me Life and Times of the Fireflies: July 2014

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Flair For Fashion

One needs only to peep into popular retail stores to know that dressing little girls can be lots of fun! But when Saafiyah was younger, dressing up wasn't fun at all. She would gladly trade in a frilly dress for a pair of tights and sneakers and forego any fancy hairstyle, staying true to her natural curls. Saafiyah was a tomboy and completely missed the dressing up as a princess phase. Dresses were a hindrance that got in the way of climbing trees, navigating the jungle gym and doing cartwheels! 
Eid day was a compromise....Early morning she would wear the customary pretty dress, only to have a brand new set of tights waiting once the formal greeting was done! This was my daughter and I accepted that my hopes of living out my fashionable dreams vicariously through her, would never come to be...
But somewhere down the line, something changed. At some point she started dressing up more and more in my clothes and heels. Adding a dash of lipstick and then progressing to mascara. At some she started Googling outfits and shoes and her favourite Disney Channel characters. At some point my tomboy daughter emerged from the room wearing winged eyeliner ( I kid you not ) and rosy cheeks.... and starting to surface was a budding Fashionista!
The tomboy Saafiyah is still very much there...she has not traded in her sneakers just yet. But there is also another side of her starting to emerge. A girly side that wants to go shopping and do her hair. A side of her that knows the trends and what not to wear. That knew about midi rings and Lush stores way before me!! A girl that's wanting to spend more time with her Mom...
She has started to embrace fashion at a rather awkward age though...stores just don't seem to cater for this age, Tweens. Especially not for the type that have a clear idea of what they want to wear!! As a result, I had this skirt made (It also has pockets which I didn't get to capture in a pic). Here are some pics of what we put together for Eid...
I agree that heels would've looked great with this outfit...but NOT for a 12 year old!

Boxed pleats and a broad band...



All the bling was her idea...a combination of new purchases, Birthday gifts and family heirlooms.
Midi Skirt: Made by Nazir
Style Inspiration : Moon
Hair and Make-up :Deed
Thanks for reading today!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

A Message For My Daughter

Has it already been a year since I wrote THIS !?...With so much happening in the world at the moment, I have been thinking real hard about what words of wisdom I can impart on you my little girl, who is fast approaching the doorway that leads to the jungle of the real world and has a wide open field of choice ahead of her...
You will start to search for your own answers, discover solutions to life's little mysteries and put together pieces of the puzzle that creates the picture of your life. Here are 12 things I want you to always remember, to celebrate the 12 years you turn today...
  1. I Love You...even when you think I don't or think I'm cruel or think I favour your brothers. A mother's love is unwavering. I might get angry or annoyed or have a bad day, but my love never fades...EVER! Remember that, always!!
  2. You Are Beautiful...Your natural wavy hair and big eyes and long lean are beautiful! And you don't need to stick out your tongue on photo's, or get hundreds of likes on Instagram to prove this. A pretty girl is nothing if she has an ugly heart...
  3. I am hard on you, but the world is harder...Once upon a time I was 12 too and sometimes I didn't understand why Naani  was so strict about certain things. Now that I have a daughter too I see the wisdom behind her shield and as hard as I may seem, the world out there is so much more cruel.
  4. I am proud of your achievements...I am your mother and I know your strengths and your weaknesses. I know that you have a flair for fashion and love art and running and anything to do with fitness. You are compassionate and kind hearted and soft spoken too...but I am most proud when you try your best, even at the things you are not good at.
  5. Family First...Friends will come and go; betray and try to lead you astray. Never prioritise friends who are temporary, over the permanent fixtures that are family. Hopefully your Dad and I have been enough of an example to prove it to be true.
  6. Bond of Brothers...On that note, also remember that your brother was your first 'best friend' and has been for the past 11 years. And you have a little brother who you have helped nurture since birth. Never turn your back on your bond. Not for love, romance, money or friendship... or anything. Sometimes it will take effort, but it will only prosper if you remember to always nurture it.
  7. The world will try and change you, but always remember who you are...Sometimes it is easier to move with the flow of the stream than swim against it. The world is a beautiful place, but it will try and change your perceptions of what is important. Always remember your roots...always remember who you are!
  8. Rules to live by...Let your morals be your compass, your guiding light. Truth, Kindness, Faith, Honesty, Humility has never failed anyone and it will not fail you.
  9. Everything has consequences...Before you do anything, think of the consequences. I can shield you from a lot, but not from the consequences of your own actions. The good you do comes back to you and the bad you do will forever haunt you.
  10. Body Image...Is something I struggle with. Don't let magazines or the internet dictate how you should look. Be proud of your shape. There is NO such thing as perfect...but always strive to be healthy.
  11. Confidence not Arrogance...Belief in yourself and your abilities will help you to achieve and conquer your goals. This is confidence. Believing nobody is better than you, is arrogance. Know the difference. Be confident not arrogant!
  12. Prince Charming...will eventually find you when the time is right. Don't spend all your precious time looking for Prince Charming to sweep you off your feet. Instead, spend the time discovering YOU!!

