‘Did You Know You Have Two Hearts?’

Teaching Your Child About Their ‘Own True Self’

“Did you know you have two hearts?

Yes! There is the one inside you, that beats and pumps blood around your body.

But then there is your real shining Heart which is your real true self.”

Ever since Aiysha wrote that sweetest of posts introducing Baby Eesa to you, our lovely readers, and acquainting us with the the concept of the ‘Shining Heart’, I’ve been wanting to do a mini halaqa for children based around this totally universal of  topics.

And just a few days ago the perfect opportunity arose! Since schools were out, our Mommy & Me Halaqa group (we met Tuesday mornings at the ISBCC in Boston Mass) decided to replace the regular Halaqa with one for the kids and so, I volunteered to ‘lead’ it. ( A Halaqa is a kind of weekly ‘circle’ of people gathering together to learn),

What I most love about this idea of the ‘Real True Self’ is the Universal Truth at the core of it. Although inspired by the teachings of 17th Century Islamic Scholar Imam Al Ghazali, one doesn’t have to be Muslim to recognise the ultimate truth in this concept.  In islamic jargon this is described as the ‘fitra’ the knowledge of  inner good that all souls were created with and anyone, of any or even of no faith – any one with a heart will recognise it.

Can you believe that writing my thoughts out loud on the Word Wide Web doesn’t intimidate me but accepting responsibility for holding the attention of a bunch of kids was making my heart race?! Still this group of mothers and their kids are pretty awesome, the last project we attempted was a shadow puppet show depicting the story of the Hijra. 

The lovely people over at Fons Vitae from whom we first heard about this concept made it easy ~ I  based the ‘lesson plan’ on this winsome video and we were good to go.

Our kid crowd ended up being a good balance of 3-6 year olds with a couple of 8 year olds too.

Do note –  although I was presenting to Muslim children in a mosque setting this can absolutely be used as a presentation/ lesson/ work /activity for ALL children – of any faiths and of no faiths too. I really do think it’s  ideal  for any global classroom. In fact had I thought of it earlier I might have volunteered to be the class parent for my 6 year old’s ‘Valentines Day party’ at school and presented this as an alternate valentine activity about the ‘heart’

Here is what I said and did  if you’d like to see and the beautiful art work the children created as an activity afterwards;

Sit in a circle on the floor at same level as children

Who can tell me where their heart is?

Everybody get up…  ask one child to volunteer by coming up to the front and demonstrating to the rest

Star jumps / running on the spot/ get your wiggles out/ star jumps/ running on the spot / get your wiggles out.

Ask children to stop and sit down and put their hands on their hearts  

Feel your heart… can you hear it thumping? That is your PHYSICAL heart  –

It needs good food and exercise to be strong and healthy

What kind of foods do you think a healthy heart needs?

Now ~ did you know you have TWO hearts? YES! This PHYSICAL heart that beats and pumps blood around your body

AND there is your real shining heart which is your real true self. That is your SPIRITUAL heart.

This heart needs food too but a different kind – this heart needs LIGHT And like a flower it always turns towards the light and like the Moon it always reflects  light.

This is your real shining heart – it gets dirt on it when you do things that are beneath your dignity like






You can polish your special invisible heart when it gets dirty and keep it the way it truly is full of light. What are the kind of things we can do to polish our hearts?






If you polish your heart with kindness and good actions that make it shine – It will shine right out of you like sunbeams on your face and sparkles in your eyes and you will always look and feel lovely. I can see that all of you must have beautiful shining hearts because I see such sunshine faces right in front of me!

One way of keeping your heart shining is by following the Sunnah. Who knows what the Sunnah is?

(‘Sunnah’ is the tradition of or the ‘way of’ the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), his example and the way he would conduct his life ~ The practising Muslim is encouraged to follow all the sunnahs)

Can you give me some examples of the Sunnah?


Helping people


Giving charity

Let’s read a story and see if we can spot some important Sunnah practices in it.

(Choose any book you like, it doesn’t have to be an ‘Islamic book’ per se. In our house any book with a message of goodness, kindness and truth is an ‘Islamic book with an Islamic message’ I chose this one which is an absolute favourite of my kid’s at home about a Zoo Keeper whose best friends come to visit him while he is sick. The main Sunnahs depicted in this book are those of kindness to animals and of visiting the sick (both of which are practices the Prophet exemplified and highlighted as virtues)

Of course this particular book was being read to muslim children hence the emphasis on the Sunnah but were it being read to a general audience one could just say : “lets read this story and see if we can spot some shining hearts in it” or something to that effect.

Here is how one artist chose to represent their shining heart …

Image Credit : Flowering Heart Painting By Zarina Teli

(I felt it important to introduce an element of the visual too) I happen to own this painting but for this part one could present other examples by artists depicting the heart or the state of the heart. Some examples are here & here.

What do you think about it?

How does it make you feel?

Why do you think the artist chose flowers ?

Would you like to make some art representing your shining heart?

Would you like to make a drawing of one  thing that you will do to make your heart shine today?


‘Fill your Heart with Love, Kindness and Mercy’ 



Kiss & Tell

Totally Edible & Truly Moisturising  Lip (And Body) Scrub You Can Make Right Now!

