Saturday, November 7, 2020

The best smelling shampoo ever! Just Herbs - Product Review

 I am someone who experiments with different shampoos and conditioners, after all, there are soooooooo many options to choose from! My hair are wavy in texture and very thin and scalp is a combination of dry/oily. Oh, I did face major hair-fall issues in the beginning of the lockdown, for which I cut my hair short and got a Olaplex treatment done- which has given me visible results and reduction on hairfall.

I received Just Herb's 8 in 1 shampoo and Kumuda silicon free conditioner for reviewing, and this review is being written after using the duo 4-5 times.

I am a sucker for ayurvedic, non-chemical, safe on skin/hair products. I used to expose my hair to harsh chemicals a lot during college days - with regular highlights and colouring, blow dries and straightening/smoothening treatments - which then looked dapper, but obvious on the long term led to damaged, weak, thin and breaking hair. So in my 30's I decided to say goodbye to all chemical treatments and products.

8 in 1 Root Nourishing Amla Neem Shampoo

About the product:
Give your hair the near-magical benefits of Amla, Neem, Hibiscus, Henna, Vetiver (Khus), Methi (Trigonella) Seed, Wheatgerm Oil and Soy through one herbal shampoo. Our gentle yet effective, 8 in 1 Root Nourishing Amla Neem Shampoo is specially formulated to nurture and strengthen hair roots and control excessive hair fall without stripping your hair off its natural oils.

Rs.625 for 200ml bottle.

My take:
I absolutely love how this shampoo smells! Trust me, it smells so nice, I wish I could eat it! The fragrance lingers for hours after using the shampoo - and it is delightful! It is magical! I wish I could make you smell it by reading this post, but you will have try it for yourself. That said, the shampoo leaves my hair shiny, squeaky clean and after using the shampoo-conditioner duo my hair is super soft too!
I have had an issue with some shampoos/conditioners in the past that led to dandruff for some reason - thankfully nothing like that has happened after using Just Herbs range.

Kumuda - Indian White Water Lily Silicone-Free Conditioner

About the product:
A gentle silicone-free hair conditioner that smoothens and nourishes dull and damaged hair without causing ‘build-up’ in your strands. Vibhitaki, Indian Gooseberry (Amla), Bhringraj and hibiscus are known in Ayurveda for promoting hair health and stimulating growth while Fenugreek (Methi) helps fight hair thinning and hair fall. The fragrant Kumuda or Indian white waterlily adds elasticity, volume and body to brittle hair.

Rs.695 for 200ml bottle.

My take:
I have tried a few other silicon free hair conditioners and masks - from big reputed beauty brands that too, and yes they have had the issue of causing "build up" in the strands and also led to dandruff issues as mentioned before. The Kumuda shampoo does not smell as nice as the 8-in-1 shampoo, but definitely leaves my hair feeling soft, nourished and tangle free! My only feedback is that the packaging makes it difficult to press and remove the conditioner when needed - a mask container like packaging would probably have been better or else a different bottle shape maybe.

Overall, I am really happy to be introduced to Just Herbs range and cannot wait to try more of their products ranging from skin care, makeup, bath and body, hair and much more! Do visit their website to check out their amazing offers.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

A promise to self for better health, metabolism and immunity!

The year 2020 has taught us many lessons. Lessons including how important it is to be fit and have a good immunity, how important it is to save money for uncertain times, and to cherish every moment with loved ones.

The first few months of the lockdown took a toll on my overall health. Lack of physical movement, the constant stress of household chores and increased working hours, PMS and irregular periods, stress headaches and also a couple of dehydration/low BP led fainting spells! That was the alarm my body was giving me to take care of it, after all, your body is the only real asset you have.

The last couple of months I have been working consistently on making myself fitter. No fad diets nor overtly exerting my body with challenging fitness routines, but taking it slowly and steadily making sure I am enjoying the routine and not finding it stressful. Here are my 3 steps towards a fitter self:

1. Yoga & Meditation

Pranayam and yoga helps cool down and relax the body, the stretches are needed to untie the knots and give yourself more flexibility and keep you fit overall. Meditation is of so much importance when you're feeling stressed out too. I am following online tutorials and instructors and every class leaves me feeling blissful and rejuvenated. 

