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Tuesday, 19 June 2018

What to do on your layover in Singapore

6/19/2018 0 Comments
Hey peeps!

If you guys have been following my posts and stories closely, you'll know that on my way to Sydney from India, I had a long layover in Singapore around 3 months ago. I've now come to realize that, for someone like me, even a couple of hours is enough to explore some parts of a city. I am always a fast-paced traveller and while most people prefer to spend more time in a new city, I like jam-packing everything in one or two days. After all, life is short and we all have limited time on this planet! Anyway, I had booked Singapore Airlines to go to Sydney and they had like 10-12 hour layover in Singapore. My college roommate lives in Singapore and this was the perfect opportunity for me to spend some time with her and chill around the city. The best part about Singapore is that they'll let you get out of the airport while transiting without any visa.


I reached Singapore at around 7 in the morning, dumped all of the hand baggage in the baggage storage facility in Changi Airport for a few dollars and waited for my friend to arrive. We took the metro to Marina Bay and that was our first stop. We walked around Marina Bay, walked on the Helix Bridge, chilled by the Merlion, the official mascot of Singapore and took a bazillion pictures there. The temperature was like a 3957 degrees! Unfortunately, I was in a sweater and it was such a terrible idea!






Our next stop was Chinatown! I just HAD TO change into something more comfy before I melted away. And of course, I was broke, unemployed and did not have any money to spare, so my friend took me to Chinatown. Every city has a Chinatown where you get souvenirs and food and everything for dirt cheap prices. I picked up a $2 "I Love Singapore" tee and phew, that was such a life saver! We had some beers and Thai food at a Thai restaurant and chit-chatted about the good ol' days.




After some beers and a crazy heavy lunch, my friend took me to Clarke Quay. Since I would have not been able to enjoy the nightlife there, we just walked around a little bit and sat by the side of the river. Clarke Quay is basically a riverside quay in Singapore that's known for a variety of activities like the river cruise, restaurants and cafes, museums and spots of historical importance etc. We chilled there for some time and then left for the airport.





There are a lot of things on my Singapore bucket list which I shall probably fulfill on my next trip like Sentosa, some zoo that we almost went to and of course, the nightlife! Hopefully, on my way back to Sydney this time, I should be able to spend a little more time in Singapore than last time.

Love,
Hand On The Hip

How to have a Happy Period using Menstrual Cups

6/19/2018 0 Comments
Hello ladies!

What's the one thing you wish you weren't born with as a woman? Don't you always wish there was a better way to deal with those five days of hell? I really hope that some day scientists come up with a solution to eliminate this process altogether. But that's going too far, init? Back in the day, our grandmothers and great-grandmothers suffered a great deal because of the red monster. They had no sanitary napkins or tampons and had to make do with a dirty piece of cloth. They'd get several infections and have also had to live through the embarrassment of staining their sarees. What's even worse is the way they were treated. They weren't allowed inside the house during that time of the month. Going to a temple or being a part of religious ceremonies was completely out of question. They probably did not want to dirty the surroundings and hence these rules were made. I think it's bonkers and frustratingly ridiculous that women still follow this crap without even knowing why it was done in the yesteryears.

Things have been way better for us and yet, we seem to face so many difficulties and are not willing to embrace new remedies. While Padman created a whole new revolution in rural areas, this subject is still a taboo and women in villages refuse to openly talk about it. Folks in the urban areas have it better but from cramps to stains to acne to mood swings, there's nothing about these five days that can cheer you up. "Have a happy period", this commonly used tagline for most sanitary napkins, is definitely a myth. Agreed? I thought so too, until I was introduced to this genius invention called the Menstrual Cup. A cousin of mine recommended this to me and on the same day, a close friend could not shut up about it. That's when I decided that it was high time I gave it a shot. What is a menstrual cup? It's just a silicone cup that has been medically engineered to be inserted into a woman's vagina to hold all of the menstrual fluid or blood. It's completely safe to use and is like 200% hygienic! 


