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 🙂

 

Ways to beat the January/February blues

OK, so now that the festive period is over we are all back to business and have the entire year ahead. A prospect both exciting and daunting. I always find the first two months of the year a bit of a downer after all those festive parties and making merry. But we can always use these initial months as an opportunity to reflect, re-organise and re-fuel, right? Here is how I try to get over the post-festive blues;

  • I don’t know about you but I am a personal fan of making lists – whether I achieve everything on it or not ;). It’s a great visual aid and go to check-list. So, first things first – I make a list of all the things I failed to achieve in the previous year, which can either be transferred on to the new year or I make a new set of major goals for the year.

img_3833.jpg

  •   I try to organise a weekend getaway towards the end of January or mid-february. Nothing super expensive or over the top – just somewhere out-of-town. This makes me have something to look forward to especially if I have assignment deadlines or exams. I am planning on going down south at the end of the month to attend my counsins’ engagement lunch – this is after 2 exams due in these next couple of weeks.

 

  • Doesn’t it feel amazing to step out in to the winter sun and breathe in the crisp winter air? A post-lunch weekend winter walk with some thinking time always helps me clear my head.

 

  • As one of my goals for 2018 is to cook more and order less take-away, I recently bought a vegetarian Indian cook book (after getting inspired by watching the Julia-Julie project). I have leafed through it and I must say it looks incredible. I am super excited to try some of the delicious recipes. I always feel this is a great time to make a start on whatever hobby excites you.

IMG_3831

  • I am planning to re-organize my wardrobe. I always try to pick one little home project to work on – whether it is the kitchen, a desk or a shelf that needs sorting. Getting rid of clutter or giving away clothes that I no longer wear to charity helps lighten my mind and might also help others in need.

 

  • Take time out to see that friend or family member I tried to pretty much meet all of last year but just couldn’t make it happen.

 

  • I plan to pray/meditate more these couple of months. If not everyday, at least once a week. I used to couple meditation with yoga, which was a great stress-buster, but could never persist with it everyday. The surya-namaskar in itself is a great way to keep both the mind and body healthy. For now, I am hoping to get back into it at least once a week.

 

  • Plan a destination for one sunny holiday for the year – now that is right up my alley. I was super lucky last year to be able to go not just on one but three amazing vacations – maldives (heaven on earth – for my honeymoon), Bali and Dubai and twice back home to India. I love exploring new places and cultures and of course also lounging at the beach and soaking up the sun.

 

  • Exercise. I totally feel bloated and lethargic after having no control over what I ate this festive period. So now is the time to give my body a break from all the over-eating and get it moving as opposed to lounging on the couch.

 

  • One little personal pampering treat – maybe I will get my hair done or a pedicure.

 

Hoping to incorporate some of these in the next few weeks to kick-start 2018.

I would love to know what you do to get over your post-festive blues! 🙂

 

 

 

A New Year and a “New” me

Goodbye 2017 – filled with bittersweet memories! And hello 2018! I have never been the kind of person to set a list of new year resolutions, usually the same every year – cook more, go to the gym, don’t leave everything last minute and stress, spend more time with family, meditate etc etc. Come first of Jan I’d start making all these salads, hit the gym, call my mum more often and organise my diary with full gusto. After not even a week (I am talking about a few ‘days’) my enthusiasm and will power would dwindle at top speed till I’d be back stuffing my face with takeaways, paying religiously for my gym membership and never going and studying for that exam until a week before. Such a nightmare! By the way, my last post about going on a diet totally failed!

But, this year is different and needs to be. I feel like I have totally started 2018 on a wrong note – by being daunted by all the mammoth tasks lying ahead of me. But, if you fail and fail again, you have to pick yourself up and keep trying right? Who knows, I might even be looking back at 2018 with a sense of satisfaction – feeling healthier, happier and at peace. I recently read a book by a celebrity nutritionist and fitness guru – Rujuta Diwekar. Her weight loss and health fitness mantra was simple, ditch diets and counting calories and eat small healthy portions of meals throughout the day, and enjoy indulging in that samosa or gulab jamun every every now and then. Now, that can also be applied to other aspects of life – ditch worrying about what will be or not, set small achievable tasks throughout the day and enjoy pampering yourself every now and then.

So here are my big goals of 2018

Work and study related 

  1. Pass all my masters exams x 3
  2. Pass my work-related exam
  3. Write a 20,000 word dissertation to complete my masters (and be organised so as not to have a melt-down last minute)
  4. Audit
  5. Complete writing that case-report

Health related 

  1. Cook every alternate day at least (just bought a vegetarian cookbook on amazon)
  2. Gym twice or thrice a week
  3. Meditate once a week
  4. Try being vegan for a week

Personal 

  1. Pass my driving test
  2. Go on holiday for some sunshine
  3. Weekend getaway with friends (been planning this for years now)
  4. Visit Devon/Cornwall
  5. Go on a hike
  6. Read 3 books (any suggestions will be welcome)

These are the big ones for now! 🙂 Will keep posting my progress on each and every one of them throughout this year. Lets hope for a good one.

Happy New Year and do let me know what your 2018 is looking like 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tummy-tuck

No, I am not talking about cosmetic surgery, but a more ‘natural’ approach to achieving this :). For anyone who knows me, I have always wished to be a bit more leaner (ok a lot more, especially around the tummy and face) and more than that, have the motivation and will power to sustain a healthier lifestyle and also have no excuses – no more “I am too busy to go to the gym” or “I am too tired to cook – lets order a takeaway”. And boy, have I tried all sorts of diets in the past – my fitness pal (calorie counting) and south beach diet (too hardcore for me) being amongst a few. I got married last year and starved myself before the wedding to fit into my dress – but I am absolutely tired of having periods of crash dieting followed by binge eating and then feeling guilty as hell!

So recently, I stumbled across the 5:2 intermittent fasting diet. I had heard about it via my sister-in-law a while ago, I even registered a few months ago onto the site, but never really gave it a proper go! However, found some time today to read through it and see what it is all about – a diet where you fast (eat 500 calories) on 2 days and normally the rest of the week – sounds do-able right? Well, I shall find out I guess. I am planning to start today and going to fast (it’s always good to be keen on your first day :p) and try this for the next month or so to see how I sustain this, and also be accountable to myself by posting about it here!

There is also a test (very interesting) on what is the right diet for you? (BBC) – I took the test and found out that I am a 50% constant craver and a 50% feaster (not the ideal combination at all!) – so what better way to start, at least I know where i stand!

www.bbc.co.uk/guides/z2csfg8

Also, to anyone who is in a similar situation as me or has tried the 5:2 diet – any help, advice and support will be much appreciated!

Wish me luck!

PS: thefastdiet.co.uk is the link to the 5:2 diet page.

Image courtesy: weightlossresources.co.uk