NYX Micro Brow Pencil | Review

 

‘ When I was little, I never knew eyebrows would be this important’…

… Hell, if I knew I would’ve taken it easy as a teenager…. years & years of having over plucked my brows! Oh, come on ….I bet you’re guilty of it too! ;P

One of the trends that has been really interesting over the years is how the whole ‘Eyebrow’ game has changed – right from the Hairy Tick of the 1950’s, the Super High Arch of the 60’s, the Low & Loose in the 70’s to the Big & Heavy in the 80’s (thanks to Cindy Crawford!), we saw the Sweet’n Low in the 90’s, the High Brow in the 2000’s and finally the Hairy Moly that we’re all obsessed with in 2016!

If you ask me which one appeals the most to be, I’d pick the Hairy Moly, aka the Natural Brow. I feel it’s the most beautiful & agreeable shape for everyone….no matter what your face shape or age.

When I got involved with makeup a few years ago, I had no clue how important the brows were in really framing the face…. and to be honest I’ve reached a stage where I’m totally comfortable having NO makeup on my face & just filling in my brows a little…you see the brows are my ‘must-have‘ for me on the face!

With a zillion products floating in the market to help you get that perfect brow, I too thought it’s time to try one of the fine-tip brow pencils… & the first one I chose was the NYX Micro Brow Pencil.

It must have been my lucky day, ‘coz I ended up with my ‘PERFECT’ brow product! ❤

NYX Micro Brow Pencil Review

 

Description
“Build full beautiful brows with our ultra-thin Micro Brow Pencil. So precise it coats even the finest hairs with color for a natural-looking finish.”

 

Ingredients
Polyethylene, C12-15 Alkyl Ethylhexanoate, Hydrogenated Coco-Glycerides, Ozokerite, Polyglyceryl-2 Triisostearate, C20-40 Alcohols, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax/Candelilla Cera/Cire de Candelilla, Zinc Stearate, Microcrystalline Wax/Cera Microcristallina/Cire Microcrystalline, Dimethicone, Sorbitan Tristearate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Glyceryl Caprylate. MAY CONTAIN / PEUT CONTENIR (+/-): Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, 77492, 77499), Ferric Ammonium Ferrocyanide (CI 77510). 

 

My Thoughts
There’s nothing about the NYX Micro Brow Pencil that I do not LOVE. Let’s just start with that.

NYX Micro Brow Pencil Review

The packaging is a 10/10 for me. It’s sleek, convenient and very practical. The long, thin tube has a fine-tip pencil on one side & a spoolie on the other end. Not to forget, this brow pencil is sturdy, ideal for travel & can be chucked into the slimmest clutch bag!

NYX Micro Brow Pencil Review

 

NYX Micro Brow Pencil Review

The texture again is a winner for me. It’s stiff & creamy at the same time. Glides on really smooth & effortlessly. The best part is that it’s not over-the-top pigmented, which means that if you’re a beginner, there’s a slim chance you’ll ever go overboard with this one.

Longevity is fantastic…it lasts on me all day till the very end when I wash it off.

Application is again quick & easy. You can create both carved & bold brows or the everyday natural wispy brows, depending on how hard you’re pressing down on the pencil.

NYX Micro Brow Pencil Review

The color range is pretty decent too – there’s a total of 8 shades to choose from:

  • Ash Brown
  • Taupe
  • Blonde
  • Auburn
  • Chocolate
  • Brunette
  • Expresso
  • Black

 

The one that I have is Black. It’s the perfect match for my dark brows & I know you might think oh-no black sounds too much, trust me, it’s not that pigmented!

And finally, here’s the Before & After pictures because this post won’t be complete without it….my apologies for the awkward images!

NYX Micro Brow Pencil Review

 

NYX Micro Brow Pencil Review

 

Price: $10.00

Size: 0.003 oz

Where to buy in India: Amazon.in or Nykaa.com

 

Would I recommend it?

YES, go grab one asap! You will thank me for it ;P

 

And if any of you use this product let me know by leaving a comment!

