Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Party Hotspots serving the Best Cocktails in Pune

The party scene in India has evolved a lot from what it was a few years ago. Cities that hardly existed on the party map are now raging on the party scene and one such city is Pune. The nightlife is Pune has really changed and along with night clubs and lounges we now also see a surge in the concept of micro-breweries.When Mumbai seems to get to me, we sometimes decide to head down there to let our hair down and also check out the best night clubs in Pune along with other relaxing options.

When I go partying or chilling, it is really important for me to have a nice drink to get into the mood for the night or the good time out with friends. Usually its wine or a good cocktail that works for me and so I decided to do a round up of the best cocktails in Pune for you guys from some of the best party hot spots there. Here we go!

Barman's Pitcher at 1000 Oaks
1000 oaks is a place that every Pune-ite will recommend to you if you ask for suggestions and they swear by the Barman's Pitcher! An old world charm setting greets you accompanied with some fabulous music. The Barman's Pitcher is a mix of 30 ml each of vodka, gin, whisky, white rum, martini and 2 glasses of beer along with rose water and syrup. Wow! Now that is a strong one but a must try according to every person who has ever had it. If you are a non-vegetarain, you will love the Chicken Lasooni Kebab, the Surmai Tawa Fry and the Tandoori Prawn to accompany your drinks. This place does not have a dance floor in case you are looking for one.

Cider House at Blue Frog
After the amazing experiences I have had at Blue Frog Mumbai, heading to the Pune one was definitely on my to-do list. I love their house recipes and my favourite concotion is the Cider House. Imagine a tall glass filled with ice, then apple juice being poured into it and then a potion of vigourously shaken Tanqueray Gin with sweet and sour flavours and roasted cinnamon sticks being added to complete the drink. Yes! I know you are thinking that you have to check this out! ;-) Call for Wok Tossed Garlic Pepper Shrimp and the all time favourite Frog Fries that come with three lip-smacking dips to accompany this amazing drink!

Tangy Twist at TJ's Brew Works
This is one of India's first micro breweries where they serve you some awesome handcrafted beer and great cocktails. What I recommend here is the Tangy Twist, a tequila based cocktail which is a refreshing summer twist on a classic drink. Exotic oranges add notes of citrus to a perfect beverage for watching a fiery summer sunset. You must also try the mystery brew beer which has notes of green apple with a hint of mint. In finger food, you must try the Wonton Wrapped Prawns served with Thai Sweet Chilly Dip and the Paneer Chilly.

Peach Margarita at The Mugshot Lounge
I love Margaritas and usually anywhere I go I order myself a Strawberry one but at The Mugshot Lounge I had been highly recommended the Peach Margarita which then was what I had to try. In most Margaritas that I have had, the fruit flavours usually overpower the tequila taste but it wasn't so in this one. The blend of tequila, peach crush and lime juice was really smooth and just the perfect mix. They have a great variety of wood fire pizzas which you must try.

Rob Roy at Evviva Sky Lounge
The Evviva Sky Lounge at the Courtyard By Marriott City Centre is one of the most beautiful places I have been too with a great view of the city from the 14th floor. At night the sparkle of the city lights gives a nice feel to the ambiance. The loved cocktail here is for all you whiskey lovers -  Rob Roy, a concoction of whiskey, sweet vermouth and cherries stirred together. It was so good that repeats were ordered! To accompany it, the Kakori Kebabs are to die for and so is the Fried Calamari.

Hemingway at Kue Bar
Kue Bar at the Westin Pune is one of the most popular night clubs in Pune. It draws inspiration from the Cuban and the Latino culture and is all about celebrating life. I love having sparkly drinks once in a while and the Hemingway, one of the signature sparkling cocktails of Kue Bar is perfect for such occasions. It's created by pouring Pernod into a champagne flute glass, then topping it up with champagne and garnishing with staranise. It's quite a pleasant mix of flavours. They serve Latin and Asian flavoured cuisine and the Beer-marinated Prawns with cherry tomatoes and avocado is to die for. Another must try dish is the Lemon Grass Vegetable Satay served with peanut sauce.

