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?

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

 

 

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.

Makeup Revolution Redemption palette Essential Shimmers Review

My first venture into Makeup Revolution was with the Redemption palette essential shimmers. I was looking for a palette that had golds, bronzes and browns. No matter how colourful you like your eye look, you will always want to have the neutrals, they work any time of the day, for any occasion and are the easiest to explore. When in doubt, go neutral! That’s my mantra.

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I had also purchased the Mermaids VS Unicorns palette along with this, the logic was to get one colourful palette and one neutral. Will review it in another post, for now I have the swatches for the essential shimmers palette.

There are no names for the shades, and they look more or less the same if you’re new into the makeup world. But after swatching and playing around with them you will discover the ones you love and be able to differentiate between the many shades of bronzes and golds.

On to the review: This is an all shimmer palette, and while you may notice minimum to no fall out, there will be some glitter flecks left after wiping it off. I use makeup removing wipes and then if needed go in with a liquid cleanser. The lasting power of the shadows is pretty decent; a primer would do you good. Some of the shades give more colour pay off than others, depending on your skin tone. I recommend using a soft brush for application so that it picks up a good amount of colour and doesn’t make the eye shadow powdery. You may not be able to pull off a look all on its own with this palette, you do require matte shadows to balance it all out. So if you have a neutral shadow palette or just a favourite shade you’ll be good to go. This is a great palette for all skin tones. If you’re looking for a matte palette with this kind of variety the Essential mattes  may be your solution.

All in all for the price this palette is great, and fulfills the purpose of having a variety of shades to play with. It’s compact and solid plastic packaging makes it very travel friendly. For the party season, this palette can help you create beautiful night time looks

The OBGYN search stress in Hyderabad pt.2/2

Welcome back to the last few pointers for tips and tricks on finding a good OBGYN. You can check out part one here if you haven’t already/ to refresh your memory. So let’s get cracking…

5. Doctors who don’t give you time aren’t worth it- Trust me. I have been to Fernanadez, and I really do not understand what I paid for in the consultation. I do not doubt the doctors credentials or experience, because I hardly spoke to her for 5 minutes. She was too busy running around, patient hopping. Practo gave me good information about her, but what’s the point in paying 500 for a consultation, all to end up meeting a student doctor? I was appalled also because I have a high risk pregnancy and was recommended by my OBGYN to continue treatment there as they are more “equipped”. I had only one appointment and that was enough trauma to ever go back or even recommend it to anyone. A lesson I learned while at Fernandez is that doctors have now mastered the art of drama. Money making depends on how many patients can be admitted in “emergency”, and for procedures that are truly not required, taking advantage of the patients vulnerable condition. I am not anti-making money, doctors work hard to educate themselves and climb up the career ladder, but making money through means of manipulation in any field is not tolerable to me. Apart from the fact that your own hard earned money is used in such unnecessary procedures, it’s the anxiety that you didn’t ask for that takes a toll on you.

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6. Go with the baby daddy- A mans view on things makes a lot of difference when you’re already hormonal. The beauty of being pregnant is in the irrationality of it all. We women can’t deny it, no matter how independent you are. The morning sickness, cravings, mood swings all make it difficult to even pay attention sometimes. Get the baby daddy involved. Make the decisions together upon discussion later, but let him be present, ask the questions on his mind, it’s his baby too, and he has to take care of you. Here I would also recommend to go to hospitals that allow you to have your partner with you. Be it in scans or consultations. Sometimes there will be too many patients going in and out and they may want to restrict entry of males for privacy reasons, but request the doctor that you want him to be present when discussing your condition, you may be asked to wait for some time, but it will be worth it.
7. Second opinions are your right- Don’t be afraid to take second opinions on the minutest of things. Advice in India will come from all directions, and if your doctor doesn’t seem convincing enough, take a second opinion in the same nursing home or hospital, or another. It may initially lead to confusion, which is fair enough, but eventually you will know you made a decision after hustling. Also note, doctors who get offended if patients have taken a second opinion are not worth your time, they don’t care about you, they merely care about themselves and their ego. Granted they may have accumulated decades of experience, but you haven’t! and they have no right to dictate your considerations. In the end it’s your body, your pregnancy and your baby.
8. Check out the facilities- Not just the room, the pediatric facilities at the hospital/nursing home as well. You can go around to the NICU or the pediatric unit to find out about the same, don’t hesitate in building information. I have done it, at so many hospitals, and you will be grateful and happy in the end. You owe it to your baby.
9. Read documents- I was surprised that Fernandez asked me to sign an acknowledgement that my doctor may not be available for consultations, delivery, complications etc. And me having a high risk pregnancy was taken aback by that. Maybe this won’t be such an issue in a normal pregnancy. However it’s important to know the timings of your doctor and when she would be available. Apart from emergencies there may be arise a need to take an appointment prior to the date set, and in those cases it’s even more crucial to be able to meet your OBGYN and not someone else. They may be qualified, but they’re not the doctor you’re consulting.
10. Expensive and popular hospitals are good- A belief most of us have, but may not be true. Yes they may be cleaner, with a better ambiance, well dressed staff, a polite reception person but trust me not all are what they seem to be projecting. Delivery and several OBGYN procedures have been performed since centuries, you are most likely to end up paying close to a fortune for the ABC of gyneac procedures. You can call other hospitals near you to find out about their charges just over the phone. It’s obvious that a big hospital has more payments to make in terms of salaries, and upkeep of the vicinity, all of that is added to each and every procedure. You may sometimes find that scans and procedural tests are cheaper at reputed diagnostic centers. Simply confirm with your hospital if they accept that particular diagnostic centers reports, and if not, what reason do they have. Based on the confidence of the response from the person, and other signs go ahead with the diagnostic center, the doctor won’t send you back for them. Trust that these diagnostic centers aren’t running a game, and you have the right to be a sound consumer who has the right to be money savvy. Save up for the delivery and other big procedures, and get tests and or scans done at a diagnostic center near you. A trick while speaking to the concerned person at the hospital is to tell them you’re staying very far away, and travelling isn’t possible, with the morning sickness etc. their tone will completely change. The people who sit in the pathology department aren’t trained to be money suckers! They know how simple a test or scan is. Two things may happen, either they will tell you which diagnostic center to go, or be clear that the prescribed test/scan is complex and requires to be done at the hospital. You can have this discussion over the phone or in person, I have tried both. In person both you and your partner can be present, but stay calm, and listen. You don’t want to sound like you’ve already made up your mind.

Being friendly with the staff always helps. The nurses that check your BP and weight, the reception staff even the dayaas. They all work hard, and don’t earn their fair share of income most of the time. Being friendly with them can also help in gathering inside information, or just simply getting some extra emotional support. Trust me in pregnancy you will want all the emotional support you want. I would also advice to not break any hospital rules by bribing anyone or giving money. Your kindness should be sufficient, have trust in the human being you are. Making a person smile on a hectic work day will do wonders for their self-esteem than a note. Get them a box of sweets as a display of gratitude, that would be better.

Have you liked any of these tips? Do you have any you want to share? Leave them in the comments below and spread sanity!

🙂