The best face mask I have EVER tried.

So, if you have been following me or my blog, you know that I am a mask addict. I love trying new masks and the squeaky clean feeling that comes afterwards. I actually prefer skincare products over make-up.

The Aztec Indian Healing Clay mask has made the rounds on the internet quite a few times and all for good reasons. This mask is actually calcium bentonite clay which is different from fullers earth aka Multani mitti. The information on the mask states that it is actually 'the worlds most powerful facial' - and so it is. 

So what major help did it do my skin? 

Last winter my skin suffered really badly. It went all dry and patchy and I had to use Proactiv to actually heal the entire suffering. Anyway, long story short, my face lost all the glow that it previously had and my skin had acne marks all over. And you know, how sad skin makes you feel? Even more sadder, right? So when I went to Dubai last month, I purchased this mask via for only 50 aed. With only the first use, my skin became calmer for some reason and there was that glow that I was craving for. My mother-in-law instantly commented on how glowing my skin looked and I did a small bhangra once I was out of sight. It has helped my skin to detox and make it more clearer and brighter. 

How to use it? The recommended way is to use it with raw, unfiltered and organic apple cider vinegar but if you do want to use processed apple cider vinegar, you can do so (I used it the first time I put the mask on). With the help of apple cider vinegar which is known to be a really good skin toner, the mask foams while mixing and makes your face really pulsate. I don't know how well it works with water or maybe rose water but since I have oily skin, I tend to skip rose water in my skincare routine. The smell of apple cider might put you off but, well, you gotta suck it up and do the right thing for your skin. 

Also, the first time I put on the mask, it was really really hard to get it off. The second time, I used a flannel cloth/face cloth. I wet the cloth and put in on my face for 2 mins letting it soak the mask up and then slowly scrub it off with a facial brush. If you do not have a facial brush, you can use the same flannel cloth to take the mask off. 

TIPS that will come handy with this mask:

- Use wooden/glass or ceramic bowls and spoons. Metallic stuff with reverse the effect with this mask.
- Use only ONE teaspoon with this mask. It will go a LONG way.
- Keep it on till it dries (it's a given but, well, yeah).
- Your face will pulsate really badly the first time, and when you remove the mask, it MIGHT make your face bright red but that's okay. Use your favourite moisturiser to calm your skin down afterwards. 

I use the Bragg's apple cider vinegar that I purchased from Karachi for 910 PKR - For UK & US people, it is available on Amazon and eBay (don't quote me on it since eBay might also have counterfeit products) 
The mask is also available in Pakistan via trusted facebook pages (Semora, Zensky, Glam Squad and others) and on Amazon in the UK & US.

Just remember that you do a patch test before you apply it on your face and also what might work for me, might not work for you. I have oily/combination skin, just for reference.

Life Unplugged - September

Hello and welcome to a new series on my blog - Life Unplugged.
Every once a month or maybe twice, I will post a little post talking about whats going on in my life and all the little things that I have been up to. Its an easy way to catch up on all the cheeky details that I blurt out on my insta stories and snapchat but never get around actually talking about them.

So, currently I am in Pakistan where I was born and raised. But then there is so much I can take about this country. I have a very intense love and hate relationship with this place. I have always loved the culture that resonates in every ones heart but I absolutely detest the dependency that comes along in this country as well as the lazy attitude that is accompanied in everyone's lifestyle. 

Ever since moving to the UK, the independent lifestyle worked really well for me and my confidence. And I only look forward to trips because of my own family and that that too only for 5 days straight else I go mad with their demanding nature. I have always been a rebel lol! Can not stand to please anybody especially people from my in-laws. (even though my mother-in-law is the sweetest person ever). You are always up with your guard and just making sure that no one gets upset, which really really ticks me off. 

There has to be a gazillion weddings to attend when you are in Pakistan which means more Biryani and more outfit pictures!
My birthday was last week which meant,more anxiety! Does anyone feel the same way? Literally the day of my birthday I feel so anxious that someone is going to throw me a surprise and my day wont go down as I had planned. This has happened to me a couple of times in the past and I literally dread birthdays now minus gifts ofcourse!