Being a new mama … well a mama to a new baby anyway, always means lots of lovely visits from friends and well wishers. When a friend recently called to say she would like to come over that night, my MIL (who travelled all the way from Kashmir, India to stay with us for a while) started worrying about what she should prepare for the guest. She was ready to start cooking elaborate Kashmiri dishes when I told her  Relax, My friend said she will  bring dinner.

What? Your guest will bring the food with her? This was a new concept to Mama-in-law, but when I explained that in this culture where families don’t often live with other members of the extended family and women already have so much to juggle with new-borns, other children and often no external help, it made sense to her that this was a normal way for friends to ‘help out’.

That evening Mama-in-law was not only introduced to lasagna for the first time (she LOVED it) but also to the norms of American ‘Mom-culture’.

So the next time this happened , she wasn’t surprised when another friend revealed a deliciously warm just baked cake from the depths of her bag and all we had to do was make some Kehwa to enjoy it with. This time though there was a little something extra along with the cake.  My lovely friend Aminah  had casually ‘thrown together’ the sweetest ‘care package’.  A box with, amongst other things, some decadent chocolates (which I may or may not have hid from hubby and polished off during post mid night nursing baby sessions) a beautiful beaded bracelet and one pretty little jar with the words ‘after shower body scrub’  written on the lid.

I made this for you, enjoy she said.

I used it all over post shower like Aminah had suggested and it was great.  But post shower time is pretty rare these days so recently I started using this as a lip scrub and OMG you guys it’s the best because it totally works. Aminah if you are reading this you need to rename and re-market this thing.

Not only did it do a lovely job of sloughing off all those rough parts, it left behind a film of moisture on my lips with no need for any extra lip balm. The best part is the fact that once scrubbed there is no need to wash it off, you can just lick it off your lips! (Or let your Halal Valentine kiss it off!)

If you enjoy trying home made beauty remedies add this to your arsenal :




One part almond oil

One part olive oil

2 parts brown sugar

(Oil:Oil should be  1:1  &  Sugar:Oil  should be  2:1)

One teaspoon nutmeg

Half teaspoon cinnamon



Mix all together and put inside a cute jar with a lid. 

Give as the sweetest gift ever or keep for yourself !

Oh and keep out of reach of children (in case they eat it all up!).



Be Mine (Halal) Valentine || Be Mine (Halal) Valentine || Muslim Valentine || Arabic Valentine || Illustration by Good On Purpose


What do you mean… Valentine’s Day is coming up?


It is mid-January, well over 10 years ago and my husband of four months is looking at me with a type of perplexed surprise. I have just mentioned that in several short weeks it will be Valentine’s Day and how much I love Valentines.


Isn’t it just a completely vacuous, commercial holiday?


Rationally, I can see his point of view. Many traditional Muslim households don’t (openly) celebrate Valentine’s Day. And yes, I suppose it has become, like so many other holidays – I’m looking at you Christmas, Easter and Mother’s Day – a marketers dream. A way to validate “love” if you feel you have it, or make you feel inadequate if you feel you do not, and  either way there’s something you can buy to show it off or make yourself feel better.

But for me? I grew up in a middle-class Canadian suburb and in my social circle, school and even my home, Valentines was a thing. My father brought home the most beautiful flowers, the kids in my class sent candygrams and as my friends moved from giving cards to everyone in class to slipping just one into the locker down the hall, the idea of Valentines grew ever more charming and precious..

As time progressed, I had my share of Valentines requests, cards and presents. I was genuinely flattered but when they started to come my way: But one year, my Mama learned of them and that evening she sat me down.

One day, she said,  you will have a Valentine. And your Valentine will give you cards and flowers and presents and will be the most amazing Valentine. Better than any you could imagine right now – better than any of those things in your bag. And it will be blessed and meaningful and so sweet because, InshAllah, it will also be halal.

In my heart, I knew what she meant: That the bounds of romantic love are sacred in our tradition – to be honoured and cherished in their proper context. From a young age, our parents had made an effort to teach us that this kind of love was a phenomenal, beautiful experience to be deeply treasured. That love itself was a cornerstone of our faith – a reflection of the perfect Divine Love from which we were created.  And that our beloved Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, was the ultimate romantic and his relationship with Hazret Khadija a model for the type of love which excites, soothes, illuminates and uplifts… yes, I knew what my Mama meant.

So, with all that in mind, I held onto to the idea of my Halal Valentine. Whoever he is, I would pray each February, make him the best Valentine ever.

And yet, here I was… with my actual Halal Valentine and he was questioning why we should even celebrate the day! A sinking feeling began to grow within me as I realised I might never have any sort of Valentine’s now, halal or not. And the words tumbled out fast, hurried and dramatic:

All my life I’ve waited to have a Halal Valentines. I have returned presents, rejected flowers, turned down dinner invites. I have waited to be able to say yes to dinner with candles, to cheesy cards, sugary candy hearts with random love words printed on them. I have waited for a Valentine’s where I could say yes to obnoxious stuffed animals, boxes of chocolates and long-stemmed roses. I don’t care if it’s a commercial holiday, I don’t care if it’s corny or cheesy – this is the Valentine’s I waited for!


At the time I didn’t know what he was thinking. We didn’t discuss it much further and I vaguely remember him saying something like okay and we moved on.

