5 Positive Personal Goals for the New Year

5 Positive personal goals for 2020

Happy new year everyone! Today is the first day I’ve opened my laptop in three weeks. That can’t be blamed on lack of inspiration or topics to write on (in fact I have plenty of posts lined up and even more ideas)- it’s entirely because of an inescapable feeling of inertia. My son’s winter holidays meant he was at home and wanted constant entertainment; Christmas and other holiday events took up further time before we left on a week-long vacation to Goa.

Apart from a hectic personal life, the current state of political events in our country further deterred my will to write.

As a lawyer, I am trained to see both sides of every situation and argue reasonably in favour of each side. As a writer, however, I feel it is my responsibility to voice my opinion against any form of social injustice. This glaring dichotomy ensures that I never take a strong political stance or make any political statements on my blog. However, the current situation of unwarranted violence and ridiculous stream of lies in the guise of governance, have really tested my resolve. I found myself in a position where I didn’t want to write about anything- every topic seemed too frivolous in comparison. This is the reason for over three weeks of silence from a blogger that is generally very regular with uploads and dedicated to blogging.

But, as they say, the show must go on. As my first post after this break, I’ve decided to outline some positive goals and affirmations for the year 2020. If nothing else, this exercise will help me ease back on track. So, in no particular order, here goes:

  1. WRITE REGULARLY

This one’s a no-brainer for every blogger, right? But let’s be more specific. My round-up post on 2019 highlighted that I had a productive blogging year overall. But instead of being a constant stream of posts, blogging was spread over distinct periods of writing activity and recognition and other periods of lull. To counter this, I’m adopting a simple policy which I hope to stick to. Publishing one post a week is mandatory, even if it’s just a quick update on life, like this one. I’ll aim to write two posts a week and anything more than that number will be a happy surplus!

I’m restricting myself to 1-2 posts a week so I can concentrate on finally getting my novel written. My blog is my baby but throughout last year, it was used as an excuse to not begin a novel.

  1. BE SELFISH WITH MY TIME AND ENERGY

Yes, I know this sounds awful but hear me out. I am an August-born Virgo which means that I have the excessive emotions and high-strung nature of a Virgo, as well as the fragile ego and creativity of a Leo (owing to being born in August). More often than not, I go out of my way to accommodate other people’s wishes and end up crushingly disappointed or hurt when things don’t go my way in return. This is entirely my fault and something that I have the power to change.

Hence, in 2020, I have decided to put myself first. My wishes and needs should be prioritised as long as they are not actively hurting anyone else. I would also like to be more honest with myself and everyone around me. Honesty may hurt in some cases but it prevents long-term distress.

  1. BE KIND IN ALL ASPECTS OF LIFE

Having proclaimed my desire to put myself first, I must also declare my wish to be kind to everyone, to the best of my ability. Everyone deserves respect and understanding of their circumstances. If I disagree with anyone, I would prefer to take the high road and walk away without drama.

  1. LAUGH LOTS, CRY LESS AND KEEP THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE

As mentioned above, I’m an excessively emotional sort of person. This makes me a bit of a cry-baby, with tears spilling at the drop of a hat. Though the propensity to cry has decreased as I’ve grown older, anxiety and sadness continue to be problems. In 2020, I sincerely hope to alter this state of affairs by observing things in the correct perspective. Instead of reacting too quickly, if I just take a moment to calmly assess the situation, I’m sure I will prevent a ton of tears and mental stress. Hopefully, I’ll even see the funny side of the situation!

  1. KEEP LEARNING AND GROWING

You are never too old to stop learning. I went through a period of immense growth in the previous decade, as I finished my education, lived abroad, married and gave birth to my first child. Here’s hoping the new decade is marked by further opportunities to learn and to grow as a person!

These are some positive affirmations I have set for myself for this new year as well as for the new decade. Have you decided some goals for yourself? I would love to read them- do let me know in the comments below! Please share this post ahead with anyone that may like it or find it useful.

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*This is not a sponsored post.

**Copyright in pictures and content belongs to nooranandchawla.com and cannot be republished or repurposed without express permission of the author. As I am a copyright lawyer by profession, infringement of any kind will invite strict legal action.

