{A Beauty & Lifestyle Blog}

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Bath Essentials For A Cosy Night In

There is perhaps nothing more wonderful after a long, stressful day than luxuriating in the bath. It’s my favourite way to unwind before going to bed. I do it at least twice a week as it helps me to switch off and relax. I usually listen to a podcast or prop the laptop on the toilet seat and watch a cheesy rom-com. It never fails to uplift my mood, and I always emerge feeling rested and ready for a good nights sleep. Here are my favourite bath and body products that turn the simple act of having a bath into something very luxurious.

Therapie Himalayan Detox Salts// These bath salts are bloomin' expensive, but they are worth every single penny as they do everything from soothing muscle aches to balancing the skin's natural moisture levels. They smell absolutely lovely too - these essential oil-laden salts are blended with a lilting combination of lemongrass, juniper and geranium. I use about two spoonfuls, and they fill the bath with an uplifting scent that lingers all day long. I buy the refillable sachets as they are a lot more economical than buying the entire tub. Also, currently Fragrance Direct is selling them for 10£ a pop, which, if you ask me, is an absolute steal!

Ren Moroccan Rose Otto Bath Oil// This is an absolute treat. It's a rich, decadent oil that envelops you in a veil of rose-scented glow. I usually refrain from using bath oils as they turn the tub into a slippery mess, but this one sinks into the skin and leaves it feeling soft and pampered. Two cupfuls and I'm in heaven!

Body Shop British Rose Exfoliating Gel Body Scrub// Most rose scented products have that nauseatingly sweet smell, but this body scrub smells very luxe and spa-like. The scrubby bits are nonabrasive and incredibly gentle, maybe a little too gentle for me, but the invigorating scent is what tips the scales in its favour.

Aurelia Firm & Replenish Body Serum// I've mentioned this before, I'm not a fan of bergamot scented products, but the mix of mandarin and cedarwood balances it out quite beautifully. Lightweight and silky, this body lotion coats the skin in a light fragranced layer. It's intensely hydrating, and since using it, I have noticed a vast improvement in my skin. Now, this is a serious investment, but I’d happily live off soup just for the pleasure of it.

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Sunday, 17 September 2017

Bedside Reading// Getting A Pay Rise & Favourite Podcasts

Hello, everyone! Hope you’ve had a great week. My week went by in a blur. I’ve been feeling upbeat about life and everything in general, and it’s mostly down to the fact that I went for a run three times this week. I’ve realised that running really improves my mood and it helps me get out of my head, if you know what I mean. Also, before we dive into this week’s stories, I thought I’d talk a bit about how the focus of my blog is slowly changing. I haven’t written a single beauty post in over two weeks, and all my upcoming posts are either lifestyle, food or travel. It's so liberating to talk about whatever catches my fancy, instead of putting out content just for the sake of it.

Books
I tend to stay away from anything that's hyped up in the blogosphere, but the Little Black Book by Otegha Uwagba is a surprisingly good read. The book covers everything from building your brand to the art of networking, all with tons of practical advice thrown in. One section that I found particularly interesting was about negotiating a pay rise. She says it's best to avoid emotional language such as 'I want' or 'I need' and instead use phrases like 'I've achieved' or 'I deserve'.

Online
'The Truth about Instagram? I love itby Lynn Enright is simply brilliant! She talks about how amongst a sea of influencers on Instagram, you'll find some real women sharing their stories and supporting each other. While I think Instagram largely perpetuates an unrealistic and highly curated version of reality, it can also be an affirming and creative place to be. 'Why We Need Beauty When Times Are Tough' is a wonderfully written article. When I'm feeling low or having a particularly stressful day, I've realised that putting on some makeup somehow makes me feel more in control of my day. If you are looking to improve your travel photography, this article has some solid tips. Her tip on capturing how a place makes you feel totally blew my mind.

Videos/Podcast
I love podcasts. I listen to them while pottering around the house, on my commute back home and when I'm soaking in the bath. The High Low Show hosted by Pandora Sykes & Dolly Alderton is a pop-culture podcast where they dissect weekly news and other happenings in a fun and illuminating way. They are witty, funny and it feels like you're listening to two of your best mates chat. Desert Island Dishes is something I discovered just two weeks ago, and I'm already obsessed. As the name suggests, Margie Broadhead talks to guests about the dishes they can't live without (just don’t listen to it on an empty stomach). What would your desert island dish be?

Buying
I repurchased the Davines Melu Shampoo & Conditioner.


