The Ultimate Moving Day Survival Kit


It’s no secret that moving house is up there on the list of life’s most stressful events, and if moving day is looming for you, those stress levels are probably on the verge of peaking. However, you needn’t fear because I've got the ultimate moving day survival list to help you combat moving day like a pro! 

1. Food & Beverages: Moving day can be pretty strenuous, which means keeping hydrated and well fueled is vital. Set aside the absolute essentials like tea and coffee, mugs, kettle, plastic cutlery & plates, snacks, cereal bars, crisps, fruit and bottled water. You may want to keep a few take away menus handy - cooking dinner will be the last thing you’ll want to do once moving day is done so I would advise you to opt for ready meals because they're extremely handy! 

2. Tools 'n' Stuff: It’s amazing the things you’ll find yourself needing on moving day; torches, light bulbs, packing tape, candles, screwdrivers and penknives are among a few of them. Just think of this part of the kit as a mini version of what’s in a ‘man draw’ and you’ll be fine. 

3. Toiletries: Let’s start with the basics - toilet rolls and soap - plenty of both, trust me. Next is toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo and other bathroom essentials. It might also be ideal to buy some miniatures for this to save on bulk and you may want to add in a mini first aid kit, just in case. 

4. Cleaning Clobber: Whether you’re cleaning your old or new house you’re going to need a good multi-purpose spray, paper towels, washing-up liquid, anti-bac wipes, bleach and plenty of sponges. Chances are you’ll have packed your bin, so keep a roll of bin liners with these items too for any rubbish. 

5. Bedding: One thing you’ll need more than anything at the end of moving day is your bed. Avoid having to trawl through boxes and add a set of bedding to your survival kit - you’ll most definitely thank yourself for it. 

6. Documents & Digits: On moving day you’ll be conversing with every man and his dog so having contracts and contact details for your removals company, the bank, your surveyor and anyone else you might need to hand will save a lot of faff. Put them in a clear expandable file with labels and dividers so they can be easily retrieved, and chuck in a few pens too. Having a checklist with these documents is also advisable for recording things like final meter readings which you’ll be taking on moving day. 

7. Phone Chargers: This one is pretty self-explanatory but is absolutely necessary; you’re going to need your phone and it’s going to need juice.

8. Clothes Change: Let’s face facts - you’re going to be cleaning floors, doors, kitchens, bathrooms, shifting boxes and making countless trips up and down the stairs, so it’ll be pretty hard to keep clean during moving day. Having a pair of clean clothes to change into is a must! 


All you need to do now is stick all of the above in a moving bag and you’ll power through moving day without a hitch. My personal recommendation is to add something to celebrate, into the mix so you can get out of the steam once you’re in your new home. Good Luck!


Do you have any tips for moving house? Let me know in the comments below!

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Kitchen Decor: Where to Spend and Where to Save?


With BBQ and garden party season well and truly here, your kitchen is bound to be a hub of activity, so you might be looking to give it a bit of a makeover for your dear guests. Re-decorating can be expensive, but before you break the bank, here are some handy tips for where you should save your pennies and where you should splurge on your decor. 

The Walls

The walls are usually the first thing any guests will see, so it’s definitely somewhere you should splash out. If you have a big kitchen, why not stand out from the crowd and create a statement wall with some colourful kitchen wallpaper? Or, if your kitchen is on the smaller side, make it look bigger with a neutral lick of paint. That said, once you have your base, you can work some crafty, Pinterest-worthy magic to decorate them even further without spending a lot of money. Photo frames are a cheap way of adding some personal touches - fill them with family photographs, or even pretty postcards that fit the colour scheme of the room. I've got lots of magnets and photos on my fridge, you can see where I got my photo fridge magnets from, here. Or, if you’re feeling really creative, buy a black canvas and some poster paints and see what you can conjure up yourself or ask kids to help! It’ll definitely be a talking point for your guests!



