Life | 8 self-care practices that I've added to my routine

Call me cliched but the start of the year always leaves me reflecting on the one that was. I've yammered on about 2017 being incredibly rewarding but it wasn't without its share of lows. While it's only human to pretend everything was rosy; especially on social media, life doesn't work like that - at least mine certainly doesn't.

With its good and bad, the silver lining was that I learned how far I could go and what I needed to reach there. I was thrust into many unfamiliar situations ranging from infuriating to just-leave-me-to-curl-in-a-ball. Most showed me that I really could do it, while every now and again, some showed me that I couldn't and that was okay.

In times like those, just shutting down my laptop and focusing on me helped greatly. Especially when I grappled with anxiety or got overwhelmed, a few practices saw me through. I didn't know it back then but they're called self-care habits, because well, they're meant to care for oneself. Besides just that, self-care soothes the senses, boosts confidence and deviates one mind from the problem at hand. Here are 8 of them I've started practising, which are now a regular part of my daily routine.

An image of hands holding beauty products, St Ives apricot scrub, Cover FX custom cover drops and colourpop highlighter as part of her self care

1. Night time routine

I've slathered on moisturiser and sunscreen since my teens but I really got into a night time routine over the past year. For an article I was researching on Korean beauty, I came across the statement that Koreans look at their skin care routine as a mini-pamper sesssion, not the 'lets get this done with' attitude we often have. That changed the way I looked at my night routine. Once I'm completely clean and dry, I get into applying eye cream, moisturiser and prescription creams, all slowly and gently, to make it as relaxing as possible.

2. Waking up early

I'm terribly guilty of having an erratic night schedule. On some days, it's lights off before midnight and on other days, I'm scrolling through Instagram at 2 am. Together, all of that makes doing anything in the morning unbearable. Once I started slowly winding down in the night, waking up was easier, which made the rest of my day more manageable.

3. Meal prep

Sounds weird, I know but I've found that readying my meal for the next day also has a calming effect on me. I'm lucky enough to eat my Mom's home-cooked meals but prepping and packing a side salad, fruit, a snack and water in my bag the night before makes me feel a little more prepared about the next day.

An image of a young woman with straight hair and eye makeup applying coloured eyeliner as part of her self care

4. Outfit planning

You've surely read this elsewhere as a life hack to avoid a rushed morning and I couldn't agree more. Besides cutting down on time tremendously in the mornings, picking out my clothes and ironing them for the next day saves plenty of time and also makes me feel less scattered about what's ahead tomorrow.

5. Exercise without electronics

When I saw almost everyone on my morning workout with headphones in, I realised how beneficial it is to exercise without a phone or iPod, only my FitBit. Not being distracted by a phone means I'm observing my surrounding, hear the birds chirping and can hear my breath. Also, exercise overall is self-care magic. There's a world of difference on days I workout in the mornings versus ones I don't - my head is noticeably clearer, I'm so much more energetic and I get the most peaceful sleep at night.

6. Step away

From the time I wake up in the morning to when I'm home from work, I'm either checking emails, writing or listening to music. While I can't stop most of that, I try and step away from my desk when possible. Every hour or two, I go outside for a quick walk, take in the view on the terrace or sit in the sun on a bench outside. Unplugging gives your brain a break and while that's not always possible with a 2 week beach vacation, mini breaks like these help a great deal.

A 360 degree image of a beach landscape with coconut trees, sand, shore, water and boats

7. Take the day off

Since I'm barely at home during the week, I like taking one day off solely for myself, which usually is Sunday. Sundays are for me-time, which is the best kind of self-care. No matter how busy the week is, on Sundays I'm camped in my PJs organising my closet, scheduling blog work and cleaning the house. When I'm done with all that, I use the rest of the day to catch up on TV shows while looking my finest; with a face mask and hair pack. Sometimes, I even fit in an at-home pedicure and movie night so by the end of the weekend, I'm rested and ready to take on the world.

8. Always grateful

Last year really taught me the value of gratitude and how easy it is to take all of it for granted. That's why this year, I'm making an effort to be more conscious of what I'm going through and be thankful for every minute of it, good and bad. Even when you're down in the dumps, taking a step back makes you realise how small your problems really can be and how lucky you are to even be a living and breathing at this moment.

