Remove your Fears and Doubts for the Ultimate Manifesting Experience

3 tips to help you curb those pesky inner doubts and help you tune in to a more positive and deserving you!

So, you’ve probably been hearing a lot about the Law of Attraction and manifestation lately. It seems more and more people are subscribing to this spiritual notion of gravitating the things you want to your life. Whether it be the dream home, job or relationship, all these things can be manifested into your life with a little self-work!

However, one thing I don’t hear about as much is that manifesting is very much a passive process, meaning you can’t manifest from your conscious and active thoughts, it’s really your inner beliefs that do all the work.

Manifestations are conjured from our deeper subconscious beliefs. More specifically, our subconscious beleifs about what we deserve in our lives.

If, within our subconscious beliefs, we feel undeserving of the amazing promotion or to unattractive for the wonderful relationship…that’s the biggest and loudest message we’re putting out there…and that’s exactly what we will continue to receive.

What ever you’re looking to bring into your life, you have to believe it in the deepest, most subconscious part of your mind…like there is no other option, other than the future you know you want and deserve!

How amazing does that sound! …But here’s the thing, the fears and self-doubts you have about your life and your abilities, they live right there in the subconscious. And guess what…they have an all access pass to your dreams and manifestations.

Your fears and self-doubts can be the exact things that prevent your manifestations from becoming your reality. So…here are 3 tips to help you curb those pesky inner doubts and help you tune in to a more positive and deserving you!1.

1. Listen to Positive Affirmations Everyday

I know it sounds a little strange (like Chandler’s ‘Strong Women’ self-help tape!) but…when used correctly, positive affirmations can be one of the most powerful tools to help reprogram the subconscious mind!

Studies show that listening to a 10-minute affirmation playlist every day, for 21 days, is enough to impact our deepest thoughts and challenge the lingering negative beliefs we have about ourselves.

We are most susceptible to this form of reprogramming in the early morning, at night before sleep or when in a meditative state. To really absorb the messages and mantras, listen at the same time every day.

I’ve been listening to a self-esteem mantra playlist right before I go to sleep, for just over a week now, and it is honestly crazy how quickly some of the affirmations have sunk into my subconscious and even conscious thoughts.

When experiencing a recurring negative thought, I find myself being able counteract it with one of the mantras from the play list, and I can feel the knot in my mind physically coming loose. What would have been a triggering thought, slips away effortlessly. It really is worth a try!

I’ve been listening to a wonderful playlist by Leeor Alexandra, you can find it below.

2. Re-frame and Replace your Biggest Insecurities

Did you know, our brains can only experience one thought at a time? I know it certainly doesn’t feel that way, but that means It’s possible to swap the negatives thoughts we usually experience, with a much more positive belief.

Try writing out the fears and the fixed beliefs you have that don’t serve you, thoughts you experience all the time and make you feel low and unworthy. And then, directly beneath your initial statement, write a positive statement that completely counteracts your initial negative belief.

 For example, one of my fixed negative beliefs is “I don’t feel confident or qualified to do my dream job.” How disempowering is this statement?! Literally no good thoughts can follow this downer.

So, I’ve been trying to rephrase and reframe this self-doubt. Anytime I find myself thinking this toxic thought, I tell myself “I am more than competent for the role I wish to have, and I’m willing to learn on the job to reach my full potential.” This thought puts me in a much better mindset for searching for my dream job, than If I had let my initial thought fester and become my reality.

Even the act of writing out your fears and self-doubts, makes them easier to address and give you direction to start healing.

Seriously, give this exercise a try and then repeat your new mantras to yourself when you find yourself slipping into old thought habits. It really does work!

Try this neat exercise below, it will help you directly reframe your recurring negative thoughts.

3. Give your Inner Critic a Name

This one sounds funny, I know! But stay with me.

It’s no doubt that we all have an inner critic. The horrible voice inside our heads that tells us we’re not pretty enough, slim enough, smart, valuable or special enough to achieve the things we want.

And isn’t it so easy to believe this voice? it sounds like us, it knows the things we know and what it says makes so much sense. Well, have you ever come across the phrase “You are not your thoughts?” I can’t tell you how true this is.

The fears, self-doubts and negative thoughts you experience, they are not a part of you, so you shouldn’t define yourself by them.

Try this, give your inner critic a name and a persona, something you find unpleasant. Straight away, this inner voice becomes an external voice, and we are much better at dealing with external criticism them we are at dealing with self-criticism.

By giving this inner voice a name and a persona, it automatically helps us to dissociate it from ourselves. In doing so, it’s gives us the ability to talk back to it and even challenge what it says. Heck, I disagree with my inner critic all the time!

Give it a go, give your voice a name, and next time you hear that pesky voice trying to make and appearance, call it by its first name, and tell it to GO AWAY!

Once we’ve purged the subconscious of all this inner negativity, you’ll make space for gratitude and positivity. Not to mention that manifesting your dream life will seem so much easier, because you’ll soon realise you’re already living the dream!

Go on, give it a try and see what happens!

My Top 5 Drug Store Liquid Lipstick Picks this V Day!

It’s officially here. The one day of the year that you’re supposed to show inordinate amounts of affection to your significant other, with useless commercial crap that literally no-one needs…. Okay, bitter single monologue over, let’s get onto what really matters, your V Day lipstick pick!

This year, Zoom dates and socially distanced walks in the park may be all that’s on the horizon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look great for your date!

I’ll be taking you through my top 5 favourite smooch-proof liquid lipsticks that will see you through your valentine’s plans without breaking the bank!

5. INC.redible Matte My Day – I’m Something Else

Formula: I’d never heard of this brand before, but I came across it and fell in love with the shade! This formula is incredibly pigmented, it’s bright, vibrant and super long wearing. It’s a liquid texture and dries down to a nice matte finish. You do have to be careful, as it’s so quick drying, it can be tricky to get an even coverage, but another layer usually does the trick. On the more affordable side of the spectrum, this is a nice option to chuck into your hand bag. I find myself reaching for this every so often, when I’m in the mood for a cheeky lip pick!

