From Paris, With Love

A Postcard from my trip to Paris 2022!

Paris is always a good Idea

It’s no exaggeration to say that Paris had always been on my bucket list of travels I must take! I have always been swept up by the whimsical notion of Paris. The fashion, the poets, the history and the love.

I’m that stereotypical hopeless romantic that believed that the city basked in a romantic low-lit candle glow was a journey

Living in the UK and always being a stone’s throw away from the city of lights, I am ashamed to say it took me 31- years to finally visit but I can tell you, visiting this festive season, it was definitely worth the wait!

In my recent trip to Paris, I felt I uncovered beautiful parts of the city, but also parts of myself I have longed to tap into.

Here’s a mini low down of my trip to Paris this December!

The Eiffel Tower

We stayed near the Eiffel Tower, a mere 12 minute walk away. When we first arrived in the evening, each one of those steps was filled with such anticipation – I couldn’t quite believe I was finally going to see this iconic monument.

The monument finally unveiled itself around a picturesque corner and I was momentarily breathless….I think the term may actually be Star Struck. A glowing emblem of sophistication and wonder, it’s so foreign in its surroundings that one cannot help but take a moment to marvel.

As it shimmers in the Paris sky line, there is some sort of magnetic force that just draws you in. Sitting beside the Eiffel Tower, just trying to comprehend the scale and structure, I found myself feeling extremely grateful but also open, to possibilities, to vulnerability and to a new sense of self.

I left a padlock with my name as a marker of my visit, and although it was not placed on Love Lock Bridge as I had once hoped, it bears so much more significance knowing what I had shed to be there in that perfect moment.


I could watch the Eiffel Tower Sparkle all night ✨️✨️ #paris #parisian #eiffeltower #paristrip #paris2022 #eiffeltowerparis

♬ Awaken – Big Wild

When the Hot Chocolate Hits Different

To give myself a break from the loo while traveling, I stayed away from caffeine my entire trip. Anyone who knows me and my coffee addiction, knows this was a pain to say the least. But my hot drink cravings were fully satiated by the rich, velvety and utterly decadent hot chocolates available.

I tried all 3 of the viral hot chocolates and Oh my! Did they enchant the tastebuds!

In third place…. Angelina: Bitter, luke warm and far too thick.

In second place….Carette: Warm, decadent but a little too sweet for my taste.

In first Place….Cafe de Flore: This hot chocolate was divine! Wonderfully thick, creamy and deliciously hot. The perfect accompaniment to a crisp winter day in Paris.

I’ve been craving this since getting back!

Parisian Highlights

Armed with a rigorous itinerary, we were determined to see as much of the city as we could in our 4 days. Among my highlights were:

The Palais Garnier, a masterpiece of golden splendor with its dramatic grand staircases and breath-taking golden ballroom.

The Galaries Lafayette rooftop view, which afforded a beautiful clear sight of Paris’s iconic sky line – We were blessed with a beautiful blue sky which made the experience all the more enticing.

Place du Trocadéro, where you can find the most beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower glittering in the evening sky.  Also where we left our padlocks and a piece of our hearts!

Parisian Lows

My one place we visited that didn’t quite manage to wow, was the Palace of Versailles. I think after the grandeur of the Opera House this just seemed to pale in comparison. Also, I don’t think it was worth leaving Paris for – although it was my first experience of a double decker train, which was kind of cool!

We also happened to be at the Champs Elysees when Morocco made their infamous win in the quarter final of the world cup! it was a little to crazy for me with crowds, horns blaring and even flares and fire works being set off, but a momentous moment in history none the less – But it did mean that I didn’t get my obligatory photo with the Arc de Triomphe.

Also, can we just talk about how underwhelming the Mona Lisa is – I may be showing my lack of culture but in comparison to some of the expansive canvasses depicting historical moments and injustices, I guess her impact was just as elusive as her coy smile.

Parisian Slums

Whilst on the train to Versailles, I was accosted with a view I hadn’t quite associated with Paris. I passed what could only be described as slums – small shack like accommodation with corrugated roofs. This image of poverty was the perfect juxtaposition to the chic and picturesque Paris that we know and adore, but this stark reality is crucial to address. Even in a quick google search I cant seem to find much information – why are these humans with their individual tales being blotted out of the perfect portrait of Paris? A question I endeavor to explore….

City of Love?

Paris is often referred to as the City of Love, and I think it remains true to its name – As odd as it is to say, this is the city that made me fall in love with myself….

I felt chic, alive and wide eyed to all the beauty around me. I afforded myself the empathy and kindness I struggled to give myself before. I allowed myself the fragility to feel everything so fully, the traumas, the freakouts and the wow-moments that ensued. I put myself in a position that pushed through any self-imposed limitations and I can just feel how much I have grown because of this.

I guess it really is true what they say…Paris truly is the City Of (Self) Love…

Our Girl’s Trip to London

Keep reading for the lowdown on our London trip!

There comes a time in every girl’s life, where she must make a voyage to London with her sisters, and after 30 years, can you believe this is the first time we managed to coordinate a trip for all 3 of us!

