Wednesday, August 28, 2013
I love planning simple celebrations for birthdays and other occasions, you probably know that already if you follow this blog;). Bilal’s birthday was last week and even though we had a hard time finding a gift for him that he liked (Honestly, why is it so hard to get anything for men??), we had great fun planning a celebration at home. Balloons, a celebratory breakfast, cupcakes from the grocery store, birthday card with a special ‘balloons’ drawing by Anya, a small gift, some decorations around the house, made our version of a homemade celebration. Oh also, I wrote a birthday message for Bilal on the bathroom mirror, because I just like to do silly things like that. Anya walked in later that day as I was putting on makeup and went, ‘KIS NE LIKHA YEH MIRROR PEH’ WHO WROTE ON THE MIRROR, ‘MAMA, paper peh likhte hain, mirror peh nahi likhte!’, MAMA, you write on paper not on the mirror. And I didn’t know what to say so I just nodded! :\ lol.
Anyways, take a peek.
I believe we only get a limited number of these occasions to celebrate alongside our loved ones and we should try not to miss the chance to make our spouse, our parents, our siblings, our kids feel special :)
Thanks for reading and stopping by!
Monday, August 26, 2013
Hello you guys. It is the beginning of another brand new week and I’m so excited for this post today. It has been a while since I did one of these motherhood style posts and this one here should make up a bit for the absence.
This beautiful mama here is one of my oldest and closest friends. We have so many happy memories from our school/college/university days together, ones that we will cherish all our lives. Those really were the good old days! Even though we don’t talk as much as we should and even though we haven’t met properly in a long long time, whenever we do, it is still the same. That connection remains wherever life takes us and I hope it always stays like this. As beautiful as she is outside mA, she is an even more beautiful person inside.
She was recently travelling with her husband and darling little man and I asked her if she would let me share some of their looks and also tell us a bit about her trip.
Location: Hyde Park London
Palwasha wears Top from NEXT, Coat from Dorothy Perkins, Pants from MANGO, Shoes from Newlook, Sunglasses from GUCCI. Handbag from Yellow
Shahram wears Jacket from NEXT, Baby GAP, Shoes from Sketchers
Palwasha wears Lace top from Zara, Pants designed by herself and custom made by her tailor in Pakistan, Sunglasses from Gucci
Shahram wears T-shirt from Marks & Spencer’s, Pants from NEXT
Location: Trafalgar Square
Palwasha wears Top and Jacket from MANGO, Shoes from Nike, Sunglasses by Rayban , Bag by Prada
Shahram wears Hoodie from NEXT , Pants NEXT, Shoes from Sketchers
Location: Windsor Castle and LegoLand
Palwasha wears Top and Pants from Mango, Sunglasses from Rayban
Shahram wears Sweater from Marks and Spencer’s Pants from GAP
Tell us about your recent vacation to the UK, what places did you visit and how long was your trip?
This was our fifth trip to the UK and the second one with our son Shahram. It was amazing. We stayed for a month in central London and then moved on. We went to Windsor, York, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Cambridge, Staines, Oxford, Poole, Dorset and more. There are loads of opportunities for exploring historic sites, family attractions, castles within an easy train or car journey from most UK cities.
Challenges of vacationing with little kids.
I think the main challenge starts with the long flights and connecting flights and dealing with toddler tantrums on the planes etc. Problems I faced were his sleep cycle being all over the place,his non-stop need to be running around. He also got sick and wouldn’t eat during that time but we were prepared. We knew that if we let ourselves stress out too much over it, it would ruin our vacation.
Best part of vacationing with little kids.
Well I simply love travelling.I believe today's families are very busy—too busy to take a vacation some might believe, and many families feel as though they simply can't take a break. However, routines and rituals, like vacations, are important to the health and well-being of families and their bonding. It's healthy to take a break from the daily demands of juggling work and home.
How do you keep your style as a mom of an active toddler.
When I was pregnant I spent a lot on stylish maternity clothes. Then the baby arrived. It didn't take long for me to adopt a uniform of sweatpants and sneakers. My pre-baby clothes didn't fit. My maternity clothes didn't fit. I didn't have any time anymore. And I knew I was not alone in this. When you become a mother, you're exhausted. It’s so easy to put yourself last. For me, when the realization hit me, I took out at least 2 hours for myself and worked out at a gym for 3 months and pretty much got back to shape. Then I gave away all my maternity stuff, shopped at some trendy boutiques, went through magazines and even opened my closet and tried on what I previously owned and was so excited that it fit! I also believe shape-wear can smooth you out and make you appear 10 pounds thinner, so I preferred black tights with tops. I also made an effort to take time for myself and go to a salon if not regular at least sometimes. We love our babies but we love ourselves too,That love is the key, isn't it? love between mother and child is the most beautiful, fulfilling emotion in the world – the feeling that finally makes sense of our existence. So ladies don’t forget, if you can be a mother you can do ANYTHING. Don’t be lazy wear makeup, blow-dry your hair feel good about yourself and don’t forget you’re not just a mom you’re a beautiful woman.
