Sunday, 25 December 2016

Blogiversary No. 4

Four years ago in December I started my blog. FOUR YEARS! Can you believe it, my baby, That Delete Button, is four years old. I personally can't believe I've kept it going that long and in the past few months so much has happened that I have, at times, questioned the future of my blog. But I've decide that I will continue because why give up doing something you love?

I am sorry about the recent inconsistency in my blog posts, time just goes so fast and like I said, it has been a little crazy. So this year I'm not going to do an advice-y sort of post like this one but an update post. An update of some of the things that have happened in the last year - both blog life and personal life updates.

I was really weary of putting things that are too personal on my blog but I've decided to include them. I won't go into dep
th but they are there nonetheless. It'll help you understand how crazy the last few months have been too.

So, here goes!

1.Independence is not loneliness. I wrote a post, quite an angry post, on how we should encourage independence and my post was read by a lot of people, A LOT. Mostly because I shared in on Medium (a blog post sharing platform) and so this was a big, huge, massive, EPIC achievement for that Delete Button. :)

2. The Canadians came to visit. That's right, my lovely Canadian family came to visit. I didn't get to spend as much time with them as I'd have liked but we did do some fun things and I really hope they visit again soon, all of them!

3. Laser eye surgery. I booked myself in for Laser Eye surgery after getting really fed up with my contact lenses. The prescription on my lenses just wasn't right and they kept moving, which meant that I couldn't see clearly trough the part I was supposed to be looking through. So anyway, I took the plunge and eventually had the surgery.

4. Turkey. Pretty soon after my surgery, I took some time off and travelled to Turkey. Dude, it was fun.

5. engaged. Then I came back a got engaged.

6. I Left my job.*sadface* My work were actually really supportive of the CELTA course and my recovery from surgery, particularly my manager, but in the end I decided to leave because I knew I would leave sooner or later.

7. CELTA. After coming back from Turkey, I actually applied to the CELTA course - I did a TEFL course during my final year of undergrad and that was when I decided I would take it further. Only I applied for my Masters and went on to do a other things instead. I had a few thoughts about it last year but when we came back from Turkey, I researched the course properly and applied for it...and got a place. I really should do a whole blog post on this really because it was actually really, really, really good! (I got engaged just before I did the course).

8. Married. So point number five reads that I got engaged, I sort of got married after too. It's a long story but the short version is that we've had our religious ceremony and will have a whole shebang done in 2017.

Well, that was quite a year wasn't it?!

What have you been up to?

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Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Skarf UK


I'm always on the hunt for good quality hijabs and finding them can be quite difficult. A few months ago I came across 'Skarf' hijab and was sent a few to try. Here are my thoughts:
  • These hijabs are so soft, lovely and comfy. 
  • They haven't gone bobbly - a problem I've found in some hijabs,
  • There aren't any pin marks left in the material, 
  • They don't run in the wash!!! 
  • They come in a good range of colours and I love my ombre ones :)
  • I have a grey one that is sparkly - hooray for sparkles 
  • I can wear them all day and still feel comfy,
  • They don't make me feel too hot - I did wear them on quite a few hot days and felt fine :)
  • Likewise, I don't find myself feeling really cold in them either!
  • They are so easy to wear and style,
  • The ombre colours made them so versatile
  • I love the patterns in the one I have - take a closer look at the photo to see it :) 
Skarf are currently working on a new collection and have an Instagram page :) Click on their name and it'll take you to them! skarf_uk 

Check them out and let me know your thoughts too! Have you tried their hijabs already? 

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Wednesday, 30 November 2016

It wasn't the end...

Last Thursday I watched, for the first time ever, the final two episodes of Gilmore Girls. Yes, as huge Gilmore Girls fan, I admit that I had put off watching the last two episodes for all these years. I sort of knew what happened as I was told by my cousin but I never actually watched the episodes...I didn't want it to end and at the point in time when I made the decision to not watch the last two episode, I felt like I was in control. I decided it would not end and instead re-watched episodes as and when I wanted. 

Its a series, it’s not real - I mean there’s no chance I’ll ever meet Loreli or Rory because they only exist on screen but I still chose not to let it end. Even when watching the last episodes, I didn't felt like it had ended. I just thought ‘oh, ok. Well if that’s what she wants then who am I to say no’ (I was team Jess all the way). 

When I made these decisions, I was young(er). I was just settling into my teens and there wasn't much that I had control of - this was my way of control. But I was happy with that decision. There wasn't a point in time where I had a huge urge to watch the last two episodes, even last Thursday - the only reason I watched the last two episodes was because the new episodes that were being released the next day. 

I made a decision and it was a decision, although one of very little meaning and use in actual life - that I was perfectly happy to live with. There was no point in time where I woke up wondering what happened, no desires to find the ending. And before anyone questions how much I actually enjoyed Gilmore Girls to not watch the ending, I really did enjoy the series, I still do. I was, however, ok with not watching the last two episodes because I really didn't want it to end.

But as I’ve lived life a little more since then, I’ve come to find that things ending aren't a bad thing. In fact, the most important thing I’ve learnt is that life goes on, it always does. 

