Monday, March 19, 2018

Posted On March 19, 2018 by Team iCynosure.

When people become parents they want the best for their children. All parents have great aspirations for their children and thats what parenthood is all about. Giving your child the best, sometimes even beyond your own means is what parents are capable of pushing themselves to do. I only began to identify with those feelings when I first held #PrincessHeer in my arms. 

There wasn’t a single moment when I didn’t want to stroke her face or nuzzle her ear or kiss her forehead. However the little one who looked like she had just stepped out of a ‘Baby Product’ commercial began having break-outs in less than a few weeks. A long worried chat with her paediatrician made me realise that there is much more to caring for my little bundle of joy than just basic healthcare. I needed to look into her skincare routine closely as well and did I make that my mission… 

Here are those simple, yet extra-special efforts I introduced in her skincare routine to ensure the protection it deserved. 

Bathing Basics: Baby skin is the most fragile at the time of birth and has to be prepped up over time. Even though most paediatrician recommend not to massage a baby, age-old tradition was followed for Heer. We would massage her every morning with home-made almond oil and then bathe her in lukewarm water. We paid special attention to the skin-folds and would let her air-dry or dabbed her gently while avoiding to rub her delicate skin. 

Natural Products: Two rules we followed while using baby products for Heer were; to use natural fragrance-free products and to always do a swatch test to rule out allergies. After experimenting with a few brands we finalised on MamaEarth, a safe, toxin-free, international standard baby products brand. I especially loved the Milky Soft Face Cream infused with the goodness of Almond Oil and Murumuru Butter that moisturised the delicate skin, Milk protein that locked in the moisture and Shea and cocoa butter that improved skin texture especially formulated for sensitive skin and cures eczema as well.

Diapering Essentials: It was one of the most tricky parts of skincare; picking the right mode of keeping her skin dry. With recommendations from friends we opted for diapers that were soft with all-round protection. While changing, we wiped her skin with baby wipes and applied diaper cream to keep the skin moisturised and rash free. We preferred to alternate between cloth and disposable diapers that allow the skin to breathe, thus keeping the skin soft and healthy, and Heer happy. 

Clothing Prerequisites: Depending upon the weather conditions we got baby clothing in natural fabrics like cotton, linen, hemp and wool. Breathable clothing allowed Heer’s skin to stay hydrated while protecting it against the harshness of the heat and cold. Another very important aspect of clothing we followed was to wash all clothing before first-time use and also wash them in a mild detergent, the ones free of dyes, colourants and allergens. 

Vital Nourishment: Skin health and care is as important from the outside as well as from the inside. Just as the doctor ordered we exclusively breast-fed Heer for the first six months, then introduced her to fruit-vegetable pulp and nutritious dals. Over the next few months we started to include almonds and walnuts to her daily intake along with pulses and lentils for protein and vitamins. We also supplemented water with semi-solids and solids to ensure digestion, hydration and overall growth.

I think with these changes, we did pretty good at bringing up Heer. Is there something specific you included in your baby's skincare routine as #mamatakescare that could help new moms? Let us know in the comments below to include the tips in the post.  

Until next time,
- Heena

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Posted On March 17, 2018 by Team iCynosure.

I’m a ‘six small meals a day’ person, and at around 7:00 pm each evening I’m in a dilemma about what to eat that will not be a roadblock in my fitness regime. At times I struggle not to give into my junk food carvings, and some times my evening hunger pangs lead to binge eating that affect my waistline as well as my overall health. However not eating anything at all adversely affects my health and thus I am constantly in search of healthy, low calorie snack options that are tasty and which will help keep my hunger at bay and my weight in check. 

Lets be honest there aren’t any relatable food options that are light enough for an evening snack, while being healthy and tasty. Yes, there is always the option of fruits or a handful of nuts, but there are no real flavours that satiate my taste buds. I remember when I was younger my mom used to toil in the kitchen to make me some amazing soup and a bowl of salad as a precursor to my meal, but those days are long gone and trust me I do not have that amount of quality time to spend in the kitchen. But it has always remained an important memory that I would love to recreate with my little one as hunger does strike us at various times of the day.

