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

 

Handloom Sarees: What Makes a Great Indian Outfit – Money or Styling?

Hello everyone – I hope you have all had a great weekend full of fun, frolic and fashion.

Fashion discussion of the past week:

A few days ago, my mother and I were having the following conversation. At some level, have we accepted that Indian clothes cost more than western clothes and find ourselves more willing to spend a sum total on an Indian outfit that we would never find ourselves spending on a dress, even a ‘going-out’ dress?  We both agreed that we have often heard the sentiment expressed that good Indian looks cost a fortune! Furthermore, it is ironic that we are willing to spend much more on an Indian outfit that may only get a small fraction of the wear that a western one would get and therefore, works out to be an even more expensive proposition with limited repeat wear options.

I am not quite sure where I stand on this issue.  Yes, I think Indian clothes can be expensive and I have to put my hands up and say that I am not sure how willing I would be to spend the kind of money on a dress (the first time I saw it) that I have spent on an Indian outfit.  On the other hand, we have to take into account that often Indian wear is reserved for special occasions where the presence of abundant family and friends makes us want to look our very best and therefore, we are willing to open our pockets that little bit more. Transport and logistics of getting that outfit to us must add to the cost  – a fact that cannot be ignored.

The one thing that I am sure about is that a good-looking Indian outfit does not have to cost a fortune.  I believe that the ‘styling quotient’ has the same effect on an Indian look that it has on a western look.  The skill of how items are put things together and the desire to experiment and push your personal fashion styling boundaries can produce a great look, regardless of the kind of clothes we are wearing.

As you may have noticed, I am a great lover of mixing and matching clothes that are already in our wardrobes and I have always championed this practice on the blog.  Here, I am wearing a gorgeous yellow (my favourite colour) handloom saree with a ready-made brocade blouse.  I bought this sari for less than Rs 5000 (approximately £54) at Delhi Haat in New Delhi and my friend N in Mumbai (who has fabulous taste) brought me this blouse from a little ready-made blouse in Mumbai that we would both frequent when I lived there. The blouse cost Rs 2000 (£22) and fitted like a glove as I gave my friend my ready-made blouse size (ladies you must always know your ready-made blouse size!). Even though the two items are not exactly colour matched, I loved the way they looked together once I put them on.  I think there is a synergy to the look, where the total looks better than the sum of the individual parts. I love handloom sarees and I am a great fan of the deliberate mismatch here as I think it draws attention to the beautiful individual components of the outfit and demonstrates some styling chops.

I love the necklace and earrings I am wearing from Toraan  – the pale green stones add a rich opulence to the look and pick up on the greens in the blouse perfectly.  Finally, a big bindi – bigger than my normal go-to size but loving the look all the same.

I hope you enjoyed this lookbook and I would love to hear your thoughts on what makes a great Indian outfit. As always, thank you for taking the time to visit Isha’s Verdict.

Jewellery:

Set – Toraan

 

You Asked: The Contents of My Makeup Bag

I want to start this post by saying – I am absolutely no professional when it comes to all things makeup.  When I was a teenager, I had a friend who was a great fan of makeup. When we would go to the mall, she would spend endless hours at the makeup counters, talking, listening and collecting makeup samples.  She would then bring all this information home and spend all her free hours trying on various foundations, blending eyeshadows and creating the perfect cat eye. By the time we hit our 20s – her makeup skills were off the charts. While the rest of us looked like we had been hit in the face by a flying eyeshadow palette, she looked like someone who had a professional makeup artist as her roommate. What’s the motto of the story?  Just like all developed skills in life, excelling at makeup application requires hours of practice and patience.

Unfortunately, I have never made the effort to sincerely practice or cultivate the patience to try out various samples and colours of makeup. I have always had a lazy and haphazard approach to makeup and that is why my results are never consistent.  Some days my make-up will come out really well and I will marvel at myself in the mirror. Next time, I will try to follow the same technique and when I look in the mirror – I see a rather attractive clown staring back at me!

As I have been asked a few times, I am happy to share the contents of my makeup bag and highlight some products that I have great luck with.  I have numbered the pictures below and listed the contents and comments accordingly.

Photograph I:

a) Nars Foundation  – Medium 4 Barcelona –   I love the light consistency of this foundation and I often apply it with my hands.

b) Nars Concealer Medium 2 Ginger – An airport discovery that works particularly well to achieve an even skin tone.

c) Bare Minerals Powder Matte Medium Beige (SPF 15) – Probably the longest consistently used product in my makeup bag.  I love the finish and use it with or without foundation underneath, depending on how much coverage I am looking for.

