Victoria

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The 2nd Season of Victoria has been released and I can’t believe that it has taken me this long to write about it!

It’s impeccably written and staged. Aimed at the same audiences that enjoyed Downton Abbey, and The Crown.

Victoria follows the young Queen from the time she becomes The Queen of England through her passionate courtship and marriage to Prince Albert. The TV series Victoria dramatizes the romance and reign of the girl behind the famous monarch. Jenna Coleman is absolutely perfect as Victoria, and there are strong supporting roles like Tom Hughes as Albert and Rufus Sewell as Lord Melbourne. I have to say that Rufus Sewell is superb in the role of Lord Melbourne. He managed to appear supremely noble, with just a hint of sadness and vulnerability lurking beneath the surface!

I’ve always been fascinated by the Victorian era and I love how the Queen and her Prince have changed the face of London to what we know it today! .. My favorite novels have been written in her era and yet I always imagined her as a sad lonely old woman!…..I guess it’s because she spent half her life in mourning the death of her beloved husband!

I can honestly say that this show made me look at her from a different light … I’ve gained a new admiration for the Queen! Here she’s been portrayed as an independent outspoken, and quite a determined young lady… Love that!

 

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The Queen’s links with Europe’s royal families earned her the nickname “The grandmother of Europe”! She and Prince Albert had 9 children, 4 boys, and 5 girls … They had 42 grandchildren, of whom 34 survived to adulthood. Their descendants include Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Harald V of Norway, Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Margrethe II of Denmark, and Felipe VI of Spain.

 

 

 

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My Classic Book List

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Years ago I’ve created a mental list of the classic books I wanted to read … I decided to share it here today just in case someone out there is interested in  reading more classic fiction! I’ve added a few more books here …. And I must admit that I haven’t read much from my list but seeing it on this screen is encouraging me to read this list …

I’ll write a little review about each one in my old Book of the Week section (which I’m planning to start up again) once I’m done reading a book (along with other books of course)… I do have other lists like historical fiction and modern classics etc which I’ll share here some other time … Meanwhile here is my Classic list:

  1. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  2. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
  3. No Name by Wilkie Collins
  4. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  5. Emma by Jane Austen
  6. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  7. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  8. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  9. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  10. Love and Friendship by Jane Austen
  11. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  12. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  13. Villette by Charlotte Brontë
  14. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
  15. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  16. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  17. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  18. Bleak House by Charles Dickens
  19. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  20. Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
  21. Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin
  22. The Queen of Spades by Alexander Pushkin
  23. Zoe: the History of Two Lives by Geraldine Endsor Jewsbury
  24. The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde
  25. Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
  26. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
  27. Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
  28. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  29. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
  30. Tess of the D’urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

 

So do you have any more suggestions?

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Organizing: Art

I decided to add this new Category on the blog! ….. Because I love organizing…. and also …. why not?… I love it so much! It is my stress reliever! Nothing distresses me more… not even a warm bath in my favorite Aveda oils!!! I just love finding new ways to organise and store things… Yes, I’m aware of how exciting this all sounds! please hold on to your seats!

Lately, I’ve been trying to find best possible solutions in storing my contemporary art collection that has been growing despite the fact that my place hasn’t haha! Storing art in the right climate and the right way has become my obsession!… And after researching for the best possible solution I decided to put an art rack in my storeroom! Yes, I know very exciting!

Anyways, here are the reasons why I’ve decided to do that:

  1. They will preserve precious floor space while maintaining the framed artwork. This means less space is required for my collection in the storeroom.
  2. What it really means is that it’ll double my art storage capacity in the same area.
  3. The artwork would be protected from scratches etc.
  4. Will be easy to reach as well as aesthetically pleasing to look at.
  5. I can even hang my very small collection of antique mirrors!

 

And here is the picture that inspired me,  it might inspire you too!

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Picture via pattersonpope.com

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Idris Khan’s Spaghetti Arrabbiata

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I found this recipe for Spaghetti Arrabbiata by the renowned artist Idris Khan and thought that I’d give it a try

Ingredients (serves 4-5)

Extra virgin olive oil
Half a red onion, finely chopped
1tbs balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 red chillies, chopped, seeds left in (depending on how hot you want it)
2 tins cherry tomatoes
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
basil leaves
rind of the Parmesan block (optional)
a little sugar (optional)
one packet of spaghetti
loads of grated Parmesan cheese

Method
Heat 3tbs extra virgin olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over a medium heat. Add the red onion and stir around a few times to cover with oil.

