Travel in Style : Urby

I recently received a cutomised product that I was very much in need of, an elegant passport holder, from the brand called Urby.

Why you should check out this brand:

Incase you are someone who struggles to think of useful gifts for friends or family (especially for men), this site will spoil you for choices.

Check out the site : Urby

Urby is a direct-to-consumer, lifestyle and travel accessories brand. They design and manufacture essentials for an urban lifestyle using the most premium materials and finest craftsmanship.

About the brand:

I read about the brand and their story is quite interesting. We all know that premium brands always sells their products for atleast double the original price in India, as compared to USA or other foreign countries. Exactly why we all ask our aunts and uncles abroad to bring us laptops and other products. Sometimes even when we are ready to pay, we might have to compromise on the quality here. Urby was born to eliminate this gap, by selling directly to the customer, without any middlemen who just contributes to the price and nothing to the product.

What does the brand offer:

Premium quality products that are affordable. The products include travel accessories, wallets, pouches, passport holders, phone & watch cases, jewelry organizers etc. All their products come with a one-year, material and craftsmanship guarantee.

My take on the product :

The starting range of passport holders in the site is Rs 795, which I feel is quite reasonable for a premium quality product that can be used for a life time. The brand offers a wide range of colours and textures for their products. You can also get couples passport holders and kids variant with cute labels. There is also an option to customise with any text you want to get debossed in the product.

I received a white passport holder, customised with my name in gold letters. Here is the unboxing video.

The product comes in a drawstring cloth pouch, inside a black box with the brand name. There are 3 slots for cards, and another bigger one that can be used for currency or coins. There is a long side pocket on one side and one on the outer cover that will be useful to keep boarding pass or currency. The inside of the sleeves are lined with a velvet material. The passport slot is on the right side, and my passport fits snuggly in it.

Even with the cards and passport inside, the product is quite sleek and doesn’t bulge up. Also the sleeves are quite flexible and doesn’t create lines when bent. But I will have to use it for a while to give an honest opinion on its durability.

Incase you are someone who would leave this in your handbag with a million other things like pens without cap; I would strongly recommend you to go for darker colours. White for sure looks very nice, but might not stay white for long with me (:P). I made a tiny mark on it with a pen to find out if it can be wiped off with a wet tissue and I couldn’t.

What I liked the best about this brand is that, they have a wide range of lifestyle products that looks very high fashioned and classy, but are still affordable. And more importantly, these will make good gifts for your loved ones.

Also they offer free shipping and free returns.

Discount code just for my readers:

Urby is a direct to consumer brand with products at an amazing value. They don’t have a discount code box on the website. But for FOB readers, they have given this special offer.

Use the coupon code FLBEUTY17 to get 10% off on your Urby purchase.

You need to email this code to support@urby.in along with the names/links of products you would like to purchase. The support team will help you with the discount.

Cheesecake for the soul : Quick no bake recipe

Since I posted the cheese cake pic on my insta handle, many of you have been asking me for the recipe. This is one recipe the man of the house loves. This one barely takes any time and will for sure impress your guests.

This is a recipe that you can play around with and change to suit the flavour you love. You can add more textures and ingredients like fruits, nuts, preserves etc to make it more yummy.

So here is the recipe. Also on a side note, I am not someone who follows measurements. I just go by the feel and taste. So just adjust the quantities accordingly.

Ingredients you will need for the basic recipe:

Cream cheese : I had the salted variant. Unsalted will be the best.
Full cream
Sugar
Gelatin
For flavour you can use any of these : essence, thick fruit pulp, icecream, fresh fruit
Plain biscuit like Marie or glucose biscuit
Butter – Melt it so that it can be easily mixed

How to transform the ingredients to a cheesecake :

Basically you need to mix all the ingredients(except the biscuit powder) together and keep it in refrigerator to set. That’s all. But let me break it down for you.

