Beauty/Fashion · Food/Recipes · Lifestyle · My Wedding · Travel

Here’s To a New Beginning

Hello my beautiful friends,

Welcome to my blog! My name is Mariya, and I was born in Karachi, Pakistan, raised in Chicago, Illinois, and now living in London, England. I am so excited to get to know you all as I embark on this new journey as a blogger and share tidbits of my life with you! So here’s a little bit about me for those of you who are wondering.  As a  little girl, I loved telling stories and sharing life’s precious moments with those around me. My Mom would jokingly say in Urdu “Iski toh khahania khatham nahi hongi (Her Stories will never end).” After living in Karachi for two short years my mom and I were finally able to to join my Dad in Chicago in 1996. I spent most of my childhood years (and a bit of my adult years) in Chicago–The Windy City.

I completed my undergraduate education at the  University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and graduated with a degree in Marketing in May 2016. While I was at UIC, my passion for creativity and content marketing began. I used to blog for the business college at UIC and then worked in a Marketing Research company down in the loop for some time after graduation. My blogging journey at UIC was really cool because that is when I realised how much I loved writing, sharing, and creating content that people would enjoy. Fast forward 7 months later, my childhood best friend, Abdul Latif, and I had big plans for a wedding, so I decided to change my life around by joining him in London right in the beginning of January 2017 (what a great way to start the new year right)?!

Moving from one vibrant city to another was a HUGE change, and with changes in life come new beginnings, so one day I decided to start something I have always wanted to do. My husband, Abdul Latif, told me that while I wait for my working visa in the UK, why not start a creative outlet for myself? I thought it was a great idea, I mean  I have always admired beauty bloggers, style bloggers, food bloggers ever since I learned about the world of the internet and social media. It would make me so happy to read about the things people were truly passionate about. So that, my friends, is when I decided  to take the plunge into the world of blogging so that maybe (just maybe) I could make someone’s day brighter by sharing things that I am passionate about –and voilà— Chicago Girl in London was born.

So friends, please come along  and join me on this ride as I try to find my place in  this new city as well as in the blogging world. I hope that my blog will be of fit to you and that you can find some inspiration within my daily life. This blog is aimed to fuel my creativity and share moments in life that cultivate happiness while creating an exciting space that welcomes all personal style as well as promoting self love, confidence, and happiness.

Thank you for reading!

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Lifestyle

My Birth Story

Hello lovelies,

I hope you all are well! So this is possibly the most requested story I got asked over DMs, so grab a cuppa, sit back and relax, because this is possibly the longest post I have written. I will try my best to keep the graphics and writing as PG as I can.

Without further ado, here is my birth story:

So it all started on October 3rd. At 2pm, I had my 40 week appointment with my midwife. I spoke to her about Little Miss Hannah’s low fetal movements. I didn’t feel her move all morning and because of this, my midwife wrote me a letter to go into triage to monitor Hannah’s movements. From 33 weeks, I was getting mild Braxton Hicks contractions, so during the monitoring process in triage, the midwives noticed a huge dip in Hannah’s movement when I would get these mild contractions. After the reports were collected, a doctor and consultant were rushed to my room and they urged that I be induced that same night because my pregnancy was now high risk due to the dip in heart rate. I panicked and started crying because I REALLY wanted to go into labour naturally. In my birth plan, I wanted a water birth with low intervention and minimal drugs, but those dreams were left outside of the hospital.

So there I was with a million emotions going through my head. I just knew that induction meant speeding up the labour process with artificial pains, and if God forbid it did not work, I would have to end up with a C-section. That night was so emotional because the doctor said that if I don’t get induced, then a stillbirth would be a possibility, and that scared me. Despite this, I just wasn’t ready to be moved to the induction room. I told the doctor I was not ready for induction right then and there, and that I would go home, have a think, and come back in a few hours. My husband and I went home that night.

I prayed 2 rakah salah and made dua that Allah guide me to make the right decision. My heart told me to go in that night and not risk waiting. I would never be able to forgive myself if something happened to Hannah. After the prayer, I was at peace. I was ready for my induction knowing that I prayed my last prayer before the 40 days of rest. I was content.

