Monday 21 May 2018

The Face Shop Real Nature Sheet Mask Haul Review | Beauty Review | Indian Lifestyle Fashion Beauty Blogger

Cleansing, Exfoliating and Masking are the 3 pillars of my skincare. While cleansing and exfoliating take care of taking out all the dirt from the pores, masking is where we provide additional benefits be it combating blemishes, minimizing acne scars, increase brightening and so on. Nowadays, pick up any beauty magazine and there are at least 10 other steps inserted in there... double cleansing, toning, chemical peeling, oil cleansing, serum, double serum, multi -masking and what not. 

On my troublesome, combination, acne-prone, easily scarred skin, these 3 basic steps have stood the test of time. So, recently, I started reading about Korean Skincare got a little haul of The Face Shop Sheet Masks for the masking stage of my skincare routine. There are many different sheet masks available, for different concerns and skin types. I chose the ones I thought would be best for my acne prone, combination skin i.e. Lemon, Rice, Acai Berry and Pomegranate. After trying them all over past month, here is what I thought about them :) 

Packaging of Face Shop Real Nature Sheet Masks  is very simple. Simply cut the outer packet and there is a cotton sheet soaked with serum. Each sheet mask has more than enough serum for face as well as neck. In fact, always make sure to not waste the serum and use it on neck or hands. 

Ingredients list is a bit problematic as I thought they would simply have the concerned ingredient with a little bit of water and glycerin, but each sheet mask has a long list of alcohol as well as parabens too. 

Claims of each sheet mask is related to the main ingredients.
For Lemon, it is Brightening and adding a fresh glow,
For Rice, it is Smoothening darkened and rough skin,
For Acai Berry, it is Plumping up skin and providing Elasticity,
For Pomegranate, it is providing Elasticity and Vitality.

Availability is not very common, I have bought it online on Amazon for Rs. 100 per mask when there was an offer going on of Buy 5 Masks, Get 5 Masks Free. Check them out, they often have such offers going on

Quantity of The Face Shop Sheet Mask is 10 grams, enough to last 1 usage over face as well as neck.

Usage - Every Face Shop Sheet Mask feels cool on skin. Simply take out the sheet, arrange it all over the face, the serum is neither very thick nor too runny. Lie down somewhere for 20-25 minutes while the serum goes to work on the face. At the end, when the sheet feels just about 15-20% wet, take it off. Massage the extra serum still remaining in the sheet on neck or hands. Some people like to wash their face after some time but honestly I have never felt the need. Just massage the serum in, wait for some time and go to sleep. I always do this at the end of the day so the serum has time overnight to work on my skin.

Effect - Honestly, do NOT expect miracles. I bought 2 sheets of each type each (2 lemon, 2 rice, 2 acai berry, 2 pomegranate and then extra 2 lemon to take advantage of Buy 5, Get 5 Free offer). I used them once per week and saw the results over past month. They did what they promised.

Lemon provided nice brightening effect. It also soothed my little pimples and make face shine for 2 days.

Rice gave nice glow that lasted for one full day, it actually gave a facial-kind of glow. I also feel it would be better on someone with drier skin, not oilier. It moisturizes really well.

Acai Berry gave a firming and plumping effect and I used only one sheet of this, the other one I gave to mom who liked it a lot. It does amazing work on mature skin by immediately making it glow.

Pomegranate was actually very similar to Acai Berry and my mom liked this one too. It also made the fine lines near my mom's eyes very faint for 2 days, gave a nice glow and youthful appearance which makes it the best face mask to use before going to any special event!