Anyway, my point is, make decisions in your life that you can live with, that you are content with and only you know what it means to you. Don’t let others tell you what it means to you. How do they know anyway?! 

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Thursday, 17 November 2016

Travel in 2016

Until very recently, I'd never travelled alone abroad. It might sound bizarre to hear that a perfectly competent twenty-four year old had never travelled abroad without a parent. Yes, that was me - the reasons for this are many but in all honesty, when I hear them my mind filters out the words being said and all I seem to hear is "blah blah blah blah....".

Anyway, a few months ago I went for a short break with my lovely aunt and cousin to Turkey and I loved it! It was an experience, one I'd jump at again anytime and I don't regret any part of it. 

See, I've, Alhamdulillah, lived a very sheltered and protected life. Although I am independent and do many things alone (including travelling in the UK) I've never been away for long alone. The people in my life are very protective - often over protective and, this can be both good and bad.

*sigh*

Despite this - and I'm sure we all have different opinions which I respect - here are a few things I learnt/observed whilst away.

1. You are not alone
Firstly, there are always other people around you. Granted they may be busy trying to sort out things for themselves but they are always there. On the way back home, there were some major delays and so we spent a lot of time in a small airport. We'd already talked to someone about the delays and were directed to where we should be at the time of departure. When it came to that time, I stood in line with my cousin and my aunt stood in the line next to us. As my cousin and I had our passes and things checked, the man turned to us and asked 'Mama?' because he didn't see her with us. We pointed out that she was in the other line. There was no need for this guy to ask us where my aunty was and why we were alone but it was oddly reassuring that he noticed there were three of us. We weren't actually alone, help was around. This leads me perfectly on to point number two:

2. Never be afraid to ask for help
If you need help, ask. This isn't just whilst travelling, adopt this into your life.

3. Do something new
Do things you don't normally do or won't be able to do once you are back home. Seize opportunities people! Make the most of it all. :)

3. Meet people and make friends
Talk to people - you never know who you'll meet and the connections you'll make.

4. Language 
Languages are so beautiful and I love listening to people talk in different languages. Take a moment to appreciate them.

5. Enjoy it
Things don't always go to plan and that's ok - keep going because time spent on thinking of how things should've/could've been is time wasted. Make the most of your time.

FYI definitely visit Turkey, it is SO beautiful! (Blog post on Alanya to follow soon!)

What have you found when travelling?

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Friday, 4 November 2016

November 2016

I'm back :)
Hello!

The past few weeks, months even, have been quiet on the blogging front. I've blogged here and there but not as much as I'd like. This has been for many reasons but I think, finally, things are settling down a little...I think.

This morning I had a sudden urge to blog and that made me feel so good because part of the reason for not blogging, among other things, was a significant lack in motivation - I've come to realise that I miss blogging!

Anyway, how are you all? I've not been around much in the blogging community recently but I very much look forward to being back :)

What have you been up to? Leave links below for me to read your blog posts please and catch up on what I've missed! :)

Much Love,
F x


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Saturday, 3 September 2016

Stratford-Upon-Avon

On bank holiday Monday we spent the day at Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Stratford-Upon-Avon is a medieval town in England that I hadn't visited till now. It's where Shakespeare is from and so when my lovely friend suggested we visit the area, I jumped at the chance.

It was so pretty! We drove down, four of us, and so it felt like a mini road trip - one of many more to come! I get quite excited by things like this because I love exploring new places, especially as they aren't too far away!!

The drive there was smooth as it was mostly dual carriageways and not the motorway and as a bonus, the weather was beautiful! I did apologies in advance at the heat in my car as I have no air-conditioning but luckily, it wasn't too bad - I warned them that they may experience what being a baked potato feels like.

We did a bit of exploring and there were beautiful Tudor style houses, in the centre and with the river running through! Taking a walk along the river made me feel much like a character from a Shakespeare play, or even Shakespeare and I'm sure he strolled to get ideas?!

We had some delicious food at the Royal Shakespeare Company and it really funny because we decided that before picking a place to eat, we'd have a look round. So we did. We walked up a few of the streets and looked at the options and then decided that the first place we went to was better - the RSC. So we headed back there! I'm quite glad we did because being upstairs in the RSC meant we had a lovely view as well as good food. The service was very good too and they didn't charge for water. :)

Anyway, what I wanted to share with you all - just before we were about to leave, we popped into a market and came across a jewellery stall. The two people running the stall were very lovely and saw me eying up ...well, everything. Then I found a few bangle type bracelets and tried some on and decided I liked it enough to buy it. As it was the end of the day (or she felt really sorry for me when I told her what my current job is) the lovely lady let my friends pick a dream catcher necklace for me to have for free!!!

And I love both! I love the bracelet because it's simple and the necklace is green and purple - green is my favourite colour and I wear a lot of purple. The bracelet I bought is silver plated rather than fully silver so I was told how to take care of it and that I can go back to get it re-plated at any time!

I've also decided that I may use the necklace as a headpiece - despite it being a necklace - because I think it looks nice!! Check out Viki Marks Jewellery on Facebook and pop to her stall if you are ever about in the area. I'd definitely recommend it!

