Beauty Haul 2019

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Recently, I've been reading research papers and blogs by dermatologists to get a better idea about skin care products and their efficacy.   I learnt plenty about the many scams and shams present in the skincare and beauty industry.  To my dismay, my skin has been itchy with bumps after using my atypical skincare products.  This is what sparked my wanting to do read into my products further, and other ones I could potentially try.  In fairness, I've not changed my skincare regime for what feels like over a year.  I can't promise that the products purchased in this haul are perfect for everyone.  In addition, there very well may be ingredients inside them that are not beneficial topically.  I will post an updated skincare routine and thorough review of these items if they prove to do well on me.  Nonetheless, let us get into the haul!

Disclaimer: I am not a dermatologist or a doctor, I am simply imparting the knowledge I have gained through researching skincare ingredients and products.  On top of that, I do not want to influence your decisions.  If you want proper advice, seek a professional such as a dermatologist or your GP before changing your skincare regime or including new products into it.  

Superdrug Classic Care Antidandruff Shampoo 500mL- £2.49

I am someone that suffers with flaky dandruff, especially near my forehead.  I do believe it is due to excessive fungal growth and found that using ketoconazole in Nizoral Anti-dandruff shampoo really helped.  Ketoconazole is an antifungal or fungicide (meaning it kills the fungus or yeast in this case).   However, Nizoral tends to be quite expensive so I decided to purchase this shampoo given that it contains zinc pyrithione which is a common anti-fungal ingredient.  Unfortunately, to be equally as effective as ketoconazole, it requires more frequent and regular use but it is gentle enough for everyday and long-term which is a benefit.  



Pantene Pro-V Superfood Full and Strong Conditioner 400mL - £1.98

Frankly, I purchased this because it is a 400ml bottle for less than £2.  This does contain parfume/fragrance which is frustrating but given that it is a product you wash out, it is less likely, in my opinion to cause harm in the long run.   I plan on posting an in-dept post about the science and anatomy of hair.  However, conditioner works by reducing the appearance (not actually improving hair health) of dead, dry, frizzy, and split ends for example. 




No fragrance! On top of that, the ingredients are very limited in this product so it is less likely to cause irritation or sensitisation of the skin.  I was tempted to try out a new face wash as I've been using the same one by Garnier for some time.  I will continue to use that product as it is a face mask, wash, and scrub in one.  On top of this, I suffer with spots on my forehead which hopefully both the anti-dandruff shampoo and this face wash can work in conjunction to reduce.  Interestingly, this also contains niacinamide which is a common component of many skin brightening creams.  Therefore, it may aid in dark circles and brightening the face in the process. 


No perfume again! We are on a roll.  CereVe has gained a lot of recognition as a medicated skin care despite being an over the counter product.  It is said to be beneficial for dry to very dry skin due to the inclusion of ceramides.  Ceramides are lipids which helps to restore the skin's natural barrier against pollution, irritants, and aids in retaining moisture or hydration.  There is no point drinking 2 litres of water if you don't have a proper barrier! I am excited to try this given that I was loyal to my Nivea Soft tube cream for over two years - it was about time to move on.  On the whole, I have dry skin - I tend attain dry patches on my cheeks, despite having a relatively oily T zone.   



That is everything I purchased! I know it was only four products but I am very excited to up my skincare game.  Simplicity is key.  You do not need to exfoliate, use masks every day, and tone your skin.  Much of it is a gimmick by the beauty industry and influencers.  Trends do not equate to need.    It's time I use my science degree more often.  Nevertheless, I hope this post inspired you guys to take a closer look at your products.

Thank you for reading!

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Tag | Closet Confidential

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This post is certainly different to what I usually discuss but one of my favourite topics, without a doubt, is fashion!  Thus, I couldn't pass up this tag because they're a quick insight to my wardrobe.  Let's dive right in!  

What is the oldest item in your wardrobe/closet?

I recently threw out a majority of my clothes - one of which is a dress I've had for nearly 8 years that I bought at Next during Black Friday.  Hence, up until recently, that was my oldest item which I regularly wore.  Now, the oldest item I own has to be an anarkali my parents gifted me in America when I was sixteen which was seven years ago.  