And now this memory can be a reality as Marico has launched Saffola Active Soups with 5 times more fibre than any other soup. Each cup is rich in fibre that ensure that you feel full and stay light while relishing your favourite flavour. It is indeed a tasty way to stay fit. The soups are available in a range of flavours like tomato, hot & sour, mixed veg, sweet corn and manchow, so that you never get bored. The soups are easy-to-make, you just need to add 150ml of hot water in a cup full of the pack contents and savour away. A cup of instant soup has only about 2% of your daily calories required with 5 times more fibre and real vegetables. The brand sent me their their newly launched product in an innovative way. 

I would definitely recommend Saffola Active Soups to everyone for its lower calorie count as well as dietary fibre that jumpstarts metabolism to keep one fit and light. So forget about the your evening hunger pangs and fill yourself with the Saffola goodness. 

Until next time,
- Heena

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Posted On March 08, 2018 by Team iCynosure.

The usual reaction to a discussions about a disorder or an illness is ignorance or indifference, in a way that it is irrelevant to the individual's life. I have interacted with numerous people who dismiss the discussions as they believe it cannot happen to them or anyone dear to them. But disorders have started creeping into our lives slowly; and are much closer to us than we wish to believe.

Over the last few years the one disorder that I have personally heard a lot about is Thyroid disorder. According to a recent study conducted in eight major cities of the country, it was found that 1 in every 8 adults suffer from thyroid disorders and about 8% may have subclinical HypoThyroid Disorder. It is really crucial to understand that thyroid isn't a disease, it is a disorder where an assigned gland produces insufficient (HypoThyroid Disorder) or excess (HyperThyroid Disorder) hormone that are required by the body to function properly.Unfortunately many people don't even know they suffer from the disorder and hence it is important to understand the disorder and recognise the symptoms. 

One of the most alarming symptoms of thyroid is Thyroweight, an unexplained weight gain coupled with fatigue and tiredness, that is experienced mainly due to the imbalance in thyroid hormone production. Since women experience fluctuations in weight frequently, and hence Thyroweight is often ignored or overlooked and thats when all the problems arise including irregular periods, problems in conception, difficult pregnancy and early menopause. #RuleOutThyroweight initiative is a great platform to create awareness, educate and assist in managing the disorder. 

The awareness campaign with Dr. Shehla Shaikh, a renowned consulting endocrinologist and Mrs. Juhi Chawla Shah, a well know Indian actress and celebrity, where both shared their experiences about their experiences with the disorder. Dr. Shaikh explained in detail how the disorder affects women in general and how a simple  Thyroid Function Test (THS) helps identify the severity of the problem. Ms. Chawla reiterated on the fact how the disorder has impacted her husband and father-in-law emotionally and physically, and how they overcame the limitation with a simple and systematic medical approach. The panel busted some popular myths about Thyroid Disorder:

Myth #1: Only Women Suffer From Thyroid Disorder
Thyroid Disorder can affect both men and women. 

Myth #2: Only Older People Get Thyroid Disorder
Thyroid Disorder is most common after age 35, but the condition can strike at any age. 

Myth #3: People Suffering From Thyroid Disorder Would get easily diagnosed
About 70 percent of people with thyroid disorder remain undiagnosed for its generic symtoms.

Myth #4: A Gluten-free Diet Will Cure Thyroid Disorder 
Diet changes definitely impact the thyroid positively, however medication is a must to control the disorder.

Myth #5: When Symptoms Aren’t Bothersome, It’s Okay To Skip Treatment
One needs to be under medication forever if diagnosed with the disorder, however one must consult with the doc to change the dosage/weightage of the pills

Myth #6: Supplemental Iodine Can Correct Thyroid Disorder
Excess iodine can trigger a thyroid dysfunction.

Myth #7: You Can't Take Thyroid Medication During Pregnancy
Without treatment, Thyroid Disorder can result in serious complications during pregnancy to the mother and the foetus.

