Saturday, June 24, 2017

Iftar In Dhaka, Bangladesh

It's a new job, yet the same corporate life! 

I have been travelling a lot all these months, and therefore haven't been able to devote too much time here. I have been missing blogging so much. 😐 Any transition is not easy and this is one amongst them. While I adapt to the new things in life, I hope I am regular here because it is one of my favourite places, my place of expression 😊😊

As a part of my work routine, I recently visited Dhaka, Bangladesh - one of the distant cousins of Kolkata! If you have ever stayed in Kolkata, you would have definitely heard the great "Ghoti - Bangal" debate.😝 To make things simpler, Ghoti are people from West BengaI and Bangal are people with a Bangladeshi origin.

I was curious to explore the other part of the border, a place I had heard a lot about from almost everyone around me in Kolkata - relatives, friends, colleagues, random strangers! From the famous ilish of Dhaka to the Dhakai Jamdani sarees to feasting on traditional Dhakai cuisine, I had everything on my "things to do" list.(Yes, that is how you tend of talk when you have been a corporate slave for more than 6 years now !) 😁.Even before I had landed, I had a list of things I had to get for people - Dhakai Jamdaani sarees were something I was really eager to buy, hilsa fish for family, biriyani for a mentor and friend from the blogging world, Poorna Di of Presentedbyp.com. Little did I know then, I would not be able to do any of them, thanks to the almost packed schedule of my trip. 

While I was busy brooding over what I could not do in Dhaka, I stumbled upon something which was unique in its own little way. It was the holy month of Ramzan time and all the little street corners were buzzing with excitement every evening during Iftar time. 

The city had a distinct excitement during this time of the year.Offices were shut by 4, roads which are choked with cars almost every hour of the day, became desolate by 6, a city which is as excited about its food as Calcutta, none of the lunch joints were open as people were fasting. Lunch for me was mostly KFC or Dominos! It was only in the evenings that you could smell delicious haleem, see hot pakoras being fried, chana, fruits, dates being sold and delectable kebabs in almost in every area. 


Mutton Haleem

I tried out mutton haleem from a small streetside joint in Gulshan area of Dhaka. It was a handi full of deliciousness 😊. Small pieces of mutton which almost melted in the mouth in a delicious gravy of pulses garnished with fried onions, lots of green chillies and a dash of lemon. A huge earthen pot was priced at only 200 BDT. 

Even our guesthouse treated us to some lovely iftar food in the evening one day, including kachchi biriyani for dinner.


Iftar meal at our guesthouse

The luxury hotels were also decked up for the occasion. With elaborate decor to a lavish spread of over 400 exquisite dishes, we were spoilt for choice when we sat down for iftar at Le Meridien Dhaka. Unfortunately, we did not have the time to relish all of them. We were already running late for our flight. I enjoyed the haleem, sheekh kebabs and the savouries.


Decor at Le Meridien, Dhaka



The spread at Le Meridien, Dhaka

Pickles


Mutton Biriyani

Mutton Haleem again :)


Kebabs 

Though even Kolkata has some amazing iftar food, Dhaka's iftar food experience was also something to be cherished forever. I returned as a satisfied person :)

P.S: This post doesn't list the best places to try Iftar food as I didn't get to explore them myself. It just speaks about my rendezvous with their street food and the spread at Le Meridien Dhaka.

Please do read about my experience of the Iftar food walk in Kolkata :)



Sunday, April 23, 2017

Maybelline's new 24 hour Colossal Kajal

Well, its Maybelline's Colossal Kajal again ! This time, it claims to last 24 hours !! Let's see if it holds true.


Maybelline's new 24hr Colossal Kajal range

Maybelline's Colossal Kajal range has been a favourite for almost all girls I know, because of it's consistent performance and for it's ease on the pocket.From its first launch, Maybelline has worked on this cult product and reinvented it several times,each time coming out with a attractive proposition. This time they claim that the kajal lasts for 24 hours.

The product comes in the classic yellow and black packaging as for most of the products in this range. You can hardly make out the difference from its outer body unless you notice the "24Hr" claim on the packaging.


Maybelline's new Colossal Kajal

How do I feel about the product?
It comes in the same retractable tube that all other Colossal Kajals have. There is definitely a change in the texture. This one is creamier and smooth on application. The end result is matte, though. I needed around 3 swipes for the perfect pigmentation on the lash line.

