Dec 29, 2016

Sensatia Botanicals Daily Essentials Facial C-SERUM

Sensatia Botanicals Daily Essentials Facial C Serum for Oily Combo Skin Review
Sensatia Botanicals Daily Essentials Facial C Serum for Oily Combo Skin Review

I usually keep one arm distance from anything that looks like cream. But, this is one powerful Vitamin C Serum with Wild Harvested Kakadu Plum Extract, an Australian super fruit which is the world's richest source of vitamin C. 70 times of that of orange! Tempting isn't it?

Sensatia Botanicals SANDALWOOD Dream Facial TONER

Sensatia Botanicals Sandalwood Dream Facial Toner Review
Sensatia Botanicals Sandalwood Dream Facial Toner Review

From the start of the year, I have been blindly using rose water as face mist. The great quality of Good Earth should be blamed for the same. Then, I saw this one with Sandalwood and Mangosteen. Though sandalwood is easily available in India, Mangosteen is not. The combination of both made it irresistible for me.

Sensatia Botanicals Normal Oily Combination FACIAL HYDRATE

Sensatia Botanicals Normal Oily Combination Facial Hydrate Review
Sensatia Botanicals Normal Oily Combination Facial Hydrate Review

I can never miss trying new face oils. Especially when the brand offers oils with different formula and ingredients to suit different skin type. I picked the one for Normal to Oily-Combination.

Sensatia Botanicals GREEN TEA And TAMARIND Facial Cleanser

Sensatia Botanicals Green Tea And Tamarind Facial Cleanser Review
Sensatia Botanicals Green Tea And Tamarind Facial Cleanser Review

You know how much the ingredients list matter to me. I picked this face wash solely because the ingredients list attracted me. Green Tea and Tamarind is not something that you see usually. Plus, there other ingredients are also excellent. Cherry on the cake - sulfate free.

Sensatia Botanicals - Favorite Skincare Brand of 2016

Sensatia Botanicals Skincare Products
Sensatia Botanicals Skincare Products

I was thinking of doing a post about my favorite skincare products this year only to realize that the most loved and heavy used products from the later part of the year are from Sensatia Botanicals. Since they are not available in India, I had to exclude them from the main list. But, they are good so they do deserve a post. 

I discovered Sensatia Botanicals in Bali. I liked their simple packaging, the unique combination of ingredients, use of pure ingredients, and the fact that they completely disclose their ingredients. This is very basic and even several good Indian companies fail here. The brand started with just three people in 2000. They saw high growth recently and opened several stores in Bali. 

I went to their Seminyak Village store and here is what I picked from them.

  • Sensatia Botanicals Green Tea And Tamarind Facial Cleanser (review): I liked the combination of ingredients.
  • Sensatia Botanicals Normal Oily Combination Facial Hydrate (review): Because I can never have too many face oils.
  • Sensatia Botanicals Sandalwood Dream Facial Toner (review): To help boost the face oil.
  • Sensatia Botanicals Daily Essentials Facial C Serum for Oily Combo Skin (review): Recommendation of the sales representative. 
  • Sensatia Botanicals Black Volcanic Sand Natural Soap: Because 'Black Volcanic Sand' 😍

More about them in their review post.

READ: Bali Haul Featuring Local Brands

Dec 28, 2016

Beauty and Skincare from SOUTH AFRICA // Local Brands and More

South Africa Beauty, Makeup, and Skincare Haul
South Africa Beauty, Makeup, and Skincare Haul Featuring Local Brands of South Africa

I recently got the chance to try some beauty products from South Africa. My husband had a fortnight trip and being a dedicated blogger I am (yes, the joke is on me), I sent him a list of brands that are made in South Africa. I wanted to try products that are made there and also few products that are not avialble in India. I told him to randomly pick whatever catches his fancy (except for few things).  What he got for me surprised me 😊

Dec 27, 2016

Doolally Taproom [Bring your pet, Stay all day]

Doolally Taproom
Doolally Taproom, Bandra

A couple of months back one of my foodie friends moved to Mumbai (The who lived in Chandigarh). He took my husband to Doolally, and he was fascinated by the place. So, my husband had to take me there when we met in Mumbai this weekend. He was sure that I would love it because that foodie friend and I share the same taste. I was not at all interested because we had a flight to catch in four hours and you learn to be a pessimist when you get stuck in Mumbai traffic for 2.5 hours.

