Hi Sand Stars!

Life is so incredibly busy and hectic recently and I’ve been needing to centre myself and draw myself back to the present many times. One unique way I have recently been able to consciously bring myself to the present is with Obaku Watches and Hour Choice.

With a series of Obaku timepieces, I’ve been able to explore many aspects of ‘my zen’, including music (the watches even inspired a piece of music), meditative reflection, nature, poetry and the sea.

The sleek pieces are made with quality materials, in classic colours and styles that will carry from season to season. My favorites are the dark blue tones and mother-of-pearl insets.

The beautiful watches (and Obaku’s focus on zen philosophy) has been integral in bringing me much contentment during this hectic time. See just some of the beautiful images encapturing ‘my zen’ below. To purchase the watches, check out Hour Choice on Instagram and Rivoli Shop:

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(Photography by Tahmeed Omar)

Live, Love & Laugh Littlepianodiva Style!

 

M

xxx

 

 

 

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Fatima Hoosain

Photo by Leyla Heylan Photography

 

” Today I am ‘me’, the woman I wished I could be: forever growing.

When I was a kid, I always knew that I was meant to do something special in my lifetime. My dreams were filled with my older self fighting crime and keeping peace.

Life has a funny way of distorting our perception of what’s perfect. As I grew older, my vision of ‘perfect’ changed- and not for the better. With all the changes a woman goes through in life (physically, emotionally, spiritually), we tend to forget what the difference between perfect and beautiful is. I certainly forgot. When I was 5, my concept of beauty was to be like my mother. Physically, she was beautiful with her dark curly hair, striking features and a strong sense of confidence. She always spoke her mind and did what was right. At the age of 10, my concept of beauty had changed, drastically. My group of friends suddenly changed and so did my idea of what was beautiful. To be beautiful, I had to have long, blonde hair and a skinny frame. I had to have an American accent and the ’hottest guy in school’ had to like me, or else I was a nobody and a ‘wannabe’.

At 12 years old, all I wanted to do was fit in. Unfortunately, I was so desperate to feel like I was welcomed, I allowed people to take advantage of my insecurities. An incident regarding a dare to kiss a boy on the cheek at an extremely conservative school was going to be my make-or-break. All it led to, was me humiliating myself and creating a reputation even though I had never even gone as far as holding a boy’s hand.

By the time I was 14 I had already accepted the thought that I was not special and that I would never be part of the popular crowd. All I knew was that I had an opinion and for some reason that was wrong. To my peers I was considered annoying and bossy. I was considered to be an attention seeker that thrived on being a teacher’s pet. My insecurities had consumed me so much that even the people who were genuine and kind were pushed away.

At 15 I was diagnosed with clinical depression. I had been contemplating suicide for months and (of course) the only thing that could save me was a boy. I spent eight months clinging onto a toxic relationship because in my head he was the only person keeping me alive. If it hadn’t been for one of my best friends informing my mother that I needed help, I wouldn’t be alive today. After a few weeks of therapy, I decided to cut my hair and end my relationship. I was a new woman, apparently. I told myself I was fine and that I didn’t need feelings. I just had to force myself to be okay and things would be fixed. Oh, how wrong I was!

By 16 years old I was an emotionless robot, and that came with unexpected consequences. My heart was so broken, my mind so sick that my physical health began deteriorating. I had rejected the idea that I could be a beautiful, strong woman with such force that my uterus began to destroy itself. I was not okay with feeling so weak that I couldn’t lift my head. I was not okay with the fact that no doctor, no matter how skilled, could tell me what was wrong with me. It was at this point that I realised I needed to get help. The right help. After a year of therapy and constant support from my mother and best friends I can safely say that I am strong. I am strong and I am beautiful and I am a woman.

With the help and support of loved ones, I dropped out of high school. I stopped trying to be this person that I’m not and decided to do what’s right.

I am achieving my dreams, empowering people that were never given the chance to create lives for themselves.

