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Bedside table ideas

The bed is the most important part of your bedroom; the room is after all named after it! But bedside tables command our least attention; two bulks that most of us use to pour things out of our pocket -- a place to clutter up. But with a little thought, bedside tables can add a lot of value to your bedroom decor.

First of all, if you do have a pair of bedside tables, you need to clean it up. No used tissue papers, no stationery or anything that should be somewhere else. Find a place to store the things that usually take up the space of your bedside tables.

And speaking of space, choose your bedside table carefully as drawers allow for a great place to keep your things. Think of how much space you need before choosing a bedside table. As far as conventional thinking goes, a pair of large bedside tables with great storage capacity might seem ideal. But storage is not the only thing to consider.

Why must bedside tables stand on the floor? A pair of small tables, book shelves or lamps hooked to the wall may make an eye-catching set. If you are looking for a pair of bedside tables that would look good with your bed, don't narrow your scope to bedside tables only. For example, if your bed has a retro look, a couple of tools or small chests of your grandfather's may lend the perfect antique look you were hoping for.

Finally, accessorise. But don't clutter up. Candles, photo frames, lamps, alarm clocks and small decoration pieces fit well. Also, have a pencil and a notepad in one of the drawers, if you do have them. Remember that bedside tables are one of the first things you see when you start your day.

-- LS Desk


Bring out the florist in you!

Where does one begin with flowers? The charm and beauty of the petals, or the fragrant aroma they exude? It is indeed very difficult to pick. Flowers are a wonderful addition to our lives; it is a simple yet brilliant way to incorporate a bit of nature to our surroundings and households. They are also therapeutic; many studies have proven that having fresh flowers in the house and workspace is beneficial for people suffering from depression and anxiety as they bring joy and pleasure to overwrought minds. The vivid colours and invigorating aroma of flowers brighten a dull room and uplift the senses. Using flowers to decorate indoor spaces is an ancient practice; the beauty of fresh blooms is instrumental in enhancing living experiences all over the world.

There used to be a time when local flowers such as roses, jasmines, and tuberoses reigned supreme in Bangladesh, particularly during weddings when many of these flowers hold special significance. Marigolds or gadaphool are essential for the ritual of gaaye holud, and rose petals are strewn all over the nuptial bed on the first night to ensure harmony and fertility for the newlyweds.

Nowadays however, things have changed a great deal. Flowers imported from all over the world jostle for space on florists' shelves. There is a wide range of different kinds to choose from. And while flowers are essential for weddings, they have become indispensable for other occasions all year round. Floral arrangements for household gatherings have become trendy, not to mention immensely significant. A smart, stylish hostess won't be caught dead throwing a lunch party without getting her flowers right these days! Aside from parties, beautiful floral arrangements add a dash of style and panache to living spaces. The delicate poise of roses add elegance and style to one's drawing room; colourful zinnias and gerberas bring warmth and delight to the living quarters. Choose sensual orchids or luscious lilies for the centrepiece of your dining table to delight your guests and to enhance their dining experience. They are a welcome respite from the clutter of furniture and other decorative elements, a sight for sore eyes. And there's a whole plethora of flowers to choose from!

Even though choosing flowers is highly subjective, it pays to keep a few pointers in mind while buying. Firstly, decide the place you want the flowers for. A small space (the corner of the drawing room, top of a chest that has other items, bedside table, etc.) requires an arrangement with small, delicate flowers such as tea roses, rosebuds, carnations and the likes. On the other hand, a wide space (centre table, console table etc) is likely to take on long-stemmed, big flowers such as hydrangeas, gladiolas, tuberoses, lilies and so on.

Next, consider the colour scheme in the space you are choosing flowers for. While it is advisable to prevent buying colours that clash with the interiors, you can always dare to be bold and adventurous if you are tired of the same old, same old. These days flowers of different shades in the principal colour are juxtaposed together to achieve an effortless, natural look. Gone are the days of stiff, uptight bouquets. Add texture by playing with lengths. Be sure to include enough add-ons such as long leaves, ferns, baby's breaths to provide dimension and definition to your arrangements. Again, choose according to size and length of your flowers. Small flowers such as zinnias, tea roses look pretty when done with sprigs of lavender, thin strips of leaves. The long ones such as gladiolas, lilies, and hydrangeas benefit from long leaves, ferns and other large leaves. You can also use other accessories such as dried flowers, ribbons, glittery flowers and tiny plastic or paper butterflies to add an element of surprise to your bouquets. These accessories are available in craft stores lining the streets in Gawsia and specialised florists such as Pushpo Nir in Gulshan and other florists in Banani.

Another important aspect to keep in mind is the size and girth of the vase you will arrange the flowers in. The rule of thumb is that stout, short vases hold thick-stemmed, short flowers such as zinnias, gerberas and dahlias better, letting their beauty show to full extent. The long vases allow tall flowers to fully expose their length and add movement and exuberance to the arrangement. Lastly, do not forget to ask for a piece of florists' sponge that retains water for a long time to keep your flowers fresh and vibrant. Placing the sponge at the bottom of the vase will provide a support system for the flowers to adhere to and not topple on top of each other.

If you are looking for a permanent solution then head to Home Tex. They have an extensive collection of artificial flowers that are reasonably priced and also easy to clean. You can choose from a wide assortment of flowers such as tiger lilies, orchids, petunias, peonies among many others. You can stick to a single colour palette or contrast different shades and unexpected shapes to deliver something unusual and fun.

While guidelines are there to help you, remember that flowers are for your enjoyment and pleasure. Don't restrain yourself, let your imagination run wild and creative juices flow. Dare to be different and then let the flowers do the talking!

