Blurt It Out!!

Posted on: September 13, 2017

Today is a bluerghhhh no mood kinda day. I feel like going home and sleep but it’s hard to get peaceful sleep when my son would be peeking every half an hour asking, “are u ok now mummy? can u play with me?”

So here I am at office, boss is on holiday and i’m praying hard no one else comes and disturb my peace.

My latest project is skincare and makeup. I got embarrassed when out of the blue, while we were on the way to a wedding, my son asked me, “do u have lipstick mummy? do u have makeup?”

I guess my natural looks is quite bad so I took that into heart and bought myself some lipstick and powder the next day!

I’m fascinated with make up, how it can completely transform your looks but there just so many stuff that I ended up ignore and decide to go bare face.

All these years and I don’t have any makeup! The first time I wear nice makeup is on my wedding day and hardly wear anything except a little bb cream ever since.

I figured it’s time to take care of my face properly. I will try to learn about makeup and skincare etc.

On the first day I went to work with some powder and lipstick on my face, my colleagues, boss and even the cleaning lady complimented me! Danish was the happiest, saying u r so pretty mummy. My husband however felt a little suspicious but I assured him i’m doing all this due to Danish.

I still don’t wear full makeup, but I’m starting to take interest and learn. My aim for now is to take care of my skin so almost every day i’m googling about it. There’s so much stuff with so many names and benefits. Mind boggling!

So, that’s my latest project. My salary is now spent on skincare and makeup and they are expensive! Sigh. Hope it’s a good investment.

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1. Annual langkawi holiday

We have always enjoyed Langkawi so we spend first week of August there. There’s a lot of attractions to keep Danish entertained and tasty foods which both my husband and I enjoyed. I still cannot get over the ikan bakar! Sadly, it’s hard to get ikan bakar in Penang.

We spend 4 days there this time. Actually I was thinking of going to Redang but there’s no direct flight from Penang. The idea of going with bus or driving looks more tiring so, Langkawi it is.

We stayed at The Villa near Pantai Cenang on the first day. It was a boutique hotel- the room was spacious and the whole area has balinese ambience to it. We enjoyed their pool too.

We went to Manhattan Fish Market at Cenang mall for early dinner. The food was awesome! Seriously, so tasty and fresh. Then we walked around pantai cenang. The beach was super busy and crowded. There’s not much space to even build a sandcastle. Just so many activities and people.

Early next morning, we went to Crocodile Adventure Farm. Danish wanted to go there again. We got him to choose between the bird park and this, he chose this.

We paid for a package which included guide, crocs feeding and fishing. Danish wanted to take photo holding small crocodile-eewwww

I hardly touch it, the idea of touching or holding it made me nauseous. Luckily Danish is braver and adventurous.

Then he started ‘fishing’ with the crocodile. Basically they tied small piece of chicken to the fishing rod and you can give it to the crocs. More like playing tug of war with the croc, them biting the chicken and u tried to keep the rod from being broken.

On the 3rd and final day, it rained. We wanted to try the duck bus tour and it wasn’t available. We wanted to try the atv but can’t as the road was slippery due to the rain. We wanted to book a boat and fishing but the boat operators said it’s dangerous as the wind and the wave is too strong. So most of the time we just enjoyed the pool and the tasty foods. Nonetheless we still enjoyed Langkawi.

2. Minor surgery

I had a minor surgery last 2 weeks. It was a shock but alhamdulillah it was just a benign. I was scared thinking it could be worse. I got a week off which I spend wisely on korean dramas :p

3. Merdeka

Danish told me at the last minute that he need to wear a merdeka costume to school the next day. We quickly went to Mydin, bought some flags and I spend hours seeing the flag to his clothes. It was simple but big achievement for me as if i’ve known earlier, i would have just ask a tailor to make him some merdeka baju melayu or something.

So far, a colourful August.

