Zero Waste Swaps: Essential Machines

For me buying unpackaged food from shops is very hard. I live in a town with supermarkets on every corner. We have one bulk shop which is very expensive and as I don’t drive its hard for me to go out of town to the farmshops. I can get 80% of my fruit and vege loose and everything else I try and buy in recycleable packaging where possible.

After seriously reducing alot of my waste I noticed a pattern of things I buy that I could make myself with the help of a few machines that have now become essential for me.

Bread Maker

We used to buy one loaf of bread a week. Not much compared to other families but they still come in a plastic bag that my council won’t recycle.

On top of that I found out that bread can make your blood sugar level rise dramatically. For that reason I tried to cut down. But it left me hungry without my extra bread fix.

My parents have been making their own bread for a few years and it tastes delicious. So I decided I would make my own. I would know the exact ingredients, I would never run out and it would taste 100% better than shop bought.

The search was on for a bread machine. I tried my best to make it by hand but I failed alot. Then one glorious day I found one in a charity shop for £8. I added my very few ingredients and have never looked back. Sadly the machine isn’t great and my loaves come out all differnt shapes and sizes. I got so disheartened and bought a shop loaf. It tasted awful. After moping around for a week I got back on it and changed the recipe a bit. Now I am happy and have saved an estimate of 16 plastic bags from the bin and know I am giving my family more healthy food.

bread machine

Coffee Machine

I have been after a coffee machine for so long. I always feel quite awful after drinking instant coffee and it dosn’t taste as good as from the coffee shops. I’m sure instant coffee isn’t as healthy as freshly brewed either. So imagine my happiness when I found a coffee machine for £6.99.

Now I can have perfect coffee everyday. I don’t need to spend £2-3 on a coffee. I can make my own at home avoiding sugar sachets, small plastic milk pots, throw away spoons and takeaway cups.

I haven’t found the perfect coffee brand yet so any suggestions are welcome.

I think I may also need to purchase some coffee syrups as I have a thing for gingerbread lattes at the moment.

coffee machine


In our house we LOVE juice. It has to be 100% and comes in plastic bottles, 4 a week. I knew we had to do something about this. Yes the bottles can be recycled but our aim is to not even put anything in the recycling.

At the same charity shop that I found my coffee machine, I also found my juicer, a thing of beauty and only cost £5. I go to my local asian shop and buy the out of date fruit. As its going in the juicer it dosn’t really matter if its going a bit squishy as it will be juiced straight away and not eaten. Its also alot cheaper. Again I know exactly what is going in my juice and knowing my family are having healthy drinks. So far I have probably saved 64 plastic bottles from recycling or the ocean. Imagine that!


So this is my short but sweet list of essential items of machinery. Is there any I have missed that makes your life easier and makes a positive effect on the environment?

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When Your Smiling -Learning the Smiling Dua

Last week we had so much fun learning the Dua for when it rains, I had to find another small Dua to learn.

A few years ago I came across the Dua for when we see someone smiling and made this little frame. As I am a perfectionist I dumped it in the back of a cupboard never to be seen again because I don’t like the writing.

I went back in the cupboard, took it out and displayed it on the fireplace

Smiling Dua

What a beautiful Dua to make for someone you see smiling whether you know them or not. It leaves you feeling all happy and warm inside.

This Dua was made for the Prophet Muhammed (SAW).


I showed the frame to Noori and we discussed the Hadith, the Dua and how smiling is form of charity. If we give someone a beautiful smile they will feel happy and that could be the first time they smiled today. Also you will be rewarded from Allah and maybe rewarded with a smile back from that person.

Then we learned the Dua. I said the Dua over the day and got Noori too repeat it after me.

The next day we made some smiley face Emoji biscuits. I had bought some really boring rich tea style biscuits the day before. So we gave them a much needed make over. With yellow icing, raisins for eyes and smiley mouths. Whilst doing this activity we kept repeating the Dua over and over.

Emoji Cookie

A few days later we went to the park after school and had one of our biscuits as a snack. Again we repeated the Dua.

Emoji bitten

When we got home we did some smiley face emoji maths.

This time Noori is learning her 7 times tables so I took the oppertunity to incorporate maths and Duas with physical activity.

I put her Smiley Emoji in the middle of the floor. On her Emoji notepaper I wrote the 7 times table. I got Noori to put them in the correct order around the Emoji face.

