Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Travelling with a toddler to Le Meridien Goa

This mother’s day was made even more special when Le Meredien , Calangute , decided to host three of us mom travel bloggers in Goa. What we came away with was memories, some great mommy bonding, and the big bonus was the children got along famously aswell.
Le meridien Goa , staycation in Goa, 

We were welcomed into their plush rooms, overlooking a Mango tree laden with blush coloured Mangoes, as well as a large sized chess board. What immediately caught my attention, was the clever use of space within the room.

Using a different pattern on the wall paper and the rug under the circular sofa, the helped create lounging zones in the room. The circular bed was our favourite spot, sturdy enough for jumping on, comfortable high backs to see TV from, or gaze out of the room at the unseasonal rain pattering on Mangalorean roofs.
Le Meridien Goa, this one was one of the little alcoved sitting areas in the room, one of three such areas. 

Interesting Houndstooth pattern to depict the native Kunbi tribe of Goa

The change in wall paper , to distinguish this beautiful round bed/sofa perfect loung area. Le Meridien Goa

Art work depicting the St Augustine's church ruins , Le Meridien Goa

The art in the room was inspired by the Kunbi tribe , their checked kunbi saris and the typical brass jewellery.

There were 4 different places where kids can read/lounge/jump/ play/ sleep in depending on how big your kid is. For shreyu, he was immensely taken up by the cupboard, where he decided to open up a shop selling imaginary Poppins and lollipops.

But he also had real chocolate lollipops as part of his welcome treat, and the cute dessert in a jar, with miniature slippers, starfish and I was blown away by the attention to detail and the painstaking craftsmanship of the F and B team .

Next up was éclair decorations. Eclairs are the French inspiration that the Lemeridien draws from its origins. And more than the kids it was the mothers who enjoyed the éclair making at the signature coffee shop of le meridian, which doubles as a bar by night. We were explained that each Meridien property has a unique éclair to themselves and here it was the Mango and cashew ones. But honestly , we have been to Meridien Mahabaleshwar and Pune, but haad never experienced this part of the hospitality.(do ask about the eclairs if you ever visit a meridian property) . another unique part of the meridian properties is the art in the hotel which is unique to the place.
we enjoyed getting messy with whipped cream

Mom Ruchi , and I making the most of edible creative eclairs, Le meridien Goa

One thing I always maintain, no destination or hotel is not child friendly, kids find everything fascinating, the question is the property ‘parent friendly’.
The balconies and the absence of child locks on the doors ( he was easily able to open the doors , the absence of any latch in the bathrooms ( a pet peeve of mine in almost all hotels , because children just don’t seem to understand privacy. )

The pros were ofcourse the circular bed/sofa, as well as ample room to run around in the room, also that there is ample cupboard space, because while travelling with a toddler, we carry their universe with them. From his toilet seat to his favourite blanket make it to the travel list.

The swimming pool.

unbridled joy of childhood.\, Le meridien Goa

The kids club

that happiness cant be faked . 

Chess with Dad, at the kids club, Le Meridien Goa

chess with mama. Le Meridien Goa. wonder woman and super man a DC comic special twinning for mothers day.

Beach fun at Le Meridien Goa

Twinning in our Mothers day T shirts 

Kids club Le Meridien Goa

The food
Cold Coffee at the coffee shop at Le Meridien Goa

dinner at Jazz and grills Le meridien Goa, for detailed describtion and review do check out my instagram check the hashtag #vacaywithlemeridiengoa

grilled recheado chicken , at Jazz and grills, Le Meridien Goa.

vreme brulle and chocolate brownie, match made in Heaven, Le meridien Goa

enjoying our Morning cuppa , Le meridien Goa

Twinning in our disney mickey night shirts , mother's day special

poached eggs, served on a bed of Goa prawn curry. for full review and more details. come check out my Instagram @thefoodietrails, use hashtag #vacaywithlemeridiengoa

you know a hotel loves its moms, when they have a coffee machine in the room.

