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Master’s journey

As promised, I’m back writing and it’s going to be about my Master’s journey. I didn’t think I would actually be furthering my studies. In fact, I always used to tell myself and everyone that I was content with my degree scroll and felt that it was enough. I mean I did think of masters but that was never my first choice ever since I joined my brother in law and sister in setting up an online business after graduating. Post 1 year, I started working for my dad which meant that that idea drifted away further from my mind.

Frankly speaking, I could opt to remain in the safe and easy life but I found myself needing to do something more for myself, to achieve more, to discover, challenge and better myself more. So I turned to the person whom I trust most when having to make important life decisions, my one and only dad. I had a heart to heart talk with him (and my mum) and he decided for me to go for it -> masters. After all it’s only a one year course and as my degree was construction based, doing a Business masters would very much be a valuable addition to my education background and work.

I had only one week to prepare myself for the program. I still remember checking Nottingham Malaysia’s official website on the 11th September and saw that the deadline for all postgraduate studies application to fall on the 10th September. I told my sister and dad about it and they said to carry on applying as the registration link was still up. To all of us, if the course was meant for me, was one that came with Allah’s blessings, I would still manage to get a place in it despite being one day late in applying. The other plan would be to apply to study at Australia in February but God indeed blessed and eased the path for me when I got a reply from Nottingham on the 14th that read ‘Congratulations, your application is successful!’

I could recall being happy about the reply but at the same time unsure again if I was really ready for it and whether it was the right thing to do. It all felt too sudden but my parents reminded me to see how easy and smooth the application went by, that it was certainly God’s decision for me and that I must trust in Him and His decisions for they are the best for me. Keeping all that in mind, I gathered myself and completely set my mind for it. A few days after, I was already in one of the lecture halls at University of Nottingham Malaysia for the induction program.

Everything from there onwards until now has flown so positively. So so positively that I can tear up thinking just how much blessings I’ve received in the period of 9 months. Masters from what I heard was supposed to be tough, to be stressful, to be busy but somehow it never felt that tough, stressful and busy for me. There are only great and beautiful memories and I wouldn’t have wanted to have them any other way. The lecturers are fantastic, friends are beyond wonderful and university on the whole is lovely. It’s unbelievable that this fulfilling journey is almost over. I wish to thank my lecturers and friends who may or may not read this post that I really value our relationships with each other. Thank you Dr Maniam, Dr Tan, Dr Jaya, Dr Yap, Dr Dilip, Professor Bala, Dr Carol, Dr Yvonne and Dr Patricia for teaching and sharing your knowledge with me. My mind has expanded in ways I never thought was possible, I honestly feel a lot smarter (hehe). Some of you are not only lecturers but like parents and friends to us, listening and caring for us anytime we need someone to talk to. To my darling friends Jiha, Lana, Huey, Sanchit and Aidzat, thank you all so so much for being on top of the world the kindest, funnest, helpful and unselfish friends that you are to me. Words cannot describe how blessed I feel to have crossed paths with all of you. God has surely assured me further that He has destined this masters course to happen at the right time with the best people. I love you all dearly.

These photos were taken on our last exam, 15 May 2018.

My dear readers, if there is one thing that I’ve extracted out from this chapter of my life, it is to believe in the One and only, to go back to Him every single second that you can, to have full faith and confidence in Him, to thank Him every minute that you can and to love Him oh so dearly. Life is so much better, so much brighter and so much happier when you are grateful. I know that I must soon brace myself for the future challenges because I will always be tested but what have been happening before and during masters assure me that nothing will put me down as long as I have Him by my side. Now, the best thing about holding on to this fact is that it is not temporary, it is permanent. He is and will always be there and never disappoints.

To add on another important matter is to write about parents’ blessings. I may not be the best person to speak about this as I’ve made my parents really sad at one point of my life before (nothing too extreme but yes I’ve hurt them with my stubborn minded-led decision) but I’m thankful for the fact that God has given me so many opportunities to be and do good for my parents now. I know for sure that to be in the state that I am today, to be as content as I am now, to be able to appreciate and see things positively like I can now – these are all the direct results from receiving parents’ blessings. I deeply pray for Allah to help me become a good daughter and not test me through ever hurting my parents again, in sha Allah amin. I will leave this post here, thank you for reading and please pray I get to do my dissertation well. Wishing everyone blessed Ramadan ahead!