Emoji Maths

As they were too close to the cushion she spread them around the room. I asked her a question about the 7 times tables. She jumped on the answer and then on to the Emoji. When she landed on the Emoji she had to say the Dua.

I find this method a really effective way of memorizing Duas and times tables.

I’m hoping after reading this next time you see a smiley face Emoji you will connect it to this short but sweet Dua. And everytime you see someone smiling you will make this Dua for them and spread a bit of happiness around 😁😊☺🙂

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Destroying The One Size Fits All Sleeping Myth

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I am writing this for all the mummies who like me worry when I hear of other peoples little angels who sleep in their own bed in their own room all night long . And just to assure you I know of absolutely no babies like that.

I just read a question on a group ‘ how do you get a 9 month old to self soothe ?’ i.e sleep through the night. My midwife has also questioned me about this. To be honest both times I was seriously shocked. I had no idea a 9 month old should sleep through the night. None of my children have ever done .

I started getting worried . What am I doing? Am I doing this whole thing wrong ? Should my baby sleep through the night? Am I setting myself up for a hard future?

Then the lightbulb moment ,

“Why do we as Mums pressure ourselves to make our children and ourselves perfect sleepers?”.

Is that even a real thing?

When Noori was little we did the whole crying it out thing and it worked until the people downstairs started complaining. When we got our own house it didn’t matter but by then Noori had a bad relationship with sleep and her Dad said she could sleep in with us. Now she is 8 and after years of bribery and room decoration she still tells me how lonely she is in her own room and I feel so bad leaving her alone when her baby brother is next to me in her former place.

As the first child she gets experimented on and none of them have worked, through my own fault.

With this baby I vowed we would have a great bedtime routine, He would always sleep in his cot even at naptime. How wrong I was.

I was so so lucky to give birth in the midwife led birthing unit in my hospital. Part of the luxury was having a private room with double bed. (Well not so private as nurses came in and out all the time). I put baby in the very nice Mama’s and Papas crib. I didn’t like the fact he was far away from me and was worried about him . How would I know if he was OK? How would I know he was breathing? How could I know what was happening if he wasn’t next to me? By the way I’m blind as a bat without my glasses on so that didn’t help matters.

Then during the early hours he woke up and instinctively I fed him lying down. Baby , my Husband and I slept soundly. The nurse walked in and didn’t bat an eyelid at a newborn baby sleeping next to his Mama. As I am writing this I am realising how natural that sounds. We have been sleeping next to each other for the past 9 months. As soon as He was born I picked him up and he was in my arms for 30 minutes. The only person who touched him was the midwife putting a blanket on him. Why suddenly should we be separated?

For practical reasons I always have my baby in a baby carrier on the school run. People ask me why? Don’t you have a pram? I have given up explaining and just say he’s been hugging Mummy since he was born and thats true.

Fast forward to coming home. After just giving birth and having separated tummy muscles sitting up at night to breastfeed a baby and put him back in his cot was so uncomfortable. I resorted to lying down feeding as that was the only comfortable way and soon I was getting a relaxing sleep!! Yay.

Every morning I get to wake up with a smiley chubby cheek baby slapping my face.

Sometimes we have a routine and sometimes I need to be reminded to stick to it.

So this is our routine.

At 8PM we:

Read a story

Say its time to sleep

Say the sleeping Dua

3 Quls

And Surah Mulk.

Feed baby to sleep.

He starts off in his cot. Then wakes up 2-3 times a night for a feed. By this point I’m too tired for messing around so keep him in the bed with us.

As long as you and you partner haven’t smoked , drunk alcohol, been on medication or heavy sleepers it is pretty much safe to co sleep. Just make sure your baby is placed with their head higher than yours and there are no pillows or other bedding around them.

I read that in some African cultures , it is normal to wake up several times a night to feed a baby or be on guard to watch out for wild animals. They don’t have a bad relationship with sleep like we do being told we have to get this many hours of sleep, the numbers changing every year. I used to get so angry if my sleep was interrupted. Of course if you are going to work in the morning its a different story but if you are on maternity leave or a full time Mum we don’t need to have this attitude.

If my baby wakes up crying who am I to deny him a feed. Breastmilk not only fills their tummies but is also a pain relief. If baby wakes up in pain from teething imagine how happy he will be for that pain relief.