Here is an outfit picture on my birthday. I gladly made a small escape with my family and friends and the rest of the day I spent sleeping.
I do realise that my face doesn't match my neck but that is just in the pictures.

Recently, I made a trip down to good old Liberty Books and grabbed a couple of books. One of the books I picked up was Tehmina Durrani's Blasphemy (if you know me, you know that I have a knack for South-Asian authors). The author has been known to write about subjects that are considered taboo and pose a challenge to societal norms and my my! This book will make every inch of your body crawl. 

Blasphemy is an unnerving book about a male dominated world, where Islam is twisted to fit their own convenience. The beauty of Islam is such that it gave women their due right for the first time in their life when the world just treated them like commodities and made their life decisions. They were treated like low-lives and slaves. Islam rescued them from the ordeal and gave them rights that shook the world up. 

The whole notion of pir's is alien to the concept of Islam. Going to shrines of the dead and asking them to pray to God for their worldly problems has literally no space in Islam. This books gives an insight in to the life of a pir who was hailed as the pious one and could do no wrong in the eyes of the community. But what happened inside his four walled house was an entirely different story.  From marrying someone and crushing their idealistic approach to marriage, to molesting his own daughter and being the culprit behind the murders of many including his son to his sexual frustration that came down to orphans. This book grips you from the core and makes you turn page after page in a state of trance. It is a definite must-read!

Also, as a birthday gift, my sister ended up giving me a part of the Dose of Colours DesixKaty collab and I couldn't be more stoked. I was hawking the websites hoping it would release in the UK but it is way to hard to get your hands on makeup there rather than in Pakistan!

I am in LOVE with the shades of the eye shadow quad and cant wait to slather it on my eyes. These swatches are one swipe swatches with dry fingers rather than what was proposed (wet the product).

Mirame is a beautiful rose gold highlighter that would suit darker skin tones. It gives a very very natural highlight on me. (I am nc42 for shade reference) and Fuego is that highlight shade that will suit every single person! Absolutely love them!

So thats that! I am going back to the UK on Wednesday and I am legit counting down the hours! I haven't miss home so much as I have missed it during this trip! Also, touch-wood, NO BODY has been sick during this trip and I am hoping the three days pass like this only. Fingers crossed! 

10 questions to ask on a first date.

I will give you this. Good people are hard to come around. And especially people who are driven in life and have some motivation. There are times when you want to be with someone but then you think about going on dates and meeting new people and that just turns you off really bad. You might not be a conversation starter but there are a few questions that you can always ask on your first date or if you are meeting someone for a potential rishta.

1. Who is the biggest influence in your life? This question generally tells a lot about a person and the influence they live in. Although if you are a South-Asian and the biggest influence in your date's life is their mother, RUN.

2. One challenge you had to overcome and how did you achieve that? Not only will this help you tell your date's ability to handle situations but will also help you analyse their motivation in life.

3. Two items on your bucket list that you know that you can tick off? This will help you know what goals they have in life and how comfortably they can fulfil their aspirations!

4. What is the most interesting place you have been to? If you like travelling, you will get to know about your dates goals about travelling and the type of places they like to visit. Full moon parties in Thailand every few months are just ridiculous!

5. Biggest regret in life? If your date answers this question, know that they have they have faced loss and regret in life yet had the ability to move up and carry on with their situation.

6. What is something that takes up most of your time except work or best way to spend your time? You get to know what they enjoy the most after work and whether you find it in your interests or not.

7. One strength that you look in a relationship? If his answer is trust/respect, it's cringe-worthy! Trust is the base of EVERY & ANY relationship. And you should respect every human being no matter what their relationship to you is. Things like the ability to motivate each other in life, working together to create harmony or general lifestyle goals should be the strength of a relationship.

8. Genuine things that make you laugh? This will help you establish your connection with their personality. If your date loves the same things as you do, I am sure you both will get on very well.

9. What is the best compliment that you have ever received? Not only will this show their mental capacity, you will know what they like to be complimented upon.

10. What do you look for in people? People generally look for genuinely in others. To actively look what they desire in other people will help you create a connection with this but also how they perceive life and situations to be.

