Friday, 29 June 2018

Friday Favourites: Madhubani Art + Pink Doors + Silver Earrings + Big Stella + Quiet + Brain on Fire.

Another Friday and time to share another batch of recent favourites. 
Let's just jump in! 

1. Madhubani Coasters: I got these a while back and find them too pretty and delicate to subject them to coffee and tea cups. So they act as a part of my home decor. 
These are from iTokri. 

2. Silver Earrings: I absolutely love these earrings from Amrapali that I picked up in Jaipur. They have such a vintage feel and are so extremely light weight. And they are unlike anything else I own. 

3. Colourful Doors: Interesting doors in vivid colours. 
This one was clicked in a cafe in Jaipur. 

4. Moments of Quietness: Being quiet and calm is such a blessing. Especially living in a city and being surrounded by noise and chaos, the ability to find a sense of peace is a blessing. I love being able to quieten down and find some zen in my everyday living. Put away my phone. Turn off the TV. Just me and my thoughts. The luxury of doing absolutely nothing for a few moments is so underrated! 

5. Brain on Fire: For my weekly film favourite it's got to be Brain on Fire which I watched on Netflix earlier this week and I loved it. 
Based on true story, this film tells us about Susannah Cahalan who is 21 years old and working at The New York Post and living her life like any other young woman, when out of nowhere she starts to lose her mind. A sudden onset illness robs her of her sanity and leaves her parents, boyfriend and doctors flummoxed. 
Powerful and scary and incredibly interesting. I really enjoyed this film and hope to read the book on which it is based soon. 

6. Big Stella in Pecan from Chiaroscuro: I have had this bag on my wishlist for so long and I am so happy to finally, finally have it in my life. She is such a classic beauty! Simple and clean lines and even though she is little-ish, she fits a lot of things quite comfortably! I am so in love! 
This was the happiest thing that happened in week! 
Check out Chiaroscuro, you'll love them. I can't' recommend them enough. 

Planner Set-Up: Blog Planner Set-Up & Flip Through.


Every year at the start of the year I set-up a separate planner for my blog. A place to jot down ideas for blog posts and make lists for all the books I need to review. A place to keep all of my blog things organised. 
For the last 2 years I've used a traveller's notebook to keep all things blog related in one place. 
This is my set-up for 2018. 

I am currently using this traveller's notebook with this darling little cat on it. 
Isn't she the cutest?! 
She holds two inserts. 
One that I use to track my mood.
And blog posts. 
A film journal. 

The pens I use- A Zebra Sarasa in mint.
And a Key black gel pen I got from Wish. 

Decorated the cover with some cute stickers. 

How I map out my blogposts of a given month. 
I also use different coloured inks to see what topic I've blogged about- Bookish posts, Lifestyle posts,  Fashion posts and other random things. 

Some more sticker cuteness. 

A few pages and a look at the numerous lists I tend to make. 

Lists at make at the beginning of each month. 

Peek-a-boo Kitty. 


Traveller's Notebook- Wish 
Pens- Zebra Sarasa, Uniball & Wish 
Inserts- Ali Express
Stickers- From too many places to keep track! 
Some of them from Wish, Ali Express and Etsy 

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Book Review: A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena

Book: A Girl Like That

Author: Tanaz Bhathena 

Pages: 384

Publisher: Penguin India

Read On: Paperback

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2 days

Plot Summary: Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a risk-taker. She's also the kind of girl that parents warn their kids to stay away from: a troublemaker, whose many romances are the subject of endless gossip at school. You don't want to get involved with a girl like that, they say. So how is it that eighteen-year-old Porus Dumasia has only ever had eyes for her? And how did Zarin and Porus end up dead in a car together, crashed on the side of a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? When the religious police arrive on the scene, everything everyone thought they knew about Zarin is questioned. And as her story is pieced together, told through multiple perspectives, it becomes clear that she was far more than just a girl like that. 

