Top Shelf Gone Natural

Over the past year or so, I’ve transitioned to an (almost) completely natural skincare routine. My carefully chosen skincare products are kinder to my skin, and the earth. As anyone might be, I was slightly terrified to switch out my old skincare routine (that was working well) for fear of terrible breakouts and uneasy skin. I even had a nightmare once – safe to say I thought a lot about making these changes.

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I did abundant research, read reviews on the websites of many South African skincare brands and formed a list of products I would start out with. Then, as a certain product finished, I would replace it with my chosen natural one, until my entire routine had been replaced. The benefit of doing this is that if you break out, you know exactly which product may have caused it. It’s also gentler on the pocket.

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Some think that natural skincare is overly expensive and therefore it is cheaper to stick to other brands. I have found that that isn’t the case – there are a wide variety of products for every budget and I have found products that are affordable and work for me.

I love skincare (as I’m sure you’ve gathered by now), and adore reading Into The Gloss. The photography in their series, The Top Shelf, inspired me for this shoot.

Now, onto what I’m using at the moment.

Mornings

Most mornings, I wash my face with the Oil-Milk Cleanser from Skin Creamery. It smells lovely, and doesn’t dry my skin out at all. I find it a bit too oily for me to use at night, but itsย  perfect for my morning wash. I then moisturize with the Facial Moisturizer from Naturals Beauty. It’s light and doesn’t leave my skin feeling oily, but still does the job.

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Evenings

Once or twice a week, I exfoliate with Ocean Salt from Lush. I prefer the self-preserving one as it all natural to my knowledge. I then wash my face with the face wash from Naturals Beauty. I use my moisturizer and the Naturals Beauty Spot Treatment on any spots I may have. If I have any bad spots, I use a bit of tea-tree oil – the stuff works like a charm.

As and when

Once a week or so, I use to Skin Creamery Facial Cleansing Powder mixed with some raw honey as a gently exfoliating face-mask. It smells lovely and helps with gentle exfoliation. I’ve also just started using the Facial Hydrating Oil from Skin Creamery and I’m enjoying it thoroughly. It’s light-weight but still hydrating. My skin drinks the stuff up. I also occasionally use the Eau Roma Water from Lush (it is the only product in my routine to my knowledge that isn’t 100% natural) to get make-up off or if I feel in need of a double-cleanse. I also use to Cleansing Balancing Balm from Lulu and Marula to remove make-up – it works ridiculously well. If my skin is looking uneven, I sometimes use to Purifying Treatment Oil from L&M too. Not sure if I see that much of a change, but it helps slightly. I’ve also just started using the Purifying Masque from Naturals Beauty that seems to be working well. Lastly, my go-to lip balm is the one from Simply Bee. Its really affordable (as in cheaper than Labello even) and is super effective.

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And that’s it! I’m happy with where I am with my skincare at the moment and am working consciously to bring more natural alternatives into all aspects of my life. Its better for me and the environment. Here’s to slowly making better decisions about our bodies and lives. Its an investment you’ll never regret.

Nabeela x

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On Exercising + Sticking With It

persistence /pษ™หˆsษชst(ษ™)ns/ – “The fact of continuing in an opinion or course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.”

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Anyone who knows me well (or even just knows me – ha!) will know that I love exercise. For me personally, over the last few years, the most difficult thing has been sticking with it and being consistent. Its only too easy to workout when we have time and the moment exams start, drop it all and spend our days rolling around in study notes and eating potatoes. (Don’t worry, you’re not alone).

But these past two months have been the best months of exercise I’ve had in a long time, or dare I say ever. I’ve managed to stick with it, even during exams and hectic times. I’ve made mental notes on what I’ve been doing differently that has kept me on track and I thought I’d share – sharing is caring after all.

01. / Be flexible

No pun intended. The quickest way to fall out of routine is by trying to stick to one. Instead of saying to yourself that you don’t have time for a 20 minute workout, and skipping it all together, do a 5 or 10 minute one. Don’t try to stick to a plan that’s too rigid and leaves no room for adjusting. Work around your other commitments. Think of your workout as an appointment with yourself – don’t let your health take the back seat.

02. / Enjoy it

I know I’ve said this before, but I can’t emphasise it enough. If you dread your workouts, because they’re too difficult or consist of many exercises you don’t enjoy, chances are, you’re more likely to skip them. Instead, do exercise that you enjoy and is doable for your personal fitness level.

