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Tuesday, 11 December 2018

What nobody tells you about having a baby | Fertility

I've discussed some of these issues in my blog post 'When are you having a baby?' as well as the post 'PCOS Nobody wants to talk about it' so you may want to read those posts as well if you are going through these issues yourself.

I want this post to give you a heads up if you're going to get married soon, to let you know that getting pregnant in the first place isn't plain sailing for a lot of women and if you find yourself in that situation then it's ok and it will be ok inshaAllah. For women trying to conceive, a little hope by letting you know that  there are success stories for people who have gone through fertility issues and that you are definitely not alone.

I'm currently reading Michelle Obama's biography titled 'Becoming', half way through reading about such a driven and ambitious woman I read the part about her and her husband trying for a baby.

"Fertility is not something you conquer. Rather maddeningly, theres no straight line between effort and reward..." she writes, "...Seeing women and their children walking happily along a street, I'd feel a pang of longing followed by a bruising wallop of inadequacy."

The ex-first lady who as a woman I could totally relate to, her feelings of inadequacy and her struggles were so close to home. She went on to have a miscarriage and then trying Clomid before going through IVF for both her pregnancies. It was just such a wow moment for me because there are so many women who go through these things but when you're in it yourself, you feel like you are the only one, that there is something wrong with you because everyone else around you is getting pregnant accidentally or very easily it seems.

Islamically we shouldn't discuss our intimate spousal relations with anyone and I wholeheartedly agree with that, but what that has meant is that fertility and getting pregnant has almost become a subject that isn't discussed before marriage at all, giving people a false sense of certainty when they go into marriage. I always thought people got married and then went on to have a baby when they wanted to, I mean in my extended family there are at least 3+ children in each family so to me it was clearly not an issue.

I found that when I had my own issues there wasn't anyone for me to talk to, my husband and I literally went through the whole fertility journey on our own, partly because it was embarrassing almost shameful to talk about but also because I hadn't known anyone else to have gone through it.

Alhamdulillah we had our precious miracle baby girl after one round of Clomid. After I had gone through it I discussed it somewhat with close cousins and friends and after writing my posts on it I came to know that what I went through was not uncommon. Alhamdulillah speaking about it has meant that I was able to help other people who didn't know what routes were available to them and who to talk to.

If you are going through something like this please know that you are not inadequate, there is nothing 'wrong' with you and that you are no less of a woman because you are struggling to have a baby.

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Sunday, 9 December 2018

Mama & Baby | Baba

Growing up, my dad was strict. He never showed a vulnerable side and as with most South Asian dad's, found it difficult to show affection. In fact, when I think back on it I don't remember him showering us with hugs and kisses or telling us he loves us or is proud of us. When I wanted to go somewhere or do something my mum would say 'go ask your dad' and I never would because I was too scared.

Then in 2010 he was diagnosed with cancer and our world came crashing down. I was at uni at the time and it was the first time I saw my dad broken and vulnerable. I remember the ride home from the hospital after they gave us the news and my dad telling me I needed to be the 'man of the house' and he thinks of me as a son because I'm the eldest (my brothers were just 8 and 1 at the time). It's the first time I felt his words as his love for us, the first time I felt like my dad wasn't just interested in what grades  got at school but also deeply loved us and cared for us and worried about our future and how we might have to survive without him.  Alhamdulillah he is in remission but still not the same as he was before he got ill.

That time in our lives was hard but in hindsight made us stronger as a family. He relied on me more and to this day after I'm married and busy with my own little one, he still gets comfort from me coming to his appointments with him, doing applications for him or even just discussing his health issues with him. Probably more than not because I studied in the medical and healthcare field and I understand this area a bit more than anyone else in my family but also because I've grown up and he doesn't feel the need to protect me from everything now.

I felt my dad's love in other ways like when he had no expense spared at my wedding or bought me 2 outfits every Eid just because I liked it, bringing home chicken tikka because I've come to stay. I very rarely hug my dad and when I do it feels awkward because we never showed our emotions like that growing up. I never felt like I missed out until I saw the way my husband is with our daughter.

He is such a doting dad, he gets excited about every little thing she does, he wants to take her out to experience things whether thats going to the farm and seeing some animals or having daddy daughter days where he takes her out for a few hours to the park or for some ice cream while I'm out with friends or having a much deserved pamper day.

I love my dad and I know he loves me and I don't know if not getting physical love and affection or being told it with words has made me a slightly cold person where I also find it awkward to show affection. I generally don't greet people with hugs and kisses unless they're my cousins and close family. I'm also not big on using words out loud to express my emotions.

I suppose now that I think back it has had an effect on how I show my affection and I think it's high time we changed the cultural rules on how a father and daughter should be, on how men should show or hide their emotions. I for one wouldn't want my daughter all grown up and not remembering ever been shown love and affection by her dad and I know my husband being the man he is and how he wears his heart on his sleeve she will never feel like that InshaAllah.

