Thursday, 10 December 2020

Celebrating a Quarter Century

 Welcome back readers!

Today's post is in honour of my 25th Wedding Anniversary... Jeez, when I say it out loud or see it on paper, it seems like a lifetime, or the age of adult (which it is). And yet, in reality I feel as if the years have gone by in a flash. I can remember the emotions of my wedding, what transpired on the day and even the howling gale force South Easter whipping around me. The dreams I had when we started out are still fresh in my mind, ever present as a reminder of where we started out. I love weddings, they are so nostalgic with a heady energy of new beginnings like a heavy fog in the air.

25 YEARS! 😲

It's been 25 years of friendship, being housemates, co-parenting, travel buddies, shopping buddies and, most importantly: holding a safe space for each other. Without this it would have been near impossible to navigate rocky marital waters. Without our safe haven, we may have foundered and found ourselves stranded, in very different parts of our lives. This safe space allows us to be ourselves authentically, to state our truths without reprimand or fear of persecution. We married young, and grew into adults alongside each other, bearing witness to the trials that this comes with; we've each had a front row seat to the harsh rites of passage of becoming the best version of self. And will be working at it constantly... 

There's a saying: ' A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other." - Unknown

I've struck out the 'perfect' as no marriage is perfect, it is just right for those in the partnership. There will always be ups and downs, as a marriage embodies two individuals coming together to share one life. Values may be different, ideals may be different and personalities, for sure, are different. Finding a way of living together, knowing that this is challenge; and acknowledging that as individuals we are all imperfect, is the starting line. Words like communication, honesty, compromise, understanding and honour should be standards on which the union is based and not just words bandied about. For me these standards emanate from the heart; and with empathy and love, sets the tone for a flourishing relationship.

2020 has surely tested every relationship on earth, and we have weathered this time with grace; and the fact that we each know the other pretty well, went a long way in fostering harmonious 24 hour co-habitation. This year has highlighted my blessings more than ever, and my co-pilot and life partner is one Godsend which I am immensely grateful for. I am humbled and thankful that the Almighty has chosen someone so perfect for me, there is no other way to explain his presence in my life other than as a Divine gift. And from that gifted union, I am fortunate to have 3 young men in my charge, Algamdulilah. These are my blessings, my army of angels who have been an anchor and support to me during the trials of this year.

 Ghaalid, my love:

I sit in wonder at the perfectness of Divine Design.

Our union is a special gift, 

One which we're obligated to cherish, nurture and protect.

There have been many crossroads along the way, 

And we may at times have found ourselves moving along different paths.

And yet, our Divinely guided paths, as destined, cross again, 

To learn, to be humbled, to be reminded of the beauty of our partnership. 

All around us a storm may be raging, 

With the occasional gale force knocking us off course.

We may flounder for a bit, 

We may sit in anger for a while, 

We may feel adrift without the co-ordinates of where we want to be. 

However, fated to navigate our way back on course, 

With work, understanding and truth we start charting our journey together.

Three young crew members as our ever present audience, 

These young minds which absorb every relationship ebb and flow with vigour.

They learn by watching, by sensing and navigate through intuition.

I trust this will translate into their own co-ordinates for their future paths. 

I am in wonder of Divine Guidance, 

I am in awe of Divine Providence,

I am in gratitude of this Divine Gift,

I marvel at the Divine miracles around me each and every day.

One of which is this marriage of 25 years

Algamdulilah   ♥️

May we be blessed with many more InshaAllah, Happy Silver Anniversary!!!

PS: This has been a year of very few photos ... Definitely due for a family shoot.

Ciao for now,
RuBe xoxo


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Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Welcoming 2020 December

Hi readers, 

It is with great disbelief that I welcome December. I feel as if 2020 had been placed on pause somewhere around the beginning of March. I returned from my last trip abroad on 28 February, straight into planning for my next trip in mid-March. However, as I travelled through Mauritius during that last week of February, I watched the international news in horror. At that point, Italy was starting its steep trajectory, an entire hotel in the UK had been locked down and quarantined, and as travelers, we were  subjected to several health checks at the airport. Looking back, it became clear that those incidences were just a precursor to something I could never have imagined possible, a total lockdown for the entire globe. It heralded the start of something straight out of a sci-fi or apocalyptic movie: empty streets, empty airports, grounded planes and isolated, shut off continents and islands. 

