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Four great children’s books

What makes a great children’s book?

To me, it needs beautiful illustrations, an engaging story, fantastical facts and interactive activities.

I picked up the following four books recently which have all of the above and they have been on high rotation with the girls lately…

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“Women who Dared: 52 Stories of Fearless Daredevils, adventurers & rebels” 

This one had me at the title. It’s the second book I’ve bought for the girls about women who have dared to achieve their dreams. We haven’t gotten through it yet, but we have loved reading stories of strong and courageous women, and the illustrations are just lovely.

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Day of the Dinosaurs

My daughters are obsessed with dinsaurs, thanks in part to watching marathon sessions of Dinosaur Train whilst I clean the house, or put baby to sleep. I love how this book is interactive, jam-packed with facts and beautifully illustrated.

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Nature’s Day: Out and About

To be honest, I picked this one up because of the pretty front cover. Don’t judge a book by its cover? I’d have to disagree in this instance. Once we brought it home and opened it up, I realised just how brilliant this book is. It’s a companion to the book “Nature’s Day”, which we happen to have… in Turkish… we bought it from Turkey whilst holidaying there last year.

This one takes the reader through each season and has colouring pages, activities and craft ideas. A must for every child. Seriously.

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The Anti-Boredom Book of Brilliant Outdoor Things to Do

I think the title sums this one up.

It. Is. Brilliant.

My kids have been making paper planes, and paper frisbees, and… that’s all we’ve done so far lol. BUT! There are some solid ideas for outdoor activities, for all ages.

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What do you think makes a great children’s book? Which books are on high rotation at your house?

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Will the real YOU please stand up?

As I scroll through my Instagram feed lately I feel like I am literally seeing the same picture over and over again.

Everybody obviously follows accounts that interest them, so as a mother I follow a lot of parenting/home decor/mummy bloggers/lifestyle accounts.

People. I literally see the same photo OVER AND OVER again. The same kids bedroom styled with EXACTLY the same products from EXACTLY the same stores. Let me give you the formula:

Canopy + vintage bunting + IKEA Minnen kid’s bed frame + folkloric wallpaper + wooden accordion peg holder + something rattan + creepy big eyed circus hybrid human/animal picture art = INSTA PERFECT KID’S ROOM.

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I basically see this room over and over on my IG feed… 

And guess what?

THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT MY DAUGHTERS’ ROOM LOOKS LIKE. Minus the creepy big eyed circus hybrid human/animal picture art because, creepy.

The other day, I looked around my girls’ room and realised that I had been victim to the Instagram Effect.

What is the Instagram Effect you ask? I’ve provided an authoritative (authority being me of course- I hope you’re picking up on my very dry sarcasm here) definition below…

Instagram Effect (definition): Best described as the way Instagram subconsciously shapes your interests, likes, dislikes, tastes and consumption habits and results ultimately in everybody looking exactly the same because all purchase the same products because all “influencers” are “sponsored” by the same businesses. 

So whatever subculture you find yourself in, I can guarantee that you all look like, think like, act like, consume like, each other.

Now you might say, hang on, doesn’t that happen anyway, regardless of social media?

Yes. I suppose to an extent it does.

But social media has taken it and increased the potential for creating sameness in subcultures to another level.

When I had my life-changing, earth-quaking realisation that my kids’ room literally looked like a copy-paste of all kids rooms on Instagram, I literally felt sick. I mean, did I even really like this look? DOES IT EVEN MATTER WHAT A 3 YEAR OLD AND A 5 YEAR OLD’S ROOM LOOKS LIKE?!!! And I felt sick at how much their room had become cluttered with stuff… stuff that I had wasted money on, stuff that they did not care an inch about. Sure they liked their rooms, but left to their own devices, they wouldn’t care what their room looked like.

What I’m trying to say, but obviously failing to do so in an articulate manner, is this:

Social media has not only made it so easy to copy one another, it is actually resulting in everybody thinking and being the same. It has legitimised the sheep potential of human beings. And companies are making big money from it.

Not only does everybody now look the same, and their homes look the same, but more dangerously, everybody now thinks the same. What does it mean for a hashtag to be “trending”? It means that everybody is jumping on that hashtag bandwagon and giving it legitimacy without questioning whether they believe it is right or not because a celebrity used the hashtag (most of the time accompanied by a picture of themselves with no extended caption explaining their actual thoughts).

