Monthly Archives: December 2013

winter cheer

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Hello everyone! Just a quick post as I’ve truly missed blogging, just been so busy though with the whole family at home over the winter break. Weather’s been mainly dull, dreary and gloomy, lashings of rain and strong gales which had caused flooding, power cut and travel disruptions in many parts of the UK. We haven’t had snow yet however, temperature’s still around 6-9c, not cold enough! Anyway, we’ve been hibernating as we normally do at this time of the year. Our winter cheer comes from food that is plentiful, our warm fireplace and each other’s company, Alhamdulillah. This is also the time we catch up on our favourite movies, with daylight approximately 8 hours daily, our activities are all confined indoors! If you dwell on it can be rather depressing really. But after 17 years I’ve got used to these dark winter months and I tend to just get on with it the best I possibly can.

I can hear the strong winds howling away as I blog this post, probably about 30 miles per hour. Anyway, I shall leave you now with several images of my winter cheer and a song from my children’s favourite Christmas cartoon, The Snowman. There’s something magical and sad about it, I get melancholy each time I watch it. Anyway, I’ll probably catch up with you all in the New Year, can’t believe we’re at the end of 2013 already, where has the year gone? For those of you in the West, don’t forget to wrap up warm! And for those in the East, never take the sun for granted! Till next time, take good care folks! 🙂

our warm fireplace

cuppa tea!

chocs always cheer us up

cracking nuts by the fireplace

Shepherd’s Pie

roasted chic

lil ones decorating their freshly baked cupcakes

they decorated their gingerbread biscuits

our choc chip muffins

our choc chip muffins

butter cake

christmas market

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People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy. Anton Chekhov

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer. Albert Camus

While I relish our warm months, winter forms our character and brings out our best. Tom Allen

Greetings everyone! Hope you’re all well! Despite the lashings of rain and howling wind last Sunday, my hubby and I took our girls out to the Christmas Market which is an annual affair. However, presumably due to the bad weather, there weren’t that many stalls this time around compared to the previous years. The market wasn’t a Victorian themed one either, although there were still some ancient characters lurking about here and there, my youngest was spooked! My son wasn’t with us as he was out with his mates from school watching The Hobbit 2. We still managed to have a fairly good time, in fact it was refreshing to be out there in the cold for a bit. The festive Christmas atmosphere is certainly in the air, it brings cheer to the dull gloomy weather.

Anyway, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all those who are celebrating Christmas a lovely time. I don’t celebrate it but I look forward to the long Christmas/Winter break as it’s a time to unwind by the fire place with my loved ones. I leave you with some pictures I took at the Christmas Market and my favourite Christmas song from my teenage years. It was blaring away at the market, I still love it! And don’t forget to read my posts Victorian Encounter and Victorian Christmas from last year, especially if you enjoy a trip back in time like me! 🙂

festive despite the bad weather

hubby with our 3 girls

Xmas reindeer

gg

spooky characters from The Hobbit

hubby and middle daughter with Gandalf

speciality tea stall

closer look at the speciality tea

bought new winter woolies for the girls

love the warm scarves

lunch time

delicious aroma

roasted chestnuts

just the thing to warm us up

Season’s Greetings from hubby and I!

 

victorian cottage

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I’m feeling a bit melancholy at the moment, not surprising really as it’s dark and grey all the time! I sometimes wonder how the Victorians tolerated the bleak wintry days, mind you it was certainly harsher back then. Imagine a life without gas, electricity and proper vehicles! As much as we moan about the dreary winter days today; we’re snug and warm in our little homes, not to mention connected 24/7 to the world. Such was not the case in the old times. I was browsing through my old photographs and came across our visit to a countryside museum back in 2008. We had the opportunity to visit an old Victorian cottage and experience the lifestyle they had. It was very educational indeed, especially for my 3 older children (I had only 3 back then). I’ve always been a bit of a history freak, I love going back in time.

England is full of such places, the British preserve almost everything. Even my house is over 100 years old! As we looked through the photos, my youngest who is now 4.5 years old, said she would like to visit this cottage one day. And my older ones have forgotten many details from their visit 5 years ago. Inshallah, I hope we can return there someday soon for another visit. In the meantime, let me share some of our experience with you. We went there in the middle of autumn, I remember it being rather cold but breathtakingly beautiful. We completed the visit by taking a walk in the forest where the Victorians worked. It was truly lovely! Looks like the Victorians will descend upon us here real soon, like they do every year at this time. Do read my posts Victorian Encounter and Victorian Christmas from last year to understand what I mean. Do take good care!

outside the Victorian school

my girls in their Victorian gear

my 3 children and I outside the Victorian cottage

the reception room

the living room cum kitchen

the laundry room

the bedroom

the Victorians grew their own vegetables and reared poultry

at the nearby forest where the Victorian men worked

where the workers took shelter in bad weather

hubby and little one by the bridge

outside the museum with my cheeky ones

raking leaves

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I found this poem which brought a small smile to my face, it reminded me of my son’s activity last weekend! Do enjoy it!

