Saturday, 22 August 2015

Clothing preferences questionnaire

              Thank You

I have been thinking a lot recently about what women want when it comes to clothing. As you probably know, I recently started selling Turkish-style clothing but it has been my dream for some time to design my own clothing range. I would like to be able to provide you with the best and most suitable clothing options.

I have devised a short questionnaire to try to get to know what you want, like and need. I would be very grateful if you could take some time to fill it out. It would mean a lot to me if you are able to do this. To fill in the questionnaire you just need to click on this link.

Thank you in advance.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

OOTD - Sometimes I wear black!

         

I think I may have found the perfect breastfeeding top! It's so exciting when you find exactly what you are looking for. The drapes at the front give perfect coverage even when the top is lifted up. They are also great for hiding a not-so-flat stomach which is often the case 2 months postpartum. A top by DKNY, it is actually a designer top and I think the first designer garment I have owned! I got it from TK Maxx so it didn't quite have the designer price tag!

I do not often wear black; as you may have noticed. I love bright colours but I also like the sleek and sophisticated look of black occasionally. I find it to be a very versatile colour. It looks great with many of the bright coloured harem trousers I own but it also looks great with white as a monochrome look. 


        


Here, I have paired the black top with my black one-size-fits-all maxi skirt, the one I loved so much during my pregnancy, proving that one-size really does fit all! It is so great to find a skirt that will accommodate my frequently changing body shape without the need to change my wardrobe every month. Just think of all the money I save not having to go shopping every time I lose or gain a few pounds.

I have added a pink vest top underneath the DKNY top as I think it looks good to break up the block of colour when wearing top and bottoms in the same colour. I chose a pink vest top to pull out the pink of the kimono I am wearing over the black top. The kimono adds a bit of much-needed pattern and interest to the outfit. I love the shape of this kimono from New Look and adore the way it drapes at the back. It's thin, cool fabric make it perfect for sunny weather. A pinky-purple sparkly hijab and purple flip flops complete the look (I often wear flip flops when the sun shines).

            

Vest top: Primark
Top: DKNY
Kimono: New Look
Scarf: Market stall

                   

Back view - fab, draping kimono.



Saturday, 25 July 2015

Modest breastfeeding

        

I have been absent for a while settling in to life with a newborn. Looking after 3 children sure does take up a lot of my time but I long to start writing again so write I will! Baby boy is now 7 weeks old; where does the time go! It feels like only yesterday I was writing about my pregnancy and now I'm here writing about life with a not-so-newborn.

Once the pregnancy clothing challenge is over, a whole new challenge begins; namely that of modest breastfeeding. How does one manage to feed a baby without flashing some bare skin? Is this possible? Is it not? Should we even be attempting to breastfeed in public? Well of course we should! After all, babies need to feed when they need to feed. Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world and we should not be ashamed of it. We just need to take the necessary precautions to do it modestly and this is absolutely possible.

So, what is the secret to modest breastfeeding? Well, I will tell you how I do it; baggy tops and vests underneath. I am never without a vest top when I am breastfeeding. It is one of my must-haves. Why? Well, because it prevents my stomach being on show. I wear something baggy on top so when I need to feed the baby I simply pull the baggy top up and slip the vest top down and therefore only expose the breast and nothing else. It's really easy. Baby's head will cover the breast when you are feeding them but you also have your hijab for a bit of extra coverage if needed.

                 

Since giving birth just over 7 weeks ago I have been living in these harem trousers. They are one size fits all and are super comfy; I just don't want to wear anything else! I have them in quite a few different colours and these grey ones are among my favourite. I also love the fact they have pockets in each side which makes them very practical.

             

I have teamed the harem trousers with an orange vest top which you can just see poking out underneath the green top. The short-sleeved green top I am wearing has mock buttons and a woven pattern to it. I finished off the look with a long dark green cardigan and a leopard print hijab. I am not really a fan of animal print so you won't see me wearing it too much but I think this hijab finishes off the look nicely. Flip flops are always good for comfort in the summertime.

Harem trousers: Delal Designs
Vest top: primark
Green top: River Island
Long cardigan: New look
Leopard print hijab

               

Here is the back view. I love the length of the cardigan. It is great for modesty.


Sunday, 3 May 2015

Maternity OOTD - feeling feminine

        

I love soft, pastel colours so when I spotted this floral kimono on sale in Next I knew I had to have it. Wearing a kimono or jacket over a simple top is a great way to pull an outfit together and make it more interesting. I love it when I have a garment with a pattern on it because it means you can wear it with a variety of different colours. This kimono has elements of pale blue, pale pink, darker pink, darker blue, lilac, black and white.

At 8 months pregnant, my outfits are all about comfort but I don't want to compromise on style. It has been difficult for me to work out great maternity styles but now I'm on my third pregnancy I'm happy with my outfits. This pregnancy I discovered the one size fits all jersey skirts from Delal Designs and they have been a staple in my maternity wardrobe. Not only comfy, but also stylish and modest too. 

