Ahlan wa Sahlan!

Jordan was one of them last minute trips where you know you’ve got a few days to jet off but don’t know where to actually go, and then you wait too long to decide so tickets are ridiculously priced or have ridiculous routes, and I basically got caught up in all of that! Literally a 4 hour flight turned into 9+ hours with a layover in Dubai (so silly I know lol) but it is what it is and alhamdulillah for being able to make it out!

Thought I’d share some suggestions based on me experience and a few of you have also messaged saying you’re headed soon or its on your list, so hope this helps!

Firstly I’d definitely recommend renting a car if you can! The option for taxis and buses are available as well but a) it’s so much more cost effective and b) it was a tad hard to grab a cab! Lucy and I headed to Jordan together as did another friend with her mate and she ended up renting so we all kinda sorta road-tripped together after the first night which made life a little easier. I’d also just got back from London so didn’t have as much time to look up transport options etc. let alone somewhat of an itinerary lol but alhamdulillah for things just working out! Thanks B love you! X

Get a Jordan Pass! This is one of them tourist passes which actually benefits you and is worth your money lol costs 70 JD and you can get it online (we did ours as we were departing Kuwait). Gets sent straight to your phone with a QR code and your’e sorted!  It waives your visa fee which in itself is 40 JD, and grants you access to quite a few attractions (UNESCO heritage sites) and museums which are places you’re presumably going to visit; attractions include Petra, Wadi Rum, the Citadel etc. Entrance to Petra for one day is 50 JD so even if you just did Petra (like we did), it still worked out in our favor!

Start down south and do Petra and Wadi Rum first and then make your way back up towards Amman and  also give yourself 2-3 days to get through them. I’d def take this route next time around as it just made more sense in terms of the physical stuff lol we started by the Dead Sea for the first day and a half and then headed south which was still fine, but after the 4 hour drive to the camp near Petra and having to be up early the next morning and legit heading back to Amman the same evening was a tad tiring for everyone (and I wasn’t even the driver). After Petra and Wadi Rum head up to the Dead Sea area for a day or two to just unwind and then head to Amman for another day or two to experience more of the city itself. We just had half a day-ish in Amman which was still lovely but I’d definitely stay longer next time. The citadel and a few other sites are near Amman as well so it would be worth your time exploring in and around the area.

Try to stay in a Bedouin camp whilst you’re touring Petra and Wadi Rum for the experience. There are a number of hotels near the sites as well, but there’s nothing quite like sleeping under the stars and 6 layers of blanket in the middle of nowhere, and then waking up to the howling of wild dogs and frigid water – fact: I did not shower this day. (I’m really selling it init!) lol but in all honesty, you’ve come to experience all you can and try new things and step out of comfort zones so why not?! We stayed at the Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp and I’d recommend them; everyone was super friendly, food was lovely, and the camp was right up my alley so I was more than happy lol one of my favorite parts of the trip!

We didn’t have enough time to visit Wadi Rum so made the most of Petra itself which gives me a reason to head back lol but Petra is doable in a day. Start off early and beat the insane number of tour groups and the heat. It’s really such a spectacular place and it would be a shame if you rushed through. We started around 9am and were back out at about half 3 only because we wanted to be on the road before dark. I had read and seen pictures about a night tour at Petra as well which I’m sure is something worth experiencing, but we didn’t get a chance this time.

For Petra itself, make sure you’ve got comfortable shoes, duh. Even if you end up jumping on a horse or donkey to get you through, at some point you’ll still have to walk some and there’s really no paved route. Sun-lotion, water (pack a few extra bottles), snacks because you’ll get munchy (snickers and granola bars were my friends that day), sunnies and a hat are pretty much staples I’d recommend you take along; in a rucksack/backpack just because that way it’ll be on your back and not in your way or you fussing with a crossbody etc…this just makes more sense to me lol but obvs. you do as you please!