At around 10pm on October 3rd, we made our way back to the hospital triage, and with tears in my eyes, I told the midwife I was ready for my induction. The midwife took me to the induction ward where 4 other women were also being induced. We had blue barrier curtains to separate our beds and our hospital policy was that partners would have to go home after 10pm. I begged my midwife to let my husband stay overnight, but they only allowed him to stay till midnight until my pessary gel was inserted to start the induction process, and after that he had to leave and return the next morning. The night shift midwife was quite harsh and she shoved that gel in me. I can tell you it was the most painful feeling in the world. I tried to stay calm and use my breathing techniques I learned in my online hypnobirthing course from @thepositivebirthcompany and recited my duas while the gel was being inserted.

Once the gel was in, the midwife told me to wait 24 hours for contractions to start, and if my contractions don’t start after the 24 hour period, they would have to artificially break my waters with a rod, and if that doesn’t get the contractions started, then I would have an emergency C-section to get the baby out. She then strapped me onto a machine which monitored the baby’s heart rate every 6 hours and told my husband to leave and return in the morning. I took a deep breath and my husband and I waved goodbye. It was just a waiting game now for the contractions to kick in. That night I was alone and I prayed for my labour to be easy. I played Surah Maryam and put my headphones in and tried to stay calm. The nurses would come every few hours to check my blood pressure, and because of this I wasn’t able to sleep properly. I stayed awake the whole night, patiently waiting for the contractions to begin.

The next morning on Friday October 4th, I was greeted by a nurse who took my blood pressure at 6am. Six long hours had passed and there were still no signs of contractions. I called my husband and asked him to come to the induction room at 8am. Something did not seem right. He told me he wasn’t able to come to the hospital until noon and he would not tell me why. I checked my Whatsapp and saw a few messages of close family friends wanting to visit us at home because of a death. As I read the messages, I found that my husband’s grandfather passed away the night I was induced. I panicked and started crying. Crying for the death of my husband’s grandfather, who was not able to see baby Hannah before he left the world. God works in mysterious ways I thought. When one soul is getting ready to enter the world, another soul is taken away, back to the Lord.

At this point, I never felt so lonely in a room and I called home to get an update of what was going on with the sudden death and who would come to the hospital to accompany me. My husband said he would send my mom (who was thankfully visiting) to spend the day with me during the visiting hours in the induction ward. My mom spent the day with me and my husband came in afterwards and stayed with me until 10pm.

When 10pm rolled by, I was starting to feel light pains and I wasn’t sure if those were Braxton hicks or the real deal Labour Contractions. I felt pressure pushing on my pelvis area. My husband and I explained this sensation to the night shift midwife. She said that I was not in active labour and that there was a long while to go and this may (or may not) just be the beginning of labour. She gave me 2 paracetamols and codeine and told my husband to leave the ward per hospital rules and that I would be allowed to call him once active labour begins. I explained to her that my pain kept increasing gradually and again begged for someone to stay with me that night just in case active labour does begins. She told me she would look after me and assured my husband that a phone call would be made once labour begins. I was feeling so many crazy emotions and something told me I was in labour. I wasn’t ready to be alone and spend another night by myself.

Crying my eyes out as my husband left. Didn’t even realise he took this picture 😢

At 11.40pm my pains got stronger and I had a strong “urge to poo”. I went to the bathroom and nothing was happening. All I felt was strong pressure that would come and go. The pessary gel had been inside of me for over 23 hours now. I stayed in the bathroom for a good 30 minutes and I remember breathing deeply (the breathing technique I learned in my hypnobirthing course) each time I felt pain. This is when I noticed that my pessary gel had fallen out into the toilet. Something inside me told me I was in active labour because the pains were getting worse and unbearable. After my 30 minutes of toilet struggle, I went to the front of the ward and told the night shift midwife that my pessary gel fell in the toilet and that I was in excruciating pain, feeling immense pressure. She was not able to attend to me because she was the only one present looking after 12 induced women. She simply said, “You are walking, talking, and it seems to me you are not in active labour just yet. Bear through this and I will come to you in the morning. I have another woman I need to attend to so I will send someone else to look after you.” She left and so I went back to my room in the induction ward. There was a chair in my room so during each contraction I would use the chair to squat and deep breathe. I also downloaded the babycenter app which had a contraction timer and I started to time my pains to see how close they were coming. When the contraction went, I relaxed in between. After each contraction passed, I felt good, I felt strong, I felt empowered. I told myself I could do this. I kept reciting The first 5 ayahs of Surah Inshiqaaq and made dua for it to be easy. I was at peace.

