Friday 22 March 2019

Al Aqsa Part III - Taking in History

Hi beautiful readers, 

It's been rather frustrating trying to work and get things done, especially with our load shedding schedule now on stage 4! I now have to plan my work, meetings, Skype, printing and cooking around three load shedding incidences in  a day (and I only have so much data on my mobile router 😩).

Anyways, I now try to do my work offline, and then upload when we're back up again. So now I'm able to bring you the next instalment, and I believe, the one many want to see, in my Aqsa journey. Because my trip to Palestine was a highly anticipated one, I am very happy to have been able to see as much as I could in the short time I was there. At the time of writing this, my mom had just performed her first Jumuah in the Dome of the Rock, her entire journey is taking me all the way back to December...

My last post just captured our first sights of Al Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques and our first Fajr experience. After we had dried off in the hotel, had breakfast, we prepared for our full day guided tour by one of the local guides. It was unfortunately raining profusely so my views from the shuttle was all fogged up, and when we got out at the some spots we got soaked. Nonetheless, I was not going to let a little rain dishearten me.

Our first stop was Jabal Muqabir, which according to legend, is the mount from which Caliphate Umar (RA) entered Jerusalem and loudly proclaimed Allahu Akbar. His entry precipitated the surrender of the keys of the City of Jerusalem into the hands of the Muslims by the Patriarch Sophronius fourteen centuries ago. From this vantage point one has a clear panoramic view of the Old City with the gold dome gleaming in the distance. We boarded the shuttle again and drove for 40 minutess towards Hebron, where Masjid Ibrahim is located. This mosque is built over a maqbara (cemetery) which is believed to house the tombs of Nabi Ibrahim (AS), his wife Sara (AS), Nabi Ishaq (AS) and his wife Rifqa (AS). Some say  Nabi Yaqoob (AS) and Nabi Yusuf (AS) are also buried in the cave (also known as the Cave of the Patriarchs) below the mosque. Inside the mosque there is a domed cupola or furnace which allows one to peek down to the cemetery cave below. The heady smell of oud mixed with warm air came wafting up from the cave as we leaned over the rail. It was such an incredible experience for me to just be in this mosque, whether the actual bodies of our prophets and their wives are physically present or not. There is still a feeling of intense spiritual energy in the air, while at the same time feeling calm and sanctified. Hebron, the largest city in the West Bank, forms part of occupied territory, so there is a strong military presence and a checkpoint to pass through to enter the mosque. This city has been a contentious one throughout history, torn by centuries (and even in recent decades) of unrest and conflict. We spent about 45 minutes at this masjid before heading off to our next stop.

After performing Thuhr at the Mosque of Nabi Yunus (where His tomb is located), also in occupied West Bank (located on Mount Nabi Yunus) we headed off to Bethlehem. An hour and a half later we arrived in Bethlehem, parked off and had a quick lunch stop in a shopping centre. We then took a short walk to the Church of Nativity, situated in Manger Square. It was really amazing to walk through this little town, all Christmassy and covered in tinsel, teeming with tourists from all faiths. This is still part of the West Bank, so movements are carefully controlled by military police in certain areas. This is the oldest major church in Jerusalem, originally commissioned in 327 by Constantine the Great. It houses a very significant site for those of the Christian faith, a grotto in the basement of the church believed to be the birthplace of Jesus, which has earned its place as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

As we headed for our next stop, the Maqam of Nabi Musa (AS) the sun was already low, at around 4:30pm dusk was almost upon us. This Maqam which is situated just outside Jericho, is not confirmed to house the body of our Nabi Musa (AS) as it is generally believed that the location of his remains are unclear. However, tradition holds that Salahuddin Ayyubi once had a dream where he was shown this spot and he subsequently ordered this mosque to be built at this site. After completing Asr and Magrieb we departed for the town of Jericho. Walking through these sacred sites stirs an indescribable feeling and filled me with a sense of humility, gratitude and immense reverence. History literally envelopes you as you reflect back on the lives of our prophets ♥️.

Shortly after we were back on the shuttle headed to Jericho, the oldest city in the world. We disembarked at the Mount of Temptation, significant for the Christians as the place where Jesus was tempted by the devil. By the time we arrived it was already dark (even though it was just after 7pm), so it was difficult to see anything. We could just glance at the lights of the Greek monastery situated against the steep cliff of the mountain. After some refreshments and Esha salaah we started back towards East Jerusalem.
Along the way we stopped off at the Mount of Olives, which boasts a stunning panoramic view of the Old City. It also houses the Jewish cemetery since biblical times until present day.

Our last stop for the evening was the Maqam of Salman al Farsi (Salman, the Persian) who was a companion of the Prophet ﷺ  and the first Persian to embrace Islam. Salman first met the Prophet ﷺ in Yathrib (Madinah) and is notable for being the one who suggested the digging of the trench around Madinah during the Battle of the Trench, which resulted in a victory for the Muslims. We ended off an exhaustingly full, but enriching day at this masjid located on the Mount of Olives.

