Thursday, 30 June 2016

In Jozi this July/ August

Hi All

Sorry for the lack of blog post- I have been battling to juggle lots of work and having my little minions home all day during the school holidays.

Here are some things happening in Jozi in the next few weeks that you need to know about:


My Little Pony, Play Doh and Nerf- need we say more? The Fun Zone is giving your kids the chance to play with some of the latest and greatest Nerf, My Little Pony, and Play-Doh toys.

"There will be three branded stations that your kids can experience, and the best thing is that it is all for FREE and there are exciting prizes to be won!

At the Nerf station, there will be a Nerf firing range, where kids can blast away and potentially win some great prizes, a demo table where kids can learn about the new Modulus Blaster range, and finally, an iPad station with online games, and the chance to sign up for future events and giveaways.

The My Little Pony station features a community activity table, with activities like friendship bracelet making, colouring in, a toy play area, and a hair salon where we will ‘ponify’ your little one’s hair. There will also be character cut-outs available for photo opportunities.

The Play-Doh station is where your kids’ imagination can run wild. There will be creativity workshops that feature the latest Play-Doh food playsets, and all kids will receive little chef hats and will be able pose for photos with their creations."

Where and When:

Sandton City, Mr. Price Court between 28 June – 4 July, or Durban, Gateway, 6-10 July and Cape Town V & A Waterfront H & M Court 13-17 July. 


5 August- buy a sticker from Wimpy or Pick 'N Pay for R10 and wear your slippers to school, work or wherever you wish- all for a great cause! 

“It is such a simple and easy way to do something good and support children fighting life-threatening illnesses. Even during tough economic time you can make a difference with just R10 and doing something fun with your feet!  By wearing your slippers on Slipper Day, you can help to bring dreams to life and if we can make dreams come true, we can instil hope in a child which will help them to continue fighting,” said Julia Sotirianakos, Reach For A Dream’s CEO.

If you wear your striker, you can also get a free coffee at Wimpy on 5 August- win-win!

For more information on Slipper Day or the Reach For A Dream Foundation, visit: or


It turns out that family fun in the CBD is possible.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Beating Holiday Boredom with Boredom Bowls

So, we have just a couple of days until school closes and until I know I will hear the incessant 'I'm bored' from my little ones.

The thing is, even though I will be home with my little ones, I will be working too- and I anticipate a big work load in the next few weeks with a big project starting next week. Chances are, I will not be able to take them out much in the first two weeks of school holidays and too much television is a recipe for disaster. So, I have decided to prepare boredom busters in advance- things my little ones can enjoy at home with minimal parental involvement.

First of all, I have created a boredom bowl- where they can dip their hands in and get an idea for something simple to do. I think my children may have too much toys- so much so that they forget what they can play with and just play with the obvious cars and dolls. Often, my children are creative and come up with their own imaginative games. However, at least once a day I get nagged because they have nothing to do. Typically, this is when I am in the middle of something deemed more important by the adult brain and can't come up with good ideas. So now I decided to give some though to simple ideas for when this is needed. The first bowl contains basic ideas like riding bikes, hide and seek, playing with Lego, Play-Doh or drawing pictures (with ideas of new things to draw or build). It also lists ideas with new things to do with their toys. 

For the idea tags, I cut up bits of foam. You can put ideas on both sides of each tag. 

The bowls are recycled yoghurt tubs. I have drawn patterns on it with permanent marker and will let Noodle colour these in or paint these on one of the 'bored' days.

Then I have a second bowl with more structured activities- mostly craft ideas which I found on Pinterest or Instagram or ideas of things to make in the kitchen. The ones that I think my little ones will like best are making brown paper gingerbread men (Noodle's favourite sweet treat), rock painting and a paper plate fish bowl (as our pet goldfish is such a prominent feature in our home right now). I have gotten the resources needed to make the craft ones together so that this can be done with minimal effort when the time comes.

How do you keep holiday boredom at bay? Please let me know!

Monday, 20 June 2016

Raising a Muslim Child in a World Where "Muslims Are Terrorists"

In some ways, life was simpler when I was growing up. Despite it being the tail-end of Apartheid in South Africa, I grew up in a neighborhood surrounded by White, Afrikaans neighbors and attended multi-racial, multi-religious schools without ever feeling judged for being Muslim. I grew up having friends of all races and religions. I never felt like I was treated any differently by friends of other backgrounds and if Islamaphobia existed, I was blissfully unaware of it. In fairness, this was the era before social media, before people's Facebook statuses and rants on Watsapp groups gave away their true thoughts.

