Natural Mantra


Leave a comment

Winter Skin Care: Natural Winter Skin Care Tips

Winter is here. Two weeks of ignoring my skin because of a tight work schedule, and I realised something had to be done. Due to low humidity, it’s now become unbearably dry. Had to bid adieu to laziness and say hello to a little pampering to my skin. Needless to say that I ain’t the kind who’d engage in long hours of pampering. Something quick, effective and and needless to say chemical-free.

I have mixed skin which is sensitive. And thin scanty hair to boot. So I always have to remind  myself to check product labels for any toxic chemicals that cause more harm than good in the long run. I personally always try to use as many natural, safe and non-toxic personal care products as possible to avoid harming my already sensitive skin and scalp. While I gathered the various natural options that were available to me to treat dry skin it came to me why not write a post that becomes a ready reference guide to you too.  Within just a few weeks of religious skin care routine I can feel the difference. No kidding!!

Here are a few handy tips for you to ensure that your skin does not suffer in winter and continues to stay soft, supple, healthy and nourished through bleak and harsh weather:

1. Moisturise plenty.  Use a good hand and body lotion to moisturise your hands. Pay special attention to the skin near knuckles and elbows since they darken and turn rough because of the extreme dry air.

USDA certified OG Body Organic Body Butter

Full body butter works well on dry darkened elbows and knees. To regain the natural skin colour before the skin darkened, follow these easy steps:

  • Soak in a bath. Use a body scrub to gently cleanse the dead skin.
  • Use a soft towel to tap the skin dry. Do not wipe the water off. Even if a thin layer of water is left on your skin, it’s alright.
  • Apply body butter and hand lotion except on the elbows and knees.
  • On the elbows and knees, use a skin-lightening oil to ensure that they do not darken further and with constant use, they will gradually regain their original colour.
  • Follow up by applying the body butter or moisturising lotion.
2. Acne is a big problem during winter because of dryness. Start with the dictum: 8 glasses of water a day. Filtered tap water is a non-fancy inexpensive way to maintain your body’s water levels. A couple of extra trips to the washroom are better than muscle cramps, fatigue, dizziness and other symptoms that manifest themselves when you stop drinking water because it’s cold. Energy drinks, fizzy colas and coffee and tea do not count as fluid suppliers.
To replenish skin that is already damaged, at night, wash up with a mild face wash and apply a facial moisturiser before turning in for the night.
You might want to try an organic Aloe Vera Gel which has natural astringent properties and has multi-purpose uses. Use it like an antiseptic, or a recommend it as an after-shave it soothes and calms the skin without leaving it oily.  To me it’s a must have in my purse.
3. The skin on the lips is very thin. Moisture escapes easily from here. Hence, to keep the moisture sealed inside to prevent chapped lips, apply a lip balm. Do this after bathing when there’s a tiny bit of moisture still present in the skin. You can later apply lip colour over it. Reapply the lip balm as often as your lips need it.   4. Hair also tends to suffer during winter. More than pre-monsoon weeks. Remember to use hair oil before washing with a mild shampoo, and a conditioner after washing.

Rustic Art 100% Natural Aloe Shampoo.It really works!

Tip: Rinse in tepid or cool water for the last two minutes (as cold as you can manage on winter mornings). This traps the moisture in the hair ensuring that it does not turn brittle when it dries out. You can use a scarf to protect hair from drying out in the breeze.

Soulflower: Stress relief oils

5. A perfect way to pamper your skin from top to bottom is to soak in a half hour bubble bath with fragrant oils and soft music. The aromatherapy oils work wonders in relaxing you. Alternately, you can also lavish your skin with an oil massage and then have a long soak in de-stressing bath salts.
Remember to invest in a product that suits your skin type and hair type. Not choosing the right product for your skin and hair may worsen its condition.  More importantly understand what is ‘truly natural’ and I can’t emphasize it enough. Simply stay away from products that have sulphates, parabens and phtalates. Incase this is too much to remember, visit NaturalMantra.com to shop for products for your family that are safe, healthy, non-toxic products. Their team screens product ingredients so you don’t have to. You will find a wide range of natural, organic non-toxic, safe oils, lotions, scrubs, and balms that you can choose from to pamper your skin and hair during the aftermath of winter. Visit NaturalMantra.com for the full list and details of all natural  products.
About NaturalMantra.com In our fast paced lives, a sustainable lifestyle shouldn’t be a struggle, but it sometimes is. Our mission is to provide the largest selection of  natural, organic and eco-friendly products making it accessible and affordable to all. At NaturalMantra.com you can choose from a wide selection of safe, healthy non-toxic products, all in one place delivered to your door! Leave us a comment and connect with us here:
Post contributed by : Ankita Gujar ; About the Author : Ankita Gujar 
Ankita is a graduate in Sociology and Political Science from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. The environmental movement has always interested her ever since she was introduced to the water cycle in the 3rd standard. She loves to travel and experience new cultures. At age 21, she first got a taste of “pristine” nature when she backpacked across the Scottish Highlands and she wants her kids to be able to experience that when they grow up to earn their trip across the world. She is also a teacher of languages – English and French. She hopes to make people aware of the advantages of adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle because she wants to be able to pet a tiger and swim with a dolphin when she gets the courage to pet the tiger and gets out of the house to exercise regularly at the pool in her locality and learns to swim…which is going to probably be around 5 decades from today. So help her to pet a tiger and swim with a dolphin. Go Green.


