Insta shopping : 6 desi brands redefining Indian fashion

Indian textiles is rich in beautiful printing and weaving techniques like block/screen prints, ajrakh, kalamkari, tie and die, ikkat and many more. Many of these has influence from other cultures and geographies. But mostly when we think about these, we tend to lean towards ethnic wear like salwars and saris. But here is a list of popular Insta desi brands, that has redefined Indian fashion while staying strong to the roots.

Some tips to keep in mind before you ‘insta shop’:

  1. Make sure the brand is authentic : Check out the reviews in google or see if they have a website. Look out for customer ratings or comments under the product. Many instagram sellers just posts the pics from other sellers and sells bad quality products. So be careful.
  2. Chat with the brand people : All these brands are run by women entepreneurs themselves and they are always happy to reply to your doubts and needs. So if you want customizations done or if you are not sure of what to get, or need to know about the return policy, you can always reach out to them.
  3. Look out for a sale : Especially for clothing and jewelry, I eye my favorites and wait till a sale comes around the corner, to purchase them. You save a lot (really alot) and wouldn’t even have to pay the shipping charge most of the time.
  4. Buy from ethical brands: I am always looking out for brands that not only claims to be ethical in production but that sources their raw materials ethically as well. Many brands works in empowering women in rural areas. And it feels good to know that when you buy from them, you are also encouraging their efforts.
  5. Be respectful: Many of these brands are owned woman entepreneurs, passionate about their art and work. These clothes are not like the mass produced ones you buy from big brands, but are lovingly handcrafted. Many of them even made from natural fibres and dyes, handprinted painstakingly to achieve the precision.
  6. Payment: Almost all the brands I have bought from accepts only bank transfer, with a few exceptions who accepts paytm as well. So netbanking is the best mode of payment and make sure you correctly add the bank details of the seller, to avoid any issues with payment.

Iam not a fashion blogger, and these are mostly mobile clicks from my travel. Some of you might be familiar with these pics, as I have posted all these pics in my Insta handle.

What makes these labels special is that, these are all founded by strong passionate women, who thinks out of the box and paves their own path.

The Khadi cult

Oh this is my favourite of the lot.  This label is owned by Priyanshi Jariwala, aka theroundwoman, who is super cute and friendly.

 The Khadi Cult endorses the idea of being a ” KHADI- VADI” but in a voguish way.

You can also purchase from their website. I love the latest prints in their summer collection. Incase you like a print, you can get it customized in any design you want as well.

Udaipur shopping : In the wonderland of wooden curios

Who knew that prints in Khadi could be so cool and quirky.

Vipoojitha

Do you spot the mini white elephants?

This is a home based clothing brand by, Pooja based in Kerala. The clothes are simple, beautiful and very comfortable. Also super affordable. I usually ask her for fabrics in stock and get them customized.

Matching matching

Rivaaj Clothing

A Jaipur based brand that sells beautiful block printed dresses.

They are rightly priced, compared to many of the mediocre but highly expensive brands out there in the market today, especially for handblock prints. But customizations are not available.

 

 Okhai.org

Okhai is an initiative by Tata Chemicals Society for Rural Development (TCSRD) for empoweing rural and semi-urban women and rural artisans across India.

Mix and match

 Okhai’s mission is to encourage women from less privileged backgrounds to acquire new skills; to give them the self-confidence and self-esteem required to earn by their own industry and initiative; and to enable them to carry this newly discovered skill and confidence into the wider world.

Their website has a huge collection of apparels for men, women and also homedecor items and accesories. All their attires are made for the modern women, with strong roots in tradition. Their kurtas are smart, flared, elegant and perfect with pockets.

Mogra Designs

I never thought I could afford one of their pieces but then again, they had a huge sale before they took a break last year.

The fabric is soft and the dress is very light, flared and comfortable. The the best things is it has pockets.

Margazhi Designs

I am not a sari lover and I don’t think I will ever get the draping right, but I couldn’t resist buying this piece from Margazhi designs.

The beautiful owner Madhulika, wears them with such elegance and poise. It’s a madurai cotton sari and Iam planning to turn it into a dress later.

If you love saris, especially traditional woven ones, this is the handle to follow.

© Copyright 2018 flavoursofbeauty.com. All rights reserved.

This has been the most requested post and many of you has been asking about my attires posted in Insta. Do subscribe and comment below and let me know if this post was interesting. Depending on that I will make a post on more brands.

Cool tips for the summer

Summer is my favourite season. Nature is bright and colorful and it brings delicious seasonal fruits like mangoes, jackfruit and the clothes come out crisp and warm after drying. On the downside, it is extremely humid and our skin is prone to damage easily during summers.

You know the usual drill of keeping hydrated and applying sunscreen. So here are some other tips to come out of this summer all refreshed :

1. Make the regular water interesting

Noone has to force us to keep hydrated in summer because we feel thirsty all the time. But you can make it much tastier and refreshing by adding a spring of mint, basil seeds or a dash of lime to a bottle of water. This will make it interesting for kids as well.

Refreshing hydration

Easy Fruit Punch:

Cut some seasonal fruits like watermelon and pineapple into thin tiny pieces. Soak some poppy/basil seeds in water and let it puff up. You can add this to your regular lime juice or to a mix of lime and pineapple juice and it will taste sooo good.

A great welcome drink for guests

2. Face mist to hydrate and protect your skin

A spritz of cool face mist helps in calming irritated and sensitive skin and protects it from sun damage.

