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How to Make the Most of Family Vacations During School Breaks

Whether you work outside your house or you’re a stay-at-home parent, you need ideas to keep your kids busy during school breaks. This will prevent them from getting too much screen time, which might not be good for their mental and physical health. Being creative about the things your kids can do during school breaks can fight off boredom and could help them develop important skills. You can join in on the fun to make things more engaging.

Check out these fun ideas for kids that you can do every week during school breaks, presented below by Anya Willis of Fit Kids.

Enjoy Nature

Take advantage of the school break to explore the natural world. First, you can go bird watching, which offers you the opportunity to take great photos and keep track of sightings. You can use a guidebook or an app to identify your feathered friends. The kids will love this. The beautiful photos can be a conversation starter later in the day.

You could also explore growing fresh herbs in containers. For this, you need milk jugs, old coffee cans, plastic cups, mason jars, or anything you have in your house that you can use to plant. Keep the herb garden on a windowsill or a patio.

Another idea for outdoor fun includes picking your own plants. Find a farm with strawberries, blueberries, veggies, raspberries, and flowers, and then get picking. If you have birds, you can make a bird feeder, or offer one for birds that visit your yard, which adds to your list of bird sightings.

For play, you can make fairy houses using moss, leaves, and bark, which help you create a dwelling ideal for Thumbelina. Alternatively, you can introduce the kids to wildlife conservation by creating a hummingbird or butterfly garden, which offers a good habitat.

Make the Most of Rainy Days

Sometimes, the weather will prevent you from enjoying outdoor activities. You need to be creative and find indoor activities you can enjoy with your kids. When it’s raining, the moment is perfect for games. You can build a fort with pillows in the living room, or you can use cardboard boxes in your yard for the game. Also, the kids will love creating a Lego castle. Just clear off your table and make this a family project, which you can work on all summer.

Another way to keep the kids engaged indoors is through a marble race. For this, you can use an old pool noodle as your track. You can cut it in half to make two tracks. Race the marbles down to see who gets the first spot. Paper airplanes are also an idea that could keep the kids busy for some time.

Explore Local Sites

School breaks also offer opportunities for staycation experiences. If you have friends nearby, you can bring them along to explore local sites. Some ideas to consider include finding a free concert near you, where you can kick back and enjoy great tunes. Also, visit a flea market to see if your kids are good negotiators. You could also take your kids to watch a dramatic performance, which could be a puppet show or a Broadway show.

While away from home, you need to ensure everything is secured. One way to secure the home is having a sturdy fence around it, which you can hire a local contractor to construct. Check reviews to make sure they’re reliable. The cost often depends on the size of the fence, materials, and where you want to install it. Only work with licensed professionals. Oh, and good news: certain upgrades can also dramatically improve your home’s appraisal value!

You have many ways to keep your kids busy during school breaks. These include indoor and outdoor ideas you can explore together. Find ways to integrate play into tasks to make everything fun and interesting. Explore things your kids can keep for the future as memories for the good moments. 

Girl On the Bus is your best resource for blogs on health, fashion, society, and more! Got something to tell us? Please email us at girlonthebusza@gmail.com.

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‘Masitda’! Chatting with local foodie Halaal Asian Delights

For centuries, human beings have used the powers of good food to honour life’s many milestones. Found a new crush: eat some strawberry mochi. Got that dream job: whip up spicy garlic ramen. Celebrating your birthday week: cuddle up with warm soup dumplings. With many thanks to the ‘Korean Wave’ and the rising interest in Asian cultures, locals can now enjoy exotic flavours and dishes every day. Introducing Capetonian foodie, home cook and entrepreneur, Naslie Brock Khan from Halaal Asian Delights!

The GOTB team was invited to the Halaal Asian Delights home to sample some yummy savouries and enjoy a fun-filled conversation with the woman behind the magic.

Having always had a knack for cooking, Naslie reminisces times from her youth. Making simple microwave meals and toasted sandwiches for her younger siblings.  ‘From a young age, I loved cooking. I picked up a few tricks from a childhood friend who worked with Asian chefs, but I just love food – Asian, Moroccan, Italian, any flavour – except pineapple on pizza!’. Naslie also finds guidance and inspiration from those close to her: ‘I saw a friend of mine advertise halaal dumplings on his page and I went *gasp* ‘I need to try this because you never ever find halaal dumplings!’ I gave them a try – I was in heaven. He has been mentoring me, guiding me along my journey ever since’.

Naslie is superhuman. Her powers? The ability to recreate restaurant foods from memory! ‘I will sit quietly and taste, and rinse, and taste. I love unearthing the complex flavours of a dish. And sometimes, it’s just a combination of the most simple ingredients! There’s nothing better than having homemade takeaway food – it’s hot off the press, freshly prepared, and you can decide what goes into your food’.

Our busy lives force us to seek convenient options to fuel our bodies. Artificial products may be cheaper and satiate a quick craving, but these foods are bad for our bodies and brains. This gives us all the more reason to support local, trustworthy food businesses! 

With any venture, there is that ‘fear of the unknown’. Some succumb to it, but for Naslie it is a unique mixture of faith, family and food: ‘It’s true what they say: Allah pushes you in your direction. Coming out of a full-time job where I did sales executive work, flying from city to city and currently working in a retail environment, into selling my homemade creations. I would experiment with flavours and recipe-develop on my days off, inviting family and friends to taste test. They encouraged me to turn this passion into a business. Along the way, I have received great support from local radio stations, customers and Asian-food lovers!’. Things can get heated in the kitchen, so how does this passionate home cook deal with the pressure of it all? ‘There’s always pressure, no one can tell you there’s no pressure. Every time I go onto the radio and present something new that I made it’s always nerve wracking. You always fail and then you succeed – and that pushes me forward’. Naslie shares that one of her biggest coping mechanisms comes in the form of melodious music: ‘I love music. Especially The Rose, a Korean brand, and really old-school classics. That’s my cooking music’.

Let’s backtrack to that ‘fear of the unknown’, any entrepreneur works hard to avoid failure – but what do you do when things feel like they’re all too much? Istikhara and Tawakkal – because if it is not meant for you, it will not happen. I have a belief that everything good happens to me on a Friday, and whatever happens, even if I might not like it, something better is coming – it’s okay! The one thing about cooking is [that] if you feel sick or your emotions are in turmoil rather don’t cook – because your love is not in it and it will flop. There will always be people who want to spread hate or compare you to others, but my philosophy is; if you buy from me or you don’t, it’s all good!

Every artist has their own source of inspiration and Naslie’s is a bit on the mechanical side.  ‘Driving in my car brings the best inspiration. There’s just something about the scenery or seeing the ocean that helps me think and create tasty treats to satisfy whatever cravings I have. I’ll come home, start from scratch, and make improvements as I go along (always making sure to jot everything down)’. Naslie adds that on her bucket-list of recipe ventures lie pasta in the wake, but also more Eastern cuisines and community ventures: I want to start with making my noodles from scratch, and then delving into ravioli and making other pasta. To taste proper, fresh pasta is the best! You cannot go wrong. Another skill I hope to master is wok-handling – I have learned a lot and I would love to offer Asian-cooking lessons to people in our community.

The conversation was flowing and filled with fun that we just had to have a quick-fire question: you’re stuck on a deserted island, and you have 4 Asian ingredients with you to survive (yes, there are coconuts on the island). Naslie said, ‘I’ll pack in tteok, gochujang (red chilli paste), spring onion, sesame seeds (furikake seasoning). I’m going to fish, and dry the coconut to make a type of coconut rice. Mix the gochujang with the sesame seeds to make a sauce and sprinkle some chopped spring onion on top for garnish’. Fortunately, we’re not on a deserted island, and Naslie shares some of her favourite freezer staples. ‘Wontons are a must, you can fry them up crispy or use it in soups too. Bao buns are incredibly versatile but if you’re not sure how to use them you can buy premade BBQ Bao buns available at Asian grocery stores. Kewpie mayo – yes can keep it in the freezer! I use it for rich cheese sauces or lush pasta dishes!

Visiting Halaal Asian Delights was a vibrant time similar to getting together with friends you hadn’t seen in a while. The table (and our bellies) were filled to the brim with sticky wings, Cape Malay-Asian fused recipes (her tikka chicken dumplings are to die for) and lots of love and laughter. We definitely had the best time and hope to be seeing more of Naslie and her creations soon.

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BTS 2021: Here are some of our favourite posts

It is no lie – 2021 has been quite the s#itstorm! But if there is one thing we can all agree on – there have been some hidden gems amongst the rubble. Today, let’s take a look at some of our favourite posts on GirlOnTheBus – plus, a happy word from our uber-talented writers!

“with writing, there’s always a risk of writing ‘too much’ or ‘too little’. With any of my poems, they come spontaneously through dreams, life events, emotions and experiences where I just feel like ‘this would make a great story’ or I just need to find some outlet for whatever is brewing inside without it coming in the form of a 2000 word essay. poems are little nuggets packed with loads of material and substance, no one poem is the same as another and the meanings can be different for everyone. a poem could start off one way, with an idea, and then do a complete 180-turn as you’re writing – it’s a sojourn on a page!” – Saadiqah Schroeder

“Before starting Confessions, I already knew that I wanted to write something different from what I usually write in my spare time, but I didn’t really know where to start. I remember scrolling through social media and seeing all these articles and posts about people being bullied and body shamed for the way they looked. It upsets me to know that society has a specific idea of what a “perfect” body should look like. That’s why I started writing confessions because I wanted to write something that reflected my emotions about this entire idealism. I also wanted to help in spreading the message that everyone is unique, and it doesn’t matter how you look, that there are many people that will accept you for who you are no matter what you look like. I wanted people reading it to know that it doesn’t matter what you look like, what really matters is what is in your heart.” – Riahannah Halliem

“So for my story “Looking at the Sky atop the Mountain”, it was actually what I wrote for one of my school’s exams. They gave a few topics and pictures to choose from, to give some sort of idea on what to write about, and the picture that caught my eye was a stack of rocks by a cliff, and the horizon was shown in the picture. Saw I thought of writing about the weather and describing every single element in detail. At first, it was going to be a murder mystery and from the perspective of a dead victim, but the more I wrote it, I thought about how cool and unsuspected it would be to write from the stack of rocks perspective. So this story is actually told from the perspective of the rock on how it watches the sunrise, a storm brew, surge and end, and then watching the sunset to complete the day.” – Kawthar Schroeder

“I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember holding a pencil. My inner thoughts were drafts of my wish and hope for the nearest future. As an introverted child, I guess that made up so much sense why I enjoy just the company of my thoughts. Growing up, Writing, I believe, comes naturally to me depending on my mood, emotion, and motivation. 2021 has been a year unlike the previous I’ve lived. I was broken at some point, depressed and overwhelmed by the pressures life came forthwith. It was not easy taking it all in, I unplugged for most of the year to reconnect and recharge my soul, and I believe it is working. I still write from time to time. I hope to publish my first book in 2022 In shaa Allah… I anticipate a very prosperous year, and I hope it comes easy for us all.” – Maryam Jimoh

Thank you! You, the one reading this – thank you. Your scrolling, clicking and sharing of our content make all the late nights worth it. Without your continued support, we would not be where we are today. As a final gift to us for 2021, please share this post with your friends, your family and loved ones.

We wish you all nothing but goodness in this life. May your days always be filled with goodness and good things – always. Keep learning, keep searching, keep writing and stay hydrated. XOXO -Zahraa Schroeder

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Confessions of a Teenage Body Shamer #4

A few weeks later, I sat waiting for my friends in the school cafeteria. It was unusual for Katie and me to arrive there separately. When I searched for her in her classroom, she’d already left. I scanned the room, making sure I had a view of all the entrances, yet neither Katie nor any of my other friends walked through any of them. Suddenly Kasey appeared – we made eye contact, and I warmly waved at her.

Recently, I spent afternoons at her house working on our school project. Unexpectedly, she’d become a great friend of mine, even though we barely spoke to each other at school.
At most, we would acknowledge each other. However, we would speak over the phone regularly, and through this, we got to know each other better – which made me realize that Kasey was not like how we thought she’d be at all!


Katie and the rest of my friends found this new acquaintanceship super weird. They would readily make remarks whenever I would greet Kasey. Once, when Katie was feeling especially mean, she made snarky comments about our friendship – of course, I simply laughed it off. I knew she wouldn’t mean them, but the insults became annoyingly unbearable, and I tried to avoid bumping into Kasey whenever I was with my friends.


The cafeteria became a bit noisier. I looked over my shoulder to see Katie and our group of friends laughing as they made their way towards me. Katie’s face sobered up as soon as she saw me.


“Hey”


“Hi, where have you been?”


“Around,” Katie answered vaguely. She shared a look and a giggle with our friends sitting at the table.


“Around? What’s that supposed to mean?” I was confused about why they were leaving me out all of a sudden.


Katie looked at me whilst rolling her eyes. “I mean around, Emma. Do you really need to know everything?”


I was taken aback by how harsh her tone was. “Everything? I literally just asked one question, Katie, it’s not such a big deal.”


She scoffed. “I swear ever since you started hanging out with Fatty K you have been acting so weird! I don’t even know who you are anymore.”


“What are you even talking about? I don’t hang out with her.”

“Are you serious, right now,” her bitter laugh made me freeze. I started feeling queasy, fidgeting with my fingers. Katie had a blank look on her face, completely unreadable, which made me feel threatened. “Come on, Emma. We have all seen how you greet her in the hallways, even now you waved to her.”
Around the table, everyone nodded their heads in agreement with what Katie was saying. Her face lit up. “Wait a second, don’t tell me that you’re actually friends with her?”

Looking around the table, everyone nodded their heads in agreement with what Katie was saying. Her face lit up. “Wait a second, don’t tell me that you’re actually friends with her?”


Stunned, I felt the room spinning around me. Not saying anything – unable to find the words, Katie and the rest of the table broke out into a fit of laughter. I gulped nervously, feeling uncomfortable as they laughed at me. I could feel the blood rush to my ears as tears welled up in my eyes. My throat was closing up, making it hard for me to breathe. I couldn’t stay there any longer – I had to escape – but I couldn’t move at all. It was like I had lost complete control over my body…

What was wrong with me? Why did I just sit there like an idiot? Why didn’t I just deny it? That would have been better than to have them laugh at me.


Katie steadied herself, “well this is rich. Our little Emma is all grown up and making friends with our school’s resident Fatty.” She checked her wristwatch, putting her arm around my shoulder. Leaning in too-close-for-comfort to my ear. She whispered, with a hot breath that sent shivers down my spine, “I really think you should see what’s about to happen next. I think it’ll put you back on the right path.”


Unable to look at her, she tucked my hair behind my ear. Once she finished speaking, a commotion started on the other side of the cafeteria, right where Kasey sat. I looked up just in time to see a tray of lasagna thrown on her head. I swear I gasped, but it was lost in the raucous laughter erupting in the cafeteria. Kasey stood up to defend herself – her protests were silenced with a yoghurt cup thrown at her face.


“Go ahead, Em. Go defend your friend, she looks like she needs your help,” Katie said loudly standing up from next to me, making me look up at her. She looked at me with such malice in her eyes that made me feel so intimidated – it made me feel so small. I wanted to stand up, I really did. But I was frozen to my spot. I was scared that if I moved right then, everyone that was throwing food at Kasey would turn their attack on me in an instant.


A high pitched scream.


It was Kasey’s last warning for them to stop… and everyone did. Until Katie walked towards her at an agonizingly slow pace. Picking up a can of soda, she opened it – the slow fizz of the can synonymous with the cocking of a gun – and poured all the contents over Kasey’s head. Katie’s speciality.


My heart sank to the ground as I made eye contact with Kasey. Her entire face was covered in food, but I could easily see the humiliation on her face. But nothing stung more than her look of sheer disappointment directed at me. Kasey’s glassy eyes were the last thing I saw before she ran out of the cafeteria, fiercely pushing through the crowd that shattered the silence with a piercing, mocking laughter.


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19+ Sexy Summer Songs That Got You Feeling Yourself

Shimmering December is hitting our shores and it is the perfect opportunity to unwind, relax and love yourself! What better way to do that than with some sexy hits to get you in the mood. Summer is connected with spontaneity, holiday flings and ‘girls gone wild’. Today, we’re all about that self-love and music that make you feel like a confident Summer goddess (coz’ you are one)!

2021 has been a tough, long year – it’s time for some good things! GirlOnTheBus has you covered with good reads – good food – good music – the works! Follow us on Instagram @girlonthebus_za

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01


Pot Belly by Freshlyground

“Fat thughs, flabby arms; a pot belly still gives good lovin'” – it most certainly does! A South African classic that lifts the spirits with feel-good beats and self-love lyrics. I promise, there’s a reason this song is first on the list – nuf said!

02


Beautiful by Christina Aguilera

This powerhouse classic will have you shouting out to the world: “you are beautiful, no matter what theysay!” Feeling a bit down? Our special No.2 will cure those insecurities.

03


No Scrubs by TLC

A classic straight out of the 1990s that is oozing with self-empowerment and knowing your worth. Regardless of how old this masterpiece is, its message rings true to this day. Never settle for less and believe in your worth – you deserve all things good and well!

04


Hula Hoops by DPR LIVE ft. BEENZINO, HWASA

Bring some heat to your summer season with this spicy number. The bouncy baseline and catchy lyrics will ignite your inner diva and complement any trip to the beach (or morning shower).

05


Crazy Over You by BLACKPINK

If crazy looks good on you (__) this flaming K-pop hit will get your blood pumping. This 2020 bop pairs well with some dramatic lip-syncing and sexy glances in the mirror – have fun.

06


Belong To You by Sabrina Claudio

Selfish does not always mean something bad – it can mean unapologetically loving who you are and showcasing it! The fluid RnB melody will encapsulate you, naturally lifting your mood (so nice).

07


Cold Blooded by Jessi (제시)

If words of affirmation are your cup of tea, this hip-hop anthem from the queen herself – Jessi – will have you strutting your stuff. The lyrics heavily focus on self-assurance, self-confidence and powerful self-love.

08


One Dance by Drake (ft. Wizkid & Kyla)

Does a song need to say you gotta love yourself? I don’t think so. This 2016 Summer hit is accentuated with Afrobeats that is great for making you feel great during those long road trips or if you’re stuck in traffic.

09


Cherry by Jungle

Smooth melodies hypnotise you, transporting you to a place of calm and reassurance. You are part of this universe as much as the next person – always changing, always growing.

10


Tadow by Masego (+FKJ)

‘Tada’ + ‘wow’ = one sexy song. This hit sprouted from a jam session between the two artists and become popularised online. It will give you serious earworm, and the confidence to put on your red lipstick and love the skin you’re in.

11


Feeling Good the Michael Bublé version

One of the most popular songs performed by soft jazz and blues singer. This version of the song will give you classy, sassy levels of confidence to take on those dreary days before the holidays. The Nina Simone performance is to die for!

12


Woman by Doja Cat

A powerful ode to the many roles that women play in society, and how women move in and out of them. This afrobeats opening track is the perfect addition to your girls’ outing. Or simply, listen to it on your way to work for some powerful feminine energy!

13


What You Wanted by CIX (씨아이엑스)

The heavy baseline and flowy lyrical verses (and cute Kpop boys) gives you a sexy boost of confidence! But do not be fooled, the sensual feel of this song hides some pretty deep lyrics about knowing your worth and finding what it is you truly want – in life, in yourself and your relationships.

14


UN Village by Baekhyun (백현)

There is just something about the festive season that’s so romantic. Just us? Catching the eye of your crush outside the classroom. Meeting your workmate for a plutonic cup of coffee. This song embodies being smooth, flirtatious and confident. Let’s hit the town!