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Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Laser Eye Surgery - Round Two

So, as you know from my last post, I was ready to have my eyes lasered until I was told that I wasn't going to have the procedure I'd initially thought I could. That's when it all went a bit pants up!

I sat there for a while wondering how I'd make it back into the surgery because I was freaked out enough the first time round and they wanted me to come again?! Did they have any idea how nerve-wracking the first attempt was? But I hadn't planned to be off that long and I had made plans to do things too so I would have to go back, there was not much space to budge really.

So I went back in two weeks later armed with appropriate time off work. The second time round was much quicker than the first - they didn't need to do all of the tests as they had already done them the last round. So I was called into the surgery area and spoke to the surgeon and the nurses and then was told to wait in the waiting room till I was called. This was a smaller room where a few patients who ere also here for laser eye surgery were seated.

Whilst there, I met a girl who lived very near to me! What a coincidence!!! I talked to her and her mum and it was actually really lovely- we joked about how we could have driven in together. Unfortunately I didn't get her name so I haven't heard from her since but I'm sure she's ok. Maybe I'll run into her at some point who knows!

Meeting someone who lived close to me really helped - it felt like time went a bit faster as I was called into the operating room. There I met the nurse who would be with me and then, after we introduced ourselves, they made me lie down to begin the procedure. They began by numbing my eyes and it didn't hurt at all.

After a few rounds of the numbing drops, the surgeon came in the room to perform the procedure. He explained exactly what would happen and what to expect and he explained it all again as he did it. I found this was, oddly, comforting as he talked through the whole process with me. It made me less nervous and I was quite amazed.

Basically, what they did (if you are squeamish skip this paragraph):
- numb the eye,
- clamp it open (it didn't hurt and neither was it really uncomfortable)
- put a pool of solution onto of the eye to loosen the top layer of my eye
- wipe the top layer off
- laser the eye
- wash out the eye with really cold water stuff
- insert bandage contact lense (it's just a clear contact lenses)
- cover the eye and do the same to the next one.

I'm actually really weird so I was sat through this thinking 'HOW COOL IS THAT?!' - I often find myself doing this, I think it's one of my coping mechanisms.

Then, once done - it took about fifteen minutes to do both eyes, I was shown what drops to take when and then I was ready to go. That was it!! I was all done.

This part was unreal because I could actually see pretty well despite having surgery done on my eyes, but as we walked to the car, I could barely keep my eyes open - they just closed themselves. So once in the car I let them close.

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Friday, 22 July 2016

Laser Eye Surgery - Round One

Ok, so my surgery date was about two weeks after my consultation. Off I went. Before you continue, if you haven't read my previous post about the consultation - here it is.

My surgery was booked for Bristol and up till this day I was slowly getting more and more worried about the surgery. I continued to Google the procedure and read up on it but I was pretty nervous. I told myself it was totally normal to be worried - it is!!

I talked to a few people but in all honesty I didn't tell many people because of how nervous I was. So the day came and off we went to Bristol. When I got there, the place was easy to find and the people were super helpful - very calming and friendly. I waited to be called and met the assistant who I had for my consultation - she was pleased to see me!

I took this before going - little did I know!
They began by doing some tests to check my eyes and my prescription before they did the procedure and then, whilst the surgeon looked at the results, I waited. They then repeated a few tests assuring me that it was just because the surgeon wanted to double check a few things - I wasn't convinced.

Anyway, finally I met the surgeon and he was a quiet man who introduced himself and told me the reason for repeating the tests - something about the shape of my eye. Because of the shape of my eye, they had made a clinical decision that the procedure I was booked in for was not the one they would recommend for me to have. Basically I wasn't going to have the operation that I was told I could have.

Brief description of the procedure they originally told me about: they would create a flap in the top layer of my eye then shoot a laser through the lifted flap. Then close the flap and tada - done! The recovery time for this procedure is around two days and it's reported to be relatively pain-free.

Brief description of new procedure: instead of making a flap in that layer, they'd remove the whole layer altogether and then shoot the laser through. A bandage contact lenses would then be inserted and taken out a few days later. Recovery time is much slower than a week and vision can take from ten days to six months to settle.

Now'd you get why I hesitated and decided to re-book? The end result would be the same in both procedures but recovery time wasn't and this, at that point in time was my concern. So off I went home with a new date and my thinking cap on.

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Sunday, 3 July 2016

Laser Eye Surgery - Consultation

Let's begin at the beginning :)

I finally took the plunge and booked to have laser eye surgery. This is something I have been researching for a while - four years to be exact - but previously I had only ever skimmed the surface and then never actually done anything about getting the surgery.

But a few months ago, I did. I'd been searching Google for local hospitals that offered the surgery and finally found one - I was really excited because the doctor in question was the same doctor that had performed my grandparents cataract surgery - he had a lot of experience.

So I rang up to see if I could get an appointment but unfortunately, I hit a brick wall. The assistant on the phone told me that the doctor had stopped performing laser eye surgery over Christmas and the alternative was too far away for me to travel. In all honesty I was quite annoyed at myself because I was thinking about this before Christmas and had I actually done anything about it, I could have booked for an appointment locally. Bummer.