    Love you,
    Forever & Always
    MOM :)

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

My Truths - Acceptance

There is a calm settling over my soul as I'm getting older and I find it refreshing. I think it is acceptance...of all things that have come and gone and the changes the tides have brought. Acceptance of the difference in others and acceptance that they are different to me. Acceptance of myself, the way I am and the 'who' I am. Acceptance of who are my friends and foes. Sifting through the countless possibilities and sorting them into appropriate bundles.

 I guess a big film has lifted from my eyes and I can see things more clearly now. My heart has grown up and as willing as it is to accept everyone around me, it grows more cautious with each dawning day, for it is also nice to receive the same kind of love I am always so willing to give.

I guess I have accepted that too...Not to expect the exact same as I give because all people are not capable of that capacity of Loving!
I've accepted the world and it's atrocities and the distressing images of peoples suffering...and accepted that I only have control of the peace within me. I am of no use to anyone when my ego is rattling in it's cage with anger...
I've accept my age and the process of ageing, as a reminder of my mortality. I see it as a gift. We are designed to evolve spiritually...and as Age begins to ravage our body and beauty, acceptance of it helps to let go of the ego and our true internal spirit begins to surface...the legacy we will one day leave behind. Built with our actions, deeds and character. 
 Perhaps the biggest acceptance is that of my mistakes, for it has led me to where I am now...When you are doing all the things you want to, you stop looking to check what everyone is up to. Stop looking to see who is on your heels and stop looking into everyone's eyes for approval. Somehow, sometimes we are the creators of our own prisons and paradises...
I guess as we get older, birthdays become less and less about celebrating, and more and more about reflection. Reflection of how we have used our gift of time, how we have grown, and hopefully, how we have conquered bits of our ego along the way.
There is a stillness that has come over me now. Everything that was once burdening my soul has found a release through this little miracle of acceptance. I have stopped fighting and accepted power of my own destiny!
 Happy Birthday to Me ;-)
You can read my original Birthday story  HERE

Friday, 18 July 2014

Pray For Gaza

This past week has been quite emotionally draining for me and it has been impossible for me to separate myself from the recent unfolding events in Palestine. My kids have told me I'm a little obsessed, but I feel almost guilty to carry on as normal after reading and seeing what I have this past week.
It didn't make sense to me to write a recipe or about random events when in some parts of the world people were really suffering. Every time I stroke one of my children's hair or look into their faces, my heart bleeds for the parents who have lost theirs. Images of grief stricken parents flashing before my eyes... Carrying on seems almost selfish. The risk of forgetting...cruel. That it continues...a grave injustice!
With the last 10 days of the fasting month already here, I figured the most constructive form of help now, is in prayer. I know this cause lies deeper in the hearts of some than others, and that's ok. But what would this space be if I didn't express exactly how I feel. My soul is restless and my heart is heavy and  making sense of it all has been near impossible.
So please forgive my sombre mood. And lets all just take a little moment to remember those suffering. If not for the same cause as me, then at the very least for the people that are oppressed. May the Almighty ease their pain and suffering and accept all our heartfelt cries to the heavens. Indeed these next few days are most powerful in Him hearing our call...