2. Nutritional Supplements

We are not spending time outside in the sun, and overall need better immunity to help fight the virus - hence intake of Vitamin C and D is very important. But that's not all, I am also using Enlightlife Metabolism & Essential Electrolytes Kit to tackle the dehydration/fainting spells and increase my metabolism, which otherwise was really low.

Enlightlife has a wide variety of health supplements catering to different needs and problems. I love their metabolism kit that includes chia seeds and aapro bean, you let the chia seeds soak overnight, and then in the morning mix in some aapro bean powder, stir and drink! They also suggest to add some honey and a dash of lemon for it to taste better, but I have not been doing that, and have gotten used to the drink now!

They also have some very interesting products like Tenderich coconut powder to mix with water and drink (after all where are you going to regularly get coconuts in the lockdown) - totally needed to balance the body's electrolytes. I was actually prescribed coconut water by the doctor, so this one is a boon for me. Other interesting products include Turmerich which basically is a haldi+pepper concoction with some mango pulp to make it tasty, also there is this super cute sized Aaprobean Peanut Butter Cocoa Truffle Bar which can give you instant energy before or after a workout! The packaging is so compact that I will definitely buy more to carry in my bag always - to combat sudden hunger pangs or give myself that little boost when I am feeling a little weak.

3. Dance Fitness

I used to go for Zumba classes thrice a week till last year and it was the most fun and stress busting activity for me - and the fact that it helps me burn calories and keeps me fit was an add on! I am not using Cure Fit app to take live dance fitness sessions at home - cast it to your TV and it is fun - with changing songs and steps - do try (they have free trials too and there are always deals on their monthly subscriptions).

Though I have only lost a Kg or two, I am feeling a lot more energetic, fit, can feel the loss of some inches and there have been no fainting spells in two months - so basically I know that I am certainly moving in the right direction, and consistency is key! I am a big time foodie and have cooked a variety of delicacies over the lockdown and never stop myself from having butter, cheese, breads, cakes etc - just making sure I am having them in wise proportions, giving myself a cheat day to indulge and being consistent with my supplements and exercise - that is all!

Do note: I am not a certified advisor and please make sure that if you are going to follow any of my methods, you have an okay from your doctor and know what suits your body. Avoid extreme yoga or dance workouts if you have knee/back injuries. 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Make someone happy today with Oye Happy!

I wanted to buy unique gifts for husband's and son's upcoming birthdays and wanted something different than the run-of-the-mill tshirts or other gifts. And I came across a super cool quirky gifting site called

They have a variety of cute gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, boyfriend girlfriend and so on. And that is not all, keeping in mind the lockdown, containment zones and pandemic they have also a lot of virtual gift options which I think are quite cool too - like getting wishes from strangers, or a virtual guitar performance or even your own app! 

I am totally going to try them next too. For now, I bought their best selling "birthday mail", a mood detector mug, a lizard prank and a glitter bomb.

I cannot share the birthday mail and glitter bomb unboxing pictures because we are yet to use them when the birthday comes. But we opened the mug and the lizard prank.

1. Mood Detector Mug

I love coffee mugs that are interactive. This one comes with a whiteboard marker that allows you to write what your mood is. Isn't that amazing? It also is microwave friendly and the print is good quality. And the price is Rs.299 which is quite decent too.

2. Dead Lizard Prank

Thanks to this prank, I got to know that my 5 year old kid is not scared of lizards and I am a proud mom! I was very excited to record his scared reaction when he opened the surprise, but the joke was on me when he did not have any such reaction and very casually started playing with the lizard. Instead, my mother got freaked out, hahahaha! But it is a cool trick to try on someone who is scared of lizards, and I know a couple of friends who are, and are soon going to be victims of my prank (yes the prank can be done again and again any number of times).

Do check out their range and options for your next gifting need!