What really brought this idea to the forefront to me was reading the Hadiths of the Prophet Muhammed (SAW). As Muslims we have our 5 daily prayers , the optional prayers and tajahud.

The Prophet (SAW) would wake up part way through the night and pray the night prayer. This is our Sunnah. He woke up in the middle of the night on purpose!

Then there are the times in summer when Fajr is around 2 or 3am. Add these all up and look at the pattern.


wake up for Tajahhud


Wake up for Fajr.

Compare this to motherhood.


wake up for feed


Wake up for feed


wake up for feed.

Similar or not? As Muslims we shouldn’t expect a full 8-10 hours sleep.

Then the good news. Breastfeeding a baby every 4 hours a day and night up to 6 months can be a form of contraception called LAM contraception. You can read more about it at Babycentre. So if my baby wants feeding every few hours who am I to complain?

If my babies want to feel safe and warm sleeping next to their Mummy and Papa can I deny them that?

Every family is different. I know people who put their babies in a separate room at 3 months. Families who’s babies sleep in a cot or a side sleeper .I know parents who have their older kids in their own beds next to theirs. There is no one set rule or ideal for sleeping.

So lets destroy this one size fits all sleeping myth.

Aslong as we are all happy and sleeping , waking up , drinking milk or midnight feasts lets all be proudly , unashamedly imperfect. And when someone asks you how your baby sleeps tell them the truth and dispell a few sleeping myths.

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Yan’s Hajj- Book review

I’ll admit it, I’m a judge a book by its cover type. This book from Kube publishing drew me in straight away. The cover is bright, with soft watercolour style illustrations letting you know it will be a nice, smiley, warm read with nothing bad happening.

The Book

At first glance there looks nothing Islamic about this book , which to me is a bonus. All too often we see the same view of Islam and its time for something different to make our children really connect.

This book is from a different prospective. A man who could be of any race or religion who looks like a farmer. Coming from a city and not well-travelled in Muslim countries its is not what I would expect a Muslim to look like. And I would never associate any Muslims I know with the countryside.

It is very important to show children that Islam is for everyone not one race. And Islam is about a lifestyle not just about going to madrassah and forgetting about it at home.

Most kids books involve farm animals in one way or the other. So it is nice to see an Islamic book sharing this theme.

Look at the smiley faces and bright sunflowers.

When we look closely we can see the Kaaba giving us a clue about the storyline.

Then of course we have the title ‘Yans Hajj’ telling us what it’s about.

The Author could have chosen a more commonly used Muslim name but chose Yan. To me that name could be from anywhere but it sounds very Chinese. After thinking bout this my curious mind went into overdrive and I emailed a few questions to the Author. Her answers are beautiful and in a way unexpected.

I asked the Author Fawzia Gilani why she chose the name Yan?

Two reasons –

One – it was a way to give visibility to converts to Islam. We rarely have children’s stories that show westerners coming to Islam and so by naming this particular character Yan it was a way to project inclusiveness.
Two – my father would tell us the stories of the prophets of God when we were young as bedtime stories. He told the stories in such a vivid and grand way that the prophets became my childhood heroes. I thought they were magnificent.and I loved them so much.One of my favourite messengers was John peace be upon him. For me Yan is just another way of saying John or Yahya.I named this character after John peace be upon him because like John, Yan is kind and tender hearted.

What country is the book set in?

Yan is a Bulgarian variant of John – in Arabic Yahya. So the story is set in Europe where this name is used.

As a revert I find this wonderful. The majority of reverts I know are from all over Europe.

At my daughters school the white Muslims are seen to be non muslim and have a hard time proving their religion . Showing European Muslims in books is something we all need to see more of for both children and adults.

The story is about Yan’s strive to complete Hajj.

Everyday Yan works hard on his farm to make money to survive and save for Hajj. When he sets off he always comes across a people who could use the money more than him. He comes across some children with no school and builds it up for them again.

The next time he has saved enough he comes across some people with no Masjid. So with his own sweat and tears he builds them a beautiful clean white Masjid.

Imagine the Barakah in this action reported in this Hadith.

Uthman ibn Affan reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever builds a mosque for Allah, then Allah will build for him a house like it in Paradise.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 439, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 533

Yan lived in a simple small house, by building this Masjid imagine what his house in Jannah will look like.

After saving up and attempting Hajj he always found a people more in need including a slave boy which he freed. He took care of him and brought him up in a good way.