Staying Power: 2 hrs – This product is prone to crumbling, which is a bit of a drag. To avoid any lip mishaps, make sure you keep it to hand.

Price: £3.50

4. Maybelline Super Stay 24 Colour – 340 Absolute Plum

Formula: This liquid lipstick is so different from any other product I’ve tried. Its super long wearing, light, liquidy and still really moisturizing! There’s no crumbling, no caking, no fading, no feathering and no transferring. Just a really beautiful soft matte sheen left on the lips. I also love this shade! It’s a beautiful mix of plum and metallic blue undertones, sounds crazy but deffo worth a try! If you’re looking for a light long-wearing lip product, this is the one for you!

Staying Power: Easily lasts around 7- 10 hours – Stays on the lips and wears away gradually to leave a nice tinted hue that lasts all day!

Price: £9.99

3. Revlon 16 hr Colour Stay – Always Sienna

Formula: If you’re looking for a lip product that stays and does not budge, look no further! This liquid lipstick is the most long-wearing product I have ever seen. With a liquidy formula, it applies more like a stain than a liquid lipstick, but despite this, it is not drying at all! Especially when paired with the gloss accompaniment on the other end of the product. Long wearing in a beautiful warm shade, this product packs a punch! Applies in nice thin layers, but can be built up for fuller coverage.

Staying Power: 24 hours -The staying power of this product is yet to be matched. Easily meets the 16 hr claims and then some. In fact, you’re going to need to scrub it off at the end of the night!

Price: £4.99 – For some reason, this product is not available in Boots anymore but you can still get it on Amazon for an amazing £4.99 – Steal!

2. Nyx Soft Matte Lip cream – Rome

Formula: This powder-like liquid lipstick is so soft and creamy. Applied as a lip cream, this product never dries and stays lightweight and fresh on the lips. With one swipe, you’re left with a nourishing and moisturising feeling that lasts. It comes in over 30 shades which means there is definitely one for everyone. I love this warm plummy shade, and it’s slowly becoming my daily look. oh…and it smells like chocolate…divine!

Staying Power: 2 hours It really is a wonderfully lightweight product, but that means it easily wears away or smudges. Average wear time is around 2 hours, and RIP if you have a tea or coffee!

Price: £7.00

1. Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lip Mousse – Spice

Formula: I love this lipstick! It truly is my everyday go to choice. A beautiful matte moussey texture, this lipstick glides softly onto the lips and brightens any smile. It’s highly pigmented and works well over any lipliner, for a nice soft matte finish.

Staying Power: 4 hrs – This lipstick is prone to a little transfer due to the mousse like texture, so be careful when eating or drinking. Its average wear is about 4 hrs but leaves a nice residual colour on the lips throughout the day. Quite impressive for a mousse lipstick. Oh yes, and it smells like a dream!

Price: £8.99

Pucker up and give these a try MWAH!

Binge Watching Bridgerton! My Thoughts…

Pride and Prejudice meets Gossip Girl meets….50 Shades?

(To be read in the voice of Lady Whistledown)

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a young lady in the middle of a pandemic, must be in want of an utterly bingeworthy series to watch! Low and behold, our prayers were answered with the latest Netflix Original drama ‘Bridgerton’.

One can hardly be displeased with such an array of wonderfully tailored gowns, perfect pin tucks and pristine hems.  What better time to allow ourselves to be transported back to 18th Century England, where manners and propriety were favoured amongst all else.

Bridgerton has made an immense splash with viewers, making it Netflix’s biggest original series of all time. The popular period drama garnered a staggering 82 million views globally in its first month, phenomenally exceeding Netflix’s original projections.

Synopsis

Based on the bestselling novels by Julia Quinn, the series follows the ins and outs of marriage and courtship of high society London. Beautiful young debutants are introduced into society in hopes of ensnaring the attentions of a wealthy bachelor.

Pipped to be the grand prize of the season, Daphne Bridgerton is a picture of perfection. Eloquent, well-mannered and barely a thread out of place, there is a not an eye that she has not caught. However, due to the critical overprotective gaze of her elder brother, Daphne soon finds herself left wanting in the realm of callers.

Meanwhile, the eligible Duke of Hastings, finds himself called to London, just in time for the social season. The untoward antithesis of what a gentleman ought to be, the Duke finds himself barraged with the unwanted attention of pushy mothers, hoping to secure him as a perfect match.

In a bid to secure a most advantageous proposal, and to fall out of favour of the unbearably forward mothers, both Daphne and the Duke make an arrangement that enthralls on lookers and captures the interest of notorious gossip writer, Lady Whistledown…. What could possibly go awry?

Talk of the Time

Jane Austen’s Regency literature sent so many young hearts a flutter, with the darkly handsome, but less then conversational Mr Darcy. Her portrayal of the time, although deeply satirical, has kept the novelties of the Regency era alive.

Having read Pride & Prejudice more times than I wish to share, and even completing my dissertation on feminism across Austen’s works, I’m no novice when it comes to the Regency era. So, I’m glad to see that Bridgerton touched upon so many of the social conventions of the time, no matter how outdated they might seem today.

Amongst such social norms, was the fact that females at that time, had a considerable lack of prospects outside of marriage. Woman were not allowed to work, pursue an education, nor inherit the titles of their families. These luxuries were kindly only afforded to their male counterparts. That is why an advantageous marriage was high on every young woman’s agenda. Spinsterhood is far too difficult a future to endure!

Eloise Bridgerton best portrays the plight of a female who struggles to fit into the cookie-cutter mould of what it means to be a perfect lady. In her ongoing struggle against patriarchal notions and her ever-tightening corset, she all but declares herself against the idea of marriage and child rearing as her path. All this, at a time where a woman wanting to attend university would be met with scoffs.

Modern Merging

Despite the truthful portrayal of the era, Bridgerton does such a wonderful job of weaving modern concepts and ideologies within the historical portrayal.  From the musical renditions of Ariana Grande and Marroon 5, to the err…not so PG stuff! – this is definitely made with a modern audience in mind.

