Sunday, March 13, 2022

Jan Shatabdi Goa-Mumbai Vistadome Coach - Review

Indian Railways seems to be trying really hard to attract tourists back to trains, since most opt/prefer flights due to various reasons - the main probably being hygiene, cleanliness and comfort. One such attempt is by introducing the luxurious vistadome coach on certain routes.

I have been fond of train travel since a kid, lot of nostalgic memories of visiting Nani's place every summer and the train journeys to and fro. Ofcourse, now as a grown up with a kid, I cannot sleep or be at peace in a train and hence end up avoiding trains for long routes - plus with a full time job, don't even have the time.

My journey in the vistadome happened completely incidentally. For our journey back from Goa from a week's workation, I had booked the executive coach in Goa to Mumbai Janshatabdi Express. I only got to know later that the executive coach or EV on this train is a vistadome coach! I was thrilled and so was the kiddo, because we are always on the lookout for new experiences.




We boarded the train from Thivim station in Goa, the train was around half an hour late. The vistadome coach was large window panes and glass panes on the ceiling to give you a unparalleled view of the scenic route. There is a separate section for luggage and 2 clean western toilets equipped with toilet roll and disposable seat covers. It was very clean both times I visited.

                 


There also is a separate pantry, dedicated attendant and cleaner for the coach. Food options are available for evening snacks (Maggi, Sandwiches, Omlette, Patties, etc) along with tea and coffee, and then for dinner (friend rice, biryani, thali etc). Though, these are all NOT included in the already expensive fare.

The seats are plush and comfortable, with its own charging socket and folding table. The seats are 360 degree rotating - and this is a BIG thing. Earlier in the Tejas Express chair car that I travelled in, the seats were facing with us going backwards direction - and this put my kiddo who was much younger than in a lot of unease. 

The viewing dock in the front is pretty useless when travelling from Goa to Mumbai because the geniuses decided to have the engine situated in front of it. Do book this coach when going to Goa, then you will get to enjoy the view totally. Plus also the fact that once the sun sets it is dark outside and the windows and view is of no use, so in the Goa to Mumbai journey you only get to enjoy the view for 3-4 hours.

Lastly, the fare is equal to a early booked flight ticket - but I still feel the train is good if you are planning to stay in North Goa. Definitely to be experienced once.

To sum it up:

If this blog helps you plan your travel, do show your love by commenting on it. Thank you! 

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Beyond gifting with bigsmall.in - something for big and small, one and all.

 I am a total fan of cute and unique merch, stationery and other fancy things and it is my weakness that I cannot stop myself from buying. One such website I love and have been buying from since years is bigsmall.in. They have an amazing range of theme and age wise gifting and stationery options, so if you are a Harry Potter fan, Star Wars fan, FRIENDS fan, football fan or any other more such fandom-  there will be a wide range of things to select and gift (of gift yourself, because, love yourself).

I want to share some really unique quirky things I purchased this time in my bigsmall.in haul:

1. Diamond Ice Mold (Rs.399) :

I always wanted to have fancy bar ware and keep adding to it, and this diamond ice mold is perfect for Whiskey or any drink that you want to "richen up", pun intended. Comes with a funnel and is silicon so easily washable. 


I used regular filter water to make the ice diamonds, but I think if you use boiled water that is cooled, you get clear transparent ice. Did you know that?

I also plan to use these molds to make diamond chocolates soon. Since they are silicon you can make various things!

2. Bright Bugz V-Light (Rs.399)

I am always looking for cool ways to keep kiddo engaged without screen and this cool light trick is something he chose for himself! And not just kids, it keeps adults engaged and entertained too! Available in different colours.  

3. Webcam Cover - Set of 3

The new normal means virtual meetings and video calls, and even apart from that the constant cyber risks - so I always wanted these webcam covers to avoid embarrassing/awkward situations as well as have some cyber safety. Easy to apply and compatible with any laptop/tablet.

Don't forget to checkout their amazing range of cute and adorable collectibles and gifting options! There is something for everyone, big or small, one and all! 

Friday, February 11, 2022

Hairtamin Versus Power Gummies Versus Setu Hair Strong - India Review (After using 3 months each)

 Whether it is COVID or vaccination side effects or simply the stress of WFH life, I hear all my friends, acquaintances or relatives complain of increased hair fall/loss. I myself was having hair fall and thinning issues and I decided I need to do something about it.


