Chaos in the crisp-orange autumn streets.

Chaos in the crisp-orange autumn streets.

Walking down the street on a chilly autumn morning; leaves lay scattered in heaps across streets. Some have been brushed aside by the friendly highway cleaners, others wafted away by gusts of wind that appear at certain intervals. The piles can sometimes become a mouldy mucky pile when the rain kicks in and even stick to one’s shoe, as we gasp in case we’ve stepped in shit. It’s nothing less than chaos in the streets of autumn London.

But at best, it’s natures work of art at play, an auburn display of creative crisp leaves. The streets on fire, lighting up the dull dry morning; nothing less than a short retreat as we take a stroll. On Tuesday what a pleasurable sight it was walking in Holland park with the nursery children; watching them kick the leaves about creating cosy nests, and then searching for and admiring the largest leaf. It’s a time of year when we use the wondrous natural materials to try our hand at leaf printing and cook up all sorts of wonderful craft activities.

autumn

Yes, agreed! sometimes a bit of chaos is needed for creativity! (Leaf issues aside, right now trumps win may be tantamount to chaos but we humans prove time and time again, that such things lead to nothing but optimism and creativity!)

chaos

The kid at school Vs the kid at home

 

at school at home

I hear you mum, hear hear…when you have endless tasks at hand. Preparing the dinner, sorting the laundry, cleaning the spillages, tidying the endless mess, changing soiled nappies, washing bottoms all with the added wackiness: The whiner at hand ALL the frikkin time!! (This happened straight after school one day)

“let’s play ludo…can we? Can we play it now…play it noooow”

(Me) not yet sweetheart…

Aaarrrrgggghhhh waaaaaaaaahh

(me) we’ve just come in from school!?, change your uniform, let me go to the loo

noooooo lets play NOW, let’s plaaaaaaay (aaaaaaaaarrrrrggghhh waaaaaaaaaah)

(me) I said not yet, you’ll have to wait

(after toilet business)

I want cereal, can I have cereal, can I have cereal X10 noooooooooowwwww

(Whilst eating cereal) let’s play ludo, play ludo, play ludo X10 nooooow

(me) Can you finish eating first, can’t you see I’m feeding your little brother

Aaaaaaarrrrgggghhhh waaaaaaah

(After eating, we play the dreaded ludo)

(me) Ok, the Games finished you came first and I was second yaaaay

Nooo let’s play again, can we play again, again again X10….

(me) Play with your brother

Nooo you play

Aaaaaaaarrrrgggghhhhh waaaaaaaah

Right this may not be 100% accurate and the ‘X10’ may well be an exaggeration, I might have said much more in between, throwing in some oooh aaaargghs but hopefully you get the gist!

Seriously… am I the only one with a kid like this, (sometimes it seriously feels like that!), the kid who bottles up all his feelings, only to fizz it out at home. It isn’t a pretty sight. I don’t think I know any other child who is difficult like that honestly, I could schmoose, shoulder-to-shoulder with a mum who goes through the same shi* day in and day out, in dealing with a sulking sucker who ruins it for everyone else at home. I could join that social club: “living with whacky whiners”, we’ll name it that, wonderfully oxymoronic, for a bit of sanity…eh?

I don’t look forward to the school runs. The minute he sets foot out, some form of whinging and murmuring under the breath will begin. I’ve read about the whole attachment parenting, and love-bombing and a whole host of other things…trust me I do it all, I HUG him, squeeze the life out of him -not literally- before I get lectured about the damaging effects of corporal punishment. Home-schooling is out of the question, before being told about all the wonders of it! (no hate, it isn’t for me at this point in time) I lend an ear, listen to his every word, cook up countless conversations; yet the stew will bubble up and burst over the tiniest flame. Cry it out sweety, but not to the point where your tears flood the emotion out of us. Play-flight with your little brothers, (I did it too and felt powerful throwing mighty-morphin punches at the horrid boys) but take it easy son, it isn’t a wrestling rink. Where do we set the limit? How long do we have to endure? Lord help us. I could do with a hug and a prayer xxx

Whilst it is lovely being told by your child’s teacher that your cookie is well-behaved and a very rule-abiding friendly child, caring and often smiling with social skills that might be well beyond his little years. I would however, love for the world to know how much it takes for many of us at home building up the wreckage every night: the kids who emotionally drains us to fill their cups, the kids who push boundaries at home only to practice restraining themselves outside. The kids who wear a friendly patient façade only to take it off at home and release their inner beast.

