Wednesday, January 22, 2020

A Glimpse of Lyla John’s Gorgeous Apartment

This is my first official blog post for 2020 and the best way to start the year is with my favorite segment, home tours and today’s is more of snippets of a cozy home. Lyla John, an interior designer by profession based in Kochi, has created a tidy, serene oasis for herself. It is a beautiful apartment that has a view… There is a striking mix of simplicity and beauty, topped with a perfect balance of functionality and aesthetics.  I just love the serene, uncluttered vibes of minimalism, ethnicity and eclectic. To save space she has converted the alcove into a smart storage unit which serves as a bar as well. Her collection of gorgeous classic wooden furniture speaks volume when it comes to style. And what struck my attention is her collection of beautiful illustrations and décor accents.

Here is a snippet of her beautiful home and let’s hear more from Lyla herself.

Tell us a bit yourself.

I am Lyla John and I have been an interior designer for 30 years. I predominantly work on interiors for homes and small hotels. I find that my passion revolves around working on small projects where I have a close relationship with the people who will end up inhabiting the space I create. Talking with them, understanding their quirks, likes and dislikes and designing a space with them is deeply satisfying. 

 What is your décor Inspiration for your home?

I have inherited a lot of the big pieces of furniture in my home from my husband’s family as well as mine. So while they are big, traditional and wooden, I try to offset those by using classic colours combinations for my upholstery and curtains, accents are a mix traditional knick knacks and quirky of off pieces.

Tell us a bit about your Décor style

I would say my decor style would be eclectic at its best. 

What is your Favorite Space or part of your home?

The favourite space of my home is my balcony. After spending many decades living in an individual house with a large garden around it, it was an adjustment for me to fit all my favourite plants into a tiny balcony. But having my green oasis when I sit for my morning coffee or evening tea is one of the best ways to unwind and gather my thoughts. 

Any décor tips for my readers?

I would suggest - invest in your home- all the time. Don’t think to do up your home in one shot and assume you are done. Be slow, be deliberate in the furniture and accessories you pick for your home. It should reflect you and not just the latest trends. When you sit in your home, it should make you feel warm and comfy.

"Thank you so much Lyla John for opening up your doors to me and my readers and sharing your décor inspirations with us all!! You home is just beautiful"

If you would like to share your home space or favorite space with me and my readers, please write to me at . Meanwhile stay tuned for more!!!

Above pictures are via Lyla John

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Recipe of the month: Triple Chocolate Trifle

Christmas celebrations are not complete without a trifle. And any kind of trifle will always look smashing on your Christmas table that has layers of goodness and cream! Trifle recipes are great to have in hand especially when you have to feed a large crowd. You can make it boozy or non- boozy which is purely your choice. As always I chose a hassle free and stress free recipe that’s tastes divine and looks gorgeous. This year I decided to stick to Chocolate trifle…. Because you can never go wrong with chocolate!! I was so happy the way it turned out and how it was wiped out clean. So this recipe has layers of brownie and dark chocolate cake, chocolate pudding, crushed chocolate nibbles for crunch and whipped cream. Try and bake the cake and brownie in advance to save time and trust me the rest will fall in place.

 Look no further if you are searching for a dessert recipe for your Christmas table. Here is the recipe for my favorite Chocolate Trifle


Baked brownies (Click here for my recipe) – cut into small squares

Baked dark Chocolate Cake (Click here for my recipe) – cut into small squares

I box of instant chocolate pudding

1 pkt of Maltesers or Mcvities Chocolate Nibbles

2 cups of whipped cream (already whipped stiff and kept aside)


1.       Prepare your pudding as per the package directions.

2.       Crush the Maltesers or the chocolate nibbles but make sure they don’t turn too mushy.

3.       Layer about 1/3rd of your cake cubes (dark chocolate and brownies) in your favorite trifle dish.

4.       For your next layer add a huge scoop (about 1/3rd) of chocolate pudding over the cake pieces.

5.       Sprinkle the crushed Maltesers or chocolate nibbles on the pudding.

6.       And then spread whipped cream over it (again 1/3rd of it).

7.       Repeat this process of layering two more times, ending with whipped cream. And garnish it with Maltesers and Chocolate Nibbles.

8.       Refrigerate it for at least two hours before serving.


  • If you want to make it boozy, drizzle Irish cream liqueur on the cake.
  • And if you do not have the time to bake brownies and cake, buy them and use it for the recipe. 
  • This recipe can be made a day before and this saves time!

