Your feminist premise should be: I matter. I matter equally.

If there’s any writer who can write hard-hitting essays as persuasively and compellingly as novels and short stories and make them utterly readable it is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. To say, I have read all her work would be an understatement. I have devoured each one of her work and cannot quite point which one I like the best; hence it was natural that I added Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions to my Chimamanda collection.

This book is a quick read with 15 actionable steps to raise a strong and empowered daughter. It shines with Chimamanda’s characteristic warmth and forthrightness but is deeply personal. According to Chimamanda, her friend Ijeawele wrote to ask how she should bring her baby daughter up a feminist, and in response, after the right hesitations – “it felt like too huge a task”– Adichie made this list of 15 suggestions.

I would say that this book should be an essential read to women (and men) everywhere and not just mums with girls—because it would help us to develop more empathy and fine tune our mind on how patriarchy catches up—often unaware. And yes it would help us to raise stronger girls and wiser boys.

For eons, women (and men) have been taught how we need to behave. Girls should be softer and men should be more aggressive. And no matter what women have been taught to be more likable (or risk being tagged Nasty woman, cue Hillary V/S Trump). But this book helps us to identify these unconscious biases and give it a massive f*** you. It also tells us how to defy the societal norms and standards to become your own person.

I wrote about the infamous Nasty Woman episode, a few lines ago. Why? One of the advice in the book is to reject likeability. Easier said than done, I painfully learn even now. I have never been the cool, popular kid, never been the one to succumb to peer pressure and in the face have rejected likeability but even today in moments of honest introspection—I often wonder if I am liked enough by my set of girlfriends, my colleagues, even my family for that matter. See, how unconsciously these societal standards affect us?

Human beings are cultural beings, consistently shaped by ideas and values around us. Throughout history and even in art and culture, we see likeability a major factor (especially for women). Women are unconsciously raised to become people-pleaser. And we need to stop doing this to ourselves and our future generation because as another wise woman said, “Well-behaved women, rarely made history”. 

The other suggestions in the book– about marriage, motherhood, and reading  as well as the often told ‘because you are a girl’, is never a reason for anything” also make equal sense and they all come with personal anecdotes.

I repeat this book is an essential and urgent read. Why? Because to raise feminist daughters (or sons), mothers must take pleasure and pride in their own achievements, follow both the challenges and delights of life and give themselves room to fail. Because ultimately, as Adichie writes, children must be raised to be full people. 

“Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher”.  William Wordsworth

The trickling sound of waterfalls welcomes you as soon as you enter this woodland. I am engulfed by nature sounds all around me and I keep walking to spot the source of waterfall sound. Cut from the cacophony of city life and the constant buzz of phone calls, email notifications and whatnots, I feel strangely at peace. I am lost in my own bubble and I feel at home. Nature truly is therapeutic because it makes you forget your own problems.

Lake District Attractions

Welcome to Lake District, a place of outstanding beauty. I have heard so much about this place that I feared that the reality would be an anti-climax. But thank God, I was wrong. Lake District lives up to the hype and the picturesque scenery will impress even the fussiest traveller.

Lake District attractions

As the name suggests, Lake District is full of tranquil lakes flowing between the mighty hills. Between the lakes, you will see lush greenery teasing your senses while sheep graze lazily on the greens. If the land is not enticing enough then up in the sky you will see sun and mist playing hide and seek with the hills.

Aira Force Lake District

The Lake District has a romantic past. William Wordsworth and the Lake Poets drew attention to this special area in the northwest corner of England during the 19th century. It has since become a destination for nature lovers and hikers everywhere.

We stayed at Ullswater, situated in the Northern area of the English Lake District. Ullswater is the second largest lake in the Lake District at a length of 8 miles. The lake is surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the area and is a very popular place for hiking, chugging on a steamboat or simply be.