No more poking my eyes out or glasses?!  
So I left it till about eight weeks ago when I booked myself an appointment at Optical Express. I have always known about Optical Express and have met quite a few people who've had their eyes done there - my lovely aunt and uncle have too and they loved it! When I got there for my consultation the people were really nice. The assistant who did most of the tests on me was reassuring and had seen and knew a lot of people who had laser eye surgery. We talked about it and when it came to booking an appointment, it just happened that they had an opening in two weeks time. It was that or a good few weeks later. That's when I had my 10 seconds of courage and told her to book me in for the appointment in two weeks time.

I knew that if I left for later, I wouldn't do it. So it was done. What's really lovely is that she told me she'd be there when I had the surgery and it's always nice seeing a familiar face. They gave me a profile of the doctor who'd perform my surgery and as soon as I could see, I Googled him. What I mean by 'as soon as I could see' is that I had some eyedrops put in that meant I was super light sensitive and I couldn't see anything close up. For a good few hours my phone was just a blurry block of lights!! That was really freaky.

Anyway, I found a fellow blogger that that had had the surgery at the same place by the same doctor! And she seemed to be doing well! Read her posts on it here :)

Read next week to see how the surgery went...oh the drama!

Have you had laser eye surgery? What was it like? Is it something you're considering? Let me know.
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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Back To It

Hi Everyone!

I went on a break. Well, actually that's a lie. I didn't actually go anywhere, I just had a small break from blogging. It made me quite sad!

Can you see me?
It was a self imposed break - partly because I was at a loss of what to blog. I have draft posts but I lost my momentum when something I had waited for a long time to happen was put to a halt for reasons beyond my control (posts on this to follow, fear not!). I was also actually quite busy at home and work too - it's been a busy month!

But finally I'm back at it. I have my momentum back! So looking forward to posting regularly again!!

How have you been?

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Thursday, 9 June 2016

Tahajjud Prayer

So my aunt phoned me the other week because she had an idea. She had an epiphany. I love epiphanies!! It made me really excited because it is something that we would do individually but collectively - I know this doesn't make sense right now but read on and hopefully it will! :)

Now, I take credit for exactly 0% of the original idea. The idea belongs to my aunty who was inspired from this lecture by Sheikh Omar Suleiman. In this lecture Sheikh Omar Suleiman tells the story of Salahuddin and Jerusalem. He describes how Salahudin strove to unite the people rather than cause bloodshed and within this, he mentions Qiymul-Layl. This is significant here because Salahuddin used Tahajjud as a means to conquer Palestine. He united his army in prayer by waiting till he saw that people were actively engaged in worship at this time.

Source
And this time is very important. It was reported by Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said "Our Lord descends to the lowest heaven during the last third of the night, inquiring: 'Who will call on Me so that I may respond to him? Who is asking something of Me so I may give it to him? Who is asking for my forgiveness so I may forgive him?" (Bukhari and Muslim).

So my aunt had the idea that we should all make an effort to pray at this time too and remember Palestine and places and people who are experiencing hardships in our prayers. And what better way to get into this habit than in Ramadan. In Ramadan we are already awake for Suhoor and therefore, by waking up a little earlier we can read this prayer too. The best thing about this - we will be doing this for the next month days and then, once the thirty days are done, we'd hope for us to continue this.

Guess what! Tahajjud can be prayed all year round no matter where you are in the world. We can do this everyday and so Ramadan is a great time to start - now is a great time to start. So let's do it!

By reading Tajajjud, let us all unite in prayer and make the most of our time.

Facebook page for this campaign: click here :)
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Note: We should, first and foremost, concentrate on fulfilling all of our fardh salah - so reading Tahajjud is in addition to the five daily prayers. This is extra, it's optional. Fardh duties are our priority, please don't forget this!




Thursday, 19 May 2016

Distractions or Simply Crazy?

I made tea without a tea bag... it's not the first time I've done this. I normally put the kettle on, get my mug out and a spoon out, open the cupboard to get a tea bag and by this time, the kettle has finished boiling. It pings to let me know and that's it, I forget about the tea bag! So there I am having poured hot water into my mug, mixing it wondering why it's not changing colour. Luckily it's not too late as I see the water and just drop a tea bag into it and tada! Problem solved!

You'd think that having done this once, I wouldn't do it again but it actually happens quite often - observations from this:
- I am tired,
- I find the kettle rather distracting,
- I could possibly be going crazy,
- Maybe I'm defiantly losing my mind?!
- I really do know how to make a decent cuppa, fear not!

Ok, so don't panic just yet. I haven't totally lost my mind because I don't do this everyday. It happens every now and then - but enough for me to have noticed it. And since I began this post, it hasn't happened once! I think writing about it helps!

The thing is, we all do weird and wonderful things. I, myself, have accidentally put biscuits in the fridge and I've watched people do odd things too - here's why: distractions. I noticed that every time I, or a friend, has done something a little crazy, we've been distracted. You know that saying 'creatures of habit' - well it's like accidentally mixing up your habits and amalgamating them. But that doesn't make us crazy does it?

