Thursday, 14 June 2018

Wrapping up Ramadaan with a Repurposed outfit

Hi Readers,
Eid is literally on our doorstep and while everyone is rushing about getting Eid outfits ready, ordering food, cake and preparing Eid gifts, let's remember the underprivileged in our haze of preparation. Some are unable to spend on new clothes for Eid and just a clean, decent outfit will do. Some are unable to go to the shops and buy a vast leg of lamb, or bake endless amounts of biscuits or order pretty desserts. This month is one in which we do more (than usual) in the way of charity, and in our abstinence comes compassion and empathy for those less privileged.

This is a message which I frequently highlight with my kids, more so during Ramadaan. Along with my introspection and focus on self growth, I consciously keep the underprivileged in my thoughts and deeds. The beauty of fasting heightens the senses, clears the mind and I become very aware of what is priority. The last ten days of Ramadaan very quickly becomes a frenzied rush to the end, when all I want to do is slowly approach the culmination, revelling in this time. The month flashes by so quickly, that I am always acutely aware of making the most of my time. 

As I reflect on my intentions for this month, I am happy to say that despite the limited time and a crazy work schedule, I managed to complete most of my planned ibadah. I also feel as if my inner work has been fruitful... so for me an overall successful and wonderful Ramadaan. Algamdulilah ♥️
I spent minimal time shopping this month, except for one day with my firstborn for two hours, and when I wasn't working, the time was spent at home with my family. It was with this in mind that I started posting all my previous Eid outfits as inspiration to repurpose pre-loved outfits. 

Repurposing an outfit, with new accessories, or wearing it in a different way, saves time, money and a whole lot of stressing! Change it up with a different scarf, add some texture with faux fur stole or neck wrap or throw a kimono over it! The trick is when buying anything, consider all the options of wearing them, even changing them up for a different season is a great idea, if layered correctly. 

A fellow blogger and friend, Namreen, and I decided to shoot an Eid look where I've shopped my closet. I'm hoping that it would demonstrate how easy it is to put together an outfit with existing classic pieces from the closet. I've worn this kimono before, but with a long lace dress resulting in a different look. It's been a few months since I bought it and brings in the trendy feel with the dramatic embellished sleeve. All other pieces have been in my wardrobe for some time, this time a silk dress and gold pants make the outfit a bit more dressed up for a simple, elegant ensemble.

Outfit Details:

Bodhisattva silk dress
Huemine Image gold pants
Gold belt old (can't remember)
Haya Collective Kimono
Guess heels
Forever New Pearl embellished bag
Scarf LV Old
Earrings (Old)
Stocking (Old)

Ciao for now, 
RuBe xoxo

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Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Hajj Part 1 - Departure for Mina

Asalaamu Alaykum readers, 

It is with a hollow feeling in my stomach that I write this post, it's reminiscent of a loss, of a feeling of grief; but it is actually an intense yearning coupled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I have kept my Hajj post for the last days of the Ramadaan, as I seem to be reliving it more and more as the month draws to a close. I reflect back on my Hajj, on those long awaited 5 days and can say that I am content that I experienced the most magnificent pilgrimage. Those days on Mina were the highlight of my life, spent on a mattress in a tent with 50 other women, Algamdulilah! 

We moved out of central Makkah on the 4th Thul Hijj and relocated to Azzizziyah. I had heard so many horror stories of Azzizziyah, and yet I tried not to have any expectations and accept whatever the situation was with grace. When we arrived, I was only taken aback by the dustiness of the place, yes it was basic (but then again anything would be basic after a 5 star hotel). All I needed to do to make the place comfortable was to clean, place my musallahs on the tiled floor, and it was transformed into my home for the next 4 days. These 4 days leading up to Hajj was so necessary for me, it helped me to disengage from the Ka'bah and focus on my Hajj. I could now prepare for the most important 5 days of life, my sacred dialogue with my creator. And during this time I also detached from the material world and the family back home (there was no wi-fi so we were in contact intermittently), the move to Azziziyah was therefore a blessing. It was a quiet time, spent in thikr, group talks and also a bit of shopping for food (for our when we returned on Eid morning).

