Review – Bryan and Candy Cocoa Shea Bath tub spa kit

I am a bath and beauty products junkie and love trying out new stuff. Especially stuff that smells as good as food! Bryan and Candy, New York is one such brand that creates great smelling bath and beauty products. Recently I was contacted by them to try out their Bath tub spa kit. There are several variants in the same, namely, Cocoa & Shea, Strawberry, Mango Frutti, Orange & Mandarin and Green tea. I chose the Cocoa Shea bath tub spa kit (which comes in its own tub) .

The Cocoa Shea Bath tub spa kits has the following 5 items:

  • Cocoa Shea bath & shower gel 300mL
  • Cocoa Shea hand & body lotion 125mL
  • Cocoa Shea body polish 100g
  • Cocoa Shea sugar body scrub 100g
  • 1 luxury loofah

All these items come in a cute looking tub which can be conveniently arranged on the side of the actual bath tub.

Review of Bryan and Candy Cocoa Shea Bath tub spa kit:

The attractive & bright packaging is quite eye catching and all the products are delicious smelling. They have a pretty good shelf life (36 months) compared to other brands.

Cocoa Shea home spa kit

Cocoa Shea bath & shower gel:

The shower gel is Aloe Vera infused and has a refreshing chocolate fragrance to kickstart the day. As we all know, Aloe Vera has a soothing and cooling effect to give you supple and soft skin. Apart from concentrated aloe vera extracts, it also has natural oils. It can be used daily with a loofah and it doesn’t make the skin dry. It has a press button cap so that a small amount of gel comes out at a time and there’s no need to cap or uncap the lid repeatedly. It is paraben free.

Cocoa Shea bath & shower gel with luxury loofah


Cocoa Shea hand & body lotion:

It’s a nourishing lotion with essential oils and it is hyaluronic acid enriched. Hyaluronic acid, also known as hyaluronan, is a clear, gooey substance that is naturally produced by your body. The largest amounts of it are found in your skin, connective tissue and eyes. Its main function is to retain water to keep your tissues well lubricated and moist. The lotion can be used daily after the shower. As expected the fragrance is delicious. I like applying it on my hands just before going to sleep so that I can keep sniffing it while I doze off :). The lotion is meant for all skin types. The moisturization lasts quite long and it is free of Sulfates, Paraben, and other harmful ingredients. One can gently massage it till it’s absorbed all the way.

Cocoa Shea hand and body lotion

Cocoa Shea body polish:

This is a gentle exfoliant more like a gel and can be used daily. Its natural microbeads help to clear clogged pores thus helping the skin to breathe and eventually improving skin tone. It’s good to see that it has no plastic microbeads and instead consists of microcrystalline cellulose which is natural. As expected it is deliciously chocolatey and even looks chocolatey. It has avocado extracts and D-panthenol that soothe the skin and help fight ageing. Apply small amounts of the scrub on to damp skin and massage lightly. Rinse with water.


Sugar body scrub along with Body Polish


Cocoa Shea sugar body scrub:

This scrub can be used once a week to exfoliate dead skin cells and it cleanses skin impurities. The scrub consists of sugar and is not made with salts. While sugar helps to hydrate the skin, scrubbing helps to improve the blood circulation of skin. It is enriched with Argan oil and oatmeal extracts. The soft chocolatey sugar scrub is made of natural sugar, cocoa powder and 100% natural cocoa and shea natural butters. Natural plant extracts soften the skin while Argan oil and oatmeal extracts give intense moisturisation. The delicious smelling scrub actually looks just like chocolate so better not eat it! Apply small amounts of the scrub on to damp skin and massage lightly. Rinse with water.

The Bryan & Candy home spa kit


Luxury Loofah:

The loofah is made of spongy material which is a little rubbery. It’s quite smooth and especially soft on the skin unlike the nylon loofahs which may be harsher on the skin. Consequently the lathering is a little less comparatively.