Steam distilled rose, lavender, aloe, vetiver, orange blossom waters can be refrigerated and sprayed on skin frequently throughout the day to wake up and cool tired/hot skin.

3. Use natural deodorant instead of anti perspirants

We tend to sweat a lot during summers and everyone usually opts for anti perspirants. The ingredients in it like aluminium compounds, clogs the pores of sweat glands and prevents sweating. This is quite harmful, as sweating is a natural cooling mechanism and it is a way of eliminating toxins from the body.

A little goes a long way

4. Multi purpose natural skincare

It is better to keep skincare simple and basic on summers. Aloevera gel is a versatile skincare product that can be used as a moisturizer, face mask, hair conditioner and after sun gel to prevent sunburn.

Click on image for the post

Avoid claybased masks that dehydrate and heat up the skin.

5. Eat your water and drink your food

Include more seasonal fruits in your diet, especially the ones with high water content. Also have light and easy to digest home made smoothies, salads and soups including more vegetables in the diet.

Eat the greens

6. Wear clothes made of natural fibres

Clothes made of cotton, linen, jute etc are apt for summer and will let your skin breathe underneath.

Hope you liked the post. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more lifestyle feeds.

A complete guide to India’s truly natural skincare brands – 1

Many of you must be interested in switching to natural/organic skincare and beauty products, but could be hesitant. One reason is that, the popular ones we all know of are mostly luxury brands (like Forest Essentials & Kama Ayurveda), which are obviously very expensive. Also sometimes people blindly buys products from brands claiming to be natural/organic, when in reality they might just have a very small percentage of natural ingredients and thereby end up having a bad experience. Sometimes even the most popular brands we know hides majority of their ingredients under the name ‘base’, eg: Biotique.

Handmade natural skincare products are safe and are multitasking ones. For eg: a handmade soap made with natural ingredients can be used as a hair, body and face cleanser.  Would you dare to use your shampoo as a face cleanser otherwise?

There are many Indian natural skincare brands that sells quality products at affordable prices. These brands are transparent about the ingredients used and gives all the ingredient info in the label. Here is the list of few such natural Indian skincare brands, that I have already introduced you through the different posts.

1. Juicy Chemistry

The first time I tried JC products was three years back when they had just the fb handle and some amazing products. Now they have grown to be a very popular organic certified brand with a store in Coimbatore and products extensively available through online sites.

The brand is started by a husband wife duo, Pritesh and Megha Asher. The products are pure and made of high quality ingredients and has 0% chemicals/preservatives. All their products smell amazing because of the exquisite combination of essential oils. So eventhough you might feel this is not very pocket friendly, let me tell you, it is worth the price.

Products I recommend:  Body scrubs, body butters, soaps, face mists.

Read my reviews :

Juicy Chemistry citrus and sage foot scrub

Decadent body scrubs for all skin types

Juicy Chemistry Rose Sandalwood Mask

Juicy Chemistry Hazelnut & Vanilla Latte Soap

My favorites and not so favorites from Juicy Chemistry

Spicy Apple Pie anyone???

Juicy Chemistry : Choco-Vanila Body Butter – Now discontinued

2. Gia bath and body works

This is the first natural skincare brand I tried. I wouldn’t call all products completely natural as some of them contains fragrances and safe food colors. The brand is run by Gayatri based on Mumbai. She takes into account customer suggestions and even customizes perfumes. Her soaps are a work of art and looks edible. The fragrances are so good that your bathroom will smell amazing.

Products I recommend: Chocolate creme silk soap, cup cake soaps, oats based face cleansers in various flavours.

Read my reviews :

Pomegranate facial cleanser from Gia 

Daily cleansing method for soft and glowing skin

A divine chocolate soap you will fall in love with

Butter Cream Whipped Soaps

My favorite hair cleanser from Gia

Mintensity Foot soak
3. Zofla

This is one of my recent finds. I have used just one product from this brand, which is the rose water face mist. Unlike many commonly available brands like Dabur that sells chemical solution in the name of rose water (check out the ingredient list next time you feel like buying this : Aqua, Fragrance, Rose Oil, Propylene Glycol, Propyl Paraben, Methyl Paraben, Bronopol.), this rose water is made by steam distillation of organic Kannauj rose petals.

The product comes in a plastic spray bottle and can be just sprayed on to your skin for a boost of hydration, freshness and can be also used to mix your face packs or to calm skin inflammations. I bought this from amazon and it costs only 160Rs for 100ml.
4. Greenberry Organics

Started by a Mom-son duo, this brand is the first ECOCERT certified brand in India. I have used their most popular product, MUDASH 3 In 1 Face Mask, Scrub and Cleanser. The particles are a bit too gritty and hence suitable best as a body scrub. The brand also offers many more skin, body and hair care products.

Read myreview : Best Skincare Finds : Multitasking products for all skin types

5. Blend It Raw Apothecary

Incase you wish to whip up your own skincare recipes or if you are an essential oil junkie, this is the best brand to buy all the flower powders, clays, oils, face mists and what not. I would always recommend getting the ingredients and making products like face mask, scrub, lipbalms, body butters on your own; because then you really know what goes into the product and also these are much cost effective but equally good. The brand is the brain child of my fellow blogger and skincare enthusiast Aarushi, based in Delhi.