Then, towards the end of my high school years, 9-11 happened. Paradigms shifted. Suddenly, Muslims were the bad guys. In short, things changed. Yes, I still have friends of all races and religions but in this day and age I sometimes feel like I need to be careful of what I say or do for fear of being labelled a terrorist, even though the most violent thing I have ever done was shoot a toy water pistol. 

Since then, time and time again, we have had to face attacks on the world by so-called Muslims (I cannot identify them as Muslims in my own mind because the religion that I know is one of peace and tolerance and would never condone the acts of extremists in this day and age). The religion that I know strongly condemns suicide in any form and never allows the killing of civilians, even in times of war. The Islam I know teaches the strongest respect for Christianity and Judaism, being rooted from the same principles.

As an adult Muslims in the Western world, I myself sometimes grapple with issues of how to react to this hatred. In fairness, I cannot blame the bulk of non-Muslims from having the impression that they do about Muslims. The image portrayed in the media of Muslims is not a pretty one and organisations like ISIS scare me just as much as they scare any non-Muslim. I don't know why a cowardly few commit atrocities supposedly in the name of religion or even if these people are really Muslim but they sure do make life difficult for us regular Muslims.

For now, my children are blissfully unaware of the prejudice shown towards Muslims. However, I know that at some point, they are going to become aware of the complexities of this world. How do I explain all this to my children? Do I explain it to them at all? How will it make them feel? Will they be saddened, embarrassed, or worse, ashamed to be Muslim? There are of course, no easy answers to these questions, especially when I myself do not have all the answers. 

For now, I don't think it is necessary to tell them anything. I need to do what I have been doing- raise them to be good, responsible, kind human beings who are willing to help others and make a difference to society. I refuse to raise them to be ashamed of their religion. Rather, I need to introduce them the peaceful brand of Islam that I know. I need to teach them not to take things at face value so that later on they can make their own, informed views about what they have learned about religion. As they grow older, I would like them to learn to be able to use their discretion when listening to things in the media and to do their own research on things, both pertaining to religion and  other areas of life as Islam in fact does teach one to think and to question. I am confident that they will come to the same conclusion that I have- that this really is a peaceful religion. I hope and pray that our future generations will hold the solutions for finding a peaceful existence for individuals of all races, nationalities and religions and that they will not have to grapple with these issues.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Random Stuff I Wish Johannesburg Shops Would Stock

I think by now everyone knows that I enjoy shopping. I shop enough to know exactly which shops have what. Despite that, there are a few things that our Johannesburg shops seem to lack- if by some chance business owners are reading this, perhaps here is your gap in the market.

1. Shoelaces
Yes, I know this sounds weird but shoelaces are impossible to find. I have a five year old who is a novice at tying laces and somehow always manages to break the aglet of the lace or even the entire lace (yes, at some point in my adult life I discovered that the plastic bit at the end of a shoelace is called an aglet). Has anyone else tried looking for plain black or white shoe laces or kids sized shoelaces generally? I have tried grocery stores, the likes of Clicks and Dischem and even the Chinese places without luck and it seems pointless to buy an entire new shoe when only the lace is damaged.

2. A decent range of trousers for shorter people
I hate having to hem everything that I buy (which usually means that it sits in my cupboard for a year before I get round to sorting it out). The only place I know of with a 'petite' range is Edgars and even their petite trousers still need hemming (and I seldom find anything I like there). I am 1.56 metres tall, which, while definitely on the short end of the spectrum, is certainly not unusual for an adult female. Unrelated, I wish there was some consistency in the way shops size their merchandise- how is it that I am an extra small at one store and a large at another? Or wear size 3 shoes from one place and size 5 from another?

3. Children's Underwear
I have two gripes here- the first being that everywhere only starts children's' underwear with an age 2-3. Now, both my children were drowning in this size by the time they started potty training. Also, I have seen complaints on mommy Facebook groups about the fact that girl's underwear all seems to be a weird shape that cuts into the crotch and I have also found this to be true (except for one brand, which I find very expensive). Whoever it is that makes underwear for little people, please listen to our call.

4. Appropriate children's clothes
In winter this is not as much of a problem but in summer, the range of children's clothing we have had lately is appalling. Children's clothes should be cute and comfortable and not consist purely of crop tops and cheeky shorts. Oh, some variety in boys clothing would be nice too.

5. Halaal Restaurants
While Halaal restaurants in Johannesburg are a dime a dozen, there are a few things the Halaal restaurant market in Johannesburg shorts. The one is decent, upmarket restaurants- the type that you would go to on a special anniversary or to wow an important client. The other thing that would be amazing is a decent child-friendly Halaal restaurant, the likes of Bambanani, Papachinos and such. Finally, some variety in cuisine types would be awesome (for example, proper Korean, Mexican or even proper Chinese food). Restaurant owners, are you listening?