Things I Liked:

1. This book surprised me. In the best way possible. Partly it's my own 'fault', I went in pretty blind. I barely glanced at the blurb on the back of the book before I read it and erroneously thought that this would be one easy, breezy, happy YA read. Honestly, I went in expecting it. Boy was I wrong and I am not even a little bit mad about it. This book was so much more than a breezy YA read. It was a whole other ball game and it was very, very good.

2. I really enjoyed the writing a lot. It's simple but powerful in places it needs to be. The writer has done a great job getting into the skin of these characters and make all of them come across as living, breathing and feeling individuals.

3. A Girl Like That. Haven't you heard this phrase so many times? She's a slut. Easy. Spoilt. Whore. Trouble maker. Labels get thrown around all the time and you know what? They stick. Especially if you are in school, a label follows you through the years. I went to an all girls Convent school and man, it was a prudish hell sometimes. A girl with a boyfriend was automatically a whore. Everyone knew about her and wondered about her 'virtue'. And even years and years after school ended, she would forever more be 'that girl'. The one with a boyfriend, the one with loose morals. It makes me sick to think how quick we are to judge and label and condemn. This book brought back so many of these memories and the author has done a phenomenal job of taking the reader right into the very pits of a girl world.

4. Zarin Wadia will break your heart. She is such a wonderful character to get to know and spend time with. Her life and really her miserable home life will break your heart. It has been a good while since I've wanted to get inside a book and slap a character silly,  in this book I wanted to jump inside this world and do some seriously bodily harm to Zarin's maasi. What a total cow! Ugh! As impossible as it was (since Zarin is dead in Chapter 1) I was rooting for Zarin. I wanted so desperately wishing her a way out of her miserable home life and the cruelty she is dealt with in school. I wanted her to step away from this world and find her own people and be happy for a change. Zarin is relatable and wonderful and deserved so much better. She is a stellar character and I am sure most of us would know someone like her.

5. This story is told from multiple perspectives and it adds so many different dimensions to the book. We see so many different stories and so learn so much about the inner workings of these people. I loved slipping into the minds of these characters and felt like it made the book a much richer experience.

6. This book tackles so many important topics and does a good job of doing them justice. We read about abuse, violence, toxic masculinity, rape culture, slut shaming, consent and depression and mental health. And even all these things being discussed and included in the story, it doesn't feel cluttered or forced or a bit much. The writer has done a good job doing justice to each topic.

7. Even this book is set in the Middle East and  chronicles some of it's social mores. I related to it so much. And if you grew up in India and went to a certain kind of school, this book will remind you so much of your growing up years. Sadly, the moral policing and slut shaming is still a prevalent menace in our society. This book will for sure touch a nerve.

8. I am sure more girls/women than boys/men will pick up this book but I wish more guys would give it a read. To understand the harm that toxic masculinity does. To understand about consent. To learn about rape culture and slut shaming. To see how the other half deals with the constant judgement of society.

9. I really enjoyed the ending of this book. Even though it didn't change Zarin's fate it was still immensely satisfying.

10. This is such an incredible and moving and powerful read and I honestly cannot recommend it enough. There are so many other things I loved about it but I don't want to gush on.
Pick it up. You will like it I am sure.

I will say though there are some TRIGGER WARNINGS  for bullying & sexual assault. So tread carefully.

Rating: 4/5

Monday, 25 June 2018

Book Review: The Outsider by Stephen King

Book: The Outsider 

Author: Stephen King 

Pages: 577

Read on: Kindle 

Read in: 7-8 hours 

Plot Summary: When an eleven-year-old boy is found murdered in a town park, reliable eyewitnesses undeniably point to the town's popular Little League coach, Terry Maitland, as the culprit. DNA evidence and fingerprints confirm the crime was committed by this well-loved family man. 

Horrified by the brutal killing, Detective Ralph Anderson, whose own son was once coached by Maitland, orders the suspect to be arrested in a public spectacle. But Maitland has an alibi. And further research confirms he was indeed out of town that day. 

As Anderson and the District Attorney trace the clues, the investigation expands from Ohio to Texas. And as horrifying answers begin to emerge, so King's propulsive story of almost unbearable suspense kicks into high gear.

Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy but there is one rock-hard fact, as unassailable as gravity: a man cannot be in two places at the same time. Can he?