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One of the many to come

I’ve got soooo much to update! It’s surreal how so many things had happened in the months that I did not blog. For those who don’t know yet, I’m currently pursuing a Master’s Degree at University of Nottingham Malaysia. I started in September 2017 (last year) and guess what, I’ve completed the ‘taught’ component of the course. In other words, I’m done with all the lectures, assignments and examinations. Time really really flies, what’s left is another big chunk of the course which is dissertation that I expect will keep me busy for the next 4 months.

I will write about my Master’s journey in the upcoming post. It’s going to be such a positive post because that is what I’ve been feeling throughout. For now, I would like to wish everyone Selamat Berpuasa. May Ramadhan this year be better than the previous ones, may Allah shower upon us His utmost blessings, may He forgive us for our sins and accept our ibadah. In sha Allah amin. Till the next update!

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2nd Birthday

It feels like it was just yesterday that I received a whatsapp message from my BIL that my sister’s water broke and it feels like it was just yesterday that I first laid my eyes on his angelic face out from the labour room. It was undoubtedly love at a first sight and it really only keeps growing each day.

Back then I always used to imagine how joyful it would be to have him around but little did I know that the word joy was an understatement now that he’s been here. He doesn’t only bring joy but occupies and colours my heart and life in ways I never thought were possible.

With him, I get to experience at least half of what mothers do and I really don’t want to have it any other way. I’m thankful to Allah SWT for letting me be a part of his growing up process – to see him take his first crawl and meal and then his first step, hear his first word and many more firsts.

I pray Allah keeps you in His utmost blessings for every big or small step that you take as you journey through this short borrowed life from him. I pray Allah keeps you protected from every harm and danger. I pray Allah gives you the kind of best things that you need in both worlds.

And so Happy 2nd Birthday to you my darling nephew. I love you so so much.

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2017 had just left us and it will never come back but we have the memories that were created in it that we can keep forever! To me personally, 2017 was the year that I really had the privilege to be the closest to  my own self. I rediscovered, re-did and most importantly retrieved back myself. Not wholly but enough to know that I have changed some of what I needed to change about this flawed self. I hope it was the same for you and that you had a wonderful year overall.

2018, I can’t wait to know what you have in store but I do hope it’s filled with many happy things not just for me but for everyone. In sha Allah amin.

Today is page 1 of 365 of the new book and so let’s write a good one. Happy New Year 2018 with lots of love!

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“Be grateful and I will give you more”

Is one of the best sayings I’ve ever come across. Is one that I cannot reiterate enough of how significantly true that is. And is one that should be everyone’s life principal. 

Everyday I strive my best to always be thankful and grateful until I find so much ease in doing it. The best part is that I realise Allah indeed sends me more blessings the more and more I say my thank yous. 

So thank you Ya Allah for my 24 beautiful years in this world. Thank you for every little thing that you’ve blessed me with especially my family.


24 today yay! 

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I’ve been feeling so content since the moment I woke up from my sleep. I’m being careful when I say this but life never feels happier. I’m thankful to Allah swt for letting me feel this happy. It’s justified what they say, there’s always a silver lining behind every sad story.

People who know me cannot not have the impression that I’m generally a happy person, one without any worries. Truth is it’s not like that, not at all times at least. One of the keys to being happy is really in making peace with yourself. It’s about learning about you first, going easy with yourself and actually loving yourself by simply looking at what you have been blessed with. To come to this stage is not easy, it takes going through multiple challenges, disappointments, sad life stories etc. Instead of ranting and trying to avoid the pain, I find that what one can do best is to recognise it, endure it and finally just come out of it eventually. This way, you grow stronger and you learn more of yourself, what you’re capable of and then you just subsequently love yourself better. And when you do, you don’t find nonsense as nonsense anymore. You look beyond and you just feel easy and happy. Or in other words, you turn grateful. And a grateful self is the best version of yourself that you can be. Being grateful rejects or rather trashes out all the negativities that come to you if there are. 

