Dior takes you right into Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors. In grand style.

The last thing I expected to see at Versailles, while visiting a few days back, was a bevy of Dior-clad ladies casually leaning against the front façade. But then, the House of Dior and Château de Versailles are no strangers to each other. Both are French, both have a gilded history, both are underlined by some of the most skilled craftsmen of their eras, and both speak of grace, of nobility, of being at the forefront of all that’s chic and stylish.

Then there is Monsieur Christian Dior’s own personal history with the glittering palace: seeking to restore some of France’s glory after the dark years of war, Christian Dior found in Versailles a major reference and a source of inspiration for his work. His most emblematic designs had names like Trianon and Versailles, or were photographed by top photographers within the château. This influence still lives on in Dior, with Raf Simon’s latest haute couture collection presenting a modern take on Marie Antoinette.

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dior versailles 2So, it should comes as no surprise that the two French majors have once again joined hands. Marie Antoinette’s private getaway on the grounds of Versailles – the rustic Hameau de la Reine (it’s GORGEOUS and there’s more coming up on that in a few days!) – has finally received a much-needed restoration, thanks to funding from the House of Dior. And now, during ongoing renovations at the Pavillon Dufour, a mammoth trompe-l’œil work by Pierre Delavie will obscure the construction site. It shows photographs of Dior’s past and contemporary designs in a setting of stone and greenery, like a window of the Royal Court looking onto the gardens.

What does that mean for all of us who are neither the Sun King nor Marie Antoinette? First, we won’t have our gorgeous photos of Versailles’ magnificent entrance marred by ugly scaffoldings and other construction paraphernalia. Secondly, there is another beautiful Dior video on the way, shot within Versailles. This time it’s for J’Adore and if the glittering Hall of Mirrors can’t make you reach out for a bottle of the sensually floral perfume, your willpower is definitely much stronger than mine!

The film releases on September 3rd but here’s a trailer… like it?

Getting back into the real world… one post at a time

Despite being a writer who trades in sentences and paragraphs, I simply have no words to thank all of you for the outpouring of hugs, love and solace through the past few days. After the world took me down paths that I had never expected, my system sort of shut down. And I ran away to be alone and isolated… which is the only way my mind, body and soul can heal themselves.

And when even Paris – the city that usually always gets me back on my feet – couldn’t do the trick, I landed in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. This tiny town in the Bavarian Alps of Germany is the perfect place for some quiet contemplation, with its soaring mountains, bubbling streams, scroll-worked cathedrals, fantasy castles, secret woods and exquisitely painted half timber houses. I may never come back to the real world – this one is just too beautiful to ever leave. But wherever I remain physically, the blog is back now… in no small way thanks to all of you. So stay tuned and lets start making the world a more beautiful place.

Till then, I leave you with some photos of Garmisch-Partenkirchen… the town that time forgot. What do you think of this place?

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What if tomorrow never comes?

A lot of you have been writing to ask why I have been so silent these past few weeks. Why the blog has not been updated often enough, why the social media has been erratic and why there is no answer to comments and mails.

It’s been this way because my life was turned upside down a few days back. Someone who was extremely close to me passed away very suddenly and very unexpectedly. He wasn’t family by blood but my family is incomplete without him. Over the last 15 years that I knew him, he brought so much joy, laughter and comfort in my life. And when he went, suddenly and unexpectedly, life just seemed to stop. My words dried up and everything just felt surreal – like I was seeing everything through a mist that just wouldn’t clear. I tried to write, to move on, but the words just wouldn’t come. All I could think was that he was too young, that he went too soon, that there was no reason or logic to his death.

And that if I had known he would leave us so soon, I would have savoured every single moment that life offered us in the meantime. I wouldn’t have excused my way out of that last lunch, wouldn’t have skipped that movie, would have delivered that box of Swiss chocolates that’s still sitting on my bookshelf, would have… could have… should have… . But that’s the nature of life… it goes on, complete with all its regrets and what ifs. And you just never know what’s around the corner.

Yes, life does need to go on. So, I have done what works best for me: closet myself away from the world for a while and run away to Paris. There is something about this city that soothes me and calms me down. It’s like coming home to a place where my soul can regenerate. Yes, even in August when the city is empty and chilly. Maybe especially in August, when the city is empty and chilly – like a mirror to my inner self.

I know this too shall pass. Everything does and life goes on. I just need this short break, so please bear with my silence for just a little bit more. I will be back in a couple of days. I promise. In the meantime, I leave you with a poem that speaks about all the small ways in which we let life and the people we love pass us by. Because I have learnt now that we have to cherish the small moments – they are the ones that turn out to be priceless in the end.

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Coconut oil scalp treatment: The route to thick, long & shiny hair

When was the last time you gave your scalp a facial? Yes… you read right. I said when was the last time you gave your scalp a facial? Because, like our face, the scalp is also ‘skin’. And it needs just as much love and care. In fact, hair experts say a good scalp treatment is key to healthy, glossy, sleek strands. And it makes sense: like all other skin on our body, the scalp also needs to breathe. It needs oxygen, moisture and nutrients. And since our hair is rooted in the scalp, it is kind of important!

It seems our grandmothers understood this pretty well. I know mine did – she was regularly brewing up lotions and potions for the skin on top of her head and her hair looked super-gorgeous even at the age of 80. So, I am borrowing a page from her beauty diary – two luscious coconut oil scalp treatments that she would use at least once a month to make her hair thicker, longer and silkier. Both remove product build-up, loosen the hardened sebum (natural oil) that clogs hair follicles, bust dead skin cells and boost circulation.

Pick your scalp recipe

First, however, you need to choose your scalp treatment formula.

For dry, flaky, dandruff-prone or acne-ridden scalps, take 6 tablespoons of extra virgin, organic coconut oil, olive oil or jojoba oil (depending on your hair type). Mix with 3-4 drops of tea tree oil and 4-6 drops of rosemary oil.

On the other hand, if you have an oily scalp, tons of product buildup or hair that just generally feels lacklustre, mix 6 tablespoons of extra virgin, organic coconut oil with 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and 2 tablespoon of grapefruit juice.

How to apply the scalp treatment

Done? Good. Now, apply the chosen mixture to your scalp with a hair dye brush or cotton ball. Make small partings through the hair and work in 1-inch sections to make sure the mixture is evenly distributed. Then give your scalp a good massage (mothers, kind friends or loving significant others are priceless here), rubbing with your fingertips in a circular motion for 5-10 minutes. Let the mixture sit for another 20 minutes before washing off with your regular shampoo. Finish with a good conditioner.

Why does it work?

Easy right? And totally worth it, as your hair will attest. These ingredients are great for rebalancing the scalp’s oil and hydration levels, ridding it of toxins, calming down the sensitive skin and stimulating the follicles for hair growth, among other things. Neglecting your scalp, on the other hand, can result in hair damage and premature hair loss.

Which option do you choose?