Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Smartivity Dinosaur Adventure Colouring Sheets – Review

 I don’t know what’s with young boys and dinosaurs..is it because it’s George pig’s favourite toy or some other reason, my toddler loves dinosaurs too! He has a toy dinosaur that walks and roars and lights up, he also has a dinosaur PJ set, and a George pig soft-toy holding a dinosaur. So when a package from Smartivity Edge arrived home and there were dinosaur colouring sheets inside, you can imagine the excitement!


Now, these are not your ordinary colouring sheets, no! Once the kid is done colouring the dinosaurs (the pack comes with 10 sketch pens or you can colour them with crayons or colour pencils that you have); make these dinosaurs come to life via the Smartivity Edge app! We have reviewed another AR based toy earlier on the blog, but this one is a little different because you have to first colour the dino, and when you scan the sheet – the dino comes alive with the same colours that you coloured it with! (Yes, you can try having a pink or blue dino if you wish). I think it’s absolutely cool to have your artwork be breathed life into, thanks to technology.

It’s a great way to teach kids about the different species of our pre-historic extinct friend. They have a lot of other age-according themes to choose from like – Wonders of the world, underwater adventure, jungle safari (these are for the age group of 3+ year old kids, which is the range suitable for my toddler). For older kids, they have a lot more to offer – you can check it out on their website.
Price ranging from Rs.249 onwards, I think this makes a great gift to your kid or to give to other kids as a birthday gift!


You do have to be careful while colouring, if dark colours are used near the outlines - it may not work or get scanned on the app - so I think it's better to use crayons or colour pencils instead of sketch pens. I would recommend them to replace sketch pens with crayons/colour pencils. 

About the Brand:
Smartivity, an Education Technology startup based out of Delhi started by a bunch of passionate and driven young minds from India's most premier institutes (Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi; National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi; National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad) and experienced creative, gaming, design and technology professionals.  
They are Pioneers of Augmented Reality activities for children and designers of the most unique, cool and world-class S.T.E.M. learning based educational D.I.Y. Toys for children between 3 to 14 years of age, Smartivity Labs is driven by the mission to make learning "smarter" for children.

Smartivity designs toys, engagement activities and playful learning tools that serve as the bridge between the physical and the digital worlds for children. From S.T.E.M. learning based Educational D.I.Y. Toys to Augmented Reality enabled activities to Robotics to Internet of Things, every Smartivity product is designed to thrill, delight and impart fundamental learning to your child.

Further highlighting Smartivity’s achievements briefly:
o   Smartivity raised $1 Mn(INR 6.6 Cr) Pre-Series A round of funding led by publishing firm S Chand and early-stage investment firm AdvantEdge Partners.
o   Smartivity Labs, India’s leading edu-tech start up with a focus on delivering play-filled STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, (Arts) and Math) learning through tech-enabled toys and activities, has expanded its horizons to discerning and demanding global markets like USA, Australia, Spain and Portugal, among others.
o   The only brand to represent the country at the Dallas Fall Toy Preview 2017, the largest educational toys trade fair which was held at the Dallas Market Centre, in Dallas, Texas, USA from the 3rd – 5th October. The fair was graced by some of the world's biggest retailers including COSTCO, Walmart, Target.  
o   Smartivity has partnered with Canada headquartered PlaSmart Inc, one of the largest distributors of niche toys in North America to distribute its products in USA and Canada. STEM Educational toys is among the most sought after categories in toy industry with a global market size of USD 29 billion.
o   This is also one of the few categories that is showing 8 per cent year-on-year growth for the past 5 years across the world and Smartivity, with its in-house, design-patented, “Made In India”, products is the only Indian company to participate in this key industry event.  
o   As recognition of being featured in the AR VR Market Pulse Report India, GrowthEnabler awarded a badge of recognition to Smartivity.
o   Smartivity is among the only 15 products from India to be selected for display as representative of Indian Innovation at the biggest Entrepreneurship and Start-up event in the world Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in Hyderabad that was inaugurated by Ivanka Trump and Narendra Modi. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Soft-play areas are the in-thing these days, and I was thrilled to be invited to a new one right here in Navi Mumbai! Well it’s not exactly new, former play centre called Zig Zag Zoo is now bigger and better – new management and renamed as Zoo Woo Boo!


Located at the now-happening Satara Plaza, above Kailash Parbat (which is also owned by the same family by the way), is Zoo Woo Boo – as the name suggests – with a jungle/zoo theme with animals drawn over the walls and an overall look and feel of being in the jungle. It’s the largest play center in Navi Mumbai (well, there are hardly 2-3) but 3500 square feet is huge!