Around midnight, October 5th, I phoned my mom and told her I was getting period like cramps that would come and go and they were coming every three minutes according to my app. I couldn’t help but to cry on the phone to her and she told me to stay strong and continue praying. She reminded me that even though I didn’t have anyone with me in that room, Allah was with me and this was a time for all my duas to be accepted. We both made dua that this difficult time would pass with ease. I hung up the phone and I continued to move around and use what I had around me to help with the contractions and pain. I reminded myself of my mother’s words and I knew that even though I was alone in that induction room, Allah was with me, helping me through each contraction and getting me one step closer to meeting my baby. I reminded myself that my body was made to do this. There was a point I couldn’t stand, walk, or squat any more so around 2.30am in the morning, I laid myself on the bed, put in my headphones and breathed through each contraction. I rang the buzzer for the midwife around this time. My allocated midwife did not attend me, instead another midwife came in and I asked her to check my dilation because I felt SO much pressure. She said that since she was not my midwife, she couldn’t do an internal check on her own, but she hooked me to a monitor to check my contractions. At this point, I asked what my pain relief options were because I could not for the life of me bear the pressure or pain any longer. She told me the only thing available on the induction suite was gas and air or the Diamorphone injection. I would have to wait to be taken to the labour ward for other pain relief options.

In my hospital bag I packed a tens machine from @babycartens and I asked her if she could help me use it. She declined and said that because they now had to monitor my contractions and heart rate, she wouldn’t advise I use it.

So there I was, with only two pain relief options. I decided to soldier through a little longer and passed the gas and air and diamorphine injection options. I remember at this point I closed my eyes as I lay on the bed while she monitored the baby’s heartbeat and my contractions. At around 3am she left asking me to buzz the buzzer in case I needed her. I was attached to the monitors and I kept breathing through each contraction and resting in between.

Three hours had passed. My contractions were now unbearable and At 6.15 I had this strong sensation to push. I couldn’t help myself but to push with all my might and with that push I heard a pop, and a stream of water had passed. I let out a sigh of relief and with excitement I buzzed the midwife because now they would HAVE to take me to the labour ward and I could finally call my husband. The midwife came and I told her I felt my waters breaking and I felt a gush of water pass. The midwife checked my bed and she definitely so the waters had been broken, but to our surprise the waters were GREEN. Baby Hannah pooped inside me.

I felt panick and tension at this point. This was definitely of concern and so the midwife told me to call my birth partners and she immediately called the wheelchairs and nurses to take me to the labour ward. I called my husband and told him my waters had broken and he asked me how dilated I was. I did not have an answer to that because I told him the midwife hadn’t done an internal examination, and that they would check in the labour ward.

By 6.45am October 5th, I was in the labour ward and I told the midwife I was feeling a strong sensation and urge to push. While we waited for my birth partners, I asked her If I could get an epidural because I couldn’t not bear the pain anymore. The labour ward midwife said that she would check my dilation and request the anaesthetist to come in and he wouldn’t be able to perform the procedure until 12 noon. I was devastated, really hoping I wouldn’t have to wait that long in this immense pain.

By 6.50am we heard a knock on the labour ward door and my husband had arrived and he got straight to work by doing what we had requested on my birth plan to make up for not having a water birth. He requested the lights to be dimmed, he blasted Surah Maryam on his phone which played throughout the background, and he sprayed a calming mist with lavender around my face so I could continue to focus on my breathing and remain calm. The midwives filled him in on what happened and that they were ready to check my dilation. While the midwife was getting ready to do a check, I remember telling my husband that I couldn’t bear the pain any longer and that if I was only 2cm dilated I would be so angry and would give up. I also told him I was ready to take an epidural.

