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beauty, skincare, Uncategorized

Get Lit From Within – The Ultimate Skin Transformation Kit

Obagi Skincare

About 5 months ago, I was at my skin doctor (Dr Sheridan, the absolute best in the biz:)). I was getting a little filler done (ssshhh…) and she suggested I try this product that has been around for over 30 years and she said she found it to be the only product/brand that truly worked in transforming skin from the inside. She explained that “Obagi” was a skincare brand with products that are only available via prescription, and these products worked to transform the skin by stimulating skin cell turnover to optimise overall skin quality. While fillers etc are great for certain purposes, and in small doses, nothing substitutes healthy, glowing skin from the inside.

Obagi Skincare

I was sceptical at first, but I trust Dr Sheri and I knew that if she recommended it, it was worth a try. So, of course I asked her to please order the kit for me. The kit consists of 7 products and then you need to purchase a tretanoin product separately as well. Together all these cost about £550 (£450 for kit + £100 for the tretanoin). The entire transformation “course” takes 18 weeks from start to finish and personally, I had to replace the kit once midway through the course (although I still have product left that I am now using as part of the maintenance process).

Now lets talk about the effects (ohhh boy). We have to remember that we are stimulating cell turnover (which slows down year after year from our 20s). I had heavily researched Obagi, their claims, reviews online including what people had said they had experienced every week while on the treatment. So I broadly knew what I could expect but of course everyone’s skin reacts differently to products and my skin is quite sensitive and has odd reactions to products that everyone else may give rave reviews about so I was nervous (to say the least:)).

Within the first 2 weeks the peeling started. Initially it was light peeling but some days, Mike (hubby:), was like “why is your face falling off today honey?” hahaha. You will go through periods, and some days are worse than others for whatever reason, where your face will be peeling all over, makeup will look awful as it looks scaly on your (scaly, peeling) skin, it gets really dry so its quite itchy as well. (I know you’re probably reading this thinking, “good God, I don’t want any part of this”) , but please keep reading. You will probably change your mind:).

The Peeling and flushed skin about 2 months in.

The peeling, for me, to be honest lasted pretty much throughout the process (18 weeks), however heavy peeling was only for about 2 months or so. Towards the last few weeks of the treatment, my skin looked flushed all the time but any scars, hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone etc, had nearly completely gone. (I didn’t have major scarring etc to begin with, so it may take longer for some people to see results, if skin issues are different).

Once your skin looks flushed/pink (with little to no peeling), you are getting to the “glow” stage. I call it the glow stage, as the peeling (mostly) stops and your skin feels tight and lifted, fine lines are diminished or gone and your skin looks healthy, bouncy with a subtle glow. I had deep “laugh lines” due to weight loss over the years so my face sunk in and I would have filler to fill out those laugh lines because nothing else had worked but Obagi has nearly erased these lines (as it also stimulates collagen so your skin naturally plumps up ). It is particularly noticeable when I have makeup on, as my foundation used to eventually set into the laugh lines but that’s almost gone now. My skin feels firm and bouncy to the touch.

I must also mention that before I started (about a week before), Dr Sheri advised that I should have the Obagi Blue Radiance peel done. Its a light, quick peel that gently exfoliates the top most layer of your skin thereby allowing for the Obagi products/treatment to penetrate and start working quicker.

Im now in the Maintenance Phase (yess, we made it through to the end, scales and all haha). The Maintenance phase, is basically using the products as you were using them throughout the treatment process, but only twice a week.

To sum it all up, in my experience, I have tried every kind of serum and cream, and a little filler as well and while some helped more than others, and to a certain extent, the ONLY way to truly transform your skin health is from the inside out. Obagi is amazing to peel back the years, quite literally. Factors like the sun, poor skin care when we were in our 20s, weight loss, poor makeup (habits) like sleeping with your makeup on and lets be honest, time (age), affects our skin and I have found that this kit is brilliant to transform the skin and get it working like it did when we were younger.

You can go to Obagi website to read more about them and find a good doctor that you trust to take a look at your skin and prescribe if necessary and appropriate for you. You cannot get these without prescription as your doctor needs to prescribe the products and amounts that you need to use based on their assessment of your skin needs. My experience with this system has been fantastic. If you stick to it religiously, including using sunscreen everyday and avoid the sun while on the system, you could be looking at fresher, plumper, healthier skin in a few months.

Important tip: While on the system, no other face products except Obagi products should be used. Another tip that Dr Sheri gave me was to try and not use the moisturiser unless my skin is very dry and its necessary to use it, as the exfoliating process is easier and quicker without the added layer of moisturiser. (the Obagi moisturiser is excellent to help with the dry skin though btw;)).

I hope you guys enjoyed the new post and I really hope that if you choose to give this a go, it makes you feel as wonderful as it did me.

Till next time,

Love, Arita X

Arita Bains

beauty, fashion, Uncategorized

hottest trends 2022

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love fashion. Its how we express ourselves and to many, its an extension of our personality. Style is, of course, a personal choice and everyone loves expressing themselves in different ways with the style that they feel most comfortable in. I love outfits that are classy, yet sexy. (I’m not entirely sure if that represents me or who id like to be when I grow up but here we are haha:)

So what inspired this post? Well I have people tell me on Instagram that they love my outfits and ask where a lot of them are from so I thought id do a post dedicated to the top fave outfits lately so you know where to find them too:) (Follow me on IG at beautyandbains ). Lets get into it!