He went to Andheri one but took me to Reclamation, Bandra because he wanted to me to visit Linking Road as well. I tell you, he can be one hell of an optimist at times. But, I did manage to visit Linking for half an hour. Husband 1. Wife 0.

The taproom offers artisanal brews crafted at the brewery. If you are looking for something particular, do check with them before going.

Does the name 'Doolally' strike you as odd for a pub? Here is the back story. Deolali was a British camp which was also the set of a British sitcom. Thus, takes the birth of the slang noun 'doolally tap', loosely meaning "camp fever," and referring to the apparent madness of men waiting for ships back to Britain after finishing their tour of duty. By the 1940s this had been widely shortened to just "doolally," an adjective meaning "mad (insane)" or "eccentric."  [It was written on their door, and I also referred Wiki]

British Brewery India
British Brewery in India

My first order was Mango Cider. I never had it before. The girls on the table beside us were excited that it is available so, I ordered it. Turned out to be the best drink I had this year. I did something that I never do. I called for a repeat - the same drink. My husband could not believe it and continued - "Don't you wish to try something new."

Yazdani Bakery, Fort, Mumbai [One Brun Maska, Five People]

Yazdani Bakery, Fort, Mumbai
Yazdani Bakery, Fort, Mumbai

[This is Part II. Read Part I here]

I left Britannia and Co with a belly stuffed with food, I stepped out and wandered around the Ballard Estate. The area is posh to say the very least. Once meant for British officials the places now houses the best of the offices. An area so clean, green, and noise free that I could not even feel that I was still in Mumbai.

I could not way have another meal. So, I walked to the Yazdani Bakery. Even before I reached the place, I could smell that I was near. Yes, you can smell the buttery aroma from the start of the lane that houses the pagoda type building which was once a Japanese Bank and since 1953, the Yazdani Bakery. They proudly display the plaque of Urban Heritage Award for the 20th-century building given by the Indian Heritage Society Mumbai in 2007.

Urban Heritage Award for Early 20th Century Building. It was a Japanese Bank before it became Yazdani Bakery in 1953
Urban Heritage Award for Early 20th Century Building. It was a Japanese Bank before it became Yazdani Bakery in 1953

I reached when the place was bustling with people. With the Christmas time around, it was even more crowded. I could not even take pictures. Oh and yes, I must say that they do not have any concept of the menu. Few of their offering and their rates are written randomly on the walls. But, it does not matter. The place is frequented by patrons who come daily after a long day in the office. I reached around 5 PM. I wanted a cake - mava, carrot, maybe even apple pie...anything. All sold out. I could not even talk with the owners as they were very busy dealing with the rush of the crowd. My friend went the very next day around 11 AM and got the cakes. She even got to talk with the owners and is mesmerized by the 'Chubby Uncle.' 

Dec 26, 2016

Britannia and Co, Fort, Mumbai [Berry Pulao and Boman Kohinoor]

This year I had the opportunity to discover Bombay. A city which was a big complex web of train lines now feels simpler. Thanks to various people who recommended me places and taught me how to move around in Mumbai. Last weekend, I got another opportunity to discover more in Mumbai. So, I went to a place which was added to my list the moment I returned from Colaba. The place is Fort. 

