The IGP experience

As a mom the most frustrating times I have are when I am unable to get out of the house and buy my friends or family members a gift on a special occasion. It is extremely annoying and makes me feel like a proper failure. There are gifting portals online, but I have never been able to find anything interesting or found the websites reliable. However now I do have a savior. Tried and tested! The Indian Gifts Portal aka IGP were kind enough to send me a voucher to try out their website and also purchase gifts. Here’s a lowdown of my experience and what I purchased from the website:

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IGP is Indias largest online gifting store in India, they started their website in 2001, which also makes them the oldest and most experienced in the industry. They specialise  in personalised gifts, flowers, cakes, festival merchandise among others gifting ideas. The website is clean in design, simple to browse and such that you can find a gift easily because of the various links on the home page itself. They have a simple animated video on ‘how it works‘ for anyone who is new to the website.You don’t have to browse through the whole website to find what you are looking for, they have four major categories ; ‘Personalised Gifts‘, ‘Gifts by recipient/occasion‘, flowers and cakes‘ and ‘Gifts by country/city‘. Apart from these, you can also find other filtered links like ‘Gifts for anniversary’, ‘gifts for Birthdays’ etc. They keep in tune with any special days that come up in the calendar like valentines, mothers day, etc. All this helps in streamlining the search and finding the gift.

I had taken this opportunity to buy gifts for my kids; purchased two for Baby Abbas and one for Batool. Fisher-Price Rock-a-stack and Snap-Lock beads and Funskool Sun Catchers. The price sticker for all of these was either removed or scratched,  which is very important if you’re having the gifts wrapped and delivered directly to the recipient. All items of the order were delivered together and on time, I shall leave you with pics of the same now…

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I am aware of a couple more gifting sites, but haven’t dared to try them. It was very nice of IGP to approach me to try it out as a courtesy.

My experience with the customer support was satisfying, I was having some issues with placing the order because of crappy internet, and wanted some information on a product as well, so I had reached out to their customer care and they were very helpful. The helpline operator, made a note of my query, gave me an estimate of when she would get back to me with the information I needed, and she stuck to it. I was very pleased with their service. When it comes to buying gifts for someone you want to make sure that everything is perfect and there should be no room for mishaps.

Nothing in the world is perfect is it? Critically analysing the website makes me want them to have a larger range especially for little kids, it would be nice to purchase products that I or anyone may not otherwise find on other retail stores in India as gifts. Also, since I was placing my order around the Mothers day the website was very slow, which also I got clarified by the help-desk that it was because they were constantly working on the website by adding new products for mothers day. But still it kind of was annoying.

Having said that , I will give IGP 4/5 and will definitely turn to them for future gift purchases. Especially since many of my friends and family reside in Dubai I always tend to lose out on doing something special for them, sending a bouquet of fresh flowers, or a personalised gift from here, would enable me to express my love for them. IGP delivers to over 90 countries, and over 350 cities have same day delivery option! Isn’t that impressive?

Highly recommend the site, have you ever purchased anything from there?

Himalaya for moms toning massage oil review

Continuing the Himalaya for moms exploration, today I will discuss the amazing toning massage oil by the new range sent to me by Himalaya. The whole range of Himalaya FOR MOMS is aimed at shifting focus on the mother who needs the care and pampering just as much as her little baby. Since it is Himalaya bringing about these lovely products, it’s a mix of Ayurveda and years of scientific research, among the products launched in this range are nipple care butter, 3 scents of body butters, and anti-rash cream.