This amazingly detailed tour fostered a new respect for Jerusalem and the Land of our Ambiyah, it has elevated Palestine in my heart and filled me with such appreciation and love. If I haven't said it before, it is imperative to add Palestine to the bucket list and experience the heightened spirituality of a place where every single messenger of Allah (SWT) has dwelled. More importantly, it is the land the Prophet ﷺ  travelled to within a short span of the night, Subhaanallah!

On Mount Muqabir, the weather obscures the view of the Old City in the background 

Walking up to Masjid Ibrahim, Hebron
Tomb of Nabi Ibrahim (AS)
Tomb of Nabi Yunus (AS)
Manger Square, Bethlehem
Church of Nativity, Bethlehem

The Grotto in the basement at the Church of Nativity, Bethlehem 

We arrived at Masjid of Nabi Musa as dusk was falling

The tomb of Nabi Musa (AS)

Driving through the City of Jericho

It was too dark to see much from the Mount of Temptaion, but one can see the
lights of the Greek Monastery

Tomb of Salman Al Farsi 

View from the Mount of Olives (with the Dome clearly visible)

Ending off a full day and so ready for bed!

Caio for now,
RuBe xoxo

Read more ...

Friday 8 March 2019

Parenting One Day at a Time

Welcome readers,

The biggest role I fulfil is that of being a mother, I feel the significance of the Divine responsibility of being blessed with raising tiny humans upon me. Parenting is a responsibility that I do not take lightly and work at everyday. It means being the best I can be in my own world and being mindful of my Creator; setting an example for my boys, of how to manage themselves in the world; and through difficult situations.

Parenting is an ongoing journey, whether they're infants, toddlers, teenagers or adults. They will always be an extension of me walking around on this earth, like little pieces of my heart in different places. This means that as much as I have a responsibility to take care of myself, I have a responsibility to take care of those external parts of my heart. I am clear however, that they're young adults on the cusp of their own independent lives, and I therefore need to respect them enough to work at our relationship so that they would want me as a part of their lives. Right now everything is managed on their busy schedules, giving me a small glimpse of what life will be like when they've moved into their own spaces.

For now, managing young adults in the home is a continuous learning arena, each day brings new lessons, new perceptions and new ways of doing things. The moment I feel like I'm on the right path, I get a figurative kick in the head, reminding me that I'm not in control of this journey. Just like with life really, things don't always go as planned. And the only way I know to cope with any unforeseen hurdles, is to appeal and pray to my Creator for guidance. I am very aware that I do not have all the answers, and do not want to take on the burden of walking through life pretending I have all the answers. Frank discussions with my kids (i.e. my young men) where I am open about my shortcomings is key, and sharing my confusion or uncertainty around the next step in a solution. Often when I find myself at a loss for answers, I ask them for advice, a solution or way forward, and even what their recommended course of action would be. Sometimes they amaze me with their wisdom, and other times we just take it one day at a time.

Maintaining trust and living truthfully is a big concept in our home, and we understand that it has to go both ways. I cannot expect anything from them if I am not prepared to give it in return. After all, any relationship is a two way street, and means taking ownership on both sides of the relationship. Trust is a crucial component of any relationship; and when one looks at the parent-child engagement as a relationship, with the same building blocks, it brings trust and respect into the space. No feeling of kinship can be forced by some conditioned doctrine, it needs to be built on the fundamentals of a healthy relationship, regardless of the obligatory familial tie. I do not believe that I am entitled to be a part of their adult lives by virtue of the fact of who I am. On the contrary, I know full well that I need to firstly honour them, in order for them to honour me as a parent, trust them with truth so that they do the same; and at the core, treat them with dignity as human beings. For me this is what raising children is about, treating these parts of me as I would want to be treated, and being mindful that they are humans, with their own respective orientation in this world. It means being safe enough for them to own all the parts (the 'good' and 'not so good' parts) of themselves around me, without fear of judgement or fear of being admonished.

Furthermore, I have had to become accustomed to the fact that as adults, I am not privy to every single thing happening in their lives. I have to trust that they live their lives based on the principles I have instilled, taught and model. They are accountable for themselves, and fully understand consequences of their actions and behaviours. This is one of the hardest things to embrace, that these not-so-little young men do not need me to do much anymore. I miss those days where Mum was pivotal in their lives without it being an option, now Mum is a choice they make. My tendency towards separation anxiety kicks in when I think of it, and I know it's something I need to manage, and not burden them with.

There are many aspects to parenting adults which I am still grappling and coming to terms with. One of the biggest is that they need to make their own life decisions, and that it is not my place to protect them from whatever I may perceive will be hurtful. Their paths have been decreed, and my role is to support them from the sidelines, provide a safe haven when they need it or a healing balm to soothe their souls. It is essential that they always know that I will be around, arms wide open, for as long as they need me to be. Letting go of the apron strings and cutting the proverbial 'umbilical cord' is essential to empower them to live their lives without me placing any burdens or expectations on them. The only thing I hold onto is the premise that our relationship is built on a solid foundation, and will be able to withstand the inevitable storms which life will present.

I am currently in the training phase of weathering these storms in a parent-child relationship with  young adults.
Learning as I go along...