My Rs.1000 haul from

One grand is not much in today's day, you can spend it easily on a trip to Starbucks to get some coffee or eating out. What if I told you that I got an iPhone cover, pop socket, face-mask, mouse pad and a desk frame - in that same amount? Crazy right! That too this was not any clearance sale, but a new website that I discovered -

I received the shipment super fast and I wanted to show you guys all that I got! First let me quickly tell you what I love about this website:

1. Super affordable range:
Most of the things on their site are listed at Rs.200-Rs.300 per product, making it a great place to buy gifts too!

2. Wide range of prints:
Every product has SO many print and design options available that I had to spend a good amount of time only to decide which one's did I want. It was tough, believe me, I had like multiple tabs open and then kept shortlisting and almost wanted to buy two of each things coz I simply could not decide between two prints! There is something for everyone's liking or interest.

3. Fast shipping:
I got the shipment delivered on the very next day! That is SUPER QUICK!

Now let me show you the stuff:

The masks are like any other cloth masks, but I found them more snug, and better coverage covering nose and chin properly and it also is quite breathable! There are a lot of prints you can choose from and buy. If there is something I found missing, it is the care/wash instructions and how many times can they be reused.

I like to use a mouse along with my Macbook as it helps me work on presentations much faster. And I found this amazing mousepad in my favourite nature print that instantly adds a soothing, green element to your desk! If you love nature, and want to add some green to your desk - this is the print for you!

2020 is officially the worst year for the entire world, and we all need some motivation and inspiration everyday! It is a good idea to have a decor element on your work from home space that constantly makes you feel better. You can choose whatever resonates with you the most! I believe in good vibes, and hence got this "Good vibes only" frame for my desk.

My previous phone cover was really good, I used it for almost 2 years after all the falls it started cracking and chipping from the corners and I had to get a new cover. I like thin, non-bulky covers and really liked this marble effect cover that gives my iPhone a very sophisticated look - specially since I go for a lot of work meetings etc. Fun tip: If you are itching to buy a new phone simply because you are bored of your old phone, but it works perfectly fine, just change the scratch guard, wallpaper on your phone and buy a new cover - trust me, you will get the feel of a new phone in less than 500 bucks! Thank me later!

My previous cover that I had to change, had a ring-holder stuck to it and I have become habituated and reliant on that extra support, hence a pop-socket is must! The pop socket from Madanyu is like any other pop socket you get in the market, and they have a nice range of prints again. I got a monogram A pop-socket, for my name.

Do check out the range for yourself! Happy shopping!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Bhanwar: Not an ordinary thriller movie- where time is uncertain #SamayKaJaal

One of the most watched genre of sitcoms is Thriller. Furthermore, there is fantasy or sci-fi. For those who do not know the difference - Fantasy is vampires, devils, witches, unicorms and so on while space travel, time travel, aliens and so on fall into Science Fiction. You must have watched plenty sci-fi thrillers in English, but there are not many in Hindi.

One upcoming Sci-Fi thriller for Indian audience is Bhanwar on ZEE5. Starring one of the favourite small screen pair - Karanvir Bohra (as Ranvir Makhija) and Teejay Sidhu (as Samantha Phoenix), also has Mantra (as Rodrigues) and Priya Banerjee (as Kanika Makhija). 

Image Source: ZEE5

A couple of fun-facts here, one being that the off-screen couple are not portraying an on-screen couple and second that this series also happens to be directed by Karanvir Bohra! Looks like the lockdown has truly made people Aatmabirbhar and creative to the T! I mean most of us have learnt a new skill, picked up a lost hobby or become better at cooking, right? So why not Karanvir become a director!

For those who don’t follow Hindi sitcoms, Karanvir Bohra has acted in a lot of popular Hindi serials like Kasauti Zindagi Ke, Naagin 2, Shararat, Qubool Hai and also has a few films in his kitty like Kismat Konnection. Teejay Sidhu is an Canadian actress and television host and both of them together have 2 lovely kids (twins if I am not wrong).