First and for most, one cannot ignore the integration of a multi-ethnic society, where people of colour brazenly occupy positions of power. I thought perhaps, that there would be an aspect of ‘Colour-blindness’ within the series. That the race of the actor playing the male protagonist role, would be inconsequential to the character itself.


Bridgerton so easily brings a modern-day twist to a genre as old as time.”


However, this was not true. It was Lady Danbury who reaffirmed this, by explaining that the King had fallen in love with a beautiful black woman; now the Queen of England, thus paving the way for people of multi-ethnicities to climb the high-society ladder without a glass ceiling in sight. Dukes, Earls Viscounts alike!

We can only imagine if the Royal family had been diversified hundreds of years ago, what different times we would reside in now.

Bridgerton so easily brings a modern-day twist to a genre as old as time. The courting process was such a staple of the era. The delicate dance between disinterest and overzealousness, a lady cannot show her cards nor her affections to soon. However, straight away, the lead characters defy the social customs and in fact use them to their own benefit. By pretending to be courting, both parties attain their goals, without the pressure of the traditional constraints.

In keeping up this charade, they (surprisingly) happen to fall for one another as the pair are able to nurture a friendship, instead of trying to be the most marriageable option. I like that this point was reiterated, the notion of friendships as the base for marriage is so seldom discussed, bringing this series all the way into the 21st Century.

With all the ways that Bridgerton subverts this romantic genre, I think the most perfect example is the fact that the series does not end with the inevitable flamboyant spectacle of their wedding. All too often, the story ends when the two perfect parties commit to one another forever, and go on to live happily ever after. Well, the tale between Daphne and Simon could not be more different. Everything from their hastened engagement to their despondence towards one another before their wedding, to their marital disputes after their strained nuptials defies the traditional romantic trajectory. This is so refreshing! An honest peak into a marriage with all the lows and …err the highs!


All too often, the story ends when the two perfect parties commit to one another forever, and go on to live happily ever after. The tale between Daphne and Simon could not be more different.


I particularly appreciated the fact that they dwelt on how young girls of the time (and even now) enter into marriage uninformed of all that it entails. Happily, ever after…isn’t just a given, it is a choice that one must make every day.

Conclusion

Personally, I have always been fond of period dramas and literature. The norms and conventions of the era, although far-fetched from today’s dating scene have always seemed oddly reminiscent of Islamic ideologies, where propriety and modesty still play an awfully large part in the entire marriage process, and so it has always felt oddly relatable and comforting to me.

I think Bridgerton does a wonderful job of bringing the Regency era into the modern-day, the details that keep it true to the time, marry so well with the modern nuances, and I thoroughly enjoyed the watch!

Just like Pride and Prejudice has done for many viewers and readers before, Bridgerton brings dance, festivities and sheer elegance to its audience. If you’re looking for something to get lost in this winter, Bridgerton is definitely a must!

Yours truly, Lady Whistledown…

Whoops I mean….

A Delicious Turmeric Latte Recipe for when you’re Feeling Under the Weather!

This magic potion is guaranteed to make you feel better almost instantly!

Despite every South Asian grandmother preaching and practicing the benefits of turmeric, this magical ingredient has only recently taken over the Western world. With the emergence of the wonderful Turmeric Latte, (Or Haldi Doodh, if you’re brown lol) the benefits of this delicious South Asian remedy are more prolific than ever!

Benefits of this Golden Luster Dust

Turmeric as a miracle ingredient is no new notion.  This golden powder has been heralded for hundreds of years as a remedy for all kinds of health issues. It’s healing qualities make it a staple in Ayurveda and is even used in many beauty treatments.

The benefits of this spice go far back into South Asian culture, where golden milk was used to cure almost every ailment, be it headaches, anxiety or the common cold. Many-a-sleepless night have been cured by this wondrous golden elixir.

Here are some of the many benefits:

1. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory

Inflammation is a healthy response for your body when fighting harmful invaders. But long term, this inflammation may result in even more potent conditions like heart disease and even cancer. The Curcumin in the turmeric (that gives it the distinct yellow colour) is a powerful anti-inflammatory ingredient that has been used to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

2. It works wonders for the brain

Turmeric is a powerful tool for the brain. There is recent evidence that suggests that Curcumin may help to protect against Alzheimer’s disease.  It works to reduce inflammation as well as the build-up of protein plaques in the brain that are characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease sufferers. It can also be effective as a natural anti-depressant!

4. It can rejuvenate your skin

Turmeric has been used in many beauty treatments to revitalize the skin and give it back that natural glow! There are so many natural turmeric face masks you can make to help you rejuvenate your skin. The anti-inflammatory qualities can target your pores and calm the skin. Studies have also found that turmeric can positively affect tissue and collagen as well.

The Magic of the Turmeric Latte

Last January (before Corona was even a thing) I found myself feeling super run down and super bunged up.

As someone with an overactive immune system, I’ve hardly ever been afflicted with the ominous common cold. So, you can imagine why I was stumped when I got the dreaded lurgy.

A whole 3 days, I was feeling completely under the weather…that was until this magic elixir was revealed to me by my aunt.

Now, when more and more people are conscious about their health and any symptoms they may have developed, this preventative and soothing concoction is sure to make you feel at ease.

This turmeric latte recipe has helped me with congestion, body ache and even insomnia…pure magic!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Start by boiling 2 cups of milk of your choice on medium heat. I’m using skimmed milk, but plant-based milk tastes just a great!
  2. Next add the turmeric, and stir to avoid clumping. Enjoy watching your milk become a luxurious golden colour!
  3. Next add the ginger powder or fresh ginger to the milk and keep stirring.
  4. Add the cardamom, clove and cinnamon stick – These fragrant spices will create a delicious chai like warmth that can fix any sore throat! And cinnamon is a great natural anti-inflammatory ingredient as well.
  5. It sounds strange, but add just a dash of black pepper. This allows the body to better absorb the curcumin from the turmeric.  
  6. Last ingredient, add a squeeze of honey, agave nectar or sugar to add a delicious hint of sweetness. Personally, I think honey most compliments the spiced undertones.
  7. Simmer over a low heat for 10 minutes. Keep stirring or whisking to make it nice and frothy!
  8. When the flavours are fully infused, pour it out and drink it up!