The Floor

Usually, whether you have wooden, tied or carpeted flooring, all you really need is to give it a bit of TLC - which can be done for a relatively low cost. Buy some products that give a ‘deep clean’ to carpets, or perhaps hire an industrial style polisher if your tiles are looking worse for wear. If you’re blessed with a big area, think about adding a rug to give the room a new look - while these can be expensive, there are also plenty of second hand ones to be found that are looking for a new home! I have a big kitchen, and the rug really adds a nice touch to it. 


The Furniture 

If you’re likely to have a large amount of guests during BBQ season, it might be worth thinking about investing in some new seating arrangements. Whether you spend or save, however, is really up to you. If you’re looking for furniture that will stand the test of time, it’s worth spending some money on a new dining room set. But if you’re just looking for something for your guests to sit down on, folding camping chairs or garden sets will work just fine! Also, if you have any old pieces of furniture hanging around your house, why not up-cycle them with a lick of paint or some new upholstery to give your kitchen a new look for very little money! Up-cycling furniture is a fantastic, yet a pretty economical idea and it really adds life to it. Locals stores sell paints at reasonable rates, so it's definitely worth considering. 

The Accessories 

Accessories are definitely an area where you can save some pennies - which is good news if you’ve spent a little too much on the other elements of the decor. Furnishings such as cushions curtains can give a room a homely feel without a huge price tag. Local fabric shops are great for low-cost material that will fit with your exact colour scheme, and making cushion covers is a great activity to do with the kids if you’re looking for a little bit of help! You can also use any leftover fabric you have to create a throw for your bed or sofa - which will create an expensive-looking set of accessories without the need to splurge! I've got a nice sized kitchen so I've placed a breakfast table and two stools which give a really chic look. 




Do you have any tips for decorating your kitchen? 
Let me know in the comments below!


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Ultimate Eid Gift Guide & Ideas



I know how toilsome it is, to ponder and decide on the best Eid gifts for our family and loved ones. So, I've produced this ultimate Eid gift guide, to make the process facile for you. Below are some of my favourite brands, and I myself own products from most of these Muslim brands, who are working hard to bring themselves up to your expectations. 

Mini Muslim Playground 

The brand offers a range of Muslim educational toys and books, which are really helpful in teaching Islam to the children. You can read about some of the toys BabyN' has from Mini Muslim Playground, here. Allya from Mini Muslim Playground has also launched Eid clothing for kids, you can see BabyN' wearing it here, and the brand's website here






A Muslim's Mini Gratitude Journal by Ayeina 

The idea behind the Alhamdulilah For Series is to make us aware and acknowledge the blessings bestowed upon us by Allah (God) and to spread gratitude towards Him. Alhamdulilah, an Arabic word meaning ‘Praise to be Allah (God)’ has been stressed throughout the book, so it's great to introduce it to kids because the illustrations help in making our job easier. Read the detailed book review, here.


Halal Goodies

The beauty and self-pampering box from Halal Goodies is fantastic for women. I've myself got one of these, and I have to mention that the natural, organic and Halal products in the box are great! Read my full review, here.


Skarf UK

The brand sells quality scarves and hijabs in different colours and designs. They're perfect for summer, light weight and I'd say no variation in the product as they're as good as seen in the photos. I also love the fact that they're big enough to style in any way I like! I've been using these hijabs since almost 9 months, and they still look fresh. You can check out their Instagram page, here


Islamic Moments 

The brand sells Eid gifts, decor items, notebooks, cards and a variety of other products great for Eid. Read about the products shown below - here, and here. You can also check out their website, here. Oh, and if you're looking for Eid decorations, then they sell those too!


Muslim Stickers

I was so glad to have come across these Muslim Stickers activity books for children! The sticker activity books are great for letter formation, vocabulary building, for developing colour & number recognition skills in kids, and are especially focused on Allah & the religion. Also had a look at their catalogue, they've also covered other things such as Eid decoration! You can check out their website, here




Islamic Pixels

If you're looking for frames, gifts, hampers, clothing & other home accessories, then check out their website, here. They have gifts for both adults and kids, and I've just discovered on their website that some products are on sale too, so that's definitely going to be a BARGAIN for you!


