Colouring My Face

Aged 5. I had a doll. Beautiful, with blue hair (yes blue ). I loved her. I loved her so much I tried to make her prettier. I “made up” her face with indelible blue marker pen. I was unskilled and she ended up with dots and blotches all over her face. I didn’t like her much after that but enough that my beloved sister is named after her.

Aged 6. My parents were instructed to read out loud the ‘makeup’ credits for all movies and films. I couldn’t read the screen that fast.

And when they showed black and white Bollywood films on Sunday evenings on TV I was most fascinated with the makeup, especially the lips. They made lips look so damned good. A dark, contrasting bow pout. Even at that age I remember trying to re-create that  bow pout with my mother’s lipstick but never could.

Timeless beauty Madhubala
Timeless beauty Madhubala

I didn’t realise it was black and white, and struggled to get that ‘black/dark’ lip that showed up in B/W films. I even tried it with blue ink I remember (we used fountain pens in school)

Even at that age I didn’t follow all makeup trends. I was never interested in re-creating the cat eyeliner or the loud makeup that one saw in the Bollywood of the 70s.

Hema Malini. Google her. She has the best plastic surgeon ever
Hema Malini. Google her. She has the best plastic surgeon ever

Age 13. My nail biting habit drove my mother mad. After years of threats, slaps, rewards and hugs, she hit the jackpot. The promise of nail polish.  I stopped biting my nails, forever.

 My mother’s makeup arsenal consisted of lipstick and a compact. The same shade all her life. Nothing I could borrow and experiment on my own face. And my beautiful sister insists she looks like a drag queen with makeup on. So she is an eyeliner-mascara girl.

 Me I have always been fascinated with makeup.

 I love watching women put makeup on their face. I stare at them as they put on their makeup in the  locker rooms or night club bathrooms and watch their technique.

I have to shift my gaze when they catch me staring at them, stalker like.

I usually mumble a “is that a Bobbi Brown concealer ?” to allay their fears.

 That obsession has now translated to hours upon hours of watching Youtube videos of beauty Vloggers. And I have found my soul sisters. Scores of women who watch these Vlogs. We are beauty vlogger groupies.

 We buy products based on these Vloggers, we ‘fail’ products based on their reviews, we order makeup brushes off the internet based on their recommendations.

We learn techniques of stipling and blending and watch hilarious videos of the “my boy friend does my makeup” tags.

I tried to get my husband do my makeup.  No luck.

 My husband has stood his ground and refused my repeated requests to co-operate and has suggested I find a girl friend to pursue these wishes.  I don’t want a girl friend. He is my best friend, isn’t he ?

Oh well.

 I am a mine of Internet Beauty information. I consider myself an expert and give, unsolicited advice on makeup. God forbid friends go off and buy makeup without consulting me first.

 With me, my biggest impulse purchase has always been lippies and nail polish.

 My earliest binge was at age 13 when I bought around 20 nail polishes in one week . Tips and Toes, I still remember.

I asked my mother for money pretending it was for snacks and for the book lending library, but bought nail polish instead. She never found out.

 Now that  impulse has expanded to include concealers, primers, foundations, illuminators, highlighters, mascaras, eye pencils, eye  brighteners, eye shadows, BB creams and a whole lotta makeup brushes.

What’s still on my list is the Dior Lip Plumper…. and an Armani concealer.

Sometimes I think maybe I should wait till I have run out of my Boing, Mac, Rimmel, YSL, Garnier and Maybelline concealers, but on the flip side I think, I am yet to own an Armani makeup item.




Coconut Flour Pancakes or Weird Sh*t I Eat

I have been on a diet since I can remember. Or rather trying to be on one.  I have always restricted one food item or the other. And that lasts around 2 weeks at the most.

However I have never ever considered the Atkins, Dukan or South Bean diet. I cant be on a meat heavy diet regime.

I am a ‘ho um’ meat eater. Meaning I will eat meat and fish but prefer vegetarian . Basically a honey glazed pork, a beef rendang is as attractive to me as a fresh salad or vegetable curry with dal.

Throw Indian snacks (almost always vegetarian) food into the mix like bhel-puri, sev puri, dahi puri, aloo poha, uppama and I can forget about every other cuisine and food group known to man. Indian snack foods are my secret weakness.

Coming back to ‘diet’, I should clarify the word ‘diet’.

It’s more a ‘I jump on every health food bandwagon that comes out every year’. Quit sugar, quit salt, quit yeast, quit wheat, quit soy, quit dairy, quit cornstarch, quit lecithin and whatever else gets thrown at me that year.

