How to clean your home safely & naturally minus the harmful toxins

Posted by Shabia Walia on


Top Tips To Clean Safely And Organically!

Homemade organic cleaning products saves you from a lot of health hazards whilst saving you a good amount of money too, besides keeping your home free from the effects of harmful chemicals.

Vinegar, due to its acidic nature and antibacterial properties makes for a great surface cleaner in the kitchen and bathrooms. Mix one cup of vinegar in a bucket of water or, in a spray bottle and use it to clean windows, mirrors, toilets or just about anything.

Baking soda can be used to remove stains from kitchen platforms and bathroom floors. Mixed with a little salt, it becomes a great scrubber. You can even use it clean the insides of your oven or refrigerator.

Lemon juice cuts grease, prevents growth of mould, gives a natural shine besides being great smelling. It also is the most effective against household bacteria.Add it to vinegar or olive oil for a double shot cleaning boost which is also pleasant smelling.

You can also add essential oils like peppermint oil, tea tree oil etc to add a pleasant aroma as well as benefit from their antibacterial properties. Essential oils also reduce stress, calm you down and freshen up the environment.

Commercial air fresheners mask smells and coat nasal passages to diminish the sense of smell. Some natural ways to keep your home fresh smelling are:
1. Baking soda or vinegar with lemon juice in small dishes absorbs odors around the house.
2. Having houseplants helps reduce odors in the home.
3. Prevent cooking odors by simmering vinegar (1 tbsp in 1 cup water) on the stove while cooking. To get such smells as fish and onion off utensils and cutting boards, wipe them with vinegar and wash in soapy water.
4. Keep fresh coffee grounds on the counter.
5. Grind up a slice of lemon in the garbage disposal.
6. Simmer water and cinnamon or other spices on stove.

Of the various commercial home cleaning products, drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners and oven cleaners are the most toxic. Use the formulas described above or purchase 'green' commercial alternatives.

Avoid products containing ammonia or chlorine, or petroleum-based chemicals; these contribute to respiratory irritation, headaches and other complaints.

Cleaning naturally and organically is not difficult at all. All it needs is the intention and some time on your part to make the cleaning supplies. This is easily doable as you can make supplies for a month and store them. Once you start using homemade supplies, you will see a marked difference in your family's recurrence of allergies and breathing problems. That you will also see a marked difference in your savings is another reason to go for it.

Cheers to cleaning but naturally!

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Play Holi but don’t let Holi play havoc with your skin & hair.

Posted by Shabia Walia on

This Holi, do yourself a favour. Save your skin, hair and eyes from the onslaught of harsh chemicals. If you are someone who cannot resist the lure of drenching in Holi colours, here are a few tips to protect your skin and hair both during and after Holi.

For starters, do not get any chemical treatments, bleaching, peeling etc a week before Holi. The treatment could react with Holi colours and cause allergies, itching, burning etc.

Before you go out to play, apply coconut oil on your skin and hair. The layer of oil will protect your skin and hair from the harmful effects of the colours and not allow them to stick. They will also be easily washable later.

Cover your body as much as you can with scarves, full sleeves and cotton trousers or pants. This way you will keep your skin safe from colours. Cover your hair with a scarf, cap or a hat.

As much as possible, choose organic & natural colours to play Holi. Avoid using harsh and chemically laden strong colours.

Never let anyone throw or apply colour on your eyes. Do not do the same to others too. If you wear contact lenses, switch to spectacles on Holi day.

Keep yourself well hydrated.

After you have played Holi, have a shower with a gentle cleansing soap or body wash and hair cleanser. Do not scrub your hair or body too harshly.

If the colours do not come off, use soap a second time and rinse it off. Dry yourself and moisturise your body well with an intense moisturiser as colours and water dry out your skin. Use a leave in conditioner for your hair to keep it soft.

If the colour still does not come off from certain parts of your body, rub lemon wedges into those parts and rinse off. Moisturise well. A pack of besan and water or Multani mitti and water works well too.

If your eyes feel itchy or dry, use cooling eye drops. If irritation or itchiness persists, show it to a doctor immediately.

