Thursday, 26 July 2012

Aysh needs YOU

Etsy is addictive. 
it's almost like a drug....
I could honestly spend all day on Etsy, looking at all the amazing stuff I wish I had.  But it can also be a bit stupid.  

It'a annoying when you see someone selling some old dusty cupboard that looks as old as father time and would break as soon as you touch it, but it's labelled as 'Vintage cupboard'-Errr no mr Hipster.  There's a difference between 'Vintage' and 'Old as fu*k'.

ANYHOO, I wanted to pimp out my iPad (where's Xibit when you need him?), and I've seen these stickers that you put on the back of your iPad, to make your pad look more 'individual' and blah blah.

(Stupid Blogger hates me again, and wont let me post pictures via its photo uploader thingy ma bob! So Flickr it is!)

Yo Dawg

Xibit, a set on Flickr.

I've narrowed it down to three stickers, but I loves them all so much :(
SO, this is where you step in, kind readers.
I like all three in equal measure, so I was hoping you guys would tell me which one you like the most, since I'm so indecisive.  Please and thank you in advance :D


Ipad Stickers, a set on Flickr.


Saturday, 21 July 2012

Ramadan 102

So the last post was outlining what Ramadan is and why muslims fast.
This post is more of a 'day in the life of a faster' kind of thing, just giving you a rundown of what happens during the day.

First things first, I'll outline the five prayers that muslims pray during the day.  It's obligatory for muslims to pray during the day, at 5 separate times.  In urdu/punjabi it's called 'Namaaz', in arabic- 'Salaah/Salaat'. (You're exempt from praying for obvious reasons like illness, pregnancy, and ladies don't pray when they are on their period).

The 5 daily prayers are obligatory, as it is so easy to get distracted and caught up in other things in this world, that we don't even realise when we're disconnecting spiritually from God. So we pray at different times of the day to remember God, and be thankfully for all we have etc. (If you believe in God, you'll get it, if you don't....then just pretend you do and bare with me :P).
So praying is the time to spiritually reconnect with God.  The word 'Muslim' actually means submission, or one who submits to God, so it's our duty to remember and submit to god throughout the day, as it is so ridiculously easy to get lost watching TV, or on the internet or playing games etc. etc.

The time it takes to pray differs between each prayer during the day, but the longest it takes is about 20mins, so it's not too long.

Anyway, the 5 daily prayers are;

Fajr (Pronounced Fah-jur): Prayer performed before the break of dawn/sunrise.  Works out to be at roughly 3.15am in the UK right not

Zuhr (Zu-hor): Early afternoon prayer.  Starts at 1.15pm

Asr (As-ar): Late afternoon/evening prayer. Starts at 7.45pm

Maghrib (say it as it's spelt): Evening prayer, performed after sunset. Starts at around 9.30ish

Isha: Night prayer. Starts at 10.45pm

Picture kind of summarising prayer times during the day

The times of prayer a based on the location of the sun throughout the day, so the times of prayer are constantly changing, for example, In winter time, Salat-ul-Fajr is significantly later than it is in summer, beginning at around 5am-ish, as the sun rises a lot later during winter.
Masjids (mosques) anticipate this, and so have calendars of prayer times throughout the month

The reason I outlined the prayer times was because the routine of fasting during Ramadan revolves around the prayer times.

So my first fast began on Friday, whilst others began fasting on Saturday
(This is due to Mosques in the UK being fragmented, and all of them not sharing the same belief system as to when Ramadan officially begins, and therefore when we begin fasting, but that's a discussion for another time).

It's actually really annoying that the whole county does not just start fasting on the same day, as it mean everyone celebrates Eid on separate days then!  but as individuals, we must follow what Mosque we belong to, and if they say Ramadan starts on a certain day, as opposed to another Mosque who says it starts on another day, then all we can do is follow our local Mosque.  It's the Imams and Sheikhs duties to guide us, so all we can do is believe them when they say that the crescent moon has been sighted! (And when I say sheikh, I don't mean the sleazy sheikhs you see in tv shows that have harems of women! They aren't real sheikhs!!)

As the first day of fasting for us began on friday, that meant that the Taraweeh prayer would begin, and had to be prayed on thursday night (This post is getting wordier than I expected, so here's a short blurb about taraweeh namaaz if you're interested).

Taraweeh Prayer is an extended version of the evening prayer, Isha.  So that's when Ramadan officially begins, and the first fast will start the next day.
In preparation, people usually stuff their faces to the point of regret, where it feels like you're stomach is going to explode!
I used to be one of those people, but I've learnt from experience!!

