My Parenting Eureka Moment: and a Classic Wedding Saree

Hello everyone. I do not often talk about my children on this blog. As I have a teenager and a not teenager (but thinks he is one), I am conscious that while they are my children, they have their own semi-adult lives now and it may not be fair for me to be continually discussing them.  Hence, I generally refrain from it. Today, however, I am going to make an exception for the greater good.

A few days ago, I read an anonymous post by a young mother who shared that she was struggling with her two young children and allocating time for them and their activities, leaving her wondering if the time spent on hobbies/activities was worth it. Her post touched a cord in my heart as I think most adults have found themselves in a similar stretched situation.  Juggling various responsibilities in a finite amount of time is an exhausting task, even for the most organized of us (a club of which, unfortunately, I am not a member). I find that one of the biggest challenges of parenthood is dividing my time and attention to meet all the children’s needs and those of the adults that form part of my family and friends.

Often, when we are in a tricky situation it is normal to wonder if others face similar hurdles or if we are somehow specially blessed with unique trials and tribulations that seem to traumatize no one else. In times of parental anxiety, I have always found solace and a new perspective in reading about the experiences of others. In this spirit of sharing, I offer the following personal experience to the time stretched mothers and fathers who may be wondering what the results of time-consuming hobbies that small children pursue can be.

Our older son has had an aeroplane obsession for almost a decade now.  I believe that the fledgeling roots of his passion have their origin in him watching the planes fly overhead in his grandparents garden as a young child. In the beginning, he would observe planes everywhere, and he then started requesting models of airplanes. Frankly, this proved to be quite convenient as no in-depth thought was required to buy him a present – we just thought planes and came up with a smashing present every time. With time, his interest deepened and soon he would happily use his allocated computer time looking up planes and plane related facts and figures.

As his knowledge grew, so did his requirements. Soon, the obsession started getting quite expensive as now not just any plane model would do. His lovely little head only wanted die-cast models (not plastic) that had to be to 1:400 scale (my husband once made the mistake of buying a 1:600 model from Zurich airport that resulted in a big sulk). Then, one day he declared that he would like to go to the area around the airport and look at planes. So on a beautiful cold morning, my husband joined the ‘plane spotters’ brigade and took our son to look at planes. This is when the hobby took a drastic new turn.  Our son loved going to view planes and was up to ‘plane-spot’ at any time.

What happened next you ask? Dear son decided to take a picture with a phone camera of the planes he saw.  This monumental decision had a tremendous impact on his plane hobby and free time.  He wanted to take plane pictures all the time. Now, my husband happens to have a keen interest in photography and uses a great camera and some powerful lenses.  Soon enough, our offspring discovered that when daddy took a picture it had much more depth and form than his photographs.  His growing brain quickly deduced that better equipment often meant a better photograph. So next, he wanted to borrow his father’s camera and lenses. At this point, we objected and said no as he did not have the necessary know-how to use this sophisticated equipment.

Praise the Lord; it is truly amazing what children can teach themselves when they are really after something. Son went on the internet and with the wealth of knowledge available (youtube being a huge contributor) started to teach himself photography. Not only did he teach himself the basics – but he also taught himself lightroom and photoshop (but alas, he is still unable to fully figure out the intricate workings of our dishwasher).

We finally decided to take a big chance and let him loose with better photographic equipment.  He now photographs planes any chance he gets. We cannot book any trip without his input in terms of which airline, which plane and which airport we shall utilise.  Indirect flights are preferential as they offer more photography opportunities – sometimes I put my foot down when the proposition involves more than two changes. All our trips to any airport (foreign or domestic) require leaving early to build in time for photography. When we visit a new country, photography rules are researched well ahead of time and ‘plane spotting and photography’  is done at all times. This often means waking up at ungodly hours in the morning and then ubering or walking to locations that he has researched well ahead of time. We then have to stand for hours, often in rain and cold, to capture the perfect shot of a rare plane that is on its first or last journey.

Sometimes, my patience cracks and I threaten no ‘plane-spotting’ on a vacation. My husband has proved to have far more patience than me and has woken up on many a freezing morning to accompany him on a shoot.  As he is still too young to be left alone in these situations- the whole family is now subjected to his plane pursuits. Both sets of grandparents in London and Los Angeles will take the time to take him plane-spotting for hours on end at various airports. Uncles and aunts will arrange tours of regional airports and wait in cars for hours so that he can indulge his passion.

