malaysia

One Year in Shanghai

Shanghai by Night – Picture credit: Business Insider

I have lived a year in Shanghai and two in Kualalampur. From my experience, Shanghai is a by far the best of the Chinese cities for an expat like me to reside. Shanghai is the most populous city of China for no other reason. It is one of the fastest developing cities in the world.

Anything and everything is comparatively cheap here in Shanghai let alone the rent for an apartment. I lived in a fairly good but small apartment in an urban area of the city. Everybody here is in a rush. This makes most of them ill tempered. But I was lucky to have a cheery landlord who appears as though he haven’t heard English in his lifetime but never minded me coming home very late in the night or me keeping the apartment messy. Thanks to my real estate agent.

When it comes to the lifestyle of the people, it may seem quite strange to see many people in traditional dresses throughout the day. But that is the case of just people who are still living in the previous century or so. There is a very vibrant and dynamic population too in Shanghai who are up-to-date with the current happenings in fashion and lifestyle all around the world. You can see many people in the streets from various cultures and countries very much like us. So no expats will feel like stranded out in some other planet.

The pollution in the city is the main concern that is puzzling even the officials. It seems to be rising from day to day. The polluted atmosphere poses a threat to the skin. When it comes to skincare, I prefer natural and herbal ways. In a place this polluted, I give safety higher priority rather than beauty. Proper sunscreens or other facial creams are highly recommended. The streets of Shanghai is crowded with people from all over the world alike battling all such challenges.

This pollution has made much problem to the roadside food vendors too. Food from such shops may seem like an unwanted risk in our lives. But if you are into some great international food, there are places that do offer it. When you are planning to stay in Shanghai for a fairly long time, you will come to understand that cooking your own food is much healthier and cheaper. For a foreigner in Shanghai, it might take more than a month to fit into the new-found routine.

The night life in the city is one rather interesting. Even though the government seem to have certain pre-historic kind of rules and beliefs, the city has got a really active night life. The traffic in Shanghai is nightmare during the rush hours like any other prominent cities. But the city has a well-established and reliable metro and subway system. The metro rails of Shanghai is one of the longest in the world. You can buy almost all items for a fairly minimum price in Shanghai.

There are markets that sell almost anything under the sky. When it comes to fish and meat market, you might see even the most unexpected ones from insects and snakes to even crocodiles! The exact cultural background and beliefs of China is a bit strange and indigestible for expats. But it is quite a relief to see such a large and busy city being friendly to foreigners and immigrants from all over the world.

So, the final verdict is yours to take. Do you believe Shanghai deserves your acquaintance?

Singapour OrganicIsBeautiful

Things I love about Singapore

Singapore is an hour trip from Kuala Lumpur, yet the country was never in my bucket list before. Not sure why since I learnt to love every bits of it across the years. Why? Read below:

Singapour OrganicIsBeautiful
Singapour OrganicIsBeautiful

Stop in Singapore | OrganicIsBeautifulEthnic quarters:

While exploring the city of Singapore, I encountered such quarters:

  1. Little India: From a distance, I could hear Hindi songs being played in a loudspeaker. I was astonished, thinking why was it played in a loudspeaker in Singapore. I walked towards the sound and suddenly the buildings, shops, streets, people and the overall aura of the place changed. I found myself in Little India. I saw shops selling brass jewelry and beautiful colorful sarees. I had delicious Indian cuisine which included roti, daal, crisp potatoes and chicken curry. I experienced India in this beautiful country.
  2. Chinatown: I was excited when I saw yet another country’s quarter in Singapore. I tried the Chinese cuisine. I had the delicious Tian Tian rice and oyster pancakes. I learnt kite making from a vendor there. I wore colorful masks too fully immersing myself in the culture. I also visited the Thiang Hock Keng temple. I loved the intricate designs, elaborately painted doors and the typical Chinese style structure. It felt as if I was transported to China.

Night Safari:

This is one of the most exciting things to do in Singapore. The Night Safari was a special experience for me because this was the first time I was exploring the zoo at night and that too in a tram. I saw quite a few animals such as lions, tigers, hippos etc. The darkness of the night makes it a thrilling and unique experience. One should must experience this especially with their family.