So, where in Fort? My plan was to visit 
  • Britannia & Co (for Kohinoor uncle and their Berry Pulao) 
  • Hotel Deluxe (for some yummy Kerlite Food and especially for their Onam Sadya) 
  • Yazdani Bakery (For Brun Maska) 
  • Ideal Corner (For Dansak and Custard) 
  • Cafe Military (Sali Boro and Caramel Custard) 
  • Also, roam around a bit 

But, I could go to only two places as I only had one afternoon with me. This post is about the first place I went to. 

Right after my I checked into in my hotel, I took an Uber to Fort. Directly to Britannia & Co. The moment you enter the place, you know that it is going to be unique. The checked tablecloths, the menu on those table cloths secured with a glass top, a simple rooster for the menu (the rooster is Robin and was a pet here), the same Bentwood furniture that were imported from Poland during the its early years, interior made by Japanese carpenters, life-size cut-outs of the Prince William and Kate Middleton, India's flag along with Iran's flag and the Union Jack, picture of Mahatma Gandhi along with the Queen...the list goes on. You have to be there to absorb it all. 

Bioderma SEBIUM H2O Micelle Solution (Combination or Oily Skin)

Bioderma Sebium H2O Micelle Solution Review
Bioderma Sebium H2O  Purifying Cleansing Micelle Solution Review

Remember 3 years back when micellar water was all people could think about? Hyped to be used by the models backstage? The original brand behind it is Bioderma. In fact, I got to know about Bioderma because of this. Unfortunately, I could never found the perfect micellar water.

My first was the travel size of Bioderma Sensibio H2O (meant for sensitive skin) which was good but failed for stronger makeup like mascara. Next, was Deborah Milano which was one of the products I regret buying. I liked to Vichy Thermal Cleansing Micellar but I wanted to explore more. For some reason, I want them to work for me and I am not giving up on them! So, when I saw this one from Bioderma which is meant for oily skin, I had to try. If it is designed for cleansing oily skin, it will be stronger. No?

Dec 20, 2016

Just Herbs JAVAKUSUM Prewash Deep Conditioning Hair Oil || No Mineral Oil, No Parabens

Just Herbs Javakusum Prewash Deep Conditioning Hair Oil for All Hair Types [No Mineral Oil, No Parabens]

My hibiscus obsessed brain cannot have enough hibiscus for hair care. I am serious. Google and you won't find many good products with the miraculous ingredients. Even when there are few products, they are all filled with other ingredients that I keep my distance from (Read: sulfates, silicones, mineral get the picture here) 

I finally found this oil from Just Herbs. It's seemed like a good choice because my favorite choice of hair oil - coconut oil - freezes during winter (Oh Nature! Why? Why so cruel?) This is not a new product but they did revamp the whole packaging for this one.

Price: Rs 445 for 100ml

Dec 16, 2016

6 Best Winter Perfumes (For All Budgets)

Top 6 Favorite Perfumes for Winter for all Budget in India

I did a similar post with my favorite perfumes for Spring and Summer. So, why should my favorite season fall behind? Especially when I love complex and heavier perfumes, and they work their charm in winters. I love perfumes that you can smell on yourself after some intervals especially when you are subject to heat. I always appreciate this character of perfume. It shows that good oils are present in it. Also, these nuances of a perfume are best observed in colder weather.

Here are my favorite winter perfumes that make getting out of my blanket, putting on clothes, and stepping out totally worth it.

Dec 15, 2016

My Envy Box Lashes and Pouts December Beauty Box 2016

My Envy Box Lashes and Pouts December Beauty Box 2016
My Envy Box Lashes and Pouts December Beauty Box 2016

It the mid of the month and we have The Envy Box with a special theme. I loved the print on the goes and it goes perfectly with the theme - Lashes and Pouts. As you could have guessed by now the products are for your eyes, lashes, and lips. The best part - there are five products and each of them is full size. 

They also sent a card for season's greetings.

Dec 14, 2016

Kronokare The Frizz Kiss Cooling Explosion Lip Balm

Kronokare The Frizz Kiss Cooling Explosion Lip Balm Review
Kronokare The Frizz Kiss Cooling Explosion Lip Balm Review

A year back, in December, My Envy Box sent this lip balm. I used it at times but recently I started to enjoy it more. In fact, when I was traveling in the last few months, this was the only lip care product I had. Lucas PawPaw joined in later but more than in another post.

