Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Unexpected Babymoon Vacation - Part 2

* Denmark Diaries *

And we landed Denmark, Copenhagen to be precise, on December 21st, 2016, by evening. By the time we reached our hotel, I was all exhausted! All I could do after reaching there was to take a shower, bathe N, have dinner and take a nap for some time with N, as she was also tired! V didn't want to sit idle and so he went out and had a walk around the beautiful city, and experienced the nightlife there.

Next day I gained my strength and was all ready to explore the place. We took a 'hop on hop off' city tour, because we had just one day to explore the city and we didn't want to waste our time by going here and there on our own without knowing much about the places there! Our decision wasn't wrong at all, we got to visit many beautiful and historically important places.

Here are a few snapshots of our trip to Copenhagen, Denmark:



 

 

As I mentioned earlier, it was a one-day trip and we took our flight back to Amsterdam on that night. Sleeping, eating, sleeping..that was what I did for the next couple of days. Isn't it fair enough to do so, as I am a preggy who hasn't yet got over the first trimester? 😁

Smiles
NV

Monday, June 05, 2017

The Unexpected Babymoon Vacation - Part 1

* Finland Dreams *

I got pregnant with my second baby when I was in Holland (Netherlands). V got a project there and that's how we ended up in such a beautiful place. We had plans to explore maximum places in Europe as we had a Schengen Visa (who doesn't have such plans!).

It was on September 14th, 2016 that we (N and I) reached Amsterdam, the Dutch capital. Very soon we visited Belgium, France and Germany. After the three visits we were planning for the next trip, and that's when my sister told us that they are planning a Finland trip and asked us to join them if possible. They are settled in Dubai and they are travel freaks. Finland was never in our thoughts as its one of the coldest countries and it's far away from Holland. But as soon as they said about their plan, we also got interested. We booked the tickets, accommodation..everything was quick. But even then I was unaware of the fact that I am pregnant!!!

We had just one month for our Finland trip, and that's when I realised that I am actually pregnant! Thoughts popped out in my mind. I had doubts if I could travel that long. Very soon I visited the midwife, had the initial check up, scanning and the first thing I told them was about our travel plans. She said I should definitely go and enjoy the time. I was super happy. I am sure if I were in India the doctors wouldn't have allowed me to travel that long in the first trimester.

We were slightly worried about the temperature in Finland especially because it's winter time and the temperature there fell upto -25 degrees in the previous week of our travel. But luckily the temperature didn't fell beyond -10 degrees, during the time we were there.

A friend of ours sent us this picture in WhatsApp after we planned the Finland trip for December πŸ˜‚

I was feeling nauseous and tired for the past two weeks, but I was sure that I will be perfectly alright after seeing the snow covered beautiful land. I was and am so much in love with SNOW 😁

Okay, so we were finally all set to travel and to meet my sister and family. All of us were equally excited. As I would be about 8 weeks pregnant by the time we travel, I preferred to call this trip a 'babymoon' 😊, though I was sure I was not gonna get enough sleep or relaxation. The only thing I was sure about was that the trip will make my soul and body happy and that's all I wanted. 



Direct flights to Finland was very expensive at that time (because it was peak season), and so we took the flight to Denmark first and then to Finland from there. We travelled on 15th of December, met my sister and family on 16th and headed over to Helsinki the same day. I was seriously unhappy seeing NO SNOW anywhere in the town! All I could see was some icicles hanging in very few places. I was disappointed. We did visit few places there. The day passed somehow and the only thing I was happy about was the laughs and the happiness of the three kiddos (my lil N and my sister's 2 kids). That really made my day.   

    

The next day we travelled towards Saariselka. The moment we got down at the Ivalo airport, the nearby airport, I was overwhelmed with joy. All I could see was the snow filled land. I then knew I was gonna enjoy the trip from that very moment. That was the most beautiful destination I have ever been to.



Our stay was arranged at Holiday Club, Saariselka. Their resort was indeed a heavenly spot, which provided us with all the facilities and amenities including a Sauna! There was a well furnished kitchen too and as usual my sister took over the cooking part, the first evening. I couldn't take my eyes off the snowy region! I even got out of the cottage bare foot 😎, just for few seconds πŸ˜‰.



We were there in Saariselka for 3 days and those were the best holidays we ever had. We visited many places there, experienced many new things. One of it was snowmobiling. Don't get confused, myself, lil N and my sister's youngest kid didn't get into the snowmobile. Instead the three of us got into a sledge which was attached to a snowmobile, and that was rode by our guide, Mr. Marks. That was indeed an experience, sledging through the snowy mountains, and having that special hot berry juice served by them in between. If I am not wrong, we were back in our cottage after 12 midnight!


