Bangalore to Dhanushkodi road trip via Thanjavur

You all have already seen the pics from our road trip from Bangalore to Dhanushkodi via Thanjuvur,  in insta. So here is the detailed story of our road trip.

We usually spend our Onam and Christmas at home with family. Christmas especially is my favorite time of the year, because in my hometown Alappuzha it is the time of festivities. I have written about  Mullakkal chirappu in explore Alappuzha post. This time we decided to drive to Alappuzha after exploring some new places on the way. So we planned for a 4 day trip.

Day1:

We started from Bangalore around 6 am and reached Thanjavur around 1pm. The only stop in between was at Anand Bhavan, for breakfast. We had booked our stay at Ram’s Inn . The hotel had an adjoining restaurant and we had tamil thali lunch from there. Generally the tastes of Kerala and Tamil Nadu cuisine are similar in many ways, but one new dish we tasted here was the sesame chutney served with rice.

We returned to the hotel which had a well decorated reception, especially with the famous dancing dolls of Thanjavur. Our room was spacious and had wooden paneled floor. We took a nap and after tea decided to explore Thanjavur.

Bhrihadeeshwara temple

Brihadisvara Temple

Bhrihadeeshwara temple or the Big temple is the first search result you will get for places to visit in Thanjavur. It was just 1.5km from our hotel. There is a free parking ground opposite to the temple, where we parked our car and walked to the temple grounds. The temple is one of the largest in South India and is  UNESCO world heritage site.

Sculptures of Bhrugadeshwara temple

This temple build under the reign of Rajaraja Chola is an exemplary example of Dravidian architecture.

The gopurams are huge and ornate with intrinsic stone sculptures. The ceiling of the Nandi mandapa, near the temple entrance, has stunning mural paintings in vivid blue color.

Mural paintingv

The seated Nandi, facing the shrine is also one of the largest statues made of single stone.

Brihadisvara Temple

The scale of the whole temple is mind blowing. This temple has one of the largest Shiv lingas of India. The temple complex was not overly crowded and devotees spend a lot of time relaxing in the temple grounds, which is well kept. The evening there was quite lovely and we could see the sun set slowly behind the monumental gopuram.

There is a government shop near the temple gate, where devotees can leave their footwear and shop for dancing dolls and murals. We found the price there to be a bit higher than what was quoted in shops for the dolls, so we didn’t purchase the doll.

Thanjavur dancing dolls

We then walked towards the market near the old bus stand for buying the Thanjavur special Ashoka halwa. In the market also you can find doll sellers and you can get it at a cheaper price. We explored the market, got halwa from a bakery and had dinner from Vasantha Bhavan(the food at Ram’s Inn is the best we had in Thanjavur, eventhough this one had great reviews online). I wanted to checkout the government handicraft store called Poompuhar Handicrafts. We found handicrafts from all over India in the store, but we were interested in the dancing dolls. By the time we were selecting the dolls, the staff started leaving for the day and noone attended to us. So we also dropped the idea and returned to the hotel.

Day2:

Breakfast for the next day was included in the stay. We explored the city a little more before leaving to Rameshwaram.

Our next stop was at the Pamban bridge. Strong winds, clear green water on both sides and anchored boats throughout the sea made a great view. The original Pamban Bridge next to the passenger bridge, is a railway bridge which connects the town of Rameswaram on Pamban Island to mainland India. After spending some time at the bridge, we continued to Rameshwaram.

Pamban bridge
Pamban bridge

We reached our hotel, ‘Temple tower’ which is very near to the Rameshwaram temple. We had lunch got ready to explore Dhanushkodi, which is around half an hour journey from Rameshwaram. The hotel staff said that the Dhanushkodi entry closes at around 4.30pm. It was already 3.45 pm when we started, but we made it since it was a weekend and traffic was less. The road to Dhanushkodi is like a narrow strip between the vast ocean and the drive is beautiful. There were barely any other vehicle on road and the strong winds, sound of waves and white sand makes it all the more beautiful.

Dhanushkodi beach

We passed the check post just in time and continued to the tip of the Pamban Island, beyond which it is water and Srilanka. We parked the vehicle on the road side and took a walk in the sands. Guards were restricting people from getting into the water.

We spent just 10 min there when the guards started asking people to leave. Since it was quite crowded and we didn’t want to spent the evening there, we drove back to Dhanushkodi beach which we passed on the way.

Dhanushkodi beach
The church ruins at Dhanushkodi

You will see the ruins of this abandoned town, scattered all over the place. There are barely any inhabitants here apart from the family of fishermen. You can see shacks on either side of the road displaying the curios and jewelry made of sea shells.

