things I Liked:

1. The premise of this book is very interesting! A serial killer who thinks he is the reincarnation of Duryodhana and is out to kill, who he thinks, signify the 5 Pandavas?! What is not to like?! The book had me at 'serial killer'! Seriously! 

2. This book has some very cool references and hat-tips to the Mahabharata and these were woven into the narrative quite effortlessly. I particularly liked the way each character was linked to the Pandavas and how each was killed exactly like some key characters died in the great war. 

3. The main characters were well etched out and there was a lot of background on each of the following- Ruksana (our leading lady and an honest and dedicated cop), Siddhanth (Ruksana's partner), Pavitra Chatterjee (an honest politician whose posters were placed by the killer at each murder scene) and even each of our murder victims. 

4. The book is quite fast-paced and there are no superfluous characters or events. The plot never meanders and that is something I always appreciate in a thriller! 

Things I Didn't Like:

1. There are very few characters in this book. Around 10 or so. So, that makes it pretty easy to guess who the killer is. I am not a big fan of easily guessing who the killer is! 

2. I didn't quite like the cops in this book. Ruksana is this cynical but honest tough woman cop but she is also a battered woman, who lets her ex-husband or almost-ex-husband beat her up and take her money. There is a half-baked attempt to show Ruksana's home life with her ten-year old son and her love for whisky, but even that was not shown very well. I am not saying that an otherwise tough woman can't be a victim of abuse but it somehow felt very forced and almost like this attempt to add another dimension to a 'femme fatale' (used by a character to describe Ruksana) cop character. Even Siddhant seems very half-baked! You don't really get to know too much about him or see too much of his friends-with-benefits relationship with Ruksana. Some more work around these characters would have made this a better book. 

3. The ending is sort of 'meh'. Ruksana has this great breakthrough but the book ends very tamely. You could argue that it is this very realistic ending and what else could a little cop have done.. but it is done so unconvincingly that it takes away from the impact of the the reveal. 

Rating: 3.5/5 

Friday, 28 July 2017

Book Review: The Memory Watcher by Minka Kent.

Book: The Memory Watcher 

Author: Minka Kent 

Pages: 429 

Read On: Kindle 

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2 days 

Plot Summary: Press, tap, refresh...

When Autumn Carpenter stumbles upon the social media account of the family who adopted her infant daughter years ago, she finds herself instantly drawn into their picture-perfect existence. 

From behind a computer screen, Autumn watches Grace's every memory, from birthdays to holidays to bedtime snuggles. But what starts as an innocent fascination soon spirals into an addictive obsession that comes to a screeching halt the day the McMullen family closes their Instaface account without so much as a warning. 

Frantic and desperate to reconnect with her daughter, Autumn applies for a nanny position with the McMullens, manipulating herself into Grace's life under false pretenses. And it's only then that Autumn discovers pictures lie, the perfect family doesn't exist, and beautiful people? They have the ugliest secrets. 

General Thoughts: I read this book back in April or May...I am not entirely sure but I loved it and all these months later I find myself thinking about it, so I had to review it and recommend it to you guys! 

Things I Liked: 

1. I really liked the writing. The book was well-written and fantastically paced. I never felt bored or disinterested in the happenings of this book. It kept my interest piqued at all times. I cannot wait to read more from this author! 

2. There are so many things that are so incredibly relatable in this book. For one the stalking, of course, I don't mean all of us are stalkers. No, I should hope not. But let's be honest..aren't we all a little bit guilty on snooping on someones social media. Haven't we all at some point or another lurked on someone's Instagram or Twitter and not engaged with them at all, just snooped on their updates. I know I have. So to have a book talking about this tendency...and taking it really far was a wholly relatable and enjoyable experience. 

3. The one thing I dislike a whole lot about social media is just how curated it is. I don't pretend to be holier than thou and say that I don't curate my online life..but I do try to keep things real and honest. I loved, LOVED that this book showed how some one portray an idealised version of themselves, versions that are sometimes so far removed from the truth and versions that are just fake and immensely doctored, and they do all of this just to show themselves and their lives in a better light. 

4. I love Instagram. TBH, I am pretty addicted to it. I love sharing my life and my thoughts and snippets of my world through this app. I also like seeing other people's world through it. I loved reading a book about this app..called Instaface here. I like when facets of our everyday life are mentioned in books, which sadly doesn't happen enough. I don't know why most contemporary books don't mention social media on them?! 

