Monday, December 24, 2018

Twinkle in the Sky - Christmas in London

All you need to do these days, to rise above from the grey, gloomy weather, is to look up and see the twinkle in the sky! Have you had the chance to see the Christmas lights in the city?

Last year, I was lucky enough to be in Seven Dials at the live switch-on moment and what a special experience it was. There was a mega choir that made everyone on the streets sing along to Christmas tunes, free wreath making, mulled wine and hot chocolate, pop up shops and blitz and joy at every corner.

This year, though I missed out on making it to any lights switch on events, I made my way to some popular spots to ring in the festivities! If you are in London this time of the year, here's my mini-guide to see the best of Christmas lights in the city.

Christmas is Calling Sign at Oxford Street

This sets the tone! Christmas is Calling, at London!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Showing Appreciation to Your Parents by Having Conversations that Matter

My fifty-seven and sixty-one year olds just announced that they signed up for Amazon Prime and are binge watching, wait for it, Grey’s Anatomy. Whaaat?

This was after they had finished Downton Abbey in just a couple of nights. A week living their lives as two twentysomethings, my dad complained of a sprained neck. It was then that I learnt, they had been glued to their television set way past their bedtimes!

“You need to cut down your TV-watching time, folks! Just two episodes in a day. Okay?” I said sternly.

Later, my sister and I, amused remembered the innumerable times the same dialogue had been aimed at us when we were in school.

How the tables have turned!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Things to Do in London - December Edit | Aditi's Pen

Make it a December to Remember!

How did it get so late so soon? I can hear everyone saying. But I am not complaining. December is lined up with very merry events. From something to fire up my creative belly to tingle my taste buds at the many Christmas markets in the city!

So, here's my December Edit of Things to do in London. These are all the events I plan to attend; there is so much to do in this city and this by no means is an exhaustive list, just me on my mini adventures this month.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Finding Autumn Magic in the New Forest | Aditi's Pen

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know I'm a teeny bit obsessed with Autumn. The transition from the greens of summer to the stunning autumn colours is magical. And though this cosy weather is on its way out, we held on to it a tad bit longer as we spent a day in New Forest a few weeks back.

Only about a 90-minute train ride from London’s Waterloo Station, the New Forest was the perfect base for us to enjoy long woodland walks, snug reading nights in front of a crackling fireplace, and leisurely pub dinners.

“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.” 
― Jim Bishop

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Things to Do in London - November Edit | Aditi's Pen

We are in November! The days are getting shorter, the nights colder, the leaves are turning from a golden yellow to rusty orange, the cafes are smelling of pumpkin spices, and there is a smell of new adventure in the air.

I am looking forward to this month; we are planning a woodland getaway next weekend to capture the essence of autumn, and I am also looking forward to a few sparkling events in London.

November is the month where London starts prepping for Christmas. I have already planned to wander around at the end of this month to capture the Christmas lights and decorations in the city.
(Last year's 'Christmas in London' wanderings are still on my Instagram highlights, if you fancy a view!)

So, here's my November Edit of Things to do in London. These are all the events I plan to attend; there is so much to do in this city and this by no means is an exhaustive list, just me on my mini adventures this month.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Escape London - Fighting All Odds to Get to the King's Throne

"When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die."
- Cersei, Game of Thrones

Well, we came out alive and well after a fun 60 minutes of solving puzzles at Escape London, Shepherds Bush, in an escape room loosely based on 'Game of Thrones' called 'Overthrone'.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Chasing the Last Bit of Summer Across the English Coast

A week back, we explored the timeless Edwardian seaside town of Bexhill-on-Sea. We had booked the trip at the very last minute, and our only plan was to relax by the sea, soaking in the tranquil surroundings.

But at every step, the town surprised us, enticed us. From its rich history, picturesque coastal walks to rich art and architecture, Bexhill sure came out to be East Sussex's best kept secret.

On a clear sunny Sunday afternoon, we took a leisurely 4 miles walk from Bexhill to St Leonards, stopping in between to immerse in the coastal views - the beach huts, crashing waves, playful seagulls, fisherman's lines hanging off the pebbled beach, children with big happy smiles holding even bigger ice-creams, dogs playing catch - just all things joyous.

