…Get Ramadhan Ready with me…..

With Ramadan knocking on our door- it’s time to get ready, mentally and spiritually. I’m not going to make this blog about the importance of prayer and how much we should pray and what we should pray. There are loads of those around…. And we already know this anyway.

So what does Ramadan mean to me- not as a Muslim person, but just as a person. Well I can’t really take the Muslim out of me, so that defeats that part- but as a somewhat ‘sometime practising- part – time Muslim with good intentions. Always’ (Does that Evan make sense?)

Well this year is a unique one for sure. Mosques are closed, we are not allowed to see family or friends. Going out is limited, shopping is taking the life out of us, with everything being out of stock….. It’s like everything that we love about Ramadan is taken away from us…

Yet … It is coming, and like a long lost ‘Best Friend’ coming to visit- we are filled with hope, love, excitement, anxiety and a rollercoaster of overbearing emotions.

So how do I prepare for this?

 

1. Start prepping Food Early

I’m sure you guys know I’m a food Junkie- I really can’t do anything healthy- well lucky for me- my family are exactly the same. And that means Ramadan is all about fried food! (For all those condescending people who love lectures about how unhealthy this is- we have fruit on the side- and mains is grilled 😜)

So I like to prepare the samosas, pastries, cheese balls, spring rolls… Etc. all early and keep it ready in the freezer. Then it’s just about the frying on the day. That gives me more time to myself to pray, to sleep, to relax and generally not get overstressed.

 

2. Routine

Ramadan is the time of month when all routine goes down the drain. Everything changes. You spend more time praying, you spend more time at home. Less time socialising, Dinner time is valued and important. We actually turn into one of those picture perfect families you never see but hear of.

But routine once again is important otherwise you can be thrown off. Ramadan days can be unpredictable, one day you will feel on a high- the next you may be low and tired, and that is why you need a routine- so that you can use the good days productively, and not fall behind. Try and set a timetable of when it’s nap time, when it’s praying time, which days to go shopping, and how long you need in preparing food. Routine will allow you to be one step ahead and it’ll keep your Mind clog free as well.

 

3. Ramadan Timetable

Ok I did say I will keep the praying part out of it, and I promise I’ll keep it short and sweet. Ramadan is probably the one month in the whole year where we pray more, and we feel spiritually elevated. So having a timetable of what we would like to achieve prayer wise is so important.

I like to have a timetable of what id like to achieve and then set up something daily for me to able to achieve it, For example finishing a whole Quran is a must, but i also like to fit in other surahs and some hadith books aswell.

 

There are load of Ramadhan planners available to phurcase to get you mentally prepared for Ramadhan, These can be found and bought online, or click here, or here’s a free pdf . Might come in handy to print off and use.

Download PDF

 

4. Get the kids involved

Ramadan has turned into such a festive seasonal occasion- with places like Tesco and Asda now selling Ramadan advent calendars. And they are so cool! Why didn’t we have all this when we were young? It’s just perfect for Getting the kids Ramadan ready.

My boys are 16 and 13. So they pretty much missed all of this too, not to say I didn’t make it special and festive for them, just that there’s a lot more available to do now.

My 16 year old helped me with the savouries this year- to a point where we tried new and different things, he’s so excited to break his fast and eat the savouries he made. (he’s a growing lad- his first love is food!)

And the 13 year old- well he is 13 going on 8- so we did a set up for him at home. Here a video of what I did, and the pictures are scattered through this blog.

 

5. Detox and Self -Care

Ramadan comes, and our TV’s go off- I switch off to the wider world. No longer are the Kardashians important to my life, series on Netflix are put on hold, and nobody cares who’s wearing what to who’s party. Anything that does not involve fasting, praying and generally trying to be the kindest soul in the Earth does not fit into my life. With the switching off of all media I find that I no longer have expectations to maintain or hold up- so my makeup and fashion are put on hold too. Don’t get me wrong I still dress up and wear makeup- but it’s no longer a must or a requirement. So I like to spend this time detoxing my skin and hair in general, whilst detoxing the need for Social Media and Social expectations. Rather focusing on how to be a better Muslim and a better moral person.

 

5. Exercise

Exercise is Hard in Ramadan especially because you have no energy because of the fasting. However it should not be disregarded. Exercising can actually make you feel better sometimes. I don’t do any rigorous exercise but I do like to go out for walks. I don’t really know how or why- but i feel like for the past couple years we have been really tested with the weather- We have the most beautiful weather whilst we are fasting and then after Eid – we back to the Old British weather. But on the positive note- this is really good- because we can go out for walks. I Like to leave it to just walks because being anaemic I don’t want to get ill, but if your body can handle more- don’t give it up…….and also Post Ramadan bodies are by far the best and worth it!

 

6. Gift of Giving

We all know Ramadan is the month of giving. Islamically we all have a duty to give 2.5% of our wealth to the poor- and most folks do it in Ramadan. But yet in Ramadan it doesn’t just stop there. I find that everyone’s heart opens up a bit more. People give more than he 2.5%, and also we all fight to feed each other because:

The Prophet (saw) said, ‘Whoever feeds a person breaking his fast will earn the same reward as him, without anything being lessened from the reward of the fasting person’.

Tirimidhi

And so the gift of giving in this month is immense, and as a family we try to make the most of it, and reap as much rewards as are being thrown to us. I tell myself to at least once a week to be able to either make or buy something to give to my nearest and dearest for them to break their fast with. At this moment in time with the isolation it will be harder, but I will make sure that we manage with a way that doesn’t harm anyone.