Price: Rs 95 

Packaging: Old school balm tube, screw-in cap, refreshing blue color. Even after being tossed inside makeup bag for long, it looks good.

Flavor: Mint. My favorite is mint. Burt's Bees converted me. For me, they work most effectively to heal chapped lips.

Dec 13, 2016

Junaili Body Scrub Cold Pressed Pure Himalayan Apricot Kernel Scrub

Junaili Body Scrub Cold Pressed Pure Himalayan Apricot Kernel Scrub Review
Junaili Body Scrub Cold Pressed Pure Himalayan Apricot Kernel Scrub Review

Do you use face or body scrub? Have you noticed how many scrubs lists artificial ingredients as scrubbing agents (some are even banned in several countries) and some list apricot or walnut kernel powder? This made me wonder how about using apricot or walnut kernel powder. They sound much better alternative to using the cream based scrub which uses them as abrasive agents and is loaded with other chemicals to make it last long. Frankly speaking, after knowing about Karya Skincare, I am little biased toward powder products.

Then, I found Junaili. This is a family owned business which retails Apricot Kernal Scrub and Apricot Oil. Yes, just two products. The products are made in small batches by cold press method. They make the products in small batches to respect the sustainable practices. Plus, they are pocket-friendly.

Dec 12, 2016

Best Ways to Enjoy (And What to Avoid) in Bali, Indonesia (With Photo Diary)

Bali Travel Guide
Bali Travel Guide

Bali was not a place my husband and I choose to travel. Bali chose us.

We had a few days to travel in August and luckily the best place to travel turned out to be Bali. After a month of returning, I decided to pen down all my thoughts about the place, and it took me this long to complete it. Here is what I feel about Bali, Indonesia

Dec 11, 2016

Lakme Absolute Illuminating Foundation

Lakme Absolute Illuminating Foundation Review
Lakme Absolute Illuminating Foundation Review

A couple of weeks back my cousin got married to his long-time girlfriend. Now, she is not someone who is into makeup, but she has good skin. I was not here to entire time as I was traveling so, the discussions related to wedding makeup went our my head. One the very next day of her wedding, she told me that she was getting rashes on her skin. The reason of those was without a hint of doubt the makeup she had on her wedding. While I tried to calm down her rashes with The Body Shop 3 in 1, she canceled on her makeup artist for the wedding reception that was supposed on the next day. On her reception, I used an oil-free moisturizer and just a thin layer of this - no primer - and the makeup neither flaked nor bulged. Everyone appreciated that she looks far better on her reception than her wedding. No, I didn't experiment on her. I tried it on myself on her wedding day and was amazed my the results. During this wedding season, I am thankful to the Lakme Absolute Illuminating Foundation.

Price: Rs 750

Dec 9, 2016

3 Bath & Body Works Fragrance Mist - Tiki Mango Mai Tai, Japanese Cherry Blossom, and Sweet Pea

3 Bath & Body Works Fragrance Mist - Tiki Mango Mai Tai, Japanese Cherry Blossom, and Sweet Pea
3 Bath & Body Works Fragrance Mist - Tiki Mango Mai Tai, Japanese Cherry Blossom, and Sweet Pea

Here is one note I want to make before I forget: The next time I visit Bath & Body Works store, I will be prepared. I will read more about them and keep myself updated about them.

Unfortunately, I never cared about them because they are not available in India. But, when I saw their humungous store at Beachwalk, Kuta, Bali, I had to shop. Luckily, the sales assistants were angels and patiently helped me. But, I still could not take the whole day to pick what I required. So, I picked three within 10 minutes. I do regret not taking more time there. 

Price: IDR 259,000 (around Rs 1300) for three.