A mall in Singapour | OrganicIsBeautiful
A mall in Singapore | OrganicIsBeautiful

Camping in a deserted island:

This is the most thrilling and memorable experience in Singapore. It is not covered in most of the tourist’s itineraries. There is Kusu and St. John’s islands which are further afield and are accessible by ferry. I went to the St. John’s Island. I took my own food and water as there are no restaurants on the island. The beach of the island is mesmerising and fresh. I had sea bath and made barbeques. Then I spent the whole night star gazing on the beach. The night time had an enigmatic beauty. The twinkling stars adorned the night sky and the whole beach was glistening with silvery moonlight. I was there enjoying every moment to the fullest and adoring the elegance of the Singapore skyline visible from there.

Sentosa Island:

This island is rightly called the state of fun with a huge Merlion sitting on it. There are many thing which can be done there. Some of the best are:

  1. Underwater World: I step on the escalator and it takes me through a huge underground aquarium covering me from three sides having a large variety of sea fishes such as myriads of jellyfishes, rays, sharks and much more. I was astonished to see such a huge variety of fishes. The humongous aquarium had Open Ocean habitat, which made me feel if I am on the cavernous ocean floor!
  2. Songs of the Sea: This is my best experience on Sentosa Island. The world famous laser show happens on the sea side. A beautiful story is shown through laser lights on the water is truly awe inspiring and fun to watch. The dancing lights and the spraying water blend together to form a great entertainment for tourists.
  3. Beaches: Sentosa Islands also offers beautiful beaches.
    Tropical Beach | OrganicIsBeautiful
    Tropical Beach | OrganicIsBeautiful

     

  4. Tanjong beach: This is an ideal beach for people looking for tranquility and peace. It is the romantic beach. The tranquil atmosphere provides relaxation and is away from the hustle bustle of the city.
  5. Siloso Beach: When I went to this beach, it was polar opposite of the Tanjong beach. There is excitement all over the beach. I played volleyball here with random people and made some new friends. Amazing places to eat and bars can be found here. In the night, this beach is wide awake partying. I thoroughly enjoyed the night culture of this beach, thanks to the quality live music being played, good alcohol and wonderful food by the sea shore.

Nightlife:

Singapore has a vibrant and sophisticated nightlife. Some of the best are:

  1. 1-Altitude Gallery & Bar: This is the first thing that comes to my mind. The bar is on the 63rd floor and provides a beautiful view of the city. I found the place very sophisticated and the service was great. Food and booze are of top quality. After traveling for the whole day, I went there at 8 and even though it got late for me but I did not feel like leaving the place. I loved the ambience and one could just stare at the scintillating city forever.
  2. Zouk: I love dance music and Zouk turned out to be a heaven to me. This awarding-winning venue has been at the forefront of the club scene in the city for over two decades. The crowd here mainly consisted of the youngsters. I danced my way through the night having the time of my life. The feeling was ecstatic. It is a must go club for dance loving people.

The nightlife of Singapore has something in store for everyone. The night never gets boring here. Excitement levels touch the sky with electrifying bars, pubs and discos. The perfect blend of beaches, nightlife, entertainment, adventure and fun filled activities makes Singapore one of the most attractive countries in the world.

Thank you for stopping by,

Amanda

OrganicIsBeautiful Signature

Cloves | OrganicIsBeautiful

6 Must Have Essential Oils at Home

Today on OiB, I’m going to tell you about essential oils. The first question in your mind would be, why are they important for you? Let me tell you. They are so important for you and your health because they are organic and natural without the toxic elements found in mainstream home products.

Nature is the best remedy and that’s what I believe in. Without much ado, Let’s go through the best essential oils for you to have for your home:

  1. Lavender

It is the most versatile essential oil and that’s why it tops my list. What it does? In two words, it is great for skin care. It will relax your body, heals bruises and cuts, and also cures skin irritation.

That’s not the only great part. Its aroma is so refreshing that it makes you feel as if you are in a garden surrounded by beautiful blossoms.

