Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The little city and its bookshops

Last weekend I posted about how I hope Anya will continue to love books like she does right now. And here is another books related post.

One of the first things I loved about Islamabad when we moved there about 17 years or so ago, was the many bookshops that filled the city. In what used to be a small city, there was an old bookshop at every corner. These shops are still there and each one of them is so full of books that there is almost no room to walk. And the smell of these shops, is probably my favorite thing in the world!

On this trip we were so excited when we saw this shop that had the sweetest collection of old children’s books. And so lucky because my sister was with us and she took these beautiful pictures.

Thanks so much baby sister for taking these! I love them and just had to share.


Lady and the Tramp has been a major part of our childhood and I was so excited to find this one. It has since then found a home in Anya’s room and she loves reading it!



Thanks so much for stopping by!


All pictures taken by my sister Waliya Najib.

FYI: Everyone probably knows this but just incase, Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Celebrating Anya’s 2nd

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If you follow this blog, you probably know that we just celebrated a 2nd birthday around here, and also how baby’s birthday was spent. I thought I’d share some pictures from her big day too, specially for you guys!

Still cant believe this little piece of us is 2 already.

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The balloon surprise was waiting for her when she woke up in the morning! I had run to the grocery store at 11 pm the night before to get these, while my husband kept an eye on our sick little sleeping baby. These entertained her all day and are still floating around the house randomly.

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Handmade card inspired by some paint chip DIY art I had seen on pinterest.

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Added some last minute decorations around the place, twinkly lights, paper streamers, homemade confetti using cut up tissue paper in vases for some quick color. And of course a little birthday message on the chalkboard.

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I bought some plain party hats and had planned to fancy up one for the birthday girl. But taking care of sick baby didn’t leave much time for that. A quick tissue paper fringe edge layered in different colors had to do, and it actually looked quite festive. 

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And the cake! I had been dreaming about a pastel colored rainbow cake for a long time. Loved how it came out. I used Wilton’s gel food colors. They’re so bright. Just a drop or two were enough for each layer. Because I’m lazy like that, I used a white cake packaged cake mix. Just divided the batter into four equal parts, added the food colors and baked them.

The icing was made using this recipe I found on pinterest. I had tried it for her birthday last year too and loved it because it is not too heavy.  Oh and incase you have never frosted a cake before like me:p, this tutorial helped me a lot.

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Thanks for being a part of our little family celebration. Xoxo.

Oh and incase you are a new follower and missed out on her birthday last year. Here it is.

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Monday morning treat

Hey you guys! Hope your weekend was lovely and full of all things exciting and refreshing! Ours was nice and relaxing, just like we like ours to be:)

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I have a little treat for you this Monday morning. I wanted to share these pictures of the most beautiful home I’ve seen in some time. The owners live near Islamabad and are friends of my grandparents.

Every thing in the house had a story behind it and it was just a treat walking through this gorgeous home. Looking at these pictures again just made me want to go right now and photograph the rest of their house! IA that will be on my list for next time.

Okay enough talking and more pictures. Here you go.

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Isn’t it beautiful? Every corner was so tastefully done up and I promise you, whenever I do the full tour (hopefully soon) you will be in love.

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Have a lovely day.

Thanks for stopping by!

FYI: IA or iA or Insha Allah means God willing. And yes we tend to sometimes over-use this phrase :p

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Dear Baby: Weekends and Bookshops

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Dear Baby, One of our favorite thing to do on lazy weekends is making a trip to a bookshop. Your baba and I just love our books. Always have, always will, and right now it seems like you do too. Your Dr Suess books, your Mother Goose books, and the many others you have, occupy you like nothing can.

I hope books, and the stories they contain, continue to mesmerize your little mind. I hope you live a million different lives through the stories you read. I hope the books you read make you think, they make you ponder, they make you a better person. I hope you are forever inspired by books. I hope you are up many a nights because you just cant put that book down. I hope you never forget the magic of books and bookshops and the never ceasing wonder of the smell of books. I hope they widen your horizons and open your heart. I hope you find peace in solitude and a good book and in reading in bed.

If we pass nothing else to you, I hope we can pass on this love of books to you.  

Love, Your Mama.

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Thanks for stopping by!