Arita Bains

JUMPSUITS! There are not enough good things I can say about jumpsuits and how much I love them. I have a few of them, in all different styles, colours and for different occasions. This one pictured is one of my absolutes faves though. Its a bandage corset detail jumpsuit. I got mine in this gorgeous olive color (but it comes in black as well). The corset design at the top really cinches you in at the waist and then hugs at the hips giving a more hourglass shape. Its also ruched on the sides and if you make sure to get the correct size, it hugs the curves in all the right places leaving you looking and feeling fab. Shop the look now for only £59 (Sale currently on).


And on the subject of jumpsuits, here’s another one that’s been quite popular on IG and with friends. This Bandeau Mesh Insert Cup Detail Jumpsuit is elegant, sexy yet comfy all at once. I style this with a cute pair of heels and a clutch purse and im ready for cocktails. Its now on sale for £33. Shop for yours here.


A good top is the difference between a good outfit and a Fab outfit. I love wearing a showstopper of a top with a sexy pair of jeans and heels. Thats where my next few fave mentions come in.

crop tops

Crop Tops are such a great way of dressing up an outfit without looking like you tried too hard:) I often put on a cute crop top, a pair of jeans and my favourite heels, and I’m set to go. I have a few cute, sexy crop tops that look fab with a pair of jeans, a cute skirt or even shorts. Iv added a few that have been your faves on my IG.

As you can tell I love wearing these with jeans (keep reading – my fave pair of jeans coming up). I love crops in black (but I am trying to incorporate other colours to my wardrobe haha:)) Get yours here.

Another great style that im loving recently are the corset tops. I love their form fitting design that cinches you in at the waist and makes you look and feel fabulous. I posted this one when I wore it for New Years Eve and I got so many people asking me where its from. So that is why this little green ( more lime) number makes the cut and features on my faves list.

As promised, I am adding more color to my wardrobe:-D I do love the vibrant color of this one, the soft material, sexy fit and how comfy it feels. Why not get one in your favourite color(s)? Click here to purchase.

Jeans Jeans Jeans!!!

Who doesn’t love a good pair of jeans, that fit perfectly, right? But i think we can all relate to the frustration of finding a pair that fits just right. They’re either too long, or too big or small, or fit right around the thighs but not at the waist and the list goes on. Through ALOT of trial and error, searching for jeans that are just right for my body shape, I have found a few stores /brands that always come through for me. The 2 that I have chosen to highlight are budget friendly options so everyone can afford them:) All pictures above are of jeans iv gotten from these 2 stores . Click to purchase here or if you are on a tight budget they have great options here.

And with the list complete, no reason we can’t go shopping right:-D ? I am totally obsessed with all these outfits, and I hope you love them just as much!

ps. my next post will be coming from /about our trip to Spain (im so excited). Keep an eye out for that.

Till then, adios mis amores X

arita bains
beauty, Uncategorized

Fab hair don’t care – the ultimate guide to the best hair care (products)

Arita Bains

Hi Hunnies X

Happy New Year! Heres hoping that 2022 marks the beginning of better things to come and the end to the very difficult 2 years that have gone by.

Okay, so on to todays post – Hair!! I have been on a quest to get my hair to the most healthy state it can possibly be. And while that journey is not complete, I have found some products that work fast(er) and the results are amazing. I have been styling and colouring my hair for a long time now, so taking extra care of it to prevent damage and maintain healthy, shiny hair, is all the more important.

A while back, I was at my salon getting my hair done and my stylist had a line of hair products in the salon and she asked me to take a few samples and try them and see if I found any difference after using them. I sceptically took them home and after keeping them aside in the bathroom for a couple of weeks, I decided to give them a go. I did see a huge difference almost immediately and then purchased 3 of the products that, when used together, will change your hair game forever. Iv been using them for a few months now, and I really have noticed a big difference in how healthy my hair looks. Theres a shine, less brittle, breaking hair, less visible split ends, more volume and bounce to my hair. Overall, its really repairing each strand of hair and making it healthier and stronger than ever. (which is actually what its formulated to do).

Lets get to the actual products. The product I still use (and am not going to get into as I have done previous posts about it already), is the must have Olaplex. Olaplex No.3 is an at-home treatment, formulated to repair damaged hair. I honestly couldn’t say enough good things about Olaplex. If you can only get one of the products today, I would say get this – as its more budget friendly (£26) (because it lasts longer than the others) and it works brilliantly on its own, while the others work better when used together. Click on the link Olaplex and get it right now! (its so worth it, I promise;).

Now for the newbies to debut…

Caviar Baby

Alterna Caviar Products

The Alterna Caviar range is an exclusive luxury haircare brand/range designed with powerful ingredients for people who want to take their haircare to the next level. It features Alterna’s exclusive Caviar Bond Enforcing Technology to repair and protect hair, reduce breakage by more than 99%, and add strength. Caviar Bond Enforcing Technology is a proprietary technology specifically engineered to seal hair cuticles that have been damaged through chemical processes or physical stress.

