Month: July 2016

The problem with ‘Frozen’

Yes, I went there. I know that this Disney film has taken on a status as a movie phenomenon mainly due to its song “Let it go” and Queen Elsa’s characterisation as endowed with magical powers that allow her to create sparkly ice/snow. And yes, given the hype of it all, when it came out on DVD I sat and watched it with my (at the time) 3.5 year old daughter, J. After watching it, I admit, I sat in wonderment, enthralled by this simple tale that placed the love between two sisters at its centre (rather than a princess in love with a prince as is so often the case). And of course, the song! I was singing it for days. And then J requested we watch it every time we went to her grandmother’s house. I left the DVD there, not wanting to bring it home. After about the second time my English teacher skills of analysis started kicking in, and by the seventh time that we’d been forced to watch it, I …

Best on the Net

It’s an exciting week for me as I’m going overseas on Thursday! We are taking our eldest daughter with us, J, but leaving our little one, Z, behind. She’s just over one and a half and does not sit in a pram, and struggles with sitting in a car for more than an hour. As our destination is literally on the other side of the world (Turkey) and we are also planning to go to a few cities whilst there, I know it would simply be much too difficult for her, and for us, if we brought her along. My justification is that, “she won’t remember it anyway!” right? RIGHT?!! Anxiety over leaving her aside, I am very much excited to be going on this trip, as we haven’t travelled much in the past 7 years of our marriage. So today’s “Best on the Net”will have some of the best travel tips on the net, amongst a few other inspiring stories this week… Here goes: Travelling should not just be in the form of leisurely …

Practical ways to make the most out of your travels

  I am travelling overseas later in the week with my family, minus Z (yes, I KNOW! How am I going to do it?! But I also can’t do it WITH her, so…). I haven’t actually been overseas since my honeymoon, which was SEVEN years ago, and am feeling slightly anxious about it. We’ll be gone for just over a month so I knew I needed to seek advice from a more experienced traveller. Who better to ask than writer/creator of Wayfarer’s Compass, dear friend and all-round knowledgable and lovely person, Sana Gillani. I wanted some tips on how to best to plan and navigate one’s travels to get the most of it, spiritually and practically.  If you are travelling any time soon, and even if you are not but interested in travelling at some point, this is a must read. Thank you Sana for your wise advice! Written by Sana Gillani. Sometimes amidst the stress and multiple commitments of our daily routines, our planned travel tends to creep up on us and we aren’t as well …

The day my identity was reshaped

I believe I was around 5 years old, maybe 4. It was my first day of school and the teacher was going through the roll, calling out names and asking us to raise our hand if we heard our name. At this tender age I had no idea to expect that the teacher could possibly mispronounce my name, or have any difficulty with it. So when she finally did come to my name, “Saltanat Hasan”, she balked. In front of her class of teeny tiny children, wide-eyed and innocent, she could not pronounce my name. So she instantaneously said to me (and the class), “I am going to call you ‘Sally’ from now on.” And she (presumably) crossed out my name on the roll and replaced it with ‘Sally’. She crossed out the name that my parents had given me, endearingly chosen and endowed upon me, she stripped away my cultural and racial heritage, and re-Christianised (yes, CHRISTIANISED)me as…Sally. This was the name written on my primary school reports. My PARENTS even went along with …

An Open Letter to All My Concerned Aunties

I am so excited today to bring to you all our first contributor post. This is a stunningly honest and  poetically written piece addressed to all the aunties who are “concerned” about your marital status. Written by Sevgi Yildiz. Recently, my sister four years my junior got married and at 28 in a community of 19 and married, I found myself subjected to the oh’s and aww’s of every single one of my mother’s friends or ‘Aunties’ as they are known to me. They expressed such concern for my singledom, from serving advice to offering their sons and the sons of others looking for a ‘good girl’ like me. But all offerings came with warning. ‘Don’t be too picky- you’re older now.’ ‘If you just lost a few kilos, who could resist you!’, ‘He’d never let you dress like that, he’s very jealous.’ And my very favourites ‘Don’t be so ‘talkative’, he’s a quiet boy’ and ‘He earns good money so you won’t have to work anymore!’ Yay me! I smile and nod graciously and …