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FYI: Anya calls her dad baba. A word that is used for dad in Urdu

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Dear baby: This is the story of the day you turned 2

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Dear baby, We had lots of plans for your day. I wanted it to be a perfect little mama-daughter day while your baba worked and then have a sweet little family celebration in the evening. But then we woke up to a red faced, sick baby and a bright sunny day as beautiful as the day you came into this world. We took you to your balloon filled room. Despite being sick you were so excited to see the balloons and spent a long time trying to get all the strings in your hand and then walking around the house with them. I changed your clothes because sick or not, you have to look pretty on your big day right? Totally! Then you skyped with your bari phupo, phupa and apas, and then your nani and khalas. You loved it when everyone sang Happy Birthday to you and had a big smile on your face. We had to run to the doctor's office then, you all dressed up in your frilly little pink skirt and your red face. You hate doctor visits so as usual you were not happy when he had to check your ears and look inside your mouth, but the 'Gora' (Dora) sticker made it a bit better. On our way back, we thought what the heck if we cant do what we had planned to, at least we can grab some cake pops (and coffee for mama) sing aloud to our favorite songs and go for a drive in this gorgeous sunshine. So we did just that (you were more busy making a mess in your new car seat with your 'cake cop'). We came home, tried to get you to eat something, but all you wanted was your 'dudu', milk. The medicine started making you drowsy so we read books in bed till you dozed off. As soon as I would stop reading thinking you're finally asleep, you would open your eyes and tell me to 'just keep reading woman', in your own little vocabulary that is. While you slept then, mama got to her cake and decorations because you know there are some things that you just have to do! I listened to all the loving phone calls and read the sweet messages on facebook for you. You are one super loved baby! You slept and you slept, which was good because mama was all ready for you when you woke up. Your Baba came home and as usual that was the best part of the day for you. You tried on your birthday hat for him and then sat and watched cartoons instead of running around and screaming with him like you normally do. We had our dinner and then cut the rainbow cake your mama was so excited about trying. You looked at the candle on the cake really hard and then said 'ONE'. Haha. We're confused what that really meant. Do you think 2 is the new 1 or were you counting the number of candles? Maybe you can solve that one for us when you get a little older? Anyways after telling me ‘Mama Happy Birthday cake’ for so many days, you wanted to have nothing to do with the cake, not cut it not eat it! It was then that I remembered, maybe you only like Chocolate cakes!! Well, for next time, I guess. You opened your gifts then, loved the wooden train we got for you along with the burlap teddy that we picked up at the last minute from Safeway:p. Your Nadia Aani and Ali uncle dropped by then and you were excited, specially with the gifts they got you. You almost tried on the dress and kept saying Kapare’, clothes. Your bari nani called and you talked to her on the phone, and when she sang happy birthday for you, you turned to your baba and said 'keh ri hain happy birthday to you' she's saying happy birthday to you. Nadia aani tried to tell you the story of the day you were born, and how you almost shared a birthday with her. When they left, we gave you your medicine, disguised in chocolate, but you were too clever. We waited for it to start working while you were busy bringing all your toys in our bed and reading all the books we had ever got for you. Finally more than an hour later, you finally went to sleep.

So this is the story of your second birthday. Imperfect and totally not what we had planned, but sometimes not perfect is so so better than perfect. Right? Also, come to think of it, life is never perfect, even if it looks and feels like that sometimes:)

You have literally made our lives complete and there has never been any looking back since that beautiful day that you entered our world mA. May you always be a source of happiness for all those around you. I love you more than life itself.

Xoxo, Your Mama

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(FYI: phupo is for dad’s sister, phupa is phupo’s husband and apa is for elder sister/cousin. Nani is for maternal grandmother and Khala is mom’s sister. Bari nani is for mom’s grandmother. mA is for mashAllah, which literally means ‘as God has willed’ but is used routinely when we praise anything, in acknowledgement that all blessings and good things come from Allah)

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Mama-Mini style : Syda and Ammad

Hey lovely people. Hope your Monday morning is going awesome. Thanks so much for all the emails and encouragement for this series. I am as excited about this as you are:)

Say hello to this beautiful mom and the most handsome little baby boy around, Syda and Ammad. They live in Manchester, UK and we met in Islamabad while visiting our respective families. Besides being a very young, stylish mama to the little man, she just started a hip clothing line, Kurti, with her sister!

