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An Unplanned, Unprecedented Absence

An Unplanned, Unprecedented Absence

Hello and Peace to you all,

It’s been a very long time.

Very is actually a VERY big understatement. It’s actually been so long since I’ve logged into Fatima Cooks that I forgot where I had to log in to and after eventually locating the correct server, forgot my password and had to reset it – it’s been a long while, friends.

It’s been a tough year and half for me. The last time I posted was on the 25th of March 2016 and as I type, it is 11:11pm on the 12th of October 2017. The past year and a half has been comprised of, amongst so many things, many devastating financial blows, housing troubles, an awful, extremely difficult pregnancy, an unfortunate mortgage which failed to go through days before exchanging with a one week old in my arms, a sudden holiday to Pakistan to, amongst many things, take my mind off the mortgage, a family tragedy with the death of my beloved father-in-law in the ill-fated PK666 flight from Chitral to Islamabad during said holiday and a lengthy compensation case with PIA which had my husband away from home for a very long time, and more housing troubles. This is just all the stuff that made it to the short-list. It’s been a much more testing time than words can begin to express. At one point, everything turned into one huge tornado of mental chaos and craziness – so much so that for some days, even merely functioning became too much to handle. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to put into words how life-shattering it is to put everything you have ever worked hard and earned for on the line for a roof of your own and have that taken away from you with a baby in your arms. Or maybe one day I’ll be able to convey how our worlds turned upside down every time my father-in-laws name was repeated, again and again, for days on end, on the news as being amongst the 46 causalities on that doomed flight. One day, I’ll be able to say exactly how demoralising it is to lose your home and be under someone else’s for over a year with no way out in sight. But for now, it all comes together as just one heavy lump in my throat and a shiver up my spine.

However, there was good news too. On the 19th of September 2016, we were blessed a thousand times over. My little girl, the light of not just my own, but my entire family’s eyes, was gifted to us. She was born amidst the storm of an uncertain mortgage, we had to leave our flat and were living with my Mum, financial strain and much much more, but when she was put on my chest, it all became a faint whimper in the background. Even now, when she is in my arms pressed against me, her warm little head and her bed of soft hair tucked under my chin, it feels like nothing bad has ever even happened.

Lil Z’, shortly after we returned from Pakistan in Dec 2016.

Of course, it would be 7 days short of 13 months after her birth that I would feel some normalcy in my life – enough for me to be able to log onto Fatima Cooks with the intention of making a come-back. Took me a while, didn’t it? My daughter, Lil Z’, the sweetest, cuddliest and most adventurous little girl has been a handful! The day she was born, all the midwives who saw her commented on how ‘active’ she was, kicking away with her eyes darting left and right, with no interest in sleep. Their comments would make me grin from ear-to-ear with joy.

But I quickly learnt I would not be grinning from ear-to-ear at 5.27am the 11th morning in a row with a baby in the basket next to me who thinks it’s playtime. I struggled with motherhood a lot, and it was mostly down to total lack of sleep and rest and an overwhelming, demanding feeding schedule. Lil Z’ did not like sleeping one bit and fed little, but frequently! There were times I thought I would go crazy, and with my husband away for such a long time when Lil Z’s wakefulness was at it’s peak, I think I actually did have a few breakdowns on my own. And that is the biggest explanation for my extended absence from Fatima Cooks – just one part of it, but certainly the largest.

Cute baby pictures will come too, with my return!

Things have been looking up recently. My little girl turned one last month, me and my sister-in-law began working on a lil’ side business which is beginning to set off the ground, and we’ve finally found an affordable house to move into (like gold dust in London). My little girl is also kind of sleeping through the night.

I feel like I owe so much to each and every one of you who has read my blog, tried my recipes and sent me love and prayers, and that is the reason why I’m posting this. I have never forgotten you guys or the blog, it was just life and new-found motherhood which caught up on me.

I have been so incredibly humbled by the immense love Fatima Cooks has received since it’s birth in April 2014. I am blown away by the amount of hits and shares this little blog gets daily. My most popular recipe, my Chicken Pilau, has over 1.2k shares on Pinterest! That is A LOT of people! And the emails and comments I have gotten from lovely people who have tried my recipes out is unbelievable. I’ve received emails from all kinds of people from all over the world, from British women who have married Pakistani men and have learnt to cook from Fatima Cooks, to newly wed wives cooking in their in laws and students studying in places like America, Saudi Arabia and Japan who are missing the food of their Mother Land. I’ve gotten emails from Mauritius, China, Canada, Indonesia and so many more placesI am so truly touched by these beautiful messages. I read them all, they make my day and they are the reason I am making a come-back to Fatima Cooks, by the will of God.

I don’t know when exactly I’ll be back, but it’ll be very soon. I’m just touching down to let you guys I haven’t bade farewell to Fatima Cooks. In the meantime, I will continue to check e-mails and respond to them.

Stay blessed, everyone. Much love to everyone who is reading this.

Fatima xx


Saturday 4th of November 2017

Hi Fatima, What an awful year I’m so sorry you had to go through that with your lovely baby girl as well, she is so beautiful! Being a mum is definitely the hardest job in the world and you are doing great. Happy to see you back, I make your recipes all the time


Wednesday 25th of October 2017

Oh my gosh, it sounds like you have been through so much - too much. I lost my own father suddenly, in a very unnecessary/preventable type of way, and so I really feel for what your family must have gone through with that. I am glad you are finding yourself through the other side of it though, and I can't wait to see more posts from you. I make your fish keema every month at least! :D


Sunday 29th of October 2017

My thoughts are with you, Emma. It is a very difficult thing, losing someone so dear in such a preventable way. Very glad you like the fish keema recipe! It's one of my go-to meals! x

Carleen McManus

Sunday 15th of October 2017

I'm happy to hear you are ok. I love your recipes. Love to you your little one and keep strong. X


Sunday 15th of October 2017

Thank you, Carleen! Much love xx


Saturday 14th of October 2017

Salam Fatima, SubhanAllah, what a journey! I know times can get rough, but with that we must thank Allah for everything. Allah tests those whom He loves, so Alhumdullilah, you are loved by Him :) I pray that Allah gives you and your family patience during these trying times. So good to hear from you! If you ever need an ear, I'm here :)


Sunday 15th of October 2017

Wasalaam Henna,

Wise words - ameen to your prayers! And thank you for your support sister. Lots of love xx


Friday 13th of October 2017

alhamdulillah! So happy for you! ?Patience in the hard times is truly a challenge but when you see the end and the light it's the most incredible feeling to be able to smile and know that Allah is rewarding you for your patience!!! Also so happy that she's sleeping better ?I know exactly what you've gone through. A baby that doesn't sttn is really crazily difficult mentally especially as a first time mom ??alhamdulillah for everything!


Sunday 15th of October 2017

Thank you, sister. It is indeed an amazing feeling. And yes, its easy to underestimate how mentally challenging it is to deal with a baby not sttn, I knew I wouldn't be sleeping for a LONG time after baby was born, but I had no idea it would take such a toll on me! Alhamdulillah 'aala kulli haal!

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