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Where To Shop and What to Get From Thailand

Where To Shop and What to Get From Thailand


 
I’ve visited Thailand before, 5 years ago. At that time I had gone to Bangkok, Pattaya and Samui. I hadn’t had enough of Samui, so I decided to go back this year. This year I just wanted a beach vacation where I could relax. 

All I did on this holiday was eat amazing Thai food, read and relax on the beach, and shop. 


Samui

The last time I went, I was in Samui for 3 or 4 days. The mistake I made was to book a sightseeing tour of Samui. I really didn’t have fun on the tour as you’re bound to the tour group and their timings, and the sights they take you to. It’s best to visit the places you want to see, in your own time and convenience.

Since this time I wanted to just relax on the beach, I chose a beautiful resort on Chaweng Beach. Chaweng is one of the most lively and happening areas in Samui. It has the most restaurants, markets and massage parlours, and Samui’s biggest mall, Central Festival. Staying in this area made sense because I had lots of places to pick from to eat, and the mall in walking distance.

Central Festival
Chaweng Lake is in walking distance to this area. It’s a big, serene lake with a walking path flanked with lots of greenery. There are benches everywhere so you can sit and take it all in. The weather was rainy, which added to the romance of it all. Cloudy skies made the entire experience even better.





The Hotel

The only thing is, the Chaweng Road area is extremely noisy as it’s a very commercial area. You need to choose a resort that’s quiet inside. That’s the second consideration, The first consideration for me, of course, is that the resort needs to have direct beach access. So I can just walk from my room to the beach.


Chaweng Regent ticked both these boxes. It was not just really quiet without any noise from the bustling street outside, but it was a green jungle paradise. It had trees and greenery everywhere inside. And the rooms have a garden view. So on the days when it was raining, I could just sit on my patio and read, surrounded by lush greenery.




The resort also has excellent beach access. The last resort I stayed at, Chaweng Garden, was still away from the beach. At Chaweng Regent, the property is directly on the beach. The sun loungers are situated very close to the water. And the resort’s swimming pool is right there as well. You could be in the pool with a beach view. The showers and toilets are right there, and the resort’s restaurant is right next to you as well, which means you can order food and drink and have it on your sun lounger. Bliss!


 

The Jellyfish Incident

My only gripe is that there aren’t enough warning signs on the beach that say there are deadly box jellyfish in the water and that everyone needs to wear a full bodysuit when swimming. Heck, the hotel management didn’t know that. Until I got stung by a deadly box jellyfish and told them. 

Long story short, I got stung on my thigh by a box jellyfish when I was in the water {close to the shore}, I was in intense pain. I went to the hospital and the Maritime Doctor {who was such a knowledgeable lady}, did a whole lot of tests on me to make sure the venom hadn’t spread to my cells and my blood. All the test results were healthy. Perks of being a fitness instructor and having a strong immune system. But yes, I could have died if the venom went to my heart. I’ll probably have the scars for life. 

I went back to the hotel and informed the hotel manager about this and as per the doctor’s advice, everyone should wear a full bodysuit when going into the water. He didn’t even know this. Or that there are deadly box jellyfish in the water. I really hope they put a sign at the beach saying this. 

P.S: Make sure you have travel insurance when you go on vacation. The hospital bill was huge but I got reimbursed by my travel insurance within a week of submitting my papers. {I use AXA Insurance.}

Shopping in Samui

Samui is famous for its night markets. You can get some great local stuff in these bazaars. I visited the Fisherman’s Village Night Market at Bophut. It was a huge, sprawling affair with thousands of stalls, selling everything from souvenirs to street food to accessories. There was live music and entertainment everywhere, adding to the festive vibe. 

Mini fridge magnets of Thai food
However, what’s sold here isn’t necessarily cheaper than outside. In fact, some things are more expensive because night markets get such a huge turnout from both tourists and locals alike. So you have to know what to buy from these markets. Here’s what I recommend-

Herbal Tea 
If you’re an herbal tea lover, don’t miss this. I love loose tea and I’m never able to find some of the stuff I want. I found lavender, jasmine flowers, jasmine pearls and butterfly pea flower. They have a huge variety of loose tea, and each packet is reasonably priced at 150 Thai Baht. I’m very glad I bought the tea from the first stall I found them at because I didn’t find the same kind of tea at any other stalls. You’ll find a lot of places selling green tea with jasmine, and other flavours, even at the airport, but not just the herbs and flowers. 

Thai Spices
My mother wanted Thai spices like kaffir lime, galanga and lemongrass. I found a stall selling all of these, packed in neat little packets, and again, ranging from 100 to 150 THB. They even had very small packs of 5 common Thai spices bundle packed together like saffron, lemongrass, kaffir lime, etc. 

