Udaipur through my lens: Top Five

Hey guys!

I always share travelogues and details itineraries of my travels but this time I thought I’d let my lens do the talking. Here’s a short photo diary of my trip in Udaipur a few months ago. I know this post is really delayed but if you’re planning a trip to Udaipur, hopefully these photographs will give you an idea of the city. However, having said that if you ask me my top 5 places to see, visit or eat at in Udaipur, here you go

1. Badi Lake: A lake not too many people visit, this should be you go-to spot to just absorb the beauty of the city of lakes. This lake transports you to a different world all together and has to be one of the most spectacular places you’ll visit. You’ll find little to no tourists here and actually enjoy the scenery without the crowds and noise.

2. Ambrai Restaurant: One of the most talked about restaurants in the city, Ambari is a must visit place. The food in this restaurant is very good but not amazing. However, what makes this restaurant an absolute must visit is the ambience in itself. Located at the lake, it’s really as beautiful as it gets. Whether it’s a perfect winter brunch or a cool summer evening, Ambarai offers you the most lovely candle lit evening at the Lake with views to die for. If you’re not staying at a “lake-side” hotel, visiting this restaurant will give you a similar feel to actually living in those hotels!

3. Vintage Car Museum: If youre a vintage lover, car lover or a vintage car fanatic, this is the place for you. This car museum is a private collection of cars of the Maharaja of Udaipur and it’s totally worth going gaga over. Once you’re done being in awe, you can enjoy a lovely at the Garden restaurant serving traditional Rajasthani food. Oh, the laal maas was AMAZING.

4. City Palace Udaipur: This is for all those history lovers out there. Udaipur’s City palace is absolutely beautiful and should be checked out if you want to learn about the history and culture of the city. The place is absolutely beautifully done up and the history of the space is just mesmerizing. I would recommend getting an audio guide or an in-person guide to enjoy the experience a bit more. Be prepared for the space to be very crowded since this is the most visited touristic destination in the city.

5.  Panchwati: An area hardly anyone talks about, Panchwati is a must visit if you want to take a step out of the luxury and experience the city in it’s true essence. With tons of lit up chaat and lcoal food stalls, this area is so “happening” in the evenings that it can really uplift anyone’s mood. You must try out some authentic Rajasthani chaat with Kulfi for an ultimate #foodporn experience

Regarding Accommodation: Accommodation in Udaipur is definitely not cheap and it really depends on the type of hotels you’re looking for. If you’re going backpacking, I am so sure youll be able to find hostels to bunk up in. However, Udaipur is known for its opulence so finding a beautiful hotel in the lap of luxury is very easy. We stayed at the Lalit Laxmi Vilas and it was absolutely stunning. I had NO complaints from the hotel whatsoever and would highly, highly recommend it. Unlike the Taj Lake Palace or the Oberoi Udaivilas, The Lalit Laxmi Vilas is located on lake Fateh Sagar, hence being slightly secluded from the hustle bustle of the main city which we absolutely loved.

Fateh Sagar Lake

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The Lalit Laxmi Vilas, Balcony

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The Laxmi Vilas, Suite

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The Lalit Laxmi Vilas, Evening Band

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The Lalit Laxmi Vilas, Balcony View

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The Lalit Laxmi Vilas, Corridors

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The Lalit Laxmi Vilas, details

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The Lalit Laxmi Vilas, details

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 The Lalit Laxmi Vilas, Reception

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Badi Lake (must visit)

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The Lake Palace Hotel

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The City Palace

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Cafe in Udaipur City Palace

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The Vintage Car Museum

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Garden Hotel, Vintage Car Museum

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Panchwati (For Chaat)

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Authentic Rajasthani Chaat

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Ambrai (HIGHLY RECOMMEND)

IMG_2994As  always, if you have any queries, you can comment here or ask me on Instagram! Untill next time, xx

Quaker Oats: Healthy, Vegan Indian Recipes

Hi guys!

I am back again with some exciting news and a really helpful post!

To begin with, I am shifting to New York! I haven’t talked about this much (or, at all) and I thought today would be a good day to do so. I wouldn’t go into too many details since I do intend to hold a Q&A session, but I will be moving in August to pursue to a Masters in Media Studies from New School, New York.

So, now the fun part! Quaker Oats contacted me to be a part of their #BringYourTastiestBowl challenge to create two recipes that are healthy & delicious using their oats! The theme I will be going in for both the recipes is: State Pride.

Since I am shifting out of Delhi where I have lived for 23 years, it is definitely a huge change for me. Delhi for me, is more than just a city: it’s a synesthetic experience. I am a little nervous about moving all on any own across the seas to a completely different culture and environment. Though I have travelled a considerable amount, living in a different city all on your own can be a little daunting. I am sure, one of the things I will miss the most is home-cooked food, AKA ghar ka khaana.

So, in collaboration with Quaker Oats, I will be sharing two of my mom’s favourite recipes that I have grown up having. This is a really important experiment for me since not only will it help you all learn some really innovate ways to incorporate oats in your diet, but also serve as a little memory scape for me if I am lonely and missing mom and her delicious food.

Oats, needless to say are extremely good for our body and health. As many of you already know and have seen, I love using Quaker oats in many recipes: from Smoothies, Pancakes, Protein Bites to even face masks, Oats is my go-to ingredient. Oats being a whole grain, are really rich in fiber along with being an amazing source of protein. They increase appetite control-control hormones and also improve immune system defences.

If you think oats can be enjoyed only in the traditional way as a cereal with milk and fruits, you’re in for a big surprise! So here are my mother’s two favorite recipes that I have modified and worked on to make them healthier and quicker for you all to try out! They are really really close to my heart since they remind me of the food I have grown up eating- with just a little twist!

Recipe One: Oats Aloo Tikki

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Ingredients

½ cup Quaker Oats

250 grams Potatoes (Approx 3 medium sized potatoes)

1 small onion chopped

1 inch ginger chopped

1 green chilli chopped

1 heap teaspoon anardana powder

½ teaspoon red chili powder

1 teaspoon roasted ground cumin (Zeera)

1 teaspoon cornflour dissolved in 1/4 cup of water

1/4 cup Mint leaves

1/4 cup Coriander leaves

1 tablespoon Olive Oil

Salt to taste

Air fryer OR Oven

1.5 cups water

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Recipe:

In a pressure cooker, take 1.5 cups of water, ½ teaspoon salt and add in your potatoes for boiling. Pressure cook them till soft.