I don’t want to jinx this but if I can share something useful for everybody then I will. I don’t know what I will feel tomorrow but I cherish what I feel today. So love yourself and be grateful guys. Do not compare your life to others, do not look down at yourself, do not hold grudges, do not feel sad. Instead see that you have enough, respect yourself enough to know that you’re worth it, let go of hatred and just be happy. Be happy for yourself. Your soul needs that healing. 

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Salam and Hi everyone! Today marks the first day of Ramadan and I would like to wish everyone Selamat Berpuasa. Let’s all pray for Ramadan this year to be better than all the previous years and may this holy beautiful month of Ramadan bring us spiritual and physical goodness in sha Allah amin.

Today I’m going to share photos of my Phuket trip with family. Thanks to last year’s just before Ramadan trip (Sydney), the family agreed to sort of make it a yearly routine to have Pre-Ramadan vacation. This year we had either Maldives or Phuket in mind but we chose the latter as Maldives would not be as baby friendly (speedboats etc). 

Alhamdulillah it was a good trip overall. It could have been more perfect if my elder brother and sister in law (yes the newlyweds and will blog about their wedding within Ramadan) could join too but it was understandable as we planned it pretty much last minute. My brother had full flying schedules on that particular weekend and my sister in law just started work at the new workplace so it wouldn’t give a good impression to apply for leave right away. 

I will share photos + videos and write stories in between and hope you enjoy this post.

It was a 4d3n trip and we flew with Malindo Air for our outbound journey and the flight took only over just an hour to arrive in Phuket. Taxi costed us 1300 baht (equivalent to RM170) but that was because they ran out of standard taxis. Expect half of that amount if you get the normal taxis. 

For our hotel, we stayed at Paresa Resort Phuket and the hotel was located on Kamala Beach. It was a really hilly drive up there as the hotel was by the cliff but the view I assure you was beyond spectacular. Kamala Beach if you must know is the quieter beach in Phuket so if you plan your Phuket Holiday to be more towards the fun type, I don’t suggest you stay here. However if you plan to indulge, relax and rest then I want to tell you that that the resorts around here are exactly what you’re looking for (Andara, Cape Sienna, The Naka, The Palms,  Hyatt Regency). Kamala Beach is about 20 minutes away from the tourist spot Patong Beach and you will find that you will reach Kamala first before you reach Patong. 

I took these photos from Paresa’s official website because the villas there honestly look like what they portray. Umm you know how they say reality differs from imagination? This one doesn’t do that. My family and I stayed at the two bedroom oceanfront pool residence and the photos up there are for this type of villa.

Every villa here comes with what they call a private infinity pool. Infinity I’m guessing is because of the straight and clear perfect view of the Andaman Sea from the private pool. I swam everyday because when else would one feel so at ease and peace to swim. It was also a huge pool and it would be such a miss if I didn’t take the opportunity to indulge. My mum who had not gone into any pool for years too broke the record by joining her children and grandchild swim. 

​Spectacular. Right guys? Waking up from sleep to know you would have this view to stare at could never get more exciting and refreshing.

My sister and I also managed to explore the resort and we both concluded that the reviews we read on TripAdvisor were justified. “Paradise on earth” – true. The perfect blend of green and ocean at every step and corner you take and explore, one can only keep falling in love. 

You see what I mean? Perfect view of the nature at every turn you make or every sight you take. 

Moving on to the last bit of this resort that I want to share, this resort is Muslim friendly in terms of the food served. They are not certified Halal but they have Halal ingredients and Muslim visitors can just request for Halal meat exchange for their meals. 

Speaking of food means I will now bring my writing to the topic of Halal food in Phuket. It’s really not hard at all to look for Halal food there what more if you stay in Patong. As my parents and I still preferred for a full 100% halal food experience in Phuket, we tried our best to look for certified Halal restaurants for our lunch and dinner. We googled and of course most Halal restaurants were found to be in Patong Beach area. The first night in Patong, we had our dinner at the famous  Kusuma Halal Thai Seafood Restaurant. Alhamdulillah, the food was great (sorry that there are no photos that I can share here). The second night in Phuket, we went to Pantai Halal seafood restaurant and I have to say that their food was just alright (sorry again for the unavailability of photos).

