Wednesday, August 01, 2018

The Breathtaking Gili Islands of Indonesia

While the whole world goes gaga over Bali, I though I should share more about their lesser known cousins - the Gili islands. So here goes!


The Gili islands - Gili Trawangam, Gili Meno and Gili Air are three beautiful islands situated just off the coast of Lombok in Indonesia. What makes these islands different from their famous cousin Bali is that their beaches are breathtakingly beautiful with white sand and clear turquoise waters with stunning views of majestic Mt. Rinjani and Mt. Agung in the far distance. Gili Trawangan is the party island where you can find lots of beach bars and night life. It's the biggest and most crowded island of all three. Gili Meno is loved for its gorgeous untouched beaches and pure island life and is very popular among honeymooners. Gili Air strikes the perfect balance between the two and offers both entertainment and relaxation. 

How to get there
There are numerous locations in Bali where you can take fast boats to these islands, many of which include a transfer to the port from your hotel which take around 2 hours. One of the cheapest and fastest ways to get there is to book flight tickets from Bali to Lombok which consisted of a 25 minute flight following which it's a two hour drive from the Lombok airport to a harbor from where it took a twenty minute speed boat ride to reach Gili T. Always compare and invest your little bit of time on research to grab fastest and cheapest flight tickets for available airlines in any travel plans.  

When to visit
The Gili Islands have a temperate climate so the weather is nice all throughout the year. The high season is from June to August and this is when most people visit the islands. The climate is really nice at this time too, it's cool and pleasant. During the month of the Ramadan celebrations, bars turn down the music around midnight, so if you're in the mood to party, avoid going around this time of the year. 

Where to stay


There are a lot of cheap hotels and guesthouses on the island as well as expensive fancy villas and resorts so there's something for every budget.

Transportation
All three islands have no motorized transport so be prepared to walk. If you're lazy you can travel by horse cart. You can rent bicycles too. Someone I befriended on the island owns an electric bike (I don't know if you can rent one because I didn't see any others) and that was great fun to ride!

What to do -


 Swim, snorkel and dive - The Gilis are famous for scuba diving. The water here is clear and blue and absolutely perfect for these. There are dive shops everywhere. You can snorkel along any of the main stretches of beach and are bound to have a great experience.

If you love diving, don't miss Nest - the stunning underwater scripture park in Gili Meno which depicts a circle of 48 life-size figures, standing together and curled up on the ground. Created by well-known underwater sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, the piece is expected to become covered in coral, making it a destination for divers to explore, providing further interest in the region and a greater appreciation of the beauty of the underwater world surrounding the Gilis.


Nature - If you love nature, make sure you visit Gili Meno for its famous salt lake and Turtle sanctuary on Gili Meno. Turtle eggs are collected and incubated at Bolong’s Turtle Sanctuary. The baby turtles are nurtured here until they're around eight months old, and then released. Try to attend one of the regular releases as it's a joy to witness.

Shop - There are lots of shops on the islands with Gili T being the most commercialized. You'll find a lot of fun clothing and swimwear along with mainstream beach brands. 

Yoga - If you practice yoga, then are a lot of yoga centres and retreats on the islands. Imagine doing yoga on the beach during sunrise and sunset! Bliss!

Party - Gili T has lots of parties everyday with bars side by side next to each other. Gili Air has a few dedicated days for parties where there's only one happening on the whole island. Meno is the quiet one so I'm not sure if parties really happen there. There's a boat party that happens too!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Featured - Trofii Magazine

Trofii is India's first dedicated food and nightlife magazine that is carefully crafted by extremely passionate connoisseurs and enthusiasts to keep you updated with the latest worldwide trends, updates and information about food, wine and nightlife. Since I am a huge foodie, I am delighted to be featured in Trofii. Check out my interview below - 





Trofii gives you exclusive access to top food and wine tips from professional chefs and enthusiasts. Besides that it also helps you collect famous cooking recipes, tips and how-tos for the chef in you. Check it out at Trofii.com

Featured - Hindustan Times

In May 2018, I was featured in the Hindustan Times, which is one of India's leading newspapers. Check out my feature below -




Click here to see the whole article - 

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Celebrating Sustainability With Pepperfry

Pepperfry is India's No.1 online furniture and home decor destination which offers a wide selection of amazingly priced furniture, home and living products and a consistently great shopping experience. With over 1 lakh furniture and home products to choose from, Pepperfry leaves you spoilt for choice  as you can choose from a vast range of furniture and home products and so much more.

