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dining table setting

Tandoori Turkey.

Without fail, each Christmas…a plump tandoori turkey is placed on our table.

100% fusion. 100% delicious.

We take tandoori chicken to the next level.

We also sprinkle garam masala into our fruit cake. And make hot chilli prawns instead of the traditional cold pre-cooked ones.

We slightly ‘indianify’ everything. We can’t help ourselves.

This year was no different. The tandoori turkey was one of the best yet. Marinated and cooked to perfection (Great Team work by the Panch & Susie combo – aka my parents) See below….

nikita sheth

Aside from the delicious fusion feast that inevitably puts me into a state of food coma, my second favourite part of Christmas is setting the table. Coloured tinsel, Christmas-shaped confetti, an old painted plaster funhouse piece, ‘borrowed’ Christmas bush from the neighbours garden, mum’s assortment of indian-inspired lanterns…there is no consistent ‘theme’…but rather an eclectic, random mix of everything ‘festive’….

This year, i decided to whip out my watercolour paints and create handmade place cards. They turned out ok. Actually…in retrospect they were pretty mediocre. I wrote personalised quotes in each.  Very cheesy, but the old folk loved it.

nikita sheth

It really made me realise how fundamental the dining table is in a home. It is mums best trick – she cooks our favourite meal and no matter what plans we may have…they get dropped and we come running to the table. So many of my memories revolve around our family dining table. It’s a place where deliver a debrief of the day. Tell stories. Share (lame) jokes. Reminiscence. Dispense advice. Announce achievements. Discuss world events (and celebrity gossip). Laughing, crying…so many pivotal moments have occurred on our dining table.

We invite old friends. New lovers. Sometimes even randoms (yes, mum has invited a few random people to our dining table over the years – like the man who came to the door trying to sell us ‘green’ lightbulbs and ended up staying for dinner). Drunken dinner parties. Impromptu get togethers. No two nights are the same.

But… it is quite funny….in all honesty, no matter who is sitting on our dining table with us…we don’t change. We still misbehave. Tell awkward personal stories. Pay each other out. Some people (actually probably the majority) think we are slightly crazed. A little nuts. A family of fruit loops.

sheth family

(Above: I recently invited my good friend Alicia over to experience the Sheth madness. My sister Alisha and my Papaji are getting ready to eat….and yes, my sister, Priyanka is using the pendant light as a hat….)

If you have ever eaten with my family….I guess you would understand.

Dining tables possess a rare power. With the help of food, they bring people together.  A place to share. A place to converse. A place to unwind and relax. It is no wonder, that for many, the styling of dining tables is such a carefully considered practice. People want to take pride in their dining tables. From adding in themed props for a dinning party to careful placement of floral arrangements…it is a place which embraces and encourages creativity. It is essentially a ‘blank canvas’ which can evolve into a comfortable and inviting place.

Thought I would share some truly inspirational table settings….

table setting

(Image via Pinterest)


table setting

(Image via Modern Hepburn)


table setting

(Image via Southern Belle Wedding)


table setting

(Image via Local Milk Blog)


table setting

(Image via Nenna Nenna)


table setting

(Image via Pinterest)

table setting

(Image via Green Like Bathwater)

dining table setting

(Image via Style-Files)


table setting

(Image via Wendes Grey)

OK, I am over and out…all this talk of dining tables & food is making me hungry…

Hope you are enjoying the festive season.



Mama Africa.

I have made some new friends. They are the guys  that live next door to my work building.

They are African Drummers. They have dread-locks. They import & export drums. Let’s just say ….they got da riddim’

Last week, they invited me to attend one of  their ‘African dance classes’.

It took a bit of convincing, but I decided to go.

I rocked up in my colourful ‘African-inspired’ pants and big hoop earrings. Only to find everyone else was dressed..in gym gear. Awkward.  I then found out it was actually an advanced-level class. All attendees had been practising for years. Double awkwardness.

