Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Book Review - Immigrants by Sam Boyd

Price -  $ 4.99 

Pages  - 346 

Genre  - Drama, Fiction, Suspense

About The Author Sam Boyd - Sam Boyd is the author of the Jack Turner Series.Sam has traveled the world as a consultant and seen the dark underworld of big cities and the hardships and exploitation of the poor firsthand during his travels. After his retirement he took up writing which had always been his passion.He is now settled with his partner in  Laem Mae Phim on the coast in Rayong Thailand.


The Book - The Book ' Immigrants -Taken for a Ride ' takes us along the tumultuous journey of Kasim, his wife Sabine and their two young children -little Lia who suffers from Tuberculosis and needs to be on regular medicines to survive and the resilient Manal who bears it all without ever complaining,when they try to escape the civil war and mass killings in Sudan in the hope of getting a better life in England.

It is a well written book that reveals the pain and anguish that illegal immigrants suffer.Since they are illegal migrants they do not have a voice and at every stop in the journey they are gradually stripped off their money and humanity ultimately even bereft of any dignity and hope of survival.

Irrespective of age and gender,be it young boys or girls or adults,they are subjected to merciless torture, gang rapes and even sold as slaves  when they cannot pay for the onward journey.Those who survive the torture, perish at sea when they are loaded in hundreds like cargo on dinghies without enough food,water or warmth and left to their fate to fend for themselves.Only the very lucky or tenacious ones can make it to land and a new life but by that time their spirit is too broken and the loved ones are gone for whose better future they left their homeland in the first place.

Thankfully the hard hitting story ends in a happy ending with Sir Jack turner from the Special Forces pitching in to the rescue in a dramatic twist.

Unfortunately real life is not so rosy!

Nevertheless the action and suspense helps in alleviating the sadness and rage you feel when reading about the plight of people being sold or butchered like cattle or forced into sex slavery.

With so many Indians too trying to get a green card to America in search for better employment, this book struck an emotional cord with me.Maybe such books will highlight the plight of these unfortunate people tricked by fate and preyed upon by mafia and help in getting them a better future.

PECIAL OFFER - My  readers can avail of a special offer and get  this book at a whopping 50% discount on the cover price of $4.99 when they go to the  webpage: https://payhip.com/b/o7xe and use this discount code: 31GZGR1MOK   

Monday, 18 March 2019

Charming Silk Sarees for the Blushing Indian Bride

An Indian bride’s wedding day is that one day, wherein she looks forward to displaying the perfect vision of charming grace, refined elegance and glowing beauty via her attire, clothing accessories and makeup! Towards this end, she will go for a pure silk saree as her traditional outfit. Here are some of the most popular choices amongst bridal sarees.

 With Love, from Kanchipuram

People refer to the magnificent sarees arriving from the town of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, as Kanjeevaram silks too. They are available in vibrant hues, soft and smooth to the touch, splendorous in their innovative designs created from pure zari threads and opulent in appearance.
To illustrate, if you are a South Indian bride, visualise how you will look if you opt for a combination of hues, such as purple, green and pink on both, the body and the pallu!

A matching blouse, elaborate hairdo studded with flowers and beautiful gold jewellery suffice to complete the picture! Another trend that has found a large number of fans is the adoption of a dual tone for this pure silk saree. For instance, pink and orange are extremely compatible, specifically if small-sized zari butties in shimmering gold are add-ons across the length and breadth of the saree.
Then again, if you are high on tradition, you might like the usual motifs in floral and geometric patterns showing up through glorious zari work. In fact, it is possible to view a misty finish to the pure silk background. This keeps the saree stain-proof and death-proof!
In contrast, if you prefer to be subdued in your choice of colours, you may go for a pure silk saree in off-white. Just ensure that the saree is embellished all over. Traditional patterns, large-sized and charming motifs, zari, etc, should do.

The Flavour of Banaras

A Banaras silk saree captures everyone’s attention wherever it is on display, thanks to its rich shimmer, superb design and embellishments, and purity in fabric and decorations! Therefore, you can have no reason to reject this pure silk saree, despite it being slightly heavy in nature!
Similar to Kanjivaram sarees, every Banaras silk saree also exhibits vivid and vivacious hues on the body, border and pallu. Since it is for a wedding trousseau, you may opt for royal blues, teal blues, etc. These handloom-woven garments will always make you look elegantly graceful and regal!


