Sunday, July 16, 2017

Jumble Tumble - Kids Indoor Play Space & Cafe - Mulund - Review

Since parks are a no-go during the monsoon season, the best thing for kids are soft-play areas and I was thrilled to visit the newly opened 'Jumble Tumble' in Rmall (2nd Floor), Mulund.


I love the whole concept of soft play areas - colourful, a variety of offerings like trampolines, plastic ball pits, slides etc with proper care taken like foam edges, etc so that kids don't get hurt plus a crew to look after the crazy excited kids. Icing on the cake is when these places also have a cafe for parents to chill and have a cuppa tea while their kids are joyfully playing.

I was very impressed by the size of Jumble Tumble, it has a complete trampoline section along with foam cubes - usually you will see one normal round trampoline that accommodates 2-3 kids but this is a huge space that can easily have 15 kids at a time! The normal ball pit with slide is there but there also is a kid's magnetic zipline from which the kids can jump into the ball pit - it was really cool and my kiddo totally loved it.

There also is a toddlers zone with lots of toys and activities for infants and 2-3 year old toddlers - mine loved the miniature animals they had. There are these really beautiful looking hanging tents in which the kids loved going and setting camp. mine was a little scared of it, but older kids were enjoying it.


This is a great place for play-dates and birthday parties you can check the options and pricing on the Jumble Tumble website. The normal rates are Rs.350 on weekdays and Rs.400 on weekends for one child with one adult. There is a lower price of Rs.200 for infants, which is great, haven't seen other play centres do this.

Do not forget to carry your socks, or else you have to purchase them here. If you stay in Mulund, don't forget to check out their membership programs and if you're a Jammie, there are some exclusive discounts going on currently! I am definitely going to consider this place for kiddo's birthday.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A weekend staycation at Novotel Imagica!

June has been full of many trips for me. First Rajasthan, followed by Lavasa and finally a weekend at Imagica! I was really looking forward to this one as I hadn't been to Imagica yet even though it's so close to home and had heard so much about it! But since kiddo was too small, hadn't gone but now he is big enough to venture out.


The awesome guys from Imagica hooked us up with a room at Novotel Imagica - the onsite hotel they have. Sometimes residing in Navi Mumbai can be a blessing, because we reached Khopoli where Adlabs Imagica is in flat 45 minutes! That's closer than any other theme park in Mumbai or elsewhere for sure.

We checked-in smoothly, even though there was massive crowd because there was a whole corporate group that had checked-in and the hotel was sold out, but that did not affect the check-in process and time. They opened up counters everywhere to make sure no-one had to wait. I really liked that, because everywhere else I've been I have always had to wait for a good 15-20 minutes whenever there is crowd.


The room was decent, with all the amenities required and surprisingly it looked very similar to the Mercure Lavasa property I stayed in, which is also a part of Accor Hotels like Novotel. There was a balcony opening up to the view of the pool and hills - with a warning to keep it closed as there are insects and monkeys, yes monkeys. And we did spot a few lingering around!

We got settled, had lunch and then decided to hit the pool. We had an option to visit the water-park but we wanted to save energy for the next day's theme park and snow park and decided to explore the hotel amenities. The pool was amazing - temperature controlled and 4 feet throughout and a separate children's pool which was suitable for toddlers as well. My kiddo was absolutely thrilled - this was his first time in a pool and he simply did not want to come out. I was really happy at this, now I know that we can always look forward to pool time anywhere!


They have a trampoline set-up near the pool and a lot of lounging space if you want to just relax, have some hookah etc. They is a very nice kid's play area too, consisting of quite a few things to keep toddlers and kids occupied. They also have some indoor games for adults - carrom, foosball, table-tennis and snooker. Snooker is chargeable, rest are complimentary.

The best part about the Novotel Imagica was finding the Imagica characters hanging around in the hotel! You'll find Teddy and Mogambo just chilling around and you can definitely not miss the parade that happens in the breakfast buffet area every morning. All the kids and adults will find it equally entertaining, kids had joined the characters to dance on the hit tunes!