Things I Liked: 
  • The book's premise is very interesting. A man who was positively identified by multiple people in his small town after having committed a crime was actually on-camera in a different city. How could he be in two different places at the same time? This is classic Stephen King! A fabulous mix of crime/thriller and horror/ supernatural! This book gets you from page 1 and you just can't put it down! 
  • The cast of characters in this book is very nice. All the local cops in the small town in Oregon where the first crime takes place are so keen on doing the right thing and punishing someone who had done something so monstrous to a little boy. Then, we also have Howie Gold, who is Terry Maitland's defence attorney and his preferred PI, who are doing everything they can to prove that he was not in town the day of the incident. Their refusal to give up on Terry, even when things go very bad, is something that I really admired. 
  • *SLIGHT SPOILER* Then! Surprise! This book has Holly! She is the intrepid and meticulous PI from Stephen King's Bill Hodges series. Holly comes into the investigation and finds interesting pieces of the puzzle that takes this confusing case to a place that makes more sense. I really loved Holly's character in the Bill Hodges books and I was so happy to see her in this book. She is so gutsy and is driven to do the right thing. I just love her! She was such a nice surprise!  *END SPOILER* 
  • The mystery behind a person being in two places at the same time is quite interesting (slightly easy to guess what that is, but still interesting!). I liked how the team figured out who that was and how they went after this person. Again, classic Stephen King! 
Things I Didn't Like: 
  • Nothing really. Except that the book could've benefited from some sharper editing! There were some chapters from the perspective of this sort of inefficient, sort of corrupt older cop, which we could've done without. 
Rating: 4.5/5 

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Weekend Reads: What My Sister and I are Reading this Weekend + Mini-Review!


Just wanted to share some reading plans for the weekend. 
My sister and I both intend to do some reading this weekend. We have plans with a friend but we still have ample time to get some reading done. 

First up, a book we both read on our Kindles today. A buddy read of sorts. 

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman/// Man! This is one of these books that is super-duper hyped right now. It's the psychological thriller of the summer, apparently! 
Here's what I say- Meh! 
A big fat meh! 

I got to the 41% mark and was bored out of my mind. It's not poorly written or anything, it's just the premise was not what I went in expecting. The crime was just not my cup of tea. And some of the things that happened were just so improbable it made my head hurt. 
My sister didn't enjoy it either. 
Just not for us. 

I plan on reading Arctic Summer by Damon Galgut. A book based on EM Forster and his life and time in India while he wrote A Passage to India. I've had this book for a while now. At least, three years it's sat on my bookshelf and now it's time to give it a read. 
I am hoping to read this and then read A Passage to India, I want to get a really pretty edition for it too. Sadly, all I see on Amazon is some very basic editions. I am a big believer in getting the prettiest edition of classic as I can find! So I will hunt high and low to get a beautiful copy of the book. For this weekend though it's all about Arctic Summer, which I just about started and I think I will like it. 

My sister was undecided on what to read next so she turned to Dame Agatha Christie and Poirot. 
Murder on the Links in this gorgeous Facsimile Edition. She insists we get all of these books and for once I am being the voice of reason! 
We already most of the Christie books in older editions but we might donate those books to my sister's school library and treat ourselves to these beauties. 

My sister is also sorta reading End of Watch by Stephen King. She recently read The Outsider and loved it (review coming soon) and is on a little bit of a Stephen King reading spree. 

Hope you are having a lovely weekend so far in. 
Ours in finally and thankfully a rainy one! 

Friday, 22 June 2018

Friday Favourites: Tassel Earrings + Cat Blog Planner + Journal Pages + Lust Stories + The Staircase

Hello and Welcome to another edition of Friday Favourites! 

This has been such a good week! 
I've read 3 books already and this sort of feat hasn't happened in a while. Back in 2014 I was reading 25 books and month and now I am lucky if I manage to read 12-15 books! This has been playing on my mind for a while and I really want to read more. I am so happy that this week felt a little like my OG reading life! 

But on to some favourites of mine from recent times! 