Sharing all these cocktails makes me want to make another trip to Pune! Who knows, maybe I'll have a lot more interesting cocktails for you guys post my next trip :-)

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Wearing Ballerinas to work

I love my heels but the last two years have been quite a break for me due to the pregnancy and now the baby. What came to my rescue were ballerinas in their various colours and designs, for play or work and today I am going to be sharing with you guys how ballerinas can be easily worn to work on a daily basis. I have put together a few collages for you to see how easy it is!

Maddening Mondays
Office for 2015
Monday is usually the most serious day of the week at any workplace. Meetings are plenty and there is substantial running around to do which makes a non-fussy outfit like a peplum black top, polka dot pencil skirt and black ballerinas all thrown in together the most comfortable, stylish and 70s inspired look you can put together. And yes don't forget the daily notes dairy to make the rest of your week simpler.

Tension Tuesdays
Business Casual Look for Maureen Plaid Top
Tuesdays are just an extension of Mondays and so you need to be in your corporate best but then you can add some sparkle through your silver ballerinas to an otherwise serious outfit of a pink plaid top and a simple grey pencil skirt. The key here is to keep most items in your outfit of a common colour and then add the ballerinas in a sparkly finish of the same or similar colour.

Women's Wednesdays
Just Me!
Add a pop of colour to your Wednesday outfit by pairing a sleeveles white shirt with blue pants and ballerinas and accessories in orange. Just one bright colour can make a huge difference to the brightness of your outfit. This outfit is perfect for the casual vibe setting in by mid week and also for taking you from a work day to a partying night at the various ladies nights happening around town.

Twin Thursdays
Chic at Work
As the week starts coming to a close, Thursdays are usually the busy days with meetings happening outside office with clients and all so that we may conclude on things before the week ends and maybe have a Friday to do all reverts. Thursdays on the personal front are also usually date nights for a lot of people or dinner nights with friends and this outfit is perfect for the day, while the blazer can just come off for the night. You don't need to carry around anything extra to make the change, The contrast of this bright blue with white is a stunning combination and the white and gold ballerinas are just perfect.

Fun Fridays

Fun Friday
Fridays are the most chilled out days as far as dressing goes. Everybody wants to finish their work and not have anything pending for the weekend. Also most offices have a casual dressing code for Fridays which makes dressing up so much fun. Wear a printed pair of palazzos with a nice top, some accessories and nice gold ballerinas and look chic in your casual best.

See how simple it is for you to wear ballerinas at work without looking out of place :) You can mix and match as per the vibe and dressing culture at your workplace, but these basics work for anything. Dress your outfit further up with a blazer or replace your skirts with a pair of jeans, and you can still wear the same ballerinas and pull the look off! 

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Summer Slamming!

Summer is back with a BANG in Mumbai! I don't remember a summer this hot and this early for years. Global warming you seriously have a huge role to play in this and I wonder what is in store for us in the months ahead. Nevertheless we definitely have a few good things to look forward to, and one of them has been the launch of Café Coffee Day's ‘Summer Slam’ range of chilled smoothies and slushes. Now we all can make our own drinks at home, so why is it that these drinks are any different and that I decided to tell you about it? Well that's because these slushes and smoothies come in 3 flavours each and most of these flavours are combinations that I have never heard of. That is exactly what intrigued me to go check them out when CCD invited me for the tasting session last weekend at a fun event called the #CCDSummerSlam.


The slushes are really flavoursome and the 3 variants have tropical fruits used in abundance. The Pink Lemonade Slush made with the wonderful pink grape fruit has a nice sweet and tangy taste to it along with looking pretty. It's also my favourite out of the three slushes. The Tropical Spice Slush is a mix of jalapenos(quite unheard of in a slush) and tropical fruit granita but was very spicy for my taste and left me with a burning sensation in my throat. While I was most excited about this one before going for the tasting, it's not something that I would recommend for the faint-hearted. The Strawberry Blast Slush obviously as the name suggests, had the goodness of strawberries but it was also blended with chilled pomegranates that gave the flavour a real twist.


The smoothies have a twist too where there are bite sized pieces of ingredients in the smoothie and so you are drinking as well as enjoying the raw flavours of the fruits/dessert simultaneously. The Rasmalai Smoothie is the Indian dessert that has been converted into a rich, creamy beverage and the almond flavour is noticeably strong along with pieces of the mithai being there. I am not an Indian sweet lover, but I will surely recommend it to those who love Rasmalai. The Strawberry Pom Smoothie is once again like the slush a yummy mix of strawberry and pomegranate along with additionally being creamy, and this was my favourite from the smoothies. The Mango Peach Smoothie again for me was a unique combination of the fruit of the season - Mango and another preferred fruit of mine - Peaches, a blend that I loved.