Peel and mash the potatoes and leave aside.

Mix the coriander, mint, onions, ginger, chilli, anardana powder, chilli powder and cumin together

Create thin potato patties (as shown in the pictures) and place about 2 tablespoons on the mixture on that circular base.

Take some more potato to cover the base layer. Make sure the tikki is sealed from all sides. Repeat the same for all the tikkis.

Take a big wide bowl and add 1 teaspoon of cornflour and quarter cup of water.

Take the tikki you just made and place it inside that bowl of the wet cornflour mixture for a couple of seconds each side. (This is so that when we cover the tikki with oats, they stick properly. This process is very similar to making French toast when you need to take the bread and cover it in the egg wash mixture).

Once your tikki is equally wet from all sides and coated with the cornflour mixture, place your oats in a plate and equally coat the tikki with them. Make sure the oats stick to the tikki properly. The oats wont stick if the tikki isn’t wet enough. Repeat this process with all the tikkis.

Take an oil spray or a table spoon of oil and lightly coat (using a brush or your fingers) the tikkis with the oil.

Place in an airfryer for 20 mins or a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees C for 20 mins.

Once ready, serve the tikkis hot with some chutney, chilli and lime.
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Recipe Two: Oats Sambar Khichdi

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Ingredients:

1 Onion

½ cup Soaked Quaker Oats

¼ cup Soaked Moong Dal

1 potato

1 chopped Onion

1 Tomato

1 inch chopped ginger

1 chopped Green Chilli

¼ cup Corrinader

1 pinch Tumeric (Haldi)

Salt to taste

½ teaspoon Sambar Powder

2 whole Red Chillis

1 teaspoon Roasted Ground Cumin (Zeera)

1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds (Rye)

1 pinch Heeng (Asafoetida)

About 30-40 curry leaves (2 stems as shown in the picture)

1.5 teaspoon olive oil

1.5 cups of water

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Recipe 

In a pressure cooker, pour the oil/ghee and let it heat.

Add the heeng, mustard seeds, curry leaves, red chillies and let them crackle for a few seconds.

Add the onions, ginger, green chillies and sautée them for another 15 seconds or so.

Add in the tomato and sautee for the another 15 seconds.

Add in the potato and sautee for another 15-20 seconds.

Add in the soaked moong dal (The moong dal should be soaked for approx 30 minutes in a cup of water and then drained) and sautee it for 20 seconds.

Add in the Cumin powder and Haldi. Let this cook for about 1.5 minutes.

Add 1.5 cups of water and close the lid of the pressure cooker. Put the flame on high and wait for 5-6 whistles.

Open the pressure cooker safely and add the soaked Oats (The oats should be soaked for approx 30 mins in a cup of water and the drained).

Add in the sambar powder.

Put the flame on low and stir the mixture. The khichdi would start thickening up.

(You can add a little more water if you want the kichdi to be more runny. I like it thick so didn’t add more water.)

Let the mixture cook for about 7-8 minutes.

Once ready, serve hot in a bowl with squeezed lime. Garnish with coriander leaves.

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I hope you guys enjoyed the recipes and if you try them out send me pictures and tag me on instagram @melangeofmusings 🙂 What I love about these recipes is that they’re a healthier take on traditional foods that we have grown up eating but are not necessarily that healthy! I absolutely LOVED taking this challenge up with Quaker Oats by “bring in my tastiest” bowls of oats! You can do too and if you take part in this challenge, you have a chance to win tons of prices along with a grand prize of INR 50 lakhs!:

Check out this website for more details 🙂
Untill next time, lots of love!

Singapore in Five: Must do’s

Hey guys!

I’m back again with a really requested post: My Singapore travelogue. I thought I’d do this travel diary in a different way where instead of sharing my entire day by itinerary, I’ll be listing my absolute must do’s. These are places that I visited and had a great time! However, this was my first time in Singapore and I am sure there are tons of other places that are not mentioned in this list. Nonetheless, if you’re in Singapore for 4-5 days, enjoy these and I’m sure you’ll have a blast 🙂

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 1. Nightlife: Clark Quay (Pronounced as claa-key)

One of my favorite places that I visited 2 times over my short trip in Singapore was Clark Quay. It’s a historical riverside quay in Singapore  that houses over 5 blocks of  restored warehouses that house a ginormous number of nightclubs and restaurants.  There are also moored Chinese  junks (tongkangs) that have been refurbished into floating pubs and restaurants. Whether you want to go for a romantic dinner with your partner, a fun meal & drinks with family or a fun night out with friends, this place has you covered. From my experience here, I did notice that the food was pretty decent but nothing to really to crazy over. In my opinion, this place is definitely more for its ambience as its so happening with tons of people, lit up bars, live music and of course the river side! We tried a vietnamese restaurant called Little Saigon and had a really wonderful experience. Though the food could have been much better, the cocktails were absolutely amazing. If you’re going to Clark Quay over the weekend, be prepared to wait substantially for a table at some of the popular places. 

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2. Luxury and high street & budget shopping:

Orchard Road, Marina Bay Sands & Bugis Street

It’s no secret that Singapore is shopping paradise. If you have some money to spend are in the mood for getting your hands on some of the best luxury fashion, Singapore is the place for you. Since there’s a mall every 200 meters and it can get a bit overwhelming for any tourist, you can start your shopping extravaganza at the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, ION Orchard and Paragon Shopping Centre.Marina Bay  These three malls will not only leave you speechless for their fabulous and grandeur architecture, but also provide you with some of the best luxury shopping you could ask for. ION Orchard is very well located and is convinient place to start your day  since it’s right on Ochard Road.  Paragon Shopping Centre is a beautiful mall that is dominated by luxury shops but you will find a few high street stores at all. There are also tons of options to eat in the foodcourt so you won’t be hungry through the day at all! Marina Bay Sands should be kept for the evening time since it’s at the Bay front is absolutely stunning at night.The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands mall, a museum, two large theatres, seven “celebrity chef” restaurants, two floating Crystal Pavilions, a skating rink, and the world’s largest atrium casino with 500 tables and 1,600 slot machines. Enjoy an evening of shopping, a luxurious dinner and then hit the casino for a night to remember! When it comes to high street shopping, you can check out Bugis Junction with stores such as Bershka,Pull & Bear, Sephora etc! Right across Bugis Junction mall is Bugis Street which is the largest street shopping destination in Singapore. You will be able to find all the latest trends in fashion at really competitive prices and haggling is really easy too. However, do keep in mind that the garments aren’t really available in multiple sizes so if you’re looking for a slightly larger size, you may need to hunt a little! Nonetheless, its definitely worth checking out since it offers a nice break from the malls!

