#BlogAlong in 2016

The first post of the new year and how apt for it to be a part of my very own link up party with Pooja and Upasna, the monthly #BlogAlong.. Hoot hoot. 

The year has started off crazily hectic indeed;

The first weekend of the new year was spent diving in the Great Barrier, the next 2 weekends thereafter went in house hunting (sob sob story of being unexpectedly asked to vacate currently rented apartment), and then this last weekend went by in a mad rush of packing, cleaning, moving and unpacking into the new place (it’s just gorgeous and my head is exploding with the number of decor and DIY ideas I want to implement!)

Time does fly!

The theme this month was to plan the year ahead, as is the theme for every January, year on year, for each and every one of us. We plan, pursue, persevere, procrastinate, and then politely (or maybe sheepishly) forget it all! 

What is it with resolutions eh… Brings out the utmost dedication in us and then also brings about our inevitable descent back into our set ways..

My resolution this year, like every year was to send greeting cards to all near and dear ones for birthdays, anniversaries, and what nots. Have I sent a single one yet? Nope. Heyyy, scroll back up to know why. But then again excuses excuses excuses. 

I think I should just resolve to let this year be and bring what it may for me. Life has pretty much been kind to me, year after year (with a few glaring exceptions) but resolutions or no resolutions, every year turns out great indeed. And I end up being a whole new and sometimes improved version of myself. 

So there you go, my resolution for 2016, I officially declare that I am going to let the winds of change or the tides of tomorrow take me wherever I am meant to be. And smile more. And worry less. 
PS: 2016 is also the year I turn 30. Any other day I would be panicking and making my things before I turn 30 list. But today is the first day of the chill-pill me. So not yet. 

Tomorrow? Who knows! 
post is a part of the 3Girls and a #BlogAlong hosted by Upasna from Life on My Plate, Pooja from A Bit Of This and A Lot Of That and yours truly. We would love to know what you have planned for the coming year. This month’s theme is Resolutions 2016! Come join in on all the fun!

BlogAlong
To #BlogAlong with us, here’s what you have to do…

Write and publish a new post on the monthly topic, or share an old post you might have written around the theme.

All posts are welcome, as long as they are relevant to the current topic!

Add the #BlogAlong badge to your post (grab the badge codes from the sidebar on each of our blogs) & link back to at least one of the hosts. This helps to promote everyone’s hard work.

Follow your hosts! Join the party by clicking on the inlinkz button below, and adding your post to the blogroll.

Comment on each other’s posts and spread the love. Promote your own and fellow bloggers’ posts on Social Media using the hashtag #BlogAlong.

The link-up will remain open from the first Sunday of the month, until the end of the month…!
What are you waiting for? Make adding a post to the monthly #BlogAlong a resolution for 2016! 

Pretty please?!

2015: The Year That Was

It’s December already? Wasn’t it the start of this year just a teensy while back? I feel like a goldfish, purely because I’m trying to remember what all I got up to in the past year, and I just am unable to. It all flew by in a whiz. Pffffft.

I do know where some of my last few months went; being so caught up with work and home that the blog was ignored. But see how loyal I am to our monthly #BlogAlong, that Upasna, Pooja and I host every first Sunday of the month. It’s pretty much the one thing that I make sure I post to the blog lately. So much to share with you and so little I actually am. I am not going to jump the gun and start spouting my New Years resolutions, not just yet. However what I do want to share is my favourite memories of the year that was 2015.

This post is a part of the 3Girls and a #BlogAlong monthly link-up, hosted by Pooja from A Bit of This and a Lot of That, Upasna from Life On My Plate, and yours truly. The theme this month is Flashback 2015

Lately, Arjun Singh and I are saving all our moolah and energy for our trip to the Great Barrier Reef for New Years Eve, so most of the weekends go by binge-watching The Walking Dead. So when I sat down to write this post and recapped some fun times, all I could picture were zombies running after me. Ugh. Not good. So flash-backed a bit more, and realised it wasn’t all zombies and lazy time. 2015 was special in so so many ways, and the following are just a few of my favourite blog posts of the last one year.

The Hobo Road Trip: 5 friends, one car, 6000 kms, and some epic memories

We drove all the way from Melbourne to the Gold Coast and back, meandering here and there, and created memories to last a lifetime. Along the way, we discovered this trippy little town Nimbin, the story of which I shared with you all a while back. What a trip. haha.

