Things to do in Japan : Miyajima 宮島

Miyajima 宮島 was on my list as it is one of the top most scenic sights in Japan. And finally I was able to tick one item off my bucket list. I visited Miyajima last month. September is not a good time to travel in Japan and it was raining when we visited Miyajima. But thankfully it didn’t rain all day!! We went to Hiroshima first and then transferred to a ferry to Miyajima. Miyajima is famous for natural spring water onsen 温泉 . Not to forget Itsukushima Shrine 厳島神社 that is a Shinto shrine best known for its “floating” torii gate. The shrine and its torii gate are unique as they are built over water, and seem floating in the sea during high tide. You should check high tide timings to get that perfect background for your pictures. Although during low tide the water drains out of the bay and you can walk to the torii gate and see the gate from up close. After sunset, the shrine and the torii gate are illuminated, and ryokan guests can enjoy an evening walk in yukata and geta sandals. Miyajima is also famous for Momiji manjū (もみじ饅頭) that are small cakes made in the shape of a maple leaf. Traditionally, they’re made with sweet bean paste, but cheese, chocolate and other variations are also available. Apart from these there is nothing much to do on the island. There is Momijidani Park 紅葉谷公園 famous for deer but you can see deer even when you go just out of the ferry terminal. We stayed at Iwaso 岩惣 that is a famous Japanese style inn or ryokan 旅館 to experience Japanese culture. The rooms had tatami floor and balconies. They had a nice onsen with indoor as well as outdoor baths. The food served there was really Japanese with a lot of tofu and eggplant dishes which was not upto my taste. But I am not complaining because that is what made my trip authentic!!

Things to do in Japan : Miyajima 宮島

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Ferry to Miyajima

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Ferry to Miyajima

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Things to do in Japan : Miyajima 宮島

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Things to do in Japan : Miyajima 宮島

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Things to do in Japan : Miyajima 宮島

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Iwaso ryokan

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Iwaso Ryokan

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Iwaso Ryokan

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Iwaso Ryokan, Miyajima

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Iwaso Ryokan

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Iwaso Ryokan

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Iwaso Ryokan

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Iwaso Ryokan

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Iwaso Ryokan

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Iwaso Ryokan, Miyajima

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Iwaso Ryokan

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Iwaso Ryokan

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Iwaso Ryokan

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Iwaso Ryokan, Miyajima

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Itsukushima Shrine

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Itsukushima Shrine

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Itsukushima Shrine

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Itsukushima Shrine

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Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima

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Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima

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Miyajima

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Things to do in Japan : Miyajima

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Things to do in Japan : Miyajima

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Things to do in Japan : Miyajima

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Itsukushima Shrine Japan

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Things to do in Japan : Miyajima

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Outfit of the day

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T-shirt – Paul Frank ポール フランク, $16 on Sale, 2014;
Skirt – Uniqlo ユニクロ, $20, 2011, also worn here;
Shoes – Nike ナイキ, $121, 2008, also worn here;
Bag – Givenchy ジバンシィ, gift, 2014;
Earrings – Voyageur, $13, 2014, also worn here;
Watch – Marc Jacobs, マーク ジェイコブス gift, 2013, also worn here;
Sunglasses – Chanel シャネル, gift, 2014, also worn here;

Things to do in Japan : Miyajima

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Things to do in Japan : Miyajima

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Iwaso Ryokan

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Iwaso Ryokan

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Iwaso Ryokan

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Iwaso Ryokan, Miyajima

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Iwaso Ryokan

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ファッション傾向 Fashion Trends 2014 : Underwear as Outerwear and Matching Co-ordinates

