All posts by shimmeshine

Of Blogging

I am no inspirational blogger, neither a fashion/style blogger, nor a food blogger.

I am a newbie, learning to write from my experiences and encounters with friendly strangers on the blogosphere 🙂

Just two months of blogging has exposed me to a variety of aspects of blogging.

A new blogger is always fancied by the growing  number of followers, intrigued by the likes his writings get and overwhelmed by his growing blog stats every-day.

Consequently he/she needs to stick to the following, more or less.

Take a look, and feel free to correct me !!

1. Read, Read, Read.

“Reading is the first step to blogging “. Luckily, I came across this quote the very first day I made an account with WordPress; and since then, I’ve stuck to it.

Out of my five days for WordPress (not counting the weekends, coz I don’t log in then), two days I write, and three I have dedicated to reading others.

Reading gives us the pulse of the time, our mind becomes open to new ideas and trends. Consequently, something interesting may spark us, and we may pen down.

2. If you like it, comment on it.

Just as we love being appreciated, so do others. If a writer has taken out time to write down something, leave a comment of appreciation.

Of course, you can ‘like’ the post, but then, a comment makes you interact one-to-one with the writer. And the person feels good too !!

As a matter of fact, he would return the favour by surely visiting your blog. More traffic that is 🙂

3. Do not forget to reply.

This is one of the most important aspects of blogging, I feel. I have visited several blogs, but not all of them reply to my comments. Eventually, I end up not visiting them any more; It is a human nature.

If you show the – I don’t care attitude, the reader wont bother to come back and read you again. So think twice, before  you skip those replies.

Take time to thank  your followers and the commenters, they feel connected and appreciated.

Also, if someone chooses to follow you, return the favour by following back 🙂

4. Blog your mind. Do not beg, borrow or steal.

Of course we can always steal the ideas, but not the text. Copy and paste is a bad idea……its plagiarism.

Be original; if you are a thief stealer, some one might notice it, and you lose respect instantly.

Remember, the readers are smart, and they are not only reading  you, they are judging you too 🙂

5. Be true. Do not fake or camouflage.

Nobody is perfect, and life is not a cakewalk. So don’t try to portray only the good things in life.

Too many sugar-coated things and your readers are bound to puke.

Occasionally, take a dig at the other side of your life, and your readers would enjoy the plunge !!

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Disclaimer– All the views expressed here are my own. I don’t intend to offend any one, so please don’t be !!

Please add to my list, if I missed out some 🙂

The realization.

 

It has been 2 years, and eventually I have come to terms with myself. You have given me the best ups and downs in my life 🙂

Means?

I thought, both of us would be together, always, as friends. But you puzzle me with your attitude.

How? I am a – flat on face – fellow.

True, but things do change. Don’t they?

You had your own circles, your acquaintances, your friends, which were much better than me.

That doesn’t make a difference to our relationship. Does it?

Yes, it does. Slowly I realised, you did not need me, you just had me, coz I was around. And if I wasn’t there, you would never miss me.

Silence……

I learnt, I was more dependent on  you than you. You had your priorities over me, and we could be nothing more than just friends, and that too with a condition – I was always around, but you were not.

How can you say that?

Go back in time and think, when would you login and talk to me.

Whenever I am free, or online, and you are online too !!

No, wrong, you would talk to me, whenever you would feel low, you would be out of mood, or you would have no one else to talk to……think again, and you will find me right.

That is because, I know you would always be there for me. You have always been a support, while I need an advice, or need consolation, or just need to vent out. You are the one, I can talk to, about anything and everything around me. You are more like my personal diary. We have no lies, we have no hides !!

Yes, I agree, I am always there for you, but what about you, can I count on you ? I still feel I don’t have you. 

Then, it is your wish.

It is never about my wish, it is always your wish ; whether you wish to add me, delete me, block me, or add me back….things have always been according to your wish.

So you say, I am not a good friend?

No, I just say, I am a your friend, you are not.

This discussion is meaningless, you can think whatever you want to and do whatever you feel like.

