Saturday, September 9, 2017

Book Review: What Kitty Did by Trisha Bora

Book Name: What Kitty Did
Author: Trisha Bora
Publisher: Harper Collins
Price: INR 299 (MRP)

I am reading a book after what seems like ages, and I'm glad I picked up this one. It has opened up the floodgates for reading quite a few more. Thank you, Vivek and Flipkart for shortlisting me for reviewing this book. Will keep this review short and simple.



The story revolves around Ketaki Roy, aka Kitty to her close friends and family. Working as a journalist for a fashion magazine, at times Kitty feels like she's a misfit. However, she is handed to cover the life of a high-profile yesteryear actress and socialite, Roxanne Merchant, which ultimately leads her into a web of the murky lives of big shots. At the same time, an incident helps her realize her true interest: baking and spreading the sweetness with the world. How she unravels the real cause behind Roxy Merchant's death is what the crux of the story is.

Firstly, this is one really great weekend read, filled with rib-tickling lines and funny innuendos. Trisha Bora does a fine job with the narration, sticking to the storyline, at the same time digressing when it is required. For example, she talks about the city of Delhi - where the story is based - quite well; where a non-Delhiite like me could relate and understand. All in all, this book is very in-sync with today's generation and most parts are quite relatable.

If you feel like you need an entertaining read, go for this.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Tinkle Buddy Box from Amar Chitra Katha - Product Review


My childhood in the nineties revolved around reading Tinkle, Champak and Chandamama. And from these periodicals stemmed my passion for books, series like Harry Potter and Poirot, and helped me take baby steps towards the world of literature. However, what I did not realise then was the magic of the colourful characters like Suppandi, Chacha Chowdhury and Shikhari Shambhu that were amusing and how most had a moral or a lesson to tell in the end. I also looked forward to solving a riddle or puzzles like spot the differences.

Over time, we all grew up and we pushed it away for more trivial pursuits including our affiliation for technology. We forgot about the charm and unadulterated joy that a freshly minted copy of Tinkle or Champak got us when we were gifted one or spotted one at our sibling's or friend's place. An irreplaceable part of my childhood were these periodical paperbacks.

It was after a really long time that I got my hands on a Tinkle digest. This happened when I was asked to review TinkleBuddyBox, an activity box. And no points for guessing who was more excited than my daughter! :)




I soo wanted to do an un-boxing video, but my daughter beat me to it. She was super elated with her shiny new box of things that she has seen for the very first time. It was perfect timing since she has her vacations and I was just thinking of purchasing an activity box to keep her busy while I was away.

The contents of TinkleBuddyBox are:

a never-seen-before Tinkle board game
a 108- piece jigsaw puzzle with Shikari Shambhu
an exclusive Tinkle card game
Tinkle merchandise: four badges
2 DIY art projects
2 mega Tinkle digests

All this equates to a whole lot of fun.

Even though my darling daughter isn't 6 yet and is still young to understand most games, she thoroughly enjoyed piecing the puzzle and making an aeroplane and Suppandi's autorickshaw - the DIY art projects. 

Take a look:




The contents of my TinkleBuddyBox







My thoughts about the Tinkle Buddy Box:
For kids ages 6 and more: It is hours of fun and learning for your child, away from the television or smartphone. They are bound to be glued to the activities that will keep them engaged. I had my nephew and niece go ga-ga over the fun-filled activities.

For kids less than 6 years of age: This box will give you an opportunity to spend quality time with your kid. knowing that most of us parents have very little free time on our hands. You can develop a lot of your child's skills through this pack of activities and keep them engaged and away from the smartphone mania.

I know I created a mini storm on my Instagram account @missalpao just by posting a snapshot of this box.
My kiddo and I had loads of fun with this activity box. So head out and grab a box for your kid (or may be for you!).