Many of these self-care practices may seem simple enough but that's exactly what makes them so easy to fit into your routine. They've helped me a great deal in overcoming difficulty and dealing with anxiety and I hope they do the same for you too.


Personal Style | Auld lang syne

Now 2017 has been tumultuous, especially from a social and political perspective but I'm going to come right out and say that personally, it's been incredible. You can proceed to go all Taylor Swift on me but it's hard to be unappreciative when it's been this rewarding a year. Sure there were tremendous highs peppered throughout but it wasn't always that way and on some level, I'm grateful for that, praying hands emoji and all.

While good times are always welcome, it's the bad ones that were my greatest teachers. I've never been one to don rose-tinted glasses so anyone who says it's all beach vacations and diamond rings is a bald-faced liar. Every time I've been thrown off my game in 2017; and boy did that happen a fair bit, I sulked, sobbed and then realised that I've got this.

As 2017 ends, that's what I'm most grateful for. It was the year that made me discover my strength, channel my confidence, prioritize what mattered and most importantly, be eternally grateful. And if those aren't the makings of a brilliant year, I don't know what is.

An image of a young woman wearing an outfit with a gold and black embroidered sequin dress with a white faux fur coat, gold glitter heels, braided side bun and dark lip

An image of a young woman wearing an outfit with a gold and black embroidered sequin dress with a white faux fur coat, gold glitter heels, braided side bun and dark lip

An image of a young woman wearing an outfit with a gold and black embroidered sequin dress with a white faux fur coat, gold glitter heels, braided side bun and dark lip

An image of a young woman wearing an outfit with a gold and black embroidered sequin dress with a white faux fur coat, gold glitter heels, braided side bun and dark lip

Izabel London embroidered sequin dress |  H&M faux fur coat | Pavers England gold strappy sandals | Forever 21 hoop earrings | Faryal Makhdoom 'Dubai Nights' liquid lipstick [Reviewed here] | 
Revlon 'Knotty Berry' nail varnish

 Photography: Leo Alemao / Style File

An image of a young woman wearing an outfit with a gold and black embroidered sequin dress with a white faux fur coat, gold glitter heels, braided side bun and dark lip

An image of a young woman wearing an outfit with a gold and black embroidered sequin dress with a white faux fur coat, gold glitter heels, braided side bun and dark lip

An image of a young woman wearing an outfit with a gold and black embroidered sequin dress with a white faux fur coat, gold glitter heels, braided side bun and dark lip

An image of a young woman wearing an outfit with a gold and black embroidered sequin dress with a white faux fur coat, gold glitter heels, braided side bun and dark lip

To bid adieu to the year that was and celebrate the one to come, sequins are a no-brainer, as evidenced before. But instead of taking the easy way out and throwing on red lipstick, I went for a vintage glamour, Great Gatsby-esque vibe, which this looks pulls off to perfection.

The minimal glitter on my feet and plush fur on my shoulders (I need absolutely any excuse to wear this baby!) are just what this look needed. But what really completed it was a gorgeous retro gold eye makeup look, braided side bun and stunningly rich dark lip.

Now that's what I call a fitting farewell. 2018, I can't wait to meet you.


Life | 6 ways to up the Christmas spirit this holiday season

I may enjoy the sunshine laden summer and take in the crisp autumn air but if there's one season that I live for, it's the holidays. While our tropical country doesn't quite celebrate the season with the same grandeur you'd spot in Europe or New York (also, the lack of snow isn't helping), that's not enough to dampen my spirit.

Image of a red velvet ornament hanging on a Christmas tree with gold beads and fairy lights with bokeh in the background

 At least, we still have lit up streets, Christmas pageants and secret Santa. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I'm sure you'll agree that it's easy to get caught up in the festive spirit. So if you'd like to make it a little more jolly this time around, you're in good hands because I don't mean to brag and all but I'm Christmas level: Elf.
Image of a decorated Christmas tree with lights and a star along with a rocking chair at the side of it
Images by Raynor Pereira / Style File

1. Trim the tree

The most identifiable symbol of Christmas, the tree and its various ornaments, especially the star on top have plenty of religious sentiment behind them. Even if you don't celebrate Christmas religiously, don't let that stop you from trimming your (faux) fir. Get out the sparkling bunting, hang a few shiny baubles on and finish off with the star on top.