The morning we left for Mina we gathered in the communal salaah area of our accommodation before Fajr,  Wednesday, 8th Thul Hijj. All dressed in ihraam, a bag packed for next 3 days (I packed some light snacks, surahs, duahs, my hajj journal, bathroom bag, change of underwear, scarf and leggings). And we made our nieyah to enter into ihraam as a group. Then we waited for the go-ahead to walk to the main road to board the bus which would take us to Mina. This only happened after about 2 hours, and even though Mina was literally a 15- 20minute walk from our building, the bus ride was over an hour long. I was all keyed up, a ball of nerves and emotion as THE day had finally arrived. Firstly I was so thankful that I was in good health, apart from the devastation of the night before when I got my period...Yes, it happened, despite taking meds, and timing myself... the dreaded 'curse' had arrived. And I felt deflated, as if I had lost something so momentous; and yet after sitting in absolute despair for a while, I listened to our spiritual leader address the issue. I had attended his hajj classes, and I had heard everything he was saying many times before in his class, and this time his words hit home. Like everything else, my ghayd comes from Allah (SWT) and if I were to be so unhappy about it, then I was discontent with has been decreed. This moment was a complete turnaround for me, I had to believe that my Hajj was destined to happen in a certain way, and this was it. I focused on readjusting my mindset, and after throwing all my expectations of how I thought my Hajj was to be out the window,  I embraced this little bump in the road with gratitude.

This was merely a trial, a test for me, and I could not let my dissatisfaction with a natural occurrence ruin my Hajj experience. I sat down with my spiritual programme and reworked it slightly. Apart from the discomfort, and physical pain, there was still lots I was able to do. Thikr, duah, reciting from surahs and quiet contemplation. I could not perform salaah nor would I be able to perform my Tawaful Ifaldah, and I accepted that this is what has been decreed. It was a tangible reminder that I do not control my body, even though modern medicine fooled me into thinking I could control my cycle. Everything in this world is decreed by the Grace of the Almighty, and what I may have thought of as a 'curse' initially was an important lesson in Tawakkul. I became acutely aware that my very existence and presence on Mina is by the Mercy of my Creator, and being His invited guest is more than I could ever ask for. My entire journey leading up to this point had been filled with lessons and trials (which I ultimately regarded as blessings), and my Hajj would be no different.

And as I sat on the bus, weaving its way slowly, amongst many many buses carting hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to gather on Mina, I made the decision to welcome anything that came my way these next few days. I was faced with a decision: I could make my one and only Fard Hajj unpleasant by lamenting my fate, or embrace it and make my Hajj the most beautiful experience I could ever have imagined, regardless of my physical state. We arrived at our designated camp on Mina, which was almost at the border of Musdalifah, so it was the furthest camp. The mens and womens tents for our tour group were next to each other, accommodating about 50 women on small mattresses. This was my space for the next few days, my spot for contemplation, reading, duah and thikr. And it is still the most extraordinary part of my journey.
I have been told some stories about the bathroom facilities on Mina, and to prepare myself my bathroom bag was equipped (read that post here about what I packed). This too was one aspect where I was determined would not be a stumbling block and that this would not deter my focus. So I managed the bathrooms with ease, even in my state where I needed to use the loo constantly. We were to spend the 5 waqts on Mina before departing for Arafah the following day. For me this time was the most memorable, it was the start of the long awaited days of Hajj. I was on a constant high, buzzing on a frequency which made sleep impossible. I was too afraid of missing out on this most precious. Seeing all the hujaaj from all over the world, donned in the same garb, assembling on this vast land of tents for the same purpose, was a privilege and an unforgettable experience. There is no better picture, nor experience to affirm the oneness of humanity, the oneness of Islam and how far our beautiful Deen extends.

