Cooling Off Sore Heads | Navratna Hair Oil Review

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If you’ve grown up in an Indian household, chances are you know all too well about Mum’s weekly head oil massages. If you haven’t, don’t be fooled by the glamorous name. In fact, in my youth, I remember it being somewhat of a torturous punishment. 9 times out of 10 my Mum would apply the most pungent smelling oils she could possibly find. My hair would become disheveled and my head somewhat scarred from all the vigorous rubbing. Of course, now that I’m older, I realise what an ungrateful kid I was. There’s nothing more soothing than the feeling of someone running their fingers through your hair (smelly oil or not).

I decided to embark on a trip down memory lane during a recent ‘Indian shopping’ trip with my Mum. I’ve always been more of a coconut oil/hair mask kinda girl rather than the traditional ‘Indian’ oils that you see strewn across the shelves in many Indian grocers, but one bottle, in particular, caught my eye and I couldn’t resist the purchase.

The Himani Navratna oil had been highly recommended to me by my sister-in-law as a great remedy for relieving heavy heads. I don’t often suffer with head aches or migraines, but after a long working week I would never say no to a ‘stress-relieving’ treatment.

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Infused with Amla (Indian Gooseberry), menthol, Ylang Ylang, rosemary oil and a long list of other ingredients – this oil is one of the best ‘head reliving’ methods I’ve ever tried. The smell isn’t that great, if I’m honest – a crossbreed between TCP and mustard oil (both gross). A little too strong in my opinion (much like the colour), but it doesn’t linger like most ‘Indian’ hair oils do. In fact, the smell near enough disappears after 10 minutes. What I do love is the fact that it’s not overly thick like some that I’ve used; which makes it fairly easy to wash out.

The core ingredient of this oil is Brahmi herb; which is a combination of centella asiatica, also known as gotu kola and bacopa. Brahmi oil is a core ingredient in many mainstream hair products due to its nourishing and strengthening properties. Amla oil (Indian Gooseberry) also plays an important role in the ingredients list. Used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, Amla oil is a fantastic natural remedy for dandruff, hair loss, grey hair prevention and loss of shine. The ‘head-reliving’ part of the ingredients list is induced by the inclusion of menthol and camphor. The cooling sensation can relieve the deepest of headaches and leave your head feeling as light as a feather. This also works great as a sleep-treatment. I’ve had some of the best night’s sleep with this oil; which is rare for an insomniac like myself.

Along with its cooling, head-reliving capabilities, the Navratna oil works fantastically at creating hair density. The concoction of ingredients encourage blood circulation in your scalp; which in turn promotes hair growth. I’ve been using this oil for a little over a month now and I can certainly feel a difference in my hair.

Of course, with any hair oil, this works best when massaged in by someone else. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of having this super-cooling oil gently worked into your scalp (and shoulders) by another set of hands. If you’re not lucky enough to have someone give you a head massage, you can of course apply this yourself, particularly after a bath/shower.

You can find bottles of the Navratna Hair Oil on the shelves of most Indian grocers around the Uk for the mere price of £5.99; which, let’s be honest – isn’t bad at all. If you don’t fancy bracing the mean aisles of Indian grocers (don’t blame you), my wonderland (Amazon) have plenty of links for it.

7 Morning Rituals For A Well-Balanced Lifestyle

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The claim of a well-balanced lifestyle seems slightly patronising doesn’t it? What does a well-balanced lifestyle even mean? For some it could mean a great work-life balance. For others it could mean maintaining a healthy diet. A well-balanced lifestyle has an array of definitions, but they all stem from the idea of productivity. If I’m pro-active, particularly in the morning, I can go forward with a positive day.

I’ve been a morning person for as long as I can remember. That may seem like an annoying characteristic to have but, as my Dad would say, ‘the early bird catches the worm’. So true it is. I’ve watched my parents start their day from as early as 5am. As a teenager, I never understood why. I now understand, more than ever, that those few hours in the morning can have a massive impact on the rest of your day and what you choose to do within that time is vital. Greg Adenauer’s 7 Mini-Habits To Success; is a great book to pick up for those who are a little unorganised as it teaches you to use the power of quantum habits to build a more successful future. Sounds a little ‘new-age’, but it’s changed my perception of how I utilise my time.

