Solo in Guangzhou

Lee, a waitress at a restaurant in Guangzhou is giving me a piece of advice. “What is this you’ve ordered? Just hakka noodles? How boring!” she exclaimed. I must say I am a bit taken aback since we’ve just met, at a Cantonese restaurant I decided I should visit. “Oh! You must try the roasted chicken paws with the cantonese dip. It’s delicious.” I smiled. The non-risk taker in me finally came to a bargain with the enthusiastic Lee and I settled for the seafood spaghetti instead.

It’s funny how there’s something about the place while you travel solo. It’s a feeling that is indescribable. The nervousness only lasts till you board the flight. Once you are there, it’s different. And you are fine. There’s a calm which sets in and you know you can do it. My trip to Guangzhou was a spontaneous one. I went there to visit the Canton Fair, through my work place.

The days went by interacting with vendors in the fair. Evenings went in wandering around the city, trying new cuisines and shopping! Yes, shopping. That’s one thing you must do while you are here.


No trip to China is complete without landing up with an extra suitcase of goodies! Yes, you somehow just end up with those. Its funny. There are a number of underground markets that you could visit, like the markets in Beijing Lu (Lu meaning ‘street’ in Cantonese). Also, a must visit is the Baima market around the city. Great clothes, electronics, accessories and souvenirs are bound to be found at a steal! One of my favourites happened to be ‘Miniso’, a tiny 2 storeyed shop with literally everything under the sun. Right from beauty and travel hacks to delicious knick knacks, this place has it all. So overall, the phrase ‘shop till you drop’ is completely non exaggerated in a city like Guangzhou.


When you first set foot in this gorgeous city, the sights and smells are so new that there’s no question that you have arrived somewhere you have never been before. Oh my. This place is a paradise for meat and sea food lovers. I would recommend the ‘Kao ro zhu’ (roasted suckling pig), a treasured delicacy of the Cantonese cuisine culture that is one of Guangzhou’s most prized offerings. Also try the ‘Yum Cha’ along with dimsums. It’s heavenly.

I have a recommendation for all my fellow vegetarians out there too! Somewhere amidst the chaos of the city , traffic and non vegetarian food lies an age old Indian restaraunt called ‘Sharma ji’ that serves the most delicious vegetarian cuisine. I must confess that most of my dinners happened here, not because I didn’t want to try any other restaurant but because the smells here were irresistible.


To all my food lovers,

Try a little bit of everything, for you might not get to taste anything like it in any other place you visit. Remember, the more local you eat, your food is that much more authentic. Happy eating!


When that time of the day arrives when you want to hop around the major tourist spots and create more memories, you realise that there are quite a few places you must visit. The Canton Tower for instance is a lovely place to spend a few hours and it’s a beautiful sight at night. For the peace and quiet lovers, visit the Baiyun Mountain and see it for yourself. You must also rent a bike and travel to Old Guangzhou, a part of the rich heritage left untouched. It’s almost mesmerising to witness the undefined blend of the city and the old town.


It’s a barrier if you really consider it one. It’s true that not everybody knows English here and they prefer talking in Cantonese, but it is also true that they are extremely helpful people. After all, we are all humans. If nothing, gestures always work! And whats life wihout a little barrier? Trust me, it’s the language difference that makes it exciting!

TIP: Always carry your hotel card along with you. It’s more helpful than you realise.

Like always, I left a part of myself here and at the same time, took a little bit of this beautiful culture along with with me. “And my best part of the trip?” they ask me. “The fact that I traveled solo”, I shall always say.


Boho For The Soul

So a lot of my time in the last few months have been spent reading books. Books of all kinds. Travel, Spirituality, Fiction and the list can go on. But all that I read had a common ground. Liberation. One particular book that has taken over my mind is ‘Many Lives Many Masters’ by Dr. Brian Weiss, recommended to me by my aunt. This book completely changed my perspective towards life.
It made me realize that all of us are wanderers, in one way or the other. We all are on the path of exploring what lies ahead. Exploring different avenues and living different lives. But we are all bound by the fascination of freedom. And all our wandering souls love the idea of liberation. Liberty to search for the true meaning of life, the true meaning of kindness, of selflessness. Being Bohemian. I’m currently living in the Boho-at-heart phase. In my thoughts, actions and lifestyle.


