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Christmas Craft

Little Ethan, this Saturday evening, banged on to our door... It was his signature style! The moment I opened the door to welcome our bubbly neighbour, I was surprised. Our otherwise chirpy fellow was not at his best. He looked grumpy! Before I could think of something to ask, he bursted out... Aunty your door is unhappy today.  It doesn't has Christmas wreath on it no...Your house is also sad, sad.. No Christmas decorations...and where is your Christmas tree. I m katty with u and uncle! Oh my my...here was the reason... And this very reason got me started on my job for last minute Christmas decorations and craft! Sharing the same with u... So that no Ethan will b upset... And that includes one inside u too :


Materials :
  • Light and dark green card papers 
  • BBQ stick
  • Glue and scissor 
  • Stickers
  • Decoration material (as per your liking)
  • Half circle of thermocol ball (for base support)

Method : 
  1. Cut circles from dark and light green card papers of different size that you can put alternate color circles of different size. Start with a smaller circle first from light green paper than cut second one , little bigger from dark color paper .

  2. Now from the Centre point of circle draw a straight line towards the outline of circle.
  3. Cut that straight line with the help of scissor  and put little bit glue on 1/8 portion of circle.
  4. As per image now fold a circle in a cone shape.
  5. Follow the same procedure for all circles and make a small hole at the Centre of each circles.
  6. Now decorate with stickers or whatever materials you have or you like :)
  7. Now take your bbq stick and apply glue on it ,then start inserting the circle one by one ,starting with the biggest circle first. Leave some space at the bottom and between circles. Now place all the circles as per the image and decorate them with ribbon bow.
Materials :
  1. Green color card paper 
  2. Glue & scissor 
  3. BBQ stick
  4. 3D Golden glitter tube
  5. Star
  6. Half circle of thermocol ball (for base support)

Method :
  1. Cut different sizes of circles from green card paper .
  2. Now fold all circles in half circle .
  3. Then fold it like a image till you will get 8 parts of each circle.

  4. After that fold all 8 parts of a circle's  inner potion (shown in 3rd  image with black line) by giving little bit of pressure on it.
  5. Than its ready and looks like an umbrella.
  6. Now ready all the circles with the same procedure and make little hole at the Centre of each circles.
  7. Now take your bbq stick and apply glue on it ,then start inserting the circle one by one ,starting with the biggest circle first. Leave some space at the bottom and between circles. Now place all the circles as per the image and decorate them with glitter and star.


We will make different kinds of snowflakes from hot glue gun  ...which looks good , made easily and very affordable. You can hang it on Christmas tree or make a garland or just stick it on your glass window.  You can colour it or just use it as transparent snowflakes (looks like frozen ice)

Materials required :
  • Different types of snowflakes stencil print (you can find it out from Google images)
  • Hot glue gun 
  • Golden and silver acrylic colours 
  • Golden and silver glitter 
  • Transparent thread 
  • Any thick transparent plastic (any used file cover or thick plastic zip lock bag or any product packing plastic cover you buy) and cold cream

Method : 
  1. First take your snowflakes stencil print and place any thick transparent plastic on it and apply little cream on the top side of the plastic so at the end we can easily pull out our snowflake from the surface.
  2. Now with the help of hot glue gun just draw each snowflakes on the plastic surface (see the image )
  3. Your transparent snowflakes are ready ... You can use it in as a transparent form or in decorative form.
  4. Apply golden or silver acrylic colours on it and sprinkle glitter little bit when colours are wet.
  5. Then behind all snowflakes sticks  transparent thread on it and it's ready to hang.


Materials :
  • Green, red and yellow colour threads 
  • Fevicol and water ( both in equal proportion )
  • Disposable foam dish or any thick hardboard or thick thermocol sheet
  • Box of pins 
  • Glitter 
  • Brush and pencil
  • Transparent thread

Procedure :
  1. First , draw any ornament you want to make on the base. I drew star on a disposable foam dish and other three ornaments on thick hardboard , then you can press the pins on your drawing one by one just leave little gap between  two pins.

