Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Jabong.com : A refreshing take on online shopping

When online shopping first came out in India, I was quite the fan. After admiring the e-stores of online retailers from around the world, I was so thrilled that I could finally get into shopping for fashion from a website!

Then the mass explosion happened and there were e-tailers staring you in the face everyday. And I just about had enough of it, with trying to track shipments, delayed shipments, failed delivery, out of stock and all those insane issues that I really didn't think were worth my time. And to top it all, the merchandise was starting to become very standard. I really didn't find anything unique.

Until I came across Jabong.com I'd heard of it quite some time ago, but never really checked out the goods till now, and man was I surprised! Some amazing stuff here. And here's a little secret: They even have affordable stuff by the hottest designer labels in the country! (Psst: Don't tell too many people)

So what did I do? Pick up something I'd been hunting for high and low, a nice classic, clean, simple and elegant laptop bag. I really wanted something that looked like Micheal Kors, but I didn't want to pay through my nose and neither did I want a knockoff. So this Laptop Bag really hit the spot.

A pretty neat laptop bag from Jabong.com
Check out was simple, so was the payment, and the emails, texts and calls from Jabong.com constantly kept me updated as my package made its way to me. 
The pretty little package
Prettier when you can see it
Micheal Kors would be proud
Lookin' good blogger!
On the go

So honestly, (and I wouldn't just say this) If you're looking for something special to gift yourself this Valentines Day, seriously check out their awesome collection of Valentines Day Gifts.

Ok, this needn't necessarily be all about ourselves, so you'll find some pretty cool Valentines Day Gifts for your Boyfriend as well. 

And if you don't think he's going to be able to get you something you really want, just point him to this page and tell him he won't go wrong picking anything from Valentine's Day Gifts for Girlfriends.

And if you're looking to amp up your beauty case, go crazy with these amazing offers on all things Lakme : Lakme Make-up, Lakme Beauty Products and Lakme Skin Care.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Mezzogiorno: Romancing the South of Italy at JW Marriott

When I received an invite for an exclusive dinner with Chef Davide Cananzi of Mezzo Mezzo, showcasing South Italian cuisine, I realised, I just saw Italy has a whole. While I understand the subtle nuances of regional cuisine in several other parts of Europe, I'd never actually discovered that about Italy. And was I in for a surprise.

A table of chattering and excited food bloggers were brought to complete silence as antipasti and cocktails were announced, as each of us excitedly pulled out our cameras and walked towards the bar. There, lying in wait for us was a sumptuous spread.  It really was an antipasti (the antidote to pasta, because I doubt we'd have any appetite left for pasta once we were done making our way through this vast repertoire of Chef Davide's appetizers)

The antipasti
Fellow bloggers clicking away
What lay before us was several different kinds of salads, cheeses, breads, hams, olives and candied and pickled fruit. Chef Davide talked us through them, as we cradled chilled flutes of a beautiful  Prosecco that was everything I'd imagined Prosecco to be, fresh, light, and just the right amount of sweet.

Cheese. Spread.
And more bread
Say Cheese!
Once we got started, there was no stopping us. I made a beeline for the Mortadella, Proscuitto, an Italian version of Chorizo, and some sweet juicy olives. Service came with a vengeance, and several of us found our hands and plates full to an unmanageable extent. But none of us were complaining. Piping hot Arancini, Pizzas, Baked Mussels just kept on arriving as we milled about, discovering some beautiful flavours. What really took me by surprise was the seafood salad with sea bass. As a seafood lover, I couldn't imagine that a seafood dish could take me by surprise, but this was unbelievably light and fresh, and I could almost taste the sea in every forkful.

Pigging out on pig!
Beautiful Olives
Chef Davide talking us through the Antipasti
A slice from every season
I managed to pull Chef Davide aside for a quick tete a tete, where he revealed to me, that this menu was inspired by his roots, the time he spent in Sardinia  and Catania with his mom who was his first Executive Chef. He intended on serving the mains the way they would in a traditional Italian household, brought in pans straight off the fire onto the table. This time, you could tell it wasn't the chef speaking from his years of culinary excellence, just a boy from the South of Italy speaking of his mother, their roots, and the purest thing we all know- home cooked food.

Don't let the pose fool you, he's anything but coy!
Grabbing a bit of cheese, bread, an interesting 4 fruit mustard and a glass of white, we returned to our tables, awaiting the mains. And they came at us at a frenzied pace. Vegetarian Fusilli and Rigatoni (which I probably didn't get too excited about because it didn't have any meat) the wondrous pork spaghetti that made all of us wonder why our tomato sauces at home never turned out this good,  a beautiful seafood risotto (of which I had seconds) a really nice mushroom risotto, and a lovely chicken in herbed lemon sauce.