I’m no stranger to London, I visit frequently, – have had jobs interviews and internships in the capital – but this trip was special. It has been almost 2 years since I’ve made the journey down south to London, with restrictions and the obvious  lockdown situations any fun trips were truly put on hold.

A breakdown of our day in the big city

The Landmark Hotel

The Landmark Hotel is always our number 1 stop after the therapeutic train journey to London. Located right outside Marylebone Station, The Landmark is the best place to freshen up, reapply your lippy and make a quick toilet stop! (ofcourse)

It really is a sight to behold! With its grand staircases, old century doormen and indoor Winter Garden Terrace, complete with exotic palm trees – One can hardly believe you’re Central London. Staff were as accommodating as ever, and the indoor atrium and garden never fail to wow.

In the past, we have been lucky enough to have the quintessential British experience of tea and scones on the terrace. We were hoping to do this again but unfortunately it was closed the week of our visit.

It truly is such a shame, because that was honestly one of the most luxurious moments of my life. Delectable tea and scones with a live harpist elegantly playing contemporary songs. If you have not tried this, it is a must for your next trip!

We also visited Harrods, EL&N Café, Covent Garden, Shake Shack, Oxford Street & Selfridges.
Check out the vlog below for more!

Amaliah Posted my Book Review!

There’s no feeling quite like having your work published

I can still feel the thrill of my 23-year-old self when I saw my first ever published piece of work appear on Matchmaking website, Pure Matrimony.

I couldn’t believe that something I had written, was worthy of being shared and read by others…Insane!

Since then, I’ve had a plethora of published work, and have even worked with reputable broadcasters like the BBC and The Guardian, but the thrill has never left me.

Thankyou to Amaliah for publishing my piece. I enjoyed ‘The 40 Rules of Love’ sooo much, it’s truly wonderful to share my opinion with many many more.

Read the piece on:

My Highlights From Ramadan 2021

Contemplating the beautiful month gone by.

As I sit here, with my steamy dreamy tea in hand, I am steeped in contemplation. A simple pleasure, such as tea in the afternoon, has a renewed sense of delectability after fasting throughout an entire month. 

Every year as Ramadan ends, I’m left with a feeling somewhere between gratitude and sorrow. Grateful to have lived to see another Ramadan and reap the blessings of the month. And sorrow…because I miss it ☹

Ramadan is unlike any other time in the year, it breathes life into the night and worship is of highest priority. Intentions align and we are left we a spiritual surge in faith that is almost addictive.

Ramadan Goals

If you read my previous post, you know that I outlined a set of goals that I wanted to reach this Ramadan. Alhumdulilah, I was able to achieve pretty much 80% of what I wanted to achieve, and it feels great.

Quran Recitation

This year, I feel I can honestly say I built a relationship with the blessed Quran, unlike anything I have felt before.

I was in awe of the language and the sheer magnitude held between the pages. I hope this lasts throughout my entire life Insha’Allah.


I set myself a goal to memorise 2 Surahs of the Quran to add more variety to my Prayers and to increase concentration, and I did!

I now have a renewed interest in my daily Salah and a new passion to continue to memorise as much as I can Alhumdulilah.

‘Meeting Mohammed (saw)’

This year, I was blown away by a short YouTube series by Yakeen Institute called ‘Meeting Mohammed (saw)’.

Within this 30-day series, Sheikh Omar Suleiman narrated intimate stories of the life of our beloved Prophet (saw) and I was honestly moved to tears most nights listening. It was truly profound.

Might be the new me soon Insha’Allah!


Of course, one cannot forget the actual act of fasting. It still amazes me that starving yourself of food, is one of the best ways to nourish your heart.  

Still, even after 20 years, fasting serves as a perfect reminder to remember those whose lives are so unlike our own. The luxuries we are privy to should not be taken for granted.

Prayers for Palestine

I cannot reflect on Ramadan 2021, without mentioning the atrocities and the plight of the innocent Palestinians who are suffering endlessly under the Israeli regime.

During the holiest time of the year, the beloved site of Al Aqsa mosque has become a war zone, and the societal outcry of those around the world is resounding.

Social media is ablaze with horrific portrayals of the outright injustice occurring in Palestine, and although it is so difficult to see, we are mere spectating the evil that is taking place in today’s world.

This is one of the reasons I left the profession of journalism, the double standards of those within the media is horrendous. The nuanced language and the intentional blind eye are enough to make your skin crawl.

… May Allah (swt) provide for all those who are in dire need, remove the oppressive forces in the world and protect the innocent souls that are being harmed by a cruel and calculating oppressive force. We have but only our efforts and prayers to offer…

Looking forward to next year Insha’Allah…

May Allah accept all our efforts this Ramadan and allow us to reach the next one Insha’Allah. ❤

Watch my mini vlog to see what we got up to on Eid day!


A sneak peek at our food parcels this Ramadan!

Gifting food to our nearest and dearest this Ramadan.

Giving out cute and curated food parcels during Ramadan, has swiftly become a small family tradition. Seeing as we didn’t manage to give anything out last year, I was really eager to get something out this year. Through sheer family effort, we all pulled together our skills to give out this wonderful box of goodies!

