Review: HARSH Chocolates

Oh my God… can you believe it? A Chocolate Review? Of course, I agreed when Anuja and Ankita from Harsh Chocolates asked me if I would like to review their newly launched hot chocolate on a stick.

Beautifully packed Harsh Chocolates
Beautifully packed Harsh Chocolates

So this past weekend, I received a sweet surprise from the owners of Harsh Chocolates… Perfect for a lazy Sunday, the beautiful packed chocolate hamper arrived and along with the hot Chocolate sticks, I enjoyed some other goodies such as their signature Almond Rocks.

Thank you Team Harsh Chocolates for these delicious goodies.
Thank you Team Harsh Chocolates for these delicious goodies.

Coming from a cold country, I usually enjoy hot chocolates in winters and it was quite a different experience to prepare the hot chocolate while the AC was on at my home.. 😉 Hot chocolate on a stick is a concept, I first experienced during a holiday in Amsterdam and really enjoyed it.

The Perfect Lazy Sunday: Hot Chocolate and a Book.
The Perfect Lazy Sunday: Hot Chocolate and a Book.

I must admit I was not completely wowed by the hot chocolate but they definitely made my Sunday sweeter. I enjoyed the hot cup of chocolate while reading one of my favorite books… The Almond Rocks (roasted almonds covered in chocolate) however found a new best friend. I could eat them all day every day. Super delicious, crunchy, nutty, not too sweet yet very chocolaty… Yum!

I would recommend their gift boxes for friends, family or even as corporate gifts. You can check out their complete menu on Zomato.

Harsh Chocolates Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

P.S. Did you know that Harsh translates to JOY in English?

Touristy Stuff in Mumbai: The Gateway of India in Mumbai

The Gateway of India is one of the most iconic monuments in India and is most famous landmark of Mumbai.

The Iconic Gateway of India
The Iconic Gateway of India

It was built as a triumphal arch to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Bombay in 1911 but was completed only in 1924. It is located at the tip of Apollo Bunder (Colaba) and overlooks the old Mumbai harbor and the Arabian sea. In former times a symbol of colonialism, the Gateway of India has got Indianized and definitely a must visit of the city.

Selfie time at Gateway of India
Selfie time at Gateway of India

It is very popular by locals and tourists and often gets very crowded. Ignore the many photographers and vendors who are trying to sell you all the touristy stuff and simply enjoy the site. I love coming here every time and never get enough of it. Sometimes, I simply sit and watch people. Sometimes, I click photographs. And always, I am impressed.

You also have a fantastic view of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel from the Gateway. Just turn your back to the arch and look to your left. Another landmark of Mumbai…

View of Gateway of India and Taj Mahal Palace Hotel from the boat towards Elephanta Island
View of Gateway of India and Taj Mahal Palace Hotel from the boat towards Elephanta Island

Boats to Elephanta Island will departure from the Gateway as well. Tickets can be bought either directly at the jetty or at the ticket kiosks before entering the Gateway area (before the security check on the right side). Due to the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, security alert in this area is high and you need to walk through the security check before entering the square in front of the Gateway of India. Entrance is free.

Remy Martin, Cointreau and Bouchard Wine Dinner at Maritime by San Lorenzo

Our friends from All Things Nice have a fantastic event coming up this Friday 22 April at Maritime by San Lorenzo at the Taj Lands End Hotel in Bandra. Meet Ms. Antoinette Drumm & Mr. Thibault Robert from Remy Martin over cocktails followed by a five course sit down dinner crafted by Chef Alessandro Bechini paired with wine from the iconic Bouchard Aîné & Fils and fine Cognac.

For details, check out the FB event page or get directly in touch with the team from All Things Nice (contact details in the invitation below).

 

How to save water

It’s getting warmer in Mumbai and in a few months Monsoon will be here. For people like us (the normal middle class), it’s not a big problem. We start using our AC’s to cool down our homes and jump into the pool. But for many people in Mumbai and all over India, the ongoing heat is a big problem. My maid told me the other day that they have only 2-3 hours of running water in their houses these days as the municipality rations the water consumption. The lack of water resources affects the poor the most. Many farmers have problems to water their fields, etc. In some villages, people have to take the train to collect water from far away places. Because of all this, I decided to share with you all the below whatsapp message that I received the other day:


?Ideas to reduce water consumption in our homes and do our bit for the water crisis?