The third Halal restaurant that we managed to visit was Al Basha Restaurant which was also in Patong. It is strange that this Thai restaurant is run by the Middle Eastern people but one will be in shock at how good the food are. Please be careful of this restaurant though especially when ordering seafood. You must and must and must state your grams/kilograms right or else you will end up paying for what you don’t ask (or better they don’t ask you and just bring you a big plate of prawns). That aside, I couldn’t find any fault in the food served. Please also get your hands on their amazing Mango Sticky Rice, I’m actually salivating thinking of it right now. Hehe.

What else is there that is worth sharing hmm… 
Oh, car rental! Yes, if you stay a little far out, renting a car is a handy thing to do. Taxis can be pricy especially if you want to travel out from the hotel a few times. Imagine paying 1800 baht per day (RM225) for car rental than paying 1300 baht per day (RM165) for just a return taxi trip. You can also go to all the destinations you want if you drive on your own. By the way, we booked for our rented car via the hotel as it was unplanned. I tried searching online but most companies would show Phuket Airport as the pick up point. That was no way convenient for us as Paresa was 50 minutes away from the airport. So guys, please book your car in advance and start driving around Phuket from the airport itself. 

As for Phuket attractions, it was disappointing that I did not get to visit Phi Phi Island. This was because we were contemplating everyday if that should be in our itineraries considering Zachary was there. My brother and I decided to go just the two of us in the end but we were too late already (lesson learnt: don’t ever listen to my brother. He was convinced we could book on the day itself when I clearly said tour agencies required at least a one day notice). We were leaving the next day so there was no way we could go. 

However, to make up for the lost of Phi Phi opportunity, we went to Paradise Beach. So glad we had a car with us so it was done on an ad hoc basis. We googled for beaches that had snorkeling activity and it showed us a few beaches that offered it. We opted Paradise Beach because that looked most convincing only to find ourselves rather disappointed with it. My brother said no to snorkeling right after seeing the beach water so we basically only spent less than an hour roaming around there. Please do not get this information wrong though. It’s a great beach for many other activities, it’s just not great for snorkeling. Hehe.

Later that night which was also our last night in Phuket specifically, I dragged my brother to accompany me to watch cultural shows at Phuket Fantasea. They had either the show only or show with dinner buffet options and we went for only the show because we wanted to have dinner with family. For your information, the dinner buffet at the restaurants (they have two restaurants) inside Phuket Fantasea have halal food options too. Phuket Fantasea is basically like a theme park so you don’t want to come too late even if you’re just there for the show. 


​So yes, I think that is it from me for this blogpost. Can’t believe I took almost two hours to write all of this. I will leave this post with more random Phuket photos and videos. Thank you for reading and Selamat Berpuasa again! 


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Of Perth and Public Transportation

Kakak was off from her lecturing duty for a week (thanks to the mid-term break) and so both her and my brother in law decided to head to Perth for a short vacation. They asked if I would like to join which was nice of them and having been 9 years since I last visited Perth, it was a simple yes.
We flew Malindo Air that had some fantastic deals over the Matta Fare period and this meant hello cosy business class seats andddddd…. well.. a super friendly in-flight neighbour. He was a Sri Lankan professional who wanted to converse about so many social and economic subjects. I could safely say that we spoke for nearly 2 hours before I managed to put an end to the conversation and finally focus on my inflight entertainment. Now I hope you don’t get me wrong, it was good to talk about economics and advancement of technology for the betterment of societies. But 2 hours.. was rather long.

We had a few friends and family who recently travelled to Perth and they did give some useful travel guides for our Perth trip. One of them was to rent a car at the airport to ease getting around which made whole sense considering we were also travelling with a one year old but BIL being BIL insisted that we should rely on public transports. And was I in for a surprise guys.. You will know why as you continue reading.

