Thursday 6 August 2020

You’re Fat! Unhelpful Comments and Some Helpful Advice Back

I received two interesting comments yesterday that made me think.

The first was from one of my husband’s “auntie” - a lady who calls him her son and who he helps out on occasion with chores and DIY. She sees me as her daughter-in-law; because we all need more than one mum-in-law….

She came to see us yesterday and commented “you must be sitting a lot for work, you’ve gotten fat”.

I get these kinds of comments from older ladies every now and again – I’m not quite sure what bothers them so much about my weight and body, but they don’t hold back in letting me know about it. I have to say it stung – not because I have hang ups about my body – I love this body that carried me through seven pregnancies and five children, that serves me day in day out to serve my family and community, that belies a strength and stamina that people don’t realise is there and that I genuinely believe to be a beautiful body. I don’t walk about thinking “poor me, I’m fat”, I tell myself “Damn you look good, thank you Allah”

It stung because once more someone felt the need to point it out. That this is what she could see before she could see any other good quality I might have. That’s all we come down to: thin and youthful and disciplined (implying good), or fat and lazy and greedy (implying we need to fix ourselves).

When she left my poor husband had to hear about it. I told him if there were no aunties, no husbands, no neighbours and no rude relatives then I would never have to hear comments like this or worry about what they were thinking or going to say. I told him I am happy as I am and I seem to be the only one that is.  He had the good sense to listen and make no comment at this point.

The second comment was from my daughter, she overheard the conversation with my husband and later mentioned to me that she could never remember a time when I was slim (it was up until baby number four, when she was 10 years old). That surprised me, as it didn’t feel so long ago.

The thing is, if all these well-meaning people who needed to help me see myself as the fat flawed creature I supposedly am, were genuinely well-meaning they could do better than make comments or offer useless advice. They could do the things that make a difference:

Offer your time – when I started walking after work, I found it made me late for the rest of the evening – cooking, evening routines, children’s bedtimes. By the time my children’s evening routines were done, it was dark and I didn’t feel safe to go out (the number of prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers, drunk people and aggressive beggars, including drug users desperate for their next fix, in our neighbourhood at night is crazy).

So, any help with watching the kids or getting things done, will help free up time to exercise.

Eat out healthier – every time we eat out its somewhere that has burgers, chips or oily curries. Healthy options are so limited locally – mainly grilled chicken or a basic salad with chicken in. So, when you look at options to eat out, look for somewhere that has better, tastier, and more healthy options.

Stop giving sweet stuff – every time there is a family gathering, or dinner, or visit, we bring chocolates, cake, mithai (Indian sweets) and all manners of unhealthy, sugary sweet stuff. I have stuff still piled up in my kitchen cupboard from Eid. Replace it with fruit, or something else useful (don’t give me a crappy candle). The only exception is Krispy Kreme donuts on Eid – my two guilt-free, eat whatever you want days of the year.

Offer your company – I always struggled to find a walking partner, none of my friends, family or neighbours have ever been able to commit to a regular, brisk walk, esp. when I am available - early in the morning. I find exercising with a partner that is good company helps the time go more quickly and with greater ease.

This all sounds a bit demanding and entitled, but if you are really concerned enough about my weight to point it out or give me unwanted advice, perhaps you can concern yourself in ways that are useful and effective. If this sounds like too much effort, then you may wish to consider if your concern is genuine or just superficial and more about you than me – in which case, shove your advice and your comments!!

Getting Organised: Our Mini Pantry

My husband has been saying for years that he needs to clear out the storage cupboards under our stairs and create some organised storage. I have been asking him if I can have the smaller of the two cupboards to use as a mini pantry to free up some space in our kitchen.

He finally got round to tackling his project.

This is the smaller of the two spaces after we cleared it out and he set me to stripping off the old wallpaper from the walls and ceilings.

I found a little friend to help me…

He filled the various holes and dips in the walls, sanded it all smooth (creating a big mess in the rest of the living room), painted the walls and ceiling and tiled and grouted the floor. He then cute, painted and installed all of the shelving from planks of wood.

This is a pic of it done, but not yet cleaned out. He finished it and left his tools on my shelves for the next two days as he was busy working.

Moving in some of my bigger items: flour bin, rice bin, big pots and the hotpots that are mainly used during Ramadan (these are getting old now and damaged and need to be replaced, any suggestions for a good long-lasting replacement are welcome):

I also moved in multiples of items - like pasta sauce and spaghetti. We are a big family, so I always have one or two extra of things. This space is a life saver when I am cooking after work and have to keep sending the kids to the shop across the road for the one missing ingredient. This way I just have to walk over to the pantry. I can add items to our shopping list as I move them from the pantry to the kitchen.

I’m really happy with this space, and really grateful to my other half for doing all of the work himself alhamdulillah.

For the latest updates and stories please do follow me on my Instagram account and Insta-stories. Also let me know if you are on Instagram, so I can follow readers there insh’Allah.

Wednesday 5 August 2020

Handmade Girls Bracelets

I recently bought this chain of glass crystal beads (details here) and wanted to make something for the little girls in our family with it. The beads have an AB (Aurora Borealis) finish which gives them the sparkly, rainbows that catches the light so beautifully.

