To the ex who’s stalking my blogs!

Well it’s been some time since I last posted so thought i’d update you guys on what’s the latest with me!

I can say I’ve had some fun and funny few weeks! I became a Master’s Graduate! I’ve screamed my heart out at Thorpe Park and Alton Towers! I travelled to Southport, Liverpool, Manchester and London! I have literally had the time of my life dancing and singing on the motorway!

To my ex, you think i’m here double dating? Good. You think i’m enjoying my time to the max? Good. You think my family is supporting your decision to divorce me? Good. I couldn’t care less.

The fact you have to stalk my page like a coward just speaks volumes. I mean I thought you wanted nothing to do with me? You was so quick to utter the words “divorce” when I caught you on Tinder and on TikTok chatting to other women. Please. My life has nothing to do with you anymore. Be a man.

Eventhough a narcissist like you deserves all the hate, I forgive you. I actually feel sorry for you because you can’t take accountability for your own actions. It’s sad. You have to lie your way through life for others to feel sorry for you and that’s just sad. You have to put that fake smile on your face, dance and flirt with other women but really and truely you’re miserable. You lost the best thing that ever happened to you and you’ll disagree with me right now but God works in mysterious ways.

I remember a time you said “Karma loves me” “When I fuck up, karma bites me in the ass” “If I ever hurt you what will I say to God?” “I’ve been to Islamic gatherings with my brother in law so I know not to hurt anyone’s daughter” well guess what sweetie, Karma works in ways no man can be ready for. I don’t wish bad on you, I want you to be happy with the miserable life you’ve created for yourself. Keep listening to songs and smoking that weed. Money can buy you happiness but not a clean soul and conscious.

But it’s all good though, I prefer to be the villain in our story. I was always the villain. If that’s what makes you happy and suits your stories then I accept.

P.S … I never claimed to be religious, but if I had to choose culture or Islam, I would choose Islam any day because it teaches me to have respect and morals, something you lacked. You disrespected me so much in our first 6 months of marriage, messed with my head and self-confidence because you weren’t happy with my body or my rights as a woman. You then expected me to be this person who still kissed your feet and respected you? Nah.

You fucked up your own marriage. YES YOU & I can’t blame anyone but YOU for doing that. You weren’t ready to be a husband or a man and I blame that on your parents. If only your parents taught you how to treat women, but unfortunately they didn’t. Women in your family apparently don’t deserve the respect.

Anyways, good luck to you and your pal who’s so interested in my life because you both need it.

Written by Larayb aka Layla ✌🏼

Cross Cultural Relationships and the Things Nobody Talks About

** This post is in no way meant to insult or belittle any particular group or culture. I hold no bias or hatred towards anyone and loved and appreciated many parts of my cross-cultural marriage. Every culture is different as is each family/relationship. No two relationships, regardless of culture or race will look the same. **

sunset sky over rippling sea
Thoughts from a divorcee

Cross cultural relationships are becoming so common place nowadays and it is a thing to be celebrated. Relationships outside of our own culture can be incredibly educational and really open our minds to things we never considered before. Every relationship is different and it is a beautiful thing to see people from all different cultures come together in love as society celebrates our differences.

We don’t realise that through our upbringing, we are conditioned to think certain things are normal from an early age. Therefore it is so important to learn and respect each others culture. We don’t know any different than what we are taught, so be willing to learn and embrace your cross cultures.

When you enter a cross-cultural relationship there are certain things I will warn you of. (I am by no means instigating hate towards any other culture, and every culture is different. I am merely telling my story and what I learned as a result of it!)

My experience in a cross cultural relationship

My ex-husband was a first generation American from South Asian heritage. And I am from Scotland, from what I would call a very typically Scottish family. My family are not religious, despite being raised Catholic. My ex was a self-labelled “westernised” American. He was an atheist, despite his muslim upbringing and he did not identify with his heritage much at all, other than his love of the food (which we both shared.) The fact that neither of us were religious was something important to me as I did not want to run into problems in the future.

photo of masjid during daytime

Due to our differences, our relationship ended in tears (and divorce papers). Here are some things nobody talked about before we got married in terms of crossing culture.

You will feel like the odd one out sometimes

Although more and more people are dating and marrying outside of their culture, it is still not that common. My husband was the only person in his family and friend group to marry a white girl. And the same goes for my family. Nobody had married outside of their culture and so this was a learning experience for both of us.