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Where to Eat in South Goa

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Vacations in South Goa have become an annual tradition for my family. My husband loves the sea, my toddler can’t get enough of the beach, I enjoy lazing around with a book, and we all love the delicious Goan food! Read on to know the best places to eat at in South Goa. This list isn’t in an order of preference.

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BOOMERANG BEACH SHACK, COLVA BEACH:

We ate multiple meals here, and were satisfied with everything. Try the Goan sausage pizza, the Goan sausage naan, the fish fingers, and the Pina Coladas. The service is fantastic (ask for Rawat), the area is clean with multiple tables as well as sun beds. The toilets are clean and there is an outdoor shower to rinse off the sand and salty water.

Address: 4th Ward, Colva Beach, Colva

From L-R: Pina Colada, Prawn Fry, Custom made pasta for baby from Boomerang

CAJIS PLACE, BAR & RESTAURANT, COLVA:

This cute shack isn’t located on the beach, but offers authentic Goan food in a quaint ambiance. Service is painfully slow, but the live music sessions make up for the long wait time! Try the prawn curry with rice and the steak.

Address: Beach Road, 3rd Ward, Fatona, Colva

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Beef curry with rice at Cajis

MICKEY’S, COLVA BEACH:

This large beach shack offers a plethora of fresh catch of the day. Try the garlic cheese naan, chicken cafreal, prawn curry, beef xacuti, and chocolate brownie with ice-cream. Little ones will be entertained with a large aquarium, and ample space to run around.

Address: Near Bollywood Resort, Colva Beach, Salcete

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Prawns and chicken fried rice, customised for children at Mickey’s 

ZEEBOP, UTORDA BEACH:

This popular restaurant located on a stretch of pristine white sandy beach, has been the recipient of multiple “Best Beach Shack” awards. Try the crab, many Goan delicacies or any fresh catch of the day, that appeals to you. There is a large seating space, clean toilets, and prompt service.

Address: Pereira Waddo, Utorda

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Crab at Zeebop

GOODFELLAS ITALIAN RESTAURANT, BENAULIM:

If you want a break from Goan food, choose Goodfellas for its authentic Italian fare. The unique Italian recipes and fresh ingredients will make you return for more. Try the Insalata Estiva salad, the Margherita pizza and the Sarda pizza.

Address: Benaulim

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Sarda pizza at Goodfellas Italian Restaurant

FISHERMAN’S WHARF, SALCETE:

This chain of restaurants is known for its freshly caught crab. Call in the morning to reserve your order of crab, as they run out in the course of the day. Its location on the river gives it a unique and romantic ambiance. There is a large outdoor play area with swings for children, as well as aquariums and other distractions. A fantastic local live band provides entertainment and catchy tunes to shake a leg to! We ordered primarily off the Goan menu and liked everything. Try the bebinca, a typical Goan sweet delicacy.

Address: At the riverside, Cavelossim, Salcette

L-R: Fish fingers, fresh catch of the day, serradurra dessert at Fisherman’s Wharf

NAZARE, BELEZA BY THE BEACH, COLVA:

This beach restaurant at Beleza by the Beach Resort, allows a luxury experience with authentic Goan food. With frequent live performances, and an extensive bar menu, this place has something for everyone. Read more about this hotel here.

Address: Colva Beach, Thondwaddo, Betalbatim

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Fish Tikka at Nazare Restarurant and Bar, Beleza by the Beach Resort

MARTIN’S CORNER, BETALBATIM:

This is an old Goan favourite. We didn’t visit on our most recent trip but have gone many times in the past. Lovely ambiance and good food.

Address: 69, Binwaddo, Betalbatim

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Martin’s Corner. Picture courtesy: http://www.lbb.in

This is my round-up of the places I ate at on my recent trip to South Goa. This is not an exhaustive list, so please add your favorite places in the comments section below. You can read about fun things to do in South Goa here and where to stay here. For North Goa, visit this post.

Subscribe to my blog by email for more travel related posts, and follow me on Instagram at theladylawyer for real-time content.