There are a couple shops on the way that do have munch and water and you can always use them as pit-stops, so that’s always an option. Also if you see a toilet en route, just go because you don’t know when you’ll see another! Chargers as well; external chargers will save your life especially if you take a million pictures of the same thing like I do and your battery tends to run out quick lol interesting bit of information though which I’ll heed next time around, taking makeup or mascara with me..! This was the most requested for item by so many of the ladies we met on the way, whether we had any makeup or mascara to give them and unfortunately I had noneL that and biscuits or sweets for the kids because kids are kids duh! My heart hurt when one of the girls asked for water so I gave her whatever I had and then she asked for a biscuit and I felt so silly because mama always says to keep sweets or something to hand out to kids and I should’ve known better so ugh for Saira but inshallah next time x

Most of you here are also aware of me not being too much of a food person whilst travelling lol I’ll munch whatever and if I absolutely love something I’ll rave on about it haha our lovely driver from the Dead Sea stopped at a bakala to grab us these Turkish delight ‘logs’ if you will, I’m pretty sure it was a Turkish delight type helawa, rolled in pistachios and comes in other flavors as well, but it was lovely jubly and prob the only food item which sticks to memory! (no photos sorry!) oh also the 3JD shawarma after Petra which was blessed after all that walking lol

In terms of souvenirs or trinkets to bring back or look for if you’re interested, mud masks from the dead sea can be found everywhere or you could always grab some yourself whilst you’re there. I learnt that ostrich eggs, especially painted eggs, are something Jordan is well known for so something tourists often take back. I think I got some jam for mama, a magnet and mud masks lol sorted

If you’ve got any questions or found this helpful, do get in touch because I love hearing from you!x

this year I promised myself I’d start trying to make little travel vlogs of wherever I’d travel as a keepsake for meself, so got a gimble and tried (still trying) to figure it out haha but here you have it! (click here)! Me first attempt, maybe the last because who knows whether I’ll be consistent with it, but yay! It brings a smile to my face and I hope to yours as well and if not oh well, I like it so hah x if you’ve got suggestions of how to make these better or what kind of footage you’d like to see (because if I do make more I’ll most likely share them), let your girl know! love you miss you byee xxxxxxx

Everyone’s got different needs in general day-to-day life, and whilst travelling those needs tend to be magnified to a million and one [for some]. The need for a fluffy pillow, a shower in only the most pristine of conditions, carpeted flooring, a closet with hangers, and whatever other comforts of home aren’t necessarily going to be givens once you leave (def available if that’s what you’re after so by all means you do you, but this post isn’t about that!).

Depending on where and why you’re jetting off, you’ve almost always got somewhat of an idea of what you’d like to spend a chunk of your budget on. Tours, all-inclusive resorts to just chill and never leave the premises, food, a concert or event you’ve flown in for, shopping, sightseeing etc. etc. you get the point lol

I personally enjoy spending my travel budget on doing stuff as opposed to where I lay my head at night, again, depending on where in the world I’ve headed. As long as I’ve got a bed to sleep in and a bathroom in decent condition (okay hot water too lol) I tend to be alright! Don’t get me wrong though, I have and do stay at hotels and can def be about that fluffy pillow life at times lol but there are alternatives out there which are just as good at a fraction of the price.

I was in London a couple weeks ago, stayed in a hostel (@astorhostels), and asked you guys on instagram if you had any questions/concerns about the hostel life because I’m aware it isn’t always the preferred type of accommodation for some; especially if you’re a solo female [Muslim] traveler. Last time I was in town I stayed a lovely hotel which I was tempted to return to, but thought we’d go a different route this time around.

Before we get into some of those questions,, some of you might be thinking “what is a hostel?” Prior to my experience, I was always under the impression of them being this dingy establishment of cramped bunkbeds situated either in the heart of a busy city or the outskirts of town, filled with backpackers who couldn’t afford to stay anyplace else, no food, maybe a dirty bathroom *insert idunno emoji here*

BUT a few years ago my lovely younger sister changed my entire perception after we stayed in a hostel in Kyoto, Japan. She had been staying in them for a while at this point whilst touring around the country and I always scoffed at the thought lol but was slightly jealous of how she could afford to stay at a different place every couple nights. I remember first entering the building and thinking ‘Saira are you dumb? This is so freaking cool! Why haven’t you done this before?!’ (she said I had better credit here so there’s that)


credit: @abbasspace

SO! What is a hostel exactly?

