Coloured Eyes – Arcancil ?

I am a person who likes to mess about with whatever I can mess about with on my body. Hence my dabbling in makeup, piercings, tattoos and hair. Plastic surgery ? I say not…Yet…:)

I even messed around with the colour of my eyes. There was a time I was obsessed with coloured contact lens. After buying numerous coloured, zero power, lens I realised that the only colour that would show up against my very dark brown pupils was Hazel.  But again I didn’t look as striking as the HK Chinese girls did with them on.  My pupils rejected most/all shades.

And also putting them in and taking them out was a technique I couldn’t master atall ! So that nonsense soon ended.

But this need for colour and eye stayed somewhere in my subconscious.

After years of being happy with black khol I am back to wanting colour. But this time around the eyes.

I know its soo Teenage, blue and green liners, but I still want it.

And that’s when I found out not many (maybe 1 or 2 ?) brands make colour eye pencils and even fewer on the masacara front. Why ??  Where have all the fun people gone ?

Anyway after days and endless hours of browsing in  Sasa and Bonjour Cosmetics (Hong Kong) I finally discovered Arcancil. They made a line of waterproof, coloured, eye pencils AND mascaras.

I am brand conscious or rather, brand tentative, with cosmetics especially when we have all been duped with Zero pigmented eye shadows with incredible fall out, eye pencils that scratch your eyes out, disappearing lipstick shades or waterproof liners that are anything but.

At HK $75 each I decided to take the plunge. And no other brand had it anyway. So I bought 2 coloured waterproof eye pencils. Royal blue and Emerald Green.


Came home tried it….and decided I must blog about it. They apply like a dream. Imagine a feather dragged across your face, Now imagine that same feather depositing a bright trail of colour.


Colour that lasts and doesnt smudge. I must admit I do pack on powder with an angled brush to seal it because I wear concealer. And concealer makes everything smudge, atleast on my eyes.

So one down ,one more to go. Coloured mascara.

Chanel, my fav, only stocks De Volume in colour, in HK. And I dont like the wand or the clumpy deposit it makes ! So I went back to Arcancil splurged on two waterproof mascaras Purple and Blue. Not really splurged as I got 2 mascaras for the price of 1 Chanel.


Dont bother with their TV advert for the mascara. Its doesnt add volume and length magically but it does not clump and the colour is noticeable. Not ‘Nikki Minaj makeup’ noticeable, but its there. Perfect for daytime.

And I have black lashes.

I did spend a lot of time admiring myself in the mirror after I put it on.

For Night De Volume is still great as it give that thick OTT look that works for a night out.

I will update on how long this lasts in the bottle or as pencils ie in Drying Out.


Brands that make me kiss myself.

I have days when a certain product or application really makes me love my face. Modest I know !

I keep looking at myself on every shiny surface and will often say, out loud, “Oh <name of product> I love you”

We all have skincare that we are brand loyal to. Skincare is personal and one should ideally stick to the brand that works for your skin.

But in beauty we tend to be fickle. We pick up lip plumping formulas, hoping from brand to brand. We dabble in numerous mascaras. Lipsticks and nail polish brands ? dont even get me started !

2013-08-17 16.34.25 Makeup stores stocked like a confectionery’s,  force us to sample and graze through brands.

All lit up, with nail polishes and mini perfumes gift wrapped like individual petit fours. Hubby calls it candy shop for grown women. Atleast for me. I gravitate towards this lovely Pink Shiny Twinkling store where I can spend hours browsing, even if I don’t buy a thing.

I have seen men in here, lost for what looks like days, with glazed eyes, silently crying for help.

Inspite of their hypnotic effect I manage to stay brand loving ( I wouldn’t use the word Loyal because I in all fairness I probably am not ).

Basically If I want to buy something these are the brands I go to first. I am more willing to take product risks with them than with anyone else. I am more willing to make excuses for their duds and think its me rather than its them.

My beauty booty call cheat sheet :

  1. MAC
  2. Bobbi Brown
  3. Benefit
  4. Chanel
  5. Dior

MAC:  The James Dean of makeup.  The rockstar with its groupies. The one you excuse even when they come out with Duds. As an Indian woman MAC gets my respect right off the bat. Just for the simple fact that amongst  the  mainstream brands they catered to our skintones and darker. There are shades, and then some.

