Friday, 27 March 2020

ORIGAMI BOOKMARK



LOCKDOWN DAY 3:  I recorded my first video for our YouTube Channel on 24.03 and *clap clap clap* to all the YouTubers out there.  What an effort it took! Here's the link : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBZ1wlakQfE

I don’t have the right equipment for recording videos, so I used a selfie stick propped into a vase and the vase was supported by a book (the vase kept swaying under the weight of the selfie stick). I struggled with lighting and the background. I applied fresh nail paint before recording the video, changed my shirt twice (the first one wasn’t fancy enough for social media and the second was crumpled) and finally ended up wearing a full sleeved woollen shirt  in this heat !!! Pheew! Skip and mamma gave some constructive criticism which I pretended to appreciate and Amroo and Teju have given some tips which I forgot to jot down.

Skip and I are being polynarritivus (reading multiple books at once). We were running out of bookmarks and I noticed Skip was using rolls of newspaper as bookmark. 24th was the date set to make a bookmark and I recalled a photograph that Teju had sent of a bookmark that Ro had made for his school exhibition (Ni and Ro are Teju’s children who besides being lovely kids are also very artistic). I looked it up on YouTube and the tutorial was so simple that Skip (who is 7 years old) made it all by himself.


We didn’t have craft or origami paper, so we used a regular sheet of paper. If you don’t have colourful paper, paint the craft work once it’s done especially if you plan on using water paints else it gets difficult to work with the paper.

I have used a 15*15 cms sized, square shaped paper. The size of the paper doesn’t matter BUT it does have to be square in shape.


Please refer to the YouTube video for instructions.  

Make the experience more fun by drawing on the bookmark or decorating it the way you like.

If you have any art and craft ideas to keep these little ones occupied, please do drop in a comment. Please do subscribe to our YouTube channel.


  

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

BUTTERMILK PANCAKES



Day 7 of self isolation : Time to revive the blog!!! As Skip practices batting, out in the balcony, I quickly slide behind my work desk, flex my fingers (I pause for a bit as I have forgotten the font we used for our blog), I step out and bark a few instructions at Skip (drink water, wash your hands, gargle), I come back in and ponder for a while.

Last night, I wondered out aloud if this was all a bad dream and asked Sky to pinch me. His face lit up at this wonderful opportunity being presented before him but as he stepped closer, he decided it would be for the best to remain a mute spectator to my soliloquy.  

It appears that life goes on as usual outside the confines of my house as I can hear vehicles whizzing past. I have half a mind of getting my dented plate and spoon out and shout out warning calls to these passers-by. I have to admit my panic has reduced from last week and now, I cannot bring myself to read articles or watch videos anymore on this topic. 

I really crave for a pizza (boring old Margherita will also do) and a nice long swim in a pool. I wake up daily and send out a little prayer to the universe, hoping that today’s the day when we see a miraculous drop in the spread of this virus.

Last Wednesday (18th March) on Bob’s insistence I brought Skip back home from my parents’ place and geared myself up for self isolation with an active 7 year old. I had a whole schedule planned for Day 1.
         


By mid-day, I erased the board realising that making a timetable would be futile and that it would be best to just go with the flow.


I made pancakes yesterday. I usually make whole wheat pancakes (without any leavening agents) for Skip as they are healthier but I think we all deserve a special treat once in a while.

The pancakes are light and airy and fluffy and feel like thin heavenly slices of cake. I wish I had drizzled the chocolate sauce aesthetically ( I used Hershey’s). Bob called them Spiderman’s pancakes!


