Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Creating Perspective: On Love, Faith and Sacrifice.

I wrote recently about my experience of being without my husband as he is in India doing dawah work.  I suppose I vented a bit and let it all out.  I might have been quite negative.  But it really helped, I felt peaceful in the days afterwards and quite content – until I saw the comments under the post – I didn’t quite expect those.

I think people who have read my blog for a long time will have got a sense of two things – how lovely and supportive my husband is and how important faith and dawah work is to us.  I suspect that my vent-y blog post gave a skewed picture of what that means for us.  It has made me think I need to be more careful about what I share even if I do write anonymously.  I write with the purpose of sharing honestly to give an account of Muslim family life, to show we are just like everyone else, to connect with others and to learn from them.

My husband is one of the best people I know, both privately in the way he treats me and publicly in the way he serves his community, family, neighbours and faith community.  People often remark to me what a good man he is when they realise he is my husband – telling me how he has helped them at some point.  If I have given a different picture of him, then I have been unfair to him.

My husband goes for dawah work because we believe that someone has to do this work.  Everyone has excuses – lack of job or leave from work, elderly parents, financial responsibilities, young children.  We have most of those excuses, but for us these are not sufficient excuses. If he left for six weeks for a job elsewhere that is understandable, but to spread the word of Allah (SWT) in a time when there is a dire need, people see this as a waste of time and unnecessary.

So I support and encourage him, knowing he wouldn’t be able to go without my support.  He goes with certain unshakeable beliefs: that Allah (SWT) will provide all of our needs, that He will safeguard us against harm in my husband’s absence, that every test from him is a mercy to us and saves us from a bigger difficulty.  I believe that while he is away Allah SWT takes care of our affairs and that my dua’s (supplications) are accepted - so I see it as an opportunity to get all of my needs and desires met by the One who provides for and sustains us.

It seems hard for me, but in reality, it is harder for him.  His life has always revolved around my happiness, whether supporting me to work, or putting my happiness first in some other way.  Someone commented to suggest that he takes abuses and takes advantage of my insecurity. I wish that person could spend a day with me to see how insecure I am - when I am running my household, managing guests, rocking it in the workplace, throwing a party or standing up in my community.  My husband’s support has been the strength behind much of this – whether doing the school run every day for the last twelve years, picking and dropping me to work for ten years solid (in previous years), taking my mum everywhere with us, taxi-ing me and my sisters wherever we need to go, providing a man-free space when my niqabi friends come round or simply taking over the cooking and cleaning when I am tired.  I have yet to meet another man that is so willing to do his share so humbly – especially a Pakistani man at that 😊

More than anything it is hard to feel insecure when he has always made me feel like the most beautiful and adored woman in the world – through the years of rearing little ones and looking a mess and the years of gaining weight and getting older. He seems to see beyond every imperfection and only see the best in me, and make sure I know it.

And then there is the sweetness of finding each other new every time you are apart.  I spend the six weeks that he is away taking care of myself, doing what I want, and generally catching up on movies and books.  This stint in particular has been a time of growth for me – from finding my feet in the community, to learning to manage my in-laws expectations better (read not give a damn), to facing down my older kids, to reflecting on what the dream for life after 40 will look like (less than two months to go until that milestone), to losing lots of weight.  Did I mention not giving a damn? Gosh that feels good - like someone’s taken the shackles and the blinkers off at the same time.

Finally there are the days after he comes back. The nervousness in the days leading up to his return, his parent’s happiness.  He is sweeter than ever in those days, listening to my complaints, helping me as much as he can, trying to encourage me to take a break and generally agreeing to my every demand. He knows he can do what he does, because I do what I do.  That the hardship is our route to making an akhirah (afterlife) for ourselves - something neither of us take lightly. We believe that anything good requires some sacrifice. We believe that everything of this life is temporary and will be lost to us except that which we sacrifice for Allah (SWT). What we sacrifice to Allah (SWT) is what is most precious and beloved to us, that we want to find again in the next life, kept safe for us.  For both my husband and I that is each other – the foundation of each of our world is the other – he is the rock that makes me feel safe and loved, and I am the strength that encourages him do this work when many vilify him and make him doubt if he is doing the right thing.