15


Nena by YEИDRY

A smooth blend of Latin influence and R&B, this ballad is nothing short of pure love. A story about “a mother sending her daughter a blessing from afar” speaks to the heart and soul. What better way to show how much you love yourself, by extending that love to others too.

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16


I’m a 빛 by Hwa Sa (화사)

Along your journey, you will find that not everyone has your back. It’s okay! Take some advice from this kween, and become a real b!tch and take on the world in your own way! With heavy electro-pop influences, this sassy track will help you embody the savage energy you need to follow your dreams.

17


Love Again by Dua Lipa

We’ve all been there – when we feel like the world is falling apart and the darkness has won. Never fret – this song is the metaphorical cuddle session you needed. Fun, empowering and super sexy: the nostalgic-heavy track will have you dancing any blues away.

18


Try a Little Tenderness by Pip Millett

Sometimes a kind word is all that we’re looking for. Soft and sweet, this song is nothing short of a melodious therapy session. As Millet say herself: “Try a little tenderness
That’s all you’ve gotta do” Go easy on yourself, eat well, sleep fully and stay hydrated!

19


Darkest Hour by Joy Crookes

Sometimes life gets tough and it can be difficult to walk alone. This song is all about loyalty, especially through the hard times. Celebrate this holiday season by extending your appreciation to the friends, family or pets who were there for you ‘even in the darkest hour’.

20


ZGZG by SAAY

Let’s be fair – the Summertime is the best time for chilling and enjoying life! This Kpop summer track is about living that dream party life. A punchy percussion line and infectious chorus will have you up on your feet. Not to mention the powerful S(L)AAY energy this song radiates!

21


Flower by Johnny Stimson

And in the end, the journey of self-love is a beautiful ballad, each one with its own unique poetry. This loving 2019 song compares a love interest to flora with words of adoration, awe and tenderness.

Did we miss a feel-good song that you love? Let us know in the comment below! We wish you nothing but good things for the rest of this crazy year ahead. You can find the full GOTB Self Care Spotify playlist below. Stay healthy, stay hydrated!

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#RIME-TIME: The Gaslight (A Short Act)

A poem inspired by the film Gaslight (1940) that inspired the term ‘gaslighting’.

Writer’s note: Often films I see, or stories I read, influence the ideas I have when writing. I recently discovered the film that inspired the term ‘gaslighting’ (Gaslight, 1940) and [badum tss] decided to write something. I often get writer’s block, so poetry is short enough for me to get myself writing, but also get my creativity flowing again. This poem is the first one I have written in nearly 9 months, and I feel it may be simple, but one you can enjoy!

A windswept thief at night

A conniving murderer at dawn

my foolish anticipation of

endearing compliments

affections

adornments

colloquial turn of phrase

promising of love and adoration

Empty

The footsteps in my head

The dimming gaslight in our home

“perhaps i am mistaken”

(or suffering Stockholm?)

i could have sworn i saw him

Yell

Angry

Enraged at what i…

or perhaps

the gaslight is still burning bright

and i am (by myself) misled?

Thanks for reading!

If you, or anyone you know, would like to join us as: email us at girlonthebusza@gmail.com or send us a message on social media!
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Let’s Talk About Endometriosis (En-doe-me-tree-O-sis)

Nearly 10 per cent of women experience endometriosis worldwide – you’re not alone if you have this disorder! Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) grows outside the uterine cavity. The tissue growth can form on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bowel and tissues lining the pelvis. This condition can cause chronic irritation and extreme pain, and infertility.

In a conversation with Fatima Hoosain from Upswing SA; an endo-sister and all-round stunning human being, she opens up about her real-life journey with endometriosis: “I think the best way to describe what it’s like living with endometriosis is like having bribed wire wrapped around your pelvis down around your thighs all the time. It’s extremely debilitating, and if you decide to use the treatments currently available. it’s almost like you’re just numbing everything. The barbed wire is still there, you know it’s there, you can somewhat feel it, but you’re also just numb all over.”

What are the symptoms?

Some women experience moderate to severe or mild symptoms – it is important to note that the severity of your pain does not indicate the degree or stage of the condition. Some of the symptoms experienced include, but are not limited to:

  • pelvic pain, pain in the lower abdomen before and during periods
  • painful periods
  • heavy menstrual flows or bleeding between periods

Fatima says “nausea (and) IBS are the two I’d highlight most. The rest kind of just fell into my daily life…Other than that, it was and sometimes still is, that crippling pelvic pain.” Some women experience no symptoms at all – therefore, it is vital to have regular and honest check-ups with your GP or gynaecologist to monitor any changes and request guidance.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Is there a cure?

“…to answer bluntly – no – there is no cure for it. There are procedures and treatment plans you can follow to manage it and reduce it, but it is often referred to as chronic.” When left untreated, the symptoms of endometriosis can hinder women from leading a full life. Treatment can range from over-the-counter pain medications to a total hysterectomy (as a last resort option).

What led to your diagnosis?

Fatima shares: for me, it was very simple. Since I started menstruating, I experienced dysmenorrhea which is extreme period cramps – and I mean extreme. Before and during my periods, I could not walk because of the pain. As I got older, the build-up of endometrium tissue increased, which I later discovered wrapped around my intestines and kidneys As that tissue built up, the pain became more intense and didn’t go away after my period as it normally would for others. The inflammation got so bad that it started damaging my intestines, and my nutrition absorption was heavily compromised – it became life-threatening. I became so malnourished that it compromised my mental stability – all I wanted was for the pain to stop. Unfortunately, this led to an overdose of medication which landed me in the ICU for observation.

It was at that point when I realised I needed help.

I went to see a gynaecologist who suggested the idea of endometriosis, but they were not comfortable performing the surgery that would accurately confirm the diagnosis. Instead, I was placed on birth control pills and the inflammation was monitored. The treatment was not effective and my life force was dimming. I was so malnourished and surviving on painkillers – I could not even lift my head. My parents rushed me to the hospital to be seen by my gynaecologist. I don’t remember much of the first two days as I was too weak to stay awake and caught glimpses of the nurses put me on an IV drip to heal me back to life. After multiple scans, blood tests, consultations with specialists, the doctors concluded that I had a concerning amount of inflammation in my pelvic area and the gynaecologist finally diagnosed me with endometriosis.

Endometriosis vs Self Confidence

Of the symptoms that can be managed, chronic pain can prove to be very difficult for many women. Mental health issues are not uncommon for women doing their best to manage their endometriosis. “You discover new things about your body that you can choose to either love or reject. The way I perceive my body psychologically affects my physical health,” Fatima further adds, “Learning to understand how my body works, the functions and processes that take place for me to simply be has made me appreciate and allow my body to do what it needs to as I try my best to support it and look after it.”

Fatima also explains that through her bittersweet relationship with her period, she has prioritized her body’s needs over societal expectations, “loving myself extra during the times of pain and celebrating the cycle body goes through to cleanse itself out of the old to make space for the new.”

You are not alone – it is highly recommended to reach out to support groups online or fellow sisters working through their endometriosis journey. Fatima adds that Endo-Warriors South Africa has been a huge support structure in her life, “It has taught me how common this condition is, and I would recommend you (to) discuss your period with friends, family or anyone willing to listen. The more people (who) know about it, the easier it is for us to receive support.”

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Where are you in your endo-journey?

“I’ve moved over from recovery phase into lifestyle management phase. It wasn’t an easy adjustment, emotionally, as I have to plan my work schedules around my cycle which is difficult when you have to accommodate your responsibilities. The world doesn’t stop for you, and that is something I had to accept and work with. Make lemonade out of lemons kind of thinking.” says Fatima.

Endometriosis is a chronic condition with no cure, with no scientifically proven cause (yet) – but with various treatment options available, women can own every day!

EXTRA

What are your thoughts on the shame associated with periods, menstrual health and female reproductive organs?

FATIMA: It’s ridiculous considering that’s the only process where 100 per cent of the population has been brought into the world. Hence, the reproductive organs should not be such a touchy subject as it is the essence of human life. If we can speak about heart failure, lung disease, kidney stones, we should be able to openly speak about the functions of the uterus, endometrium, etc. just as easily. After getting sick I have tried my best to speak as frankly as possible about my health conditions, in the same way, I would if I had experienced a heart attack. I remember during my first week back to school after being discharged from hospital – in a Biology lesson we had reached the chapter of the reproductive system. Our male Bio teacher began describing a very vague version of endometriosis to a classroom full of girls. I boldly raised my hand and mentioned that I had this health condition and would be willing to share my experiences. If any of my classmates had a similar experience or needed some clarity, I wanted to talk about it – however, I was immediately shut down and told not to be so loud to discuss such private and personal matters in public. I didn’t have the energy to fight the patriarchy that day, so I just quickly let everyone know I’d answer their questions privately if they were interested. Now that I am older, I always look for an opportunity to bring it up. More talking about menstruation, thank you!

Your take on – ‘sex education is just about teaching youth how to have sex’?

FATIMA: It’s complete bull$h!t. Firstly, so what if we’re teaching kids the steps of sex? I’m pretty sure the more that kids know, the less likely they are to experiment. When you actually read through the process, you realise the weight of responsibility it carries. Instead of letting it be this elusive, mysterious thing, speak about it openly so that kids aren’t jumping into it to satisfy their curiosity. Aside from that, sex education is not just about “how to have sex”. It is a lesson about your sexual organs, their functions, risks, and necessary practices and routine to ensure that your reproductive system is healthy. Topics in sex ed include understanding the risks of prostate cancer, what happens to your body as it shifts into adulthood through puberty, understanding how to care for your body, keep it clean and healthy – which is vital information for anyone.

Photo by Charlotte May on Pexels.com

References:

Endometriosis: gene identified which could be potential treatment target – new study

Endometriosis

Where Endometriosis Can Occur

Thanks for reading!

If you, or anyone you know, would like to join us as: email us at girlonthebusza@gmail.com or send us a message on social media!
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For Better or For Worse: Understanding Your Normal Period

Monthly cycles are a woman’s companion, for 3-4 decades of her life, for better or for worse. Hormonal and mood changes associated with it have been the subject of many anecdotes and tales.

Many of us think of our cycles as unproductive times, both work-related as well as spiritually.

It doesn’t have to be so. Planning and prioritizing tasks can take the burden off from days that you don’t feel 100%.

Spiritually, it does not have to be a complete break, even though we don’t pray during our cycle. We can increase in remembrance of our Creator (dhikr) and other good deeds like charity.

What is a normal period?

A complaint I hear frequently is: “My periods are all over the place. I don’t have any pattern.”

Many of us have a preconception that there is a “date“ on which the cycle must start. If that’s not so there is a problem, and our cycle is irregular.

This is not true. 

Cycles can vary greatly and still be considered normal.

The monthly cycle starts on the first day of your last period and ends on the first day of your next period.

This can range from anything between 21-40 days. Periods normally last between 3-5 days, but again 2-7 days is a normal duration.

Then comes the actual flow. What some women consider normal, others may call heavy. 

If you see clots in the flow bigger than a penny, or you soak through and stain your clothes, your periods are heavy, and you may want to see your doctor.

Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva on Pexels.com

When do periods start and when do they stop?

For most girls, menstrual cycles begin at the age of around 12. But girls are starting periods earlier and it is common to see girls as young as 9 or 10 having periods. Read here to learn more about when to seek medical help if your daughter or sister starts experiencing their periods early.
Menopause, or the time that periods pack up, is around the age of 51 but may vary from 45-55 years. If periods stop before the age of 40, you should make an appointment to see your doctor. Some women would need either hormone supplements or medication to strengthen their bones.

Feeling moody before periods?

You are not the only one!

As many as 3 in 4 women can be moody for a week or sometimes two weeks before their period. You may also have headaches and bloating. 

Many women will miss work at some point in time because of severe PMS (Premenstrual syndrome).

However, this does not, entitle women to use this as an excuse to be disrespectful or uncompromising with others. A healthier approach is to find excuses for somebody who is moody when it is not in their nature to be so.

However, if you are feeling snappy and short-tempered, and you know it may be because of your hormones, explain to your near and dear ones how you are feeling to prevent misunderstandings.

An exaggerated form of PMS is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).

Women experience the symptoms of PMS, but on more intense levels. Some may feel depressed, anxious and even suicidal. 

Do not ignore these symptoms in either yourself or a family member. Sometimes the one suffering from PMDD may not have insight into the severity of the problem and a close friend or family member may pick it up.

You need to refer yourself to emergency services, which may vary depending on the country where you reside. Most countries have emergency mental health services.

Changes in the pattern of your periods

Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.com

Each one of us recognizes what is normal for our cycle.

It is not unusual to have early or delayed periods, heavy or light periods for a couple of cycles. Stress may cause hormonal imbalances and it usually settles back into a normal pattern.

However, if your periods start getting heavier and you are above the age of 40, do see your doctor.

Spotting in between cycles is a common complaint. If there is any possibility of pregnancy at all, do a pregnancy test to read more about the causes of spotting in different age groups, read this article.

If periods start spacing out and becoming lighter near the age of 45, you are probably going through the menopausal phases. No need to worry!

Should menstrual leave be universal in workplaces?

Japan is one of the few countries where women are allowed a menstrual leave. This law has been in place for nearly 70 years. South Korea also allows women to take leave during their periods if they suffer severe pain or heavy periods. Despite being entitled to menstrual leave, a 2017 survey in Japan showed that only 9 in 1000 women claimed menstrual leave. The reason being, there is a stigma attached to the menstrual cycle and women do not like telling their male employers that they are off sick because they are menstruating.

India is one of the countries where there is a lot of shame associated with periods. In some rural areas, girls are not allowed to cook or touch people when they are menstruating!

“Girls in India typically miss 20% of the school year because of their period, and 70% of mothers consider menstruation ‘dirty,” according to a 2014 report by philanthropic organization Dasra. as quoted in an article in CNN in 2021.

No wonder Indian food delivery company, Zomato, made recent headlines when CEO Deepinder announced period leave for their female employees. Read the note here.

Shockingly, the biggest opponents of period leave is women!

Westernized countries are yet to offer period leave, although it has been debated.

Feminists have widely debated the matter and are divided if menstrual leave helps or hinders women in the workplace.

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

Befriend your monthly cycles and embrace your womanhood!

Understanding your cycle and accepting the changes that your body goes through will make you happier and productive. 

Focus on what you can do rather than the limitations.

For sporty sisters, don’t let your cycle dampen your spirits. Think of alternatives – treatment to control symptoms and be open with your trainers so that you can discuss options.

Working women need to adjust their commitments around their cycles if their periods hinder everyday life. There is still a lot of shame attached to admitting that you are unable to perform certain tasks effectively. It will take the collective effort of men and women to overcome this long-standing negative perception of periods and it’s connection to productivity.

Stay-at-home mums – tell your husband, children, and other family members if you are struggling and ask for help. Don’t suffer in silence. They don’t know till you tell them.

Be positive, be kind to yourself and spread positivity and kindness.

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Umm Aasiya is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist. She gave up clinical practice due to health and family issues in 2020. She uses her years of experience to share authentic medical knowledge. Her aim is to empower sisters through credible information, enabling them to make informed choices about their health. Her main focus is to connect with her Creator, learn and reflect upon the Quran as much as she can.
The rest of her time is spent looking after her husband, 3 lovely children and their cat, Lulu.
For more from Umm Aasiya, click here
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Confessions of a Teenage Body Shamer #3

Kasey was nicer than I thought… she wasn’t at all how we made her out to be.

To read the previous chapter of Confessions of a Teenage Body Shamer, click here. Enjoy!

Taken by @aaronburden. Courtesy of Unsplash.com

The first thing I noticed when I walked into Kasey’s house the next day was how different her house was to mine.

The smell of homemade cookies filled my nostrils as soon as I stepped into her house. It made my mouth water and gave me a warm feeling in my stomach.

The décor itself was a complete contrast to ours; our house was decorated with a modernized style, everything in Kasey’s house screamed antique. From the furniture to the colour of the wallpaper. Now this wasn’t necessarily bad, in fact her house looked so cosy that I felt more at home in the first five minutes there than I ever had in my own house.

black and white table lamp on brown wooden table
Taken by @davexmit. Courtesy of Unsplash.com


Kasey’s mother was not at all how I expected her to be either. She was a petite lady that wore glasses with a frame that seemed too small for her face, and she was one of the kindest people I had ever met (to date). She greeted me with the most welcoming, and contagious, smile.

I followed Kasey up to her room after her mom chased us up with a batch of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. When I stepped into her room, I nearly did a double take seeing a poster of one of my favourite bands taped to her wall.

“You listen to The Gray?” I asked her, deeply perplexed at never having met anyone who liked their music or who even listened to them.

“Of course,” she replied, motioning for me to take a seat at her desk. “They’re one of my favourite bands. Why do you ask?”

“It’s surprising, that’s all.”

“Why? Because you didn’t think someone like me would listen to a band like them?” Kasey questions, accusingly.

“What? No, it’s not like that.” I replied, a bit flustered. She didn’t say anything in return, instead she motioned for us to start working, which we did, in an awkward silence.

We worked for about two hours before deciding to take a break. I sat back in the desk chair and replied to a text I got from Katie.

silver MacBook on gray textile
Taken by @mialiamani. Courtesy of Unsplash.com


are you at fatty k’s? She had texted me. I looked at Kasey who was eating a cookie, her attention focused on her phone screen.

Yeah. I replied. Katie’s response came no longer than a minute later.

don’t forget to dig up some dirt on her!

Not knowing how to reply, I locked my phone and looked at Kasey, who’s eating her second cookie. I pulled a grossed out face.

“Do you know how many Carbs are in one chocolate chip cookie?”

“I don’t know and I do not need to know,” she answered, matter-of-factly. She pushes the plate of cookies towards me. “But I do know that you should have one of these.”

Reluctantly, I took one and broke it in half before placing a small piece into my mouth. My eyes widened.

plate of four chocolate cookies
Taken by @picoftasty. Courtesy of Unsplash.com


“It’s good, right?” Kasey asks and I find myself nodding, while eating another piece. “See, there’s much more to life than the amount of carbs that are in one chocolate chip cookie.” She jokes and I find myself laughing…

Unknowingly, I started to let my guard down. Kasey was nicer than I thought she’d be and after only thirty minutes of talking to her I felt more comfortable around her than my own friends. She wasn’t at all how we made her out to be.

After rolling in laughter for a while I asked, “Why are you being nice to me?” A silent, yet warm, cloud fallen over us.

“I don’t know,” she shrugged. “Personally, I think you’re really cool. And honestly speaking, I don’t think you’re truly like Katie and the others.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I don’t know, I’ll let you figure that out.”

She refrained from saying anything else. That night, as I lay in my bed, her words replayed in my head and so did some of my memories with my friends.

For some reason, those few words made me question all my friendships.

To be continued…

Thanks for reading!

If you, or anyone you know, would like to join us as: email us at girlonthebusza@gmail.com or send us a message on social media!
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25+ Simple Sayings That Are Simply Blissful

A few years back, I received a tiny book from a kind neighbour. The miniature piece of literature was no larger than my own child-like hand. Yet, it held some of the most impactful words that would help me through my Tumultuous Twenties. ‘A Simpler Life’ by Helen Exley aims to help the reader reach a more contented life by doing less overthinking and over-analysing, and simply finding peace with who you are and where you are in your journey.

Inspired by the work of Exley and her team, I will be sharing Over 25 Quotes That Are Simply Blissful. Comment below which quote you loved, and live by.

