The Koh-Samui Run Down.

Thailand has quickly become one of the most popular and famous tourist destinations over the years. The beaches, the lifestyle, culture, adventures and the relaxation that comes along is truly amazing!

When the husband and I were deciding on a honeymoon destination, we quickly settled onto Thailand instead of wasting time and looking at other places and boy oh boy! Are we glad we chose Thailand!

Koh Samui is one of the many islands in Thailand that have become quite popular and prospered because of the advent of tourism. Going to Koh Samui has been one of the best experiences of my life. I managed to tick off at least 40% of my bucket list within three days of being there.

The husband booked a separate villa in Koh Samui, named Bhundhari overlooking the  Chaweng beach. We decided to go all out with the villa and then move onto cheaper hotels in Phuket and Bangkok because honestly, we only came to the hotel at night to sleep. Honestly, I fell in love with the hotel. We had our own private swimming pool and a sun deck (where we never lounged lol). a HUGE bathroom including a jacuzzi, a separate shower and an outdoor shower (I loved that part of the bathroom). It was honestly, the best hotel I have EVER stayed in.

Anyway, the first day in Koh Samui, we rented a motorbike (husbands VERY first time riding one) and I am amazed that I managed to survive the entire day! We went around town to see what was up and about so we could come back later the next day. After the short ride to town, we managed to get out of bed and hit the beach. Now, my husband isn't a beach person, but I am. And man was I ecstatic! I ran around the beach like a kid high on a sugar rush! It was seriously amazing! We managed to catch the sunset before retiring to our room and calling in room service!

Right, where we snorkelled.
THAT is a fake smile. The hike killed my feet and quads. 
The view from the top!
We had planned a lot of stuff for the next two days so I knew I had to be prepared. We managed to do snorkelling and scuba diving in one day, which was definitely crazy and amazing! For Snorkelling, we had to take a boat to a nearby island (20 minutes) and I seriously had the best time of my life! I know how to swim but I can't swim in the sea, I start with panic attacks but we had life jackets on and it was just way too blissful. Even my husband who is way too scared of water decided to come down in the water and have a bit of fun. He mainly hung by the guiding ropes near the boat though. After snorkelling, we decided to go on a small hike on the island. Right on top of the Koh-Nanguan island and it was just so beautiful! After taking a few pictures, we decided to go back to our island, got some food and then went ahead with snorkelling. It wasn't the best experience for me because the oxygen tank was weighing me down so much and the mask wasn't adjusting properly. We didn't go deep sea diving but just a bit further away from the shore. It wasn't that much fun but hey, at least I got to tick something off my bucket list. We do have plans to go for deep sea diving in Maldives (whenever we plan that trip).

Since our hotel was on the Chaweng beach. the main street of where the nightlife came alive, was only a short walk. The bars, the cabarets, people randomly dancing and the restaurants blaring loud music truly made up for the fun that we were looking for. Since both of us don't drink at all, we decided to just stroll around and look for good food and try out authentic Thai Food for the VERY first time in our lives.

The next and the last day, we planned to go to a nearby temple and then move on to riding the elephants. After a short visit to the temple, we managed to befriend a lovely couple from Romania and went on the adventure together. We rode on an elephant, fed it shit loads of bananas and then watched a fun monkey show. After that, we decided to buzz down and relax with a fish pedicure (NOT good if you are way too squirmy). I finally managed to calm down and relax and just get done with the pedicure. The people over there were extremely friendly and it was such a nice atmosphere.
We then had an amazing lunch amongst the locale who managed to cook extremely yummy food for us at such a short notice.

As we were heading home, we decided to quickly hike to a waterfall. Wasn't such a good idea right after having such a huge meal and also getting sick (didn't know I was 4 weeks pregnant there, and it was nausea that was hitting me). I literally just flopped down on a HUGE boulder next to the waterfall and the husband decided to hike a little more. He finally got wind down and sat down on a small swing that they had made right inside the waterfall. I really wish I had the energy to go up and take pictures over there.

Next morning we took off for the airport which then took us to Phuket and we spent our days lounging, eating and relaxing over there. To be honest, I had an amazing time in Koh Samui and if circumstances ever work out, I would love to go back and explore more. Both, the husband and I aren't really partying fans so we skipped out the half moon and full moon parties. But friends who have been to the parties have always raved about it.

