June book review- How to be a Bawse by Lilly Singh aka Superwoman

My Rating: 4 Stars

Book & Author: How to be a Bawse by Lilly Singh aka Superwoman

Genre: Motivation/Self Help

Let me start by saying, I am a huge Superwoman fan..so if you disagree with my rating for this book, that might have something to do with it..hehe

It’s amazing, how in my life, I had begun with having idols or being inspired by men and women who were older to me or were not alive but had achieved a lot in their lives, and how now, when I am an adult, I am receiving inspiration from men and women alive and much younger to me, who have already achieved so much in their lives that I could learn a lot from them. Superwoman, or Lilly Singh is one such person. I chanced upon her videos on the recommendation of one of my younger sisters for fun, but from one youtube video to following her on all social media sites, just to laugh and get my daily dose of up-beatnes and motivation, she became my inspiration.

I would sincerely request people who pick this book up without knowing who she is, to give her credit for the book. Many of us might think, how can a 28 year old give advice on how to succeed in life or be happy in life? But trust me, not all of us have to be old and Β ailing before giving some really good and usable advice, that is funny too!

The book is really easy to read- if you liked ‘How to be a Badass’, then you will like the tone of this book too. It is full of humor and relatable examples from her own life about people we all know of. And it is a very honest book.

A great June read, for a month when I desperately needed some motivation πŸ™‚

What is everyone else reading this month? I’m excited to start my July read- I hope my book club admin agrees my selection for England..check out this space by end of July to read my July review(s) πŸ™‚

Travel with toddler – A trip to Lowestoft and why it’s great co-parent-traveling

I’m loving the summers here! To be frank, I’m a beach baby and I’ve lived mostly in hot humid tropical weather as I grew up. Fast forward and I find myself in Ipswich, UK, where the first few days of even summer were cold for me. But now, I’m just loving it here! The sunshine makes going to beaches all the more fun, people are happier in general and everything looks more green!

So on such a warm Saturday last weekend, we decided to co- travel to a nearby sandy beach at Lowestoft, with another family who have a daughter almost the same age as ours. Other than the obvious glorious drive, sun, sand and the beach, here are a few things I appreciated about traveling or co-traveling with other friends with children:

  1. Four parents between two toddlers is any day better and easier to deal with , than two parents and one toddler, I thought. Both the children were happily distracted by the new set of adults who were showering renewed love and attention to the other’s child.. and we all know how much children love attention .. hehe
  2. It’s definitely easier to relax when you realise you are not the only one with a crazy kid in tow and you are not the only parent who forgot to bring sunscreen.. ahem
  3. Talking about being prepared, someone will always forget something but at the same time, someone might not have forgotten the same thing you forgot- so that helps a lot! We had forgotten to bring the sunscreen but our friends had got theirs and that was a saver! 
  4. The toddlers end to be braver and hungrier when they have other toddler company, we realised. Normally, my daughter wouldn’t eat much when outside.. but with our friend’s daughter around, she ate most of her lunch! Wow! Similarly, our friend’s daughter was hesitant going into the water initially.. but together , they were braver and ended up having so much fun!!
  5. Finally, the more the merrier, when it comes to traveling with children. My kid had so much fun with the others and her toddler friend. And when she had fun, so did we.. and all of this led to her being happily tired , so that she slept all the way back home in the car! Bonus brownies!!! 

So that was what we were upto last sunny weekend- how did everyone else do? Have you co- traveled with other families or parents and experienced something similar? Would love to hear about all your experiences. And I would definitely recommend Lowestoft – if you’re looking for a relaxed day outing in the summer with your children 😊

Just musings series #5 – Top 3 things I learnt from Wonderwoman

I watched Wonderwoman this weekend. I think I could just write that much and end this blog- it would be self explanatory right?

