TrΓ©s Jolie – Review

When you have a toddler, you tend to look for places that are child-friendly or meant just for them. For me, there is no greater joy than seeing the look on Z’s face when she sees something that fascinates her or makes her squeal with happiness.

The last weekend, we found one such place – TrΓ©s Jolie (near Honeydew, Johannesburg). The website was unassuming but we were sold when it mentioned it had all the farm animals including sheep, goats, roosters, horses and even camels! Z loves farm animals right now and rattles off every animal sound possible so we just had to take her there!

We got there a little after 11:30 am and initially were shocked at the sea of humanity! Babies and kids of all shapes and sizes, prams, toys, parents, waiters, animals, stalls – it was a lot to take in! But then we started walking around and realised what an amazing place it was! We first saw the two majestic camels who were busy munching on some hay. My little nephew thought they were donkeys, which was actually quite a good guess. Z was awestruck as she had no clue what they were! 

Camels at Tres Jolie

We then walked towards the far end of the venue and got to the real treats. Z saw horses (Mama and baby) for the first time and wouldn’t stop saying “Neigh, neigh”! We saw sheep, goats, roosters, bunnies and even an emu who seemed to be fascinated by us!


The over-friendly Emu 😊

 Z enjoyed running after one stray rooster that managed to escape the henhouse πŸ˜‚


Z and her new rooster friend


Fascinated! 😘

If this wasn’t enough, they also had 3 or 4 jumping castles, jungle gyms, swings, see-saws, merry-go-rounds and more! There were 3 birthday parties going on at the time, but that just added to the fun.


A big factor that impressed us all was the food! It was absolutely excellent and the service, impeccable. We had everything from the honey-basted pork ribs to fried fish, from blue cheese and steak to calzones. Every single one of us loved what we ordered. Not to mention the yummy sangrias!

Yummy for my tummy 😘

I know for a fact this is going to be our go-to place from now on. Do visit with your little ones for an amazing amazing day! Thanks, TrΓ©s Jolie, for all the fun!

For more on our adventures, follow us on @Zoyaschronicles on Instagram!


The perfect morning!Β 

What does a perfect morning look like? Is there such a thing when you have a little toddler who has recently discovered how fast her legs can go and how loud her voice can get?! 

For me, it was today. My little Z has started eating on her own – little Ms. Independent that she is. I gave her a little bowl filled with fruits and she kept a pecking at them and coming back for refills. For the first time in a year, Mama was able to sit back, drink a HOT cup of tea and watch the magic unfurl. I’m so proud of my little girl πŸ’“  

These little milestones make you realise how fast time is going by and how quickly she is growing up! Though I want to just hold on to her and keep her this size, it’s great to see her turning into this independent little girl who knows exactly what she wants! 

For more stories, do follow us on Instagram @zoyaschronicles


The greatest place for little peopleΒ 

Hamleys – the greatest place on earth for little people! (Okay, after Disneyland I guess) We took Z there this weekend and she was so thrilled just to walk around. What I love about Hamleys is they have extremely friendly and well-trained staff, apart from all the amazing toys! It’s quite the wonderland for adults too 😊



Creating memories…

I’ve had a lot of people appreciate this blog in the last few months and ask me how and why I decided to start it? The answer is simple. I’m making memories.

Don’t we all strive to create memories? Don’t we all want to look back9 ll and smile (or even frown) at days gone by?

I, for one, enjoy going through old albums of myself and my family. How dapper my cadet dad was (and is) and how beautiful my mom was (and even more today). I love seeing pictures of the grandfather I’ve never met (he looked amazing in his army uniform) and the grandfather who I was so close to (who inculcated the love of knowledge in me). It’s such a pleasure seeing how happy my parents looked when they got married or during their honeymoon, how uber cool my aunts have always been, how adorable my husband was as a baby and of course, how impish I was as a toddler. So why wouldn’t I do the same for my little girl now?

For any young moms (or anyone for that matter) looking to create memories, these are some of the things I did and am continuing to do. I can hopefully show these to Z when she is an annoying teenager getting on my nerves and guilt-trip her into being a bit nicer! 

‘Pre-Z’ Memories

1. The standard pregnancy pictures: 

I, unfortunately, did not do the weekly pictures as I had a tough-ish pregnancy and was hardly ever in the mood to pose. But I did try to take as many as I could of my not-so-little bump.

Month 8

2. The Announcement:

Varun and I wanted to do something fun for the announcement and we loved the idea of a movie poster! What was hilarious is a couple of people actually thought it’s a real movie and asked to be part of it! πŸ˜‚

3. The scans:

I was lucky enough to be able to see Z every single month! We got lovely 2D and 3D scans from our gynecologist and I used to treasure them. The 3D scans were especially amazing as we could see her smile, hiccup and even react to her name!

4. Apps:

I must admit I was a bit obsessed with apps before Z was born. I mean that’s the only way to keep track of the baby’s development, right? I had apps that could tell me how big her hand was and which animal or vegetable she could be compared to (size-wise)! πŸ˜‚

Apps I recommend: Ovia, The Bump and BabyCentre

5. Milestones:

We would document every milestone before she was born. We took pictures of her nursery, of when we bought her first bouncer, or when we went to the hospital on D-day!