 

Until next time
xoxo

MOND’SUB Anti-wrinkle & Moisturizing Facial Mask Review

 

“Invest in your skin. It is going to represent you for a very long time.”
-Linden Tyler

 

…Shall we then?! 🙂

As you know I’m diving into the glory of facial sheet masks currently….loving them and trying tons of different ones to understand what suits my skin the best.

Korean sheet masks are all the craze right now, but sadly for someone like me who lives in India, they’re not accessible very easily. When I first started to read more about why this trend caught on fire so quick, all I wanted was to get my hands on a sheet mask to see what the hype was about.

Don’t get me wrong…sheet masks are available on Amazon & eBay, but they’re so expensive (read overpriced) that someone who is just getting into them will probably not want to invest so much money in them…specially when you don’t know if or not it will even suit your skin.

Well, I did not!

Hours after searching online, I came across MOND’SUB on Amazon & was really intrigued.  The packaging looked amazing….the ingredient list was interesting & the variety was awesome. Sadly, when I Googled for reviews, only 1 came up… wth!

…So needless to say, I ordered a couple of Mond’sub Facial Sheet Masks. (See my first impressions of them HERE)

The first couple of sheet masks I used from them, I LOVED and luckily today I’m getting a chance to collaborate with the brand! I’m going to be reviewing each of their different varieties of sheet masks & sharing with you guys my honest thoughts/opinions on them.

Also, I have a coupon code you can use for 20% off on any of their sheet masks, so read till the end!)

So here’s the third variety I’ve tried from MOND’SUBThe Collagen Silk Mask Series

MOND'SUB Anti-wrinkle & Moisturizing Facial Sheet Mask

MOND’SUB Anti-wrinkle & Moisturizing Facial Sheet Mask

“Formulated with several plant extracted essences, this formula is specially designed for dry skin, mature or prematurely aging skin. The mask can promote skin’s metabolism, balance skin nutriments and water, replenish skin fully, nourish and hydrate skin, increase skin’s vigor, arouse loose and ageing skin, activate skin’s natural anti-ageing ability, keep skin smooth, elastic and moist, bring you a youthful and pleasant appearance.”

MOND'SUB Anti-wrinkle & Moisturizing Facial Sheet Mask Review

 

Ingredients & How to Use:

MOND'SUB Anti-wrinkle & Moisturizing Facial Sheet Mask Ingredients

 

What it promises:

  • Moisturizing , Rehydrating , Brightening & Smoothening
  • Accelerating Cell Renewal
  • Tightening, Lifting & Anti-Wrinkle

 

Does it deliver? My thoughts?

Yes, it does!

Let’s kick off with the good things about this mask:

The packaging is pretty & so girly!

When you open the pack, the sheet mask is folded neatly inside, drenched in essence.

There’s 3 layers in the packaging – so don’t be confused when you see it for the first time. The instructions on the back are all in English (*big thumbs up*) & it states clearly how to apply. (see the image above)

The mask is in-between a pearlised film & an outer blue fiber film, making sure that it stays safe & doesn’t rip as you’re trying to get it on your face.

MOND'SUB Anti-wrinkle & Moisturizing Facial Sheet Mask

Another great thing is that the sheet mask has no scent to it, so perfect for those of you who are sensitive to fragrance in skincare.

The sheet mask texture felt a bit different than the others, it was more porous (if that’s the right word) and held the essence pretty well, meaning at the end of 20 minutes when I removed the sheet mask, it still had a LOT of essence in it.

MOND'SUB Anti-wrinkle & Moisturizing Facial Sheet Mask Texture
MOND’SUB Anti-wrinkle & Moisturizing Facial Sheet Mask Texture

There’s not too much essence leftover in the packet after you’ve applied the mask and neither does the essence drip everywhere….it is pretty thick in consistency.

Lastly & most importantly, it really did feel like my skin was moisturised, brightened and lifted…I could honestly feel the difference in my skin.

MOND'SUB Anti-wrinkle & Moisturizing Facial Sheet Mask

Now moving on to what I didn’t quite like about this mask:

Like I’ve said before, my biggest complaint with this brand (so far) is that the eye & mouth slits are tiny! (see in the image above)

I really wish the eye & mouth holes were wider & bigger, because if you’re someone like me with big eyes, the sheet mask will poke you & feel uncomfortable.