*Unless otherwise stated, all pictures are taken on my phone. Copyright belongs to nooranandchawla. Featured image courtesy: http://www.food.ndtv.com

**This is not a sponsored post

Things to Do in South Goa: Whisky Tour and Tasting at Paul John Distillery

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I was introduced to the Indian single malts by Paul John Whisky, at a whisky paired dinner at Smoke House Deli, Connaught Place, recently (read about it here). Hence, I wanted to visit their distillery on my recent trip to South Goa (read more about my Goa trip here). Read on to know why a Whisky Tasting and Tour should be on your next Goa itinerary.

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PAUL JOHN WHISKY:

The proprietor of John Distilleries, Mr. Paul John, felt the Indian market was ripe to produce its own single malt. Under the able guidance of Master Distiller Michael Dsouza, the whiskies began retailing in 2012 in the United Kingdom, and on the Indian market in 2016.

This range of single malt whiskies offers something truly unique- a distinctly Indian flavor. By using indigenous barley, water and yeast, they serve an Indian palate. They offer variants to appeal to numerous tastes, and preferences in strength. The whiskies are at par with their international competitors in taste, packaging and price.

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Pictures courtesy: Paul John Distillery Visitor Centre

PAUL JOHN DISTILLERY, GOA:

To cash in on the success of the whiskies, John Distilleries is now opening its doors to tourists and connoisseurs alike. From the end of January 2019, the distillery will offer whisky tastings and tours, by knowledgeable guides. (All details at the end of the post).

I was invited for a sneak peek before the official launch of the whisky tours. Pankaj Poovanna, the Manager of the Visitor Center at the distillery, gave us an in-depth tour. His polite and charming manner, coupled with his thorough knowledge of the entire procedure, ensured a memorable experience.

The distillery has a distinctly Goan setting, decorated with colourful paintings by local artist Bianca. A café, a merchandise store and other attractions opening soon, are going to make the distillery a fun family/ large group destination.

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The distillery. Picture courtesy- Paul John Distillery Visitor Centre

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The Tasting Room. Picture courtesy- Paul John Distillery Visitor Centre

THE WHISKEY TOUR AND TASTING:

After greeting us warmly, Pankaj led us to the sleek Presentation Room. We watched a short film on the origins and philosophy of Paul John Whisky. Pankaj readily shared his insightful knowledge of whisky and how it’s made.

We then made our way to the distillery, which employs the same kind of machinery as Scottish distilleries. We learned the six-pronged procedure to make whisky- milling, mashing, fermenting, distilling, maturing and tasting. We also learned fun facts, about the use of oak barrels originally used to distill whisky in America; and the story of the angels share, which is the amount of alcohol lost to evaporation.

Our tour culminated in the well-designed Tasting Room. Five whiskies are included in the Tasting, three Flagships available across India, and two Select Casks sold only in Goa. The Flagships include the smooth Brilliance, the peaty Edited and the smoky Bold. The Select Casks are premium whiskies, priced on the higher side. As a special perk, we also tried the Christmas edition whisky, which had a distinct sweetness to its strong flavor. The distillery follows the Jim Murray (of Whisky Bible fame) method of tasting.

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The Presentation Room. Picture courtesy- Paul John Distillery Visitor Centre

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The Visitor Centre. Picture courtesy- Paul John Distillery Visitor Centre

WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT THE PAUL JOHN DISTILLERY:

The distillery is a wonderful attraction for whisky lovers, as it provides a distinctly Scottish experience in India. It’s the only distillery in India that offers a tour and tasting of this kind. It also makes a nice excursion if you’re staying in South Goa. Once all the amenities are in place, it’ll cater to families as well. Most of all, I recommend a visit to the distillery to support our homegrown industries, while enjoying ourselves in the process!

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INFORMATION ABOUT THE DISTILLERY:

Address: Paul John Visitor Centre, John Distilleries,

Plot #M21A, Cuncolim Industrial Estate, Salcete, Goa, 403703

(Location available on Google Maps)

Cost: Tours at INR 350 per person.

