A girl with a mind, a woman with modesty, a lady with class

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Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Beauty Review | Part 1 - Foundations


In this 2 part makeup review I'll be reviewing and comparing my current favourite foundations and concealers

It's been a while since I've done a proper thorough beauty review and this one is going to be particularly detailed as I want to give you guys my opinions on each of the products.

All of the products in this post are ones that I am currently using and have been using for the last 6 months - 4 years.

FYI:
Skin Tone- Warm/Medium/Tan
Skin Type- Normal/Oily (Oily T-Zone, Normal everywhere else)



Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r - 310

Price: £26
Type: Liquid
Coverage: Medium-Full

Since Rihanna released her makeup line 'Fenty Beauty' in September last year the internet went crazy and there were tonnes of reviews on her products. One of the products that particularly caught my eye was the foundation. The reviews I saw all said how the foundation looked pretty flawless and airbrushed. It had been a while since I had bought a new foundation so I took the plunge and bought it. Since I had just had a baby I wasn't feeling like going to Harvey Nichols and lining up for hours to be matched so like a lot of people I watched hundreds of reviews by people with similar skin to me and had to guess the shade.

I ended up getting the shade 310, it was actually a pretty good match and did make my skin look flawless. It's definitely a medium to full coverage a light first layers tends to do the job when I'm having a good skin day, otherwise a full pump and 2-3 layers covers pretty much everything. I like to apply this with my real techniques buffing brush or a beauty blender, both ways give me a pretty good finish.

Everytime I have worn this foundation I have had people complimenting how my skin looks and ask what foundation I'm wearing.

It's my perfect summer shade, the only downside is that it does tend to oxidise a little bit so when I'm not tanned and if I haven't highlighted, it makes my skin look a bit dull. The way I fix that, is by mixing a bit with my MAC or Estee Lauder foundation to make it a bit lighter.

I absolutely love this foundation and would recommend it to people of colour, especially if you have darker South Asian skin tones because I think this is the range you will find your perfect shade in.

Compared to MAC Studio Fix Fluid and Estee Lauder Double Wear, this foundation is more runny when it comes out, it feels lighter when you put it on your skin but does just a good a job in terms of coverage as the other two. The price and amount you get is pretty decent when compared to the other two as well.


MAC Studio Fix Fluid - NC40

Price: £24.50
Type: Liquid
Coverage: Medium-Full

If you remember from a couple years ago I did a comparison post of foundations I was using then, MAC studio fix fluid is one of the ones I wrote about. It's still one of my current foundations and is a staple in most people's makeup kits. NC40 is the shade that I feel suits me best. Its a liquid foundation that dries down matte and is pretty long wearing.

I tend not to put more than one layer of this foundation on because it can get a bit cakey, it's quite full coverage so you don't really need more than one layer anyway. I usually set this with a powder to give more of an airbrushed finish. I like to apply this with a damp beauty blender as that's what I found to give the most flawless finish compared to brushes.

Compared to the other two foundations it is cheaper and matches my skin quite well.


Estee Lauder Double Wear - Cashew

Price: £30.15-33.50 (depending on where you buy it)
Type: Liquid
Coverage: Medium-Full

The most expensive out of the three I'm reviewing today, but best one for full coverage, stay all day, oil combating.

This was in my previous comparison post, however, the previous colour was Honey Bronze and was a little on the dark side for my liking so I went in and got matched again. I feel Cashew definitely suits me better and is perfect to lighten up my fenty foundation.

This foundation is quite thick compared to the fenty foundation, it's consistency is similar to the studio fix fluid but it dries down more matte. On days that I haven't moisturised well or my skin feel particularly dry or flaky this foundation isn't the best as it dries it out more. This is a good thing if you have oily skin as you don't need to blot as much and doesn't slide all over your face as with some other foundations, not so great if you have dry flaky skin as it can accentuate the dryness.

If you want to try this foundation I would suggest going to an Estee Lauder counter and getting some samples so that you can try it out before you splash out.

Have you tried any of these foundations? What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Baby Products Review | Favourites & Fails

1 year on and as with all new parents we stumbled our way along with parenting, there are things we bought that have been great buys and others, a total waste of money.