Monday, March 20, 2017

Colgate Magical Stories - A Toddler's Adventure in Space


As kids, our lives kinda revolved around stories. Be it before going to bed or for being coaxed to eat up those veggies. Our grandparents, parents as well as our elder siblings showered us with stories of their experiences, sojourns and life's lessons. Enriched with these stories, we took each day as it came...with a burst of creativity and imagination.

But then arose a problem.

We stopped sharing these stories. Partially to blame is the addiction we have towards gadgets. And partially, because we may have become lazy and uninterested in this ritual.

This thought made me wonder, how limited our kids' imagination might become if we don't encourage them to build and share stories. We may have developed a habit for thinking practically but kids are still young and need to be exposed to various creative experiences and develop their own way of thinking, questioning and understanding.

Colgate Magical Stories - An breakthrough initiative by Colgate Palmolive has reopened the doors of creativity and imagination in the children's lives. In association with BlogAdda, India's leading network of bloggers, they've tried to bring back the beauty of incredible stories in children.

I too signed up for this initiative for my daughter. I want my daughter to start young in expanding her creative skills.



I received three packs of Colgate toothpaste with a different space adventure inside.

My daughter was elated in learning about the contents of these packs. As she has limited knowledge of the planets, space and the solar system, I took this as the right opportunity to show and tell her about them.

The story goes like this:

 Here is Tony, our space crusader.

 Like every astronaut he sits in a rocket. Ready to launch, 3...2...1...BLAST OFF!

 The rocket travels far away from the earth and into space.

 It passes through the International Space Station. "I'll visit my friend Tina after I complete my mission." says Tony.
 He successfully lands on the surface of Mars. Tony places his flag on the Martian land. Now, it is time to explore this planet.
 He sets out to explore in his buggy.
 "What's this. We have company!?" Tony exclaims on eyeing the spacecraft and the Alien being.

"Hello" says Tina and Tony is surprised to see her there. The Alien gets scared and leaves the planet in his spaceship.




Tina invites Tony to her Space Station. Floating in outer space, Tony gets to see the various planets and inter-celestial bodies.






 Having successfully completed his voyage, Tony bids adieu to Tina and heads back to earth.


Wasn't it a magical story? What did you think?


“I’m blogging my #ColgateMagicalstories at BlogAdda in association with Colgate.


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Big Bazaar Kids Carnival 2016


At the end of any year, I always look forward to a lot of get-to-gethers, weddings, fests, shopping sprees and meets. But unlike every year, this year we had to struggle with the burden of demonetization and are reeling under its effects. Yet the year end still has a silver lining for me. It did not dampen the celebrations much as I would've thought it would.

So when I was invited by the good folks at Big Bazaar to be a part of the Mommy Bloggers meet I was elated. Usually blogger meets are all about the blogger, but this one was with a difference, my little one was invited too! My kiddo and I were invited to the exclusive launch of the Big Bazaar Kids Carnival 2016, a fun initiative by BB Kiddie Club.

The lovely Emcee welcoming all mommy bloggers & kids to Big Bazaar Kids Carnival 2016
My kiddo and I were warmly welcomed by the BB team. After a round of introductions, all kiddos were encouraged to participate in some fun and games. Moms were not left behind, as there were fun games for us as well! The zest and the enthusiasm was infectious when we witnessed the staff of the Malad store cheering for the moms. Though the winners were rewarded a sweet token of chocolates, the fun we had was one to cherish.

Checking out the latest in fashion for kids

Toys section: Kids love this section, but is a danger zone for parents!

A group capture of all the mommy bloggers and their kids present at the event.


We were made aware of the exclusive benefits of being a #BBKiddieClub member.

The Big Bazaar Kiddie Club is a novel idea which aims at providing a platform for 3 to 15 year olds to pursue their passion and showcase their talent whilst having fun. This Club offers these kids an exclusive card which entitles them to accumulate points when they shop at Big Bazaar and also by participating in the events held.