It was my birthday last month and and I wore this underwear inspired lacy camisole top with a matching co-ordinate skirt from Bershka to dinner. I am very late to follow these fashion trends 2014 – Underwear as Outerwear and Matching Co-ordinates. First because I never found something I really liked that was less lacy or just because I am a dim-wit when it comes to trends!! I saw ladies wearing something lacy under a blazer in the office or a camy dress teamed with sneakers and a jacket on the street and admired their stylish details. They looked so effortlessly chic. So I had to cave in eventually!! But there is a fine line to do that. With this trend less is definitely more. I love this top because it is subtle and appropriate to wear out and doesn’t look as if I have just stumbled out of my bed!! Also I love this matching skirt to wear with it or sometimes on its own too!! This saves so much time and overall I don’t have to exert myself!! Have you guys tried these trends??
P.S. I had dinner at The Cosmopolitan Grill and Bar on the 9th floor of Grand Front Osaka in Umeda (for the second time, read all about my first visit here). It’s a modern and fancy restaurant with huge windows which offer great views of downtown Osaka. They have an elaborate wine and cocktails list. We had their foie-gras, lamb chops and steak. Portion sizes are huge and the steak was to die for!! Although I can’t say that about the lamb!! Expensive place but ideal for celebrating any occasion!!

Fashion Trends 2014 : Underwear as Outerwear and Matching Co-ordinates

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Fashion Trends 2014 : Underwear as Outerwear and Matching Co-ordinates

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Fashion Trends 2014 : Underwear as Outerwear and Matching Co-ordinates

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Fashion Trends 2014 : Underwear as Outerwear and Matching Co-ordinates

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Fashion Trends 2014 : Underwear as Outerwear and Matching Co-ordinates

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Fashion Trends 2014 : Underwear as Outerwear and Matching Co-ordinates

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Fashion Trends 2014 : Underwear as Outerwear and Matching Co-ordinates

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Top – Bershka, $4 on Sale, 2014;
Skirt – Bershka, $10 on Sale, 2014;
Shoes – Zara, $20 on Sale, 2014;
Clutch – Zara, $60, 2013; also worn here;
Sunglsses – Marc Jacobs, 130 $, 2013, also worn here;
Earrings – Namba City, $9, 2014;
Bracelet – Forever 21, $8, 2014, also worn here;
Watch – Marc Jacobs, マーク ジェイコブス gift, 2013, also worn here;

Cosmopolitan Grill, Grand Front Osaka

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Cosmopolitan Grill, Grand Front Osaka

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Cosmopolitan Grill, Grand Front Osaka

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Cosmopolitan Grill, Grand Front Osaka

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Cosmopolitan Grill, Grand Front Osaka

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Cosmopolitan Grill, Grand Front Osaka

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Cosmopolitan Grill, Grand Front Osaka

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Cosmopolitan Grill, Grand Front Osaka

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My latest video!! Follow me around Shanghai!!

Trend Addiction in Japan

For the last few days, something has been constantly bothering me, I suspect I now suffer from a severe case of Japanese-aria, the first symptom being a very pronounced Trend Addiction!! And I am not being paranoid, case in point is I really really wanted a flower headband & life seemed so dull without one, not because I like it, but because I wanted to be part of the underground sub culture of the so – fashionable girls who love to flaunt their flower inspired accessories. The streets of Japan appeared swarmed by these flower wielding sisters, and I kept feeling like a sore thumb sticking out of the crowd – a complete ‘non conformista’.
But there is still a little bit of hope left, since I am not always playing the role of a follower. Sometimes, I am a leader, the influencer and this quality manifest especially when I enter a fairly empty shop, on many a occasions I have noticed several others walking in soon, probably following me, trying to figure out my fashion secrets!! So here’s a big shout out to all the empty shops in Japan – you know who to contact now if you want to increase footfalls.
I think a lot of stuff is done here just to conform, to be a part of a community, for example Japanese play golf because hey everyone seems to be enjoying playing golf & if you want to go on a holiday then Hawaii is the answer because everyone goes there!! Sometimes I see a long line of people waiting to get in a restaurant during lunch time whereas the restaurant next door is empty!!!
But come to think of it – it does simplify your life up – no need to think, no need to worry or fuss over your plans on what to wear, eat, party or holiday – leave that to somebody else – just follow the trend & hop on to the Trend Addiction wagon.
Now back to me, I wore this outfit to have afternoon tea at a cute little place in Kitahama in Osaka called “Kitahama Retro”. They have a cute retro decor with mint details and fancy teacups . It is fairly busy so reservation is required. I opted for afternoon tea set complete with cakes, tea and sandwiches. And why did I choose afternoon tea?? Well because everyone is doing it and it’s trendy, why else???

