Category Archives: Review

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.

Inside

  • 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.

Moss

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?

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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***

Learning the meaning of The Quran plus Giveaway

After completing Surah Al Alaq Noori has decided she wants to learn Surah Al Mulk. She listens to it every night before sleep and knows 70%. Its up to me to teach her the correct pronunciation and I am seriously not ready for all that yet.

Instead I decided to go through all the Surahs she knows reciting 3 a day to make sure she remembers them.

I see no point in memorizing the Quran and never learning the meaning. How can that ever help us in our daily lives. For this reason I decided to start from the very begining and teach the meanings aswell as the correct recitation.

Luckily I had these books to hand else that would have been a mammoth task.

Your Surahs Made Easy part 1 helps us learn the meanings of Surah Fatiha and the last 10 Surahs. Part 2 Surah Humazah to Surah Dhuhaa. I have had the Part 1 book for years and it has been invaluable to us.

It is written in a child friendly manner but still containing lots of import information. The language used makes it easy for a child and even an adult to easily understand .

The graphics are high quality, colourful and nice to look at, with no eyes on the characters.

Each Surah has 3 pages. The first page shows the Surah in Arabic. It gives the title of the Surah plus what it means in English.

Al Adiyat Surahs Made Easy

Underneath is the English translation for each Ayat. There is a little symbol at the top to say if it was revealed in Makkah or Medina.

First we read the Surah correcting any mistakes in the tajweed. Each Ayat is numbered corresponding with the translation. So after reading the Surah fully we read the First Ayat then the translation and so on.

The second page tells us exactly what the Surah means and some interesting facts regarding the history and lessons behind it.

Al Adiyat Lessons

The last page is an easy quiz to make sure they have read properly and understood what they were reading.

Quiz Surahs Made Easy

The family behind Love for Quran have a website full of valuable content. There are lots of free online Tajweed and Prayer courses for Adults and Kids.

You can also watch their Youtube channel for some educational videos.

I am lucky enough to give one reader these two lovely books including The Prophet Muhammed for Children by GoodWord. This is a really fun book containing lots of little stories about a families everyday life. In these stories they connect their lives to the stories of the Prophet Muhammed (SAW). Teaching children of all ages valuable lessons without them even realising. Each story gives us a Hadith and a small quiz.

To be in with a chance to win Your Surahs Made Easy Part 2 and The Prophet Muhammed for Children Book , head over to our Facebook and Instagram page and follow the rules.

WhizzPopBang kids science magazine Review

Look what arrived through my letter box . The perfect magazine for a science experiment loving foodie.

When I saw this advertised I knew it would be right up our street. Everyday I ask Noori how her day was at school. One of the things she will complain about is how boring science is . “All we do is writing”. I was quite shocked to hear this. We love doing science experiments at home, and when the kids on the street come to play they always head straight for the experiment books and ask me to help them. Its like they have a thirst for science that really isn’t be fulfilled. So what kid wouldn’t love WhizzPopBang. Even the name is fun.

WhizzPopBang is a science magazine for 6-11 year olds that follows the national curriculum , supporting school work and a great resource for homeschooling . All the experiments are tested with children first to see if they are suitable.

I was kindly sent an issue to review. We were even allowed to choose which one. I was pushing for the Nature issue but Noori had other ideas and really wanted the Sugar Rush. So I went ahead and chose that one.

I am so happy that this magazine is available. In a world full of pink princess magazines with plastic junk attached it is refreshing. It is vital we have the opportunity to choose something educational and inspiring.

Lets have a look inside

The magazine had a glossy front and back which is recycleable. The inside pages are made from a matt paper giving it a better quality feel than most magazines. The inside pages are compostable for all you zero waste heroes out there.

Noori flicked through it and came across a two page spread on kittens. She has been looking after her friends kittens whilst they are away and its become a bit of a neighbourhood craze to go and feed them. The page is full of scientific facts about kittens and some questions to answer.

She then found a space board game which she was desperate to play but couldnt find the counters on the pull out page. I sat down with her and we started again from page one. Being very supportive of female empowerment it was amazing to read this:

The news section contains QR Codes. This adds a whole other element to magazine reading. We found it really fun to scan the codes and see what websites popped up.

These two amazing Sisters have started a plastic free campaign . I was so happy to come across a kids magazine that supports environmental issues .You can see the girls fantastic website here:

http://www.kidsagainstplastic.co.uk

Its well worth a look at what this inspirational family are doing.

This page lead us to the Eat smart Sugar App. You can scan the barcodes and it tells you how many cubes of sugar are in the product.

Im so glad we make our beans last over 3 or 4 days. Nearly 5 cubes of sugar in one can! I try my best not to buy things in packaging but this app may help me cut down even more once I see all the unnecessary sugar involved.