Add the balsamic vinegar and stir, then add the red wine and reduce down until the onion is nicely caramelised.

Add the garlic and chilli and stir to coat everything in the red wine reduction. After a couple of minutes add the tomatoes and their juice, sprinkle with salt and black pepper and add ten basil leaves (never chop them, just rip them up in your hands).

If you have the rind off the bottom of the Parmesan block, chop this off and add to the sauce. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and cook, stirring from time to time and breaking up the tomatoes, until you have a thick sauce; this will take around 20 to 30 mins. Sometimes the tinned tomatoes may not be sweet enough, so I add a sprinkle of sugar to lift the sauce.

Add black pepper to taste. Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water until al dente (I always take two minutes off the time on the packet), drain and add to the sauce, stirring it through until every piece if the spaghetti is covered with tomato.

Serve with a few ripped basil leaves on top and a big bowl of grated Parmesan to sprinkle over.

via wallpaper magazine

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Style Icon: Sanyogita Devi of Indore ​

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The Maharani of Indore, by Boutet de Monvel, 1934.

After the arrival of the British, the maharajas lost most of their real political power. But they were retained by the British for important ceremonial reasons, primarily to support the empire’s claim on India. Some of the kings and their wives became darlings of the European social set, and their palaces were often furnished in the most contemporary European design. They would have been educated in Europe and would have traveled frequently to European capitals.

The Maharaja Yeshwani Rao Holkar II and his wife Maharani Sanyogita Devi of Indore were one such couple. They became friends with the artist Man Ray, who often photographed them.

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Maharani Sanyogita Devi and her husband the Maharaja Yeshwant Rao Holkar of Indore, were considered one of the chicest couples of the Jazz Age. They married in 1924 and gave birth to their first child, Princess Usha Devi, on October 20th, 1933 in Paris. Educated in England, the Maharaja and Maharani were fixtures amongst the international jet set of the 1920s and ‘30s; equally at ease in the gilded drawing rooms of New York, London and Paris. In Hollywood they befriended the stars and movie moguls of the day such as Douglas Fairbanks Jr. who invited them to movie sets and film premiers. Celebrated as one of the era’s most stylish women, the Maharani would frequently appear at functions dressed by Vionnet, Schiaparelli and Lanvin. During couture presentations, she stood out amongst European and American clients in her custom French chiffon saris, elegantly perched on a gilt chair with a fur coat draped over her shoulders. The royal couple also had a deep interest in modern art and design, which won them the friendship of some of the greatest artists and designers of the era, including furniture designer Emil Ruhlmann, artist Constantin Brancusi (from whom they commissioned several sculptures) and Man Ray, who shared their passion for jazz and captured the couple in a series of playful portraits while on vacation in Cannes.

 

 

Amongst the most memorable portraits of the Maharaini were those by the celebrated society painter of the day, Bernard Boutet de Monvel, who sketched fashions for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar early in his career. Over the course of four years, he would create three striking portraits capturing the chic Maharani in French chiffon saris and elegant couture gowns. Two of the portraits were displayed to the public for the first time in the Maharaja exhibition at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in 2010. Amongst them was de Monvel’s 1931 portrait that captured the Maharani’s legendary elegance, wearing a dress by Madeleine Vionnet with a diamond and emerald necklace by Mauboussin.

In 1930 they commissioned a German architect to build a new streamlined Art Moderne palace, Manik Bagh, in Indore. Every detail of this remarkable building was designed and created in Europe; equipped with the latest technologies. Avant-garde furnishings were also commissioned from designers in Berlin, London and Paris that included tabular steel chairs by architect Marcel Breuer, a chaise longue by Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand, as well as an ebony, chrome and leather armchair by Eileen Gray. In May 1980, the contents of their palace in Indore was sold during an auction in Monte Carlo, with a large number of pieces finding their way into the collection of the Al-Thani family of Qatar.