The contents:

Home-made Pilau and Zarda (savoury and sweet rice)

Fresh Home-made Channa Chaat (Chickpea Salad)

A selection of mini samosas

Hand-dipped strawberries

Home-made Mini Trifles

I have a super passion for presentation. I love my gifts to be wrapped immaculately and parcels to be packaged beautifully #OCD! Soooo I wanted everything to look pretty while still being functional.

All the packaging was purchased on Amazon, including the beautiful window gift boxes that were all painstakingly assembled by hand (bottoms and lids!!) but it was worth it for the overall effect. 

Packaging used:

Cardboard gift boxes

Cardboard food trays

Ice cream cups

Mini dessert pots

Mini spoons

Cut out lantern tags provided by the wonderful Label&Co. Whose service was a dream! Quick and concise, they delivered exactly what I was after! (Find them on Instagram!)

These parcels were given out to our family, friends and neighbours, and we’ve had such a lovely response! There no better feeling then giving away something knowing you’ve put your heart and soul into it.

Here’s to many more cute parcels to come Insha’Allah!

Why you should be keeping a Ramadan Journal!

What is it?… and why you should do it!

Yay! Ramadan is upon us, the most blessed month of the Islamic calendar. A time when families come together and enjoin to break their fasts over sweet dates and delicious food.

This social, spiritual and of course dietary detox has become such a staple in our lives. The older I get, the more I realise the true power and significance of this beautiful and serene month.

Personally, Ramadan has always been one of my favourite times of the year, despite what my work colleagues may think! It symbolises to me, strange and interesting daily routines, family unity and an unearthly surge in spirituality.

There’s just something different in the air, a new sense of hope, tranquillity or spiritual surrender. Whatever it is, I just love it and I rely on this month to give me the divine high I crave all year around.

My Ramadan Journal

For the last few years, I’ve started doing something a little different during Ramadan. I have started using the Bullet Journal Method to log my Ramadan progress and actions, and it really has elevated my productivity and level of engagement during this significant month.

By outlining the goals that I want to achieve and prayers that I want to learn, my whole perception of Ramadan has changed. It’s not just a passive process, whereby you don’t eat for a couple of hours. It is a chance to truly engage with the words of our Lord, and build a deep connection with the Quran.

Something amazing happens when you take the time to define your goals, once the destination is set, you can work towards them in small incremental steps. Using this method, I track and enhance my Ramadan by creating the relevant spreads that are specific to my goals.

If you’re like me and like to structure your days with to-do-lists and targets, this is a must!

Why should you try it?

There are so many benefits for journaling and logging your Ramadan activity. Here are just a few:

  1. Defining your goals

Have you ever heard the saying “You can’t manage what you don’t measure?” Identifying, outlining and defining your Ramadan goals is the best way to give yourself direction. Once you know what you want to accomplish, you’re more likely to take the steps needed to achieve it.

2. Measuring your progress

Who doesn’t like to see progress in their efforts? Once you have set your goals, you can use your journal to ensure that your hitting the targets on the way to what you want to achieve.

For example, I’ve set myself the challenge to learn Surah Falaq and Surah Khafirun. I have stuck the transliterations in my journal, so I know that when I’m ready, I can begin my memorisation progress. Once you have a target, you have a destination to move towards.

3. Keeping track can provide a sense of accomplishment

Logging and keeping track of things like your prayers and the amount of Quran you have read, will give you a sense of great achievement. Once you’ve memorised the Surah, or listened to an entire lecture series, you can revel in the accomplishment of having achieved your goal!

Remember, for every bit of worship you do within the month of Ramadan, your reward is multiplied, so you don’t want to waste any precious time during this month.

4. Being intentional about your day to day activity

Planning ahead can ensure you start your Ramadan in the best way. It all begins with an intention, but cementing everything into a plan-of-action creates a way to hold yourself accountable and acts as a reminder to yourself every day of the goals you’re gearing towards.Being intentional with your daily habits will ensure that Ramadan won’t just pass you by without you making the most of it.

My Journal from Last year

What can write about?

Your Ramadan journal can be completely tailored to your needs. I have been doing this for 3 years now and every year, I takeaway spreads that I didn’t find useful or add things that I realised I needed. Here are some examples of topics to get you going!

  1. Goals that you want to achieve during Ramadan
  2. Write a list of Duas – Things you want for yourself, Your family & friends and the Ummah
  3. Take notes from any inspiring lectures you listen to.
  4. Track your food and sleep habits – see what combinations work best for you
  5. What you can do while not fasting – During that time of the month
  6. Your Zakat calculations
  7. Charities you would like to contribute to
  8. A good deed a day list
  9. An Eid to-do-list to ensure you’re super prepared
  10. A gratitude list
  11. An exercise log
  12. Your Ramadan reflections
  13. What habits you would like to continue after Ramadan is over

Creating and using a Ramadan journal will definitely help you to benefit from this amazing month. It can be a digital log, a physical bullet journal (like me), or even bullet points on your phone, it really doesn’t matter. But if you take the time to actually use it, I guarantee you will have a Ramadan unlike any other you’ve ever had before!  

Go ahead, give it a try this month!