Any new product in the market should come with a pre-requisite and there are a lot of things you need to know about using a menstrual cup before you start your purchase. I have made a list of some basic things you need to know -

  • If you've had gynecological problems in the past or if you have a sensitive vagina, then it's best you consult your gynecologist before taking this step. 
  • I would recommend talking to a gynecologist even for girls in their early teens or unmarried Indian women as well. 
  • You need to know the size of the cup you might need. It depends on your flow and if your vagina has stretched after pregnancy. I guess "trial and error" is the solution here.
  • The brand you use is very important since you're inserting something inside your private part and you don't want any infections down there. Do a thorough research on the subject and then only consider it.

So using a menstrual cup can be quite a task in the beginning. But once you get the hang of it, there's nothing like it. Here's how you do it -

Insertion and Removal

Sit on your toilet bowl with your legs wide open or in a squatting position. You need press the cup into a half and insert it into your vagina. Make sure that the cup opens up inside and is fully inside so that you're comfortable. If required, you can grease the cup with petroleum jelly during insertion. Insert two fingers into your vagina and try to hold on to the base of the cup by pressing it and then pull it out. If you get a cup with a tiny tail at the bottom, I am sure this process is much easier.

Maintenance

Empty your cup every 2-3 hours during the first two days depending on your flow. Wash it with water and if required some soap as well and insert it back. Once you're done with your period, make it a point to boil the cup in water and sterilize the same and place it in the little bag provided.


Brands and Price

I have started using this Medium sized cup from Stonesoup.in and I purchased it from Health and Glow for about 835 INR. If you are looking for a cheaper option, then I believe Sirona has some good options too. Another option you can try is by this brand called Rustic Art.

I used it for five days straight and while it has a million pros, there are some cons too. So here's a list of things you should know before you make a decision to switch over -

Pros

Environment friendly - This is the biggest reason for me to start using menstrual cups. We don't realize the negative impact we are causing on the environment by using sanitary napkins and tampons. A menstrual cup is reusable and you don't have to worry about disposing it.
Lack of bad odour - I don't know about you, but I have often noticed that when your period blood mixes with the toxins on the sanitary napkin and your sweat, urine etc. it creates this foul smell that makes you really uncomfortable. A menstrual cup collects your blood even before it is exposed to the outside world and trust me, the blood is odourless.
Cheaper in the long run - Since it's a one time investment, it's quite cheap in the long run. Sanitary napkins and tampons of good quality have become unimaginably expensive these days. I end up spending at least 200 INR every month. But this is definitely going to reduce my expenditure.
Overnight usage - You can use it at a stretch for 10-12 hours and you can sleep with it on. I have literally travelled overnight on a bus with the cup inside me and did not feel weird at all.
Say goodbye to stains - If inserted properly, the cup holds all your blood and doesn't allow it to reach your underwear. Hence, you don't have to worry about stains on your clothes.

Cons

Difficult to insert and remove - You need to really get used to inserting and removing it because it can get really tricky. After a 2-3 days, I had no trouble in insertion or removal.
Hard to use if your flow is heavy - On the first two days, if you have heavy flow, then you better use a sanitary napkin with it because there are chances of leakage and also you need to empty the cup evert 2 hours so that it doesn't leak. That can get a tad bit annoying!

Some Q&A

Does it cause Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)?
I am no expert to answer this question. However, based on my research online, there's a chance that it might cause TSS. To avoid the same, you could probably invest in an extra cup and sterilize the cups before every insertion. The key is to keep the cups as clean as possible.

Does urination get affected?
Absolutely not. Your urinary pipe is completely different from your menstrual pipe. I definitely have faced a slight amount of resistance while peeing, but with a little extra force all is well.

Does the cup bruise your vagina?
I haven't experienced anything like that. However, just to ensure that the insertion and removal process is smooth, grease your cup with some Vaseline as mentioned before.

Is there any vaginal irritation?
Nope, haven't faced that at any point. Once inserted, you don't even feel that it's there.