The nursery



6. The WhatsApp group:

We had a lot of family and friends around the world who wanted to know what was happening on the day. As I knew I was scheduled for a C-section, we started a WhatsApp group just to let everyone know she was here!

Post-Z Memories

7. Pictures, pictures and more pictures:

I guess this just goes without saying. I have multiple hard drives filled with pictures and videos of my little Z from day 1. I mean how can you not, right? Even them staring into nothingness for hours is an opportunity to take a video or picture!

8. Private Facebook group:

When Z was just a couple of months old, I decided to start a private FB group, which I update everyday with videos and pictures. I can also go live, share statuses like which new words she says and more importantly, keep my family (who is so far away) updated on what’s happening with her.

9. The Blog:

Well, this one’s pretty self-explanatory, I guess!

10. The Memory Diary:

We have this little red diary, which is dedicated to our walks every day. Z collects any leaves and flowers (she’s not allowed to pluck though) and we come back home and stick them onto the book. She loves looking through these pages later and it’s amazing how she still remembers every bit of the walk.

11. The biggest saviour of them all – The Cloud!

I use Google Photos and OneDrive and I think I might be running out of space. But these are such a blessing for moms like me who are constantly clicking away!

So, these are just some little ways with which I document my Z’s life. I’m sure you all do most of these but I would love to hear if there are any other innovative ways that I’ve missed out on. I’m not sure how many of these I’ll be able to sustain, but I’m making sure I create as many memories with her as possible – on and off camera πŸ’— 😊



Baby Secrets – Z Spills the Beans

What Mama and I have realised in this one year is that we babies are much smarter than you all think. Maybe even more than the adults at times.

I’m Z. And I can be very manipulative. I twist Mama and Dada around my little finger. And I have covert operations that ensure this. But I’m willing to share these with you. As long as I can kill you after.

Google Image

So, as a baby, I can tell you confidently we are all secretly making fun of you adults. We have a few cries for every situation that ensures we get our way. I must admit not all are foolproof but most of them are brilliant. Read on to find out more.

The Pout

This delicate act of defiance usually says, “I’m not hurt enough to cry, but I’m telling you I’m upset.” It’s an ‘awww-inducing’ move and works wonders most times. As Mama and Dada’s hearts break, you will definitely get your way.

The Pout

How to perfect The Pout:

Drop your lower lip as low as you can and turn on puppy eye mode.


The Whimper

This next stage of defiance is usually on the quieter side and thus, not very effective. It consists of a range of tones and is usually met with ignorance. Even sad eyes don’t help this one!

How to perfect The Whimper

Start with a low groan and move on to a high-pitched whine. It’s some effort but hey, you win some, you lose some, right?


The Hiss

This move is particularly common for those of us babies with cats. But it would be wrong to blame the cat as it is usually more well behaved than us. This move must be used when you don’t care much but need to show some kind of objection. Doesn’t work most times.

How to perfect The Hiss:

Pretend to be an angry cat.


The Scream

This is where we get to the more interesting ones. The ones that require a fair amount of performance and drama. Did you think it was easy being a baby? 

The Scream is the first cry that involves aggression. It is used in a number of situations – when you want to do something independently but Mama picks you up instead, when someone takes the toy you want, when someone else is sitting on the swing you want to etc. It also helps marking your territory – easier than peeing right? This move hardly ever works and is met with a death stare from Mama most times.

How to perfect The Scream:

Feel the pit of your tummy. Focus on it. Ensure the long, piercing cry comes from within. It’s a lot of effort for a move that doesn’t work, but hey, it strengthens your lungs too. Or so I’ve heard.


The Hangry

This combination of angry and hungry works wonders every time. It is usually one of the most customisable cries – you can pretty much do what you want and has everyone around scuttling around to get you some food. This is my favourite move, for sure!

How to perfect The Hangry:

It HAS to be a surprise attack. Anything premeditated will be realised and shot down by the adults. While playing with your toys, start screaming/shouting/whimpering all of a sudden! Patting your tummy or touching your mouth at this stage helps too.


The Plea for Help

This move is used in extreme situations when one needs assistance from the adults – when a stranger picks you up (and you feel like you are being kidnapped), or when your legs get entangled in ribbon. It’s usually a high-pitched screech that intensifies until appropriate help is received.

How to perfect The Plea for Help:

Look helpless. Channel the inner baby in you. And let the emotions fly. Tears and drool (maybe mucus too) are an added advantage.


The Pretend

According to the adults, this is the most entertaining move. However, for babies, it really drains us. The Pretend is the most used and abused cry and obviously never works. I try it a few times a day, especially when I need to make my presence felt. It usually elicits laughter or nonchalance. Very frustrating.

The Pretend

How to perfect The Pretend:

I can’t tell you how to pretend. Easily customisable according to the situation.