I really love and appreciate kids’ play areas that have a separate cafĂ© where adults can also chill with a cup of coffee and grab a bite while the kids enjoy. How I would love to read a book or finish my work while the kid is busy for a couple of hours! Talking about the unique propositions – Zoo Woo Boo boasts a sand area, water bed and some other toys for kids! There is something for each age group – ranging from 6 months to 12 years. My 3 year old who was till few months back scared of the bigger slides, had a blast – he left no area uncovered.

You can host birthday parties, kitty parties and the cafe area can be reserved for you in that case. Just perfect – kids happy parents happy – win-win situation! And since they own the Kailash Parbat downstairs – that’s their catering partner – so food (yummy food) is also sorted! (Package and pricing details below).


If there is one thing I would suggest is I could not see staff/attendants in the play-area's different places - specially for the younger kids - who might need some supervision. There were a couple of times where I couldn't find where my toddler was (the place is huge and my kid is fast) - I would have been at peace if I knew there is someone stationed everywhere in case there is any need.
Also, didn't try anything from the cafe so cannot comment on that. Lastly, I wanted to purchase a bottle of water but didn't have any change of Rs.500 so they couldn't provide me with a bottle (worth Rs.20), so make sure you are carrying your own water bottle or some change. You have to carry your socks too - for the kid and for yourself if you want to enter the play area (that's a standard rule worldwide).


They plan to keep having a lot of workshops and activities for both kids and mommies, they just had a t-shirt painting activity over the last weekend. So to stay aware of what’s happening soon, follow them on Facebook or Instagram!



Thursday, February 15, 2018

Caladryl Diaper Cream – Review

The toddler is now 3 and we’re slowly phasing out of diapers, but we still use it on cold winter nights, at playschool or when out for a vacation. All the mentioned scenarios are times when he has the diaper on for hours and even overnight – which at times results to rashes. I received Caladryl Diaper Cream a couple of weeks ago, and now that I have used it a few times on the kiddo, it’s time to jot down the review! 

I was happy to know that it's the same brand and name that we have had in our household in another form - the Caladryl Skin Soothing Lotion - that everyone uses when there is any kind of rash/itching/skin discomfort.



A little about the product –



My take –

The product comes in a tube with a flap lid. I absolutely loved the fragrance, totally pleasant. You have to take the cream in your hands and apply over the affected areas (as if you did not know that fellow mommies, but well just stating the facts). Usually we like our creams to get absorbed and rub it in – but NO! That’s now how diaper creams work – they are supposed to create a barrier between the diaper and baby’s skin as well (apart from healing the skin), so don’t fret if the cream is very visible – and always apply generously.

Isn't that an adorable picture of my son and my mom?
I saw a difference in the healing speed, and toddler was much more comfortable and happier, so yay! You can buy it online from Amazon/FirstCry, or at your local chemist. 

Price at Rs.199 for 40gm tube, it is a must have for new mom’s out there! And it’s by the well known and trusted pharma brand – Piramal, so there is now second doubt about quality of the ingredients used.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Mama Earth launches new products for babies and mommies!

When the Indian baby care brand started by a couple was first launched about a year back, I had reviewed their products on the blog. It’s so nice to know that one year down, they have launched sooo many new (and uniquely thoughtful) products – both for babies and moms-to-be! They sent some stuff over and here is a quick review on the same –



About the product - I know how much mess a little one can make and that is why I am here to help you. Whether you’re changing a diaper or need to wipe up baby’s face after a messy meal, I am gentle and safe for all parts of your baby’s delicate skin. I am paediatrician tested, hypoallergenic wipe, soft and ideal for sensitive skin. I am made from 100% Organic Bamboo and hence I don’t cause rashes. I am enriched with Vitamin E, Shea Butter, Almond Oil and Aloe Vera to gently nourish your baby’s skin. I am an earth-friendly biodegradable alternative to traditional polyester based wet wipes.

I really loved the fact that it is made using bamboo which means biodegradable, good for the Earth and good for the baby! It doesn’t have a strong smell like some other wipes have (thanks to the chemicals they have). The wipes are also quite thick and strong. I actually use them for myself too (instead of the adult wet wipes you get, that are so NOT good for your skin). Priced at Rs.249 for 72 wipes, it’s a good deal! Comes with the plastic lid instead of peel sticker – that prolongs the usage of the pack and stops the wipes from drying.