1. Crush the biscuit in a mixer and make a crumbly powder
2. Add melted butter to the biscuit powder and mix well
3. Take a flat glass or steel tray in which you are going to set the cake. Butter the tray so that the cake doesn’t stick to it.
4. Now evenly spread the biscuit mix in the tray and keep it in the freezer till we whip up the filling.
5. In a bowl take the cream cheese slab and whip it well with a spatula, or any whipping tool to form a creamy consistency.
6. Add full cream(half the quantity of cream cheese) to loosen up the thick consistency.
7. I did not add sugar to this mix, since I used mango icecream which was already sweet. If you are using essence or fruit puree, now is the time to add powdered sugar and whip the mix again to a smooth consistency.
So basically you can add sugar+any essence of your choice/ fruit pulp + fruit chunks or just keep it plain and add a layer of fruit pulp on top once the cheese layer is set.
8. Mix gelatin/agar-agar with warm water and keep it on heat to melt it completely. You can use a double boiler or just directly keep it in low flame.
9. Now add this to the cream cheese mix and again mix well. Say for 1 block of cream cheese, I used around 3 spoons of gelatin powder. This is what makes the cheese cake wobble and you know, essentially look like cheese cake. So incase once you mix it and feel like it’s too runny, you can again add more gelatin solution to the mix. You can do it even after you refrigerate the mix and feel like it has not reached the right consistency.
10. Now take out the tray and pour the cheese mix on top of the biscuit layer evenly. Keep it in freezer for 15 min and the cake will be ready.

If you want to add another layer of say fruit pulp or fresh fruits, wait till the cheese layer is set. You can add gelatin mix to pure fruit pulp and spread it on top of cheese layer for that extra flavour.

Eventhough it looks like there are lot of steps, it will barely take you half an hour to make this. So do try it out and let me know how it turned out.

Why you need to convert from sanitary pads or tampons to Menstrual Cups

I know that not many of us are well aware of what menstrual cups are and will have quite a lot of questions about this. Through this post I intend to share my experience with using menstrual cup as an alternative to pads or tampons. I seriously wish someone had introduced this to me when I was in school.

How I was introduced to menstrual cups (MC for ease of typing throughout this post :P) :

I knew that this product exist as some of the organic brands I follow sells this. But it was when my colleague told me about how using MC has changed her life, that I felt like trying it out. Now coming to think about it, it’s not just that. Usually when we are at home, we don’t care much about waste disposal part as our moms takes care of it. But since I moved to an apartment where the waste disposal is really a pain, I have been conscious about minimizing the quantity of waste, be it bio-degradable or not. Also since choosing to live in an environmentally conscious manner, I was really disturbed about the amount of non-biodegradable waste in the form of sanitary pads, we dump every month.It comes to a bag full and just goes in land fills. So all of us women combined, really causes a huge impact in polluting the earth. But well, so far we could say that we had no choice. But now that I am aware of the alternative which is so much better that using pads or tampons for us as well as environment,this should be made aware to all. So let me start by telling you my learning curve of using a menstrual cup and how it has changed my period days in a very positive way.

What is a menstrual cup??

MC is a flexible bell shaped cup,which is usually made of medical grade silicone. It is worn inside the vagina during menstruation to catch menstrual fluid (blood). Some of you might find this gross already and feel that ‘No I am not doing this’, but trust me I have been through that and just read on, as this is a life saver and can just make your life so easy and comfortable.

Menstrual cups comes in different sizes, mostly medium and large (for this brand). Medium is for women under 30, who has not given birth vaginally and the larger size is normally recommended for women who are over 30, have given birth vaginally, or have an unusually heavy flow.

For some motivation, let me give you few reasons of why MC rocks!!!