May we all have a blessed and fulfilling Ramadan…Ameen

Ramadan – The holy month of fasting in the Islamic Calendar

Surah – Equivalent of “chapter” in the Quran

Eid – Celebration for Muslims

Zakat – the obligation of a Muslim to donate a certain proportion of wealth each year to charitable causes.

On My Bookshelf: The Time Traveler’s Wife

By Audrey Niffenegger

Evocative, heart-breaking and agonizingly Intense. A love story that defies time and space as we know it.


This novel begins with the introduction of our protagonists. The two meet when Clare is 6 and Henry is 36 and marry when Clare is 22 and Henry is 30… confused yet?!

Henry Detamble is a relatively normal 28-year-old living in Chicago. A young man in the throes of an alcohol infused life, he is Involved in a toxic relationship and just about managing to keep his job at the Newbury Library. That and…he has a genetic abnormality which causes him to time travel.  

What could be a pretty interesting situation is darkened by the fact that he can’t take anything with him when he travels. Anything that is not a part of his own body is left in a heap where he has vanished in the present moment. That includes, Clothes, shoes and money. Often, Henry is thrown into a different decade, bare and in a race against the clock.

We also meet Clare Abshire, a 20-year-old bright eyes student. She ventures into the Newbury library in hopes of finding information, but ends up running into her lifelong love Henry, who has no idea who she is. You see, Clare has known Henry since she was six, when he stumbled, naked and hungry into the field behind her lavish country house. After years of visits by him from the abstract future, Clare finally meets Henry in the present day and now it is he who has some catching up to do.

Throughout the novel, we experience the high and lows of a marriage that must contend against the very hands of time…. get your tissues ready 😥

My Thoughts?

Usually, I am not drawn to novels that belong to the Magical Realism or Sci Fi genre, It’s all a little unrelatable for me. However, when browsing the shelves of Waterstones many years ago, I was drawn to this sepia toned nostalgic looking novel, and I’m glad I picked it up.

Magical Realism

From the very beginning, The Time Traveler’s Wife had me gripped. There is something about the way that Niffenegger handles Henry’s tendency to traipse through time, that makes is seem less sci-fi and more personable. By painting it as a rather believable genetic condition, readers can believe the pain of being sucked out of the present into an unknown time, with little more than the breath in his lungs.

The passage of time is so delicately portrayed within the novel. It could have potentially been so jarring and confusing, but again, I think Niffenegger is cautious and clever enough to keep the rules of Time simple. In Henry’s world, there is no Butterfly Effect, things always happen and always will happen exactly how they always have and did. I think this is oddly comforting, to know that there is only one true fate and it cannot be altered. Despite travelling back to traumatic times in his childhood, like the tragic decapitation of his mother during a horrific car crash, he is never able to prevent it, but only witness it, again and again, from different angles. He is there, at different ages, in different places, but always the same grief.

There is no linearity within the plot, sometimes we are in the past, sometimes in the future, and sometime in the mundane present day. But it works, each day strung together to make the continuous and looping chain of their existence.  

“When I am out there, in time, I am inverted, changed into a desperate version of myself. I become a thief, a vagrant, an animal who runs and hides. I startle old women and amaze children. I am a trick, an illusion of the highest order, so incredible that I am actually true.”

Time Together

Despite being a huge component in the plot, time travel really does come second to the deep and evolving relationship forged between Clare and Henry. It’s so difficult not to fall in love with their love story. There seems to be this inexplicable magnetism that fights time and space to constantly bring them together… it’s just beautiful. The introduction of Clare into Henry’s life changes him from a maverick alcoholic constantly chasing the next high to a doting, present and connected person.

We hear from both Clare and Henry in first person perspective, meaning we not only see what Henry experiences and learns on his chronological escapades, but we also hear first hand from Clare, what its like to be left behind, to truly be the wife of a time traveller.

I find it especially haunting, that the times that Clare would wait in the field as a teen, for Henry to appear, the visits that is in her past, are in Henry’s future. What she has gone through with him over years, he is yet to learn. It’s like a paradox that moves in opposite directions.

Present Clare is left waiting for him and is almost jealous of her former self for the stolen memories she is making with him in some other time loop. The times he is whisked away and brought to her in the field, are stolen from her future self…like an infinity loop that just keeps going.

“It’s hard being left behind…It’s hard to be the one who stays…Why is love intensified by absence?”

Time Apart

Despite their beautiful evolving relationship, I find myself sympathising with Clare. It hasn’t escaped me that her whole life has revolved around her meetings with Henry, and the race to the next date where he would appear. The spaces in between, when he was not around, they must have felt colourless to her.

I find myself wondering…had we known who we would end up with, would we opt to go through the experiences that teach us so much and ready us for the one? She spent her whole life in waiting, consumed by the very idea of Henry and his whereabouts. I would want more for her, for her own development away from her relationship with Henry. Shaped by more than just what he tells her.

This was not as apparent to me the first time I read this book, although I’m aware that was almost 8 years ago. At 22, I’m sure I had a divine all-encompassing view of love as a defining concept. Now …not so much.

“I want to tell you, again, I love you. Our love has been the thread through the labyrinth, the net under the high-wire walker, the only real thing in this strange life of mine that I could ever trust.”