Alterna Caviar Shampoo/Conditioner

Alterna Bond Repair Shampoo/Conditioner

This is the starting point to beautiful, healthy locks. The bond repair shampoo and conditioner is enriched with active botanical ingredients and free of added parabens, SLS/SLES sulfates and synthetic color, these luxurious products address all three categories of hair aging. These are proven to visibly transform strands after just one wash. Alterna is formulated to : reduce breakage by up to 99%

Repairs damaged hair and mends split ends

Makes hair 28% smoother and softer

I have noticed an improvement with all 3 above. My hair is definitely breaking less. I have less split ends and my hair is so much softer and more shiny. If you have been searching for products that will transform your hair, your search could be over. Ask your salon if they stock these or you can buy them online here. They are a bit on the pricier side but you only need a little at a time and it does start working immediately on your hair. They retail for about £30 for each item (£60 for shampoo and conditioner).

Tip: If you can find a salon that will give you the samples to try, that would be amazing as you can see just how it works specifically for you.

Alterna Bond Repair 3-in-1 Serum

Alterna caviar 3-in-1 serum

This is the third much needed product in this magic trifecta. This serum really brings it all together and takes your hair to the next level. This is a a triple-action, triple-function concentrated serum that instantly repairs, protects and seals damaged hair strands and split ends in a single step. It is truly transformational. Also on the pricier end of the spectrum, £30, this can be purchased at your salon or here. To use, I towel dry my hair and then apply the serum. (this serum is really thick and you only need a little or your hair will feel sticky). I then brush my hair and blow-dry as normal. What a brilliant product and the 3 caviar products used together are sensational.

Now that we got the health of our hair sorted, lets go to aesthetics. We want it to look like the gloss like manes of the kardashians, Olivia Munn and Gina Rodriguez. For this I go to my arsenal of Wow products.

Color Wow Dream Coat Spray

Color Wow Dream Coat Spray

This spray is a must-have for protecting porous, colour-treated hair. Color Wow’s Dream Coat Supernatural Spray seals each strand with an invisible waterproofing mask, making it perfect for fighting that frizz. The spray is heat activated and works through about 4 washes to tighten and seal the hair strands giving that extra glossy, frizz free, smooth look to the hair. Use this after every 3-4 washes. spray on towel dried hair and blow dry. You can easily purchase (£26) from Cult Beauty.

Color Wow Extra Mist-ical Shine Spray

Color Wow Extra Mist-ical Shine Spray

This is a mane changing spray that harnesses the light refracting power of one of its most powerful ingredients mullein. Its brilliant to revive lost lustre or to take things up a notch for a special night out. You can use it in various ways – spray evenly for an all over shine, rub through with your fingertips on the ends of your hair to add shine and moisture or spray before you blow-dry for a really intense glossy look (heat activates the product best). Also £26, you can get yours from Cult Beauty.

And that’s a wrap! These are my Gold Standard, must have, holy grail of hair products. I hope you try all or some of them and please do let me know how it works for you.

Chat soon guys

Lots of Luv…

Arita Xx

Arita Bains
beauty, makeup tutorial, skincare, Uncategorized

Baking isn’t just for cupcakes – Bake your face flawless!!!

Let me start off by saying that I love a dewy makeup look! Its great for the daytime, looks more natural and I love the glow it gives my skin. It also gives the skin a better chance to breathe and gives it a healthier appearance. In saying this though, for night time glam looks, I like a bit more you know? More makeup, more glam, more lashes..just more of everything! And that’s where the BAKING comes in. I finally tried the technique for myself after watching a tutorial on Youtube and I thought why not see what the hype is about. And iv gotta say I LOVE it! Baking your makeup for night looks, really does take your face to a new level of FLAWLESS. You never have to worry about looking oily or touching up as it leaves a matte finish but with a glow so there are no dry, patchy spots. So what do you need to bake your face flawless? Lets get to it!

start of with a clean face and add your base makeup

You will need your usual makeup including foundation and contouring sticks etc, baking is merely taking these up a notch and setting this onto your skin. It almost looks like the makeup has merged with your natural skin creating that flawless look. First I do my makeup as normal including my eye makeup. I then contour as normal. Then comes the concealer. First I use a pink concealer (I use the Sheglam one from Use this under your eyes, the middle of your forehead, a thin line down the centre of your nose and on your chin. Then directly over the pink concealer, I apply the yellow concealer (also Sheglam from Then you need to use a brush to thin the concealer out in all these areas. Bring the concealer from under the eyes down to your cheeks, almost in a “V” shape. And take the concealer from the centre of your chin all the way up the sides of your jaws. After this, I use a makeup sponge to lightly dab on the concealer areas (its important to dab and not rub the concealer so it almost melts into the skin).

contour and concealer

Now we set! Take translucent powder, pat onto a makeup sponge and tap the powder on all the areas with the concealer. Use a thin brush to add powder down the centre of your nose.

Now lets start baking babaaay!