So armed with all the relevant information, if you notice changes in body weight, sleep patterns or overall behaviour, get a THS done at your doorstep by sending a SMS (ABTSHPincode) to 98706 66333. Once your test results are received you will know your thyroid levels and ascertain whether or not you suffer from the disorder. You can also download the ThyroApp to help you manage the disorder better. You may also come across people or health care providers who may have a difference of opinion, it is most ideal to be both informed and empowered to ask pertinent questions, and participate in your health care decisions. For more information please visit

Until next time,
- Heena

Disclaimer: I attended a discussion on thyroid awareness facilitated by Abbott India Limited. Any opinion expressed in this blog is my personal opinion and not the opinion of Abbott India Limited. Abbott India Limited does not assume any liability for the content of the blog. The blog post is not meant to be a replacement for a doctor consultation, nor is it a medical recommendation or prescription of treatment for people having thyroid problems. Any reader of this blog suffering from thyroid problems should specifically consult his/her doctor for the same and follow the suggested course of treatment.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Posted On March 06, 2018 by Team iCynosure.

Life is all about your #LifeGoals; as a responsible person you must prioritize your goals and identify the most suitable investment products to achieve them systematically. Whether your goals include purchasing your dream home or car, investing for your children education or their wedding, planning for your start-up or retirement; it is important to start early and plan your investments with the help of experts.

I’m planning to invest cautiously with Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Company Ltd’s newly launched value-packed goal-based Unit-Linked Insurance Plan (ULIP) Bajaj Allianz Life Goal Assure that has been designed to provide investment benefits and life cover to the new generation of investors in India. Pegged as the perfect tool for today’s generation of Life Maximisers, the new age ULIP will be the game changer for the industry for its unique benefits that are one-of-a-kind for a ULIP in India. The return of life cover charges guarantees life cover when the policy matures, enhancing the value of the corpus on maturity. At maturity if the maturity benefit in opted as instalments over a period of five years, the sum will receive the benefit of return enhancer, which is an addition of 0.5% of each due instalment, whilst the fund value will continue to participate in the funds opted for. 

Apart from the benefit of the Return of life cover Charges, Bajaj Allianz Life Goal Assure offers varied Portfolio Strategies where investors can opt for an investment style (Investor Selectable Portfolio Strategy, Wheel of Life Portfolio Strategy, Trigger Based Portfolio Strategy or Auto Transfer Portfolio Strategy) that will assist to accomplish the set #LifeGoals. Unlimited fund switches that are available under the Investor Selectable Portfolio strategy, and tax benefit during maturity that can be claimed under section 80C and 10(10D). 

The ULIP Funds of Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance have over the last few years consistently delivered one of the best CAGR returns, beating the benchmark indices and enjoying high ratings. Another merit of the product is the way transparency has been provided to investors through, with tools such as Risk Xplorer, Goal-based journey, Returns Calculator and much more, making it convenient for investors to make informed decisions through a detailed guide through the planning and purchase to ensure no hindrance to the Goal-based journey.

Log to the product page ( to know all about the Life Goals Assure. 

Until next time,
- Heena

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Posted On February 28, 2018 by Team iCynosure.

I belong to that troop of footwear lovers who requires a different pair of shoes for different occasions, feeling more grandiose with tons of ladies footwear all around me to escape the mundane. I pretty much buy a pair whenever I go out shopping…and that would essentially add up close to an obnoxious two dozen pairs a year, setting me back by a minimum of 40 grand a year. And the worst is that some of these pairs do not even get to see the light of the day. 

However, since I consider myself such an expert, I believe you must choose a pair that’s right for you instead of following trends, follow the wriggle rule and try different sizes, and buy neutral colours, patterns and styles that are classic. With that, I also present to you a list of shoes that every girl must have. 

1. Slippers
Slippers are an essential pick in your shoe closet for all the casual outings and laid-back days to unwind. From going to summer brunches to shopping sprees or a stroll on the beach or simply lazing around, ladies slippers are your best bet. 

2. Pumps
Pumps are true style icons that never go out of vogue with the pointed toe and slim heel. They are elegant and classy, both at once. From party nights to a dinner date, a pair of pop-coloured pumps is the only head turner you need to have. 

3. Sneakers
Sneakers with just about any outfit are a major trend today. These are not only super comfortable but also ensure you stand out in a crowd. So no matter where you're going or what you're wearing, pick the sneaker look and you are set. 