Dhanushkodi beach
Shells at Dhanushkodi beach

Rameshwaram

Once back at the hotel, we got ready to visit the famous Ramanathaswamy temple. we entered through the East gate and it was not as crowded as expected.

Rameshwaram temple

This Shiva temple also has one of the longest corridors of any Hindu temple in India, with huge pillars adorned with sculptures on both sides. The whole temple complex is painted in bright colors and the corridor and pillars are not like  in old pictures of the temple anymore. The temple has many theerthams or water bodies nearby where people do poojas early in the morning. We were right in time for the evening arathi, where the diety is carried by devotees in huge wooden poles on their shoulder and walking through the corridors, chanting and stopping at main gates for pooja.

We bought some laddoos and other prasad from the temple complex to take home.

Day3:

After the eventful first day at Rameshwaram, we decided to relax a bit. We had a late breakfast and spend some time at the Agni theertham, watching the devotees make offerings to ancestors.

Agni Theertham
Agni Theertham Rameshwaram

We drove to Sri Abdul Kalam’s residence next. It is a humble two storied building in a narrow alley. One floor displays his accolades, photos, books etc and we get a sneak peak of this eminent personality’s fulfilled life and contributions. The top floor is now a shop selling curios. We also went to Ramar Padam, which is a temple on a hill with an awesome view.

Ramar Padam Rameshwaram
View from Ramar Paadam Rameshwaram

Next stop was the Panchmukhi Hanuman temple which is back at the town. This small temple is famous for the floating stones.

Dhanushkodi:

Dhanushkodi beach
Dhanushkodi beach

In the afternoon, we again went to Dhanushkodi. This time we stopped at the solitary beaches on the way and spend the time walking on the beige sands populated with tiny crabs and shell fishes.

You can see many shacks with a big round pan at the entrance,  with sizzling fish on big iron pans. We talked to an old lady from one of the shacks and she invited us to try the fish there.  Eventhough she offered to fry a fresh one, I didn’t want to waste much time there. So I asked her to serve the already fried one and it was surprisingly very tasty.

Fish fry

We walked to the beach afterwards and spend the evening there watching the  beautiful sunset. The police guards didn’t appear till later that evening to ask people to leave as the sea was not as rough as the previous day.

We had dinner on the way and went to bed early.

Day4:

We started to Alleppey, early in the morning around 5 am. On the way we made up stories about how at night, the abandoned town of Dhanushkodi might come alive with the spirits of people who lived there. They might live on as if nothing happened and have their prayers at the now ruined church and probably enjoy the sea and have a party, who knows!

As we approached Kerala, we decided to stop at the Thenmala Dam. It was just a slight deviation from the route. There is an eco park and adventure zone here and we chose to visit the eco park. Next one hour was spent walking up the narrow pavements of the hill, displaying stone sculptures and murals all the way. Hidden in the lush green plants and trees were sculptures of dinosaurs, elephants, dancers etc. There is also a hanging bridge, which amused many of the students who came for picnic from their schools.

Alleppey
Alappuzha

This was our last stop before we left for Alleppey. The drive through Changanasherry to Alleppey is quite picturesque and eventhough I am born and brought up in Alleppey, the lush green paddy fields, the islets in lakes and the beautiful landscape always manages to add  a wisp of freshness to the mind.

Do comment below your road trip experiences and suggestions for trips.

The Ordinary : Buffet review

The Ordinary, a Canadian skincare brand is from the parent brand DECIM. The Ordinary range of skincare line has been a huge hit across the world. Mainly because this line focusses on offering clinical technologies in its purest and simplest form. There are no frills in any of the products and hence the price point is quite attractive.

Let me give you an example. A skincare brand might be marketing their moisturizer with the claim that it has hyaluronic acid or vitamin C. But the actual product will have many many other ingredients including a base, preservatives, colorants, fragrance or in case of a natural product i might have oils, butters, plant extracts etc. The percentage of hyaluronic acid or Vit C could be very less. But The Ordinary range provides you these hero ingredients by itself in simple dropper bottles or tubs, which allows the brand to cut down on other costs, hence making the range affordable.

So this line mainly targets specific skincare problems like hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, dark circles, dullness, dryness etc and is for an informed consumer, who has researched on these ingredients. The range includes Exfoliating Alpha Hydroxy Acids, Cold presser oils, Vit C, Peptide complexes in Antiageing formulas, Moisturizing formulas etc.

Today I am reviewing the multi peptide anti aging formula from The Ordinary, called Buffet. I did not want to get an active strong ingredient from the range as such products require special care in skincare and should be used with caution. For eg: if you are starting with an acid exfoliator like AHAs, you need to make sure you start at a lower concentration first, say Lactic acid 5% + Hyaluronic acid. Once your skin is accustomed to this, you can increase the concentration gradually or move to stronger AHAs like Glycolic acid. Also since AHAs makes the skin photosensitive, one needs to apply it during the night ideally and use sun protection for the following days.