Next on the list was Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland. Though we explored the city a little much, our main agenda was to visit the REAL SANTA CLAUS 😊. Santa said a 'Namaste' when he gt to know that we are from India. Such a nice Santa he was!


I wasn't feeling tired at all, throughout the journey. We even had hours of walk, I felt like I am a super woman πŸ˜‚. 

My sister and her family went back to Helsinki the next day to explore the city for a couple more days and we flew to our next destination, Denmark. Stay tuned to know about our 'Denmark Diaries'.

Smiles
NV

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Aloo Capsicum Masala

I am a huge Pinterest fan and I try out recipes and DIY ideas from there. Aloo Capsicum Masala is one such recipe.



Here goes the recipe. Do try it out, peeps.

Ingredients:

Potatoes, boiled, peeled and cut into pieces - 3
Capsicums - 2 (I took red and yellow capsicums)
Onions, medium - 3
Tomatoes, medium - 2
Cashew Nuts - 2 tbsp
Ginger, grated - 1/2 tsp
Garlic - 3-4 cloves
Dry Coriander Seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Garam Masala Powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli Powder - 1 tsp
Sugar - 1 tsp
Water
Salt
Coconut Oil

Method:

  • Take a pan and heat coconut oil. Add the chopped capsicums and sprinkle some salt over it. Saute it for 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Transfer it to a plate and keep aside.
  • Grind together the tomatoes, cashew nuts, ginger, garlic, coriander seeds and cumin seeds along with 1/4 cup of water and make a puree. Keep it aside.
  • Add some more oil to the same pan, which was used to saute capsicums, and add the chopped onions. Saute until transparent. Add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder and garam masala powder, mix well.
  • Add the puree, which was made and kept aside earlier. Also, add sugar and salt and mix everything well. Cook on low to medium flame (for about 5-6 mins) until oil starts to separate. 

  • Add potatoes and capsicums, salt to taste. Add 1/4 cup water. Combine and mix everything well. Let it cook on medium flame, stirring occasionally.
  • Cook until the gravy thickens. Turn off the flame and move it to a serving dish. 
  • Serve hot with roti or rice.

Smiles
NV

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Red Wine Chocolate Cake




I love baking and I used to try different recipes when it comes to baking cakes. Red Wine Chocolate Cake was one such experiment, and it turned out so well that we all loved it.

My relative visited us last year in the month of November and he came with a bottle of Red Wine. V don't drink wines or any alcohol for that matter; so I was the one who gave my relative a company. I was sure its gonna stay in our refrigerator if I don't use it for anything else. My birthday was coming up and I decided to search for a cake recipe with Red Wine, on Pinterest. That's how I found out this recipe which I customised the frosting part according to the ingredients available here.



As this cake was made 5 months back, and as I had no idea I would be starting a blog soon, I didn't take any picture of it's "making" part. Anyway, here goes the recipe.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients:
All Purpose Flour - 1 3/4 cups
Cocoa Powder - 3/4 cups
Espresso Powder - 1 tsp
Baking Powder - 1 1/2 tsp
Baking Soda - 1 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Granulated Sugar - 1 3/4 cups

Wet Ingredients:
Eggs - 2 no.s
Vegetable Oil - 1/2 cup
Whole Milk - 1 cup
Vanilla Extract - 1 tsp
Red Wine - 1 cup




Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Butter 2 cake tins and keep them aside.
  • Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
  • Combine eggs and vegetable oil with an electric or hand mixer for about 3 minutes on a medium speed.
  • Slowly add in sugar, until the mixture gets pale in colour for about 4-5 minutes.
  • Reduce the speed to low and add in milk and vanilla extract.
  • Add in the dry ingredients (sifted and kept aside) and mix on low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as and when required.
  • Pour in wine and stir to combine.
  • Divide the batter evenly into the greased tins and bake them for 25 - 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  • Take the cakes out of the oven and keep them to cool.

Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients:

Unsalted Butter, softened - 1 cup
Icing Sugar - 4 cups
Cocoa Powder - 3/4 cup
Milk - 1-2 tbsp
Vanilla Extract - 2-3 tsp

Method:
  • Mix together the icing sugar and cocoa powder with a wire whisk in a mixing bowl until completely combined.
  • Add in the unsalted butter and the vanilla extract and mix well.
  • Slowly add in milk, 1 tbsp at a time. Mix everything well, until you get the correct consistency.