In this post I'll be reviewing some of my favourite baby products and some fails.

Disclaimer: These are things we found worked or didn't work for our baby, it might be totally different for you and your baby! Prices listed are correct at time of purchase. Nothing in this post is sponsored or an Ad, we actually bought or were gifted these things.

Favourites:

Sleepyhead deluxe sleeping pod


Price: £110 from John Lewis

If you've read my baby essentials post you would have seen this on there. I can't rave about this enough! I wanted to get this ever since I was recommended it by one of my friends who was pregnant at the same time. I started to read reviews online and I could only find good reviews, from written reviews on the John Lewis website to youtube videos everyone was raving about it. I got some gift vouchers during Xmas from work and used it to buy this from John Lewis (it is quite pricey)

Firstly I loved the sleepyhead because it doesn't take up a lot of space and is portable. Although I like the look of moses baskets I find that they take up too much storage space once your baby is too big for it. As we don't have a loft (and live with in laws) I wanted something that I could just pack away when we were done with it. My daughter came early and we hadn't even ordered a cot so baby had to sleep on the bed, the sleepyhead gave me some peace of mind because I knew hubby or I wouldn't roll over onto her or she wouldn't be able to slip under our pillows or duvet.

During the first few months when all the baby did was sleep I could take it downstairs with me or even pack it when we went to stay over at my mums or aunty's. When the cotbed did come we put the sleepyhead into the cotbed so she still felt snug and wouldn't be startled by being in such a big cot on her own.


Mama's & Papa's Baby Bud Booster Seat

 Price: £35 on Amazon Prime

Again for space saving reasons I bought this booster seat instead of a highchair.  The seat can be used on the floor but we have strapped it to one of our own chairs and she feels like she is sitting at the table with everyone else. It's pretty easy to get her in and out, you can use it with or without the tray and the seat comes off for easy cleaning. When she was still learning to sit up we had to put some small cushions on either side as it was a little big for her but since she has been sitting up unaided and able to support her head, this seat has been great!

I didn't go for the bumbo or the baby snug because I read that babies tend to grown out of them pretty quick and to save on money in the long we tried to buy things that will last a long time.

Madela Swing Electric Breast Pump with Calma
Price: £89.99 on Amazon Prime

Talk to any mum who pumps and you'll be told that Medela Swing is the best breast pump out there!
As my daughter was a preemie she was fed via an Nasogastric Tube to begin with, this meant that I had to pump in order to give her breast milk and so that my supply is established. Unfortunately I was only able to keep it up for a month but this breast pump was the closest thing to a medical grade breast pump at the hospital. I used to use this when I got home and over night as baby wasn't with us for a month, but I used the hospital one whilst I was there during the day.

It mimics a baby's suckling so is really good to stimulate the supply so that your body produces more milk (supply & demand)

It's light and portable so if you needed to express whilst you're at work or when you're out you could very easily do that. It can be attached to the mains or you could even use batteries.

I sold mine a few months ago to a lady who needed to go back to work so had to express milk for her daughter during the day. I would highly recommend this, even if you want to solely breastfeed pumping after feeding makes sure that you're completely empty so your milk supply doesn't go down when you're still trying to establish feeding.

Personalised Dummy Chains


Price: £8.27 for both including P&P

We were gifted some dummy chains from my sister and a friend of mine but one got lost and the other had a metal clasp that we didn't feel was safe to use when my daughter was very little. I bought 2 more from an account on Instagram called 'Dummy_Chains'

They're made really well and they look really pretty and the price for both was very reasonable in my opinion. I'm loving all the personalised baby things on Instagram right now and as you all know I love supporting small brands run by women.

My daughter doesn't use a dummy much now and only uses it occasionally before falling asleep so her dummy doesn't need to be attached to her anymore, but having the dummy on the chain makes it easy to find whether it's in the changing bag or in the cot.

