Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Word of the Year 2015 – Shukr

We don’t celebrate New Years in our home, except for the fireworks with the kids from their bedroom window and seeing if there is a good kids film on the TV on New Y ears Day at my mums. However the changing of the year is as good a time as any to reflect on how the previous 12 months passed and make intentions for the year ahead.

In recent years I have been picking a word for the year to motivate and guide me with some turning out more appropriate than others:

In 2011 my word was courage as I was keen to try new things and new directions in my life.

In 2012 I didn't pick a word but as I was expecting Darling that year and struggling to stay sane through a busy time at work and severe nausea, so in hindsight thought patience would have been a good one.

In 2013 the word was discipline - in my eating habits, spending and family routines – and how spectacularly bad I was at that one. I had promised myself when I turned 30 that I would be disciplined, particularly in my eating, so in 2013 at 34 I thought I had better keep my promise to myself. I think I will come back to this one and try much harder insh’Allah

In 2014 the word was focus – I had so many plans and felt so clear about how I would achieve them. But:

But they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners. ~ Quran 8:30

I found myself pregnant with Baby very soon after I chose that word and every plan went out the window, first because my body felt like it was breaking down under the pressure of a fifth pregnancy and then because my mind could barely keep up with the demands of five children and extended family. I have no idea what the word should have been - maybe acceptance would have been a good one.

My word for 2015 will be Shukr – gratefulness. I realise that we can’t do everything we want, our plans don’t always work out and sometimes the rug is pulled out from under us so hard that we have no idea whether we are coming or going. However in every situation, we can practise gratitude – for all that Allah (SWT) has blessed us with – the things we remember and those we don’t.

I hope to establish a daily practice of gratitude and through this I want to thoroughly take pleasure in the good things that He has bestowed us with – the small things, the everyday things. I want to enjoy the scent of nice soap and oils in my burner, the taste of fresh fruit and simple food, the colours of my garden, the sound of childish laughter and Gorgeous reciting his Quran lesson at the top of his lungs every evening and the feel of Darlings soft hair and chubby cheeks.

I know we are encouraged to think big, dream big, make big plans, but realistically I know that this year with the babies so little and the older children going through transitional stages, I have to set my focus on them and forget about big ambitions for now.

So with great pleasure, a shucking of anxiety, utter relief at not trying to achieve something and a deep breathing outwards my word for 2015 is shukr.

“So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.” ~ Quran 2:152

“Why should Allah punish you if you have thanked (Him) and have believed in Him. And Allah is Ever All-Appreciative (of good), All-Knowing” ~ Quran 3:147

“And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: ‘If you give thanks (by accepting Faith and worshipping none but Allah), I will give you more (of My Blessings); but if you are thankless, verily, My punishment is indeed severe’” ~ Quran 14:14

“And if you should count the favor of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, mankind is [generally] most unjust and ungrateful.” ~ Quran 14: 34

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: Look at those who stand at a lower level than you but don’t look at those who stand at a higher level than you, for this would make the favours (conferred upon you by Allah) insignificant (in your eyes). (Sahih Muslim, Book:42, Chapter: Kitab Al-Zuhd wa Al-Raqai’q, Hadith:7070)

There is no man who sees Allah’s favors upon him and says: “All praise is due to Allah with whose favours all good can be accomplished” except that Allah will make him needless of others and will increase His favours upon him.” - al-Hasan al-Basri

Gratitude helps us make the shift. Consequently, we are able to attract more good, more love, more joy, more money, as well as better health and blissful relationships in your life. Gratitude is one of the easiest and most frequently used methods to alter the signals one is emitting. What we need to master is the attitude of gratitude – the attitude of appreciating everything in life. - Bela Khan for Productive Muslim (Source)

Being grateful to Allah (SWT) does wonders. When you acknowledge His Hand in your life, miracles happen. You may be in the middle of a problem and not have the least bit of knowledge about what would happen next, then suddenly the solution will dawn upon you. It is like when someone would return you an old loan that you completely forgot about, when you are in dire need of money; or when you are thinking about your loved ones and they give you a call right then. And when something you are longing to happen, finally happens.- Bela Khan for Productive Muslim (Source)

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Treats from Pakistan

My mum and dad recently spent a month in Pakistan catching up with family and old friends and enjoying a change from every day life.  Mum has lovely taste and loves shopping and came back with a stylish new wardrobe for herself.  She also made the effort to find or have made a  gift for everybody including my sisters, sis-in-law and all of our children (seven kids in total).

