Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Devjani's Corner: The Hills Are Alive...With A Sound of Silence

Winter is a wonderful time to visit the hills. And the hills of Kumaon remain my favorite destination that I admit am quite partial to!!! An easy getaway from the hubbub and pollution of Delhi I was pleasantly surprised to come across an equal number of enthusiastic travelers from Mumbai , Bangalore and even south east Asia..

For first time travelers to this part of Uttaranchal , Nainital, Bhimtal, Naukachia Tal, Sat Tal etc is a must do...  These places though very touristy still retain a charm and easy accessibility.

My trip this time was to go beyond these places and discover the new villages of Kumaon as the roads are good and motoring around is a delight.

Kathgodam is the base or the foo
thills... it's a 6 hr drive from Delhi, or take a morning Shatabdi (from Delhi) that reaches Kathgodam at 11.40 am .  From here the road forks to Nainital or Bhimtal.

Further to Bhimtal are interesting places to discover... 

Ghetia... Quaint houses amidst trees that are home to a variety of hill birds like the blue magpie.

Shyamkhet.. Sprawling tea gardens in the valley  promoted by Uttaranchal ... their green tea kept us going in the chilly weather. 

Gagar....a small village with a Shiv temple has one of the most spectacular views of the Himalayas...a full 180 degrees! To watch a sunrise on the Himalayas is one of the most enriching experiences. 

Ramgarh... The orchard bowl of Kumaon... It also has a Safal factory that cans fruits in season. Ramgarh also has the houses of Rabindranath Tagore and Mahashwetadevi Verma.

Parwada... An agricultural village  with picturesque step cultivation...however real estate developers are playing havoc to this place. 

Mukteshwar... The home to veterinary research .. It's height enables one to get another full view of the Himalayas. The IVRI (Indian Veterinary Research Institute) also maintains a thick forest belt that is a pleasure to drive through.

There are more places to discover.. Dahanachuli, Nathuakhan, Shitla, Hartaula, Almora, Binsar, Kausani, Pithoragarh and many more. But they have to wait.

Apart from the view and clean crisp air there is lots to do in the hills.
While on  a forest walk leading to nowhere , we found cottages hidden in between trees, fallen leaves in colors unimaginable, and temples at bends of roads. 

The Kumayonis are God loving people and every car has a bell hung above the drivers seat and our driver rang the bell whenever we passed a temple. 

The local cuisine is an eclectic blend of different kinds of pulses , locally grown vegetables and millet. These are being promoted by many NGOs working in this area. Maggi of course remains a hot roadside favorite!!

These places offer home-stays , hotels and resorts to fit in all kinds budgets.

I will be glad to assist anyone making plans to visit this area through this forum.

Devjani is a wife, mother, teacher, social worker, a gardening and cooking enthusiast, a globe trotter, a bundle of boundless energy and an extremely creative person. She loves to share easy recipes, ideas to keep kids creatively occupied, and a host of other tips and tricks around the home and beyond.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Lazy Girl's Guide: My Favourite Hair Products of 2015

Hey All!

Let's do a quick review of my favourite hair  products. I'm not too fussy about hair care, but long, thick, dark hair has always been a dream. However, the 'thick part never happened for my hair, so I have settled for healthy hair! 

Let's Start with hair oil... I've absolutely loved the Kama Ayurveda Brigandi Intensive Hair Treatment Oil! It has really helped with my long-standing dandruff and hair-loss issues. It has really emerged as my holy grail of hair oils!

MRP: INR 515/- 

As for my favourite shampoo of the year, Kerastase Elixir K Ultime Sublime Cleansing Oil Shampoo won hands down!  I got a delux 50 ml sample in one of My Envy Boxes, and I have been sold on it since! It is gentle yet cleanses grimy hair easily! The price is definitely on the steeper side, but worth it!
MRP: INR 2600/- for 250 ml

I have an oily scalp but my hair shaft is dry, so Elixir Ultime Oleo-Complexe Beautifying Oil Masque
 was really a boon! Again, I got a delux sample in My Envy Box and have been in love ever since!
MRP: INR 5400/- for 200 ml

Elixir Ultime Oleo-Complexe Beautifying Oil Masque (For All Hair Types) 200ml/6.8oz 
Finally, to the hair serum/Leave-in-Conditioner. My favourite this year is 

ROOTS PROFESSIONAL MOROCVITA OIL. It is an excellent product to use on dry or damp hair. It leaves my hair looking shiny and healthy. A little foes a long way, just two drops are enough for my hair.