So basically after you've prayed your taraweeh namaaz, if you have work/school/whatever the next day, then you'd go to bed.  But since, when you are fasting, you can't eat from sunrise until sunset, you must get up just before Fajr (the early morning prayer), before the sunrises, and eat.  this time is called 'Sehri' time.  It's better to eat stuff like fruit, weetabix, anything that will keep you going throughout the day.  And this is the time to drink lots and lots of water.
So you've eaten, the cut off period is 15 minutes before the sun rises, so you can't have anything after that.  You pray your Fajr namaaz, and then pop back to bed.

You wake up for work/school/whatever at whatever time, but this is the not so great bit, you must not brush your teeth with toothpaste.  the best thing to use is Miswaak (again, getting to wordy, google it).  You can't use toothpaste as it has those nice minty flavoury thingys, and it's inevitable that when you're brushing your teeth, you're gunna swallow some toothpaste. So as you cannot eat or drink anything at all, it's best not to use toothpaste, as it's pretty likely that you're gunna swallow some, and you know, rules be rules and all that.
Just do what I do and brush your teeth at Sehri time.

so you go about your day, read your prayers when it's time.  Do things that will enhance your spirituality, like go to islamic study circles, read the Qur'an, Read Islamic books to increase your knowledge etc etc.

Then comes the wonderful time called Iftari.
That's when you open your fast, and eat, till your brain begs you to stop, basically.  You open your fast at Iftar when the sun sets, so you eat, and then go pray your Maghrib salat.

Open your fast with one of these bad boys. I loves me some dates.

Then you chill for a bit, sit there, regretting you're decision to drink that 3rd glass of Lassi and eat your 15th Samosa, and then countdown the time until Taraweeh namaaz begins.  Then you come home from taraweeh, sleep, wake up just before sunrise, and do it allllll over again, for another 29 days!

Some stuff that peoples said:

That rambling chap Mark said: 
'I think if it's just not eating during the daylight hours, even someone like myself could do it. Abstaining from pointless activities would be a lot harder than not eating for me really :)'

It's the same for me.  I don't really mind the whole not eating bit.  Cuz you're in such a meditative state, you're mind and body know that eating is on the back-burner for now.  Like when I'm not fasting, if I haven't eaten any breakfast, come 12pm, I'm starving! But when I'm fasting, I know I can't eat, so I don't even think about, and my tummy doesn't start growling at me until 5pm-ish! 

In regards to the pointless activities things, there are so many other things to do during the day, that you don't really notice! And we all have to indulge in some form of pointless activity at some point during the day!

That nice Lady In Red asked:
'I was under the impression that you eat throughout the night during Ramadan - is this correct? Or just one meal at sunset?'

Technically, the permissible time to eat is through the night as we only fast when the sun is out, but when you've been fasting all day, your tummy shrinks, and so the capacity to can eat shrinks also!
It's like if you've ever been starvinggggg all day, and when you finally do eat, you get full really easily, it's like that when opening a fast.  So as far as I know, most people just eat the once, then pray, then sleep, then wake up and eat lightly again before the sun rises, but if you choose to do so, you can eat all night :D

That really funny lady NellieVaughn said:

'But then, I read the part about limiting caffeine. I drink a lot of water, so I should be fine, even with all the caffeine I drink, right? I just couldn't give up coffee. I just quit smoking, and it's all I have.'

 You can drink all the caffeine you want :D
It's just dieticians and other people who like to tell you what to eat say that caffeine can dehydrate, so may not be best if you're gunna fast for a month, but as long as you hydrate yourself, you do what you gotta do to prevent you from smacking a random person in the face 
*thumbs up*


Thursday, 19 July 2012

Ramadan 101

As promised here's a quick rundown and some basic's about the moth of Ramadan:

Just like the Gregorian calendar (that is the name of the calendar we follow, right?), the Islamic calendar has 12 months which are shown in the picture below:

Ramadan is the 9th month in the Islamic calendar.  Muharram is the first month, like January, and Dhul-Hijjah is the last, like December.

However, the Islamic months don't exactly happen at the same time as the regular months in the Gregorian calendar.  If that was the case, Ramadan would always fall in September.  This is because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, so there are 12 lunar months consisting of roughly 354/5 days in a year, as opposed to 365 days a year in the Gregorian calendar.
This leads to a drift of about 10/11 days, so that's why the Islamic calendar is out of synch with the Gregorian calendar.  However, muslim countries synch the calendar with the Gregorian calendar so that muslims all over the world can work out when they can observe the annual fast during Ramadan.