Scene plot and synopsis: 

Bhanwar is a ZEE5 Original suspense thriller series starring Karanvir Bohra, Priya Banerjee, Teejay Sidhu, and Mantra. A couple moves into a new apartment and discovers that the place is already occupied by their own ghosts. They soon realise they have time travelled and see the person who killed them.

The concept of time traveling is really fascinating, I am a believer and wisher of it coming true in my lifetime (okay, teleporting will also do). What would you do if you got to travel back in time and meet your younger selves? I would probably tell my younger self to marry at a later age, travel more and concentrate on my fitness. :P OR Maybe I would tell myself to block the best Twitter and Instagram handles before someone else did! Hahahahaha!

The show releases on 18th August and will be available for streaming on ZEE5. A total of 8 episodes for you to binge on! Watch the teaser here.

So if you’re a Karanvir-Teejay fan or generally a fan of thriller and science-fiction, then you know what you’re doing on 18th August! Happy binge-ing!

Do you have some more Sci - Fi and thriller shows to recommend? Do let me know in comments and I will make sure to watch and share my review! Also read my article on some amazing drama movies you can watch on ZEE5.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Mi Selfie Stick Tripod (with Bluetooth remote) Black - Review

I have used many selfie sticks and tripods over the years, broken some, lost remotes of some and basically was in need of a new Tripod. Did not really need a selfie stick (do people still use them?) but then my brother recommended the Mi Selfie Stick Tripod, and me being the moofat sister, told him to gift it to me on my birthday. And he did!

And I must say, I am impressed! I have used it a few times in the last 2 weeks and here is a quick review, incase you are looking to buy it and are contemplating!

As a content creator, for kid's YT channel, as a blogger, as a photography enthusiast and as a social media strategist, a good camera and tripod are absolutely important to shoot content, record videos, take still images or timelapses and what not. But I was tired of the phone clips breaking or the tripod being too bulky to carry around.

What I liked:

1. Weight and build - it is compact and useful!


The tripod cum selfie stick is light weight, folds into a really small unit that you can put in your bag and carry around (Will fit in most female bags and purses as well). So you can open it up and set your camera and record on the go, while traveling or hiking and so on!

2. Price

At Rs.1099 I found it to be a good purchase, with a remote control and free delivery. I am a clumsy, rough and tough user. If this tripod lasts me a couple of years, I will be happy.

3. Ease of use and setting up -

Setting up your phone on the selfie stick or tripod is not complicated at all, even for a complete novice. No need to spend time figuring out how the tripod works - you will understand it quickly. The rotating phone holder, vertical and horizontal modes and bluetooth connection - everything is super quick and easy to get a hang of!

What could be better:

1. Tripod is for smart phones only -

Unlike the heavy duty tripods made to operate with DSLRs, phones or go-pros, this one works only for smartphones. I am not complaining, for light weight easy to carry, I could not expect everything. But if it could have worked with my GoPro Hero Session - Now that would have been amazing.

2. Height of the tripod -

The collapsible rod of the selfie stick/tripod is not too much, you cannot expect it to unfold to a full height standing tripod. It is very short even when fully extended so works well for tables, otherwise you will have to place it on something at a height.

3. Colour options -

There is only a black variant available (looks like it is manufactured in white as well) but some fun colour options would have been nice!

Overall, a MUST HAVE if you're someone who Vlogs, creates content and specially in this post-COVID world with all the Zoom calls and video conferences, it is a great purchase! You can buy it when in stock here.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Lockdown Diaries - #ShareTheLoad

Mom, why did Coronavirus come?

Asks my 5 year old son.

Inquisitive, curious minds, answers are a must.

I say, the virus has come to teach us, son.

Teach us what, mom?

Teach us some important lessons, beta.

Give me an example mom.

Hmm, the virus has made me work from home.

Thanks to that, I get to spend more time with you,

And watch you grow, nourish & thrive!

Yes mom, I love that you’re home!

What else has the virus taught us mom?

Look at dadaji beta, what is he doing?

Mom, he is dusting & sweeping the floor.

Was he doing that before, son?

No, mom! The virus must have taught him so!

Yes! I think so too!

Now look at your dad, what is he doing?