The Mac products that make me want to kiss myself: STROBE CREAM (Angels playing harps), the (discontinued?) tinted lip balm, Pro Conceal and Corrector Palette, Face and Body foundation.

Bobbi Brown: aaah Bobbi. The Grande dame of makeup. Her persona makes me feel like I can trust her. She is my friend, philosopher and guide in the makeup world. She stands for all things woman. Phenomenal Woman (Maya Angelou)

I don’t know own many Bobbis and have on occasion wanted to fling a BB product out the window but her BB cream is really good and her under Eye brightener makes me feel happy. Once I am out of concealer I will buy Bobbi’s concealer-corrector set, ofcourse ! I am more open to taking a risk with her than say Giorgio Armani

Benefit: often more hype than substance. They want to be too cool for school but sometimes fail to deliver. But they are on my on my booty call beauty cheat sheet for some of their hits: Benetint Cheek Stain, PoreFessional, Hello Flawless in Beige ( this really makes me want to kiss myself ).

Cha Cha tint would honestly be a contender for Angels playing Harps but the application is soooo damned hard !

Chanel & Dior: I tend to ignore French brands because they are SO damned late into the ‘women of colour’ makeup trend. Their pinkish/beige undertones make me stay clear off them. But in some departments these two rock my world

Chanel  Mascaras- that’s it. My last word, nothing more to be said.

People love their Chanel lipsticks but frankly I cant be bothered with lipsticks that dont last.The Chanel lipstick I received as a gift I use as a cream blush. lovely out-of-focus glow

Dior: I love their glosses. The best shiny non sticky gloss. Better than Bobbi. But something that has really made me stare at myself incessantly in the mirror is their surprise concealer !

I am NC 40 I am medium-deep in most makeup categories I am NOT by any stretch a Dior 01 Beige Clair ( Light beige  !). In my Dior Colour Design travel palette is the Anticerne Beige Clair concealer.


I used it for a lark thjis weekend. And my o my. It adds a luminosity under the eye that works beautifully. I HAVE to say it does apply Ashy/white initially but blend it well with your correct concealer and your under eye glows.

Don’t run out and buy it already it could just be me and my undertone. This morning I mixed it with my Benefit Boing concealer (ugh I really dont like this Boing atall) and it added a luminosity that makes my look awake. I even recd compliments.

Dab the Anticerne down a bit on your cheek bone and its works adds ‘lightness’ there too.

I am lovin’ it !

Worthy mentions before I end -Old faithful Maybelline and Estee Lauder

Aham Brahmasmi


Explaining the meaning of this tattoo stumps me a bit. You will find me ‘hmming and ahhhh’  because I am not sure where to begin. Or rather, want to understand how much time You’ve got, to wait for me to finish explaining it.

I know why I wanted and finally got it. I ‘get’ the meaning, ‘feel it’ inside me and needed it to stablise myself.  Explaining it, is just  (pardon my french) a mind-f.. Because it has a  multitude of meanings.  It comes from the Upanishads.

Very simply, and at the cost of sounding like a megalomaniac, it means I am Divine ( have divinity inside me ) or I am the Universe.

And… because its all fun and games and abstractions in Hinduism,  it means a few more, things.

Aham easy enough – Me or I am


Brahmasmi – how much time have you got ?

I am a spirit soul, I am the highest truth, I am Totality, I am Infinite …and it goes on and on. The usual mind boggling meanderings and meaning within meanings of Hinduism.

(Brahma- God , God of Creation. Other words same root. Brahmand – universe, space, Brahman- Absolute……)

My tatt is bigger than me. When I got back from the Pacific Beach tattoo parlour, my sister looked it and said (VERY KINDLY) “you can always have it lasered, but I like it”

She has good taste so I was pleased. My poor husband initially looked a bit stricken at the propotion of the tatt compared to my arm, but then grew to like it.

aham brahmasmi – its huge on my arm and like my husband commented “…and very modest (meaning) too” .


Curried Potatoes (Aloo Bhaji)


There are as many ways to cook potatoes as there is to skin a cat. What a horrible analogy, I apologise.  In the ‘I do as I please’ cooking department there are two quick ways to make potatoes. For both you need

  1. just 1 spice powder. Turmeric
  2. curry leaves. a must
  3. Mustard OR Cumin seeds
  4. Green chilles OR dry red chillies
  5. Salt
  6. Onions- sliced lenghtwise and then halved.
  7. boiled potatoes
  8. Sugar is optional (see notes)


  1. chop potatoes in cubes
  2. Boil them. Consistency should be such that a few potaoes you should mash roughly, and some you leave whole
  3. Marinate them in a little bit of turmeric powder. So they are lightly coated. Set aside.
  4. Heat oil. this is where the slight variation happens

Option 1: burst mustard seeds ( with a spatter sheild!) add the GREEN chilles (chopped or sliced) and curry leaves


Option 2: burst the jeera, add the DRY red Chilli and curry leaves

Dont burn the seeds ! once they sputter,

5. add sliced onions.

