Game of Thrones Colouring Book

I am a Game of Thrones nerd, the books, not the show so much. And then a friend gifted this to me (Adult Colouring books) 

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I love it ! Hours spent bent over the pages with colour pencils, brushes and a small pot of water.IMGP2833

At first I struggled with the colours and what & how to place them. But after a few pages the blank pages start to talk. Sounds weird but true.

I didn’t decide I wanted to paint an entire forest scene in blue. The page told me 🙂Isle of Faces

or this one

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Children of the Forest

Some early ones

Sansa
Sansa
SerLorasTyrell
Ser Loras Tyrell
Cercei
Cersei
khaal
the Khaal!
samwell
Samwell Tarly
meereen
Slaves of Meereen

Starting Lord Varys, I am so excitedIMGP2711However the hardest is yet to come. Balon Greyjoy’s castle Pyke and the island ! Black and Blue pencil only, I am dreading it.

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Black and Blue (and white space)

But do you know what is so Odd? THERE  IS NO MOTHER DRAGONS!

WHAT ? WHY ?

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A Bengali Afraid Of Chicken

I can cook ANY vegetable no problem but avoid meat & fish because I am scared. A Bengali woman afraid to cook meat & fish will surprise a lot of Bengalis.

We Bengalis are traditionally ‘non-vegetarians’ and fish curry-rice is a staple.  Some Bengalis, like my sister can even eat fish curry rice for breakfast and let me tell you she is not considered odd in our community.

Some Bengalis are militantly non-vegetarians. If a vegetarian-only buffet was to be served at a wedding there would be a mass walkout and the family would never live down the shame!

My mother was constantly appalled (and ashamed) at my vegetarian dinner parties.

But meat and fish are tricky. There is Salmonella at one end and overcooked rubber at the other. I never can successfully navigate between killing myself or my taste buds.

But one must conquer one’s fear. So one does what she can. One chooses to experiment on one’s husband, naturally.

I often play with chicken. Get that right and then graduate to the more advanced ‘red meat’ level.

Fish curry is another matter. For a Bengali fish is our birthright. It must be sweet river fish and whole level of culinary expertise that is fiddling around with mustard paste, coconut juice (not milk, not water) and banana leaves!

Cook curry only with meat on the bone, none of that namby-pamby boneless rubbish. I learn’t from Ma to marinate it in yogurt with ginger-garlic paste, chillies/chilli powder, cumin powder, corriander powder, salt and turmeric.IMGP2809

Get additional ingredients ready. They are ginger paste, coriander, cumin & turmeric powders, chopped onion and those giant chillies. Again be sensible with the chillies.IMGP2807I used canned tomato paste and mixed in the coriander, cumin and turmeric powders.20160528_140601

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Save the marinade. It will form part of the curry.20160528_140733

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once onion and ginger are well cooked, add the liquid ingredients.20160528_140953

So far so good. I know the flavours must mesh together.

Then add the drumsticks….and pray20160528_144634

Cooked for ages, covered, uncovered, all on LOW till it looked like this.20160528_160006

I should have checked the chicken but didn’t. But then I cooked the chicken drumsticks for quiet a while so I am confident I wont kill anyone today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bengali Cabbage

Damn it I LOVE cabbage, any style. I even love Brussels sprouts. And Bengali style cabbage  my comfort food.

But this one today didn’t come out good. I took it off the gas too soon. I didn’t wait for ALL the moisture to evaporate and it now tastes like mush. Let it be a lesson for all 🙂 20160528_135503

Bengali style cabbage is not al dente ( like the South Indian poriyal style where the cabbage still retains its green colour)

Ma used to say for Bengali cabbage you need to cook it till ALL the water/moisture from the cabbage is gone. If not it won’t taste good.

It’s a fairly simple recipe but towards the end of the cooking process timing is KEY . Lets call it Part 3.

This is where cabbage goes from soggy (tasteless) to delicious. Funnily enough it becomes ‘cabbage’ again. Hard to describe.

It will go from this….CB1

to this…IMGP2806

to this….IMGP2812

But don’t stop here.

It still has moisture, I could see it.  Cook on low till the moisture is gone. I had forgotten how muddy-mushy cabbage can taste at this stage.

It started like this, Part 1cabbage

I marinated it with my usual turmeric and salt, and also added some garam masala powder I had sitting in my fridge. ( purely optional)marinate

Part 2 – I tempered it with Cumin seeds & large chillies.Obviously when using sharper chillies, use sparingly. Once the seeds have popped add the ginger.

Ahh the ginger, not my finest hour here either. I was getting hot and tired in the  kitchen so I cut corners. I usually add smooth ginger paste and not roughly sliced ginger. 😦tadka

I will tell you why. Once the cabbage cooks its hard to differentiate the ginger from the cabbage and a mouthful of ginger doesn’t taste good.