What is the newest item?

The newest item arrived yesterday! It is another anarkali from Sareeka which took 2 months to arrive.  Given that I have moved to an area that is significantly more diverse, I have been submerging myself in a lot more cultural/south asian events.  Thus, I realised my wardrobe lacked ethnic wear. 


What is the most expensive item?


The anarkali, the oldest item I own, costed $500 USD at the time of purchasing it. 




What was the biggest bargain?

A Ralph Lauren dress!  It was second hand and was only $44.50 despite having the tag.  This is a little over 70% off (original price was $155 USD) which is fantastic for the quality, fit, and colour.  

On top of that, Andaaz for their asian wear given that it is such an amazing deal for the quality in comparison to brick and mortars that charge a much greater amount for tailored garments. 

What was the biggest waste of money?

I use to bulk buy from cheap websites such as SheIn for example.  I got shopping-happy which translates to spending a considerable amount in one go. The biggest lesson I learnt the hard way is to be very critical of what you are buying.  75% of my closet was rendered useless and had to be cleared out due to having so many pieces that couldn't be worn.



What is the most affordable/cheapest item (that you use a lot)?

Any of my shoes from Dorothy Perkins.  Dorothy Perkins frequently holds sales where prices drop considerably from the original price.  A majority of my footwear comes from Dorothy Perkins and were not purchased for more than £15 - this includes heels, my loafers which I wear nearly every day, and ballet flats which are perfect for interviews. 



What are your 3 favorite items right now?

1. Embroidered dress by ASOS


Unfortunately it is sold out now, however, ASOS have a huge collection of similar embroidered dresses I recommend checking out! 

2. My black pleated mini skirt from Dorothy Perkins


3. My denim two-toned jacket from Dorothy Perkins. 


This, too, has sold out on the website but keep your eyes peeled for any similar ones if you are interested!



What is your favorite piece that you’ve gotten as a gift?

I have to pick two things: my masters graduation anarkali which was from Sareeka and my burgundy adidas gazelles which was also an undergraduate graduation present! 



What is the most comfortable item?

Easily my haram pants from Thailand.  Haram pants are the best for working out, dance, pyjamas, etc.  They are so versatile and honestly, I am confident wearing them outside paired with a simple solid colour top. 


What is the most outrageous/colorful item in your closet (that you absolutely love)?

I have a fair share of outrageously colourful Adidas sweatshirts or T-shirts that are considered marmite: love it or hate it.  Pictured below is one of these infamous T shirts in my wardrobe. 




What is the most uncomfortable item (but you would take the pain because you love it)?

This is easy.  My beautiful rose gold heels from New Look that make me look like Cinderella, but feel like her evil step-sister who desperately tries to fit her foot into the glass slipper.  




Where do you shop the most at?

A majority of my high street clothes are TopShop and Dorothy Perkins.  As for high end, my favourites are Ted Baker, Kate Spade, and Ralph Lauren.   


Pick your favorite black item and your favorite white item.

My favourite black item is a black corduroy pinafore dress from TopShop.  It was perfect during the colder winter months as a layering piece and adds a touch of sweetness to every look. Unfortunately, it is now sold out.  There are many similar ones in the market.

  

As for white, it has to be a white turtle neck from Zaful that has scalloped edging.  I've been lusting over a white simple white turtle neck that wasn't knitted or too thick.  They are staples in every wardrobe and it took me 22 years to find the perfect one for me.  It's incredibly soft, comfortable, and feels like high quality so I am thoroughly impressed. 





Something you love but everyone else hates?

This is a toughy because a majority of my wardrobe is monotoned or staple pieces.  I prefer to keep it simple nowadays. One garment that comes to mind, which some individuals may find too over the top, is my Ted Baker Bow Sleeved Jumper.  Personally, it is my favourite jumper that I do over-wear.  Others could find it sickly sweet due to the excessive bows and baby pink shade. 




Something that you’re excited to wear soon?