Using a thin brush and the translucent powder, add a thick layer of powder down the centre of your nose. (tip: if at any stage during the process of adding concealer or powder, the contour on your nose gets smudged or lighter, feel free to go over the contour lines with your contour brush again, to redefine them.

Now use a darker setting powder (I use “sand” from the Sheglam collection), and again using a makeup sponge I tap the powder lightly on all the areas that we added contour to. Using a thin brush, add the darker setting powder on the sides of your nose as well. This helps set and define those contour lines.

Now we take the translucent powder and makeup sponge and add a thick layer to all the concealer areas, including under eyes, centre of forehead, centre of the chin and on the sides of the jaws. All of these areas will now look very white (you will look a bit crazy at this point but don’t worry its part of the process).

Bake you makeup for 15 minutes

You now need to let this set for 15 minutes (if you have extra oily skin, I would leave for 20-25 minutes). Once this time has passed, your makeup is done baking and your face will be beat! Before brushing away the excess powder, add a little blush to your cheeks. Now take a makeup sponge and gently wipe away the excess translucent powder from those areas.

baking your makeup

I then apply my highlighter, lipstick, lashes etc after this to finish the look.

And that, my dear friends, is how you bake your makeup flawless and beat your face (even more) beautiful!

Try it and let me know how you get on with it. Happy Baking Hunnies!

Love, Arita X

arita bains

best places to visit, fitness and travel, travel, Uncategorized

A Wine Story – London

When I think wine country and wine tasting, it conjours up thoughts and memories of blue skies, hot sunny days, being surrounded by lush green hills and scenic mountains and of course, delicious wine. So when Mike suggested we go wine tasting in England, I didnt know what to expect to be honest. I’d never gone to a vineyard in England before so I was curious and excited. So last week, off we went with my brother in law and another friend of ours, to, in Dorking. Its about an hour or so out of London so we left home around 11am and got to Dorking just in time for lunch. We stopped in at a lovely pub with very warm welcoming service. The food there was so good. (I had bangers and mash and the boys had a steak pie).

After that delicious, and much needed, lunch, we took a walk to Denbies Wine Estate. As soon as we got to the entrance of the estate, I knew we would love it there. We were greeted by the lush green vines and the fresh air up there is great. First up we went on a train tour of the estate with a stop or 2 to take in the incredible views and have a complimentary glass of bubbly. The weather was warm and sunny so we were in our element. I highly recommend the train tour especially in summer.

Next we had the actual wine tasting. It starts off with a video about the estates history (with a complimentary glass of sparkling wine). At first, I must admit, I thought to myself “is this the tasting?” “a glass of bubbly?” But luckily, it was not! There was a proper tasting downstairs in the wine cellar. It was conducted by a bubbly, friendly guy from Denbies. we sampled 4 different types of their wine. Some I liked more than others, but that’s the point, theres something for everyone. It was a great, boozy afternoon spent in beautiful surroundings, with some of my favourite people. It really is worth a visit. Get your favourite people together, pack yourselves in car and take a drive to Dorking. you will have the best time. (you might not fully remember it all, but a good time nonetheless;))

I hope I have inspired you to take a little road trip with your besties, family and friends to this little hidden gem in Dorking. Such a charming town that not only brings you this great winery but also a slice of countryside heaven. Lets go wine tasting hunnies X

Arita Bains

beauty, fitness and travel, skincare, Uncategorized

How to reduce the appearance of cellulite and stretch marks

We all know the feeling of dieting and working out trying to get bikini ready, in time for summer or that long awaited vacation. We aim to eat better and tone those muscles so that those tiger stripes on our thighs and buttocks magically disappear. Unfortunately though, that’s not how it works and there are a few necessary requirements/tips to feeling better about stretch marks and cellulite.

Now I know that most of us (including myself), are constantly in search for that miracle cream or procedure that will banish our cellulite /stripes forever. Theres good and bad news with this. Lets get the bad news out of the way. There is no permanent or quick solution! Be it due to genetics, weight loss/gain or simply the fact that its perfectly normal to have them (its a part of being human, and beautiful humans at that), stretchies and cellulite are here to stay and we do have to realise that we are beautiful with or without them.

Having said that (and I do believe its so important to take that on board), if you feel more confident in your bikini with a little help from a cream or a squat, then I’m here for it too. Just as makeup makes us feel a tad more confident as it accentuates the beauty that we all already have, so too do these products /tricks i’m sharing with you now.

Ok lets get into it!

  1. Moisturising

Starting/maintaining a good skincare routine is key anyway but keeping your skin hydrated and moisturised is very important to the overall look of it. I stumbled upon Nivea Skin Firming lotion a few months ago and (in conjunction with a few other things (coming below)), I really have noticed a difference to my skin with cellulite. I love the rich texture of the lotion and my skin really feels soft and moisturised afterwards and while im not sure if I noticed a significant difference in 2 weeks (as per the bottle), I have noticed a difference after a few weeks. Its packed with Vitamin C and Q10 which is brilliant for skin brightening and anti wrinkle treatment. They do have one that gradually adds a tan to your skin but I did not love it to be honest. the color is too yellow for me and it leaves awful streaks when its wearing off. (im still washing off the streaks so I would avoid the tan option).