If you are in the UK and you're having a hard time finding a date, why don't you check out these websites?  If you are over 50, you might also find a match that is local to you as well: Over 50s EdinburghOver 50's dating OxfordshireWiltshire dating siteCheshire Dating SiteEdinburgh dating & Merseyside Dating site. You might find that perfect adventurous someone who would love to share these dates with you!

Now obviously every body has different date experiences and they have different things to ask. But if you are looking for a serious relationship or if you are meeting your potential rishta aka to-be-husband/wife, these things really do matter. To know what they aspire, what they regret and what mental compatibility you have with them in order to have a serious relationship with them. You get to know where they come from and what influences them the most.

Top 5 adventurous outdoor date ideas.

I love going on dates with my husband. It has been a really long time since we have gone on a date particularly because my husband does not believe in the whole baby sitter idea and we don't have any immediate family that lives around us so that baby sitting becomes easier. So the only time we ACTUALLY go out on a date is when we go come to Pakistan to meet our parents or when some one comes to visit us in London.

That being said, I LOVE outdoor dates. I just don't like being in confined spaces and end up eating all the while. The only time you actually get to know a person properly is when they are at ease.

1. Outdoor Luna Cinema.

This has to be my favourite! There is nothing more romantic than floating in a small blow up boat and watching a movie! Everything just screams cosy! And hey, if your date is turning out to be really cringy, then whats better than a push to a splash? ;)

2. Canoe Picnic.

Can you tell that I love water sports and everything water related? A cosy picnic in a small boat with hot coffee topped with s'mores and comfort food = sandwiches makes the best romantic date ever. I think I will have to pester my husband to agree on this one. He is SCAREEEEDD of water which sometimes is hilarious!

3. Road tripping in a pickup truck.

I have been told that if you really really want to get to know a person's nature, go travel with them. So if you are at ease with your date or have been dating for quite a while, this idea is fab to take things up a notch. Decide a destination together and take a road trip! You don't even have to pay for a hotel! Just park somewhere safe and get cosy in the back of the truck.
Likewise, if you don't want to go on a road trip, you can just go out camping for a night or maybe watch an outdoor movie in the back of your truck.

4. Mountain Camping. 

This is not for the weak hearted! If you are at a comfortable stage in your relationship, you can decide to go mountain climbing! And if you are feeling adventurous enough, there are hanging cliff pods available where you can spend the night to refuel for the next trek.

5. Beach date/Bonfire.

I have been on numerous beach dates and no fancy restaurant date can compare to a beach date. The absolute pleasure that you get from just sitting next to the fire, snuggling and singing random songs just tugs a nerve. There is something in the beach air that makes it extra romantic and you'd rather be there than any place else.

If you are in the UK and you're having a hard time finding a date, why don't you check out these websites?  If you are over 50, you might also find a match that is local to you as well: Over 50s Edinburgh, Over 50's dating Oxfordshire, Wiltshire dating site, Cheshire Dating Site, Adult dating, Edinburgh dating & Merseyside Dating site. You might find that perfect adventurous someone who would love to share these dates with you!

Body Positivity With A Healthy Lifestyle.

I have always been a thin person from as long as I can remember. I had people come up to my siblings and say 'do you eat her share of the food too?' Which, if you think about it now, was a horrible thing to say but that is how Pakistani aunties are for ya. But as soon as I got pregnant, the weight just piled on and the genetics kicked in hard, I guess. And it was just so depressing for me as a person who went from a size 8 to a size 12-14. From a girl who had a 30-inch waist to a mother who had stretch marks all over her 38-inch waist. Depression hit hard. Being positive in a mother's body was way too hard.I kind of got tired of saying the same old dialogue 'Well, I just had a baby' - It was three years ago now.

But, as time went by, I came to terms with the fact that I may lose weight but my body will never go back to being the same. If you are a reader from Pakistan, you'd know how obsessed people are with their and other people's weight. Their whole life is fixated around losing weight, which if you ask me, is kind of sadistic, no? So after coming to the UK, I started to see all sorts of women, in all shapes and sizes, literally in love with their bodies. Their internal battles with weight might be there but they rocked what they wore. And that is when it hit me, is body positivity as real as it sounds?

