If you follow me on social media you’re probably wondering what my recent obsession with intu Trafford Centre is all about. Well as you are well aware, these fasts are loooong and they have been for a few years now. Energy levels are low and sometimes you just need everything to be right there in front of you.

Enter intu Trafford Centre.

Wide variety of shops, restaurants, homeware and entertainment all under one roof with free parking and fab interiors thrown in. Oh and its a ten minute drive from home. So basically, it happens to be mine and Mo’s hangout if we don’t fancy the rain and parking rates in the city.

I’ve always been a big fan of the centre – even though I hate shopping! I like all the really unusual things about it, like a) its always super clean, b) the staff are always really nice and c) I love the palm trees, they’re huge!!

As a foodie, there’s plenty to eat (that deserves attention some other time) but right now I thought I’d share my yearly trip on the hunt for Eid things. I figured on the run up to Christmas when everyone’s advertising all their amazing gift sets I always do a post of my favourites, so why have I not done one for Eid???

Ok so lets be honest, it’s a bit late for most online shops right now and if you’re like me you work much better under pressure. So I thought I’d share a few of my favourite finds if you’re looking for an extra special Eid gift:

 

1. Notebooks and Quote card sets from Kikki K

 

 

Most bloggers I know love notebooks. Combine said product with inspirational quotes and boom you’ve found the perfect gift. Kikki K is a brand I was introduced to by a friend a couple of years ago and I’ve visited their store in Covent Garden when I can to stock up on supplies. One of my favourite products of theirs are the quote cards, I keep one on my desk at all times to brighten up my day. Now to my joy there is a Kikki K concession in Selfridges and the new stuff is fab! Anything from this range would make a good gift for any writer, planner, traveller or blogger (basically me).

prices start from £12.00 for the quote cards 
Kikki K is concession in Selfridges

 

2. White & Light H-Box from Hotel Chocolat

 

 

I know. This is a bizarre one to throw in and it’s not travel related. AND I don’t even really like chocolate – BUT I love the white chocolate box from Hotel Chocolat. Even though we were fasting, we like to waft temptation in front of ourselves every so often. So we walked in to look for Mo’s favourite treat box (I owed him one for turning up late). Sales assistant Max, showed us the amazing Eid sleeves. Loved them! And the store have created a whole section specifically for Eid – where all the chocolates advertised were vegetarian friendly and no traces of alcohol. Very impressed!!! And what a great gift!!!!

Prices start from £12.50 for White & Light box pictured above
Eid Mubarak sleeve is complimentary

 

3. Countdown to Eid Calendar from the Body Shop

 

 

Now I’m no beauty blogger, but I’m always on the lookout for products which are good to the environment and animal testing free. Oh and ones that are a bargain. So this here is my top beauty product tip (brace yourselves you won’t get many of these from me). Not only does the countdown to Eid calendar look AMAZING but it’s incredibly good value too! There’s a wide collection of products tucked behind the doors, including some of my favourites such as black musk body lotion and mango lip butter. And for all of us regular travellers, none of the bottles are larger than 100ml, perfect for packing away whatever your baggage restriction may be.

Eid calendar is £80, (contents inside worth £155!)
Other gift sets are also available

 

4. Greyfriars Garden Backpack from Radley

 

 

All the backpacks I usually travel with are more outdoor type ones. I’ve always wanted to find myself a good looking equivalent that isn’t too small or too big, but one that would make a good handbag replacement for a city break. This one by Radley, Greyfriars Garden backpack, is simple, great size, comfortable to wear and a zip to secure. Not only are there pockets inside, but there’s also a secret little back pocket for those important bits you need to keep extra safe. Radley are also doing a personalisation offer at the moment where you can personalise a tag to go with it.

Greyfriars Garden Backpack £199
Tag personalisation is free for orders over £75

 

5. Personalised Perfume from Selfridges

 

 

With Mo being a perfume buff, no occasion is usually complete without a perfume purchase. So of course we were drawn into the Selfridges perfume counter whilst we were there. Mo has a great nose for smells and I asked him to pick out a few of his favourite Eid fragrances. He went straight to the Dior range to show me Oud Ispahan, a woody oriental style fragrance. He also recommended a number of bottles from the Francis Kurkdjian range. Amyris is one that he has his eye on, another one with woody undertones but with quite a light feel. Pop by and give them a smell! Added bonus, if you buy any perfume from the store you can take advantage of the free engraving too.

Oud Ispahan by Dior £200 for 125ml
Francis Kurkdjian Amyris £130 for 75ml
Fragrance bottle engraving complimentary when you purchase a perfume

 

6. Garment Cases from Muji

 

 

Ok this last ones more of a practical gift, but it’s so necessary! At the start of the year I trialled out the world of packing cubes and frankly I will never look back. They are amazing!!! They keep everything organised, make it easy to find what you need, lightweight and just, well necessary. I don’t know how I ever coped without them?? These ones from Muji are even more amazing as they fold up into little packets so you can store them away when you don’t need them. Muji is a really great stop for travel essentials, from suitcases to travel bottles, they’ve got everything you can think of.