Thirteen more days Alhamdulillah, before he gets back. That is thirteen more days that to feel safe and protected by Allah (SWT’s) promise. Thirteen days to have my dua’s accepted and all of my needs met.  Then thirteen more days before I can plan a fun summer with my better half insh’Allah.

Let there be a group of people among you who invite to goodness, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong.  ~ Quran 3:104

Who is better in speech than the one who invites to God. ~ Quran 41:33

The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)  said to ‘Ali (radhiallahu‘anh): “If Allah guides a person through you, it is better for you than all that is on the earth.” (Bukhari No. 2783 & Muslim No. 2406)

Srebrenica Memorial Week 2019

This week (7th July to 14th July) is Srebrenica Memorial week and is dedicated to commemorating the lives that were lost in the genocide at Srebrenica in July 1995: 8,000 Bosniaks, mainly men and boys.

This is something that is very close to my heart.  I was in high school when the Bosnian war broke out and I remember the child refugees from Bosnia coming to my school. The whole Bosnian war made me re-think my place in society.  If these people who were so well-integrated and even intermarried, who weren’t visibly religious, who even looked like everyone else (i.e. white) were separated out and targeted - what hope did we have? We who looked so different – brown, in hijab, from another country.

The children who came to our school also made me realise how similar they were to us – the music they listened to, the things they were interested in, it brought home how war had come to Europe, to people like us, who could ever imagine such a thing – war happened to those far away who were nothing like us.

At the start of the week I attended a minutes silence for the victims of the genocide where the Remembering Srebrenica flag was raised.  

After this, we went to a local masjid where a talk was held with accounts from a survivor of the Bosnian war and an Ughiur Muslim, both talking about their experiences 

Aziz Isa Elkun talked about the history of the Uighur Muslims and their current plight in China.  He shared a moving documentary he made about his story. This was followed by his recitation of a poem he had written dedicated to a friend that had been placed in a re-education camp.

Safet Vukalic, a survivor of the ethnic cleansing in Prijedor, Bosnia shared a harrowing account of how Bosnian men were taken to the camps including his brother and dad.  He survived as a 16-year-old because his mother stopped him from going with the men.  His was a devastating account of the way the international community failed those in the concentration camps and the language the media used to create doubt about the victims.  He explained how although some of the lead perpetrators of the genocide are dead and gone, the structures, the politics, the rhetoric of the genocide prevails in Europe.

A moving commemoration but also a call to speak up about the situation of the Uighur and not be complacent.

Community Day and Flower Planting

I have been getting a bit more involved in my community recently, something I have wanted for a long time.  There are two big reasons for this:

Firstly, when my family moved into this neighbourhood 33 years ago, it was considered a nice area, somewhere we could be proud to call home. Over the years it has degenerated with poverty, crime and anti-social behaviour increasing and the whole area becoming overcrowded and starting to look dirty and rundown.  To make things worse, the area became known for prostitution, with people having sex in residents front gardens and parked cars and leaving used condoms all over the road for our children to step over on the way to school in the morning.

By this point, the people who were proud of the area moved out into nicer areas and many of the houses were bought by landlords to let out, often to multiple families or groups of young men.  My husband would often speak to neighbours to try and organise people to complain or do something about the problems, with little luck.  Sometimes he would return from fajr (dawn) prayers and would chase away men trying to use prostitutes in alley ways behind shops or in neighbours front gardens.  He would complain to shops and ask them to gate their alleyways, to no avail.