2. Telly time

Christmas is all about tradition, and I don't mean only for holiday sweets and decor. Tradition also extends itself to the tinier rituals associated with the holidays like midnight mass, the five point star and Christmas movies. Just like autumn has its spooky flicks, Christmas has its own, with 'Home Alone', 'Love Actually' and 'Elf' being a few favourites. Switch them on for an instant dose of the warm, fuzzy holiday feels.

Image of marzipan Christmas sweets in the shape of Christmas trees on a glass plate
3. Sweeten the deal

If there's one thing I always associate with the holidays, it's that sweet smell wafting through the house. Or as I'd like to call it, 'the smell of Christmas morning'. While the traditional marzipan, neuris and kalkals are all set, the delicious date and walnut cake will soon follow. For a more contemporary take on Christmas, gingerbread men, sugar cookies or even your own vanilla extract will really hit the spot.

4. Carol on

It's always a festive treat to find a melodious bunch gang belting out the Christmas carols at your doorstep. While I've been lucky enough to go carolling before, it might be a stretch to suggest it. So instead, just turn up the Christmas carols. I'm one of those people who starts listening to carols right from October so now, by mid-December, I've already reached the point where I'm listening to Christmas jazz while working. Even if I'm buried under work, it still feels nice to remind myself that it's the holidays.

Image of blogger Dayle Pereira wearing a check plaid shirt with a navy blue tulle skirt, red lips, wavy bob and red pumps

Image by Leo Alemao / Style File
5. Get plaid

If you're on the hunt for the most low effort way to amp up the holiday cheer, try plaid. Just donning a plaid layer or two always takes my mind away to colder, snowier lands, even if I'm in sticky Mumbai. Of course, it's a subliminal cue that links the pattern to the year end, for me at least. Better yet, a flannel plaid in red and green, then you're set for certain.

6. Gift someone

The holidays are also a great time to start new rituals which hopefully, turn into traditions. One such tradition we began about 5 years ago was Christmas gifting. While it was enthralling to find presents under the tree on Christmas eve as children, it's even more exciting as adults, even though we aren't really surprised by it any more. They don't have to huge, extravagant or expensive like two tickets to Paris or a new diamond bauble. Even simple stocking stuffers like makeup products or a new coffee flask can make for cute gift - it's the festive thought that counts, really.

Happy holidays, lovely people!


Style File + Faryal Makhdoom Cosmetics | Why liquid lipstick is my makeup must-have

Whether it's because of the daily hustle or sheer laziness, touch-ups just aren't my thing. Once I apply my makeup, I like it to stay faithfully for the rest of the day. That's why I'm eternally grateful that liquid lipstick was invented. Like my boundless energy; it keeps up with me, no matter how late it gets.

An image of 6 liquid lipsticks lip colours by Faryal Makdoom for autumn winter 2017

I first found a friend in liquid lipstick a few years ago and through the years, our friendship only grew stronger. My day job as a senior beauty editor only fuelled the obsession further. So this year, when I discovered Faryal Makhdoom cosmetics, being pleased would be an understatement. It meant one and only one thing to me - more liquid lipsticks. Now a girl can't have enough of those, right?

An image of 6 liquid lipsticks lip colours by Faryal Makdoom being held by a female with long dark nails

When I finally got my hands on Faryal's latest collection of liquid lipsticks all the way from London, I dutifully slipped into my beauty editor shoes and took them for a spin. By that, I mean I applied the lipstick in the morning, left it at home and carried on with my day. That's the true test of a long-lasting lipstick: no touch-ups.

An image of makeup swatches of 6 liquid lipsticks lip colours by Faryal Makdoom for a makeup review

The new liquid lipstick collection from Faryal Makhdoom comes in 6 wonderful shades - Dubai Nights (a dark burgundy), Red Carpet (a rich crimson), Iced Frappe (a beige-ish brown), Persian Rose (a fiery orangeish red), Mauve On (a rosy plum) and Velvet Crush (a milky nude). Each shade from the British brand comes at approximately INR 1400 and promises a richly pigmented matte coat of lip colour that lasts for hours to come.

