The IGP experience

As a mom the most frustrating times I have are when I am unable to get out of the house and buy my friends or family members a gift on a special occasion. It is extremely annoying and makes me feel like a proper failure. There are gifting portals online, but I have never been able to find anything interesting or found the websites reliable. However now I do have a savior. Tried and tested! The Indian Gifts Portal aka IGP were kind enough to send me a voucher to try out their website and also purchase gifts. Here’s a lowdown of my experience and what I purchased from the website:

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IGP is Indias largest online gifting store in India, they started their website in 2001, which also makes them the oldest and most experienced in the industry. They specialise  in personalised gifts, flowers, cakes, festival merchandise among others gifting ideas. The website is clean in design, simple to browse and such that you can find a gift easily because of the various links on the home page itself. They have a simple animated video on ‘how it works‘ for anyone who is new to the website.You don’t have to browse through the whole website to find what you are looking for, they have four major categories ; ‘Personalised Gifts‘, ‘Gifts by recipient/occasion‘, flowers and cakes‘ and ‘Gifts by country/city‘. Apart from these, you can also find other filtered links like ‘Gifts for anniversary’, ‘gifts for Birthdays’ etc. They keep in tune with any special days that come up in the calendar like valentines, mothers day, etc. All this helps in streamlining the search and finding the gift.

I had taken this opportunity to buy gifts for my kids; purchased two for Baby Abbas and one for Batool. Fisher-Price Rock-a-stack and Snap-Lock beads and Funskool Sun Catchers. The price sticker for all of these was either removed or scratched,  which is very important if you’re having the gifts wrapped and delivered directly to the recipient. All items of the order were delivered together and on time, I shall leave you with pics of the same now…

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I am aware of a couple more gifting sites, but haven’t dared to try them. It was very nice of IGP to approach me to try it out as a courtesy.

My experience with the customer support was satisfying, I was having some issues with placing the order because of crappy internet, and wanted some information on a product as well, so I had reached out to their customer care and they were very helpful. The helpline operator, made a note of my query, gave me an estimate of when she would get back to me with the information I needed, and she stuck to it. I was very pleased with their service. When it comes to buying gifts for someone you want to make sure that everything is perfect and there should be no room for mishaps.

Nothing in the world is perfect is it? Critically analysing the website makes me want them to have a larger range especially for little kids, it would be nice to purchase products that I or anyone may not otherwise find on other retail stores in India as gifts. Also, since I was placing my order around the Mothers day the website was very slow, which also I got clarified by the help-desk that it was because they were constantly working on the website by adding new products for mothers day. But still it kind of was annoying.

Having said that , I will give IGP 4/5 and will definitely turn to them for future gift purchases. Especially since many of my friends and family reside in Dubai I always tend to lose out on doing something special for them, sending a bouquet of fresh flowers, or a personalised gift from here, would enable me to express my love for them. IGP delivers to over 90 countries, and over 350 cities have same day delivery option! Isn’t that impressive?

Highly recommend the site, have you ever purchased anything from there?

Moms we should be talking about

Mothers Day went by and brought a lot of joys for moms across the globe. The social media exploded with posts, photos, heart warming messages and quotes, videos and loads of competitions/giveaways. There was happiness everywhere. I am a mom too, and I pondered over my life and the many moms that I know of. Deep thoughts made me realise that we don’t discuss some mothers. We are too caught up in the normalcy of life, and the struggles we see in common around us that we do not think beyond them to realise a fellow mom exists who isn’t in the same state as us.

This Mothers day I thought deeply of the moms like me, Moms who visit the courts to fight for their childs custody. I at-least have baby Abbas with me now, to feel more like a hands on mother, but what about the mothers who are struggling in our judicial system fighting in court for the best interest of their child? Dealing with an ego-centric ex-husband, not being allowed visitations! Thoughts led me to think about the moms who aren’t living the ordinary life. They don’t get a card or gift from their child, because their child passed away….Moms who are trying to make a living on their own as single parents, moms who have just separated or divorced and are trying to figure out the dynamic of their new life…moms who have child/ren with disabilities….moms who have children fighting for their life in hospitals..moms who chose to be moms and adopted children…..moms who have recently lost their moms…moms who may be battling a life threatening disease…moms who have been separated from their children due to war, moms who are unable to meet their children waiting for visitations rights….Moms who have children who have not turned out to be morally sound….Moms who are consoling daughters/sons who have been through abuse…..moms who became moms due to assault…They are all moms aren’t they?