Having said that, I usually always lay down, shut my eyes & relax for 20 minutes, so not a deal breaker. But if you really get bugged with something like that, I would suggest just cut them out bigger with scissors before applying.

The second not-so-great thing with this mask was that once I removed it, the essence leftover after patting my skin felt sticky. I have acne-prone skin & so anything sticky or tacky sitting on my skin really worries me. Needless to say, I washed my face after half an hour.

For those wondering if it broke me out- no it did not 🙂

Rating– 4/5

 

Would I recommend this product?

Yes, I would.

If you’re looking for a hydrating and firming sheet mask, grab this one!

 

Thanks to Wespro Corporation & Hair4Real, I have a 20% discount code for anyone who wishes to try their sheet masks.

Simply go to their WEBSITE or contact them directly to place an order. The 20% discount coupon code & contact details are mentioned below:

Coupon Code – ANKITA20

Contact number :
 022 24 4724 05    022 24 4724 09

 

Read all about the different Sheet Masks I’ve used so far:

Dermal Royal Jelly Collagen Essence Mask

Purederm Age Defying Collagen Mask

Mond’sub Facial Sheet Masks

 

Purederm Age Defying Collagen Mask Review

 

They say ‘Love the skin you’re in’….

… I say ‘Love‘ your skin first and you’re bound to fall in love with it…make sense???

Today I’d like to share with you my second experience with a brand of sheet masks called Purederm…but before I get into the details of that, here’s a little about the brand itself.

Purederm Skin Solutions claim – “Now you can get Korean professional-level treatments from the comfort of your home. Purederm products are some the highest quality imported skincare treatments. And these will cost you quite a bit less than your usual beauty products.

For pure and perfect skin, choose Purederm. You can rely on Purederm’s innovative range of patches and masks to clarify and perfect your appearance. Purederm has a range of Anti-Wrinkle, Age Defying and Spot Reducing products for the skin.”

Purederm has quite a few different varieties of facial sheet masks and the ones I choose are from their Skin Recovery range. Here’s a look at the variety I bought:

Purederm Skin Recovery Sheet Masks

Purederm Skin Recovery Sheet Masks
Purederm (L to R) – Age Defying Collagen Mask, Firming Lift Coenzyme Q10 Mask, Green Tea Collagen Mask

Today I’ll talk about the Age Defying Collagen Mask from Purederm.

Purederm Age Defying Collagen Mask

This came in a pack of 4 for Rs. 580/- …not bad when you read what the brand claims it will do!

“Blended with collagen, vitamin E, green tea extracts and tropical fruits to nourish your skin. Provides intense hydration to help reduce facial lines and signs of ageing. All-natural pulp cloth retains moisture helping pores to fully absorb Purederm’s beneficial ingredients. Effective for replenishing and nourishing.”

Purederm Skin Recovery Age Defying Collagen Mask
Purederm Skin Recovery Age Defying Collagen Mask

 

What it promises:

•Restore moisture & elasticity

•Diminish signs of ageing

•Clear complexion & make skin more youthful

Purederm Age Defying Collagen Mask
Purederm Age Defying Collagen Mask Ingredients & How to Use

 

Ingredients:
Aqua (water), glycerin, acacia Senegal extract, hydroxyethylcellulose,betaglucan, phyto collagen, hydrogenated castor oil, allantoin, camellia sinensis extract, mulberry root extract, alanine,proline, glycine, sorbitol, arginine, glutamic acid, panthenol, arbutin, cabbage rose water, papaya fruit extract, phenoxyethanol, disodium EDTA, methylparaben, parfum.

 

Does it deliver? My thoughts?

Well, errrr….almost.

I’ll explain right from the beginning. It was a pain to rip the packet open and for a moment I thought I was accidentally going to rip the mask in my attempts to open the ‘bottle’ shaped packaging. (*thumbs down*)

Once I did manage to get to the mask I noticed right away that there wasn’t a lot of essence in the packet, be that in the actual sheet mask or the essence leftover in the packaging.