Lavender | OrganicIsBeautiful
Lavender | OrganicIsBeautiful

With the use of DIY lavender home-made products, you will be physically and mentally relaxed which will help to get energy for the things you really need to do. Also, very useful to help you fall asleep.

What Lavender Oil heals?

  • Skin rashes
  • Pimples
  • Headaches
  • Burns caused by insect bites
  • Small burns
  • Cuts and scrape

As I always say about lavender, it does a magic – hard to believe unless experienced.

  1. Tea Tree

Your skin is a mirror of the beautiful heart you have. Allow tea tree oil to keep your skin smooth and bless it with amazing benefits so that you look more beautiful that you think.

Benefits of Tree Oil

  • Keeps skin clear
  • Keeps it healthy irrespective of exposure to pollution
  • Keep foot odor away
  • Remove toe nail fungus
  • Diminish cold sores
  • When you have a bottle of tea tree oil, you have not to worry about first aid
  • Heals burns caused due to an insect bite

What Tree Oil Cures?

  • Foot fungus of athletes
  • Eczema
  • Pimples
  • Colds
  • Nail fungus
  • Dandruff
  • Burns caused by insect bites
Tea Tree | OrganicIsBeautiful
Tea Tree | OrganicIsBeautiful

Add a few drops of it in your shampoo and conditioner to allow your hair to retain its original form. Beautiful skin complemented with beautiful hair is all that tree tea oil gives you every time you use. That’s why I love it.

  1. Lemon Oil

The nature of citrus is at work here. This cleansing oil offers astonishing health benefits for you to avail. Read on below.

  • It offers a spiritual experience and arouses psychic awareness.
  • Get rid of heartburn as well as indigestion with just a few drops of lemon oil in water
  • Add lemon oil in water stored in bathroom for cleaning and germs control. This DIY worked for me.
  • You will be blessed with increase alertness as well as concentration
  • Mix lemon oil with some peppermint and it will act as an insect and ant repellant
  • It is a perfect hand sanitizer when mixed with Aloe Vera gel
  • Inhaling lemon oil clears nasal passages
  • Its antiseptic properties clean skin as well

    Limes & lemons organicisbeautiful
    Limes & lemons (Image credit: Gourmet Sleuth)
  1. Peppermint

I, mostly, use peppermint to relieve myself from nausea and constipation. A massage with a mixture of carrier oil and peppermint onto the abdomen reduces stomach cramps.

What it Cures?

  • stomach queasiness
  • Tick under skin
  • Bronchitis

To relieve cough, you can make a DIY mixture with eucalyptus, carrier oil and peppermint. Two drops of oil can be used to appease overheated feet.

Peppermint | OrganicIsBeautiful
Peppermint | OrganicIsBeautiful
  1. Eucalyptus Oil

The benefits of eucalyptus oil are wide-ranging. It is widely used as an organic deodorant. Follow below to know which conditions it cures.

  • Asthma
  • Chest congestion
  • Pain and aches of joints
  • Inflammation

It accelerates healing process.

Quick DIY: You can get rid of pain by applying a few drops adding to a compress.

Eucalyptus | OrganicIsBeautiful
Eucalyptus | OrganicIsBeautiful
  1. Clove Oil

Clove oil is used in dental products. It is very strong so be careful and dilute it first before use.

What Clove Oil Cures?

  • Toothaches
  • Gum disease
  • Burns and wounds
  • Ear aches
Cloves | OrganicIsBeautiful
Cloves | OrganicIsBeautiful

I use it mostly for dental purposes, but it can also be used to repel bugs. Just add a few drops to a diffuser to repel bugs from your home.

As it is really concentrated, I don’t recommend its use for sensitive skins.

There you have it. I’m enjoying the many benefits of essentials oils and hope to hear from you too. Tell me about which essential oils you use and why.

Amanda

OrganicIsBeautiful Signature

Oatmeal | OrganicIsBeautiful

A List of Simple All-Natural Exfoliants For Your Skin

Why should you avoid store-bought exfoliants?