As the midwife checked, to our surprise she could FEEL the BABY’S HEAD!!

“I Feel the head!! It is right there! I feel the head! Call the others it is time to push! I will call the others. Mariya, you are feeling the urge to push because the head is right there. Follow what your body is telling you and push through each contraction. Baby needs to come out NOW

At this point I never felt happier. I cannot believe I was already 10cm dilated UPON ENTERING THE LABOUR WARD!! I was relieved but scared because I didn’t think I would be at the pushing stage upon arrival to the ward. I didn’t need the epidural after all. All this time I doubted my strength, this was the final stretch and I could feel my body and energy levels weaken. I was given an IV to help me keep going. I was also offered gas and air, but I knew I could do it without.

A team of 2 other midwives had rushed into the room and my mom and mother-in law came in to check on how I was doing. My husband explained that I was already 10cm dilated and it was now time to push. They were then requested by the midwives to leave for the pushing stage so that my husband and I could share the special moment together.

It was 8am and I heard lots of chatter on how they would only give me 45 minutes to push. This was only because Hannah released poop inside of me and it would be dangerous to have her in me for any longer.

“We need to get this baby out NOW. Push Push Push” Is all I recall being said.

Every time I had a contraction, I pushed hard and Baby Hannah’s head appeared, but it would go back up. I heard the midwives grabbing scissors and saying they had to make an incision—the dreaded episiotomy cut. I remember screaming “Nooo, please don’t.”

I didn’t want the episiotomy. I had no choice. It was the only way they could get the head to come out. After the incision, I was told to push harder and harder. Given one last chance, I pushed with all my might, and at 8.58am, my darling Hannah was born. I heard a little cry and she was put on my chest.

I did it, I thought, I birthed a baby. No epidural. No pain relief. I doubted myself, but I had it in me and it happened. Hannah and I had skin to skin for a good 10 minutes and I remember having tears in my eyes as I held Hannah to my chest. I was exhausted, but I was also SO proud of myself. My husband had the honour to cut Hannah’s cord and give the Adhaan (the call to prayer) in her little ears. It was all so emotional.

Overall, Birth for me was honestly the most empowering, yet THE craziest and most unpredictable experience. All from Hannah not moving, to a death in the family, to not having anyone with me during active labour in the induction ward. Despite it all, everything worked out. With the help of Allah the all mighty, I did it.

Although my birth experience did not go as planned, I was well educated thanks to my hypnobirthing course and I tried to remain calm throughout it all which is what helped me soldier through the extremely painful contractions. Instead of working against the contractions, I breathed through each one, letting my body do what it was designed to do.

I salute all Mamas for their birth stories and experiences. Birth is hard and at the same time it is beautiful. I am so grateful that this experience has allowed me to become a Mama to my darling, Hannah Khadija Ismail.

P.s.

Thank you to all the Mamas that shared their birth stories with me 💖 Goodluck to those pregnant mamas who will be going through this. My tip would be to educate yourself on birth and remember, YOU are designed to do this! Take a hypnobirthing course if you can, write a birth plan (but be prepared to toss it out the window), and know all your options! Sending you all lots of love your way. You got this!🤰🏽😙🎀

As always, thanks for reading!

Beauty/Fashion · Lifestyle

Let’s Talk Hair: My new Balayage & Shampoo Switch Up

Hi Loves!

It has been such a while since I have been on the blog. I have been working on growing my Instagram and focusing on picture content, but I am back on the roll with some exciting content for the blog as well. Today, I wanted to talk to you all about my hair because I get the most questions regarding the colour!

Two weeks ago, I decided to go a bit darker for the winter time with a fresh cut and balayage. I went to Live True London and my colorist Flora did such a lovely job! I showed her a picture of what I wanted, and she was able to replicate the image. I asked for a warm balayage that would be darker than what I originally had.

I also went in for a trim as well as the Olaplex treatment so my hair could look healthy! Check out my before and after below:

Before

After

I have always kept my hair nice and long and I maintain it by getting a trim every 2-4 months to get rid of any split ends. I also started a new Shampoo & Conditioner from the SNI Natural Hair Care Range called the Protein Boost Shampoo.