You know, I have a freaky girlfriend to take care of, and my shitty exams bugging me. Instead of being on my side, you are blaming me for not being around !!

That is what, I missed you when you weren’t around, and I hate you for that.

Are we fighting again?

May be, because that is how our conversations end every time.

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Have  you ever witnessed this kind of a love-hate relationship?

P.S. This is a true incident 🙂


Scented Delights

scented candles Scented Candles: The Toxic Health Risks

I smell the lemons.

I smell the oranges.

I smell the cinnamon, the chocolate, the macaroon too !!

I know its funny, but that is the way it is…… 🙂

It was a candle haul for me this weekend. I love scented candles, especially the ones at Bath and Body works.

Scented candles can uplift your senses, add a touch of cheer to the mood and calm down your anxieties.

There are various chemical side-effects associated with scented candles though, I prefer using the ones made with essential oils and the ones with lead-free wicks.

Bath and Body Works have their semi-annual sale going on right now, and I collected products at an amazing 75% discount, yay !!

I stocked up candles for not less than six months; the bonus being, the anti-stress candles I happened to discover there 🙂

The flavours of the candles are distinct and strongly aromatic; while I light the candle in my bedroom, I can actually smell it in the entire house !!

Have a look at my collection of candles :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The flavours featured are  Anti-stress candles : Orange and ginger essential oils, Eucalyptus and Spearmint essential oils

Other candles : Candies sugar-plum, Nuts, Cinnamon and pumpkin,Lavender macaroon, Oatmeal raisin cookie, Fresh lemon, Lavender vanilla, Dark chocolate, Hot buttered rum, Chocolate mint.

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I also bumped into a sale at Lifestyle, and bought few more scented candles (yea, crazy, that’s what my hubby thought too !! )

The flavours at Lifestyle are fresh and more of  a lighter kind.

Take a look at them too :

 

 

 

 

 

Featured flavours : Fresh orange, Fresh linen, French lavender, Midnight Iris, Fruit Sorbet, Vanilla, Bamboo and Citronella

So my weekend was scented, flavoury, soothing and relaxing; hope yours was good too 🙂

Do you like to light up your room with candles?

Which flavour do you like the most ?

Amazing pharmacy finds

This weekend was a blast with all the allowed (read – forced) shopping to me !!

Most of the times Mr. hubby imposes a 15 day ban on me for shopping, but just coz I am to go on a long vacation, he let me shop to my heart’s content 🙂

It’s amazing how we women never get enough of  window shopping all those beauty products arranged neatly and lucratively on the shelves. But, I have a thing for pharmacies; I love to browse through some of my favourite pharmaceutical brands.

Two of the best pharmacy outlets, I never fail to visit are Boots Pharmacy and Sebamed Pharmacy, and both of them never fail to impress me with their awesome line of products. The best thing is, they are much cheaper than other contemporary products of the same kind, so I don’t have to think twice !!

Few of the products, I picked up this week are working amazing for my hair and skin, so why not share it with you all 🙂

(The packaging of the products may not be so attractive, but they are effective indeed)

Boots Ingredients Avocado and Macadamia Hair mask

According to Boots – With natural extracts of Avocado & Macadamia, Boots Ingredients Intensive Hair Treatment is specially formulated to condition and tame fine, fly away hair, adding volume. Also helps protect against split ends, whilst leaving hair full of body and shine.

My opinion – Since my hair is all frizzy kind and tends to stand on ends most of the times, I needed a product to tame them and make them look  better than a haystack. This mask hydrates my hair, giving volume at the same time. It is great for summer days and smells amazing. I use it once in a fortnight, for that extra nourishment thingy 😛

I have also tried the Boots Coconut and Almond Intensive Hair Treatment, it is equally effective !!

Boots Lavender Moisturising soap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to Boots – This gentle soap with a natural moisturizer helps effectively cleanse your skin, keeping it soft and smooth. Suitable for all skin types.

My opinion – It is one of the best bathing soaps I’ve used. Although I love using shower gels, this one is the only soap that has caught my interest. It doesn’t dry the skin like other soaps do and I used it on my face too (just once though). The lavender smells divine !!