Read my review : Dandruff free silky hair and soft supple skin with simple DIY skincare recipes
6. Krya

With roots strongly based on Ayurveda, Krya adhers strictly to the age old textual methods of product preparation. This is a lifestyle brand and apart from skin and hair care products, this brand has baby care and home care products as well that are 100% herbal, vegan & cruelty-free.

Preethi Sukumaran, one of the founders, always finds time to respond to customer queries. She prescribes a holistic approach where she suggests changes to lifestyle and food habits. She also posts videos in the Krya blog addressing the lifestyle issues of urban life and ayurvedic way of living.

Products I recommend: Hair oil and hair wash powder, hair color, detergent.

Read my review: 

Summer hair care with natural hair wash powders : Featuring Krya and JivaVrksa

All natural and safe home care products
7. Burst of Happyness

Baed on Pune and run by Shreya Sharan Pawar, this brand was started as a result of her quest to find remedy to the allergies brought about by chemical based skincare products. The brand offers vegan soaps, shampoo bars, serums and many more body care products.

Product I recommend: Natural deodorants in lavender and rose scents.

Read my review: All natural and vegan deodorant
8. Cape Of Good Hope

Manisha creates beautiful art in soaps. Her soaps looks so pretty and smells amazing as well. The last product she sent me was a geode soap customized with ingredients that are harmonious with my zodiac. She also customizes products based on customer needs.

Products I recommend: Let Manisha know your skin concerns and leave the rest to her. My favorites are the Rose wine scrub and Green tea soap.

Read my reviews:

CGH Pepper soap review and a little surprise

Take time to smell the roses

Teas Please from Cape of Good soap

Cape of Good Soap : Rosewood and Mint soap

9. Junaili

Can a product so simple and pure that it is a raw material in itself, be as effective as the skin care concoctions with many exotic ingredients?

Junaili carries the purity of the Uttarakhand mountains and mist. This himalayan apothecary run by a family, uses just one raw material : Apricot.

The cold pressed apricot oil is customized into hair, face and body oils and the kernals are processed into scrubs.

Read my review: http://flavoursofbeauty.com/junaili-apricot-body-scrub-simple-and-pure/
10. Ancient Ayurveda

This Kerala based brand works with Prajwala, the world’s largest anti-human-trafficking shelter based in India, to empower women. Wood ash soaps are their specialty and these soaps oozes of ayurvedic tailas. The soaps are so soft and melts easily.

Read my review: Ancient Ayurveda Woodash Soaps

11. Amara Organix

This Chennai based brand is by the lovely lady, Mehar. You name it and they have it, a wide range of skin care, bath and body products and exotic soaps that caters to all kinds of skin care needs.

Recommended: Handmade soaps,  Brightening Face mask

Read my review: Moisturizers and face masks curated for summers : Introducing The Skin Pantry and Amara Organix

Hope you liked this post. I have not included any luxury brands in this feature. I will be consolidating more products and introduce you to more authentic brands in the upcoming posts.

Comment below about your favorite natural skincare brands and the recommended products.

An evening at the Pushkar festival

Pushkar fest is one of the largest livestock fares in the world and we couldn’t complete our Rajasthan trip without visiting this colorful cultural mela.

This was our last day at Jaipur and we were planning to explore Amrapali showroom at MI road, before heading to Pushkar via Ajmer. While bidding adieu, the owner of the Vimal heritage, a very sweet and beautiful lady, asked us to check out Chameli bazar instead. According to her, while Amrapali is exhorbitant in pricing, this one on the other hand has many affordable alternatives.

by the beautiful indoor pool area

Chameliwala market

An arch saying ‘Chameliwala market’ and a small lane leading inside, is the entrance to the silver abode. This can be easily missed eventhough it is on the roadside. Since it was early, most of the shops were closed. here mostly wholesale sales takes place and so window shoppers are ignored, unlike at the Johari bazar. An array of tiny shops, displaying gorgeous handcrafted silver jewelry peeped at us through the glass windows. I went inside one of the shops called Rathi Silvers. This one had all kinds of silver pieces from tribal to enamel works, contemporary pieces to traditional jhumkas. I bought a pair of beautiful studs with blue enamel work.

Blue enamel silver studs

The people in Jaipur are ery helpful and homely. An old man, one of the staff at the shop phoned his friend in Kerala and had us talk to him, when he came to know that we are Keralites.

On the way back, we stopped at the lassiwala shop at MI road, but found it no match for the thick creamy gulab flavoured lassi we had at Johari bazaar.

We had arranged for a cab to take us to Ajmer, followed by Pushkar and finally drop us back at Ajmer railway station, from where we would travel to Udaipur.

Ajmer

Since we were passing Ajmer, we decided to stop at the Ajmer Sharif Dargah, which is a shrine of the sufi saint  Moinuddin Chisti. It was listed as one of the top must visit places around. The lane leading to the shrine was packed with locals and tourists. No vehicles were allowed there so we had to park at the beginning of the road. Providing parking lot itself is a big business here and every other house has a paid garage for public parking. We need to bargain with the owners or else they will just quote 300-500 Rs for parking.

The Ajmer dargah

We started to the dargah by walk and we were followed by many auto drivers offering to take us till the shrine at “just” Rs 200. The shrine is just around 5min walk and you don’t need to hire a vehicle. I was wearing a dress that didn’t cover my ankle. I was offered a shawl for free at the entrance of the dargah, to cover my legs till the ankle. Also you will be expected to cover your head in certain areas inside.

