Friday, 21 December 2012

When your B.F.F splits from your husband’s B.F.F*...The politics of courting couples as ‘family friends’
[B.F.F.=best friend forever; yes it’s a pipedream but maybe you will be friends until the bitter end]

A sad reality of the times is a high percentage of couples end up saying ‘I do’ and then ‘I don’t’. In Islam divorce is the most disliked Halal action simply because it’s the splitting of what should be a solid unit (hands up if you have heard the saying that couples are formed in Heaven *gosh that sounds so much better in Urdu-sigh*). So basically although it’s of course allowed (no one should be forced to live with someone they simply do not love nor respect or simply don’t wish to be in a relationship with). And when it does happen, it sadly effects the family-especially the children who although will still have two parents; they won’t be under the same roof which is what the children are in a routine of seeing.
Of course culturally divorce is seen as a Taboo for a lot of Asians-in particular the Pakistani community. ‘Aunties’ (known as Massis in Punjabi) go into autopilot and assume the worst in the woman-it usually goes something like ‘she was too western’, ‘she didn’t adjust to her in-laws’, ‘she’s so lazy’, ‘she was badchaal (her character was bad-in other words she’s be desired as a Hussy/player), ‘she made her husband buy her presents all the time’, ‘she’s a bad woman because she wanted to live alone away from her lovely in-laws’, ‘she’s ungrateful-so what if her husband has a mistress’ you get the picture. Most of the time the woman gets blamed-regardless of the actual situ.
My mother is a ‘divorcee’. A lot of people assumed I would turn about to be an alcoholic nutter with no prospects in life. My mother seeked an Islamic divorce (known as a Khula) as my selfish father wished to keep his options open as his other wife was a kidney dialysis patient and well to put it bluntly he would need someone to care for my younger half siblings should his ill wife pass away. My grandmother (who unfortunately was also selfish in thought) didn’t wish for the divorce to go through. None of my mother’s siblings supported my mother until my late Nana said she was going to support her daughter. Well done Nana-may you be granted Heaven for actually doing what a good mother does.
Okay so back to divorce. It happens. People (even Muslims) fall out of love it can happen. You really cannot control your heart-it’s a matter of fact that we wish we could but we cannot. I’ve read about parents being critisised for admitting they have a favourite child-we all say we love our children equally but for some of us the love we have is stronger for a certain child because most of the time we can see ourselves in that child. We would still give our kidney to the other children though, so let’s just relax and not go on a witch hunt for those parents.
As couples we build homes from houses, we saw acorns that turn to trees, and we have children, a career, social lives, social circles we mingle in and friends. We are a unit, a strong one at that. What some couples do is ‘court’ other couples as friends. Now I am not talking about ‘dating’ other couples what I am referring to is when we form friendships with other couples-the brothers hang out together and the sisters meet up and have fun too. It’s not necessarily mixed sex mingling; it’s a case of when you get a call from your friend she will also ask if your husband is in as her husband wants to talk about the latest cricketing gossip.
 Eventually the relationship changes when you become parents. You may enjoy pregnancies at the same time and be fortunate to have children that become friends. You invite your friends over after the mad Eid rush has gone for dinner-this couple are like the family you have picked for yourself. It’s all great isn’t it? All rosy.
 When a close friend of mine got married I was rooting for the idea of my husband becoming B.F.F’s with my friend’s husband. I was convinced their native land of Pakistan would create a strong bond between them. My husband though isn’t into this ‘scene’ at all. It left me heartbroken. I had visions of Iftaris, Eids, Birthday Lunches, our children’s graduations, their Weddings...oh okay a bit far. But yes, I had a dream. But it didn’t work out. Good job too because this article would have been more autobiographical due to that said friends now situ of going through the big ‘D’.
So one day, you get a call from your B.F.F; she seems distant but you put that down to her husband working ‘longer hours’ and your friend having to hold down the fort with the three children, Masjid run, School run, Sports..Etc etc. You get a call from another friend asking ‘if your B.F.F. is okay because she didn’t turn up for the PTA Bake Sale’ (and she always takes part). Slowly a picture starts building of a problem looming. You ask your husband about B.F.F.’s husband-he knows nothing apart from the fact his friend is always busy and hasn’t returned his called for a fortnight.
Any self respecting friend at this stage digs deeper not in a noisy way but in a caring loving way- but carefully and may even do a surprise visit to said friends house. You turn up and are greeted with a shocking sight; a ‘For Sale’ board on your friends house. You knock on and are greeted by the remains of what was your friend-a frail, older looking friend (your children don’t go to the same School which initially cut you up but you learnt to love the idea of attending two lots of Sports Days).
Your friend tells you that she has separated from her husband, and is currently filing for divorce. You are dumbstruck-how could this happen to your friend? They were at your house only a month ago enjoying your Gobi Samosas with Chai. It was all a charade for the sake of their oldest child who was preparing for pre-entry tests to a prestigious private School-this leaves you crushed. You are then told the shocking truth that cracks had appeared in their marriage about two years ago when they had their last child. You comfort your friend and return home to your husband-and your friends husbands B.F.F.
You find out that your husband’s B.F.F. has finally returned the calls and explained that he has had to leave his family because he has been under considerable pressure from his in-laws and can no longer hack it. Your friend has told you a different version which includes the girl at work he shared a ride to work with. You start squabbling with your husband over the situation and your friends marriages bitter demise is now eating away at what you thought was your happy and stable marriage.
How on earth are you meant to handle this situation? You are like a pot of lava-you want to blow and tell your husband exactly how much of a slime ball his friend REALLY is. Don’t go in shouting the odds and encouraging your friend to do the same. What realistically will this achieve? Are you thinking about your friend’s welfare and those three children? Or are you simply reacting to the news you have heard. Be supportive and be a friend who can be relied on without the worry you will blow your top off every few minutes.
So what should I realistically do?
For starters don’t let this divorce affect your marriage. Yes she is your friend, yes he is your husband’s friend; indeed you see those children as your nephews and nieces but what will arguing with your husband achieve for the situation? So he has been told a different version of events to you. Not surprising but rarely do both people going through a divorce see eye-to-eye over the details.
What you need to do is the following (please note; this is advice only I am by no means a councillor):