Boots Ingredients Coconut and Almond leave in conditioner

According to Boots – This conditioner is specially formulated to moisturise and smooth hair, making them soft and tangle free.

My opinion – Again, this product is for dry hair so it suits me well. I have never tried a leave in conditioner before. I use it after towel drying my hair, especially on the ends, to keep them soft and free of knots. My hair is much softer and has a lingering smell 🙂

One more reason to shop from Boots Pharmacy – It has promotions going on for almost all 12 months of the year, isn’t that great !!

Sebamed Soap – free soap replacement

Sebamed claims– This soap is 100%  soap and alkali free. It is mild & moisturizing, hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic with natural vitamins & amino acids. It helps maintain the same pH as healthy skin – 5.5

My opinion – I would definitely recommend it for someone with oily, acne-prone skin. It is a great substitute for a face wash. Although I’ve stopped getting zits since a year or so, I am too concerned about getting them back any time; keeping them in check with this soap is a good idea. It isn’t harsh on the skin, doesn’t melt much and has a friendly smell 🙂

Sebamed Moisturising body lotion

Sebamed Body Enriched Lotion 200ml

Sebamed claims – With a pH value of 5.5, this moisturising body lotion, preserves and maintains the natural moisture balance of your skin, making it smooth and supple. Regular use tones the skin giving it a youthful appearance.

My opinion – Both of us are extremely happy with the visible after-effects of using this lotion. The skin doesn’t feel tight, it is supple most of the times and absolutely fragrance free !! The wrinkles which tend to become visible, while we are on the wrong side of 30’s seem to be taking time to reach us 🙂

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All these products can be shopped online too 😉

Have you ever used these kind of pharmacy products for your skin and hair ?

I have a story to tell……….

……..the story of a girl, who was friendly but shy,

a girl, who was pretty, not beautiful though,

a girl, with jet black curly hair, so curly that her friends called her Maggie !!!

little girls curly hairstyle

A girl, who loved beads and buttons and all small things round.

Maggie loved to collect beads and pebbles of various colours, and put them in a small glass jar. Often she would just sit and gaze at them.

Once while her mother was busy grinding the dry spices, she slowly slipped out with a few black peppercorns in her small hands. A while later she entered back crying, with her nostrils filled with those peppercorns. She could not breathe. And that was her first experiment with life 🙂

A girl, who loved to explore new things.

Maggie loved to unscrew and screw back all her toys, while she was a kid. Her dad always mocked- My kiddo is gonna be a mechanical engineer 😛

The curious nature did not change, while she got into her primary school. Once, she put in her compass rounder (the geometrical instrument to draw circles), into an open electrical plug, and got the first shock of her life. She let out the loudest shriek, and stood there dumb, with everything black and grey in front of her eyes 🙂

A girl, who always loved to help her mother.

Her mother, for Maggie, was the best cook in this world. She never lost a chance to learn cooking, while helping her out.

While grating carrot for the most delicious carrot pudding, she grated her thumbnail along with the carrot. A big chunk of the thumb lay bleeding, and while she was being attended by the doctor, she almost fainted.

A girl, who loved to experiment with herself.

In her teens, with all those hormones flushing, Maggie loved to browse through fashion and lifestyle magazines.

Given those frizzy, extremely curly hair, she had been bored of her hairstyle. But her mother, would not let her cut those beautiful curls. Out of frustration, she took a scissor and cut out a thick section of hair just near the forehead. She thought she would get nice bangs, but instead, ended up having spikes. The hairstyle now was so awkward, that she had to be at home for a week till her hair grew back 😛

A girl who was intrigued by the art of sewing.

While Maggie was small, her mother would stitch up new dresses for her with all the beautiful fabrics available at hand. She would come up with beautiful patterns and dress up her daughter like a doll.

Being interested in the stitching skills of her mom, Maggie always observed carefully, how the sewing machine worked. One night, while they had guests for dinner, she slowly slipped her finger into the sewing machine, and rotated the wheel. Pop……went the needle through her finger and out from the other side of her first digit. In utter pain, she stood there jumping, till her mom noticed it and relieved her of the pain. She determined, never to learn stitching, since then 😛

A girl, who loved sunshine, and breeze and cycling.