Unlike the dargah in Bhuland Darwaza, this one was over crowded, noisy and buzzing with street vendors, guides and the homeless. It didnot have the peaceful and serene atmosphere I expected, which was disappointing. It might have been a holy place once, but now it’s more or less a bait to attract tourists. We didn’t spend much time inside at all and left in around 10min.

Pushkar

Pushkar fest : The fest happens every year in November, for a week around the full moon day. People from all parts of Rajasthan gather here to trade livestock as well as to take part in competitions which includes moustache competition, camel race and the voice of Pushkar (Pushkar’s version of American Idol) to name a few. Also this is considered as a very holy time and people come to visit the famous Brahma temple (the only one in the world) and to take a dip in the Pushkar lake to wash away all sins.

Waiting for the next safari

We reached Pushkar by around 4 pm and we left the cab and driver at the public parking ground. As we walked towards the mela ground, we could see the men, women and children clad in traditional Rajasthani attire getting down from buses and carts, heading to the mela. The evening sun was warm and we could see small tents scattered throughout the desert. On either side of the road, temporary stables were erected for horses and camels. From pure white albino horses to black stallions, the variety of breeds brought here are remarkable.

These beauties…

There were huge bulls and different breeds of cows brought for competitions as well as for sale from different parts of north India.

Mr Stubborn

There are many shops around that displays metal accessories with colorful pompoms and threads. But once you approach these, you will realize that these are the fineries for camels.

The camel jewery store

One can also shop for ornate daggers and swords here as well.

Dagger shop

There were two major mela grounds : one, Carnivalesque with many rides like the giant wheel, hot air balloons, giant swings, and the other ground is where the competitions and camel safari takes place.

Loud and colorful

Maha Aarti

We headed towards the ghat ofthe holy lake which is surrounded by temples on almost all sides.

Mandap

Devotees were climbing down the many stairs towards the river bank, where the evening aarthi was taking place.

devotees gathered for the maha aarti

The loud beaming voice of the pandit chating mantras in tune, hundreds of diyas lighted along the steps leading to the water, sweet fragrance of dhoop and agarbattis and the golden rays of setting sun gave us the most picturisque welcome.

The serene Pushkar

There are many shops selling decor items, agarbattis and funky attires along the roads leading to the ghat. We spotted a buepottery store here as well. Since my brother had asked for a blue bottery coffee mug (after we left the blue pottery store in Jaipur), we decided to buy it from here. To our surprise we found many new designs at cheaper rate.

Spotted this naughty one dressed up as Lord Shiva

Back in the ground, the voice of Pushkar had already started. A stage was set on one end of the ground. The competitors sang peppy Bollywood movie songs and the crowd cheered and applauded for the best ones.

My man was very interested in camel ride and felt that the single ride around the ground was too short. While we were enjoying the music, we could see the hot air balloon getting inflated at the other end of the ground. It would go up a few inches and will get pulled down and this would go on every few minutes. Initially we thought they were struggling to get it to rise, but later found out that this is all the hot air balloon fun one can experience for a few ten bucks.

There are quite a number of temporary shacks, setup as eateries, selling local delicacies.

Never say no to Jalebis

We tried the dal batti churma in one eatery close to the mela ground. After dinner we headed back to Ajmer railway station and spent the most boring 3 hours of the entire trip, in the  waiting room of the station. But the next day held the promise of a new city, the city of lakes.

NOTE: We missed all the competitions, as they happen in the mornings mostly.

The festivities are at its peak on the full moon day. So incase you are planning to spend just one day at the fest, plan it for then.

For safaris, camel rides or even shopping, the locals will quote double or triple the actual cost most of the time, as they can easily identify a tourist. So polish your bargaining skills and keep them handy.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Do let me know in the comments below.

Also check out:

Day 1 : The grandeur of The Pink City

Day2 : A walk through the art, architecture and history

Day3 : The Majestic Taj

Relax, shop and enjoy the colors of the city of lake

Yummy and healthy salad and shake

The recipes I am going to give you takes less than 5 min preparation time and are very delicious and healthy. These also make for impressive light eat for guests.

Strawberry lettuce salad with delicious strawberry dressing.

Ingredients: Spinach/lettuce, strawberry, olive oil, honey, apple cider vinegar, paneer/feta cheese, salt and pepper.

The quantities can be based on your need. I used one bunch of iceberg lettuce, around 10 or more strawberries and 250 g paneer cut inti small cubes.

Sauté the paneer cubes in butter for about 2min in light flame. It should still be soft and shouldn’t change colour much. If you have feta cheese, just crumble it into small pieces.

For the dressing: In a mixer, blend the strawberries/ready made strawberry puree with 2 tablespoon olive oil, 3 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoon honey, salt and pepper to taste.  Adjust the ingredients to get a slightly sweet, thick dressing.

I used this fruit pulp for making the dressing instead of using strawberries. I find these ready made all natural fruit pulps very versatile. You can use these to make shakes, juices, jams, cheese cakes to name a few. There is no added sugar or preservatives in this.

Setting the salad: 

Cut the bigger leafs and place them on a bowl. On top of this you can place bite-able strawberry and paneer pieces.  Don’t add the dressing until the time you serve it. Drizzle it on top of the salad and give a good mix. Taste it to make sure the taste of the dressing comes through. Add more if needed and voila the salad is ready. You can also add juveniles of almond to garnish.

