Easter eggs for hotel guests

It’s again that time of the year for the top hotel’s pastry chef to get into action. JW Marriott’s Savio Fernandes, like always, is looking forward to an enchanting tradition in the family – that of making Easter eggs with his parents.

A DNA news report quotes him: “There hasn’t been a single Easter ever without an Easter egg. We give them to our family friends and relatives. No one will ever leave our home without an egg on Easter.”

Savio, since becoming the Marriott chef started preparing new goodies along with the Easter eggs for his hotel guests. These include a rich fruit cake with luscious layers of marzipan, a traditional simmel cake – decorated with small marzipan balls – 11 of them to represent the of Jesus Christ’s 11 apostles (minus Judas who betrayed Christ).

A 7th Century Benedictine monk, Bede Venerabilis, wrote about how the occasion was celebrated during the serene Spring equinox, while coinciding with the celebration of the Resurrection by Christians. Pope Gregory the Great’s instructions given to missionaries to co-opt ‘Heathen’ places and Christianity’s festivals, gave rise to the term, Easter.

Different regions tend to have different patterns. In Germany, cute gifts are given with Easter eggs, to children as well as adults. It’s a tradition here to paint eggs green and have them on Maundy Thursday. In certain places, the yolk is taken out; the egg is painted attractively. Easter eggs are hollowed out to be filled with yummy chocolate gold coins in Dubai. Eggs are painted red as in Slavic cultures a symbol of the blood of Christ.

Besides chocolate, eggs are made of marzipan in India, and chocolate bunnies, chicks and hens find their way into gorgeous Easter baskets. Families usually exchange these Easter goodies on Easter Sunday.

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Love Barbie or hate her, but do gift her

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Barbie sure is the most famous and treasure doll in the world. The coveted character just turned 50. The whole world including India joined in the frantic celebrations. And the party will go on right through the year.

Psychologists have debated whether Barbie advocated a highly consumerist lifestyle. She has also been blamed for her unnaturally skinny appearance, in comparison to other dolls available in the market. Some may love to hate the dazzling, but the fact is the adorable Barbie is still hugely popular.

The doll was first introduced in 1959. It still remains among the most popular icon of our times. Barbie has been everything – a career woman, a princess, a fashionista a dance diva and all what you can think of it to be. Her creator was Ruth Handler. The co-founder of Mattel wanted her to be essentially the young girl’s best friend. That’s what Barbie has always been!

Love Barbie or hate her, but do gift her. And a beautiful Barbie gift sure will invite a smile and cheer. You can consider Vera Wang’s adorable ‘bridal’ Barbie, in a white gown that comes with a black border, holding red flowers. It costs Rs 8,000 (exclusive of shipping charges).

To commemorate Barbie’s five decades of popularity, Roger Best was asked to design a doll especially for the milestone. Dressed in a pretty evening gown, in scintillating gold with sizzling sequins, a special bracelet and long earnings, she is available for just Rs 2,600. The bracelet is inscribed with “50” to mark the occasion.

It will be about a couple of months before Barbie arrives in India, it might be a wise move for even grown-ups to buy one and keep her in the closet. We tell you why? A mint condition Barbie of 1959 fetched $27,450 at an auction in May 2006. The same year, another Barbie went for £9,000. So, who knows?

Picking a perfect plant to gift

In the previous blog, we checked how plans can make a perfect idea on eve of the International Plant Appreciation Day on April 13. In this article, we try to find out how to pick a perfect plant for gifting.

You may be considering annuals, biennials, bulbous plants, cacti, bonsai, succulents, climbers, ferns and creepers, grasses, bamboos, palms, cycads, or flowers’ hanging baskets. Whichever type you go for, you need to be meticulous in your selection. Here are some tips for picking a perfect plant to gift:

You should invariably get healthy, fresh plants while considering them for gifting either to your client, business friend or colleague, or else the ‘green’ gift would turn meaningless. Healthy perennials or shimmering shrubs grow fast, and seem pleasing to the eyes.