Handmade Jewellery
You’ll find many stalls selling bracelets and anklets. I found one that had colourful beaded jewellery, handwoven with coir. These weren’t cheap, but worth it because they’re so unique. I purchased 3 pairs of earrings {I’m wearing a pair in this post} and a beautiful big beaded necklace.

Dehydrated fruit
There are a lot of stalls selling dehydrated fruit in small, sealed packs, for 100 to 150 THB. The best part is you can sample it before buying. I got a few packets of dried ginger and pineapple. Don’t go crazy though. I find that when you’re on holiday, you feel like buying lots of local foods to take back home. But you don’t really eat it when once you’re back. 



Also, the packed product may not be like the sample you tasted. I’ve had a bad experience buying tea from Bali where the sample and the packed teas were completely different. So don’t go buying several packs of the same foods. I like to get just one or two of what I like. If it’s really nice, it’s more motivation for you to visit again. :)

Other than the local goodies from the night markets, I bought clothes from Uniqlo in Samui. There’s no way I’m going to South East Asia and not going to a Uniqlo. Their clothes are of great quality for a good price. I especially love their innerwear and basics. 


Shopping in Bangkok

Shopping in Bangkok can really empty out your pockets. If it’s local stuff you want, I recommend Platinum Mall in Pratunam. Touting itself as Thailand’s largest fashion mall, it’s packed with over 2000 shops across 6 floors. There’s a LOT of women’s fashion and accessories. You really don’t want to get overwhelmed here or return home with too much stuff. It’s best to know what you really want, then go and get that. 


 
Here’s what I got, and what I recommend:

Silver Jewellery and Men’s Bracelets
You’re really spoiled for choice here when it comes to accessories. The jewellery shops compete with each other with bizarre and unique displays. I picked up a few pieces of silver-plated jewellery which were unique and not too expensive. They also have fun accessories made out of raffia, bamboo and other natural materials. It’s also a great place to get leather bracelets for the men in your life.



Sunglasses
There are a few shops that don’t sell fake brand sunglasses. Look for the ones made in Thailand, with UV protection. You’ll find a huge range of designs and shapes. I loved the shop called Black Gold on level 5. 

Makeup and Skincare
You can’t go to Thailand and not buy Thai skincare products! I got lots of sheet masks, body scrubs, and aloe creams. Also, high street brands like Maybelline and L’Oreal are priced properly here {they’re very expensive in Bahrain} and also have discounts on them. I picked up a few lippies and my favourite mascaras for super cheap.

Contact Lens
I’m just starting to explore the coloured contact lens trend, and I was so happy to find a brand called Duna in Thailand, that sold these for horribly cheap. Each monthly pair is priced at around 200 THB, and they have a variety of colours. They come with power too. I’ve been wearing them since I got them and I can vouch for them being comfortable and safe. Also, the lens solution is super cheap here as compared to Bahrain. For a constant lens wearer like me, that’s great. I wanted to buy a dozen!


That’s all the stuff I got from Thailand this time round. Maybe it seems like a lot because I’ve listed it out by category, but it wasn’t really. A few accessories, tea, dehydrated fruit, contact lenses, sunglasses, lippies, mascaras and some t-shirts and sweaters from Uniqlo. I definitely didn’t go overboard or regret getting anything, which is what you should aim for. 

Before I went to Thailand, I went to a Thai supermarket in Bahrain and had a look at what they sold. Most of the branded food items you get in Thailand were available. Which is why I didn’t bring any of those and stuck to the fresher local foodstuffs like tea, fruit and herbs.

If you really want to go to Thailand for shopping, I suggest you go around late November and December, when the new year sales have hit. Everything is on sale and at amazing prices. But obviously, it’s very crowded as well.

I hope this post has been helpful and you know exactly what Thai goodies you want to get when you travel to Thailand! 

Until next time

xoxo
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Shabana Feroze
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9 Things You Can Do To Become A Better Friend

9 Things You Can Do To Become A Better Friend



A good support system is so important. Being surrounded by the right people makes life so much easier. If you have a few friends you can rely on when things get rough or share happy news and who increase your happiness by getting even more excited than you, you’ve made it. 


And maybe you have a great set of friends, you all get along, and you’re there for each other. But from time-to-time, you do stupid things that jeopardize your friendship. I know I have. I’m not referring to the basic stuff that makes a friendship what it is- being there for each other, supporting each other, being there for them when they’re down. 


