Thursday, 17 December 2009

It's raining fluff... one of my kids said the other day in the playground. I'm hoping tomorrow will be a snow day, meaning no school. That would mean an extra day off. The kids have been going a little crazy lately - it being the end of term and all. And I really need a break.

Having said that, the other day during golden time, one of the Year 3 children who had come to do some Art really made my day. I was going round looking at some of the cards the children had made when the message in one of them caught my eye. It read:

To my wonderfull self

I have made a card to me because I love my chuby face. I agmire my cheeks. When I look in the mirer xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

From B :)

(The spelling is all his).

I couldn't help but laugh. How cute is that?

Thursday, 3 December 2009


Places pegs have been found:
1. The bathroom
2. The fireplace
3. Under the sofa
4. Beneath my pillow
5. In the car seat
6. Underneath the tree outside our front door

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Toddling, Pegs and Aeroplanes

For the last couple of weeks, the Boogster would only walk if he had
one of our hands tightly gripped in his own. Woe to anyone who would
let go! Stop and you're subjected to a mini tantrum. He loves walking
so much that it doesn't matter to him if he's falling over with
tiredness, he'd still be determined to walk.

We tried a couple of times to gently let go and he wouldn't have any
of it. He'd sit on his bottom, lean over so his head would almost
touch the floor and start pretend crying. That is until last Saturday.
I let go and he walked not one, not two, not even three but four
shakey steps to his grandad - big grin on his face. And now he's even
trying on his own. Today he kept pulling himself up using the edge of
the sofa and then toddle his way across the sitting room, arms out to
maintain his balance. He even stopped mid-step to turn and veer in
another direction. You would think with all this extra exercise he'd
start sleeping through the night but no. Still no sleeping through the
night for me.

The Boogster has also got some strange fascination for pegs. Wooden
ones to be exact. On his journey through the kitchen he always makes a
pit stop at the peg basket where he'll pick up a peg. If a plastic peg
makes it into his hand it's promptly dropped into the floor and he'll
go fishing for another till he gets a wooden one. Then, peg firmly
gripped in his hand, he'll start walking. Like you mustn't stop
walking unless he stops, you must NOT take the peg away. The boy can
have a peg gripped in his hand for half an hour without letting go!
It's become something like a security blanket. Pegs are scattered

Pegs aren't the only current favourites of the Boogster though. We've
found that every morning he likes to sit on the back of the sofa that
looks out onto the street. From this perch he'll survey the street and
more importantly the sky. He hears it before he sees it sometimes.
When he does, he points to the aeroplane and says "Ooooh ooooh". The
joy on his face is priceless.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Five Second Chilli Chocolate

Five Second Chilli Chocolate

On a not-so-recent trip to Lakeside I was enticed into Hotel Chocolat
by its gorgeous window display. The hubby is a chocoholic and also
wanted to have a "look around." We ended up going for the 3 for £7
deal and I thought I might try the 5 Second Chilli. I have to
admit, the sound of chillies in chocolate didn't sound appetising at
all. I'm not even sure what made me buy a pack. I love chillies (I
have 7 different types of chilli sauces) but chillies in chocolate? It
surely had to be horrible.

I have never been so wrong! Chillies and chocolate - pure genius.
There's just enough in it to leave a little heat in your mouth.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Kabayan Buntis or Pregnant Horse


I was surrounded by four different languages while I was growing up - English, Tagalog, Punjabi and Urdu. When I went to secondary school French was added to that as we had to learn it whilst at school. and then in second year (now called Year 8) we were allowed to choose a second foreign language. I remember the choices being German, Spanish, Italian or Urdu. We were meant to put our first two choices down in order of preference. My first choice, according to my parents, had to be Urdu and that's what got put on the form. I didn't want to learn Urdu. I wanted to learn Spanish. And so, with help enlisted from a friend, she changed the choices so that the first choice was Spanish and the second Urdu. I just told my parents all the places for Urdu had been taken up. I did this for two reasons. The first was because I really did want to learn Spanish and the second was because, at the time, I thought learning Urdu was uncool. How I loved those Spanish classes. In fact, for me, second year at school was much better than the first. I had three lessons I was passionate about: Spanish, Textiles and Steel Band.

