Bereavement

I have been missing my Mother a lot lately. Its been 9 months since she passed away and sometimes I just get dazed and confused about how and why all this happened and  that too so suddenly. People are supposed to pass away after fully living their lives, at the ripe old ages of at least late 70s, not suddenly have their lives cut short due to a deadly bout of cancer.



It is very hard to find someone who understands this, because your pain and the lost attachment you are bereaving is something extremely personal. I remember when I was took a course in Islamic Studies while at university at LUMS, I asked my Professor Kamaludin about what exactly happens after death. I had recently lost a close family member at that time, my Maternal Uncle 'Mamo Jaan'. My professor refused to answer directly, saying it was unsure. I asked if the dead could see what was going on, and he answered how it could be painful for the dead to see since they would want to join their loved ones whom they left behind. The answer was left vague. I guess the only way to find out is when we die ourselves and by then it would be too late...

I did however come across a beautiful poem which is what I would like to believe happens after death. The poem was written by Mary E. Frye and is titled 'Do not stand on my grave and weep'.

Do not stand on my grave and weep.
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush.
I am the swift uplifting rush.
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
I am the birds that sing.
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there. I do not die.


May Allah bless my mother with Jannat (Heaven). She fully deserves it. Ameen.

Purity of Divine Love

There is something about Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi, and the purity of his words that touches our souls. The passion and hunger with which he pursues Divine Love is inspiring, endearing and at the same time humbling. There is a raw beauty in his words, which shines through his phrases, lit up by the power of pure, unadulterated, genuine love for the Divine.




Listening to Rumi's poetry is like eavesdropping on a personal conversation between his soul and the Creator of the Universe. The mystical allure of this conversation, the engagement it commands, the feelings it uncovers is proof that we all have the same yearning for Divine Love, which is sadly laying dormant most of the time, ignored for the practical issues we face in this 'real' world. With these words, I would take the honor and privilege to share with you a beautiful poem by Rumi, wonderfully done in this video by Sina.




Rumi's beautiful words remind us that despite all the illusions we get distracted with in this world, what we are actually missing and what is really important is the concept of Divine Love. See for yourself, as you get enveloped by peace when listening to his words in the video above. God Bless. 

Eddie Redmayne

First saw him in Tess of the D'Urbervilles with Gemma Arterton - dear God how I wished it was me he was desperately trying to save from insanity while casually running through stone henge. A girl can dream.
For anyone who hasn't already read it, Eddie is interviewed in the November issue of ELLE - sections like 'he says, spilling Orangina down his chin' are completely captivating. Am I the only one thinking Orangia now seems like a much more seductive drink?
For more Eddie-stalking, go and see My Week With Marilyn, out on the 18th November.

Fall Trend 2011: Animal Magnetism


Whilst walking around in a mall or the High Street, one cannot help but notice one predominant trend. Animal print is everywhere! Women are proudly sporting the hottest trend of the season and shops are displaying it in their windows. Animal prints have remained an old favorite, they look hot and express the raw beauty of nature in a way that meshes the wild with the glam. Correction. Animal prints are great as long as real animals remain unharmed. Faux animal prints are the only way to go for a true fashionista.

 
One thing is for sure. Animal prints have always remained ever green. The thing to keep in mind however is the old adage ‘Less is More’. Save the top to bottom animal print statement for Halloween. Instead try to incorporate the animal craze this season a little here and there for a classy yet updated fashionista look. I would suggest sporting either some high heeled shoes in animal print along with a matching bag, or a scarf, jacket or shawl. Animal print accessories make a bold yet sophisticated fashion statement.

The favorite animal print being showcased by different international designers is the classic Cheetah/Leopard print. This is followed by the Zebra print with Tom Ford pulling some fantastic numbers here. Snake print follows not too far behind, with Chloe doing a wonderful job with it this fall. Dolce and Gabbana had some sensational numbers in Tiger Print. All in all, animals have been a ‘roaring’ part of this seasons collection, and not just animal prints. Major designers have come up with clothes showcasing pictures of animals in their fall collections such as the Reindeer used by Marc Jacobs, Doe by Anna Sui and Wolf by Balenciaga.

For those ladies who love their bling and can afford it have the option of cashing in on some great jewellery to sport this fall. Marc Jacobs came up with a white and black diamond Zebra ring and Rolex came up with a black sapphire and white diamond watch. If you are planning to spend so much on jewellery, the French brand Cartier has always been front line in quality and majestic beauty with its classic jewellery animal collection. And while you are spending so much money on jewellery, why not show some good will and donate to save the endangered majestic beasts who inspired them also?  Check out WWF.

International celebrities seen sporting the haute couture animal mania include Sarah Jessica Parker, Mandy Moore, Rihanna, Halle Berry, Beyonce, Katie Holmes and Kim Kardashian to name a few.

With winter here, getting a faux fur jacket or a sporty animal print one would make a statement whilst keeping you warm. If you want to get hold of bare minimum accessories to stay upbeat with the trend yet not invest so much, my suggestion would be to opt for the Leopard print which has got everyone going Wild!

It’s time to let loose the animals into our wardrobe for some serious seasonal upgrading in the fashion jungle out there.





 















 








Christopher Kane AW11

 Couldn't possibly love Christopher Kane's AW11 collection anymore than I already do. Breaking the boundaries of time with this collection, the 90s trend of PVC and glycerin-filled pencil cases (We all had one. Or were insanely jealous of the girl sitting next to us who did) is combined with a 20s flapper-style shape of dress. I love the way that the simplistic silhouette created by the garment is made insanely futuristic and interesting through the glycerin panels - as the model moves, so does the liquid, creating a different pattern every time. Christopher Kane's amazing clutch bags are the only thing to carry this season, and naturally aren't cheap - prices start at around £390.
If only I'd stocked up on those pencil cases when you could still find them in WH Smiths.