Miscellaneous Pattu Sarees

‘Pattu’ is a common term in the southern part of India, whereby women are referring to silk sarees. Towards this end, the Samudrika pattu saree is a glorious combination of the traditional and the contemporary. You should be able to avail it in blazing red, shining gold, beautiful pink, feisty blue, deep maroon, etc, all in diverse mix-and-match patterns.
Then again, you may opt for a Vastrakala pattu specimen. You will be astounded by the bewitching hand embroidery patterns (traditional and floral motifs) presented by skilful weavers. Apart from the royal design showing up on the pallu, you get to see examples of stonework, zardosi, sequin work, Cut Dana, etc, too. Are you partial towards combinations of green and deep magenta? Do ensure that it portrays an elegant-looking pallu and a patch border too!

Bailu silk is always brilliant in its appearance. You should not be surprised to find hot combinations of deep pink and brilliant orange, bright red and lustrous yellow, etc. Intricate zari phulkari is a specialty of this saree, with its large-sized border.


Bridal silks are available in innovative prints and patterns. They suffice to suit all skin tones and complexions. However, Kanchipuram silks and Banaras silks continue to rule even today.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

How to lose weight with a Vegetarian Keto Diet

Image courtesy -Pexels.com

The Keto diet for vegetarians

Believe it or not, a vegetarian diet is the rage today, as more and more people have started to
believe that a vegetarian diet is the healthiest. Studies have also backed up the theory and
proved that a vegetarian diet helps in reducing chances of some prevalent diseases like
diabetes, hypertension and heart ailments more than a diet that contains non-vegetarian foods.
In the case of a ketogenic diet or a keto diet, it has been found to be more effective than a
vegetarian one and has been found to aid against the severity of several chronic diseases
like PCOS, Alzheimer’s, Certain types of cancers, type 2 diabetes, epilepsy and more. But,
what if you are a vegetarian and want to reap the benefits of a keto diet?

Is it possible to follow a Vegetarian Ketogenic Diet?

Yes,it is definitely possible to follow a Vegetarian Keto diet by keeping some things in mind while chalking out the diet plan.

What is a Keto Diet ?

The Keto diet works on the formula of ketosis. A state where the body derives its much
needed energy from the fats and not carbohydrates. Hence, the diet required you to source
your 80 to 90% of your daily calories need from fats, 5 to 10% from proteins and 5 to 10%
from carbohydrates. In a normal diet we all derive the daily calorie need primarily  from
The meat has no role to play in a Vegetarian Keto Diet, the focus is entirely on the fat intake.
So,where will get these fats come from?

Let's handle this all important component of a Vegetarian Keto Diet first – the fat.

Image courtesy -Pexels.com

Nuts and seeds are classic examples of bounty of healthy fats and proteins. But, also at the same time
there are certain nuts that are rich in carbs too, hence you need to be very careful in choosing
the right ones.
Here are some high-fat and low-carb options in nuts :
  1. Walnuts
  2. Brazil nuts
  3. Macademia nuts
  4. Almonds
  5. Peanuts
  6. Chia and Flax seeds

Apart from nuts, you get healthy fats from oils too. Always prefer to go for a cold-pressed
one as it is the the healthiest method of getting one. Some great examples of good fat sources of oils are :
  1. Avocado Oil
  2. Flax seed oil
  3. Olive Oil
  4. Coconut Oil

Dairy is another option that people look towards to, but at the same time being high in fat, it
is high in protein also, and hence you cannot go for it in full throttle. Instead, it is better to
look for and include non-dairy options like:
  1. Cocoa Butter
  2. Olives
  3. Avocados
  4. Coconut Cream
Now that we know how to source the fats you need for a vegetarian keto diet ,the next component of the diet is -Proteins. While your animal protein source is cut out, you will have to depend on
plant-based proteins and there are plenty of good options:
Tempeh - http://zachspuckler.com/

  1. Tempeh - A fermented form of soybeans made into a cake form.
  2. Natto - A fermented soybean product served with soy sauce, Karashi mustard and Japanese bunching onion.
  3. Nuts and seeds
  4. Nutritional yeast
  5. Nut based  unsweetened yogurt
    Wikipedia - Natto with Karashi mustard
The last but not the least, you will also require carbohydrates, it has to be healthy and vegetarian source that should contain a good amount of healthy fibre too to keep you full and metabolism working. Here is a list of some carbohydrate rich fruits and vegetables for vegetarian Keto Diet Followers :
  1. Spinach
  2. Kale
  3. Lettuce
  4. Green Beans
  5. Asparagus 
  6. Broccoli
  7. Cucumber
  8. Cauliflower 
  9.  Bell peppers
  10. Onions
  11. Mushrooms
  12. Berries 
Tofu and Bell peppers are a good option for Vegan Keto Diet

What about the different types of vegetarians and what can they do?

