Eid Mubarak!

I took this photo of the Kaaba about three years ago. We were on Umrah. It’s my favourite image from that time and I wanted to share it with you all today.

Eid Mubarak and a huge congratulations and welcome back for all those returning pilgrims who have completed Hajj. We hope everyone is having a beautiful blessed Eid. Our prayers go out to those who are displaced this Eid ~ may your homes and hearts be filled with peace where ever you may be.

For my Kids this Eid is all about Prophet Ibhrahim and Prophet Ismail, and my son whose namesake is the latter was three years old when we took him on Umrah with us. He was familiar with the story but when he saw the Kaaba in real life it really was an unforgettable moment for us all.

Have you seen the Kaaba? What did it feel like the first time?



Between An Eclipse And An Eid

And The Small Things In Between

Were you able to watch Monday’s Solar Eclipse? We had a cloudy overcast day here in our part of the UK, so we missed witnessing this magnificent event.

Still, I couldn’t help but feel it in my bones. This meeting of the Sun and Moon. Celestial bodies as old as Time. Unchanged since creation. Male and Female. Ying and Yang. Day and Night. The Ultimate symbol of duality. I LOVE this verse of the Quran, and was reminded of it :

Coincidentally, the eclipse also heralded the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, the last month in the Islamic calendar.  

The last ten nights of Ramadan, the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah – both times for the worshipper to ring in extra rewards and increase the currency of all good deeds. Except, being  in the midst of packing for our flight back to Boston, I seem to have more earthly matters on my mind.

How has it been six weeks already since I posted these tips on flying with children?

The kids have Eid to look forward to when we get back, a very special Seventh birthday pretty much straight after, and of course back to school too! All three events within days of each other. I say the kids have these things to look forward to – because in all honestly – just thinking about the organization entailed for all of this is making me want to crawl back into bed while I still have my sisters around to babysit the children!

The pressure is always on, to conjure up a perfect Eid, make the best birthday memories, turn out the smartest kids at school, but when all this comes to overpower me, I will think of the Eclipse and the Sun and the Moon and the Balance. And I will think of my balance and I will be grateful and I will (in the words of one of my cool mama friends) not sweat the small stuff.

We’re really thankful for the opportunity to spend the summer with my parents and sisters.  I’m going to take a few days off from the blog in anticipation of travelling back, and all that pre-school, pre-eid prep. Hopefully all the while retaining my balance. We will see you all again soon with Aiysha rejoining us as she emerges from the vortex that is the first couple of months of new-born babyness. (By the way I went to see her a couple of weeks ago, and it was so lovely).

In the meanwhile, don’t forget to check out this awesome lesson plan for celebrating Eid-Ul-Adha with your child’s class.

And this Mama’s Du’a for all the babes off to school… 

Also “On promising my children the Moon”

Image Credit; Paper Cut Mixed Media by Zarina Teli


Girl’s Week Out

A Faraway Treehouse reTreat

So my sisters and I had been wanting to go on vacation together for a while now. We should have probably done this while we were still all single (I actually can’t believe we never got round to it!) but finally this year is the year the Teli sisters holidayed (vacationed) together!

It was a vacation within a vacation and we happily handed over all the planning to one sister.  I remember receiving a text message about a ‘tree-house holiday’ while I was still submerged in the last few weeks before school was out for the summer in Boston Mass – not even opening the link until almost a month later – the night before we were to set off! 

I honestly didn’t care where we were going – I just cared that I didn’t have to organize it!

No husbands. No parents. But bringing the kids with us was a no brainer. They rarely get to see their Khalas (Maternal Aunts) all together, so we thought a dose of concentrated Khalas and nephews and nieces time would be perfect.  In fact we just got back a few days ago and I’d love to tell you about it.

On Monday afternoon our party -(minus one sister who was to meet us at the destination), piled into the car and drove two hours north to a small village in West Norfolk (England)

We grew up in the Lincolnshire Wolds so the setting wasn’t going to be too far from familiar for the adults but we were to stay in a tree-house, which certainly was a novelty for both adults and children.  A tree-house, a winding river, a campfire, and a nearby sea saltish English town… the marrow of childhood summer right there.