Tours and Tastings of flagship whiskies INR 650

Tour and Tasting of all five whiskies for INR 1000

Days: Monday- Saturday (Sundays and Public Holidays closed)

Timings: 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Contact Number of Visitor Center: +91-74477 88979

Website: https://pauljohnwhisky.com

Email: visitorcentre@jdl.in

*All pictures, unless specified, are taken on my phone. Copyright belongs to nooranandchawla. Featured image courtesy Paul John Distillery Visitor Centre

**I was invited for a tour and tasting by the Paul John team, but this is not a sponsored post. All thoughts are my own.

Things to Do in South Goa: The Live Music Project X Tarq Bowen at Beleza by the Beach Resort

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A vacation in Goa has much to offer, and is enjoyed by people of all age groups, walks of life and strata of society. I visit Goa frequently, with family (read here) and friends (read here). Of the two sections, I personally prefer the laidback beauty of South Goa to the hectic energy of the North. This trip, I stayed in a rented apartment near Colva beach. Follow my blog to know the best places to eat at in South Goa, and fun things to do.

Beleza by the Beach is a gorgeous, recently renovated, luxury resort in Betalbatim, which I visited this time. Its proximity to the white sandy beach, courteous staff, scrumptious cocktails and delicious food, hooked me. Next time I plan to stay there! I was treated to a live performance by international blues singer Tarq Bowen one night. Read on to know more.

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Tarq Bowen live at Beleza by the Beach resort

BELEZA BY THE BEACH RESORT, BETALBATIM, SALCETE, SOUTH GOA:

This boutique beach resort offers everything for the perfect family vacation. Overlooking the beach on one side, and serene paddy fields on the other, its location is unbeatable. The plentiful amenities include multiple dining options, spa, pool, fitness center and other activities. Since its recent expansion and renovation, its fast becoming a popular destination for group parties and wedding celebrations.

In addition to its residential services, the resort frequently organizes events aimed at locals and other visitors. The first Sunday of 2019, was ushered in with a soulful International Act, organized by The Live Music Project. There’s plenty more lined up this coming year.

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THE LIVE MUSIC PROJECT (TLMP):

Started by Vinesh Iyer and Darryl Noronha, this unique platform aims to bring musicians and singers from India and abroad, to a perceptive audience. In the five years since they started, they’ve organized over 250 concerts and 10 music festivals. Their aim is to “create opportunities, awareness, and good vibes around the music scene in India and globally.” They periodically arrange live performances in Goa, so follow their social media (details below) to attend one when you’re in Goa.

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Tarq Bowen. Picture courtesy: http://www.youtube.com

TARQ BOWEN:

The most recent collaboration of TLMP is with Tarq Bowen, blues and soul singer from London. This young singer is known for his “unique blend of blues, soul and hard-hitting slide guitar”. His charming personality, sultry voice and discernible talent, make him someone to watch for. He was ably accompanied by Marc Inti Mannel Saavedra on bass guitar, and Philipp Wildenhues on drums & percussions. The performance at Beleza, was thoroughly enjoyable and lauded by everyone present.

Bowen is currently on a live music tour in India, performing next at The Piano Man Jazz Club in Delhi. I highly recommend a visit if you like this genre of music (details below).

From top L-R: With Raghav Bahl of Beleza by the Beach Resort. Enjoying my margarita. Fish Tikka at Nazare restaurant, Beleza by the Beach Resort.

TLMP SPECIAL SUNDAY WITH TARQ BOWEN AT BELEZA RESORT:

When I arrived at 8:30 to a packed Nazare restaurant at Beleza, the evening seemed promising. My husband and I ordered margaritas off the special cocktail menu, which were the perfect blend of tart and sweet. Bowen’s catchy, and sometimes soulful, tunes; the sand beneath our feet, and the distant lapping of water under a clear sky, set the perfect mood. The fish tikka and delectably spicy prawn Balchao with Goan pav, we ordered, was the icing on top. The event was sold out and attendance wasn’t limited to one age group- there were toddlers and geriatrics alike, all having a great time! The modest fee of INR 300 for guests who weren’t staying at the hotel, was worth every penny. It was a memorable night, and I can’t wait for my next visit to Goa!