Eventually with a little kindness from those he helped , his wish to do Hajj was met.

Lessons From the Book

Yan teaches us patience and perseverance by working hard and saving up for Hajj.

Yan lives a simple , honest ,happy life with his only wish to complete Hajj. How many of us think like this?

We go to work to keep a nice house, drive a nice car, have nice clothes and keep up appearances. Will we ever be able to save enough for Hajj? Or will we only go when we are old , retired and have spare time?

This book can teach children to have this aim in life. It is important we don’t just say Yan did this Yan did that. We need to make our kids relate it to themselves.

Therefore we did a little activity. I re-read the book again and Noori insisted on telling it me in her own words. I was impressed that she understood the little boy was a servant ( slave). I like the way the book addresses such a dark, serious subject in a child friendly way , letting you skim over it or turn it into a big conversation

We went through the book looking at the pictures. She decided that Yan was poor , he had a small house, simple clothes, no watch or mobile. The first time he walked to Hajj and the second he went by horse. I pointed out that Yan could have used his Hajj money to buy a big house or a nice car but then He would have no money for Hajj. I told her that Yan lives in Bulgaria and showed it her on the map. We looked how long it would take for him to walk to Hajj 35 days!

He may not have had all these material things but Allah had blessed him with so many opportunities to do good deeds. Even small things that aren’t mentioned in the the story but shown in the pictures. Can you guess which Hadith this picture relates to?

I am in awe of Yans persistence on going to Hajj and think we should learn a lesson from it and encourage our children to do the same. So Noori made a savings jar for her Brother and herself. We will put one pound every month for both of them in the jar and when they are old enough and before they start saving for a car or getting in debt to a mortgage they can do Hajj Inshallah.

We got a big jar and Noori decorated it with her colourful cellotapes.

My Thoughts on the Book

I would like to know why Yan has no wife or why she isn’t mentioned?

I usually don’t read Questions at the end of books but I think they are important in Islamic books. They are a great way of discussing the important issues shown in the books and answering any questions your child may have. So I would lile to see them in this book.

I Want This Book

If you would like to buy this wonderful book you can buy it from Kube Publishing

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***This book was give to me for free in exchange for an honest review expressing all my own opinions***

It’s Raining,It’s Pouring: Learning the Rain Dua.

Learning and teaching Duas is for me a laborous task and is not something I enjoy. We have learned the essential everyday Duas. I have stuck them all around my house in the appropriate places and we learn them as we go along our everyday lives as I find this the easiest way to teach them and I feel the most relevant.

(If you would like to print a lovely set of Dua cards you can get them free at And Then She Said)

Last night I was reading the book Let’s remember Allah’s daily blessings when I came across the Dua for when it is raining.

Dua for when its raining

For those of you that follow us on Instagram and Facebook you will know how excited I was that I memorized it in 5 minutes. I love how it is like a short rhyme and easy for just about anyone to remember. In this part of the UK we can use this Dua frequently and use it to remember Allah.

I knew this would be super easy for Noori to learn and we may spark some enthusiasm about learning Duas again.

This spurred me on and I came up with a few rainy ideas to make learning the dua fun, and learning a bit of science and maths at the same time.

The first thing we did is read the Dua, its meaning in English and that we should say it when it rains.

Splish Splash Splosh front cover

We then read a book about water called Splish Splash Splosh by Wonderwise. This comes in a set of books on various subjects. They are set out in a fun style with charming, friendly illustrations. The child will learn so much information about the world without realising. Each book has a page of experiments at the back. I can’t recommend them enough.

I chose this book as I knew it talked about rain, so we read it and everytime the word rain was mentioned I got her to repeat the Dua.

Splish Splash Splosh

This page explains about how rain is formed in rainclouds and I knew the perfect raincloud experiment.

You will need:

  • A clear glass of water
  • Blue food colouring mixed in a separate glass of water
  • A thin sponge (I cut up an old one)
  • A pippet or teaspoon
  1. Put your glass of clear water, glass of blue (or in my case green) water on a surface you don’t mind getting dirty.
  2. Get your Cloud (sponge) and make it fly through the air from the sea where it was formed , inland onto the top of your glass of clear water.
  3. Now using your pippet or spoon start adding drops of your blue water. Eventually your raincloud (sponge) will become so full of water it will Burst open and all the rain (blue food colouring) will start to fall .
  4. As the rain starts to fall say your Rain Dua.

rain experiment

This is a great visual way to show how rainclouds produce rain and keeps the kids quiet as they do the experiment observing the colours moving around in the water.