MRP: INR 2000/- for 120 ml

Roots Professional Morocvita Oil
I must mention one more product in this post, Garnier Fructis Oil-in-Cream. I won't say its a brilliant product, but it has definitely helped me out of a spot on occasion. Especially when I'm travelling and find it difficult to carry a hair oil, conditioner and leave in serum. This tube works as my hair oil before a hair wash, and a leave in conditioner/serum, after. 
MRP: INR 60/- for 100gms

Garnier Fructis Oil-In-Cream

So, this was a list of my favourite hair products in 2015. What does your list look like? Let me know in the comments section below.

Think and Stay Beautiful!

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Lazy Girl's Guide: 10 Best Budget Makeup Products of 2015

Hello All!

Its the countdown to bid 2015 adieu..  So a quick round-up of 10 of my favourite Make-Up products of 2015. I love budget products so that's what I'll talk about in this post. However, they do not follow any particular order.

1. Faces Magneteyes Kajal in Black is a brilliant product. Smudge proof, soft application, and the best part, the tip does not break off!
MRP: INR 175/-

Faces Magneteyes Kajal (Lasts All Day) - Black

2. Maybelline The Colossal Liner (Eyeliner Pen) was another great eye product. I don't like gel liners since the applicator brush needs cleaning after every use, and i am a 'Lazy Girl'. So this Eyeliner pen was a god-send! Great and easy application even for beginners!
MRP: INR 425/-

Maybelline The Colossal Liner - Black

3. Maybelline  Volum Express Falsies Mascara Washable is another great product from the brand. It gives good volume and length to the lashes,without clumping.And I personally prefer washable eye products, mainly due to ease of cleansing.

MRP: INR 500/-

Maybelline Volum Express Falsies Mascara - Black Washable

4. Spawake Moisture Fresh BB Cream is a new addition to the BB/CC Cream market in India and is creating quite a buzz. I'm enjoying applying it too. Its quite moisturising but not too oily and I've noticed, it does not oxidise on my skin, so there is this nice soft glow on my face through the day.
MRP: INR 129/- for 15 gms

5. MakeUp Revolution Eye Shadow Pallettes are quite popular this time. I have two pallettes, Redemption Hot Smoked and Iconic 2 and I have enjoyed using both pallettes immensely through this year!
MRP: INR 1050/-
Makeup Revolution Redemption Palette
6. Sugar Matt as Hell Lip Crayon has created so much buzz, and rightly so! Great matte shades that do not dry out your lips. And get you compliments!
MRP: INR 799/-

Sugar Matte As Hell Crayon Lipstick
7. Maybelline Color Show Go Graffiti Nail Polish was really fun! A great product for nail art beginners! I enjoyed using them too!
MRP: INR 145/-

Maybelline Color Show Go Graffiti Nail Polish

8. Maybelline Cheeky Glow Blush was introduced in 2014, but it still remains my favourite blush! Available in 3 shades to suit a wide range of Indian skin tones, It has remained one of the most popular products this ear too!
MRP: INR 275/-

Maybelline Cheeky Glow Blush

9. ColorBar Deep Matte Lip Creme is a dupe for NYX Lip Butters and I absolutely adored this product. It never really became matte but settled a lovely cream finish. Another great product this year!
MRP: INR 675/-

10. Maybelline Clean Express Total Clean MakeUp Remover was an absolute revelation! It is a bi-phased product, great for cleansing stubborn eye and lip makeup! Great stuff!! 
MRP: INR 300/-

Maybelline Clean Express Total Clean Makeup Remover

That completes 2015's roundup of my favourite make-up products. What have your favourites been this year? Share your list in the comments box below..

Think and Stay Beautiful!

My Envy Box: December 2015 Edition

Hello All!