Its been so long since I have had a crush on a book character. (My last crush was Michael Moscovites of Princes Diaries!) but there is something about Henry’s benevolent love of Clare and his intuitive and protective nature that is so heart-warming. Charm, eloquence and keen prowess. I find myself taken by him.

For me, the real clincher in the plot is their mutual, ever-entwining love, which surpasses both life and death…The final stage of their relationship and Henry’s perfectly-timed untimely death left me morose. I was at a loss for how such a deep and ingrained love could be wiped out…how could Henry, knowing he would not return from his next travel, surmise years of love into one last statement? How could Clare, who has waited all her life to have him, say goodbye to Henry? Utterly heart wrenching…

I’m left with this feeling…I want a Henry! One that I know will appear at some point in my life and be the ultimate ending to my love story…The surety and calm that comes with knowing he is already on the way.


I give this book a heavy


It is heart breaking in the best way…definitely worth a read! Have your Kleenex handy!

Unfiltered: Happy Birthday To me – 30 never felt so good!

I am officially 30…yikes! That sounds so grown up!

With my 20’s coming to a roaring end, I’ve been reflecting on how much I’ve experienced. This decade has been full of love, heartbreak, births, loss, weddings, friends, graduations, jobs, quits, fights, weight loss, weight gain, tears, belly laughs, self-love, growth, gratitude, acceptance, creativity and most importantly… surrender …to God, to fate, to everything that lies ahead.

It’s crazy…when 20 year-old me pictured myself at 30, I conjured images of an established journalist, married, maybe a child, with years of savings and something seriously grown up… like property?!…(wth even!)

Well…that is not who I am. I may have some elements of this fictitious Zaima that has her shit together, but there are definitely elements that haven’t gone quite to plan, or not to my plan perhaps….

So here are my goals and reflections of what I endeavour to achieve for the next 10 years of my life!


After setting myself the goal last year of actually getting “out there” (eew)…I have learned that low self-esteem and an incredibly shallow pool of acquaintances does not make for a thriving love life! We all know what turn the year took, and trying to find the love of your life in a pandemic is not easy! Last year I came to a very real conclusion…You cannot seek love, it has to find you.

The weird thing is, it turns out that somewhere throughout last year, I found little nuggets of the love that had been missing from my life and guess what …it wasn’t from some tall handsome rugged poet after all…it was from me.

Through my gratitude practices and self-work, I nurtured a very new sense of self love and self-worth…it turns out that this is what I was looking for after all.

Over the years, my inner bully had beaten me down, and I just didn’t believe I was worthy of any attention or love. I was ashamed of myself, of the way I looked and everything that constituted me. Do you know how heavy that baggage is to cart around? Even if someone found me an appealing prospect, I berated them for not having better standards…that is messed up!

I was so depleted of self-love that, had I even found Mr Right, I would have been Miss All Wrong. I was a living metaphor of how NEVER to enter a relationship. Waiting to be given value by anyone who chose me. But I needed to be the one to give myself value, I needed to choose me first.

Going into my 30’s, I choose to see no stigma about being single, or about being in a transitional process. There are so many people I know who entered into hasty marriages without the luxury of being able to work on themselves first, I have that opportunity, and I’m ready to take it.


For this upcoming decade, I endeavour to invest in the relationships in my life.

It’s so strange how many friends fall off the radar throughout your 20’s. I was always someone who had a large group of friends. Friends from school, college, incredible friends from University, and all the different jobs I’ve had.

Through my fault entirely, I’ve let go of some amazing people, just because I felt like I was behind…withdrawing from friends inevitably cuts them off…and I’m so guilty of this.

Old friends can’t be made, they are nurtured, and I vow to nurture my existing friendships and relationships and maybe even invest in making some new old friends.


My 20’s saw me take my very first step into journalism, which was my dream from the age of 15! Free concerts, high profile interviews, and the cutting edge of some of the most trending stories. I loved it, but I was always acutely aware that something felt off.

After years of wanting this, I realised, it wasn’t my dream career. I would much rather have a quiet cosy life full of cosy fun, than jet setting around making a name for myself. I’m grateful for that realisation, because it gave me direction. Isn’t that what your 20’s are all about? Finding out who you really are?

I’ve set my goals high for my 30’s and I know I’m going to achieve some super awesome things, and the best part, they’re all going to be on my terms!

In my feels..

Now that I’m actually on the precipice of my 30’s, I realise something…. Time is so arbitrary…

I’m never going to hit a point in my life where I’ve achieved everything I want, and that’s ok. The goal posts will always be moving, that is what growth is all about. We are always a ‘work in progress’, never the finished article…I will continue to guess my way through life and create the most amazing memories with the most amazing people.

They say hindsight is 20:20, looking back, I wouldn’t have done a single thing differently. Here’s to another 10 year of joy, learning and a hell of a lot of fun!

30 Things I’ve Learned in my 30 Years of Life

Tomorrow I turn 30…(eeek!) This impending date has made me feel rather contemplative and so I felt compelled to compile a list of things that I have learned up until now that have benefited me and may help you too.

Here goes….