Hairtamins Advanced Formula:

I first heard of Hairtamin because I followed influencers endorsing the brand and the ingredients and results both looked extremely promising. Hairtamin is an international brand and hence when you import it to India, be mindful of the shipping and custom charges. I also had to submit a declaration to the shipping company declaring that the supplements were for self usage. 


Pro's:

1. Natural ingredients, in an easy to consume capsule that can be taken anytime.

2. Bottle of 3 or 6 always have deals and offers.

3. While I was using the product, I did notice reduction in hair-fall.


Con's:

1. Expensive when you add shipping and customs (they should have an India presence).

2. When I stopped using the product hair fall/loss was back - no-one wants to be dependent or crippled by a supplement. (I cannot be sure, but this is how it was for me).

3. Shipping takes time.


Power Gummies:

Digital marketing and social media remarketing and targeted ads are really amazing. I know that because I do that for a living myself. The minute I interacted with Hairtamin on Instagram, I started getting ads from competition supplements and vitamin companies. The one that caught my eye was Power Gummies and I soon placed an order for a pack of 3, since my hairfall woes continued.


Pro's:

1. Comparatively cheaper (than Hairtamin) and no shipping or custom charges since made in India.

2. Love their packaging - especially when you buy a pack of 3.


Con's:

1. The sticky sweet gummy format is not for all. Unnecessary intake of sugar plus worry of tooth decay! And extra sweetness is not for all. I mean, we're not kids.

2. I don't think the supplement had any benefit for my hair (I used it for 3 months) not sure if it would have if I continued for more time. And just like with Hairtamin, my hairfall/loss increased again massively when I stopped consuming it.


SETU Hair Strong:

After the previous two trials, my hairfall had massively increased. I did have health issues like Dengue, Migraine and then the vaccination jabs. Lot of hypothesis and guess works can be made but something had me loosing hair in chunks. I did also have a lot of stress at that time. I was panicking and thought maybe third time's the charm. SETU is a brand I have tried before for their turmerich capsules or gummies, and they have the supplement in a strip format. So capsule, gummy and now strip. :D


Pro's:

1. FINALLY, a product that works. Or at-least, my Hairfall/loss is in control. I have had the strip for 2 months now, and definitely a visible change. Cannot be surely if it is solely the strips or other conditions like weather/stress levels too. 

2. I like the strip format, it has a pleasant taste and melts. 

3. Offers - I bought a refill on a buy 2 get 2 offer that has me sorted for 4 months. 

4. Packaging - Each strip is individually packed, making it super travel friendly. You can literally carry them in your waller or travel kit for the number of days you need them for.


Con's:

1. Honestly, I cannot think of anything pressing - but maybe the taste of the strip is not for all, that may bother a few, but it is negligible.

2. As someone who supports sustainability I definitely feel that each strip being packed individually means more plastic waste (I believe the packaging is plastic). Maybe they could crack a planet-friendly bio-degradable packaging. 


Also, I should add, that most of these products also claim that they aid better skin and nails as well, due to the ingredients - I definitely feel my nail are stronger and grow faster, but I feel my skin is pretty much the same, with breakouts due to hormonal cycles or clogged pores.


Now of-course, I do not know what will happen once I stop taking these, will update if that happens, as of now I have stocked up for 4-5 months.


I hope this helps you choose a suitable hair supplement for your needs!


Saturday, December 18, 2021

Adult Fans Of Lego - Official Sets Now In India

 


If you have been following my updates, you know how much of a LEGO fan I am, and that is myself I am talking about and not the kiddo. If you are an adult fan of LEGO-like me, then there is some good news for you! Official LEGO sets with popular themes like Star Wars, Cars, Football, and more are now available in India on Amazon - perfect gift for Christmas! And you can always gift them to yourself you know, these sets are available on EMI on Amazon. #BuildWhatYouLove

#AdultsWelcome #NowInIndia #Newlaunch #LEGOIndia #LEGOfan #buildgreater #adultfansofLEGO #afolindia #afolcommunity #LEGOcommunityindia #LEGOafolsindia #LEGOpolicestation #porsche911 #oldtrafford #bugattichiron #ferrari488gte #bobafetthelmet #theperfectgiftforyourspecialone #theperfectgift #christmasgifts #christmas #giftingoptions #giftnow #giftyourlovedone #HolidayBuild #BestGiftForHolidays #ALEGOHoliday #launchingsoon #availableinIndia #buynow



Saturday, October 9, 2021

Blendjet 2 - Review | Honest and Not Sponsored

If you're one of those who have been bombarded by Blendjet 2's remarketing ads across social media, browsers and email - and have added the blendjet to your cart but haven't been able to make the purchase yet, then you have come to the right place. You can read and learn from my experience and then make your choice accordingly! 