For those who are sceptical of buying furniture online and need help with giving their home a makeover, there's Studio Pepperfry. 


This is an experience store which means that you cannot buy products off-the shelf here but can place an order for it online. 


You can touch and feel the handpicked pieces of furniture and accessories from and experience the warmth of their woods and the richness of their fabrics. 


The looks they have showcased in the studios will inspire you to create one of your own! 


It's only a display put together by interior designers in keeping with the trends for the season so they have vibrant furnishings and accessories and have created set-ups showcasing a host of design ideas. 


 The brand supports sustainability in order to enable a positive carbon footprint - Pepperfry has tied up with the NGO Grow-Trees to give back to the environment and donates money to grow trees and engage local tribals with work to plant seeds. On the occasion of World Environment Day, I visited Studio Pepperfry in Koregaon Park to attend a unique workshop celebrating sustainability.

This workshop was titled “Funk the Junk” and was organized by architects turned artists, Ketaki and Veena who created a collaborative social design installation by making beautiful unique mosaic murals using broken pieces of ceramic, tiles, araldite and cardboard. 


Everyone worked together by starting off with a plain base and arranging colorful tiles over it to turn a plain canvas into a vibrant work of art. 


Here is the end result of these beautiful works of art - 









Besides providing furniture, decor and everything from expert guidance to networking under one roof, Pepperfry's team of highly qualified, experienced architects and interior designers provide a complete range of solutions right from understanding your space and requirements, to proposing functional and trendy concepts and moods. Besides the lovely store, what impressed me the most is that the brand is focused on sustainability and giving back to nature. With the rate at which deforestation is happening, it is extremely necessary to plant more trees for a better tomorrow and save nature and I am so glad to find a brand that understands this noble cause and contributes to it! 

You must check out Studio Pepperfry if you want to refresh your living space! 


Monday, May 28, 2018

My Envy Box May 2018

Of all the Envy boxes I received this year, the May edition is definitely my favorite! This month's fabulous curation of products gives your goodies worth Rs 4250 for just Rs 850! Known as the  Resort Edition, the May Envy Box has a beachy motif and is synonymous with summer holidays by the beach. Read on the find out what the products were -


The box has a great mix of skincare, makeup and hair and I've been using these for the past two weeks so that I can give a proper verdict about them. 


Plant Magik - Natural Hair Vitalizer

Natural Hair Vitalizer is enriched with the Goodness of Centella Asiatica Extract which eliminates microbial infections of the scalp and helps to get rid of itching.  It claims to keep hair and scalp healthy and dandruff free. It’s a non-sticky leave-on oil which controls hair fall and dandruff. I applied it to my scalp and kept it overnight and it did not leave my scalp greasy at all the next day. Since I torture my hair on a regular basis by coloring it, I will definitely be using this product regularly.


Plump - Vitamin C Serum

Plump’s Vitamin C Serum is packed with nutrients like jojoba oil, orange and lemon essential oils, lemongrass, bergamot, vitamin C (of course) and vitamin E which work together to brighten the skin and prevent common signs of ageing. Because of the various oils present, it is greasy in texture so it is advisable to use this at night. It has a pleasant lemongrass fragrance which transports you to a spa. A daily dose of this serum boosts collagen and skin elasticity.



Kronokare - Sun Shield Face Sunscreen

Kronokare Sun Shield Face Sunscreen lotion ensures SPF 50 protection against UVA and UVB. Formulated without silicone, this lotion does not clog pores and allows the skin to breathe. It has a light texture and is quickly absorbed and ensures both a matte finish and non greasy touch. It is water resistant and guarantees optimum protection from the sun and stops premature skin ageing. I've used products from Kronokare in previous Envy Boxes and they were all pretty good and I quite like this sunscreen too. 


Coccoon InstaLift Wrinkle Filler 

Enriched with Vitamin A, this product makes your skin look firmer, younger and smoother. This wrinkle filler is formulated using an innovative Soft Focus Technology and hides fine lines and wrinkles effectively. It contains Retinyl Palmitate which promotes intense moisturization, anti-oxidant, accelerates cell renewal, softer, smoother skin, improves elasticity of skin and stimulates collagen formation. It has a silicone like texture and can also be used as a primer. I've used two other products by Coccoon which I received in previous boxes and absolutely adore them so I have full faith in this brand!