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3. Eat at Din Tai Fung

If you’re in Singapore, one restaurant that you just HAVE to try out is Din Tai Fung. Though it’s a michelin star restaurant, it’s very well priced/fairly affordable. We visisted this restaurant two times in this trip and even though I would have loved to try out every single dish on the menu, my dietary restrictions didn’t let me. However, what I did try was simply out of the world. For me, the egg fried rice stole the show through and through. It sounds like such a simple dish but trust me when I say that it’s the best you’ll ever have. From the leafy fresh greens to the delicious dimsums, I don’t have a single complaint or flaw that I can pick on.

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4.Exploring communities and neighbourhoods: 

China Town and Little India

Singapore is very well known for it’s high rises landscape, modern architecture and a metropolitan vibe. Two parts of Singapore that will offer you a very different yet charming perspective are China Town and Little India. Both these neighbourhoods/areas are ethnic enclaves that will teleport you to China and India respectively. Chinatown is a sharp contrast to the rest of the city, with low rise buildings and culture bursting out onto the streets, from the fragrant smells of traditional cuisine to the bold red and gold tones that run through the neighbourhood. There are ornate Chinese, Buddhist and Hindu temples, museums galore and plenty of opportunities to soak up the bustling streets lined with old shophouses. In Chinatown, we enjoyed a lovely chinese meal at Spring Court restaurant that was established in 1929. It’s Singapore old family run restaurant which offers some amazing Singaporean Chinese cuisine. Little India, on the other hand is also one of Singapore’s most vibrant historic districts. As you walk down Serangoon Road and neighbouring streets, you can explore their mix of Hindu and Chinese temples, mosques and churches. It really does feel that you’re walking somewhere in the Southern part of India with the aroma of temple flowers and fragrance of spices that tell of the aura of a culture.When it comes to feed, you just can’t go wrong with a classic traditional south indian meal. We just had a snack – Idli & Vada and I can confidently say that it was amongst the best I have ever had. Packed with flavour and texture, the food spelled out authenticity without any fuss.

China Town

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Spring Court Restaurant: China Town

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Little India

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Vada- Sambar at a local South India restaurant in Little India
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5. Universal Studios, Sentosa

Universal Studios has to be one of the most exciting places to visit in Singapore. Though most people, especially families with children visit Sentosa island for an overnight trip or more, we decided to just check out Universal studios that’s a part of the island. Sentosa however has a lot more to offer than just Universal Studios and if you want to experience it all, you will need a couple of days there. Universal Studios, that has it’s counterpart in LA needs no introduction. No matter what age you are, you just have to visit this “world” in itself. From the magnificent sets, arrchitecturr and grandeur to the spine chilling rides, you will have a blast! I am a rollercoaster junkie so this was just the place for me to sit back and have some fun! It can get really humid in Singapore, so make sure you are well hydrated and be prepared for hours of walking! Though there are numerous cafes and pitstops for you to be refreshed, since the area in itself is so huge, walking is inevitable.

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So these were my top 5 must do’s in Singapore! I am so sure that there are so many things that I missed out on this short trip and hence I would love to visit again. However, if you’re planning a trip with friends or family, I am so sure this post will help you 🙂 For any questions, make sure to follow me on Instagram and ask away! <3

Chocolate Banana Nice Cream

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Hey guys!

Have you ever wondered how to to make those stunning acai bowls or nice creams that are flooded on Instagram? I have a delicious  recipe for you today where you can create your very own personalized nice cream without spending a bomb in any fancy cafe or health food store. Nice Creams are huge in the food and health world right and for good reason. To simplify, nice cream is nothing but ice-cream that is GOOD for you.  You can eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner- anytime really. It works really well as a pre-workout meal or even as a dessert! The best part about nice-creams are that they need only ONE INGRIDIENT- Bananas

If youre feeling lazy, you can stick to the traditional Banana Nice-cream but if you want to be a little more creative, there are a plethora of flavours and toppings that you can opt

Also, these recipes don’t have any MILK, SUGAR, CREAM, EGGS and don’t require an ice cream maker either. So, they’re vegan and high carb that will give you your glucose punch and keep you happy and healthy through the day.

Chocolate & Banana Nice Cream
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 1 cup (3 scoops)
 
Ingredients
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 4-5 roughly chopped almonds
  • 4-5 squares of any dark chocolate chocolate you enjoy OR 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocao powder (If you want the ice-cream to be Vegan/Dairy free). If you're using the cacao powder, youll also need 2 spoons of water.
  • Any good blender- I use my Nutri bullet
  • Optional: Any toppings like dates, peanut butter, berries, coconut flakes, chocolate chips, sea salt, granola
Instructions
  1. Take 3 ripe bananas, peel them and slice them up into 4-5 pieces each.
  2. Put them in the freezer for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight. I have a ziplock bag of frozen bananas where I keep using little at a time for different smoothies and desserts. That saves a lot of time and is very convenient since you can make anything you want without waiting for the fruit to freeze.
  3. Take them out of the freezer and let them soften a bit since it might take a toll on your blender to put them rock solid. However, make sure they're still totally frozen or else non-frozen, soft bananas blended will give a smoothie consistency.
  4. Put the frozen bananas into the blender. Add in the chocolate pieces and vanilla.
  5. If youre using the cacao powder instead of the chocolate pieces, it would be better to dissolve the powder into the 2 spoons of water in a little bowl first and then add it to the blender.
  6. Start blending the mixture. It may seem impossible at first due to the frozen bananas but thats why keeping the frozen bananas at room temperature for 5 misn or so helps. Slowly and steadily blend for about 2-3 minutes and keep checking the mixture. When almost done, add in the almonds and this time instead of using the blender, simply fold them into the ice cream using a spatula. The key is not over blend the mixture or else it would turn into a smoothie. The consistency should be chunky.
  7. Scoop out the mixtures from the blender and place into a bowl. Add some chocolate chips as a topping or any other topping you prefer.