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Hooligans in HoboLand

Starting my #MarketsofMelbourne series for the blog

I love markets, and Melbourne has a gazillion of these. Ranging from farmers markets, to art and craft, to food festivals, its a crazy smorgasbord here. Just another reason for me to get up and go market-walking every other weekend, but hey it’s all for a good cause, innit. (Albeit I am behind on the posts, but too many markets, one little me: Hold on for 2016, it’s going to be market heaven here :) )

And did I mention that my blog post on the Esplanade Market, right here in St Kilda, got covered in Elle China. Woot Woot!

Elle Feature
Elle Feature: Esplanade Market, St Kild

Spectacular New Zealand

Oh New Zealand, what can I say about you that others haven’t raved about already. Until I figure out other unique ways to describe the Kiwi country experience, you all can read my post on the adorable little seal pups I visited off the coast of Kaikoura in South Island here.

Cuteness Maximus
Cuteness Maximus

The Intoxicating Barossa Valley

A vacation which consisted of wine-tasting, lazy strolls in wine-yards, and lots of me and him time. Do I need to list out any other reason at all why this made it in here? :) Yes, there is so much more to do in Barossa other than wines, and which you should definitely experience them when you are there. But the wines, oh the wines, I swear it’s like it’s literally in the air up there.

Wine Wine and More Wine
Wine Wine and More Wine

When My Recipe Got Featured On Buzzfeed

What a win! And it was a Himachali recipe of mine, to boot. It’s not like I am super creative or a hyper-perfectionist or pull out all stops with the food styling and my food photography with the blog. All I want to get right is the detail and the colors. And then one day I wake up to tons of traffic on the blog, directed from Buzzfeed, and you just smile to yourself, knowing yes, that’s a Win for today!

This got Buzzed
This got Buzzed

The #BlogAlong

2015 is also special because this is the year I started my blog link up party with two absolutely delightful blogger gal-pals and we LOVE it. Every month, we get alarm-clocked by the enthu-cutlet (you know we heart you Pooja), and then we put on our blogger hats and come up with our topics for that month. It’s pretty much an endless discussion on food, and travel, and then some more food. The way to our hearts is ALSO through our gluttonous stomachs. And eyes.

We hope you are enjoying the #BlogAlong as much as we are. This is as much your link up party as it is ours, and we want you to tell us if you have any exciting ideas for us to #BlogAlong about in 2016.

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Phew. I did manage to get up to a lot this year. No wonder I am so tired. Haha. The last month of this year and I are going to continue to make some wonderful memories, and ring in 2016 with its wonderful delights. Am glad I had a chance to recap some of my favorite blogging memories with you all, and I cannot wait to read a round up of yours.

 

This post is a part of the 3Girls and a #BlogAlong monthly link-up, hosted by Pooja from A Bit of This and a Lot of That, Upasna from Life On My Plate, and yours truly.

The theme this month is Flashback 2015, and you’re all invited to the party!

BlogAlong

It’s YOUR turn now. Your best memories, lessons & learnings, musings & deliberations; #BlogAlong with us & tell us what stood out for you this past year!

To #BlogAlong with us, here’s what you have to do:

  • Write and publish a new post on the monthly topic, or share an old post you might have written around the theme. All posts are welcome, as long as they are relevant to the current topic!
  • Add the #BlogAlong badge to your post (grab the badge codes from the sidebar on each of our blogs) & link back to at least one of the hosts. This helps to promote everyone’s hard work.
  • Follow your hosts!
  • Join the party by clicking on the inlinkz button below, and adding your post to the blogroll.
  • Comment on each other’s posts and spread the love.
  • Promote your own and fellow bloggers’ posts on Social Media using the hashtag #BlogAlong.

The link-up will remain open from the first Sunday of the month, until the end of the month…!

 

Aampanna Milkshake….The Mmmmilkshake

You know those weekend mornings when you wake up, make your way to the kitchen, open the fridge and think to yourself.. what on earth do I make for breakfast because all I actually want to do is get back into bed?? Okay, not one, but mostly most of my weekend mornings are like that. But it’s such a tough choice for me. because I love my sleep, but ermm, I love my food too. Zzzz.. chomp chomp, it’s a tough call, but to each in its own time,… ha ha, get it?

Ok, I know you don’t. But I amuse myself.

