Eid-ul-Adha 2020/1441: Eid Mubarak

Eid today will mean so much more to many of us, not just because we weren’t able to spend the last Eid together but because we have all been through so much. I hope that this Eid we don’t take our loved ones for granted; to be able to see them, spend time with them, to hug and laugh with them. I pray that this pandemic across the world eases, that our prayers for ourselves and loved one are granted and that the world is a kinder, more generous and considerate one due to our trials this year.

Eid Mubarak everyone. Taqabbal Allahu Minna Wa Minkum (May Allah accept it from you and us).

Back into London

It’s been a while since I went into London or anywhere away from home due to the pandemic that’s sweeping the globe. After a tough few months trying to keep myself and loved ones safe the pandemic has lessened in parts of the UK. While we all still need to be careful and take precautions, I decided to go into London one day. I’ve missed London and with Eid celebrations coming up, I wanted to see if I could find any gifts.

I went early and it wasn’t busy meaning that I could take pictures of these colourful mosaics in an underground station that normally have swathes of people passing across all day long.

I also found some street art on Oxford street and banners hung from above thanking our hardworking NHS.

I wandered around the shops for a while, found a few nice gifts and just enjoyed being in the centre of London again. I’ll continue to be careful as we need to be, but I really hope things continue to get better and that we all find a sense of normality soon.

Beautiful Peonies

I decided to treat myself to some peonies having seen some in the shops. Peonies are one of my favourites flowers, so I couldn’t resist. I waited a few days for the flowers to open up and for the the lush, full bodied petals to unfold. What always surprises me about this flower is that the buds are so tight and small but there’s so many petals all folded within it.

The dramatic look and volume of the petals look amazing and the smell of the pink peonies was sweet and really fragrant. I thought the pink tinge on the petals tips of the white peonies, looked lovely, adding just a touch of colour.

I love the texture of the petals too. and how the pollen inside the flower is tucked away like a secret.

Sadly peonies don’t last very long but they brightened up my day whenever I caught sight of them or picked up the scent. Sometimes you really do just need to stop and smell the roses, as life would be a lot less beautiful without them.

Eid gifts

Eid this year was a quiet one, but that didn’t mean I had to miss out on presents. My family and friends can be very generous at times and this Eid they were. And it meant so much more this year as we all spent the day apart due to the pandemic that is currently coursing across the world.

As mentioned in my last post my younger sister made and delivered delicious chocolate cakes to each of us to enjoy. She also dropped off some sweets in a fun ice lolly shaped box. My youngest sister ordered expensive chocolates for me which is a real treat.

My friend dropped off some lovely candle holders decorated in various peacock designs. My sisters all loved them and I’m sure they will be borrowed soon.

I love having flowers in the house on Eid so I bought some for my mum, and my sister had some delivered too. My oldest sister came by and gave me a bag full of treats. The rose candle smells great and I can’t wait to taste some of these luxury treats too. As you can probably tell, my family have sweet teeth!

I have to admit I felt a little sad on Eid not being able to spend the day with my family, even more so for my parents as I know they are missing their grandkids a lot. My family being generous reminded me that although we weren’t able to spend the day together they still want to celebrate and that we are all thinking of each other. Hopefully by next Eid the world will feel safer for us and we can spend time with family and friends joyfully. I also hope that it will make us appreciate the time we have together even more.

Eid-al-Fitr 2020/1441: Eid Mubarak

After a month of fasting, with mosques closed and opening fasts in our own households, Eid has finally arrived. Eid this year will be marked quietly, just as Ramadan was. If anything Ramadan has taught us to have strong will power, a greater connection to God and to hope that one day we can all meet our loved ones without restrictions or fear. For now we will meet loved ones via video calling or from a distance, but we are by no means alone. This delicious looking chocolate cake, baked by my sister is proof of that. May we all celebrate together with loved ones in the best way we can. Eid Mubarak everyone.

A Walk in the Park

The lockdown has been in force in the UK for 6 weeks or more now, and apart from going out to get food I haven’t really had a chance to go out for a walk (like most people), something I used to do every day before the pandemic made the world stop. The weather was lovely recently so I took the opportunity to go to the park and try and clear some cobwebs from my mind and to stretch my legs.

