Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Dreamy Balcony Décor

Summer has arrived… its hot outside but I still dream of outdoor spaces… To those who live in big cities, an outdoor space is something that they can only dream of… and balcony is the only source that they can enjoy some fresh air without leaving their apartment, witness many sunrises, sunsets & rains, a place where you connect with your loved ones or friends over a cup of coffee… or connect with yourself with a glass of wine. So let’s find out ways to inject some life to your balcony and take it to the next level…

So before I give tips on how to make that balcony cozy, have a look at this gallery of beautiful balconies for inspiration.


Image via here
Image via here
Image via here
Image via here
Bohemian inspiration... love the hammock here! Image via here


a dreamy balcony for sure with globe lights lit up, Image via here


Here are some tips to make your balcony cozy and beautiful

·         Display plants and flowers with quirky pots to make it look pretty. Use hanging baskets or shelves to display plants and this will save your precious space for your balcony.

·         Place small table and chairs with comfy colorful pillows. Make sure to position your furniture well and try not to make it overcrowded.  It’s a perfect corner for you to chill, read and have your cup of coffee

·         To light up at night use string lights or candle lantern or globe lights… this will give a cozy magical feeling and a great atmosphere during your summer evenings.

·         Cover the floor with a small outdoor durable rug to add texture to your space.


Are you ready to add that charm to your balcony? I hope this post has sparked your creative ego!!








 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Home Tour: Residence of Hemal from Nairobi

It’s time for the best before the weekend arrives… yes it’s time for Home Tours!!! (applause)…. And today’s home tour is a home that gives a global feel with a good mix of ethnic, asian and african inspiration. I bumped into Hemal on Instagram and I was instantly drawn towards her gallery of her beautiful home pictures. Hemal’s love for travel is reflected in her home décor and she has mixed and matched her momentos and other inspiring pieces so beautifully. Hemal, based in Nairobi, has created a home with a comforting soul and I could feel plenty of it as I had my virtual tour. I also loved her attention to details to keep the earthy tone theme. She is an architect by profession and also a brilliant artist. So let’s hear more from Hemal, sit back and enjoy this visual treat!

Hemal's cozy living room


"I’m from New Delhi and we moved to Nairobi about 3 years ago. I’m an architect by training but have worked extensively in the field of art and culture.  I share my home with my husband and our 2 bubbly young boys.

Our home is our sanctuary. It is an amalgamation of our travels and collected memories. As a family we like to travel a lot, I always tend to pick up something for my home from the places we visit. Isar Gauri statues from Rajasthan, kneeling Teppanom statues from Thailand, masks from Sri Lanka, studio pottery from South Africa, dolls from Japan, a beautifully framed butterfly shaped lock from Hong Kong, carved wooden animals from Zanzibar, carpet and ceramics from Turkey, terracotta plates from Mexico and brass curios bought from flea markets in India and US. When I display these Knick knacks around the house along with thoughtful gifts from friends and family, I’m reminded every day of the happy times that we shared and the memories we made.
 
 
 

With 2 boys under the age of 12 running around the house, nothing can be too precious!  The poor masks in the corridor have borne the brunt of their cricket games. I clearly remember the times when I have glued the broken pieces back!

I would describe my décor style as Global eclectic with a bit of rustic vintage! I love warm colors and interesting play of textures. The word, “handmade” just makes my heart melt……..from pottery to woodwork to textiles to artwork, I’m always partial to handmade stuff!

I also never underestimate the power of the common houseplant.  A dash of green and fresh flowers around the house bring in everyday freshness and add cheer to the humdrum of our daily lives. Kenya is such a tropical paradise, there is abundance of roses and tropical flowers to choose from.
 


My style is influenced by my mother and my aunt. When I was young, we used to live in a joint family system in a beautiful bungalow with a lovely garden. My mother liked to collect brass antiques and make beautiful embroidery, she would display the brass around the house and all the tablecloths and cushions would have her embroidery on them. My aunt is an artist and our home used to be a gallery of her paintings of varied subjects from Umar Khayyam to batiks to Mythology. My grandfather was an avid gardener and our garden had blooms of some kind year round. The memories of my childhood home had a big impression on my décor style. I think that’s the reason why I tend to take inspiration from vintage décor. I’m intrigued by art and cultures of people around the world, bright colors and foliage of the tropics also never cease to amaze me.


Ofcourse, pinterest and home décor blogs are bottomless pools of constant inspiration.

My favorite place in the house... This would definitely be my balcony, it overlooks a cute little house and lush green foliage around it. Beautiful sunbirds, crows, ibis and sparrows love to hang around the trees. Bright bougainvillea make our morning cups of tea cheerful and we wait for the jacaranda tree to bloom every year!
 
 

My Favorite things... Difficult to choose one, as I love everything but I would say the brass lock from Hong Kong, the Isar Gauri statues and the old carved door from Mali."
 
Brass lock from Hong Kong... one of Hemal's treasures
 
this is one my favorite... that's a wooden carved door up on the wall
 
Love her style of vignette
 
fresh flowers always add charm... and on the wall are Hemal's water colour paintings
 
 
Thank you Hemal for sharing your beautiful home with me and my readers!! There are definitely plenty of inspirations to take away!!
 