For that matter, all Face Shop Sheet Masks that I use gave immediate brightening, glowing effect that makes them all good bets before attending any event. No need to go for expensive facial. Just cleanse, exfoliate, put on a sheet mask, take it off, massage the extra serum, do basic makeup and attend the event with a lovely glow :) 

The best thing though is that they did NOT irritate my ultra-sensitive skin or lead to any kind of rashes. They did the job they promised and results lasted anywhere between 24-48 hours which is good enough. Though since the results are not permanent and one needs to keep using these masks on a regular basis, it becomes an expensive proposition. So basically this is like paying extra for convenience. Instead of getting some pomegranates and then juicing them and storing them and applying their juice directly on skin, here is a ready-made mask with the right proportion of good ingredients to be slathered on the face. So sure, that is the price we pay in our ultra busy modern lifestyles to look good :D

One thing that might bother many people is the fit of the mask. Everybody's face is different and these masks are designed in a standard way, so on some faces it would probably droop to the chin while on others it will probably cover eyes. I have a big face so it wasn't much problematic for me, my mom has a smaller rounder face so she had trouble adjusting it especially on her cheeks and chin area. Apart from that, no complaints. I am glad that I tried them out.

  • Different formulations available for different targeted concerns
  • Cool and calming on skin
  • Did not give rashes on my ultra-sensitive skin
  • Lemon soothed little pimples on my skin
  • Pomegranate and Acai Berry instantly plumped and minimized fine lines
  • Give lovely glow, helpful before attending any special event
  • Give sort of a mini-facial or mini-spa feel at home
  • Convenient to carry around, while traveling, when it is not possible to carry 100 different products, this one sheet can be used easily for instant pick me up

  • Alcohol, parabens included in ingredients list
  • Sheet Mask fitting on each face is different and sometimes problematic
  • Results are not permanent, expensive in the long run
  • Not easily available, I buy it from Amazon

Recommended -YES. I think everyone should try these masks atleast once, especially lemon, acai berry and pomegranate. :) Rating is 4/5.


Wednesday 16 May 2018

The Friends Bench All Day Cafe Vile Parle Mumbai | Vegetarian Cheesy Deliciousness | Food Review | Food Recommendation

Pause your life for a moment and just think about your high school and college days. Remember eating cheesy stuff without a care in the world, playing UNO and Hangman for hours, playing truth or dare, singing and dancing in the canteen like there was no tomorrow? The Friends Bench All Day Cafe aims to bring back those days, no matter what your age :) 

Situated near Vile Parle station, this is one cute small place to relax and become a teenager again. Loads of drool-worthy cheesy dishes on the menu, forget calories, play board games, read some books, enjoy some cool pop music, talk to your friends (face to face!) and basically have a good time. Staff is extremely polite and helpful, service can get slow sometimes BUT is not exceedingly slow AND food is prepared fresh in the open kitchen so the aroma keeps one ready to eat like a hippo :D 

We tried a lot of dishes and the staff was helpful enough to give us small portions of appetizers for this review session, so when you look at the pictures of all the starters just remember that real portions are 3 times what we had :) Price wise, not very expensive considering the location, quantity and quality. We tried and loved-

PEACH PASSION ICE TEA (refreshing, not too sweet, summery delight)
COLD COFFEE (just the way cold coffee fanatics like it)
POPCORN SHAKE (no words, Just Have It!)
AVOCADO SHAKE (a healthy twist, another summery delight)

Every drink was PERFECT, served in tall glasses, strong flavors as expected, these are also mini-meals for any light eater. Popcorn Shake is a must-have according to my sister, its butterscotch-caramel flavor lingers on palate for days :D

STUFFED BEETROOT KEBAB - Minced Grilled Beetroot with a dash of Mint Mayo, Delicious, could use a minty dip alongside,

PANEER KURCHAN TARTS - Tarts with Indian spiced Paneer, cheesy and delicious, but felt a bit dry, again, could use a minty dip alongside, its presentation has a WOW factor,

HONEY CHILLY POTATO - Crispy Potatoes tossed in Garlic and Honey Chilly Sauce, PERFECT, MUST-HAVE, crispy deliciousness,

PIZZA CUP CAKE- Cheesy cupcakes with Marinara Sauce & Mozzarella, if you love pizzas, this is a MUST-HAVE for you :D

LASAGNE ROLL UPS -Stuffed rolls with cheesy lasagne served with honey chilly dip, another MUST-HAVE especially for that dip that elevates the taste of rolls.