In hindsight, perhaps that’s a good thing, that they can have an emotional outlet at home, disconnect and recharge, be a privilege for their teachers, an asset in their class, perhaps more so than the trouble-maker who makes it terrible for 29 other kids at school. Perhaps I could do with being an emotional rut for now and tolerate the fizzy outburst here and there.
But whilst I’m at it, I hope I have struck a chord with yummy mummies out there, who can relate and moan with us, I’m happy to lend an ear. Xxxx

2nd at home at school

(The middle easy going one, proud to say we do have the best of both 🙂

London mayoral elections: longest rant ever

London mayoral elections: longest rant ever

Reading the mini manifesto that has been distributed and posted to all laymen across London, I can’t help but feel a sense of gut-wrenching anger.

I didn’t vote in the last election (mostly due to being away) so I have no idea who the candidates were and whether this has been the norm, but the choice of potential candidates is highly amusing, bizarre and just plain worrying…  I often decline to vote (religious reasons aside) I’m not sure if I’m convinced enough if our vote counts or means anything, I mean the only time we are really and truly consulted about anything political are at times when elections are happening and made to believe that we are empowered because we got to vote. We, a people with hardly any true knowledge of the dealings of a political mafia establishment; when they screw things up we are to blame because we voted them in, if we didn’t vote them in, we are to blame because we’ve been apathetic and chose not to exercise our long-fought-after right to vote, unappreciative of the suffragettes that sacrificed their blood and sweat for this oh so glorious powerful gesture, of throwing a piece of paper marked with an X, in the ballot box. We, like a herd of sheep, at the peril of our master politicians, they shape the affairs of our country here and abroad in their foreign policies, bloodying our hands too.

It’s funny how anyone can put themselves forward to stand in the voting podium; I mean if a Katie Hopkins stood to amass votes it would have followers, these days anyone and anything can amass a bunch of blind followers, I could parade a donkey hee-hawing claiming to change the downward spiralling of our country and run a marketing campaign in a bid to amass followers, my braying donkey could possibly stand at 10 downing in no time. This perhaps is the great side of democracy (*punches air with sarcasm*) we all could get a potential voice (but currently, not if you’re an ‘Islamist’ paving way for sharon law)

So with that said. In speaking of the mini manifesto, I’ve been taken aback at seeing the likes of Paul Golding running to be elected as a voice for London, the potential Britain first (BF) candidate. I don’t know what world I’ve been living in, but the last time I checked on their Facebook page I couldn’t help but laugh, and feel cringe at what they stood for. Especially their notoriously unpopular way of dealing with followers i.e. blocking off curious Brits like myself, genuinely intrigued by their core beliefs. If I’m not mistaken Golding was even accused of scrambling his supporter’s money. I’m surprised that he is still around!? (but then again that is democracy for you) undoubtedly the guy has support and money being funnelled into his crappy racist campaign, which hasn’t much to offer to the average Londoner but a far right ‘fake-Christian’ fascist movement (I bet he knows next to nothing about the faith) that claims to promote “British culture” (whatever that means) in a multicultural city that gets its colour and vibrancy from a rich community of foreigners (of a people who were once colonised, a topic which requires another ranting post in itself)

This city wouldn’t be what it is without the thousands of immigrants that brought with them their cultures, expertise, experiences, FOOD and rich diversity. It’s seriously laughable …but what isn’t funny is his stance on Muslims and Islam… Calling for “clamping down on Islamic extremism” may seem all tough and glorious to average Londoners genuinely concerned about security, but let’s face it, as Muslims we are at the brunt of it all; extremism, chaos and terrorism has caused more mayhem, bloodshed and violence for Muslims in ‘Muslim’ lands, so it matters to us more than it would anyone else …but Paul and co channel their activism in such a way that we feel  the added burden of being “not-so-British” Muslims: constantly Labelled and smeared in the media, feeling like we should constantly be apologising; if anything British-Muslims are the first to want a clamping on extremism, but I’m not convinced about the “extremism” that this party seeks to stamp out.

