Archive for the ‘Past Life’ Category

What in the world is Travalo

Did you know what Travalo is? Something to do with travel? You are close, you are also not alone.

If you are not a perfume lover, you might want to tune off right about here – unless you are naturally nosy, then feel free to stay.

Travelo is a cool gadget. It is a refillable atomizer – with a difference. 

All the magazines are raving about it. Cosmopolitan has declared it to be the winner of 2010 beauty awards. And the idea behind it is so simple, like most things in life are. Only you did not think of it, somebody else did, somebody far more clever and – rich, I presume. 

Many perfume lovers have a dilemma of poor staying power of perfume on their skin.  For this, we like to carry small quantities of decanted perfume in little spray bottles, or atomizers in our handbags. You can click here to read my suite101 article on everything you wanted to know about decanting – and more. 

Travalo does the same. Only it avoids the mess of decanting perfume as there is no spillage. No getting precious juice on your hands, clothes or on your carpet, and that happens a LOT. 

Travalo refillable atomizer

You just take the spray head (squeezy thing) off from your big perfume bottle. Now attach the Travalo’s bottom on top of the nozzle peg and pump (press down repeatedly) to see the liquid fill it up – with much satisfaction and no spills, I love it. 

Check out the enthusiastic youtube reviews on their website. You don’t have to, but the process of actually seeing a Travalo getting filled up provides much clarity and endless enjoyment. Only a true perfumista would get that. 

No more tasting horrid perfume after you have done some decanting, and washed up some thirty seven odd times already – with maximum strength soap. Still the stubborn smell has refused to go away. Why it can’t show the same resilience and character on skin, I wonder. 

It comes in many interesting colours, and carries 4ml of perfume in compact lipstick tube style atomizer. The different colours are very handy for differentiating between perfumes. It costs around 10 British pounds and is available from a variety of online etailers. Fun. 

Travalo comes in cool colours too

Why am I going on and on about Travalo, cuz I love the idea so much. I am sure I am not the first person to say that, and not the last to hear about it. I bet there are more who would appreciate the info.

So tell your friends and spread the joy!

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Here’s a basic introduction to the dazzling world of Pakistani Cuisine – For those who are from elsewhere. It’s an elaboration on a previous post on thinking about having Pakistani food for dinner.

1. Pakistani – Not Indian

Pakistani food is not the same as Indian food. They might feel similar, as similar as Japanese, Chinese or Singaporean cuisine might be. Are they? 

2. Traditional Breakfast

Our breakfast consists of eggs, half fried or mashed up in an omelette. We have bread either shallow fried in little oil, or toasted up. We also serve parathas – flat bread which is kneaded, made into soft dough and then fried. These also come as ready-made varieties – thank God for that. For a heavier, more festive brekky, we have puris – very thin pancake style only deep-fried in buckets of oil. We have that with potato curry, chickpeas curry and sweet halwa. 

Puri for Pakistani breakfast

3. Take a Piece of Bread, Dip in the Curry. Eat

We also eat with our hands – akin to Chinese eating with chopsticks. Children learn this with practice. They complain more often as they grow up rather than accepting this gracefully, which the adults do. I am telling the truth. 

Shallow fried bread known as Paratha

4. What is a Starter?

At homes, we only serve one main course meals, unless you live in a fancy hotel or like to think of your local restaurant as your own kitchen. Desserts are usually served after Dinner. Not at my house they are not, hubby eats them every chance he gets.

5. Ramadan Feast

Most people gain weight in Ramadan – the month where Muslims fast from sunrise till sunset. A whole book can be written on the specialities of food offered at Iftari- when everybody breaks their fast- Samosay, Pakoray, Chaat, Patties, Rolls, Fruit Salad. And this is just for the entree. Main meal is yet to come.

Pakoray - savoury potato veg fritters

6. Watch Out for Oil Stains on Your Evening Dress

There is another kind of food variety – the food that is especially reserved for serving at Shadis or in other words, weddings. Heavily spiced curries with tons of oil loaded on top, grilled kebabs, chewy breads, mouth-watering Biryani (rice dish with meats and few vegetables – a complete meal in itself) and a wide selection of dips and salads. Don’t ignore the desserts or you will be sorry.

Biryani - extremely popular Pakistani rice dish

7. Introducing Pakistani French

Pakistanis are champions at embracing food from different cultures. Desi referring to local, we have desi Chinese, desi Italian, desi Continental, desi Thai … All these flavours are redone – to perfection – to suit local palette. 

Pakistani style bbq -ed meat Tandoori Pizza

8. Food Street

The street food is something to swear by. If you have a heart of a lion and the will to try, check out street vendors selling Gol Gappe, Chaat, Shawarma, paan and much more. All these terms will be explained in subsequent posts. One day.

Gol Gappe


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Food Memoirs have been the craze for a while now. But surely you knew that, unless you have been living under a rock – such as myself.  Run a search for food memoirs on Amazon, and you will find more results than you cared to know about. Who knew, apparently write about food, and you can’t go wrong. 

So I picked up ‘A Homemade life – Stories and recipes from my kitchen table’ by Molly Wizenberg. The cover is totally gorgeous and does precisely what the publisher intended it to do – makes you take a second look. Then I found out that she got her book deal after her food blog Orangette proved to be a world wide sensation. Food blogs are not my thing, however, I love stories of wonderful things happening to ordinary people. I was sold. 

The blurbs on the dust jacket alone want you to purchase the book straightway. The praise makes it sound so irresistible, yes the whole package is a publisher’s dream. This precisely why I was a bit hesistant picking it up, although it had been sitting on my bedside table for sometime. I always find it hard to start reading a book that looks so beautiful on the outside. The inside almost always never holds up. This particular one, sadly, was not an exception either.

