Sunday, 11 August 2013

21. Fasting and fashion finds!

Hello all. You're already probably thinking what a weird title but all will become clear over the course of the post. I hope you're all well and those of you who are Muslims, I hope you all have a wonderful Ramadan and a beautiful Eid and make sure you carry that spiritual feeling with you and continue with the good habits you've picked up during the holy month. I'm guilty of this as usually I find it really difficult to wake up for Fajr (the first prayer of the day which is currently at ~4am) because I have to wake up to give my Mum her tablets at 2am and 6am so my sleep is disturbed anyway but I'm going to try my very hardest to carry on praying before sunrise all the time from now on. Also, Ramadan has really helped me to stop swearing and reduce my caffeine intake and I am going to keep that up as best as I can. However, I may treat myself to a cheeky Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks during Cafe Crawls and when I am studying hard for second year in the uni library :P I've surprisingly been quite busy and have managed to do quite a few exciting things whilst not eating for 18 hours a day for a month.  During Ramadan, I delivered three campus tours as a student ambassador. Admittedly, the days when I was working were the hardest fasts because I was just so thirsty from walking around for about 45 minutes so I salute all of you adults who work full time and people who work in industries like retail where you are on your feet most of the time because I don't know how you manage it. Apart from that, fasting wasn't difficult but it was really hard to eat something at 3am after eating dinner at like 10pm so most days, I just had water for Suhur (the meal which Muslims eat before sunrise to "close" their fast). Another difficulty I came across during Ramadan was when I injured my back. Being the genius that I am, I lifted a bin bag containing garden waste when we had the front garden cleared of grass and weeds but I didn't realise how heavy it would be and how high the wheelie bin actually was. Now I am quite curvy but my upper body strength is non-existent and if I'm honest, Jenny would have had a better chance of lifting that bag (of course I would never do that as I am against child labour). The pain was awful but praying really helped as even the GP told me to stay as active as possible. I'm reluctant to take painkillers and try and do some physical activity and use ibuprofen/codeine as a last resort because codeine tastes so bitter that it makes me feel like I'm having poison. Eid was on Friday and I have quite a busy week starting tomorrow but I'm going to try and fit in a run or two this week to see if I can manage a jog without too much pain. 

Apart from killing myself, I also read The Hunger Games trilogy which links to the fasting part of this post, obviously. You don't understand how excited I am for Catching Fire to be released in cinemas now. November needs to hurry the hell up! It was my favourite book of the trilogy as there were so many twists and turns but I felt the endings of Catching Fire and Mockingjay were abrupt because she completely changed the plot in one chapter and personally, the reader should have been eased into it more. For those of you who have read the books, what did you think of them? The ending of the final book irritated me too because it just seemed too unlikely. I also read The Great Gatsby which was amazing and I've been frantically trying to find a 1920's style frock online which is appropriate for a Muslim girl to wear without flashing the flesh but alas, I have had no such luck. My favourite character in The Great Gatsby is Jordan because she's headstrong and it's nice to see a successful sportswoman in an era where that wasn't commonplace. My favourite characters in The Hunger Games are Cinna because he is just so cool and composed. I also like Peeta because he is a baker :D and he's just so innocent and loyal to Katniss and he genuinely loves and cares about her. I love Katniss because like Jordan she's strong and her own person and I love how much she cares for her younger sister, Primrose. Who are your favourite characters if you've read the books mentioned above and if you haven't, what have you been reading and would you recommend them? Not to let the biologist in me disappear for almost 4 months, I also read a book called What A Plant Knows which was great. It walked the reader through the science behind the senses and gave some fascinating examples of certain species who contact the world around them in incredible ways like the Venus Flytrap which has to have two hairs touched in quick succession to snap shut and orchids which know what time of the day it is. I would recommend it to you even if you are not a life scientist because it is written in layman's terms. 

Aside from reading, I have been watching a lot of 8 out of 10 Cats. I love the special episode where 8 out of 10 Cats does Countdown. I love statistics so find it interesting, I've also realised that Jimmy Carr's wonderful, contagious laugh could cure you even if you were on your deathbed and I've realised how cute Jon Richardson is. Jon Richardson is my ideal husband, I love how he spent his twenties cleaning skirting boards and he used to be a chef too. Talking of cleaning, I bought a Vax Steam Mop for my Mum as an Eid present because I worry that she might have a fall when she's using a traditional mop and the floor is wet and slippery. It is great. I highly recommend it to those of you who love cleaning. I might do a post on my favourite cleaning products seeing as many other girls do blog posts on their favourite beauty products, why not cleaning products too? Here is Jon.

