Saturday, 11 January 2020

Book Review - World Travel In a Low Budget

Price - Rs 220/-
Pages  - 126
Language - Available in English and Kannada
Genre - Travel Guide
Available on - Amazon.in and Notionpress

About The Author - Shrinidhi Hande


Shrinidhi Hande is an IT professional and has been travelling all over the world and writing blogs about travel at www.enidhi.net for quite a few years.His USP is a great sense of humour, practical tips and simple language.

About the Book -World Travel in a Low Budget


                                                 

World Travel or travelling to foreign countries seems like an intimidating task what with the various procedures including getting visa and health clearances and of course difference in food and culture and most important of all - the cost of travel.Most travel websites and tourist companies provide consolidated all inclusive packages that seem convenient but what if I told you that you can make that journey in half of that amount if you plan the journey on your own.This book helps you do that- plan your own journey while slashing your travel budget.

Shrindhi, through his own travels,breaks the myth that international travel is only for the super rich or corporate Honchos.




A common and and simple man himself, Shrinidhi, in this book goes on to add tips and tricks on saving money that may not have been shared before by other travelers.

The book ,in its clearly demarcated different chapters, gives information about how to get Visa , How to book cheap flights to your destination, tips about how to save money when eating out in a foreign country etc..He also shares how to stay safe and avoid risks while traveling or things that can land you into trouble while in a foreign land.

All the information here is first hand and genuine, I can say this as I have been  personally following his blogs and journeys closely.

Negatives of the Book


No glossy pictures - Pictures add to the experience and instill more confidence in a book.
I was expecting a country wise break up rather than a general guide , but on the positive side, the knowledge that Shrinidhi shares,is gleaned from his own experiences,so it is very truthful,practical and utilitarian.

Final Verdict  


This is a must read book if you are planning or even dreaming of an International trip , it is guaranteed to save you a lot of money on your travel.A book not only to be read but also to be kept as a referral guide.

I rate it a 5/5


Monday, 6 January 2020

Jacob's Creek Classic Chardonnay 2018

This was the third time I had tried this wine but the first time I am writing down a review.I find it on the bar menu of a lot of Indian restaurants.

The Brand 

Jacob's Creek is one of the most renowned wineries in Australia offering good quality wines with a contemporary flavour and bearing strong varietal expressions. Named after the creek which crosses the famous Barossa valley, this winery founded in 1976,has a 165 years old wine making tradition behind it.


                                                       
  


The Grape 

Chardonnay is the world's most famous white-wine grape and also one of the most widely planted grape.Though the grape from Burgundy and California is traditionally considered the best in quality, Chardonnay wines produced in Italy, Australia, New Zealand and parts of South America are also getting a respectable following for their contemporary taste and easy palates. 


                                                      

Type: Barrel Aged white wine
Producer: Jacobs Creek
Wine region: Southern Australia (Australia)
Grape varieties: Chardonnay
Bottle:750 ml
Vintage :2018
Price : Rs 1200 approx.

Alcohol content: 12.5%
                                                       

Tasting Notes

                                                               

 

Colour: This Chardonnay has a bright clean Straw yellow colour

Nose - The aroma is decidedly Fruity with strong Melon and yellow stone fruits followed by toasty  notes at the end courtesy the ageing in Oak barrels.

Palate: On the palate this wine felt well rounded, Medium bodied and had a vibrant citrus and Melony taste , teases with its well pronounced acidity.Tastes best at 10-12 degree C.

Finish  - Medium

Food Pairing

I was at a Barbeque and I felt this wine paired well with white fish ,chicken,creamy pasta,salads with soft cheese ,white button mushrooms and smoked cottage cheese.

FINAL VERDICT 

The Jacob's Creek Classic Chardonnay is an affordable and easy drinking,well rounded ,medium bodied wine that can be paired very well with most Indian foods.

I score it a 3.8/5


Saturday, 4 January 2020

Book Review - How to be a Likeable Bigot

Price - Rs 299/- , Kindle version - Rs 188/-
Pages - 192
Genre - Humour ,Satire ,Essays
                                                                     

                                                       

Cover Design 

I love the Bright Sky Blue cover designed by Neelima P.Aryan which immediately gives a light hearted feel and sets the mood for some light reading.

About The Author 


Naomi Datta is a creative director , presenter and writer with a number of leading channels.She  has authored the thriller "The 6 P.M. Slot "which was well received.

