Tag Archive: Weddings


Every love story is beautiful but ours is my favorite.

Today is my first wedding anniversary with my husband, and it’s amazing to see how time flies. It’s been an adventurous year for me, but also a really lovely one, and it’s only given a flavour of all the things we want to do over the next few years – we’ve travelled, dined out, laughed at silly movies and eaten plenty of chocolate along the way.

Our wedding day feels like it just happened a few weeks ago, and it’s weird to look back and see ourselves all dressed up like superstars – although if you saw me dressed in my pyjamas now you’d never believe it!

We’ve had a lovely evening dining out so more on this soon, but for now, it’s time to be a lazy couple. laze on the sofa with snacks and watch a comedy or two : )

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Something from a special day this time last year – fruit pots from my wedding day! Can you believe it’s been nearly a year since that day? There’s a lot of little details that didn’t quite register with me on the day, but this was one of the most popular things we had. We always do fruit and a sweet bar, but my sisters went all out with our fruit bar for my wedding and got a lot of compliments, not to mention all the fruit getting devoured – even our professional caterers were pretty impressed.

And I must say, they had reason to be, don’t these look lovely all lined up together?

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A week before all of the wedding festivities began, my sister-in-law threw me a 1920s’-themed bridal shower, which was mainly an excuse to have one last shins-up with all the girls in my family before the real party began. It was a really fun day, with my mum, sisters (minus my eldest sister who was absent due to the birth of my newest, squishiest niece!), cousins and a couple of aunts all enjoying the dress up, good food and silly games which made us all explode in girly giggles.

You may have read about my vintage, floral, polka-dot and pearls themed bridal shower which was a few weeks before, so you can say I was already feeling a little spoiled!

My sister-in-law hosted the bridal shower in her beautiful home, and it was an amazing setting for a old-style, 1920s-slash-Great-Gatsby themed bridal shower which she decorated for and made some amazing food for.  Below is just a glimpse of the table setting – we didn’t get to put the banners up which we wanted, because all of us forgot to bring blu-tack or tape, and we didn’t want to ruin the wallpaper by using anything else! We told everyone to either wear 1920s themed costumes or just red, white and/or black to keep it simpler, and it was great to see everyone stick to the theme – I loved some of the make-up styles that some of the girls did too, dark red lips, heavy rouge and smokey eyes!

(Credits to everyphototunity for most of these photographs, and you can also see her post here as well!)

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The food was probably the real highlight of the evening – my sister-in-law and her mother are both brilliant cooks so it was going to always end in some very full bellies! I also was lucky enough to have two cakes – my sister-in-law made a beautiful red velvet cake, and my sister made a beautiful red, white and black cake with a yummy chocolate filling.  There were also some beautiful, miniature tarts, various dishes like chicken kebabs, finger sandwiches and to add to the desi mix, good old spring rolls and samosas!

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I loved the decor, and I’ll admit, I didn’t really help out with it at all because everyone else did such a great job, and my sister-in-law’s house was pretty much a perfect backdrop anyway. My eldest sister made Art Deco style banners, another sister added small touches like beads and coloured balloons, and of course my sister-in-law did the beautiful table settings, complete with matching napkins!

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The costumes everyone wore were lovely, although as usual, the babies in the family stole the show! I had a really pretty black and white striped-and-circles maxi dress which I had intended to wear, but which I couldn’t squeeze my oversized which I changed my mind about, and I ended up wearing a black lacy dress with pearl beads and a mini top hat, which was pretty perfect for me! I wish I could post some of the other girl’s costumes, but my pictures aren’t great and I’d like to protect their privacy, but everyone made an effort with feather headbands, feathered-print dresses and red,black and white dresses!

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We ended the day with lots of gossip and a raucous game of ‘pin the moustache on the groom’ which was a little embarrassing because of all the teasing I got, but also very fun because we blind-folded all the older women and made them join in! The bridal shower was fun, intimate and very relaxed, and also perfect to set the mood for all the wedding festivities which started a week later (especially as we all had to run around after the bridal shower to get the preps done!) I’ve not been to a 1920s/Great Gatsby themed party before, and it was really lovely to have one for myself, especially as it gave all of us the chance to be creative and let our inner-drama queens come out!