Does a tiny cup like that hold a lot of blood?
Yes, it holds all your blood, but to be on the safer side, make sure you empty the cup every 2-3 hours.

Why I urge all women to use this is because of the trillion benefits it has on a woman's health and sanitation and most importantly, on the environment. Every time I dispose a sanitary napkin, my heart sinks a little. But now, with this brilliant product I am so grateful that my impact on environmental pollution has reduced by at least 10 sanitary napkins every month. How cool is that, huh? Do you bit, guys! The world is sinking in filth. With that, I'm gonna sign off and actually mean it when I say, "Have a happy period!" :D

Love,
Hand On The Hip

P.S. This is not a paid or a sponsored post. If you have any comments or concerns or if you believe I haven't given the right info, please feel free to comment below or correct me. I have written this post solely based on my experience and research and I may or may not be fully accurate on the subject.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Another weekend in Melbourne

6/05/2018 0 Comments
Hello boys and girls!

What's the one thing that's really important for you to be more productive in life? Do you have that one thing you want to escape to that makes you more energetic? What's your soul food? For me, it has got to be traveling! I have always been that person who saves up all her money and spends all of it on traveling. I believe that's the only way you get to experience new things, new cultures and gives you a peen into a whole new world you never knew existed. I am glad you guys enjoyed my last post on what my husband and I did in Melbourne. I will link the post at the end of this one.

Me and the city of Melbourne, Victoria
Anyway, my brother and sister-in-law who flew from India wanted to check out Melbourne and we decided to spend two and a half days there and somehow, we ended up doing things that we didn't do during our last trip. We took a super early morning flight this time and reached our Airbnb at Southbank by about 10 am I suppose. Melbourne was more fun this time because traveling with family is always a trillion times more fun than when you're by yourselves. Agreed? So here's a detailed post on what we did, how much we spent, where we ate and how much fun we had doing what we did. And if you want more, then you should check out the highlights on my Instagram page right away!

The four of us set to explore the city


Day 1

Lunch at Red Petite Cafe
We wanted to eat something new but something that was close to Indian food. We found a beautiful Thai restaurant and had some green and red curry with rice. My family thoroughly enjoyed the food as it was coconut based and well, all Mangaloreans enjoy a little bit of coconut in their food!

Thai Green Curry

I'm Free Walking Tour
Walking tours are the best way to get to know a city. We found one online and decided to go for it. The guide, Alex, did a fantastic job and showed us around the city. We were taken to a bunch of spots like the State Library of Victoria, Old Melbourne Gaol, the Parliament House, the Exhibition Building, the Royal Botanical Gardens, Hosier Lane, the Yarra River and so much more! He also told us about all of his fave cafes and bars and we did manage to go to a few.

The husband goofing around before the walking tour began

Fries at Lord Of The Fries
Lord Of The Fries is a popular vegan food joint that makes the best fries and burgers you'd have ever tasted. I could have totally finished one whole box of large fries by myself, but I decided to be nice and share it with everyone. Hehehe! But anyway, if you happen to be in Australia, this is something you cannot miss out on!

Drinks at The Mill House
We were thirsty for some beer and nothing could have been better than this funky little bar called The Mill House. The ambience has a really fun vibe to it and the food was amazing too.

Broccoli and cheese

Dinner at Sarvana Bhavan
The South Indians in us came to life after a couple of beers. We were so desperate for some dosas and sambar and found ourselves walking to a nearby Sarvana Bhavan. It was a real treat!

Channa Batura for starter


Day 2

MCG Tour
My brother is a massive cricket fan and the trip would've been incomplete without the MCG tour. The tour was actually pretty impressive and we were taken through the stadium and explained what each area is used for. It was a really proud moment for us when we saw a framed picture of Sachin with Don Bradman at the hallway. The tour must have cost us around 30-40 AUD.

Melbourne Cricket Ground

Lunch at Touche Hombre

According to Alex, this is the second best Mexican restaurant in Melbourne and I couldn't agree more. Since we had already been to the best Mexican restaurant on our last trip (Fonda Mexican), we decided to try this one out. From tacos to churros, this place is simply awesome if you like Mexican food.