This Range is Natural and free from Parabens, Silicones, and Sulfate, and is good for coloured hair. I made the switch to a sulfate free natural shampoo and I am absolutely loving how healthy my hair has been feeling. Also from the SNI Natural Hair Care Range, I use their hair oil once every 1-2 weeks as a intense mask and scalp treatment for my hair.

I hope this answers any hair questions you may have had! For any other questions leave me a comment below! Also feel free to suggest any other content ideas for the upcoming weeks.

As always, thanks for reading!

Beauty/Fashion · Lifestyle

A Little Self Care with Thai Square Spa

Hello Lovelies,

Last Monday I took a trip down to Central London for a little TLC spa day at the Thai Square Spa, located at a 3 minute walk from Embankment Station. The day was just so lovely and I was super excited for my Ritual Massage with So Sen Uplifting Jasmine Oil. The massage combined Oriental techniques that targeted the whole body and the Jasmine Oil had an instant energising and restorative effect on both mind and body.

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Upon Arrival, I was greeted at the receptionist and was taken to the locker rooms to change into my robe. The reception area was so welcoming and the locker rooms were so beautiful and clean.

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After changing, one if the lovely ladies took me down the steps to the massage rooms. The rooms were dark and the hallway to the massage rooms were lit with beautiful candles, giving a calm, relaxing feel.

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My sessions started off with a complimentary floral foot bath which set the lovely tone for the whole massage. The foot bath last for about 5 minutes and it was a great welcome and start to the Ritual Massage.

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After the floral bath, I was taken to the massage table to begin my Ritual massage. The ritual massage consisted of a whole body massage, but I had told my masseuse to focus on the back. In the beginning the pressure was a bit hard, however afterwards I had told my masseuse to apply light pressure.  It is important to speak to your masseuse so that they know what you like beforehand, and I was very happy with my light pressure massage.

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The ritual massage lasted for one hour and it was a great way to relax, recharge, and just calm the body. My therapist was extremely professional and I was able to completely relax listening to the quiet soothing music as she worked away every bit of tension in my body. I think it’s so important, especially this time of year to relax and recharge so that your body can get its much needed break. I left my treatment feeling 100% more relaxed and peaceful. After my massage was over, the masseuse took me Thai and Roman Relaxation areas where I was offered some tea. I spent a few minutes indulging in some warm soothing tea until my next stop, the Sen Space.

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At the Thai Square Spa, the Sen Space is complimentary after a massage, and it was just a lovely way to just stay in the zone and relax your senses. I had used the Sen Space for 1 hour and it included a Sauna, Steam Showers, Jacuzzi, and Salt Bath. This space really helped bring my body back into the perfect state of balance. I made sure to spend 30 minutes of my time between the hot zones (Sauna and steam room), and another 30 minutes of my time in the cold zones (Ice Fountain and Jacuzzi) to stimulate circulation and eliminate toxins. The ice fountain is one of the more unusual Scandinavian sauna bathing traditions and perfect invigorating tonic to the heat of the sauna and the steam room.

Note: The Sen Space must be booked separately.

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Overall, I really enjoyed my experience at the Thai Square Spa and would love to visit again to try out the other massage services. How do you all like to spend me time? 

Thank you to Thai Square Spa for hosting me! My massage was provided complimentary but as always, this would never affect my opinions, which are completely my own!

Thanks for reading!

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Lifestyle

Notting Hill: An Instagramer’s Dream

Hello Loves!

It has been some time since I have written up a blog post for you lovelies, and that is primarily because I have been working on some exciting projects. Now that I have had some down time, I decided it is time to curate a post on one of my favourite places in London that quite often pops up on my Instagram page–Notting Hill.

When my friends and family come to visit London they always ask “Mariya, what places should we definitely see while visiting London?”

And to that question, I always suggest

NOTTING HILL.

YOU MUST GO TO NOTTING HILL!

Because let’s face it, nothing beats colourful houses, the buzzing Portobello Road Market, Pembridge Mews and random tourists (and Instagrammers like myself) posing in front of resident houses.