03. / Be realistic

I personally find that if I do workouts that are too intensive, my body takes days to recover and it sometimes means that I only workout once in that week. Slowly building yourself up is key. I prefer to do more manageable workouts 2-3 times a week. Don’t overdo it and give your body enough time to rest and recover.

04. / Have a goal

Having a goal makes exercise feel more purposeful. Its easier knowing that you’re working towards something. Make your goals realistic, specific and time-bound.

I hope you can take even just one thing away from this!

Nabeela x

And just a quick disclaimer, I’m no expert. This is simply based off personal experience.

Green Musings / Stellenberg Gardens

As a person who appreciates nature, and plants in particular, the Stellenberg Gardens were an absolute treat to visit. Talk about #gardengoals. The beautiful private gardens are open to the public one weekend a year, and this year, my family and I visited. What I loved most about the garden is how diverse the plant life is. Every little section feltย like a whole new world full of plants and flowers that were are a visual feast. I forgot my camera at home and was seriously sad about that, but snapped some shots on my phone anyway. If you love gorgeous gardens and beautiful plant life, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for open gardens that take place throughout the summer around Cape Town…

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Spot the bee

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Glorious afternoon lightย 
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My favourite plant – delicious monster /ย Monstera deliciosa

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Nabeela x

Fresh Starts + Goal-Setting / Get To Work Book

Though I donโ€™t believe that a new year is the only time to make fresh starts and set new goals (after all, every day is a fresh start), it is a great time to lay out plans for the year ahead, set goalsย and carve a path to achieve what you’ve set out to do.ย 

With 2017 drawing to a close, it may be a good idea to take some time to reflect on what you have achieved this year,ย  what you may want to work on and what goals you want to set for 2018. I personally find that the more SMART my goals are (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound), the less likely they are to hang in the air, and just remain goals.ย ย 

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Luckily for us, there are incredible people out there creating awesome, well thought-out tools to help us reach our full potential and plan out our days so they are filled with productive tasks, enjoyable hobbies and much sought after time to relax. One of these people is Elise Blaha Cripe, the founder of Get To Work Book and the host of the wonderfully interesting podcast, Elise Gets Crafty. Get To Work Book has been created to help one to achieve goals by working on them in small, manageable chunks and one day at a time so that they can become a reality. Its all about getting stuff done.ย 

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I love the clean lines and minimal colour palette

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I sent Elise a few questions about goal-setting and the Get To Work Book. Here’s what she had to say…

What inspired you to start Get To Work Book?

I really wanted a planner that was simple in design without a lot of extra colors or flourishes. I had learned a lot about working towards big projects over the years and was excited to incorporate some of those aspects.

If you had to give people one piece of advice when it comes to goal-setting, what would it be?

Start with something that is manageable but still hard enough to feel exciting. Tell people about the goals you are working towards and document your progress as you go.

Do you think there is added value in putting goals on paper and not just keeping them in your head, or in an app on your phone? ย 

For me, absolutely. I am a very visual person and “seeing” my tasks on paper can keep me motivated. I also like the sensation of crossing things off which is never as satisfying on my phone.

How do you stay inspired to keep on hustling, and how do you ensure that you still have time for yourself?

I have found that “making breeds making” so the more I stay engaged and creative, the more creative ideas I have. When I am feeling uninspired, I try to return to an old hobby in order to get my momentum back. I’m an introvert and so making sure I have personal time is a huge priority – just as important to me as work.

I hope this inspires you to take action and make your goals happen. You can do anything if you set you set your mind to it.ย 

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You can pick up a copy of the 2018 Jan – December Get To Work Book here.

Nabeela x

PS: Stay tuned for part 2 – a more detailed review early 2018

{Disclaimer: I was sent a Get To Work Book to review here on my blog. As always, all my opinions and thoughts are my own, and I would never recommend a product that I donโ€™t truly love and believe is worthwhile}

Have a Happier Exam Session

Exams are undoubtedly the most stressful time of the year in any student’s life. The pressure is on and the nerves are set. Believe it or not, exams have been pretty bearable for me this time around (1 week in and all is well). They don’t have the be awful.

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01. /ย  Organize

Although it may seem obvious, having a structured study plan helps to ease the nerves immensely because you know you’re on track and its easy to see what you need to do each day. Writing a to-do list every day when I get home has been helping me so much to clearly see what I need to achieve before the end of the day.