Photograph 2:

a) Neutrogena healthy skin primer (SPF 15)  – This is my favourite primer and I apply this after face cream and before I put on any makeup, especially if I want it to last.  For some reason, I always stock up on this product in the US when I visit my parents so I am not sure they sell it in the UK.

b) Urban Decay – Naked Skin Hybrid Complexion Perfector Medium (SPF 20)  – This is my go-to product when I am running out of the door and there is no time for makeup.  I apply this with my hands and if I have time,  I throw some of the Bare Minerals powder on top.  It looks as good as a full-scale foundation application in my opinion.

 

Photograph 3:

a) Chanel Powder Blush 260 Alezane – I love the colour of this blush and it offers the perfect hint of shimmer.

b) Revlon Ultra Sculpt & Contour Kit –  A young lady recommended the highlighter part of the palette in ‘Superdrug’ and it really is fabulous.  I had never used highlighter before and now really I enjoy adding it on occasionally.

c) Fan Highlighter Brush –  The same young lady recommended this brush to apply the highlighter on the top of my cheekbones and this brush has been a game changer in terms of ease of application. Genius!

d) Nars Bronzer Laguna – If and when I feel like attempting a bit of contouring, I apply this bronzer.

Photograph 4:

a) Maybelline Push Up Angel Mascara – Absolutely the best mascara I have found.  The application brush is fabulous and the mascara comes on smoothly with no clumps.

b)YSL Couture Kajal – Soft kajal that glides on easily on the rim of my eyes – totally worth it!

c) Loreal Super Slim Liner – The perfect liner for applying a slim black line above my eyelashes that can be built upon if needed.  Easy to apply and an essential in my makeup bag.

Photograph 5:

a) Bobby Brown Crayon Rouge Art Stick in Rose Brown – Absolutely my favourite crayon lipstick that I wear constantly, either on its own, or as a base for other lipsticks.  The colour is a beautiful dusty brown pink that is so easy to apply.

b) Urban Decay Naked II with matching lipliner – My favourite everyday nude lipstick which I wear with a layer of the Bobby Brown crayon underneath.  The matching ‘Naked’ lipliner is fabulous in helping achieve that perfect application.

c)Mac Lipsticks in ‘Silly’ and ‘Ruby Woo’ – I was not a red lipstick wearer at all till I discovered Mac’s iconic red lipstick – Ruby Woo.  This really is my perfect red and I wear it with the matching lipliner in ‘Cherry’.  ‘Silly’ is a gorgeous pink that look better on my lips than it does in the tube. I pair it with the MAC lipliner in ‘Candy Yum-Yum’ for a great pink lip look.

d) Nars Satin Lip Pencil – A freebee in a gift bag that turned out to be a fantastic product! I apply it on top of all lipsticks for an extra shimmer setting if I need it.

Photograph 6:

a) Nars Eyebrow Pencil – Perfect for a natural looking brow for an ‘everyday’ look.

b) Benefit Stay Don’t Stray Shadow Base in Medium/Deep – I use this on my eyelids before applying any eyeshadow and it helps keep it put for quite a while.

c) Kiko Milano 8 Hour Transfer Eyeshadow Stick 25 – I am a fan of these eyeshadow sticks for ease of application and lovely neutral colours with a bit of shimmer for the evening.

d) Bobby Brown Eye Shadow Ivory 51 – This is my favourite eyeshadow that I use as a base on my lids before I apply any other shadows or attempt to blend any other colours.

Photograph 7: I am wearing Mac ‘Ruby Woo’ lipstick.

Photograph 8: I am wearing ‘Urban Decay Naked II’ lipstick.

Photograph 9: I am wearing Mac ‘Silly’ lipstick.

I apologize for the condition of some of my makeup containers – I have had many spills in my makeup bag over time and I can’t wipe many of the marks away (I hope I am not the only one!) I hope you enjoy this post and perhaps find a useful product or two to try for yourself.

As always, thank you so much for reading my blog.  Have a great rest of the week!

 

In and Around San Diego: In Holiday Attire

Going home to California is always a pleasure. One of the reasons California is nicknamed the Golden state  is because its modern day avatar can be attributed to the discovery of gold in 1848. It is an apt nickname name for me as spending time with my family is golden and spending time in the Golden state is precious.

One of my favourite places to visit in California is the city and surroundings of San Diego. Between glorious beaches and countless water activities, San Diego Zoo, Legoland, Sea World, Gas Lamp District, shopping malls and outlets, parks and of course another amazing country right across the border – there is something to do for everyone in this part of the world.  To further enhance my enjoyment, San Diego enjoys a mild and sunny climate throughout the year.