LAZY LASAGNA - Pasta layers with spicy tomato sauce, generous mozzarella & grilled vegetables, very delicious, generous portion for 2 hungry souls, my sister thought it was a bit saltier than expected but honestly we both are very sensitive about salt, our friend who accompanied us loved it as it is, 

NUTELLA LASAGNA- Imagine Chocolate chips, dense Chocolate Brownie, Chocolate Pancakes and LOADDDDDDDDDS of Nutella all over it....If you go here and NOT have this, you my friend have committed the biggest sin in the world :P Beware, needs 3 people to finish it, Must-Must-MUSTTTTTTT HAVE here ♥♥♥

The staff is very interested in taking feedback and using it constructively to improve dishes. This just adds to the positive ambiance here. Makes it a worthwhile place to go to especially with friends. Recommended to all foodies. I will be going back with my friends soon :)

Monday 14 May 2018

Healthylicious Powai Mumbai | Vegetarian Vegan Jain Healthy Fiesta | Food Review

Healthylicious = union of healthy + delicious. Have had food from their ghatkopar outlet sometime last year and loved it. Fresh, healthy, flavorful, simple, refreshing, not at all heavy or oily, full of nutrients, ingredients like brown rice, loads of veggies and fruits, what is not to love :) Tried some of their offerings from Powai outlet recently and loved it all too. Priced a bit higher but cannot complain keeping in mind the health quotient. 

Ordered in a couple of times from them at office and had a poor delivery experience but it could be a one off thing. I would still go ahead and recommend to try their salads, sandwiches and cold pressed juices. Good thing is that when you see their menu,it is clearly labelled with what all ingredients are there and what is the advantage of that dish be it 'diabetic friendly' or 'heart friendly' or 'instant energy' and so on

Here is what we tried for review-

CHILLING EFFECT - Cucumber, Iceberg Lettuce, Rocket Leaves, Peppers, Celery, Parsley, Orange Dressing - tangy, very refreshing, perfect for mornings, very light and thankfully no excessive presence of rocket leaves :) 

EAT IT - My sister's favorite- had Muesli, Bananas, Pineapple and some icebreg lettuce with curd dressing, this is what a good breakfast should taste like, powerpacked start to the day, 

NUTS & ME- For those with Indian palate, go for this boiled Chana + Peanuts + Onions + Tomatoes combo with chaat masala/aamchoor based accompaniment, very desi chaat feels! This one is also the heaviest salad since it is full of proteins which we all know, fills us up really well and for a long time. So I suggest this one for a filling yet healthy lunch or heavy snack.

THAT'S COOL - MY FAVORITE, Nachos with Avocado Dip, tasty and extremely cooling on stomach, especially for these summers, MUST-HAVE from my side.

PUNCH OF MUNCH - Papaya, Apple, Feta Cheese, Iceberg Lettuce with Balsamic dressing, salad with a zing, decent flavors, basic but good :)

We only tried VEG EXOTIC WRAP with veggies such as peppers, cabbage, lettuce and tomatoes + cucumber in low fat mayo dressing in a whole wheat wrap. It tasted extremely delicious and was the 'heaviest' dish of the lot (did not leave our stomach feeling heavy at all but in comparison to all the salads that were so light, it was definitely heavier). Really loved it. However, some days later, we ordered it in at office and that wrap we had felt very stale and we had to throw it away. So not sure if the quality of wraps remains constant or not. The one we had for review was superb.

CORN DELIGHT = Corn + Spinach + peppers and herbs, 
BEET IT = Mainly beetroot based with tomatoes, peppers, carrots, cucumbers in the mix too, 

Both sandwiches were excellent, loved the fragrant soft bread, ample filling, tasty yet delicious, will reorder for sure.

ITALIAN HERBED BROWN RICE - Brown rice with bell peppers, kidney beans, sweet corn, paneer and herbs and cooling yogurt based accompaniment too, brown rice is acquired taste but this one is really delicious, sure it is different from white rice and feels a bit on drier side but try it, it is much healthier and does not give lethargic feeling (that we get after binge-eating white rice)

FLUSH- Cucumber, Carrot, Parsley, Lemon, Ginger, great for stomach, tangy, 
ENERGIZER- Papaya, Mash Melons, Mint, Pineapple, Parsley, instant energy, my sister liked this one more while I liked flush more. 

