Excuses Excuses

I remember when I was in school, we had this elocution piece called ‘excuses excuses’ I remember the first few lines of it and few from the middle and the whole gist of the story in my head. There have been several times that I have told myself that phrase when I find myself in a fit of “I don’t have time”. For the most part it is true for a mom, especially if you’re new and trying to get a hang of your new life. Sometimes there are just some facts that we need to be told in a non-sugar coated manner for us to stop the sulking and get into action.

The recent past, since my birthday has been all about figuring out myself and being more conscious of my time and accomplishments; and like always I was looking for inspiration when I stumbled upon this amazing mompreneur, and her video just struck a chord, I love how blunt she is and well, I instantly saved the video on my playlist for future reference.

When I look around and observe other moms, who are my age and how they’re satisfied with the domestic duties and marathons I wonder why I can’t find full satisfaction in that. In the end it’s all about brought up, if a girl has been brought up and raised with skills that help her within the domestic chores and that is painted as her only duty and contribution to the world then that’s all she will do and will find full satisfaction in it. Not that I was raised to take over the world and travel to the moon, my personality just won’t allow me to be satisfied with my role as a mom only, I need to play other roles, self-satisfaction, improvement and pushing the envelope of capabilities and goals is essential for me. I respect every woman who has made a sound decision to do what she is doing, in-fact this goes for all of humanity. Men and women who are aware of why they’re doing what they’re doing, and if it brings them the satisfaction in life then it’s amazing. Those people will inspire others, without a doubt they will.

For being a strong headed woman with dreams, it’s sad that I don’t have sane amount women around me who have the same goals in life. We all need guidance and inspiration, we also need to inspire and lift other woman, that’s the beauty of being leaders, you are constantly in the energy of passionate, motivated people who want success and you can learn from them and also help them out whenever possible.

All in all, the excuses have to end. Excuses don’t help anyone, in-fact they have a crappy effect on the people around you. A frustrated self, only increases the anxiety and causes negativity around us all. Forward has to be the goal, a tiny step at a time, as long as we’re moving forward, we will continue to have clarity in life.

Minimalism according to me

Minimalism and the lifestyle has been catching up. Youtube is filled with videos and documentaries on the Minimalist way of life. You watch a couple of them and you kinda sorta get an idea of what they’re trying to tell you, but then it starts to seem black and white and depressing. It’s difficult to ever imagine yourself being able to maintain a balance in your life in that manner.

But I tried to ponder more, on my own, whenever possible. Started to observe my lifestyle, and that of other around me. took mental notes of what I liked and disliked, what i agreed and disagreed with with this new lifestyle. And like always I try to bring all my cluttered thoughts to religion to seek guidance in the right way. Because the base of all my beliefs is that if there’s a right way to do anything my Creator knows it, because He created me and everyone else on earth and beyond. And so I did that.

Minimalism is not out there in that term, but there’s a term that would drive you to minimalism. And it’s a simple concept, a concept many of us have come across way before minimalism itself. Extravagance, in Arabic ‘israaf’. Israaf is not just a disliked activity in Islam, it is also a greater sin (Gunah e Kabira). So, there you go, forget choosing a lifestyle, you may have very well been sinning all this while! hehe.

We have taught Israaf on a basic level to children at madrasa for years, it is part of their ‘manners’ curriculum. And while we teach it m we only discuss it on the surface. Anyway, rightly assuming I don’t know anything about the topic I started reading the chapter of Israaf in the Greater sins book. It’s amazing how we are able to relate to examples as we grow older, and observant of people around us. Their decisions and their doings and how everything makes sense on a deeper, more productive level. Needless to say, I had multiple ‘aha’ moments, and forwarded the link to few people on my whatsapp contacts.

I had never looked at israaf beyond its basic definition, honestly, I hadn’t even thought about it deep enough to realise how much of it I do on a regular, basis. And most importantly,  need to be more mindful of these things. As a parent if I practice these day to day things correctly, it won’t be as much a struggle for my children.