Go on, grab a cosy mug and give it a try! So delicious and so addictive!

On My Bookshelf: The 40 Rules of Love

Written by Elif Shafak 

Two parallel narratives, both enthralling stories of LOVE. One, a contemporary love story entwining man and woman. The other, an ancient tale of kinship between two lovers of God.

Synopsis

We are first introduced to Ella Rubinstein, a middle-aged suburban mother and wife, as plain and uninteresting as they come. We soon learn that Ella, despite outward appearances, is accosted by a void in her life and her overarching inability to believe in love. This is set to change when Ella becomes acquainted with Sufi writer, Aziz A. Zahara, through his novel “Sweet Blasphemy.”

Intricately woven within Ella’s story, is the beautiful journey of the revered 13th Century poet, Jalaluddin Rumi and his transcendental bond with an unorthodox traveling dervish, named Shams of Tabriz.

We learn that Shams is the vessel chosen to transform Rumi from a learned scholar, who was akin to respect and reputation, to the free and enlightened spiritual poet, who has wondered the hearts of many for over 800 years. Shams imparts his wisdom in form of his “40 Rules of Love.” A series of spiritual commandments that become the centre of reflection within the narrative.

While reading “Sweet Blasphemy” Ella realizes that Rumi’s story mir­rors her own, and that Aziz, like Shams, has come to set her free. Within both parallel narratives, Ella and Rumi must sacrifice the luxuries of comfort and possession to truly feel the enlightenment of love, and also, the transformative experience of loss. 


 “Every true love or friendship is a story of unexpected transformation. If we are the same person before and after we have loved, that means we haven’t loved enough.”


My Thoughts?

What first struck me about the novel is how beautifully Shafak layers stories within the text.  Like a rose unfurling its petals, each one has a distinct purpose, and its own lasting fragrance on the reader.

This is a story of love. The love between a man and woman, formed over shared hopes and vulnerability. But above that, it is the evolving story of a deep gratifying bond of two spiritual seekers of God. The effervescent friendship between Shams and Rumi is one of sheer delight, it truly does capture the heart.  Both in need of spiritual companionship, the two orbit around one another, wading through the depth that can only be found within the heart of a true lover of God.

Above even this, the truest most powerful love story within the novel, is in fact the ode to God.  To know God, one must know that he resides in the heart of His creation. We are told to extend kindness towards every living thing, because every living thing contains God.


“Whatever happens in your life, however troubling things might seem, do not enter the neighbourhood of despair. Even when all doors remain closed, God will open up a new path only for you. Be thankful! It is easy to be thankful when all is well, A Sufi is thankful not only for what he has been given but also for what he has been denied.”


Multitude of Voices

The narrative itself is extremely fragmented. As the reader, we hear from a multitude of different voices, all from different parts of society. At first, this took me a little while to get behind, however reading further, you understand what this brings to the novel.

We hear from a street beggar afflicted with Leprosy, a prostitute who flees from a brothel and a local drunk who is chastised regularly. All Individuals who have been deemed inferior by society.

Through each 1st person perspective, we hear the trials and tribulations experienced by those who are continually disregarded. But, through the kindness and acceptance shown by Shams of Tabriz, each one is able to venture towards knowing God.

Shams helps Rumi to leave the company of blind followers and supporters, and instead asks him to bask in the company of those who were not as privileged as he. With these stark reminders, one can’t help but see through eyes of empathy. This notion, I will carry with me long after reading this book.


“If you want to change the way others treat you, you should first change the way you treat yourself. Unless you learn to love yourself, fully and sincerely, there is no way you can be loved. Once you achieve that stage, however, be thankful for every thorn that others might throw at you. It is a sign you shall soon be showered in roses.”


In Conclusion

Shafak wonderfully captures the rise and essence of Sufism in the 13th Century. In doing so, she swiftly deconstructs the notion of Islam as a rigid an unforgiving faith, serving to remind the reader that faith originates and emanated from the heart.

Part of me finds it very easy to align with the poetic lens of Sufism. I fully believe the notion that faith is arbitrary and unique to every person. Each person has their own discourse with Allah (swt), and their own perception of what it means to be a good person. Our journey towards God can begin in the most unlikely place, and no one is turned away from His path, regardless of culture, faith or creed.

One of the rules resonated with me particularly, it reads: How we see God is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves. If God brings to mind mostly fear and blame, it means there is much fear and blame welled inside us. If we see God as full of love and compassion, so are we.”

This rings so true, and highlights the concept again, that God is and has been within us all along, even closer than our Jugular vein…. (Quran 50:16)


Rating

A hearty 8/10

Reason being, despite the richness of Rumi’s journey with Shams, Ella’s story is left somewhat undeveloped. It was difficult to become completely invested in her plight as her character wasn’t that likable. Perhaps she is a metaphor of the Nafs within, the parts of ourselves that we would like to shut down.

Also, I think as a reader, it would have added immensely to the narrative, if we had heard first hand from Aziz. We only hear from him in the form of letters to Ella, and it would have been interesting to really cement the notion that Sufism is truly alive in the modern day.

Other than that, this novel leaves a lasting effect that will stay with you long after reading. I’m really inspired to research Rumi’s relationship with Shams of Tabriz, and the poetry dedicated to his beloved friend. If only we could all know such companionship…

If you loved A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini or enjoyed watching Turkish Netflix hit Ertugral…you will enjoy this book immensely!

Lockdown 3.0: How to Work from Home Like a Boss!

Working from home? How to maintain your level of productivity (and sanity) in Lockdown 3.0

For me, and many others across the country (and world!) working life was beginning to slightly resemble normality.  But with Lockdown 3.0 in full swing across the UK, that faint vision is beginning to fade away.