BUTTERMILK PANCAKE (MAKES 5 PANCAKES)
Ingredients:
All purpose flour (maida) – 1 ½ cups
Baking powder – 2 tsp
Baking soda – ½ tsp
Sugar – 2 tbsp
Salt – a pinch
Buttermilk – 1 ½ cups
Egg -1
Unsalted butter (melted) – 2 tbsp
Vanilla essence/ cinnamon powder  – ½ tsp
Method:
1.     Melt butter and set aside .
2.    In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, soda, sugar and salt)
3.    In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla essence.
4.    Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined. ( Do not over mix).
5.     Heat a pan on medium heat, add a dollop of butter ( I used ghee (clarified butter). Pour a thick layer of the batter into the pan. Once bubbles begin to form, flip the pancake and cook for a minute.
6.     Serve with a syrup or topping of your choice.
7.     Done.
Recipe notes
·     To prepare buttermilk: Add 1 ½  tbsps of lemon juice or vinegar to the 1 ½ cups of milk, stir with spoon and set aside for 10 mins. The mixture will curdle, give it a quick whisk and your buttermilk is ready.
·  The prepared pancake batter will have lumps, do not over mix else the pancakes will end up dense.
·  You may top the pancake with honey or chocolate syrup or layer it with chopped fruits/peanut butter/jam. You may also increase the amount of sugar that goes into the batter and have it plain.  

Follow our blog as we come up with more ideas on how to spend time in self isolation and keeping those little ones occupied!

Stay home, stay safe !


Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Nail art for beginners - 2 (Stamping)


A picture speaks a 1000 words, sure…but a video can get across a 1000 sentences!” - Bob©



Hello everyone we are back with another ‘Nail art for beginners’ post. This post is slightly different from the previous one because I actually had to shoot a few 'under - 30 seconds ' videos to show you the steps. In our previous post I had introduced the most basic nail art tutorial, so I decided to take it up a notch with this tutorial and am introducing you to ‘Stamping’. In the future, we’ll be posting tutorials that require tools and some that don’t.

To Stamp you’ll need the following:
Tissue paper,
Nailpolish,    
Cotton,
Scotch tape.

Once you have gathered these and placed them around you, start prepping your nails. In our previous post I had mentioned a few steps to prep your nails, since then I have been introduced to rubbing alcohol which has become a game changer in all aspects of make-up and nail routines.  Following are the steps for this tutorial.

Step1: Wash your hands and moisturize them.

Step2: Get that cuticle pusher out and gently push back your cuticles.( No! Don’t bring the scissors out to clip them. That is a serious no, no. Doing so will cause infection and you don’t want that.)

(I hadn’t mentioned next๐Ÿ‘‡ step in the last post)
Step 2a. After you push back your cuticles, spray a bit of rubbing alcohol on a piece of cotton and rub your nail beds, this helps remove oils from your nails and helps increase your manicure’s life span ๐Ÿ‘‰check our Instagram video on the same.

Step 3: Apply base coat. (Optional)


Step 4: Pick a colour. I chose Bahama Breeze (58) by Faces Canada, Crystal Clear (101) and Porcelain Party (102) by Maybelline Colour Show. 

Step 5: Paint 4 out of 5 nails with the colour (Bahama breeze is an emerald colour with a hint of blue) you want on your nails and paint one nail white (Porcelain party).
For a detailed ‘how to’ of steps 6 through 10 check our latest ๐Ÿ‘‰Instagram update.

Step 6: Once your nail polish is dry, pick a pattern on your stamping plate. Use the colour you chose to apply on 4 of your fingers to coat half the rectangle of the pattern you have chosen and scrape the paint across the entire pattern to evenly spread the nail colour.

Step 7: Immediately roll the spongy side of the stamper on the plate to get your design on the stamper.

Step 8: Roll the stamper on your ‘accent’ nail (White).

Step 9: Once the nail is stamped, clean the plate and scraper using cotton and nail polish remover.

Step 10: Print the left over colour on your stamper on to a piece of scotch tape. Do not use nail polish remover or any other product to clean the squiggly stamper. Only use scotch tape.

Step 11: Repeat steps 6 to 10 on your other hand as well.
                                                                                                                            
Step 12: Seal the manicure with a top coat (Crystal Clear) and let it dry.


TIPS:

You can paint all your nails white and use different colours and patterns to stamp them.

You can paint 4 nails white and stamp them and paint the 5th nail with a contrasting colour.

You can also paint your nails with a light colour and stamp them using a dark color.

Highly pigmented colors tend to print better than light colours.

Once you start stamping there is so much more to explore!!! Have you stamped your nails before? Do you know of any tips and tricks?

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook. Every so often we update you on extensions of what we blog here.