I loved POPEYE'S DELIGHT with Spinach being the main ingredient along with Kolum Rice, Spring Onions, Tomatoes, Leeks to give it a wholesome mini-meal feel, 
My sister loved GOLDEN PEARL which is Corn based with Peppers, Parsley and Macaroni added,

Both soups did not taste at all like any other powdered flavored soups we get in market, different and tasty, 

Overall, here food is true to the ingredients list, there is very little meddling done with their flavors and for the most part, they 100% succeed with the taste + health motto of theirs. 

Thursday 10 May 2018

Green Leaf Pure Aloe Vera Skin Gel Review | Ayurvedic Multi Purpose Skincare Must-Have | Beauty Review | Indian Lifestyle Fashion Blogger

Aloe Vera Gel = A Must- Have for every problematic skin type!

And when it comes to problematic skin, who better than me? :P Sometimes dry like a desert, sometimes oily like a petrol pump, almost always filled with little pimples/ rashes/ old acne scars and what not, welcome to the maze called my facial skin. As I progress in the 3rd decade of my life, my skin is getting increasingly mysterious! In midst of all this, Aloe Vera gel is like a stable friend I can always rely on.

I had first chanced upon Green Leaf Pure Aloe Vera Skin Gel almost 8 years ago, at some exhibition. It wasn't a product that was advertised heavily, and the same is the case today. Yet I remember the lady at the exhibition counter persuaded me to try it once and return it if I did not like it, and I was impressed by her confidence. Then I used the product and haven't stopped since. Sometimes, just to mix it up, I use Patanjali Aloe Vera Gel too but honestly I like Green Leaf better :)

 of Green Leaf Pure Aloe Vera Skin Gel  is very simple, in a big round bulky jar. The gel looks beautiful with that bright sparkling green color. I know the color is added because pure aloe vera gel is not that green but it is very small in quantity and it has never harmed me. 

Ingredients list simply reads Aloe Vera 90% with preservatives and added color. 

Claims are nothing miraculous, just that it can be used for acne, rash, minor skin eruptions, sunburn, minor cuts, wounds and skin allergies. 

Availability is not very common, I have not seen it in stores like Big Bazaar, but it is available in exhibitions, in several random stores and online on Amazon for Rs. 345 for 500 grams

Quantity is very good, lasts for 3 months even when used on face and neck everyday twice. Very Value for money!

Usage - Feels cool to touch and apply. A little goes a long way. The gel is not very runny nor very thick, it needs 2 minutes of mild massage on my skin to seep in. It does not provide moisturization, rather it soaks up all the extra oil on my combination skin and provides a smooth base. If I use up a lot, it adds a layer like a face mask on my face. I cleanse my skin and then immediately put it on every morning and then wash it off after 1 hour. Another way to use it is to apply it at night and then sleep. It can be used on face, body, on pimples, on scars as spot treatment, around eyes, basically any problematic area.

Effect - Honestly, do NOT expect miracles. It is a cooling gel. So it instantly calms down skin. It heals sunburns. It also helps in fading old scars. It shrinks pimples. BUT it does everything slowly. Nothing is done overnight. A minimum of 15-20 days is required to see any visible changes. The best thing though is that it does NOT irritate my ultra-sensitive skin or lead to any kind of rashes. For those people who cannot use any beauty product or skincare product because nothing suits them, THIS is the miracle. Green Leaf Aloe Vera suits every skin type, calming down the problematic areas, smoothing and giving a glow on regular usage. Say bye-bye to pimples, eruptions, scars by religiously using it.