As in the other category, there are many types of vegetarian followers – from the ones who
are very strict to the ones who are more liberal. Let’s know them and how can they manage
with Keto diet.
1.The Vegans: are those vegetarians who do not consumes any sort of animal based or
animal related products, even dairy or honey. They are entirely dependent on plant
based foods.
2.The Pescatarians: apart from being vegetarian, they eat dairy, eggs and seafoods also.
This is not a fully vegetarian type and also does not pose any threat to deficiencies as
thorough the sources that happily get all that the body needs.
3.The lacto-ovo Vegetarians: these type eats dairy and eggs and avoids seafood fish,
poultry and meat. It is the most common type of vegetarian people in most of the
4.The Lacto Vegetarians: these types apart from vegetarian sources only takes dairy and
avoids all other types of food. It is the most common type of vegetarian in India.

Which type of Vegetarian style works best with keto diet?

Contrary to popular misconception, Keto Diet is possible with all types of vegetarians, but it is best for the ones that can incorporate more of food groups, so that a wider selection can be enjoyed.
As per experts,
Keto does not go well with vegetarians because of the proteins.
We all need proteins with all essential amino acids – and most of which the body cannot
produce by itself and has to be supplied to the body through foods. And more importantly,
animal sources provides all the essential amino acids and plant sources provide only a
few amino acids.
Since, all plant foods are not the same and have different levels and types of amino acids,
vegetarians have to rely on a thoughtful combination of grains, legumes, nuts and seeds to get
all the essential amino acids.
One of the best example of Vegetarian Keto diet s the Eco-Keto, which is a low carb diet,
based entirely on plant food sources- it not only contains lesser carbs, but also includes
grains and provides the body with the right dosage of proteins and carbs needed for a
Ketogenic diet plan.
Image courtesy -Pexels.com

The 5 steps of rocking a Ketogenic Vegetarian Diet

1.Make sure that you eat at least 3 servings of vegetables throughout the day.
2.Always choose to use only healthy options of cooking oil and salad dressing.
3. Instead of salt, try to use herbs and spices to flavour your dishes and salads.
4. Restrict your carbohydrate intake.
5. Must not only focus entirely on healthy fats – ensure protein sources also.
6.Vegetarians on the maximum rely on grains and legumes for their source of nutrients. When
your food intake is restricted in a diet, specially in the case of a keto diet and vegetarian, ensure that
the body gets adequate quantity of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc,
magnesium and B vitamins.

I wish to thank Dt. Ashu Gupta for her contribution and inputs towards this article.

Ms. Ashu Gupta is the founder of "Ashu Gupta’s Diet Clinic " and an acclaimed dietitian and
nutritionist. Her desire to see people around her live a life full of good health and happiness
made her pursue a career in food, health and nutrition. She staunchly believes that healthy
living is not about just eating plain and tasteless foods or following strict guidelines with a
lot of restrictions, but it is about enjoying life to the fullest with certain lifestyle modifications
and enjoying all the good foods.

Dt. Ashu Gupta
She is an active member of Indian Diabetic Association and has been appraised for her
contributions by being conferred with the Best Dietician Award and Developing Country Sponsorship Award at Lulfost 17th World Congress on Food Science and Technology at Montreal, CANADA.

She not only suggests and designs diets for people, but helps them make practical changes and
modifications in their daily lifestyle while making dieting an enjoyable experience through her motto 'Food From Your Own Kitchen '.

You may also like to read these posts on nutrition

1.Why Protinex with Hydrolysed Protein is good for you
2. All you need to know about Vitamin E and #Evion supplements
3. Know more about the New Honey Diet

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Miniso Lifebloom Perfume EDT - A Pocket Friendly Fragrance

MINISO - MINISO is a designer brand based in Japan.It was co-founded by the dynamic duo of a  Japanese designer Miyake Junya and a young Chinese Entrepreneur Ye Guofu.


The USP of the brand MINISO  is "intelligent consumer products".The brand ensures freshness of its appeal by updating products every seven days and keeping the prices low keeping in mind the needs of its young consumers.The products include creative home and  kitchenware, office supplies, storage solutions, digital accessories, fashion accessories, skincare products and cosmetics etc.


Price - Rs 250 for 0.5 Fl Oz or 15 ml

Packaging - This fragrance comes in a cute little transparent cuboid glass bottle with a spray top. The top is nice and sturdy and this is slim enough to carry in your handbag or while travelling.