As toppings, I absolutely love adding a spoon of peanut butter to my nice-cream too. Sometimes, if I just make banana nice-cream without any chocolate or vanilla, I add some chopped dates and berries as toppings. The options are seriously endless and almost every flavour combination works with this super creamy non diary healthy icecream.

My favorite flavour combinations that you can try out are:

1. Banana Nice Cream with chocolate, vanilla essence and chopped almonds: Topped with peanut butter

2. Banana Nice Cream with vanilla essence: Topped with chopped pitted Dates

3. Banana Nice Cream (plain): Topped with dark chocolate chips and Granola

4. Banana Nice Cream (plain): Topped with strawberries and other berries available

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Hope you try out this ice-cream and love it! Please send me photos at Instagram if you do 🙂

Have a happy & healthy day! <3

Brunchin’ at Tamra | Review

Hey guys,

If you have been followig me on social media, you would have seen that I visited Tamra at Shangri-La Hotel, Delhi a few months ago. I was extremely keen to do a review then itself  but I got diagnosed with Gasteritis and hence couldn’t go ahead with it! Now that I am back to blogging, lets jump right into it!

The lovely people at the hotel invited as for the Sunday brunch (with Champagne and Cocktails) to simply enjoy the meal and give our feedback. Of course we couldn’t say no to one of the most sought after meals in the city and decided to try it out!

Disclaimer: I have NOT been paid to write this review but the meal was on the house.


Champagne Brunch

Tamra, located in Shangri La Hotel, Delhi is a gastronomical bouquet, offering authentic South East Asian cuisine as well as Japanese, Indian and European fare from its five interactive cooking theatres. The cooking theaters at Tamra each featuring a different culinary style showcase the restaurant’s ‘world on a platter’ concept as well as stages for our talented Chefs’ engaging performances! The experience is not only a treat for the stomach but for the eyes as well. From comfort Italian food , shawarma grill,, Indian, Golgappa Station, Biryani Counter,, Japanese Sushi Station and Teriyaki Grills.,Live Seafood counter to a Dessert Bar; the options seem endless.

Though you could visit the restaurant on any day you like and go ahead for the usual buffet of even an a la carte meal, I would highly recommend the Sunday Brunch. Winter might be over, but that shouldn’t stop us from our ritual Sunday brunches, right? Especially if it looks like this! An advice I have for you if you plan to go with the Sunday brunch is to come into the restaurant with a completely empty stomach. If you’re like me, I know it’s really hard to not eat anything all morning, especially if breakfast is your favorite meal. However, the brunch is definitely not cheap and you would not be able to do it justice if you don’t try out at least 4-5 counters out of the 9 counters to choose from!

I won’t go into detail about every single dish we tried out and every single counter on display since that would make the post never ending, but are some of the highlights from one of the best brunches in the city.

1The Golgappa Counter

I love me some chaat and till now I was a firm believer of the fact that if you truly want to enjoy golgappas- go local. I would look down upon hotels serving “authentic” chaat and very honestly didn’t even try them out half of them. From prior experiences, chaats in hotels didn’t end up having that perfect zing and balance of flavour that is absolutely crucial. However, the lady guiding us through the buffet really recommended the golgappa counter and so we politely decided to give it a shot. Oh my god, I was definitely in for a huge shock and I can say this confidently: THEY MAY JUST BE THE BEST GOLGAPPAS I HAVE EVER HAD (OR ATLEAST ON MY TOP 3 LIST). The golgappas were absolutely perfect- crispy with a lovely fresh filling, a really well flavoured saunth and paani.

2The Asian Counter

From the Asian Counter, we ordered a custom made Khau Suey and it was absolutely delicious. What I loved the most was the use of fresh ingredients along with the customizations that the buffet offers. The chef stood there preparing your dish right in front of you as you could direct him with all the different vegetables, noodles options , condiments you want.

3The Strip Loin Roast & Italian Counter

I can’t talk much about this section since I didn’t end up trying the strip lion roast or a pasta. However, just look at how beautiful it looks. I didn’t face a single disappointment in the whole buffet so I am pretty sure this was perfect as well. Right next to this section, there was a shawarma counter as well, and you must, must try that out. The shawarma was seasoned so well and melted in my mouth. It was cooked to perfection and honestly, I could see my self having multiple servings of just that!

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Seafood BarThe Japanese Station with the live Seafood Counter

Live seafood stations are definitely my go-to in any buffet and I absolutely loved the freshdisplay of seafood and sushi that looked so appetising. If seafood is something you enjoy, you must head to this counter and you’ll be in love. You can simply tell the chef what you’d like to have and he’ll prepare soemthing for you there and then. We decided to go in for teriyaki prawns and pork chops straight from the grill!

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A part of the Dessert Bar & showstopper: The Chocolate Fountain

The dessert is a part of a buffet that one is never full for. Wit one of the largest selections of desserts, we were in absolute awe. We decided to try out their classic Tamra Chocolate and take my advice and try it out! You will not regret it at all.  If you like nutties, you would enjoy this dessert. PS: who doesnt love a bit of theatrics with their meal, right?
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4Who can say no to Cold cuts with some Champagne?

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12My personalised Khao Suey from the Asian Counter

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The famous Tamra Chocolate

Overall Verdict: I was really happy with the meal and in complete honesty couldnt pick a single flaw. To be honest, I was a bit overwhelmed with the number of options and even though we really tried our best, we just couldn’t do justice to it. Next time I go, I would definetly want to try the Biryanis and Pastas as well! I would suggest going to Tamra with a group of 4 people (minimum) since you all would be able to enjoy more number of dishes and can taste from each other’s plates! We went as a couple and so we tried to do justice to the meal as much as we could!

Price:

Rs. 2750 plus applicable taxes (includes free flowing cocktails, beer and mocktails)
Rs. 3500 plus applicable taxes (includes free flowing Moet & Chandon Champagne)
Rs. 1500 plus applicable taxes for kids buffet
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Incase you have any queries, don’t hesitate to comment here and ask me anything you like! You can follow me on Instagram for daily updates!
Until next time,
Happy Eating 🙂

Collective Beauty Haul: Feel Unique & Nykaa (ALL ABOUT SHIPPING AND CUSTOMS)

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Hey guys!