There is also a nice souvenir cum gift shop from where you can buy outfits, toys etc and they were not very expensive I'd say. I took the cute elephant cap for my kiddo, and a quirky sipper and a racer back top. P.S. You can also buy these online - Imagica has a online store for their souvenirs, so incase in a hurry you did not get time, or loved something and want more of them, voila!


Unfortunately for me, my li'l one was very cranky all evening till morning and I could not enjoy the breakfast or explore the bar - where they had live music by the way. But I was looking forward to the theme park the next day.


We checked-out of the hotel and left our luggage with them and just carried basic stuff and headed to Imagica. One big mistake I did here though was carried caps, but forgot sunglasses and sunscreen along with my luggage. Do not do that guys! Mumbai and outskirts are always temperature climate, and specially in summers it's hot and humid and it will get very uncomfortable. Wear  a loose comfy top and shorts for the theme park along with a cap, sunglasses and sunscreen - and lots of water!

We were allowed to carry food for the kiddo and we decided to go to the snow park first. This was an amazing experience, it was extremely cold - I think in minus and they gave us jackets, boots and gloves to wear. Though toddlers are allowed, parents are to look for any signs of discomfort and are advised to exit if it's getting unbearable for the toddler.


Inside the snow park is lots of snow, an igloo, polar bears and also a sledge! We had so much fun going down the snow on the sledge. The snow park is a 45 minute session and though it may sound like too less, you cannot really stay much longer - it gets really cold. But it was an amazing experience. You have to pay Rs.50 to take phones inside, but definitely do that - take atleast one phone to click pictures - because the camera person will take pictures and you'll have to shell out Rs.350 to buy one framed print. I found that a little expensive, I would have paid if it was 150-200Rs.

After the snow park we went for the indoor rides and shows as it was very hot and humid in the afternoon. The climate was excellent a day before when we were at novotel - it had even poured. But next day weather-wise was horrible. The sell mist-sprays, and I now I know why. We went for the Mr.India ride, Prince of the dark waters show, I for India show, Gold rush, Rajasauras, Salimgarh and Deep Space. There are a lot of rides for kids too, my toddler had gone off to sleep though. Some rides have an option for kids and senior citizens to sit on sofas while others go on the ride.


It was quite crowded because of the weekend and I totally recommend you take a express pass so that time is not wasted in the queues plus it gets very exhausting. We were fortunate to have express entries.

If you seek adrenaline rush and are up for the thrill - do not miss Nitro, Scream Machine and Dare 2 Drop. I did not go on these because I get really motion-sick and feel dizzy. It is a great idea to visit the website and look at the rides and make a note of which ones you definitely do not want to miss - and get a map at the entrance - because walking everywhere can get tiring. They do have the buggy rides you can hire to take you from one place to another. I wish they had like a walking pathway throughout where you could just stand and go from one place to another. :P


They have water and icecream/chocolate stalls everywhere - so that you can keep energising yourself. There are decent restaurant options which you can book in advance or go and eat at. We also bought a cool dinosaur after the Rajasaurus ride, and footwear for the kiddo. They've got a good collection of t-shirts too.


We were tired and happy at the end of it, and were happy that we'll be home in another 45 minutes. To sum it up, if travelling with kids here is what you should keep in mind -

1. Go for the express ticket - it will save a lot of time and energy
2. Stay hydrated and carry snacks for kiddo
3. Sunscreen, glasses and cap - do not forget
4. Comfortable clothes and a pair of change - Rajasaurus and a couple of other rides get you drenched
5. Stay at the hotel to make it into a weekend getaway instead of a day out


I can't wait to be back to try the water park the next time!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Dreaming Of Dubai!

We recently started working for a Dubai based chain of restaurants and all I have on my mind is Dubai!! Though I have never been there yet, I have read and heard so much about the beautiful city of Gold that I almost feel like I’ve been there. In-fact I am certain that when I actually go there it will feel familiar! I’ve also heard there are a lot of Indians and Bollywood celebrity endorsements you can find on billboards and Indian food everywhere.

The best thing is, if planned well in advance, one can get cheap air tickets to fly down to Dubai. A one way ticket from BOM to DXB is only around 7 grands if booked a month in advance, I have paid a lot more to fly to Kolkata or Guwahati in the recent past! And there are lots of airlines to choose from too and non-stop 3.30 hour flights. This is simply mind-blowing, the world is a lot more connected and closer than it was earlier.