1. These gorgeous tassel earrings from The Tassle Life. I love the spring-y colours on these babies. So freaking cute! 

2. My adorable Cat Blog Planner!!!
Look at that cute little face! 

3. Journaling. 

4. The Staircase: This is what I've been watching all week long. A true crime documentary chronicling the murder  Kathleen Peterson and then trial of her husband Mike Peterson. The show asks the question if Kathleen died as a result of a freak accident, a fall from the stairs or was she murdered? 
This isn't the kind of show that you can binge. At least, I am not binging it. I've been watching an episode or two at one go and I really like it. I haven't finished it yet but I am so hooked and I can't wait to see where this show is going or what happens to Mike Peterson. 

5. Lust Stories: We watched Lust Stories last weekend (on Netflix) and we quite, quite enjoyed it. Lust Stories is an anthology of four stories, each centered around a woman and her sexual desires. The first story is directed by Anurag Kashyap and it is (sort of) a funny take on a student-teacher relationship. A young woman teacher enters into a no-strings one-night stand with a student and the story then takes an unexpected turn. This was a strictly okay short film and it went on for way too long in a slightly repetitive manner. 
The next story is directed by Zoya Akhtar and it is such a beautiful and nuanced coming-of-age story about a maid and her employer. Bhumi Pednekar doesn't have a single dialogue and yet she emotes so powerfully with her eyes and expressions. A truly beautiful movie! 
The third movie is directed by Dibakar Banerjee and this was SUCH a LET DOWN! We were bored stiff of the story 10 minutes into it and skipped ahead. 
The fourth movie is directed by Karan Johar and, to be honest, we went into it with the least possible expectations. However, it was surprisingly cheeky and funny. Mr. Johar should definitely do more middle-class stories! 
So, overall, 3 out of 4 stories were pretty decent and this is a movie worth watching! 

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Fashion Haul//// Boho Jewellery from Studio Anviksha


Today I want to share a little haul of some beautiful jewellery I recently got from Studio Anviksha. 

I had been eying these boho beauties for a while and I am glad I finally went ahead and bought a few of these unique pieces. 

I bought more earring but at the time I was photographing them, my sister was traveling on work and had the earring with her, so it didn't get photographed! 
I got 3 earrings and one necklace from the shop and I am so happy with everything I got! 

I love that there is so much going on in these earrings. So many little elements at play. This is the sort of earring you can wear and forgo any other accessory. 

This earring with it's pink and purple elements might be my favourite. 
So dainty and stunning. 
Perfect for everyday wear. 

I got one necklace too. 
I love the colours on this and I think this will go with pretty much everything I wear. 

Here is everything in one frame. 

I really love everything I got. 
The jewellery is incredibly well-made, solid and yet pretty light weight and easy to wear. 

All good things! 

Monday, 18 June 2018

Book Review: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones.

Book: An American Marriage

Author: Tayari Jones

Pages: 320

Publisher: Algonquin Books

Read On: Kindle

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2 days

Plot Summary: Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn't commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy's time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy's conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

Things I Liked: 

1. The writing was wonderful. The writer really manages to transport you inside this very personal situation, takes inside this marriage and it's challenged and the many upheavals thrown it's way. This was such a powerful and moving read and somehow it even managed to keep me on the edge of my skin seat wondering what would happen next.

2. Marriage is hard and don't people say that the first year of marriage is the hardest? What does it take to make a marriage work? To sustain a relationship? This book raises these very questions and will make you pause and think over it. You find yourself in the shoes of these characters and wonder how you'd react under the same circumstances? I know I did. At several points in the book, I found myself putting the book down and thinking about the actions and reactions of our main characters.

3. This is one of those rare books where the author has done a fantastic job of etching out brilliant and life like characters who feel and seem real and jump out of the pages and stick with you. The three main characters- Celestial, Ray and Andre are all well crafted and even all the secondary characters are done justice.

4. As much as this is a book about marriage, it is also a book about race and the justice system in America. It breaks your heart to see the very real tragedy of a black man being falsely accused in a heinous crime and being convicted of it too. To see an innocent life changing forever and altering the course of life from one horrific crime. It is truly scary.