I have been shopping for makeup on and off along with constantly trying out new products over the best few months! Since I have bought quite a bit of stuff in the recent past, I have decided to divide my haul into two posts rather than bombard you with one never ending blog post. So without going into too many details, lets begin!

The items shown in this post have been bought on nykaa.com & feelunique.com (my two favorite beauty sites! Nykaa is an indian website with tons of brands such as NYX, Batiste, Makeup Revolution; which aren’t that easily available over the counters in Indian drugstores! There are options of cash on delivery as well with great service that makes life really easy! On the other hand, FeelUnique is hands on one of the best international sites that deliver to India! What I love about feelunqiue.com is it’s amazing collection of brands such as Rimmel London, NYX, theBalm, Real techniques etc. It also houses brands that are easily available in india such as Maybelline and Loreal. However the makeup collection is international and you will find a lot of products that are not available in India (example: Maybelline  New York under eye eraser!) Feelunique.com offers free shipping to India for an order over 60 pounds (Approx 6,000 Rs). There are no additional custom chargers. If your order is less than 60 pounds, there would be a shipping charge of 15 pounds (Approx Rs.1500).

Since  I bought these products a while ago, I have tried post of them out and will try my best to give as many details as possible. For the products that I can’t give much information about in this post, please comment on Instagram and I’ll surely give you an update!

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Skin Care & Other essentials:

1. Nivea Oil in Lotion Cocoa Nourish (Rs. 120): This body lotion works really, really well for dry skin! I love lotions that spell of coconut and cocoa butter and this ofcourse was right up my alley! It’s extremely light weight and is not sticky on the skin either.

Bought from: nykaa.com

2. Feel Unique Perfect Complexion Blending Sponge (3.38 pounds):,  I wanted to try out different dupes of the beauty blender so got my hands on this one! I have already tried the real techniques sponge that I am obsessed with and to be honest, this does not match up to it. It does the trick of blending foundation into your skin but the effect is no where close to being flawless. The sponge is also not super soft like the real techniques sponge or the original beauty blender.

Bought from: feelunique.com

2. Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water (3.35 pounds): This  is my holy grail makeup remover. It’s absolutely fabulous. This micellar cleansing water works wonders to take out stubborn waterproof makeup without stinging your eyes or making your skin feel oily afterwards. It does such a great job that you after using the product, you need not even wash your skin and simply pat your skin dry. It’s the PERFECT dupe for the bioderma cleansing water and I swear by it!

Bought from: feelunique.com
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Base Makeup:

1. Maybelline Dream BB Fresh (7.99 pounds) : I love using BB creams and hence I am always on the lookout for new ones. I bought this BB Cream as it claims the following:

– Creates a natural glow.
Compliments skin-tone.
SPF 30 UV protection.
Hydrates all day.
-. Blurs imperfections.
Oil free, non-greasy.
Looks visibly smooth.
Feels fresh.

Having used it a couple of times, I can say that it sticks to all its claims. It is pretty lightweight and doesnt feel sticky on the skin! I do however moisterize my skin before using this. It has a pretty good coverage for a BB cream and I was very pleasantly surprised.

Bought from: feelunique.com

2. NYX Above and Beyond Full Coverage Concealer: I have used this concealer only once and my first reaction is that I don’t like it. You need to apply this concealer on your problem areas with a brush. It’s a very high coverage concealer but is way too drying. In fact, I found it so drying that in my opinion it highlighted an area more than concealing it. I would try it a couple more times to see if it works better.

Bought from: feelunique.com

3. NYX Wonder Stick (10 pounds): I was really excited to try out a contour/highlight stick and when I saw this one from nyx, I knew I just had to pick it up. It’s a cream contour and highlight stick thats really easy to apply and blend. If you’re new into contouring, I would highly recommend this product since you can apply the skin directly into the areas required and simply blend the product with your fingers!

Bought from: feelunique.com

4. Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder: (3.99 pounds): I am one of those people that don’t leave my house without using a little bit of powder of my T-Zone so every chance I get to find the perfect mattifying pressed powder, I grab it! This one by Rimmel does a really great job and offers a great amount of coverage too. Sometimes, I wear it alone with just moisterizer on my face. If you any recommendations for a loose mattifying powder, please let me know! I havent found any that I like till date.

Bought from: feelunique.com

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Eyes:

1.  Eylure London Complete Eyelash Kit (7 pounds): I am not a fake eyelashes person at all and haven’t tried a single pair ever. I bought this kit hoping that it will help me initiate into the Falsies world. The kit has everything you need from re-usable eyelashes, to an applicator and glue. But, truth me told: I havent tried it yet! I am just so scared of trying false eyelashes. Maybe, one day I will! It’s on my list.

Bought from feelunique.com

2. Maybelline Rocket Volum’ Express (7.99 pounds): If you have been following my blog and instagram for a while, you would know that I am completely obsessed with Maybelline’s The Falsies Mascara. It’s something that I buy again and again. This time however, I tried to experiment a bit and it worked! This Rocket Volume Express Mascara gives your lashes trememdous amount of volume making them look thick, and fuller. However, when it comes to lengthening- probably not so much. I would suggest pairing this one with Benefit’s Roller Lash Mascara for the perfect balance of volume and length.

Bought from feelunique.com

3.Maybelline New York Liner Express Eye Liner (5.09 pounds): If you’re looking  for a precision eyeliner, it’s this one! I am horrible at applying eyeliner so my goal is to find products that are very easy to use along with giving me scope to mess up. This eyeliner has the thinnest tip EVER. So, you can go slow and steady and create the perfect wing with precision. However, it requires patience since you won’t get the perfect wing in just one swipe.

Bought from feelunique.com

4.NYX Eyebrow Pencil: ( 5 pounds): For all those asking me how I fill in my brows in my recent selfies- here’s your answer. I am absolutely obsessed with NYX’s products and this one doesn’t disappoint either. This eyebrow pencil is so easy to use and feels just like a crayon. It’s really as simple as colouring in light short strokes to give off the perfect natural yet filled in look. I highly recommend this one.