To sum it up Israaf can and more often happens in our time, our physical and emotional efforts, our energy, our mental abilities, our money. In fact, every breath can become a victim of extravagance. If we realise that, and work towards eradicating this leech we would not only reduce wastage, but increase efficiency by putting in efforts where they’re needed. being mindful of israaf can actually enable us to not do it in things you don’t even currently posses. That’s the beauty of this concept. And while we all need to and are ordered to live up to our standard as per our means, we are also supposed to think about those around us who are in need before spending our time, money and energy on things we don’t need, but want.

As a human ending her 29th year of life, I would like to be in a state to be able to pass on wisdom, and gain more each day. Otherwise, it’s an israaf of my intellect. This made me realise how much I have already wasted, never to regain. We don’t see how much israaf negatively impacts our everyday lives on an individual and social level. It’s not a philosophical concept, it’s a realistic concept that every child and adult can relate to. I am so glad that I have a better more clearer perspective on things, another curtain has been lifted from my intellect and I am looking forward to (more than ever before) uncovering more wisdom in the future.

 

YouTube gurus I am loving right now

Always looking for a way to unwind. I seem to get bored with even my new unwinding ideas! YouTube has been one of the steady ones. And I am glad that in the smart phone world we are able to access YouTube whenever, wherever!

I would go the the lengths of saying that I have a relationship with my YouTube subscribers list, we are BFFs at this point. There are days I tend to lose interest in some of my subscriptions. However in the recent past I have been steadily enjoying few and wanted to share the love 🙂

  • Lily Pebbles – A UK based beauty and lifestyle blogger whose vlogs I am addicted to. She puts up a video every Sun and has recently also started podcast series with another YouTuber. I love her accent, her take on things, and most of all, I totally enjoy how honest and down to earth she is. In her recent two part Q and A video she embraces each question and is super open about her experiences as a YouTuber and the business of things. I also follow her on Instagram, and enjoy her Instastories.

  • Emily Norris– A mommy blogger from the UK. Yes Mommy bloggers are my saviors at times when I feel isolated in my motherhood madness. Her vlogs and videos are fun to watch, I get a lot of inspiration from her parenting with her three kids. I feel if she can do it with three, I should be fine!. I particularly enjoy her vlogs and she is extremely relatable because of her soft spoken nature, and truthful opinions.

  • Danielle Mansutti– She recently moved to the UK and I am totally enjoying her moving vlogs. I somehow feel empowered by his big move on her own to a new city. It’s a good feeling to see young girls following their dreams and taking control of their lives. Let’s face it, moving to a new country ain’t a joke! (She was living in Australia prior to her move just in case you’re curious). I totally loved this particular vlog where she unites with her pug after moving….I am not ven an animal kinda person, but this was emotional!

  • Niomi Smart– Also from UK (OMG are we seeing a trend here!) Niomi is a beauty and health blogger. I am thoroughly inspired by her healthy lifestyle. I am looking for inspiration to loose the baby weight at the moment, and anything that keeps me in the mind set is welcome. Aside from her health, I like that as a beauty blogger she has not lost her head while becoming famous. She’s humble and grateful for her achievement and I feel like I can relate to her in her vlogs. I also love the minimalist yet beautiful make-up she wear. I get appalled by beauty gurus who have a tonne of makeup on all the time, it’s not realistic and doesn’t appeal to me.

  • Kaushal Beauty – An Indian but in UK! She is hands down the most creatively inspiring beauty guru I have found on Youtube. Her looks are easy to do, and are beautiful. She knows how to transform simple looks to glam with her creative eye liner tricks. I think it’s the Indian in her who is not afraid of bright colours, especially in eye makeup. Most importantly, she is the sweetest and it shows through her personality. My favourite videos from her are the Indian get ready with me makeup looks. It’s nice to see her take on makeup when wearing Indian dresses.

  • The Uphill– A mommy from UK, also has another channel called A model recommends. I am subscribed to both, and discovered her on her first channel. Even though I still enjoy the beauty videos on that one, I am enjoying her mommy channel more. She has two kids under 2 and her day in the life videos are fun to watch. I relate to her as a mom who works from home and has a little baby. Her baby and Abbas are around the same age, and so I have been following her videos through her pregnancy 🙂 I like that her content is mature, and real. Mommies don’t have a glam life all the time, and she is not afraid to hide that. In fact I appreciate it and am inspired by her.

