If you have been following me on Instagram, you would know that I have dedicated this month to fitness and all the aspects related to it. After having my daughter, fitness has become even more important to me. Mind you, it is not about fitting into a certain size or thinking (wrongly) that it is all about starving oneself and being thin. For me, fitness means physical, mental and emotional strength. It makes you an overall better person. You can check the below pictures on how far I have come in a span of two years.

And if anyone tells you that you can become a small size overnight or drop 5,10, 15 kilos in a matter of days or weeks, they are clearly lying. There are also no shortcuts, it is determination, hard work and knowing what works for you.

black on black

Four months postpartum (2014)

The Athleisure trend

Present

When we are talking about fitness, how can we forget a very crucial aspect–food. I must also confess that I am a foodie through and through, so if anyone even mentions the word: dieting, I run  in the opposite direction. When I was younger, I rarely thought of things like meal preparation and organising. Today, this is an integral part of my days. My friends always ask me how I manage it all (at least seemingly)–home, toddler, work, blogging, fitness etc. Like many of ordinary women, I also DO NOT have an army of help in terms of nannies, cleaners, nutritionists, regular personal trainers etc. So, how do I do it? Two words: Meal preparation. Plus, I also have the wonderful hubby, the man of the house who goes from board room to kitchen to gym with ease.

Meal preparation tips

When anyone says meal-preparation, sad images of rice and bland chicken comes in mind. But it could not be far from truth. So, without further ado my handy tips are:

  1. Make a plan: I generally list out things/recipes for the whole week on a Friday and note it down. Noting it down is important because otherwise we tend to forget things and from get go things can go haywire. List out things you want to eat in the coming week. List out breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
  2. Grocery shopping: List out the ingredients you want to buy from your meal list. Stick to this whilst grocery shopping. Also, try and go grocery shopping with full stomach, most of the time when I shop in empty stomach, I end up having the snack aisle in the kitchen.
  3. Think Macros: Your macros are carbs, protein and fat. Everything essential. Whilst planning out your recipes, try and get a good mix of these macros. Add condiments and spices to make it delicious.
  4. Snack Simple:When you’re cooking everything for the week at once, it’s important to keep things simple. Save time by choosing snacks that don’t require a lot of time. Think fresh fruit, hard-boiled eggs, and pre-cut veggies with prepared hummus, nut butter with fruits, greek yogurt and smoothies.
  5. Take short cuts: Cut and keep veggies, marinate your protein and use the fridge/ freezer to store these ideas.
  6. Mix things up: No one likes routine, mixing things up is important to keep the momentum on and for your sanity.Plan on making two or three different dishes that you can alternate or mix-and-match throughout the week by adding different marinades/sauces, spices, different combinations/variations of the same thing you have prepared.
  7. Make ahead meals: Certain things can be made ahead and stored for a week. My favourite make ahead breakfast options are: overnight oats, bircher museli, egg muffins whilst favourite snack options are: fruits with greek yogurt/cottage cheese, homemade nut butter with bananas, protein bars and shakes.
  8. Relax: Do not think of meal preparation as a chore. If you feel that way take a break from the cycle, and get back to it when you are ready. It is important to understand that in fitness (and in life) you might fail but important thing is to get back at it without letting failure get onto you.

I hope these handy tips will help you get a better grip on fitness and allow you some time to yourself. Hey, it is not selfish. Often as women, we have been told that if we put ourself, our time and our wishes as a priority then we are being selfish. Let me tell you this: it is not. Heck, it is even important because happiness should be everyone’s right.

Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoyed this post. Have a lovely week? Don’t forget to follow me. You can also follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

“You call it madness, but I call it love”–Don Byes

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“Sometimes, my mind battles with my heart. And often my heart loses the battle. Because what’s winning when we haven’t known a little love or loved back?”

I know you probably came here expecting my weekly fashion post and even assuming that I would have some date-night outfits or other such inane stuff. The truth is I just do not get Valentine’s Day-a day apparently to celebrate love, wear sexy underwear and prance around with fluttering eyes (really, only one day in 365 days???) Do not get me wrong, sometimes I do get sucked into this giant marketing ploy and in my head make elaborate plans for the day.

But when the St. Valentines arrives, knocking mightily on my door, instead of it warming the cockles of my heart the whole thing sends me into a WTF frenzy!! Admit it: Valentine’s Day is one HUMONGOUSLY overrated day in which we are expected to show our love by exchanging a string of undesired gifts (because we are material people living in a material world and all that )and fancy surprises (because love is nothing if does not come with a huge price tag). It’s not reality. It is  another commercialised facade and we are expected to conform. 

And conforming is something that does not come naturally to me.

Hence, this year instead of even pretending to celebrate it, I am going to throw caution to the wind and concentrate on the rest 364 amazing days of love, laughter and friendship because at the end of the day it is the little things that matter. And if you are in mood to celebrate then here are some ways that WILL warm the cockles of your heart no matter what.

