On A Cleaning Spree

I deep clean my house at least once in every week. I’m generally not a hoarder of things and I despise messy drawers, cupboards, bags, kitchen cabinets and shelves. So, I picked today for rummaging through them all and straightening stuff out. Kids have settled into their holiday routine, their excitement having subsided to quite an extent. And though they continue with their hullabaloo, they mostly take it outside the house, into the compound, or upstairs to where our mum-in-law stays, where they happily chatter away or watch TV.

One of the things that annoys me is tainted kitchen glasswares and chopping boards. Even after a thorough wash, they’re often left with gravy, tea or food stains. For removing them, I use a procedure that I have grown up seeing my mum use. I add around 2 large caps or 1 small cup of bleach into a bucket of water and unload all my glasswares along with the white chopping board into the solution. After they are soaked for half an hour or so, I remove them all and run them through water before putting them to dry. This helps in keeping my glasswares immaculate ☺

I also use the same solution (bleach mixed with water) to sponge off the dust from the ceiling fans in all rooms along with doors, walls and windows. I, then, use a wet cloth to wipe off the solution. I have a maid who assists me and my work gets done much faster with her help. Alhamdulilah.

Habitually, it gives me peace to own less stuff. Clutter makes me feel stressed and so I have realised that if I own less things, it becomes more manageable for me to organise and methodize. Every so often, I make it a point to give away old clothes, shoes, children’s books and stationary, etc., that have been much used and worn in our house, towards charity. Afterall, I believe, one man’s waste becomes another man’s treasure.

Today, I also sorted through childrens’ cupboard and neatened their play areas. Considering the way they pick their clothes that they need to wear -by topsyturvyeying everything- the whole closet was in shambles! I wish I’d clicked a before and after image to show how well-arranged their wardrobe looks now.

I love how I feel after a day’s cleaning and sprucing the house up. If any one of you decides to pay a visit to my house, you will hardly find it beautifully adorned. I’m not into the ‘let’s-buy-fancy-stuff-for-my-house’ mode yet. My kids are too small and being boys, they can be very unruly. Hence, practically thinking, I don’t really need a pretty house. But, I can’t just let it rust in dust either. So I let my house look austere and artless for the time being, but certainly not in a slovenly state.

I’m craving for a quite read before I go to bed tonight. I havent been able to complete reading even one book this month 😕. Let’s see how things move after Isha (night prayers). Or else, I’m just gonna ignore everyone and settle in with my cuppa and the novel in hand.

Coming Close To Allah


When in my teens, I’d often talk to Allah and asked Him for things. This does not mean that I prayed all five times or even read the Quran with focus. I was taught to believe in Him and ask from Him but to obey Him was not too keenly inculcated in me. In other words, I was aware of His existence but I didn’t know what loving Him meant.

Life is not a bed of roses for anybody, and I’m no exception. I was 22 years of age when I was blessed with Li’l Man – my first child. Needless to say, I was unprepared for both the mental and physical challenges that plonk on you as soon as you become a mother. I was still wrapping my head around learning to be a good wife and a daughter-in-law, and now I had to look after a demanding baby too. What ensued was an experimenting phase with my child that left me confused, exhausted, sometimes enthused but mostly lost. The amount of advises that come in when you are a new mum are helpful but mostly irksome because you have yet to see how those advises are going to work for you. Also, the dilemma of choosing from the array of suggestions, that you haven’t really asked to be offered, is real.

Coming back, when Little Man was turning two, I’d grown a bit as a mother, if not much. And I thought I had grasped the bull by its horns by now. However, that’s when I was granted Wise Man – my second child. If I didn’t already feel at sea before, I felt cast away in comparison now. I felt alone in my struggle to manage everything along with raising a baby and expecting another. My health deteriorated and the deficiencies in my body became apparent in my health reports. My gynaecologist was not happy with my health graph whenever I was scheduled to meet her. I had also lost friends in my struggle to please the people around me. I felt confined and unreal. Tired and disoriented. (I can feel goosebumps on my arms as I recollect this phase of my life. Subhan Allah!)

