My cousin’s reception

My cousin’s wedding reception took place a few days after the wedding which is quite traditional according to Islam. This event was a much more laid back affair, especially for us as the groom’s family hosted this one (the wedding day was hosted by the bride’s family).

The venue was decorated nicely and the stage looked great with white flowers and pretty lighting. There was also a cake that tied in with the theme.

All the ladies on our side of the family decided to wear pastel coloured outfits, and my nieces all matched too. I decided on a blue ombre outfit with diamantes and my sister bought me a blue clutch to go with it which I love.

The bride and groom arrived together shortly after and sat on the stage so everyone could say hello and take pictures. The bride was dressed in a lovely light pink and blue outfit that sparkled in the light, and the groom looked dashing in his black tie.

After dinner everyone gathered on stage and took pictures with the couple to remember the happy occasion and celebrate them. I pray the my cousin and her husband have a long, happy, healthy life ahead together. They’ll be able to relax on their honeymoon to Dubai soon, which I’m sure will be very welcome.

My cousin’s wedding

My cousin’s wedding day finally arrived. It was a much anticipated event as we don’t have many big family weddings here. The wedding was an evening event, which was a good thing as it turned out to be the hottest day on record here in the UK! Having got dressed in our finest we drove to in our much needed air conditioned cars to the other side of London to the wedding venue.

The venue was beautifully decorated and the stage was adorned with pretty flowers and rose petals for when the bride and groom arrive.

The wedding cake was set up with matching cupcakes which I thought were great, and the favours were placed on tables for each guest, which consisted of a small pot of honey and small bottles of zamzam water, which is considered holy.

As guests started to arrive they were greeted with welcome drinks and asked to write a note to the bride and groom in their guestbook. The bride’s sister looked lovely with all her matching jewellery and the rest of the family all looked dashing too. My little nieces had matching pink and gold outfits that looked really cute.

Finally the groom and his family arrived and the bride walked in on her brother’s arm to take her side with her husband. My cousin looked beautiful in her traditional red wedding dress; her hair, make up and outfit looked perfect and her henna a dark red as it should be.

The wedding went well with good food and it was nice to see the family and relatives all together. It was an emotional affair, especially when the bride had to say goodbye to her family and go home with the groom, but all the hard work that everyone put in paid off. The reception traditionally takes place a few days after the wedding so I’ll see them again soon.

My cousin’s Henna party

With my cousin’s wedding fast approaching there have been lots of celebrations, especially the traditional kind. My sisters, mum and I were invited over for a henna party, which gives all the ladies and girls in the family and among friends a chance to have fun and enjoy good food and each others’ company.

The house and garden had been decorated to look pretty and flowery.

A marquee had been erected in the garden for us all, which included a colourful seating area for the bride as well as other lovely touches.

The bride was dressed in a beautiful green and gold outfit with some lovely accessories. The guests were also wearing some pretty outfits. I love these colorful bangles my sister was wearing.

The evening began with women giving the bride advice on what they thought was useful to know going into married life, which was interesting but also somewhat embarrassing! Then it was time for food and some folksong singing, with some putting henna on their hands too. As the guests made their way to leave at the end of the evening they were handed boxes of Pakistani sweets to enjoy.

We all were invited over for a second evening too. This one was much like the first but with some more colourful and pretty outfits. I especially liked the bride’s lovely traditional Pakistani outfit of yellow and green with accessories to complete the look.

There was some more folksong singing, but with a dolki (drum) this time to help keep everyone in the same beat, which the young girls played singing twinkle little star to.

Everyone had a lovely time and we are all looking forward to the wedding in a couple of days time.

Floral Bridal Shower

My cousin is getting married later this month so to start the celebrations my sisters and I decided to throw her a bridal shower. The theme was pinks and florals and we spent weeks buying and organising all the decorations, food and entertainment for the day.

We had a sweet table in the colour scheme and my youngest sister and I strung up colourful balloons to complete the look.

We had pink and pastel sweets and drinks, and arranged lanterns, frames and other decorations to complete the look. My younger sister made the wonderful pink ombre chocolate cake and we had the sweet favour boxes personalised to give out to guests later in the day.

My sisters and I also made several gift baskets, adding pink ribbons, to give to the bride.

We decorated the garden as a way to make the most of the nice weather and the extra space. We strung lacey and pink bunting and balloons to match those above the sweet table. We also put a floral backdrop against the shed for people to take photos in front of.

After a late lunch we played games, there was bridal bingo and pass the bouquet among a couple of others that were quite fun and got everyone excited and up on their feet. People also had the chance to take selfies using the selfie frame my oldest sister made.

My cousin really enjoyed the day and appreciated the effort we made to make it all special for her and everyone else really enjoyed themselves too which made all the stress and effort worthwhile.

Eid Celebrations

Eid is usually a hectic but fun filled affair at our house. Everyone comes over to eat my mum’s delicious lunch and then stays for conversation, food and games.

My youngest sister kindly bought some Eid balloons which we put up.

I didn’t get a chance to take many photos as it was a full house with 16 adults and 9 children and with other relatives dropping by at various intervals (our latest guests left at 11.30pm!), but I managed to get few photos of gifts that we shared with one another. Traditionally children are given money and sweets are shared among the adults but in our family we try and give each other gifts when we can. I love that my mum still doesn’t think we’re too old to receive Eid money, even if others do.