Just when you think you’ve adjusted, the rug gets pulled from under your feet, and it’s back to Zoom calls in your pyjamas!

Gone are the days of getting dressed up in a cute outfit, wearing a touch of makeup and feeling just put-together enough to tackle the working day.

Well, as someone who was just getting into a great morning routine (for the first time in my life!) I’m determined to maintain that level of productivity, efficiency and mindfulness.

And so, I’ve compiled a few key points to ensure that you and I can kill this ‘working from home’ thing like a BOSS!

If you want to know how to smash the 9 – 5 and thrive in your 5 – 9, then keep reading!

1. Create a wind-down routine for yourself before bed.

Anyone who has tried to rouse me from my slumber, knows that I am NOT a morning person. My sleep/night routine was honestly abysmal. I would literally crawl into bed at 2am after binging on Netflix and then stay awake until 4am because its hard to switch off your brain off!

But…not anymore! We’ve heard it a million times, but it is sooo true. The key to a successful morning, is the night before. Give yourself an hour before you get into bed, to truly wind your mind down. This is the key to a great sleep, and an even better morning.

Rather than binging on Netflix, read a book. Instead of scrolling through your socials, start journaling. Do something that doesn’t expose your eyes to that darn Blue light.

Try this, make your last hour before bed a Phone. Free. Zone!

2. Wake up early anyway!

Now that you’ve had a restful night’s sleep, you’re ready for the morning ahead. And here’s the interesting part, in his book ‘Think Like a Monk’, Jay Shetty touched on something that really resonated with me, and may strike you as well.

He says: “Waking up just in time, means you’re already late.”

 This struck me! How many of us, try to sneak in as much sleep as possible, throw on the dress you can think of, grab a breakfast to go and rush out the door. This was me!

After hearing that, I decided to start waking up an hour earlier than I needed to and the results were amazing.

Now that we’re working from home, and you don’t have to be out of the house by 8.30 am, I still think it’s important to implement the same rule.

Just try it! Wake up one hour earlier than necessary, and see how ready you are for the day ahead.   

3. Implement a morning mindful practice.

Now that we’re not making the morning commute, it’s surprising how much time we actually have to ourselves before beginning our working day. Why not try adding a morning meditative practice to your routine?

Usually, at this point, I would be running out of the house, toast in hand, only to realise that my car needs some serious defrosting. Sheer dejection! Well now, I have found a much better use for this time.

Before my busy work-mind takes over and before I’ve even read a single email, I’ve been taking a moment to add a bit of intention to my morning, and I highly recommend it. I can’t tell you how much this has changed my whole approach to the day ahead!

Meditation can be anything. For me, it begins with Fajr, the morning prayer, which is just the best way to start any day.

After making my morning prayers, I like to do something called mirror work…sounds cringey right? Well it totally is! …But it’s great for boosting self esteem and building confidence before tackling those ever-multiplying emails and requests.

Just try it, write some mantras or positive statements about yourself. Then, look into the mirror, right into your eyes, and say these kind words to yourself. I’ve been doing it and it’s really impactful.

You can also try following a guided morning meditation. This can be a great way for beginners (like myself) to add meditation to your everyday routine.

There are some really great guided meditations out there. At the moment, I’m listening to ‘Wake Up/ Wind Down’ by Niall Breslin on Spotify. His morning and nightly meditations will help you drift away to a breezy sleep and awaken for a productive morning.

‘Wake Up/ Wind Down’ by Niall Breslin

4. Get organised and get going!

I don’t know about you, but I feel like working from home takes twice the self-organisation and discipline needed in the office. Whilst working in the house, I seem to find a million things that need doing. And if I don’t look, they’re sure to find me!

 It’s just way too easy to be distracted…right?

Well this time around, for Lockdown 3.0, I was prepared! Thanks to my dad, I’ve started using a programme called Notion.

Notion is an all-in-one workspace where you can write, plan, collaborate and get organized. You can take notes, add tasks, manage projects and so much more. It allows you to create your own layouts and organise your work load in the most productive way possible.

If you’re like me and you’re partial to a subcategory or two, then you’ll love it! This is how I use it to organise my Work, Blog and Reading List.

For more info, check out this informative and explanatory video.

5. Find the RIGHT working rhythm for yourself.

WFH couldn’t be more different to working in the office, so it makes sense that our practices shouldn’t be the same in both places either.

 I’ve found that I have a completely different working rhythm at home, and it kinda works for me. I’m just as productive, if not more, because I fit things around my own daily routine and mood.

It’s ok to step away from your laptop if you have to. Employers don’t expect you to be glued to your screens for 7 hours straight, while your kids run rampant in the next room. Life gets in the way, and that’s ok!

Take 5,15 or 30 minutes away from your screen to gather yourself again.

I like to do some basic yoga stretches after meetings, all those bouncing ideas can way heavy on the spine, so it’s nice to shake them off!

Finding a pattern that works for ME has taken a few weeks to figure out. I now have a schedule that helps me to feel balanced; emotionally and physically throughout the day.

If you need a little help figuring this out, try using my Working from Home checklist and see how it goes. This will give you a few tips on how to prioritise your mental, physical and emotional health whilst working at maximum productivity.

Remember, yes…we may have a lot of work to do, but you are only human! It’s okay to take a break, go for a walk during the day and tune in to your needs and emotions.

It’s important to take it one day at a time and be as adaptable as you can to your own changing needs and those of your team members.

6. Make time for your side hustle

Working right now is great! More than ever, it is important to express appreciation and gratitude for your job! In times of uncertainty and financial instability, valuing the incredible privilege of having a job is essential.

However, our 9-5 roles just don’t fulfil every aspect of our ambition.

For me, I knew I needed a fun and creative outlet for my skills and passions. (Hence the birth of this blog!)

But, it can be quite tedious, working from home all day, and then coming back to the very same set up, to pick up where you left off with your passion project.

This is a reminder that your side hustle, after your 9-5 is where the true joy lies!

It may not be lucrative right now, but the feeling of progress and building something is going to propel you forward in every aspect of your life. Don’t let that slip away!