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”

-Aristotle

“May you live every day of your life” – Johnathan Swift

“Turn your wounds into wisdom” – Oprah Winfrey

“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavour” – Truman Capote

“My roses are my jewels, the sun and moon my clocks, fruit and water my food and drink” – Hester Lucy Stanhope

“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens” – Jimi Hendrix

“The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise” – Maya Angelou

“The wise adapt themselves to circumstances, as water moulds itself to the pitcher” – Chinese Proverb

“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment” – Rumi,  Masnavi i Man’avi

red, orange cherries for good health, sweetness in life and love
Credit: Nick Fewings
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“Angry people are not always wise” – Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice

“Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny” – Stephen Hawking

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” – Aristotle

“Suffering is a gift. In it is hidden mercy” – Rumi

“Do all the good you can and make as little fuss about it as possible” – Charles Dickens

“The quiet mind is richer than a crown. Sweet are the nights in careless slumber spent” – Robert Greene

“Time that withers you will wither me. We will fall like ripe fruit and roll down the grass together. Dear friend, let me lie beside you watching the clouds until the earth covers us and we are gone” – Jeanette Winterson, Written on the Body

“When you forget that you need Allah (God), He puts you in a situation that causes you to call upon Him. And that’s for your own good” – Omar Suleiman

“Goodness is the only investment that never fails” – Henry David Thoreau

“Give love in secret by praying for one another” – Unknown

shiny red apples that keep the doctor away
Credit: Matheus Cenali
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“The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too” – Earnest Hemingway, Men Without Women

“True love is rare, and it’s the only thing that gives life real meaning” – Nicholas Sparks

“We learn from failure, not from success!” – Bram Stoker, Dracula

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well” – Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

“Joy exists only in self-acceptance. Seek perfect acceptance, not a perfect life” – Unknown

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” – Sharon Salzberg

“Sit loosely in the saddle of life” – Robert Louis Stevenson

“Learn to wish that everything should come to pass exactly as it does” – Epictetus

“The busiest, most creative soul must have at its heart a place of silence, of utter simplicity and peace” – Charlotte Gray

Thanks for reading!

If you, or anyone you know, would like to join us as: email us at girlonthebusza@gmail.com or send us a message on social media!
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Menstrual Products That Are Good For You (And The Environment) | OPINION

Blood comes out of my vagina every month and has been since I was really young. That means I have used a lot of pads and tampons. All of which has cost me money and cost my planet. Below are a few period products I have come to love, including a few BONUS Yoga-inspired moves (from my favourite YouTubers) that really help for those uncomfortable and painful periods or PMS days.

I love these products because they help me save money, they have a gentler impact on the planet and they all believe in the common cause to uplift and support women and humans with vaginas!

Bamboo Pads

Pads are one of the first menstrual products introduced to humans with vaginas. They’re really easy to use; with an adhesive strip on the back that sticks to the underwear. Most are made of cotton and some have added fragrances or layering. I used pads for most of my menstrual journey. However, the one thing that really put me off wearing pads was the harmful chemicals they leached out into the earth, air and (potentially) oceans after ending up in landfills. According to the OrganiCup blog, conventional pads contain chemicals such as chlorine, rayon and dioxin. I checked out three different brands of pads in my home, the Always and Stayfree brands didn’t have anything resembling an ‘ingredients list’, but the Libresse pack did. Although it didn’t mention the three chemicals listed above, it contained polypropylene and polyethylene. According to the Reliance Foundry blog, polyethylene is great to be recycled, but not suitable to be disposed of in a landfill. Tbh I wouldn’t want the same chemical that is used to make literally every other plastic product near my most sensitive body parts…

The closest answer to my dilemma was the Here We Flo Bamboo Pads. They’re incredibly soft, fragrance-free, cruelty-free, vegan and 99% biodegradable! Plus it’s plastic-free, does not contain dioxins, artificial dyes or chlorine – these pads tick all the right boxes. The pads come in two ‘sizes’: a Day-pad for regular flows and a Night-pad for heavier flow days. I purchased the ‘Combo Pack’ which contains 10 Day and 5 Night pads, so you can easily play around with the absorbency.

Here We Flo Bamboo Pads | Credit: Ethical Superstore

I bought these from my local Clicks store, but you can buy directly from their website (or schedule monthly deliveries to your door!) And if you thought this woman-owned company couldn’t get any cooler, they donate 5% of their profits towards organisations fighting against Female Genital Cutting (FGC) and who aim to provide menstrual products to humans who are unable to afford them (because pink tax is real).

If you’re used to thick chonky pads, these may feel like thin pantyliners to you – and there did come a point when I was not sure if I had put one on or not. Because these pads are really soft, light-weight and non-itchy.

These pads do come with a pretty price though, retailing at R69.99 at any Clicks store. But the quality and assurance these babies pack are so worth every rand! If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, try the ANNA Sanitary Pads or the Clicks MyEarth Organic Cotton Ultra Normal Pads.

Menstrual Disc

Not to be confused with a menstrual cup! The ‘disc’ and ‘cup’ are both inserted into the vagina and collect the menstrual blood rather than absorbing it. Once the disc is inserted, it fits snug behind your pelvic bone in the fornix (space where the vaginal canal meets the cervix) and you’ll know it’s inside correctly because you won’t feel a damn thing! Check out this Healthline article about the science behind the menstrual disc.

L – Menstrual Cup R – Menstrual Disc | Credit: POPSUGAR

Made from squishy and body-safe silicone, these discs make for a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly product. Some, like the Flex Menstrual Disc, are single-use items. But I got my hands on the Softcup Menstrual Disc, which offers 12 hours of period protection and can be reused up to three cycles!

Before I ventured down the disc drive, I trained myself to be comfortable with the idea of inserting something into my vaginal canal. Coming from a Cape Malay, Muslim family – matters of the female anatomy were not always taught with a hint of celebration and acceptance. So if you’re afraid of having a ‘foreign item’ (a tampon, menstrual disc or menstrual cup) being inserted into your vagina, have a look at this helpful article or this one!

The menstrual disc offers you the freedom to run, swim, laugh, sneeze and cough without the feeling of gushing blood. Plus, you can go to bed completely worry-free.

And just you wait until you discover auto-dumping….life-changing!

This product definitely put me in a love-hate relationship with my body. Hate – my fingers coming out full of blood when I removed the disc. Feeling frustrated when I initially need to insert it. Love – learning that the cervix changes position throughout the menstrual cycle. Knowing where my pelvic bone is. Seeing the actual colour and consistency of my blood. Realising that the vagina is not a scary long tunnel, but another little organ that can do amazing things! Some of the other benefits I found when using the menstrual disc, was that it doesn’t cause dryness, nor is there any unpleasant odour.

Just pinch and insert | Credit: Greatist

When you first use this product, add a pantyliner or pad to your underwear in case of spills or leakages. But once you start using it, you kind of choreograph a special dance with your vagina!

Get your very own Softcup Menstrual Disc via the Clicks Online Store or Takealot.com.

Reusable Pads

Also known as cloth pads or washable pads, are made from cloth and absorbent material. This product takes a very traditional approach to managing a period. According to this Hello Clue blog post, if we look at the time of our grandmothers, during the 1800s to 1900s, many would use homemade cloths made of flannel or woven fabrics that they would need to wash after use. Please do yourself the favour and ask the elderly people in your life just how they ‘dealt’ with their periods.

Soft, comfortable and stylish | Credit: SUBZ

Given the harsh ordeals that many humans with vaginas have to face in South Africa alone, many who start menstruating often miss out on school. This is because of a lack of access to conventional menstrual products and an inability to afford them. They make use of homemade pad-like products using old cloth or leaves or newspaper. Some are forced to make use of previously soiled and dried sanitary towels. Enter the rise of the reusable pad! According to this post on The Conversation, reusable pads are easy to adopt as it takes the same habit of needing to be washed after each use, yet boats a safer, more hygienic and kinder period experience.

Speaking of kindness, many local initiatives that make these pads strive to allow menstruating South African humans to attend school even on their period.

I love my comfortable and secure SUBZ reusable pad. It’s made with 6 layers of period protection which includes three layers of hydrophilic (water-loving) fabric, waterproofing layers and hydrophobic (water-repelling) fabric. The outer cotton-knit feels so luxurious against the skin, it instantly adds a sense of comfort when used. Like traditional pads, these come with wings that clip around the gusset of your underwear.

Now the moment you have all been waiting for – yes, you need to wash them after using them. This is something that I know freaks out a lot of people, but honestly, it’s not that bad or big of a deal. I kind of remember watching a video of a woman boasting about the plant-fertilizing properties of period blood and according to this post on the Pixie Cup blog, this has been a growing trend…so, there’s that!?

Rinse the pad under cold running water, this is similar to those pool deep-cleaning videos. It will help to remove the mucus and tissue on the outer layer. Secondly, wash it thoroughly with soapy water. I prefer using good ‘ol Sunlight soap – mild in fragrance and tough on stains. Finally, give it a rinse through clean water, and hang it up to dry. Easy peasy!

My only gripe with the pads is that it lacks something to really make it sit in one place. Throughout the day, I found that my pad would slide around to the back of my panty as I moved. And I don’t think I was actually alone in the aisle while I awkwardly adjusted myself.

These pads are great for people who want to save months’ worth of money on sanitary items, help the environment and protect their bodies from potentially harmful chemicals. Additionally when you purchase a reusable item from the SUBZ website or stockist you instantly support an organisation that actively fights for the freedom of South Africa, where all menstruating individuals can attend school without shame.

The Standard Pad Self Clipping reusable pad costs R27.20, which is roughly the same as an entire pack of pads. Except this one pad will last you between 3 to 5 years! Another brand you can show some love is Palesas Pads. They sell the coveted Flo Kits, which are like those dried fruit gift baskets, except their packed with everything a menstruating person needs in their life! It comes equipped with a pad-designated washing bucket, a variety of reusable pads, hand-washing sops and white spirit vinegar to make sure you really keep your handy-dandy sanitary towels fresh!

BONUS: Relaxing Moves That Help With Period Cramps and Discomfort – these videos are part of my pain-proof-period arsenal. Cassey (Blogilates) and Sarah Beth (SarahBeth Yoga) have these fantastic videos to keep you going.

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Easy Weekend Crowd-Pleasers | Recipes For Any Occasion

Set the table, pull out the extra chairs and play that soft house music because these recipes are worth sharing with the ones you love! And if you’re feeling like you need some self-love, the Creamy Curried Pasta recipe is a stunner! Feeling pinched for time, then try the Cheesy Chicken and Corn Wraps! The creator of these tasty creations is the stunning Farzana Kumandan from Sprinkles and Spice, please show her some love!

Cheesy Chicken and Corn Wraps

Ingredients 

2 tablespoons butter

6 chicken fillets cubed

½ cup frozen corn

1 tablespoon Portuguese spice

½ cup water 

¾ cup mayo 

½ cup mild, medium or hot Nandos peri peri sauce (depends on your preference)

Method

Braise the chicken fillets, corn and spice in butter until golden brown

Once browned, add the water and simmer until the chicken has cooked, water has reduced and it’s cooked completely dry

Add in the sauce and mayo

Simmer for 2 minutes until sauce has thickened

Fill your store bought wraps, roll them up and place them packed tightly next to each other in a rectangle Pyrex dish

Generously sprinkle with cheese, and grill on 200 degrees for 5-10 minutes until the cheese bubbles and is grilled to perfection

If you don’t have wraps, roti works well too, make some – its so lekker!

Credit: Farzana Kumandan

Creamy Curried Pasta

Ingredients

500g pasta if your choice

2 tablespoons butter

½ finely diced onion

¼ finely diced red pepper

1 big grated garlic clove

1 punnet sliced mushrooms

3 chicken fillets cut in strips

2x 7g Curry Powder envelopes

½ tsp thyme

1 teaspoons crushed chillies

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

240g tub tomato puree

2x 250ml fresh cream

Method

Boil the pasta in salt water with a dash of olive oil until al dente, strain, rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process and set aside

On a stove top on a medium to high heat, melt the butter

Add the onion, pepper and garlic and braise until light brown

Add the mushrooms and chicken and braise until dry and golden brown

Add the spices, salt, and sugar and mix well

Add the tomato puree and fresh cream bring to boil

Simmer for 5 minutes

Add in the pasta, mix and garnish with coriander

If you making it before hand, heat the sauce and mix in the pasta just before serving, this ensures your pasta is creamy and saucy

Credit: Frazana Kumandan

Show Farzana some love and let her know that we sent you her way!

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We Approve This Deliciousness | Mid-Week Dessert Ideas 🧁

Is it time for dessert? Or do you fancy a mignardise course or some post-meal pastries and snacks? Farzana Kumandan from Sprinkles and Spice has you sorted! These easy-peasy Bread Pudding and Milk Tart recipes will have you asking for ‘seconds, please’.

Bread Pudding

Ingredients

6 slices of bread 

4 eggs

2 tablespoons butter

¾ cup sugar

750ml full cream milk

3 heaped tablespoon custard

¼ cup coconut 

1 tablespoon vanilla essence

½ teaspoon fine cinnamon 

Pinch of cardamom and/or nutmeg 

Pinch of salt

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees

Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth

Spray a medium rectangle Pyrex dish with spray and cook and pour in your mixture 

Bake on 180 degrees on the lower rack of the oven for 45 minutes until the top is golden brown and a slightly cracked crust is formed 

Once done, remove from the oven and brush over apricot jam

Turn off the oven but return the pudding to the warm oven to rest and settle for 20 minutes 

Milk Tart

Ingredients for the base

250g soft butter (not melted)

125g sifted icing sugar

2 eggs

2 heaped cups flour

Method for the base

Cream the eggs, soft butter and sifted icing sugar until smooth

Fold in the flour and mix with a wooden spoon until it forms a soft dough (If the dough is too sticky, the butter was too soft, add an extra ½ cup flour)

Press into a large black oven tray, ensuring you form a crust over the sides

Pop in the freezer for 20 minutes

Ingredients for the milk custard

8 large eggs (you can use 7 if you prefer it less firm)

2 tablespoons custard powder

A pinch of salt

2 tablespoons vanilla essence

1 Tin Condensed Milk

1¼ cups cold milk

1 cup cold water

3 tablespoons soft butter (cut in 12 small pieces)

Fine Cinnamon for dusting

Method for the milk custard

In mixer whisk the eggs, custard, salt, vanilla essence and condensed milk until smooth

Add in the milk and water and whisk until well combined

Lastly, add the pieces of butter

Pour over the chilled base and dust with cinnamon

Bake on 180degrees for 50 minutes on the lower part of the oven (Do not preheat the oven)

Once the custard starts to expand and bubble, it’s done!

Make sure you follow Farzana on Instagram and Facebook for more yummy recipes, all made with love! Stay hydrated.

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Midweek Soup Ideas | To Feed Your Body and Soul 🥣

This right here is the definition of love. There is no other food on this planet that perfectly sums up the feeling of snuggling under a cozy blanket. Holding hands with your favourite person (even if it yourself). Warm, fuzzy socks and soft glowing Winter sunsets. A steaming bowl of soup is the perfect source of happiness and nutrition this Winter! Soups are amazing health buddies too, providing ample amounts of water and nutrients to your body. Plus, it’s low-cal!

We teamed up with Farzana Kumandan from Sprinkles and Spice to bring you a special collection of her classic Winter recipes to spice up your chilly days. You can find all kinds of delicious inspo right here – @sprinklesandspicect

butternut soup topped with a dash of cream, toasted pumpkin seeds and fresh coriander
Credit: Farzana Kumandan for Sprinkles and Spice

Pumpkin / Butternut Soup

Ingredients

Half a pumpkin or 1 large Butternut (rough chop, save some seeds)  

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 sweet potato, chopped

 ½ green pepper, diced

Handful of celery and parsley

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

2 tbsp of butter

1 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp barbeque or Cajun chicken spice

Dash of nutmeg

1/4 cup of fresh cream (or dessert cream or ideal milk)

Method

Braise all your veg in butter, sugar, cinnamon, barbeque or Cajun chicken spice and nutmeg mixture.

Braise until all the veg is golden brown and caramelized – Don’t miss this tip it adds extra flavour

Close the lid and turn down the heat, allowing the veg to sweat for 1 minute

Top with boiling water and simmer until all the veg is soft

Once soft, liquidize until smooth using a stand blender or hand blender

Return to the pot and add either a ¼ cup of fresh cream or dessert cream or ideal milk.

Simmer until it boils

Garnish with freshly toasted pumpkin or butternut seeds and a sprinkle of fresh coriander. Serve! 🥣

delicious, thick yellow lentil soup with a light sprinkle of spice on top and finished off with fresh coriander
Credit: Farzana Kumandan for Sprinkles and Spice

Lentil Soup

Ingredients

¼ cup Olive oil

1 large Onion, diced 

3 cloves of garlic, grated

1 cup red lentils, rinsed

1 Butternut, peeled and cut into chunks

2 carrots, gated 

1 large red pepper, chopped

1 handful parsley

1 handful celery

Dash of fresh lemon juice

2 litres water or veg stock

Salt to taste

*dry roast these spices in a hot pan and grind it fine in a mortar and pestle

2 teaspoon whole jeera (cumin seeds)

½ teaspoon crushed red chillies

1 teaspoon smoked paprika 

Method

Braise the onion in olive oil until it’s translucent

Add in the garlic and braise until the tips of the garlic start turning slightly golden brown

Add in the spices, lentils and veg and Braise for 3 minutes

Add in the water and reduce the heat to low

Simmer on a low heat for 35 minutes

Add a dash of lemon juice and salt to taste and blend with a stick blender or in a liquidizer until smooth

Serve with a slice of lemon and crusty bread or flat bread

Let us know how these recipes turned out. Leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below! And make sure to follow Farzana Kumandan on Instagram and Facebook. Stay hydrated!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
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#COLLAB: Growing Up Ain’t Like The Movies (it’s more like a bumpy bus ride)

The warmth from the sun’s rays pierce through the huge dust-covered windows. It penetrates my soul and shines a comforting glow onto my face. I was a little girl of 6 years old, heading home with my sister in the huge beige Golden Arrow bus. On our drive from Athlone to Hanover Park, I would rest my head against the window, the gentle vibration of the moving bus creating a soothing, buzzing sound. Something like a lullaby. The rhythmic pulses relax my energetic mind and I imagined that this is what a head massage must feel like – until my head abruptly jolted forward when the bus came to a halt.

As I soaked up the sun on my rosy cheeks, at the same time trying to avoid being blinded by the rays of sunlight, would imagine what my life would be like in the future.

I’d imagine myself as a grown woman, with high heels and lipstick – ever so fashionable – working in a field that I love, while concurrently running my household efficiently.

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Regarding my imaginary children, three to be exact, two boys and a girl, I would be “Loving but disciplined”. While lost in this thought I glanced through the dust-covered window as we passed a huge two-storey house and I excitedly nudged my older sister and said, “Titi, when I grow-up I am going to live in that house!”

Gleaming windows and neatly trimmed grass surrounded the house – it looked picture perfect. I could feel the excitement rising inside my little 6-year-old body! I smiled with the hope that one day, I would live in that house, with my 3 children in my loving but disciplined way.

And then I grew up

Life has a funny way of giving you what you want, but not exactly in the way you expect.

When I daydreamed of my future, it seemed so easy to be the mom with a career and high heels – running with a tray of freshly baked cookies and her lipstick. That little girl knew nothing. Allow me to elaborate.

I am a mother, and my priorities include:

 1.  Keeping my family healthy and alive.

 2. Maintaining my sanity.

Not in that specific order and everything else is negotiable.