With this post, I should be able to catch up on most of my pending posts..

My Envy Box came in for a lot of flack for their November selection. Especially since their October Box was spectacular! So how did My Envy Box fare this month? Let's find out...

I really liked the festive Box this moth celebrating winters and Christmas!

I think, this time My Envy Box team has taken heed of customer dissatisfaction and has give two full size make up products from Catrice,  an Eye liner Pen and Nail Polish.

Ananda Light Moisturiser for Normal and Dry Skin
Product Price: INR 1350 for 50 gms
Sample Size in Box: 10 gms

Ananda in the Himalayas have some really great products and this moisturiser is no exception. I am already using and loving it!

Bioderma Photoderm AKN Mat with SPF 30
Product Price: 1400/- for 40 ml
Product Size in Box: 2x 5ml

A respected brand in Europe and USA, I have been using their Micellar Cleansing water for sometime now. And I'm not complaining about this product in the bag. Though I will have to save it till summers to use it, since my skin is a bit dry due to the winter season.

O3+ Whitening Mask
Product Price: INR 775/- for 50 ml
Sample Size in Box: 10 ml

I've definitely seen this brand but I have never used any of their products. Let's see how this fares on my skin...

Catrice Ultimate Nail Laquer in Get the Blues
Product Price: INR 445/- for 10 ml
Sample Size in Box: Full Size

This Nail colour is a pretty peacock blue, but needs at least 3 coats to give a 'close to opaque' finish. An Ok product, in my opinion.

Catrice Multi Style Matt EyeLiner Pen
Product Price: INR 660/- 
Sample Size in Box: Full Size

I have come to really like Eye Liner pens because of its ease of use. So this was definitely a welcome product in the Box. What I must tell you is that this pen has a very interesting shape. But more about that in a review post...

Value of the December Box: INR 1880/-. So over 2x the price of the Box

Overall Verdict: It is definitely an improvement over the disappointing show from last month. The redeeming points are the Eyeliner and Ananda Moisturiser. Hopefully, My Envy Box will move ahead from here!

My Envy Box is a subscription service which brings you 5 trial sized beauty products (typically 2ml-10ml) from the top international luxury and prestige brands delivered to your door step every month. Priced at INR 850/- for a month, it may be subscribed for 3, 6, or 12 months. You may subscribe to this service HERE

Think and Stay Beautiful!

Saturday, 26 December 2015

What's In My FabBag: December 2015 Edition

Hey All!

How are your holidays shaping up? Are you travelling for the vacations? Or are you enjoying at home? As for me, I'm catching up on my blog posts.

This post is of course much , much delayed, since I got this moth's FabBag by the 6th. But, better late than never', I say.

Sugar Matte as Hell Lip Crayon in Poison Ivy
Product Price: INR 799/-
Sample Size in Bag: Full Size

Everyone has been talking about this Lip Crayons, so I was thrilled to get this in my December FabBag. I've already worn it a couple of times and I love it! FabBag has thoughtfully added a sharpener too! Watch out for a detailed review.

Kronokare The Frizz Kiss Cooling Explosion Lip Balm
Product Price: INR 95/-
Sample Size in Bag: Full Size

Another great product from Kronokare! The product contains camphor which leads to this cooling explosion on your lips. The product is great for dry winter-chapped lips!

Lever Ayush Therapy Dandruff Naashak Shampoo
Product Price: INR 325/- for 200 ml
Sample Size in Bag: 5ml

I am not so sure about this product in the bag. Most anti dandruff shampoos generally dry out my hair too much. We'll have to see whether this is any different.

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Cleansing Solution
Product Price: INR 860/- for 250 ml
Sample Size in Bag: 10 ml

This is a really good cleansing solution that I have enjoyed using over the past few months. 

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Body Lotion
Product Price: INR 425/- for 250 ml
Sample Size in Bag: 50 ml

It is a really great product! I love the sample size too. It fits in my hand bag and i can mosturise my hands whenever they feel a bit dry.

Value of this month's FabBag: INR 1030/- (approx.) Not baaad!

