Category Archives: Review

My 1st Quran with Pictures

In my point of view the most important things we should teach our children is Tawheed and a love for The Quran. Not just a respect for The Quran but a love that can only be gained by learning the meaning and understanding it. For an adult this could take many years of in depth study.

Kids have many more things going on in their lives, school, Madrassah, clubs,events and just chilling out relaxing to take on such a mammoth task. Luckily we have amazing books like My 1st Quran with pictures to help us.

When I first saw this book on Instagram I was so excited to see it was being published. I was lucky enough to be sent a copy to review from Faith Books. My aim is to help my children connect with and learn the Quran in as much of a fun way as possible. Books like this are essential in achieving this goal.

About the book

My first Quran with pictures by Shireen Sherief is a fully illustrated version of Juz Amma. Checked and authenticated by Sheikh Dr Abdullah Ibn Yusuf AlJudai.

At the moment Noori is starting to enjoy comics. Though not a comic the book is very similar in style.

Illustrated by Nichola Anderson every page has small pictures that sum up what the Ayat is telling us making it really easy for children to understand what it means. Many of the illustrations are of the modern world helping the child really understand and relate to the Surah.

Often the Wording used in the translation of The Quran can be very complicated and a lot of children will not under stand these meanings. So having a small straight to the point colourful picture is very effective. Just reading it is fun.

How we Use the book

I waited a while to use this book properly until Noori started to learn Surah Al Tin. I saw a great opportunity to add a sensorial element to our learning. I got an Olive and a dried Fig as they are mentioned in the first verse. I told Noori how we say fig and olive in Arabic, then she ate them. We then read one Ayat in Arabic then the translation and looked at how the pictures described it.

We then listened to the Surah on our phone app for the next few days to memorize it. I took the book out every few days to go over it and reinforce the meaning.

To help Noori understand the meaning of the Surahs she was learning I used to write the Ayat out and draw little pictures next to it to make it more visual. This would take a long time researching and writing ect.

But now its all there for me in full Colour saving a lot of time and effort.

When we got to the fourth verse we looked at the pictures of the bodies and how the verse say humans were made in the perfect form. We discussed the parts of the body they are showing and how Allah has made us all different. Some of us are short , some are tall, some are big, some are skinny. One person may like writing stories, whilst another likeS scuba diving. We are all different but perfect to Allah. Imagine just memorizing this verse without ever knowing the meaning. How many lessons would we miss out on?

This really is a unique book. And I look forward to reading it all in-depth.

You can purchase the book here at

Faithbooks

and keep your eyes open for the next edition.

You can read my other book reviews here :

Zak and His Little Lies

Nanni’s Hijab

Yan’s Hajj

How We Learn Quran

My Top Books 2017

Here’s how I teach a love of Quran to my 8-year-old In our Amazing Ayats series :

Az Zukruf

Al Anam

Al Hijar

Al Kahf

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Learning Allahs names- A Productivity Journal for Muslims

For the past few years I have been finding ways to make learning and memorizing the Names of Allah fun and enjoyable for Noori through activities and art.

Whilst spending all my time and effort on my children I never once thought about myself. My attitude was that I will take forever to remember all those names and then forget them. Children learn and remember things much easier than adults and I’m an adult 🙁 not a child.

Thats until I read the Productivity Journal for Muslims by Ayeina. This journal is aimed at adults and and covers 5 aspects of developing spirituality:

  • Tawheed
  • Salah
  • Sawm
  • Zakat
  • Hajj

and Personal Development

  • Self love
  • Self care
  • Self awareness
  • Self management

Plus strengthening relationships, goals and dreams.

It comes in a cusomizable binder full of lovely watercolour illustrations and well laid out text. Every aspect is from Quran and Hadith. A must have for the organised or un organised Muslimah alike. Just what you need to give you a kickstart or boost to learn our religion.

Up until recently I didnt know much about learning the names of Allah apart from the fact we should remember them and gain the rewards. After some discussions with various learned people and the Ayeina team themselves I discovered we shouldn’t be repeating Allahs names during Thikr as lots of people do. Instead we should use his names during Salah. To ask Allah for things that we need when we make Dua.

We should also find ways in which we can use these names in our lives. For example Al Rafeeq- the gentle. If we take this name literally ( Arabic is a complex langauge and one word can have many descriptions) we can try to be gentle in our everyday lives. The way we talk to others, our words our tone of voice. This is very important in Islam.

Instead of being heavy handed and smashing things around we can gently close a door or set a plate down gently. Just this action makes you feel calm in yourself.