Being a textile designer, I’ve also been researching and experimenting with how I can make a space look cozy. Grunge yet cozy. I’ve collected some inspirations that could help you decorate your space. There are certain elements we need to give that Bohemian touch to our corner.


Plants. A lot of them. They’ll make your space breathe. A touch of nature does wonders. Not only will it act as a natural room freshener, it will give your home a certain amount of tranquility.

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The distressed look looks great too. You could paint it yourself and wipe of the excess paint revealing different textures and hues of the wall.


Textiles. Re-use and upcycle. Re-use old textiles to make dhurries, instead of a carpet or a floor cushion.That’s the only way to make our planet survive a little longer.

We all know we’ve been ruining Earth for the past so many years. It’s time to pay our dues and give back something instead.


An olden touch to your space is what you would need for a retro feel. Feminine and completely charming, a vintage bedroom is also easy and surprisingly inexpensive to create.Don’t forget the bedroom lighting! It can be a key ingredient in creating a cozy atmosphere in the bedroom and should be one of the first things you plan into your scheme.

Have a Happy Day guys! 🙂

Misty Trails of Meghalaya

‘Clouds on clouds in volumes driven, Curtain round the vault of heaven.’

Spending a hundred and twenty hours in the mystic land of Meghalaya, India was a dream come true. I had been planning it for weeks with my mother and my best friend. Drafting the itinerary with Sakshi was a lot of fun as this was a place that we knew nothing about. But as luck would have it, none of us could find the itinerary at the last minute, for we had just scribbled it on a piece of paper in much excitement.

Losing the itinerary was the best thing that could happen to us, for we landed in Meghalaya not as tourists, but as wanderers. It was bliss. We didn’t have a plan. We made new friends. It was different.


Somewhere en route Cherrapunji

Our haven for the next few days was a cozy little cottage called Quinton Enclave right in the middle of Shillong city. We were welcomed by the jolly caretaker who insisted we call him Thapa. We were tired but eager for the adventure that would follow. I had the most peaceful sleep that night. Our first destination was the wettest place on Earth, Cherrapunji!


You know you have entered the territory of Cherrapunji, when mist is all you see. The weather is chilly throughout the drive over the twists and turns of the East Khasi hills. We felt we were an inch closer to heaven when clouds playfully touched our heads. Picture perfect waterfalls, heavy clouds and fern fields are the sights you just can’t miss en route Cherrapunji.


The Nohsngithiang Falls, Cherrapunji

There were a million times that we stopped on the way just to soak in the rawness of nature. It’s common to hear the chirping of exotic birds more than humans in this place. The locals residing here are known as the Khasis, from the native Khasi tribe. Languages understood and spoken here are Khasi, Bengali and Hindi. We watched the clouds blend into the falls as we lunched at a local dhaba right next to the Nohsngithiang falls. Oh, did i forget to mention the fresh out of the barks cinnamon found here? I watched, amused as my mother bought a dozen cinnamon exclaiming “Aaah! I will get started on apple pies the moment I reach home!”


A view from the Mawsmai Caves, Cherrapunji

The next day, we planned to visit Mawlynnong, the cleanest village in Asia. This was where the enchanting Living Root Bridge was. It was nothing like we had ever seen before. Yes. It was a fairy tale- like set up, with roots of trees naturally tangled into a bridge. Suddenly I felt myself recall all those Enid Blyton books I read as a child. For those who have read Enid’s books, it was exactly like the ‘Enchanted Woods’.


The Living Root Bridge, Riwai Village

Our next stop was the Dawki River, that divides India and Bangladesh  through a very friendly international border. The river was a hidden paradise. I wonder why we hadn’t heard about it before. Water so clear that I could see my own reflection in it. Untouched. Serene. We soon hopped onto a boat to witness the mesmerizing scenery. We went into a slight trance as the boatman rowed on, through this celestial waterway .


An aerial view of River Dawki

The way back was a smooth drive. Nature all around and waterfalls cascading through the woods. Clouds heavily gathering above to bid goodbye to the sun that was about to set. Now I knew why Meghalaya is also referred to as the ‘Scotland of the East’.