First came the veggies
Chef D presenting the next course
And then my plate was full!
But more just kept on coming
By the time dessert came around, we really were stuffed. But one look at that beautiful Cassata threatening to melt if I didn't devour it at once, got me back in the game. The sponge was light and airy, the chocolate ice cream deviously dark and salty! Winning combination. The jam tart too was rather nice, but probably too rich given how stuffed I was. However the tart base was absolutely brilliant.

Dessert, threatening to melt
Old friends, new friends, bloggers, foodies, we all finally tottered out, our bellies full of food that hadn't just touched our tastebuds and made them tingle with pleasure but also touched our hearts, and pulled at that little something called Nostalgia. Thank you Chef Davide for inviting us to your home, as well as the Marketing and PR teams at JW Marriott for making this possible with such efficiency.

Mezzogiorno: A parade of flavours from Southern Italy is on at JW Marriott Mumbai's Italian restaurant - Mezzo Mezzo until the 3rd of November 2013. Go give it a whirl.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Enchantess Beauty Bag Review

Beauty boxes are finally here in India, if the recent spate of companies popping up is to be believed. Whether they'll be here to stay, remains to be seen. I haven't signed up for one, primarily because the kind of brands that I'd be interested in already give out samples rather liberally. So when I was sent a beauty box recently, I was most intrigued.

It arrived in a tiny golden pouch, neatly ensconced in a cardboard box. 

Along with it, came a letter, telling me about the products in this month's box, and what they'd do for me. What they'd also slipped into the card, were some discount coupons to use if I want to buy the full sized products on their website. 

There were four products in all.

Neal & Wolf Ritual Daily Cleansing Shampoo & Conditioner  - 7 ml sample sachet

Surprisingly the sachet was sufficient for my ultra long hair. While I'm usually a L'oréal loyalist, I've heard switching your shampoo around a few times can help remove buildup, and I most certainly wouldn't mind switching with this shampoo. It smelt great, not the usual floral herbal nonsense. Apparently, it's got silk and milk proteins to help boost the moisture and reduce flyaways, with liquid shea extract for shine. I definitely experienced all of that!

Hanjo After Clean Boosting Toner - 220ml full size bottle

I looked at this product oddly, since most of the writing on the packaging was in Korean. While I know the Koreans have great skin and look after it really well, I guessed this product could be anything, considering I'd never heard of the brand. This toner most definitely has a very silky texture, and smells extremely fresh and sharp. It's supposed to help get rid of dead skin and also protect the skin,  which I guess is something that will show only after prolonged usage. Well, at least it's alcohol free, so it most definitely wouldn't hurt to try and see.

Oriflame Gloss it Booster Marcel Marongiu Limited Edition in Melon - 14 ml full size tube

I'm not a big fan of glosses because they tend to get very sticky, and I end up transferring that all over my face. And of course, that they usually come in strange colors that never suit my skin. This gloss, had a fabulously yummy bubblegum smell to it, and seemed like a very neutral, safe color. However, when I applied it on my lips, it felt almost transparent, and didn't help hide my darkened lip color, just accentuated it. The gloss texture however, was quite nice.

Ushine Nail Polish - 10 ml full size bottle

Bling and how! was my reaction to this shade of glittery specks of golden nail polish. I tried it on, and realized, it's a pretty nice shade of gold, slightly muted and classy, so I almost didn't mind the fact that it was so bling. And with the festive (read: wedding) season coming up, it might be worth keeping in the bag! PS: It also came off wonderfully clean and easy without leaving behind a sparkly residue like most glitter nail polishes.

A bit later, what also arrived was my copy of the IS2 magazine. The September issue was a bridal special, so it was interesting going through it, seeing that I have my best friend's wedding coming up shortly!

Starting at a subscription rate of Rs. 399 per month, the Enchantess Bag is a pretty interesting beauty gamble! Sign up here: Enchantess.com

While this post was made possible by consideration samples from Enchantess, the views, as always, are my own.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Coorg Food Festival at South of the Vindhyas: As rare as an Orchid

Coorg food is a pretty well kept secret of South India. I've been lucky to have come across it thanks to a couple of Coorg friends. I've drooled over the delectable Pandhi Curry (which is a slow cooked Pork in a fabulously dark masala that's almost black).

So when The Orchid Hotel in Mumbai was hosting a Coorg Food Festival in their restaurant - The South of Vindhyas, we had to go! The place had a beautiful ambiance that transported us to South India almost immediately. Soft piped music, bright silk and zari place settings, authentic tableware, washing our hands in rose water, leaf plates, it was all authentically luxe. 