Fails:

Philips Avent starter kit & manual breast pump

Price: £70 from Mothercare

This was one of those things we bought because it said 'sale' in big writing (stupid mistake because it's still the same price that we bought it at). Because my daughter was premature, one of the things she had difficulty with was feeding, the speech and language therapists recommended Dr Brown's bottles and my daughter got used to that so she didn't use this Philips set. The only things that we used from this set are the steriliser and the bottle brush, even then we need to lie the bottles on their side because they're too long for the steriliser but it still does the job. The manual breast pump is absolutely rubbish and barely has any suction to it.

(On a side note I'd like to sell the bottles, pump, teats that come in this set because they've not been used and are still in the box, so if you'd like to buy it off me I'd be more than happy to sell it at a cheap price).

Baby Cot Mobile



Price: Can't remember

So I got this cot mobile because we all had one when we were younger and I thought she might like to look at something whilst falling asleep but she was just not that into this. I got this fisher price one because I liked that it had the stars lighting up when it goes dark. The mobile itself doesn't stay on very well and keeps leaning forward into the cot, hubby had to use zip ties to try and secure it better so it didn't just come off and fall on her.

 The music on this was really dead and boring (not the usual baby music that comes with these things), anyway I wish I had got the one that plays Quran because I think that would have been more useful to her and to us (and it looks better). She's too old for a cot mobile now because she likes to grab things and pull them, but I wish the Quran one came out when she was first born because I would have totally got that one.

Cuddlebug Baby Sling


Price: £23 on Amazon Prime

I guess this product wasn't a total fail but baby slings are just not my thing. It was a good product for when my daughter was newborn and we hadn't bought the pushchair yet. I took her out in this to a restaurant and to the doctors but that was the only two times I used it. She used to fall asleep in it straight away as she was so close and snuggled up to me, but because it was in the summer I was sweating in it like crazy.

When she was very little it was easy to put her in and get her out, but as she got bigger I found it hard to put her inside, it was very fiddly and she would often get frustrated. As she got heavier I found it was harder to use because it kept pulling down. Either I'm not very good at using slings or this sling is just not that great.
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There are other things like the baby buggy and baby bottles that weren't complete fails as they did their job and we're still using them but they have a lot of problems with them so I will do separate reviews for our baby buggy & bottles.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Why I quit my job..

From the moment your baby is born the pressures on new mums are immense. You get judged for everything, whether you breastfeed or formula feed, make fresh food or use packet/jar baby food, whether you give a dummy or not, you carry them too much, you're not losing weight quickly enough etc etc etc. The guilt mums have themselves is enough to drive someone crazy but add the pressures and guilt everyone else put on you it goes through the roof and you spend  your days stressing if you're doing it right.

But there is no right or wrong way to be a mum, so long as your baby is healthy and happy you're doing just fine. It took me almost a year to get used to that idea so that I can confidently make decisions for my life and for my baby so that I can be content.

As my baby got to 7 months old I had to start thinking about work, if I was going to return to work, if I would work part time, who would look after my baby, how I would be able to balance work and home. Before I went on maternity leave I thought I had it all figured out, I had a great job in molecular imaging, working for a prestigious company on Harley Street. I would have my baby, take the full years maternity and then return to work part time, whilst my mother in law looked after my daughter.

Then my daughter was born 7 weeks early and everything changed.

For months I weighed up the pro's and con's of going back to work; I had studied so hard to get into the field, I worked my way up, I love my job and love meeting new people everyday, I love the fact that I'm helping people, would I get bored being at home all the time? Do I need a break from my daughter once in a while?

However, how could I leave my daughter at home in the morning and just go? She would wake up and not find me or her dad. She would only be little once and I'll never get that time back, I feel like it's my responsibility to give her a good upbringing, no one could bring her up the way I want her to be brought up.

I understand that for a lot of mum's they don't have a choice and have to return to work for financial reasons or just because they want to be a working mum. I thought long and hard, prayed that whatever decision I took it would be the best one for me and my family.