To make sure I’m still on track with my main job and my side hustle, I have set clear boundaries for myself. Define the time you want to finish your work and when you want to pick up on your extra-curricular.

Freshen up, take a shower or indulge in a little Netflix binge…but come back to your project and give yourself an hour or two a day to really get your creative juices flowing!

I hope these little tips help you with your WFH journey!

Dear Future Me

Why I write a letter to myself on New Year’s Day, and why you should try it.

The Magic of NYE

New Year’s Eve has always been a strangely sentimental and significant time for me.

So many of my best childhood memories have taken place in front of a tiny square television, counting down from 10, awaiting the explosion of thunderous fireworks and party poppers.

Some of my most ardent memories have transpired as the clock struck 12, knowing that the following year will be unlike anything I have ever experienced.

I guess that’s why this time of year makes me feel extremely contemplative and I can’t help but think about the version of myself that I will be shedding for the year ahead.

New Year’s Lockdown

This New Year’s Eve will be so different I know. We won’t have our usual family gathering, our hilarious laughs over delicious food and decadent desserts, or the collective prayer that we make following the countdown.

Despite this, there are small traditions I have built for myself, which mean a whole lot more this year.

A Letter to Myself

For the last 5 years, on New Year’s Day, I have written myself a letter. This letter is written to the Zaima (If God wills) that will be reading it the following year.

These letters act as tiny pins in time. A time capsule, containing everything that was me at that point in my life.

It’s oddly cathartic to write the YOU of the future a letter. Knowing that the version of YOU that will be reading it, will have changed and grown so much through choice or necessity.

Related: How to start Gratitude Journaling and adding more appreciation to your life.

Why do I do it?

I honestly love writing these letters, as you can be as raw and honest as you like.

I love to go over the wonders of the past year, and really bask in that feeling of progress and reflection, to send me into the new year with good vibes and a gracious heart.

 It’s a rare chance to reflect honestly on the passage of time and on my own personal growth over that formative period in my life.

I really recommend this activity. Until you try, you don’t know how much you get out of it!

On the 1st of January the following year, I’m eager to open up the envelope and see what advice the Zaima from the past had for me today.

Above all, I’m always so awash with gratitude that Allah has allowed me to be here to open this letter and still be in good health and fortune the following year, Alhumdulilah.


“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


My letter from the start of 2020

Why you should try it

There are so many benefits to this exercise, here are a few of the main ones for me:

1. Cultivate more gratitude in your life

Expressing gratitude regularly, is a game changer.

You can do it verbally, keep a journal or use an exercise like this to write down all the things you appreciate in your life right now.

Fill your letter with positive affirmations and appreciation. You never know, the person on the other side may need to hear it.

I’ll open this on Jan 1st 2022 Insha’Allah

2) Script your future

Where will you be in five years? Who do you want to become?

Scripting is a very powerful technique, whereby you write about your ideal life as if its already true.

Have you ever written about your dream job role, or your perfect life partner? Do you wonder what it would feel like to have these things in your life?

Well…with scripting, you can feel those exact feels! And I’ll tell you…it’s exhilarating!

The amazing thing is, your body and mind can’t tell that it’s make belief (for now!) …so, you experience the emotion and positivity physiologically, as if it’s already true.

You can use this exercise to help you identify your goals even outline how you’re going to achieve them. Make sure to write about the feeling you feel, this is what brings your scripting to life!

Imagine the future you, sitting exactly where you want to be, reading this letter…amazing!

3) A nostalgic look-back at this moment in time

Writing a letter to yourself can be a great reflective practice to do, if you are on the cusp of a huge life changing moment.

If you’re about to take the plunge and get married, or go on a monumental trip, this can be an epic activity to capture your thoughts and anticipation ahead of the event. Like a snapshot of your thoughts and feelings at a specific point in time.

Can you imagine how nostalgic it would be to look back and see what you were thinking at this pivotal moment in your life? So cool!

Want to give it a try?

Here are some writing prompts to get you started:

  • What are you most grateful for in your life right now? – Do you have enough gratitude in your life? Use this exercise to express your appreciation.
  • What advice would you give to yourself? – Write in third person and give yourself the advice you would want to give someone else.
  • What does your ideal life look like? – Outline the goals you have for different aspects of your life. For example: Love, Fitness and Professional.
  • What are you most afraid of? – Use this letter to comb through your anxieties and fears and come to a point of acceptance.
  • Do you have any major regrets? – What have you done in your life that you want to do differently? Script it out, It may even help you to forgive yourself.
  • What are you passionate about? – Do you have any hobbies or interests that you want to develop? Plan out your future with this passion.
  •  Have you read an inspiring book this year? Talk about how it affected you.

Go on, give it a try!

Creating a Vision Board for 2021

My second year creating a vision board, and why It works.

If you read my previous post, you know I’ve been through a little transition in my mental space. I have made a commitment to feeling good about myself and my current trajectory, and it’s been an interesting journey so far.

At the end of last year, I was utterly compelled to create an inspiring, empowering and impassioning tool that would help me look forward into my future with excitement. That’s how I came across the idea of creating a Vision Board.

I’m a very visual learner, so this visionary aid was exactly what I was looking for to cement the mental progress that I was making.

And, as an avid craft enthusiast, I’m always down for a little cutting and sticking!


“What I believe is what I will receive”


WHAT IS A VISION BOARD?

Well, A vision board is a tool used to help clarify, concentrate and maintain your focus on what you would like to achieve or see within your future.

 You can use any means to display images that represent whatever you want to be, do or have in your life.

For me, it is a visual reminder of what I wish to achieve within the upcoming year, and more importantly, a look into why my goals matter to me.


WHY DO IT?

For me, creating my VB and seeing it every day has been so powerful! It’s crazy how those images are ingrained in my mind.

Often, we set New Year’s resolutions and commit to them for like a month…if that.

However, if you see your goals in image form, as soon as you wake up in the morning, and as the last thing you see at night, you have no choice but to hold yourself accountable to this vision.

