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Muslims in London
When life is busy and the days just roll into each other, it is hard to realise the milestones and the achievements that we have done. I had to sit with myself and scroll through my calendar to pin point when I traveled and what locations I actually managed to see. This whole year I kept feeling that I haven’t been travelling as much, but that sit down and look at the destinations made me realise that in fact I have been to five new countries with minimal prior planning and on a budget, which instantly lifted my spirit and reminded me of all my blessings.
If you are a reader of the monthly travel newsletter than you have already received my 2018 travel highlights, but I though it will also be good to have a more in depth blog post about the reasons behind my travels in 2018 and why they are much less than they were in 2017 .
March Travels - Lithuania
My travels in 2018 did not start till March this year because I travelled right up to the end of December the prior year, where I said goodbye to 2017 with a beautiful women only retreat in Morocco. So I wanted to be home in London to just start the year with some extra savings and to get work done before I jet off. For March, B and I travelled to Lithuania and although it was five days, it went by very quickly. I was very impressed with all the things the capital, Vilnius had to offer and would love to go again to explore the areas around it. I also enjoyed learning about the Islamic heritage of Lithuania. It was very cold in March too, which was nice! I like a little bit of winter destinations because they have their own charm.
You can also watch the two videos I made from the Lithuania trip:
2017 summer, I went to Portugal for the first time and I absolutely loved it, so when I had the chance to work with a yoga and surfing retreat there I had to jump at the chance. I also couldn’t go all the way without exploring a few more cities since I am there and all! That turned into a ten day trip into the beautiful Algarve. The videos of that trip will make an appearance in 2019.
I have been waiting for the right time to go to Montenegro for about two years, so I get myself organised early in the year and found a very affordable tickets to go. It was a short trip of four days and I tried to make the most of every minute, but it was barely enough to see that little gem of a country.
You can watch my two videos about my four days in Montenegro here as well.
Ramadan, the holy month of Islamic fast, fell between May and June this year. The time of year changes based on the moon movement and other calculation. The summer fast is always a struggle and it’s too long to be fasted in the UK, so it’s my favourite time of the year to go be with my Saudi family. I was fed so much though. I am still trying to lose that weight that I gained then!
After the Eid celebrations in Saudi, I got back to London and it was a busy summer in the city, struggling with the London heat, teaching art classes and doing some university work. I also don’t love travelling in July and August since it’s the school holidays and most destinations are over priced and over crowded.
The September trip didn’t take me very far, but it was a nice city break to Belfast in Northern Ireland. I have been living in England for eight years and I haven’t been to the closest places around me. I am slowly trying to change that and there was a reason I couldn’t resist, which was the power of video conference about video making and succeeding as a YouTuber. It was so inspiring and I really loved the nature around Belfast. It was a nice little break.
This trip happened between the end of September and the very start of October when the weather was still nice in Europe. It was much colder than expected, but it was manageable. B and I went to Tallinn, Estonia and hopped to Helsinki, Finland for the day. It was another five day trip that went by way too fast! I liked the mix of styles in Tallinn that had a touch of Russia and a touch of the Nordic.
You can watch the videos from Tallinn and Helsinki below as well:
November was going to be a work month and to tempt myself to work I already set myself a reward trip to Cyprus in December, but life is never as we plan. Not mine anyway. My grandfather got really sick and I had to go back home to Saudi before he goes into a very critical surgery. Unfortunately his health got even worse and he passed away. So my November turned out to be a sad travel month. Living abroad means sudden travels in such cases. I am thankful I went earlier in the year back to Saudi, when he was well to spend more time with him. I didn’t have the heart after that to go Cyprus. He will be greatly miss. The pain of losing a loved one will never be fully gone, but he will be in my heart forever. May God bless his soul.
A note before you go, I know packaging my year like this with highlighting my travels make me sound like the happiest and luckiest person in the world, but you have to know that I am just like you with lots of downs and struggles as well. I am still very thankful and aware of my privilege. A lot of it was on an obtainable budget and most of the posts I have written tell you exactly how much I spent, so take a look at that and hopefully you will be able to travel much more in the new year!
More posts from the blog:
Happy Summer days lovelies!
I hope everyone is having a good summer full of adventures and days out. I find it hard to be outdoors during summer at times because I wear the headscarf & keep my body covered, which can be challenging when the temperature reaches 30 C & above. In May, I went to Fes, Morocco. It was only the start of summer there and the heat was bearable, but it was still HOT. I knew it would be hot before I even got there, so I packed accordingly. I was there for a week and had 20KG of luggage allowance, so I had the luxury of packing six outfits, one pair of walking shoes (from Clarks) & three jersey hijabs (I got them from Kuwait) . All very summery, cottony, airy & cooling. To add a little something to the outfits, I took four long chain necklaces with me and one bright orange nail polish (from the body shop). I think as far as modest/hijabi summer wear goes the outfits worked a treat. All the outfit details are under the images. Hope you can find these outfit ideas helpful.
Enjoy your hijabi holidays ladies :D
Credit: Big thanks to the travel photographer & designer Piotr Fedorczyk for taking the first five awesome photos
PS. I know my poses need some work. Will do better next time! :D
Happy Friday lovelies!