The formula has aloe vera, vitamin E&C to keep your eyes looking fresh without any irritation.

The kajal lasted for a good 6-8 hours despite the heat, after which there was slight smudging on the corners.You could easily ignore that if you didn't look too closely. It didn't last for 24 hours for sure on me because by the end of the day,it was almost like any other kajal without touch ups. It could be this way for me because I have extremely sensitive skin around my eyes and there are very few kajals that do a good job on me. Maybelline's Colossal range is one among the few. There was no irritation even after a long day and was not difficult to remove either.

 A stick of 0.35gm costs 180Rs, which is a pretty good price. Colossal kajal has been one of the most preferred budget kajals.


I am wearing Maybelline's Colossal 24hr Kajal here

What could be better ?
I wish they hadn't claimed 24 hours without testing it well 😐

Overall, it's a good product for everyday wear and does justice to the reputation of the Colossal range. 👍








Sunday, April 9, 2017

Himlaya Herbals Mouthwash Range: Review



Himalaya Herbals has been on a roll, with new products being added almost every 2 months. This time it's the new range of mouthwashes - Himalaya Herbals Mouthwash.

People hardly realize the importance of a good mouthwash. Not only is it good for your oral health, it also is an essential element for your personal grooming. Imagine going into a meeting with a bad breath. No matter how well dressed you are, the impression of you will be spoilt forever. In the world where people are ever ready to stereotype, don't be surprised if you are the butt of nasty jokes. Bad breath is difficult to judge for yourself and therefore, you should be extra careful. You can't always rely on people around to tell you. They might not want to point it out to you if they are not very close to you fearing that you might not take it in the right stride.

As I am in a kind of profession where I am interacting with people all the time and I am always in and out of meetings, I am extra careful. I normally chew on a gum after lunch. I realize it's a bad habit as the chewing gums are bad for your teeth. Now I am doting on the new range of mouthwashes from Himalaya. 


These mouthwashes are loaded with the goodness of herbs like neem, miswak, saunf etc that are proven to be good for healthy gums and teeth.The added advantage is that there is no alcohol.  They come in three varieties - Miswak and Pomegranate, Saunf and Mint, Papaya and Pineapple. 

What does the product claim ?

  • Removes up to 99.9% bacteria
  • Up to 12 hour protection from germs
  • Helps prevent plaque build up
  • Helps maintain a cleaner and healthier mouth



It comes in a plastic packaging with a cap, which gives you a measure of the amount of mouthwash you should take for a single rinse. A 215 ml bottle is priced at Rs. 95.

What I like about the product?

  • Though there is a slight tingling sensation, there is no uncomfortable feeling
  • The freshness lingers on for a good time
  • There is no alcohol, all natural herbs used
What could be better?
I wish they came up with a customized travel pack so that it can be easily thrown inside a handbag and carried along.

Disclaimer: PR sample, honest review.










Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Can't say it with words ? Say it with food this Valentines' Day

Valentines' Day is definitely extremely cliched.I believe that if you love someone, it's important to express your love every single day through small gestures. Because of the daily grind, we often miss expressing our feelings to our parents, spouses, sibling and friends. If one day and the unnecessary hype around it can make us do this, then its worth giving a shot. 😊😊

Sometimes it's difficult to express in words, that's why you have all the marketing experts working on elaborate strategies for Valentines' Day. Food outlets of Kolkata have elaborate plans for Valentines' Day as well.



1. Yauatcha has a specially curated 5 course Valentines day Menu:

The details of the Valentines Day Menu and pic references are given below.

Date: February 14, 2017

Time: 12 noon to 11pm

Price:Rs 3600 all-inclusive per couple

On offer is Sula Rose wine, Yauatcha's signature dumplings, rice and noodles and their favourite dessert. 


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2. JW Marriott:  The latest luxury destination in town is all set to celebrate its first Valentines Day in the city with a night of live music and entertainment, a bottle of Sparkling wine, exquisite ambiance and a specially curated Asian Menu at Vintage Asia.

When: 14 th February


Timing:  7:00 – 11:45 pm


Where: Vintage Asia, JW Marriott Kolkata


Charges:  INR 4000++ per couple


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3. Monkey Bar : It’s the biggest Valentines party in town today as Monkey Bar, India’s first Gastropub celebrates the day of love in style at its Kolkata outpost. 