Although his family and friends were very accepting, sometimes I felt like the odd one out. The food I made was bland and basic in comparison to the delicious meals his family and friends wives could whip up (although I learned a few recipes!) and my wardrobe was completely different.

When we went to south asian weddings, I felt out of place. Despite wearing the traditional dress and embracing the culture, everyone stared at the white girl and I felt isolated. Most people were super welcoming and loved to see me embrace their culture, but as an introvert, sometimes I just wanted to blend into the background.

platter of foods

Societal Pressure

Although we lived in the USA without many hiccup for the first few years, when we moved nearer the South Asian community my ex husband grew up in, in Brooklyn, pressure got to us.

Although he was not connected to his culture in the traditional sense of religion, he felt the need to behave himself in the community so that people would not talk. This meant “act like everyone else.” As someone who didn’t understand what it meant to “act like everyone else”, things got difficult.

I remember going to our Pakistani friends bbq in the height of summer and my husband insisted I wore leggings under my summer dress. It was 32C outside and I protested. He told me, “what do you think everyone will say about you?” Societal pressure can be a real problem in cross cultural relationships… no matter how compatible you both are. My ex husband didn’t care if I wore a dress when we went out together as long as nobody from the community saw me.

You Will Be Ignorant

Whether or not you educate yourself and take the time to learn, there will be times you realise just how ignorant you are. It’s okay to admit where you have work still to do. And you’ll never stop learning. It’s important not to judge each other for your differences and learn to embrace them. I loved teaching my ex about my own culture and seeing him interested.

We’ve been conditioned to think a certain way and follow certain social rules. When those norms are challenged, it can feel like an attack on you personally. We like to think we were raised “the right way” or that we know what is best. But sometimes, you have to realise there is no right way and that our differences are what make us unique. It is important not to take things personally and to take the time to understand your differences rather than get defensive.

Family Expectations

a mother arranging tulips in a flower vase
What are your family values?

Let me preface this by saying, I grew up in a very tight-knit family. My mother lived with her in-laws as they grew older and sicker, as well as her own parents. She still lives with my grandmother today. I hope to do the same for my own Mother as she grows old.

Every family is different. However, in certain culture, the in-laws of a woman are the head of the household. Whether her son is married or not, his duty is to look after his mother first and foremost. No matter how demanding they are. This burden also extends to the daughter-in-law.

Now, not everyone’s experience will be like mines in a cross cultural relationship. My ex husband was the eldest sibling and only boy in a Pakistani household. All of the expectations fell on his shoulders to take care of his mother and sisters. This was something I understood before marrying him, although the boundaries were pushed to the limits. We financially supported his mother and sisters and were expected to open our home to then whenever they felt like it. Our house was, as his mother told me “our second home” and she could do as she pleased here.

Tradional Gender Roles

crop colleagues shaking hands in office
Being an educated working woman is something I am proud of

In these modern times, society is challenging gender roles, particularly in the western world. Women are finding their voices and pushing back against what is expected of them (although there is still a long way to go).

However, not all cultures will be so accepting. I worked in a male dominated field so this was not my experience. However, many women in South Asian households are expected to stay at home in a traditional housewife role. Men are more often than not, the financial providers. And they expect a woman who cooks, cleans, looks after their parents and children in return.

My ex husband thankfully did not fall into this category, however, his mother often made comments like “my son bought this home with his hard-earned money.” She knew fine well that we had split our savings to pay for our downpayment. Yet she seemed to refuse to accept, that I was also an educated, working woman who earned a good living, as well as being a good wife to her son.

Another example of ignorance towards women that I experienced was when my husbands uncle visited our new house. He was an older traditional Pakistani man but I did not expect to be completely ignored in my own home. I tried to interact with him several times and offered him food and drink. I even addressed him in his mother tongue out of respect. However, I was left red-faced when he ignored my existence and continued to address my husband as though I was not present… all because I was a woman.

My ex husbands “suck it up” attitude caused a huge argument when I voiced how I felt about they way I had been treated. If this had happened to my ex husband, I would have leapt to his defense.

Celebrations and holidays will be different

top view of a family praying before christmas dinner
Holidays become a hybrid of cultures and it’s fun!