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Lips:

1. L’Oreal Paris Color Riche Moist Matte Lipstick – PM414 Sheer Plum (Rs.740): This is my THIRD bullet of this shade: Sheer plum and left to me, I can see my self buying 100000 more. This lipstick is really as perfect as it gets. It’s moist and matte at the same time; a combination thats so rare to find. The colour is a brownish purple and it looks fabulous on indian skin tones. TRY IT OUT!

Bought from nykaa,com

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2. Rimmel Lasting Finish Colour Rush Intense Colour Balm- VIVA VIOLET ( 5.99 pounds): Just like Sheer Plum, this Colour Balm by Rimmel is my second bullet since I just cannot get enough of it. This balm is perfect for everyday wear when you want to glam up your look without putting in too much effort. It’s super comfortable on the lips as well since it has a really moisteruizing. It’s not very long lasting but I don’t mind at all since I carry it in my bag all day and re-apply it when I feel the need. I just love the pop of colour it gives to the lips in one swipe!

Bought from feelunique.com

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3. L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Collection Exclusive Pinks EVA (Rs. 796): If a berry or violet shade is too much for you, then you should get your hands on this perfect pink-nude. I was looking for a shade like this for such a long time but couldn’t find one that suits my skin tone. EVA by loreal looks beautiful on my lips without washing me off! I love darker colours but this one is really nice for a day-to-day pink, especially in the summer.

Bought from nykaa.com

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4. L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Collection Exclusive Pinks0 JLO (Rs. 796): & here we are back again, with a berry shade! As it’s pretty obvious by now, I am obsessed with dark purple-berry lip colours. I feel it suits my skin tone (or duskier skin tones) really well! What I love about this shade is how long wearing it is. It has the perfect balance of pink and purple and I feel one can pull this off in the day time too with a crisp white shirt!

Bought from nykaa.com

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IMG_7716So, that’s all for the first part of my beauty haul! If you have any questions, feel free to comment here! You can also follow me on Instagram and ask me anything there!

Untill next time,

xo

To Be Healthy:: Overnight Oats, Acai Summer Smoothie & more!

Hey guys,

Let me begin by saying, thank you. Thank you if you’re reading this post. If you’re a new reader, welcome to Melange of Musings! If you’ve visited this site before, thank you for coming back and sticking with me. Before going in to the post, I do want to take a minute to apologize. I am really sorry from the bottom of my heart for completely going MIA. I know there are a lot of you who do wait for my posts and even send me messages and snaps about my blog but I stopped posting for reasons out of my control. 2015 and this first quarter of 2016 has been as shitty as it gets, when it comes to Health. If you would follow me on snapchat you would know that the number of times I fell ill, was a little crazy. There came a point where I was in the phase of “Is it always going to be like this?” The Answer is NO. A big fat no. Currently, I am diagnosed with Gasteritis & H Pylori and I must admit that the past month hasnt been amazing, but I am here, writing a post which has made me realise that we all have ups and downs and what matters is how they are dealt it. So, come what may, I will continue to do what I love. And, that is to blog. I absolutely love creating content and even though I am still fairly active on social media, it doesn’t feel the sae as a good ol’ blogpost! I promise you guys that you will see fresh and unique content on a consistent basis from here on.

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If you have been following my blog for a while you would know that I try my best to maintain a healthy lifestyle through eating healthy and working out. It is definitely not easy and requires a lot of motivation but every little part of it is worth it. If you would like me to do a post on ways to motivate you to start a healthy lifestyle, let me know on Instagram! For starters, you can check this post out where I talk about what you may be doing wrong while trying to lose weight.

To Be Healthy contacted me to try out their products a while ago and I was really excited since getting hands on health foods in India is still not that easy. They have all the must haves from cold pressed juices, almond milk, chia seeds, different sorts of nuts & berries. I decided to pick a few of their superfoods & cleansing juices and incorporate them into my diet. I love eating multiple (about 5-6) small meals in the day and hence, instead of doing the traditional “Juice Cleanse”, I went ahead with simply having one juice a day as one small meal. I knew that sticking to a liquid-only diet just wouldn’t work for me so I created a diet plan that suited my needs in a way that makes me feel happy and motivated yet satisfied through the day.

To Be Healthy/TBH has 12 unique  flavour combinations of cold pressed juices which are 100% raw and not processed. When the juice is delivered to your doorstep, it lasts you only 3 days (which means it has no added chemicals to make it last longer). From the classic Green Juice to citrus flavours such as mandarin orange, sweet lime, citrus punch- you will definitely not get bored of the options! I chose to drink one juice everyday for 10 days as a mid morning meal around 11 am, and trust me when I say this: I really felt a difference in my skin, energy levels and body! Just within 10 days I did lose about 1.5 kilos.

(I HATE LOOKING AT THE WEIGHING SCALE BUT DID SO FOR THIS POST IN ORDER TO SEE WHETHER THESE PRODUCTS REALLY WORK )

Currently, TBH has a Navarati special going on! I am not one for keeping any fasts, however if you are they you should probably consider these juices as they will keep you nourished through the day along with making sure your energy levels are high! 9 refreshing juices, delivered straight to you. PS: They are a 100% Vegetarian. You can order them from here.

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 OVERNIGHT OATS

If juices aren’t for you and you’re looking at more wholesome options for breakfast, then you can also try out my super healthy and recipe of overnight oats! What I love about this recipe is that it’s so simple to make and you can experiment so much with it.

Ingredients 

1. 1/2 Rolled Oats

2. 1/2 Yogurt/Almond Milk/Skimmed Milk

I chose to use Vanilla Almond Milk from TBH since I wanted this recipe to be non-diary! However, if you can use anything you like! The almond milk also adds this wonderful nutty flavour with hints of vanilla that I love!

3. 1 pinch of Salt

4. 1 tablespoon Chia Seeds

5. 1 pinch of Cinnamon

For the Toppings:

1. Any fruits you like! I chose Pomegranates since that was the only fruit available to me. However, bananas and any sort of berries would be absolutely amazing too.

2. 1 tablespoon Goji Berries

3. 1/2 tablespoon Green Pumpkin Seeds

Recipe

1.  Mix in the oats, milk, salt, cinnamon and chia seeds in a bowl.

2. Place the bowl in the fridge overnight. This process lets the oats to soak up the liquid giving it a feeling of being soft and cooked!

THAT IS IT. Your overnight oats are ready to eat.

