Category: Travel

My Travel Scrapbook – A #Review

My Travel Scrapbook – A #Review

When the twins turned toddlers we took our first steps in travelling with them. There was no looking back. Their curiosity and enthusiasm motivated us to step out more frequently as they grew.

The first time they took a dip in the sea at Dapoli, climbed a hill at Hathgadh, wandered through the Bhool Bhulaya of Bara Imambara at Lucknow and went Strawberry picking at Mahabaleswar are all memories we treasure.

At the cusp of their teens, I find travel opening the children’s minds in a hundred ways, making geography and history so much more interesting. They come back bubbling with excitement, talking constantly of all they have seen and I just want hold on to those moments, forever, as do they.

We have photographs, hundreds of them, but they’re more for me than them. Besides, we don’t make physical photo albums like we used to, and that makes them hard to access.

The Travel Bug

…reached out to me recently, to review ‘My Travel Scrapbook’. As I went through its pages I thought it was a wonderful way to keep travel memories alive. I have to admit I have always loved scrapbooking.

My Travel Scrapbook

…is divided into two sections – National Travel (Ten pages) and International Travel (Five pages). I think that’s a fair allocation, though I wouldn’t have much minded doing away with the International pages, for now at least.

There’s a map where children can  mark off places they visit. A section asks them to mention the State they’re going to and the cities they visit. While on that, we kicked off a great conversation on Indian states, how they were formed and why they divided (because we had gone to Uttarakhand recently). We didn’t even realise when we had segued off to discussing the Cauvery water dispute. You really never know where the conversation will take you once you begin talking to the children.

A tiny section asks them about favourite local foods they sampled (Petha at Agra, Dal Baati in Rajasthan) that encourages them to try different kinds of food rather than sticking with pizza, noodles and ice cream.

The book also has space for them to record their travel stories. They do accumulate plenty of them from train tales to local legends. Mine wanted to write about a quaint restaurant they’d visited where they discovered a tiny library and the little boy who sang funny poetry at the Agra Fort. Those nuggets are priceless memories to look back upon.

Of course there’s space for photographs and also a box for the children to make and stick their own peel-off stickers. There are some pre-prepared ones plus some blank ones too. I loved the wonderfully glossy pages and the small cheerful boxes. The layout is clear and easy, perfect for the younger tweens. The book makes for a great keepsake, something the children can flip through (as can you) for a bit of nostalgia.

What I loved most

is that this turned out to be a fun, no pressure exercise. It’s a personal account, much like a journal, so there are no benchmarks, no specific way for things to be done, just a rough guideline. That leaves the children free to do it their way. I love that the book helped cut down on their screen time and kept them creatively employed.

What could be better:

Given that this is a scrap-book I would have liked a few more fun stickers (sun, beach, etc) to be picked from, and randomly stuck on to brighten up the pages.

Price: Rs 699
Published by: Curiosity Bug
www.littletravelbug.in

Final Verdict: This one is a keeper for the travelling tween.

Disclaimer: I was given a complementary copy of the The Travel Scrapbook in exchange for an honest review.

Vacations, train travel and other happy things

Vacations, train travel and other happy things

April is the fastest moving month of the year for us because it has so much crammed into it. It begins with exams, moves ahead with results and ends with travel and vacations. Quite perfect actually. And so it was that I didn’t quite notice how it crept up upon us and was over before I knew.

There’s a lot to be grateful for this past month.

First things first, the children’s exam results. They were my top worry for months together and I am glad and so very grateful for the way they turned out. The kids weren’t top of the class but they were pretty much what I’d expected, even better maybe. I always worry that I don’t worry enough, that I don’t push the children enough so it’s kind of reassuring to know that it’s alright, that we’re doing fine. So very grateful for that.

The most interesting bit is that N maxed her Art exam while H scored the highest in Science. Seriously, these two couldn’t have been more different!

The other highlight of the month was our 20-hour train journey from Pune to Delhi. It’s a whole different kind of wonderful to share a bit of your childhood with your children and to watch them enjoy it just as you did.

Trains were a very happy part of my childhood, perhaps because travel back when we were children was ever so rare. We’d squabble for the window seat, gaze for hours at fields golden with wheat or dotted with neat bundles after it had been harvested, we’d twist our necks trying to follow the trees that rushed by, we’d wait  for every hawker who came by, begging for a paper cone of bhel or peanuts.

I am glad to say that not much has changed.

Despite the fact that the children had carried along their tabs they did pretty much all what we used to. They went around inspecting the compartment, hung up their rucksacks on the hooks by their berths, spread out their sheets and blankets and settled down quite happily. The welcome tetrapack of juice was all it took for them to become Indian Railway fans. The feeling was only strengthened as lunch and snacks arrived at periodic intervals. When ice cream was served as dessert, they were completely sold over.