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Himalaya describes the toning massage oil as being ‘enriched with the goodness of traditional sesame oil that tones and firms the skin and winter cherry that rejuvenates and nourishes the body. Country mallow soothes the skin while lavender fragrance calms and soothes the mind’ The ethos of the product come from the fact that massages have had a therapeutic value since ages, and there’s no doubt a mom needs a pampering and relaxing massage post pregnancy while she juggles between motherhood and looking after herself. Himalaya has been a pioneer in educating it’s customer on not just the ingredients of the product but how the product itself helps; and they explain in 4 simple points the benefits of daily postpartum massages:
1. Tones and relaxes muscles
2. Relieves muscle aches and joint pains, eases fatigue
3. Reduces anxiety and stress, promotes relaxation and sleep
4. Helps improve skin firmness and smoothness

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The beauty of this product is the pleasant fragrance; it’s not too strong or too light. You don’t get any pungent herbal smell considering there is sesame oil and herbal ingredients in the oil, which makes this not only easy on the body for the mother, but also for the one massaging. You sister, mother, husband, friend anyone would enjoy the experience of massaging you. The consistency of the oil isn’t too thick and sticky, it spreads evenly and is easy to massage into the skin. It absorbs quickly, this is great if you’re the kind who prefers to take a nap post massage. You won’t feel uncomfortable and “oily”. Also, it isn’t hard work to wash off in shower. Packaging wise the bottle comes with a flip lid and oil pours out with ease, it’s not a hassle to deal with, you can control the amount of product you want coming out and the bottle has all the information you require on its label from ingredients, to directions of use.

The bottle I was sent in the hamper along with other products from the Himalaya For moms FOR MOMS range is 200ml and retails for INR200. The calming fragrance of lavender helps in soothing the mind, and promotes good sleep.Overall I will give this product a 4/5

Himalaya for moms body butter review

The excitement is uncontrollable. I have been on the Himalaya bandwagon for over 6 years now, and it just keeps getting better with new products, new packaging and now a whole new range of products for moms! I was delighted to receive the hamper from Himalaya and am even more intrigued to try them all and review them for you. Being half way through my current pregnancy it was just great timing!

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Let’s familiarize ourselves with the ethos behind this launch; as per the brand ‘Himalaya FOR MOMS is a range of safe, effective and gentle products specially formulated for women during pregnancy and beyond. Combining the best of Ayurveda with years of scientific research, these products effectively restore natural health and vitality of the skin’. The products in the line include body butters, anti-rash cream, nipple care butter and toning massage oil. Today I will review the Himalaya FOR MOMS soothing body butter.

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There are three body butters in the range that provide these three main benefits;
1. Smoothen and soften extra dry skin
2. Provide long lasting deep moisturisation
3. Intensely nourish and hydrate skin
I have been testing out all three from the range, that have different fragrances to cater to the likes of the moms; namely rose, lavender and jasmine. The formulation of all three is the same and I liked the fragrance selection, all three appeal to a large audience of Indian moms, and aren’t super strong. During pregnancy the sense of smell is heightened, and me experiencing that right now, find the mildness of the fragrances in all three comfortable. Also, they don’t seem like they would bother the new baby when I continue using them postpartum.



The body butters are essentially induced with ‘rich cocoa butter’ providing that thickness to the consistency and also moisturising. I personally love the lavender, and jasmine variety, rose is a little too rose-like for me. Ingredients and directions for use are mentioned at the back of the packaging; the products can be applied all over the body and are recommended for twice a day application for best results. They are all white in colour and have a thick creamy consistency. Pregnancy tends to dehydrate the skin, with all the stretching, changes in hormones, higher body temperature etc. the body butter delivers in its promise to rehydrate extra dry skin. I enjoy using it on my feet and hands, especially with winter approaching; it’s a great hand cream substitute that is rich and most importantly herbal!
Soothing Body Butter is available in packs of 50ml, 100ml & 200 ml priced at INR 120, INR 200 & INR 320 respectively. I have to mention, since it is body butter, it tends to get slimy if the area where it’s applied comes in contact with water, even after hours of application. It’s something that’s common with every body butter/moisturizer I have tried in general. Just a heads up.

For the product I give a 4/5. I do see myself running out of the lavender one quickly and buying it for further use. Have you tried any of the Himalaya FOR MOMS products?

 

Diaper dreams- Gender-specific diapers from Huggies

There is not end to ‘new and improved’ in the world we live in. Huggies has launched their gender specific pant-style diapers in Hyderabad. It took me some exploration to get to them, and while there’s still time for the diaper days to begin again for me, it was nice sharing my experience on world of moms.