Anyway here are some photos from our stay in West Lexham – Four sisters and Four kiddos (three of mine and one of my sister’s –  my one and only galumptious little niece). 

The smell of wood, the sound of rustling leaves was the most nostalgic calming combination ever ! The bathroom was surprisingly luxurious – with unique tiled walls around he shower and for some reason the warmest part of he tree-house, so although there was no sauna – it always smelt like one – that hot clean wood smell.

These chairs were straight from the cottage of the Three Bears!

Look at this log stone oven and hob! Tried and failed miserably to cook breakfast on it the first day – cooked on a regular gas hob in the outdoor kitchen for the rest of the holiday!

Cooking outdoors really was so so lovely though. The tree-house is set on private acres and walking from the tree-house to the outdoor kitchen was a fun back and forth for the children “Mama, Zareen khali (the designated cooking Khala)  says she forgot the potatoes” and off they would be sent on a potato errand.

My favorite meal of the trip was this banana pancake with salted caramel ice cream for breakfast! The pancake hot and  crispy on the outside and just the right ‘gooeyness’ on the inside.

It was lovely to have part of this little river bend all to ourselves. 

These two explorers had the best time stirring its murky depths with a wide variety of sticks. The thrill of finding the slimiest algae and squelching in the squishiest mud was un-paralled.  I tried not to be over cautious while they played getting as close to the edge as they could- but we made sure an adult was nearby.

Zero internet connectivity in the treehouse, and a weak wireless connection outside if one stood in a certain place … which was brilliant to be honest!

We decided to take everything at the children’s pace, there was NO rushing around to be anywhere at any certain time. Post breakfast water pistol fights and bubbles, one afternoon of playing board games with the Khalas (board-games are not my jam) Pre-dinner games of tag, evenings spent roasting marshmallows in the dying embers of an outdoor fire…

This lot’s laughter could be heard quite a while away – the trees so densely leafy around he tree-house that one could hear them but not see them sitting in the sunshine  on the pretty deck outside.

We realized this funny thing that each sister had done! Each one of us had bought something to the table so to speak that was so ‘Her’. One evening the Arty One bust out paints, paint brushes and a little painting project for everyone!

The Foodie had us covered for all our cravings from full English breakfast to Condensed milk drizzled on crumpets (true story). Also don’t know how she did it but before leaving she planned the food shopping with my Six year old and Three year old in tow  (along with her own 8 month old) and somehow stayed sane enough to accommodate the kids excited choices for camping food and shop for JUST the exact amount of food we ended up needing for five days and four nights.

The ‘Thoughtful One‘ had bought cake and candles and wrapped up gifts for the children much to their utter delight , because when you’re that age candles and cake are everything.

Here’s one merry little painter … the other one was having a huge meltdown because his egg had touched some water.

Here’s my ahem ‘masterpiece’ if you’d like to see!

Which one is your favorite?

And then there is me. What did I bring? I literally brought bling with me. I was the Blinging One! I had packed a glamours outfit for each sister – Kashmiri Tilla Glam and had instructed that no one forget their makeup! We then spent part of an evening dressing up and I took Beautiful Photos of everyone!( I probably enjoyed that the most out of all of us) Kids were not left out, they had face paints, (packed by the Thoughful One)

There was lots of this…

‘We’re going on a bear hunt … “ If you know that book then you’ll KNOW it just had to be sung here with great gusto.

And lots of this.

And of course lots of evenings after all the littles were put to bed, spent reading our summer reads, eating chocolate (and crumpets drizzled with condensed milk!), drinking tea and reminiscing of the sometimes funny and sometimes sad stories that only siblings can share, you know how it is.

