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

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

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

Why 2021 should be the year we step outside our comfort zone

If you are feeling stuck, bored or frustrated with the direction your life is going, you might be spending too much time in your comfort zone. Today’s blog post is all about why 2021 should be the year we push ourselves to step outside our comfort zone.

What exactly is a comfort zone? Well, it’s defined as a psychological state when things feel familiar. We are at ease and in control of their environment. We tend to get used to the routine and humdrum of daily life. There is nothing that will set off our anxiety, nothing to make us uncomfortable and so we stick with what we know whether we are happy or not. There is no incentive to change because we feel safe. However, as most of us know, nothing grows in the comfort zone.

Your desires and dreams are normally outside your comfort zone. Dreaming of a career change? Trying to learn a new language? Got fitness goals you want to achieve? Want to travel to that dream destination? These are completely achievable. But they’re not inside your comfort zone.

Here’s 7 reasons why you should make 2021 the year you push your boundaries are get out of the

Tackle Your Fears

Our mind is a funny thing. Sometimes we allow ourselves to build things up in our head that are rarely as bad as we think they are. And the fears we refuse to face, will become our limits in the longterm.

people on sidewalk selective focal photo
Photo by Cameron Casey on Pexels.com

Nobody Cares As Much As You Think

People do not care. When you are nervous and putting yourself out there, you feel like everyone is judging you. Most people are too self-absorbed to notice. And if they do, they’ll likely think “Good for you!”

People With Less Talent Are Achieving Your Goals

You’ve probably seen other people do things that you want and thought, “what do they have, that I don’t?” The answer is probably balls. They’re willing to put themselves out there and make a fool of themselves to get where they want to be. Are you?

Imagine How You’ll Feel When You Do What You Want

We’ve all been stuck in a place we don’t want to be. A dead end job, a toxic relationship, out of shape. Imagine how good it will feel when you actually escape that life and are doing the exact things you want to do in life. Being brave is what will get you there!

road between trees near snow capped mountains
Photo by Janiere Fernandez on Pexels.com

You Won’t Be Scared of Failure

Failure teaches us and it breaks our ego. Once you have failed, you have learned a lesson. You won’t be so scared of rejection or “failure” in the future. What lessons can you use from this failure to get to where you want to be?

You Pull Down Other Mental Barriers

When you have achieved one of your goals, you start breaking down the boundaries you had set for yourself but things that once seemed unattainable start looking like options. And your life goals become bigger.

You’ll Become More Confident

Who doesn’t love smashing their goals? It’s an amazing feeling to achieve something you once dreamt of. Pushing yourself will boost your confidence and you’ll feel on top of the world!

Are you feeling inspired now to take a leap of faith? Make 2021 the year we face our fears and achieve our goals. Let’s step out of our comfort zone and get to where we want to be!

Written by Jade

My Trip To EL&N Cafe London

Written by Layla

I planned an afternoon tea for my best friend as it was her birthday June 3rd and we decided we wanted to visit London’s most Instagrammable cafe’s!

I love trying out new places and especially if they are Instagrammable! This cafe was screaming with different shades of pink flowers, seating and neon lighting settings! My best friend’s birthday came at the perfect time as the weather was beautiful in London at 27 degrees! We got our summer dresses out and made our way to EL&N Cafe Lowndes Street!

EL&N Cafe Lowndes Street

EL&N Cafe on Lowndes Street sits perfectly on the corner with lavish pink seating outside. The staff in light pink t shirts and pink face masks, and the amazing bright pink flowers decorating the cafe.

To be seated indoors, due to Covid-19 guideliness in place, we had to reserve a table of four a week in advance. We arrived at our given time at 1:45pm, and were greeted at the entrance. We were told to follow a staff member down these spirally pink stairs which lead to our reservation table.

Adventure awaits, but first coffee – EL&N Cafe Lowndes Street

As we reached the basement of the cafe it was brightly lit with beautiful pink roses and flowers attached around cocooned seating areas. Arched windows with flowers blooming underneath and around the seating. We chose the booth that beautifully wrote ‘I love you a latte’.

I love you a latte – EL&N Cafe Lowndes Street

Once we sat in our booth, we discovered a reflecting mirror fitted in the ceiling which complimented the neon EL&N lighting and surrounding decor.

Ceiling Mirror inside the booth – EL&N Cafe Lowndes Street

We were four people and so we had ordered two portions of afternoon tea bundles which included a variety of sandwiches, cakes and cereal!

Afternoon Tea – EL&N Cafe Lowndes Street

We also ordered peach teas which were very delicious and not too sweet! They were perfect and had pretty little colourful flowers to compliment the cafe.

Peach Tea – EL&N Cafe Lowndes Street

I would definitely recommend this cafe as it was so Instagrammable, the hospitality was brilliant and the food was great! I know I will be visiting again as the pricing was not too bad either! It has such a vibrant atmosphere and you would definitely enjoy the vibe!