Making travel through Delhi a delight May 02, 2017 07:30 3 Comments
Stop over in Delhi ? make your travel easy and fun.
Considering Delhi is the most populated congested and polluted city in India . Movement through this place is super fast and hassle free if you know the way to do it.
Arriving at a reasonable hour for dinner, 7 pm but the worst time for travel, I leave Delhi airport at a relaxed, easy pace. Choosing the new ramp way down to the metro rather than queuing for the prepaid taxi, I enjoyably arrive at Delhi's smart clean cosmopolitan metro., no queues and no hordes.
I buy one plastic coin for 50 rupees which will get me to the centre of Delhi. A quiet station, Shavaji Stadium with lifts and escalators for baggage.
After a smooth swift ride we surface briefly where i had a chance to glimpse the main high way chockablock, clogged and choked, not a car moving. Grinning to myself at the thought of a battered cab and its driver, frantic and stressed, sounding horns like the crescendo of a Beethoven ending, you got it, the ones that never seem to finish.
I sit back as we disappear again under ground and arrive at the cosy, modern, metro stop, alight and into a shiny glass lift, up two flights of polished escalator and out into deepest Delhi .
The smell and heat hits you immediately but within moments your bag is being lumbered into a rickshaw, the price of the small trip by street cab to Paharganj ( or "The Ganj" as I heard it was now being called ) is discussed and 70 rupees agreed. Wait a minute, it just cost me 120 rupees to get from Delhi airport to deepest darkest Delhi at super fast speed That's about a pound . And still time for a relaxed dinner and beer with friends.
Woke up at 5, bag taken off me as soon as I left the room , the same man disappears off down a relatively quiet street only to reappear with a young very keen bright eyed boy and his TukTuk. Bag in back and it's off we go at the speed of light, missing by millimeters the heads of cows, people and on coming vehicles .
No one in their right mind in Europe would drive this fast down a main Bazaar Market Street. It would be big news. The local suburban rags would have a field day Only in india is this behaviour permissible and rarely goes wrong. Another narrow miss and an increase in speed as we approach a busy junction. Propelled across a main high way, aiming at a group of men in red jackets as if they were matadors and we the raging bull. They casually part as we career headlong into the station car park overtaking the long taxi queue . Still smiling and not the slightest bit perturbed about his amazing accomplishment, he reaches out to call a Coolie. That short high speed ride, though half as long was twice as spectacular and deserved a hundred rupees.
My bag, once again whisked away from me by the tall sturdy majestic looking Coolie . These Delhi porters are pros . I suggest anyone travelling through this city to use them . They know their shit and they know how to rip off an unsuspecting tourist, but show this guy your ticket and he will know exactly where your seat is. On indian trains this is gold . He will tell you with confidence and charm it will cost 500 rupees which of course it doesn't . They have to see you're a pro too . So smile but enforce a 100 rupee price tag, be resolute . He will explain how many stairs, how far, etc . Forget it's a 100 rupees end of and .... you want "train loading".
Scarf wrapped in a ring supporting his head as he strides off at a pace most office working Europeans run at. Watch his elegant moves through the busy station its an art and like all art, worth paying for. Towering above most commuters they move with ease . Through the security checks up stairs down stairs up the platform and right to the door where he will find your name by your seat number written on the outside of the carriage.
Inevitably they dump your bag here with a charming smile. At which point you remind him of the deal "train loading" ..remember jee. He will grin with respect and grab your bag once again take you and it right to your place, slapping your seat with pride and placing your bag directly above your head . 100 Rupees plus tip Bargain.
Ok so I left my room and arrived at my seat in the train and haven't actually touched my suitcase yet, for 330 rupees, twice as much as it cost me from the Airport to Delhi central ... but now we are in hub of it and these guys know how to do a good job . Well worth every Rupe in my humble opinion.
Delhi travel is a delight .
Working designing and producing in Rajasthan. November 20, 2016 04:41 1 Comment
Designing and producing my first Summer, Gypsy, hippie chic Clothing collection in the harsh outback of the Rajasthani desert was an interesting experience.