What does it mean for someone to have millions of “followers” on Instagram or Twitter? I know for a fact that when I’m scrolling through IG and see that someone has less than a few thousand followers, I would be less inclined to follow them. Or have a proper look through their feed.

And then I realised that I was doing this and again, I felt sickened by myself.

Social media is increasingly creating a mono-culture, a culture that pressures people into sameness. Sameness in the way we dress, the way we consume, the way we style our homes, and even in the way we think, what opinions we are allowed to have, and therefore, even in the experiences we should be having.

So, the next time you are on social media, stop and think if what you are reading or seeing is right for you.

Maybe step away from social media, and even the news for a time, and read a book. Spend time understanding who you are, what your values are.

And don’t be afraid to stand by them. You don’t need to get judge-y, you don’t need to trawl people’s pages and become keyboard warriors and shout your values at them. That’s not what I mean.

Just know who you are. 

And be quietly courageous in this knowledge.

Don’t get swept up in the tide of hashtags, and “influencers” with their millions of followers. Take back the power to decide who/what influences you.

Make it a conscious choice.

Inspiring kids’ learning spaces

Even if one is not homeschooling their children, having a “learning nook” can be useful. And I say “nook” because let’s face it; not everyone has the luxury of having a separate room just for the kids.

Even a spare wall in the house can suffice, with various shelving systems like the first one below acting as storage for the kids’ craft supplies, books and toys.

Keeping it playful makes it appealing for the kids as well, rather than taking it too seriously and “suitable for the minimalist/boho/modern/california cool (whatever that means) aesthetic of my home”. It’s a space for kids; it should look like one.

Bright pops of colour, fun wallpaper, chalkboard walls, cute (and educational) posters and whimsical toys can really make the space appealing and beautiful.

Also, it need not be very expensive, because #IKEA and thrifting. I find that exploring second hand stores, op shops and flea markets yield beautiful and unique toys and educational material.

Take a look at our favourites below…

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*Click images for links

Featured image via Pencil and Paper

The List: Ethical kid’s clothing

Now that my kids are exiting the toddler years (well, two of them anyway), finding ethical kids clothing that is affordable is becoming somewhat of a task. Speaking to my cousin recently, she also expressed difficulty in finding ethically made clothing for children aged 5-15. It can be difficult to pass up the $5 t-shirt in Kmart, especially when kids seem to get through so many clothes because they grow 10 cm every three months or get grass stains on the knees of all jeans or food stains that just won’t come off. Is it worth spending a little more on ethically made clothing for kids?

I think it is.

Non-organic cotton fabrics, and other synthetically produced clothing contain toxins (given the chemicals they are treated with) that can seep into the wearer’s skin. I also think that if we teach our children to wear less but cherish and value their clothing from a young age, this will teach them good values that they can carry into adulthood.

I know, I know. These days it seems that, as parents, we already have SO MUCH to be concerned about, from GMO, pesticide sprayed food, to the dangers of screen time, and so on. But given the great ethical companies out there, that are online as well, purchasing ethical clothing for your kids is truly made that much easier.

So! Having scoured the internet for ethical kids wear, we present “The List: Ethical kid’s clothing.”

1.Hubble and Duke

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A West Australia based label, they make a beautiful collection of clothing ethically made in Portugal and Bali. I especially love their shoes, and the stunning prints and colour palette.

Ages: 0-8 years old, boys & girls

2. Nature baby

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Based in New Zealand, Nature Baby have the best basics for baby, up to four year olds. All ethically made, and with organic cotton, I just loved their soft track-pants, singlets, underwear and onesies for my own kids.

3. Boden

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Though I haven’t personally shopped from this store before, their clothing looks bright and suitable for children, and reasonably well-priced. I’m tempted to pick up some summer dresses for the girls. Importantly, they have joined the Ethical Trading Initiative and also outline their production processes in a detailed manner on their site.

4. Industrie Kids

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I was surprised when I saw Indie Kids with an “A” grading on the Shop Ethical consumer guide. They have a detailed outline of their commitment to responsible manufacture on their website. Although they mainly do boy’s clothing (from 0-14 years of age), I have seen them stock girl’s clothing in their stores.

5. Etiko

Etiko is a well-known ethical clothing manufacturer. Although their children’s clothes are limited, they do stock shoes, and ethically made trainers can be notoriously diff’icult to find, particularly for children.

6. Elves in the Wardrobe

This multi-brand online site stocks a range of ethically made, organic cotton children’s clothing, up to 12 years of age.

7. G.Nancy

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A recent find, G.Nancy are an Australian company who make beautiful sleepwear in distinctly Australian prints.