With my last sheet mask (Mond’sub Facial Sheet Mask), the mask was drenched in essence & I still had at least a tablespoon worth (if not more) of leftover essence in the packaging. Sadly, that was not the case with Purederm! 😦

The good part though with the Purederm Age Defying Collagen Mask was the fit.

Purederm Age Defying Collagen Mask
Purederm Age Defying Collagen Mask Fit & Texture

As you can see the mask has slits so that the sheet mask can really sit on your skin & let it absorb all the goodness from the essence.

The texture is somewhat like Tissue papery …thick and not easy to tear.

Purederm Age Defying Collagen Mask

The eyeholes were nice and wide, plus they have flaps so if you’d like to cover your eyelids while laying down, you can! (*thumbs up*)

Once on the skin, the mask sits well, but then again, within 5-8 minutes I felt that it started to dry out, which obviously means it is not rich in essence. (*another thumbs down*)

If we talk about the ‘feel’ of the essence itself, it is clear and has a very very faint fragrance (not bothersome whatsoever). My skin looked moisturised, hydrated and glowy, plus it din’t feel sticky or tacky at all once I removed the mask. (*BIG thumbs up*)

Rating- 2.5/5

I would have LOVED this mask if there was more product in the sheet, but oh well, not too bad after all. I will be using the ones left from this pack and also hope that the other 2 from this range will perhaps do better than this one….shall keep you posted… watch this space for more details!

 

Read all about the different Sheet Masks I’ve used so far:

Dermal Royal Jelly Collagen Essence Mask

MOND’SUB Anti-wrinkle & Moisturizing Facial Sheet Mask

Mond’sub Facial Sheet Masks

 

Much Love

xoxo

 

 

My Top 5 Fragrances

 

“I never face the day without perfume.”

– Elizabeth Taylor

Well, hello there! … I couldn’t have thought of a better way to begin this short, but sweet post 🙂

I’ve been a lover of perfume for years now, but my love for fragrances has remarkably grown in this last year. I do believe that perfume is the most intense form of memory….for a particular one will take you back in time to a moment/incident you cherish deeply. Not just that, I also feel that for me fragrances have a way of instilling emotions and moods….some fragrances in my collection make me feel carefree & young, whilst another makes me feel bold & daring!

Here’s my Top 5 Fragrances of the moment:

1) Ralph Lauren Romance

Ralph Lauren Romance
Ralph Lauren Romance

Group- Fruity Floral

MAIN ACCORDS*
Floral
Fresh spicy
Rose
Woody
Musky
White floral

 

Top Notes:
Ginger
Chamomile
Lemon
Yellow Freesia
Rose

 

Middle Notes:
Lily
Carnation
White Violet
Lotus

 

Base Notes:
Exotic Woods
Patchouli
Oakmoss
White Musk

*Buy here in India

 

2) Dior by Miss Dior

Miss Dior by Dior
Miss Dior by Dior

Group- Chypre Floral

MAIN ACCORDS*
Patchouli
Citrus
White floral
Rose
Warm spicy

 

Top Notes:
Italian Mandarin

 

Middle Notes:
Egyptian Jasmine
Rose

 

Base Notes:
Patchouli
Musk

*Buy here in India

 

3) Burberry Body Eau de Parfum

Burberry Body Eau de Parfum
Burberry Body Eau de Parfum

Group- Chypre Fruity

MAIN ACCORDS*
Woody
Musky
Powdery
Rose
Floral

 

Top Notes:
Wormwood
Peach
Freesia

 

Middle Notes:
Iris
Rose
Sandalwood

 

Base Notes:
Cashmere Wood
Musk
Amber
Vanilla

*Buy here in India

 

4) Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue

Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue
Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue

Group- Floral Fruity

MAIN ACCORDS*
Citrus
Woody
Fresh
Fruity
Aromatic

 

Top Notes:
Apple
Cedar
Bellflower
Sicilian Lemon

 

Middle Notes:
White Rose
Jasmine
Bamboo

 

Base Notes:
Amber
Musk
Cedar

*Buy here in India

 

5) Giorgio Armani Si Intense

Giorgio Armani Si Intense
Giorgio Armani Si Intense

Group- Chypre Fruity

MAIN ACCORDS*
Fruity
Woody
Floral
Aromatic
Soft spicy

 

Top Notes:
Cassis
Black Currant
Mandarin Orange
Bergamont
Freesia

 

Middle Notes:
May Rose
Neroli
Artemisia
Osmanthus

 

Base Notes:
Ambroxan
Patchouli
Woody Notes
Vanilla

*Buy here in India

 

 

*as mentioned on Fragrantica

Mond’sub Facial Sheet Mask Review

One of the biggest trends right now are Facial Sheet Masks…also called the lazy girl’s facial aka best friend!