These are the matching outfits she bought for Little Lady and Darling, they are summer outfits, but I would get the girls to wear them in colder weather with tights and a warm top underneath if a nice occasion to wear them presents itself in colder weather.  I really like the pleating and the pretty coloured borders.

This little outfit was for Darling too and a bit better in the colder weather.  I was planning to put it on her on a Friday (which is our Sabbath).  The little bells on the front are a really nice detail for a little girl.

The boys got these shalwar kameez outfits.  Mum always goes for quality over style and last trip bought the boys white salwar kameezes before which were such good quality they were a pleasure to see the boys wear them.  These were the same - no bling or bright colours but really nice quality warm fabric, really solid thread embroidery and some nice details like the velvety collar and buttons on the grey suit and the design round the armholes on the beige.

She also came back with these bangles for the three girls and these black bracelets for Baby which are supposed to be to ward off evil eye.

I got these two outfits.  The black one looks fancy but is super comfortable.  Its quite fitted so doesn't suit for nursing, but I intend to wear it more in the summer.

The second outfit was the one that mum picked to have stitched.  It's in the Kashmiri wrap style "Anghrakha" and I like that there is no bling on it.  After the trend of the last few years for everything to be covered with diamant├ę, pearls and every other kids of itchy, shiny thing that catches on the rest of the suit and ruins it, the last two years or so have seen a move back to thread embroidery which this suit has.  It also has roses which is a motif I love on my clothes.

Other than clothing, she brought us back food including these roasted gram which tasted better than the ones you get in shops here:

These are the pine nuts (or chilgozay or nezay as we call them) which Shutterbug paid for and mum shared out to the rest of the family.  These are really expensive in Pakistan at the moment at about £25-£30 a kilo and most people can't afford them.  They seem like a lot of effort for a very small nut that you get and if you don't open it carefully you manage to obliterate half the nut inside.  I used to see my mum sitting and opening them and handing a handful to my dad to eat while they watched TV.  The other day I sat down to read with hubby only for him to pass me a shelled handful.

I knew they would come back with peanuts as they always do when they go in winter.  It is one of the winter harvests in my grandparents village and everyone seems to have at least one field devoted to them if not more.  So as mum explained, everyone who came to say good bye handed them a bag of peanuts to take back with them.

They are fresh and lightly roasted and I can't tell you how good they are.  We have been scoffing away.

I really enjoyed the gifts but most of all it's a real pleasure having them home and I can see the good their break has done them alhamdulillah.

Monday, 5 January 2015

The Bliss of the Moment

I have had to make a change in the way I approach life recently. I have tried and tried and tried to manage my life, my home and my kids. I have tried to be organised and make time for everything and everyone. I have tried not to drop my standards whether with my cooking, housekeeping, taking care of my children or my desire to write, create and plan for the future. When I see someone with one child who gets full attention and care I am adamant that I will endeavour to make sure all five of mine will get the same care and won’t be disadvantaged because I have five children.

But the reality is that no matter how much you do, it is never enough – the house, children and life will never be perfect and at that one moment you get on top of things, something will happen to cause chaos again – like guests, or illness. Recent months have led to a realisation on my part that the more you try to be everything, do everything and have everything, the less you are actually likely to have real control over your life.

So after weeks of running headlong from kitchen, to nappy mat, to washing machine to prayer mat, I decided that life was starting to feel too much like gruelling hard work with no end in sight. I also realised that in the quest for completion, for perfection and of getting things done, I was missing out on the real pleasure: the journey. All very well trying to help your kids to do well, but where is the joy of their achievements if you missed out on all of the fun on the way because you didn't slow down to savour it. The kids are growing so very quick, Little Lady is testament to that at a very grown up eleven. I want them to look back and remember a mum who invested the most precious and irreplaceable thing she had in them – her time and attention.

I have been slowing down and trying to be present in each moment. I have made a decision to let the mess be, to leave the dishes for a bit, to let the laundry pile up more often. To spend more time cuddling with Darling and playing with Baby, enjoying her smiles and cooing. To mess around with the boys more and have more brunches with Little Lady. Really it goes deeper than that though. I am trying to immerse myself in each moment and enjoy the little things, the feel of warm water on my hands as I wash the dishes, the pleasure of a clean kitchen before you switch the lights off for the night or the enjoyment of throwing yourself into cooking a wholesome meal for your family; all things that feel like chores to be over and done with. Yet we spend so much of our life doing them, that it seems to me that I am better off finding some pleasure in them.