1)      Sit down with your husband and talk about how you can support each friend in the best possible way. They are no longer a couple-but you two are. Act like one, support each other. Your friends divorcing will affect you yes-however it won’t have the same affect on you as it is on your friend so save your drama for a more applicable time.
2)      Talk to your respected friends and if applicable offer to be peacekeepers if they need to talk to each other and are struggling to do so in a reasonable manner. Often having a friend rather than family member as a mediator works best as you should be able to remain neutral whilst this is literally impossible for family members to do.
3)      Try to keep some normality with the children. If the children stayed over on a Friday night after dinner suggest that your friend still comes over for a meal and that the children stay as they have done previously done so.
4)      Avoid taking sides; yes you are in your friends ‘corner’ however taking sides will just fuel the fire of arguments.
5)      Support your friend in everyday things-if her ex usually took the children to their tuition and it’s only a 5 minute drive could you volunteer to help until the parents sort out the situation?
6)      Going through a separation has effects on those who are involved’ health especially the parents. Make sure your friend is eating properly and looking after her health-why not bake a few dishes (Pasta Bakes are quite simple) and take them over to your friend’s house and suggest she freezes them. Life goes on; and we all need to eat.
7)      Make it a rule with your friend not to discuss their former partner-this will help especially if one of the partners decides to remarry.
8)      And should that happen you need to talk to your husband about how you feel about having your husband’s B.F.F. and new partner over. It’s best to discuss these things before they become an issue. If you don’t see having your husband’s B.F.F. and partner over you may wish to chat to your friend about it so she’s aware of the situation. And the conversation needs to take place vice-versa (nothing would be stopping your friend from remarrying either). Surprises like this are best avoided.
9)      There is nothing stopping you and your husband from keeping your friendships intact and treating them as your solo friend rather than a power couple. It may take a bit of getting used to; however you can invite your friend around when you have the girls around for a cup of tea. Your friends can be adjusted into your existing social life with a bit of compromise.
10)   Never forget the real victims who have no say in what happens in any of this are the children. All effort should be made to create a bit of normality for them-by their parents, you as their family friend and other loved ones too. I’m not saying pretend everything is rosy, be realistic and if the children are old enough to understand then it is worth sitting down with them and explaining the situation in hand.
11)   Advise your friend as best as possible with a view of doing what is best for the children. If your friend is having a breakdown and wants revenge on her ex by ‘stopping him seeing the kids’ you need to handle the situation effectively and explain the detrimental effects this can have on the children; no one should use their children as pawn pieces. If the situation is beyond talking then there are Courts that can help with the situation. NEVER EVER encourage your friend to flee the country with their children! If their ex is a violent person they need to seek legal advice, and  should even speak to the Police to seek advice. The last thing anyone should ever do is flee the country and create more problems for themselves (and consider what effect this will have on the children).
12)   Whatever happens, please try and save passing judgement on your friend/her situation/the way it is affecting their children. Truth of the matter is, one cannot talk about how ‘they must be feeling’ because unless we have walked in their shows we don’t know what they are going through.
This entry was quite a sad one to write however when the above does happen the last thing we actually do is think rationally and do what is right-we act with our hearts often to regret later. Even though my advice may seem geared towards Muslims only it can be adapted for others too.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Pre-loved Love.