  2. Now select any thread colour of your liking and dip it in a mixture of Fevicol and water for half a minute . 
  3. After that remove excess mixture and start weaving the thread from one point to the other completing the outline as per your drawing and then do zig zag weaving .
  4. When you are done , apply two to three coats  of your mixture on thread ornament with the help of bursh. ( Apply second coat after a gap of 10 minutes )
  5. At the end you can sprinkle  glitter on it. ( optional )
Material required :
  • Disposable round paper dish 
  • Dark green and light green card papers
  • Thermocol balls ( white and red )
  • Red thick ribbon 
  • Glue and Scissor

Procedure :
  1. First, take your disposable round paper dish .
  2. Then, cut the inner portion of round paper dish with the help of scissor (as per the image) . Cut carefully that it will not damage the outer circle border .
  3. Now cut vertical stripes (1 inch wide and 12 inches long) from dark and light green card papers and fold all stripes in half.
  4. Then, take your round dish border and pass your half folded stripe from it. Stick the stripe ends and also apply glue on dish border so that it will stick on the border and won't move.
  5. Now take different colour stripe and stick it on paper dish border. Stick the second one without leaving a gap between both stripes. Use alternate colour stripes.
  6. Then one by one sticks all stripes till you complete the circle. 
  7. Now cut a reverse 'V' shape at the end of all stripes.
  8. At the end, decorate it with thermocol balls and red ribbon .
With all these decorations my house sure is gonna don a happy look... just what lil Ethan wanted!!! How about yours???


It was the first day of the week....and I was struggling with my own darling...Monday blues!!!

The alarm of my mobile rang at 5:30am and I kept on snooze for almost five times. When it snoozed for the sixth time, I pushed myself out of the bed realising that it will be too late now...

Oops!!! Sorry forgot to introduce myself. I am Manisha, a mother, a homemaker of my small nuclear family.

As soon as I entered the kitchen,my mobile rang....I got a call from my maid “Memsaab, meri tabiyat thik nahi hai toh mai aaj kaam pe nahi ayegi." The phone got disconnected.

It irritated me and I started cribbing,"Ghar ka kaam mushkil se hota hai ... aur ye baai kaam pe nahi ayegi".Back of my mind,I knew that she doesn’t take holidays unnecessarily....

While preparing Tiffin for kids(Ohh!!!Arya and Arjun) and my husband (Ramesh)I went to their rooms to wake them up.....

“Ramesh! get up...it’s already 8:30!” “Arya... you will miss your bus if you don’t get up and get ready now.” “Arjun, wake up! Very soon your friends will come to pick you up for the class.”

But, they didn’t move....as they all slept late...Ramesh was busy with his presentation and had slept at 3 in the morning. And for Arya, it was her project submission day and Arjun’s evaluation.

So, I again went to wake them up... leaving my work in the kitchen. Now, on not getting up by themselves... I lost my temper and started shouting at all of them.

“Ramesh , get up now!!Otherwise you will be late for your meeting and then you will blame me for not waking you up on time.”

“Kids.... it’s high time now get up!! And get ready fast.”

So, to avoid a heated argument so early in  the morning,they got ready very soon and very quietly. But, when we sat for our morning breakfast.... I started complaining... “Even I was awake till late night helping kids with their studies. And Ramesh, I made coffee twice for you... don’t you remember??”

They all kept mum...and left for their respective jobs. And I was all alone in my house. After finishing all my and my maid’s daily work,I was sitting idle.... that was the moment I was very upset. And then I received a call from my mother..... (wait.. wait ...to me ..my mom only).

Sounding low, she easily understood that I was upset and she asked me to come home to meet her........

I reached at my mom’s place which was nearby. I rang the door bell and she opened the door allowing me to enter the house.

“Manisha , come sit ... I will make a nice cup of tea for you.” It took her sometime in the kitchen while I was busy in my thought process. I was so busy thinking, that I didn’t even realize when she kept a cup of tea in front of me.

I was so depressed to realize, that it was the first time that she made tea for us.  Because whenever I visited her, I always made the things which she liked to eat.

She gave me a cup of tea and asked me “What happened, why are you so upset bachha??” I broke apart and started crying. She calmed me down. And I told her how things went in the morning.

I told her, " I really felt very bad for my behavior... because it’s the only time that we are together. Now, both kids and Ramesh, will be out of the house the whole day..." Mom heard quietly as I was expressing myself.