Lastly do not waste a lot of water on Holi and never put colours on animals. In fact, switch to dry and natural Holi this year.

We have a whole range of natural body products to take care of your skin while you enjoy a happy Holi. Check them out here.


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Color your food, naturally!

Posted by Shabia Walia on

One small but significant change you could make in your lifestyle, is to do away with artificial colours in your food. As you might have noticed, most food colours are used for children's foods to add that zing! Identify the occasions when you bake or cook with artificial colours. Think jalebis, cakes, muffins, cupcakes, gravies, frosting, chocolates etc where you need a bit of colour to make a lasting expression. Has it set alarm bells ringing?

Markets bought artificial colours are made from petroleum and are linked to hyperactive behavioural patterns in kids. In some cases, they are even linked to cancer. Many parents will agree that within minutes of their children consuming artificially coloured foods, their behaviour becomes erratic, unpredictable and difficult. This behaviour change is largely caused by the chemicals used to make the dyes. As a parent, why would you want to disguise a yummy cupcake with these deadly, killing agents?

The easiest way to substitute these artificial colours are with natural ones available at most alternative lifestyle stores. Natural colours are made from natural vegetables and fruits and hence pose no threat to your or, your child's health. You can even make your own food colours at home. If you are the innovative and enthusiastic kinds, here are some easy ways to colour your foods at home!

1. For green colour, grind up some spinach or parsley leaves and use the juice to colour your food and gravies. Alternatively you could also use liquid chlorophyll, a plant derived colour which is easily available in the market.

2. For a beautiful pink, beetroot juice or beetroot powder is the best option. Pomegranate juice is another option which can be used in desserts or juices wanting a lovely pink or red colour.

3. Red cabbage or grapes give a lovely purple colour to dishes. All you need to do is boil red cabbage for half an hour and use the lovely coloured water into your dishes.

4. Pumpkin and carrots can easily lend an orange colour to dishes. Carrots are naturally sweet and hence can be comfortably used in desserts as well.

5. Cocoa powder, cinnamon, instant coffee granules can easily lend a brown colour as well as add quite a punch to a cake or muffin or even a spicy gravy.

6. Since centuries, Indians have been using saffron and turmeric powder to give a yellow colour to foods.

The only precaution to follow while using food based colours is to not add so much so as to alter the taste of your dish. Also food based colours will give a lighter, paler shade to your foods compared to store bought colours. But if a lighter hue can protect you from the darker side effects of artificial colours, would you really mind?

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How to manifest your dreams into reality?

Posted by Shabia Walia on

We all dream. It's the one thing no one teaches us. It's the one thing we grow up with. Some dreams excite us, some shock us, some make us cry while some leave a warm after glow. But nevertheless dreams give us that hope which is so needed to go on in life.

Be it a home you want to build on top of that hillock or a baby you want to conceive or a business you want to start or that dream job you want to land, dreams are about making the impossible happen. But how does one turn one’s dream into a reality?

How do you make sure that what you think is what actually happens?

I am a big dreamer. I have made my life (call it successful, call it happy, call it satisfying) around my dreams. I dreamt first, then worked towards making them happen. You can too, trust me.

Here are my tried and tested tricks to manifest dreams into reality. Go on, try them. You can thank me later.

1) Believe in your dreams : The first thing each one of us has to do is to believe that our dreams will come true. Belief is the single most powerful fuel to harness the potential of your dreams. Once you get all the doubts out of your mind that your dream will come true, you have already put yourself on the path to make it happen. So believe, never doubt. As a kid, I was convinced I would lead a happy life when I grew up even though my childhood was full of hardships and challenges. I always said to my mother that I will have a great house, a great husband and a career which I love. There was never any doubt in my mind that it won't happen. And my naivety of belief that it would surely happen, led it to happen.

When I met Saba, a girl suffering from Wilson's disease and for whom the doctors had said that she would never walk or talk, I decided to help her in my own small way. Though everyone around me questioned me on how I would make it happen, I never doubted the fact that I could. I just believed that I could. And soon everyone believed in my belief and we raised twenty lakhs for her and today she can talk, walk and live a life like any other human being. That's the power of belief. Trust me.