How easy was that?? I hope you enjoy making it! And if you do make, please email me and keep me posted. I always love to hear feedback. I hope you are enjoying the countdown to Christmas!!

Above pictures are copyright Tickled by Inspirations

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Artist of the Month - Rebeca Nigrinis

I have had the pleasure of knowing Rebeca Nigrinis, a prominent artist in muscat, whose work has bloomed over the past couple of years. She started off as a mural artist and she had started making her mark since then and evolved to where she is today. And it is all because of her sheer hard work. 

Rebeca Nigrinis is a Colombian artist whose paintings are well known by the bold lines and amalgamation of bright colours. She developed a unique art style combining the vibrant culture of her Latino and Caribbean background, with the Middle Eastern exotic beauty. She is an industrial engineer by profession but she followed her passion for art. Over the years she has diversified her work from canvas painting to art on wood and has launched a line of décor items like wooden coasters, trays, placemats and lazy susans with her beautiful artwork on it. She has held several  solo exhibitions locally and internationally and particpated in group exhibitions as well, where she is known for her unique style of art and for her choice of vibrant colours.  

Here are some of her beautiful work

Golden Diva 
Acrylic on canvas
90x60 cm
Blue silver Arabian diva
Acrylic on canvas
60x40 cm

Camel with flowers
Acrylic on canvas
60x60 cm
Acrylic on canvas 
80x80 cm
Recently Rebeca was honoured with an opportunity to showcase her project, called the Buddy Bear, at the German Embassy in Oman. Buddy Bear is known to be an art project that is popular in Germany where artists paint on life size bear sculptures to indicate friendliness and optimism. There was an open call for artists that was published on their website and Rebeca was chosen after she submitted her proposal. Her work on the Buddy Bear represented the unity of Oman and Germany, where she included their flags, Omani icons like royal palace, incence burner, dhow boat, mosque and forts. The work was completed in 5 full working days at the Embassy.

Here are some pictures on her Buddy Bear project

If you are in Muscat, stay tuned for Oman Affordable Art Show which will take place on December 5th and 6th, 10am to 8pm at Bahja Hall, Qurum, and you can view and buy Rebeca's beautiful work. And if you wish to follow her on Instagram please click here to access her page. 

Lets get to know more about Rebeca's creative journey:

How did your journey as an artist begin? Did you have any formal training or is it self-taught?
I’m a self-taught artist and my talent is a gift from God. After completing my degree in Engineering I got married, and soon after that, we moved to Saudi Arabia. Once there I started to paint, eighteen years ago. We had moved many times and lived in different countries and my art travels with me everywhere we go.

Has your artwork evolved during the last couple of years? How would you describe your art style?
Usually when I look back at my old work I don’t like it, and I think that’s good because it means I’m improving. Only few pieces will be forever in my favorites list. I think I’ve done a good job trying to create my own style which I honestly can’t find a single word to define, but I know I like to create people stories represented on a canvas. 

What's your inspiration for your art work? 
My travels are a huge inspiration for me. Each time I go to a new place I come up with a new series.

Initially as you started as an artist, was your work rejected at any point? If yes, how did you deal with it and overcome?
Yes! My work had been rejected of course! There were tears shed but now I understand it was part of my process. 

What is the most challenging aspect about your work?
Personally I find it very challenging to work on a single piece. My studio is full of pieces I had started and kept aside until I feel like completing them. But every single day no matter how tired I am I’ll work on one.

What medium do you use? What is your creative process like? and what keeps you motivated?
I started painting with acrylics, then I jumped to oils for a while and now I’m back to acrylics. Motivation comes when I look back and see how far I’ve got and also how far I am from where I want to become. Then I feel like I should get to the studio and get some work done. 

Do you commission different projects? And how can people purchase your paintings?
I do commissions and people usually contact me through my social media pages. I also love to attend art fairs and meet art collectors in person. 

What is your favorite art piece that you have done till date?
That’s a difficult question to answer because each piece is like a child for me. I love them all! There’s a story behind each. 

Any tips or words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
I would like to say to young artist: work on creating your own style. Use others work to get inspired but never try to copy them, that will totally ruin your process. 

Rebeca, on behalf of my readers, here is wishing you a successful creative journey and lots more projects. We look forward to seeing more of your work!