Being healthy doesn't really mean that you have to drink kale smoothies in the morning and hawking your calories and being obsessed with your Fitbit. You are just making yourself more depressed trying to be healthy and fit and then you end up over exercising for your cheat meal resulting in more bodily harm than staying healthy.

So how does one be healthy with having a body positive attitude?

Early to rise/Early to sleep.

You might have heard your parents say 'waking up early takes away half the stress of your life' - It is true. When you wake up early, one, your body adapts to being more active and you get more work done. Also, you start your day with the most important meal of the day: Breakfast. Compared to waking up late in the morning, you are lazier than general and have a breakfast that doesn't do good to your body. Sleeping early also has its benefits. You are giving your body the rest it deserves and also you are setting your body's alarm clock to wake up early then. Plus girl, them eye bags aren't really designer, innit?


They say that exercise is a celebration of what your body can do. And NOT a punishment for what you ate. Just because you are promoting a body confident image, does not mean that you give up all sorts of exercise. Exercising isn't just for losing weight. It makes you get rid of all the toxins in your body and keeps your heart healthy. To maintain a healthy lifestyle, you need to work out at least thrice a week. And by exercising, it doesn't mean that you should start strength training immediately and do cardio that makes you pass out. Exercising to maintain a healthy lifestyle can be walking/light jogging or even dancing/Zumba classes to keep yourself more happy and energetic. Dance and music have been proven to make you happy no matter how shit of a day you have had. 

Taking up from exercising first, if you are more on the curvier side, one generally tends to hide their body in loose gym wear and doesn't show any kind of skin. Being body positive means that you accept all kind of situations and rock what you wear. I have been loving gym wear from hunkemöller. Their Caro E collection is absolutely beautiful and you can absolutely rock their sportswear no matter what size. The material is absolutely amazing and breathable and it lets you move around freely without making you restrict any kind of pose. I don't just wear them while exercising, they have literally become my everyday pants. They are THAT comfortable.
Other than sports wear, you should feel comfortable in what you wear. If you want to wear a dress for the first time, go ahead and wear it. The important thing is that you feel confident in what you wear. Clothes that give an extra bounce in your step are what you should be wearing. 

Staying Positive.

This is literally the most important thing to do while you are promoting body positivity. Have you heard about the myth that talking positively with plants help them grow better with a quality difference? That is how the human body works. That myth is there for a reason. When you are feeling positive, you think happy. You see the good in things and people. You are less depressed and more energetic. You smile more often, which in turn releases more happy endorphins in your body. You judge people less and that radiates from within to make you feel even better. So how can you not be healthy when you are positive most of the time? Remember, you have been criticising yourself for years. Try approving of yourself and see what happens. 

Drinking Lots Of Water

Even if I don't spell it out for you, EVERYONE knows the benefits of drinking lots of water. To stay body positive, drinking at least three liters of water every day, brings more benefit than harm. You are more energetic, feel less fatigued and your body and mind are more alert and aware of the surroundings. Fewer headaches and less sugary cravings are also a part of drinking enough water every day. Water flushes out all the toxins from your body which gives you a clear skin and it also is the best anti-wrinkle product ever. 

Be confident with your body. And as clichèd, as it sounds, beauty does come in all shapes and sizes. But with being more confident and positive in your own body, you do need to approach a healthy lifestyle. 

Home Therapy - Feature Wall.

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen the TV feature wall a couple of times. And I have got a tonne of questions regarding the wall. So I am finally sitting down and writing about the wall and the accessories that accentuate the surroundings as well.
I have ALWAYS got Friends on. No matter what time of the day, Friends WILL be on.
A little back story for the feature wall. So, before I did the living room space, we did our son's bedroom. His room had weird characters painted on his wall and he was scared to even step in his room so, instead of painting the walls we put on wall paper. It was a tedious task, especially when you have to complete it at night before the son wakes up. But after watching a gazillion DIY videos, I got the hang of the process and we had completed the room within two days.