1 Comment

DIY Eco-friendly Ideas: Recycle Wedding Invitations

Top 5 craft ideas with wedding invitations you’d otherwise throw

Wedding season has added some inches to my waistline and my decorative paper collection is growing bigger and better every weekend. Instead of throwing away those invites that bride’s and groom’s family spend a fortune on, make good use of those gorgeous patterned and prettily designed papers to entertain yourself and the kids.

Here’s what I did with a few wedding invites.

1. A bookmark
2. A photo frame
3. A wall-hanging
4. Gift cards with a difference
5. Handwritten notes

Here’s how you can make them from wedding invites instead of spending a bomb on buying craft paper from the stationary store. It is “reuse and recycle” made chic and pretty.

1. Bookmarks

Wedding invites come in envelopes. The closing flap is usually not glued. Cut off the closing flap, trim its edges. You can make it a regular rectangle, a rectangle with the edges cut in curves or a hexagon.

What I do to personalise my bookmark is write a quote or a sentence from the book or a small poem that means something to me. It can be funny, witty, and philosophical or anything that appeals to my mind. A nice site to give you an idea of the kind of thoughts I write:

www.grouchyrabbit.com or for great inspirational or situational quotations, visit www.thinkexist.com.

“If you are gifting a book to anyone on any occasion, this is a great way to personalise it. Write a thoughtful line about the person you are gifting a book to on their personalised bookmark.”

Handy Tip: Sometimes bookmarks are shorter than the book. And while you can locate it, it’s easier to ensure that it’s visible at all times. You can cut along the lines shown in the illustration and make a hook for the bookmark to stay in place so it’s clearly visible.  If that’s too much to do for a simple bookmark, just punch a hole in the centre of the top one centimetre and tie a used ribbon or a piece of coloured twine! And it’s ready!

2. A Photo Frame 🙂

The card on which the invite is printed is usually a longish rectangle. Some invites have two cards – one for the wedding ceremony and another one for the reception. You can turn this into a photo frame. Put a nice picture and gift it to someone or just keep it by your bedside, your child’s study table or pin it to the soft board at your office desk. If there is no card in the invite, you can trim the envelope and use the unprinted side of the envelope (where the flap closes). However, remember, since we are re-using a size that’s predetermined, you may have to trim the photograph. Or get a smaller size developed.

Follow the steps given below to make a photo frame:

  1. Trim Card 1 at a distance of 2 centimetres from its outer border
  2. Stick Card 2 overleaf Card 1. You will have an extra two centimetres sticking out. Cut three of the corners along the lines shown in the diagram.

3.  Paste three of the folds on Card one. The fold with the corners still intact is to help you slide the photo in.

4. Fold the corners of the fourth in a way as to be able to glue them to the reverse of the display.

5. Once glued, cut a slit on this side so that the photo can be inserted or changed.

6.  Fold a wooden ice-cream spoon or even a doubled-up piece of scrap paper from the wedding invite to use as a support stand.

7.  Voilà! Your reused paper photoframe with a custom design from the wedding invite paper is ready to store a precious memory!

3. A wall-hanging

This is easy to make once you have the photo frame base ready. One wall-hanging that I have is of the poem “Desiderata” by Max Ehrmann and another one of Rudyard Kipling’s “If”. I tend to write something in calligraphy because I am terrible at drawing and colouring. But I have attempted some oriental designs like the simple ones one sees in Haiku books.

The easiest thing after painting little cherry blossoms is Warli art. It has stick figures drawn with only triangles and circles using only white paint. Make up your own story and tell it in pictures.

  1. Leave a distance of one centimetre from the side you want to be at the top.
  2. Punch a single hole or double holes according to your preference for placing it a certain way on your wall.
  3. Use a ribbon or coloured twine that’s quadrupled to give it more strength.
  4. And voila! Your wall-hanging is ready.

4. Gift cards with a difference

I have sent and received several gifts that have been wrapped in a shop and then presented with a tacky card that says “Best wishes, Best compliments from”… I finally decided to make my own gift cards that were personalised and recycled.

 

5. Hand-written notes

These are my replacements for “post-it” notes. Use a card or paper from the invite that can be cut into the approximate dimensions of 5 X 7 centimetres or 7 X 10 centimetres.

If it is dark coloured paper, write with a silver gel pen. Or a black ink pen if it is light coloured paper that you are using. You can also make it more attractive by adding a border to it with contrast colour trimmings from other parts of the invite. Or just draw a border with a colour pencil.