After leaving school, my mother and I started a Non-Profit: The Skills Development Programme, which aims to develop skills within underprivileged communities. We aim to empower people to make their lives better for themselves. Our plan is to do this through skills that seem basic, like compiling a CV for example, but that can make every difference in someone’s life.

My dream is to make the world better and that is exactly what I am going to do.”

Written By Fatima Hoosain

Edited By Malika Omar

Follow: Sparrow Speaks

For those suffering from anxiety and depression, seek help from your local medical advisor to discuss treatment. It’s important to speak up and not suffer in silence.

In South Africa, please contact the South African Depression and Anxiety Group

Hey Sand Stars,

Here’s wishing you many abundant blessings, prosperity and great health in 2018.

As I announced on social media last year, I will be making the blog a more of a communal space, where I want women to share anything from their experiences to recipes, ideas…you name it!

I’ve had many inquiries for articles, so I’m looking forward to sharing them soon.

I’m incredibly blessed and grateful to be surrounded by people who are so rich in life experiences and- as a family -we encourage each other to learn from our mistakes, share in our rewards and enjoy whatever lessons life teaches us. My aim is to create this kind of family on The Maestro Memoirs; a sense of unity amongst the sisterhood.

As we start 2018, let’s remember a few key things:

  1. Making mistakes is integral to our growth.
  2. Always be true to yourself and don’t be swayed by society’s needs to fit into a box.
  3. Life is full of rules and boundaries and many of them should be respected- whilst you are always mindful of being authentic, this doesn’t mean you cross the lines of morality or create a chasm in your value system be it religious, etc.
  4. Laugh. A LOT. Have a sense of humour about yourself.
  5. Social media has its place, but it’s not real-life. Be careful of how you judge another based on their platforms.

Looking forward to sharing words by some amazing women, soon!

Live, Love & Laugh ‘Littlepianodiva’ Style

M

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x

 

Hey Sand Stars!

During my twenties, I was continuously apologising for not ‘fitting in’ with a particular stereotype. I was concerned that people may not understand that my quirky, carefree, bohemian demeanour and sense of humour was only an aspect of me. I was concerned that they may not realise that the other side of me was very determined, into seeking knowledge, hard-working and unwavering in the morals and values of my faith and upbringing.

I know SO many people- especially women -who, too, seem to struggle to marry the different aspects of their personalities and thus be themselves completely.

When I was growing up, my siblings and I were encouraged to think outside of the box and have big dreams. We were also encouraged- most importantly -to be true to ourselves, no matter what others may think.

The latter has (and still is) quite the journey.

We’re told to ‘be ourselves,’ but society has indoctrinated us with images of perfection (Victoria’s Secret models; this means you…) and that we need to be earning this much and that much to be happy. We’re told that we can ‘have opinions’ but not talk about those opinions (side note: opinions are not judgement, as some may think).

Today, I’d like to tell you that I’ve chosen to just BE.

And HOLY SMOKES, it’s pretty darn cool.

I strive to be a better person, a better Muslim, a better business-woman, a better musician; but I’m happy with who I am right at this moment.

You should be, too.

There’s a reason we all look different- we’re as unique and beautiful as snowflakes. So, revel in your individuality and just BE.

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YOU know who you are!

 

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Make peace with who you are right now. Photography by PhoTah

Wishing you all the best!

And, as you celebrate yourself, remember to…

Live, Love & Laugh Littlepianodiva Style!

M

x

 

 

Hey Sand Stars!

I hope everyone’s enjoying a happy summer. As many of us have wound down after a busy first half of 2016, it’s important that we take this fabulous, fun time to travel, eat and make merry with our friends and loved ones.

Due to work commitments and other constraints, however, many of us need to look at alternatives to journeying to far-flung magical locations (yes, Europe- I will miss you this year! 😦 ). Living in Dubai, I’m grateful to be surrounded by fabulous resorts which often have awesome deals for summer staycations.