What did you think of our party – have you ever dressed up for a 1920s theme?

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“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” – Wuthering Heights

“Among His signs is that He created for you mates from among yourselves, in order to have tranquility with them and He put love and mercy between your (hearts) : verily in that are signs for those who reflect.” – [Surah Ar-Rum 30:21]

“I love being married. It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life” – Rita Rudner

I’m finally back, my lovely people, to announce that I am officially a Wife, readers, I indeed did marry him and it was a beautiful day.

There were plenty of events, dholki nights at home, a henna party, more than one bridal shower and best of all, a new baby arrival in the midst of it all, which was pretty amazing and also a wonderful time to spend with family. I’m currently tip-tapping away on my keyboard in our new home, in our bedroom still feeling a little shell-shocked but also very happy (and confused about where to start!)

I’m still sorting through hundreds of photographs and waiting for the professional ones from my photographers at the events, but I will be posting details, which I want to post in chronological order, so bear with me! Please do also read my other blog for more colourful details of the wedding and all the functions leading up to it as well : )

I’d also like to thank all of you who left comments in my previous posts with blessings, congratulations and lots of kinds words, they were a pleasure to read and I was happy to read them all.

For now, here’s a picture of what is sitting on our window sill in our new house, our wedding favour boxes which I sneaked away from the wedding day, and my sparkling ring given to me by The Husband.

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I’m sure you’ve noticed my absence these last few weeks, and I do apologise, but I have been super busy! My wedding is coming up in a matter of days now, so I won’t be able to blog properly until I move into our new house (and our internet is set up!) so I can post properly about everything. I’ll be sure to take photographs of everything though, and I won’t be gone for long, but it does mean a small blogging hiatus of a couple of weeks.

I’ll catch you all up very soon, in the meantime there’s a lot of of stuff to prepare for (and good food to try!), but I will be back before you know it, quicker than a cupcake left defenceless in our house gets eaten!

Harlequin x

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I’ve been a little absent lately, I’m so sorry! I’ve had a crazy last few weeks with last-minute wedding preps and house hunting, which I’m hoping will calm down now that mostly everything is done! I can’t make any promises so watch out for my sporadic blogging, I’ll post whenever I can.

My eldest sister Happy Muslimah kindly threw me a bridal shower yesterday which was really fun, especially as it was full of lots of my friends, family and sisters which turned out to be really enjoyable. We decided to have a garden tea party, with the theme and dress code being anything vintage, floral, polka dot and pearly, and I loved how much effort everyone put in.

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The decor was provided by my talented sister, who made banners and table decor, as well as made some yummy food for the table. My other sister put together the pretty draping in the garden to make a canopy, and also put together a lot of the decor and food, not to mention taking some amazing photographs of the day (I’m usually the one with the camera but didn’t get a chance to take many this time!) – so most of these photos are credited to her. It’s hard to tell from the photographs because I didn’t include a lot due to people being in them, but I loved all the details – the banners, the pegs, the butterflies and the colour themes.

The food was absolutely beautiful, most of my guests brought a dessert or dish, and they were all gobbled down. My sister made chocolate-covered strawberries which I didn’t even get to try because they disappeared so quickly, my best friend made some amazing double-chocolate chewy cookies, and yet another friend made pasties and pakoray. There was also an amazing chocolate trifle made by my sister in law which was very popular, and which felt very light and moussy.

Everyone tried to make an effort with the costumes, and I love that they all had a different take on it. I’ll admit, I didn’t get a lot of time to sort my own out, but I loved the floral dress I wore and my eldest sister lent me a string of pearls which matched wonderfull. Below you can see some of the floral prints and polka dots people wore, my sisters also wore floral prints and one of them even went for an excellent 50s’ style outfit.

I think the babies stole the show though, they toddled around in their dresses (my newest niece was being a relaxed kitten) and enjoyed the limelight, I’m pretty sure most of my friends were in love with them by the end of the day.

I wish I should show some of the more fun pictures with my family and friends in it, but a lot of them practise hijab and would prefer to remain private – but I can assure you it really was a fun day!

