Category: International

Christmas spirit!

Santa Claus and Christmas

Christmas is undeniably a glorious season, a busy time for most, caught up in the pressures of the season and that special day. But as most festivals, and in the pursuit of happiness, one must retain the true essence that this marvellous day embodies. Finding real joy is not in all that hurrying and scurrying to get more done, but the real joy is to just focus on what’s important.

Christmas village
Christmas village

The true celebration of Christmas should simply reflect love and selflessness taught by the Saviour, born in a stable, cradled in a manger, who came forth to reshape the world, which prevailed in those days and, henceforth, taught mankind that sacrifice and love is above all. The spirit of Christmas should illuminate the picture window of one’s soul; it should throb with every beat of your heart. What we are mistaken about is that Christmas is not just about a day or a mere season, Christmas is about the human spirit, living the truth every moment of every day. While it’s easy to soften our hearts, forgive our enemies, and obey the word, the gospel truth is that like all religions Christianity is also about living this philosophy day in and day out all through our lives.

The complexion of Christmas wears a paint of brotherly love. Joy filled Christmas is not about the gifts you receive or give, nor how lavish the festivities are, but imbibing the gifts of true understanding and compassion, service and friendship, kindness and gentleness.

Somewhere in the recesses of my memory, a simple poem penned by English poet Christina Rossetti always springs forth during this season:

Christina Rossetti 3

What can I give Him?

Poor as I am?

If I were a Shepherd

I would bring a lamb,

If I were a wise man,

I would do my part,

Yet what can I give Him?

Give my heart.

These are indeed such beautiful words, simple but deep. Something to think upon, something to contemplate!

So, while December brings forth the only Christmas Day in the year, let there be Christmas all through the year in things you do and say. It isn’t about the tinsel and decorations, the tree and gifts; the mince pies or Christmas cake, it’s not about your hearths being warm and your holidays being grand, it’s all about your hearts being warm and your generosity being grand.

It’s all about giving your children the right perspective on the fantasy of Santa and the angels, the miracles and wonders. Cinch in that thought that Christmas is not about you what you buy. It is about what you make, the traditions, memories and bonhomie. A Christmas that holds you, can revive and reshape you. Make this season one for kindling the fire of hospitality in your homes and the genial flame of charity in your hearts.

A merry and joyful Christmas to all!

Cook Yourself a Yummy X’Mas Feast!

Roast Turkey with Cranberry Sauce


1 whole Turkey

Butter 100 gm,

Chopped Onion 100 gm,

Chopped Celery 100 gm,

Crumbled sage and thyme 10 gm,

Salt and pepper to taste,

Chopped fresh parsley 10gm,

1 bay leaf,

Garlic minced 10 gm,

Balsamic vinegar to taste,

Sugar 20 gm,

Cranberry 150 gm.

Method– In a skillet melt butter over medium heat. Stir in onions, celery, sage, thyme and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes or until brown. Remove giblets and neck from the turkey cavity, keep for gravy.

Rinse turkey inside out with running water. Stir together with a little of the remaining butter, sage, salt and pepper, rub over turkey, inside and out. Loosely pack stuffing into neck and body cavities, fold over and skewer neck flap closed over stuffing. Tie legs together.

Place turkey, breast side up on a rack in roasting pan. Cover with foil and roast in 325 degrees F oven for about 1.5 hours, basting with pan juices every 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue to roast or 1 ¾ hour, basting every half hour. Keep it aside for carving.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring chicken stock turkey neck, giblets, onion and bay leaf to boil. Reduce heat and simmer. While cooked turkey rests, skim excess fat from roasting pan whisk in flour until well combined. Gradually whisk in reserved giblet stock. Bring to boil and cook. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Strain and serve alongside turkey.

For cranberry sauce in a small saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; stir in onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until softened. Put balsamic vinegar, boil for 5 minutes or until reduced. Now mix together cranberries, sugar, salt and pepper. Mix into onion mixture. Bring to boil and cook until cranberries are tender, and sauce is thick.

Gingerbread with jaggery

Gingerbread with jaggery, Christmas spirit


100 gm unsalted butter at room temperature,

135 gm jaggery granules or jaggery chopped fine,

45 ml honey,

30 ml water,

1 tsp dried ginger powder,

1 tsp cinnamon powder,

Zest of 1 orange,

1 tsp. baking powder,

½ tsp. baking soda,

2 eggs,

175 gms whole-wheat flour,

Demerara sugar for sprinkling over.

