Summer in Melbourne

Melbourne is extraordinarily beautiful with its lush natural greenery and pristine beaches and coastlines. Yet, going to the beach in Melbourne has always left me with longing to go back to the Maldives, my home country. Maybe it’s nostalgia, or the fact that I am  used to the comfort of small islands rather than the vastness of coastlines and beaches here. So far our idea of a great outdoor time here has been exploring the mountains, hiking through the sky high forests and misty waterfalls.

But, this summer we have been total beach bums. We have had lovely stretches of sun in the past few weeks and we vowed to take full advantage of it, even with two toddlers slowing us down. We really can’t complain, the main reason we get out is to see their joyous faces taking in the splendor of nature.

Our idea of a great beach is opportunity is explore and adventure. We look for rocky lagoons, shore and sea dwellers, shallow expanses of shoreline and uninterrupted views of the sunset/sunrise. We also check the presence of beach patrol (which we check online before we go)and life saving clubs.Here are some of our favorite beaches that’s under an hour from Melbourne city that we have enjoyed this summer.

Williamstown Beach

This gorgeous beach is an explorers dream. It has a wide expanses of rocky lagoons and visible sea life. Our favorite part of the beach is the reserve park overlooking the beach. It is a great spot to picnic with a perfect view of the sunset. The area is frequented by seagulls which gave the kids great joy running after them. Just half an hour from Melbourne city, this is one great choice.

Altona Beach

We enjoyed Altona beach so much that we decided that this is going to be our default beach for the rest of the summer. The rock pool area of the beach was just brimming with life. Seagulls, snails, clams and an array of crustaceans that is beyond my knowledge resided there. The tide was low when we went, so there was a wide part of the shore with ankle deep water. This was just perfect for the kids to lie on, sit in, and jump up and down. Basically for them this was a never ending puddle at their expense, and only half hour from Melbourne city .

Port Melbourne

I fell in love with Port Melbourne beach as soon as I saw all the beautiful shells. The shore is covered by shells. Most of the shells were still intact and beautifully preserved by the sand. When the sun sets, the gorgeous rays of the sun made the shells glisten much like a stars on a dark night. Port Melbourne runs a long way and we have experienced the beach at different points.

Carrums Beach

Oh Carrums! My only issue with Carrums Beach is that it takes us almost an hour to  get there and through the city (in case of northerners). The water is crystal clear and the sand must be the whitest that we have seen in Melbourne so far. Not that white is a prerequisite for us anymore, because we have fallen in love with the textured golden Melbourne beach sand.


Black Rock Beach (Half Moon Bay)

This beautiful and iconic beach proves that great things come in small packages. This beach is contained in a half moon shape and gives an alternative idea of what we know as beaches. The cliffs of Red bluff (the rocks) are so beautiful and perfect if you have kids who love climbing. It also gave an amazing view of the half moon bay once you climb to the top. It was perfect to make a picnic on top of the rocks to watch the sun as it set. This was a great place for my son to climb up and and push his limits. As the sun set, we could also see the moon rising from the other side.

St Kilda Beach

Truth be told, we have only gone to St Kilda beach for walks along the pier and to see the penguins. It’s one of the best places to check out the sunrise and makes for a vibrant fun outing at night. You can see the sun rising over the city line from the pier. There are many cafe’s and is just has a lovely city vibe to it.

Brighton Beach

This iconic beach is perfect for it’s photo opportunities and Victorian history behind the array of the Brighton bathing houses. The houses are still intact in its historical Victorian architecture and the story of morality and sea bathing. It boasts these colourful houses along the shores. My son had a great time doing pretend play at the beach, running up and down the houses and pretending to be the big bad wolf trying to blow down the doors.

Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary

This is one of the best places to introduce kids to Australian marine life. The shores are full of life and there is a lot of rock pools close to the shore that kids can wade onto. We came across a school of hulafish, lots of snails and different shells. The beach is covered with algae that is home to many crustaceans. My babies are still too young to appreciate sea life but it was a great introduction, and we had lot of fun pointing out the animals and plants.


a brother’s love

The little eyes saw her.

For the first time, and unsure what to feel,

He kissed her.

She didn’t mind, she cooed and she swooned,

and he lit up; it was like the bright sun.

So it was just a thousand more kisses.


Uwaaaah uwaaah uwaaah,

For a while it seemed as if that’s what he called her.

She didn’t mind, she beamed and she gleamed,

and he lit up; it was like a flower blooming.

So it was just a few more cuddles.


One day he found his words,

and he whispered in her ears,

I lubbb you.

She giggled and she wiggled,

and he lit up; it was like a little bird singing.

So he said it a thousand times over.


Soon, she got moving.

she touched his toys, she pushed, she pulled.

sometimes he even got caught in it,

She smiled, a naughty smug even,

and he lit up; it was like the sound of a waterfall.

and he says, it’s alright I love you.


Soon, she looked at him.

she smiled, she shared, she even snuggled in his arms,

and he lit up; it was like all things bright and beautiful.

So he looks up and says, with those beautiful eyes,

“she loves me,

I am so happy”.