Holidays, whether you are celebrating Christmas, Eid, Hannakah or something different entirely, will become a bit of a learning experience. My husband had never celebrated Halloween, so we wen’t all out and decorated the house. And sometimes holidays become a bit of a hybrid of both cultures. I never expected to see pakora and samosas as a starter on my Christmas menu, but that is cross culture right there!

The Second Woman In Your Husbands Life

This is probably not the norm, but was ultimately the reason for my marriage failing. My Mother-in-law was my husbands number one priority. And he made that clear. She could do no wrong and I could set no boundaries with her. That was his mother after all. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my own Mother. We talk everyday and I would never stop my partner from spending time with his loved ones. However, it’s so important to set boundaries of what you will accept. In certain cultures, saying no to your mother-in-law is cause for divorce. This was absolutely the case with my ex husband and his mother.

Now that I have given some insight into my cross cultural relationship, I would love to hear from others about their experiences. I had many positives and learned many things that I will carry with me for life, although my marriage did not work out. I always try to focus on the positives and learn lessons from my past. I’d love to hear your feedback if you have any similar experiences! Thank you as always for reading!

Written by Jade @talkthirtea

Being a Pakistani Divorcee in 2021

I just want to say that not all Pakistani women and families experience whatever I have. Sometimes the stigma behind the south asian culture can cause a rift of what is and isn’t so it’s important to say that my experience is entirely my own. If you relate in any way just know you are not alone and I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

I don’t know about anyone else or if you’re able to relate, but don’t you feel like you’ve had enough of being silent & hearing others bullshit about your marriage? The marriage you tried so hard to save and make work? The marriage they so happen to have the most opinions about?

If you happen to be south asian like me then this might be a hi5 moment as I discuss my experience as a Pakistani divorcee in 2021.

My Parents

Where do I begin? I remember being told at the age of 12 years old by my mother that I needed to learn how to kneed the dough, cook curries and clean my house to please my husband and just in case I lived with my in-laws.

My mother had the privilege of being born in the UK. However, my father was born in Bahrain and raised in Pakistan. So, he was called to the UK, 3 years after being married to my mother. In this case, my mother didn’t live with in-laws, however my father was very cultural and opposed certain laws onto my mother such as not going out on her own, covering her face if she ever visited a certain part of Birmingham and being a housewife. But, soon as we grew up and my father got with the times and watched the generation change where women became more independent and were out there working hard and striving to meet their goals, my father changed.

When it came to my divorce, after me constantly trying to make my marriage work and my father watching me day and night, watching me cry and not eat, he would speak words of comfort to me. Now, not every south asian man or woman gets this treatment and till this day we are hearing and seeing people commit suicide or suffering at the hands of their husbands/wives/in-laws. But, not my parents.

All praises to God, my parents are so supportive.

The following words of comfort and encouragement are some of the things my parents said to me when I was broken and ashamed of whatever was happening:

God wanted you to be happy and that’s why he removed the one thing that wasn’t making you happy.”

Aslong as we are alive, no one can say anything to you or question you about whatever happened.

Live your life and if you want to work and travel the world go for it.”

A good man will enter your life and will support you and love you for the good woman you are.”

My Friends

My friends have been so supportive and kind. Not out of sympathy but because they’ve known me for years on end and know that I would have gone lengths to fix my marriage. ‘Fix’ was not the problem in my marriage, he is a narcissist that couldn’t get fixed.

My friends have encouraged me to start building back my confidence through skin care, getting dressed, putting on some makeup and double dates! And let me tell you, most guys don’t care if you’re a divorcee. I’ve been told my past is the past and they only care about the person I am today. It was an experience that has made me a stronger person.

Driving around the countryside, going to different cities, parks, restaurants and spending quality time with family and friends really is helping me with my mental health and well-being.

Choosing Yourself

It’s really sad that in today’s society women are being forced to stay with abusive partners and to ‘accept’ their fate because ‘daughter-in-laws’ are to take care of everyone and not have a life of their own.

I was always told from my ex that no one would look at me the same after knowing I’m a divorcee because I’m a woman. But, ever since i’ve been back and met new people, being a divorcee doesn’t affect most men’s opinions of you. This really helped my confidence.

I had to choose myself for the sake of my own mental health, to feel secure in my own skin, to be independent and have the choice of having my own bank account (I know, crazy right?) and to be loved unconditionally.

