Scrub the bod away !

Right, so picking up from the facial scrub chapter, let’s move down and start scrubbing!

When it comes to body scrubs, I think the scrub needs to be a bit more scrubbier! Gentle, yet coarser. Calming, yet fierce. Not only does it leave your body soft and buffed, it improves circulation and relaxes.

Two components; The exfoliator and the nourisher! The grain and the fluid!

In any body scrub, I think salt works better than sugar. Its dissolves less easily, and it holds its texture well for at least a week or even two. You just needs to try a few easily available ones, and see what your skin loves. Here are my favourites.

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Rich in minerals and trace elements, like calcium, magnesium, and iron. Relax muscles, detoxifies and polishes.

Sea saltDrink-Warm-Salt-Water-With-Sea-Salt

Its a natural purifier that removes the toxins that block the pores of the skin. It helps the skin breath easier, promotes better circulation, tightens the skin and improves skin texture.

 

A pile of Pure White Sea salt for cookingDead sea salt

Dead Sea salt is renowned for its ability to renew the skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, smooth and soften, and leave skin looking younger.

Now for the nourishing oil base. Again, work with the ones your skin agrees with. Here are my most slather-worthy ones…..o-PEANUT-OIL-facebook

Olive oil

Coconut oil

Jojoba oil

Sweet almond oil

And finally, who doesn’t appreciate a very relaxing ‘punch’ once in a while? So mix in some vanilla, some essential oils, herbs, spices, coffee, petals, just whatever you fancy. And trust me it takes only a couple of minutes to assemble. Just make a jar and keep it in the shower.

Here’s how I mix it up

  • Take the jar you intend to use
  • Fill up 1/4th with your oil base
  • Slowly pour in the salt till all the oil is covered.
  • This should almost fill up the jar.
  • Now throw in your own special twist and stir.

Let me share some of my most favoured recipes.

Lavender coconut salt scrub

DIYBathSalt

Epsom salt

Fine sea salt

Coconut oil

Lavender petals

Lavender essential oil

Himalayan salt scrub

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Himalayan salt

Jojoba oil

Sweet almond oil

Essential oil

Vanilla salt scrub

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Sea salt

Dead sea salt

Jojoba oil

Vanilla extract

Simple salt scrub

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Sea salt

Olive oil

Jojoba oil

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All you need to do is, get into a warm shower, gently scrub in circular motion, wash off, and behold the new you!

So that’s that!

Now whip up a jar…and scrub away!

Is 40 still fabulous?

“So mum, you’re turning 40 right?”……”That’s right darling!”

“So will you need a wheelchair now??”

Loud screeching! Arms flailing! Plonking!

So this turning forty business, is it just another birthday or is it really the new F word!?    

All of us 40-ing  away people, are we just rounding the bend for nothing?                              

Is 40 really the new 30 or is this the beginning of the end? 

OK, deep breath!…. Let’s weigh it all up….birthday_40_cake

  • Mind bender!  It’s true…wisdom does come with age. And for me, it was imparted mostly in this past decade. The decisions, the priorities, even the conversations today are far from what they were at thirty. And motherhood, well that’s opened up a whole new world of prudence. My brain is like a mash up chart…a million things, all lined up in order of priority. I think I like this wiser, safer, non-whiner, forty year old me. Same old set of boisterous emotions but with a brand new voltage regulator. Same old Gray matter but with a dash of intellect! 
  • Body-wise!  While gravity starts to take its toll right about now, I think I’m more comfortable in my skin than ever before.  Personal grooming is now personal hygiene and looking good has made way for looking comfortable. Ten years of twenties and ten years of building a family, I think these creases and the greys are well deserved. Health and well being are in the spotlight and ‘fun’ means something entirely different now. Nothing feels better than a saturday night, parked up on the couch with a glass of tennessee, watching Hugh Jackman clawing away ! 
  • Soul-full! The most definitive shift I think, has come about in the matters of the heart, the soul and character. Things that were huge back then, now seem trivial and all the past undervalued stuff, takes centre stage. Somewhere down the line I also registered, that romance and love? Two different things! More forthright, more sincere, loaded with empathy and resilience…..this, has been a total turn-table for me. Friends are  fewer, circles are smaller and there isn’t much space for drama. From chaos to order (I think)! While there is a lot to achieve, life objectives have never been clearer. ‘Finding myself’ is a passe’……’I know what I want’ is trending! 