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Catch the blogpost here. Leave comments with your experience/excitement for the gender diapers below and share the love….

 

 

Himalaya Diaper rash cream new packaging

I had done the review for the Himalaya Diaper rash cream back in September 2015, and the company has since changed the packaging. The formula and the performance of the product remains the same, I love the mild fragrance of the product, it’s perfect for babies, and absorbs into the skin easily. A little goes a long way with this product. This post is going to focus on the differences in the product then and now, so let’s get into it:

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Let’s start with the packaging, Himalaya now is clearly marketing its baby care products under ‘BabyCare’ this is visible on the box and the tube. Previously it was under the umbrella of ‘herbal healthcare’. The product is herbal no doubt, but there seems to be more emphasis on the baby care aspects, and highlighting through simple marketing techniques via content on packaging.

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New added information on the tube is that the product is; ‘Free from parabens, Mineral oil and synthetic colours’. With the growing awareness among mothers, and consumers in general, more information is always good to compare with other products in the market before venturing out to purchase something for your baby. Previously, the box and tube said that the mildness of the product was tested for baby skin, however now; it has simple points mentioned at the bottom ‘clinically tested. Hypoallergenic’. The company is also trying to reach across to consumers about its product features by simple word tags, like the one mentioned at the bottom highlighted in the signature Himalaya purple ‘Pure.Gentle.Safe’ These are all the three things we look for in a product for our little babies.

Everything else is the same, except the price. In September the product retailed for INR 85 and now it retails for 10 rupees more i.e. INR 95 for the same 50 gm pack.

So how does this make a difference to us? Price is subjective to consumers and affordability; however no other diaper rash cream is available for the price as reasonable box 4as Himalaya. Let’s face it, as long as your child is going to be in diapers, rashes are inevitable, and catering to them shouldn’t be an issue due to price. Coming to the packaging, though crowded with content, it gives all the important information right on top, you need not read the tiny font behind/on the side of the product to get to the important information. Making the decision to purchase a product for yourself is very different from the responsibility of buying for your baby. Information is everything. The box and tube are big enough to encompass all the information, and it’s designed in a tasteful manner. I love the colour combination of the purple shades and the green.

I would recommend trying this product to see if it works on your babies rashes, Himalaya makes products for the Indian consumers, at a price point that is affordable, and the best part is that it’s all herbal. There’s no doubt you will find Himalaya baby care products in general in ‘best seller’ list on websites!

Himalaya Refreshing baby soap Review

The essential ingredient for a bath- Soap! Himalaya sent the refreshing baby soap for oily skin to me, and I have been super late on this post as confessed before, so without further delay, we shall acquaint ourselves with the product.

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The soap is meant for oily skin, however I do not understand if babies or even children have a skin type that early. I guess they’re trying to target skin that needs moisture without any oil ingredients. This soap contains watermelon, khus-khus and neem. It has been clinically tested and is hypoallergenic. They describe the soap on the package in three terms ‘pure, mild and safe’. All of these are very important for babies. The soap is also free from parabens, animal fats and synthetic colours.

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Packaging wise it’s the same as any Himalaya baby soap, inside the card box, the soap is safe in a plastic cover. The soap itself is white in colour, but as soon as you unwrap it, you can smell the fragrance. I like this because my daughter isn’t a baby, and for a 6 year old, a soap that smells refreshing, yet not perfumed is great. As babies turn into toddlers and into little children, the soap requires a little more than just cleaning.  On the package the soap is described as follows:‘Mild and soothing soap that helps the baby’s skin cool and fresh while cleansing it gently. Enriched with: Watermelon, helps cool and condition the skin; Khus-Khus, helps keep the skin fresh, and Neem helps provide skin protection.’

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I like how Himalaya educates the parents on what exactly is the effect of each of the ingredient on their baby’s skin. It is very important for educated parents to not just know the contents but also how they help their child. Since they have a variety of soaps, one can make a sound decision on what their baby’s skin needs.