Sugar Syrup

All you need is some water and sugar and mix it well.


Assembling the Cake
  • Place the first cake on a cake board or on a plate. (I used a plate).
  • Brush the sugar syrup on top of the cake and then spread the chocolate frosting over it.
  • repeat the process with the next layer of cake.
  • When it's done, cover the whole cake with more frosting and refrigerate it for about an hour.
  • By that time, take the remaining frosting and add more milk and make it a smooth ganache.
  • Take out the cake from fridge and pipe the chocolate ganache on the top and around the edge of the cake.
  • Add some sprinkles on top.
  • I also added 2 fondant butterflies on top.




Tadaa..Your Red Wine Chocolate Cake is ready ☺

Smiles
NV

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Happy Birthday Explosion Box

I love to experiment things, especially when it is something related to crafts. I used to see many explosion boxes' pictures and videos on Instagram and had an urge to try it out. That's how I decided to make a Happy Birthday Explosion Box for my husbandman's birthday one and half years back.

video

Sadly I don't have a step by step pictures of the procedure! Neither do I have a decent picture of the explosion box I made; just this video!! At least I have a video to share😊.

Smiles
NV

Monday, April 10, 2017

Baby N's Birth Story




Until I met my baby girl, I didn't know I could love someone so very much! Ah, I know it's an old 'dialogue'!😁 But, yeah, that's so damn true!!! Within a few months after getting married, I found out that I am pregnant. As the news was unexpected, I was confused in the beginning, but very soon I started loving every bit of my pregnancy and the tiny human growing inside my womb, more and more. As I was in India, I was not aware of my baby's gender until her birth. Now my girl is 2 and half years old. Here comes her birth story.

I was admitted to the hospital on 15th September 2014, 2 days before my delivery as I had some infection. My gyno had decided to induce me on 17th, after removing the infection. So I was kinda waiting for the time and was getting prepared physically and mentally. I was all set with the hospital bag and was ready to welcome my baby.

16th September 2014

7.00 PM: I was told that I will be moved to the labour room that night. I had a bath and then had dinner in my room with my husbandman. He was the one who accompanied me that night too.

9.00 PM: V and I had a short prayer and kissed each other before the nurses came to take me. And I was then moved to the labour room. (Yes, there are separate rooms for labouring, delivery and recovery in my hospital). There were almost 8-10 beds in the labour room, and there was already 2 pregnant ladies other than me in there. The nurses asked me to lie on a bed and then they attached the electronic fetal monitoring device on my belly, to check my baby's heartbeat. My baby was very active (she always used to be, when she was inside my womb) and the nurse had to refix the device twice or thrice! I don't remember when I fell asleep!

17th September 2014

3.00 AM: The nurse woke me up and told me that a junior doctor will be visiting me soon. Very soon, the nurse gave me the enema and after brushing and toilet time, I got ready for the doctor's visit. It was a lady doctor and she did PV and moved to the other pregnant ladies in the room, without saying anything. The nurse came to me and told me that the gyno will come in the morning and will decide when to induce pain.

4.00 AM: My water bag broke! I had a cough from few days and I guess the water broke as a result of it! I informed the nurse and she informed my gyno. And then, very soon, I was induced.

6.00 AM: My gyno came and asked me if everything is OK. I was having pain and was bearable.

10.00 AM: The contractions were getting stronger. I was having terrible thoughts! I am that kind of a person who cannot stand much (physical) pain. I was not sure if I will be able to withstand the pain!

11.00 AM: My thoughts were right. I was not able to control my pain. I could see another pregnant lady, who was next to my bed, crying aloud and then after few minutes she was taken to the delivery room and then after few minutes, I could hear her baby cry. I had a smile on my face, soon it went, and my pain began to raise!

12.00 PM: I knew I wouldn't able to control the pain and I told the nurses, the junior doctors and my gyno that I need a C-Section. Initially, they tried to console me and told me everything is going to be fine soon. But nothing could change my mind! I was determined. My amma (mother) came to me twice and told almost the same what my doctors and the nurses said. I was totally out of control! I was crying and crying and was even getting angry with her!!!😞

1.00 PM: I knew the time was running and I was still on the bed in the labour room waiting and waiting for the TIME!!! I had pain at regular intervals but dilation was not happening.

2.45PM: Finally my gyno and my family agreed upon having a C-Section. The nurse shaved and got me ready for the delivery. They shifted me to the operation theatre. On the way, I saw my husband, my mother, my father, my mother in law, my brother in law and a relative of mine and I had a smile on my face at that time. (Remember, I was crying till then, but getting ready for a C-Section actually made me smile!).