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Picture courtesy: http://www.skillboxes.com

INFORMATION TO KNOW:

TARQ BOWEN’S INDIA TOUR DATES:

9th and 10th January: THE PIANO MAN JAZZ CLUB, NEW DELHI at 8:45 p.m.

11th and 12th January: B FLAT, BANGALORE

Visit Tarq Bowen’s website here

Learn more about The Live Music Project here

BOOK ROOMS for BELEZA by the Beach Resort on BOOKING.COM HERE

*All pictures are clicked on my phone, unless stated otherwise. Copyright belongs to nooranandchawla. Featured image courtesy: http://www.weddingz.in

**This is not a sponsored post, but it does contain affiliate links. Please support my blog by booking your stay anywhere in Goa, through my link 🙂

Goa in 48 Hours: Bachelorette Edition

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I hadn’t taken time out purely for myself since the birth of my 2 year old son. When a close friend invited me for her 2-day bachelorette trip to Goa, I jumped at the chance! Guilt on my part and missing on both ends aside; baby was fine and well-taken care of in my absence, and I got plenty of unhampered rest and relaxation! This post recounts my girls’ trip to North Goa in March 2018.

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All set for a beach vacay!

WHERE WE STAYED:

SEA SHELL BEACH SUITES, CANDOLIM (Click on link to book)

After a slightly expensive Air India flight (I’d highly recommend booking in advance and searching for the best deals), we arrived in Goa. Our destination was the Sea Shell Beach Suites in Candolim. Some friends had stayed there previously and recommended it. The major attraction of this hotel was its proximity to the beach, and location in the party hub of Goa. Two suites with two bedrooms each were shared by 7 girls very comfortably.

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Enjoying Candolim beach

The hotel was a standard 4 star property with a pool, breakfast buffet and in-room dining available till 10 p.m. Despite requesting sea-facing suites at the time of booking which were available then, we were given pool-facing suites. Though it was not expressly stated, it seemed that the best suites were usually reserved for certain guests. Though our suites were comfortable, the air-conditioning in my bedroom wasn’t functional, and started working after almost a day!

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The Sea Shell Beach Suites, Candolim

The pool was small but the water was refreshingly cool. The food was average with only the sandwiches passing muster. The breakfast buffet had a fairly large and satisfactory selection. We were not allowed to bring our own drinks poolside, and the cocktails from the hotel were just awful! The lackadaisical attitude of the staff really irked me. They were stingy with the towels provided in the bathroom, weren’t willing to address the air-conditioning issue promptly; and weren’t accommodating in the reduction of our fare (or shifting us to a smaller and cheaper room) despite two last-minute cancellations from our group.

Hotel rating: 3.5/5

Book the hotel by clicking here

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Candolim Beach is quite crowded

WHERE WE ATE:

ANTARES, VAGATOR:

Antares is popular with locals and tourists alike. It’s live performances, smashing vintage music and well-stocked bar is reminiscent of many clubs in Europe. Some patrons even danced on the table-tops! The food is very average. I’d recommend eating before trekking out here.

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Dressed up for a night out!

CAFÉ JAZZ, CANDOLIM:

As Antares left much to be desired on the food front, we found a local café ten steps from our hotel. The Indian food is surprisingly tasty here, with the Goan prawn curry as the star dish.

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FISHERMAN’S COVE BAR AND RESTAURANT, CANDOLIM:

This restaurant is very popular but the food is only above average. I’d recommend Goan dishes over other choices.

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Cheese poppers at Fisherman’s Cove

LOCAL BEACH SHACKS, CANDOLIM:

In comparison to the South Goa shacks I’d visited earlier this year, North Goan shacks fall short in terms of good food. Only heavily fried dishes are tasty, which never bodes well for a restaurant!

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Enjoying the beach shacks at Candolim

This trip was about friends, love, endless laughter, some gossip and lots of drinking. I won’t go into much detail  because what happens in Goa, stays in Goa 😉

Cheers to friendship, travel and life 🙂

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Major thanks to Harpriya,  Jaskaran, and Shweta for their awesome photography skills! Follow them on Instagram by clicking their names.