The 2 hour ‘lesson’ took place in a church hall in Paddington. I could hear the drums beating from half way down the street. They were LOUD. There were eight drummers who played whilst we learnt ‘the routine’.

In the beginning, I concentrated hard and approached the moves cerebrally.  But the drums were too loud. I honestly could not think properly. I had no choice but to…. LET GO. I stopped trying to mentally process the moves and allowed my limbs take on a life of their own. I looked like a drunk brown octopus. My arms, hips, head, neck, ribs, legs, feet just flailing around.

I was drenched with sweat.  The balls of my feet ached. Adrenalin surged through my body. I actually felt a little intoxicated.

The vibrations of the drums shot through my body….electrifying my nervous system. I felt so liberated. So grounded. So free. I couldn’t stop smiling.

I will definitely be going back for more.

There is something so raw about the sound and vibrations of an african drum. Whether it be the table, the bongos, the djembe or a DIY drum…they have the ability to activate your heart, body, mind and soul. It is a universal dialogue – one that takes place between the beat of a drum and the soul. They talk to each other. Beating slowly, it soothes…massaging the soul. Beating fast and hard, it energises…..resuscitates the soul. The beat of a drum possesses the ability to transform your everyday worries into feelings of freedom  – a natural stimulant. Drums have been sewn into the history of man-kind. I predict that they will continue to live on…in all forms – electronic, tribal, sensory touch systems…

It is no wonder that drums are continually be up-cycled and integrated into spaces. I believe that even when static, they a positive source of energy. I definitely am on the ‘look out’ for a tribal drum that I can place in my living area. Here is a random assortment of  drumspiration..


drum table

(Image via 4 Blogspot)
Love everything abotu this space – the electric blue wall,m the hot pink juju hat, the art, the drums….gorgeous!
(Image via Pinterest)
african drum
(Image via Fab)
Just had to include this photo – how cute is he!
(Image via Pinterest)
drum interior
Djembe inspired side tables!
(Image via Pfeifer Studio)
Djembe drum with original henna original design mandala while listening to Jeff Buckley
(Image via Flickr)
african drum chairs
African-inspired drum chairs.
(Image via Pinterest)
So…if you are looking for a new form of physical exertion, I highly recommend dabbling in African Dance. Great for your soul.
Happy Sunday.
brown interior

Gurrrll, what’s your name?…..Brown Sugar

A creamy piece of milk chocolate.

A steamy cup of coffee.

A well-worn pair of leather boots.

A raw American black walnut table.

And….my skin.

All Brown. All Beautiful.

(Ofcourse, there are are something which are brown and not so beautiful…but I HATE toilet humour so I am not going to go there….)

Coming from an Indian background, I was born with chocolate coloured skin.

Born and bought up in Australia, my friends have always been predominantly of caucasian decent.

Growing up as the Indian gal in my group of friends…

There were the pro’s: I never had dilemmas of streaky fake tan. I could always pull off white dresses, no matter what the season. I always won games of ‘murder in the dark’.

Then there were the con’s:  I was a lot hairier than the other girls. I was always stuck being ‘Scary Spice’ (I was never allowed to be ‘Baby Spice’). I could never borrow brown their ‘brown’ bobby pins.

Yes, all first world problems.


Beyonce has Sasha Fierce.

Christine Aguilera has Xtina.

And I have…BROWN SUGAR (Click the link below…to witness some of my moves)

Alter egos are quite commonplace.

For some reason, on a night out at the end of last year, I was approached my a gentleman on the dance floor…”Hey gurl, what’s your name?”

Without thinking, I replied “They call me Browwwnnn Shugga”.

The poor guy looked confused – “No, seriously what is your name?”

I did not relent…I just looked him straight in the eyes; “I told you, they call me Brown Sugar”

I have no idea where ‘Brown Sugar’ came from.

It must have lay dormant deep within sub-conscious. God only knows for how long….

Over the last 6 months it has gradually become my alter ego. I love it. As ‘Brown Sugar’,…I feel empowered and VERY gangsta.

Admittedly growing up there were times where I felt a little misplaced and questioned my cocoa skin.