 

7. It can be Fun and Games

Who said Ramadan is only for praying? Spending time with family is just as important. There is only so much you can pray in a day before your mind starts wondering. We are mere mortals after all. So Ramadan for us as well as remembering our Lord is also about playing games, we take out the simple ones, like Ludo, Carom Board, Jenga, and maybe just even colouring books. And there also so many Islamic board games available. Such a good investment in this month- especially because of the pandemic and the kids being at home for the whole month. To do this together as a family is also an act of charity

” A man Spending on his family is a deed of charity”

Sahih Al Bukhari

 

8. Get ready for Eid

With all the turbulence that has hit our lives – all of us are questioning what will be happening for Eid- could it be that this year we will not see each other? Will we be spending Eid just within our whole household? It’s quite a daunting feeling….. Only time will tell.

For Eid we spend time together as a whole family- when I say whole family I mean it ends up being just under 70 of us- under one house, and we all eat out in the evening as one big family (usually taking up the whole joint) And boy is it hectic, is it madness and is it fun! I Love Eid. We look forward to this day all year round. The kids also look forward to Eid, its gifting eating and money time. This year will be harder as I really don’t know where we stand, so I’ll be looking at gifts a lot earlier. See what available- what can be delivered, what needs picking up and keep it packed and ready. We may not be getting together, but the kids should not be disappointed. Eid is for them.

Exchange presents with one another. Presents remove ill-will from the hearts.”

 

Tirmiz

And that’s me ready now, ready to fast for our first Day.

How do you prepare for Ramadhan?

Stay indoors, stay safe.

Love and Regards

M11bna

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Nutella Star Pastry

This pandemic has brought out the chefs in all of us…. I hate cooking, but all I want to do is…. Cook…. Because what else can I do? …… And by the way… I’m not too bad!! Really…. I’m not just saying it, the 3 men in my life are living proof…. I mean they are ‘living’- so there’s the proof!

The Nutella Star pastry ain’t exactly a great scientific experiment, but it looks like one, and I can assure you it tastes like one too, it’s heaven for sweet tooth’s like myself (although I really should be taking it easy, especially because all the dentist appointments are canceled at the moment.)

It’s also really quick and easy to make, and the kids will be over the moon, literally it’s chocolate overdose….make it with them, eat with them, stick them In the garden untill the hyperactivity wears off. The weather is on our side people! And just how glorious is the sun at the moment?

So here’s how it’s done:

You will need:

  • A Puff Pastry Block ( I have been advised the one I use has alcohol in it. Do check it before you buy it!)
  • Nutella
  • Greaseproof paper

Is that all? I hear you say…. Yes that’s all folks! That’s all you need to make this tasty treat, and here’s how it’s done:

Cut your pastry block into 4 equal divides

Roll out each divide and cut a circle round each one

Until you will have 4 round pastry circle thingimigigs!

Put the first one on baking sheet on oven tray, and add a full heaped tablespoon of Nutella and spread it round

Put the second round pastry on top and do the same untill all the layers are on…

Once all the layers are on, roll out the pastry whilst still on the tray- try not to let the chocolate out though, it’s just to get it ABIT bigger….

Get a small round cutter and do a indent in the middle on your pastry

Then cut into your pastry up to the indent at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock

Do the same again in between these dents

And one last time in-between the next dents. Remember not to go into the circle

Take the end of each pastry cut out and twist it twice and put it down. You will get the above once all done ( the Boi apparently took a boomerang- of this, yet he didn’t save it 🙄)

And put it in the oven at 170degrees for 15-20 minutes

And here’s the final look. Tada!! Ain’t it beaut? Not just to look at but to eat aswell.

And now I’ll be kicking the kids into the garden and locking them outside whilst I put ear plugs on…. It’s got to be done. We all need ABIT of peace. And I did give them a treat too!

Ah the joys. They are a wonderful bunch when they are far away.

Let me know how you guys get on

Stay indoors, stay safe

Love and Regards

M11bna

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The Ultimate Working From Home Guide to keep you Going….

When I got told that I’ll be working from home (WFH) I thought it’d be a doddle, I was excited, I don’t need to wake up early, who cares if I’ve had a shower or not? Pyjama party….. all day…. Every day……

Day one came, and went, still in my PJs, but no productive work done. This should have been easy, but I just couldn’t sit down, I wasn’t comfortable, I couldn’t concentrate, and so many distractions in the house…. I will put it down to first day syndrome.

Second day was very similar, although I got ABIT more done than yesterday, but still, it’s just so hard to be motivated in the house. I didn’t think it would be this hard…I keep making tea, then more tea, then snacks, and 3 hours later I still haven’t done anything

Day Three I needed to make a change, if I carried on like this I wouldn’t have a job at all…. I think I have figured out the real issue here. It’s the work/home balance. With all the distractions of home around me, I just cant get my head focused on work…… because work should be in the office, and home is where the errands are, (and the food!)

And so here is my working from home ultimate guide to keep yourself (or myself) motivated:

Choose an Office Space….

We cant really have a office in the house, thats why its a house, and not work! But you need to find a space in the house where you are away from all the distractions of home life, and then make it a permanent spot.

This probably is the hardest thing to do. The bedroom didn’t work…… the lounge didn’t work…….. The kitchen- the cookies I made were delicious, but the work didn’t get done…. I spent one day outside because the weather was beautiful, and ended up with back ache and throbbing headache, so that was out of the question.

This is something that has to be picked right, and it may take a couple of days to get there. I ended up in the dining room, probably because in all honesty its the easiest, the table is already there, the chair ready to sit on, and I have the space on the table around me to put all my bits and bobs, so im not constantly looking for stuff.