Anyhoo, coming back to weekends and mornings and quick fixes for ravenous souls; the fun part of being in the Southern Hemisphere right about now is that its MANGO SEASON AKA Mango Shake Time.. shake shake… shaking her head and self while typing this out

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Oh, Mango shake how I love thee… It’s a summer weekend tradition (yes, we are that serious and sentimental about the weekend breaky time that we label things a tradition.. or maybe it’s just me).. and last weekend, I spiced it up by serving a chilled glass of Aampanna Milkshake as I call it.. and all you need are 3 ingredients.

Mango, Milk, and Mint…MMMMilkshake.. now do you get this? come ON

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Everyone has their own version of how they like mango shakes; pulpy, non pulpy, thick, thin, less sugar, high on sugar.. Growing up, I remember the little brother liked to have the super liquid-y and extra sugary version, while I liked the pulpier version. Oh, the fights that ensued when only one version was made. But neither of us ever let go of the glass of milkshake, thick or thin.

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Anyhow, I still like my mango shake thick, chilled, and the sweetness contributed only from the mango. No added sugar for me in my mango milk shake. So while making the weekend-y mango shake for Arjun Singh and myself, as I drowsily took out the mango and milk from the fridge, I saw my cute little mint plant waving at me from its pot. (or maybe the it was the sleep, but I swear it called out to me). Some people invent medicines, I just mix ingredients.

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So I plucked the fresh mint and while whipping up the mango and milk, blended it in, and voila, milk aampanna. And yes, it tasted wonderful.

Ingredients

1 ripe mango

400 ml milk, preferably cold

4-5 mint leaves

Method

Blend all ingredients. Serve chilled.

Slurp Slurp.

Feat

This post is a part of the 3Girls and a #BlogAlong monthly link-up, hosted by Upasna from Life on My Plate, Pooja from A Bit of This and a Lot of That and yours truly!

This month we invite you to an Open House!!!
We wanted to leave the topic open this month, to enable more of you to participate and link-up with us!
ALL Stories are welcome, and blog posts can be ANYTHING UNDER THE SUN! Food, Travel, Lifestyle, Health, Gadgets, Current Affairs, Movie Reviews, Book Reviews, anything that floats your boat really. We want to hear it all…!

BlogAlong

To #BlogAlong with us, here’s what you have to do:

  1. Publish a new post or share with us an old post, if you will, on the monthly theme
  2. Don’t forget to include the #BlogAlong badge in your post. In order to get the code, click on the 3Girls and a #BlogAlong image in the sidebar on my blog or here itself, and it will lead you to the image URL
  3. We would also appreciate if you link back to your hosts, and follow us too. You can find me on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter, and ofcourse on WordPress :)
  4. Join the party by clicking on the inlinkz button below any of our posts, and adding your post to the blogroll
  5. Comment on each others posts and spread the love
  6. Promote yours and others posts on social media using #BlogAlong with the 3Girls

The link-up will remain open from Sunday, 8th November till the following Sunday !

 


I am also linking this post up to the yummylicious Foodie Friday link up at Annmarie’s blog. There are some seriously delicious things happening there!

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Happy Birthday Dearest Ma

Happy Birthdayyyyy Ma……mwah mwah mwahhhhh…What a birthday to have eh.. Celebrating it with the wooky and the spooky..

And in a way you got your li’l monsters in Anuj and me..hehe.. we were quite a handful.. But you see mother dearest, you made our life so good that we took it all for granted. Righteously so. And since we thought you were always going to be around, we though that soon we could smarten up our act and show you how awesome we truly are, how ready to grow up we were, under all that brashness, laziness, and general all-around shmuckness…

But then one day you weren’t there, and since then we have had no choice but to grow up. All of a sudden. You think we did a good job growing up? I wish I knew.

But some times all I want to do is go back to being a kid.. your kid.

The young working girl whose mom would call every weekend, at a decent hour of 11 am, and I would still be snoring away, and to hear you exclaim You’re still sleeping?!’ Yes mom, I was always sleeping when you called. Had I known the future, I would have slept a little less and talked more..

The college going girl for whom you packed bags, no make that bushels of panjeeri, garlic peanuts, and pickles for hostel, and I would wail at the weight of the stuff, and forcefully make you reduce it all. Should have taken it all…

The school girl who spent her teenage years gossiping on the phone with her girl friends.. Should have told you all my secrets and juicy gossip. (well, I did tell you the FIRST time I had a serious crush :) )

The little girl who wore all the clothes you personally designed and stitched for her… Should have kept all those clothes…

The little girl who envied her mother’s lipstick collection, and you let me try them all. And now I have my own collection, but you aren’t around to share it… I know you wouldn’t have liked the shades I wore, so dull you would say, but to see that look on your face, priceless :)

Ma,

I know life isn’t fair or beautiful all the time. But you made it brilliant for us just by being there. And just by being yourself. There isn’t one like you nor will there ever be.