A thought for fellow parents to ponder:

“You can choose to disrespect me but I will not give you permission to hurt my spirit.”

― Lailah Gifty Akita 

My outfit today features a raw silk coat from Opulence, which I've styled before in a more formal way. Today I've styled it casually, paired with denims and one of my favourite classic heels.



Outfit details: 

Opulence Silk Coat
Woolworths jeans
Old Lace up heels
Mimco bag
Opulence silk scarf
Hse of Bespoke tassel earrings
Vogue sunglasses (Old)

Ciao for now, 
RuBe xoxo

Read more ...

Friday 1 March 2019

My Vampire Facial Experience

Hi lovely readers, 

For those of you who have been following my skin journey with Dr Asmal at Rondebosch Aesthetics will know that I have seen an amazing improvement in the past year. Not only has she gradually introduced aesthetic treatments into my relatively simple skin routine. I used to have extremely sensitive skin, prone to redness, burning and dry patches whenever I introduced a new skincare product or facial. Since I have started my aesthetic skincare regime with Rondebosch Aesthetics, my skin has not had one inflamed reaction or reacted badly to any treatment.

We started my skin off with the non invasive, perfect for all skin types, On The Glow Peel, and gradually worked our way up to the Vampire Facial, which I had two weeks ago. Initially I was quite anxious, from what I could remember, the vampire facial looked painful and elicited a lot of bleeding! Dr Asmal very clearly explained the difference between the Vampire Facial and the Vampire Facelift. So my treatment was the Vampire Facial, whereas the Vampire Facelift involves injecting the PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) directly to the face. The Vampire Facial uses a micro needling device, in my case the Dermapen was used to work the PRP into the skin.

I arrived at the salon with my face and neck covered in Lidocaine, to numb the areas which would be treated. So once my skin had numbed completely, about an hour after applying the thick, gloopy Lidocaine, I was ready for my treatment. 
Here goes:

  1. Dr Asmal drew a vial of blood which would be used to extract the PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) to be infused into the skin. Platelet rich plasma is a component of your own blood, which contains platelets including stem cells and growth factors.
  2. The vial of blood is placed into a machine called the Centrifuge and then spun around for a few minutes.
  3. While this is happening, Nicola then prepared my face for the Dermapen treatment. She removed the Lidocaine and cleansed ready for the PRP to be administered.
  4. The PRP separates from the blood and forms a gold serum which is then drawn into a syringe and applied to the face.
  5. The Dermapen is then used to infuse the PRP into skin.
  6. My skin doesn't go red or inflamed easily, so Nicola had to go pretty deep to get the red result, and inflammation (which causes the blood to rush to the surface and for the natural healing to take place). This also prompts the collagen generation, resulting in smoother, plumper skin.
  7. My skin didn't bleed , just went red, and it wasn't painful at ALL! I just felt a bit sunburnt
  8. Since I had to attend an event just after, I asked Nicola to camouflage the redness so that I would look semi-normal on photos. She then applied a healing foundation with SPF and I was good to go.
The PRP from your own blood is used to promote good skin. It helps the skin function optimally m increasing everything from collagen to elastin production. This treatment helps with premature ageing, wrinkling and sun damage. 

I experienced no side effects, and by day two the redness had subsided substantially. The fact that my skin doesn't go red easily means it's not as sensitive as it was a year ago, and therefore quite capable of managing the inflammation. 

Two weeks later my skin is literally glowing, and looking plumper and healthier. In order to see long lasting effects, I would recommend more than one PRP treatment, even though you'd definitely be able to see results after the first treatment.

Some aftercare tips:

  1. I usually don't apply anything to my skin after the treatment for at least 5 hours, especially no makeup. I use a very gentle cleanser (one recommended by Dr Asmal) at night before going to bed.
  2. No alcohol toner for at least a week after treatment.
  3. Use a healing balm or post tretament balm on your face, it will soothe the irritation, tingling and help speed up the healing. It also helps makeup application, especially if you experience flaking.
  4. Use a good, high SPF face sunblock on your face and don't forget the neck area (and decollete if you expose this area to the sun).
  5. When your skin starts to flake, don't pick or peel it off, you may cause pigmentation. Apply the balm to help smoothen the skin.
  6. Do not exfoliate your skin for at least two weeks after treatment.

Get in touch with Rondebosch Aesthetics (0216879400, chat to Brenda), for your skin consult before trying out this cutting edge treatment. Drop me messages, I'd love to hear your stories if you've embarked on a journey to looking after your skin.

After the treatment, you can see how red  my neck area is, and my skin appears a bit rough
The blood after its' been through the Centrifuge

Enroute to my appointment, I keep the Lidocaine at home and apply an hour before my treatment 
For reference, this pic was taken about an hour or so after my facial, at least my skin doesn't look
too red! 
A few days after the treatment, no filter, no make up and only tinted sunblock and moisturiser
 Check out the short video on my Vampire Facial, with commentary and explanations from Dr Asmal and Nicola.

Ciao for now, 

RuBe xoxo 

Read more ...