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.

Rainbow lollipop class

My sister and I recently went to a candy making class, something that we both have wanted to do. We arrived for the class and excitedly looked around the shop at the wonderful sweets as we waited for the candy to be heated to the correct temperature. Once this was done we made our way to the workshop with our instructor. It was only a small class with another woman, my sister and me and the instructor who was going to lead the class. Today we were making rainbow lollipops.

The mixture of glucose, water and sugar was really hot, and so it was only safe for the instructor to use. The instructor poured the mixture onto a specially made table that was heated to enable him to keep working with it. The flavour of the mixture was tutti frutti and it smelled great. Once the mixture was on the table our instructor started to add colour, made with natural flavourings and were vegan, vegetarian and halal which was great to know.

First the primary colours were made, and then our instructor used these to make the secondary colours. The white was stretched to add air which would then bring out the colour. All the colours were then laid out in rainbow order and wrapped around the white candy to create a long, colourful tube. We were now able to start making our rainbow lollipops.

Our instructor stretched the candy tube to make it thinner and then gave us a piece each to create our shapes. Working on heated tables and with gloves on we made a simple shape first, the swirl, and adding a wooden stick our lollipop was complete. We then made a few more shapes; starts, hearts, flowers and butterflies. I think my favourite was the duck which came out quite well. We had to work quickly with each piece of candy as it would become difficult to mold as it cooled, hardened and turned glass-like.

The class was about 1 hour long, but the time went quickly, as it always does when you’re having fun. Our instructor was friendly, and very knowledgeable, and the candy making process was almost scientific when it came to understanding the way the ingredients interacted with each other. And the best bit; we all got to take our tasty creations home with us, which was a lot more than I expected. I would definitely recommend doing a class like this, as it’s not every day that you get to have a hands on experience that involves such tasty treats.

Surprise Baby Shower

My younger sister recently had her second baby, a daughter, but before she did we threw my sister a surprise baby shower. There were lots of secret plans, conspiring and her poor husband getting in trouble for being difficult but the surprise baby shower went off perfectly and my sister had no idea what we had planned for her.

We decided on a rainbow pastel theme to make it gender neutral but to also make the room look colourful. On the day we asked my sister’s husband to delay my sister on her trip to our house so we could set up.

When my sister finally arrived and walked through the doors, we all shouted surpise giving her a huge shock!

We had a colourful sweet table with balloons, lots of treats and presents. My sister in law made some really cool bottle and baby grow shaped biscuits. I also thought the baby carriage favour boxes were a really cute.

We ordered a lovely two tiered button cake to fit in with the theme, and the icing inside was both pink and blue which I thought was a really creative.

As the weather was nice we decided to have everyone outside for games and socialising so we hung lots of colourful scarves and decorations to make it all look really pretty. One of the games we played was guessing the melted chcolate in the baby nappy (which looked a bit disgusting).

Everyone had a great time at the baby shower, and most importantly my sister did. She left with a hoard of presents, a big smile and hopefully lots of memories. I’m glad the baby shower went to plan and that we all gave the new addition to the family a great welcome.

Halal Street Food Festival

I recently went to a halal food festival in London with a friend. I usually don’t go to food events as I’m never too sure what I can eat, but as this was one where I could have my pick and not hold back I was keen to see what they would have. The event was held in London’s iconic Spitalfields Market in Shoreditch. There were lots of stalls with food on offer, so it took us a while to look around and decide what we wanted as well as it being super busy.

We finally decided on masala cheesy chips and chicken wrap to share and delicious looking waffles on a stick for dessert with freshly squeezed orange juice to wash it all down. We then headed towards the games section where we played giant noughts and crosses and connect four and just soaked in the atmosphere.

The event was very popular and queues were super long, but the food was varied and enjoyable. I’d be interested to go to such an event again but maybe on a weekday to try and avoid the rush.

Palestine Expo 2017

Palestine has been a controversial issue for many years but it’s one that I’ve felt quite strongly about for some time, so when I heard about a Palestine Expo coming to London I made sure I was able to go. The Expo was in London and was the biggest social, cultural and entertainment event on Palestine in Europe.

There were lots of people from all backgrounds attending which I thought was great. At the venue there was a knowledge area, food quarter and a gallery. I thought the day was very worthwhile; I attended some talks with inspiration speakers and learnt about issues that Palestinians face today, about their culture and tried some of their food.

As tensions continue in the Middle East I think events like these are important to share information and broaden views and I would definitely attend an event like this again. I hope that Palestinians facing hard times know that they aren’t alone and that they have support from around the world to help and resolve the situation they are in.
You can see my sisters’ posts here and here

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.

Sweet Art

I heard about a promotional Sweet Art Gallery not too far from my workplace last week so one lunchtime I decided to go down and see what was on show. The gallery was quite small with some fun art pieces on display, but what was really interesting was that they were all made out of sweets!

My favourite was the take on the Mona Lisa painting, and you could eat the sweets it was made of as they had a sweet machine nearby. There was also an alternative tube map and a section where you could unleash your creativity using sweets and pipecleaners.

At the back of the gallery there was a pick and mix section, which had all the sweets that the brand sells, and the best bit – it was free! Although I couldn’t eat most of the sweets due to them containing gelatine I did scoop up some to take back for my work colleagues, which they thoroughly enjoyed.

It was a fun, well spent lunchtime, and I hope to see more of these fun pop ups throughout summer.

Spiral staircase

I went to a department store in London recently called Fortnum and Mason. Its known as the Queen’s grocer and has been operating for over 300 years. On the day I visited they had their spiral staircase beautifully decorated in pink, delicate flowers which I just had to capture.

Spiral staircase

Other wonderful and interesting things I spotted were glacé fruits, colourful candles and delicious looking sweets. I also tried some of the tea that was brewed whilst I wandered.

It was fun walking around and seeing things that I wouldn’t normally see in my every day life. I don’t plan a visit again anytime soon, but if I happen to be in the area I’ll be sure to have another browse.

All the fun of a Winter Wonderland

Hyde Park, London hosts Winter Wonderland every year which is a family event running over the festive season. There’s fairground rides for thrill seekers, Christmas markets for anyone looking for beautifully crafted gifts, and tasty food to make sure energy levels are topped up. Seeing as it looked like a fun evening out I went with my sister and her family to experience the sights, smells and tastes on offer.

I went on a ride or two with the kids, was distracted from stall to stall with the interesting and beautiful items on display and was awed by the pretty lights and great atmosphere.

I didn’t manage to experience everything as we ran out of time, but hopefully I’ll be able to return next year to enjoy more rides as well as see the circus show, the cool ice sculptures in the ice kingdom and take a spin on the ice rink. We left with smiles on our faces and our goodies from the markets but were absolutely exhausted, with the kids falling fast asleep all the way home.