All the above pictures are copyrighted by Rebeca

Monday, November 25, 2019

A Christmas DIY centre piece

I say it’s about time we start gearing up for Christmas… and it’s never too early…

One of the most important element of Christmas other than food, baking and family, is the décor… the tree needs to go up, along with all the lights… you need to decide on what crockery to use and on the colour theme…  It can get busier as Christmas is approaching so you would rather stick to some simple DIY which you can handle. Christmas table centre pieces are an integral part of décor in your home … for your coffee table and for your dining.

I have a simple centre piece for Christmas that is simple, elegant and that too it just takes ten minutes!

Here is a list of things that you need :
  • a single tier or double tier cake stand 
  • your favorite Christmas sparkly ornaments
  • a few pine cones 
  • a few Christmas tree branches (if you want but I didn’t use any) 

Arrange all the above elements on the cake stand.. you can even use a string of lights and voila! your centrepiece is ready!

Let me know what you think of this DIY décor...and if you have any DIY decor to share, please get in touch with me at .

Above pictures are copyright Tickled by Inspirations

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Recipe for Chocolate Pie

The winter is taking its course in our part of the world… and the baking season has started. Chocolate Pie was always in my mind but I never got to try it out for some reason.... until last week I came across this recipe which is stress free! The Chocolate Pie recipe is adapted from "Baker by Nature" .… this is currently one of my favorite make ahead recipe because it tastes even better the following day. I call it as my "Gone to Heaven Chocolate Pie." It is very decadent, rich, silky smooth, dreamy and you will have your share finished in the blink of an eye…. And the texture is just perfect. This is my first ever chocolate pie and as you can see the tart shell doesn’t look perfect to look at and that is because I didn’t use a proper pie dish or tart baking tin. Other than the looks it just tasted divine.

You can serve it with whipped cream or strawberries / raspberries with a sprinkle of sea salt flakes, or just dusted cocoa powder! Either way it is going to taste divine!

I hope you get to try it out. Leaving you with some pictures to just tempt you to try and make.... Meanwhile click here for the recipe from "Baker by Nature".

Above pictures are copyrighted by Ticked by Inspirations.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Artist of the month: Soni Budhia

In many group exhibitions held in Oman, there are a few artists whose work stands out for its beauty and serenity. And Soni Budhia’s work is one of them. She is a Muscat based artist whose work is largely influenced by traditions, culture and beauty of Oman. Most of her art work reflects her love for people of Oman and the scenic beauty of the country. Her work is detail intensive and evokes a joyful and serene feeling through a spectrum of colours, light and shadows. Her work was showcased in Athens by Zervas Art in collaboration with UNESCO in April 2017. She participated in several annual art exhibitions held in Oman and made her mark. Her work is one of my favorite because of her unique and distinct style.

Have a look at her beautiful paintings and let’s hear more about her journey as an artist.

How did your journey as an artist begin? Did you have any formal training or it is self-taught?

I was passionate about art since childhood and my father recognized this and he started my initial art training and enrolled me in sketching classes. That is when I started my journey as an artist. My enthusiasm could not continue long and I had to discontinue due to some personal reasons. However, the passion had ignited and I continued painting and sketching. My first teachers were Ms. Karuna and Ms. Sunaina. I am thankful to them for their guidance and encouragement.

After marriage, my priorities changed and I could not continue my passion. Inspired by the beauty of Oman I started again after a gap of 15 years!! I was skeptical if I could do anything but my better half acted as a catalyst and he persuaded me and helped me to move ahead. I started formal training and my paintings reached a different level altogether. I was blessed to have two great mentors Mrs. Rashmi Dauria and Mr. Sheffy Tattarath. I am thankful to them for shaping me as a professional artist.

Then I started my journey of exploring my style of painting and eventually I discovered it when I was awarded for the 2nd best painting award in 2016. I hope to improve every day and hone my creative skills.

A Brief intro about yourself.                                

Art has always been very close to my heart since childhood. When all my siblings would be busy watching television I would always be found in a corner of the house sitting silently in my world and trying to create something in my art book. Growing up I was not aware of any professional course in art and therefore I was persuaded to take up mainstream subjects. Art has always sourced happiness in me and has consistently been a part of my life. Art has given me confidence, recognition and a beautiful purpose in life.

How would you describe your art style?

