Month: October 2021

colourful salad ingredients in a wooden bowl

Black-eyed Beans Salad

We try to have salads as often as possible, but it’s a pain to wash and dry the salad leaves. This bean salad is filling and full of protein and other awesome things. It can be had as a meal in itself or with some garlic bread and soup on the side. Ingredients: For a meal for one ½ cup boiled black-eyed peas ¼ cup roasted peanuts  1 small tomato, cubed 1 cucumber, diced 1 small carrot, diced Few pieces of pickled radish or onion A few olives ¼ cup of semi-ripe mango, diced (or Totapuri mango), optional  2 prunes, cut into small pieces Coriander and Mint leaves to garnish Salad dressing I like the store-bought Sweet onion dressing for this one  You can also quickly make your own dressing with 3 parts olive oil to 1 part lemon (or vinegar). Add a teaspoon of honey or sugar. Mix well and pour over the salad. Enjoy your health boost for the day! Note: Some links are part of an affiliate program, which means that if …

baby with a book

Raising a Reader

I love reading. I’ve loved it ever since I can remember. I don’t remember where I picked up the habit because no one else in my family was interested in or had any time for reading as a hobby.  When I started college, I first came across people who romanticised reading. You’d never catch them without a book with them. They’d pride themselves in how many books they carried on their travels because they’re more important than clothes or shoes! Then came the Internet memes asking boys to find girls who read over every other type (whatever that means). I’ve seen parents proudly showing off how their kids are glued to books at the dinner table and prefer the company of books over people. Let’s not even get into the topic of book hoarding. I love books, and I have done all of these things mentioned above. But I am also a practical person. I’m not going to carry a book unless I know I’m in for a long wait. On my travels, I would …

packed boxes piled on top of each other

On the Move: Shifting Homes

How many times have you shifted your home in your lifetime? Even shifting houses in the same city counts. Do you have the numbers of movers and packers on speed dial? I have shifted houses about 22 times in my 41 years – as far as I can remember. This also includes coming back to the same place after a move. The longest I’ve stayed in the same house is six years, and the shortest is about seven months. I’d say this makes me quite an expert in packing and unpacking tasks. I’m very organised. There are times when I wish I had stayed put in one place and developed a group of friends that have known me for a lifetime. On the other hand, the personal growth I’ve experienced because of all the shifting is immeasurable. I also feel it has helped me not get too attached to a single place so that I am free to follow opportunities for growth and happiness. Advantages of Shifting Houses It’s an excellent opportunity to declutter. When …

colouful bowl with scoops of frozen yoghurt with fresh strawberries

Frozen Strawberry Yoghurt Treat

Strawberry season is almost upon us. And even though the summer’s almost over, there’s no reason to skip on the frozen treats. This also lasts well in the freezer, so you can also save it for next summer. Ingredients 8-10 pieces of fresh strawberries (stalks removed) 200gm Greek yoghurt ¼ cup honey Method: Blend all ingredients in a mixer. If you like your frozen yoghurt a little chunky, then don’t blend too long. Transfer to a flat tray or dish and freeze for a few hours. You can also freeze them in popsicle moulds. Scoop and enjoy. Top with more honey, strawberries, or sprinkles. This sorbet is super easy to make and a much healthier option than store-bought varieties.

2 kindles with the covers of the books the henna artist and the secret keeper of jaipur, both by Alka Joshi. They're laid out on colourful cloth with jewellery

Book Review: The Henna Artist Jaipur Series

This is a combined book review of Alka Joshi’s The Henna Artist and The Secret Keeper of Jaipur. These books are part of a trilogy, with the final instalment yet to be released. I am not waiting with bated breath for the final book – I doubt I’ll read it. Read on to know why.  The Henna Artist Review The first book, The Henna Artist, came highly recommended as Reese Witherspoon had chosen it for her book club, and it has also topped many Bestseller lists. Goodreads also rates it very highly. My opinions differ significantly. The book started off well enough. I had good hopes for a mystery or even a romance. She aimed for a bit of both but lost my interest mid-way through the book. The writing is not excellent, and the story gets predictable very soon. The characters are not fleshed out, and we know them only superficially. I did not feel for any character in the book.  The protagonist, Lakshmi, is portrayed as an empowered, independent woman with progressive ideas …