I quite liked the trendy design element here. And there is extra packaging so that the tub kits don’t spoil while transferring the contents.

Bryan and Candy, New York

Receap :

  • Good shelf life (36 months).
  • Colourful bottles, easy to open lids.
  • Have already harped about the smell but can’t help repeating – it smells delicious!
  • Smoothen & moisturise the skin.
  • All products are Paraben free.
  • All products are animal testing free.
 Rating : 4/5

In my experience The spa kit was a great way to Indulge the senses with these delicious smells and textures, and can be a blissful way to start the day. It’s also a great gifting option especially since this is the festivity and gifting season. The products are available at Bryan & Candy website, Amazon, Nykaa, Flipkart and Snapdeal.

Disclaimer: I have not been paid for this review, but I did receive the samples of the product. This is an unbiased review of the same.

New Technologies in Health Insurance Industry

Technology’s managed to enter our lives in every way possible. Now with new advancements in health care and tracking of one’s health parameters, could health insurance players have been far behind? Along with several wearables focused on fitness and well-being, we now have devices that track blood sugar, abnormal heart rhythm, stress levels etc.


This data is relevant especially to feed algorithms — which is a first step before launching digital health insurance products.


Health insurers across the world are launching several new tech initiatives. The key to face this challenge is to change their existing relationships with customers. By trying to collect more customer data, they hope to better understand the health needs and accordingly increase the level of customised engagement.


To go deeper in prevention, health insurers are now gathering data from many sources (wearables, mobile tracking)  and focus on preventing stress & lifestyle related diseases. They also leverage AI to make real-time ECG interpretation and allow doctors to monitor their patients online. This is a combination of prevention, where the technology helps have a healthier behavior, and cost reduction by avoiding unnecessary doctor’s appointments.


For such prediction and prevention of disease, organisations require a huge amount of data to be relevant. The first challenge for insurers here is to make people agree to share their personal data. Customers have to really feel the benefits to allow access to such private data. The next challenge is to secure that data against Cyber attacks. Hence Cybersecurity plays a big role here.


Tech like AI, big data analytics, machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT) technology and blockchain play a big role now. The set of challenges, includes development of high performance and scalable delivery models.


There are health insurers who try to reward a healthier behavior. People may get rewarded with gym lessons, sportswear items, or wearables, etc. Some also offer discount on health insurance policies to those who agree to share their health data. An Indian Health Insurance company recently tied up with Mobikwik to tap into millennials and first-time buyers for bite sized insurance. The company also collaborates with GOQii to track health score of customers, based on which they provide discounts on health insurance premiums.


Instead of a reactive approach, the need is to be proactive and develop algorithms which help in prevention, risk scoring, early detection etc. This in turn helps the huge amount of data be relevant and keeps health insurance payouts at a minimum.


Within the customer service arena also, things have moved much beyond just paperless claims.  Teleconsultation or video calls with a doctor using mobile apps, & use of AI to collect symptoms to pre-qualify diseases before any interaction with a real doctor – are required to make the process smoother & quicker for customers. Chat Bots are used to answer queries on claim status and policy copy requests. Self-claim settlement up to a certain monetary limit also helps keep overheads at a minimum. 


As one can see, health insurance in India is changing in a big way.

Body shop’s artwork made with recycled plastic

As mentioned in one of my previous posts, Bodyshop has launched its first Community Trade recycled plastic from Bengaluru, India a few months back. To mark this launch, Bodyshop unveiled a giant artwork of a female Indian waste picker in London’s Borough Market on World Fair Trade day. This artwork was made by an American Artist and sculptor Michael Murphy, using recycled plastic from waste pickers in Bengaluru. Michael uses the Perceptual Art movement, where he gives an extraordinary viewing experience to viewers by using multi-dimensional techniques in order to create 3D renderings of flat images. Due to multiple layers placed one behind the other, the art form looks different from different angles and in one particular position, all these renderings come together to give a complete visual.