Method: Preheat oven to 180 c. Line a baking sheet with parchment and lightly grease 5 mini cake moulds. Place the jaggery, butter, honey and water in a heatproof bowl. Then heat in microwave for a minute, until the butter has melted. Whisk well with a balloon whisk until the jaggery and butter have combined.

Add the ginger powder, pie spice, orange zest, vanilla extract, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk well to mix.

Whisk in the eggs one by one. Now fold in the whole-wheat flour gently.

Ladle into prepared tins, sprinkle over dried orange crystals. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes until risen and light golden brown. Use a tester to check if done.

Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes and then gently loosen sides to demould. Serve warm as it is or with a drizzle of unsweetened whipped cream.

Gluten-free Christmas cake


300 gm pre- soaked Christmas dry fruit with orange and lemon zest,

200 ml jaggery syrup,

150 gms almond flour,

100 gms grated apple,

175 gms butter,

4 medium eggs.

Method– Preheat the oven to 140 degrees. Put the remaining ingredients except for the flour in a large bowl. Beat with a hand-held electric mixer until well combined. Fold the almond flour well.

Grease a deep 23 cm round tin or 20 cm square cake tin with butter. Line with a double layer of baking paper and grease the paper. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin. Level the top.

Bake for about 2 hours until firm to the touch and a skewer pushed into the middle comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin.

When the cake has cooled, remove the baking powder, pierce the top in several places with a skewer, then pour over a little brandy. Remove cake from the tin but wrap it with baking powder, then wrap with foil. Then store in a cool place to mature.

Decorate the cake with Glace fruit, marzipan or ready-to-use icing.

Yule log

Chocolate yule log- Eldriva -Flickr, Christmas
Chocolate yule log- Eldriva -Flickr


Dark chocolate 100 gm

Fresh Cream 50 gm,

Whipped Cream 70 gms,

Nutella 100 gms,

Milk 1 litre,

Milkmaid 500 gms,

Curd 500 gms,

Castor sugar for dusting,

Maida 150 gms,

Baking powder 70 gms,

Baking soda 30 gms,

Cocoa powder 150 gms,

Oil 50 ml

Method– Prepare the log sponge by mixing milk, Milkmaid, curd, sugar. Add all dry items in the mixture and oil at the end. By heating cream and dark chocolate and make the ganache. Now add whipped cream and Nutella into the ganache and assemble in a log shape, serve in plate and dust icing sugar (castor sugar).

Recipes courtesy – Executive Sous Chef Lokesh Jarodia of Novotel Imagica Khopoli and Executive Chef Gopal Jha of Grand Mercure Bangalore.


What is Halloween?

Well, it is just around the corner on the 31st October. It is a yearly celebration observed across the globe, the eve of Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. It is time to remember the dead, saints (hallows), martyrs and all the departed believers. It is said that Halloween dates back to about 1745.

means hallowed evening or holy evening. Around the world, on this day, the Christians attend church services, light candles on the graves of the dead. Contemporary Halloween activities include trick –or-treating, attending costume parties, decorating, carving pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns, lightening bonfires, apple bobbing and divination games, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, scary stories being told and watching horror films. On All Hallows’ Eve, there is self-denial from meat, giving rise to a variety of vegetarian foods associated with this day.

Costumes and jewellery

Halloween costumes are conventionally exhibited after supernatural figures such as vampires, monsters, ghosts, skeletons, witches, and devils. Halloween being around the corner, we often plan out our costumes for the costume parties.

 Halloween sale Use code SPOOKY


If there is a costume party for Halloween, how can we not have food. So, here are DIY HALLOWEEN TREATS!

You may like to read Halloween Tricks and treats

Halloween Movies to watch:

With the costumes and food set for the Halloween, here is a list of movies/series to watch for Halloween

  • The exorcist

and many more, which is your favourite Halloween movie?

Wishing you all in advance, a very Happy Halloween

International Yoga Day and World Music Day

meditation yoga day

Yoga is the dance of every cell with the music of every breath that creates inner serenity and harmony.” Choose yoga for external as well as internal fitness. #Enerzal #InternationalYogaDay2018

— EnerzalIndia (@EnerzalIndia) June 21, 2018

What is Yoga?