... and candy jars for kids

Mothers day special body painting, his first Dinosaur

and then he attempted making a dinosaur aswell

This special mother's day Menu was a culmination of all the chefs favourite meals as a kid. from fried rice to roast chicken , the menu had it all, for more details, follow me on my instagram handle where I have detailed posts on the food, @thefoodietrails, le Meredien Goa

The have one of the most extensive juice bars for breakfast and everything from cucumber to beetroot can be juiced to your liking. le meredien Goa. follow me on my Instagram @thefoodietrails for detailed food posts. #vacaywithlemerediengoa

The destination:
Calangute is a tourist hub, convenient to visit the beach, shopping for moms , very nice salons and spas within walking distance, and every possible cuisine within a stones throw away.
We loved our mom bloggers retreat to Le meridian, made more exciting by the fact that Ruchi with her daughter Ivanka and Avantika with her son Panav were part of it. Both the kids were within 10 months range of Shreysht which made the bonding between the kids heartwarming to watch. From running between chairs with Panav, to discussing the virtues of sitting in the back seat with Ivanka, the babies had as good a time as the mommies, and that’s the best gift for a mother on Mother’s day.

happy family times , le meredien Goa

The Mom's tribe Avantika, me and Ruchi 

memories at Calangute beach

Monday, April 16, 2018

Body positivity ; how to dress according to your body shape

Body positivity , is not about coming to terms with what’s ‘not OK ‘ with your body, but actually celebrating what is fantastic about it. And with that in mind I teamed up with praan.t a collection by Monika Chordia and my fellow fabulous bloggers , Flexcia Dsouza and Shruti Haldankar to bring forth a body beautiful post.
To dress according to your body type has always been a bit of a missed opportunity , atleast for me. But after years of watching style shows and makeover shows on Television, I have managed to glean some information.

First, don’t fight your body shape, find it.
Where do you carry the most weight, or which is the part of you that you do not like, but more importantly, what is your best parts, or what is it that you should be highlighting.

I am a classic apple shape, I have slim arms and legs and an ill defined waist. And so I went for this A line shift dress, which had pleats at the shoulder and at the helm. I would love to accesorise it with a neckpiece which is a long V, a slim chain with a statement piece which ends at the narrowest part of my waist or a a little higher. V necks, or neckpieces are perfect for apple shapes. Since this dress in Kala cotton has self vertical stripes, it is slimming, and the pleats at the shoulders add detailing on the shoulders, and the pleats at the hem give it a girly touch, both detailings take the eyes away from the ‘problem area’ the waist, and draw attention to arms. I love that it is sleeveless, since my arms are slim , and I wish the helm was shorter to show off legs.

Kala cotton , which grows in the dry and arid Bhuj region, has a very low carbon foot print, it requires little water to grow, and since the colours used are natural dyes, they require less water to dye. All in all an environment friendly piece.

My second outfit was a indigo blue pant suit in Khadi Matka, with a high low seam to the top, and culottes ending mid calf with cute pompom detailing. The high low hem is very fun, and again draws attention away from the waist. Since it is sleeveless, it allows the shoulders and arms to show, while still not hugging at the waist. The pants end above the ankle, and since classic apple shapes have narrow ankles and wrists, it is a flattering cut.

Flexcia on the other hand is a pear shape, with a wonderful structured torso, while legs and calves are generally thicker.

She wore a beautiful black long gown, with an interesting bottle green bolero jacket. The jacket helps balance her top half and her bottom half, and the streamlined floor length dress accentuates her hips, without drawing attention to the legs.
For her second look she tried the very edgy and an absolute show stopper, the pleated top and bottoms. Notice how the pants, though fitted at the hips, flair at the knee, thus helping balance her top half and bottom half. Since she has no problem showing off her narrow waist and small torso, the pleated top is a strong accompaniment.

Shruti is a small hourglass, she has beautifully balanced top and bottom halves, and the only danger is to make her look too skinny. Clothes which help fill her out, yet narrow at the waist are perfect for her. Designer Monika’s clothes with their pleats and flairs are perfect on her.

For her first look she wears a dress in indigo blue, which with a fitted top silhouette, flairs with stiff pleats at the bottom, helping add volume to Shruti. Her second look was a two piece dip dye from Bhuj, the flaired cullotes, and the relaxed fit top were cinched at the waist , so while they maintained their focus on her waist, they filled out her top and bottom halves.

What was my absolute favourite?
My favourite was what Monika herself was wearing a shift dress, so perfect for the apple shape, I would steal it! It showed off her legs, it had girly details on the wrists and neck, and the vertical self design; love love love.
Sheetal Pai Kane, who was hosting the exhibition at Panjim, Goa , looked stunning in a kala cotton long dress with asymmetric pleats. Sheetal a perfect medium hourglass, could have carried off absolutely anything on the racks, because the hourglass is an absolute designers dream!

Take home tips :

1.       Apple shape : Accentuate arms and legs. Accentuate with accessories to cinch waist. Be bold and body positive !
2.       Pear shape: Accentuate narrow waist, balance your shoulders to match your bottom half. Take focus away from hips. Be bold and body beautiful !
3.       Rectangle or small hourglass: accentuate narrow hips, build layers or volume on top and bottom half. Be bold and body positive!