1. Huge money saver > One MC can be used for upto 10 years depending on how you maintain it. So think of all the money you save by not buying tampons or padds.
2. No leakage what so ever, if you insert it correctly. Not even a drop on the days of heavy flows.
3. No wet feeling, actually you really have to remind yourself that you have this on. You may as well forget that you are menstruating,as you wouldn’t feel a thing.
4. No headache of changing pads regularly,as this can be used at once upto 12 hrs, depending on the flow. So you don’t have to sneak a pad to the rest room in office or school and can be carefree till you get home.
5. No problem of disposing waste. Incase you are sleeping over at a friend’s or relatives place at this time of the month, remember how awkward it feels to ask where to dispose the pad. Actually in my hostels girls used to flush it, and it was so gross to see it stuck there. So ya with MC there is no such worry. Just have to clean it with water or tissue.
6. Can be used while swimming or while in activities without having to worry. Trust me, I used to avoid long journeys on those days. But now I have no worries.
7. There is no known report of Toxic shock syndrome, where keeping bloodied pads/tampons for long time causes potentially fatal bacterial illness
8. Most important of all it is sustainable and helps the environment. Each year,billions of pads and tampons are discarded which typically end up in landfills or are incinerated, which can have a great impact on the environment. Most of the pads and tampons are made of cotton and plastic. Plastic takes about 50 or more years and cotton starts degrading after 90 days if it’s composted.
9. Easily available online and in stores
10. Great for those unsure days. Everyone wastes atleast 2 pads or panty liners a month, thinking it might start on a partiular day. Especially for us working women, we can’t take any risks while traveling. This one makes sure that you don’t have to wear the uncomfortable pads and waste them on those days.
11. And as an additional point, it just gives you a better understanding of your body and it’s cycle. It’s you blood and it is not gross.

In rural areas of the country, menstruation stops the education of girls and involvement of girls in social activities, due to lack of sanitation facilities,fear of leaking, or even the monthly expenses involved. The use of unhygienic alternatives causes infections and health issues. MC offer a longer-term solution as they do not need to be replaced monthly and ensures menstrual hygiene as long as there is access to clean water.

So if all the above points influenced you to move to MC, read about my learning curve using one. The mistakes I made will help you not to make them and to start using MCs immediately. But just take it easy and most likely no one gets it right on one go.

Journey of converting to MC from pads
I bought the WOW Eva cup for under 30 from Amazon. Now I can’t find the same brand in Amazon, so just linking from another site so that you get an idea Eva cup link
It comes in a storage pouch made of cloth and a bottle of gentle feminine wash an I bought it for around Rs 699.

First month :
Tried using it as per instructions from the product pack and failed miserably. I folded the cup into a C shape and tried inserting it, but failed as this felt quite big to insert inside. So I did not use it. Instead I watched many youtube videos and there are a few about different folds of the cup. So you can choose any fold that is easy and comfortable for you to help get this inside. This really helped me as I felt the C fold in the packet didn’t make any sense for a beginner. So I tried the shell fold/punch line fold and I was easily able to insert the cup inside. This time I just tried inserting it in and taking it out a couple of times, around the last day of periods.

Trying this when you don’t have periods might make it difficult to insert, as during periods the walls are not so tight and also the area is wet and hence easy to slide the cup in. Making the cup wet might help as well. Also it is very easy to clean it, just hold it under running water or clean it with tissue.

Second month :
Used it on the second last day of periods and found that it was slightly leaking. Big disappointment!!! But I found in a video that after inserting, we have to make sure that the folds have opened inside. So I had to just insert a finger and run it along the walls of the cup to make sure it is in the unfolded form. So it was still folded inside. So I just pulled the stem gently in and out to reposition it and voila no more issues.On pulling out the cup, direct it to the toilet and empty it immediately so that it doesn’t make any mess.

Also if you are not confident enough, use a pad after inserting the cup, until you get the hang of it.So that even if it leaks because of the wrong way in which you inserted it, there is an extra protection. Don’t worry, in a couple of tries you will know if the position is correct or not.