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But then, where would be the fun in that? I mean, I am writing a blog because I like writing..duh! Β  Also, I think now I have a new crush on Gal Gadot….add her to my original list of women/actors who’ve played characters I totally crush on- Gillian Anderson (Dana Scully), Scarlet Johannson (Lucy & Black Widow), Robin Wright (Claire Underwood), Stana Katic (Kate Beckett), Emma Watson (Hermoine) and ow Gal Gadot (as wonder woman)..sighhhhh <heart eyes>

So, the movie is super awesome, the reviews are out everywhere, and this is not a post on the review of the movie. It is about the 3 things I learnt from Wonderwoman (alright so Wonderwoman is a fictional character, but so is Batman – wait, you thought Bruce Wayne was a real person? heheh :D), after watching this movie, that I think I could try and use in my life to become a better person too. So here goes:

  1. Be original – Wonderwoman knew she is a fighter, and when she arrives at London, it could’ve been easy for her to try and adjust to the rest of the people there, like all of us do when we go to a different place or start a new relationship, or a new job. But instead, she didn’t care of what people thought- she dressed the way she wanted to, spoke her mind and did how she pleased- without hurting anyone in the process
  2. Be strong and believe in your capabilities – All of us are good at something. And everyone doesn’t have to be good at the same things and everything. But we tend to forget what we’re good at and stop believing in ourselves- which leads us to get weaker. I need to start re-instating to myself about all the things I’m good at, so even if I’m not good at many other things, it doesn’t matter..because I want to be wonder woman and I don’t want to be spiderman and flash and batman and ironman and all the other superheroes together! I can just have one power and use that as my strength!
  3. Find your mission and stick to it – Your mission can be as simple as finding Ares and killing him (ok, maybe its not that simple on second thoughts), or your mission could be as difficult as getting through a normal day with work, baby and other chores without breaking down or swearing. Like Wonderwoman, I want to start making my missions again- small daily missions or planned life missions- and try and stick to them like the dedication she stuck to her mission with πŸ™‚ <Hiyaaa!!>>

So, if you haven’t seen the movie yet, please go watch it. Men will love it because- Gal Gadot..need I say more? And women will love it, because- oh there are a million reasons, just watch it πŸ˜€

Travel with toddler – A bittersweet first trip to London

I had never been to London and had always heard, read and watched about it previously. So now that I was working in Ipswich, UK, how could I resist the chance to visiting London, even if it meant for a weekend trip that would be clubbed with catching up with a dear friend and trying to sight see with a toddler?! This is how our trip to London was planned for last weekend.

However, before I go into what I did in the few hours I had, I would like to say a prayer for all the victims and the survivors of the terror attack on London that happened last weekend. It saddens me and confuses me when people think hurting other innocent people justifies a means to an end. But at the same time, I feel renewed faith in humankind when I see people going on about their lives, braving these attacks and reading and hearing about acts of kindness that supercedes the act of terror. In the end, the act of terror remains meaningless, whereas the acts of courage and kindness is what actually stays with me and I’m sure is what actually stays with others too.

So that said, we left for London by car on Saturday around 11 am- which conveniently coincided with my daughter’s nap schedule. So she went on to nap but woke up within an hour. We had covered most of the trip anyway by then, and stopped at a Thai restaurant for lunch on the outskirts of London. The restaurant was completely empty ( no idea where all the people were at) and the food wasn’t that great either.. but my daughter got to crawl around in the place because there weren’t people to trouble! Haha .. the rest is Saturday was spent well hanging out with my friend, his wife and their 5 month old daughter. 

We checked into our hotel – Staycity (they’re like service apartments and really good if you’re traveling with a child and need a working kitchen for longer) and had a lovely night’s sleep, only to be woken up to the news of the terror attacks near Tower bridge.