He’s cooking yummy fried rice today mom!

Will you have some?

Of-course beta, I would love that!

The lockdown has made us enjoy so many dishes made at home!

What else has the virus taught us mom?

Well, beta, what did you help me with today morning?

Today morning? I helped you do the laundry!

Yes! You helped me put the clothes in the machine,

And you helped me put them to dry!

I quite enjoyed it mom! We should do it even when the virus has gone!

Certainly, beta! I’d like that too!

Wow mom, the virus has taught us so many things!

Maybe, it is not that bad after all!

Hahahaha! My innocent one!

I’m not sure if the virus is good, 

But the time we’re spending together at home, sharing the load, is surely wonderful!

Hope you enjoyed this little attempt at me jotting down my lockdown diaries. In-fact, not just at my home, even at my parent's home everyone is helping each other, my dad is helping in the kitchen, helping with laundry and making sure my mom doesn't have to do everything alone! Sharing the load has always been important, but with no access to help from outside, family's got to help each other! 

In the beginning it was really tough, I could not wait for my helping aid to be back. But I'll be honest, with 3+ months of lockdown I have gotten used to the routine and doing everything, with chores divided - we are in a set routine!

#ShareTheLoad #ShareTheLaundry #ShareChoresMultiplyLove

I will #ShareTheLoad and help in household chores in association with Ariel India and BlogAdda

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Reasons you should watch these drama movies

Though I mostly watch English or Hindi movies, sometimes I like to get out of these and try different languages - Korean, Spanish, Telugu or Malayalam movies. The rawness of some movies and stories sometimes touch you and impact you much more than the commercial big-banner movies!

Thanks to a couple of close Malayalee friends, I learnt quite a few Malayalee words and then they’re always are subtitles to help me decipher and understand!

ZEE5 has many free Malayalam and Malayalam dubbed movies to watch, like Carbon, Company, Salute and many more. By free it means you do not need to have a paid subscription, unlike most other OTT platforms. Isn’t that just great?

You can also explore many premium Malayalam movies in the paid version of ZEE5.
From romcoms to adventure thrillers, here is a list of the best rewatchable Free Malayalam movies to watch while you stay indoors in the lockdown!

#1 Kadam Kadha
Directed by new-comer Senthil Raj, Kadam Kadha featuring Joju George and Vinay Fort is one of the best comedies to come out in the Malayalam industry recently. The movie tells the quirky tale of two friends Giri and Cleetus who follows a trail of big money to solve all their problems. The movie also features memorable performances from comedy veterans like Ranji Panicker, Saiju Kurup and Sinoj Varghese. With quirky story-telling and memorable on-screen performances, Kadam Kadha is sure to be a fun watch for you and your family while staying indoors.

#2 Prathi Poovankozhi
Featuring Manju Warrier and Saiju Kurup in lead roles, Prathi Poovankozhi, directed by Rosshan Andrews tells the inspiring tale of a young woman’s search for justice, despite the many obstacles on her way. The movie tells the story of Madhuri, a salesgirl in a textile shop essayed brilliantly on-screen by Manju Warrier, who gets assaulted on a bus by a market place goon Antappan, played by Rosshan Andrews. The movie with enthralling sequences is sure to keep you on the edge of your seats while you follow Madhuri’s search for justice.

#3 Thattumpurath Achuthan
Nothing like a Lal Jose movie to uplift your mood while staying indoors! Featuring youth icon Kunchako Bobban, Thattumpurath Achuthan tells the quirky tale of Achuthan setting out on a mission to help a young girl and her family. The feel-good movie with a social message also features amazing performances from Hareesh Kanaran and Sravana. If you are looking for a carefree laugh with your family, you shouldn’t miss the quirky incidents from Thattumpurath Achuthan.

#4 Kalki
Directed by newcomer Praveen Prabhakaran, Kalki tells us the story of Nanjankode, a village destroyed by political turmoil. The police force is incompetent as goons reign over the village and the situation is worsened after the death of a police inspector. Featuring Tovino Thomas in his first-ever police avatar, Kalki is sure to give you all the thrills of a superhero flick as Inspector K steps into put law and order back in place. If you are a lover of adrenaline-pumping action flicks, you shouldn’t miss Kalki for its enthralling action scenes and mass appeal one-liners.