Half way through second year, we left for Pakistan. It was such a culture shock for me that as part of my "rebellion" against my parents, I refused to learn Urdu properly (which to this day I cannot speak properly). Anyhow, I digress.

The reason I love languages so much is that each one has it's own beauty, rhythm and idiosyncratic phrases or words. Take the title of my post for example. Literally translated from Tagalog, kabayan buntis means pregnant horse. Ammi says it whenever she drops something or does something she wasn't meant to. It's her way of saying "Oops". I always find it hilarious when I hear her say it because it just doesn't make any sense.

A Spanish friend of mine once saw a very cute guy and said "Es como un queso." Again, literally translated that means he's like cheese. For me, that made complete sense. If you love cheese as much as Spaniards (and myself) do then you'll understand. Another phrase I absolutely adore is "meeti churri" which is Punjabi for sweet knife. It's a way of describing someone who is nice to you and then stabs you in the back. "Awaragardi" I recently learnt is the Urdu word for going about town and enjoying yourself. The list goes on.

The only trouble is with languages is this: so much gets lost in translation.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Almost one

The Boogster will be 1 year old on 5th November. One year old! How time has flown! A while ago I bought a diary so I could note down all the new things he does in it and then give it to him when he turned 21. It still lies with the price tag on it on my bookshelf. I will get around to it one of these days.

One of his teeth has finally made an appearance after months of teething pains, drooling and waking up at night crying (and I forgot to mention the chewing on my face). Its the top one but I think one of the bottom ones is soon to join it. He's taking it quite good naturedly. The Teetha powders help too. A friend suggested Ashton and Parson's powders which I think do the same thing.

He also has a new favourite song. It used to be Kanye West's Amazing which his dad used to play him all the time and he would jig up and down to. Now my mum has him hooked on Nusrat Fateh Ali's Mustt Mustt. I think it's the tablas that get him moving!

Other new things he's started doing: pointing to things he wants and say "Oh, oh", making a beeline for the laptop whenever he sees me or his dad turning it on and then proceeding to find all sorts of shortcuts we didn't know existed and waving bye-bye.

Watching him grow up and learn new things everyday never ceases to amaze me. It's such a pleasure seeing his not-so-toothless grin when he's worked out how to take the lid off the Vaseline tub and other such discoveries. At the moment he's fast asleep snoring. Little baby snores because he has a blocked nose from a cold that he's had. Since this is his first cold, I went out and bought everything I could to make it easier for him - Nasosal saline drops, Olbas Oil, Karvol Vapour rub, a nasal aspirator (which he won't let anywhere near his nose), the works. The only things I found of use were Vaseline (to ease the sore nose) and the Olbas oil. I did this in the beginning too...buying things I thought I would need and then discovered I had no use for. I'll leave that for another post though.

Saturday, 26 September 2009


I love ironing. There's something so therapeutic about it. I just love how creases just smooth away under an iron. Strange thing to love, I know. I think I might ask the hubby to buy me a steam iron.

Nag Nag Nag...

...that is all I seem to do at my class. I've been given a particularly difficult class this year and have been told that they're the kind of class you just cannot relax with. *sigh* They're not a bad bunch though I have had them in a couple of times during break and lunch to "practise" lining up and entering the classroom quietly.

Plus, I don't know what it is. Maybe it's being in a different year group and having been away for so long but I feel so disorganised. I'm slowly getting back on track. Lots of new things to get to grips with.


It was Eid last Sunday and, in our household, Eid is usually uneventful. This Eid, however, Ammi decided she wanted to go for Eid prayers so I took her, the hubby and the Boogster to Palmers Green Mosque. I have not been for Eid prayers before so it was quite an experience. We followed prayers with a walk to the high road to check out the market stalls set up in honour of Car Free Day and then spent the evening at my aunt's where Boogie got to see his cousins. It was an all in all enjoyable experience though I have decided to go the whole nine yards next time i.e. buying a new outfit, bangles and henna. The whole shebang!