I tried asking about neighbourhood watch and found our area no longer had one.  So you can imagine I was desperate for a neighbourhood watch, a residents association or some groups of neighbours to try and come together and do something – whether it was lobby the police and local council or to take some other steps.  It has only been in the last eight months, when things got so bad, that there were young girls prostituting themselves on every street corner with thugs in cars watching them (we were told by the police these are organised criminal gangs that often traffic girls for this purpose), that a group of neighbours came together and tried to do something.

In a short time they have lobbied so hard for the Council and police to do something, that enough resource was deployed into the area that the girls left (to go to neighbouring areas I hear).  Residents started Street Watching (including my husband), standing next to the prostitutes and staring down punters as well reporting to the police.

It has been an amazing piece of activism, but only very much the start of things.  Part of the reason that things got so bad was that the community became partially transient, moving in and moving on fairly soon and not staying long enough to feel invested in the community.  We also had tensions between the settled communities (mainly Asian and some black and white) and the new communities (various Eastern European communities, including Roma who often face abuse here).  So part of the solution has been about dealing with the anti-social behaviour and prostitution, but part is about re-building the community and building bridges between different parts of the community.  To that effect the groups of residents has been undertaking litter picks and community planting days.  They have applied for money for new bins and for parks to have new play equipment and fences put in.  They have tried to set up walking groups for women. I have tried to get involved as much as I can.

At the recent community planting day, I ran a card-making stall for the kids.  They had a great time and went mad with my stickers and stamps.

The flower bed that my husband helped to build, we all planted flowers in it and keep an eye on it during the school run, it is now in full bloom:

The second reasons I wanted to get involved is that I have developed so many skills through work that could benefit my community: identifying funding, bidding for funding, creating a website (which I have done last week), connecting people with ideas and projects that they would be interested in,  researching and information gathering.  I really wanted to use these in a way that could make a difference. Now I am grateful for the chance to do so. 

My next two dreams/projects for this neighbourhood are an art club and sports and activities for children and young people as neighbouring areas have both and truly benefit from them, we have neither and desperately need them.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Difficult Days – Counting the Minutes

My husband is away for dawah work again this month. For those who are regular readers of the blog, you will know that my husband goes out to preach through his masjid every year for forty days (through a group called Tablighi Jamaat).  It is something we believe in and value and has been a part of our practise of our faith for almost the entirety of our marriage (nineteen years this year alhamdulillah). 

We have always faced heavy criticism from my family, and sometimes his (but a little less so) for the way we choose to live our lives, but we believe that this is part of our faith and the rewards make it worth the sacrifices:

“And let there be [arising] from you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful.” ~ Quran, 3: 104

“Invite to the Way of your Rabb with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious, for your Rabb knows best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance”. ~ Quran 16:125

“Whoever calls others to guidance will have a reward like the rewards of those who follow him, without that detracting from their reward in any way. And whoever calls others to misguidance will have a burden of sin like the burden of those who follow him, without that detracting from their burden in any way.” (Muslim)

As the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) says: “God, His angels and all those in the Heavens and on Earth, even ants in their ant-hills and fish in the water, call down blessings on those who instruct others in beneficial knowledge.” (Tirmidhi)

When our children were younger, I found it manageable for my husband to be abroad and to take care of the household.  Sometimes one or the other of his parents would stay with us to help with the school run.  I would face the criticism with silence and a smile or try to explain gently why we do what he does and the fact that he hasn’t left me to deal with everything, but that I support him to do so.  There was a small part of me perhaps that even enjoyed having my own space and routine for a few weeks each year. 

In contrast the last two or three years have proved a little more challenging.  The kids are getting older and as they become teens they have tested my every fibre.  I have had to learn to parent all over again and question everything I do and believe in.  I am not getting any younger and although I am grateful for my health, to my own surprise I get tired now.  My husband’s parents are older and have become quite frail with various health issues and greater need for help and care.  This means his going away the last few years was so much harder on me. 

