A city break to Milan

I had always heard that Milan is a city of fashion, culture and delicious Italian food. A perfect mixture of all the things that I love. This made my husband and me plan a four – day trip to this gorgeous city and experience all of this first hand. We visited in July, and the weather was lovely and warm with a mixture of clear blue skies, the sparkling sun and also a torrent of rain to cool things down. The moment we landed and after we settled into our hotel, we went out for a walk and to eat dinner at this cute authentic Italian restaurant with the most cozy decor and a huge selection of Italian wine. I was absolutely taken aback by the beauty of the city and the relaxed happy vibe that this city exuded.

IMG_3427IMG_3462

The architecture, the cozy cafes with people sitting outside and laughter rippling through the air, the gentle breeze, the young professionals returning from work in their stylish clothes and accessories, people queuing outside the gelato stores filled with innumerable mouth-watering flavours…. it was truly a sight that warmed my heart and filled me with excitement!

I absolutely love visiting churches and The Duomo (Cathedral of Milan) dedicated to St. Mary of the nativity is one of the most beautiful churches that I have laid my eyes on. It is truly majestic with amazing detail and intricate carvings. We even walked all the way to the top to catch a view of the vibrant city. Sitting inside and praying was a truly humbling experience for me.

IMG_3505
The Duomo – Milan Cathedral
IMG_3547
Inside the Duomo

We were super lucky to have the opportunity to see the Last Supper painting by Leonardo Da Vinci, preserved in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. 

IMG_3529
The Last Supper – Leonardo Da Vinci

Right next to the Duomo is Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, which is the world’s oldest active shopping mall and boasts an iron and glass roof. It is packed with designer stores, jewellery shops, chic restaurants and is alive with talents musicians busking and artists sketching potraits of tourists.

IMG_3507

We also visited the Sforza Castle, which was built by the Duke of Milan and contains several museums, luscious green lawns and a gorgeous water fountain at the entrance.

IMG_3571

Being a food lover, Italian being one of my favourite cuisines, I absolutely feasted on the delicious pastas, pizzas, lemoncello and gelatos! Here is us looking super happy visiting this gorgeous city.

IMG_3563IMG_3544

IMG_3567
On top of the Duomo

Milan was everything that I ever imagined it to be and more. It is a great place for a city break. Have you ever visited? Would love to hear what you loved about the city!xx

IMG_3418

A channel of your peace

Happy Sunday loves!

I hope you’re having a great one so far. Everyday on listening to the news, I always hear about all the suffering and hardships this world is facing. It is an era of unrest and turmoil. But it is also a world of compassion, kindness and love. We must not lose courage and strive to become a channel of God’s peace and love. There is always hope that one day we can all live together in peace and harmony.

IMG_0804

Below is one of my favourite hymns titled “Make me a channel of your peace”

Make me a channel of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me bring you love; 

Where there is injury, your healing power,

And where there's doubt, true faith in you. 

Make me a channel of your peace:
Where there's despair in life let me bring hope; 
Where there is darkness - only light,
And where there's sadness, ever joy. 

O Master, grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console,
To be understood, as to understand, 
To be loved, as to love with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
In giving to all that we receive,
And in dying that we are born to eternal life. 

 

Amen!

 

Dry or Dehydrated Skin?

Happy Saturday everyone 🙂 It is freezing here in Manchester but the sun is shining and I am currently having a super lazy morning, that is, lounging on the couch in my onesie with a bru!

Last weekend, however, was not so great. I normally have a mixed skin type – dry during the winter and oily during the summer. Much to my dismay, suddenly out of the blue, I ended up having a bad state of skin dehydration which left the skin on my face feeling super dry, tight and with an unpleasant burning/itching sensation. This made me seriously reflect on the amount of make-up/chemicals that I use on my face everyday, subjecting it to irritants and clogged pores. I felt like my skin needed a serious change in some of the products that I use everyday, and hence I researched what I could use to revive/hydrate my skin and this is what I learnt/have changed in my daily routine.