Bahamas Mama ♩ ♪ ♫ ♬

The Bahamas is a beautiful island country comprising of more than 700 islands, of which only 30 are inhabited. Boasting sandy white beaches and crystal clear waters, Bahamas also exhibits the highest concentration of blue holes aka sinkholes.


The local cuisine mainly includes seafood such as fish, shellfish, lobster, crab, and conch. They are also big on tropical fruits, rice and peas.I chose to grill a fish using traditional Bahamian spices, which includes loads of chili and lemon. The recipe for Bahamian style whole grill fish I used was fantastic. The fish was scrumptious and brought back a lot of memories of home. I also made a roasted capsicum and chili dip to go along which was just so good. 5 stars for this one, just for the chili and lemon kick.

The power of small

When the biggest responsibility that you could imagine is thrust upon us, such as the care of children, we really have to be frugal with the time and even money we spend on self care. While the cost of growing a child takes a toll on our everyday budget, it’s the time that seems to just fly past before we can catch a breath and have the luxury of drinking a cup of hot coffee. These are the times that we forget to take care of ourselves. I have to remind myself every now and then how important it is that I take care of myself if I am to be the kind of mom that I aspire to be. A well-rounded mother is someone who in order to prioritize the children, needs to put herself first.

What is Self-care?

Self care is care provided “for you, by you.” It’s about identifying your own needs and taking steps to meet them. It is taking the time to do some of the activities that nurture you. Self care is about taking proper care of yourself and treating yourself as kindly as you treat others. Like all mom’s, I also have a high capacity for discomfort when it comes to taking care of my children and home. Despite the everyday hustle I function quiet well in making sure their needs are met. But is “function” really the keyword to being a good mother, or is the word more like flourish? Prosper? Thrive? This is not just important to our role as a mom, but to our self as a human being.

Self-care is not once off. It is the conscious and repeated doing of small things in order to reach and maintain optimum mental and physical comfort. I admit that I forget at times, and go on a spree of self-uncare that leaves me exhausted and burn out.
The following are some small things that I incorporate in my days if I consciously schedule in self time.

  • cooking up something new and exciting
  • picnic in the park on a sunny day
  • reading a book
  • taking a nap
  • going for a run
  • putting on a mud mask
  • dressing up
  • spending time with friends
  • listen to music
  • minimalize meals, clothing options and just about everything (something I hope to achieve someday)
  • candles
  • write a blog

While these are small things, I also make sure that I know what to splurge on and what not to. I would spend some extra bucks on a good candle, and probably take homemade sandwiches to a picnic. I may spend money on the occasional pretty dress and buying makeup, but cut down substantially on everyday clothes. I would definitely spend the extra buck on a beautiful latte but probably opt for a home-cooked meal rather than eating out often.

Self- care is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. What do you do for self-care?


Dhonkanbulo nidhaalaashey

my translation of dhonkabulo nidhaalaashey

with love, my dear daughter, lie down to sleep
with love, lie down on my lap, my dear daughter, and sleep
asking for Protection, in the name of Allah
as He is the one and only, the most beneficent and merciful
with gratitude and praise, my dear daughter, fall asleep

You are the symbol that has enlightened life and inspired dreams
you are the spirit of life, epitome of life
filling the heart with these incredible emotions, my dear daughter, sleep well

There is no moment, that your thoughts leave the mind
There is no moment, that doesn’t fill with happiness, when you smile
filling the hearts with love, my dear daughter, sleep well
the house is filled with stories of you

nights are spent looking at you in fascination
just slow down for a moment, and go to sleep, my dear daughter
the way you smile, play and speak to us
has breathe new life in to the house

take this moment, and sleep, my dear daughter
the dream is to hear you read beautifully
And you to shine like a star, I long to see
listen to these wishes, while you fall asleep, my dear daughter

May the blessings of Allah surround you
and receive His favour, in light and darkness
this I pray for you, as you fall asleep, my dear daughter
sleep well my dear daughter
sleep well my love


Azeri food

Where is Azerbaijan? What do you know about this country? Except for hearing the name couple of times in my life, I actually do not know a single thing about the country. From the brief read of the country, I found out that it is an oil rich country lying on the Caspian sea. Few interesting facts about this country:

  • Tea in Azerbaijan is taken with Jam as a sweetener
  • Bread is considered sacred, hence stale bread is hung up as respect and if bread is dropped on the floor its custom to kiss it.
  • They love pancakes! Savory pancakes is a popular native dish which is made with pumpkin, meat or just herbs, and made as toast on the grill.

Neighboring to Armenia, Turkey, Iran and Russia the Azerbaijani cuisine is hugely influenced by a blend of Eastern European and Middle Eastern flavours.

The national dish of Azerbaijan is Plov, a meat and rice dish seasoned with dried fruit, nuts and spices. As usual, I really enjoyed cooking with ingredients of the spice and herb family. The meat, lamb which I chose to cook with was tender and juicy through slow cooking. The spices cumin and saffron gave the dish distinct middle eastern look and taste. In addition to dried apricots I threw in few dates and raisins as well. Just to mix things up, although I kept it to a minimum to keep up the authenticity of the dish.

