That smile 

He smiled at her from across the room. One dimple appeared on his right cheek, eyes shone and forehead creased. Beautifully sculpted lips slightly apart to reveal a perfect set of teeth. It was as if he had reached into her stomach and squeezed.

And she knew. She knew she would bare her soul to that smile. That smile that made her forget what she was reading. That smile that made her forget about the in crowd that surrounded him. That smile that made her forget how cruel he had been to her friend yesterday.

She looked away, cheeks flushed, hands clammy. How was he even looking at her? She was a no one, invisible. Too afraid to move in case she stumbled and embarrassed herself.

She glanced up. And his face still held the smile that would cost her everything. But she didn’t know that yet. And for now, all she knew was that smile would be her everything.

Inspired by Daily Post’s prompt Brilliant Disguise as part of Blogging 101. 

Those perfect days

“Baby, you light up my world like nobody else.”

Yesterday was one of those rare perfect days. The sun was shining – and doesn’t everything feel better when the sun is shining? – but there was a gentle breeze in the air. The world was in technicolour, the sounds louder but somehow softer. It was one of those days where I could not bare to stay at home, my mind yearning to go exploring and skin yearning for some golden magic.

I painted my lips plum, lined my eyes dark and picked out florals. My attire projecting the bursting brightness I could feel burning inside. Overdressed for a lunch with old friends but I didn’t care. For today demanded notice, excitement and courage. And I would take heed.   Continue reading

Life without Google

Making plans in a group chat like – @tbhjuststop

You would assume with all the information we have access to at our fingertips, planning a simple meal out with 6 would take, at most, a few minutes. You’d be wrong. With practically unlimited choices – but then factoring in the various limitations: cuisine, location, price range and the added requirement of halal – you end up with hundreds of Whatsapp notifications, frustrating searches through blogs, reviews and Instagram, and waiting for that one person who just goes MIA in the middle of a very important decision making process.

Do you go for somewhere local because you just know you’ll feel lazy? Do you go for somewhere safe and trustworthy but boring or try somewhere new and exciting but risky? Burgers or curry? Can we all afford a treat?

We did get there in the end and I am looking forward to finally catching up with my oldest friend group for lunch. No doubt we’ll have a great time irregardless of the food – but when you’re spending money, you may as well spend it well.  Continue reading

To own a library

I was the type of child that would stay awake after my parents had gone to bed, switch on my light and keep reading my book until fajr. I was the type of girlfriend who’s perfect date would be a trip to a charity shop or second hand book shop. And I’m the type of friend people buy books for their birthday.

Everyone would ask me why I didn’t just use the local library. And the truth is I did. But I still wanted to buy books that I could call my own and keep forever. And sometimes, if I really liked a story, I would buy the book even after reading it.

The reason: I want to own a library.  Continue reading

Eid Mubarak

It’s Eid!

After much confusion, with people announcing at zuhr that the moon had been sighted, then others saying it hadn’t, then Twitter saying it was ‘confirmed’ but the TV channels still displaying the “Ramadan Mubarak” messages – we finally got the message just after asr.

Every year there is much faff around which day we should celebrate it. We follow the sighting in Saudi, whereas some of my friends follow the sighting in Pakistan. There’s always a massive debate about who’s right and who’s wrong. Yet the majority of scholars accept that there is a genuine difference of opinion, and each opinion is just as valid – you just follow one and stick with it. Unity does not mean uniform after all!  Continue reading

53 days of summer 

This morning I woke up knowing I have nowhere I must be and nothing I must do. Today I am a free women – for 53 days. 53 days of summer (roll credits).

I start my graduate scheme in September, leaving me with 53 glorious days to myself. This is the first year in six years when I am in this position. Since college I have filled my summers with internships, volunteering roles, holidays abroad and/or work. But this year I have enough money saved up to last me two months of being purely idle – pure bliss.

That is until I realise this is the first year in six years when I am in this position. And I remember why that is the case. I do not enjoy doing nothing. Through all the stress of overworking and taking on more than I can handle, my mind is at peace. I have a purpose and I feel like I am moving forward. I need to feel like I am moving forward. Continue reading

So it ends, so it begins

Feels like the last scene of Friends. Yes, it’s that sad.

And it’s over – handed back my keys, wrote down all the social media passwords and we’ve held our last meetings with the managers. All I have left to do now is enjoy the leavers do and cry.

Well maybe not cry. Or perhaps I will. This has genuinely been the best year of my life: I’ve found myself, I’ve found the people I want to be around and I’ve found the cause I want to fight for. And I’m not sure I’m ready to leave.

I (mis)used my last access to free colour printing to print out pictures, tweets and statuses from the past year – all ready for my scrap book. So many memories, so many times I felt vital and alive. And really – how many jobs are there that make you feel like that? Vital. Alive.  Continue reading

Ramadan Reflections

The beautiful thing about Ramadan is how it lasts for a month. It is not just a day of trying your best, or a few days of trying hard. It’s a whole month. This allows us to train ourselves, to keep trying to get to where we want to be even if we’re not there right from the start, and to build habits. As only a few days remain, I look back over what I have achieved, what I hope I had achieved and the things I hope to continue. I aim to use this post to continually reflect throughout the year, so that hopefully this time next year I can have better aims – and from there I will grow strength to strength. Continue reading

Giving too much

I give too much of myself.

I give up too much of time – checking emails whilst in bed, writing press releases on the train, meetings during the day, attending events during the evening and planning my own late into the night. I take on new projects others have little time for. And I mentor those who care, helping them focus their energy.

I give up too much of my love – continuing to help even when they’ve turned away before, remembering to forgive and give ‘just one more chance, just this last time – I promise‘. I prioritise the feelings and happiness of others above my own. And I will put myself on the line for the people and causes I care about.  Continue reading

You can do whatever you want

Me: I have considered being a [doctor, astronaut, archaeologist, surgeon, cadet, novelist, seamstress, house decorator, antique collector, climate change scientist, zoologist]* but my dad would laugh at me.

Despite several attempts, I never achieved telekinesis.

Friend: But your dad’s not here anymore. You are a grown woman. You can do whatever you want.

Why does discouragement linger and entrap a person’s soul so tightly? My sisters, let go of the voices that have turned into chains holding you back. He is not here anymore. You are a grown woman. Do whatever you want.

* I was a curious child, always trying new hobbies or being engrossed in a new cause with a burning passion – certain this was my calling. Funnily enough, now that I am free and able to take on the world, I hear no callings and am rather lost.

You may discover many defeats but you must not be defeated – Maya Angelou