So I have been telling myself the following: I am enough, I do enough and I have enough. I have been slowing down and getting used to a different pace of life that doesn't involve keeping up with anyone or getting to the bottom of a to-do list. I'm not convinced I can maintain this forever, but every time I feel harried for time or stressed or as if I am not doing enough, I stop and sink into the moment: how it looks, how it feels, how my senses can revel in it. I stop constantly looking forward and thinking about the next thing to do and instead take my time with what I am doing right now.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Motherhood and Anxieties: A Comment on Hitting

I try my best to steer or discipline my children when necessary using reasoning or by displaying my anger in a non-violent manner, rather than by hitting. I believe that hitting is not the most constructive way to parent and can lead to children expressing their own anger in inappropriate ways such as hitting others and not knowing how to express their frustration appropriately as adults. I also note that gentleness with children is part of the sunnah (tradition) of our beloved Prophet (pbuh).

I recently wrote about Gorgeous getting into trouble at school – as part of this post I wrote:

"I told him he should still not have been pulling the door or try and open it. I also told him if I ever heard about him being inside the toilet cubicle with another boy I would take a slipper to him (the first thing that the teacher mentioned when she spoke to us had been that two boys had been caught in a cubicle together and this freaked me out at the time). He looked at me as if I was crazy – “no way mum!!”)"

In response a reader commented as follows:

"In the article that brought me to your blog you said you were trying a form of parenting that didn't involve physical punishment and involved being open minded.

But here you tell your son that you'll hit him if he's in a stall with another boy.

I know Gorgeous is still a child, and I'm VERY likely being paranoid, but it sounds like you WOULD hit your child if it was possible he was homosexual?

Could I just have some context to that paragraph please, I just want to see how your parenting plan fits into making those kinds of ultimatums"

The interaction with Gorgeous was not based on a fear of homosexuality. It was based on my terror as a parent of abuse and inappropriately sexual behaviours, even in school and even amongst small children. The news media channels a continuous stream of stories about abuse; the latest research from the government indicates that the development of children is being impacted by an increasingly sexualised environment. Children are increasingly involved in sexting, viewing online pornography and it is suggested as a result increasingly sexualised behaviour.

I wrote some time ago that:

I’ve grown through my parenting years assailed with a steady stream of stories about child abuse and molestation and have witnessed the sexualisation of our society and of children in recent years. It absolutely terrifies me and has made me very protective of my children. A physical injury can heal with care, but how do you nurse your child through an injury to the soul? If someone harms a child and takes away their innocence in that way, can you ever take them to a safe place and return their childhood to them?

I don’t think the best way to deal with this is by burying your head in the sand but by setting clear boundaries. So I have discussed with my children in age appropriate ways that only mum can see them naked when I am giving them a bath etc, that they mustn’t allow anyone else to do so and that they must always tell me if someone has tried to touch them or make them feel uncomfortable. I have explained that they will never be in trouble but that I will make sure that they are safe.

So my reaction to Gorgeous on this occasion was due to fear for him. I freaked a little when the teacher had said that two boys had been in the toilet together and was utterly relieved when Gorgeous wasn't one of them (he was busy trying to break the door down from outside). My reaction may seem over the top, but my sister is a teacher of small children and has come across situations where the lines between play or mischief and inappropriate behaviour starts to seem blurred.

So although I threatened I would whack him with my slipper (which he has no fear of anyway) most likely in such a situation I would be scared, worried and fearful for him.  I would want to hold him and reassure him and give him the space to be honest with me. I would much rather that we never find ourselves in that situation.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park

We have had guests from Scotland staying for the past few days, with seven of us and six friends (three adults and three kids) it has been a full, raucous and fun house.  It came just as I was wondering what I could do with the kids and meant that they spent the three days sleeping late, having midnight picnics, camping in the living room with their sleeping bag and generally getting up to all sorts of mischief.

Our guests did ask me to join them during the days they were out sightseeing but I declined because it felt challenging with Baby just falling into a good routine with nursing and bottle feeds and with Little Lady having school right up until New Years Eve.

My husband suggested that we visit Winter Wonderland, which is a fair that is set up in Central London's Hyde Park every year.  I had looked at the online reviews of which there were many negative ones and was a bit worried that it would be too crowded, the kids would get shoved about, too expensive and maybe not much fun if you are not spending tons of money on the rides.