The event was a fun afternoon with us downing shots of the various smoothies and slushes and the sugar rush was quite evident by the time the afternoon ended with the giggles and laughter that you could hear all around ;-)


Finally it was time for me to choose my favourite from all and while I was confused between the Pink Lemonade Slush and Strawberry Pom Smoothie as to which one was my absolute favourite (which let me tell you was a difficult decision to make), I finally did zero down and the winner is.....

Top - Singapore
Green Khakis - Forever 21
Gold Loafers - Pavers England
You guys must go and give these super cool drinks a try which are available at all CCD outlets across the country! Summer surely is going to be way better now! :-)

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Staying stylish with Riaan George on the Lakmé School of Style!

All you fashion conscious girls and guys out there - Have you heard of the Lakmé School of Style by #Fame? Well if not let me give you a little download on it. Lakmé School of Style is a first of its kind show that will not only bring the newest trends and happenings from the fashion world but in the process will also create new age fashionistas and idols. A fashion brigade led by Editor-in-Chief, Karan Johar himself will bring the fashion news, views and events from all over the world to the internet screen. What has really impressed me about this show is the concentration on fashion for men, and who better could they pick but the dapper 'Grooming Guru' Riaan George himself to dish it all out to you! :-)


I am a shoe freak who has also successfully managed to pass on the addiction to my husband. Since we have been married, the number of shoes in his shoe cabinet have multiplied three times. I take that as an achievement because shoes can make all the difference to the outfit and attitude eventually. What is important though is to have the right shoes - shoes that are important for different outfits because you can't land up wearing the wrong shoes with an outfit as it will spell disaster. Riaan in one of his videos has spelt out 5 shoes every man must own and I recommend that you guys check out the video to see whether these shoes exist in your shoe closet or not. These pieces are the basics that you must have!



So, do you have these must haves? If not, you now know exactly what you need to own to complete your must have shoe collection. What I liked about this video was the attributes of certain pieces that were so well explained by Riaan. He gives you details on the type of shoe, on what occasion to wear, style tips to wear them and the brands that give you the best patterns. It is nice to see a good break up of casual and formal kind of shoes that can add some real variety to your closet.

The diverse topics that Riaan handles on Lakmé School of Style makes fashion and grooming for men as simple as it can get. My latest favourite is his video on Blazers - http://goo.gl/k9RTSk and you can check out more of his videos here - http://goo.gl/yz5IcT

#Fame has taken up some great talent for the Lakmé School of Style and other than Riaan I enjoy watching Sahiba's and Karan Johar's videos. With the new talent they are signing up, it seems to be getting even more stylish day by day. So go ahead, check out this channel especially for Riaan George who keeps you stylish and well groomed with his profound knowledge on being the perfect gentleman! Women you too can get a tip here and there for how your men should be dressed!

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Ri(t)ch Styles Featured on IFB Links à la Mode: April 9th - Finding Meaning in Fashion Blogging

Update!

My post got featured on Independent Fashion Bloggers Links à la Mode again :) Yayy!! :) My last post that got featured was in this round-up!

There are some really fabulous bloggers who have been featured with me and you can check out their posts below!

Desktop10

Finding Meaning in Fashion Blogging

This week, many IFB bloggers sought to go deeper than the #OOTD, with shout outs to philanthropic organizations including Scotty’s House and To Write Love on Her Arm—plus we heard some compelling personal stories. Other posts tackled diversity in magazines, the “new sexual revolution,” and older women’s right to wear leggings. On the lighter side, we have our fair (and necessary) share of fashion and beauty tips, trend pieces and news bites. All around, it’s a well-balanced collection of fashion blogger fare. I hope you enjoy! And if your post was chosen, please don’t forget to post the LALM roundup on your own blog (see instructions below)!

Links à la Mode: April 9

Want to be featured in Links à la Mode?
1. Read the clarified rules and submit your links on this page: Links à la Mode.
2. If your link was selected and you need this week’s code, visit this page: Links à la Mode Code.