This is the time when I was experiencing the zenith of misery that Allah (swt) had put me through, as a test, uptil then. Here is when, one day, I just fell on my knees and cried. I cried because I was in an utter despair. I cried because this wasn’t a life I had imagined. This wasn’t what I had signed up for. It was not just the kids, it was a lot more, which I yet don’t feel comfortable talking about. It was breaking me because I had given my heart to this cause. A cause that left me in pieces because my earnest attempts had turned futile.

Alhamdulilah, I am endowed with an excellent spouse. I couldn’t be more grateful for being married to him. He has helped me rise up in his own resilent and understanding ways. But, when Allah wishes to test you, you just have to go through your share of hardship. It was my folly that I considered the pain as a punishment at that time. But which, in reality, was my chance to turn to Allah. Because that was when I started being interested in reading more about Islam as a beautiful religion. My parents gifted me my first smart phone- a Blackberry model. I now had access to internet and I soaked in all the information i could recieve about my deen. I learnt that Allah desires ease for us. He has not assigned us to suffer at the hands of others. Our ultimate goal is to worship Him and that does not include enduring being wronged.

This is not to say that I dont waver in my belief from time to time. I sin profusely ever so often and only He conceals my misdeeds. But, what is so beautiful is that I now make haste to return to Him with repentance. I accept how unworthy I am but that His favors continue being abundant.

When I look back, I realise that it has all worked collectively for me towards where I stand today. Alhamdulilah, I am a mum of another tiny soul now, who has been the coolness of our eyes since the day he has arrived. I now write to my heart’s content, work proposals being aplenty and sometimes requests from dear friends to compose write-ups for their firms and small businesses. I now pray regularly all of my Salahs and a little bit of Quran daily too. I stay amazed at my three boys growing into wise little adults and who smother me with their kisses and love everyday. I have a clearer idea of what I expect from life and which people are my priorities.

So if you face a calamity, think of it as a path paved for you to come nearer to the Almighty by your duas, by turning to Him with sincerity, by obeying Him, by loving Him. Don’t despair or feel sorry for yourself. Instead, feel happy that He’s asking you to turn towards Him. Coz He gives the strongest battles to the most beloved to Him.

That being said, don’t minimize your pain either. Realise that you ‘are’ suffering. Being in denial doesn’t give you a chance to work towards reducing your hardship. You continue being in pain. Know when things are not going right for you. Reach out for help. Keep patience but also know that you are Allah’s creation and are worthy of good things. Create distance with people who feel toxic to you. Not everyone is meant to be pleased.

“And He found you lost and guided (you)” – Quran 93:7

Product Synopsis – Cosmetic Junction 

I have been on a hunt to buy soaps that are organic. My skin is excessively dry and using harsh chemicals on my face further robs it of moisture. Also, I have placed myself on a journey to learn to use naturally grown/manufactured products. Hence, I was ecstatic to receive the handcrafted Grapefruit Shea Butter and Charcoal and Oats Facial soap bars by Cosmetic Junction.

Grapefruit Shea Butter Soap

Pros:

✔  I personally enjoy unwrapping new soap bars because they are unused and dry and I can take a whiff without the peril of them slipping off my hands. This one is mild and fruity in fragrance.

✔ It lathers up well. Doesn’t foam up richly but easily rubs over skin, smoothly cleansing.

✔ It runs long. I have been using the soap for over a month now and it still sits on my shelf in the bathroom, assuring many more days of use ahead.

✔As I’ve mentioned before that I’ve developed a fondness for naturally made stuff, this soap matches my preference. It is vegan and has been created using coconut oil, shea butter and castor oil.

✔ It gets even better: it is biodegradable, GMO and paraben free. Also, it hasnt been tested on animals.

Cons:

⛤ None that I can think of.

The Charcoal and Oats Facial Soap Bar.