3.12 PM: My little girl was born at 3.12 in the afternoon, weighing just 2.45 kg. They showed me her from a distance (I wished if they could bring her to me close!!). They took her away to another room to clean her and on the way, they showed her to my family too.


I do not know the time, but I was then moved to the Post-Operative Room soon after the C-Section. I was so tired that I soon fell asleep. To be frank, I was totally lost in my sleep that I completely forgot what happened few minutes/hours back. I felt someone calling me during my sleep. That was a nurse and she told me, my relatives will come near the window there to see me. I could see them very soon and they waved me through the window. Very soon I fell asleep again, because of my tiredness!

9.00 PM: I was told by a nurse that they will soon bring my baby to me. And then came my little angel, the treasure I was waiting to meet since she was born. Though I was totally unconscious during my sleep and didn't even think about my newborn child, I started to think only about her since I was conscious after the sleep. And then she was brought to me, wrapped up in a tiny cloth and the nurse kept her beside me. She was all red! I kissed her for the first time. It was magical. The nurse asked me to try to breastfeed her. I tried, but couldn't!! I was told that it's fine and after few minutes my angel was taken from me! Her face was still on my mind, clearly. It took me hours to sleep, again!

18th September 2014

4.00 AM: After sleeping for few hours, I woke up. I couldn't sleep again. I was feeling thirsty, very thirsty. I asked the nurse for some water, and they gave few drops!!! Can you believe, just a few drops!!! Can't blame anyone you know, that's how it's done after a major surgery!!!

8.30 AM: After having tea (It's something which I hate, but that time, I was so thirsty and hungry that I grabbed it and had it in no time!) and some snack (don't remember what it was!) the nurses asked me to walk to the toilet, pee and come back. It wasn't as easy as I thought! Really hard it was! I couldn't even walk properly. Anyway, it went by and I came back to my bed. They moved me to my room very soon where I was welcomed by my family. After few minutes, they brought my angel. Slowly and steadily I learnt to hold her and feed her properly.

This picture was taken after reaching home and was taken by one of my best friends.

Smiles
NV

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Learning the art of Crochet - The beginning...!!



*Long Post Alert*

When I was a kid, I used to watch my grandfather's sister (then almost 70-75 yrs old) doing crochet, during her visits to my home, usually at the time of church feasts. I was a little girl back then and I used to get fascinated by seeing how these yarns get connected to a stick kinda thing and make amazing things. I still remember those crochet strawberry wall hangings and crochet candles that she used to make. That was magical, I used to think! And I never thought once I would learn and love crochet. Time, u know!!

So it was during my stay in UK that I first had a thought of learning this art. I got inspired from a friend, who has done crochet shoes and beanies for her nephew. And I thought, 'can't I try it out too?' That was the turning point. I decided to learn through YouTube. That's how it all started. I got ready with a crochet hook set very soon, which I bought via Amazon.


This was the first thing I learned, a crochet bracelet, the simplest one. It was hard for me initially, as I didn't have had any prior experience in crocheting! I didn't give up, and this was the result. I know there is nothing great in doing just a bracelet. But for me, it was something to be happy and excited about. I was gaining confidence.






And then I made these little things. I was super happy and more confident that I could do more and better.


And then I made a crown and a shoe with the same yarn.

I bought more yarn to do different things. I was so happy that finally i got a hold on what I was doing; damn happyπŸ˜„

I made these two for my N, for last year's Easter. She was so happy to carry tiny Easter eggs in that small Easter basket and to wear the crown I made for her.



I then thought to make things for my relatives and friends. Made the tiny little shoes and the mermaid shaped baby cocoon for my niece.


This one was a gift for my mother-in-law.



Now these beauties were for 2 handsome little boys, my nephews.


And this Minnie Mouse outfit was made for my dear friend's little boy (on demand).





It was then time to make things for me, made the cute crochet ring, crochet headband and this gorgeous (if I may say so 😁) handbag for myself.

As I said already, I learnt crochet and made all the above shown crochet works when I was in the UK. I then went back to my home country (India), but couldn't continue crocheting as I was busy with all the travels, kids and functions there. We are currently in Netherlands and have restarted my works again and I will be posting a separate update of the same later☺.

Smiles
NV

The Unexpected Babymoon Vacation - Part 2

* Denmark Diaries * And we landed Denmark, Copenhagen to be precise, on December 21st, 2016, by evening. By the time we reached our hot...