Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Family Program at Le Meridien Goa

Goa is a place very close to my heart. After all, this is where I met my husband the first time! Now that we're a family of 3 after the arrival of our boy - we are still very much going to Goa but now more particular about where to stay. It has to be kid-friendly after all!

We spent the Mother's Day weekend at Le Meridien, Calangute, Goa and were so happy to know that North Goa finally has a hotel catering to kids and families and here's why -

1. Le Meridien Kid's Club -

A very few 5 star hotels will have a children's play area, and that too would be a really tiny area with a slide and some more toys. Le Meridien has a huge huge space (I don't know the square feet area now) but imagine 5x the size you would generally see. It has activities for kids of every age - plush toys, art and craft supplies (even glass painting, yes!), a chalkboard, slides, soft-play, a bed (incase the really small ones need to crash), a huge TV, couple of video games and more! They have 2-3 attendants present all the time to engage the kids in different activities and teach them some cool craft tricks! What's more? If your kid is old enough and comfortable, you can leave them under the supervision of the staff and step out. (Timings of the club are morning to 8.30pm weekdays and till 11pm on Fri/Sat). Imagine getting to have a drink or two with your partner at the bar while the kid plays here! One recommendation would be to have extended timings on Sunday as well.

2. Activities for the family -


Apart from the swimming pool (with a separate section for kids) and gym, there also are indoor games like foosball, carrom, snooker, table tennis, chess, air hockey for the whole family to play! Usually you'll find a carrom board and table tennis but I was delighted to find the air hockey machine and snooker table and we had fun playing all the games! The swimming pool is a 5 feet pool with bar-stools near the pool bar, some lounging seats where you can relax inside the water itself and a separate kids pool. We had a lot of fun in the pool, thought it would have been great if they also had floatees, tubes etc for the kids, since we don't have a pool near our home in Mumbai - we don't have those things yet and usually find them in the hotels.

3. Le Meridien Library Lounge -

This was my favourite I have to say! I used to love reading as a kid, as a teenager, as a young adult (still do, but don't get the time anymore so resort to sitcoms). Le Meridien Goa has a library cum lounge on the first level filled with books for everyone. I just browsed and glanced through and I could find archie comics, tinkles, jeffrey archers, sidney sheldons and more. Even travel related books and more. Someone like me can spend all the time just lounging here instead of being outside.

Apart from these, the staff is very polite and courteous with the kids. On one instance during our stay, my toddler got cranky and was crying when a staff person walking by halted and directly spoke to my kid like he was a grown up (instead of asking me what's wrong) and enquired what happened, is there anything he could do to help. I was really touched at this! All the restaurants are very friendly to kids and you can order khichdi, fries or whatever else fancies the kids! We also called for hot cuppa milk on both days - I wouldn't be very comfortable to ask for that everywhere - but knowing how important the junior customers are for the hotel - I didn't have to hesitate once!

Stay tuned for my next blog on how we spent Mother's Day at Le Meridien, and till then do check out their Facebook and Instagram pages to know more about their offerings. 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Our first selfie! #SelfieExperience

The term "selfie" was coined in the early 2000's and was officially added to the Oxford dictionary in 2013. I don't mean to boast, but I had been taking selfies way before they got popular in India thanks to my then boyfriend now husband Koshik!

We met in 2008 and started dating in 2009, and he was a selfie pro and most of our pictures would be selfies. Now you tell me, how many people were taking selfies then? Not many! At first I found it a bit weird to point the back camera towards ourself (front cameras were non-existent in phones back then, and even if there was one - it was a horrible VGA camera). But when I would see the outcome, I loved it!

So in this blog, I am going to share the very first few selfies we took together!

1. 7th Feb 2009

I had a exhibition stall at a mall in Navi Mumbai to display/sell all the paper quilling jewellery and cards/envelopes me and my friend had made. Here me and Koshik are celebrating that later in the evening. (P.S. I am wearing one the paper quilling pendants myself!). See the angle of the selfie? This is all Koshik's doing!

2. 29th March 2009

We took this one on our first trip together to Alibaug. Because we didn't know the term "selfie" back then, we would call it our own "classic pose". I have really fond memories from that weekend! And man I was so thin, have got such fitness goals when I go back and see these pictures. I do realize, that these selfies if taken now would be so much better. For instance, Mobistar's front dual camera captures a 120° wide-angle shot. So basically this picture would capture all the palm trees and greenery in the background! Such a wonderful selfie experience that would be. Technology has really climbed mountains in the last decade!

