Make your own Chai

I am not big on making something from scratch if perfectly good (and healthy) options are available for a price. The price is worth the time, the prep and effort honestly.

But CHAI, always disappoints me. Unless its made at home or by a chaiwallah. Coffee chains sell an instant mix of some sweet, weak rubbish.

Sadly even coffee/tea chains in India sell the same weak rubbish, blasphemy ! But the best option is just outside along the roadside.

India Masala Chai Mixing Tea

Since I dont have my own personal chaiwallah, I make my own. Super easy.

Firstly  I take any black tea,  Liptons Yellow Tea bag or nicer ones like the  Waitrose Gold or PG tips or even Marks and Spencers black.

Measure for 1 cup of tea:

I roughly smash half n inch of ginger. Also very roughly bash 1 and half inch of a cinnamon stick, few cloves and a few cardamon pods and put them in half cup of water and bring it to a boil ( some people add aniseed, I dont)

Have a simmmer on so you know all the flavours from the seeds and ginger have mixed nicely with the water. Bring the heat down and add half cup of milk and sugar (sugar is to taste).

Indian light yellow jaggery, instead of sugar adds an amazing flavour.

Bring the milk to a rolling boil. Watch it ! it shouldnt bubble over your pan and make a mess.

Once again, once the flavours are married add the tea bag in this mixture and let it simmer. The colour should become a rich light brown, a cafe latte colour ( or if you are a MAC foundation girl then its a NC42 kind of colour :))

I usually dunk in two tea bags for one cup of tea.

Once you get the colour, turn off heat and pour into cup.

mmmmmm

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Brush Guard- a good buy !

I have an addiction, other than my wheat addiction, it’s my addiction to beauty Vlogs (youtube) .

I spend precious time hooked onto to Vlogs when instead I should be finishing up Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg or Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.

While Perfect Husband (PH) might think my brain is turning to rot, I think, time has been spent wisely by me picking up tips that end up me NOT spending money on dud products – though the money spent on even MORE beauty products I dont need far outweighs the savings made.

 Anyway one such evening when I was drinking up WayneGoss on youtube he mentioned Brush Guards. Hallelujah.

 I didnt think twice about it. Ordered it off Amazon and my oh my, am I thankful everyday that I have them.

drying brushes upside down to drain the water out

For me their biggest service is in how they help me dry my brushes. Upside down.  Or even if you lay them at an angle, so the ferrule is sloping down (to let the water out) the tubes dont allow the brush hairs to splay. Thats number their number one use.

You can also store your bushes in them to retain their shape also I think its more hygenic. I am not sure exactly HOW hygenic they are since the rubber tubing is latticed (has holes) so it would let dust in anyway, but I guess it prevents them rubbing up against other things.

I had also ordered the Real Technique Core collection from Amazon and I use the brush case that it came with as a brush drying rack.

Real Techniques Brush Carrier upside down

The brush carrier is pretty stiff and HAS been designed to be a brush stand – so it works nicely as an upside down drying rack.

 Thats its fro me. Bye

Perfect Husband Does it again !

Let me start with my biggest pet peeve with Mobile phones ( and Mobile phone covers

)Who designs them ? If there are women out there designing these things I would really like a stern word with them. A REALLY stern word.

Why hasn’t anyone made a Mobile phone that doubles up as a mirror ? not a shiny surface sticker, not a reverse camera…a mirror ! I have used these shiny stickers and reverse cameras…nah. They dont show the intensity of my smudged eye liner nor do they show how “dark” my cream blush is.

I am so fed up with you Mobile Phone. Even Steve Jobs didn’t think if this.

Thats One.

Two. Mobile phones covers without wrist straps. I have butter fingers and phones fly out of my hand and I need a phone attached to my arm.

Finally the Micheal Kors one shows up in HK. For an iPhone. Its really old so excuse the manky look !

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I stuff my Android ( yes I am COOL like that. I am an Android person!) into that case

But coming back to my original peeve the mirror bit.

I need to check the status of my (smudging) eye makeup from time to time. ( why dont people EVER point it out to you ? I have come home looking like a racoon, thinking how long did people endure this ? Were they uncomfortable or just sniggering inside at my racoon eyes ?)

I dont want to have to open my handbag, to take out my mirror, to check my face. I want something attached to my phone and/or the phone case. A quick, subtle, check.