At the end of our own childhood road trips, sitting in the back of the car, when the Teli sisters’ height’s were still aligned in age order order: Big. Middle. Small. (Baby Teli hadn’t been born yet) Papa would ask in universal Dad Speak jollyness ‘Did Girls Enjoyyyy???‘

And from the back seat the answer would come.  Whether a weak ‘yeees’ or roaring ‘YEEEEEAAAs’ (we would have never dreamed of saying ‘No’). The tone and lilt of that yeees sung in unison or omitted by a sulky sister said it all.

You can bet the ‘Foodie’ (who was also our designated ‘Driver’), took great pleasure in re-enacting this and the kids had no idea why we burst out in fits of laughter afterwards!

Love you sisters, I am so thankful we were able to go.

Have you gone away as a group? Best friends? Sisters? Mums and Moms? Tell us your favorite stories and destinations in the comments.


Also; When Aiysha traveled to Fez with her sister  and stumbled upon this amazing Drink.










‘The Light Passing Prophets’

Every once in a while I am asked by someone, a friend, a fellow mama, a teacher, a blog reader – to recommend a book of prophet stories for young children. Where do you get your narrations from they will ask. There was no one book I could name and say here it is … because every time I narrated a prophet’s story for my kids it was an amalgamation of details from stories I had read in adult books and details from stories I remember my Mama telling us when we were little.

Until now. Recently (on Aiysha’s recommendation) we read a book of prophet stories narrated so well and full of new insight that on the last word my six year old said bitter-sweetly ‘I wish there were 52,000 more pages so we could read more’.

His wish is not far from reality, as the book is based on Amina Adil’s FOUR volume compilation;

‘Lore Of Light : The Stories Of The Prophets From Adam to Muhammad Drawn From Traditional Ottoman Sources.’

In this book ‘My Little Lore Of Light’, the same stories are shortened and simplified but not changed. However even this shortening and simplification yields stories with much more nuanced detail than I had ever come across before. From sweet morsels like the story of Nuh’s pudding, to magnificent ones like the origin of Prophet Musa’s staff, the stories are told in such beautiful detail that make all the prophets seem…well… REAL. 

Did you know what happened after Nuh’s ark came to land on Mount Judi? Allah asked Hazrat Nuh and the settlers with him to make clay pots, which they did as commanded – thousands of pots piled high on top of each other to be used later. Then Allah asked Nuh (as) to remove a pot from the bottom, and they all came crashing down. This was in order to show Nuh (as) what it is like to destroy your own creation. After this Prophet Nuh  ‘…felt great sorrow and asked Allah to forgive him for praying for that terrible flood.’

Did you know that the same staff owned by Musa once belonged to prophet Adam? It was made from a tree of paradise and given to Musa by the Prophet Shu’ayb.

Did you know that prophet Musa asked to see Allah’s Face?  Allah agreed to first reveal Himself to a mountain instead, and when the first Ray of Allah’s Light hit the mountain it shattered and crumbled into dust.

Did you know that Prophet Yahya was a serious little boy always thinking of the greatness of Allah and his own imperfections? He was prone to bouts of weeping, so much did he cry that his cheeks were permanently marked by tears.

My Little Lore of Light also gives us the amazing stories of the lesser known prophets (all of whom are mentioned in the Quran). Prophets such as Seth, Idris, Hood, Yusha, Armiya and Uzair to name a few.

It really brought into perspective for us the chronology of the prophets, and we were surprised to learn of certain prophets who were contemporaries of one another, such as Prophet Ibrahim and Prophet Lut.

Still, one of the most beautiful aspects of the book is this visual thread that links all the prophets to each other – it’s so soul satisfying and utterly beautiful the way it starts with time before time, when only Allah existed. The first thing He created from His own light was the light of the Prophet Muhammad (saw),  and the book goes on to talk about the creation of the world and Hazrat Adam, and how Allah gave to him a portion of the light of the Prophet Muhammad. Therein each chapter begins with“And then the light passed to…” and the name of the next Prophet

(It is not annotated or referenced like an academic book although I think the compilation it is based on is)

This concept evidently resonated with my Six year old because he decided he wanted to make his own ‘Prophets Book’. Proudly titled ‘The Light Passing Prophets’

The premise being that we ‘revise’ (ie he gets to hear me re-tell) a story and he writes the name and draws a few visual reminders from each prophet’s story. (Of course we already talked about not drawing the figure of face of the prophets themselves.) 