Buying pre-loved? There’s no shame in it!
Kitting out of a Nursery for the first time is expensive business. Large companies will send you their catalogues and state you can ‘get the look’ for £500.00. But what do you do when you have a budget of less than £300.00? In a recession when budgets and wallets are at their tightest parents find themselves looking at ways of cutting down and saving any extra pounds they can. Afterall Children are not cheap and the costs never go down-rather they carry on getting bigger and bigger as the bundle grows.
For some buying second name isn’t even something they have to think about-they do it. It’s the wallet and eco-friendly option.  For others though culture dictates that they cannot buy second hand for it will look ‘bad’ on their family. It’s almost like you are saying ‘I cannot afford this child but still’. To those sisters/brothers reading this who come from that group, I do hope this blog helps ease your mind and helps you with your budgeting needs. As a side note, I would like to add that buying pre-loved is not against Islam or any other religion (as far as my knowledge goes). Culture is great, but not if it means you are burning a hole onto your credit card bill to pay off later.
So buying second hand or pre-loved as is the preferred way to reference it. What does that really mean? It simply means you are purchasing your babies items that have been pre-loved by another family before you. That family is highly likely to have purchased that item new and instead of simply keeping the items in the attic they are releasing their assets and recouping some of the cost they paid out. Doesn’t sound that scary now does it? Honestly though, I hope to sell on Munchys stuff once we have ‘completed’ our family. When will that be you ask. No idea so moving on...
Buying pre-loved items is a big business. Just taking a look around in your community and your local Superstore and you will find people advertising nearly new items at ridiculously low prices as well as second hand items at nice affordable prices.
 For the purpose of this entry I have a look at my local Netmums nearly new board and found a Mamas and Papas cot that cost £400.00 new in top condition for £175.00. Used for 12 months the seller stated, however the child is now sleeping on the bottom bunk of their siblings bed thus the cot is no longer in use. I took a further look and found a Petite Zia pushchair for £30.00. Used for 18 months, still in great condition, no tears etc-seller welcomed buyers to look at the item before agreeing to purchase. There was also a pink Bumbo for £15.00 with the tray (the tray alone costs around £10.00!). Toy wise an ELC garage that costs £40.00 new can be found with extra cars for £6.50-seller has stated two toddlers played with item but it’s still in great condition.
As you can see, if you look in the right places you can find bargains. Is there anything to be ashamed of buying second hand? Absolutely not-who will know apart from you? Any should you be embarrassed about wanting to cater for your newborns needs? If you are really aware of the fact your family and friends will not understand why you are buying pre-loved here are some tips for you:
·         Visit NCT nearly new sales in areas away from home
·         Look at notice boards out of your area
·         Look for items on Netmums and collect the items yourself, check the condition and store the items away until baby arrives. Once baby is here no one will have the time to concentrate on the items especially if cutesy baby has new bedding set.
 You can purchase items and even clean them if need be (I have seen people do this so I know it’s highly possible to do this). I know a young lady who purchased a second hand cot in a pine finish, sanded it down (her partner helped at this stage) and they painted it with child friendly paint in bright neon pink. This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it was theirs. My friend said the cot cost £20.00, and when she added on the cost of the paint it cost her under £50.00 for a one of a kind cot. So it’s not just those on a tight budget that are looking at pre-loved; those who like to personalise their items to create one-of-a-kind items also prefer to buy pre-loved. And let’s be honest- wouldn’t you rather have all the items you want and need at an affordable price rather than building up debt and worry about paying it off?
These are the top places in my humble opinion to try for pre-loved items:
·         Friends and family (you maybe able to borrow the item with the condition you return it in a good condition-just remember if you damage an item you borrow it’s only good courtesy to replace the item)
·         Netmums local Nearly new boards
·         Local Newspaper
·         Facebook and other social networking sites  
·         EBay
·         NCT nearly new sales
·         Community Baby equipment and toy sales
·         Notice Boards in Supermarkets and shops
·         Playgroups (other mums selling items on-most groups organise tabletop  sales
·         The playground (if you know parents who can ask around for you it may save you money).
If you purchase off EBay just factor in postal costs, and the fact if the item is far away you may not be able to view the item and are basically buying based on the description and photos. Second hand items are not covered by the same policies as new items on EBay.
Also, always use internet safety common sense. If someone is ‘selling’ a brand new Mamas and Papas Nursery for £150.00 instead of £600.00 and want a bank transfer before you’ve seen the item chances are the sale is fake. So you have been warned.
Top items you can buy second hand and clean them (with furniture wipes, dettol-take your pick. Once you’ve cleaned the item I recommend you ‘air’ the item to ensure it has dried properly):
·         Moses basket
·         Cribs
·         Cots
·         High Chair (wooden, adjustable ones are worth their weight in gold as they grow with your little one)
·         Bumbos & Trays (or other sitting aides)
·         Dressers
·         Other furniture e.g. wardrobes
·         First large toys such as play gyms
Realistically, all you need for the first six months is a safe place for little one to sleep. So if you need to really tighten our belt, just buy the bare necessities for the first few months and look for the other items along the way.
The following item is best purchased new (as recommended by Health officials):
Mattresses for cot/crib/basket/cot-take a look online before purchasing online. I bought a mattress for Munchys crib for £30.00 including postage whereas on the High Street a similar item was priced at £55.00. Always use a reputable company and ask for recommendations on Forums if you are not sure.
What about Clothes!?
Okay so truthfully it’s hard not to go giddy at all the baby clothes in the shops however trust me when I say costs start to build up. Here are my top tips for cutting the cost of your tiny person’s wardrobe:
Don’t automatically rule out ‘hand-me-down’s’. Friends and family won’t give you stuff that is not useable (or at least they shouldn’t do) and it will save you money. I’ve known friends who’ve received bagfuls of Gap, Vertbaudet, Jojo Maman Bebe, Next and Mothercare for free. The items were in good condition, and of course they looked lovely updated with new tights, cardigans etc.
Also, during the first two years of your child’s life you will notice how quickly they grow. Clothes in the first year go up in three months e.g. 0-3, 3-6, 6-9, 9-12 months. They are also of course weight based too so if your baby is on the slender side (as my Munchy is) you may find certain clothes fit longer. During the second year the sizes are usually 12-18, 18-24 months. So based on this you can see how much wear and tear clothes will receive. Many clothes bundles can be found on EBay and on Netmums at great prices. If you are watching the budget and want nice clothes but do not have the option of hand-me-downs you could consider this option.
Parents usually buy the first lot of clothes themselves-so having a supply of sleep suits and bodysuits (The undergarments). Personally, I think the best ones to go for are the Supermarkets own brands in white-that way you can put them all in the washing machine without worrying about colours running. We had 12 sleep suits, and the same number of bodysuits. I bought them from Asda. Cheap and cheerful, however they were in no condition to be passed down after Munchy finished with them (the constant burping of a child ruins the back of the sleep suits so you have been warned if you want to buy expensive ones with the intention of reusing later on for siblings).
Always remember to wash all new clothes before you use them. This is simply to remove excess chemicals/dust on the items. These items are made in giant factories, where sometimes items can sit around for a while collecting the ugly dust and so forth which you don’t want against a newborns skin. The same rule applies to new bedding or hand-me-down items as you want to get rid of any dust collected whilst the items were in storage.
If family wish to buy you clothes, my suggestion is you ask for the size up, or vouchers. A newborn will hardly wear their clothes and will outgrow them before you get your monies worth. Vouchers are great as you can use them in the sales. There’s no shame in asking for vouchers instead. I always ask for vouchers on special occasions. I have no space for knick-knacks such as candles so vouchers mean I can buy what I actually need.
