Travel Diaries – The Great American Easter Pt 1.

There’s nothing great about this American Easter – I’m just going home to see my parents but what is a blog post without a catchy title?

I’ve had the worst ten days in recent history. A computer dying, a confusing house guest, unexpected financial issues and to top it all off, having to leave a day earlier than expected cause I didn’t read my ticket correctly. How in 8 months did I manage to not notice I’m leaving Friday and Not Thursday? How did I manage to book hotel rooms and tickets and not manage to notice the date I land? A mystery it remains, but all’s sorted now and I’m on my way home.

Home (2 of 3)

I wouldn’t say I’m a nervous traveller, but I’m an anxious pre-traveller. Did I pack everything, did I weigh my bags right, are you SURE it’s this terminal and this day and this flight? Did I charge my phone? Oh no I forgot to pack a travel pillow (I really did) etc etc. And this has been highlighted in recent years by the fact that my husband is a very good traveller and he handles everything for us. So I’ve learnt to relax but at the expense of losing my touch with travel details, meaning that when I DO travel alone now, I’m worse than before. This is the second of two solo trips I’ve taken so far this year but while that was a relatively local flight to Amsterdam from London, this is transatlantic and involves connections and what not. Fingers crossed all goes smoothly, but the point of this paragraph was the following:

My nerves have kept me from realising that I love Durham, NC more than any city in the world. Landing in the airport just instantly makes me feel at home, and while I can trace many root reasons for this, I’d like to think it’s because I love the place and I know what the next couple of weeks will bring. The weather, the sunshine, the people, the food – I have never felt happier and warmer in any place that isn’t pindi (and recently, not even there).

Looking forward to a good, stress-free, drama-free trip, minus the expected 2 fights I’ll have with my dad and 1 with my brother.



Sometimes when I come here I feel very very alone. As if I have no one to talk to. Everyone I had who ‘spoke’ to me is in the old place and I really can’t go there anymore. I can, but it feels like talking to an old friend about new things they no longer understand. I have a sudden urge to text someone from back home or call someone new – I feel very aware of my loneliness. Anyway..

I have a drama playing in the background. I’ve almost graduated (apart from a HUGE project that is eating my soul) and I’m off to see my parents tomorrow. That’s the good stuff. The bad stuff?

I’m 68 kgs and I’m genuinely depressed over it. I don’t want to eat, and I won’t today. Or tomorrow. Or the day after. We can decide what to do about Saturday when we get to it.

How I (plan to say I) took back control – Guilt Free Ambition for Women

“Why do you want to work for our company” – asks me the fictious CEO of a FTSE 500 Company.

I anawer:

One of the causes most important to me is that of equal opportunity for all – whether it is based on genders, nationalities or socio-economic status, I believe we should not be held back by circumstances beyond our control or circumstances decided before we are even born. As a woman, there is no denying that there is a certain scale we are judged against, where 0 is the perfect domestic housewife and 10 is the CEO of a company. Every woman is made to feel as if she has to choose a position on that scale – she can’t have one without foregoing the other and with that choice comes a certain amount of judgement from the outside and guilt from the inside. Well, I don’t believe in that.

No man has to make that choice, and there is no reason any woman should. I understand we all have different roles and responsibilities in life but those responsibilities should not become our disabilities. Because I believe in equal opportunity, I want to work for a company that believes the same. Your company values a woman’s contribution to your company based on her merit and ambition. It appreciates a woman’s responsibilities outside the workplace, responsibilities essential to man and society’s betterment, and chooses not to tax them for it but rather to aid them with it. Because this is a philosophy I agree with and wholeheartedly support and appreciate, I feel this company is the type of place I would want to invest my time, energy and intellectual efforts.

So yeah – these companies exist, and they want to help us. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should or shouldn’t do with your life – not even your own maternal instincts.