I opened the page in the Productivity Journal and marked off all the names I knew from the checklist . I was very surprised with myself that I knew more than I thought. After that I learned a new word every few days.

These are a ways I have found to help me memorize them:

  • Think of the name you are learning and see if you can relate it to something. Have you heard that name in the Quran?Do you know a person with that name? Use these as an image in your mind.
  • Does the word sound like something in English? E.g Al Baseer- The Seer of all, ends in Seer like the English.
  • Think about the meaning of the name. What images does it conjure up?
  • Think of an action you can take from this name amd how you can use it to improve your daily life and the relationships around you.

One of the first names that I learnt was As Shaafi the healer. For weeks I have had a cold and cough. It didnt bother me but I was missing not being able to taste. I had done everything I could think of except take antibiotics as I didn’t want to, with no effect. I thought why not ask Allah for help? One day whilst in Sujood I asked As Shaafi to make me better. A few days later I was cured. Using these special names makes our Duas seem more personal and reminds us what we are asking for.

I was sent a digital copy of The Productivity journal for Muslims to review. I had planned to do one big blog post about it but as I have been using it I feel its better to talk about eacher catagory individually as each category changes you in many ways. So look out for more.

Have you any tips on how to memorize Allah’s names?

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If you’d like some ideas on how to teach the names to children we have learned

Allah- The Greatest Name

As-Sami

Al-Awaal , Al Akhir

Ar-Rab

As-Salaam

Al Ali, Al Aala

*** This post contains affiliate links to the wonderful Productivity Journal for Muslims by Ayeina***

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Plastic Free Swaps : Water Bottles for the Family

Just in time for Environmental Day 5th June 2018 I wanted to share with you some of my plastic free alternative water bottles. Even babies can go plastic free out and about with a bit of searching.

Not only better for our planet but better for our health and pocket. I am forever dropping my water bottles on the floor causing them to break. With stainless they will get a scratch at the most. Asking for recommendations online people usually come up with the same brands and shops that cost a fortune making being environmentally friendly unaffordable for some people. As a bit of a penny pincher I want to assure you that is not true. My recommendations all come to under £15 and are long lasting.

Munchkin – Miracle

When Noori was little she had a few plastic cups. She has always kept a Tommie Tippee sippy cup that we got free from Sure Start at Grandma’s. As the baby got older he started using it and I soon needed a sippy cup for outside.

I looked at my options and they all involved plastic which I didn’t want for my baby boy. Sometimes a friend would give him a drink from a Munchkin 360° Miracle cup. They are ingenious. The baby can drink out of it as if he was drinking out of a real cup therefore learning how to drink properly not suck from a straw. The drink can come out of any part and the water cannot tip out or escape.

After asking for recommendations in a Zero Waste Facebook Group a stainless steel version was suggested. The Miracle cup is beautiful and nearly everyone comments on it. I was worried it would get damaged easily but after 6 months of throwing on a stone floor there are a only few scratches. No big dents like I imagined. However I know this will last a long time and I can get my parents to shine it up if need be.

I could not find it in any stores, they are available in some branches of Boots just not mine. Instead I bought it online.

It is twice as much as the plastic version but I know it will last and it looks stylish.

  • Leak Proof
  • Plastic Free
  • Easy to clean
  • Dentist Approved
  • Durable
  • Longlasting
  • BPA free

Jerry Bottle – Pure

stainless water bottle

In the first half of the school year Noori went through 3 plastic water bottles. I vowed the next time one broke I would buy a stainless steel one. I figured that a stainless bottle may be twice as expensive as a plastic one but I would end up buying so many breakable plastic ones compared to a long lasting stainless one that over time it would work out cheaper.

I searched online and came across Jerry Bottle. The company sells beautiful simple stainless steel water bottles. There are no plastic or silicone bits meaning it is super duper easy to clean and won’t become moudly. The best part all profits go to The Waterfall charity. The coordinates of the village you have helped are engraved on the bottom of the bottle. We discovered a group of islands we didn’t know existed.

The bottles come in different sizes. As Noori dosn’t drink alot and can easily refill her bottle at school we bought the smallest bottle 550ml.

It arrived in a recylable cardboard box and old newspaper. I thought there was nothing inside. There was no weight there at all. But there was. The bottle is super light perfect for a child to carry around by its handle. When it is full of water it is still lighter than your average bottle. The water feels fresh and cold even after a few hours.

  • Plastic free
  • Brushed Steel
  • Fully metal no other materials
  • Easy to clean
  • Stylish
  • Profits to charity
  • Coordinates make a nice feature

Reduce -Hydro Pro

stainless water bottle

I always thought I was saving the planet by reusing a plastic water bottle. Then after breaking them and buying more and more I realised I’m still adding to the problem. It was my turn to go stainless.