2) Work hard but Work smart : Once you have convinced yourself that nothing can stop your dream from coming true, work for it. No, my friend if you were wishing I was going to tell you that you don't have to work for it, you are reading the wrong article. Success only comes to those who work for their dreams but mind you, work hard but work smart. Everyone works hard but a few of them use that hard work smartly. Is there something you work on for hours a day while you could delegate that to someone thus using your own time on something you are very good at? Is there someone you could go for advice to but haven’t? Is there something you know needs to be done but you haven’t because you are a procrastinator?

Every time you are tempted to take that long winded route, think about how a successful person like Steve Jobs would do that thing. Would he delegate? If he didn't have the choice of delegating, what would he do?

A simple example would be this. You spend quite some time figuring and telling your maid what to cook each day. Then you and she run around trying to get the right ingredients for it. You then supervise her to make sure she does it right. Your entire morning is spent on this. You grudge this everyday because it keeps you away from joining that Zumba class or launching your own part time business.

Now if you were smart, you would spend 15 minutes extra with your maid on Sunday. Both of you would draw out the week’s plan. This plan for each day would be put on the refrigerator in the language you maid can read. Now when she comes the next day, she gets all the ingredients needed for the dish on her own or you can buy and keep everything you need for the week on Sunday. No more maid bothering you what to cook each day. Trust her now to make the dish as you wanted to. Stop regular interfering. Lock your door and start working. Look at the bigger picture.( More on this in my next point). A dish turning out slightly different will not shake up your whole world but you not launching that business you always wanted to will be the regret of a lifetime.

3) Look at the larger picture : Successful people do not waste time on small irritants. They always keep the larger picture in mind. Do not ruin your morning over a table which was not cleaned well. It can be cleaned again. But did you say no to an important assignment because your maid did not arrive? Maid not arriving is a temporary, small irritant but saying no to an opportunity is spoiling the larger picture.

I see so many of my friends pick the smaller battles everyday. Their whole world or rather day goes in tackling these small irritants leaving no space to deal with the larger ones. Think of it like this. If you have ten things to do that day, pick the three most important ones and concentrate your energies on them, take the remaining seven in your stride, do the best you can and move on. Don't try to achieve perfection in everything. Achieve perfection in the things that matter.

A small example to explain this : In the summer vacations, all the maids in our building left for their villages. Many of my neighbours would have two hourly discussions on this everyday. Some were stressed, some were worried, some were so occupied with it that their world had come to a standstill. My maid too was unavailable. Knowing that it was a very important month for me on the business front, I called up the tiffin services and gave them an order for lunch and dinner for the next fifteen days.

While everyone worried about how they would cook everyday, I went about quietly doing my work never having to worry about my family going without food. Not only was everyone happy to get a break from the normal fare cooked by the maid all year long, we were all happy that the tiffins came on time and none of us had to sweat it out in the summer heat to cook.

I chose my priorities. Cooking could be done by the tiffin guys but no one could handle my business. I chose my business. That's being practical.

4) Visualise : A great part of manifesting your dreams into reality is visualisation. Visualise your dream. You want to own a yacht? Cut out pictures of the best yacht you want to own. Stick them where you will see them everyday. See it in your mind everyday. Picture yourself holidaying on that yacht. Think of a name for it. Visualise yourself happy and enjoying your yacht.

A vision board is a great tool to have and great fun to make. You could either make a book, poster, a wall hanging or simply your desktop picture. Make a collection of pictures of the way you see your life. Include all aspects in the vision board – Family, Friends, Career, Money, Spirituality, Home, whatever it is you wish to achieve. This is a great board to look at everyday. It also re-inforces your focus whenever you need the clarity to continue working on your dream. Some great vision boards and ideas on how to create them can be found here.

Coming back to the Saba example, from the day I met her, all I ever visualised was Saba walking towards me and calling out my name. She never spoke in the seven months she stayed in India but yes, my dream did manifest when she called me from Karachi and spoke to me. I cried when I heard my name in her voice. My visualisation had manifested into reality. My dream had come true.