Do you know where to find any of the above? What do you wish that you could find in our local shops? Please pop a comment.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

The Goldfish

The topic of introducing a pet was a hotly contested one in the Jozi WAHM household. See, while we love animals, before we had kids, hubby and I were both always way too busy with our careers and not home often enough to even consider introducing a pet. Then, we had small children to feed, change and keep alive and the thought of introducing another living being that needed to be fed and looked after seemed even more preposterous.

By the time Noodle was about three, she began asking for a pet. After much deliberation, it was decided that we would only get a pet once our little ones were old enough to help caring for one (and once the risk of said creature being accidentally killed by a well meaning toddler had passed). Noodle had an imaginary dog who went everywhere with her. Then she began plotting to get a cat (something which is unlikely to happen as my husband is not particularly fond of cats and we all have slight allergy issues). "We will buy a cat and hide him away in a cage when daddy comes. If he meows, we will make meowing noises and daddy will think it is us." Animal cruelty concerns relating to caged cats aside, this was not going to happen.

Then, a few months ago, the decision was prematurely made for us when well meaning friends gifted us with a goldfish, together with a bowl and a month's supply of food. Before we could object, Noodle had already fallen in love and picked out a name. So the goldfish was here to stay.

Now, I had no clue how to care for a goldfish. Just feed it, right? At least that is what I thought. I immediately consulted my dearest friend Google, while Noodle got on the phone with granddad, who breeds marine fish (which, other than both being aquatic creatures, have little in common). I discovered a wealth of information about goldfish. For example, did you know that the three second memory thing is a myth? They have a short memory span but it is a few months (which to me seems to oddly coincide with their typical lifespan in a bowl surrounded by kids). It turns out that goldfish can live for up to ten years if properly cared for and if not overfed by over-eager children. They also need their water changed daily if in a bowl in order to keep oxygen levels high enough and because they produce a significant amount of poop (which gets stuck between the rocks and shells and is a pain to clean).

Initially, the little ones were super eager about their new pet. They fought over who got to feed it that day and stared at it for hours on end. Noodle decorated his bowl with shells that she found on the beach some time back. Squish's brand of love scared us at first as he was determined to hug fishy and let him share his cot at night. He soon learned what is and what is not acceptable behavior, though for safety reasons, I still have fishy up on a very high counter which Squish cannot reach easily without assistance.

Now, while the goldfish is still much loved, the novelty soon wore off. "This fish is boring" said Noodle. "He is cute and I love him but I can't play with him or even take him for a walk." The fights to feed him have turned to "no, its your turn" and we all know who is left cleaning the fish bowl every second day. While fishy is still alive (which is a good sign) and part of the family now, we have decided that this family is not yet ready for a larger, more serious pet.

Friday, 3 June 2016

I'm Not Going to Write You a Love Post

Yesterday, my dear hubby asked me why Noodle got a special post dedicated to her and he got nothing. The words that started playing in my head were those of that Sara Bareilles song 'I'm not going to write you a love song... coz you asked for it, coz you need one...'.

On the other hand, my husband really is really awesome, he is possibly the sole reader of this blog and today is a special day (he knows why)... so here goes.

Dear Husband

I have known you for a third of my lifetime and yet each day I love you even more than the day before. It sounds cliched but it is true. Sure, it may not be that 'can't keep my hands off you every split second of the day' honeymoon kind of love (because then nothing would ever get done) but something far more real, more enduring and more substantial.

The qualities that drew me to you, that shy certainty, strong sense of direction, patience and humbleness (and smoking good looks that you were oblivious to) have not faded. You have matured over the years though, becoming more assertive and confident. You have become a father and a great one at that.

Am I allowed to add that you have impeccable taste in women? Let's face it, we make a great team. While marriages around us are breaking down, people don't believe us when we tell them that we have never had a proper fight. It's not that we avoid conflict, we have just never needed to. We have faced many challenges together and there is nobody else that I would rather face this journey called life with.
The rest of this post will be continued live... in person.

Jozi Wife

Thursday, 2 June 2016

The Samoosa Boycott

Wait, what? A boycott of samoosas? Who are we protesting against? No, this is not a mass politcal or ideological protest, it is just my immediate family and I boycotting against our own vices and extravagences. 

Next week marks the beginning of the month of Ramadaan, the month where Muslims around the world abstain from all food and drink from sunrise to sunset.