My message to 1439 Hujaaj is to grab every step of this journey with both hands, savour every moment, even the difficult times. Hajj starts at home, and with the Ramadaan coming to a close, you will be engulfed in hajj preparations for the next few weeks. Enjoy it, embrace it for it will be deposited in the memory banks forever, and resurface at any time as if it had occuered just yesterday. 

My next post will cover Arafah, Musdalifah, pelting Aqabah and the Tawaful Ifaldah...

The sign which marks the boundary of Mina

Tents and tents and more tents! This is Mina as viewed from the bridge- we were taken on an orientation
walkabout by our operator the night before we were due to leave.

The mattresses have pillows and blankets when you arrive 

The bathroom  
The shower just above the eastern loo

Our camp was number 21 and was fenced off

Ciao for now, 
RuBe xoox
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Friday, 1 June 2018

Following Destiny to Opulence

Asalaamu Alaykum and Welcome Readers!

My regular readers will know that Ramadaan is a month of renewal for me, on many fronts. I usually start new projects, embark on new educational ventures and really step it up a notch on my personal development and growth. It is therefore so synchronistic to be featuring a fellow eternal scholar and busy entrepeneur in todays post.

I have written about Fadwa Cozyn in the context of her Mobile Therapies business and how she inspired me during her Bucket List Workshop (read that post here), however, this time I am so moved by her passion for opulence, in all forms. The word opulence denotes wealth, richness and luxuriousness, which is embodied by Fadwa, not in the traditional way, but in her warmth, energy and spirit. It is therefore no coincidence that I was drawn to this venture, as I too am a likeminded soul with a penchant for beauty and luxuriousness, which is precisely what her her brand, Opulence, represents. 

As a little girl Fadwa envisioned her designs on catwalks across the world, following this dream by enrolling at and graduating from the Elizabeth Galloway Academy Fashion in Stellenbosch. In 2005, whilst assisting her dad in his business, she heard a voice which said she should be a reflexologist. Unsure of what it was, she opened the Yellow Pages, called a number and followed this journey without question. It led her to Durban, Pretoria and right back to Cape Town where she graduated from the Cape Institute for Allied Health Studies. Since 2007, Fadwa has been practising as a qualified Specialised Kinesiologist and offers the following through Mobile Therapies: reflexology, massage therapy and manual lymphatic drainage. She also specialises in the following: life coaching, NLP practitioner, Kinesiology and is a dynamic motivational speaker. She has travelled extensively and has presented workshops abroad including doing physical body work in Turkey & India. Needless to say Fadwa has an extensive list of qualifications in this arena, as well as notable achievements, such as being a regular guest on Voice of the Cape Radio and Channel Islam International. 

Fadwa and I connected partly over fashion, with a shared love for silks, leather and unique pieces. She has an innate intelligence for opulent fabrics which she attributes to her royal ancestry and rich heritage. Her roots can be traced back to Java royalty which still runs through her genetic system and referencing. Her paternal great grandfather was a wealthy gentleman who owned vast strawberry fields in Constantia, as well as extensive vineyards while being a prestigious grape exporter. With just a peek into what makes Fadwa tick, is to understand that opulence is in her blood. 
And so, I believe the birth of her new business, Opulence is in line with her destiny. A brand which retails unique pieces in limited quantities, manufactured in luxurious silks, leathers, jewel-toned colours and sporting rich embroidery. The feel is a fusion of grandeur and everyday resplendence. Opulence has it's official launch on Sunday, 3rd June at the Peninsula Hotel, 10am-4pm.

In this lookpost I am wearing a 100% silk quilted jacket (reversible side has cotton quilting), a silk printed scarf and black leather clutch, all available from Opulence. This could be a perfect look for Eid, pair the jacket with jeans and sneakers and you're all set for a casual night out. I am a big fan of classic pieces which won't date easily, which is exactly what you'd find at Opulence!

Outfit Details:
Jacket, scarf and bag from Opulence
Witchery glitter top
Trenery pants
Lovisa necklace
Schutz heels

Caio for now,
RuBe xoxo

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