Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Cheer Up

I needed some cheering up today.  I've been so busy at work, at home, at my mum's.  STRESS...STRESS....STRESS!

So I decided to buy something bright, something colourful, something purple...Ta-Daaah...

A vibrant Celosia houseplant.  Price £2.99 from Asda.

I jazzed it up by buying a lovely yellow ceramic vase.  It transformed the plant and instantly made me smile.

If you've been feeling down in the dumps lately, how have you cheered yourself up?

Monday, 5 September 2011

Yahnilia Makarna

I was happily reading 'Bubblegarm's' blog, when I cam across her favourite turkish meal,  made of fresh tomatoes, chicken, lemon juice, halloumi cheese and served with a pasta of your choice.

She described the dish as tangy, spicy, enriched with the juices of the chicken and tomatoes.  Being a lemon lover I just had to give it a try.  I am a newbie when it comes to halloumi cheese, but that didn't put me off.  

I adapted the recipe according to my taste buds and whose saying you can't either.  So here goes...

Ingredients for halloumi

*  50-60 gms of grated halloumi cheese
*  2tsp dry mint
*  Black pepper (according to taste)

Mix all the ingredients together.  Set aside as this will be used when ready to serve.

Ingredients for Yahnili

*  2 chicken brests cubed
*  1 medium sized onion chopped
*  2tsp of tomato puree (I opted for one with added garlic)
*  2 tomatoes chopped
*   Half a tin of plum tomatoes
*  Juices of 2 lemons (or according to taste)
*  Pepper (according to taste)
*  2tsp of chilli powder(optional)
*  2 tbsp of olive oil

1)  Add oil to a deep pan with a lid.  Fry onions until golden
2)  Add chicken.  Cook until throughly cooked.
3)  Next add tomato puree.  Fry for a while.
4)  Add the fresh tomatoes and tinned tomatoes.  Cook until it all starts to come together.
5)  Add enough water to cover everything.
6)  Add lemon juice, salt, pepper and chilli powder.  Simmer.
7)  Check for seasoning after half hour.  Adjust now.
8)  Simmer for another half hour.

Ingredients for Makarna

* 250gms pasta boiled in salted water and drained.  (I used fusili).

Plate up

1)  Layer the halloumi mix in a deep plate.  Add some pasta, some of the sauce with the chicken pieces and top it off with another layer of halloumi.

*  Eat whilst hot, to enjoy the mouthwatering flavours.  BTW the halloumi cheese is so creamy and delicious.

Have you tried a new recipe?

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Eid Mubarak...

To all those who observed the month of Ramadan and are now enjoying the celebration of its end- Eid-Ul-Fitr.  

May we all be blessed with another year of Ramadan and let us remember the less fortunate and those who have lost loved ones, on this beautiful day.  

Pray for yourself, your family, for our prophets and those who have passed away.  Not only will your prayers be answered, but whatever you wish for someone else, the angels pray the same on your behalf.

Be patient and steadfast to what life throws at you.  Not only will you become optimistic, but Allah (SWT) will shower his mercy on you.

Recite the Qu'ran beautifully as much as possible, whenever you have a moment to spare, as it will be your intercessor on the day of judgement.

Read many Duroods for our Prophet Muhammad (SAWS).  70,000 angels deliver the details of those who have done so to the prophet himself.  On Fridays Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) listens personally to those reading durood for him.  Inshallah he shall intercess for us on the day of judgement.

Donate to charities. Not only will you helping those who are suffering, but you will be contributing significantly to your afterlife.  

Let us not burden ourselves with materialistic objectives and think about our everlasting world.  Where whatever we call for will be available at the blink of an eye.  Subhanallah.

Make sure you are ready for the aakhirah.  Make sure you have done enough to succeed in this life to benefit you in the hereafter.

May Allah (SWT) grant us peace and accept our prayers. 


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Vintage Hanging Letters

Like usual I was browsing during my lunch hour today.  I came across these cute 'Cath Kidston style' decorated letters in B & M.  They were on for a cool £3.99 each.  

 I immediately bought the 'LOVE' and 'HOME' letters, which came with a lovely heart and house piece at the end of each word. 

These would look great in a hallway or in the kitchen, as they have that Home Sweet Home feel to them.

Have you bought any vintage accessories, at low prices?