Now, if my Islamic memory of Islamic history serves me correctly, back in the day when the Prophet Mohammed (SAW) broke his fast, a simple meal of dates and water was typical, with perhaps light food thereafter. In contrast, in this day and age, it has become a tradition in many parts of the world, South Africa included, to break ones fast with a vast array of delicious samoosas, pies, spring rolls and all sorts of other- usually deep fried delicacies. Typically, in my home, a main meal or a rich dessert often follows thereafter. 

I have often pondered on how this tradition came about, as to me, it seems to far from the simplicity and modesty that the Muslim religion propagates. I have heard the argument that these foods can be prepared well in advance, eliminating the need to spend hours in the kitchen during the month of Ramadaan and thus leaving more time for prayer during this month. Paradoxically, I still usually find myself spending more time on food preparation in this month than I usually do. I can put together a healthy regular meal in the same amount of time or less than it takes to fry up two or three varieties of frozen savouries (which took many hours to reach the stage where they get stacked in the freezer).

I think the other reason we tend to prepare all these delicacies is that we feel like we have earned it. After a day of no food, we crave all things delicious and want to treat ourselves to all things delectable. However, I do not believe that this month is or should be about rewarding oneself.

This year, we have decided that we will do something revolutionary (okay, perhaps not revolutionary for poverty-stricken Muslims across the world but revolutionary in our circles)- cut out the fried savouries. This was my dear husband's idea but I am more than willing to play along. In previous years, we noticed that after a couple of weeks of too much oily stuff, we noticed the outward physical effects- feeling sluggish and bad skin (not to mention all the damage all that cholesterol must be doing internally). I have even been known to put on weight during Ramadaan! Surely that can't be right? Part of being a Muslim is taking care of the assets left in your trust, which includes looking after your body. So this year, we will for the most part, be preparing the same meals that we usually do during the rest of the year.

As an added bonus, I now have more time on my hands in the weeks preceding Ramadaan. I plan to use it doing fun Ramadaan based crafts with my little ones in the next few days, creating crescent moons and the adorable moon-sighting binoculars that I have seen all over social media. I have seen some great Ramadaan craft ideas all over the internet but I think this post by Gilded Dunya has some that are perfect for the age-group that my children are in.

To my Muslim readers,n early Ramadaan Mubarak. What do you typically eat in Ramadaan? 

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

A Letter to My Five Year Old

Dear Noodle

I know I don't tell you this all the time but I am so proud of the little lady you are growing up to be. I sometimes wish I could keep you little forever but I know that I need to let you go to leave your own unique mark on the world.

You have grown up so much this year. We were afraid of putting you in 'big school' this year as you are the youngest of all your friends but you have met every new challenge with so much of determination. The first few days of school, you were afraid of getting lost and we had to walk you to your classroom. Now, you casually hop out of the car and run off to your friends like you have been doing it all your life! I hear you practicing things that you have been learning even before the rest of the household wakes up. You have figured out how to read basic English sentences all on your own and can even read and write basic Arabic, a language you do not speak! You write your very first exam today. While mommy is a little nervous for you, you are confident and have this one covered!

I know it seems like daddy and I are always shouting you for the little things that you do wrong but it is only because we love you and want what is best for you, always. We also notice the kind things you do for others, like helping your friends or preparing surprises for family members. I see how you protect your little brother around strangers. Even the pretend games you play show good character. Like yesterday, when you and your brother were pretending to be beggars (where on earth did you come up with that game) I was blown away by the kindness and compassion you showed your 'beggar' brother. Or the way you wept when you read the story of Nooh (Noah's) ark as you were saddened by the fact that only two of each animal were allowed on the ark, saying "The rest of the animals were not naughty. Why did they need to suffer?" 

Sometimes, daddy and I get annoyed with you carelessly spilling things or not throwing out all your toys but then all is forgotten when I remember the worst day of my life- the day we almost lost you. You were only five months old when, after a sudden illness, you needed a lifesaving emergency procedure. The angels were watching that day. You had never been sick a day before in your life but was fate that when you got sick that day, you happened to have a paediatric nurse in the room with you. She recognised the symptoms that someone who is not medically trained may have missed and made sure that we got you to an emergency room immediately. That day, I promised to protect you with my life, always and forever and I plan to keep that promise.

Yes, we probably will keep shouting when we need to and we may fight sometimes but I still love you more than you will ever know. I can see so much of potential in you, always the deep, philosophical thinker who dares to ask the questions that others shy away from. Whether you chose to use that potential to save the world (which I truly believe you are capable of) or to just share your light with others, I will always be proud of you. Like daddy always tells you, even when you are fifty years old, you will always be our baby and we will always love you.