Taking inspiration from the gorgeous colours of the kimono, I am wearing a purple jersey maxi skirt and lilac long-sleeved top from New Look. Neither the top nor kimono are maternity wear as I don't tend to buy many specific maternity clothes as there is not much choice and it's quite expensive for something you will only wear for a few months. I try to be as frugal as possible, opting for things I can wear post-pregnancy as well as during pregnancy. The one size maxi skirts are a perfect example of this as they will fit me whatever size I am; amazing!

To finish off the look, I'm wearing a pale pink hijab with lace edging. I love the lace edging as it makes for such a soft, feminine look and really adds a bit of interest to what would otherwise be a plain scarf.


Long-sleeved top: New Look
Kimono: Next
Scarf: Hijab Jewels 

        

                                  Front view

                 

Side view, showing the bump because sometimes it's quite nice to show off the bump.

         

          Back view. I love the way the kimono looks from the back.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Maternity OOTD - flowers everywhere!

          

We have had some amazing, sunny weather recently so I have been spending a lot of time outdoors. I went to a beautiful park with my children this week and was thrilled to see all the flowers everywhere. It was such a gorgeous sight, I just had to take some pictures!

My five year old is my little photographer. She just loves snapping away and was keen to take some photos of the flowers. She told me how to pose in the above picture, 'Sit on the grass Mummy!'


                

As you will probably know by now, I do love the brighter colours, particularly in the spring and summer months. I am 8 months pregnant now and comfort is so important for me but I still want to be stylish too; and modest, of course! I am wearing a one size fits all maxi skirt from Delal Designs. I have these in a wide range of colours and they are a staple in my wardrobe at all times. They are particularly good as maternity wear as the stretchy waistband grows with your growing bump. I adore these skirts so much as they have enabled me to be stylish, comfortable and modest throughout my pregnancy.

I am also wearing one of my favourite long-sleeved tops from Oasis in a pale peach colour. I wear this a lot as the colour makes it so versatile. On top of that, I'm wearing a pale peach vest top from Primark, one of my favourite shops for cheap maternity wear. It is not a maternity top but a normal vest top which I bought in a larger size.

To finish off the look, I am wearing a stunning white, gold, orange and red hijab from Hijab Jewels, a favourite hijab store of mine. I also have my bright yellow handbag, a birthday gift from my father. I love this bag as it's big enough for me to fit a lot of things in (you need to fit a lot of things in your bag when you have kids). Not only does my bag finish off the look nicely, it also blends in well with the flowers in the background!


Hijab: Hijab Jewels
Long-sleeved top: Oasis
Vest top: Primark
Maxi skirt: Delal Designs


           

Here is the back view. The flowers in the background are so beautiful. I could have stayed here all day!

               

A close up of the vest top and hijab. I love the pattern of this hijab. The vest top has a lacy bit at the top on the back only.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

My conversion story

              


I have been meaning to write this post for a long time. As you may know, I have not always been a Muslim. I was brought up a practicing Catholic and converted to Islam at the age of 19. Here is my story.

I grew up in a Polish Catholic family in the South West of England. I went to church every week until the age of 16, I did my Holy Communion and confirmation and went to Catholic schools. However, as a teenager I started to doubt the religion and look for alternatives. I became interested in paganism for a while but it wasn't serious, a passing interest. Later, after I became Muslim, I realised my brief fascination with paganism was actually just a love of nature and there was no reason I couldn't love nature as a Muslim.

Anyway, just before my 18th birthday, I met my husband. By this point I did not consider myself to be of any religion really. I had never really spoken to a Muslim before. Well, I had a few Muslim friends at college but none of them were practicing. I went out drinking with them and I never saw them pray or anything like that. So I guess my husband was really the one to introduce me to Islam.

Like a lot of non-Muslims who have never spent time talking to Muslims, I had quite a negative view of Islam. Obviously, this is something I had learnt from the media post 9/11. Islam seemed like such a strict religion with no women's rights. Of course, I now know that that is completely untrue. Islam is a wonderful religion for women. In Islam, women are respected and treated well. The prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him, said that the best man is the one who is best to his wife. Men and women are equal, one is not better than the other, however, they have different roles to play. This is something I think non-Muslims have a hard time understanding, as did I at the beginning. 

As I got to know my husband, I started to learn about the wonderful religion of Islam. I learnt about the five pillars of Islam; testimony of faith, prayer, fasting, charity and pilgrimage. These are the things that each Muslim must do. I saw people pray, I learnt about the month of Ramadan where people fast. I learnt all kinds of things I had never seen or heard of before. The more I saw, the more interested I became. I started to ask questions. I spent more time with Muslim people and watched them to see how exactly they lived their lives. They were all so kind and welcoming and I enjoyed being around them.