Wake Up, Dress Up, Show Up…

The first three days went a little like this:, I woke up later then the alarm time, had a long(er) shower than normal, had my tea whilst gazing outside, (because I no longer have to commute to work) and then I got back into my pyjamas- because well why not?…… But honestly I think pyjamas were mentally letting me down. I was too comfortable, too slouchy, too easy going, and this was draining my mind and body

So now I get up at the same time (oh I lie, I get up by I stay in bed for a bit longer). I touched my face up a bit (just a bit though, have you guys noticed the changes in the skin texture whilst staying in?). And I make sure I dress up.

I found this to be so important, when you have told yourself mentally to get ready for work, you ARE ready to work. Evan after I have logged off from work, I feel better and fresher. Its just a feel good factor, especially in these turbulent times.

I have a friend who actually spends the time it normally takes her to get to her workplace doing some exercise on youtube in her lounge, to get her in the mode. Im not ready for that but I thought that was a wonderful idea.

Fresh Air…

Right going back to the changes in skin, im not the only person right? my skin is changing day after day, and im having to change products so much because everything and nothing works at the same time. I really dont know where to start….. but it may be due to the lack of fresh air, vitamin D inconsistency, the stress of the position we are in, and generally being stuck inside all day long.

And for that reason my workspace is right next to the door, its ideal because I can get the fresh air in, if I need a breather I can pop out, and also the rays of sunlight feel so wonderful on the skin and perk up my mood. So try and choose a location which brightens up your working space and allows you the breathing space.

Food, Food and More Food

Anyone else feel the weight piling on? its Boredom. Boredom makes you want to eat, and so we are all coming out of this quarantine with beer bellies and as long as we all do it, its ok…. we can make it fashun! (ok Ok maybe not. Im joking, just saying. Chill out!)

In the office because we are so consumed with work, we just get up for coffee breaks and back to it, but at home, the food possibilities are endless…. I got up more than I sat and focused…. because I wanted to eat…..and eat, and eat some more, and after I ate I needed a nap. And then my whole day was ruined.

I had to put a stop to that, and that included, bringing all the snacks to my workspace with me and closing the dining room door. Initially I Evan got that part wrong, because 6 packs of crisps, chocolates and fizzy drinks are not considered brain food!

So I swopped the fizzy drinks for fruit infused water. (Twinnings are the best)

Crisps for Mug shots (2% fat, that will do perfectly)

And chocolates for fruits!! And to get the extra ‘At work’ feel I added a few personal portraits and plants… ( Also it makes a great picture. Aesthetic’s and that. Just saying )

And the only extra thing I kept on the side- is the hand gel. You can never have too much hand gel at this moment in life. Right? Better to be cautious.

The Kiddos

I guess I got lucky here, I have a 16 year old and a 13 year old, the days of running after the kiddos and aeroplanning a spoonful of egg custard and rice are long gone. But for some of you this will be the biggest challenge. Try ( I do say try whilst rolling my eyes because I can’t evan imagine it) and create a balance and a routine, maybe leave phonecalls when the child is asleep, or watching a Disney movie, and focus on the menial and the easy to do jobs whilst the child is in need of your attention. In all honesty I believe parents with younger kids are more efficient because they know how to multitask and are better at time management, and always solve the last minute hiccups without faltering. (You guys rock!)

I have a routine set up for my 13 year old. He has a spot just opposite my desk. Before I start work I set up some work for him to do and keep all the equipment he needs ready, aswell as some snacks for him too (I’m not sharing) . As soon as he is up and ready he will sit opposite me and get what he has been assigned done. Obviously he will ask me questions and we have a chit chat too. He’s a nice guy.

So guys switch off that TV, get off the bed, put on that top you have been wanting to wear, and get some work done x

Hope that you all are looking after yourselves.

Stay safe

M11bna

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“Sticks and Stones may Break my Bones….But Words will Never Hurt Me”

I was 11 or 12 in high school and I remember the vice-head saying this aloud in assembly.

Sticks and stones may break my bones….but words will never hurt me.”

This message stuck in my head because, a couple of days earlier I had received a scrunched up note from someone in my class, with quite nasty remarks, and it was something that stuck in my head. (Up until today!!)

Being of such a naive and young age, it was exactly what I needed at that time, and I was impressed. Yes. That’s right. I was impressed. I wasn’t bullied physically in school. No. But at phases in high school I have had nasty words been said to me. And this quote actually grew on me…. I mean anything is better then physical pain and bruises?! Right?….Right?

But how true is this really?

Emotional pain is usually disregarded because it cannot be seen. If a person is suffering from a ‘broken heart’ for example, we advise a person to get over it, over a couple of days, we may even get fed up of the person dealing with it. Yet with a ‘broken leg’ we are likely to sympathise until the cast is off, and the person is walking again.

So the same can be said of Verbal abuse. We have a tendency to tell people to forget it, and ignore it without thinking of the consequence, the actual emotional and mental frustration the person could potentially be going through. I myself have been told on numerous occasion not to say anything back, because its not good to ‘stoop’ to the levels of others. But as I grow older i’m realising that it is not good to push this aside, especially when it comes to children.

With the younger generation being more cognitively, and emotionally sophisticated than was understood before. Warning signs have to be looked into earlier. Studies have shown that children who have been bullied in school are more likely to struggle later on in life, whether that be in relationships, in the workplace, or mentally within themselves.