To give you some background of how I am with public transports – other than when I am in London, I don’t think I have ever thought of public transports as the easiest means to get around. While studying in Bristol, driving a car meant I could save almost an hour getting to Uni and with friends always happy to hitch a ride, I never felt I was being wasteful. To me personally, using public transports in Malaysia is a rarity and it wasn’t until a car accident I had earlier this year did I ever find the need to use them. Again, it was my one in a million kind of BIL who influenced and got me to travel with LRT and speaking of the accident, I think I should dedicate a post to him for helping me out with my ordeal on none other than his birthday (what better day could it be right?) and my very first experience of Malaysian public transport. If you’re reading this, thanks again BIL.

Anyway, back to Perth.. Our flight landed at 1am which again supported the idea of renting a car as there was a possibility of no-taxi and of course for safety reason. However, BIL said he had consulted a police officer friend who works with the Perth Police Department (your vast network I can’t keep up BIL) and he assured that all metered taxi had CCTV connected to the police so taxis are actually one of the safest means of transportation in Perth. That said, we collected our bags, went through a thorough custom declaration and exited the airport following the Taxi signage. What I found interesting was Perth Airport had a dedicated pick up point for ride sharing riders and in fact it was more convenient to jump on a ride sharing than to get to the taxi. But please note this important note that only Taxis are allowed to transport babies and toddlers without a car seat. To have car seats on all other forms of cars is a mandatory requirement.

When we got to the taxi stand, there was a long queue of taxis waiting for passengers. Now that was a relief, phewww. The taxis are unlike those special airport limousines you see in KLIA, they are really just normal everyday-taxis lining up for passengers. It hit me that time and I asked myself the question that has always been on my mind – why does KLIA require special taxi and payment upfront? Perhaps it’s because our normal taxis always haggle and are known to deceive customers. Or perhaps.. that-something-about-politics which I don’t get. Anyway, the taxi ride was good and the driver was professional and efficient enough in helping to load and unload our belongings. Check in at Novotel was also fast and easy and out of exhaustion, all of us slept like a log that night.

We woke up fresh the following morning all ready and excited to explore Perth. We thought of heading to the city by enjoying the convenience of Perth’s Central Area Transit (CAT) busses which were free of charge – oh yes, free public transport spotted! A small info for your future reference, Perth CAT busses run along the main roads. Our hotel was actually only 100 meters away to the nearest Perth CAT bus stand but the strange truth was that we never actually got onto the bus.. Nope, it was not because the bus was bad or it never arrived. The busses appeared to look modern, clean and very inviting in fact. It was just that the city of Perth is blessed with large beautifully paved pathways and we enjoyed the walk so much that we wanted to just keep walking. Fine that the temperature was bordering 30°C and humidity was lower than Malaysia but the opportunity to walk freely and safely was something we had all missed. Why oh why Malaysia do we not have walkways. Even when we do, they are not done 10-15 feet walkways but instead 3-5 feet with holes and uneven pavements.. Perhaps and hopefully once the MRT is fully functional, the many city councils will start putting emphasis on walkways.

That afternoon we made a decision to head to Fremantle for sightseeing and deliberated the choices of public transports which were bus, train or ferry. To be honest, we preferred and wanted the ferry ride but were taken aback by the journey time (over an hour) and its extravagant price of AUD40 per person. BIL and I did some googling and then we decided to opt for the train which only costed us AUD4 per person (price of cup of coffee) and a journey time of only 28mins. Ahah, rail for the win!

Now, living in Kajang and having driven past the Kajang Train Station multiple times, my expectation of Perth was of a similar level. But yet again, Perth surprised me with a wonderful station with plenty of facilities designed for the disabled group. To add to this, we found that pushing a stroller was incredibly convenient. The train to Fremantle arrived 5 minutes earlier of the scheduled time and it departed on time indeed. It was clear to see that rail plays an important part in the commuting of a wide range of society. We witnessed school children embarking on the train as they finished school, we saw the elderly group with their groceries and not to mention the corporate group in their suits. I now understand why the government of Malaysia has opted to spend abundantly on public transport as it really is the Future.