2. After Bite Roll On


About the product - Itching after an insect bite can be really painful and irritating. Hi! I am a 100% natural blend of essential oils for stings and insect bites, with no ammonia, alcohol, preservatives, mineral oil or chemicals. I am an easy to use roll on with the most effective ingredients to reduce itching. I have chamomile, lavender, calendula and peppermint oil which are known home remedies against insect bites and stings. I have anti-inflammatory properties that provide relief from after bite itching. I am safe to be applied on the sensitive skin of new born babies as well.

There are so many mosquito repellent brands fighting for attention in the market, but I wonder why no one thought of what to do after a bug or insect bite? We usually try some home remedies like applying peeled onion or rubbing something made of iron (please don’t try these because I told, you never know how your baby will react to it). This product is a blessing, as it helps soothe itchy sore skin. It doesn’t help reduce the swelling though – at least when I tried, but it definitely makes things better. I tried it on my self when some weird insect bit me. One thing which is not great is the packaging – it’s meant to be travel friendly but all their liquid products end up leaking somehow – so if you’re taking them while traveling, keep them in a separate sealed plastic. 40ml bottle costs Rs.249.


About the product - Hi! I am Mamaearth’s Easy Tummy Roll On. I understand the pain babies and parents go through because of colic and indigestion. Here I come to your rescue. I am known to be extremely effective in helping babies pass gas easily and sleep peacefully. I contain hing oil which is known for its ability to reduce reflux that is formed in the stomach. I am a blend of essential oils like fennel oil, peppermint oil, ginger oil and dill seed oil which gives relief from stomach aches and bloating. I am 100% natural with no preservatives, alcohol or any other harmful chemicals.

It’s definitely a tradition that Indians have since generations, where if the baby is having tummy-troubles, hing is diluted in some water and applied on the baby’s stomach to relieve from gas and bloating. It’s great to know that MamaEarth took that and put it in a bottle – specially useful when travelling with the baby. And apart from hing (or Asafetida) it also has a blend of other essential oils. I have not had to use this product yet, but it smells of hing so I am confident it will work. This is also priced at Rs.249 for a 40ml small bottle.


About the product - Exploring their environment is the first way how a baby is able to understand its surroundings. Mamaearth’s mineral based sunscreen can help your baby take its first steps into the big world by giving them the sun protection they need. Our sunscreen has the best mineral, Zinc oxide with an SPF level of 20 which makes it the best form of sun protection your baby can get. It provides a waterproof layer of safety which protects the skin from any kind of damage from the harmful UVA & UVB rays. Cocoa and shea butter in our sunscreen moisturises your lil one’s skin while Aloe Vera extracts helps the skin soothe. Our mineral based sunscreen allows your baby to have a fun filled day full of protection while splashing about in the water. Mamaearth’s sunscreen comes with a MadeSafe certification and hence is the best sun protection you could chose for your baby.

When we’re out all day in the sun when on vacation or even on a weekend out, we usually remember to apply sunscreen on our self to avoid tanning (more than the UV radiations), but how often do we remember that our li’l one needs to be protected from the harmful UV rays too? Infact their skin is 10 times more sensitive than ours! So I am not saying to use it on a daily basis (I don’t remember any of our moms using sunscreen on us), but if you are going to be out in the open, in the pool or at the beach all day – then this is a must have. It can be used safely for infants as well. Priced at Rs.299 for a 100ml bottle.


About the product - An Epsom salt bath is said to provide relief from various muscle pains in your body. Now that you are pregnant, you get tired more often and end up with aches from places in your body that you never even knew existed. MamaEarth’s Epsom Bath Salt knows how those aches and pains can be reduced. Been created with 100% Natural ingredients, our Epsom bath salt provides you with replenished levels of Magnesium and Sulphate which helps in reducing all kinds of pains from your body. The addition of lavender oil to the Epsom salt, helps you relax and calm your senses in order to feel peaceful. With sweet Almond oil, your skin feels moisturised and nourished. Apart from what you read till now, Epsom bath salt also eliminates toxins from your body. Now that you have read all the wow-inducing benefits, why don’t you go ahead and buy it for yourself? So just get some warm water, add our Epsom salt in it and dip yourself to relax your mind and soothe all your muscle pains.