Let’s see how far I manage to get with my speech. Here are the companies I have shortlisted and plan on applying to first:

Great/NotSoGreat Things I Did This Week


  1. I hosted a 10 people brunch. 
    And this is Legit one of the best things I did because let me tell you – it is not easy. Eggs and toast are one thing but achari qeema and nihari are a whole other! Of course I didn’t actually make the Nihari, but I did make everything else, including Kulfi for dessert and I was quite proud of how it turned out. No fancy photos here, but here’s a picture of my spread before everyone destroyed it. Bear in mind that cooking is literally the smallest battle in the war that is a party. Cleaning up – Good Lord, cleaning up. A whole other story.
  2. I subscribed to the New York Times. 
    This was another brilliant thing I did. First of all, it’s $18 for 12 weeks. That’s way, way, WAY cheaper than I expect an issue to be, considering I live in the UK. Secondly, we need to support print media! The reason I subscribed was a combination of two things – a random ad on The Guardian saying that while newspaper readership was at a record high, profits were equally as low, and secondly, a really great article on a Child refugee making it to Calais. It was so engrossing, and I’m not sure nothing spectacular in the grand scheme of things but it had been so long since I had read a proper article that wasn’t a blog or newspaper mini that it felt really refreshing. If you want to start, here are two great links to read:
    Europe’s Child Refugee Crisis – about a child escaping from Afghanistan
    The Cost of Caring  – about a Filipino nanny who hasn’t seen her kids for 16 years
    but the best thing is that there is so much content, whatever you are interested in, you are bound to find it. In my case, that’s lifestyle testimonials from different walks of life. And of course, the short stories.
  3. I watched The Night Manager and (started watching) Big Little Lies
    I mean these aren’t the greatest of the greatest things I’ve done, but I mean I’m staying relevant, that’s got to count for something.
  4. Not so Great Number ONE-through-ONEHUNDRED – Deeply, Deeply, Deeply Struggle with School
    What will become of this situation? Does anyone have any good answers for me?
  5. Realise that I’ve started talking about Money A Lot
    Small, very, very embarrassing things, like saying ‘not bad’ as I pick up the cheque for lunch, saying ‘I’m trying to stop shopping at Primark’ to someone wearing Ted Baker and Russell & Bromley and judging the value of a holiday on the fact that ‘It’s just £300 a head!’ have made me realise it’s time to stitch a stitch in time before it’s time for nine. Now wrap your head around that until next week.

Just Having One of Those Days.. Weeks?


The one thing I miss the most about the Western World (which I take to mean America and England, cause they’re the only two places I’ve ever lived) when I go back to Pakistan is getting to be alone. Whether that means at home, going out shopping alone, or getting to sit in a cafe alone – I hate the fact that you can never be alone. Yes, I know, things are changing, there are wonderful cafes where people can sit and work, women can be alone in many places now.. but it’s not the same because it’s still somewhat of an anomaly. If not to the people in the establishments, to the people you live with.

I remember in my last year of school, when everyone had paired up with their future significant others – everyone but me – I began to seek solace in my own company because it was the only place I didn’t feel unwanted. So on one such day, sitting outside the building on a bench, I was working on my homework when some guy who liked me – hence the comfortable authority of telling me what to do – asked me why I was alone outside. I said I was doing my homework, so he replied, acha nahin lagta.. andar chalein? (it doesn’t look so great, do you want to go inside?) I said what, acha kyun nahi lag raha? (what doesn’t look so great?) and he said I don’t know, just looks a little odd doesn’t it? I ended up not going inside, but he – in all good intentions of course – ended up sending someone to sit with me.

It’s not so much that it’s unsafe for a woman to be alone, so much as it’s that a woman alone seems to be inviting a companion. I don’t know if it’s like this in the bigger cities of Pakistan but I have felt that in Rawalpindi for sure. Even when I was in school, if I was ever sitting alone, the guy that liked me sought it as an opportunity to come sit next to me (but o course in those cases, that might somewhat have been my subconscious intention too.)

Regardless, the point is, I have been feeling very blue lately. A combination of being stressed with work, being annoyed with the cyclicly repeating nature of life and a fight with my husband was making me feel trapped in my own house. So I came here today and I feel much better, but what will I do next year? Where will I go when there’s nowhere to go, and everywhere I go, someone is waiting to see me?