I wasn’t really looking as I was still using my old broken lided one. It still worked as long as it wasn’t full or at a slight angle. As I was looking for something in Home Bargains I saw lovely picnic section. I didn’t need anything but it was nice to look at the pretty bee prints.

There it was my Reduce water bottle. The perfect size for me, who walks around outside for hours a day. I tried it in the pram for size, it fit. And the price? £3.99! You can also buy them on Amazon if your store has run out.

It is a bright metallic purple colour, with an easy to wash lid.

After going back to work from Maternity leave I took it with me. I used to get water from the machine meaning I went through at least 3 plastic cups a day with no thought. Now I use none and its big enough to last me my shift. I have noticed that before a few people brought coffee cups to keep their drinks warm outside. Now alot of people bring their own water bottles too. I am quite impressed.

  • Plastic free
  • Bright and colourful
  • Good size
  • Very affordable
  • Easy to clean

Have you taken any steps towards reducing your plastic waste?

*** This post contains affiliate links to companies I recommend ***

For more ways to reduce your waste take a look at

Zero Waste Swaps – Birthday Edition

Zero Waste Swaps – Essential Machines

Zero Waste Inspirations from the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

Some posts be other wonderful bloggers,

Environmental Day Celebrations as a Family – Alizehmysoul

Why Fashion Matters – Cafe Catterpillar

Let’s make everyday World Environment Day – Lilac Prose

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Baby Toys 9-12 Months

Gone are the play mats, baby chairs and swings. Like it or not your baby is more mobile and more than likely crawling and exploring their worlds. Now you need saftey gates and safe spaces to stop your little adventurer from harming themselves.

Your babies favourite occupations are probably opening cupboards and climbing the stairs. However he still has his favourite toys. Over the past few months my boy has started crawling . Most of his time is spent getting up to mischief but he does have a few favourite things to play with.

I like my kids to have wooden toys as they are

1. Hard wearing

2. Made of natural non toxic materials

3. Feel nice

4. Much more attractive than plastic toys.

Here are a few of the things he loves to play with.

Toys with Wheels

As he has become more mobile and his brain is developing he has started to take alot more interest in his toys with wheels.

wheely toy

He has a wooden truck, fire engine and zebra. At first he just looked at them and threw them around. At 11 months he has started to play with them properly pushing them along the floor. It looks super cute and you can see his brain working thinking about what is happening.

Big pram wheels, small toy with wheels, anything with wheels that turn are a fascination for him.

wheels1699395246324232545.jpg

And the great thing is as he gets older amd hus imagination develops he can play with them in many ways for years to come.

Balls

Balls are the most open ended toys that will be played with for many many years. If your child is lucky their first ball could last them from babies until adults. Imagine that, from learning important motor skills as a baby, all the way until playing team games as an adult.

toy ball1124506373798837158..jpg

As your baby becomes more mobile they can push the ball around and chase after it. Throw it around and chase after it improving motor skills and strength. You can play rolling or passing the ball to each other which forms social bonds and language skills if you talk about what is happening.

Don’t limit balls to boys. Girls also beniefit for all the same reasons. A girl may enjoy playing football, basketball, netball and curby as much as any boy.

I find lots of children are attracted to the spiky sensory ball. They can feel the texture, squish it and throw it around. He also has a smaller ball that lights up when thrown and glitters. Its good to have a variety of different shapes, sizes and textures.

Books

Where do I start with books. I’m a bit of a book lover but ony recently have I realised there is alot more to books that I could imagine.

Firstly there are the bright colourful illustrations or photos to look at and talk about.

Many years ago I was reading a book to my friends little girl. I couldn’t understand a word she said to me. As we read the book I’d point to a picture and ask her what it was. As she answered the question I started to understand her way of talking. From then on I understood what she was saying to me. Thats was a powerful..moment for me.

Recently as I’m reading books ideas pop into my head. If the character bakes a cake we can also bake that cake and taste what the charcater is tasting. If the charcter is jumping in puddles we can do the same and feel what the charcter is feeling. We did this for Chickens Can’t See In The Dark. There are so many lessons to be learnt from exploring stories this way. When we read Norman the Slug with the Silly Shell we explored some STEM activities.

But at this age babies love to play with board books. They can improve their motor skills by opening and closing the pages. The Usborne Touchy Feely books are our favourite as they have different textures for baby to feel. They keep mine occupied for 5 minutes. He also really loves these Grufallo Animal Actions book.It is small for baby to hold and he loves to copy the sounds and actions.

