Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Site Spotlight - Out and About Africa

Today I would like to introduce you to one of my major blog crushes. This blog is absolutely inspiring in how it reaches all around the globe to collect images and sounds depicting Africa in all her beauty, diversity and complexity.
Brandi from Out and About Africa has such a great eye for color and photography. Through her blog, I discovered the work of immensely talented artists such as Andrew  Dosunmu, Sarah Marrkes and a host of others.

Photos by Sarah Marrkes

Photos by Andrew Dosunmu via Out and About Africa

It is clear from her writing that she cares deeply for Africa, the wealth of creativity that emanates from the continent and the people who are inspired by it. And that, in a nutshell, is why I love her blog.
If you have a moment, pop over there to visit. Good job, Brandi.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Simplicity and Serenity

A few days ago I experienced another "first". It was my first Mother's Day as a mom and I have to say that it was pretty special. It was really low key but the day was perfect in its simplicity. We spent the weekend at a little hotel with spectacular views of the Baltic Sea and did absolutely nothing but eat great food and take long walks on the beach.

My husband and I spent the day completely unplugged i.e no phone, television, computer or even any talk about work. Just the sun, the sea and the brilliance of our daughter's smile.

Hope you all had a restful Mother's Day.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lisbon Love - Shops and Stuff

I was going to talk about all the different shops I visited in Lisbon but I figured that might be a little too much. Instead, I'll show you two stores that you must stop by if you are ever in Lisbon. To start off my Lisbon shopping snapshot, I would like to refer to my well documented love of soap.  In Lisbon, I think the prettiest, most fragrant and well packaged ones are in A Vida Portuguesa. These gorgeous soaps by Claus Porto are  perfect to bring back as gifts for friends or as a hostess gift.

The store has a dizzying collection of soaps and I almost bankrupted myself there. Luckily, the husband pulled me away just before I put us in the poor house. These are some of the ones I bought but have unfortunately given away, sigh!

Photos from A Vida Portuguesa

The beautifully designed shop is filled with products made in Portugal and have all maintained their original packaging. It's like walking into an entirely different era.

This next store has such a beautiful window that I came back three times just to get in (it was closed a lot for lunch). ChiCoracoa is in the Chiado district and sells Portuguese handcrafted designs made from only natural materials. Most of the stuff I liked were for children but they also stock adult scarves and sweaters.

And how cute is this..

 I'm off to London for a few days and I hope to enjoy the spring and do a little snooping at Liberty and a few other places. Se you when I get back !!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lisbon Love - Sights

Yesterday, I started to talk about my trip to Lisbon but got side tracked. Well, its a bright new day and I'd like to start by introducing you to the beautiful My Home in Lisbon. This is a little bed and breakfast overlooking the hills in the Graca area of Lisbon. Its not a hotel but more like you are staying with a stylish and well travelled aunt. Just beautiful, well designed and the breakfast is plentiful and fresh. We loved staying there because of the real Lisbon neighbourhood feel which is never in hotels. Also, we were a few minutes from the famous Tram 28.  We rode the Tram from Graca, past the Praca da Figueira, Portas do Sol, through Alfama and finally down towards Chiado and the old town.
I can only say that the views are spectacular. Lisbon is a wonderful city to photograph and I wish I had more skill to do it justice. Well, these pictures will just have to do!!!

Lisbon's Tram 28
Saint Jeronimo Monastry
Saint Jeronimo Monastry Inner Courtyard
Feira da Ladra or Thieves Market 

Next post, I'll be sharing images from my visits to some Lisbon stores and some of my finds.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Flying with a Baby

Earlier this year, my family and I were in Lisbon for a long weekend and it was spectacular. It was the first trip with our new baby and we were a bit apprehensive about the flight and how she would deal with it.  Here are a few tested tips for flying with an infant.
  • Get to the airport on time - I'm always late. Not "forget it, she's not coming" late but just about 10- 15mins late. It's a horrible habit and though I've managed to keep it away from my professional life, my friends and family suffer till date. Add a baby to that equation and I'm a wreck. Rushing to the airport does not work because doing anything with a baby adds approximately 30 minutes to any schedule.
  • Take a baby carrier - No matter how small you baby is, you'll quickly get tired of carrying her around the airport. Any type of baby carrier or wrap which leaves your hands free is indispensable. If you are taking a long trip, you can have your stroller checked at the gate as a piece of luggage. Most airlines will check this free of charge.
  • Request a baby bassinet - This is only available on long haul flights but its so worth it to try to get a bulk head seat where the portable bassinet can be used. On KLM flights, the bassinet is attached to the wall in front of you and makes all the difference.  
  • Bring only one piece of hand luggage - Resist the urge to bring all her toys and books. For a typical 7 hour flight, all you need are 2 clothing changes for the baby (dress her in layers to adapt to cabin temperature), 2 small toys ( with low or no sound), 1 diaper for every hour of the trip, wipes, pre-measured formula powder in the bottle (the flight attendants will happily provide you with bottled water to mix it), swaddle/burp cloth and a extra top for yourself (because no one likes to smell like poo or throw up for 7 hours).  Also, bring a medium sized zip lock bag to store any stained clothing.  Stash your hand bag in your checked luggage and take only the bare minimum ( a comb, lip gloss, keys,wallet and passports)  which you can store in one of the many compartments in most good diaper bags.  
  • Feed the baby during take off and landing - This is to prevent ear pain and helps to soothe the baby.
  •  Bring a sense of humour - In spite of the best laid plans, sometimes life happens. Enjoy the time with your child!!!
Here are some of  my  "can't do without" travel essentials.  Do you have any thing you can't travel without ? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

1. DKNY Long Sleeve Cozy Sweater  2. Smythson Travel Clutch 3. Skip Hop Pronto Changer  4. Timi and Leslie Charlie Diaper Bag

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

NYC - Architectural Digest Home Design Show

Hello again, its been a little while since I blogged over here. I have been busy with a lot of self assessment and learning more about the blogosphere over at a fabulous E-Course called Blogging Your Way.  I've also been learning tons of photography tricks which I plan to implement on this blog. This was an absolute thrill for me because although I love to take pictures, I haven't been able to clearly communicate a certain "feel"  in my photograpghy. However, I think all that is gradually about to change.
A few days ago, I was at the Architechtural Digest Design fair in New York and it was a really fun day. It had been raining buckets in NY but that Saturday afternoon was absolutely glorious. It was almost a shame to be inside. Anyhow, I loaded my little baby in her stroller and we headed to Pier 62 on the West Side Highway.  There were loads of designers showing thier stuff (did you know that DVF has a home line?) It's gorgeous, its like going to sleep in your favourite wrap dress!  There are tons of lovely pieces included but my favourites are the vintage throws, pillows and giant grass sheets.
Something else that caught my eye were these handmade wooden clocks by Palo Samko based in Brooklyn, NY.  The clocks are so beautiful and carefully crafted but my amateur photography doesn't do them justice. I also love the way he has them styled because the cluster makes them look like wall art too. The leather and wood arm chair is a great piece that can work in practically any living space.

 I would have loved to spend more time at the exhibition but "someone" forgot to pack her daughter an extra outfit in case of a diaper blowout. It's hard to believe that something so smelly could come out of someone so small and cute. Bottom line (ha,ha) we had to leave, pronto.