Bath & Body Works at Beachwalk, Kuta, Bali
Bath & Body Works at Beachwalk, Kuta, Bali

Dec 8, 2016

The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture-Protect Emulsion SPF 30 PA+++

The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture-Protect Emulsion SPF 30 PA+++
The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture-Protect Emulsion SPF 30 PA+++

Do you remember your first Body Shop product? My journey started around December 2010. I lived in Noida back then and worked in Gurgaon. The dry weather made The Body Shop Vitamin E CrΓ¨me my best friend. But, after I moved to Kolkata, I reduced its use. Another product that I liked from the range from Vitamin E Serum in Oil. So, yes, the love for the range is always there. 

Last month, I spotted this new product in their Vitamin E range – a quick absorbing emulsion with SPF 30 and PA+++. But, is it worth the price tag?

Price: Rs 1,495 for 50ml

Dec 7, 2016

Kolkata HANDICRAFT Fair Haul 2016

Kalamkari Jute Fabric Handmade Shoes West Bengal Handicraft
Kalamkari Jute Fabric Handmade Shoes West Bengal Handicraft

When the sweaty summer and humid monsoon bids adiu, Kolkata welcomes winter, the most bearable season. To enjoy it more, there is always a fair that you can go to. This time, I went to the West Bengal State Handicraft Expo (Poschim Banga Hastashilpa Mela). I went there last year as well and since I love it there, I could not miss it. 

Here is what I picked
  • Handmade Kalamkari Fabric Shoes for just Rs 300. Unbelievable, no?

La Roche Posay Serozinc

La Roche Posay Serozinc in India
La Roche Posay Serozinc

From the time La Roche Posay connected with me there are two things that I have been asking them to bring to India ASAP. Luckily, by the end of 2016 we have both of them here.

  • Number 2 was this amazing face mist with Zinc Sulphate that people in UK are raving about. Being a lover of zinc oxide creams (Sudocream to be specific because it can do things that other cannot even dream about. A person prone to rashes and acne should always keep that handy), I was sold to the idea. Finally, we have it in India - La Roche Posay Serozinc. A simple but brilliant product.

Price: Rs 800

Dec 6, 2016

Empties From 2016

I have been very serious with empties posts. They not only help me declutter but also encourages me to completely use all the products that I have. But, this year, I have been away for most of the time around the end of the month, and I do not like doing empties in the middle of the month. So, they kept on getting avoided, and now I have this huge pile at home which I unearthed during this weekend. (I have mass cleaning going on as I was not able to do it for long and there are piles of clothes to be donated now). BTW, as I was living in the same hotel for a long time, I also did a post about the products that I finished there n the Hotel Edition Empties Post.

Dec 1, 2016

FabBag Partyholic December 2016

FabBag Partyholic December 2016
FabBag Partyholic December 2016

Its the first of December and FabBag already delivered the FabBag to me. They shipped it yesterday. I mean this is going crazy and I am loving it for being so strict with timelines. Let's see if the products live up to it

Winter Skincare with Himalaya Herbals

Himalaya Herbals Winter Skincare
Himalaya Herbals Winter Skincare

It's December and its winter in India (almost everywhere) 😏. Your skin must be demanding extra love and care. So, I wanted to do a shout out with these lovely care goodies from Himalaya.

Himalaya Lip Care Soft Natural Vanilla and Strawberry
Himalaya Lip Care Soft Natural Vanilla and Strawberry

Himalaya Lip Care: I don't know a person who likes chapped lips. Everyone used a lip care product time to time. While there are a million choices in the market but there are hardly those which are free of mineral oil, petroleum jelly, preservatives, and silicones and yet doesn't burn a whole in your pocket. I tried these lip balms in February and absolutely loved it. Even the colors and Vitamin E used in the lip balms are 100% natural. There are five variants to choose from. I reviewed them here.
  • Vanilla
  • Cocoa
  • Strawberry
  • Litchi
  • Peach
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