Maggie enjoyed cycling, while she was a growing child. Mostly, because her mother believed, she would grow taller by cycling.

She loved how her dress would ruffle in the cool breeze, while she would cycle away on a summer morning. She would dress up in flowy dresses to hear her dress ruffle in the wind.If not the dress, a long scarf would serve the purpose. One such morning, her scarf got entangled in the rear wheel of her cycle. And before she could be strangled to death by the pull, a passer-by rescued her.

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All of us have childhood tales to tell.

Do share some memorable moments of yours………..

 

Chocolate – coffee pots

I believe, I am an adult, never grown out of the choco – mania 🙂

Strangely, whenever I decide to bake, I end up baking a chocolate cake, with few variations though. There are two basic reasons to this :

#1 I am a terrible chocoholic

#2 I got a girl who is equally growing fond of chocolates 😛

So possibly, I am never gonna bake a cake of any other flavour !!

( I like to experiment though )

This weekend, since I could not find  other ingredients at hand, I had to bake this cake, called the chocolate pot, with some coffee, added for extra flavour.

Hope you all like it……..

Ingredients:

  •  1 cup    All purpose flour
  • 1 cup     castor sugar
  • 1 tbsp    cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp   baking powder
  • 1 drop    vanilla essence
  • 100 g      melted butter
  • 100 g      baking chocolate
  • 100 ml    any aerated drink (pepsi/coke/thumbs up)
  • some coffee (grounded)
  • some extra chocolate (optional)

Method:

  • Melt the butter and the chocolate together in a microwave.
  • In a bowl, sift together, flour, castor sugar, cocoa powder and the baking powder.
  • To this dry mix, add the melted butter and chocolate and whisk together.
  • Now add, a drop of vanilla essence, coffee and the aerated drink. Whisk together properly.
  • Grease a microwave proof glass bowl with butter and pour in the mixture.
  • Drop the extra chocolate, exactly in the middle of the bowl. Make sure to cover it up with the mixture.
  • Microwave at 100% power for 2 min and then check.
  • Next microwave again at 80% power for 2 min.
  • Then microwave at 50% power for 1 min and check if a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool completely and its ready to gulp 🙂

You can either turn it upside down, out of the bowl in a plate and eat it with vanilla ice cream. Or, eat it in the bowl itself.

Since I couldn’t resist the killing smell of the chocolate while it was baking, I preferred the second method.

The melted chocolate in the middle of the bowl, satisfies your extreme chocolate cravings…….it is like a choco-lava bursting into your mouth 😉

This is how the pots looked when I put them into the oven
The chocolate bowls are ready to be eaten up
This one was eaten up by me while I clicked these  pics 

Till you go bake yours, I am off to finish my choco-lava-coffee-bowl of goodness !!

Chocolate in any size and shape – m & m’s

After lunch, I always crave for a chocolate (kiddish, I know)

Since I cleaned my fridge just yesterday, there wasn’t a chocolate left in it (kids finished them all, while I was cleaning)

After fiddling with whatever was in there, my hands fell on a bag of m & m’s.

I was lucky enough to be able to eat them all alone; I dont like to share my chocolate. Period.

Those tiny chocolates melting in my mouth with the crunchiest peanuts, was a perfect dessert.

The moment I see them, I melt
Cant have enough of these tiny chocs
half the packet is already eaten up !!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oops, I should eat a handful, re-seal the pack and hide it in the fridge, before my army is back from the school. They sure give me a tough competition for chocolate eating 🙂

(Yess, I gulp more chocolates than my kids 😛 )

We all love m&m’s, don’t we?

Are you a chocoholic too? What is your favourite chocolate ?

Birthday Bouquet

The day started off beautifully yesterday 🙂

The Iphone couldn’t just stop ringing. The Facebook wall was flooded with messages. He was busy receiving wishes for his birthday. Things were perfect, as they should be on his birthday. He was smiling, a smile that loved ones put on his face.