Baby books

It is important for children to read books with real pictures so they can make sense of their worlds and what is around them.

Musical Instruments

Ever since my baby was 3 months old he has loved to hit things together to make noises. So I got him a set of musical instruments to play with. He loves the jingly jangly noises. At first he was really curious to know how the instruments make noises and learn that he was able to control them in a way to make the noise. A baby achievement. Now hes enjoys the fact that he can make a nice noise.

musical instruments 5268535942477631186..jpg

I took Abdi to a playgroup where they had a basket full of instruments. Inside was a wooden egg rattle. It was the perfect size for him to hold in his hand and shake around. He carried that around for the whole hour. I had to buy him one.

Again I find the wooden instruments to be alot more attractive and feel heavier meaning your baby is doing strength exercises aswell.

What are your babies favourite toys? Let me know in the comments below.

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***This post contains affiliate links to companies that I reccomend***

Zaks and His Little Lies – Book Review

Zak and his little lies  Islamic kids book

Zak and His Little Lies-J.Samia Mair

A while a go I read that little kids can’t tell the difference between a lie or making up a story, so don’t understand that they are lying. Everytime I caught my daughter lying I would look at her and try and figure out if she was lying or just making a story up in her mind. It wasn’t too difficult. After all we all lie in one way or another. One study showed that we lie to ourselves everyday without even noticing. So how do we distinguish between good lies and bad lies.

The title of this storybook Zak and His Little Lies gives us a clue to his lies. They are small little lies not big bad ones.

This is exactly Zaks problem. He knows that if he is caught lying again he won’t be able to go on a trip to the skate park with his family. However he is thrown into certain situations throughout the day.

The story seems to be set in a very friendly neighbourhood in the American Suburbs. Zak and his family are Muslim and have no problem with their neighbours which is nice to see in a book. The challenge for the Zak and his Sister is to deliver Baklava to all their neighbours. But will it all run smoothly? You will have to read the book to find out!

zak and his little lies Islamic kids book

Noori is 8 years old but there were a few words in this book she couldn’t work out. The main one being Dwayne the name of Zaks pet. Dwayne makes an appearance on every page of this beautifully illustrated book so look out for him.

zak and his little lies Islamic kids book

Many of Zaks lies come from how he will look to other people and lack of confidence. Here he is having a race with his sister though he never wins. Even Dwayne looks worried!

After all Zaks little lies he goes home to find his Dad excitied and ready to go to the skate park. Zak feels so guilty from all his lying when he sees the Quran on the shelf remembering the Ayah,

“And nothing in the Heavens and Earth is hidden from Allah.”

This is a very important lesson for all of us and something even young children can understand. Even if we are all alone Allah can see what we are doing.

Zak admitted his mistakes too his Dad the person he could confide in. What an important relationship. The majority of stories show male figures in a bad light and the Mums as the caregivers and confidants. So this Father and Son bond is a refreshing perspective

At first I didn’t connect with this book and I think it is because I’m very girly. Unconsciously the majority of Noori’s books have strong female characters with the only males being animals. I wondered how this would change now I have a son.

This book is my first step into being a mother of a boy. And what a fantastic introduction. I imagine having an Islamic book with a young boy as the lead character could be very empowering for any young boy. Zak is a great example for anyone.

Noori’s Verdict

Did you like the book?
Yes . It was Good.
Who was your favourite character?
I like Zak but I liked Hana better. I didn’t like the brothers because they are mean.

At the end of the book are a set of questions. I don’t usually ask the questions in books but this time I did. It was nice to hear Noori’s answers and take on the story.

The type of books I like best are the ones based on the Quran or Hadith. This book has both and they are quoted in the back.

Quran Hadith Islamic kids book

This book teaches some important and valuable lessons to both boys and girls. The most important aspect being that it teaches our children to live our lives following Quran and Hadith.

You can buy this book on Amazon.

You can also meet Zak again in:

Zak and His Good Intentions

Here are some other Islamic children’s books I have reviewed.

Yan’s Hajj

Nanni’s Hijab

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***This post contains affiliate links to companies that I recommend. This book was kindly given to me to review. All opinions are my own***

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 and answering any questions your child may have. So I would like to see them in this book.

Where can I Buy This Book!!!

If you would like to add this wonderful book to your collection you can buy it online from:

Kube Publishing

Amazon

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***This book was give to me for free in exchange for an honest review expressing all my own opinions. This review also contains affiliate links. For more info read my About page***

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.

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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.

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***