It’s Finally Here: The Big Interior Reveal of My Living Room

Hello! So here it is – the big reveal of the interiors of the living room of our home.

As many of you know, I am an ardent interiors lover and I have been sharing the interior styling of different rooms of my house on this blog – one room at a time.

As many would agree, the living room really is the social centre of the home. In today’s modern hectic family life, it is the room that carries the burden of being the gathering room of the house, the room where we entertain family and guests alike and the room where we relax and unwind after a long day.  Those are some major demands for a single room to fulfil; it needs to satisfy the needs of the entire family.

Given the hefty task at hand, it can be daunting to get started.  As I have said before, one of the most efficient ways to get started is to identify certain pieces that you may already own and must fit in a particular room –  pieces that you are not willing to get rid of under any circumstances.  Luckily for me – we already owned such a piece. During our five-year assignment stint in Mumbai – I bought a very large teak wood mirror from a roadside woodwork shop originally designed as a temple.  I subsequently had it painted ochre (a kind of dirty yellow) colour.  Everyone, including the shop keeper, thought I had lost my mind when I asked for it to be painted this colour but I have always loved it and now we all love our big yellow mirror.  Given that this is a large mirror, the long uninterrupted wall in the room was the only place that could house it. This mirror then served as a starting focal point for the room, enabling other decor decisions to be made.

I bought the wooden stool in front of the mirror in Oshiwara market in Mumbai. I then had the seat made and this was my opportunity to use some luxurious bold upholstery fabric to cover it.  I adore this in front of the mirror and the juxtaposition of the two is one of my favourites corners in the room.  the Urli on the floor was another heavy package carried from Kochi back home.

We were very sure that we wanted a big TV in this room as we do like to watch TV and movies together as a family. Family watching is something my husband and I treasure as it facilitates hanging out with our children and is effective bonding time. We were adamant that we wanted a TV with no visible wires and this desire was fulfilled with the help of Pat Patel of HangmyScreen. He did a fabulous job installing the TV here as well as in other rooms of our house.  I would recommend him wholeheartedly!

The chest on the other side of the TV is a family treasure we bought on our honeymoon in Bali almost 19 years ago (yes we returned from our honeymoon with furniture!).  We both saw it in a shop where it was being used as a display shelf ( and was not for sale) and decided we had to have it. It is an old rice chest  – the kind given at weddings apparently. The chest not only looks good but also provides valuable space for holding our various decorations year-round; Diwali, Christmas and Halloween are all housed here. The painting on top of the chest is another holiday purchase and bought in Bangkok, brought home as a canvas, and then stretched onto a frame.

The leather chair and ottoman is a piece we have had for many years and even though I occasionally suggest replacing it with an Eames chair – the rest of the family won’t hear of it.  Its ageing leather gives it stately presence and it’s still the single most comfortable seat in the house.  Next to it, is a recent holiday buy that I am particularly fond of. The giant white embroidered leather pouffe was purchased on a holiday to Marrakesh and functions perfectly as a side table and as a base for the giant rattan tray bought in the far east. On the rattan tray are some beautiful boxes bought in Goa that highlight the exquisite Portuguese tile work that can be found there.

Our sofa is a Ligne Roset piece that we bought 15 years ago and it has passed the test of time with flying colours! It is as firm as the day we bought it and the Alcantara fabric has proved to be a godsend as far as marks are concerned.

Above the sofa, is a piece of cartographic art in the form of the world map, which both my husband and I fell in love with the moment we saw it. This is a mixed media and silkscreen print, where all of the countries are depicted by their respective passports. A combination of 23.5 Ct warm gold, 22.5 Ct renaissance gold and silver leaf is delicately applied by hand.  Given our love for travel and having lived in various countries around the world, this spoke to our entire family’s love of travel. The sofa also houses the only two cushions in this room bought from Good Earth in India – I love the inclusion of ethnic prints in a monochromatic print.

On the floor is the Berber rug that we also bought in Marrakesh (we can’t seem to come back with light suitcases from anywhere!).  It fills up the space perfectly and my children love lying on it to watch TV.  The glass coffee table works perfectly in this space as it allows light through and does not add any visual burden to the room, allowing the other pieces to shine.