Monday, 14 September 2009

The Guilt Trip

I started back at work full time last week. The Boogster, though he stays at home with his Lola and daddy, hasn't taken too kindly to my leaving him. He'll give me the hugest toothless grin he can muster when I get back home and then he transforms from a happy baby to a whiney, whingey one in a bid to give me a guilt trip for abandoning him.

And it works. The little so and so. He has done this without fail for an entire week!

Saturday, 12 September 2009

So true

Here's a quote that will be going in my common-place book:

"Don't make somebody your priority when they only make you an option."

I found it on a friend's Facebook profile page.


I love writing lists. Shopping lists, to do lists, wish lists - any kind of list really. Crossing off items on the list is half the fun. Yes, I'm sad. I know.

Out and about with the Little One

In my pre-mummy days, I used to love wandering up and down Oxford and Regent Street, browsing in shops, darting in between stragglers like all seasoned Londoners do and I always wondered why parents would want to cart around their little ones in often cumbersome looking pushchairs with all the other accompanying paraphernalia that usually accompanied travelling with a baby.

I get it now. I so get it.

You go crazy stuck at home otherwise!

It just never occurred to me before mummyhood. It seemed like a hassle and in the beginning - for me - it was. My hubby is a gem though. He is the one who coaxed me out and I'm so glad he did. He's also the one who looks after the Boogster when we're out and about. My dodging round people days have come to end and now people have to dodge round me. My browsing days are also over but just getting out is enough. We all enjoy it - the Boogster especially.

The getting ready part was also such a pain in the beginning. I was always forgetting something - a bib, baby wipes, sun hat....I've got it all down like a pro now and I can be out of the house in under 10 minutes flat with everything I need (nappies, wipes, food, water, a toy and a muslin cloth). I used to take everything. And I mean everything. Spare change of clothes, extra blanket for just in case, 2 bibs, lotion, camera to take that all important picture. The key is to travel light, especially important if you plan on travelling by tube and need to carry an almost 10kg baby in his pushchair up and down those stairs.

Not too long ago, the three of us went to Portobello Road. For a while I thought we were the only crazy ones to take a baby and pushchair to such a crowded place. That is until I saw a pregnant woman with her hubby and their twins! Now that is brave!

Monday, 31 August 2009

CIO Vs. No Cry


Before I became a mother, I used to hate napping during the day. I always felt like life was passing me by when I napped. So I did it rarely - usually if I had the flu or something. As the Boogster still wakes up at least twice every night, I nap when and where I can.

The Boogster, like I mentioned before, needs to be rocked or breastfed in order to fall asleep. I read that this is what is called a "sleeping-crutch" and that he needs to find a way to fall asleep on his own. I had only been told of the "Crying It Out" (CIO) method where you just let your baby cry himself to sleep. I tried it once, and NEVER again. I always thought it was either that or just suffer the backaches and sleep deprivation rocking Boogster back to sleep until he learnt to sleep on his own.

There seems to be light at the end of the tunnel though. I've come across "The No Cry Sleep Solution", a book by Elizabeth Pantley which I have just ordered from Amazon. I'm hoping it will help! I also came across Baby Center which has an article on the No Tears Method which has given me hope.

Must dash. Boogster is awake and dancing at me from the confines of his cot, with a big smile on his face. Now tell me, how can I let him cry himself to sleep?

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Acquired Tastes

On my 18 and half birthday, a very close friend of mine gave me a copy of U2's Achtung Baby. I remember this very clearly because he also gave another close friend a copy of the soundtrack to The Piano. I remember this for two reasons:

1. I wanted the soundtrack to The Piano.
2. I wanted the soundtrack to The Piano.

He scrawled a note across the sleeve that said: "For your 18 and half birthday, something to remember me by when you are making a pot roast and I have a pot belly." At the time - and I didn't tell him this - I just thought U2 were noise and that Bono couldn't sing. And then one day, after listening to the album for the upteenth time, it dawned on me. U2 were the greatest band on earth!