An image of 6 liquid lipsticks lip colours by Faryal Makdoom for autumn winter 2017

After a few weeks of reviewing the lip colours, here are my thoughts.

1. Consistency: The formula is thin and runny, making it easy to apply on the lips.

2. Pigmentation: Incredible! It's so rich that even a single swipe is enough to give a completely opaque coat to the lips.

3. Longevity: Hashtag winning. Once I applied it in the morning, the colour survived till night, with slight fading on the inner lip area. That's a whole 12 hours of eating, drinking and talking.

 4. Wearability: The formula does feel a bit drying on my lips, something I've experienced with most brands of liquid lipstick I've used. Also, apply it too thick and it can weigh down the lips so just a single swipe is more than enough.

5. Finish: The product applies as a liquid and dries to a good old fashioned matte finish so make sure you exfoliate before.

An image of 6 liquid lipsticks lip colours by Faryal Makdoom being held by 2 hands with long dark nails

My verdict is that they're a great range of lip colours with phenomenal longevity and stunning shades, just make sure you exfoliate and moisturise before you go in with them. So if you, (like me!), like to fix her lipstick and forget about it without the hassle of touch-ups, you've just found your match made in makeup heaven.


*Disclaimer: Sponsored story with honest, genuine opinions

Style Files | Are numbers more important than quality?

When I created my blog in 2011, I had no idea what I was doing and that there were a handful of bloggers in the same city doing the same thing. The digital landscape has changed drastically since then. Blogging is now a serious occupation which so many people are choosing. That's great because the growth in blogging has opened up new avenues for so many, creating healthy competition and high quality content.

Well, that's actually what should have happened. In reality, it didn't. Brace yourself, I'm about to drop some knowledge. Anyone who studied economics 101 will tell you that competition encourages sellers to battle for the top spot by producing high quality goods. In this case, sellers are bloggers/influencers and the goods; their content. So imagine what would happen if they didn't need to organically fight for their seat at the table; that they could just purchase it. That would ruin the balance of the cycle, right? Since the competition would be rigged, there wouldn't be any need to prove themselves and hence, there would a drop in quality.

An image of a woman taking a picture on her phone of a landscape with palm trees as the wind blows her hair

That's exactly what happened in the past 3 years. As the digital sphere got saturated, more bloggers and influencers naturally, wanted their recognition; which leads to big bucks, presents every time you enter the house and sponsored foreign trips. But to be good enough to organically earn that recognition takes incredible amounts of high quality content and patience. Ain't nobody got time for that, at least that's what a large chunk of the influencer sphere thought. Instead of playing the waiting game, they just went out and purchased a bunch of followers.

These are a bunch of bots that inflate the follower count and provide generic engagement. Remember those 'lovely pic' or 'great page' comments? In all likelihood, those are the work of internet robots. Purchasing followers is now pretty common and sort-of an industry secret. It's like plastic surgery - everyone does it but they'd never admit it. They write it down to hard work and strong content; which translates to good genes and 8 glasses of water in the plastic surgery parallel.

An image of macarons in flavours of chocolate, pistachio, caramel and strawberry on a white background being served for dessert

Photography: Raynor Pereira / Style File 

For newbies, fake followers are a starter kit to establish themselves as social media influencers. For more experienced ones, a high follower count is a stepping stone to the digital table which comes with its fare share of designer freebies and press junkets every month. This has led to viscous cycle of joining Instagram, buying a pack of followers, crossing a few thousands every couple of days and finally, being recognised without the realisation that the followers are nothing but empty space.

Saw that I didn't mention quality in the above equation? Because, there's none. Since there's no need to prove oneself, quality is redundant. Who needs to think about styling, shooting, editing and writing blog posts when you can directly upload a grainy selfie on Instagram and buy a few hundred likes for it. To answer my title question; yes, numbers are currently more important that quality.

The silver lining is that the above practices don't apply to every blogger and influencer in the digital space. Like me, there are those who focus on creating thoughtfully worded pieces, carefully shot images and sensibly styled looks rather than playing the numbers game. It may come at the cost of projects and big bucks but if one can afford that, having ethics in the blurry digital world is empowering. Today may be about numbers but tomorrow may not. A day will come where collaborators want accountability and quality, not just bots double-tapping. That day is almost here.