5. A very important lesson in this book is to beware and aware of the certain risks of social media and sharing your life online, you just don't know who is on the other side of the screen and who is watching your content and keeping tabs on your life and on you and your loved ones. It's scary right? To think about someone getting obsessed with you and watching your every move on social media! EEK! 

6. The other aspect of this book that is highly relatable is mothers who share their lives and the lives of their children online. Mommy bloggers if you will, for the lack of a better term. I have seen so many of them share everyday moments and cute pictures of their children all over the internet. Whether this is safe or not is whole other conversation! But I do think so many of these 'candid' moments are so staged! I love that this book highlighted this. 
Grace is a mother who is overwhelmed and is frankly struggling with running a home and keeping her children under control, yet she shares a very different take on it all on her Instaface. She omits the tantrum throwing but shows a calm and smiling child and makes it seem like she is a supermom. Her entire persona is so curated and honestly quite fake and dishonest. This was shown so well in this book! I found myself nodding along and shaking my head so many times while reading this book. 

7. Autumn is pretty shady, of course she is. She is actively stalking Grace and her family and is beyond obsessed! She even inserts herself in their life, which is just so creepy! Yet there is something so human about her. She is still someone you find liking and the author did a fantastic job of writing this complicated and vulnerable character.

8. Grace's married life was another thing I enjoyed reading about, the anatomy of a marriage that is going through a rough patch always makes for a good read. And seeing Grace deal with her marriage and her children and household issues came across as very real.

Things I Didn't Like: 

I really enjoyed this book and I do highly recommend it.

But some of the things were a little less than perfect.

1. For one some of the connections between characters seemed a little too convenient. Like a little unbelievable.

2. Autumn goes a little too insane all of a sudden. Dramatic but a little to abrupt.

3. I also did kinda guess the big twist a mile away! But it didn't really ruin the book for me.

Rating: 4/5

I highly recommend this book. It's a perfect rainy day read! 

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Book Review: Mafia Queens of Mumbai by S. Hussain Zaidi with Jane Borges.

Book: Mafia Queens of Mumbai Stories of Women from the Ganglands. 

Author: S. Hussain Zaidi with Jane Borges 

Pages: 347 

Read On: Kindle 

Publisher: Tranquebar Press 

How Long it Took Me To Read: 3 hours ( I breezed through this book!) 

Plot Summary: From victims to victims to victors, this collection of stories contains intricate details of thirteen women who went on to leave their permanent mark on the face face of the Mumbai Mafiosi.

General Thoughts: This really isn't the kind of book I am drawn towards. But I saw it on Kindle Unlimited and thought I'd give it a shot. I had heard good things about it and being from Bombay, reading about it's underbelly seemed appealing. 

Things I Liked: 

1. I really enjoyed the writing style of this book. The book is simply written and makes for an intriguing and easy read. I breezed through this book in one sitting, I simply couldn't put it down. 

2. The underworld is fascinating to say the least. Scary, disturbing and if you are from Mumbai it's presence is something that is a part of your life. Especially in the 90s the underworld was a big, big part of our lives. Dominating the headlines and even living room conversations. Shootouts and kidnappings and protection money were sadly all to common in the 90s. I have heard so many stories about the underworld and thanks to my Dad seen a ton of movies about it to. So reading about it was quite interesting. 

3. The range of stories in this book is pretty incredible. From straight up women gangsters to gangster moles to narcotics dealers, to a legendary prostitute who is revered in the red light area. There are so many different kinds of women and their stories in this book. 

4. Women gangsters are not often talked about and it's not like there aren't women in the nefarious profession. 

5. I really appreciate the research that has gone into this book. And even though this is a non-fiction book it reads like a well-written and nuanced story. 

6. This book just took you into it's world. The seedy rooms and dingy lanes of Mumbai. As well as the greedy hearts and determined minds of the women in gangs. 

7. I always surprises me that the city I was born in and live in has this totally different side. Sometimes the lights and sounds and sights of this city just camouflage the darkness and malice that inhabit here as well. I have to admit I sometimes have a hard time seeing my city in the different light. But I guess it lives and breathes right along side with the rest of us, this world and it's people. It is fascinating to see how this other side lives. 

Rating: 4/5 

I really, really enjoyed this book. 
And it blew my mind how much I enjoyed it. It took me completely by surprise. Don't you just love that about books? 

