Moving….

Hello!

Sorry for going MIA on you, but for the past 2 weeks I have been working on a secret project. And now the time has come to unveil!

Presenting my new website, Foodfashionfaith.com

It’s been a good run for the past 5 years but I am going to take this blogging thing seriously now and I felt the best way to do that was in my own little corner of the web.

I will leave this site up for archive purposes, but will not be posting much here any longer.

I have a ton of ideas and new posts brewing so I hope you join me for the ride!

Reclaimed dreams and rose tinted glasses

This is an honest blog about my real life. And sometimes that real life is difficult, it’s painful and messy but I keep talking or writing anyway to try and deal with things the only way I know how.

The last few weeks have been difficult for many reasons. It has been an emotional roller coaster, a learning curve and a slap in the face at times all at once. When you are living with another person in such close quarters and interacting with people who didn’t grow up with your particular temperament, things are not always easy to digest. You say things when you are angry and hurt. You resort to the method of dealing with conflict that you grew up with, and that’s not always the best way.

This week has been difficult. I’ve had to take a long and hard look at myself and the people around me and I have not liked what I have seen. I am different and strange now. I feel alienated and isolated. What was once is no more, and I mourn the loss of my past self. I am transitioning. What into? I don’t know. It’s uncomfortable, it’s painful and it hurts like hell. I am a fighter, and I will kick and scream the whole way through.

This time, no-one is there to pick me up. I have to do this by myself, for my own sake. Someone can only give so much of themselves to someone before even they get frustrated. I am not coping.

There, I said it out loud. I am not coping. I am finding this thing difficult. My emotions are not mine any more. My body is not mine any more.

What I didn’t realise pre-marriage was that your hormones will go crazy. You will go through periods of love, intense hope and then disappointment. We cope with these loses the only way we know how, by lashing out at the other. And that’s not fair.

So, I want to say, I’m sorry. If I have hurt you during this transitioning period, I am truly sorry.

The other thing I learned through this process is I need to create, I need to write. I need to get that girl back that had a zest for life, because she’s been lost in this whole process. Her voice, her thoughts and her sense of humour has been lost. I want her back. Right now, it’s difficult to change. It’s difficult to work through this period. Coming home has helped.

There is nothing like a warm hug from your parents to make it all OK. For the first time I slept after so long. For the first time, I could breathe easy after so long. It takes a long time for me to adjust. I don’t like change. I also don’t like this person I’ve become. I am trying to get the old me back. She’s a little wiser, a little more jaded, a little wounded but she is in there. I’m hoping like a butterfly inshallah she will come back.

I need her to come back.

Link Love – 14/04/2014

I am trying new content on this blog, so I’ve put together a series of links I saved and loved this week.

1) How to use a fitted sheet on the beach to make a sand free blanket – Lifehacker did an interesting post on how to use a fitted sheet on the beach to make a sand free blanket. Genius! I hate getting sand into any part of my body and even worse brining it home. I love going to the beach though and with the weather warming up, I’m sure I will be able to use this tip more and more!

2) Get Better Sleep and Improve Digestion with This 30-Second Yoga Move -
Lifehacker also posted this yoga move to help improve your sleep and digestion. I tried it as did Mr. T and it did work, we slept like babies! It’s a little too much to remember every day, but it’s a nice to move to pull out if I have sleepless nights which I was having last week.

3)10 Item Wardrobe Spring 2014 – This was a novel concept on HuffPost. The author posits that if you have only 10 items that all work with each other it will make getting dressed in Spring so much faster. I like the idea as everyone is turning into a more conscious collector of items. However, I can’t stick to this rule sadly. I have 1 full wardrobe, various drawers and stuff in suitcases to implement this. This is because one wardrobe is my day to day wear, I share it with Mr. T so it’s not all mine, mine, mine! The other wardrobe is asian wear, this one hardly gets used because it’s very formal asian wear. I’m going to try and start wearing saris more in the summer inshallah though. Also, I have t-shirts, cardigans, summer clothes, handbags and accessories dotted around the house, so while a lovely concept won’t work for me.

4) Shakespeare & Co. Lunch / Dubai Maria at mmi style shows some photos of Shakespeare & Co, a beautiful restaurant on Jumerah Beach. I wish we had known about this place when we stayed there last year on honeymoon!

