Author Archives: Farah Saleem

About Farah Saleem

Queer, Writer, Arab, Muslim. Part-time adult. She/Her.

Easy no-sew DIY weighted blanket for sleep

You don’t need to know me for long before you know that I don’t sleep well. “What does that mean?” people ask, “do you have trouble falling asleep, do you wake up a lot? Is it…” It’s all of it. Falling asleep, staying asleep, upsetting dreams, restless dreams, wake up nightmares, nightmares I don’t wake up from…. The works, if it causes trouble sleeping, I’ve had it.

I found out about weighted blankets a few years ago, and once I realised it’s a thing, I’ve wanted to try it. I’ve always been the type to need to be covered from toes to chin to be able to fall asleep, and sleeping in winter meant I could have a blanket, a duvet and mink blanket, which meant bliss, and I realised that was because of the weight! I’ve even through extra pillows on myself to help me fall asleep in dire situations.

So, my idle hands create things, and weighted blankets is faaaaaar too expensive to spend for my anxious self, especially when a DIY was at my finger tips!

Turns out sewing a blanket from scratch needs a machine, and even though my mum has one, it’s a bit daunting to pull it out and work on it. I’m not there yet, I tell myself, what if people think I’m legit or something D:

I did a little more digging and I found a no-sew version that I liked, that shouldn’t take too much time or money, and should be done before I lose interest. Here it is!

I did end up doing a little bit of sewing but I again, idle hands.

Now that I’ve done the talky bits, let’s get to it!

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Leftovers salad v2: quinoa

So a lot has happened since my last post!

I have slowly pulled myself out of one of my most severe depressive episodes, i got a new job, i moved cities!

But! Continuing to take care of yourself 100% of the time is exhausting, no?

So I’ve been taking it easy on myself, buying things that are easy to prepare, and i kmow ill like to eat instead of going ‘healthy’ (that lasted for like, a week)

But i made another salad! See i had chilli, ive been having chilli for over a week now, but finally i ran out of the pasta I’d designated it so i decided to make the quinoa I’d bought for a fancy salad i didnt end up making.

And damn, 1 cup of uncooked quinoa gives me about 4 lunch portions which is more than the chilli i had (its almost done hurrah!)

So you know, i had a handful of cherry tomatoes, i had some flavoured shredded chicken in a packet, and the persons house im staying at has ~garlic infused olive oil~ and ny friends, it was delicious!

So here you go.

1 cup cooked quinoa that you didn’t rinse too well before cooking and has a weird after taste

1 packet shredded chicken (I used Italian herb)

A handfull of cherry tomatoes you’ve had for 2 weeks but were still suspiciously firm

Olive oil (I used the fanciest on hand but you can use whatever) to taste

Salt to taste


Half the tomatoes so they dont burst in your mouth every time you eat one, unless you like that sort of thing, then skip this step.

Put everything in a tupperware and mix.

Eat half now and save some for later because youre gonna be late for work and its a waste if you eat too fast and make yourself sick.

Leftovers Salad v1

So I’m trying to go low carb to try and lose some weight, and generally have had not a lot of success, mostly because I love carbs.

It’s only been a few weeks so I’m still trying to find my feet I think.

But I did find something that I like and is easy enough that even my anxious, depressed brain can handle making.

I call it leftovers salad.

I used one can tuna, I like the lemon and pepper flavour but whatever you have in the cupboard is fine. You can even use leftover chicken (I used chicken breast last time) or any kind of leftover protein you have (cheese? Tofu? Go wild.) Then I added any leftover chopped veges we have, threw in some olives, some olive oil and some green things from the garden, divided into two (2 cup) Tupperwares and we are good to go. The whole thing took me 20 minutes.

Full recipe:

1 180g can tuna

1 tomato chopped (approximately)

2 teaspoons cooked chopped chilli onions from yesterday

6 olives, pitted (that’s how many I pitted before I got bored)

One tablespoon chopped pickled olives and carrots (And a drizzle of its oil)

Some green leafy things from the garden, e.g. basil, probably mint, green onion, baby kale, hopefully lettuce.

Mix everything together. Taste as you go to make sure the proportions are okay. Add salt, pepper, lemon and/or olive oil to taste.

Separate into glass lunch boxes and be glad future you will be so thankful.

No pictures because there’s no way to dress up tuna salad all pretty like.


I fall at the altar

My feet are bloody
I have been walking for years
I rip out my sternum
I pull open my ribcage

My heart beats
A little unsteady
It flutters

How much more open
Do you need me to be?

“If you want it badly enough
It’ll come to you”

I want it
I want it
I want it

“If you do the work
It will come to you”

I have walked for years

My feet are bloody
My heart flutters
What more
Do you want from me?

Before the day is done

au where you see the angel of death for 24 hours before your soulmate dies, and if you tell your soulmate the angel will take you as well. (based on Seven Devils by Florence + The Machine)

The angel is waiting for Kali when she wakes up. At first she thinks she’s still dreaming but time passes and she’s still in bed, the light filtering through her curtains.

She sits up and curls her hands around her knees. “Please,” she whispered, “I haven’t even met them yet.”

