I have been absent from the blog world for a while. Normally it’s hard for me to blog when I am on vacation visiting our families in the U.S. and Japan not to mention dealing with a jet-lag at the beginning. Even after getting adjusted, I feel tired by the end of the day taking care of my kids. At the same time I am trying to live in the moment and enjoy my family’s company as opposed to facing my computer working on my blogging hobby so that I can keep up with my posts. It’s hard enough to find the time for myself in the first place when I’m home since I do normal chores that many women in Japan and the U.S. do at home such as laundry, grocery shopping, and dishes. I recognize how fortunate I am to be able to afford a help at home in India.
I have done a collaboration with Le Petit Society before here a little over a year ago in Jakarta thanks to my blogger friend Erica of Expatria Baby. I love their outfits on my son! The shirts got too small on my son, but he can still wear the sorts, so he still wears them to this day!
I had another wonderful opportunity to collaborate with Le Petit Society this summer and received some beautiful items from the new Safari Collection at Le Petit Society. All three of my kids were really happy in their brand new outfits and it made me happy to see them in such cute outfits. This time I even received a few items for myself! One of them which I wore for this post is a cool rhino shirt that matches with my son’s! Thank you, Le Petit Society!!!
今年の夏、再びLe Petit Societyとコラボをさせていただく機会に恵まれ、Le Petit Societyのサファリ・コレクションから可愛い洋服を頂きました。子供たちは可愛い洋服に大喜び。そんな子供たちを見れた私もとても幸せな気持ちになりました。今回は、有り難いことに私も２点洋服を頂いてしまいました。その一点は、こちらの記事の写真でお見せしている、息子とお揃いのサイのシャツです。Le Petit Society、ありがとう！
Please click here for their online catalogues. For the customers who live in Asian countries that are listed here on the Le Petit Society website, you get a free standard shipping if you spend more than HK$1,200 (US$155)!
Have you stepped into a home where you wonder if you have walked into a museum? That was how I felt when I went to my Japanese friend, Ako’s home. Can you believe that this is actually an expat’s home? Even thought Ako and her family settled down in Mumbai 3 years ago knowing that they had a limited time to spend in this apartment, they created a stunning home away from home with antiques from India.
Besides gorgeous and amazing looking antiques Ako and her husband, Mark collected during the 3 years of their stay in Mumbai, the flowers that they decorate their home with are absolutely stunning. Ako says it’s all Mark who loves to decorate their home with antiques and flowers, but I must say that Ako also shares beautiful aesthetic as well. Apparently, Mark goes out to a market early in the morning to buy fresh flowers from the flower market on a regular basis. That I call a true passion. I don’t even get up early to blog and I want to call blogging my passion…
As you can tell from their home, Ako and Mark have fully embraced their time in India. You don’t often find people like them who enjoy and take in what this amazing country has to offer as much as they have. I believe that creating home with what you love and surround yourself with what makes you feel happy especially in a foreign environment helps you cope with some challenges you may have living overseas. To me that’s exactly what Ako and Mark have done. I think that many of us can learn from their life style.
Since I have many photos to show, I would love for you to see them! I hope you’ll enjoy the photo tour of Ako’s home!
I love all the colors that Mark and Ako creatively added with fresh flowers to otherwise dark-color antique decor.
These flowers in the photo above are real. The height of the flowers in the vase is probably 2 meters. I have never seen this vase being empty at least whenever I visited.
Aren’t these beautiful? I have never seen flowers like this before.
I have had a privilege to get to know Ako through our daughters. Do you agree that your friendship after kids revolve so much around your children? Ako’s daughter and my oldest daughter became friends in a weekly Japanese class that they took after school. It has been very encouraging for my oldest daughter to have a friend who has a very similar background and I was delighted that my daughter was motivated by her friend. Unfortunately for me and my daughter, Ako and her family are off to their new chapter of their lives and will leave Mumbai this summer in 2014. It is quite heartbreaking to see off friends like Ako and her family, but I also feel excited for them to start their new adventures. I do hope that we can stay in touch.
Best wishes to Ako and her family!
Blogging is my hobby, not my job. I would love to update my blog as often as I can during the summer break, but since I take off for the summer vacation, I may not be able to appear here as frequently as I have (which has not been much lately…). I hope you will come visit me time to time.