So what say? Isn’t this my happy place? I’m surrounded with people who matter, I’ve made my mistakes (almost) and I’ve learnt, I’m no longer wary about the future. This, is exactly where I wanna be and all I wanna be, is me!

For everything else….there’s always wine! 

Vegan Pista Kulfi

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IMG_3191‘Dessert might be tricky….he can skip it!’

‘Nah…I can do tricky!’

My last conversation before I set my tiny brain to fire!

Vegan cooking can appear really daunting especially when it comes to desserts. And if you’re going down the Indian road, well…lets just say its challenging!

So, do we not serve dessert to a dear, newly turned vegan, friend?

No way….negative!

We raid the internet, find out what they eat, and get inventing.

The key word here, as in everything I do, is ‘EASY’ ! It has to be quick, hassle free and of course delectable.

The birth of ‘kulfi a la me’ ! The vegan pistachio kind.

The best part, no cooking needed!

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Here’s what we need

  • 125 g raw unprocessed pistachio
  • 125 g raw unrefined sugar
  • 1 pack (250 g) oat cream
  • 1 pack (525 g) soya custard

IMG_3166OK, so mix in the sugar with the oat cream and the soy custard. Make sure its nicely dissolved. Use a whisk…its easier.

Now grind the Pistachio, fine or coarse…anyway you like, and stir it in.

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That’s it.. you’re done!

Pour into moulds and freeze up!

Unmould , serve and enjoy!

But the proof of the pudding is in the seconds!

‘Another one?’ I ask.

My heart racing, I’m waiting for a response.

‘Yes please!’

Phew! This Vegan cooking….me like!

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Scrub a dub dub

For times immemorial, we have known the power of the scrub!

The exfoliator…the softner…the smooth operator!!

Whatever the skin type, a good scrub will always leave it clean, supple and fresh.

Lets explore today, the facial chapter of the story!

The shops are inundated with wonder products promising exceptional quality and loaded with all sorts of miracle formulae . Yes, they most definitely do what they say, but haven’t you ever been concerned about what exactly are they made of ? Except for all the enlightened chemical scientisty people out there, I think I can safely say that most of us cannot decipher the ingredients list stuck on the jar!

Right, so lets give that wallet a break and say hello to the three musketeers! or scrubeteers? no skineteers…or ..oh well…you get the idea!30923588

Honey

I mean the kind that’s organic and raw. I use Raw health forest honey . Its naturally anti bacterial, its packed with antioxidants, its moisturising, its soothing and most of all, its always right here, in the kitchen.

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Caster sugar

Sugar of any type is an excellent exfoliant and also helps hydrate the skin. A smaller grain keeps it gentle . I mostly use unrefined golden caster sugar.

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Lime juice

It cleans, it clears and is great for oily skin. It can however, leave your skin very sensitive to sunlight. Best would be to scrub before bed, and wake up to a soft silky face!

 

Here’s how I use it….

  • Put a blob of honey on your palm.
  • Top with about one fourth of a teaspoon of sugar.
  • Squeeze a little lime juice on it.
  • Now rub your palms together to mix it all up and scrub away.
  • Gentle circular motions should do it.
  • Leave it on for about 20 minutes.
  • Wash off with lukewarm water.
  • Remember to tone and moisturise.

Here are other things you can throw in this mix…11278185-Beautiful-women-in-a-towel-after-a-shower--Stock-Vector-face-wash-spa

  • Bit of your favourite facial oil to intensify the moisture.
  • Essential oils like tea tree or lavender to turn up the antibacterial benefits.

Also, a light handed quick scrub before makeup helps with a smooth finish.