But now, I can honestly say, I am truly proud of my cultural background. I love being Indian. I love the food. I love the traditions. I love the values my parents have instilled in me,

And…I have grown to truly love and accept my brown skin.

IBrown invokes the feeling warmth. From earthy toned walls and furniture to leather accessories. Brown is the perfect base for many interior spaces. In celebration of all things brown, here is a round up of some gorgeous and inspiring brown spaces. Enjoy!

brown interior
My dream kitchen…
brown interior
brown interior
brown interior
brown interior design
This has to be my favourite photo….I love everything about it.
(Image via desiretoinspire.net)
brown chair
Can definitely imagine curling up in this chair…
brown styling
(Image via Fotolog)
brown cafe
(Image via Media)
brown cupboard
(Image via SF Girlbay) 
design blog
Buttery leather against crispy white. love.
(Image via Emmas Blogg)
OK, I have to go now.. all this brown-ness if making me crave chocolate….no guesses, what I am about to do…
Chocolate + tea time! Delish.
N x
indian colour

My day as a ‘giant freckle’….

Brown underneath. Multi-coloured on top. Yes, on Sunday after the 5km Colour Run, I resembled that of a giant freckle.

The Colour Run was a 5km fundraiser run – we wore white t-shirts and walked 5km with coloured powder been thrown at us…hair, eyes, ears, arms…I was a piece of fairy bread (on brown bread). The explosion of colour was amazing. It was quite hilarious to watch grown men rolling around the ground covering themselves in powered colour…essentially becoming colour-coated schnizels.

Living a colourful life.
This festival was inspired by the Indian festival holi. Holi, also known as Dhuli in Sanskrit, is celebrated by people throwing scented powder and perfume at each other. Bonfires are lit on the eve of the festival, also known as Holika Dahan (burning of Holika) or Chhoti Holi (little Holi), after which holika dahan prayers are said and praise is offered. Colour. Noise. Chaos. India in a nutshell.
I always love hearing stories of how my mother embraced Holi when she was growing up – they would  spend the day throwing colour and then run into the ocean to wash it all off.
I may be bias, but I honestly do not think any other culture embraces colour the way Indians do. Colour underpins all our food, clothes and rituals.
As I crossed the finish line – I realised all the vibrant the colours had now mixed with sweat … turning a murky brown colour. it didn’t even look like I had done the race – Choc on Choc. I looked around – everyone looked brown…Oh! The irony!
The day made me realise the role colour plays in my life ( snapshot of this moment: I am currently wearing a neon yellow singlet, drove to work in a bright mustard car and  eating a blood red plum with pure white yoghurt). I love wearing colours. I love painting with bright colours. I love that all people are of different colours. Ok, now I realise that I am probably sounding like Martin Luther King – but you get what I mean.
Whilst recent times have sucked a little, I am beginning to realise that feeling hurt & confused, being challenged – mentally, physically & emotionally, being determined to fulfil my goals – career & otherwise…its just adding ‘colour’ to my life.
To lead a colourful life – my new motto.
I am aware that the images below are not completely ‘design’ orientated, however I believe they epitomise the way Indians  really do ‘live in colour’.
indian colour
(Image via
indian colour
(Image via cosmicpsychic)
(Image via
(Image via zimbio.com)

(Image via darqueandlovely)

indian design
(Image via flickr.com)
indian colour
(Image via corporatefineart)

Hope that brightened up your day!

N x

kitchen design

Fighting, feasting and foraging…

As they say, the kitchen is the heart and soul of the home. They extend beyond the functional – they are the power centre. The hub.

It is a place where my family goes to feast, fight and forage (for food). NB: without bias my mum is a brilliant cook – it must be the artist in her.

Growing up, from sneaky midnight snacks to post-break up emotional binge eating…the kitchen has always been there. Right from creating concoctions of ice-cold mango smoothies to hearty winter cheese toasties – it is a comforting space which consistently satisfies our needs.