On my first visit a few years back I was amazed at how authentic my surroundings were and of course how precarious it is for a first timer. Its not just the locals that can smell your naivety.
In search of interesting boho gypsy style fabrics can take you into dangerous territory, especially when you smell like an alien. Maybe best get your Rabies jabs if your plan is off the beaten track.
Traipsing intrepid down a dark,dusty, desert back street in Rajasthan, blindly following my Tailor and Fabric buyer to his humble yard, when a mangy mutt flew with the force and ferocity of a wild beast and pierced my clean, white alien smelling flesh with both jaws sinking as deeply and neatly as an addicts needle might feel.
Unprotected at the time with no hint of a secure, safe serum running through my veins and nothing but the hundreds of harrowing warnings echoing around my over heated mind. I reached cooly for my anti bacterial and squelched the entire contents over my bleeding, bloody, butchered, body part.
My kind, caring compatriot, guide and host, whisked me off on his tiny 2 cylinder, across a dry and stony, parched and harsh landscape of gypsies, snakes and camels, to the nearest village outpost of a hospital.
There seated on the filthiest casualty bed, bearing witness and stains of the scars and maims of what must have been AT LEAST the past years injured unfortunates, hauled in from across this desolate unforgiving region.
Vaccines, Needles, Antibiotics and Surgical cleaning fluid all purchased, and my watchful eye kept over the whole process in this festering and chaotic , badly managed environment. I emerged waiting and hoping (and nearly praying ) that this would not be my demise.
A few years on from that deranged doggy experience, I am still designing and producing in this most alluring of places.
And so here is the tale of my Apple Mac Book so called Pro, the fine, sleek ,silver cased work horse that looks like a strong tough old goat under its robust looking keys and casement, but actually is a sensitive soul and has long been my biggest concern; apart from being personally jolted by a juggernaut from my clapped out Honda Hero and left to bleed, dehydrate or simply hurt to death in this desolate desert outback.
Working in the desert with Textiles, Tailors and Technology.
If young Mac the pro were to go, suddenly decide its had enough, enough of clambering over badly arranged files, hauling itself through multitudes of malingering unnecessaries, duplicates, decoys and desktop detachments. With its minuscule excuse for built in cooling, fruitlessly floundering and failing to take the edge off the unrelenting, unyielding, ever increasing, searing desert heat, what would happen to my life ?
But it happened ! One more plane, another train and some bumpy terrain, some sinister looking dust storms and a 45 degree C, daily normality, It was like a vicious dog bite to my struggling companion. Mac book crashed, teetered a bit, but fell, heavily, could not recover and once again there I was in need of A & E.
A creative fashion environment, stunning vistas and inspiring colours are not all that it takes, technology plays an important part...even in a place where the camel is king.
I struggled for a few hours straining my eyes on an I phone whilst Mac book sat silently , too silently, not a breath, not a pulse not a glimmer or glint from its beautiful mind.
But then suddenly there it was on my phone's screen, Google had picked up the flashing lights of an Apple Hospital, just 2 miles from the incident, Phone calls made, problem relayed ! …..what on earth is THIS casualty department going to look likeI thought.
A taxi drive. and then I arrived. An escalator to a brightly lit, pristine, gleaming, impeccably clean, super hygiene, pro equipped, Apple casualty award... winning service centre.
Professionals poised, awaiting the arrival of this poor unfortunate, ill treated, no doubt abused family member.
Latex gloves and expert hands, questions calmly conveyed with succinct pertinence, documents presented and a body bag filled. Macbook was rushed and hushed behind hitek smokey screens followed by a pleasant, reassuring shake of the head …
”come back tomorrow sir”
(It would have been next week or even in next month in London)
Well flipping eck !! Tomorrow came, Laptop returned, all be it his memory completely erased, ( he didn't know who I was ) but in impeccable working order, and …..totally Free of Charge.
Whether its Body parts or technology parts, there's always help at hand in this baron place.