Anyway add the cabbage. Stir fry for around 10 minsIMGP2800

Then cover and cook on LOW stirring occasionally.  After around 10 mins add frozen peas !peasStir, cover and keep cooking on low.

You take cover off when it looks like this and here starts the TIMING bit. Be patient.CB1

You basically do not want soggy cabbage. It’s all about taste and eyeballing at this stage.

I have cooked it till it became a bit too dry and that’s awful too.

Lets see what hubby’s verdict is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aubergine Potato

This post is for my sister. It is not a recipe rather some pics with a few words thrown in.

She will know what I mean. Sis has 2 kids and likes to get food related inspiration from me, as me from her.

So Ru here goes;

I was walking past a vendor selling long slim aubergines and a whole bunch of really long (longer than a runner bean!) green chillies. I think it might have been from her farm in the New Territories.

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When I see chillies I salivate, so I had to buy them. I did and bought the aubergines too.

These chillies lack heat, at-least for those  who are used to eating Indian, Sichuan or  Thai food.

I chopped both and then like Ma ( rather most Bengalis) I marinated them in salt and turmeric for around 10 mins before cooking.

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I also cubed a potato and marinated it with salt and turmeric.

I then added some water and zapped it in the microwave to soften it (microwave no!!. Oh well I am not that paranoid with the microwave and sometimes it’s just bloody quicker)

I didn’t get to post any pictures of the potato because they didn’t come out- the light was all wrong. 😦

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To temper I decided to use a mix of Fenugreek (methi) & Mustrad (rai )seeds

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Then added the aubergine-chilli combo20160528_125536

Cooked on low till the aubergine looked like this.IMGP2805

At this stage I added the potatoes that were nice and soft.

Cooked on low for another 10 mins- just enough for the flavours of the auberine and potato to mesh together.IMGP2811

Beauty and the Environment

Toners with cotton balls, makeup wipes, tissues to wipe brushes & cotton buds to adjust makeup boo-boos. An everyday, no twice a day event, for makeup/skincare junkies. And I don’t have to tell you what that translates to in terms of landfills.

I am proud to say that for most of my life none of the above have been a part of my life. However they are now creeping in, especially cotton pads with toners. It makes me cringe every time a used cotton ball falls into the dustbin!

While I use washcloths to wipe brushes & cloth makeup remover wipes I have found that I can reuse nail polish remover sponges. No cotton balls soaked acetone destined to become bin-fill!

You will need 🙂

Used Instant nail polish remover

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Remove sponge, wash with baby shampoo.IMGP2689

Re-use this sponge over and over again to remove nail polish. All you need to do is wash with diluted baby shampoo after each use.

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This sponge removes nail polish like a DREAM because it is designed to hold acetone and remove polish ! Its baby soft and smooth and removes better than cotton pads/balls.

 

The Illuminati :)

SKIN: normal, maturing skin (hey after 30 its all maturing right ?), MAC NC 40

I own 4 illuminators, however I am cagey about them.

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It’s difficult to find the right complement to my Indian skin-tone and I detest big fat glitter or obvious shimmer & sparkle.

A ‘wet’, dewy, fine sheen is what I look for.

I received a samples of Benefit’s Moonbeam & Sunbeam, everyone’s starter kit for luminisers/highlighters :). Moonbeam looked hideous on me.  A horrid ashy-frosty reflect. and Sunbeam was meh! no, super meh!! on me.

I then I bought my first highlighter/luminiser. Benefit’s Girl meets Pearl. Oh my!

I absolutely loved it’s champagne sheen, it’s beautiful cooling sensation on contact and its blend-ability. But if I applied it like a moisturiser, ie whole face,for some reason my skin didn’t like it. No obvious break-outs or anything, just a slight itchiness. Just dabbing on the cheek bones was fine.

I moved on. I bought the much raved about MAC Strobe Cream & Lotion.

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But I didn’t stop there. I wanted to have a ‘smack-down’ of sorts and bought 2 more. The Bobbi Brown Extra Illuminating Moisture Balm and the Stila One Step Illuminate (illuminating serum)

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I have been using these for a while now and my verdict is I bloody HATE the Bobbi Brown Illuminating moisture balm.

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If you have watched  Spartacus or Rome or any of those ancient Roman serials, there is always an orgy scene where some entertainer or slave is covered in gold paint. Well the Bobbi Brown Extra Illuminating Moisture Balm makes me look like that. SUPER DUPER GOLDEN SHINE.

This weird goldy-greasy  finish might be because the pigment in this balm is insane.

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It definitely should NOT be applied all over your face. You end up with what looks like a thin veneer of gold oil paint. Or rather like Spartacus (in that sex scene :))

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Even with a mattifying moisturiser and a mineral powder over it I couldn’t hide my shame…shine. Plus over the winters it wasn’t that moisturising either.