3 colourful journals with markers and pens on a table

Art Journal Review: Paperclip

Paperclip notebooks were one of the first notebooks I bought when I started art journaling. (Art Journal Ideas for Beginners) They’re sturdy, cheap, and look great – a perfect combination of things to help you get started on your art journey. The papers are thin for dry media, ranging from 60 to 100 gsm. They’re perfect for line sketches and for planning your final pieces. I’ve used these as practice journals to get into the habit of creating something every day without feeling the pressure to make it into something perfect. I’ve used one of the journals to collect reference drawings and elements for inspiration in all my artwork.  I’ve used the colourful Play Series to practice lettering and formatting.  These notebooks are also great for their original purpose – taking notes. My husband uses it for his office notes, and my son uses it for his class assignments. The colourful covers not only look pretty but can help you identify the notebook you’re looking for easily. Do you have recommendations for good journals? Let …

child in red shirt climbing a tree in a park

Safe Spaces for Kids in Hyderabad

As we slowly come out of our houses after almost two years of intermittent lockdowns, we still need to be cautious. Most of us adults have been vaccinated, but our kids are at risk of exposure to COVID-19. However, we cannot keep them indoors indefinitely. Taking them to malls and other crowded places comes with many risks, especially with younger kids who want to touch every surface and won’t keep their masks up. Here are a few places in Hyderabad you can take your kids without much worry.  Local parks While most people crowd to larger parks, especially over the weekend, it is safer to look for smaller community parks in your neighbourhood. They only have a few walkers at the most, so you have a lot of open spade for your kids to run around. Carry a soft ball they can throw around, play badminton, climb trees, or just walk around exploring the area.  Kidzplore Klub, Kavuri Hills We love this place. Their Little Gym classes are well planned for kids of all ages. …

view of the chowmahalla palace grounds

Chowmahalla Palace Museum Hyderabad

Amid a chaotic market square where the majestic Charminar towers over the passersby, you will find a place of peace and enchantment just around the corner at the Chowmahalla Palace grounds. This erstwhile palace of the Nizams is now a museum housing artefacts that houses a collection of photographs, pottery, clothes, furniture, manuscripts, and currency from the Nizam Era. The collection of vintage cars is the highlight of the tour. The name Chowmahalla refers to four palaces. The complex originally covered 45 acres, out of which only 12 remains the palace grounds today. The Chowmohalla Palace complex is said to be a replica of Shah’s Palace in Teheran, Iran. The well-maintained elegant palaces with their courtyards and fountains offer a respite from the city’s hustle-bustle. The Southern Courtyard is the oldest part of the complex and comprises four palaces, namely Tahniyat Mahal, Mahtab Mahal, Afzal Mahal, and Aftab Mahal. The Northern Courtyard has the Bara Imam, a long corridor that once served as the administrative wing.  The heart of the palace is the Khilwat Mubarak …

collage showing how to plant ginger

Kitchen Garden from Scraps

Have you wanted your own kitchen garden but never knew where to start? Or do you think you don’t have the space for it? Fear not. To start your own kitchen garden, all you need is a small pot placed in a bright spot, and you’re ready to roll. Introduction to Kitchen Gardening A kitchen garden basically consists of plants you can eat or cook with. Among all the kitchen garden plants, herbs are the easiest to grow and take up the least amount of space. You don’t need to buy a large bunch when you just need a few sprigs. Just pluck a few fresh ones from your plant!   If you have a little space to spare, you can even try adding vegetables. Check out my post on how to grow your own food for your own kitchen garden ideas. For a kitchen garden window sills are a great option, especially in smaller spaces. You don’t use up any floor space and get plenty of sunlight on the ledge. Balconies in apartments can accommodate …

My Top Recommendations for Biographies with Animals

“Animal lovers are a special breed of humans, generous of spirit, full of empathy, perhaps a little prone to sentimentality, and with hearts as big as a cloudless sky.” John Grogan, Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog Every story becomes better with an animal in it. In books and movies about violent deaths, the animal’s death is the most painful (for me, at least).  Since I’ve started reading biographies, I’ve come across some amazing stories about animals and how they’ve impacted the lives of people around them. Each one is a tear-jerker – happy and sad.  Here are my top recommendations for biographies with animals. Marley and Me by John Grogan  I fell in love with Marley’s pure and goofy heart from the start. His joy refused any limits on his behaviour. His love and loyalty were boundless, too. It is also a story about Marley’s parents, who adopt him as a young couple. Marley shares their heartbreak over a miscarriage and joy at their first pregnancy. He grows old …