“I cannot keep them happy....I am unable to manage my house....My family...”

She first pacified me and asked me as to why was I upset. “Just because you had a fight with them..... or because your maid was not there and you had to do everything ...... or on your inability to handle the situation??"

I took a pause and started thinking the actual reason of being upset......

To be continued...

Indulge..... Pamper...... Spoil

With Christmas and New Year around the corner, I was in a mood of baking my favorite Plum Cake. That’s when my taste buds started tickling. It reminded me of the best Blueberry Cheese Cake that I had on my birthday… that was ordered from one the best cake shops in Mumbai…Indulge!!! My craving for indulging into some luscious melt in the mouth pastry, landed me and my friends at the doorsteps of the Indulge Cake Factory. Welcomed by the aroma of freshly baked cakes and the warm smile of the owner and Pastry Chef Fay Almeida, we had entered the heaven!! Grabbing the opportunity, we had a tête-à-tête with Fay , who inspired us to follow our dreams…just as she did!! Had to share the journey of a dynamic woman entrepreneur with you guys!!!

At what age did you start baking and cooking and when did you realize that ‘Oh, I am a good cook!!’
I started cooking after my marriage, at the age of 24. It was only because my husband is a foodie and I love him(almost blushing!!). That’s when I realized that I can cook.

What was the first cake that you baked?
The first cake that I baked was the Choco Coconut Walnut Cake. I made in the oven that was gifted to me by my friend. Post that I was hooked on to the oven. 

Have you taken any formal training in cooking or baking?
The only training that I have taken is for cake decoration. It was a three day training. At the end of the training my teacher told me that I should not continue because she thought that I was very bad at it. That day I decided to never look back.

What does baking/cooking mean to you?
OMG!!! I am obsessed with baking!! It is my life. It is my calling. All the television or reading that I do is only about baking and cooking.

Who is your inspiration?
My family! They have been my supporting pillars, helping me to keep up the rest of my life secure and functioning. My team, who inspires me to do better everyday as they strive for it too.  Indulge is the sum of my family at home, at work and my customers!!

How was “Indulge” your cake shop born?
After my son was 5 years old, I wanted to do something. I always believed in serving people. But was confused with the choices that I had. One day, I decided to put three chits into a bowl with three names written on it. Indulge was born as a “Lucky Draw” from those 3 choices.

What were the challenges that you faced during your start up?
My biggest challenge was that people said, “In Mulund we cant sell cakes”. I used to live in one BHK apartment, hence space was also a challenge. The first six months in Indulge went mainly into research of different types of cakes. I use to bake cakes daily and distribute them to my friends and family.  

How is your typical day at work?
There is nothing typical about my work.We start at 9 am.
I basically have 5 sections; Baking, Icing, Sugar work, Finishing and Account section. The first thing that I do is meet all my employees at each section and talk to them about the day. Scheduling is very important for me. Then, I got into Logistics. Now a days, I am more into Logistics than into baking. And each week we try and innovate new flavours. Like today we tried a Vegan Cake with Almond Butter Frosting.

What is the best compliment you have received for your baking?
There was a sms sent by my  husbands friend. I had sent him my Chocolate Bomb Cake (slurppp!!!). The sms read, “Here is an artist par excellence”.

Was there any occasion where you goofed up on a large order at the last minute? How did you cover it up?
Oh there are many…We are finally humans. Mistakes can happen. Logistical blunders do occur.

If you had to select that one cake….Which would you select as your favorite cake to bake? Why?
I love to bake Pound Cakes. The Vanilla and the Chocolate Pound. I love mixing the batter and checking when the cake is out of the oven. My favourite fragrance in the world!!! It is proven that Bakers are the happiest people on earth. You can take out all your frustration beating the batter. (Grin covered all over her face)

Which is your best selling cake?
The Double Dutch Truffle Cake. So much so, that I wanted to name my shop “The Double Dutch Truffle Place”. 

What are the qualities that are required to become a pastry chef?
Sheer perseverance…because skill can be developed but attitude is what we need to have. Believing that you can do it. Just focus and believe in yourself.

Why are Indians so skeptical about using an oven in their kitchen?
Its mainly electrical device that scares people. But things are changing. 