I bought a Quran and started to read it but this brought up more questions for me and uneasy feelings. There were parts of it I couldn't comprehend, perhaps I din't have the best translation, and my husband could not answer my inquisitive questions. Without answers, I began to turn back to Chrisitanity, something I was familiar with. I didn't start practicing but thought myself as a Christian once again.

I gave up on the idea of Islam for a short while. I had never thought about converting anyway I had just wanted to learn about it as a way to help me understand my husband better. We were not married then, so one day he told me that he would like us to have a Muslim marriage. What's that? I had no idea. I asked him what it was and what it involved but he couldn't really answer me so I decided to research myself. I looked on the internet and asked Muslims I met. This sparked my interest in Islam again. I got a book about Islam and started to read about what it would mean to be a Muslim. This is the first time I started to think about conversion. I thought about the things I would have to give up, the things I would have to change and the things I would need to start doing. Could I do all this?

I asked my husband to take me to a mosque. I had never been inside one before but I wanted to know what it was like and how I felt inside this holy building. He explained I would have to wear a scarf over my head to go inside so I did. This was not the first time I had worn a scarf. My husband's mother had sent me some over from Turkey when we had first met and I'd tried them on and often worn them when we went to visit Turkish people. I quite enjoyed wearing one, it was a novelty for me at first. I didn't wear it all the time, of course, I wasn't a Muslim yet.

Inside the mosque I met the Imam, a person with a lot of knowledge about Islam who leads the prayers and teaches and advises about Islamic issues. I asked him questions, he answered them. He told me stories about other people who had converted to Islam. I felt inspired! I am not sure if it was then or soon after, but I decided to become a Muslim. It wasn't something I had spent a long time thinking about. I don't think I needed to think about it too much. When you know in your heart that something is right, why wait? 

I spoke to my husband and told him my decision. We agreed that I should convert at the same time as our nikah, Muslim marriage, which was only about a week away. He helped me learn the Shahada, testimony of faith, for me to say when I converted. This just means that I would have to say that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger. That's it. It's really very simple. You should say this in front of two witnesses.

The day came for our nikah and my conversion. I remember feeling so nervous to the point I cried in the car on the way there. I felt so emotional, two big events happening in one day, it was almost too much. It was a very small ceremony, we had a handful of witnesses as well as the Imam. After the ceremony, I was given a gift bag with a Quran, some books about Islam, a prayer mat, a hijab and some prayer beads. I felt happy. It was like I had been reborn and I couldn't stop smiling.

I was keen to learn everything right away but I realised it would take me some time. After all, it had only been around a month since I first toyed with the idea of becoming Muslim to me taking my Shahada so there was a lot I needed to learn. I have had ups and downs along the way but I have never looked back. Becoming a Muslim was one of the best things to ever happen to me Alhamdulillah. 

People often assume I converted for my husband but he never asked me or pushed me to do it. It was something I did for myself. You can never and should never try to force someone to change their religion. It has to come from within them and they have to do it for themselves and no one else. Although I did not convert for my husband, he was the one who introduced me to Islam and I will be forever grateful to him for that.


Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Maternity OOTD - it's springtime!

                    

The weather has been glorious for the last week or so. It's brightened up and become much warmer so it seems like spring has finally arrived. When the sun comes out, I feel like putting on some brighter colours. Gone is the black and out comes the pink, coral pink in particular. I think coral pink is such a lovely colour for spring. It's bright but in a subtle way easier teamed with pastel colours such as this pale mint vest top. I think any pastel colours work well in the springtime.

I am wearing a coral pink maxi skirt from Delal Designs. It is a one size fits all jersey maxi skirt which is perfect for pregnancy as it grows with your growing bump. It's stretchy waistband makes it super comfy, I hardly wear anything else these days as I'm nearing the end of my pregnancy so comfort is key.

I am also wearing  a pale, long sleeved top from Oasis and a pale mint vest top from Primark.. The vest top was a complete bargain at only £2! I love the cream lace at the bottom of the vest top, it adds a touch of femininity and softness to the overall look. 

Finally, my hijab is the saame colour as both the skirt and the vest top so it really ties the whole look together. I love to wear patterened scarves but mainly wear them when I have plain, block coloured clothing. I do not normally wear a lattern with a pattern, it can get a bit too busy. This particualr scarf is from a website called Hijab Jewels, I believe. The scarf is what promted me to put this whole look together, especially the colour combinations. It's funny how a scarf can inspire an entire outfit! Who else has ever matched their outfit to the scarf instead of the other way round? 

Scarf: Hijab Jewels
Top: Oasis 
Vest top: Primark

         

Here is a closeup of the lovely lace trim on the vest top, I love the way the skirt can be seen through the lace.

                   

Here is the back view.

What are your favourite colours to wear this season?