It is so easy to just click and book everything! You can also try out Koh Samui holidays with Destination2 and have the time of your life totally relaxed with no worries about tickets and everything.

All pictures are my own and any infringement will not be tolerated.

Postnatal Depression - It is okay not to be okay.

When you think about postnatal depression, what comes to your mind? Sadness? Crying? If that is all that you can think about, you need to know more about what exactly postnatal depression is! When you become a mother, you think your baby will change and make your life, but instead, the depression that comes along breaks you right to the core. Postnatal depression is a real thing and it is eating mothers alive. And the fact that very few people want to talk and open up about it, is extremely alarming!

Talking about Postnatal depression from a Pakistani's perspective, you will be amazed at the fact that people over there don't even think of it as an illness. There is no one to hear about it. Forget hearing about it, there is no concept of postnatal depression in their minds. Thank God, there has been a change in the mindsets of a few people now and they recognise and ask for help. If you live in a joint-family, you are expected to welcome and allow guests to come meet you and the baby at any time of the day and give you unsolicited advice. They self-praise themselves about how well they raised their kids and that in turn makes you even more guilty about how bad of a mother you are, even though you JUST GAVE BIRTH.

When you talk about postnatal depression and the anxiety that comes with it, they laugh in your face and tell you that you are a mother now and your child comes over and above everything else, even your health. And God-forbid, if a mother is unable to breastfeed her child, hell shall be raised. Worse case scenario will be when you actively choose not to breastfeed your child and you adequately become a mother unfit to raise a child.

Postnatal depression is not obvious. It doesn't tell you that its there. Some days are amazing, you are laughing and bonding with your child. People will comment and say 'You don't look like someone with PND.' And some days are horrible. You don't even want to get out of bed and do a simple task of feeding yourself. You think that your hormones are messed up and think of it as baby blues. Your anxiety is going to peek through and plummet high. You think that you are sleep deprived. But accept and seek help. The fact that you don't realise that you have postnatal depression is the worst. There will be days when you won't even have an appetite and some days you'd want to eat everything in sight. There is no actual desire to dress up and change clothes that you have been mopping around in since the past three days.

What you need to know: There are going to be people who will understand your situation and then there will be people who will laugh in your face for even advocating such a situation.

Seek help and you will find help. Build stronger relationships before you give birth. Have friends and family know about what postnatal depression is and make them aware of it. Have them watch over your baby while you take a long nice hot shower.

Take a walk to de-stress yourself. SEEK MEDICAL HELP. Your doctor will be able to recognise the symptoms and will prescribe you medicines accordingly. Taking anti-depressants doesn't make you a weak mother. It makes you stronger. Knowing that you will do anything to make your self better for your own child.

Remember how blessed you are. Remember to be thankful and remember to look for help. Bond with your child and please for God's sake STOP comparing your child to another child. Stop comparing your own children. Stop comparing yourself to mothers who you think have it all together. They might be struggling with a different situation that you are completely unaware of.

Keep reminding yourself that you are an amazing mother. Post notes over the house reminding you of how much of an amazing mother you are. You have a child that is completely dependant on you and your happiness. Remind yourself that you are raising an amazingly beautiful human being who will grow up and move onto bigger and better things in life only because you chose to seek help.

Top 5 Freebie Sites in the UK

Who doesn't love free stuff? I know we all do! But during the recent years, there is always a catch to getting the stuff. But there are definitely genuine websites available that give you guaranteed free products.

1. Gratisfaction UK

You can find so many free things on this site. There are cash back opportunities once you purchase the product, claiming samples, voucher codes and so many bargain finds! If you like free stuff UK, you definitely need to check the website out!

2. Influenster. 

Now this has made the rounds on the internet over the past year. If you are a beauty blogger, then you definitely know about it. You sign up and connect your social media accounts for a social score and then you start reviewing products. The more the activity, the easier it is for you to get free products.

3. BzzAgent

Again with this site you have to add your social score form your social media channels and wait for all the campaigns and surveys to find you on your home page! You will then be selected for a free product to review!

4. Wow Free Stuff 

Similiar to the Gratisfaction wesbite, wow free stuff also has a lot of freebies listed on their wesbite! You can find everything! From perfume samples to baby stuff and also makeup products as well!