So the roads to the bridge and Central London was closed off to public due to the investigations, because of which we decided to spend some time at the Regent Park, since the day was so good and sunny. As I mentioned in another post, the best travel places with a baby or toddler in tow are places where your baby or toddler can crawl or run around- beaches, parks, forest trails- you get the drill. And they had this beautiful rose show at the Queen Mary section of the park. So we spent time walking and playing and lounging around in the park and had lunch and beer at the cafe there. My daughter had some fish and chips too😊


Finally, the best part of the trip happened at the end for me when I got to visit the Sherlock Holmes museum here! Oh my gosh I was so excited – you can totally see my excitement in the picture below! Lol.. I’m a huge fan you see. I also am a huge fan of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Matrix and Game of Thrones.. so visiting their sets are next on the agenda.. lol 


So after a short sight seeing trip, we finally were ready to head back to Ipswich. My daughter was so tired that she slept the entire way back which was awesome and we made it back within 2 hours 😊 From the little I saw of London, I felt this place would be great for single people- the energy of the city is amazing. However, I was glad I am living in the lazy town of Ipswich because I think that suits a family life more. But hey, I’m no expert on this, so would love to hear from others who have traveled to London on places I should visit with my family the next time I go there😊

May book review – Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

My Rating : 2.5 stars

Book & Author : Commonwealth/ Ann Patchett

Genre : Fiction/Drama


I know this is a New York Times bestseller and I haven’t read any other books by Ann Patchett yet and that this was recommended on a couple of the book clubs I’m a member of – but I was quite disappointed by the book. 

If you’ve read my book rating process, I like books that keep me on the edge, or make me laugh, or have brilliant content or teach me something new. Commonwealth failed to deliver on most of these areas for me.

The things I liked about the book:

  • Ease of read, well written and can easily be read on a beach or while on a road trip
  • Although it spanned different timelines, it was easy to keep track of all the characters and their ages
  • Although the ending didn’t live up to my expectations, the author had built up enough interest in my mind to want to continue reading through the book

Things that didn’t work for me in this book:

  • It was so negative and depressing! I already have a lot on my plate dealing with daily chores and when I read a book, I want the book to take me to a different place or make me feel more positive by the end of it- and this did neither
  • I didn’t learn anything new- life, death, adultery, separation, failures- we all already know that most people go through them in their lifetime. But what else? The book didn’t tell me how a character dealt with any of the issues or grew or changed from it. Most of the characters in the book seemed very average to me, who just dealt with the circumstances by moving on with life
  • I didn’t understand the point of the book- what was the author trying to convey? And I didn’t enjoy the characters either. You start to like a few characters like Fix and Teresa but then you don’t get to know enough about them or their lives 

So all in all, I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone unless you want to spend an entire book club discussion on talking about things that happen to all of us anyway – in life. Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on the book?

Travel with baby- A day trip to Southwold beach, Suffolk, UK

Finally, I have been able to visit a new place after a long hiatus and get to write about it in my travelogue series πŸ™‚ I have added a new flavor to these for the travels I get to do with my baby/daughter, because I think it is both challenging and amazing to get to travel with your child.

It was a long weekend here at UK, and luckily, none of us were ill, so we decided to drive down to a nearby sandy beach called Southold, at Suffolk. We left home at a leisurely pace at 3 in the afternoon and it was a very comfortable and beautiful one hour drive to our destination. I loved watching the green flat lands and the green trees throughout the road trip- such a stark difference from the roads/drives back in India..hehe. Once we reached there, we unpacked and headed straight to the beach, found a spot and set ourselves up there. My daughter played a lot with the sand, ate a lot of the sand and tried to grind her soon to come teeth on some pebbles, and also went into the ice cold water and didn’t want to come out of there! My water baby…heheh

We sat at the beach for a while, and then headed off to dry ourselves at one of the grassy spots near the pier. My daughter had so much fun that she found her appetite back and gorged on all the snacks we were carrying for her. We had some solvay and fries and soft serve ice cream cones before leaving, and it was so much fun!! We left around 6 pm and my daughter was so tired, she napped all the way back home in the car:) It was such a different experience for me- I mentioned to my husband, as we passed an old Church in the town, that had it been our earlier days of travel, before we became parents, we would have probably spent an entire day at this place, walking, cycling, exploring the beach, the village and its old churches. But now that we’re parents, the way we travel has changed significantly- it has become more leisurely and more about experiencing the little joys of being at one place, than the joys and thrills of exploring. I’m sure we’ll get back to that as my daughter grows up, but until then, I don’t mind experiencing this way of travel too! πŸ™‚