All natural super thick shake

Ingredients: Ripe guava, strawberries(strawberry pulp/ mango pulp), rock salt, milk/yogurt

Preparation: Just blend all the ingredients and add little milk/yogurt to looses the shake and bring it to the required consistency. Adding a pinch of rock salt really brings out the flavours. You can also add some paprika for a hot after taste.

Hope you liked these recipes. Comment below your favourite recipes.

All natural and safe home care products

These days more and more consumers are shifting towards home grown or organic produce in food and chemical free skin care products. Ironically the organic skincare products claim to have better quality and purity of natural ingredients than the ones we consume. Anyway its a good thing that people are getting themselves informed of the importance of reading ingredient list of products and avoiding the toxic ones.

But how many of us do the same for our home care products, the ones that you are most exposed to than even your skin care products.
For eg, many of us ends up with dry parched skin after cleaning the utensils with dishwash gels and soaps. Some may even face allergies, redness and peeling of skin. Similarly we end up seeing soap residues in machine washed clothes, but tend to scrape it off or just ignore it. We don’t really care that these come in contact with our skin. Afterall the better they smell, the more we like them.

What about the fragrant floor cleaners that promises to kill 99.9% harmful microbes? Ever wondered if your baby who crawls over and often licks this floor, is safe? Are we atleast aware of the unimaginable harm we are doing to the soil, water bodies and thereby the organisms living in them, by using these chemical laden products?

Why are chemical home care products bad:

The commonly available home care products in our market are a mix of strong acids, petroleum by products, ammonia,foaming agents, Chlorine, bleach, surfactants, synthetic colorants and fragrance. These chemicals are very strong as they have to dissolve and break down the fats and oils in the surface being cleaned. For eg, many of these products will have labels that reads toxic, inflammable, keep away from children, visit doctor if it comes in contact with eyes etc. When we are using them on a daily basis over a period of time, our body is being constantly exposed to the fumes and residues left by these cleaning agents, which inturn can cause issues like irritation, headaches, allergies to even hormonal imbalance and cancer. It is said that even if you clean the plates in hot water after cleaning them with these chemical gels, you can’t get rid of the residue and there by you are constantly ingesting it. These toxins also gets absorbed via our skin, and thereby they directly enter the bloodstream without getting filtered out in liver.

So when you have alternative products that are completely natural, safe and bio degradable; why would you continue to use these chemicals. Let me introduce you to few such brands and products.

Why should you switch to natural cleaners:

1. Let me state the obvious reason first, it is safe. Natural cleaners are made of natural ingredients which are 100% safe.
2. There are no added synthetic colorants or fragrance that can cause irritation, skin dryness or allergies. Also the natural essential oils and ingredients impart a very refreshing natural fragrance.
3. They are bio-degradable and therefore environmental friendly. The left over grey water after cleaning, can be even used to water the plants as these are completely natural. It will not pollute the ground water or harm the organisms.
4. They have no synthetic fillers or foaming agents. Hence they foam less, clean more and thereby uses only less amount of water for washing clothes and utensils.
5. They don’t leave any harmful synthetic residue in clothes, floor or utensils.
6. Many of these products comes in recycled paper packaging, which inturn helps in reducing plastic pollution.
7. Many of the natural brands works with women self help groups that aims to employee and empower women across the country. Buying from such brands helps to contribute to a greater cause.
8. Cruelty free and Vegan
9. Naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.

What are some of the natural home care products available in the market:

If you do a little bit of research (or simply search in google) you will be able to find organic stores in most of the places. They will stock up many varieties of cleaning products from different brands. Also most of these are available in online stores in Amazon and Big basket.

Indian Natural Home Care Brands and Products:

Natural dish wash products comes in a variety of forms like gel, powder, soap bar etc.

1. Common oxen

I bought this dish wash gel from my local store, but you can also find it online here. What I love about this one is that, it smells amazing. The natural fragrance of orange and lime essential oils in this gel makes you want to keep smelling it(I am not exaggerating).

Ingredients: Saponified Oils of Coconut, Palm and Rice Bran. Essential Oils of Orange and Lime. Baking Soda and Jaggery

Another products from this brand is Swish Wash laundry powder. It is a white powder that can be used for both machine and handwash.

In addition to mentioning what is in it, this brand has taken it a step further by what is not in it.

Reminds me of the Ancient Ayurveda wood ash soap’s label which was similar.

2. Wild Ideas:

I bought this dish wash soap from the brand Wild Ideas. They also have many other products which you can find in sites like Amazon

Ingredients:
Soap Berries, Sikakai, Citrus, Tamarind, Bitter Albizia, and Wood Ash.

The product is produced by women self help groups.

I have also tried laundry powder from this brand. You can make out the soap berry pieces in the mix, which is the natural foaming agent.

It comes with a cotton cloth pouch with a string attached to it’s mouth. The powder has to be put in the pouch and tied. This can be left in washing machines or a bucket of water along with the clothes and washed normally.

Krya:

Krya is one of the most authentic ayurveda based skin and haircare brand in market. You can read my product reviews from this brand, here. In addition to these, they also has home care products. I have tried their detergent powder for clothes which is similar to the one by Wild Ideas. Just that, I found this powder much finer.

These powders smells like areetha and shikakai but it is not noticeable in clothes after wash. Also these are much gentler on the fabrics than strong chemical detergents.

BON Organics:

This is a certified organic Indian brand that has a wide variety of skin care, bath, pet care and home care products. I love their orange cinnamon hand wash liquid, which has a sweet and warm natural fragrance. This is the empty bottle that I plan to reuse by filling in liquid soap.