This time around he has gone for six weeks to India, something he has wanted to do for years.  I was a little wary after the shenanigans my oldest children got up to last time he was away and the stress and exhaustion of trying to manage everything alone.  Perhaps I was right to be.  This time round has been the hardest.  I don’t know how I am still standing or everyone in the household is still alive knowing my short fuse when I am stressed.

I have been playing war games with the oldest two – although we seem to made some kind of truce where Little Lady has calmed down and is behaving (I think…) and I am not quite best friends with Little Man (although that never lasts long).

The house seems to have come alive and is hell bent on self-destructive behaviour – a nasty leak from the upstairs bathroom has damaged a downstairs wall and means all eight of us in the house have to use the creepy downstairs bathroom (as Darling calls it), home of spiders and strange smells. The kitchen ceiling has also sprung a leak when it rains.

The fridge stopped working and three weeks later is still not fixed with the company waiting for parts to turn up (we think the leak in the kitchen roof meant water might have gotten into the fridge). We have a small spare fridge someone has loaned us, which is sitting in the living room blocking my running machine.  It’s so small that I have to cook more often because I can’t cook big portions to refrigerate – which is hard work with a family as big as mine that all have different dietary requirements (in-laws) or just refuse to eat certain things (in-laws and kids).

I have had a litany of fines and penalty notices to deal with, including one for a congestion charge that I pre-paid online and another because there were cones near my house to reserve a parking space – I don’t even drive!  That’s not counting the two penalty notices my husband left and asked me to resolve – I managed to get all of them cancelled – I am getting very good at it alhamdulillah.

My in-laws need a lot more help now – from the little things like using their mobile phones, to the bigger ones like finding they are intolerant to certain foods and need a special diet.  I have been struggling to keep track of their appointments, medications and complaints.  They are also eligible to use the NHS for some things and not others, so I have been having ongoing discussions with hospitals and doctors about what they can and cannot treat and trying to avoid doing anything that will land me with a massive bill.  This causes great anxiety for them and I have to limit what I tell them and answer the same questions again and again to calm them down.

They also won’t stop arguing and dad-in-law has become very deaf, but refuses to wear his hearing aid, which makes for some strange and random fights between them.  Mum-in-law's reduced mobility means she gets very depressed – and that is one of the things I find hardest to deal with after a long, intense day of work, trying to talk her up and out of her self-pity and feeling of helplessness.

Work is interesting, challenging, purposeful, fun, but so very exhausting.  I tend to work through lunch and not move for hours, engrossed in what I am doing - which is so bad for my health, but it means I have lost weight and my knees don’t hurt any more alhamdulillah.  The nature of the work – requiring deep thought and research, means that I don’t always have a lot of energy left mentally by the time I get home and I don’t get much time to de-pressurise between work and home to deal with home life.

My money has run out, like totally run out, I am counting the seven days until pay day and hoping no other unexpected expense appears. I hate the idea of asking anyone for help. I know I need to manage money better, but its not much use reminding yourself of this after all the money is gone.

Finally, I think I have taken on too much: work, home, elderly in-laws, social life, community activity.  I can’t really blame anyone but myself for that and I know I have to review my habit of wanting to do everything all of the time.  But even so, I am veering between managing things and feeling as if I am about to drown under it all.

There have been days when I open my eyes and think there is no way I can get through the day – just getting dressed and the kids ready for school has felt like wading through treacle. So, very, hard. The days when I am trying to work out what my mum-in-law can eat, or dad-in-law has asked the same question about a hospital letter seven times, or they think it’s too early to eat with the rest of us, so I am making chapatti’s at 9:30 and clearing the kitchen at 10pm.  The days when I have shouted at the kids and escalated a situation, when I should have just dealt calmly with it or listened and not flown off the handle over something that was not so big. 

I started to get frightened of how I felt on those days – of it turning into something more that I could not shake off or deal with.  On those days no amount of positive thinking, smiling, reminding myself to be grateful helped.  I just kept forcing one foot in front of another and making dhikr (remembrance of Allah) SWT until I found myself in a better place.