8. Minouche 

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Another Australian brand, Minouche make some lovely pieces (mainly for girls, but they just released a unisex collection). I love their soft, beautiful dresses for girls. They are ethically made in Australia and go up to size 10.

9. Everlane

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Everlane makes incredible clothing for adults, but also make a limited range of great basics for the little ones too. And they ship to Australia now!

10. Numero 74

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This company makes the most beautiful but simple clothing for women and young girls. More importantly though, the brand is the love child of two cousins who have set up a Thai Women’s Self managed Cooperative employing over 400 women each of whom are able to work at home whilst caring for family.

11. Love it love it love it 

Actually affordable, ethically made, organic cotton, cute, practical kids wear… basically sums up this brand. They do children’s wear from 0-10 years old, and they also do clothing for adults, and homewares too. So something for everyone!

That’s it for now… There are so many more beautiful labels out there. If you know any ethical children’s clothing stores that are not on this list, please do add them below in the comments section.

A generous baby shower

I’ve always had two thoughts and emotions about baby showers. I’ve felt somewhat uneasy about them, what with the fanfare, extravagance that seems to be the trend these days and potentially lots of unwanted gifts, but I’ve also loved the concept of gathering a budding mother’s closest female friends and family to initiate her into motherhood- or if it’s not for a first baby, having them around to share wisdoms, celebrate the start of new life and simply to shower her with love. 

Our dear friend Sana was expecting her first baby (she’s since given birth) and asked me to aid her in running a flower crown workshop for her baby shower. The day focussed on giving, generosity and creating beauty- a perfect focus for celebrating a woman on the cusp of motherhood, methinks. 

Read on to be inspired by Sana’s baby shower with a difference…

What was the inspiration behind organising this event?

Once pregnant, a few of my friends expressed interest in assisting to host a baby shower for me. I don’t mind attending baby showers and participating in the usual activities that go along with them, but I personally felt like doing something different. I wanted the focus of the gathering to be on bonding with my friends in a final farewell to child-free life. I also didn’t want the focus to be on collecting gifts. Although this is a well-intentioned tradition with much generosity expressed, I felt like channeling this generosity to those more in need than me. I decided to ask for a gift of donations towards maternity charity causes by the CARE charity which would benefit pregnant women, infants and new mothers in regions facing poverty and instability. This was a great success and we managed to raise a significant amount of funds towards this cause.

What was organised for the day?

I chose to make the event an afternoon tea, and to centre it on a creative activity where you get to go home having learned new skills and something to show for it. Keeping within the “baby” theme of growth and new life, I was inspired to hold a flower crown workshop.

I researched professionals who offer the service of running workshops for your events and found them to be quite costly. After speaking with some kind friends, they offered to run the workshop as a DIY exercise. How had can making flower crowns be, right?

After following a few online tutorials and guides, I ordered the materials we’d need (floral tape, floral wire etc.) and my friends went to the flower markets on the morning of the event to purchase a selection of flowers which would light up our home and be used for the crowns. The activity was a grand success. Saltanat (my friend who ran the workshop) did an excellent job of engaging the guests and getting their creative juices flowing. Everybody appreciated the opportunity to make a beautiful crown with their friends.

We also prepared DIY seed packets as party favours. We created hanging leaf garlands to decorate the space with, as well. I also got an old cork board, painted the base of a tree on it and asked guests to pin on a leaf with their pre-baby well wishes and words of advice for me and my husband.

I don’t believe baby showers need to be an exhaustive and extravagant affair. As in my case, it can be simplified by harnessing the skills and generosity of friends and family. I had friends prepare sweets for me on the day, run the flower crown workshop and assist in creating the decorations. Unless you use a registry, collecting gifts in an unstructured manner can lead to excess and wastage, which I wanted to avoid.

Sana, thank you so much for sharing your lovely baby shower with us! It truly was a beautiful day and I was honoured to play a small part in it… 

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Clothes with Baraka

Here at The Modest Life we are passionate about supporting local businesses, women-run businesses, ethical-minded businesses… basically businesses that kick butt 🙂

Baraka Women is one such business. Designed by Eisha Saleh, an all round incredible lady, the clothes are made with the modest dresser in mind, with the most beautiful fabrics, made right here in Australia.

With the release of her new “Pollyanna vintage” collection, my sister and I jumped at the chance to play dress ups over a little catch up at my place…

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This print is so pretty and the fabric is luxuriously soft. Also, given that it is a wrap dress, it makes feeding baby easy. So basically it ticks all the boxes for me. Stylish, pretty and comfortable…

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We love the details on these pants, made from a vintage fabric.