bf

The use of such rhetoric in a London manifesto is utterly distasteful and sheer nonsensical, because if this isn’t fear mongering and fuelling an ‘islamaphobia’ then I don’t know what is! But it doesn’t stop there, you have the British nationalist party (BNP) with similar notions. Londoners are apparently threatened by Islamic extremists and the “islamification” of London (cringe at these types of coinages and word formations, thanks to the media) These parties have sponsors and big donors behind them, I can’t help but feel that my beautiful London (the nostalgic way Malala would speak of her ‘paradise’ the swat valley, London for us is nothing less), the vibrant multicultural capital of England, is at risk of a trump style racist-far right movement, threatening the peace and security of our city of abundance and land of opportunities.

But their bold claims have no evidence, statistics, or any research but simply rubbish they are spewing. Looking at the manifesto with a closer look reveals the ridiculousness of their campaigns, we needn’t look further. According to Sophie walker representing the ‘women’s equality party’ (pretty interesting), in London last year a whopping 4000 rape incidents were reported and 70,000 incidences of domestic violence. Those figures are shocking and reveal just how deep rooted REAL problems are in an age of enlightenment, the 21st century, the ‘civilised’ west still have such levels of violence in the capital city is seriously beyond me. According to George Galloway of ‘respect party’ every year 10,000 people die from the endless congestion in the streets ‘poisoning people’.

women party

See the thing is, while these problems pose more of a danger and threat to the average Londoner and our quality of life, where we are more at risk of getting killed by the emission of toxic fumes (let alone the numerous car accidents on our roads every year) than a terrorist attack, we are falsely led to believe that Islam is somehow threatening London, this couldn’t be further from the truth. I simply can’t understand why we have the BF and BNP in an uproar hating and hell-bent on scapegoating Islam and Muslims, are against the building of mosques, which serve none-else but the British communities, encouraging cohesion and public engagement. Especially necessary in an era of the internet and social media, which is more threatening and dangerous for young people, where they are likely to hide away in their small digital bubbles of computers and gadgets reading hate messages online and getting seeped into a paranoia of fear mongering and hate, believing the illuminati are out there to get them! The repercussion of ‘Islamic extremism’ has and continues to affect British Muslims more than it does anyone else, but Paul and ilk think they know better and people with hijab and beards going to worship at mosques, threaten our lives and security.

bnp.jpg

It seems the ever growing problems in London such as: housing crisis, over population, congestion, a crippling NHS are taking a toll on us, and when such problems begin to spiral out of control, the elitists then need to play the blame game and whilst they are doing all the dirty work (the ones with the bigger money) silly petty parties like Britain first come out with an overtly hateful rhetoric and make themselves look like the bad guys, when really they are just worried like ourselves, by social problems affecting ordinary Londoners.

So certain political characters, within the predominant parties: conservative and labour in their ‘political correctness’ are good at this, they know how to talk the talk, but fail to walk the walk (use distractive puns and figurative language ‘of the dead cat’ and dog-whistling tactics). So their finger pointing at Islam and Muslims is often more calculated and discreet (see link below).

Endless immigration does threaten us all, over population is scary, as it seems we are all competing and scrambling for living space. Something that matters to many Londoners. Being worried about the impact of immigration isn’t being a racist (the BNP somehow feel the need to clarify this) but finger pointing an entire religion and its followers IS RACIST. Immigration due to EU membership has proven to be the main reason for the uncontrolled ‘influx’ of immigrants, far higher than other parts of the world put together (of the African peninsula/Asian and middle east). Yet the browner Muslim immigrants, that are far fewer in number have been targeted by haters (as we’ve already witnessed in public places with appalling clips making the rounds on social media)

