the lake district

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the departure

The week before leading up to my MA graduation, my family and I decided to brave our warm, Indian hearts and tour a bit of the Scottish Highlands. It was still lush and green and surprisingly enough sun to entertain us a bit when things got a bit too cold. It was a holiday that paralleled none of our others and for that the foreign lands of Scotland felt so majestic and each moment with one another was ever more precious.

The night before my trip out to The Lake District instilled a bit of anxiety. I felt incredibly anxious considering I had been traveling for a good 5 weeks straight before that. Trains were nothing new for me, but my heart beat deeper and more dramatically than it is used to. Upon reaching my carriage, well before time to depart, I felt a bit at ease and so I started to pen my thoughts about the trip. About 2016. About my future goals. And about my feelings about just about everything. I realized that The Lake District brought upon this anxiety because it reminded me so dearly of my family’s trip and I wasn’t sure how anything would top that.

As the train continued to trek more and more north and buildings were replaced with hills, greens and sheep, I found that though I conceptualized The Lake District as similar to the Scottish Highlands, the landscape was notably different. The way the wind flirted with leaves, patches of trees made me believe that this experience was going to be different.
 

{the lake district} via chevrons & éclairs
{the lake district} via chevrons & éclairs
{the lake district} via chevrons & éclairs {the lake district} via chevrons & éclairs

what I wore

parka MONSOON {SIMILAR} jeans LEVIS rain boots BURBERRY
chelsea boots & OTHER STORIES shirt UNIQLO

* * *

c&é traveled with Virgin Trains.
 

{the lake district} via chevrons & éclairs
{the lake district} via chevrons & éclairs {the lake district} via chevrons & éclairs

on arrival

Reaching Oxenholme’s train station, I was greeted by Katie! Katie and I went to St. Andrews together and for ages she has been trying to get me to visit her. The landscape, though beautifully captured by Katie on the daily, was mindblowing. Fog peaking through in between the crevasses of the hills and the mountains were flakes with fresh snow.

The first day was rather wet and overly foggy, but through the eyes of what the headlights of Katie’s car was providing, it was a teaser for something utterly beautiful. I joked with Katie before catching the train, that I wanted to see a sheep for the purpose of Instagram of course. After a little chuckle and a bit of a tease, she assured me I would see them. Lo and behold, I saw more sheep than people during the entirety of the trip!

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Virgin Trains from London Euston station will connect your directly to Oxenholme station, which will locally connect to other parts of The Lake District.
 

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{the lake district} via chevrons & éclairs
{the lake district} via chevrons & éclairs {the lake district} via chevrons & éclairs {the lake district} via chevrons & éclairs

on each day

Everyday, we met the morning sun (which was very unusual) and would make our way to different parts of the incredibly vast Lake District. To Keswick to enjoy the very British high street and sun’s reflection on Derwent Lake. We meandered around and through the villages surrounding Penrith. And every few meters the view changed ever so slightly that is begged for a photo opportunity.

Since the sun set into darkness almost as quickly as it came out from the night sky, there were many hours sitting next to the fire with a cuppa in hand and discussing about our hopes and inspirations for 2017. In the background was usually something simmering in the kitchen perfuming the air with the rustic wood burning aroma and it felt just right to escape to a cabin into The Lake District.
 

{the lake district} via chevrons & éclairs
{the lake district} via chevrons & éclairs {the lake district} via chevrons & éclairs

spanish española

Every morning, Katie made sure that the coffee was brewing. During the time she opened the curtains of the windows that overlooked the hills in the distance (and some sheep too), I put together bits of pieces of our favorite ingredients and would whip up breakfast. Something that held us over a bit after lunch so we can put our daily caloric intake towards a cheeky slice of cake.

With the natural sweetness of the peppers, a bit of kick from the paprika, an earthy vibe from the mushrooms, and a proper mediterranean feel from the iberico…


You can right click on the recipe card to save directly to your computer.
Print on a 3 x 5 index card setting and store with the rest of your recipes.
For more recipe, visit the recipe index here!
 