A hostel is essentially a budget-friendlier version of a hotel; envision a smaller hotel with dorm-like vibes. They aim to provide more of a social and shared travel experience via an alternative accommodation space, again, at a fraction of the price of a hotel. Because they’re catered to travelers and tourists alike, their locations are blady wicked! Almost always in close proximity to main transport systems, tourist sites and attractions, local munch spots etc., they allow for the best and easiest accessibility to anything and everything you’d want to explore whilst in town.

sidetone: yes you can roll up with luggage and not just a backpack lol some have lifts which help, some don’t, but you’ll survive!

Do you usually travel alone?

Yes and I love it! Either alone or with a friend or two, but mostly solo! Travelling on your own allows you to get to know yourself, the good and bad, and truly adds perspective to life in terms of how miniscule certain things, and even you, are in this world, reiterating the idea of living your best life and being true to yourself.

Your first solo trip is always going to be daunting and scary and you being super self-conscious of the world and everyone ‘watching’ you, but it’s just you in your own head lol the world can either be a beautiful place full of love and hope or a big bad scary monster out to get you; you ultimately decide which one it is. Every place, every country and experience is truly what you make of it; I’d always recommend going in with an open mind and open heart and being conscious of the fact that whilst this may not be your ‘normal’ or reality, it is for many others and to be mindful and respectful of that. (side note: would you be interested in a separate post on solo travel itself? tips etc?! let me know in the comments!)

Do you feel safe in hostels with belongings there?

Yes. I’ve got mini locks for my case(s) which I use sometimes, and many hostels also have a safe which they can lock away any valuables for you. You’ve often got to put down a refundable deposit ($5 or something small) but it gives you peace of mind if you’re worried about someone taking something. Depending on the room you’re in, everyone’s got their designated ‘space’ to keep their things and only those people assigned to that room have access via a key card (just like a hotel) so you don’t have to worry about someone from another room or floor snooping.

 Are hostels mixed? Are there female only dorms?

Yes, and yes! The hostel itself is mixed, I don’t think I’ve ever come across a female-only hostel, but the room you choose to stay in is up to you. Rooms are either all-female, all-male, mixed, or some also have the option for private rooms which is an entire room to yourself! Depending on the hostel, some rooms have bathrooms (with showers) in the rooms, some have them outside in the hallway which are communal (could be mixed). Rooms themselves could consist of 4-beds or more; in Japan my sister and I were in a private room with a shared bathroom, and after she left I switched to a 4-bed. In London I stayed in a 10-bed with a bathroom inside, Athens was a 4-bed with bathroom inside, so it all just depends on the place itself!


Cleanliness? How clean are the facilities especially if they are communal?

In my experience the hostels themselves have been pretty clean; just like in a hotel there’s ‘room service’ mostly to tidy up the bathroom. The one thing no ones really got control of though is the cleanliness of fellow travelers which might be kinda gross sometimes lol cleaning the sink and countertop once you’re done with it, or not leaving smelly socks/shoes out in the open are common courtesies you’d presume to be normalcies… but nah lol clean up after yourself because that’s how your mamas raised you, and hope the person before you has also done the same! If you’re quite anal about germs etc. you can always pack disinfecting wipes or something of the sort (my mama loves Lysol wipes haha) but they’ll get the job done.

What is your experience staying in a hostel as a female/Muslim/hijabi? (I always imagine myself sleeping in a room full of intoxicated people.!)

 My experience has been great so far! I’ve personally never allowed those ‘labels’ to define nor restrict me from doing certain things and so I don’t think you should either, but I definitely understand where you’re coming from x

As a female, sorted, you’ve got the option to choose an all-female dorm if that makes you more comfortable. As a Muslim, same thing lol stay in whatever dorm you feel more comfortable , pray in your room or the commons area, or you can always ask reception if they’ve got a private room you could use for 5 mins which I’m sure wouldn’t be an issue. As a hijabi, if you don’t want to say hi or smile or engage in conversation with me because you’ve already made presumptions of what I’m like based on what’s on my head, that’s on you and I’m not too bothered lol but like anything else if you make the first move ie. introduce yourself to your roommates or start chatting to people asking where they’re coming from, plans for the city etc. you’ll naturally find something to bond over regardless because you’re all technically at the hostel for a similar reason (travelling, stop over, touristing, taking a month off life etc.)

