London food guide - The Indian Edit feat. Roti Chai

As many of you may know, I am Indian by origin. What few of you might know, is that I have a Masterchef-finalist-wannabe of a mother who excels at everything from Chaats (aka Indian street food) to Biryanis at home, and they are absolutely delicious! On tasting my mum's home cooked delicacies my friends often remark how I can like Indian restaurants in Britain?!  My simple explanation is the human need for variety. Plus I have a super foodie of a little sister who lives, breathes and Instagram’s food with passion. So after years of trying various Indian restaurants, here I am putting down some honest thoughts for those constant 'best Indian restaurants in London' googler's, straight from a native Indian foodie.


Post-Threading Breakout – SOS Recovery

Have you ever got your forehead threaded only to find out it caused you a bad reaction? Skin can easily get aggravated with threading as techniques differ across salons and the harsh motion can lead to skin that looks like it’s flared up with an allergy. This recently happened to me and it resulted in tiny acne like formation that looked not so glamorous. It was one of those skin problems that looked like it was going to take forever to disappear. Hence came out some salicylic acid warriors. Now because salicylic acid is known to cleanse pores inside out, I would suggest resorting to it instantly in such scenarios. Aloe vera on it’s own is not going to do you any good. I used Proactiv’s* Skin Smoothing Exfoliator to start with, followed by La Roche Posay Serozinc spray, Proactive’s Pore Targeting Treatment and finally a Teoxane Perfect Skin Refiner consisting of glycolic acid. Put this on repeat at least thrice a day, cobbled together with frequent skin cleanses with hot cloths and voila – the dreaded post-threading disaster should calm down in under a day. If you’ve never had the need to thread your forehead/brows, I envy you quite avidly right now #LittleMissPerfect.

*Proactive kits are sold on their official website usually with monthly direct debit agreements (as they suggest it’s a treatment plan and one kit won’t be sufficient) I went through a panic fit and a series of phone calls to get the Direct Debit cancelled. Make sure what you are doing is a one off purchase or alternatively buy from boots to be safe!


Luxe Rose Cosmetics – Andes Roses

Rose fanatics behold yourself, for I have just discovered a company that specialises in all sorts of cosmetics, skincare and haircare made from original Bulgarian Rose. The company Andes Roses was founded by a lovely couple, Anelia (An) and Desislav (Des) who after several years of trading in the skincare and cosmetics industry noticed the lack of genuine high quality rose products, which were all being sold at atrocious prices. The result was a ‘made in Bulgaria’ cosmetic range with only the best home grown Bulgarian roses.

Bulgarian rose is one of the most sought after ingredients in the perfume industry. It has the softest, gentlest Rose scent which lingers on the body like musk but is not overpowering. It is almost like a virginal rose scent, subtle and simply romantic. In a nutshell, Bulgaria is known for its roses like Amsterdam is known for its tulips. Bulgarian rose valleys have been famous for growing roses since centuries and apparently produce a staggering 85% of the world’s rose oil!

Taking advantage of their Bulgarian heritage, Anelia and Desislav founded Andes Roses – premium quality rose products. Andes Roses has developed an extensive line of affordable products starting from as little as £6 for essential oils. The range includes everything from rose and yogurt soaps, a variety of toners and floral waters, face masks, shampoos, creams, perfumes and even massage oils. What I really like about this range is how the Andes couple has developed household beauty favourites into read-to-buy products. For instance, the floral waters come in not only rose, but also in chamomile, basil, peppermint and lemon balm. Some other unusual products I cannot wait to try are the Bulgarian Rose Hair Serum and revitalizing shampoo with rose oil and caviar complex (Imagine how gorgeous the hair would smell…nom nom). The rose peeling soap-sponge also looks scrumptious! It’s made from rose peelings and infused with rose oil to gently exfoliate your skin without the harsh effects of synthetic bath sponges.

The star of Andes Roses range is of course the 100% real Bulgarian rose oil, also known as Liquid Gold. Rose oil with its proven healing properties has been used from generations in Ayurveda, Aromatherapy as well as to treat sinus, headaches, depression and anxiety.  Did you know that one gram of Bulgarian rose oil is created using more than 1,300 rose blossoms! So you can just imagine the intensity and depth of the fragrance from this little gem. But obvious this comes at a steep price, starting from 1ml for £18 in a wooden vile and 10ml for £145 in a beautiful wooden case and a certificate of authenticity. It looks like a collector’s item for those with a liking for the finer things in life.

