ZAYTOUN PALESTINIAN SOAP REVIEW

Recently, some Palestinian youths visited our college to perform a traditional dance and explore different skills in workshops hosted at our college. There was also information available on the deteriorating situation of the citizens of Gaza in what is the West Bank. There was also the sale of natural goods imported from Palestine, such as dates, olive oil, soaps and spices! They are all by Zaytoun, a non profit organisation established to support Palestinian farming communities by h570-20141203_112811elping to increase the market for their olive oil products internationally, and also by helping the farmers themselves improve the quality of their oil through training and equipment provision. You can purchase their products here: http://www.zaytoun.org/

I bought one of the soaps in the pomegranate flavour, made in Nablus, Palestine and of 100% natural ingredients including virgin olive oil and pomegranate itself. I love the fact that it is handmade and has such a sweet smelling scent! It is perfect if you have sensitive skin or like me, dislike using soaps with additives that can irritate your skin easily. Usually I always use Lush soaps, which are amazing, though some are very strong scented (not that it’s a bad thing, but it’s nice to have a change) and so this was a far soothing alternative! It can be quite hard to find a 100% natural soap, so it’s great! 😀

The situation in Palestine is getting increasingly worse, with the latest UN report stating that Gaza could become completely uninhabitable in the upcoming years. I haven’t spoken much on the conflict on my blog, however, politics aside, there are people of all faiths and beliefs suffering from what seems to be an exaggeration on the claim of ‘defense’. Despite political differences between both sides, innocent people are stuck in the middle of an ongoing conflict with people who have done nothing wrong and thousands of children who were born into a war zone. It’s intolerable that something like this can go on for so long – the breaking of international law and ethnic cleansing of a group of people in their own land.

You can support the cause here: http://act.palestinecampaign.org/petition/camerongaza

or donate: https://humanappeal.org.uk/appeals/help-us-rebuild-lives-in-gaza/?gclid=CjwKEAjwyqOwBRDZuIO4p5SV8w0SJAAQoUSw_xpla8YHcSSAZnKIKwE6kv9odt-pSufrjsPs3hBpnBoCDn3w_wcB

http://www.islamic-relief.org.uk/about-us/where-we-work/palestine/?tmad=c&tmcampid=15&tmplaceref=Where+we+Work+Palestine+Ad&tmclickref=GAZA-Palestine&gclid=CjwKEAjwyqOwBRDZuIO4p5SV8w0SJAAQoUSwiDAYbzrRy9OKBlLKi0kUFJ66cpr2FMTqRCy2uK3X9xoCtNLw_wcB

Thanks for reading

Bushra 😀

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TOP TIPS FOR COLLEGE! & MOTIVATION

SO I recently started sixth form this term and have to admit that although I am in the exact same school environment as secondary, there are definitely new changes that hit you such as being in non uniform every single day, suddenly having a bunch of free periods with nothing to do (at the moment), and a drastic change from being carefree teenagers to young adults who are suddenly the role models for younger pupils. Not to forget the workload. It’s a lot. I’ve only been here for two weeks and have already found things which are important to mention.

My top tips:

  1. BE ORGANISED and PRACTICAL! This sounds like such a cliche but it’s as real as ever. To be honest, I like to be as college-student-studying-clipart-Girlstudyingorganised as possible to keep my mind at ease and had bought folders, pens and a planner for college. Guess what I found? You need more! I’m not suggesting for you to raid the entire shop (though that’s what school supplies shopping feels like for uni students, I guess!) however, be open minded as to how much you will need. I’m taking four subjects so bought four huge binders, yet in reality I would not be able to carry those all to school, especially when I have all the lessons in one day. Therefore, it made sense to buy four smaller ones as ‘modular’ folders and transfer the work after terms into the larger folders! Simple! Be sure not to waste money on things you don’t need – after all, full time college students generally need a lot of books and they cost! Be practical about it too – eg. don’t waste money on a book you need in the short term when you can borrow it for free! The library is officially your best friend this year if you let it be!

2) STUDY AS YOU GO and THINK FOR YOURSELF It’s not GCSE’s anymore where you could simply get away with with doing homework the night or even hour before, or be given a sheet with all the criteria to get an A*! A Levels require much more logistical thinking and therefore, studying! It’s simply not possible to cram a week, or even a term before, in my opinion! Keep on top of the heavy workload, and it won’t seem as heavy anymore! Homework at A Level is a form of studying as it is in a lot more depth! After all, teachers have a lot of the specification to get through in a short amount of time and so going through your work regularly is key! And also, as much as it saved your life at KS4, copying homework at A Level just doesn’t work. You need to think for yourself a lot more here and that won’t happen by blindly copying the knowledge that your friend has researched.

