Meera Meera On the Wall

Like a fly, only Meera

what does a woman need to know?


a bit coquettish

“For no woman is really an insider in the institutions fathered by masculine consciousness. When we allow ourselves to believe we are, we lose touch with parts of ourselves defined as unacceptable by that consciousness; with the vital toughness and visionary strength of the angry grandmothers, the shamanesses, the fierce market women of the Ibo Women’s War, the marriage-resting women of silk workers of prerevolutionary China, the millions of widows, midwives, and women healers tortured and burned as witches for three centuries in Europe, the Beguines of the twelfth century, who formed independent women’s orders outside the domination of the Church, the women of the Paris Commune who marched on Versailles, the uneducated housewives of the Women’s Cooperative Guild in England who memorized poetry over the washtub and organized against their oppression as mothers, the women thinkers discredited as “strident,” “shrill,” “crazy,” or “deviant” whose courage to be heretical, to…

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How do we occupy our time whilst idle? Most people around me are reading – papers, books; some are on their phones or laptops; one fellow is munching and watching – not in a disturbing manner, just in one of a passive bystander.

This last is a personal favourite – I may be writing, but I’m still observing. It’s quite possible he is being unnerved by me, but he doesn’t have a channel via which to express his alarm, as I do. The thought tickles me – is it the lowest kind of schadenfreude to take pleasure in discomfiture of your causing? In that case I must be a sociopathic degenerate – and I’m quite happy in this assessment, for it’s helped me to while the time.

Now let me check that I haven’t missed my stop.


When it finally went, it went quietly; like snuffing a candle, as if all the fireworks that came before were the pantomime-esque prelude to the real show. In the dim afterglow that was anything but warm, the cacophony of these past months seemed grotesque, a mockery of something wonderful – a gift – that had been battered like cheap papier mache until it was eviscerated of everything sweet within.

Carelessness gives way to bitterness; taking leads to losing; forever ends in finally.

No longer to strive only for strife.

A Few of My Favourite Things: 2011

I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that 2011 has been, as a good friend of mine said when she wished me a Happy New Year, “a bit of a toughy for everybody” – economically, politically, personally, it’s been a turbulent year to say the least. But even in the hardest times, making the best of a situation or finding something to make us smile can help to keep us going.

I’ve put together a list of my 2011 highlights – things that made me smile, inspired me and, let’s be honest, distracted me:

Favourite Film: Crazy Stupid Love

I don’t know how many times I watched this film this year, but I never stop enjoying it. I don’t think there’s a single thing I didn’t like about it, and I’m an avid hole-picker. The story was lovely, it was beautifully shot and styled, the casting was perfect – and I finally got the Ryan Gosling ‘thing’ (boy, did I!). Maybe I loved it so much because, on the one hand, its take on relationships was often very true-to-life – especially the messiness of it – but on the other, there was a gratifying gloss that makes you wish your life was a little bit like that – I especially loved that the goofy girl (ignoring the fact that she’s beautiful) got the gorgeous guy (previously a cad and a bounder, but never mind that). This is one of those films I don’t think I’ll ever watch too many times – accompanied by cupped chin, googly-eyes and sighs.

Favourite Brand: Mario Badescu

I started using Mario Badescu this year, and it’s transformed my approach to skincare. Whereas previously I’d attack my skin with abrasive treatments in an attempt to deal with acne and other problems, Mario Badescu’s products taught me to coax my skin back to behaving as it should, at its best. The products are gentle, natural and tailored to specific skin types, and my skin has – unsurprisingly – responded very well to being treated kindly. I’d recommend these products to anyone, because there’s something for everybody – the website has a skin analysis service so you can find out which products are best suited to you. In the UK, they’re only available on My two must-have products are:

Perfect cleanser for gentle daily exfoliation - keeps your skin clear and glowing.

Miracle product that heals blemishes and fades marks. A godsend.

Disclaimer: No, they’re not paying me! I just love the products and I’m a very enthusiastic beauty – enthusiast… who believes in sharing what they love! Speaking of which…

Favourite Start-Up: What’

The first time I heard about this site, I was so psyched! As a total beautybrain (not to be confused with birdbrain, ahem), I’m always on the lookout for new products recommendations – I will literally chase someone down the street to ask what perfume or lipstick they’re wearing, and I’ll surreptitiously (in fact, probably totally obviously) peer over my book to watch ladies on the train doing their makeup. I love the idea of peeking into someone’s makeup bag, so my obsession with WIMH’s concept is a total no-brainer. So far they’ve featured exclusive recommendations by industry insiders and beauty professionals, and they promise that 2012 has lots of exciting features in store. Can’t wait!!