  1. Soulmates don’t stay forever

As cliché as it sounds, I’ve learned that just because you feel intrinsically connected to someone, that doesn’t mean that they’re your forever person. Sometimes people come into our lives, teach us a hell of a lot, and then leave. That was their role, thank them for the lessons and let them go.

2. God’s delays are not Gods denials.

Truer words have never been spoken! Something I have always struggled with is trusting in God’s timing. I often have to remind myself that just because I haven’t received the blessings that others have in their lives at specific points, it does not mean that I am cast aside. It means that I have so much more to focus on right now. Now I find solace in knowing that everything is planned out with God’s infinite wisdom.

3. My energy creates my reality. What I focus on grows.

This is something I have only recently learned and understood. I think for most of my 20’s, I fit into the ‘Glass half Empty’ category. However, I have come to learn that the good has always been there alongside the bad and you can choose to see which ever one you want.

If you choose to see through the filter of negativity, you better believe you’ll only find more. But, if you train yourself to constantly pick out the good, then even more good will bloom before your eyes and you’ll see that this life of yours is sooo full of abundance.

4. Letting go doesn’t mean it didn’t matter…

If you’re like me, and struggle to let go of significant times and memories, it’s important to know that saying goodbye to a time doesn’t mean that it wasn’t important to you.

Letting go only gives you more space to allow new blessings and opportunities into your life. You cannot open the next chapter if you keep rereading the last one.

5.Your loved ones cannot heal you

I have always been so close to my family, and since we are all empaths, it’s not uncommon for us to sit around for hours discussing how we feel. But it took me a while to understand that, although my family love me and care for me endlessly, they cannot fix me. They have numerous roles in my life, but they cannot be my crutches. In fact, it is my duty to fix myself, to be more present and available to them. A half empty cup has nothing to pour

6. Therapy is worth it

This follows on from my previous point. Despite having a huge support network, and exercising self-help, sometimes you just need a little more guidance. I believe in the counselling/ therapy process to push you forward when you feel your self-slipping. Not as a long-term solution, but at least to kick start your healing journey. 

I have tried Talking Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with qualified therapist, to help me break down some difficult things and some long-standing negative beliefs. They were able to provide me with the support I needed when I felt myself drowning in my sadness. If you need a little extra help, there’s no stigma in asking for it from professionals who can help you.

7. You are not your thoughts

In the words of Eckhart Tolle, you are not your thoughts! This is something that took a long time for me to grasp. I had such a negative inner voice that constantly berated me for not being pretty enough, skinny enough or successful enough.

Since dissociating from that narrative and identifying that voice as a foreign entity, I’m able to actively choose not to listen to that voice and to just pick a thought that feels better.

8.There’s no such thing as the right person at the wrong time 

This is simple. If it’s the wrong time, it’s the wrong person. With the right person, things will come naturally, there are no obvious hurdles and things just unfold with ease.

9. Less is more

Recently, I have learned to value space more than possessions. I had a nasty habit of buying more than I could store. This led to an extreme hoarding type situation in my bedroom, with piles of shoes handbags and jewellery… A mess!

But, after a thorough clean out, I’ve realised that sometimes there is more joy in the clutter free space then in the possessions themselves. So now, I’m sure to really evaluate whether this new item will bring me joy before I buy.

10. A place for everything and everything in its place.

I recently decluttered and organised my living space and it has changed my life! I have finally created for myself, an ergonomic system for all my things. This same level of organisation is permeating into other factors of my life… It honestly feels great! Do yourself a favour and buy those drawer organisers!

11. Hold on to your friends even when it feels hard, you’ll thank yourself later.

I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t make the effort with my friends that I should have over the years. Withdrawing into myself during a difficult time, I cut off so many great relationships and friendships that could have been with me now. Even if you feel out of place, if you feel left behind, know that this feeling is fleeting and afterwards you’ll need these amazing people in your life. They have a special place in your heart and you in theirs.

12. No time lasts forever – appreciate it while it is here

You may be unhappy with how things are right now, but nothing lasts forever. Appreciate the time you are living with your parents and siblings under one roof, it doesn’t last. Appreciate the laborious weekend job you have, you will miss the simplicity one day. Be aware that the moment you are in right now, will never come back so appreciate it all while it’s here.

13. Someone’s criticism of you is just a reflection of their own heart

Have you ever heard the saying ‘People don’t rob from empty houses.’ If someone constantly criticizes you, there is something in you that makes them uncomfortable, something they wish they had themselves.  Thank them for their input and know that everyone is fighting their own battles, and this has more to do with how they feel about themselves, and less to do with what they feel about you.

14. A life without gratitude is an empty life indeed

As someone who very rarely saw the good in life, I was constantly down and always plagued by what I didn’t have. That was until I started gratitude journaling. This activity has been the catalyst that has changed me from a pessimist to an optimist. I have become someone who takes pleasure in the journey and not just the destination. I fully believe that not every day is all good, but there is certainly good in every day.

15. Don’t be afraid to have your heart broken…the pain is worth the memories

Heartbreak sucks, but oh my, are there some amazing memories before the pain. Focus on the joy and know that you cannot admire the starts without a little darkness. Don’t let the pain of heartbreak stop you from wanting to be loved again.