5) Spell out the magical words : Every day me and my daughter spell out our favourite words on our way to her school. We choose many words and make one our favourite for the day. The words we say loudly everyday are ‘abundance, joy, prosperity, success, laughter, happiness, giggles, cuddles, good health, peace, gratitude, sharing and caring’. We then choose one with word and make it our word for the day.

Just saying these words aloud start making me feel better. I can feel the power of these words spreading out into the universe and the universe responding to them. No matter, how my day has started, these words just bring back the spring in my step. Even if I don't want to say them sometimes, I force myself and in a matter of minutes, they work their magic on me. Go ahead, make these words you own. There is no copyright on them.

6) Gratitude – While you visualise and believe that your dream is going to come true, do not forget to express gratitude for what you have today. Gratitude is a very powerful tool. The more grateful you are for what you have, the more the universe will bless you in return. Say thank you for all the good and bad that has happened. The good made you happy but the bad taught you lessons which serve you in good stead throughout your life.

My daughter has to write ten things she is grateful for, everyday in her school. I think that's the most wonderful thing any school could teach the kids. I thank the universe everyday for all the learnings, good and bad. This will surprise you but my father left us when I was a kid. I thank the universe everyday for that too. If he hadn’t I wouldn’t have learnt all that I did in his absence. From becoming the head of my family to turning out to be the strong woman I am today, everything happened because of him leaving. It also makes me immensely grateful to see the great dad my daughter has. It makes me respect my husband a lot more.

Turn your complaints into gratitude and see the magic. You will be amazed! Here is a list of 108 things you can be grateful for. Then add your own to the list to keep it growing.

7) Move towards your dream : You have to move towards your dream each day, every day. Do one little thing, anything which takes you closer to your dream. Want that dream house? Go visit it. Find out the cost. Take a picture. Start saving. After a day job, pick up part time assignments. Try and cut down frivolous expenses. Eat at home instead of going out. Do anything and everything to get that damn house within your reach. And before you know it, you would be living in that house.

Want to have a successful business? Start with an idea. Develop the idea. Read everything about it. Connect with people in that field. Ask questions. Work hard at your day job to fund your business. Do lots of research. Test your idea. Make a plan. Do something everyday to get closer to starting that business.

Before I launched my skincare range, I worked on three shows simultaneously to be able to save to sustain me for a year while I launched my business. Before I started my business, I was never known to work on more than one show ever. But the will to have my own business made me do it. I knew I would have to work very hard but my dream ensured I was motivated enough to pull off the hard work.

8) Find a way, not excuses : The only thing which holds you back from turning your dream into reality is you. If you want it badly, you will find a way. If you don’t, you will find excuses. I meet several women who give me excuses like I don't have time, I have two kids, My husband doesn't let me, I don't have the money, I don't know how to do it, etc etc.

Trust me, I only smile at them. I started my business with a thousand rupees. I ran it while working on three other jobs and taking care of a baby. I learn make soaps on Pinterest. I know of several successful women who started of with nothing, no money, no family support, no knowledge of the field they were getting into but their determination and focus saw them through. They found a way, not excuses. If a girl with no legs can climb Mount Everest, you are blessed to have all your body parts intact. Use them. Stop making excuses, NOW!

9) Hang out with success : They say, you are most likely to be like the five people you hang out with the most. So why not make the best of it? Hang out with positive people. Hang out with people who can contribute to your life. Stay away from the naysayers, the gossip mongers who bitch about everyone else. Stay close to those who encourage, motivate, support you. Spend less time with people who just dream, stay more with those who work towards achieving their dreams. People who are grateful for what they have make better companions than the ones who are always cribbing and complaining. They give you nothing but negativity.

Believe in others as much as you would like them to believe in you. Man is not an island. He needs others to grow and survive. Give support while you ask for it. Nurture your relationships. The ones you take the most for granted, they are the ones you should be most thankful for. The friend who drops in to check on you without you having to call her, the mother who stays up for you to return home every night, the boss who stands up for you, the office colleague who carries an extra meal for you, the maid who looks after your kid while you are away at work, the neighbour who knocks on your door if she hasn’t seen you for a few days, all these are people you should be thankful for. Thank them right away!