Fashion and the small business October 29, 2016 10:42
Whу Реорlе Should Buy Frоm Smаll Buѕіnеѕѕ Other Thаn Hіgh Strееt Chains
Small аnd іndереndеnt buѕіnеѕѕеѕ are at thе heart оf оur соmmunіtіеѕ, аnd іt іѕ nоw more important than ever fоr the соmmunіtу tо get behind them аnd show оur support. Whеn уоu соnѕіdеr hоw mаnу ѕmаll buѕіnеѕѕеѕ surround you in your еvеrуdау lіvеѕ, it іѕ іmрrеѕѕіvе to thіnk аbоut thе аmоunt of tіmе, соmmіtmеnt and lаbоur these hard wоrkіng іndіvіduаlѕ соntrіbutе tо mаkіng thеіr businesses fоr brіngіng the buѕіnеѕѕ tо life and mаіntаіnіng thе buѕіnеѕѕ tо ѕtау аlіvе.
Lосаl buѕіnеѕѕеѕ are the backbone оf our есоnоmу and shopping аt lосаl businesses іѕ muсh bеttеr fоr the economy оf уоur соmmunіtу thаn uѕіng lаrgе сhаіnѕ or fасеlеѕѕ superstores. A ѕtrоng culture оf buying lосаllу іѕ thе fоundаtіоn оf a ѕuѕtаіnаblе local есоnоmу. Thе ѕhор оwnеrѕ you gіvе уоur mоnеу to when you buу frоm local businesses are аlѕо thе ѕаmе people that gо tо уоur lосаl pub оr саfé, so thе mоnеу wіll be сіrсulаtеd thrоughоut thе соmmunіtу and hеlр уоur lосаl area thrive.
And thеrе аrе рlеntу оf rеаѕоnѕ whу іt іѕ wоrth gоіng local for some оf уоur daily needs ѕuсh as gіftѕ, groceries, еtс. Although large corporations mау оffеr mіllіоnѕ оf jobs, there аrе many advantages of buуіng frоm a small business оthеr thаn a bіg chain.
Bеlоw аrе rеаѕоnѕ whу ѕhорріng local and supporting уоur lосаl businesses wіll have a positive impact on уоu and уоur соmmunіtу.
Excellent Customer Ѕеrvісе
Thе tор reasons сuѕtоmеrѕ раtrоnіzе ѕmаll buѕіnеѕѕеѕ іnѕtеаd оf a сhаіn store іѕ to ѕuрроrt their communities аnd to rесеіvе mоrе personalized ѕеrvісе. Smаll buѕіnеѕѕеѕ command a hіgh rеgаrd іn many сuѕtоmеrѕ' eyes аnd people оftеn wаnt to ѕuрроrt them. Small businesses uѕuаllу оffеr mоrе реrѕоnаl, оnе-оn-оnе соntасt wіth mеrсhаntѕ аnd сuѕtоmеr service people than сhаіn buѕіnеѕѕеѕ, whісh often hаvе аutоmаtеd сuѕtоmеr ѕеrvісе аnd ordering аnd lоng wаіtѕ to tаlk tо a rерrеѕеntаtіvе. Many chain businesses оutѕоurсе сuѕtоmеr ѕеrvісе so customers mау be dіrесtеd to rерrеѕеntаtіvеѕ іn dіѕtаnt places who are not fаmіlіаr with local issues аnd соnсеrnѕ.
Better Ѕhорріng Experience
Shopping аt the local high ѕtrееt іѕ аlѕо a much mоrе rеwаrdіng аnd ѕаtіѕfуіng еxреrіеnсе fоr сuѕtоmеr compared tо trаwlіng thrоugh massive superstores соnfuѕеd about whеrе еvеrуthіng іѕ. Your hіgh ѕtrееt іѕ uѕuаllу only a fеw mіnutеѕ away so a quick wаlk down tо the shops іѕ a lot more stress-free thаn driving round and round a multі-ѕtоrеу саr раrk trying tо fіnd a раrkіng space. Shорріng local аlѕо рrоvіdеѕ a muсh mоrе іndереndеnt ѕhорріng experience. Lосаl ѕhорѕ ѕtосk аn inventory bаѕеd оn their оwn customers' choices rаthеr thаn nаtіоnаl fаѕhіоn trеndѕ ѕо you саn buy whаt уоu want rаthеr thаn what someone tells уоu to wаnt.