If you wish to follow her on instagram click here and to browse through her art please click here.
 
I hope you all enjoyed this home tour!! Enjoy the rest of your day and the upcoming weekend!
 
 
 
Images copyright Hemal
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Scandinavian Moodboard


Today’s moodboard is Scandinavian…. Muted colour pallete… rich textures to keep the décor interesting… simplicity… functional… clean lines… and understated elegance.

So pour yourself a nice cup of coffee and enjoy the uncluttered, relaxed and calm vibe.
Image via Nordic Design, Photographed by Rob Mills Architects
 
Image via Nordic Design, Photographed by Kristofer Johnsson
Minimalistic Kitchen (my kitchen can never be like this!!) Image via Nordic Design, Photographed by Homedit
 
Cozy Nook, Image via Nordic Design, Photographed by Spatial Code
 
Gorgeous office space, Image via Nordic Design, Photographed by Jonas Ingerstedt
 
Monochrome dinning area, Image via Nordic Design, Photographed by Kristofer Johnsson


a Serene Bedroom, Image via Nordic Design, Photographed by Riikka Kantikoski

Image via Nordic Design, Photographed by Line Klein

Here are some key features of a Scandinavian design and décor

·         Use of white walls with cool greys and beige. And it’s more popular now to inject colours like black, green or blue, to add a bit of contrast. Experiment with bright coloured accents like throw pillows or rug.

·         Believes in minimalism and declutter. Scandinavian living is all about extra space for breathing so they use open wall shelves and sleek storage.

·         Use of accessories such as mirrors to reflect light.

·         Scandinavian interior believes in functionality.

·         Use of natural elements such as wood is blended well such as wooden flooring, picture frames and furniture. And elements of nature like dried branches are used as decorative piece.

·         Scandinavians believe in natural light so their homes generally have large windows.

 

These are beautiful rooms to wake up in right?

Hope the Scandinavian moodboard is soothing enough to pull you through the rest of your week…
Have a good day everyone!!


 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Recipe for the month: Ice Cream Cake


I recently discovered the diversity in making an ice cream cake…. It can be made with the actual cake and without…. Different layers of flavor…. Chocolate bits for crunch and texture…. Cookie bits in between… whipped cream … and for a crowning glory some warm chocolate sauce!!! Insane and Amazing right??



Well this is the kind of cake to make for summer and you can use your imagination and come up with your own combo!! All it requires is a little bit of hard work and some adventure spirit! And yes it is a little time consuming but totally worth it! And I am so glad I made this for a couple who are special to me and my husband, who stood by us and who went out of the way to be there for us…. this was my way of showing my gratitude…


 
 
So let’s move on to this adventurous recipe…

Ingredients

Chocolate cake (already baked and ready) or any other flavor cake

2 of your favorite flavored ice cream (I used Baskin Robins Chocolate ice cream and Häagen Daaz Salted Carmel ice cream) - softened

Chocolate of your choice finely chopped (I used Twix and Ferrero Rocher… even though my preference was peanut butter cups)

2/3 cup heavy or whipping cream
                                    
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 ounces milk or dark chocolate, chopped (I used chocolate chips),

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Coloured Sprinkles

 
Method

Bake your favorite cake… If you wish to bake chocolate cake, click here for the recipe.

Make Fudge Sauce: In a heavy saucepan, bring cream, sugar, cocoa, salt and half the chocolate to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in remaining chocolate, butter and vanilla extract and stir until smooth. As it cools it will thicken up. So keep it aside to cool.

Choose a springform pan or loaf tin lined with overhanging cling film or parchment paper to pull the cake up and out of the pan. Here I used loaf tin.

Once the cake is baked and cooled, slice it into 3 layers, approximately 2 cms.

Now it is time to layer the cake. Layer the tin first with cake. Top it with caramel ice cream. And then sprinkle your favorite chocolate. I used finely chopped Twix bars. Then layer it again with cake. And generously top this with chocolate ice cream. And again with the last layer of cake and top again with chocolate ice cream. Now to top with some goodness….  Sprinkle mildly crushed Ferrero Rocher chocolates and pour the cooled chocolate fudge sauce over it and scatter some coloured sprinkles. Finally cover it with cling film and freeze.

Just before serving, if you have any chocolate fudge left you can pour it over. Am sure no one is going to turn down the extra fudge… trust me ;).

Enjoy and I hope you get to make this!! So choose your own adventure… incorporate your own flavours … there is no way it can go wrong….If you do try please keep me posted on how it turns out!!

Notes

·         You can make ahead so don’t keep this for last minute.

·         If you want to skip cake, you can use chocolate cookie crumbs.

·         You can add raisins or nuts instead of chocolate bits.

·         A couple of minutes before you assemble the cake leave your ice cream out to soften a bit.

·         Cheat tip: if you don’t have time to make cake and chocolate fudge sauce, buy readymade cake and sauce and just assemble ;)

·         Leftover cake can be stored in the freezer in an airtight container.