The concept of Bullying has been around for years, its nothing new, and in all honesty unfortunately it will be around forever. However bullying for the younger generation is a completely different culture to that of my age. With the uprising of social media emotional bullying is more evident. It’s called ‘Cyber Bullying’. And the worst part of cyber bullying is… That it’s permanent and it has a wide reach. There is a scar that can be found on the internet, and usually accessed by loads of people.

With Social media it is so much more easier to spread a rumour, to share a embarrassing or humiliating picture or video, to ‘tag’, ‘share’ or even comment on a common page- for the WORLD to see. And the worse part is, it can all be done Anonymously. And a child or adult cannot get away from it, they cannot run away home or a safe place. The internet is something we have access to everywhere and is always with us.

Bullying can make a person feel lonely and worthless, they may develop symptoms of anxiety, depression, lack of appetite, or even go into substance abuse all of which has impact on the health of the individual.

So Sticks and Stones can break Bones, but Words can actually be detrimental to mental health. And both forms of bullying should be looked into.

Signs a person is being bullied include :

Random bruises, withdrawal symptoms (wanting to be alone or not talking much), loss of appetite, changes in behaviour (getting more angry at home for no reason), constant stomach aches or headaches. Loss of confidence, missing personal belongings, Mood swings.

A person who goes through bullying tends to shy away to talk to loved ones on most occasions. If you do notice signs that you may think a loved one is experiencing bullying here’s a few helplines that may be useful for yourself and the loved one:

Youngminds Crisis Messenger:

Text YM to 85258

A 24 hour text service for individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis. Text are free from most service providers.

Childline: http://www.childline.org.uk or 24 hour helpline 0800 1111

If you are 19 or under, then either call in or email the above helpline. Online chatting is also available on the website.

The Mix: http://www.themix.org.uk or 0808 808 4994

For 25 and under, once again can either call or email, or go online for online chat service with specialised staff

Always look out for signs in friends, family or children, if they become reserved, obtrusive, angry, irritable. Sometimes it’s a sign of mental health issues.

And more importantly #saynotobullying.

Love and regards

M11bna

Im going India- Mumbai

The most busiest Place I have ever been to is London. Always London, have you guys been on the underground? with my height 5’3, I’m always just under someones underarms, or worse. Seriously London is crazy, its manic, its busy, its fast paced, its chaos, its everything I love and hate at the same time…. that was up untill I landed in Mumbai.

Mumbai Oh Mumbai. …. Its madness, its crazy, its manic, its busy, its fast paced,its chaos- (im sure Ive used all these words before), its preety, its dirty, its smelly, its all things I love and hate at the same time.

Their is no place like Mumbai- did I mention we landed at 5am- Mumbai Time, and its chaotic! Does Mumbai sleep?

By the way- before I continue I need to do a quick shoutout to Southhall travel! www.southalltravel.co.uk Have you ever been on holiday and your flight gets delayed? and your stuck in the airport for hours on end (me, me, me). Well that would’ve happened (again) if we didnt get a call from Southhall Travel- who advised us that our flights been delayed and that we neednt go too early to the airport (who does that!!! Southhall travel do that!! Just how precious is that!!) Honestly they deserve a 100/10 for that. Yup you saw it correctly Im giving them a 100/10 because that is customer service on another level!

Our stay in Mumbai was once again Novotel on Juhu Beach, by the way, this hotel is round the corner from Amitabh Bachans house (evan I know who he is!)

And since we got there at 6 am-although we were tired, and jetlagged, and needed bed…..we made it in time for our first breakfast whilst in India!!! (because we were awake and breakfast starts at 6am. But lets not focus on that….. Then we went to sleep straight after and woke up at our usual time of afternoon. ***rolls eye***).

My oh My. What a breakfast, I got my Idli and Sambhar, Indian tea, Aloo Paratha, and ended it with a fresh Donut with Cinnamon and Suger, and the sleep afterwards was heaven.

First thing we did!? its India. We jumped on a Ricksaw….

Ricksaw Riding

( I’ve got to learn to smile in photos!)

Juhu Beach

In our ricksaw we went straight to Juhu beach- (the busy part) where we dropped off to have Pav Bhajii on the beach (and im getting frustrated as I cant find the damn photo!) By the way about Juhu Beach- is just that, its a beach, theres no sunbathing going on, no sitting around on sunbeds, or taking in the sun….. its actually filthy, the water is so dirty…. so dirty. The famous Juhu beach -the difference between city and country so apparent here straight away.

Night time at Juhu beach.

The Gateway Of India

One of the most historic tourist places in India, this huge structure was built in 1911 to welcome the King and Queen of England. Because it is a tourist attractions, its busy all the time, and there are loads of street vendors around.

Set over the Arabian Sea, its beautiful to look at, and take photos

The Famous Taj Palace

Sits opposite The Gateway of India, and what a beauty it is. Built in 1903 it is heritage 5 Star hotel visited by celebrities. It is also the main site targeted in the Mumbai Attacks in 2008.

Celebrity Houses

After this we were taken to a couple of Indias celebrity/superstar houses, naturally gated up, so we just took glimpses from outside.

Shah Rukh khan’s house behind this gate
First floor of this apartment is Salman Khans

After this we kind of gave up taking photos. I didn’t really know any other actors, and all we can really see are gates and in all honestly even if any of the actors were to come out- I would be none the wiser.

Elco Veg Restaurant

The amount of people that told me to go here for the Pani Puri. It needed to be ticked off on the diary.

I wanted Pani Puri, but didn’t realise I would have to eat it out of the man’s hand…..first time for everything. I guess.

It was divine! Absolute yum. And it was so weird just seeing people come past, take Pani Puri off the man, eat in front of him, pay him and walk away. After the boys saw me, they decided it’s not for them though. They missed out!