Sharing few pictures from our walk.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Thirty-Two. Act-Two.

Thirty-Two. Act-Two.

When I turned thirty, the number didn't bother me. The big 30 didn't seem that big; the transition from 20s to 30s was pretty smooth and not life-altering in any manner (no sobbing in the shower, no panic attacks, nothing like the movies/books/sitcoms would have us believe).

But then, I quit my job in November, partly as I needed to be home with family, but mostly because I needed to do things for myself. No, I wasn't going through the 'turning-30-crisis' or 'quarter-life-crisis' as some call it.

I was however learning to beTo be proud of who I am, what I believe in and how I see the world. To be imperfect, messy, confused, but always trying. Always trying, to better myself.

Society has created a timeline that pressures women into believing we must have everything figured out and accomplished by a certain age. But I enjoy swimming against the tide, and while most people said to me you can't start over at 30, I said why the hell not! Every single day grants you the opportunity to start over, and so I took a dive and swam towards the kind of life that would make me happier and fulfilled.

Last week I celebrated turning 32, and as I sat with a cake in my hand, going through all the lovely and warm birthday wishes sent from all parts of the world, from friends and family, I couldn't help but feel grateful!

With age, I am learning to be. With age, I am learning to choose a life of abundance, gratitude, and of self-worth.

So, this is my thirty-two something list. Things I've gained perspective on, things I'm still figuring out. Lessons learnt and few things I've had to unlearn.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Soulmates, Let Them Be Who and What They are Meant to Be

"See, you make me believe in something..." 

"Something like love?" 

"I can't say. But we do belong together, on some level." 

"Belong lovers?" 

"Like lovers, or as friends, or as something entirely different." 

"Yes, like we light each other's lives." 

"Yes, like we awaken each other's souls." 

"I know what you mean." 

"I know you do!" 

A soulmate is not necessarily a bond with a significant other, or even a friend. That connection, that bond, is often indefinable, but it's a rare and precious thing in life to find, don’t you think?

I have been lucky to have found such connections. Every person has different layers to their personality, and I believe we find different bits of ourselves in different people. We connect with them, sometimes in most unexpected situations, at times when you need them the most. They inspire you in some ways, give you hope and you share a part of your soul with them.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The White Cliffs & the Sea Air

We are sisters, lovers, mothers...
We are gentle, creative, receptive...
We are the seven sisters.
Take our hand,
walk with us
under the dramatic skies.
Revel in the views,
the white cliffs & the sea air.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A Scenic Walk through Richmond | #AditisPen

Walking in London, gives me the greatest joy - each street, each lane way, each park, has a hidden secret that you’ll only find on foot. And I love exploring London neighborhoods this way. Wear my comfy shoes, get my camera out, hop on the tube to discover the charms of a new place.

A few days back, I visited Richmond, an endearing village, way at the end of the District Line in southwest London. And though my first time there, I fell in love with all its beauty. The grassy river bank with wine glasses clinking at a distance, buskers playing their favorite tunes hypnotizing Londoners under the glistening sun, dogs taking a swim, keen kayakers cruising across the River Thames, children running around leafy bushes and climbing atop trees having their mini summer adventure, the busy high street with unique coffee shops and shopping delights, and up the Richmond Park adorable dogs chasing squirrels, and if you are lucky, spotting a deer or two roaming freely in the wild.

I felt like capturing every moment; here are few scenes from my day out in Richmond. Hope you enjoy the video!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Hills, Valleys and Happiness Abound | #AditisPen

Last month we took a road trip through Yorkshire. What a memorable trip it was; my happiness knew no bounds surrounded by the greens of the hills and valleys, the tender silence of nature, the bundles of cotton swaying gently into the blues of summer skies and the laughter and madness that comes with travelling with the people you love!

Here's a little travel journal film that I made, hope you enjoy it!

We traveled without a plan, looking up where to go just minutes before sitting in the car and driving into the wild. There are an abundance of places to see in South Yorkshire and great trekking paths. Here's what we touched over the long weekend.

Monday, June 4, 2018

A Literary Taste of Jaipur in London - British Library (8-10 June)

One of my favourite things about living in London is that it is a cultural centre where great worlds collide and come together leaving us richer with expression, creativity, experience and opinions.