 

Ullswater has many attractions but as our main aim was to connect with nature. We stuck to hiking. Our first hike/walk was at Aira Force, stunning waterfalls amidst nature trails. Our second hike was at Hallin Fell, Grassy Lakeland fell reaching 1,273 feet edged by Lake Ullswater & topped by a column of rocks.

 

 

Lake District attractions

Each day, we would set off in the morning, without any agenda—except to explore, wander and get awed by nature. And did we succeed? Somewhere on top of Arthur’s Pike, with light drizzle trickling down, literally lost in the middle of nowhere, I felt I found myself again.

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Dear A,

Despite my best attempts, I cannot keep time still. There is nothing more I want than asking time to slow down a little so you and I can enjoy your childhood a little more. You, darling child, have started asking some mind-boggling questions: Like why are there no girls in your football class? what happens to people when they leave this world? Why your best friend (who is a boy) not interested in ballet? I love these questions and these are just somethings I want you to learn, in no particular order.

  1. You can like dolls. You can like spiderman. And both are fine.
  2. There is nothing like a boy colour and girl colour. Colours are fun, enjoy them.
  3. People will eventually forget who you are but never how you made them feel. Make their memories unforgettable (in a nice way).
  4. Kick ass and don’t be a kiss ass.
  5. Rebel (but try not to do it against me) ;).
  6. Laugh, breathe and let go.
  7. Learn to deal with failures.
  8. Failures don’t make you but neither does success.
  9. Comparisons will steal your joy.
  10. Some girls will have sugar daddies. Don’t be that girl. Work hard and carve your own path.
  11. Despite what they say, feminism is not a bad word.
  12. Do silly things.
  13. Travel.
  14. Run, dance, lift weights. Move your body,  Love your body. It is the only vessel you have. Valentines Day unique ideas
  15. Love food. Don’t make it your enemy.
  16. Have friends from all walks of life.
  17. Speaking of friends; always remember quality over quantity.
  18. Sunscreen and some kohl. And of course red lipstick.
  19. Looks do fade. Character doesn’t.
  20. Love unconditionally. Love deeply. And Love yourself.
  21. Be strong, be gentle and be brave.
  22. Be your own cheerleader.
  23. Don’t dumb yourself down for anyone.
  24. Be Kind. Always.
  25. Be proud but not arrogant.
  26. Use your voice.
  27. You matter.
  28. If someone tells you that you can’t do something because you’re a girl, do it anyway, and do it better.

  29. Learn to say no.
  30. Love does conquer all.

With love, always

Your mum.

As a busy, working and blogging mum, relaxing and doing nothing is something I rarely do. But once in a while, even I think I need to slow down, put my feet up, relax and smell the proverbial coffee. If you have been following me on Instagram, you would know that I love dressing up. But dressing down is also something I take it seriously because let’s face it no one can be 24/7 dressed up with perfect nails, hair, makeup and shoes, not even Beyonce (Well, maybe she can!). For rest of us mortal beings, comfortable and stylish loungewear is a blessing in disguise. So, in this post, I bring to you the loungewear edit featuring pretty pink pyjamas.

To be honest with you all, there are days when I just want to mop around in my PJs especially if those days become snowy days with the beast from the east hitting us like crazy. For those days, all you need is a comfy pair of PJs in a happy colour like pink, a nice book, hot chocolate and plenty of laughter with your family.

Staying in, snuggling and doing nothing has its own set of health benefits and if you do it in a pair of stylish and comfy PJs there is nothing like it. Personally, I am constantly in search of warm, comfy and durable loungewear and online I found Simply Be to have quite an amazing selection in both straight and plus sizes.

Loungewear by Simply Be

Loungewear by Simply Be

This pink beauty in soft velvet with a touch of satin strikes the perfect balance between comfort and luxury, just the two things you need for especially cold, wintry and snowy days. For strutting around the home, like a Queen that I am, I have simply paired it with leopard print furry slippers.