3) Most importantly, WORK HARD, DREAM BIG, SACRIFICE & ACHIEVE. You most likely chose A Levels with the intention of going on for even higher education or maybe a career you have set in your mind! College is the perfect stepping stone and every day is another chance to contribute to that success at the end of the year. This is the crucial moment where the reality of your future comes together, and as scary as that sounds, it’s also to be taken advantage of, You have an amazing chance to be whatever you want IF you work hard and effectively, envisioning the reward at the end of it. SUCCEED; don’t screw up! A student that gets a A and sat around doing nothing is not much of an achiever compared to someone who gets a C but worked hard for it. It’s about the journey and the leap of a grade you can get to. An F grade up to a C is just as impressive as someone who gets an A. Rant over, get your books out and work for it! Nobody is going to do it for you but yourself! 😀

Thanks for reading, don’t forget to SUBESCRIBE and SHARE! 🙂

Bushra xx

TWITTER: @BushraSpeaks

INSTAGRAM: @bushrajalil

5 Things I Wish I’d Known Before NCS | National Citizen Service ADVICE!

Head onto the official NCS website: http://www.ncsem1.org.uk/

My name is Bushra Jalil and recently I completed a whole month of adventure, challenges, new friendships and plenty of laughter with the National Citizen Service in Leicestershire.

I joined in the Summer of 2015 it was one of the best decisions I have made this year.Believe me – if you want YES to confidence, YES to meeting new people and YES to overcoming challenges and becoming the best person you can possibly be then YES to NCS is what you need!

It was genuinely more than I expected it to ever be and when I signed up less than a year ago, there were genuine fears and nerves I had, especially because I am quite an over thinker generally, and so it was quite a big step naturally for me to say YES. NCS may seem like a big challenge but now I look back I honestly don’t know what I was so worried about. In this post I will address some of the worries I had before NCS, and what I wish I knew back then.

1. You won’t be alone

The first two weeks are residential and an incredible experience. The first week involves staying at an outdoor pursuits centre, and the second is a university style experience in your home city. I was nervous, especially just before leaving but some of the major worries I had disappeared by the first day.

I felt worried and scared that I wouldn’t fit in. Would people accept me? Was I good enough? Could I spend the next four weeks with my group? But I completely forgot that these people are all on the same journey and experience as me, set to partake in the same activities and make a genuine difference.

Almost everyone felt the exact same way – even those with friends! It actually hits you as to how your mind controls you because as soon as I got onto the coach with my luggage to set off for the first week, the person behind me in the coach greeted me and, despite not being in the same group, we talked throughout NCS when we had the chance and became pretty close. I remember thinking ‘Wow, these people are too nice, it’s unbelievable’ – but it’s true! They are here for the same reasons as you are. You WILL have an amazing time, and meet people you never thought you’d speak to.

I’m not usually good at speaking to new people, but it came naturally at NCS. We are all on the same journey – embrace it! Be confident and comfortable with who you are and rock it! Be you and people will see that shine through, and making friends will be a piece of cake 😀

2. You won’t want to leave after the residential

This had not been my first residential, however it had been one of the longest. I feared beforehand that if I didn’t form friendships well (which most definitely wasn’t the case), I would be sharing rooms with people I didn’t bond with. But I honestly can’t explain how naturally friendships at NCS form, you have to see it to believe it! There is always someone who is willing to help you that you’ve never even met.

I shared a room on the first week residential with two girls from different groups and as soon as I entered the room, I felt like we’d been friends for years! You actually look forward to the nights, chatting away before bed. The vibes and spirit at NCS is just so warm and embracing, that you forget everything else and grasp it as a second home, and the people around you as family. You grow so close so quickly, that staying away from home isn’t really a major issue anymore and by the end I didn’t want to leave!

3. You can overcome anything

The first week residential away from home at an outdoor centre was definitely one of my favourite weeks, and a great way for your new team to bond though teamwork and group activities. There were things like indoor caving, abseiling, raft building, low ropes, archery and the leap of faith. This is definitely a week to face your fears and take on personal challenges!

If you’re afraid of heights for example, come to NCS with confidence and set yourself a target. For some it may be getting halfway up the rock climbing and for some it may be all the way to the top. Whatever it is, come to NCS with an open mind and don’t give up the chance to try something new, remember your whole group will support you to achieve the goals you’ve set, so you aren’t facing these things alone!