Tips on dressing up a little guy.
Toddlers, specially boys, are very energetic so it is every mom’s dilemma, trying to have them looking as neat and tidy as possible. Dressing a toddler boy is always fun! Luckily my husband also loves to shop for Shahram. We love dressing him in colorful, bright colors. While travelling we made sure he had jackets, as I love how trendy they can look while giving you an extra layer for chilly Europe evenings.
Tips for other moms that are planning a vacation with little kids.
It can get stressful traveling with little ones, so it's important that we learn to laugh at situations — especially if there are delays and changes in our original traveling plans. Pack their favorite snacks and extra clothing for them and yourself too. Make sure you pack their medication they take just incase. Arrive early. I am the queen of cutting it close for flights, but once I had Shahram, I realized that rushing through the airport with crying kids wasn’t going to work. Now I would much rather have an hour before hand to give us time to calmly walk to our gate. Also, if you’re traveling with husband, give each other breaks.
Thank you so much Palwasha and Shahram for letting us feature you. Hugs
Go here for more in this series, and email me at nataliyanajibAThotmailDOTcom if you’d like to be featured too.
Hope you enjoyed meeting this adorable duo. Thanks for reading and for stopping by.
Friday, August 23, 2013
Sorry for the long delay with this series, I really need to do these more often as its hard to filter through my pins, specially when I pin almost every day (Yes its an addiction:p). Anyways, sharing things I have been inspired by lately. Happy Friday and Enjoy.
- This quote above.This is one of my biggest challenges as a mom right now, to live in the moment and this is a good reminder.
- Following this series on MPMK on Habits of Happy Families.
I love where he says ‘The central idea of love is not even a relationship commitment, the first thing is a personal commitment to be the best version of yourself with or without that person that you’re with. You have to every single day, mind, body, and spirit, wake up with a commitment to be better. Don’t make that same mistake tomorrow that you made today.’
Home and Décor
- This beautiful studio house tour Love the family pictures over the stairway.
- This bright home. In love with the little displays everywhere.
- Love this piece on Kate Middleton’s choice of dress when they showed the world their little man.
- So happy to know that a documentary is being made on this legend of a man, Abdus Sattar Edhi.
- This beautiful project that just launched. It is amazing, the amount of women, specially from countries like Pakistan face emotional/verbal/physical abuse from their spouse and never talk about it. I hope this will change that.
- Love this piece by Ethan Casey on why Americans should visit Pakistan.
Faith and Religion
- This church that opened it doors to Muslims for Friday prayer.
- With addition of more and more Muslim football players, how the English football culture is changing.
Have a fabulous weekend. Be back on Monday with a mom and toddler style post that I’m absolutely excited about sharing.
Thanks for reading.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Hello lovelies, Cant believe its been almost two weeks since Eid1 already. Time just flies I tell you. I think I am finally getting used to Eids away from home and embracing the little things that make it special here. I remember in the first few years, Bilal wouldn’t take a day off, I didn’t know many people, and was still in the afterglow of those Pakistani Eids, it just felt so sad, not being able to celebrate it like we used to back home. But thank God it feels different now:)
Anyways, here is a peek at our celebration from this year.
Laying out gifts for the little one and putting up some simple decorations the night before so the house feels festive.
I got this idea from our local mosque and loved it, little gift packages for our neighbors and friends (Non-Muslim ones). I bought books for the kids, chocolates for the families and a little card that told them what we were celebrating and thanking them for the joy they bring to our lives. I will definitely be doing this every year from now on iA.
Early Eid morning, after we changed our clothes, Anya opened her gifts and skyped a little with her loved ones. For a change this year, we planned to have a proper breakfast together as a family before we left for Eid namaz2. Bilal and I had prepared it together the night before and we all enjoyed it.
We are lucky to have this beautiful mosque in our area. It is amazing, the feeling of community you feel at the Eid namaz2, with people of different races, colors, languages, dressed in a variety of traditional outfits coming together. I just love going for the Eid namaz.That is probably my favorite part about spending Eid here as back in Pakistan, the women usually stayed at home and skipped the Eid prayer.
The evening was spent at a potluck gathering at one of our friends’ house. A friend started this lovely tradition and now it has spread, resulting in a whole table full of gifts for the kids as their Eidi3. This year, one sweet friend even brought gifts for all of us ladies:)
The rest of the evening was spent enjoying the yummy food, the kids opening their gifts, taking group pictures outside including the hysterics of trying to pose a group of toddlers and little kids, the guys playing cricket outside, drinking lots of chai accompanied with delectable meethas4, mehndi5 and just enjoying the company.
And it felt completely how Eid should feel like. Celebratory, festive and just plain happy. It felt good, being able to give our kids that feeling of Eid that we all remember from our childhoods. We are specially lucky to have friends that are like family to us while living away from our families. It is truly a blessing.
Thanks for reading.
2. Eid Namaz/Eid Prayers/Salat al Eid is a special prayer offered to commemorate the celebration of the two Eids. Go here for an article in one of our local papers about the Eid prayer this year at our local mosque.