When it comes to stay, Dubai has a lot of options to offer, fitting every budget. The most renowned ones include Atlantis The Palm – the epitome of luxury with an aquarium et al. Staying at Atlantis is no less than residing in a palace, I feel. It is located near the Palm Jumeirah, one of the famous tourist spots in Dubai.

When in Dubai – there are a lot of activities to do, apart from shopping. Though the climate is overall bad, with extremely hot temperature – it is not much to worry about because practically everything is air conditioned – right from the airport to cabs to malls and even bus-stops.

Because I have clients in Dubai – I know the famous malls there – Ibn Battuta Mall is quite famous for it’s Moroccan beauty and architecture. Then there is Dubai Mall, the best mall in Dubai where one can do a lot more than just shop or eat – for instance it has an aquarium and underwater zoo. One can also do indoor sky-diving in Dubai.

Can’t wait to soon plan a trip to Dubai and do everything I have been planning since so long. Will definitely share pictures with you guys!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Father's Day Gifting with IGP.com

In India, for some reason we are all a lot more focused on Women's Day, Mother's Day and not as much on Father's Day, I don't even know if there is a 'Men's' day... But I decided that this Father's Day i.e. 18th June 2017 is around the corner and I want to gift something meaningful to my Father and my son's Father, i.e. my husband (on behalf of our kiddo ofcourse).

Came across this gifting portal called Indian Gifts Portal which had some unique offerings and quite reasonable rates. I love quirky stuff, for myself as well as gifting and soon found myself browsing through their easy to navigate portal.

They had a special curated Father's Day gifting suggestions so that is where I headed. Whether you are on a small budget say under 500 or whether you're looking for personalized options where you can add your own name, message etc, they have it all. You can even filter if you are looking for personalizable versions only or hampers only.

I spotted a really cute hamper set of a spectacles holder, mug and coaster and decided that this is the best gift for my Father - as he wears spectacles and could totally use a spectacles holder and he also loves to drink his tea/coffee! This was priced at Rs.675 with free shipping which I thought was quite a decent deal.


I did not buy the same set for my husband on behalf of our kid because he already has a spectacles holder and a 'World's Best Dad' mug, so then I found something he'd like in the general gifting 'For Him' section. I purchased a steel mug with nescafe sachets and Hersheys chocolate. The steel mug comes with a lid and would be perfect for him to drink his coffee (along with the Nescafe ready-to-mix sachets) and he loves chocolates, specially Hersheys & Lindt. This was priced at Rs.710 with free shipping. I think it'll be really adorable when my toddler gives his dad the gift!


I ordered both of these together but they were shipped separately, the former came to me within a couple of days while the latter took 2-3 days more. The packaging of the Hersheys with cup was very nice, hence I have not yet opened it as it's yet to be gifted. I don't know why the spectacles holder set wasn't in a nice gifting packaging.


Do check them out next time you're looking for gifting options for your loved ones! I loved the personalizable perfume/after shave options as well. Do comment and tell me what you liked from their gifting portal, I'd love to know! Wish all you awesome dads out there a Happy Father's Day!

About IGP.com:

1. IGP.com is one of India’s largest online gifts store specializing in gifts for all ages and occasions.
2. Established in 2001, Indian Gifts Portal (IGP.com) is one of the oldest, LARGEST and most experienced ONLINE gifting COMPANY IN INDIA.We understand the consumer's gifting needs.
3. Indian Gifts Portal (IGP.com) specializes in flowers, cakes, chocolates, personalized products, festival merchandise, kids, home & living and fashion categories
4. Indian Gifts Portal (IGP.com) ships orders to 150+ countries (including USA, UK, Australia, Canada etc) and 7,000+ pin codes in India. 
5. Indian Gifts Portal (IGP.com) has same-day delivery network in 300 cities in India.





Wednesday, June 14, 2017

June Wedding In Rajasthan - Featuring Flyrobe, Ozone and Olie

Didn't have any vacation all year, didn't travel apart from work-related stints, and was really longing for a break! A cousin was getting married, and I had to go! Weddings are fun, getting to meet the entire extended family, have fun, eat awesome food and dance all night.