Perhaps this time, voting may be a start for some healthy change, so the question arises who to vote for? Whilst there are numerous candidates standing to achieve recognition and support, it is obviously clear that not all stand an equal chance. Whilst The BF and BNP will obviously (and hopefully!) not win (and ranting endlessly about them only gives them more importance) and are simply in the game to gain fans and followers, most of the other parties as well-meaning as they are, will also likely be eliminated; such as the Green party, Respect party and the admirable Women’s equality party, but a vote to any of those groups would certainly be a wasted vote (another reason to be put off by this useless system). The battle is (nearly always) between the conservatives and labour: currently Sadiq Khan (an interesting option, Labour seeking the Muslim vote) and Zac Goldsmith (son of a billionaire)

An interesting article in the guardian recently described the tension and politics between the two in their campaigns; the way certain groups in London: Indians (presumably Hindus/Sikhs) and Tamil households have been strategically targeted for votes by the conservative marketing campaign, in their use of shady divisive rhetoric, in an age-old -failed- attempt to divide and conquer. Sadiq khan has been maligned as extreme, a ‘radical’ and ‘divisive’ (if that is the case then I do wonder what a non-radical, non-extreme Muslim looks like) in a covert racist manner; dog-whistling wolves in sheep clothing. More articulate, politically correct, but far more worryingly deceiving (than their BF counterparts). And with that let’s put a stop to this longest ever rant…I know who my vote is going to.

(Link below for the useful guardian article, on the sadiq-zac battle)

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/apr/30/battle-london-mayor-dirtiest-fight-zac-goldsmith-sadiq-khan?CMP=twt_gu

 

Worn out!

You’re wearing too much
or you’re wearing too little
Your body so cheap,
open to ridicule
Don’t matter what’s in your mind
You ain’t got a choice
Let mandem dictate
claims to be your voice

To set you free,
Drown your intellect
suffocates your face,
feigning to protect
An identity
that exists no more
renders you naked
an object deplored
..
Don’t pull out your breast
When babe wants to milk you
Don’t do the grotesque
Suckling at her bare chest
Don’t flaunt a nipple
Don’t be gross
Let them impose
Declare what a woman should show
..
smirks, nip-slip on a catwalk
news coverage, media-talk
Smeared with cake
Let him taste your body baked
Sliced under a fine knife
The showbiz ingredient
glam and prized
An object for his prying eyes
..
Women warmongering
In society’s dichotomy
Tearing one another down
but the battle ensues
And it just doesn’t matter
If she swims like a pro
In a burkini or bikini,
eyelids batter.
 ..
(an old exhausted worn out debate, how women should dress in the 21st century)

Bring on the Burkini

I love my burkini. I couldn’t swim without it. Not least because there have been times when I found, I couldn’t be asked to wax the horrendously “oppressive” hair growth on my shaggy legs. I hope some  -mums especially- can agree what a bothersome activity waxing can be. Had society not dictated what equates to beautiful and what women should look like, I wouldn’t mind having my unkempt legs on show, unfortunately that might be akin to terrorising everyone at the pool if I do! (Ok that’s an exaggeration my beautiful hairy legs aren’t that hairy *shh*)

The day an ad flaunts a woman with a hairy chest on top of a car, or a perfume between her contour-less knees or a pen between her cleavage covered in stretch-marks; I might reassess my self-image, confidence-issues and whether to don the -more “empowering”- bikini or not..

If anything, my burkini hides all those ‘hideous’ bits we’d rather conceal, the bulging  pockets of flab here and there is certainly not flattering! Ok admittedly, I’m not confident enough to flaunt my body just yet…Thank you burkini, you make me feel fine. It’s not just a Muslim or modesty issue in an all-women pool (a burkini-clad seriously “oppressed” woman can tell you that!!) #Justanotherview

Recently in conversation with a fellow non-Muslim (who attends an exercise group, we’ve recently put together ‘motivating mums’) when the subject came to swimming, she said swimming put her off due to her legs -for whatever reason- when I suggested she should get a burkini, she queried about where she might be able to get one, so I was stopped for thought, and suggested looking online. (This was a few days before the M&S burkini revelation) knowing that M&S have decided to stock up on them, possibly making this wonderful gear more mainstream can only be a good thing! I hope that the fellow friend will feel more motivated to jump on the burkini bandwagon and into the pool now (so many people would love to swim, Muslim or not, but somehow feel constrained for a multitude of reasons)
Call it ‘modest wear’, ‘solar wear’ or whatever… I say: Bring on the burkini!burkini or bikini