Mate, look at that face! What a cutie.
Talking of comedians, I know many people dislike Frankie Boyle but I love him because he is blunt. He's also an incredible man as he's doing a lot of campaigning to bring attention to the horror that is Guantanamo Bay. Please take a thorough look at this website and share it on your social media too:  Just take a minute to put yourselves in the shoes of Shaker and the other prisoners, their families and their friends. Is it right that in this day and age, innocent men are being held in what I call hell on Earth while murderers, paedophiles and rapists freely roam our streets? No it isn't. Frankie and many others are participating in a fast which relates to the hunger strike the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay started 6 months ago. They are being tortured and force fed and held without trial. Obama has "failed" to close this despicable torture chamber but there are 7 billion of us who can change that. I pray that Allah continues to give the prisoners and their loved ones their incredible strength and patience and I hope that their reward and freedom happen as quickly as possible. It's beyond me how the guards and the politicians sleep at night knowing what they are doing to Shaker Aamer and the others.

Now for the other topic of this of this post! I have recently done quite a bit of online shopping because retail therapy is the best therapy for my back and thought I'd share some of my fashion finds with you! Below, there is a link for the product, a short description and a photo that I took where available.

Ooh, two fashion favourites in one photo hey?! 

1a) Grey bird print scarf. Unfortunately, there isn't a link available for the exact scarf I am wearing because I purchased it from the Country Living exhibition at the RHS Tatton Park flower show (I am going to upload a separate post on the flower show as it will contain lots of photos and this post is long enough as it is) but as ever, I'm not one to disappoint so here is a link for a very similar scarf: I asked the lovely lady at the stall if the company allowed customers to purchase products online as they are based in Cambridge but unfortunately not. My scarf was a bargain at £9 and it will go with so many outfits!
1b) Tee and Cake periodic table sweatshirt. This has to be the best thing in my wardrobe. I saw it online and fell in love. I know I'm a biologist but the chemist inside me from my A-level days had to purchase this. When it arrived, I couldn't stop stroking it as the material is just luxuriously soft and it's so comfortable. I'm a size 10-12 and I purchased the jumper in a medium size and it is oversized but that's how I like my clothing. Here is the link to the jumper:
They also do a periodic table t-shirt if that's more your thing ladies! 

 2) Rope Hand Chain. I don't have a photo of me wearing this as I haven't actually worn it yet but when I do I will upload it onto my Instagram page. If you have Instagram and would like to follow me, my username is shazia_4. Talking of Instagram, it was where I was inspired to buy this item. I love Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, she is so beautiful and she and Jason make the cutest couple! Anyway, Rosie uploaded a photo of herself wearing a Jacquie Aiche hand chain and I can't afford one of those so I found this on Asos which was an absolute bargain and even cheaper with the student discount! :D
(I know I should shorten my links as it looks scruffy but I'm quite paranoid of shortened links because I'm wary of them being spam/a virus. I would never do that to you guys but for those of you who worry far too much like me, I upload the full link and will continue to do so).
3) Ugg Mosaic flip flops. I love my Ugg boots during winter and I know they are hardly the best looking shoes but they keep my feet so nice and toasty in the grim Manchester weather. Ugg uses materials of a fine quality which is why their products are always finished to a high standard and last long so that's why I bought these. Also, green is my favourite colour and I love the pattern too. I purchased mine from Schuh, however they have sold out unfortunately but here's a link to an alternative stockist:

Well I hope you have enjoyed this rather long post (I swear I never intend to make them this long but I just love sharing things with you guys). Keep your eyes peeled for my RHS Tatton Park post which should be up within the next week. As ever, feel free to comment below and remember to follow this blog, my Twitter and Instagram accounts too. Before I go, I baked a White Chocolate and Raspberry Melting Cake for Eid from John Whaite Bakes which is the recipe book written by John Whaite, the winner of the Great British Bake 2012. If you haven't already bought his book then I highly recommend it especially if you love fruit like me as he has many recipes that include lovely fresh fruit. I slightly altered this recipe as John simply topped his cake with icing sugar but I used the leftover white chocolate ganache and fresh raspberries to decorate. 
Anyway, I am going to go and relax for the rest of this lovely Sunday evening and start reading A Streetcat Named Bob. Take care everyone!
Love, Mancunian Sheep x