On the side of our sofa is our new glass console table purchased recently on eBay (you know I am a big fan).  I wanted something that was subtle and yet provided valuable space in that corner and this table fulfils the remit perfectly; given that it matches our old coffee table is an added bonus! The top of the console provides a home for our favourite Cire Trudon candles which smell heavenly and are a true treat. Places next to this is the genuine antique in this house – this black ‘kurmandal’ (kamandal) was lying in a cupboard in my parents home and when I heard the story behind it – I begged my mother to let me have it.  There is a fascinating story behind this and you can read about in another blog post – My Take: On Injecting an Ethnic Flavour into Your Home Decor (Part II)

On top of this console is another favourite piece of art – our ‘Hundred Rupee Note’. It is painted by a Czech artist who spends 6 months a year in India.  We love the iconic note and I have never had a visitor who has not loved the rendering of this historical piece of currency.

We should all aim to surround ourselves with items we love in our homes. I am a particular lover of fusion style where we can match various styles and elements to create a unique environment that speaks to us as a family. Put simply, our homes should remind us of happy times and happy travels and I have tried to create a living room that does just that.

The room came with the gorgeous skylight embedded in the roof. The room further opens into a self-contained open-air patio which I am still finishing and will lookbook later when I achieve the final look I am aiming for.

I hope you have enjoyed this blog and my interior styling results in our living room. Please do get in touch if you have an interiors query – I can talk interiors all day long! As always, thanks for taking the time to read Isha’s Verdict and have a great week ahead.

 

Forever Sarees: Are We Becoming ‘One Trick Pony’ Sari Wearers?

Hello everyone!  This weekend I felt the first hint of a cold undertone in the weather and realized that our summer is slowly coming to an end.  I know we had a few very hot days in London but they were nowhere near enough for me to get my fix of wearing one of my favourite kind of sarees – summer sarees in beautifully light fabrics that are unique in their weaving and cultural significance.

I have always loved Indian summer sarees and I have a hard time passing on ethnic cotton sarees as the colours are so beautiful and the variety is literally endless.  I am really going to show my age here but sometimes I wonder if these beautiful cotton sarees are popular with the younger generation (especially outside India) or is their exposure to them so limited that they are not even in their line of vision?  Often, when we go somewhere, we see a lot of ladies wearing lovely ‘Bollywood inspired’ trendy sarees, which of course are lovely in their own right. However, sometimes it does strike me that everyone is wearing a copy of a similar theme and the sarees are beautiful versions of the same style statement.  When this happens, I do miss seeing a variety in the styles of sarees on display and it is always lovely to see someone wearing a traditional weave or an ultra-modern drape to brighten up the visual landscape of sarees.

I am definitely a ‘vacation shopper’ and I can’t imagine coming back from holiday without some clothing or interiors purchase that is special to the land or country I am visiting.  I guess this is just another form of a shopping addiction and one I admit to wholeheartedly. I bought this beautiful Kasavu saree on a holiday in Kochi a few years ago.  It was excruciating making a decision on the border colour but any combination with cream and black just makes me weak in the knees. I bought my mother a cream with gold/peach border one and I am hoping to ‘borrow’ it in the near future.

I have paired it with one of my favourite black sari blouses (that I have worn with many a saree) and this stunning jewellery set from Heritage Jewellery by Ridhi.  I love the idea of this magnificent jewellery with a traditional cotton handloom saree.  This is a statement necklace that packs a punch and I thoroughly enjoyed wearing the two together for this lookbook.

I hope to fit in a few more summer sarees in the coming month before it is time to pack them away for next year.  I hope you enjoyed this post and as always, thank you for reading Isha’s Verdict. I would love to see pictures of your favourite summer sarees as well! Have a great week ahead.

Please follow me on Instagram @ishasverdict

Clothes and Accessories:

All jewellery – Heritage Jewellery by Ridhi (tel:07734 806481), @heritagejewellerybyridhi 

A Fabulous Winter/Summer Dress: And My Current Favourite Bakeries

Greetings everyone.  A few weeks ago, my husband and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary.  As my brother-in-law said, “You get less for murder”.To celebrate the best decision we ever made, we decided to go out and do what we do best; eat and drink.

As we decided to approach our ultimate destination on foot, the starting point for an outfit decision were comfortable flat shoes. I accompanied my flat boots with an easy-breezy dress by All Saints.  This really is a fabulously versatile winter/summer dress, as I have currently paired it with a sparkly polo top for warmth, and in the summer I can dispose of the undershirt and replace the boots with nice sandals.  This dress is flowly in all the right places, and the front tie can be tied or left open. I finished off the look with a crossbody bag for ease of movement and my trusty leather jacket (and a black coat on top for extra warmth).