Favourite Website:

I discovered this website early on this year, when I first heard about Nigel Barker’s book of the same name. Nigel, who I knew as a fashion photographer and one of the resident judges on America’s Next Top Model, turns out also to have a very unique and holistic perspective on beauty – something that is beyond rare in an industry that will sooner eat you alive than tell you to feel beautiful on the inside. Nigel’s book is a personal, no-holds-barred, step-by-step guide to revealing the best you from the inside out. I was really moved by this book, which makes you face up to a lot of home truths in the process of self-betterment, and was intrigued by his website, BE One, which takes the approach one step further by allowing readers to write from their own perspectives about issues that matter to them. Although there are official contributors, anyone is welcome to post to an incredibly kind, non-judgmental and safe community that is unfailingly supportive. Nigel’s emphasis on bettering not only ourselves but the world we live in is very inspirational, as are the many readers who respond to and share this feeling. It’s more valuable than I can possibly explain to be reminded that the world is filled with goodness.

Favourite Place: India

I had a couple of months earlier this year to spend how I liked (the perks of quitting your job in the worst job market in recent history), so I returned to the good old mothership to spend some quality time with my family. I hadn’t been back in a few years and couldn’t believe how much has changed in such a short period of time – there is so much excitement there, so much possibility, and it’s a very exciting time for India. Coming back to the UK afterwards was pretty depressing, as the doom and gloom here contrasts starkly with the positivity of outlook in India.

I’m very proud of India, I think it’s been underestimated for a long time and it’s on the verge on world domination – put it this way, India’s experience of the recession was something like 8% growth instead of 10%. Pretty unreal in comparison to our soul-crushing deficit – OK, now I’m depressed again. Quick, onto something fun!

Favourite Music Video: LMFAO ‘Sexy and I Know It’

I loved LMFAO even before I saw this video, but this sealed the deal. These guys have blown up in the last year, and probably have minions catering to their every whim – including finding them the sexiest girls for their video. They could have used their ‘party rock’ single Sexy and I Know It as an excuse to feature dozens of scantily-clad gals prancing around for 4 minutes – instead, they had a field day indulging their inner goofballs. As a result, I have a big crush on Redfoo and SkyBlu and would happily watch them dork out – I mean, ‘work out’ – any day :

Enjoy the video and let this prepare you for a light-hearted, fun-filled 2012 – if there’s one thing this year has taught me, it’s that it’s bad for your health to take life too seriously. Thank you, LMFAO and everyone else who has reminded me there’s always something to smile about.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! Here’s to an amazing 2012 (I’m toasting you with champagne and pizza), thanks for reading and see you in the new year.

Meera xoxoxoxo

Beauty and the Beholder

Lately, I’ve been rethinking my blog. I started it earlier this year because I was fed up with the negative way that beauty is presented to us and, as a result, how we end up looking at it ourselves. Beauty is packaged to us as something that we all want to achieve, but in the process causes us to be so racked by insecurity, resentment and self-loathing, that we end up missing it altogether. Who wants that?! Apparently, most of us. We all want to look like somebody else, some unreal, unattainable ideal that we know we can never be. We also end up tearing down not only ourselves, but those around us who don’t meet those ideals. It’s an aspiration that breeds a negativity that’s toxic to our self-esteem – I gotta say, that doesn’t seem very aspirational to me. But we still get sucked into it, because that’s the prevailing mentality.

So I started my blog wanting to engage in an alternative dialogue on beauty – one that’s inclusive and individual, that encourages us to pay attention to what’s beautiful about ourselves rather than wanting to be beautiful like other people. In the last few months this intention has fallen by the wayside a little, so I’m bringing it back on track for the new year. Hopefully this’ll be a regular feature – I’m going to start with myself, and I look forward to talking to all the beautiful people I know and enjoying a different perspective on beauty.

