My one year old’s birthday party

I am no professional party planner, but I do love planning events. We were celebrating my daughter’s first birthday in India, and decided to host a party in my hometown Mumbai, so all our friends and family can meet her. It was the perfect opportunity for me to unleash my inner party planner (in my head that’s someone over the top like Kevin Lee on real housewives)! I am really proud of how it turned out and wanted to share my thoughts and some pictures from the party. 

I spent hours pouring through Pinterest and I picked a few themes that I felt my daughter loved and made it my own. I didn’t want to do a princess one yet and I wanted it to be personal, not a generic baby girl ones One of her favorite rhymes was wheels on the bus so we decided that would be the perfect theme. Ananya loves colors and lights so we put lots of streamers and balloons- we were so lucky to have our family pitch in to get the space ready in half hour.

Instead of buying generic centerpieces which I can’t reuse, I decided to make my own. We got regular jars from Amazon and I got labels printed that were personalized- with a bus on one side and that says ananya’s first birthday. I got some confetti to make it look festive and filled the jars with a yellow rose, red Gerbera daisy, white rajnigandha and some baby’s breath fillers. I was really pleased with how colorful and festive it looked! And the best part is some of our family took it back because they loved it 🙂

The first little section I had was about how Ananya grew up- her picture at each month. Most of our friends and family were seeing her for the first time so they loved the pictures. We also had a slideshow that ran with more pictures. 

Here is a close up of the board you saw in the earlier picture: it is all the little details and milestones that round up her first year and give a hint of her personality.

Another section was her time capsule- we had the box and the stuff we wanted to put in it- her ultrasound, foot print, handprint, picture with Santa, elf name. 

But we also added a guest book like set up where we asked guests to answer three questions, predictions really, about her life when she is 18. This was a fun thing I saw on not in the high street website as a wedding guest book idea. I wrote to the wonderful Julia Eastwood and she worked with me to execute on my vision for this. It turned out fantastic! Should be fun to see who is clairvoyant! 

We set up a baby section with a ball pit, toys, and bubble machines. It was fun to watch kids from differing age groups interact and enjoy.

And finally the piece de resistance: the cake! I worked with the very talented team of Deliciae by Bunty Mahajan. They worked with my wheels on the bus concept and came up with this amazing design. I personalized it by adding a bus stop that says Chelsea and Westminster hospital, where she was born and adding a little cartoon family. The cake looked amazing and was delicious (Belgian chocolate flavor).

I hope you enjoyed the sneak peek into the party; I wish there were more pictures to share of the decorations. I had fun planning and if you enjoyed reading this, drop a comment below! 

(PS no ads here, true compliments for real orders :))

I am one today- guest blog by my daughter

I wrote when I was at the half way point, and now I that I have completed one full year of being a little person, I figured I must write again. It’s been a whirlwind, I have been so busy. Here are some highlights of my extremely busy year:

  • Mamma and appa are the center of my world- I see them everywhere and thank god for that. They wear many hats- personal chefs, transporters, entertainers, and the best pillow in the world. 
  • I see both sets of grandparents all the time- they are my partners in crime, always playing with me, taking me for walks, and singing. 
  • I have my own gang of friends- sure I can’t actually recognize them but we play and pull hair, grab each other’s toys- you know the fun stuff! 
  • Mamma and appa took me around all the time, we met so many friends and family. My favorite place is india- I love the ceiling fan and bright colors, neon signs on roads, the bikes, trucks, and all the excitement while driving around.
  • I am recently very mobile- I crawl everywhere and fast and I can walk holding furniture. Life is just so much fun this way! I can now reach phones, remotes, and coffee cups, I can run up the stairs before mamma catches me. Oh the joy! 
  • Food is more adventurous- I have pasta, pulao, sambar but my favorite dish is yogurt. Mamma says my tambram genes are strong, not sure what that means! 
  • I enjoy my snack time too- bread and butter are my new favorite along with apple and pear Porridge (fruit kesari). 
  • I still love swimming and my newly discovered favorite place is the playground. I love the swing, the feeling when the wind hits my face 🙂 
  • I still don’t like to sleep- such a waste of time. And when I do sleep, I would love to sleep on mamma or appa, who needs crib or their bed, when you have the best pillow 🙂
  • I want to be a part of conversations so I am talking all day long! Not sure if anyone understands, but sometimes they repeat what I say so it does look like they do! 