Atlantis The Palm is most probably the busiest high-end 5-star hotel in Dubai. My stay at the resort was an epic time full of of relaxation and tanning (courtesy the hotel’s luxury accommodation and Royal Pool); serious fun at Aquaventure (side note: make sure you stay hydrated if you’re outside for long periods of time- trust me, heatstroke is NO fun, compadre). For casual dining, check out Asia Republic (close to Aquaventure)- they honestly have the BEST Thai green curry EVER.

For fine dining, check out Ayamna for delicious Lebanese cuisine (see Facebook for some photos from my experience).

Considering the resort is extremely busy (as most family-focused holiday properties are); the indoor aquarium was very quiet and relaxing. For the more adventurous folk; try many of the hotel’s unique experiences such as swimming with dolphins etc.

Upon my return, I felt very refreshed and ready to tackle a pile of work and personal projects with more motivation and gusto than I had before my getaway.

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Atlantis The Palm’s Unique Lobby

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My ‘Little Mermaid’ Moment with a New Friend at Atlantis The Palm’s Aquarium

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Obligatory Pool Selfie

Make time to have fun and unwind this summer and then hit the rest of 2016 with everything you’ve got! (PS: for some ideas on what to pack and where to go when considering travelling, check out Holidays In Heels. PPS: Theme song of this getaway: Relax, Take It Easy!)

Live, Love & Laugh Littlepianodiva Style,

M

x

 

 

Hey Sand Stars!

I’m currently reading a dark, Gothic novel set in Victorian times. As you know, my fashion is inspired by my environment or pop culture.

I usually wear a lot of black (I can see a few colour-loving friends rolling their eyes) but I guess since I’m channelling my dark, inner Victorian heroine, the hue is becoming even more common in my outfits these days.

My family and friends continuously ask me one thing: WHY do you wear so much black?

I love versatility in terms of the items that I invest in- and black is a very versatile colour (or non-colour, if you wish). Also, truth be told; I feel rather sophisticated in head-to-toe black.

Interestingly, I’ve noted that when I’m feeling particularly down or (on the other end of the spectrum- very confident), I tend to gravitate towards a LBD or black skinny jeans and flowing blouse.

I’m trying, though, to inject more colour into my wardrobe. There has been research into how different shades represent/attract certain frequencies.

Now, while I may be trying to gather more blues, yellows, greens and reds- I’ll still hold onto my ‘black mood’ 😉

*Music inspiration of the week: Chopin: Nocturne in C Sharp Minor – a haunting and ethereal piece of piano music from a genius!

Live, Love & Laugh Littlepianodiva Style,

M

x

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Black Accessories to Punctuate a Dark Mood: H&M and Forever 21

Hey Sand Stars!

I’m super excited to be working on WONDERFUL projects in the realm of music and my other passions. However, I had to make time to do some Eid baking as the Muslim festival of Eid-al-Fitr is this week!

One of my favourite childhood treats was Hungarian Tart, which Momma Littlepianodiva would often make for us to have with our tea- we felt so posh! 🙂

 

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Hungarian Tart

Here is the recipe I used:

2 tblspn castor sugar

125g butter

1 beaten egg

2 tbsp cooking oil

Half tsp vanilla

2 tsp baking powder

2 cups flour

Apricot/strawberry jam for spreading

Cinnamon

Icing sugar

Cream the sugar and butter, then add cooking oil and vanilla essence. Beat the mixture well and slowly stir in the beaten egg. Sift the flour and baking powder. Knead the mixture into a dough and divide into two portions. Lay the first portion in a greased cake tin and prick with a fork. Spread jam liberally across the top of the dough and grate the second portion of dough on top. Dust cinnamon powder on top, just before baking for about 30 minutes in the oven, at 180 degrees Celsius. When baked, dust icing sugar on top and cut the tart into squares whilst hot. Serve by itself or with vanilla cream or custard.

Bon appetit!

Live, Love & Laugh!

M

xxx