The Aching Joy of Raking Leaves

by Steven West

From dusk to dawn,
Falling leaves coat my lawn.
Trees at my home and trees next door.
Cover my green, grassy floor.
With rake in hand, I stand alone.
Bending down with an aching moan.
Pile after pile I rake in place.
A warm, sweat covers my face.
Bags after bags there must be twenty two.
Finally, I say that I am all through.
Then just as I am ready to go inside
And lay on my couch with pillow aside.
Wouldn’t you know a gusty wind crosses my place.
To empty thousands of leaves on my space.
I take my rake and break it in two.
I’ve had enough raking; What more can I do?
A young boy taps me on my hand.
“For ten bucks I’ll rake your leaves off your land.”
I accept the offer then go inside.
Then collapse on my couch as if I had died.
It doesn’t take long for me to fall asleep.
But I start counting leaves instead of sheep.

my son raked the autumn leaves for us this year

goodbye autumn leaves (the ever-green leaves on though)

my hubby raked the leaves last autumn

season’s end

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When the pretty birds have flown,
And you feel hurt and alone,
Be strong and carry on,
And remember that life goes on. 
― Mouloud Benzadi

The passing of my dear uncle last weekend marked this season’s end, autumn has now made way for the early winter days here in England. The temperature has gone down to single digits and the days are so short, sunrise is currently at 8am and sunset is at 4pm! The trees are almost all bare (except for the evergreens), the autumn leaves scattered to the ground. I took the picture below with my mobile phone camera whilst in the car with my hubby just before sunset last weekend. Winter is definitely here to stay for the next few months!

trees bare at sunset

I still feel a bit down from having lost my favourite uncle, but life goes on as they say. My husband was away on a work trip in Tokyo when I received the heart breaking news, it was my 4 children who comforted me physically. As word eventually got around, my in-laws, neighbours and friends called to check on me and paid their condolences. My best friend was also there for me (despite the distance which separates us), as she was when I lost my father 12 years ago. Even though my heart felt very heavy indeed, I had to pick myself up by that evening. I simply could not ignore this sweet and thoughtful note below from my middle daughter.

a sweet note from my middle daughter

My beloved hubby finally returned shortly after and I heaved a sigh of relief, this is the man who understood me at times when I didn’t quite understand myself. I simply cried my heart out to him, he consoled me just as he did when I lost my father. He had told me to prepare myself when I first found out my uncle was going downhill. But one can never be prepared for such a thing, it’s always going to be a shock. Though I still felt a bit numb a few days later, I carried on with my daily routine. I increased my prayers and reading of the Holy Quran, certainly the best sources of comfort and healing at the time of grief. As I watched my youngest daughter play with her friend one afternoon, I realised how much I am needed by my husband and children. No matter how sad I feel inside, I must be happy around them. I have to carry on smiling and do my best for my family. Just the way my dad and uncle did. This is what life is all about. It’s about living, loving and being there for one another. It’s about carrying out our roles in life, as ordained by our Creator. Yes, we make mistakes along the way, we live and learn. We seek forgiveness and we strive to do our best always till our last breath.

my youngest playing happily with her friend

My hubby took a day off and escorted me to a lovely Indian restaurant one evening, whilst our children were at Madrasa (evening religious school) for a couple of hours. It’s been a long while since we went on a dinner date alone like this. We’re the sort who love having the children around us 24/7. But once in a blue moon, it’s rather nice to have some quality time to ourselves. It’s crucial for us to remember how we started off and the feelings that came along with it. It certainly enhanced my feelings of being loved, appreciated and needed. It made me feel all good, positive and happy once again.

 ;n;m

lovely ambience at the restaurant

As we sat there enjoying each other’s company and the delicious cuisines, I also listened very intently to the calming Bollywood music which played in the background. I recognised one particular number towards the end of our evening, from the movie video my dad had borrowed for me once upon a time. He had wanted to cheer me up and knew how much I loved Bollywood movies back then. As I stared at the candle light which flickered by our dinner table, I suddenly realised something very important. My light has not gone out yet; it shall continue to flicker for now. I shall continue to live and love, and I shall carry those who have left me close to my heart. They will always be a part of me. Winter may be here with it’s bleakness, but Inshallah the seasons will continue to change for me…and I shall soon smile again.

hih;o

my light will continue flickering for now

The memorable Bollywood song that was playing in the background…live and love sincerely and whole-heartedly…