We love you loads, and wish you are truly happy wherever you may be.

 

Happy Birthday Ma!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Night Lantern Festival: A Photo Essay

It’s #BlogAlong time. 2 out of the 3Girls have already put their posts up this week and the 3rd one is finally ready with her story too. By the way, love the snapshots of Russia and Turkey, girls! Have you all seen them yet?

This month’s theme is a Photo Essay, and we aim to please you by writing less and visually trying to blow your mind. In a small way maybe.

While I haven’t been to anywhere as exotic as where the others went gallivanting, Melbourne does have some delightful festivals up its sleeves. Recently we visited the Dandenong Night Lantern Festival, where 30+ chinese silk lanterns were on display in the evenings, and what a sight that was. What amazed me was that each display was bigger and brighter than the previous one, and none of it was shoddy. Gorgeous and brightly lit pieces were such a highlight of the night, pun intended totally.

Sharing with you some of the pictures Arjun Singh took. And kinda showing off his some work too. Two birds. One stone.

Less talk. More pictures.

Can’t wait to show them all to you

 

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Here goes:

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I want a garden like this one day

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The Chinese Zodiac
Year of the Tiger: 1986
(Roarrrr)

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Reminded me of Dusshera in India
Reminded me of Dusshera in India
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There were animals from across the globe; elephants, lions, cheetahs, hippopotamus…

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Don’t miss the koalas in the background
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Penguins of Melbourne

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We found Nemo!
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What’s a Chinese display without Pandas see-sawing in the park

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Walk like a Panda!
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The gorgeous lanterned archways
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My favourite shot of the night
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:)

 

This post is a part of the 3Girls and a #BlogAlong monthly link-up, hosted by Upasna from Life on My Plate, Pooja from A Bit of This and a Lot of That and yours truly!

The theme this month is … A Photo Essay!!!
So come join the party guys. Show us your photos, take us on a visual journey; your favourite city, a romantic restaurant, picnic by the lake…we’d love to see it all!

BlogAlong

 

To #BlogAlong with us, here’s what you have to do:

  1. Publish a new post or share with us an old post, if you will, on the monthly theme
  2. Link for posting remains open from the first Sunday of the month to the following Sunday, till midnight
  3. Don’t forget to include the #BlogAlong badge in your post. In order to get the code, click on the 3Girls and a #BlogAlong image in the sidebar on my blog or here itself, and it will lead you to the image URL
  4. We would also appreciate if you link back to your hosts, and follow us too. You can find me on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter, and ofcourse on WordPress :)
  5. Join the party by clicking on the inlinkz button below any of our posts, and adding your post to the blogroll
  6. Comment on each others posts and spread the love
  7. Promote yours and others posts on social media using #BlogAlong with the 3Girls

The link-up will remain open from Sunday, the 4th of October till the following Sunday, 11th October!

Wholewheat (Atta) Pancakes with Homemade Berry Compote

Tis the season of berries.. tra la la laaaa!

I told you I love spring, right. Reason # 5001 in my I LOVE SPRING list is because this is the season when berries are a-plenty and a-cheap. And we buy them by the bushel. And then forget about them if they are lying around in the back of the fridge. Uh-oh. Mushy berry alert!

Sundays bring with them the most time for me to make a leisurely breakfast, and for both of us to sit together and be lazy and enjoy our way through the meal. Wanting to be healthy yet have an indulgent brekkie, I decided to make us some atta pancakes, wholewheat for y’all, topped with a homemade berry compote.

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Remember the secret formula that I shared that all of us pancake lovers should know by heart?  Well, i decided to test it with wholewheat flour and see if it still worked its magic. Well, I was using plain old atta, and it needed a bit more liquid actually, so tweaked the recipe by adding half a cup more.

To be honest, while I was cooking them, I was slightly put off by how boring they looked, and I was worried that they wouldn’t look pancake-y enough.