This review is written after trying the BlendJet 2 5-6 times in the span of last 1 month or so. I was also totally captivated by their marketing and decided to make the purchase. I purchased the BlendJet in August and it took a month and arrived in September.

Pro's:

1. Powerful as it says:

The blender does it what they claim: blend. I have tried smoothies and shakes and cold coffees and it blends everything really well. My good old traditional mixer, when blending bananas into the smoothie/shake would leave me with lumps of banana pieces, which I hate - but Blendjet completely everything.

2. Portable:

That is the best thing about it, no wires no hassle. Carry it anywhere and blend anytime and drink right out of it. But it definitely is heavier than I expected it to be, the bottom part where the battery and machinery are there is quite heavy. Not to forget, to blend anywhere, you also need to wash it everywhere, and you need liquid soap for washing.

3. Easy to use and easy to charge:

The USB charge with a light to indicate when charging and fully charged, and one button operation makes it easy for anyone to use. 

4: High-tech:

If you remove the glass container and try to switch on the button, it won't. It gives you a red light indicating the blender glass container needs to be screwed on. I really liked that. But that's not enough, in my opinion - read more in Con's.


Con's:

1. Custom-duty fees:

I had to pay a very heavy custom duty fee on the product, something I was not expecting, and hence it made the purchase a lot more expensive than what I thought it would. Not just that, the Blender seemed to be tempered with (as if someone tried to open it while checking at customs) - I did try to complain to them but they rejected my appeal.

2.  Cleaning not as easy as they show:

If you're just blending juices or vegetables, it is ok. But if you're blending something stickier like chocolate, peanut butter, honey etc - cleaning can be a task. 

3. Number of uses per charging cycle:

Their ads and website claim that you get 15 blends per charge - but here is the catch, you have to also count the washing blend, and sometimes I had to blend twice to clean the blender properly. So in one charge, you basically get 3-4 times excluding cleaning.

4. Not very child friendly:

While I have mentioned above that on removing the glass container you cannot use the blender, they should have made it to be usable ONLY once capped on. Please keep the BlendJet out of reach of kids hands.

5. Quality:

The print on the name embossed on the BlendJet is already coming off after washing it these few times, so I am really doubtful of the overall quality and how long will the blender last for me.

I have not written this blog to give you a verdict, it is your decision completely if you want to make the purchase or not, but atleast you will know what you're in for. Thank you for reading!

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Support artisans & opt for handicrafts with iTokri.com!

If you know me, you know that I am a creative person who loves art and craft and of course handicrafts hold a special place in my heart. Handmade with love > Machine-made mass-produced anytime! I was so excited to discover yet another gifting and decor site called iTokri.com and their collection and offerings are never-ending! Right from handpainted buttons and drawer knobs to ready-made or ready-to-stitch fabric to even toys - they have got a wide variety of handmade products under one roof. In fact I had a tough time selecting designs, such a wide variety I was highly confused.

Here is a quick haul of 5 products under Rs.1500, yes you got me right:


1. Sitalpati शीतल पाटी Grass Handwoven Fabric Embellished Sling Bag Rs.750/-

This is such a nice mid-sized bag perfect for storing your phone, wallet, mask, sanitizer & spectacles/sunglasses on a quick trip to the grocery store or while running errands. In fact, my mom loved it so much, I had to let her keep it.


How cute are these cotton scrunchies with the tie-up bow or you can use them with your braids as well. They were there in so many cute prints that I just wanted them all. A lot of online stores sell scrunchies these days, I would urge you to buy these, they're so good and you are supporting local artisans!