5. Latest Free Stuff

This wesbite hosts top 20 free samples, money making ideas, discount vouchers, and a lot more! This couldnt get any better. You even get lots of restaurant vouchers as well!

These 5 wesbites are the top ones to get free samples and products and to review them! Can't get any better than this, isn't it?

Things to ask yourself before you plan another child.

This is going to be a long post so grab a cuppa, maybe? I am pouring my heart out in here because we are on our way to think about planning another baby, so not only am I thinking of all these things that I am going to talk to you about, I am actually trying to follow them. And I do feel that I might throw off some negative energy here, but this is what real and raw life looks like.

There is no perfect planning for one single unit of parents. Some face loss after loss after their first child. Some are still trying to conceive. Some don't want a child. Some crave for a child. The journey to becoming a parent is not easy. And if you have been there, you know that very well. Planning differs to each and every parent. Some don't even get the chance to plan and have a baby right after having another one. And at times, they might feel like they weren't ready but in the end, you are a parent and you love your child and that's all that matters.

If you have had your first child, there are certain things that you might need to ask yourself before you plan your next one.

1. Is your body ready?

This is the first question that one should ask themselves before planning another baby. If your body is physically exhausted, pregnancy, child birth and raising them will take a toll on your body and honestly, would you rather enjoy parenting or just writhe in pain every time you stand up from the sofa? You need to make sure that your body is ready for another child. If you have had a child through cesarean, you need to give your body the time it requires to heal. If you have had a vaginal birth, you need your internal organs to settle back in their own place.  You also need to make sure that you have your vitamin, iron and energy levels in check. So before you plan your next child, make sure that you are physically ready for it. Some mothers also like to lose some baby weight before they have the next child so that the weight doesn't keep on piling which also leads to other difficulties.

2. What is the perfect age gap?

Now, this is a personal decision for every parent but sometimes, when you are planning your second or maybe a third child, you might want to look into the age gap. While there is no set age gap that is suitable for a parent, it is recommended that 3-4 years between the first and the second child should be there. This way, the older child is more independent with doing many things and there isn't a constant struggle with both the children. With the first child a little older, there is a proper routine set for the entire family especially when they are of a school going age and it is easier to manage a second or third baby with that routine. But then it all comes down to personal preferences. Some parents like to plan their children with very little age gap so that it is easier for them to raise the children together all at once if that makes sense?

3. Are you mentally ready?

After making sure that your body is ready to have another child, you also need to make sure that you are mentally ready. Post natal depression hits every 10-15 in 100 women and it literally sucks all the life and energy out of you. I know how that feels. I have been there. There is absolutely no will to do anything during the day except feed your baby grudgingly and cry your eyes out. You need to make sure that your mind has had a refresher break. And not just post-natal depression. You need to have an open head space for the things that have to come all over again after having your first child. Morning sickness, sleepless nights, tantrums from both the children, the guilt factor kicking in every few days and the extra workload that comes with it. Now, obviously, when you love children and parenting, these things don't really matter but you always need a clearer headspace so that the children latch up on to your happiness instead of the dark side of parenting.

4. Does finance really matter?

I personally feel that what is meant to be, will happen. But when it comes to financing, you really need to think about it. Having a child takes up a chunk of your income. Diapers, clothes, baby furniture, toys, and all the other things. Once you have a child, you slowly get to know the things that your child really needs and what they don't need. So with the second or third child, you are more careful of things that you need. Sometimes, budgeting is really important to look into when you are planning another child.

5. Do you have enough space?

I personally grew up with two other sisters in a really confined space. But my mother planned us in such a way that we were a bit independent and were on our way to playing on our own. We grew up in a joint family so of course, naturally, space was kind of restricted and we were always sleeping in our parent's rooms. And now, as a parent, when I come to think of it, I realise how difficult it must have been for them not just to have enough space for the stuff but to have a private space for themselves.

6. Are you prepared to wait?

If you are on your way to planning another baby, ask yourself this: Are you prepared to wait? There are going to be many frustrating moments when you are just going to be sitting on the toilet seat with a negative result in your hand. Don't loose hope and keep trying. But just prepare yourself mentally that you might have to wait before conceiving again.