Testing, testing…

Me - the crash test dummy

How do you define beauty?
To me, beauty comes from being the best version of yourself – taking care of yourself, inside and out, being kind (it shows on the outside) and being genuinely self-confident. I also find imperfection really beautiful – ‘interesting’ is far more beautiful than ‘flawless’ because it’s multidimensional.

When do you feel most beautiful?
When I’m kind to my body and myself – living a healthy lifestyle and being in good shape are important, and being at my best intellectually and professionally. Knowing myself from the inside out lets me focus on how to be the best ‘me’, as opposed to aspiring to be like anyone else – which inevitably depresses me. I also love my beauty routine, so clear skin and good makeup also don’t hurt!

When do you feel least beautiful?
When I’m not being good or true to myself. Being lazy, physically and mentally, makes me look and feel stagnant. I had trouble with my skin this year, which made me feel horrible – but honestly I felt the worst when I beat myself up about it.  On the whole, this has been a really tough year personally and professionally and my self-confidence has taken a real hit so I feel far from beautiful. I’m working on that.

Who is the most beautiful person you know? What makes them beautiful?
I’m lucky to know a lot of incredibly beautiful people – the most beautiful are self-assured and kind-hearted. I’d love to know how they get to (and maintain) that state, so I’m really looking forward to exploring their perspectives via this feature on my blog.

Any must-have beauty products?
I’m a total product fiend, whether I need it or not I can’t get enough of the stuff. I do have some staples though:
Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids (AHAs and BHAs) – a good skincare routine is crucial, beginning with knowing your skin type well. I swear by A- and BHAs to gently exfoliate the skin on a daily basis; they are non-abrasive and clear the skin, fade marks and promote cell regeneration. My favourites are Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel, Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion and Olay Regenerist Night Resurfacing Elixir .
Concealer – my skin marks easily and I’m prone to dark circles, so I depend on good concealers. For blemishes, formulas containing witch hazel and salicylic acid are perfect multi-taskers. Under-eye concealers should be emollient, so as not to tug or dry the delicate skin, and illuminating to brighten dark areas.
Green tea – This is my go-to drink and I would definitely consider it a beauty product, as it’s so good for the body. I’ve discussed its benefits at greater length in a previous post.

What’s your best beauty tip?
Be kind to yourself, be healthy and stimulate your mind, but don’t try to change. Just work on how to be the best you can be – for you, not for anyone else. Aesthetically, know how to enhance your own beauty by playing up your best features and using products that agree with your skin type and colouring.


Merry Christmas!! I wish you many things for a great 2012 but above all, health and happiness. Love, Meera xx

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MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural

I loved this powder – its matte-yet-glowy finish is so lovely, and Medium-Dark is the perfect elusive shade for my neutral-toned skin.

Because I love it so much, I’m so disappointed I’ve had to stop wearing it. I realized only after I bought it that it contains bismuth oxychloride, which is a known skin irritant, but I liked the finish so much I decided to power through and hope I wouldn’t be affected. For the first month my skin broke out in lots of little bumps, which I could live with, but now it’s gone full-blown cystic so I’ve had to call it a day. I took it back to my local MAC counter and when I explained that the product didn’t agree with my skin, they were happy to refund me.

Meerating: 2/5

Health and Beauty Benefits of Green Tea

I recently read a great article on about green tea which I wanted to share. I’m such an advocate of drinking green tea that I’d recommend it to anyone as one of the best and easiest steps towards a healthier lifestyle.

The article tells us that green tea is said to possess anti-ageing, metabolism-boosting and cholesterol-busting properties that help to keep your body healthy and trim. I can’t tell you for sure if this is true – I’ve been drinking a lot (up to 5 cups a day) of green tea for over a decade, so I wouldn’t be able to confirm noticeable results from a comparative viewpoint. However, based on my natural and genetic predispositions towards a number of health issues, I surmise that green tea has made a huge difference to me.