Being a Pakistani divorcee in 2021 has really shown me a different perspective of what other men actually think of you and how the community sees you and to be fair it ain’t all bad. You just have to remind yourself that you’re a bad ass bitch regardless and no one can judge you with this ‘label’ of being a divorcee.

Written by Layla

Feeling Lost After A Breakup? Here’s some tips on what you should do to find yourself again…

Breakups are the worst. They hurt like hell and if you’re anything like me, you might be feeling lost or stuck. Especially if you have tied a lot of your identity to being in a relationship. It is difficult to go from someones wife or girlfriend, to being on your own again.

If you’re feeling lost and low after a breakup, just know you are not alone. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel and TalkThirtea has some tips on ways to find yourself outside of your relationship.

smiling woman with red hair
Find your smile again

Take the time to heal

Stop bottling up your emotions

If your relationship was rocky for a while, you might have been suppressing your emotions. I know I was. When things were bad, I was numb. I couldn’t cry, I just felt indifferent. Now that I am out of the environment, some days I am overwhelmed with all of the emotions I’m feeling. It’s actually a good thing and will help you heal in the long run. The longer you bottle up your emotions, the worse the inevitable breakdown will be.

Feeling lonely is normal and you have to accept it as a new emotion that might make you feel uncomfortable. It won’t always be so intense and will eventually start to ease.

It would also do you some good to take the time to be single. Don’t rush to jump into a new relationship before finding yourself first.

Learn to listen to your gut

When you have been in a relationship, particularly if you are a bit of a people pleaser, you often ignore your intuition. It’s easy to change yourself to be more compatible with your other half and compromise. However, this can leave you ignoring your gut. The old saying goes “trust your gut”. If you are newly single, it might take some getting used to. Personally, I have had a hard time making major decisions since my divorce. But I am working on this! Following your intuition can help guide you back to your true self. In the wrong career? Hanging around the wrong crowd? Self-sabotaging when it comes to your goals? Listen to your gut…

food healthy nature fashion
Focus on the things that make you happy

What makes you happy?

This is a simple question, but one we often ignore. What truly makes you happy? And how often are you doing those things? If you’re feeling lost after a breakup, it might be because you are not connecting with the things that bring you joy in your life. Writing is something that I find somewhat therapeutic, so I made a point of doing it most days. Yoga relaxes me, so I put time aside most mornings to practice. The days I skip these little things are the days my anxiety feels at its worst and I feel the most lost.

Set Goals

So you’re single now. Chances are, the goals you already had set, no longer make sense without your ex. So it’s no wonder you are a feeling a bit lost. Time to find yourself… now is the time to reset those goals. What are some of the things you always dreamed of? Maybe its a holiday to Santorini. It might be owning a house by the sea. Or going to University to study. However lavish the goal might seem, set it and write out a plan on how to get there. When I have nothing to work towards, I feel stuck. Setting short-term and long-term personal goals is a good way to commit to yourself and know that you are working towards something for you.

fit athlete during training on running track
Do it for your future self

Hold Yourself Accountable

This is the difficult part. Anyone can set goals. But what are you going to do to do reach them? It is easy to lie in bed and say “I’ll start tomorrow” but it won’t get you any closer to your goals. Show up everyday for yourself and work towards being the person you want to be. If you want to be in shape, you’re going to have to get up and put the gym shoes on whether you feel like it or not. If you want to become a business owner, you’re going to have to work your ass off to get there. And nobody can hold you accountable but yourself, now that you are single! Do it for your future self.

Cut out the bad habits and toxic people

It’s time to be honest with yourself. If you are feeling lost, you might be self-sabotaging. We are a reflection of our daily habits and if we are not where we want to be, it might be time to look at what we are doing everyday. Too much sugar in your diet? Time to cut back. Spending too much time on social media? Time for a social media detox. And it might be time to take a look at your social circle and reflect. “If you want to soar like an eagle, you can’t hang around turkeys” The company you keep can have a huge impact on how you feel. If you are feeling lost, maybe you are surrounded by people who don’t align with you. You want to be surrounded by people who love you, inspire you and challenge you to be a better version of yourself.

Ultimately though, sometimes feeling lost in life can actually be a great thing. You might be amazed at the transformation you go through and the person you ultimately become.