Now, even though I am not a mom-to-be and a mom to a 3 year old, I think anyone can benefit from Epsom bath salts – on crampy days, when you’re tired and worn out after running behind the toddler all day or if you just need to relax and unwind. Now, Epsom salt is best used in a bath-tub, where you get to dip yourself and soak. But how many of us, specially city-dwellers have the luxury of a bath-tub at home? Not me at least. So there are other ways to use them – your normal bucket with hot (not boiling) water, add some salt to it and dip for your feet to relieve pain, or dip your hands. You can also use it as a shower scrub or soak a towel in the Epsom salt water and apply on any area of the body that needs attention. You will feel quite relaxed and soothed for sure! Priced at Rs.399 for a 200gm tub. Be careful to seal it back properly and not let too much moisture enter it, or else the salt will clump up.


Apart from these, they have a huge variety of products on their website. There even are gift packs available both for moms-to-be and babies, so these make great gifts for baby-showers or naming ceremonies too. They usually send their sample sachets along with orders, which are great for travel purposes!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Netflix and Chil(dren)!

I remember when cartoons or kid's content was really amazing when I was a kid. Watching shows like Dexter's Laboratory, Powerpuff Girls, Jetsons, Flinstones, Tom & Jerry, Loony Tunes, Legends of the hidden temple (the list goes on). And they were all in English - which helped build that language stronger. Today's kids have these japanese shows like Pokemon and Doremon - dubbed in Hindi. I don't want my kid to be consuming that all day long!
We do usually talk about how to decrease screen-time for kids, but let’s be honest, we all allow some daily gadget time to our kiddos – whether it is as a reward for good behaviour, or to make the fussy ones eat their food or on rainy/smoggy days when we cannot go out.
Here are my 3 year old toddler's current favourite shows on Netflix -
1. Peppa Pig

Now I am sure this is a favourite with most young ones. Who cannot love Peppa and her brother George and their snorting piggy laughter! I absolutely love the English/British manners that are taught to kids - from please, thank you to may I's. My kiddo's favourite character is George pig and they both love dinosaurs!
2. Llama Llama

Recently, we received a package from Netflix that had a red PJ set for me and a story book for kiddo called - Llama Llama Red Pajama. I was touched that Netflix encouraged some mother-son story time bonding, and we had great fun reading the book together! Netflix just recently launched their all new show based on these characters! Currently 1 season is out, and it's quite fun.

3. Talking Tom & Friends
My munchkin absolutely loves the Talking Tom app that talks back to you in a high pitched voice. He also loves poking the cat or feeding it food. When he saw that there is a show based on this app, he was absolutely thrilled!
4. Little Baby Bum
This is again famous on youtube - they have really good animated nursery rhymes - and toddler totally love nursery rhymes! His favourite rhymes are - wheels on the bus, twinkle twinkle, johny johny, ba ba black sheep and finger family.
5. All Hail King Julien

This is another Netflix original - from the makers of Madagascar. I personally love King Julien and imitate him saying "Maurice!". This is one show me and kiddo and husband all sit together and watch - it's so funny! 

Now, why do I choose Netflix over YouTube for my kid? 

  • Safe and Ad-free
Recently I had put up updates on how YouTube is full of adult content disguise under the cartoon look and feel, and unfortunately those were seen in the YT Kids app as well. Plus not to mention the ads, they frustrate my toddler as well, trust me. 

  • Kids mode and parental control
There is a separate Kids account set-up for the kiddo - where he can only access kid's content. Click here to see how to set parental control on Netflix. You can always log into their account and even check what have they been watching.

  • Multi-device
Since I would love to avoid cellphone radiation, it's good to have plenty of options to stream Netflix content on - laptop, tablet and TV. Plus more the distance from eyes, better it is!

  • Plethora of content
There are so many kid movies and shows, for all kids age groups - keeping them all entertained. If you have older kids do check out Dragons (From the makers of How to train a dragon), Puss in Boots, Trollhunters and more! They're bound to love the variety.

Do your kids watch Netflix too? I would love to know which is their favourite show! If you need to ask me anything about Netflix for kids, I am just a comment or tweet away!




Monday, January 29, 2018

Future ready with Bose!

Dear earlier me,                                                                                                       29th January 2018

I am writing from the future to tell you how exciting it is! No, we don't know how to time travel yet, but hopefully will soon and I will come and give my diary to you for you to read all about what the future holds for you. We’re living in the age of technology and things like augmented reality, 3D printing, bullet train projects, robots, virtual assistants and what not! A lot to take in? It may be overwhelming, but it’s amazing!
Today I can actually place fictional objects/people next to real ones using my phone’s camera and some apps. I can 3D print a printer if I please or maybe make a 3D model of myself, and immortalise myself somehow? The globe is getting smaller, it’s easy and not that expensive to travel from one corner of the world to another!
And not to forget talking to our virtual assistants like Siri, Allo or Alexa! These are the days when you may be seen around wearing headphones and talking to noone. If you were to see me like that, you'd think I am crazy, but what actually is happening something really awesomesauce! So basically, I can ask my headphones to play a particular song or read my messages or even ask a question to google and hear the answers - all of this without having to look at my smartphone even once! Now that's something to be excited about in the future, right? So I am on my way to work in the train and I suddenly remember a task, all I do is talk to my headphone and a reminder gets set on my phone - now that's the true meaning and essence of HANDSFREE!