So that’s that for the facial episode of my scrub tale.

Next installment….body scrub!

Green up act!

Have you ever wished you were a witch or a genie?  One blink…and voila! A sparkling clean house smelling of daisies! 

Ok, so there’s no escaping. The house needs to be cleaned and my twitching nose ain’t gonna do it!

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The question now is, how? I need to decontaminate and  I need to deodorize. The household products available on the market promise just that. That, and a dose of unhealthy toxic chemicals. The not so clean cleaners, are bad for you and for the home environment…not to mention how overpriced they are. So why do we buy them? Well, we do need something to get rid of the muck and the germs and the odours and the bugs. So can we do it without polluting our habitat and our bodies?

Enter The Fantastic Four!

Vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, lime and essential oils !

Antibacterial, natural, cheap, and most of all, safe. Let’s see how they deliver around the house.  First, prepare the super multi function cleaner. We need,

  • Distilled white vinegar 250ml 
  • Water 250ml
  • Used lemon halves 2-3
  • One or more antibacterial Essential oils like tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus 15 drops each

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Now unite the forces and pour into a spray bottle. Just drop the lemon halves in the bottle to infuse . For the occasional deeper clean, you will need to call upon the bicarbonate of soda. And then, there’s nothing a bit of elbow grease can’t soften!

The Kitchen

  • General clean up :Use this spray to clean the worktops, the appliances, the hob and even the sink. Just spray it on, wait a bit, and wipe it off. . Use a dish sponge for the stubborn spots. It works like magic around the tap too ! The sink drain can be cleaned up by pouring about a cup of baking soda and then following with a cup of hot water. For persistent clogs, use vinegar instead of water, let it fizz, and then pour hot water.
  • n15-1_kitchendeepcleaning-575x385Appliances: Use the spray to wipe the fridge down and leave a cup of baking soda inside to keep the odours away.  Boil a half and half vinegar and water solution in the microwave and let it sit for a while. This should dislodge the nasties. Now wipe clean.  To descale the kettle, boil the half and half in it and leave it for bit. now rinse and boil some plain water to get rid of the vinegar smell. Run the same formula through your coffee maker to get rid of any build ups. You can clean your dishwasher and washing machine by filling up the soap compartment with vinegar and running a full cycle with hot water, of course, without any dishes or clothes in it! Then comes the oven.  Make a spreadable baking soda paste with water and slather it all inside the oven. Let it work for a few hours and then wipe off. Use your spray to get rid of all the baking soda.
  • Laundry: Add vinegar to your final rinse to get rid of any unwanted odours. Add essential oils of your choice to push harder!
  • Food: Use a 1:3 vinegar and water solution to wash your fruit and veg too. For the smooth skin ones, spray some on, leave it for a minute and scrub wash under running water. The leafy ones will need to be soaked a bit, and the washed under water

The Bathroom

  • Toilet: Liberally sprinkle bicarbonate of soda into the toilet bowl and spray the whole toilet seat and bowl with the spray. Leave it for several minutes and then just use a toilet brush and wipe down the rest.
  • 7-must-have-cleaning-tools-bathroom-1-size-3Bath and Shower: Our favourite spray cleaner should be enough to tackle most of the it. The trick, as you know, is to spray, leave for a bit and then wipe. Use an aluminium scrubber for any tough spots. And again, address the drains with baking soda and vinegar and hot water.
  • Wash basin: Just like the kitchen sink …spray-wait-wipe ! For a spotless mirror, wipe it with a paper towel!

The Bedrooms

Besides the weekly changing of the bedding, put a few drops of Lavender essential oil around the bed frame. This should keep it bug free!

For the rest of the home, a duster and a mop dipped in the our superhit recipe!

The key is, to avoid any build up anywhere in the house. Any clean up that has to be done , has to be done regularly.Pulizie di primavera

Right, so that was me reporting from a sparkling fresh home smelling like daisies….no lavender!

 

 

Easiest COCONUT LADDU ever!

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Have you ever found yourself stuck between ‘I can’t be bothered!’ and ‘I must!’ ? Well I’m almost always stuck in the middle there!