I hope everyone has a wonderful summer (or winter for those who are in the southern hemisphere). Be safe.
Home is where your heart is.
That is what comes to me when I think of my friend, Sandra’s home.
Sandra, an American expat in Mumbai, moved here from New York with her husband and 3 daughters 3 years ago. She created her new home in Mumbai a true home away from home. Sandra says her home back in the U.S. is decorated with very natural and neutral colors. When she moved to India, though, she decided that she would embrace the rich colors you can find in India. This gorgeous home is the result of her creation.
When I first walked into her home, I instantly fell in love with this stenciled wall. Her hallway, living room, kitchen, dining room and family room walls are all painted in tiffany blue color which is Sandra’s favorite color (I love it, too!!). The front hallway wall has a shimmer coat to the paint which distinguishes the hallway from the rest of her apartment whilst capturing one’s eye with elegance.
When Sandra first moved to Mumbai, she knew that she would be in Mumbai at least for 2 years. She wanted to make her furnished apartment a true home. Despite the cost, she changed the carpeted floor to hardwood floor as she and her children have asthma and fill the living spaces with the items she and her husband purchased in India. While many unique and beautiful items are from India, the big pieces of furniture belong to the landlord, thus Sandra used her creative skills to add her own colors which many expats and people living in rental homes can appreciate and learn from.
I hope you will enjoy the virtual tour of her home!
Urli & Good Earth Lanterns
The pot on the floor is called urli/uruli which is a cooking pot from Kerala, South India. Sandra filled her two urli with rose petals. My another friend, Rachel, has an urli at the front door and filled it with water and flowers as well which I featured in the last post here. The two lanterns behind urli are from Good Earth. (Good Earth’s restaurant Tasting Room is beautiful, too!)
The trunk is from Jodhpur which is also known as a blue city (just look up Jodhpur on internet. You’ll find the most beautiful images of the city with blue buildings!) and the second largest city in the state of Rajasthan in North India. I hear from my friends that Jodhpur is the city to find beautiful Indian furniture.
This trunk is also from Jodhpur.
Bar Cart From Oshiwara
The bar cart is an old antique cart which Sandra found in Oshiwara in northern Mumbai. Isn’t this wood carving work just beautiful?
Good Earth Candle Holder
I am in love with this candle holder which has the mixture of modern and contemporary Indian design with gorgeous rustic light blue paint. Sandra bought it at Good Earth.
Bean Bags & Instrument Toys
Sandra says she encourages her children to play instruments, so the only toys that are allowed in this room are toy instruments. The bean bags are from Bean Bag. A wonderful blogger Bombay Jules featured Bean Bag company in Mumbai “Who is BEANBAG” on her blog.
Couches & Chairs
She reupholstered the furnished couches into the purple colors and order made the white chair covers as the colors on the chairs did not go with the room. That’s the beauty of living in a city with affordable upholsterer.
This Indian window is Sandra’s most recent purchase in India which they plan on hanging on the wall in their home in New York after they move back. I think that will look absolutely stunning in their new home.
Kids Craft Table
This is a family area where the children watch TV and also work on craft activities. Colors and activities make it all fun to be home!
Marrakesh Tent By Haba
Mothercare Toy Kitchen
This toy kitchen was purchased at Mothercare in Mumbai, India.
I never knew about Kapla until Sandra introduced me to it. It is such a wonderful toy that promotes creativity and an activity. Kapla seems like a toy that a whole family can enjoy together. In fact, Sandra says she ends up playing with Kapla longer than her daughters sometimes!
Sandra and her family are about to finish their third year in Mumbai and sadly enough for me and my girls, they are moving back to the U.S. in the summer 2014. I wish I had gotten to know Sandra earlier, but the timing did not work out and the time slipped away.
It feels that one school year is too short to meet and get to know friends. My two cents from my own experience is that if you have a chance to get to know someone whom you like, grab the opportunity and invest your time with her/him. Sometimes you don’t even have the time to regret missing opportunities in a fast pace expat living in a mega city like Mumbai.
My warm wishes to Sandra and her family for their new adventures!!!
All the photos on this post were taken with a camera on iPod4 and edited with VSCO Cam.
Celejor, a bake shop and chocolatier, seems a very popular patisserie chain in Mumbai. Celejor has stores everywhere in the city, so if you have been in Mumbai even for a while, I’m sure you have seen them around.