No, I, in my highly unprofessional opinion - seeing as I am in no way qualified to make decisions that should be adopted by others - think it's because of distractions and being tired. We are so busy that we take small things for granted. The things we do without even noticing, it's only when we do something a little bit different, or wrong, that we notice that we do them! Maaaan....does this even
make any sense?!

I'm going to take a break, maybe it'll help!

We all do crazy things that are a little weird, or sometimes very weird but we are human after all. Have you done anything crazy lately?

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Friday, 6 May 2016

Pearl Daisy

*note: This is the third time I'm writing this post. I had finished it and then didn't save it properly so lost most of it!!!...sigh... Here I go, again!*

After buying the Inayah collection hijabs, my cousin and I decided to order a Pearl Daisy hoojab. They also had a sale on...

So I have to say I was quite excited about this. I've been wondering for a while if I should get one of these hijabs to try out but never had the courage to take the plunge - till I talked about it to my lovely cousin and she said let's order together. I say I never had the courage because these are different from my usual hijabs but they always look so lovely on others. The thing is, I'm, well, how shall I put this without offending myself, lazy. My hijab style takes around two minutes to do and so the idea of having to do something that requires me to think stresses me out!! Hahah, I'm kidding, I'm just super lazy.


Anyway, I ordered and got a really sweet email to say that my package was wrapped with care and waved off by the lovely shop assistants and it was on it's way. Boy was I excited!
It arrived pretty soon after in a pink package with the Pearl Daisy logo on top so I knew exactly what it was and what to expect when opening the package - sweet!

So I opened it and first thoughts on it were: 'woah, it's long'. I'm only little and so the hijab seemed very long. I mean come on, I held the thing up folded in half and it was the same height as I am!!! Imagine wrapping something twice my height around my head -  I couldn't really see how it was going to work on me! So I did what any grown sane minded person would and put it back into the pack and left it for the night. However, I do have to say that the material is super lovely - it's soft and feels great to touch! Bonus.

The next morning I got up and thought to myself, 'right F, you have to give it a go' - and so, I went on YouTube - this tutorial to be precise - and watched it. Then I tried it on myself. It went ok and I have to admit it take too long.

Initially when I tried it I couldn't wrap it around properly as I don't really know how to create folds, but after watching the video it was quite simple. I haven't mastered it properly yet but that will come when I try it a little more. I think these are great because it's really easy to experiment and try different styles using the same hoojab! I haven't taken any photo's of myself but I shall do soon and I'll like them back to this post. :) I got a lot of compliments from my lovely friends who promised me that if they didn't like it they would have said!

Would I buy them again? Well I already ordered a few more after my first purchase so that answers that question. And I'm really looking forward to visiting the Pearl Daisy shop soon!!

Have you tried these? What are your thoughts?

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Monday, 11 April 2016

#unfairandlovely

I'm a bit late with this post but I've finally done it. The reason it's late is because, honestly, I didn't have the courage to write it. I thought I couldn't write it because the people who I talk about in the post may figure out that it's about them...then I thought what the heck. They should never have thought that in the first place!!!

This is my #unfairandlovely story.

Background: #unfairandlovely is a campaign on social media which highlights the stigma that societies have attached to darker skin and beauty. Societies like mine... In this post I'm going to try and explain what this campaign means to me and, hopefully, you'll understand why this movement is important to me!

My skin tone can be described as brown - medium brown I would say but then some others would say light brown and I've been told by a few people that I'm dark brown. I'm content with it, it's who I am. It becomes difficult when I go out to buy things like make up which is supposed to match your skin tone, like concealer.

For instance: I walked into Boots some time last year on a hunt for a concealer. I've never been one who is good with makeup and so I needed help in the concealer department. Anyway, I got in and at the front, in my local shop, is the Max Factor counter. There was a lovely sales assistant who asked if I was ok and so I explained to her that I was looking for a concealer to put under my eyes. We went over to the concealers and she said: "to be honest, I think these are all too light. There aren't any here that will match your skin shade".

And that was that. See, the thing here is that I wasn't offended initially because she was being honest. She saved me a lot of time and pointed to towards the Clinique counter. Only after did I question why they didn't have any even close to my skin shade because I'm not a rare skin shade. There are loads of people who have my skin shade and well, Max Factor, you are definitely missing out on something there. But I can't really comment on make up because I don't know enough to make a comment - that was just an example of one thing I've found. Although it is a problem, I've noticed that there are now more things out there that match my skin colour and anyway, this isn't what I think of then I see #unfairnadlovely.

I wish make up was the only complaint I had but the thing is, it's worse. See, make up is an industry in itself that is run by companies and campaigns can be/have been started to change these issues, slowly but surely. It's not as easy to change the views of groups of people that have thought this way for generations. That takes education and this education and thought has to filter through for generations for it to be accepted. I know for a fact that it has started but this process is not one that can be done overnight.

Here is a very short example to explain what #unfairandlovely means to me:
Once someone asked for a description of a person that was sitting in another room and she asked: 'How dark is he?'...The person who was questioned replied, 'not that dark...the same as Fatima.' The look on the faces of the people in the room was - well they thought I was too dark. What's disgraceful is that people in that room are considered to be the same as me - they are 'my people' and some of them I'm related to by blood.