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So here are my top 4 tips for if you’re planning to visit a nearby beach with your little baby/toddler:

  1. I read in another travel blog about the 2 hour rule they have when traveling with their kids- for me, its the 4-5 hour rule. My daughter will be happy or engaged being outdoors or doing some activity or traveling or socializing for a stretch of 4-5 hours tops. She doesn’t sleep very well in her stroller/buggy or just anywhere in general, unless she is very tired. So, we try and plan our day trips within 5 hours and longer getaways with stopovers generally. See what suits best for your child, and plan accordingly. You will have a better trip if your baby is happy and rested πŸ™‚
  2. Pack snacks for your baby – I can’t cook, so I just tried to pick up all sorts of sugary snacks from the store- cakes, raisins, cookies, crackers, rice cakes- it really helped us when she suddenly was ravenous. I did also pack some peanut butter jam sandwich for her- sugar again..lol!
  3. Don’t forget to carry juice and water- for yourself and your baby
  4. If visiting a beach- pack accordingly. Your baby is going to get wet and dirty in the sand, and you’ll want to get dirty with him/her- Its a lot of fun actually! Lol..so pack extra clothes, wet wipes, towels, beach towels, beach toys, hats, sunscreen- you know drill πŸ™‚

Finally, just relax and enjoy the sand and the breeze πŸ™‚ So until the next trip..how was everyone else’s weekend? Any tips on similar blogs that you would recommend to me, to help me plan places we can visit with my little one in UK?

From India to UK with a 1 year old- a series of unfortunate events, and not the lemony snickets one :D

I know, it has been ages since I’ve written a blog, and there is no wondering why- the reason is simple- I have fallen behind because I’m still trying to cope up with all the unfortunate events that have happened since the last one month and I’m praying with each passing day that we settle in soon, else you’re going to have to read a lot of lunatic rantings of a working mother who decided to move continents with her family for some reason..lol! Here’s a glimpse of house in tatters in India:

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And this is how happy we looked on our first week at cold Ipswich (I know its spring time here, but its cold for people traveling from the Indian summer..hehe)

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Ummm..if only, that was the end of the story..ha ha ha..My time here since the last month and maybe a little more over that has been anything but a series of things I’m having to learn to cope with. Just to clarify, no evil being is trying to sabotage my family or my life, however, there are just new challenges, or adventures (as a friend calls it) that I’m having to learn to cope with. So I thought, I’d list down the the 5 things I think all not-so-superwoman-ish-type of working mommies might want to keep in mind while moving continents with their toddler (however, I pray no one really has to go through this in reality :D):

  1. Even if you are inspired by Laura Vanderkam and know ‘How She Does It’, or Lilly Singh and realise you know ‘How to be a Bawse’- in reality, you suck at it. I have tried all sorts of time management tricks, but in the end, I lose it all to sleep and baby/toddler demands- I am either coping up with a cranky toddler or trying to catch up on sleep…yawnn..it’s 9:30 pm and I can’t wait to get over with this blog and go to sleep already, coz my toddler is going to be up in another hour..ugh
  2. Be prepared for strange and long illnesses from the new Continent- to you and your entire family. It can come from anywhere, and you might think you are healthy because you’ve taken all your shots and never fallen ill in your home country, but lo and behold..you actually aren’t that immune to new viruses like the Ipswich flu- and compound that with the whole family..ahem
  3. You decide you are going to rock it at work, and have scheduled a list of face to face meetings with all your clients and bosses the first month you arrive- because PR rules..SCRAP THAT OUT actually πŸ˜€ In reality, because of point 2 above (man I sound like an IT guy, true to my profession, are we?), you will actually be taking a lot more leaves and apologizing a lot more to your already accommodating clients and colleagues
  4. This is not India- therefore, no one runs after you to get a bank account opened, you run after the bank here. This is not India- therefore, you can’t get over the counter antibiotics for suggestions provided by your family doctor, you actually don’t get medicines most of the time, because the body will heal itself..in due course…long due course. This is not India- therefore, even though people say its warm here and they are selling bikinis at stores- please get a lot of warm clothes when you travel from India to UK for the first time, else you will be left wearing all your clothes- like me..until winter actually arrives here <rolls eyes>
  5. You will miss your friends and family back from your point of origin country a lot- but this is where the bond of your immediate family actually gets stronger and you tend to give each other hope and strength and pray for a silver lining- because, you have to believe that this too shall pass πŸ™‚

