London Love — Joys of Travelling Alone

By Maasi Muna

I’m currently visiting London, a city I love a lot. My visit was a spur of the moment decision, encouraged by my mum who was ready to babysit my kids. So I jumped the bandwagon, booked a fight… and here I am!

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This is my first time after marriage that I’m traveling on my own, if not my hubby then the kids would always accompany me. My hubby was of the view that I would be bored out of mind because I wouldn’t know what to do with my time & of course I wouldn’t have the kids to keep me busy. At some point I believed that it would definitely be the case since my life revolves around my kids 24/7. But it was not so… I’m kind of a person who gets anxious before a journey even though I have done it hundreds of time, wondering if I have all the documents, photocopies, enough clothes. Now especially with kids you need to make sure that one is well equipped. So this time no anxiety,surprisingly! 😊

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The “missing my kids” part surprisingly never dawned on me. I actually was not missing my kids and the ruckus which tags along with them. After the peaceful flight into London and a day or two visiting family & friends, I was ridden with guilt that I had not once missed my kiddies & that started a whirlpool of emotions as to why I was not missing them… After much contemplating however, I realised that it’s the fact that they are in safe hands and well looked after.

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Now coming back to the joys of travelling alone, I am able to do a lot more in a short span of time, visit places I’m interested in & not worry about entertaining the kids. The things which I enjoyed and which took a backseat once the kids started coming. Like enjoying the English afternoon tea, one of my favourite pastimes, in peace. Visiting the museums, the ones the kids were not interested in. Taking a leisurely stroll through the the beautiful parks & gardens London has to offer. And,of course shopping. No one to rush you, no one to monitor constantly, no sudden & urgent rushes to the toilets…… taking my own sweet time trying out things and browsing. Having said that, I did realise that I was looking at certain things through the kid’s eyes like “oh! Zohaib would have loved this”, “Zoya would have wanted this……”. Being a mom is never far off after all!! 

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With all the different aspects & experiences I enjoyed being on my own but at the end of the day I’m looking forward to being with my family. Us moms work hard throughout the year, we definitely need a break to rejuvenate… I guess this was mine😊😊😊😊

The Homework Dilemma!

By Maasi Wajo

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So now that Ramzaan is officially over and Eid has come and gone, life has or is supposed to come back to normal. It is a little hard thinking that most of us only have around a month of vacations left to enjoy, not to mention, get done with kids’ homework— which in this case hasn’t even taken off as of yet. I am struggling with time and motivation and what not. How do I manage kids’ holiday homework, start preparing for the school year ahead and keep myself sane along the process? That is the million-dollar question that incessantly presents itself to me every year. Since procrastination has been a personal predicament since time unknown, I have managed to come up with a couple of time management tips to make the most of the little time that I’m often left with… especially in this case.

  • After I finish this write up and post it on the blog, the first thing that I am going to do is to prepare a (realistic) plan for the kids’ homework…. keeping our regular activities in view. I don’t know about you but I am a very paper and pen kind of a person. Planning is imperative for me. In a way, all I do is plan but that is a story best left for some other time. Lol. A good way would be to divide all the homework according to the days left and do two/three pages per day (in case of younger kids) and in case of the older ones, ask them how much time they need for each assignment. Write that down and hold them to it. Make sure they achieve their day’s target before they indulge in anything else.

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    My planner.
  • For doing holiday homework my tried and tested segment of the day is Morning time, hands down. Kids are at their freshest, mommies are at their happiest and well, there’s a joyful aura to mornings, which is simply unmatched. My strategy is to just get done with the day’s homework right after breakfast so that I have rest of the day to myself. I work from home and seriously need a little chunk of time to myself to concentrate on my own assignments. I’ve also realised that once I am done with the hardest task first thing in the morning, I can spend the rest of the day anyway I want.

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    Books, books, books!
  • A SEPARATE PLACE for the kids to work. My kids know that when mommy gets serious about holiday homework she moves that big coffee table (the one we don’t use much) to their room. There is a designated corner in their room for that table. I set all their homework stuff on it. And the day I do this, my kids know mommy’s serious about their homework. We’ve been doing this for the last two years. It is science at work here you guys, nothing less. Hah! So yeah, make sure you can get them to study somewhere they can easily concentrate and a place they can associate with homework.

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    Kids at work!
  • I will also try and prepare a few meals ahead in the next two/three days; refrigerate them in small portions so I do not have to worry about khana— especially when I’m helping my younger daughter with her Urdu homework. Lol. Trust me, this can be very handy at times.

Last but not the least,I try to reassure myself that this too shall pass—that I have managed this before and I will be able to manage it again; and that I will survive. I try to stick to this little régime of mine, I do. This year we aren’t travelling. Last year we were and we left after Ramzaan, hence I couldn’t really do all this fancy stuff. I literally had less than a couple of weeks to get done with all the kids’ homework and don’t ask how I managed it all without going absolutely crazy. Seriously, the earlier you get done with it the better it is, but this write-up is mainly for those of you lazy mommies out there(like myself) who wait till after Ramzaan and Eid to get started with the terrors of holiday homework. We still have a month left if we start from today (presuming you guys aren’t travelling) and well all we need is a little bit of time management, thing that I have literally been struggling with all my life. But. We’ll get there, we will!

Let me know how you guys are handling the pressures of homework. I can definitely use a tip or two!

Clothing Tags- Part 1

By Maasi Saba

Its summer time, and with schools finally closed for the school year, I finally have time to shop. There are sales everywhere these days, but only the people who are always out and about, profit from them. I, on the other hand, usually end up going when all the good items have been sold. It’s just my luck. I guess I am not a shopaholic. For the past few years, I have noticed some changes from our local amazing brands, such as Khaadi, Kayseria, Outfitters, ChenOne, etc. If any of you had noticed, their tags have changed. It not only says “Dry Clean ONLY.” I usually hate those words. I only like to read them on my formal outfits, not my everyday, or “going out” outfits. Who wants to dry clean their clothes on a daily basis? And who, reading this post, has a good dry cleaner who hasn’t ruined any item of theirs. I have gotten some things back from the dry cleaners and wonder what it had originally looked like. Because it looks different, in size, shape, and color. So I avoid them like the plague. Someone recommend a good dry cleaner in Lahore please. 

Anyway, my point here is that the tags on many clothing items have become informative, and more to cater to our needs. Things like how to wash them, how they were made, and a cute/interesting tag. I like these things. I remember when I had my first child and buying baby clothing was an amazing feeling. The tags and the adorable hangers or little accessory they added was an added bonus. Maybe it’s the artsy person inside that looks for these little things. A while back, I had bought my little one a few things from Outfitters. Their tags didn’t just have the price on it, it told me that I could wash these items in the machine if I was just careful to mind dark colors to be washed separately, and to not dry in direct sunlight. As a new mother many years ago, sometimes my brain wasn’t working properly and I would just throw things in the machine because you can never have enough clean clothes for a baby/toddler. 

The reason why I bring this up, is because living abroad, many don’t hand wash their clothes, it either goes in the washing machine and then into the dryer, or it goes directly to the dry cleaners. Having given gifts to many people, I would occasionally hear about items getting ruined after first wash. Our colors are more strong and permanent, and our stitching and embellishments are stitched to perfection.  I truly believe that our products could give major top designers a run for their money! Inshallah very soon “Made in Pakistan” will be a desired item for many.