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From my personal experience I have learned that; yes, in our country and culture moms are given much respect. But a lot of that is in words. “Maa” they say, but sometimes a mother can be another mothers worst enemy. I guess it’s only when you go through certain experiences do you recognise the honest people from the big-talkers. Everyone says moms are the most important person in the lives of children, yet we aren’t as aware of the severity of mommy struggles that surround us. Truly mothers are the strongest creatures on earth. I remember my moms prayers, whenever she used to hear the sound of speeding sports bikes in the late hours of the night, she used to say “May Allah give patience to the mothers of these boys”. I’m talking about school days, the thoughts that used to come to my mind were ‘oh cool, they’re going by like lightening…or I wish I could ride a bike that fast…..or why can’t be quieter….’ But since my mom voiced her concern as the mother, empathising with the moms of those biker boys I realised that there is such a solid perspective to this. How many times a day or month or even year do we think from the mothers perspective? How many of us have tried to think about the experience of the mother whenever her child goes through something?

I tell myself during my mommy struggles that, at-least I have faith, and the faith in God is the best. I am grateful that I am not a refugee separated from my child, I am grateful that my child hasn’t died in a shooting at school, or been killed by terrorists or extremist groups. As a mother I think it’s important to empathise, put ourselves in the shoes of other mums, even if it’s just in our thoughts and try to understand what the other moms are going through. Only a mom can understand another mom.

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This may not have been the most chirpy, candyfloss and balloons kind of a post, but important none the less. It’s extremely important for us to discuss the societal issues, and value EVERY mom, and think about the not-so-common struggles of a mother, and if not be able to help, be grateful that we aren’t facing them 🙂

I request prayers from everyone for my pending custody case, hope to get my daughter back soon and give her the life she deserves.

Trying food at La Mexicana

I am not a foodie, but when I step out of the house and have planned to eat somewhere the food better be good. As a mother who is the cook of the house I take my meals outside very seriously. It is my opportunity to eat something I haven’t sweat myself into cooking, which is also why I try new cuisines whenever possible or at-least something different.

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With baby Abbas’ demanding schedules it has been rather difficult to get anything done, let alone going out for lunch or dinner. I got a good reason to break that jinx when La Mexicana invited me to taste some of their food. Going all the way to KPHB from old city was 100% worth it, the food, ambience, staff everything is just wow at the place. Here are some of the dishes I tried:
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bean Fritters- They were crispy and filled with beans and cheese, just yummy.

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Nachos Rancheros with chicken- in every bite the black beans just gave a burst of flavour I have never tasted before. The crispy tortilla chips and the cheese with the pica de gallo topped with the chefs custom made sour cream is just wow. It is a must try appetizer. I must say, for an appetizer it was pretty filling even though me and the husband shared it.

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La Burrito-half of the burrito was taken home for two reasons, one; we couldn’t just manage to eat it all, and two; we had to have people at home taste it. It is my sincere advice to order a take away for family while you’re there. The burrito is basically a large flour tortilla wrap which contains the black beans, salsa, rice, Mexican cheese and chipotle ranch dressing. Ours was with chicken, there’s vegetarian option for all their dishes.

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Quesadillas- This has to be my favourite dish served at La Mexicana (Although I haven’t tasted the whole menu). The flour tortilla is grilled and gives a slight crispiness and the  grilled peppers give it a rustic flavour even though they retain their juiciness.

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The next two were tried with a purpose, I could not have left without exploring their salad. It looked super appetizing in the pics on their facebook page. hence the Southwest Chipotle Salad was dug into. It is difficult to find salads that don’t make you feel like you’re missing out on flavour and good ingredients, this was obviously with chicken. And I loved every bite of it, till the end I could taste every ingredient, all of them were in balance. It was a good filling portion as well. The crispy Tortilla chips took the salad to another level!

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Enchiladas I was told the chilli in these were imported from Mexico, how could I deny not tasting then? I am not a chilli person but this dish wasn’t going to kill you. I have eaten some really dangerous food in Hyderabad when it comes to red chilli involvement. It was served with a generous portion rice and black beans.

And for dessert the Sopapilla, I loved it because it was the ideal dessert after eating all that food. It was light and sweet but not too sweet, the cinnamon powder and icing sugar gave it a melting texture in the mouth. This dessert should definitely be eaten fresh at the restaurant.

They have an open kitchen and the ambience is creative, there’s plenty Mexican inspired decoration on the walls, even some humor. It kind of transfers you into another place. This is the only quick service Mexican restaurant in Hyderabad and they’re good at what they do. The only problem is that it’s super far. I have been told that they are going to open up more branches in the city, hoping for one in Banjara Hills area (Fingers crossed).