I learned about Celejor for the first time at the beginning of my stay in Mumbai thanks to my friend. She said she had to plan a birthday party for her daughter shortly after she had arrived in Mumbai, but she didn’t know where to order a cake from. Someone recommended her to go to Celejor, so she did and was very pleased with the cake.
Later I have several other expat friends telling me that they liked Celejor for the taste as well as reasonable prices. One of my expat friends served Celejor sweets and chocolate at her place and that made me want to go to Celejor to buy some for myself. You can see how she served the sweets at her place here. If you need a cake for a special occasion, they can accept your cake order up to a day prior to your need, so if you are in a rush or need a cake with a short notice, Celejor is a good option for you. Celejor delivers as well.
Celejor’s Menu can be seen on burrp page. Click here to view Celejor’s menu.
Celejor Almond Loaf and Palmiers have become one of my favorite snacks…
If you are expats or traveling in Mumbai and were to try local Indian sweets, I recommend going to Celejor. My Dutch friend says her favorite Indian sweets are these green pistachio sweet called Pista Katli.
Recently I ordered a cake with a print of the Newcastle United emblem for my husband. It was fun to have it and delicious. Most importantly my husband liked the cake! The Newcastle United logo photo was printed on a thin sugar sheet. This is a less expensive option for a design cake compared to design cakes made with marzipan.
Shop No. 1, Oxford Center
Shahid Bhagat Singh Rd, Colaba
Mumbai, MH 400005
Phone: 022 2287 2733
Fax: +91 22 2287 2734
Shop No. 4, West View
S.V. Road, Santacruz West
Phone: 022 2605 9513
Shop No. 1, Lourdes Haven Building
Pali Naka, Bandra West, Mumbai
Phone: 022 2604 2410
Bandra West Chapel Road
Shop No 7, Pearl Heaven
86 Chapel Road, Bandra West, Mumbai
Phone: 022 2651 3681
47, Georgian House, Opposite Dominos
Next To Living Room, Lady Jamshedji Road
Mahim, Mumbai 400016
Phone: 022 4917 6443
This is my Dutch friend’s home in Mumbai. I’ve had a privilege to know Rachel thanks to my middle daughter as she has been in the same kindergarten class as Rachel’s son and lucky for me, we have been neighbors. Rachel has been one of my very first friends I made in Mumbai and ever since she has been wonderful. Unfortunately for me (and I’m pretty sure for many other friends of hers), she’s moving back to her home country and she’s been packed out this week. I’m very sad to see her off because she was the one who invited me to her beautiful home for a play date for my daughter and introduced me to her friends when I still didn’t know anyone in Mumbai.
Her apartment might be one of the very first homes I visited in Mumbai. She had just moved into our building from another area in Mumbai. If I remember correctly, within a couple of days she unpacked and made her home look like a home she’d been for a while. When I first saw her place, her warm welcoming interior decor gave me an incentive to decorate my place to make it look like home. What I find unique about her home is that she has many traditional Indian items which are decorated with her own touch to blend very well with her modern style. I especially love the way she decorates flowers in a South Indian bronze uruli (urli) she uses to decorate flowers (please scroll down). It is beautiful.
Rachel bought flowers for the photo shoot. She’s thoughtful like that. She said after one day, the flowers were looking down and sad, so she decided to put just the flowers in a bowl filled with water to let them float. It’s a lovely idea to decorate with flowers.
It’s really nice to be welcomed by flowers at the door.
Rachel went out of her way to prepare for our tea get together with her another friend and me. I loved the spread!! The beautiful chocolates, Indian pistachio cakes, sugar almond puffs and cheese puffs are from Celejor (I will feature Celejor soon), my current to-go cake shop and chocolatier all thanks to her!
The reality of expat living hits me every summer. The tough part to me is that we have to bid farewell to our friends every summer. I have done this many times, but it feels harder in Mumbai because I’m sending off so many friends this summer. At the same time it’s exciting to see our friends get excited about their new adventures and stages of their lives. A positive side of this expat living is that we can stay in touch with our friends through social media and see their children grow up even if we live so far away. If we are lucky, we might even have a chance to visit our friends.