My fav is the the MAC Strobe. Initially I was very very skeptical thinking it would make me look ashy or frosty but it’s pearlescent hue disappears once massaged in and leaves a nice ‘glow’. Even when peered through a x5 magnification mirror no discernible ‘glow’ particles can be seen.

MAC STROBE

I have read reviews that also say the Strobe has great cell communicating ingredients so its good skincare too!

The lotion smells a bit funny like it’s gone a WEE, only a wee bit, off. It hasn’t of-course. The cream has no specific fragrance.

It’s definitely moisturising but I always top it with a moisturiser because my normal skin is becoming drier as I age.

Under a moisturiser it gives a nice glow. When using it under foundation or tinted moisturiser, I use 2 layers of Strobe so the glow gets through the tint.

It deserves the cult status it has, however rumours that MAC are discontinuing it. WHY???????!!!! MAC !!!

The Stila One Step Illuminator has the typical ‘One Step’ helix of colours. This one has pink, peach and brown.  When squirted it looks pink and when blended the pink brightens the skin, evens out the face and is not overtly shiny.

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Looking closely (x5M mirror) you can see fine gold glitter.

It does say Serum on the bottle but in my opinion it’s not skincare. The texture is like that of a very light cream and it has a light rose-powder fragrance which I don’t mind.

It’s pretty dry so a moisturiser below is definitely recommended.

As with all illuminators, if you use it all over your face be sure to mattify ‘shiny’ areas like forehead, side of nose and under eyes.  The idea is to glow not shine.

I am still to try Becca, the other cult status luminiser, but it’s near impossible to locate Becca in Hong Kong. I saw it once at Harvey Nics but I wasn’t sure which one was the right one for my skintone, and now it’s gone 😦

 

 

Holy Grail Hair Brush

Don’t we all love the Goody Hot Round Brush ? But for me there is something better, MUCH better. The Lee Stafford Round Brush.

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Now I have wavy hair and I have LOTS of it. At the same time hair shaft in itself is fine.

So put these 3 factors together and what do you get ? The perfect combination for fluffy, poufy hair ! Mrs. Ronald McDonald, ugh.

So I chemically straighten my hair.The old relaxing technology never worked on my hair. However once the Japanese got into the game we were in business.

I  used to ION straighten. (That 6 hour treatment, remember ?)

Then came the Keratin straightening, loved it (never did the Brazilian blowout) and now I do the Goldweil Kerasilk straightening. My fav technology so far.

With my hair you cant just straighten and call it a day.  And after a swim, shampoo or the gym a good blow dry is a must. With a good hairbrush.

I loved the Goody till Sam from Pixiwoo talked about the Mark Hill round brush. I was intrigued. In my recent visit to the UK I did not find the Mark Hill but found the Lee Stafford round brush at Boots.

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Hello! this is the BEST brush ever. EVERR.

It took me 1 try to understand how to best handle this. And now I am in smooth, straight hair heaven.

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I struggle with a round brush because I need 3 arms.

One to hold the hair dryer and the other two arms to section and feed the hair sections around the brush.

Not with this one. The shape of the brush helps you twirl the hair and hold it taut while you run the dryer over it.

I just haphazardly feed the hair onto the brush with one arm while blow drying with the other.

And its quick. ( I dry my hair at 85% dry)

Now I don’t know WHO came up with this brush first but whoever did deserves a shout-out.

In HK the hair accessory shops sell the Japanese make of these brushes. They are the same colour too. Pink and Black.

I didn’t buy them, though cheaper than the Lee Stafford one, because I wasn’t sure of quality. I don’t like my hair snagging & breaking and always afraid of cheap hair accessories.

You can also curl, wave etc., just Youtube it. (don’t you love how nouns become verbs in this day and age of the internet?)

It’s also good for lifting the roots if you have flat hair however in my opinion my Goody hot round gives better Volume.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Japanese SPF: Shisedo Wet Force

Sun and Aging, go hand in hand. They skip across our skin causing sun spots and wrinkles in their wake. BFFs, these two!

I have been slapdash about SPF until very recently. Call me naive but I didn’t know Indian-tanned skin needed SPF . (Yeah I know) I wasn’t bothered about the ‘tanning’,  not realising that tanning is the first step in aging. Duh oh!

However before we get carried away with wearing SPF all the time, indoors and at night 🙂 lets take a moment to recognise that we need some amount of sun DAILY. Before noon is the best. (Un-necessary Fun Fact: as a baby, my nanny (bai) would set me in the early morning sun to catch a few precious rays of Vit D; after an oil massage. Baby Basting.)

Anyway Google is your best friend to get a good understanding of Sunscreens, SPF and the ‘what-nots’.  I personally like Dr. Oz  & this article on Ingredients of Wellness .