Not that I’m lazy (which I am!), but why does Diwali have to be on the day we arrive back from our ‘Oh so relaxing’ vacation? And why do I have to conjure up a delicious homemade Indian confection that very day? No I don’t have to! No one expects me to!…. Except that I should want to !

So can I produce a scrumptious piece of heaven without the pain of slavery? Of course I can! I’m a master at it! What follows is the easiest Coconut Laddu recipe in the universe! No cooking. No hassle. Just mix and roll!

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Two things….icing and coconut!

I had this tub of Vanilla buttercream icing in the pantry and desiccated coconut. Use fresh coconut if you want. All I did was knead the two together and rolled into balls!

 

Here goes the recipe

400 grams Icing

400 grams Coconut

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Tip all the icing in a big bowl and mix in the coconut, little by little.

 

 

 

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Knead the mixture by hand.  It does seem a little dry to start with, but then the icing loosens up a bit. I had to go in with both hands!

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Now take little portions in your hand and squeeze till it starts to bind together. This should warm up the icing making it easier to roll into laddus!

 

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Now that is indeed a piece of heaven!

Mission accomplished! 

 

 

 

 

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OK, so what if one doesn’t have the ingredients available? What if one doesn’t like one of them? You see…there are no rules when it comes to the matters of the palate! So, just use whatever pleases your taste buds!

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s explore some alternatives. Instead of Vanilla icing, use chocolate icing or condensed milk or even peanut butter! And with coconut, add some left over nuts or chocolate chips? Or else, simply roll them in some cocoa powder or crushed nuts or cover them in melted chocolate…!

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Here are peanut butter, chocolate chips, cocoa rolled and chocolate covered one’s!

ENJOY!!

 

How to Holiday!

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Easter break! Holidays! Sun! sand!

Packing! Preparing! Panic!

OK, so let’s talk about..not the holiday, but the countdown to it. The fun things that need done before the fun begins!

After a few ‘forgot this’ and ‘didn’t remember that’ vacations, I’ve put together a plan of action on what to do while counting down the days to doing nothing!

2 weeks before 

Check if you need any vaccines before you fly.

Sort out airport transfer at destination and don’t forget to mention the number of child car seats if booking a cab.

Exchange currency .

s-l1600Get all the documents copied and ready. This gives enough time for any changes you need to do.  Also, get your hands on a document bag that can be stuffed in your hand bag while travelling. I found these ones on ebay. Very handy and lots of pockets for separate documents.

1 week before

Make the lists!  Yes I do believe in putting it down on paper!  Just have a writing pad handy and keep jotting down the things that come to mind. What I do, is go through our daily routine and write down all that we need. I have a common mother list which I just tweak according to the kind of holiday we’re taking. You can find it here….Holiday Packing list

5 days to go, 

Gather everything in one place…and tick off the stuff on the list you made. Make sure everything’s there.

Launder and get the clothing ready to be packed

Tag and name the luggage you decide on.

3 days to go

istock_000004944610-xs-summer-beach-bag-300x214Let’s get packing!

Get everything in the suitcases…checked in and hand ones. Remember the hand luggage liquids rule while packing.

Make sure the cameras are fully charged.

2 days to go

Make sure you’re all packed up and ready to go.

Set reminders for putting the garbage out and stuff like central heating etc.

1 day to go

Flight check in online and print the boarding cards….saves a lot of time at the airport.

Book the cab to the airport unless you’re planning to drive.

Activate roaming on the mobile.

I always like to keep the last day for a quick clean up. Make sure the perishables in the fridge are all eaten.

Also a good time for some personal grooming! you know what I mean!

Line up the luggage ready to leave.

Have an early night if you’re leaving in the morning and wake up in plenty of time so there’s no rushing about.

Time to go!

On the day, don’t forget to check for safety.

Make sure the cooker’s off, all appliances are off and the house alarm is on!

Finally!

Now go and have yourself a Holiday!

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check out my 15 Holiday stress busters!