The more I thought about it the more I was inclined to resigning from my job and becoming a 'stay at home mum'. I came to the conclusion that if I did go back to work I would not be able to give 100% to my daughter or 100% to my job, in a job where mistakes have grave consequences I couldn't afford to not be on completely on the ball and I couldn't do that if my daughter didn't sleep all night or was sick. As a preemie baby in this 1st year of her life she gets sick a lot, she picks up a lot of viruses and needs to be on an inhaler when her breathing gets wheezy, she has so many appointments from follow up's at the hospital, to the GP when she's caught a bug to make sure her lungs are clear, to physio to follow up on meeting her developmental milestones, all of this means I'd be having to take time off work when she's not well as well as for all her appointments.

My biggest reason for finally deciding to quit my job was the fact that my job will always be there and if in another year or so I would just need to apply, I could always join agency somewhere to keep my skills up but work on my own terms. However, my daughter will only be this age once and I didn't want to miss a moment of it.

People still look shocked when they ask about my plans with work and I tell them I resigned. They tell me that I'm crazy for working so hard to get to where I am and wonder why I'm 'throwing' it all away, they tell me I'll be crazy bored at home and I'm making a mistake by leaving my job.

I may change my mind in the future but for now Alhamdulillah I'm happy that I'm in a position where I can choose to work or not work and that we have a good support network whatever I choose to do.

If you go to work and leave your child you're mum shamed, if you stay at home and don't work outside you're mum shamed, so there really is no winning if you're trying to do something that everyone else tells you is right.

It wasn't easy handing my resignation in, I even felt guilty for my manager and old colleagues because I felt like I was leaving them in the lurch but I had to do what was right for me.
Now that I've done it, I'm happy. When I think about it since age 3 I've been in education, I went straight from university into my job and haven't stopped. I finally have time to focus on other things in my life, it even gives me time to focus on my blog, painting canvases (which I miss doing so much!) and set up my hijab styling business (will tell you all about that in another post inshaAllah), I can really focus on giving my daughter a good start to life, take her to stay and play and to the library, enjoy Ramadan and really make time for myself.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

What to pack in your hospital bag


If you've read my previous posts you'll know that my daughter came 7 weeks early, which didn't give me time to pack my hospital bag. This meant that after she was born my husband had to rush home and bring me some things that I needed. Suffice to say he got me a whole bunch of random things and left me regretting not packing my hospital bag myself earlier.

I would recommend packing your hospital bag as you go into the 3rd trimester and have it ready somewhere where it's easy to find in an emergency.

To make your life a little easier I've created a list of all the things you may need in your hospital bag. This is for mama's having a natural delivery, for C-sections the list may differ. The things you pack will also depend on how long you stay in hospital but it's better to just pack everything than not having the things you need.

Once you have been given your maternity notes by your midwife you should keep them on you at all times. This is very important as you could go into labor unexpectedly or if something should happened to you whilst outside, it will give the paramedics and those looking after you, all the details about your pregnancy and baby.

For baby:
  • Nappies
  • Cotton wool
  • 5 baby vests
  • 5 baby-grows/sleepsuits
  • Muslin cloths
  • Baby hat (& mittens if the sleepsuits don't have built in mittens)
  • Blanket
  • Coat/Cardigan depending on weather
For mum:
  • Maternity notes/birth plan
  • 2 sets of clothes (long night dresses are easiest for straight after birth & something to go home in)
  • Slippers/socks
  • Shampoo & body wash (for your shower after giving birth)
  • Maxi/Maternity Pads
  • Disposable underwear (not the best looking, but they do the job)
  • Moisturiser/body oil (or whatever else you use to moisturise after a shower)
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Breast pads & Nursing bra
If there are any other things that you think need to be added to the list, do drop me a message to let me know!

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Living with the In-Laws

In-laws or out-laws? 
Here are my tips on trying to maintain a good relationship with your in-laws whilst keeping your sanity.

I feel like I need to make a lot of disclaimers before I go into this post because people's situations are different and I don't want anyone to take what I say the wrong way.

So, I understand that not all mother in-laws are the same and neither are daughter in-laws. If your in-laws are verbally, emotionally or physically abusive toward you then you need to get out, other people are not worth losing yourself for.
And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No one who severs the ties of kinship will enter Paradise.” Narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh. 
Some people just can't live with their husbands parents and that's ok, it's not for everyone. Islamically, your husband should be able to provide a house for you and you do not have to live with his family, but you must still aim to keep the ties of kinship and keep good relations with them.