Pumpkin and beans Tacos

Yarra River Cruise
The last time we were here, we were late for the cruise and missed it. For about 20 bucks or so, we were taken on a cruise all across Yarra River, under several bridges of Melbourne, with unlimited tea and biscuits. It was a wonderful experience!

Chilling on the cruise

Melbourne Star Observation
We did not want to go to Skydeck this time and hence decided to go to Melbourne Star instead. Melbourne Star is basically this ferris wheel that gives you a 360 degree view of the entire city. And boy, this was the highlight of my trip! We witnessed sunset on the ride and the view from different levels of the ferris wheel was breathtaking! This was probably around 25-35 AUD and it was worth every penny!

The Melbourne Star in all its glory

The view of the city from the Melbourne Star

Sunset from the Melbourne Star

Dinner at Achelya Restaurant, Cafe & Bar

I desperately wanted my brother and sister-in-law to try out some Greek and Lebanese food, so we decided to go to this restaurant at Docklands. While my sister-in-law is not a big fan of any cuisine other than Indian, the rest of us enjoyed the falafel and hummus. It's not a great place to eat at, but it's not too bad either.

Lebanese food at a Greek restaurant

Crown Casino
We stayed very close to the Casino in Melbourne and decided to check it out. Of course, we lost some money, but it was all about the experience. Also, it's much easier to win money here than in Vegas and is also way cheaper! So, do give it a shot when you're here. Sadly, they have a strict no pictures policy and hence you can go to my highlights and check out a glimpse of the casino I secretly caught on camera.

Drinks at Crown Sports Bar
We chilled later at the Crown Sports Bar with some beers and Sydney Swans playing at the AFL. AFL is the Aussie football which is quite a popular sport down under. It was my first time watching this game and of course, Sydney Swans won, so it was really splendid! :D

Crown Sports Bar

Day 3

Breakfast at A Treat of France
We walked to a nearby cafe and had some delicious French Toast with berries and a cup of flat while, of course. This is a really cute cafe in Southbank that has some great coffee.

Loved how there was a rainbow on my coffee!

French toast with ice-cream and berries

St. Kilda Pier and Beach
I have already spoken about St. Kilda Pier and Beach in my last post. Since we had a couple of hours to kill before we boarded our flight back to Sydney, we decided to show them our old friends - the fairy penguins and the beautiful blue waters at the pier and the beach.

St. Kilda Pier and Beach

Cute lil fairy penguin

Chilling on the Catani Arch

Lunch at Sister of Soul

Vegan food always got the three of us excited and my husband would end up eating ghas-pus for nothing. However, this restaurant had some amazing veggie food that even he seemed to enjoy. They have a lot of Indian-fusion items on the menu and we tried out a few dishes.

Gobi Pakora
Tofu Peas Curry and Rice


Some tips and suggestions to have a great time in Melbourne -

-  Book your tickets well in advance. This time we barely spent around 160-170 AUD return (from Sydney) on JetStar, which is around 8000 INR.
-  Melbourne is super cold at this time of the year (May-June) and you need to go prepared. Buy a super thick jacket, a pair of tights, thermals, a beanie, a muffler and everything you think you might need to protect yourself from the cold.
-  Walking shoes are a must no matter where you are in Australia! 
-  Do your homework on all the cafes and restaurants you'd like to visit. Melbourne has the most amazing food ever and you should definitely try and go to the best ones in the city.
-  Read both of my Melbourne posts and share them with all of your friends and family :p 

My OOTD/OOTN at all times!

I hope you guys get a chance to explore this beautiful city. Melbourne has a completely different vibe in comparison with Sydney. The number of things to do in this beautiful city is countless! I still have a few things left on my bucket list that I wish to do in Melbourne. So, stay tuned. I might probably end up there again next month? Haha! Let's see!

Love,
Hand On The Hip


Link to my previous Melbourne trip post: A Weekend In Melbourne