Kanye West… a serious fashion designer?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD

WTF?! Kanye West exhibited a collection at Paris Fashion Week?! WHAT?!
IS THIS EVEN ALLOWED!?!?!

Now I’m hardly a member of the fashion elite myself, but when I think of Kanye West I think of golddigger, Amber Rose, and Kanye himself generally being in the news for acting like a twat (a prime example being the infamous ‘George Bush hates black people’ saga. Need I say more.) So naturally it came as a bit of a shock to learn that Kanye’s ‘doing a Victoria’ and translating his *ahem* "talents" into fashion.
Not unsurprisingly, Kanye’s show was a disaster – critics haven’t been particularly complimentary, and frankly considering how ‘nice’ he is to his fellow celebrities (*cough cough* Taylor Swift *cough*) why should they be! One esteemed fashion editor even tweeted ‘still laughing at the Kanye show – #MESS’. HA!
I can’t stand it when overly-cocky celebrities feel the need to turn their hand to something other than what they’re famous for – Gordon Ramsay for example; filmmaking?! REALLY?!
And now that Kanye’s been royally rejected from the fashion world, I only hope he gets the message and stays clear. And if he doesn't – good luck getting anyone to come to the show!

Something Fishy

At the risk of turning this in to a cooking blog, I have decided to enter yet another post regarding, dare I say it, cooking! Yes I know I know, I need to blog about something even relatively intellectual soon to ensure that doesn't happen. The truth is that I have officially started cooking and well, it does make the whole ordeal more entertaining when I feel I can always blog about it later. So here goes...


I love seafood so decided it would be a good idea to have some 'marine cuisine' today. I decided to make a relatively simple Pakistani dish of Lemon Shrimp Curry , and since shrimps cook oh soo very quickly, this is an ideal recipe to try when you need to conjure up something delish with little time at hand. 

To start cooking, you need the following ingredients: Cooking shrimp, which have already been de-veined, an onion, ginger, garlic, some green chili, a lemon and tomato paste.


 Chop the onions in to small pieces. Take a wok/karahi and add about half a cup of cooking oil. Add also some whole cumin seeds to the wok. When the oil is warm, take the chopped onions and fry them. Once the onions start to turn golden brown, add half a teaspoon of ginger garlic paste, the chopped garlic and chopped green chilis, all the while constantly stirring the contents of the wok. Now add salt and red chili powder according to taste, half a teaspoon of turmeric powder, half a teaspoon of coriander powder, and a teaspoon of garam masala.


Add the tomato paste. This will give a vibrant red color to our curry.


Add around half a cup of water to the wok, to make a nice gravy paste. When the water comes to boil, add the shrimp. Squeeze half a lemon into the wok to give it that lovely citrus and tangy flavor. Stir thoroughly to ensure proper mixing of all the flavors.


Place the lid of the wok over it to cover it and let it simmer for a few minutes. After around ten minutes, when the shrimp turn opaque, our lemon shrimp curry would be ready to eat.


Take the ginger and cut it in to thin slices. Use it as garnish and enjoy your Lemon Shrimp Curry hot with rice.


Wedding Reception Part 2

The bride and groom went on a Caribbean honeymoon, so my huge collection of seashells found their way into large glass vases. I am fascinated by the array of whites, creams, and blush colors of seashells, not to mention the textures.
 At the wedding, the beautiful bride wore an elegant gown of lace  with sparkles, so added to the seashells was a little vintage ba-da bling from my jewelry box. It's the "use what you have" decorating style. 

Adding real white roses to the arrangements provided for an elegant and cohesive feel. I didn't want a bright pop of color that would take away from the seashells, and picture displays. The roses were tucked inside small vase, placed in the larger vase. Yes, a vase in a vase.


Silver candleabras and mercury glass candle holders were added to some of the tables, another touch of elegance. Every table did not look exactly the same. For me, it adds interest, and again....use what you have.
Have a blessed week,
Ele

Some Mexican Flavor

Today I tried out an old recipe that my friend Niki used to make for us when we used to live together in London. This is the old favorite and well known Mexican recipe of Burritos. Not only are Burritos extremely yummy, they are also easy to make. This dish is perfect if you have little time on your hands yet still want a scrumptious recipe that's a bit different from the usual desi food.


The ingredients you need would be: 2 capsicums, tortillas, cheese, a can of mixed beans in spicy tomato sauce, chili garlic sauce and some thick and chunky salsa for that extra bite of flavor. You can get any kind of tortillas, ranging from the normal to the wheat ones but I personally like salsa tortillas so I chose those.


Take a frying pan, and add some olive oil. Put the pan on the stove at medium temperature. Add the capsicum, and fry them in the oil. Not only will these add some crunch in our burritos, but they will also add a lot of lovely color and some gusto.



Once the capsicum is done, add the contents of the can of mixed beans. Stir around to ensure proper mixing. Also add a teaspoon of chili garlic sauce for some zest. If you like your food extra spicy, you can also add some chopped chilis as per your taste.


Take a plate and place one of the tortillas on flat on it.


Take some salsa and place a thick and chunky bit of it on top of the tortilla. Spread it all over the tortilla.


Add the mixture of beans and capsicum from the sauce pan over the salsa. Spread it generously all over the salsa and tortilla.


Take some cheese and spread it all over the tortilla. Add cheese according to taste.


Now slowly wrap the burrito up like a roll, carefully ensuring the contents don't fall out. Place it in the microwave for about a minute, to make the cheese melt and mix all the contents inside. Enjoy some Mexican flavor hot, tangy, full of salsa zest and dripping with yummy cheese.