Andes Roses ships free worldwide for orders over £25 ($35) so should be economical if you stock up winter essentials in one go! Or if you are feeling generous you can always buy the Rose gift sets for your near and dear ones this Christmas. To end on a sweet note – Remember, A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses!


What can I do after GCSE's - Media Hair & Makeup Course

I don't know about you but personally I've always known that I wanted to be a Make-up Artist.

It was one of those things that you brush off as working in the lucrative hair & beauty industry is something most girls dream of. Also, being highly academic from childhood and growing up in a South Asian family, it was grades that were the topic of most dinner discussions. Hence I went on and took the traditional route of choosing A level subjects that I barely knew about and a University degree that was extremely challenging. 

Thankfully I found a career in Marketing that I now enjoy but if I could go back in time, I would surely tell my 16 year old self to directly go to college after GCSE's, take on a more practical route to education, embark onto apprenticeships, get real-life work experience and be exposed to better opportunities. 

Now that GCSE results are just around the corner, I thought it was the perfect time for me to bring up this topic in case your siblings, daughter or friend is looking for varied options post-GSCE's. 

If globally recognised Make-up Artists such as Mary Greenwell, Lisa Eldridge and Charlotte Tilbury continue to be your career inspiration, a course in Media Hair & Makeup can be the stepping stone to your journey. Creative hair and makeup for fashion shoots, theatre and television alongside a basic understanding of photography is what you can expect to learn. Alongside that, skin camouflaging techniques, bridal hair & makeup as well other basics will be incorporated into your course. 

You will be getting on with your basic Maths and English whilst doing the Media Hair & Makeup Course but what's important is that you will study something that will define a precise career path for you. Working with models and clients, building your own portfolio, displaying your skills at college events as well getting to work with the college's employer links will boost your confidence and build your CV at the same time. 

Till the time you are 18, not only will you be in a position to get an Internship in the beauty industry but you will be fully equipped to work as a Hairdresser or Makeup Artist, freelance in the profession or consider any further qualifications to develop your skills. 

Don't just dream of having a day job in beauty like modern day YouTube pioneers like Zoella and Tanya Burr but strive to make it come true. Unleash your potential and opt for a technical and professional course that trains you for work. 


MAC Studio Fix Fluid vs MAC Face and Body Foundation

MAC Studio Fix Fluid in NC25 & MAC Face & Body in C3

Okay, so I understand there is absolutely no similarity between these two MAC Foundations. But due to the fact that they are both equally popular in their own ways and a cult-favourite amongst many, I thought I would do a little comparison ramble in case someone out there was confused and waiting for me to solve this dilemma for them. You're welcome.

Lets start with MAC Studio Fix Fluid. It's a full coverage foundation that provides instant coverage. It's heavy duty and industrial when it comes to your bases and is the perfect one to fall back on in an emergency case of blemishes and breakouts. It's long lasting and although it's known to feel extremely heavy on the skin, I feel it's just slightly heavy and nothing compared to actually heavy feeling foundations that I've tried in the past. As for it's infamous paint like smell that you'll read in reviews about, it's pretty non-offencive to me. The only negative point of this in my opinion is that it can start to disappear or fade from certain areas of the face after 6 hours or so of application. Especially if you indulge in some physical activity or indulge in eating/drinking. What I'm trying to say is that it doesn't wear off quite well, can oxidise ever so slightly and would need a touch up after a few hours. 

I've written about MAC Face & Body several times on the blog before so I shouldn't dwell on the details of it so much here but just as a disclaimer, I am partial towards it as I'm on my fifth bottle now and I love it to death, hah! So this is the complete opposite to it's counterpart above. It's runny, extremely thin and has a very high water content. It banks on light to medium, sheer skin like coverage and has a dewy finish compared to the matte formula above. I feel it lasts longer, wears off beautifully, never looks cakey and you can up it's coverage with strategic concealing. It's only flaw is it's tacky, sticky texture which can pick up every hair, fluff, moth and gum wrapper that comes in it's way. 

Both of them are brilliant to have in your collection for different purposes, moods and skin days but if I had to announce one as the winner, it would clearly be MAC Face & Body for it's versatility and sheer brilliance. 

On the other hand, try out MAC Studio Fix Fluid for yourself and don't believe so much in all the negative things written about it. It's no where near as skin clogging, breakout prone or funky smelling as described by cynical reviewers online.