But when that February 14th rolled around, a gorgeous bouquet of flowers arrived for me accompanied by a box filled with every cliche Valentines goody possible: candy hearts, cinnamon hearts, chocolates, a stuffed bear, jewellery and, of course, a card with a pun on the front. For the evening, reservations had been made and, after praying maghrib with him, I stepped out with my Halal Valentine and it was, it really was, the best ever.


“And among His Signs is that He created spouses for you from amongst yourselves for you to live with in tranquility: And He has ordained love and kindness between you. Verily in this are signs for those who reflect.”
Qur’an 30:21



Also, this lovely article on marriage, gifts, the Giver and being gifted by Yasmin Mogahed

And ~ Is your heart shining?

Image Credit: ‘Hub’, the Arabic word for love.  Illustration by Aiysha Malik


Keri Ka Do Pyaaza: Indian Lamb Curry With Raw Mango & Fried Onions

A Deliciously Different Instant Pot Recipe || Keri Ka Do Pyaaza: Lamb Curry With Raw Mango & Fried Onions || Hyderabadi Cuisine || Easy Indian Curry || Instant Pot Curry

A couple of months ago the following missive popped up on my newsfeed:

Everyone order one now! I just ordered a couple – one of them will be my upgrade.  Go do it now! Nobody else has them listed this low.

The post was from Asima Mohammed, a witty and thoughtful fellow blogger who I knew best through her luscious recipes and gorgeous photos. But what was she advocating for with so much passion? I clicked through and there I saw it: The Instant Pot. This thing suddenly seemed to be everywhere – acquaintances on foodie groups were extolling its time saving properties and busy parents couldn’t stop talking about how, within minutes, a few frozen bits turned into delectable meal… and yet, despite all the buzz I still couldn’t figure out how it worked or what this magic actually was.

But now, Asima had recommended it! She said it was a good price! She bought more than one! I did need something life changing in the kitchen…

So, I bought it.

And while I was at it, I bought one for my Mama as well.

Yes, my Instant Pot purchases were made purely because this lady told me to make them and I am not ashamed.

The problem was, when the Instant Pot arrived, I had no idea what to do with it. I guess the best way to describe it is an electric pressure cooker but more – so much more.

My initial internet searches brought up hundreds of recipes for beans, rice, stew or cheesecake – none of which sounded worth the effort of setting up a new machine. So I messaged Asima to ask for one of her amazing recipes, with the condition that it could be made in the Instant Pot. Hopefully, I added,  something that wasn’t beans, rice or stew. And in true big-hearted foodie fashion, she sent me this. Not only a recipe but also its history – definitely the best kind of cooking inspiration.