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Pocket friendly Luxurious Boutique Hotels in Jaipur

Any traveller to the Pink City can see the beauty of Jaipur in its magnificent palaces, forts, hilltops, lakes, food(as shared with you on the thalis in my post here) and of course the beautiful hotels that you can choose from. I love how the influence of the historical palaces and forts has been beautifully imbibed by the hospitality sector in creating world class luxury and boutique hotels in Jaipur. It's nice to feel like royalty once in a while and I know you will love it too. So here are some of my favourite affordable hotels that I or people known to me have stayed in and loved, that will help you plan an absolutely wonderful stay in Jaipur!

Trident

The lovely Trident hotel on way to Amber fort is located bang opposite the Mansagar lake and the view of Jal Mahal Palace from the uber-comfy rooms facing the lake is beautiful. The rooms are spacious with a 'jharokha' style extended window in every room which is perfect to get a gorgeous view of the lake or the gardens depending on which room you have chosen. I had chosen the lake view room and the sunset was one of the prettiest I have seen with the Aravallis in the background. They have a lavish buffet breakfast with health friendly options too which is synonymous with Trident breakfasts across the country. Jal Mahal is their main restaurant which offers authentic Rajasthani dishes but if you interested in some mouth-watering grills and barbeques, The Verandah is where you should head for an al fresco dining experience. You can also laze by the pool and soak in the sun, listen to your music or read a book. The spa is brilliant. All in all this property is ideal when you want to split your holiday between doing touristy stuff, shopping and relaxing. They have some brilliant offers most of the time and room for kids under 12 is complimentary in most cases. Imagine the savings! Room prices per night start at about INR 3,500 depending on the stay duration and package. It is an absolute steal!

Samode Haveli

The Samode Haveli is a luxury heritage hotel housed in a restored 19th century haveli and is located in the centre of the city.It was originally the manor house of the royal family of Samode and the descendants still live there though they have converted the property into a hotel. It still has the unique feature of an elephant ramp. Antique furniture decorates the room, while rich mosaic work and paintings adorn the walls and ceiling. The beautifully decorated bathrooms are lavish and well equipped to make your time within most comfortable. The balconies of the rooms open onto views of the pools, gardens and fountain courts which make for really pretty sights. The main restaurant which was formerly the dining hall of the royals is bedecked with colourful hand-painted murals, where the the chef offers a choice between traditional Rajasthani cuisine and continental food. If you are the tea drinking types like me, then the regal Verandah Lounge is where the afternoon tea is served. For unwinding head the pool or the jacuzzi or the spa. There is a wade pool for the little ones too which is a big factor I need to keep in mind now. Evenings can be fun with the traditional puppet show or a Rajasthani music and dance performance that the hotel arranges for. The hotel is situated at easy access to important monuments like the Hawa Mahal, the City Palace, the Nahargarh Fort and the famous Bapu Bazaar. Room prices start at INR 6,300 but then what you experience in over a 200 year old property can't come cheaper than that.

Lebua Lodge at Amer
This is one of the best boutique hotels that I have seen in the world. It is located on the outskirts of Jaipur city near the Amber fort which is also known as the Amer fort. There is a valley that the fort wall leads to and that is where the Lebua Group has created a geometric wonder.  Amazing looking tents, patterned canvas cubes set over a sculpted landscape in between the hills - sounds incredible doesn't it? It keeps in mind traditional yet modern concepts. Tents have been a regular feature in the hunting lodges and deserts of Rajasthan since centuries and that ideology has been put forward with modern technologies to create the Lebua Lodge experience. The luxurious tents have large bay windows with light filtering latticework and a high ceiling that gives you the feeling of enormous space other than the fact that it is also 500 sqft in area. The interiors are done in leather, wood and shades of brownish reddish stone and you just don't feel like you are living in a tent. A cute looking pavilion with a day bed extends into a private outdoor garden so there is so much more than just the room even if you want to just laze around the room. The Toran restaurant is a beautifully created arch and the food prepared here is with ingredients from their own garden. You can even do a romantic dinner they can organize by the sunken poolside area or a campfire dinner by the historic Amer fort wall. Their spa treatments from la Terre Spa by L'Occitane which you could enjoy in the spa cabana near the pool or in your private pavilion are impeccable and puts you in a state of nirvana. Babysitting options are also available for you to get some moments to yourself. The tent prices start at INR 4500 depending on the offers and these prices took me totally by surprise for an experience this different!