Atelier Finds

The brand mainly deals with mini tasbihs and oud pouches, which are ideal, not only as favours but also as Eid gifts. You can choose from the variety of colours, and oud scents which are suitable for both men and women. They also sell unique and wearable hijab pins (real gemstone hijab pin & minimalist geometric pins), which are also great and can be added in a gift hamper. You can check out their Etsy page, here. (Image: Atelier Finds)


Gifts & Crafted

The brand trades over three platforms - eBay, Etsy and on their own website, and mainly sells products such as bangles, necklaces, watches, bookmarks and bracelets. Most of their products can be personalized, so these would make great gifts for little girls and teenagers,(Image: Gifts & Crafted)



Silver Lining

I've been having a look at their products since quite some time and these two below are my personal favourites. Haven't bought them yet, but I am thinking of getting these. Moreover, they also have many more cute products, that make amazing Eid gifts. Currently, they're having a 10% off offer, along with free UK shipping but that ends on the 23rd of June. You can check out their website, here. (Image: Silver Lining)

For 10% off, use code: BLOGSBYFA
No minimum spend


You can also read my previous post, 'Mini Eid Buffet on Wheels' for snacking ideas and goodies to serve to guests who come over to greet you on Eid. 



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Staycation at SACO Hammersmith - London, UK

saco-serviced-apartment-london


London is one of those cities in the world, where no one's prone to feel melancholic. The area it covers is massive, and so it also offers numerous things to do and activities to keep us active! No matter how many times one has been to this tourist-trap, there are always new activities to enthrall people. I don't live too far from London, so I drive to the city very frequently but even plan a staycation there, especially when there's some work to do. I've also shared my previous staycation experiences on the blog, which you can read here, and would love to share my most recent stay with you guys too. 

Since BabyN' is growing older, he needs more space to run around to keep himself occupied. I also need to take care of his dietary needs, because of which I sometimes prefer staying at a serviced apartment if the stay has to be longer. That way, I can ensure that he gets to eat food properly. Since he's an extremely moodey and a picky eater, I need to offer him a variety of things at his disposal to choose from, and this isn't very easy at hotels. However, since Saco furnished and serviced apartments offer all the facilities, there wasn't much of an issue in cooking or heating food for my little prince. 

breakfast in bed



I've also had an experience of staying at one of the Saco properties in Cardiff, and that was when I became their fan. Everything was managed extremely well, the place was very modern, spacious and clean and I didn't have a single negative opinion or complaint. That's why I didn't even think twice for staying at a Saco property for the second time, and this time it was Saco Hammersmith in London. 

Located on a quiet street in Hammersmith, but near the popular destinations, this Saco building seemed commendable. Just from the first look, I knew how well-managed and secured it was. At the entrance, we required a code to enter (which I already had in my email) and then another code to open the locker to get our apartment key. Once we got that, the key had to be used to enter the main building. Inside, there was access to a lift, which was very favourable for us because we had lots of baggage, mostly BabyN's.

breakfast in bed

The first impression of this luxurious property we stayed in, was impressive - modern, minimalist decor, yet classy! The bedroom was spacious, had ample space in the mirrored cupboards, a small TV and extra space for the little one to run around. The open-plan styled fully-equipped kitchen had all the essentials such as pots and pans, cutlery, glasses/mugs, toaster, kettle, cleaning products, washer, dishwasher and breakfast essentials (tea, coffee, sugar, porridge).

saco-serviced-apartment-london


saco-serviced-apartment-london

saco-serviced-apartment-london

saco-serviced-apartment-london

saco-serviced-apartment-london

The bathroom had L'occitane toiletries, tissue rolls and clean bath/hand towels and free Wi-Fi. Haha, no! You can have access to the internet in the whole apartment. 
  
L'occitane toiletries

L'occitane toiletries

If you want to experience London living, then the SACO apartments are great to opt for.  If you're travelling by car, there's ample parking available on the streets and the underground station is nearby Saco Hammersmith too. While staying in Hammersmith, you can go to places such as Olympia Exhibition Centre, Westfield Shopping Centre, Earls Court and Kensington for spending time or even for having a bite. 