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Totally recommend it, they have a kids menu as well, so if you’re a mom like me, take your kids to La Mexicana and have them experience a different cuisine as well. The good thing is even though it’s fast food, it’s healthy. They make their dishes from fresh ingredients and everything is made to order. Everything I have eaten was just bang on, I am looking forward to tasting their guacamole, they make it only when the avocados are in season, I respect that about La Mexicana, they definitely are focused on providing fresh ingredients to their customers, otherwise frozen avocados could very well be used like other restaurants.

Let me know in the comments below if you’ve tried anything at La Mexicana, and what have your favourites been…

Baby Skin myths busted

Us moms have heard more than our fair share of unsolicited advice and have been bombarded by information that’s just false!. Some of us discover through experience, or via reading, or from using our own brain that some of these things are just not worth paying attention to. It’s only a matter of time that we realise that our instincts are the most reliable and mommies know what’s best for their children!

Here’s a post I wrote on World Of Moms on the same….Click below to read up and share the love!

http://www.worldofmoms.com/blog/things-people-told-me-about-baby-skin-care-and-what-i-eventually-learnt/1280/2?utm_source=vidya_suri&utm_medium=hyderabadimom.wordpress.com&utm_content=ithings-people-told-me-about-baby-skin-care-and-what-i-eventually-learnt&utm_campaign=influencer_campaign_baby_dove

 

 

Welcoming baby boy and quick life update

The miracle pregnancy has gotten over and concluded on Feb 15th with a miracle baby boy. I call it a miracle because never had I imagined to deliver a full term baby with a bicornuate uterus, it was a done deal, every doctor was expecting the pregnancy to go up to max 32 weeks. But keeping hope, taking precautions, staying healthy and a tonne of prayers sprinkled with the mercy of God has made this pregnancy progress into week 39!

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Baby Abbas was born via an emergency C –Section after normal just didn’t seem to happen. I am just glad that he and I both got through everything healthy, no NICU involvement and a decent recovery for me. A month has passed now, I can’t believe how each day passes so quickly. Loving every bit of caring for a little baby, some nights are definitely more exhausting than others, but I try to make-up for the sleep deprivation during the day time, when little Abbas is asleep. I have no experience with a full term baby, everyone seems to say things settle down in the first few months and a routine can be formed. Love routine!

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I had placed an order for a copy of What to expect the first year, and so far it’s been a decent guide. Only issue is, there’s not much time to read! I would recommend parents to buy one during pregnancy and go through the topics and book mark pages that may be seem relevant. I had read up all about breastfeeding during pregnancy as well, as I have never experienced it. I also read up the bathing baby topic, basically these were my top concerns.

Been taking a lot of pics, he seems to be very creative with his hand positions. Trying to get a hang of maintaining sanity while sleep deprived; but it’s been good overall. The baby is nothing like me in looks, hoping for the chatter box personality of mine to kick in soon. Till then, will enjoy every adventure, a running clock, and hopefully be able to blog more often along the way.

Youtube Channels for Pregnancy

I love how interesting your pregnancy can be with the various modes of information available. I wonder how people back in the day went through pregnancies without books, videos, scans etc. to be educated on the progress of a pregnancy. Since most of current pregnancy has been bed rest I have been binge watching Youtube videos, and have a few YouTube channels that are great to subscribe to during pregnancy. These are in no particular order:

Intermountain Moms– Nurse Dani makes videos on questions asked by moms and gives information that is to the point and helpful. There’s no unnecessary rambling and plenty of guidance. She’s always sure to recommend consultations with your own OB provider for specific issues., which is important. It’s not safe to take general advice and follow it, each pregnancy is different.

Pregnancy Chat– I love the week by week videos on this channel. Monica Healy, talks in detail about not just the growth of the baby but also what the mom goes through each week. The information is factual, and precise. Every second of the video is packed with useful data. I mostly like it because it’s not a tiny video with four facts you may have already read. On the contrary, the video leaves you very satisfied with a clear understanding of what pregnancy would be like that week. A tip: The videos are titled as “32 weeks pregnant” which would mean the video should be about week 33, but it’s actually of the 32nd week of pregnancy. Something to keep in mind while searching for your particular week.

Consumer Health Digest– The week by week pregnancy videos come with 4D ultrasound images and pointers of what’s going to happen in the week. The playlist comes with other related videos that may be of help. I mainly focussed on the weekly growth. The information covered is precise, but may not be satisfying if you’re looking for something in depth. I enjoy the illustrations and the pleasant personality of the speaker is comforting.

What to Expect– Author of the ‘What to Expect’ book, Heidi Murkoff discusses your pregnancy week by week. The content is the same as in the book, and there are 4D images shown in the video. If you’re reading the book, you may not find the video very helpful. Fact is I wasn’t able to remember all information and found is easier and more convenient to watch the video. Didn’t enjoy them as much, but it’s solid knowledge.