The directions for use are as any soap, this soap lathers well, and it’s not a soapy lather rather a creamy lather. This soap can safely be used on the face as well. Usually baby soaps tend to melt away even when not used, just in the moisture of the air. But this one stays put. It’s creamy when applying but doesn’t melt away as other soaps do. The package that was sent to me was of 125g, and retails for Rs.55. The 75 gm pack is also available, however the prices seem to be higher than the MRP online, so you may want to keep that in check. The product is safe to use within 3 years of manufacturing.

So what is the verdict? The soap is great; it can be used for children as well because the smell is nice and refreshing and yet not overpowering. I would recommend purchasing the 125g pack, as there is no fear of soap melting. The only downside of the product or rather the packaging of the product is that; there are too many important facts on there. One side the content is vertical and on the other it’s horizontal, even then it looks cluttered, as someone who would be out in the supermarket buying; I’d get a little confused. I understand all of these facts are important, but probably the display or design could change. I love the purple and the little baby in the Himalaya Baby Care logo. A simpler, bullet design would maybe serve the purpose of noting the clinical facts, ingredients, the purpose etc. But then again that’s just my opinion; maybe most people don’t even bother with staring at the packaging, just rip and get the product out 🙂 Overall I liked the product and would give it a 5/5 based on its quality and fulfilling all that it’s meant to.

Have you tried this soap? What has been your experience?

Happy birthday Batool

6 years ! Wow! I remember the time when Batool was born, her tiny preemie body and I used to pacify myself with thoughts that one day she will go to school and be big and healthy.

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The dreams never end, but as she grows older the only dream I have for her is to be a great human being, who is just , patient and responsible. Just want her to be the best version of herself so that more than anyone else in the world she should be proud of herself.

As her mother all I can do is pray, and work towards this goal with every hopeful opportunity I get, and hustle.

I got her three presents this year, a book (Fun on the farm) , a puzzle ( All the 7 days) and a framed pic of me and her so every time she misses me she can simply see the pic.

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Patience and tests of human beings require the most endurance. I have realised that a relationship with God is the only relationship that is needed to save any relationship on earth. Been a mother for six years and am proud to be one for the rest of my life to this amazing girl who has served as a means for me to get closer to Allah swt. And continues to do so with patience and inspiration.

Let’s celebrate Passing the HAP course!

I finished my course at HAP!! Yayii!. Received the certificate of the same on Saturday 12th, And boy was that day hectic. I know what you’re thinking! I constantly talk about my busy schedules, I am sure it’s getting monotonous at this point. Keeping this in mind I shall move on to what I wanted to actually write about. I treated myself with some online shopping.

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Note the excitement on the daughters face! That’s just ‘zoom into pricelessness moment’ She was roaring “Yayiiiii”

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Appreciating oneself is a habit I am still developing, but when I found out that I was actually truly passing I had this intense feeling of treating myself. All the hard work, running around, studying, maintaining sanity while balancing the many responsibilities that I did, I just had to acknowledge my efforts. The icing on the cake was that I topped the last exam which was a paper submission! Felt great, that sense of accomplishment I have never felt, never topped anything! hehe

Anyway so this is what I did, I bought some make-up, a wallet, and shoes (which are on the way).

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The experience of the course was great, in one word I would describe the course ‘insightful’ apart from the academic learning that took place you really do get to explore yourself, and become more aware of your behaviour and that of others. I have met some really special people, from various walks of life, women who inspire me and will continue to be part of my life. Even though I didn’t perform to my potential, there’s a lot I have learned to do better in the future in other ventures in my life.

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Dr.Diana is a great teacher, and an inspiring role model, for her high ethical standards of practice, passion for her field, and the unconditional positive regard she gives to us as her students. I highly recommend this course for all students who are in the field of psychology to broaden their view of the field, and get exposure to new thinking and learning.

The next target is to wind up my PGDiploma from IHMH. That should be a call for another mini shopping spree I guess!