There are a few subtle things that we don’t really think of, but they can really ruin a friendship. 
There are other subtle nuances that are so important when it comes to keeping your relationship with your closest friends strong. There’s nothing as heartbreaking as a broken friendship, not even a broken relationship. Which is why I want to share these tips from my experience.


Here are a few things you can do to be a great friend:


True friends don’t get jealous of their friends’ achievements. If your best friend gets engaged, gets a raise or is going on an amazing holiday, don’t be envious. Be happy for them. If you’re the type of friend that gets envious, your friend will know. After a point, they’ll stop sharing their good news with you and that’s not a good sign for a good friendship. If you can’t stop feeling envious, ask yourself how you can become more secure in yourself. Know that you can get every happiness for yourself, too.


Don’t gossip about your friends to other friends. By gossiping, I mean talking about your friends in a bad way. Being judgmental about what a friend is going through and then picking that apart with other friends is not a nice thing to do. If you think what a friend is doing is not right, keep it to yourself. Your friends’ lives should not be content for negative conversation.


If you’re mad at them, let them be the first to know. Don’t tell another friend that you’re mad at a friend. First, clear it out with the friend you’re angry with. Otherwise, you’re ruining the reputation of one friend with the other, and then once everything is okay between you and your friend, you have to then tell the other friend that everything is now okay between you and that friend. It’s too much work! 



Don’t share your friends’ secrets. This should be an obvious one but sometimes we get tempted to tell a friend something another friend has told us strictly in confidence. It’s not even about your friends clearly specifying that what they are telling you is confidential. You need to develop the discretion as to what can be shared and what can’t be shared. Ask yourself- if the news were about you, would you want a friend saying it to others?





Know when to listen and offer support and know when to help. Sometimes we just want a friend to hear us out. Just that helps us feel better. We don’t necessarily want advice. So when a friend is telling you about a problem, you can ask them something like- is this a problem where you need my advice or where you just need me to listen?









Don’t be an askhole. An askhole is a person who asks you for your suggestion then disregards it completely. If you’re not going to follow their suggestion, don’t ask. It makes your friend feel disrespected and unimportant, not to mention making you look completely foolish. If you really have a problem that needs solving, ask one or two friends that you know can help you with that particular problem. Don’t be that friend who asks every single friend about a problem then goes and does the opposite of what everyone said.



Don’t dump on your friends. One of my best friends, Amy, had told me this and I loved it. She said that when she’s had a bad day she likes to go and watch a movie alone in the cinema because it helps her forget her problems. She said she doesn’t call a friend and ‘dump’ her bad day on them and bring them down. And I thought that that was so wise. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t tell your friends about sad news or when you’re having a tough time. I’m saying don’t do it too often and for small things. Be mature and independent enough to handle your situations yourself and only when you really need support or help, talk to your friend. Depending completely on your friend when any little thing goes wrong is unhealthy for you as a person and for your friendship. No matter how kind your friends are, they’ll eventually get tired of you not being able to self-soothe.


Be honest, but not brutal. Don’t be that friend who sugarcoats everything and never tells their friend the truth about their job or their relationship or about food stuck in their teeth. Telling the truth may make you lose friends, but they’re not the type of friends you want anyway. P.S- tell the truth nicely. No need to be brutal about it. If you have a friend who is constantly being brutally honest and throwing what you do wrong in your face, reconsider the friendship. Friends are nice to each other. 







Don’t be a chronic complainer. I’ve had a lot of {ex} friends who loved complaining about their life and everything in it. Even if I pointed out an obvious solution to their problem, they wouldn’t take it. {Similar to being an askhole}. It was obvious that they loved their miserable lives and loved to complain. Being in the company of such friends is exhausting. If you’re a chronic complainer, reduce your whining and try to be more grateful. If you have friends like these, either explain to them that this is frustrating for you as a friend, or gradually cut them off and find better friends who are more positive and take action to solve their problems.


Remember that the best way of finding good friends is by being one. Following these rules has definitely worked for me and I’m blessed with amazing friends. Being honest, perceptive and compassionate in your friendships will make them stronger. By following the tips above, you’ll start to become a better person and a better friend.