Simple but exquisite. I am so excited to share it with you. If you have any questions or queries on this recipe, please leave them in the comments, where we will ask Asima to answer them. Enjoy!

~~~~~~~ || Keri Ka Do Pyaaza: Lamb Curry With Raw Mango & Fried Onions || Hyderabadi Cuisine || Easy Indian Curry || Instant Pot CurryBaby Asima With Her Mother

The year was 1979.

My mother had just arrived from India as a young bride. It took her some time to adjust to her new life in Canada. She spent her days overcome with homesickness, along with some morning sickness, trying to adjust to her surroundings.

One of the things that would settle her stomach were sour raw mangoes that my father would bring home from Chinatown. She’d sprinkle them with red chilli powder and salt. Her other favourite was rice and yogurt with chunks of green chillies sprinkled overtop.

These two made up the bulk of her pregnancy diet. Till this day she’s surprised that my brother wasn’t born a chilli pepper.

It wasn’t long before she started craving the spicy and sour flavours of her childhood home, a province of India called Hyderabad. Just one problem: before coming to Canada, she had almost never set foot in a kitchen. She needed to learn how to make something that was good enough to remind her of home but simple enough that she wouldn’t mess it up.

Enter Keri ka Do Pyaaza. This is a dish made in Hyderabad in late spring from keri or raw unripened mangoes, loads of onions and very simple spices.

It eventually became a part of her meal rotation but not before she had her share of culinary disasters. On her first try, she purchased paprika instead of red chilli powder. Everything looked and smelled great, but definitely didn’t taste the way it did back home.

But maybe this is what it was like in Canada, she thought, adding it to the list of things she’d have to accept of her new life.

Eventually, my father’s newlywed guard came down and the day he commented that things didn’t taste quite right was the day she ran to neighbourhood aunties for help and discovered she was using the wrong spice.

I’ve adapted this recipe for the Instant Pot. In doing so, I’m sure I’m going to get side eye from Hyderabadi purists (and South Asian purists in general). But my heritage takes a backseat when the kids are screaming for attention.

So if you’re all about the ritual of cooking, this is not for you. But for anyone else, make it and love it. This is your final warning.


Keri ka Do Pyaaza : A Seasonally Made Lamb Curry Flavoured With Raw Mango & Fried Onions || Keri Ka Do Pyaaza: Lamb Curry With Raw Mango & Fried Onions || Hyderabadi Cuisine || Easy Indian Curry || Instant Pot Indian LambCurry

1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

1 pound (454 grams) bone-in lamb shoulder
Cut into pieces – any bone-in red meat will work but will need additional cooking time

1 teaspoon garlic paste

1 teaspoon ginger paste

1 teaspoon red chili powder
This makes a slightly spicy curry so reduce the amount for less heat

½ teaspoon turmeric

¾ teaspoon salt

1 cup (50 grams) crispy fried onions
I make a big batch of this every few months and keep it in the freezer but store-bought from the Asian grocers works as well

1 cup (250 mL) water

1 small raw mango, peeled and cut into big strips

A small handful of fresh coriander, split


Press ‘Saute’ and then immediately the ‘Adjust’ button on the Instant Pot to bring the red indicator to ‘More’ for the highest heat setting. When the display indicates ‘hot’ add the oil and sliced onions… || Keri Ka Do Pyaaza: Lamb Curry With Raw Mango & Fried Onions || Hyderabadi Cuisine || Easy Indian Curry || Instant Pot Curry


Add the lamb pieces along with ginger and garlic paste, red chili powder, turmeric and salt. Cook for about 5 minutes while stirring occasionally until the meat is slightly cooked and onions have softened. || Keri Ka Do Pyaaza: Lamb Curry With Raw Mango & Fried Onions || Hyderabadi Cuisine || Easy Indian Curry || Instant Pot Curry


Add the crispy fried onions and water… || Keri Ka Do Pyaaza: Lamb Curry With Raw Mango & Fried Onions || Hyderabadi Cuisine || Easy Indian Curry || Instant Pot Curry


Lay the raw mango strips over top with half the amount of fresh coriander. Close the lid and select the ‘Keep Warm/Cancel’ button and then press ‘Manual’ and the ‘—’ or ‘+’ button to set the time to 15 minutes. Turn the knob to ‘Sealing’ and walk away. || Keri Ka Do Pyaaza: Lamb Curry With Raw Mango & Fried Onions || Hyderabadi Cuisine || Easy Indian Curry || Instant Pot Curry


When it is done, the Instant Pot will go to “Keep Warm” mode automatically with a series of beeps. Allow the pressure to naturally release for about 10 minutes after which you can release the remaining pressure by carefully switching the knob to “Venting”. Remember to release the pressure somewhere with cabinet clearance!

Open the Instant Pot and and hit the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button and then press “Saute”. After setting aside half the amount of mangoes continue to reduce the sauce until it starts to thicken and the remaining mangoes continue to break down. Press ‘Cancel’ when done and add the mango pieces back in. || Keri Ka Do Pyaaza: Lamb Curry With Raw Mango & Fried Onions || Hyderabadi Cuisine || Easy Indian Curry || Instant Pot Curry


Serve sprinkled with the remaining fresh coriander and a side of rice or riced cauliflower. || Keri Ka Do Pyaaza: Lamb Curry With Raw Mango & Fried Onions || Hyderabadi Cuisine || Easy Indian Curry || Instant Pot Curry



Thank you, Asima, for sharing your treasured family recipe and making it easy for the rest of us. Asima Mohammed is a mother of two from Toronto, Canada. She blogs over at Borderline Paleo and Orange Tiffin. Her recipes aim to help people of South Asian descent eat healthily based on a primal diet, without sacrificing taste.


7 Of The Funniest, Punniest Cards We Love Right Now

Funny, punny cards are so enjoyable and there’s something about Valentine’s Day that just cranks up the cuteness factor!

Sending and receiving cards is one of my favourite things to do and what’s better than sending that card to make that person smile. Here I say embrace the cheesiness of it all and roll with any one of these 7 chuckle-inducing cards and be thankful that we finally have options beyond “I Choo Choo Choose You.” || Funny Punny Valentine's Cards || Roundup || Science Card || Designed by The Chemist TreeHands down my favourite card of the year – I laughed and laughed.  Perfect for the science geek in your life – this features a drawing of the chemical structure of an antimicrobial in lichen. Swoon.