What I loved about this Book


As the book's description goes - this book is a fresh and witty take on life today.In today's world of Social media and Selfies , where what you are and what you actually do is overshadowed by what you showcase to the world,this is a survival guide on how to score without really putting in too much effort.
The book is a compilation of 15 essays and a look at the titles is enough to make you laugh out loud
Here are the titles :
1.How to contribute nothing to Team meetings and not let anyone Catch on
2.How To make Your Resume work harder Than you
3. How to spend all your time on Social Media and yet give the illusion of productivity
4. How to be a gainfully employed freeloader etc. etc

My favourite one was "Mummy politics for the Dummy" where the author shares hacks to survive the Mummy Whats app groups. It struck a cord somewhere where as a Mom sometimes we feel inadequate when compared to the Creative Hipster mommies or the Alpha stay at home Moms  , the Yoga Moms who have it all .Naomi's humorous survival tips somehow even made sense in their non-sense !I also was in splits when reading '' How to contribute nothing to Team meetings and not let anyone Catch on ".

To be honest many of the hacks suggested are genuinely helpful tips and hacks .She also in a back handed way makes you feel that it is completely OK to be normal, moderate ,general ,non achiever - in short human !
This book will cater to all ages and sexes but I think more to to young adults in the age group 25-40 years.


What did not go well with this book


1. The language is difficult, in every page you might come across 2-5 words which may need looking up in the dictionary for normal folks like me.So I was quite happy that this book comes in a kindle version too where looking up difficult words is easy.
2.Though I loved the word play and the cutting wit , it becomes a bit too stretched at some places in "How to be  The Kangaroo Dad ".

FINAL VERDICT 


I loved and recommend this book , I am sure this is going to be an all time best seller and another feather in Naomi Datta's multi-faceted cap.

Sunday, 15 December 2019

PALM OIL AND ITS MANY BENEFITS

There was a time we Indians used natively grown Mustard Oil ,Ground nut Oil ,Coconut and Palm Oil for most of our cooking needs , but this changed gradually and now the market is seeing a predominance of Sunflower oil ,Soy Bean and palm oil because of a lot of factors coming into play mainly inadequate production that fails to meet the burgeoning demands of our exploding population.

The focus of this article is Palm Oil because this is the cheapest Oil available in the market.Even though it is cheap , it has been hit by controversies some of them now proven baseless.

WHAT IS PALM OIL AND WHAT ARE ITS USES


Palm oil comes from the fleshy fruit of oil palms (Elaeis guineensis ).The palm fruit yields two types of oil, one from the fruit and other from the nutty kernel. Both have different nutritional characteristics.The Palm oil that comes from the palm fruit, is completely cholesterol free. Moreover it has a saturated fat content of 50% as compared to coconut oil which has 85% so it is healthier than coconut oil.

Unrefined palm oil is sometimes referred to as red palm oil because of its reddish-orange color.
Malaysia is the largest producer of Palm oil.

                                               
Oil Palms with fruitlets 

Because of its low price,easy availability,staying semi-solid at room temperature and stability at high temperatures - it is widely used in the food industry in breakfast cereals ,baked goods like bread, cookies and muffins,Protein bars and diet bars,Chocolate,Coffee creamers and Margarine.

Palm oil is also used in the cosmetics industry in making lipsticks,Cold creams,conditioners etc.
It has in the last few decades been used as a Bio-fuel too.

WHAT ARE THE CONTROVERSIES AROUND PALM OIL USAGE ?

                                  
1.Pam oil has about 50% Saturated fatty acids (Palmitic acid) because of which  palm oil was considered bad for the heart till few years back.But recent studies have shown that Palm Oil is actually healthy as besides the saturated fats it is rich in heart healthy unsaturated fats too thus making it a a healthy cooking medium.

2.The Palm oil plantations, typically mono culture crops are under increasing scrutiny for their effects on the environment, including loss of carbon-sequestering, bio diverse forest land.There is also concern over displacement and disruption of human and animal populations due to palm oil cultivation.

Aerial view of a Palm Plantation (Pexels)
                                                          
To counter these growing concerns, Malaysia has taken steps to balance Palm Oil Cultivation with sustainable practices like contour terracing ,silt pits and introducing leguminous crop covers to improve soil fertility and reduce soil - erosion.
(Visit https://www.mpoc.org.in/ to know more)

Developing nations like India and Malaysia need to ask why the onus of conservation has to be on the developing countries only at the cost of their economies ?
                                                    
While developed countries freely lap up the cheap palm oil in the processed food markets, they decry its use as unhealthy for cooking and the sunflower and canola and corn oil grown by developed countries is promoted as the healthiest alternative even though these oils use far more land and water resources and give a much lower yield!
While Amazon forests in developed countries get burnt in perpetrated fires,developing countries are asked to not use cash crops because it causes deforestation.

WHY SWITCH TO PALM OIL ?