After that we played a fun maths game which Noori loved.

Inkeeping with the rain theme I found some unreusable old wrapping paper and made it into puddle shapes. I then got some scrap paper , wrote random numbers and spread them out on the floor. I didn’t stick the numbers on because in the future I can use the numbers and puddles for different things.

Puddle maths

The challenge was to ask Noori multiplication sums and she had to jump on the correct answer. Each time she said the answer she then had too repeat the Dua. I made sure some of the answers were far apart meaning she had to jump further making it more challenging and fun.

At one point I asked her how rain can be beneficial? She told me we need rain for drinking, then listed a bunch of animals and plants that drink water. Then everytime she jumped on a new puddle she decided to tell me the maths answer, the Dua and something that can benefit from the rain, showing an understanding of what the Dua means.

Puddle maths

When I could think of no more multiplications, I asked some addition and subtractions.

This activity can easily be adapted for all ages. For children who are learning numbers , you can shout out a number for them too jump on. Making sure they repeat the Dua each time.

I hope by learning in this style that Noori will always remember having fun whilst learning about her Deen rather than it being a task or chore.

For more Duas to learn pop over to Muslim Mother Source where she has written 5 duas that are really easy to learn if you are not able to read Arabic. There is also a link to a book Hisnul Muslim which contains many Duas for many occasions.

Jeddah Momhas written a great piece explaining the importance of teaching our kids Duas and why we should. She has included some easy ways to do this.

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Raining Dua

Allah’s Names- Al- Ali , Al-Al’aa

Al Ali by Rand4Design

Using our book we looked at the names Al-Ali, and Al-Al’aa. We learnt the meanings of the names and found them in the Quran. Both in English and Arabic.

We discussed the meanings and I then wrote them out in Noori’s flowers colouring book. I usually let her do it but for some reason that I can’t remember I did it. Baby brain is real.

Using our Thinkernation Arabic spell and learn Noori tried spelling out and forming the words , for a bit of Arabic practise.

As both the names translate as high we moved on to some height activites to reinforce the memorization of the word.

Firstly we did a building challenge using stones. We could have used a number of objects but stones are more of a challenge. Each stone has a unique shape meaning they have to be carefully balanced.


Stones are a great Montessori resource as they are natural sensory objects . Each stone has a different shape, weight and texture. They make different sounds and come in different colours and shades.

The challenge was to see who could make a high pile of stones and the highest pile of stones.

Here is Noori’s. We measured against a toy truck. Hers was high. Like Allahs name Al-Ali the High.

Here is mine the highest like Al Al’aa Allahs name the highest.

I have found this word association works. For Allahs name Al Awal Al Akhir we did an ice experiment. Now everytime we see ice I remind her of the experiment and the name of Allah we were learning about.

Everytime she see stones I can remind her of our height challenge and mention Al Ali , Al Ala.

The next day we made a height chart. I thought it would be interesting to compare the height of animals. I had made some Arabic flashcards earlier about animals.

There was a deer , a young boy ,frog, butterfly, mouse and spider. I googled the heights of these animals and we measured them using a tape measure. Surprisingly a deer was 150cm. We stuck the deer on the door frame at 150cm. We then stuck all the other animals at their heights. And Nooris for comparison (hers is the blue tack).It was nice for her to compare her height to different animals.

Animal heights

This is the best photo I could take but you get the idea.

We said that Noori is High like Allah’s name Al-Ali means high. A deer is Highest like Allahs name Al-Ala means Highest.

We went on a park walk some days later and saw some birds making a nest. I said that bird is really high. And then asked her the name of Allah that means high and the name that means highest.

As it says in the Quran:

And it is He who spread the earth and placed therein firmly set mountains and rivers; and from all of the fruits He made therein two mates; He causes the night to cover the day. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.

Quran 13:3

We can notice all these things around us and connect them back to the activities and remember the names of Allah.

I hope you enjoyed this read and if you want more you can read how we learned the names:

Allah- The Greatest Name


Al-Awaal , Al Akhir



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Baby Fish Fingers Two Ways.

Before we get on to the recipe I’d like to share a bit of news. There is a new bloggers campaign called #nowastewithin. Created by The Food Brood who were concerned about the ammount of food waste in the blogging industry. This is the pledge that I am Happy to commit to.