Regardless of the communication stuff haha er well as a ‘hijabi‘ if you don’t want to go to pub night at the hostel, don’t go; this is that whole making life choices thing again init and I get that wearing and/or being in hijab presumes this restriction upon what you can and can’t do, but everyone’s got different values and deems more importance upon some things than others, so just like you get by in everyday life in terms of what you consider ‘permissible’ in accordance to your beliefs, you’d just do the same I suppose!

Can you sleep without hijab, is it safe?

Yes you can; again whatever makes you feel comfortable. I tend to stay in female dorms so it comes off once I enter the premises and of course when I sleep lol and then walking around the hostel or in commons doing work etc. I either throw on a hoodie or hijab it and it’s all good!

Do you have to share a room with strangers?

If you’re travelling alone, yes, unless you opt for one of the private rooms. If you travel with a group of friends etc. you can always just choose the same room so you’ll at least end up together in a room with strangers lol


Where can I find hostels?

I’ve only ever used hostelworld, hostels.com, and hostelbookers ; they’re legitimate, reliable, and have a massive range of places to choose from. Just like when you go to book a hotel, you’ve got ratings to look at, comments/feedback, photos etc. to help make your decision easier. I tend to look at the ratings and location; how close they are to public transport and town centers. Being close to transport helps in terms of going to/from the airport as well because you can often make your own way instead of getting jipped by airport taxis!

*Amenities etc.

 Most hostels offer laundry services either on or off the premises, and if you’re in desperate need of an iron you can always ask. In Athens I was taken to the basement to use the iron in the laundry room which obviously isn’t room service, but it got the job done and I wasn’t fussed in the slightest! Breakfast is also available at times; either there’s a café or shop of some sort, or recently in London Astor Hyde Park had a cool initiative where breakfast was only 1pound and all funds were donated to charity. If you follow me you know food isn’t a massive priority during my travels so I tend to skip out on brekky wherever I’m staying and grab-n-go whilst I’m out exploring!

Wifi and outlets are also a standard. If you’re in need of a travel adapter you can grab one from reception (often at the cost of a refundable deposit which is cool). Same with towels (I’d suggest bring your own though just because..!)

Hostels almost always have events going on at the space itself which is wicked and a great way to meet people as well. Movie nights, free walking tours etc. and there’s always a plethora of posters posted on the walls about things to do (just like at uni!) If you’re interested in booking tours etc. as well, your hostel can also assist with that sometimes or even have a discounted rate as you’re staying with them; some might also have affiliations with local restaurants which grants you a percentage off your meal which #nocomplaints !

I stayed at the Astor Hyde Park during my time in London and I loved it! So close to Hyde Park and literally the most perfect location in the ‘Royal Borough of Chelsea and Kensington’, an area I had never explored before whilst in London which I loved. 10 minute walk to the Natural History Museum, and a 12-15 minute walk to 2 underground stations (South Kensington and Gloucester) which was a blessing. Walked meself to Nottinghill and Portobello Road Market (25-30 min) which was through town and a highstreet; also easily walked into and through Knightsbridge and Trafalgar Square which was lovely (thankfully I was blessed with fabulous weather which is often a rarity in Londontown!) Also had no idea it was the same weekend as the BAFTA’s but they were literally taking place the next street down to us which was pretty cool!

Astor have got a chain of 4 hostels in and around London: Astor Hyde Park, Astor Victoria, Astor Queensway, and Astor Museum, and they’ve kindly gifted us a promo code to use on your next stay with Astor; use: ASTORLUV for 10% off your booking via their site here [max 14 nights] xo.

I feel like this post is long enough already, but I hope it’s helpful and inspires even one of you to step out of your comfort zone and give it a go even if it’s just for a night! If you’re interested in somewhat of a recap of me trip, check out my ‘Londontown’ highlight on instagram (@shazaira) for some walkings&talkings! Feel free to get in touch if you’ve got more questions/concerns etc. as I’d love to help out and be sure to let me know in the comments below if you enjoyed this read! xx

Special thanks to Astor Hyde Park for hosting me during my stay in London. All opinions and views expressed are my own.