My VB from last year looks very different to my board from this year, but it reflects my heart and mind. Before I was picking myself up, now I’m ready to thrive and I can see that from my own choice of images and wording.

Digital Vision Board Process

POWERFUL MANIFESTATION TOOL

A vision Board can be a huge contributing factor to manifesting your goals.

Adding this step to your manifesting practice will allow you to solidify your goals and to create a linear vision in your mind.

Clarity is key for envisioning, and a VB will give you that mental clarity needed to pursue your dreams.

SCRIPTING

Along with my VB, I have a scripting journal. This is a really powerful way to bring your VB goals to life.

 I write about my goals as if they’ve already occurred, and how I feel at that moment. It is honestly such a powerful and profound exercise, to live and feel that moment before it has happened.

 I’ve scripted walking into my dream home, receiving my ideal job and even meeting Mr Right!

It is such a buzz to write about and envision positive goals and to see myself in that situation.


Previous Vision Board 2020

4 REASONS WHY VISION BOARDS WORK

  1. Forced to get clear on what you want

This process forces you to actually write down what you wish to attain, then search for matching images and cut and arrange them in a way that is pleasing for you to see.

The entire process is designed to ingrain these images in the mind and allow you to tap into the positive feelings associated with progress and potential.

Looking at these images summons the exact feelings, and that in turn will bring the desired outcome to you!

2. Deciding the End Goal

Of course, Allah is the best of planners, but we are told to put the work in as well. We all make plans for the day, or even the week. But how many of us have our long-term big goals planned out? Well, Vision Boarding allows you to map the end goal.

 Once the end goal is decided, you just have to fill in the blanks with the daily, weekly or monthly actions that will lead you to your desired destination. With the right actions and sincere dua, it can surely become a reality!


“What you Focus on Grows”


3. A Burst of Inspiration

You may be making all the right moves in all the right places in accordance to your goals, but there comes a time when our energy wanes and we feel demotivated.

Well, I’ve found that my vision board was a huuuuuuge source of inspiration for me when I was feeling that all to family lull in my efforts.

Because, along with the VB, comes the memory of how inspired you were when creating it. Simply take in these feelings and use them to inspire yourself all over again!

4. Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Ever heard the saying, Out of sight out of mind. Well imagine the total opposite!

The powerful tool we call our minds, reacts so strongly to visual resources. Imagine seeing your goals and ideal scenarios every single day.

If these are the images your mind is absorbing, then the goal seems so much more manageable.

And it’s not just about seeing it every day. If chosen with purpose, these powerful images will summon the exact feeling you will have when you hit that milestone or finally get to that dream destination.

And that’s the important part – the feeling! That’s what will gravitate your desired outcome to you.

Look at it often and envision how it would really feel to achieve everything on your board and infuse it with good vibes!

This is the key to really getting the most out of your VB.  


MY VISION BOARD FOR 2021

Drawing close to the end of this year, I was again inspired to create a new Vision Board to represent my updated goals and my changing perspective.

My VB process is quite simple, I let the images come to me! I begin by jotting down a quick plan of what I want to see in the coming year, and what I want to focus on.

Brainstorming my Vision Board

This year, I decided to try something different. I created a digital vision board by selecting images online and arranging them in an appealing way, using Microsoft Publisher.

It’s quite different to physically cutting and sticking the images. However, I’ve really enjoyed the process of layering each image and checking in with myself to make sure it’s still on point and purpose.

Overall, I’m really pleased with the way it came out! It’s crammed with inspiration and the beautiful vibrant colours catch my eye when I ever I look at it.

I’ve got one thing left to do, and that’s print it out and stick it somewhere that I’ll be sure to look at it every day!

My new Vision Board for 2021

MANIFESTING IS THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF THE VISION BOARD.

 The measurement of success for your VB is whether the things you want to achieve have become a reality for you.

And don’t worry, sometime goals are long term and will take longer than a year to come into fruition. The key is to keep envisioning and to pursuing the steps to make it a reality.

A lot of my goals from the previous year have continued into this year (err ….hello Mr Right?) but my focus has changed and so I want my new VB to reflect this.

Get stuck in and enjoy creating your own Vision Board 😊

365 Days of Gratitude

1 Year of Gratitude Journaling and how it’s changed my perspective on everything!

This November, marked one whole year of Gratitude journaling. During this time, I have seen so many mental, spiritual and even physical changes in myself, and I believe they’re down to this simple activity.

It all began with a meltdown in my car, and a very impromptu intervention. My incredible auntie and my amazing support network dropped a bomb on me that I didn’t quite know how to absorb.


“A privileged life had ill equipped me for seeing the beauty in the every day.”


I was told that I needed more gratitude in my life, and the ability to look forward and be content with what ever was planned for me. This struck me, because gratitude is so finely woven into my faith that I couldn’t understand how I had missed such a critical element.

Don’t get me wrong, I was grateful for my family, the roof over my head, running water at arms reach and all the other cliché things we are told to appreciate but never really understand the gravity of. A privileged life had ill equipped me for seeing the beauty in every day and cherishing it whole-heartedly.

HOW IT BEGAN

That night, I picked one of my empty journals from my shelf and began writing a simple gratitude journal. Everyday at the end of the night, I would sit down and rack my brain for 3 things that had been good about my day.

To say it was difficult, would be a huuuge understatement. I struggled, so much. That first week, it took me half an hour to see something good in my day. I was looking for 3 small points and I kept coming up blank. This is when I realised…they were right. The filter in which I saw my days and subsequently my entire life was one of complete ingratitude.

Every day was difficult in my opinion and everyday day had something to be miserable about. Often one of my 3 points would read ‘Tea’ because honestly that was the highlight of my day. ☹

WHAT CHANGED

Seeing and understanding the error of my way, I persevered. I spent as long I needed to sift my brain and come up with those 3 points.

In December, I noticed something really strange. The process of racking my brain for positive points in my day, was a lot quicker and way less painful than before. Things would just kind of come to me without me having to search. It seemed to me, that the filter in which I saw things was shifting slightly, and I was less in tune with the negative and more preceptive of the positive. It was a welcome change!