Walking in and seeing so much green made me want take a deep breath and soak in the fresh air.

Keeping my distance while walking around I found some lovely, vibrant pops of colour in the shape of some flowers big and small.

The walk did me a world of good and I’m grateful to have a lovely park that I can visit if I need to. I don’t plan on leaving it so long next time. I hope you’re all well, keeping safe and making the most of the situation whereever you are.

Vincent van Gogh exhibition

Before the lockdown was implemented in the UK I visited the Meet Vincent exhibition in London. I’m quite a fan of Vincent van Gogh’s artwork and I think his story is an incredible one and deeply sad. I think that his art is emotive and really beautiful so was keen to go visit and find out more. The exhibition was quite different to what you might expect. There are lots of props and everyone is encouraged to touch and get close to the displays.

Upon arrival you were handed a headset that would activate as you walked around the exhibit, telling you about that period of the artist’s life and what kind of art Vincent would have produced. There was a room that has a video project onto the wall to give you an idea of what the landscape was like as Vincent painted. You could hear the wind rushing through the tall grass and the birds crying in the sky. Another big section was the cafĂ© Vincent frequented regularly, painting other customers from his table.

Haystacks play a large part in Vincent’s artwork and there were hay bales you could sit on and a large cart filled with hay.

I think my favourite section was the reproduction of his famous bedroom. You could walk into it and it really felt like you were walking in to one of his most famous paintings. It bought back memories of when I tried to draw the chair with a pipe resting on it at school.

The next section was about Vincent’s stay at a hospital after he infamously cut off his ear, having struggled with menial illness. He created many more paintings here during his stay.

The final section was about how the world has fallen in love with his paintings after he died. Vincent van Gogh painted over 2000 paintings during his 10 years as an artist.

I would definitely recommend a visit to this exhibition if you’re a fan, mildly curious or just love beautiful paintings. I really enjoyed my visit and it gave me a much better idea of who Vincent van Gogh was and his struggle through life.

Ramadan Mubarak 2020/1441

The holy month of Ramadan begins this week, and all around the world Muslims are fasting from sunrise to sunset. This year will be a unique one for us all, as there will be no gatherings at the mosque for evening prayers and no iftars (breaking of fasts) with extended kin, friends and the community. Instead we will all be spending more time at home with family, spending time praying and reflecting on our faith and it’s teachings, and to hoping to re-connect with God. I pray that mankind gets through this difficult time in good health, keeping our selves and our loved ones safe, and that our we all are kinder and more generous to each other when this is all over. Ramadan Mubarak to you all.

Springtime Park Visit

Things have changed a lot here in London over the last few weeks as I’m sure it has around the world. Before they did though I did spend a few days out and about. One sunny day I spent in a local park, taking in the blossoming trees and interacting with the wildlife, just as Spring was beginning to spring.

The sky was bright blue and the clouds were light and fluffy creating great reflections on the lake.

As I walked through the park I spotted lots of flowers already blooming or that had been planted to bring in some colour.

There was a smaller garden that I passed by which has a carved owl statue and some pretty gates. Nearby was a small stream where ducks and geese were soaking up the sunshine.

Further along were some huge vibrant green fields, the product of all the rain we’ve had recently. There were also lots of curious, friendly squirrels that were brave enough to come close enough for food. I eventually gave in and gave this cheeky little one some food I had in my bag, which it took straight out of my hand.

There were other little spots tucked away around the park which had some lovely flowers blooming too.

I enjoyed my walk around the park, always find it calming to be in nature and just to be able to switch off from the world for a while.

As things develop at a rapid and unsettling pace around the world, I hope you all are staying safe and well and that we all get through these unpredictable times. I pray that our loved ones are safe too and that this pandemic that has struck the world so suddenly disappears as quickly as it came.

Soaring Seagulls

I took my little nieces to the park on a bright, blustery winter’s day, to help them burn off some energy and to stretch my legs. They started off by racing through a whole flock of seagulls who were happily feasting on bread that someone had dumped. The birds soared in the bright blue sky as my nieces chased them, screeching loudly at being disturbed.

Seagulls