Over the years I have grown out of some YouTubers and seen some grow into people I can’t relate to anymore. I do appreciate how much YouTube has helped talented people show their talents and eventually become a brand. However, I personally enjoy YouTubers who stick to the aesthetic of making videos with the same passion, even though YouTube is their bread and butter, they don’t compromise on the roots of their channel.

Do you have any favourites? leave suggestions in the comments below, I shall happily expand my YouTube subscription list.

 

 

 

 

 

Shedding the weight

For the longest time I was that mother who looked around at other cousins who got pregnantDSC02175 around the same time as me and were back in shape in just a year. The first birthday of their child and they’re looking glam, like nothing even happened. Even though I don’t believe that one needs to become a certain shape or size by the end of their childs first year, I do like the possibility of someday, being the old you. I went through the period where I didn’t want to get out of the house because of how fat I got and how I just couldn’t relate to this person that I had become.

Needless to say I have struggled and still have difficulty losing the weight. But lately I have motivated myself to stick to some sort of work out instead of only watching the diet. I don’t lose weight untill i really move and I always knew that, but I wanted result in the first session. This time my body has responded well. After four years of my daughter being born, I am close to my target pre-baby weight. Close as in I still have easily 10kgs to go. Just so you know I went from a 53kgs to 85kgs in having Batool, this was also because she was an IUGR baby, and I was on house arrest basically post delivery, as she needed the special preemie care. The only going out I did was hospital and doctor visits. And I am not joking about that.

I just wanted to share the videos that I have been working out to, that have worked for me. Let’s get started!

1. Cafe moms 30 min cardio- This was my first, and initially I couldn’t even do the basic knee raise, but now I am able to get through the whole video. I skip the boxing (it’s boring), and the mountain climbers. I substitute the mountain climbers with a similar exercise in the 2nd video. I try to not strain my lower back as it is weak, and I have mild scoliosis.


2. Fitness Blender- 37 min cardio- This video is a great motivator, I noticed the various jumping jack exercises did great fat burning for me. I could notice a difference after every workout. I sometimes did the first few sets after the exercise in the above video. The time graph gets you all motivated and the calorie count too is very encouraging

3. Jessica smith tv 8 min legs- I have to say these exercises looked so easy breezy when I saw the video, but then doing them they will kill you. I do these toward the end right before cool down.

I have understood and accepted that working out has to become part of your life-style not just a reason to weight loss. And I love it, it relieves me of all the stress i pile up. And I am making sure I don’t push myself into an unreasonable routine of working out every single day of the week. For me twice or thrice a week is manageable. And whatever weight I lose in that is fine, it will take time, but I’m in no hurry.

Have you tried any of the above videos or have suggestions? Leave them below in the comments…..And let me know if these work out for you….. Healthy mommy =Happy mommy!

What mothers can do, in an unsafe country like India

I have been through a roller-coaster of emotions and thoughts since the rape and molestation cases in India have been the buzz. I am not talking about any particular case, all rapes are wrong, there aren’t levels to it. All types of physical molestation are wrong, no matter which part of the body is involved.

I always try to look for solutions and ways of being pro-active. It is important to me that all female  humans of India keep aside their aspirations, and desires and chose to be safe than sorry. Because in the end of the day, it we who are going to be exploited. Till a change comes in this country it’s all about being safe and not raising your voice for small skirts, late nights and drunken nightlife. We have to be educated and practical.

No one is guaranteeing a change right now, not even the women. But as mothers there are several things we can do.