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I’m wearing the Afternoon Wrap Dress.

My sister is wearing:

Outfit 1: The Emerald Day top with The Cornflower Pant in cream

Outfit 2: The Envy Layered skirt.

Photography: Z by Zahrah.

A simple health trick

Hello everyone!

I have been absent for a few months around here. What with Ramadan, a new baby and the general demands of life with three kids, friends and family; things have been busy.

More than this though, I have been struggling to be motivated to do anything outside of just getting through each day. Writing seemed like an insurmountable task that I simply could not be bothered for. I had no inspiration and just felt bogged down from the daily grind.

In the past few weeks, I came down with a nasty viral infection which took some time for me to recover from and was really a reminder that I needed to take proper care of myself first and foremost.

I think this is true of any mother, that we constantly place ourselves last. That we don’t take simple steps to ensure that our own health is sound. We know the oft repeated phrase, “if mum doesn’t look after herself she can’t look after anyone”, but I think that mostly, it’s something we just hear and not put in practice. We get on with our lives with a subconscious thought that we are infallible (physically). Until of course, our bodies just about get enough of being ignored and then start acting out for attention.

My recent (non-serious, yet still difficult) illness was the perfect reminder of this. And throughout that week, I had no choice but to take out the time to look after myself- even with all three kids at home with no one else to help me watch them.

It was also the perfect reminder for me to always, always be grateful for good health.

Basically, it was exactly what I needed to get my out of my rut and get me moving, get me active, to push me out of my low spirits.

So! One simple trick to looking after your health if you feel like you don’t know where to start is to drink warm water with honey first thing in the morning. It has to be on an empty stomach.

It’s not a difficult thing to make into a habit, and of course it has loads of health benefits. Read up on it here.

I also give “honey water” to the girls, so it’s become habit for them too. My own mother was the one who got me onto this, and now it has become part and parcel of our day.

What simple thing do you do everyday for your health? I’d love to hear what you all do.

High-tech bassinets are totally a thing now

For those of us who have kids, think back to your most difficult child, the one you brought home from the hospital terrified of because from DAY ONE they wouldn’t sleep anywhere else but on your chest. Or in your arms. Or only in the car.

Or they didn’t sleep at all.

If you were told back then that there was a bassinet that would:

  • strap your child in safely
  • detect when your baby moved and ROCK BABY GENTLY
  • “chooses” which motion your baby likes best
  • play soothing white noise
  • simulate the sensation of a car

how quickly would you throw your screaming baby into one?

Half a second it’d take methinks.

Anything to get some blessed sleep.

Recently, one ultra high-tech bassinet, developed with MIT engineers (that’s what you need to get your baby to sleep people, a team of MIT ENGINEERS) has hit the market and another has been made by Ford. The car company.

Yes.

A car company has made a bassinet that moves your baby from side to side in a motion that mimics a car. 

Just so you, I mean, your baby, can sleep. I’m pretty sure those LED lights that simulate the lighting in a car that surround the baby wouldn’t really help the baby go to sleep. It just might be a little distracting.

On the other hand, the MIT engineered Snoo claims to be a self-soothing bassinet, doing everything from rocking the baby slower or faster depending on what it “thinks” your baby needs, to ‘choosing’ which white noise your baby likes best.

Both bassinets sound simultaneously crazy and brilliant, and I’m still trying to figure out which one I ultimately think they are. They sound crazy because it seems like they are interfering with the natural bonding process of a mother rocking her baby to sleep, and the mother figuring out how her baby likes to be rocked, and what “white noise” baby likes best. Like the sound of mama’s voice softly singing, for example. It also seems sort of dangerous- all that rocking and moving up and down, side to side.

But also, it sounds brilliant because I know what it is to be a desperately sleep deprived mother who just needs her baby to go down for more than 20 minutes at a time and if these robo-nannies were around back then I would have convinced my husband to spend $1800 if it meant we could get sleep for the first six months of our baby’s life.

That’s right. The Snoo costs around $1800 and it will only last the first six months of a baby’s life.

Is it really worth it? Can we really put a price on getting sleep and retaining our sanity? Do the makers of the Snoo know this and are therefore maybe exploiting our desperation by selling us this MIT engineered ultra high-tech device that guarantees it will put our child to sleep but is maybe messing with the natural arc of motherhood…

Yeah. Possibly. Totally.