My sister had horrible acne on her shoulders some years ago. They left behind huge dirty scars. I helped to slather this gel on her shoulders every night for 2 months and trust me, those scars faded by 70%. Yes, it took time but it actually worked. This is why I always keep a big tub of Green Leaf Aloe Vera Gel on my desk at all times. It is a multi-purpose beauty/skincare product that can be used by anyone, any time, anywhere :)

  • Aloe Vera Gel is considered nectar in Ayurveda due to its multi-purpose medicinal and beauty usage 
  • Does not irritate my ultra sensitive skin
  • Calms pimples, skin eruptions, sunburn
  • Makes skin soft, smooth, mildly glowing
  • Feels cool on skin, especially good to apply during summer
  • Reduces old scars and imperfections when used regularly
  • Can be used by anyone, age/skin type/ gender no bar
  • Lasts long time as small amount is needed 
  • Made in India 
  • Value for money considering its quantity and efficacy

  • Not easily available, I buy it from Amazon

Recommended -YES! Pure Aloe Vera Gel should be a must-have in every beauty bag and Green Leaf is my favorite aloe vera brand :) Rating is 5/5.

Tuesday 8 May 2018

The Clearing House Ballard Estate Mumbai | Food Review | Food Photography | Weekend Brunch Fiesta

Had a wonderful brunch experience on a saturday couple of weeks ago here. Rare to see such a spacious and elegant dining space in Mumbai. The ambiance and service levels justify fine-dine, staff is exemplary, menu is choc-a-bloc with healthy classics as well as innovative dishes that set the standards of presentation quite high too. Since we were here in the afternoon, we enjoyed the outer sun-lit dining space but next time we would love to come here for dinner and enjoy the elegant inner lounge. Wouldn't complain about high prices considering every facet of hospitality here is top-notch.

For weekend brunches, the menu has a lot of choices for both veggies and non-veggies and portion of every dish is good too, we absolutely loved everything we tried-


Orange and Carrot, 
Melon + Pear + Apple, 
Avocado and Chocolate, 

None of the smoothies were loaded with any artificial flavors or sugar, it was all extremely refreshing, delicious and healthy. Being a chocolate fanatic, Avocado & Chocolate was my favorite.

>>In DRINKS, my sister loved-

LIVING THE DREAM -Aperol, Fresh Grapefruit Juice, Ginger (strong, on the bitter side)

SUMMER LOVE- Vodka, Pomegranate, Green Apple (refreshing for summers)

>>Our absolute FAVORITE section was SALAD, each ingredient shined on the plate, we couldn't get enough of-

ASPARAGUS + GREEN APPLE = Shaved fennel, water chestnuts, low fat yoghurt dressing (crunchy, light)

RED QUINOA + ROASTED CAULIFLOWER = Dry cranberry, crispy onion, tahini vinaigrette (filling, wholesome)

AVOCADO + CRANBERRY = Baby spinach, orange poppy seed dressing (I do not like leafy salads but this one was legen-wait-for-it-dary level of good thanks to the mildly tangy dressing, MUST-HAVE!)

>>From APPETIZER section, we liked-

SPINACH CORN QUESEDILLA = Jalapeno sour cream, guacamole (healthy, spinach lovers must try this)

POUTINE = Crispy fries,onion mushroom gravy (the only reason we ordered this was because it was mentioned in an episode of Modern Family :D Huge portion of fries with mushroom, onions, tomatoes medley, something interesting)


70% CHOCOLATE NAMELAKA = Chocolate sorbet, chocolate ginger soil, dehydrated chocolate mousse, jaggery caramel (gluten free) (My FAVORITE, chocolate overload but not extra or artificially sweet, the dense cocoa flavor enveloped the palate, loved loved looooooved)

PASSION FRUIT CREME BRULEE CHEESECAKE = Blackberry compote, mango gel (my sister loves cheesecake and she said it was decent, it had a top burnt layer that gave a very egg-y feeling so I did not like it much but she finished it in a jiffy, so :D)

HONEY FLAN = Fresh figs, homemade granola, sour cherry, balsamic reduction (sugar free, gluten free) (my sister said this was one of the BEST DESSERTS EVER, very light, creamy, mix of tangy, crunchy, lovely flavors, MUST-HAVE)

Would certainly be back, fantastic place to get transported to another world right in the middle of this concrete jungle :)

Monday 7 May 2018

Earth Cafe Powai Mumbai | Food Review | Healthy Delicious Vegetarian Food Fiesta | Pet Friendly Foodie Destination