The key highlight of this carnival would be that kids to stand a chance at being featured in the Chhota Bheem TVC! And all they need to do is take a selfie at any of their stores!
There will also be Stores will have a dedicated area to engage kids and will follow a theme that ranges from superheroes to a jungle setup.

Isn't it a win-win situation for parents, when they can shop at ease as their kids are engrossed in the various fun and engaging activities held by one of the leading retail chains in India?

So head to their store right away! This carnival will be held at Big Bazaar stores across the country from December 10, 2016 to January 8, 2017.

The event concluded with some mouth-watering refreshments for the kids and their mommies as well as a loaded goodie bag full of toys for all ages! What a fun day it was!







Sunday, November 27, 2016

Book Review: Graffiti by Joanie Pareria

Book Title: Graffiti 
Author: Joanie Pariera
Publishing House: Author House
Available format(s): ebook 
Genre: Fiction, Comedy, Drama



I picked up Graffiti through Book Review program on Writersmelon.com. Graffiti showcases a medley of human emotions, from bereavement to elation. It is a fine depiction of the central characters, which are Rene, Vipin, Pournami, Upi (Upasna), Mark and Agni. Narrated in first person, the story takes place simultaneously across Denver, Bangalore and Mumbai. 

Off late I've been reading a lot of ebooks on my kindle app, particularly for the convenience it offers over a paperback. So, I had instantly applied for this one thinking the same. However, I couldn't finish this book at one go, and it did take me longer than usual to read it entirely. But having said that, it mustn't daunt a reader to pick this one up.

Joanie takes the story of each character and describes it well. In my opinion, the initial pace of the book is slow but it does keep a read engaged to a certain extent. However, certain place the story seem to dawdle a bit. She has depicted the pain and the emotions of losing a loved one - one's spouse - somewhat realistically. Most of the chapters are peppered with some playful banter and awkward hilarity that is charming. 

The author has aptly tag-lined Graffiti to be a sensual, tragic, sexomedy; which readily I agree. All in all a good, emotional read.

About the Author:

Joanie Pariera (Pen Name), has apparently been thinking about writing fiction since the time she learned to say the word ‘pencil’. It came to be, that that was the first word her parents taught her to say. According to them, she then made up her own word for it just to see them squirm. 

She likes to think she is a master of many things, including making up words. To start with she has two master’s degrees. She cooks, keeps house, codes and programs, and until recently used to write specifications for Information Systems for a living. Having travelled extensively, she has self-assimilated the cultural nuances of various unsuspecting anthropological groups and stealthily continues to put down her impressions in her writing. 



Book Review: Skyfire by Aroon Raman

Book Title: Skyfire
Author: Aroon Raman
Publishing House: Pan Macmillan India
Available format(s): ebook and paperback
Genre: Fiction; Thriller
Pages: 256




Blurb: 
May 2012. India is hit by a series of freak weather disturbances and startling epidemics that threaten to bring the country to its knees. At the same time, children are disappearing from the slums in the capital and nobody seems to care. Stumbling upon these strange and seemingly unrelated incidents, journalist Chandrasekhar, historian Meenakshi Pirzada and intelligence operative Syed Ali Hassan start upon a trail that leads them into the drawing rooms of Delhi's glittering high society before reaching a terrifying climax in Bhutan, where they come face-to-face with a force of unspeakable power and evil.


My Review:

One word: Unputdownable. I am so glad to have picked this book up. Though the initial pace of the book is slow, it catches up as the author describes the fine details of each of the freak weather disturbances and unusual natural occurances. The character sketches of the main protagonists, the trio of Chandrashekhar, Meenakshi Pirzada and Syed Ali Hassan have also been defined very well, each of them have a key role in the plot. 

Overall, a pacy and a racy read, not a single dull moment! Now I'm compelled to read the first two of his books as well.




This is review is a part of the Flipkart book review program; I've recieved the book in exchange of an honest, unbiased review. I thank Flipkart for shortlisting me for to review this book.