Here’s the artwork along with the inspiration behind it. Dolly Raheema is a wastepicker with Hasiru Dala who started picking waste at the age of 9. Today she’s a mother herself and wants a brighter future for her daughter. Now she’s a part of Bodyshop’s Community Trade program.









I must say the artist has done a great job!

The Body Shop has started using Community Trade recycled plastic in its 250ml haircare bottles. In 2019, it will purchase 250 tonnes of Community Trade recycled plastic. In India, The Body Shop has launched its in-store recycling programme – BBOB (Bring Back Our Bottles), encouraging customers to return empty plastic packaging in stores for recycling. It’s currently operational across 40 stores. Planned as a pan-India initiative, it is a significant step for the brand towards valuing plastic & protecting the environment. All stores will feature a recycling bin where customers can return any five empty products from The Body Shop and receive an incentive. Seen in the image is my bottle of ginger shampoo! It’s accompanied with a tag promoting Bodyshop’s recycling initiative.

The Body Shop is also partnering with global recycling pioneers TerraCycle, which helps customers return their empty bottles, jars, tubs, tubes and pots, in store. If recycling is not possible, TerraCycle® will repurpose the packaging into new consumer products such as benches or watering cans.

The Body Shop will increase the amount of Community Trade Recycled plastic over time. In three years, the aim is to purchase over 900 tonnes of Community Trade recycled plastic and help empower up to 2,500 waste pickers in Bengaluru.  They will receive a fair price for their work, a predictable income and access to better working conditions.  They will also get help in accessing services such as education, financial loans and healthcare.

The Body Shop and Plastics for Change are working alongside local partners such as Hasiru Dala, a non-governmental organisation that fights for waste picker rights, and Hasiru Dala Innovations, a social enterprise dedicated to creating essential employment opportunities for waste pickers. Plastic recycling is a major source of income for 1% of the world’s most marginalised urban population.

My business class experience with Spicejet’s #spicebiz

Recently Spicejet – one of India’s leading airlines rolled out its all-new business class offering – SpiceBiz – and invited me to try it out. Needless to say It took me absolutely no time to get on board. Literally 😉

The airline is offering a dedicated business class cabin with 43-inch seat pitch and 7-inch recline, complimentary lounge access, higher baggage allowance, gourmet meals/beverages, priority services and much more. There’s also a dedicated cabin crew for business class passengers. This was going to be my first experience of business class, even if on a domestic airline. So I was very eager to try it out. I had a choice of a few sectors that this seating is currently available on from Delhi, so I chose a Delhi to Calcutta and back trip (Boeing 737). Last I had been to Cal was in the 90’s. And I had been aching to visit ever since.

Depending on the aircraft configuration, SpiceJet offers 8, 12 and 28 business-class seats on its B737-700/800/900 aircrafts respectively. The front row and the over-wing exit rows of the economy cabin are offered as the premium economy seats – SpiceMax.

Now I’ll share my experience of various Spicebiz offerings.

dedicated Checkin experience with spicebiz:

On 27th May, I reached the T1 terminal, Delhi to board my Spicejet flight to Kolkata. I already had a window seat – in fact the first passenger seat. So all I had to do was drop my baggage & collect boarding passes. Spicejet has dedicated check-in counters for all SpiceBiz customers at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Srinagar, Jammu, Goa, Port Blair, Guwahati, Varanasi, Jaipur, Coimbatore, Kochi and Patna. At all other stations, passengers have access to a shared check-in counter with SpiceMax passengers. So I had a dedicated counter for me which was empty. The staff was smartly dressed, friendly and swift in their job. There’s a dedicated loader also for Spicebiz customers who helps load the luggage. Normally one has to load the luggage oneself on to the conveyor belt. I was handed over my boarding pass as well as lounge coupon by the Lady in Red. And I was assigned a special attendant from Spicejet, to escort me through to the boarding point. Please note, the attendant is NOT part of the Spicebiz offering but it was an additional VIP service I was provided with, to ensure my comfort. Basically I was a VIP customer And I highly appreciated it.  🙂 I proceeded from here to the lounge partner of Spicejet airlines – which was Plaza Premium lounge at the Delhi T1 airport.