Lamb Chop Curry

Tender lamb, enveloped in a thick flavoursome sauce, accompanied with chunks of new baby potatoes, was one of many childhood favourites.

Walking back from school, getting nearer to home and the aroma of curry wafts through the quite street.  My mother didn't need to tell us what she had been cooking, as the bouquet of spices did all the talking.

Rushing inside, quickly removing my shoes and dropping my bag on the oak floor in the hallway, I would then settle in front of the television in our living room, with my younger sister.  My mother would fill a small round bowl with the hot lamb curry and of course make fresh chapatis to eat with.

Me and my sister were always arguing over the last piece of chapati, to scoop up the last lick of sauce, from the bottom of the bowl.


*  7 lamb chops
*  2 onions chopped
*  2 tomatoes chopped
*  2 cloves of garlic
*  Cube of ginger
*  1 tsp of ground garam masala
*  1 tsp of chilli powder (or according to taste)
*  Salt (according to taste)
*  6 new baby potatoes halved
*  3 tbsp of olive oil
*  Handful of chopped coriander to garnish

1)  Add oil in a deep pan.  Fry the onions until they are golden brown.  Add the ginger and garlic.  Fry for 2 mins.

2)  Add the tomatoes, along with the garam masala, chilli powder and salt.  Cook until some of the oil starts to appear on top.  Stirring frequently.

3)  Add the lamb and fill the pan with enough water just so it is all covered.  Simmer for 40/50 mins.

4)  The water will have reduced adjust the salt and chilli now.  Add another cup of water and  add the potatoes.  Cook until the sauce is thick and the potatoes are cooked.

5)  Garnish with the fresh coriander.

*  Serve with fresh chapatis, or  jasmine rice.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Balti Mini Lamb Kebabs

Highly spiced kebabs, baby new potatoes, sweet red onions and juicy cherry tomatoes make this a delectable meal.

Grabbing a handful of fresh coriander and green chillies, my grandma chopped them as finely as possible.  'To use for garnishing at the end' she would say in her own loving way, over and over.  

Stretching  naan bread with her soft hands into the famous teardrop shape, was a traditional method for my grandma.  I would watch her concentrating as she grilled the naan for a few minutes and when once done, brushed with lashings of ghee (clarified butter). 

Heaping spoonfuls of  the subtle sweet and spicy balti on the hot naan, we would then sit on her vintage cream garden furniture, detailed with intricate brocade designs and eat until there was room for no more.

Apologies, if the method seems so long, but I have wrote it in small bitesize instructions.  Easy and delicious.



*  600gms lean minced lamb
*  1 medium onion finely chopped
*  2 cloves of  garlic
*  2 tbsp of fresh coriander
*  1 green chilli
*  Salt (according to taste)
*  2tsp of chilli powder (or according to taste)
*  1 tbsp of gram flour
*  1 tbsp of olive oil


*  10 baby new potatoes (cut in halves and boiled in salted water until cooked)
*  8 cherry tomatoes cut in halves
*  1 baby aubergine thickly sliced
*  1 medium red onion finely sliced
*  1 green chilli finely cut to garnish
*  Coriander to garnish


*  2 ripe tomatoes chopped
*  2 tbsp of olive oil
*  1 clove of garlic crushed
*  Small cube of ginger crushed
*  1 tsp of garam masala (whole and crushed)
*  1 tsp of chilli powder (or according to taste)
*  Salt according to taste


1)  Apart from the minced lamb and gram flour, blitz the rest of the ingredients with a electric hand whisk, to form a green paste.

2)  Add to the minced lamb and gram flour.  

3)  Form the kebabs on metal skewers, making sure they are in bitesize chunks.  (If this proves difficult, mould into small sausage shapes and insert skewer through middle).  Remove from skewer and place in a plate.

4)  Add oil to a griddle pan and brown each kebab evenly, until thoroughly cooked.  Remove and place on a plate.


1)  Add oil to a wok, add the tomatoes, cook until they turn soft and start losing their shape.

2)  Add the garlic, ginger and garam masala, cook for a 1-2 mins.

3)  Now add the chilli powder and salt according to your taste.  Cook for 5-7 mins until the tomatoes have all softened and everything is combined.


1)  Add the potatoes to the sauce and cook for a further 3-4 mins

2)  Add the baby aubergine and onions and cook for a further 5-8 mins

3)  Put in the cherry tomatoes and stir until slightly soft, to release its sweetness

5)  Add the kebabs and stir for 2-4 mins

4)  Garnish with coriander, green chilli and a dash of lemon juice.  Stir carefully.