To begin with I was shocked that we found parking space underneath the park and that it was fairly reasonable given London's reputation for parking.  The walk across the park was nice with the wonderland fair lights in the distance.

Have heard lots about the Magical Ice Kingdom, but the cost with the number of us there were, meant we gave it a miss.

There were lots of funfair rides, places to eat and stalls.  Lots of people complained that these were a rip off, but I thought that most of the stalls were okay and some of them had really nice handmade things.

We asked the kids to pick a ride and they spent so long squabbling about which one (they wanted scary, I wanted them to pick one less scary).  By the time we agreed on a ride, the rides were closing and the kids accused me of missing their ride aaalll the way back to the car (I pointed out to hubby , how it is always my fault and not both of ours).

Once we were out of the Wonderland and into the park, hubby decided to give the kids a ride and grabbed Gorgeous by the arms and swung him round and round high in the air.  Everyone was in hysterics and all of the kids wanted a turn.

It was nice walking through the park in the dark, it felt safe with so many people and I loved how creepy the trees looked.

In all, I enjoyed the evening there and I don't think it is a complete rip-off or that you have to spend tons of money to have fun.  The atmosphere was lovely and there were lots of opportunities to have fun taking silly pictures for the kids with yeti's, snowmen and pirates.

Picture of the Day: 24.12.14 - City Lights

 When we were children it was tradition in my family every winter to for everyone to pile into our little car and get driven into the centre of London to see the Christmas lights.  My dad was quite religious and quite strict about not celebration Christmas, but even he thought it was a nice thing to do.  The sheer number of us in that car (five adults with kids in everyone's laps would be illegal now and probably people would think seeing the lights isn't very exciting.

But for some reason I still enjoy it.  My husband got us all into the car one evening and drove us into town to drive around the Oxford Street area.

The kids loved it and all five fell asleep in the car.  We had a long drive home with the two of us enjoying each others company, chatting and enjoying our rare quiet time.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

This Is Not My Faith

The sad deaths in Sydney following a hostage situation were bad enough, the horror that is unfolding in Iraq and Syria was horrific enough and then the devastating news today of over a hundred children killed in an attack on a school in Peshawar in Pakistan by the Taliban.

I have been thinking of the children who did not come home to their waiting mothers today. Of the parents who had to identify their children’s dead bodies. Of the people who are already burying their children. Of the children who saw their friends murdered, their teachers die in front of them, who are injured and in pain now.

Every mother knows the constant anxiety and worry being a mother brings with it – a child’s fever keeps us up all night, if we lose sight of them for a few minutes in a mall, our heart cannot bear the terror. So to live through what has happened in Peshawar today is unfathomable.

These events have become all too common around the world and again and again we find ourselves explaining that it is nothing to do with our faith, that we don’t recognise the people who do these things or their interpretation of Islam. I can’t explain why they do the cruel things they do and really why would I be able to? This is not the faith I was raised in and embraced. The Muslim people I know don’t think or behave like this.

So before the calls of “Muslims need to speak up” and “Muslims need to get their house in order” – start up as they always do (cause over one billion Muslims are a homogenous group that can be controlled and organised in a tidy manner), I’d like to be clear that the bombings, the civilians deaths, the murder of children, the intolerance of other faiths, the forced veiling of women: this is not my faith. This is not my Islam.

My Islam demands that we speak up when we see something wrong, we try to put it right, we defend our homes and our families and those weaker than us, we seek justice but favour mercy. My faith offers intelligent and peaceful ways to do this. My Islam condemns the slaughter of children and civilians, it orders against the destruction of land, crops and building even in times of war and it encourages us to seek peaceful means of resolving a matter if there is an alternative to conflict.

Up until today I have been confused at how people can justify these actions, even with the conflicts in Palestine, Iraq, Syria and other places as a cause for anger, I still could not see how our faith asks us to respond in this way. But today I am just angry and hurt of the continuous destruction and suffering.

My prayers are with all those who have lost their loved ones: may Allah (SWT) give them the strength to bear what he has tested them with, shower them with his mercy and let their hearts find peace. May Allah (SWT) bring peace and safety to Pakistan where the people have had to suffer too much for too long.

