Sunday, 9 December 2018

Not So Little Any More

I have been blogging since Little Lady was four, Little Man two and Gorgeous was six months old. I had no idea that the Babies would also make their way to me one day.  Looking back on my first post, I cannot believe how long ago that was.  This blog had served as a place to capture my journey as a mum and also the challenges of work and staying true to my faith.

My three eldest are not so Little any more, two are teens and the third is not far behind.  They are confident, doing well at school so far and also incredibly mouthy.  Often I am proud of them, sometimes I am sick with worry about how they will turn out.  I have to remind myself to trust in my parenting in their early years, my faith in Allah (SWT) and also them and tell myself that they will come out of their teen better people than I could imagine (insh’Allah).

Recently I managed to get the babies into bed on time for once and all of my housework done.  A peaceful, lazy evening beckoned.  Instead, these three decided to camp on my bed and pester me for the next three hours until their dad came home.





They misbehaved while I prayed, teased me, made fun of their poor dad mercilessly and refused to leave.  They then fell to reminiscing about their younger days and started telling me about all of the naughty things they had done and gotten away with – I couldn’t believe some of the mischief they had made in primary school!

I eventually chased them out when their dad came home.  It was nice hanging out with my three older kids who are now all as tall as me and like to remind me of the fact.  It was like a conversation with adults – fun and interesting. It was also a nice (if short) break from some of the teenage tantrums and drama I have been dealing with in the last two years or so.


By the way, I have been thinking that Little Lady and Little Man need new names -seeing as he is taller than me and she almost as tall and ten times as bossy.  I will have to have a think. Gorgeous is still my ray of sunshine, so he can stay Gorgeous for life insh’Allah 😊

Saturday, 8 December 2018

New Arrival to the Family

After much waiting and worry, my younger sister Fashionista has been blessed with a little girl. Healthy, with a good appetite and sleeping well alhamdulillah.  We are all over the moon. Despite the long labour and then going on to have a cesarean anyway, Fashionista is recovering well.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed holding her for the first time. She reminds me of my youngest two as babies. I firmly believe that your brother’s and sisters’ children are your children and I have always tried to conduct my life and relationships according to this – whether with my nieces on my side or nieces and nephews on my husband’s side.  They are all mine: in my prayers, in my concerns and I hope I can always be there for them insh’Allah.  So, of course I am over the moon and in love with this lovely little addition to our family.


May Allah (SWT) bless her with good health, long life and much happiness. May she be a source of joy for her parents, pride for her family and benefit for the Ummah insh’Allah. 



Image courtesy of Shutterbug Sister

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Fashionista's Baby Shower

It doesn’t take much of an excuse for us sisters to throw a party, so the blessing of Fashionista Sister being pregnant filled us with joy and got us all planning.  We did our usual routine of making a WhatsApp group and adding Fashionista’s friends and in-laws.  We also added her husband and proceeded to confuse and wind him up.

In the end we allocate the tasks as:
Me – cooking for guests
Harlequin Sister – Decor
Sister-in-law – desserts including cake and biscuits
Shutterbug – photography and helping everyone else.
Fashionista’s in-laws – tracking down her friends and inviting them
Fashionista’s husband – bring her to the party under a pretext so that we can surprise her.

On the day we rushed around like mad trying to set everything up while her husband staled her and sent us fraught messages telling us his pregnant wife was losing patience while he drive around to kill time.

She arrived as we finished off and came into the sound of party poppers and everyone yelling surprise, giving her a shock and scaring my poor, very soft-hearted niece in the process.  I can’t tell you how much fun it was and how shocked we were that she hadn’t caught on.















The idea of the banner was to match the cake with it’s button design:





Mini lemon possets by my sister-in-law as were the babygrow biscuits: 







I was tasked with the food and ended up making tandoori chicken bites, macaroni salad (recipe here), chicken sandwiches (recipe here) and salad (recipe here).  Mum made her delicious lamb kebabs and Shutterbug Sister brought pizza and chips which was scoffed ridiculously fast.









Harlequin Sister had decorated the garden with pretty scarves tied together in a canopy of sorts.  With the day being very sunny, the scarves provided lovely shade when we went into the garden to play party games.






Sister-in-law was in charge of games and came up with some real fun ones:
We had to feel in a bag for some baby-related items and guess what all of them were
We had melted chocolate in a clean nappy which people had to taste and guess the flavor – if that sounded gross, it really was
We had to get into two teams and use toilet roll to create a nappy on a team member, racing the other team
So you can imagine there was a lot of laughing and good natured teasing. 






The Babies complained our games were boring and went inside and found their own game to play:



We ended the afternoon with cake and more cake with the button cake split up and shared with all of the guests and still plenty more to take home. 



Monday, 15 October 2018

Party Prep

We sisters, sister-in-law and friends recently got together for a special occasion.  As always we split tasks and all took a share of the prep for our event: decor, cooking, crafts and entertainment.