6.Add the salt and turmeric ( again a light yellow colour) and brown the onions. They should be nicely brown

7. Then add the potatoes. Stir well so everything is well mixed. Cover ( to steam the whole mixture) and cook on low. Keep checking otherwise those potatoes can stick ..and burn.

Taste and remove from heat. Garnish with lots of chopped corriander leaves.


Curry Leaves : fresh are best. Buy a pot from a nursery and it thrives well in big pots in sunny spaces. Or Indian grocers will have them

Aesafotida: or Hing. a Staple in Indian cooking. It adds a great subtle flavour and works as a digestive. It  doesnt have a taste of its own so dont do a taste test. All you need is PINCH of Hing, never more otherwise it will make your potatoes bitter. It is added right in the begining. Ie Heat Oil add pinch of Hing….then the rest as per methodology

It works brilliantly with dishes like this that need very little spice and the taste of the vegetable carries it through. Buy from Indian grocers. I don’t have it in my method since I don’t have any, and keep forgetting to buy it !

Ginger powder: Fresh grated or ginger powder could be added in the Cumin variation but doesn’t need it. Experiment and see.

PS: I love you


Dear Chanel mascara,

You are simply the best. Natural and voluminous. You are better than Maybelline ….and better than all the rest.

You are better than Benefit’s They’re Real and Bad Gal, better than Burjois’ comb applicator masacara. you are even, dare I say it, better than Dior.

And your new Prune colour for De Volume is to DIE for. But my only problem is the wand. Your Inimitable wand ROCKED. It was clumpfree and really added volume to the lashes. De Volume wand, I have to wipe off diligently before using.


yours truly

PS: I love you.


Dear Clinique Even Better,

I have tried some of your duds. Your All About eyes depuffing serum was ho hum. Not worthy of a repurchase. But you on the other hand with your brightening, tinted emollient cream make my under eye circles and tiredness vanish. I even suspect you have reduced my dark circles. Your tint is universal and suits my NC40-42 skintone so well !

You I will buy again,

yours truly.

PS: I love you

Cream on Left, Lotion on Right
Cream on Left, Lotion on Right

Dear Mac Strobe Cream and Lotion

I f**ing love you both. You both serve a slightly different purpose as highlighted (see what I did there?) by Dusty Hunter my fav makeup guru and I am glad I spent the cash on both of you. Even Paula Begoun has given you her nod, Strobe Cream. Need I say more ? You could frighten new users, especially Indian skin tones with your initial ‘white pearl’ glow but I would tell them to test you out before ditching you.

yours truly.

PS: I love you


Dear Girl Meets Pearl,

I love your Champagne finish and your opalescent glow. You might be a bit too “gold” but on a tanned Indian skin you give a gorg glow.

your truly.

PS: I love you


Dear Bobbi Brown Eye brightening,

You were such a pleasant surprise. You smell a bit funky , but you apply and brighten up my eyes like a dream. I would repurchase you if you weren’t so expensive. But you are definitely recommended.

yours truly,

PS: I love you

Dear Touche Eclat,

I am undecided about you. I sit on the fence. I can see what you are doing, but is it worth it ? You are lovely. You blend well and brighten up my brow bone and under eye but the rest of my face…hmmm

I am a shimmer, luminous kind of girl.  I prefer the Mac Strobe or Benefits Girl meets Pearl kind of effect so your subtlety bypasses me.

I love the fact I bought you but will not repurchase.

yours truly.

PS: however I do love you

Dear Dear Dear PoreFessional,

You are NOT a Benefit hype. You do hide the pores. We must not ‘wipe’ you on our face rather just dab dab dab. One day I can prove to the world on how FAB when I see your effect on hubby’s, umm, larger pores.  But currently he is afraid of makeup- silly boy and wont let me come anywhere near his face.

Anyway I am happy with you

yours truly.

