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Eco friendly Return Gift ideas

What is a birthday party without party favours or return gifts? Kids look forward to bday parties for 2 reasons; 1. The Cake 2. Return Gifts
Last year we celebrated our son’s birthday the eco friendly way.  It was pretty doable, from décor to return gifts, all was either wood, paper or cloth.
You can check out the post here.  I am always on a look out for sustainable gifting options and hence this post on eco-friendly return gift ideas. Some of which I have personally tried and tested!

1. Piggy bank- A ceramic or wooden piggy bank. Piggy banks or Gullaks as we would call it have been one of my priced possessions all through my childhood and teenage years and that is what precisely I chose as party favours for my son’s first birthday party. The Gullak (piggybank) was a wooden house shaped box with lock and key. I sourced these from Sarahanpur in Uttar Pradesh known for artisans making brass and wooden artefacts and furniture. The gift was super-hit, everybody loved it.

2. A sapling or a plant with a pot- for Little A’s second birthday. I had a mix of return gifts. For kid’s above 3, I chose plants like ajwain, mint, tulsi etc and gave a pot separately, with a message ” plant me, water me and watch me grow”.  The plant was given separately so that kids can engage in potting exercise and take ownership, learn to nurture, watch it and relate to the lifecycle of plants and what is required for them to grow.

3. Wooden puzzles/toys- Unlike plastic toys, wooden toys last longer and look better.
There are few Indian brands selling wooden toys puzzles etc.  I have written a dedicated post on why we prefer wooden toys, you can check it here .

Also my personal favourites are Chanapatna toys. Chanapatna toys are wooden toys made in the town of Chanapatna near Bangalore. Channapatna is also known as GOMBEGALA OORU ( toy-town) of Karnataka. The toys are handcrafted and have a unique appeal to them, these can be used as art pieces or just as toys to play with.

Chanapatna kitchen set

For kids under 3 years I chose to give wooden puzzles/puzzle books and regular books. I bought puzzles from “little fingers at work” they have great variety of educational toys that are also reasonably priced. You can find more about them at their website. 

4. Small Terrariums or a Terrarium “make and take ” activity. – Terranium is a sealable glass container having soil and plants, the container can be opened for regular maintenance. These look wonderful, though slightly expensive these  can make a perfect return gift. Check this post to know about different varieties of terrarium and how they aren’t so difficult to make. Bigger Terrarium can make a good b’day/ house warming gifting option too.

image credits- whatagreenlife.com 

5. Craft kits- Craft kits are always a hit with moms and kids alike. You could gift a quilling set, DIY craft set for making paper bags/envelopes or just a kit with variety of craft supplies for open ended work. We absolutely adored the craft kit that we recently got in a party.

6. Terracotta clay with steel moulds or cutters- I love how clay can take any form, terracotta clay is natural as it is sourced from the riverbeds and prepared to produce various articles. It can be baked for strength or just used as it is. You can now buy terracotta clay at Amazon too.

The cutters can be bought at snapdeal or amazon. I found these at a throw away price for a set of 20 cutters. (click here )
You could alternatively buy cookie cutters and give 2 each to a kid along with some (250/500gms) clay and paint.

Here is a picture of me with my amateurish work at handbuilding pottery, I find working with clay therapeutic, you can tell that from the smile on my face in the this picture.

7. Books to choose from- You could keep 2-3 sets of different books and have the kids choose one from them.

8. Cloth hand puppets or dolls – hand puppets and cloth dolls look really cute and can be used as props for story narration and for pretend play. Not only the kids will love it, your mommy friends will love it too.

9. Plush toys – keep a counter/table with a placard saying “adopt a friend” and have 2-3 varieties of plush/soft toys, the kids can choose one and take it home as a return gift. The fibres used for a soft toy may not be natural, however it is better than giving plastic toys/tiffins/boxes that would soon break

10. Gardening kit- The real learning happens outdoors and there is nothing better than growing your own garden. Sowing the seeds of greener practices early on in life will have a positive impact on little ones. A gardening kit makes a great gift for young kids aged above 3. 

 A gardening kit for kids may include Rake, shovel etc, include a pack of seeds too to complete it.
These were 10 eco friendly gifts that I could think of, if you have anything in mind please do share here in comments.

The purpose of your gift will fail if you choose to give it in a plastic bag, try to use eco-friendly packaging for your return gifts. We have been using home made newspaper bags and for heavier gifts repurposed clothbags ( made from my old kurtas and pyjamas). I am going to do a dedicated post on packaging gifts the eco-friendly way!!