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But I was worrying needlessly. Once I made them all and stacked ’em up, look! Spot the difference, I dare you :)

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Ingredients

For the pancakes:

  1. Wholewheat flour: 2 cups
  2. Eggs: 1
  3. Buttermilk: 2.5 cups
  4. Unsalted butter, melted: 1/2 cup
  5. Powdered cinnamon: 1/2 tsp
  6. Baking soda: 1/2 tsp

For the compote:

  1. Mixed berries: 1 cup
  2. Water: 1/2 a cup
  3. Sugar, if needed: to taste

Method

For the compote:

  1. In a pan, mix the berries and water (and sugar, if using) and bring to a boil
  2. Simmer on medium heat and mash the berries in the bubbling water
  3. The consistency of the compote can be reduced to as much as you personally prefer; runny, or thick. The former should take about 20 minutes, while the latter should take about 30 minutes or so.

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For the pancake batter:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, baking soda) in a bowl and keep aside.
  2. In another bowl, mix your wet ingredients (egg, milk, butter).
  3. Now add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and voila, your pancake batter is ready, quick and easy. (Also, this batter can be stored in the fridge overnight, so you can actually make it a day in advance and quickly churn out pancakes in the morning, although with the extra fibre that wholewheat flour has, you might have to thin out the batter before making the pancakes)

For cooking the pancakes:

  1. Cover your serving plate with aluminium foil to store the pancakes in, in order to keep them warm while you make the entire batch.
  2. Heat up good quality non stick pan, to medium heat.
  3. Once the pan is nicely heated, take a ladle full of the batter, pour into pan, and using the base of the ladle spread out the batter to flatten it. If you want thicker pancakes (like I do), add on another ladle-full, and then spread out the mix in the pan. Otherwise for crispy, thin pancakes one ladle of batter should be enough.
  4. In about 2-3 minutes, the pancake should be ready to flip over to the other side. Cook both sides to your ideal consistency. If you like well cooked pancakes, keep on for 3-4 minutes each side, while browning both sides. If you don’t want browned pancakes, ensure you cook each side for less than 3 minutes.

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To serve:

Layer up your pancakes. Pour the fresh compote and maple syrup on it. Serve with or without fruits. And maybe some cream? :)

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Notes:

You can put on the compote before you start the pancakes. Saves time and it should be ready by the time you have made the pancakes.

The atta pancakes might have a slightly fibrous taste to them. If you think you might not be a fan of it, try masking it with some vanilla essence, or adding some dried fruits to the batter. I was brave enough and had them,with dollops of honey and compote :)

You don’t need to add butter or oil in the pan to cook the pancakes, as the batter already has butter incorporated in it. That is why the quality of a good non stick pan cannot be stressed enough.

Can you see bits of the butter bubbling away on the surface??
Can you see bits of the butter bubbling away on the surface??

These were an amazing alternative to the weekend fatty indulgence. 

If you try them let me know how it works out for you. Waiting to hear from y’all!

Peanut Butter and Banana Milkshake

Spring is sprung in Melbourne. And I couldn’t be more excited. It’s the season of fresh flowers, bright and sunny days, and cold cold milkshakes. Woo the hooooo!

And with winter on its way out, binge season is officially getting over and the love, no make that ladoo handles are showing. So guess whose new favourite weeknight and weekend morning activity is ‘Going to the Gym’…. I don’t love it but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do to wear those sundresses, come summer.

So whipped up a yummy drink as a pre-workout treat and which can also multitask as a late morning breakfast if you like me wake up at 11, and want to have something before lunch. Coz the stomach is a-rumbling and you don’t want to be a -cooking. Haha.

Remember my Peanut Butter and Nutella Milkshake? Well, this is the healthy version of that, replacing the Nutella with a banana. And voila, a healthy treat is served. In a tasty serving for 2.

Hers
His

Ingredients:

2 cups milk (low fat, skimmed, full-cream.. your call)

1 tbsp peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)

1 ripe banana

Pinch of cinnamon

Method:

Put all ingredients in a blender.

Blend.

Serve.

Wipe that milky moustache off your lips.

Enjoy :)

#BlogAlong + Seal Pups of Kaikoura, New Zealand

Welcome to the September edition of the #BlogAlong party that Pooja, Upasna and I get going, month on month. Previously we shared our blog-stories about the food we loved, the travel must-packs and our growing up memories. However this month we want to invite you all to share your stories. In the month of September, the #BlogAlong link up is an OPEN HOUSE. Any and all bloggers can join in and link up their food stories, travel stories, me stories, you stories…..and so on. I have made some great, new friends through this link up and want to make and meet more awesome bloggers out there.