Designed by The Chemist Tree, the entire series is all pretty clever. || Funny Punny Valentine's Cards || Roundup || Foodie Card || Designed by Ginger Doodles

Foodies are always spoilt for choice with puns and I love the way this one is expressed in an exuberant hand-printed card. Everyone has someone they love from their head to their “tomatoes”!

Designed by Ginger Doodles Designs. || Funny Punny Valentine's Cards || Roundup || Foodie Card || Designed by Substellar Studio

Look at this sad cannoli! I’ve never seen such a tragic Italian dessert. It makes me want to write a long messsage and send it to my dessert-loving bestie immediately.

Designed by Substellar Studio. || Funny Punny Valentine's Cards || Roundup || Star Wars Card || Designed by Remember November Inc.Laughter. Joy. A card-giver craves to provide all these things. To your favourite Jedi. Send this. You will.

* Edited to add that I just learned this particular design is no longer available but an Internet search for Yoda Valentines brings up many great options. || Funny Punny Valentine's Cards || Roundup || Nerd Card || Designed by LeTrango

I absolutely adore board games and some time ago had an obsessive phase involving The Settlers of Catan. If you know anything about the game, you will understand this card immediately – any Catan fan “wood” chuckle with glee. (See what I did there?)

Designed by Pinwheel Printshop. || Funny Punny Valentine's Cards || Roundup || Foodie Card || Designed by Pinwheel Printshop

We all have a srirachi to our pho and this is the perfect card for the one who spices up your life!

Designed by LeTrango. || Funny Punny Valentine's Cards || Roundup || Cat Card || Designed by Clare Corfield Carr

This one made me laugh out loud – we all know a cat like this!

Designed by Clare Corfield Carr.






7 Essential Tips For Protesting With Children

‘United Sisters Of America’ When Muslim Mothers Marched The Women’s March 

 Image Credit; ‘AEIOU’ Designed By Shirra Baston & Alissa Kissel 

Did you go to the Women’s March?

I love the language used around these marches from the phrase ‘Sister Marches’ used to describe all the adjoining marches around the world stemming from the Women’s March On Washington DC, to the idea that these were not ‘protests’ but ‘Marches’ literally a ‘walking together in unison’. People were marching not to protest but to promote.  Promoting women’s rights, immigration reform and LGBT rights and also highlighting the need to address racial inequalities, and environmental issues amongst other things.

As I explained to my six year old – although these marches are organised and led by women, they are not only for women to attend. And by participating anyone can show their support and solidarity with all women. 

In Boston Massachusetts an excess of 90,000 women, men and children came and represented. And we went too! I told my son ~ I’m proud of you for walking with me, for coming with me in support of your mother, your sister and your sisters in faith and friendship.’  

Here are some photos from the day if you’d like to see along with some awesome things I learned about attending a march or protest with children…


1. Find Your Tribe

Our amazing leader Mama – Waheeda Saif had the brilliant idea of coordinating our collective presence as Muslim women and our allies, (mainly mamas and joined by non-mamas and fathers too) by marching together as a group. She made a facebook group and rallied everyone  together. It was a wonderful way to meet even more Boston based Muslim sisters.


2. Assess Safety

Is this a non violent demonstration? Do the police in your city have a history of attacking non-violent protesters? There is a huge difference between protesting when you suspect that there will be a militarized police force in full effect or when the organizers themselves may be concerned or warned of possible altercations.

Thankfully, here in Boston, these weren’t concerns prior to this particular march and it was one of the cities in the USA with the largest turnouts on Saturday and there were no arrests made in relation to the march. A church right on the fringe on the Boston Common had made itself known as a welcome space for us – not only for use of their bathrooms and prayer areas but nursing and changing stations were made available for mothers, along with refreshments. We made sure everyone in the group was aware of this ‘safe place’.  Meeting as a ‘tribe’ of like minded people with children was also a built in safety measure for those who chose to bring said children with them as we all looked out for each others kids in crowds that really did get quite overwhelming at times.  One astute mama wrote contact numbers on the arms of her children in case of separation.


3. Make Your Intention

Image Credit Sahar Z

Why is it important to go? What do you hope to accomplish?

On the morning of the march we designated a meeting place where we all gathered together to share names and stories of ‘Why I am marching today’. This was a perfect opportunity for everyone to renew and reassess their intentions behind attending.

I was super impressed with one young boy who held his hand up proudly while stating ‘I am marching today so my mom won’t be discriminated against for what she wears on her head’

We were far from the crowds gathering on the common but the energy was still palpable. And when we finally made our way toward the Common there was a strange moment where the gathering crowds seemed to part for us and people were cheering and clapping, it took us all a while to realise who the cheering and clapping was for! For us! Unapologetically Muslim Women. Watch the video here (watch from 2.06)


4. Make Stuff!

Image Credit: Hajar

Some mamas had a sleepover the night before and had a great time making art and banners together with friends. These young girls chose the quote they wanted to use and executed the design beautifully!

Image Credit: Vanessa Leigh

How inspiring for them to see this the next day? Crowds as far as the eye could see, their beautiful message shining bright.


5. Ask For Help

Image Credit: Vanessa Leigh

Don’t try to do it all yourself only to feel overwhelmed and anxious. Baby Eesa (yup that’s him covered in my pink shawl sitting cosy in the MOBY wrap) was officially the youngest little man in our group. He clocked in his first act of activism at just 2 weeks old!