As a working mom my days are divided into two types: good and bad.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

On a good day, I manage to balance it all, the family, the career and all the added extras like fresh cooked meals, in-laws, and friendships. On a bad day (which is the norm now) it is late nights at the office, takeaways, and broken promises.  

That double storey house, with the shiny windows, let me tell you, it’s a lot of work to keep those windows shiny and mortgage paid!

The standards seem impossibly high for women. We wear so many hats. You are expected to be both the loving mother with freshly cooked meals waiting when the kids get home, and the assertive career woman conquering the concrete jungle – both roles come with accompanying shame and guilt. Please do not misunderstand, they are both achievable and many women have it all, but for me, it came at a cost.

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There came a point in my life when I asked: ‘is it worth it’? The late nights at the office, and missed birthdays? Juggling both career and home-life to my own detriment?

If I could sit next to that little girl on the bus, I’d tell her to enjoy life and encourage her to do her best, because that’s really all that matters. I’d warn her that striving for academic achievements and career advancements aren’t worth allowing her mental health to suffer. I’d hug her tightly when she didn’t make it into med school and explain to her that she can still have a happy and fulfilled life even if the path she planned doesn’t work out. I’d tell her to own the space she occupies on Earth. She does not have to fit any preconceived gender role, nor earn in a certain bracket or live in a certain area code – that she should live her life as best she can and to make her happiness a priority.

On the flip side, if it were me, a 36-year-old woman on the bus, that little girl would tell me to stop worrying so much! She’d tell me to smell the flowers, and that the big house was never the prize – it was always about creating a safe place to call home.  A safe space for myself and my children.

Photo by Nubia Navarro (nubikini) on Pexels.com

I now realise that that big beige bus could be a metaphor for life, your life is the bus, sometimes you will have stops and bumps and flat tyres (which are normal). Other times you will need to decide who gets on your bus and supports you and who needs to step off because they aren’t going in the same direction – that’s okay too.

Sometimes, when there’s a detour in life, there is chance for adventure. You end up in a scenic, unexpected destination with opportunities to discover places that you would not ordinarily seen, and that too can be beautiful and bring immense joy.

Thanks for reading!

If you, or anyone you know, would like to join us as: email us at girlonthebusza@gmail.com or send us a message on social media!

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#SHADY: ‘Each page’s bewitched with Beauties’ – Peaches

Our hearts yearn for that place of serene contentment, and pure happiness. In this piece, Maryam expands on the human nature to find peace and beauty. She uses the pretty colour of ripe peach fruit as inspiration.

My heart is bleached with insecurities,
Seeking for light with all sincerity,

If only I could teach it, its inability to live,
I would take away its pain,
To paint a tree of peaches…

With beaches, untamed with riches
Each page’s bewitched with Beauties,
Then, just maybe I shall set to lay over its reaches…

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Thanks for reading!

If you, or anyone you know, would like to join us – send an email to girlonthebusza@gmail.com or send us a message on our social media!

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Peace and Love on the Planet Earth – Islamic Affirmations

The month of Ramadaan has left the building, but the lessons we learned during the month stay with us – acting as a catalyst for a good year ahead. And as much as I love being optimistic and trying to find the good in things I have come across a more realistic mantra – prepare for the worst, and hope for the best. So while we believe it is going to be a good year ahead, we also have the responsibility to make it our own version of awesome.

We can’t do it alone, and no one is expecting you to do that! Here is a little bit of support in the form of Islamic Words of Affirmations to get you through anything life has to throw at you. Enjoy! Comment your favourite one down below 😀

(PS I came across a list of these Islamic affirmations, so credit to whoever the author of the random printed handout was)

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  1. I Avoid Quarrelling

“And obey Allah and His Messenger and do not quarrel, for then you will be weak in hearts and your power will depart, and be patient; surely Allah is with the patient.” (8:46)

  1. Every Night I Think of Three Things I am Thankful for

“…If you count the blessings of Allah, never will you be able to number them…” (14:34)

  1. I Love My Prophet (pbuh)

“Indeed, Allah showers His blessings upon the Prophet, and His angels pray for him. O  believers! Invoke Allah’s blessings upon him, and salute him with worthy greetings of peace.” (33:56)

  1. When I Want to Change My Life, I Change My Myself First

“…Surely Allah does not change the conditions in which a people are in until they change that which is in themselves…” (13:11)

  1. I Remember Allah as Much as Possible

“Remember your Lord morning and evening, deep in your heart with humility and with reverence; and in a moderate tone of voice; do not be of those who are heedless.” (7:205)

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
  1. I Always Hope in Allah’s Mercy

“My servants, you who have transgressed against yourselves, do not despair of the Mercy of Allah. Truly Allah forgives all wrong actions. He is Ever-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.” (39:53)

  1. I Prioritize the Next World and Let Go Earthly Tethers

“So as for he who transgressed, and preferred the life of this world, then indeed Hellfire will be his refuge.” (79:37-39)

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  1. Goodness Always Comes to Those who Patiently Persevere

“How excellent the affairs of the believer! His affair, all of it, is good for him, and this is not the case with anyone except the believer. If prosperity comes to him, he is thankful, and if adversity falls on him, he perseveres patiently. So it is all good for him.” (Muslim, Ahmad)

  1. I Use My Reason and Critical Thinking

“It is He Who has created you from dust; then from a sperm-drop; then from a blood clot; then does He get you out as a child; then lets you (grow and) reach your age of full strength; then lets you become old – through of you there are some who die before – and lets you reach a term appointed (death); in order that you may use your reason.” (40:67)

  1. I Am Responsible for My Actions and My Life

“…And that each person will only have what they endeavoured towards, and that (the outcome of) their endeavours will be seen (in their record), then they will be fully rewarded…” (53: 39-41)

  1. My Hardships Are Here to Bring Me Closer to Allah

“Allah does not want difficulty for you, but He wants to purify you, and to complete His favour upon you, that you may be grateful.” (5:6)

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Sunset over mountains. Purple, red and orange sky. Snow-capped peaks look over a vast, still lake. A man looks at the scenic beauty on a landing near the lake.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
  1. I Remember That My Life Purpose Is to Worship Allah

“I created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me.” (51:56)

  1. I Turn to Allah First

“It is You alone we worship, and You alone we ask for help.” (1:5)

  1. I Seek Allah’s Help with Patience and Prayer

“Nay, seek (Allah’s) help with patience and prayer; and most surely it is a hard thing except for the humble ones.” (2:45)

  1. Truly, I Am of The Believers

“Who is better in speech than the one who summons people unto Allah, and performed a good deed and says, ‘Truly I am of the believers’.” (41:33)

I hope you have found these simple quotes to be a source of goodness, guidance and happiness. May the Almighty guide you all towards contentment and pure love. Stay Hydrated!

Thanks for reading!

If you, or anyone you know, would like to join us as: email us at girlonthebusza@gmail.com or send us a message on our social media!

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#SHADY: What Does It Mean To Be A Mother?

What does it mean to be a mother ?

I stared at the presentation topic in confusion. I understood that they wanted to be creative with mother’s day nearing but this topic made no sense at all.

Firstly, what would we, as high school kids, know about being a mother? Secondly, how was this topic even applied to us? Lastly, with the amount of research we’ll be able to find, all of our presentations won’t last longer than one minute – maximum. With that being said, why is it even an option?

Yet, Mr Atticker gave us a week to compile research and come up with the perfect presentation for our mid-year marks. My mind was blocked, I had no idea where to begin.

My dad picked me up from school that day and I told him all about the presentation. “In your opinion, what does it mean to be a mother?” I asked. He took his time thinking about it whilst focusing on the road. After a moment, he replied, “Well, that’s easy isn’t it? Being a mother means caring for your children and being there when they need you.”

Credit: Unsplash / Annie Spratt

I thought about his answer for a long time after I got home. Was the answer really that simple? Was I overthinking the entire topic? Should his answer be the main idea of my presentation?

I don’t know.

When I came down from my room later that night, Mom was in the kitchen preparing dinner, still wearing her office attire. I stood at the kitchen island watching her manage the oven, the stove and cutting up vegetables at the same time. She greeted me with a tired smile when she noticed me.

Sam, my little brother, ran to the kitchen calling for her, “Mom! I need help with my homework!”

“Just a second,” she replied before taste testing her stew on the stove. She turned to me with a sheepish smile. “Honey, you don’t mind watching the food while I help your brother do you?” I nodded and took over cutting the vegetables as she ran to help my brother. I sighed, deep in thought. I wished there was something more I could do than help my mom with the food preparations. She’s always so tired when she gets home from work, yet she still cooks and helps us with our homework without any complaints.

I was so deep in thought that I almost didn’t notice the knife cutting my finger. I winced loudly and dropped the knife, bringing my finger to my face to examine it. Mom immediately ran into the kitchen and when she saw my bloody finger, she made a face.

She hurried and got the first aid kit from the bathroom before examining my finger herself. “You should’ve been more careful,” she said and placed a plaster around my finger. “I’m sorry,” I said, but she shook her head.

“Don’t worry, it’s okay. As long as it doesn’t hurt a lot,” Mom smiled at me and it suddenly hit me.

That night, after dinner, I sat at my desk and stared at the presentation topic again.

What does it mean to be a mother?

Credit: Unsplash / Jonatas Domingos

I picked up my pen and began writing.

To be a mother means being a superhero.

When our entire world turns dark they are always there for us. They are the light that helps us see again. They were there for us on our first day of school, and waited for us with a delicious lunch when we got home. They are always there when we feel like we’re on the verge of a mental breakdown, they provide the shoulder for us to cry on.

Plus, they always give the best advice and have our best interests at heart. Mothers care for us and protect us even if it means that they get hurt in the process.

Yet, we take all those things for granted.

Honestly, we will never really know the true meaning of motherhood until we experience it ourselves, and therefore we should cherish and appreciate our mothers even more. This mother’s day is the perfect day to do so.

Thanks for reading!

If you, or anyone you know, would like to join us as: email us at girlonthebusza@gmail.com or send us a message on our social media!

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#SHADY: Waiting to Dawn🌞

What would be the color of happiness?

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Taken from @impatrickt on unsplash.com

Everything set,
The moonlight at its best,
The stars spread in it flicker…

Everything said,
The prayers in waiting,
The wishes in longing,
The soul in its craving for peace…

Every other day,
I write through the brightness of my heart,
I write through every broken piece of happiness left,
I write through the years of untrue peace…

What would be the color of happiness?
Yellow perhaps, like the waiting to dawn…

Thanks for reading!

If you, or anyone you know, would like to join us as: email us at girlonthebusza@gmail.com or send us a message on our social media!

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#STORYTIME: Looking at the Sky atop the Mountain☁️

Looking at the sky, here atop the mountain, is a different experience for most.

Taken from @raffalel on unsplash.com

Looking at the sky, here atop the mountain, is a different experience for most.

It feels different. Almost like an out-of-body experience.

I looked at the sky turn an array of colours. It went from the calm and sleep inducing colour of black, to navy blue. Which then turned into a purple and then to a pink.

The first evidence of light coming to wake you up.

I saw the sky turn from that comforting purple-pink, to its fiery reds and oranges. These colours shone so brightly that there was no point in sleeping anymore.

The little streaks of yellow that accompanied the fiery colours, extended to the ends of the sky. Reaching far and wide to spread more of the colours.

This soon turned into a light blue sky with little fluffs of white in it.

The clouds looked at peace, on their leisurely stroll with the light breeze, but there was a dark figure lurking behind them.

A figure, so dark and gloomy, began consuming the light and fluffy clouds, one by one, turning the sky dark and lifeless.

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The wind picked up and became icy. Blowing so harshly that the trees and plants uprooted themselves.

I ran to some boulders to try and take cover from the brewing storm, but to no avail. I was cold, wet and afraid.

The rain started to pick up and belt against the earth, causing the topsoil to break and wash away.

The rain: not liquid for long, and turned into solid ice that fell harder and faster.

BOOM!

What was that?

BOOM! FLASH

I looked left and right at what the noise and sudden light could possibly be.

BOOM! CRASH!

rain storming GIF
Taken from giphy.com

I tried covering my ears to muffle the sounds, but it was no use. The more I covered my ears, the louder the sounds became. The more I squeezed my eyes shut, the brighter the light. The more I curled in on myself to retain some heat, the colder the wind became.

I screamed everytime the cymbals of the sky crashed. I flinched everytime the lightning hit the ground close to me.

Yet, I couldn’t do anything but sit there and watch as the storm grew more intense.

I gave up on muffling out the sounds and blocking out the light and cold. I chose sleep over survival. I chose to run away instead of facing the storm.

A few hours passed and I woke up to birds chirping in the distance, opening my eyes to the grass next to me.

It was wet, with some droplets on the fine blades of grass, but it looked at peace and not as though it had just weathered a storm.

I closed my eyes and rolled onto my back. Squeezing my eyes shut so that the image of what was left of the storm could not hurt me.

I had a feeling that the storm subsided and that it was safe to open my eyes. Hesitant, I opened my eyes to see what words fail to describe.

Beautiful and colourful, that nothing could be compared to it.

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The sky had turned from a dark and terrifying Davy’s grey, to its fiery reds and oranges again.

Amazed at the image laid out in front of me, I started crying out of joy that the sun had decided to make an appearance.

I saw that beautiful fire turn into sweet and lulling purples and pinks. Which then turned into a navy blue and eventually into the sleep-inducing black.

Just seeing the sunset after the storm, was truly thrilling, but also comforting. I had truly come out of the storm.

I laid there and continued to stare at the sky littered with stars, admiring the beauty of the sky.

It truly is a great experience looking at the sky atop the mountain.

silhouette of mountain under cloudy blue sky photo taken during sunset
Taken from @jdiegoph on unsplash.com

Thanks for reading!

If you, or anyone you know, would like to join us as: email us at girlonthebusza@gmail.com or send us a message on our social media!

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#SHADY: If it’s Yellow, Let it Mellow or Make it Glow!

Ramadaan is a time to rest your body and recharge your spirit.

Taken from @mcoswalt on Unsplash
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Our tiny little chunk of rock (that’s how I like to think of Earth) has witnessed many great changes in a truly short amount of time. In my January post, I spoke about the fickle game we all play – time – and how we’re all born into this never ceasing rat race. Sometimes we just need a break. A break from toxic people, harmful places, scary thoughts… something to help us recover and relax. This is what I associate the blessed Islamic month of Ramadaan with.

Ramadaan is one of the months that form part of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is during this month that Muslims engage in compulsory fasting and abstaining from food and drink during the daylight hours. The fast is broken at sunset when the sky is red and is resumed in the morning before the sun rises.

Trust me though, this month is so spiritually spiced and human beings are created with such unknown resilience that your body and mind soon adapt to the changes. And as every Muslim will have you know, you might not be eating during the day, yet people pack on the most weight in these 30 days because of those delicious savouries, sweets and hearty dishes served at fast break (get it, breakfast).

E/N: I do not condone such corny jokes, and would like to not be associated with such behaviour…

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But this seemingly sudden change is more than just ‘starving’ ourselves. This abstinence extends to other worldly pleasures that can sometimes weigh down on us. These pleasures differ between people and cultures. For me, I take this month as a time to refrain from swearing (especially when I drive), chocolates, delaying my prayers for other things, and spending hours watching reaction videos about Nickacado Avocado.

Remember that spiritual spice I spoke about? Yes! The Almighty did not hold back, and this period is simply filled with opportunities to achieve great blessings, ask for forgiveness, make amends, and set goals for the rest of the year ahead.

Ramadaan is a time to rest your body and recharge your spirit.

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How often are we not made to simply accept situations that allow us to live materialistically in this world. A temporary world, nonetheless. We hustle so hard and never reach contentment, because we’re forced to believe that what we have is never, and will never, be enough. We sacrifice our souls, our hearts – and for what? A fleeting sense of admiration, until we become yesterday’s news.

Your heart, your soul, that connection to your greater purpose, is not worth sacrificing by tethering yourself to this tiny, little chunk of rock. Which is a temporary rock, nonetheless.

Even if you are not observing Ramadaan, make the intention to take your emotions into account and be more mindful of your spiritual and mental and emotional state for the rest of the year. That gut feeling is not all in your head, love.

Take a leap of faith, respect your journey, nourish your mind with knowledge and repair your soul with letting go of your earthly tether, if only but for a moment. Stay hydrated!

Taken from @monstercritic on Unsplash

Thanks for reading!

If you, or anyone you know, would like to join us as: email us at girlonthebusza@gmail.com or send us a message on our social media!

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#RIME-TIME: AquaMarine🐟

A love poem for our 2nd #SHADY theme: Aquamarine🐟

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AquaMarine

I seek out your love…


Dear sweetness, You send sweet shivers that intoxicate my heart like the waves of Nile…

I seek to drown in the abyss of your affection, with no life guide or cautions…


Take me to your world, that which is another world far from this reality…



Wash me to the shores of your desires,


spread me to the winds of the open sky,

fill my crazy thirst with songs of your lips,


And together let’s paint our lives with the colors of the sky and open waters…



AquaMarine they call it, Let’s live like the colors of the ocean as it never changes

Thanks for reading!

If you, or anyone you know, would like to join us as: email us at girlonthebusza@gmail.com or send us a message on our social media!

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#SHADY:When the Little Mermaid Talked Back🧜🏼‍♀️

Losing your voice for a man? Girl, no🧜🏼‍♀️.

Image: @tonyzebastian on Unsplash

Losing your voice for a man? Girl, no.

I might be looking too deep into this scenario, but Ariel literally losing her voice in order to be with a guy she had an apparent meet-cute with is not it, sis. Your voice is more than just the noise you make when someone puts a dirty plate in the sink just as you’re done with the dishes. It’s more than the noise you make when your period cramps decide to go full kamikaze on your insides. Your voice is not to be hidden, not to be held back, and not to be sacrificed for any reason.

Language and communication is an exceptionally powerful tool – and one that women have the potential to become masters in.

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Look at Farahneez Hassiem, teaching Deaf Muslims to recite the glorious chapters of the Qur’an. Aisha bint Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with her) who unfearfully taught men the beauty of Islam with great zest and passion. Nusaybah bint Ka’ab, who used her intellect, emotions and bad-assery to fight alongside and protect the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah be pleased with him). Lucy Edwards who makes YouTube videos on her daily life as a blind woman. Jasmine Alicia Carter using her menstrual blood to create daring pieces of art.

A woman talks back, thinks back, gives back – but never goes back on her word or looks back with regret. Nor gives her voice to a creepy witch. Nope, nope, nope.

That brings me to my next point. Ursula, a scorned woman (probably, I have a theory) seemingly goes out of her way to make the lives of other merfolk a misery. Evil becomes her. How often do we not hear of women being abused by their parents? And when left unresolved, they carry this generational abuse with them by either becoming abusers themselves or falling prey to abusive relationships. I’m not trying to defend Ursula as the villain of the film, but perhaps she is an adult bully trying to call for help – how many of us are not lashing out? Perhaps our default response of “it’s not that bad, it’ll get better” to those tough times is becoming absolute in these uncertain and stressful times.

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My final thoughts – a real woman does not sacrifice who she is for anyone. A real woman does not damper her thoughts, which Allah has masterfully created and perfected. A real woman does not hurt other women. A real woman helps other women receive the correct and needed mental health help. A real woman lives her life, fully and with grace… being humble, being at peace. Acknowledging that she can be a b!tch, admitting when she had done wrong, accepting criticism and forgiving others.

In short, don’t be like me and over-analyse an ancient Disney princess movie. But please do. And then write about it and submit it to us at girlonthebusza@gmail.com (everyone loves a product plug-in).