The point of the above story is simply the following.  All our children will have interests that will span a gamut of activities.  Some interests will seem most useful, and others will seem quite useless.  Often, these interests will require a big chunk of a precious commodity – our time and their time. This requirement can cause frustration and often it is tempting to just say no. However, my personal experience has taught me this. When we as parents help cultivate a hobby, we may be providing the biggest gift of all. We are helping to develop a passion that will feed their creativity for a lifetime. We are also enabling them to learn another valuable life lesson; nothing in life is free. Excelling at any skill requires enormous amounts of time and dedication. In most cases, it will require hundreds of hours of practice and often giving up precious free time in order to spend developing that skill.  We are proceeding with the plan that if we can help him understand this basic life fact and excel at a skill, then we have partly succeded in our parenting duties.

What has been the result of this time investment? His knowledge about commercial aviation is second to none and he has become a rather good photographer to boot. He has a substantial Instagram following, an aviation blog and he has managed to get his pictures published on jetPhoto. I often joke with him that I could get him a job if child labour weren’t against the law.

Below are three of my favourite photographs that the 15-year-old in question has taken in the last few years:

That said, let’s get back to fashion. in this lookbook, I am wearing a silk saree that was part of the wedding clothes gifted to me by my mother-in-law.  I loved this saree the moment I set eyes on it – yet it has never been worn in the past 17 plus years that I have owned it. Perhaps the right event never arose or like many a woman before me – I kept saving it for the perfect occasion (which in my head was a winter wedding day event). I absolutely adore the rather unusual pale pink and green colour combination and the two-toned gold and silver floral motifs that grace the saree.  I think classic never goes out of style and this silk saree hits all the classical high notes.  I have paired it with a beautiful kundan stone set from Toraan design that I have also lookbooked in a previous blog (Handloom Sarees: What Makes a Great Indian Outfit – Money or Styling?).

I hope you enjoyed this lookbook as much as I enjoyed wearing this saree.  Have a great rest of the week and thank you for visiting Isha’s Verdict.

Merry Christmas 2018: Mixing and Matching Cheer

Hello everyone.  I wanted to reach out this morning and wish you all a very Merry Christmas. I hope that Santa and other benevolent beings bring you all that you had hoped for and you have a wonderful day filled with laughter, loved ones and lebkuchen (I love those treats).

A festival is a festival and festive dressing should be a celebration of style, occasion and special pieces that exemplify the festivities. I have made no secret of the fact that I am a fan of fusion dressing and mixing ethnic and western styles is an exercise I always enjoy. I often heard friends bemoaning the fact that Indian costume jewellery is underutilized in their daily lives. This Christmas, I wanted to attempt a festive look that combined the Christmas spirit with some complementing ethnic jewellery that many of us have in our wardrobes.

In this lookbook, I have paired an off the shoulder red jumper with black wide-leg trousers and boots.  I have topped it off with my favourite cream coloured teddy coat of the season and a trusty green clutch as a nod to Christmas colours.  Finally, I have accessorized with this beautiful jewellery from Torran design to help set the look apart.  This is not a pairing that I would wear every day but given the festive season  – it’s a great statement outfit and one that’s sure to stand out from the crowd.

Have a truly fabulous holiday season and I hope that you enjoy the festivities to their fullest. Thank you so much for reading my blog – your support is truly appreciated.

Clothes and accessories:

Jewellery – Toraan 

Teddy Coat – Warehouse

Jumper – Karen Millen

Trousers – Zara

Clutch – ASOS

 

 

 

Handloom Love: Why this Gorgeous Saree is a Lovely Present

What makes a fabulous present? With age, one quickly learns that cost, size and name brands do not automatically a great present make. A great present is one that delights the recipient and brings an instant smile to the face and a warm glow to the heart. In my opinion, a heartfelt present demonstrates the givers understanding of my likes and dislikes and their intuitive ability to transform that knowledge into a present that will knock my socks off!

This stunning saree was the perfect present from a perfect lady who came to visit this summer. G, maybe my husband’s cousin but our mutual love of fashion makes us soul sisters.  The saree in this lookbook is a linen Jamdani saree hand-woven in a village called Phulia in Bengal. The talented weavers of Phulia are applying the Jamdani technique on linen fabric to stunning results.  Dola Mukherjee is the force behind these sarees – she is passionate about the weaving crafts of India and works directly with many clusters in India to preserve and promote their crafts.

My reaction to this present – I almost keeled over in delight when I saw this saree. The colours are exactly up my alley and I had no such saree in my wardrobe previously.  Furthermore, the saree was a delight to wear, the fabric moved with graceful ease and felt fabulous against the skin.  Here, I have paired it with my trusty Indian pink blouse to make the outfit pop (also because I love to mix and match from my wardobe) and these gorgeous gold and pearl earrings from Torran.

Thank you G for this thoughtful present – it has taken place of pride in my saree cupboard and I look forward to wearing it for years to come!

I hope you have a great weekend, perhaps receive a present or two and as always, thank you for reading my blog.