It is very common to live with in laws even for a short time in many cultures but, know your rights as a Muslim wife and make your wishes known BEFORE accepting the marriage proposal. This also goes for men, when you're getting to know someone for marriage and you know that you or your family would want your future wife to live with the family please make it very clear and known at the start, so that she can decide if she wants to go ahead with that or not. Generally, scholars advise men to keep separate houses for their parents and for their wife because of the problems living with in-laws can cause. Sometimes the in-laws are the ones that break a marriage down and sometimes a wife can be the reason for a broken parent child relationship with their husband. In these cases it's better to live separate to your in-laws.

However, there may be reasons for why a woman will need to or want to live with her in-laws, for example, the in-laws are elderly and your husband will need to care for them, you are not financially in a situation where you can have your own place right away, you want to live with a big family as you're not used to living alone.

I lived with my in-laws at the beginning of my marriage for a year and half before moving into our own apartment for a year and then moving back in with my in-laws at the beginning of last year when I was pregnant. It wasn't/isn't always easy but Alhamdulillah I'm blessed.

Over the last 3 and half years of marriage I have matured a lot in myself and have learnt a lot about myself and the people I live with to be comfortable with living with my in-laws.

This post is for people with 'normal' in-laws not the crazy, abusive ones who you cannot compromise with.

“Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land, and sever your ties of kinship?

Such are they whom Allaah has cursed, so that He has made them deaf and blinded their sight”
[Muhammad 47:22]
Pro's of living with in-laws:
  • There is always someone to talk to 
  • If you don't know your husband that well before marriage it sometimes helps having other people around to help you settle into the marriage and it's not so daughnting being alone with someone for the first time.
  • Your in laws can be a huge help when you're not well, when you have children etc. Alhamdulillah I'm so grateful for my in laws and how much they've helped with my daughter, I think it would have been much harder to adjust with a newborn if it hadn't been for my in laws.
  • You can share the workload. On weekdays my mother in law used to cook and have dinner ready for when I used to get back from work. On weekends and holidays I would help her with cooking or cook something of my own for the family. 
Con's of living with in-laws: 
  • You might feel like you don't have the privacy you want, for yourself and with your husband especially if you don't have a big enough house
  • More likely to have disagreements or arguments, just because there are more people in the picture that you have to compromise and share with
  • You may feel as though you can't come and go as you please because you have to take the other people you live with into consideration
  • Your in-laws may not be the easiest people to live with
  • You may not feel properly 'married' or 'grown up' because you still live with parents who do the 'adult' things for you
Don't marry a mummy's boy

I say this in the nicest way possible but everyone that has married a 'mummy's boy' has really suffered with their in-laws. Your husband should take care of his parents but it is not correct for him to go to his mum for everything when he is a grown man and ready to marry. He should know the difference between his mum and his wife. He should be able to keep neutral in situations of disagreements and not take sides. If you are wrong he should be able to tell you, if his mum is wrong he should be able to speak to her as well. He should be the one to diffuse the situation and try to keep everyone happy and not just say his mum is right and you need to apologise.

Your husband is responsible for you and although you need to respect your in-laws you only need to answer to him. So if you want to go to your parents house or go out with friends, you should ask him/tell him, if he says it's ok, then it's ok, you shouldn't need to ask permission from your in-laws, they don't own you. Out of respect you should tell them your plans as you live together, out of love and respect you should take them into consideration when you make plans.

Know yourself

Before marriage you have to be really honest with yourself and know what it is you want from life. Are you the type of person that finds it difficult to share a room or house with others? If you have arguments with your own parents or family will you realistically be able to live with someone else's family? It's very important to know yourself and your spouse before accepting the conditions, once you're in the marriage it will be difficult for you to change yourself or change others, so you need to know if you can accept your husband and his family, as they are, before marriage.

Space

When I first lived with my in-laws I had a really hard time adjusting and wasn't very comfortable because we lived in a small flat. I was always used to being part of a being family, growing up with all my extended family but it was still extremely difficult to share a small space and utilities. This is one of the reasons we moved out.