“I promise that no food waste was created by the development, cooking, styling and photographing of this recipe and that, where it wasn’t possible for me to enjoy it myself, I have redistributed, repurposed, retained or recycled the food.”

Wherever you see this symbol you will know that the blogger has taken the pledge.

So on with the recipe. Now Abdi is 7 months old we are well into the whole baby led weaning. He especially loves bread as he can hold it and its easy to eat.

The other night Noori really wanted vegetable fingers and we gave some to Abdi who wolfed it down.I realised this could be a great way of getting more fish into his diet.

I could go out and buy a packet of fish fingers but I have no idea what ingredients or nasties there are in there and it means unnecessary packaging. I can make them myself with very few ingredients and zero packaging.

As I had bought a big fillet of fish I made two different flavours and froze them. I bought my fish from the butchers who only stock Cod and Coley. I chose the Coley as its more sustainable and 3 times cheaper costing me £1.27.

To make both recipes you will need:

  • 1 slice of bread
  • 3 or 4 small potatoes
  • one carrot
  • a handfull of peas
  • a handfull of broccolli and cauliflower
  • A fillet of fish

The first thing I did was chop all the vegetables into chunks then steamed them with the fish to lock in all those vitamins.


In the meantime I toasted the bread to make it dry out. When cooled I whizzed it into breadcrumbs in the food processer. If you have a bread machine this is a great way to use up the end piece with the hole in .


  1. When the vege and fish are steamed blitz the fish, half the potatoes ,brocolli and cauliflower in a blender.
  • fish n vege
  • 2. Scoop it out into a dish and do the same with the remaining potatoes , fish, peas and carrots.


3. Take one mixture and pat it down into an even square shape. Cut the mixture into finger shapes a bit smaller than your average fish finger.

4. Dip the mixture into the breadcrumbs.

5. Do the same with the other mixture.

6. Grill a few under the oven until golden brown.

7. The rest can be frozen for another day.

I decided not to use egg to stick the breadcrumbs and it worked perfectly without.

Considering there are no herbs, salt or other types of favouring these are still tasty for older children and adults alike.

fish fingers

So here you have a tasty, easy to eat fish finger containing no nasties and no packaging ending up in the bin.

This is the only waste this recipe makes which can be easily composted.

For more baby food recipes read Baby’s 1st Food- Avacado and Turnip and for moving on to textures Baby Weaning- Textures.

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Mud & Bloom A Subscription Box of Nature

My first memories aren’t of sitting at home watching TV playing with toys. My first memories are riding around in a wheelbarrow on our allotment. Or walking through fields of cow pats and giant mushrooms. I remember the smell of tomato plants so well and running through fields of wildflowers.

So it does worry me that my children are growing up in the city with no garden, and can’t even play with a ball outside because of cars.

How will they connect with nature and find their true selves?

Luckily I have found ways around this situation . We plant fruit, vege and flowers in pots outside and in. We go to our park daily , read nature books and notice nature everywhere. Imagine how excited I was to learn about Mud & Bloom a monthly nature subscription box. We can learn about what we have been missing without me doing all the research and hard work.

I waited patiently for our Mud & Bloom box to arrive. I was suprised to come home one day to find it had come through my letterbox. I was expecting it to have been dropped at a neighbours house as it would be to big to fit through the door. But there it was small , neat and no fuss or waiting around.

The small brown box is the perect size if you want to discretely store them in a cupboard or on a shelf.


  • Organic seeds
  • Activity Cards
  • Craft Materials
  • A piece of pink polka dot material which Noori said is the nicest material she has ever seen.

We looked at all the contents and activities and chose the sprouting seedlings to do first. I am intruged to see what happens as usually seeds come in packets full of the same seeds. These seeds are 100% Organic ( a good starting point for a conversation about what organic is) . They are a variety of different seeds that you will find around your house including lentils and chickpeas. I would never have thought you could sprout a lentil.

The instructions are easy to follow. Noori has just turned 8 and is starting to make the effort to follow instructions independently. She put the seedlings in the water and secured the muslin cloth over the top of the jar. I helped her to tie the bow as she insisted on using fat ribbon. And here it is. A truly girly jar of seeds.

After 2 days the seeds started to sprout.

We now have a jam packed jam jar full of a variety of seed sprouts.