This turned out to be a lovely relaxing activity. I wish I had more of my son’s drawing of the prophet stories  to share with you, but I am writing this post in the U.K and we didn’t pack them with us when we left

Suited to children aged six and over, I did feel that sometimes the stories held less of a pull for my three year old who was also listening, as we would mainly read them at bedtime. The description of destruction, plagues and famines, pretty good fodder to hold a six year old’s attention, was sometimes a little ‘scary’ for his little sister.

This is a short read for an adult wishing to acquaint themselves with the stories and order of the prophets, I haven’t yet had a chance to look at the Four Volume tome it is based on, but am already excited to read more and take the children on the journey with me.

One of the the best ways to nurture faith in young children is to plant true love for the Prophets  in their  hearts. I really hope those of you who ask about Prophet’s stories may find this helpful in someway.

If you have any other resources, please do share in the comments.

Here are some other posts among the archives where we have talked about this favorite topic of ours (basically different ways of narrating stories of the prophets to our children!)

‘Mum why are there no Female Prophets?’ 

A Surprising Sunnah Story

Sharing a Seerah Story through Shadow Puppets

A Colorful & Interactive Hijra story 



Basmallah Baby

‘The whole of the Quran is contained in the Fatiha*, the whole of the Fatiha is in the basmalla** بسم الله  and the whole of the basmalla بسم الله in the  bā̛ ب  and the whole of the bā̛ ب  in the diacritical point under the ب

(Quote attributed to Ali Ibni Talib from The Study Quran)


What an amazing visualization!

Doesn’t it make you want to paint the biggest ب  possible on a blank canvas and just throw it up on your wall as beautiful  art?

When I first read it, I thought to share this visualization with my children  and turn it into an ‘activity’….it would be exciting to tell them this ‘story’ about the letter bā̛ ب and then we could paint the beautiful boat like letter.

While we were talking about this ‘stacking’ visualization …( because what more is it than that?)  My older one  ‘got it’.  ‘Like the milky way galaxy and then the solar system and earth and friends and then me!’ he observed. 

One of the most popular and basic children’s toy is the ‘stacking’ toy. This concept that what is ‘big’ has stages of ‘little’, that there are stages and order in all things is a beautiful motif which can be applied to almost any observation. It is wonderful to see that understanding in your child of his or her position in the world in relation to others. A simple block of wood can be held, observed, felt. Conversations could lead to thinking about what the wood was before it came into our hands,  for example he tree it might have grown from, the plant that the tree once was, and the seed that was the beginning of it all.

The Beginning of it all. B is for beginning. And what is more a sign for those who ponder over such beauties of the universe than a newborn baby, so precious in it’s shining wet newness, so supremely full of potential and all that life could be. B is for Baby.

Six months ago when my own third baby was a newborn bundle in my arms, I would read the fine print of his face every morning. I knew by the third child to savor those first few golden days, breathe in his other-worldly  scent that would fade away too soon like a stunning dream that escapes you the more you try to remember it. I committed to memory the hues of his honey colored hair, the way it petered out into minuscule forehead hairs – mapped so perfectly and meeting in the aspect of his brows like a swirly painted starry night.

Over the next few days and weeks his features seemed to emerge like a black and white photo graph developing in front of my eyes. Light, almost invisible eyelashes turned darker, thicker. Translucent nails on fingertips turned opaque. A smile surfacing, at first watery and soon bubbling and gushing into plump cheeked laughter.

Everything my baby could one day be as a boy, a teenager, a man, in him already, like the tiny acorn seed holding the majestic oak. It’s like when you notice an expression on the face of your three year old, a certain angle, perhaps catching you by surprise as you briefly get a glimpse of the young woman inside.