 

 

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activity, Babycare, Lifestyle and health, new mothers, parenting, toddler, Uncategorized

Quick Birthday Checklist that you shouldnt miss!

Are you planning your child’s birthday?

Here is a post for you to streamline your planning.

Birthdays have never been so exciting before. Well, yes, I used to be excited about my birthdays, but never did I get into such strategic details and planning before, I guess no one does until they have a baby.

This reminds me of A’s first birthday celebration and sleepless nights I had before it. It was even worse than those exam jitters. The first birthday celebration was a big affair and I wanted to do it the green way, check out the link to my blog here

Here is a basic birthday checklist that I am following for A’s second birthday.

1. Guest list- your guest list is the first thing before you start thinking about any event. It will give you an idea of what kind of venue you can book, once your guest list is in place you can decide about the menu and head count. So, basically it is the first step. For kid’s birthday party it is important that you have an age wise list of kids and also list the adults who will be attending the party (your menu may differ for kids and adults or a common kid friendly menu)

From the guest list arrive at a number that will definitely attend the party, make this number your minimum guarantee for booking the venue.

2. Venue- for smaller numbers and bigger houses a house party is the best and most economical way to celebrate. However, there are good options available now for birthday parties. From Quick Service Restaurants(QSRs) to banquets to play areas all are tapping birthday party market. Decide what fits your bill and book weeks in advance.

3. Invite- Create an invite that talks about the birthday theme, the invite should have following details

Date, Time, Venue, RSVP contact and any other note that you may want to include regarding theme etc.

4. Theme – Decide onto theme if any, so that you can work out other things like return gift, decor, outfits etc based on the theme.

5. Return gift- Return gifts or party favours have become like a mandate for kids’ birthday parties. I can’t forget how I used to wait to receive mine as a kid. Base the return gift on the theme and also keep in mind the age of the child you are giving it to.

Also consider the packaging, it should be attractive and easy to carry. Ensure what you are gifting is secured in the package.

6. Menu to be finalised- menu would depend on the time of the party. Kid’s love junk, parents love junk too, but parents hate feeding junk to their kids. Avoid keeping junk food in the menu.

7. Birthday Cake-  This post has taken me years back, how magical was the moment when mom put the big colorful cake in front with fancy candles; all the eyes focussed on the bday kid and the cameras flashing khachaak!! Somethings never change and why should they?

The only change is that there are better options available now offering fancier cakes and making our jobs tougher.

Try choosing the patisserie that you or your friends have tried and tested(tasted) before.
1 kg cake can suffice for 8-12 people. Before finalising the size, keep in mind other desserts that you have in the menu and the shape of the cake.

8. Party Games, prizes and props- Party Games/ entertainment is life of any party, choose games as per the age of invitees. Try to include games that all can participate in and have prizes that would suit all.  Keep a few extra prizes just in case there is a kid who asks for a prize or there is a tie between two winners.
Keep hats, masks etc or any other prop to go with your birthday theme, keep those handy for all to pick.

9. Photographer- Be it a house party or a party elsewhere someone needs to capture your precious moments. Have one person dedicated for it. It could be  a friend/ relative or a professional photographer.

10. Birthday kid dress and outfits for others in the family- well, this one is important but not as much as other points above. Choose a comfortable outfit for your child and carry an extra pair ( If the party is being organised away from home).

Easy isn’t it? Well, no. This is just a checklist, doing all or even a few of the above will take your time, efforts and of course money; but will also give you lots of precious smiles, laughter & memories in return.

Happy planning and executing. Do share your birthday party planning tips in the comments.

 

Lifestyle and health

Braids Can Never Go Out of Fashion

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine


A hairstyle can completely change the way you look, it can make you look  glamorous or dull and boring.

I have always been fascinated with braids and the numerous hairstyling that you can do with them. Unfortunately, I have super silky straight hair and braiding has been just too difficult and time-consuming task for me. Found out that Divatress has found a perfect solution for people like me.

Long hair, short hair, straight hair or curly, dense hair, scanty or no hair Divatress has amazing varieties of braids available to match your style and need.