The drive back to Shillong from Dawki

The next day we decided to explore Shillong. Now this place is a brilliant combination of beautiful people and even tastier food! The Shillong Cafe is a must visit. Try the Burmese Khowsuay there. Oh. How my mouth starts watering when I think of it. Apart from pretty cafes here, there is also a place called Laitlum, which is also known as the Grand Canyon  of Shillong. If you love places that are not commercial, this place is a must visit.

Four days of pure bliss. I carried with me truck loads of beautiful memories with the people I love and a mental picture of this heavenly state. What a vacation. I’m already planning my next.!!!

EASIEST WAY TO REACH MEGHALAYA:  Flight to Kolkata—->Flight to Shillong——> Hire a car and explore the rest !



Mariketty’s Story

‘The voice of the sea, often speaks to the soul’

India is a destination where every passionate wanderer finds a home. This is the story of one such wanderer, Maria Katarina.

It all started one day in Greece about 30 years ago. Maria Katarina, the daughter of a humble restaurant owner in Greece decided to explore India. As she set foot, there was no stopping her. She traveled to the beautiful backwaters of South India, she witnessed the colours and traditions of Gujarat and Rajasthan. And then, she came to Goa. The white sands, the green trees, the cool breeze, the happy faces, the laziness, all of it took her heart away. She had fallen in love. She had found a new home.


The beaches soothed her and she loved this new feeling of excitement. There. She decided to recreate Greece, her ancestral homeland. The serenity that Goa possessed was similar to the calm in Greece. Clear blue seas, white sands and a stunning sunrise called her at the wake of every dawn.


She soon created ‘Thalassa’, a Greek restaurant right above the beautiful Vagator Beach. Mariketti, as she is known, is the happiest soul I have met in a long time! No one entering Thalassa can escape that warm and friendly aura. As we got talking, I learned that she loved food and even so, feeding her guests with authentic Greek cuisine.

Her passion for food bubbled as she spoke. We couldn’t skip that childlike glint in her eyes. That got me thinking. How many of us are really passionate about what we do? Are you living each moment loving what you do? Or are you just living life to survive? I absolutely admired her idea of living life. Take risks, be spontaneous, love what you do and have no regrets.


My friend Sakshi ordered a sumptuous Greek cheesecake as we sat right at the edge of a stunning view. We lay there, drunk on the idea of this mystical spell called life and of course, a few beers. There are a few home stays here as well. Mariketty has decorated this place with a lot of sensitivity. Pristine white walls along with light blue accents make the decor so beautifully Greek. Of course, nobody can miss those pretty blue doors.


We sat for a long time, admiring the gorgeous view of the Vagator beach until we realized it was time to leave but also to come back soon again. As for Mariketty, she plans to continue making delicious delicacies and make us Happy!

Where else but Elsewhere?


‘Goa. A tourist’s delight. A traveler’s dream.’

A vacation always brings with you a desire. Some love the crowd, the trinkets and the ever-changing facets of mystery and excitement. Some love the idea of  vanishing to a place where nature and seclusion beckons you each time you want to feel alive. Such is Elsewhere, one of Goa’s best kept secrets.


They say your oldest stories are your family’s most valuable heirlooms. Inheriting a part of your ancestral possession always comes with a sense of joy and nostalgia at the same time. This beautiful stretch of land was bestowed upon Denzil Sequeira by his  great grand father. Denzil, a renowned photographer who also calls himself a farmer, converted this piece of heritage into something breathtaking. “I recollect stories from my childhood about the family spending the summer in Mandrem. Great big baskets of clams were boiled in copper vessels filled with toddy from the coconut trees to feast on after long swims”, laughs Denzil.


The beach houses have retained an ancient and earthy feel

It was during this spring, that my friend Sakshi and I were invited by Denzil to visit Elsewhere. The first sight that caught our eye was the otter creek bridge which marks it’s beautiful entrance. This creeky little bamboo bridge has been designed in a way that complements it’s natural surroundings . Upon reaching, we were given the warmest welcome by Barbara. She is the whole and soul of this nature stay. Her amicable nature quickly put us at ease as we sat over a glass of chilled watermelon juice. We had a soulful conversation about Life, Nature and Spirituality. We discussed how in reality, all we need is less. That in the end, we were all meant to intertwine into nature and its remains. Elsewhere was created to give the on boarders a feeling of peace, quiet and the sense of belonging to mother Earth.