The angel doesn’t say anything. She wonders if it can speak at all. She thinks about calling in sick to work and decides against it. What if today was the day she met her soulmate. She needs to leave the house.

She gets up and gets ready, watching the angel from the corner of her eye. It follows her to work, stands in the corner of the store, as if evaluating her. She’s so unnerved that she makes several mistakes, but the angel doesn’t leave and she doesn’t meet anyone who could be her soulmate.

At the end of her shift she comes to a decision and takes the next morning off. She goes out for dinner, figuring that the more people she meets the more chances she has of meeting this one person.

By the time she has less than 12 hours it’s become less about meeting her soulmate and more about saving this stranger who is going to die and didn’t have a clue.

She eventually goes home but sleep wouldn’t come, and the moment the sun starts coming out she gets up and decides to go for a walk. It’s silent, and too cold, and she thinks if she was a different person, she might do this regularly.

The angel follows her at a distance.

There’s more and more cars in the street and soon there’s kids in uniform walking around, and she realises she’s wondered to the school on the other side of the neighbourhood.

Then she see her. A teacher wearing a high visibility orange jacket, her straight black hair in a pony tail waiting to cross the road. A little kid pushes past her and into the road. She sees the teacher run out after the kid just as a car turns the corner.

Kali starts to run, knowing she won’t make it but she has to try. She has to be there. This is her only chance and her <i>soulmate</i>, she couldn’t let her die alone.

She doesn’t make it. Some one is screaming but the kid is fine, and the driver is getting out of his car, phone in hand.

She crouches down, knees on tarmac, taking the teachers hand in hers. There’s too much blood and she knows this is it. The angel is standing opposite her, waiting.

“Please,” she says again, an echo of 24 hours ago, but she’s not sure what she’s asking for this time. “It’s me,” she says instead.

“You,” the teacher says, “you knew?”

“I did,” Kali says, “I’m sorry, I couldn’t-”

“You’re here,” she interrupts, smiling weakly.

“I am,” Kali replies, unable to get anything more coherent past the lump in her throat.

The teacher sighs and stops breathing.

“No,” Kali whispers, “no, please.” she lets go of the teachers hand, and starts CPR, one hand over the other. She tilts the teachers head back and breathes into her mouth.

She hears sirens and there’s people in white pulling her away. She struggles against them until she realises someone’s taken over.

She looks up and the angel is gone but the paramedics were still working. “No, wait,” she calls, “don’t-”

“Ma’am,” someone is saying to her, “I understand this is a scary situation but were going to step back, we’ve got it from here.”

“The angel was here,” she says, turning on him, “you have to save her, don’t, please, don’t let it take her.”

“We’ll do our best.”


Years and years later, when Kali sees the angel again, she greets it like an old friend. They were ready for it this time.

Way out in the water

Title from The Pixies song Where is my mind, betad by ecosopher.

Emma still didn’t know how this had happened. She had OCD, ADHD and anxiety problems, she was not dependable and practically unemployed. She was never on time and sometimes she said things without even thinking. She had been described as cute more times than she could count, but never hot or sexy, and she had ugly ankles.

So it wasn’t strange if more than once she had wanted to turn to this man lying next to her and ask ‘are you sure? Me?’ and when he’d say ‘of course,’ she’d have to ask ‘but why?’

That would sound as if she were fishing for compliments, but sometimes, like in the middle of the night, she was just genuinely curious.

He’d told her once, when they had first started going out, the things he liked about her; the way she saw the world and her excitement at the things she loved. He’d mentioned her brilliance, but it hadn’t seemed like enough. These things about her were good but they weren’t great, certainly not enough to have someone drop everything to come see her, to come live with her, to move to a new city just to be with her.

But that’s exactly what he’d done.

Suddenly she felt like she couldn’t breathe. She slipped out of bed and padded to the kitchen for a glass of water. She drank it slowly, the rhythm helping her calm down somewhat. She then washed her cup, and went back to bed.

She was about to close her eyes when his opened. “Everything okay?”

“Yeah,” she replied, “sorry for waking you.”

He shook his head and burrowed deeper into the covers. “It was your lack that woke me; you were gone.”

“I was just thinking,” she said.

“You think too much,” he said, and put an arm around her, pulling her close, and closing his eyes.

“I know,” she whispered.

She didn’t really understand why he’d done the things he did, or why he’d chosen her, but she wasn’t about to question a good thing, in case he started to wonder too. She was going to enjoy this for as long as she could-

“You think too loud,” he said, interrupting her thoughts without opening his eyes.

She smiled. “Sorry,” she whispered, and went to sleep.

The opposite of a love story

Based on true events

5 years old

“I don’t want to eat it!”

“Just taste it, it’s chocolate, you like chocolate don’t you? It’ll be over in five minutes.”

I feel my throat closing up. This didn’t taste like chocolate and it felt weird in my mouth. I looked up at my mama and knew there was no getting out of it.


10 years old

I look at the bright cover, the promising words; I could almost taste the honey glaze, the crunchy nuttiness, standing right there in the breakfast isle.

“You can buy it if you want.”