Ah yes, do you like the sound of that? Well then read on to find out some of my favourite places in one of the most well known neighborhoods in London and for a cheeky outfit post in the end!
Portobello Road Market

When talking about Notting Hill, people usually mention the Portobello Road Market. I particularly love Portobello Road because it’s always buzzing with people and you can find some cool knick knacks. There are vintage shops like Alice’s, cute bakeries, bookshops, and of course some awesome souvenir items.

Wild At Heart Flower Shop

Another quite Instagrammable place in Notting Hill is this lovely flower shop. After exploring Portobello Road Market head down to Wild at Heart to pick some blooms, or simply strike a pose the way I did below!

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Colorful Houses

While walking around Notting Hill you will be sure to find to prettiest homes. There are rows of colorful houses on various streets, so be sure to have your cameras out to capture the beauty!

Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising

Are you a marketing geek like me, or just someone into learning about how packages have evolved over time? If so, head to this quirky little museum on Lancaster Road. This museum examines the history of consumer culture from the Victorian era to present day, and can be a neat thing to do while at Notting Hill.

Holland Park

Just a fifteen minute walk from Notting Hill Station is Holland Park where you can go for a picnic, or just stroll along the various sights of the park. If you are lucky, you might spot some peacocks in Kyoto Garden.

Have you been to Notting Hill? If so comment below your favourite part.

Alright now let’s talk outfit.

Outfit Details
Ruffled blouse: Shein
Jeans: Shein
Shoes: Tory Burch
Sunglasses: Gucci

To match the colorful houses, I wore this blush pink sweater/jumper from Shein. They have provided me with a lovely code for you to use and you can get 13% off your purchase by using mariyaa13. I paired the top with a pair of jeans, also from Shein. For sandals, I wore my Tory Burch Sandals in white for a comfortable, Chic look.

And that, folks, wraps up our post for today.

Once again, thank you for reading.

Until next time,

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Beauty/Fashion · Lifestyle

A Modest Spring Lookbook with Couvert Clothing

Hello Loves!

A Spring wardrobe is definitely my favourite and I am getting super excited to ditch the winter jackets and bring out some gorgoeus pieces for Spring.

For this Blog post, I collaborated with Couvert Clothing, a one stop modest fashion brand for modest women. As a Muslim fashion blogger, it can be hard to find the perfect pieces that are cute, yet modest. I know we all have a different definition for what modesty means because this term can be different from person to person. For me, modest fashion means choosing to cover what I want to cover without giving up my personal morals and values. This is why I love brands like Couvert Clothing because they make fashion so much easier by providing trendy yet modest pieces.

I was gifted these gorgeous Olivia trousers and I was super excited to do a Spring look-book in honor of the warmer weather in London. Couvert Clothing was also kind enough to offer a Discount Code for my readers. You can use code MARI15 at checkout for 15% off. Enjoy!

Now let’s talk outfit.

I decided to pair the trousers with this gorgeous bright pink top that I purchased from a Khol’s in the States two years ago (find similar top here). I loved the print because it gave such fun summer vibes. The top was sleeveless, so I paired it with this long white cardigan (similar style here) and Nude heeled Sandals (find similar style here).

For accessories, I wanted to play with the colours of my top, so I wore the Karishma earrings from the jewellery line @diamantebymali. These earrings are gold plated made with real oyster pearl and the turquoise colour looked so pretty with the whole outfit. To complete the look I added my belt from New Look and these stunning green cat eye glasses (find similar ones here) from Aldo.

I hope you all enjoyed the look. Now that I shared what modest fashion means to me, what does it mean to you? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,

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Photography credit goes to @kiranvisuals.

Disclaimer: I was gifted the Olivia Trousers, however all opinions are my own

Beauty/Fashion · Lifestyle

Changing your Life with Positivity & Gratitude

Hello Loves,

Today I wanted to talk about a topic that we all can benefit from, and that my friends is how you can CHANGE your life with two things. One, positivity and two, gratitude.

Positivity is being optimistic and believing that anything YOU want can happen. While gratitude is that sweet spot of contentment that knows nothing of having more or having less. It is being happy in the present moment.