Coveting

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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Healthy Ingredients I Always Stock

Last year R and I went for a health check-up, and we found out that our cholesterol levels were dangerously high. It was a very shocking revelation and one that forced us to pay attention to what we were putting into our bodies. Ever since then, I've tried hard to make sure we have a balanced and varied diet. We also try to eat as locally as we can, as I believe that's the best thing we can do for our health and the environment. Apart from making fruits and vegetables the focus of our diet, I also try and use healthier alternatives where possible.

Chickpeas// At any given point of time, I have at least three cans of chickpeas stowed away at the back of my fridge. Chickpeas are undoubtedly one of my most used ingredients - I add them to soups, stews, salads, curries and in just about anything I eat.

Chia & Flax Seeds// Chia and flax seeds are perfect for adding texture to smoothies, breakfast bowls and salads. They are also great for packing in extra nutrition into your dishes.

Cacao Powder & Nibs// R and I have a big sweet tooth, and chocolate is one of our many (!) weaknesses, so I always have a stock of cacao powder. I use it to make smoothies, breakfast parfaits and the occasional hot chocolate. Also, cacao nibs are great for adding subtle flavour and crunch to dishes.

Sweeteners// Now, I hate to admit this, but my biggest vice is sugar. I get a massive headache if I go a day without having something sweet, so I use alternatives like Agave Nectar and Coconut Sugar to sweeten my porridge and drinks.

Porridge Oats// I have oats almost every day in some shape or form.

Quinoa// Honestly, I'd be lost without the good ol' quinoa. It's my second most used ingredient. I use it as an accompaniment to curries and stir fries. Chorizo and chickpea curry served on a bed of quinoa is my go-to weekday staple.

Coconut Butter// Coconut butter doesn't have the same whipped consistency, but it tastes just as good, if not better, on a slice of toasted bread.

Lentils// Lentils make up a big part of my cooking. I usually cook them in big batches and store them in the fridge. 
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Sunday, 10 September 2017

Bedside Reading// Body Talk & Decluttering


Hi, everyone! Welcome to my new series ‘Bedside Reading’, where I'll be sharing all the things I'm reading, buying, and coveting. It's a weekly round up of what I've been up to, which will show up in your feeds every Sunday (hopefully!). I aim for it to be an insightful, yet fun curation of my browsing history, for you to peruse from the comfort of your bed, sofa or even the bathtub.

Book
I've been looking to read some inspirational books, so I bought Matt Haig's 'Reasons To Stay Alive'. Sadly, I gave up reading it after a few chapters because I found it to be triggering. He talks about his battle with depression in an upliftingly honest way, but somehow it left me feeling a little unsettled. The book is now on its way to my lovely friend Kajal. Hope you like it, K. I’m also working my way through Jen Sincero's 'You Are a Badass', which I think might be the most hilarious self-help book ever.

Online
I've read some great, thought-provoking posts this week. Lucy William's 'Body Talk' is essential reading for anyone who struggles with body image issues in the age of social media. Another piece in a similar vein is Poorna Bell's article on how we need to stop fat-shaming ourselves. I'm guilty of this too. On my 'I'm-feeling-fat-days', I've stood in front of the mirror analysing every flaw and feeling sorry for myself. She talks about how this behaviour can be destructive, and we need to treat our bodies with much more kindness. Now, moving onto some lighter reading, 'How to Not Give a F***k for 24 Hours' is a hilarious read. It's something we all need to do. We live in an era where there's so much hate and negativity online and sometimes not giving a f***k is the best way to deal with things.


Video/Podcast
I can't recommend The Daily Show with Trevor Noah enough if you want a satirical take on Trumpian politics. Also, his Trump impersonation is spot on! I've been really enjoying decluttering videos, and Alix's 20-minute video is oddly satisfying. I also liked Megan Ellaby's 'August Fashion Favourites'; she has a very quirky and distinct sense of style. Maybe it's a bit too 'out there' for me, but I love how she mixes and matches crazy prints and colours and still makes it so wearable.

Buying
We bought a new shelf for our lounge, and I'm planning to set it up with little pots of cactuses and succulents. I bought a few ceramic and stoneware planters from Anthropologie and Tiger. I absolutely love them! Also, if you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I had a massive wardrobe declutter recently. I donated all my old knitwear and woollens, so I'm currently restocking my wardrobe with some fresh, new pieces for autumn. I bought this dress and this jumper. How beautiful are they?

