Vanisha holds a PhD with a background in Psychology and Social Research and manages the blog A Life Un-Styled.
A Life Un-Styled is a life and style blog that morphed into its current state from previous travel and philanthropy blogs. The blog is an online continuation of an offline journey towards creating a life worth photographing instead of a life that was styled for photos.
How long have you had your blog, A Life Unstyled and what was the reason you created it?
Five, almost six, years. I’ve always enjoyed writing and once I discovered blogging it seemed like such a logical fit for me. In its past life A Life Un-Styled used to be a travel and philanthropy blog but as I figured out who I was and my online voice it increasingly became a life and style blog.
In its current form I suppose the reason it was created was due to the frustration I felt that my life was never actually ‘styled’ or pretty enough like those neatly presented squares I saw on Instagram. I thought about my home, my life, how I lived and realized that I had a ‘pretty life’ that wasn’t styled. It was how my husband and I lived – embracing and celebrating the everyday. I wanted to share that.
What has been your favourite part about blogging to date, and what do you find the most challenging?
My favourite part has definitely been the community that has come together through the blog, but mostly through Instagram (my absolute favourite social media platform!). This community was especially evident during the period when I was told I wouldn’t be able to have children but then also years later when I finally got pregnant. There were many individuals who had been readers and friends from the beginning. Falling pregnant and then having Rafa felt like a win for all of us! Many online friends have become in-real-life friends.
But being honest, blogging has also allowed me to make a small income working from home. Professionally I’m a research consultant but that work requires a lot of travel so I’ve cut down on the projects I take on. I still have a few clients but being Dr Mum is far more important and exciting at the moment! Blogging has allowed me to remain creative, stay with Rafa and still make an income.
The most challenging part is that I don’t have as much time as I once did to create. It’s getting easier now that Rafa is older but I still don’t have the continuous blocks of time that I need to create what I want, in the way that I want. I’m also trying to mindfully balance ‘baby’ posts with other types of posts but it’s tricky given that a large portion of my life at the moment is baby oriented.
You are now mum to gorgeous Rafa - how has life changed since having him?
I’m just a walking cloud of joy! Very little fazes me (though having said that when something does, it hits quite hard – I blame the hormones!). I am very focused now.
My daily to-do lists are short and well prioritized. It’s easier to say no to things and people. I no longer have time in my life for ‘fluff’. I don’t want to talk about the weather; I want to have soulful conversations. If I’ve taken myself away from my son I don’t want to spend that time in a daze. Instead I want to be doing, creating, and engaging. I’ve never been this exhausted in my life, but I’ve never been this happy and content.
What #1 piece of advice would you offer to women who are about to have their first baby?
You really don’t need any advice. You will figure it out. You will know what to do, and your baby will help you.
What helped me was to only learn from a few teachers. We picked less than a handful of resources and people that we would turn to for help and advice if we needed it.
What’s your motto or personal mantra?
“And this too shall pass” This phrase was part of a quote that I came across as a teenager in India at the Lotus Temple. It stayed with me for years.
In my twenties I had the phrase tattooed on the inside of my left arm. It was a wonderful reminder during those early days with Rafa. But in those first 6 weeks I thought sitting on the sofa and feeding him all day and all night was going to be my life forever! I couldn’t imagine it ending, but it did.
Right now Rafa and his dad Patrick are out getting me an iced tea. So embrace the good times and don’t dwell too much during the sad and difficult times as both will pass.
What’s at the top of your bucket list?
We don’t really have a bucket list. Instead we have a criteria as we often keep going back to places we’ve already traveled to as we love getting to know these places better.
Timor Leste was a country I really wanted to visit and we went a few years ago. We try to vary our travels and look at it in terms of three countries/trips per year: there’s usually a trip home to Fiji, a trip back to somewhere we’ve been already and a trip to somewhere new.
One year the priority was traveling around Fiji so we stuck to that. We’re hoping to do more of the Pacific, especially the Micronesian islands, as a matter of priority given the effects of climate change on them.
What’s the best skin care tip you can share with us?
I’ll be sneaky and share three:
- if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin
- if you can’t pronounce and read the name of the ingredient don’t buy it
- pay attention to what your skin is telling you, like nature and its seasons your skin has its own rhythms tune into those (and often you’ll find that they closely mimic nature)
What do you think is the most important step of your own daily skin care routine?
As a new mum I made it a point to have a shower and get dressed every single morning. Never, since having Rafa, have I not done this. It helps with your mindset and it means you’re ready to create your own adventures (because who wants to stay at home once you’re showered and ready!) and you’re ready for all the adventures when they come knocking.
The most important step in my daily skincare routine though is moisturizing – either an oil, a cream or a balm (depending on what my skin needs) and lip balm. If I miss either of these I feel unsettled.
Do you have any baby skincare or bathing tips for mums of young ones or mums to be?
We swear by the tummy tub instead of traditional baths. As a new born Rafa would fall asleep in it, I think it’s because it reminded him of the womb. The tummy tub uses such a small amount of water too. Massages are a big part of pre and post baths and it’s such a lovely way to bond with your baby and the benefits of infant massage are endless.
We like to ask all our #skinfoodies, what’s your favourite Skinfood product - for mama and for baby?
My all-time favourite Skinfood product is the Skinfood body butter! Not only does it smell like something that you’d put on a cupcake, but it’s thoroughly hydrating. I especially love it on my feet during the winter.
For Rafa, who truly is a #littleskinfoodie – he almost only uses Little Skinfood products, I think it’s the little body oil. We use it for massage time, and for dribble rash. I think it’s the fact that we use it for massage that makes it so special for us.
All images to be credited to Kama Catch Me Photography http://kamacatchme.com/
Learn more about Vanisha here and to read more of Vanisha's amazing content.