The moment I unwrapped this one, Wise Man claimed his ownership to it. The black hue of the soap bar makes it stand out starkly in comparison to the usual luxury soaps that we purchase every month. Oats visibly matted on one side of it, this soap bar looks masculine and hence Wise Man’s reaction after seeing it, I guess.

Pros:

✔ I used it to wash my face and instantly felt my skin supple. I didn’t feel the need to use moisturiser after it.

✔ The oats gently work as a scrub on your skin.

✔ This variation of soap bar is free from alcohol, petroleum, synthetic additives and artificial preservatives. Exactly what I wish to avoid!

✔ Moulded into a block, it is made using activated charcoal, vegetable glycerin, virgin coconut oil and castor oil. All natural components. Win win!

Cons:

❌ It is not high on fragrance, unlike it’s counterpart reviewed above.

Verdict: These are not the best solid soaps that I have ever used, but they’re definitely one of the better ones and probably top of my list for organic soaps right now.

Product Synopsis- The Pipal

It is not often that I receive presents, considering the dimunitive social life that I lead. And, in all honesty, it’d never occur to me to get my stuff personalized. So, when I was sent an exquisite set comprising of a napkin and a bib, etched with Darling’s name on it, I can’t say I wasnt thrilled.

A personalised gift speaks volumes. It symbolises the effort you take to make someone feel special. And that’s just what I felt when I became the recipient of my baby’s first ever personalised baby essential ☺

Pros:

The Napkin.

✔ The napkin is made of terrycloth hence absorbs water nicely when Darling steps fresh out of his bath (usually in my arms, i.e.).

✔ I use the napkin as towel at the moment since it wraps well around Darling’s tiny body. Yes, its sizable.

✔ I love it’s relucent green hue, bordered with a xanthous periphery.

The Bib.

✔ Darling is a year old, which means that I have introduced solids and finger foods to him. This, of course, translates into messy mouth and hands. The bib is roomy enough to reach his belly button and I can thoroughly wipe his palms, fingers and lips clean. The bib, too, is of terrycloth fabric.

✔ The emblematic ‘dad’s lion’ etched on the bib does little to reduce hubster’s mollycoddling Darling 🙄. It’s adorable, actually!

✔ The sensible velcro at the ends of the bib are a relief since I’ve had enough trouble struggling with tying knots when my eldest two were younger.

Cons:

❌ I suggest using a fabric softener after handwashing the bib and the napkin. They tend to become mildly harsh after normal wash.

Verdict: What gladdens me is that I can treasure Darling’s name on his bathing essentials forever. Even when he’s way ahead of his childhood phase, in sha Allah. This is why it also serves as a great gifting concept. Who wouldn’t be smitten with their names embossed on souvenirs?

The Pipal has an amazing array of toddler and children products, which can be made to personalize on order. To get more details, you can visit their website.

http://www.thepipal.com

I had resolved to write this blog post after children’s ongoing exams are done with. Notwithstanding the writer’s bug that bites me ever so often though, here I am with this review.

Do tell me if this review gets you interested and fascinated into buying personalised stuffs. Your feedbacks are what keeps me going.

Au revoir 💟

Product Synopsis- Cyahi

iPhone is a pièce de résistance (although, I don’t have one to call it my own 🙁). And beauty being fragile, has to be taken care of and encased. Hence, when Cyahi sent their iPhone case for me to review, I was bouyant, instantly deciding to gift it to hubster since he has an iPhone 6.

Pros:

Artful design, solid look and scratch-resistant surface. This is what I espied on my first glance at Cyahi’s iPhone case. Clear, glossy and transparent with pink and green leafy motifs, it is flexible (kids had a good time playing catch and twisting it until I snagged it off their hands only to find it still in an excellent condition!). It is also durable since it is made of polycarbonate. I am hoping it will break the fall, if hubsters phone ever drops. He takes good care of his phone, unlike me who mostly has to tug away her mobile from Darling’s mouth! 🙄

What I also found pleasing is that they have each phone case prettily named on their website (at least a zillion have been listed!). Light in weight and waterproof, the phone cover has cut-outs for speaker, charger and camera.