Will robotic bassinets be a thing of the future? Will it only contribute to a detachment between mother and baby? Isn’t it kind of creepy to envision babies strapped in these devices, their needs met by technology, and their parents relying on these robotic bassinets more and more to soothe their children?

What do you think about these high-tech bassinets?

A hijab by any other name is…fashion.

The hijab has been getting a lot of attention lately. Women who wear the hijab (Islamic head covering) are becoming more vocal, asserting their existence in a world that has attempted to define them. Women who wear the hijab are speaking, shouting, writing, running, jumping, strutting, fencing, dancing and singing their way to recognition, in an attempt to redefine themselves on their own terms, to show the world that hey, we wear the hijab and we can do anything.

Anything and everything. NOTHING holds me back. 

I am a proud, hijab-wearing, independent, Muslim WOMAN who can make her own choices and do whatever she wants. 

And the world is seemingly responding. People seem to be accepting the fact that (believe it or not!) Muslim women who wear the hijab are. Just. Human. Female. Girls. ETC. who happen to cover their heads and most of their bodies.

Which is of course a good thing. Right?

The “modest fashion” market is recognised as a booming niche that big corporations need to tap into. From Nike, to MNG, corporations are wholeheartedly embracing (or cashing in on, whichever way you prefer to see it) Muslim women by creating collections specifically for them, all touting the #diversity trend.

Hijab style bloggers are now found in abundance and are making waves by normalising modest fashion.

In fact, we just had our first hijabi model strut the runways at NYFW, with many applauding this “huge step forward” for the Muslim, hijab-wearing woman.

I happen to be a Muslim, hijab-wearing woman, and somehow, I do not think this is a huge step forward for us. I think this is a step in completely the wrong direction. Why do I think it’s wrong? Because it reveals this desperate need to “show” the world that we hijab-wearers are “completely normal” and more so, that we can also do “anything”.

Furthermore, it still espouses the concept of the “self” that is the object of worship in this 21st century.

Most of these things that we seem to be stamping our presence into are things that have all been done before by women, who just happened to not wear the hijab. And I’m saying hijab specifically because there are models who are Muslim, but just do not observe the hijab. There have been Muslim female athletes who have competed in the Olympics, but they just don’t wear the hijab. There are Muslim female journalists, professors, doctors etc who just do not wear the hijab.

I know the struggles and difficulties that hijab-wearing women face, the stigma that is attached to this choice of ours to cover ourselves and how much we have needed to work to bring down these walls of misunderstanding, of ignorance, of fear, outside our culture, and within it.

But simply throwing ourselves into EVERYTHING is not going to help us either. When we make the decision to do things that are entirely against the core values of our religion, it will inevitably harm us. Our religion is based on guidelines that clearly show us the limits of what we can and can’t do. This is something that we should have confidence in, that we have a framework that shows us how to tread the middle path, not throws us into an open field, leaving us to meander along aimlessly. We shouldn’t be trying to mould the religion to suit our desires and wants in this life, we should be trying to mould ourselves to do what our Creator has decreed for us.

I’m going to take the example of modelling and fashion. It is by its very nature an exhibitionist, shallow and demeaning industry. It uses women’s bodies with the intention to objectify and exploit. How then do we applaud and cheer when a Muslim, hijab-wearing woman has now been “accepted” by this industry? How do we say to ourselves, YES, this is progress, when the whole situation is such a contradiction. When a Muslim hijab-wearing woman can strut Kanye West’s runway and met and was styled by him and his wife Kim Kardashian. Yes, let’s pat ourselves on the back and be proud of our “steps forward”.

As we seemingly take these “steps forward”, in reality, we are taking steps backward as the more we engage in such acts, the further we move away from a core tenet of our Deen; the need for humility.

And the great irony is that as we scramble to show the world that we can do “anything”in our hijabs because we are striving to smash the Western narrative that Muslim women are controlled by men and were forced to wear the hijab, we are simply doing this in a way that still frames us within their narrative, within their definitions of what being a successful, independent, strong woman is.

That she must be beautiful. That she is valued for her appearance. That she must exhibit herself to the world in designer labels and a contoured face with fake eyelashes and lip fillers and plastic surgery, that she must strut down a runway to be an object, a clothes hanger… with a hijab on and an IG feed full of selfies to document all this.