Nivea Firming Lotion

2. The Cream

I also came across, and use religiously everyday, the Nivea Firming and Goodbye Cellulite cream/lotion. This promised to “firm and reduce the appearance of cellulite” in 3 weeks. I use this twice a day, and have been for about 3 months now and iv got to say, while I can’t say for sure if it did anything in exactly 3 weeks, it has definitely made my cellulite look slightly better, my skin does appear slightly lifted and more firm in the thigh/bum area so I am really loving this.

Nivea Firming + Goodbye Cellulite

I must also mention that I do also use a combo of Rosehip and Marula oil to these areas as well and I think all these together have changed the appearance of my skin.

3. The Fit

Most of us don’t really think about it but the fit of a bikini is so important to how we look and feel in it. A well fitted bikini can provide that slight lift that we need. I have found that getting a bikini bottom that fits just right, will give you an instant butt lift which will not only make your bum look great but it will also lessen the appearance of cellulite which you may have, because as it gently lifts the skin, it will look smoother. For me, finding the perfect bikini bottoms has been a bit of trial and error. But once you’ve found the styles you like, you will find it much easier to go shopping for bikinis and have fun while doing it:)

How to reduce cellulite and stretch marks

4. The Cover-Up

Foundation covers a few things right? Before using this product that im about share, I used a bit of foundation over my stretch marks but they’re not really waterproof or work as well. Dermablend Professional Leg and Body Makeup is really great at covering up “imperfections”. It is a bit thick, so a little really does go a long way but that really helps to create a smooth effect to the skin and even out skin as well. Its used by professionals for those “airbrushed” photoshoots etc so you can believe this stuff works!

Dermablend Body Makeup

Those are my top tricks for “getting bikini ready”. I have scaled back on using the makeup as often when im on vacay etc, only because I really do believe that confidence does come from within and we all do need to love the skin we’re in and be comfortable in it. So while I love using these, and they are amazing, remember it all starts on the inside and no amount of makeup will “make up” for any inadequacies we feel deep down. Work on the inside as much (if not more), as you do the outside:)

Don’t forget to hit follow on here to keep updated on new posts and to stand a chance to win frequent giveaways like these products mentioned in this post and others.

Lots of love

Arita X

Arita Bains
Social Media Marketing, Uncategorized

The Naked truth about increasing your following on social media

Does wearing less, actually get you more (followers) on social media?

So many people, especially young women, think its a resounding “YES”. The answer, however, is both Yes and No. Girls/women with less clothes on their social media pages may get an increase in following in the beginning. They may even increase their following at a quicker rate, however without fresh content, without content that not only grabs the user’s attention, but also provides value to them, that they can benefit from in their own lives, without this, those followers won’t be long lasting and you will be back to where you started.

here I told my followers about the new lux anti ageing cream I was using that costs just £6.99

Ever seen those beauty pages with a large following? Some may have started with posting pictures of how beautiful they are, but soon transitioned to adding value to their followers. What do I mean by this? In order to keep people interested in your page and your content, in order for them to keep invested and engaging with you, your content has to be helpful/useful to them in some way. So lets use this beauty page example. If you love all things beauty and makeup, as I do, we don’t just want to follow people who post images of themselves with flawless makeup do we? No, I personally, would like to know how they get that look. What are the techniques and products that they use etc. This helps me to purchase those products and try using their techniques to better my own makeup skills. This keeps me engaged with their content and invested in their page.

I think the mistake we make sometimes, is forgetting that to be successful on Instagram, you have to see it as a job. It’s an industry like any other and we need to treat it as such if we aim to make a living through it.

So what should your immediate next steps be? I would suggest opening up your social media page now, and take a holistic view at it. But this time, look at it through the lens of the viewer/follower and ask yourself if this page gives you anything back? Do you come away from looking at it feeling more calm, happy, confident, more knowledgable etc etc. Does it add to your (daily) life in some way?. People respond more/better to people (and social media pages), that they can relate to and feel they get something out of. Being authentic and raw is also very important. Especially since Covid has hit us all, we all want to feel connected to real people who understand us and offer us hope and inspiration.

Giveaways , discounts etc are a great way to give back to your followers

Pages with influencers posting about their insecurities or motivation to feel confident in your own skin, for example, has become hugely popular. And while followers don’t necessarily come away with special offers or product news etc, they do come away feeling more confident, more understood and less alone. This is providing and in turn getting value.

For anyone reading this, thinking, I don’t know what to post or how to change direction to offer more value, think about your niche (we chatted about this in a previous post) and then ask yourself what you would like to see on a page with that niche.

Be raw, Be authentic. Be yourself!

If you would like an extra eye, use the contact form/page and let me know your handle and ill try to take a look and let you know my thoughts:)

I hope you have a slightly better understanding of the difference between instant “fame” and long lasting growth. You don’t need to wear less, to get more. Be authentic, be of value and they will find you and love you more for it.

