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?

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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.

Birthday fun!

I have been facing some courage issues with taking the daughter out. It’s very draining for me becaCAM02139use she wants to always be with me, she wants me to be beside at all times, and just wont actively participate with children. But I gathered all courage in my movement of being free from the shackles of false perception. Been feeling very positive since leaving FB. So I ordered gifts online, a book ( this is a must), and a game (you see, variety is the spice of life 😉 )

I shall leave you with pics….I kind of coordinated with the daughter on colour, but just an hour into the party a kid spilled sprite on her…Oops! Aren’t I glad I carried an extra frock! Motherhood!

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The party was great we were there till half past 11 in the night. The children enjoyed, Batool eventually started to participate, and received a gift too. There were party favours, a yummy cake, great hosts and a lot of socialising. God knows I needed it. The bday made my weekend very hectic. Friday was school day, and Sat was the PTM has]d to counsel parents/students, and then Sat was the bday, came home and made preparation for the Sunday school, and Sunday I skipped my madrasa and went for a workshop at Roshni on School mental health.

What have you been upto? Any tips of making the children mingle more?

A minimalistic life- Rambling away

I despise clutter. Over the years I have truly found my style, I used to be a total tomboy layering clothes, mixing and matching, this was reflected not just in my clothes but also my room, study table etc. But I have changed, Pinterest can do wonders to your taste, and add motherhood to the chaos and you know you have to cut down on everything.

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It’s difficult though, I have mastered the art of donating or simply getting rid of things, I try not to think too much, the more you think the more time you give yourself to change your mind. My mother has this issue, I did too, sentimental attachment to everything. Saris, broken watches, books, rusted picture frames, old fashioned bags etc. the list is endless. My mom can’t part from spoons, water classes etc as well. I hoarded too, but that was more like a habit, I wasn’t consciously keeping any of the things I did keep, there was no reason, no ‘sentimental attachment’ nothing, It was just the way I was raised I guess. But I am not like that anymore. And boy am I glad. In the end you’re not going to take all of that to grave, there will be so much confusion for your children to sort through the junk you left behind. The more you hoard the more you hoard, there’s no two ways about it.

I’ve realised the only practical way to live is to live like a minimalist, and I struggle the most in the wardrobe. Us Indian women have two wardrobes, Indian and Western. That’s a lot of wardrobe to manage, not only is it financially annoying, it is super difficult to maintain no matter how big your closet is. I hardly wear Indian ethnic wear, so I take all joy in distributing and donating it all away, but right now I’ve come to a point where it’s too much. Everything I have is either new, or I like a lot, or will definitely get a lot of wear out of. Yet the quantity is large, not to mention my mom buys me Indian wear, I don’t shop for any of it, I have no taste in that genre of clothing. Every time she comes from Dubai and reminds of a particular dress my mind goes “oh oh! I gave it away”. And with clothes you just can’t say ‘ I misplaced it’ like a freaking pen. Then it’s a big blasting from her, can you blame her? So I tried to nip it in the bid this time she came, I told her to stop buying me clothes period, unless I specifically ask her to get anything, I extended that request to Batools clothing too. She has a tendency to not just buy a set but a whole suitcase!. She didn’t take that very well, but I guess it’s the only way. I can’t be forced into hoarding, and ‘not having enough space’ is not good enough for her. To her my western wardrobe is useless, and vice versa for me!

Point being, your home, flat, bungalow, castle or whatever it is you reside in, should be clutter free. It should only contain what is necessary. You will always have money to spend on important things, plus you’ll never have to feel like you have constantly sort through junk. Hoarding usually starts when you already have a lot of junk and just don’t now where to put it, so you just let be, because it’s too much hassle to figure out what to do with it, the thought of throwing it away simply doesn’t occur, or seems very difficult to digest. Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. Monthly cleaning always works, especially if you’re a mom, children grow out of their clothing super fast, it’s best to only keep those things that you want to give to your child when they grow older for memory sake, everything else should get donated. You can always buy more clothes when your next baby comes, till then many many children can benefit from them.

2. Purchase only what’s essential for your kids, we are made to believe kids require a load of clothes, when they don’t. Wash the clothes frequently buy good quality clothes or clothes on sale. The child won’t complain, and when they grow up look back and complain it’s going to be too late anyway 😉

3. Don’t buy anything for the purpose of storing it, like books unless you already have plenty space available and know exactly what you’re planning to do with them few years down the line. Donating books to your local school library is great. Even your childs books, they grow out of their books too. It will be a while before your kids have books they can store too.