Zara dress

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Flower headband

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Flower inspired accessories

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outfit of the day

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Zara Pink Dress

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Outfit of the day

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Chanel Boy Bag

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flower headband

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Dress – Zara , $15 on sale, 2011, also worn here;
Jacket – Numero Uno, $22, 1998, also worn here;
Shoes – 心斎橋 Shinsaibashi, 大阪 Osaka, $20, 2013; also worn here;
Flower Headband – Bershka, $10, 2014;
Sunglasses – Chanel, gift, 2014, also worn here;
Bag – Chanel, gift, 2014;
Watch – Marc Jacobs, マーク ジェイコブス gift, 2013, also worn here;
Bracelet – Forever 21, 8 $, 2014; also worn here;
Flowers – Aoyama Flower Market

Kitahama Retro Cafe Osaka Japan

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Afternoon tea set - Kitahama Retro Cafe Osaka Japan

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Afternoon tea set - Kitahama Retro Cafe Osaka Japan

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Afternoon tea set - Kitahama Retro Cafe Osaka Japan

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Afternoon tea set - Kitahama Retro Cafe Osaka Japan

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Afternoon tea set - Kitahama Retro Cafe Osaka Japan

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Afternoon tea set - Kitahama Retro Cafe Osaka Japan

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Afternoon tea set - Kitahama Retro Cafe Osaka Japan

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Afternoon tea set - Kitahama Retro Cafe Osaka Japan

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Afternoon tea set - Kitahama Retro Cafe Osaka Japan

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Afternoon tea set - Kitahama Retro Cafe Osaka Japan

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Calvin Klein カルバン・クライン Shock Street Edition Perfume for Her Review

I have been using Calvin Klein for ages now (10 years to be exact ), CK One was one of my first perfumes and is still one of my favourites. But CK Shock Street Edition just sucks on me!! Top notes open with glittery citruses – bergamot and mandarin combined with sweet plum zest. The heart is sweet with fruity notes sweetened with dark chocolate and caramel, while the base is soft and warm with patchouli, sandalwood, amber and musk.

Calvin Klein Shock Street Edition

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Calvin Klein Shock Street Edition

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Calvin Klein Shock Street Edition

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Love the white bottle. It looks cool and funky with white base and floral graffiti on it.

It is a nice and inexpensive scent. A bottle of 100ml just cost me $20. It smells fun and fresh. I think it is a good scent for summer as it is light and refreshing. It is more of a fruity scent in the beginning and woody with a hint of chocolate and caramel at the end. It is a sweet scent but not achingly sweet to give a headache.

Calvin Klein Shock Street Edition

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Calvin Klein Shock Street Edition

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Calvin Klein Shock Street Edition

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But the longevity is not much. I spray about 4 squirts on my wrist and still can just smell the opening notes for 15 minutes. I try to smell it and I try really hard and then I can figure out the middle notes but there is no question of even getting to the base note. It is hard to smell it on my own skin so I can’t imagine others noticing it. So lets not even talk about silage!!
Maybe if it was a little stronger I would have really liked it.

