Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dress Modestly in the UAE

There has been a lot of discussion regarding UAE have a 'dress code'. Recently Emirati's have commented on the way people should dress modestly in the UAE and respect the culture and religion of the host country.
A campaign was launched by two Emirati ladies on twitter : UAEDressCode.
One of their comments was:
As a guest, you're welcomed to our country and everything you think of is provided to you. So be grateful & show some respect to the people. 

I agree that people should dress modestly in the UAE. Now I would never enforce my views on anyone else but I believe people should respect others and cover up! I have a lot of British non-Muslim friends who mostly dress modestly. At my workplace people are sent home if they are wearing revealing clothing. One colleague came into work dressed like she was going to the beach...another colleague mentioned that she would not go to work in the UK like that so why would she do that in the UAE?

I read an interesting article about the topic in the Khaleej Times which gives expat's views on the topic too.
The famous Expat women website also has a guide to the Dubai dress code.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A trip around the world- Global Village Dubai

Global Village has opened its gates again!
I have been to Global Village a few times in the past, however I believe that every year it is getting better. There is still a lot of 'tack' but you can find really beautiful things- particularly in the Yemen Pavillion and Syrian Pavillion.
Fairground and Abra rides are available
I found the Yemen Pavillion very energetic and full of objects you cannot find in Dubai.
Yemen has many precious stones, pearls and Jambiya daggers.
Yemeni Jambiya daggers
Yemeni precious stones
Yemeni pearls
Yemeni mixed spice tower!

Syria also had some interesting things. The materials were stunning!

I bought a few things:
Yemeni precious stone necklace for 20dhms
Yemeni honey 150dhms, Hajjar stone for hair 5dhms and some mixed spices 10dhms

Pretty hairclips from Malaysia- 4 for 10 dhms
Two nightdresses from China- 50dhms
Two hijabs from Saudi Arabia- 30 dhms
Obviously after all my shopping I was peckish so I decided to try some of the street food. I tried some Filipino chicken, and then some strange potato things on a stick. Then I just got greedy and bought some candy floss and popcorn.
I recommend you go to Global Village and remember to have fun, explore and haggle!!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Lulla's Chocolate Delight!

I have to share this amazing recipe that I tried the other day.

  • You heat some sweetened condensed milk in a pan and add a pinch of salt.
  • After about 5 minutes add some chocolate chips and melt them in the milk. Use equal part chocolate to milk- I used 14oz each.
  • Once it has mixed, take it off the heat and add a dash of vanilla essence and about a teaspoon of softened butter.
  • Keep mixing until it is smooth then add any 'delights' that you want.
  • I used smarties and peanut M&Ms. Next time I think I will add cornflakes and some orange flavouring.
  • You can add anything to the mixture. When you have mixed the bits and bobs in, spoon it into a dish and leave it in the fridge to set for about 5 hours.
Have fun!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Don't talk to me about Muhammed (pbuh)

This nasheed is by brother Dawud Wharnsby Ali and it tells the story of an elderly pagan lady and a man who offers to help her. This story is true and taken from a hadith.

Each time I hear this song it makes me cry. I think it is because how much the Prophet did not retaliate and continued to help the old lady. I know that if it were me I may not behave in the same way...however I should follow the Prophet and act wisely. It is touching that the the good manners of the Prophet helped this lady become a Muslim. 

Today many Muslims may not have the same good manners and patience as the Prophet did. We have to be great Muslim role models to those around us. When I was in the U.K I knew of a few people who had converted to Islam. However due to misguidance some of these converts/reverts became involved in the cultural side and not the religious side. Some of the Muslims in that community gossiped a lot, which caused these converts to get distressed and move away from the religion. Is that the way we should welcome people into the religion? Do you think converts/reverts really want to be part of the ugliness of gossiping, lies etc?
They converted for a follow Allah and his Messenger...yet they must feel confused when they hear that we should follow the characteristics of the Prophet, but then the Muslims around them don't do this. So what is right? 

This issue also relates to second/third generation British/American Muslims born in the West. Without the correct guidance many of these Muslims can easily be led astray. Alhamdullilah my upbringing was very good as my parents sought out Islamic knowledge and distinguished it from culture. They taught us etiquette. They let us think for ourselves and always encouraged us to attend Islamic gatherings. Inshallah one day I wish that someone would convert with my help! Inshallah!

