Hello December

Hey guys!

Remember me?

I know, it’s been 2 months since my last post and it might seem like I’ve fallen off the face of the Earth. But I assure you, I haven’t. I’ve been busy, but not busy in just any old sense.

I’ve got a baby on the way!

Lol. This is not exactly how I wanted to spill the news, but after wanting to blog about this news for literally the past month, I’ve decided it’s time.

The past few months have been a crazy, crazy whirlwind, and I imagine the next few months will get even crazier! I’m 5 months along right now and due in April.

The first trimester was definitely an emotional one. I feel like no matter if the pregnancy is planned or not, there’s just so much going on that it becomes overwhelming to deal with. Especially the first one! There were so many changes that started almost as soon as I found it, and it was so exciting, but also weird to see my body start changing almost instantly. I can’t help but think about all the ways my life is about to change. I was filled with nervousness in those first three months, because they’re apparently the most delicate time during the pregnancy. I’m generally a nervous person anyways so I couldn’t help but wonder at my symptoms and kept questioning whether they were normal. And then I would stress about the lack of some of the most common symptoms (like morning sickness) and kept wondering if something was wrong with me or my baby!

I’m well into the second trimester now, with the first trimester fading into the background like a distant dream now. My body’s changing even more now, week by week, and I finally have a teeny baby bump! As much as many of us hate putting on weight, it’s so exciting to be able to finally see a sign of what’s being going on inside for the past 19 weeks or so.

I’m almost halfway there and can’t wait to meet my baby! With that being said, I still have moments of nervousness and doubt, as I wonder if I’ll be a good mom and how my relationship with my husband will inevitably change once baby is here.

Add in the fact that we’re moving in January, and I’ve got my hands full! Between packing up house, doctor’s appointments, and necessary naps, I barely have time for anything else. Blogging has taken a backseat, as have so many other things. I don’t feel as tired as I did in the trimester, but fatigue is definitely part of the whole package, along with a bunch of different aches and pains. So these days my motto is to take it slow. If it gets done, great. If not, I try not to beat myself up about it (too much).

So what’s new with you guys? The holidays are almost here, but it hardly feels like it! This is the first time I’m actually wishing for snow because it seems so weird that it still hasn’t happened yet. It’s hard to feel festive when it feels like spring outside! I still can’t believe the last month of 2016 is here…time is definitely flying! What are you most looking forward to in 2017?

Anyways, that’s it for me. Hopefully I get to post for often as things progress 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Ikhlas

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Hello September

Yes, I know! This Hello September is kind of late (17 days late to be exact), but better late than never, right?

September always feels like the beginning of Fall, because I always associate it with the beginning of school. Beginning of school=Fall. Especially after Labour Day. But the weather for the past few years has been warm in September, so that the start of September doesn’t exactly indicate the start of Fall.

I can’t wait to get cozy with my sweaters and boots again though. As a hijabi, I layer up 365 days a year so it’s not like I layer any more once Fall starts, but there’s just something about that crisp Autumn air that gets me in the mood to reach for my cardigans more and more.

Have I ever mentioned my love for cardigans? Seriously, I’m OBSESSED. There was a point when 70% of my wardrobe were cardigans, I kid you not. I’ve been trying not to buy as many anymore, but it’s so hard to resist the different styles and colours that hit stores as soon as Fall starts.

I’m not a fan of pumpkin flavoured things, which some people crave as soon as the cooler weather hits. My flavour of choice for the Fall is apple. As soon as Fall hits, my fingers start itching to make a delicious apple pie. Unfortunately, my husband and in-laws aren’t big apple pie fans, and I don’t want to have a big pie sitting around to tempt me so I’ll probably be sticking to apple turnovers this year. Or I could also figure out a way to make my favourite apple pie smaller and more compact.

This past month has been crazy busy because of two things: kids and kittens.

My brother in law and sister in law went on Hajj in the beginning of September, and so I’ve been helping out watching their kids. I don’t have kids of myself yet but spending all day with them definitely gave me a taste of what it would be like!