Below are a few habits which I like to incorporate into my daily morning routine. Granted, some people are pushed for time in the mornings and I appreciate that. However, everyone and I mean EVERYONE has 10 minutes to incorporate one or two of the habits below. All it takes is 10 minutes out of your day to maintain a well-balanced lifestyle; which isn’t a lot to ask for…

Wake up early – As I mentioned above, early rising is integral for a productive day. During my studying years, I would wake up at 6am to cram in several hours of revision. This was mostly because I enjoyed the peace and quiet around me, but also because by 12pm my day was done. Even up until today, I believe in 6am starts no matter what day of the week. Obviously that doesn’t quite happen all the time (being hungover and waking up at 6am is not much fun). However, waking up early gives you that time to ease your body and your mind into ‘active’ mode. It can also give you that all important time that you need to perform the habits below without having to rush.

Morning stretch – We’ve all seen those tv ads, movies or YouTube videos where someone arises from their crisp, clean bed – not a hair out of place, raising their arms into a stretch position before eventually carrying on with their seemingly perfect lives. That’s not me. I’m lucky to wake up without a puddle of drool surrounding my pillow and crazy hair. I do, however, like to stretch. Perhaps not a glamorously as you see on the tv, but one or two stretches (particularly of the neck) ensure that my body is liber and ready to start the ground off running (after a coffee that is).

Take time out to meditate – We’ve all heard about morning meditation and how useful it is for maintaining a healthy state of mind, but how many of us do it? Unfortunately, morning meditation sessions have a stigma attached. Many people believe it to be time consuming; requiring hours of trance-like mindfulness. This is NOT the case. I’m a firm believer in mediation, at any time of the day. Morning meditation is my particular favourite as I am able to clear my mind, allowing for new information of the day to absorb in. I know what you’re thinking – I sound a little crazy. Don’t knock it till you try it. I’m not talking hours and I’m not suggesting you need to sit cross-legged and chant. Even sitting at your kitchen table, eyes closed and clearing your mind is  considered meditation – and it can do more for your body than any kind of medication.

Find your cocktail – I obviously won’t argue against the fact that a tall glass of water in the morning (especially with a slice of lemon) does wonders for your digestive system, but what about other choices of beverage? I cannot start my day without a coffee. I cannot even hold a conversation without coffee. I’m not even slightly human without coffee. It’s clear that I love coffee, but would I swap it for something slightly ‘healthier’? No way! Coffee is what makes me function so if I need it to start my day then so be it. The point is – find your poison and use it as a treat in the morning.

Avoid tv/social media – I’m a little guilty of this as I use my mornings to catch up with my social media; which I don’t normally do through-out the day. However, putting down your phone (especially before you get out of bed) and avoiding the television is vital for your state of mind. We can all get washed up in the whirlwind of social media and polluting your mind (as soon as you wake up) is not going to start you off in the right way. Go outside, listen to the birds singing or spend time with your family. You’ll be much more entertained.

Play up-lifting music  – As I get ready for the day, I play energy-boosting meditation music (which I usually stream from YouTube). A far cry from my usual dowse of rap music, but I find that it puts me in a much happier mood. Whilst in the car, I either listen to an audio book or some more meditation music. Sounds a little strange when you’re used to bouncing to Beyonce in the mornings, but it’s amazing what subliminal messages meditation music can feed you. Energy boosting meditation music is my particular favourite…for obvious reasons.

Write a list and prepare for the day – I love a good list. I write lists wherever I go. Despite having a Filofax, I still write a ‘to-do’ lists for the day ahead. It gets me organised and it enables me to be prepared. Knowing exactly what needs to be done and in what order I need to do them helps me be more productive. I tend to get the more tasking jobs done first so that I can ease my way into a restful evening, but do what works best for you. The idea is that writing things down is more productive than remembering from the top of your head. You’re more likely to achieve everything you set out to do for the day (and then some) if you write it down.

What are your morning routines? Let me know below.