It has to be my Sareeka anarkali because there is something so regal about dressing in south asian wear.  Can someone hold a ball or get married please?


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Summer 2019 Resolutions

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This is a bit different! I thought this would be a fun post to make. Resolutions aren't just for the new year! As I am officially off university for the summer, despite a couple commitments here and there, I decided to make a list of things I wanted to accomplish before the start of the next school year.   It will be fun to update you guys as it seems that blogging tends to motivate me more given that it acts as a form of accountability. 

Get fitter.  I am determined to stick to working out as I write this.  My aim is to exercise at least 1 hour a day doing HIIT (Insanity of course and then move on to Insanity: The Asylum) and 1 hour of dance training (Kathak and hip hop especially).  Since my days are mostly free, I have no excuse.  All I need is more dry shampoo and deodorant.

Work on my styling portfolio.  I haven't put my certificate to as much use so I would like to put more effort into building up a fashion portfolio and posting more outfit of the days on my Instagram. I am hoping to do more freelance work in the coming years.

Learn to do a front flip, backflip, and splits.  I always admired gymnasts but my parents never had the funds growing up to put me in tumbling classes.  Nonetheless, never say never.  This summer I aim to get more flexible and eventually build up strength and technique to do a backflip.  I also feel these elements would add a different flare to dance routines.

Go over this years' university material.  It is important that I relearn this years material as our exams are cumulative. Therefore, everything taught in semester 1 and 2 can be tested in semester 3, 4, etc.  Thus, revisiting the material in a stress free mentality (not for examinations) over summer would prove beneficial.

Release note bundles on my Etsy.  I already have two, but I want to release at least five more note bundles onto my Etsy for other individuals or healthcare professionals to utilise.  The note bundles I aim to release are: cardiovascular system, musculoskeletal system, haematology, metabolism, endocrinology, infection, and pathological processes.

Wake up early.  Prior to my exam results, I was soaking up the peace of just sleeping in and not worrying about revision (despite the re-occurring dream that I missed all my tests).  Now I am determined to wake up early and make it more of a natural habit.

I'll post an update on how my resolutions are going in a months' time, and it would be interesting to see what I've achieved.

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Curating your Dream Wardrobe

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Building your dream wardrobe can be an overwhelming task.  Recently, I cleared out 75% of my clothes because I found my closet to be cluttered with pieces I no longer had an affinity for.  It was a refreshing experience to detox and realise what my newfound style is.  Now, I can see all of my garments for various occasions. Through this process, I realised a few important considerations one should make when decluttering and curating their dream wardrobe.  No wardrobe is built over night, it is a procedure that takes time.  It would be unrealistic and financially straining to do a complete makeover in a short span of time. 

Detox. Here is a blogpost I did a few months ago on how to clean and sort your clothes in 3 easy steps: click here for more. Cleaning out your existing closet is a major step in curating your dream wardrobe.  It enables you to visualise what you have, what you do not need/want, and what you need.  This emphasises the importance in shopping with intention (a.k.a knowing what exactly you are looking for) and prevents cluttering in the future.

Categorisation.  Your wardrobe should cater to your lifestyle.  Garments should fall under the following general categories: 
  • Loungewear/Pyjamas
  • Workwear/Office Wear - Regardless of your job or if you are still in school/university, having formal clothes is useful for interviews, conferences, business events, etc. 
  • Everyday - These are pieces you want to wear to university, school, shopping, running errands, etc. 
  • Work out outfits - You only need 3 pairs for the week depending on how often you do laundry
  • Occasion wear - I have occasion wear for formal events such as balls and dances, and also south-asian wear such as anarkalis, salwar kameez, saris, etc.  
When buying garments, ensure that it suits your lifestyle.  For example, there is no need for me to purchase tennis skirts, hiking gear, or gloves for lifting heavy weights because that does not fit my day-to-day life.  But for others, these pieces are necessary and worn daily.  This guarantees that you have clothes various occasions; saving money in the long run.  Purchasing prom dresses the day before the event can break the bank (speaking from experience). 