Elenblu - Liquid Eyeliner

Elenblu Precision Liquid Eyeliner has a weightless formulation to wing those lashes anyway you like. Its quick-dry, waterproof formulation glides on seamlessly and has a matte finish that won't smudge or budge all day.



Overall a great box which totally impressed me! Make sure to subscribe to My Envy Box to get fantastic beauty products at a mere Rs 850 per month! This is definitely the best beauty box available in India and I totally recommend it to all you beauty junkies out there as it is a wonderful product discovery box and I got to know about various stellar brands through it. 

Friday, May 25, 2018

Restaurant Review - Mamagoto Pune

Mamagoto is a Delhi based Pan Asian chain which pioneered Asian experiential restaurants in the country. After expanding to six cities and sixteen locations, they have finally opened in Pune at the Pavilion mall.  Mamagoto is a fusion Pan Asian café with a relaxed and casual atmosphere where affordable Asian cuisine & drinks combine with quirky décor. And if you're wondering what Mamagoto means, it translates " to play with food".

Mamagoto's food is a blend of inspiration from Asian street hawkers, the founder's extensive travels and endless experimentation in their secret kitchens. Thus, you can expect a lot of fusion dishes which are inspired by Asian cuisine. 

I had dined at one of their Delhi outlets a few years ago and was delighted that they are finally open in Pune. I paid them a visit recently with my mom and the moment I entered, the funky, colorful and quirky decor instantly caught my eye! 

Exterior section -

The restaurant has a wide array of dishes like soups, appetizers, dumplings, sushi, rice and noodle bowls, woks, main courses and desserts leaving you spoilt for choice! 

Read on to see what I ate -
 I've been put off by Chicken for a while so my entire meal consisted of prawns and lamb. 
I started my meal with Crispy lamb (not pictured) which is consisted to crunchy lamb bits tossed with bell peppers, spring onions and Chinese spices. This is a good dish to munch on if you love Indian Chinese food! I sure do! 

I also had the shrimp with dry red chilli which again is tossed with Chinese flavors and burnt garlic. This consisted of flavorful fried prawns with just the right amount of batter! Don't miss this! Their portions are pretty big and two starters itself were making me and my mom feel pretty full so keep that in mind while ordering. 


Moving on to the main course, I ordered A Thai Lost in Hunan which consists of 
spicy Thai lamb with red curry flavor served on pad Thai noodles. If you love Thai food, you MUST try this! It was bursting with flavors and had a delicious twang of lemongrass and red curry and I absolutely loved it! 


I also tried the Three Pepper bomb prawns which was made of wok tossed prawns with green, white and schezwan peppercorns mixed with Chinese wine and sesame. This dish wasn't very spicy or peppery but was flavorful nevertheless and was very different from conventional oriental dishes they normally serve in restaurants here.


Being avid Chinese lovers, we also tried the Pan fried noodles in Cantonese and this dish gets a 10/10 for tasting as authentic as it gets. We totally loved it.


Though I usually skip dessert, for a change I was in the mood and decided to try their Banoffee pie which was a decadent dessert pie made from bananas, cream and caramel. This was just the perfect amount of sweet ( I can't deal with too much sugar as I don't have much of a sweet tooth) and the perfect way to end our meal.  



Mamagoto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - ZomatoThe service is fast and the restaurant manager Mr Amal did a wonderful job with his hospitality. I really enjoyed dining at Mamagoto Pune and totally recommend this place if you love South East Asian food!


Friday, May 04, 2018

Salon Review - Vibes Slimming & Beauty

This post has been long overdue but it's about time now! Some time ago, I visited VIBES in Kalyaninagar where I had a nice pampering session and got a fantastic Vitamin-C facial, hair wash, blow dry and pedicure. The facial was incredible and left my skin soft, smooth and glowing as you can see from the photo below. In fact. even after two days (and two heavy nights of partying), I could clearly see that my even if my body was hungover, my face looked fresh and my skin was just as radiant! 


Now let me tell you a bit more about VIBES! This is a chain of slimming, beauty and laser center which commenced its operations in Delhi in 1996.  Over the years, it has become a renowned and trusted chain with a pan India presence and offers a plethora of services for both men and women right from weight management to skin and hair treatments, laser hair removal and many more. VIBES has extended its network across India and recently opened its doors in two locations in Pune - Kalyaninagar and Bhandarkar road.