P.S.: I have been struggling with my toddler’s illness since two weeks now and super tired. But I have my music, alcohol and sleep and the hugs and smiles of my child and my partner to keep me going. Hopefully, we will all be running around healthy by next week, and hopefully I will be back on track with my exercise, blogging and reading:) Until then..hang in there lads and ladies πŸ˜€

Top 5 things I learnt from my first long haul flight travel with my year old baby

I have a very expressive, intelligent and emotional baby, who will soon be a year old and this is when we decided we should not give a damn about anything and just go ahead with moving continents for work and travel with baby in tow because-

A) everyone says babies are resilient and they adjust to anything and

B) it’s better to move and travel now or never right? and

C) we are basically selfish parents who love traveling .. hehehe

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So, this post is not about us but about some things I learnt from this very long journey with my almost one year old, that might be useful to other parents planning the same thing, or might not be useful at all- who knows- because ‘every baby is different’? Without further dilly dallying, here is my list πŸ™‚

  1. I think it is better to split your flights and travel into multiple legs, than a straight forward continuous flight of 8-10 hours. Specially if your child is like mine, who can’t nap for very long, or wakes up easily and hates confined spaces. The economy seats are really tightly spaced I must say. So we broke our journey into three legs and that actually helped us
  2. Most of the times, you will get the front seats which have more leg room, but we saw, on both our flights, we didn’t get a bassinet for the baby. So unless you’re carrying a car seat with you and have booked an extra seat for your baby, be prepared to carry your baby on your lap or in your arms the entire flight. It isn’t comfortable- both for the parent and the baby, sadlyaid3381028-v4-728px-Lift-and-Carry-a-Baby-Step-5-Version-2
  3. Have a plan on what you would feed your baby, if they’re not exclusively being breast fed. My baby is formula fed and she eats three full solids type meals too. So it was a major challenge for me to figure out what to feed her on the journey. What I did find out though is that my baby didn’t really want to each much throughout the journey. So I stuck to some Indian rice crispies, plain marigold biscuits, bread and banana. One of my friends suggested carrying jar baby foods from Heinz or Ella’s garden, but I couldn’t find them before leaving from India
  4. With regards to formula, we calculated that she would need around 6-7 bottles for the entire journey. So we had those many bottles and some extras too, just in case. Luckily, our baby likes her milk at room temperature, so you can get mineral water and make formula for the baby on the go. This really helped us a lot, since she was full and the bottle acted as a soother too, since she has self weaned herself from the pinky/pacifier/soother πŸ™‚Dr-Browns-Natural-Flow-Wide-Neck-Polypropylene-8-oz-Baby-Bottle-072239004807
  5. Another thing I learnt was- I am really at a loss when it comes to entertaining my baby on the flight, or in any closed space. The only thing that worked for a little while was making her watch nursery rhymes that I had downloaded on my phone, but even that held her attention for just 10-15 minutes! She wouldn’t want to watch any in flight entertainment cartoons. We had carried some of her books with us, so that helped for another 10 minutes and we tried to walk with her on the flight, but that was tough, since the flight walk way was very small and since it was an overnight flight, it was difficult to move freely, as the lights were dimmed. My daughter loves to move around and gets irritable when she has to sit at one place for more than 15 minutes at a stretch, so the only thing that worked was trying to get her to sleep as much as possible..lol!