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Restaurant Review: Banana Tree - Bayswater, London

banana tree halal bayswater

Banana Tree in Bayswater serves IndoChinese menu, which is also Halal. Although Banana Tree has lots of other restaurants in other locations too, their Bayswater branch is the only one where pork is not served. Parking was a bit of an issue because most of the streets near Banana Tree do not have parking for those other than the residents. It took us a little more than 20 minutes to find a parking spot, which was luckily free of charge but there was a bit of a walk to the restaurant. On entering Banana Tree, I got a rustic feeling as the interior and the seating had been done that way! There were both benches and chairs alongside wooden tables and dim lighting coming from low lampshades. 

To start the meal, my husband and I first ordered the drinks and our choice was Virgin Pina Colada  (£5.95) and the exotic lychee & lemongrass cooler (£5.95). Pina Colada came in a tall glass, the pineapple juice and coconut cream mixed together was refreshing. The other mocktail was made with lychee juice, fresh lemongrass, lime juice and grenadine. Although the mocktail tasted great, I was secretly hoping if it could just refill with magic, as I felt I needed another glass to complete the meal off. 

pina colada

On quickly having a look at the menu that was given to us, we decided on ordering a  Spiced Chili Beef Indo wrap (£6.65) and Kajang Grilled Satay (5 sticks for £7.65) for starters. Initially, I was under the impression that the wrap that we would be served would be an Arabic kind of wrap (my bad) i.e. Meat and other things served in a pita bread. However, this one was different! Upon it's arrival, I carefully read the instructions given for eating the wrap and then had it accordingly. As you can see in the photos, the dish has some greens on it, so the first step was to place the spiced chili beef pieces on Batavia lettuce, along with other herbs, salad and Nuoc Cham dipping sauce and wrap it. This was actually the first time I was having such a wrap so it was something new for me. The beef was flavoursome and the dipping sauce complimented it well. 

banana tree halal bayswater

banana tree halal bayswater

Kajang Grilled Satay was great as the chicken was succulent. The platter also came with mixed pickle salad, palm leaf rice and peanut sauce. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of peanuts but the sauce complimented the satay pretty well, so it was a good combination. 

 Kajang Grilled Satay

For the mains, we opted for Crispy Chicken with Mango  & Sweet Lime Sauce 9.85) and Sautéed Beef with Kari Patta & Cashew Nuts  10.25). The chicken dish was crunchy, had an oriental seasoning and was topped with mango and lime sauce. I liked how the chicken tasted, but the flavour was more or less same as the ones used in the pickle salad, so possibly the mango and sweet lime sauce had also been drizzled on the salad to entice it's taste. 

banana tree bayswater halal

banana tree bayswater halal

The beef dish was marinated in spices after which it had been sauteed with kari patta leave, tomatoes, coriander, spring onions & cashew nuts. Initially, we thought of ordering rice as a side but were told about the option of Banana Tree house combo 3.95 per person). As the name suggests, this was actually a combo that included the main dish along with the Indo House Salad with crushed nuts, sweet corn cakes, a cracker, and spiced rice. However, they give an option either to choose rice or stir fry. 

banana tree bayswater halal

The warm chocolate Indo-Fondant (£6.35) was our dessert of the evening, which was served on a banana leaf and included a scoop of coconut ice cream beautifully presented with sliced strawberries and passion-fruit. The chocolate fondant itself was extremely tempting and warm chocolate oozing out of it assured it's delectable taste. 

banana tree bayswater halal

The service at Banana Tree (Bayswater, London) was praise worthy, and the staff seemed to be well trained as they gave a lot of attention to detail. I wasn't able to sample everything on the menu last time, but I do have some more dishes on my list that I would like to try on my next visit to the restaurant. 

banana tree bayswater halal
--------------------------
Rating: 7.5/10 
Pricing: Mid-Range 
Halal Meat: Yes 
Child-Friendly: Yes
Alcohol Available: Yes

Contact Banana Tree: 
Telephone: 020 7221 4085
Location: 21-23 Westbourne Grove London W2 4UA
--------------------------

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