Eventhough I am a skincare enthusiast, I like it to be a relaxing experience rather than an exhaustive one. So I chose Buffet because it is already a soup of acids, peptids and probiotics and also is a starting point for targeting signs of aging.  I didn’t want to step in to proven solutions like retinoids and Vit C in the beginning. Baby steps.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Lactococcus Ferment Lysate, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Pentapeptide-18, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate, Acetylarginyltryptophyl Diphenylglycine, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Sodium Hyaluronate, Allantoin, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Threonine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Trehalose, Fructose, Glucose, Maltose, Urea, Sodium PCA, PCA, Sodium Lactate, Citric Acid, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Hydroxide, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Ethoxydiglycol, Sodium Benzoate, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

I know! It doesn’t make sense to most people and I am not going to explain it all. In short these ingredients targets at collagen production, restoring firmess and elasticity, moisturizing etc.

Description : Like an opulent feast for the skin, The Ordinary’s “Buffet” serum features an impressive array of anti-ageing wonders – at a surprisingly tiny price tag. Multiple peptide complexes combine in this lightweight serum to offer a multitude of benefits, including Matrixyl 3000 to stimulate collagen synthesis and hyaluronic acid to offer the heroic hydration that ‘plumps up’ fine lines and diminishes depth of furrows. Working in synergy with 11 skin-friendly amino acids, with regular use this ultra-smoothing serum will reveal nourished, youthful-looking skin.

Packaging : It comes in a translucent glass bottle with simple label and a dropper.

Price : 10.83 pounds (It says 12 pounds on the site but that includes taxes in EU. once you add it to cart and checkout, you will see the final price for your country).  This is not at all pricey considering the ingredients and actives in this. If you find this pricey, the peptide based serums in market from US and K Beauty brands costs anywhere between 14$-35$ atleast.

Their lesser ingredient formulas are much cheaper.

Buy fromCultBeauty website. They have worldwide free shipping offer often (there is one today).

My review:

I have bought The Buffet last year and I almost finised using it. It is a water based serum with a runny consistency (not as runny as water) and three drops is enough to cover the face. There is no color or fragrane and the solution is slightly hazy. I liked how easily the serum gets absorbed into the skin during winter months. But when humidity is high, it feels slightly tacky for 5 min after which it gets absrobed completely.

I have combination skin type and my skin doesn’t break out often. This serum has to be applied right after cleansing and will last you quite long eenthough you get just 30ml.

Will I repurchase Buffet : No

I didnot find any incredible changes on using this product. It is a great serum especially for oily skin and is moisturizing without making skin oily. It does improve the quality of skin while you use it but no drastic improvements that would make anyone want to repurcahse this. But this is a great serum to include if you want to follow the K beauty 5 skin or 7 skin layering method. It can be layered based on your skin’s need and will for sure smoothen out skin if you have dry patches.

So incase you are new to this brand, I would suggest you read about the products in depth (there are many many detailed reviews and articles on each product and what skin type it suits) and make an informed decision based on what skin problems you want to target. Their hyaluronic acids, AHAs and Vit C suspensions are in great demand and is concentrated enough to show visible results.

The snail mucin from K beauty brand Cos rx has been another cult favorite and do comment below if you would like a review of the same.

Hope you liked this post. Do follow us on Insta and Facebook for more skincare, holistic lifestyle tips and healthy food recipes.

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Winter Skincare

 

Homemade mayonnaise without a blender

I recently made an Instagram post on my first attempt to make mayonnaise and even though I thought it’s not going to come right, it wonderfully did. Here is a little post on how homemade mayonnaise can be made without a blender.

I was lazy to cook dinner and wanted to just have the seeded sourdough bread from Happy Healthy Me. Usually it is accompanied with just peanut butter, jam or eggs. There was just one egg left and I wanted to figure out how I can make it sufficient for a dinner for two. So I browsed through some mayo recipes but all where with an electric blender which barely took any time in preparation. I don’t have a blender, so I switched to recipes using whisks and combined tips from a couple of them in this recipe.

Since most of you showed interest in this one, I am writing is down asap. I have just made it once and it was a trial, and I am never a person who notices exact quantities. It is always a matter of instinct. So please feel free to experiment with this base recipe.

Why you need to try this recipe:

It came out absolutely delicious. Homemade mayo is far healthier and devoid of preservatives. It is much more luscious and tastier than store bought one.

Ingredients:

1 Egg : I used free range egg

1 tea spoon Dijon Mustard paste (as per original recipe) : I detest the taste of mustard paste. Also I have never bought it. So I used miso paste for flavor. You can skip this step if you just need classic plain mayonnaise.