A quick haul and what's next on the reading list

I don’t remember when purchased the items below, but I remember vividly it was a bad day, that had to be turned into a good one and some shopping doesn’t do anyone harm, now does it?

Let’s get started, not going to go too much into details…..More pics, more fun…

IMG-20151001-WA0016The truck pocket notebook from Letternote. My previous ‘Do Epic Shit’ book got over!, and I had to purchase another, love the quality of letternote notebooks, this is A5 size and colourful wanted to buy something that would lift my mood every time I say it. This notebook is with me at work, in class, wherever I am. The book itself will last me over a year, I’ve started to make more notes, but I also like to not waste space, so I will usually draw a line and jot down stuff, it gives a very loved vibe. The notebook is from Letternote but I ordered it on Flipkart.

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I’ve been looking for a small size sudoku puzzle book for quite some time. Usually they’re super thick and hence impractical to carry around. This one looks cool as well, and has the elastic to keep pages together. I’ve finished a few puzzles, use it in autos, or when in waiting for doctors or appointments. It has other puzzles too, I have never even heard of them, but am willing to explore. Variety is the spice of life init! Got it at Crosswords (City center, Banjara Hills)

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Flipkart purchase, looking forward to reading Commonsense parenting, it’s going to definitely be an interesting read. Indian authors talking about Indian parenting issues are always more relate-able.

CAM04358At crosswords I found a few really nice Nigella Lawson cook books, but I neither have the time nor the space to cook them recipes!, So I decided to be practical and splurge on books that I can’t even store anywhere. And these were a great find, I think they do a better job at serving the purpose of cooking than collectibles. Tarla Dalal, haven’t tried anything yet, Shameless I know!, but when I do, I shall blog and boast! 😉 These I think are good random gifts for close friends who already cook or want to venture into cooking, they’re very affordable, and can also be added into a random gift basket of various fun items.

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CAM04356And on to some random stationery purchases, needed book marks, and purple being one my favourite colours, I had to go with this ombre purple pack. Also bought a ink pen by Parker, trust me the only reason I did was because it came with two extra cartridges. However I noticed the one in the pen was empty and is refillable like a syringe, which was a relief!. Loving using it and somehow, I am conscious of not misplacing it and it definitely isn’t allowed in the hands of the daughter. I am the queen of misplacing pens BTW!, I will buy them packs of ten one a bi-monthly basis. Will always have one in every bag, and the daughter will totally open it up and misplace some piece and the whole pens useless.

CAM04348Another catch point about the pen was that it’s ox blood red which I love. Using an ink pen reminds me of school days, in-fact, when I was using it in school earlier this week one of the staff members exclaimed “ink pen!, haven’t seen those in a while’ which I think is sad, kids should enjoy the beauty of using an ink pen.

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And finally the book that’s next on my reading list is: Me Talk Pretty One Day

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Will review it once I finish, haven’t started yet! Long ‘life is busy’ reasons! What have you bought recently?

House arrest

I’ve been busy, that’s an old story at this point. I’ve been busy with life that gets me out of the house every single day! It’s not the same thing though, some days it’s class, some days it’s school, some days it’s chores, etc etc. You get the drift.

But since last Saturday I have been having severe lower back pain, which has made me unable to do the many things that I do outside the house. Top it up with ‘absolute bed-rest’ by the orthopedist  (Who BTW I recommend for all your bone needs, he’s v good; ‘thorough’ if you may) and you’re game for boredom. So really what have I been doing? I don’t know how time has passed and another Saturday came. I will go back to work on Tues. But I’ve realised a few things in these days of rest.

1.I deserve a break! it actually felt good to tell everyone I won’t be available, be it school, class or madrasa. I just told everyone to just “manage”. I don’t know if it’s me in my little head; that I believe the worlds weight is on my shoulders and shit won’t happen if I don’t move. But everything happened. Everything happens, Life goes on. This is a relief especially considering that I plan to move out of Hyderabad.