Coveting
Well, the list is endless. But truthfully, the only thing I'm coveting right now is this stunning striped jumper from Pandora Sykes X Warehouse collection. So very French! 
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Sunday, 3 September 2017

The Last Days Of Summer

The days are getting shorter; there’s a palpable chill in the air, and the streets are already awash with russet-coloured leaves. Sadly, British summertime is coming to an end, and I’m not ready to bid farewell to it yet. Here’s how I’m making the most of the last days of summer:

Run in the park// I’m very blessed to live in a place that overlooks a huge park, and that’s been my biggest motivation this year. I’ve also realised that the only thing that’s keeping me sane during this bleak job-hunting phase is going for a run every morning. It clears my head and helps me stay focused. I put on my running shoes, plug into a podcast and run until I break into a sweat. 

Seasonal food// Oh, how I love cooking with fresh, seasonal produce! If there’s one thing that I’ve enjoyed making this summer, it’s the beetroot, watermelon and feta salad. The beets are so fresh and juicy around this time of the year. I also made a batch of beetroot and parsnip crisps recently, and they were so heavenly! 

Botanical garden// R and I went to Kew Gardens over the bank holiday weekend, and it’s probably the highlight of my entire summer. We live just thirty minutes away from this oasis of greenery, and it’s really surprising that we haven’t been there before. R couldn’t understand why I was so excited about spending a day looking at plants and trees but, for me, there’s nothing more cathartic than being surrounded by nature. I can spend an entire day admiring plants and not get bored. The Palm House is especially beautiful as it recreates a rainforest climate. Housed in a stunning Victorian glasshouse, this place is filled with towering canopy palms and tropical plants. I also loved the Waterlily House; the giant water lilies and lotus plants are an inordinately beautiful sight. 

Farmers market// Another thing I’ve been doing a lot this summer is visiting the farmers market to buy fruits and vegetables. Everything is incredibly fresh, and there's so much variety. I love the colours, smells, and the sounds of the bustling market - it's seriously the best way to buy food. 

Summery dresses// While I like bundling up in cosy layers, I miss not being able to frolic around in summery dresses. As the weather warms up, I bring out all the deliciously delicate cotton and linen pieces and wear them throughout the season. We have, maybe, a week or two of summer left, and I plan to live in breezy, summery dresses until then.


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Tuesday, 29 August 2017

A Perfect Summer Weekend in Budapest

It’s been a little over two months since we came back from Budapest and I’m only just getting down to writing it because I’ve been busy job hunting. It’s a very testing process, and my head has been all over the place. Anyway, moving onto happier things, Budapest will forever hold an extra special place in my heart as it's a fascinating mix of art, culture and history.



R was in Budapest for work, and I joined him for the weekend. With much to do and just a few days to explore the city, I hit the ground running as soon as I got out of the airport. After dropping off my bag at the hotel, I decided to visit the Vajdahunyad Castle, which, as luck would have it, was less than a fifteen-minute walk from our hotel. Set amidst a beautiful park and a lake, this medieval castle looks straight out of a fairytale - the gothic architecture looks simply magnificent. I was meeting R's colleagues for dinner that evening, so after wandering around a bit, I made my way to the restaurant. R had chosen a Thai restaurant in downtown Budapest - a thriving district full of restaurants, coffee shops and pubs. Though the meal was average at best, the great company more than made up for it. After bidding adieu to his colleagues, R and I hopped onto the brightly lit Budapest Eye to enjoy the night view of the city.


Day two in the city began with breakfast at the palatial New York Café. This place is perpetually crowded, so I suggest getting there early if you want to get a table. Famous for its Renaissance-style architecture, this place is decked in glittering Venetian chandeliers and gold-plated stuccoes. Since R was at work, I got a table for myself, ordered some English breakfast and spent an hour getting lost in this book. My next stop was the imposing 13th-century marvel - Buda Castle, which sits on the southern tip of Castle Hill. You can either take the funicular (cable car) or trek up there, and I highly suggest doing that because you get to enjoy the spectacular views of the Chain Bridge and Danube River as you walk up. I’m not one for most tourist attractions, but this is simply not to be missed. I spent over two hours just basking in the beauty of this place.
The sun had just begun to set, and the city was starting to come alive, so R and I made our way towards the Citadella, a fortification located on top of the Gellért Hill. Again, the trek up here is well worth it as you are rewarded with the most captivating view of the city. There's seriously nothing more beautiful than the vastness of the city unrolling in front of your eyes. We had worked up an appetite with all the walking, so we ended the day with a lovely meal at a place called Búsuló Juhász Étterem, which is just a stone’s throw away from the Citadella. The main course of chicken breast with beluga lentils and beets was easily one of the nicest things I have ever eaten.