I learned gratitude not by what I had, but by what I did not have.

As a little girl growing up, my parents had always taught me to say Alhamdulilah–Thank you God. I remember I was chasing my little sister in our one bedroom apartment in Rogers Park, Chicago and I slipped and hit my head on the heater. I had split my head open and had to get stitches, and while I was in pain and complained about being hurt, my dad said “Alhamdulilah, you are well. It’s just a small little cut, it will get better soon.” As a six year old, hearing those words made everything better. Those words reminded me that I was strong. I could handle this. And after that, the pain wasn’t as painful and I had stopped crying and whispered, “Alhamdulilah.”

I have had many of these Alhamdulilah moments all throughout my life, because you know, each chapter of our lives come with countless of tests from God, but everything just seems to get better when I know that I am in control of the way I feel and that any negative situation can be changed if I have a positive outlook towards it. This is because If you program your subconscious and conscious mind to produce positive thoughts, then this will help you reach your goals. However, if you think negatively like “I’ll never be able to do this” or “I’ll never get that job” then that is exactly what will happen.

With that, the important part is to be grateful. Being grateful for things that have or haven’t happened can really help change life’s outlook. Always understand that if you don’t have something, then there is divine wisdom behind it, and that Allah knows best. Wake up each day with a positive outlook and watch how your life changes for the better.

One thing my husband and I try to do every week is to talk about the things we are grateful for, and this little exercise really helps us to reflect and see how far we have come. I also like to do personal reflections after prayers to just take time to thank God and that my way of expressing gratitude.

What do you all do to express gratitude? Let me know in the comments below!

Outfit Details
Ruffled blouse: In Love with Fashion
Trousers: Ann Taylor
Shoes: Zara
Sunglasses: Gucci
Bag: Micheal Kors
Blazer: In Love with Fashion
Necklace: Swarovski

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Beauty/Fashion · Food/Recipes · Lifestyle

Breakfast at Duck & Waffle+Floral Lookbook

Hello All!

Last weekend for the hubby’s birthday, I decided to treat him to breakfast at Duck & Waffle–the highest 24/7 restaurant in London just a 5 minute walk from Liverpool Street Station.

We got there for 7:30am becuase I kid you not all the other time slots were booked, so we had to go in quite early for breakfast–however we didn’t mind that. It was still super fun! (I would recommend booking a month in advance to get your preferred time slot and not do what I did which was booking a week before).

Upon arrival, we were seated by the window and had such pretty view of London’s financial district. It was quite foggy and rainy in the morning, but nonetheless we still enjoyed ourselves.

For breakfast, I ordered the Indian Spiced Chickpeas with the English Breakfast Tea while Abdul Latif got the Colombian Eggs with a Flat White. Both of us loved our food–the spiced chickpeas were absolutely AMAZING. I would totally recommended them if you are an Indian food lover like me!


All in all, I really enjoyed my experience at Duck and Waffle. The food is tasty, you get the full view of London, and the service is quick. Bear in mind that each table is booked for a one hour time slot during breakfast time and then you have to move to the bar area which is the only downside because 1 hour can seem a bit rushed. Also the meat is not halal, so we did have to opt for the vegetarian options.

Floral Lookbook

Now for my favorite part, outfit time!! 😉

Outfit Details
Top: Madam Rage
Trousers: Forever21 (similar)
Shoes: Newlook
Bag: Anne Klien
Necklace: Soulfeel Jewelry USE CODE Mariyaukg115 for 15% off

For my outfit, I was wore a floral blouse by Madam Rage paired with trousers from forever21 and my block heels from new look. To accessorise, I wore my name necklace from Soulfeel jewellery (use code Mariyaukg115 for 15% off) as well as my bag by Anne Klien.

That completes today’s blog post, and as always, thank you for tuning in!

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Beauty/Style · Food/Recipes · Lifestyle

Afternoon Tea at The Wallace Collection

Hello Loves,

Welcome back to Chicago Girl In London!

This past week, a dear friend of mine was in town from Chicago, so we decided to do what Londoners do and indulge in an afternoon tea experience at the Wallace Collection.