{the lake district} via chevrons & éclairs
{the lake district} via chevrons & éclairs

 
 
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cumberland sausage pasta bake

On the night of my arrival, Katie gave me a little taste of the local gastronomy. Cumberland sausages, though nothing new to what I’ve seen in my local shop, is something that comes from the region. Katie assured me that what I was about to eat was far more impressive than my local Waitrose has to offer. We knew that the quality was great as she baked the sausages for a casserole as there not an ounce of fat on the pan. The meat was incredible and fresh. So I was on the hunt for having a bit more.

One day, after a long and cold trek, we decided to pick up a few ingredients and an extra bottle of wine. Spent the evening cooking and gazing out at the snow that started falling from the night sky.


You can right click on the recipe card to save directly to your computer.
Print on a 3 x 5 index card setting and store with the rest of your recipes.
For more recipe, visit the recipe index here!
 

{the lake district} via chevrons & éclairs
{the lake district} via chevrons & éclairs {the lake district} via chevrons & éclairs

what I wore

cashmere jumper c/o BODEN {SIMILAR} leggings LULULEMON scarf ASOS
shop the BOUTIQUE
 

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{the lake district} via chevrons & éclairs

2017 in words

{2017 in words} via chevrons & éclairs

happy new year!

in collaboration with CRAFTISAN location JODHPUR, INDIA

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I’m on the train at the moment off to the Lake District to celebrate the new year. It will be a tamed one this year: celebrating with ones closest to me, a glass of champagne, an early morning for a walk through the beautiful misty landscapes across mountains and hills. It’s going to be a reflective one.

As year goes by I realize how much I still have to learn and grow. Those of you who have followed c&é since it’s inception, or since I even moved to London, you may notice the emotional change I went through. Since moving to London, each month almost felt like a struggle. Even though my home country’s people speak the same language, mannerisms and behaviors and bureaucracy is distinct. Adaptation was key and through all the struggles, I wouldn’t change a thing.

I’m happy that 2016 is over, but this year compared to the recent past has been extremely wonderful and fulfilling. First, I found a way to combine my hobbies and my professional/educational background to establish a business that I am truly passionate about. I’ve grown that business and established a strong reputation within my industry. A reputation that is unparalleled where industry leaders have taken the backseat to learn something from a team of thriving, passionate individuals. That team was facilitated by me.

Second, I feel settled in London. My narratives leading up to my move to London about 2.5 years ago and thereafter were about the changes and struggles I had on a daily basis. Now I find that London is home and I feel the most secure here. People make places and I have made a good group of friends that I can call family too. And because of that I feel more comfortable in my own skin, able to share my world and my background with others and all of you-not striving to fit in.

Furthermore, I’ve learnt to prioritize. Focus on people and things that matter and be able to constantly edit my life. This has helped my happiness, controlling the looming anxiety inside me, the capacity to let people in and trust them, and so much more.

Finally, what you don’t know is that this blog was something I was going to end a few times: when I moved to London to jumpstart a career in something completely different and an industry bit more conservative and the second time earlier this year when I thought the blog was undermining my business’ growth. I was proven wrong. Since then my strategy for this space has changed, priorities were placed on things that matter and I was looking at c&é as a business and as a way to escape. I’m very proud to say that this corner of the internet grew and continues to grow because of all of you. The editorial calendar for 2017 is already half planned with the most exciting travel plans and content just for you! 
 

{2017 in words} via chevrons & éclairs
{2017 in words} via chevrons & éclairs {2017 in words} via chevrons & éclairs

Every year, instead of resolutions, I choose words that I want to be the theme of the coming year.
For 2017 I want to: create, experience and cultivate.

create

My adolescence focused on fortifying a personal CV that encompassed the arts. From years of piano lessons and dance classes to private painting and drawing classes. Soon after into my college days, I focused on analytical and critical subjects that made for a “better career”. This is where c&é was born. My job in Washington, DC felt mundane, though exciting. c&é was a creative outlet that I needed to exercise my artistic skills. Since deciding on taking this blog to the next level, I want to create content that is all encompassing. Content that is dynamic, unique and revolutionary. I want to go against the grain and focus on areas that no one else is looking at. This will set a challenge for myself and keep me excited and continue to tickle my motivation.