Buffet Dinner @Cooka, Marriott Miyako Osaka

These pictures are from a few days ago when I went for a buffet dinner to Cooka at Marriott Miyako Osaka located in the tallest building in Japan i.e. Abeno Harukas. It’s a brand new hotel with very modern and beautiful decor. Cooka is located on the 19th floor of the hotel. I have worked for J.W.Marriott, Mumbai in the past and therefore I kind of have an affinity for this brand. Well coming back to the restaurant, they have a very large area (very unlike Japan) and glass windows that offer beautiful night view of the city.
They have a huge selection of food and desserts with at least 20 flavours of gelato itself. There are a few live kitchens too but my favourite has to be their miniature burgers. Another thing that I liked was that they had the bar included in the buffet too unlike most restaurants where alcohol is not included ( or sometimes they might throw in a beer or wine) . The price on the weekend for dinner is around $65 which is a little steep but you can always try out the lunch buffet for $38. Restaurants in Japan offer great value at lunch time at a fraction of the dinner. Even Michelin star restaurants offer special lunch deals. Although lunch time is not fun as the restaurants are very crowded because the lunch slot in almost all the Japanese companies is 12-1 and so there is always a long line of people waiting to get inside. Also after eating people need to leave the restaurant immediately..so let’s not even talk about having a conversation. Long story cut short – if you want to try expensive meals at reasonable prices always eat lunch at a restaurant (week days preferably!!). And do try out Cooka !!

Outfit of the day

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Aoyama Flower Market

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Mango skirt

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Aldo shoes

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Chanel sunglasses

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Armani Exchange bag

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Chanel sunglasses

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ootd

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Top – Forever 21, $18, 2009; also worn here;
Skirt – Mango, $55, 2008;
Bag – Armani Exchange, 130 $ ( gift ), 2014; also worn here;
Shoes – Aldo, $123, 2008, also worn here;
Sunglasses – Chanel, gift, 2014, also worn here;
Earrings – Voyageur, $13, 2014;
Watch – Marc Jacobs, gift , 2013, also worn here;

Kooka @Marriott Miyako Hotel

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Kooka @Marriott Miyako Hotel

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Kooka @Marriott Miyako Hotel

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Kooka @Marriott Miyako Hotel

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Kooka @Marriott Miyako Hotel

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Kooka @Marriott Miyako Hotel

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Kooka @Marriott Miyako Hotel

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Kooka @Marriott Miyako Hotel

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Kooka @Marriott Miyako Hotel

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Kooka @Marriott Miyako Hotel

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Shiseido Ma Cherie 資生堂 マシェリDecoration Keep Spray For Shiny Hair Review

Ma Cherie means “my sweetheart”. This Shiseido Ma Cherie Decoration Keep Spray is formulated with the core ingredient of champagne honey gelee that leaves the hair feeling light and silky to touch and allows to experience a sweet and romantic fragrance while pampering the hair which sweetens the life of girls everywhere. Kinda cheesy right???
It has champagne that protects against environmental free radicals and oxidative stress. It also has honey that naturally retains moisture and gives shiny hair. Hydroxyl Ethyl Urea is the effective moisturising ingredient. And last but not the least Inositol is the Vitamin B that softens hair. It is formulated with Ma Cheries’s signature hair glee together with their signature floral and romantic fruity aroma which is the best part of this product. It can be used for both curly and straight hair styles.
After styling the hair you should hold the spray nozzle 15-20 cms away from hair and spray all over. The spray nozzle does not spray directly but like a fine spray. It holds the style in place while giving the hair a healthy finish and makes the hair shiny. Well actually I personally don’t like that shiny finish because it makes my hair look oily and wet.
It keeps my hair in place all day. But it makes my hair really crunchy and difficult to re-style. Also sometimes it leaves white residue but certainly it is less than this.
I love the packaging, it looks very princessy and girly with pink spray bottle with golden on it. It contains 140 g of product and costs around 9$.
For a more defined hold, you can spray on hair before using hair iron or hot curlers although I have never tried this!!

Shiseido Ma Cherie

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Shiseido Ma Cherie 資生堂 マシェリDecoration Keep Spray

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Shiseido Ma Cherie 資生堂 マシェリ

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 Shiny Hair

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Shiseido Japan

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It has the possibility to repair your hair and make it shiny, smooth and silky. I don’t think a hair spray can do that but I don’t expect that either. Although it claims to have a lot of benefits I didn’t feel any so maybe will not re-purchase. Also the shine formula put me off !!