Small, Medium and Large sizes available, in a variety of colours
Prices start at £5.95

 

And if all else fails…

Gift Card!! And of course this year they’ve created an amazing new Eid Mubarak sleeve with artwork from the talented contemporary Islamic artist, Siddiqa Juma:

 

 

(Thank you to the lovely Nicola in customer services for showing it off 🙂 )

 

There’s so much more available, but these were my favourite finds.  Of course traditionally it’s nice to wear something new on Eid and intu Trafford Centre is by no means short of clothing shops! Let me know what you find or where you like to go for Eid… Not long to go now!

Click here to access the full intu Trafford Centre Eid guide

 

 

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We’ve just passed the halfway mark of Ramadhan! If you’ve been fasting, I think you definitely deserve a pat on the back. I know I’m certainly chuffed I’ve managed to make it so far this year without too much whingeing, very unlike me but I am trying my best to keep my cool.

I’ve got a few bits and pieces I’d like to share which may seem a bit random but I’m in an offload kind of mood. Things that I’ve been thinking about, stuff coming up and also just a general update:

 

First of all…

Still time to enter your #idealiftar for a chance to win a £100 intu Trafford Centre Gift card!

A competition not exclusive to Muslims, I’m simply asking you to share what your #idealiftar (meal) would be. I’ve had loads of great entries on twitter and Instagram already, so I thought I’d share a few of my favourites so far:

 

 

I’ve been lucky enough to share a number of wonderful iftar meals over the last two weeks, even an extra special one with a non-Muslim friend who decided to give fasting a go that day (she did amazing!).

 

 

The competition is running up until the 22nd June so snap those pics and send through your ideas – there’s a hundred pounds at stake here!!!

 

(click here if you want to read the full competition info)

 

Ramadhan update:

Earlier this month I wrote a post explaining exactly why we fast and why this month is so important to us. Many people look at Ramadhan like an esteemed passing guest, one that has chosen to enter our homes and we are expected to be on our best behaviour. I also mentioned in my last post that this was the month in which the Quran, our Holy Book, was revealed by God to the Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings be upon him)

It is believed that this important moment occurred in the last ten days of Ramadhan. The night it happened is called ‘Laylat Ul Qadr’ an Arabic phrase that loosely translates to ‘Night of Power.’

In the Quran, we are told that worship on this night is better than 1,000 nights of worship, the angels descend upon the earth and it is the ultimate time to ask for forgiveness, for mercy and for blessings.

Of course the beauty of this blessed night is that no-one knows exactly when it is! The date itself was never revealed, all we know is that it occurs at some point in the last ten days of the month. Most Muslims believe that there is a high probability that it falls on one of the odd nights, i.e. the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th etc.

It’s a night like no other and is the reason why most people ramp up their prayers and try to dedicate as much time as possible to worship, this can be quite hard as energy levels start to fade as we start nearing the end!

But needs must, it only comes around once a year and with the state of the world these days we have a lot of peace to pray for 😉

 

What’s coming up?

Well the last half is not just the most precious spiritually, it’s also the most testing. Some people find it flies, others find it drags… it always varies for me. But by this point most food reserves have been burned off and exhaustion can start to set in.

Either way, I’m looking forward to savouring the last moments of this holy month and of course excited to start preparing for Eid too!!

Across America, even here in Manchester, this weekend saw a number of organisations out on the streets protesting – mainly against Muslims. But what these people didn’t expect is that love is always the most triumphant power of all and counter protests were quick to assemble and in most cases completely outnumbered the hate-preachers.

As a Muslim, knowing that there are so many people out there who are willing to stand up for us is comforting. And that goes for companies and governments too. My (very obvious) love for Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters stems for their belief in equality and looking out for everyone, no matter who they are. And when better to show Muslims support than Eid.

London draws on its strength of community and plays host to a fantastic Eid celebration right in the heart of the city. On the 2nd of July Trafalgar Square will host their annual Eid Festival.  Theres a main stage, stalls, food carts and much more as everyone is invited to celebrate this special time of year.

Up here in Manchester, our very own intu Trafford Centre has decided to show they are also ready to celebrate, and have organised a celebration of their own. Whether you’re Muslim or not.. get involved! Come and see the shows, the drummers, the Bollywood harpist (!?!) get a henna tattoo… Mo and I will definitely be checking it out so come join us!

 

 

I am so excited that people are starting to acknowledge our celebrations, the way they have with others such as Chinese New Year, Diwali and Christmas.

I remember a conversation with the lovely Emaan, marketing and events manager at Scene in Spinningfields, where she was telling me about her upbringing in Trinidad. One thing that always resonated with me was when she said one of her favourite things about growing up there was that everyone in the community made the effort to celebrate each other’s religions, cultures and festivals. Each person proud to show off their heritage and what makes them different.

I love that we can do that here too and I love even more that this time of year I can share mine!

 

 

What have you got planned for Eid? Are there any other Eid events you can recommend? Or perhaps you celebrate some other way? I’d love to hear your stories!

 

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