3. Doll (Set of 5) - Handpainted Wooden Toy Rs.300/-

I have always wanted Russian dolls and this desi version was so cute! Something to keep in the living room and something for the kiddo to play with too. Did you know nesting dolls represent values of family, respecting elders, unity of extended family etc. And the price makes it all the more worth it, I am sure if you would buy it elsewhere you would end up paying a lot more.


4. Handmade Patchwork Pencil Pouch Rs.150/-

I am a sucker for stationery and this patchwork pouch is perfect for me to store all my pens, pencils, and colors! Again, there were soooo many options that just wanted them all.  In fact, they make a great gift/return gift as well - for birthday parties or kitty parties and so on.

5. Patchwork Fabric Cover Handmade Paper Scrapbook/ Sketchbook Rs.190/-

This handmade paper scrapbook with a patchwork cover is so pretty! I actually have a collection of books and I have not even used them. I plan to use this one to stick photos/souvenirs and make it into a nice way to store all my memories!

Apart from this, I loved the cute personalized touch of them writing a note and also giving a free pair of earrings - so cute - a perfect match for my black kurtis. Even ther box and packaging was unique and sustainable - reusing paper and newspaper - it felt really nice to see all these efforts being taken.

I really cannot wait to buy more things from iTokri.com - especially the kurtis, stoles, jewelry and home decor items. They also have cloth masks - in so many prints! Stay tuned for more such website reviews and discoveries.

Don't forget to check their Rakhi gifts and hampers!

Sunday, June 6, 2021

5 things I learnt from using credit cards for the last 13 years

Believe it or not, I got a credit card at the age of 19. I had my own customized gifting business, and my bank with whom I already had a savings account gave me a credit card just on the basis of my business card, that is all! I sometimes wish it wasn't so easy, and I wasn't so careless. But I wanted to share what I have learned, so that it may benefit any other millennial who is considering getting one or has just received one.

1. Annual Charges

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Most credit card companies will lure you into getting one with offers like a free shopping voucher or no charges for the first year and so on. Make sure you know what the charges are from the second year onwards, as it could be something like 1-2K per year too! I had a credit card that I was not even using and it was frustrating to pay Rs.700 just for nothing, even the bank doesn't give as much interest tbh.


2. Jitni chadar ho utna hi pair failao

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Quoting a popular Hindi muhavra, what I mean to say is don't use your credit card over your income or ability to pay back. The lucrative credit limits may make you feel like God, but remember, if you're not paying it all back in one go, you're paying the bank hefty interest charges, and when I say hefty, I am not even kidding. In fact, even when setting a credit limit, I would recommend keeping it lower, when the bank offers to increase it, politely refuse.


3. EMI's - the good, the bad, and the ugly

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Most of us get a credit card because we want to be able to buy expensive gadgets and other commodities on EMI. While no-cost EMI certainly are wonderful, I advise you to opt for the shortest duration possible for you. Always go for 3-6 month EMI's instead of 12-24, for multiple reasons. The first being that obviously you will have to pay more interest to the bank, and honestly even if the amount is small over time it starts feeling like a burden. Imagine using your new phone for months, or going for that international holiday for a week and the next year you're still paying for it - that doesn't feel very nice. Been there, done that. And you may also fall into a habit and before you know, every month your statement comes to big figures and you're paying for EMI's which you did not even remember in the first place, that may put you off your money management for that month.


4. Consider credit card as an emergency fund

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We all see hard times, you never know when an emergency may come up - like hospitalization due to an accident or sudden health issue. Having a credit card can make you feel at peace for when such a day arrives so that you get instant funds and then have a month or so to figure how to pay it back. Whenever making transactions using your credit card otherwise, ask yourself if you could pay for it via debit, ask yourself if you can push this expense to the next credit cycle. In fact, so many times if I want to buy something and my credit cycle is about to renew, I wait till that happens so that I get more time to pay it back.


5. Utilise those points

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Many of us, especially I have noticed one generation above, totally forget that their card collects points for using it - which you can redeem for gift vouchers, products, or even cash back! Don't forget to redeem  - the joy of free vouchers is amazing. Also, don't fall for fraudulent messages that say your points are about to expire and lure you into sharing your card details and OTP, before you know it, your money will be gone.

Hope my experience helps you! If you're a fellow CC user who has some more tips to add, please add in comments!