Cooking: 

When the husband man without expecting or being told cooks a scrumptious meal. Cooking, is the new candlelight dinner for most parents, add a lit bit of wine and a lot of chatter and you will have a memorable recipe in hand, no matter what is cooking. Any man worth his charm would know that a way to a woman’s heart is definitely through her stomach.

Re-creating the first date: 

Valentines Day unique ideas

Anyone can go to fine dine dating place but why not add an extra zing to it by re-creating your first date atmosphere. This is especially true for those couples who have been together for a while and know everything about each other. This is guaranteed to warm anyone’s heart and give you more than one reason to smile and be thankful for.

Go Outdoor:

Valentines Day unique ideas

No one said Valentine’s Day has to celebrated in an expensive place with expensive shit around. Get out of your comfort zone and go adventurous and pick up an activity you love: be it hiking, a long walk, skydiving or bungee jumping. Outdoor activities take out the pressure of perfection and you would end up having more fun than anticipated and speaking from experience there is nothing more romantic than getting lost up in a mountain or in a woodland.

Get physical:

Valentines Day unique ideas 

And I do not mean the Fifty Shades kind but something more fun (and perhaps less painful) if you and your partner are gym rats or fitness lovers then why not bond on that? Pick a really interesting challenging, head to the gym, compete and see who wins.

Dress Up:

Valentines Day unique ideas

Now this is an activity you can do whether you are single or celebrating the day with your friends. Dressing up is an expression of self-love and self-love is the foundation of any kind of love.

I hope now you realise that it is not about soppy gifts and pricey experiences but little things that go a long way to fill you with love and happiness. I wish, all you people Happy Valentine’s Day.

Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoyed this post. Have a lovely week? Don’t forget to follow me. You can also follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

I have said many times in this blog that beauty for me begins from inside. It means, rather than splurging out on hundred of cosmetics to look good, to spend some time and energy to eat well. As I am five month postpartum, my body is going through several changes, in its bid to go back to its pre-pregnancy days. I feel a plethora of changes happening inside and outside. The worst one is definitely losing hair but I know I cannot do anything to stop it fully. However, as it was mentioned here, it is crucial to eat well and nourish your body to minimize the wreck caused by nature and hormones. So, here are my hair super heroes—food that will definitely give you the lovely locks you lust far.

Diet for healthy hair

1) Salmon: Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin B12 and iron; Salmon is a beauty and hair super hero that will give all those hair products a run for its money. Omega-3 fatty acids give you a great scalp, adds a shine and give you an all-round boost. Vegetarian? Include flax seeds in your diet as it has the magic O.

2) Bananas: This commonly fruit is so great in all counts. It is the best answer to hunger pangs, the potassium in it essential to repair your muscles (a must if you are runner or exercise regularly). This versatile fruit also a packs a nourishing punch with its vitamins A, B, C and E. Bananas also contain minerals like zinc, iron and manganese—nutrients necessary for strong locks and supple skin.

3) Legumes/Lentils: This is another commonly found ingredient that will not burn your pockets. Proteins are the main component you need if you wish to have healthy, beautiful hair and the humble lentil gives you a dollop of those. Lentils (especially kidney beans) are also a good source of biotin. Deficiency of biotin causes brittle hair (and weak nails). Chicken is another source of proteins if you are not big on lentils. But remember, there are almost 400 types of lentils so try as many as you can before writing them off.

4) Greek honey yogurt: Greek yogurt and honey has been used as hair masks for ages. Eating it will actually give you double the benefit (trust me). The lactic acid present in yogurt will smooth and hydrate your locks whilst honey will make it deliciously soft. Sprinkle some seeds like pumpkin seeds to get some fatty acids too.

5) Walnuts: Walnuts are known as hair doctor for a good reason. Walnuts contain essential fats necessary to promote hair growth as well as biotin, vitamin e and copper. You don’t have to eat a lot of it; a little goes a long way. Not a fan? (seriously??) Opt for pecan nuts, almonds or cashews.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Have a great week ahead. Do show me your love with your likes and comments and don’t forget to follow me  🙂

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I have mentioned many times in this blog that I love exercising and staying active. My intention has never been to be a size 0 or 2 but whether I am a size 8 or 12; I should be fit. Needless to say, like my many women out there, I also want to get back to my pre-pregnancy size as soon as I can. However, as much as I want, I need to respect and accept the fact that my body took almost 10 months to expand to house a growing baby and it will not just snap back in a matter of weeks. That said, I still try my best to eat healthy and exercise for at least forty minutes 3- 4 times a week. So, here are few exercises and sequences that are helping to get back to shape and keep my sanity intact.

Core exercises: 

Most new mums would vouch that they want to get rid of their mummy tummy and have those pre-baby, flat abs as soon as possible. Whist I am not sure if it is even possible to get rid of all signs of having a baby (it depends on genes too), I know having a strong core is pivotal not just for vanity but to keep issues like stress incontinence at bay. The core is primarily your abs, obliques, back and pelvic region. Having a strong core will give you those wash board abs you lust for. I do the following exercises.  (Before starting your core workout post a baby, you need to make sure you do not have Diastasis Recti). I do three sets with 12-15 repetitions.