Talking of the baby, I’ve had many mamas tell me they are amazed and surprised by the fact that I managed to leave the house with three kids in tow to make it to the March! Truth be told I wasn’t sure till the very morning of the March  if we would make it at all. The night before, during one of the many nighttime feeds and diaper changes for the baby – I made a little prayer that it would be easy in the morning to just –  Leave. The. House! When you know, you know! A newborn can add any where up to two hours to your usual ‘leaving the house on time routine!. My MIL would be with us and just an hour before we had planned to leave  I enlisted the help of a friend (who I knew was going child free) as a walking buddy to and from the March. It totally helped that she is also one of the calmest and kindest people I know. (Thank you Artina!)


6. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

Image Credit: Sahar Z.

When you are with children, have fun, relax. Along the way we laughed at many slogans, artwork and creativity. Some which had to be censored

‘mama what does DICKTATOR mean?’

‘It means a leader who imposes his laws on people – like the pharo in the story of prophet musa (moses)’ I replied without missing a beat – all the while actually being grateful that he isn’t too hot on spellings yet! And others which elicited a laugh even from the three year old of a humpty dumpty character who happened to be an orange tinged egg with fluffy yellow hair perched on a wall!

Don’t worry if you can’t ‘finish’ the  march/protest/demonstration exit whenever it’s convenient and safe for you and your children. We didn’t complete the march but we are so glad, that living in a city like Boston we were able to make use of the opportunity to join in.

Image Credit: Abigail Egan

It was more important for me that my children see the people with their own eyes, that they see and feel that ‘We The People Are Greater Than Fear’. 


7. Resistance can be many things!

Image Credit: Hayley Gilmore

Activism is not just candle light vigils and marching in the street. It can be educating your child, making art, coming together in communities, making a new friend, opening your doors to the needy, teaching a skill … so much more!

Did your city or a city near you march? What was it like?


Also Good Work: 4 Ways To Make A Difference


Design Inspo: Uzbekistan || Design Inspiration || Uzbekistan || Dildora Kasimova || Ikat || Fashion || Modest Style

After a particularly draining day last week, I tucked up onto our sofa and scrolled my social media feeds in blissful silence. I don’t know about you, but the algorithms for my feed skew towards political activism, current affairs and satire. But in that moment, I wished something beautiful and new would appear under my thumb – I wasn’t in the mood to go search my bookshelves or the internet for it, I just wanted something with a bit more style and a bit less stress.

And with that thought, this video magically appeared (h/t to the lovely Sirajunmunira)! It features  the textiles, clothing and traditional fashion of women from fourteen different regions of Uzbekistan.  Obviously this video was made for a modern audience but it showcases everything I love about Central Asian style. The sumptuous colour, clashing prints, oversized florals, long lines, layers, silk, accessories… for a modern modest maximalist like me, it’s the ultimate look.  Which got me thinking, I don’t have enough ikat in my closet and perhaps it’s time to retire some of those ‘muted’ tones and led directly to a weekend long browse of Uzbek fashion designers, instagrammers and shops.

I love the way these young designers and boutiques have taken one of their strongest and most specialised traditional industries (textiles in the form of silk production, ikat weaving and embroidery, most well known as suzani) and paired them with modern silhouettes to create looks which are both elegant and compelling and are definitely inspiring my latest wardrobe update.  Even if you tend to more pared down looks, there are elements and textures here which all tastes can appreciate – so feast your eyes and, as always, give us your take in the comments.


Dildora Kasimova

The first Uzbek designer I stumbled across on instagram, Dildora Kasimova founded her eponymous brand in 2006. Growing up, her mother worked in a textile factory and her long-standing love of traditional textiles and tailoring shines through. Working with those same traditional artisans, she creates her own textiles and accessories, giving us designs which exude an easy glamour. All images from || Design Inspiration || Uzbekistan || Dildora Kasimova || Ikat || Fashion || Modest Style || Design Inspiration || Uzbekistan || Dildora Kasimova || Ikat || Fashion || Modest Style || Design Inspiration || Uzbekistan || Dildora Kasimova || Ikat || Fashion || Modest Style || Design Inspiration || Uzbekistan || Dildora Kasimova || Ikat || Fashion || Modest Style || Design Inspiration || Uzbekistan || Dildora Kasimova || Ikat || Fashion || Modest Style


Moel Bosh

Founded in 2012 by textile designer Zuhra Inat and her three daughters, Moel Bosh clothes are a bit quirky, vibrant and fun. Dedicated to natural fabrics and showcasing their self-designed textiles, they note that their patterns are inspired by those observed in the great, ancient city of Samarkand.  All images from || Design Inspiration || Uzbekistan || Moel Bosh || Ikat || Fashion || Modest Style || Design Inspiration || Uzbekistan || Moel Bosh || Ikat || Fashion || Modest Style || Design Inspiration || Uzbekistan || Moel Bosh || Ikat || Fashion || Modest Style || Design Inspiration || Uzbekistan || Moel Bosh || Ikat || Fashion || Modest Style || Design Inspiration || Uzbekistan || Moel Bosh || Ikat || Fashion || Modest Style


Zulfiya Sulton

Be still my colour-loving, pattern adoring heart! Another amazing young Uzbek designer whose clothing I couldn’t stop admiring. Award-winning Sulton founded her line around 2013 and is dedicated to creating ultra-feminine haute couture collections. Dedicated to continuing traditional craftmanship, the elegant lines of her designs not only highlight the marvellous and unique textiles of Uzbekistan but transform them into wearable (and covetable), works of art. All images from Zulfiya Sulton. || Design Inspiration || Uzbekistan || Zulfiya Sulton || Ikat || Fashion || Modest Style || Design Inspiration || Uzbekistan || Zulfiya Sulton || Ikat || Fashion || Modest Style || Design Inspiration || Uzbekistan || Zulfiya Sulton || Ikat || Fashion || Modest Style || Design Inspiration || Uzbekistan || Zulfiya Sulton || Ikat || Fashion || Modest Style || Design Inspiration || Uzbekistan || Zulfiya Sulton || Ikat || Fashion || Modest Style || Design Inspiration || Uzbekistan || Zulfiya Sulton || Ikat || Fashion || Modest Style



