Being a B.I.B.

I get this quite a lot::

‘You’re Bengali…so, you’re from Bangladesh?’

The Asian Destination :: Being A BIB

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The Indian Cocktail Party Outfit

The brief was to create an outfit for an Indian cocktail party.

The Indian Cocktail party Look

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Oily hair = healthy hair?!


If you’re Asian like me, you will at some point in your life been encouraged by your mother or other female relatives, to oil your hair to ensure your hair maintained long luscious locks comparable to the commercials on television.

Seeing hair glistening in the sun, freshly oiled and neatly combed can be a common sight amongst schoolgirls (and boys) in Asian countries. However, growing up in a more Western society where ‘greasy hair’ equates to poor hygiene, can make this beauty regime a bit of a nuisance.

There has also been some debate as to whether oiling the hair does more harm than good. Some say that it can unnecessarily aggravate the naturally produced sebum which promotes healthy skin and hair.

So what’s the verdict?

From personal experience, my hair definitely feels softer and silkier if I shampoo after an overnight oil mask. After doing a little research I have found that it is important to distinguish between the different type of oils; petroleum-based or mineral oils may actually add to hair dryness by reducing natural moisture. Natural oils such as coconut, jojoba and olive oils are thought to be the most nutritious and encourage re-growth, particularly in damaged hair.


Many of the natural oils can be found in any local supermarket and are relatively cheap to buy.

Your Turn…!

  1. For maximum benefit, pour some oil into a small bowl and heat for around 20 seconds in the microwave until warm.
  2. Massage oil into hair and scalp.
  3. Wrap your hair in a towel to lock in moisture.
  4. Leave oil on as long as desired (You can either choose to shampoo your hair after an hour, or for best results, leave it on overnight and shampoo your hair in the morning).
  5. Studies have shown regular hair oil treatment ensures healthier hair so make sure you treat your hair to some weekly TLC!


Not convinced?

Other cosmetic brands have started bringing out their own hair oil products.

VO5 Hot Oil Treatment

superdrug hot oil vo5

Tresemmé Keratin Oil

Tresemme Keratin Oil

Vatika Hair Oil in Almond

Vatika Hair Oil Almond

All products can be found at affordable prices at your local drugstore such as Superdrug (in the UK), so what are you waiting for?!

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Girls, do you agree?



A little joke for the Bank Holiday weekend! xo

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Chai & Chats with: Pavan Ahluwalia

Photo Source:

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Self-taught henna artist, Pavan Ahluwalia holds the world record for painting 511 unique armband designs in just one hour. The Asian Destination (TAD) talks to Pavan (P) about how she has integrated her passion into a successful career and also gives us tips on achieving the perfect mehndi!

TAD: Congratulations on being the Guinness World Record Holder for fastest henna and on becoming one of the UK’s leading henna artists! 

Many of us like to experiment around with henna; during the excitement and togetherness of Asian weddings, applying henna can be a social event as well as a tradition. When did you see henna art as more than just a fun past time or ritual? Have you always been interested or involved in art?

P: It was at family functions as you said, where everyone would get involved in the henna fun and I wanted to be a part of it! I would do designs on family and friends and I started doing it at every function I was invited to.  When I learned that it could be turned into a career I jumped at the chance as it was something I thoroughly enjoyed doing and couldn’t think of a better way to spend my time.  I did Art GCSE but my main foundation through college and university was business, which helped me turn my passion into a career.

Pavan Ahluwalia at

Pavan Ahluwalia at

TAD: What would be your advice for achieving the perfect henna? How do you ensure your colour remains even? It can be one of the most frustrating things to spend time on detailed, intricate designs only to realise the henna colour fades quickly. What suggestions do you have for enhancing the colour?

P: The perfect henna relies very much on the consistency, a thin paste ensure the flow of your designs.  It’s essential to bring out the colour and after care is also important.  Our body temperature also plays an important part in the colour deepening, so keeping the hand over the gas (at a safe distance) works great on making the colour deepen and maintains it for longer.

Pavan Ahluwalia at

Pavan Ahluwalia at

TAD: Many of us will be quite familiar with the ‘lemon and sugar’ (squeezing lemon juice and applying sprinkles of sugar to the henna) method to allow a better colour, do you have any other ways? 