So now I am counting the days until my husband comes back.  It feels like the longest four weeks of my life and the next two weeks feel forever away.  The thought of those two weeks is daunting and makes me feel miserable.  I need someone to fix my fridge, the bathroom leak, the various other things that are damaged and broken.  I need someone to discipline the kids sometimes in my place.  I need someone to listen to my in-laws complaints and take them out sometimes to air them get some fresh air.

This time has challenged my faith in ways that I could not have imagined.  I have questioned myself, the work my husband does, the fact that I work, whether we have raised out children in the right way, whether hubby should stop going while the children are growing.  Whether we just got it all wrong.  There have been days when I have told myself that this is the last time he goes.  There have been days when my heart is so full to the brim with tears, but I feel too dulled to even let them out. Then there is the point every day when I think of the fight I will have when my husband gets back – the complaints and ultimatums I have planned and how I will not talk to him for days.

There are days when I fear that all the separation and hard work has been for nothing. I wonder if Allah accepts it or not, whether he is testing me or angry with me.  I yearn for a sign that we are on the right path and that I haven't got it all wrong.

But then there are days like today, when I wonder what all the fuss is about and I feel okay.  I am coming to realise that all of the challenges have forced me to grow in ways that I could not have imagined. I have spent my life trying to please others, fearing conflict and trying to win everyone’s approval.  I used to pray to Allah (SWT) to let me fear no-one but Him.  For the first time in my life, I feel as if I don’t need anyone’s approval.  I literally don’t care what anyone thinks - not my parents, not my in-laws, not my husband, not my neighbours, friends or community.  I cannot tell you how liberating this is. I can discipline my kids without caring if they don’t like me.  I can say no to people.  I can disagree with my in-laws without worrying about them disapproving.  I can make demands on my husband which I was always shy to do, but that is my right.  I am ready for a good fight, so the next aunty to comment on my not driving, or my weight, or my kids, or especially my husband “leaving me to go on holiday” is going to get verbally b*tch slapped back into their place.

I think my husband might find this new version of me a little disconcerting when he gets back, but it has been a long time coming.  I just pray and hope that we are doing the rght thing insh'Allah and that Allah (SWT) accepts it.

Picture of the Day 18.06.19: Byootf or Uglee?

My youngest two (collectively known as the Babies), remind me so much of my youngest two sisters: fashionista and Harlequin.  Not only do they look like them, they play and fight exactly as I remember they used to (and sometimes till do).

When they are good together, they adore each other and play like friends.  When they are “having a moment” there is blame and there are tears.  One of their favourite tactics in recent times has been to write each others names somewhere that will get the other in trouble (on a wall, on a pillow and on the stool by my dressing table ). It doesn’t work because I recognise their writing and the trick of writing the others name is too obvious. 

My youngest made me this picture to tell me how she felt about her older sister in the moment.  I told her it was not very kind and not true either, but had to stop myself from laughing.  I loved how she drew them looking exactly the same. 

Picture of the Day 16.06.19: Car Boot Fairs Summer 2019

As my husband is away in India at the moment and I don’t drive, my dad has been kind enough to take me to the boot fairs for the last few weekends.  It has been lovely spending an early Sunday morning with my parents on a long drive to the countryside and then a few good hours of bargain hunting in the fresh air amongst the greenery. We went to Boreham (which has been my favourite as it is very good natured and I always find something I like), Swanley (very big) and the Flamingo boot fair in Sidcup (which used to be great, but nothing much there now).

I have picked up some fab craft materials, party supplies, some beautiful jewellery and the kids got some new toys.  I also found a super light stick hoover (£2) and a carpet and flooring steam cleaner mop (£6), which hopefully will make my life easier.  The boys have taken turns to go with me and have bought a suitcase (they are both going Pakistan in summer), lava lamps (which Gorgeous is obsessed with), footballs and new trainers and football clothes (you get professional traders there too who sell new goods).