Personal style | Daily diary: edition 4

Getting dressed follows the same daily cycle. At night, I'm brimming with inspiration after browsing through Instagram and Pinterest. So I envision myself waltzing into work with perfectly coiffed hair, impeccable makeup and meticulous styling. In the morning, it's a whole different story.

A collage image of a young woman wearing a crop top and trousers, a blazer and leopard print skirt and a sequin dress and fur coat

Somewhere between snoozing my alarm for the 3rd time and taking sips of coffee, I usually fall short of my expectations and can't blame anyone but myself for it. Slowly however, I'm adjusting my morning person notions, sleeping more soundly and uplifting my daily dressing, one trouser leg at a time.

An image of a young woman wearing a cream blazer, black tank top and leopard print skirt with tong sandals, givenchy antigona satchel and curly long bob hairstyle

Here, I decided to take my style up a notch and blazer up for a work event. The end result of neutral tones and punchy leopard prints looked even better than I expected. Don't miss the curly long bob and peach tinged cheeks.

An image of a young woman wearing a floral printed off shoulder blouse and black wide legged trousers

While I love how these trousers [previously worn here] look on a hanger, I've always been apprehensive about drowning in their roominess. Somehow, that wasn't the case with this outfit. My billowy blouse [previously worn here] and flared trousers were perfectly in sync and surprisingly comfortable.

An image of a young woman in a striped tshirt, black shorts, black sneakers and pink tote taking a selfie in a clothing store mirror

I can't resist a good full length mirror; which is probably some of the reason daily diaries exists. In the men's department (yawn), I took a moment to snap my look, one I'm extremely comfortable in and prefer on weekends. A recurring item you'll notice through my pictures is my new girly pink FitBit and gorgeous Kate Spade iPhone cover. Over here, I've stuck to the classic black and whites while playing it up with my favourite pink tote [previously worn here]

An image of a young woman wearing a printed long sleeved crop top, high waist pegged trousers and fur sliders with red lipstick

Now this was a look that was a step apart from my regular personal style. Since I was feeling experimental for a dinner party, I brought out this printed crop top [previously worn here] which I hadn't removed in years, pegged trousers and chic fur sliders. Experimenting every once in a while can be a whole lot of fun.

An image of a young woman wearing a blue denim shirt with white jeans, tan sandals and a louis vuitton monogram handbag taking a selfie in a mirror at a hotel

For a particularly hectic day between events, work and meetings, I chose this no-brainer denim on denim outfit. Of course, the washes were different colours or else I'd end up looking like this. Along with it, neutral tones, my neverfull [previously worn here] and red lips that I can bank on. The end result of this look; with tan and denim coming together, was particularly satisfying.

An image of a young woman wearing a pink striped shirt, faux leather leggings, black sneakers and a pink fitbit

On a choc-o-block Monday at work, I kept on track with my schedule wearing an outfit that combines sporty and formal..sort of. I nicked my brother's shirt, slipped into my faux leather leggings (duh, it's autumn) and threw on my current favourite sneaks. Can you really go wrong with candy stripes and a leather finish? I think not.

An image of a young woman wearing a printed blouse with ruffled sleeves, black leggings and black tong sandals taking a selfie in a mirror at a fine dining restaurant

When heading for birthday date at a fine dining restaurant, I scrambled home from work and quickly spruced up. This look was the result, which hid the fact that I had been on my feet for 9 hours well. Along with my printed top with ruffled sleeves and basic leggings, I attempted to get beach waves with sea salt spray. I was out of the door so quickly with soppy wet hair that I ended up with Great Gatsby-like curls! Ah well, you can't win everything.
An image of a young woman wearing a black sequin dress, a white fur jacket, black ankle strap sandals with glitter heels and red lips

Yes, I did save my best for last. Although Mumbai winters are notoriously sticky, I did find one chilly day where I got to flaunt this wonderful combination of fur and sequins. With it, I also wore tight curls, red lips and Cindrella-like shoes with sparkling heels.





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