It’s not just the celebrities who are posting selfies after selfies of their faces adorned with sheet masks, it’s every other girl….and there is a very good reason as to why this trend has caught up so quickly.

I’ve never really been much into skincare, but lately I’ve felt like the years are finally catching up with me & I really need to start paying attention to my skin. As I browsed through the internet, I was repeatedly hit in the face with ads of how GREAT facial sheet masks were for your skin & why I should try them out.

After hours of contemplating I finally gave in & decided to give this trend a try. Online shopping is a HOT favourite of mine, so obviously I took to Amazon.in to help me out with my hunt for the perfect facial sheet mask. I came across a brand named Mond’sub, which really intrigued me, but sadly when I tried to Google reviews of this brand only ONE came up…One?!

mondsub-facial-sheet-masks
Mond’sub Facial Sheet Masks

The packaging looks amazing….the ingredient list is interesting and the variety is awesome…so needless to say, I ordered a couple of Mond’sub Facial Sheet Masks.

Without further rambling, let’s jump in ‘coz I’m so excited to share them with you!

So the first sheet mask I got was the Mond’sub Hyaluronic Acid Instant Cool Moisturizing & Brightening Facial Sheet Mask.

mondsub-hyaluronic-acid-instant-cool-moisturizing-brightening-facial-sheet-mask
Mond’sub Hyaluronic Acid Instant Cool Moisturizing & Brightening Sheet Mask

This came in a pack of 4 for Rs. 599/- (now priced 100 bucks cheaper!), which I thought was a decent price to pay. As you may know Hyaluronic Acid is amazing for skin and this mask really did live up to all my expectations.

mondsub-hyaluronic-acid-instant-cool-moisturizing-brightening-facial-sheet-mask-ingredients
Usage – Mond’sub Hyaluronic Acid Instant Cool Moisturizing & Brightening Sheet Mask

“With enough nutritious constituent essence, it penetrates into the skin bottom, helps the replenish the moisture inside and out, strengthens moisturizing ability for longer lasting. Makes skin bright, soft and tender with full youthful vigor.”

Ingredients -Mond'sub Hyaluronic Acid Instant Cool Moisturizing & Brightening Sheet Mask
Ingredients -Mond’sub Hyaluronic Acid Instant Cool Moisturizing & Brightening Sheet Mask

What it promises:

• Moisturizing , Rehydrating , Brightening & Smoothening

• Accelerating Cell Renewal

• Tightening, Lifting & Anti-Wrinkle

Does it deliver? My thoughts?

Hell YES! My skin felt incredibly hydrated and the redness and acne bumps on my face seemed to have settled and calmed down. Incredible mask!

The sheet has a LOT of essence and even after you’ve used the mask there’s a lot of product inside the packet that you can use on your neck and arms.

The only negative (for me personally) is that the eye holes are tiny!

Rating– 5/5

The next one I tried was the Mond’sub Witch Hazel, Lavender & Q10 Facial Sheet Mask.

Mond'sub Witch Hazel, Lavender & Q10 Facial Sheet Mask
Mond’sub Witch Hazel, Lavender & Q10 Facial Sheet Mask

“This mask tones & refreshes the skin. By purifying the pores of the skin it helps to avoid pimples & acne caused by pore inflammation. It can promote the natural collagen production, give you a glowing look.”

Mond'sub Witch Hazel, Lavender & Q10 Facial Sheet Mask Ingredients
Mond’sub Witch Hazel, Lavender & Q10 Facial Sheet Mask Ingredients

What it promises:

  • Clean pores
  • Remove fatigue from face

Did it deliver? My thoughts?