The kitchen is a dynamic space – people moving in and out, doors opening and closing, water boiling, food being cooked, spilled, eaten on-the-go.

It is a space full of movement and energy.

Whether it a gallery or a kitchenette – most houses usually have some type/form of kitchen.

The way in which we use the kitchens can also be quite culturally specific. Growing up, it would not be strange for me to enter the kitchen to find my grandmother sitting cross-legged on the floor taking the ends of green beans.

Kitchens are not defined by how many high-tech kitchen gadgets or the size of integrated dishwashers.

Instead,  for me, kitchens are fundamentally based on the creation of sustenance, satisfaction both physical and emotion and above all the act of nuturing and providing for others. Mud floors with grass mats and a small bon fires is the heart of the home (the kitchen) for many millions of people around the world.

My latest module for my Interior Design diploma has been creating a kitchen in response to client brief. Consistent with my own design style, I chose to present and design a very natural, contemporary kitchen.

In terms of the functional, I learnt about the ‘work triangle’ . The work triangle, is the main working functions in a home kitchen are carried out between the cooktop, the sink and the refrigerator. The idea is that when these three elements are in close (but not too close) proximity to one other, the kitchen will run efficiently.

Lighting, storage and ergonomics are all critical elements that must be addressed and applied appropriately.

It is a still a work in progress, but here is a sneak peak of the kitchen I have been creating for my interior design course:

Here are some kitchen designs which caught my eye…

kitchen design

(Image via http://nowandthan.tumblr.com/archive)

modern kitchen design

(Image via Media) 

modern kitchen design

(Images via http://ifonawintersmorning.com/page/6)

 kitchen design

(Image via mialinnman.blogspot.com)

wooden kitchen

Love the ‘pop’ of yellow! Just a little ray of sunshine.

(Image via purestylehome.blogspot.com)

wooden kitchen design

Wood, wood, wood – raw, natural, gorgeous – this has to be one of my favourites!

(Image via designtavern)

OK, I’m off to forage…for some food.

N x



map wall

Where did I come from?

“Where did I come from?” A classic educational cartoon book, which clearly explains the process of ‘making babies’ to young children. As an naive seven year old, I have a vivid memory of reading this book with my friend Ellie, hiding under the bed and giggling at all the pictures.

* * *

Admittedly, I am a little strange. I sometimes catch myself doing or saying things which I know are a little odd. I can’t help it. I’m 26 years old, but still love putting on a ‘sexy’ outfit and dancing to an old school hip hop tune (usually Salt n Pepa or TLC) in my bedroom ….by myself in front of a mirror….usually on a Tuesday night. Also to add to the list – I often find myself stroking a beautiful piece of furniture, I only eat cereal out of a cup (never a bowl) and no matter how HARD I try to keep my long hair out and flowing – it somehow… everyday ALWAYS ends up as I super high bun…resembling that of a unicorn.

Just yesterday, I was internally questioning ; “Where did I come from?”…. “How did I get this strange?”

Then this popped into my inbox…

(Yep…thats my dad – & NO he usually does not dress like that!)

Yes, my parents are currently in Morocco. Clearly, they have embraced the culture and are loving it. I visited Morocco (Fez & Marrakech) 5 years ago. I fell in love with the place. What I loved most about it, was the intricate detail.

(Yes, that’s me on a camel….such a lovely experience- but also not great for the ‘baby maker – it hurt).

Right from doors, to rugs, to clothing….the artisanship and attention paid to detail is unparalleled. I recall noticing how every front door seemed like a piece of art. Heavy gold borders. Intricate patterns. The Moroccan design style is bold, its colourful, it has an innate sense of richness. Its a beautiful design style that takes its cues from the desert and Arabic culture.

Jewel-tones are very prominent in Morocco – right from the fabrics to lighting which are often inlaid with colour pieces of glass. However, the earthy colours which form the landscape tend to neutralise this richness and vibrancy – thus creating a perfectly formed balance. Red dust combined with suffocating heat. Booming prayers combined with hot mint tea. It’s these elements which characterise Morocco and give its unique character. Something, which throughout all my travels – can not be replicated anywhere else.