Firstly, I learnt that there is a difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin. Dry skin is a skin type and dehydrated skin is a skin state. The former causes flaking and the latter – tight and scaly skin. Here is a great article on the difference between the two:

www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/difference-between-dry-dehydrated-skin_us_573b2ba4e4b08f96c1842349

  1. Firstly I searched for a serum/oil and day cream that was organic and irritant free. This is when I came across the brand Pai. I normally use vaseline aloe vera or Olay for my face (but found that both these products were causing a burning sensation on applying after washing/cleansing my face). Cosmopolitan has done a great article on the top 10 Vegan skincare products of 2018 www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/beauty-hair/a46238/vegan-skincare/

I visited their website and they do a whole range of serums, oils and creams that are organic, vegan friendly and built for sensitive skin. I even had an expert to chat to and give me advise and I ended up buying the back to life hydrating day cream, camomile and rosehip calming day cream and also got 2 free samples and another free product! I must admit that these products are a bit pricey but using it on my skin caused zero irritation and it does work wonders with locking in the moisture. You can even use it with your make up as a base!

IMG_4085

www.paiskincare.com

2. Coconut Oil 

I cannot begin to even describe what wonders this has done over the past week. It is an excellent moisturiser (with anti-bacterial/inflammatory properties) and also smells delicious. I have been applying generous amounts of this twice a day and my skin has started to rejuvenate and even clear up.

3. Hydrating face mask 

I absolutely love the face masks from Sephora, my favourites are the aloe vera, algae and lotus masks. I have used them sparingly as we don’t have a sephora in the UK, but these masks are rich and full of moisture. Leaves your skin feeling supple and dewy.

IMG_4086-2

4. Drink more water 

I think part of what caused this state of dehydration was sitting in small rooms with heating on full blast and drinking minimal water and a lot of caffeine instead. I am now making a conscious effort to drink more water to hydrate my skin/body from the inside to prevent this from happening again.

I also love green tea and could drink several cups during the day – my favourites are twinnings peppermint and jasmine green tea. I am planning to carry these to work to sip on instead of a coffee.

5. Avoid using make up everyday 

Now this has been the hardest one for me. I love makeup and cosmetics and use it everyday. However, since this episode I have actually applied absolutely zero make up on my face and let my skin breathe – and my skin am sure is thanking me for it. Once fully recovered, I would like to go back to applying make up but have promised myself that I would give myself one or even two make-up free days during the week.

I hope these tips help you as much as they have helped me. I would also love to hear what you do to keep your skin hydrated! Here is to happy healthy skin 🙂

xx

 

 

 

A week in Dubai

Over the past few years, the travel bug has really hit me hard. One of the things that brought my husband and I together is our mutual love of travelling, and we promised ourselves that we would try and fit in as many holidays as possible before doing more grown up things like buying a house or starting a family. I enjoy a mix of beach and city breaks but having grown up surrounded by majestic mountains, the beach has lured me more. We had an amazing honeymoon last year in the Maldives, it truly was like paradise on earth with it’s pristine turquoise water and colourful sea-life, clear blue skies, sparkling sunshine and smooth feet sinking sand – the highlight of my trip was to spot a sea turtle close to the beach whilst out snorkelling. In the summer last year we did Bali  (having been inspired by the movie eat, pray and love). Bali is rich in culture and history and is full of beautiful temples with intricate carvings and delicious food that tantalises the tastebuds.

Having done two beach holidays, we felt that it was time for a city break. Dubai is a city that has always been on my husbands’ bucket list but I have always had mixed feelings having heard various things from visitors. But something about that place (maybe the shopping ;)) has always attracted me and hence we decided to visit Dubai for my birthday week. As soon as I landed I fell in love with the city – it is modern, multi-cultural, vibrant, glamorous and also a city that never sleeps – we landed in the middle of the night and the city was alive. We stayed in doubletree by Hilton in the business bay (a brand new hotel) with a room overlooking the tallest building in the world – The Burj-Al-Khalifa. Here are some of the highlights of our trip:

IMG_2577

The Dubai Mall –  I absolutely love shopping, I could shop all day without a break which requires both skill and energy 😉 but this mammoth mall, surrounded by a canal, was truly the king of all malls. It has got a million designer stores and chains from all over the world, chic cafes with delicious smelling freshly baked pastries and cakes, tall bubbly fountains with clever lighting dancing to the rhythm of the music, restaurants with cuisines from all over the world with tasteful decor and a soothing ambience, and wait for this….a massive aquarium filled with several tropical and reef fish including sting/manta rays and reef sharks as well as a zoo with an impressive selection of animals including crocodiles – right in the middle of the mall! This left me absolutely flabbergasted and awestruck!