Here is the impressive ingredient list of this hand wash, which will make you think why you wash your hands with cheap, toxic chemicals.

Ingredients: Ingredients: Saponified Almond oil, Jojoba oil, Organic corn oil, Organic Caster oil, Organic Coconut oil, Organic Neem oil Vitamin E, Glycerine, Shea butter, Essential oil of orange, cinnamon, mint, organic Lemon oil , Aloe Vera gel, & Demineralised water.

Another product I have tried from them is the liquid laundry that comes in a white can. It was very gentle but effective on clothes.

Here is a pic of my BON Organics haul from their site.

Other brands that I know of (but not tried), that sells natural home care products are Rustic Art and Mittise

Herbal Strategi Naturedrop:

This is one brand that I recently started seeing in all super markets. It comes in a green plastic bottle, and claims to be 100% natural. I have used this but Iam not very sure if this is completely natural, as the brand has not mentioned the ingredient list anywhere in the label or online.

It just says : This liquid dish wash contains several herbal ingredients, including non-ionic cocoa, water, coconut-based surfactants, soap nut and lemon oils.

I don’t recommend this as I don’t have full information on the product.

So I hope this post was useful to you and that you will make a conscious decision, next time you buy home care products.

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Skincare, fashion, home decor and more

Christmas is over and I am all set to welcome 2018. But before we bid adieu to 2017, let me list out some of my favorite finds of this year.

Favorite color of the year:

Every year there will be one particular color I get obsessed about, and this time it was Cerulean blue for the first half of the year and Indigo for the second half of the year.

The Blue Guitar Project is something I took up this year(eventhough I didn’t completely finish it). So I turned this old guitar into a cerulean blue decor piece, and it now adorns this cozy corner.

The book shelf is upcycled from a wooden protective frame that came with an an online order of furniture.

Favorite Skin Care Finds:

I came across many new organic and natural skin care products and brands this year. Some of them are Gravitale, Junaili, JivaVrksa, Organistick and Burst of Happyness.

But this year I found out that whipping up skincare products myself is much more effective, fun and affordable. You can check out : Skin care recipes

So my favourite skincare finds are aloevera gel and tea tree oil. Make sure you buy pure aloe vera gel and not the one with added colour, fragrance and preservatives available in local stores. These are the two ingredients that can be used for almost all skin problems including dandruff, acne and dryness of skin and hair. These are the basic ingredients you need for silky soft hair and clear face.

You can buy them from Blenditrawapothecary or from Juicy Chemistry

Favorite Organic Food Store:

It is without doubt Happy Healthy Me Organics.

Check out my skin care and food recipes using ingredients from HHM store:
Super tasty breakfast recipes

Multi-mask with easy DIY anti-ageing and black head removing masks

Favorite Fashion Finds:

This has been the year when casual dresses made a come back to my wardrobe and also I have made an effort to buy only from Indian brands that sells sustainable fashion. You might have come across some of the dresses in my travel posts and many more on my Instagram handle. The block prints, Kalamkari, Ajrakh, Ikkat prints and natural dyes like Indigo and Madder has been on trend this year and I hope more and more Indian brands move to sustainable and ethical fashion.

My favorite fashion find of the year is The Khadi Cult. I love them for their quirky and original Indian prints on Khadi. But the most comfortable attire I caught hold of, is this Indigo block printed dress from Mogra designs.

It is so light weight and comfortable and has pockets which is super cool. So here are my attires from Khadi cult and Mogra designs.

Favorite Food Finds:

If you are my Insta follower, you will already know that I love exploring new cuisines and eateries.

The favorite food find of this year has to be malai lassi, specifically from Johari Bazaar of Jaipur. You can read more about it here.

I am not a fan of cold desserts but surprisingly the Italian Gelato store here in Bangalore Milano, converted me. The flavors are all natural and authentic. Eventhough the flavors keeps changing based on seasonal products, my favourite remains Pista. I despise the green colored pista flavors in ice creams and pastries but this one here tastes like roasted pista nuts.

Favorite Home Decor Find:

These handpainted wooden plates from Trove India and the hand made blue pottery magnets from Jaipur holds this position. Aren’t they really beautiful?

Favorite Jewelry Finds:

I am not a fan of anything bling and only prefer to wear small earrings. But this changed after I came across some stunning Afghani glass jewelry pieces. Here is one of my favorites, which was featured in July favorites post.

You can see tow other stunning pieces in this blog post: February Favorites

Favorite shopping site:

You are in for a surprise here. All the above favorites of this year has been bought from different Insta pages I came across over the year. So my favorite online shopping place currently is Instagram and incase you are interested to know the pages to follow, I can write a separate post on that. Let me know in the comments below.

Now let me add one more category, which is the Life changing product of the year:

This is something that I hope, all you ladies out there will give a try. It is the menstrual cup. This product will change your life for good, trust me. And this is the best thing you can do for the environment as well. So do read this post on Menstrual Cups and let this be what changes your life in 2018.

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A Hundred Hands : Bangalore Edition

The 8th edition of the Annual Handmade Collective, A Hundred Hands is here in Bangalore. It is a colourful and fun bazaar, where you get to see and buy handmade products from artisans across India.

A Hundred Hands is a nonprofit trust whose mission is to help those directly involved in the creation of handmade art, crafts, and homemade foods, earn a fair and sustainable livelihood from their work.

