{A Beauty & Lifestyle Blog}

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

How To Wake Up Better

As far as I can remember, I’ve been a morning person. I love crumpled beds, the soft light filtering through the windows and the smell of fresh oj. While I spring out of bed every morning, my husband wakes up wanting to go back to the soporific bed. Since the English weather is quite rubbish, I can’t help but empathise with those who detest mornings with a vengeance. While caffeine is an easy solution, these steps will make waking up a little more cheerful.

1) Limit screen time before going to bed. Switching off completely is an essential step in helping you sleep better. While I am guilty of scrolling through my Twitter feed tucked in bed, this article opened my eyes to the hazards of using devices in bed.

2) If I’m feeling particularly restless, I apply some argan oil onto my face and give myself a light massage. This helps me relax and let go of the day’s stresses. Also, I like to set the mood before going to bed – I add some essential oils into an aroma diffuser and set it for thirty minutes. The heady scent always lulls me to sleep.

3) Don’t hit snooze! Wake up as soon as the alarm rings. I know this is hard, especially on cold wintry mornings but once your body clock is on track, you will spring out of the bed without any trouble.

4)  If you sleep in a room that's blessed with natural light, open the blinds and let the light fill the room. This will make you feel instantly more awake. 


 5) While caffeine is the preferred choice for many, I start my day with a glass of water infused with cucumber, honey, and lemon. It gives me an instant energy boost and keeps me hydrated throughout the day.

6) Having a routine helps. After taking a hot shower, I sit down to do my makeup. This is a routine I look forward to every day – even if I’ve woken up feeling grumpy, this makes me feel more in control of my day. I switch on some music (much to the dismay of my sleepy husband) and go about painting my face. 

Are you an early riser? What are your thoughts on this? 
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Friday, 24 June 2016

How To Have A Happy Outlook

Happiness – the much discussed (and desired) state of being, which ironically remains to be ever elusive. Are you waiting for that perfect job, car, spouse and house, to be genuinely happy? Some people spend their entire lives waiting for happiness to happen! I used to be in that category until I slowly (but surely) realised that positivity and happiness can be facilitated by ‘training’ yourself to have a happy mind-set and taking care of your overall well being.

Here are some of my top tips:

1) Take a walk (or run) in natural, green spaces. There’s so much to learn from nature, and it’s amazing how a simple walk can completely change your perspective and attitude to daily worries of life. I used this technique time and again during my stressed PhD life. These nature-walks not only inspired me but also helped me to detach from my worries and (literally) ‘see the bigger picture of life’.

2) Surround yourself with positive people, and don’t forget to show some appreciation. Spread good vibes!

3) Make time for yourself - 'me time' is very important for living a balanced life. Read that book you’ve wanted to read but haven’t had the time to. Take a long bath and melt your worries away. Play your favourite music, hum and dance along. Treat yourself. Practise yoga. Spend time on a hobby. Do whatever you want to do, even if it is doing nothing.

4) Stop comparing yourself to others and defining success on their terms – by doing that, you’re only being horrible to yourself. Instead, accept and love yourself. Be aware of your ‘conversation’ with yourself; replace toxic self-talk with a positive and loving tone (e.g. replace ‘failure’ with ‘lesson’).

5) Be grateful – for little things, big things, and everything! To cultivate gratitude as a habit/practice, create your own gratitude journal or a daily happy list. I can’t emphasise this enough – it’s true, the difference between happy people and unhappy people is their level of gratitude.

6) Be fully present in the moment. This simple task has become extremely complicated with ever-present social media and constant demands of our hectic lives. Meditation helps with living your life in the ‘here and now’. There are various meditation techniques to choose from. I have been practising Heartfulness meditation for many years now, and the very first effect I observed in myself was a general feeling of lightness and tranquillity. Also, I used to have a very pessimistic outlook in life and this slowly, and naturally, changed to a positive, balanced attitude. Apart from these more recognisable changes, there are subtler changes that are not very easy to describe in words; all I can say is that meditation has helped me connect with my inner self, allowing me to really live from the heart!

XX
Kajal

P.S. Just as I started this post, my husband expressed his un-happiness at finding the first strand of grey hair on his head. Perfect timing? Natural process? Turning older and wiser? Make of it what you will. We sure had a hearty laugh!


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Friday, 17 June 2016

How To Lead An Ethical Lifestyle

With consumerism at an all-time high, I find myself questioning whether I’m on the bandwagon or, actually, making a conscious effort towards being an ethical consumer. I’m certainly not ‘there’ yet. Life is a continuous learning process and I’d like you to treat this post as a summary of my research (so far!) towards creating a ‘greener’ lifestyle with respect to using ethical clothing and cruelty-free cosmetics.

In my search to find a comprehensive definition to ethical and sustainable fashion, the following really stood out to me.

Ethical fashion is fashion that was made with social justice in mind. It is the fashion items that have been made using fair trade schemes, small business (hand made, local, etc), products that give back to communities/charities, and social enterprise schemes. Ethical can also include the exclusion of animal products and animal testing depending on the purchasers values.” – Katie Roberts, Sustainability in Style 

Sustainable fashion also refers to the consumer – I want to buy items that can sustain me, too. I want the price point to be appropriate, I want the style to be relatively versatile and timeless (or else, very very special!) and I want the quality of the item to be top notch. Something that is well made and fairly paid for and that will stand the test of time in terms of both structure and style.” – Faye Lessler, Sustaining Life

As reflected in the statements above, the word ‘ethical’ has several implications; what it means to me could be completely different from your understanding of it.


 Here are some common tips for having a sustainable wardrobe:

Decide your ethical/eco-friendly priorities – ethical manufacturing (safe and healthy work environments, fair trade), eco-conscious (sustainable materials, energy efficient, minimal waste), local (handmade/artisan, locally sourced material, small business) or vegan/cruelty-free (no animal products, faux fur and leather, no animal testing (cosmetics)).

Avoid impulse shopping

This is a difficult one for me but some of my tips and tricks include: ask yourself if you really need that piece in your wardrobe (if necessary, ‘sleep over it’), have a general idea of your style and what you need before you go shopping (keeping a wish-list can actually help with this process!), focus on a timeless piece.

Shop for second-hand clothing

Options include: charity shops (large selection for low prices), vintage stores (specialty clothing), and consignment stores (organised selection of quality pieces, where you can sell and trade in items).
·      Raid your parents’ wardrobes for those classic, high-quality pieces.
·      Organise clothing swaps with friends and family.
·      Care for your clothes and donate them when you’re no longer using them.

Now onto cruelty-free cosmetics, these are makeup, skin-, hair- and body-care products that have not been tested on animals. There are some cruelty-free brands that are owned by ‘parent’ companies, which continue to test on animals. Again, it is up to the consumer to decide his/her ethical priorities.

When going through my beauty stash, I was extremely chuffed to find that many of the products in there belonged to cruelty-free brands. To name a few, these include LUSH, Neal’s Yard Remedies, EcoTools, Makeup Revolution, BarryM, Sleek, Wet’n’Wild, Pixi, NARS and The Body Shop. For a more complete (and well-researched!) list of cruelty-free brands, please click on this link

PS: A special shout-out to Verena Erin, an eco/fair fashion and green beauty vlogger, whose inspirational content has encouraged me to be more aware of myself as a consumer. Check out her Youtube channel – My Green Closet.

What are your views on this issue?

XX
Kajal

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