As they were bursting out of the top I thought it about time we take them out. We had a good look and taste. Noori was absolutely fascinated with all the different shapes of sprouts exploding from the seeds and beans. Her absolute favourite was the chickpea with what looked like a caterpillar emerging from it.

We sorted them into groups and googled what all the seeds were. I have never before heard of an Azuki bean and had no clue what a mung bean looked like.

Surprisingly Noori proclaimed she had eaten a sunflower seed. I didn’t realise there were sunflower seeds in there. As she has a good palate we did a blind taste test. She guessed 40% correctly. Me 10%. This was a fun spontaneous activity.

We then stored them in the fridge to keep fresh to sprinkle on salads and see if they continue to grow.

I’m sure we will find more seeds in the cupboards and see if we can replicate this activity.

Avacado Tree

Avacado seed

A few days after the sprouting seeds we started off our Avacado tree.

I have tried this experiment before but didn’t realise it takes a good few weeks to see any signs of life. We buy the Morrisons wonky Vege avacados as you get 6 or 7 small avacados for the price of one large one. We set up our small avacado seed following the instructions. Lets see if these small seeds will work the same. We will have to learn alot of patience before we see any action.

Twig Boat

This was slightly complicated for Noori as it required alot of intricate knot tying.

We collected some twigs from under the trees on our road and had fun snapping them to the same size.

After making the boat Noori decorated it. As it was nighttime we didn’t get to go outside. Noori really wanted to see if it could float so we put it in a bowl of water.

A nature box is a great way of getting outdoors. We don’t have a garden so we had to be creative with how we did our activities.

It meant we had to go outside to find some twigs , go to my Mum’s for the birdwatch and the park for water to float our boat. Here she is in a giant puddle.

We found moss on a walk to town showing us that nature is hidden all around us.


We used our nature spotting cards on a walk to the park. Unfortunately we saw non of the birds on the checklist but Noori thought she saw a blackbird. With a little investigation she saw it wasn’t a blackbird as it didn’t have an orange beak.

Ask we were walking I made a challenge , Who can spot a bird or flower first? We saw some snowdrops

and this beautiful plant that looks like ‘roses’. If you know what it is do leave the answer in the comments.

Mud and Bloom boxes are available for £7.95/month. The boxes are aimed at ages 3-8 years as they are linked to the national curriculum but I would say they are ageless. I have learnt alot and had fun doing these activites as a 30 year old.

How do you take time to connect to nature?

Nanni’s Hijab-Book Review

Nanni's Hijab by Khadija Abdul-Haqq

Nanni’s Hijab by Khadija Abdul-Haqq

When I was given the opportunity to review this book I could not refuse.

The story is of Nanni, a little girl with a passion for hijabs. The little fashionista wears a different colour hijab to school everyday. Everyone at school loves to see what she will wear next. Apart from the new girl Leslie. She hates the attention everyone gives Nanni because of her beautiful scarves. Leslie shows her hatred in many ways. How will Nanni react?What actions will she take? The answer may surprise you.

I found the concept of this story interesting.I haven’t read a story about the hijab before so didnt know what to expect.

The first time I read this story was late at night. Me,Noori and Abdi were laying in bed and they were trying not to sleep. The perfect time to read a story (or was it?). We were sent this story to review as an E-book,so we could all lie under my phone reading it together in the dark.

I had patiently waited to sit down and read it with Noori before looking at he book. So when I opened it I was pleasantly surprised.

I find when reading books to children they have to keep my attention aswell as theirs ,either with a good storyline or nice illustrations. If not ,I don’t want to read it, meaning I go to fast and miss out pages on purpose ( we all do that don’t we ?) . This book has a great storyline and beautiful illustrations.

Nanni's Hijab by Khadija Abdul-Haqq

The illustrations in this book are bright , vibrant and bursting with energy like Nanni. The illustrator uses bright watercolours which give a flowing effect just like Nanni’s hijabs. I have seen the covers of other Hijab themed stories and most of them are old fashioned looking and unfriendly. Nanni and her friends look cute and friendly in these modern illustrations.

This one reminds me of Noori’s school teacher.Imagine how empowering it is to hear your hijab described as a princesses crown.

Nanni's Hijab by Khadija Abdul-Haqq

This is a story of bullying and resilience which some girls may have experienced. If not they may learn something from this book.