And this weekend, I am all set to attend ‘The greatest literary show on Earth’.

2018 marks the fifth anniversary of ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival’s presence in London, and the producers, Teamwork Arts along with co-directors Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple have curated a bespoke programme for UK audiences, to be held on this weekend, June 8-10.

Namita Gokhale, ZEE JLF at British Library (Photo by Stuart Armitt)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Museum of Broken Relationships, Zagreb #AditisPen

As a museum goer and art lover, I enjoy the self exploration that an exhibition stimulates. It's a rewarding experience, visiting a museum. But it's not very often that it has a lasting impact.

The Museum of Broken Relationships was one such intriguing experience, where the inspiration has stayed with me till date.

It was on a hot summer day that we visited Zagreb. Idling through the sleepy streets, we were looking for a cafe to satisfy our hunger pangs, when we found ourselves standing before this beautiful baroque Kulmer palace in the historical upper town of the city. The name caught my attention, and in we went. Not realizing that the next two hours would be an emotional glimpse into the life of broken hearts from across the world.

After they mutually decided to separate, Croatian artists Olinka Vistina and Drazen Grubisic were reluctant to part with the sentimental mementos of their past love. This inspired them to open the Museum of Broken Relationships, so that the items could remain together. The idea took off and soon people from all over began to donate their reminders of heartbreak.

From a key bottle opener, to rubber shoes, a wisp of hair, a stupid frisbee, a French ID, a child's pedal car, a postcard - each item is accompanied by personal stories evoking a whole lot of memories - love, nostalgia, bitterness, lust - nothing escapes this exhibition.

Breaking up connects people. The Museum found this to be true, with over 1,000 people a week visiting the collection in its permanent home in Croatia. This intense success had them opening a second Museum of Broken Relationships in Los Angeles in 2016.

The stories stayed with me for long and inspired this guest post - In this piece I've explored travel inspired storytelling. This is a work of fiction inspired by my travel to Zagreb, Croatia in May 2017.

It was a bright sunny day in May, and I was walking around Zagreb, Croatia. Nothing seemed strange, except you were on my mind. We had spoken the night before and both, though struggling through their own mental breakdowns, were quick to comfort and advice each other.

Read the entire post on Shalzmojo - Not Broken, But Forever Grateful | A Summer Day in Zagreb

Would love your feedback: Do let me know what you think of this narrative style? I'd love it if you tell me in the comments!

Pin It For Later ⇘

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Mindfulness, Meditation and Migraine #AditisPen

Strange title, you might think. But for someone who is writing this at 1 am and suffers from migraine attacks, who has adopted mindfulness in her daily life, and whose definition of meditation is 'to reach out, to reach within', these three Ms hold a lot of meaning.

Now, where do I start? I have always been a night owl. I remember as kids, my sister would flat out as soon as she hit the bed and I would stay up tossing and turning till an ungodly hour. Call me selfish, but sometimes I would really get desperate and wake her up. She would then stroke my hair or massage my head until one of us, usually her again, would drift off. At other times, a worried parent would come into our room and try to put me to sleep. Even as a teenager and well into my adult years, Mom would sit by the bed and narrate stories, this could be family gossip too; and Dad would help me meditate. His soothing voice would guide me to 'breathe in, and breathe out', 'to relax the toes, the tips of your fingers', and so on.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Dazzling Winter Nights - Lumiere London 2018

What an incredible evening! My heart is singing after experiencing some jaw dropping light installations last night.

Lumiere London is the UK's largest light festival and they are showcasing more than 50 UK and international artists in London. It opened yesterday and I was able to visit eight art works on my first night out. Each unique in its creativity; spaces, streets and iconic buildings envisaged in a different light.

The festival is on from 17:30 - 22:30 each evening, 18th - 21st January. And if you are in London, leave the warmth of your houses and go exploring. Trust me, all your January blues will be forgotten!

And the best thing, it's free. Curated by Artichoke, an arts charity and the UK's leading producer of art in the public realm, the festival has returned for the second time in the city after its first dazzling showcase in 2016.

Enough said, take a look at few of the captures from day one of chasing the lights.

This way, please.