By Sabrina Haq
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed


Religion not public property

I for one, was happy to get the breaking news that the government imposed a ban on publishing writings against Islam and our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW). It is downright disgusting to demean any religion and their Holy Prophet. Whoever is using these wicked means and saying such horrible things to fight back surely should be taught a lesson. This includes the so-called 'Islamists' and the hard core 'atheists'.

But my question is -- fight back against what? If someone is not practising your religion it doesn't mean s/he does not have the right to live. Secularism and communal harmony -- are these what we are objecting to nowadays? Do we want our Bangladesh to be a den for extremists and terrorists?

“The government yesterday asked all print and the electronic media to refrain from running any motivated story that may exploit people's religious sentiments. The young organisers of the Shahbagh movement have already categorically rejected the allegations of campaigning against Islam, saying that the anti-liberation forces have chosen a path of inciting hatred against the movement by demeaning Islam and shifting the blame on the protesters. The government will take measures to control and block any community blog or social media, if found hurting the sentiments of the people.”

The above is an excerpt from a news item published in The Daily Star on Thursday last.

Anashua, a friend's daughter, is only 17 and she writes in her blog, and I quote: “We must look back at Ramu and remember how it all started. It started with a fake photoshopped Facebook page which pinned anti-religious, blasphemous content to the profile of Uttam Kumar Barua. Pre-meditated violence on Ramu started, and the general public played the role they were designed to play. Fingers were pointed to Uttam's profile page; violence was trying to be justified.”

Even a child understands the insanity in all this.

I am one of those persons who strongly believe that my God is in my heart and thus I need to keep my soul clean and pure all the time. For if I let my inner being putrefy by dwelling on prejudices and bigotry, then He will renounce me.

It's a lesson my father taught me ever since I grew a conscience. And he said never to hurt another living soul, never to disrespect others who are different from me, because every living soul on this earth is God's creation. They are the way they are because He commands so; who am I to judge?

Just like I keep mum when I see a pious-looking old man on his way to the mosque slap a street kid because he touched his sparkling new car, he too needs to stop preaching to me about my religion.

Beliefs and religion are an individual's private matter and how he practises his religion is his to decide and whether God listens to his prayers is for God to decide. Playing on religious sentiments or pawning religion is not God's way; it is as simple as that.

-- Raffat Binte Rashid


Surprising pregnancy niggles

Everyone who is pregnant or has been through it at some point will tell you that pregnancy brings with it indescribable joy. It also brings with it a share of strange problems, apart from morning sickness and cravings, that you might not be prepared for. A few of them are stated below so that you might just be well-prepared!

Skin woes:
Many women have a great “glow” when they're pregnant. However some may not be that lucky! High levels of oestrogen and progesterone can make your skin oily which can trigger acne. Your skin may start developing dark patches which may get darker with exposure to the sun. These patches form where there is an accumulation of melanin in your skin while you are pregnant. A few women also have tiny overgrowths of skin (skin tags), especially in places where the body parts are more likely to rub against each other, like the neck or breasts.

What you can do - Wear a hat or carry an umbrella to protect yourself from the sun. Avoid harsh sunlight from 10 am to 2 pm. Wear a good quality sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Use a good quality cleanser or face wash twice a day. Use only oil-free products or makeup. Your skin tags can be removed by minor procedures by your doctor if they really bother you but don't pull them yourself.

Pregnancy can give those with limp hair thick, voluminous locks they have always wanted. For others, it may mean your hair may get thick and messy. This is again because the high levels of oestrogen in your body is extending the hair growth cycle and reducing hair loss.

When you deliver your baby however, the hair will fall out, and it might even fall out in clumps.

What you can do - Take care of your hair. Shampoo it, use a good quality conditioner. You may even consider oiling it at home or getting hot oil treatments so that your hair is more moisturised. If your hair has become very thick, then you may consider getting a haircut and ask your hairstylist to do something that will reduce the volume so that it's easier for you to dry and manage it.

Rapid nail growth:
You may need to get a manicure more often as your nails will grow faster than before. Some women have harder nails and some have softer or brittle nails.

What you can do - Use hand and nail creams or just regular creams to make your nails harder. Wear rubber gloves when you're washing clothes or dishes.

Tummy troubles:
Constipation is a common pregnancy problem. Circulating progesterone and the growing uterus may slow down the movement of food downwards. The iron you are having in your supplements can also make things worse.

What you can do - Eat plenty of fibre-rich foods. Have plenty of fruits and vegetables that you are enjoying in pregnancy. Drink plenty of water. Ask your doctor if you can have your prenatal vitamins and some other multivitamin without iron on alternate days.

Big feet:
Ligaments in your feet may relax because of a hormone (relaxin) making your shoe size increase by half a size or more. A lot of women also have edema or excess fluid leading to swollen feet. This is not always permanent as the feet may go back to the original size after the baby is born or they may not!

What you can do - Buy comfortable shoes to accommodate your new size.

Bleeding gums and nosebleeds:
Pregnancy gingivitis is a common problem. Elevated oestrogen levels make your teeth susceptible to bacterial infection and increased blood flow may swell up your gums. This can cause gum bleeds when you brush or floss your teeth. The inner lining (mucous membrane) of your nose can also swell because of high levels of oestrogen, making you snore at night. This gets worse for women who gain a lot of weight during their pregnancy. You can even have nosebleeds.

What can you do - Maintain good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly.

Your doctor may also suggest a nose drop if you are feeling congested. Sleep on your side. And try to not have unhealthy weight gain.


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