1. Mentor your son– In India women are treated as a liability. This thought process is most commonly seen amongst women, women are the worst enemies of women here. When the women themselves are projecting themselves and their daughters and other women in general as inferior, or as a pain or liability, then the boys/men are sent the message of ‘ go ahead and dominate all you want’. Accept it, we are at fault here. As mothers it’s important to make sure that your sons especially, know that women are human beings just like them, they are important, they are equal, they have feelings and need to be treated with respect NO MATTER WHAT. The reason why men are able to grope, or rape, or tease or molest is because they have been taught from the very beginning that the woman is a slave for the world. And women enticing men on bilboards, and movies isn’t helping either. It sends the message that woman are willing to ‘bear all’ for money and to entertain the men, and let’s not be hypocritical here. Denial isn’t getting us out of rape nation. Raise boys to become men of honour, who can create a safe environment, who respect, value and protect women.

2. Communicate with your schools– Yes!, the school, get involved, ask your school if they’re having any program for students about ‘good touch/bad touch’. Are the boys and girls being educated about basic morals of physical conduct and boundaries. Compel them to conduct such workshops at-least once and year, and have class teachers remind students about these concepts in class regularly.

3. Educate yourself– There are workshops and seminars conducted for school faculties AND parents on this topic. Go with your husband, call your friend mommies, expose yourself to the psychology and thought process behind these happenings. Learn about the symptoms, signs, and experiences of the victims. Learn how to communicate with your children, figure out how you can discuss these issues openly in your circle of family and friends and come up with solutions. Don’t chose to be ignorant about it, don’t blame the victim and think you’re safe. Advice your childs school to actively participate in such workshops, or I would suggest change the school to one that cares about your child!

4. Communicate with your kids– Keep a healthy communication with your children girls AND boys. Make them comfortable enough to be able to tell you anything and everything. Make sure you teach them about  physical boundaries, what is expected out of them in terms of conduct with the opposite gender, at school or otherwise. Build trust, tell them you won’t be judgmental, that you’ll always support them. Make sure you know who they hang out with, monitor their television, cell phone and internet usage. Remember that you’re the adult, and how positively you project adulthood will reflect in your childs enthusiasm in growing up and being one him/herself. Speak to them about good and bad touch, there are books available online to buy, visit a library, ask your school counselor to help you out. There are videos also on YouTube that can be a great aid to this communication. There’s no excuse, your resistance is going to turn into regret, if you don’t take responsibility as the adult.

5. Better safe than sorry– Make this your motto. There are many things in life we want to do, but we don’t because of a variety of reasons. The same goes with your wants to wear certain clothes, speak a certain way, live a certain lifestyle etc. just like the many things you compromise, compromise a little on this for YOUR OWN safety. Reality check: we’re not living in a perfect world. Maybe in the future there will be a time where women will feel safe wearing anything they fancy, doing anything they fancy, at any time of the day. Hopefully that day will come. But till then it’s better to be safe. Carry a can of pepper spray, it’s 100% legal, be ready to knock anyone out, you have all right to protect yourself. Mentally prepare yourself and your daughters to be safe, and this will automatically reduce the fear that we are carrying around on a regular basis. The fear is not only there because men with ugly souls are around us, the fear is also there because we know we aren’t prepared enough. The fear is there because somewhere our poor parenting is resulting in such men also.

Please be proactive, leave comments below, start a discussion, voice your opinions, share your thoughts and knowledge on such issues. Be an educated, proactive and safe mom.

working it out through a work out.

These days the stress is getting to me a lot. The everyday routine, the dead lines, the responsibilities, it’s just a mixture of no break and full hard work. One of the issues that has been consistent is my weight. After Batool my weight transported me into obesity, which is not at all normal for one pregnancy to take you from 53 kilos to 85kilos. And no one bothered to make sure I was healthy, in fact I was constantly told it was normal to become this fat. I was naive enough to believe, as it is Batool was a preemie and I totally forgot I was a human being in the process of taking care of her. It’s just recently say in the past 2 years that I’ve had time to look at myself in the mirror for more than 5 seconds. And I hate that I am still overweight and that losing weight is so bloody difficult. I’ve seen my cousins get to pre-baby weight by the first birthday of their child!