3 Eidi is a gift given from one person to another, usually children, on the day of Eid. Similar to a Christmas present, these can be simple gifts, sweets, flowers or cash. Back in Pakistan, this usually used to be money and it was common for all us kids to be asking each other how much Eidi they collected.
4. Meetha is an Urdu word for sweets. The Eid-ul-Fitr is also refered to as Meethi eid because of the tradition of serving different types of delectable sweets at the celebrations.
5. Mehndi, also known as henna in the western world is the application of a temporary form of skin decoration on the hands mostly. The people in India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Maldives as well as immigrant communities from those countries also use mehndi on special occasions like weddings or religious celebrations like Eid etc. It has also spread to Arab communities now. In the west it is commonly called henna tattoos.
Monday, August 19, 2013
Anya wears: Tshirt from Old Navy, Shorts from Carters, Boots from her Nadiya khala.
If you haven’t guessed already, I love shopping at Old Navy for her. I love their simple styles and of course their affordable prices. It is especially great for basics that you can mix and match with other finds.
Thanks for reading and stopping by.
Be back on Wednesday with a post on our Eid celebrations:)
Friday, August 16, 2013
A good friend of mine was visiting Seattle recently and it was amazing in the way that meeting old friends always is. However this time it was slightly different. She lost her brother in a tragic accident early this year and except for a couple times that I met her in the days following that, we were meeting properly for the first time. She and I talked about life, its fragility and unpredictability, about my father and her brother, and the things that have strengthened us. Life is strange like that, the bonds we automatically feel with those that have lost a loved one just like us. Because we all feel the pain of each other. We have been there. In a strange way, our tragedies become the ties that bind us together.
When I returned to Seattle last year after my dad passed away, I will never forget how this one friend, who I barely knew then, said she wanted to come over. She had lost her dad 7 years ago, and as she sat with me and told me her story, I felt consoled. I felt hope through the tears that kept pouring down my face, because she had been through a similar battle and here she was sitting in front of me, having the courage to tell her story where I could barely tell mine to my own head. And that she had survived through it. I remember asking her questions about her journey, about her family, and her strength gave me strength.
I had another friend who had lost her dad many years ago and some of the things she had said while telling me about that time kept going through my head in the days my father passed away. Suddenly the things she had said, which I had even found strange earlier as I couldn’t relate to them, started making sense. As my family went through tragedy, I felt the exact same things that she had described to me that first time we had met a couple years before that. It was this same friend some months later who came to my house for an Eid party at our place, and saw the picture of my dad and Anya on my fridge, and just couldn't stop her tears. In the middle of a happy house full of people celebrating Eid, we were hugging each other with tears streaming down our faces. I will never forget that moment. We both knew in our hearts, that even through joy, even through celebrations, at the back of our thoughts were our dads who were not in this world to share these joys with us anymore.
And there are so many more of such little stories. Of all those that reached out just to say that they knew how it feels. Of those that lost loved ones after I lost Papa, and I felt their loss like my own. Because every time you hear the news of someone losing a loved one, you start remembering your own time, your own feelings, your own helplessness.
To lose someone is to lose a piece of yourself forever, and only someone who has been that, who has felt that vulnerable and helpless can understand it that way. And sometimes you need someone in your life that can understand your pain that way, even if you don’t talk about death or pain or your loved one. The bonds we form with these people feel so strong, I can't explain it. With people I have never talked to or met, that send me and my sister all those messages about their loved ones that they lost. I feel it, I feel their pain like mine.
As humans, these become are most intimate of connections, like invisible bonds that connect us, our losses and our challenges and our difficulties, hold the power to bring us closer. I feel myself so lucky that in some of the worst days of my life, I had people in my life that gave me hope. I saw their strength, I saw their courage, I saw the lives they had made for themselves and it renewed hope that I and my family will be fine. I am so thankful to God for them and so thankful to them for reaching out. I remember each and everyone of them and I will never forget.
Just wanted to write about this. Thanks for reading.
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
O Pakistan, wherever life way take me, you will always be where my story began. You will always be the land where I was born, where I spent a beautiful childhood. You will always be the land that gave me an identity. You will always be where most of our families and many of our friends live. I will always relate to your people, your places, your sights, your sounds and your smells.
For the rest of my life, I promise you this, through my words, and through my pictures, I will pass on all that is good about you. I will tell the stories that need to be told. And for all the things that I wish were better, I will not be quiet, I will raise my voice, in hope that someday things will change and get better. I will pray for you everyday, for your people, for your security and stability.
For whether I am living in you not, you live in me.
Happy Birthday Pakistan. May there be many many better days ahead.
Thanks for reading and for stopping by.
Pictures taken in Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Bahawalpur on my trip to Pakistan in 2009.
Independence Day observed annually on August 14, is a national holiday in Pakistan, commemorating the day when Pakistan achieved independence and was declared a sovereign nation, following the end of the British Raj in 1947.