“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves”

Cultural Differences Between the UK + USA

For those of you who don’t know, I spent a large part of my twenties living with my ex husband in the USA and this meant dealing with cultural differenced moving from the UK to the USA. There were many differences I had never considered before and others I expected. Although I no longer live there, there are many things I miss about the USA and things that amused me constantly. For the most part, the cultures are very similar and I had absolutely no issue fitting in anywhere I went but there were plenty of things that took a bit of adjustment!

Obviously America is a huge country and I can only speak from my own experience. I lived in several states (North Carolina, Georgia, New York and New Jersey) and have travelled to many, many more so I like to think I have a pretty well rounded and educated view!

landscape photography of rock formation near highway
Photo by Quintin Gellar on Pexels.com

1. Driving everywhere

Ok, this one is obvious but when I first landed in America, I could not believe the size of the motorways (ahem highways) and the cars on them. Little did I know, I would be doing more driving in a few months than I’d done in 7 years since getting my license in Scotland. Driving from Glasgow to Edinburgh is a big day out for most Scots (46 miles). But in the USA, that was my commute to work! Driving is an essential part of American life (unless you’re a New Yorker.) And public infrastructure is not as great as in the UK. Americans think nothing of 2-3 hour road trips. However, petrol (ahem gas) is so much cheaper over there. Filling my tank cost about half the price! Getting a drivers license is also extremely easy and much less costly.

2. Bigger Goals

The USA is the land of opportunity and Americans dream big. While in the UK, most people are content with paying the bills and a holiday abroad each year, in the USA there is an obsession with generational wealth and making it big. They don’t limit themselves and don’t aim for mediocrity. And if there is anywhere to make it big, it is the USA. In some ways, it is to be envied, their drive to do better. In other ways, it is exhausting and you want them to slow down a little!

3. Food Quality

cooked food
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

The food quality in Scotland and the UK in general is of a much better quality. For a start, American bread is impossibly sweet, eggs are a pale yellow and there is high-fructose corn syrup in almost everything. Standard bread in the UK does not contain sugar, yet you will have to pay extra for a healthy loaf in the USA. If you take a look at the ingredients list on ketchup in the USA vs UK, the list will be much longer with names of things that sound more like chemicals, rather than ingredients.

4. Friendliness

I know this one is very stereotypical, but in my experience Americans are on the whole more positive people. They smile and approach strangers and have no problem striking up conversations anywhere they go. Actually, their friendliness can be a bit startling at first, although something I very much appreciated! That is not to say that Scottish people are not friendly. I pride myself on being approachable and always smiling at passers-by. It’s just that in the UK people tend to keep themselves to themselves a bit more. (Note** the friendliness scale definitely lessened in NYC versus North Carolina and Georgia)

5. Work Life Balance

In the UK we have many more paid holidays, maternity leave and it is not uncommon for people to take two weeks off to travel to mainland Europe each summer. People are chasing the American dream and time off is viewed as a weakness and they take pride in their work ethic. Many Americans won’t take their sick leave for fear that their job will be lost to someone harder working. The work culture there is crazy, although the salaries are much higher in general!

6. Sarcasm/Differences in Humour

We speak the same language sure, but the humour is definitely different. Scottish people pride ourselves on our dryness, quick wit and sarcasm. The UK in general enjoys making themselves the butt of the joke. Risky jokes go down a storm (e.g Ricky Gervais). Sometimes this humour doesn’t translate although many Americans get it. Don’t get me wrong, I love some American comics and sitcoms. The humour is just totally different, a bit more obvious and sometimes juvenile.

7. Trolleys (carts) abandoned in car parks

woman wearing blue jeans riding red shopping cart
Photo by Jeremias Oliveira on Pexels.com

When I first went to the supermarket in the USA, I noticed abandoned trolleys in empty spaces in the car park. Some people unload their shopping and just leave the cart/trolley there. This struck me as really bizarre, then I realised there is no charge for the trolleys unless you shop at Aldi in the US! In the UK, we put a £1 in the trolley to use it and we get it back when we return it, so it makes sense that we don’t just leave them. We want our money back!

