Monday 29 April 2019

Pretty Gifts from Luuna Skin

I attended a local Ramadan souk and charity bazaar on the weekend and enjoyed browsing the Islamic gifts and handmade items.  We ended mostly window shopping and trying some of the dishes sisters had made to bring and sell.  One stall that caught my eye was the Luuna Skin one, a new handmade skincare products business, the products looked so pretty, I had to go take a look.

I ended up smelling everything and trying a few of the body butters – all were vegan and halal and very soothing.  The soaps were scented with some really nice combinations: pomegranate and fig and oudh and thyme really stood out for me.  In the end I went with the smaller mixed selection of soaps – I couldn’t get over how good they looked and how much I wanted to play with them. 

I think I will save these as part of my stash for Eid gifts.  The sister who runs Luuna Skin (Sabrina Noman) was ever so lovely, please do check out her website, YouTube and Instagram and support her.

Picture of the Day 27.04.19: Ladies Lunch and an Inspiring Gift

I have just come to the end of my 12 week Saturday morning tajweed class, and apparently I also passed my tajweed test. To celebrate, the sisters in the class organised lunch at Manjaros. It was nice to sit together and talk about life and family. I have eaten at Manjaros before and knew I couldn’t finish a whole meal, so ordered a kids portion – the ladies thought it was strange until they tried to finish their own regular portions and couldn’t.  The Parmesan chicken special:

The ustdha (teacher) brought us all the most thoughtful presents: miswak (tooth stick) in a holder, a counter for dhikr (remembrance) and a pretty box with medjool dates and a set of little reminder cards she had made for each of us with Islamic quotes and reminders.

I think I may use the reminders as daily prompts to mull over during Ramadan and maybe blog about.  I am hoping classes continue after Ramadan and I can see the sisters again insh’Allah

Picture of the Day 22.04.19: Groombridge Place

We visited Groombridge Place during the Easter break with family.  A great place if you like nature, photography or just somewhere for the kids to run around and let off some steam.  It was  a nice day out for the babies, we left our oldest three with my dad as they have lost interest in this kind of trip, and took my mum and sisters instead – lots of chatting and no teenage moaning for once.

World Book Night 2019

I caught wind of World Book Night quite late in the day, but I had been inspired by my friend PT from Ireland and the way she always makes time for tea and stories or poetry for her precious little ones.  My older ones are avid readers, particularly Little Lady and Gorgeous (thankfully it keeps him civilised for hours at a time in between his riotous cheerful mischief and noise).

This being the case, I tend to leave the older ones to read alone and focus on the babies.  They are also still small enough to be keen on tea parties, picnics, book nights and the idea of staying up.

They chose a few books and I picked the book recommended by the lovely AF, also from Ireland (I’m getting such good vibes from that direction): Circe by Madeline Miller (review to follow insh'Allah). We supplemented with pyjama’s, cuddly blankets and the chocs that ShutterbugSister had dropped off earlier.  The babies being lightweights, babies, dropped off very soon before any chocolate was touched, but I managed to get a good few hours of leisurely reading in.  Definitely more of these nights for me insh’Allah. 

Wednesday 10 April 2019

Isle of Wight: Chocolate, Food and Going Home

There were a couple off things that made out stay at Isle of Wight easier. One was that my husband found the masjid there and got talking to some of the brothers attending. They guided him to where we could halal food and where they thought the best places to see were also.  We mainly took our own food, including frozen kebabs, cooked rice and chicken sandwich filling, but at least this way we did have the option of eating out, which we did twice, once in a very pretty town called Cowes and once near the masjid in Newport.

It was also nice being close to Godshill village, because there were lots of little shops and attractions that we could saunter through, the chocolate shop where we could watch chocolate being made was one:

The little town of Cowes which seems to suddenly go from road to water front without warning:

The halal lunch we managed to locate in Cowes:

Overall we found the Isle of Wight very beautiful, with its greenery and lovely coast, but perhaps too leisurely for our teens. I think it would have been perfect for them had they been a few years younger.  I do think it is a lovely spot for young families or older visitors.  I also think the weather made a difference, it was cold when we visited and I really liked it there, I can only imagine how much more we would have enjoyed it with some sunshine.

My only other concern was that between accommodation, ferry cost, attractions and food the cost did stack up a little, I am finding more and more that a short break in the UK seems to cost as much as a break abroad.

The trip back was soothing and we left early enough so that we could visit Cowes, do some shopping, but get back to the mainland in time not to have to rush on the trip home. The sunset on the ferry trip home was particularly pretty.

Isle of Wight: Robin Hill Country Park

On the third and last day of our stay we tried to find something to do that our older children might enjoy.  The place that seemed to fit the best appeared to be Robin Hill Country Park, an 88-acre theme park located close to the centre of the Island.

The tickets were about what you pay for pretty much any theme park in England and the kids were just relived we weren’t dragging them around to see any more nature or shops.

The place turned out to be a mix of a few rides, mainly for smaller children and some suitable for older children but not too scary.  There were a few different playgrounds, some more traditional swings and slides type and others that were a bit different, like the cage tunnel through the trees.

I liked the abundance of greenery and flowers still around despite how late in the season we were (October) 

The playground in the trees:

One of the things I really liked about Robin Hill Country Park was the sheer amount of colour and decoration dotted about the whole place: drawings, paintings, interesting objects, decorative displays, it was a bit of a feast for the eyes. 

One of the playgrounds that was set out like an African village:

Another one of the curious objects, this cassette player was taller than my husband: 

We stopped to have lunch in one of the playgrounds that had picnic style seating and these super-aggressive ducks came ore to see if we wanted to share their lunch.  We had to keep shooing them away and at one point they had Darling screaming the place down at the top of her lungs (I am pleased to report she would do any horror movie proud with her ear-piercing scream).

I really liked this Chinese style garden, especially standing under the bridge while the water fell on both sides of us.

More interesting objects tucked away in the woods:

A Mughal style garden:

The kids really liked these massive long slides, except for darling who is a chicken after my own heart. She climbed up, refused to come down and had to climb back down the stairs.

The kid’s favourite bit was a toboggan ride that we all went on they had great fun, I slowed down at the wrong place and got stuck until hubby whacked me in the back with his toboggan and sent me the rest of the way.  I think we paid extra for the toboggan ride and here were a few more rides like that the kids really liked the idea of but that cost extra.

Overall, it was worth it to shut the moaning teenagers up and tire them all out, we did enjoy the different things to do, but I did think it was a bit pricey for what was on offer considering that we had to pay extra for some rides.

Isle of Wight: Godshill Model Village

Godshill Village was only minutes away from where we were staying and I had found out that they had a model village.  I have been past a few model villages but never in one, so was interested to see what one was like.

It turned out to be one of the more affordable attractions, with adult tickets at around £5 and children’s tickets at around £4, so for a big family like us it wasn’t too bad.

It turned out to be good fun and a nice place to take photos, there seemed to be some kind of modelling shoot going on while we were there and we had fun taking lots of our own too.

Much of the model village is supposed to be based on the surrounding village including the nearby church and high street

I liked this archaeological scene, as did dinosaur-mad Gorgeous:

I might have over done it with the photos, but we did have fun and the kids enjoyed themselves.