In Christmas 2019, I was with my extended family, eating and drinking merrily and playing Monopoly. Presents were exchanged. I got to see my little cousins all excited about receiving the latest new gadget or a sparkly dress. I got to complain to everyone how disgusting brussel sprouts were (Don’t try and change my mind please!) and peel vegetables like it was a communal activity rather than a chore. A flurry of Christmas crackers, dazzling jumpers and talking over Eastenders, it was truly Litmas.
Flash forward to Christmas 2020, we try and keep the same traditions but without the hustle and bustle of all my cousins running around and the adults talking and drinking, it just isn’t the same. There’s less washing up, less food and less chatter. Christmas is Christmas but with a tinge of sadness. I just want to fast forward until Rona has left the building…
Here are some Instagram accounts that all brown girls need to be following. These accounts really close the gap between culture and social media and if you feel like you can’t relate, check these gems out!
@BrownGirlMemes – I love a good meme – like that white guy blinking a lot – but sometimes a good desi meme is what I need. I end up sharing them with my mum sometimes and you know its a good meme when both you and your mum can find them relatable. So much of brown culture like Bollywood, strict parent jokes and “Pooja, what is this behaviour” memes are missing from mainstream meme accounts and this account really delivers on those
@BrownHistory – This account retells stories and memories from people’s POV. There’s some really heart warming stories about how parents fell in love, powerful moments in history and pictures which tell a thousand stories across the diaspora.
@ Browngirlgang – An empowering and uplifting space with South Asian women worldwide. From hilarious TikToks, make up looks, Bollywood appreciation and the odd post about chai, this account is a must-follow.
@Browngirltherapy – There’s a large gap in the mental health community for brown people and this page is all about promoting therapy and self-love. Mainstream mental health pages don’t always touch on the link between mental illness and bicultural identity and this page really accesses this.
@BritishBindi – A page run by 3 South Asian best friends. Inspiring, comforting and more memes. Follow if you want a laugh and an insight into South Asian lifestyle and culture,
It’s easy to think about all the negatives during lockdown and the pandemic but I am going to use this blog post to think about something positive that actually arose during my time at home. Skincare! I’m still very much a newbie with all these new brands and products (Wtf is a retinol?), but I’m learning.
I got started with some easy, well known brands such as Liz Earle, Glossier and Superdrug’s own brand.
Cleanse and Polish (Hot Cloth Cleanser)
Eyebright soothing eye lotion
I started my skincare routine with some good old Liz Earle products that my friend had recommended to me. The hot cloth cleanser was gentle and so much more soothing for my skin than make up wipes. I made a promise to myself to reserve make up wipes for Nights Out only and to use the Cleanse and Polish regularly. This coupled with the exfoliator and skin tonic made my skin feel super smooth and ready for the day. The eye lotion was a must because my eyes are quite dry and require a lot of care. Although pricy, I really loved the Liz Earle range.
Milky jelly cleanser
Exfoliating skin perfector
I love the cleanser! It really hydrated my face and was really gentle on my skin. I have sensitive skin so something gentle is a must. The exfoliator was good too but I prefer more of a face scrub texture. This was my first time trying the Glossier range so I will be checking more products out.
Ok these are definitely my favourite products. A range of face masks for every occasion. I bought a selection for £17 which is a bargain. Gold shimmery masks, charcoal, raspberry etc. These definitely add an amazing edge to your pamper night. If anyone wants me to review them properly in another blog post I definitely will!
Skincare and mental health
A good skincare routine can transform your mental health, in this essay I will. A 2010 study conducted for the Asian Journal of Beauty and Cosmetology found that among elderly and middle aged women in Korea led to an increase in confidence, self-esteem and happiness.
There’s something really soothing about massaging these products into your face. Its calming and you’re focusing on something for a good amount of time which is a also a form of mindulness. It’s not a miracle cure to anxiety but just focusing on my routine produces a wave of calmness and tranquility. Every action is part of a ritual and by focusing on what to apply next I’m not focusing on anything but the present. I normally have my skincare routine at night but you can do it at any time of day. Just going through the motions is sacramental and really gives you that much needed lull in your day.
A few months ago everything seemed to change for almost everyone. Our regular lifestyle, schedules and lives in general were changed as we went into lockdown. Although the changes have been made for safety reasons there are still things that we really miss that we wish we could still experience. Pooja, a fellow blogger and I were talking about this and decided to write a post about what we miss most and what we are excited to experience after this lockdown/pandemic is over. The first four are mine and the last four are hers. We hope you enjoy reading the post as much as we did writing it!