P.S: Yes, I hesitated in the video narration when I meant to say 'Blue film', I paused and said blue coating film. This just goes to show how society has conditioned us to believe that blue film can mean only one thing.

P.P.S: I have linked the products used by me. Move the cursor on the things listed under, 'to stamp you'll need the following' and happily explore the infinite products available to you across different platforms. The stamper and scraper was gift from my brother. I don't know it's actual price in Yen as it is originally a Japanese product.

If you are buying a stamper online try the transparent/ see through stamper. My friend has some really nice things to say about this product.


Happy Stamping!





Wednesday, 24 July 2019

THE LION KING


Image Source - IMDb
It’s only fair; I compare this film to Aladdin. I liked Aladdin better and Skip, The Lion King (his reason being cute Simba). The visual effects though are far, far superior in the Lion King. I was captivated in the first 5 minutes. The Lion King is a live action film with photo-realistic animals. The intricate details of the flora, followed by the appearance of lifelike animals would in the words of R3 (my cousin sista) give you a realistic experience of being on a safari. In certain scenes that pan across the forest landscape, if you observe carefully, you can even spot tiny balls of seed hair fibres floating in the air.  If you thought The Jungle Book was impressive (which also happens to be directed by Jon Favreau, the director of The Lion King), be prepared to be blown away with the graphics in this film. The characters have been rendered digitally using photo and video references of real animals.

In case you’re wondering who Jon Favreau is (tsk tsk). Here’s a picture of him, do you recognise him?
Image Source - IMDb
If you're Happy and you know it clap your hands!

Following the footsteps of Aladdin in being inclusive and racially diverse, the live action film seeks to undo the criticism faced by its predecessor of having an all white cast. Here’s the list of the voice cast:

Young Simba – JD McCrary
Simba- Donald Glover (more popularly known as Childish Gambino)
Mufasa – James Earl Jones ( who voiced Mufasa in the animated film as well)
Nala- Beyonce
Timon – Billy Eichner
Pumbaa – Seth Rogen
Scar – Chiwetel Ejiofor
Zazu- John Oliver
Shenzi – Florence Kasumba

The actors were a perfect fit as the voice-overs considering the film is set in Africa. I particularly liked Timon and Shenzi. Timon is hilarious and Shenzi gave us all the chills.

I’m glad that they retained certain iconic scenes from the animated film and it was refreshing to see them in live action.

It is a film that can be enjoyed by both adults and children, alike. A word of caution for parents with younger children: children who aren’t used to non-animated films or those younger than 5 may find the film a bit frightening.

The film features songs from the original soundtrack plus a few new songs and ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ which had us all humming and singing along (thank you subtitles).

As in all Disney films, this film too had its share of inspiring messages for all. Here are some of my favourite quotes from the film:

“Everybody is Somebody, even a Nobody”. - Rafiki

To change the past is a big order, but you can change the future”. – Timon

“I may run from Hyenas but I always fight a bully”. – Pumbaa

A must watch film and one to be watched in the theatres.

A question for all you Disney fans – Do you prefer the original animated films or the present live action ones?

While I enjoyed watching the animated films as a child, it’s nice and refreshing to see the same being recreated as live action and more so as the creators haven’t diverted much from the original script and storyline.

And now repeat after me – “Hakuna Matata

Skip manages to keep himself entertained on most days. But on some days (days when I'm too tired to even move a muscle), he decides he needs his mommy dearest to play with him and that's when we try our hand at Origami (courtesy YouTube videos)






Tuesday, 23 July 2019

VICTORIA SPONGE CAKE WITH WHIPPED CREAM AND STRAWBERRY COMPOTE



Papa’s birthday was in February and I had to go through the photo gallery to see which cake I had baked! I had a completely different recipe in mind but ended up baking the Victorian Sponge as I didn’t get the ingredients I wanted for the white chocolate cake.




I stayed up till 12 ‘googling’ ideas to decorate the cake and finally came up with whipped cream and strawberry compote topping.  In our Mango ice cream recipe, I have explained how to make whipped cream from regular fresh cream. I’ve used Amul Fresh cream for this recipe too.