People retreated into their homes, some glued to the grim news reports on television; others just trying to make sense of a warped reality. And even while it was happening, I had the slightest belief that we would recover and that within 6  months or so, we would start emerging from this horror. Well here we are, 9 months later and in the midst of a resurgence, praying that we do not fall victim to the second wave which has the majority of the northern hemisphere in a deathlike vice grip. There are moments when a semblance of normalcy rears its head, like a visit with family members or dinner with friends. And swiftly, I am reminded of our current circumstances, as I instinctively feel the need to sanitise, or need to pull the mask back up after eating. I have never before minded crowds, now I try and avoid it like the plague, as I am constantly mindful of being a 'carrier' when engaging when older and more vulnerable members of our community. Prior to the pandemic, I always had sanitising hand wipes in my bag, waterless sanitiser and I would not just touch surfaces as a general rule. I am therefore no stranger to sanitisation, in fact its a norm (for my own protection), however the possibility of contracting the virus and being asymptomatic, and then infecting others, is my biggest fear. 

We are now approaching the end of what can only described as an unspeakable year, and I have never been as happy to see the end of exams as this year. I feel as if this is a major achievement for this year, as schooling has really been one of the most affected areas. Being able to complete the school year and write exams (in whatever shape or form) is an accomplishment indeed. My youngest has missed the social engagements and he has mourned the loss of his soccer training and matches; especially since he suffered a bone break at the beginning of the year and was still recovering when lockdown hit. During lockdown we spent 24 hours a day with our families, confined to the four walls of our homes; trying to remain positive and sane. My young adult sons weathered online university like troopers; the eldest completing his final postgrad and my middle pushing through second year. I cannot imagine the isolation they must have felt; attending campus is more than just an educational experience for them; it is also the place to engage with friends, develop long lasting friendships and provide and find peer support. More than anything, having lost their social engagements with peers affected them way more than having to continue their learning online. Now friendships were being reduced to video calls, birthday wishes being sent via voice notes and milestones celebrated virtually (even a graduation ceremonies). 

This year has taught me what is truly important, how critical it is to live my purpose and to trust in Divine guidance. Everything I had planned for this year went out the window, and at first it totally threw me off course. By nature I am a solutionist, I am best at strategising and finding new ways forward; and for a while, I operated in survival mode. There was no solution, no alternative, no strategy that would work for our current situation, and I had to dig deep to arrive at a place where that was ok. I had to do some heavy inner work, introspect and find the place that would allow me to surrender even further to the Divine. I am strong in my faith, and yet this pandemic has unearthed another layer. It has brought about a humility coupled with immense gratitude for the privilege of just being me, each and every day. I have uncovered a depth of strength within, which has been highlighted by the trials faced during this time. It wasn't pretty, and I am thankful to my family for rallying during what seems like a nightmarish year. We have been supportive with each other, with the usual disagreements; but each member of the family has had to practise compromise, kindness, patience and tolerance toward the others. This applied to sibling relationships, parent-child relationships and marital relationships; with the understanding that this situation is not a walk in the park, for any one of us. And whilst we are not out of lockdown yet, we have emerged from the past 9 months in good shape and with a renewed mutual respect. 

It is therefore understandable that as lockdown regulations were relaxed, people rushed to find some normalcy. I really missed my nearest and dearest, but even as lockdown relaxed, I am not yet engaging and visiting as often as I would like. It is still crucial to maintain our safety measures, and follow COVID protocols, as nothing has really changed. The virus is still transmitted in the same way, people are still dying and we still need to adhere to protocols. In fact, other parts of the world are still living in 'military states' with curfews and stringent lockdown laws in place. It is therefore incumbent upon each of us to remain responsible, to monitor ourselves and in need refrain from social engagements, to protect others more than just ourselves.

I have not shopped much recently, but in the hope of spreading the love wanted share the pieces sent to me by iera Designs, (Islamic Era Designs), a new modest clothing line. The ladies behind the business are passionate about hijab, beautiful pieces, quality and would like to make it accessible to all. My favourite piece is this beautiful marble print dress, which can be dressed up or down. It's lightweight and the fabric drapes beautifully, creating a modest silhouette. I felt comfortable, elegant and completely at ease while wearing this stunning piece. I have paired it with a light silkblend scarf from Rana Scarves which is  perfect for those sweltering Summer days.