I am never failed to be surprised by the things I see at these places – there is always some antique or rare thing that you don’t see everyday.  I had to take a sneaky pic when I saw these:

I bought a big bucket of these dominoes for the Babies (for 50p), but Gorgeous has been having great fun with these:

I’m taking a little break from car boot sales at the moment, because it’s too easy to spend what looks like change until it all adds up, and I don’t sleep enough as it is.  But I hope to go to a few more when hubby us back.

Picture of the Day 15.06.19: Growing Up

I spent an afternoon with my oldest in central London shopping, squabbling, disagreeing and trying to hold my tongue.  Her GCSE exams are finished now thankfully, and she is job hunting, I hope this is enough to keep her busy and out of mischief.

I have come to the conclusion that we have different values and such a different way of looking at things and I am trying to respect that.  It still pains me the influence of peers and popular culture and how quickly it seemed to erode everything we have tried to teach our children: respect, compassion, faith and community.  Yet the pull of a certain kind of materialistic culture seems to override everything (the one that has every foolish teen talking about their “best life” – usually referring to new trainers, make-up and being allowed to go to Westfield shopping centre on their own. I can’t tell you how much I have come to hate the term).

In any case, we seem to have come to a kind of truce, where she is allowed to go out unsupervised, but must tell me where she is and come home before six and I try not to stick my nose into her business too much. In return she will be polite to her grandparents and help in the house when asked.

I am so tired of fighting and trying to keep an eye on what is going on with her, I have four others to take care of alongside my in-laws at the moment.  I think this is the point where she has to take responsibility for her actions and start managing her time, money, worship and studies – she is the one who will have to live with the outcome. 

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Ameen Party, Biryani and Crazy Kids

After all the food and partying after Eid ul Fitr, we still weren’t quite done.  A good friend from the masjid invited us to her daughters Ameen (Quran finishing party). I’m always happy at the chance to dress up and eat good food.  My Eid clothes got another outing:

The girls completely outdid me in these pretty outfits their grandmother (my mum in law) brought from Pakistan.  These are Pashtun (northern Pakistan) style and look so pretty on.  I had something similar when I was a teenager and used to love wearing it, I quite like the idea of getting something like this again. Darling wore hers with sparkly shoes and Baby decided all of her shoes hurt and she has to wear these boots.  I thought the overall effect of the outfit and furry boots was like a little Cossack.

The hostess was busy in the kitchen with some giant cooking pots.  I thought my big one was big, but these were really generous:

She served chicken biryani, very tender lamb curry, seekh kebabs and nan:

The kids had great fun, at one point there were about twelve of them on the trampoline prompting fears it would break. It was really nice to catch up with the sisters from the masjid and it’s always good not to have to cook 😊

We should be partied out by now, but I have a work event next week and then a sisters one dish that sounds like it will be amazing, but is during a working day, so I will have to miss out.  After that we have my cousin’s bridal shower to host, and then her wedding to prepare for insh’Allah.

Office Eid Party Craziness

Last week was out staff Eid party.  Part of my job is to encourage staff to understand and celebrate the diversity of our communities and also our staff.  One way of doing this is through staff events.  Last year we held an event telling people about Ramadan and a staff Eid lunch.  For our first few events we struggled to get people to come along, but over the course of the year people started taking an interest, also food is a great way to break down barriers. 

This year I found some sisters who were interested in helping to organise and we made posters for the prayer room.  We posted on the online staff message board and sent people invitations.  Then we all cooked and hoped for the best.

On the day, one of the sisters helped me to decorate the staff lounge – she does party décor in her spare time and was really good.  I also brought in my banners and Eid poster frames.

Alhamdulillah the sisters involved were all amazing cooks and keen to share their food with others.  We had sooo much food: jollof rice (veg and non-veg), chickpea curry, lamb seekh kebabs, samosa chaat, a number of different types and sizes of samosa’s and spring rolls, Bombay aloo, pasta, dhokla, salad, tuna pinwheels and pasties and lots and lots of sweets.  The brothers were good too, their contribution was to go to the shop and buy hot wings and chips.