10) Be the doer, not the dreamer : Ultimately you have to move to reach closer to your dream. Just dreaming will never get you there. Want to build an orphanage for street kids? Start working towards it.

Karma is the only truth. You have to do your karma for the universe to reward you for it. Be the risk taker, challenge yourself, move out of your comfort zone, learn new things. It will not only take you closer to your dream but will also keep you young and happy.

We are not trees, we weren’t meant to be in the same place. Keep moving, keep rotating energies. Don't stagnate. Be brave to accept failures and turn them into lessons for life. Have faith in yourself, believe you can do it and then do all to make it come true.

As I said earlier, the only thing which stands between you and that dream turning into a reality is YOU.

Do spread the love and share this blog with all your loved ones. 

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Top Secrets to look beautiful naturally!

Posted by Shabia Walia on

Going natural is good. Going natural is very healthy too. But what if I tell you, it could save you loads of money too? Is it possible to look great without breaking your bank? Yes, with a little patience, innovation and an open mind, it surely is.

Well consider this. A bottle of coconut oil can serve as a body moisturizer, hair oil, diaper rash cream, lip balm, a shaving cream, a body scrub when mixed with sugar or salt, a hand and foot cream or simply as a make up remover. Woah, that cuts out buying separate fancy cosmetic bottles for each of these things thus saving you quite a lot of your hard earned money.

Similarly eating the right fruits and vegetables, getting proper sleep, going for a walk in a nearby park, carrying a smile on your face are natural ways of looking great rather than slathering your face and body with expensive store bought, chemically laden cosmetics. A smile is really the best make up any face needs!

Raid your refrigerator and not the spa. Mix a small amount of tomato pulp and honey for an instant facelift. Use banana peels to whiten your teeth. For pigmentation of oily skin, mix papaya, honey, milk and milk powder, and apply onto your skin. Rinse off with lukewarm water.

Multani mitti mixed with rose water also helps give you lighter and smoother skin, especially for those who have oily skin. For dry skin, make a paste of milk and mashed banana and apply on your face to keep it smooth and moisturized. Mix curd with raw honey for dry skin and sweet potato puree for acne prone skin. Apply and let it sit for 15 minutes. Get a brighter, smoother complexion for less than the cost of a bar of chocolate.

Cold Tea bags and cucumber help revitalize tired eyes and bring back the sparkle. Sea Salt mixed with olive or coconut oil makes for a great foot scrub on a tired day. Scrub your feet, dip them in warm water, lather on some olive oil and wear socks to bed. Better than any foot spa or pedicure at an expensive salon.

Grind oats or almonds finely and mix it with a bit of honey and milk for dry skin. If you have oily skin, skip the milk and add lemon juice. Scrub your face with this paste twice a week to exfoliate your skin and bring the glow back.

If there was one beauty product you had to choose it has to be honey. Honey attracts and retains moisture to help keep skin hydrated and glowing, and may keep away early signs of aging, like wrinkles, by maintaining proper moisture.

As an anti-irritant, honey is a preferred ingredient for those with sensitive skin and acne, and can be used to help manage breakouts while keeping your skin moisturized. So invest in a jar of good quality organic honey. Couple this with a jar of good quality coconut oil and there is hardly anything else you would need really for your beauty regime.

And if you still miss your bottles of cosmetics, try sourcing the ones with all natural ingredients, the ones where you actually can read and understand all the ingredients on the labels and do not feel as if you need a chemistry professor to decode it. You can buy all natural body products here. And for making it this far, do use discount code WE10 at our store checkout to avail a 10% off on your next purchase.

Going natural doesn't have to be expensive. A little creativity, a positive attitude and a great smile is all that is required to look like a million bucks without spending a bomb.

If you like this article, don't keep it just to yourself. Do a good deed and share it with everyone you know and care about. 

Love to all.

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