To add to his gleaming smile, came in a beautiful bouquet from his colleagues, much to our surprise !! It smelled divine.

Its strange, how these flowers, suddenly mesmerize our senses and put us into a different world…..a world of sweet scents, colours, beauty and serenity.

I loved the colours and had to share with you……….

 

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Do you like fresh flowers ? Do share..

Have a nice day and a sooper weekend (mine starts now, yay!!)

By virtue of being a woman………

All my cakes, cookies, ice creams and smoothies have to be of chocolate flavour. (well almost)

There should be a clear dominance of shades of pink in the home decor or the outfits. (ok, I can settle on mauve too !!)

My phone bills are and always will be higher (much higher) than those of my partner. Enough said 😉

When I say – I’ll be there in ten minutes, I never mean that !! You get the drift……

I have an undying problem of nothing appropriate to dress for a party, while my closet is full of appropriate ones.

I always have something to suggest or instruct or explain for. You call it nagging.

I relax more than the kids, on weekends, because its THEIR weekend !!

I am supposed to not to cook on weekends, weekends mean holiday.

I got black pumps, beige wedges, brown peep toes, and still I am eyeing the ones on sale 🙂

Summer sale, winter sale or any sale……It is compulsory for me to visit them once, or they may really feel hurt.

I hate to ask – Do I look fine?, you know what to answer when I ask so 🙂

I push the doors, which clearly say PULL !!

I open the fridge and close it. And then open it again and still can’t figure out what I wanted out of it.

If I am laughing, dare you not ask me why, or you may end up cracking up too !!

If I am happy, my face clearly says that, if I am not, still my face tries to show the same expression 🙂

I am lucky to have you, but you are luckier…

Don’t mess with me when I say – It’s ok. You may be disappointed.

A hug always helps.

Go girls, add to the list, speak your mind……

How much is too much

Children using gadgets

 

I recently came across a survey which pointed out that watching television was actually good for children.

They argue, that watching TV enhances the vocabulary of the children, helps them distinguish between good and evil, develops a positive approach in them to fight against the odds, imparts information they would otherwise be deprived of, and provides entertainment while they are bored.

Well, I may sound conventional, but that is not what I agree with completely. Everything comes in this world with its pros and cons.

I believe, electronic gadgets confine the children to a smaller space. It makes them addicted to the virtual world of media and information. They lose their ability to socialize and understand the perspective of others.

Are we not exposing them to too much of technology?

Given the extremely harsh weather conditions (extreme heat and extreme cold), in the UAE, we are forced to stay indoors most of the time. Even if the springs and autumns are pleasant, the remote place where I stay, doesn’t have enough facilities for sport. That leaves kids with the only option of being glued to electronic devices, as the TV or the iphone or the laptop.

There always is a conflict between me and the children, on deciding how much time should be spent watching TV. And it is difficult for me to keep them away from it as they do not have any other activity on their mind.

Yes, I know, it’s a mother’s duty to diverge their mind and broaden their thinking horizons, so as to come out of the electronic trap. But it ain’t that easy !!

Our typical weekend schedule goes like this –

Kids- watching TV………….Dad- busy with the Iphone………….Mom- in the kitchen

Kids- busy with the laptop……Dad- watching TV…………………Mom- in the kitchen

Kids- fighting for the Iphone……….Dad- watching TV………..Mom- busy with laundry

Kids- back to TV……………….Dad- dozing off…………………..Mom- busy cleaning

It is not that I don’t try to make them read books, or play indoor games, or help them in creative crafting. But that gets over soon, and they are back to their gadgets.

Added to all this is the continued interest of the dad as well in the electronic gadgets, he has proudly spent money on.

That leaves me with a question – Am I not a good parent? Is there anything that I can really do to improve this condition ?

Should I become a dictator and cut down on the screen time totally, should I be stubborn and make them watch only the informative channels (but they love cartoons), or should I fight with my partner to act rationally and indulge in more activities with kids.

But all of this seems to be quite impossible to me.

The key lies in the balance. What do you suggest?