I’ve always had a thing for abayas and open bisht style abayas in the Muslamic sphere and that love intensified after moving to the Middle East. Something about the free-flowing easy-breezy vibe speaks to me and it’s just another fave!

You’ll know by now that I’ve partnered up with Aab Collection to show you a couple of their pieces which are now available online and in Debenhams (Middle East) – click here to peep the first look we showcased!

When the second Aab piece turned out to be a bisht, and a camel toned one at that, my inner Muslamic was super excited!

(cue excited face..!)

Aab is a modestwear clothing company based out of the UK (www.aabcollection.com) and their pieces can also be found in Debenhams (Middle East).

I present you the Escalera Bisht (here) , a beautiful piece which features a lovely thread embroidery on the front opening and flared sleeves.

Isn’t it beautiful?!


I’ve paired it with a plain black abaya underneath and the same Soft Nude Chiffon Silk Hijab (here) from the previous Aab look. I would totally wear this out to a hanging or to Friday prayers and it would easily entertain both. It doesn’t have a tie up or a closed fastening, but I’m down with that! If I wanted to close it I could easily take a black tie up from another abaya and it would get the job done, or even a piece of thick black ribbon if you haven’t got a tie up.


I gave it a go with the Aab Powder Blue Jumpsuit (didn’t take a photo unfortunately!) and the contrast of the blue and camel-toned looked stunning together! Looking forward to wearing this with a massive turban and denim to embody a street-style nomadic vibe kinda sorta maybe!


Hope you’ve enjoyed these looks as much as I loved putting them together for you! Be sure to check them out online, on Instagram (@aabcollection), and in-store at Debenhams (Middle East)! xoxo

27 calls for 27 pieces of word-art which are dear to me.

There’s beauty in the way one consciously chooses to string particular words together in order to invoke hope, happiness, love, sadness, anything really, and I’ve always been in awe of this power.

These are reminders, affirmations, promises, and truths I try to practice and want to continue making a conscious effort to implement in this next year of life inshallah x

Definitely miss my loved ones today and reminiscing about that time I wanted to be in Bali on my birthday and took the plunge and went to Bali on my birthday so not quite sure what happened with this years plans lol but that’s life I suppose!

I hope you love some of these as much as I do and try to make them a part of your everyday lives as well! xo.


Ola! I’ve partnered up with Aab Collection to show you some of their new additions which are oh so beautiful!

Aab is a modestwear clothing company based out of the UK and their pieces can also be found in Debenhams (Middle East). I remember attending their launch in Kuwait and falling in love with how easy their clothing was in terms of looking put together without any of the hard stuff lol

Pictured is the Powder Blue Jumpsuit (here) and Soft Nude Chiffon Silk Hijab (here). The most halal key hole detail on the jumpsuit which I think is super cute lol but the prettiest softest shade of blue which I love. You know when you go to iron clothing and the iron glides ever so effortlessly over the fabric and your heart sighs from relief and all is well in the world? Definitely experienced that with this piece lol it also comes with a matching belt which is optional of course (I paired it with the kimono below). I wanted to casj it out a bit so went with a belt bag and espadrilles which is a winner in my books!

The Floating Bubbles Kimono (here) is a lightweight digital print kimono with tones of taupe grey and hints of blue. It’s made from a fluid georgette with a drawstring tie up which you can always cinch in at the waist if you’d like.

You can easily pair this with a number of items, denim, dresses, skirts, even on its own, and its lightweight material makes it perfect for the warmer weather coming soon (it’s coming I promise!) It’s got a gorgeous flow to it, almost giving off a cape-like effect as though you’re gliding through life without a care in the world (fake it til you make it init) which is beaut!

I haven’t worn a chiffon hijab in ages, partly because I’m slightly terrified of it slipping and falling apart during the day (which has happened in the past!) and I’ve just never been a fan to be honest. This is literally just one pin under the chin and I was pleasantly surprised by how well it stayed put! (imagine what the addition of two straight pins could do lol) The softness of the material allows it to fall beautifully whilst draped definitely catering to the Aab aesthetic of stylish modern elegance.

Stay tuned for another Aab look coming your way in a couple days; be sure to check them out online, on Instagram (@aabcollection), and in-store at Debenhams! xoxo