#5 Ira
The nail-biting police thriller directed by Saiju S takes the viewers on a thrill-ride when inspector Rajeev is assigned to the murder mystery of a politician. The process of investigation leads Rajeev to Vaigha, who is in disguise to help the tribal families. An intense tale of crime unfolds as Rajeev and Vaigha connect the dots to find the real culprit behind the scenes. Featuring powerful performances from Unni Mukundan, Miya George and Gokul Suresh in the lead role, Ira with its sudden twists and turns is the perfect investigation drama to watch while staying indoors.

These movies, like most Malayalee movies, are cultural, made for movie enthusiasts and not masses, 

In-fact there is so much content in so many languages, that you will not get bored at all! Some other movies and series I have enjoyed on ZEE5 are - Mentalhood which is all about being a mom, Ghoomketu - the latest movie starring Nawazzudin Siddiqui, Dream Girl and more.

Users can access the entire ZEE5 content library on 5 screens simultaneously. Get ZEE5 subscription today and enjoy binge-watching.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Masks - Coronavirus - Review | Jill Of All Trades

The lockdown is easing out in certain states and orange/green zones, and even otherwise, we know that the near future is going to need us to wear a face (nose and mouth) mask for sometime. Hence it's only sensible to get your hands on some good one's - for yourself and your family members. We are 6 people in my family, including my kiddo, and hence I tried 3-4 different masks and thought I should write a short review about it, also include how I store it/wash it, where did I buy them from and overall what do I think of them.

FIRST of all. Wearing a mask DOES NOT make you immune to coronavirus or gives you 100% protection. So, masks are not to wear and forget all other rules like social distancing, hand washing and so on. The mask is simply supposed to give you some extra protection in crowded/enclosed spaces - so that there is a lower chance of the respiratory droplets infecting you.

SECOND of all, YOU'RE not supposed to wear the mask for prolonged periods of time. When I have to go get groceries for a fortnight, I am wearing the mask in the humid/tropical Mumbai weather for about an hour to two hours - and believe me, it's a struggle, it's really suffocating. I can feel the struggle to breathe and I know that there is less oxygen entering my body. So, masks to be worn only for short spans guys! Do not wear a mask and walk/jog/run or do anything that requires you to inhale more oxygen.

Now that we have covered this, let's get to the review. I was really afraid to buy N95 masks as I had read a lot about how they're meant for healthcare professionals and there is a certain way/protocol of wearing it. I also did not wanted to buy masks off Amazon as I was afraid of copies/duplicates.

Mask # 1
Wildcraft - SUPERMASK W95 Reusable 6-Layer Outdoor Masks

The description and brand convinced me to buy these. 6 layers with proper filters and anti-bacterial cloth and a wire to adjust mask shape at nose. When I purchased though there was only one size available, so I ordered it (L) and that is big - suitable for someone with a large face. But they now have S and M as well - so do measure your face and then buy. They're available in packs of 3,5,7 and they clearly mention the number of times recommended to use it for i.e. 30 washes or 30 times. They come in a single black colour option and are comfortable if you're ordered the right size.

Breathability - 4/5
Quality/Durability - 5/5
Fit - 3/5
Price - 4/5

Mask # 2
3M Folded Dust/Mist Respirator 9004IN Mask Pack of 2

In the beginning of the lockdown there were talks and online news of shortage of masks, PPE and face shields for the health professionals. So when launched their whole section of COVID-19 protection gear - all kinds of cloth, 3M, N95 masks, face shields, PPE, sanitisers and so on - I felt confident and happy! And they also have cloth masks for kids! I placed an order for a pack of 3 cloth masks - lot of fancy designs to choose from, a set of 2 3M masks and a pack of 2 sanitiser bottles and a set of 3 cloth masks for kids. The mask for kids has not yet arrived even after weeks, so this review does not cover that, may update later if/when they deliver.