My living room in an open plan space with a little dining area as well. And the table just fits perfectly in that area. Coming to the wall, since we live in a rented property, I just didn't want to paint the entire room and then feel sad while leaving the house. I attach myself way too much to places I love. And even before I got married, I knew what kind of setting I wanted in my own living room space and a brick wall was one of them. I wanted a red-bricked feature wall but sadly it just didn't go with the theme of the room so we chose the next best option.

I really really wish I had a before picture of the wall but sadly I was just way too excited to get on with the job. The wall paper was bought from b&q for a lethal price of only £5!! And I think we only used two rolls of wallpaper (BARGAIIIIN)! Anyway, There were three square shelves on one side and the other side of the wall had two floating shelves. And we had the tv fixed on the wall (in a REALLY weird height, I just don't know why) After the wallpaper went up, I decided to keep the TV on the table and put up only the square shelves. I couldn't really find the existent spaces for the third shelf nails to go through so I just let it be. Found mini plants from Primark. The tea light holder is from Lifestyle, Dubai. And the clock is from B&M.

Coming to the plants, I got these Topiary balls from Pakistan. Got these as a set of 5 and initially wanted to place these in the bedroom. But I was just literally unable to find a planter that would fit next to the table. So I was watching someone's Insta story about their living room space and I saw this little gem of a planter. It was actually a planter but I decided to hack it up. Rummaged through my house and found this huge wok that my sister-in-law gave me before moving to the UK. So, I fixed some artificial grass in the pot along with the topiary balls and it instantly made a statement piece. I wanted to spray paint it rose gold but everyone advised me against it as it looked really good the way it was.

I had initially reserved the other side of the wall's corner space for my son's toy basket since it stays hidden behind the sofa's arm rest. But I really wanted to add a pop of colour in the room since it had all bold neutral colours like brown beige and gray. And I know a lot of people would like to place posters above the lamp, but that is not my vibe. I like my walls simple.

I was lucky enough to be sent this bespoke lampshade from Bespoke Binny. This British based business hand makes the most stunning statement pieces. The owner, Natalie, has incorporated her African heritage into these eccentric products and it just reflects in her feature pieces.

I placed this lamp on the other side of the wall. I initially wanted to place on the opposite wall but like I said before, I wanted to keep a corner for my son's toy storage but the lamp set up was just not working on the opposite wall so I decided to put the table with the feature wall. I did have a Scandinavian lamp base to go with the lamp, but due to some unfortunate circumstances, it broke and had to quickly replace it. So currently, this lamp is doing the job. But how gorgeous does the print look? It is completely different from the theme of my living room and from the looks of it, pineapples are the most featured fruit in most of the homeware items. The quality is amazing and the lamp shade is professionally sealed from the inside to prevent fraying.

However, I do want to change my sofa situation a bit. I wanted fabric ones but since my son was small at that time, I just wanted a use-the-baby-wipe-to-clean-everything fix and we found this sofa set. Not bad for the price, hey!

The sad part is that we might be moving soon so I may be a little tearful saying goodbye to my living room space. But who knows? I might get to have a red-bricked feature wall in my next house!

Advice For First Time Parents, From a First Time Parent

When you are a parent for the first time, you are doing the best you can. You actually don't know what you are doing, but just letting yourself go with the flow is your motto. But there are so many times, right now, nearly four years later, when I think about how I handled everything and what I could have done to make it all easier.

So here is a bit of advice for a first-time mother, from a first-time mother.

1. Listen to everyone's advice.

I was just so stuck up on not taking anyone's advice. EVERY body wanted to give an advice but I just wanted to shut it down so I wouldn't confuse myself. Everyone had a different opinion about parenting and the things that I could do and not do. And I wish I would've listened to it. I am not saying that everyone is going to give you the right advice. They will tell you what worked well for them. And every parent, every baby and every situation is different. Just listen to what they are saying and do what is right for your baby and for yourself. These days, like me, many parents don't want to listen to anybody's advice until they ask for it. But there have been so many instances when my sister had told me 'Just listen to me. And if you feel that it won't work for you, then don't go ahead with it.'