Pepper powder and salt for taste : if you add miso paste please skip the salt as miso is already quite salty.

Sunflower oil : Or any oil without any oil without a distinct flavor, like any vegetable oil or olive oil.

Citrus : Can be lemon or white vinegar. i used Apple cider vinegar for the extra flavor with a hint of sweetness.

Now to the recipe: 

Eventhough the ingredients are simple and few, the preparation needs your full attention as it is very easy for this to go wrong and for the mayo to split.

But you can save a split mayo incase it happens. So let me know if that is the case and I shall tell you what to do.

Now, take a big round bowl. I used my beautiful blue ceramic bowl for this. Separate the yolk from the white of the egg and place it in the bowl. Combine it well using a hand whisk until it is slightly creamy. Now add some pepper, salt and vinegar. I used about a teaspoon of vinegar. if you use lime extract/ white vinegar please add it moderately in the beginning and adjust later based on taste. Whisk away until the mix is well combined. I always tilt the bowl and whisk it towards a side.

NEXT ONE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP:

Adding oil. Now you need to be really careful here. You will have the urge to just add it all at once or in higher quantities but NO, YOU SHOULDN’T.

Drop by drop add the oil, while whisking the mix. The oil(ironically) is what makes the mayonnaise thick. If you add it all at once, the oil will not get emulsified and will just split the watery mixture. So add it in very small amount when you start and whisk away. So I kept adding oil in thin drizzles in the beginning and whisked the mix for about 15-20 min. The mayo was still watery and didn’t look anything like a creamy mayo. Eventhough in the videos the amount of oil used was quite high, I was trying my best to make do with as less as possible. I almost gave up before I decided to add more and try a little longer. So here went a good quantity of oil and I whisked it quite rigorously for a min. And magically the mix started getting thicker and thicker. I whisked for another 5 min and the mayo turned glistening smooth and fell in slow ribbons on lifting the whisk.

You can add more lemon/salt/pepper at this point to balance the flavor.

I made a salsa with tomato, onions, kale and lime juice to go as topping. Toasted the bread, spread the mayo on it and topped it off with the salsa and scrambled egg white. Quite tasty, I should say. Do keep this refrigerated and consume within a week.

Do try it and let me know if you liked it. Also a shout out to Happy Healthy Me . Everything for this meal is organic produce bought from this store.

 

How to get glowing skin for Diwali : Rose quartz roller and 108x washed ghee review

Hi readers, it has been a while since I posted something. Since it is Diwali and festivities are starting, here is a detailed post on how to get glowing  skin this Diwali.

If you are an avid skincare lover, you will know that gemstone face rollers are in the lime lights now, eventhough these skincare tools have been around for centuries (supposed to have originated in the Chinese skincare routine). The popular tools include the Rose quartz and Jade face rollers and Gua sha.

What is the use of face roller:

Face rollers are skincare tools that helps in massaging the skin. This inturn helps in draining the lymph nodes, de-puffing, improving circulation and toning the skin.

  • Boosts circulation and oxygenates the skin
  • Brightens the complexion
  • Tightens pores
  • Reduces wrinkles
  • Plumps up the skin
  • Promotes Product penetration

How to choose the right roller:

The options I know of are Jade, Rose Quartz and Black obsidian rollers. All three serve the same purpose but what makes them different is the properties of the crystal with which they are made. I will just put down basic properties of each:

Rose Quartz face roller : Calming the skin. Best used in the evening/night. Oily skin.

Jade Roller : Energizing and rejuvenating. Best used in the morning. Dry skin.

Black Onyx: Healing and energy balancing. All skin types.

Moolit 108x Washed Ghee:

Before I review the roller, I want to introduce you to a new multi purpose product, the 108x Washed Ghee. This is from the the brand Moolit Beauty by Utkarshini and I had reviewed her Seabuckthorn Cleanser before. Do check it out, as I have added updates of recent batch of cleanser as well.

I am not a fan of face serums and I prefer thick creams for night time skincare.

A roller can be used with serums and creams for massaging and also it helps the product to penetrate better into the skin. So I got the 108x washed ghee infused with rose absolute.

According to Ayurveda, washing cow ghee makes it so light that it can penetrate all 7 layers of the skin. I tried washing organic cow ghee ofter watching Utkarshini’s youtube video and got a creamy end product which was not  oily. It is a tedious and time consuming process though. Also to get the right consistency one has to use copper vessels. I didn’t have one and so I tried in ceramic bowl.