Buy in Outfits.  In the past, I would buy random pieces that did not go with anything previously present in my wardrobe.  This meant I had to snap up more attire which isn't financially viable or they collect dust in the back of my wardrobe as I'm unable to wear it. Now, when I shop, it's crucial that I have complimenting garments or purchase an outfit instead of random articles of clothing.  Having an outfit ready as soon as you walk out of the store makes sifting through your wardrobe that little bit easier. 

Do not buy in bulk. It is very tempting to go on a shopping spree and admire your new wardrobe.  By all means, if you have the money to do so, you do you! However, most individuals may be apprehensive.  Fashion is fast. It changes every day, let alone every season and year.  There will be new material in stock that may catch your eye. It is preferable to buy a couple garments every few months.  As aforementioned, curating your dream wardrobe takes time and is a journey to be embraced. 

Themes. Having a theme ensures your wardrobe is more cohesive.  Forming outfits will be an easier task. A theme doesn't have to equate to a particular style.  Rather, it involves embracing ideas of a capsule wardrobe where multiple pieces complement and work well together.  We have all suffered with 'I don't have anything to wear Syndrome' where an underlying symptom is a closet full of clothes.  Having a theme will help prevent this issue. The existing themes in my wardrobe are:

  • Colours: pink, beige, stones, neutrals
  • Patterns: florals, printed statement skirts, and embroidery
  • Textures: tweed and boucle
If you are unsure of what themes you may be drawn towards, using resources as simple as Pinterest or fashion bloggers is a great way to decipher your personal style and preferences. 

Quality not quantity. In the past, I would strictly shop at cheaper stores in an effort to have more options in my closet.  Nonetheless, quantity does not mean more options because the pieces could be cheap, rip easily, or simply be bought in bulk and not go with anything you own! 

On the other hand, quality does not mean high-end and designer.  Rather, it is being more vigilant that the products you buy are long-lasting and appear rich.  You do not have to spend more money in an effort to achieve quality.  Many high-street brands such as TopShop, Dorothy Perkins, and even Primark have produced high quality garments that I wear to this day despite buying them many years ago.  Lastly, having higher-quality goods will make you feel and look more put together. Many online outlets allow you to access past-season designer or high-end wear for high-street prices such as MandMDirect and BrandAlley. 

In essence, those are my steps to curating your dream wardrobe.  It does not happen over night.  It is a slow burner. Saying that, it is extremely satisfying to see your closet grow to fit your needs, wants, and taste.  There isn't a day I struggle to find something to wear that makes me feel confident.  Life is too short to not feel like a million dollars! 








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How I study Anatomy

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Hello everyone!  The anticipation waiting for my exam results has resulted in my inactivity but, by the grace of God, I have passed my first year of medical school.  Therefore, I felt that it was appropriate that I shared my methods of learning anatomy as it can be an arduous task figuring out what study techniques and resources are the best aid without breaking the bank.  




Resources 

Google. More than textbooks, my biggest resource was simply google images of pro-sections that were fully labelled.  If your exam includes an element where you will have pro-sections that you need to discuss/label, then this is a very vital way to learn.  Unfortunately, the human body is more mono-toned and muscles/nerves/arteries tend to look like spaghetti.  Thus, getting use to labelling parts in a pro-section will aid your learning far more.  

Netter's Flashcards - £26.94Despite flashcards being the most effective learning method, I can be quite lazy at utilising them.  Making the flashcards itself is what drains a lot of time.  Hence, these anatomy flashcards were perfect for me.  Not only does it have the body parts labelled, it discusses their purpose, insertion/origin, and common clinical conditions associated with that specific part.  These cards permit access to an online flashcard deck with questions and answers to facilitate your studying.  It saves you a lot of time in the long run and you can get stuck right in with learning! This is a fantastic memorisation aid. 



Complete Anatomy 2019.  I was blessed that my university actually equips medical students with an iPad and discount codes for this application.  However, I am aware that this is a luxury many cannot have.  If you have a smart phone or tablet that can support the app, I do recommend considering complete anatomy.  During the semester, I used this app frequently to consolidate my learning but during revision I mainly focused on the flashcards, pro-section pictures, and lecture notes.  This app is perfect at gaining a better understanding on particular insertion and origin points of tendons, muscles, etc. alongside memorising and visualisation about each part's location.