O talk to me, Muhammad
Upon you I pray for peace
For you have eased my troubled mind
O talk to me, Muhammad
And as we walk along together
We will get along just fine
As I travel down life's road
I will get along
Just fine

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Day trip to Sheikh Zayed Mosque- Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE
On the second day of Eid my family and I visited Sheikh Zayed Mosque. Everyone always talks about how amazing it is so we decided to check it out. This is the largest Mosque in the UAE and the eighth largest Mosque in the world (number one being Masjid Al-Haram, Mecca obviously).

The inside of the Mosque is decorated beautifully...

The flowers on the wall and the sparkling doorway were magnificent to look at and can be seen as soon as you enter the Mosque.

As you walk through the Mosque there is a wall with the 99 names of Allah in beautiful calligraphy...

There are also many chandeliers which have been imported from Germany and are said to be the third largest in the world. They are covered in Swarovski crystals!

There are beautiful pools outside, which gave it a serene feeling even with so many people visiting today. MashAllah it was very quiet.

Now I believe that as I have visited Mecca before this made the whole experience today not as breathtaking as I expected. Also I don't really agree with extravagant Mosques- I mean all that money could have been spent elsewhere. But nevertheless it was nice to walk around and see tourists enjoying finding out about Islam.

After the long drive back from Abu Dhabi (and getting lost) we decided to stop off at the Turkish restaurant Bosporus on Jumeira Beach Road. As I was so hungry I forgot to take a photo of my food before I ate it. However they made fresh bread which was delicious! We also had some kunefe and a special Turkish tea.
 It was a perfect end to the day.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

*~Eid Preparations~*

It's Eid tomorrow!
So the day before Eid is Arafah day and Muslims are encouraged to fast on this day. Our household fasted Alhamdullilah.
We went to the supermarket early this morning to avoid the crowds, but this did not work! Obviously everyone had the same idea that I did!
Anyway we went along with a long list of ingredients just for the Eid meal! We all disagreed on what the main meal and desserts should be for tomorrow so everyone is making a dish. It's fine though as we have a lot of family visiting.

I've already prepared my roast chicken, veggie spring rolls and festive fudge! GO ME!
The house is clean and our Eid clothes are ironed.

OK so all of the above is a LIE! That's what I wish I could be writing. I went to the supermarket and on my return discovered that DU had kindly given me free channels for the Eid vacation. I have been watching BBC entertainment all day! I watched Casualty...I don't like Casualty or hospitals, but I watched it! Why would they do this to me???

So now I have given up the remote control to go and get ready for tomorrow. SIGH! What a waste of a day...thanks DU!

Monday, October 22, 2012

How to save money in Dubai

When I first arrived in Dubai I spent ALL of my money! Everything! Every last dirham!
However over the past few years I have become much more money savvy and can actually say I save a good amount each month.

Here are some of my money saving tips:

1. Shop at the Union Co-op

It has great fresh products everytime I go in and the prices are the best I have seen. OK I do like the odd thing from Spinneys or Waitrose but I would never do my whole weekly shop there. I also believe that a busy supermarket is better, as they will continue putting fresh new products out each day. This is one of the supermarkets that does not have a weird smell near the meat and fish counter, so that's a bonus for me!

2. Get a Grazia card

You can register for a Grazia card on their website: Grazia website
This card is free and gets you 20% off at quite a lot of places- fashion, health & beauty and living.
I mostly use it at Forever 21 and New Look which already have decent prices, so with the additional 20% off it's a bargain. Don't go overboard though...remember we are trying to save!
Shukran cards are great too!

3. Don't BOGOF

By two get one free, buy three get one half price, SALE!
Ask your self do I really need this or am I just buying it because there is an offer? Recently I was in The Body Shop and my bill came up to 150 dirhams, the lady said if I spend 200 dirhams I would get a free gift. So STUPIDLY I bought a few more things that I did not need and got a free gift, which was a stinky body spray that The Body Shop probably could not sell so were giving it away instead!

4. Don't join the gym!

I joined a gym last year for about 1800 dirhams for 7 months. My membership has expired and what a waste it was! You can get fit for free by jogging in the park especially since the weather is getting better. I have also started to swim- most apartments have a pool on the roof or you can pay a small fee to use a public pool such as the one in Mushrif Park.

