summer/ramadan updates 2015

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Happy is the person who knows what to remember of the past, what to enjoy in the present, and what to plan for the future.

We live in the present, we dream of the future, but we learn eternal truths from the past.

The future influences the present as much as the past.

Greetings everyone, hope you’re all well! Just a quick update from my little corner in England. I noticed that several more people have started following my blog, a big thank you from me. If you read my ‘about me’ and ‘about my blog’ pages, you will have a glimpse of me as person and my reasons for blogging. Hope that will help you understand this blog a touch better. I don’t want to bore you should my blog not be your cuppa tea! Anyway, back to my chattering, we are right in the middle of summer here. In fact, it’s predicted to soar up to 30c in a few days! That’s just like back in my homeland, Malaysia. A bit too hot, to be honest! Typically, I prefer the English summer when it’s between 20-25c, with the breeze blowing gently. Even then I suffer from hay fever as pollen levels tend to be quite high when it’s warm. I guess I have to stay indoors a lot more or make sure I take my hay fever tablets regularly.

As for my fasting, we are on to our 12th day today, time flies, almost halfway through already. I am looking forward to the Eid celebration at the end of our month’s fasting, InshaAllah. A wonderful reward indeed after a bit of hardship in Ramadan. I remember the Eids during my childhood very well, where our friends and neighbours from different races and religions also joined us in our festivity. I miss those times very much, they were extra special for sure. I guess you can tell I’m a bit homesick, don’t you? As mentioned in my previous post, I can’t help but feel melancholy during the months of Ramadan and Syawwal. Oh well, life goes on as they say, as I flit between my memories of the past, dreams for the future to my present life here in England. Such is the nature of my blog it seems.

Even though I’m fasting, I’ve been busy with indoor/outdoor educational activities with my youngest two. It’s been good, I must say! Each season has it’s own charm here in England, I try to capture them in my blog now and then. As for the rest of the family; my hubby’s busy at work as usual (he needs a long break), my big girl is finishing off her summer term with numerous interesting school trips. My son who’s officially a school leaver after he completed his GCSEs in mid-June, is currently doing voluntary work at a local organisation to pass his time. He hopes to pursue A-Levels in September, inshallah. Right, enough rambling, time for some pictures! They were taken at a museum and at a country park, during our educational outings. I’ve also included a picture of one of our Ramadan iftars (dishes for breaking fast) at the end. I’m not a food blogger, one is sufficient, yeah? Okay, maybe two. Till next time, take care all!

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my youngest two dressed up as Tudor (500 years ago) ladies; one rich and the other one less fortunate

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my youngest as a Victorian girl (150 years ago)

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posing by an old fireplace

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they love exploring museums

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amazed to find an old typewriter

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I love this little water pump and barrel

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WW2 air raid shelter

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summer blooms everywhere

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lovely summer’s day up the hills

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my middle daughter during our hill walk

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we were with a group of home educators tracking down Iron Age sites (2000 years ago)

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our simple Ramadan iftar

followed by main meal, the one Malaysian dish I cook often, Chicken Rice

our main meal, the one Malaysian dish I cook often, Chicken Rice

eid memories

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Life brings tears, smiles and memories. The tears dry, the smiles fade; but memories…MEMORIES LAST FOREVER!

Greetings everyone! Today is the 6th day of the holy month of Ramadan (Muslim calendar), I can’t believe it’s almost a week since we started fasting! Alhamdulillah, we are managing fairly well even though we fast for around 19 hours in England. Anyway, as always, this blessed month tends to make me rather nostalgic. I miss my family and homeland more than ever at this time of the year. Memories of fasting there in Ramadan followed by the Eidul Fitri celebration which comes a month later (Syawwal) stays with me. The last time I was in Malaysia for Ramadan and Eid as a single young woman was back in 1996, a few months before I flew to England to pursue my Masters degree. Little did I know at the time that it would be my last Ramadan and Eid there. My whole life changed afterwards when I met my husband and settled down in England. I still return to my homeland every few years but it rarely coincides with the auspicious months of Ramadan and Syawwal. These months are truly special for they increase our spirituality as well as strengthen our relationships with our nearest and dearest. I look forward to future Ramadans and Eids with my family, relatives and friends back in my homeland, InshaAllah. And this time I return with a family of 6! As usual, I miss my beloved father more than ever in Ramadan, I wish for the hundredth time that he was still alive to see my growing family. He would have been very happy. May your soul rest in peace Papa, you may not be with us in body but I keep your spirit alive, your grandchildren knows you through my memories. I leave you with several images from my Eid in Malaysia ages ago, along with a nostalgic Malay Eid song I still love. Ramadan Mubarak to all, do remember my family and I here in your prayers…

my younger sisters with my parents on Eid day, 1996

my younger sisters with my parents on Eid day, 1996

me on Eid day, 1996

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my parents with my son, their first grandchild, Eid 2000

Never too early to play that nostalgic Eid song…I could listen to it over and over again…

marhaban ya ramadan

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Ramadan is, in its essence, a month of humanist spirituality.