San Diego is home to a thriving craft beer culture and multiple breweries both large and small.  I had the pleasure of visiting the Belching Beaver Brewery in one of their open to the public working facilities. It was a lovely laid back atmosphere in the early evening where we enjoyed some fine beers and the kids loved the tacos from the Taco Truck that had parked in the facilities for their dining pleasure.  All the beers were fabulous but the Mexican Chocolate Peanut Butter was my runaway favourite. I had never done this sort of beer tasting before and I would highly recommend it to people visiting san Diego, especially with families as everyone was welcome.

We also spent a few days in and around Mission Bay and I cannot wait to go back. Mission Bay Park is the 4,600-acre aquatic playground known as San Diego’s Water Wonderland.  It is 27 miles of shoreline, with a variety of waterways, inlets and beach communities to explore. If you love water and water activities – this is a must visit!

I know that many of my readers can identify with the lovely feeling of ‘going home’ to where your family lives and where you grew up.  It is truly the best kind of vacation as you are ‘home away from home’ and the whole family has a great time!

Have a fabulous weekend and thank you for visiting my blog.

 

Clothes and Accessories:

Dress – Warehouse (similar)

Tan Sandals – Karen Millen

Jeans – Zara

Yellow top – United Colours of Benetton

Beautiful Jewellery and Vibrant Sarees: In Collaboration With Soignné (Part 1)

I am a great admirer of Indian inspired jewellery and nothing captures my attention quite like a beautiful saree and blouse combination.  I remember spotting a vibrant floral saree blouse on my Instagram feed one day and taking the time to stop, admire and comment on it.  The next day I saw another stunning dhaka cotton blouse on the Soignné feed and I have been following Niru Keshwala’s elegant collection ever since.

Niru set out to create feminine clothes that could be worn to any occasion and would stand out without falling into the over-dressed or under-dressed category.  This is a concept close to my heart and one I can identify wth completely.  Soignné stocks ‘effortlessly elegant’ clothes that are uber feminine, easy to wear and timeless in their appeal. Her designs are unique and completely hand crafted  – every bead is stitched by one of the finest karigars in Nepal.

I found the quality of the blouses to be fantastic – well made, lined properly and they fit me like a glove. Her sarees and blouses allow for a variety of mix and match fashion; another concept that I am a great advocate of in all clothes. Her jewellery range is gorgeous, comprehensive and perfectly in-line with modern Indian fashion.

In this post, I am lookbooking a gorgeous floral blouse and saree in,  you guessed it, my favourite colour yellow.  I hope you enjoy this look and I look forward to presenting the next Soignné look in the coming week.  Have a great weekend and thank you for visiting Isha’s verdict. I would also like to thank Soignné for collaborating on this post.

All clothes and jewellery are from Soignné  – you can shop the range at:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SoignnebyNiruKeshwala/

Instagram: @soignne

Email: soignne@yahoo.com

 

 

 

Summer Staple: White Dress With Colourful Accessories

Good morning everyone! Most of us own a white dress or two, or more than a few, that are perfect for warm days and lots of rays. I find white dresses have a therapeutic quality about them – I feel an instant sense of relaxation when I wear them.

I am always tempted to wear white dresses with minimal accessories, thereby limiting the addition of any other colour; almost like a blank canvas where you hesitate from adding colour because you don’t want to interrupt the pristine beauty of the white square.  However, the flip side is that a white dress also makes for the grandest of canvases where the addition of any colour is magnified in its presentation by the sheer expanse of white giving it wings.

I love the relaxed cut of this white dress and the delicate white embroidery that covers the entirety of the bodice. This summer, I want to wear my white dresses with lots of clashing colours and bold accessories. In that spirit, I have paired this dress with bright blue thread earrings and contrasting lime green suede lace-up wedges.  I have added a bright pink lip to further add to the riot of colours  and I love the end result! I hope you enjoy this lookbook and as always, thank you so much for reading.

(Clothes and accessories: Dress – Anita Dongre Iinter-pret, Shoes – Joie, Earrings – Zara, Jacket – ASOS (Daisy street) , Clutch – Michael Kors)

Designer Lookbook: Indian Wear With Jewellery From Kyles Collection

I first had the pleasure of being introduced to Kyles Collection and meeting Rav Dadi at the Asian Bridal Show last year. As I meandered around their booth and admired the jewellery on display, I got the opportunity to speak with Rav. When I explained that I was a general ‘jewellery enthusiast’, he was happy to tell me about their offerings as well as invite me to visit their workshop to see the jewellery being made.

Recently, I took up Rav’s kind offer to visit their showroom and workshop in Forest Gate, London. Visiting the workshop was a unique experience and gave me a real glimpse into the intricacies of making jewellery from scratch. Kyles Collection offers a large variety of fusion jewellery including their signature bridal collections as well as ranges suitable for brides on a budget. They also sell ranges that are perfect for parties and other events.