For even more inspiration, visit the absolutely stunning LALI Fashion House – gorgeous and accessible ready-to-wear fashion inspired by the heritage of Uzbekistan. Now if only there was a way to purchase online… || Design Inspiration || Uzbekistan || LALI Fashion House || Ikat || Fashion || Modest Style



Feature image by Kareva Margarita, dress by Dildora Kasimova.







Is Your Heart Shining? || Your Heart Is Shining || Original Painting by Ausma Malik

Some months ago, my adorable five year old nephew taught our children that if they share and do good things, their hearts will be shining and full of light.* Our eldest was skeptical about this assertion as she wasn’t sure it could be verified but my just turned three year old not only accepted this “fact” but held it close and built it into an all-encompassing new worldview.

So these days, whenever he offers me a sip of his water, he follows it with the grave observation that his heart is now shining. While watching two children fight in the supermarket I hear him remark that their hearts are not shining. When the flight attendant handed him half a cup of watery juice? Thank you, now your heart is shining. And right before bed comes the ultimate question, Mama, when you turn the lights off,  can you see how my heart is shining?

The past few weeks have been spent sharing time with family and friends, being extra kind to ourselves and those who depend upon us and generally being grateful –  but guys did we ever miss you! We couldn’t wait to return here and find out what you’ve all been up to and share what we’ve been doing – and we come back with our hearts definitively shining for one big reason and that is because the latest, newest Mini-nushka went from being here: || Hearts Are Shining || New Baby Announcement || Mininushka


to being here: || Hearts Are Shining || New Baby Announcement || Mininushka

Alhamdulillah, this adorable baby arrived safely and in good health and Sumaya and him are totally and completely in love – and so are we!

Welcome to the world little one. May you grow in peace and faith,  fill each space with love and joy and may your heart always and forever be shining.


* Am editing to add that the lovely lady from whom my nephew learned this phrase first pulled the concept from the excellent Ghazali Children’s Project by Fons Vitae. Here is a short but charming video they made referencing “The Shining Heart”.


Also, How to Introduce a New Sibling To Your Muslim Child.

Art Credit: Original Painting by Ausma Malik


Refresh, Renew, Rejoice

Can you believe Mamanushka just turned six months old? Well six months and 7 days but who’s counting? What an absolutely wonderful 24 weeks it’s been getting to know you all and sharing the Mamanushka magic – and yes, you know we’re mothers when we measure things in weeks…

As we write this we are finally in the same time zone again. One of us has travelled across the ocean and is nestled in the corner of a squishy sofa, basking in the glow of a crackling fire and the other is typing away while the baby in her belly is doing acrobatics and the apartment is filled with family all ready to help with the impending arrival (due any day now!). For both of us, it feels the best it has in a good long while and, dare we say it, merry and bright.

It’s coming up to holiday/vacation  period for a lot of countries in the western hemisphere right now and even if you don’t partake in Christmas isn’t it just the best time of year to unwind and reflect upon the past year?  The privilege of being able to ease into the holiday season in this idyllic way is not lost on us – with family,  friends and blessings abundant – it is one we hope that you will all be able to have.  After the recent weeks and months we’ve had, nothing seems more called for than to gather in, stay close and reconnect with others and with our own best selves.

So,  with this in mind, we are making the best of the season and taking a winter break.

How will you be spending this time of the year? We’d love to know if there are any topics you’d like to hear/ talk / read about when we come back. Ever had any questions about Mamanushka that you’d like to ask? Please do so! Let us know in the comments or email us directly.

Thank you, as always for visiting and reading – InshAllah (God -Willing)  we are looking forward to returning in the New Year with some lovely new content and ideas.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to revisit old favourites (or find new ones in the midst of them!) – here are some posts from the archives:

‘How To’s’ With Our Children:

And Two ‘How To’s’ For Ourselves


  • “This past summer, between juggling international travel schedules, school holidays and family commitments, Sumaya and I finally did what most people do first – we met! And it was so good”.   How we met
  • “Is there any being spiritually closer to God the Creator (al-Khaliq) and God the Bestower of Life (al-Muhyi) than a woman carrying and giving birth to a baby?” Celebrating the feminine attributes of God
  • “Not for me the things that everybody else liked. Not for me a routine boring existence. No. My life would be fresh and amazing, with experiences unlike any other! It had to be offbeat, it had to be new. It was all that mattered.”  The one observation that changed everything 
  • “At a mosque gathering, I once referred to moving house with my Partner and was met by several bewildered looks to which I didn’t pay any mind until we were leaving and one lady caught my sleeve and exclaimed “By partner you mean Husband, right?!? A MAN?”.  Oh boy.”  What do you call your spouse?
  • “Initially I remember being  pretty blase about moving…Friends would say – ‘Wow’ New York! Some would say ‘How will you adjust?’ Secretly I thought ‘What’s the big deal? Surely it wouldn’t be that different from the UK. I mean, they all speak English right?”  Mama before Me 