Yes….but I didn’t find this as drenched in essence as compared to the Hyaluronic Acid one. There was also a lot less excess product left in the packet, so you can barely put it on your neck. Once again the eye holes are tiny 😦

But, the great part is, these masks don’t slide/slip off the face, so you can go about doing your daily chores.

Rating – 3/5

The other’s that I’ve bought but I am yet to try:

Mond’sub Tea Tree & Peptide Cleansing Facial Sheet Mask

Mond'sub Tea Tree & Peptide Cleansing Facial Sheet Mask
Mond’sub Tea Tree & Peptide Cleansing Facial Sheet Mask

“With the extract of tea tree and peptide, this mask can help nourish the skin, balance oil secretion and repair the problem skin to let you feel refreshed without any stickiness after using it.”

Mond'sub Tea Tree & Peptide Cleansing Facial Sheet Mask Ingredients
Mond’sub Tea Tree & Peptide Cleansing Facial Sheet Mask Ingredients

What it promises:

  • Balance oil secretion
  • Nourish skin
  • Help trigger collagen production
  • Repair damaged skin

 

The last sheet mask from Mond’sub that I have is the Mond’sub Aloe Vera + EGF Moisturizing & Antiwrinkle Facial Sheet Mask.

Mond'sub Aloe Vera + EGF Moisturizing & Antiwrinkle Facial Sheet MaskMond'sub Aloe Vera + EGF Moisturizing & Antiwrinkle Facial Sheet Mask
Mond’sub Aloe Vera + EGF Moisturizing & Antiwrinkle Facial Sheet Mask

“With the extract of aloe vera and EGF, this mask can soothe and heal your skin with a royal relaxation feeling. Meanwhile it can also help protect your skin from external damage.” 

Mond'sub Aloe Vera + EGF Moisturizing & Antiwrinkle Facial Sheet Mask Ingredients
Mond’sub Aloe Vera + EGF Moisturizing & Antiwrinkle Facial Sheet Mask Ingredients

What it promises:

  • Repair damaged skin
  • Promote healthy skin renewal
  • Stress relieving

That’s all for my first ever Mond’sub Sheet Mask Haul and mini-review….I’ve ordered a couple of more sheet masks from this brand and others as well….so watch this space for more info.

Also, if you use and love sheet masks, leave me comments & recommendations….would love to hear what else I must try 🙂

Read all about the different Sheet Masks I’ve used so far:

Dermal Royal Jelly Collagen Essence Mask

MOND’SUB Anti-wrinkle & Moisturizing Facial Sheet Mask

Purederm Age Defying Collagen Mask

 

Much love

xoxo

The Best of Moscow- 5 Day Itinerary

Red Square, Moscow
Red Square, Moscow

Welcome back!

As I mentioned in my last post, since we were visiting a friend, we stayed at her suburban flat in Fruktavaya Street which is not the usual tourist stop and hence made the use of metro to reach to most of the tourist destinations.  Using the metro could be a little tricky as there is hardly any signage in English, so would suggest to download  a Metro map which has stations name both in English and Russian and keep it as a print or as an image on your smart phone.

Use google maps before hand and get accustomed to the routes and the metro station’s names.

The nearest stations to us were Nakhimovsky Prospect and Varhsavskaya which were both well connected to all the touristy spots.

Day 1 – Red Square and the Kremlin

Highlights – Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral, Gum Mall, Kremlin & Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.

Lunch – Korchma Taras Bulba (Check the Menu here)

Kremlin is open on all days from 10 AM till 5 PM (except for on Thursdays). You can buy the tickets online here or through the ticket offices inside the complex. If you wish to visit the Armoury then we would suggest buy the tickets online as it is time specific.

Kremlin, Moscow
Kremlin, Moscow

Once you are inside the Kremlin you can make use of any of the guided tour apps available and visit around to see Assumption and Archangel Cathderals, Ivan The Great Steeple and the Bell Tower, Tsar Bell and Tsar Cannon, The Grand Kremlin Palace, Alexander Gardens, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Armoury.