I took the necklace apart, setting aside the smaller thinner spacer beds and setting out the round beads with some coloured glass rondelle beads – these are not perfectly round, but slightly flattened into a faceted doughnut shape which I really like.

I created a pattern with two clear white beads and a coloured bead from each colour. In hindsight I should have used one white bead for every coloured bead, as that would have saved me enough white beads to make one or two matching necklaces. The positive thing about using a greater ratio of the white beads is that it made the bracelets lighter, brighter and sparklier.

I ended up making five little bracelets as Eid gifts – one each for my two girls who loved them and three for little girls in my family.  I hope they enjoy wearing them.

Bracelets ready for the knots to be sealed and the stretchy thread to be cut.

Frugal Muslimah: Boot Fair Bargains July 2020

We managed to make it to one or two boot fairs in July. The best one being Boreham boot fair in Essex. On this occasion there were a lot of sellers, not many buyers and a lot of bargains to be had. We went late and before long people started packing up, so we grabbed a few bits:

This was only £1, but I knew it wasn’t a good idea as soon as I bought it. I got it home and the kids argued over it then managed to get tiny sweets all over the place before I had to confiscate and hide it.

The Horrible Science books were 50p for the whole stack and the two at the bottom (picked by the Babies) were 20p each. My younger son loved the Horrible series and learned a lot from them.

These learning books were around 50p each, with the Crayola handwriting practice board £1

GCSE practice books for £1, my older son has missed so much school, hopefully these will be some help for his GCSE exams next year insh'Allah.

These books were for me and were 50p each, except for The Bone Clocks which was £2. I really love this writers first book (Cloud Atlas), so was keen to try another by him. I’ve just started reading We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler and have heard good things about it.

Somebody kindly gave these to me for free. I may not keep them and will either pass them on or donate to a charity shop, as I use the internet for recipes. But I think I’ll have a quick flick through for inspiration.

This was my fave bargain: a rope of glass crystal with a sparkly, rainbow AB (Aurora Borealis) finish for 50p. I have a project in mind for these (see next post 😊)

I really enjoyed bargain hunting. I hope to do one more boot fair before the summer is out.

Days Out: Weald Country Park

We haven’t been out too much due to quarantine and our youngest two have been out the least. Between lockdown, both of us working and schools being shut they have been out very little. We wanted to take them out for some fresh air, to run around and to spend a few enjoyable hours.  We picked Weald County Park as it was less than an hour away and we’d never heard of it before.


We got there to find parking was ample and fairly reasonable. The first thing the girls saw was the play area which is based on the much-loved Stick Man book by Julia Donaldson. The park and woods are so big that even though it was quite busy, people were far from each other. The exception was the playground which felt crowded.

One of the loveliest things about the park, was the deer (the park was originally a medieval deer park during the 12th century). They are truly beautiful and there are chutes for visitors to feed them.

We had a good wonder around the wooded area despite the gentle rain that had started. The trees were dense enough to protect us from the rain when we were under them.

For once I didn’t make lots of food for a picnic, just some sandwiches and whatever was in the cupboard. I think we might be having simpler picnics more often 😊

These conkers were everywhere.

There was lots to see and explore and we only got to explore a small part before the rain got too heavy and we had to find cover.

We found this vine of blue passion flowers growing by the ticket office.  It looks a bit exotic for leafy, green Essex.

We found this picnic hut right next to where we had parked and decided to relax in here and watch the rain instead of making a run for it.

Our green treasure back home in our nature basket.

We are always on the look out for interesting places to visit, especially for day trips that we can travel to from London. Please do share any suggestions, especially places that are not so busy during the Covid19 epidemic.

For the latest updates and stories (including the places we have been visiting) please do follow me on my Instagram account and Insta-stories. Also let me know if you are on Instagram, so I can follow readers there insh’Allah.

Tuesday 4 August 2020

Eid ul Adha 2020:1441 - Eid Mubarak

A belated Eid Mubarak everyone.

Taqabbal Allahu Minna Wa Minkum (May Allah accept it from you and us).

I hope your Eid was a blessed and happy one insh’Allah.

Ours was simple and quiet.

Lunch at my mums, dinner at mine with the first day spent mostly cooking and the remaining two eating leftovers and resting and making the most of my days off.

I didn’t get as many pictures as I should have, make as many plans or even as many decorations.

But I was grateful to see my parent and siblings, to share good food and to enjoy the days with my husband and children alhamdulillah.

For the latest updates and stories (including what we were up to on Eid) please do follow me on my Instagram account and Insta-stories. Also let me know if you are on Instagram, so I can follow readers there insh’Allah.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "The days of (Eid) are days of eating and drinking and of remembering God, the Exalted." (Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 2, Number 153)

Eid ul Adha 2020:1441 - Eid Decorations

This year our Eid decorations were quick and simple.

The colour scheme was inspired by the card stock with the macaroons and some balloons my husband bought in the same colours.

The teal green ribbon for the banners was from a box of cakes my niece sent us last Eid that I saved.

I got the youngest to add gems to the banner (to keep her busy and stop trying to “help” cut things).

The two small frames were made using the same card stock and colour scheme and some decorations recycled from an old banner that we took apart.

We enjoyed making them and they didn’t take long alhamdulillah.