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The second thing: we got a kitten! My husband brought her home one day randomly because someone he knows had kittens at their house, and he decided to get one. We named her Oreo.

I’ve always wanted a kitten, ever since I was little, but I’m also scared of animals. I’m not used to them at all, and I used to be so scared of my aunt’s cats ever since I was little and my grandma’s birds as well. But I always still wanted a kitten because I thought they were adorable.

So when my husband actually brought one home, I had mixed feelings. Being alone with the kitten was hard at first because she is so jumpy and playful that I never know when or where she’s going to come from! Because she’s only 2 months, she wants to play all the time, which is tough because I can’t play with her all the time. Even when I’m in the kitchen or trying to get some work done, she comes and pounces on my feet because she thinks we’re playing. Which is still kind of scary!

It’s still a challenge getting used to living with her, but here’s hoping it gets easier! Any cat people out there reading this? Do you have any tips for me?

Anyway, that’s it for me. Here’s hoping the rest of your September goes well!

Thanks for reading,

Ikhlas

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Learning to Write Again

This past Monday, I began writing my fourth manuscript. The last time I wrote a full length novel or fiction manuscript was in 2011, which was Aisha.

Even though I’ve had the idea for this one even before Aisha, it took me more than 5 years to finally get around to writing it. And now that it’s been 5 years since I last put my fingers to the keyboard in this way, it’s quite difficult, I have to say.

Over the past few years, I’ve been working on this story, on and off. It’s constantly on my mind, and its persistence in never leaving my thoughts is the reason why I know it should be written. It’s a different story from the last one I wrote, and it requires a lot more work. It’s been roughly planned in my head for a few years now, with several gaps in it, and I’ve been at hard work over the past month in filling in those gaps so I can FINALLY start writing this thing. It happened this Monday.

None of what I wrote so far is magical and nor does it flow well. It’s awkward and my fingers feel crippled as I type the words out. There’s no beauty at all in the language. Every word I type reminds me how long it’s been since I’ve done this and makes me feel guilty about why I waited so long.

I miss the time when it was easier to put my fingers to the page and get my ideas down. There were of course hard days, but it never felt like it was as hard as it is now. It feels like I’m pulling a tooth out of myself, trying to get these words out of head and onto the page.

It honestly feels like I’m back to being a beginner. It’s like I’ve forgotten everything I had learned over my 15 years of experience. I honestly feels like I’m learning to write again.

There are times when I get stuck staring at the blank page, wondering how to phrase things and lose track of time, before I remind myself that at this point, I know the story. I will come to a point where the story is unknown and I will naturally have to take a break, for now, I know how this story begins. So I better get it out before writer’s block really strikes. Because it definitely will.

For now, my goal is to try and write everyday. It’ll definitely be a challenge, but consistency is the only way to get back into this and get some practice again. Otherwise I’ll just get rusty again! So it’s time for me to take a break from my other hobbies and really start to focus on writing again. So that means no more baking or scrapbooking.

Here’s hoping I don’t lose my focus!

Thanks for reading,

Ikhlas

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Recipe: Salted Nutella Brownies

Salted Nutella Brownies

Hi guys! How crazy good do these brownies look? Even more so because I’m on a crazy intense diet!

I know, I know, I’m often on (and off) diets, but things have gotten SERIOUS. For one thing: I’ve started working out. It’s officially been one week since I started Hip Hop Abs, one of Shaun T’s (the Insanity guy) workout videos, so I guess that makes it official!

As many of you might know, I don’t workout. Period. It bores me to death, and I usually manage my weight with dieting and cutting back on dessert. But lately that hasn’t been working, and since my husband loves to workout and going to the gym and all things exercise related, he suggested I do the same.

Salted Nutella Brownies

Not only have I started working out, I got a fitness tracker! I have never wanted a fitness tracker and nor did I ever imagine myself as one of those people who wears one 24/7, but it’s surprisingly addictive. I’ve become almost obsessive about reaching a certain number of activity minutes, and it’s so easy to keep checking my progress. With the new tracker, I can definitely say I’m the most active I’ve ever been in my whole life!