The Big One

Guys, let’s get serious now. This is the mother of all cries. The Big One. This move is usually used when you fall or hurt yourself. It can also be used when Mama or Dada leave the room and you feel they may never come back (though they always do, magic!). Works like a charm every single time and usually ends with lots of hugs and kisses.

How to perfect The Big One:

I’m perfect. I can’t teach you perfection. You must find your own path.

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading all my trade secrets. There is a baby ninja outside your window right now waiting to assassinate you.



Z and Mama


The ‘purr-fect’ life!Β 

‘A true friend leaves paw prints on your heart’. πŸ’“

I’ve grown up with dogs my whole life. When I was born, my parents had Bozo, the (ahem!) Labrador with the tail that refused to uncurl and who barked the house down when I fell off the bed!

When I got older, we got Leo – who definitely looked the part, but had the personality of the cowardly lion from the Wizard of Oz 😊

And finally, I had my Sterling – a name that was part of Mom’s hangover from a trip to London. We had him for over 10 years and he was a thorough gentleman. He was my best friend, my brother and one who kept us all in check at all times! πŸ˜‚

When I moved to South Africa, the only thing I wanted was to get a dog. However, as luck would have it, every home we moved to restricted us from doing so. So, instead, we got a cat – a beautiful Russian Blue mix who was the runt of his pack.



Our little boy

Our Tyrion is such a beauty, but we do believe he is definitely half-dog. He loves giving affection, follows us around the house and outside at the park, cuddles with Z and so much more.

It’s strange that people say pets know when there is a baby on the way. When I was pregnant, Tyrion would spend hours lying next to me, with his face on my tummy. It was almost as if he could feel Z (or maybe he wanted the large watermelon he thought I had swallowed!)

Tyrion would spend hours on my tummy

After Z was born, it was a period of confusion for him. We wouldn’t let him get too close to her in the initial weeks and I’m sure he felt left out. But we would try our best to give him the attention he needed and spoil him with loads of kitty treats.

Once Z was 6 months old and a bit more interactive (rather than being a little lump), Tyrion was allowed to get a bit closer. He would rub himself against her bouncer and meow at her as if to say – “Okay, it’s about time you come down here and play with me.”


Beginning of a friendship?

Once Z started focusing on things, Tyrion was the first thing we showed her. She would squeal with joy everytime she saw him. And he would spend hours next to her. We just knew that would be the start to a great new friendship.

I love him!

My Tyrion!

Today, she is 13 months old and he is almost 3 years old. And they still love each other. I’m truly amazed at how patient he is with her – she screams into his ears, pulls his tail, climbs over him to hug him and he just lies there. And purrs. πŸ’“

However, there is just one rule and that is repeated every single day – “Z, you don’t hurt Tyrion!” And she slowly withdraws and pets him as gently as she can. It’s actually quite sweet to see the two of them together.

Having a pet growing up is beneficial in so many ways. It teaches children to be gentle and not be scared of animals. It always upsets me to see little kids hurting their pets, while the parents just smile and make a joke of it. One little smack, that’s what you deserve, little one!

A pet in the house helps build a stronger immune system, with God-knows-what kind of germs coming from God-knows-where!

Children also learn to be more mindful and nurturing of others, especially with animals. Pets help build great family bonds. And of course, they are great sources of comfort always. Be it in times of sorrow or just when you need someone to talk to. πŸ’“

I would love to hear your pet stories and see your pet pics. Thanks for reading!


Z & Me!


This is ‘egg-xactly’ what I needed!

So, I’ve felt for a while now that I need to give Z more veggies. I do give her spinach in Dal and veggies on pizzas, but I didn’t think her breakfast was nutritious enough. I had an adult version of the ‘Egg in a Cup’ and I thought I’d just tweak it a bit for her! She absolutely devoured it and I was thrilled with all the greens and reds that went in with it πŸ™‚Β I made two and I’m not shy to say I annihilated the other one myself. Do try it out sometime –

Egg Muffins – Z style


Eggs – 2

Spinach – a few leaves

Carrots – grated

Onions – Just for the crunch

Tomatoes – Just for the juiciness

Red Chilli powder – Because Z cannot do food without spice




Cheese – optional



  • Cut/grate/chop up all your veggies and keep them ready.


  • Whisk the eggs with salt, pepper and a bit of red chilli powder.


  • Brush your ramekins with loads of butter
  • Add the spinach leaves, carrot, onions and tomatoes to the ramekin. Top it with the egg mixture and a bit of cheese.



  • Let this bake for about 15 minutes at 180 degrees.

So, while I made this little quickie, Dadda and Z were having quite the bonding session.


My colourful little family


Waiting for Dadda to pounce on her


And 15 minutes later – voila! Look at these lovely little egg clouds –Β they were fluffy and delicious!



Do let me know if you try it out! I promise you will be ‘egg-static’! Ok, I am going to stop with the egg puns now – I can almost see the ‘eggs-pression’ on your face. Sigh.

Anyway, thanks for reading!

Z & Me!