Exclusive counter for Spicebiz customers

Well dressed staff with exclusive loader for spicebiz










Lounge access with spicebiz:

SpiceBiz passengers currently have access to airport lounges at Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Varanasi, Jaipur, Guwahati, and Kochi airports. This service will soon be available at other airports.

Since their partner at T1 terminal, Delhi was Plaza premium lounge, I was escorted by the attendant to this lounge. I had around an hour during which I had a light breakfast. The meals are complimentary for all the guests who have access to the lounge. The buffet was pretty standard. The usual quick bite option of fruits, bread/butter/jam was  there. The meals are basically 5 dishes which are a mix of Indian and Continental cuisines. Beverages were tea & coffee (no juices/lassi etc).

Special assistance given to VIP customers i.e. Moi 🙂

Buffet at plaza premium lounge at T1

Seating area at plaza premium lounge








On the way back for my Kolkata to Delhi flight, at the Netaji Subhash Chandra airport, I relaxed at the Travel Club lounge. I found their catering much better than the Delhi one. And they had specific terminals where one could use one’s laptop. For travellers it is a very helpful addition. Once again, I had been escorted by a person from Spicejet providing assistance, something that’s available only for VIP’s and that Spicejet was kind enough to extend to me :). He even escorted me right up till my seat in the aircraft.

Travel club lounge at Kolkata

Special terminals in the lounge where one can use their devices comfortably

VIP assistance right up till my seat!











Enhanced baggage allowance with spicebiz:

Passengers travelling in business class are entitled to additional baggage allowance. All domestic passengers have a check-in allowance of 30 kg (up from the regular 15 kg). Hand baggage allowance for passengers travelling on domestic routes has also been extended to 10 kg (excluding laptops), from the current 7 kg. I was travelling light so I wasn’t carrying a lot with me. But it was nice to know that I could shop a LOT from Calcutta and still be within my luggage limit ;). In fact I bought a hand bag from there and also carried back some of my extra shopping as hand baggage on my return flight.

Priority services with spicebiz:

All SpiceBiz customers get the priority services offered by the airline, such as priority check-in, priority boarding and priority baggage. This basically means that YOUR luggage gets checked in first. Spicebiz customers get to board the plane or the coach leading to the plane – first. And once you arrive at the destination, the priority baggage ensures that the entire crowd from the plane would be standing next to the conveyor belt at arrivals, and the first and only piece of luggage that comes up is yours 🙂 . It was fascinating.

The In flight experience

The flight was extremely comfortable. The business class leg room was a lot! It didn’t feel claustrophobic and my knees didn’t knock on any front seat. I didn’t get edema in my ankles (that I typically get during airline travel). The seat was pretty comfortable without having to recline it. And once reclined, it was almost like lying down! I had 3 whole windows with me that was a big bonus since I love taking aerial pictures. It was a nice feeling not having to hunch into a convex shape while getting into my seat because there was so much space. Here are a few images that describe the experience. I took them once the Aircraft got empty.

Upright and reclined seat, as well as the leg space

A cushion is provided to all passengers. Blanket – on request.













Twilight from the ample window space.

Window space with reclined seat









Gourmet meals aboard spicebiz: 

Once on board, business class customers were offered a refreshing cool towel. It was much needed given the heat! Then we were presented with beverages like Coconut water, watermelon juice, tea & coffee. I had a chilled coconut water (and Lemonade on my flight back) and what better on a hot summer morning! I was impressed with SpiceJet’s three-course culinary journey, aimed at balancing health and indulgence. The selections were very contemporary and suiting modern palates. People can also order their meal beforehand and in case of prior booking, I Was told by the flight attendant, the variety in the menu is a lot more. Soon enough, one of the smartly dressed flight attendants spread linen on my tray table and then based on my choice, proceeded to serve me my meal on fine bone china, with sleek cutlery that had the Spicejet insignia on it.

