The Quirky Princess

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Hey Everyone!

I wanted to drop you all a line to let you know Confessions of a Quirky Princess is slowly transitioning over to The Quirky Princess.

All the love and support you’ve given over the years, has encouraged me to take that leap into the world of self-hosting and take my blog to the next level. I am super excited and hope you’ll find the new site more informative and easier to use.

Looking forward to your thoughts, please sign up and can’t wait for this new chapter.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Love & Hugs xo

All that glam

My healthy habits for life truly began during our wedding days. For our big day I wanted to glow inside out, that is why I began following an alkaline lifestyle and have kept it up ever since. Another thing that I stuck with is using GLAMGLOW mud masks after seeing them in a wedding magazine.

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Okay, so maybe it wasn’t the only reason I was glowing (my handsome groom definitely put a beaming smile on my face), but my YouthMud was definitely the icing on the cake. They call it a facial in a jar, which couldn’t be more true, my skin felt super clean, lifted and tighter too. Since then I’ve tried their SuperMud as an overnight spot treatment (just dab a little on the affected area) and to keep my skin happy during winter in Canada, I am hooked on ThirsyMud. Which smells amazing and leaves my skin feeling dewy, soft and fresh.

I was replenishing my stock at Sephora the other day when I learnt the owners would be there at the weekend promoting their new “mud to foam” range (which is just as lush, mud that turns into cleansing foam) and so I booked an appointment. It was really nice meeting Glenn and Shannon Dellimore, they even signed my little jar of mud, so much better than just taking a selfie!

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I spend a lot of time choosing skincare products, I love trying new beauty lines but will only really invest in something if it is worth it and does what it says on the bottle. This range is a little like magic, it does the trick. After using it, I rarely bother putting on any make-up, just power up my brows and add flick of mascara.

If you have been keeping an eye on 2015 make-up trends, you will know that day glow, barely there hues and a natural face with pops of colour is right on the money. A fresh faced look needs a little more love than usual when it comes to taking care of the skin in winter and that polar vortex isn’t making it any easier. GLAMGLOW ThirstyMud is all that jazz.

Blue[berry] Monday

Ignorance is bliss. I didn’t even realise today was the most depressing day of the year but while reading about it online I found an article promoting a good use for the 26th of January 2015. Let’s use today to create awareness about all mental health illnesses.

I energy exchange at my local yoga studio and this week we are running two classes in support of Bell Let’s Talk, a campaign geared to ending the stigma associated with mental health illnesses. I did a certificate in counselling and psychotherapy, so talking about mental wellbeing isn’t something I shy away from but not everyone feels comfortable talking about it. This makes it really hard for people who have mental health illnesses, because what they need more than anything is support and empathy.

So how can you get involved? See if there are any events happening locally and take part in them, so you too can be part of the conversation. Educate yourself, ask questions and listen.

There are times where we feel down, this is beautifully human. Sometimes I need to feel sad, instead of fighting it I embrace it and work through those emotions and emerge feeling much better. If you ever feel like your down days are not just a passing phase, don’t stop yourself from reaching out. It is so important to talk to someone who will be able to give you the support and advice you need.

I’ve found that when I don’t eat well or workout I start to feel terrible, tired and quite out of sorts. While there are many mental illnesses that need more attention than better food choices and exercise, for most of us, leading a healthy lifestyle can do wonders for our mental wellbeing.

I kicked off my day with an uplifting smoothie. This one has all the right things to turn that frown upside down. Blueberries have a purple pigment called anthocyanin, so as well as being a heart-healthy antioxidant, they are wonderful mood enhancers. For good measure, I added flax (as low levels of Omega-3 can throw you off), and magnesium-rich cashew butter and chia seeds, both are also great mood enhancers.

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(Serves 1)

A big handful of blueberries
1tbsp ground flax
1/2 cup filtered water
1/2 cup of nut milk
1tbsp cashew butter
1tsp chia seeds

Blitz the blueberries and flax with the water and pour into your glass.

Clean out the blender, and then blend your milk with the cashew butter and chia seeds.

Create a layer effect by taking a teaspoon and place it on the rim of the glass. Pour the milk slowly into the glass over the teaspoon. See this image.

(Or you can just blend the whole lot together, layering is optional.)

That in-house mozzarella though

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My hubby and I recently attended a menu tasting event at Scaddabush, a restaurant named after the Italian slang word for a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

My first memory of Italian food is about twenty years or so old. I don’t think I was even into my first set of double digits in age, but then my Dad had us eating avocados and shellfish before we really understood that it was Sebastian from The Little Mermaid we were enjoying so much.