It’s a design lover’s heaven. I truly believe, that this is place where I fell in love with interiors, design and furniture. I remember, not wanting to leave the bazaar…..staring at rugs, poofs, lanterns…at only 21 years old, i should have been dreaming about my next Cocktail, instead I was trying to work out if I could afford a cubic metre shipping container to take home furniture/furnishings  – even though I hadn’t even moved out.

I settled on a ceramic bowl.

(Image via twigsandsand.tumblr.com)

(Image via twigsandsand.tumblr.com)

(Image via moroccanmaryam.typepad.com)

Isn’t this just exquisite? I’m in love.

(Image via moroccanmaryam.typepad.com)

(Image via eight-petals.tumblr.com)

(Image via eight-petals.tumblr.com)

Love this minimalist white space – utilising Moroccan accessories.

(Image via style-files.com)

(Image via  completelytotallymadly.blogspot.com)


Now can you see why I have fallen in love Morocco?

Happy Sunday Night!

N x





My sister…a ‘global’ battler.

She is the youngest of 3 girls. She is the baby. She is completely loveable. She has everyone (especially my dad wrapped around her little finger). She is intelligent – and is very perceptive of the world around her (something which I completely lack).

However….in the last 3 months..she has been a bit of a battler!

After being accepted to study in Spain for 6 months, you think one of the first things she would do would be to organise her Spanish visa. Wrong! She apparently ‘forgot’ to do it. Before you knew it – it had turned into a family debacle….she was too late and could not get her visa before leaving on Contiki…..

There were tears & tantrums…my myself, my mum and even the Spanish embassy consultant (she was a COW).

Long story short – She went on Contiki for 5 weeks and had to come ALL THE WAY back to Australia for 3 days (to pick up her visa)…and then leave again to go back to Spain.

So my baby sister arrived on Thursday for 3 days & we dropped her back to the airport this morning…it’s been a long emotional journey, but she is finally on her way to Spain!

Visiting the airport and with her travels in mind, I was inspired to explore the way maps can be integrated into a space, from a purely aesthetic perspective.

(Image via From the-design-ark.com)

(Image via dearblackbow.blogspot.com)

(Image via From achicaliving.com)

(Image via From nauticalcottageblog.com)

(Image via From centsationalgirl.com)

From gemgirlart.com


(Image via minteriors.tumblr.com)

From smileandwave.typepad.com

(Image via From tumblr.com)

(Image via  thehandmadehome.ne)

She came back on Thursday & we dropped her back at the airport this morning. Her hand luggage was too heavy…so she had to wear 3 jackets on the plane. Yes…she looked like a complete ‘battler’.

We love her & will miss her so much!

N x


My mum…the artist.

Yes, my blog does seem to be overtaken by my family this week. First my grandfather…and now my mum.

As most of you probably know by now – my mum is a crazy artist. Crazy being the key word (Click here to hear more about how crazy she really is…. post)

I just wanted to share, how incredibly proud I am of her this week. Despite, some personal set backs this year she somehow managed to have an art exhibition!

The opening was on Wednesday night & if you are in Sydney, I definitley recommend you check it out (open until 28th Jul 2012 @ Lane Cover Gallery, Longiville Road Lane Cove)

I’ve attended a lot of my mum’s art exhibitions, but I can honestly say this one was the best yet. It is as if she has harnessed all her confusion, grief, happiness and passion into this new body of work.

Whilst in pervious years her style (as per below) focused on the abstract shape and form of indian vessels, her new work has definite tribal and spiritual undertones. She experiments with texture, colour and subtle lines to create suggestive human figures. Upon looking at these works you experience an unavoidable emotional response. Despite these figures possessing no realistic human traits, you can’t help buy fully immerse yourself in their world – some of the figures you feel like dancing with, others you feel like reassuring them…

For some reason, these new works deeply resonate with me – perhaps because I have been witness to mum’s own personal journey over the last year.