However after jumping on the ‘quit yeast’ diet on behest of a friend, I found my 10 year skin rash disappear.

This was the longest ‘diet-lifestyle’ I was on, 2 months, and the change I saw was God send.  Years of testing and of prescribed and over-the-counter anti-fungal and dermatitis medication had done nothing for this rash. And 2 weeks of gluten free did the job.

I then started to get off wheat, on and off. The skin rash would show up, on and off.

When visiting my sister’s gluten-free, refined-sugar free home for 2 weeks, I was bloat and rash free. I felt awesome.

So right now I am hoping to take this wheat-free life style more seriously and making it a life long commitment. (

In HK its not easy to be gluten-free. It’s very hard. Its a constant struggle of self control and will power.  Even grocery shopping to cook from scratch is hard.

But perseverance and health (and meal planning) will pay off.

This morning I wanted a  wheat-bready-comfort feeling. Pancakes hits the spot, so it would have to be Coconut Flour pancakes!


Original recipe on  but I adjusted mine to what I had at home

So here it is – in BOLD are the changes I made against the original recipe.

3/4 cup coconut flour- Bobs Red Mill

1/3 cup of water (I added more when the mixture got gloopy and doughy)

2 eggs

1 tbsp of olive oil

pinch of salt

a ‘pinch and a half’ of baking soda

1/2 of 1/2 tsp of Vanilla essence

Did not use Honey


USe a whisk, but  do a up and down motion with it to break the lumps, rather than WHISK or STIR. Apparently excess stirring would make the pancakes flat.


Heat non stick pan, little oil and fry like you would any pancake.
But here’s where things got really weird.
I said I didnt add honey and am not a “sweet” breakfast person and not overtly fond of eggs. So what do I do ?
I added fresh chilli sauce to my pancake and really enjoyed it !
20140510-133549.jpgI ate 2 pancakes with chilli sauce and 2 more with pure peanut butter ie no salt or sugar added.

I felt great !


Delhi Belly (or White Man’s Burden)


It’s always terrible when as a white man you get a tummy flu when visiting Asia, especially India. It’s an immediate assumption you can’t eat spicy food and lead a sheltered ‘baked beans on toast’ dietary life.

Perfect Husband is someone who is routinely subjected to innards and crickets for lunch during his China factory visits, will always order the mouth numbing spicy Sichuan noodle soup, happily chew on raw green chillies and can stomach way more heat than me.

So fiery is his palate that it really annoys me when people assume he cant and tone down their cooking, without even checking with us first! Or worse, constantly comment “oh he can have spice ? Are you sure this is not too spicy for him  ?He is just like an Indian (wow)!”

All the time addressing me, like he is a not even there. Doubly annoying.

Because of his fearless and enthusiastic appreciation of the cuisine, we always enjoy our trips to India. Me for the comfort the food brings me and PH for an excuse to gorge.

Our Christmas 2013 trip to Calcutta was planned mainly for him to experience authentic Bengali fare.

And as always the Universe is hilariously ‘un-funny’ and he caught a tummy bug !

He ate soup and bread rolls while I enjoyed traditional Bengali food. To add insult to injury people eyed him with the ‘poor white man can only stomach white food’ look.

He has survived hospital canteen food in Nagpur, drunk water drawn from a well and gorged on every size of North Indian and South Indian thali in Bombay.

So what went wrong in Calcutta? We only ate hotel food. Me being more cautious than hubby. Caution cultivated by a very ‘don’t consume anything that hasn’t been washed by ‘Aquagard’ water’ mother.


Between the Sonargaon restaurant at the Taj Bengal and Oh!Calcutta we planned to indulge in the whole Bengali bonanza from ‘mochar ghonto’ (curried banana flowers),


bekti fish with mustard paste steamed in banana leaf,


luchi- cholar dal ( puris with chana dal )

prawns cooked in delicate coconut milk (not the thick heavy coconut milk used in Thai cuisine),  aloo posto (boiled potatoes in poppy seed paste. oh yeah, faintly narcotic),

milk deserts cooked with date palm jaggery and mishti doi (baked sweet yogurt).

My mother and grandmother have both passed on and I thank God for restaurants like this that can step in to fill this culinary hole.

But thanks to this freak stomach bug, I was the one who enjoyed it all while poor PH spent it with Immodium and white bread.

Rotten luck.

We have no other option but to plan another trip to Calcutta.