Knock the plant you select gently out of its pot. Also, check the roots. A healthy plant will give a filling look to the pot, but it won’t be ‘pot bound’. Avoid those with circling roots or are densely packed and no compost being visible. Leaves of the plant you choose need to be lush green. Watch for pests and infections. Warning signs are discolored leaves, ragged edges or holes in leaves. Avoid plants that carry broken branches or stems.

Ornamental shrubs won’t flower. They are for attractive outlay. Because of their evergreen foliage and ornamental look, they draw visitors. They can be trimmed into various attractive shapes and sizes. Among the popular varieties are Juniperus, Eranthemum, Tuja compacta, Crotons and Aralia.

Hybridized rose plants also make a good gift. Their varieties are miniatures (just a foot or so tall), climbing types (can climb well up to 50 feet), standard tree roses, yellow roses (tapered buds, spicy fragrance) and pink roses (glossy, dark green foliage). White and reds roses are also a visual delight!

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Apt gifts for International Plant Appreciation Day

In the previous blog, we found out how imparting a ‘green’ hue can make a perfect gifting. The idea is to add natural touch to the indoor environ so that your friend or colleague feels fresh and rejuvenated at home or office.

This indeed makes a great gift! To make your task easier, we suggested you a few nurseries that are now innovating to meet your demands. There is ample choice to enhance the green quotient. Indeed is a wide choice is available when it comes to your ‘gift a plant’ plan for fortifying personal and professional relationships.

In fact, this will be a perfect idea since the International Plant Appreciation Day is not far away. Incidentally, it falls on April 13 every year. In this blog, we try to acquaint you with interesting plant types that sure can be considered for gifting.

• Consider annuals, biennials, bulbous plants, cacti and bonsai
• Think of succulents, climbers, ferns and creepers
• Give a thought to grasses and bamboos, palms and cycads
• Why not think of seasonal flowers’ hanging baskets?
• You can try out medicinal plants, helpful herbs and spices for their immense utility value.

There’s so many options for selecting indoor & outdoor plants! Also, as we advised last time, landscaping will help in accentuating the plants. Seeking help of a landscape consultant is a good idea to understand how to do it. Do tell your gift recipient about this. 

Flowering shrubs flower almost right through the year so they are pleasing to look at; they are bushy in shape and size. The fabulous flowering shrubs can provide for a long-lasting and eye-catching framework in any interior design. They come in a wide array of foliage, flowers and form. They are perfect for bringing natural joy. Among the popular varieties are Ixora, Pentas, Hibiscus, Mosanda and Lantana.

April Fool’s Day is a fun little holiday

It’s a day when one must remain vigilant because he or she may be the victim of the All Fools’ Day innocuous prank! Those performed today can range from the very basic and simple pranks like saying, “Oh! your shoe is untied!,” to the more refined ones.  You may set alarm clock of your roommate back by a couple of hours. You can look for some uncommon gags. Whatever may the prank, the idea is to ‘April Fool’ the victim.

On the first of April, it may be a good idea to look the other way if you see a purse lying on the sidewalk. It may well be empty and you’ll become an ‘April Fool’.  The festival of  Holi also involves such tricks and pranks. Unlike most other non-foolish holidays, the April Fool’s Day history is not clearly defined.

There wasn’t a so-called first Fool’s Day you can pinpoint on the calendar. It is believed that the day just sort of evolved in several cultures, from celebrations on the first day of spring. The closest known year that can be identified to mark the day was in 1582, in France. Prior to 1582, the New Year celebrations took place for eight long days, March 25 onwards.

The celebrations culminated on April 1. However, with the changes in the calendar, the Gregorian calendar came into being. The New Year was moved to January. However, many did not know the change for several years owing to poor communication.

Others, the more obstinate ones, simply refused to accept it and continued to mark the New Year on April 1. They were labeled as ‘fools’ and were often were made the butt of practical jokes. This evolved into a light-hearted tradition of prank playing on the day. It eventually spread to other parts of the world.

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