I will say though, you will have to kinda keep an open mind and judgment aside while reading this book. Because at the end of the day it is a book about criminals and they do terrible things. So while reading about it, I think it's story of a person's life and all the terrible things they do is just a part of the story. 

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

What's In My Pencil Bag- Part- I. (Stationery Bits)

Today I want to share some of my most and frequently used stationery bits. 
I use 2 pencil bags on the regular. What can I say, I am a total pen/stationery nut. 
Since it is a lot of stuff in total, I thought I'd split this post up in two parts. 

For today's post I want to share the smaller of my pencil bags, the one in which I keep some miscellaneous bits and bobs. 

Washi Sampler. 
Slim Washi Tapes.
Page Flags. 
Markers in pastel colours.
Calligraphy Pens. 

My pencil case/ bag came in a Planner Society Kit and I love it's bright colours. 

Let's jump into the stationery goodness shall we? 

Here is everything. 
These are things I use to plan and journal with, mainly to make my planner pages pretty. 

The Calligraphy pens I bought from Crossword. These are the 2.0 and 3.0 kinds. We also have a 1.0 which my sister uses. 
The list pad came with a Happie Scrappie Kit a while back. 
These beautiful Page Flags are from Target, the dollar spot, which a very kind person on Instagram sent my sister. 
Stationery people are the best people. 

The Zebra Mildliners are great for highlight text and come with two kinds of nibs, a marker tip and a writing tip. Very useful. 
You can get it HERE. 

 I also love these rose gold paper clips are from Tools To Live By and are so incredibly useful in holding down paper while you write and journal. 

The slim Washi Tapes from MT are some of my personal favourites. 
I use them in my Bujo and Journal extensively. 

These Starbucks stickers are new-ish in my life and I love them! 
My sister is a big time Starbucks fan and couldn't resist these stickers. 
We got these from Aliexpress. 

This is all I carry in my smaller pencil bag. 
Part- II coming soon with all of my pens! 

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Book Review: Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan

Book: Beneath a Scarlet Sky

Author: Mark Sullivan 

Pages: 526 

Read on: Kindle via Kindle Unlimited 

Read in: 6-7 hours over three days 

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing 

Plot Summary: Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior.

In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders.

Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share.

General Thoughts: I love reading stories and real life-inspired stories about the World Wars. The word 'love' here means that I am fascinated by the wars and the human experience therein. I think it is so important for everyone to read about all sides and all experiences related to these horrendous events as we need to make sure these atrocities are never repeated again. 

I was quite excited to start reading this book because this is a true story. Yup, it is a true story that was thoroughly research by the author and then penned down. Pino Lella is a very courageous man, who did the right thing at a time when doing the right thing could get you mercilessly killed. 

Things  I Liked: 
1. I liked that the story was based in Italy at the almost fag end of World War II. The Allies were almost about to win and yet the Nazis were nowhere close to being done. Italy, under Mussolini, was occupied by the Germans and the German War Machine was taking everything that they could from Italy- produce, wine, machinery, cars and able-bodied men. For Pino, a seventeen year-old in Milan, life changed almost overnight once the implications of the German occupation meant that Milan would get bombed by the Allied aircraft.

2. It was interesting to read about how the Catholic Church in Italy set up an underground railroad type of a system to smuggle Italian Jews out to Switzerland. I believe that out of 49,000 Italian Jews almost 41,000 survived! That is such a great number! In this book, we get to see how Father Re, who had a little chapel in the Alps helped several Jewish families to get across the Italian border into Switzerland. 

3. Pino is such a brave young man. He immediately starts using his knowledge of the mountains around Father Re's camp to start taking Jewish families across the border. He is also equally quick to agree to start spying on the Nazis once his parents force him to join the German Army's Administrative Wing, so that he wouldn't have to go fight at the front. He risks his life again and again to get vital information for his Uncle Albert, who was a part of the Resistance and who conveyed this information back to the Allies. Pino keeps on going even after personal tragedy and doesn't stop until the war is over! He is such a great character! 

4. There are so many little stories of courage, kindness and sacrifice in these dark times, which is always a reminder that people are and can be good! Similarly, the book also has some stomach-turning descriptions of the kind of horrors that people associate (and rightly so) with the war! The Nazi propaganda and their attempted cover-up of the horrors of the Holocaust are also well explained in this book. The Nazis were very secretive and tight-lipped about their atrocities on the Jews, so much so that even their allies didn't know much about it. So, I liked that we got to see such a close-to-the-ground perspective of the war! 