·         To make it even more decadent, you can top this cake with whipped cream as well!!









All Images are clicked by me



 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Home Tour: Rithu's beautiful apartment from New York.

Hey everyone! I hope your week has started off well. Are you ready for some Monday inspiration?

Today I am featuring a cute little apartment of a dear friend, Rithu from West New York, who recently moved out of this apartment. I wasn’t surprised at all when I had a look at her crisp minimalistic home through her pictures as she is a lady brimming with creativity. Her décor is casual and not too pretentious. Rithu is an aspiring fashion designer who recently completed her course, passionate about her art and a food blogger.

So quickly grab a cup of tea or coffee… and let’s hear more from Rithu herself and have a look at her old beautiful apartment.

“Greetings everyone! I am Rithu, and I am the food blogger of ‘Gastronomy Illustrated’, where I share easy, yummy recipes and about my little adventures in life.  I am beyond excited and thrilled to be a part of the honorable home tours’ feature from ‘Tickled by Inspirations’. And so I would like to start by saying thank you, thank you to my lovely family friend, Rachel, for this wonderful opportunity!

I was born and raised in Muscat, the lovely capital city of Oman, and went on to reside there for 22 years. In the 22 years, I did most of my schooling in Indian School Muscat and completed 4 years of Biotech Engineering from Birla Institute of Technology. Although I have Malayalee roots, I studied and practically lived in Kerala only for 2 years, to complete my high school in Kottayam.  But the rest of my life so far, has been overseas of India. After my Bachelor’s at BIT, I was fortunate to pursue my Master’s in Bioinformatics at King’s College London. Learning with some of the brightest at KCL was an honor in itself, just as much as making it through the difficult course and finally being awarded with the Master’s degree. But behind all the years of science and engineering, the actual truth was that I have always been an artist at heart. The obsession began when I was just about 11 or 12, when I started doodling some of my earliest fashion illustrations, on whatever paper I could find, even if they were pages of my school notebooks and texts! After getting married to my wonderful husband of 4 years, I moved to the US in 2012 and a year ago, I was so happy to finally fulfill my dream to attend fashion school! I enrolled for a short program of 6 months in Brooklyn, New York, but in those few months, I gained so much knowledge that I will forever be so grateful for.


In December, my husband and I bought and moved into our very first home, in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, and each day we are excited and working on doing up our new residence. But until December of 2015, we lived in a cozy little apartment in West New York. My requisites for a home space have always been the same and very simple – no clutter, functionality and chic with a little quirk! I also like contrast and hints of bold color. Me being a cleanliness freak and a bit of someone who strives for perfection, everything in my space has to be placed just right, and sometimes in exact right angles! But apart from my strange OCDs, I like bringing the outdoors, indoors, if that makes sense. Especially when living in a concrete, boxy space like an apartment. I like greens around me, lots of natural elements like wood, … At the entrance of the apartment I even placed a watering can on the floor, just because it gave me a cozier and homelier vibe. Even to this day, it is very important to me that every piece of furniture my husband and I decide to invest in, has to have more than one function. For example, the sofa in our living room was a futon that could easily be converted into a large sized bed for two. Another dual functional piece was the red ottoman that provided seating in the living room and had so much space for storage, inside! Convenience is also definitely a requisite. Whether it’s the sleek console table at the entrance to hold keys, or the patio chair by the shoe rack for people to sit and wear shoes. I like knowing that there’s something to make things just a little more convenient, and I especially like having things contained, rather than keeping them out in the open and adding to clutter. I only like to showcase the knick knacks my husband and I have collected on our travels, which I would mostly display on the quirky book ladder in the living room. My favorite space in the apartment was the living room seating by the window. We had an Ikea rattan chaise lounge that was so comfortable to lie down on, and it’s where I used to read or have a nap on some afternoons. And in the evening I could catch a view of the Manhattan skyline from the same spot… This apartment will always have a special place in my memory, as it’s where I developed a love for cooking and baking, started my food blog, made a few paintings and put them up on the walls, and studied more about fashion designing whilst doing the course in Brooklyn.

To all those who are reading, a humble thank you for taking the time out… “

 
 









 
her artwork
 
 

 
 


 





love the fabric of her storage




 
Thank you so much Rithu for sharing your old apartement with us and wishing you a happy stay in your new one... And we hope we get a home tour of your new home as well!!
 
 
All images are clicked by Rithu
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

DIY: Baby Booties as Give-aways

Planning a baby shower is so much fun…  it’s a celebration for the mother to be and for her to be at ease. A recent baby shower was so much fun… especially when everyone pitches in!!! It took some DIY, Pinterest and YouTube inspiration, awesome food and to top it all up with some fabulous and gorgeous cupcakes and cake! What a fun day it was!

I had so much fun being a part of the décor team… made the pompoms… star strings for decoration… and my favorite… I managed to make baby booties as give-aways… it doesn’t cost much… all you need is some plastic or foam cups, scissors, ribbon, stapler and some candies of your choice.

Click here for the tutorial… and have a look at these pictures to see what it looked like…








All images are clicked by me