Happy Posting My Hunnies

Arita X

Arita Bains

Easy Guide to what not to do in Amsterdam – Weed and The Red Light District

Ah Amsterdam, the city of tulips (my favourite flowers), canals, their famous “coffee” shops and of course the red light district. And each one deserves their fame (or notoriety, depending on how one looks at it), equally.

How I ended up in Amsterdam

I was on vacation with Mikes mum, aunt and sister. We were in Bruges and Brussels (another story in another post (coming up soon)). And after a few days in each, Mike and I decided to get away to Amsterdam.

When I realised we were going to Amsterdam, I knew immediately that I needed to see 4 things : their tulips, the canals that you see in every picture of the city, the weed brownies and the famous red light district.

When we got there, we checked into our hotel and left our luggage inside before deciding to take the train into town. The trains are a really quick, easy and cost effective way to get around. There were trains available /running every 15 minutes or so, so if you miss one, the next is not too far away.

Click below and buy your tickets.

We had decided that we would go out later that night and explore the city as I was dying to go check out the red light district and asked Mike to take me there later. We started on a lovely stroll through the city, taking in the people riding there bicycles, shopping, we walked by the beautiful, famous canal and it truly is a picture perfect place. It felt like a scene out of a movie, boy and girl in love, strolling hand in hand through the picturesque, perfect setting until….

Isn’t that how it always goes down in the movies ? There’s always an until hahaha. We continued walking, through cute little streets, wanting to explore every corner of this incredible place. We turned into this strange street. I was busy talking Mikes ear off (as usual), when I looked around and thought hmm, what a strange looking store. The mannequin was so life like. When suddenly..she blinked! I nearly jumped out of my skin, but then they all turned/moved, blinked. It dawned on me…oh my God, this is the Red Light District (RLD)! And these “mannequins” are the famous RLD women. I was fixated. Mike kept saying “stop staring” but how could I not? You read so much about the RLD, the women etc and now I was right there standing if front of them as they were “on display” in these shop windows. If im honest, I probably looked more at these women than most men there were. Not for the reasons they are of course haha, but I was so curious as to how they looked, what they were wearing, were they as “perfect” looking as I assumed. I couldn’t help but stare. If I could take pictures, (its not allowed so I didn’t), I would have taken a million of them. Thats the first thing to know when visiting Amsterdam and the RLD…NO PICTURES & NO STARING! So basically do as I say, not as I did haha. There are always some people trying to sneak pictures in, they do not take kindly to that at all and have security measures in place.

As we walked through the district, I saw a guy knocking on one of the girls “shop” window. She then opened the door and they proceeded to negotiate a price for 15 minutes (50 Euros btw). They both agreed (in Amsterdam, prostitution is legal and these girls have the right/option to negotiate the price as well as turn away any client should they prefer). The guy, probably in his early 20s, goes in and down went the blinds and that was that.

It was quite a bizarre, surreal experience, I must admit. I found it intriguing and fascinating but also a little bit uncomfortable to be honest. And the girls, while all lovely, were also just “normal” women. I don’t know what I was expecting, some ethereal like creatures perhaps? They were all beautiful, but also quite “normal” women. Just like the rest of us mere mortals lol. That genuinely did surprise me.

The next night, we went back to the RLD, but this time because we wanted to try the weed brownies (edibles). Mike has never had them either so off we went to find one of these famous “coffee shops”. We went into a dark little shop. I’d say it looked more like a pub than a coffee shop. There was a menu on the wall like any coffee shop. They do have coffee on the menu…along with weed muffins, cakes and brownies. We had no idea what to order with the edibles, like do we just have a regular coffee with our weed? Is this really happening? We looked around and everybody else had a coffee either with edibles or they were straight up smoking weed. We settled on brownies (1 each) and a coffee each. We sat down, nice and cozy in a booth and took our first bite of weed brownies, together. You could definitely taste the weed. It tasted like a chocolate brownie but very “earthy”, grassy almost. Its not bad considering you would be expecting to taste something weird or different in it. I was convinced that just after the first bite or 2, we would feel something. First bite..nothing, 2nd bite..still nothing. I didn’t know any better so I thought lets keep going until we feel something. So we polished off each of our brownies (with a great cup of coffee I must add:)). Another thing not to do in Amsterdam: polish off entire weed brownies. A few bites or half the brownie is enough). After what seemed to be a disappointing first weed experience, I suggested we go for a walk around the city and then maybe a drink. That brings me to the 3rd thing to know about weed in Amsterdam – DO NOT GO OUT DRINKING AFTER YOUR (FIRST) WEED EXPERIENCE in a strange country! We sat down, ordered our drinks and about half an hour or so after this, it suddenly hit us both. The world around started spinning, everything became really hazy, and I just wanted to get back to the hotel and go to bed. We ordered an Uber and waited on the side of the street to spot our cab. We could barely read the plates but managed to finally get into our car. At this point the paranoia hits as well as nausea. You just have a million thoughts flooding your mind and you can’t control them. I closed my eyes in the car and hoped to get to the hotel and be ok…but then I hear the driver say “you 2 need to get another car. My car has puncture”! I could not believe that this was happening. He pulled off to the side off the road, and I kept asking Mike “is this real or am I high?” hahaha. His answer was a consistent “no, this is actually happening!”. Our backup Uber finally arrived and, hand in hand, we ran to the car.