It made me think back on that Basmillah quote by Imam Ali. All babies are a ‘Basmallah’.  A beginning holding within itself  the purest form of potential that God breathed into every soul. Holding a newborn baby is to hold infinity in the palm of your hand... touching for  a moment that tenuous link somewhere between life and death. The way I imagine we may one day pass into the hereafter from this – our Earthly ‘Womb’ is not dissimilar to the way a newborn is birthed into this Earth, from its own Universe of the womb.

But I am losing myself here in these thoughts and all this talk of newborns can only mean one thing! Yes! This past week we welcomed another Blessed Babe into the Mini-nushka tribe. Remember when Aiysha was ruminating on whether she should find out the gender? Well, she kept it a surprise right till the end, and I get to be the lucky one to announce  ‘It’s a BOY!’  And oh what a sweet blessed boy he is!

Mama and Baby are doing well . Welcome to the world sweet new soul, and may you and your presence on this Earth bring forth peace, love and joy to all whom you come across. May you be of the strongest of hearts and of the kindest of hearts, the bravest of hearts and of the most steadfast of hearts. May all our children be of those who bring hearts together in goodness. Ameen.


To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour

(From Songs of Innocence by William Blake)


*Fatihah is the opening chapter of the Quran

** Basmallah or ‘Bismillah’ is the phrase every chapter of the Quran begins with, meaning ; ‘In The Name Of God’

Image Credit  Blue Bismillah Painting (Unknown) If this image belongs to you, please let us know so we may credit accordingly. 


What’s On Your Summer Reading List?

When I was little summer holidays (or vacation) meant going to visit my grandparents in the Valley of Kashmir. A plethora of cousins to play with, shopping for the years worth of Kashmiri embroidered outfits, trips to tailors and duppatta dye houses, munching of the most amazing pears and fragrant apples from my uncle’s  orchards – and reading books. There was never time for a LOT of books, but I would take one summer read. And then forever, that book would remind me of that summer. 

These days, I’m on my summer hols again, blessed to be able to have a ‘vacation’ from daily life. But this time it’s my kids turn to visit their grandparents (aka – my parents in England), and summer is full of different joys. Ice lollies, the best fish and chips ever, circuses, fairs and car-boot sales. Even Grocery runs with Nani-Mama are way more exciting than those back home in the USA with Mama. And of course their three Khalas who swoop down to make life magical.

As for me? Well finally, I have time to read. I look through my list of Books To Be Read that have accumulated over the year, and one of my sisters hands me a book that’s not even on it – ‘Have you read this? She says “I just sobbed and sobbed through it’. With that, the list is put aside and I settle into a comfy spot, safe in the knowledge that the kids are being supervised by some other doting adult.

I’ve just finished reading Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance – which left me breathless (and yes sobbing) and wondering how a writer could pen like that? To stir the heart through words on  printed paper, to pluck each letter and choose their alignment, and like his tailor protagonists, stitching together a word a sentence a page…

Last year one of my sisters asked me if The Handmaid’s Tale would be a good summer read, I scrunched up my nose at her and told her it might be ‘a bit heavy’. She read it anyway and told me how perfect it was to take with her on her travels! So not all summer reads have to be beachy and breezy I guess. (As it happens this book is enjoying a resurgence of readers this year I think due to the Hulu Tv Adaptation.)

I had a peek at Aiysha’s list and asked her to share too. So here are 9 in total from the houses of Aiysha (AM) and I (ST)   that we can’t wait to get our noses into! 