Firstly, no one in my family is genetically blessed with a naturally fast metabolism – if you want to be slim, you have to work hard for it. I have a very healthy appetite and have always been a bit lazy on the fitness front, but up until recently I’ve got away with it. My family has always been baffled by my frame, which, genetically, should have let me down by now. In light of this, I attribute my metabolism to my regular green tea intake. As for anti-ageing, I’ve enjoyed respite from afflictions that have plagued many members of my family from a young age, and although I’ll be thirty in a couple of years I still get sternly mistaken for a teenager when I try to go to the movies or buy a bottle of wine. I’m also a fan of skincare products that contain green tea which, used topically, is a potent antioxidant and defends skin from environmental aggressors. My skin always looks and feels better when my skincare regime includes green tea. Aside from the aesthetic benefits, green tea also benefits the heart by lowering cholesterol and it strengthens bones, protects internal organs and will keep your mind sharp.

I couldn't fake this if I tried - a picture I took recently of a particularly happy cup of green tea.

Obviously, there’s only so much that leaves steeped in hot water can hold at bay and now I’m finally embracing a more active lifestyle. Even though I have a serious weakness for cake and something of an aversion to my running shoes, I’ve always believed that we have to be conscious about what we put into our bodies – and as far as that goes, green tea is an excellent choice. Here are a few of my own tips, which I follow for best results:

Tip: Add a slice of lemon to your green tea. Vitamin C aids the body’s absorption of goodies, whether from green tea, daily vitamins or any healthy meal. (Bet Popeye wishes he knew the difference a glass of OJ would have made to his can of spinach.)

Tip: To avoid the bitter taste green tea can have, don’t use boiling water – especially if you’re adding lemon. I always pour in a bit of cold water first then top it up with hot water.

Tip: Drink green tea with fatty food. The antioxidants in the tea will help to counteract the damage to blood vessels that occurs after consuming a high-fat meal.

Read more about green tea and its uses in the article, and get brewing!

L’Oréal Studio Secrets Professional Color Correcting Primer in ‘Apricot’

Too orange and too oily! Definitely not suitable for my skin type or skin tone, it didn’t look good on and broke me out afterward.

If you have dark, dry skin that needs brightening, this might do it. Or it might make you look like Snooki.

Meerating: 1/5

Stylin’ in September

I love September. Between all the Fashion Weeks and red carpets, I was gleefully glued to my daily newsfeeds for one of my favourite past-times: sorting the fashionistas with style from the celebrities with stylists.

How can you tell? I have a few personal style rules that make it pretty easy:

1) Who’s wearing who?

I don’t mean what designer is which celeb wearing. No no, the cardinal rule of stylin’ vs styled is how comfortable they are in their clothes. In other words: Is she wearing the dress, or is the dress wearing her?

In ‘Crazy, Stupid Love’ – which I won’t get started on, because Ryan Gosling’s stylish ass in that movie deserves its very own blog post – Gosling says to Emma Stone, “You’re wearing that dress like you’re doing it a favour.” That’s it, right there – you’re what gives the dress meaning, every inch and curve of you that’s filling it. YOU own IT, remember – if you’re not feeling it, don’t wear it! Sometimes a celebrity will look every inch the unwilling victim of someone else’s taste. Know your body and even if you love the dress, accept that here may be some shapes you just can’t wear and choose something that’s going to make you look like the best version of you. The best-dressed always look to me as if they’re oozing their hotness in a second skin aka the dress – as opposed to those standing rigidly and looking distinctly self-conscious. In short, “Look how good I look. Just look.” as opposed to “Don’t I look great in this dress?! Don’t I?!


DO. Christine Baranski is always a winner – just fabulous. “Please darling, I’ve been doing this for years. I own this carpet.”





DO. A good example of how you can make an outfit your own, even when you’re all basically wearing the same thing.




DON’T. Poor Lea’s styled to within an inch of her life, as usual. Look at that terrified smile. Fake it til you make it, girlfriend!





DON’T. Olivia Munn must be auditioning as the Wizard of Oz’s frumpy sister. Why else would she cover up such a lovely figure with shapeless emerald draping?





2) High-brow vs straggly brows

Anyone who follows me on Twitter will be familiar with my OCD-esque quest for the perfect brow. As far as I’m concerned, you can be groomed and styled up to the eyeballs but if you neglect your eyebrows, you may as well not have bothered with everything that’s going on below. Groomed brows add instant polish, whether you’re wearing jeans and a tee or a designer gown and there are certain red-carpet regulars (no naming names – sounds nothing like “Schmake Schmively”) who really have no excuse, yet make me want to rush them with a brow pencil and a spoolie. Girl, you may have it all going on and literally be dressed like a million bucks, but if you neglect something as basic as grooming your eyebrows? You ain’t that classy.