I know there will come a day where I will regret not hugging my parents enough, not telling them I love them enough. I pray that my husband and I don't take on this typical asian parenting style as our daughter grows up, I hope that we can nurture her feelings, show her we love her and allow her to express her feelings to us without it being awkward.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

What nobody tells you about having a baby | Relationships


When I look at this photo I remember how exhausted we both were that day. It was taken at my brother in laws Walima and the little bubba was being super fussy and clingy (she was coming down with a cold). The look on our faces shows the lack of sleep and no time to relax for probably a month before because of my cousins wedding, sisters wedding and brother in laws wedding (if you know asian weddings you'll know there are so many events leading up to it and after it). This was the last of them and we were just glad the family weddings were over for the year.


One thing no one really talks about when planning a family is how having a child effects you as a couple. Like all couples we had our ups and downs before having a baby but it was pretty easy going and carefree looking back at it now.

Having a baby changes things significantly. You're overwhelmed with love for your little one but with that comes the lack of sleep, the exhaustion of caring for a human being that is solely dependent on you and the lack of time and energy you have for each other. Believe it or not, it's easy for a mother to give all her time and attention to her child and for your husband to feel like you don't love him as much or don't have time for him anymore.

Realistically dressing up, going out and 'date nights' are going to be that much harder.

I'm not going to lie it's not been easy and it still isn't easy. There are arguments about who did the most, who washed the bottles the most, who got the most sleep and if you're a stay at home mum you may have even heard the dreaded 'I went out to work, you stayed at home all day'.

Some days I'm watching the clock and counting down the hours till hubby comes home just so he can take her off me and I can go to the toilet on my own. I actually think I would have gone crazy if I didn't live with my in laws because having a child stuck to you day and night it mentally and physically draining, so the few minutes she stays with my mil or sil is a huge blessing.

There are often times hubby and I are living together but so busy with life that we don't have time to even talk to each other, this builds tension and I find myself getting angry with him for little things (literally little things like the fluff of his socks coming off on to the rug...writing it out makes me sound crazy and he often thinks I am too when I nag him for these things).

The only way to prevent things building up so much is communication. Men are terrible at picking up hints and realising things for themselves so if something is bothering you, just tell him. Sometimes when I'm in a bad mood hubby just leaves me to it, after I've done nagging him and complaining he'll ask 'What can I do to make things better?' and that just helps me to take a step back and actually evaluate what's wrong and what I need him to help me with.

For example I've told him that after he comes home from work and freshened up, I need him to take her from me and allow me to be by myself for a little while, whether that's lying in bed doing nothing, watching TV with a cuppa or taking a bath, I need him to be in a completely different part of the house so I am truly by myself. This helps me to unwind and recharge.

I've given him specific requests like on his days off he could do the morning routine of brushing her teeth and get her ready while I had a day getting ready in my own time.

Doing this has also helped me look at things from his point of view too he works hard outside the home, so I do the night routines, try to settle her in the night and do my best to ensure he has a proper sleep (although that's not always possible). I make a conscious effort to be more empathetic with him and help him out when he needs it too.

Although it's easier said than done, it's really important to make time for each other as well. Even little things like watching a series on Netflix together or getting take out on his day off, gives you both something to look forward to. We often have sushi nights where we try to put the baby to sleep before getting some sushi to eat in our room. Now that our daughter is a bit older and more comfortable with other family members we plan to leave her with her aunts and grandparents and go out to do things that make us feel young again. Being a parent really makes you grow up and being a grown up can get boring. So experience outings like extreme trampolining, Top Golf, Go Ape or doing some sort of sport together will help freshen things up and change the routine of adulthood.

I've had girls tell me about wanting to have a baby but not being in a 100% stable position with their spouse. If there is one advice I can give is be completely sure of who you are as a couple, try and resolve any issues you have with each other and be completely happy with each other and the status of your relationship before planning to have children. Some might think a baby will fix their relationship, make their spouse take more responsibility and make more time for them but it's more likely to do the opposite.

Having a baby is a huge strain on a relationship and if you don't have a 100% supportive husband it only makes your life much harder. Enjoy your life together before the responsibilities of having a child and build the foundation on which your family will grow.

Be realistic and be prepared for the changes that will come with becoming a parent, speak to your husband about the things you expect from him and see if your ideas on parenting match up.  Throughout the whole journey communicate communicate communicate.

Honestly parenting is a difficult 24/7 job, but it is easier and more enjoyable when both your spouse and you are on the same page, understand and support each other.

Beauty Review | Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint



I've trialled and reviewed a lot of liquid lipsticks in my search for the perfect colours, a formula that is comfortable on the lips and not too drying, one that doesn't bleed when not worn with lipliners, that is long-lasting and one that is transfer-proof. For me the Fenty beauty lip paints tick all the boxes bar one they're not transfer-proof but I can live with that.


I absolutely love the packaging of these lipsticks, they look and feel very luxe, which in my opinion just adds to the whole experience of buying and using makeup. Taking a place of pride on my dressing table they look like they're worth every penny.

U N C E N S O R E D



I bought this red lip paint when it first released even though I'm not a huge fan of red lipsticks on myself because I don't feel like red suits me. But I was excited to get my hands on it as it was marketed as a 'universal red' one that suits every skin tone.