7. Make sure that you have help around.

Many parents think that they can make it on their own and they do. That is not wrong at all but there is always a positive outcome and energy when you have help around. Don't be afraid to ask for help. There are going to be lots of people ready to help you out and all you have to do is just ask. With a little bit of help around, you will be able to focus on your new born and not worry about the little things. Your eldest child will not feel neglected and will have someone around to be with them.

8. Do you have strong relationships around you?

When you are on your way to becoming a parent, it is important to have strong relationships around you. And they will not just affect you but will also affect your children as well. Make sure that you have a really tight bond with your husband. Once that is established, you know you both can fall back on each other and talk about anything and everything. Strong relationships don't have to be just with your partner. Parents, in-laws, and friends have to be in your strong circle as well. Make sure you have close friends around you so that you have someone to fall back on. Like I previously stated, that post-natal depression is very common after child birth, you WILL need friends and family to support you and make you feel positive and happy.

9. Do you have a strong bond with your first born?

If you are planning your second child, it is VERY VERY important to make sure that you have a really strong bond with your first child so that they don't feel neglected and have envious feelings towards you and the new born. Make sure that you actively spend more time with them and go on small dates with them to make sure they know that they aren't going to be neglected. Tell them and talk to them about the changes that are going to happen so that it is not all of a sudden for them and you don't end up feeling guilty about spending less time with them afterward.

10. Are you saving for yourself?

Now, this is a completely different situation from the finance one. After becoming a mother, you feel the need to look nice and presentable not just for the other people but for yourself. Make sure that you have something saved for yourself so that you can spend on spa days, clothes, makeup, food and whatever that you feel like spending on. It will make you have good vibes along with you and that is definitely going to radiate through your children.

At the end of the day, some things might go with the plan and some things might not. You might have control over certain aspects and some times, even though you want to, you won't be able to. Becoming a parent for the first time is magical but becoming a parent for the second time or the third is a whole new level of love for you.

Celebrating an early Birthday with Smyths!

Azlan is going to turn four in the coming weeks. FOUR. Feels like he was born just yesterday. All moms say that, I know. So now that he is older, he appreciates events and we love going all out for him. Whether its Eid, birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, his smile while celebrating is all that we live for.
Not that forced smile. We dont live for that smile at all.
Anyway, So Smyths is having a huge campaign with their new catalouge and they asked us to pop down to the store and buy something. So we obviously had to make that trip (an hour away by bus just by the way). Everytime we buy something from Smyths, we usually order online and my husband picks it up from the store. So it was actually the first time for both of us in the ginormous Smyths store. Azlan went ballistic. Its not that we dont buy him toys, but the freedom to choose anything made something click inside and he started running down the aisles like some kid on crack. 

While, on our way to the store, we skimmed through the catalouge and Azlan decided that he wanted the Lion Guard toy set. If you look at the catalouge, it is like the genie from Aladin! You name it, and its right there. The staff of the store was amazingly helpful! I absolutely loved the lady who helped us around. Wish I had caught her name!

Anyway, after lugging around the basket, he decided he wanted to buy something else too. We also ended up getting a 3 in 1 easel, which I am way more excited about. We also got two HUGE books (that were a pain to lug around the buses). The book selection over there is amazing as well. We got the First Question and Answer Book and a 50 stories book.

I told him that until I didnt get a good picture, I wont let him open his presents - Hence the forced smiles!

Azlan had a fabulous time at the Smyths store and wanted to stay a little bit longer but I wanted some food. So Subway won haha! There is so much variety in store that I couldnt believe my eyes. If your child is into superheroes, they have the dopest collection of everything Avengers and they even have an amazing collection of bicycles and what not! So pop down to your nearest store and I am sure you will end up with an empty pocket but a smile that lights up the sky!

10 things that Mothers describe as Vacations!

Being a stay-at-home parent is really really hard. Especially when you have no family to help you around and you are just very very desperate for a vacation. I keep telling my husband that for me, even a vacation is like everyday work with just a change of location haha!

Mother's try to find joy in every little thing during their daily routine - it is the only way we stay sane! Don't panic! I love my son. I really do. Without him, my life would be just a dull state of numbness. But I really really need my brain to stop thinking about dinosaurs and what to feed and when to feed and toilet training and constantly screaming OMG YOU WILL BURN THE HOUSE DOWN!