Bottle or Breast feeding?
If you plan to bottle feed don't forget to factor in the costs of:
Bottles and Teats
Steriliser and cleaning equipment
Bottle warmer
Toys are something you will notice breed like rabbits unless you put a stop to it. If you are limited for space only buy items you really love and buy only a few. Your little one will not know what toys are for at least 6 months. Toys can cost a lot-what you need to remember is:
Your newborn cannot understand what a toy yet and are not likely to show interest until they are around 6-8 months.
All Toy manufacturers claim their toy is the best and will make your child into Einstein-it’s all clever marketing and shiny packaging and you really do not need to fall for it.
If friends and family wish to buy your child toys I really do believe you are best encouraging them to give you vouchers for a Toy store. Munchy is currently into Happyland and Princesses. We never saw that in her as a baby so could never have predicted that or bought toys in accordance to that. Once a baby starts developing their personality you will be able to buy toys more geared to their likes and needs.
Second toys can be purchased via Netmums boards, EBay and even School Fayre's where there are table top sales. Sales often throw up bargains so keep your eyes peeled as ELC sales are renowned for having big makes such as Vtech at up to 70% off-around the same price of buying pre-loved. We bought a Vtech toy that should have been £44.99 for £8.00. Bargains can be found if you keep an eye out.
A side note on soft toys:
You will discover over time that soft toys in particular are problematic for spreading germs. We have combated this in several ways:
We bought minimum soft toys-it seemed like the most logical thing to do and quite honestly was the best think as Munchy loves Princesses and we never bought them so as her personality develops so does her toy collection.
We launder Munchys soft toys on a quick cycle followed by a fast spin (you must be careful when washing items in a washing machine-always read the label!)
We asked friends and family NOT to buy Munchy toys. For the first few months your baby isn’t aware of toys, and when they do become aware of them, we used mainly Lamaze Toys are they are unisex and are great developmental toys (and easily wipes clean).
You will find toys aimed at your child in every colour,shape and form. All toys will claim to be the best for your child. I should know because I am talking from the experience of buying excessive amount of toys Munchy simply wasn’t intrigued by.
 Do your wallet a favour, and hold fire on buying those large bulky plastic toys. The factories in the PRC (how fancy does that sound compared to just China) won’t be closing down so when your little one does decide to start playing with toys the supplies will not dry out. Stick to smaller toys that can be stored away easily to begin with-my recommendation is Lamaze Toys (before someone claims I am pushing their toys I must have been sponsored please! I am recommending them as we have a large collection of their toys Munchy still loves at the age of 2).
You can of course buy this pre-loved or you can buy a unisex bundle new for a crib or Moses basket from Mothercare in the current sale for under £30.00 (Circus theme, in yellow). If you plan to have more than one child, you will definitely get your monies worth. Sometimes it is definitely worth looking at new items before purchasing pre-loved.
What you may wish to look out for on EBay is things like new crochet blankets, quilted covers for older children as these are often harder to find and when you do find them in specialist shops they are priced accordingly.
Always worth borrowing:
Parenting books-most first time parents will have one or two books on their shelves. Why not borrow a book from a friend or the Library rather than buying? Just remember to return the books!
Using Children Centres and other organisations Toy Libraries
My local Children’s Centre has a Toy Library and a Parenting Book Library. You can borrow a range of toys and even Bumbos (which is a blessing for those who don’t have the space to store items as you can return the item to the Library). What a lovely service for those who are watching their pennies. Why not call your local Children Centre and find out what services they offer. If they don’t have a Toy Library, they should be able to point you in the direction of one locally. Churches and Schools (with Nurseries) and are often good places to ask about Toy Libraries and Toy sharing Schemes.
STOP-stress alert!
If kitting out your baby is stressing you, sit down and have a drink (ideally a cup of tea). Write down what you would to buy and what is really important to you. If having a nice new Moses basket is important to you but that down. Write down everything-down to socks. That way if anyone asks if there is anything they can buy for the baby, you have a list to refer to.
Still not convinced you want to buy pre-loved?
That’s your own prerogative. I cannot dictate to you as a reader, nor should one try. I just wanted to highlight the options that you do have should you wish to look at alternative options. Your baby will thrive on love and care and honestly the Nursery equipment won’t be remembered by your little bundle at all. They will see it in photos and that’s about it. But having stressed parents who are struggling to pay off debts accumulated from their pre-birth really isn’t something I would encourage.
If you still want to purchase everything new, why not consider the following:
Slightly second items direct from the company (
-for Petite Zia slightly second goods at fantastically low prices. I’ve used them previously and can highly recommend them).
Factory Shops-I live near a Mamas and Papas shop. They get lovely items in, however it puts me off that you cannot return items. Hormones usually result in a change of heart at least 5 times a day for me. Bah hum. now owned by Morrison’s. They have some lovely items come in. A few months back they had adjustable wooden highchairs in for under £30.00 including the postage (as it’s free on orders of a certain cost). I bought Munchys mattresses for her Crib and Cot from these guys; affordable and good quality too.  I must say though, I have yet to order since they changed ownership. You will love the sales these guys have. I’ve picked up hats at 75% off (okay it was in May but it was still a bargain for the winter wardrobe). Bedding sales are great to look out for too. A single Fireman Sam duvet cover has recently been in the sale for £7.49. As mentioned previously a Circus themed Crib bale is on sale at just under £30.00. It’s in a yellow colour making it a lovely neutral colour set for a girl or boy. This website is my knight in shining armour when it comes to a wardrobe fit for a princess. Their bedding sets are gorgeous as it all the furniture. I have yet to buy anything at full price off Vertbaudet-I simply shop with them during their great sales where you can pick up French fashion at up to 70% off.
Sainsbury’s Tu clothing is not only good quality it’s priced to be affordable. Plus Tu have a 25% off their clothing and shoe range at least once a season where you can pick up great bargains. The best bit for me is I’ve bought Munchy lovely denim dress with a top and tights for £4.20 as Tu knock off 25% off the price of items in the sale too. I can only praise Tu for their range of clothes, and the additional 25% off clothes. I’ve also bought bits for myself too from the Tu range so there is something for everyone.
Other places to try especially during the sales (based on my own experience) are:
Tesco (Florence and Fred do well made baby and children’s clothes. Their partyware is a favourite in our household for Munchy).
Gap-we have shopped at the Gap Outlet near Blackpool and loved it. Their sales in their High Street Stores are also worth looking at. Their jeans of course are well made and last.
H&M-this store features heavily in my Munchys wardrobe because of affordability plus they have some lovely Minnie Mouse clothing which Munchy lives for. They have sales and reduced items on a regular basis. I’ve yet to go to a physical sale at H&M-maybe Munchys Baba will read this and take a hint for post Christmas sales 2012?
George@Asda-We have picked up a few bits from George but not too many. We purchased a lovely dungaree style denim dress for £6.00 at full price. It’s well made and gets worn by Munchy with various tops and tights-very versatile for a girls wardrobe.
Next-their post Christmas sales are the best bet for bargains. I’ve been to the sales at silly-o-clock and picked up lots for Munchy.
Bows and Arrows, Boots Limited Edition, Boots own brand clothes@Boots-I cannot talk about my love for Boots clothes too much because I would go on for pages. Boots do a classical range of clothes that remind me of a bygone era of style. We usually purchase dresses from the Boots range. The sales provide a great opportunity to stock up on their lovely clothes. I’ve purchased a lovely lace dress for £16.00 (was £32.00) which is yet to be worn by Munchy (it’s in the wardrobe labelled for next Eid InshAllah).
Readers please note: none of the companies mentioned in this entry have sponsored or bribed their way into it. All are genuine recommendations based on the writers own experiences.
However you plan to kit out your little bundle-enjoy every moment because it really does fly by.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

