me Life and Times of the Fireflies: May 2017

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Ramadan Reflections 2017

The world is a very broken place right now. Wounded in almost every corner; pain and suffering, a daily occurrence. Humans are failing...humanity is crumbling...and the innocent are being plunged further into despair; victims of being born in the wrong era. The sad part is, that Muslims appear to be at the helm of a lot of these atrocities! I don't know what to say about all these calamities anymore...words and reactions seem like a futile exercise; but what I do know is that the spotlight is very much on our faith at the moment and it's made me think a lot about the type of Muslim I want to be in todays world.


I often say that it feels like we are living in a modern day Jahiliyah (meaning Age of Ignorance  and refers to the lifestyle of the Arab nation prior to Islam). The world was an ugly place back then and when I hear of young girls being found in shallow graves, the comparisons can't ring more true...But I also know that Islam came as a liberation to that nation, and it's got me rethinking the role it has in todays lifetime!


Sometimes our faith can come across as restrictive. I mean there's a lot of do's and don't and rules and obligations which, over the years, has become either ritualistic actions or taken out of context, and very often overtaken by cultural regulations...or simply forgotten and lost, sometimes even watered down and discarded as we submerged ourselves into our modernised environment. But day by day, as more and more atrocities against humanity unfolds, I am starting to see my religion in a very different light than I did before. More than just simple acts of worship, but actions with a purpose. A purpose we...I... often overlook. And in true essence, Islam has been a liberation to me in more ways than I can imagine!  
 

When we were young and being taught about our faith in Madressa, there was a lot of focus on the punishments that would be inflicted on us if we didn't abide by the 'rules', that we completely missed the beauty, love and mercy that the instruction; or rather guidance; came with. But the uglier the world becomes, the more beautiful my faith is becoming to me, and more and more I am starting to seek refuge in the message of my Book.


I think there's so much pressure to be the perfect example of a Muslim and so much emphasis on being a certain type of Muslim, and so much judgement passed when we don't fit into a particular box; that we lose sight of the continuous journey of growth. By design, we were never meant to be perfect...but by the same design, we were never meant to stay the same...And that's what makes Ramadan so beautiful. No matter where we are in our journey; so many millions of people have submitted themselves in unison to a common cause, and immersed themselves in acts of worship to improve themselves.


The Quran emphasises character above all else, and when I look at the state of world, I see it is a reflection of the people living in it...crazy, chaotic and out of control! The way I see it; the only way to fix the world is to fix ourselves...and for me, that struggle is most powerful during the month of Ramadan!


May we all reap the reward and exit it stronger in character Inshaa Allah <3







 " I've got one eye on the world, while the other is searching for answers inside my soul"
 
 
 
 
 
Thanks for  reading!!
 
 
 
Ramadan Kareem,
 
 
 
NAMU :)
 
 

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Travel Diary - Exploring Dubai



Dubai is undoubtedly a shoppers paradise, and if you're not careful, you could very well get caught up in it's vice! With its numerous luxury malls, and Souks galore; one can very easily fill a suitcase with things that every Indian Muslim woman can't do without! But we decided early on that this time round we were not going to spend our money on "things", but rather on moments that were going to create lasting memories for the kids...And for the first two days that's exactly what we did!
 
 
After our thrilling Desert Safari of the previous evening, and with a plane to catch by midnight; we used the third day to take to the city and explore! Upon the recommendation of a friend who previously lived in the city, we ventured out to capitalise on some bargains and had our last fix of Starbucks before heading to the airport to catch our flight.  
 
 
When planning this holiday, 3 days in Dubai really seemed a like a little time and we envisioned our time there to be rushed. In my mind I imagined it being rather stressful trying to cram everything  into those days, but it proved to be quite a contrary experience! Those few days really felt like a week, and it was the perfect amount of time to shake off the shackles of reality, relax, and prepare ourselves for the next leg of the journey! Next stop, THAILAND!
 
 

 
 

 



 
 




 
 



 

 
Updating Instagram before losing our WIFI signal! LOL 
 
 
ABOUT THIS VIDEO : So it's been a good while since we're back in the land of the living, and I was worried that our memories would fade quickly - especially for the kids! Making these video clips has been quite time consuming, but it's been rewarding seeing the family's reaction to them when they're done. This one in particular, though short, had the kids bringing up all kinds of memories of the trip...and it even had my son say that though I was very annoying while taking the videos, he is really enjoying the end product <3
 
 
 

 
 
 
You can find more of our travel diaries in the links below:
 
Travelling with Kids

 Day 1 in Dubai

Desert Safari




Thanks for reading!



Peace,



NAMU :)

Friday, 19 May 2017

Mummy and Me OOTD




It's unusually hot and dry for this time of year! Despite the early morning and late afternoon chill in the air, one could easily mistake this Autumn for Spring instead. The warm midday sun teasingly lingering around, and cheekily taunting us with its warm embrace. I half expected Winter to be here already by now...the same as last year with its earlier arrival, but it looks like we're in for a dry Winter, which is bad news for our alarmingly low dam water levels!


With the temperatures still soaring in the mid 20's during the day, it's also proving to be rather tricky getting dressed. Do you dress to combat the early morning chill? Or for the midday temperature rise instead? Either way, the only thing about this time of year that feels like Autumn; is the need for light layering in our wardrobe!


With May being proclaimed as "Mothers Month"...and with Mother's day and Moon's birthday being in the same week, I couldn't think of a cuter way to combine the two most important events of May than with a Mummy and Me OOTD! Fast becoming one of the most coveted clothing trends for moms and their young ones ('cos I can't imagine my teen to be quite as enthusiastic), I think it makes for great memories with your little one!