The 3M masks look fragile in reality as compared to the pictures. They're made of really thin paper-like cloth material, but from everyone I have heard, they're quite reliable, so I got them. I love how they have 2 straps, one you wear and support with your neck and other behind your ears/head. So the grip is really study and secure. And it also has the metal bending at nose to give a more secure fit. And because of the thin material, it is really breathable and comfortable! My only issue regarding the one's I bought from is that they came in a plastic packaging, I was expecting in some 3M branded packaging or instructions on wearing/washing etc. There were none. These masks are more expensive as compared to the others.

Breathability - 5/5
Quality/Durability - 3/5
Fit - 4/5
Price - 3/5

Mask #3
2-Layer Everyday Protective Masks - Pack of 3

These are the cheapest, cost wise and have the most variety of designs available (thought they come in one adult size only - separate range for children). I found them to be smaller than what the picture looks like, and not very comfortable or breathable or protective also. Not sure, but I think it's fine for things like going down to collect parcels or groceries. This one comes with a 30 wash wearing limit as well.

Breathability - 2/5
Quality/Durability - 4/5
Fit - 3/5
Price - 5/5

After wearing, I remove the masks using the straps and wash them with detergent and Dettol and dry and store them back in my bag/cupboard. Always remember to put them on or off only holding the straps and don't touch the mask around your mouth with your bare hands.

I'm sure there are lots of more brands and varieties out there, but these are the one's I have got for my family. One-time use surgical masks are a good choice if you don't want to get into washing/cleaning of masks - but that's a lot of wastage in my opinion.

Take care, stay home as far as possible and stay safe guys!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

What will happen when the pandemic ends? #Coronavirus #Covid19

What will we do once the pandemic gets over? Will we go back to shutting our eyes to what is going on around us? Will we start taking everything and everyone for granted, again?

Will we start being apathetic towards others? Will be start arguing with our helpers again and demand to deduct from their salaries?

Will we go back to saying "I don't have any time for this" to our kids, families and loved ones? Will be stop maintaining cleanliness and start throwing thrash around again?

Will the world go back to it's cross-border fights and competitiveness instead of being united as it currently is? Will the skies and oceans that are currently blue and clear turn grey again?

Will we stop praying again? Will we stop appreciating being alive, having a roof/home to protect us and being able to work remotely thanks to technology?

The choice will be ours, or will there be a chance to choose?

Promise to change. Promise to remember these times.
Etch the memories in your minds.
Let's not forget and go back to how things were earlier.
Let's remember, learn and grow.

I promise to appreciate life more. I promise to love more. I promise to smile more. I promise to help more. I promise to live more.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Day trek to Matheran with Senior Citizens & Kids

I cannot believe that being born in Mumbai and spending all my 30 years here, I had never been to Matheran till now! Had thought about it many times, visited hotel websites to check prices too - but there was so much confusion around how to go, till where are cars allowed, where does the toy train begin, how much is too much walking and so on. Finally my family made an impromptu plan on Saturday night to go to Matheran the next day!

Our original plan was to take a Karjat train from Bhandup station that would drop us at Neral. But then we decided to take our own car - and I am glad we did so! Because the toy train does not start from Neral, it starts from Aman Lodge/Dasturi Car Park and goes till Matheran station/market area. Which basically means - if you take a train - then you have to take a share cab from Neral station till Aman Lodge/Dasturi Naka. And the cab drivers - they drive like crazy people! The roads/ghats are quite steep and you definitely need a powerful car and good driver to manage that. If you are not confident of covering the ghat area on your own, interesting fact - there are drivers at the start of the ghat whom you can rent at Rs.200 for driving you up till the ghat. I am not sure how reliable or comfortable that is though.