The feeling of carrying on despite the fear is something that will definitely have a lasting impression on you and will show you that you can overcome any barrier between you and your goals – something invaluable for the future.

4. Mud will wash off, but great memories will last you forever

Something I would also definitely suggest in order to really make the most of your NCS experience is DO NOT BE AFRAID OF GETTING MUDDY OR WET. This really applied to me in activities like raft building. Eventually, we all got stuck in and to my luck, I fell in the water up to my waist (not a pleasant feeling!) though now that I look back, I don’t necessarily remember the mud or the wet, but the laughter and memories made from those moments. I was clean and dry again after a quick shower, yet the memories are unforgettable.

Words of wisdom? Enjoy the moments as they come, and take it all in, because they will form the basis of your unique, once in a lifetime experience at NCS!

5. It’s a journey, not a competition

After the residential, you’ll move on to social action project fortnight, where you truly leave your mark and make a difference to the community you live in. As everyone picks their different charities from the countless ones available on the university experience week, everyone gets really excited, as you should be, to raise lots of money for their charity. However, despite everyone wanting to raise the most, it’s not a competition but an act of charity and will to give something back to your community, as well as a chance to really put into practice the skills you have learnt throughout the intense residential weeks.

You will learn valuable skills during NCS but the experience will always be unique to you, so learn from your mistakes but don’t forget to have fun with it and applaud yourself for all the incredible things you do!

These were the main worries I had before coming to NCS, it turned out I was worrying over nothing, so hopefully if you’re nervous about starting your own NCS journey this will help you. I’m so glad I didn’t let the nerves hold me back and said YES to NCS. 

Thanks for reading, hope you have the confidence to go ahead and take part in this unforgettable experience!

Don’t forget to share to potential NCSers and SUBSCRIBE 😀

Check out the official NCS blog: http://www.ncsem1.org.uk/blog/

Bushra xx

EID MUBARAK!! :D

For most of us, a month of fasting for Ramadan is over and Eid is here! Whether you’re celebrating today or tomorrow, I’d like to wish all Muslims across the globe a safe and joy filled Eid! I personally miss Ramadan due to the fact that I really felt far more spiritually focused and closer to God this year more than than ever as I focused my month on prayer and thinking of those less fortunate, and hope to carry this positive nature on. It has been a month with great emphasis on devotion and reflection aeid_mubarak2nd insha allah (God willing) we can take the good habits that Ramadan has bought out of us and apply in into the near future in order to become the best people we possibly can and apply this in whatever we may choose to do in life, or are already doing!

Let me know what you’re doing/wearing/eating for Eid, I’d love to know how people across the world are celebrating – the beauty of social media! 🙂 (and I’m kinda nosy too) :p x

Once again, EID MUBARAK, have fun, and don’t forget what’s important 🙂

Bushra xx

Trip to Bangladesh!

I haven’t been here for over two weeks which means I haven’t posted in all that time, as I was in Bangladesh visiting my grandma and sightseeing! I will be back to posting regularly soon but for now, here are some pictures I took of the country – they are all from the city of Syhlet 🙂

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Hazrat Shahjalal Dorgah – Mosque and Tomb

Shahjalal is a famous Islamic Persian saint who proceeded to Syhlet, Bangladesh around 800 years ago, where he introduced Islam. His shrine is famous in Sylhet and throughout Bangladesh, with hundreds of devotees visiting daily. I had the chance to visit it and it’s beautiful!

Find out more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shah_Jalal

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I also visited the home of the most famous Bengali military officer in Bangladesh, who led the war for Independance of Bangladesh in 1971. General Muhammad Ataul Gani Osmani (Bengali: মুহাম্মদ আতাউল গনি ওসমানী; 1 September 1918– 16 February 1984), also known as Bongobir (the Hero of Bengal), was a Bengali military officer who was the Commander-in-Chief of the Mukti Bahini during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. The home is beautiful, and everything, including his passport, prayer mat, dining set, and books and files he studied are all preserved, though you weren’t allowed to take pictures inside!

Read here for more info:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._A._G._Osmani

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osmani_Museum

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This was the sight of the Surma river, where a cruise was taking off 🙂

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These are sights from a park in Zakiganj, Syhlet which is all owned by one home which you can see in the back of the left picture! I’m not sure of the name but it was incredibly huge with its own park, river with boats and a canal, and plenty of greenery!

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This is a slum style  home of a minority from Dhaka, who now live in Syhlet. It’s heartbreaking to see how rough they live, and unfortunately this is the plight of many in the country.