I visited their Kalyaninagar outlet for a bloggers meet and had a great experience learning more about this chain and their facilities and services provided by Mrs Sonia Kumar (Regional Head west). Besides the usual botox and fillers, derma rollers, anti pigmentation and glutathione treatments, they carry out numerous advanced dermatological treatments like PRP for Skin and hair rejuvenation, stem cell technology for hair re-growth and slimming Treatments like cryolipolysis, lipo laser and mesolipolysis. Its also pretty cool that they use the latest technologies for advanced treatments in in their state of the art centres. 


For those of you with weight loss struggles, VIBES has a variety of slimming services that help in in fat reduction, skin tightening, body shaping, inch loss and muscle strengthening. They also have an in-house nutritionist who will give you a detailed diet plan according to your age, lifestyle and food preferences so that you can eat and live healthy and keep the lost weight away. 


At VIBES, their motto is to transform clients both look wise and fitness wise while improving their physical and mental well being and I was totally impressed by them and thoroughly enjoyed their services. For those of you looking to lose weight, you should give them a visit and get that summer body in a healthy way before it's too late!  And if you have issues like pigmentation, wrinkles, dark circles, sagging skin, this is the place to go! 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Restaurant Review - Lord Of The Drinks Pune

Lord Of The Drinks is a Delhi based resto-lounge which opened up in Kalyani Nagar, Pune a couple of months ago. I recently dined there so here's my review of the place. Just like their other outlets in Delhi and Mumbai, the Pune LOTD also boasts of an ambiance that takes you to a medieval era with it's classy wooden interiors and elegant lighting and chandeliers. Besides the closed indoor section, you can take the curved stairwell that leads to the open air terrace level which has more of a casual vibe and offers  multi-level seating and bar of course! 

After looking at the extensive menu which offers soups, salads, starters, dimsums, tandoori tapas, square meals, pizzas, pasta, burgers, sandwiches (which they call samiches), bento boxes, full square meals and desserts, I think they should be called Lord Of Food and Drinks! Since it is a Delhi based chain, there is a lot of North Indian influence in the menu along with fusion dishes which are inspired by global and Indian cuisines. The bar menu has a wide range of unique and interesting cocktails along with the usual bar favorites like beers, IMFLs, scotches, single malts and select wines. 

I started with the Asian Cooler which was a refreshing blend of white rum, cucumber juice, basil leaves, lime juice, syrup, bitters and rose water. This was delicious and absolutely perfect to beat the  heat. 


My friend tried the Harry Potter inspired Butter beer which consisted of vanilla vodka, beer, tennessee honey, whiskey, caramel syrup, egg white and apple juice. The coolest part was the bubbling froth which actually made the drink quite interesting to look at besides it's taste! All the Potterheads out there should try this out! 


And now for the food, we started off with the Kalonji Mutton kebabs which were a lot like seekh kebabs but were different in color. 


We also had the Malabar style char grilled prawns which had a coconut cream type marinade and was absolutely heavenly. 


For those you love Bengali Mustard fish, make sure you try their version of this tikka which has sole fish marinated in coriander and mustard. 


Another interesting dish we tried were the Butter Chicken Croquettes which consisted of crispy crumbed butter chicken but this one was a tad disappointing as the butter chicken lacked the same taste as what we get in the north so I don't recommend this dish.  


I washed these down with the Cucumber Sour - an interesting variation of a whiskey sour which has rum, gin, lime juice, cucumber syrup, egg white and thyme. I loved this one too as it was really refreshing and unique. I'm not a fan of sweet stuff so this was perfect for me. 


Moving on to the main heroes of the meal, we first ordered the Bhori Keema Pav which was just pefect and the way authentic keema pav should be. We nailed it in no time. I totally recommend you to try it out. 


We also had Pepper Pistachio Mutton Korma with Malabar Parota. This rich gravy was really flavorful and the star of my meal. I am definitely going back for this.  Absolute favorite!


Last but not the least we tried the Bull Fire made of vodka, rum, gin, tequila, blue curacao, red bull, passion fruit, red wine! This was a potent LIIT and was served in a majestic manner too. 


Overall, we had a great time at Lord of the Drinks and were horribly stuffed with all that yum food! Give this place a try! 


Lord Of The Drinks Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - ZomatoAddress - Fortaleza, Kalyani Nagar 

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