The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness by Arundathi Roy  

Because I was forever in the Love Every Single Word of God Of Small Things Camp, and because I’ve heard this long awaited second novel by the activist author promises more than a hint of a Kashmiri story-line (and you all know my love affair with the valley of Indian occupied Kashmir). (ST)


When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Because when worlds of medicine and literature collide in such a lucid way, life itself seems to open up its secrets. A book about dying written by a neurosurgeon who died soon after completing it seems like a strange thing to want to read but this New York Times number one bestseller has been calling me ever since it was posthumously published.  I love this interview given by the author’s wife,  who writes the book’s epilogue. (ST)


Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Because I’ve never read this author, and in my personal reading circles have heard such high praise for the novel that I didn’t even need to make a note of the name to remember it. Tackling themes of prejudice, race and justice one book club member iterated all I can say is that this is the type of novel that needed to be written’. Sold. (ST)

Lean in by Sheryl Sandberg

Because Women, Work and the Will to Lead? Yes please. I’m not a huge proponent of ‘self-help’ books but I’m going to go for this one, written  in response to the author’s 2010 TED talk on the ways women are held back. And  because a lovely friend recommended it to me – and sometimes, that’s the best reason of all. (ST)

Hunger by Roxane Gay

Because I am captivated by anything she writes and this memoir detailing her relationship with her body looks to be a poignant, beautiful and yet difficult read. She weaves all the things with such deftness and subtlety. (AM)

Content Warning: Hunger deals with sexual assault & rape.

Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

Because what is summer without a few good young adult novels to speed through without any guilt or pretence? I am particularly excited to read this one, not only because the author and I grew up in and around the same community but any new YA title with Muslim protagonist makes me very happy. Representation is everything. (AM)

See also Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni-Eddo Lodge

Because the title of this book is the exact thought I have at least once a week. (AM)

Known and Strange Things by Teju Cole

Because a well written essay is a delight to read and revel in – from this collection I want nothing but sharp writing and pointed observations. Make me think. (AM)

Hymns & Qualms: New and Selected Poems and Translations by Peter Cole 

Because is there ever a better time or place to read an incredibly soaring volume of poetry than in the middle of summer, on a picnic blanket in the shade of a big oak with the river running by? Cambridge summers were made for poetry like this. I only recently discovered this volume by chancing upon this poem as shared by a friend, but I knew the moment I felt the words that these would be the poems of this season. (AM)

Have you read any of the books we mentioned? Thoughts? Do share any of your own recommendations!




Life Savers (kind of) While Travelling With Children || Travelling With Kids

Today I’m travelling. Cross Atlantic. On my own. Okay not on my own – because actually that would be luxury- can you imagine?  Sitting down for 6 hours, watching a movie, meals being brought to you…reading a book … yeah after travelling with children a basic bog standard flight on your own starts to sound like a mini vacation. What I meant was that I will not have another adulting person with me, instead my travel companions are my three children.

I’ve done this so many times now I couldn’t tell you the exact number. All the flights to and fro U.S.A – U.K have kind of blurred into each other. But what I do remember is the progression. The progression and learning curve that has been 7 years of trans- Atlantic travel since I became a mother.

Here’s to reminiscing on the things that made it just that little bit easier…


Travelling with (one) baby

First time Mama. 3 month old baby. Walking around JFK asking for somewhere to nurse baby only to be told ‘go use the bathroom’ you go use the bathroom and feed your baby using a toilet lid as a chair and are totally not confident enough to wonder if this is acceptable or not. I think standards at JFK regarding this may have improved since 2010.

Life savers : Red eye flight (this basically means an overnight flight so baby or child sleeps) AND Calling airlines before hand to book a Baby bassinet seat. Only good for babies under 6 months old but awesome if you baby actually takes to it and sleeps! Which mine did, hence life saving move.

Preciously saved hand pumped breast milk. Because it was still awkward trying to breast feed in that cramped space.


Travelling with a toddler

Life savers : A totally different attitude to breast feeding. You’re a pro by now and the guy sitting next to you on the airplane doesn’t even realize your  15 month old is having a ‘snack’ under your shawl.

A good neck support pillow. We bought ours at the airport in JFK… best 20 bucks ever spent.

Kid’s dress up fireman hat (or any other obsessed over object – a spoon, a bottle with a screw lid, ice in a cup, stickers, for mine it happened to be said fire-man hat and  of all things -tooth-brushes! A brand new tooth-brush kept tears at bay and him occupied for a good chunk of time)

Lollipops – from this day on lollipops are your best friend while travelling with children.