Cathedral of the Annunciation, Kremlin, Moscow
Cathedral of the Annunciation, Kremlin, Moscow
Tsar Bell, Kremlin
Tsar Bell, Kremlin
Tsar Cannon, Kremlin
Tsar Cannon, Kremlin

We spent a good 3 hours inside the Kremlin and took an exit from Red Square side to be greeted with a breathtaking view of the St. Basil’s Cathedral.

St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow
St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow
Gum Mall, Red Square, Moscow
Gum Mall, Red Square, Moscow
Gum Mall, Red Square, Moscow
Gum Mall, Red Square, Moscow
Kazan Cathedral, Red Square
Kazan Cathedral, Red Square

A couple of hours later we headed straight to a Ukranian Tavern restaurant which was highly recommended by a friend- Korchma Taras Bulba, which proudly stood high to its name/standards and also our expectations.

Food @Korchma Taras Bulba
Food @Korchma Taras Bulba

From there we took a short metro ride to reach Christ the Saviour Cathedral which by far is the most beautiful church I have ever seen. The entry is free but conservative dress is a must. The Church is huge and if you feel the exterior of it is jaw dropping then just wait to enter inside and see the fresco covered interiors! Sadly taking pictures inside is not allowed, but we were lucky enough to witness a prayer session which was absolutely divine.

Christ the Saviour, Moscow
Christ the Saviour, Moscow

Day 2 – Kolomenskoye Historical and Architectural Museum and Reserve

Highlights – The Wooden palace

Lunch took our own picnic basket and enjoyed a picnic at the huge grounds.

We had kept a trip to Kolmenskaye towards the end of our trip, but our local host insisted that we visit it before going to St. Petersburg as that would help us in understanding the marked difference in the architectural style that took place over the years.

Great Wooden Palace, Kolomenskoye
Great Wooden Palace, Kolomenskoye

Kolmenskaye is a huge estate which houses a replica of the erstwhile wooden palace of Tsar Alexis and two very old churches – one of which was built to commemorate the birth of the crowned prince, the future Ivan the Terrible.

img_2802

Ascension Church, Kolomenskoye
Ascension Church, Kolomenskoye

Day 3 – Moscow State University, Sparrow hill, Stary Arbat & Bolshoi Theatre – many of the cafe’s at Stary Arbat.

Lunch – Shokoladnitsa (Шоколадница)

We chose the weekend for our trip to the magnificent Moscow University (which btw looks just out of the world!) and it was followed by a visit to the Sparrow Hill to get some spectacular views of the city. We also took a stroll through the Stary Arbat, a toursity street with many cafes, buskers and souvenir shops. Bolshoi Theatre was also nearby and we wanted to watch the Opera but sadly tickets weren’t available, so I would recommend you book early or rather buy them online here if you don’t want to be disappointed like us.

Moscow State University
Moscow State University
Old Arbat Street, Moscow
Old Arbat Street, Moscow
Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow
Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow

Day 4 – Gorky Park and a River Cruise on the Radisson Royal

Lunch – Flotilla Radisson Royal

This was our completely ‘relaxing day’ with no running around, where we got to enjoy the greenery and relax like locals at the massive Gorky Park. The highlight of the day for us was an awesome Lunch date in the floating restaurant @ Flotilla Radisson Royal.

Flotilla Radisson Royal, Moscow
Flotilla Radisson Royal, Moscow
Flotilla Radisson Royal, Moscow
Flotilla Radisson Royal, Moscow
Delicious Food @Flotilla Radisson Royal, Moscow
Delicious Food @Flotilla Radisson Royal, Moscow

Day 5 – Tsarytsino open air history and architectural Museum

Lunch- once again carried a picnic basket and enjoyed at the marvellous gardens.

Tsarytsino palace, Moscow
Tsarytsino palace, Moscow

Another one of those beeeautiful days where the Sun was out and shining bright, but the clouds kept playing hide & seek!

It’s said that the original construction wasn’t liked by Catherine the Great and was demolished and the new construction was interrupted by Catherine’s death. Sadly, her successor didn’t show any interest in completing the construction until very recently, but still for us this was a gorgeous palace, opulent and breathtaking!