Hari raya

Posted on: July 17, 2017

Hari raya is almost nearing to an end. We celebrated it in Penang for 2 days and went back to Kedah for few days. 

There wasn’t much activities when celebrating it in Penang as my in laws doesn’t really go out and visit other people, instead we just stayed at home and entertained guests who came.

I had quick catch up wih some friends when I went back to Kedah. Managed to see Zara and Fatin. It was great though I wish we have more time to chit chat and I wished I could have visit other friends.

It’s less tiring this year as my father limit the number of guests for our open house his year. Unlike previous years where almost everybody was invited and I had to spend whole day until night at the kitchen- washing, preparing foods etc. It’s really hard when there’s so many guests as I didn’t have time to chats with them, quite an unfortunate really.

Danish enjoyed his hari raya I think. All the duit raya and fire crackers, and friends and cousins- yeah, best time! It’s so easy being a kid.

Selamat hari raya.

I loved my ramadhan this year. I got reflected about myself and Islam. In a way, I understand more about Islam and Quran and I see myself striving more to become a better Muslim. 
It’s good, I was clueless before, performing the prayers etc without much feeling and actual understanding.

We can have the knowledge but it’s the thought that matters.
We can have the knowledge but we doesn’t really see it through our heart which end up useless. I’m trying to see it through my heart now. 

I came across a statement yesterday; message an old friend and write down a memory u remembered.

I don’t know why but once I read it, I remembered during my final year in Lancaster, either cos we studied until early morning or was waiting for Subuh prayer. Then around 4am, Midah and I decided to walk around the campus. It was summer so the sun rises early and the whole campus was so quiet.

We walked around, taking photos and breathing in the tranquility of the early morning hours. It was peaceful. 

It’s one of the best memory I have with you, Midah. Not sure if u still reading my blog.
Hope all is well for you. It has been so long since we last saw each other.

1. Flight 
I chose ANA airlines as at the time of booking, the price was cheaper than other airlines, it even beats Air Asia. 

I booked the tickets 3 months before the trip.

Overall, it’s way better than Air Asia. With meals, luggage and entertainment all included in the price. The seats were okay, the foods was tasty and we enjoyed the in-flight movies. The stewardess are friendly and hardworking, as most Japanese are. They even gave Danish some sweets and toy. Compared to KLM, ANA is way better!

2. Based Location

I have decided on staying at airbnb as I preferred to have kitchen so we can cook. Not really cooking, just boil the prepacked meals like Brahims. 

Tokyo is big. There’s a lot of district and you really need to narrow down to which area you decided to stay. 

In the end, I chose Nippori. Because we landed at Narita Airport, I found out that the Keisei Skyliner train have direct train to Nippori. That’s the main reason I chose Nippori. The idea of staying elsewhere and the need to change few train lines from the airport is tiring. I figured we’ll be so tired when we reached and with a kid in tow, I don’t want to take the risk so I chose the easiest location and transportation. 

Btw, that train go direct to Nippori and Ueno so I guess u can chose to stay at either location. Though Ueno is a big station and it’s quite a long walk to the exit. Another plus point for Nippori!

Also, the place we stayed have 3 different train lines within walking distance so another plus point. 

3. Accommodations 

When choosing the airbnb, I have listed down my requirements and questions to ask the owner. The house need to have lift if its on upper floors. I need fully equipped kitchen, at least a microwave and rice cooker. I also searched for those with washing machine. Number of beds and room, please note that Japanese double bed is small, only enough for 2 adults, not even an extra kid can fit in. Also, I asked the distance from their house to tourist attractions like Disneyland. Oh, I also ask on flexibility on check in and out as most of the hotel/airbnb there state 11am as check out time and 4pm as check in time.

I shortlisted few houses, updated it on excel sheet and made my decision.

We really like the house that I chose. It has lift, fully equipped kitchen, 2 bedrooms, washing machine and it just felt like home. The owner stayed next door and is proficient in English. He changed our towels every 2 days and was very helpful to us. And the hot air controller in the bathroom was awesome for drying wet clothes. I washed our clothes everyday at night and when we woke up, everything dried including our jeans! 