Anyway, recently I have been losing weight, I traced my way back to the days that I was of normal BMI, and tried to compare my past lifestyle to the one I am living now. And well, I realised I’ve been eating like I am pregnant, because I got habituated to eating larger quantities. I also don’t have as much exercise as I did then, and I don’t mean going to the gym, I mean climbing of stairs, running around the house, skating, cycling, playing table tennis and other sports. I have since the revelation decided to fill this void. Many young girls start to feel there’s a time in your life when you just don’t gain weight like when you’re in school or college but that’s rubbish. It’s not “the time” it’s how active you were. After marriage most women don’t have 2 or 3 floors of stairs to climb to classes, or sports period, or visits to the parks with parents. It’s a lifestyle issue not time. We can find endless excuses, we can live in denial but always unhappy, the jiggling fat reminding us of the person we have lost.

Anyway point being, I have finally started to make a change, and right now this is the exercise I am doing at home.


I’m not putting pressure on myself, cos the aim isn’t weight loss, it’s a lifestyle change.So the slow I am to more committed I will be after I eventually reach my target weight. I am presently 67kgs, and my end aim is 55kgs. I don’t want to be at the border of Normal-Overweight BMI, I want to be safe, I want to be able to eat candy, eat them lovely chocolate cakes and not be worried. I am not a film-star, the only expectation I have with me is a realistic one. I want to have energy and stamina to be able to play with Batool. I am only 25, I don’t need to feel  50.

Here are few thoughts that motivate me:

1. You won’t have issues looking for your size in clothing

2. You will feel younger and stronger emotionally

3. No more jiggling!

4. Just do whatever you can, whatever you can

5. It’s your body, no one can help you but yourself

6. Women across the globe have children, blaming the child for bad health choices is unfair

7. My daughter deserves a healthy mom

8. I deserve to be confident and happy

9. I will get better sleep at night

I also try to focus on the people who haven’t seen me for a long time to get proper feedback. Like mom, she travels to Hyderabad with a few months gap, if I can work enough to show ANY difference which is visually noticeable than it’s good enough. Also, the appreciation element makes you feel proud, after all exercising is hard work.

What motivates or demotivates you from being healthy?

 

Biotique Review

I am not the trendiest when it comes to make up simply because I hardly use it. I have however CAM01785been trying to get into skincare. I am hooked on to many of the non-Indian YouTube beauty  gurus. And they constantly talk about products that aren’t available here or are unreasonably priced. It’s very annoying I must say, so I decided to move into what is possible and explore Indian brands. That’s when I first ventured into Biotique, reasonably priced products, large variety, and they do the job (at-least the ones I’ve tried so far). I even went ahead and gifted one of their products to a dear friend.

I am more than happy with the brand (had an initial repulsion to the colour, but it helps the products stand out in your stash) and continue to pursue buying their products. My number one concern was how it would smell, herbal products tend to have the typical smell but not with Biotique. There’s no artificial scent, but you can smell the ingredients, the fruit etc.

Here’s what I’ve tried:

1. Bio Seaweed revitalising anti-fatigue gel (25gms MRP199)

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This was my first purchase out of desperate need, my felt tired after hours of work on the PC and staying up at night passing time on the tablet. This really works, I tend to use it as a quick wake up for my eyes. It really helps with the tired eyes. You can see from the picture I’ve used up a good deal of this, even though I don’t use it on an everyday basis.

The product itself is transparent, and dries off fast. Its a must try porduct for anyone who uses the computer on an everyday basis.

Verdict: 5 STARS

2. Bio Papaya smoothing and revitalising scrub (85gms, MRP 199)

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This came into my life when I was way too impressed to not explore. I had to buy a scrub for my face, the skin was acting up with dry patches and what not. It smells delicious. I found it a little harsh for my skin, sort of dried it out. I didn’t like the overall results. considering the price and quantity, it’s a good product to have in your collection, definitely worth a shot to see how it works for your skin. I do plan to use it all up, the husband loved it. I thought scrubs would leave the skin super supple and soft, but I needed to intensely moisturize my skin afterwards. It does the job at exfoliating though, I have a combination skin with an oily T-zone, and it did great cleaning out the open pores there, but dried up my cheeks.

