Parenting & Travel Blog with tips, guides, reviews and honesty about family travel and parenting.

Friday, March 20, 2020

This Mama Reads: The most recent books I've read


So I'm housebound with the kiddies doing my part for social distancing and not going anywhere unless absolutely necessary. I'm taking this time to read as much as I can (mostly because my kids hog the tv, but there's a fine tradeoff happening). Not everything I read is going to be thought provoking or profound, in fact very little will be because I'm reading heavy headlines in the news on the hourly.  So I'm sharing my recent reads to help transport you away right now, that you can read even with all of the distractions happening around us. 

I also suggest that now is a great time to order your books online, get your ebooks via your library, kindle, kobo and maybe set up a borrowing system with your friends (while still maintaining a social distancing). 




Such a Fun Age -by Kiley Reid: this is a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick, and it discusses the social issues around race and our own biases and perceptions about it through three main characters and how their lives intertwine. It's actually not very heavy, and is an entertaining read.

The Marriage Clock by Zara Raheem: a relatable story for so many South Asian women who have probably all felt the pressures of having to get married "at the right time." Forget our biological clock (that harrassment starts after the wedding), the pressures to get marriage to a suitable candidate can become all consuming. This is a lovely story about a young educated woman living in the United States and her quest to fight again her marriage clock.


The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory: I'm sort of hooked by this author's writing style because it's easy and light and perfect for what I need know (which is trying to read while ignoring the whining and fighting going on around me). It is a predictable love story set in sunny LA that at times will infuriate you because you want to reach into the book and smack the characters and tell them to see what it is that you know will happen anyways! But I'm going to be reading her other books because it's just that kind of distraction I need right now!


Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living your best Life By Ali Wong : This book is HILARIOUS! Comedian and mother Ali Wong writes her daughters letters about life advice based on her own life and experiences in a raunchy yet hilariously truthful way. I particularly love her chapter on what every expectant mother needs to pack for the hospital, it should be required reading for all new moms!


A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman: This one is an oldie, but such a goodie especially right now when we are all probably starting to feel like the grumpy old man Ove. It talks of community and human connections and the bonds that we can build in times that we may not be expecting it. This one I highly recommend.


A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson: This one is more of a mystery style book as the reader tries to figure out the sequence of events that lead to the arrest of a family's teenage daughter. 


The Winemakers Wife by Kristin Harmel: Ok, this one is on my list but not because I liked it. I know I know, then why is it here Raj?? It's here because it honestly doesn't require much thought or investment and is very predictable and easy to read. It's another historical fiction story about World War II, set in France and told from a female perspective. It had a lot of promise, and I'm also tired of this genre that focuses so much on the world wars.  Historical Fiction is my favourite genre when it's literally about any other time in history. 


Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah: I am a huge fan of Trevor Noah, I think he is funny and smart! As I this book I totally heard him telling it to me and learned so much about Apartheid and life for him in South Africa. I don't love non fiction, but this genre of memoir was so entertaining. 


Only Child by Rihannon Navin: Warning for this book - you WILL cry the whole time you read it. Like yes, non stop crying but also it will be non stop reading.  It tells the story of a mass school shooting in an elementary school through the voice of a 6 year old. I know, keep a box of tissues close by my friends and remember the tears will be cathartic.


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Friday, March 6, 2020

Hair Oil: my favourite picks





Wait? Oil? On your hair? Ummm...... huh? For the longest time, my hair and scalp was oily, so the thought of using oil on my thinning tresses, weighing them down just didn't seem very appealing. But as my hair has been changing because of well - just life, the benefits of oiling my hair has made me a believer.

Hair Oiling is an ancient Ayurvedic technique that has been used by South Asians for centuries. What is it? It's basically applying oil to your scalp and hair and massaging it before you wash it out. The oil can provide nourishment to dry hair, and the scalp massaging can help boost blood circulation that can help for a number of things.
Over the past few months I have gone back to using hair oil to help solve some of my hair woes. What woes you ask? Oh there's a lot!

Greying hair
Hair loss
Dry hair
Dry scalp

Now, I still don't have the hair of my dreams, but the regularly oiling has helped some of these issues, and it just makes me feel better about taking care of myself too. A regular scalp massage can help to reduce stress and leave my hair softer. So here I'm sharing the stand out products that have been on rotation over the last few months and how I use them.  Cue the drum roll pleasseeee.......

A Gold standard: Castor Oil


Girlfriends share the best tips, and this is one of them! My friend who had suffered from post-partum hair loss told me to get on the Castor Oil train asap!  Castor oil is thick and sticky, and goes a pretty long way. I use it before I wash my hair by massaging my scalp with the oil and letting it sit for as long as I can. Sometimes I leave it overnight or just rock my daily errands with a greasy head.  Castor oil is a natural moisturizer so it's great for a dry scalp as well as for dry ends, but it is heavy so a little does go a long way.  When looking for a good quality castor oil look for a high quality oil that is virgin and cold pressed.


So as my love affair for castor oil continues,  this organic and cold pressed castor oil by Briogeo is great for leaving in my hair when I'm not trying to rock the greasy hair look because of the pump that it comes in. It allows me to only get out a little at a time, so it helps control how much I can use. I use this by putting it on my fingertips and then apply it directly on my dry patches on my scalp. I'll put it on my scalp when my hair is still wet after washing and then brush it through so my hair doesn't get weighed down. It's also fantastic for your eyebrows to help thicken them!

A close second: Tea Tree & Jojoba Scalp Oil



This one by Earth's Nectar has tea tree oil which helped so much when I had abrasions on my scalp from eczema. It also has jojoba and almond oils which are lightweight.  It helps to strengthen your hair and promote natural hair growth. It has a lightly scented tea tree oil scent which is not too overpowering and as well it quite light and absorbing.  It doesn't weigh down, but also I use it in small quantities directly on my scalp.

My absolute favourite: Sahajan Ayurvedic Blend





This one is my new favourite! Mostly because I absolutely LOVE the smell!! It's a combination of coconut oil, amla  and eclipta alba oils. Did I mention it smells heavenly? it's light enough to use sparingly on my scalp for those dry patches, but also great to use on my hair before I blow dry it and sometimes works well as a finishing oil, depending on how dry my ends are.
I have a special, limited time code to use for your first purchase on Sahajan. Get 15% off your purchase by using "thismama15". I'm stocking up!


A special mention:


So this one isn't a traditional oil, it's more my bonus favourite product. BB hairdresser's invisible oil acts like a heat protector and primer before you blow dry and heat torture your tresses. I love the smell, how light it is and that it actually does protect my hair! This is one product that I always repeat buy.

So while my struggle for getting the perfect healthy mane continues, incorporating regular hair oiling has become part of my routine. I do a hair oil and scalp massage once a week (sometimes two depending how dry my scalp is), and I continue to apply small amounts of oil on the very dry patches on my scalp before I style my hair. I have noticed my hair being less dry, it appears to be growing well and I just feel good about adding in this extra step to take care of myself.

Looking for more hair oil tips? Check out Pink Chai Living, where you can find how to make your own effective hair oil!


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