Strawberry Mondays

A sharp red this Monday, a little spot of colour to brighten up the week. My mum grows all sorts of things in her garden, and this is one of them – they don’t last very long so you have to grow them at the right time – you can imagine my toddle niece’s delight when she managed to pick one though!

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A Day Out at Willen Lake

We decided to have a day out this weekend, making the most of the Bank Holiday and not having to go work the next day (yaay!) by taking a picnic and surprising my sister with a day out at Willen Lake.

So we took the kids, made some snacks and nibbles, took some badminton rackets, balls and a cricket bat, and headed up to the park and hid. Meanwhile, my sister’s husband dragged her to to the park with their little daughter and went around in circles in the same part of the park, to her bafflement, while we all hid (I came late so didn’t hide) behind bushes and shushed the kids.

Finally she spotted us and the look of disbelief on her face was something to see – although it was less of a surprise after the toddlers ran towards her instead of hiding!

We had a great day though, and managed to take in the sights (and the kids managed to hijack the children’s play area which made their day). My husband and I wanted to try some boating, but it as too cold and windy so we promised to come back in the summer when it’s hotter to give it a try (that way he won’t mind when I push him in the water!)

Here’s a few snaps of the day, I didn’t take many photos as we were too busy playing games and eating, or chasing little toddlers around – but I do love these shots. The ones of the swans are one of my favourite, there’s something dreamy about them all gathering together : )

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Giant Paper Flowers: A Tutorial

I came across a tutorial a while back about making giant paper flowers, and thought they were beautiful. They make unique bouquets for brides and they look striking, big, pieces of colour which can make a whole picture and also add a bit of fun.

I found the idea of giant paper flowers pretty inspiring, and my hands itched to try making one for myself, so I did and here’s how it turned out. I didn’t realise how fiddly the whole thing is though, so be warned! And you also need a LOT of floral wire and glue, and lots of patience, as it took me a few hours to make this rose (mainly due to waiting for glue to dry, pieces to be lined up etc etc.)

So here’s my tutorial on how to make a giant rose, although I can’t take all the credit as there was a very good tutorial here by Green Wedding Shoes, which was easy to follow, as well as the original step-by-step by the Martha Stewart blog. Please ‘scuse the carpet background, pictures were taken in the Spare Oom (which is currently unoccupied in my house and has decent lighting), it’s a good thing you can’t see the mess all over the floor and the newspaper scattered around.

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You will need:
• 1 Roll of floral tape (I found mine on eBay)
• 6 x 18-gauge floral stem wire (again, from eBay)
• 4 x sheets of doublette crepe paper for petals, size is 10 x 49 inches per sheet (I bought mine here, but you don’t HAVE to use doublette paper because it’s not cheap, plain crepe paper works just as well if you don’t want the two-tone effect)
• 1 sheet of Doublette crepe paper in green for leaves, calyx, stem
• 1 round pencil (any colour, I don’t mind)
• Craft glue (I used a standard crafts glue which seems to work on everything, including my fingers)
• Crepe paper templates (download from Martha Stewart)
• 3 x copies of teardrop template
• 8 x copies of the heart-shaped template
• 2 x copies of the leaf template
• 1 x copy of the calyx template (the zig-zaggy one)

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And here’s a baby for scale, and my finished rose. She wouldn’t let go of the carrot, too busy nibbling it, but I like to think that it adds character to the whole picture.

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Let me know if this is something you ever end up trying – I’d love to know how your attempt went!

My newest niece, a baby Princess

We had a beautiful arrival a few days ago, a precious little girl who blessed my family, and who is my sister’s first baby. She’s a had a short stay in hospital for a few days after not being very well, but now she’s home with her parents who are, quite frankly, over the moon.

Being the youngest aunt, or ‘khala’, I get special privileges in spoiling her, of course!

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May Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala give the new baby a long and pious life and may she stay on the one and only true path of ahle Sunnah wal Jamah, and may she also be the cool breeze for her parent’s eyes.