8. Drinking Culture

The Uk and Scotland in particular is known for its pub culture. Maybe it is due to the bad weather year round, but drinking is a national sport. On a sunny day, people head to the park with a few drinks and snacks. In America, drinking is not so common. Having a beer while watching the game, or a glass of wine with dinner is more the American way. Much more civilised!

9. Hanging out washing (laundry)

clean fabric drying on clothesline on sunny day
Photo by Teona Swift on Pexels.com

What do American’s have against hanging out their clothes to dry? Even in Georgia, with the sun shining most days, I never once saw a washing line… Everyone uses dryers and as someone from rainy Scotland it still baffles me. There. is nothing nicer than the a good drying day and the smell of fresh washing off the line!

10. Religion

On the whole, the UK has more non-believers, particularly amongst the younger generations. In the USA, religious faith is fairly common and widespread. The South is particularly religious, with protestantism being the predominant religion and people were normally surprised to know I wasn’t religious myself.

Obviously these are just a few of the cultural differences I picked up on and for the most part, I had no issue integrating into American way of life. I haven’t mentioned the American obsession with “drive-thru” everything from banks, starbucks, dry cleaners or the sales tax added at the till. Or the fact that everything is soooo much bigger!

Let me know in the comments below what differences you’ve noticed on your travels. Have you ever experienced culture shock?

Written by Jade

Things We’re Leaving in Our 20s

As we enter into this new decade, TalkThirtea has taken time to reflect on the last decade – our 20s. Like everyone, it has been full of highs and lows and we’ve learned many lessons along the way. Here are some of the things we plan on leaving in our 20s!

Dwelling On The Past

Obviously, this does not mean that we won’t look back at our memories with fondness. Of course we will! However, we are not looking back to punish ourselves on all of the “What ifs” and “Should’ve done’s.” We are at this exact point in our lives for a reason and every choice we’ve made up until today has led us to where we are right now. And for that we should be eternally grateful. No regrets!

Bad Body Image

creative woman body shaped candle placed on magazine
Photo by kira schwarz on Pexels.com

Well this one is a tough habit to break, but going into our 30s, we’re done hating our bodies or picking ourselves apart (and if you’re in your 20s doing this, please stop!) We are enough just the way we are. Gone are the days of saying “I can’t wear that until I lose 20lbs” or “I wish I wasn’t so pale.” Our 30s are going to be a decade full of self-love!

Accepting The Bare Minimum

Like most people, in our 20s, we’ve all allowed ourselves to be disrespected in one way or another. Relationships in particular have been disappointing. And we’ve learned the hard way that accepting the bare minimum is a form of disrespect. Nobody should have to beg anyone for the basics, like time and affection! So onwards and upwards!

Self-doubt/Negative Self Talk

persons hands with rainbow colors
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

We’ve survived the first 29 years and we’ve succeeded in plenty of the things we’ve put our minds to. Why wouldn’t we be able to achieve all of our goals in our 30s? Negative self-talk is the biggest hurdle in reaching our goals. We’re pulling down those mental barriers in our 30s.

Comparing Ourselves to Other

Everyone is on a different path. Some people have started families, others have built successful careers. Others are struggling to find their way in life. We’re not wasting any more time comparing our timeline to someone else’s. Comparison is the thief of joy and it’s time to embrace exactly where we are in this moment.

Saying Yes/People Pleasing

It’s uncomfortable to say no to things sometimes. But we’re learning that setting boundaries is an act of self-respect. It is nice to be nice but it’s also nice to say NO. And do what you actually want to. In our 30s, we are done people pleasing while making ourselves unhappy in the process.

Waiting on “Someday”

Someday is today… “Someday I’ll start that business” “Someday I’ll go live abroad.” We’re done waiting on someday. Life is really short and growth really only starts at the end of our comfort zone, so why are we putting our goals to the side and settling for something less while waiting on someday? Not in our 30s! We’re on a mission to smash our goals this decade and seek discomfort!

“Choose to do more than just exist; choose to live.”

Breakfast at Ladana Cafe: Birmingham, United Kingdom

I’ve been meaning to try out this cafe ever since I’ve been back from the States and let me tell you it didn’t disappoint! This is also a Halal breakfast spot! I would definitely rate this place:

  • Food: 9/10
  • Service: 8/10
  • Hygiene: 8/10
  • Decor: 9/10
Breakfast at Ladana Cafe – Birmingham, UK.