It was on the Isle of Man, we had decided to take a coastal drive, my father, my younger sister and I. We drove along the Island’s roads adjacent to the Irish Sea, making our way to Laxey of all places. My Dad is a real foodie, he loves all cuisines, has a serious sweet tooth, which he has passed down to my sister and I, and is never one to turn down a food adventure or not seek it in this case.

As we went down that teeny tiny road towards the beach, we passed a little restaurant – windows lit up with warm orange light and though we were supposed to be having dinner at home, Dad just decided to stop.

I still remember the first time I tried garlic bread that was flat and round, pizza that looked at though it had been made on tandoori naan and fresh pasta. In movies, I’ve heard people talk about the first time they tried heroin, nothing has ever lived up to that first experience of Italian food at La Mona Lisa.

We haven’t been to La Mona Lisa for many years now but some food memories just stay with you and it still plays on my mind whenever I order food in an Italian restaurant. It’s not as if I haven’t had great Italian food since then but nothing close to how that experience felt, studying the menu, bewildered by all the new words, asking Dad about items on the menu and watching him trying to figure it out (there was no Google back then), before waving the server over. Then, waiting for the food to come out, unsure why everything was the way it was but determined to try it all the same and having Manx ice cream after the entire event.

A few months a go, I went on a date with the hubby to Scaddabush after which we signed up to their social club. I love this place because there is nothing better than a restaurant that makes in-house mozzarella and with that tomato jam? I’ll happily concede to my hips and wave goodbye to any thoughts of abs.

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So about a week or so ago, I signed us up to one of their social events that took place a few days ago (thank goodness I follow the 70/30 rule, there were seven courses to try). Upstairs the vibe was super cozy and upbeat. Another reason, I love the Scaddabush interior is because it reminds me of The Elbow Room in Karachi (the only place in the world I have had lasagna to die for), rustic and inviting.

Honestly, I don’t remember the names of all the dishes, but I remember how good they were. The taste testing started with artichokes and calamari. Went onto freshly baked focaccia and warm olives, a mozzarella cheese bomb that oozed onto fiery peppers and tomatoes, followed by bite sized meatballs, pizza, and pasta and ended with a chocolate jar cake. Ahmed shamelessly ate two and went to the gym the next day.

Steve Silvestro, their executive chef, kind of paid homage to all my taste buds and challenged them with the delicious and the unexpected, sweet (honey drizzled onto a pizza with truffle oil) salty, sour (I didn’t know I could like olives so much) and spicy (the calamari had a kickass sauce on it). As course, after course came out, I felt closer and closer to home, that little restaurant close to the beach I love, and the little girl who fell in love with Italian food.

Happy Friday

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My lazy weekend has begun really early, today, I’m going to be resting under my tartan blanket with a hot water bottle and a Friends marathon on Netflix. (Yeah, I am cranky when I have cold and flu.)

Because I haven’t been up to making all the recipes I would have been this week, I thought I would share what I have been doing. I have drank my weight in herbal tea (which is quite the achievement, I’m no baby unicorn), my lovely hubby has done his best to get me to eat his flu busting paste (I would rather do shots of turmeric and ginger, what does that tell you?) and I bought a load of magazines yesterday which I can’t wait to read, yes, yet again I have ditched the growing pile of books on my “to-read-list”.

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I have also kept up my daily work-outs and doing my best to eat well. Lying on the couch all day just makes me feel worse (I would like to point out, that to me, resting and festering are worlds apart), so doing some gentle exercise really helps me when feeling poorly. (As does writing in brackets it seems.)

If you are missing my usual antics, you can read my article on New Year beauty picks over at We Heart Living or you could check me out on Instagram. (Hint, hint, nudge, nudge, wink, wink.)

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Hope you all have an amazing weekend! Can you believe we are half way into January all ready?

(Ps. If my lovely editors are reading this and wondering when I plan on submitting any of the articles I’m supposed to be writing, your guess is as good as mine.)

Gesundheit

I haven’t been as active on the blog this week, because I am not feeling so great. My throat feels like carpet and I have a head that feels like there are woodpeckers hammering against my third-eye.

When I used to get sick back in the day, I used to eat instant noodles, Farley’s rusks, drink Ribena and take over-the-counter drugs. I’d lose weight, but feel weak and terrible and with my autoimmunity it would take me the longest time to recover.

Since then I’ve learnt other alternatives to nourish myself whilst sneezing away, at some point I will create my own version of Ribena (it can’t be hard, I’m thinking beetroot juice and berries). Given that it is “cold season” I wanted to write a quick note to you sharing some of my fixes, which help me to feel a lot better without reaching for the pills. You can try these out even if you don’t have cold and flu symptoms to boost your immunity and keep sniffles at bay throughout winter.