The product comes in an amber glass jar and smells pleasantly of roses. There is also a rose quartz crystal stone inside the jar. The cream is thick and can be used as a cleanser and a moisturizer. Unlike serums and oil based butters, this cream makes the skin feel damp(for lack of better word) and not oily when you first apply it and gets absorbed easily on massaging. Hence it is the perfect consistency to use with the roller.

If you use it in double cleansing, massage the face well with a pea sized quantity before washing it off with another cleanser.

My experience using the roller:

I got my Rose Quartz roller from the insta handle happiness_unlimited_. Dr Poonam who runs the handle is a crystal healer and regression therapist. I decided on the Rose quartz roller because I don’t have time for elaborate skincare routine in the morning and a calming and relaxing face massage at night is something I can try. I bought it when there was a launch offer.

The tool has two roller heads. The bigger one can be used for face, forehead and neck and the smaller one for the eye and nose area.

The stones are cool by nature. So when you roll it on your skin, it really calms and cools the skin. But to enhance the experience I place the roller in the refrigerator for few minutes. I apply some washed ghee dots on my face and massage it in using the roller.

You can find many Youtube videos explaining how to use the nose as a focal point and move the roller outwards. Each area needs to be concentrated for a while before moving further. Also don’t apply much pressure on the tool.

Also as per Poonam, the crystal needs to be cleansed regularly. There are many methods for this like holding it in the sage leaf bundle smoke, or in running water or under a full moon covered in salt. You can read about this further in her insta handle or in general from google. I haven’t done all that but I simply hold it under tap water after the use.

Also another great way to use the roller is on top of sheet masks. This helps the essence to penetrate better and also makes the experience better.

I don’t use the roller everyday but I try to include it often in my regime. My skin feels toned and gets a subtle glow after. With regular use you will find a considerable improvement in the quality of your skin. For m it is more or less like meditation, where I  spend some ‘me’ time before bed and it gives a very good vibe.

NOTE : I think Utkarshini has stopped making washed ghee. If interested, you can try one from happiness_unlimited_ itself.

Follow my insta handle for further tips and updates.

 

Vilvah Rose & Vanilla Natural Deodorant

Let me introduce you to a new brand in this post, Vilvah which is a natural skincare brand based in Coimbatore. I bought a couple of products from them a few months back and my favorite out of them is this Rose & Vanila Deodorant.

I have introduced to you the vegan lavender deo cream from Burst Of Happyness.     Many of you prefers the deo in twist up applicator and guess what, the Vilvah one comes in one. Let’s take a look at the details of the product. 

Product description:Sweating is a natural process and not something that we should stop our bodies from doing. Many mainstream deodorants use aluminium chloral hydrate and aluminium zirconium to block this process and work as an ‘antiperspirant’ to stop sweating. Most of the deodorant contain aluminium which is absorbed directly into the bloodstream when applied on your armpits. It is particularly not safe for women which lead to breast cancer and can cause hormonal imbalance.

Price & Quantity : 590 Rs for 60g

Benefits:

Make your armpits happy with our natural deodorant range. The deodorant we make are not designed to block the sweat glands. Instead, we use a combination of natural ingredients to help absorb wetness, neutralise odour and making you smell fresh with our essential oil combination.

Ingredients: Shea Butter, Virgin Coconut Oil, Cocoa Butter, Arrow Root Powder, Natural Vit E,  Rose Essential Oil, and Vanilla Essential Oil.

My take on the product:

I like the packaging and I find it much more convenient to carry and use. The deodorant has a heavy rose fragrance that lasts long.  If you are not a fan of rose scent try other fragrances from the range, as the scent is strong, kind of like talcom powder fragrance. But there is no artificial fragrance added and you know how much I like the rose fragrance of natural skincare products (check out here).

The product is very creamy and easy to apply on skin. Make sure you rub the product very lightly on skin. A little quantity will suffice and rubbing it more than once will just cause wastage of product. So to make it last long, apply minimally and you are good to go.

Eventhough it is preferable to store the deo in a cool, dry place; I did not see it melt or leak when I traveled with this in a hot and humid area. So this is quite travel friendly.

Juicy Chemistry Neem Butter, Pumpkin & Vitamin E Scalp Repair Hair Mask

This post is a review of one of the new launches from Juicy Chemistry kitchen, the Neem Butter, Pumpkin & Vitamin E Scalp Repair Hair Mask.

Ingredients:

Coconut Butter, Neem Butter, Olive Oil, Baobab Oil, Natural Vitamin-E, Castor Oil, Argan Oil, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Beeswax, Lavender, Ylang Ylang Essential Oil, Rosemary, Lemon, Tea-Tree Essential Oil and Ginger.

Price: Rs 850 for 75g

Fragrance and texture : This is a runny oil with a slight green tinge. It is not sticky like heavy oils. The fragrance is strong, with mostly tea tree and rosemary notes; but not overpowering.