Above all else, polish your soul with faith. Nourish your heart with love. Protect your mind with knowledge. And stay hydrated!

Image: @localio on Tumblr
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Thanks for reading!

If you, or anyone you know, would like to join us as: email us at girlonthebusza@gmail.com or send us a message on our social media!

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#RIME-TIME: Are you okay?

I couldn’t resist posting this poem – we’ll leave it open to your interpretation.

Art by deisa on Instagram

E/N: While March introduces our next #SHADY theme, I couldn’t resist posting this poem before any ‘aquamarine’ posts.

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Written by The Traveller

Are you okay?
It’s always asked too late, too seldom, after the fact.
Deal with your shit. Nobody’s going to do it for you. But don’t forget to speak about it.

Ironic.

Let me speak about the problem to be told it’s a problem, lazy answers from lazy mouths filled with conceited responses.

I’m no different, I don’t know why it bothers me.

I guess I’m still waiting for someone to ask.
So I’ll remain silent about my conflict and hope nobody sees it and my eyes don’t reveal it.

I know you feel the same, you wish somebody could guide you in the right way. I’m sorry it’s not me. I’m sorry it’s not today.

But you and I, we struggle, hustle, fumble, tremble, let our hearts rumble. All in silence.

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#SHADY: The Colours for this Year

A list of our #SHADY monthly colour themes for 2021.

Art taken from @seaoflove on Tumblr: “hilma af clint, untitled (1931)”
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One of our first ideas for 2021 was to introduce the theme of colours for each month: emotions, aesthetics, meaningfulness and more. The idea behind #SHADY is to celebrate the vibrancy of the spectrum of life – especially after the year we’ve had in 2020🌟.

Here are the colours for #SHADY 2021:

  • Feb: White – fresh starts, love
  • March: Aquamarine – calmness, International Women’s Day
  • April: Yellow – happiness, Ramadaan
  • May: Peach – nature, flora, Mothers’ Day
  • June: Light Blue – peacefulness
  • July: Red – contentment
  • Aug: Green – youth, nurturing, youth, Women’s Month
  • Sept: Brown – strength, Heritage Month
  • Oct: Pink/Black – Cancer Awareness Month, Halloween
  • Nov: Lilac – Beauty, Days of Activism
  • Dec: Gold – festivity, celebration

We keep GOTB alive by asking our community for contribution – and we are always open to new creatives. If you’d like to send us some your writing, then contact us at girlonthebusza@gmail.com 🐥

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#SHADY: Your ‘Whitely’ Thoughts🌼

Some of your thoughts on our introductory colour: white!

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This month we introduced our first #SHADY theme with the colour White. We read beautiful poetry and stories, but we also wanted to know what white meant to every one of us – hence us asking your thoughts on the crisp colour.

Here are some of the thoughts we received:

Now that our theme of white is nearing its end (gone but not forgotten) please keep a lookout for our upcoming themes: March introduces Aquamarine!

Thanks for reading!

If you, or anyone you know, would like to join us as: email us at girlonthebusza@gmail.com or send us a message on our social media!

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#SHADY: The White Rabbit Needs A Chill Pill

Time is a fickle game. It inspires humans to change, to adapt, to reflect.

Art by @melanivugich on Instagram

Time is such a funny thing. It is funny how it constantly moves, with nature’s limbs and breath acting as a handler, yet it feels so unmoving and still.

In the grand scheme of things, it was ‘just yesterday’ when slavery ended, when cars become functioning essentials. Imam Abdullah Haron mysteriously ‘died’ and the Internet became an additional section to the human brain.

Our world has had a few growth spurts in a truly short time. It must be exhausted – do you feel the same?

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Recently falling part of the mundane (and inevitable) nine-to-five species of human beings, I’ve come to realise just how quickly the world has been conditioned to move. Look at all the inventions that have come to fruition over the span of a few years. We are a curious bunch – always wanting to solve the next puzzle, cure the disease, reach the higher peaks. It’s innate.

But what is the rush?

Are we afraid of some kind of impending doom, that we speedily climb those mountains trying to find some solution to why there are just never enough hours in the day? To go back in our memory so we can make the probability in the ‘I should have said this’ and the ‘I should have said that’ come true? Is time our enemy? Is the concept of time that much of an obstacle in our lives simply because it is the one thing we have failed to control – much like death?

Time is a fickle game. It inspires humans to change, to adapt, to reflect. But our uncertain amount of time given to each of us is scary. Just how many times will you be able to greet your partner ‘good morning’? How many steps do you have left to take? How many tickets do you have left for the ride?

Image by @leah_berman on Instagram

Why worry?

We have become caught in making this temporary life so grand and luxurious. It’s right, we want to live good lives. Yet, we lose time working for the lavish dream we will never have, arguing instead of resolving our conflicts. Living with regret instead of finding peace. Time is a fickle game, but it is a game nonetheless. So play, and have fun.

The time we are in now is a scary one. Loved ones are leaving us, some suffering in hospitals, families falling apart, and it is a time for us to reflect. Make amends with those around you, finally push yourself to do that small act of kindness you’ve been putting off, write a blog post or some poetry, fall in love with the world around you. Notice the trees that have witnessed the centuries of time passed, speak to old people who have lived through decades of world history. Appreciate the yearly changes that you have undergone…The person you have become.

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Just as the subtle rivers carve the rugged faces of the mountains, your being is gently being pushed along the current of time. Nothing can delay nor hasten it beyond what is written for us. Do not force or sacrifice yourself for the sake of fitting into a conventional box, there is no honour in that.

For the rest of this year, take things in stride, stick to your morals and ethics but do not restrict your game plan, you are capable of playing this fickle game.

GIF by @kyecheng on Tumblr
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Introducing #SHADY🎨

To celebrate the vibrancy of life, and the good times, we came up with our first idea for 2021…

Artwork by Melanie Vugich: @melanievugich on Instagram
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2021 is in full swing! After the rollercoaster that we were all forced onto last year, let’s all speak happiness and tranquillity into existence for this new year ahead🕊️

That said, last year we tried our hand at a lot of creativeness – thanks to our lovely writers 2020 was an amazing year for GirlOnTheBus. This year, we’re going through a makeover – new colours, new images… but same eccentricity (if not more). Adding on, we’ve also come up with a few ideas for this year to truly make the blog ✨shine✨

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To celebrate the vibrancy of life, and the good times, we came up with our first idea for 2021, drumroll…

#SHADY🎨! This is our latest idea all about the emotions, aesthetics and meanings behind the colours of life. This means that each month will have its own colour theme encompassing the events of that month, or a colour that we felt just ‘fit’ the month it was assigned to.

Want to join the ride? Then come and get a bus ticket! Well, more like ‘send us an email’ at girlonthebusza@gmail.com… we’re always welcoming more creative humans.

Here’s to a colourful 2021: filled with new stories, poems, articles and different shades of quirkiness🏳️‍🌈

Sleep on your bed, not on DAY6.
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#STORYTIME: Confessions of a Teenage Body Shamer: Chapter 2

If mom knew Kasey was my partner, she’d probably have thrown a fit and rushed to my school the next day to complain and demand me a new partner. Which I guess wouldn’t have been that bad… but it’d sure have been embarrassing.

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Read Chapter 1 of ‘Confessions of a Teenage Body Shamer’ here.

When I got home after cheerleading practice the next day, I found my mom in the lounge working out. The furniture was moved aside to create an open space at the centre of the room. An old work out video played on the television and she effortlessly followed the instructor whilst looking over at me. 

“Hey, honey,” she greeted. I smiled politely and proceeded to make my way through the lounge towards my room. 

All I wanted to do was fall back onto my bed and stay there for the rest of the day, especially after the crucial practice Katie put us through. Mom, however, stopped me before I even reached the stairs. “Emma I think you should grab a yoga mat and join in,” I tried hard not to roll my eyes at her disapproving tone. “That cheerleading uniform seems a bit too tight.”

Instead of retorting, which I really wanted to do, I did as I was told and placed a yoga mat right next to her. I quickly got into the same position as her and just fell in with the work out.

“I heard from Katie’s mom that you guys got a project today, but you and Katie aren’t partners?” 

Mom’s laser-like eyes were focused on me and yet she never even wavered in the workout position she was in. I, on the other hand, could feel my arms and my legs wobbling.

“Yes, we couldn’t choose our own partners.”

“Well, then who’s your partner?”

“Just this new girl,” I lied. 

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If mom knew Kasey was my partner, she’d probably have thrown a fit and rushed to my school the next day to complain and demand me a new partner. Which I guess wouldn’t have been that bad… but it’d sure have been embarrassing.

Besides that, Katie thought that the project would be a great advantage to get some leverage over Kasey, I obviously couldn’t have agreed more but I was a bit anxious about how I was going to get said leverage.

“Oh, okay,” mom said and got up from the yoga mat to switch off the workout video. I stood up myself, trying hard to catch my breath before she noticed I was panting. She gave me a once over before walking towards the kitchen. “Dinner will be ready in an hour.” 

When she finally left, I felt like I could breath again. My phone went off with a notification and I checked it to see a text from none other than Kasey, herself.

Image from medium.com

I sighed when I saw her name was changed from Kasey to Fatty K. Katie must have done it. I made my way to my room while checking the message.

If you’re free we should start with the project tomorrow. I could go to your house or you come to mine?

I closed my room door, fell onto my bed and replied.

Your house.

An hour later I was sitting at the dinner table with my mom, trying to force down the salad she had made. 

“Where’s dad?” I asked in order to make small talk but it was shut down almost immediately.

“Working late.”

The atmosphere was so awkward but I guess I should’ve been used to it by then. 

I envied my dad for being able to escape having dinner with us. I was mad at him for leaving me alone with my mom when he knew exactly how unbearing and controlling she could be.

I imagined him sitting at his desk in his office or being at a restaurant, just eating anything that he wanted without having anyone control what he ate because of the amount of calories in it. 

“Why aren’t you eating?” Mom’s stern voice knocked me out of my thoughts. I looked up to see her icy gaze on me. I quickly smiled and shoved a few pieces of lettuce into my mouth. 

That night, when I went to bed, I prayed that the rest of the school year went by quickly so that I could just get away from all of it…

[To be continued…]

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Thanks for reading! GirlOnTheBus is powered by a strong, sassy group of women with a love for writing and sharing stories. If you know of someone in your community doing amazing things for themselves or others, let us know! You can tag us in posts on social media with #girlonthebusblog or send us an email under the GOT SOMETHIN’ TO SAY tab. So easy! We look forward to hearing about the talented and simply stellar individuals across the globe.

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The 2020 Bus Ride: Our Year in Review 🚌

A review of everything we’ve done together on the bus this year.

2020 has been a wild (unexpectedly long) bus ride for all of us: we’ve hit lots of bumps on the road, but we’ve managed to have a little fun regardless.

This year we tried out, and added, a few new things: new, talented writers; new SPOOPY posts for October; posting once a week; lots and lots of poetry and short stories. It’s (semi-) safe to say that 2020 was our fullest bus ride yet and we’re super thankful for that.

To prepare for 2021, and the ideas we’ve got stacked up, here’s a review of everything we’ve done together on the bus this year.

P.S. Authors who do not have their own profiles on GOTB have Italicised names.

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We looked at lots of things we liked

Continue reading “The 2020 Bus Ride: Our Year in Review 🚌”
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#RIME-TIME: The poem I should’ve written

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E/N: The poem is self-explanatory, so I felt the writer didn’t need to add the usual little explanation/motivation to accompany it.

Written by ‘The Traveller’

The poem I should’ve written, should’ve been about her.

3 years ago she wrote me a letter, telling me how she felt. Lord knows I felt the same but my bloodshot eyes made me go insane.

My bloodshot eyes infected my mind and made me feel unworthy.

Brought back to life and felt so dizzy…

The next day I left. I should’ve said something sooner… 

I should’ve told her, I’m falling in love with the person before me. Should’ve told her I don’t want to leave, I’m too young and it’s too early. 

Took the journey and felt regret, upon seeing my hometown once again. 

A few months went by, I should’ve asked why she’d been so quiet… 

Tortured by solitude, my thoughts left in silence. Not physical but performing emotional self-violence. Destroying myself with narcotics partnered with ciders. Smile on my face as I entertain backstabbers and liars. 

I came home. I should’ve ran to her… 

I spoke to her that night, texting back and forth as I lay on the floor, hoping, praying she’d come through the door. I should’ve told her I missed her I should’ve told her I cared. 

I couldn’t let her fall for me, I was too weak. 

I kept my distance to protect her, deflect her, almost to reject her. When I saw her again in person I melted, but melted in silence. 

We stopped speaking. I should’ve said something… 

Again she was in my sight. Not in my circle. In the distance, her smile not the same, her eyes still so bright. I think about her every day and every single night…. 

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Thanks for reading! GirlOnTheBus is powered by a strong, sassy group of women with a love for writing and sharing stories. If you know of someone in your community doing amazing things for themselves or others, let us know! You can tag us in posts on social media with #girlonthebusblog or send us an email under the GOT SOMETHIN’ TO SAY tab. So easy! We look forward to hearing about the talented and simply stellar individuals across the globe.

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Watching the Stars, Beneath the Stars

The Galileo Open Air Cinema is the perfect spot for a variety of experiences.

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The Galileo Open Air Cinema is the perfect spot to: catch up with friends, tell your crush you ‘wanna be more than friends’ or in our case – a classic girls’ night out. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the South African economy like never before and The Galileo (unfortunately) was no different.

Just like other businesses, they’ve had to adapt – and they have!

If you’ve been sleeping on this once in a lifetime experience, please get your mask on, apply some hand sanitiser and get in your car – because this place is everything!

Founded by Huenu Solsona, The Galileo Open Air Cinema provides the coziness of cuddling under a blanket of stars (and a literal blanket) whilst watching a wholesome movie, with a steaming hot shawarma and buttery popcorn. As you might have gathered from the name, the cinema is outside, situated at some of Cape Town’s most stunning nature-inspired venues.

However, in this manner, they were unable to ensure that Covid-19 health regulations could be met. Thus, they introduced The Galileo Open Air Cinema 2.0… Drive-In Cinema!

If you’ve been to a traditional drive-in cinema, this is really no different. But if you’re like me, and had only ever heard of them – then this is a definite must!

I’ve had the great pleasure of speaking to Huenu numerous times about her passion for movies and creating great experiences, and you feel that as soon as you drive in to the venue.

At the entrance, you’re greeted by some of the friendliest staff members ever – I love those guys! You’re then handed an informational sheet that includes rules and guidelines, and the radio frequency you need to flood your car with crisp movie audio.

With the original Galileo Picnic, patrons could walk from one food vendor to another – socializing with the vendors and fellow movie goers. In the case of the Drive-In, you pre-order your food online and collect it all wrapped up just for you (their are Halaal foods available). And if you’re into bringing some tangy lemon cheesecake or sushi, bring your own food from home. However, no alcohol is allowed on the premises.

They have since reopened their Picnic version after South Africa lessened its COVID-19 restrictions, allowing for more people to attend public spaces and gatherings. But this was not all! The Galileo aims to constantly impress and they plan to do just that with their latest addition to the stunning family – The Galileo Royale!

The Galileo Royale is an exclusive screening experience with welcome drinks, a private concert, mouth-watering foods, intimate viewing spaces and a night of luxury! This version is perfect if you’re in the mood to treat that very special someone. Although, I would gladly take myself for this (minus the welcome drinks LOL).

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The general genre of movies available is wholesome family-friendly movies – with a few exceptions here and there, like Pretty Woman or Dirty Dancing. However, even movies that I didn’t know the name of happened to make me laugh, cry and feel good!

My absolute favourite was watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding with my sisters. It was amazing: the weather was cold and lightly raining, but we huddled inside my mom’s car!

I genuinely have only good reviews of The Galileo Open Air Cinema. The staff are attentive, friendly and warm, and the atmosphere is sweet, fun and comfortable. Plus, the movies make you feel all the things!

Now what about price? Or location? Well, all that can be found on their website https://thegalileo.co.za/ or check out their Instagram page for updates on weekly screenings and venues.

This post was not sponsored by The Galileo Open Air Cinema, but darn it they are so frikkin cool I just needed to write a post about them!

Thanks for reading! GirlOnTheBus is powered by a strong, sassy group of women with a love for writing and sharing stories. If you know of someone in your community doing amazing things for themselves or others, let us know! You can tag us in posts on social media with #girlonthebusblog or send us an email under the GOT SOMETHIN’ TO SAY tab. So easy! We look forward to hearing about the talented and simply stellar individuals across the globe.

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#RIME-TIME: Just a Dream

“This was me taking a step towards understanding that people aren’t the fantasies you create about them.”

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Image taken from Pinterest: https://pin.it/7Hr9f61

From the writer: “This was me taking a step towards understanding that people aren’t the fantasies you create about them.”

Just a dream

in my dream, you were holding me 

your rough, calloused hands gently

held my cheeks as if i were made of

glass and with one wrong move,

you could shatter me.

in my dream, you were perfect

you were funny, but never over-stepped

the boundaries i had put up so long ago

you were kind, but never too kind

to avoid people walking over you.

in my dream, she was not there and

your heart did not belong to her

you did not sing her praises at every opportunity

you did not tell me about how pretty she was 

or how much you wished she was yours.

in my dream, you told me you’d

choose me over everyone and anything

you told me that even though your heart had been broken 

more times than what you could count, 

even though it’s barely being held together by a delicate string,

you’d still give it to me.

and in that moment

i believed you,

everything was okay.

but it was just a dream .

~ Written by Anonymous

Thanks for reading! GirlOnTheBus is powered by a strong, sassy group of women with a love for writing and sharing stories. If you know of someone in your community doing amazing things for themselves or others, let us know! You can tag us in posts on social media with #girlonthebusblog or send us an email under the GOT SOMETHIN’ TO SAY tab. So easy! We look forward to hearing about the talented and simply stellar individuals across the globe.

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#HORROR-SHORROR: Shadow of The Night

Though bittersweet, this is the final installment for our month of spoopy!

E/N: Though bittersweet, this is the final installment for our month of spoopy! Let’s give a huge round of applause to these amazing writers👏🏼

I hope you’ve enjoyed these few stories written by our amazing spoopy writers, and that you continue to check out their posts in future. For more spoopy posts, check out the #HORROR-SHORROR tag.

Tara has never liked Halloween.

She detested everything to do with Halloween. As a matter of fact, she thought the entire concept was ridiculous. Who even decided to dedicate an entire month towards this charade? Her dislike included even horror movies – she thought they were just too nonsensical and predictable.

She was seen as the odd one out of her family, because her entire family absolutely loved Halloween, more than any other holiday. They constantly teased and pestered her with scary stories.

On the 31 October, after being assigned the duty of handing candy to the trick or treaters for the entire day, Tara couldn’t wait to get to bed and fall asleep. She was excited to see Halloween come to an end.

That night she got ready for bed earlier than usual, put on her comfiest pyjama’s and went about doing her nightly routine. When she finished, she got into bed, eager to fall asleep and wake up the next morning.

When Tara woke up again, it was because of a sound that she heard coming from downstairs. She sat up, a bit confused; she was usually a deep sleeper. The clock on her bedside table read 01:12 a.m. She decided to go back to sleep, but when she heard the noise again – louder this time – it made her jump.

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Frowning, she decided to check what the noise was. She got out of bed and slowly made her way towards the bedroom door. Cautiously, she opened the door; afraid she might make even more noise and wake everyone else up. But when she opened the door, she immediately froze.