5. Getting to read about the gradual collapse of the German War Machine and the things that the retreating German soldiers were doing was also interesting. The loss of spirits, the desperation and also, the vigilante justice meted out by the Partisans in Italy was interesting to read about. 

Things I Didn't Like:
1. Just the one thing- this was an annoyingly over-detailed narrative! This book needed some sharp editing! We have the same hike across the Alps described at least seven times in nauseating detail. It is almost like you were there. Seven times over! There are way too many details, way too much description, way too much repetition. I wish the author had used all that energy and converted it into weaving a tighter and more compelling story! 

Rating: 3.5/5 
This is a very detailed and enjoyable historical fiction read. Do read it if you feel like immersing yourself in a good war story! 

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Book Haul: Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery.

“I don't know, I don't want to talk as much. It's nicer to think dear, pretty thoughts and keep them in one's heart, like treasures. I don't like to have them laughed at or wondered over.” 

These end pages are gorgeous as always in the case of these Puffin in Bloom editions. 

“I went looking for my dreams outside of myself and discovered, it's not what the world holds for you, it's what you bring to it.” 

“It's been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.” 

Another beauty from my Puffin in Bloom boxset. 

Book: Anne of Green Gables 

Author: L.M. Montgomery 

Pages: 300

First Published in 1908 

Plot Summary: Everyone's favourite redhead, the spunky Anne Shirley, begins her adventures at Green Gables, a farm outside Avonlea, Prince Edward Island. When the freckled girl realises that the elderly Cuthberts wanted to adopt a boy instead, she begins to try to win them and, consequently, the reader, over.

I can't wait to get to this book. The people who've read love it immensely. 
Also, the new Netflix adaptation looks good too. Need to start watching it soon. I've heard a mix bunch of things about it but it does look good. 


Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Book Review: The Woman on the Orient Express by Lindsay Jane Ashford

Book: The Woman on the Orient Express

Author: Lindsay Jane Ashford 

Pages: 332

Read on: Kindle {via Kindle Unlimited}

Read in: 3-4 hours 

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing 

Plot Summary: Hoping to make a clean break from a fractured marriage, Agatha Christie boards the Orient Express in disguise. But unlike her famous detective Hercule Poirot, she can’t neatly unravel the mysteries she encounters on this fateful journey.

Agatha isn’t the only passenger on board with secrets. Her cabinmate Katharine Keeling’s first marriage ended in tragedy, propelling her toward a second relationship mired in deceit. 

Nancy Nelson—newly married but carrying another man’s child—is desperate to conceal the pregnancy and teeters on the brink of utter despair. 

Each woman hides her past from the others, ferociously guarding her secrets. But as the train bound for the Middle East speeds down the track, the parallel courses of their lives shift to intersect—with lasting repercussions.

Things I Liked: 
  • If you know me at all, you will know that I have a deep and abiding love for all things Agatha Christie, so when I saw this book on Amazon Unlimited, and saw that the premise was inspired by Agatha Christie's travels to the Middle East around the time her first husband was getting re-married with some intrigue thrown in, I was hooked! 
  • This is such a nicely written book. I love books that are evocative but not overly descriptive and this one straddles the fine line just perfectly! I loved how the author brought the Orient Express to life and also showed us the inspiration of three of Agatha Christie's books, which were gleaned from events during her journey. 
  • The characters in the book are also interesting and well etched out. First, there is Agatha Christie herself, who we see as a vulnerable, self-doubting, slightly heartbroken young woman towards the beginning of the journey and who during the course of the journey makes friends, decides on a future course of action for her and even finds love! I loved seeing this side of Agatha Christie... I had always imagined her as this woman with a mischievous twinkle in her eye and who would be intrepid and full of chutzpah and in this book, Agatha Christie is almost sort-of like what I had imagined her to be. 
  • Then we have Katherine, who is full of chutzpah and, is clearly, hiding a big secret. She is an archaeologist and I found that so interesting because a woman archaeologist in the 1930s was a rare thing and poor Katherine was forced to marry a male colleague just because some conservative sponsor could keep funding their dig. She is a character who is so strong and brave and just utterly wonderful!
  • Nancy is very likeable and you feel a lot of empathy for her situation! She is the glue that, finally, brings the three travel-mates together and binds them, in some ways, for life! In fact, it is Nancy, whose situation makes Agatha snap out of her morose-ness and self-pity and figure out a way to life her life as a single mother. 
  • The book has some beautiful descriptions and interesting history about Syria and Yemen. It also mentions the now-war ravaged town of Aleppo, which was a beautiful and flourishing sea-side holiday destination. It made me sad to read about what war and savagery can do to everyday lives of common people!
  • The cataclysmic events, which bind the three friends in a life-long secret, also unfold in a gripping manner. The resolution of these events is surprisingly easy, given the person involved in them (not giving away any spoilers here), but it was not something I am complaining about! 
Rating: 5/5
A fantastic book that is sort of rooted in true events and if you love Agatha Christie's works as much as I do, then what are you waiting for?! Go!! Get this book! 