What’s made things worse is that my husband has gotten rid of all the chocolate in the house! Even when I’m dieting, I always have that secret stash of chocolate that I nibble on just once a day. Just so I don’t lose my sanity. But my husband went on a crazy spree the day after my birthday, and not only did he take away my TWO birthday cakes but also all the chocolate in the house! You might be thinking, two cakes in the house is probably not a good thing anyway, but they were small, I tell you. He’s convinced we have to become healthy and get in control, etc. etc. but all I’m waiting for is when I can eat chocolate again!

Salted Nutella Brownies

Speaking of chocolate, let’s talk about this recipe!

Guys, these brownies are INSANELY good. If you love chocolate and even remotely like Nutella (can you even just ‘like’ Nutella?), you’re going to go crazy for these brownies.

I made these brownies on Eid, when my sisters-in-law were visiting from out of town, plus all the kids. I had my nieces over the day before Eid and we went on a baking bonanza. On the menu were both my regular brownies and these. Suffice to say that they did not last long on Eid morning! They were gone so quick my husband didn’t get any, something I had to listen to him complain about for a few weeks until I finally made them again. He was even so bold as to claim that they were better than my original brownies!

Salted Nutella Brownies

Anyways, that’s enough of my blabbing. Let’s get to the recipe!

Continue reading →

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Review: Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

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This is a review that’s been simmering for a few days. It’s also a review that will be filled with spoilers, so if you haven’t read the book yet and you’re planning to, avoid this review!

As a huge fan of the series since childhood, I received the news of The Cursed Child with mixed feelings. On one hand, it’s like a fan’s dream come true, but on the other hand, there’s a lot that’s different about it. First of all, it’s not a novel. It’s a script. This makes a huge difference. It’s also not only written by JK Rowling, but by a team of writers. Again, there’s some Rowling-esque flavour there to convince you this is Harry Potter but there’s also two other writers as well.

I did enjoy parts of the book/script. There were parts that reminded me of the magic of the original trio of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, especially the friendship between Albus and Scorpius.

But for the most part, the script felt a lot like fanfiction. There were parts that felt completely ridiculous. The biggest thing that comes to mind was Voldemort having a daughter. It was so out of left field and random that it felt like a big joke. It was something that was mentioned throughout the book, only to be revealed that Delphi, a character that was part of the story in the beginning, was the daughter.

Throughout the book, Harry keeps talking about how he keeps feeling a darkness near him. His scar has been hurting him on and off, which in itself makes no sense, because the last few words at the end of book 7 were about how his scar hadn’t hurt him anymore. But it’s also weird how Delphi is the one who is triggering his scar hurting, because it means that she’s inherited her father’s evil. The whole Delphi as Voldemort’s daughter was just messed up.

Another thing that felt ridiculous was Ron. I know Ron is a complex character, but throughout the series, and especially the 7th book, he really grows and matures. But in this book, Ron was a big fat joke. He’s an awful husband and father, and a big joker all around. I couldn’t take him seriously in any scene he was in; plus him and Hermione’s relationship seemed like it was about to fall apart. I have no idea what happened to him in 19 years, but he was a caricature of the original Ron and it was painful to read about.

The time turner was another plot device that was extremely weird. It’s a device that was used quite carefully and deliberately by Hermione when it was first introduced, and also by Jo when she was writing about it. If everyone had access to time turners in the way that Albus and Scorpius did, wouldn’t they just go back all the time, and do whatever it was they wanted? Again, it made no sense.

Overall, the story felt way too ridiculous and random to be taken seriously. I know Jo had a hand in creating it, but at times, it really didn’t seem that way. It was as if other writers had written a story of what they thought could happen 19 years after the 7th book, and that’s what was cobbled together.

I know it’s supposed to be canon, but I don’t know if I can accept it. I’m just going to pretend that the series ended with book 7. I don’t think I’ll be the only one…

I have no idea what to rate this. There’s still a sense of loyalty I have to the book because it has some of my favourite characters of all time, but it’s like they were morphed into different people. I almost wish I could take back reading it.

So for that, 3/5.

Thanks for reading,

Ikhlas

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