experience

I pride myself in being well-travelled. Unfortunately, my traveling greatly reduced over the last 2 years because of finances and trying to sort out my professional life. Any disposable income I would make would be re-invested in my business, but I knew that idleness was temporary. Now that I have a bit more cushion, a blog and a business that requires me to travel, I want to experience more. I want to experience more of London-there’s a laundry list of things I haven’t done still. I want to experience unique parts of Europe, since most of my previous travels were in South Asia, the Middle East and Africa. I want to experience different places in unique ways that most tourists shy away from and hopefully that will supplement the “create” aspect of my year too.

cultivate

Being a leader was a natural position for me. I was heavily involved in school and university, taking charge of event planning, and today I facilitate a professional team. Since “cultivating” a community through my professional and educational scenes is not foreign to me, I want to do that within my personal life too. I’m lucky to know people of all different ages, different backgrounds, different hobbies and interests-and being exposed to new things is a great way to learn and feel inspired. I want to make the most of my relationships, where we experience and cultivate together. Entertaining our creativity and widening our knowledge and experiences, maturing our understanding to the world around can truly enrichen life.
 

{2017 in words} via chevrons & éclairs
{2017 in words} via chevrons & éclairs

what I’m wearing

dress MANGO scarf c/o CRAFTISAN flats c/o BODEN earrings GIFTED

craftsmanship

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hand-sourced, made & crafted

in collaboration with THE JODI LIFE

India is vast as you may have gathered from my stories, images and memories shared here. It is vibrant and colorful, strikingly different from other parts of the world, and made up of people with such unique backgrounds. India is built on tradition that is passed down from generation-to-generation, and I think that’s what makes the culture so unique. I should actually say, “cultures” because no two people or regions or states are the same in any single way.

Speaking to textile observers in Surat, I came to know that producing such materials like cotton and silk was a method that differs from one family to the next. Those families have once built an empire that sits as an industry today. That material is then sourced by various designers from all around the world. Designers observe textures, flexibility, color retention, and durability of fabric. Based on their designs, that fabric must be strong enough to take on what each designer has envisioned.

Once sourced, that fabric is then sent to different parts of India. Either to the very northern tip of the country where mountains are blanketed with the whitest snow where we see “kashmiri” or “zardozi” work done-embellished handwork. Sometimes fabric is sent to the south of India where standout borders are placed on some 7.5 meters with silk threads of various colors, which makes a sari. Or perhaps the fabric makes its way to the western peninsula where the dramatic yarn work of the Kutchi is found. Each region, and even a region within a region, has its very own art skill.

The December Issue of Vogue India interviewed Sabyasatchi Mukherjee, India’s leading fashion designer, known for his elaborate one-of-a-kind pieces that proudly stands for the Indian heritage. His interview covered the growing concern of the dying trend of the “karigar” or the Indian craftsmen, due to modernization and the introduction of technology to the Indian fashion community. Sabyasachi’s pieces are are among the most authentic and finest saris of India, known for their gold and silver brocade, fine silk and opulent embroidery. The intricate designs are produced by the hands of craftsmen in Varanasi, or Benares, taking anywhere between one- to six-months to complete.

Heritage is embedded in each Sabyasachi piece, but with many look-alike benares saris flooding the market, these karigars have been forced to find other means of making a living, which has resulted in closing their doors and limiting the availability of this artistry in the region.
 

{craftsmanship} via chevrons & éclairs
{craftsmanship} via chevrons & éclairs

 
 
{craftsmanship} via chevrons & éclairs
 
 

the jodi life

website • facebook • instagram
dress c/o THE JODI LIFE flats c/o BODEN

Queue in The Jodi Life, a brand that so cautiously handpicks its fabrics of all their garments. Each garment is unique, just a touch different, because it is uniquely handcrafted.

Giving light to hand-loom fabrics to maintain sustainability-each element of every garment is observed with such precision followed by manually hand-blocking (an artistry of Rajasthan) and then topped off with their one-of-a-kind buttons, trims, patches and embroideries.

It’s brands like these that give a second life to what India is known for, it’s creative exceptionalism.
 