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Stationery Sunday: Floral Ephemera- From Katrin With Love

If you follow me on Instagram, then it will be no secret to you that I love all things floral! Secretly, or not-so-secretly, I am a floral-print loving old British lady!

I thought I will share these beautiful vintage floral ephemera that I ordered from From Katrin With Love a month or so ago. She has the most amazing collection of vintage ephemera and her floral and nature-themed paper kits are to die for! Seriously!

Plus, she offers free shipping.

Here's what we ordered:

We ordered four sets of floral paper kits. Each of them have paper cuttings from various sources, stamps, larger paper pieces, cards and such little bits and bobs. 

Here's a closer look at Sets 1 and 2.. Look at those pretty flowers and stamps..

Here's another look at them! Love, love! 

Another closer look. I, especially, love the floral stamps! 

Sigh! Aren't they beautiful! 

If you are into flowers or just use ephemera and vintage papers in your journaling spreads, then this is a great little store for you to check out! 

Have a great week ahead, guys! 

See you soon! 

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Stationery Haul/// Itsy-Bitsy & Versa Color Stamp Inks.

Hope this Saturday is treating you well. 
My Saturday is off to a good start. 
A night of sleeping well and a morning full of rain and drizzle. 

Today I want to share a little haul of stamp inks I recently acquired. 
I already have quite a few stamp inks in various forms, like distress inks and regular ones like pigments. 
I did a haul of Tim Holtz Distress Ink on the blog in December. 
My sister and I love stamping. It is such an easy way to add some art and colour to your planner/journal pages. 
I will soon do a stamps and inks post on the blog. 

For now on to the new inks we have. 

Even though we have a lot of coloured inks, we were running low on a basic black ink. The one we had was quite old and was nearly dry. 
We got 2 of these Pigment Stamp Pads and they are so incredibly pigmented.
The olive is such a pretty colour and the black is a wonderful deep and dark black. 

We mainly got the brown ink since we have a lot of floral stamps and some coffee themed ones too. 
This too is very pigmented and a great shade of brown. 
This one is from Versa Color, a brand which we have a ton of inks from and we love. 
The quality of these stamp inks is top notch. 

These are some new colours we got. 
So vivid and so beautiful. 

These are all of them. 
We got all of these online from Itsy Bitsy. 

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Book Review: The Liberation of Sita by Volga.

Book: The Liberation of Sita

Author: Volga

Translator: T. Vijaykumar

Pages: 132 (the stories are only 72 pages long)

Publisher: Harper Collins India

Read On: Paperback

How Long it Took Me To Read: 1 day

Plot Summary: Valmiki's Ramayana is the story of Rama's exile and return to Ayodhya, a triumphant king who will always do right by his subjects. 

In Volga s retelling, it is Sita who, after being abandoned by Purushottam Rama, embarks on an arduous journey to self-realization. Along the way, she meets extraordinary women who have broken free from all that held them back: husbands, sons, and their notions of desire, beauty and chastity. The minor women characters of the epic as we know it Surpanakha, Renuka, Urmila and Ahalya steer Sita towards an unexpected resolution. Meanwhile, Rama too must reconsider and weigh out his roles as the king of Ayodhya and as a man deeply in love with his wife. 

A powerful subversion of India s most popular tale of morality, choice and sacrifice, The Liberation of Sita opens up new spaces within the old discourse, enabling women to review their lives and experiences afresh. This is Volga at her feminist best.