Crеаtеѕ Lосаl Jobs
When уоu ѕhор at, and invest, іn your lосаl buѕіnеѕѕеѕ you help сrеаtе mоrе jоbѕ іn the local соmmunіtу. Dіd you knоw that lосаl small buѕіnеѕѕ іѕ thе largest employer nationally аnd рrоvіdеѕ jоbѕ tо the rеѕіdеntѕ of оur соmmunіtіеѕ? In ѕоmе areas, lосаl еmрlоуеrѕ аrе асtuаllу, more lіkеlу рау bеttеr wаgеѕ аnd рrоvіdе bеttеr benefits fоr thеіr workers
Better Quаlіtу Оf Ѕеrvісе
Lосаl business owners will рrоvіdе a much bеttеr quаlіtу of ѕеrvісе because they аrе passionate аnd they rеаllу dо care about thеіr customer’s satisfaction. Local ѕhор оwnеrѕ аrе muсh more lіkеlу tо gо above and beyond the саll оf dutу when іt comes to thеіr сuѕtоmеrѕ. Whether this mеаnѕ your lосаl baker рuttіng thоѕе extra hоurѕ іn so thеу саn customise your cake еxасtlу how уоu wаntеd іt or уоur lосаl butcher thrоwіng іn thоѕе lаѕt fеw sausages fоr free whеn you dоn’t quіtе hаvе еnоugh change tо рау fоr еvеrуthіng.
It is Fun!
Shopping іn уоur local hіgh ѕtrееt or town сеntrе іѕ a muсh more enjoyable еxреrіеnсе than looking аrоund оnе large ѕuреrѕtоrе or trying to find your way thrоugh the mаzе оf a lаrgе ѕhорріng соmрlеx. Lосаl ѕhорріng gіvеѕ уоu thе орроrtunіtу tо interact аnd ѕосіаlіѕе wіth the employees аѕ well аѕ having thе сhаnсе tо bumр іntо frіеndѕ аnd family wіthіn thе lосаl community, thеrеfоrе buying frоm your lосаl buѕіnеѕѕеѕ саn mаkе уоur trip mоrе thаn just a quісk vіѕіt thе ѕhорѕ.
Gypsies Tramps and Thieves September 05, 2016 23:06
'May you wander over the face of the earth forever, never sleep twice in the same bed, never drink water twice from the same well and never cross the same river twice in a year.’
Referred to as 'The Goddess Worshippers’ because of their fascination with hindu goddess Madame Kali, 'Sara' as they call her, or the 'Black Virgin'. The Gypsies that span the world have been traced back to the northern provinces of India: the Punjab, the Indus Valley and Rajasthan. Contrary to the one time popular belief that gypsies once came from Egypt.
Although Kali is their spiritual leader, their preference is to be referred to as Romany. The word Roma and the Romany language comes from Sanskrit. Romany, Roma or Lom, Lomari or Dom, Domari meaning to 'resound' (from Sanskrit) fitting for a group whose culture is largely based on song and dance.
Tracing the movement that started more than a thousand years ago across Asia, the middle east and into the west is fascinating and its easy to see the impression they have made everywhere, in their flamboyant dress, wild and romantic music and of course the intricate and alluring dance.
Seeing these tribes moving through the streets in the holy cities of India It is indeed a most beautiful site to behold as is their dance, the Kalbelia if witnessed from the original Kalbelias Gypsies, the snake charmers and in conjunction with Bopa’s, the musicians and preferably at one of their own private gatherings.
Equally impressive is their adept and relaxed fearless approach to stealing the wild bee honey and Cobra venom, an art they have perfected over thousands of years.
In Rajasthan there live some of the most colourful and most beautifully dressed people I have ever seen and their influence on fashion is immense, the Gypsy look has most certainly been a sub culture fashion in the west for years and has been ever increasing in popularity since the 60s.