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These are just some beautiful shots I took over the flight back to the UK! Left iswith a 3000m mountain in the distance! Right is one of my favourite shots and it’s over Amsterdan, just as we set to cross over the English Channel! The fact that you could see the land and sea in one view was breathtakingly fascinating!

These were just some of many of my pictures from my trip to Bangladesh! A said, I will be posting as normal from next week! Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE, LIKE and SHARE!

Bushra xxx 🙂

SOLAR ECLIPSE!

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So today was an exciting day – the day of the solar eclipse, which is next set to happen in about 16 years time. That’s precisely the reason that it was raved about so much. I was during school at the time today and managed to get to the roof and snap a picture through the lenses of UV ray protection glasses. This is the shot! It does not show the total eclipse, but rather the moon settling into position, about a quarter of the way to the full eclipse! Taken in Leicester, UK, where it was predicted to be a 90% blackout. It definitely didn’t seem that dark, but there were a few clouds about! How was your viewing of the solar eclipse?

CHAPEL HILL SHOOTINGS

I haven’t posted in about a week, because I’ve been quite busy, but something that is in the news right now is the Chapel Hill Shootings, where three Muslims were shot, apparently over a ‘parking space’. I would say in most cases religion is absolutely not important when innocents die. When an innocent person is killed, whether they be Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Hindu, Jew, Buddhist, Atheist, whatever, innocent people are innocent people. However, in light of recent events, such as the Charlie Hebdo Massacre, and ISIS’s persecution of religious minorities, religion is important and this case simply brings reality back: MUSLIMS ARE KILLED IN ATTACKS, as VICTIMS. It was even seen in the Charlie Hebdo massacre recently, when a Muslim police officer was shot first, and a Muslim helped victims to survive by hiding them during the attack. There is a clear 150211-barakat-yusor-razan-jsw-852a_448d1550491c2a68cc4cb35492ea7cd2differentiation between ‘Muslim’ extremists and Muslims.

What I find amusing is that I see these extremists as going against the doctrines of Islam and therefore not Islamic. However, likewise, they would view me as a non Muslim simply for standing out against their twisted agenda. Their cruel form of Islam. A distortion of a text followed by 1.6 billion. My point is that there is a clear difference. We have become so used to the media defining groups of people as one cult, rather than as individuals. It has gotten to the point where every case has to be looked at; we can’t stereotype or generalize by smearing people away. There is a serious problem with fanatics of all religions using religion as a weapon, rather than for the positive foundations it was built upon, and they must be dealt with. That will NEVER happen with ridiculous comments I’ve read like ‘ALL MUSLIMS SHOULD BE WIPED OUT’ or ‘JEWS ARE SCUM’. Comments that start with ‘ALL Muslims are…. (or all Jews, Christians, etc) are so ridiculous, it’s worrying for humanity. I don’t even bother to read them as they are so uneducated and vague. They are not comments of someone who wants to have a structured and rational debate on the core of these problems, such as extremism. Christians are dying at the hands of ISIS, and being oppressed in the name of politics, despite Muslims living side by side with them previously. The same is happening to Jews everyday; they are being oppressed for their religious beliefs. And the same to Muslims, who are dying at the hands of Muslims themselves. It is disgusting to assume and assign a KILLER to the same sect as INNOCENTS.  Religion is faith, not an excuse for atrocities. Likewise, lack of religion is not an excuse to ridicule others just for their belief.The whole idea of extremism is complex; I will do a post on this! But back to the story, I personally believe that the parking space issue is not the core of why it happened.

“The media does not represent America. The media represents 2 percent of America who owns money and influence. If a Muslim commits a crime, it’s on the news 24/7 for two months. When we are executed in numbers, it’s on the news for seconds.” – quote of the father

This man was an Atheist,and so he will not be assigned to any religious group, and therefore, by a lot of people, excused. Why? Because to some people, if they are not assigned to a religious group or sect, then there is no group to blame as whole, and therefore nothing to make a fuss about. Something that bigots seem to be a fan of. Something that seems to spark such hate attacks. If a Muslim were to commit the same, disgusting act, it would be terrorism. No arguments. There is still a debate as to whether this was a HATE CRIME. I mean.. HELLO?! Even nutjobs don’t shoot three people over a parking space; there must be something to this.

We all belong to one race: THE HUMAN RACE. Something like this should NEVER divide people of different faiths, but rather, unite them. There are fanatics and normal, decent people. Those are the ones that, if put together, have more power to change the planet than any group of fanatics will ever have.

RIP to the victims, RIP to the innocents killed everyday x

Bushra xx

Don’t forget to S-U-B-S-C-R-I-B-E 😛