4. Ballerinas
Ballerinas are the go-to comfy shoes that are chic and stylish in their own way. Ballet Flats are perfect for when you want to channel your feminine delicate persona in your everyday work or fun look.

5. Block Heels
Block heels are perfect to stay trendy while being comfortable. Block heels make a bold fashion forward statement that transforms from delicate to meaningful within seconds. Create balance by keeping the outfit light with block heels. 

I am looking forward to adding a lot more to my shoe cabinet this year. What’s your pick out of these beauties? Share it in the comments section below.

Until next time,
- Heena

Friday, February 23, 2018

Posted On February 23, 2018 by Team iCynosure.

Maxi Dresses have such charm and aura to them that the trend is surely not going to cool down for seasons to come. Layer them with cozy jackets or wrap around warm scarves, maxi dresses are still best bet. My inclination towards dresses have grown in the recent times for the effortlessness of an outfit and ease in styling. I follow a simple principle by combining colours, cuts and patterns to create simple yet stylish look. I tend to follow my heart and don a maxi dress as it it one of the most straightforward pieces of clothing to style. So, there is no stopping me from adding few more of these beautiful dresses to my closet. 

A maxi makes me feel so happy and relaxed especially when they don’t make you try hard to look good. They simply strike a balance between glamorous and casual, to create either a classy or a daily look. Either styles with flats or with heels, maxis can be perfect whether you go for a brunch or to the beach. Prints, colours, silhouettes, one can try anything and still be comfortable in the manner the dress fits on them. 

A couple of tips to flaunt a maxi dress in the best way possible… 
§ Pick a maxi that accentuate the waist 
§ Opt for scrappy sandals with maxis
§ Go with a flow silhouettes

I picked this gorgeous maxi dress from Amazon, from a relatively new brand Bronz. It mesmerised me with its amazing splash of colour, in an A-line silhouette, sleeveless and full length in 100% rayon that makes it perfect for those amazingly cozy vacations.

Dress: Bronz via Amazon, Shoes: Yahe via Amazon, Bag & Sunglasses: Zaful

Until next time,
- Heena

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Posted On February 07, 2018 by Team iCynosure.

Wouldn’t it be great if we had tons of money to fund all our expenses, without a care in the world. Unfortunately, that is not the case with most of us. Including yours truly! Sometimes I do go overboard with my expenses and end up needing to borrow, and the best possible solution is to get a personal loan. A personal loan is a diversified credit option that is easy to access, unsecured yet flexible and is offered at a decent rate of interest. In simple terms, a personal loan is a convenient solution when you are cash-strapped. 

Here are three situations when a personal loan is a good bet to get you sorted:

Debt Pay-Off
If one does have varying amounts of debts from creditors including amounts payable against credit cards, each instrument would have its individual rate of interest, varied due dates, late charges, etc. This may lead to mismanagement of payments, which may then incur higher interest, negatively impacting credit scores and a host of other issues. Taking a personal loan to consolidate your debt, pay off all outstanding creditors and be left with a single payment schedule to follow will ease out all your debt worries. 

Medical Emergency
Of course this isn't the ideal situation but when either your loved one or you are unwell and have a medical emergency it is best not to wait for the approval of cashless claim on your health insurance. You need money and you need it now, and taking a personal loan will prove beneficial to not only your financial health but also your physical wellbeing.

Launch a Start-Up
Starting a business or diversifying your work is all about initial investments. Taking a personal loan to kick start the process is a good way to show commitment as well as get the cash flowing. 

Personal loans are always favorable as they have a fixed repayment term, between two to five years and come with a fixed rate of interest. However it is advisable to compare the terms and costs of the loan and borrow within your credit limit.

Have you ever got a personal loan? What was your experience?
- Heena

Friday, February 02, 2018

Posted On February 02, 2018 by Team iCynosure.