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Isn’t he the most adorable little guy you have ever seen? MashAllah!

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Thank you so much Syda and Maadi for being a part of this series. It was lovely meeting you both.

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(Syda wears): Shirt from her own line ‘Kurti’ (Ammad wears): Brown cap from Rocha Baby Rocha (UK), Sweater from from Minnie Minors (Pakistan), Pants from Ted Baker (UK), Socks from Jasper Conran (UK).

If you’d like to be featured, please message me at I would love you to be a part of it!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.

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Dear baby girl,

How can you be so big already, running around the house, having your own little personality and choices. Wasn't it just yesterday that we saw you for the first time? Those sparkly big eyes staring right back at us, your wrinkly skin, your tiny little hands and feet that were just so brand new and OMG those loud cries that would come out of that tiny mouth!

You're almost a little girl now, no longer that little tiny baby we brought home that February night, almost 2 years ago. How you kept us on our toes, not letting us sleep much, or do much else of our own. And then suddenly in what feels like a blink of an eye (Palak jhapakne mei waqt guzar gaya, as my mom has always said), you are that much less dependent on us.

You have shown us what it means to love and changed our lives all around. From being all about us, our lives suddenly changed focus. Nothing looked the same, since you came and nothing ever will. Your darling little personality now, your laughter, your sparkling eyes, your sweet little hugs, your voice, which might be the sweetest sound our ears have ever heard, your gibberish never ending conversations, are the highlight of our days.

May your little being always be delighted by life. May your days always be full of sunshine, and may Allah bless you with his choicest blessings always.

We love you today and we will love you always, no matter what.

Your mama and baba!

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

One of those days and then a reminder.

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Today was one of those days. My baby was being extra whiny. I wasn’t patient. I was mentally absent, thinking of all the chores around the house, planning her birthday that is next week. Anya wasn’t happy, wanted to be carried around, and cried at every little thing. If I left her to play and went to another room, I would hear ‘Mama, mama, mama’ endlessly. When we had to go out, she refused to wear her jacket or her boots, because they were ‘too cold’. Impatiently I tricked her into wearing them as she wailed . I was irritated, as I barely got things done, went out for groceries in the dreary weather, and got dinner ready.

THEN I saw this video and I was reminded just another time.

Anya sat in my lap as I watched it. Tears rolled down my face endlessly as I hugged my baby girl tight. My baby girl is healthy, happy and with me. What more could I ever ask for! I prayed so hard for this little boy and his parents. I begged Allah’s forgiveness for being mindless of all that I am blessed with, the biggest being health. I, for one, should know better. To have seen life altering illness and the fragility of life just recently, how could I forget?

May strength and faith be with this brave little boy and his family.

My last days–Meet Joel

Some days we need a reminder all over again, because we do forget in the rush of daily life.

To love and to be thankful. To be patient and present. To enjoy the gifts we have been given. Nothing is more important than the ones we love. Thank you God for everything.

Will you enjoy your loved ones today?

Thanks for stopping by.

(Link found via)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Introducing a Mama-Mini style series

I've been planning this little style series for a while, an outfit series featuring stylish moms and their little ones.
This journey of being a mom is beautiful, but some days it leaves little time for us mamas. We’re so busy thinking about our babies that we forget about ourselves along the way.

I am hoping that through this series, all of us mama’s here will be reminded of the beauty of being a mother and also be inspired along the way. Inspired to take a little time for ourselves and look our best, for ourselves and for our family. Inspired to go through our closets, experiment and wear what makes us feel beautiful :)

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Picture of us from last summer.

Check back for the first post in this series, a lovely young mom I met on my trip.

Thanks for stopping by!

Update: Go here to see all the posts in this series. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

DIY Bauble Necklaces

Just a quick little DIY share for today. I had my eyes on this project for a while. The inspiration came from here and here. The links give tutorials which you could use if you wanted to try this quick project.

Because I loved how they turned out, I ended up gifting these to my two sisters.

Take a peak?

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I personally loved this next one, the color block bauble necklace.

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Thanks so much for stopping by!

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(With special thanks to my beautiful sisters for modeling these for the blog)