Dressing up has always been on Moon's agenda, but it's just got a whole lot more fun with a little daughter in tow!





 
 







 
 

 



 

 
 
 



OUTFIT DETAILS
 
 
MOON
 
Leggings, Boots and Snood: Woolworths
 
Dress : Old Khaki
 
 
 
ARYANA
 
Dress : Sticky Fudge
 
Leggings: H&M
 
Boots: Woolworths
 
Scarf : Naartjie
 
Headband : Claires
 
 
 
 
 
 
Thanks for reading!!
 
 
Peace,
 
 
NAMU :)





Wednesday, 17 May 2017

TRAVEL DIARY- DUBAI DESERT SAFARI




There's no doubt that Dubai is an alluring travel destination! With it's massive luxury malls, glamorous 5-star hotels and the finest gourmet restaurants; it's easy to get distracted by the bright lights of the "new" Dubai city and completely miss out on an authentic desert experience! With only 3 days to spare in this iconic desert oasis, we wanted to truly experience the ruggedness of the desert first hand, and I can't think of a better way to accomplish that than with a Desert Safari!!


We knew this was something we wanted to do even before we left South African shores, and it was already part of our itinerary for day 2...all that was needed was for us to book our excursion! Searching online and pre-booking our safari proved to be quite confusing, so we landed up booking our safari when we arrived, and through the hotel we stayed at. This was definitely worth the gamble as we found the whole process from beginning to end to be well organised, efficient and seamless!






We booked our Safari with Planet Tours, but most tours offer more or less the same experience. There are various options available and you can either book a private vehicle, or opt to share with others (maximum 6 per vehicle), but that depends completely on the size of your group and your budget! Since we were already a group of 5, we managed to get the 4x4 all to ourselves!


The tour starts at 3pm, leaving you with the morning to either explore, shop or relax (we opted for a bit of shopping)! Our jeep picked us up promptly from our hotel, and without fuss, bother or any delays; we were on our way to experience the beauty of the desert in all it's glory and sans the luxury of air conditioning (The jeep had air conditioning though)!







It's a bit ironic, Dubai being in the desert and all, that we had to drive a good 45 minutes out of the city to get to experience the untouched part of the desert! It was beautiful and fascinating to see the changing landscape on our drive there. How the density of big city skyscrapers became more sparse and eventually gave way to the vast, amber coloured sands that spread out like an ocean against the horizon. At one point I wasn't quite sure what I was more in awe of; being in the middle of an actual desert, or the oasis that man was able to create in the middle of it all!


The starting point is kind of like a meeting place for a fleet of jeeps and their passengers. We disembark briefly to properly soak in the propensity of our surroundings and take a few pictures, while the drivers let some air out of the tyres which I understand is necessary for a safe ride in our new terrain.


I remember wanting to capture everything in sight despite the sweltering heat...and also that everyone else was too hot to be bothered by it at all!
















And then the real adventure started! Riding the waves of the sand dunes in our luxury 4x4 was like being at the theme park and on the Cobra for 40 minutes non stop!! It was exhilarating for the first 20 minutes, but soon I started to feel a little sick. I can usually stomach a lot more than my hubby can, so I found it unusual that I was the only one feeling sick while everyone else was doing fine. I think it had a lot to do with trying to film while driving along this very bumpy terrain...but did that stop me from demanding more pics at the next stop? NO!


Where our first stop was at the mouth of the desert where the city road ends and desert begins; at our next stop we found ourselves among the amber hills in the middle of the desert with no sign of any of the modern amenities that Dubai is known for. Once again, all I could think of was capturing my family in the midst of this once in a lifetime landscape, while everyone else just wanted to embrace being in it at all. I was feeling like crap, but made sure I got some pics in this ocean of sand!








 









Our next stop was the campsite where would spend the rest of the evening; a makeshift Bedouin village in the middle of nowhere! By now the sun was beginning to set and the weather had cooled down to bearable and comfortable, and without the hindrance of  harsh sun, we were truly free to enjoy the next couple of hours in our sandy paradise.


I loved this part of  the safari experience because it gave us a peek into the life of the desert dwellers before it was transformed into a tourists paradise! It completely transported us back in time and gave us a feeling of what life could have been like. How people sought refuge from the relentless heat in the makeshift tents during the day, and how the community came to life in the centre of the campsite when the coolness of the evening fell...


There was a host of clich├ęd Arab things available for you to do to complete the whole experience; from camel rides to handling a falcon, henna tattoos and smoking shisha, belly dancers and the mesmerising Tanoura dancers (which involves a lot of spinning and many layers to their costume. Truly spectacular to watch...you can catch a glimpse in the video below), even dressing up in proper Arab garb; it was an evening of note! And we have only one conclusion, you cannot visit Dubai and NOT do a desert safari adventure.


*Barring the quad bike, falcon handling and camel ride; everything else was included in the price of the Desert Safari. More than enough food Arabic style food and barbecue and unlimited drinks also as well!!
































About this video:  I didn't realise how annoying I am with my camera up in everyone's faces until seeing myself in action while editing the footage for this video! I definitely get carried away when I find myself in a picturesque setting, and while all the snapping makes for great memories, I could probably ease up a bit - 'cos 225 pics per hour is kind of ridiculous...and also traumatic to sift through when choosing for a blog post ;-)








Thanks for reading!!



Peace,


NAMU :)