You may ask “why braiding”

1. Braids are a wonderfully protective hairstyle option.

2. They make great everyday hairstyle.

3. They are are fairly low maintenance

4. There are multiple braid styles that you can try and create a complete new look  every time.

5. They look stylish and can never go out  of fashion

Struggling to braid or haven’t found that skilled  braider yet??
Divatress has options for you to choose from  unique African braid style, a special braided up-do, criss-crossed cornrows, a braid bun, Kanekalon Jumbo Braids or X-Pression Ultra Braids and much more and that too from the best brands.

Braiding is most common for African-Americans, however it is gaining popularity world over now. The most popular braiding style is Crotchet with innumerable variations to try out from Wavy Faux Locs and Goddess Locs to Water Waves to all different kinds of Box Braids. Want to checkout these options, click kanekalon hair

Divatress is a leading online platform for all your hair related needs, offering you thousands of options.

 

Lifestyle and health

Keeping the love young and strong

“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times — always with the same person.”
Mignon McLaughlin

For most people in the world comes love that is natural, spontaneous and effortless. They fall in love, they explore each other and then they get married. There are also people who get into an arranged marriage; where they get married first and are left to make conscious efforts to love and accept the other person.  Ours was one such marriage, I would often address my then fiancé as “my arranged boyfriend”!

Ours was a typical arranged marriage; but if you looked at our pictures you wouldn’t be able to tell that, that is reel life, in reality we fought, argued, disagreed over everything under the sun and 7 years down the line we still do the same, just that we now know that nothing except death can do us apart.

Few things that we now do to keep the love alive and strong are-

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Lifestyle and health, Uncategorized

7 unique gifting ideas for this Valentine’s Day

A couple figurine

What is life without gifts and surprises? Boring right? A birthday or a Valentine’s day only feels complete with that perfect gift. From little kids to grown up adults there is no one who wouldn’t like to be gifted or showered with pleasant surprises.

Gifting for me is not just an activity, it is a well thought out ritual and an experience, because what I see behind that gift is the smile of my loved one.

Here are some ideas to make your Valentine’s day gifting special.

1. A 3D selfie or couple figurine- Yes, you heard it right! Portraits are passè, figurines are the new in things, although i wouldn’t mind someone gifting me a sketch or a caricature of me; but I found these figurines super cool. Make Valentine’s Day special with Vuro’s gifting options

Approximate Price- 999

Check these out here-Vuro

2. A Photo book- In this digital age when pictures are zillion and get forgotten until facebook or Google shows you in the memory feature. A book that tells your lovestory can make such a beautiful gift for your partner.

Approximate price- 500 -900

3. A hamper with your partner’s favourite chocolates and wine – Plan a date at home and surprise your partner with her/his special drinks, or that bottle of champagne or any other sparkling wine you both wanted to buy but waited for an occassion.

Approximate cost – Well, this would totally depend on your partner’s choice! You could get a decent hamper made in about 2-3k.

4. A surprise trip or a staycation- I am a sucker for experiences. More than amassing things I prefer creating memories. My first Valentine’s day gift to my husband was a surprise trip to Agra, the city of Taj Mahal and city of love. We enjoyed luxury and opulence at ITC Mughal, pampered ourselves at the spa and visited the Taj.
A surprise like this could cost you from few thousands to 30- 50 k depending upon your choice of hotel, city and traveling cost.

5. Books, Book ends or personalised Stationery- If your partner loves reading or writing then this could be just your thing to look for him/her. I am sure they would love to see their name on the pen they write with or the stationery they use and each time they pick it up your thoughts would cross their mind.

Approximate cost- 1k or more depending upon the stationery you choose.

6. A hot air balloon, helicopter ride or camping in the jungle or by the riverside- Did I mention that I love creating memories?

Yes, you could look for helicopter rides, these usually are 15-20 minutes rides and can make a wonderful experience if your partner loves traveling, photographing and experiencing new things.

Approximate cost for a helicopter ride- 4500 Rs.
Approximate cost for a hot air balloon ride- 6-8 k

7. A backlit photo frame or a night lamp- If your partner loves personalised stuff and is fond of pictures, you could consider getting these made for him/her.

These can easily be made at Vuro

Approximate cost- 1499 Rs.

I hope I was able to give you a few ideas worth going ahead for your perfect gift to celebrate and make this Valentine’s day special for your partner.

Have you checked out our Valentine’s Day Contest on Instagram? Do participate, you may just win one of the personalised gifts by Vuro.

check more about the contest here Loveflaunt

Happy Valentine’s Day to you!!!