2. Sleep when the baby sleeps.

Oh, my God. EVERY body said the same thing to me. But then what about the dishes? The laundry? The house? The food? The curry isn't going to cook itself and neither is the laundry going to fold itself. But, a newborn baby sleeps for approximately 15-18 hours of their first few weeks of being born. And I was always wasting time and not doing chores and just relaxing when my son slept. But I wish I would've slept when he slept. At least it wouldn't have taken a toll on my frustrations, just letting it out all on my husband. I am not saying that sleep for the 18 hours your baby sleeps but I wish I could've scheduled my chores accordingly. The first nap he took, I could've completed half my chores and with the second nap, I could've slept with him. And that would have saved me a lot of cranky-ness during the sleepless nights when I was overworked and under-slept.

3. Stop comparing.

I had a family friend who would just compare their children's milestones with my child. And I swear it put me under such a lot of stress. I would compare Azlan to every other child not realising that every single child has a different capacity for achieving certain milestones. Glad to say, that the person is not in my life anymore. But if I could do it all over again, I wouldn't compare my child to other's milestones. Every child is different in their own way.

4. Meal prepare in advance. 

This is one advice that I wish I had listened to. As a first time mother, I had no idea what lay ahead of me and I was so chill with everything that when it finally hit me, I literally laughed at myself. When you are a first-time mother, you are not just worried about the workload but your routine just changes in a split second. The time you are supposed to be making dinner, you are either feeding your baby, snoring for dear life or just trying to sort your mental state out. I wish I had prepared a few meals in advance so that on days when I had no energy left to do anything, I could have just popped something out of the freezer and have piping hot soul food on the table to feed my small family.

5. Relax. You are doing fine.

When you become a mother for the first time, you are in a constant battle with yourself thinking if you are raising your child well or doing everything right. You are always in a complete frenzy, checking google every few minutes, reading books, reading labels, joining a gazillion mum groups. I wish I had relaxed a little bit and just gone with the flow. Not worried about every single thing while raising my child.

6. You don't have to feel guilty all the time.

Your priorities change when you become a mother. You put your child first before anything else. There is no denying that. But you're a human before you are a mother. So to keep yourself sane, it is definitely okay to leave your child in the hands of people you absolutely trust and go for a night out or lunch or even just to grab a cup of coffee on your own. I was ALWAYS tiptoeing around the idea of leaving my son in my husbands care and going to the supermarket to get a few things and I always just felt so guilty leaving him and no sooner had I stepped out of the door, I would just come rushing back in and send my husband out to get the work done.

7. Ask for help.

Even though thank the Lord, I have managed everything on my own, there were times that I wish I would've asked for help. I stressed uselessly and endlessly about completing chores so my house would at least look presentable. Coming from Pakistan, where maids picked up everything that you left behind, it was hard completing chores on my own. And I really wish that I could've hired help so that I could feel sane.

8. Make new friends.

Just because you are a mother now, doesn't mean that you only need to have mommy friends. I only looked for people who were either going to be parents or were already mothers. The constant chatter that revolved around kids and families just wore me out so much. And I have taken up this advice now. Every now and then, I meet my friends who aren't parents and it is so refreshing to talk about anything and everything besides parenting.

9. Pamper yourself.

If you had met me three years back, you would've seen me in a night suit with hair going berserk and skin acting up with no sense of looking good just for the sake of it. Going back, I wish I had taken the time out to pamper myself. To treat myself to good clothes, to get an occasional pedicure or get my nails done. It is very important to feel good when you are a parent. And how are you going to feel good when you don't look good?

10. Create a bond with your other half.

We were both first-time parents who had absolutely NO idea what was happening. We were just trying to do things on our own, trying to wind each other up unintentionally. And with breastfeeding, sleepless nights and doing everything on my own came another wave of emotions that lead to fighting all the time. Now, I wish, we had talked more and opened up about our feelings and helped each other with everything.

Having said all this, when I plan another child, I am making sure that I don't make myself suffer like the first time round and follow up on these steps so that I don't stress my husband and myself to the point that the negative energy surrounds my family. We all are trying to become parents that have kids who are happy.Trying to become parents that create a happy and a healthy family atmosphere and making sure that nothing negative takes a toll on our children.