Image credit: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/standing-abs-workout

Image credit: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/standing-abs-workout

Yoga:

I have been lucky to learn different schools of yoga like Hatha, Sivananda and Ashtanga yoga. I am a self-confessed yoga lover and I feel answers to almost every problem can be found in yoga. Taking care of an infant means inevitable sleepless nights and other challenges which can sometimes leave you overwhelmed. I do these stretches early in the morning for 1-2 minutes and sometimes throughout the day to keep calm and carry on. And when all things fail, I do my favourite restorative pose–viparita karani (legs on the wall pose) which energizes me instantly.

Image credit: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-3761/Good-Morning-Yoga-Sequence.html

Image credit: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-3761/Good-Morning-Yoga-Sequence.html

yoga

Cardio:

I must confess whilst I have no problem lifting weights and doing yoga when it comes to do cardio I try and avoid it as much as I can. However, cardio and getting your heart rate up is important to lose weight. So I try to do one-day of cardio each week. It could running, cycling or cross training and if the weather is great outside, you can take the baby out in the pram and go running or climb a hill if possible.

Lower back and Glutes: 

Your lower back and glutes can weaken considerably after having a baby. It is important to strengthen these areas too if you wish to get back into your pre-pregnancy shape. However, many women can experience joint pain (I do!) it has nothing to do with the extra weight but the hormone relaxins, which helps you labor. When the body gets rid of this hormone many women can experience inexplicable joint pain. I do these knee-friendly exercises that are challenging and soothing at the same time.

Image credit: Pinterest

Image credit: Pinterest

So ladies do try these exercises and yes you can be fit as a fiddle no matter what. 🙂

PS: I really wanted to take images whilst exercising but I only get so much time to exercise and hence have used images from my Health & Fitness Pinterest board.  Also, please consult your GP or personal trainer before you start any exercise. I am neither just a woman who happens to love to stay fit 😉 

Hope you enjoyed this post. Have a great mid-week. Do show me your love with your likes and comments and don’t forget to follow me  🙂

You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest

When I was a teenager, I would often put papaya mash on my face as a face mask. My folks would chide me and say “eat the papaya, it would do you more good.” I slowly developed a taste for the fruit and realised the true meaning of the saying, “You are what you eat.” When you are pregnant, it is sort of impossible to not give in to your temptations but beauty has to begin from inside. So here are my top three favourite foods that are nutritious, tasty and puts beauty back in pregnancy.

healthy recipes for pregnancy

Fruity Crepes: As soon as my first trimester got over, I developed an incorrigible sweet tooth. I found myself finishing half buckets of ice-cream on cold winter nights in one sitting without a trace of guilt. Luckily, our friends invited us for dinner once and served these scrumptious crepes that transported me right to the streets of Paris. I’ve blindly followed this recipe and topped with delicious summer berries, oranges and a dollop of honey. Strawberries are low in calories, packed with Vitamins and has a plethora of antioxidants whilst blue berries are tiny heroes that gives you great skin and hair.

healthy eats for pregnancy

Tomato-basil soup: This is my all-time favourite comfort food. I think life becomes a tad better if you have a bowlful of this soup. What’s more? It is easy to make as well. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil, saute a medium sized roughly chopped onion and few garlic pods, pour one jar of tinned plum tomatoes with all the juice. Season it with salt, pepper and a bit of cayenne pepper (if you like it hot) and cook it for about 6-7 minutes. Cool it for a bit a blend it to a consistency you desire. I like a bit chunky look because it feels more earthy. Again heat it and pour about a mil of water. Let it boil and check for seasoning. Finally, add some fresh or dried basil. Have with a side salad and warm Italian bread. Tomatoes are packed with anti-oxidants that gives your skin a warm glow, it can also stall the process of ageing , is great for your vision and keeps cholesterol in check. So, yum and powerful.

healthy recipes for pregnancy

Home-made (almost) Chicken Burger:  A succulent chicken burger is my favourite treat but going out to eat one would often mean eating other naughty and unwanted things (like fries) so home-made Chicken burgers are my way out. Strictly speaking, this is more about assembling the right things rather than making the Chicken patty from scratch. I have used Birds Eye Garlic and Chicken patty here. Chicken breasts are  packed with proteins so needed when your energy levels suddenly go down and you have to battle weakness out of the blue.  Simply grill burger buns in an oven, cook the patty as per instructions and make an earthy, home made burger with fresh tomatoes, onions (if you want), ice berg lettuce and a dollop of fiery Nandos sauce. You could add mayonnaise and cheese if you wish but I hate both. Have it with a crisp summer salad for a power-packed dinner. Delicious!!

Thank you for reading. Hope you like this “different” maternity and beauty post. Have a great weekend and do give me your likes and comments 🙂