Keeping with the theme that there is no theme, I am going to share a travel story. I visited South Island in New Zealand, in the month of May this year and before leaving had prepared a long list of things I wanted to experience. Remember this post from the airport? The stories from NZ are long overdue on the blog and I am finally starting to pen them down. Yay.

Well, I am happy to tell you that I managed to tick off almost everything off that list. And I started my trip with the thing that I was MOST excited about: SEAL PUPS. in the WILD.

When we were planning for the trip and making a list of things that had to be done, everyone put in their 2 cents: Milford Sound, Lake Wanaka, Queenstown, Glenorchy, etc etc and then I jumped in with Kaikoura. Kaikoura what? Why? Because you get to see seal pups in the wild there, frolicking around in waterfalls. This HAD to be done.

Kaikoura is a 2.5 hrs drive from Christchurch, but if you are a traveller like us, who stops every few minutes to marvel at the sights, click dozens of pictures, take a few loo breaks (it was winters, people), then you have to allow yourself the luxury of 3-4 hours for sure. But the drive is totally worth it. In fact, it is worth it in the entire country of NZ, but this was our first day on the roads there and we just couldn’t stop WOW-ing at everything we saw around us. The clear blue skies, the sparkling aquamarine waters, the striking greenery, it was all spectacular.

Also, on the drive from to Kaikoura, do also allow yourself some time for a relaxed and elegant lunch break at the Waipara Hills vineyard. It was a chance discovery for us, but would highly recommend it for the crisp whites, and the crisper, fresher seafood treats they prepare. Slurrp.

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Coming back to the subjects of my post, the seal puppies. To see these seal pups in the wild, you have to go slightly further ahead of the town of Kaikoura, to the Ohau Stream Waterfall, about a half an hour of a drive. It’s like a giant creche, for seal pups. The seal mothers give birth in the month of April, and from April till November, these pups stay in this general area; staying mostly in the Ohau stream, and swimming over to the other side where the stream joins the ocean, to meet their moms once in 15-20 days. Sounds harsh? Don’t be sad. It’s okay. it’s all part of their safety and growing up lessons. It’s because the moms go out hunting and foraging for food for themselves and their pups, and the stronger currents, plus the increased predatory nature of the ocean is not right for the pups just yet.

So they make the Ohau stream their home for the next few months, building on their social, swimming, foraging, and predatorial skills, with other young pups. Like I said, a wildlife creche where pups rule and play. Which is also a major tourist spot because who doesn’t enjoy watching animals untroubled in their natural habitat.

I was warned that seals aren’t the cutest things ever, but come on how uncute could they be, especially little pups. And as we approached the waterfall, I heard pup barks and squeals and saw this bundle

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The fact that I had just seen a giant-ass seal try to kill huskies in a movie last night was the only reason I stopped myself from leaping into the water to pick these pups up for a cuddle. Hey, I don’t want to mess with their mama, OR the fact they could bite me too!

But seriously, how cute are they? And those eyes. They were like floating sausages in water, with big button eyes.

There were a couple of pups playing at the entrance to the walkway and some of the tourists returning from the waterfall told us that there were many more right at the waterfall itself, so we should definitely keep going. And we did. As you walk towards the waterfall, the trees get taller, and it gets darker and much more shaded than the approach outside. As a result, what you see is what you might not be able to capture.

So we saw a group of 40 odd seal pups playing and jumping in and out of the stream at the waterfall and you would think that the humans would be loud and obtrusive, but na-uh. These seal pups were loud, wild, and as curious about us as we were about them. There were 2 pups, on the other side of the stream, and they hopped and swam across all the way to where we were to gaze at us, with their wide eyes, and then pose for some pictures.

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So they posed and we clicked. And they loved it. Hopefully. The social skills index went skyrocketing, Imma guessing.

Happy with what we had seen, we decided to head back but not before capturing some breathtaking shots of the beautiful Kaikoura sunset. That sky just kept getting spectacular with each day we spent there.