Accessories:

Earrings – Toraan 

 

Traditional Wear: My Five Rules for Effective ‘Mixing and Matching’

I have long advocated the idea of ‘mix and match’ on this blog – especially with Indian attire that never seems to get the wear it deserves.  Now I have friends who are happy to admit in the spirit of fashion honesty, that while mix and match is a great sounding idea to espouse – it is actually much harder to pull off in a desirable manner. I absolutely agree with this sentiment and my reply to them is always along the following lines.

‘Mix and match’ is an established fashion principle.  However, like most well-founded principles, there are some rules that help execute the look more effectively:

  1. Aim for an overall cohesive look – Regardless of what I am mixing and matching, I try and aim for an overall coordinated effect.  This helps tie the various elements of the outfit together to deliver a ‘sharp’ fashion look that highlights your fashion prowess.
  2. Complimentary or clashing colours – Either way, the combination of colours in your outfit should be pleasing to your eye.  If you look in the mirror and feel that these colours have nothing in common, trust your gut instinct and rework the outfit.
  3. Use different textures – Often a mixture of textures works wonders.  For example, silk and lace and linen and cotton are some of my favorite mix and match combinations.
  4. Single colour in varying shades – Creating a fashion look with a small variation in colour tone is a fabulously simple yet sophisticated look in my opinion. Different shades of grey and different shades of pink are great options to try.
  5. Combine patterns and prints – combining geometric patterns with floral prints is a key mix and match option.  I have never gone wrong with combing a striped blouse with a floral bottom – a nice black and white striped blouse is a staple in my wardrobe to be worn with a variety of combinations throughout the year.

The outfit in this lookbook is a true ‘mix and match’ ensemble that I loved wearing.  I bought this lehenga two years ago and I have featured it on this blog previously during Diwali time – Diwali Celebrations: In A Yellow And Pink Kurta And Cream and Gold Skirt. The green blouse is a recent delivery that a fabulous friend got me from Mumbai when I mentioned to her I was in need of one – it pays to know your ready-made Indian blouse size! The pièce de résistance of this look is the gorgeous jewellery set by Toraan deign. This set is everything I love about Indian jewellery – intricate in design and regal in look.  I love this entire look from head to toe as it caters to the passionate love I have for ethnic Indian outfits.  I have added some flowers in my hair to finish off a great summery ethnic ‘mix and matct’ look that would work for a vareity of occasions.

I hope you enjoy this lookbook and I would love to hear your feedback.  Have a great week ahead and thank you so much for visiting my blog.

Clothes and accessories:

Indian Jewellery Set – Toraan design £150 (please email them about this set)

Lehenga – The Silk Tree

Dupatta – The Silk Tree

Blouse – Friend – Santa Cruz Market Mumbai

 

‘Toraan’ Jewellery: Two Ways with a Saree and a Pleated Blouse

What’s not to love about Indian-inspired jewellery! From delicate filigree work to rich Kundan work – ethnic jewels are splendid and I am constantly amazed at the beautiful designs I come across. I am always keen to acquire Indian jewellery but it can be hard to find pieces that effectively balance quality, design, and craftsmanship with a price point that is not going to cripple your bank account.

It almost seems miraculous when you come across a company offering gorgeous designs at amazing prices – proving that ‘exclusivity of design shouldn’t come coupled with unaffordability’. This describes the essence of ‘Toraan’ – a jewellery and art store founded by the lovely Purti Bhatia. Toraan offers beautiful jewellery ranging from bridal sets to everyday wear that is not only gorgeous to look at but the quality of the pieces makes it a pleasure to add them to your jewellery box.

I love my Indian jewellery pieces and every time I wear them with Asian clothes, I am reminded that I must try harder to pair them with Western outfits.  I am a great fan of ethnic jewels paired with non-ethnic clothes and I think this combination creates a unique fashion statement that delivers the unexpected.  I have spoken to many of my friends about this and they all concur that we need to work harder on the above. This is why I decided to try something a bit different in this blog post. I have paired this beautiful green Kundan set from Toraan with a saree as well as with a pleated blouse and leather jacket.  I wanted this lookbook to deliver the message that Indian jewellery is exceedingly versatile and looks great with so many outfits.

I hope you enjoy this post and would love to hear how your thoughts on fusion pairings of jewellery and clothes. With summer approaching – I am planning to incorporate more of Toraan’s beautiful jewellery with my dresses so watch this space for more of her beautiful pieces.  You can view her range of jewellery and art at www.Toraan.com

As always, have a great day and thank you for reading my blog.

 

Clothes and Accessories:

All Jewellery by Toraan

www.toraan.com

Jewellery Set As Worn – Green Three Flower Kundan Choker with Earrings (£68 – also available in red) 

Pleated White Dress – Zara

Black Leather Jacket – Massimo Dutti (similar)

 

 

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

 

 

 

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