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mumbai with Viator

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impressions

Most of the time I’m in India, I spend very little time in Mumbai even though my uncle lives in the city and we end up coming home to America with clothes from Mumbai’s best boutiques. This time around, since work required me to be in the city, I decided to take some time off to get to know this exciting and evolving city. Mumbai is energetic, manic and exciting-one of the fashion hubs of the country-and a place with many prospects and opportunities.

I spent a few days in Mumbai the first part of my trip and then again in the latter part, that tease of a taste made me itch to live in this city for at least a few months. I don’t know when/if that will ever happen, but it’s a city that I plan on visiting over and over again.

Among the flourishing industries there is a culture that is so unique. Architecture influenced by the Portuguese, British, Arab touches and today’s art deco and new builds. There is all types of food, people with different backgrounds, it’s the NYC of India. And no matter people’s circumstances or their hardships, they thrived on every bit and aspect of that city. It was truly inspiring.

what I’m wearing

dress H&M flats ASOS blazer c/o THE JODI LIFE
sunnies c/o BODEN purse c/o BODEN
 

{mumbai city guide} via chevrons & éclairs
{mumbai city guide} via chevrons & éclairs {mumbai city guide} via chevrons & éclairs

city tour

courtesy of Viator

We started early in the morning to beat the morning hustle to get to south Mumbai. Our tour guide on the way briefed us on the history of the area and enlightened us on all the splendors of the city she has experienced. She was passionate and realized my love for photography was something she will definitely cater to.

We got to south Mumbai and made it onto a ferry boat via the Gateway of India to Elephanta Caves on an island an hour away. The caves, a UNESCO world heritage site, is a cave temple. I was quite excited to see these as my Indian classical background usually depicts the stories of the gods and goddesses portrayed in these cave temple carvings.

After the tour, we made it to proper Mumbai again and then started our adventure winding through different parts off the city and stopping for snack and treats and a meal on the way. I loved seeing bits of everyday life (e.g. Crawford market and temples), the unique industry (e.g. the tiffin people and laundry services), and the history (e.g. Gandhi’s house). So much packed in such little time, yet everything seemed to go by seamlessly. And just like that the sunset and we were back home safely thanks to our driver provided by Viator.
 

{mumbai city guide} via chevrons & éclairs
{mumbai city guide} via chevrons & éclairs {mumbai city guide} via chevrons & éclairs

food & drinks

Urban Tadka
With street-side vibes, it is some of the most authentic and delicious Punjabi food you will have. With lots of great vegetarian options and exceptional meat choices. It’s fragrant and very much a flavor bomb for even Indians.

Mainland China
Chinese food is considered pretty decent in India thanks to neighbor influences. It is always natural for us to visit a Chinese restaurant because of just that. I mention this place because two noteworthy dishes: the basil-vegetarian dim sum are such a unique combination of flavors with the freshest ingredients. The second dish, and off the menu, is the dry prawns pepper garlic. It’s spicy, but the earthiness of this dish alongside the fresh sea elements is beautiful!

Hakkasan
I must include this on the list, I’ve been to the Hakkasan in Dubai, Las Vegas, London (quite a few times) and now in Mumbai. The menu is unique based on local flavors. Though I’m not a vegetarian, I was most impressed with their vegetarian options in dim sum and think the experience alone is lovely and consistent.

Copper Chimney
Another establishment that holds a reputation all around the world, Copper Chimney boasts its truly Mumbai-faire. If you’re looking for an authentic Indian experience with a luxurious touch, I would recommend this restaurant. Again, consistency and service is there.

Social
We accidently came across this place. After a few meetings and lots of shopping, I just wanted an ice cold beer and some Mumbai street food. Since we were alone, we weren’t sure where to go where street food is safe. Social happened to be a place where we just walked in and fell in love with. Some proper pub vibes with Mumbai street food with a modern twist.

Kayani & Company
During the trip with Viator, we were craving a good cup of chai and a cheeky snack halfway through the tour. These Anglo-Iranian cafes have the best chai and biscuits. The cafes transport you back to the 19th century with its music, interiors and overall vibes.
 