So Mulund to Aman Lodge took us around 2 hours - good roads, no traffic. There was a lot of crowd - being a Sunday I guess. We parked the car (You have to pay Rs.30+Rs.50 tax=Rs.80) and then had to take entry tickets. Entry tickets is Rs.50 per adult and Rs.25 per kid (They take this to maintain the hill station). We soon started hiking (around 12 noon). There are horses at the starting point which you can take to go up as well. They charge around Rs.350 per horse (there is scope of negotiation). If you are in time for the toy train, you can take that as well. Even though it was 12noon and relatively hot - because the whole path is covered with trees and lush greenery, the hike was not tough and we managed to climb the 3-odd kilometers in an hour. 

4 senior citizens and one 5 year old kid with me. Both my mom and aunt could not walk all the way and took a cart-ride (2 men carrying people in a hand-cart) till the market. My father and uncle and kiddo managed well. There are places where you can stop to rest as well. One you reach the main market/station area you will see crowd, monkeys and joints/restaurants to eat. Food options were okay - not so great. My advise is to book a hotel/lodge incase you want to explore every nook and corner of the hill station - all the points etc. We were only here for a day, so had made peace with the fact that we may not get to see all of it - after all, there should be something to see when you come again, right?

There are 2 points nearby the market-area from where you can see good views of the Sahyadri range - Madhav Point (It's inside a kid's park) and Khandala Point. Beware of monkeys everywhere - they spot you with food or drinks in the open, they are going to come and grab it! They are not scared at all. I held kiddo's pack of chocolates and literally threw it away when the monkey came towards us - you should have seen my kiddo cry at this. ROFL.

Since kiddo is a train-enthusiast I absolutely did not want to leave without making him experience the Toy Train. So while the others headed for a late lunch, I headed to the station to book the tickets. You cannot pre-book tickets or book them online - you have to simply stand in a long queue. Unless you are booking first class tickets - so if the 6x cost does not bother you and you don't want to spend an hour waiting in the queue, then ask for 1st class tickets before they're gone.

The toy train is a narrow gauge train that slowly makes it way back to Aman Lodge/Dasturi Car Park. The scenery is nice, and it's a good experience - but not as great as the claims were online. Maybe it's enchanting in peak winters when there is fog. We wanted to be back to the car point before sunset as we did not want to drive the steep ghats in darkness, and we were back home by 7pm! I will definitely be back during a better season to visit the points we missed out - specially Echo point. And try the horses this time.

Friday, February 21, 2020

LEGO® Fire Helicopter Response 60248 - Review #JillOfAllTrades

I do not know why, but small boys are REALLY obsessed with fire-fighters, fire-station and so on. In-fact kiddo's school even recently took them to see the local fire-station. So, it's only natural that when a new Lego City set with a FLYING HELICOPTER (LEGO® Fire Helicopter Response) arrived, kiddo was thrilled. Forget kiddo, I was thrilled!

Building the parts was quick - 93 piece set with 3 mini-figures, a small construction part, fire fighter vehicle and helicopter. I really LOVE how Lego introduces women in roles that are dominated/stereotyped by males. We have fire chief Freya McCloud from the fire-fighting squad - go girl!

As always the details of each part continues to impress me and blow my mind - the worker with his flame-machine and helmet, intact the helmets for all three action figures are different!

Now coming to the main highlight of this product - the flying helicopter. The helicopter looks really cool with space for a mini-figure pilot to sit. To make it light-weight the tail is made of cardboard paper - which I feel can tear/wear-out over time. It comes with a rip-cord (think bey-blade) and a lego buildable device to fit the chopper in and pull. Rather genius I must say. Now if you are going to imagine that the helicopter will fly high and you can navigate or control it, no that's not how it is. But for a 5 year old (This set is for 5-8 year olds) the whole idea of pulling the rip cord to make the helicopter fly out and land a few feet away - that is what it does and as long as the kiddo is happy, I am happy!

We were a little unsure of how to fly the helicopter, and I am so happy that Lego has all the detailed instructions in text as well as video format on their website. After a take at their video, I understood clearly what is to be done.

Also, this set is compatible with any other Lego City set - so you can build and expand! Kiddo had received a fire-fighter truck earlier, you can read it's review too. Overall, I am loving how Lego keeps innovating and coming up with new toys! Maybe we will see a flying car (Think: Harry Potter) soon!