Loungewear by Simply Be

Pyjamas: Simply Be, Slippers: Gifted

I love it when comfy PJs serves all the other purposes– keeps me warm, chic and confident. What’s more, if you can pair the top and the bottom with different items in your wardrobe you have got yourself a true winner.

Thank you Simply Be For Sponsoring this Post. 

This is a sponsored post but opinions are mine.

 

If you have been following me on Instagram, where I post-exercise videos and fitness tips on an almost daily basis, you would know that I am a proper gym rat. So when  #TeamAaptiv approached me to test their fun and convenient programs, I jumped at the chance for a much-needed change-up in my routine.

The training game can be a very lonely game, whilst most gyms offer umpteen number of classes, for me given my crazy schedule, it is not possible to attend those classes. Also, working out in a mirrored room packed with Spandex-clad people all trying to synchronise their moves to Ed Sheeran’s Shape of you, is something I would definitely pass.

Whilst I do not mind being the lone Wolf at the gym, I do admit that occasionally I need the motivation to give it my best, to keep going and just to learn new things. Enter Aaptiv, an audio-based fitness app that gives you a boutique fitness class right in your earbuds. Each “class” has a trainer who will take you through the programme and you can get the work out at a gym, home or outside with the touch of a button.

The Workouts—

Aaptiv Fitness Review

Aaptiv has a range of training programmes that you can try from outside running, strength training, HIIT, yoga to meditation. Each category has plans for beginners, intermediate and advanced level athletes (that’s you gym rat!). Each plan is colour coded for your convenience—green is for beginners, yellow is for intermediates and green is for advanced.

I also liked the fact that they have both 10-15 minute programmes and 30-60 programmes as well. As I said earlier, the app is designed to get you going and having even 15-minute programmes which pump your heart in no time is essential. As a busy mum, this feature is my personal favourite, sometimes despite your best intentions you just do not have time. So, getting even 10-15 minutes of work out can help immensely. I am a big believer that training/exercise is the best stress-buster and therapy hence I make a point to do something even if it is for 15 minutes.

My favourite, however, was their meditation playlist. After a busy and hectic day at work, where I am usually fighting fire and doing other awesome things, my mind (needless to say) goes on an overdrive mode. And most nights, instead of getting a good sleep I end up twisting and turning, with all the thoughts in the world coming at bedtime. And let me tell you from experience: stupid ideas come from a tired, unrested mind.

Meditation is proven to calm oneself down, clear the cobwebs in mind and energise you from within. Problem is…well, it is not easy to keep still and reflect…at least for me. I have been trying to make meditation a regular practice before sleep but always fail hence Aaptiv helped me immensely in achieving this goal.

Aaptiv Fitness Review

Aaptiv: a boon for new mums—

When I had just had my daughter, I found it extremely difficult to get any workout in for days (Getting grips on how to handle a baby, the tiny new person in your life is a challenging exercise in itself and there is no shame in accepting that). Aaptiv has a section designed especially for new mums—stroller workouts. Their stroller workouts are short (20-25 minutes), making it easier to squeeze one into a hectic day, and because they use the pushchair there is no need for a babysitter.

When my daughter was a baby, stroller workouts was something I did very regularly. Getting out, with your baby, even if it is 20 minutes helps both mum and baby immensely. We all know news mums risk getting postnatal anxiety and depression (i have been there) and it is important that new mums can get enough support to get this done in their new-changed lives.

In a nutshell—

Aaptiv, in a nutshell, is a great app to use if you are looking for motivation, new training programmes and new tips for fitness. My only criticism about the app is sometimes it is very difficult to understand a move when it is only told to you. Human beings like visual cues and if you are a beginner some of the instructions get lost in translation. But you can easily overcome this challenge by carefully listening to the instructions few times before fully understanding and executing it.  For £9.99 per month, you can become a member and access all the workouts without any limits. Unsure still about Aaptiv? You can try it for free with Aaptiv’s 7-day trial.

This post is sponsored by Aaptiv but opinions are my own.

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