To know more about praan.t and their new collection featuring kala cotton from Bhuf, and khadi Matka from Bengal , reach out to them on their FB page @praan.t , and Instagram page @praan.t.

body love , with #foodiegoesfashionable

Liked this post ?
For more of my food, travel and fashion posts , follow my instagram @thefoodietrails, fb Page @thefoodietrails twitter @kuheli1 .
To collaborate with me on body positivity fashion posts email me on thefoodietrails@gmail.com
Also a warm shoutout to my partners in crime ; Flexcia on instagram @flexcia_dsouza  and Shruti on instagram @shruti_theurbanista .

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Spring time in Goa : Shigmotsav

Spring or Phagun according to Indian calendar is a month of Intense celebration in India.

Food and festivities is a heady mix, and one which I have revisited time and again, be it Chitirai Thiruvizha in Madurai, or Durga Pujo in Kolkata, but when it comes to Goa, the festivals are so unique that they deserve entire blog posts.

I have written three posts on Carnival celebrations in the state, and two posts on Diwali celebrations DIWALI IN GOA with Narkasur, and now another well kept secret of the state, Shigmotsav.
Shigmo, is a rural festival previously celebrated only in the villages of Goa, but when the Carnival celebrations gained popularity in the state, with the Government backing it as a tourist attraction, the Hindus in the state demanded equal awareness about the Shigmo festival and thus started the festivities in the cities aswell.

Shigmotsav, the festival celebrating Phagun weather in Goa

Starting on the day before Holi, pretty much like the Holika Dahan across the country, Shigmotsav also begins in similar fashion in the villages of Goa, especially the ones in the extreme south like Canacona, because this was the seat of the Hindu community in Goa, especially during the time of the Portuguese colonisation. Ponda is another Hindu heartland and Shigmo festivities are close to the residents of the area, but by now the festivities are seen across the state.

But as a tourist /traveller to Goa what can you expect?
Fancy dress processions with Indian Mythology , larger than life grand floats depicting Indian mythology, and an elaborate and beautifully in sync parade with drummers, and dancers. The parades happen in every city and town of Goa, and start from the saturday after Holi and continue till Gudi Padwa. from Phagun to Chaitra month this turn of season festival is a profusion of colours. 
The best part is the parades, where you can introduce your children to Indian Mythology in a fun interactive manner, be it selfies with Vishnu and Yamaraj, or a larger than life floating Hanuman procession in search of sanjeevani.

Holi celebrations at Grand Hyatt Goa

colours of spring, gulalotsav

I like my pinks , yellows and oranges as candy floss

Shigmo means taking selfies with Lord Vishnu on the streets

Insta stories of what we ate while enjoying the floats in Shigmo

getting his balcony seat to the show, enjoying shigmotsav on Daddy's shoulder and eating popcorn
Food ofcourse is never far from our celebrations, candyfloss, chocolate icecream and popcorn were part of our Shigmo parade munchies, and fafda Jalebi and Thandai were part of the Holi celebrations, followed by Puranpoli and shrikhand on Gudi Padwa.

our festivities are always interspersed with food, be it Popcorn and icecream during the night float parade of Shigmo or the Holi celebrations with Jalebi and Thandai.

Thandai served in Clay pots, at a 5 star beach resort in Goa, Holi celebrations done in style at Grand Hyatt Goa

the ghode modni is by far my favourite part of the procession during Shigmo

getting to be part of the processions and interacting with the participants was a real treat. tip to attending the festivities, head to the start of the procession, where the crowds are thin, and the participants are al geared up and raring to start their procession.

My husband's name is Pawan, and Lord Hanuman is also called the 'son of Pawan' , here is the father with two of his son's , both figurative and real :)

Just as Lord Hanuman took off on his flight to gather sanjeevani, we got another cute father son, family pic

and me thumsuping while Ravana sets off on his rampages, to be fair, I do think he was a misunderstood man, and really a romantic at heart. The mythology is after all open to interpretation.

a car filled with masks and costumes

This is my favourite picture from the festivities. well , after the picture with Vishnu ofcourse

and then we went and got ourselves a selfie with Yamaraj.Note the skull necklace.

Here it is my favourite picture !
Balam pichkari; my son's pichkari acted as food styling props for holi

the perfect blend of sweet and savoury, jalebi and fafdaa.

The sweet beginning to the New year with Puranpoli and shrikhand.
I hope the pictures have enticed you to come join in next years Shigmo festivities, and immerse yourself in a truly Indian experience. In a country where Agriculture and Mythology are an intrinsic part of life Shigmo is a celebration of both.

here are some of my other festival and food related posts

Durga Pujo Bhog

Durga Pujo as a Kid

Carnival in Goa