1. Check for leaks ⚠️ and fix them promptly – especially toilet flushes (if there is a major leak, shut of the main valve until the leak can be fixed). Even a small leak can waste lots of water.

2. ? Report water wastage and leaks in your area to your ward officer. Many building’s overhead tanks overflow and people don’t pay attention. Millions of liters of water are wasted this way every day all over the city. ??All buildings should install float valves so that the pumps are shut off automatically when the tanks are full.

3. Reduce the pressure of water flow at all main inlets so that the house saves water as a whole, with a special focus on the kitchen.

4. ? Explain to domestic staff that if they waste water while working in your house, if affects them in their homes too (the big picture!). People living in slums suffer the most from water cuts and the “tanker mafia”.

5. To break the habit of staff leaving taps open as they work elsewhere, a habit of replenishing water from a container instead of a tap can be adopted.

6. ? Move to a limited bucket bath or a timed ⌛️shower bath as a practice.

7. ? Shut off taps when water is not needed throughout the task such as washing dishes, brushing teeth, shampooing, soaping, shaving, etc.

8. ? Use a small flush for small jobs ? You can control this on many types of toilets.

9. ???Water in which vegetables/fruits, rice, dal etc are rinsed can be collected and used for watering plants. Plants don’t mind dirty water as long as it doesn’t have soap or other chemicals – the residues from washing rice/dal etc provide nutrition to the plants.??

10. ? Car cleaning can be restricted to a wipe down with half a bucket of water per car with a less than daily frequency. And the remaining water can be poured into the plants in the compound.

11. Unused bathrooms in homes need not be washed daily whereas balconies can be swept and mopped rather than washed.

12. Water can be collected from appliances such as  air conditioners, dehumidifiers and dryers and used for cleaning purposes. AC drain pipes can be positioned so that the water drains into your plants – like a drip irrigation system?

13. ?When clothes are handwashed, the last rinse can be used for cleaning purposes.

14. ?The kitchen sink drain can be plugged or you can use a dish pan during the last rinse of vessels and that water can be used to rinse dirty dishes before soaping.

15.  If you use an RO water purifier, collect the reject water in a bucket and use it for cleaning or watering plants.

16. Only run full loads in your dishwasher or washing machine, and choose efficient appliances. If using a dishwasher, just a quick pre-rinse in a basin of water or a wipe is needed when loading dishes.

Restaurant Review: Chez Moi in Bandra Reclamation

In March, I had first my German cousin and then my parents visiting us in Mumbai -which meant like 3 weeks continuously eating out. We went to a lot of my old favorite places and tried out many new one’s as well. Chez Moi was one of the many restaurants that was bookmarked on my Zomato profile like forever. So, one evening when we were in Bandra, we decided to try it out.

Gwenda Glocalista at Chez Moi in Bandra
Gwenda Glocalista at Chez Moi in Bandra

Like a typical French bistro, this restaurant is hidden in a side road in Bandra Reclamation (ONGC colony). With a few tables outside and a couple more inside, you feel as if you took a short trip to Paris as soon as you enter the restaurant. Dimmed light, white tables and wine bottles on the wall give it the romantic flair of a Mediterranean bistro.

This time, we went with my parents and cousin to enjoy the delicious and authentic French cuisine. However, Chez Moi is also a great place for a romantic date night out or to catch up with close friends over good food.

We had a lovely time at Chez Moi and enjoyed delicious authentic French cuisine with great conversations and good wine.

Delicious starters - Zucchini wrapped cottage cheese
Delicious starters – Zucchini wrapped cottage cheese

Starters:

  • Bruschetta
  • Zucchini wrapped cottage cheese
  • Tapenade Platter (Bruschetta, Artichoke, Fig & Olive)

Mains:

  • Pasta Bolognaise
  • Green Herbal Fish
  • Coq Au Vin (Classical French dish)
  • Root Ginger & Cilantro Steamed Baked Vietnamese Basa
  • Roast Lamb Rack in Rosemary Sauce

Dessert:

  • Chocolate Mousse

This was the only disappointment: For a real French dining experience, we would have loved to enjoy the Crème Brulee or the Tiramisu. Unfortunately, the only dessert available was the chocolate mousse.