PS: I love you

Dear Mac Paint Pot in Soft Ochre

There you are sitting in the midst of my adorable lovelies. I will mention you someday but not today. I am yet to see your full potential

yours truly.

Blush:Cream or Stain ?

As far as blushes go I prefer cheek stains and creams to powders. They  last longer and with advancing years I prefer the non mattifying effect, unlike a powder. (Bobbi Brown Shimmer blush is lovely though – again HIGHLY pigmented. ) Anyway back to stains and creams. The trick is application and speed. Always do one cheek at a time. My absolute favourites right now are Benefit’s Cha Cha tint and the NYX cream blush. They are both beautifully pigmented and gives my NC40 skintone a nice natural flush (a sunkissed look) Picture1 This NYX Orange is HEAVILY pigmented and very emollient. I use Fan brush to apply this product. Lightly, repeat lightly, touch the surface of the brush  (see my Applying Highly Pigmented Blush post on how) to the cream. Then blend it on. You can use your fingers, but again LIGHT touch. Blend it on the pads of your fingers first and then apply. It applies to a dry powder finish, but not powdery.  So for a cream it will dry up, so blend quickly. On lips its a nice opaque coverage but pretty drying. So always wear a lip balm.

The Cha Cha tint is GORGEOUS. The best ever coral tint for my cheeks. A beautiful Mango-Orange tint.  It has a thicker consistency than the Benetint. But beware ! You need the speed of a Ninja to apply. The best way to apply this would be to smear it on the pad of your finger (flat smear, not dots or streaks) and then dab-spread it on your cheeks. Best to have a layer of moisturiser or foundation so it has slip. If you dont blend it fast enough you end up with orange blotches and smears on your face. Do NOT dab dots on or make ‘cat’s whiskers’ like with Benetint. You will end up with streaks on your cheeks ! On the lips it doesnt last so not worth the effort. I do LOVE Posietint. I have a mini.  Nice pink tone.


It has the same texture as Cha Cha Tint but not as mental to apply. Ie you can make cat whiskers and then blend it on. But be quick. I suspect the ‘spots and streaks’ might be noticeable on lighter, more porcelain skin tones. And ofcourse the classic Benetint. Benetint was my first EVER cheek stain and I remember I used to find it tedious to apply. Take brush out, make cat whiskers on cheek bone and then blend with fingers.

Creams and stains last and last and last. You can add highlighters on after, fade it out with a foundation or tinted moisturiser, add contours. Its doesn’t move. But remember they need technique. Master it.

Bangles – I really love them


walk like an Egyptian …… I like them, but my glass beauties I adore !

10 rows of bangles hang from this double sided bangle stand. I started collecting in 1989.  Since then I have moved;  2 countries, and 8 times. Everytime my bangles travelled with me. Hand carried on a plane, wrapped in woolen shawls, newspapers and guess what – leg warmers. (how I came to possess leg warmers is another story and I can’t tell you because I have forgotten the hows and whens)

2013 I am sad to say I have lost around 11-12 of them.  Not to moving but to standing still. I honestly believe the glass got weaker, I dont know, they just fall off the wooden rails.


Driving along India’s roads if I saw any of these guys I could not resist it. I had to stop the car, jump out and buy a dozen.

Traditionally the bangle sellers will first put the bangles on for you. There is a technique in getting the glass bangles on. Squeezing the right bones and joints around your hands. The bangles should not just slide on. Otherwise they are too big.


While he puts them on for you, he tests out duds that have cracks in them and once you have worn it and tested it for size you buy them.

Most of my glass bangles I bought in New Delhi and Kidderpore (Calcutta). My Kidderpore bangles were the best.

In the eighties Bombay had moved on and become ‘modern’. And the bangle sellers turned into costume jewelry shops and sold mainly plastic or metal bangles. The glass bangle sellers were so hard to find. Few that did only sold the traditional Maharashtrian green glass bangles. Dull.

New Delhi was in the middle but Kidderpore rocked !

It is back of the beyond in Calcutta, even Calcuttans didn’t visit there. Half village half factory area. People were still traditional there and bangles thrived !

Sadly I rarely (read never) wear bangles anymore. I hardly wear my traditional Indian sarees or salwar kameez.

After years of sitting on the rack the last time I wore my glass bangles was when Kylie came to town and we went for her concert. Gay Men and Kylie. Perfect glass bangle venue.

Maybe I will wear some for Diwali this year.