5. Bills, Bills, Bills

Pay your bills as soon as you get them! Don't leave your DEWA or internet bills to build up, as then you will pay a massive amount in one go, which can leave you with little money at the end of the month.

6. Turn the AC off

OK so when it scorching hot the AC is a must, however as the weather is much nicer now you don't need it on. Using the AC timer is also good during the night when you feel too lazy to get up and turn it off. Oh and make sure it is off when you leave your home!

7. Write it down

Keep note of what you spend or keep your receipts. This can help you see where you might be spending unnecessary money!


Don't use SALIK gates! Well sometimes you need to but use some of the free routes such as Business bay if you can.

9. Eat at home

Dubai has amazing restaurants everywhere you look, but eating out several times a week can add up! I have started eating out less and cooking more at home. I do treat myself at the weekend though. Make your lunch for work the night before if you know you will not make it in the morning.
Throw out all your take-away menus! It is so easy to come home from work, feel tired and dial the number for a pizza. Don't do it! Stock up your fridge with plenty of food (from the Union Co-op, wink, wink) and make meals for the whole week.
This spiced carrot and lentil soup recipe is one of my favourites, it's healthy and quick to make, it can also be reheated.

  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • pinch chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 600g carrots , washed and coarsely grated (no need to peel)
  • 140g split red lentils
  • 1l hot vegetable stock (from a cube is fine)
  • 125ml milk
  • plain yoghurt and naan bread, to serve

  1. Heat a large saucepan and dry-fry the cumin seeds and chilli flakes for 1 min, or until they start to jump around the pan and release their aromas. Scoop out about half of the seeds with a spoon and set aside. Add the oil, carrot, lentils, stock and milk to the pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 mins until the lentils have swollen and softened.
  2. Whizz the soup with a stick blender or in a food processor until smooth (or leave it chunky if you prefer). Season to taste and finish with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkling of the reserved toasted spices. Serve with warmed naan bread.
10. Think twice about spending anything

Do you really need that Gloria Jeans coffee every morning or is it just a habit?
Do you want to upsize your meal?
The same chocolate bar in a petrol station is cheaper in a supermarket.
I don't need that free stinky gift!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Things I miss about England

A couple of weeks ago I became really homesick after I watched the film 'Once upon a time in the Midlands' and I'm not even from the Midlands!!! The last time I was homesick was about two and a half years ago, after I watched another British film. I actually flew back to England for a week and realised I loved Dubai much more!! But I will always miss the special little things that I can't get in Dubai...

I miss having a proper chippy tea! Proper chips wrapped in paper with plenty of salt and vinegar
I miss buying a winter coat, fluffy scarf and boots
I miss British TV...BBC, Channel 4 documentaries, british comedy series
I miss my family and friends
I miss buying cheaper clothes
I miss having to wait 10 minutes for my car to defrost every morning (I didn't enjoy it at the time ha!)
I miss running in from the cold and warming myself next to the radiator
I miss being able to speak to most people in shops/restaurants without having to repeat myself
I miss calling chips crisps
I miss the corner shop
I miss REAL greenery and the smell of freshly cut grass in the Summer time
I miss watching the rain fall when I'm all cozy inside
I miss Sayers and Greggs
I miss the cobbled roads
I miss the street performers
I miss not having to go into a visa office or typing centre
I miss the fashions trends
I miss how quiet it is on a Sunday morning
I miss the neighbours and their scandals
I miss the NHS
I miss the smell of the bonfire on the 5th November
I miss the sense of humour
I miss the accents

I miss the U.K!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

10 reasons why I love my hijab

I work with mostly Non-Muslims and as I was brought up in England I mostly have Non-Muslim friends; therefore I get asked several questions one being:
 'Why do you wear that thing on your head? Why do you cover your hair?' 
Usually I ramble on about protection, religion and so on. I read a great response to this question by another sister. She replied 'Why do you wear clothes?' This led to a discussion about covering up and modesty etc
Another question I have been asked A LOT is 'Do you go to sleep in it?' I always laugh at this. Do they really think that?

NO I do not sleep in it
NO I do not wear it in the shower
YES I do have hair and YES I do brush my hair
NO I am not hot because I am wearing it, who isn't hot in 40 degrees?
NO I am not forced to wear it
NO I do not have alopecia (true story)

Moving on... my 10 reasons why I love my hijab...