3. Now, the world is your oyster. You can go ahead with any topping you like. I sprinkled some goji berries, pomegranates and pumpkin seeds. You can also choose to add bananas & peanut/almond butter (I LOVE that combination)

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 BANANA, STRAWBERRY, KALE & ACAI SMOOTHIE

If you’re not an oats person, you should definitely try incorporating all these superfoods into your diet in a way that tricks your mind! And, whats better than a smoothie? I absolutely love smoothies since you can sneak in almost anything without tasting it! My Favorite Smoothie of all time is this Banana, Strawberry and Kale Smoothie. Now, if you live in India, I’m sure youll ask how is it possible to get strawberry and kale in the summer months and the answer is to FREEZE THEM! Freezing fruits for making smoothies is the trick and the answer to all your problems. Freeze all the contents of one smoothie in one ziplock bag. (You can also freeze different fruits in different zip lock bags and then keep using a little each time. Example: A huge bunch of stawberries in one bag, multiple shopped up banans in another etc). When I’m done with my workout, all I have to do is empty out one zip lock bag with some fresh yogurt into a blender, and tada! !Plus, using frozen fruit means one doesn’t need to use ice which makes the smoothie creamy and not watered down.

Ingredients

10 frozen Strawberries

1 frozen chopped ripe Banana

1/2 cup Kale leaves (Mine are Frozen)

1 cup Yogurt

1 teaspoon Stevia or Honey

1 tablespoon Chia Seeds

1 scoop/ 2 tablespoons Acai Powder

Recipe:

Simply mix up all the ingredients in your blender untill you reach a creamy consistency and your smoothie is ready! You can choose to convert the smoothe into an Smoothie bowl by blending the ingredients a little less. The way, the mixture would be less thinned down and more of a consistency that can be placed in a bowl. If you’re making a Smoothie bowl or also known as Acai bowl, you can top up the bowl with more fresh fruit, seeds and granola to add a crunch in every bite!

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 Superfood Trail Mix

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Finally, the last way I incorporated all the TBH Superfoods into my diet was simply creating a trail mix. A trai mix is essentially a mixture of dried fruit and nuts eaten as a snack food, originally by walkers and campers. Rather than snacking on chips or biscuits when you’re really hungry, in a small zip lock bag simply empty out your favorite nuts and dried berries for a snack on the go. One handful of this mixture with a glass of cold water is genuinly really filling and can keep you energised till your next meal. In my trail mix, I used Pecan Nuts, Brazil Nuts, Macadamia Nuts and Goji Berries.  This snack is so simple and you can carry it with you wherever you like! Best part? All these nuts and berries are packed with Omega 3, Omega 6,  anti-oxidants and good fats!

So, if you’re looking into starting a healthy lifestyle, take small steps and be consistent. The key is not jump into a drastic diet. Start working out and eat well. NOT LESS.

Untill next time, xo

New Room! // Room Tour 2016

Hey guys,

Let me begin by apologising for being MIA! I am so, so sorry but my health has not been by my side at all recently! Nonetless, I wish you all a really, really HAPPYY NEW YEAR! <3

So here’s a post that I knew quite a few of you have been waiting for.As much as I would love to do this post in a video format, I wanted to make sure I post it up as a blog post. Better late than never right?

For all of you who didn’t know, my room before it was completely re-done was bright orange and hot pink since this colour combination was my absolute favorite in my teenage years. I grew up over the years and hence going in for all white bright room this time around was a no brainer for me. Though most of the furniture is not new, it looks really different since it was dark wood that’s been painted white!

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Full Study Console with the chest of drawers: Alex Davis (The Indi Store)

Flowers: Home Centre

Frame: All from London-Covent Garden

All Candles: Home Centre

Buddha: Im not sure!

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(PS: the open drawer in the first picture was killing me so clicked  another one. Little did I know the chair would decide to rotate itself. Oh well, hope you get a thorough idea now!}

Bed, side tables- Alex Davis (The Indi Store)

Lamps: Kapoor Lamp Shades

Chair: Furniture Wala

Standing Lamp: Furniture Wala
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Vanity/Dressing table with the mirror: Home Centre

White Side Table: Home Centre6

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All cushions: Good Earth

Chandelier: Good Earth

Bag Rack: The Indi Store (Alex Davis)

 

Incase you want to know about any specific pieces in my room or have any queries about it, please email me or comment on my Instagram and Ill surely reply!

untill next time

love youuu <3

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED!

Hey guys,

I’m so sorry for being MIA! If you’ve been following me on social media, you would have seen that I have been living out of a suitcase in a hotel room for the past 2 weeks since my room (+the rest of the house) was getting painted. It was a fairly big process and since paint and I don’t go too well when it comes to allergies, I decided to move out. It was definitely not easy not living at home and I must admit that I wasn’t really motivated to post. I shifted back home last night and cannot be happier! I would love to do a room tour post once everything is all done. Untill then, here’s a Q and A post. A while back, I asked you guys to ask me anything you like, and you did! So here are your most of your questions answered! If you like such posts, Ill make sure to do more. Tried keeping this one as compact as possible 🙂

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What exactly is your source of income and what do you work for?

I work full time in NDTV GoodTimes and hence that’s my main source of income. Other than that, I do earn a little from blogging but not enough to do it full time.

What do you prefer? Waxing or shaving?

I prefer waxing, and specifically chocolate waxing (better for sensitive skin and removes super small hair easily). However, if I am on a long vacation, shaving just works out easier!

A brand approached me for a collaboration and told me to send a media kit… as a new blogger I am really new to this collaboration thing.. dont know how to go forward.. please help

First and foremost, make a media kit if you don’t have one. It is basically a list of the rates that you charge for each post/tweet/instagram post that you can offer. Along with that, the kit should include a small brief about your brand and following. I will go ahead and do a full post on this. Since you’re new to blogging, check out my entire series on Blogging Tips under the “Blogging” section of my website.

When did you start a blog? What inspired you to do so? and do you earn a decent amount from blogging?

I have answered all of these questions in my recent post: Confessions of a blogger. Do check it out to know more about my blogging journey!

What’s that lipstick shade? Next birthday gift for me Also how that beautiful? Want to friendship? Yah?

This is what it feels like when you have your best friends asking you questions. Madhavi, all I have to say to you is ” but did you die?”