So why do muslims fast in Ramadan?

In the Qur'an it says;

"The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Quran; a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, a number of other days. Allah desires for you ease; He desires not hardship for you; and that you should complete the period, and that you should magnify Allah for having guided you, and that perhaps you may be thankful." (Chapter 2, 185)

So basically;

  • This is the month that the Holy Qur'an was first revealed to the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh), so is basically considered to be the most scared of the lunar months.
  • So we fast in order to meditate, and spiritually contemplate and connect with God, His holy book (the Qur'an) and the followings of the Prophet Mohammed. (this in more detail in a moment)
  • If you are sick, ill, or travelling, you are not permitted to fast as it would be hard for you to do (Also if you are pregnant (obvs) and for ladies when you are on you period), but you are expected to make up for any fasts that you have missed before the next Ramadan.

What happens during Ramadan?

Ramadan begins when the crescent moon is witnessed by two or more people (usually people are hired to observe the sky).  In the UK, this is very difficult, as it's pretty cloudy most of the time and so is pretty hard to sight the moon, even with high tech astronomy equipment etc. So generally, the hadith (traditions of the Prophet Mohammed) state that you should follow the nearest Muslim country, which for us in the UK is Morocco, or Saudi Arabia, as that's where the holiest of holies, the Kabbah or Qibla is.
So our mosque is following Saudi, so we begin fasting tomorrow.
Similarly, Eid ul-Fitr is the celebration that Ramadan is over, so is basically a celebration that we can eat again! Whoop!  Ramadan is usually 29/30 days, so Eid day also dependant on the siting of the crescent moon.


or Sawm in arabic, Rozeh in urdu/punjabi is basically where you do not eat food or drink water from sunrise till sunset for the whole month of Ramadan.  So you don't fast for 30 days straight, you eat food every night, but you do not eat or drink during sunlight basically.  Sort of like a vampire....but not really.

One of the main reasons for fasting is to remind ourselves to be humble, and put ourselves into the shoes of others less fortunate, who go starving for longer then just a day.  It forces us to remind ourselves of how lucky we are to live the lives that we do live, and basically be thankful for what we have.

But Fasting is not just about abstaining from food and drink, it's about much more than that.
Food and water just represent the worldly things that we are to abstain from.  The picture below outlines what the do's and don'ts while fasting are;

Ramadan is considered the most sacred month as the Holy Qur'an was revealed during this month, so things like arguing, backbiting, gossiping and other bad things are to be avoided or stopped, as any good deed during this month is multiplied countless times, but also any bad deed is also multiplied.

Also doing things like listening to music, watching tv, playing games etc. are to be avoided, as they distract you from meditating and becoming in a spiritual state.  

Fasting aims to direct the heart away from worldly activities.  It's purpose is to cleanse the inner soul and free it from harm, whilst in the mean time is also teaches us self-discipline and self-control, sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate.

So it's basically a physical and spiritual detox!

I think I shall leave this post as it is for now.
There is so much more to tell you about fasting and Ramadan, but if I carry on you'll get bored, so I'll break it up into smaller posts during Ramadan. 

Seeing as I'll probably be sleeping for most of the day and staying at home, I'll hopefully blog more frequently :D 

Like I said before, Any questions, feel free to ask, and I shall hopefully answer them for you in the next post!

Hope this was informative for anyone who didn't know about Ramadan. 

NellieVaughn asked:

"I was just going to ask if you fast for the entire month, but then I saw that someone just as much of a dummy as I am asked first."

You're not a dummy! I re-read what I wrote and didn't make it very clear, sorry Nellie! (I've been doing that a lot lately.  Like I say something, but don't explain it very clearly as I already have kinda talked it through with myself in my head, and forget that I haven't actually verbalised or written it down!! so my bad)

What I meant was, the girl who asked me thought that in Ramadan you eat nothing for 30 days straight, so I explained that we eat everyday, but just at sunset! Sorry for my confuzzeling statement!


Monday, 16 July 2012


So it was my graduation ceremony on Friday! The day before I wasn't very nervous, just excited, but I woke up at 5am on my graduation day wracked with nerves, to my surprise.

My ceremony was at 9.30am, so I had to be there at 8am to get my gown and tickets etc.

It was a short and formal ceremony.
At my brother Asim's graduation there was a choir singing as the guests and graduates were being seated.  There wasn't a choir at mine, but there was an organ player! So that's something.....

The weather was pretty pants.  It was raining most of the day but we were inside for most of the ceremony and stuff so wasn't that big of a deal.
Nobody told me how annoying wearing the gown and stuff is!! My sashy kind of thing that you wear on top of your gown kept slipping off, so it was very irritating.  I couldn't wait to get the darn thing off!