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Ways I Try To Banish Cold & Flu

  • I start by adding ginger and star anise to my morning cup of hot water and lemon.
  • Shots! I love shots of wheatgrass, with filtered water and a few drops of chlorophyll (1tbsp wheatgrass powder, with a shot glass of filtered water and a tincture of chlorophyll as well as ginger shots. Just blend a a chunk of ginger with the fruit and juice of a lemon, add some cinnamon, cayenne pepper, turmeric and raw honey (or maple syrup) to it!
  • Green juices and green smoothies.
  • I eat poached or boiled eggs, or my avocados on toast and have grapefruit and my other favourite cold busting foods are are Khow Suey, the mushroom soup I posted last week and dhal/dal/daal.
  • I drink lots of herbal teas, especially green tea.
  • Exercise such as gentle Pilates and restorative yoga.
  • Taking hot baths with Epsom salts and soothing bath oils.

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Award Season

Did you all watch the Golden Globes last night? Congratulations to all the nominees and winners of yet another stellar year in movies.

While it may seem that the glitter of festivities has worn off, award season kind of keeps it alive for me. I love braving the cold in order to watch movies at the cinema, look forward to seeing the sparkling and glowing faces of the epic films and continuing to work on my own scripts and ideas hoping they make it to the big screen someday.

I definitely want to be healthy today following all that jazz from the red carpet last night, but something came to mind, on Mondays, given everything else that is going on (back to work, back to school, the beginning of the week, etcetera, etcetera), it isn’t always easy to make that a priority.

My sister-in-law shared a link to uber-avocados-on-toast with me over the weekend. I put it up on the Confessions of a Quirky Princess Facebook page saying I could live off green smoothies, lentils and avocados on toast. The only way I get through Monday without tearing open bars of chocolate are these go-to recipes.

Although having said that, my friends Haji and Jared can attest to their Christmas chocolate stash having significantly diminished after my visit to their home this weekend before a garage rave on Queen Street. Which also means I’ll be doing my Tracy Anderson treadmill workout for much longer today.

Mondays are busy and hectic for us (for anyone) and the last thing anyone wants to worry about is what to cook and eat. Between Ahmed working on shows, my deadlines, ballet and chores it’s so easy to succumb to an easy and not always healthy fix.

That is why our freezer is laden with frozen portions of homemade dahl, which we gorge on for meatless Mondays. A Sunday night grocery trip for smoothie ingredients, organic spelt and kamut bread, avocados and lemons for hot water ensures we don’t go awry.

So today, keeping up the momentum of January, I am sharing with you my foolproof Monday menu, which gives me my best start to the week so you can make post-festive season most awarding.

I love to start the day with lemon and hot water, (and drink plenty of fluids throughout). I need snacks while I write, (it’s true) and keep a stash of nuts, apples and Nākd bars nearby.

Breakfast – Go Green

Monday morning and emails go hand in hand, that’s why a filling smoothie with greens and a banana is my solution. Here are my favourite recipes, you can even chop up your ingredients and put them in your blending cup the night before.

Karachi Green Juice
Power Green Smoothie
Pick-Me-Up Smoothie
My Green Go-To

Lunch – Avocados on Toast

No kidding.

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(Serves 1)

Two slices of bread (for example rye, spelt, kamut)
1/4 of a large avocado
1/2tsp coconut oil
Squeeze of lemon
Himalayan pink salt, pinch
Freshly ground pepper
Small handful of alfalfa sprouts
Some raw pumpkin seeds

Pop your bread to toast.

Meanwhile prepare the avocado, by mashing it with coconut oil, lemon, salt and some pepper.

Once the toast is done, spread the avocado, arrange the alfalfa sprouts on top of it and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Serve immediately.

Dinner – Dahl

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This is my easiest lentil dish yet, without the onions but all the taste.

(Serves 4)

1tbsp coconut oil
1tsp cumin seeds
1tsp ginger paste
1tsp garlic paste
1tsp curry powder
1tsp Thai red curry paste
2tbsp tomato paste
2 cups of red lentils, washed and soaked for at least an hour
1 cup of coconut milk
3 cups of water
Himalayan salt to season

Heat the oil in a pan on a medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the cumin seeds for a few minutes. Be careful not to burn them.

Add the ginger, garlic, curry paste, curry powder, tomato paste and fry for a few more minutes. Add a little water if it starts to dry out.

Next stir-in the lentils once they are nicely coated pour the coconut milk and water into the pan and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer for about 30-40 minutes, adding more water if necessary depending on how thick you like your dahl to be.

Season with Himalayan salt and serve.