Underrated but I miss cheap and cheerful pub dates where you meet up with friends and get a pint (overpriced if you’re in London, of course) and talk and anything and everything. Bonus point if there’s a pub garden because who doesn’t love a bit of Sun and Sangria. Pub culture is just easy, laid back and chilled which is needed after a long stint of lockdown
There’s a strong chance my eyebrow lady will not recognise me the next time I see her. Or she’ll be speechless when she realises that lockdown pressure culminated in me trying to do my own eyebrows which resulted in a slight disaster. Suffice to say, give me the works (after it is safe, of course). A Mani, Pedi and a facial. Stat.
Food, Glorious, Food
My eyes are definitely going to be bigger than my stomach when all the restaurants open up again. Lockdown has reminded me that I need to be expanding my culinary bucket list and there is are variety of feasts that any foodie can appreciate.
International travel is going to be difficult in the foreseeable future as borders will likely stay closed until it is safe to travel. I definitely want to explore more of the UK and see gems like Cornwall and even partake in a road trip to Scotland.
I am not someone who is super into hugging or really showing a lot of affection in general but as they say- you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. I can’t wait to hug my friends and family and just be around them without worrying about wearing a mask, washing my hands or anything like that.
I am really looking forward to travelling a lot more as soon as all this is over and it is safe to travel to other countries again. I even have an entire list of all the places I want to see ready!
I cannot wait to be able to go out to just relax. Whether it’s to a restaurant, movie, coffee shop or just walking around downtown. I know that I can do that right now but I can’t wait till I can do that without having to put on a mask and avoid other people and keep a distance. Just being able to relax is something I am definitely looking forward to.
Taking the bus
I know a lot of people have a problem with taking the bus or don’t particularly enjoy the experience of taking the bus. I always did though- I thought it was peaceful and I particularly enjoyed longer bus rides because they gave me time to think and reflect. I haven’t taken the bus since the pandemic and honestly I kind of miss it.
What are you looking forward to once normal life resumes?
I collaborated with Pooja G on this post. She is an awesome, helpful blogger and it was lovely to collaborate with her! Check out her blog and her Instagram and Twitter
It’s been three months of anxiety, overexcitement, boredom and fatigue. You’re looking for a wholesome way of entertaining yourself during this period of overkill. Here are my top picks for entertainment:
Money Heist: If you haven’t seen this amazing 4 part series on Netflix then what are you waiting for?! Guided by The Professor, fugitives take part in a heist to rob The Royal Mint in Madrid. Captivating and bold, this show has prompted me to think of my own criminal alias, taking inspiration from capital cities like the characters from the show. Delhi sorta has a ring to it, no?
Peep Show: I recently started this show and it’s been curing my anxiety. It’s a British sitcom about two flatmates who try to navigate society while trying not to fuck up. A must if you want to see some OTT comedy and feel better about your life
RuPaul’s Drag Race: The perfect escape from ordinary life, you get to see beautiful drag queens compete for the crown. Lip synching, glamour and hilarious acting challenges, you really get sucked in to the competition.
Too Hot to Handle: This show definitely falls into the category of “Trash TV You Can’t Miss While Scrolling On Your Phone”. Think of it as Love Island on Steroids. A group of single Lads and Ladies are put on an Island with one simple rule: No sexual contact. If they break the rules, money from the prize fund is detracted. The aim of the reality show is to help the contestants form meaningful relationships and genuine connections.
The Sims: I’d downloaded the game last year but never got round to playing it so this was the perfect time. Slightly addicted to making my family a chaotic, backstabbing mess but it’s ok. Spending thousands of pounds on a red gothic bedroom and then barely having a penny left has become the bane of my life but it’s ok, we live vicariously
Pokémon Go: I had a long ass hiatus but I’m back. Going out on walks and tryng to catch Pokémon has become an act of self-care and is really wholesome and motivating
The Last of Us Part 1+2: If you’ve been waiting with bated breath for the next instalment of TLOU series like me then you’ll be overjoyed to discover it is the perfect lockdown fix. Zombies and a captivating storyline make this a cathartic release for the soul and if you’re anything like me, lockdown will make you want to take out your frustrations on some fictiona characters. I would definitely recommend buying the first game if you haven’t played it.
Animal Crossing: So I haven’t purchased this game yet but I had to include it because it’s garnered such a mass following in a short space of time. I’ve heard that its such a calming, soothing game which lets you build your own village and take part in activites like fishing and bug catching as well as meeting other ‘villagers’. I’m gonna put buying this game at the top of my self-care list.
4 AM is the new 11 PM. Sleeping before midnight is now an urban myth. You will get haunted by the Insomnia ghost and suddenly you have the urge to watch a movie, do a home manicure, go over your regrets from 2010 -2020 and watch videos of funny cats on YouTube.
2. On the other hand, you can’s stop sleeping. Waking up and every day turning out the same is getting boring real quick. Might as well lucid dream to get away from this shit.