We covered as many places as we could on the last day of our trip. After a quick breakfast of buttery croissants and black coffee, we jaunted off to the bustling Great Market Hall. There were rows of delicatessen cheeses, cured meats, and freshly brewed palinka everywhere. I bought a bag of Hungarian paprika on a friend's recommendation and my, oh my, it packs a serious punch. From there, we headed to the Fisherman's Bastion before making a quick pit stop at the Gellért Thermal Bath. Since it was fully booked, we went to Széchenyi Thermal Bath, where we hopped from one pool to another for over three hours. Though we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, I wouldn't recommend it, as the changing rooms are, well, a bit mouldy and dirty. Even if you do go there, be sure to book a private cabin, or you'll have to share a shower with hundreds of strangers. We did a little more gallivanting before finding ourselves with delicious drinks and food at an Italian place called Perfetto (the name couldn't have been more perfect). As this idyllic summer getaway drew to an end, R and I realised that we live for experiences such as these.    
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Friday, 25 August 2017

Barely-There Everyday Jewellery

I love gold jewellery, and it’s all I wear on most days. My idea of everyday jewellery is about dainty yet functional pieces that pair well with everything from casual outfits to dressy attires. I like pieces that blend in well yet add a touch of whimsy. Most of the jewellery I own is custom-made and one-of-a-kind, all thanks to my mother. Gold jewellery defines every rite of passage for an Indian woman and I’ve accumulated a fair amount of jewellery over the years. Today, I’d like to talk you through some of my favourite pieces and share the stories behind them.

Necklaces

Pearl & Gold Necklace// My mother gifted this for my 30th birthday and it’s probably my most treasured piece. It comes with a diamond-encrusted pendant but I find it to be a bit chunky and flashy for everyday wear. I usually wear this on its own but if I’m wearing an off-the-shoulder top or a dress, I like to layer it with other pieces.

Missoma Necklace x Lucy Williams Fang Necklace// I LOVE this necklace. It’s a beautiful statement piece that pairs seamlessly with my existing pieces of jewellery. Last year, I was going through some really tough time, so R and I went to Champneys for a spa break. After a relaxing day at the spa, we came back to our room and when I was casually browsing through my phone, I spotted this on sale. I took it as a sign and bought it. Though this piece signifies that difficult period of time, it also reminds me that with a little perseverance and patience it all turns out fine.

Coin Necklace// Another one of my mother's very generous gifts. The pendant is custom-made and the chain is from Accessorize. I wear this one the most, I almost feel naked without it.

Rings

Monica Vinader Riva Diamond Hoop Ring// This was my Christmas present from R. He knew I liked this ring but I have no idea about how he got my measurements and how he managed to buy the right one (it comes in three finishes). I'm seriously amazed at all the planning that went in to surprise me.

Mejuri Cuff Ring// This was love at first sight! It’s a limited edition piece that sold out in two days but I somehow managed to get my hands on it. I wear this one all the time.

Wave Diamond Ring// There's something so beautiful about a simple gold band studded with diamonds. This wave-patterned ring is understated but still interesting. I like to stack it with these plain rings from Jukserai.

Earrings

Gold Hoops// A relatively new addition to my collection but it’s definitely one of my favourites. I bought this on my recent trip to India, as I wanted something that I could wear every day without worrying about it changing colour. It comes studded with a tiny diamond that sparkles every time it catches the light.

Accessorize x Zara Simons Hoops// Accessorize's jewellery isn't ideal for day-to-day wear as the gold plating wears off after a few uses. However, their collection with jewellery designer Zara Simons is breathtaking, to say the least. The hoop earrings with stone-encrusted drops are so chic and beautiful.

Green & White Stone Studs// Pared-back and chic, these studs are my definition of everyday jewellery.
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Saturday, 19 August 2017

New To My Beauty Stash

 One of my resolutions for this year was to be intentional with every purchase I make, and I think I’ve fared pretty well so far. Apart from a few repurchases and a cheeky Glossier haul, these are the only new beauty bits I’ve added to my stash recently.