If you live in Mumbai, you must have heard of Crawford Market. It’s as famous as Chor Bazaar (please click on the name to see the post about Chor Bazaar). Crawford Market and Chor Bazaar are two places many expats go for shopping during their stay in Mumbai. Crawford Market was named after Arthur Crawford, the first Municipal Commissioner of the city.
Crawford Market is massive. My friend took me to the area called Lohar Chawl, which I heard is famous for the electrical goods. There are other areas for fresh produce market, meat market, fish market, rice market, pets, crafts, textiles, electronics, furniture, cosmetics, linens and towels, you name it. It’s a type of market you go with a mission. You don’t go to Crawford Market which is open air for window shopping in this heat.
My friend took me to Crawford Market to buy trunks for a toy storage and decoration. I bought one, too, as you can see in the first photo. My helper told me that Indian people used to travel with these trunks (maybe some people still do?). I love the vintage look. The best of all, it was very inexpensive. The cream color (a bit of a marble with khaki which I didn’t realize until I got home) trunk I bought was 750 Rupees (about US$13). Isn’t this a bargain?
The Gujrat Trunk Depot
167, Abdul Rehman Street, Mumbai, 400003
Available in Lohar Chawl Area in Crawford Market
Goods you can make for kids party favors such as towels, backpacks, bags, lunch boxes and so forth were everywhere!
There are tons! They looked great and there are so many varieties! If you are looking for artificial fabric flowers in Mumbai, Crawford Market is the place to be. I’m horrible with plants and flowers, so I’m a fake flower person. I need to go back and look for artificial flowers.
My friend took me here. They have nice linens and towels with bargain prices.
I don’t have a photo of this place because I could guess that they would not want me to take photos. This is the place to go if you are looking for cosmetics or any hair products. It looks like Beauty Place is the place where hair salon owners in Mumbai would go to get supplies for their salons.
On the way to Beauty Palace entrance, there was a party shop. They have a ton of stuff that would be great for party favors.
Drop Off & Pick Up
The landmark for the drop-off and pick-up point for us was the Lohar Chawl Police Chawki. We walked to all the shops from here and they were all close by.
I have our trunk in our living room next to our small coffee table. I plan on bringing it to the kids play room. I just don’t know where to place it at the moment. I might have to get another one.
I hope you enjoyed my Friday Finds!
When do you celebrate Mother’s Day? There are many different days to celebrate Mother’s Day in the world. I feel that mothers in the world deserve to be appreciated everyday, but it is still wonderful that many countries dedicate one day a year of recognition for mothers for their hard work. For us we celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May.
If my husband asks me what I want to do for the day, the only wish I have for the day is to not stay in the kitchen washing dishes and preparing meals all day. With 3 kids, you can spend a lot of time in a kitchen. I love spending a relaxing time with my family at a brunch, so I told him that and he arranged a brunch for us to go on Mother’s Day. Even though in reality it might not be all that relaxing with the young kids like my active toddler son, it’s still lovely to be able to have a moment of peace, sit and freely pick whatever you feel like eating from many choices.
Brunch buffets are not cheap. I picked Sofitel because I heard that kids were free, but only kids at the age of 5 and under are free and the kids at the age between 6 and 11 are charged the half price for an adult, which is 1,100 Rupees (about US$18) before tax. My second daughter had a few bites of food and a scoop of ice cream. Sigh. We also thought that we could use our discount card, but it was a black out day for any discount as it was Mother’s Day. I felt badly that I suggested it for Mother’s Day because it ended up being more expensive than I anticipated. My husband, however, told me that it was okay because we don’t give gifts on Mother’s and Father’s Day, so spending money on food is fine. I did have a great time!
As for brunch in Mumbai, there are variety of options. The ones that are popular that I am aware of are Grand Hyatt (we went there for Christmas and it was very nice!), Sofitel, Novotel, JW Marriot, Trident and so forth. I am sure there are many more.
This is Reuel Benedict Collective Band. I thought that their performance was very good and they have beautiful voices.
I recognize that there are women in the world who want to have a baby, but they cannot. I think it’s wonderful in the U.S. that adoption is more common and accessible. In Japan it is still not common and I hope that will change in the future.
I believe that one becomes a mom not because she gives birth, but because she raises children. My children made me a mom in a sense that they teach me many things through my interaction with them. I grow up as a mom with my kids. I am still learning so much.
I hope all the mothers in the world had a wonderful mother’s day!