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have been reading a few new blogs lately..

sfgirlbybay has some lovely interviews – her latest with Annie Galvin is a lovely peek into the everyday life of this super creative woman – and her photos are always beautifully colourful and atmospheric.

and speaking of great photos Jen of Nectar and Light is another favourite read of mine, she has the most amazing ability to capture light in this soft, magical, dreamy way.

I want the little bunny necklace from Twigs and Heather. ain’t it the cutest? I love the other pieces on the site too – using twigs and bark as a cast is so creative and looks great in chunky silver.

The T-shirt above comes from the site H for Home, which is one super choice site – put together by “three kiwis, living overseas, traveling as much as possible and ignoring our student loans… ”
. i love that one above.. (hmm I have a birthday coming up.. anyone?)

I would quite literally kill to be able to get flower bouquets like the one from another lovely blogger –housemartin. Are they not the most beautiful bouquets you have ever seen?! they beat all the lifeless rose + fern combinations which are pretty much all that is available here.

well thats all.. i must go and eat an iceblock, I am recovering from 3 fillings at the dentist today.. i drooled when i went to the pharmacy afterwards so have hibernated at home since, waiting for the anaesthesia to wear off…

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connected

today a GREAT man came to visit.. a representative of MTNL, the goverment telecom company, and he had in his hand a special special box containing my super fast triband modem!

I am connected, online, high speed on the great world wide web..and can save the inefficient Reliance data-card (which despite what anyone says is slow and irritating, especially when you are a podcast downloading freak) for travelling.

yipeee 

craftilicious

some more images from the craft fair at Bhubaneswar..

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Bhubaneshwar

I have been trying to get this post and photos up for a while now but my frustratingly slow internet connection at home is driving me mental at the moment and it seems i have to rely on hotel wi fi connections to get any kind of decent speed.

so now i find myself in an echo-y (how do you spell that?) beige hotel room in south delhi, going crazy on high speed internet – i can finally catch up my favourite podcasts (I heart Russell Brand), and really find out whats happening in the celebrity world, Oscar fashions and all.. PHEW..

SO anyway.. Bhubaneswar, a wee town (only 2 million people or something.. tiny!) on the east of India in the state of  Orissa, was my destination for a quick trip last week. i wanted to meet a fair trade group there and also check out the local crafts. while trying to find a good hotel amongst the tired old business hotels or inflated tourist chains that were there, I found the great new budget self-service franchise by Tata, called ‘Ginger’. How’s this for a clean modern set up for a hotel in small town India:

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all for the grand total of Rs.1500 and that bed is freaking comfortable. Oh AND there was a cafe attached to the lobby which means real coffee for breakfast.. wahoo!

But besides all the crafty investigations, the highlight of the trip was a weird circus performance that i was treated to at an All India handicraft exhibition.. I’d spent the past 2 hours being keenly stared at by everyone around me and the finally found someone i could stare at and be part of the audience.

The whole thing started out with these two sweeties, the younger girl must’ve been around 4 or 5, the older about 9 or 10 I think…

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and then mum and big sis came out to perform on a very dodgy and very wobbly bamboo contraption…

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the audience watched, fascinated:

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and the musicians played faster and faster:

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and for her last trick..

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spinning on a small metal pin that sticks out the top of the bamboo pole. while in the lotus position.. and she was spinning fast..

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pretty impressive..

india travel ideas

I have been getting itchy feet in the last week or two, and have been surfing around the net trying to decide where I would like to go for my next indian holiday.. On the south east coast of India I have only been to Chennai, and that for only a day or two, so i am eager to explore more. Pondicherry is my new fixation.. as is this hotel, part of the Neemrana chain –

Hotel L’Orient

Or then there is the wilderness of Uttarakhand (previously called Uttaranchal), located kind of north east of Nepal – with Himalayan mountain views, the sources of holy rivers the Ganges and the Yamuna, forests and national parks, including the Jim Corbett National Park and Tiger Reserve, access to white water rafting and trekking trips, and the stunning Valley of Flowers:

 Which sounds like a fairytale name and looks just amazing.. something like 500 species of flowers can be found in this valley which is surrounded by snow capped Himalayn mountains and the whole area has been a protected site since the 1930s.It is only open between June to October as the rest of the year it is covered with snow. There is a lovely travel blog post here about the Valley.

Then there is the east of India and the lure of the historical hill station of Darjeeling and the tea plantations in Assam..

(view of Darjeeling, from questhimalaya.com)

or a cool hill station in the south, like Kodaikanal or Ooty.. or a deserted beach in Goa, or a palace in Rajasthan, or the Tibetan plains in Ladakh.. how do you decide where to go when you have such spectacular choices!?!

sourcing supplies

i have been spending the last few weeks trying to identify products and sources for my online store – Rose and Sunder. I had planned to work with fair trade organisations only, but then wondered if I’d get what I was looking for – plus there are only so many fair trade groups in India, so how will i get something different?

today i came across a blog post that firmly made up my mind – it’s fair trade or nothing.

 this post on child labour in Delhi is heartbreaking.
Spend a couple of minutes and find out where some of the lovely jewelry and crafts that you may have bought in India , or even in your own country, may have been made.