Sisters Dr Sonia Dhawan and Mala Dhawan started this initiative from their home around 2008, to encourage local artisans and to provide a platform to sell their products directly to customers. Now this has grown to be so popular that it happens in different cities across India every year, showcasing the work of currently a hundred member artisans and NGOs.

Where in Bangalore : At the United Theological College in Miller’s Road.
When : 29th-3rd Dec
Next stops : 7th to 10th Dec in Fort Cochin, 15th to 17th Dec in Coimbatore.
Entry Fee : Rs 50/person

What to carry : Carry a cloth or paper bag to carry home all the goodies you buy from here. No need to carry cash as most of the stalls accepts card. Parking is available if you are an early bird.

A glimpse of the expo :

Incase you have been to Sunday Soul Sante, let me tell you this is a much bigger and pocket friendly bazaar, where you get to see amazing art. Also you get to interact with these artists and know first hand on the process and effort it takes to make these unique art works.

For example, this piece of art took 3 years to get completed.

These small sparrows perching on the branch, is made from banyan tree leaf.

Kantha work meets modern cuts, in this smart jacket.

Bought a fruit basket with lid from this stall. They also have air tight casseroles that keeps the food warm.

Thangka paintings.

A stall from Varnam Craft Collective, showcasing the Channapatna toy craft

Colourful and cute patch worked quilts and cushion covers.

Rajasthani juttis

Clay pottery

Yards and yards of beautiful Pochampalli, Ikkat and Ajrakh prints on silk, is heaven for designers and cloth lovers. Also there are crop tops, pallazoes and dresses for modern woman made from cotton and khadi with natural dyed block prints from brands like Funky Fusion

This beautiful stole is from the Gurunanak Phulkari House, all the way from Punjab.

So hope you all take home some great memories and beautiful handmade pieces by these artisans.

All natural and vegan deodorant

Sweating is the cooling mechanism of the body. It is a way of eliminating toxins. Think of the saunas and steam baths, in most variants of natural medicine or as a method for relaxation and improving health.Sweating improves circulation and kills harmful bacteria and virus. Taking steam from a small brass pot, followed by a medicinal coffee made by my grandma is till date, my most effective remedy for fever. Sweating cleanses pores, which is why taking a steam before applying face masks, improves its efficacy. Sweating is the way of excretion from the body’s largest glad, the skin.

Our skin has sweat glands all over the skin. So what happens if you put stoppers in all the pores, through which the body can release toxins? This is exactly what you do when you use anti antiperspirant sprays or deodorants. We use it because we think not sweating is the best solution for odourless underarms. Sweat doesn’t have odour,but the body odour comes from skin bacteria breaking down the sweat secretions. Also using chemical laden deodorants has many harmful effects on our health which includes darkening of skin and hormonal imbalance.

So the solution is not to clog the sweat glands, but to find a solution for the odour, while letting the body do its detoxification. So here is one product, that is all natural, vegan and can be used by all skin types.

Lavender & Grapefruit Natural Deodorant Cream

Brand: Burst Of Happyness

Product claims : A one of its kind natural deodorant cream which helps to eliminate body odour and inhibit bacterial growth.

Baking Soda has natural deodorizing qualities. Arrow Root Flour helps to absorb moisture. Jojoba oil has a non greasy texture which resembles human sebum and helps to soften the skin. Cocoa Butter is rich in vit E and offers great moisturizing benefits. Coconut Oil has anti bacterial properties. Sunflower oil is a light oil which is easily absorbed and it offers anti inflammatory properties. Essential oils make sure that your pits smell good all day long!

This deodorant cream contains no water, therefore doesn’t need ANY chemicals to preserve, emulsify, thicken, etc. . It is all natural and free from aggressive chemicals like parabens, aluminium compounds, which are linked to various health issues.

Ingredients:

Price: Rs 620

Packing: The deo cream comes in a small glass tub with a plastic lid. Can be easily carried in a small hand bag.

Texture: The product is not a fluffy cream, but has a dense formula. In hot regions, this might slightly melt as it is made of oils and butters. So it has to be refrigerated or stored in a cool place. My product has not changed its form as it is a pleasant climate here, and I usually scoop it out with a wooden spoon or using my fingers.Once it comes in contact with the skin, the product melts. On massaging, it turns slightly grainy because of the fine particles and gets easily absorbed into the skin.

Fragrance: It is a unisex fragrance and is the highlight of the product.

Buy from : BOH Site or from Amazon

My take on the product:

I don’t find any inconvenience to take out the product as it can be easily scooped out. The cream is not very smooth but on touch with the body, it melts and spreads easily on skin. It doesn’t feel sticky or oily on skin and gets easily absorbed in a few minutes.

The product has a pleasant fragrance. If you don’t like strong scents, this one is for you. The fragrance is imparted by essential oils and not by chemical perfumes. The notes of grapefruit mixed with lavender is a very calming scent that reminds me of bergamot fragrance. But because it is all natural, the fragrance fades after around 3-4 hours but the unpleasant odour is still kept at bay all day long. Incase you sweat profusely for long hours, I would suggest reapplying the product. I think I would love the fragrance of the rose variant more.

I also apply this cream on my pulse points for its fragrance, eventhough I wish it stayed longer. The cream is very moisturizing, thanks to the butters, oils and glycerin. So it will not dry out or stretch your skin, like the normal deodorants. Also it has not caused any irritation or discoloration on my skin. But it is always advisable to do a patch test before using it directly.