We did start off laying it our nicely, but it just kept coming:

One sister made three trays of samosa chaat (on the right below). This is samosa’s layered with chickpeas, yoghurt, spices and green chutney.  Most people hadn’t seen anything like this before so were trying it for the first time and loved it.

The Gujerati sister was representing with dhokla, no Gujerati function is complete with dhokla. The sister was so sweet, she had heard about our Eid party last year but was at a different office, this year she had moved to our office and was looking out to see if we would do it again. She brought along five or six beautifully made little dishes along with the dhokla including samosa’s, sweet colourful rice and dates.

The sister who was a whizz at décor was Nigerian, so made Jollof rice, a veg and non-veg version.  Alhamdulillah she filled these cool double hot pot and also a cool box – big heart, big portions alhamdulillah.

There was so much food we separated all the dessert onto a separate table: cake, chocolates, dates, fruit, sweet rice, homemade biscuits and cake bars

One sister made three trays of samosa chaat (on the right below). This is samosa’s layered with chickpeas, yoghurt, spices and green chutney.  Most people hadn’t seen anything like this before so were trying it for the first time and loved it.

It was a really nice event and I think it will become an annual fixture in my office insh’Allah.  I hope next year we get even better at getting more people involved.  A nice outcome was that I got to know lots of Muslim sisters in the office and many are keen to create an informal group for Muslims to support each other in future insh’Allah.

Mini Eid Party for the Mini's

One of Darling’s friends invited her to an Eid party along with other girls from her class.  Her mum was kind enough to invite both of my little girls.  It’s quite something to watch the little girls in action, full of excitements and happiness at being together outside of class.  Darling’s friend circle and her class and friend politics are an ongoing source of entertainment in our home: who is friends with who, who they are not talking to and who is in and out of favour.

This is her bestie, the one she talks about every day and an absolute sweetheart of a little girl.  It was nice that she was invited as she is not Muslim – I believe in being inclusive and not leaving people out, especially children.  And it made Darling’s day.  They had had their first fight the day before and were never going to be friends again.  Someone forgot to remind her that this was the case when they met at the party (we all teased her that the world had turned upside down if she and her bestie were no longer friends, it was too strange to believe).

They had lots of games and seemed to spend most of them jumping up and down and squealing excitedly.  Midway through, they suddenly got distracted by the chickens making a racket in the neighbours garden – that’s not something you hear often in the city.

There was a lot of sparkle at this party:

The hostess put on a really nice little spread for the girls:

The strawberries were the first to go. What is it with little kids and strawberries?

It was a really nice idea to do something for the little kids, we don’t do birthdays, so this would be a nice little replacement and I liked how relaxed and simple it was. I might consider something like this for a future Eid or a summer party.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Super Sisters Eid Event

I love anything Eid related, sisters only events, any excuse to get dressed up and party and also inspiring people.  So I was more than pleased to hear about the SuperSisters Big Eid party which ticked all of those boxes.  Tickets had sold out by the time I heard, but a colleague from work organised some for me and Little Lady to go along.

The event had a host of young and inspiring women: Quran reciters, spoken word poets, inspiring speakers and nasheed singers.  I was impressed by the courage these sisters had to get on stage and perform and share their stories.

This sister had a gorgeous voice and I thoroughly enjoyed her rendition of Hallelujah/Ya Ilahi:

The event had free food, although we spent so much time talking and networking that we missed most of it. There were stalls and there was a very talented henna artist (Asma Ali) who did Little Ladies henna , much to her pleasure:


I love this tray of colourful body paint that was being offered as an alternative to henna:

It was a really nicely organised events, with plenty to keep us interested and entertained and I couldn’t believe it didn’t cost us anything (including the food and henna).  I hope there is a lot more like this insh’Allah.