 

Two of the Art Moderne interiors of Manik Bagh Palace.

The Maharani Sanyogita died at the age of 23. She left behind their 4 year old daughter, and her husband, not even 30, was devastated.

The Maharaja married twice more, both times to American divorcées. He had a son with his third wife, whom he had married in 1943, but because of the irregularity of this marriage, his titles eventually passed to his daughter from his first marriage.

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Maharaja Yeshwani Rao Holkar II and Maharani Sanyogita Devi of Indore, c. 1930.Man Ray, now part of the Al-Thani Collection.

Via Gods and Fools 

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7 Beautiful Interiors from the 70s

The 70s interiors have been having a strong comeback lately… I think most people picture those interiors to be crazy and lack sophistication…. however many of those interiors were actually very sophisticated and classy!

Here are 7 interiors from the 70s that I hope will inspire you to add a sophisticated yet an eclectic touch to your home xxx

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Best Dressed Met Gala 2017

Those are my favorite looks at the Met Gala in no particular order:

The Costume Institute Benefit celebrating the opening of Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art of the In-Between, Arrivals, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA - 01 May 2017

The Cartier jewelry Sofia Coppola wore was perfect with that shimmery gold Marc Jacobs gown.

Alexa Chung wore a classic polka-dot dress by Diane von Furstenberg

The Costume Institute Benefit celebrating the opening of Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art of the In-Between, Arrivals, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA - 01 May 2017

 That beaded Stella McCartney dress looked stunning on Gisele Bündchen

The Costume Institute Benefit celebrating the opening of Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art of the In-Between, Arrivals, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA - 01 May 2017

 Emmy Rossum wore my absolute favorite jewelry design!… I think that Art deco jewelry designs are the most beautiful designs.  The diamond earrings were by Ashoka ,  the watch and bracelet were by Fred Leighton… She wore a custom Carolina Herrera outfit and Christian Louboutin heels.

Style Icon: Katherine Hepbern

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Katharine Hepburn’s sense of fashion raised more than a few eyebrows in the 1930’s !. In those days, women’s fashion had not yet been liberated by the practicalities of World War II, (when women had to get out and take positions in the workplace in order to provide a living for their families while the men were at war). Women in the 1930s were actually arrested if they were seen in public wearing pants!. In those days clothing was still perceived as a manifestation of one’s gender, and “mannish” trousers were feared to reflect a perversity within women. But Katharine Hepburn stuck to her guns when it came to fashion and insisted on wearing those practical and comfortable pants that looked just perfect on her!

Katharine had her jeans custom made on Savile Row of all places!. I just love how she wore her wide legged, high waisted jeans with the beautiful long coats in the pictures above.

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I truly love her style and always have her wide high waisted pants look in mind when I’m shopping for pants or when I’m putting a looking together ….. And I love finding hints of how much her style and especially her pantsuits still influences luxury brands till today ….. I always find her influences in brands like Céline and Max Mara to name a few!

Burrata and Tomato Zoodles Recipe

Summer has almost started in Oman and nothing says summer dinners to me like Burrata … and pasta! But since pasta is a bit heavy on the calories side we have replaced it with zoodles (my new obsession)…  I found this recipe via this blog and have made different versions of it but feel that if you are trying zoodles for the first time this recipe would be a good start. It takes about 20 minutes and is one of my favorite comfort food, minus the carbs. Before you start make sure you buy a good spiralizer. Trust me you won’t be able to live without it 😉

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2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
4 medium tomatoes
1-pint cherry tomatoes
1 large zucchini or 2 small zucchini, spiralized
1 large handful fresh basil
1 ball burrata
salt and pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil to taste, if desired

Heat up the olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook, stirring often, until lightly golden. Add the medium tomatoes, cover, turn on medium high and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and carefully, using the back of a wooden spoon, crush the tomatoes into a sauce. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until the sauce is bubbling and has reduced slightly.

Add the zoodles, tossing, until cooked through and tender, 2-3 minutes. Turn the heat off and garnish with torn basil and burrata. Season with salt and pepper and finish with extra virgin olive oil, if desired. Enjoy!

The recipe and pictures via Iamfoodblog