As I round up the month of celebrations, I am glad for everything around me. Thanks for reading! 

Happy Father’s Day- guest blog by my daughter

Hi all- since my first blog was such a huge success, I decided I will write a second one as an early Father’s Day gift for my daddy!

My dad was one of the first people I met as soon as I was born, he was the first person to carry me- we both eyed each other with a bit of confusion and fear. In first confusing weeks, he was a constant presence- the diaper cleaning wizard which made me happy and the sleeping coach which made me unhappy (as you may remember, I don’t like to sleep). When he returned to work, mom was scared and I was petrified- who will change my diaper now? 

My favorite part of the day is my bath time date with daddy- i splash around in the tub and daddy gives me company! We also read books together after he helps me dress up (little secret: daddy loves to choose my dresses and he takes ages to decide).. my daddy-daughter bath and book routine makes me look forward to evening time! My other favorite thing to do is to sleep on his chest after a long day of playing. 

Even after going back to work, daddy helps mom at night with keeping me asleep (yawn, why bother! I like to play folks). Now that I can crawl around, I follow him all morning and secretly hope I can keep him from leaving for office. We both looked forward to weekends because daddy gets so excited to spend time with me that I nap less and play more. 

Daddy is the worrier- I can tell, he asks mom so many questions and is forever worried about safety- I want to tell him take a chill pill! Of course, other times he is my mischief partner- we are working on my throwing skills, we love to throw balls inside my play house. He takes me to my favorite place the swings and I have so much fun going higher and higher. 

Daddy loves to feed me but sometimes he is a bit frustrated because I would rather play, but can you blame me! Also sidebar, if I am busy playing, daddy enjoys my baby food so he isn’t complaining! 

I did my fair share of travel and he best part of it is mommy is relaxed and daddy is in charge of my diapers and food and all the fun stuff. I love seeing him all the time, I try and fight every nap so we can play all day. I wish you were on vacation more often and you didn’t have to work (beware as soon as I grow up, I will take your phone away so you give me even more attention).

For learning so many roles and being my partner in crime, happy first father’s daddy! 

When you realize you are no longer a new mom..


Being a new mom is almost like a new title- it becomes your introduction till one day it dawns on you that you can’t say I am new mom anymore. 

Some milestones that I hit me (in good humor):

  1. When you stop counting baby’s age in weeks and move to months
  2. When you forget how many weeks it is because you have stopped checking your apps
  3. When you start winging it- from measuring bath temperature with thermometer to elbow, filling a recipe to getting creative
  4. When your baby moves dress sizes: newborn to 3-6, 6-9… each bucket move is a new wave of realization
  5. When baby food and your food start looking and tasting more alike
  6. When your baby doesn’t want to cuddle and wiggles around because the world is far too interesting
  7. When your cozy home suddenly feels like a death trap and you have nightmares about baby proofing
  8. When your changing bag moves from sterilized bottles and feeding cover to rice cakes, bibs, and more
  9. When there is no good excuse for cake (no sleep sugar fix, feeding carb loading) 🙂
  10. When people start asking you about the next one

Ciao Italy with a bambino! 

Our first family vacation- lots of nerves and hope went into or holiday, and a world of planning. And the result was a dream holiday- relaxing and happy! 

We picked southern Italy, bringing my old hollywood Italian riviera dreams to life! Based on research, we realized the coast is a bit impractical with a buggy and our bubba was not into the sling. We set up base in Sorrento, which is just between Naples and the coast. The coast is pretty crazy in the summer, so we got lucky with timing- spring was the beginning of the tourist season and we still got lots of sunshine. 