3. “Don’t be a COVIDIODIOT” – Aka, stay indoors, stop having parties/gatherings, this is not the time to be social. So if Tyler wants to drop by the off license with 20 of his friends to pick up a multipack of Strongbow dark fruits to drink in the park together – SAY NO
4. It’s okay to feel burntout and lost right now and just wanting to crawl in your bed and play Animal Crossing and The Sims all day long. Don’t let those people who are pressuring you to upskill/apply to jobs/redecorate your house dictate your lockdown experience. Read that book you never got time to read. Play the video games gathering dust. Watch the movie.
5. I don’t know what it is but all of a sudden people are turning into Mary Berry and using this time to make all the crumbles/pies/pastries you can think of. It’s like a game of cat and mouse though everytime you go to the supermarket since flour is always missing. And toilet rolls. Which brings me to my next point.
6. Toilet paper nearly went extinct at one point. Some stupid people thought it was an apocalypse and not a pandemic and bought masses of toilet paper. You greedy fuckers there are lots of people who are struggling to find toilet paper because of you. I hope you all step on logo xoxox P.s. well done to those people who aren’t hogging toilet paper, this meme is for you!
7. Lockdown is weird. Without a purpose everyday begins to feel like Groundhog day. I can’t remember what the date is half the time. You just know this pandemic is going to be mentioned in future GCSE history exams.
In the summer of 2018, I travelled to India for the first time with my family. As a British born Indian girl I was excited to discover my roots and explore my heritage. I wrote an article about my experiences on Gal-Dem so give it a read!
But what did I learn about the specifics of the Indian way of life which is a contrast to the British Indian way of life? Visiting my family in India really solidified this. I decided to write a blog post about it!
It’s common for people to eat on the floor at mealtimes. Sitting cross legged with a plate of bateta shaak ( potato curry) on my plate, eye level with my family I found myself eating more mindfully, really taking in the taste and visual imagery of the food. As I was balancing food on my lap, I couldn’t really eat and scroll brainlessly through my phone at the same time
Even though I’m Indian, I found there was a stark contrast to the way I was viewed by Indian natives. It was obvious I was a tourist from everything to the way I dressed to the way I spoke (more on that in the next post). Relatives would often ask me if I spoke Gujarati (my mother tongue) and I would hear workers talk about me thinking I couldn’t understand them.
The blunt inequality was made blindly obvious to the amount of adult and child beggars on the streets. It forced me to appreciate the fact that I had a roof over my head and food and I that I was travelling India as a tourist, able to visit restaurants and stay in hotels.
Family and culture share different vibes to the UK. The relationship between caste and marriage is a significant value in Indian culture whereas in the UK, it is more overlooked.
The driving in India is WHACK. Constant speeding, hanging on for dear life and cows in the way! There are no rules.
In parts of India, it is the norm to dress modestly, no miniskirts and keep shoulders covered. People will stare.
Navigating the markets is a strength. Big contrast to Camden. People’s persuasion will be dialed up to a 100 and you will have to put your bargaining skills to the test.
If you think Indian food in the UK is good you’ve underestimated how unbelievably Peng and beautiful the food is in India. I developed a serious addiction to Aloo Parathas at breakfast with Indian tea and don’t get me started on the Paneer.
I sit here typing this on the final day/night/hour (for the truly poetic) of being 23 and I am filled with anxiety and dread for my birthday tomorrow. For some, birthdays are the biggest social gathering of the year, multiple outfit changes, lots of presents and attention central for the Tinkerbells of us.
A lot of my birthdays have turned out disappointing – people flake, plans change and it usually ends up with me compromising rather than my original plan
My 21st has probably been my favourite birthday to date; I was in Sydney while travelling across the East Coast and my birthday coincided with me also meeting up with my friend Megan who I’d only met a month ago while in the Gold Coast. This worked out so well because not only was I in a new exciting city with plenty to do, I was also with someone – solo travel is great but two is better than one for a birthday extravaganza, no? We partied 4 days in a row, explored Bondi/Coogee beach and just had so much fun, I don’t think anything can top having your birthday in Australia to be quite honest. Shoutout to Megan for the makeshift backpacker birthday cake of chocolate muffins!
Birthdays always give me so much pressure because you’re expected to have the time of your life, a huge social occasion and for me a lot of the time it’s turned out to be a normal day coupled with the depressing fact that it is just a normal day except you’re one year closer to death x
I’m slowly realising that it’s okay not to have the best day of your life or have 300 people singing to you and your birthday is literally what you make of it. This year, instead of going hard and drinking so much I get the hangover from hell, I opted to have a lie in (probably the best present ever at the moment, I hate you, working life), booked myself a massage (big up the endorphins), had a lowkey family dinner with yummy Thai food at Elephant Royale and then had a night in with drinks and monopoly
I’m going to aim to do more fun and chilled stuff for my birthdays and not put so much pressure on myself to conform to societal pressures blah blah. Maybe even make it a rule that I’m always in a different city/country because a holiday just tops it all, doesn’t it?
What do you like to do on your birthday? Let me know!