What do you do when your 'own people' think that you are too dark. People who I share ethnic origins with and more often than not, blood. Why do they think like that? Am I not the same as them? The irony of the whole situation is that I'm not actually that dark if you come to look at it, and so I dread to think what they think about people who have darker skin than I do. Beauty is not based on skin colour.

Fortunately for me, I've come to realise that there is more to me than my skin colour but the younger me was not as wise.
This is why campaigns like #unfairandlovely are epically important.

The truth is everyone is beautiful regardless of what we look like - I'm not kidding. Go check out some of the posts in response to this campaign such as Parallel and Areeba's post. Funnily enough, I found the hash tag through the lovely Areeba!!!

So go on, spread the word. Do you have a similar story to share?

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Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Confessions of a Front-Stabbing Friend #4

I hate shopping...well, actually that is a lie. I don't mind shopping but shopping with my mother is one of the weirdest experiences on the planet. It's not as bad as I've experienced in the past because I've come shopping with people who are all over the supermarket - literally. They buy things as they remember and so you end up going from the eggs to the milk to the carrots and then back to get cream and then bread. I mean why don't you just go round the place in order?!

Mum just takes ages. She stops to think and sometimes she stares at the labels for what seems like eternity - then I'll lose my patience and have to remind her that the price of fishcakes will not change no matter how much she wills it to with her mind. But then what should I know, I don't really have to budget or manage my money in the way my parents and even some of my friends do. The only bills I worry about are my phone bill and gym bill. Not really gas, electric, council tax, blah, blah blah...

Anyway, enough about budgeting because it makes my brain feel sad. I'd rather think about grocery shopping...yuck! We go through every isle and she picks up a few things but I can't help but notice this man skulking around the store. I've seen him before and he's tried to be nice to us - don't get me wrong, I'm sure he is nice but I don't really want to know to be honest. I just want my mother to hurry up with her shopping so I can go home and binge watch Netflix.

From what I understand he's security.  He - maybe to make himself look more intimidating - walks in a way I find slightly amusing. His hips are thrust forward more so than his shoulders, his arms swing from side to side and his head bobs up and down as he paroles the milk isle. If I were him I'd walk through the bakery...often. The thing is, I'm not being mean in my description of his walk because I've seen this man outside the supermarket and he's a different person. None of this hip thrusting, arm swinging, head bobbing business then. So why now? Maybe he wants to look like a back slash as he walks.

Who knows. I wonder if he'd straighten up if someone ran off with milk without paying for it...

Finally we've finished. I've walked round the whole supermarket and haven't bought a thing! That's right, I have not picked up one thing and that's actually really good. Lucky for mum, I don't actually want anything so when we get to the tills, she won't say how much I cost her. Bring on Netflix!!

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Saturday, 2 April 2016

Confessions of a Front-Stabbing Friend #3

#3
I found out why the kid was gawping at me. It turns out that I have a massive spot on my right cheek. It's mahoosively massive, like epically huge. How did I not know this? Thinking about it now I can actually feel it if I twitch my cheeks, but back then my tea, biscuits and magazine took priority.

Luckily it has shrunk a little so it's not as big as it was in the morning. The kid is the only human - excluding family members - to have seen the hideous thing. That's only because I'm yet to leave the house. That's right, on the schedule for today is lazing about, reading and watching Netflix.

And I'm really looking forward to it. Who wouldn't?! I have a whole bunch of library books to finish (once I actually start them of course) and I may have accidentally bought a few books too...oopsie. And Netflix, well I can spend hours wasting away watching Netflix!

Anyway, back to the spot. What am I going to do about it? Nothing! It'll go away soon enough, it came on it's own so it'll go on it's own. The truth is, I'm actually too lazy to do anything, and I don't really mind - if you want to stare, then stare!! And my books don't mind!

So, here I am having examined my ugly spot when mum pops her head round the door. Literally, all I can see is her head, it's like it's floating because there's no view of the body.

"What are you doing?" She's looking around my room then finally her gaze lands on me.
 
"Nothing" I say slowly, stretching out the 'o'. I have no idea what she must have thought because I'm sat in front of the mirror with a pile of books!

"Oh good. Get dressed, we're going shopping." And that was it. She leaves so fast I can't even object or explain my important plans or anything. So it looks like I'll be shopping instead.

Meh. At least I don't have the kid sat in front of me anymore! Also, people are too busy thinking about themselves to notice my spot - yes, that's right, I'm going to keep telling myself that.

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Sunday, 20 March 2016

Inayah Collection


This scarf is purple in person and blue on camera 
Recently I invested in some new scarves - hijabs. Let me begin with a confession, I have way too many and still, on some days, I can't find the colour I need!! I had a whole draw devoted to scarves but they no longer fit in this draw - it's a BIG drawer. But my collection is small in comparison to others I've seen. In my defence I do wear them...everyday!

Normally I just buy one when I see or need one but I never spend much on them. It's really odd because considering I wear them every day you'd think I would spend a little more right? Wrong! I normally wait till they go on sale - but that's because I'm 'careful' with my money...or that's what I tell myself anyway.