This Valentine’s Day Monkey plays wingman and pairs you with the perfect Cocktail. Walk in single, practice your pick-up lines on our bartenders and get paired with the perfect Mama’s Girl or the Mad Men who love crazy women. Sing along to any of your favorite romantic tunes in English only, from pop and rock to rhythm and blues or rap and their bartenders will offer every Karaoke participant a complimentary shot of ‘Liquid Courage’- Monkey’s specially concocted Ballantine’s Whiskey shot to warm you up for the mike! And what’s more, they are also serving 1 free pitcher (Ballantine’s) per group of 6 or more people and a host of special deals on Cocktails all night long. If that’s not enough then punch your heart out with our special Love Pinatas guaranteed to leave you happy and satisfied.

When:  14th February

Timing : 4pm to 1am

Price : Meal for two without alcohol, excluding taxes: Rs. 1200++

Meal for two with alcohol, excluding taxes: Rs. 1800++

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4. Keventers: With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Keventers has come up with their limited edition milkshake bottles with a special heart print to celebrate the joy of love. The brand is also out with a Valentine special contest. All of us have someone special in our life, people who are close to us. What a better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than to enjoy a nice evening out with your significant other on a date that takes you back in time. Keventers is giving you and your loved one a chance to go out for a romantic dinner date. The time is right to show your love that how special they are for you, and the dinner for two is the perfect opportunity to share a great tasting meal with someone special.


To win the dinner date, all you have to do is buy any Keventers milkshake with special Valentine bottle, post a picture on Facebook and fill the online contest form. The contest begins on 10th February and ends on 14th February 2017, the winner will be announced on 20th February on Facebook. One lucky winner will get a chance to take his/her Valentine out for a lavish dinner date on 25th February.


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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Low Oil Cooking - Tips and Tricks



When we were first told that we would have to cook an entire day's meal with 5 teaspoons of oil, we were taken aback. Though our family never had very oily, spicy food and the amount of oil used was always limited, we never measured it and it was surely more than 5 teaspoons.Now, I can confidently cook a delicious meal with less than  2 teaspoons of oil. We were sure of the fact that adding generous amounts of oil never enhances the taste. I make it a point not to compromise on taste because you can only make healthy food a way of life when you like eating it. I have always been finicky about food and I would never have tasteless food. Then, how can I expect others to have it every single day ? Now, even our guests are treated to food cooked with minimum oil.


It's not that difficult actually. You just need to remember a few tricks and you will be able to cook a healthy yet fulfilling meal for your family :)


Here it goes :


1. Use nonstick cookware : Invest in some nonstick cookware. It will go a long long way ensuring a healthy life for your family. Sprinkle just about a teaspoon to 2 teaspoons of oil. A quality nonstick vessel ensures that the oil doesn't stick to the pan and hence you can cook in very little oil.



Healthy Chciken Rezala - Low Oil Cooking



2. Use yoghurt to cook meat gravy : You don't need too much oil to cook meat.After frying the onions, add the meat along with yoghurt. The meat will cook in the juices coming out of the yoghurt. Cook the meal on medium heat and avoid high heat. You will be surprised to see how yoghurt adds a great flavour to your dish and how the meat turns out to be soft. For cuisines like chilli chicken, boil the chicken first or stir fry the chicken pieces with cornflour.




Homemade Chicken Biriyani with very little oil


3. Do not dry roast the masalas : When we use less oil, it's important to add a little water along with the masalas so that it cooks properly. Cook on medium heat and cover the vessel till you get the desired consistency of the gravy.


4. Pan grill your chicken or fish instead of frying: Bongs swear by their fish curries.For me, it's important to have the fish well cooked before it's added to the gravy. But I do not use buckets of oil to deep fry my fish. Instead, I grill them. You get the best results when you marinate the fish/chicken overnight and pan grill the fish with about one teaspoon of oil in a nonstick pan. But usually, I do not have that much time. I usually marinate for an hour. The results are good enough. 


Palak Chicken that uses very little oil


You just need to give it a shot and keep experimenting. You will be surprised with what you can do with just about a little oil. More importantly, it will give you the satisfaction of cooking a healthy meal for the family. 😊


I would love to hear your tips for low oil cooking ! 😗


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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Try out a cream that makes you smell like an ice-cream - Himalaya's Rich Cocoa Butter Body Cream



Imagine a cream that will make you crave for a tub of ice cream on a cold winter morning !😉 Himalaya Herbals' Rich Cocoa Butter Body Cream did just that to me.