Each of the hotels that I have shared with you are different in their own respects and pocket friendly having the prices of mid-segment hotels in Jaipur while being luxurious. Doing hotel bookings in Jaipur is very simple as each hotel has their own online booking system or you can log onto any of their travel partners and book through them. I hope these inspire you to go check them out and I would love to know your experience.

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Monday, April 6, 2015

The best of Traditional Rajasthani Thalis in Jaipur

Rajasthan is a traveller's delight. Every city you go to  has something really unique to offer be it the history, the geography, the experiences along with the one common thing loved by all - Traditional Rajasthani food!

Jaipur is a part of India’s Golden Triangle and is one of the top five destinations in India in terms of tourism. It is a must go on anyone's bucket list. I have been to Jaipur twice in the last couple of years and food is the first thing on my mind when I land there. After trying and testing a couple of places for various kinds of dishes, I have zeroed down on my favourites though of course I am always open to trying out new places and dishes when I visit next. 


The traditional thali in Jaipur is a must have if you are visiting and here are my favourite places which you must try out!

Chokhi Dhani
Chokhi Dhani is the perfect place for a rustic Rajasthani experience. It is set up like a village and you can experience folk dances, street shows, palmistry, shopping for handmade jewellery and artifacts before you settle for the best part of your visit which is their unlimited thali. When I had visited, I actually sat on a swing hung from the tree, spent sometime with the palmist, shopped for cute handmade jewellery, saw a folkdance and a rope walk, all before heading for my dinner which was something that I had not imagined would be so fabulous. The servers are really friendly and forever smiling and once they start feeding you, they do not stop putting food onto your plate. They urge you to eat more and top every serving with a spoon ful of desi ghee or white butter! The variety is so huge, that you don't know what to eat and what not to eat and everything is so tasty that 'Pet bhar jaaye par man na bhare' which means 'Your stomach gets full the heart doesn't agree'. The main course consists of traditional Rajasthani starters and main course dishes and once that is done, the variety of sweets too is unending. I couldn't get up after my meal because I was so full and it took me a good 10 minutes before I could finally think of making a move back to the car. It costs you INR 600 for an adult and is worth every penny. 
Address: Chokhi Dhani - 5 Star Ethnic Village Resort, 12 Miles Tonk Road, Jaipur

Laxmi Mishtan Bhandar
One of the oldest in Jaipur, this place is known for its sweet shop and restaurant. It is also known as LMB. The thali menu is extensive and the varieties of dal baati churma that they serve is really good. The kadhi pakodi was delicious. My other favourites were the pyaz kachori which is fried in pure ghee and the paneer ghewar which is a speciality. The dahi wadas melt in your mouth and the chaat dishes are tasty too. The lassi is so thick that you have to suck the straw multiple times to get a sip but it is brilliant - one of the best lassis I have ever had! Located in the heart of Johari Bazaar, it is the perfect place to head to after all the wonderful shopping in the market. It costs about INR 450 inclusive of taxes for a thali.
Address: 100, Johari Bazaar, Pink City, Jaipur

Handi Restaurant
This place is a must for non-veg lovers and has an awesome non-veg thali. They serve you 3 authentic non-veg dishes in your thali along with other veg dishes. The Jaisalmeri Lal Maas is to die for and the butter chicken is really tasty. The handi meat is their specialty which is served with smoked charcoal and the Jungli chicken is another to die for dish. You must try the Afghani chicken for starters and the roomali rotis that are paper thin and just melt in your mouth. The Mutton Handi Biryani is another must have from their menu. We had ordered a thali and some a la carte dishes too and so I landed up trying quite a few dishes. Some of the non veg dishes were very spicy but really mouthwatering. I guess its the spice that makes the dish even more flavoursome. The non-veg thali costs INR 550.
Address: Maya Mansion, Opposite GPO, MI Road, Jaipur

I feel like going back to Jaipur just for this yummy food after having described it to you in such detail! Whenever you travel to Jaipur, do try out the authentic Rajasthani food in Jaipur at these places. Most people think that Rajasthani thalis are only veg, but Rajasthani non-veg thalis are quite easily available across the state which I highly recommend. If you also find a restaurant to recommend to me, do let me know so that I can check it out on my next trip to Jaipur.

Bon Appétit! :)

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