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

A Matter of Humanity

In all honesty, I don't know where to start with this post. I have no profound words of wisdom. No astounding quotes that echo my heartfelt sentiments. No metaphors to encapsulate my emotions. Nothing.  Nothing but a heart wrenched sorrow at the affairs of the world...

For a long time I sheltered myself from these barbaric realities simply by not looking. Not looking at pictures. Not clicking on links. Not properly researching the realities. For as long as I 'didn't know', my life could continue as normal. My normal. My sheltered reality. But even my normal has come at a price....our often forgotten casualties of Apartheid. By 'not looking', we build immunity to the suffering of others. We silence their voices. And we help put the guns in the hands of the oppressors.

This past week has affected me deeply to say the least. Harrowing images that are impossible to ignore and erase from ones mind...of immense suffering and injustices inflicted by the hands of fellow humans! Visuals that have tormented me during the busyness of the day  and intensified in silent hours of the night. Things my mortal heart cannot comprehend or accept.
I live my life by a certain moral code. Where good begets good and bad begets bad. Where I wish my fellow humans what I wish for myself. Where the line between right and wrong is not  blurred by greed and personal gain. It is no surprise then, that I cannot comprehend the stance of the modern world against the obvious serious humanitarian  catastrophes we are presently plagued with!

It is obvious that there is something more sinister brewing here and the only way to stand up to these atrocities is to stand together...not only as members of the same faith, but members of the human race. A wrong is a wrong irrespective of whom it is inflicted upon.

The world is in turmoil because our basic human rights are overridden by greed. By power hungry 'super powers' that are nothing but cowards hiding behind an army. I don't have an army at my disposal but my words are my rockets....

War is wrong...Raping babies and innocent women, is wrong. The kidnapping of over 200 girls in Nigeria is wrong. The Holocaust was an extremity that was supremely wrong! The maiming and torturing of women in Pakistan is wrong. The Taliban is wrong. Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Fidel Castro...Wrong. America's attack on the Middle East is wrong. Israel's occupation of Palestine and the consequent decades long suffering  inflicted on it's people is WRONG...

I cannot undo the wrongs of others...but, I can forge forward into the world imparting a footprint of peace with my fellow human brethren. I am no politician or a freedom fighter. Nor an economist. I have no fancy degree or doctorate...I am not a philosopher or physicist. I am just a you. How would you feel if the roles were reversed?

This song says it all...
United we stand...Divided we shall fall!

Friday, 11 July 2014

Recipe : Cinnamon Buns

I can hardly believe that we are almost halfway through the fast...our holy month of Ramadaan. It has been many years since I have fully enveloped the benefits of this month; lost in the art of juggling young kids and everyday chores, while having to submit to my religious duties proved to be challenging. I always ended the month wishing I had done more with my time, fulfilled more acts of worship, spent less time consumed in the 'world' and less time in the kitchen! Yet year after year I would get lost in the same cycle.
Ramadaan started to become a month of indulgence and extravagance instead of it's intended sacrifice and humility! Although there is some wisdom in doing a little preparation before this holy month; I'm guessing was started so that we have more free time to plough into prayer, meditation and introspection; it has slowly become somewhat of a tradition to stock our freezers full of indulgences we would otherwise not regularly consume. I, myself am guilty of spending an unnecessary amount of time in the kitchen creating decadent treats our shrunken stomachs can't even eat...
Over the past few years I have trimmed down our extravagant consumptions considerably and this year seems to be our best year yet! With the kids on school break too, there's no taxi-ing, no homework and no energy (the kids); for the first time in a long time there is a calm and tranquil peace looming in our home during this month... and it is exhilarating! Our meals are mostly simple... things we would eat under normal circumstances and we haven't gone overboard with the 'extras'. Naturally, with young, fasting kids in the house, we have not cut out everything, but I make sure that when I do spoil them with a treat, it is something that I have not slaved hours to prepare!
And so in the spirit of saving time in the kitchen, I've decided to share this super quick and easy recipe (that I got from a friend) with you, that will have you out of the kitchen in no time! I have also included all the tips and guidelines so generously offered by some of you on my Facebook page...