The moment you open the tub, there is a sweet fragrance of cocoa butter. The fragrance lingers on for quite some time and leaves you feeling and smelling good. 



Body creams are something that my skin demands every day, all thanks to my dry skin.😐 Why just winters, I apply a generous amount of body butters almost all year round. Unfortunately, its difficult to find a good body cream/ body butter at a pocket friendly price. Anything that I apply on my skin should also smell good. Only Body Shop's Body butters have been able to satisfy my cravings so far. However, as we all know, they are not very easy on the pocket. I was very happy to find this tub of great smelling body cream from Himalaya Herbals. If it is from the house of Himalayas, I do not need to worry about the quality at all. They have great products.



What does the product offer?

Texture : It has a rich, creamy texture which keeps your skin hydrated for a very long time. Initially because of the rich feel of the cream, you might think that it is greasy but it isn't. The cream gets absorbed into your skin within seconds, leaving you smelling good and your skin feeling moisturized. The cream lingers on my extremely dry skin for around 5-6 hours, which is a very good bet. I also double it up as a hand cream sometimes after bath because of the softness that it provides!

Packaging: It comes in a plastic tub packaging which is easy to carry. The cream is further protected by an inner plastic lid. 

Pricing : It is an extremely affordable option in the body butter / cream category. Intense moisturizing, nice fragrance and quality ingredients, it is everything that you will swear by in the winters. A 200 ml tub is priced at Rs. 270. What more can you ask for ? 

What I like about the cream:

  • Great fragrance
  • Nice, Creamy texture which isn't greasy and is absorbed quickly
  • Leaves the skin feeling soft and nicely moisturized
  • Can double up as a hand cream as well 😉😉
  • Last but definitely not the least -  easy on the pocket

Overall, this is an extremely dependable product from Himalaya's trusted range which is bound to become your best friend this winter and in many more winters to come.

What I didn't like ? Nothing. 

👍👍👍👍👍





FACES Ultime Pro Matte Lip Crayon - Review and Swatches




What happens when you find a package containing 3 brand new shades of lipsticks in the first working week of 2017 ? It simply makes your day !! That is exactly what happened when I found the newly launched shades of FACES Ultime Pro Matte Lip Crayons in my mailbox in the beginning of this year.

FACES' lip crayons are a good bet. I prefer their lip crayon over Lakme and Revlon's lip crayons at this price range.

This time they have 23 new shades for you, which includes 17 matte shades and 6 starry matte shades with light shimmer.



I got the following shades :

Pink Pout - A lovely pink shade which can be flaunted on any regular day

Not So Wine - A personal favourite, this is the classic wine shade that is perfect for a winter morning when you wish you try on a bold shade

Brunette - This is a dark brown shade which is indispensable in anyone's make up kit

What I feel about the product ?



Texture and Pigmentation: The lip crayons are perfectly pigmented and they give you smooth coverage in just one swipe. Repeat if you want a darker shade.The texture is that of a perfect matte.I have worn them on both dry lips and hydrated ones. I loved the texture in both cases because they didn't make my lips feel flaky and dry right after application. However, because of my dry lips, its always better if I apply it on hydrated lips. 

Packaging: It comes in a plastic crayon tube with a plastic cap, very similar to their creamy lip crayon range. The tube has to be sharpened and comes with a free sharpener. Yes, there is wastage whenever there is sharpening involved. 

Staying power: The lip crayon stayed on my lips for about 6-7 hours. Even though it slightly transfers, the texture and colour will linger on your lips for quite some time. Even after a heavy meal, the shade was intact on my lips with mild fading. The shade could be completely removed only by a make up remover. There is no bleeding or staining of lips.

A 2.8g gram tube comes a price of Rs. 799.

What could be better ?
  • I wish it came in a retractable tube so that there was no need of sharpening
  • The pricing is a little on the higher side :(


I am wearing FACES Ultime Pro Matte Lip Crayon Shade Brunette 20

I am wearing FACES Ultime Pro Matte Lipstick - Pink Pout 15 Shade

I am wearing FACES Ultime Pro Matte Lipstick - Not So Wine shade


Overall, I like the texture and the staying power of the lipstick and would recommend it to my friends and readers.

Disclaimer: PR Sample, Honest review