To Playdate or not to Playdate...

Great Play date Debate (or how to organise one and still be standing at the end of 90 minutes)
Munchy is growing up fast-fact. She’s learning new things everyday, and a day where she has no social interaction with anyone is clearly a day that makes my little flower unhappy (lucky for us our Postman is the cheeriest one on the block and takes time to have a chat with Munchy everyday). We attend playgroups, visit soft play centres and do the usual day trips and visits to friends houses (plus the dinner parties and tea parties at home-which Munchy is now great at hosting) but as she gets older her has a natural desire to form friendships so now I must bite the bullet and dates.
According to the older generations, play dates were hosted back when I was a child but were more of a BOGOF-the parents would be visiting the parents and the kids got to play-simple concept. Parents didn’t put effort into kid’s snacks or drinks, and it was a case of ‘here are the toys get on with it’. Now just looking at a Family Calendar and you will see the words ‘Play date for X’ rather than ‘catch up with X for chat and take little one too’. How times are changing. The demands to be Mary Poppins as a mother are ever increasing and if God forbid you are a ‘SAHM’ (stay at home Mum) you are expected to do it all. Why? Well we don’t go out to earn so society expect us to earn our keep. Why others feel the need to judge another’s lifestyle boggles the brain but it’s done especially at the gates of Schools all over the world.
Oh yes I started rambling...back to the subject. Play dates. So now it’s all the rage. Pick up a parenting magazine and chances are they are discussing it. Look at a gossip magazine and the likelihood is if they are featuring parent celebrities they will be discussing who the kids hang out with (e.g. David Beckham’s brood supposedly hangs out with Snoop Dogs lot-yes they are older but you get the picture).
Considering Munchys age I do have a confession to make-Munchy is yet to make close friends as I have yet to find a parent and toddler we gel with. I have a friend with a daughter the same age as Munchy however they both crave the spotlight so the friendship is somewhat strained. I’ve met some lovely ladies at playgroup with boys the same age as Munchy-that’s lovely but I want Munchy to make friends with girls. No I’m not sexist. I’m simply thinking long term and if Munchys social circle is female dominated from the get go I won’t have to worry about ‘editing’ it later down the line. Plus statistically girls do better at School than boys-why would I want Munchy to hang around with boys when it maybe more beneficial for her to have girl pals? I’m not stupid folks, I understand she will meet boys given the fact we are in the West, this doesn’t upset me nor does it scare me. If I’m truly honest I do hope In Shaa Allah when the time comes Munchy finds a life partner herself who she has the world in common with. Living with someone you have zero in common with often means the couple scrap the barrel simply to find something to talk about. But whilst I am in charge of her social gatherings I would prefer her to stick with girls.
I go to Soft Play Centres secretly hoping I meet a mother who has a daughter of a similar age who Munchy gels with so we can have them over. It hasn’t happened yet but we shall not give up hope! Anyone want to be our friend?
In the meantime I do have some pearls of wisdom in regards to organising a Play date at home:
1) Invite just one parent and their child(ren) keep numbers small as this isn’t a party rather an opportunity for your child to develop their socialising skills
2) keep the date short-around 90 minutes is more than sufficient to begin with
3) Organise it at a suitable time-after a nap maybe better or at the beginning of the day
 rather than just before a nap is due
4) Don’t over stretch or stress yourself about the cleanliness of your home. Keep the date to your living room. A living room is to be lived in. I am currently typing from my living room and can see puzzle pieces on the floor, a pile of washed clothes that need to be folded and put away and two large boxes of Happyland toys that need to go into Munchys incomplete bedroom asap! When I host a play date I shall simply ensure this room is clean and tidy. Might even burn a Yankee candle-after all when we get guests these days?
Also try and keep in mind the parent and child are coming over to well play. They are not coming over to check if your dusting is up to scratch. Try and enjoy the date-you maybe able to have a short chat, which is quite standard on a first date. Most parents are worried about what their child may do to the hosting child. It’s fairly standard for parents to worry but once you’ve hosted your first date it will settle your nerves about opening your home to a toddler and their parent.
5) Only present toys your child is not possessive about-e.g. please do not put out their favourite toy the likelihood is your child will not want to share. Ask the other mum to bring a toy too.
6) Keep snacks simple-a bowl of grapes, some sliced banana and toast should be more than enough.  If you don’t want to make toast serve thin slices of cheese and raisins alongside some cut fruit. Serve what works for you. Drink wise keep to milk, or fresh juice (small amount only). Most mothers prefer diluted juice-apple and blackcurrant is a favourite at our house. It’s the ‘norm’ from what I have seen to serve these around 20-30 minutes from the end of the date. To be on the safe side ask the mum if their child has any allergies. Also, avoid serving food and drink in your toddlers favourite cups and dishes until you know how your little one feels about their ‘friend’.
7) Try to not over cater for the parent. A hot drink with a slice of store bought cake in my humble opinion is more than enough. I admit that I love catering for people so may struggle with this but what you need to remember is whatever you serve up the parent will wish to outdo when you visit (well most of the time). Avoid talking about anything too serious. Why not chat about what you do during the day or what school you hope your child gets into (avoid slating other schools in the area just in case).
8) Have a bit of structure to the play date but don’t go O.T.T. Half an hour into the date introduce something new-perhaps some playdoh and moulds.
9) A good mixture of toys are: playdoh, pots and pans, Aqua doodles, books and our favourite Happyland (I’m not sure if you can get Happyland in the States but it’s available from all good ELC or Mothercares in the UK and even the UAE). If all else fails and war breaks loose, I recommend putting on a DVD-Tinkerbell calms my child I’m sure you know what works for your cherubs.
10) Avoid paints, crayons and pencils-basically anything that can be used to ‘decorate’ your walls with whilst you serve the snacks. Put them away safely until you can watch your child efficiently.   
Whatever happens remember you are doing this for the benefit of your child. The better our children’s social skills and the better they can grasp friendships will help them endlessly settle into school. The rage is play dates but we don’t have to follow them to the T. Be flexi, invite a friend to the park for a small picnic, go to the soft play centre together, or go for a walk around a Lake and take some bread. All of these give your child the opportunity to ‘mingle’ so don’t be put off by the idea of outdoor play dates. Don't let the cold weather put you off either-how about taking a flask of soup with you?
Have fun folks and let me know how you get on. In the meantime we’re still on a mission to find a suitable play date mother/child.