All in all we had a really nice afternoon – we played silly games (one involved asked me questions about the fiancé which they had asked him the answers for previously, if I got the questions wrong I had to chew some gum. I got all but 2 questions wrong!) and we had a good catch up with old friends, took photos and ate some yummy food. It was a really nice start to the wedding celebrations, I still have some weeks to go but it was nice to see everyone make an effort and also weird to be the cause of it. We’ll be having a few more parties before it’s all over, I’m sure, but this one was pretty amazing to start with : )

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I had the wonderful luck if being spoiled by a few good friends this weekend, who made plans to have ‘Rock Tea’ at the beautiful W Hotel in Soho, London – made even more lovely because of the fact that I hadn’t seen these friends for some time. The hotel was beautiful and the experience even more, particularly as it provided a venue for an enjoyable experience with friends.

Being the typical snap-happy amateur photographer that I am, I took hundreds of pictures, so here are the ones I liked the most. It was a very ‘English’ tea, with about fifty billion (okay, I exaggerate, about 10) different types of tea to start off with, and several yummy goodies which were brought out bit by bit so we could savour them properly : )

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Surprisingly, the sandwiches were a mix of vegetarian, fish and halal chicken, and were honestly the best sandwiches I’ve had at a tea place yet – I could even say I almost enjoyed them more than the cake and nibbles (and I’m a real cake freak!). I also loved the fact that the service was impeccable – the waiters and staff were discreet, friendly and very non-invasive, which made our tea-experience that much more giggly and silly.

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The tea area itself is beautiful, with hundreds of decorative plates lining a huge shelf which partitioned it off from the bar and club area – the plates being printed with various celebrity portraits, icons and art. Perhaps it was the time of day, but the tea area was also pretty quiet, which created a really peaceful atmosphere and also gave us a chance to relax.

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All in all, a lovely day was had (we also didn’t have any pressure to leave after a certain period the way some places only allot you around 90 minutes or two hours before they hustle you to get off their premises!) I’ve been ooh-ing and aahh-ing at the lovely pictures because of how beautiful the set up was, and it’s made me want to go to tea again soon. I’m hoping to try a new place soon – *fingers crossed that someone (heck, anyone) takes the hint and takes me to the Ritz*

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Signs that you grew up in the 90s to Asian/Desi parents, or, 12 cheap ways to save your household costs

I am often reminded of the various facets of myself which has roots in various places; I am a British-Pakistani Muslim woman, waist-deep in Western culture and society, the other half of me in Middle Eastern and Pakistani idioms. Like many of my peers. I have followed various influences through high school colleges and university, and found myself in the nine-to-five workplace. I’ve watched the popular American television series, the dry-wit British stand-up shows, the silly YouTube videos gone viral and the thought-provoking Islamic lectures and Ted Talks. Not to mention all the Lollywood and Bollywood films you can think of, which certainly added a spice to my cultural awareness.
I’ve spoken about my family briefly before, and certainly think that growing up in the 90s had its own charm, and also was its own nightmare. One of the reasons we can relate so much to the classic 90s tv series awesomeness that was Goodness Gracious Me was that they were able to capture so well everything that makes us British-Asians – being cheesy, sarcastic, admiring our roots while recognising how embarrassing we (and our parents!) are. This post was long overdue in the list of things which I’m sure many of you will recognise in your own family’s upbringing (although please note I’m not trying to write anything offensive, and if anything I should be the most offended that most of these things happened to me in my poor, defenceless childhood)

Not us, but there’s parts I can relate to.

1. Cover everything with plastic – the carpet, the sofa, the remote control, half of the furniture in the house (it took us a couple of years to convince my parents to take the sheeting off our new dining table set) and even our mobile phone screens – remember that? We were one of millions of forward-thinking families to ‘protect’ and cover the hallways with plastic runners (all of which are pretty much identical in every house). Years later, when we finally convinced our parents to remove the plastic, the carpet underneath looked as brand new as the day we bought it, and the ones that were exposed looked like something had died and decayed on it. But the thing is, it was a normal thing to do in the nineties, because every other house down the road did exactly the same thing. Another thing our mums did? Cover the cooker over top with foil so that any food that spilled would get caught in the foil, which you could just pick up and throw away. My mum stopped doing that about 10 years ago when she got fed up of the foil getting caught on fire, and also because  I think she didn’t see the point in covering (wasting!) in foil when you’d still have to clean the cooker because some piece of food wriggled underneath. Something my mum still does is line all of the cupboards and drawers with old wallpaper or sheets, but that’s probably good practise (and not so funny either,  I suppose). My mum even used to lovely sew pretty sofa covers (which we could have tried to pass off as boho and eclectic throws, but it blatantly wasn’t), with frills and all, to cover the sofas. I’m not sure what we were trying to do, whether we wanted to preserve the sofas and carpets for the next ten years, especially as we don’t have any of the same furniture of carpet now. The first thing we did when we bought a new television a couple of years back was, yep, rip off the plastic before my mum even opened her mouth to stop us.