Everything about the book is cute. The blog is cute, the book is cute, the writer is so damn cute. Except nothing really happens in the book. The book is filled with short essay type, lackluster stories. I would be more interested to read these stories in magazines rather than have them take the form of a book. There is no coherence. The writing is good, the stories are not. The book is too long.

A young girl grows up loving cooking because everybody cooks in her family. She leaves her academic pursuits for cooking and writing. Her elderly father passes away and she goes to Paris. There she starts a blog and meets her husband. That’s all that happens in the book. Seriously. 

The book does pick up a bit half way through with her love angle taking shape, however the stories still remain mildly amusing. I skipped all the recipes as well. At times, I found her food writing to be quite annoying – I know she is a ‘foodie’ but does she have to talk like a food critic on Iron Chef? Over the top and unnecessary.

In stark contrast is the classic ‘Home Cooking – A Writer in the kitchen’ by Laurie Colwin. Her book is concise, and a perfect treat, waiting to be devoured. She makes you fall in love with her life, her writing, and her cooking – even if you are not into cooking. She surprises you with the simplest, most unpretentious prose and gentle humour, often catching you by surprise. I could relate to almost everything in the book and could not get enough of it. I read every single thing she had to say. At the end, I sighed with total satisfaction, albeit little sadly, to finish the book. Just like you do after finishing an awesome meal. You wish for more, but not really. You know it was perfect. 

Read Laurie (right) if you are after a fantastic read that just happens to be about food. Read Molly (above) if your primary love is food/cooking. Very much a matter of individual preference and yet makes a world of a difference as to what you are getting. As for me, I am quite fussy about what’s on my plate.

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Dislike! facebook

Somebody commented on a photo of you.

How I abhor this line. Has to be the most hateful message I see in my inbox –ad neuseum. It gives rise to such intense feelings, the ones I did not even think existed in me. Why? Because I have no idea who this somebody is, and that they are not even commenting about me. All this because I made a mistake of tagging myself in a photo.

You like this

I have about 30 odd friends on facebook. Not 300, 30. Needless to say I am not a big user. I was the last one to join, and don’t use any applications. If I wanted to hear what everybody is saying about a photo which I made a mistake of liking /tagging once, I would definitely have many more ‘friends’ added to my list. My facebook would be brimming with people including the ones I knew in grade 5, or even kindergarten. I would have my neighbours in there, and my friends who have now become strangers. I would go around meeting people for the absolute pleasure of adding them to my facebook. Just so I can find out what they are saying about some random thing I liked. So that they can tag me in more photos. Thanks, but I pass.

Once I tagged myself in a photo for a recipe. I am still receiving email messages of who has tried it out, who loved it, who couldn’t stand it. Who tweaked it a bit to create a masterpiece of their own and who took a photo better than the original one. Who fed it to a party of 30 guests and received accolades for it. Pleeeeease, somebody make it stop!

without asking first

The worse thing is, when somebody else – out of the goodness of their hearts – tags me in a photo. The notifications never stop. They over-crowd my inbox and drive me insane. I hit delete like a maniac. Take this! I scream. People, stop tagging others without asking them first. You don’t do this kind of thing to your friends. Does anybody care about their friends on facebook? Some people do, those same people have a page called ‘Please don’t tag me’, guess where – on facebook. These ingenious souls are selling shirts of the same message. 

The purpose of hitting me with this barrage of emails – as to who else on the planet happens to like the the same post – escapes me. Seriously, have I missed something? Is there anything that I can do to stop receiving messages as to who is doing cartwheels simply because I liked something? I am sure not the only one either. Facebook, please give us a dislike button. If the facebook doesn’t shut this notification thing off, I would go back and dislike it, just as a form of a little protest. Now that would definitely come in  handy.

Now this is what I need

UPDATE:  This post was totally meant to be not taken seriously. Just clarifying (and so not being defensive) ..

I do know how to un- tag myself. I don’t want to. I just want don’t the notifications in my email inbox.

Most important bit of info that I forgot to add, I was talking about being tagged in a public group and certainly not on a friend’s photo. I wouldn’t say such rude things if that was the case.

I don’t care about the dislike button.

I am not upset about this at all. Seriously!

Still not being defensive, but  you can see that right?

NOTE TO SELF. Do not post on a crappy Eid Day, especially after having a fight with hubby.


OOPS. My apologies to facebook, all it needed was a quick uncheck of few buttons to put a stop to it all. Took all of 3 secs to do it. That proves my previous point. Also proves how incompetent I can be. Good riddance.

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My Three Year Old …

Thinks my kitchen pantry is a mini shopping mart. 

TV is a shopping network. I want that car, I want that truck, I want that ice cream … 

Open Sesame

All glass doors open themselves, all you need to do is you step in front. 

iphone is the greatest invention, ever. Its fun to go to app store or you tube and laugh hysterically when his dad gets upset. 

Teaches my dad how to use iphone via Skype. 

Teaches his dad how to use his iphone. 

Thinks all phones have touch screens. 

Generation - iphone

Turns on Wii console and plays games – something I don’t know how to do as yet.

Decides what he wants taken from his older brother to amuse himself. 

Its loads of fun to mess with big brother while he is at the computer.

He is Spider man, or Super man or his current favourite, Iron man. 

Wants a red Ferrari. 

Wants an ipad 

Has fallen asleep once after doing a big poo, on the toilet. 

The world is his oyester.

He is the boss of our house.

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