When Nanni decided not to retaliate by punching Leslie , Noori really wanted to know what would happen next. So did I . I couldn’t think of a way to stop Leslie from bullying Nanni and neither could Noori. But Nanni could. Her Mum offered to help her but she decided to settle the situation by herself. This is a really great way of dealing with the situation teaching kids that they can defend themselves and be confident.

So I decided to ask Noori about the person who dosnt like her wearing hijab and how she can stop him doing it. She said she will get him a ‘topi’ to wear . I don’t think that would work in this situation but this book really got us thinking.

Whislt I was looking through my phone I found a photo of my daughter in her hijab 2 metres tall proudly pasted across a wall at school. If anyone ever makes her feel bad about wearing her hijab I will remind her that the photographer must have thought she looked beautiful to chose her photo to make into a school wallpaper.

Now when I see that photo at school I will look at it with even more pride. I always saw a photo of my little girl . From reading this book I now see a little girl happily wearing her Hijab and that must be how other people see it aswell.

This book has made me feel proud of wearing hijab and I hope will make our daughters feel the same. It tells us to be bold, bright, confident and to put our trust in Allah.

It would be a nice idea to have some question prompts at the end so we can ask our kids about the story and what they have learnt.I asked my own questions instead.

Me: If you could design your own hijab what would it look like?

Noori: It would be galaxy style with yellow and white flowers stuck on and colourful diamonds.

Me: What was your favourite part of the story?

Noori: When Leslie snatched Nanni’s hijab , danced around with it and stamped on it, because it was an interesting thing to happen in a story. I have never read a story like this.

It would be so nice to have this book too hold in our hands, smell the pages and feel the paper. It is available to buy at Amazon and djarabikitabs.

If you would like a ‘hijab as regal as a princesses crown and as vivid as a rainbow ‘, then take a look at our Hidden Pearls review.

If you are a bit of a book addict like me you may enjoy My top books of 2017 which includes recomendations from other wonderful blogs aswell.

Nanni's Hijab by Khadija Abdul-Haqq

***This E-Book was sent to me free of charge and all views are my own***

Amazing Ayats-Al Kahf 18:23

Our Amazing Ayat of the week Surah Al Kahf 18:23. The next Ayat talks about how we should say Inshallah if we talk about doing something tomorrow.

We know about saying Inshallah from our Dua books. But this Ayat only emphasises it more. We talked about how Inshallah means If Allah lets us.

For this Ayat we didn’t do a craft or activity because I decided to do a list of goals and aims for self improvement as this is a way of using the Inshallah Dua

I like the idea of self improvement but didn’t really have a way of focussing on it or putting it into action.

Over the past year I have become a list girl. Its better to take those jumbled up thoughts out of your head and give them to a piece of paper to remember for you. It really frees your mind from the task , and the task of remembering to remember the task (complicated).

With my new love of lists I wanted to fight some issues.

The main causes of tension in our house is going to school. I get up late, she gets up late. I make breakfast, we eat it then rush around shouting at each other angrily getting ready. This is not good for me and I can’t imagine how it would effect Noori when she gets to school starting her day in anger.

I sat Noori down and read the Ayat in Arabic and the meaning in English. We discussed what it means and how we can do this in everyday life. Then we wrote a list.

Al kahf

I wrote Inshallah in big and wrote my problem and the solution with a sun next to it.

Inshallah to Do List

My problem is going to sleep too late. Meaning not being able to wake for Fajr and being stressed out all morning.

The solution, to go to bed early and wake up in the morning early. Inshallah.

My other problem is being very bad at ironing. I dream to be as good at ironing as those army people with perfectly neat crisp seams .

My solution is to pick up some tips from youtube.

I got Noori to write the same morning intentions and choose one thing of her own saying Inshallah each time.

She chose to be nice to MAP ( Mummy, Abdi and Papa).

We set too our tasks that very night by going to bed at the right time. I tried not to mess around on my phone all night and it worked.

The next morning I woke up nice and early on time for Fajr and got some housework done afterwards. Noori got up ,uniform on and everything went smoothly according to plan. Stress free!!

We will also make a big deal out of saying Inshallah after making plans.

I’m trying my hardest to keep up my side of the deal. Noori is doing really well. I still haven’t learnt how to iron properly 😉 But I will get there Inshallah.

We have also had fun learning about Surah Az-Zukruhf and Surah Al-Anam. Let us know what you think.