Sunday 26 January 2014

Cousin T up a Mountain


My Cousin T, who is only 15, is a fellow sometimes blogger and a very hard working fundraiser. He spends a lot of time fundraising for his local masjid and for other charities.

I have seen him standing in the July sun with a collection bucket in the middle of the day during Ramadan.  Clearly that wasn't enough so he has decided to climb a mountain!

Cousin T's year group at his Islamic school are climbing Mount Snowden in Wales.  The trek is for Muslim Aid's Rainbow Family to help support orphans and children in need across the globe.  Their Justgiving page has the following:

"Muslim Aid's Rainbow Family believes in helping children through education, healthcare, food, clothing and welfare to help orphans and children in need to live the normal lives they should be living. Muslim Aid's Rainbow Family is unique not only because of what the sponsorships provide but also because Muslim Aid believes that education is vital to children to help them prosper and become leaders of their community.

As students in a Muslim Institute in the heart of Whitechapel in London, we've decided to help this cause and fundraise by trekking Wales largest mountain, Mt. Snowdon. We've set ourselves the target of reaching £8100 to help Muslim Aid's Rainbow Family. But this cannot be achieved without your generous support and donations. Please change a life today by sponsoring us and donating
You can support what the boys are doing by donating here.

Monday 6 January 2014

Picture of the Day 04.01.14 - Rare Moments

I didn't do much sale shopping at all this year, but I had told the kids that I would buy them annuals after Christmas when they all get reduced.

I took them to Waterstones book shop and true enough they were reduced to 75% off (£2 each).  They picked Beano, Dandy, Angry Birds and Angry Birds Star Wars.  Not the most literary choice, but turned out to be a good one.  They have all been hooked ever since we bought them, reading the comic strips ad stories and playing the word games.

Yesterday after a day of squabbling and taking turns to complain, I chased them out of the kitchen and asked them to leave me alone.

A little while later, I noticed the quiet and looked out of the kitchen door to find this:

I was seriously amazed.  Little Lady had shouted at them all, made them cry, then apologised and sat them down with their annuals.

I took a picture quick as I didn't think it would last long and then served them dinner where they sat.

Sunday 5 January 2014

Picture of the Day 01.01.14 - Funny Money

We don't celebrate New Years Day, but it is one of the only days that my whole family tend to be off work.  This being the case, I invited everyone to mine for dinner - my parents, sisters and cousins.

The day could have started better, I burnt the lamb curry that I had taken so much time and care over.  Hubby saw my face and told me not to worry, he would sort out the food.  While I then burnt the rice, started it again, roasted the chicken legs and made some salad, he took the burnt curry and headed to his friends house.

Thankfully, he came back with a glorious lamb curry.  Much better than anything I would have made.  Everyone loved it and Shutterbug Sister provided dessert in the form of doughnuts and Thornton's lovely chocolates.

After dinner, my parents headed home and someone pulled out my Monopoly board game.  I know what people can get like playing this game, so decided to sit back and watch.  It was very funny and quite fascinating.

Gorgeous created a messy little pile of money, buying random things and selling them cheaply to whoever managed to convince him (the careless spendthrift caught up in the game and having fun).

Little Man made neat little piles of cash and refused to spend any of it (the old man and his stash)

Little Lady thought carefully about  what she wanted to buy and quietly racked up her cash and property (potential tycoon).

It was a very funny game.  Before long there was a consortium of the boys doing illegal things (you buy me that and I'll buy you this when I land on it) and tantrums, with me advising my boys to always buy property and never sell and one of my straight-laced be-hijabed cousins declared she hated the other players and was now "one broke-a** person!"

Definitely a good night.  One more good thing I got out of it, hubby took me shopping the next day (which is something that ever normally happens and just as well) and bought me a lovely new non-stick cooking pot.