Mohammed Ali Road

The famous Mohammed Ali road. A road very famous for its food. You can smell the kebabs and the tikkas from afar. Shop after shop offers food. No one can say they were left hungry here. The variety of food is immense, and then you also get the shop stalls with the traditional churrus (bangles) and Indian jewellery in between. We didn’t come out here, but it’s on our to do list for next time for sure. The road goes on and on, and so do the people, there’s hounds of them. I think it’ll be a challenge to get through. Something I’m looking forward to.

Shiv Sagar

One of the oldest and most popular restaurants in Juhu. Set just across Juhu beach, full of locals and foreigners. We couldn’t go back home without saying we hadn’t eaten here, and there’s a reason for that. The food is amazing. It is pure veg, and finger licking. I went for the masala dosa (as I always do) and the men in my life, had chilli chips, dhaal makhani and nans. And it was devoured

Arab Street

Just round the corner from. The Taj Hotel, you get Arab Street. Another street just like Mohammed Ali Road, but you see a lot of arabs here, also Arabian food stalls and restaurants and not to forget….. Gold shops.

It actually reminded us of Makkah. It really felt as though we were transported there. We chose a restaurant to eat at, and devoured finger licking Arab food (I must get my phone in order. Can’t find the damn pics!!).

Last Bhel at the Airport

How did we end our trip? Well next up was Dubai, so that’s a goodbye to veg food, so we said our goodbye to Mumbai by ordering bhel puri at the airport. (Honestly street food is far better.)

And that’s Mumbai all wrapped up. Would I go again? Yup. I really don’t think I’ve seen anything yet. Two days definitely isn’t enough, it felt like such a short and packed visit.

I absolutely loved jumping from one ricksaw to another, and when you have awesome food- it makes the whole trip far better and obviously the well needed top up of Vitamin D

Hope you enjoyed our little journey,

Moving on to Dubai next. Do join me.

Love and regards

M11bna

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Im Going to India- Goa Eats

So you all seen what we got up to whilst in Goa- and now for the wining and dining part.

When it comes to food, Goa did not disappoint.

Inferno

On our first day we are at this place. It’s just outside Candolim Beach, which is also a walk away from our hotel, ( we only realised it’s a walk away on our last day! We were using taxis before this point) and it’s always kicking!

It’s so warm, vibrant and hip inside, I was impressed with the layout and the whole look. A combination of warm orange tones against the natural background of greenery, almost like your in forest. Scores a 10/10 with me.

We got complimentary papad and chutney as appetisers, which was tangy on our taste buds.

For starters we went for Chicken Tikkas, and Grilled Chicken and Veg Sticks which was recommended by the chef…. And don’t forget the Chips…. (Never forget the chips!!), and for mains we went for Chicken Biryani and Daar and Naans. Our first meal in Goa, and still memorable to this date.

Punjabi Rasoi

This place was literally down the street from our hotel. We tried…. seriously we really did try to wake up early, but our bodies just wouldn’t allow it, and we kept missing breakfast at the hotel, so this was out daily breakfast spot… in the Afternoon.

It was just a really large gazebo set up with table and chairs inside,

Daily we ordered Two Thalis (Indian style meal, made up of a selection of dishes, served on one platter. pic below) In the Thali we got Rice, Daar, two Vegetable curries (differs per day), Nans and Poppodom. You’ll never believe the price… For roughly £6. Yup. For both. And it was divine.

Desi Kitchen

One of the days whilst walking on Titos street we stumbled upon this place, it was very cool and quirky, so in we went.

We decided to satisfy our own cravings here, so I went for the Masala Dosa, the hubby went for Hydrabadi Biryani, and the boys went for Chicken Noodles, with Masala Fried Chips.

Once again we devoured it. Every single little piece. By far the best meal in Goa so far for me. Add this on your to do list. Im adding it on for if I do go back.

The Fishermans Wharf

Okay, so when your in Goa, and you ask anyone where the best place to eat is…. There’s only one answer. This place. Every local, every taxi driver, every tourist will tell you about this place.

And you know what, this place is as close as you can come to the Western World in Goa. From the decor to the food, to the whole vibe once inside and the price. You could say you feel at home (apart from the Indian music)

They have tried to make it so that it looks as if you are on a boat/cruise and its been done really well.

Theres fresh fish and little props set up all around the location, with is cute. Anywhere I can take a photo- I feel right at home.

Evan the cutlery they use feels like being back at home. here we ordered Masala Shrimps, Deep fried Chicken strips, Chicken Tikka, Naans, Sheesh Kebabs and a Chicken Karhai.

And we enjoyed all of this while live music was playing, so it felt preety special.

Namaste Chaii

You guys know I love Tea right? I mean I adore Tea, im obsessed over Tea. So when it comes to India- I just think of all things Tea related- I mean there should be a ‘Chaiiwala’ in every corner shouldnt there? Thats where Chaiiwala back at home has come from.

But my dear folks, not in Goa. Ive never been dissapointed this much in my life. There’s hardly any tea stops anywhere!!!
We eventually managed to find a taxi driver who knew a place- and it was like a 10 minute drive away.

Yes it quenched my thirst, but im not going to come here 6 times a day to get tea!! Dissapointed in Goa, (just in regards to the tea- mind you)

We asked the taxi driver where all the tea places are; he responded by saying, “Goans dont drink tea, they drink Alcohol…..” We got our answer.

Street Food

What is India All about? Street Food. To my delight. This part was not a dissapointment. We went to loads, like loads of places for street food, and not one dissapointed. (More street food on previous India blogs) Just keep on top of the charcoal tablets daily, and pray that the stomach bugs stay away. They did for us!