We have a lovely evening and it was a great reminder that the best things in life are the people that surround us. Speaking of lovely things – let’s talk about my current sugar crushes.  I am a legendary consumer of baked goods and I am constantly exploring the fares of various bakeries around town. An oldie but goody that I have recently rediscovered is Gail’s.  Their cherry and dark chocolate scones and petite honey cakes are amazing. The olive bread with big chunky olives and their garlic bread with big chunky pieces of garlic are must eats and last but not least I can’t seem to get enough of their toasted turkey and cheese sandwich with spicy mayo.

The other bakery that is a current favourite is Ottolenghi.  Their lemon and blueberry cake is amazing in that both flavours come through distinctly and create a magnificent symphony in your mouth.  The flourless chocolate and coconut cakes are equally amazing in their own right.

I hope you have a sweet rest of the week.  Thank you so much for visiting isha’s Verdict.

Clothes and Accessories:

Dress – All Saints and All Saints  

Sparkle Polo Neck Top: Warehouse

Cross Body Bag: Yves Saint Laurent

Boots: Massimo Dutti

Leather Jacket: Massimo Dutti

 

Fall Fashion Trends: Classic Styles Revisited

It’s Autumn and the nascent winter chill is in the air. There are new fall clothes in the shops, beautiful fall clothes in our closets, and it is finally their turn to take the dance floor.  Autumn is the favourite season of so many of my friends and for good reason.  The weather is crisp and fresh, and the clothes are a refreshing three hundred and sixty-degree change from the summer clothes that have dominated the past months.  Autumn is the perfect season to show off cold weather fashion without it being so cold that all clothing is hidden by that extra thick and long coat!

So what’s new on the trend front for this Autumn? Animal print seems to be ruling the jungle at the moment – it is everywhere from dresses to coats and bags to shoes.  Animal print has always been a fall classic; however, the standout print is not without its critics.  It is probably one of the more controversial prints that people either love or love to hate.  Fans enjoy its boldness and critics find it harsh and overbearing.

I stand divided on ‘animal print’ love – for me, it depends on the fabric and the exact print that has been used on an item.  Generally, I find I enjoy wearing it most when I accessorize with it, rather than ‘go heavy’ with it covering the whole outfit.

Animal prints work well with classic fall colours and I find that pairing them with black, tan and red is a foolproof recipe for a sophisticated Autumn look. In this lookbook, I have paired my lovely animal print flats with jeans, an oversized cosy black jumper, a classic tan coat and a red crossbody bag.  I love everything about this look; it represents my personal fashion statement perfectly.

I think this time of the year is a great time to invest in some classic clothes that will carry you through the winter and into spring.  in my opinion, investing in classics such as black jumpers and tan coats will provide you with an effective canvas to build your winter look – whatever that may be.  I hope you enjoy this look and feedback is always welcome.  As always, thank you for reading my blog and have a fabulous weekend.

Clothes and accessories:

Premium Black Jumper – H&M

Tan Coat – Massimo Dutti

Flat Shoes – Zara, Similar – ASOS, and Massimo Dutti

Crossbody Bag – Salvatore Ferragamo

 

 

The Power of Shoes and Bags: With a Striped Hobo and Monk Strap Shoes

What really makes you feel like a million bucks on a normal day?  In particular, which part of your wardrobe satisfies you most on the fashion front, on a run of the mill day when you are not dressed up for a special occasion?

For me, the answer would be a fabulous pair of shoes and a gorgeous handbag. In my opinion, shoes and handbags are the power couple of fashion.  Together, they can command such attention that the clothes in between them can pale into insignificance. The fact that shoes and bags are not influenced by our current size, only makes them more attractive and shining stars in our wardrobe.

It was love at first sight with these double monk-strap shoes and the fact that they were navy was the icing on the cake. I am a huge fan of stripes and the beautiful red, white and blue stripes on this hobo along with the sporty strap instantly grabbed my attention. I have paired them with a simple pair of blue jeans and a denim shirt dress with stand-out pockets.  My long-line grandfather cardigan works perfectly with the outfit and adds a touch of pattern to the overall styling.