We were put up at Country Inn & Suits by Carlson - Ajmer which looks like was a great property once upon a time but is now not maintained well. Our room was a good one, with a nice verandah and basic amenities.

We took a direct train to Kishangarh - Ajmer and I was travelling by train after 4 years! And because we left on a Wednesday, and I was working till Tuesday night I had no time to pack or visit the parlour for a facial etc.


To the rescue for the latter was the Ozone Ayurvedics Acne Healing Facial Kit I received a few days before the travel. Facial + Acne Healing in one product is like a boon for someone like me who still suffers from the random uncalled stress/hormonal break-outs.


About the product:
Ozone Ayurvedics offering a complete professional range of Cosmoceuticals brings consumers a step closer to a revolutionary skincare product-Ozone Acne Healing Facial Kit. During summers, the skin gets exposed to harmful UV rays and dust which makes the skin oily leading to bacterial formation. For acne, dryness and other harmful effects caused by environment, this product from Ozone is ideal for women fighting this daily environmental stress.

Acne healing facial kit- for clear and pimple free skin, works as a nourishment and optimal hydration to the skin to treat excess acne in one go. It is designed for oily, sensitive, acne prone skin. The ingredients of this organic facial effectively control the acne and eruptions, leaving the skin with flawless radiance. It will result in thoroughly cleansed and refreshed skin that is moist and non-sticky without any tightness, revealing a glow to the skin. Priced at INR 2000/-, this kit includes: Neem Cleanser for Acne, Sanitizing Acne Beads, Acne Healing Serumoid, Acne Healing Gel, Acne Healing Mask and Acne Check Hydrant. The product should be used twice in a month for best results.   



Review:
I received the travel/mini version which are mini-tubes containing one time use of all the above mentioned products. The tubes are easy to open, with instructions clearly mentioned. Total time for the facial is around 45 minutes. If you intend on using it while travelling, make sure you also carry cotton balls/tissues with you.

My face felt fresh and clean, non-oily after using the facial, like you generally do after facials. But to see the true effect on acne reduction, I guess you'd have to use it a few times. Their pack also mentions and advises to use their Acne Healing Face Wash and Acne Check Hydrant regularly. 

I wore a Kalki gown for Sangeet followed by a Frontier Raas Floor Length Anarkali that I styled like a lehenga for the Wedding/Reception. The Anarkali was from Flyrobe and was a good deal and perfect fitting!



I also received a really adorable travel wash-bag from Olie's Travel Collection. I absolutely loved the delicate and thoughtful packaging it came in, and the delight of the train print on it, specially since I love train journeys and was taking one after years. And it's handmade yet practical - with the waterproof lining inside. I totally want to get my hands on their overnighter - perfect for weekend trips or work trips! Do check them out.
About Olie - a label that reflects a simpler life, and free spiritedness. Olie showcases whimsical illustrations that are hand-printed onto reams of fabric on the products, which are entirely hand-made. Every step of the making process involves many hands, many souls and a lot of love.

'The Travel Collection' celebrates the joy of travelling by train and day-dreaming a little, amidst conversations, cups of tea and ever-changing land and seascapes outside the windows. The products in this collection include a range of beautifully detailed and handcrafted Overnighters, Journals, Shopping Bags, Wash Bags, Pouches and Wet Sacks. These multipurpose products are perfect for busy moms who are ready to conquer the day, without missing a beat.


Here is my look for the wedding day, do let me know what you think about it! I love the amazing back-drop I got right at the Hotel, and took this picture right in time before dusk set-in as wouldn't get a decent picture in the darkness! PC: @ThatGoonerMan


Monday, May 15, 2017

"50 cups of Coffee" by Khushnuma Daruwala - Book Review


Recently got this book in mail and was eager and curious to read it. Not only the title awaken the coffee-lover in me, but recently had been doing a lot of research on matrimonial sites for a client-pitch and hence wanted to read this experience on the same.

Author Khushnuma is narrating her friend's story of meeting dozens of men from matrimonial sites and the good, bad and ugly. Though the instances are funny and there are some note-worthy lessons put at the end of each chapter, the book somehow failed to captivate me or hold my attention. It was too serious or suddenly jumped in places and I found myself struggling to turn pages. 