{mumbai city guide} via chevrons & éclairs
{mumbai city guide} via chevrons & éclairs {mumbai city guide} via chevrons & éclairs

special tips

Visiting this city in the winter months is the best the weather is not too hot. Since Mumbai sits as an island, days can be humid and muggy, but the salty breeze from the ocean is everywhere. It’s best to dress is lighter materials like cottons and linens and do be respectful of the culture as modesty is a very important.

Nicer restaurants and shops tend to take debit/credit card, but be sure to ask ahead of time if the place you are visiting does so too. Tipping is not necessary, but it’s always nice to do so. You’ll learn that Indian people are extremely appreciative and hospitable.

Hire a driver! It’s better to get around with a driver, not too expensive as well, than to deal with public transportation. There are so many travelers and so many people with their motives and mission, that traveling on local transport in Mumbai can be a bit tricky… even for myself!
 

{mumbai city guide} via chevrons & éclairs
{mumbai city guide} via chevrons & éclairs {mumbai city guide} via chevrons & éclairs

special thanks to Viator

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Special thanks to Viator for hosting us on this full private tour of Mumbai!
As always, all opinions and thoughts are my own.
 

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{mumbai city guide} via chevrons & éclairs
{mumbai city guide} via chevrons & éclairs

being different

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touching upon diversity

in collaboration with ROHET GARH and KALKI FASHION

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I’ve been taking advantage of my time being jet lagged. Waking up incredibly early before the streets are full of people and the children’s laughter fill the air as they walk to school. I sit in bed, instead of migrating to my desk, and peruse the parts of the internet that I’ve missed since being away to India. One thing that I came across was Kristabel’s video on racial diversity in fashion blogging and luckily for me her creative energy has kept her awake at random times of the night including that morning I watched the video and read through some of the comments.

I’ve spoken to Kristabel a bit about my frustrations about the blogosphere and how everyone can fit themselves in a niche and that niche was a very typical, broad “niche”. For myself, however, I’ve found it a bit difficult to fit in and continue to find this issue in blogging and the greater society too. As you know, I’ve refrained from sharing too much about my culture because I’m trying to find more relatable content to share with all of you. The more I open up about my culture, I believe that only focuses on a certain number of people and in turn will exclude more readers.

As my blog matured, I’ve come to know that bloggers with a small number of followers tend to have a stronger community than others. So I stuck with that and didn’t budge too much to get that fame and prestige most bloggers seek. I’m proud of the community I’ve created around c&é and even prouder of the friends I’ve made. And in critical times, my blog has even saved me (read: made friends through it when I first moved to London). With that said, blogging still hasn’t felt as inclusive as I would have liked since I started just a little over 5 years ago.
 

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{being different} via chevrons & éclairs {being different} via chevrons & éclairs

I grew up…

I’ve always been incredibly different from every setting I’ve been. From going to private school growing up in a completely American society to undergraduate and graduate school set in conservative towns. Being Indian was very different, so I assimilated to my surroundings and suppressed my true identity. Contrastingly, I assimilated so much so that my Americanized Western identity even scared off most of the Indian community. So I sit here at a crossroad, not completely fitting in anywhere… almost.

At home, I grew up with a family that predominately spoke in Gujarati and thus I learnt to read, write and speak it too (better than most Indian children you will ever meet). I grew up participating in cultural activities like training in Indian classical dance, Bharatha Natyam for 8 years. I grew up eating proper Indian meals at home with my hands. I grew up regularly visiting India. But kept all this behind closed doors so I could feel like I’m part of a greater community, feel a sense of belonging.

And since starting the blog, I’ve felt that I needed to keep those doors closed. It wasn’t until when I moved to London, adapted and made friends of all sorts of backgrounds did I realize the opportunity my background provided me. Meeting bloggers like Kristabel, Sade and Shini demonstrated the importance of showcasing who you are-does that make sense? Provided I was born and brought up in the Western world, one can still instill elements of their past and background into work today. It’s how one creates a niche, a uniqueness, not shared with anyone.

I’m going to conclude on that note as I can go on for day and days about this topic and take a pledge that I hope to routinely share this side of my world with you…
 

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{being different} via chevrons & éclairs
{being different} via chevrons & éclairs