Your story is very inspiring to all the Indian Women who are so talented and passionate about their dreams but are unable to come out of their shell due to various reasons. What advise would you like to give them?
In my opinion when life hands you an opportunity, you make the most of it. Nobody can tell you this is what you should do. You should feel like doing it. Finally it’s not the money. My Joy is my money and my bread. I am able to touch so many peoples life through my passion ….that is my earning. 

Can you please share your one secret about baking which not many are aware of?
Firstly always use your ingredients at room temperature. Secondly do not over mix the batter of a cake especially after you have added the flour. 

Easy substitute of egg to make a cake for all our vegetarian cake lovers?
Oh there are many …. Condensed milk, curd etc. My favourite is Flax seed . Take one tablespoon of ground flax seed and add 3 tablespoon of water. This will be a substitute for 1 egg. Soak for 15 mins and it is ready to use. It is healthy too.

It was way past closing time… but I would see that nobody was in a hurry to leave the factory(that included us too!!). All her employees seemed to enjoy their work. That’s when I realized, Fay had rubbed of her passion and love for baking onto all of them. Finally I had to ask her that one last question…..

Last question…Please share  any one simple recipe of cake that can be made at home easily just for our Mocktail Mommy viewers?

Chocolate Pudding Cake:
Magically making its own fudge sauce, this cake is a great dessert for last minute guests or for your family. Serve it with ice cream for an extra special treat.


Mix 1: 
¾ cup caster sugar
1 cup Maida (all purpose flour)
3 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
1/3 cup melted butter
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix 2:
½ cup sugar
½ cup light brown sugar 
4 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 ¼ cups water, boiling hot

Serving suggestion:
Whipped cream topping.

Heat oven to 180 degree Celsius
In a medium bowl, stir in ¾ cup sugar, flour,3 Tbls cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Blend in milk,butter and vanilla, beat until smooth.
Pour batter into 8 inch square baking pan with 2 inch height.
In a separate bowl, stir together remaining ½ cup granulated sugar and brown sugar and remaining 4 Tbsp cocoa; sprinkle mixture evenly over the cake batter.
Pour hot water over the top; Do not stir.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until center is almost set. A tester should come out clean but should have some crumbs sticking to it.
Let it stand for 15 mins
Spoon into dessert dishes, spooning from bottom of the pan to the top.
Garnish with whipped topping.

Indulge Team:
Contact: 8422993535/ 8422997474
Address: Shop Number 7,
               Munish Apartments,
               LBS Marg, OPP. J&J Gardens,
               Next to Canara Bank,
               Mulund West,
               Mumbai – 400 080

A Sea Of Experience...A Weekend special!

With demanding schedules of children and husband, off late, finding quality time had become so very difficult.  I was longing for a short break from my 24*7 duty. Somehow it was not working out...but the last Sunday turned out be excuse-free ...children were all hale and hearty, there were no impending exams or projects to be worked on...and most important, my ever so busy husband had a whole day free and reserved only for us!! What to do with it now? As the migrants in the dream city Mumbai, we were scouting for the places to visit for an entire day. A gud friend from town suggested a cruise...