Biore ビオレ Cleansing Oil Cotton Facial Sheets Review

Biore ビオレ is supposed to be the No.1 makeup remover brand in Japan. I bought their oil and was immediately in love with that..so I thought not even once while picking up these Biore Cleansing Oil Cotton Facial Sheets. I always keep some wipes handy as they are perfect after a long tiring day when I just wanna be done with removing my makeup. Biore claims
“cleansing oil in cotton wipes – instantly remove all traces of makeup, even waterproof mascara”. They are alcohol free and enriched with moisturising agents.
It has a nice smell and the skin doesn’t feel oily afterwards although I still follow up with a face wash. They are not sticky but hydrating. They have light cleansing oil and are made of 100 % natural cotton fibre. They can easily remove my eyeliner and eyeshadow but not my mascara even though I place the sheet over the eye lash area to dissolve the mascara.

Biore Cleansing oIl Cotton Facial Sheets

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Biore Cleansing oIl Cotton Facial Sheets

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Biore Cleansing oIl Cotton Facial Sheets

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Biore Cleansing oIl Cotton Facial Sheets

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Biore Cleansing oIl Cotton Facial Sheets

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Biore Cleansing oIl Cotton Facial Sheets

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They started drying up so I had to finish them soon. I guess they also come with a plastic cover but the ones I got were probably re-fills and just had a cardboard cover. But with my personal experience I can say that no amount of cover can help your wipes from drying out. There were 48 sheets in the box. One sheet is enough to remove the full makeup.
They are nice and fresh, easy and simple to use. They are cheap for 4 $ and easily available so I might re-purchase again; if I ever go on a trip as I don’t want to carry my heavy makeup removing oil!!

Bourjois Paris ブルジョワ パリ Volume Glamour Max Mascara Review

Bourjois Paris ブルジョワ パリ Volume Glamour Max Mascara gives 10 X more volume than usual. It contains natural pearl extract for luminous lashes and visibly hosted volume for 16 hours long.
It’s full rounded contact brush with ultra-soft fibres coats and plumps up every lash to give your lashes the BIG WOW factor. The mini band promises maximum control and maximum brush contact.
It comes in four different shades – Ultra Black, Green Lagoon, Electric Blue and Purple Mania. I have the shade 53 that is the blue one and I got it for around 8$.
I am really impressed with this mascara. I bought it just for fun and didn’t expect much from it.
But it is an in-expensive alternative to experiment with bright colourful mascaras.
What I like the best is that it is not in your face bright blue colour. You can make out the blue only in the sun so I can easily wear it to my work also. It doesn’t scream BLUE but gives a subtle peek a boo of blue.

Bourjois Paris Volume Glamour Max Mascara

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Bourjois Paris Volume Glamour Max Mascara

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Bourjois Paris Volume Glamour Max Mascara ( Blue Lagoon )

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Bourjois Paris Volume Glamour Max Mascara ( Electric Blue )

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Bourjois Paris Volume Glamour Max Mascara

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Bourjois Paris Volume Glamour Max Mascara

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It comes in a small chubby packaging. It is not bulky and perfect for travelling. Although it is smaller in size but it still contains the usual 6 ml of product.
It gives volume and length just like a normal black mascara and is easy to apply. But the best part is that it gives a curl too. It gives volume without being clumpy as the bristles are evenly sparse and gives the lashes a nice separation. It stays on all day and doesn’t smudge. The consistency is nice and smooth, neither too dry nor too wet. It is waterproof. It comes off easily with my cleansing oil. The maxi brush and mini wand is ideal for precision and volume.
It is suitable for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers as it contains natural wax.
It is perfect for summer..so hit your local drug store and sport some bright colours on your eyes this season!! Highly recommended!!