Theres nothing Noori loves more than sharing food with other people so we had to try out the recipe. Luckily all the recipes are low sugar sweet treats. So I let her make these date munchies. She took some for packed lunch, shared some with her Grandparents and Dad. Then we both ate the rest.

We read the magazine over a few weeks. It got to the point where we had to make the space rocket game even though it meant skipping some pages. She couldn’t find any 5p’s to make the counters so she improvised and stuck the rocket counter to a tiny jar.

This game is a keeper. Its like snakes and ladders but more interesting.

Apart from all the scientific facts about sweeties and sugar what really impressed me was a two page spread on the ancient Iraqi scientist Ibn Al Haytham. I’ve only heard of this great scientist from the Islamic perspective. Its nice he is being mentioned in a non religious magazine teaching all children a history they may never been taught or have access too.

This comes to our second present day scientist . A female sweet scientist. I have never heard of a sweet scientist and I’m pretty sure not alot of other people will have either. It would be my daughters dream job. And probably nearly every kid would like to have a job like that. She has left her email adress so you can ask a real life sweet scientist any question you want. I find this a nice personal touch that really gets the kids involved and speaks to them at their level.

Lastly you can never have enough bookmarks. Do you like my new one?

WhizzPopBang is available through subscription for 3.75/month. There are other payment options available. But its a small price to pay for your childrens future. What a super non toy free gift it would make.

If your kids like to do science experiments and are mad about slime check out our Slime, slimeh , slimey slime recipe.

***I was kindly sent this to review. All opinions are my own***

Hidden Pearls Review

I started to wear Hijab around 4 years ago before I even became Muslim to take my Daughter to Madrassah. It felt so good and like the missing piece of clothing that finishes of any outfit.Like any Hijabi I quickly acquired a rainbow of colourful scarves . Everyone around me knows I go for the traditional pashmina style. I love colour , pattern and sparkle. And I think its become a bit of a trademark. Afterall being a white girl wearing a scarf it draws alot of attention, so I always feel I should look on point both Islamically and stylewise and still stay true to myself . So the right Hijab is essential.

The lighter scarves are a pain to keep on so I always choose the heavier materials.When I was asked by Hidden pearls to review a Hijab I decided to change it up a bit and go for something different.

I was sent a Bondi Blue shimmer hijab

When I opened it I was very pleased with the colour. I used to be a pink kind of girl until my daughter got into Frozen and everything had to be blue. I embraced it aswell (the colour not the film). As its a shimmer scarf it has small tiny sparkles that catch the light. Its something a bit different for me so I was happy to try it out. I was a bit wary about the size because I’m used to the big heavy ones , but after trying it on I found it was the perfect size and I had no spare bits with nowhere to go and fly around.

I was also sent a really beautiful unexpected hijab pin to match.

I wore it outside alot and it was fine so I thought I’d put it to the test and do a bit of Buggyfit. I was expecting it to come loose, but the material stayed in place surviving squats, lunges and jogging up and down.

I was also sent a childrens subtle shimmer hijab for Noori who is 7. She likes to wear a scarf at school a few times a week. In my city you can only find plain kids scarves or plain with diamondy things stuck everywhere so most of the girls have the same one.

This is a childrens subtle sheer hijab. It is a bit different. It comes with an imprinted flower pattern with small shimmery sparkles. It is longer than what she is used too but as most 7 year olds I know have long ,long hair it works well.

On one trip to the supermarket she was pushing the trolley around and the scarf was twinkling like stars under the lights. A very tall man walked past her and was staring at the top of her head mesmorized lol.

Hidden pearls is a UK online store. When you view their site you will be pleased to see how they try and do everything Islamically and incorporate modern Hijab fashion alongside. I find it a lovely touch that some of the product descriptions come with little Hadith or meaningful sayings. This is a company that you will feel has the right intentions and will be Happy to purchase anything from them. They stock many Hijab designs to fit any style or personality along with Hijab pins and handbags.

I really like this silk floral Hijab. The colours and pattern are just beautiful.

I know alot of women who get really stressed out making wedding gifts on trays. Hidden Pearls does all that for you in a much more stylish gift box. They have a varity of choices for special occasions. Weddings , Thank you’s , Special Friend and I love you Mum boxes for a great price. The one I like best is the Mrs Alway Right gift boxfor a man to give to his wife.

Followed by this Hadith

I find this so thoughtful. So if your looking for a Hijab or accessory for yourself or a gift to give to a loved one you know where to shop.

Wouldn’t it feel great to recieve such 0a gift box after giving birth to make the new Mum feel extra special? 💗

**I was kindly sent this product for review and all opinions are my own**