The future is going to have amazing internet speed, and this is also the age of content being the king and we have loads of entertainment that we can stream using internet right on our device via Amazon Prime or Netflix or YouTube - and really good entertainment at that! And you would not want to be disturbed by honking or people talking around - and for that there is no better voice cancellation in this world than Bose - now that is something even you, my older self, will agree with - after all Bose has been around long enough for you to witness that!
So keep note, when you are in the year 2018, do not forget to get your hands on the Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Smart Headphones II, you will definitely thank me later! Now that technology has achieved getting us our own assistant, hope they crack teleporting too, because I am quite travel of commute, to be honest, and listening to music on my Bose headphones is my only saviour!

Ciao!

-Your future awesome self.


Monday, January 22, 2018

New year resolutions to be a better parent in 2018!

We don’t really need New Year’s to try to become better parents, but it is a good time to refresh and revise all those promises we made to our kid/s or to ourselves. I’m not saying that we have to achieve perfection, there is no perfect parenting technique after all! It’s all about learning from our mistakes and avoiding new ones.

1. Decrease screen-time - 

In this age of "YouTube zombies", adult content available online, blue whale challenges and the like - the one most important resolution is to make screen time, especially the use of smartphones/ laptops/ i-pads limited and supervised. 

I realized that as long as my toddler doesn't see us using the phone, or find it lying around, he doesn't ask for it. He is busy playing with his toys. But, if he sees us using our phones or finds one lying around, then he wants it and can be on it for hours if we let him. So I resolve not to use the smartphone once I am home from work. I hide it and only check it once he is asleep. To not miss out on any important calls, I get notifications for calls on my smartwatch instead.

A great way to do that is also go for a family walk/ outing instead of being in front of a screen. Don’t forget to protect yourself and the kids from mosquitoes when you step outdoors. I like the Goodknight Cool Gel – it is non sticky and skin-friendly. If you want to avoid applying anything on the skin, then go for the Goodknight Fabric Roll-On. Just 4 dots of this product on your child’s clothes can ensure that mosquitoes don’t bother you. Both these products are 100% natural and paediatrician certified hence, safe for kids.


2. Nutrition -

My toddler falls ill frequently - indicating that his immune system is weak. He doesn’t like eating anything healthy and although we pushed him initially, we eventually let it be after that. This time he caught pneumonia and it opened my eyes.

So I resolve to try and try, no matter how many times I fail, to feed him the best healthy and nutritious food although sometimes the food goes waste since he spits it out. I will make it a point that at least 2 of his meals a day are healthy - vegetables and fruit based. Apart from that, whatever best I can do in terms of supplements – in milk or as a chewable, I will be giving to my kiddo.

3. Saving for their future –

Education is the most important thing we can give our kids, after a home and comfortable living. And it’s best to invest and save for their future from the very beginning. I am a compulsive shopaholic and must admit, I spend a lot of money that I earn on outfits or quirky items. This new year, I promise to control myself and save up instead. If you guys have some good investment tips, I am all ears!




4.Compete, but only with yourself–

When I say, be a better parent this year, I am not saying be better than other parents. NO. You’re a great parent, you were great last year, give yourself a pat on the back. Being a parent is no easy job, I can vouch for that! But, one should always strive to be even better.

For me, it’s all about controlling my temper and keeping my patience with my kiddo, after my long work hours. It’s also about practising self-control over gadgets and spending more quality time (meaning absolutely dedicated to the kiddo), even if it’s one hour a day.

5. Live in the moment –

What I have learnt from incidents that took place in 2017 is that life is unpredictable and one should make the most of the present moment. Take that family vacation you have been postponing since a while, learn a new activity (I totally want to learn how to ride a bicycle since I don’t know how, maybe I can along with the kiddo?), take care of your health and surround yourself with loved ones. Stay healthy, as one is happiest when they are healthy.


Wish you all a happy 2018 – go make some wonderful memories!