My Sister’s Very (Mint) Green Baby Shower

We recently threw a baby shower for my sister, which was great fun because of all the sneaky (well, not so sneaky because she knew about it all along) planning and all the ideas which came together wonderfully. I’m not sure why we ended up with a green theme, but it worked out nicely and it made a nice change. Initially yellow was planned, then I suggested mint green with white, and it just went downhill from there – but I think we did ourselves proud with the decor and candy bar : )

You can see my sister’s pictures here, here and here (although mine are better, just saying) – I love the effort thay everyone put in to create the green theme. Cupcakes and biscuits from the mama-to-be’s hubby (which was hilarious, by the way), decor from myself, my eldest sister and my other older sister, and an amazing nappy cake made by the sister-in-law which was very impressive.

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There was plenty of green thrown into everything, I love how well the candy bar turned out, and the little touches like the favour bags, the windmills (which I made), the baby shower banner and the amazingly decorated marquee done by the brother-in-law and his family.

And of course, what is a baby shower without silly games? We had games like ‘make-the-best-nappy-using-toilet-paper’, a guessing competition of the guest’s baby photos, and a cake-eating competition (okay that last one was just me playing), but it was great fun for everyone.

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And with a green candy bar must come hot food, as only we Asian people must have – which in our books included samosas, kebabs, roast chicken, chana-chaat, chinese noodles a few giant-sized pizzas, some dishes brought by guests and  a mountain of chips, finished off with plenty of cake, cupcake and chocolates.

We ended the day with lots of beautiful gifts, group photos and watching the toddlers dance around, and it was lovely to get together with friends and family to celebrate a new arrival in the family. I love how things like these also show what we can put together as sisters when we put our minds to it, and the beautiful things we can make – we have a few more events coming up this year which I’m excited about because of our creative and gluegun-obssessed brains!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Family

Family means a lot to everyone, and it’s quite a broad word which . It can be blood-relations, close friends –  I have close girl-friends who are like sisters to me, and male friends who I treat like brothers – partners, pets or even random people we know who are special to us.

One of the biggest positives for me in the last year was having two new arrivals in the family, both nieces, who have each made their place in the family a unique and cherished one, and both of whom are characters which we love dearly.

So here’s to family.

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Happy Eid…!

Happy Eid everyone! I’ve had to take an unexpected (and forced!) hiatus from blogging for a few days, as my computer’s finally given up and fried, which means I’m laptop-less for a few days.  I should be back very soon (and I’ll post wherever I can, I’m currently using my sister’s laptop and *hating* it because it’s not got my usual bookmarks and settings on it), and I’ll be blogging plenty of new posts, pictures and weird articles again once I’m up and running!

For now, have a great Eid if you’re celebrating, and hope you enjoy some good food, beautiful outfits and good company! (Don’t worry, I took plenty of pictures to post from my Eid days!)

Eid Mubarak everyone! – Harlequin x

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Our Eid Day…!

We had a merry old time on Eid day, with lots of relatives visiting, plenty of amazing food cooked by my mum, some beautiful dresses (on the women and the babies!), and a good laugh with everyone. We didn’t do anything extravagant this year (no parties or nights out!), but it was simple and fun, family and friends all dropped by with good wishes and it was a great way to end a memorable Ramadan. Here’s a few pics!

We had a fabulous wardrobe (although no one had better outfits than the baby girls in the family):

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…which was accessorised with pretty jewellery and bangles:

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And even better, the girls had some gorgeous mehndi on:

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There was some scrumptious food for everyone to eat:

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Followed by several desserts, like Eid biscuits, cakes, mithai and savouries:

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And of course, Eid presents! The babies and kids got spoiled the most, although all of us got some amazing presents (mostly clothes and jewellery, and of course chocolate!), which we all loved.

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All in all, a great day for everyone, we’re all pretty wiped out now and still recovering, but it’s nice to have had a big family celebration after a while. Now that Ramadan is over, we’ll be going on trips and having lots of barbeques, although that’s not to say that this special month has been forgotten!

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How was your Eid? Did you do anything special?

Journal Your Ramadan – Day #19: 6 ‘o clock

I’ll be honest. Most days at 6pm, (in Ramadan, that is!) I’m asleep, taking a nap after work, or just lazing on the weekend. The days are long in London, and so are the fasts, so it’s easy to feel a little worn out and in need of a power nap. I don’t have any pictures of me sleeping though, so here’s one of my niece (around 6ish!) asleep in an amazingly relaxed state, arms thrown out and all.

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