Verdict: 3.5 STARS

3. Bio Almond soothing and nourishing cream (16gms MRP 199)

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Another love. This thing is magic, clears out those dark circles like no ones business. It’s light, white in colour and dries fast after application. My under eye skin needed nourishment, I felt like a grandmother, I deal with my eye area pretty roughly. So I thought I need help, and yes I did! I have noticed a drastic change in my under eye skin, it feels healthier, thicker (if it makes sense), stronger and just young! Highly recommend it. Do be very careful with this though, even the tiniest amount will sting your eye, so make sure your eye doesn’t come in contact at all.

Verdict: 5 STARS

4. Bio Mud ageless firming and revitalising face pack (85gms MRP199)

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You will feel the tingle, you will smell the minty scent, you will feel amazing. This is great, does the trick and I really like it. The only issue I had with it was again the drying of the skin post use. This could also be because I am not a religious moisturiser user. But I like it, may even repurchase it.

Verdict: 4 STARS

Biotique products have therapeutic properties, they’re not meant for cosmetic use. This is what they state on each tub. The best feature is that you can use each of these products everyday if wanted. You won’t have to refrain from them because few days haven’t passed, they’re not meant to be harsh on the skin. I really like the range, very practical for Indian consumers, priced reasonably and available too. They have plenty more products that I haven’t tried, but definitely will explore.

Have you tried anything from this brand? What has been your experience like?

 

The Gordon Ramsay Obsession

One thing I do just before falling asleep is watch a great load of YouTube, or TV shows I’ve downloaded. I like really shallow entertainment at night, because my brain is exhausted and just doesn’t want to be strained. My latest obsession has been Hells Kitchen US.

I love Gordon Ramsay, he’s the bomb. I used to watch Hells Kitchen a long time ago when it used to air on TV. But then forgot about it, recently I had been seeing a lot of updates on the current season (12th) on Facebook and all around on the web. So I thought ‘hmm, lets go down that lane again’ and boy am I enjoying it!. Now the new episodes air every Friday, so you can get your torrents by Sat or Sun, however I like things fast paced. I like back to back madness. So I asked the husband to download the whole of season 10, and I finished that in two to three days, staying up till 3am, then it was time for season 11 finished that last night. And I have a new found love for Gordon Ramsay.

Image courtesy Channel4.com

I love the yelling, the screaming, the aggression because unlike other reality shows; this is legit. Gordon Ramsay is not the kind who can fall for overly choreographed crap. His passion for food is inspiring, it reminds you of how much you can love and dedicate yourself to something. Not only that, the contestants too are passionate, no one is hitting flukes. The moments I love the most about the show is when he gifts the challenge winners cookware, and knives. That’s amazing, the look on their faces for utensils, that’s what a true lover of cooking is. A true chef. And the cocky smile on his face when he’s making them do ridiculous punishments, hysterical challenges and pulls pranks on them.

Much respect for anyone who inspires you to have command over your career, you can demand respect, when you truly own expertise in a field. It’s about working hard, valuing the hard work of other, and moving forward with faith no matter how many failures you encounter. Gordon Ramsays energy is contagious, he makes me want to work harder and faster. It’s about being quick, and precise, maintaining standards, being yourself and not apologising for it.

Image courtesy http://storieswritingadventure.wordpress.com

While I am exhausted after watching two seasons back to back, I am going to take the sane persons route and watch an episode a week as it airs, and on my next book buy list is the biography of the chef himself ‘Humble Pie’. I am excited about that, found it on flipkart too, my go-to online book hauling site. Here’s a fantastic review of the book.

I haven’t ever read a biography, I’ve only checked out information online, but never read cover to cover. So I am excited to read this one. I am looking to forming a regular reading habit and not the audio books, physically READING, books. It’s been long, and it’s one of my goals this year; to get into the swing of regular reading, especially exploring works I haven’t ever tried.

So mommies (or non-mommies), what do you think about Gordon Ramsay? What are your current favourite reads? Leave comments below, I’d love to know about you wonderful readers!