Wednesday 1 January 2014

The Muslimah’s Inspiration Journal 2014

If there is one thing I love to do it’s to get organised and plan ahead:

“There is no intelligence like planning.” ~ Hadith Ibn Majah (via Provisions for the Seekers - Zaadut Taalibeen)

Although the Muslim New Year passed about two months ago, I didn’t quite manage to get myself organised by then.  So I am using the change of date from 2013 to 2014 to share my Muslimah’s Inspiration Journal 2014.

As I was creating this document, I received some news that could have a significant impact on our future as a family.  It was a massive kick in the backside reminder that everything that happens does so as Allah (SWT) commands and as he decides and only He can know what will happen next.  At the same time, good intentions count for so much in Islam and planning ahead to maximise our good deeds is the first step in making those intentions.

I hope the journal also offers a safe space for introspection and for reviewing ourselves each day in order to learn and improve.  Finally I hope it helps sisters to find something in every day to be grateful about.

“And when your Lord proclaimed, 'If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]” ~ Quran (14:7)

I created the Muslimah’s Inspiration Journal 2014 by taking the best of the techniques, tools and planners and journals I have used over the years to try and manage my crazy life better.  I am sharing in the hope that sisters find it beneficial in helping to set wonderful goals and feel inspired to achieve them.  I hope it gets sisters thinking about how 2014 could be an amazing year for them full of clarity of purpose, gratefulness and creativity.

Please do download and print and keep in a folder.  I have tried to keep the formats simple so that they are print friendly.

 If you find it useful, please make dua for me and my family.  If you find the Journal useful or have suggestions for improvement I would love to hear from you at and perhaps I could incorporate some of them into an updated version for next year.

Word of the Year 2014: FOCUS

For the last few years I have been picking a word for the year and trying to use it to inspire me for the year.  In 2011 it was “courage” as I faced redundancy and faced making big changes in my life.  In 2012 I was pregnant and too nauseous and exhausted to think of a word, but on reflection it should have been “patience”.  My word for 2013 was discipline – in eating, spending, raising my children and use of my time– with downsizing as my back up word.

Looking back on 2013 and reviewing how I did, I can see I could have done better.  I ate way too much, I’m still heavier than my healthiest weight and I still need to be more mindful of my spending.  I could have spent more time doing productive things rather than wasting time messing around on my phone or watching rubbish on the internet.  On the other hand, after many years of trying I did finally manage to get the kids into a good routine with a sensible bed time and I did manage to be more forthright with my in-laws after years of being a people-pleaser.

I am looking forward to the coming year with a really positive feeling alhamdulillah.  I feel a lot clearer about what I want from life and what I have to do to achieve those things.  I have clear goals regarding my children, my writing, work, my business and my finances.  I think I might just be able to screw up some courage and actually get on with trying to achieve some of them.

So my word for the year 2014 is FOCUS.

Insh’Allah, I hope to focus on one project at a time, work hard and get it done.  I tend to have lots of ideas and love capturing them and then instead of focussing on delivery I am busy getting excited about the next idea that I think up.  Ideas are useless until you act on them and do something with them.  For that reason, I need to focus on one thing at a time and then keep my energy and attention on it until I can bring it to fruition.

In terms of my health I have been trying to manage my eating better and found that although I have managed to improve some habits, I find it hard to eat less.  So this year my focus will move from dieting, abstaining and feeling dissatisfied to focussing on feeling good about my body and mindful of its genuine needs, focussing on health and in particular focussing on movement and physical activity.

I’ll also be using my 2014 Muslimah Inspiration Journal (coming soon!) to write down my goals and map out how I am going to achieve them and review daily how I am doing with this.

What's your word for 2014?

“Concentration is the secret of strength in politics, in war, in trade, in short in all management of human affairs.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes from The Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Be occupied, then, with what you really value and let the thief take something else.” ~ Mevlana Rumi, Quotes from Rumi Daylight

“The focus in the Creator Orientation is on a Vision or an Outcome. You orient your thoughts and actions toward creating what you most deeply want to see or experience in life.” ~ David Emerald, Quotes from The Power of TED*

“Being selective—doing less—is the path of the productive. Focus on the important few and ignore the rest.” ~ Timothy Ferriss Quotes from The 4-Hour Workweek