1. I am worshiping Allah

2. Wearing the hijab makes me feel protected and safe in Allah's hands

3. Men know that it is not appropriate to approach me most of the time *rolls eyes*

4. I look different everyday as I can experiment with different hijab styles and colours

5. My hijab is a badge that shows I am Muslim and proud

6. Hijabs are cheaper than hair products - 10 dirham at Naif souq, haggle and you will get them even cheaper

7. No more bad hair days, however some days there can be bad hijab days HAHA
8. I feel respected and confident when I am wearing my hijab

9. It is a good topic to talk to Muslims and Non-Muslims about

10. I look and feel beautiful because of my hijab!
I actually do work with a nice bunch of people who always compliment my hijabs. One elderly lady told me how her daughter works in a reception and was told that she is not allowed to wear her hijab. I was so shocked that this would happen in Dubai! Anyway she was telling me how she liked my hijabs and how I cover up, and basically I think I inspired her daughter to fight for her right to wear her hijab. A couple of days ago her company finally agreed to let her wear it, Alhamdullilah!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Because one who stands for nothing will fall for anything

Yesterday I went to another third one after living in Dubai for three years (shocking!), but the third one this month so Inshallah this continues!

Let me sidetrack for a second and update on my road rage this week in Thursday night traffic (ref: my post on 'Impatience') well I did not lose my temper. GO ME! This time I did not beep and kept very calm, we stopped off at a beautiful Masjid in Jumeira before this week's lecture too.
The talk was about defending our Prophet and was held by Brother Gabriel Keresztesat at Jumeira Islamic Learning Centre.
Brother Gabriel was a great speaker and touched upon some things that I always pondered but did not want to say out loud. A few months ago I finally found a copy of the Seerah that was written well (it has pictures!!!) but after I read it I had many questions about the Life of the Prophet. The book was called 'When the Moon Split.'
 Mashallah Brother Gabriel answered a couple of these niggling questions last night: 
One was about Muhammed (PBUH) attacking caravans. In the book it mentioned that our Prophet would attack the caravans and then split the 'booty' between the Muslims. Brother Gabriel made us aware that it was times of war and the Muslims were being attacked too. Obviously Muhammed (PBUH) did not attack innocent people and always had a reason for doing what he did. I learnt that the Muslims had everything taken away from them and sometimes even had to survive on eating animal skin. It was necessary for the Prophet to attack Quraish caravans to survive. Muslims had left everything behind and were persecuted, so it was their right to attack the Quraish caravans.

Another part of the Seerah I felt uncomfortable with was that our Prophet married Aishah who was very young. I guess I have been brainwashed by society today, as everything has to be about sexuality. Brother Gabriel talked about how marriage was about responsibility and a girl of a young age who has reached puberty CAN take on that responsibility. In that time culturally it was accepted to marry at that age. There are no accounts of disputes about the Prophet's marriage by the people at that time. Historically it was acceptable to be married at the age of puberty.

I remembered when I was growing up in England and my Non-Muslim friends would be 'extremely shocked' when I mentioned I would be attending weddings for 16/17/18 year olds. On the other hand these same Non-Muslims were in and out of several 'relationships' from an even younger age! Isn't being in a marriage better than what they do?

This episode of 'The Arrivals' sums it up quite well about how children from a young age have been brainwashed....

Anyway this talk made me feel much better than I did before and much more confident about defending my religion. I have never been in a situation where I have had to defend my religion (Alhamdullilah) but now I am prepared!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Aishah reported:
"The Messenger of Allah (S.A.A.W) said: ‘The angels are created from light, just as the jinn are created from smokeless fire and mankind is created from what you have been told about."
(Reported by Muslim, no. 2996)

There are many stories in Islam that talk about Angels, and also many stories of Angels visiting Earth in human form...
During Ramadan I was driving home from the supermarket and stopped at the lights. A really old man, who looked similar to my late grandfather, put his hand out to beg. I ignored him and he walked down another street. Whilst I was still waiting at the traffic lights I felt really guilty and thought about all the food I had bought for breaking my fast and this old man may not have anything.
Therefore I searched through my bag for some money but had nothing! I then drove really quickly to the nearest ATM took out some money and went looking for the old man. I found him and gave him some money.
TWO THINGS TO NOTE: I don't usually tell people when I give to charity but as this blog is anonymous I CAN! Secondly you should report beggars in Dubai as they could be illegal, however I just couldn't call the police for this old man.
Anyway I mentioned the whole scenario to my sister who said that it could be an Angel testing me during Ramadan. Now we are not sure if this is true or not, but it is nice to think that he was an Angel in human form...and hopefully I passed the test! InshAllah!