Yummy cake and cupcakes

Lovely flowers and chocolate gift pack from my lovely fam :D

I got a 2:1! whoop whoop
For some reason blogger has let me upload pics the normal way! yay! I think it's only cuz I'm adding 3 pics, where as last time I wanted to add about 10/15, so maybe that's why it was being stupid?

All in all it was a good day.  My family and I went out for lunch afterwards, and then me and my mum went to another mehndi (henna party thingy) in the evening, which I wasn't really in the mood for as I was so tired, but still went to anyway.
Then my extended family came over on saturday to congratulate me, so it was a busy day of cooking, entertaining and then cleaning! But I love having my family over.  My cousin was down from London with her kids so she got to come as well :D

Sunday we went to a wedding, which was a bit eh.
The hall was very crowded and stuffy.  There weren't enough seats for everyone to sit on, so people kept trying to pinch or sit on our table as soon as someone got up to go to the bathroom!  Craziness I tell you, when you can't go to the toilet out of fear of your seat being stolen!

Today is a tying up loose ends kind of day.
My friend told me about some free sewing class that will start in August.  Since I was about 13, my mum has tried to persuade me to take up sewing, purely so she could save money buy getting her suits sewn buy me, instead of spending money and getting it done by the tailor!
(Pakistanis often wear Shalwar Kameez's, which are usually bought as un-stiched material that you get tailor made to your size).

Since my friend told me about this free course (emphasis on the free), I thought I could finally complete my mothers dream of possibly sewing some clothes for her! And it's also a pretty good skill to have really, isn't it?

So I had to go to the learning centre where those classes will be held to do an assessment for some reason or another.  They did explain why I had to do it, I just didn't bother paying attention.

And I'm also going to apply to sit an exam which would allow me to work in the private sector of Audiology.  Studying Audiology at Leeds meant I graduated with the capability to work in the NHS (national health service, for those of you who don't know :D), so to work in the private sector, we have to sit another exam where we study the business side of Audiology.
Graduates from Manchester uni and other such uni's graduate with that qualification already, but for some reason Leeds university don't, which is a wee bit annoying, considering how the NHS is going down the pan, unfortunately :(

But that's a rant for another time!

I'm excited for the weekend.
Ramadan is starting on friday/saturday (depending on the sighting of the moon).
My next post will be about Ramadan, explaining why we fast during this month, and why it's considered the holiest month in Islam etc. and try to cover any myths or misunderstandings about the month (like I once had a girl ask me if I don't ear for the whole month.....err, it's supposed to be a month of spiritual and physical detox, not DEATH! :P)

If you guys have any questions you want me to answer about Ramadan, then ask away, either in this post, or the next Ramadan post. 


Tuesday, 10 July 2012

London: Attempt 2

Covent GardenMarble ArchHyde ParkHyde parkHyde ParkSome kind of guards on Horses
Harrods Food HallHarrods Food HallHarrodsNational Geographic CafeBobo with his fellow animal teddys!Natural History Museum
Natural History MuseumNatural History MuseumNatural History MuseumOutside Buckingham PalaceBuckingham PalaceVictoria Apollo Theatre
Victoria Apollo TheatreHaagen Daz Restaurant!

London 2012, a set on Flickr.
(Click on the linky above to see the pics)

If you haven't already, you can read about my failed attempts to upload my London pics here.

So I tried again, and the same message came, saying that I have run out of storage space, and must pay $2.45 to upgrade my storage (I think it works out to be like £1.20 or something?).
But what I didn't read last, which I did this time around, was that I would have to pay that fee monthly, which I am not willing to do! I was gunna pay it, as I thought it might be a one time thing, but I don't want to pay for it monthly.

Blogger's been giving me a lot of grief as of late, actually.
I have an AdSense account.  According to my AdSense account, I am owed £12 by google, which makes me one very happy bunny!  Think of all the sweeties I could buy with that money!! Or petrol for my car.....actually....

But yes, I've tried on three separate occasions to verify my account so that google can pay me my monies, with two separate current accounts, but I never get a verification payment to confirm so I can get my real monies.
It's pissed me right off, so much so, that I've just completely given up on getting my bloomin £12.

I bet that was the whole cunning plan by google and Adsense.  Make it so stupid and difficult to get your darn money, so that people just give up instead of being bothered enough to troubleshoot the problem. I'm too lazy to try and resolve it.  maybe one day, when I'm extremely desperate, and need that £12 as a matter of life and death.......
eh, probs not.