Instagram worthy photos all dinner long...
Instagram worthy photos all dinner long…

I was surprised to learn that the owner is a Punjabi gentleman –as they are usually known for loud and colorful celebrations. But then, he explained that he studied in Paris and everything made sense. Thank you, Vinod, for bringing the French cuisine and the Parisian savoir-vivre lifestyle to Mumbai.

Table looks as if we are sitting in a busy local restaurant in one of the side streets in Paris
Table looks as if we are sitting in a busy local restaurant in one of the side streets in Paris

This place is perfect for:

  • Delicious, authentic French cuisine
  • Romantic dinner with your loved one
  • Conversations with friends

Chez Moi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Celebrate Baisakhi -the Punjabi Harvest Festival- at Paaji’s Express

India is a very diverse country with a variety of cultures, customs and cuisines in different states. Baisakhi is the Punjabi Harvest Festival and also marks the New Year according to solar aspect of the Punjabi calendar. The festival is celebrated as a thanksgiving day by farmers, with the traditional Punjabi dance called Bhangra and of course with good food.

For the food part, you should visit Paaji’s Express in Bandra East or Lower Parel who celebrates the Baisakhi Festival with special food offers…

Paaji's Express celebrates Baisakhi 2016
Paaji’s Express celebrates Baisakhi 2016

Learn Hindi in Mumbai

Pallavi Singh from Hindi Lessons for Foreigners in India
Pallavi Singh from Hindi Lessons for Foreigners in India

I recently met Mumbai’s most famous Hindi teacher –at least if you ask the Bombay expat community… 🙂 Pallavi Singh from hindilessons.co.in teaches Hindi to foreigners who usually come to the city for 6 months to 3 years work assignments. She works with a variety of consulates, including the American Consulate in Mumbai, international schools such as Deutsche Schule Bombay (DSB) and conducts individual private classes.

‘Language is nothing but a by-product of culture, traditions, niceties and exchanges of the society. I think one can either become an observer or an absorber and it’s so much more enriching to be the latter.’ Pallavi who started teaching Hindi when she was 19, traveled extensively nationally & internationally and knows India not only from the perspective of a local but understands how foreigners experience the country.

The first three sentences you should learn in Hindi according to Pallavi?

Seedha Lo (go straight)
Teekha kam (less spicy)
Han Theek Hai. (yes, okay)

Pallavi teaches Hindi to an expat student.
Pallavi teaches Hindi to an expat student.

Pallavi’s Hindi classes are very interactive and extremely well organized. Her modules are an intellectual result of 500+ hours of teaching, development and introspection. Price: 1200INR/class. You can check out more details here.

EVENT ALERT

If you are interested to learn Hindi in Mumbai, get in touch with Pallavi Singh:
hindilessons.co.in
Pallavi@hindilessons.co.in
+919769021595

You can also spread some Facebook love and LIKE her page.

5 life lessons I learned from my first ever 10km run

Last Sunday, Naveen and I ran 10km during the Footsteps 4 Good run in BKC and supported Tender Hands India, an NGO that supports women who were rescued from human trafficking to start a new life through their Learn to Bake vocational training.

Naveen and Gwenda Glocalista taking Footsteps 4 Good.
Naveen and Gwenda Glocalista taking Footsteps 4 Good.

It has been an amazing experience and I learned a lot from this experience. So here you go: 5 life lessons that I learned from my first ever 10km run.

1) Start before you are ready

I still cannot believe that I used to be able to run only 2-3km in the gym while training for this run. When my friend shared with me that she would be organizing the Footsteps 4 Good 2016 run, I was determined to support her not only by promoting the event via my blog and social media channels but to actually take part in it. I had two options: choose the 5km walk that would be easily achievable for me or to challenge myself and to try the 10km run. I choose the 10km run –thinking that I would have enough time to practice and somehow make it happen.