DON’T. Truly, there is no excuse. All she needs is a pencil. I can’t even… I just can’t.


DO. Respect your natural shape, tweeze the few strays, fill in any gaps. That’s all you need to do to get your perfect brow.


3) Black is NOT a neutral.

Remember when you were a kid, and you had one pair of standard black dress shoes that you’d wear with everything? Now that we’re grown-ups, it turns out that black doesn’t go with everything. Yes, the black pump is a classic – but to really style an outfit, you need to feel its nuances; the colour, the shape, the mood of the outfit are all important considerations and sticking with your comfort zone of the black-shoe-and-black-handbag is, well, a bit lazy. And if in doubt – embrace neutrals! You’re safe with a good nude shoe.

DON’T. This makes me sad,because I’m under the illusion that Jenny can do no wrong. Why the black bag? Even a plain cream bag would have worked. She knows it too, she looks like she’s trying to pretend she’s holding it by accident. She has small children, so let’s just put it down to a last-minute toddler incident of some sort.




DON’T. There was so much potential for shoe-ing this dress. Red, green, mustard – even gold. If you squint, it looks like she could be wearing any of the above while standing in a black pool that’s obscuring her fabulous, non-boring, non-black shoes. That would be better.





 DO. This would have been so easy to accesorise with black, so I’m loving the poppin’ yellow accents. And she pulls it off  looking cute, instead of like a bumblebee. Win.






4) You are how you accessorise.

Do you ever see celebrities on the red carpet and think, “That dress is all wrong for her.” Assuming she did select the dress herself because she thought it was pretty, there are ways of saving the ensemble. “Mature” dresses for young starlets should be styled with pretty/edgy accessories and young, sexy hair and makeup. An elaborate dress should be the main focus and requires everything else, especially hair and accessories, to be kept simple. Vice-versa with a simple dress: you can afford to have fun with your hair, makeup or accessories BUT not all at the same time – hair and accessories or makeup and accessories.

 DO. Perfectly pretty, perfectly accessorised. She looks sophisticated, young and perky at the same time. Great belt, great shoes – this girl knows how to keep it modern, alright.






DON’T. And in the other corner, we have Kelly Osboring. Lovely dress, but I would love to have seen this accessorized with burnished gold, gemstone-studded jewellery and something fun going on with her hair. Helen Mirren dresses younger than this.





DON’T. Claire Danes doesn’t seem to like accessorising (see her Oscars 2011 ensemble). The dress is quite exciting but it really needs something extra – a poker-straight bob and jet-black jewelled collar would have taken this from meh to amazing.




5) Fashion isn’t style.

Don’t be shocked: just because it’s this season, doesn’t mean it’s good. Not on everyone, anyway. The worst reason to wear something is for the sake of wearing it. Does it really look good on you? Do you really like it? The best example I can think of for someone who wears what suits them regardless of what’s trending is Jennifer Aniston. Yes, you could say she plays it a bit safe and she is very fond of neutrals – but does the woman ever look bad? That’s not to say that you shouldn’t take risks and have fun with trends. If you’re zany, your outfit can be as zany as you like – but if you’re not, chances are you’re just going to look uncomfortable (see point 1).

DON’T. Nicola Roberts, giving ‘body sock’ a whole new meaning – I want to cover the whole thing with a man-sized wellie. You should look embarrassed, young lady.






DON’T. This trend isn’t for  Brooklyn; not a trace of that stunning figure. A brighter colour might have redeemed it.






DO. …But the good news is, leather and spiked heels really work for her.





6) The fine line between “working it” and “unnecessary.”

As great as you feel, don’t be beat us about the head with it. Case in point: Gwyneth, we know you’re hot – but we don’t need to see it all, all the time. Please, let some of the other fine ladies enjoy the red carpet.

DON’T. Stop it, Gwynnie. Just stop it.






DON’T. Oh, good Lord.







Bottom line: be YOU, only better. When I see someone who looks amazing, it’s not their outfit I notice first, it’s how confidently they carry themselves. Your style should reflect who you are inside and outside, and make you feel like you’re the hottest mama around because there’s only one YOU. And boy will we know it!