Packaging : It comes in an amber glass bottle with a pump and cap.

My take on the product:

Usually a mix of tea tree oil, coconut oil, vit e from capsule, castor oil and ginger juice is my go to hair potion for dry and flaky scalp. This hair product (I wouldn’t call it a mask since this is like a hair oil/tonic) has many more beneficial ingredients for the hair. I either mix it with my normal hair oil and use or most times I replace hair oil with just this.

I like this product a lot. My hair is not chemically treated and I only use natural products to cleanse. Eventhough I have hair fall because of the hard water, my hair is not damaged in any way. But I do get flaky scalp and excessive oiliness at times. This oil has really helped in controlling that.

A little quantity is enough to massage the scalp, and then it has to be left for 30 min before cleansing it off with a mild cleanser.  I use it only twice a week.

JC keeps having sale on the website often, and that would be a good time to get this product if you wan tot try it out. I would recommend this if you have dandruff/flaky and oily scalp or if your hair is thin, straight and has less volume.

NOTE : Incase you have dry, frizzy and brittle hair which is chemically damaged and is in need of deep conditioning, you should try the Argan and Mango butter mask instead.  especially if you have curly hair.T he mask is very thick (more like a body butter) and has to be applied from root to hair tip as a pre-wash mask. This will weigh your hair down incase you have straight, thin hair.

These products are for improving the overall quality of the scalp and hair and not a treatment for hair fall. Incase you have hairfall problems, you should also take care of your diet and water intake in addition to using natural hair care products.

Hope you liked this post.  Do subscribe using email id, for timely updates of latest blog posts.

 

Skin Yoga

I am reviewing two of my favorite products from this 100 % natural brand,Skin Yoga. I had reviewed the green tea face mask from Skin yoga before. I repurchased the full size green tea mask and also tried out the saffron,sandalwood face mask this time.

Skin Yoga Green Tea Face Mask

Check out the previous blog post for detailed review. I will just be adding new observations here.

Skinyoga green tea mask

Ingredients : So this one has an additional ingredient in the formula which is the Neem leaf powder, in addition to the oat meal, green tea and rice powder.

Suitable for : All skin types, especially oily/acne prone skin.

Review:

If you would ask me what is the one product that can clear out acne, I would suggest this mask. The ingredients are simple and highly effective.  On mixing with water to form a paste, this will increase in quantity. So take just a little first and see if that would suffice. I use it as a spot treatment on acne.

Because of the presence of neem leaf powder, this makes my eyes water if I apply a thick layer on my cheeks. So I use very little quantity and apply directly over any acne or marks.

Skin Yoga Sandalwood Saffron face mask : Anti ageing skin brightening blend

Ingredients : Sandalwood powder, Saffron, walnut powder

Suitable for:  Normal to very dry skin types.

Review:

This is a powder version of moisturizer. This mask deeply moisturizes the skin and is great addition to your routine, if you have dry skin.

Unlike green tea face mask, the texture of this is crumbly. But once a little of this is mixed with water the color lightens and it becomes soft in texture.

I wouldn’t suggest this mask for oily/acne prone skin types. After washing the mask off, there will be a bit of oiliness on the skin and in a few minutes these oils will skin in completely leaving the skin glowing.

More on the brand:

This is a high end brand, based on the price and packaging. But it is also highly effective and a little goes a long way. One doesn’t need to slather a thick layer of the products to get the most out of it. I usually use just a pinch or two of both masks like spot treatment. Since I have a combination skin, I use the green tea mask mostly on my t-zone or just over pimple prone area and the sandalwood mask on dry patches on the cheeks. I am sure both the products will last me long.

One thing that makes these products efficient is that all the ingredients are actives and works beautifully on the specific skin types, which makes these products worth buying. You can get them from the Skinyoga website or from Nykaa.

The sourcing of the best quality ingredients must be what makes the difference. Because these ingredients are easily available in market and we can as well make a home made mask with it. But I have found that it doesn’t give the same result as the Skin yoga ones.

Both the products comes in a glass jar with glass lid, packed inside a wooden box.  So these are not exactly travel friendly. But since these are in dry powder form, you can easily transfer it into travel friendly tins.

Hope you liked the review. Do leave your comments.

Natural makeup remover : Moolit Beauty Seabuckthorn Cleanser Review

Incase you are looking for an affordable and completely natural makeup remover cream, read the post below for more info.

I am not a makeup lover and I use mostly kajal everyday and lipcolors at times. But  most of the good ones in the market are water proof/smudge proof, and need a lot of rubbing while oil cleansing, to remove it completely. Also most of the time, the oil seeps into my eyes and causes irritation. It gets much difficult when I travel, because oils are not travel friendly and also I would need to carry tissues or wet wipes to wipe it all off.