4. Manage your space, look at how much space you already have in your house before deciding to keep things. You have space of one shoe rack but you want to keep 20 pairs, it’s going to make you mad.

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5. Buy only what you can store. don’t buy clothes before buying hangers to hang them, don’t buy shoes without making space to keep them etc.

6. If there are things you haven’t used for over a year, even if it’s a knife, chances are you didn’t need it in the first place, GIVE IT AWAY.

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7. Get used to giving things away, in the end they are just things. non-living things.

I am trying to get my daughter to be minimalist. If you only need one box of crayons, then she will get only one and be responsible for it, I will of course keep in hiding a spare box. But the child should learn to value what she/he has. Toys too, most kids have too much toys, too much of left overs from many games, get rid of the half missing pieces, they just add clutter. The child too gets confused about what to do with random pieces of toys from various kits.

8. Teach them to organise their toys after play, not just put them in one place organise them. All toys should first go into their respective bags/boxes/cans/ etc before they are thrown into the main toy box or room. This is HW for you, make sure there are different boxes for each toy set. The kitchen set shouldn’t mingle with the animals, there’s no logic to it. Jigsaw puzzles should always go into a box or (I love) zip lock bags. The boxes in which toys actually come in are useless, they break apart in two seconds. Unless they’re the ones with the screw on tops or containers, keep those. Don’t expect the kid to manage random cardboard boxes, it’s not going to happen. Plastic is the best, a trip to your local ‘china bazar’ should do it, get cheap ones, nothing expensive or airtight required 😉

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The earlier in life we teach our kids about a minimalistic life the better more self sufficient they will be. There’s not doubt about there will always be things we will have when we don’t need, as long as we have the strength to let go of them when need be it’s fine.

 

Keeping her busy/Toy recommendations

My daughter is going to start school this academic year, I am looking forward to her exploring life, and meeting a lot of little people her age. But until that starts, I still have a feImagew months to entertain her. Whilst I was browsing flipkart for some books I came across ‘buttons’ by Miniland Educational, I have been looking for something like this, something to work her hand eye coordination.

I got her all excited before the delivery, and she really did enjoy it. This is one of those toys that enables your child to coordinate their eye movements and hand movements simultaneously, it’s a great exercise for vision too, especially if your child has any visual problems.

Here are some quick specifications:

Company: Miniland educational toys

Price: Rs.299 (on 40% off offer) The offer is still on

No. of pieces: 40

For ages: 3 to 6 years

Purchased from: Flipkart

Quality: Excellent

contents: The box comes with a pamphlet of their other toys

ImageI have come across the beads and string, however I wanted something more interesting and versatile. And I am very happy with it. She likes it too.

What I liked most about this product is the quality of the strings, the string has aglets on it, usually these synthetic strings are difficult to maneuver into the hole because of their flimsy nature, especially for first timers. It’s a well thought after toy, also it came with cards that had patterns to copy. So once your child is used to the basic drawing of strings into the buttons, they can follow the patterns. This maintains the interest in the toy. Also the buttons are of four colours with varied numbers of holes, ranging from one to five holes. As a parent you can control the “difficulty” level too. My daughter for some reason found it insanely hilarious to draw strings through two holes!.

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Pattern cards

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Product pamphlet

All in all this company has been a great find, maybe many of you have already discovered it, I am definitely looking forward to purchasing more such toys for my daughter.

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This is also a great gift for someone, educational toys and books are always a great gift.

Tips: Let your child explore them on his/her own, let them make sense of the buttons and the strings. My daughter first organised them by colour as you can see in the picture above. You can learn a lot about your childs personality when you let them be and give them space to do what they want. Once they’ve acquainted themselves with all the contents, you can do a mini demonstration, and then let them try themselves, let them try 100 times if possible, don’t hold their hands, the whole aim is that the child does the coordinating. It requires a lot of patience, but trust me the feeling of achievement on the childs part is very important, you will enjoy his success, this builds self-esteem and confidence.

This company has great toys for kids who’re interested in science, I have browsed through some, it’s a fun way to keep your child interested in science or even build interest in it. You can check out more of their toys at Flipkart.

If you like posts like such leave your opinions and suggestions in the comments below. Suggestions for more posts are welcome. What are your toy/book recommendations?