How to respond in these difficult times

2016 has been a particularly testing year. There has been tragic event after tragic event of mass killings, police brutality, domestic violence, civil war and the ever increasing growth of displaced peoples receiving very little compassion. How does one cope with such harrowing trauma? How do we not descend into a depressive spiral, where we lose hope in humanity and the world? This is exactly the question a Facebook friend asked on her page yesterday, presumably in response to Sonia Kruger’s controversial remarks, to the Nice attack etc, specifically whether people were feeling increasingly depressed as a result of the state the world was in. Usually I don’t engage in online dialogue, of any kind. There’s too much that can be mistaken, misunderstood, plus the wealth of keyboard warriors, and even my hesitance at expressing my “opinions” because somehow I feel like I have something to say that is worth listening to. But when I saw this last night (at around 2am after my little one woke up and I put her back to sleep), …

My co-sleeping experience

Parenting is one of those things that can spectacularly divide people, like Pokemon Go, or the colour of some dress. Ok, maybe the parenting divides can be a bit weightier than those. The nature of parenting is so personal that the moment you begin to discuss some aspect of it, such as food, or television, or discipline, or breastfeeding, people become immediately emotional, even if they themselves are not parents. Co-sleeping is one of those things. In a country like Australia, it is not accepted practice, what with all those warnings by doctors, midwives, nurses, hospitals, government sponsored ads and so on about SIDs. So when people start to ask me about my own children, and how they sleep, and where they sleep, I take a minute to decide whether I should bother being truthful, or if I should just answer with a simple, “they sleep well”, or “they don’t sleep very well”, depending on how the month of sleeping has gone with them. (Every month, hell every week, every night, can be different before …

Best on the Net

It’s been a big week of harrowing incidents, from Turkey to France, Pakistan to Sudan. I think doing our best to be positive, to take time to reflect on what we could be doing better in our own lives and worlds, to engage in actions that focus changing our own flaws and of course to make dua, to pray to Allah for relief and ease for those suffering, are ways to respond to such overwhelming challenges. For truly the state of the world will not be changed until we change ourselves. And here are some funny, incredible, inspiring and beautiful stories, inventions, and actions from around the world to make your week that much  better. Hilarious attempts to recreate Pinterest baby photos. Oh my. 50 beautiful sentences from literature. Delectable breakfast ideas that I can’t wait to try. A couch that becomes a bunk bed? I promise it’s real. If Witchery keeps designing clothes like this, I’m going to label it a #modestfashion brand. For reals. A revolutionary school that does things differently- by listening to …

How to: DIY Bouquet

Today in our “How to” series we’re featuring how you can put together a cheerful bouquet, with sunflowers, peonies and roses. I’d recommend heading down to your grocery store to keep it super simple and on budget. Here’s what to look for: Foliage Focal flowers Accent flowers When choosing flowers, think about your colour scheme. You could either choose flowers in varying shades of this colour or you could mix it up with some contrasting brights. Get your creative juices flowing! Always buy more than you think you need. This way when you get home and arrange the bouquet, you can see what works and what doesn’t from your selection. Ensure the flowers are in good condition, don’t buy flowers that are browning around the petals, or look sad and droopy. You’ll also need tape (floral tape is of course the best, and can be sourced from your local florist) or even twine could work, ribbon of your choice and scissors. Today we went for a very simple but cheery selection of flowers. I couldn’t …

All the ways you can wear all black

Wearing all black can actually feel like a difficult thing to do. One craves to add a dash of colour, or to break up the outfit somehow. Despite this, all black can be an easy go-to formula for everyday and evening. Take a look at some ways one can wear all black… *click images for source. Tailored suit/full skirted gown Winter knits The long vest Classic with wide brimmed hats Layering different textures Tunic over wide leg pants The Statement floor length coat Embellished suiting The perfect jumpsuit Office chic Casual cool   Dramatic evening wear