I believe every artist starts his/her journey with realism to get a thorough idea of shapes, colors, and perspective and then eventually move towards impressionism and further evolvement of his or her style. I was no different and was also on the same track. I love to do more of impressionism and aspire to have some uniqueness in my artwork. I try to incorporate a piece of wood painted to gel, in my painting ideas so that it creates a story with the painting.

Do you commission different projects? And how can people purchase your paintings?

Yes, I have done many commissioned artworks which were loved and appreciated by my clients. I also have people buying my artworks at different group exhibitions and also a few in different galleries in Oman, India, and Dubai.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?

Since I use a wood piece in my creative process I need to think a lot as to how to create a story with my ideas about the wood piece that I have chosen. I try to follow my instincts and then first visualize by putting my ideas on a piece of paper. Then I rethink whether it is creating the story which I want to convey or not.

What's your creative process like and what keeps you motivated?

I first think of a theme that I would like to convey through my painting. The theme is the first thing that I decide and this brings the rest in me to explore ideas around it. My motivation is my family specially my compassionate husband who keeps on encouraging me, and helps in managing my other priorities like handling the home and children. I take out time to paint every day and take baby steps towards achieving my goal.

What's your inspiration for your artwork?

I seek inspiration from nature and also from the different inspirational quotes I read and come across. I have a strong belief on the three P’s persistence, perseverance, and practice which help me to keep going and also inspire me in my difficult situations. I have a dedicated corner in my house which is work-ready all the time so that whenever I have time I can just sit and do something. I keep practicing and learning something new every day which keeps me motivated and inspired to work towards my goal of being an artist, who is remembered for the great work and contributions to art.

What is your favorite art piece that you have done to date?

It's difficult to decide which one is my favorite art piece as all are very close to my heart.

Any tips or words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?

I am inspired by the three Ps practice, persistence, and perseverance.

Practice my dear friends, as practice definitely comes into play, the more we can practice, the more we can progress. Your practice should be persistent.

“As long as we are persistent in the pursuit of our deepest destiny, we will continue to grow. We cannot choose the day or time when we will fully bloom. It happens in its own time.” -Denis Waitley

Thank you Soni Budhia for sharing your inspiring journey with me and my readers. And we look forward to seeing more of your work.

Stay tuned for more artist inspirations in the coming weeks!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Style your bookshelf

There is a lot more to a beautifully styled bookshelf than decorating it with just books. It is always good to add something to your bookshelf to express your creativity and make your bookshelf a focal point. It has to be functional and look cohesive as well. And to get that perfect look you will end up rearranging because it is like trying out a new recipe and you are testing it with your ingredients that suit your taste. The whole process is a trial and error but eventually you will end up with a perfectly styled bookshelf. In modern décor a book shelf is considered as the window to your stories and memories.

Picture via Décor fix

Here are some pointers that will help you to achieve that perfectly styled look

1.       What can you put on the bookshelves?

Different sizes of books that can be displayed vertically or horizontally to create a visual interest.

Small artwork or paintings can be used as a layer while styling the shelf.

Photo frames can be placed at eye level for a personal touch but avoid cluttering with too many frames.

Baskets are good to fill up spaces and useful for storage. And it is always good to place them at the bottom of the shelving unit for easier access.

Indoor plants are a great way to add for that pop of green.

Décor Accessories are another way to style up your bookshelf. It could be a treasured family heirloom and something that you collected on your travel.

2.       Size and Balance: When you start styling your bookshelf, start to fill with large items and balance it out with smaller things. This will help you get the basic layout and will help you avoid cluttering. 

3.       Pattern: If you want to add more colour and pattern, try wallpapering the back panel of your shelf. You can stick to a theme is you wish, for example tropical leaves or maybe neutrals.

4.       Lighting: you can use a small lighting fixture if you want to keep a painting or artwork.

5.       Step back and Edit: like any interior designer it is always good to step back and study your bookshelf. Check if you need to add more colour and if it’s too cluttered you can take away a few objects or books. You can also check for empty spaces to fill or balance out the display.

Image via Marika Meyer Interiors , notice the wallpaper at the back panel of the shelf. Isn't it beautiful?

Image via Pottery Barn
Image via Allium, a colour coordinated bookshelf

I hope the above pointers were useful and if ever try to style your bookself, please write to me at and share your work. I will be happy to share it with my readers!