Do you want to do your phD after your masters?

I completed my Masters in May this year (2015). I don’t really have any plans of doing a phD. However, when it comes to me, till date nothing has gone the way I have planned. So, you never know

Please suggest best winter night cream from India

To be very honest, I don’t have a specific night cream/day cream. However, my mom uses the night cream by Estee Lauder and it works really really well. I, on the other hand, like the products by Kiehl’s

What do you prefer: Hair oiling or deep conditioning?

I’d say I prefer hair oiling since that’s what I have been doing since I was a kid. I also really like using hair masks since they really, really work! You can check some of my tried and tested recipes here.

When will you be making your youtube channel?

Okay, this has got to be my most asked question, EVER. The answer is: very soon. Very, very soon infact. I tried starting one last year but things just didn’t work out. I don’t want to make any false promises, so when I start even, I’ll make sure it’s flooded all across my social media haha

Are you growing your hair long? If yes, please dont do it . You look super cute in short hair

Thank you, but yes! I am growing my hair long. I have had short hair from March till now and to be very honest, I miss my long hair now. I am trying my best to grow it out and maybe a couple of years later, I may just cut it again!

Skin Care routine please

I have many versions of my skin care routine up on the blog. You can check them out here and here.

That’s all for today folks! If you want to know more about me and read about some super interesting blogging secrets, you can check these posts:

My most frequently asked questions

How I take my Instagram photos

How to make money from blogging

CONFESSIONS OF A BLOGGER

Hey guys,

The Blogger Confessions Tag used to be fairly popular a couple of years ago and I really enjoy reading other bloggers’ blogging experiences so I thought why not do one too. Maybe it helps you all know me better! I decided to add a couple of more frequently asked questions and basically tweak the tag a little just so that it’s not too drab to read. If you’re a blogger, I would LOVE it, if you do this post too.

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Have you had any past online presence (Youtube,Other blog)?

Before starting my blog, I did have another blog in the past when I was 13-14 years old but I never updated it while I tried my hand on poetry/expressing my “teenage thoughts”! Now that I think of it, it was fairly embarrassing and I am sort of glad no one knew about it haha. Other than that, I’ve had a Facebook personal account and used Instagram on and off!

When did you start your blog?

I started a blog: sarasuri.com on December 17th,2013 where I uploaded 2-3 posts in the first week. Within 2 weeks, I set up my own domain and transferred those posts to this blog itself. So, officially speaking, I started melangeofmusings.com in January 2014.

What was your first post?

My first post was a 6 things Photo Diary post where I mentioned 6 little things that stood out for me in Dubai. Looking back at the post, I am definitely not proud of it since it’s not really too helpful to someone who may actually want to visit Dubai! I was thinking of re-working on it and writing more details. How does that sound? 

Why did you start a blog?

I’ve always considered my self as a fairly creative person and have read blogs/watched youtube for many, many years. Before starting my blog, I would post tons of pictures on my social media and would write small little posts here and there. It was then that I realised, why not compile all my photographs and writing pieces systematically and start a blog! I wouldn’t lie by saying that it just happened one fine day. I did take a couple of months to think over it {no clue why!} but I am so glad I started.

 Where do you see yourself in a year?

 Hopefully I see the blog growing and our blog family becoming bigger. I should also have  Youtube channel by then, so I really wish to work hard on my content across all platforms! 

What is the most rewarding thing to you about blogging?/What motivates you to blog?

The most rewarding thing about blogging has got to be the emails I receive from you guys.There have been quite a few times that I’ve considered quitting cause things just wouldn’t go the way I’d expect them to and lets face it, we all are human after all. It’s when I see your comments and emails that I realised how much love and respect you all give me. In fact, just today itself I received a lovely email from one of you that almost got me in tears. It’s just really satisfying and makes me so happy to know that there are some of you who appreciate and read my content so regularly. Even if I can help one person with each post I upload, nothing can stop me from blogging! Though it sounds super cheesy, but it’s the absolute truth.

What is the most discouraging thing that happens to you?

The most discouraging thing has got to be the number game. The blogging world is changing so rapidly and it’s no where close to what it was even 2 years ago. It can get a little discouraging when some  brands and companies only focus on numbers rather than looking at content , experience and blogger engagement. It’s not too hard to get numbers since it’s no secret that followers can be bought. But what is often ignored is- can a real and honest following be bought? Can real people who tryuly appreciate, and relate to your content be bought? No. 

How many hours a week do you spend writing/editing posts?

There’s really no fixed time for me writing or editing posts since each post requires a different amount of work. Some mosts need at least 2-3 hours of writing and some may take no time at all. However, photographs in themselves, do take time to click and edit. At an average, I’d say I take at least 8-10 hours a week blogging.

 Who is your favorite blogger?

 This is a tough one and naming an all time favourite blogger is almost impossible! However, if I just have to pick one, it would have to be “A Beautiful Mess”. This is one of the most beautifully done up blogs that I have ever come across. It’s by two sisters Elsie and Emma who share their photography and blogging tips, DIYS, style, food, beauty stuff, craft ideas and lots more. It’s definitely one of the most informative yet interesting and fun blogs out there.

Who is a blogger hat you read who deserves more subscribers than they have?

 A blogger who I have been following for a really long time now and deserves thousands of more subscribers has got to be Anushka from Bombay Bubble. She has such a stunning well curated personal style blog that I really look up to. Every single post is so well thought out and the outfits really reflect who she really is, which is what’s so important while blogging about personal style. I don’t particularly blog on fashion but do enjoy reading other blogs: hers being my favorite. She’s definitely one of the bloggers that even inspired me to start my blog in the first place!

Does anything tick off you about blogging?

There’s nothing really that ticks me off about blogging itself but just like any other profession, blogging has its ups and downs. It can get frustrating when you work really hard on a post that you love, but it doesn’t get the response that you expected. Or, even someone pretty much lifts up your content- copy pastes it and acts like it’s theirs.

Share a blogging secret

 Clicking food pictures is really not easy and “natural” as it seems. I would admit that food shots are often staged and styled. Let’s face it, who sits with their sunglasses for every meal? Also, to get a picture right from the top does require you to stand on the chair which may also mean that the food may cool off. sigh. #TheStruggle

That’s it for now! If you’re a blogger, do give this a shot! 🙂