Remember those beautiful studs? Mmmm smell that plasticky freshness

2. Buying new things was a big event in our house, and even bigger was  then showing them to family and friends so that they would go out and buy the same thing if they liked it. I remember my aunt coming to our house and seeing our red and cream patterned sofas, then buying the same ones for her own house (which were there for years). It is with great relief that I can say none of the original furniture from my childhood remains in the house (except possibly my parent’s my dad’s old bookshelf which has gotten away with being in the hallway, and which no one moves because it’s a good place to surreptitiously put unwanted plastic bags and extra creams that mysteriously appear). Similarly, we’d all be involved in a trip to go buy something like a vacuum for the house, my dad would expertly examine it for flaws (and then never be the one to use it), while we all sat bored and begging to go to the toys aisle.
We weren’t a well-off family and didn’t often have new things – one thing we all remember is hand-me-downs from older siblings (I didn’t have it as bad because I was the youngest, but one of my sisters remembers having hand-me-downs from my brother which was less pretty!) My parents were very thrifty and careful with what they had, and it’s a trait we’ve all manage to inherit – it also meant having an array of junk in our house because things were on sale/free/being given away. These days internet shopping is a great revelation in my house (and not just because I buy a lot of junk, my dad is the worst) – it’s a big jumble sale out there and it’s easy to go crazy. Except for my mum, who still buys everything in cash and almost always finds a bargain in any store.

3. Who says you can’t fit eight people in a five-person car? You’re just not squeezing people inside hard enough. Coming from a family where I was the youngest of five, I spent most of my childhood squashed/half-couched in the feet area of the back seats (back then I was the skinniest and the smallest, which meant I got the least space). Oddly enough, although we should have spent half our journeys terrified of the police stopping us over for overcrowding a vehicle, we never worried about it, and it never happened to us. Booster seats for toddlers and seat-belts? Pah. Our car wasn’t that glamorous either, we had an ugly white Nissan when I was a child , which then got upgraded to an ugly red Nissan a few years later – although both of which still weren’t as embarrassing as the yellow three-wheeler down the road.

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4. Reading books are full of nonsense and put silly ideas in your head. My sisters and I are all avid readers, and have been since we learned our alphabet as little toddlers. I remember holding my sister’s (sometimes my Dad’s) hand and being led to the local library which was minutes up the road as a child, and being in awe at the sheer number of books lining the shelves, getting greedy over how many we could take home. My parents, on the other hand, hated it. They hated the fact that we’d go glazed-eyed and deaf once we got stuck in a book (they had to shout at us up the stairs a good few times to get our attention), the fact that we wouldn’t stop reading for hours, or the fact that our books took up piles of space next to our beds. I remember being engrossed in books which I refused to put down even when eating, ignoring the television to put a book next to my play and accidentally drip a bit of food into the pages, which would drive my parents nuts. Even now our rooms (in all of our respective houses!) still fill up with books and crowd the bookshelves (which our parents keep threatening to dump in a landfill every so often, but we know they’re just empty threats).

I’m pretty sure Roald Dahl must have based Matilda on a Pakistani family. Minus the witchcraft and car-swindling parents.

5. PG films didn’t apply to us. As long as there wasn’t any inappropriate scenes about K-I-S-S-I-N-G, we became pretty desensitized to violent films, because our parents didn’t see them as unsuitable. Mind you, the kissing thing became pretty old, we could be watching a scene from an innocent, joyful Christmas family movie, and as soon as any kissy scenes came on, the channel got changed, and we’d lose control over the remote.* Gory killing scenes in Predator were okay though, cos that was just men running around with knives. There’s been many a film that we didn’t see the ending of because of this problem.