Italy is absolutely the best place to visit with a baby- everyone seems to love babies, our bubba was the center of attention with people cooing and appreciating. Most restaurants have high chair and they go out of their way to entertain the baby.

While most blogs advise you not to rent a car, we did rent one. Driving around Amalfi coast is stressful- the streets are narrow and there are cars parked in one side, people are impatient and fast.  Having said that, hubby didn’t mind because the spectacular views were well worth it. Also it was the convinient choice with a bubba- we didn’t have a plan, we would drive till she was happy and when she got restless, we would stop and walk around that town or village.

Our tip on traveling with a baby would be to not really have an agenda and work on the baby schedule. We started our day with a leisurely breakfast and walk, then nap in car, a stroll around and lunch at the town we stopped at as bubba got impatient, drive back and nap when baby got restless, play time at home and a relaxed dinner. We initially talked about going to Pompeii and Capri but realized it’s not practical with a 8 month old. 

We enjoyed driving around the coast, stopping at Priano, Amalfi, and Atriani. We didn’t spend too much time researching but Sorrento, but that turned out to be our favorite- the land of limoncello, we enjoyed walks with a view of Mount Vesuvius and Naples, the blue sea, lush greenery, and the mountains; the tiny marker streets with amazing restaurants and cute stores; the cute street train ride around town. 

Having said that, we did see a lot of amazing places, and here are some of our favorite pictures (all pictures are my own, shot on iPhone):

Positano in all its vertical glory


The view from one of the overlook points- great place to get fresh juice and produce

The view from our lunch spot in Priano (the lovely Restaurant in Costa Diva, amazing food and service)

My lunch table at the lovely Costa Diva

Marina Grande in Sorrento

The omnipresent lemon trees

Narrow streets of Sorrento, full of food and magic!

beautiful church in Sorrento

Spectacular architecture detail

Another Sorrento picture 🙂

5 realizations on my First Mother’s Day as a mom 


It’s Mother’s Day in U.K., and my first one as a mom. It’s only fair I sat down and penned my realizations from the journey so far:

  • Nothing prepares you for motherhood, not the books, not the endless conversations with your friends; no amount of research prepares you for it.
  • You end up with a lot more respect for your mother- as a child, you wonder why they are always so protective: “beta it’s cold, carry a sweater”, “call me if you are running late”, “you sound like you have a cold” and I get some of it even now :). I used to argue saying I have grown up now, so she doesn’t have to worry. But I got it during my first week as a mom, little one got jaundice and was in the hospital and I remember calling my mom and mother inlaw and saying I get it now- the constant worry, the panic when your child is unwell. 
  • Bollywood romanticized motherhood for me and reality was different. In the movies, you pick up the baby and you are instantly a mom. I found the first three months was a steep learning curve and a lot of second guessing- does she know I am her mother?, if the baby cries for a while and you can’t make her stop, you wonder if you are a good mom? It’s only after a few months that I felt confident and ready!
  • I learnt to give up my ideal version of motherhood and go with the flow. For example, I read about nipple confusion in the first month and decided no bottles or pacifier. But when we were in hospital with jaundice, all my plans went out of the window: my doctor rightfully told me “baby being fed is important, how she is fed isn’t”. Sometimes we idealize what the experience should be and don’t realize each baby is different. I now focus on what works for us and our circumstances.
  • A smile or cuddle makes a dull day better, back pain from sleeping on a chair go away, and fills you with so much joy you wonder why you didn’t have a baby sooner :). You don’t care if you are off key or shrill, because your singing gets the giggles! I always knew it’s an all consuming experience, but I had no idea how much it would change me!

Share your realizations from your first Mother’s Day in the comments below! 

My first 6 months- guest blog by my daughter

I decided to takeover mom’s blog for one day and describe my first 6 months on earth. 