Alongside doing the cooking, I made this colourful banner:




My sister-in-law spent hours making and icing tiny biscuits and making mini-desserts:





Harlequin sister helped with the decor and Shutterbug with photography and food. Can you guess what the special occasion was?

Fabula Literary Festival 2018


This weekend I decided to let me housework wait for the week and to enjoy time with family.  Little Lady went shopping with me and Little Man watched a crime series with me he likes.  I spent time with my sisters and mum and had a relaxing dinner with them.  For the Babies and Gorgeous, I decided to take them along to the local library to check out the Fabula literary festival they were hosting for Libraries Week.

I couldn’t believe how much to do there was over the period of the festival.  Just on the Sunday we visited, there was crafts, a dance/theatre performance, story telling and lots more.

Gorgeous went straight for the Stixx paper-stick making activity with mischievous intentions.  He ended up making a trident and the Babies a wand and halo.










The performance was of Hansel and Gretel and was an interactive one with the children.  The performers were mesmerising and the girls captivated.  Perfect for Darling who has Hansel and Gretel as one of her topics at school at the moment.




We completed the afternoon, with wedges and slushees for the kids and a lovely warm latte for me.  For once we didn’t hurry, I didn’t have to rush the kids and I decided not to dwell on piles of uniforms and bags to pack until later. Darling pointed out that it was her last day of being five years old and she had really enjoyed it :)

Neighbour Ladies Who Lunch

I feel very blessed to have neighbours on both side f my house who are not just good neighbours but friends.  If there is a death or illness in the neighbourhood, both the neighbouring ladies of the house will go with me to visit.  If I throw a party, not only do they come on time, but bring food and stay to help afterwards.  Amazing sisters alhamdulillah.

So when one of them, who is a passionate and very good cook invited the other two of us for lunch, we didn’t say no.  She went out of her way to make a table laden with the most beautiful and delicious foods.








We chatted for hours talking about kids, schools, one of my neighbours daughters impending wedding, recipes, family and work.  I think it must be rare to have neighbours like that, and it made me think how blessed we are.

On reflection, I realised that two of us were neighbours for ten years and civil with each other and got on well.  It was only when my other neighbour moved next door, that we all got to be even better friends.  I realised it was through her kindness, willingness to go out of her way and the way she made you feel like you belonged.  She brought all of us closer with her enthusiasm and her way of treating you like family.  A beautiful quality mashallah.

Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar (RA): The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The best friend in the sight of Allah is he who is the well-wisher of his companions, and the best neighbour is one who behaves best towards his neighbours (Al-Tirmidhi, Number 120)


Sunday, 7 October 2018

Autumn Colours


The weather is finally starting to feel cooler, although still warmer than it usually is this time of year.  The colours of autumn are making themselves visible and it is just the season to collect conkers, pine cones, red and golden leaves and clusters of sycamore seeds.

We took the babies to the park to find these seasonal treasures to take to school. 











There seemed to be a ridiculous number of fearless squirrels much to the girls’ delight and also ducks and geese to follow about.







I’m feeling grateful for the beautiful colours and for the mildness of this autumn.

Vintage Fair at Valentines Mansion

Last weekend we visited the Vintage Fair at Valentines Mansion.  My experience of vintage has been a lot of junk and some really cool stuff that is usually really expensive, but always some interesting bits to spot, so I was curious enough to go and have a look.

Shutterbug sister came with me and as the mansion is set in the lovely Valentines park we took the babies with us.


 The mansion itself is a lovely setting, accessible and not too big so can be navigated fairly quickly.  The big stained glass windows are one of the eye-catching features




The vintage fair itself was a series of stalls laid out in rooms on the ground and first floor.  The stalls were selling a mix of handmade cards and jewellery, interesting post-war items like letters, crockery and signs, lots of clothing from the 1940’s to about the 1980’s and furniture.  I like things that are reused, recycled or upcycled, so was pleased to see lots of reclaimed items turned into interesting objects.











Saturday, 6 October 2018

Frugal Haul September 2018

We managed to go to a boot fair during September and find a few bargains.  The one we went to was at Chigwell Rise on Saturday morning and is one of the busier ones I have been to. 

I came back with some pretty and fun, but probably not very practical things:



Most things in this picture cost about 50p.  The makeup bags I save and fill with makeup and jewellery that I send to my six sisters in law once a year. The doodle books were really nice quality and the big blue post-it’s are sitting on my bedside table for when I need to remind myself of something in the morning. The key-rings are on the kid’s school bags.  The box with the peacock was my fave thing and Little Lady is using it for jewellery.

The haul below was all from one seller and including the bag, box and all of the craft supplies inside, cost me £2. The seller was so generous, that every time I picked up for things I liked, she would just put it in the bag and include it in the price.  I can tell you I was over the moon and it made me want to get crafting and card-making insh’Allah.



The bag included some really nice card stock and papers, glitter papers, sticker packs and embellishments.







The glittered DCWV Sweet stack is one of my all time favourite card stacks, you can bet I was pleased to see papers from this in amongst the rest.  



I can't wait to play with these:






I’m looking forward to making something with all of this.