Friday, 14 December 2012

A Muslim Mamas Bucket List for 2013

 Muslim Mamas promise/Bucket list for 2013
I will be the first to admit that I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions and I haven’t kept any since I was a teenager. This year though, I have decided that I will have a Bucket List that I will happily add to as and when needed. In fact I will have FIVE bucket lists. 1 will be a general one for the whole year whilst the others will be seasonal. I really want to be more in touch with the seasons. So yes some of the actions listed on my general list will be ‘decanted’ onto my seasonal list too. Complicated? Not really. Okay so we get long hard winters in the UK, but there is beauty to be found in that too.
I also want to have a Bucket List to ensure Munchy gets the best out of life. I may compromise on my own aspects of life, however I never want Munchy to do that. I want her to take every opportunity and life a happy full life. So from a young age I want her to get into the habit of setting reachable targets in the form of happy Bucket Lists. Nothing wrong with that surely? It’s not a competitive thing and I would hate for anyone to feel they must have a list too because X has one. There is nothing wrong with having the intention to do something, as long as we understand sometimes things don’t go to our plan-that’s just the way the world is.
So far my list looks like this (this is my general 2013 list):
1)      Go on at least 2 family picnics
2)      Visit the Monkey Forest
3)      Visit at least 1 Farm
4)      Try at least 10 new craft ideas
5)      Pass my driving test
6)      Start a food blog
7)      Decorate the house for Ramadan and Eid-purchasing and making all decorations beforehand
8)      Learn to Crochet or Knit (or both!)
9)      Create a Family tradition
10)   Read at least one dua with great rewards everyday
11)   Show Munchy how to fly a Kite
12)   Buy Munchy a bike (she asks for one everyday) and take her for rides on a daily basis
13)   Sow Sunflowers and cherry tomatoes together
14)   Make a bird feeder
15)   Take Munchy to a Fireworks display
16)   Start working my way through all my cookery books (there’s over 100)
17)   Bake a cake a week
18)   Start meal planning for a healthier family and reduce food waste
19)   Go to a Zoo
20)   Go to a local Food Festival
21)   Make giant bubbles and chase them around
22)   Visit the Seaside
23)   Take Munchy bowling
24)   Play with sidewalk chalk
25)   Take out the paddling pool when the weather is nice
26)   Go strawberry picking
27)   Become more organised
28)   Feed the ducks
29)   Make a three new friends throughout the 12 months
30)   Bake with Munchy

 As you can see so far I have 30 missions on my list. I have a feeling the list will grow. I cannot help but wonder if our parents could bring us all up again what would they do differently? I have a sneaky feeling they would play with us more and worry about earning more less. I know I want the best for Munchy, but sometimes I cannot help but wonder if really the greatest things in life are free how much does it cost to make bubbles and go feed the ducks in the park? I know I remember my trips to the park fondly. Unfortunately my family didn’t believe in spending quality time so going the park was a one off experience (yes I know it’s a free activity try explaining that to my family).
Will anyone else be writing their own Bucket List for 2013? Anyone care to share there’s? If you want to write your own list and need inspiration, you will find lots of Bucket Lists via google, some of which can be printed off free-of-charge and framed. The purpose of this is once you've done one of the tasks you tick it off with a dry board marker and have an ongoing list that is up-to-date.
Let me know how you all get on. Looking forward to reading everyone's Bucket Lists.

Until our next meeting folks,

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The allure of Christmas from a Muslim Mama Perspective

Warning to those easily offended-if you are a Muslim who orders Turkey for your Christmas Dinner this article will offend the hair off your body-do I apologise in advance for that? HECK NO.
I am proud of who I am-including the bit of me that is British. Yes, I hail from the United Kingdom which is a predominately Christian country thus Christmas is the big festivities that mark the end of the Christian calendar and in theory the birth of baby Jesus.
Growing up in England during the 1980’s-1990’s I noticed many revolutions. The mobile phone-the era of text messaging and text ‘speak’, Girl Power, the rise of Grunge, Kurt Cobains' sad demise, Brit Pop, The Internet and the commercialisation of festivities. 
When I was younger, Christmas arrived at the end of November. We had the fireworks celebrations to get out of the way to make space for the Christmas decorations. But how that has changed. Now it’s a case of as soon as we’ve done the mad ‘back to school’ rush in September stores are getting ready for Christmas.
As a child I loved Christmas (a note to my Fatwa-loving sisters and brothers, please note I said I loved Christmas, I never said I celebrated it and so go on save your Fatwa’s for someone who actually needs them-thank you). The allure for me was the lights, the idea of spending time with your family, watching films curled up in front of the fire, hot chocolate with marshmallows, the songs on the radio (Wham! Anyone?) the Home Alone films, the presents, watching The Snowman...the festive warm feeling. That special feeling. My family never really made much effort during Ramadan and Eid even though my grandfather was the chairman of the local Masjid for roughly 20 years. My aunts and uncle would pose for their photos in their new clothes. My aunt would make pilau rice that looked more like cat food and we ate is like it was a feast of kings because that’s all we knew. Whilst my friend’s families had outings to the park and had presents on Eid, and their families made an effort to make their homes look festive, we were stuck indoors with the generation above wondering if Christmas was as boring as Eid.
 And as I got older the allure remained but realisation sat in. The realisation that the allure of Christmas was all marketing-in fact the real x-factor behind Christmas for many Christians has been lost in translation. Does anyone ever see baby Jesus on cards anymore? Hardly but you can get cards with Hello Kitty on. Does baby Jesus appear on Christmas decorations? God forbid, after all the commercialised Christmas needs to have broad appeal, why jeopardise that with an image of a Prophet?