So I like to take a small child-free vacation every now and then. I know you're thinking HOW? Here are the secrets:

1. Doctor appointments - Y'all know that the surgery is not a child-friendly place. So, I make the most of it. Whether it is a routine check-up, ultrasound or a smear test, IT IS A VACATION FOR ME. And I don't mind the waiting as long as my son is in safe hands (read: husband).

2. School Runs - I take my sweet time going back to the school to pick up my son. In fact, I leave a little bit early so I can jam like Britney Spears in my car. Or if I am taking the bus, I skip it. I walk to school without having to scream, 'watch out for the car' or 'no, you cannot have juice right now' every single minute.

3. Sneaky bathroom breaks - EVERY mother has done this without a doubt! And it is the best thing ever! Just sneaking into the bathroom with a candy bar and a phone in your hand, trying to keep the chewing to a minimum so that they dont hear you! Also with a tiny human's hand floating from under the door. You just do your own thang without doing your thing, you know?

4. Dentist Appointments - This is actually gold for me. I have had braces which didn't really do their job so I got filling done to close the gaps and I have routine check-ups every now and then with my dentist to make sure that everything is fine. I can even open a packet of crisps and finish it all by myself on myway back home!

5. A trip to the store alone - Yep. That is my idea of an ultimate vacation. Every time we are out of milk, I hand my son over to my husband, run to the store and just aimlessly walk around the Tesco aisles randomly browsing things that I don't really need. And then I deliberately stand in the till queue that is the longest. Taking my sweeeet time.

6. The moment they sleep - Ahh sweet Lord. The peace that prevails right after they sleep. Like Pheobe in Friends says 'I can hear the voices in my head again'. If your child sleeps through the night, you're amazingly lucky. But for mothers who have those 20 minutes before their child wakes up again for a nightly feed, those 20 minutes are truly a vacation. You can gulp down tea, eat 10 candy bars without having little hands snatching it away and have chocolate smeared all over your face!

7. Salon appointments - To be honest, I don't know what that feels like. But I have heard other mothers talk about getting their hair done. Or to extend their vacation time, they even get their moustache waxed. How cool is that?

8. Stuck in traffic/Train delays - I love getting stuck in traffic. Another reason for me to jam to N'sync without hearing a tiny human screaming 'CAN YOU PUT MY NURSERY RHYME ON!'

9. Grandparents - They are a blessing! Every time I visit Pakistan, I literally just hand over my son to my mom and go shopping. Mind you, half an hour later, my mother calls me home because my son is going ballistic playing with my sister's makeup or has no intention of having food and just wants ice cream for dinner.

10. That time between stuffing your mouth and your child hearing the wrapper - There was this meme that made its round on the internet 'You call your child's name million times and they won't hear you and you open a wrapper 2 houses away from them and yet they are going to come running to you' THAT my friends, is absolutely true! Once you become a parent to a toddler, forget eating your junk food alone and in peace.

How many of these hold true for you? Parenting is a hard job but you need your breaks. Every mother needs a reset button sometimes. Having said that, I wouldn't trade lives with anyone else in this world! Right after the moment my son sleep, I crave to hug him. As soon as I leave him with my mother, I miss him almost immediately and want to go back to him. I will be having my tv switched on to paw patrol even though my son isn't around. Even while walking down the Tesco aisles, I will be looking for toys that would bring that beaming smile on his face! Motherhood is tough but the joy that you get when that tiny human comes and hugs you as soon as you enter the house, it is just blissful. Also, I just realised, most of my happy time revolves around keeping the food to myself haha!

The concealer that has changed my life.

If you think I am talking about the Tarte shape tape concealer, then you need to re-evaluate your life decisions! So this 27th birthday, I decided to go all out and indulge myself with some birthday gifts! So besides the Huda Beauty palette (review here), I finally bought the Kevyn Aucoin's most talked about sensual skin enhancer. £38 FOR SUCH A TINY JAR! I am literally shooketh. I got it directly from the Cult Beauty website using my 15% birthday discount.