Instead of seeing her brother’s closed bedroom door, as she was supposed to, she looked straight into a dark abyss…


Fearfully jumping, she slammed the door closed. She leaned against the door, panting. Her heart beating so fast she was scared she might go into cardiac arrest. She shut her eyes and repeated the words “this is just a dream”, and “wake up” several times. When she opened her eyes again, she let out a breath before slowly opening her bedroom door.


This time, however, instead of looking into a dark abyss, she was staring into a living room that looked to be abandoned. The furniture was dusty and covered in cobwebs. Though wanting to shut the door and just crawl back into bed, her feet carried her into the living room.

The door slammed shut behind her, giving her a shock. She ran back and pulled on the door knob, but it seemed to have locked by itself. She turned around and looked around the room. On the wall opposite her, she noticed a red handprint – walking closer to inspect it. A chill vibrated through her body and she realized that it was bloody. Slowly, the blood still dripped to the floor. She pulled at her hair and quickly backed away from the wall. 


What was going on?


A door slammed open, making her gasp. There, by the door, were stairs leading upward. Mustering up all of her courage, Tara slowly proceeded up the stairs. With every step she took, the stairs creaked louder and her anxiety increased. There was another door at the top of the stairs, but this wasn’t what made her stop dead in her tracks.

In front of the door stood a tall figure. He was cloaked in black and it looked like his feet weren’t touching the ground. That still wasn’t the scariest part, though. The scariest part was that his huge, glowing red eyes were looking directly at her. Tara turned around, preparing to go back downstairs, but, to her surprise, the tall figure appeared at the bottom of the stairs as well. 


She wanted to break down right then and there.


The figure approached her and she backed up, scared. He then stretched out his cloak covered hand. Seeing no other option, Tara put her hand in his. He led her towards the door further up the stairs, and she closed her eyes, afraid of what she’ll see.

The door creaked open and when she heard the screaming, her eyes snapped open. In front of her, lay a mass of soulless bodies, piled on top of one another. In sync, the corpses turned and slowly crawled towards her.

That’s when she realized that the dark figure disappeared. She frantically ran to the door and opened it but not before one of the corpses scratched her leg. Wincing, Tara leapt out of the door, only to fall into midair. 


She closed her eyes and screamed, but then plunged onto her bed. It was just a dream, yet it felt so real – too real. She could still feel the pain in her leg from where the corpse scratched her. Observing her leg, her heart started beating faster when she saw three deep scars with blood leaking out of them.

Footsteps were then heard coming from outside her bedroom and moments later her door slammed open and the dark figure entered her room, bringing a gust of wind with him. Tara screamed so loud, she felt the ground shake. 

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“Tara!” She heard her mom shout. “Tara, wake up!” Her eyes snapped open and she saw both her parents and her brother standing in her room. She noticed the scars on her legs disappeared, but she could still vaguely feel the pain. “Are you okay?” Her mom asked, concerned. Tara nodded, and mustered up a small smile.


“Yeah, it was just a nightmare,” she assured them. 


Yet, the entire time she spoke to them, she maintained eye contact with the tall, glowing-red-eyed figure standing behind her door…


Thank you so much to our writers and readers for supporting this spoopy month – I’m sure we’ll have more #HORROR-SHORROR posts in future! Now, it’s time to say goodbye to this month of spoopy, and welcome back out usual random quirkiness✨

Thanks for reading! GirlOnTheBus is powered by a strong, sassy group of women with a love for writing and sharing stories. If you know of someone in your community doing amazing things for themselves or others, let us know! You can tag us in posts on social media with #girlonthebusblog or send us an email under the GOT SOMETHIN’ TO SAY tab. So easy! We look forward to hearing about the talented and simply stellar individuals across the globe.

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Cape Town, Western Cape
South Africa
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#HORROR-SHORROR: The Killings of Everdale: Chapter 2

Here comes the second spoopy chapter of The Killings of Everdale.

To read The KIllings of Everdale: Chapter 1, click here. To read more spoopies, click on the #HORROR-SHORROR tag!

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Taken from Unsplash.com/@nbb_photos

Dried blood.

Why was there blood on my hands and better yet, whose blood was it?

Could it be Bruce’s? Mary’s? Could it be my own?

I frantically started feeling my body in search of any scratches or wounds that I may have had – nothing.

“What’s wrong?” Eileen asked as she looked up at me with fear in her eyes. “You’re scaring me”, she whimpered, her eyes glossy.

“Oh, I’m sorry honey. It’s just, something feels off about this.” I said questioningly.

“What?”

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“I don’t understand what you mean ‘off’. Do you mean that their deaths are questionable or how they died?” she said, starting to shake.

“That’s not what I meant.” I sigh.

“I just mean that-

“Ladies and gentlemen, if you all could be so kind as to leave the premises and go back home. I’m sure that we, as the police, can handle this without you all hovering around us”, one of the police officers announced through his loud-speaker.

“Let’s go, Eileen. We don’t need to stay here anymore. Let the police do their work, ok?” I said reassuringly.

She looked up at me and I could see the anger and sadness in her eyes. I could tell that my statement made her upset, but I didn’t have time for that right then.

“Let’s go”, I said sternly. She gripped my shirt and just nodded, that’s my signal to start walking.

We arrived at our house and Eileen opened up our door with shakey hands.

“Honey, about what I said earlier. What I meant to say was-

“I’m going to bed”,she said plainly.

“I meant to say that their deaths feel random and out of place, y’know?”

She stopped walking up the stairs and looked back at me. Her eyes looked emotionless and tired.

woman walking downstairs
Taken from Unsplash.com/@yxvi

“Andrew. I get it, OK? I get it. Let’s just go sleep and figure this out later on, alright?” she said plainly.

“What’s with the sudden change of emotions, huh? First you bite my head off for saying my opinion and then the minute I do say what I meant, you back off and all of a sudden just don’t care?! ” I shouted angrily.

Eileen carried on up the stairs and I ran after her. Pulling her back by her wrist, I pushed her against our bedroom door.

“Tell me. Is it something I did?” I asked her.

“Let go of me” she says, emotionlessly.

She kept her face turned away from me and kept trying to get out of my grasp.

“I said, let me go!”she screamed in my face, but I just tightened my grasp on her wrists.

“Eileen. Baby. Don’t be like this. I’m just trying to understand why you’re being like this over the neighbours deaths?”

I let go of her wrists and slid my hands down to hers, rubbing her knuckles reassuringly.

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“I’m sorry, it’s just – it’s just bringing up some stuff that happened when I was younger.” she said with tears in her eyes.

A tear rolled down her cheek and next thing I knew, she was crying again. I brought my left hand to the back of her head and pulled her into my chest.

She gripped the back of my shirt and carried on crying on my chest. I held her tighter and continued to just stand there.

Once she had calmed down, I brushed her hair out of her face and smiled at her.

“Do you feel better now?” I asked as I looked into her tired eyes.

She nodded and buried her face into my chest again.

“Let’s get into bed and sleep. We can just rest for the whole day and start unpacking the day after. Hmm?” She nodded into my chest and I just chuckled.

I opened the door and walked her backwards to the bed. We gently fell onto the bed and continued hugging.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.jpeg

You forgot to wash your hands, Andrew.

Why are you still here?

C’mon, Andrew. *chuckle*

Shut up. Let me sleep.

What was that nonsense you sprouted about their deaths being random. You should know that you just did it because you found them annoying.

Shut up. Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.

Of course it’s random. You just killed them after meeting them. How else is it not random.

Shutupshutupshutupshutupshutuoshutupshutupshutp

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha or did you just say that so your wife wouldn’t suspect the other neighbours?!

SHUT UP!

Or did you say it, so that your wife doesn’t suspect you?

No, you’re wrong.

Am I? *chuckle*

What do you want from me? Just leave me alone.

All I want from you, is to give in to your desires. I know you want to kill everything and everyone.

No. No, no, no, no, no, no

Everyone… your high-school bullies, your alcoholic father, your absent mother, your dreadful parent-in-laws and, this also includes-

NOOOOOOOOOOOO! DON’T SAY IT!

your wife! Haha


To be continued…

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Thanks for reading! GirlOnTheBus is powered by a strong, sassy group of women with a love for writing and sharing stories. If you know of someone in your community doing amazing things for themselves or others, let us know! You can tag us in posts on social media with #girlonthebusblog or send us an email under the GOT SOMETHIN’ TO SAY tab. So easy! We look forward to hearing about the talented and simply stellar individuals across the globe.

Cape Town, Western Cape
South Africa

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#RIME-TIME: The Clouds II

I wrote The Clouds as a two part story/poem; perhaps I’ll continue their story when I’m not questioning my life amongst uni work (r.i.p). If you’d like to read more of the spoopy posts, make sure to check out the #HORROR-SHORROR tags!

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With October in full swing, I hope everyone is having a splendidly spoopy time👻. With that said, if you’ve read my article introducing this spoopy month, you’ll have noticed my sneaky insert of The Clouds I at the end (hehe self-promotion).

I wrote The Clouds as a two part story/poem; perhaps I’ll continue their story when I’m not questioning my life amongst uni work (r.i.p). If you’d like to read more of the spoopy posts, make sure to check out the #HORROR-SHORROR tags!

Without further ado, here’s The Clouds II:

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P.S: Because I’m extra, and because I can’t just write simple poems, it has some theological/over-the-top metaphors… please do not let this change your perception of clouds🙂

The Clouds II

A rumble

A rip

A screech, banshee cry

Dimlit terror, crackling smite:

brimstone to the believers

earthful bliss to the heathens

The Gods have awoken.

Come now, run

hide

“there is no escape”

The hounds will find you

blood curdling, sweat trickling instances

shrouded colourless to extinct your terror

I still find you.

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Thanks for reading! GirlOnTheBus is powered by a strong, sassy group of women with a love for writing and sharing stories. If you know of someone in your community doing amazing things for themselves or others, let us know! You can tag us in posts on social media with #girlonthebusblog or send us an email under the GOT SOMETHIN’ TO SAY tab. So easy! We look forward to hearing about the talented and simply stellar individuals across the globe.

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Cape Town, Western Cape
South Africa
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#HORROR-SHORROR: The Gravestone: A Short Horror

It had been a week since he had died – the police and coroner couldn’t come up with an appropriate ‘Cause Of Death’. This wasn’t humanly possible, for a man to have each of his fingers twisted around, his palms split in two, his face disfigured and his body… twisted like a soaked towel.

Taken from unsplash.com/@dibert

It was a cold winter’s day; the wind howling, trees rustling in the distance, the shadow of night approaching. But grief had a grip of steel on her heart and it wasn’t about to release her just yet.

It had been a week since he had died – the police and coroner couldn’t come up with an appropriate ‘Cause Of Death’. This wasn’t humanly possible, for a man to have each of his fingers twisted around, his palms split in two, his face disfigured and his body… twisted like a soaked towel. The police were unable to provide an appropriate report other than “disfigured corpse found in resident’s apartment. Cause Of Death is unknown”

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But she knew, oh yes she knew, what had mutilated her lover. She knew, because she had heard tales of the horrific beast – the evil spirit – the ghoul appropriately nicknamed “EL DESFIGURAR” “THE DISFIGURED.

“Known for mutilating victims in their sleep. By the time you realize it has you, it’ll be too late to cry for help. With the sound of creaking wood, the cracking of bones and the stench of decomposing flesh, the ice-cold hands of death gently wrap around your neck.

Once paralysed with fear, all you can do is watch in horror as your legs begin to snap backwards, your kneecaps bend inwards and your joints work like that of a flamingo. You’ll want to scream, but your throat will be laying in the palms of your hands. Your back snaps as your body twists like a wet cloth being strained, and finally, your fingers snap backwards, your palms split open, and death himself, will pity you.”

Taken from unsplash.com/@martinadams

As she sat there, mourning her dead lover, she heard the creaking of wood, the sound of snapping bones and got a whiff freshly decomposing flesh. Struck with fear, she snapped around to catch a glimpse of her dead lover before her – a bloodstained smile and sad pale eyes.

For a brief moment, it felt as though a sword had pierced her heart… and then he was gone.

Fear and adrenaline now filled her veins. She had to get out: get away from the madness, but as she turned to run, the shadow of night covered the sky, blocking out the pale light of the moon. A thin layer of ice-cold mist blanketed the ground.

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She heard it again – that menacing sound, echoing all around her. She needed to escape, but with no light to guide her, and a sickening feeling deep down in her stomach, she felt her way blindly through the graveyard, always stopping to listen for those menacing sounds.

She reached out one final time and felt something – it was cold, but firm, thin and… reaching out further, she felt more of them. She had made it towards the exit. Freedom was within her reach, but as she pushed against the bars, she fell to the ground. It was all in her head.

She sat down, tears flowing down her beautiful face, the tears warming up her face as the cold wind blew. Her lips dry, now moistened by her tears and layered thinly with the taste of salt. Helpless and alone, she got to her aching feet, and stumbled blindly through the dark once more.

Taken from unsplash.com/@8moments

She finally collapsed, exhausted, and stuck her head against a tombstone. Blood oozed out from her wound, but she didn’t care. She was too tired to pay any attention to the fresh wound. Then she heard it. Fear flowed through her veins. It was there. So was her newly deceased lover, who extended a mutilated hand.

She saw the smile he had on his face. Suddenly the moon lit up his face; she smelled decomposing flesh, heard the creaking of wood and the snapping of bones. She closed her eyes and within moments… she felt… nothing.

SADNESS IS OFTEN THE DEATH OF HAPPINESS.

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Thanks for reading! GirlOnTheBus is powered by a strong, sassy group of women with a love for writing and sharing stories. If you know of someone in your community doing amazing things for themselves or others, let us know! You can tag us in posts on social media with #girlonthebusblog or send us an email under the GOT SOMETHIN’ TO SAY tab. So easy! We look forward to hearing about the talented and simply stellar individuals across the globe.

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Cape Town, Western Cape
South Africa
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It’s time for a little Spoopiness 🎃

While the opinions surrounding celebrating Halloween vary, we thought it may be a good time for our #HORROR-SHORROR writers to take the stage and shine in all their glory.

Taken from unsplash.com/@sasotusar

With bright yellows, pastel blues and pinks, and flower patterns, it is time for GirlOnTheBus to take a darker turn – after all, October is Halloween Month. While the opinions surrounding celebrating Halloween vary, we thought it may be a good time for our #HORROR-SHORROR writers to take the stage and shine in all their glory.

Since October just so happens to be the month of Spoopy, we hope you will enjoy the few stories being told on this month’s GOTB bus rides (hehe I think I’ll coin this for the posts on GOTB). You can expect gory, bloody, gut-wrenching, bloodcurdlingly horrific stories and posts this month – no more niceness…

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But don’t worry, we’ll be returning to our quirky, chirpy, and bright selves once the October phase of our blog is over! We do hope that you will enjoy our #HORROR-SHORROR theme for this month, and that you’ll come out still sane afterwards😊.

If you, or anyone you know, would like to submit any poems, stories, drabbles, articles etc. for October-spoopy (or any other time) then please contact us, or reach us on our email girlonthebusza@gmail.com.

To kick-off this spoopy month, and end the annoyingly bright September, here’s the first installment of my poem duo, The Clouds, as a treat:

The Clouds I

Passing through the sky – jolly, merry.

A laugh, not a cry, not a waving goodbye

shaking hands “hey how are you”.

See you at the overcast!

Growing growing

cloudlets moaning

“time to go home”

… before the gods arrive.

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Thanks for reading! GirlOnTheBus is powered by a strong, sassy group of women with a love for writing and sharing stories. If you know of someone in your community doing amazing things for themselves or others, let us know! You can tag us in posts on social media with #girlonthebusblog or send us an email under the GOT SOMETHIN’ TO SAY tab. So easy! We look forward to hearing about the talented and simply stellar individuals across the globe.

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#STORYTIME: Confessions of a Teenage Body Shamer: Chapter 1

I can think of an overall of three people that had left my school, Preston High, all due to bullying; mainly body shaming. Funny thing is, I was involved in all of those situations.

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Do you believe in fate, or destiny? Or do you believe that every decision you make in your life determines your future?

I guess I’m not really sure what I believe in. For most of my life I’ve been told what to do or what to believe in.

I can think of an overall of three people that had left my school, Preston High, because of bullying.

Funny thing is, I was involved in all of those situations.

12,728 High School Building Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free ...
Photo taken from fstop123 on istockphoto.com

In ninth grade, we had what was most probably the hottest day at school yet, and Patty Leviton came to school in a red and black striped tank top and shorts. My friends found it disgusting.

They said that she had flabs under her arms that shouldn’t be shown to anyone at anytime. They said that it should be illegal for people “like her” to even wear shorts. They said that she was too “overweight” to be taken seriously in that get-up.

I laughed along with them, agreeing to everything they said – as always.

That day in the cafeteria, my best friend, Katie, publicly humiliated Patty in front of everyone. There was this moment of silence where Katie looked over at me expectantly, and then everyone looked at me.

I had so many choices to choose from…

I could’ve stood up for Patty in that moment, but then I’d risk losing my friends. So, I made the easiest choice; I stood up and poured my entire soda over Patty’s head.

Photo from commons.wikimedia.org

The same kind of thing happened to Jack Melton and Sarah Umen.

We made fun of Jack for being the skinniest kid in our school. We bullied him on a daily basis: calling him all kinds of names, taking pictures of him and making him the joke of the school website. Laughing at him as he walked past us.

It took Jack a total of four weeks before he left Preston – the quickest yet.

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Sarah lasted a lot longer at the school, although I’m pretty sure she lost her dignity before that. We bullied her for being overweight, for so long.

Katie and I once caught her in the bathroom after lunch, retching so hard in one of the bathroom stalls, I was sure her intestines would’ve come out if she tried any harder.

Katie, who was trying so hard not to laugh, motioned for me to take my phone out and record her. Again, I could’ve said no, but instead I put on a smug smile and did exactly as she said.

The video footage got about 400 views on the first night it was uploaded onto our website and I was praised by my friends for the following few weeks.

Taken from Robert Brookes and Associates article on pinterest.com

Even after all the remorse and guilt I felt for doing all those things, I never once stood up for myself and I never once let people know how I felt about it. Even though it made me seem heartless to most people. Until Kasey Hopman.

At the start of eleventh grade, she was our schools new resident “fat girl”. Yet, everytime we brought her down or bullied her or commented on her weight, she’d smile and walk away with her head held high.

To say I hated her, would be an understatement because I loathed her. She thought she could just walk away like she owned the place.

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One day, in biology, we got a project that we had to do with a partner. I looked at Katie and smiled. But my smile immediately dropped when our teacher said that she’d be choosing the partners.

Imagine my astonishment when she partnered me up with no other than Kasey Hopman.

“Hi, Emma,” Kasey said with a smile as she plopped down in the seat next to me. I could feel the steam leaving my ears.

Everything got worse when Ms Perrish announced that we would be partners for the rest of the year.

Kasey turned to me, this time with a smug look on her face, “This should be fun.”

I banged my head against the desk because I already knew it was going to be a long year…

To be continued…

Thanks for reading! GirlOnTheBus is powered by a strong, sassy group of women with a love for writing and sharing stories. If you know of someone in your community doing amazing things for themselves or others, let us know! You can tag us in posts on social media with #girlonthebusblog or send us an email under the GOT SOMETHIN’ TO SAY tab. So easy! We look forward to hearing about the talented and simply stellar individuals across the globe.

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#COLLAB: Practical Ways to Limit Screen Time for Young Children

Many of us can’t imagine a life involving limiting screen time for our kids. However, there are certain benefits in limiting screen time for the development of the child for their emotional and physical well-being. These are a few things that can motivate and guide you to limit screen time for your child.