Dress: c/o Khaleeji Girl Kouture, Earrings: from Thailand, Bracelet: Gifted, Watch, Bag: Parfois, Shoes: Aldo. Location courtesy: Madeleine. Photos: Ancita SherelOn a style note, this gorgeous dress is from Khaleeji Girl Kouture. I love that it's a wrap dress, which is so flattering. Unlike other wrap dresses, the neck is not too deep. Because of the wrap, the hemline is slightly longer in the front which adds more interest to the dress. The colour is a beautiful neutral taupe, making it the perfect work dress. I love that the sleeves stop before the wrist, adding that effortless element to it. Because this is a wrap dress, I always make sure I'm wearing shorts underneath it. You can also wear a lacy corset or bralette under in case the neck starts to gape when you're sitting. Lace sneak peeks are so elegant, especially when it's on the neckline. Wrap dresses usually become loose {since they're tied} so you have to be extra careful when wearing them and wear pretty inners. Because the dress is a simple neutral, I wore bright earrings with it. I got these handmade earrings at the Fisherman's Village Night Market in Bophut, Koh Samui, in Thailand. I love the fresh sea colours. I wore pumps in a gold and black jacquard fabric to add more elegance and length to the look and finished with a big bag in a deep navy blue for a pop of colour.This is such a go-to work dress. When you don't know what to wear or are in a hurry, this is the dress. I can't wait to wear it again with different shoes and accessories. I've already purchased a few different lace corsets to go with it. Until next time, xoxo




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Shabana Feroze
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10 things To Do When You're Overwhelmed

10 things To Do When You're Overwhelmed




The car breaks down. The baby’s soiled their diapers. And you were already stressed because the boss yelled at you that morning. 

Often times a lot of things happen all at once, leaving you feeling overwhelmed. You feel like a thousand-kilo rock is crushing you. You want to scream and shout but you know that that’s not really going to help. 


That overwhelming feeling can be because of anything. Maybe you realize you need to get a lot of things done and you don’t have enough time. Or several things go wrong all at once. And often, even after you’ve fixed a few things, you can’t shake off the feeling and the sense of urgency. 

This last month of October has been the most overwhelming month of my life. Several major things happened all at once and I didn’t know what to handle first or how to simply slow down my thoughts so I could think logically. I just felt pressured and drained from feeling pressured. 


I knew I had to stop feeling like that as soon as possible and go back to being my normal calm and composed self. Which is why I decided to write this post and share a few ways that help me stop feeling overwhelmed really fast, plus a few more that I think are great ways to calm the whirlpool in your mind.


Here are ten things you can do to stop feeling overwhelmed:

1. Visit a water body. Any naturally occurring body of water such as a waterfall, a lake, the ocean, etc., makes you feel instantly calmer when you’re near it. This is because of the negative ions in the air near water that makes us feel calmer and happier. If you really can’t go to the beach or a promenade, find a pool to take a dip in, sit by one, or simply take a shower. I find that even this contact with water soothes you and reduces that overwhelm.



Give yourself a head massage. Massages are amazing and they make you instantly relaxed. However, when you’re feeling chaotic, you might not feel like going to a spa and getting a full body massage or even have the time for it. What you can do, is to give yourself a head massage. Heat up any oil like coconut oil or olive oil {or make your own hair oil following my mother’s secret hair oil recipe} for a few seconds in the microwave and then massage it into your scalp. If there’s a family member around, ask them to do it. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes and then shower.


Find the funniest friends and be with them. Everyone has that one friend or a bunch of friends who are silly and funny. They’re so funny that just thinking of them makes you smile. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, seek their company and hang out with them even if for an hour or two. Just being with them will make that crushing sensation go away.


Have a good weep. I love a good cry. It cleanses out all the toxins in your system and makes you feel relieved. Don’t be ashamed to have a good ol’ ugly cry alone in your room when you’re feeling pressured. You’ll be able to think clearer after it.


Talk it out. Talking to a friend or a loved one can make the craziness in your head go away. Sometimes all it takes is verbalizing what’s driving you insane. Simply talking to someone makes you see your problems for what they are, and automatically reduces your stress. 


Write it down. An alternative to talking to someone is to write everything down. Do a brain dump. Just put pen to paper and let the words flow. They don’t have to make sense. Writing is always therapeutic and helps get you things off of your chest, making you feel more relaxed.


Take a nap. When you’re overwhelmed, the body feels exhausted. It’s the best time to give the body and mind some rest by taking a nap.

Meditate. Meditation helps slow down your breathing and brain waves. It can alleviate that crushing sensation we feel when we have too much on our mind by forcing us to be more present.


Do an intense workout. This is my favourite remedies for feeling overwhelmed. An intense workout like HIIT makes you feel really tired after and your brain just cannot think about problems anymore. It also lifts that brain fog you get when you’re overwhelmed because you’re so exhausted you can only think of the simplest solutions or what to do next.


Decide that tomorrow will be a better day. I find that telling myself that things will be better tomorrow helps to take the stress away from the moment. And the next day IS always inevitably better.


These are just a few things you can do when you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders or when everything is happening all at once. Here are 35 more self-care ideas you can do when you need to slow everything down and do something nice for yourself.