Ren Vita Mineral Omega 3 Optimum Skin Oil// I hate to say this but we are hurtling towards the end of summer, and that means two things: frigid temperatures and six months of no sunshine. My skin doesn’t fare well during the colder months; it gets really dry and dull, so I’m preparing for it by introducing this oil into my skincare routine. It comes in a nifty plastic bottle with a brilliant pump, which makes it ideal for travel. I have two big holidays coming up, and I’m going to be taking this along with me to see how it works.

Marc Jacobs Under(Cover) Perfecting Coconut Face Primer// I uhmed and ahhed…a lot before buying this primer, and I’m so glad I did. I mainly have Tenneil to thank for it; she totally sold it to me when she said it functions like a ‘lightweight moisturiser’. I never pass up any opportunity to add an extra layer of hydration in my routine. It’s a soft milky liquid that preps and primes skin nicely for foundation use.

Instytutum Peel & Sheet Mask// Instytutum is a high-performance skincare line from Switzerland that uses concentrated active ingredients in their formulations. I was sent their Triple Effect Peel and Age-Defying Perfecting Facial Sheet Mask to test and they’re both great for when you want a quick at-home facial.

Infused with exfoliating salicylic acid, skin-brightening papaya enzymes, and soothing chamomile extract, the peel is designed to refine texture, boost radiance and get rid of dead skin cells. While it’s called a ‘triple effect peel’, I found it to be incredibly gentle and non-abrasive. As you massage it in, the exfoliating particles dissolve into a creamy milk without irritating the skin. I definitely felt my skin was softer and more even after using it, however you get the best results when it's used in conjunction with the sheet mask.

I have to say, I am not a fan of sheet masks but this one comes in two parts so it’s relatively easier to apply. Instead of being drippy and messy, this hydrogel mask was surprisingly non-sticky and didn't slide off the face. In fact, it felt calming against my skin and left it looking smooth, soft and more luminous. The results were even better the next day; I woke up with my face looking all glowy and hydrated. Whilst it does come with quite a hefty price tag, I’d say it’s worth the investment.

Marc Jacobs Air Blush Soft Glow Duo (Night Fever & Hot Stuff)// Blushers are one of my biggest extravagances and this post here is a testament to my love for it. This blusher wasn’t on my radar until I saw Lisa Eldridge use it in this video and I instantly fell in love with it. I don’t normally go for bright pink blushers but I felt this would be a great perker-upper during the dreary winter months.

Pearlessence Coconut Rose Hydrating Face Mist// I didn’t really need another facial mist but how can you not be swayed by such gorgeous packaging? It comes in a weighty glass bottle and the formula feels light and fresh on the skin. Also, the coconut and rose scent is so evocative of summer.
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Sunday, 13 August 2017

Making Me Blush

Even If I’m running late, I never step out of the house without a touch of concealer and a dab of rouge. Blushers are one of my favourite makeup products, as I believe a sweep of colour deftly applied to cheeks is all it takes to mimic a healthy looking complexion. I mostly use cream formulas on a day-to-day basis, and the powder ones are reserved for when I have a bit more time on my hands. I’m starting my ode with the RMS Lip2Cheek blusher in the shade Demure. It’s a perky pink hue that adds life to even the weariest complexions. Infused with coconut, castor and jojoba oil, this cream blusher blends in beautifully and looks deceptively natural on the skin. 


The Glossier Cloud Paint in Dusk is such a game-changer because it’s sheer, yet incredibly long-lasting. It has a lovely lighter-than-air texture that adds a gentle, radiant flush to the cheeks. What I particularly like about this one is that it blends in seamlessly without looking too ‘done’. The creamiest of the bunch is the MAC Cream Colour Base in Vintage Rose – a dusty pink shade that’s bright yet barely there. The formula is light and velvety, meaning it’s easy to blend and has a very skin-like finish. It’s perfect for creating an ‘I ran along a windswept beach’ flush. 

When my skin is looking a bit sallow and dull, I always reach for the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blusher in the shade Mood Exposure. It’s a luminous nude-mauve colour that instantly perks up the complexion and defies all tiredness. I like to apply this with the Zoeva Luxe Sheer Cheek Blush as it picks up just the right amount of product and delivers a really natural looking flush. Finally, I’ve saved the best for the last - Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed enjoys a cult status in the beauty stratosphere and for good reason because it’s the perfect blush for when you want that ‘pinched cheeks’ effect. Admittedly, the formula is a bit chalky, but the pale nude-pink shade is what makes this blusher so covetable. 

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