*  Buy ready made naan breads, heat and brush with butter.  Top off with the balti and serve with plain greek yogurt. 

Friday, 5 August 2011

Rustic Tea Light Holders

I came across these wooden tea light holders a while back at Asda.  They were priced at £4.00 each.  So I decided to wait, hoping that they would be reduced in the summer sale.  

I nipped in today for some fresh flowers and guess what, they were reduced to £1.00 each.... now I'm a happy bunny.

The detail of the wood adds a rustic feel to each piece and would look elegant in any room,  whether your decor is crisp white or shabby to beachy chic.

Do you own any rustic accessories?  

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Ramadan Mubarak

The auspicious month of Ramadan is here.  Muslims from all around the world will be observing fasts, where they will not be able to eat, drink or smoke, starting from sunrise to sunset.  It is a blessed month for muslims, as it makes one remember about those who are suffering in the world.  We should embrace this testing month and be grateful for what Allah  has bestowed upon us.

We observed the first fast on the 1st August and it was very trying, as the fast lasted for  around 18 hours.  Alhamdulillah it is now my 4th fast and I am doing much better.

I will be posting some delicious recipes of what I have been cooking in preparation for the fasts.

Have you been fasting? If so, how have you found it?

Monday, 11 July 2011

Expensive Nudes?

Not really!

Usually I don't buy anything from Next's womenswear, but after looking through their Autumn catalogue online, I fell in love with their Nude peeptoe shoes, priced at £26.00. 

I was looking for the perfect nude shoes or sandals, but couldn't find any that had a medium sized heel.  These were comfortable as soon as I tried them on and looked gorgeous.  

Nude is the new black and everyone should invest in a pair, as they can go with any outfit.  You can pair them  with a statement dress, for understated glamour or wear them with a bright maxi dress.  The possibilities are endless.

Have you found the perfect nude shoes?
Ocean Treasures


There are soooo many sales on at the moment, that I just had to go to some of my favourite stores.  One of them being Accessorize, where everything was half price from the summer collection.  My husband was stood at the door staring at all the crazy women drooling over jewellery and laughing at me. Here are some of the few things that I just had to get.

All in shades of tropical blues, sea greens and light gold.  

The necklace was £16.00 and now £8.00.  The bracelet was £28.00 and now £14.00 and the earrings were in a set of three, reduced to only £3.00. I bought the clustered ring quite a while back and it just happened to match beautifully.

Have you picked up some great finds recently?

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Pretty Basket

I was reading a  storage post by 'Bubblegarm' and she had a basket for storing her makeup.  I immediately fell in love with the idea and decided I need a pretty basket for my dressing table.

This medium sized lined basket was from Poundstretcher priced at £4.99 and the flowers were from Wilkinson, price £1.00. (Yes, I'm a bargain hunter).

I made a small hole in the centre of the lining, cut some artificial flowers and arranged.   This now stores all of my everyday beauty products.

What do you think? 

How's your storage like?
Beauty Labels

I recently bought some travel size bottles to store some of my natural remedies, as the original bottles were very large and made my dressing table look like a market stall.

I decided to add simple and chic labels to the plain, boring bottles.


*  Pritt Stick
*  Scallop Scissors
*  Blank sticky labels

1)  Type your names on microsoft word, making sure that they will fit your bottles or containers.  Print.

2)  Stick the words onto your labels and cut out the words in your desired shape, (draw an outline if you're not confident- I did).

3)  Voila!  You have now created your very own customised beauty labels.

*  Tip- Stick labels on home made lip balms, scrubs, cleansers and decorate with pictures.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Sanctuary Spa Skincare

Skin Type - Combination

During my lunch break, I popped into Boots the Chemist and ended up buying a selection of Sanctuary Spa products (see below).

Sanctuary Spa have now introduced a skincare range adding to their excellent bodycare.  The products I chose were for all skin types, as there was nothing specific for combination skin, so I opted for a cleanser + moisturiser from the Brightening Facial range and face polish + facial oil from the Youth Boosting Facial selection.  

I have used these products for a period of 4 weeks and here are my personal opinions:

Hot Cloth Cleanser + Muslin Cloth - This has quite a strong garden like scent and is a very creamy consistency.  It does not remove all traces of makeup, so I had to use my Nivea facial wash before applying this. However my skin is much clearer and looks radiant.