IMG_2434

For shopping – well the designer items are cheaper in the U.K. including high street items. However, they seemed to have a wider selection of clothes in stores such as Zara, Ted Baker and Kurt Geiger. However, I did splurge on a lot of make up (Huda Kattan’s) and face packs from Sephora, which is not available in the U.K.

Afternoon tea at the Burj-Al-Arab – This was a truly breath-taking experience. This entire hotel (claimed to be 7 star) has got a royal feel to it with tall gold plated interiors and a beautiful view of the serene sea. We were whisked off to the sky view dining area where we had a table by the window overlooking the magnificent sea. The afternoon tea in itself was delicious with a number of courses of sweet and savoury nibbles and sandwiches and a huge selection of tea from all over the world to go along with it.

IMG_2453IMG_2505

Desert safari – This experience left me absolutely giddy headed. It’s a full days trip where they drive you and a few other tourists in an SUV to the desert, straight to a camel farm to start off with, followed by a 15-30 minute fast safari ride over the velvety sand dunes. This is topped off by watching the blazing orange red sun set over the horizon of the dunes which is truly a surreal experience and then an Arabian nights styled barbecue dinner and entertainment (belly dancers, sheesha, egyptian and fire dance) to end the day.

IMG_2779

Dinner at the Burj-Al-Khalifa –  This was a special birthday treat for me, thanks to my sweet husband. This building is as breath-taking from the outside as the view of Dubai is from the inside. We got a table right by the window where we we had a gastronomic experience comprising of a seven course meal from the tasting menu (and to my delight there was an entire vegetarian menu option too) and just soaked in the sparkling lights of the city.

IMG_2282

The rest of time time was filled with lots of arabic tea, smooth sheeshas with various deliciously aromatic flavours and just exploring this lovely city.  So if you want a city break this one is definitely one to consider. I am hoping to visit again in the future for sure 🙂

 

A Love-ly Breakfast

I am not sure how I feel about Sundays. My Sundays usually commence mid-day at the latest followed by a good few hours of procrastination, until I feel utterly depressed around evening time for being such a sloth coupled with the knowledge of the impending doom of Monday and the week ahead. But no feeling like that today, because I am off work (please read my first post if you have a burning desire to learn why). https://onedayatatime665.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/img_5893.jpg?w=1462

I actively attempted not to browse any of my usual online retail therapy stores, thanks to my bulging wardrobe, my rapidly decreasing bank balance and my new resolve to not be so in love with all things material and embark on more of a spiritual journey.

I did however, browse amazon for items to make my flat a home (I am newly married and also a bit in love with interior designing) and lo behold! I do not know how but after a great deal of browsing, tabs, websites and what not I found out that certain organisations and institutes did an amazon wish list where you could buy things required by them. And trust me, not all items are expensive! The ones that stumbled upon were Ronald McDonald House (rmhc.org.uk), which provides free accommodation to families whose children are in the hospital and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital (childsplaycharity.org). Did I really need that extra lamp for the living room? Nope,I didn’t! But wouldn’t it be nice to buy that toy for a sick child in the hospital? Or those paper plates and flower bracelets? And this is what I exactly did!
By this time, my husband was up unexpectantly from a deep slumber post his night shift on call due to an even deeper rumble in his belly. And suddenly I realised that I hadn’t eaten since I had woken up (it was 2pm), just a cup of delicious coffee, oh how I love you so! And so after a long time we decided to cook ‘breakfast’ together. He was in charge of the chopping and washing and I was in charge of making the omelette stuffed with tomatoes, cheese, peppers, chilli and onion. It turned out to be absolutely delicious and I am afraid I do not have evidence in pictures of our lovely breakfast as we devoured it because both of us (me especially) were on the brink of being ‘hangry’. 

But wasn’t it just lovely to do something together as a team, to share this small portion of the day. We didn’t do a great deal of talking except cooking related, but coupled with the music, a number of silly dance moves and trying to show off our culinary skills….a lot was said unknowingly and filled me with so much warmth and love. Next time you get a chance from your busy schedules, do try this; the cooking not the silly dance moves, although thats entirely up to you 🙂 – could be a partner, friend, sibling, parent, anyone.

Not such a bad Sunday after all eh?

ps: I have to post a picture of my beloved coffee machine here, please pay special attention to the mug 😉