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So, these were the the things I experienced on a long haul flight travel with my baby. I would be be lying if I said it is very easy to travel with a baby- babies are a lot like dogs or puppies I feel, they need space and sunshine to flex their muscles and hate being in a cramped up space for that long. But don’t let that deter your travel plans. Because, in our 12+ long journey covering two continents and three stop overs, my baby cried for a total of half an hour (in intervals)- yes I noted that down, just for this blog..lol! So I think we did better than expected..hahah!

Has anyone else experienced anything similar and tips or remedies to keep your baby engaged or get her comfortable on such journeys? I’d love to hear your thoughts πŸ™‚

 

April Book Review #1 – You’ll Grow Out Of It by Jessi Klein

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Book & Author: You’ll Grow Out of ItΒ by Jessi Klein

Genre: Humor/Non Fiction

Firstly, can I start with the fact that I found out a way to overcome my motion sickness for reading and due to that I was able to utilise earlier boring stuck-in-traffic time to read this very amusing book?! That’s me in the cab after finishing the book today πŸ™‚

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So that said, I give this book 3.5 stars. I’ve never watched any of Jessi Klein’s stand ups and didn’t even know of her, until I read this book. It was really funny in sections that I could relate to- such as the Tom Man , Emmy,Β Lingerie..lol, but there were some sections that I couldn’t relate to as well. Obviously, I don’t want to imply that the author has to be a complete carbon copy of me! πŸ˜‰ Even then, when I was reading her, and her references to Amy Schumer, I kept feeling slightly sad for the author- I don’t know if it was because she constantly had to keep putting herself down and cracking jokes at herself to make the book funny or if it was something else altogether.

Don’t get me wrong, I do this all the time- you look at the challenges life throws at you constantly and try to get through them with humour. However, I couldn’t figure out why it is so important to be beautiful or have it all in order to be noticed or be happy. In fact, I couldn’t understand, why is it so important to be noticed at all!? If people laugh at your jokes, that’s awesome- its like an added star up your sleeve right? We don’t need to categorise women as beautiful or funny- can’t they be both? I looked up Jessi Klein’s pictures after I read this book, and I found her to be stunning and she’s funny too..so she herself has proven her concept of beauty vs being funny to be untrue.. πŸ˜€ Something to think about maybe?

Finally,Β what I didn’t like about the book was some of the vocabulary used. For me, I can let go of the use of certain words that have made their way into English vocabulary these days, but other made up words that make no sense, put me down. I want to feel like I’m reading a book and not listening to someone talk, and I felt like that in some of the sections of this book. So that is the reason I took off some stars from this book.

All in all, a good humorous book to read while you’re stuck in long or crazy commuting πŸ˜€

March Book/Comic Review #1 – Adulthood is a myth by Sarah Anderson

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My Rating: 4 Stars

Book/Comic & Author: Adulthood is a myth by Sarah Anderson

Genre: Comic

Sometimes you just need to read a comic and countΒ that as a book that you’ve read..haha!

Basically, sometimes you have to cheat to keep up with your reading goals in a month when there are too many things on your plate and the other book you’ve chosen turns out to be a tough read..lol! I’m just 30% through my original selection for March read- The inevitable, but it seems like it’s going to be a while to finish this book and write a review for it. So in the meanwhile, I really needed to find something that I could squeeze into reading this month to keep up with my reading challenge target. Usually, I’d pick a fiction or drama, but I didn’t even have time to search for a proper book! So I just thought I’d pick this one up and cheat.. πŸ˜‰

So now that we’ve got that covered, let’s review this book shall we? But then, there is nothing to review! There are funny cartoons with anecdotes about growing upΒ that most of us can relate to and its great if you want to laugh for 2 hours πŸ˜€ It’s a good gift to give to your teenage son or daughter too I’d think- at least they’ll have a laugh.

So I went against my usual rating process for this one, and gave it a 4, since this comic book made me laugh in a stressful period of the month πŸ™‚

So, what has everyone else been reading this month? Do you also cheat sometimes and read a comic and add it to your reading challenge?I’d love to hear your stories too..

I’m excited for April now- other than the usual office work and baby duties, I might have some major changes coming up, and I’ve got two exciting books lined up for April..so here’s to looking forward to things!! πŸ™‚