I was born on July 26 at 9.41am in a bright and noisy hospital room. It has been an enormous journey to learn how to live and adjust to my surroundings, and here are the highlights:

  • The two people everywhere in my life are my mom and dad- the first people I saw and cuddled. First few weeks, they seemed oddly obsessed with a few details of my life: feeding, diapers, and sleep- discussing it at length, so weird right? Everything daddy says is funny so I save my best giggles for him. Mummy gives the best cuddles and loves to sing to me- I think her voice is improving! 
  • I have two sets of grandparents who have spent a lot of time giving me hugs and kisses. I love playing with them but sometimes they also try to put me to sleep.
  • I really don’t like sleeping- everything around me is so bright and colorful, I don’t want to miss anything. 
  • My favorite thing to do is stare at all the lights- sunlight, bulbs, nightlight. Mummy buys all the toys and puts me on the mat but all I want to do is stare at the ceiling light.
  • My favorite place in the house is my changing table- it has the star nightlight, and seeing it makes me so happy that I kick and play.
  • I love swimming and being in the water- mummy has been taking me since I was 4 months old and it’s safe to say I will be a pro soon.
  • Mummy and I have outings everyday, which I love. Children’s center, sound and light classes, swimming, Pilates, and meeting my baby friends. 
  • While I love to go out, the one thing I hate is getting ready. Whenever mummy starts putting me in a jacket, I get uncomfortable, sometimes I even cry. 
  • I play little tricks on mummy and daddy- when they tell their friends I don’t sleep, that day I sleep without any effort- it’s fun! 🙂
  • I am friendly, I like staring at other babies and making friends. 
  • I smile a lot, although most of my smiles are in the comfort of my home.
  • I have just started talking and my favorite words are “ta ta” and “va va”.
  • Mummy is introducing new food to me and although I was skeptical at first, they seem tasty. My favorites so far are banana and butternut squash.
  • I love to sit- I haven’t quiet figured out how to get from my back to sitting but once mummy or daddy make me sit, I love it! 
  • Tummy time used to be a pain but now I can escape it by rolling onto my back.
  • I love rhymes- my favorite ones are 5 little ducks, you are my sunshine,  and the good morning song.

I can’t wait to see what’s next- in the meanwhile, comment if you like my post :).. it will encourage me to post an update again! 

The 3am musings 

It’s 3am, and your perfect little angel is sleeping in your arms, on her nursing pillow, with a bellyful of milk. With a lot of hesitation, I lower the baby into her bassinet- decked with Sleepyhead and other attractions to lure her to sleep. And then, “waaaah..”, she is up, extremely cross at your attempt to separate her from her cozy resting spot. This is what every night feels like lately!

You start thinking of waking up your loving and supportive spouse who would happily trade places with you for a while so you get some shut eye when a wave of guilt hits you. He has been in the office all day, exhausted while you are still on maternity leave. You think “Naah I will catch up during the day, he needs his sleep”. 

After all, I have all the luck in the world with parents and inlaws visiting and a lovely lady who cooks for us. I think of my antenatal group, and I realize everyone pulls through on their own. Everyone seems to be finding their own way of managing the night. So my mental speech to myself “come on, buck up. You can do this”. 

I remember the sleep workshop- sleep training the no cry way for softies like me who can’t handle the crying. But we tried one night- she was fed, and hubby rocked her to sleep and gently placed her in the bassinet. She smiled for a few seconds thinking it’s a game but when she realized daddy left the room, the little precious one wailed like a monster and refused to calm down. After 15 minutes, we settled her against us and said bye to sleep training! Icing on the cake- she turns around and gave us a victory laugh I started rocking her to sleep!

Then I remember all my conversations with mums and aunts in India-“what sleep training? You were in bed with us and fell asleep”. Setting aside all our fears of SIDS, we decide to go Indian for one nap- strip the bed of pillows and blankets and place her in the sleepyhead between us to avoid any flying elbows. Two minutes of kicking around and amusement seeing parents on both sides then the demand- how about rocking me to sleep now? Sigh British born babies don’t seem to get the Indian way!