The philosophy of fasting calls upon us to know ourselves, to master ourselves, and to discipline ourselves the better to free ourselves. To fast is to identify our dependencies, and free ourselves from them.

Fasting is, first and foremost, an exercise for identifying and managing adversity in all its forms. With faith, in full conscience, fasting calls women and men to an extra degree of self-awareness. Professor Tariq Ramadan

MAY THE SPIRIT OF RAMADAN

STAY IN OUR HEARTS AND

ILLUMINATE OUR SOULS FROM WITHIN.

HAVE A BLESSED MONTH

PEACE AND BLESSINGS TO ALL.

ramadan2015

 

young summer

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What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade. Gertrude Jekyll

It is the month of June, The month of leaves and roses When pleasant sights salute the eyes, And pleasant scents the noses.  N.P. Willis

No price is set on the lavish summer; June may be had by the poorest comer. James Russell Lowell

brunch date

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Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.

The best thing in life is finding someone who knows all of your flaws and mistakes and weaknesses and still thinks you’re completely amazing.

It’s the first day of June today and I’m feeling as fresh as a daisy! My hubby and I have had enough crap from people by the time the weekend arrived, we therefore decided it’s time to focus on ourselves for a bit. As it happened, the ideal opportunity came up just at the right time. My son was occupied with his GCSE revision, my big girl and littlest girl were at their Saturday Arabic School and my middle daughter was away in the countryside for a residential trip. Such golden moments are very rare, so we grabbed it without further ado of course. This time we decided to venture further afield for a brunch date. I was so looking forward to it, almost like going out on a first date all over again!

We were spoiled for choice as to where to eat, but finally decided on a particular cafe based on the online Tripadvisor reviews. That’s one good thing about modern technology, I must admit. Food was exceptionally good, unlike our regular breakfast at our local Sainsbury supermarket cafe. It was a special treat, one we both deserved. We ate, chatted, laughed; it was a light, magical moment. Weather was perfect too, beautiful in fact. Blue sky, cotton wool clouds, 14c with no wind. Who would have thought a simple outing like this could bring out the best in us both? We made a mental note to go out on more dates in the near future, God Willing.

can you spot me?

can you spot me at the cafe?

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latte for me and chai for my hubby

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full english breakfast with duck’s eggs and bubble and squeak for hubby

my salmon egg benedict

my eggs benedict with salmon and chives topped with hollandaise sauce

hubby and I

hubby and I

After dining for an hour, we went for a stroll. The area we were at had many boutiques and bespoke stores, it was a great place for window shopping. We were like a young couple once more; giggling away at this and that, discovering hidden gems together. We ended by a bench overlooking a beautiful park, laughing away like mad as we tried to take a selfie together. My hubby said it was like getting to know me once more, I felt the same. It’s so easy to lose yourselves when you’ve been married for almost 2 decades, what more when there’s 4 children as well. It hadn’t been easy raising a family all on our own. But (Alhamdulillah) we managed somehow and now we can have a breather as the children are all older.

It’s time for us again now I hope, aside from being mom and dad we also want to focus on being ‘you and I’. It’s not in our culture to leave our children with babysitters, so that’s out of question I’m afraid. But we look forward to more opportunities such as this brunch date in the near future, as our children will have more commitments of their own as they grow up. Anyway, I leave you with some pictures I took from our brunch date, as always, not everything can be captured. You will certainly lose the essence of your special moment if you keep snapping away. Have a good week ahead folks! To fellow Muslims, our countdown to Ramadan has certainly begun!

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an aladdin’s cave we discovered

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leisurely stroll by a historical building

awesome architecture

awesome architecture

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we strolled passed my dream hotel, maybe a 1 nite stay on our silver anniversary?

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Sitting on the bench together reminds me of this song; our happy moment, Alhamdulillah!