Christmas 2013: Taj Bengal

lobbyWe love the Taj group of hotels. Who doesn’t ? Our wedding shopping stint in Bombay was even more memorable because of our stay at the Taj Lands end in Bandra. Efficient, welcoming and comfortable.

Our stay over Christmas at the Taj Bengal was equally satisfying.

UntitledWe left the hotel, heading to the airport with that slight feeling of regret. Much like we were leaving our granny’s home. ‘Who’s going to shower us with this much attention again?’. Definitely not our selfish cats!

27th Dec is Perfect Hubby’s birthday. A date that’s often spent in the stupor of post Christmas binging and the thought of anything resembling yet another ‘celebration’, is frankly nauseating.

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Calcutta 2013; Taj Bengal, was however different. A bouquet of red roses, 3 complimentary cakes and all manner of staff wishing hubby a happy birthday was what he woke up to.

Taj does excel at hospitality and rest assured while we can afford it the Taj will be our hotel of choice.

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My issue is the location. I hate dust, traffic and anything that doesn’t have a high-end mall next door. Granted the Calcutta Zoo is right next door and it’s only a short walk to lovely wide roads and the gorgeous Victoria Memorial, but the 1 km walk there is just bloody awful.

It’s dusty, crowded and run down. I hated walking there and the only way I could enjoy Calcutta was to hire the hotel car to drive us around. My advise to visitors would be organise a hire car, or if you can afford it, the hotel car, and get driven around in air conditioned comfort avoiding beggars, dust and crowds.

The Oberoi Grand is slam bang in the centre of it all on Park Street, near New Market. Walking distance to everything. But I believe it’s dull and the service not as good as the Taj.

A word of warning though. Like me if you live in Hong Kong, having grown up in Bombay , the pace of service is slow. The people way-hay nicer, but slow. This is in no way reflection of the staff. It’s the city. The leisurely pace of a Bengali.

The staff are friendly, helpful, warm and efficient. But the pace tested my patience. Tested in a rather bemused way.

I lose my patience with the pace in San Diego and Sydney,  but the Bengalis are my people so of-course there is favoritism. I am amused rather than ‘snappish’.  (And Bali. I am patient there. One can not get annoyed with the Balinese as they float through life, smiling all the time)

In Hong Kong, or Bombay, we are used to sitting at a table and a waiter materializing out of thin air. In Calcutta we can sit for around 5 mins before someone attends to you. Even at the breakfast buffet it was a while before someone offered us  tea or coffee. And I am not talking a choka-block full breakfast service either.

I feel terrible pointing this out as part of a Taj Bengal blog this because large parts of the world, except probably Tokyo, are exactly this slow and being Taj the fact is the  staff delivered everything we needed, to perfection.

But HK does spoil you with efficiency. Unfriendly yes,  but definitely efficient. ‘Dont wish me goodmorning and ask me how my day is, just serve me’.

Heck even Singapore is a bit leisurely for me!

Anyway all in all if you visit Calcutta stay at the Taj Bengal and grab a hotel car.

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Loreal Lipstick

I didn’t need more lipsticks. I really didn’t. I am not even a lipstick person, just like I am not a necklace person. But here I am owning a few. Few that I can’t be bothered to wear.

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I am a gloss person and currently am on a long wear gloss/lip laquer quest, hence my recent (very satisfied) Rimmel Apocalips purchase.

But my recent layover at Bangkok airport brought me face to face with this special priced Lipstick offer. I am not a lipstick person so why would this thrill me ?

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Because an airport with it’s duty free has a hypnotic effect on me. I am drawn to buy something to toast my travel.

I am drawn to spend money because it’s a well known fact all money becomes silly money once you enter an airport.

I am drawn to reward myself as my mind tries to cope with that un-settling feeling as the airliner takes off against gravity. And then stays up.

Anyway this pack offered, what looked like from the cover, 3 options on Red and I pounced.

The Vlogs and Blogs have long exalted the virtues of Mac Ruby Woo. I tried it on. It wears amazingly but is  D-rr-ying. So it is not for me. However I too want a dramatic red in my life, so I  have been looking.

And then I spied this pack.  There weren’t testers available for this special offer. Infact there were no testers available even for the YSL and Guerlain  travel packs that were also on offer but taking a risk on Loreal was heaps cheaper, so I did.

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imageTurns out they are not actually different shades of Red.

A plum, a pink and red. ho hum.

Anyway I like how they wear  and can be fairly long lasting. Basically apply, blot, apply.

They are not drying neither do they feel tacky. Well pleased with my foray into the Red lipstick world. YSL next 🙂

A Mirror Revolution

While the debate rages on between intelligent design and evolution there are areas I would welcome this ‘intelligent design’ .

Intelligent being the operative word.  Intelligent design that extends into intelligent packaging.

Drop into an Apple store, a supermarket, a kitchen gadgets or sporting goods store and I am gobsmacked by the innovative packaging and then I look at what I own and use everyday ……..and it annoys me no end to see how lazy the packaging designers have been.

The most basic areas that have had no innovation.

After all these years lipsticks and lip-gloss packaging still doesn’t come with mirrors ? Why ?

Women mastering the art of re-applying their lipsticks without a mirrors- on buses, standing in queues, at restaurant tables is admirable, but un-necessary.

Moreover a skill I haven’t grasped even after 20 years of lip-staining. So there !

A slim rectangular mirror as part of packaging is all that is required.

Compacts come with mirrors, but that’s where it begins and ends. A circular mirror nestled within a circular frame and everything that can be squeezed into that circular pot.

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Concealers, bronzers, blush. But take away that round, flip-top packaging and the mirror disappears.

Lippies must be next in line for a mirror innovation, its been too long already.

A chance find by a friend led me to that elusive brand BYS that have lip-glosses that come with a side mirror and, oh be still my beating heart, an automatic light.  Picture1

Science and technology move ahead everyday and yet we lag in making the perfect shaped mirror for the appropriate packaging.

As long as women use a product, and a large proportion of those women like to wear and touch up their makeup, mirrors must be an essential part of packaging.

Another no brainer is the mobile phone.

A good quality, scratch proof , smudge proof mirror that forms part of the back cover of the phone. Forget pretty pink and lilac packaging, I would even deem to buy a black (dull) phone if it came with a mirror.

http://www.dhgate.com/product/mirror-cell-phone-screen-guard-front-back/132170836.html
http://www.dhgate.com/product/mirror-cell-phone-screen-guard-front-back/132170836.html

I dont care for mirror stickers or the reverse camera. Both dont substitute for a mirror. What annoys me is that even the mobile phone covers for women like wrist-lets and pocket-book like covers dont come with a mirror.

Aren’t there any women designing these things ? Seriously.