16. Rock bottom truly is the foundation on which you can rebuild your life

Not everyone has to hit rock bottom to know they need to change, but I did, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Hitting that low place was the springboard that I needed to start rebuilding myself and my life. sometimes you have to hit your lowest to push yourself to improve your state and your life. I had so many toxic thoughts and opinions about myself and about others, hitting that low allowed me to address and change what needed to go.

  1. Your energy is currency. Spend it well, Invest it wisely.

Anyone who endeavours to maintain a high vibe knows how hard it is to be around people who suck that energy. Your energy is your life force, don’t be around people who hurt that. Not everyone deserves a seat at your table. Be patient and your loved ones will eventually see how high your flying and want a piece of the action.

18. No one teaches you how to love yourself, you just have to choose to do it

There are no lessons in self-love, no one tells us how we must invest in ourselves first and foremost to have something to give. Find out what recharges your batteries and implement these things into your life daily. For me, my gratitude journal, my affirmation practice, a cosy mug of coffee and a relaxing bath with a book at the end of the day ensure that I am at my peak state for those around me.

19. No-one can complete you – you are already a complete person

Isn’t it bizarre, all the most famous romance movies tell us that we are incomplete, that Mr right will come along and give our lives meaning. It could not be more false.

If you feel incomplete, you will enter into that relationship thinking this person owes you something, and they don’t. You are your own person. YOUR happiness is YOUR responsibility, and THEIR happiness is THEIRS.

Don’t wait for someone to complete you, be the whole complete version of yourself and see how many people want to add you into their lives.

  1. Health truly is wealth

Early on in my 20’s, I was hospitalised for over a week. To date, it was the worst experience of my life. The lack of control you experience in hospital can be easily likened to prison, at least that how I felt. I couldn’t leave, I had to take whatever medication was given to me and worst of all, my family could not stay with me…I was truly alone. This experience taught me that health is the most valuable gift we are given. With health comes freedom and it is a blessing. We owe our bodies a great debt and should look after them appropriately.

  1. Don’t be afraid to chase your dream for free

When you have a dream, be willing to put the work in without getting the gratification. So many of my best experiences occurred when volunteering for local papers as a journalist. Free events, press passes and even some goodies. I wouldn’t change it for the world! Build your experience and then find that killer payed role doing what you love!

22. You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.

I think so many of us struggle with people pleasing. Everyone in a room can be taken by you, but the one person who seems indifferent is the one that will stick in your mind. Something I’ve had to teach myself is, not everyone is going to like your unique brand of weird, and that’s perfectly fine. Never change yourself to fit others perceptions of how you should be. Just be yourself and endeavour to feel good. Opinions are so subjective anyway!

  1. Comparison really is the thief of joy

This one still trips me up occasionally and it is one of the lowest vibes you can give off. Sometimes it’s hard to see people effortlessly receive the things that you have always wanted. Doesn’t it always seem like everyone else’s life is sooo easy and we are the only ones struggling.

With the introduction of social media and overexposure to other people’s circumstances, it’s even harder to try and stay in your lane. Something I tell myself often is ‘Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to someone else’s best-bits-reel.’ We don’t know what people are struggling with privately. And I guarantee that someone out there is looking at your life and wanting the blessings you have.

  1. You must hold firmly to the rope of Allah (swt)

This is a lesson I have learned fairly late in my life…we have so little control over things, its so much easier to accept when we leave everything in God’s hands.  The only real path in life is the one that God has outlined for us. I readily accept this.

  1. Discipline will get you where motivation cannot.

So many exciting endeavours have begun in a flurry of motivation and excitement, but keeping that momentum going is the hard part. I have tried to apply discipline to so many aspects of my life so I won’t lose the motivation. I have a theory, the harder it is to do, the more you need it. I apply this to my prayers, my exercise routine, my blog and even my self-love journey. The more resistance there is, the more reason I have to do what needs to be done.

  1. There is no set timeline to life

The South Asian community is full of Aunties telling you what you should be doing and when. Marriage, Child, 2nd children, Working, cooking and cleaning. Life has no set timeline, and you are not bound by what society deems appropriate timing. Spend your 20’s discovering you and don’t worry about what others will say.

  1. The morning hours are blessed

This is something I have only recently learned, and it is true. Waking up for the morning prayer has been incremental in my healing journey. Create a good morning routine for yourself and follow it daily. I’ve been doing my newly implemented routine for about 6 months now and it honestly feels great. I’m down for 11pm and up fresh and early at 6am in time for my productive morning routine. I have to say, I’ve never felt so alive and alert!

  1. The night is always darkest before the dawn

Sometimes is can seem so easy to give up and throw in the towel. But I’m here to tell you that right when it feels like it will never get better, somehow it just does. Know that when it truly hurts, it can only get better, and it will.

29. You have to start thinking of yourself as the main character in your life.

I have spent so much of my life so far telling myself that I am inferior to others, not pretty enough, not special enough, just not enough to be a significant person in anyone’s life, let alone my own. I’m done with that. From now on I vow to be the protagonist in my own adventure, because that exactly what my life is.

30. You are worthy of everything you desire

This is the lesson that has taken me the longest to learn. I now know…nothing is out of my reach. If I can believe it, I will see it.