The Spicebiz menu. Love the star anise

Spicebiz breakfast menu









Muesli with yogurt, fresh fruits & croissant

Rawa masala dosa & Quinoa Upma











These were breakfast meals and no I didn’t have two of them 🙂 . The lunch/dinner meals are more elaborate and also include an extra course of various kinds of breads! Lunch/dinner meals also include a sumptuous dessert .

Selection of breads before lunch

Veg Manchurian with Veg noodles with braised Pakchoi, Dahi bhalla chaat & Chocolate dome









Exquisite cutlery with Spicejet Insignia

Dinner menu of Spicebiz











After the meal,  we were handed hot towels to wipe our hands with. We were offered beverages throughout the duration of the flight as well. I must say Taj SATS did a fine catering job here.

I had a great experience traveling in luxury with plush seats, gourmet meals and lounge access. Go ahead and try it! SpiceJet will soon be offering SpiceBiz on select international routes too. Wonder if they will invite me for that too 😉

Headless Goddesses of Tamilnadu

About a year back, I visited Padavedu in Tamilnadu and absolutely loved it. The fact that it was technically a forest really enticed me. It was full of paddy crops and coconut & banana trees among other things. Life seemed to be relatively stress free and people, content. My 4g Internet connection worked fine. What else does one need? I could actually see myself living in such a place with no pollution and organic food by default!

Paddy fields in Padavedu

Padavedu is nestled near mountains

The name Padavedu came into being Since Princess Renuka (who later became goddess Renuka) camped there with her army and the sacred place was named “Padai Veedu” (army encampment). This beautiful pastoral village was once the capital of Sambuvarayar Dynasty. Tamilnadu is full of myriad colourful temples. It was very interesting to see how there was one at literally every 10 metres! At one such prominent temple, I noticed that the statue of a goddess was outside the temple and that it was headless!

Headless goddess statue outside the temple

I asked people around me why that was so, and I was told that according to legend, Princess Renuka married Sage Jamadagni and had 5 sons (one of whom was Parshuram – Ram who wields the axe). She was a devoted wife who held such devotion that she used to carry a pot made purely out of unbaked clay every day to a river, to fill with water. The pot held its shape solely due to her devotion. One fine day, she saw beautiful Gandharvas at the river, frolicking around and having fun. Her attention diverted for a split second, and the pot held together by devotion, broke. When Sage Jamadagni learnt of this, he ordered his sons to decapitate their mother’s head. 4 of them refused under some pretext or the other and were consequently turned to stone by the sage. But when Parshuram (reincarnation of Lord Vishnu) arrived at the scene, he complied with his father’s wishes and indulged in matricide.

Since he had followed the instructions, he was awarded 2 boons by the sage. Needless to say after this matricide, all he asked his father was to reattach the head of his mother & to restore his brothers. The sage complied and now there are several temples all over south India that depict this legend with a headless goddess. There is a head kept separately that is annually prayed to, attached to the goddess and then again packed back. What a fascinating legend!

There are in fact several different oral versions of this legend. One has it that when Renuka’s head was restored, she multiplied into zillions of goddesses who went to separate regions in South India and all of these are now temples which are 1000’s of years old. Another version says that Renuka had fled to a low caste village, where Parshuram decapitated her and a low caste woman who was trying to help his mother. But when Sage Jamadagni reattached the heads, he mixed the bodies. So the woman with Renuka’s body and a different head became Goddess Renuka and the low caste woman with Renuka’s head became Mother goddess Yelamma. In fact Renuka Lake in the Renuka Sanctuary in Himachal Pradesh, is named after the same goddess!

Apart from these temples there are just so many fascinating temples in Tamilnadu which are over 1000’s of years old. All I could do on my Chennai to Delhi flight was wonder about the secrets & fascinating legends that these ancient temples held!