Villa Vandre ☆ Mumbai

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I found a cute cafe called Villa Vandre and had a lovely breakfast with my friends. I learned about Villa Vandre thanks to this article published by brown paper bag. If you live in Mumbai or New Delhi, I recommend checking out brown paper bag website because they really tell you new hip places to go and what’s happening in town. I subscribe to their Facebook and Twitter and through Facebook I found out about Villa Vandre. Brown paper bag also issues The Coup Card, which is a discount card you can use at partnered restaurants. I have paid to get one and use The Coup Card all the time.

Villa Vandre is a tiny place that has about 4 tables inside. Two of the four tables seat 4 each and the other two seat 2 people, so they can’t seat too many at the same time. I didn’t make a reservation and had a table right away, but I thought it might be better to call in the future. I loved their yummy western style breakfast with a little Indian twist and they offer reasonable prices for Mumbai (it’s not cheap to eat out in Mumbai if you go to westernized restaurants). I always love a neighborhood hole in a wall type of places and I hope many of you will like Villa Vandre as much as I did. I need to go back for their tuna bagel recommended by brown paper bag! By the way bpb reviews candidly and pays for their own meals. That’s really cool for a company to do that and you know that their opinions are authentic which is what we would love to have for recommendations, don’t you think?

Villa Vandre has a Facebook page if you are interested in seeing more photos.

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Villa Vandre

New Kantwadi Rd, Pali Hill, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400050
PHONE:022 6527 9009
HOURS: 8:30 am – 11:30 pm


Villa Vandre Map

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Monday Mode ☆ maomao linen shirts from Indonesia

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I had a pleasure of meeting lovely Peggy who flew from Jakarta, Indonesia to Mumbai, India for her work. Peggy told me that her husband, Herman, who started Lima Watch (beautiful watches) found my blog and told her that she would like my blog. So she checked it out and she did. I found this story very sweet. It’s such an honor to be followed by two talented Indonesian artists/entrepreneurs like Peggy and Herman. I also love hearing how people have found my blog because my blog does not have a huge following compared to a blog superstars out there. The interesting thing, though, is that Indonesia seems to still rank the highest in term of traffic to my blog even a year and a half after I had relocated to Mumbai, India. I am very flattered! Thank you, readers in Indonesia!!

One day Peggy emailed me and told me that she recently started her lovely fashion line with linen textiles called maomao and she would like me to have some of her clothes. Then she gently asked if I would be interested in writing about them. She informed me that she would be coming to Mumbai for her work and asked me if we could meet up so that she could give me some clothes. I thought she might bring one item, but she gave me so many! I could not believe how generous she was! She also gave me a beautiful mug that she bought from Ayu Larasati who seems to be fast growing in popularity in Indonesia.

Life is interesting, isn’t it? I met Peggy for the first time at Suzette in Mumbai, but it felt like I met an old friend from Jakarta. It was so nice to meet with someone who came from the city that I was very familiar with and called home for the past 3 years prior to our move to Mumbai. The world of blog and social media seems to have changed the form of friendship. My blog that I started 5 years ago, a Chuzai Living Facebook page, and Instagram have brought some lovely friendship. I would have not met Peggy from Jakarta in Mumbai without them.

So, here’s my little contribution to Peggy who brought lovely clothes all the way from Jakarta, Indonesia to give me. By the way, Jakarta seems to be booming in the field of design and I am always drooling over the photos taken in Jakarta, Indonesia that I find on instagram. I still have more items of maomao that Peggy gave me to write about, but I’ll keep them for the future post! I especially fell in love this white “Shima” shirt. It is so comfortable, light, beautiful and perfect for the hot weather.

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I enjoyed styling for the three shirts. You could also see how maomao styles their shirts and find out about other shirts through maomao’s instagram photo gallery. Enjoy!

Three shirts by maomao in this post were gifted by Peggy of maomao and the rest of the outfit and accessories are my own.