I hope you enjoy this lookbook and thank you so much for reading.  Have a fabulous weekend ahead!

Clothes and Accessories: 

Denim Dress – Boohoo (currently £6)

Handbag – Tory Burch

Monk Strap Shoes – Massimo Dutti

Cardigan – Sainsburys Tu clothing

 

Black Dress Series: Pleated ‘Cold Shoulders’ With Monochrome Accessories

Happy Saturday everyone! I am a fan of black dresses and appreciate that they are a ‘constant star’ in the evening-wear constellation of dresses. Personally, I am thankful for the consistency they provide when I am not sure what to wear to an event; it is harder to wrong with a black dress compared to many others.  What is better than a lovely black dress you ask? A ‘relaxed fit’ lovely black dress that is beautifully designed, easy to move in and a great length.  This ‘cold shoulder’ dress has turned out to be a great purchase and I can see myself wearing it for many years to come.

What is the easiest way to accessorise a black dress that requires no extravagant thought or effort you also ask? In my opinion, it is hard to go wrong with the tried and tested monochrome trend.  Black and white go together like daal and rice! My black and white striped clutch and these black and white sandals are two of most versatile purchases and I have yet to encounter a scenario where I thought they would work and they haven’t.

Have a fabulous weekend and thank you so much for visiting Isha’s Verdict.  If you enjoy my posts, please do share my blog with your family and friends.

(Clothes and Accessories: Dress – & Other Stories, Clutch Bag – Dune (Similar – ASOS and Coast), Sandals – Primark (Similar – Dune)

‘Rescue Mission Series’: Floral Sari With a Crop Top Blouse

Over 16 years ago, I remember going to ‘Redondo Beach’ Swap Meet (like a flea market) in California because my mother and I happened to be in the area and decided to pop in as one does.  I remember wandering around and then stopping at a stand that seemed to have some interesting fabrics. At the back of one of the stall owner’s many rolls of fabric, was this stunning pure silk crepe yellow fabric with beautiful flowers that felt like butter in my hands.  I asked my mother what I could do with it and she suggested that it would look great as a sari.  I asked the man how much material he had and it must have been my lucky day because he had just enough for one sari.  I bought it on the spot!

Originally, this sari had a matching yellow blouse.  Like many women, I have been a variety of sizes through various phases of life and the blouse unfortunately, did not survive the many changes that I inflicted on it in the way of alterations. As a result,  I have this lovely sari with no blouse and I did not want to go to the effort to get another blouse made for it.

Given the abundance of beautiful crop tops that are currently on the market, I thought a contrasting crop top was the way forward . As the saying goes, ‘Somebody’s crop top is somebody else’s sari blouse’ – ok perhaps there is no such saying currently but there is always a first for everything.  I thought I would experiment with this green crop top as I especially like the full sleeves on it.  I loved the way it looked together and it was a great solution to my missing blouse problem .  This is a simple crop top, however there are some beautiful crop tops in the shops that I think would make great sari blouses.

Of course, a custom-made blouse for a sari is a match made in heaven and that is hard to beat. However, if you have a sari lying around that needs a new blouse or you just want to try something different with a sari in your closet, then a crop top from the hight street may just be the answer.

I hope you have enjoyed this lookbook and as always, thank you so much for visiting my blog.

(Clothes and Accessories: Blouse – TopShop , Bracelet – Ishariya, Earrings – H&M)

 

Below are some crop tops that I think would make fabulous sari blouses.

Mango Crop Top
Zara Crop Top
TopShop Crop Top

 

 

 

 

 

Indian Fashion: Colourful Blouse With a Cream and Gold Skirt

Happy Saturday my dear readers! The warm weather is propelling us towards those most glorious of social celebrations – summer weddings! Living in the UK, Indian summer weddings when the weather is warm, the countryside resplendent and all the young ones are off school, are always such great fun. Unfortunately, I must admit that I am currently not invited to any summer weddings; however, I do have the necessary wardrobe incase the status quo was to suddenly change!

Today, I am lookbooking an outfit that I would love to wear to an Indian summer wedding.  I have lookbooked this lehenga before in an earlier post (Diwali Celebrations: In A Yellow And Pink Kurta And Cream and Gold Skirt) with a different kurta. This time I have paired my versatile cream and gold lehenga with a colourful embroidered blouse and two different dupattas. What I love about this blouse/koti is that is works equally well as a choli, sari blouse or as a small vest worn on top of a kurta.