Third month :
Tried this from day one and did an overnight travel for 12 hrs in bus wearing this. There was a pad ofcourse for my confidence and I felt in the morning that it had all leaked and made the pad very wet. You know that sliding feeling of the pad. But when I reached home and checked, there wasn’t even a drop! That’s when I realized that it’s not all the bleeding that makes us uncomfortable, it’s the pad itself.

After this there was no looking back. I am using this every month and not rescheduling travels or vacations because of my monthly.

Things to remember :

1. Relax and take your time. Probably after a bath and at a time when you won’t be interrupted. You cannot rush through this until you get the hang of it.
2. Sit in a squat position to easily insert the cup.. Don’t try to insert it vertically. Always insert at an angle of 45 degree.
3. Follow the same rule while removing the cup. Pull at an angle gently and not vertically down.
4. You might over estimate how much you bleed. Mostly a medium sized cup will suffice.
5. Follow the instructions about cleaning and storing in the product box religiously.

I know you might still have a lot of questions. Feel free to comment below or DM me on my instagram or facebook handle. If you liked the post, do share it with your friends,daughters, sisters or cousins, especially the ones who goes to schools and colleges.

Here are a few links that might be helpful:

Step by step guide for first time
Different folds for cups


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Eat healthy,live healthy : My favorite organic food stores

Our skin problems are mostly related to our lifestyle and food habits. What we eat directly reflects on our skin. Many skin related issues can be fixed by just eating right. So I have made it a habit to eat organic and chemical free food as much as possible.There are many online sites and local stores that sell chemical free produce and food products these days and here I am going to list down my favorite ones in Bangalore.

1. QTrove

Qtrove is a curated marketplace that exhibits and sells non-mass produced items from small entrepreneurs across the country. These products are natural, sustainable, not easily available elsewhere, enhance the well-being and social currency of today’s discerning consumer.

I regularly buy organic products from here. Few products I love are Gulkand,choco-chip pancake mix, fresh fruit preserves, organic ghee, hot chocolate blends, Caramel and chemical free detergents and dish wash liquid. They have an amazing collection of products covering food items, bath and body products, household items, pet care products and even a women exclusive collection.

The delivery is very fast, sometimes even the next day and products are packed neatly. Most of the food items are made to order and hence cannot be returned. There are frequent offers for particular products.

Check out my haul post for details here

I am sure that these days one can find organic food stores every where but you need to make sure that the products are certified organic and not fake. In Bangalore, there are two Organic stores that are my recent finds. Actually when I searches for an organic store near Indiranagar I found so many in the same area.

2. FRESH EARTH ORGANICS

You will almost miss this store in CMH road, unless you are looking for it in particular. This small store stocks groceries, veggies, bath and beauty products and even chocolates and nut butters.

Products I love : Pomegranate dark chocolate, organic eggs and ghee, Apple cider vinegar
Find them Near-Mayur Technologies, Chinmaya Mission Hospital Rd, Indira Nagar 1st Stage
Timings : 9.30am to 7.30pm


3. HAPPY HEALTHY ME

HappyHealthyMe is India’s first 100% certified organic food brand and grocery store. Our locally sourced products have been carefully selected to promote health for the mind, body and soul.

I love this store because the store itself is like a food boutique and it feels like each product is specially curated and put in packs with designer labels. The packing is so appealing and eco-friendly.

They have a wide range of products including super foods like chia and flax seeds,groceries, exotic herbs, spices and their special salads.

Read about the bamboo brush here
Products I love : Almond mylk, Cacao nibs, Bamboo toothbrush, Seeds from Super food range
Find them @ 660, 1st Cross, 11th Main road, Indiranagar
Timings :10:00AM – 8:00PM

Eating healthy organic produce that are seasonal, can bring great improvement in your health. Including greens in the diet helps in flushing out the toxins and improving the bowel movement. But having pesticide laden food does more harm than good. So even if you buy produce that are not organic, make sure you soak the veggies and fruits in vinegar+salt water for at least 2 hours before using them.

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