People around me began to see a difference in me, my conversation was tinged with a slight hue of possibility and my body language was a little bit braver.


“For the first time in my life, I could honestly say I was slightly excited about the future. How could this all be from a small activity at the end of my day?”


For the first time in my life, I could honestly say I was slightly exited about the future. How could this all be from a small activity at the end of my day?

In December 2019, I had seen such a shift in my mind that I was so inspired to create something to show my excitement for the year ahead and all the things I wanted to achieve. (Little did we know that God had other plans!) 

So, I created a vision board for the year 2020, with all the exciting things I wanted to do, and even that feeling of being excited, excited me because it was sooooo new! Clearing up my mental space lead me to want to clean my physical space, so I made plans to decorate my bedroom.

It was achievable and it was going to make my lifestyle more organised and less chaotic. But the biggest factor was that I motivated to do it.

 I kid you not, I went from black carpet and dark walls, to bright and vibrant white walls and shiny laminate flooring. For the first time in years, I opened the blinds for my room and let the light in. it was just so symbolic, I could believe it. It truly felt like my life had become illuminated.

Just as I’d promised myself, I organised and cultivated each space in my room to cater for my lifestyle, and اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ‎. Alhumdulilah Praise be to god…It feels amazing.

HOW ITS GOING

I may sound like a broken record, but I can’t recommend this process enough. When I come across someone who emanates that negative and self-limiting filter that I had (and sometimes still have, time of the month much!) I want to hug them and tell them that its not the end, its so easy to change and you are capable of anything you can envision, just as my Oprah-like aunty did for me exactly 1 year ago.

Now, this small routine at the end of my day has become a staple for me, and it’s something I do instinctually as opposed to forcefully, because I know how much better my day-to-day life is with this routine in place.


“Not every day is good, but there is good in everyday”


The biggest shift that I have found is that, I don’t wait until the end of the day to consider all the good that happened. Now, because I’ve spent so long trying to re-programme my brain to see the positive, I see it as it happens in live motion!

Someone may say something kind, or do something delightful or just give some great advice and instantly I think, ‘That is so amazing! – I’ll totaly write about that later’. So, I’m seeing everyone around me through that lens, and it truly is so wonderful. I don’t struggle to write 3 points any more, in fact, I struggle to fit all my points on the page and cram them on where ever I can!

This is the nature of abundant thinking. The more you endeavour to see the good, the more it will present itself. Likewise with negative thinking, the more crap you look for, the more you’ll see. This is a lesson I had to learn the hard way.

Now I can honestly say I live by the saying ‘Not every day is good, but there is good in everyday’.

Oh Charlotte Darling!

I’ve just bought myself the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream…and I’m not going lie…I’m kind of excited!

Anybody who knows me, knows that I am going through a rather public and rather expensive Charlotte Tilbury phase!

During these tumultuous and unpredictable times, where clothes shops are closed and restaurant are rendered empty, makeup seems to have become the balm that soothes the soul, and I have found my solace in the glistening rose-gold exterior of Charlotte Tilbury’s products.

Up until a few weeks ago, I was a Tilbury novice. That was until a quick online sale purchase and an email reading…”Zaima, Darling” triggered this makeup obsession! Now, 3 months down the line, and what seems like £4000 later, I’m more captivated than ever. I mean, there should be some sort of helpline for this!

A few days ago, I made my most recent purchase. I finally plucked up the courage to purchase the renowned and highly recommended Magic Cream, as well as the sought-after Magic Eye Rescue. EEEK!

These products have been in my virtual dream basket for over 2 months and I finally decided it was time. The FREE Luxury eye shadow quad that accompanied my order was the deciding factor. Beautiful glistening colours, so complementary of any South Asian warm skin tone.

Unbox with me!

THOUGHTS?

Charlottes Magic Cream

Charlotte’s Magic Cream

I have extremely dry eczema prone skin, so you can imagine that I’m super dubious before I try anything new on my face. Thankfully, my skin is at a stage of recovery, where I have a little bit of scope to experiment without it flaring up too much اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ‎. So I was eager to give this luxurious cream a try!

I’ve used the Infamous Magic Cream about 3 times now, and I must say…. I’m a little disappointed. I feel like the cream itself is so highly scented which is a nightmare for anyone with sensitive skin, also I can’t say that I find it extremely hydrating. My skin felt dry and slightly tight under my makeup and not soft as it usually feels.

My go to moisturiser/ primer has been the Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base. I can really feel the moisture rich sensation on my face hours after it has been applied. A must buy for anyone with thirsty skin!

I don’t seem to be getting the same level of moisture with the Magic Cream, but I will try applying a little more than I am to see if that makes all the difference.

Magic Eye Cream

Magic Eye Rescue

This cream glides on like a dream! Only a tiny amount is needed to cover the entire eye area and its just as silky smooth as it looks. This cream makes a great base for any creamy concealer and leaves a radiant pearl-like sheen on the skin.

Although…I have used this cream about 4 times and have notices some slight redness under my eyes. That maybe due to the colder weather and the awful effects of Central Heating on my skin. But its something I’ll be keeping an eye on for sure. Despite this, The Magic Eye Rescue leaves a wonderful cooling sensation under the eyes.

Luxury Pallet: The Bella Sophia

Luxury Pallet: The Bella Sophia

This is one of the most exquisite quads I’ve laid my eyes on. The four colours complement one another beautifully, and I feel like the bronze and copper tones just come to life on Asian skin.

The dusky Smokey shades can easily transform a Day Look to a glamorous sultry Night Look with the swish of a brush. I can’t wait to use this winter for a perfect evening glam look…. and then go absolutely nowhere because #Lockdown.

So far, every Charlotte Tilbury product I own has stolen my heart. There really is just something luxurious about the shimmery glimmer of the finish of all her products. Wonderfully radiant for dryer skin, with a perfect old Hollywood glam finish!

Someone confiscate my debit card because this is not going to end well!!

Eeeeeek!