A view from the Otter Creek Bridge

Elsewhere offers an idea of a perfect vacation for a family where sitting for hours transfixed watching the ocean and spending quality time with loved ones can be the most soothing therapy nature offers. Simple yet comfortable, ‘Elsewhere’ is a house full of character, meant for those who appreciate the things that time does not change.


Turtle nesting and dolphins often spotted at Elsewhere

As we walked around this handsome property, we could spot flora and creativity in every nook and corner. The morning sunlight glinted gracefully on the Arabian Sea. To us, Elsewhere seemed like a canvas that was furnished by nature and embroidered by Denzil’s imagination. We couldn’t help but understand that the way this place has been nurtured with all the love and care, makes Elsewhere what it is. We also came to know that the beach also serves as a turtle nesting area in the months of September to March.


A view of the Bakery beach house

Along the vast stretch of white sands were beautiful beach houses along with 3 beautiful otter creek tents. The Captain’s House, The Piggery, The Priest’s house and The Bakery are situated right on the beach with a view that is unimaginably spectacular.


A beautiful scene from the Otter Creek Tents

The exclusive Otter Creek Tents are all in the most idyllic setting. All three tents are on the beach and face the creek, which runs parallel to the sea where tranquility, peace and purity prevail. Each tent also has its own sit-out and a bamboo jetty, over the creek.


We later got an opportunity to meet Denzil. We sat beneath a sprawling banyan tree. The roots draped flawlessly over the light breeze that followed. We indeed had a wonderful time with Denzil and Barbara that morning. Unfortunately, it was time for us to leave since we had a train to catch in less than a few hours.


On our way back, both of us sat silently in the car trying to grasp every bit of the landscape and solitude within us. As I always believe and often say, travel hard, wherever it might be. Get lost into nature, for you might just find yourself.

Along the Mountains

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‘Chasing angels or fleeing demons. Go to the mountains’

– Jeffery Rasley

Such was a day when I decided to pack my bags and visit a hill station called Matheran that was so close to where I stay. I  realized that I had forgotten what it felt like to be with the green trees, the beautiful mountains and clear blue skies. It had been a while since I was last bitten by the travel bug. But as they say, the travel bug has no cure, it did relapse on a bright Sunday morning.


This pretty place is situated around 83 km from Mumbai city. A weekend spent there would be ideal. Driving it down to Matheran from Mumbai is a great option . But reaching Matheran by a Toy Train along the mountains is a different experience altogether. One must toy-train it down atleast once!


For all those who haven’t visited Darjeeling in West Bengal, I could say that the toy train journey to Matheran is a ‘Mini Darjeeling’ experience. Take a train from Mumbai CST to Karjat. The train halts at a station called Neral, only a few stations before Karjat. Get down at Neral and rush to buy the toy train tickets as there are only 120 tickets available! Therefore, the earlier you come, the better are the chances of grabbing the best  window seats!


Traveling along the mountains was a refreshing start to this one-day journey. It was a two hour ride from Neral to Matheran. The forest ecosystem at Matheran, which is also the land of the monkeys is unique and remarkable. The view along the mountain is stunning. Though I paid a visit in the month of March, I could imagine what a lovely sight it would be when spring would come.


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Reaching my destination, I did what tourists generally  would want to do. So I hired a horse and visited the attractions there. But before that, I visited a local ‘dhaba’ that served delicious  authentic Malwani food. I can’t recall the name but  you will recognize the place since it is the only ‘dhaba’ that plays drum and bass!

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After a hearty lunch, I sat on my horse named ‘Doremon’ and headed towards the first attraction. Charlotte Lake is beautiful and has quite a lot in store for tourists. There are small shacks where one can sit, sipping a glass of sugarcane juice and enjoy the scenery around. That’s what I did.  After spending a lot of time by the lake, I visited  the rest of the tourist spots like ‘Echo Point’ and ‘Danger Point’.


I also managed to spot the rainbow from danger point. It was breathtaking. Soon, it was time to leave, as the last train is at around 5 pm. A short trip but worth it. I left the beautiful place promising to myself that I will come back soon. Very soon. As I returned home, something in me had changed. I guess that’s what travel does to you. This gets me planning my next trip… GOA I am coming soon!