The word Yoga means unity and has been derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’ which means ‘to join’. Therefore, Yoga is a means of balancing and bringing harmony between the mind, body and soul. Yoga includes asanas, mudras, kriyas, shaktakarmas and meditation. Yoga instructors advise Yoga must be practised for an hour each day for a healthy mind and body.

My SandArt on #InternationalYogaDay2018 with message “Yoga for harmony and peace” at Puri beach, Odisha.#IDY2018

— Sudarsan Pattnaik (@sudarsansand) June 21, 2018

How did Yoga Day originate?

June 21 is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and has special significance in many parts of the world. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had proposed this date at the United Nations General Assembly 2014. The first Yoga day was observed all over the world on June 21, 2015. The event created two Guinness world records – one for the largest yoga class, featuring 35,985 people, and second for the largest number of participating nationalities (84 nations).

How Yoga can help you to evolve in your life?#InternationalYogaDay2018 #Yoga #YogaDay #InternationalYogaDay #InternationalDayofYoga2018 #health #fitness #meditation #Pmo #stayhealthy #StayFit @PMOIndia @moayush

— Speaking Tree (@speakingtree) June 20, 2018

Yoga transforms the body, mind & leads one on the path to greater self-discovery. International Day of Yoga aims to raise awareness about the benefits of practising yoga and incorporating it into your daily life.

You may also like World Music Day 2017

Today is #WorldMusicDay
🎼🎙️🎵🎸🎶🥁🎻🎺🎷#Music brings the world closer. Not just words, there are notes, songs, and tunes to express every emotion. To mark its significance, music lovers all across the globe get together to celebrate #WorldMusicDay on June 21 every year.

— Arti Singh🎶📚 (@ArtiParmar23) June 21, 2018

Celebrated every 21st of June, World Music Day is a global event which allows you to tune into live music in all its diversity!

Following are a few events happening from across the world-

World Music Day events in Mumbai

This year, Alliance Française de Bombay along with Gatecrash and FLEA Bazaar Café brings you the unique opportunity to :

• Perform live! •

  • Witness some amazing performances by reputed musicians!
  • The Blues in the Jazz 21 Jun, 7:00 PM, Artisan, Sofitel, Bandra Kurla Complex
  • World Music Day feat. Mumbai’s Finest + Dee MC + MC Kaur 21 Jun, 8:30 PM
  • Hard Rock Cafe, Andheri, Andheri

If you are in Paris, this World Music Day, then check this out-
World Music Day 2018 in Paris: the top 15 events

Happy #WorldMusicDay to all music lovers out there.! One thing which every soul can understand.🎶

— Sanjeev Kumar (@sanjeevkumar_IN) June 21, 2018


Vivid Sydney 2018 Precincts

The world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas, Vivid Sydney returns in 2018 with a spectacular new precinct at Luna Park, the return of much-loved Customs House, and a fantastical blend of everyday objects and Australian-inspired motifs on the sails of the Sydney Opera House.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Adam Marshall said, “Vivid Sydney has delighted and inspired people from around Australia and the world. With the Festival now in its 10th year, visitors and locals alike can once again expect to be mesmerised by the Vivid Sydney program, with larger installations and a gripping Music and Ideas offering, so I encourage visitors to start planning their trip early to get the most out of this year’s exciting line-up.

“Over 23 nights from Friday 25 May to Saturday 16 June, Vivid Sydney will paint the Harbour City in the colour and spectacle of Vivid Light, take over Sydney stages with Vivid Music’s electric performances and collaborations, and provide a global forum for thought-provoking debate and creative discussion at Vivid Ideas.”

Vivid Sydney is owned, managed and produced by the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency Destination NSW and in 2017, attracted a record-breaking 2.33 million attendees to Vivid Sydney, delivering an incredible $143 million of visitor expenditure into the NSW economy.


For the first time, Vivid Sydney’s dazzling Light Walk extends to new precinct Luna Park Sydneywhere the iconic amusement park comes alive with a large-scale projection on the facade of Coney Island. The show celebrates the history, magic, creativity, engineering, fantasy and imagination that have come together to create millions of memories on this unique and special site. This year also marks the first time Luna Park’s iconic Ferris Wheel will be lit for the festival following an LED refit, which has included a massive boost in the number of lights adorning the wheel.