While there are many YouTube mommies out there who document their pregnancy week by week, and share their experience, I personally found informative videos like the ones from the above channels more practical to be part of. A high risk pregnancy is nothing like a normal pregnancy, and it’s uniqueness heightens, even if other moms on YouTube are going through similar issues in their pregnancies, it’s no fun. However I did enjoy watching videos on hospital bag packing tips, and baby shopping, they bring a lightness to the pregnancy. Also good are videos that talk about healthy pregnancy diets, and clear taboos associated with certain fruits, vegetables, ingredients etc. Sometimes we consume a particular food, without knowing all its benefits for pregnancy and baby, it’s important to take every experience in life and make it an educated one. I personally live by that mantra, you don’t need degrees, and certificates to prove knowledge, you just need to be smart about what’s around you and learn from life situations. There’s no point having babies after babies and still not be aware of pregnancy facts, or be stained by random advises.

Just wanted to share my go-to YouTube channels that have been a major part of my pregnancy. There are many out there, and I am sure I haven’t seen all, but these are my favourites 🙂

 

Kompanions Solar System KUBE review!

I was sent this amazing educational game box by Kompanions a couple of weeks ago to review. I have to say I was intrigued from the get-go when I received their E-mail. I had never come across anything like this and didn’t know the Kube existed! I was sent the Solar System Kube targeting ages 9+. Read on to know more….

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The Kube is India’s first 3D Educational knowledge cube, it aims to revisualise education by making it interesting and fun for learners. So far there are 8 Kubes released by Kompanions, and as I mentioned earlier I was sent the Solar System Kube. The conception of idea is very unique in not providing theoretical knowledge, but also making it interesting, and giving a holistic understanding of the topic. The Kube is actually a cube box that houses all the content for learning the topic, a companion App of each topic and the Kompanions App help you as a parent and the child explore various features of the product. Here’s a list of content that comes in the Solar System Kube:

  1. Creative expression journal
  2. Fascinating Trivia Book
  3. Skill development kit
  4. Informative illustration of The Solar System
  5. Captivating Board game
  6. Exciting Edutaining App
  7. Manual of the Kube
  8. Brain Booster activity booklet
  9. Virtual Reality Kit
  10. Vocabulary builder

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The design team have made the Kube very user friendly, children who can read and have basic comprehension skills will be easily able to follow the manual,. It has been organised step wise and doesn’t hold lengthy written content. It’s visually appealing and of good quality. Children who are able to understand and speak English can learn a lot from the Solar System App, they can enjoy and build their interest via using the virtual reality kit and as they become more interested, can refer the poster and the book of content.

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Nothing about the Kube is boring, it is meant to give your child all the information about the solar system in various modes, the child can read the journal and make note of any questions he/she has, or simply write their own observations. The spiral bound book is a good size to carry around if you wish to enhance your childs learning by taking him to your local planetarium. When scanned via the app you can visualise each planet in 3D. For the parents, the Kube is a great edutaining gift to give their child, it’s got the information of an encyclopedia without the blandness of one.

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Screenshot from my phone of the Sun when scanned through the App

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Screenshot of Mars while scanning through the app. Information about each planet is on the right page.

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This is what the book looks in real, the 3D image comes after scanning.

The audio on the app that describes the solar system and the font of pointers in the Kompanions app are apt for any child. Parents can participate with the children in playing the game and not just learn themselves but also reinforce the knowledge. When your child is exploring the Kube, you know he’s not wasting his time, the games are educational, and yet very entertaining, even the time spent on the App is not wasted as it provides a heap full of knowledge. This is a great mode of teaching children with varied learning styles, you could have one child or multiple, it will excite all ages, just a basic grasp of the English language is required.

I love the packaging of this product, it makes it very organised, even the children will know to keep all content back in the box. The box also comes with two handy strings to be able to carry it, and material of the box is sturdy. Personally I think it’s a great gifting item for any child, it has the elements of fun games and education all in one. Even the most disinterested child will cultivate interest in the topic with the variety of modes to learn provided by the Kube. It’s a well thought after product, especially designed for the tech loving children and parents who want to enhance the learning experience of their children.

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You can find the Kube for different age groups they provide quite a variety of relevant topics per age group namely; Animal Safari, Marvels of India, Wonders of the world, Shapes and Dimensions, The Human Anatomy, Modes of transport . The age groups are Kindergarten(up to 6), 6-9, 10-12, 12-15. There’s no strict rigidness to the age, you can pick the Kube that your child will enjoy the most and take it from there, after all there’s no age for learning!

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The Kindergarten Kube retails at INR 4,499 while all the others for INR 2,499, they can purchased from the store on the Kompanions website or from Amazon.in from the links above.