Predator – just a film about getting exercise and fresh air in the jungle. With guns.

6. Yes, our parents were those ones who said if you didn’t get A grades, you might as well not have bothered. Admittedly, we were lucky enough to be that family which were high achievers at school and who made our cousins’ lives (unintentionally) miserable because their parents were always smacking them on the head asking them why they couldn’t get our grades. Also funnily enough, when I got my GCSE grade, the majority of which were A grades, my dad pointed out that I only got a B in Maths, which was a bit of a let-down – yet a day later a few of my uncles congratulated me saying my dad had praised my grades. My dad wanted one of us to be a mathematician (because it was his favourite subject) and my mum would have preferred it if one of us did something respectable like become a doctor or lawyer. Seeing as no one in the family has yet to reach these lofty statuses yet, I’m still waiting for them to transfer their attentions on the grandkids.

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7. Clothes and fashion in the 90s wasn’t as glamorous as they are for us today, and we didn’t have it all thought out. My sister and I are 18 months apart, which meant that as kids, we got dressed exactly the same. We looked nothing the same as kids (and even less so as adults), but this didn’t stop my mum from dressing us up exactly the same, and for relatives to ask if we were twins. Another cost-saving fashion method we had was to buy a roll of fabric and for all the girls in the family to have the same outfit stitches (which we’d have to wear at the same time) – hence our aversion as adults to wear anything pink, frilly, netted or similar to anything any other sister is wearing. And my brother wasn’t spared either, we have many photographs of him growing up displaying his stylish shell-suits with his curtain hair styles.

Can you see that look of scepticism in my face? My sisters (behind) had the same frilly dresses as me in yellow, which were our mum put on us for special occasions.

Can you see that look of scepticism in my face? My sisters (behind) had the same frilly dresses as me in yellow, which were our mum put on us for special occasions.

8. Bollywood films were a staple when we were going up, as much as Power Rangers, Blue Peter and the Indiana Jones films were. Every week, my mum would send one of us to the corner video shop to pick up the latest pirated Bollywood video tape and watch huddled together in the living room (they were a lot more family friendly than they are now, no kissing scenes here). My dad hated us watching Bollywood films, so we would watch it whenever he went out with (blatant, over-acted) ‘stealth’, – whenever we’d hear the sound of his key in the door and him stepping into the house, we would be scrambling around to switch the VCR off and pretend to be staring at the news/carpet/empty bowl when he came in.

Die Hard had nuthin’ on this guy.

9. Weddings in the 90s were a world away from the grand affair they are now. Weddings in the 90s were purely about eating food, wearing puffy dresses and tinsel, and lots of cramped seating. And don’t get me started on the cringe-worthy wedding videos and their ‘special’ effects (one of my uncle’s wedding videos features the cameraman’s hand holding up a piece of glass to make a kaleidoscopic effect in the lens. It worked, too). Compared to the bridezillas of today who take a microscopic look at wedding dresses, cakes, flowers, seating arrangements and a hundred other things, wedding back in the day involved booking a hall and food, turning up, watching at least one fight and leaving as soon as you ate. The poor bride was usually miserable and spent the whole time with her head down, and the groom was usually an obscure figure on the stage. The best thing I remember about those days was running around with the other kids and picking up loose change on the floor (and feeling really rich!)

10. Family portraits were another disaster in our household, and not just because of the fashion faux pas – I don’t think we have a single family picture which has everyone with a straight face (one of us were usually sniggering or hiding behind someone else). My sisters remember my mum telling them not to smile too much (and keep their teeth inside their mouths) because it didn’t look respectable in pictures – which is a far cry from the fake smiles and poses we all have today (I’m pretty sure we could submit a lot of ours to this website). A lot of our pictures from an early age look quite serious and sombre, usually because we were sitting on sofas in the front room which we weren’t usually meant to go in, which is ironic because I don’t think any of us were particularly miserable children. These days we’re all about arty-farty pictures and looking our best in pictures (okay that’s probably just me, but still), and the grandkids in my family have grown up with camera phones in front of their faces.