Vivid Sydney’s bright lights will illuminate the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney again in 2018, where visitors will follow a pathway that weaves through an exciting nocturnal environment inspired by nature. Here, Parrot Party inspired by the New Zealand Kea Parrot and the Australian Rainbow Lorikeet comes alive as people gather, breaking into song and radiating colourful light. Aqueous will dazzle with its interactive landscape of meandering pathways of light, which will flow and glow in full illuminated interactivity, engaging visitors in collaborative play. The Blooma giant electric, metallic flower with petals adorned with mirrors that refract and reflect light, puts you in the centre of the flower capturing the perfect photo moment, and He’e nalu gives the joyous sensation of surfing a wave.

In celebration of their 100 year anniversary, May Gibbs’ iconic and immortal characters, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie and their stalwart companions come to life on the façade of Customs House, as they journey through the Australian Bush and encounter the weird, the wonderful, and things quite unknown altogether. This whimsical piece will be narrated by renowned Australian film and television actress Noni Hazlehurst AM, Patron of the Australian Children’s Laureate, and beloved by Play School devotees far and wide.

All eyes turn to the World-Heritage listed Sydney Opera House at the centre of the Vivid Light Walk for Lighting of the Sails, created in 2018 by award-winning Australian artist Jonathan Zawada. Visitors will be captivated by Metamathemagical, a bold and dynamic display of morphing digital sculptures inspired by recognisable Australian motifs across science, nature and culture.

Sydney’s iconic buildings will once again be transformed, including the facade of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) with Virtual Vibration, a highly-collaborative creative work produced in conjunction with MCA Collection artist Jonny Niesche and composer Mark Pritchard. Interactive lighting display Skylark will let visitors put their own colourful mark on the city, stretching from the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the skyscrapers of Circular Quay to the reaches of Sydney Harbour.

Network Ten and MasterChef Australia will bring a magical experience to the facade of the ASN Co. Building in The Rocks, in celebration of both Masterchef and Vivid Sydney’s 10th Birthday with Mystery Gateau. Mini construction-worker chefs will guide you on a journey of fun and wonderment, with the famous MasterChef clock ticking down to the final extraordinary surprise.

Popular precincts Taronga Zoo, Darling Harbour, Chatswood, Barangaroo and Kings Cross will return in 2018.

Festival favourites from last year are back along with a whole new mob of fierce, fantastic, quirky and endearing species for Taronga Zoo’s Lights for the Wild. Visitors will discover some new spectacular animal light sculptures, and learn how Taronga is working to help save 10 species from extinction over the next 10 years.

An art-meets-technology water fountain, light and laser experience takes Darling Harbour visitors into a dream-like dive under the ocean, while the iconic rooftop of the Australian National Maritime Museum will be projected with BBC Earth and Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II, exploring the fascinating world beneath the waves.

A pop-up market inspired by the colourful neighbourhood street markets of Brazil, built from a scaffold and recycled materials and lit by lasers will transform the Chatswood CBD. The Concourse will take visitors on an immersive, deep dive into space featuring NASA’s amazing imagery and 360-degree projection.

Barangaroo glows under layers of light and sound that evoke the surrounding waterways, with the precinct coming to life through the magnificent art of puppetry with a breathtaking, giant luminescent creature venturing along the waterfront in a theatrical display of sound and light.

Precinct contributor Coca-Cola returns to light up the streets of Sydney’s iconic Kings Cross and to support another KX program in 2018. The colourful strip along Darlinghurst Road will be transformed with a spectacular display of light and life. The famous Coca-Cola sign comes alive again in 2018 with an array of flair and a creative colour show. Other Vivid KX transformations include the historic Victorian Terrace; World Bar, which will unfurl a multi-story house party, and the renowned Kings Cross Hotel, which will host cutting-edge artists curated by legendary party-crews.


Vivid Music ups the ante in 2018 with an electric line-up, from noise to jazz, sonic experimentation to the soul. Highlights include a one-night-only performance by Grammy award-winning rock-goddess St. Vincent, and the return of Curve Ball headlined by Alison Wonderland — a large-scale live music and art event created by the team behind Field Day, Harbourlife and Listen Out — both at Carriageworks.

The City Recital Hall returns to the program, tracking the extraordinary rise in jazz with the Innovators In Jazz series featuring the undisputed king, triple Grammy award-winner saxophonist Branford Marsalis. The world’s finest jazz vocalists including Kurt Elling and chanteuse Madeleine Peyroux will line up alongside Orange is the New Black star Lea Delaria in her musical comedy, jazz interpretation show.