The true wealth here does not lie in owning a car, not owning one is what it is and I would so much love to be able to enjoy the same quality of life that the Australians are blessed enough to have. For the price of a cup of coffee, it will be great to be able to travel in and out of the city in ease and comfort and what a bonus it becomes if I can also start travelling to other cities in the same way.

I will share another blog on the activities we did while in Perth. I thought it was significant that I first blogged on public transportations as that was one of the main highlights of my experience in Perth. It did not need Formula 1, any tall building or stylish cars for Perth to impress me. It was those simple conveniences for people’s mobility that won my heart over. The ability to walk to your destination or rely on public transport in ease and comfort are the true luxuries 👍🏼. 

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Zachary’s 1st Birthday Party

A delayed post as always! 

Sooo where shall I begin… Basically the party was a huge success alhamdulillah. It really was a fun and happening one. Initially we thought of organizing BBQ with family at home but there was this one fine day that my family had lunch at Hotel Bangi Putrajaya (previously Hotel Equatorial Bangi) and my mum casually got an idea and suggested for the birthday party to be held there. We really like our dim sum/lunch there and are definitely familiar with the hotel. 

January is a celebratory month because we have these special dates in line:

3 January – My big brother’s birthday 

4 January – My sister and brother in law’s anniversary 

20 January – My brother in law’s birthday 

22 January – Zachary’s birthday 

27 January – My parents’ anniversary 

Because of these celebrations we thought of holding a more special get together with family members with the spotlight angled at and for Zachary’s 1st Birthday party. My dad approved of the idea and my sister took the lead in securing a room at the hotel for the party.  

We always know this hotel offers really good Chinese food at a fairly reasonably price. That said we were very very happy with the food service that night and it was a good feeling to hear our family members passing compliments on how much they enjoyed the food. Alhamdulillah. In terms of the room review, I must say we couldn’t ask for more. Very good room in terms of size and layout! They have a number of rooms that can accommodate from 20-100 guests. Ours was for 50 people and it could even fit a giant sized bouncy castle. 

Speaking of bouncy castle, yes we rented a bouncy castle for the kids to play and it was the best decision made because all they did was jump and slide throughout the party (gave all parents the chance to eat and mingle freely). For anyone who’s looking for bouncy castle, you can just search #bouncycastlemalaysia on Instagram and you shall find about 4-5 business pages that provide rent services for bouncy castles. Currently the rent price is between RM350-500 depending on the size for 3-4 hours rental time. 

Moving on to party planner, we opted for Wondermamacandybuffet again (my sister’s baby shower’s party planner). As this party was more for kids, we made sure to have the customised dessert buffet table. And speaking of theme.. The theme for the night was ‘football and jersey’. We notified everyone of this and thank you dearest family for coming in jerseys that night. 

I’m about to share photos now! A few of them are from my own collections while the rest are from our photographer for the night, Azim Sharif. My sister got his contact number from her friend and you can search @azimsharif on Instagram shall you like his work! 

World’s coolest grandmother award for our dearest Grandma. My 75 year old grandma really shocked everyone that night. Thanks Che for coming in jersey! 

Urmm yeah uncles.. We get it that you’re all young too. 

As you can see, we were wearing different football team jerseys. I have to say that a lot of us was in Arsenal jerseys but Liverpool had to win that night since the birthday boy was wearing Liverpool jersey (thank you Uncle Azrul for Zachary’s jersey). Too young to decide according to his uncles but a son’s gotta support what the dad supports huh haha. 
Before I end the post, I want to credit myself (ahem ahem) first for both Birthday and Anniversary cakes. Anniversary cake turned out nice but Zachary’s cake didn’t turn out too well. I still slap my forehead whenever I see the uneven fondant layer on Zachary’s cake but I’m happy that I didn’t give up at least. Fondant dear.. you were super difficult to deal with. 

So yes, that’s it about Zachary’s 1st Birthday Party! Zachary, if ever you’re reading this in the future, I just want you to know how very lucky you are to be blessed with wonderful parents, grandparents and family members. Mama Ya prays you grow up to be an amazing amazing person inside and out just like they are in shaa Allah. 

Happy growing up baby boy. 

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