1.It is a cheaper option. India relies on Oil imports to meet most of its Edible Oil requirements and with domestic production stagnating and demand exceeding far more than supply, edible oil is getting more and more expensive. Hence this is a time we should look for cheaper alternatives in the Edible Oil Market.

2.It is healthy ,as new studies indicate -palm oil consumption is not linked to heart disease because besides the 50%  saturated fat (which is considered bad for the heart ) palm oil also contains about 50% unsaturated acids –Oleic acid and Linoleic acid -which are good for the heart and thus it is an overall healthy medium for cooking.


                                         

3.Most vegetable oils are deficient in Vitamin A but unrefined Palm oil is a very rich source of Vitamin A (500-700mg/Litre) unlike other vegetables and been linked to several health benefits, including protecting brain function, reducing heart disease risk factors and improving vitamin A status.

4.Palm Oil is a basic source of income for many farmers in South East Asia with an estimated 1.5 million small farmers growing the crop in Indonesia and more than 500,000 people in Malaysia  are directly employed in the pal oil sector and the sectors connected with related industries. Thus Palm Oil cultivation has improved the educational and financial status of the small farmers and general population.

5.In the year 2008, palm oil that meets RSPO introduced standards was introduced which designated "certified sustainable palm oil" (CSPO).That means this Palm Oil has been responsibly grown and is not going to cause any harm to the environment and sustainability.
Look for it on the label.

6.Oil palm producers are eligible to take part in Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) programs in which developed nations invest in clean energy projects in developing nations to earn carbon credits to offset their own greenhouse gas emissions and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Thus carbon sinks are created in developing countries to offset the carbon footprints of the developed nations helping in maintain the ecological balance - it is like the developing nations are doing the dirty laundry of the developed nations for a price!
                                                     
Palm oil is far more profitable environmentally too
                                     
7. As the above illustration shows , Palm oil is one of the most sustainable options when it comes to the yield The oil palm is the most efficient oil-bearing crop in the world, requiring only 0.26 hectares of land to produce one tonne of oil while soybean, sunflower and rapeseed require 2.22, 2 and 1.52 hectares, respectively, to produce the same. Every Oil Palm also has a life span of 20-30 years during which it continually keeps giving yield unlike other oil plants.

8. As a foodie,I love the taste of unrefined Palm oil – it has a nutty earthy taste which is great for baking and salad dressings .Also the high carotene (the anti-ageing vitamin) is great for my Vegetarian diet.

Have you tried Palm Oil yet ?

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Nick of time 30 % Shea Butter and 70% Petroleum Jelly

My Instagram followers might be aware of the NickofTime brand when I had reviewed their African Coffee Blend .After trying the coffees ( do try their Ethiopian and  Indian Coffee - yumtastic ! ) I ventured to try their skin care range which includes products made from Original African Shea butter.I shall be sharing my experience of  Nick of Time  30 % Shea butter Petroleum Jelly , a skin protectant .

                                                           This product has 30%Shea Butter and 70% Petroleum Jelly

PRICE - Rs 600 for 40 gms is the M.R.P. but I got it for Rs 260/- only (57% discount) from their website 

WHAT I LOVED about The Nick of Time 30 % Shea Butter and 70%  Petroleum Jelly 

1. The great discount for the quality and quantity this is a steal !
2. The fact that it is sourced from Original and Pure Shea butter from Africa
3. The fact that is works so well on all skin types even babies
4. Keeps the skin soft and supple ,specially the lips,elbows,knees and feet.
5.Has no artificial colours or fragrances added so no added chemicals
6.Helps in fading old scars and blemishes also good for use during pregnancy to avoid and treat stretch marks !
7.I tried using it on my face (just for the sake of experiment as I have oily and acne prone skin) and it did not give me any skin reaction the next day, though I do not recommend it for face as it is quite rich but maybe girls with dry skin may love it on the face too.
Shea Butter is derived from the soft part of Shea nuts

WHAT TURNED ME OFF about The Nick of Time 30 % Shea Butter and 70%  Petroleum Jelly 

1. The packaging in a glass tub is very basic and close to being unattractive.
2. The bulky pack is not travel friendly .
3. A little bit of fragrance would have been welcome.

Nick of time 30% Shea Butter Petroleum jelly glides
 smoothly over the skin and moisturises and protects
.

FINAL VERDICT 

Compared to regular petroleum jelly, I found this one with 30% Shea Butter to be softer on the skin, it is better absorbed and is less greasy too and works well for me when I am looking for protection against pollution and harsh weather for areas like lips, elbows, knees and feet that are prone to dryness ,cracking or chapping.

I rate it a 4/5