My Nails Are Loving This…

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Erghhhh maintenance! If getting a bikini wax isn’t torturous enough, knowing that you’ll be back there in 6 weeks will certainly piss you off. I hate regular maintenance; which women does?! Waxing, plucking, pedicure-ing, root-ing. Ok fine – I made up a few of those words, but you catch my drift. If only I could channel my inner Beyonce and simply awake to a beautiful exterior, BUT, unfortunately, I have a multitude of grey hairs sprouting from my head and a mono brow that won’t quit.

I try to do most of my maintenance at home. Actually, that’s a lie. I only do one of them at home; which is my nails. I’m an avid gel colour fan. I’m rarely seen without a lick of paint on my nails; which can result in a pretty expensive up-keep if I was going to the salon every two weeks. Luckily, by the power of YouTube, I’ve learnt to do my own gel nails at home and I’ve invested in some pretty snazzy tools to do so.

After experimenting with various brands, I’ve now uncovered a sick obsession with OPI’s GelColor range. It’s not that easy to source in the UK, so I often scour the page of eBay to get mine. However, despite using a reputable brand, I found that my gels weren’t lasting as long as I hoped (or at least the 14 day benchmark that most gel colours suggest). I couldn’t get why. My nails are pretty healthy and I performed each step of the application meticulously, but yet somehow, my nails would always result in a chip (or two) by the end of day 3!

I took to the internet and stumbled across the OPI Bond Aid; which, in fairness, I had heard of before, but  never knew what its purpose was. After reading through many forums and discovering that I wasn’t alone in my gel colour woes, I realised that many nail artists and other at-home enthusiasts, like myself, were incorporating the OPI Bond Aid in their application process to enhance the longevity of gel nails. In fact, it was used as a nail preper. Well what the hell is a nail preper, I thought?! Clearly I was out of the loop, until now…

Nail prepers, like OPI’s Bond Aid, enable the nail plate to adhere to whatever cosmetic enhancement goes on top. Whether it’s extensions, gel colour or regular polish – the nail plate needs to be in top form in order for the enhancement to work at its full potential. OPI’s Bond Aid is a dehydrator; which balances the pH levels of the natural nail plate for optimum adhesion of artificial nail products. Acrylics, tips, wraps, gel colour and regular nail varnish can last almost twice as long if using OPI’s Bond Aid to initially prep the nail.

I picked mine up from Nail Polish Direct, for the very reasonable priced of £14.95. There’s a variation of sizes available depending on how often you wish to use it, but for a home user like myself, the 30ml version lasts a very long time.

The container itself comes in a very snazzy glass bottle; which shouldn’t make a difference if you’re not as superficial as me. The brush applicator, all be it small, actually glides on the nail plate pretty well without the need for multiple dipping. The application is pretty simple – prep your nails as you normally would (file, shape, cuticles, etc) then apply a thin coating of this solution over your bare nails. It’s almost like applying white spirit to your nails (sorry I couldn’t think of a nicer analogy), whereby the solution almost dries to a powdery/dry/matte surface. Sounds like an awful thing to do to your nails, but I assure you that no damage is being done. In fact, it’s worked so well at keeping my gel nail on that I’m not having to re-do them as often as I was which is obviously a lot healthier for my nails.

Luckily there’s no drying time, so as soon as you see your nail turn semi-matte, you’re good to go in with your nail enhancement. So far, I’ve gone as long as 2 weeks without a chip in my gels or any of that dreaded ‘lifting’ around the cuticle that you normally get with gel varnishes; which, in my eyes, is a flipping miracle!

You can pick up the OPI’s Bond Aid from Nail Polish Direct.

Makeup Bags I’m Crushing Over | Spring 2017

Along with my ever expanding makeup collection, I have a ridiculous amount of makeup bags. From kitsch designs to pretentious designers – I can’t help a good makeup bag purchase.

I’ve been on the search for a new makeup bag for my every day handbag (how many times can we say bag?). Sounds pretty excessive for a person who doesn’t touch up their makeup throughout the day, but I need something to house my hand cream, hair ties, travel atomiser, etc. One or two of the makeup bags below aren’t exactly what I would necessarily carry on a daily basis, but they are great for travelling.

This blog post isn’t going to contain my usual ramble because…well…there’s not much to say about makeup bags. So for this week – just enjoy the images/links below and hopefully get some inspiration for your next makeup bag purchase…

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