I have been thinking of posting this for the longest time ever! I love yoga! I think it is the best thing I got from being in the states few years ago. I try my best to do a session as often as I can, but I never feel like I have done enough. My goal is to add an hour of yoga to my day. I usually torture myself for not doing it enough. To feel better, I remind myself that I -at least- do some "form" of it (Islamic prayer) five times a day with a total of 15 minutes a day. Of course I still need to do more, but I am so thankful that I have the obligatory daily prayer to encourage me to move and get my circulation flowing.
Islamic Prayer is like a whole ritual not only an action that is done a certain number of times. There are few aspects to be considered before even starting, such as, cleanliness of the spot where prayer is going to be preformed, followed by a ablution to make sure the body is clean and awakened to meet the creator. There are five prayers a day and they are made up of a different number of sequence. Each sequence takes an exact minute on average speed and it includes standing in the direction of the centre of Earth aka the city of Mecca, then kneeling and it is concluded with two prostrations. The morning prayer has two sequences, the noon one has four, the afternoon one has four as well, the sunset one has three and the night one has four.
Prostration is the part where the body's energy gets renewed. Watch the video below of a popular Islamic speaker, Ahmad AlShugairy, who tested the energy of his own body with the help of experts before and after preyer. The energy part is at 7:42, but feel free to watch the whole episode, it's very informative and it has English subtitles.
I love it when my Islamic practice is very relevant to my wellbeing and perfection. It's amazing how God thought of all the details and has a reason for everything he tells us to do! :D
Here's a quick Yoga Routine Inspired by Islamic Prayer:
Mountain pose to improve posture and to strengthens thighs, knees, and ankles. Standing Forward Bend to calm the brain and help relieve stress and mild depression. Hero to stretch the thighs, knees, and ankles. Extended Child's Pose to calm the brain and help relieve stress and fatigue. Followed by another Hero, Extended Child's Pose and Cat to relieve the spine and neck and energise the body. Afterwards start with another sequence with the Mountain pose.
Photos and information above are taken from Pocket Yoga. It looks like a very useful yoga resource.
More Resources on Prayer:
Have a blessed rest of the day and let's hope that you and I will become more yoga active soon! :)
Happy Friday everyone!
As you all know, it's rare to see a movie that supports a real cause or a struggle of the Muslims. Most movies out there do the exact opposite and show Muslims as the bad guys with weird broken English accents and angry expressions. Most Muslims are really upset about how they are presented, but they did not do enough about it until Omar Regan took a stand and started a "halal" production/entertainment company called Halalywood to serve the Islamic community and the Muslims in the movie/creative industry. The first productions of Halalywood is American Sharia, a great family movie; a mix of comedy and action. The first movie tour took place in the UK. It was organised and supported by Penny Appeal and I was lucky to attend the last movie screening in the Troxy in East London. I was very excited that I made back to London in time to watch the movie.
Before the movie started, Omar Regan did a short stand up, which was absolutely hilarious and the prefect start for a fun evening.
Watch the movie Trailer:
The movie was funny, light hearted and shed the light on a very important issue, Islamophobia, which is currently happening and affecting the lives of many Muslims. The movie presented this issue in a positive way showing the true light of Islam and its very peaceful concepts that have been taken out of context by evil groups to serve political agendas. It was entertaining and very suitable for a night in with the family. It was overall really enjoyable and worth a watch whether you are a Muslim or not. I can't wait to get the DVD and see the parts they did not show at the screening and promised to include later.
In the Q&A, I learnt that parts of the movie were based on the real life of Omar's dad. He was a respected Imam in their community preaching about the goodness of Islam until he was falsely accused by the FBI and shot 20 times because they thought he was linked to evil organisation. That story inspired Omar to write the script and be thoughtful through out to give the best possible representation of how peaceful and great being a Muslim is.
The funding for the movie came through a lot of community support via Kickstart and selling the Halalywood merchandise. American Sharia is only the first of its kind and it will be followed by four other "halal" movies. The production for the second movie will start in October. It is a great cause and worth the support. Make sure you follow Omar Regan on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the latest updates and ways to support.
Happy Monday world! I am baaaack! :D
What I love about London is the events and the activities. I only got back two days ago and already managed to squeeze into two events *MashAllah* The first was my friend's market sale (Four Corners Interiors Ltd) and the other is the awesome meet and greet event with the fabulous Indonesian fashion designer, hijabi icon Dian Pelangi organised by the talented photographer Muna Ally and the creative fashion designer Zinah.
I love all the hijab pointers in this video, which are a perfect extension of the World Hijab Day from last month. It is always good to get these positive notes on Hijab because when you live in a Western environment you get so much self doubt and pressure when wearing the hijab especially with the messed up media view on what beauty and freedom are. Listening to Dian speak about hijbais was very reassuring because hijabis can be beautiful, educated and successful. A piece of fabric on the head is no reason to stay behind. Hearing that filled my heart with much needed pride of my headscarf.
The vibe of the meeting was great and very inspiring. Some of the ladies shared their stories, the happy and the sad. They were all heartwarming and touching. Hearing some of the struggles of others and how they raised above it was reassuring. I met so many gorgeous and lovely ladies who are all creative hijabis who weren't held by their headscarves. In fact, all of them were inspired by it and it made them achieve so much.
I am so thankful I was able to attend alhamdulilah! اللهم صل على محمد و آله :)