There are many products that you can buy to exfoliate your skin, but the problem with most of them is that they contain microbeads. Microbeads aren’t only rough on skin, but also terrible for the environment. The small plastic beads in these products aren’t filtered out by water treatment plants and are being washed right back into our water supply, often with harmful results for marine life.

In USA for instance, the state of Illinois recently banned the use of microbeads. The plastic waste caused by the microbeads, which are not filtered out during sewage treatment, are damaging water ecosystems.
In EU, the European commission has recently lunched the debate to closely monitor its long term impact. If you would like to read more about the project, you can read further update on the following link ⇒ EU.

The good news is, the best exfoliators are all-natural, so you don’t need to buy any harmful, expensive products. With ingredients that you already have on hand, you can have your face shining and refreshed in no time. List compiled by DIYNatural.

All-Natural Exfoliants

 Sugar

Sugar grains are naturally small and rough, which make them perfect for sloughing skin cells from your face. When added to an oil, such as grapeseed or olive oil, sugar is a fantastic exfoliant.

Another benefit to sugar?

It’s full of glycolic acid, which helps to naturally break down dead skin cells and decrease fine lines.

Hmm I am guessing your next question: How does it work?

Basically, glycolic acid contains small molecules that are able to penetrate into the skin. And, once it penetrates under the surface it loosens up the glue-like substance that holds the skin cells together and allows the skin to shed off the old dead cells. Once the skin has rid itself of the old cells it appears brighter and leaves your skin with a more, healthy glow.

Simple 😉

Brown Sugar | OrganicIsBeautiful
Brown Sugar | OrganicIsBeautiful

Oatmeal

Oats is actually my favourite breakfast, no matter where I am or how I feel. It does the job and I looove trying new refreshing recipes. Oatmeal is one of the gentlest exfoliants you can find. If you have sensitive skin, it’s a great place to start for exfoliation.

Oatmeal | OrganicIsBeautiful
Oatmeal | OrganicIsBeautiful


Oatmeal works best when whole oats are ground up in a food processor, then added to water or another base and applied to the face with your fingertips. Another benefit to oatmeal is that it absorbs oil, so you will be cleansing as you exfoliate.

Baking Soda

I often use baking soda in my DIY skincare routine. And since all you really have to do is make a paste out of baking soda and water, it’s quite possibly the simplest and least expensive exfoliant on this list. Baking soda is one of my favorite exfoliants; my face always feels so much fresher after I’ve rinsed all the baking soda off, and it’s very gentle, too.

Sea Salt

Sea salt (not table salt!) makes a great exfoliant, too. The granules are large and coarse, and don’t dissolve easily. This makes it fantastic for use on the rougher parts of your body, like elbows and feet. Another nice thing about sea salt is that it isn’t at all sticky. To use, simply mix with a small amount of oil and rub into your skin.

The week end is coming soon, if you feel like pampering yourself with a refreshing and calming bath, read that:

Saturday Relaxation with Ginger and Dead Sea Salt.

Coffee

Caffeine is known to decrease puffiness around the eyes.

Coffee | OrganicIsBeautiful
Coffee | OrganicIsBeautiful

Exfoliating and decreasing puffiness at the same time? Sounds good to me! You can use either fresh coffee grounds or those you’ve already brewed (which makes more sense to me – recycling is always a good thing!), add them to a small amount of the oil of your choice, and apply to your skin.

Note: The only downside I see to using coffee as an exfoliant is that coffee grounds are inherently messy, so be prepared for a bit of cleanup.

Almonds

It probably sounds strange to think of rubbing almonds all over your face, but when they’re ground up very finely, almonds make for a great exfoliant. Almond powder is a chemical-free, nutrient-rich method to exfoliate your skin.

When added to a small amount of water, almond powder will exfoliate the skin without leaving behind any residue. Other powders hold similar health attributes for your skin such as Cinnamon, rice or green tea (matcha) powder.

Did you check out my article about Almond Milk?

Almond | OrganicIsBeautiful
Almond | OrganicIsBeautiful

Now you know…

Using an exfoliant a few times a week is one of the best ways to keep your skin healthy and young-looking. Make sure you use them gently – exfoliating shouldn’t hurt! Scrubbing your face too hard or too often can result in irritated skin, and redness is definitely not the look you’re going for with this.