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Friday Finds ☆ Sanjay Gandhi National Park Mumbai India

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Who would’ve known that Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai, India would look like another part of India and nothing like the urban areas of Mumbai? It was quite a pleasant surprise to see the lush landscape and lovely nature at Sanjay Gandhi National Park which is about an average of 30 to 50 minute drive from many city areas in Mumbai on any given day (except for when there is traffic on a highway).

Elephanta Island vs. Kanheri Caves at Sanjay Gandhi National Park

☆ Please understand that I’m writing this from a perspective of a mother with a toddler. I am sure that I would have had different perspectives, had I been at a different stage of my life.

My friend and her family came to visit us in Mumbai from another part of the world. They showed an interest in going to Elephanta Island during their stay. I have heard about Elephanta Island and seen the photos of the caves and carved stone statues. It looks very photogenic. I had some thoughts, though. To get to the Elephanta Island, you have to get on a boat from Colaba. My friend and I both have a 3-year-old who would make me nervous near the water. The weather was already hot in March and I could imagine that managing young kids in a very busy touristic area of Colaba waiting for a boat in the heat of the day would be challenging. It would be a full day gig to go to the Elephanta Island. Lastly I prefer avoiding getting on a boat if I could. Then my good friend in Mumbai, Kati, said to me “why don’t you take your friends to Sanjay Gandhi National Park? It’s the same thing.” My light bulb went “ting!”

As for Kanheri Caves at Sanjay Gandhi National Park, once you enter the gate to the park, you drive on a scenic path for about 5 to 10 minutes until you can get all the way to the car park right outside of the entrance to the Kanheri Caves. The monkeys were not aggressive at least when we were there, so I did not have to worry about them approaching my children or myself. Food was not allowed in the park, which makes sense so that we don’t attract monkeys or make them sick. The park was well taken care of and looked very clean. In fact, I don’t remember seeing any trash on the ground of Kanheri Caves. After we finished the walk, we hopped back in our car and drove off. It felt so relaxing to be in the comfortable and cool air-conditioned vehicle where we could access snack and bottled water. My 3-year-old fell fast asleep as soon as the car drove off since he was exhausted after a long walk and lots of climbing. There was no melt-down involved. Isn’t that a key to a successful outing with a toddler?

I could write more about our experiences seeing Kanheri Caves at Sanjay Gandhi National Park. However, instead of my writing, I would like to let the photography do the talking, which is my usual style. I hope you will feel like you have the virtual tour of the beautiful Sanjay Gandhi National Park through my photos on this post.

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The yellow patches on the children’s shirts are mosquito repellant stickers. You can buy them at any pharmacy in India. We did not see any mosquitos outside in the heat during the middle of the day. By the way, as you can see in the photos, our two little 3-year-olds were troopers and did really well climbing the stairs and walking in the heat! They did not ask us to carry them and really enjoyed the hike!

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The view from the hill in Sanjay Gandhi National Park was really beautiful. The land looked quite dry and brown as it was at the end of March which is about 6 months into the dry season. we have not had rain in a long time. This part of the park must look beautiful and much more lush right after the monsoon season ended which is around October. That might be the most beautiful time to visit Sanjay Gandhi National Park. You might be able to see some water falls.

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I am really glad that we went to Kanheri Caves at Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Not to mention the park was beautiful and impressive, Kanheri Caves were really fun for the kids.



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water bottle

We went to Le Pain Quotidien in BKC for lunch. Le pain Quotidien (or LPQ according to locals) in BKC is conveniently located right outside of a Kalanagar Flyover exit. This flyover runs from north to south in the middle of Mumbai all the way down to the Sea Link. Le Pain Quotidien is a great place to stop by for lunch after the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. We always love their kind service and consistently good quality of food. If you plan on going there on a weekend for lunch, I recommend you make a reservation as they get packed for weekend lunch especially on Sundays. You can find their info on this post.

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