One day cruise??? I wondered...but then it really turned out to be a perfect sail. Soon we were about to venture on to Mumbai - Alibaug exploration via sea!
As nothing was planned, we announced to the children that its going to be a Vikings day out! They were thrilled at the idea of packing their bags for a day. Thus we set out for Gateway Of India in late hours of morning on Sunday from where our Viking exploration was to begin. As we were nearing the Gateway Of India, we whizzed past many famous, old, Victorian styled buildings. We were instantly transported to the regal era! When we stepped out on to the foot path, we were welcomed by an olden day letter box!! It was standing stout with all its yesteryear's glory! As we bowed to the oldie, we were brought back to modern day India by the whistles of traffic policeman!!! 
Our first challenge was to book the tickets for the cruise ride by the catamaran. We were pleasantly surprised to get them quickly and easily. (For more details on the options to travel by a catamaran from Gateway Of India to Alibaug, please visit http://www.alibaug.ind.in/mumbai-alibaug-ferry-timings.html )Its actually a Mumbai - Mandwa - Alibaug tour. Catamaran cruise starts at Gateway Of India, Mumbai and ends at Mandwa jetty. One has to hop down at Mandwa and take a bus to Alibaug. All the cruise operators offer a combo service, i.e. cruise ticket from Mumbai to Mandwa and bus / coach/ sitara (6 seater rickshaw) from Mandawa to Alibaug. 
The cruise was to start at 12:15pm and we had almost 45 mins at our disposal. So the vikings went on exploration drive! The Taj Hotel stands with all its pristine glory watching over the seas just to the right of the Gateway Of India. We stood in silence for a while to offer prayers to all the victims of the 26/11 terror attack. As I could not see any sign of attack there on the building...I realized the spirit of Mumbai...come what may...the show and life must go on! What an indomitable spirit!!!
Soon it was time to embark on our cat (catamarans are popularly called so!) and we did it with an AHOY!!! We waved bye bye to the Gateway Of India. The sea front was dotted with small ferry boats and private yachts. The big cargo ships, as tall as 8-10 story building caught our attention too. They looked mammoth even at a distance! 
As we marched past them, we were followed by birdies...the seagulls. Here was a flock of the seagulls trying to find a catch from the sea. As our cat was sailing ahead, it was creating ripples in the sea and was thus exposing the easy prey for hungry seagulls. They had a scrumptious lunch!!! 
All the while when were watching the birds show, we could now see the shore line ahead...it was almost 30 odd minutes that we were sailing and we hardly had realised it! Like a perfect host, the Mandwa jetty was awaiting the next lot of visitors, travelers and regular commuters. Mandwa beach looked serene and clean. Behind it stood the guarding figure of the western ghats.
We then walked for almost half a kilometer to catch the bus for Alibaug. Thanks to the pleasant weather and our viking spirit, there was no scope to grudge! We were lucky to board the bus that was just about to leave. Mandwa to Alibaug is about 19Kms. The road is quite bumpy. But then who on earth had time to think about it when the path is dotted with a thick of coconut and mango trees, houses and bungalows with slanting roofs??? The Vikings were singing their hearts out all the while! AHOY!!! It only stopped with the screeching of the brakes. The bus conductor announced that it was the last stop. 
The vikings suddenly learnt that they were hungry. As the bus had the last stop near the Alibaug bus depot, finding the decent restaurant was not such a big deal. Pet puja ke baad....destination Alibaug beach!!! 
A brief ride by rickshaw took us to the seas. The sound of the waves got stronger and stronger as we neared the beach. It was the time of the receding high tides. The eager vikings then had no moment to spare and brace the beach! The beach has an impressive welcome gate. The moment one climbs the steps of the entrance, one gets the panoramic view of enormous Arabian sea with a majestic Colaba fort on to its right! To our surprise, the beach was not at all crowded by the revelers. There were groups of families, friends and lot of fun ride operators. The younger viking could not resist the charm of the camel ride and the elder one fancied riding the quad bike.  After these initial thrills, now was the time to indulge with the tides. Vikings had their best time of the day in the waters! 
The time was flying by and Vikings were in no mood to pull themselves back. After bargaining for 5 mins and then 2 mins and then for 1 min...finally Vikings were packing their bags. Soon it was the same journey in the reverse order. The vikings were too tired to listen to the calls of the returning birds. However the setting sun at the Mandwa jetty was the perfect Sayonara to our exploration! With heavy hearts and tired selves, the vikings boarded the cat. The late evening breeze played the softest music to put all of us to sleep! And before we could transport us back from our own fairy lands, the hustle and bustle of the fellow travelers brought us back to the earthly time. The same Gateway of India, this time, clad in the yellow lighting, welcomed us back. And it was just 8pm at night. The vikings truly had a sea of experience!!!

Winter Skin Care...Let Home Remedies Have A Fair Share!!!

Thundi hawa, Ye chandani suhani. Aye Mere dil suna koi kahani... went Kishore Da on one of the radio stations as we were travelling from Mumbai to Pune. Suddenly, from the back seat, came a shrike, "What "Suhani thundi hawa"? This dry winter is a real monster... a culprit...its playing all, not so suhani tricks on my skin". That was my niece, who else, a youngistan brigade member! But in the minds of mind, I agreed with her outburst. Chills of demonetization and chills of the season are playing naughty tricks on one and all. Chills of demonetization are good for the country in general and we the common citizens in particular; But the dry, dull, flaky and irritated skin is a genuine NO NO!!! 