General Thoughts: This book had been on my radar for a while. I had heard nothing but great things and had been meaning to give it a read for ages before I picked it up.

This was such a slim little book. A quick read for most part but full of deep philosophical musings. I read it in pretty much sitting on a rainy Sunday afternoon!

Things I Liked: 

1. I really enjoyed the writing style and the subtle but strong story telling voice. I loved Volga's view and her interpretation of the epic and especially of it's many women characters.

2. I have to be honest, the Ramayana is not my favourite epic. Not by a long shot. The Mahabharata has my heart and my mind. I find that as both an epic and a timeless tale, The Mahabharata is a more evolved and more relatable and a more robust story. I keep going back to it time and again and have read several re-tellings and re-imaginaing of it. I LOVE it. It is in some ways my favourite book.

The Ramayana never had a similar impact on me.
In some ways from a young age itself, the Ramayana rubbed me the wrong way.
While Krishna and his leelas and his charm and wit had me enthralled, Rama seemed at all times more human and less God. And a flawed human at that! He always seemed to me a little too weak and a little unjust, especially in his dealings with his wife.
So I haven't really read that much about the Ramayana. Because it was of very little interest to me.

This book however, I've enjoyed immensely, partly because it echoed similar sentiments I've harboured for year. The ill-treatment of Sita and her fate in the epic. This book not only focusses on Sita but also brings to forte several other women in the epic who met a not-so-happy ending.

3. The book charts Sita's liberation. Her change from a loved but naive princess to a woman who sees the world and those around her in their true light. Her journey and her enlightenment are shown so well and so gradually and realistically in this book.

4. While I did know of most of the other women in the book, I hadn't given them more than a passing thought, well apart for Surpanakha. It was really nice to delve into their hearts and minds and see Sita interact with them and learn valuable life lessons from them.

5. Surpanakha- the princess of Lanka. The woman who in some ways (some might say) started the great war between Ram and Ravan. But a woman who I've always found intriguing. When I was first told the story of the Ramayana and later when I saw the epic on TV, I always wondered why Surpanakha irked Ram and Lakshman so much? Why did they hate her so much? All she did was profess her love to Lakshman, was that so wrong? So abhorrent to the brothers that they had to cruelly disfigure her? Insult her and humiliate her and maim her for life. I always felt like that was a gross over-reaction.

I loved seeing Surpanakha in this book, in the very first chapter itself and it made me happy to see how she lived the rest of her days out.

6. The other women in the book, Ahalya and Renuka were people I only vaguely knew about. I knew a little more about Ahalya and her fate made me so mad. Why should a woman be punished for a wrong doing that wasn't even her fault? I liked that we got more into her story and saw things from her perspective.

Similarly, Renuka was an enlightening character to get to know, it also interesting that the man who had wronged her was her own son. A man she had given birth to and raised!

7. The chapter on Urmila was one of my favourites too. She is too a woman terribly wronged in the Ramayana. Left alone by her husband, so soon after their grand wedding, so he could follow his brother into Vanvaas always seemed quite cruel to me.

8. The book ends with Ram. A chapter dedicated to him and how he is someone who can never be liberated from his world. He is tied to the throne, to politics and his kingdom and how he can never do what he wants to do, his life is tied to his dharma as a king and a ruler of his people. His personal happiness and joys take a back seat and he is thus deeply trapped. And perhaps the biggest tragedy in the entire epic.

9. Apart from the women in the book and seeing their stories with a modern lens, the writer also looks at Aryans and their need to spread their way of life, by any means possible. And that the war in Lanka was just an excuse to capture a prosperous state and take it over.

10. These short stories though pretty concise and short were incredibly though provoking and philosophical and enlightening.

Rating: 4/5

I highly recommend this book and I am so glad to be reading more translated fiction!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Whimsy Wear: Hot Air Balloons!


This top was love at first sight! 
I mean the print is too cute to pass up. 
Plus, it's so comfy and cozy! 
I also really like the rest of the elements of this outfit of mine. 

What I Wore///

Top: H & M 
Shoes & Socks: Forever 21 
Bag: Chumbak 
Necklace: Accessorize 
Scarf: Zara 

I wore this outfit on a long day and I was comfortable morning till night! 
When it comes to dressing I am all about the comfort and wearability! 
Also cute little quirky details don't hurt either!