Now my in-laws have a much bigger house, we practically have our own floor, own bathroom etc and this makes life a lot easier. I don't have to always wear my hijab to just go to the bathroom for example, we have a big enough kitchen and everyone has their own space so we're not living top of each other.

So space is another thing you need to think about, what will you have to share with everyone else and are you comfortable with that?

Start as you mean to go on

At the start you're just getting to know your husband properly and his family, this is the same even if you knew your husband before marrying him. You don't really know a person until you live with them. As the new person into the family you just want everyone to like you, you want to do everything you can to fit into the family. But you need to start as you mean to go on.

Be true to yourself and be honest with the people you live with. If you don't feel comfortable doing something speak up and tell your husband or in-laws why. For example, you are not the maid in the family, if your husband has siblings they need to also help out with chores, don't put it all on yourself because you will regret this later. If you start doing everything for everyone in the house you will not be able to change this 6 months or a year down the line. Set your ground rules from the start. You will not do other people's laundry and everyone who is old enough should clean up after themselves.

Don't start waking up extra early to make everyone's breakfast if that's not something you want to do, they survived before you came into the family perfectly fine. If you start doing crazy things like that at the beginning they will expect you to carry one with it, if it's something you want to do every now and then, then great but if you do it all the time at the start it will be expected from you.

If you work outside the home don't come home and start cooking and cleaning for everyone, figure out a schedule that everyone can stick to, one that is fair on you and everyone else, and stick to your guns on the things you wont compromise and do all this from the start.

Communicate

You are both women whom your husband loves dearly so for his sake and for yourselves it's always best to talk to each other directly rather than through him.

Alhamdulillah my mother in law is quite young and we get along well. From the start she has said she will tell me whenever I do something wrong just like she tells her other children. I respected this from her because I'd rather have her be open and honest with me than always wonder what it is I've done wrong. Tell your mother in law that you want her to be honest with you and you do the same. Obviously be tactful in the way you say things and always speak with love and respect.

Your in laws cannot read your mind and you cannot read theirs so always strive to open the doors of communication.

After becoming a mum myself I tend to be more open with her and we have little chats throughout the day, whether it's during breakfast or with a cuppa in the evening. Try to break down barriers and be more friendly with your mother in law, she is not your enemy.

Take her out for a meal on your own or plan days out together, so that you can get closer and get a better understanding of each other.

Think of his family like your own

Although it's hard sometimes, you need to think of your in-laws like your own family. If your mother in law says something to you, don't take it to heart, just imagine it's your mum who said it and let it go. If your mum says something to you that you get hurt by, you don't hate your mum, you just let it go, if it's something that really hurt you then speak to her about it and be honest, but if it's not really that big of a deal then just let it go through one ear and come out the other.

Same with sister in laws, we all argue and have disagreements with our own sisters, sometimes that will happen with your sisters in law, keep calm, communicate and let things go if they aren't a big deal but speak to them on a level if it does bother you.

Don't hold grudges about everything, keep a positive and free mind. Try to take everything in a positive way, if someone says something to you that can be interpreted negatively encourage yourself to see the positive in it.

Compromise

There can never be 2 heads of the household or so they say.

I think there can be 2 women of the house but in order for it to work there needs to be compromise. You need to understand that your husbands family were brought up differently to you so they will do things differently to you or your parents.

Going into a family you have to carve your own space, but always remember that this family has always done things in a certain way, you may not be able to change everything. Often mother in laws get upset because they feel their daughter in law has come in and started to change everything, again communication and honesty is key in this instance. Try to come to a balanced solution for everyone.

Remember that everyone has off days, if your mother in law, father in law, brother in law or sister in law is being off with you one day when they are usually ok with you, don't take it to heart, think positively and just remember that everyone has off days.

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Like I said at the start, sometimes it's just not reasonable or suitable to live with in laws and it definitely not easy. The situation isn't for everyone and often to maintain a good relationship you need to have your own place. But living with in-laws for a short time or even long term is not always so bad. It's often difficult but it is doable.

As our family grows we will need our own place, but inshaAllah we can always maintain a good relationship with all our family.