You may also check our post on Victoria Sponge Cake with cream cheese icing

There were contradictory views on the way the cake looked. While everyone agreed that the cake tasted heavenly, some didn’t think it looked very pretty. Ahem! I thought it looked very nice. What do you think?  

Strawberry compote makes for a great topping for cakes! The sweetness of the cake went well with the tangy strawberry compote offset by the mildly sweetened cream. I winged the compote recipe. Add the lime juice and sugar as per your taste.






I had some leftover cream and compote which I used to make ‘Trifle in a Jar’. I wish I had clicked some better pictures of those. I brought the mason jars out after a heavy meal. Sky said he was too full to eat the whole thing and Skip in his typical fashion when presented with ‘new food’ suspiciously eyed the jar and said he’ll just have one spoon of it. After 10 minutes, I see that Sky and Skip had polished off the entire jar. Skip was busy licking the spoon and Sky was rummaging through the fridge to see if there’s more. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and you’ll know when we put up the recipe for this trifle.  



VICTORIA SPONGE CAKE WITH WHIPPED CREAM AND STRAWBERRY COMPOTE

Ingredients: 
                                                                                    
For the cake

Flour- 175 gms
Butter- 175 gms
Castor Sugar- 150 gms
Eggs – 3
Baking Powder – 1tsp
Baking Soda – 1tsp
Vanilla Essence– 2 tsp

For the Strawberry Compote:
Handful of fresh strawberries
Lime juice – 1 ½ tbsp
Sugar – 1 ½ tbsp (as per taste)

Method:

1.      Preheat oven to 180 C and line your baking dish (8 inch pan).
2.      Cream butter and sugar until soft and fluffy.
3.      Add eggs one at a time beating well with each addition.
4.      Sieve flour, baking powder, baking soda and add to the above mixture. Mix well.
5.      Add vanilla essence.
6.      Bake for 20-25 minutes or till done. Set aside and let it cool.
7.      Whip the cream and set aside.
8.     For the strawberry compote: Cook strawberries over medium heat. Add the lime juice and sugar and cook for about 10 to 12 minutes stirring it at frequent intervals.  As it cooks and begins to soften, use the back of the ladle to mash the fruit. Cook until it starts to thicken slightly and the fruit is soft but still in pieces. Let it cool.
9.      Assemble the cake by topping it with cream and the compote.
10. Done.







Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Granola๐Ÿฒ



Granola with yogurt and plums

I am not a breakfast person and I don’t see myself converting anytime soon. Marley on the other hand is a breakfast person. This conundrum gave birth to the simplest and healthiest solution that I could come up with – Granola!

Granola is an easy to make dish and has a shelf life of 1 month. You may add seasonal fruits and yogurt to it and you are good to go.

It is also an easy item to carry with you to have it at your work place and isn’t messy at all. Furthermore in this heat, fresh fruits and yogurt can do wonders to one’s stomach.

Lest we forget, this breakfast is packed with healthy fats, natural sugar, protein, fiber and doesn’t require you to sweat in front of a flame.

Ingredients:
  1. 500gms rolled oats
  2. 50gms almonds
  3. 50gms cashews
  4. 50gms melon seeds
  5. 50gms groundnuts
  6. 50gms raisins
  7. 100ml water
  8. Maple syrup/honey

 
Freshly baked Granola
Method:
  1. Crush almonds, cashews and groundnuts coarsely and mix it with the oats.
  2. Then add the melon seeds to the mixture and set aside.
  3. In a pan boil the water and add maple syrup according to your taste. I didn’t want my granola sweet so I used about 4 tablespoons.
  4. Once the maple syrup dissolves in the water and the mixture comes to a boil add it to the oats mixture.
  5. Gently fold the oats so as to coat all the dry ingredients. You will have a damp yet not too wet mixture. Don’t add too much water, soggy oats will not taste good.
  6. Once the mix is ready, put a sheet of butter paper on a tray and evenly spread the mixture.
  7. Put the tray in the microwave and bake it at 100℃ for 12 – 16 minutes or until it is done.
  8. Once done take the tray out and let it completely cool.
  9. Then add raisins to it and mix well and transfer to an air tight container.
  10. Your granola is ready to use.
Granola with yogurt and pears