GIF from dribbble.com/mraza

Written by Fatima Siddiqa Mohamedali

Many of us can’t imagine a life involving limiting screen time for our kids. However, there are certain benefits in limiting screen time for the development of the child for their emotional and physical well-being.

Below are a few things that can motivate and guide you to limit screen time for your child.

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Having the correct mindset is key.

Just like the passing of clouds in the sky, the length of time your kids are young is limited and will pass by fast. As a result, you want to think about ways to create fond bonding memories for your child that they will remember for the rest of their lives.

Think about your most cherished memories from your childhood and whether they all involved staring at a screen.

person holding white and gray stone
Photo from unsplash.com/@sigmund

Imagine the concept of creating your own television show for your child.

While cooking, let them watch you (as it’s much better and more relevant than having them watch a television show) plus there are ways for making it interactive and having them help you as well.

Another idea is creating a cleaning and home organizing show for your child (with the option of making it interactive for your child as well). There is so much learning that can take place in engaging your child in your day-to-day tasks.

child eating desert
Photo from unsplash.com/@kylenieber

Planning is sometimes helpful when wanting to limit screen time for your child.

If there is a workshop/online program catered to your child, see if there is a way you can watch a recording of it on your own. As well, try to extract the core messages in it and adopt a similar learning experience for your child without having your child look at a screen.

Or watch the actual program that you extracted the information from. For example, you can use puppets to illustrate key concepts to a child in a fun way or use a storyboard as well.

red and grey toy
Photo from unsplash.com/@markusspiske

Hopefully by the end of this article you have found some inspiration to come up with at least one way to limit screen time for your child…

Thanks for reading! GirlOnTheBus is powered by a strong, sassy group of women with a love for writing and sharing stories. If you know of someone in your community doing amazing things for themselves or others, let us know! You can tag us in posts on social media with #girlonthebusblog or send us an email under the GOT SOMETHIN’ TO SAY tab. So easy! We look forward to hearing about the talented and simply stellar individuals across the globe.

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#RIME-TIME: Tsunamis

From the editor: I read Tsunamis coupled with Mirrors; where each one could be a possible continuation of the other. I love poems with comparisons to the ocean, because I think the ocean carries a depth that suits that of emotions really well. Let me not get senti right now…

From the editor: I read Tsunamis coupled with Mirrors; where each one could be a possible continuation of the other. I love poems with comparisons to the ocean, because I think the ocean carries a depth that suits that of emotions really well🌊. Let me not get senti right now…

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By Anonymous

Tsunamis

He was blinded by love.

In her eyes

he saw the world:

a world radiating with sunshine

where beautiful waves curled

“Tsunami” by Patryk Mogilnicki

But without him by her side,

the world he knew grew cold.

The peaceful waves

rapidly turned into

Tsunamis

Flooding his world.

Thanks for reading! GirlOnTheBus is powered by a strong, sassy group of women with a love for writing and sharing stories. If you know of someone in your community doing amazing things for themselves or others, let us know! You can tag us in posts on social media with #girlonthebusblog or send us an email under the GOT SOMETHIN’ TO SAY tab. So easy! We look forward to hearing about the talented and simply stellar individuals across the globe.

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#RIME-TIME: Mirrors

Mirrors: When reading this poem for the first time, I imagined a conversation between 2 people in a relationship – until I read the final 2 lines. Reading the poem as a whole spoke greatly to the perceptions some of us may have about ourselves…

From the editor: when reading this poem for the first time, I imagined a conversation between 2 people in a relationship – until I read the final 2 lines. Reading the poem as a whole spoke greatly to the perceptions some of us may have about ourselves; while it’s not the cheeriest start to the September month, I loved the poem too much to not post. Let me know what you think about Mirrors down below!✨

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Written by Anonymous

Mirrors

I see you as you see me

I stand before you, begging:

let me free

you say you can see all that I am

do you really?

Because all I see –

is what you show me

anonymous

I stare

deeper and deeper

into your blank expression

Wondering if I’m more of a friend

or a foe to you

Questioning me with self-doubt,

still wondering if I seem low to you

Then I realise…

you’re just my reflection

A mirror image of my own dark soul.

Thanks for reading! GirlOnTheBus is powered by a strong, sassy group of women with a love for writing and sharing stories. If you know of someone in your community doing amazing things for themselves or others, let us know! You can tag us in posts on social media with #girlonthebusblog or send us an email under the GOT SOMETHIN’ TO SAY tab. So easy! We look forward to hearing about the talented and simply stellar individuals across the globe.

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#HORROR-SHORROR: The Killings of Everdale : Chapter 1

We drove inside once the gates opened and carried on driving on a long-winded road. Passing by the millions of Lawson Cypress trees, shrubs trimmed to perfection and a pool the size of a football field, tennis courts that covered the land, we finally reached the first row of houses. We reached house number 13, the place we could finally call home after living with my in-laws for 7 dreadful years.

black metal fence
Taken from Unsplash.com/@littlepineco

We finally arrived at the gate that would open up to a breath-taking community of rich people: Everdale.

The gate was probably made of pure gold and had all sorts of adornments on it. Ranging from angel wings to diamond encrusted spikes on the top.

Our old red and black 1966 Mustang didn’t fit in with this neighbourhood of Rolls-Royces, Mercedes Benzes and other fancy car brands.

Yet, we drove inside once the gates opened and carried on driving on a long-winded road. Passing by the millions of Lawson Cypress trees, shrubs trimmed to perfection and a pool the size of a football field, tennis courts that covered the land, we finally reached the first row of houses.

green leafed plant
Taken from Unsplash.com/ @ivybarn

The houses were all identical – red face brick walls, dark grey roofs, white windows and doors, and yet the only thing that made them different, were the numbers on the houses starting from ‘1’.

We drove slowly down the street, past the identical houses and the few people that we saw outside, either on their porches or tending to their front gardens.

We reached house number 13, the place we could finally call home after living with my in-laws for 7 dreadful years.

We stepped out of our car and looked at the house. It looked like the other houses. Red face brick walls, dark grey roof, etc.

The movers truck stopped behind us and started unloading all of our belongings.

We unlocked the house and stepped inside.

Image taken from a Quora user: https://www.quora.com/How-do-Americans-feel-about-their-houses-being-so-identical-to-one-another

“Oh my gosh, Eileen. This place is better the second time in seeing it”, I said as I stepped closer to my wife.

“I’m sure it will look better with some furniture and our personal touch.”

After half an hour, the movers were done unloading the furniture and putting them where we wanted them to be.

The place looked amazing… even better with all of our stuff in it. Finally… our place.

Knock knock.

We turned to the door and I opened it, seeing a young couple standing with cookies in their hands.

“Hello neighbour!” chirped the woman.

“It’s nice to see that we are not the only young-ish couple here”, giggled the woman again.

“Oh how rude of us to not introduce ourselves. I’m Bruce and this is my wife Mary. We live across the road at number 12”, said the man with a friendly smile.

Houses with the number 13 sell for less in many parts of the ...
Taken from thejournal.ie

“Ah, yes, hey there. We didn’t expect to get visitors so soon”, I said jokingly.

“I’m Andrew and this is my wife Eileen. We’re from Pine Springs and we decided that it was time to finally move out of Eileen’s parents’ house.”

“Well it was nice meeting you both. We’d love to catch up with you guys some other time, right? I’m sure you guys need to get settled in first”, said Mary.

“Maybe we can talk tomorrow, since it’s the weekend and you guys can just come over around noon-ish?”

“Ummmm we’re bu-“

“Yes sure! We’ll see you guys tomorrow at your place and we’ll bring some goodies with”, Eileen said excitedly.

“Alright then! See you tomorrow neighbours!” Bruce and Mary said as they walked to their house.

Eileen returned inside, but I decided to stay standing there on the front porch, gazing at the pinkish sky and sunset.

“I’m sure we’ll like this place and the people that live here as well”

grass field
Taken from Unsplash.com/@directedbyshawn

I woke up to my wife shaking me and shouting my name.

“Andrew!”

“Wha-what’s wrong? Why did you wake me?”

I looked past her to the window and saw the flashing of red and blue lights outside.

“Honey? Why are the police here? Don’t they know it’s four in the morning?”

I looked at my wife and she seemed eager to see what was happening outside.

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I got out of our bed and went to the window. I saw a crowd placed outside of Bruce and Mary’s place.

I wonder what happened?

I stepped away from the window and grabbed my jacket hanging behind the door. My wife, grabbing her gown and phone, followed after me out the bedroom, down the stairs and out the front door.

We made sure to lock the door behind us and walked across the street.

Taken from Pinterest.com/http://grandrapidsusedcars.pfeiffer84th

As we got closer to the house, we heard some people in the crowd crying. Some whispers of “they were too young to leave”, and others asking why someone would do that.

As we neared the front of the crowd, we saw some of the people that were at the pool and tennis courts we drove past, as well as the people that were on their porches.

We wondered why they were there until we looked at the scene in front of us: Bruce’s body slumped against the door with a knife wedged into his chest, and Mary’s body strewn across the walkway of their garden, faced down with huge slashes on her back.

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There was something carved onto Bruce’s forehead. It was bloody but one could make out the words written on it.

Annoying.

“Oh lord” my wife said once she saw the scene in front of her.

She hugged me tighter and hid her crying face into my chest. I stroked her back and whispered comforting words.

I couldn’t look away from the scene in front of me.

Why did this happen? I was supposed to speak to them later that day over coffee and get to know them. Why? Why did someone do this to the friendlie-

Annoying.

I looked around at who could’ve said that.

Annoying.

There. I heard it again. Who said that? Why are they saying that?

They were so annoyingly nice.

I stopped looking for the voice, only to realise it was my own. Why was I saying that?

It’s good that they’re gone. We don’t have to deal with any annoying people anymore. It’s time you looked at the dried blood on your hands now, Andrew. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha…

What? Dried blood? I looked at my hands that were around my wife only to notice the stickiness of them. I brought the one hand up and sniffed it.

Dried blood.

[To be continued]

Thanks for reading! GirlOnTheBus is powered by a strong, sassy group of women with a love for writing and sharing stories. If you know of someone in your community doing amazing things for themselves or others, let us know! You can tag us in posts on social media with #girlonthebusblog or send us an email under the GOT SOMETHIN’ TO SAY tab. So easy! We look forward to hearing about the talented and simply stellar individuals across the globe.

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#COLLAB: Local scarf-fashion business ‘LAHAN’

LAHAN is a local scarf and accessory business in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa. Started and run by two university students, we asked them a few questions about how they started up their business and how the experience has been so far.

Taken from LAHAN’s Facebook page

LAHAN is a local scarf and accessory business based in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa. Started and run by two university students, we asked them a few questions about how they started their business and how the experience has been so far.

E/N: for those who might not know, the use of the Islamic words “Alhamdulillah” and “Inshallah” are used to give thanks and praise to Allah.

Talk us through the history of the company. The beginnings of this Cape Town-based hijab shop.

LAHAN was founded in 2019 by Aneesah and Aqeelah. We started this business out of fulfilling our own needs and found that many other women had the same need as us.

We make scarfs that are quality and affordable, with the various colours we have it is easy to match any outfit with one of our scarfs. [We] are both University students that saw the need for scarves like ours and we went for it.

Our family and friends were very supportive when we started our business and we would not have been able to get where we are today without their guidance and help.

A highlight in our business was definitely getting recognized by customers and other vendors at expos and on social media platforms.

We still have a lot to learn but Alhamdulillah, we are happy with the progress we have made.

Where did the inspiration for the brand’s name come from?

When thinking of our brand’s name, we wanted the name to be unique and intrigue customers.

LAHAN is a combination of the co-owners names; Aqeelah and Aneesah. So, it’s the end of Aqeelah’s ‘LAH’ and the beginning of Aneesah’s name ‘AN’. 

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With so many hijab-focused businesses opening, how do you stay creative and unique?

A selling point of ours is that we constantly get in new colours and a wide variety of colours. Currently, we have over 60 shades of colours. There is literally a colour for every outfit.  

Is there any particular type of hijab that is your personal favorite? Fabric or print or embellishment?

We are in love with premium chiffon and georgette material as it gives you an elegant look and drapes beautifully. The advantage of having these types of scarfs is that it is lightweight and non-slip.

Taken from LAHAN’s Facebook page

What is your go-to hijab color? The one that just makes you stand out more than the rest?

My go-to hijab colour would definitely be green: green generally is my favourite colour.

When people say the colour you wear has an impact on your mood they are 100% correct. When I wear a green LAHAN scarf it makes me feel instantly happy. 

When women buy a scarf, should they take the same time to consider how it suits them as an eyeshadow color or lipstick shade would?

Choosing a scarf colour that suits you should definitely be considered; however, it can be a rather daunting process. For this reason, at LAHAN we try our best to continuously broaden our shade range to help every woman find her perfect shade in a LAHAN scarf. 

What changes have you gone through personally while operating your business?

Starting and operating a business has taught us so much, but something we had to learn from the very beginning was to trust ourselves and our ideas and to not be afraid of taking risks.

Had we been afraid, LAHAN might not even exist today but Alhamdulillah we took the leap of faith.

We have also had to change our mindsets regarding setbacks. Owning a business has taught us that it is not always going to be a walk in the park.

There will be challenges but it is our motivation and passion for why we started this venture, as well as our faith that our business will flourish, that will keep us going and striving to do better. 

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What were some of your lowest moments and your greatest achievements?

So far Alhamdulillah, we have not had any major ‘low’ moments. As for achievements, three of the greatest would have to be:

·       Completing our first LAHAN scarfs. It was such a proud moment to have the finished product that so much hard work and perseverance was put into.

·       The official launch of LAHAN was another proud moment and getting to share the occasion with family, friends and our first ever LAHAN customers was such a humbling experience.

·       The opportunity to sell our scarfs in store, Alhamdulillah.

Let’s talk the scarves themselves, what goes into making a typical Lahan scarf?

At LAHAN, we pride ourselves in supporting and uplifting fellow local businesses. For this reason, the first step to completing a scarf is sourcing all fabrics used from local businesses.

As the owners of LAHAN, we source these fabrics ourselves, ensuring that they are quality yet affordable with a variety of colours, shades, and prints.

Once we have our fabric, each scarf is then cut to a specific length and width to suit any scarf style; from simple draping to turban styles.

The unfinished scarfs are then sent to a local seamstress for the final step of being sewn to perfection. Our label is then added to complete the LAHAN scarf. 

Were you daunted to start this venture?

It is safe to say that we were nervous to start our business as we did not know what to expect.

But as soon as we pitched the idea to our families and after receiving their support and words of advice, our new venture quickly went from nerve-wracking to the most exciting experience Alhamdulillah. 

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For girls who are considering wearing the hijab for the first time, what advice would you give them?

To our sisters in Islam who are considering wearing hijab for the first time: we know that it could be a difficult decision and even more difficult to stick to, but just the fact that you are considering it is an accomplishment in itself. Our advice to you is 4-fold:

·       Wear your hijab for the sake of Allah (swt) alone

Your intention to wear hijab should be solely for the sake of Allah (swt). Take the first step and He will take care of the rest

·       Have faith in Allah (swt)

No matter what anyone says or what others may think, always remember that your decision to wear hijab is only between you and your creator.

As long as you are striving to be closer to Allah (SWT) and your Deen (E/N: faith), no one else’s opinion matters

·       Do not be too hard on yourself

It is okay to stumble along the way, but always remind yourself of your intention and why you are doing it. Continuously ask Allah (swt) to strengthen you, He is your fiercest protector and your biggest supporter, Alhamdulillah

·       Find what works for you

There are so many ways to make hijab and dressing modestly fashionable. Find a style of hijab that you feel comfortable with and start there. 

What are some of your future plans for Lahan? Anything International?

At LAHAN, we encourage women empowerment through bold and beautiful scarfs. Because of this, we plan on having many collaborations with various amazing brands in the future.

We are also in the process of expanding our online store to strengthen our online community and eventually reach international waters: ensuring the growth of our LAHAN family, Inshallah

Taken from LAHAN’s Facebook page: their latest collab with BEAUT jewellery brand

For some good quality scarves, make sure to follow LAHAN’s Instagram and Facebook pages to keep up with their ranges, sales and more!

Thanks for reading! GirlOnTheBus is powered by a strong, sassy group of women with a love for writing and sharing stories. If you know of someone in your community doing amazing things for themselves or others, let us know! You can tag us in posts on social media with #girlonthebusblog or send us an email under the GOT SOMETHIN’ TO SAY tab. So easy! We look forward to hearing about the talented and simply stellar individuals across the globe.

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#COLLAB: First impressions last forever, or do they?

I always imagined visiting Paris and having my freshly baked croissant with coffee, wearing my red beret sitting in a café and experiencing it all. But driving from the outskirts into Paris was not what I expected to see at all!

Written by Waseema from Our French Adventure

focus photography of gray and black pigeons behind Eiffel Tower
Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia

In February 2019, we decided to drive from Strasbourg to Paris for our flight home to Cape Town. The kids were looking forward to the road trip, and we managed to squeeze in a few hours to see the Eiffel Tower before leaving. 

I was so excited to see the Eiffel Tower; hubby visited Paris twice before, so he’d seen it before me, but I wanted to experience it all for myself – the city of love; the people, the atmosphere, the food, and just immerse in the ambiance of it all.

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I always imagined visiting Paris and having my freshly baked croissant with coffee, wearing my red beret sitting in a café and experiencing it all, watching the locals — exactly how it is portrayed in the movies: all fancy schmancy.

The morning we left for Paris, it was dark, freezing cold, wet, and raining, but I was hopeful to see the Eiffel Tower. I had high expectations of how the next few hours in Paris would be, but for starters, the weather wasn’t playing along with my plans! 

After four hours of driving and sightseeing along the way, we finally arrived in Paris. I was all excited, like a small child walking into a candy store.

But driving from the outskirts into Paris was not what I expected to see at all! It was nothing like I imagined it to be and not what I saw and pictured in the movies and on the internet!

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The area we drove through looked like the slums and really not what I pictured in my mind!

We followed the GPS, and it led us straight to the Eiffel Tower, which was amazing; so big and beautiful, and I couldn’t believe that I was seeing it with my own two eyes, for real!

We managed to find underground parking (as it started to rain), so my idea of having a coffee in a café on the road fell through the cracks! When we got outside, we all got this horrible stench, which was utterly gross and not what we expected.

The month before we left for Paris, I told my friend that we were going home via Paris, and she said to me that her husband (a German guy) couldn’t stand the place because it smells and it was dirty, but that didn’t deter me from going because I wanted to experience it for myself.

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We finally managed to find our way to the Eiffel Tower. We were all cold and soaked in the rain, but we managed to get a few photos.

We drove to the airport in shock at how dirty the place was compared to Strasbourg – where we are currently living – and then with a massive disappointment in my heart, we left for Cape Town. 

Fast-forward to December 2019 when we went home via Paris again; we decided to spend two days in Paris as a DO-OVER! I firmly believe in second chances and boy oh boy were we so pleasantly surprised the second time around! *smiling from cheek to cheek*

We decided to be a bit more adventurous this time around as we travelled by train from Strasbourg to Paris.

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We got to see beautiful green landscapes, which took us about 2 hours, so no hassle of my husband having to drive and me having to stay awake as co-driver, haha.

The only downside was that we traveled with our four children, three big suitcases, with backpacks on everyone’s back!

We hopped off the TGV train, onto the Metro train in Paris and then a tram to get to our hotel – all with the help of Google Maps (thank goodness for Google Maps and Google Translate, especially in a country where they don’t speak English)!