And oh, we can check in and check out late too with no extra charges on our last day! Bless him!

We like the area too. It took us around 3 mins walk to the nearest train station. It was a housing area and every morning they turn on the street speaker and put on some nice songs. It kinda lifted your spirits, a nice way to start your day. 

4. Food

Recently, Japan has widen the availability of halal food in the countries. There’s quite a lot of halal restaurants in Tokyo itself. Dinner is expensive and the portion is small hence you cannot really share. If want to try eating outside, it’s better to have lunch there as the price is more affordable. 

When we were there, we ate breakfast at home, which covered our lunch as well. We had rice and heat some Brahims and sambal ikan bilis. Thus we usually eat dinner outside and it was expensive. 

Oh, when we went to Disneyland and the ski resort, I packed our own lunch- rice and brahims. At Disneyland we ate around their food court area, bought some fries and ate our lunch. While when we went to the ski resort, we ate in the train. It’s normal to eat when you ride in shinkasen, they even sell some food in the train but we didn’t buy any as we are unsure of the status.

Japanese are really kind. We wanted to buy a fried squid and when I checked the ingredients using Google Translate apps (pls use this when u travel, really useful!), the ingredients looks fine, no alcohol or any kind of meats. I asked the salesgirl to confirm the oil used and she called their office to confirm. I was like, wow. She can just read and translate to us but decided to call the office/distributor to confirm. They are really helpful and kind. They are not friendly like most western people, but when you ask for help or directions, they go beyond to help u. 

So, back to food in Tokyo, i use Google Maps to find it. Just type halal food and it will show the nearest halal restaurant near u. Of course, I did some researched too before we went and had decided which restaurants to try.

If eating out too expensive, just bring lots of Brahims 😉

Btw, we also bring raw packed sausages for Danish and the customs don’t check much. So, it’s safe to bring in any food I think, unlike Australia. 

5. Apps

We relied 100% on Google Maps and Google Translate. We went on our own, no tourist guide and no knowledge in the language either. 

However, with lots of researched and detailed itinerary, it’s doable. 

Oh, and pocket wifi too! I rent from KLIA and our airbnb owner also provide us with one so we have 2 pocket wifis and we did a live update with our families back home :). 

6. Itinerary

Tokyo is big and have lots of attractions. I planned our itinerary by day. For example, first destination was Disneyland. I used excel and put down details such as, how to get there from our airbnb , which train to use, which station to stop / change, which line , how many minutes etc etc. 

Then after Disneyland we wanted to go for dinner so I put that on the excel too. Which restaurant and how to go there from Disneyland and from there to home. 

So each day, I made a plan of where to go, where to eat etc. We didn’t stick 100% to the plan but it’s helpful to have , kinda like a back up plan. And as I researched about the routes , I am becoming familiar with their train systems and station that when we were there, I didn’t panicked. 

I searched the destination on Google Map and just followed the instructions. There were few times the Google Map showed wrong platform but their signage also showed in English so it was fine. I guess don’t follow it 100%, it’s there as a guide and was doing a good job for us. 

I printed the itinerary I had typed and brings it out with us. At least if the pocket wifi battery has finished, we have back up and won’t get lost. 

7. Skincare

When we went, weather was still cold and I didn’t wear any moisturiser or lotions. Ended up with a very dry skin and it hurt. So, don’t be like me.

8. Medicines 

As usual, bring all the medicines and minyak panas. Better to have everything than looking for it in foreign country.

I bought travel insurance from AXA too. For the family package price, the price is reasonable and it’s better to be safe than sorry! 

I also took one Vit C tablet every day to cope with the weather. Don’t want to get sick when on vacation!