Notes:
  1. You may use cranberries and other sun dried berries instead of or along with raisins. Kids especially like their granola sweet.
  2. Microwaves have hot spots and leaving anything for over 4 minutes in it results in patches being burnt. In our microwave the center is where the mixture browns first. So, every four minutes I stir the mixture on the tray to get it to cook evenly.
  3. You can use honey instead of maple syrup. I had run out of honey but had syrup at hand.
  4. Similarly you can add any nut you want. (Except the one that you are living with ๐Ÿ˜‰)
  5. I find 4 tablespoons of granola + Fresh fruits and yogurt, make a filling meal.
  6. Store the granola in an air tight container. Do not refrigerate.




Tuesday, 9 July 2019

SPIDER-MAN:FAR FROM HOME




Lulu: Do you see that guy? He plays Spiderman. His name is Tom Holland.
Skip: That’s not his name.
Lulu: What’s his name?
Skip: Peter Parker.
Lulu: Oh yeah, that’s right.


We had quite an adventure on our way to the film. On Skip’s advice, I left home an hour early even though the GPS indicated a distance of 28 minutes ( I measure distance in time). We sailed past traffic signals and reached Lido Mall 20 minutes early. I made a mental note to use that spare time to help Skip revise for his dictation test, use the restroom, buy popcorn and click a few pictures of the poster.

Near the mall entrance, we joined the long queue of cars, waiting to get in. When we were 2 cars away from getting in, we were told that parking was full and that we would have to wait. I took a deep breath and looked at Skip. Skip is great at giving advice in moments such as this.

He excitedly said, “Look”. I looked around and thought a spot had opened up and then realised that Skip was pointing at his pants. Skip had forgotten to zip his pants. He was pointing at his underwear that was peaking out. “My underwear looks like Spiderman’s suit”.

I turned around and decided to park at the mall close to Lido’s only to be stuck in a massive queue inside the parking lot there. It was 4.20 and the cars were moving at a ‘snail on a freshly tarred road’s’ pace when I heard Skip say “Look” again. He found a spot that the cars ahead of us had missed.

We reached the theatre 10 minutes late, huffing and panting, only to be told that the movie hadn’t begun yet! (Shugu, Archie – I missed the national anthem).

Here’s the plot in brief lest I give away any spoilers like you know who (let’s just call him Parker) though I wouldn’t mind Marvel sending Cumberbatch to keep us quiet.



PLOT: Peter is going to Europe on a science field trip with his classmates and he has a Plan – to proclaim his love to MJ atop the Eiffel Tower. Things don’t go as planned. Earth is attacked by the Elementals and as luck would have it, Europe is the target. Enter Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) a superhero from Earth 833 in the Multiverse who takes on these Elementals. Peter is summoned by Nick Fury to assist Mysterio. With Iron Man and most of the Avengers gone, who shall step into Tony Stark’s shoes and have full access to the Stark Industries’ database and weapon supply. Will Peter step up or would Mysterio step in? After all, with great power comes great responsibility.

If you are a Marvel fan, irrespective of reviews, you ought to watch the film.

The movie is a blend of teenage romance, comedy and some great psychedelic action sequences. This film seems different from other Marvel films as it doesn’t merely focus on saving mankind. Peter wants to be a normal kid on a vacation and is not interested in destroying monsters or taking over the Stark Industries. This film feels more real where the superhero and the villain are not from outer space (Did I just leak a spoiler?)

Gyllenhaal and Holland are the scene stealers no doubt but the others in the film provide great comic relief. Peter’s friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) and Happy (Jon Favreau ) have more screen space this time and are hilarious. I’ve been a big fan of Samuel L Jackson and continue to remain so. MJ is not shown as a damsel in distress and even manages to strike down a drone.

The fast paced sequences alternating between the real and illusory worlds will leave your head spinning. The CGI effects are great and had me comparing them to the bull fighting scene in Kalank (that’s the movie I’m currently watching on Prime). I wish I had watched this film in IMAX.

Do not walk out of the theatre post the mid-credit scene. Wait for the post credit scene as well.

Teju, thank you for the tickets J

Look what I found at my office parking spot : Butterfly Girl






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