For the next dish I made Levengi, which is a stuffed roasted chicken dish. This was a bit tricky, as I tend to be intimidated by whole chickens. For some reason, handling a whole raw chicken makes me cringe. But, up for the challenge I think I did live up to my expectations. The chicken cooked so beautifully, vibrant with the color from leftover saffron and stuffed with lightly fried and spiced dry fruit and walnuts. The best part was the marinade juice that oozed out once it cooked, sticky and concentrated with so much flavour!

As for dessert, I attempted to make Bakhlava again. I ran out of filo pastry so for half the dish I used puff pastry. It really turned out tasting just as good. The filling was honey, cardamom, walnuts, nutmeg and cinnamon. For the sugar syrup, I added a splash of rose water. OMG, the taste was absolutely beautiful. I had a lot of thumbs up. My son devoured the bakhlava, of course without the sugar syrup. In fact, we had an episode of midnight kitchen raid where the last standing piece of bakhlava disappeared from the table. Crumbs lead to his bed.

There is so much more that I want to attempt cooking from these countries. The dishes are so beautiful and the way that they use combinations of flavours is just mouth watering. Can’t wait to do the next country on the list- Bahamas.





The Elephant in the room

For a while now, I have been tip-toeing around this particular topic.

Why tip-toe, even I wonder.

Maybe because it is about that thing that is construed as a weakness. Which can label us as hopeless pessimists. That thing that makes everyone uncomfortable. We talk about it in hush tones, afraid to be judged. That thing that you pick on to put someone down and point as an inferiority. Why? Also why not? It’s considered as something that is “not supposed” to happen to a healthy, strong and capable person.

But the big irony is that, it is also the thing that almost everyone feels at some point in their life, but some people feel it more given the circumstances.

The thing. The elephant in the room.

Can you even guess?

Yes. I’m talking about Anxiety.

and Depression.

Now that I have opened this can of worms, let me stop tip-toeing.

Not very long ago, I had a number of huge life changes happen in a short period of time. I was unable to cope with it and despite efforts to stay positive, I was just incredibly overwhelmed with a lot of negative emotions. Over time I was dwarfed by it which caused me to develop depression. In hindsight, it is not surprising that I felt like that. Continuous and large amounts of stress is not compatible with our genetic evolution. Stress, when unmanaged is disruptive to our hormones and specially neurotransmitters that deal with our mood, concentration and health. There are physical and debilitating manifestations of long term stress.

While stress by itself in short and small amounts can be a motivating factor, depression is a serious condition and can go on for a long time if not addressed. So it is important to distinguish between stress and depression. The good news is that depression is highly treatable with the right help. In my case, I was able to overcome my depression. It was not a pleasant time, nor was it easy. But it was also a time of immense growth. I had to come face to face with my own vulnerabilities and really, as I have always believed, through vulnerabilities come strength.

I had a lot of help and I asked for a lot of help. At times I was a pain in the ass I admit, but then I think I am always anyway. I had the unending patience and support from my husband, and learnt really good techniques for coping through a specialized online treatment program called mummoodbooster, targeted at women experiencing post natal depression.

During this time I learnt how to track my mood. I learnt that there are certain triggers that brought on negative emotions. I learnt that all I needed was to be aware of it, not even necessarily avoid it. I learnt to practice anti-ruminative activities such a:

  • consistent counting of blessings (instead of sheep)
  • journaling my thoughts
  • picking my battles
  • letting somethings go
  • replacing a negative thought with a positive one
  • and more importantly I learnt that I could catch a negative thought when it comes and do anything I want to it, before it spirals out of control.

The next most important thing I learnt is to redirect my rumination aka worry aka anxiety into something positive and physical. This may sound like a cliché, but for me this approach was incredibly helpful. I started with identifying five pleasant activities that I would genuinely attempt each day. “The main thing is to get your mind off your ruminations for a time so they die out and don’t have a grip on your mind,” explains it well. While I didn’t really have the mind to do it everyday, I still gave it an honest effort.

At this time I also realized the importance of a support system, someone trusted to be there in times that you need. Someone who would listen without judgement and with empathy. At times even our most loved ones do not understand and are not patient with us. And at times, it is not really their fault too. Because unless you have gone through something similar, it is really hard to understand what the other person is feeling. This is why professional help is almost always the best solution.

End of story.

Not really. I still feel sad, overwhelmed and stressed at times. I’m still human, and a mother of two now, which means a hundred times more stress and worry. But I’m better equipped to cope with it now. I am inspired by what I experienced, although it’s a mere inch of what so many people with anxiety and depression experience on a daily basis and for years on.

It is important that if you are experiencing overwhelming emotions to, Talk to someone, and ask for help. If you feel that someone you know is having a difficult time then Ask if they R OK? The link in text gives some great tips for ways to ask in a way that gets answers and how to go about helping them. It also helps you figure out if you are in a good head space to provide support for someone.

I asked and someone helped. Consistently and without judgement. And I am really OK.