  • 4 Cups Flour

  • 1/2 Cup Castor Sugar

  • 1 packet (10 gr) yeast

  • 1 Cup warm milk

  • 2 eggs (jumbo) lightly beaten

  • 3/4 cup melted butter
For the sprinkle

  • 3 Tblsp brown sugar (I used Treacle and a little more than this)

  • 1 1/2tsp cinnamon sugar

  • 1/2 cup melted/softened butter

  • Pecan nuts chopped (this is optional...I left them out)

  1. Sift dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Add all the liquids and mix in a mixer until combined. Mixture will be slightly sticky.
  3. Leave mixture in a warm place to rise until double. (There was no warm place with the temperatures so low, so I stood the bowl on a heated bean bag!)
  4. Once mixture has doubled, flatten by rolling into a rectangle shape.
  5. Spread butter on top and then sprinkle generously with brown sugar and cinnamon making sure you don't exclude the edges.
  6. The recipe said to roll dough like a swissroll, ending up with one big log, but I rolled up from both ends until they met in the centre landing up with 2 smaller logs and resulting in smaller, individual portion size buns.
  7. Use floss or cotton to slide through the dough to cut desired size buns. Then place them in greased and lined tins face side up, leaving enough space between them to allow for rising. I found that a tray with raised sides baked the buns more evenly.
  8. Bake in a pre-heated oven of 180 deg Celsius for 10-15 min
  9. Spread topping over hot buns.
The recipe asked for cream cheese frosting but my kids weren't too keen, so I made a caramel topping instead.

  • 125 gr Butter

  • 75 gr packed brown sugar

  • 125ml thickened cream

  • 60 ml maple/golden syrup

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Heat all ingredients together and pour spoonful's over the hot cinnamon buns and ENJOY!


Happy Baking!
Thanks for reading.
Recipe Courtesy of Atyia Sonday

Monday, 7 July 2014

Party Time!!

When it comes to birthday parties, I've really been through it all! Jumping castles and pool parties; Princess dress up and sing star. Barbeques, Ben 10, parties in the park. Pamper parties with pamper boxes as party packs(that was Moon's idea), Lion cakes, butterfly and Nemo cakes too....between my nieces, nephews and my own kids as well, I have done it all... even got hubby to dress up as Barney!
Needless to say, by child number 3, I am tired of planning parties! I know it sounds horrible! I love getting lost in planning a good theme as much as the next person; I thinks it's just a case of juggling too many things at the same time. 
This year Zaydaan's birthday was in the middle of the bigger kids exams, which made planning a party near impossible and also a little inconsiderate to the bigger 2. And of course no party is complete without ALL family members in tow, and that was a bit difficult with everyone's conflicting a little improvisation was needed too! 
But when one is surrounded by as much Love as we are, then everything falls into place without any major planning needed. My family really do not look for invitations....they plan their own parties irrespective! Zee must take after his aunt Moon as he landed up having a 3 day celebration!! And of course, I made his cake. Nothing fancy, but made with Love :-) I realised that all children really look forward to on their birthdays is to feel special and loved and it's the little things that count the most. Even though we had no formal party, everyone did a good job of making his day extra special :-) Thank You!!
First pic as a 5 year old!

Cupcakes for school.

Dad surprised Zee by fetching him from school!

While I fetched the bigger kids...

And we all met for lunch!

 Who needs birthday cake when you can have Lindt pudding!?
Then Deed decided to treat him to a trip to the Aquarium.

Needless to say, he was thrilled!

Then we had a little cake.
 I didn't bother with many extra treats...

Webs on marie biscuits :-)
Not one to miss out on a party, Moon organised her own impromptu dress up theme with the kids. The costume was a gift from Moon, which was delivered by special request of the birthday boy himself!
 Venom, Gwen Stacy, Harry Osbourne, Felecia Hardy (aka Black Cat), Amazing Spiderman and Mary Jane
Gwen Stacy!

Venom, Harry and Felicia!

Uncle Ben and Aunt May.


 More cake...

Then it was Oldest Aunt's honour to spoil him with a treat to Spur...

Nephew and Aunt...

The tweens.

Grandma and her first born Grandson


More singing and sparkles...

Rocky was so chuffed with his fashion choices 'cos it matched his Fashionista Aunt.
That's it for today! Thanks for reading...