02. / Moveย 

I haven’t stopped any of my usual exercises and it’s been such a great way to relieve stress and relax. If you’re usually very active and you stop completely, chances are that you’re not going to feel very good, or at ease. So be sure to make time to move those muscles.

03. / Eat well

Eating healthily and drinking lots of water helps you to have a clearer mind and a happier body. Try some healthy snack options instead of chips and sweets (which’ll make you feel sluggish and unenergetic). Here are some snacks to try:

  • Carrot sticks and hummus
  • Cucumber cubes and feta
  • Banana and peanut butter smoothie
  • Popcorn
  • Fruit

04. / Sleepย 

I know all too well how easy it is to come home early and think there’s so much time to do the things that need to be done, and put it off until later, but the afternoon turns into night real quick. Rather space your work out over the day rather than staying up too late and missing out on sleep.

05. / Unwind

Make sure that you still take time to relax, do things you enjoy and follow your self-care rituals. Its so important in order to stay happy and healthy during this time.

All the best to everyone writing!

Nabeela x

On Chasing Perfection

Today, after listening to a highly insightful episode of the podcast, Stuff Mom Never Told You, I started thinking about chasing perfection – something I often ponder over. You’ve heard it all before. How social media, and Instagram in particular is detrimental to self-esteem and mental health due to the curated, perfect nature of the content shared. But after hearing some scary statistics, it opened my mind even further to just how big the problem is.

Don’t get me wrong. Instagram is a wonderful tool. Without it, there are some opportunities I would never have had. However, its become only too easy to gloss over someone’s feed – withย perfectly cohesive, magazine-worthy snaps of themselves dancing around in pretty pink dresses at sunset or sipping yet another latte from the coolest spot in town – to believe that they have it all going. To think that their life is perfect. And then comes the dangerous part. The part where we start comparing ourselves to the person in the photo. Our own lives seem dull and uninteresting in comparison…

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One of my favourite hashtags is #HonestInstagram.ย  A much needed movement of online vulnerability and honesty. The truth is, Instagram is NOT (and I repeat NOT) real life. It really isn’t. What is shared is usually the most glamorous, impressive, glossy parts of the sharer’s life. Not the raw, real stuff that actually happens most of the time.

At the end of the day, we’re all just humans trying to figure out this thing called life. No one is perfect. Everyone screws up. By being more present and being aware of these facts, you may find more peace and unshakable happiness. Disconnect sometimes. Allow yourself to do stuff just for the sake of it, and not to document and share everything with the world.

You’re worth so much more than the number of followers you have and how many likes and comments you get on your photos. Never forget that…

Nabeela x

Exercise for Happiness

Exercise. It means something different to everyone. It evokes a different emotion within everyone. For some, it’s lovely. Others, dreadful. Believe it or not, exercise doesn’t have to be something painful and exhausting. I’ve finally got to a point where exercising feels good. It helps me to calm down and de-stress, and it makes my body feel awake. I’ve found that taking on exercise in a positive way has helped tremendously in improving my attitude towards it. Here are some things that have helped me and may help you too…

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01 / Its not punishment

Don’t use exercise as a way to punish yourself. By doing that, you’ll create negative attachments to the process. Instead, see it as an opportunity to improve yourself and your health.

02 / Don’t go too fast

Take it easy. You need to be realistic in order to avoid injury and burnout. Slowly ease yourself into it so that your mind and body can adapt. Its about creating a sustainable, healthy routine.

03 / Do What You Enjoy

I personally have a few exercises that I can’t stand. I don’t enjoy them at all, and I dread seeing them pop up in a circuit. Sure, sometimes they just need to be done, but other times I replace them with a similar one I do enjoy. If you’re not enjoying the exercise you’re engaging in, try something new. It’s easier to stay motivated if you’re having fun.

04 / Restย 

You need to rest your body and give your muscles time to recover. Don’t do too much, too quickly – don’t overdo it.

05 / Be realistic

You need to be realistic with your fitness goals. If you have a busy schedule, and you come home late at night a few days a week, don’t plan workouts on those days. It shouldn’t feel like a chore. Again, its about sustainability. Trying to do too much too fast will just leave you feeling unmotivated.

These are a few things that I try to keep in the back of my mind all the time. Exercise has become something I love, and I find it therapeutic. I hope that you find a form of exercise that makes you feel good!

Nabeela x

{Disclaimer: These are all tips that I have picked up, based on my own personal experience and journey into wellness.}ย