On the Dos & Dont’s of SPF the gals that rock my world are, ofcourse the great Ms Caroline Hirons (my skincare crush)  Lisa Eldridge’s Sunscreen video (mainly French sunscreens) and Gothamista’s Summer Skincare faves (Asian Sunscreens).

It’s summer in HK which means hiking-walking- running-outside-time. But it also means I need a bullet proof sunscreen.

And (the angels start to play their harps right about now) the only one that meets that criteria is this hero product.

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Shiseido Wet Force. ( Contains Alcohol, Silicone and Talc)  This has a 4 star rating on Beautypedia!  Even if it didn’t I would still use it.

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The water resistant technology is mind blowing.

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It has a light, runny consistency and disappears to a non-white cast, matte finish.

I kept touching my face after I applied this. I have NEVER worn a sunscreen that didn’t feel heavy or greasy.

I have normal, blemish free skin and the HK summer is hooomid(!) so this is matte finish on my skin didn’t feel tight either.

I went for a hike and when I started to sweat it was a ‘non-oily-greasy’ kind of sweating. Hard to describe, but anyone who has worn moisturiser outdoors in a hot humid climate will hopefully get what I mean. Rivers of sweat running down one’s face ?

My face didn’t do that. Basically you sweat, but because of the technology you are not sweating your ‘face off’.

It’s not cheap. For 50ml its HKD 378.  I bought this at Sogo Department store Shiseido counter. You get a small travel size (sample) for free. The sample is great to carry around incase of touch-ups.

For that price, I ONLY use this for the face.

I use the normal run of the mill SPF for my arms (and legs, if I can be bothered atall)

 

 

 

 

 

Aging Like Fine Whine ? CE Ferrlic.

This was the title of an article in the Huffington Post. Well it was “Are You Aging Like Fine Whine” and I, involuntarily, went “YES”

That’s me. Whine.

I don’t like the lines, the bags, the sag, the greys, the spots and the pores. All of which seem to leap out and punch me in the face, especially when I am in an elevator with overhead lighting.  It looks like a  melting Daliesque face.

So obviously all my skincare is targeted to Anti Aging.

Now if you read/watch blogs/vlogs you will know that Anti Aging is not a bad thing, and one is supposed to start 30 onwards.

I was a little late to the Anti Aging Party but here I am, and with a vengeance.

If it’s not anti aging its not sitting on my vanity (NB: Hydrating formulas are a must even if they don’t say ‘Anti Aging’. As you mature your skin gets drier)

So when I heard about this Anti Aging Anti Oxidant superstar I grabbed it. Skinceuticals CE Ferrulic. It was referred by Gothamista in her Morning Skincare Routine video.

Caroline Hirons is still tops my ‘my crushes on Youtube list’ but Renee from Gothamista is on that list too. Her knowledge of skincare is as strong but she is not as anti alcohol or mineral oil as Caroline is. Which is good, Pros and Cons, right ?

Anyway what is CE Ferrulic? Skinceuticals CE Ferrulic is a synergistic antioxidant combination of 15% pure vitamin C (l-ascorbic acid), 1% vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), and 0.5% ferulic acid to strengthen skin’s natural protection from free radicals induced by environmental stressors such as UVA/UVB, infrared radiation (IRA), and pollution, which may lead to visible signs of accelerated skin aging. In addition to antioxidant protective benefits, C E Ferulic improves signs of aging and photodamage, the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and the loss of firmness, while brightening skin’s complexion.

 

IMGP2670This is a serum so I use is after my Hydrating toner in the morning.

I have been using this for a month now, on the off. While I don’t see any difference in my skin*,I know it’s more what it does inside rather than a topical glow/plumping. It’s a daily dose of vitamin for the skin. (*My skin is normal, maturing and basically trouble free)

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I do what they say, 4-5 drops, smoothed over the face and then patted/pressed in. It gets pretty tacky so I stop messing with it and let it sink in.

It’s a viscous orange liquid that smells smokey. Sometimes like a mild tuna salad (what??!!)  I am sensitive to frangrance/smells, but this one disappears in a jiffy.

I store it in the dark. Actually all my makeup and skincare is away from light. And sometimes even in the fridge, if I dont use something that often.

It’s pricey and needs to be used in 3 months (I read that on Beautypedia).

3-4 mins later, I apply a hydrating moisturiser over it.

I received a free sample of the  Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel so that is what I apply over it for now. The texture of the B5 is also different to other moisturisers out there, ie none of that silky-smooth siliconey feeling.  Which I like.

However, while I know the CE Ferrulic will be my Holy Grail re-purchase the B5 I have been flip-flopping over.  It’s the Beautypedia review of the B5 that has curbed my urge to run to Lane Crawford to buy a full size.

I will probably go for another hydrating moisturiser and not the B5. (Hada Labo maybe ?)

 CE Ferrulic, I love you. Thank you for coming into my life and depleting my wallet. All for a good cause!