The arrow root powder and kaolin clay helps to absorb moisture from the skin and I think these ingredients are the culprits for giving the slightly grainy texture of the product when in the tub. The best part is that even though the quantity seems less, a very tiny amount is all you need for one time use. So I am sure that this small tub is going to last me long.


This is more than what you would need for one application.

Also this product can be doubled up as a body butter, as it effectively moisturizes dry patches on skin.

Overall this is a great alternative to toxic deodorants and can be used daily without disrupting the natural body processes. I would surely buy this again but mostly the another variant as I would like to try all the fragrances.

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Hearty, healthy , easy and super tasty breakfast recipes

Breakfast is a very important meal of the day. A nutritious breakfast can get us going all day without fatigue or hunger pangs. So here are some quick but nutrient rich breakfast and snack option for people on the go.

1. Overnight oats/ Oats porridge:

Not everyone is a fan of oats but trust me this is quite tasty.

Benefits of oats :

Whole Oats Are Rich in Antioxidants, Including Avenanthramides
Oats Contain a Powerful Soluble Fiber Called Beta-Glucan
They Can Lower Cholesterol Levels and Protect LDL Cholesterol From Damage.
Oats Can Improve Blood Sugar Control


Ingredients for the porridge
: You can add or subtract ingredients from this as per your choice and availability. This is to just give you an idea of all the options possible.

Milk or Greek Yogurt(not sour)
Rolled oats: This is preferrable as it is the least processed variant and is fiber rich and is more tasty. Since instant oats is available easily, you can use that as well.
Seeds like chia, flax, sunflower, melon ,pumpkin,sesame.
Dry fruits and nuts : dates, raisins, almond, peanuts, cashew, walnut etc.
Fresh fruits like banana, mango, berries etc.
Optional : cinnamon powder, vanilla extract for flavour.
If necessary : Cane Sugar/honey/coconut sugar

Preparation:
There are 2 options to prepare oats: Either cook it in milk or just add milk/yogurt to a cup of oats and leave it overnight in fridge. It becomes soft and creamy in the morning, no cooking involved. Add vanilla or cinnamon powder for extra flavour. Fruits like mango and strawberry can be added along with oats and kept overnight.
In a bowl layer banana pieces, oats mix and any other fruits of your choice. I added mango pieces. Dry roast seeds and nuts till they become crunchy. Break the walnutsto small pieces. Soak raisins in some water.
Now top the oats bowl with all these and dig in 🙂 This keeps you full for long and is a complete meal.

NOTE:
You can roast all seeds and nuts prior and store it in a jar for future use as well.

You will get these seeds in most of the normal provisional stores for as less as 20Rs for 100gms.Seeds are packed with dietary fibre, protein, good fats and antioxidants. They release energy slowly throughout the day.

Also if you like crunchy caramel oats, toast oats with cane sugar in a pan till it becomes crispy and store it along with nuts and seeds. This is your own home made muesli.

2. Oats pancake:

Far better and tastier than the maida pancakes and easier to make as well.

Ingredients :

Rolled oats,baking soda,milk.
Rest I leave it to you: any or all of the above ingredients for porridge can be used here as well.

Preparation:

Add the oats to a mixer jar and powder it. Need not be a very fine powder. Add milk to the powder in a bowl and whisk it with a spoon or spatula,to get a lump free smooth thick dough. It should be thicker than your dosa batter. Add a pinch or two of baking soda and keep it aside for 15-20min.

Once the dough has risen slightly(you will notice bubbles in it), add the other ingredients like seeds, nuts, choco chips, cinnamon powder etc as per your liking. Add half teaspoon of salt and incase you like the pancakes sweet, add 2 spoons of cane sugar or honey.

Pour a ladle full of batter to a hot tawa and flip it when one side is done. You can have this with peanut butter, jam, cut fruits sprinkled on top or honey drizzled on top.

3. Peanut carrot mix

This is an easy healthy snack that will satisfy you from the midday hunger pangs.

Ingredients:

Grated carrots, roasted peanut without skin, salt, lime juice

Preparation:

Add the peanuts and grated carrot to a mixer jar and crush it with two reverse pulse. We just need the peanuts and carrots to be crushed and not powdered or grinded. Transfer it to a bowl and add salt and lime extract for taste.

4. Banana peanut porridge

Ingredients:
Ripe banana, peanuts(soaked in water and dried), cardamom powder, honey

Preparation:
All you need to do is add the bananas and peanuts to a blender and blend it well till it becomes a porridge like consistency. Add cardamom powder and honey to taste.

5. Whole grain bread with sautéed baby potatoes, mushroom and coleslaw

You can boil and peel the baby potatoes on the previous night to save time in the morning. if the potatoes are fresh and clean, you don’t have to remove the peel.

Ingredients :

Whole grain bread ,gralic, button mushroom, baby potatoes, grated cabbage and carrot, yogurt(instead of mayo).

Preparation:

In a pan heat olive oil and add crushed/sliced garlic. Roast cut mushrooms and potatoes separately in the garlic oil till the potatoes turn brown and mushrooms are well cooked and glazed. Add salt and pepper to taste and keep this aside.

To grated cabbage and carrot add 2-3 spoons of plain greek side yogurt and add salt, pepper and a dash of lime to taste.

Have these with hot toast.

Hope you liked these recipes. Do try them out and let me know your feedback.