So I've set up a Flick account in the hope that I can share pictures with you guys via that.
I've never understood Flickr, but to be fair I've never attempted too! Seems pretty straightforward though, so fingers crossed it works and you can see the pics!

Thanks for being so patient dudes, and again, any feedback on other photo sharing ideas are greatly appreciated :D

P.S Mark- I considered your idea of sharing photos via instagram, but again, I'm too simple to figure it out :( But hopefully wont have to if Flickr works!

Yay so Flickr Works! 
Hopefully I can share my photos with no problems like this now.
Let me know if it's difficult to access or view the pics this way and I will try to think of another way.

We did take more pictures of ourselves, we're not boring, it's just I like to keep some sense of anonymity to the blog :)


Sunday, 8 July 2012

Hola Amigos

Heyloo folks!

Still not resolved the photo issue I mentioned in the last blog post.  Tomorrow I shall sit down and try to think of some kind of resolution, though I do very much appreciate all of your feedback :)

So Sams wedding weekend is over!
She looked absolutely beautiful both today and yesterday! Her self and her husband make a very cute couple :) I sincerely hope they have a long and happy married life together InshAllah (God willing)!

You'd think I'd have more free time now that this wedding is over, right?
Well noppppee!

I have to go to Liverpool tomorrow morning and Wednesday to sort out more job prep stuff (mainly making sure I have the correct vaccinations and immunisations so I'm ok to work in a hospital environment), then my graduation ceremony is on Friday the 13th :D whoop whoop! And then there is another Mehndi and wedding on Friday and Saturday!!! Just when I thought I was done with weddings for the moment! Cupid has been busy, obvs.

So apologies for the lack of commenting on your blogs.  trust me, I read them on my phone, It's just hard to comment on them from my mobile, as the browsers decides to go all stupid and disobey me whenever I'm on blogger :/
But tomorrow I shall have catch ups and comment on all of your wonderful bloggy blogs!

Now back to uploading and editing wedding pics! (And then instagramming some of them after :D)


Sunday, 1 July 2012

London...Actually, Blogger has other ideas :/

I love going to London.  It's so busy, and there is just so much to do and see!
I don't think I could live there forever though.  It's just too, too fast paced.  And the traffic is horrific. I don't think I could get the bus and the tube everywhere all the time! I love my car too much (very environmentally unfriendly, I know).

My mum and I like going to the theatre.  We go to shows pretty often in Manchester with Madz, her mum and occasionally Tee.  But we've wanted to watch a show in the west end for a while now, so my wonderful mother found some brilliantly cheap train tickets for a day trip to London, and off we went!

one-way train tickets to London can cost from anywhere between £25-60 quid, or even more depending on how late you leave buying a ticket!  But my mum managed to get us return tickets for £24!! And Virgin express trains are pretty quick!  It took us 2 hours to get there in the morning, and 2 1/2 hours on the way back, which is much better than a 3/4 hour car drive!

One of the reasons that the train to London was so cheap was because it left at 6am! Which meant I had to wake up at 5am and get ready! But it wasn't too bad as I had a little nap on the train.  We got to Euston station at about 8am, and most of the shops in London open at 10am, so we basically had 2 hours to kill.
This wasn't bad though, as it takes about 15/20 mins to get to and from each place via the tube, and we had loads of things planned to do so it worked out fine!

I've done enough writing, so I'll just post some pics.  They're in chronological order:

Change of plan!!!

So this came up when I was uploading my pics:
click to enlarge 
Blogger is basically saying I've run out of storage space, so I can't upload any more pics unless I pay for extra storage!!

It's $2 or something, but I'm sorry, that's just ridiculous!
Not only because I didn't realise I had limited uploading space when I started blogging, but also because I think that it's just jokes. 

Isn't the whole point of blogger to let people blog about whatever they want via different  means and methods!? 
I can't do that very effectively thanks to these restrictions.

I logged into my picasa account, and was gunna delete my 'storage', which is basically all the photos I've used in my blogs saved in that space automatically, but when I clicked delete it said that the image would not longer appear in my blog! so I thoght forget that.

Am I making a big deal over nothing? 
Have you guys experienced/had to do this?
I know it seems silly to fuss over paying $2 for extra storage, but I'm just really pissed off as I was completely unaware that this would happen.

And I love sharing my photos :(

I'll wait for you guys to get back to me and let me know if you've had to do the same thing, or if you know any loopholes or ways around this stupid thing.  
If not, I guess I'll have to pay for extra storage and then finish this post :(