Summer Garden reinvents itself into Earth Cafe, so the basic idea remains the same (focus on healthy,natural,eco friendly) with comfort dishes (such as pasta, samosas) added to the menu but even they are healthy and guilt free indulgences for the most part. In a nutshell, reasons to visit-

1- Ambiance + Eco-Friendly + Pet friendly = Rustic, elegant, simple decor comprising of fairy lights, trees,bamboo shoots and jute, reminding of Goa or Hawaiian shacks,

Bamboo straws used for drinks instead of plastic straws,

PLUS there is a stillness and sense of calm here even in the midst of a bustling urban jungle, 

It is also happy place for pets, their menu has a special little pet section too.

2- Food & Drinks = Honestly good ingredients, 

Mostly organic, gluten free, super-foods sourced locally and made fresh,

Using minimal processed ingredients,

Using healthy replacements such as Jaggery instead of sugar, 

Global menu made with healthy ingredients,served in a comforting way.

Prices are on the higher side and especially for main course items, feels expensive, though quality is very premium too, so can't complain much.

Started off with bevy of drinks, 

YOGI- Dates, Banana, Hazelnut, Almonds, Coconut Water, Cinnamon = Wholesome mix of some tasty ingredients, refreshing, would love to have it every day, want little bit more dates and coconut water flavor in there,

PINK LEMONADE - Lemonade and Cranberry came together to solve our sultry summer woes, looked beautiful, ultra refreshing,

MINT CUCUMBER ICED TEA - No explanation needed, refreshing, cooling, instantly transporting to heaven,

They customize the beverages as per YOUR taste profile, so do not forget to let them know how you like it, more/less sweet, more/less tangy and so on. 

Also, in food, we wanted to try more things so asked for smaller portions, AND whatever is described in the menu is exactly what is presented on the plate so read and decide (and ask the staff to suggest)

In salad, NUTTY FETA - Mixed Fresh Leaves, Walnuts, Feta, Pomegranate, Popped Amaranth, Olives in healthy Balsamic dressing, beautiful flavors, sweet + tangy deliciousness and popped amaranth was the boss :) A bit less leaves and more walnuts + feta would make it great,

In nibbles, we had AVO TOAST - Chunky fresh avocado, sauteed spinach, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese on toasted bread, MUST-HAVE for me, I am still salivating thinking about it! Delicious mix of some really healthy and strong flavors ♥

GUNPOWDER FRITTER - Lentil fritters tossed in gunpowder served with spicy tomato chutney, comforting south Indian touch to our meal, got exactly what was described in menu, 

BEAN TACOS - Crispy Tortilla Shells stuffed with beans, shredded lettuce, guacamole, salsa, sour cream and yellow cheddar, another comforting dish, cooling and refreshing, will definitely re-order ♥

In main course, AUBERGINE PARMIGIANA - Stacked aubergine disk, layered with an Italian style tomato sauce topped with parmesan cheese, served with garlic bread and house salad, absolutely delicious and MUST-HAVE for aubergine/eggplant lovers, portion must be increased though, I wanted more and this is main course item so that has to be looked into,

PANEER STEAK -Coconut Chilli paneer steak on a bed of spicy rice topped with house salad and popped amaranth, again beautiful flavors popping on palate, LOVED the paneer marination, but portion must be increased, 

Finally, for dessert, we had STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING - Baked Toffee Pudding, Sticky Toffee Sauce & Toasted Almond Ice Cream = Heaven! A boatload of caramel to drown into, it had dark flavors and enough quantity for 2 people to share (and this is coming from a dessert fanatic like me!). This is unlike any other dessert I have ever had and will be the one dish I will cross 7 seas for ♥♥♥

Since the whole concept is based around natural flavors, healthy ingredients, fresh food, obviously it tastes different at first but at the same time, there is a comforting touch and Indian twist. The best part is that the Chef herself takes feedback on every dish and was very gracious in taking all our tips. I am sure next time our experience will be even better. Love the place and no hesitation in recommending it to every foodie out there :)