My Heartbreak Toolbox

Heartbreak…is there anything more painful…? Lately, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the last time that I was completely and utterly heartbroken…It hasn’t happened to me much in my life, but there are a few occasions where I have felt that familiar and universal searing in my chest, that feeling that someone has just sucker punched you right in the gut. …so much fun…!

So many ‘Life Gurus’ say you shouldn’t revisit the bad things you have experienced in life, because your body can’t tell the difference between what your imagining in your mind, and what is actually happening in reality.

That’s why, when recollecting sad times, your breath will become shallow, your palms become clammy and your eyes sting with tears, like your sitting in that same seat you were in all those years ago.

But …the weird thing is, so much good comes from heartbreak…so much growth and power. I literally had to pick myself up piece by piece, and you know what, before that, I didn’t know I was capable of healing myself…but I was. I now have a tool box of self-help techniques that can push me through anything.

So, I’m writing this, in case the future me needs to read it, and in case anyone needs reminding that there is life after what is perceived as ‘Love’. You may have changed, but you’re like the 2.0 version of yourself, with minor improvements. Own it and find the things that make you come to life.

My Heartbreak Toolbox

1. Prayer

If you’re a religious or spiritual person, you now that nothing quite compares to the feeling of speaking your hearts truth directly to God. I found immeasurable amounts of solace in the morning prayer, Fajr. So much so, that if I had missed it and slept in, I knew I would struggle that day.

The morning hours are truly a blessed time, and catching that morning prayer made me feel like I was enveloped in an aura of protection, from the world, from sadness and even myself.

Also, reading religious passages were like a balm for my heart. Shedding tears whilst reading The Quran was the most cathartic thing for me. My pain drew me close to God, it was so transformative.

If you don’t subscribe to a religion, try using mantras and meditation. Meditation is such a cleansing exercise, it replicates that same feeling of catharsis.

2. Journal

I also ways talk about journaling (like a bit too much… I know!) but the amount of good that I have derived from this reflective practice is just unfathomable. When your stuck in heartbreak and you don’t understand why someone you love soooo much, would hurt you so deeply, journaling is a great tool to rationalise your thoughts and unload everything from your head.

I found it too difficult to talk to anyone about what I was going through, so my journal became my closest confidante. It never told me to pull myself together, or to get over it…it was there for me when I needed to download.

Journaling for me, helped me to process whatever I was going through and helped to ease the anxiety I would wake up with every morning.

3. Yoga

I cannot tell you how much yoga saved me in my time of need. When I was in the thick of it, I would wake up after a terrible night’s sleep and automatically be submerged in this anxious energy.

All the thoughts would come back to me, the trauma, and the sensation that everything was different to what I had known…I would experience palpitations, shortness of breath and even nausea…it was horrible. But, there was one thing that would get rid of this terrible energy, and that was yoga.

I would roll out of bed onto my yoga mat and follow an insanely relaxing yoga video on Youtube. (My preference was Boho Beautiful’s Yoga for beginners.) The calm of the yogis voice and the soft splash of the waves would calm me down from any emotional precipice I found myself on.

The measured intake and exhalation of breath, takes you right out of your head and brings you right into the present moment, helping to anchor yourself. It’s the one thing I would suggest if you’re experiencing post-traumatic anxiety like I was.

4. Pursue Your Passions

I know, this sounds crazy.

At a time where getting out of bed is an achievement, how is it even conceivable to create any momentum with your passion? Just hear me out.

During my lowest point, I received an email that changed my life. The BBC were offering me a 2-week placement at the BBC Asian Network Headquarters in London….like what?!

I was gobsmacked! Earlier in the year, I had applied for a coveted position on the BBC ‘s Journalism Trainee Scheme and missed out at the last hurdle, so this was unexpected and a courtesy 2nd prize, but I was ready to take it.

This took me from wallowing, to a state of action almost instantly. I threw myself into planning my 2-week stay in London and mentally preparing myself for the challenge. I was so excited to be in a different place and being in such a stimulating environment, it honestly was one of the best things that ever happened to me. My sister joined me out there and we galivanted around London for 2 whole weeks…amazing! Shopping, Theatre and that London buzz helped me come back to life.

I think, you have to throw yourself into something, plan a holiday, start a new venture. Do something different that has no connections to the person you’re deviating from. Make new memories, you’ll thank yourself later.

Time heals all wounds…

They say time heals…isn’t that so cliché? I don’t think the passage of time heals, but it does familiarise you with this new version of yourself. Everyday you wake up, and the foreign entity that has nestled into your chest that wasn’t there before, becomes more and more known to you day by day.

Although I’ve healed now, there will always be scar tissue to remind me of what my heart has endured. Something I tell myself regularly is…” What is ahead is surely better than what has gone by…” I hold on to this truth.

These steps might not help everyone, but they surely helped me, and still do when I feel that all too familiar feeling erupting within me…before you know it, the difficult times will ease and you will be a new, improved version of yourself.

I have learned and grown so much from every heartbreak experience I have had, as I’m sure we all have… Find your toolbox for feeling good and stick to it.

Be strong…