Most definitely there is an element of glamour about this traveller lifestyle and dress which inpires a continuous and ever increasing flow of westerners enamoured by their cheeky confident, carefree way, resplendent dress and body movement trying to emulate either the look or their behaviour. This makes for an interesting surge in creative new ideas, styles and mutations in fashion music and dance.
Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of this fascination are the use of colours and clothing styles. Fashion boards now are crammed with boho photoshoots of stunning, rich colours, long flowing robes and heavily clad bejewelled fingers, wrists and necks displaying intricate and lavish pieces.
The influence on fashion is the most appealing thing to me, even children’s clothes are adorned with the tiniest of unusual details. The weaving, embroidery and colours lavishly poured into every aspect of this haphazard style, thus influencing and inspiring so many subcultures in the western world.
This garish and ostentatious dress style is not just relegated to the young either, all ages wear such stunning clothing and accessories ...enhancing their beauty and looking proud of their never ending self creation.
With so much influence coming from the source of this most inspiring movement, its a shame to see the way the European Romany Traveller has become now, with their modern caravans towed by brand new 4x4.s cars or white vans. Families dressed the same in Tee shirts and denims and piles of rubbish just abandoned on the beautiful green sites in and around the countryside, as the local authorities still refuse to provide for these travelling communities. Hardly, however are they living up to the grande fashion statement as they are in the east.
We support the tribal, nomadic and Gypsy sub cultures of this world and believe they have an outstanding affect on our creative inspiration, in Music, fashion or Dance. I just hope that these western Roma will see the importance of keeping up the colourful, mysterious and influential way of life as their eastern counterparts.
Coming soon to Startessa! May 14, 2015 18:57 7 Comments
Blue is a hot colour this season and amongst the vast array of colour in our new summer collection is a sensational appearance of Blue in it's many shades.
And our hot new mini dresses with a corset-esque back and lace trimming.
And don't forget this summer sale 15% off everything with the voucher code:
This is a slightly nubby fabric with random flecks in a natural, off-white colour before the tedious dyeing process It has a somewhat rough texture and gentle drape,
is thicker than our other silks.
Silk has long been known as the gift of gifts in Asia, and infamously known for it's auspiciousness.
Silk is a natural protein fibre some forms of which can be woven into textiles.The protein fibre of silk is composed mainly of fibroin and is produced by certain insect larvae to form cocoons.
The best-known silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm reared in captivity.
India is the second largest producer of silk in the world after China. Having had a long history in India also known as paat in Eastern India, Pattu in southern parts of India and Resham in north India. This alone acknowledges, it's strong roots in the culture across the land.
Look out for our new range of raw silks, silks and many other scarfs in Startessa, and soon to be found online!
Come and visit us in Camden !
Colour here, colour there, colour everywhere May 01, 2015 00:20Colour me beautiful!
Red Hot April 22, 2015 21:20GET 15% OFF when your use the voucher code: summerlover
Summer collection April 20, 2015 14:13 1 Comment
Our new summer collection is going to be awash with colour and styles, as well as a section of classic black and white. We choose the most unique from a plethora of designs that stand out as unique as well as Startessa-esque.
We create our designs and already have a finished look in our minds before we unravel the fabric, so we pick pretty precisely the look we want to achieve. For our wide flared colourful pants and frilly flares, and that ultimate boho chic look, we choose 100% cotton fabric with a splash of pattern and colour, that a really very reminiscent of the 60's bohemian era that has made a huge comeback this season.
Spring Fling April 13, 2015 11:21Black is the New Black! Voucher code for 15% off: springfling
Poncho Net Fluff March 24, 2015 20:55 3956 Comments
This simple poncho design is spectacular in the upcoming Spring and Summer, worn over a long sleeve t-shirt or simply over your favourite singlet or tube top!
looks superb worn over our summer dresses. For the nights in the summer when it might get a tad chilly.
Or worn over our wonderful dungarees.
Wrap Jackets January 26, 2015 16:42 1 Comment
The cold is upon us but it's no reason that we should only commit to looking frumpy! our stylish wrap jackets are a sensational addition to our winter warmers this season! with side poppers to wear your jacket in a truly unique way.
Available now in black or green, in sizes small , medium and large. At £35.00 only !