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  Wonder Ingredients - party time

With Christmas and the New Year just around the corner, it's time to spread some seasonal cheer in your house. Here are some ideas to get you started on your home decorations for the upcoming festivities...

1. Invite in the colours of the season
As far as possible, use the colours of the season to decorate your home. From deep purple to deep red, white, gold and silver – there's a lot you can do with them... even if it means just changing the curtains in a room or the pillow covers. Alternately, paint a wall if possible, spray paint wooden boxes or old furniture for a new look and get ribbons in these colours and use them to make bows and streamers that you can then hang on or wrap around objects and add some colour.

2. Light up
Decorating your home cannot be complete without the use of Christmas lights. Not only do they add to the festive mood but also create an ambience of their own. Christmas lights can be used in all the rooms – on a corner or around a bedside lamp, over the door frame, on the windows and even in the bathroom!

3. Go the tree way!
OK, so your kids are not kids anymore but that's no reason not to have a Christmas tree. A well-decorated tree can brighten up the dullest room. Use fairy lights, tree decorations and small gifts to add some character to your tree. And if you want to do it the old-fashioned way, hang up stockings too!

4. Use the greetings
It's quite likely you'll get cards from close family and friends with wishes for the festive season. Make use of those cards to decorate your living room or any other space. Stand them up on your centre table or on a corner table. Don't have one? Well, simply use blue tac and stick them up on an empty wall space or even on your bedroom door.

5. Brighten up with candles
Candles are as much a part of Christmas as are sweets, Christmas trees, gifts and carols. Create a mood in the evening with aroma candles or floating candles placed in the strategic points around your house.



Who says you can't have fun when it rains? The best way to enjoy the rains is to party and what can be better than having a terrace rain party? Yeah! So to brighten up your day and to have some pure unadulterated fun, here are some tips for throwing a truly rocking terrace rain party at your place...

1. Choose the day carefully
Ideally, you don't want it to pour buckets on the day you have scheduled your party and ruin your fun. So check the day's weather forecast before you plan your fun day. A day with light showers is best.

2. Don’t invite people who stay too far
Well, the rains are as predictable as India's election results. So make sure your partners in crime stay close to you or can travel at short notice. Ideally, don't invite more than 10 guests.

3. Celebrate plastic!
Yes, sometimes plastic can be good too, especially when it rains. So opt for plastic chairs or throw plastic mats around for seating instead of arranging for carpets, rugs, fancy wooden chairs or sofas. This will be comfortable for you and your guests and will be completely rain safe.

4. Don't go overboard on the food
Elaborate food will only make life difficult for you. So arrange for light snacks such as chips, biscuits, pizzas and sandwiches. Do remember to prepare coffee / tea and store in thermos flasks to enjoy a cuppa later.

5. Plan for music and games
What's a party without music? But unless you can keep your music system dry, it's not worth the effort lugging it to your terrace. Ideally, arrange for speakers near your terrace and play music from one of your rooms. You can also plan musical games such as Antakshari or ensure that at least a couple of your friends keep all the guests entertained with the whole song and dance routine.

Pull out some fun board games such as snakes and ladders, scrabble, taboo and plot 4 for playing when you are tired of dancing and singing in the rain and have loads of fun being a kid again!

Shed your inhibitions and enjoy. Shake a leg and kiss the rains!


It’s fun really to have a party at home. But at times party turns up to be a total disaster when things don’t take place the way we want it to. Here is a checklist that will ensure that you have the right party spirit rolling:

• Arrange for lighting i.e. special light bulbs, spotlights, etc (if you can arrange it on your own then well and good, otherwise you need to spend a little for this purpose).
• Select the music beforehand in such a way that it suits the party. And check if your stereo system is functioning well or not.
• Let the place be made spacious by removing excess furniture and keep such things that are required.
• Keep an attractive table with a beautiful tablecloth on it and if possible keep a small vase with fresh flowers in it. It will not only enhance the beauty but also spread nice fragrance.
• If you can’t think of this natural fragrance pls. do not forget to spray good air fresheners.
• Keep the exhaust fan on in the kitchen room so that the aroma of the various varieties prepared in the kitchen doesn’t reach the party room.
• Don’t keep any valuable items around. Just lock it up.
• Keep the bathroom and toilet neat.
• Fill up your refrigerator with drink that needs to be served cold.
• You should be aware of how many people you have invited for the party and remember that always order or make extra food than required so that at the end there is no shortage of food (i.e. running short of food).
• Keep enough ashtrays and rubbish bags handy.
•  Put out glasses, plates, cutlery, napkins, bottles (and corkscrew) and food.
• Remember that you are the hosts inviting people for the party so pay attention towards your looks too. See to it that you are not looking dull or tired. To avoid this keep everything ready atleast 2 hours before the party, take rest for sometime, shower and change.
• Give a last glance to everything including food and yourself and thoroughly accept that there’s nothing else you can do now.



Here is a simple tip to burn candles smokeless and make them last longer. Soak them in thick soapsuds taking care not to wet the wick. Dry them well before lighting.


While making barbecue, to get extra flavour to the chicken or mutton dish, sprinkle some lemon juice over the hot coals towards the end of the grilling.
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