Traveling with child and pregnant with second

Life savers:  Kind people sitting next to you who let your child use a drawing app on their iPad

An empty seat next to you because you booked your flight on a random weekday time.



Travelling with three year old and baby

Life savers: $5 child sized headphones

Ergo carrier AND stroller. It’s the first time you really need to take a stroller as you will have baby in carrier and child can sit in stroller while sleepy or too tired to walk.



Travelling with Five year old and Two year old

Life savers: An older kid who is so well trained in air travel by now that he actually (miraculously?) ups the good behavior and listening to instructions part.

One Balloon. Bust it out (but careful not to burst it – pack an extra one in your pocket for such an emergency) while you’re waiting at the gate. Kids play with it and each other, get lots of wiggles out before boarding plane. Best part – when you ask your 5 year old to find another kid he could ‘gift’ it to just before you have to board and seeing the smile on that kid’s face (choose a child that is not on your flight but is waiting at a different gate)

Pizza before boarding from an airport cafeteria (take it with you on the plane if kids not hungry – they will definitely prefer to eat it later over the airplane food being served)

An empty tote folded up in your carry on luggage – it’s amazing the amount of stuff you accumulate with two children by the end of the flight and it’s easier to throw everything in a tote than try to cram everything back into a carefully packed luggage…


Travelling with a First Grader, a Pre-schooler and a Baby

Life savers: I have  no idea. This is the first time I will be doing this. See you on the other side!

(I’m taking lollipops and going to pray for Nice People seated near me who don’t think it’s their God given right to be on a flight where no baby or child can act their age.)


What have been some of your ‘life savers’ while traveling with children?


Also Mamanushka travels, same same but different  



To Ramadan, With Love

My Dearest Ramadan,

We waited for you for so long – an entire year almost. We counted the months, then weeks,then days until your arrival and yet, even with our constant anticipation, it seemed that you came suddenly and all at once. One day you weren’t here and the next day you were.

I was happy to see you but frustrated at your swiftness. I had intended to prepare for you much better, but you found me in the late stages of pregnancy – my house a mess, my spouse travelling, a bare freezer and young children who had recently decided not to share me with anyone or anything.

So, I welcomed you the way I welcome all guests these days, with an open door, a big hug and an invitation to “help yourself and don’t mind the mess”. I didn’t sit with you the way I was taught to sit with guests, I didn’t give you the time or importance a host ought to give those who visit. I tried to check in each morning and night but some days (let’s be honest, most days) fell asleep awkwardly on the sofa and woke up in a panic hoping you’d forgive my awful manners.

But you never complained and you never made me feel bad. On the contrary, like the best of guests, you brought with you many gifts – a little something for everyone. And for me it was the all-encompassing feeling of goodness and peace. You let me know you understood where I was at and accepted my few good intentions and small tokens with much grace and encouragement.

In truth, I feel so ashamed – I took you for granted, but you took me as your friend. You made me feel special, important and worthy – all things that aren’t so readily felt these days. With the recent tragedy and hate-mongering in the world around us, you reminded me of the greater purpose of my life and the miracle that is my own creation.

Good company is a Divine gift and as I sit here on what may be the last morning of our month together, I am reminded of the words of our beloved Prophet, abundant peace and blessings be upon him:

A good friend and a bad friend are like a perfume-seller and a blacksmith: The perfume-seller might give you some perfume as a gift, or you might buy some from him, or at least you might smell of its fragrance. As for the blacksmith, he might singe your clothes, and at the very least you will breathe in the fumes of his furnace. [Bukhari, Muslim]

You, my sweetest Ramadan, your presence, your light, your very existence are a gift to me beyond all measure. I hear you packing your bags, tidying your things, checking your departure times and I am sad. My heart feels full and my eyes overflowing but still I am thankful that, by the Mercy of Allah, we have had this time together. That, like the best of company, simply being in your presence has enhanced me and though we soon say goodbye, your fragrance has infused my soul.