The Wallace Collection is a national museum in a historic townhouse located at a 7 minute walk from Bond Street Underground Station. The museum houses a gorgeous collection of 18th century artworks, paintings, and furniture.

A grand staircase welcomes you as you enter through the doors of the Wallace collection. Of course I had to take a picture and strike a pose!

The museum is divided into several rooms, where one can simply walk in and view the works of art. There are a total of 25 galleries where each room has a different theme and walking through the rooms feels like your stepping back in time.

Toward the back of the building is where one will find the Wallace Restaurant. Inside, is a beautiful courtyard with pink walls, green trees, and an open ceiling with natural light supplying an organic aesthetic to the restaurant. The ambience is beautiful and the glass roof makes for a pleasant and peaceful place to sit while having afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea at the Wallace is £18.75 per person and it includes a selection of handmade finger sandwiches and teas including:

  • Cucumber and dill cream
  • Free range egg
  • Smoked salmon with cream cheese
  • Coronation chicken (Not Halal, but can be substituted)
  • Freshly baked fruit or plain scones served with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserve
  • Assortment of Peyton and Byrne mini cakes and pastries
  • Choice of fine loose leaf tea or coffee

Since the meat was not halal, the restaurant was very accommodating to our needs and swapped the chicken sandwich for another vegetarian sandwich. I loved the little pastries and the sandwiches tasted lovely. Overall, I had a pleasant experience.

For my outfit, I wore this super cute ruffled jumper that was gifted to my by Trendy Hub UK, which is a hot new fashion brand in London. I paired this top with my navy blue polka dot skirt, and black heels. To accessorize, I wore my purple and green statement necklace from Charlotte Russe as well as my purple Kate Spade Bag.

Outfit Details
Top: Trendy Hub UK
Skirt: H & M
Shoes: Candies
Bag: Kate Spade
Necklace: Charlotte Rousse

I absolutely love dressing up and being all girly when it comes to afternoon teas. I don’t know, there is just something about dressing the part that makes me feel super confident and happy! Do you girls like dressing up? Let me know in the comments below.

And that concludes this post. I hope you enjoyed!

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Beauty/Fashion

My Top 3 Favorite Foundations

Hello loves,

I get many questions and messages about makeup and what products I use on my face. The most asked question I get regarding beauty is what foundation I use, so today’s post will talk about my top 3 favorite foundations.

1. L’oreal Lumi Foundation

I personally love this foundation because one, it is not too expensive (only $12.95), two, it gives me a beautiful dewy look without feeling sticky, and three because it is a great foundation for everyday wear. The shade I use is Natural Beige W4. Although the Lumi Foundation is not full coverage, I still think it does a great job covering up my acne marks and uneven skin tone. This foundation is definitely buildable and I usually use 1-2 pumps when I apply. I use this foundation ALL the time–especially for casual events, nights outs, and for normal everyday wear. On days that I am home, I try not to wear foundation, but when I do go out, I usually reach for this one.

What do I love about this foundation? I love that it does not feel too heavy on the skin, and it gives my face that healthy glow. It also does not sink into fine lines. I think this foundation is a great dupe to the NARS all day Luminous Weightless Foundation, which brings me to my next favorite foundation.

loreal lumi

2. NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation

My second favorite foundation is the NARS All day Luminous Weightless Foundation. The shade I use is called Punjab. This foundation is super silky and a little goes a long way. I think the finish is very comparable to the L’Oreal Lumi Foundation, however, I don’t wear this on a day to day basis. I leave this foundation for special events, and occasions.

Estee Lauder

3. Estée Lauder ‑ Double Wear Stay in Place Makeup

The Estée Lauder foundation comes 3rd on my list. This foundation is full coverage, and I wear it only on special occasions or events. The shade I use is Tawny. I really like this foundation because it hides literally everything, however what I don’t like is how thick it feels on my skin. This is why I would not recommend it as an every day foundation, but rather for days where you need full coverage.

And that concludes today’s post. Have you tried any of these foundations? If so which one was your favorite? Let me know what your current favorite foundation is in the comments below!

XOXO

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