Vivid LIVE at the Sydney Opera House hosts a stellar line-up of Australian exclusives as part of Vivid Sydney, including several Opera House debuts. Highlights this year include American dream-pop icons Mazzy Star, the godfather of West Coast rap Ice Cube, acclaimed 90s indie rock singer/songwriter Cat Power, Grammy award-winning artist Solange, and the long-awaited collaboration between iconic Australian artists Daniel Johns and Luke Steele

Now in its 4th year as part of Vivid Sydney, Heaps Gay struts uptown to Sydney Town Hall for an unmissable experience, the inaugural Queen’s Ball. Other not-to-be-missed events include Young Hearts Run Free and one of Australia’s most exciting breakthrough artists performing at the Enmore Theatre, Vera Blue.

Also returning to Vivid Music in 2018 is X|Celerate, a partnership between Vivid Sydney and the City of Sydney to enliven music venues across town. Showcasing grassroots and emerging local music talent, highlights will include Purple Sneakers 12th birthday at The Lansdowne, a fusion of food, wine and music at Cake Wines Cellar Door, and HAPPY and VISIONS at The Lady Hampshire.

You may also like Six must-visit Foodie places in Sydney


As architects of the future, it’s time to join the masterminds and creative catalysts at Vivid Ideas for inspiration. Vivid Ideas provides a forum to workshop, collaborate and cultivate fresh thinking to drive the creative agenda across tech, design, entertainment and culture. Vivid Ideas returns in 2018 with some of the world’s greatest minds as we explore the future-shaping scenarios that will define our lives.

Vivid Ideas 2018 showcases those who are leading the way in technology, creativity and science. Game Changers and Creative Catalysts this year include film-maker, marine explorer and conservationist James Cameron. In a Vivid Sydney exclusive, James will explore his passion for science and technology, and how it has influenced his work as a film director and environmentalist. James will be joined in conversation by Adam Spencerwhile in Sydney to open the James Cameron – Challenging the Deep exhibition at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Australian global success story Dare Jennings — founder of Mambo Clothing, Phantom Records and Deus ex Machina — joins his good friend James Valentine to discuss creating cult brands that cut across age and lifestyles as well the joys of throwing out the rulebook.

Futurist and game developer, Jane McGonigal can prove games have the power transform our real world lives. She and Artificial Intelligence expert Kriti Sharma join Vivid Ideas to explore the latest in AI, VR and gaming to ask what kind of society we can create with technology.

Visual strategist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and co-founder of the Museum of Awe, Dan Goods joins the Vivid Ideas Creative Catalysts line-up to explore how creativity and science interplay and why NASA has a virtual strategist.

The New Horizons series explores the mega-trends and micro-developments in technology and innovation and shines a light on experts tackling the biggest issues with creativity in a bid to make our future brighter. Topics include Future Fashion, Algae is the New Black, Blockchain Decoded and Evolving Democracy.

Over three successive Wednesdays, Vivid Sydney will take over the Art Gallery of NSW to create an intimate portrait of our better selves. Our special guests dare to ask if we can improve dying, how we can find common ground when and where there’s conflict, and why we should nudge perceptions around female sexuality. These events will be accompanied by curated music from Gold heist, Air Land Sea and Haiku Hands.

The Vivid Ideas Exchange at the Museum of Contemporary Art returns, boasting a diverse line-up of talks presented by creative experts covering topics including the future of work, the ethics of humanizing technology and how to become agents for change.


Vivid Sydney thanks its sponsors for their support of Vivid Sydney 2018. Partners include American Express returning for the second year of partnership, and introducing a new partner, Samsung. Supporters include City of Sydney, Oracle Liquid, Property NSW, Sydney Opera House, TAFE NSW, Technical Direction Company, Transgrid, Transport for NSW and 32 Hundred Lighting. For the second year, Vivid Sydney’s Access and Inclusion partner is Cushman and Wakefield, Coca-Cola returns as Kings Cross precinct contributor and the festival continues its sustainability partnership with the Banksia Foundation. Also new to Vivid Sydney are Vivid Collaborators, CSIRO, Gateway Sydney, Network 10, ATS Logistics, Kennards Hire and Red Balloon.

Source- Hotel and tourism online

Image source- Vivid Sydney

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