Thank you, my most precious perfume seller, my most honoured friend and my most cherished houseguest. May we meet again.




Also The Best Thing About The End of Ramadan



Image Credit: Unknown. If this image belongs to you, please let us know so we may credit accordingly. 


And The Winner Is …

After an exhilarating ten days our first ever Giveaway has ended and we have a WINNER!

Drum roll please! (see what I did there?)….

Congratulations to Uzma who commented to say ‘…I hope I win so I can give (the doll) to my daughter Zainab along with the book, so we can read at story time with her brother..’

Uzma, we’ve emailed you so make sure to get back to us ASAP, your Drummer Girl Doll is waiting to come home! 

Thank you for all the lovely comments and to all those who entered, we wish we had enough dolls and books to send to everyone.  The good news is, even though this is our first giveaway, it won’t be our last. We really enjoyed collaborating this one – thank you again Fareesa of Fairy Dast Productions for crafting this gorgeous doll. If Fareesa has plans to make more drummer girl dolls our readers will be the first to know! 

What other collaborations would you like to see on Mamanushka? Hit us with some ideas in the comments below.




Yes that’s a Drummer Girl DOLL ! Have you seen anything more adorable this Ramadan?

You all had so much love for last week’s post about Hiba Masood’s new book Drummer Girl. Our Facebook and Insta posts were full of queries from readers outside North America on how to get hold of a copy. Daybreak Press have been notified and something is in the works. 

BUT  here’s the thing – In honour of our first birthday we asked the lovely Fareesa of FairyDast Productions to make this beautiful bespoke doll especially for us here at Mamanushka. And Oh my, she has come out so beautifully! The details are amazing right down to that ‘flowy green scarf’! the doll is an absolute pleasure to hold and I have had to keep her very carefully hidden away from my kids because today we are giving one of our readers the chance to WIN this very doll for themselves! (Or a really special kid in their lives). 

We will be sending her off to the winner along with a copy of the Drummer Girl book with a special message inside from the author Hiba Masood herself.

You guys there is only ONE Drummer Girl Doll in existence! We wish we could keep her but her true home is waiting for her out there and it could be yours!

Can you believe she handmade this? Whats your favourite detail? 

To Enter Our First Ever Awesome Mamanushka Giveaway, Complete The TWO Steps Below: 

Subscribe To The Mamanushka Email List

Let's be 21st Century penpals! First, enter your email address below and not only are you on your way to being entered into our AWESOME GIVEAWAY but you'll also be the first to know of future giveaways and new posts!

Now check your email and confirm your subscription. Please use a working email address as we will use this address to notify you if you win.


Comment On This Post By Telling Us Which Doll Is Your Favourite

Then, visit  Fareesa at FairyDast on Facebook, Instagram and/or her Etsy shop here and leave a comment below this post telling us which doll is your favourite (or just say hi!).


That’s it! You are now entered into our Drummer Girl Custom Doll & Book Giveaway. Keep on reading below for more pics, terms, conditions and all that good stuff.

For one extra entry into the giveaway do all of the above AND visit our Instagram page and tag a girl who you inspires you to march to the beat of your own drum. (you do not have to have an instagram account in order to be able to do this)

The Giveaway is open to all our readers internationally. A winner will be chosen randomly on the evening of Monday 19th June 2017  (EST) . If you win you must reply to the email and claim the prize within 5 days or we will have to randomly select someone else! 

(That cute little drum though!)

Everyone involved in this collaboration from author Hiba Masood of Drama Mama fame, to Fareesa Dastagir who set up her own business of making Hijabi Ragdolls to the publishing company Daybreak Press are all Muslim Women led brands that we at Mamanushka are happy and proud to support. 

Also, we’d like you to know that neither Mamanushka nor Fairy Dast Productions were compensated in anyway for this collaboration! It’s straight from our heart to yours!


Image credit; Hijabie Ragdolls by Fareesa Dastagir