Anyway, I got a bit fed up when my favourite scarf became bobbly and especially hate pin marks left in them. That's life, these things happen! *sadface* So I decided to buy some hijabs from Inayah Collection. I've seen them on Instagram and their photos always look awesome - also when I've watched hijab tutorials a lot of bloggers have mentioned them, so I thought alright, I'll give them a go.

And I did! So like I said I did buy ones that were in my price range and so the quality of each one is different. I bought four - three different hijab types: one georgette essentials hijab, one patterned rayon material hijab and two more essentials ones which are modal material.

Thoughts: the georgette and rayon hijabs are lovely! The material is durable and that's a key factor for me. The aren't flimsy and they are so many ways to style too - very easy to wear! The two modal hijabs are also lovely but not as nice as the other two. See, this material is different and I found that pin marks show more - although these were much cheaper in comparison to the other two!

This one is my favourite :)
Also, the washing instructions are very specific for these two hijabs because they are hand dyed - which makes them special. Just means that they will be in the laundry basket for much longer than usual!

One final note - Colours: One reason I'm quite reluctant to order hijabs online is because of the colours. And here I had the same issue. Each scarf was a slightly different shade than that shown online but luckily I didn't need them to match specific items of clothing. If I did, I would have been really disappointed! But in Inayah Collections defence, their colours were much closer to their advertisements than I have had in the past. And lighting alters hijab colours drastically sometimes!

Have you ordered from Inayah collection recently? They have such pretty clothes too! What are your thoughts on this?

p.s they do have a sale on!
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Thursday, 10 March 2016

Be More Goat...

Last week a girl was telling me how she liked something when she was younger and then, for a while she stopped liking it. Then later on people in her school started liking it and so she did too. And I was standing there thinking 'Noooooo, don't follow the crowd, don't be a sheep! Be a GOAT!!'  But obviously I didn't say that out load because I don't actually know this girl very well and I didn't want her to think I spend my time comparing people to goats and sheep. Even if that was true at that point in time. Oh dear.

In my defence, I did, in my own w
ay, tell her later to do things because she enjoys them and not because others do them too. And she took it pretty well.

Check this out! 
Anyway, I really do think  we should be more goat - because goats are badass. They eat whatever they want and climb where ever they want. They are nosily curious characters and wander at their own will. They don't follow the crowd. So be more goat.

Did you know that goats are social animals - so you'd often find goats together/near by but they are different in that you can't herd goats, they either confront you or decide to go away. You go goat.

Goats are social animals that don't follow the crowd.

Apparently, according to Google, goats have really good night vision! Who'd have thought? Also, they can be almost any colour - black, white, brown, red, two colours, more than two colours!

Did you know that goats are really adaptable to their surroundings - they can easily go back to their wild ways! Take that job applications!

CUTE!!
And one last thing you may not have known about goats - it's said that goats are the reason we discovered coffee. Uh huh, you read right. It was noticed that the goats were more active after eating certain berries - boom, coffee.

Also, goats are my favourite. They are so CUTE!! Do you like goats?






References/More reading on goats can be found here:
http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/KidsFarm/InTheBarn/Goats/factsheet.cfm
http://www.onekind.org/education/animals_a_z/goat/


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Friday, 26 February 2016

Independence Is Not Loneliness


So I watched this video on Facebook and thought - how cool is that, I agree with everything they have said in it. I'm going to share it. Then, later on in the same day I heard this:

"I don't like school. I have to get a boyfriend by the time I'm twenty so he can look after me."

At this point I piped up and said "don't you want to be able to look after yourself by the time you are twenty?"

She shook her head and said "No. I want to have a boyfriend that will look after me by the time I'm twenty. That's what everyone in school wants too."

The reply she got from her guardian was this: "No. You have to go to school, study and work hard, and then look after me." In his defence (he was her grandfather or some relation) he was kidding about the 'look after me' part of the reply.

But after that, all I wanted to do was ask why he didn't tell her to want to be able to support herself. That independence and stability is actually a really good thing to have in life. That this doesn't mean she couldn't have a boyfriend, but does mean that she shouldn't want to rely on her boyfriend. Why did you not tell her that independence is not lonelinessWhy not?

Source
Why did you not tell her to work hard and achieve her dreams. That at the age of twenty she could be inventing things, at university, or doing an apprenticeship, starting and running her own business, working, doing something she really really loved, - basically she could do ANYTHING. That she is capable of amazing things! Why did you not tell her that independence is not lonelinessWhy did you not say this? It made me want to cry.

But here's the thing. I am certain, in fact I know, that the first thing that goes through some of my family members heads when they see me is that I'm "not married...still".

I've been told that I have studied too much, that I often work too much. I've even been told I don't work enough. I've been told that I'm wasting my skills by not getting a job related to my undergrad studies. I've been told to do what I want now because after marriage I may not get the same chances - what with responsibilities and all....but then I've been told I can do whatever I want after I get married.