P: This method and the heat works great, however all ingredients are in the henna cone that I  make myself so a lot of that is not needed. You can literally have the henna done and let that do the work for you.

Pavan Ahluwalia at

Pavan Ahluwalia at

TAD: You have already worked with big names such as Alesha Dixon, The Sugababes and Selfridges. Tell us how you came to do the famous Harrods window displays?

P: The Harrods window display was an honour for me, they had an A-Z of style in their windows and appointed me with the letter E for Embellishment.  I embellished a mannequin with my designs and the display was up for 6 weeks!

TAD: You have become an established entrepreneur and sought after henna artist, are there more exciting projects we can expect to see you involved in?

There are! I will be announcing a few in the coming months so keep an eye out!

Pavan Ahluwalia at

Pavan Ahluwalia at

Keep an eye out for new updates from Pavan at, on Facebook or Twitter: @PAVAN_HENNA.

If you liked this post, you may also like:

Chai & Chats with: Roshni Chugani

Destination: India and Destination: Bangladesh from Destination: Travel

Happy Durga Puja and Happy Kali Puja & Diwali from Destination: Celebration

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Celebrate Being ‘Unique’

The first day of school, college or university is always accompanied by a mixture of nervous excitement and mild panic. In my case, each of these milestone events come with an added issue to stress about: ‘How would my name be prounounced this time?!’

If you are like me, you are one of those fortunate souls with a name (or perhaps multiple) that finds itself being mispronounced frequently. The name may make perfect logical sense in your family’s ethnic language, culture or religion, yet as it journeys through the English language, its pronunciation appears to get left behind.

Before my name was called in the register, there would always be a pause before the teacher or lecturer made a hesitant attempt at ‘Ananya’. Some others however, decided they were not going to even try to pronounce it and instead asked whether I had another name I preferred to be called. Thus was born an English equivalent nickname, ‘Ana’, that has stuck with me throughout most of my life. Most Indians or at least Bengalis have 2 names: a ‘good’ name (Ananya) for official documentation and a ‘dahk’ or ‘affectionate nickname’ used by friends and family. ‘Ana’ became my ‘English Dahk’ name alongside my other Bengali nicknames.

I used to go through a phase of just switching topic when anyone asked about the real pronunciation. Some were persistent and would seek out a fellow Indian in the hope of finding out my ‘real name’. Triumphantly they would proclaim they had discovered the ‘Indian way’ of saying it. However, India is a country of numerous cultures, traditions and languages. Hindi may be universally spoken but different Indian states have separate principal languages. Within these, diverse variations in dialect can also be noticed, depending on geographical location. This means that ‘Ananya’ in Hindi is pronounced much like the modified English version, only with a few softer syllables: ‘Ah-naan-ee-yah’, which is noticeably different to the Bengali pronunciation.

It is interesting that even non-Bengalis, living in an area of West Bengal (where Bengali or Bangla can be heard predominantly) will pronounce ‘Ananya’ as ‘Ah-naan-ee-yah’. Not that it bothers me. I have become accustomed to hearing variations of my name. In fact, I like to make note of the most original attempts: ‘Ah-nigh-ah’ has maintained its first place position for a number of years now, whilst the National Health Service tried to record my name as ‘Anan Ya’. To this day, however, my dentist still tries to call me ‘Anya’…

Maturity has revealed the core issue at play at adopting ‘Ana’ over ‘Ananya’. I wanted to be like my peers and therefore shied away from my full name, assumed ‘Ana’ instead and consequently the name has stuck. Yet as I have gotten older, I have come to realise that each and every one of us has quirks that make us different: misplacing items hours after being purchased, adding cheese to every meal (!), obsessing about Canadian popstars – sound familiar?! These traits are for celebrating not being ashamed of. What is it about yourself that makes you different?

Mine? So, what is my name, really?
Ananya, pronounced in Bengali as ‘O-non-nah’ (O as in ‘lot’) meaning ‘unique’, or ‘like no other’, in Sanskrit.

So today I ask, is there anything about yourself that you have been hiding or shying away from? Instead of shying away, can you embrace this about yourself and be proud? After all, without these qualities, positive or negative, we would not be who we are today, the same as everyone else– we would not be unique.