I love trying out new places with different backgrounds and culture. This cafe sits in the heart of Birmingham on Stratford Road and is always attracting its customers with its cool green colours and cute outdoor seating!

English Breakfast – Baked Beans, Toast (white bread), Hashbrown, Sausages, Turkey Bacon, Cherry Tomatoes, Mushrooms and Fried Egg – Ladana Cafe, Birmingham, UK

We ordered a full English breakfast and I can say everything tasted so good! I wasn’t too keen on trying the Turkey Bacon as the smell is not something I’m too familiar with (being Muslim and all who doesn’t eat Bacon lol) but it didn’t taste too bad for my first time! The sausages were lovely and the fried egg was crispy and delicious!

French Toast with Nutella Sauce, Strawberries and Blueberries – Ladana Cafe, Birmingham UK

The french toast were amazing! So light and fluffy! Very filling and tasted so well with the nutella and fruit!

Fluffy Pancakes with Nutella Sauce, Whipped Cream, Strawberries and Blueberries – Ladana Cafe, Birmingham UK

The fluffy pancakes were a catch! So succulent and filling! Absolutely loved this! The fruit really gave it an edge and wouldn’t mind trying this again!

Strawberry Mojito Mocktail – Ladana Cafe, Birmingham UK

My favourite would have to be the strawberry mojito mocktails! I had two! Very cool, refreshing and definitely hit the spot!

I would definitely recommend this place! It has a really cool atmosphere and is a great place to visit with family or friends!

Written by Layla

Dinner at The Soho Oak Restaurant – West Bromwich, Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Before I begin, I need to praise my Indian friend Nav for introducing me to such a delicious cuisine! Since me and my friend are Muslim and she’s vegetarian we opted for the Veg menu! And can I just say it’s absolutely mouth-watering!

I would give this restaurant:

  • Food: 8/10
  • Service: 7/10
  • Hygiene: 8/10
  • Decor: 5/10
Dinner at The Soho Oak Restaurant – West Brom, Birmingham, UK

We ordered a mix grill platter which consists of Gunpowder Paneer, Veg Kebab, Veg Tikka, Onion Bhaji, Chilli Paneer, Sweet Peppers, and Grilled Onions.

Mixed Veg Grill Platter – The Soho Oak

We also ordered a side of chilli chips which were made in a nice spicey sauce topped with spring onions.

Chilli Chips – The Soho Oak

This next dish is made with soya chicken covered in szechuan sauce!

Szechuan Chicken – The Soho Oak

This Paneer Tikka Masala curry was so delicious! It’s cooked with cottage cheese and rich, creamy tomatoe sauce topped with indian spices! Was so yummy! We had this with garlic cheese naan bread!

Paneer Tikka Masala – The Soho Oak

I would definitely recommend this restaurant as it caters for both meat lovers and vegetarians!

Written By Layla

My Trip to Knypersley Reservoir: Stoke-On-Trent

I love spontaneous outings and adventures! The places I visit the most have to include some history and background to pull me in. This place caught my eye as it wasn’t too far from home which was probably an hour and six minutes from Birmingham!

I grabbed two of my closest friends who never hike and walk through nature as they are scared of insects! But once they discovered the beauty behind the nature they loved it.

Forest – Knypersley Reservoir
Falling Tree – Knypersley Reservoir
Lake – Knypersley Reservoir
Small bridge – Knypersley Reservoir
Cool looking tree – Knypersley Reservoir
Hidden castle – Knypersley Reservoir
Waterfall – Knypersley Reservoir
Waterfall – Knypersley Reservoir

The walk around the reservoir was amazing as it was very picturesque and the views were amazing! There were many benches around the park as it can be quite tiring reaching the waterfall. However, it was worth it as there were many cool sites to see and explore!

I would definitely recommend this place as it is so beautiful and the hidden castle and waterfall really makes up for the hike!

Written by Layla

My PCOS Journey: Living with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Living with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, this is my PCOS journey and story. Before I begin, I just want to praise and acknowledge anyone who gets up everyday feeling optimistic and accepting their PCOS journey. Even though you may question why this has happened to you or feel you may not be worthy of being a mother, know that God or whatever you may believe in has a better plan for you.