Safely inside the second car, I think we both felt relief. That was temporary however. The paranoia was back and the Uber driver kept whispering into his phones bluetooth device. In hindsight, of course, he was probably just being polite and having his conversation using his inside voice lol, but in the moment both Mike and I were convinced that we were being kidnapped. Its hilarious to look back at that night, now, but in the moment it felt so real. I eventually fell asleep, Mike stayed awake and when I woke up next, we were in front of our hotel. We got into our room and straight into bed.

Needless to say it was not the best nights sleep iv ever had and the following morning was rough. I woke up with a terrible headache and nausea wishing I could stay in bed for the rest of the day but we had a train to catch back to London. I wished we had more time, although we did also visit the Van Gough Museum (highly recommend), and enjoyed great food alongside the canals, took a boat ride on the canal as well, which is also a great way to see the city.

I will probably go back for another few days as that’s all you really need. It is most definitely an experience you will never forget:) If you’ve been or plan to go, write me and let me know your experience. Would love to hear all about it!


Arita X

fitness and travel, Uncategorized

How to stay fit (and sane) during lockdown

Its nearly a year now and we are still on lockdown in some form or other in all parts of the world. Apart from the very unsettling and worrying instability of health, jobs etc, lockdown also comes with boredom, isolation, and, in many places around the world, no access to gyms currently. So without any kind of structure, at the moment, how can we stay/keep fit and sane during this frustrating period?

Iv never really been a gym fanatic just because I like the outdoors and I travel a fair bit so I have always tried to keep my workout routine as flexible for my lifestyle as possible. I’m mainly a jogger, I love the outdoors and fresh air and wherever I am in the world…running allows for me to still keep up with my workout routine.

But there’s only so much running one can do and we do need to add other things to our routine to get better benefits and better balance.

1> Resistance Bands

I find that these are such a great addition to my workout. You can pretty much work out every muscle using these. These have definitely replaced my dumbbell workouts as I find that I am able to adjust the angle of the pull which works out different muscles than the dumbbell would. They are also much more cost effective than other equipment and/or a gym contract and very importantly , for me, they are so compact and easy to store and carry with you wherever you go.

resistance bands

2> Yoga

I have not always been into yoga and if I’m totally honest, initially I did feel like it was more of a trend and a trendy thing to do haha. But once I got into it, I really did start to enjoy it and see the benefits, not only from a fitness perspective but a mental one as well. Again, like with the resistance bands, a yoga mat is all you need which makes it so easy to do wherever you go.

Yoga Mat

3> Meditation

This one is probably the toughest for me and at first, not at all relaxing :-D. The point of meditation is to clear your mind and be still in the moment. This is just not that easy though. My mind wanders, im a daydreamer, an over thinker, always have been, so when I close my eyes in an attempt to meditate, I start thinking about anything and everything. The key I have found, is to keep at it. To focus on each breath, or the flame of a candle. And eventually it gets easier and leaves you feeling more focussed, calmer and in control. In these difficult, painfully uncertain times, this is a much needed addition to many of our lives. The great thing about meditation is that you don’t need any equipment or memberships etc, all you need is some time and a quiet space.


4> Tranquility with Tea

This is such a simple “ritual” that I have added to my days but it has given me, much needed, respite in what has been, and continues to be, an extremely stressful and difficult time. I LOVE TEA! So having tea during my day is nothing new but where I would rush through my cups of tea while doing a million different things, I now treat my tea time as a “ritual”. This is now a time for me, and I try to just enjoy the tea (and maybe a cookie:)), with no work or any of the pressures of life on my mind for these few minutes. I so look forward to it everyday and it really does make me feel calmer and re-energised afterwards.

5> Lets Go Outside

Nothing beats fresh air and the peace that comes with being outside in nature. If you are able to go for a hike or walk along the beach etc, wonderful! For me, those are some of the most peaceful moments in life. But if not, just walking outside or in a park or even along the riverside, can make all the difference, both physically as well as mentally. So put on your walking shoes, get outside and think about nothing else but all the things, big or small, that you have to be grateful for:)

Those are some of my best and most effective ways staying fit and sane during this awful, stressful time.

Let me know some of yours:) I would love to hear.

Keep safe and healthy hunnies.

Love Arita X

Arita Bagwandin

Social Media Marketing

2 things to do today that can immediately improve your IG page score and get you noticed more

Now that we have established and understood the new IG algorithm more and what it favours, we can get a bit more into improving your page ranking and getting noticed.

Find your niche

Instagram puts each account/page into a”box” if you will. This is your niche. Why is this important to know? Well simply put, the more accurate and precise your content to your niche, the easier and quicker it is for people to find you. More importantly those who will be able to search and find your page will be your target audience who are into and interact with the same niche as you.