Working with paper de-stresses me immensely. From cutting it to size, folding it, coming up with some design to draw on it, and then gifting it to someone knowing that I’ve given it a touch of “me”, it’s a nice way to show that a person cares. Not just about the people in your life, but also about the environment.

So the next time, think of all the use they can be before you dump those vibrant and colourful invites into your raddiwalla’s possession!

 

About NaturalMantra.com

In our fast paced lives, a sustainable lifestyle shouldn’t be a struggle, but it sometimes is. Our mission is to provide the largest selection of  natural, organic and eco-friendly products making it accessible and affordable to all. At NaturalMantra.com you can choose from a wide selection of safe, healthy non-toxic products, all in one place delivered to your door!

Leave us a comment and connect with us here:

Post contributed by : Ankita Gujar ;

About the Author : Ankita Gujar 

Ankita is a graduate in Sociology and Political Science from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. The environmental movement has always interested her ever since she was introduced to the water cycle in the 3rd standard. She loves to travel and experience new cultures. At age 21, she first got a taste of “pristine” nature when she backpacked across the Scottish Highlands and she wants her kids to be able to experience that when they grow up to earn their trip across the world. She is also a teacher of languages – English and French. She hopes to make people aware of the advantages of adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle because she wants to be able to pet a tiger and swim with a dolphin when she gets the courage to pet the tiger and gets out of the house to exercise regularly at the pool in her locality and learns to swim…which is going to probably be around 5 decades from today. So help her to pet a tiger and swim with a dolphin. Go Green.


3 Comments

Mayonnaise with free-range eggs

Homemade Mayonnaise has real flavour as opposed to the insipid taste of the jarred version. You can adjust the consistency, depending on what you are using it for. Stiff Mayo is good for serving with deep-fried and grilled food, while a loser mayo can be used as a sauce for seafood or hot or cold veggies.
Vegetable oil work best as they are tasteless and can be used for multipurpose mayo. Olive oil or any nut oil can be used to make more distinctively flavoured mayo. Most mayo, can be made by hand or in a blender, but mayo made with olive oil should be made in mortar pestle by hand, because the aggressive action of the blender or even a whisk, may compromise the flavour of the oil and may turn slightly bitter.

I will be sharing the blender method. Most recipes suggest to use only the yolk. It can also be made using solely egg whites, with no yolks at all, if it is done at high speed in a food processor. The resulting texture appears to be the same. I prefer to use the whole egg. The choice is yours 🙂

2 whole free-range eggs
1tbs i2cook mustard
1tsp vinegar
250gm (approx) sunflower or any vegetable oil, even soy oil is good
salt & pepper to taste

Combine the eggs, mustard, vinegar in a blender. With the blender on the lowest speed, pour oil in a slow but steady stream through the opening in the top of the  blender, blending until the mayo stiffens. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Mayo may break – that is the oil may separate out of emulsion and the mayo may turn loose and grainy( if the oil is added too fast at the beginning or the mayo is too stiff). If its stiff – just add water, vinegar and blend well. If the mayo breaks – just  rework the broken mayo into another egg in a second bowl.

Plain mayo can be flavoured to create innumerable variations, by adding dry or fresh herb/herbs or by adding capers or finely chopped gherkins. You could also colour the mayo orange by adding saffron.

A lot of us wonder or are confused about what does cage-free birds or free-range eggs mean? Last month there was an interesting article on  cage-free birds in BBC Good Food, India in which it mentioned that, the  cage-free birds are not cooped up in a cage unlike the commercial ones. In the commercial ones, the cages are placed in a row and stacked several tiers high. The cages are so cramped up that the living space is less than an A4 size paper. On the other hand,  cage-free birds are not kept in cages and are allowed open access to the outdoors.

In rural setting, birds are allowed to forage in the backyard and in urban one they are allowed to roam freely within a large compound.
Free-range eggs are more expensive than the commercially available eggs. The well known brand, Keggs, based in Delhi, costs 55/- for half a dozen which is nearly triple the price. These eggs are at a premium cost since the egg production is not predictable and  it is difficult to monitor how much feed each bird consumes. So at this rate the bird may lay an egg only once every two days.

There has been no scientific evidence to suggest that these eggs are more nutritious than regular eggs. Consuming free-range eggs is more of a conscience call.

In Mumbai, you can buy  free-range eggs from Foodhall, at Palladium Mall, Nature’s Basket outlets and I’ve also spotted them  at Jude’s Cold Storage, Bandra. You can also check with your local chicken shop if they could arrange for some locally.

Who am I?
My name is Megha from ‘i2cook’. Yup I’m the one who makes peanut butter and other organic products. You can buy my products online. I’m a guest author on Natural Mantra and will be posting all things healthy. I don’t mind being assertive when it comes to talking about all things healthy/organic that are good for you. Feel free to share your thoughts. There’s always room for a little improvement…..what say 😉