Abode Bombay- The Vintage Charm!

Have you ever wondered what Bombay would look like in the 1960’s?  Well you would know when you visit this charming little boutique hotel in the by lanes of Colaba Causeway, Mumbai. I wanted to visit it since the time I knew it existed! Like a dream come true, the management invited me to experience their beautiful property. Ecstatic as I was, I started making preparations for it. That day finally arrived when I was welcomed warmly by Yuvraj, who made sure I had the best time.


As we climbed the first floor, the first thing that struck me was the beautifully designed lobby. It had everything that would define a vintage paradise. It became quite obvious to me that whoever designed this must be the ultimate curator of good things. I later learned that a talented Australian designer has created the gorgeous interiors. The chairs are all vintage Iranian ones and the flooring is done with handmade vintage tiles. Other antiques are borrowed from Rajasthan. Truly inspired from the good old times. And guess what? Abode is just two years old. The building was once the residence of the famous treasurer of Baghdad, David Sassoon.


As I was busy noticing vintage curios from around the country, I was taken to my room for the night. It was the coziest room in the world! A tiny space but it had everything one would ever require. It had the coziest bed with an ample amount of pillows, something that I require a lot while napping. I couldn’t help but notice the ample use of copper utensils in the room, even the dustbin. The television, the study, the shower room, all looked great and I instantly developed a sense of belonging here. Not to forget the wall that contained the most beautiful photographs framed by the famous Anja Bonhof. I call that wall, ‘Bombay in a Glimpse’.


I was handed an interesting handmade map of South Bombay, normally helpful to foreign tourists and backpackers from around the world to make themselves familiar with the surroundings. I stared at it for a long time and I realized I was rediscovering South Bombay altogether. This place is best suited to backpackers for whom, all kinds of trips are organized, be it heritage tours or shopping tours. They have it all. The visitors are also provided with a local sim card for their entire stay.


They also have a Spa in where the masseuse are partially blind, from the Victoria school of blind. The management at Abode also have a reputation of befriending under privileged women. They even have a taxi service driven my single ladies at any time of the day and night! That surely is impressive.


I woke up the next morning and hurried for the lavish breakfast that is served in the lobby premises everyday. They know exactly how to manage their space and make it look so pretty! The breakfast was a sumptuous combination of English and Indian cuisine. Different kinds of breads with eggs however you want them. Fresh fruit juices and freshly cut seasonal fruits, some ‘Poha’ to add to the Indian-ness. Loved my very first meal of the day from the bottom of my heart.


As it was my time to leave, I had the loveliest conversation with the owner of this wonderful place, Mr. Essa Sham who is also involved in the business of antiques. I started cherishing my moments at Abode as I was on my way back home with mother. This place is perfect for backpackers who make Bombay a stop to discover. One would find it difficult to find a place which is as interesting as this one, with a great location and it is for everyone who is looking for a budgeted yet luxurious stay.


Sweet nothings that is sure to catch your eye when you are @Abode!

Address: : First Floor, Lansdowne House Building, M.B. Marg, Apollo Bunder, Colaba, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001
Contact: 080802 34066

The Nutcracker- Christmas Lunching!

Holiday season is here, as they say! But for me, it’s just a two day affair considering the fact that I am pretty much a corporate office goer who has just taken a leave for a whole week to visit her grandparents back in Calcutta. And one week mind you, is considered as long as a month in the corporate world!


So, two days in hand. What do I do? Christmas is here. Why not a sumptuous Christmas Lunch with mommy? That is how, after a little shopping here and there, our final destination was The Nutcracker, located in the by lanes of Kala Ghoda as suggested by a friend.


Beautiful contemporary paintings hung on the walls

A beautiful facade with large wooden doors and windows with spouting white and pink bougainvillea flowers. These flowers are the best. They can literally make any surrounding look stunning and cozy. This place has the feel of a cozy European cafe with interiors that reflect the old Bombay charm. Little christmassy knick knacks hanging on the walls and a pretty book shelf decorated with bougainvilleas gives a quaint vibe.