The hotel was beautiful; exactly what we needed after a hectic day of adventure, and we took the rest of the day to just rest and recuperate. 

The following day we got up early, went down for breakfast (my children LOVED the buffet breakfast with croissants, crepes with Nutella, yogurts, and so much more) and then decided to go explore Paris on foot.

We walked from the hotel to the major tourist sights like the Arc de Triomphe, then down Champs-Élysées Avenue to the Louvre Museum and lastly to the Notre Dame Cathedral (or what’s left of it).

We slowly walked down Champs-Élysées Avenue – a shopper’s paradise! This Avenue is home to luxury brands such as Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton, Cartier, and so much more. We also saw other brands like Gap, Zara, Adidas, and Sephora, etc.

We got to experience an authentic Parisian vibe and ambiance by walking down these amazingly beautiful cobblestone streets, passing through beautiful walkways and parks, and seeing stunning architectural buildings from every period – going back to the Middle Ages to the 21st Century!

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The best way to explore and see Paris like a real Parisian is by foot, cycling, and jumping on and off the Metro: which I timed – it takes about 20 seconds from one station to the next with the Metro! How cool is that?!

Taking your car to explore really won’t do it any justice as you need to be able to go where the cars can’t go — that’s the secret!

On every road, you will find a flower shop, bakery, or a café. The smell of freshly baked baguettes, croissants, crêpes, and strong espressos, is everything!

Just thinking about it is making my mouth water, and by closing my eyes, it’s taking me back to the fantastic smells straight out of bakeries and into the streets.

Near Note Damn Cathedral, we found a halal Lebanese café, and I tasted Laban drink for the first time — it was different, and I don’t think I’ll try it again!

After a day filled with lots of walking (16 km’s to be exact!), eating crêpes, ice-cream, Doner Kebab, drinking espressos, window shopping, and just taking it all in, we made our way back to the hotel.

I left Paris with my heart gleaming with happiness and gratitude for being able to experience it all properly for a second time!

I can honestly say, I’m happy that my first impression of Paris didn’t last forever, and I replaced it with the good memories we made! 

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Remember, any city you visit in the world has two sides to it. The images you see on the internet and in the media is not necessarily what you would see in real life as these images are curated to make a place look perfect to attract tourists!

If you are planning on traveling post-COVID, then go visit a country or city you’ve never seen before.

Take it all in, make the most of it, let go of your expectations, take chances and experience the place for yourself, take every opportunity, day or experience as an adventure and treasure all the good memories! 

Be sure to check out Waseema’s blog Our French Adventure, as well as her Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for more of her adventures!

Thanks for reading! GirlOnTheBus is powered by a strong, sassy group of women with a love for writing and sharing stories. If you know of someone in your community doing amazing things for themselves or others, let us know! You can tag us in posts on social media with #girlonthebusblog or send us an email under the tab. So easy! We look forward to hearing about the talented and simply stellar individuals across the globe.

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GirlOnTheBus Bucket List! (once we beat Corona)

It’s good to have dreams, and the writers at GOTB want to share some of theirs with you. We’d love to see the wacky and wonderful ideas you come up with too!

It’s good to have dreams, and the writers at GOTB want to share some of theirs with you. Comment your bucket list must-haves down below – we’d love to see the wacky and wonderful ideas you come up with!

Photo: Zahraa Schroeder
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What is the one thing you most definitely want to do after the Covid-19 pandemic?

Aalia:

Drive to McDonald’s, greet all the staff, shake everyone’s hand and then ask for a Spicy Feast upsized to a large with a Coke, and 20 piece nuggets (jalapeno sauce is a must).

With all jokes aside, there is not a particular action I wish to do – I have just been trying to cope and find a routine in our current situation. I feel as though my mind is just used to my situation that I ask myself this question: “what do you want to do after this?’’ 

Sitting in the company of people other than my family, as much as I love them, would be really nice. I have realized that maybe if I had taken part in more activities before quarantine there would definitely be an activity that I would miss. I found out that I am quite the homebody and maybe when quarantine is over I should work on a list of things to do. 😅

Maryam:

One thing I definitely want to do after Covid-19 is delve into teenage / young adult counselling. I want to partner with secondary schools and discuss with students how I can help them with their mental wellness and other stigma attached to issues within our society. 😍😍

Zahaa

It’s hard to pinpoint one thing I have to do. Ironically, it’s the small, mundane activities I miss. Hugs from friends and family, shopping without a mask on, even working in an office surrounded by people. But if I had to choose, the one thing I really want to do once the whole thing blows over is go on a good, long road trip; hopping from one dorpie (town) to the next! I want to cruise the long road with a full on karaoke session, a lekka friend, loading on sweet, greasy munchies that are bad for you! And explore sites from the coast to the dusty open road. 🦋 

Saadiqah

When this lockdown is done I need to get my license🤣 I definitely want to spend some time with my friends, and the family I’m close to; go see a few movies, visit a few parks/beaches and have good laughs. Maybe do some focusing on my career and studies a bit more too (R.I.P UCT)😫

Kawthar

As soon as Covid-19 is over, I want to hang out with my best friends again. Like, go to the movies, or going somewhere to eat and just having fun with them.

I’d want to go to an eating place that I’ve never been to before, or just try out the halaal Roccomama’s 😅😅. I also want to go to my best friend’s house and play video games with her.

Photo: Zahraa Schroeder

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Which place do you really need to visit after the pandemic?

Aalia

A particular place doesn’t come to mind. If I close my eyes I see somewhere leafy, that I can explore at my own pace; Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.  This is not a visit that would require too much interaction, but I feel the need and urge to explore further than the distance of my house.  I am picturing the smell of earth, wind blowing through my hijab, and my legs aching due to all the walking – but I can’t stop. Sounds so peaceful and simple. 🌹🌹🌹🌹

Maryam

Weeeeeell 😃… I love this question in particular but I don’t have the funding for travel right now 😅. I sure would love to travel to new places to meet with people, experience culture and food, and most importantly speak to people about mental health.

Zahaa

As for the one place I have to visit, it’s a bit cliche but simply, the beach. I haven’t buried my feet on the golden grains for a long while – long before we even heard about the pandemic. So yes, despite the winter weather, I would still want to visit and gaze upon the vast blue ocean.🤩

Saadiqah

I really, really need to visit the beach🐚. It’s a well-known fact among my closest friends and family that I love the beach; submerging the turquoise water of Simon’s Town, or feeling the cold crisp air of Melkbos on my cheeks and nose… I want to revel in that peacefulness.

Kawthar

I think the place that I want to go to once Covid is over, is the Baxter theatre, so that I can watch a ballet there. I’d also like to go to Stellenbosch with the music department again to listen to the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra🎶.

Photo: Gafsah Martin

While we all try and survive through this pandemic, let us all stay happy and healthy; with hardship comes ease. We hope that this article may have helped you find some relief with all the stress around the passed few months – maybe make a post-pandemic bucket list for yourself and tell us about it in the comments or on our social media!

Thanks for reading! GirlOnTheBus is powered by a strong, sassy group of women with a love for writing and sharing stories. If you know of someone in your community doing amazing things for themselves or others, let us know! You can tag us in posts on social media with #girlonthebusblog or send us an email under the GOT SOMETHIN’ TO SAY tab. So easy! We look forward to hearing about the talented and simply stellar individuals across the globe.

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Coconut Water is Disgusting

Coconut water has been a trendy super-water since the early 2000s – and you can thank those yoga-heads for it. But before the sudden health craze, it was an ancient staple for many people living in parts of Southern Asia; where coconut trees produce bounteous harvests in the hot, humid climate. So… it must be amazing right? Actually, I absolutely despise it!

High in Vitamin C, antioxidants that protect the body from free radicals, and a bunch of minerals; like magnesium, calcium and potassium, and those oh-so-precious electrolytes! Coconut water has been a trendy super-water since the early 2000s – and you can thank those yoga-heads for it. But before the sudden health craze, it was an ancient staple for many people living in parts of Southern Asia; where coconut trees produce bounteous harvests in the hot, humid climate.

So… it must be amazing right? Actually, I absolutely despise it!

Derek Story / Unsplash
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Well, I won’t deny that coconut water has a multitude of health benefits. But when I poured myself a little shot glass to taste, my stomach churned and contracted more violently than a bad period cramp once it hit my lips.

‘How do people drink this stuff neat?’

Maybe it was my uncultured palate that was getting in the way of me benefitting from all those minerals? I mean, it has loads of minerals, fibre and vitamins! Of course it must be delicious.

The second swig was just as painful as the first.

I’ve read many positive reviews of the nutty aromas and sweet tasting juice, but my experience could not be further from the truth. It was, to say the least, horrid. A crossbreed between sweaty socks and salt mixed with the dirt the coconut tree grew in. From what I’ve read it is this beautiful marriage of salts and sugars in the juice that hydrate you better than any ‘ol glass of water.

This is my face after tasting it and then asking myself why I bought it! Thought Catalog / Unsplash

And I’m not alone on this, many people across the Internet have no clue ‘why the rave’!? I will give this palates-fanatic favourite a thumbs up for when it is prepared in some way. I used it in a spinach-mint and ginger smoothie, and it added this subtle sweetness to it that really balanced out the earthiness of the spinach and the warmth of the ginger.

So, should you buy yourself a few green coconuts and video yourself in slo-mo as you take a hack at it with a machete? Or even pop in to your local ‘health foods’ aisle and pay a pretty penny for a bottle of this miracle water?

I’d say, if you have the means, the curiosity and the urge to start on your ‘healthy eating’ resolutions mid-year – then go forth and drink, my lovelies! There’s honestly no harm in trying or forming your own opinion after experiencing drinking liquid insides of a baby coconut (yum).

I’ve seen so many differing opinions on coconut water and although this fruit’s water didn’t make me feel like an oranged-tanned bikini beach babe, there are others who swear by its magical properties. I want to know if you have a taste for coconut water or not – share your thoughts in the comments below and feel free to tag us on the socials too.

Instagram: @girlonthebus_za

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Thanks for reading! GirlOnTheBus is powered by a strong, sassy group of women with a love for writing and sharing stories. If you know of someone in your community doing amazing things for themselves or others, let us know! You can tag us in posts on social media with #girlonthebusblog or send us an email under the GOT SOMETHIN’ TO SAY tab. So easy! We look forward to hearing about the talented and simply stellar individuals across the globe.

Sources:

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#COLLAB: Student Troubles, Triumphs and Tests of Bravery… Part 2

As a first year student I found myself juggling between studies, adjusting to hospital life, and on the side tutoring to primary and high school learners. While filling in my calendar dates of tests, assignments, in-hospital practical tests and tutoring my students, it seemed overwhelming. Now that I look back, I don’t particularly remember being overly stressed or too worried, I just took it one day at a time; I dealt with whatever I needed to as it came.

Study and work

In radiography, as much as there was theory, there were practicals equally as difficult. Part of our practical experience is working in a hospital: second year students spend two weeks at hospital and two weeks at campus. As a first year we were not often exposed to hospital work, but this year I found myself becoming used to the pace and expectations required of us.

Adjusting to school, and then work, was not as hard as I expected it to be. I felt that doing both school and work balanced each other out quite well, but this might have been because we had not yet experienced the peak of the year (due to striking and the current quarantine).

As a first year student I found myself juggling between studies, adjusting to hospital life, and on the side tutoring to primary and high school learners. While filling in my calendar dates of tests, assignments, in-hospital practical tests and tutoring my students, it seemed overwhelming. Now that I look back, I don’t particularly remember being overly stressed or too worried, I just took it one day at a time; I dealt with whatever I needed to as it came.

Quarantine

 I wish all of the best to those who have the virus and those that had loved ones who lost their lives to it.

It has been a very sad reality, especially for us as students working in hospitals. I feel like reality only hit when we were officially told to stay indoors, and fortunately it meant not going to school or work.

The reality of my situation isn’t stressful at all, and I recognize what a privilege that is.  I have access to all our university online sources but I know this is not the reality for most others. Within my course we have not had any online classes, but course content as well as assignments given to us before the quarantine period.

Having motivation to sit with my schoolwork amongst the ‘at home distractions’ is what I am struggling with the most; because we don’t have official due dates or tests it feels like I am just supposed to revise for fun. Revising school content is very important but it is difficult to limit your series and phone time when there is so much free time now.

I have recently tried to be more productive, to be more motivated, whether it be exercise, eating better, painting, baking, cooking, religious studies or recently (trying) reading. I don’t know how that will go; I read two pages, 4 days ago, and stopped.

I also recognize that we should be patient with ourselves and take each day as it comes. With having all this time, don’t feel bad if you have been slightly unproductive. Just do what makes you happy each day – do things that keep you motivated, positive and feeling good. We can all overcome this by the will of God.

To read Part 1 of Student Troubles, Triumphs and Tests of Bravery, click here.

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#COLLAB: Student Troubles, Triumphs and Tests of Bravery… Part 1

As a 21-year-old simple, Muslim female, second year Bachelor of science Radiography student, how did I get to where I am – where am I? Well, if you really want to know, let’s start from the beginning:

As a 21-year-old simple, Muslim female, second year Bachelor of science Radiography student and wonderer, I hope that what I have to say is relatable or serves as some sort of inspiration or motivation. How did I get to where I am – where am I? Well, if you really want to know, let’s start from the beginning:

Switching courses

Matric: what an interesting and confusing time for me and, I am fairly sure, the rest of the world. I never understood why, at the mere age of 17 or 18, we had to decide what to do for the rest of your lives. There was not a direct path, or a dream, that I was trying to make a reality, but I had an idea. From as early as primary school days, I wanted to work with people: specifically a hospital setting came to mind.

I decided to apply for Medicine, but here’s the untold and honest truth: I didn’t get in. I then applied for dentistry, pharmacy and other fields that I honestly cannot remember at this point. I finally got accepted into CPUT for chemical engineering and attended school there for about a week – until UWC accepted me.

This led to two years of my life in the world of BSc in Chemical Science, a field I did not imagine myself to be in, and it came with its own difficulties and hardships.  I still had this vision of moving over into another field as I had no idea what I was to do with the degree, and I had no motivation to complete it either.

What I wish I knew then, is that it was a path set for me to learn and grasp university life and engage with people and opportunities. It was not a waste, nor a part of my life that I see with regret. With that being said, by the middle of my second year at UWC I decided to apply for Radiography at CPUT. I wanted a degree or course where I would feel proud of myself, and that I would have pride in.

There were comments and questions like, “wow, two years wasted’’, “I have never heard of Radiography”, “why?” and “we hope you like this next field so that there is not another change”. But the overwhelming support of my parents, family and friends helped me ignore those reactions, because no time is ever wasted and it is never too late to become a better version of yourself.

What is Radiography and why was I so captivated by it?

Radiography is the field focused on x-rays: we are the ones that ask you to say “cheese”, and take images of your bones and more. There are various fields in radiography: ultrasound, nuclear medicine, radiotherapy and diagnostic radiography.

smart

I chose diagnostic radiography: taking x-rays of bones, CT scans, MRI and images of x-ray fluid in the body (fluoroscopy) amongst other things.  What really captivated me was the interaction with people and the ability to assist someone in need. Radiographers don’t necessarily complete treatments, but we aid the doctor in diagnosing and treating patients.

I then started my second try at my first year of University – the decision to move over was scary. Leaving two years of my life, friendships, study groups, and other experiences, I had to start from the beginning – with nothing. What I didn’t realize was that my past experiences made me more equipped for my next university life and I adjusted quite easily.

Stay tuned for more about Aalias experiences as a student, working in the hospital, and life during quarantine to be continued in the next post “part 2”.

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#COLLAB: HOW TO HAVE THE BEST STAY-AT-HOME EID

As most of the world is under quarantine and adhering to strict social distancing, Eid too will not be celebrated as it usually is. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate – here we have laid out how to do Eid differently, given the current situation.

As the chirping birds serenade the morning sky, and you wake up to the smell of freshly baked bread bursting through every room in the house. As you shower, pick out your best abayah or thobe  for the mosque and are greeted by hugs and handshakes from friendly strangers. As you come home to a feast – breakfast, lunch, and supper. As you embrace family and friends like long lost lovers. As you snap a million pictures in your best attire. As you see the streets lined with children going door to door to fill their pockets for the reward of fasting an entire month. As you are sent into the early hours of the morning, laughing, eating, and reminiscing. You know, this is Eid.

The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live and interact. Many of the outdoor activities we are accustomed to have had to be adjusted or completely put on hold, and for the over a billion Muslims around the world, Eid this year is no exception.

Muslims have two Eid’s or ‘big holidays’ on their Islamic Calendar, with the most notable one being the Eid that is celebrated immediately after the holy month of Ramadaan: Muslims abstain from food, drink, sinful acts and are engulfed in a spiritual cleanse for this entire month. The holiday is glittered with red-carpet-like attire, an abundance of delicious food and sweet treats, laughter and a day spent with friends and family.

However, as most of the world is under quarantine and adhering to strict social distancing, Eid too will not be celebrated as it usually is. But that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate – here we have laid out how to do Eid differently, given the current situation.

Spice up your home

Nothing says “celebration” more than décor. Usually, for Muslims in the Cape, the night before Eid is spent hanging curtains, swapping out everyday bedding for the fancier, often silk-lined ones with intricate embroidery, all in the name of impressing whoever steps through the doors the next day.

Getting into the Eid spirit means looking the part as well – bring out old décor from previous parties or celebrations, or even challenge yourself to get creative and DIY some pieces using paper, ribbon and whatever else you have at home. Remember to bring out your best crockery and cutlery for a truly royal experience. Don’t let social distancing stop you from decorating your home.

Red carpet ready

Besides the food, the best thing about Eid is getting all dolled up.  Visiting friends and family may be hard this year, but that doesn’t mean you have to be in your pyjamas all day (unless of course it’s the fancy, silky kind).

Though most people will not be buying a new outfit this Eid, you can still whip together a new, fashionable look by going shopping in your very own closet. Scour through your wardrobe and fall in love with some of those forgotten gems: mix and match pieces you haven’t worn together before or get inspiration from Pinterest. If you really want to have a brand-new outfit, shopping online is your best bet, with many stores offering a wide range of sale items. Better yet, you can change outfits throughout the day. 

P.S. Make sure to buy versatile pieces that can be worn again and styled in various ways. 

I love you, from a distance

Another major loss this year is La Familia. Eid is all about reuniting with distant family, having laughs and sharing moments with loved ones. Although we can’t physically experience that this year, there’s nothing stopping you from keeping in touch. Why not set up video Eid parties on Skype or Zoom? This way, you can still be together whilst being safe. If you really want to make it feel like Eid, plan the video calls around mealtimes so you can share what each other is eating and have a laugh over good food.

In South Africa, and in many parts of the world, the Eid salaah (which marks the day) will not be held in the mosque. Rather, gather your household and have your own Eid salaah, throwing in a naseeha as well – if you live alone, this can still be done too.

But wait, what happens to the money children get on Eid? Well, you could save it for them until you are reunited, or deposit it into their parents account. Better yet, donate it to charity as many are struggling due to the global pandemic.

Pictures, Pictures, and more pics!

Don’t forget to document your day so you can share it with friends, family, social media or keep it for the history books (lol). If you live in a family household, take pics together – make an event out of it! Better yet, if you’ve got a garden or backyard, why not stage it as a backdrop for your pics?!

Finally, remember we can still be together and united even though we are distances apart.

We at GirlOnTheBus wish all of our Muslim readers, families and friends a wonderful Eid Mubarak! We hope that each and every one of you has a fantastic day, filled with joy and blessings, and that it is as memorable as the years before (and those yet to come).