Memoirs of a muslamic muvva’: For the love of prayer

Memoirs of a muslamic muvva’: For the love of prayer

Alhamdulillah for the salaah (5 daily prayers): such a beautiful and peaceful part of one’s daily routine, especially when you have a handful of a brood like mine, forever in a high functioning mode, forever fighting and wreaking havoc. Especially when you wish you were more posh and had specific times, for when your child can book an appointment with you, to seek your counsel. So when the time for prayer kicks in, I feel like a gangsta’! here’s why: you stand in prayer and they INSTANTLY know that that’s mummy’s time now; we can’t say anything until she’s finished, because there’s no point and she isn’t going to listen. Ha! *feels like boss*

Here’s how a typical day might be:

moamm1.png

 

And then some days, when you just want a little more peace of mind:

moamm2

And some days when the wrestling has already begun, the prayer can come and save you, like the hijab does on a bad hair day:

moamm3

The not so typical day:

Some days, when you are out and about and the time for prayer kicks in: well here’s something that recently happened whilst I was at the swimming pool and Maghrib salaah was due, (thank you to the wonderful staff at the leisure center who are ever so accommodating and even offered a prayer mat on a number of occasions, given that one of the staff members is Muslim and so it wasn’t an unfamiliar request!) so whilst my toddler was on tow on this particular occasion, the prayer was a great escape! We come out the pool and he sees the vending machine with all sorts of naughty snacks, chocolates and crisps…we surely don’t go swimming for that do we!?:

 

moamm4

 

SubhaanAllah …don’t we just love the salaah <3<3<3

 

Millionaire Mama

Millionaire Mama

Lately I’ve been feeling deep self-pity in being extremely self-conscious, questioning my social position in terms of financial status, my sense of purpose and general social standing in our ‘meritocratic’ society.  What am I doing to achieve prosperity and how can I become financially free? how can I be more successful, whatever success might be. I’ve been obsessing over it, watching and reading about other people’s “success” stories and pondering my mind-set, attitude and entrepreneurial flair if any. I think we can safely say this may be (my version of) what one calls the ‘mid-quarter life crisis’ (and this month has certainly not helped those feelings, which marks another year off my diminishing life). I love how we can give those huge internal battles some sort of justification in this ‘enlightened’ age we live, every phase in life agreeably has its challenges, but our love of defining them: the ‘terrible twos’ (which my 2-year-old is most certainly experiencing!) to the terrible tweens and teens and so on, you get the drift; nevertheless, this sense of deep desperation, that time is ticking and I haven’t achieved anything in life yet has been all-consuming. What can I do to improve the quality of my life and by extension the quality of life my children will live. Growing up in a competitive world, where everyone is scrambling to reach the top at heightened levels; as if the future needs a stockpile. The uncertainties of a bleak future, the worries and insecurities we harbour as adults is a truly sorry state. It really brings me to ponder this scary ‘future’; whilst I see myself as a highly optimistic person (in the religious sense especially) and have till now been fairly grounded (as I’d like to believe) I must admit, lately I’ve been secretly praying for abundance, and not just one where I can comfortably raise a growing family; but abundance where I can have a fair share, from the riches and treasures God has bestowed to the few people on earth, or as some may define it the millionaire status (*covers face*). Whilst I fear having an atoms weight of ungratefulness to my Lord, hopefully any tint of greed and selfishness will subside; but let’s face it, who wouldn’t want a sense of financial freedom, where booking a ticket to travel needn’t feel like an indulgence, where one would have to squeeze the little savings they do have and risk diminishing their children’s “future” prospects, in turn fuelling that sense of guilt and apprehension and silly regrets and so this cycle of pity and self-loathing continues firing grrr…