The colour is slightly darker than the classic Hollywood red but I think I just prefer my red's much darker. I don't tend to reach for this much because I'm not that daring but it is perfect for bridal makeup and on special occasions.

U N C U F F E D


After seeing this on fellow blogger 'Safiyyah Tasneem' I felt like this colour was very much like Anastasia Beverly Hills 'patina' liquid lipstick, however after trying it out on my lips its definitely a less pink and more nude colour for me.


I bought this during the black Friday sales on the Harvey Nichols site where Fenty Beauty was discounted 10% (not much, but they never have Fenty on sale in the UK so this was so worth it!). The colour is the perfect pinky/mauve nude for me as it matches my lip exactly. It's literally like my own lip colour but better. It's the one I can see myself using on a day to day basis with minimal makeup.

U N V E I L E D


This lip colour gives me so much nostalgia, it's such a 90's colour, the colour I remember my mum and aunts always wearing, the colour my older cousins would wear on special occasions. When I saw this I knew I had to have it. If it wasn't for Fenty I don't think I would have ever been drawn to this shade but I'm so glad I got it because I'm in love!


I feel like this colour makes my thin lips look fuller and is perfect for Autumn/Winter. I love it so much I feel like just wearing it around the house for no reason. I actually look forward to doing my makeup just so I can wear this lipstick...my new fav!

Overall I would highly recommend the lip paints, they very long lasting and don't really budge even after eating and drinking. They apply really evenly unlike other liquid lipsticks that can apply streaky. They don't make your lips look or feel dry and flakey.

Double thumbs up from me!

Friday, 24 August 2018

Mama & Baby | Salam Sisters Review


Growing up in the era of barbie and bratz dolls I hardly saw any representation of people that looked like me or my family, forget hijabi dolls there were hardly any dolls or toys that represented people of colour, with different eye colours, types of hair and facial features. All the toys were very euro-centric.

Obviously as a child I didn't pick this up, but it did cause an underlying effect, that now when I reflect on it, is down to what we were exposed to as children. What I mean by that is, by only being exposed to very 'white' European dolls as well as the colourism that exists in our culture I grew up thinking or feeling like those dolls represented the ideal beauty standard.

I never felt comfortable giving my daughter a barbie not even for the reason I mentioned above, but because of how sexualised the dolls are. Why does a young child need a doll with accentuated womanly features and makeup? 

I could talk about these issues but that calls for another post entirely, I just wanted you to get the idea for why I was so excited when I came across the Salam Sisters dolls.


Salam Sisters is a group of 5 fun, loveable, culturally diverse dolls, each doll has different hobbies, interests and skills. They're not your average dolls, each one motivates your child to dream big, be ambitious, compassionate and follow their dreams. 

Choosing the doll I wanted for my daughter was not an easy task. The radiographer in me wanted to choose Nura who loves science, or Karima who loves sports and dreams of being an olympian (my daughter started playing football before she could walk) but I went for Yasmina because it's the one that looked most like her and representation is one of the main reasons I fell in love with these dolls. For me it was important to have a doll that looked like her to encourage self-confidence. I would love to have the whole collection for her one day so she can see the beauty of diversity in her toys as she does in the real world.

Yasmina arrived just in time for Eid, when I opened the box the excitement in her face made our hearts melt. She couldn't wait to take the doll out of the box and start exploring. After opening I saw how this doll was more than 'just a doll'.

Inside the box was the Yasmina doll wearing a removable pre-styled scarf and under-cap, a spare scarf to style your own, a hairbrush, activity book and an augmented reality play-mat.




They are aimed for children aged 3+ as there may be small parts, which pose a choking hazard, in this case the smallest thing was the shoes (which isn't that small), however, I have been supervising her play just to be on the safe side.

For now my daughter enjoys role playing with her doll, brushing the hair, putting on and removing the shoes and that's as far as it goes because she's only 16 months, when she understands a little bit more I will be introducing the book at play-mat to her.


The play-mat is pretty cool and the first time I've come across something like this. When you download the free Salam Sisters app, you can use the play mat to bring your doll to life through augmented reality.


If you want to your child to be able to make use of all the features that come with the doll I would recommend this for girls aged 5 and above, but younger children can still play with the doll, they just may not understand the concept completely.

When I originally posted about the dolls a few people messaged me saying they thought the dolls were too expensive, I was also skeptical to begin with when I first came across them but let me tell you the price is so worth it. Like I said they're not your average doll as they have so many dimensions to them, the doll itself, the accessories and how technology is incorporated into it via the app. It's like the statement piece of the toy collection.

My daughter loves trying to feed the doll and read with it (I think she thinks this is her new sibling)




The quality of the doll, the packaging, the illustrations and everything just shows how much thought, amazing craftsmanship and work went into this project and I commend the artist Peter Gould and his team for being able to execute this so well.

You can check out the rest of the dolls in the range and purchase your own by clicking here

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What do you think of these dolls? Drop a comment below!