Warming Microdermabrasion - Tiny grainy particles make up this product and I have used this 2 to 3 times a week.  My skin always feels and looks smooth after application.

Facial Illuminating Moisturiser - After having a facial I use this and it makes my skin very fresh.  But using it everyday under my makeup, made the skin around my nose dry and flake off (I know, disgusting, but I have to be honest).   I had to go back to my trusted Nivea for most days.

Facial Oil - This is good as a night moisturiser, as during the day under my makeup it made my skin really oily.

The Sanctuary Spa products are fairly expensive and don't live up to their bodycare range.  They should introduce a specific range for each skin type as I believe all-skin-type products do not cater for the masses.  

Overall I will be using the products untill they finish and then try a different range.  Sigh... the pursuit for perfect skin is never ending.

What's your skin type and which products do you swear buy?

Monday, 4 July 2011

Funky Camera Case

I wanted a new case for my beloved Samsung camera.

Looking through Amazon I found this brightly coloured hard case for only £5.97 and it was free super saver delivery.  Now that's a bargain. 

The case comes in a array of colours and designs.  It has an internal compartment to store your battery or memory card and has a removable adjustable strap.  The case fits my camera nicely, but it cannot store your charger or USB cable.

If you're looking for some i candy accessories that can fit in your handbag, then this would be  perfect.

What's your camera case like?

Lamb Mince Curry

Yesterday was hot and sunny in Manchester.  I didn't want to stand in the kitchen boiling over a hot cooker, so I decided to make something that would require minimal stirring and of course effort. 

Delicately spiced minced lamb, along with tender potatoes and fresh peas, was called for.  

Known as Keema- Aloo in Urdu, it is a typical Pakistani dish, which evokes such wonderful memories of my mother.  Stood in the kitchen on a small red chair, I would watch her as she gently filled home made pastry with leftover Keema-Aloo and then seal the edges with a brush of milk, creating perfectly sized samosas each time.  These were then deep fried until they turned  a golden brown colour.  

Once slightly cooled but the filling still piping hot, me and my sisters would then dip each puffed triangle into a medley of mint, coriander chutneys and sip hot chai, in the shade of our cherry tree.


*  500gms of minced lamb
*  2tbsp of olive oil
*  2 small onions finely chopped
*  1/2 of a chopped tomato tin
*  2 cloves of garlic
*  Cube of ginger
*  1tsp of garam masala (whole not ground)
*  2tsp of chilli powder (or according to taste)
*  Salt (according to taste)
*  2 medium sized potatoes (cut in small cubes)
*  Handful of frozen peas (defrosted)
*  Coriander to garnish

1)  Using a pestle and mortar grind together the ginger, garlic and garam masala, until it turns to a powder like form.  This does not need to be too fine.

2)  Except the potatoes and peas, add all the ingredients into a medium sized pan (similar to a hotpot) and add enough water so that it covers everything.

3)  Place the lid on.  Bring it to a boil and cook on a medium heat and stir every 10 mins, until there is slightly less than half of the water remaining.  This should take around 30/35 mins.

4)  Adjust the chilli and salt according to your taste.  Add the potatoes, place the lid back on and cook until they are half done. 

5)  Next add the peas and simmer until the potatoes and peas are thoroughly cooked, stirring as you go along, so that the water evaporates.

6)  Finally turn off the heat and garnish with fresh coriander leaves and enjoy.

*  This can be accompanied with boiled white rice, pasta, or fresh naan smothered with garlic butter.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Interesting things about me

1. Culture,religion, makeup, jewellery, skin/bodycare, food, art are all things that I am passionate about and would like to share my experiences with others.

2. The love of my life is my husband.

3. I am a creative person, not a technical one.

4. I love Nandos...mmm...

5. I am always trying to gain knowledge, to help myself and others.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

A Woman's Worth.. 

Wishing for abundant happiness, she ploughs like a farmer, determined to sow these precious seeds and waits..... for days.... months.... years.... never knowing what benefits she may reap.  

This woman faces many struggles, in her pursuit for this so called happiness.  Hardships  befall her, so that she remains steadfast in trying to achieve her goals and patience has trained her to handle difficulties.

But still she is challenged in each cultural society, for her choices..... for what she is worth.