5. A section of this book is dedicated to letters exchanged between Celestial and Roy, during the early years of Roy's incarceration, and this was hands down my favourite part of the book. It really showed us this marriage up close and gave us a look inside the mind and hearts of these characters. Plus, I really like letters in books.

6. I found this book incredibly real and believable. Partly, because injustice like this happens all the time. But also these characters and their reactions to this impossible situation were all entirely believable to me.

7. I went into this book pretty blind, knowing only the bare minimum and of course, having heard some great things about it. So as things started to unravel I was in for a surprise at every turn and I enjoyed it so much more, not knowing what to expect.

8. I really loved Celestial. I think she is a wonderful woman and I rooted for her from the very beginning. She isn't perfect or an ideal woman or wife but she is real and she is trying so hard to make the best of this impossible situation. Even when she makes some tough decisions, I was rooting for her and supporting her. I didn't for a moment think she was selfish for focussing on her career and making a name for herself, and in some ways move on with her life. Life goes on, even when something terrible happens, life goes on. It must be inordinately hard to make a marriage work when your husband of a little over a year is behind I felt Roy was being a little petty for wanting her to share the truth about an incarcerated husband when she became slightly famous. And I completely understood her need to keep her personal and professional life separate.

9. Roy is an incredibly nuanced and layered character. I can't and honestly don't even want to imagine what he went through. To be wrongly accused and eventually convicted of a horrible crime and ending up in prison when your whole life is in front of you is beyond nightmarish. I felt bad for not liking him. But out of these three main characters, he was the one I liked least. I guess, I couldn't look past his casual cheating mentioned in the very beginning of the book, cheating and flirting in the very first year of his marriage.! Just no. Once that distaste set in, I found it hard to look past it. And as the book progressed I found him a little entitled. A little too entitled. I get it prison must be hard and impossible and you think everyone on the outside must turn their lives upside down to get you out. But it is selfish to grudge your wife her hard-earned success and fame. To expect her to put her life on hold, for 12 years! I just found him a little off putting.

10. Andre, our third lead was in an interesting position. A life-long love and it coming to fruition during a tumultuous time in our love's life. I don't envy his position and the guilt he carries during a time when he should be happiest. I think Celestial and him make a good pair and I was rooting for them.

Things I Didn't Like: 

1. Roy's family while wonderful and loving and supportive to their son, were kinda shitty to Celestial and Andre and I just get myself to like them. His mother slapping Celestial was just incredibly off-putting!

2. I found it a little convenient that Roy met his long, lost biological father in prison.

Rating: 4/5

I really enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Stationery Sunday/// Bullet Journal Set-Up for April 2018.


Hope your Sunday has been a good one. 
A Happy Father's Day to all the good Dads out in the world who love and support their kids. 

For today's Stationery Sunday I am finally getting around to share my set-up for my April Bujo. I used a different sized traveller's notebook for April, an A7 and truth be told it was a little bit of a hit and miss. I think after months and months of using either A6 or Field Notes sizes I was a little uncomfortable using such a small size and had a hard time writing comfortably in it. I was so bummed out because I really, really like this fauxdori, it's so freaking cute and convenient to carry all of bits and bobs! 
I will give it a try at a later date but for now I am very happy using my Field Notes sized traveller's notebooks. 

Let's see what I used in April for my monthly planning! 

Isn't she a beauty?! 
All pink and floral gorgeousness. 

Front page decor. 
I also went a little all out and decorated the inner flap of my insert. 

The insert I used is whimsy and beautiful all on it's own. 

I used stickers from my Stickii Club kit and some die cuts from Tim Holtz. 

An extra insert for random lists and musings. 

I love filling up my front page with stickers and bits. 

Some pages. 

Stickers I keep on hand to make each page pretty. 


Traveller's Notebook- Lyra and Co. 
Inserts- Ali Express 
Stickers- Wish, Ali Express + Stickii Club 
Die cuts and Washi Tape- The Planner Society Kit 
Pens- Zebra Sarasa and Wish