I was looking for something that is non-oily and completely natural that would cleanse away the kajal easily.

Many of you would be using mostly micellar waters or cleansing oils to remove makeup. Also there is this trend of cleansing balms, that breaks down makeup and emulsifies with water while washing it off. But these products are too costly and definitely not completely natural.

Here is a homemade product from an upcoming Indian brand called Moolit Beauty by Utkarshini Khanna, that doubles up as a cleanser and a makeup remover, while being non-comodogenic.

Moolit Beauty

I have been following Utkarshini’s Insta for quite some time. She makes 100x washed ghee for skin and hair care and also makes Youtube videos on skincare. Her brand Moolit Beauty is newly conceived and she makes fresh and limited batches of skincare products.

I did not really feel like trying out this cleanser initially, mainly because I was looking for a solid cleanser than a creamy one. But then I discussed this with her and she told me that, to make dense cleansers butters like shea and cocoa have to be added, which can clog the pores. So I decided to give this a try.

As soon as I placed the order, I saw a review from someone which said this smells like Amrutanjan and I again I got skeptical. I am not a fan of strong fragrances whether natural or not. So read on to find out if I liked this product.

Here are the details of the product :

Price : 500 Rs including shipping.  Price and qty are not mentioned in the tub

Packing: Comes in a sturdy amber jar with labels explaining ingredients and instructions, in detail.

Ingredients :

Actives : Seabuckthorn juice,oil and berries, plant glycerin and tocopherol (vit e).

Inactives:  There is a whole list of inactives which are all either ecocert certified/plant based/food grade.

Texture : It’s a slurry of cream, oil and solid bits of sea buckthorn berries.

Fragrance : Unique smell that is not a sweet/floral/fruity. Maybe similar to Ayurvedic product smell. I wouldn’t say it is very strong.

A little about the major ingredient sea buckthorn:

It is a bushy shrub with orange berries. The berries and oil taken from them is rich in vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids.  It is known to be great for the skin.

My review : I will make it short and simple.

  1. Needs only tiny amount of product to cleanse entire face and neck.
  2. Non sticky, non oily and completely light on skin.
  3. Removes any kind of makeup with little effort .
  4. Completely cleanses the skin with no oily residue.
  5. Suitable for all skin types.
  6. The oils had seeped out a bit on transit. So this might not be travel friendly. I would transfer a little to a smaller airtight container for travelling.
  7. Doesn’t foam and doesn’t strip the skin of its natural oils.

Now here is a small experiment to see if this product can actually remove stubborn makeup.

In case the makeup is stubborn, you can double cleanse to remove it completely. A little goes a long way, so use appropriately.

I also read some reviews that said this brightens up the skin, but it didn’t for me (I don’t expect a cleanser to do that ). Maybe this is because it cleanses thoroughly and gives that refreshed look.

Eventhough there are tiny pieces of the Seabuckthorn berries in the cleanser, I don’t prefer rubbing it on skin for exfoliation because what is left is very solid particles (maybe seeds) and rubbing it on skin is not a pleasant experience.

Anyway I like this product and I hope you liked this post. Do comment below incase you have any queries.

Update: The second batch of the cleanser I got is runnier than the reviewed version and also it irritates my eyes. The brand confirmed that the ingredients have not changed and it could be the glycerin used in it that is causing the problem. The main purpose of this cleanser for me was to remove the kajal easily. But looks like I can’t use it in my eye area anymore. Waiting for a better version of the product.

Summer coolers : Recipes of hibiscus juice and cooked mango juice

Hibiscus Juice

Hibiscus has immense health benefits and is known as the botox plant, for its  skin improving properties. Usually I make face mask and shampoo out of the flowers and leaves. But here is a different way to consume the benefits of this plant.

This super refreshing summer drink is very refreshing and rich in antioxidants.

Recipe:

Depetal 7or 8 flowers and clean them thoroughly in fresh water.

Boil these petals in 4 glasses of water. Add sugar to taste. Once the water turns blue and petals loses its color, sieve the petals out and cool the water.

Next add lemon juice to the water which is at room temperature, and then it will turn red.

Add crushed ginger/mint if you like the taste of it or you can skip it.

 

 

Cooked Mango Juice

Now you might ask what is the need to cook the mango. Well according to my grandma, it improves the taste, kills all the germs and can be stored for longer.

We use a mango variety called ‘Moovandan‘ to make this juice. We have a tree in our backyard and the ripe mangoes keeps falling when there is wind. Eventhough the fallen ones are good, they are too bruised to be cut into pieces. So the best way to make use of these, is to make a pulpy juice.

