Friday, 29 May 2015

Smile



I woke up to a super sweet text from my best friend (this happens once in a blue moon), and it left me with a smile.

So go and be the reason some one smiles today. :)

Photo by Kim L.

From The Heart


I've learnt a lot about friendship, mostly through my own of course, and also through observing other peoples relationships. If I think about mine, I know for a fact that I have truly been blessed with amazing friends who have become more like family, and a ridiculously cool family that feel a lot like friends when we hang out.

So there's a surah from the Quran that I think we all know, and usually recite in our solat because it also happens to be one of the shorter ones, hehee. Al-Asr has always been associated with the topic of time and the loss of it, but looking further into the longest part of this surah, I wanted to share the last ayat as it touches on a major part of friendship; not to be afraid to offer and accept advise from one another, so that we always make decisions that will bring us closer to Him and not further away.

'...Except those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth (i.e encourage and remind one another to do all sorts of good deeds and to stay clear of the bad) which Allah has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which Allah has forbidden, and recommend one another to patience (for any tests, sufferings, or injury which we may have encountered in Allah's path).'

Al-Asr : 3

See offering advice to a friend or family can often be quite tricky because it may come across as you being self-righteous or judgmental, and the person receiving it usually gets defensive instantly. I have been on both sides. In the past I've held back from saying something to a friend out of the fear of her thinking I'm judging her, and I've ended up in a disagreement with a friend and family when I was offered advice because I took it the wrong way. I failed to see that their words were coming from a genuine place in their heart.

After years and years of reciting this ayat, I finally listened to its explanation, and it's given me so much clarity on such a big part of friendship in our faith. Allah reminds us that we should always be there for each other, and not be afraid to pull each other aside and say hey look I think something's not right here. Not to judge, but because you genuinely care for them. I think that's really important that the friend or person you are offering advice to, knows that it is coming from a place of genuine love and care for them. But here's when a little bit of wisdom needs to kick in. Speak to someone at the right time and environment, with the correct usage of words and to take time to understand the reason why they are in that particular situation in the first place. Remind them first that you love them, always. (although, this might be a bit tricky for men to men, haha, I don't know how bro's do it, perhaps a pat on the back or fist bump first. get creative)

And when you receive a piece of reminder or advice from someone too, to not put on your defense mode, but to listen to it with an open heart and a positive mind. Truth is, they wouldn't have taken the time to speak to you if they didn't care for you in the first place. This is one of the reasons why I love my faith so much. This ayat makes it clear that we weren't put on this earth to live it alone. We need each other. We live together. We remind each other.

May Allah swt keep us in the company of true friends and a loving family who will always be there to catch us and remind us to choose the path that is closer to Him. :)

Have a lovely weekend ahead guys!

Thursday, 28 May 2015

A Little Light



Alhamdulillah we've finally settled into our new work space for Gateauxlicious! The garden outside is blooming with flowers and fresh herbs, a clean white space for clarity and a lot of light from above for inspiration.

Hope you guys have had a productive week and excited to see another weekend! :)

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Rottnest Island




I shall forever remember this day as the day I cried myself to sleep (I'm laughing at myself now but that day, it was serious).

Let's rewind a little. Back when I studied here, in high school, all the kids would take a ferry to Rottnest Island with their friends to hangout, admire the beauty that is here...and get wasted (if you don't know what that means, then good). So I never made it there with them. But I heard all about their good times there, saw hundreds of pictures, and when my college friends went, they told me all about their unforgettable bike ride around this little gem of an island.

When I went back to visit Perth a few weeks ago, spending a relaxing day, cycling around Rottnest Island was something I definitely wanted to do. So the minute we arrived on the island, we went straight to the bicycle rental hut and were on our way. I was so excited to finally be there I couldn't stop smiling! Little did I know, I had agreed to a 20km bike route. Just a year and a half ago I didn't even know how to cycle. So this is me being all ambitious, hahaa. Every few kilometers, we would stop and just take in the beauty that Allah put on this earth. That was all good, but, when we were closing in at 10km, I could feel my legs aching like crazy and my muscles cursing me real good. But I looked back at my mum (who is turning sixty this year), and she was still paddling okay so I told my thighs to shush it and soldier on. At this point, every time we had to cycle up hill, I got off my bike and walked with it instead, hahaa.

By the end of the day, when we got home, I didn't want to move my legs even an inch, but a shower was necessary so I had to. My muscles were aching so bad it felt like a knife stabbing through it (or at least that's how I imagine it would feel). When I finally crawled into bed, I was alternating between laughing at myself and bursting out in tears because I just couldn't find a comfortable position to sleep in. The more I moved, the more it hurt, and I so went to bed with tears in my eyes and said to myself I'm never cycling again!

That was clearly just my muscles talking because I actually now really enjoy cycling and I'm on the hunt for the perfect one with a basket. I learnt something that day and that I was just not fit anymore! I can't make excuses that I'm too busy to put aside time to exercise. This body I have on loan from Allah needs to be given some attention too, and I guess that's one of my struggles in finding that balance in my ever day routine.

