Moaning, not appreciating

While studying the story about Moosa AS in our weekly halqa, I came across this ayah from the Quran on showing gratitude:

And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, 'If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.' " (14:7)We discussed what the Shaykh had taught us in a course on "Discourses from the Quran" that we attended in London a few years ago and we remembered how he had mentioned that gratitude is something you ARE and LIVE, not just DO. So through your actions you are grateful, not just doing a ritual for a few minutes when you feel like it, thinking your gratitude action is done for the day (or week or month!).

I started thinking about being grateful and  made me realise that you can't be grateful and complain at the same time. Go on, try it!

So every minute we spend complaining, it's taking us away from focusing on all that's good and counting our blessings. Rather we are left feeli…

Salted caramel Heaven

My latest favourite flavour is salted caramel- but served with chocolate (in the form of cake, dark chocolate, dessert).  I love how the sweetness from the caramel is cut by the sprinkle of salt- and it's even better if there are little granules of salt dancing around on your tongue in the end - a real treat of flavours for me!

However I find that not many places that sell this yummy delicacy  get the balance just right - it's sometimes too sweet and lacking the essential saltiness that is promised. It ain't salted caramel if it ain't got salt! I am always on the hunt for *real* salted caramel and so when I came across this recipe online I instantly decided to try it. It was not one of those that you make a mental note of trying "one day". I kept an open tab opened in my browser (a sure way to motivate me to take action - open tabs mean open actions and I love getting things done so this was a good approach!)

Anyway, the recipe was fairly easy, the only real…

Turkish tales: Exploring Cengelkoy in Istanbul


We like to structure our weekends with one day of rest/chores/catch up, and the other day for adventure! This usually involves exploring an undiscovered area, trying out new food or just doing something different. This weekend, we woke up to a sunny sky, albeit with a slight chill in the air and decided to head out to Cengelkoy, a neighbourhood in Uskudar, across the bridge on the Asian side.

This place is best known for "Cikolata Kahve" - a chocolate boutique store specialising in exceptional chocolate. So this made our first stop for a "snack" , since we had already had a big breakfast at home. Inside, it was quaint and cosy, friendly staff and quite busy, which I kind of expected for such a popular place.

There are no menus, because really there are only 3 items on their menu to drink - Cay (Turkish tea), hot chocolate and Turkish coffee/hot chocolate. Besides this, you can order chocolates from their attractive display made up of dark, milk, white, nut…

Posh veggies for dinner

I love watching cooking shows and I often hear certain phrases or ingredients that seem to stick in my mind, especially when the contestants describe their scrummy looking dishes with vivid vocabularly!

One such example is a description of a dish where it is served  "... on a bed of celeriac purée .." Just sounds so exotic! I guess I must talk about it a lot too- as the other day the hubby went out to the store (sorry not the local market...this time) and brought me a medium sized sandy little vegetable and proudly presented it to me as "celeriac as you hear your favourite posh people make!"  (he's so embarrassing!)
Nonetheless, I was intrigued and so I googled some ideas and found two great recipes to make that day for dinner. I even made a little for my baby as mash (the celeriac puree!) as it's texture lends itself to lovely and smooth for little mouths :)
So here is my recipe for celeriac two ways... quite yummy and works great as a side.
Posted recipe on @…

Turkish life: Lessons from our first Roadtrip: Istanbul is not Turkey


Last month I was really fortunate to go on (our first) roadtrip in Turkey!

I was amazed by the landscape- mountains in the distance, green fields and farms, and the wide open space to breathe! It looks like this:

Beautiful right?
I don't know what I was expecting but  what I saw reminded me how different Istanbul is to the "rest-of-Turkey." Whilst Istanbul is beautiful, and there are beautiful places to walk around and chill especially on the mighty Bosphorus, it just has a more "closed -up" feel to it. Like take Bebek for instance, you can sit near the water edge - but just in a small space and then there's buildings in and around you.

In Istanbul, at least on the modern European side which is what I'm more familiar with, sure there are parks, but it's surrounded by loads of flats and tall buildings. So when driving around your view usually includes  sprawling flats on hills. It's different out in the countryside and even in Izmir, ano…

Sit back and enjoy a response from ALLAH. ALLAH promises!

Greetings on this lovely day of Jumuah (Friday)

I have this thing with effort and reward. I practice it alot. Must be something I picked up growing up. Anyway, it serves me well as it works as motivation to keep me getting things done and working hard.

So it's no wonder that this image shared on a family Whatsapp group hit home for me. It acted as a reminder for me to do my bit : all I need to do is these four things : 1. show gratitude 2. ask of Allah  3. ask for forgiveness and  4. constantly praise Allah
-and then sit back and enjoy a response from ALLAH Alone! 

There are some simple tasbeehs to read for each of these, so this is how I plan to implement.
Gratitude:  سبحان الله  (Subhanallah) Glory be to God Ask of Allah:   لاَّ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ أَنتَ سُبْحَـنَكَ إِنِّى كُنتُ مِنَ الظَّـلِمِينَ ( La Ilaha Illa Anta Subhanaka Inni Kuntu Minaz Zalimeen)“…There are none worthy of worship besides You. Glorified are You. Surely I am from the wrongdoers.” (21:87)*
Forgiveness :  أستغفر الله‎ (Asta…

My reflections from the book: "When you hear hoof beats, think of zebras"

Book Review: When you hear hoof beats, think of zebras

This book has been on our bookshelf for ages, so it was wonderful to finally read it. These are some  of the very powerful lessons I took out of this book based on interesting Sufi tales:

Seeing Allah in everything and everyone around us - to me this means being in the company of those that remind you of Allah. Everything is a trace of Allah because everything is predestined and from Him. When looking at the creation,even inanimate objects, trace it back to Allah remember to admire the Creator.If you spend your time going after gold in this world, you will have neither the gold nor yourself!Think about what you spend your time, energy and thoughts on between prayers - We think about our life first, and weave our prayers around that. How nice to switch it around to focus on prayers first!Every morning when we get up, we must remember two things- Allah and death - see how different our life will be as a result! We will realise that no…