Monday, October 17, 2016

How to raise kids in a digital era


The rise of social media and the access to it has baffled many generations. Although it is deemed a good thing to have technology play a key role in connecting people, there's also a flip side to it.

Here to explain how kids can get affected by excessive and unrestricted use of social media is Arti Tuteja, a certified hypnotherapist. In a guest post on my blog, Arti explains how parents can take some steps to prevent the ill-effects of social media.



How to raise kids in a digital era

Social media and growing segments of technology are literally unstoppable. Even the tech giants are not keeping any stone unturned to do their best in the field - we mean Facebook, Google, and Twitter. However, raising a generation or our own children can get tricky in such times.
Noticeably, technology has overtaken a significant part of parents and children’s lives. Parents are equally involved with the social media trend as the kids are, leaving very less time to enjoy together. The old generation grew playing with toys or cartoon characters; whereas the current generation is growing up with latest gadgets.

Excessive use of social media can also affect children’s. According to a study, 15% of teens say they were the target of online cruelty. 55% of teens have given out personal information to someone they don‘t know, including photos and physical descriptions. The outcome of such action is not only dangerous but can also fill them with anxiety and fear.

However, there's always a specific role to be played which can bring the change when followed. As parents, we need to understand this basic and significant point, "children follow examples, not advice." Remember, if your kid has been taught only in school, your kid is illiterate. 
As a hypnotherapist, I have attended many kids facing hard times alone, because of unavailability of their parents. Or when they are unable to open up with their parents, which is very important for their development.

So here, I am sharing some tips which you can follow to raise your kid, without losing the balance between technology and true essence of childhood in this digital era. 

1. Prioritize digital time and real communication:
We need to prioritize the web and digital time off, it's very necessary for both parents and children. Agreed, our children's can attain a lot of knowledge or we can learn new things to stay in flow with the trend, however, "real communication is important for every relationship".  Create a social media wall. Always try to make time for your child, where you can share genuine time and develop the basic guidelines of a human being.
On the flip side, you also need to create a distance from social media. As mentioned, your child will follow your example.

2. Deal calmly with your child:
Let's face the fact. Even after trying our best to keep our child guarded against unsolicited information about sexuality, pornography etc., it will reach them at some point of time. Irrespective of age or gender, try to deal with them calmly. Help them to learn the right side of the coin - sexuality or pornography. If they can learn the right information from you, why would they go to anybody else?

3. Saving children from information overload
The internet is a place where you can question anything, and you will receive an answer. Courtesy goes to the search engines. But there’s much information which is not required for a 9-year-old kid. That's where you play the tough role; you have to teach them how to choose what is important, authentic and required. For e.g., when we go to shopping with kids, they want everything they find attractive. But considering their needs we don't buy all of them. Similarly, teach them what they need, not what they want.

4. Give them personal attention:
Juggled up between our professional and personal life, a lot of times we end up paying very less attention to our kids. But learn this, no matter what, kids will always enjoy the personal attention of parents as compared to playing with gadgets.

5. Teach them the importance of physical health and postures:
Emphasize the importance of physical health and posture, to your kids. Posture ranks right up at the top of the list when you are talking about good health. It is as important as eating right, exercising, getting a good night's sleep and avoiding potentially harmful substances like alcohol, drugs, and tobacco.


Also, kids involved in physical activities have a better chance of avoiding problems related to obesity. Children that are active physically are more likely to make wise dietary and health choices in adult life.

About the author:
Arti Tuteja is a world renowned hypnotherapist and NLP (Nuero 'linguistic' Programming) and EFT Coach in The Change Associates in Dubai, where she deals with client’s concerns or inner conflicts ranging from anxiety, panic attack, bingeing, thumb sucking, fears, self-confidence, study improvement, smoking, weight management just to name a few.

She can be reached at www.artituteja.com


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