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Things to Make Note Of

  1. Factor in an extra 1-2 hours of time to your travel time to Ohau, simply because the drive is stunning and most of the road network in NZ is single lane. Account for that extra hour.
  2. Seals are spotted all over the NZ countryside, closer to coastal areas and villages. They are to Kiwis what the roos are to the Aussies. While the North Island will have its share of seal pup sights, Ohau is the most popular in the South Island.
  3. Refrain from petting or touching the pups. Remember these are wild animals and also the fact that you don’t want to scare them away from how comfortable they feel around you
  4. On the other side of the stream is the beach at the banks of the ocean, where you will see the bigger, grown up seals resting and sunning themselves on the rock. That’s a sight worth seeing too, but from a suitable distance please
  5. Fellow blogger Laia visited the seals too and she wrote a wonderful post about it here. Please do read if you want more information about Kaikoura and around. I was plainly obsessed with the animals only, as you can see.
  6. Also, Liz from Young Adventuress had a brilliant post on the seals which kind of led me to discover them too. So thanks a ton Liz! Read her post here

Hope you get to visit the seal pups too. And if you, please do let me know how was your experience. NZ is a delight, for all things beautiful; sights, sounds, animal, and I couldn’t get my fill even though I spent a luxurious-but-not-enough 7 days there. Will keep sharing the NZ stories as I have finally started. phew

This post is a part of the 3 Girls and a #BlogAlong monthly link-up party, co-hosted by Upasna from Life On My Plate, Pooja from A Bit Of This And A Lot Of That  and Shruti from MszKnowitall. This month the forum is open for all bloggers to link up with their stories: travel, food, lifestyle, personal, animal; the link up is your oyster people and it’s time to dig out the treasure troves of memories and stories!

BlogAlong

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  1. Publish a new post or share with us an old post, if you will
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Homemade Nutty and Cinnamon Muesli

I had been wanting to do this for the longest while. Make a batch of  muesli at home. It sounded so simple. And thanks to the in-laws trips from India, I seemed to have every kind of dry fruit at home. So what was stopping me?

My inherent laziness. That’s all.

And also, the fact that at any given time we have 3 types of cereal lying at home. There’s the healthy bran flakes that Arjun Singh gets home, the Chocolate Pillows (from Aldi) that we both love, and the whatever-be-my-fancy-that-month batch of muesli/granola that I get from the supermarket (this month I am tripping over a dark chocolate and cranberry oat cluster pack from Carman’s Kitchen.. it’s supremely blissful).

I love milk and cereal for breakfast. And especially cold cold milk and a crunchy bite to my cereal. So last week when we ran out of our truck load of cereal (gasp!) and I didn’t want to make a trip to the market JUST for cereal, I decided to make some at home.

And trust me, it’s one of the easiest things on the planet. Plus super healthy too.

You need good quality oats, your choice of dry fruits, seeds, and nuts, honey/maple syrup, sugar, cinnamon and you are good to go. And because you are making this at home, you can control what goes in, the amount of sugar level, the level of crispiness or smokiness you want the cereal to have. It’s all super easy and simple.

Oats:

The thing with making muesli at home is that there is no fixed ratio of ingredients. Obviously the oats are the most in quantity, and it is better if you make it with traditional rolled oats. You can always try making muesli with quick cooking oats but do remember that if you are aiming to make granola (muesli that is baked for longer and thus chewier) and/or granola clusters, then traditional oats get better results. They change texture which quick cooking oats don’t. That’s what gets the oats to bind together and form those yummy crunchy clusters.

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 The Add Ons

This is where you make up your muesli mix. Almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, dried figs, dried prunes, dried apricots, seeds, coconut flakes, raisins. Put them all. Or put none. Okay, put some of these at least. It’s not muesli if its just dried oats and milk!

Word of advice: If you plan on adding chocolate chips, fresh fruit etc, do so in the last 5-10 minutes of the bake. Not from the very beginning.

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The Sugar and Syrup

This is the part where you add the honey or maple syrup or both and mix up everything. I sprinkled some vanilla sugar and a touch of cinnamon.

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The Bake

After giving it a thorough mix, lay it out on a baking tray and put it in a pre-heated oven to bake at 180 C for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes, take them out and swirl the mix around with a spatula and put it back in the oven to bake for a further 10 minutes. This is so that the entire mixture gets baked evenly.

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I baked this batch for about 25 minutes, mixing it up twice, and then taking it out of the oven to cool down. Once cool, store in an air tight jar. The smell of the nutty baked muesli will enliven the house.

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I can’t wait to make my next batch of breaky cereal. This one got over in 3 days. Hope you try it too. And hit me up with  a comment below if you have any questions, feedback, criticism or just want to say hi.

Happy munching!

:)