9. Travel with kid

I didn’t bring any stroller as Danish never use it. And with all the changing trains and stairs, u will get tired lugging the stroller. Disneyland have stroller you can rent. As for us, we just ignore his whining. Yeah, with all the walking he suddenly have to do, he whines a lot! And he keep on asking for us to use taxi, which is expensive for long distance but if its short distance then the rate is better compared to the train tickets for whole family. 

With whiny kid, which is expected, I tried to plan destination which are fun for him. So, only one temple though I have long list of other boring tourist spots. We went to the fire museum, the ski resort, the ninja museum and Disneyland to make it into an exciting trip for him. So that he have that motivation to walk more, hahaha. 

I also keep in the backpack some snacks, coloring book and simple story book for him. 

It helps, he’s happy doing something fun and we are happy with no whining. 

This was the first time we travelled on our own as family. When we went to Bali, we have a driver to take us around. It was more challenging this time and it went well I think. We didn’t get lost much, didn’t argue much and we were happy. 
It certainly was different when traveling on my own or only with my husband, much easier I think. But the joys on my son face made it worth it. Looking forward to more long distance family trips!

Bye Tokyo

Posted on: May 23, 2017

It’s our final day in Tokyo. There’s still so many places we haven’t visited. NEED ANOTHER TOKYO TRIP!!!

We went to Shinjuku today. Shinjuku is like one of the main shopping district- full of branded shops and busy with people. 

We went to Komehyo- it’s a second hand store for branded items. I bought a bag at a really good price and we bought lots of perfumes for gifts as well. The perfumes there are so cheap! 

Then we went to Rapha , a cycling shop as my cousin ordered some stuff from there. 

From Rapha, we decided to go to Ninja Trick House. It was a long walk based on google maps. We found it at last!

the fee is 1000 yen per person. the whole thing took around 45 mins.

it was fun! We learned about Ninjas and we get to do some ninja tricks, like using the fake sword and attack a ninja mannequin and throwing the ninja star darts. Danish was ecstatic, another dream came true for him i guess. We tried to find some ninja costume for him but it’s too expensive for our budget. 

After the ninja experience, we went for lunch around the shinjuku area. We found a pakistan restaurant, called Saddiq and ordered some pratha and briyani. 

Then it’s time to say goodbye to Japan. Went back to the airbnb, called a taxi, juggled our luggages through train stations and off to Haneda Airport.

We planned to have dinner at the airport but the shop is full and the queue is long. Saw an empty italian restaurant and asked the chef to cook a non-alcoholic vegetarian pasta. It kept our tummy from grumbling.

Bye Tokyo, we shall visit you again. 

Life is unpredictable and u just can’t plan life.

I was outraged with the recent incident occurred here. An 11 years old boy died after being beaten by his school warden. His legs had to be amputated and the doctors was scheduling to amputate his arm too when he died. 

He entered the boarding school with high hopes. The school didn’t allow any communication outside school for 40 days and it was during this time his nightmare began.

I wouldn’t allow my son to go to boarding school. Nope, he’s staying with me until 18. Then he can go to college and university of his choice. 

I believe at 18 he will have enough maturity and responsibility for his own life. He’ll be able to speak up and act on it if something is wrong. That he understand he doesn’t need to be scared of anybody at whatever authority level if his life is in danger.

Before he get to 18, he’s staying with me.

I spend my high school life in boarding school. I hated it. I resented the rules, the teachers, the wardens and the prefects. I broke lots of rules just to prove my points that those rules are stupid. Purposely breaking the rules. 

Those were the stages in my life that I didn’t miss and hardly remember. However it did teach me about life, it did in some way shape me and the teachers did contribute tremendously to my education. But I hated it. I felt fear if someone come to me and say they’ve got a time machine and we will go back to your boarding school time. In a way the experience did affect me psychologically in a negative way. 

So, I hope my son won’t be attending any boarding school. And I really hope the ministry of education can come up with stricter regulations to ensure students safety at school.

September 2017
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