It must be surprising that I didn't mention any specific textbooks.  Personally, I did not use a textbook for my exam revision because sometimes there can be a surplus of information present that you do not need for your exams, but do require to consolidate understanding.  A textbook that I do refer to is Gray's Anatomy Student Edition which is a simplified version of the original textbook. It is more concise and the language is easier to follow in comparison. 

Revision techniques

Repetition repetition repetition.  I cannot emphasise the importance in revisiting the material you learnt in anatomy.  A majority of it is rote learning and memorisation above everything else.  Most of my revision techniques discuss how you can increase your memorisation power in the context of anatomy.  Thus, for this tip, make sure you try to keep up during the semester or if that fails, give yourself enough time to revise anatomy thoroughly.  

Teach the material.  As everyone says 'your ability to teach others dictates how well you know the material yourself'.  I will either teach my mother, talk out loud to myself, or teach my stuffed animals (who are now very intelligent).  It is a fun and great way to self-assess how much and how well you know the information.  

Use your own body. Online, there is a wealth of resources that demonstrate how we can learn the dermatomes and myotomes for example, through various movements.  In the exam, don't hesitate to move subtle movements with your body (plantar flexion, finger hyperextension, etc.) to jog your memory. Obviously, try to be discrete as you do not want the exam invigilators to get suspicious.  Nonetheless, this is a great movement and tool to use.  Some even suggest drawing the muscles, tendons, nerve fibres, etc on your body (wash off before entering exam hall of course) to fully understand where these parts are present and their size. 

It's in the name! A lot of muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc. are named in such a way that it informs the reader of their role and location.  For example: flexor hallucis longus muscle.  

Flexor = flexes the joint it crosses- muscles only act on the joint that they cross!
Hallucis = big toe, therefore this muscle acts on the big toe
Longus = it is a 'long' muscle which suggests it would insert in the distal (distant) phalanx of the big toe.  

This is a great way to eliminate potential answers, for example in multiple choice questions where you aren't sure if a muscle would aid in a specific movement. Similarly, if you are asked to look at pro-sections, this enables you to determine the accurate muscle movements involved if asked 'which muscle aids in flexion of the big toe?'.   Thus, be sure to take a few deep breaths and look at the information logically if you are unsure.

Clinical conditions.  In my experience, learning the clinical conditions really facilitated my memorisation.  When you study what went wrong in a clinical condition, you can solidify the role of that particular body part.  For example, if the the big toe cannot be flexed, because there is something wrong with flexor hallucis longus muscle, its action on the joint makes more sense. Although it may feel irrelevant when learning about pure anatomy and physiology, it actually highlights the importance, position, and movement of particular body parts.  

Drawing. Unleash your inner artist! Drawing furthers your memorisation as it requires you to actively recall the length and location of the muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and arteries.  I would draw on my white board instead of a paper personally but I feel using colour on paper will make the information stick faster and better. Sometimes, its more efficient to review your own drawings than pictures from textbooks. 

Mnemonics. These are your best friend.  The number of mnemonics that have helped me study anatomy is unreal.  In the bones of the hand:  

Start - Scaphoid
Left - Lunate
To - Triquetral 
Pinky - Pisiform
Here - Hamate
Comes - Capitate
The - Trapezoid
Thumb - Trapezium

I have heard positive reviews about Mnemonics for medical students and study tips by Khalid Khan and recommend purchasing this.  My professors even suggested this book and you can purchase it here. 

Those are my main tips!  Anatomy involves finding the most suitable revision technique for you prior to memorising the information.  Afterwards, it is a very steep curve of success.  Do not be discouraged and enjoy the journey.  My tips and resources are simply potential tools that anyone can utilise but if you find they do not work for you, feel free to ask your personal tutor, friends, lecturers, or google other blogs that discuss ideas on how to efficiently study anatomy.  The beauty of anatomy - it never changes!

Thank you for reading.  

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