“… whoso kills a soul, unless it be for murder or for wreaking corruption in the land, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and he who saves a life, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind.” ~ Quran 5:53

“Fight in the way of God against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! God loveth not aggressors.” ~ Quran 2:190

“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even if it be against yourselves, your parents, and your relatives, or whether it is against the rich or the poor….” ~ Quran 4:135

“Beware! Whoever is cruel and hard on a non-Muslim minority, or curtails their rights, or burdens them with more than they can bear, or takes anything from them against their free will; I (Prophet Muhammad) will complain against the person on the Day of Judgment.” (Abu Dawud)

"Whoever hurts a Non-Muslim citizen of a Muslim state hurts me, and he who hurts me annoys God." (Bukhari)

“Do not be people without minds of your own, saying that if others treat you well you will treat them well, and that if they do wrong you will do wrong to them. Instead, accustom yourselves to do good if people do good and not to do wrong (even) if they do evil.” (Al-Tirmidhi)

The Chronicles of Gorgeous

I got a phone call from my middle child’s school this week asking me to come in.  I asked what it was about and they said not to worry.  For a brief moment I did entertain delusions about being called in for a good reason, such as he being recognised as some kind of child genius,  but couldn’t convince myself (they would have sent a letter or waited until parents evening if that was the case).

So I went in to school and met another mother that had been called in.  We were greeted by the year group leader who sat us don and explained that our sons along with one other boy had managed to take a toilet door off its hinges (that’s the last thing I expected to hear).  As Gorgeous had never done anything like this before, they were not going to take any action.  Instead but they suggested we speak to our sons about thinking through their actions and the consequences of what they do.

I picked up Gorgeous after the meeting and he was adamant that it was not his fault.  Knowing how many things he has broken at home, I was inclined not to believe him at first.  He explained that the other boy whose mum had come in was very good and had just gone to the toilet.  A third boy, whose mum didn’t come in, got into the toilet too and started swinging on the door.  Apparently he does this every day.  When the first boy tried to get out, the second boy pulled the door and slammed it into his head.

Gorgeous was trying to get into the same loo because he was desperate to go to the toilet and the other toilets were dirty (of course the absolute messiest of my children would be the one who slightly OCD about germs).  He was also trying to help the boy that was crying.  So while the other two boys were pushing the door shut, he was trying to pull it open.  When the door fell off of its hinges, the other boys ran off and he went to call the teacher.

So as always and in every single matter ever relating to him, it was not his fault, but someone else’s.  If fact he was trying to help the boy that was crying (I asked him if he thought he was some sort of superhero now).  If anything he was aggrieved that the door nearly fell on him and he had to move out of the way.

The boy can’t lie with a straight face at all; in fact I always used to catch the other kids out when someone did something naughty because I would know if he did it or not (meaning it was usually Little man by default).  So I knew he was telling the truth. 

I told him he should still not have been pulling the door or try and open it.  I also told him if I ever heard about him being inside the toilet cubicle with another boy I would take a slipper to him (the first thing that the teacher mentioned when she spoke to us had been that two boys had been caught in a cubicle together and this freaked me out at the time).  He looked at me as if I was crazy – “no way mum!!”)

Anyway, I’ve explained to him he shouldn’t be pulling toilet doors, but I don’t expect this to be the last silly thing he does.  The thing is, despite causing the most chaos of all my children, he never elicits any anger from me.  Must be those big sad eyes.

image source (This still seems to apply to Gorgeous)

Picture of the Day: 16.12.14 - Little Tyrant

Every time I want to write something, one of the babies is crying, or I have guests, or it's time for dinner, or the bedtime routine, or someone needs help with their homework, or I just have to pop to the shops, or it's time to nurse Baby again.

When I have had a moment, I have just stared at my screen blankly with no motivation to write.  When I found some motivation my laptop would start having health problems again.  

Today I finally got a moment when the baby was asleep, Darling was busy harassing the boys, the food as cooked and prayers were done for now.  I felt inspired and motivated to write about and share lots of things and the laptop was working.


A certain person got into a fight with me over the laptop.  For every letter I typed, she'd type three vowels and when I tried to move the laptop away, she'd throw a fit and try to wrestle the laptop away.  In the end I let her type a bit and then distracted her with a custard cream.

I'm going to try and write some more, but I think it's time to nurse the baby again...

Monday, 1 December 2014

To My Best Friend...

Sometimes you feel invincible, as if everything is under control and you can handle whatever come at you - empowered, strong, capable.  Then there are times when nothing seems to make sense and you can't even seem to manage your day to day life.  It's at times like these that I really appreciate the difference a good word can make.