For me, a book is a 4/5 and above if I cannot keep it down till I finish it, that was lacking here. But overall, if you are someone who is not married and has some experience with matrimony site listings, there will be things to relate with and laugh at. For me that was not there either, thanks to a love marriage. Also, I have read a couple of other books with similar plots of 30+ single women finding it difficult to find the 'one' via dating or matrimonial sites...



About the book: 

Dating is an undeniably daunting task, especially when you're done with casual flings and are looking for the real deal to settle down with. When a 30-something woman signs up on a dating website for people looking to get married, she realizes just how delightful, vexing, amusing and befuddling trying to find the perfect husband can be. Based on real experiences, this book is not a guide to dating, but rather a delightful collection of episodes about meeting potential partners, epiphanies about them and soul-searching questions that will make you see relationships without the rose-tinted glasses.

Especially pertinent to this age of online dating, this delicious-as-a-cappuccino book is for all those in love, looking for love or in between. With advice as sage (gained the hard way) as that in He's Just Not That Into You and scenarios as funny and outrageous as those in Sex and the City, 50 Cups of Coffee is a hilarious, honest and witty book, perfect to curl up with when a suitable beau or bae is not available.

About the Author: 

After exciting childhood dreams that vacillated between astronomy, zoo keeping and diving with great white sharks, Khushnuma eventually settled for something a tad tamer-advertising. Six years ago, while on a sabbatical, she rediscovered her love for writing something more than creative briefs and PowerPoint presentations. Advertising and writing apart, she is extremely passionate about animal welfare, sustainability and of course, regular sabbaticals.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Be a #MealMate with JAMM's Network in association with Accesslife

Cancer – a diagnosis that strikes despair not only in the patient but the entire family. When a child is the one who has to cope with the disease, it seems so unfair and one cannot even begin to imagine what the parents, especially the mother, are going through. Add to that the burden of poverty which makes the situation even more unbearable.

What these children need besides treatment is also adequate nutrition to help boost their immunity and combat the illness better.



JAMM’s (Journey About Mast Moms) empathizes with what these families are facing; as mothers we can best understand the pain of another mother who is coping not only with a child battling cancer but also the sense of helplessness that pervades due to the lack finances.

This is why JAMM’s network has collaborated with Accesslife (www.accesslife.org) to ensure that these children get their fighting chance and the necessary food nutrition through the initiative 1100 Meal Mate. JAMM’s network will have been in existence for 1100 days and this initiative is a marker in its history of giving back to society. After all, mothers know about giving of oneself and bringing joy to others.


To donate and be a part of the initiative -
PayTM on 8080222377 or click on the link below for contributions 👇

1⃣1⃣0⃣0⃣ Days
1⃣1⃣0⃣0⃣ Meals

About JAMMS
JAMM’s network - *Journey About Mast Moms*, initiated by Ritu (Chief Connecting Officer) is a multi-award winning Mumbai based Moms support group for networking that started in April 2014 and has been steadily expanding and evolving since then...

Over 20,000 Moms from various areas connect and communicate online via what's app & a secret Facebook group + meet offline every month via their complimentary workshops, seminars and events which aid informed/conscious parenting decisions!

Over 365 underprivileged kids received haircuts during JAMMs network first anniversary event - Happy New Hair. Over 550 needy visually impaired people received white canes & dark glasses during their 'i-light' social initiative. The 'Mast Santa' social campaign done in Dec 2015 donated unused handbags with goodies to homeless women. 'Step-Up' was their April 2016 social initiative where 730 underprivileged children received footwear and over 910 sarees were collected & donated to less fortunate women during their Nov 2016 social drive.

+91 9930203454

About Accesslife
Access Life Assistance Foundation provides a loving and temporary home for the parent or care taker and the child undergoing the treatment for cancer. Our mission is to offer a home-like environment for these families and we also try to improve the quality of life of these children by providing practical support services, educational resources and recreational programs.
We understand the financial pressure cancer puts on some families so we provide them dignified accommodation at no cost while their child receives the treatment. In a country where care for the needy has long been accepted as dismal, Access Life is working to not only fill in a large unmet need but also to fundamentally change this mind-set.

www.accesslife.org