Is it just me or does everyone feel that this year is rushing by? It seems that just a few weeks ago, I wrote about my aspirations for 2017 and now we have stepped into March! I had a great January and February though, so no complaints. I updated my website, I am writing more, my brother came to visit (which I never thought was possible, since I live in Riyadh) and I finally mustered the courage to see a dentist for my rotting teeth. So things are looking up for me and my dental hygiene. Anyways, I decided to share some of the things we have been loving these past months. Think of them as suggestions, recommendations or simply a peek into my very happening life. Here they are:
This is one of the new shows on Netflix and we had heard great things about it since its release. The husband and I decided to give it a watch (he is a sucker for period shows and movies) and let me say that it does not disappoint. The Crown is about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II and all the politics, conspiracies and romance surrounding the monarchy when she first took the throne. There has always been a lot of mystery and intrigue surrounding the personal lives of the British royals and this show exposes a side of them which the general public is very interested in. It is fascinating to see how normal they are and how reluctant to perform the roles and duties, supposedly assigned to them by God Himself. The cast is amazing, especially Matt Smith as Prince Philip gives such an engaging performance and he is now a firm favorite in our household. Not to mention the set design, which is lavish and a treat to look at in the background as you get a deeper insight into the personalities and stories of all members of the royal family. The first season has 10 episodes which we watched over a period of 7 days and are eagerly waiting for the next one. Highly recommended!
Urban Decay Naked Skin Correcting Fluid- Peach
I am genetically blessed with deep set eyes (Thanks Dad!) due to which my under eye area always appears dark. I have tried countless correctors over the years, some of which are cult classics in the fast-changing world of makeup, but nothing quite does it for me. Most of them result in my under eyes looking grey and sallow, which is definitely not a good look on me, unless I was a vampire. And since I am human, I have always been on the hunt for the perfect corrector to counter my grey under-eye circles. When Urban Decay launched this range of skin correctors, I decided to give the Peach one a try and I am proud to announce that it worked! Not only does it correct the darkness under my eyes, it also sufficiently conceals. So I don’t have to use an under-eye concealer, unless I am feeling really fancy. It doesn’t crease on me and stays put for a good 6 to 8 hours. I also managed to convince two of my sisters to invest in this miracle product. The search for the perfect corrector is at last over.
The Handmaid’s Tale
This dystopian novel by Margret Atwood is very different from her other work that I have read. It was published in 1985 and it is fascinating to read a story written more than 30 years ago, yet it seems relevant and possible in this time. It is written in the near future in the Republic of Gilead, which used to be America. The government, as we know it, is overthrown and according to the new system of governance, women have no autonomy or authority on even their own lives. Their sole purpose is to serve men in roles assigned to them. This book about women who are young enough to remember how their lives used to be, who had their careers, husbands and children taken away from them so they can fulfill their roles and serve their purpose, broke my heart and kept me turning pages at the same time. A great read, especially for fans of books like 1984 and A brave new world.
Let me just start by saying, I love these tiles! Possibly a little more than a woman my age should, but I do. Just like all fine things in the world of toys, my sister introduced me to these as well. These are magnetic tiles (as the name suggests) and I must now mention that they are targeted towards kids (not adults of 30+ years). My mother bought these for my daughter and she and I haven’t stopped playing with them since then. You can teach your kid about shapes and colors using these, create interesting objects, develop their fine motor skills and all that good stuff. You can also carelessly put tiles together while having a conversation about your day with another adult, it is very therapeutic. If you are looking for a creative new activity for your kid or if you simply enjoy magnets as much as I do, invest in these.
Chicken pesto pasta
I had no idea that the dish that I have happily payed exorbitant sums of money to eat in restaurants is so easy to re-create at home. I don’t really know where I got this recipe, but I read it online a few months ago and stored it in the back of my mind alongside the various crafts and DIY projects already there. One fine day, during an obligatory stroll through the food hall of Marks and Spencer, I saw an unassuming jar of pesto and the memory of this recipe came rushing back to me. A quick read of the label showed a small list of ingredients and surprisingly, no nasties. So it came home with me and since then I have made this indulging pasta dish a few times and it has always come out great. Even my brother (who is a mean critic when it comes to food) called it a restaurant quality dish and gave it a 9/10. You can obviously make your own pesto, but if you are lazy like me, this one from M n S is really delicious and clean. Here’s how to make the pasta:
- Chicken breast – 500 gm, cut into bite sized chunks
- Salt – 1 ½ teaspoon
- Pepper – 1 teaspoon
- Garlic – 3 cloves, finely minced
- Pesto – 4 tablespoons
- Heavy cream/Whipping cream – 250 mL
- Oil for cooking the chicken
- Whole wheat or regular pasta – 1 packet
- Make pasta according to the package instructions, reserving some pasta water.
- Season the chicken pieces with salt, pepper and garlic and leave for a few minutes.
- Heat some oil in a pan, add the chicken to it and cook covered for 5 – 7 minutes. Uncover and cook until all the water from the chicken evaporates.
- Now add the pesto to the chicken, mix well and then gradually add cream. You can adjust the quantity of the cream depending on how saucy you like your pasta. Cook for a few minutes until the cream gets slightly thick.
- Now pour the sauce over the pasta and mix well. Pour in some pasta water to lend more moisture to your dish and serve.
This goes without saying but generously sprinkle Parmesan cheese on your pasta to complete your indulgence. You can eat healthy tomorrow.
Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in the human body as a lubricating agent in our joints, nerves, hair and skin. So basically this is what keeps our skin looking soft, supple and youthful. But with time our body loses its ability to produce hyaluronic acid, which results in dryness, fine lines and wrinkles (boo!). The best way to give back lost hyaluronic acid to our skin is of course fillers, but since I am neither that dramatic nor that loaded with money, I decided to take the simple route and apply it topically in the form of a serum. I have been using it religiously, twice a day for a month now and although I don’t think that it has done anything to reduce the appearance of fine lines around my eyes, it has definitely improved the texture of my skin. My skin feels very soft and plump in the mornings when I have applied it the night before and I have seen an obvious difference in my hyper-pigmentation. Needless to say, I will continue using it and it is now an indispensable and permanent part of my skin care routine.
Two minutes of mindfulness
If you read my post about my aspirations for the new year, you might remember me mentioning my restless, agitated nature and my hope to be able to change it this year. One technique that I adopted to calm my fidgety soul is what I call my two minutes of mindfulness. What I do is, every morning before breakfast, I sit down comfortably on a sofa with my eyes closed and consciously let every muscle in my body relax, starting from my toes to my tongue. I take deep breaths and take two minutes to think about all the things I am thankful for, my health, the love and security of my husband, my daughter, the comforts of my home and anything else that pops into my head that day. I also think about the changes I want to see in myself, more control on my temper, a softer tone when my daughter gets on my nerves, in general being a better version of myself in my daily life. I then get on with my breakfast and chores. But what I have seen is that during the course of the day, when I begin to get agitated at small things, my mind immediately takes me to what I thought in the peace and quiet of the morning. I check myself then and there and apologize to my daughter or The Husband, if necessary and so far it has really been helping me. Overall, I feel happier and much calmer than I am used to.
I hope you enjoyed this glance into the past two months of our lives. And as always, thank you for being here right now.