Month: November 2016

On love…

There is much to say about the consequences of the individualistic, self-centric world that we live in today. One consequence is the impact it has had on relationships and people’s views of what a relationship should look like. More specifically, people seem to have a keen idea about what a relationship should offer them, not what they can offer in a relationship. What many seem to frame their relationship around is what it can do for them, how their partner will make them feel, what their partner should do for them. I don’t think this only applies to a marriage-relationship though. I see that most relationships, friendships, even filial relationships are based on need, rather than sincere concern for one another. Where people will only give you a call when they need something from you. Or when they will only reach out to you when they want to call you to something that they are organising, and need your support for. And these days, it’s barely a phone call. Mostly it is a text message. Or …

Brightness is not a dim place on the horizon…

I remember the first night that I was in the hospital by myself with my new baby. My family had left, my husband included, as hospital policy (in a public hospital) did not allow the husband to stay overnight. I was alone in a vacuous hospital, lights dimmed, with the constant beeping of machines, other patients around me, separated only by a thin curtain. It was cold too, as the hospital had its air-con blaring. I was alone for the first time with my baby. I was exhausted after a long and difficult labour. I felt like I’d been hit two trucks, not one. I could barely lift my arms up, let alone roll out of bed and walk to the bathroom. I literally needed my husband and a nurse to assist me to walk the few metres out of my room and around the corner to go to the bathroom. It was in this state that I was now left alone with a baby. All night my uterus churned as it shrank. In my …

Best on the Net

It’s been a big week in the world, with much to ponder on. Here are a few inspiring, positive and thought-provoking links to make this week that much better… A beautiful new children’s book compiles tales from Syrian refugees. Carla Zampatti designed a uniform for Westpac and included a style for hijabis. Check out this Kickstarter for a company designing activewear for women who wear hijab.  Finland is taking their awesome schools further by abandoning subjects for ‘events’ and ‘phenomena’ in an interdisciplinary format. Speaking of teaching, here’s a video that explores how there is no scientific proof that homework improves performance in elementary school. BAN HOMEWORK I say! The biggest supermoon is set to hit our world tonight, but it’s cloudy and raining here in Sydney 🙁 Did you read about the new screen time recommendations by doctors? About time they got onto this. Suzanne Barakat is an incredible ambassador for her religion, and this latest talk she delivered at TED is at once utterly heart-breaking but also motivating. She asks, what resources do …

‘Modest Fashion’ is an oxymoron…

‘Modest Fashion’ has become a catch phrase that is used to refer to a broad spectrum of clothing, generally in the milieu that is considered to be ‘covered up’. It may or may not include a head covering. In the past five years, with social media platforms accelerating as popular bases for self-promotion, ‘modest fashion’ has experienced a huge (and this is an understatement) growth. With the aid of ‘modest fashion bloggers’ and ‘modest fashion businesses’ that have cropped up, the industry is now worth over $300 billion dollars, and is set to grow. Mainstream fashion houses such as Mango, DKNY and even Dolce & Gabbana have tapped into the niche by producing collections specifically for the modest market. Modest fashion bloggers have been a huge part of this growth in the industry. They have amassed (altogether) millions of followers across their social media, from Instagram, to Facebook to Youtube. More specifically, ‘hijab bloggers’ are increasingly sponsored by and affiliated with mainstream fashion houses, such as Ascia Farraj’s collaborations with Net-a-Porter and Dior, to name just …

Let’s talk about what we feed our children

Today I want to talk about what we feed our children. I know that it is an incredibly heated topic, one that can really make people (parents, I mean) defensive and emotional. I know that 99% of the time, the defences used will be something along the lines of… “I just CANNOT get him/her to eat anything else.” “There is NO WAY that we can get him/her to eat the veggies.” “I’m too tired, and it’s so much easier to give him/her what he/she wants.” I know, because I’ve used these lines myself. But let’s be real with ourselves here. We are facing an epidemic on a scale never seen before. Our children are becoming increasingly obese. In Australia alone, “the number of overweight children in Australia has doubled in recent years, with a quarter of children considered overweight or obese.” (From betterhealth.vic.gov.au). And in adults the statistics are even more shocking. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, “in 2011-12, 62.8% of Australians aged 18 years and over were overweight or obese.” Considering such ominous stats and facing the reality of being surrounded by an …

An (un)birthday party

It was my youngest daughter’s second birthday earlier this month and usually birthdays around here are small affairs where only the family gather for dinner and a cake, and presents. This year I decided to do a little something different and throw a “birthday party” for Z mainly because she is about to become middle child in a few weeks, and I wanted to do something special to make her feel well, special. As I planned the birthday I realised that I wanted it to be more about enjoying the company of our nearest and dearest, and for it to be an enjoyable day for the children. Also, I really didn’t want to do the ‘typical’ birthday things. For example, I didn’t want presents. Exhibit A: My lovely friends and family still did gift the girls presents, which I wasn’t going to be annoying about. And I say ‘girls’ because they were gifts that both the girls could enjoy and use. We gift things to people because we love them, and this is a beautiful trait. …

Easy chicken tray bake

Recently I’ve been developing go-to recipes that I can throw together with things I’m guaranteed to have at home, that are quick and easy, with results that the kids are guaranteed to love. To be honest, since I got married I’ve really struggled with the whole cooking dinner thing and keeping my pantry and fridge stocked with the right ingredients to throw a meal together. I really think it is a skill that you need to be taught. Or you just learn as you go, you learn what works for you and your family. I’ll go into what I’ve learnt about keeping one’s pantry and fridge stocked another day. For now, here is my recipe for an easy chicken tray bake. And when I say easy, I mean literally chop it all up and throw it all together then shove it in the oven and forget about it, and I promise it will taste great. So, here goes… You will need: Chicken thigh fillet, or chicken breast, or wings, or basically whatever chicken you have in …

Newborn essentials-things that you will actually need, Part 2

  Rest: Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to get straight back into work (if you can of course), or cleaning for God’s sake, or even cooking. And yes I’ll throw in the disclaimer that every mother is different and different things work for them. But I’m talking about a mother (first-time or not) who has just been through hours of the most physically painful task that she will ever endure in her life (or undergone a major operation i.e. a caesarean), and is now expected to keep a human being alive by feeding it. So I say to you, just rest. Don’t try to be a superhero and do everything on your own. Trust me, there will be PLENTY of time later when doing EVERYTHING will fall on you. For now, just be easy on yourself and give yourself and your body time to heal, to adjust, to reset. For all those hormones to do their thing, for your uterus to shrink, for your tears to heal, for your stitches to heal, for your aching …