Your mom friends and relatives always ask you about sleep. If you are honest, you get a lot of suggestions. Some advice is helpful, but sometimes you wonder if you are doing everything wrong- your confidence is shaken. So you mention no issues- after all until she got the cold, she was sleeping in the bassinet. You have selective amnesia about the first two months, the growth spurts- it’s all a phase anyway 🙂 You can’t have all this cuteness without some sleeplessness right? 

All of these thoughts and I scan Instagram for the 100th time and look at the watch- it’s 6am. I gently place her down, and lie down realizing she will be hungry soon so I must have a power nap.

And the day dawns 🙂 

The two sides of globalization


Shifting gears back to politics and the parallels between the US elections and Brexit, one thought on my head lately is the discussion on jobs and the sentiment against globalization. There are a 100 reasons to hate the result of the election but we also need to take away that there is a sentiment that is building which hasn’t been talked about enough. 

As a student of economics, we have always been thought that globalization is a wonderful thing- free movement of people and products across countries without barriers resulting in economies of scale and lower prices. That premise has brought the world closer- we drink Kenyan coffee brewed in a German coffee machine in a cup made in China.

People who opposed globalization were labeled protectionist and countries pursuing such policies were pressured into joining the global free market for trade.

But there is a price to pay: developed countries like US and UK have seen jobs move to China and Mexico. The people working in these factories in the small industrial towns presumably don’t have degrees that offer them new jobs and don’t have the luxury to re-skill with mouths to feed and mortgages to pay. The result is they take lower paying jobs to pay the bills but might end up in a lower income segment. This group doesn’t reflect in any unemployment number but they feel forgotten by their governments. This article Article: Revenge of Forgotten Class has examples from the swing states. There were similar anecdotes from UK, where a builder interviewed said he worked for 20£ an hour but was outbid by Polish migrants who work for half that. His choices are to work at half pay or risk going hungry, even if he went the half pay route, he feels significantly poorer.

The lack of focus by the Democrats on this issue cost them a lot of votes- Michael Moore called the result in July and cited this particular reason for the Rust belt- Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin- traditionally Democrat states to switch to Republican. 

There needs to be more thought on how this situation needs to addressed otherwise those negatively affected by globalization with hold the politicians responsible for negotiating trade deals that resulted in cheaper items for them to buy but not enough money to afford them. 

How my life changes as a mom..


Motherhood is an intense experience- it is a life altering journey and you come out on the other side a new person! There are lots of blogs out there sharing best practices, what to do, etc. This isn’t one of them! I don’t claim to be an expert, I think every baby is different and every mother child relationship is unique so no pearls of wisdom from me.

I am changing gears and attempting humor! As a new mom, here are 5 changes I observed:

  • Meal time marathons: somehow my little one knows mom is ready to eat and has to be changed/ fed/ put to sleep. So my time to eat has been quartered (if that is even a word!). I am still slow but it feels like I am running a marathon to finish! 
  • Sleep time anytime: there was a time when I needed a solid 30 minute wind down time and a cozy blanket and bed to get me to sleep. Now a nursing chair where my neck is slumped to one side and arm numb is just fine! I can’t claim no wind down time but I am hoping it goes away- otherwise I finish nursing, settling the little one down and I am running a countdown in my head “in two hours I have to be up, so I better sleep now… make that one hour 55 minutes so I can run to the loo…” and so on until it’s time to wake up! 
  • Date night joy: we are blessed with doting parents so we get the night off every few weeks. Sounds romantic but mostly we get to the restaurant, and order everything at once just in case we have to rush home, spend the whole meal discussing our little miracle, and when I get home I have missed her and can’t believe we left her for so long! 
  • Chats with your friends are different: with your mom friends, no topic is off limits- “does your baby’s poop smell?” Or “how long does she feed?”- no real embarrassment or privacy. Having said that, the antenatal group is your most viewed chat group and your lifeline at 4am. 
  • How you shop changes:My me time activities are shopping and a little mani pedi every now and then.It’s all about efficiency, online shopping or pick up in store and try at home. Not sure if it is working out as efficiently as I hoped, lots of returns. 

How did your life change as a mom? Share your experience in the comments below.