Let me tell you something, none of the above paragraph makes sense. It's all an oxymoron. Each piece of advice contradicts the other. I wish someone had told me at such a young age that independence is not loneliness. That individuality is great.
Source

Ok, so I am in no way against marriage and relationships. I'm actually the opposite. I want to get married. I want to share my life with someone, share my happiness, make memories, travel, buy a house together, have kids. But in the beginning, middle and end, it will be 'ours'. It will be 'our' marriage, 'our' memories, 'our' children, 'our' house. Not I, 'us'. I want to be able to offer independence and stability and and add to the marriage. I want to help be supportive of my partner and I want the other person to help and be supportive to me too. Even if this means not working for a while, or working more than I normally would. Marriage, being in a relationship, is a partnership. There are two people, not one.

And I'm fully aware that sometimes circumstances make it that we may need to rely on others. What I don't believe is that we should encourage our youth to want to rely on someone else. Independence is not loneliness.

I mean come on, you wouldn't want to have to be dependent on someone, so why don't we teach others this?

Oh, and this goes out to everyone. We should encourage everyone.

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Tuesday, 23 February 2016

The Vanilla Book Group

Morning all!

My stomach keeps rumbling. It rumbles like clockwork at exactly the same times everyday - I'm going to eat more and see if it makes a difference. Plus, I do like to eat! Good food and a good book are two of my favourite things! What are yours?

Anyway, back to the actual reason for this post :)

Back in December 2015 my close friend Mark decided that we were to start a book group like Michael Zuckerberg did on Facebook, and so we did. I was lucky in that he did all the hard work and was lovely enough to include me!

The aim of our book group is really simple: read! Oh, and flexibility. See here's the thing. Mark and I are both very busy and we understand that others are too. Often we found that in a book club, there was a lot of commitment required and we can't always commit! So we decided that one book a month for people who can participate in that month was ideal. This meant that people have the option to say: "Hey guys, I won't be taking part this month. See you next month!" We like having this option.

We also want to have a different host each month - the host would pick the book for that month and have control of the chat. This is an idea that we are currently testing and so far so good!

One other thing that is important to us at The Vanilla Book Group is variety. We want - and I'm sure many other groups do this too - to read a diverse range of books. And boy let me tell you something, we've been running for two months and we definitely have been diverse in our book choices so far. First months read was 'Wonder' by R J Palacio and this month we are reading 'The Gap of Time' by Jeannette Winterson.

Wonder is a children's book and a beautiful little boy called August who is born with facial abnormality. We see life though his eyes as he begins school for the first time. Later on in the book we see things through other characters eyes and this was really insightful. And I quite enjoyed reading as August gained more confidence in himself and flourished despite all the troubles he faced!

'A Gap in Time' on the other hand is quite a dark and gritty retelling of Shakespeare's 'A Winters Tale'. I haven't finished this book yet so can't comment on the whole thing but from what I've read, I will definitely be finishing it!!

Oh, and one last thing I should mention - initially we needed a name for our book group and so called ourselves The Vanilla Book Group with the intention that we would change it in the future. But I like our name and so I think we will keep it for now. We are on Facebook and can be found here.

So, what do you reckon - fancy joining? Are you in a book group already? How's it going?

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Monday, 8 February 2016

The Originals

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So I just finished watching The Originals on Netflix and for a minute after it finished, I felt lost! I sat there thinking 'oh dear, what shall I watch now that it's finished?!' I often get this feeling after I've watched - more often when I read - something I'm drawn into/quite enjoyed. Even though I'm not sure how much I enjoyed watching The Originals. I definitely got this feeling after watching The Office (US) and Community - check them out people, I laughed so much whilst watching these series!! Oh, and also Once Upon a Time - eeeeeeeeeee I loved the retelling of the fairytales!!!

I have to say, I did prefer the second series of The Originals in comparison to the first but that may be because I watched the second one more recently and therefore my memory of the story line is much clearer.

What I liked:
  • Ok, so I don't really watch scary films and because I jump quite easily but I do like gore - and this had a little - not loads because I've seen more - bit of gore. I especially enjoyed the parts with popping out veins - there were quite a few of these as this happed when vampires were staked. And they were always trying to stake someone or another.
  • The lack of intimate scenes - hooray! There are times in series where I've sat there thinking 'again with the kissing and stuff?!' but I never felt this way in The Originals - this series wasn't a typical 'sex and vampires' one...well if it was I must have missed it!  
  • The story line was interesting as it was based around family and blood ties. It all linked back to the Originals - well obviously it would because then what would be the point right? But I especially enjoyed when the older sister came into the equation (I won't give too much away!)
  • The cast - need I say more?
  • The love triangles - I'm not normally one for love triangles but it was interesting to see how they played out in The Originals. The lesson this taught me was that for The Originals, it's family first
  • Witches, werewolves and vampires: I quite like supernatural stuff, as you can probably tell from this post! 
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  • Backstories: I liked how they are included in the episodes and how everything linked together. 
What I didn't like so much:
  • I remember during the first series and for the first few episodes of the second, it took quite a while for me to get into the episodes. Often I'd leave quite a big gap in between episodes. This changed as the second series continued. 
  • There were times where I couldn't help but think 'come on already' - but I feel this was about many things. I have commitment issues!
  • Linking to the point above, things could have moved much faster and been over a lot quicker in some of the episodes!
This series is available on Netflix!

Have you watched The Originals? Apparently it's a spin off series from the Vampire Diaries but I've not watched this series! What are your thoughts? What have you been watching?

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