We read, talked, played word games and worked on N’s story. It was such a happy day.

The next five days in Delhi were completely relaxing. We managed to visit Kidzania which was a long-pending tick on the children’s list of fun-things-to-do. Although they were a wee bit grown up for the experience, they had a good time. I strongly recommend it for all children. Do try to visit it, there’s one in Mumbai too. The best bit is that it is extremely parent-friendly. I loved the super comfortable parents’ lounge. I ordered in a masala chai and ‘lounged’ on one of the huge sofas with my kindle, leaving the children to do their own thing. Those were happy five hours for all of us.

And now we were in Lucknow. I have so very many things to be grateful for here that I need a whole post, or maybe a bunch of posts.

Is there anything better than being in a place filled with family, friends and the happiest memories you’ve ever made? Click To Tweet

This new month promises to be wonderful.

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Linking up with Vidya’s Gratitude Circle

Why holidays without kids are essential for moms

Why holidays without kids are essential for moms

I wasn’t born an Obsessivemom. Truly I wasn’t. Like I said before
I wasn’t even a kid-friendly person till the twins came along. And then I was transformed into a mum – all of me. And I’m not complaining. Well most of the time I’m not. Oh okay… I don’t really mean it even if I do.

Every mum needs a break

But mums need a break, even obsessive moms. Not just from the kids but also from home and the entire shebang that comes with it – Is there bread for tomorrow, Did I put the curd for setting, The printer’s down again, Did the kids finish their homework? What shall I make for lunch, Ah the maid isn’t coming in again — A break from the mental preoccupation that comes with the territory.
Last week, after much debating (with myself) and plenty of prodding (from friends and family) we planned a break without the kids – three of my pals and I. I won’t write about what we did there. No, we didn’t paint the town red, we didn’t booze till the sun came up, we didn’t break into a song and dance in the market place – yet it was a holiday we’re not likely to forget in a hurry.It was a holiday where the usual everyday stuff was special in its simplicity, only because we were four relaxed women shorn of our everyday responsibilities and worries. We had no agenda, no places to visit, no shopping to do, no hurry to get anywhere.

I recommend it strongly for every mum – in fact the more you are into your kids the more you need to do this.

Here’s why:

It puts you in touch with your before-the-kids-came-along self 

– often the more fun carefree you. With the kids you become a different person – you need to be a different
person – responsible and grown up and more than a little anxious.
While on holiday we broke our own rules. We had snacks for lunch, roamed the markets till late at night, stopped at whatever took our fancy, stayed up talking books past midnight then lazed in bed next morning and lingered over breakfast.
An outing like this puts you in touch with the fun-relaxed you, reminding you of the joy of letting go once in a while. When you come back with that reminder you become a more fun-relaxed mum – and that’s good for the kids.

It’s gives you a reality check..

…bringing home the fact that the kids can survive without you and
happily so. Which, for a sane mum, is the most liberating of thoughts. It makes
you less clingy, (If you thought only kids were clingy, think again)
encouraging you to give the kids more freedom, equipping them to handle
more responsibility which is good for them, right?

It shows you a new side to your kids

My SIL, who was with the twins while I was away, said she grew sick of listening to
them saying, ‘Mama said… , ‘Mama said…’, ‘Mama said…’. This was amazing
because it meant they had actually been listening while I was talking and
were doing what I asked them to in my absence. Woohoo a miracle! With this new found perspective I can perhaps begin
to perceive them as somewhat responsible tweens rather than the babies I
think them to be…. and that’s good for them.

Oh and it’s rejuvenating

..which means you can get back to the task of mothering with ever
more happiness and enthusiasm and the belief that you are on the right track.
Which means you can be a better mum — and that again – yes you got it – is good
for the kids.

So for your kids’ sake – take that break.

Disclaimer: Let me clarify – this is just a way of selling the idea to mums who think they’ll be deserting the kids if they go on vacation. You should do this more for yourself than for the kids or the husband. You should do it even if life for them isn’t quite perfect when you’re away. You should do it even if they protest. They’ll learn to value you more when you’re around.

You owe it to yourself.

On my other blog: Beat About The Book

The Legend of Genghis Khan – A #Review

The Legend of Genghis Khan – A #Review

Book Title: The Legend of Genghis KhanAuthor: Sutapa Basu Before I picked up Genghis Khan by Sutapa Basu all I knew about him was that he was an ancestor of Babur and a very cruel one at that. There have been several great conquerers who have set out to own the world. I find them […]