While I did my own little research, I learnt that this place was named after a friend randomly suggested it. A cool name I must say! This place is a cozy little brunchy kind of vegetarian place and we indulged in a bowl of hummus and peta for starters and baked beans on cheesy toast later with a glass of fresh mint lemonade by the side.


The food was delicious. We also ended up ordering freshly baked cheese straws from their in-house bakery. Heavenly. It was the best Christmas Lunch that I had in a long time.


What i loved the most however, was the decor. Fresh flowers that adorned the wooden cottage with a beautifully lit Christmas tree and a cozy vibe is all I need to spend my time. It’s perfect for winters! Loved the interiors. Loved the decor. All I wanted to ask myself was, ‘When am I coming here next?’.


Christmas decor

Address: : Modern House, Dr VB Gandhi Marg, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400023
Contact: 022 2284 2430




An Eco-friendly New Year

So, like it always does, this year has passed as quickly as last year did or somehow even quicker. You feel like No! didn’t I just celebrate welcoming 2015 like a few months back? But then it strikes you that its going to be a whole year since that happened! New Year wouldn’t be complete without the essential guilt about  our past behavior and a passionate thought to ‘do better’ this coming year. You suddenly find yourself making a quick
mental note or even scribbling your resolutions on a piece of paper, striving to make it happen this time at least. So, I haven’t really made resolutions to lose weight and keep a check on the money I spend because my intuitions tell me that it’s going to fade away in two months time.
What I have done is considering ‘Greening’ my  resolutions! The beauty of a greener life is that it not only contributes to a healthier world , but it makes you and your family healthier too.

After all, we have somehow managed to pass doomsday for so many years, but for how long, is the question!

While I have resolved to ‘green my diet’, I have resolved to ‘green my home’ too. They are simple. Something we all can do at home. Having plants everywhere will make your home breathe. Greening your decor will give your home a healthy face lift.

Using organic elements and a lot of plants is the main idea. Get rid of all those poison plastics and consider sourcing Eco-friendly renovation supplies. I have compiled all those images that have inspired me to go green. I hope they inspire you too!

Try using organic elements in washrooms as well. You will be the closest to nature with plants all around. Open bathrooms are so much in trend these days too. You can even give your washroom an ancient feel, It just adds to the coziness.



How do you like the idea of an Eco-friendly dressing room? Use  old discarded drawer boxes and revive an antique this year. Upcycling  is a great idea to save the environment too.

I hope these have given you enough inspiration to work on your green resolution. After all, we are truly the happiest when we are closest to nature. I hope you all have a Happy Happy New Year!

Inspiration Ombré

What exactly is ombré and what is it that makes it so special? For all those who have been even remotely connected to fashion and trends, will know what I am talking about.

OmbrĂ© is the gradual blending of one hue to another usually moving tints and shades of a color from dark to light or vice versa. This technique has been popular way back from the 19th century and has always somehow been in my ‘list of favorites’.


I have always been fascinated with colors and decor, thanks to the good old days when mother made me clean and decorate our home the day before a party. I remember removing old flowers and putting fresh ones, each of a different color. I would sit patiently awaiting a compliment from the guests and would be proud when i got one! One thing lead to another and ten years down the line, I was pursuing my bachelors in design. That’s when i got more familiar with color schemes.

Ombré owes its prettiness to the beautiful colors that are used. We all have our set of inspirations when we design something. Today, I am going to play with colors on products and see how elegant ombre can look when it comes to home decor.


When it comes to home decor, there are so many ways to make a space look nice. What about ombré in lamps? The illustration below would give us an idea. The lamps go from dark to light red, dark to light aqua and a light to dark peach as the color inspiration is taken from the image next to it.


White walls, green plants and ombré vases. This shows the combination of earthy browns, fresh greens and shades of violet.


Ombre illustration on vases

It was last week when I got obsessed with ombré, as I sat researching about the trend forecasts of Spring Summer 2016. That also got me doing my research on the much awaited Pantone Color of the Year 2016- Rose Quartz.

Rose Quartz

In order to master ombré in our bedroom, we must keep it simple and keep the fade to a gradual transition. The objective is to create a soft, almost glowing effect.


Therefore, be it home decor or fashion, ombré is always a good idea. Elegance and prettiness unlimited!

Note: The above base images have been taken from and ombré draping is done digitally by myself to illustrate.