I am impressed by Kyles ability to cater to the individual needs of their customers and offer a truly bespoke service. They are a great example of what true customization of a product entails. Kyles offer Swarovski crystal combinations in over 80 colours and they are happy to craft their jewellery pieces with the crystal colours that compliment your outfit perfectly. Add to this the 7 plating finishes they offer (all nickel free for sensitive skin) and frankly I am not sure that it gets better than this! This is especially true for Asian brides who may have multiple bridal outfits, with multiple jewellery pieces, to contend with. Kyles encourages brides and their families to make an appointment and bring their bridal outfits into their bridal lounge at their showroom. In this way, they can provide an individualized service to help brides determine the exact jewellery pieces that will work for them, within the confines of their personal taste and budget.

A key factor that is instrumental in Kyles being able to offer this level of customization, is the fact that all their products are made in their London workshop. This has a tremendous impact on them being able to deliver your customized jewellery on time, exactly when and where you need it. Rav told me some hair-raising stories of helping frazzled brides with their jewellery when their original providers had let them down days before the wedding!

What I admire about Kyles is that the passion for their craft is clearly visible in your interaction with them. If you can dream it and articulate your vision; they will try their best to turn your vision into reality. They enjoy what they do, cherish their customers and have a genuine desire to help – that is exactly what I am looking for as a customer!

In this post, I have ‘lookbooked’ two of my favourite Indian outfits with pieces of jewellery from Kyles collection. I adore this pale green and blue suit as it brings together the unusual combination of Lucknow chickankari work with a bandhini dupatta. The pale green beads of the Kyles passa, earrings and hand piece match my outfit perfectly. I can imagine wearing this outfit to one of those ‘minor’ morning wedding functions that are invariably a part of so many Asian weddings. I bought this sari in Delhi on a trip and I absolutely love the bright pink and clean cut crystal work on the sari. One of my special tailors in Mumbai made this lace blouse and I have to admit that it might be one of the best fitting blouses I have ever owned. Unfortunately, he told me that he was going home to his village for a few weeks and then completely disappeared – hope it wasn’t me! Kyles statement crystal chandelier earrings and bracelet are exactly what this sari needs to make a bold style statement.

A big thank to you for visiting my blog and a big thank you to Kyles Collection for collaborating on this post with me!

www.kylescollection.com

Telephone Number:+44 (0) 208 586 0204

 

A Beautiful Kurta: And Masala Chai And The Egyptians

I am a tea addict! There, I have said it and I have no plans to quit! I enjoy all kinds of tea and the weather and social norms of living in England have only fuelled my habit further.  Yesterday I was craving Indian masala chai after having a cup earlier in the week at ‘Dishoom’ at my Mumbai expat reunion – when this happened:

This coming week is exam week at school for our children. My husband and I, like good ‘modern’ parents spent the weekend acting like shepherds herding our beloved sheep into their study pens (pardon the pun!), all the while trying exceedingly hard not to come across as pushy ‘traditional’ parents – exhausting work really! Part of this preparation included helping the ‘younger lamb’ learn about the Egyptians. We were discussing how the Egyptians prepared their food and his revision notes stated that they pounded the ‘Emmer’ (a kind of wheat) with a mortal and pestle to release the grain within. My son said that he did not quite understand this, just as I was about to make a cup of masala chai.  I reached out for the mortar and pestle when it struck me  – I could show him how! I told him to take four cardamom pods from the container, pretend they were Emmer and put them into the pestle.  Then, I then told him to take the mortar and pound the pods.  Doing this of course released the seeds within.  I then told him, that these were the grains being released as a result of the pounding. He was so happy with my real life depiction and I was so happy with my ‘on my feet’ intelligent mummy thinking. Making masala chai had helped my child understand history and I had gotten to enjoy a lovely cup of masala chai – thus proving that making tea is always a good idea!

Sitting in the garden, enjoying a cup of tea, is a pleasure second to none. This pleasure is doubled when the tea is drunk out of gorgeous pottery mugs.  I decided to take this opportunity to lookbook this beautiful cotton kurta from Fabindia that a favourite cousin visiting from India recently brought me as a present.  I paired it with cream palazzos and a cream dupatta that I already had in my closet.  I also love the look of these delicate earrings I purchased from Fabindia last year in Mumbai. I adore the movement of this kurta – thank you so much G for knowing that it would be love at first sight between me and this kurta.

Thank you so much for reading and have a great week!

(Clothes and Accessories: Kurta – Fabindia (http://www.fabindia.com/), Palazzos – Westside, Earrings – Fabindia, Tea Set – Good Earth (https://www.goodearth.in/)