It actually makes me incredibly sad. It makes me so sad because I think about the example that we are setting for our young girls. Are we showing them anything different? Are we showing them that we need to hold onto the rope of our Deen, and that this might (or does) look different from the “norm”, and that no, we don’t need to strive to be styled by Kim and Kanye, and that this is something that we should be thankful for, that we should be confident in, as Muslims.

As Muslims.

Not as women. Not as hijab-wearing women.

But as a Muslim. As a servant of Allah (swt).

That we are able to be confident in what Allah (swt) has decreed for us and not just attempt to “break down barriers” simply for its own sake. Not because “hey, I want to be the first so-and-so to do this in a hijab…” so that I can “go viral”, oops I mean, “break stereotypes” and “empower women…”

What we are taking away from ourselves and our youth is the history, the beauty, the wisdom, the incredibly unique culture and religion that they come from and we are telling them that this is superseded by the need to fit into this (Western) world.

We are not taking back our own narrative. We are not redefining our selves. In fact we are fighting to be permeated, assimilated, obliterated into a culture whose values are against everything that the religion that we so obviously parade and hold up the flag with our hijabs, stands for.

This is not to say that “Western culture” is “wrong”. What I’m referring to is the capitalist, consumerist, exhibitionist, narcissistic, shallow and exploitative culture of fashion, of music, of Hollywood and so on.

Delpozo’s Fall/Winter 2017 Ready to Wear collection was interesting for me because the collection included this…

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Hijab? Nope. Just “art”.  Just “fashion”. Just “ready-to-wear”. Just Vogue.

How different is it from this?

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It’s not.

Both are art and fashion. Both are simply garments. Both objectify women by placing them on a platform strutting to fast-paced music. One is designed by a non-Muslim, the other by a hijab-wearing female Muslim designer. Sure the intentions are different, but the outcome is the same. Both place the woman as an object to be gawked at.

And so, “hijab” by any other name is simply…fashion.

Unless, we define ourselves, our hijab, in the terms of the religion that we claim to follow. Unless we take back the definitions of what it means to be female and Muslim.

There is another way to “break stereotypes”. There is another way to engage with the fashion world. A way that does not compromise the values of the religion that we proclaim to want to teach the world about. A way that is confident and uncompromising and unique.

Yes we live in this world, but we do not live for this world. And our attempts to be seen as “normal” should not come at the cost of our values. We should revel in the beauty of our religion and go out into the world confident in it, not for the sake of this world, or for society, or culture, or breaking down stereotypes, or acceptance, but for the sake of pleasing our Creator.

I am not raising my daughter with the mantra of the 21st Century, “you can be anything you want to be…” I want to raise my daughter to spend her life seeking what it is that Allah swt has decreed for her, and to fulfil this purpose, not for her to pursue her passions, her desires and her whims, which can ultimately lead her to folly. I want her to pursue the path that Allah swt has written for her, one that teaches her to put her Self aside, one that teaches her to serve humanity, the one that teaches her to have mercy, compassion, and humility…

Featured image source.

Conversations with kids

Kids say the most hilarious things, and I wish I wrote down some of the things my own kids say more often. Here are a few things my little ones have spilled recently…

When I came back from the hospital and J said to me:

“Mum, why do you still have a baby in your tummy?”

Me: “Umm… there’s no baby in there J. My tummy is just going to take some time to return to normal.”

J: “Oh, ok. I don’t like it like that. It needs to be flat again!”

Me: *tears streaming down my face… “This tummy stretched to carry all three of you!!”

When asking why her 16 year-old uncle isn’t married yet…

J: “Why isn’t Emmi (short for ‘Amja’ or ‘uncle’ in Turkish) married yet?”

Me: “Because he is too young J, he’s still in school…”

J: “Oh, so he can get married in the school holidays…”

A few weeks ago she suddenly piped up with…

“An-ne (or mum), I want to be exactly like you when I’m older…”

Me: “awwww that’s so sweet… but why baby?”

J: “Because I love you more than anyone else.”

And when putting her to bed tonight:

J: “I can’t sleep anymore An-ne…”

Me: “Oh why not baby?”

J: “I just feel different these days…”

Me: trying not to react “Why?!”

J: “I think it’s because I’m going to turn 5 soon…”

And a few one liners from Z, who is talking so much these days…

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Z: “Just leave me An-ne, just leave me…” as she shuts the door on my face in defiance because I wouldn’t let her do something. 

This morning…

Me: “Z what do you want for breakfast?”

Z: “Chocolate. I WANT CHOCOLATEEEE!!!”

And lastly,

Z: “all the girls love me An-ne, all of them!”