I love watching people look at artwork. It’s an expression of art in itself. A raised eyebrow. A small smirk. A furrowed forehead. All signs and gestures of emotional response.

When ‘people watching’ at Mum’s art opening – I found a common thread. People froze. Their faces went blank. They stopped talking to the person beside them. They stopped sipping their red wine. It was if they were under a trance. Their minds captured and held at ransom. The only release was….to look away.


Ok, so many of you probably think I am just ‘talking it up’, because she is my mum.

Mum’s older style work!

My favourite work



Proud of you mum!


My 80th post dedicated to….. my 80 year old Grandfather!!

My grandfather (we call him Papaji) is the ultimate ambassador of good design.

From his clothes, to his house, to his travel destinations, to his golfing accessories – he is a ‘design hunter’ – always living in design.

However, I believe he doesn’t hunt design consciously.  Unlike the Surry Hills hipsters, to him, it comes naturally, unforced, subconciously.

Papaji is turning 80 years old in a month & what better way to celebrate my 80th post than to dedicate it to him!

Let me share with you 10 reasons why my grandfather is cooler than me:

  • He has the coolest hat collection this side of the harbour bridge. It is actually epic. Ranging form tribal nepalese to gangsta doo-rags.
  • His ‘speciality dish’ is Baileys ice-cream – best ice-cream ever…with so much bailey’s it burns your throat & you cant drive home after 2 bowls.
  • He has a more jammed-packed social schedule than I do. Consistently find myself trying to ‘fit in’ to his busy schedule.
  • He is impeccably dressed –at all times. His shirts are always crisp and his ‘bumming around track pants’ are always pressed.
  • He is the wisest man ever – Papaji always has a story for everything…yes, everything. One day he even told me an Indian fable about prostitution. Slight akward, but nevertheless, he can talk to anyone about anything
  • He can walk fast. I mean really, really fast. Upon a family vacacy back in 2008 to NYC, we kept ‘losing him’ only to find he was always 2km in front of us. Man…does he have speed.
  • He can handle he Chilli better than both me & my father – even if his bald head does sweat excessively when he does so.
  • Well-travelled – he seriously has been everywhere….
  • He owns an ipad & taught me how to use it (no joke).
  • He finds the funniest youtube videos ever….

Continually inspired (and sometimes amused) by my grandfather’s ever growing hat collection…I thought I’d sharing some hat inspired interiors would be rather fitting.

(Image via The Decorologist)

(Image via Apartment Therapy)
(Image via  lamaisondannag)
(Image via housepict.com)
(Image via  teenvogue.com)
Now, I just want to go over to my grandfather’s house & create a hat display for him….
On second thoughts, do not think he would appreciate it…

Please take a seat.

As promised…here are some gorgeous Indian Indoor swings.
In Gujurat (where my family is originally from) – they are called hichkars (in hindi they are called Jhula’s).
Upon visiting India, one highlight of being dragged from one aunty’s house to another’s (besides the delicious Indian sweets) was sitting on their hichkar’s. They seems to be a common element in many traditional indian homes.
The  jhula’s historical roots are embedded in the Mughal era. They were used to put babies to sleep; men had their tea on them and relaxed in the evenings after coming back from work. The women had a special relation with it as they spent their afternoons sitting on it and gossiping. A jhula was a must for every Indian household.

Traditionally they are made from high quality wood with intricate designs that made them unique decorative pieces.

With modernity, and the shrinking of space the jhula has faded into the rest of the interior space- no longer representing a central meeting place. Nevertheless,  some people who have still retained this tradition of keeping Jhulas in their houses.

Jhulas have also evolved with time.  Besides the traditional ones in wood, nowadays Jhulas are available in brass, silver and other materials also. These modern day Jhulas are a perfect fit for any living room and can give it a touch of class and sophistication.


(Image via Karma Trendz)

(Image via Karma Trendz)


(Image via Choli Ke Peeche)

It would be my dream to have one of these in my house…so majestical!