Bhel puri

And that’s a wrap from Goa.

Moving on next to beautiful Mumbai.

Stay tuned for more

Love and regards

M11bna

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I’m going to India -Goa Part 2

We set our alarms up for 8am- India Time, we needed to make the most of our time here, so decided that if we wake up early and suffer for one day, and then we will be in tune with India timing.

How did that work out?….. well we did wake up by 8.30…..England time, so afternoon in India again…. It is soooo hard getting use to the time difference here. We are ALL struggling.

Missed Breakfast again, but I don’t think the boys (all 3) are fussed, its not the reguler eggs beans and toast we have everywhere else we have been on holiday. Here breakfast is Idli and Sambhar, Daar and Rotis, Aloo Paratha, Aubergine Fry, Potato Fry!! Oh YUM, mental note to myself- MUST WAKE UP FOR BREAKFAST.

Our tasks for the days coming? Discover Goa.

We needed to arrange excursions. We went to a few local stalls, and were told of the coach trips that take us around Goa to all the tourist picks, where we can drop off, have a wander and come back. The areas will cover the North and South of Goa, and include, Churches, Temples and Goas famous beaches, but the idea of sitting in a coach for full days with loads of other people and the waiting around, just didn’t suit the hubby and me.

Although we wanted to explore, we also wanted it to be a holiday. And full days in coaches in the heat….. well that ain’t a holiday. So we decided to pick and choose a few places we wanted to visit and did it in our own time in the comfort of a taxi instead. (having said that the coaches leave so early, The way we were going I don’t think we would even wake up on time)

The Basilica Of Bom Jesus

One of the biggest and oldest Churches in India, constructed during the Portugese Era (by the way Goa is still full of Portugese people, I recognised the language because Mama Bear speaks Portugese). This church is known because it is one of the first churches to introduce Christianity to India

The Church and the surronding area was packed full of people.

Entrance to the church is free, and before entering the Church their are loads of children outside selling candles. We bought a few and made our way inside. Photography is not allowed inside. There were loads of people inside that were taking photos, but I put my phone away out of respect.

The Church holds the Tomb of St Francis Xavier, and at over 400 years old, it still holds all its original features both inside and outside.

Mangashi Temple

The Most famous Temple in Goa. This particuler Temple survived the Portugese era where a lot of temples were destroyed. This temple is visited by both tourists and Locals. The route to the temple is quite majestic, it feels like a bridge, both sides full of lush greenery. A lot of people were removing thier shoes before entering the road that takes us to the Temple, the road roughly being 250 meters. On entrance we are advised to take our shoes off, and once again photos were not allowed on the inside.

The Entrance once again is free, and it is beautiful and so different to all temples I have seen. EVER. Its so bright and colourful. The Temple itself has links to the famous and most respested women in India Lata Mangeskar. However there is contradicting stories on this. So I dont reallly know 🤷‍♀️.

The Church Of Our Lady Of The Immaculate Conception.

Another famous church in Goa, it stands on a hilltop, and to get to it, you have to climb up 78 steps in a zigzag fashion. Famously known as the ‘Crown of Panaji’ or a ‘Great Big Wedding Cake’, as it sits on top of the city of Panaji and its white in colour. This Church has also been used in various different Indian Films as a backdrop. (Mujse Shaadi Karogi, and Aashiqui 2)

Tropical Spice Plantation

We drove past The Tropical Spice Plantation, It smelt awesome from outside. We didnt go in, the butterfly garden and birds put my boys off….. (yes we are afraid of butterflys, birds, flys, and fish and anything else living that is not human! How did we choose India?) If however you are not afraid, I would recommend you go in, they also give you food on a banana leaf!! (now that wouldve been a picture to take)

Titos Lane and Baga Beach.

Goa is known for its beaches, and our evenings were spent here. In the evening we would walk down Titos Lane, which is the most famous street in Goa, full of clubs, bars and food places. A 15 minute walk down would take us to Baga Beach. We didn’t see Baga Beach in the day, so I cant comment on its cleanliness, but at night its beautiful.

The restaurants pull out the chairs and tables on to the beach and you can wine and dine there, the atmosphere is buzzing, Indian music playing all around us, its surreal, along with people you are sharing your space with cats, dogs and Cows, all having a great time.

We spent our evenings having shisha, playing cards and watching the waves in the near distance whilst listening to Indian tracks.

It probably is the most weirdest and most amazing experience ever. Its not something ive had in any of my holidays. This is what made India special for me.

The rest of the time, to make our holiday ‘OUR HOLIDAY’ well we spent it enjoying our hotel, we used the facilities of the hotel, the spa for massages, the pools for swimming.

On the very last day it rained, and can I say that in India, evan the rain is Glorious. We ran out of the pool, only to be the only ones that did, everyone else continued to swim in the rain. (lesson learnt, dont let a little rain let you down)

Hope you enjoyed the read?, Next up is My Best Eats in Goa.

Stay tuned

Love and Regards

M11bna

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Im going to India -GOA

22 hours later we got to Goa where we were met straight away by our driver (can I just say that the service we received was amazing. it was our first time booking through Southhall travel, and they did not dissappoint)

We got to our Hotel -Novotel Goa (Candolim) and were taken straight up to our room. With the boys being older we now get two adjoining rooms so that we can all have our own space. Hotel wise, we were not disappointed. It was a really nice clean hotel and the staff were attuned to our every needs.