Last year my mother and I visited some family friends in sandy Ajman. Stupidly we left at midnight. Have you been to Ajman? There are no streetlights or proper roads. So we left our friend's house and tried to get back to Dubai. I could see Emirates Road over a sandy area but could not figure out how to get round and onto it. So SILLY ME decided to drive over the sand (in a small car) and you guessed it, we got stuck! I pushed the gas pedal even harder and sand covered the whole car.
Imagine, two women, alone, in the middle of nowhere, stuck! Ya Allah!
Within minutes two Afghani men in a massive car parked next to us...they tied the wheels with something and attached it to their car. I locked the doors. The men did not speak to us at all. Then four young Emirati boys (looked like yobs!) stopped in front of us. They came over and advised me how to drive out of the sand. It was strange as the boys did not talk with the two men at all. In the end the 6 men helped us out! We were still lost but my mum told me to just drive, drive drive!
We were scared and very shaken up. We finally made it home. I cried! SubhanAllah I was home safe!
Where these men Angels? You hear stories about Angels who come and save people when they are in danger...I still cry to this day thinking about this time. I have also decided never to go back to Ajman! We have to remember that Allah is always protecting us. I feel blessed!
SubhanAllah, La illaha il Allah, Allahu Akbar!

 "And the trumpet shall be blown, so all those that are in the heavens and all those that are in the earth shall swoon, except Allah; then it shall be blown again, then they shall stand up awaiting." —Qur'an (39.68).

I just wanted to leave you with one thought...the Angel Israfel has already drawn his breath to blow the trumpet for the Last Day and is just awaiting Allah's order. InshAllah we all pass the tests in this world and become good Muslims.

Monday, October 15, 2012


Last Thursday I visited JILC again for another Islamic lecture. It was entitled 'The Goal of Hajj' and was presented by Brother Abdur-Raheem McCarthy.
I found it very interesting that after you complete Hajj, no matter how many times you do it, you return to your life with no sins 'like a baby.' Imagine every little thing, every little lie, every forgotten prayer just erased due to Hajj.

One of the things that can cause you to break your Hajj is impatience. Losing your temper and not biting your tongue can nullify the Hajj. When I went to Umrah I found this difficult as I became annoyed at little things, however towards the end of my Umrah I began to stop getting annoyed. For example I was pushed around quite a lot when trying to get into the lift at my hotel and I got angry with someone. But then they were being impatient too and pushing...but still I should have just kept calm.
Other times were during salah; the Pakistani women had a habit of stretching their right leg out in my face when I was prostrating. However I did not get annoyed out loud I just moved their foot away from my face and carried on praying. I hope that Allah has forgiven me as I did change and become more peaceful during my Umrah. That is the purpose isn't it? To make a difference in your life by visiting Mecca.

On the way to JILC there was a lot of traffic AGAIN! I was really frustrated and got road rage...beeped my horn and just became very angry and loud. Not very lady like and not at all Islamic! SubhanAllah during the lecture the brother discussed how we must have patience and gave the example of driving in traffic! It was like Allah was sending me a message. The brother said that as traffic is really bad in Dubai and we can waste a lot of time on the road, it is best to do something beneficial. You can recite verses, listen to Quran etc as this will take your mind off the traffic.

It is true I spend more time in traffic sometimes than at my destination. During my journeys I always listen to Quran, but from now on I will try and do a lot of thikr and tasbeeh.

My goal next Thursday will be to keep calm on the way to JILC and not get road rage. Inshallah!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Who do you think you are? The Queen of Sheba?

Love them all...
I'm sure the Queen of Sheba would have been proud!

Vintage ring

Silver ring from abroad

Wore this to an Emirati party once

Wore this to a Yemeni wedding

Bought these in a U.K sale 5 years ago

My pretend engagement ring to make people leave me alone

Silver ring from John Lewis

Silver ring from abroad

All these were gifts from different countries

These were from a shop in Mulla Plaza

From the U.K

Yemeni gold rings

I can't remember where this is from :(

TOPSHOP. Leopard print is my favourite!

Cute rose ring