Things to do in Japan : Takeda Castle 竹田城

Few weeks back we bought the special JR one day trip to 竹田城 Takeda Castle in Asago district 朝来市 in Hyogo prefecture 兵庫県. It included return tickets by JR train, bus to the castle ruins and Japanese style lunch. Our train was at 9 in the morning and we reached Takeda by 11. There were buses waiting to take us to the restaurant for lunch and then the bus dropped us at the castle from where we had to hike to the top. Takeda Castle was built by Ohtagaki Mitsukage, a retainer of Yamana Sozen, lord of the area in 1441. It has a “National Historic Site” status and the ruins are attracting many tourists from all over Japan as a Japanese movie ‘Anata e’ was filmed there. The figure of visitors hit a record high this year and is expected to rise even further. Takeda Castle is special because of the gorgeous view it presents admist sea of clouds on autumn mornings mainly Sept-Nov (between sunrise and 8 am) when there is a sharp temperature difference between day and night. The effect created by the mist is beautiful and it looks like a castle floating on clouds.
The Takeda Castle Ruins are located on a hill, about 350m above sea level. It’s about 1km to reach the top or you can just take a taxi. It is not a difficult or long hike but better if you dont go during summer months. We had seen everything, taken pictures, relaxed by 1 p.m. and then took a taxi back to the station. There were trains to Osaka but as we had taken the JR package trip we had to wait until 6 p.m. for our train. So we looked around that area which was beautiful and practically empty and devoid of any restaurants or convenience stores. There were a few temples in a line on a street next to the station with a small stream flowing along. Also there was a sake distillery “The Old Kimura Sake Distillery” with a restaurant where we spent some time before our train back to Osaka.
The entire site is often referred to as Japan’s Machu Picchu, after the majestic mountain ruins of Peru.. which I think is a slight exaggeration!! And to be frank the ruins didn’t excite me much. Also I went in summer and during the day so I couldn’t see a site like this but if you are lucky enough to go in autumn you might…

Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

image via Hyogo Tourism

Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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OOTD

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Shirt – Bershka, 40$, 2012, also worn here;
Skirt – Uniqlo, 20$, 2011;
Jacket – Fila, gift, 2008;
Shoes – Nike, 121$, 2008, also worn here;
Sunglasses – Zara, 45 $, 2012; also worn here;
Watch – Tag Heuer, gift, 2009, also worn here;
Bag – GU, 20$, 2013; also worn here;

Takeda Japan

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda, Hyogo Japan

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Station @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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Takeda Castle @ Asago District in Hyogo Prefecture

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マック MAC Red Lipstick “Chilli” Review

My friend gifted me this マック MAC red lipstick called “Chilli” while we were getting some other stuff at MAC in DLF Promenade in Vasanat Kunj, New Delhi. MAC make up artist suggested this to me when I asked her to recommend a bold orange colour.
I feel that I can wear reds only during evenings or special occasions while this one is more wearable. It is a lovely matte that suits most of the skin tones. It comes in the standard matte black packaging and vanilla fragrance. I guess it is available for 16 $.

MAC chilli

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MAC chilli

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MAC Chilli

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MAC Chilli

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MAC chilli

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MAC Chilli

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It is not overtly orange or brown, somewhere in the middle like a burnt orangish red colour. This is the perfect red/orange for yellow undertone skin as well as Indian skin tones because this shade has yellow undertone itself and it will not clash with the skin colour like other blue toned reds!!

This is more like a retro red. It is not too bold nor too dull. It looks good during the day too. It is very opaque and pigmented and gives a good coverage in just one swipe.

Although it’s a matte lipstick but still it is very moisturising. But it is better to moisturise your lips before wearing this. Even if you don’t; still it will not exaggerate drier lips. It glides on smoothly on the lips, very buttery and smooth texture.
It is long lasting and non drying. The colour stays on for long time but better to re-apply after a meal.

I prefer my reds ( well I just have one more MAC red lipstick) to be matte as it doesn’t travel and bleed then. This one doesn’t move at all!! Just stays there on and on!!

This should be your first milestone if you are venturing into red lipsticks and don’t feel daring to try a bold red like this. It is a dignified red colour. Glossy reds may look too bold sometimes. Will definitely recommend this. There are just no negatives for once!!

P.S. Check out my India Haul to see what else I got from India, here.