3. 27th & 28th Feb 2010

Over time, just like our relationship even our selfie game kept getting stronger! I absolutely love these we took on a trip to Goa. I don't remember which phone were we using then, but these memories are preserved both on the cloud as well as a print form! The creative person I am,  would even use the prints as greeting cards to give to him on birthdays and anniversaries. :)

4. 12th May 2018

And here we are, almost a decade later. Still going to Goa, still taking our selfies. How different do we look! But a marriage and a baby later, that's bound to happen. Haha. It was amazing going down the memory lane, thank you Indiblogger. :)

You can check out more about the Mobiistar phone here or buy Mobiistar on Flipkart.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Little’s Breast Pump – A Boon For New Mothers

It feels just like yesterday when I had my baby. 40 weeks and an emergency c-section later, my prince was there – on the auspicious day of Dhanteras. Recovering from a c-section in itself is tough, me and the kiddo also had nursing issues – unable to latch, baby going to sleep within a couple of minutes of latching, self-doubts of not lactating enough, not getting the kind of privacy wanted in the 8 days we were in the hospital, each nurse giving her own piece of advise on how to hold the baby or how to keep posture while nursing. In all – it was overwhelming.

I tried all the things, all the herbs & medicines there were, even got myself a manual breast-pump but it just didn’t work for me (too much pain and nothing to gain kinda situation). End result – baby was not exclusively breast-fed for the 1st six months and soon after that I resumed work and gave up.

We are all very well aversed with the many benefits of breastfeeding, but just to put it out there for you:
· It supplies all the necessary nutrients in the proper proportions.
· It protects against allergies, sickness, and obesity.
· It protects against diseases, like diabetes and cancer.
· It protects against infections, like ear infections.
· It is easily digested – no constipation, diarrhea or upset stomach.
· Babies have healthier weights as they grow.
· Breastfed babies score higher on IQ tests.

Mothers who breastfeed:
· Have a reduced risk of Type 2 Diabetes and certain cancers such as breast cancer
· May find it easier to return to what they weighed before they got pregnant
· Strengthen the bond with their children

So when I heard of the newly launched Piramal Little’s Breast Pump – that has five levels of suctions to cater to the needs of different mothers – I was like, why was this not there when I needed it! It is the perfect solution to the different problems faced by nursing mothers. Too much pain, decrease suction. No milk being released, increase suction.

It also has two modes of expressing milk – stimulation and expression. This helps mothers to express more milk naturally. The pump has silicone massaging pads which ensure gentle and delicate expression of milk. All breast pump parts are BPA free which make it safe for the baby.

So if you’re a new mom looking for options to express milk because you need to return to work, or because you want to rest a bit so that someone else can feed the baby the expressed milk or you’re struggling with breastfeeding, I really think you should give this manual breast pump a try. And also, don’t be shy of breastfeeding wherever you need to – remember your baby’s health and well-being is more important than what the society thinks.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Summer Vacation – Toddler’s At Home!

I remember the good old nostalgic days from my summer vacations when we travelled to Jaipur, Rajasthan every summer for a month. To my nani’s place, and where I would spend my time reading comics and novels, drawing and painting and watching TV. Things are different for our present generation where my mom’s house is in the same city as mine, plus I am a working mother – so there is no going anywhere for a month (I wish!). So, how to keep the kiddo entertained all day, every day for a couple of months! Sounds nightmare-ish
But here are some things I have planned, and may could help you with your kids too –

Toddler with his all new plasma car. He's unhappy here coz I am blocking his way to click this.
1.           Summer Camps –
Most of the play centres, schools, sport areas have summer camps for weeks or months where you can enrol your kid depending on their interests and your convenience. My toddler’s school also has summer camps where they have weekly themes.

This vacation, we're weaning out of the bottle habit. Long overdue. Straws help!
2.           Learn a new thing –
This is a great time to explore a new hobby/interest for your little one. Whether it’s music, art or sports – you could explore their interests and teach them something new! Get that two-wheeler scooter you’ve wishlisted, or a new set of colouring sets or a drum-set. There are so many options to even rent toys these days – where you keep getting new toys every month as per your subscription and you return them. You can even enrol for a book renting club if there is one around your vicinity.

3.           Watch some new shows –
There is no going out during the hot day from noon to evening – with the harsh sun and increasing heat. This is a good time for the kids to watch new programs on Netflix! (As per your screen-time allowance of course). One amazing feature I recently got to know about is that you can actually get kids to learn a new language on Netflix, after all the younger you are the faster you learn languages. Wondering how?
 Stream shows and movies with audio and subtitles in a language of your choice, and let the learning begin. Go to your device and change the language and you’re set. Read more here - https://help.netflix.com/en/node/372

Kiddo's latest discovery on Netflix is The Magic School Bus rides again! My favourite show at present is Lost In Space, which is great for older kids (7+ years old) and a great hit with us adults too! Watch the trailer here (you can even complete the season with a free one-month trial that Netflix offers - https://www.netflix.com/in/title/80104198)

4.           Take that vacation you’ve been planning to –
If work and budget situations permit – take a family vacation to some hill station that’s been on your bucket list! Vacations are the perfect time to create memories that are cherished for life. Try to remember all the vacations you have taken with your family – you will definitely remember than more than any other normal day. If not some fancy expensive trip -you could always go somewhere closer, even if for a shorter span!

5.           Make them do chores
They’re home all day, they’re bored. Make chores fun for them. Get them to clean up their own toys, help keep the house tidy or other smaller errands here and there like watering the plants etc. It’s important to reward them with positive reinforcements so that they are encouraged to help around!

Happy Vacations you all!