1. Pocket friendly price 
2. Literally pocket friendly in size too, I love small sizes that can be carried along for feeling fresh          and fragrant through out the day
3. It has a pleasing floral and refreshing ,elegant fragrance - I could smell jasmine, some candy notes      and some green notes too.

The best thing about Miniso perfumes is the compact size

Miniso is known for intelligent  consumer products.
This EDT is affordable and has universal appeal

What I did not like about MINISO LIFEBLOOM PERFUME

1. Reminds me of room fresheners
2. The uni-dimensional character of the fragrance .
3. Stays for a maximum of 1-2 hours
4. Only available in Miniso Stores

FINAL VERDICT - I am partial to florals and this is a floral perfume but it retains the same character throughout which does not appeal to me.At this price I cannot complain about the staying power but then it is compact enough to carry along so one can always spray after 1-2 hours.

My rating is 3/5

Besides this perfume,I also got a laundry bag, a hat and some socks for myself.
Have you shopped from Miniso ? What do you like about shopping here ?

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation NC 40

I have not been much of a make up person especially when it comes to foundations,but I am not blessed with flawless skin so it becomes a necessity when going for events and functions.I was quite satisfied with using the usual  Lakme or Maybelline Fit me range which seemed to cater to my skin tone but after a spate of acne,I felt the need for a foundation that gives better coverage and also suited my sensitive acne prone skin.
So I decided to try the much hyped MAC studio Fix Fluid foundation.
Here is my review of this product :
Price -Rs 2700 /30 ml ( Yes it is expensive !)

Presentation - In a sturdy transparent plastic bottle with a black twist on black rubber cap.No pump is given , you can purchase a separate pump, which only makes it pricier , so better to use a brush.


This foundation comes in , NC (neutral cool to cancel out the warm undertones ) and NW (Neutral Warm to add warmth to Cool undertones).

The Sales Assistant ,matched my complexion with the shade NC 40. He was also pretty brusque in dealing with our queries. I felt he was using the brush quite roughly while blending as it was hurting me but I did not complain as I felt he was the expert. The next day my skin was cracked and peeling in places and too about 2-3 days to become normal.

I felt that the foundation was probably not right for my skin but my  friend luckily happened to be testing the same shade with me that day and reported no problems.

In hindsight, I feel that the acne treatment that I was using could have made my skin more sensitive and liable to damage because when I reapplied the foundation gently,I had no problems at all.


NC 40 is a Medium Beige with Golden Peach Undertones for Medium Skin with warm undertones.

I was advised to prepare my face by first cleansing the face and using a moisturiser (specially in winters) followed by a primer (Prep and Prime by MAC ) and then use a foundation blush to use the foundation.One can stipple and blend with a brush or a use a beauty blender.The foundation should be applied in downwards motions and not upwards .
Once blended well,one can go on to use concealer,blush, highlighter etc.

            MAC NC 40 is great for warm medium skin tones,it looks lighter here but on blending ,
matches well with my skin tone.Also my hands are darker than my face so it is a good idea to 
    always try the foundation on your face and not on the back of your hand 
1. Spreads easily
2. Good coverage , can easily hide acne marks and pigmentation
3. Gives a matte finish
4. Has SPF 15
5.Long wearing
6.Does not oxidise after few hours
7.I have combination skin and it neither made me break, nor made my skin dry despite the matte   finish ,nor turned greasy .
8. Large number of shades (cool and warm) to pick up from very fair to very dark complexion
9. Does not cake
10.Does not cause or worsen acne

  Left - Before MAC NC 40  Right -After using Moisturiser & MAC NC 40
You can see how nicely it provides medium to full coverage 

1. Very pricey compared to Maybelline and Lakme and other drug store brands
2. Available online or at MAC stores (Shoppers Stop)
3. At this price it does not give any added benefits like Vit E or acne care

FINAL VERDICT - I am pretty happy with the coverage but I wish for a dewy finish , this gives a matte finish which is fine for summers but in winters this may look dry.So far I am happy with this product, it delivers even tone coverage and except for one big blemish which I was able to hide later with a concealer and corrector, it is able to hide pigmentation and acne marks.It did not give me any breakouts and  was comfortable to wear.

I rate it a 4/5

I might not buy it again as I would love to try something that gives a smoother finish.
I am thinking of trying Bare Minerals or Dior or Maybelline Fit Me once again but with proper concealer .

Do you use foundation ?
If yes ,which is your HG foundation ?

Comment below and let me know :)