I had acquired a taste for U2.

Other tastes I have acquired over the years: olives and marmite (separately of course, not together).

And to think, this post came into being because of the crate of Dr. Pepper sitting in the dining room. Why? Well, I always thought it tasted too medicinal. Now, it's actually quite nice when it's chilled and has a couple of ice cubes in it!

Friday, 7 August 2009

Parallel Universes

I've always been fascinated by the idea of parallel universes - the "Sliding Doors" kind where in infinite different worlds, your life follows different routes based on the decisions you did or did not make. What path would my life have taken if I had stayed in Pakistan instead of coming back to go to university? Am I the author I want to be in another universe? The creative artist in yet a different world?

Don't get me wrong. I'm perfectly happy with my life as it is. I just like to escape every now and then into the what-ifs.

Life in the United Kingdom

The hubby is going to have to take the "Life in the UK" test soon in order to apply for his "Indefinite Leave to Remain". This entails reading a book and then taking a 24 MCQ test. Now, my hubby hates to read. The only book he'll pick up is the Argos catalog. That and any other catalogs with lots of pictures of phones, laptops, bicycles etc. So I thought I'd help him out by reading it with him and making notes. We're only on the first chapter and already I've learnt so much about the UK I didn't know (I went to school in Pakistan and so know next to nothing about British history). It's rather interesting seeing as I hated history when I was younger. It's the condensed condensed version of UK history but that's how I like my history. Unless I want to know more, that is.

All I need to do now is get the hubgby to sit with me tomorrow so we can get past the section on the Norman conquest and delve straight into the Middle Ages.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

The Law of Straightness

I was given this card when I was a teaching assistant for a wonderful NQT. She thought my obsession with making sure everything was straight was quite funny.

(Image from

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Rock-a-bye Baby

The Boogster is asleep in my lap after giving me such a hard time trying to get him to sleep. It's not easy rocking a 9 and a half kilo baby to sleep! Now he's asleep in my arms: mouth slightly open; eyes not quite closed and breathing out sweet baby breath.


I love it.

Friday, 17 July 2009


The word "Pakoi" was invented with the help of 6 other Pakoys one summer in Abbottabad. At one time, I thought I was the only Pakoy and knew that couldn't be true. Was I glad to come across someone just like me. And once I found one, I found a whole lot more!

A Pakoi is a half Pakistani-half Filipino (or Pinoy as the Filipinos call themselves). I'm even married to one. Growing up with two different cultures has been such a blessing. Both are so different and yet have some similarities. For the longest time, when I was much younger, my father always told me I was Pakistani. He didn't like it when I showed any interest in anything Filipino. I think for him, being Pakistani was synonymous with being a Muslim and being Filipino was not.

Because it was forced on me, I resisted for a while. I didn't want to be Pakistani. Why couldn't I be Filipino? If being Filipino was so bad, why did my dad marry one? It wasn't till I had lived in Pakistan for 6 years and was moving back to England that I came to terms with my Pakistani side. In effect, my son is a Pakoy too since both of us are. I want him to grow up learning about both cultures. The hubby is lucky in that he can speak both languages. I understand Urdu more that I do Tagalog and always wish Ammi had taught us her language too.

I was once asked by one of the 6 above mentioned Pakoys whether I felt more Pakistani or more Filipino. I think I told her I didn't feel like either. I was wrong. At one point I felt more Pakistani. I look Pakistani, I spent 6 years there and I was told I was. Now though, I feel like both.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Common-place Books

Back at secondary school in Pakistan, we were told by our English teacher that we had to keep a common-place book for our summer holidays homework. We were to read books over the summer and any quotes/descriptions etc that we liked had to be written in our common-place book. This was back in 1993. I still keep a common-place book now. I don't write so much in it now but when I go back to read what I have written in it, I find it reflects the mood I was in at the time and emotions and feelings I was going through.