Below I explain PCOS and some symptoms I face:

What is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a condition that affects women and how the ovaries function. Nowadays it is thought that about 1 in 10 women in the UK suffer with PCOS. It is a hormonal condition and it is not known what causes this. Living with PCOS can be very difficult.

Common Symptoms or Signs of PCOS?

  • Excessive hair growth (face, chest, back)
  • Irregular periods or no period
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty getting pregnant
  • Oily skin
  • Acne
  • Hair loss or hair thinning from the head
  • Increased risk of getting type 2 diabetes
  • Depression
  • Sleep Apnoea
  • High Blood Pressure

My PCOS consists of all these common signs and symptoms except type 2 diabetes (all praises to God). However, when I was seen by a gyno 8 months ago, she told me I was borderline type 2 diabetic. I was in the middle of my emotionally abusive marriage which I know was not helping my condition either!

Anyway, I only ever started my period naturally maximum 3 times in my whole life! Once when I was 11 years old and my period lasted 1 day, again at 15 years old and my period lasted 2/3 days and lastly at 27 when my marriage broke down. But my gynocologist mentioned I may have miscarried due to stress during my marriage breakdown. As you can imagine, living with PCOS and in an abusive marriage was extremely taxing on my mental health.

At the age of 21, having no period was obviously very abnormal. PCOS can run in the family and my cousin had been diagnosed with PCOS so I was pretty sure I had the same condition. However, I was neglected by the NHS when being checked by doctors at the age of 16 and was ruled out as having a “hormonal imbalance”. At 21 I had the same scan again and was finally told I had PCOS. I cried my eyes out because the thought of not being able to have children was daunting.

Toxic Relationship and PCOS

For me personally, I now see my PCOS as a gift. Why you may ask? Without a doubt it has saved me from my biggest regret. My marriage. I know if children were involved my life would have been over because he would have used my kids against me. Being in a narcissistic relationship didn’t help me or my health when I was trying to get pregnant. And thanks to my PCOS, I was saved from an abusive relationship longterm.

My ex husband was adamant that we would have children, despite knowing about my PCOS before we married. I stopped taking my contraception pills and began to see a gynocologist to help me conceive naturally. Unfortunately after some scans and blood tests I was told I would need to go through IVF. IVF is a procedure where the sperm and egg are fertilised outside the body by scientists and then inserted back into the female. This comes with some risks and is very expensive, however, many have been successful.

I would have mental breakdowns due to my ex’s comments on my weight as well as me not being able to conceive. He would embarrass me in front of other people. I had never hid my condition from him but he made me feel like less of a woman due to my infertility. Due to this I became suicidal, and had constant panic attacks. Thanks to good friends and supportive family members (who lived in the UK whilst I was in the US) I managed to escape my marriage.

Also, the pressure of his mother always complaining about me not being pregnant was constantly on my mind. She would make remarks about if me and my ex were using protection and would discuss this with her friends in front of me. I would be so embarrassed and my ex was okay with it. He would defend his mother and tell me she can say and do what she wants.

How to Cope with PCOS

So what do I do, while living with PCOS to cope? I remind myself every day that I’m beautiful in any shape or size as PCOS does make losing weight difficult. My weight fluctuates but I don’t let it bring me down. Yes, I do experience bad days but I try to eat healthily but never starve or deprive myself. PCOS is a mental challenge more than anything so it is very important to keep and have an optimistic mindset.

PCOS does not rule out having children for me. It just makes the journey to become a mother more difficult but I know that God has a plan for me. I surround myself with people who will always love and support me.

It really does affect my mental health and I always try my best to support charities who help orphaned children and women struggling with fertility. This gesture gives my mind comfort that I’m helping those less fortunate than me and I begin to show more gratitude.

I have started to try and drink green juices every morning, I avoid dairy products as much as I can as I become bloated! I was also advised to eat gluten and dairy free products to avoid diabetes and increase in weight. So you might want to look more into that!

For excessive hair growth I have had laser treatment done and it has really helped with my confidence and self-esteem. Laser has many benefits as it also clears up your skin and any hyperpigmentation caused by PCOS.

Remember ladies, having a supportive partner is so crucial when facing difficulties in life especially involving fertility. I wasn’t as lucky BUT not being able to have children doesn’t define who I am as a person or a woman. Just remember after hardship comes ease and if we are not blessed to have children, we will be blessed in other ways.

Written by Layla