Those ‘moments’ that made me tingle were all simply marketing. All of it. Boy did I feel ripped off. But then how do the Church going Christians feel about everything?
I recently spoke to a young mother of 4 who asked me if I was going to be celebrating Christmas. I explained to her that I believed in Jesus however he held a different position within Islam so we didn’t celebrate Christmas she replied with “Christmas isn’t like religious of anything it’s like an excuse to party”. Really?
Now Munchy is really getting into the spirit of Christmas television. The fact Disney Junior UK have been playing Christmas themed episodes of children’s favourites such as Curious George, Jungle Junction and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Santa seems to be making appearances everyday-surely parents of children that do celebrate Christmas find it frustrating to explain to their toddler Christmas is still x days away? Then there’s the movie channels pumping out Christmas inspired films. Whatever happened to Christmas films being shown during the two week Christmas break?
You have woman (and yes some men) up and down the country fretting over their Christmas dinner. I have never understood why Christmas Dinner is such a stressful experience which all it is in my opinion a Sunday Roast Dinner? The only differences I can see is Turkey replacing Chicken and Christmas pudding instead of Trifle (although I would take Chicken and Trifle over the latter).
Although I admit Christmas time seems magical because of the marketing pumped into it I do have a bone to pick with Muslim parents ordering Turkeys for your Christmas meal. You know who you are. Why on earth are you hijacking the celebration of our Christian friends? Do you see them ordering leg of mutton to make Raan and Eid to celebrate with us? Please have some dignity and remember the following:
You have two Eids a year-yes TWO make an effort on them rather than jumping on the super-commercial Christmas celebrations
Every Friday for a Muslim is equal to an Eid-true say. So that’s like 52 Eids a year plus the other two making 54. That maths alone should tell you we have more to celebrate than: New Year, Valentine’s Day, Easter and Christmas.
You have the whole of Ramadan to cook, pray and clean to your heart’s content-that’s like 30 Christmases in one (just think of the tiredness and leftover food).
And to the Halal butchers supplying Halal Turkeys-why in God’s name do you think Muslims want Turkeys? Please do not say there are revert sisters who miss Christmas and cook a Christmas dinner-if that’s the case have they no knowledge on their new deen to know we have plenty of celebration they can cook a Roast Dinner on? Why not cook a full Roast on Eid? Or invite your new family over for a Roast Dinner Iftari?
If you say your Muslim and having a Christmas Dinner is super important to you go Tesco and get a Turkey from there. I’m not having a pop at you, I’m stating the obvious. Then these same Muslim parents wonder why other Muslim parents shy away from inviting the Christmas celebrating Muslim kids to their homes for Eid parties. Why would they? In fact why would Muslim parents keep you in the loop of Muslim celebrations and parties if clearly you wish to be more 'universal' in what you celebrate?
Truthfully we are all leaving our legacy in what we teach our children. I want Munchy to remember her Eid celebrations fondly. I also want her to respect the fact Christmas for the Christians marks the birth of a Prophet as Muslims we completely respect and love-Jesus. I want her to know that Jesus holds a different position in Islam to what he does in Christianity. I’m sure there will be Christians out there who feel the same vice-versa. I seriously do not want Munchy teaching her children in the future that it’s fine to hijack celebrations of other faiths and neglect her own when her own is giving her more than 60 days of Christmases. I know I’m not the only Muslim mother who thinks this way.
If I have offended any Muslim readers rather than sending me hate mail maybe you want to ask yourself what offended you?
Now there will be Muslim sisters who are saying they willingly take their child out of School at the time of Christmas to avoid celebrating Kaffira celebrations. They also stop their child from attending Nativities, making Christmas cards and decorations and so on. These decisions I believe are individual. I personally wouldn't take Munchy out unless I was unable to explain the purpose of the activity and why it's different for us. If she went to a School that had a mixture of religious and cultural backgrounds I would however expect the School to put a bit of effort into Eid and other celebrations. But that is something I will look at when the time comes. I also feel it's important for parents who are often the loudest about their religious beliefs to give time to their Children's Schools PTA and fundraising events.  Time is the biggest gift you can give anyone especially the establishment that gives your child an education.
As Ramadan approaches us each year I would love to see sisters getting together discussing activities for their children, family celebrations, what presents they are getting their children, how they will make their homes festive, what they plan to cook and most importantly how they plan to do all that around the Holy month of Ramadan. I would hate the true message of Ramadan to be lost (and sadly for some it has been-those of you who believe Ramadan is one long Iftari party please read up on the true essence of Ramadan it will shock you to learn what it really means).
So as Christmas is in full swing in England, I cannot help but wonder how many mums out there are over stretching themselves by working, extra cleaning, preparing their homes for the influx of guests known as family they only see once a year for presents and food, wrapping presents and decorating their homes trying to keep up with the commercialised ‘Jones’. Of course the allure of Christmas has started to fade for me (Munchy wants snow-and seems to think Santa brings it) I still wish to live in a house like the one in Home Alone (American Suburbia is still alluring for me).  And as Frankie goes to Hollywood’s ‘The power of Love’ is played on a Music channel  I cannot help but wonder maybe it’s time we went back (as a Nation) to the true essence of Christmas-that little baby Jesus in a manger, with a life in front of him of pure sacrifice.