Cons: Not one of those rugged phone cases which prevent phones from getting exposed to dirt, this phone case will have to be removed once in every while and wiped clean. Also, all phone cases listed on the website look feminine. They should look into designing them for men too.

Verdict : If you are into tasteful displays and quirky designs, Cyahi’s iPhone cases are a dream come true. But, if you are looking out for sturdy gifts for your male counterparts, discontent is what you’ll feel.

As for me, if hubster refuses to use the iPhone cover, I’m saving it until I meet my mum. I’m sure she’ll find it appealing.(Seems like I’m the only one without the enigmatic iPhone!) 🙄 

Teaching Them Gratitude 

These days, I often observe Li’l Man growing increasingly sullen and cross when his demands are not given into. He has always been a boisterous kid, exhibiting compassion and contempt with acute ferocity. He can throw a tantrum for hours on end, but simmers down when he finds me looking forlorn because of him and wraps himself around me, refusing to leave until I smile. How I love him! Alhamdulilah.

So, today, when Wise Man received treats from a classmate celebrating his birthday- some chocolates along with a game comprising of wooden sticks (I havent figured out the way to play it and have shown very little interest in learnin it either *smiles sheepishly*)- Li’l Man broke into a fit, demanding that he too has to have a toy right then! While I stood for Maghrib prayers, he lay sprawled on my prayer mat, all the time sobbing and complaining that he never gets anything. (His age is 7, btw). I couldn’t help but smile. He was clearly perplexed as to whether he really needed a toy or was just envious of his younger brother. And so I decided to try showing him some perspective by means of an analogy. Even if its difficult for him to fathom the depth of what I was telling him, I just wanted him to reflect on whether it was ideal for him to cry over what he did not have at the moment.

I told him to think about the pitcher of water (made of clay) that is kept in their Daadima’s balcony. It stores water that’s refreshingly cool and soothing to drink, Subhan Allah! I asked him if he knew what would happen if someone were to break a hole into it. He said there was no way that the pitcher could be refilled. I tried drawing a parable between how our souls were just like this broken pitcher. How it can never be satisfied. No matter how much Allah (swt) bestows us with blessings, we will always remain in a state of longing. We will always peek into other people’s blessings, giving little regard to our own gifts. Here, I was quite animatedly explaining, which may have made me look comical and so he split into laughter 😊. So, I took it further and unfurled the secret that holds the key to his happiness. I told him about Alhamdulilah. About how Allah (swt) promises to increase His gifts for us if we show gratitude for even the little that we have. About how for the box of (now broken) toys that he has, Allah (swt) promises to replace it with fresh games and play things, only if he remembers to say Alhamdulilah.

Umpteen blessings may go unappreciated, or worse, unnoticed by us. Our ability to make use of all our five senses, our parents, 24/7 access to running water straight from the tap, 24/7 availability of electricity, roof over our heads, stable incomes, food (whenever and whatever we like), beautiful mornings and peaceful nights, being safe from bombarding, killing, fear, torture or harassment. The list can go on and still be immensely short. For how can we imagine keeping a tab on His infinite favors!

As a Muslimah mum, one of my principal concerns, is for my children to never become heedless. That they always thank and count their blessings because, I believe, that’s where our core happiness lies. Not to hanker after things that others possess but be appreciative of our own assets. This brings contentment in our lives and makes our relationship with Allah (swt) wholesome.

The idea is to strive becoming the people of Alhamdulilah (Yes, wise words from Nouman Ali Khan). To show appreciation even for things that we dislike. To pray that our children grow into adults who do not sulk, growl or complain but instead, look for ways to be grateful to the Almighty for His plenteous benison.

What are the ways in which you teach your kids gratitude? How do you approach this subject with your children? Do share your stories and experiences. We may all benefit from fresh outlooks.

Au revoir 💟