If you think it’s going to be difficult to incorporate natural exfoliation into your routine, take heart. Seriously, if I can learn to do it, you can learn to do it.

Once you get used to having such bright skin, you’ll never want to go back.

Happy Skin Everyone,

Next post next Monday on something called…Emu Oil I recently discovered and loved 😉

Amanda

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Natural OrganicIsBeautiful Signature

Summer Herbal Skin and Face Care

Summer is at our door step. Can you feel it? A few days was June 21st. Did you say June 21st!? Wow! Time to think about how to prepare your skin against the heat this summer to maintain your natural beauty. Posting today on OiB is not a coincidence. June 21st means summer begins across Europe:

In FRANCE: Back home in Paris, June 21st coincides with La Fete de la Music, officially my favorite day of the year.

In SWEDEN:  While the parties is spreading over France that day, Scandinivia is not at rest. In Sweden, June 21st resonates with the Midsummer Eve.

What about my skin?

Heat, humidity and the shining sun rays can destroy our precious skin, this will result in dry, rough and peeled skin. Sun is very good for skin, specially of mornings, it contains lots of Vitamin D which is very good for skin and also for bones. Vitamin D also helps in Calcium absorption.

When summer arrives all the irritating stuff comes such as rashes or dry skin can cause itchiness etc.

Water Intake | OrganicIsBeautiful
Water Intake | OrganicIsBeautiful

Back to the basic:

  1. WATER INTAKE: Drink plenty of water. It is not only because that water keeps us hydrated but also because it is essential for our body. Water not only quenches the thirst but also helps to flush out the toxins and waste that accumulate in the body.
  2. EAT VEGETABLES. What you eat shows on your face. Do not consume too much of snacks and salty products as salt can have a dehydrating effect on the body. Like the last week, I ate so many french fries I end up drinking lots of water. Also, include high water content fruits in your diet like watermelon, cucumber, melon and lettuce which will give you nutrients and anti-oxidants. Also, include other green vegetables. Why? Read my previous article here.
  3. SUNSCREEN. Apply a good sunscreen. It will not only help you from tanning and also from sunburns but will also protect you from harsh UV rays that can lead to skin cancer. Did you know that rice powder is a natural sunscreen protector? (Really, I am not kidding!).
  4. EXFOLIATE. Exfoliation is very important to get rid of the dead skin that it is accumulated on the face and other parts of the body. Use an exfoliating sponge or scrub off the dead skin from the body. You can prepare a homemade scrub, I have added some simple and excellent recipes last week! Gently rub this scrub in circular movements on the entire body for 15 minutes and then rinse off.
  5. CLEANSER. Cleansing is also very good for Summer. You can cleanse your skin at home. Plain yogurt mixed with honey makes a good natural cleanser which not just cleanses but also moisturizes the skin. Apply this to your skin and leave it for 10 minutes. Rinse off with plain water. If you have time, why not finish by a DIY orange peel mask?

Skin Herbal Masks:

Recipe compeled by PerfectionistYou.

ALOE VERA AND OAT MEAL:

Take some dry oats and mixes it thoroughly with some aloe vera gel and apply on face and massage gently with your fingers in circular motion for 5-10 minutes. Leave on for 15 minutes and rinse off with luke warm water. Repeat this remedy once every week to get noticeable results.

APPLE AND HONEY FACE MASK:

Apple | OrganicIsBeautiful
Apple | OrganicIsBeautiful

Crush an apple (quantity as required) and mix it with 3 tablespoon honey with it. Apply on clean face. Leave for 20 minutes and rinse off with water. Repeat this 2 to 3 times every week for fair and oil-free skin. Some further recipes here.

TURMERIC POWDER, YOGURT AND HONEY FACE PACK:

Make a thick paste by mixing all the three ingredients well, you can add lemon juice for brightening and rose water. Apply this pack on the dried skin and leave it for 15-20 minutes. Later, rinse it off with cold water. This pack helps in moisturizing, cleansing and brightening.

Turmeric Latte

Amanda summer

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