The freelancing industry has seen an impressive growth in the past several years, with 82% men freelancing already and a record 48% women considering freelancing. Freelancing in India has improved on two counts - the number of opportunities and the commercials on each project. Freelancers make about $30,000 on an average annually. Being a freelancer today is a real good deal, especially since you can pick your own niche, work on your own time, work on your own terms and more importantly work for anyone in the world from anywhere in the world. The only two things you need to have as a freelancer is the skill and knowledge of your craft and an internet connection. However the one thing that remains the biggest concern for freelancers is payments, and the last thing one wants to do is go chasing for payments, after the projects have been completed.

As a freelancer, I’ve experienced first hand the growth in projects from both international and Indian companies. However payments have never been a concern for me since I have a PayPal account and invoice my clients using the inbuilt invoicing mechanism that PayPal offers. Since 4 in 5 freelancers work with international clients from Australia, UK and US, PayPal becomes a preferred choice that enables receiving payments in a timely, safe and secure manner. I strongly advocate PayPal for its many features including customised invoice creation, Seller Protection that safeguards from fraudulent chargeback, flexibility in receiving payments in over 26 currencies and cool features like a PayPal.Me, a link that can be sent for requesting payments. I also love the fact that payments received into my PayPal account are transferred directly into my bank account linked to PayPal. is a customised link to request payments.. You can either register with your own name or your business name to create your unique identity which also makes it easier for your clients to connect with you.

Seller Protection
Seller Protection becomes immensely relevant as most freelancers deal in intangibles and very few of the services are covered through protection. PayPal offers Seller Protection on consultancy and online services including but not limited to content development, web and mobile development, software development and much more. Of course the platform follows a strict protocol to identify whether your transaction is eligible for Seller Protection and check proof of service. 

So if you are a freelancer or a small scale merchant, PayPal Business Account is your way forward from today. There is no additional charge, just the transaction processing fees, backed by PayPal’s global risk capabilities. I’ve got my Business account, get yours today. 

Until next time,
- Heena

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Posted On January 31, 2018 by Team iCynosure.

*Sponsored Post*

Apart from purchasing a house, the next big purchase any individual would make is that of a vehicle. While numerous purchases are made on an impulse, these two big ticket items definitely need a lot of consideration. The experience of purchasing both these items can be overwhelming and narrowing down the search for the one most suitable to your family and you will be huge financial as well as emotional decision. With our recent experience of getting our new car, I can assure you it is a huge task. My husband and I did a lot of research putting in several weeks of showroom visits, test drives and comparing costs to finally arrive at a decision. If you are in a similar situation, ensure you take each step after careful consideration as this purchase is not fully refundable. 

Research Information
The first thing to do when you start the process is research research research! When we first thought about getting a new car, we looked and looked for options that would suit a family of six, that would have plenty of boot space, that would have the features we needed and most importantly that would be in our budget. We spoke to friends, visited showrooms, looked up reviews on automobile sites like and went on test drives too, to find the right product for us. 

Calculate Budget
With easy access to credit lines, one is often swayed beyond their budgets. An important aspect we kept in mind while looking for a new car was not only the maximum amount we were willing to spend on the vehicle but also insurance, maintenance and other miscellaneous costs associated with it. 

Driving Capabilities
Prior to deciding, test drive a car for a minimum of 15-20 minutes through a familiar route. Hubby made me drive both the versions of the car we were planning on purchasing through light and heavy traffic to ensure my comfort. We parked and remarked not only en-route but also in our parking lot for surety. 

If you are looking for help choosing your very own new vehicle or you have a great tip that will help make the decision feel free to drop them in the comments below. 

Until next time,
- Heena

Monday, January 29, 2018

Posted On January 29, 2018 by Team iCynosure.

The changes in the environment and the constant travelling have taken a toll on my skin, combine that with my erratic skincare routine which I follow sometimes and skip at most times. I’ve tried and tested a few one-in-all creams costing me an arm and a leg, but to my utter disappointment those haven't worked for me at all. When I was ready to give up, my mother-in-law quietly handed me a bottle of Vicco Turmeric Skin Cream In Oil Base and my first reaction was ‘this really?’ 

The product instantly reminded me of the Vicco advert that says that the company doesn’t believe in chemical products but vouches for its ayurvedic formulas and I thought why not give it a shot. With my combination skin type, there are only a few products that actually work for me the way I want them to. And to be honest I had a very low expectation from this one. The product is an Ayurvedic medicine that moisturises dry skin, and is enriched with turmeric that helps restore the skin’s natural glow and treat uneven skin tone. It nourishes the skin, improves the tonal value and makes it healthy. Sounds perfect, now for the experience. 