No added sugar or color 😛

Recipe:

Cut the mangoes into pieces (doesn’t matter what size). Add some water and pressure cook it for about 3 whistles. Once it cools, blend in a mixer. I don’t add sugar as the mangoes are naturally very sweet. If not, add honey or cane sugar instead of white sugar. Sieve the juice to remove the fibre. Keep it refrigerated in a bottle.

 

Insta shopping : 6 desi brands redefining Indian fashion

Indian textiles is rich in beautiful printing and weaving techniques like block/screen prints, ajrakh, kalamkari, tie and die, ikkat and many more. Many of these has influence from other cultures and geographies. But mostly when we think about these, we tend to lean towards ethnic wear like salwars and saris. But here is a list of popular Insta desi brands, that has redefined Indian fashion while staying strong to the roots.

Some tips to keep in mind before you ‘insta shop’:

  1. Make sure the brand is authentic : Check out the reviews in google or see if they have a website. Look out for customer ratings or comments under the product. Many instagram sellers just posts the pics from other sellers and sells bad quality products. So be careful.
  2. Chat with the brand people : All these brands are run by women entepreneurs themselves and they are always happy to reply to your doubts and needs. So if you want customizations done or if you are not sure of what to get, or need to know about the return policy, you can always reach out to them.
  3. Look out for a sale : Especially for clothing and jewelry, I eye my favorites and wait till a sale comes around the corner, to purchase them. You save a lot (really alot) and wouldn’t even have to pay the shipping charge most of the time.
  4. Buy from ethical brands: I am always looking out for brands that not only claims to be ethical in production but that sources their raw materials ethically as well. Many brands works in empowering women in rural areas. And it feels good to know that when you buy from them, you are also encouraging their efforts.
  5. Be respectful: Many of these brands are owned woman entepreneurs, passionate about their art and work. These clothes are not like the mass produced ones you buy from big brands, but are lovingly handcrafted. Many of them even made from natural fibres and dyes, handprinted painstakingly to achieve the precision.
  6. Payment: Almost all the brands I have bought from accepts only bank transfer, with a few exceptions who accepts paytm as well. So netbanking is the best mode of payment and make sure you correctly add the bank details of the seller, to avoid any issues with payment.

Iam not a fashion blogger, and these are mostly mobile clicks from my travel. Some of you might be familiar with these pics, as I have posted all these pics in my Insta handle.

What makes these labels special is that, these are all founded by strong passionate women, who thinks out of the box and paves their own path.

The Khadi cult

Oh this is my favourite of the lot.  This label is owned by Priyanshi Jariwala, aka theroundwoman, who is super cute and friendly.

 The Khadi Cult endorses the idea of being a ” KHADI- VADI” but in a voguish way.

You can also purchase from their website. I love the latest prints in their summer collection. Incase you like a print, you can get it customized in any design you want as well.

Udaipur shopping : In the wonderland of wooden curios

Who knew that prints in Khadi could be so cool and quirky.

Vipoojitha

Do you spot the mini white elephants?

This is a home based clothing brand by, Pooja based in Kerala. The clothes are simple, beautiful and very comfortable. Also super affordable. I usually ask her for fabrics in stock and get them customized.

Matching matching

Rivaaj Clothing

A Jaipur based brand that sells beautiful block printed dresses.

They are rightly priced, compared to many of the mediocre but highly expensive brands out there in the market today, especially for handblock prints. But customizations are not available.

 

 Okhai.org

Okhai is an initiative by Tata Chemicals Society for Rural Development (TCSRD) for empoweing rural and semi-urban women and rural artisans across India.

Mix and match

 Okhai’s mission is to encourage women from less privileged backgrounds to acquire new skills; to give them the self-confidence and self-esteem required to earn by their own industry and initiative; and to enable them to carry this newly discovered skill and confidence into the wider world.

Their website has a huge collection of apparels for men, women and also homedecor items and accesories. All their attires are made for the modern women, with strong roots in tradition. Their kurtas are smart, flared, elegant and perfect with pockets.

Mogra Designs

I never thought I could afford one of their pieces but then again, they had a huge sale before they took a break last year.

The fabric is soft and the dress is very light, flared and comfortable. The the best things is it has pockets.

Margazhi Designs

I am not a sari lover and I don’t think I will ever get the draping right, but I couldn’t resist buying this piece from Margazhi designs.

The beautiful owner Madhulika, wears them with such elegance and poise. It’s a madurai cotton sari and Iam planning to turn it into a dress later.

If you love saris, especially traditional woven ones, this is the handle to follow.

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This has been the most requested post and many of you has been asking about my attires posted in Insta. Do subscribe and comment below and let me know if this post was interesting. Depending on that I will make a post on more brands.