So this was all about Moscow (well, almost all!)….hope it helps out those of you who are planning to visit anytime soon 🙂

Two Weeks in Russia

Visiting Russia (well Moscow in particular) has been in our bucket list for a very long time. Ever since I was a little kid I have been fascinated by the architecture of St. Basil’s Cathedral and needless to say it was a dream to visit it!

This year as Ankita and I sat to plan our holiday, we both had Russia on our minds… her willingness to visit was on an all-time-high as her best friend from school hails from Moscow and they both had been wanting to meet each other for around 4 years now. So we finally decided for a good 2 week long holiday to Russia which included a 10 days stay in Moscow and 3 days in St. Petersburg.

Here’s a sneak peek to our visit…hope you’ll see the beauty of these cities through our eyes!

St. Basil's cathedral and the Spasskaya Tower.
St. Basil’s cathedral and the Spasskaya Tower.

Visiting Russia for a holiday is still considered a bit offbeat and to be really truthful it is slightly tiresome for the usual tourists… reasons being that 1) it involves a tedious Visa procuring process and 2) the fact that language could be a big problem.

In our opinion – yes, it can get challenging…BUT very much achievable and trust us – totally worth the effort! Through this post I’ll try to simplify the Visa procurement process, how you can get a hang of the Cyrillic alphabets, highlight the absolute must do’s in Moscow as well as St. Petersburg and last but not the least, share the beauty of these two wonderful cities through a series of photographs. Let’s get started then, shall we!?

View of the Moscow City
View of the Moscow City

Visa Processes
If you are travelling for leisure there are two options, one is the normal tourist visa and the other option is if you have a host there in Russia you would need to apply for a private visa. For any of these two visa you would need an invitation which would be provided to you either by your hotel or by your host and the same needs to be submitted for Visa procurement in original hard copy.

Once you have this invitation the whole process flows really smoothly. There are a few agencies in India you can get in touch with for the visa process, such as Vamana (vamanaindia.com) and then there is Russian visa center – IFS (Indra Visa Fiduciary Services) (india-ifs.com), you can refer to their websites for further information on the documents requirement and the Visa fee.

Russia - A Two Week Long Sojourn

Learning Cyrillic Alphabets
Learning Cyrillic Alphabets is a must. You would find very few sign boards in English in Saint Petersburg and even lesser in Moscow. So in order to understand and gauge routes, etc. through the metro map and decide route plans you must have a knowledge of Cyrillic alphabets (unless you are going with a private tour and have a guide with you all the time).

Another alternate is to use Google translate’s new function which converts Russian (or for that matter any language) letters to English (or any other desired language). We used this app extensively and felt it was really cool and useful to read menus, however not very effective to read sign boards which are way above you eye level.

There are several tutorials available on Youtube, the one in particular which I liked was rusianpod101.com, you can follow the link for it and can also buy/download a lot of lessons with a basic one month subscription at very nominal fee. If you would like to learn a bit more or if you have a knack for learning languages you can even go for their advanced courses.

State Historical Museum, Red Square, Moscow
State Historical Museum, Red Square, Moscow

Moscow Highlights
1. Kremlin & the Red Square
2. Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
3. Kolmenskaye
4. Moscow State University and the sparrow hill
5. Gorky Park and the river cruise along the Moscow river.
6. Stary Arbat
7. Tsarytsino open air history and architectural Museum

Christ the Savior Cathedral, Moscow
Christ the Savior Cathedral, Moscow

St. Petersburg Highlights
1. Catherine’s Palace
2. Nevsiky Prospect & Church on the spilled blood.
3. Peterhof Palace
4. The Winter palace and the state hermitage
5. St. Isaac’s cathedral
6. Boat ride along the canals and the bridge opening at night.

View of the Church of the Savior on Blood, Saint Petersburg
View of the Church of the Savior on Blood, Saint Petersburg

Well thats’s all for now, but we promise to be back soon with more info on how to plan your Russia holiday with details about the above mentioned attractions, where to eat and what to shop :). Yes there is a lot more to Russia than you’d have expected.

Do svidaniya!!!

Saint Basil's Cathedral, Red Square, Moscow
Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Red Square, Moscow