Anyway, I have to say subhanaAllah this was one of the most beautiful days I've spent outside. We looked up to the majestic sky, had the cool breeze brush our cheeks, dipped our feet in the most pristine cool blue waters and a had in front of us, the most picturesque sight. I'd do that day all over again if I could, tears and all, hehee. :)

Happy mid-week every one!

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Grasping Gratitude


I woke up today feeling really inspired by the people in my life. Through their lives, I've realized that being grateful has little to do with just saying Alhamdulillah (all praise and thanks to Allah). Gratefulness is an attitude, a lifestyle. 

Ever day one of my sister wakes up to a hectic house of three children and another in her belly (without any helper I must add) and goes about her day playing with them, and happily cooking and cleaning too. A close friend that has a very very demanding work schedule with kids too, having to deal with major problems just about everyday. A relative that struggles to make ends meet after losing her husband. And a friend that is being tested with losing her baby and not being able to conceive still. These are just a few of them. Sure they have some down days, where the tiredness, stress or sadness kicks in, but it's their ability to look at the bright side of life, in their dealings with others and in their day to day speech that you can see positivity and that sense of gratefulness regardless of anything.

'Remember that He promised, "If you are thankful, I will give you more, but if you are thankless...
My punishment is indeed severe.'

Ibrahim : 7

I truly love this simple ayat which is actually an extract from Prophet Musa's (peace be upon him) sermon to his people after going through such a heavy test in their life. Allah reminds us that even if you showed just a little bit of gratitude and thankfulness, He will increase and increase and increase us in our life. And if you notice in this ayat, Allah didn't say specifically grateful to Him. He left it open as a way to tell us that our gratitude should be to everyone around us, our parents, friends, spouse, colleagues, employer, or anyone who have helped or impacted our lives in any way. Do something nice or say thanks to them when you can. Then, Allah swears to us that He will in return (because we were able to always find something to be grateful for), give us so so much more in our life; perhaps in us in our faith, wealth, success, knowledge, wisdom, happiness, children, the possibilities are endless. If it's beneficial for us, Allah will gift us with much more of it, don't you worry.

I really hope that Allah swt makes you and I of those who are constantly in thanks and gratitude to not only Him, but everyone that has inspired us and shown us how to live genuinely happy and to be thankful in this short life that isn't always picture perfect...though they make it seem like it is. Life really isn't always peachy like how we want, but they've shown me that there's always more to say thanks for. So here's to living that lifestyle of gratitude! :)


Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Art Decor


Good morning! I'm so glad I finally found the pictures I had saved of this cake from last year. Out of all the cakes I've been asked to create, this is by far my favourite one. It was ordered for a local fashion and interior designer here whose work always exudes class and simplicity, so I tried to translate that in the balance of these clean structured lines and delicate ruffles.




Have a lovely day ahead! :)

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Red In The City


dUCk scarf / Love To Dress dress

Someone wise told me, if your dreams don't scare you, then they're not big enough. Alright, that someone was actually a poster on Pinterest, hahaa, but it struck a chord in me. 

About two and a half years ago, I started this blog and in my first entry under occupation, I shared with you guys that I was a cake decorator (still am alhamdulillah!) and that one day I'd like to still live my dream of being a designer. And, by God's mercy and love for me, knowing that this was my one true passion, He brought me to where I am today, the designer for Love To Dress. My sister who created this beautiful company has big plans for it and end of last year after much thought and prayers, I decided I was ready to join it. This is where I want to invest my time and creativity. 

I was on the floor of my bedroom the other day sitting on a mess of paper and fabric samples when one of my friends walked in the room. She looked at me and said, 'I can't believe you're finally doing this. Remember when you used to sketch dresses with slits up to our thighs. And you also wanted to design bikinis. What were you thinking? hahaa.' Hahahaa, okay now it's clear why God made so many hurdles for me to pursue my dream at a younger age. Anyway, that was the day I was choosing colours for the new Basic Fatihah I'm wearing here and I had an itch to choose a colour other than our favourite neutral shades and black. So I took a risk and chose this shade of red, something I usually wouldn't wear, but for some reason I was drawn to it. 

Fast forward to a month later, I visited the factory to check up on these samples and when I saw this red dress hanging beside the black and baby pinks, I smacked my head and thought I was crazy to pick this colour and who on earth is going to wear this. Well, what do you know? I guess I'm one of those crazies because after slipping it on, in disbelief myself, I chose this over the black one. (I never choose any colour above black you can ask my friends) But I felt comfortable in it, like it was just right.

So on my last day in Perth last week, I wore this red number down King Street with my close friend, and reminisced the care free Sunday's we used to spend there. This place hadn't changed a bit and perhaps that's what I love about coming back here; its undeniable familiarity. I'm a creature of comfort, but I realized I've also come a really really long way from my college days and have taken some tiny risks. I've dipped my toes in my dreams and living it bit by bit, by the will of Allah. I'm a little scared, but apparently, that's a good thing. ;)

May Allah swt guide us to where our true passion lies and let that be our means of livelihood because work that comes from the heart comes out much beautifully.

Photos by Nurul Fariza