Outfit Details:
iera Designs dress
Rana Scarves silkblend scarf
Mimco Crochet bag
Forever New Heels

Caio for now,
RuBe xoxo

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Sunday, 18 October 2020

Emerging from Lockdown

Hey lovelies!

It's sure been a while since I last 'put pen to paper' to share some thoughts. To be honest, during lockdown my inspiration felt low, there really wasn't much that I wanted to say. I took a break from social media and found that it helped to cut down on some platforms which felt overwhelmingly toxic. It felt as if the emotions, uncertainty and confusion were all over the social media platforms, running amok in posts, comments and subtexts. These past few months have really required me to go inward, and take the time to examine what this pandemic has meant to me. And while I was immensely grateful and mindful for all of my blessings, there were some dark moments, some tearful moments, some Aha! moments and some deep thought provoking moments. 

For me, it was a time to evaluate and assess what I wanted to expend my energy on and who I wanted to share my energy with. During this time, it became increasingly clear what I needed to do for myself, for my family and for business.  I have undergone several fundamental shifts in my mindset, prompted by the enforced solitude and deep introspection. I awoke every day, with an abundance of gratitude, to my Creator for granting me another day to serve HIM. While around me I heard of new infections every day, close family members and friends losing the fight against the pandemic with loved ones in mourning; I was more aware than ever that every day was a gift. It became crystal clear how we take our health for granted; and how this crazy time has highlighted the importance of our well-being. The impact that all the sudden fatalities had on me was that I realised how blessed I am to be loved, to have loved ones around and to be able to spend time with them. 

All the other stuff, although still important, was secondary. Even as our business ground to a sudden halt, with a very slow recovery envisioned, what is evident was that as mere mortals we are in control of nothing. In this realisation, there is no other alternative but to turn to our faith and rely on Divine Guidance, which the noise of the world drowns out. This time of quiet, where the entire world was forced into isolation for an extended period of time, showed us more than anything, that complete submission to the Divine was the only way to overcome this. Without warning, the global village found itself fighting the same invisible enemy, with no cure in the immediate future. Economies stood still, airlines were grounded and food and shelter became the most important commodities. We found ourselves longing for the simple things, which lockdown restricted. Being able to experience the sea air, take a walk in nature, take the kids to the park and visiting our loved became luxuries we hoped for . 

Life was in limbo and governments dictated our movements, national curfews implemented forced the youth to spend evenings at home with their families. Kids started yearning to be back at school, to have a conversation with a friend, to complete their school work outside of the home environment; and people appreciated their jobs as others found themselves out of work. For every person, the perspective on life has been altered forever. 
As we emerge from a full national lockdown, into a 'new normal', we turn to the small things to bring back a sense of balance. For me the first thing I wanted to do was inhale the sea air and just sit back and watch the waves. I take pleasure in observing the wonders and beauty of nature, which had been denied to me for months. Being able to go out for a meal (not cooked by me) is a treat, and catching up with a friend/family member in person is a cherished moment. The person who went into lockdown is not the same person who emerged from the cocoon to Level 1. Priorities have been re-organised, my daily gratitude practices have been integrated, I understand my value and will walk on my path keeping this knowledge close. I am mindful of the greatest gift I have been bestowed and that is the blessing of being uniquely ME. There is no other version of me in the entire universe, and nobody can be me, nor do what I what I am predestined to do. My Divine purpose is to embrace the entirety of my being, and as I emerge from lockdown, this will remain my biggest priority.

These are my post-lockdown images. During lockdown, I made a conscious decision not to purchase any clothing, accessories or shoes, as I wanted to experiment with what was in my closet. I have to admit that it barely affected me. While everyone was purchasing loungewear, I was unearthing my sweats and keeping some outfits on rotation for Zoom sessions and the occasional trip to the store. Therefore my lookpost below features some oldies from the closet and a pair of sneakers thrifted from my son, which he outgrew. I have combined sweats with a dressy skirt for a bit of a change from the lockdown uniform of full on sweats. I am hopeful to carry this minimal shopping ideology forward into my 'new normal'. 

PS: I have also reactivated my online pre-loved store, go on and have a look here

What are your greatest epiphanies unearthed during this past few months?

Outfit Details:

Mango Sweat top
Human Image skirt
Chimpel leather bag
Giorgio Armani sunglasses
Vans sneakers (thrifted)

Ciao for now, 
RuBe xoxo


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Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Birthday celebrations & 24/7 lockdown relationship

Welcome readers!