What do you usually like doing when you’re overwhelmed? Leave me a comment below!


On a style note

This is one of my favourite dresses designed by Saji’s Couture. I had purchased the lace material from a textile shop in Manama Souk. I was in love with it but I was confused as to how I’d be making a dress out of it. Sajida of Saji’s Couture told me she’d make a cape out of it, and a simple black pencil dress over which I can wear it. That way I could wear these two together and also use both pieces with other clothes. I loved it! 

I wore this dress to accept a business award and I got several compliments on it. I love how Sajida can think of a dress design really quickly and knows exactly what she will do with your material. 





Dress: Saji's Couture, Jewellery: Gifted, Watch: Olivia Burton, Shoes: New Look. Location courtesy: The Woods Cafe. Photos: Ancita Sherel

Until next time

xoxo
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Shabana Feroze
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From College To The Workplace- Build The Perfect Work Wardrobe

From College To The Workplace- Build The Perfect Work Wardrobe



Going from being a student to starting your career life is always an exciting phase. But the biggest question is - what do you do about clothes? Whether your workplace is a bit relaxed or whether it’s a place that demands formal office clothes, you’ll need to start transitioning your wardrobe from college to work-worthy. Even if you’re working from home, it’s a good idea to start putting together a professional style collection. If not for anyone, but to make yourself feel fresh and excited to start this new phase of life.


If you're currently a student in college or uni, chances are that you've got a wardrobe filled with comfortable pieces that are nerdy chic. You won’t necessarily have the money to go out and replace your entire wardrobe with work-appropriate pieces. 

In this post, I’m going to show you what you can do to gradually build a work wardrobe once you’ve started working without throwing out all your much-loved college clothes. And how you can look impressive without going broke. 


How to build a work wardrobe when you’re starting your career

  • Put aside a small amount to buy clothes every month. This is so that you don't go crazy and spend all your money on clothes in the first few months and have no money left over for food or entertainment. 
  • Your dream work wardrobe takes time. I have been working for over 15 years and now I have the absolute dream workwear collection. It doesn't happen overnight. If you rush it, you’ll end up with items that don’t suit you and don’t make you happy.

  • Shop online or visit your favourite shops once a week. This way, you'll buy a few good pieces every month instead of blowing all your money on clothes all at once. Shopping sprees are a complete drain on your funds when you start working. Be smart while shopping.
  • Buy high quality, less quantity. So for instance, get just one white shirt, but make sure it's of great quality and in a classic cut so you can mix and match it with other pieces. You should be able to wear it with your college clothes like jeans, casual skirts and jackets. Focus on quality and classic shapes. 

  • Buy a blazer as soon as you can. A blazer can be thrown over anything and everything. Even worn over a t-shirt and jeans, it looks chic and professional. 

  • Get a pair of work shoes like heels or loafers. The great thing about trends today is that sneakers can be worn with anything and everything. However, one pair of formal shoes can make any outfit look polished. You'll also be prepared for when you have to attend meetings or events in which formal wear is a must. 

  • In the beginning, ask your older friends and family if they have extra work clothes that they no longer wear. You can always put feelers out there that you don't mind accepting work clothes in your size and in good shape if anyone from your friends and family wants to give theirs away. I wish I had done this when I started working because it can be such a great way to save. Today I constantly give away clothes that I'm tired of wearing or those that no longer spark joy, to younger cousins and friends. I love seeing them wear my clothes and feeling happy with them. 

  • Check out H&M sales or their sales racks that are there almost all round the year. H&M usually have very classic and basic workwear pieces marked down to ridiculously low rates. I have bought elegant pencil dresses, pencil skirts and other classic workwear pieces for throwaway prices in H&M sales. Recently, a colleague of mine got herself real nice basic pieces for a steal in the last sale. So keep an eye out. 

  • Use accessories to make a statement. Accessories usually aren't expensive and they can really personalize your look. Scarves, hats, jewellery. They can all be worn in different ways with different outfits for fresh new looks. 

  • Get creative with your college clothes. Once you have a few basic workwear pieces, mix and match them with your casual and quirky college clothes for fun looks that show off your unique personality.

Dress: Saji's Couture, Earrings, Watch: Parfois, Bag, Bracelet: from India, Shoes: Aldo, Photos: Ancita Sherel


Final thoughts

Remember to go slow and steady when building a work wardrobe. Be creative while putting structuring your outfits. Check out sales whenever possible but again, don’t go crazy. Take your time, discover a new style as you put your workwear collection together and enjoy the process!

Until next time,

xoxo
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Shabana Feroze
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