Every other shop in the neighborhood is stocked with winter lotions and creams, to the brim. The TV and radio commercials are bombarding us with a lot of options to pamper our skin. But with all these options one gets more confused and indecisive. And look at the price tags..they make me tizzy!!! 

Voila... there are many age old, tried and tested, economic solutions from our own kitchen itself. As most of the ingredients are fresh, pure and handy, nothing can beat them. So here are some of the homemade remedies for the dry skin for this winter. Now presenting before you a few ways to keep your skin soft, supple and strong...all season along!

1. Cleansing
Cleansing is an important routine to be followed in winter season. Cleanse your face with cold milk and cotton ball before going to bed. It will cut down heavily on the excessive dryness. 

2. Scrubbing
Though exfoliating is an important routine of the skin care regime, in winter months it needs some changes. Avoid daily scrubbing. Follow the routine only once or twice a week. Use only a mild exfoliating scrub. You can make a home made almond scrub. 
Almond Facial Scrub For Velvety Smooth and Soft Skin...
Blend 4-5 almonds to a fine powder. Mix 8 to 9 drops of almond oil, 2 table spoons of honey. If almond oil is not readily available, you can use coconut oil in its place. 
Combine the ingredients well and gently exfoliate your face for 2 mins. Rinse with normal water. Vitamin E from the almonds aid in gently polishing the skin and in refining the skin texture. It also imparts natural sheen and softness. 

Dry skin is dry skin is dry skin... No not really! You may wonder why? Everyone's complexion, skin type  is little bit different.  Hence the defense against the dry skin depends on skin type, lifestyle, habits, and even your skin tone. Here are some homemade masks and packs to suit different skin types.

Banana & Fresh Cream Mask 

This suits all skin types and can be used for general maintenance of the facial skin in winter. 
Take a fresh banana and mash it. Add almost same amount of fresh cream. Mix well. Now apply it all over the face. Wash with lukewarm water after 10 to 15 mins. The fresh cream is natural moisturizer. It will prevent the dry skin. Banana acts like a pack to keep the moisture in the skin, intact. 
Note: In case your skin type is dry then you can substitute fresh cream with home made fresh butter.

Carrot & Honey Winter Pack

Due the prolonged dryness, skin tends to darken. To take care of this extra dryness and darkened, dull complexion. 

Take 2 tbsp of blended carrot. Add 2 tbsp of honey and 1 tbsp of curd. Mix well. Apply it all over the face and neck. Leave it for 10 to 15 mins and then rinse it off with lukewarm water. 
Beta-carotene, biotin and vitamin K of the the carrots helps fight with the darkness caused by dryness. Lactic acid in the curd lightens the skin and honey imparts softness and glow.
Note: You can apply this on arms and hands if they have also darkened due to wintry dryness.

Potato & Curd Mask

Cold of the season coupled with dry winds and winter sun can result into tan and sometimes in extreme cases the sunburn. Potato and curd mask is one stop solution as it relieves the skin from tan / sunburn and also hydrates the skin.Lactic acid in curd lightens the tan. Starch powerhouse potatoes are also rich source of vitamin B & C.This goodness of potatoes help in tightening and toning the skin. 

Take one potato and mash it. Mix mashed potato with the curd in 2:1 proportion. Apply allover face and neck. After 10 to 12 mins, rinse off the face with normal water.
Note: You can add Gulab jal/ rose water to the mix as it has anti inflammatory properties. Thus it helps in soothing the stressed skin.

And apart from the these skin routine, one must maintain the healthy lifestyle for the glowing skin too. Here are some ways to keep your skin hydrated without making much efforts...
1. Drink plenty of water. At least 3 liters.
2. Wear a good moisturizer allover the body immediately after taking bath. It keeps the skin soft for long hours.
3. Invest in a sunscreen. Do apply it generously if you are planning a day out in wintry sun.
4. Eat seasonal fruits and nuts.
6. Exercise daily.
Last and most important...
7. Sleep well!!!

Say bye bye to dry skin and say hello to soft, radiant skin with a smile on your face, this winter! Happy winter to you all!!!