After years of suffering. I had a brainwave.  Why dont we pry the mirror off these Chinese Lipstick cases and stuff that into the card holder space of the Micheal Kors Mobile phone case !!! OMG I AM A GENIUS

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Lip stick case with mirror
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carefully scraping the glue off from back of the mirror

Thats when Perfect Husband cames into focus. He spent almost an hour, with precision instruments, yes precision pliers and scalpel, prying the mirror out of the case, so as to not to damage the case and then clean the glue and fabric off the back of the mirror.

So I ended up with a neat narrow mirror that fits perfectly into my MK mobile phone.

taddaaa !

Its an old case, excuse the mankiness
Its an old case, excuse the mankiness

Surreptitious makeup checking, here I come !

Gloss

Glossy lips. Its the bane of our existence. Who doesnt want a glossy, wet pout ? And then starts the eternal quest for the perfect non sticky gloss.

Nobody wants this. 

It’s uncomfortable and messy. I have had my hair get stuck to my lips, then leave trails of sticky gloss across the side of my face. Try having a biscuit as the crumbs get stuck on your lips. Sometimes, I have even had dust, grit off the street, get stuck on my lips.

 Ofcourse, blot ! But then you blot and you lose the effect of that glorious wet pout.

The blogs are full of such miraculous products, high gloss without the sticky. My favourite, repeat purchase would be the Christian Dior ones.Beautiful gloss without the sticky !

 Afterall my purchases over the years, drugstore to Clinique to Bobbi Brown I have to say Dior is the winner.

  I personally prefer a  tube application because a wand demands a mirror, atleast for me. I am more adept with a tube. But every tube I have purchased is a bit goopy so I have this irrational fear of tubes ! Even Dior.

 I have this old Dior Kiss shimmer gloss

It has small flecks of glitter, it feels light weight on the lips but so damned sticky !  And severely goopy if  applied a bit heavy handed.

But now for part 2. Most important. Staying power.

 I really hate this ! Big sticky stains with every sip . You know your lips are losing the colour and the shine. Every morning I get to see this on my coffee lid. Annoying !

I haven’t found a long lasting yet glossy one as yet. I bought Maybelline’s 24 hr.gloss.

 RUBBISH.  Either I have awfully dry lips (which I do not) or this thing has a moisture-sucking-up chemical. My lips look dry, it flakes. The colour applies patchy

Check out the flaky skin around the inner lip area. If you apply the white gloss that comes with it,the flakes clump into even bigger clumps and the colour leaves your lips to only cloud around the flakes. Its…not pretty !

I also bought these 10 hr stain gloss from Maybelline. Nice texture, almost a liquidy-gel like texture. It sits on your lips like a velvet stain and not drying. Nice staying power too.

The applicator is a pain though. Its a bit too big for the dips and valleys of your lips. So I just apply it and then smooth it over with my Boobi Brown lip brush.

 Without a brush you always get leaky edges. See left side of my mouth.

 After a while the glossiness disappears but the velvety stain stays on.

The Twats

We have so many names for them I lose count. I call them the Twats, Perfect Husband calls them The Felons.

or the Big Fat Stinking Cat

or the R-tard

or the Beasts of Our Burden

either ways they are frikking cute ! Annoyingly Cute. Both rescue cats, both HK tabbies.

The older one, Noor- named after the Mughal Queen Noorjehan,. She has the personality of  Cartman from South Park. Spoilt, Rude and Arrogant. She quacks instead of mewing, loves music , mainly Western Classical and likes her belly tickled as soon as we enter the door.

But cuddles are all within limits. Her limt. Her time limit – before you get nipped

And this is the baby- Zeb. Named after the mighty Aurangzeb, another Mughal king. Alas nothing mighty about this whiny runt of the litter.

My constant baby talking to him has arrested his development. He hasn’t grown as big as Noor and still behaves like a kitten. He loves cuddling. To annoying levels.

Pushy.

” you will cuddle me, I will demand you cuddle me” levels. “I will leap onto your lap while you are eating, to get cuddles”

Ugh takes the joy out of cuddling.

All you want to do is fling him off.

 A Jack Russel would be a nice third addition I think to our little family.