We are halfway through 2020, and boy what a year it has been thus far! One that could not be foreseen, predicted or ever conceived of before.

Today is day 93 of lockdown for our family and we celebrate the birthday of the head of our household.
It's so far removed from last year where he spent his birthday travelling Spain with our tour group, and this year he spends it in lockdown with the family. 
Happy birthday to my hubby and dad to our young men! We usually make a special effort to spend the time together as a family, as it's a public holiday; and would need to ensure that the young adults are free. This year we have already spent 93 days together without driving each other insane. What an achievement!

We have an unspoken system in the home, which means each one has their own tasks set out for the day. Whether it is set out by the school, university or just by yourself, everyone starts the day fulfilling these and we then come together as a family at mealtimes or prayer times. Games nights have not resumed after Ramadaan as the older ones prepare for university exams and assignments. 
I've read the shocking statistics on the increase in divorce cases during this time and how some couples really struggle being confined to home with their spouse, even after years of living together. Living together and being confined under lockdown conditions are two very different things; and whilst there is no magic formula to navigate this territory, it is really up to each individual to know themselves well enough. I am fully aware that I may not be the easiest person to live with, and that I have issues which may trigger me. Combine this with being in lockdown for over 90 days, and it could very well be a recipe for a turbulent home environment with disagreements, petty fights and sulking. In fact, the heightened cases of femicide and gender based violence which have been reported these past two weeks have been testimony to this; and have signalled disaster for many families. 

As I reflect on our time together as a couple (which is well over 25 years now), I know that each of us have had to do the hard work in getting to know what makes us tick, what ticks us off and understanding how to maintain a relationship with these factors in play all the time. This kind of inner work is not for sissies, as you have to be open to see the dark parts of yourself as much as you are open to accepting that you're valued, loved and amazing just as you are. You have to be, afterall, our Creator thought the world needed one of YOU! It is also not just enough to know yourself at this level, it is also crucial to know how to manage all of this in the midst of anger, sadness, grief, pressure and uncertain times as we're experiencing now. 

We have a philosophy in our home of tolerance, and acceptance of each other, warts and all. We have to each acknowledge those 'warts', and the rest of the family will make space for it, and call you out if necessary. There has to be a space for this to allow each member to feel seen and heard, and a space for truth, regardless of who it may be (at times even the parents need a good dose of honesty), however, delivered with respect to each and every member of our household. There may be tears, tantrums, sulking (which we allow the space for); and we trust that out of it will be borne a mutual understanding, and where appropriate a discussion and apology. It's not always easy; living in truth sometimes isn't; but it models behaviour for our kids to take forward into their own families one day.

At the end of this year we will celebrate 25 years of marriage, of partnership, growth and at times bags full of patience. However, we have found the space to accept the other for we are, we celebrate each other in entirety, without wanting the other to change. There is nothing more fatal to a relationship than wanting to change your partner; instead take a look inward and consider your own faults and appreciate that another person loves you in spite of these. And even loves you because of them ♥️

Getting through 93 days of being in lockdown has therefore not been a death sentence for our relationship, we are conscious of needing to create space for each other, we can sense when there's a need to talk or vent. We haven't opened the office in 3 months, and that means that we work together at home, spend recreational time together, pray together and so much more. But when the need for alone time is needed, it is given without question, without reprimand or emotional pressure. It is just done ...

There will still be disagreements, fights, tantrums as life goes; and then there will be understanding.
So if you're 'stuck' in lockdown with your other half, I hope some of what I have shared will strike a chord. The most important message being... check yourself first.

So here's to wishing my other half a happy happy lockdown birthday, I know these past 93 days have had challenges. Every birthday for the past 3 years has opened new horizons for us, and this year it is no different. I pray that we will have many more filled with love, understanding, adventure and happiness InshaAllah.

Know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are loved, valued, treasured and adored by these 4 people who have been your constant companions during lockdown. We will probably never have the opportunity to bond and spend this much time in each other's space again... so I am immensely grateful to for these unusual times we find ourselves in.

With our numbers on the rise, stay safe and stay home. And if you're in danger in your own home please do reach out.

Hajj, THE most profound experience of my life spent with you by my side
Sending you off on tour last year, a day before your bday

And we tend to laugh a lot in this family!

Ciao for now, 
RuBe xoxo

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