Already we knew we were in a different place to our usual destination. There were Indians everywhere. It was a matter of spot the foreigner here, and we were only spotted because of our dressing.

So how did we spend our day here?

We woke up at 1 in the afternoon- our time at home being 8.30 am- Our internal clocks still tuned to British timing. Also the jet lagg is still seeping through our bodies.

We only have 4 days and we needed to make the most of it, and that we did.

Candolim Beach

We were told that this is the best beach around, and I have got to admit, it is a very clean and open beach…..Sunbathing on a beach means sharing your space with dogs, cats and cows. The occasional yelp of the dog, or a meow is do- able, but the moo of the cow- now that’s an entirely different culture shock.

The Cow- ‘Mata’ – Mother

For Hindus, Mothers are perceived as ‘Goddesses’ and therefore the Cow is a symbol of sacredness, because like a mother it gives out milk. So although they do not worship the cow, they do believe that it should be protected and looked after. And for this reason in India you will find cows everywhere. I mean everywhere, on the roads, the streets, shops and on the beaches. It’s an ordinary part of life in India.

Ive never seen so many dressed people on the beach on holiday. Im usually the only one in a burkini, here a burkini isnt even necessary, just go in fully dressed, no one really cares. I fit right in. You would think that on a beach its the one with the least clothes on that gets the stares, ill stop you right in your tracks, its usually me, fully dressed from head to toe, in the baking sun, sometimes the smiles are genuine, and sometimes….. well I like to ignore it. Im not one to get scared and walk away, but all I say is Live and Let live. I dont have a problem with the way people dress, so I expect the same back. (little rant over back to Goa)

The beach has a few activities going in, and we decided to go on one of the boats for a bit of sightseeing and dolphin watching,

Dressed for our ride….

At around £40 (or less) the 4 of us jumped on a boat, where they take us to 5 spots to see dolphins, and also a few tourist areas. The trip is roughly 2 and a half hours.

In terms of Dolphin watching, most of our boat trip was spent looking out to sea, trying to spot them. We didn’t get to see any jumping dolphins, a fin here or there was all we got. And it’s best to have your phone out and ready, otherwise you will miss it all.

5 secs in, a glimpse of a fin.

We were taken to a couple of spots for sight seeing. The problem I experienced is I am not really an indian film fanatic so most of it was lost on me and my boys. But the other guests in the boat we’re well informed and thoroughly enjoyed themselves and took hoards of pictures.

Fort Aguador- a very famous men’s prisons because of its location. Not in use at the moment. An indian film has used this prison as its set ‘Dil Chaata hain’
Jimmy Gazdars house- he is a notorious drug dealer and diamond smuggler in India, and this is one of his palaces, and this is the closest anyone can get to it. We didn’t know who he is, but the whole of India does.

Street Food at Candolim Beach

Walking down the beach we came to a little alley, which had a bazaar going on, and….. Street food!

What I came to India for. I love all junky and picky food. So this was heaven for me,

Mangoes with salt, chilli and chaat masala. Absolutely divine.
Charcoal cooked sweetcorn with salt and lemon. I’m salivating right now!
Fresh coconut water. Kept in ice boxes, so nice cool and refreshing!

That was day one in Goa, and can I say how much we enjoyed it? All tensions, all negative thoughts thoroughly buried, we had made the right decision. India is the place to be!

We spent our evenings in the hotel, enjoying the hotel and..

Well, boys will be boys…

But as long as I have my tea, I’m in the right place.

That was Day One, stay tuned for the remainder of our holiday….

Love and Regards

M11bna

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The First Stage of a Holiday…. Packing.

Right ok, so the yearly family holiday has been booked, and I’ve been furiously checking the weather at the destination every hour, just to make sure that the predicted weather and the current weather are in liaison with each other? (Do you do that too?) Just so that I can get an idea of what to pack.

The first stage of the holiday, and the excitement of it starts with the packing. Taking the suitcase out from under the beds, beating out the dust and taking in the aroma of an empty suitcase… ( I can smell it. It smells…. Empty!) oooooooh excitings

I have noticed a lot of influencers on Instagram at the moment are using all these little gadgets when packing clothes for their holidays.

Seriously we have reached a culture where we love watching people clean, wash their faces and also pack now!

So I thought while it’s trending l will show you all how I pack for my holidays (without the gadgets) and it’ll give me a chance to show off my clothes too!

This is well overdue, it’s from my trip to India back in October, our trip consisted of Nine packed full days where we went from Goa, to Mumbai and then a last 24 hours in Dubai and back home.

I consider myself to be a sensible packer. No. Actually I am a sensible packer. The men in the household however are not. Yup. We have switched roles here. They pack for all seasons and the whole month. But I only take the exact amount of outfits I need…. I hate bringing it all back and putting it all away.

So for the nine days I needed Nine full outfits, being a modest dresser that includes any tops to be worn inside and matching scarves.

Outfit no.1 trouser/skirt : Zara.
Black Top with gold buttons: Zara
Brown Scarf

And what I do is, I put the top and the scarf all inside, I also add the underwear here and I roll the trouser/skirt up in a roll like above.

Outfit. No. 2 Skirt/Trouser: Mango
Black and White Blouse: No idea!
Orange and Grey chiffon Scarf
Outfit. No. 3
Blue Jumpsuit : Mango
White Blouse : Mango
Nude and Blue scarf
Outfit.no. 4.
For my Day in Mumbai.
Indian Attire from Urbankai on Instagram
Outfit. No. 5
Jumpsuit: Shein
Black Blouse: Zara
Orange and Grey chiffon scarf
Outfit no. 6
Trousers: Zara
Top: Zara
Plain nude scarf
Outfit. No. 7
Denim style Linen trousers: Zara
Sleeve embroidered White Top: Zara
Light Grey Scarf
Outfit no.8
Olive Paperbag Trousers : Mango
Cream oversized blouse: Mango
creased effect scarf
Outfit. No 9 co-ord set: Shein
Contrasting cream scarf

And here they all are wrapped up within themselves, all of them have the appropriate scarves, tops, and underwear within.