I bought these initial mugs for my sisters that I thought were quite unique.

And for all my little nieces I ended up with a rainbow theme of t-shirt, bracelets, sweets and other little bits. They were so excited to receive a bag of colourful goodies.

My eldest sister decorated and personalised these boxes for each of us that I thought was really nice. I loved my ombre clutch, which will go perfectly with an outfit I plan to wear at a family wedding next month. I also got lots of chocolate and a scented rose (which I forgot to include a picture of) from my other sisters.

We all had a great day which was full of lovely clothes, amazing food and smiles. I hope that others celebrating Eid had a lovely day as much as we all did.

Bournemouth Family Trip

At the end of Summer I went to Bournemouth for a few days with my family, it was initially meant to be a several days away for a few of us, but in the end it was 15 of us in our cars heading to the coast.

On the day we got to Bournemouth and once we were settled into our hotel rooms, we decided to make the most of the rest of the day and headed to the beachfront. Although it was late summer it was still pretty warm, especially as we have had an incredibly hot summer this year in the UK.

We all spent time splashing around in the sea, relaxing on the beach and then when it became too cold we started our way back to our room to freshen up and then go to dinner. I found it incredibly refreshing to be by the sea and away from the city landscape.

The next day we split up into smaller groups, with my group first going to the aquarium. I didn’t really take many photos here as the lighting wasn’t great, and with the thick glass it was difficult, so I just enjoyed my young nieces’ excitement at the various fish and sea creatures they saw and tried to guess the names of, and walked steadily through the exhibits taking in the sights, sounds and smells.

After the aquarium we decided to go to the gardens that were nearby. There are Lower, Central and Upper Gardens, which seem to stretch on for miles, with changing flora and fauna to create various textures as you walk through.

After lunch we had planned to do some more activities but it rained for the rest of the day. It didn’t stop me though; I asked my sister, her husband and her daughter to pick me up and we made our way to another beach close by called Boscome. It was still raining steadily and it was quite windy too on the seafront, but I thought it felt refreshing and a change from the sun. I was also really pleased to find some colourful beach huts, which I have been on the look out for whenever I go to the coast.

We didn’t stay too long, as it was getting cold and quiet late. After my sister dropped me back at my hotel I rested before getting ready for dinner and then to watch the fireworks on the pier.

On the third day we packed our bags and checked out, ready to leave Bournemouth, but before we did we made a detour to Durdle Door, which is along the Jurassic Coast, and is a World Heritage Site. I’ve been go Durdle Door a few years ago and loved it, so I definitely wanted to visit again. There’s a really steep rocky path that leads from the car park to the coast edge, and then a steep set of stairs that lead to the beach. On my last visit you had to walk strategically on rocks to get down and then back up again, thankfully since then they’ve carved out steps that make it much easier.

The view from the top was amazing, and we were lucky to have some fantastic, sunny weather too, making the blues of the sea and sky really striking.

Once on the beach we soaked in the sun and the sea breeze while walking along the pebbly beach.

We didn’t stay too long, before making our climb back up to the car and heading towards another place nearby called Lulworth Cove. This is also along the Jurassic Coast and seemed to have a lot of boats sitting in the arc made naturally by the sea.

After sitting on the white pebbled beach and relaxing for a while, we made our way back to the car, visiting the gift shop along the way and started our very long journey home.

The trip to Bournemouth was great, I really liked that there was a lot to see and do, and most of it didn’t cost very much or was completely free. We had some really good weather and I loved walking along the various seafronts, and exploring the seemingly endless gardens. I would go back again some day as I’m sure there’s much more to do than what we covered in the few days that we were there.

Birthday bash

My younger sister threw her daughter a birthday party recently, making the creative cake and cupcakes herself. There were sweets, a giant bouncy castle and good company, and to top things off, the weather on the day was great too . Here’s some of the photos I took. Can you guess the theme?

We all had a lovely day and my niece had lots of fun and was exhausted long before the party’s end. I hope she has a long healthy life ahead, and that I get to spend lots more time with her.

Iftar

On Friday all my siblings, along with their families, came over for iftar. Iftar is the arabic word for ‘break fast’ and is the meal that we have when its time to open our fast during Ramadan. My sister’s decided to help out and bring along a dish or two to share. We had a whole range of foods and what was planned as small meal quickly became a feast.

Traditionally dates are eaten to open a fast but with a whole range of foods to choose from everyone found something they wanted to eat. There was some delicious, fresh exotic fruit, chicken sandwiches and creamy pasta, as well as my mum’s famous kebabs. There were also some slightly unhealthy but tempting options such as curly fries and samosas. Other foods to eat were chicken curry, chickpea salad and mango salad, and my sister-in-law’s succulent lamb chops. I would have taken more pictures but there came a point where I had to put the camera down and dig in.

For dessert we had a choice of refreshing mango milkshake, sweet jalebi and pretty cakes.

When we put everything down ready to eat we all had some of everything and were soon full to the brim. It was a nice evening with everyone sharing a much needed nourishing meal and good company. I look forward to Eid which isn’t far away now to enjoy another big meal together.

meal