But I had a bit of chilling reality check the other day, and I just love it when it’s the kids who prompt it in our usual little-deep conversations (especially at dinner times, when we are sat around the table) somehow on this occasion the conversation drifted to homes and so my boys (6 and 4-year-old) ask and question where I used to live in the “olden days”, as they would like to put it -much to my disappointment! I don’t think we are ever comfortable being associated with remnants from the “old”-Hey ho! So I explain the series of homes I lived at in my tender childhood years (cringe at the ‘childhood’ as I’m still a big kid at heart! As the sayings go: ‘young at heart’, …’age is just a number’… ‘sweet 16’ mumbo jumbo. And so I explain that “I used to live with my mum, you know your mummy” (yep they call her ‘mummy’ just like me, nope we are not comfortable with the nanny just yet!) and then I got married to your abagi and no I didn’t live with him when I was a kid, which is always a bit of a revelation to them. It never fails to amuse me how they associate their daddy as being mine; that how unfortunate I must have been to have never lived with abagi as if he was my guardian and it must have been terrible not having him to look after me when I was so small, because in their little minds-eye daddy must have always been a grown up, and so I explain that he was also a little kid like me one day and he lived with his abagi and I lived with mine. [And so every time we have a similar conversation, I have to clarify that my abagi is that lovely baba with the small white beard (who they see very little of, as he likes to spend most of his ‘youth’ in Pakistan, living in his sweet 16 fashion!) the one who jokingly says: ‘I will flush you down the toilet’ in their little cheeky banter]

And so in speaking of transitions in life and moving from home to home, my eldest asks who used to live in this house, and I say perhaps a family before us who moved somewhere else, and then who used to live here before them and before them and so on. So we had a deep conversation about ageing and death, and new people being born to occupy these very homes, which we will inevitably leave behind and then the conversation takes a turn to their favourite topic the afterlife and the next abode i.e. paradise and they LOVE talking about paradise, how wonderful it would be to go to a land with no limitations, the beautiful everlasting abode. Whilst I appreciate they do not associate death with a miserable, worrisome end just yet, (but a place of pleasures and comforts, just a next phase in the many phases yet to come God-willing) I must say it always intrigues me why it’s a subject most people like to avoid in society, a subject we’d rather not tread on; and so what my eldest said next was a very chilling realisation… “Don’t worry ummy, when you die I will take you to the hospital” and the younger one adds “and then to the graveyard” gesturing the rectangular shape of my tomb with his little hands, and they spoke with such matter-of-fact passion and sense of responsibility, I couldn’t help nodding with the same tone of affirmation and pursed lips trying not to bite them with the sudden stomach-churning butt-hurt truth, and I could also sense a little discomfort in their faces and half-smiles at that thought, but then the subject quickly changed direction to something else I can’t remember…(last year this transition became very real to them when my brother passed away and the countless conversations we had in coming to terms with his passing and burial, so no this wasn’t any new territory we were treading on) but this conversation was indeed very humbling and made me think and re-think about my priorities. This is when you truly miss childhood and living in the moment. Children are a blessing in disguise, their sense and understanding of the world is truly beautiful they teach and encourage you to live in the here and now and life is but a playing field in every sense of the word!

Whilst I’d love to achieve financial freedom and can call a house home, with the sense of security and all… it really shouldn’t be an all-consuming state of affair when one really ponders about the definition of ‘home’ in terms of our temporary worldly abode (the dunya). Whilst we sometimes can’t help looking at success stories about people who have reached certain heights, working hard hence playing hard; It’s also true when we hear phrases such as: look to those beneath you and be grateful, look to those who are homeless, or to really bring this reality home, the plight of the refugees in our current political climate, who had everything but lost it, here goes again the uncertainty of life and future and the fact that we can lose it all! but it needn’t be a scary realisation, it should instead trigger the idea to live in the moment to enjoy life to its fullest, be that a minimalist one (by whoever’s definition!).

But I’ll continue to pray (and work hard too!) that Allah swt (God) blesses us and bestows upon us abundant wealth from amongst His limitless treasures, which for Him is nothing, but a meaningless ever fluctuating dust; that some amongst His inhabitants on earth will have and be tested by and others not have and be tested thereby.

And we’ll simply end with a cheer to all the millionaire mamas out there! Onward and upwards… God bless xx