Placebo Effect of Makeup

Everyone will tell you makeup makes you feel better. When depressed put on a pair of high heels and lipstick

Everyone knows the story behind Banksy’s famous graffiti. When a truckload of lipsticks arrived at a concentration camp and the women put it on almost immediately.

Basically its not the point that makeup makes us feel better. I think makeup can sometimes make us believe its DOING what it says it will do.

Example ? Benefits THAT GAL. I got it as a gift . A mini .

Its supposed to brighten a dull complexion. It also acts as a primer

I am going to give you a quick run down of my reaction from Dec 2012 – August 2013

Dec 2012

“what is a primer ?”

“its pink and makes my face look grey”

“whatever”

 

Feb 2013

“what is a primer ? do I need it ? no idea”

“nah still pink, still grey cast”

“where is the brightening ?”

“definitely not buying this ever”

Feb 2013 – June 2013 it sat in my vanity bag. I would look at it from time to time thinking what am I going to do ? I did not have the heart to throw it away.

Then one fine morning in July I woke up, had to run to the store even before my shower. So I brushed my teeth, washed my face, wore a clean pair of undies, wore my Clinique (oh how I love you !) under eye cream….it lightly tinted and I think makes me look a wee bit less tired.

…and then I looked at my face. I looked a bit whatever, dull.

so I put on some That Gal, just for a lark. Guess what ? I thought I looked a bit “brighter”. hmmmm

Thought to myself “maybe it does do what it says it does”.

Aug 3rd, I am off to my friend’s house for a sleep over with just girls, wine and dvds.

So I am not bothering with makeup. just serum, my Clinique eye cream….and then looked at myself again. Thought “I cant be bothered with makeup…but I do look a bit dull”.

So I reached over to my That Gal again……and lo and behold I looked bright. I even brought it down to my neck to “match” this brightness.

I think this is the Placebo effect. A product that has received terrible reviews, did nothing for me even when I so desperately wanted it to work….and 9 months later…all of a sudden it works ?

No I dont think so.

 

Tale of the Two Cleanses

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I have never done a cleanse in my life. Its too hard. I must admit I have never displayed any discipline in my food or food restriction.

My liver is weak, certified medically yet I take no precautions. I have low protein in my blood, do nothing about it. I have a gluten allergy but I am a “eat now, repent later”

I am organised and disciplined in most aspects of my life, except food. I love eating. Its my hobby.

Anyway a Juice cleanse was something everyone was doing and I had to do it. Just for kicks.

It was drinking only juices for 2 days, heck why not ? That too they are made and delivered to you. All you do is open the bottle and drink.

I started with Genie Concepts. Did their cleanse 3 times.

The 3rd time I did the cleanse I failed miserably…I ate chicken soup and rice. And almonds. It was a disaster. So decided not to waste my money.

After almost 9 months I decided I should give this another go. Just because my insides are so full of not-so-happy things. This time I went with Punch Detox.

As the end consumer the juices are really much of muchness. There is a standard juice formula, I have seen similar offers on US juice cleanse websites. Maybe slight variations.

The Punch Detox taste better to me, but the clincher is their GAZPuncho. The 5th juice of the day. The “dinner” juice. (Its has Olive Oil in it though)

I am a warm water/beverage drinker so cold juices are hard for me to work with. But this GAZPuncho you can warm (low temperature) and it tastes just like tomato soup. HEAVEN.

Heaven-Ly. Warm soup with chewy bits in it too ! Perfect for dinner time.

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The last juice of the day is the bed time one. Genie and Punch  have this delicious Nutmilk juice. Its a dairy free milkshake.

IMGP2163For Genie this was my only comfort to look forward too, but with Punch I have 2. GazPuncho and the Nut Punch.

Truth be told I also went with Punch because they have a cheat sheet, so you dont beat yourself if you succumb to “chewing”.

I will eat a couple of layers of raw nori, munch of steamed Brussels sprouts or few baby carrots when I feel like snacking. Also it keeps my stomach from rumbling especially when I am in meetings.

I am on Day 3, the last day of my cleanse. So far so good.

Oh yes I also had few cups of Green tea – its magical it REALLY curbs hunger, a cup of Teechino in Vanilla Chilli and a cup of Sleepytime tea.

I hope this 3 day cleanse will make me more watchful and aware of what I consume hereafter.