5) Fashion Love: Beaded Blazer Shaza from Shaza’s Scrapbook has a lovely post on how to wear a beaded blazer look day and night. I wish I had the confidence to wear something like that day or night! I run away from sequins lol! I have started to wear colour, but something that beautiful requires more bravery than I have right now.

6) The Minimalist Traveler’s Makeup Bag – Courtney Derr went travelling for a year with her husband in South East Asia, this is her travel make-up bag. To be honest if we all wanted to we could probably live without a lot of products. I was pretty selective when it came to what products I took with me to Marrakesh, and for once I’m going to try and not take as many things when I go home on Wednesday inshallah….well I say try but I’ll end up with a huge suitcase anyway lol!

7) Fix Dents in Car Bumpers – This is probably one of the most useful tips I’ve seen!

8) The Asian Beauty Secret You Are no Doing But Should Be – HuffPost has a feature on how women in Asia are double cleaning to keep their skin fresh and clean. Um…I thought that was cleanse, tone and moisturise which I’ve finally been religiously doing for the past few weeks! It’s made a huge difference to my skin, but clearly I need to add another step to this, but I probably won’t unless I wear make-up that day.

What links did you find useful? Have you got any links to share?

Friday Night Bites – Steakout Harrow (Review)

 

Steakout LogoMr. T and I decided to go on a little date last Friday since we were in London for the weekend. When we had visited Tooting we had seen this Steakout place that Mr. T wanted to try out, but we didn’t get a chance since we’d already had lunch by that point. So, on a whim we started googling halal steak places near us and I came across Steakout which had a branch in Harrow. Brilliant! Even better it was HMC certified! Brownie points for me.

We weren’t sure exactly where it was so we parked the car in one of the local shopping centres and walked it to the main high street. I chose to wear heels that night because Mr. T assured me that we wouldn’t have to walk much. By now I know not to take fashion advice from him, but what can I say? I like to give him the benefit of the doubt!

Steakout Harrow is located right on Harrow-on-the-Hill high street a short walk from the tube station right opposite Barclays bank. We went in the evening around 9 pm.

Steakout Harrow Entrance

Steakout Harrow Entrance

As soon as you enter the restaurant a friendly waiter greets you. We asked for the corner table as it was a bit busy with families and we wanted somewhere a little quiet.

Steakout Harrow Entrance

Steakout Harrow Entrance

The decor is very much keeping with the cow theme reminding you of what kind of food they serve. The chairs are comfortable and the staff were attentive and friendly. They quickly took our drinks orders and served us the condiments with the beverages. Mr. T had pomegranate juice and I had lychee juice.

Steakout Harrow Drinks

Steakout Harrow Drinks

Our order came within 10 minutes of ordering! That has to be one of the fastest service I have ever had in a restaurant. I had a Philly Cheesesteak with chips, pepper sauce and salad. Mr. T had the Sirloin Steak, pepper sauce with mashed potatoes and salad.

 

Steakout Harrow Philly Cheesesteak

Steakout Harrow Philly Cheesesteak

A closer look at my Philly Cheesesteak

A closer look at my Philly Cheesesteak

Steakout Harrow Mashed Potatoe and Salad

Steakout Harrow Mashed Potatoe and Salad

Steakout Sirloin Steak

Steakout Harrow's mashed potatoe and salad

Steakout Harrow’s mashed potatoe and salad

The food itself was excellent. The steaks were really tender and chewy. Mr. T and I were both having foodgasms! The salad and sides came as part of the steak meal so you get more bang for your buck. With the two steaks, sides and drink the meal for 2 people came to £34.90 which is pretty good. We were both stuffed by the end of it, and I literally wanted to be carried back to the car. Mr. T did not oblige sadly.

In my opinion Steakout Harrow provides you with an excellent piece of meat, value for money and a family friendly atmosphere. We shall be making this a firm favourite in our food adventures.

Rating 4.5/5 (Because of wobbly table – Mr. T)

Location: Harrow
358 Station Road
Harrow, Middlesex
HA1 2DE

Tel: 0208 861 2221

Website: http://www.steakoutuk.com

Disclaimer: All pictures are my own, please do not use elsewhere without express written permission. The review was conducted impartially. At the time of writing the food was confirmed to be Halal as the restaurant is HMC Certified  but please check before going if you are in any doubts.