But life happened. Life always happens. 36 hours before the run, Naveen and I ordered a pizza and enjoyed the evening on our couch. Since the time that we signed up for the run, we had probably trained only a handful (or maximum two handful) times. I was pretty okay of running for 20-30minutes and would achieve 2-3km. That’s it. But somehow I was able to continuously run for 1hour 16minutes and accomplish the 10km run without any walking break on that Sunday morning in BKC.

2) Keep moving

Don’t think that it was easy for me. I still remember that my legs started to become heavier after the very first kilometre and my breath become heavier with every passing kilometre. When I saw the finish line for the first time, I couldn’t believe that I had accomplished only half of the run. In fact, my muscles were tired and I could have easily said enough. But then, just a few meters before the finish line, I heard the commentator announcing that the guy in front of us was about to finish his second round. I felt pumped and loudly cheered for him. I felt inspired and I knew I could accomplish this. However fast or slow I was. My goal was not to run the fastest 10km run in history. My challenge was to complete the 10km running without taking a break. And so I continued. Step for step. Meter for meter. Kilometre for kilometre. Slowly, I ran. But the important point is: I ran in the right direction.

3) Run with your head up

…not just as a proper running technique but as a metaphor for life. Keep your head up and be confident. There were many runners that overtook me –right in the beginning and before crossing the finish line. But I can truly say that I have never felt more confident while running than during this 10km run. Instead of competing with others, I focused on myself. I was confident of myself –which showed in the way I was running (with my head up) and in the way I felt (happy and proud).

4) You really can do more than you think you can

I totally surprised myself with this 10km run. I mean… wow! I still can’t believe it. I ran 10km without any breaks or major pain. This totally boosted my confidence and helped me to realize that there are probably hundred other things that I am capable of –I just haven’t tried it yet and therefore don’t know it. If there is one life lesson from the many things I learned while running the 10km run that I find most important: it is this one. YOU REALLY CAN DO MORE THAN YOU THINK YOU CAN.

5) Enjoy the journey

Of course, it was an amazing feeling to cross the finish line… I was so pumped, I ran as fast as I could for the last few meters and I loudly cheered myself… But to be honest, the 1 hour and 16 minutes that I was running were the real achievement and fun. It sounds cheesy but it’s so true: Enjoy the journey.

 

Bonus Tip: You will feel even more amazing if you run for a cause. I felt extremely happy and proud when I saw my friend who runs Tender Hands India, the NGO that Naveen and I supported with our run, cheering for us on the side of the road. THI fights to end human trafficking and offers a vocational baking program for rescued women and young girls. Check out these amazing TROPHY SUGAR COOKIES created by them:

Trophy Sugar Cookie from Spring Street Bakery
Trophy Sugar Cookie from Spring Street Bakery

Footsteps4Good – Walk or Run to Change the World #Run4Me #Walk4Me

I am so excited -in less than two weeks, I will run my first ever official run and the best part -it’s for a great cause! And I invite you to join: More Footsteps = More Funds raised for charity!

You Run. We win.

A few days ago, my husband and I decided to challenge ourselves with a 10km run for a great cause: Footsteps4Good takes place on Sunday 07 February 2016 at BKC. Alternatively, they also have a 5km walk.
Footsteps4Good is a charity walkathon / fun run in it’s 5th year, where each participants Rs2000 registration fee goes directly to a charity of their choice. There are a number of affiliated NGOs but anyone can participate for any NGO.
This is a great way to be part of the change we want to see in the world. You can run for children education, environment & climate protection, women empowerment, or any other cause that you care for. 100% of your registration fee will be donated to the NGO of your choice.

Take A Step. Change A Life.

We will run for Tender Hands India. This NGO fights to end human trafficking in India (and beyond) through awareness, advocacy and aid.
Women and young girls that have been rescued from the red light district in Mumbai or are at high risk of being trafficked receive a huge support by Tender Hands. Under the brand name TH Bakes, these women and girls receive a vocational training and learn to bake.
(By the way, you can support them by eating cupcakes and cakes, too. Check them out here.)
For more details about the run/walk, please visit the official website: www.Footsteps4Good.org
You can show your support by going to the Facebook Event and share it with your friends on FB.
Help us to spread the word and share this blog post with your friends, families and colleagues.
More Footsteps = More Funds raised for charity!