As a rule of skincare principle I did a patch test, and the first thing I noticed was the prominent fragrance which took a while to get adjusted to. On application I felt a cool soothe wipe over the area, with flawless absorption and visibly radiant skin within minutes, the skin instantly felt nourished and looked healthier. Over next few days as I continued to use the lotion I began to feel a difference not only from the outside but also within. Within days the consistency and oil-based formulae of the Vicco Turmeric Skin Cream In Oil Base helped my skin feel softer and more even toned. 

I would definitely recommend the Vicco Turmeric Skin Cream In Oil Base for its natural Ayurvedic formula that is chemical free and works across all seasons, its smooth non-greasy application that keeps the skin moisturised all day and its definitive results. I’m writing a #LetterToSkin with the trust of VICCO thats is nurturing, protecting and rejuvenating medicinal products and remedies since 1952.

Have you used VICCO products? You can buy Vicco Turmeric Skin Cream In Oil Base here.

Let me know your skin care routine in the comments below. 

Until next time,
- Heena

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Posted On January 18, 2018 by Team iCynosure.

Born in a business family has its perks, one of which is never to worry about funds you need to achieve your goals. For most of my growing up days, I never envisioned my long term goals and thus failed to plan my investments accordingly. For every rupee that I made, there was always something that I wanted to spend it on, the very same day; and of course whenever a larger need arose, my go-to fund would be my parents. However over the years I realised that many of my friends were saving their earnings, but in the most traditional manner without any systematic or logical plan. And that reinforced my belief in the fact that saving is good, but not connecting it to a goal is a bad idea.

As much as I love the tranquility of our farm house, I don’t see myself retiring to it in the near future. I see myself doing over a dozen of things before even contemplating retirement. Travelling the world with my better half, raising my children, buying a house, publishing a book, starting a charity, are just a few #LifeGoals I want to accomplish before hanging my boots. However these goals will remain merely dreams if I align them to the traditional mode of investment, those that are safe but do not do anything with my money and provide returns which are negligible.

With my lack of knowledge in the field of financial investments has pushed me to understand the field a little better. Although I prefer to rely on the experts, I also want to be knowledgeable and thus I made my way to Bajaj Allianz’s Blogger Meet held in Mumbai earlier this month. The concepts of investment, goals and the power of staying invested that I learnt, were nothing that can be taught in any classroom. The most important factor that drives financial planning can be viewed in two parts - planning and investing. Planning requires goal identification, time duration and frequency while investing requires plan identification and resources in hand. Yes, it does sound pretty heavy duty, but once you align your goals with your resources it becomes very easy to achieve what you want. 

Since the meet, my aim has been to categorise and prioritise my goals into short, med and long term goals, so that I can identify the most suitable investment product to help me achieve them without much difficulty. As Tarun Chaugh, MD & CEO of Bajaj Allianz put it in very simple words during his address at the meet, it is important to know what you want to do with your money and how you want your financial future to look like, and these two things are completely in your own hands. Instead of working hard, set goals and plan your investment so that your money can work for you instead.

Taking advice from the best in the business, I’m going back to the drawing board to chalk out a plan and build on my long term #LifeGoals with Bajaj Allianz ULIPs. The investment tool is a non-participating, individual unit-linked, regular or limited premium payment endowment insurance plan that also provides security and ensures growth to meet all my future financial goals. ULIPs help me #InvestBefikar as they play a vital role not only as an investment tool but also as an insurance cover. A part of the premium is parked in risk protection while the other is invested in generating funds. Over the years the way the financial community has offered ULIPs have undergone a huge change beginning with the ease in diversification as per the investor’s risk appetite and preferred choice of tool, the Fund Management Charges that are now as low as 0.95% to the flexibility to change payment terms and frequency. 

Yes, its a lot to plan for, and I shall share with you my investment roadmap and the products I’m opting for in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for the next instalment of my investment plans. 

Until next time, 
- Heena