Now it may sound pretty simple, just pick a niche and post about that right? Well, it sounds simple enough in theory but its quite easy to get carried away on IG and post about anything and everything. In order to get your page recognised by IG, as a particular, clear niche, and to get IG to categorise it as such, we need to make conscious effort to post content only (or largely) related to a specific topic ie. fashion, food, makeup, travel etc and to follow and engage with other pages in that niche as well. This way IG’s algorithm will be able to clearly define your niche. Once you have been clearly categorised, other pages (users) in the same niche and these looking for services etc in your niche (your target audience), will be able find you quickly and much more easily thus increasing your potential for much higher follow rate and engagement than you have now. If you look at a screen grab of my insta page you will see its mainly fashion and lifestyle inspired. So that’s the niche I would be categorised as/in.

How do you tell if you you have got your niche right?

The explore section/page can tell you a lot about how the IG algorithm sees your page. In a similar way as facebook and google track the habits and interests of its users, so too does the IG algorithm. It tracks what you post, the other IG accounts that you loo at, search for, follow and like and forms an “opinion” about what you would like to see and the niche you’re interested in. So to check what the overall “opinion” and niche IG has put you into, go check your explore page. The things that you are most interested in should come up and if you have been using these categorisation “rules” we have been chatting about, you explore page should have similar content as your actual account page. So for example when I check my explore page , it looks like this below. As mentioned earlier, my page is focused on fashion and lifestyle and that’s what I get when I look at the explore page. Iv attached screen grab below as an example.

Research your niche tribe

Im a big believer in surrounding yourself with being as good and “better” than you are in certain things. When you find your niche, find those people in your niche with similar and better engagement and reach than you, and check out their pages and their content. You will find similar trends with a few of them like the types of content that’s doing well within that niche, the hashtags they are using that’s working, the location and times of day they are posting that’s getting great engagement etc. Try incorporating these into your posting style and content until you see engagement go up. you will then know what works for you and your audience.

Try these 2 things on your page and don’t forget to engage with other users. This is social media after all so lets be social and help each other grow:)

Dont forget to hit “follow” on here to stay updated with new posts etc and comment on what you are struggling with on IG or what you have found helped you.

Best Wishes

Arita and Team Sol Media X

arita bagwandin – Ceo: Sol Media \influencer\blogger
Social Media Marketing

How to use IG Reels to grow your audience

So im sure most of you have noticed IG’s newest feature, “Reels”. If you are not yet familiar with it, let me start with a quick overview of what you can expect when using this feature.

Reels allow you to create 15 second videos and share them with other IG users. It shows up on a dedicated “reel” feed on the explore page.

As I explained in my previous post understanding how the IG algorithm works, IG rewards users who attract other users to the platform and those who encourage users to spend as much time on the platform as possible. So currently as its trying to push its newest Reels feature, instagram is “rewarding” those accounts that are using reels, by featuring them to more users hence increasing users exposure. This is a great way to grow your account following and engagement (rate). So trying to use the feature and create /share content that resonates with your followers /niche is a great way to gain momentum on IG.

Reels offer really great options to create and edit your videos, incl. music, special effects, text etc. The objective is to entertain people and these tools are fantastic to create just that – entertaining content for your existing and new followers. Reels are shared to the explore page but you can also share it on your feed and as a story.

So how exactly do you create and share them? Personally I found it quite daunting at first but once you try it, and actually see the content you are able to create, it can be really fun.

  • To create a reel, tap on the plus (+) button at the top right of the screen in the IG app.
How to use IG reels
  • Tap on “reel” and you will open up the reels screen where you can record your video or you can choose to upload an existing video from your phone.
how to share IG reels
  • once you have recorded or selected your video, you can now do the fun bits:) Add effects. The various options for effects you can add to your reel is on the left of the screen. You can select to add music/audio, choose the speed and add effects (filters). ps. If recording a video, you also have the self timer option where the effects are located, which is brilliant for those of us recording our own videos.
how to share IG reels
  • While recording a video, you can stop the recording at any time and start another mini clip. When you’re done recording you can use the align button, (its the last button under the effects buttons, just below the timer button). The align button allows you to line up your various clips that you recorded, to form 1 reel. Im sure many of you have seen the now famous “changing clothes” videos that many creators on IG are posting. This align option is great to create that type of content where you are in one outfit and with a snap of the finger or a quick jump on the spot, you are in your full glam. You can create makeup tutorial style videos, add friends, hair tutorials etc, the options are limitless. And that’s what makes Reels so exciting. It gives you the option of creating your own creative content with endless possibilities of how to do that.
  • Once your video editing is done, you are ready to share your reel with the world. To post, push “>” button at bottom right of the screen. This will allow you to then add a caption and your hashtags (make sure to follow the blog for upcoming post on importance of hashtags, how to choose them and all that good stuff:)) Before posting you can also choose if you would also like your reel being shared on your feed and/or to your stories. As you will see in the example (pic) below, instagram automatically selects for your reel to be shared on your feed as well but you can choose to turn that off simply by clicking “also share to feed” button. Once you have done that, simply hit “share” at the bottom centre of screen.

Yay, congrats your first reels has now been posted. Most important thing to remember is to try and be consistent (I know I say this all the time, but it is key), create engaging content and HAVE FUN. People can sense and are drawn to people who enjoy what they do and are passionate about it so find you passion, you niche and have a blast!

Happy Posting

Arita X