  • “Just today my three year old put her ‘baby’ to bed, covered the doll with a blanket and lay down next to her only to proceed to ‘pretend’ to use her ‘phone’. To my horror I realised she was doing what she sees me do. It made me feel terrible. And it’s hard for me to actually write this and admit to you that yes, sometimes (okay – often) after bedtime cuddles, prayers and stories I lay next to my child and work from my phone. Whether it be catching up on reading or working on the blog, what my three year old sees before falling asleep is her mother engrossed in a screen.” Teens Tweens and Screens : Screenagers, the Movie
  • ” Is this the same moon, Mama? That the Prophet looked at with his own eyes?” On Promising the Moon
  • “… They are the quintessential Fairy Godmothers of Aunthood….Younger, more fun versions of their mother. Forever ready to listen to them, feed them jelly sweets in secret, buy them the coolest gifts, send them the best postcards from travels around the world. They are Readers of the best stories and Writers of the best letters…”  The one first I experienced last
  • ” … at one time or another, we’ve all made that face – the Judgey Judgeface.”  Don’t be a Judgey Judge Face
  • “Without missing a beat she whipped out her phone ordered an über, gave the bewildered über driver her address and the takeout bag of food – and slid straight back into the conversation. I was in awe! Did you just über the food to your husband?!”  Fun times
  • ” … And wow, do those kids play! They play and play and play. There is no learning letters. No learning numbers. No academic tasks to complete. There is a lot of movement and building and making and baking in a classroom held by strong rhythms and teachers engaged in work worthy of imitation.”  Honouring The End of Our Kindergarten Years


Style & Design

Baby Fever

Food To Make & Share

Drinks To Mix & Enjoy 

  • “When you’re ready to make up a drink, pour a tablespoon or two into a glass and top up with cool still or sparkling water. Adjust the proportions of cordial and water to your liking and savour the taste of summer. Enjoy.” Elderflower Cordial 
  • “Now my kids love pink milk but theirs comes out of a yellow plastic box. This one comes from real strawberries … that are in your kitchen, strawberries that your kids may even have picked themselves.”   Strawberry Syrup 
  • ‘…My Date and Orange Blossom Milk came in a cold hammered steel mug, smelling sweet and fragrant. I took a sip. Everything stopped.”  Fassian Milk
  • “…The dinner party was going seemingly well, when my husband surprised us all – including me. He would, he declared – ‘make some kehwa’  and ‘would everyone like to try some?’  Saffron Kehwa 

Picture Books To Discover

One of my favourite childhood activities during the winter holidays was to traipse to the local library with my mum and sisters and borrow books that we would read at home under cozy blankets and then swap with each other. Some of our suggestions:

Two ‘Whys’

And Finally, Something to Listen To


Image Credit: Illustration by Zarina Teli, inspired by Kris Atomic


What Do You Like To Pack In Your Hospital Bag?

(In Preparation For Giving Birth)

MAMANUSHKA.COM || Hospital Bag Inspiration || Birth

MAMANUSHKA.COM || Hospital Bag Inspiration || Birth

I actually quite like going for a ‘hospital birth’. I’ve always been well looked after and I love that feeling of ‘coming home with the baby’. For those of you who choose to have hospital births the question of what to put in your hospital bag can be kind of confusing but also exciting right? You’d think this being my third time I would have it sorted by now, but what can I say? I had basically forgotten everything and the only thing I remember taking with me for sure, the first two times is my eyeliner!

So I asked my sister, because  there is no mother like a first time mother to do her research on every single thing one might need (and not need! Ha! I mean who actually reads that book while in labour or lights that scented candle?)

I also asked some fellow more ‘experienced’ mamas about the things they loved to bring with them to the hospital. My friend Alice told me she took a pair of elegant pyjamas that her lovely Italian grandmother had bought her especially for the occasion! What a sweet idea esp for the photos after the birth!

Here are some other suggestions if you’d like to read;

One thing I appreciated having was slippers, even though you may be able to get socks from the hospital I preferred slippers for after a hot shower… ~ Reem

Red Raspberry leaf tea! I didn’t drink it while pregnant but loved it after I delivered. Any herbal tea to relax you and increase your fluids for milk supply. I also loved my new pj’s! ~ Vanessa

A ‘robe like’ abaya (the kind that closes by buttons in the front) so when people would come in (whether they were visiting  in laws or doctors ) and I wanted to be a bit more presentable, I would throw that over my pj’s. Also, sounds silly but I took my hair products so when I took my shower at the hospital I felt good when I looked in the mirror. My hair is finicky though and that was something I had overlooked the first two times. Lastly if you will be getting a breast pump ask if they can deliver it to the hospital before you leave so you don’t need to pick it up another day. ~ Leila

I’d suggest a print out of any duas you want to read while in labour as well as a date if you are comfortable giving a taste to the baby (tahneek) and I liked having a nursing cover handy ready to throw on if anyone came in. ~ Artina

I took some of my favourite sweets and chocolate snacks because I craved for sugar. And I took mascara and a lipstick to put on after showering. ~ Fatima

(obviously a girl after my own heart!)

Put some guilty pleasures in your hospital bag! ~ Aminah

Doula. Take a doula with you to the hospital! ~ Artina

I’m planning to take a special shawl or blanket with me to wrap baby in for photos, (sensing a theme here of where my priorities lie!), my special ‘baby product’ and these  leather slippers my adorable Mother in law gifted me from Kashmir. 

Also I will be popping a cute little blank card and some luxury chocolates into my hospital bag : so I can easily write the card out to the hospital team and give them the chocolates as a thank you gift before I leave instead of scrambling and having to buy these things at the last minute or even worse – going home and forgetting to send anything at all!

MAMANUSHKA.COM || Hospital Bag Inspiration || Birth


What about you? I’d love to hear what little things made you feel special? You can see my full hospital bag list here.