I look up at my dad, my eyes bright with hope. “Really?”

“Sure, change is good, every once in a while.”

I feel my heart lifting as I pick the box off the shelf and put it in the shopping cart. This could be it, the thing I’ve been waiting for!


15 years old

“What’s that you’re eating?”

“Muesli,” I mumble.

“It looks like someone already ate it and threw it up again in your dish,” my brother says, making a face.

I feel my stomach turn. The thought I keep suppressing now voiced was impossible to deny. I don’t say anything, I force myself to finish my bowl and get up to get dressed.

The next day I announce I don’t want to eat cereal for breakfast anymore.


18 years old


“I’m telling you,” I say, “I haven’t had cereal in 3 years.”

“But why?”

“Eugh, I hate it, it gets all mushy and soft, it’s so gross,” I say, “I ate it every day for 10 years, never again.”

“But this one is so good, we used to eat it all the time as kids!”

I look at the curved shapes on the box, empty promises and false hope.

“I dunno…”

“Trust me,” she says, and pours the cereal into a bowl and covers it with milk, then pushes it towards me, then pours out a new one for herself.

It takes me an hour to finish the bowl. She times it.


Present day

I walk down the breakfast isle, words jumping out at me, ‘tasty’ and ‘light’ and ‘fruitful’. I ignore them all as I head towards the spreads.

Peanut butter and Nutella, that’s the stuff for me.

Not for all the love in the world

Title from The Thrills’ song by the same name.

“It’s stupid,” she said, “this idea, this whole thing.”

“I have to do this,” he said, “it’s my dream.”

“You’re gonna get yourself killed.”

“I’ve wanted to do this my whole life,” he said, “you knew this when we first met, it’s been years, you didn’t think I just gave up on it did you?”

“And what if I had?” she said, her voice starting to break, “I foolishly thought that since we’ve settled down, bought a house- we have kids! You’re just going to leave?”

“It’s a once in a life time opportunity,” he said.

“Stop, just stop with the one liners,” she yelled.

“What do you want me to say?”


When they first met she had been so in love. She fell in love with his passion, he was a dreamer and she wanted to be part of that. She wanted to take his passion and wrap it around herself like a scarf that will keep her warm at night.

She thought if he would just turn that passion to her, her life would be perfect. Looking back she could tell how that had been stupid and selfish.

She ignored her friends’ worried faces and creased brows and she married him. His passion died down, he became more subdued and they settled down. He’d talk about boats occasionally, or maybe mention someone finding a lost artefact, but she didn’t think much of it. He had chosen her, after all.

She ignored the faraway look he got in his eyes when he talked about such things. Maybe it was just nostalgia for a life he never had, but then he’d blink and it’d be gone, and everything would go back to normal.


He picked up his bag and walked towards the door.

“If you leave-“

“This was never going to work out,” he told her, “we’re too different.”

“I thought you changed,” she said quietly, “all those years-”

“I thought I did too,” he said, “I wanted to change, for you, so badly, but-”

She nodded. “Once in a life time opportunity,” she said, resigned, “you’re a dreamer.”

“And you’re a realist,” he told her. It wasn’t an insult, he was just stating fact.

“When you come back,” she said, “I won’t be here.”

He couldn’t say he was really surprised. He nodded instead, picked up his bag again and walked out.

Cinderella, she seems so easy

Title from Desolation Row by Bob Dylan

Chloe unlocked the door to their apartment and walked in. She was tempted to close her eyes as she did so. She and Dylan had had a fight and she had a feeling she knew what to expect.

It’s been a whole day. A whole twenty-four hours where Dylan could have done anything. He did not try to call her, and he did not try to apologise, but she was here anyway. No doubt they had both known the moment she had walked out. Maybe even before then.

The small apartment was a mess. She doesn’t even know where half this stuff comes from, how so many things could accumulate from just two people. She picked up a purple garment which turned out to be her favourite dress and half heartedly dusted it off before tossing it on the nearest chair so it wouldn’t wrinkle.

She’ll have to put a load of laundry in tomorrow, she thought as she made her way to the bedroom, and probably vacuum too.

The door was slightly ajar but the room was dark. She gently pushed the door open to find Dylan sprawled naked on the bed, one hand on his stomach and the other loosely wrapped around a bottle of vodka. She could smell the alcohol from here.

She quietly approached until she was close enough to take the mostly empty bottle from him and walked out again, closing the door soundly behind her. He’ll sleep till noon tomorrow and then wake up and act like nothing had happened. She’ll follow suit and life will go on.

She threw the bottle in the recycling bin they had, ignoring the sound it made as it joined others like it and went back to the living room. She pulled out an extra blanket and pillow from the hallway closet, and then cleared one of the couches, tossing everything onto the floor.

She curled up on it, pulling her knees up and resting her head on her hands. She’ll wake up sore tomorrow no matter how she slept, but at least this way she could ignore her surroundings and keep warm till she was asleep.

She knew one or both of them needed help, but at this point she felt like nothing could be helped. They’ll fight when he’s sober, he’ll drink when she leaves, and no matter what, she will always come back.