Marrakesh Day 4 – The one where i face my fears and live to tell the tale

Our last full day in Marrakesh, we decided to do an excursion. S bhai and I decided we wanted to do something crazy like parachuting out of a plane but our spouses both balked at the suggest. R and Mr. T were like no! So, we decided to do something we could all enjoy, and booked a trip to the Ourika Waterfalls through our hotel instead. Ourika Valley is 3 hours out of Marrakech so the package included lunch and being driven to the destination. We had to pay an extra 30 dirhams each for the guided tour, which we weren’t told about, but was an excellent extra.

The day started early. We were due to be picked up at 8 am from the hotel, the driver arrived at 8.15 am. We were then driven to another point where we got into a coach with several other tourists for our trip. There was a French family and two friends, along with other couples. The drive was fun, we stopped half way through for tea and so the driver could have breakfast. It was an absolutely lovely sunny day. After so much sitting, we finally got to the town.

We were met with our guide Hamid who explained his fees and then we set off. I do have to say this point that I was wearing the wrong gear for this trip. I was wrapped up in a light jumper and it turned out to be a warm day. The last time I take fashion advise from Mr. T!

We started with a gentle stroll and were told about the gorgeous olive trees that belonged to separate tribes in the village. Each tree had a special marking that indicated whose tree it was.

Then came the first big shock for me. We were told we’d have to walk all the way from one side of the waterfall to the other side on foot, on a steep path. The hike would take about an hour or so depending on how fast you could walk.

Ourika Valley Mountains

Ourika Valley Mountains

My face just dropped as I am terrified of heights! Mr. T stopped laughing for about 2 seconds, and bless his heart did hold my hand throughout the entire ordeal as i cried and wept my way down the trail. The Swedish older couple and the rest of the party pretty much laughed at me, but I didn’t care. I was going to make it all the way down!

My Follow me pose down the Ourika valley despite my terror

My Follow me pose down the Ourika valley despite my terror

We were about halfway down the path when Mr. T said, why don’t we pose for a Follow Me pose? I looked at him like he was out of his mind, but I did so despite me terror.

Ourika valley Waterfalls Path

Ourika valley Waterfalls Path

We stopped for a quick loo break at the bottom of the valley and to take in the view. Then we were ushered a bit further to be taken closer to the waterfalls via boat.

The wooden boat we were on to get closer to the Ourika Valley Waterfalls

The wooden boat we were on to get closer to the Ourika Valley Waterfalls

Ourika valley boat view

Ourika valley boat view

In the picture above you can see how far down we climbed. But you know something? It was one of the hardest but most rewarding climbs down ever. I’m still terrified of heights, but I know if I can do that I can do anything inshallah.

Ourika Valley Waterfalls view

Ourika Valley Waterfalls view

The boat took us to the other side of the waterfall where we stopped for lunch which was part of the package. We were able to have either chicken tikka skewers or tagine. We opted for both and it was honestly the best Tagine I’ve had since Paris!

Our view of the waterfalls at lunch

Our view of the waterfalls at lunch

Taking in our breathtaking view at lunch

Taking in our breathtaking view at lunch with S bhai and R. Mr. T took the photo.

After lunch, we walked uphill where there were thankfully some stairs! We got up to the other side of the falls and marvelled at how much we’d seen in one day.

Ourika valley falls from other side

Ourika valley falls from other side

That was the end of the excursion and our last day in Marrakesh. We went back to the hotel, lay down and then went for dinner in Jemma El Fenna. Everybody else had Tagine but i had bolognaise pasta! Our flight was mid-afternoon so we had breakfast the next day, checked out and went for a little wander nearby. Lunch was at McDonalds and then the hotel transfer home.

We landed back in London quite late, and ended up having dinner at R and S’s house. Then we came home and promptly fell asleep.

It was an eventful trip which was very much needed. I went on it quite fragile and frizzled out and came back with some wonderful memories and a renewed sense of vigour.

Marrakesh is a beautiful place that should be explored. It’s best done over 3 or 4 days unless you want to explore the rest of Morroco which might require longer.

Marrakech Day 3 – Jardins Majorelle and the best chinese I ever had

On Saturday we decided to take ourselves to the Jardins Majorelle (Majorelle Gardens). After haggling with the taxi driver, we managed to get to Gardens fairly quickly. The gardens themselves do have an entry fee, but they are so worth it. We truly enjoyed the peaceful oasis in the middle of the noise, dust and bustle of such a lively city. Created by painter Jacques Majorelle, this humble oasis is one of the most peaceful gardens I have ever been to. We were probably the noisiest people of the lot!