I love the idea of ‘mix and match’ Indian fashion that allows us to get the maximum wear out of our Indian clothes.  This outfit is easy to wear, easy to move around in and easy on the eye; all of which would work fabulously well for that Indian summer wedding that I have not been invited to!

I hope you like this outfit and have a fabulous weekend. Thank you for visiting my blog and please tell a friend to visit if you think they would enjoy it as well.

(Clothes and Accessories: Outfit – The Silk Tree (Contact: darshan@thesilktree.in, Instagram: @the_silk_tree)

Fridays Fabulous Finds: Work and Party Dresses On Sale

Happy Friday everyone! Partly as a fashion enthusiast (I refuse to call myself a shopaholic as that seems to indicate some kind of a problem) and partly as a fashion blogger – I spend a lot of time browsing on-line and generally have a good sense of what is currently available in terms of fashion.

Now that the sales in the UK are nearing their natural end – there are numerous bargains to be had in stores and online. I have recently been looking to purchase some dresses and I thought it would be a good idea to share my £50 and under most wanted ‘bargain finds’ with my readers.

Work Dresses

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John Lewis – Floral Bee Whistles Dress
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Finery – Sanford Obi Wrap Dress
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COS – Sleeved Detailed Dress
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John lewis – Modern Rarity Side Tie Dress

 

 

 

 

 

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Tu Premium Charcoal Check Pinafore
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Whistles – Seymour Wool Flare Knit Dress

 

 

 

 

 

Party Dresses

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Mango – Beaded Halter Neck Dress
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& Other Stories – Sparkle Dress
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Coast Crysta Peplum Dress
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Warehouse – Stripe Sequin Dress

 

 

 

 

 

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Reiss – Heather Light Sage dress
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Zara – Lace Midi dress

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for visiting my blog and have a great weekend!

Viva México: Vacation Fashion At Cabo Azul

Happy Wednesday everyone – I hear that the weather in London is hot, hot, hot!

As I had mentioned in my recent post on my Mexican vacation (https://ishasverdict.com/2016/07/16/viva-mexico-vacation-wardrobe-in-cabo-san-lucas/) we stayed at a resort called Cabo Azul (a Diamond Resorts property) while in Cabo on a family vacation, kindly hosted by my parents. The whole family had a fabulous vacation and a large part of the credit goes to the lovely property we stayed at and their wonderful service provided by the entire team.

The resort is built on 12 acres of ocean front property and is located on the quieter side of town, in San Jose del Cabo, along with other resorts.  As a parent, a large part of the success of a resort vacation hinges on the entertainment available for children. Some of the highlights of the resort for me and my family were:

  • Multiple pools of varying depths and temperatures, jacuzzis and a dedicated children’s pool with a water slide and other fun features.
  • Delicious food including authentic Mexican food and the obligatory pizzas and pastas.
  • Exceptionally friendly staff who were always happy to help and chat.
  • Beautiful spacious rooms that were decorated to a very high standard, in a stylish blend of modern and traditional elements.
  • Lots of entertainment for adults and children and organized kids activities for the entire week including table tennis, scavenger hunts dive-in movies etc.

Moving on to the topic of swimwear – I am a huge fan of tankinis and swim skirts as they provide an optimal balance of comfort and coverage when I am running around the pool with my kids.  I loved these cheerful floral print separates from Debenhams and all I needed was my big pink hat and pompom straw bag to try and channel some retro glamour by the pool. I enjoyed wearing this cow print faux wrap dress from Marks and Spencer Autograph range in Cabo as well as the thin material was perfect for a resort vacation. The blue French Connection dress is one of my all time favorites for its versatility and form.

Thank you so much for reading as always.  Thank you mom and dad for the lovely vacation – I am free next summer as well in case you decide that some more family vacations are in order.

(Clothing and Accessories: Blue Dress – French Connection, Floral Swimsuit – Debenhams, Straw Bag – Primark, Pink Hat – Banana Republic, Cow Print Dress – Marks and Spencers Autograph Range, Black Wedge Sandals – , Brown Sunglasses – Dior, Blue Pajama Kurta – Anokhi, Blue/Pink Pajama – Sainsburys Tu Clothing)

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