2. Amazon.in aint that bad! I was going to blog about the pathetic service of Amazon, but that I’ve decided to put that aside, because I received my book, super early and it has been my savior. Sh*tty mum is a must read! (review coming soon, I’m almost done), give it to your friends, buy it for new moms, gift it to your wives/sisters! Everyone deserves to have a copy of their own. This book cracked me up like Gordon Ramsays autobio did. Only this is hilarious from beginning till the end. This also made me realise that I should just buy myself more books and take time out to laze around and read. It aint no crime!

shitty mum3. I am not the stay at home typa person anymore! This is probably the biggest realisation, I can’t stay at home, I am craving a walk, stood in the balcony for good 20 mins just to “see” the world. I was never this way, this is the new me I guess. Just like keeping busy, no matter how much it tires you, you’ll still like to be busy. I have discovered that I no longer can be home. Soooo looking forward to meeting the 450 kids at school and the holy little ones at the madrasa.

4. There’s an uncomfy phase to divorce, I can and maybe should just write a book on this. I don’t know how the divorce experience is for people in other cities or countries, but it’s pretty awkward here, especially if you’re surrounded by people who know your in-laws but aren’t related to your in-laws. It’s just weird. My hospital file still says ‘Mrs’ and ’19yrs’ for age, but when the concerned person changed the raggedy old file and moved papers into a new one, she copied the same details. I didn’t know that this happened BTW, I submitted my file, and waited in the seating area with my ‘sh*tty mum’ book, floating on a cloud of humor, and when the Dr. saw my file he said “still 19?” I responded “no” , and well, he changed the age, I wanted to add “not Mrs also”, I don’t know what stopped me though. Sometimes I feel I say shit like it doesn’t mean anything, and don’t want to be taken for a fool, but hey! it’s a fact init!. I am comfortable with my Ms, Mrs, Mx, or whatever, but how come we think about other peoples reaction? How come we are taken aback by their judgement? At this point I feel we should just accept that we will be judged by anyone walking and just do what we do best. Muhahaha (Evil laugh). I changed the ‘Mrs’ to ‘Ms’ BTW. Need to set the record straight on that one. Maybe I should learn new ways of handling the situation without looking childish about it (That shall be difficult considering my personality). Sometimes I just feel like screaming, announcing it to the world “I am divorced” just to take the “suspense” off my life. Nip it in the bud, let everyone know, wear a t-shirt maybe that reads ‘happily divorced’. (If you have ideas leave them in the comments below)

I also have a theory like Maslows hierarchy of needs, about relationships. Let’s call it ‘Syedas hierarchy of relationships’. Now;  Imagine a pyramid and at top of the peak is being ‘happily married’, just below that is ‘happily divorced’, mind you, not courtship, or dating, or engagement or any of that. NONE of that. That’s my thing. It’s a two level pyramid I guess then. Everything else is meaningless, and only that is the truth, according to me, you can differ. Many psychology theories are questionable including Maslows.

5. Men in Hyderabad need to learn self-grooming. This is just general advice, outgrown beard, shabby hair, ill fitting clothes, you know what I’m talking about. You don’t realise how ill-groomed they are till you see someone who is well-groomed (which is as rare as a shooting star). Here’s a fact, we don’t see ourselves, we can’t unless there’s a mirror, so we should have the manners to consider how other people visually perceive us when we step out of the house. Hyderabadi men need a lesson or two in this. I can blog a two part series on the topic. If you find well-groomed men you’ll find them in doctors, go to LVPrasad, you can make out who means business there, people who know their eyes. Ditto with me Ortho Dr.  apart from being good at what they’re supposed to, you don’t mind bad news about your health when it’s coming from a person who took out 5 minutes to trim his beard! I’m sure there’s some psychology theory in there too! Don’t get me wrong, there are some proper appalling doctors out there too!

So that rounds it up, I shall resume laying around as today is the last day. Will finish off the book and write a review soon. I have so many blog posts pending that I am not going to bother building a guilt pool for myself 🙂