I have been down in the dumps recently.  I didn't want to write, I didn't want to blog, I didn't even really see the point of getting up in the morning.  I felt like a hypocrite for calling this blog Happy Muslim Mama because for some days I haven't been.  I was scared I was falling into depression, where nothing mattered and I couldn't rouse myself to do anything.

I have been worrying about the baby as she hasn't been gaining enough weight and the health visitor has referred me to the doctor who is now monitoring her weight.  After successfully nursing four children (including Darling for 14 months), I don't seem to be able to get it right with number five.  It was starting to feel as if everyone was looking at me as if I am starving my baby.

I've also been worrying about money as hubby's work is very quiet at the moment.  These two things seem to have set me off, so that all the little things that I can ignore are now really upsetting me.  The state of the house which really needs refurbishing, being much less mobile with two babies, not being able to do all those projects I had thought up for myself.

Worse than all of these is my hyper-sensitivity to other people - I have been taking slight at things I usually ignore and getting angry at everyone.

I love my sisters, but none of them seem to deal with the same things, so although they are good to talk to, they don't always understand. (writing that is making me wonder about all of the things that they must deal with that I don't understand)

I love my parents with all my heart, but boy can they push my buttons sometimes and send me into a tizzy of hurt and angry tears.

I adore hubby, he is my rock and my safe place alhamdulillah, but I think he sometimes doesn't get what on earth I am on about (I don't think there is a word in Urdu for burnout).  It's at times like these that our cultural differences become very apparent.  Plus I've come to realise how intensely we can affect each others moods and mental states, my being down has been bad for him too, even more reason for me to get my mojo back.

So it's at times like this when I sit in the bathroom and sob quietly so that the kids can't see me, when I beg in my prayers for peace, but don't actually know what's wrong.  It's at times like this when I berate myself for being so down and call myself lazy and ungrateful and the term "first world problems" comes to mind.

At's at times like these when I start to feel as if I am dealing with it all alone, that my best friend reminds me I am not.  If anyone has been through everything I have and more, it is my crazy, loud mouthed, big-hearted best friend.

It took a few minutes of messaging, then talking with her for the black cloud to start to lift - some acknowledgement and understanding, some talking until we got to the heart of the matter and permission from her to take care of myself, stop trying to do things all the time and to put away our mutual old friend - guilt.

Simply the act of deferring everything on my various physical and mental to do lists for the entire weekend and clearing them from my mind and treating myself and the kids to a nice meal (putting aside the guilt of spending money unnecessarily or eating unhealthy food) has had a massive impact.

Things are starting to fall back in perspective and I'm surprised at how much I let things get to me.  I realised also that it was one of my occasional "blue periods" as I have come to call them.  I am generally upbeat and happiness is my default mood, so any time I am not happy I have to find a way to get back to my default.  But I think like many happy people, every now and again I fall into a time when I am down where resentments and anxieties come through to be dealt with.

Bestie also reminded me of the benefit of building a relationship with Allah (SWT) through reconnecting with his Word and turning to the Quran when you need guidance.  Truly the best advice that she could have given me.

So to my best friend...dear sis you made all the difference just when I needed you, I hope I am never without your craziness and knowing that at least one person 100% has my back.

If there is one person I would want to be a mischievous old lady with, I know who it is!

Monday, 24 November 2014

Picture of the Day: 24.11.14 - Gifts from Turkey

Kooky Little Sister has been on her honeymoon in Istanbul and brought us back some gorgeous gifts:

The kids got floral headbands, mini spiro-graph games and Turkish delight.  I got the gorgeous scarf above which I can't wait to wear, a very pretty journal (she knows I love stationary) and Turkish chocolate.

Some of her pictures from her trip are below: 

You can see more of her beautiful photography here on her blog full of pretty things, here on her blog full of smart and artistic things and on her instagram page.

Picture of the Day: 23.11.14 - If You Don't Like Someone...

...cover their face with your picnic blanket and pretend to have tea.

Darling has still not come round fully to the idea of a little sister usurping her place as the baby of the house.  We can't leave them alone for a second for fear of her poking the baby in the eye or putting a blanket over her head.  I turned my back for a minute and turned to find the scene above.

At the moment, Darling has banned Baby from using her nappy mat, her blanket, going in her cot or touching her "special dolly", a little red heart shaped pillow that I used to put under my arm when nursing Darling.

We are trying to counteract her occasional tantrums and anger with lots of love, cuddles and some firmness.  Mash'Allah these two are little stars in our home at the moment: hard work, but so much pleasure.