I Love shoes- apart from when I’m on holiday. I hate taking good shoes because they always come back dusty and worn, and I hate showing feet skin (does that make sense?!) So on holiday my footwear is always covered. I chose the above footwear. The sandals are for the poolside and remaining footwear for day/ night comfort covering feet footwear (I didn’t realise just how particular I am until I started writing this. I actually sound quite old reading this back…. Oh my God. I am my mother!)

Don’t forget a toiletry bag for medication. Paracetamol and Ibuprofen and vitamin C are a must, all others to be added in as well.

And this is how I put it in the suitcase:

Here’s my nine outfits, plus my burkini with it’s scarf. One Toiletry bag with medication, One toiletry bag with cosmetics, and One toiletry bag with bath essential. On the other side of the suitcase I put in jewellery and shoes- so that they are away from the clothes. And don’t forget to chuck in the travel plugs.

This is such an easy way to pack and so ideal to just pull out an outfit daily. And you can see it all properly.

Hope you find it productive.

And now for my India Trip haul.

Coming up soon

Stay tuned

Love and Regards

M11bna

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Fundamentals in a Relationship. Respect.

My friend from sunny South Africa came over, she got married to a South African dude, packed her bags and left…And never looked back apart from her yearly visit for 2/3 weeks in December (Yes. She comes when its freezing. Every year. Tells us its too cold, and goes back to sunny SA)

We always catch up when we see pops over, and it’s really nice because everyone will make more of an effort when she comes.

These Girls are my school friends, and at the age of 36, we are all married, with elder kids. So essentially TRYING to live for ourselves now. I do say trying in capitals because really. We are trying. But it really doesn’t get easier as kids grow older, new challenges come into place. (see previous post of boy/girl friends in a muslim household)

We just started talking about marriage in a general term, and how there are certain aspects to marriage which can make or break you. All of us are still married, not to say we have the ‘perfect’ marriage ( what evan is that?) But we are all happily married.

I mean we all know for a marriage to work there has to be Love. Thats the biggest component, but what exactly is love? And how is the love kept?

It’s kept by further little components, like loyalty, trust, companionship, honesty, compromise, understanding each others needs, respect among so much other factors.

To keep a relationship going, the individuals have to take all of these things into account. And if you are in love, it should all come naturally, it’s not something you’d have to work on….. you would think. Right?

We all came to the conclusion that Secondary to Love- would come Respect. Love is a feeling. And respect- well that has to be earned right? So how do the two go together?

“You cant love a person you dont respect”

How far would you agree with this? Overall it’s a simple statement, and it should be easy, but look around and you’ll see loads of friends, family etc who are suffering from this simple statement. That’s not to say they don’t love each other, but rather the interpretation of respect means different things to different people.

Why did we choose Respect? well thats easy, Without respect all the other factors wouldnt evan make it. We wouldnt commit to someone we dont respect, we wouldnt be loyal to someone we dont respect, we wouldnt evan have proper conversations with people who we dont respect. Respect is a part of life that goes beyond just a relaitionship, its fundamental in all relaitionships, whether that be friendship, parent-child relaitionship, or evan within the workplace.

The problem with the term is what each person defines as ‘Respect’, what can be respectful to one person, may not be the same for the other. The term needs to be broken down and usually this happens after the disrespting of one of the people in the relaitionship. If I put it in the most simplest form ‘Putting the dirty clothes into the wash basket’, now this can be a big issue for one person, yet the other person is oblivious to it. Now a marraige or a long term relaitionship is not going to end over this (I hope so) but its about respecting the other partner enough to know that its considerable to do this little act. (which can save a lot of drama).

This is just a simple example, it’s the more bigger things in life that cause the issues, and communication is needed to break it down. Another small example from personal experience: Friendship groups. Your partner may not like your friendship group. Or vice-versa. So how would you deal with this. You love your partner, you love your friends.

Personally as much as I’d like to ban him from certain people, the reality is that’d be disrespectful off me. If this person is creating a toxic relationship between the two of you, then implications need to be made, if not, then you have to trust that your partner knows whether it’s right to be friends with this person or not. So grind your teeth, leave the sarcasm for another day, and don’t forget to say ‘have fun’ when they leave.

But once again these are things that can be overseen, it would be fair to say that without respect love can essentially start wearing off. If we go back to the friendship example, if I decided that my husband should never go out with these friends, or have any communication with them, he may start loosing respect for me. Or if he decides that regardless of my feelings he will continue to go out with people who obviously have a implicit agenda in breaking the relationship, I would start to lose respect for him. When one half of you starts loosing respect for the other, the tearing down process starts, this can build up in a number of ways, not just friendship but general everyday living of life, and it can lead to a detrimental postition in the relationship.

Our end resolution came down to the key in all relationship is ‘Communication, Communication, Communication’ If you don’t like something- say it. If your not happy – say it. But never ever try and possess or control your other half. Allowing the other person to assess and understand for themselves how much of an impact a certain act has on a relationship shows growth and maturity. And sometimes (just sometimes) mistakes make the relationship stronger.

Hope you enjoyed our little chat.

Feel free to give your thoughts

Love and regards

M11bna

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