Monday, 10 December 2012

A detailed review on Nawaabs Buffet Restaurant-Manchester

Nawaab Manchester Review
My review is written from parents prospective with a young toddler.
We visited Nawaabs on Thursday 6th December 2012 after a hefty 90+ minute drive. Lucky for us, Munchy (now two) was kept occupied by the YouTube app (Curious George anyone?).
We arrived in Manchester and were greeted with the rain and wind. The car park had ample parking space and is a short walk to the actual restaurant. There is a staff member manning the car park, however always you should remove all valuables from view and secure your vehicle.  
We knew we were close to the glorious food-the fragrance greets you on your approach.
On arrival the first thing that you notice is the grand scale of Nawaab-it’s affordable luxury for everyone. The entrance hall is decorated simply but elegantly with images of Bollywood stars from the bygone era (an image of a young Amitabh Bachchan sticks out to the Bollywood nut in me). There’s a lovely relaxing water feature too providing the backdrop to many family photos. There’s also plenty of seating if you are waiting for family/friends to arrive.
The toilets are also well kept-and by the looks of them are checked on a regular basis.
So we steadily moved on into the restaurant. As soon as we entered we were swiftly greeted by a member of staff asking how many were dining and we were quickly escorted to a table. The waiter was very efficient and quickly provided us with a High Chair for Munchy he also took our drinks orders (which were a jug of Pepsi-for the OH and water for me-bottled though. More on that later). There is no Alcohol at Nawaabs-perfect for those like me who prefer venues that do not serve it.
I got my husband to go up and get his food first so whilst I was waiting I made a few observations which I hope Nawaabs are able to take on without the potential of losing profit.
Firstly, to maximise the amount of people that can be seated we were literally packed in like sardine cans. There’s no privacy. Okay, so we didn’t go to Nawaabs to make out, however when you have a small child with you, you do cherish extra space. I would really recommend that Nawaabs allocate the seating against the wall to families with young ones. That way, it gives more leg room to the parents and you won’t be in fear of your child reaching over to others plates on the table next to you. I know it’s a tall ask, however believe me, parents with toddlers will understand what I am talking about. Also, you can easily fit in two High Chairs without them obstructing the walkway of others as children cannot move their chairs-a bonus. Maximum clearance for everyone to go up to the Buffet and fill their plates (to a reasonable size-please folks do not waste food).
Once the OH came back with two plates (one with chutneys, one with food-this is a simple measure to ensure Munchie didn’t eat any chillies) I approached the Buffet.
Actually before I talk though my experience, my husband pointed out that you can actually get barbequed 'chops' freshly cooked off the buffet. You simply ask the gentleman cooking them. There not on the buffet like the other dishes, you have to basically get them fresh as they come off the fire (literally). Just a note for those of you who love their chops. Okay moving on.
Now I have been to Nawaab at least five times. I love their food. The set up this time round was similar to how I remember however the only change I noticed was there was more non-Pakistani (desi) food. I shall move onto that later.
I had the following from the salad cart:
Hummus (Arabic chickpea dip-heavy on calories)
Pickled chilli
Boondi raita (this is a accompiment made of tiny gram flour bites served in yogurt-very nice when done properly-more on that later).
No other salad for me, however I did notice the following:
Leafy salads, pasta salads, cholay, plenty of chutneys.
What I had as starters:
Lamb seekh kebab (minced lamb kebab)
Aachari cholay (chickpeas flavoured with pickles e.g. Aachar)
Aloo tikki ( potato pattie)
Masala fish (fish fried in a thin flavourful batter)
Baigan pakora (aubergine dipped in a gram flour batter and fried)
Aloo pakora (potato dipped in a gram flour batter and fried)
Mixed pakora (onions and potatoes shredded and mixed into a gram flour batter and fried)
Masala fries (fries that have been tossed in corn flour flavoured with various spices)
Please note that I had literally bite size portions of the above so that I could taste them all.
From the mains (after polishing off the starters) I had:
Pilau rice (one pot rice dish where the rice is cooked with various spices e.g. black cardamom) Known as Brown rice amongst the Parsi community
Palak Gosht (meat curry cooked with spinach)
Sarson ka saag (mustard greens cooked in a similar way to spinach has a distinctive strong taste)
Lamb karahi (lamb curry cooked in a tomato sauce)
Again, I had small portions. I’m happy with variety rather than quantity. I mean if someone else is going to cook for you you’d want to try everything right?
Now let’s get onto the important stuff-taste.
The starters:
Oh boy, I have such fond memories of the starters at this place I don’t know where to begin. So you will have sussed that I am going to write something negative about the starters, and believe me it pains me to do so! There will be people out there saying ‘you can dip them in chutney’. To you I say I don’t want to dip them in chutney, I want to enjoy their unique taste. Not sure if this was just a one off, however if Nawaab have adjusted the flavourings of the above I do not recommend the items to those like me looking for punchy flavour. Don’t waste food folks, just enjoy the other items.
Frankly, the following items were bland: masala fries,potato pakore, mixed pakore, baigan pakore, boondi raita, masala fish and aloo tikkis (these were introduced somewhere between our last two visits). I don’t know what else I can say-they lacked flavour and someone clearly forgot the salt. I’ve had all of the above(apart from the aloo tikkis) at Nawaab and they were all sublime-this time round though they were so bland even Munchy wouldn’t eat them.
So I noticed a change on the mains menu-the tarka daal that used to be chaana daal has been replaced with another lentil. I loved the tarka channa daal so skipped this.
I simply cannot get enough of the following:
Sarson ka saag (the Punjabi in me loves this stuff)
Palak gosht
Lamb Karahi
I enjoy their pilau rice too-plain with no meat so you can enjoy your mixing and matching with the various curries.
The flavours of the Sarson ka saag was smooth, not too spicy and went really well with everything else I had chosen. Palak gosht is a favourite of mine since I was a child, and the way it’s prepared at Nawaab makes it almost a comfort food for me. If I was ill and needed to eat out this would be my staple. Strange I know, most people ask for chicken soup.
The Lamb karahi-what can I say the balance of spices with the meat make this the perfect partner for the pilau rice.
So now there are people reading this saying ‘where’s the chicken’. There is plenty of chicken on the menu so relax  I just chose to stick to the red stuff.  Chicken dishes included Chicken Biryani, chicken boti, chicken wings and various chicken curries.
Other meat curries on the menu were: Haleem and Nihari. Both of which take ages to prepare and cook at home so eating these two dishes whilst at Nawaab would make sense.
Non-Pakistani (desi) food. Nawaab are proud of the fact they can cater for literally all tastes and so they should be. On the non-desi food cart I spotted the following: Noodles, chicken pie, pasta bake and lasagne plus other dishes I cannot remember. There’s also the usual fries and even pizza for the less adventurous eaters.
Anyone with a sweet tooth must be in Heaven when they take a glimpse at the sweets cart  at Nawaab. There’s plenty of cake (chocolate cake and ice-cream anyone), ice-cream and Pakistani sweets e.g. Gulab Jaman, Gajar Halva, Seviyaan and other traditional sweets to keep all amused. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to taste the sweets this time round, however judging on the paste Nawaab provide fresh sweets to satisfy all.
Okay so now that I’ve covered what I ate and so forth, I wish to share my positives and negatives with you all:
·         £13.95 per adult for all you can eat. Children between the ages of 4-11 years are charged at £6.00 per child. This price includes all courses, drinks are extra.
·         Ample free parking
·         Friendly and helpful staff
·         Service is incredible
·         Variety of food
·         Quality of food-in particular the meat
·         The freshness of the food-you can see the food being cooked as you move along the Buffet.
·         Under 4 year olds are free
·         High Chairs available
·         You can bring your own cake if you are celebrating a special occasion. Cakes can be provided by the venue at a cost.

·         Tables are too close together-not enough space to move around if you have a child in a High Chair.
·         You can only pre-book for group sizes of 15 or more. Weekends can get really busy, so a wait can be expected.
·         There’s only Bottled water? What about the stuff that comes out of taps?
·         The starters as highlighted in my review are too bland for my palette that is used to the previous punchy tastes provided by said venue.
·         Tarka daal has changed!
If I could have a chat with the management of Nawaab I would say please consider allocating the space along the wall to parents with little ones in High Chairs-please think of the space we need plus we don’t want to annoy neighbouring tables with our children reaching over for their items. It happens and believe me even the most well behaved child can become distracted by a shiny purse on another table.
I would also like to see a ‘spice indicator’ on the Buffet. Perhaps there is one and I did not see it? I honestly think having an indicator will assist on reducing food waste. I actually ate all my starters even though I wasn’t happy with them, how many others would do that? Maybe a simple system of ‘chillies’ from a scale of 0-5; 0 being no spicy, 1 being flavourful not spicy...5 being hot.
I do hope the starters I had were simply down to a mix up in the kitchen and that the flavours haven’t been adjusted to the extent that the food is no longer as flavourful as it was in the past. If this is the case, I would be more than happy to re-rewrite my review to reflect this (once I have sampled the starters that is).
Overall experience:
Nawaab is an award winning eatery which delivers quality food every time. If you want to experience genuine Pakistani/Desi cuisine at an affordable price (and all the food is Halal too) this is the venue for you. Nawaab do not hold an Alcohol licence making this the perfect venue for Muslim families and those who wish to stir clear of it. If you are away from the homeland and are craving proper home cooked food-Nawaabs can help you out. Don't forget that it's a buffet so you can go up as many times as you please. Let's not overload our plates and waste food. Think of those who are unable to eat as they have nothing. I don't want to put a downer on this review, however wastage is not liked my Nawaabs-and I must agree with them on this. Just go up a few times guys, everyone is there to eat noone will be watching you.
Until next time folks,