The luxe place setting
This was a seated buffet (a fixed menu, if you please) where I chose the Seafood menu and the husband naturally, the non-veg meat menu.

First up was some great buttermilk (that almost served as a warning of the spiciness of the food to come) with fried papads and then a bowl of rasam (which was like a really spicy meat stock, with a few pieces of meat). The starters were quite nice, with Meen Bharthad (shallow fried tamarind fish), Meen cutlet, Prawns Bharthad and more. 

Meen Bharthad
Prawns Bharthad
And then we dug into the mains, as food just kept appearing at our table, and I was at a constant battle with myself over which to eat at every morsel. Bowls of fish curries, prawns curry, stir fried prawn, crab, mixed vegetables and more lined my plate while the appams kept coming. Until finally I knew I had to stop. So I had some steamed rice, to try and finish at least half the curry in my plate. I couldn't decide which was the best, but the Meen curry and the Prawn curry were both especially delectable. 
We finished off our meal with curd rice in typical South Indian style, followed up with an extremely rich and sweet kheer. 

Koli Curry
Koomu Curry
By the time we were done, we were in an absolute food coma, and I looked at my plate in horror, I'd barely managed to finish half of it. We sat there for a while, unable to move, and finally, reluctantly but necessarily, stepped away from our table. While I did feel a bit disappointed at the beginning of the meal when I found out there was no Pandhi Curry, by the end of the meal, I was so satiated by everything else, I completely forgot all about the Pandhi Curry. Food festival or not, we'll most definitely be returning to the South of Vindhyas pretty soon. Once we've lost at least some of the weight we put on that sunny afternoon.

The Coorg Food Festival is on from 20th Sept to 29th Sept 2013
South of the Vindhyas, The Orchid Mumbai, Adjacent to the Domestic Airport
They refresh their menu every day through the festival, so the menu available on the day you visit, may differ from the dishes shown here.
For reservations, call 022-26164040 Ext. 4060

While this post was made possible thanks to the people at South of the Vindhyas, The Orchid Hotel Mumbai, the views as always, are my own. Photos partly my own, partly provided by the restaurant management.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

DIY Decor: Tugging at my heart strings

I'd seen this DIY over at Craftgawker a while ago, and it was one of those things that remained in my perpetual "must do, one rainy day" list. A while back, we had some friends staying with us, and with the boys being lost in cyberspace setting up their websites and what not, us girls decided to have an afternoon of fun. 

While I most certainly didn't want something as girly as a pink heart, I thought about what I love the most. Something I'd never tire of seeing again and again, every single day. And it had to be something he liked as well. That's when it struck me, Parisian motifs. Most definitely the prototype was staring at me from our shelf.

So we sanded and sprayed 3 really cheap pieces of ply (which we picked up at a store down the road)

Then we tacked pins using a hand-drawn design (protecting the board with newspaper)

Pulling off the newspaper, here's what our design looked like.

Then we started with a bright yellow embroidery thread. Just crisscrossing our way through. 

It wasn't always easy, and we often had to backtrack coz one of us missed a nail, or a turn.

Satisfied, when we compared our pieces. 

And then we went on to the others.

And another.

And voila, it was ready to adorn my walls!

Is there any home project you're exceptionally proud of? Anything that you've been postponing indefinitely? Now's certainly the time to do it!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Home Label - Sunday Blues

This was a wonderful weekend. Some good food with good wine and good conversation with good friends. But what made it even more wonderful was The Home Label. I've shopped from The Closet Label before, and absolutely loved their select but extremely unique collection. No matter what one may say about star wives and celeb circles, these guys have got their design aesthetic bang on.

A wonderful rug and floor cushion arrived when I was out at lunch, and absolutely made my afternoon. I love things that come packaged in soft tissue or gold embossed butter paper! Even more when it comes with a lovely note that made me smile. Ideally, I'd use these nautical stripes in a completely different setting, one that involved blues and whites and was visually much lighter, roomy and airy. After much debate, we decided to use the rug in the hall, where at first I wondered if it would clash with the black and rainbow decor but I think it's got a nice refreshing touch to it. It balances out the room much better than the previous ivory fur rug.

These pieces are a part of the 15 RAITAN collection at The Home Label. The 15 Raitan Braided Rug is available for Rs. 6999 and the 15 Raitan Floor Cushion is at Rs. 3215. You can view and purchase the entire collection here.

Have you discovered a new designer or home store recently? Share your experience!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...