Overall Verdict: Its a nice party Bag with a lovely Lip Crayon, balm, Cleansing Solution and Body Lotion... to take care of glamourous looks and after party skin care... Great way to end 2015!

FabBag is a monthly subscription service starting at INR 399/-. Each month's bag contains 3-5 products from national and international brands ranging from drugstore to luxury. Product sizes range from small sample sizes to full size. To join this service click HERE.

Think and Stay Beautiful!

Empties Post: December 2015

Hey Everyone!

I know, I have been missing in action for over a month! Well life happens and I was sooooo busy, I hardly had time to breathe. I was travelling, hosting, correcting and grading… in short running around like a headless chicken.

So here I am with a long overdue post on Empties. This edition is mainly about samples that I have emptied. So here goes…

Kama Ayurveda Rejuvenating and Brightening Ayurvedic Night Cream was an absolute favourite! Kama Ayurveda products are generally good, and this one is no exception. Though, it was just a  5gm sample pack it lasted me a good two weeks. Almost from the 2nd application, I had friends complimenting me on my skin looking much improved. I have already ordered a full sized product and am waiting for delivery.

Vivel Cell Renew Fortify + Repair Hand Crème has nothing special to write home about. It is just like any other hand cream. There is nothing bad about it, however, it has not prompted me to ditch my other hand creams in its favour. It did relieve dryness after hand washing. So it did its work as expected.

Just Herbs Rejuvenating Beauty Elixir Facial Serum: I had read a couple of reviews of this product and some bloggers had raved about this product. But, frankly, I did not really notice any change on my facial skin on its application. So its not something I’ll repurchase.

Vert Fresh Cucumber and Mint Face Scrub Was something I enjoyed using. I loved the fact that the scrub was soft and not hard and abrasive on my skin. The product left my skin feeling clean and fresh. A definite 'buy again' product. For a detailed review of this product click HERE

Kronokare Carribean Ginger Shower Gel and Body Lotion was brilliant! why do I love it so much? Click HERE to find out!

That's it, for this month's empties....

Think and stay Beautiful!

Friday, 4 December 2015

Devjani's Corner (Cook With Me):Gushtaba (Meat Balls in a Yogurt Sauce)

Hello Friends!

It's time for some non-vegetarian recipe this time... Gushtaba is one of the most easily recognized Kashmiri dishes. It is cooked on special occasions like weddings and festivals. 

This a simple to-do-at-home recipe of Gushtaba... It also adds a different colour to the table.

 (Stock Image)

For the Meat BallsYou will need: 

  1. 1/2 kg chicken mince, 
  2. 2 tsp jeera powder, 
  3. 2 tsp fennel powder, 
  4. black cardamom ground ,
  5. green chillies, 
  6. garlic paste ,
  7. One Egg
  8.  salt to taste
  9.  some malai/ cream or oil


Mix all the ingredients given above and keep aside for 15 mins. Grind in a blender till smooth. Wet your hands to make balls out of this mixture. Keep aside.

For the Gravy You Will Need:

  1. Whisk I cup curd with 1 cup water in a blender add salt,
  2. 1 tsp ginger paste, 
  3. 1 tsp fennel powder, 
  4. green and black cardamom powder, 
  5. cinnamon broken into small pieces
  6.  oil.


  1. Mix all the ingredients.
  2. Bring mixture to boil stirring whisking constantly so that it doesn't curdle.
  3.  While boiling drop the koftas one by one, gradually. 
  4. Boil for only 2-5 mins till done ... Test by piercing a fork through.
  5. Garnish with ghee and mint leaves. If gravy is too thin add maida/flour paste (mixed with water) to thicken.

Note: With mutton keema, follow the same process, add little papaya piece to the mince and let it stand for one hour. Cooking time will be longer since it s a tougher meat than chicken.

What do you think of this recipe? Do try it and let us know how you liked this dish.

Think and Stay Beautiful!

Devjani is a wife, mother, teacher, social worker, a gardening and cooking enthusiast, a globe trotter, a bundle of boundless energy and an extremely creative person. She loves to share easy recipes, ideas to keep kids creatively occupied, and a host of other tips and tricks around the home and beyond.