The iPhone vs the allPhones

Things the iPhone can’t do that my android could do:

You can’t hard press the wifi symbol to get a list of available networks.

You can’t double tap notifications on the lock screen to open them in the app!

It keeps asking for two step authentication from another mac device -what if I don’t have one??

It has no stylus. And while I can’t fault this to the iPhone I can give it to my note 4.

It won’t let me send messages on WhatsApp unless I’m connected to the internet! Android would let me send them and then deliver once I got connectivity.

It doesn’t have a removable battery. What do I do when in 6 months it’s giving me 6 hours of battery life?

God it doesn’t have black and white ultra power saving mode! What do I do when I need 2% battery to last me three hours??

And all this after 2 days of having it. No I can’t honestly say it’s much better than an android at all. I think the problem is that back in the day the flagship (and only model) phone of apple was being pegged against the dozens of budget and mass options from Samsung etc. Of course the iPhone doesn’t match to the entry level lumias and Samsungs because this was their one and everything and I think that added to a lot of its hype. Everyone who owned an iPhone owned the best form of it and there was no opinion to counter it. Now, however, a combination of android upping their game massively (primarily boosted by the major game upping from google) and a fair user comparison to phones like the one plus 3 and the note 4, I think it’s safe to say the iPhone is just like any other phones with faults and credits. What I wonder though is why the iPhones faults are so readily forgiven in favour of its credits but the same cannot be said for any other phone.

Why are Pakistani Lifestyle Bloggers So Rare?

I’ve been searching YouTube for high-quality Pakistani lifestyle bloggers with pinterest-worthy channels but I have to say I’ve been very disappointed. I’m not sure what it is, by theoretically I can attribute this to one of three things

  1. We’ve got better things to do? I don’t mean this in a condescending way, I just mean that maybe we’ve got so many other things to sort out that even though it’s on the list it just comes way way way later. There’s this saying in Pashto that a full stomach speaks Persian (translated literally hence the lack of poetry) .. which.. basically means that once you’ve got all the basics covered, you can start going into the fancies.
  2. It just hasn’t caught on?
  3. We’re too afraid of putting it all out there, whether due to privacy or conservativeness.

I think it’s probably the third reason more than the others but I think we need more Content Creators like Bodmon Zaid (the only one I could sadly find, but who is legit killing it). I need to know how to make my life Pinterest worthy and I’m sorry but yoga mats and lattes just don’t work here!





A Very Special Monday!


So today has been a very special day – or maybe I should say it’s been a very special week. My husband’s been looking around to change his job and the last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of emotion and stress. From the interviews to the job offers, it’s been so difficult knowing what’s best for us and the direction we want our life to follow. Many difficult back and forths later, we have finally decided (and yes, I know I’m blessed to be able to really and truly mean the ‘we’) to go with a smaller company that fits our current needs better than a very very large company that was falling short of our expectations. Whether we made the right decision or wrong remains to be seen but we really were choosing between a rock and a hard place in the best way possible so I’m very grateful and content either way. Now onto the good stuff.

The point was that as a conclusion to that very long week, we decided to take a trip to Manchester with my sister and her husband. On the way back, I stopped at Bicester Village and what did I find but the bag of my dream – a Prada Saffiano Lux Tote in Emerald Green! Super lucky, picked it up without a second thought but I must mention that if you see a shape or color that you like always ask the SAs if they have other variations in the back. More often than not they do and they are normally very willing to offer help and advice, both in the Prada store and others (D&G in particular is also a great example of this). I love this bag, and I got it for a great (but still steep) price so I would definitely recommend getting into Bicester if you can cause they had quite a stock in other colors too.

All in all, life’s good and I must say I’m very lucky 24 year old me was clever enough to see the blessing god had sent me in the form of my-then-future-now-current husband when he asked to marry me and I (lol jk, you know it was my parents) said yes. Highlight of the Manchester trip Below:

A Fatayer from Jaffa, need I say more?