But having said that, I know this teeny jar (18g) is going to last me more than a good 6 months. It is pigmented as hell, girl! I got the shade SX-11 since I am a MAC NC-42 so this goes perfectly. However, I am still contemplating popping into Harvey Nicholas and trying out the SX-10 shade just to be sure that I am the perfect shade. 

The skin enhancer can be used as a foundation as well as a concealer. I use it sparingly on my face during daily errands and I swear my skin looks super flawless. Having researched a bit, I have found reviews that this product doesn't really work well for dry skin. It clings on the dry patches and makes it look awful. However, this works really really good for oily/combination skin. 

I have been using the concealer for more than a week and I can safely say that it has become one of my cult favourite products. I have even gone to sleep while wearing the concealer and it legit didn't budge from my skin! If you have dry skin, you can try and use an oil based product underneath so that it helps to glide on smoothly. I apply the product with a small buffing brush because like I said, you really just need a very small amount. Even less than a pea-sized amount and once I have buffed it in, I like to go in with a beauty blender as to make my skin look flawless and give it that radiant healthy look.

The only drawback that I seem to find is that it does have fragrance which is kind of a bummer if you are very very careful about your skin.  It is kind of an expensive product but considering that it will last you a really really long time, it's absolutely perfect. 

Have you tried the sensual skin enhancer? What are your thoughts about it?

Huda Beauty Desert Dusk Palette - Yay or Nay?

I gave into the hype. I did. And I am not sorry, to say the least. I am the queen of impulsive purchases.
So while I was in Pakistan, I thought, hey, why not gift a birthday gift to myself? Genius right? So here it is. In all its glory. Even though I do a lot of impulsive shopping, any big amount that I think I want to spend, I take a day or two. I read reviews, I watch videos and then I usually decide to skip it. But this time, I really really needed an eye palette because as much as I love Anastasia Beverly Hills, I am kind of sick of using the same brand all the time.

I purchased this directly from cult beauty for £56 on the same day it released in the UK.

So is this palette really worth the hype it has generated along with the Fenty beauty line? Keeping in mind that I didn't purchase the Rose Gold edition one because well, I didn't want to at that time and I am glad I didn't.

The palette consists of 18 shades with four different textures: 8 matte shades, 3 duo chrome toppers, 6 pressed pearls and one glitter.

The day, I got it, I was in such a reluctant state of whether I should return it or not since I heard so many mixed reviews. But then I thought, with the hype it has generated, it can't be that bad. Plus, Huda Beauty decided to add a mirror to the palette this time as opposed to the rose gold edition. So that is a win.

The matte shades do have a fallout when swatched on your hand but they apply beautifully on the eyes. I am so glad that there are a few burnt orange type shades since I was already thinking of investing in a few. Although, I am not really feeling the shade Musk. It's more of a transition shade but looks kind of weird on my skin tone (NC-42). The shades that absolutely light my fire are Blazing, Oud and Saffron. Blazing is an amazing crease and transition shade.

Coming to the toppers, I wasn't really blown away. I mean they are not that good and not that bad. Although I think the shade twilight has been a hit amongst the people who bought it. Even retrograde applies really nicely but celestial is just a miss. These toppers can be worn alone or with a shadow underneath!

The pressed pearl/foiled shadows are my favourite! You really have to see them in real life to be able to appreciate their pigmentation and the way they apply so seamlessly, almost like butter. My favourite has to be Blood Moon and Turkish Delight. Not really impressed by the shade, Nefertiti. It wasn't as pigmented as the other pressed pearl shades.

The last but not the least, Cosmo. The most controversial shade in this palette. This shade is a pressed glitter that can be applied as a glitter liner or as a lid topper but so many people just apply it without a setting spray or a glitter glue. I swatched it without setting spray and the glitter just spread all over while the one with the setting spray stayed put. Huda later put up a snap saying that once you press the glitter with your hand in the pan, it will just stay there but to save from further damage, the protective card that is provided should be kept over the shades.

All in all, it's a good first time Huda Beauty palette. Obviously, like other palettes, there are a few hits and misses. I do wish there was a black shadow in the palette like the Rose Gold Edition one. Keeping in mind the price factor, the palette is great if you don't already have the Rose Gold Edition. Else, it definitely is a collector's item! I can definitely see myself using this palette for both everyday purposes and for going out as well.

Have you got this palette yet? What are your thoughts?