Me and my sister’s hijabi selfie

11. Food in our house was another affair which hasn’t changed. I watched Russell Peters at one of his stand-up shows once, and he correctly talked about how our mums only ever cooked whatever our dads wanted, no matter whether we wanted it or not. This was the same in our house – I can remember countless number of times that my mum made my dad’s favourite food (usually lentils) while we all moaned about wanting chicken and chips. We also didn’t eat out or have much junk food as kids (which is probably a good thing in hindsight) – I think I was about 13 when I had my first McDonald fish burger. Whenever we wanted junk food, my mum would make us home-made fish and chips (peeled and chopped potatoes, of course!) on Sundays, or otherwise make us home-made kebabs to put in burger buns. Over time we discovered halal chicken burger shops, and I remember making weekly trips with one of my sisters after saving up all of our 5ps and 10ps to buy burgers from the local shops (with all of our change in our hands, who needs purses?)

12. Storing and hoarding is a trait that probably all Asian (and other ethnicities) family have – we can’t bear to throw anything away. We have a cellar full of junk from our childhood which we are constantly trying to clear and then end up filling up again. Granted, we’re a lot more neater at storing our junk than those weird shows you see on tv (and we uses to think that the number of books we had were bad, until we drove past a house once which had newspapers and books lining the hallway in stacks until it reached the front door). Part of the problem is we hate to chuck something that we’d paid for, especially because we think we’ll need it again (we won’t). My dad even built a shed (which we’ve named the cow-shed) to ‘store’ our extra tools and things, and which is our latest dumping ground (plus it’s a haven for spiders so everyone’s too scared to go in there).

Another habit we all have is storing and stockpiling enough food and toilet paper to fuel a small country, even though my mother goes shopping every week to buy more of these. We always say that if there’s ever a siege, at least we won’t starve or need toilet paper.

All in all, there were plenty of embarassing moments (this is just the tip of the ice-berg, really!) but there were also lots of perks. Things were simpler then, video games were easier to play (have you tried to play one now? jeez.), cartoon shows were better, we weren’t obssessed with mobiles and the internet, and being an Asian nerd wasn’t always a bad thing if it meant you got A grades at school instead of beats (I rememeber a boy in my class on results day who didn’t go home for two days because he was too scared to tell his parents his grade, when he finally came home they told him they’d been waiting for him to come and show his results).

I’m sure there’s a part two of this coming soon, but in the mean-time, I’m off to browse 90s films to make fun out of (starting with this one, one of the funniest re-caps I’ve read!)

*Ownership of the remote control is a serious thing in our house (I have no idea if this is a thing in other people’s house, although I suspect it is) ‘Having’ the remote is taken pretty seriously, and whoever has it is a lucky devil because they can hold on it and control what everyone else watches. The only exception to this is my dad who has the power to take the remote and change it to Geo channel or BBC news at any and all times, no matter how much we might complain.

“And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): Verily in that are signs for those who reflect.”
[Al-Rum: 21]

“It is He Who created you from a single person, and made his mate of like nature, in order that he might dwell with her (in love).”
[AI-A`raf: 189]

 

I don’t often post about personal things too much, mainly because I’m quite a reserved person, and I’m also a little choosy about what I write/photograph/draw about. I do have some good news to share though, and would like your prayers over the next few months as I take a new step in my journey towards good things.

I’m happy to say that I’m getting married at the end of this year, and it’s something which has kept me emotional and ecstatic in turns. I’d like to share my news and ask you to keep me in your prayers and share your advice, blessings and of course any tips you find helpful as I look forward to the rest of the year : )

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I saw this idea in another photo (so can’t take full credit for it!) and thought I would do my own version, inside photographs and inverting colours. Here’s a few examples of some pictures below, which have the original pictures inside an inverted backgrounds – simple yet striking!

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And here’s a quick breakdown on how to do it yourself, it’s quite simple to do with your mobile phone, or even with a few computer effects.

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  1. Take a picture of the desired object
  2. Invert the picture (you can do this with most photo editing apps, I used the Photo Editor one, but most similar apps have the inversion of colour feature)
  3. Get someone to take a picture of your inverted picture (and then Bluetooth/Whatsapp/email the picture to you)
  4. Invert the final picture again, and voila!

I loved playing around with this, both on my computer and my mobile phone, and have been looking for more ideas for photography tricks – any tips or ideas you can give me for my next topic?