The Roger Miller quote has gone into my book. It always reminds me the monsoon rains in Pakistan. Another of my favourite quotes is this: Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly (Unknown).

My teacher told me that my common place book would be a "treasure trove in later life". I would most certainly have to agree.

To work or not to work?

My maternity leave is coming to end. I'm not quite sure how I feel about it. On one hand I look forward to getting back to work - I felt so cut off from the rest of the world when maternity leave first started and going back on inset day last Friday completely threw me. On the other hand, I don't want to leave my baby! I wish I could take him to work with me.


I do love my job. I fell into teaching completely by accident. It all started in a little city called Abbottabad. More on that another time though. I'll be having my own class again in September. For now, I'll be helping with the Activity Week for the kids who aren't going to the Isle of Wight.

If I didn't have to work to earn a living though, I might have only gone back to work part time. Having finally comes to grips with the fact I'm a mother, I am enjoying my son more and more. I don't want to miss his first tooth, his first step, his first word. In my perfect world, I would be a stay at home mum who worked perhaps one or two days a week, had time to take silver jewellery making classes (I've always wanted to design/make silver jewellery), make soaps, crochet and knit, write a book AND look after my baby. Not asking for much am I?


Having said all of that, I have timed going back to work so that I only have a week and half before the summer holidays start. The only down side of that is that I'll be going through the whole I-want-to-go-back-to-work-I-don't-want-to-leave-my-baby thing all over again come September.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Teething Problems

The Boogster is teething. And this means he's cranky, clingy and restless. Plus, he chews on his fist, my cheek and even his high chair table - just not on his teether. Bless him. He's having hard time of it at the moment. It can be frustrating for the both us but there are moments of pure joy. Like today for instance. He has this new thing where he scrunches up his face and whinges. His eyes crinkle at the corners, his dimple shows and he lets out a little moan. He was doing this to me while I was feeding him lunch. Enter my brother who then starts making faces back at him. What does the Boogster do? He flashes his a very gummy smile. The kind that goes from ear to ear. Crafty little bum! It's moments like those though that I really enjoy.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Rain, Rain Go Away

Growing up in England with grey skies and lots of rain, rain and more rain made me associate it with boredom. It wasn't till we moved to Pakistan and I went to school in Islamabad that I began to love the rain. Summers would be extremely hot. Coupled with bouts of electricity cuts, summers would be unbearable. That's when you would wait eagerly for the monsoon rains. Big, fat, juicy drops of rain that fell so hard, so fast. Beautiful. One of my best friends - Kinoo - and I would walk around the school building, watching the grey skies and the clouds, wishing it to rain. And when it did, we'd still be out there walking round the school while everyone else would be inside shaking their heads at us crazy girls. It was Kinoo who planted the love for rain in me. I've loved it ever since. Even the rain back here in London.

I was given a magnet which has the following quote by Roger Miller on it: Some people walk in the rain; others just get wet. Kinoo, this post is for you. I think of you every time the rain falls. I miss our walks in the rain. Maybe next time I'm in Islambad we can go crazy again!

Friday, 19 June 2009

Filipino Street Food

I miss Filipino street food. We visited the Philippines last year over the summer before Lil Dude was born. Despite warnings that the food might give me "Dehli" belly, I had to sample the various treats on offer. We didn't even have to move from our seats on the front porch. We would be ready with our bowls, money in hand, waiting on the Taho man to come walking by yelling "Taaaaho! Taaaaho!" Ammi, my mum, would call his attention in tagalog and we'd find ourselves with bowls of steaming hot taho (it's like sweet tofu served with syrup and tapioca). Other times we'd have sweet corn served with dessicated coconut (I forget what it's called) and my favourite would be the quail eggs fried in batter that you dipped in different types of vinegar. That last one would always go down realy nicely with a cool glass of gulaman. Yum. I can't wait to take the Boogster to the Philippines and have him try out Filipino street food.