We spent a couple of hours exploring the gardens, taking photos and generally soaking up the atmosphere.

Majorelle Gardens Entrance

Majorelle Gardens Entrance

Cactus in Majorelle Gardens

Cactus in Majorelle Gardens

Palm Trees in Majorelle Gardens

Palm Trees in Majorelle Gardens

Posing on a bench in Majorelle Gardens

Posing on a bench in Majorelle Gardens

Pond in Majorelle Gardens

Pond in Majorelle Gardens

The gardens were so incredibly peaceful and calming that some people just sat wherever they could just to soak in the atmosphere and peace.

Majorelle Gardens Gazebo

Some visitors just sat where they could to take in the atmosphere

I don’t know if you have heard of the Follow Me To…photographer on Instagram, but Murad Osman and his girlfriend go all over the world and they photograph her leading him to such beautiful locations. There’s even a Follow Me To Project where users can submit photos! Here’s my version of the Follow Me to pose in the Majorelle Gardens.

Follow me to the Majorelle Gardens

Follow me to the Majorelle Gardens

Inside the gardens is also a gallery created by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner that has all the years with the word Love in it. R had the idea of posing in front of each of the photos in front of our birth years. Mr. T even mock proposed to me in front of them!

Love YSL Gallery in Majorelle Gardens. Mr. T took a panaroma shot on his phone.

Love YSL Gallery in Majorelle Gardens. Mr. T took a panaroma shot on his phone.

And lastly there is another space next door which showcases the pictures of old Marrakesh which was the most fascinating.

A closer look at some pictures of old Marrakesh

A closer look at some pictures of old Marrakesh

Gallery with old Marrkesh pictures

Gallery with old Marrkesh pictures

After our excursion we were all hungry and decided to go in search for some lunch. Mr. T found his namesake in the local hospital sign which amused us all greatly. Then we ended up walking around and trying to find a halal Chinese restaraunt as for some reason R and I were craving some chinese. We stumbled across Blue Dragon which had the best chinese food I’d eaten since I had some halal chinese in Canada, and that was in 2007! Sadly I don’t have any pics as I was too hungry!

We made our way back to the hotel, had a nap and then decided to book an excursion to the Orika Waterfalls for the next day.

Marrakesh Winter Sun Break Day 2

I don’t have very many pictures from Day 2 as it was more of a chill out day. R had told me before we went away that she wanted to experience a traditional Hamam experience. We had a look at the place near our hotel across the road from the mosque but it didn’t feel right. R made friends with the girl who worked in the pharmacy behind our hotel and she took us to a spa just a few feet away behind the hotel that was cheaper and what the locals used. With a mixture of French, English and gesticulating me and R booked ourselves in for a massage and traditional Hamam experience.

The massage was heavenly. Two lovely ladies worked on me and R and got all the tensions out of our bodies. We were floating on cloud 9! Then we were asked to come to another room for the Hamam experience. Neither one of us knew what we’d really signed up for! We were first washed with some luke warm water, then a soap was applied to us. After that we were thoroughly scrubbed down with the traditional hamam exfoliating mitten and scrub. Finally they washed our hair and soaked us down. When we came out, we just looked at each other dumbfounded! It was like an experience no other. I would definitely recommend the traditional Hamam experience to anyone, as when we came back to the hotel we were on cloud 9.

The hotel had finally moved us to another room and Mr. T and S had moved our belongings to the new room whilst we were at the spa. We lay down for a bit after all the excitement and then went for lunch at La Grillediere. After that we went for a Caleche (Horse and carriage) ride around the city. R wanted to sit with the driver but we didn’t think it was appropriate, so she sat with us all.

Seeing the city by day and on a gentle horse ride was lovely. We toured the old city, the King’s Palace and Menara in a quick 2 hour ride. We finished up at the Koutbia mosque before evening prayers.

Caleche Ride

Caleche Ride in motion

Mr. T and S blocking our view

Mr. T and S blocking our view

Atlas mountains view from old city

Atlas mountains view from old city

House on Caleche Tour

House on Caleche Tour

Marrakesh by Day

Marrakesh by Day

Marrakesh by Day

Marrakesh by Day