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Surgery: Fear, anguish and pain

*Writing this post on the hospital bed*

Surgery Day:

So with my surgery scheduled for mid-noon, fasting had to start from 5am. The hospital gave me the option of either admitting myself the night before or the day of the surgery. Given the close proximity to home I decided not to stay the extra night which meant admitting myself at 7am of the day of surgery. When I walked in at 7am Dr Tai was already in and working away on his computer.

I had in advance requested for a single room but all the single rooms were fully occupied so that meant I had to share a double room while I awaited a vacancy – It seems like patients who patron the Ara Damansara Medical Centre share the same preference for single rooms.. What was interesting for me thought was that my roommate for half the day turned out to be a 19 year old national rugby player. It was his second surgery with Dr Tai this year and his first one happened last year on his left knee, also due to a meniscus tear… He told me that this time round he had unfortunately torn his ACL in his right knee and that it would be a real shame if his career had to be cut short due injuries so I hope he has a speedy recovery.

Moving on, Dr Tai came by at 8am and needed me to sign a consent form. The form basically was seeking consent to perform a knee arthroscopy and fix any meniscus damage. He also added a line that he would fix any other injuries should the arthroscopy allow. This to me suggested he was still leaning towards a meniscus tear oppose to a cartilage tear as suggested by the radiologist report.I was made to take an antiseptic bath at about 10 am and by 12pm I was wheeled down to the operation theatre. I was introduced to Dr Wong the aesthetician and I was informed I would be going under a general aesthetic. I enquired if that meant I would be vomiting post-surgery and he replied the days of vomiting are long gone. Again I had to sign a consent form and I was then put under. Said my Bismillah and then poooooof, I was unconscious and poooooooooof, few hours went by just like that

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

I remember waking up at 5pm and everything was a blur. A nurse came to attend to me and I told the nurse my knee was hurting. She replied short “of course” as I just had my knee operated on. She told me that she would put me on some painkillers and I then got wheeled into my single room which had now become available. While I was being wheeled, I was told that the operation was completed at 4.10pm which confirmed the fact that I was in the surgery room for about 3 hours.. Anyway, remember about how they say ‘days of vomiting being long gone’? Ahah, guess who started vomiting just about half an hour into being conscious..

So yes, Dr Tai came by at about 7pm to provide an update of the whole thing. He said he had cleaned my meniscus but that was not the problem. Indeed I had a grade 4 tear to my cartilage, it wasn’t a big tear but unfortunately the tear was at the load bearing portion of my knee. This meant he was required to perform a microfracture surgery that works by creating tiny fractures in the underlying bone – this causes new cartilage to develop but they are never as strong as the original.

Guys, I think everything still sounded okay to me but what Dr Tai had to share next left my heart feeling heavy. He said as a consequence of my injury, I can no longer play any sport that requires running or jumping. Dr Tai then said but if I insist on playing sports, then there were two options. The first is to have a knee cartilage transplant and the second was to have a knee replacement. In both cases it would be an open surgery and they were complicated procedures. I looked at my wife Nur and her facial expression reflected what I felt inside. While all prior pain was physical, this time it was emotional pain. Despite having my family and in laws drop by later at night, lingering in the back of my mind was the decline in quality of life I had to accept.

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Being positive was a struggle.

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When BIL writes…

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor and the information I relay is purely based on memory. I may have gotten some of the facts wrong but it’s based on what I understood and remember. This post is not intended to promote or demote any doctor or medical centre and purely reflects my own experience and assessment.*

Dear loyal readers of dianadiadia,

This is not Nadia but instead it’s Bazil, brother in law to Nadia. I am not a blogger but I wanted to share my experience as I was not going to start my own blog so this is me menumpang blog Nadia.

I have been unfortunate to have damaged my knee to the extent where surgery is my only option. When the diagnosis was shared with me, I was overwhelmed by a sense of fear and anxiety. Naturally I turned to the internet to better understand what ordeal I had gotten myself into and thankfully for the internet, there were plenty of information out there for my apprehension to digest on. There were however very little information that was Malaysia centric and every case was unique in nature, so I thought I would contribute to the world by sharing my experience.

What I felt intriguing about my injury was the nature I injured myself and how it was not until almost a week later did I realise I had a problem. Now, let’s go through the timeline:

  • Friday, 19 June: It was Friday night futsal and I was running for the ball when I felt my right knee go limp. I wasn’t in pain but I was struggling to run and decided to hobble off to the side-line and rest it out.

Couple years back something similar happened when I was jogging up a hill and after a couple days I was back to normal so I didn’t think too much of this incident.

  •  Wednesday, 24 June: I had a long meeting where I seated for the entire 2 hours. When the meeting adjourned and I stood up, I felt a sharp pain in my knee and I struggled to put any pressure on knee. I tried to walk it off but any attempt to straighten my knee the sharp pain returned. I knew this was not normal so I hobbled my way to the GP that was in the same building.

The GP said there was slight bruising and told me to come back in two weeks’ time. If I was still in pain then she would refer me to a specialist. She gave me some ibuprofen tablets and a knee guard and send me packing.

Hobbled back to office wore the knee guard and the sharp pain was back. I could not stand up with this knee guard on. So I called the GP and told her of this and she said I better see the specialist. She recommended I visit Kuala Lumpur Sports Medical Centre (“KLSMC”) as they were good with futsal injuries.

 

1GP’s medication

  • Friday, 26 June: I had my appointment to meet the orthopaedic consultant, Dr. Reza Ng. He inspected my knee asking if I felt any pain each time he put pressure on the knee but to be honest, other than Wedneday’s episode I felt fine. He recommended I carry out an MRI and X-ray to ensure there was no meniscus tear.

The great selling point of KLSMC I must say is they are as good as a hospital without the long wait. I had to head down to level 2 and within 10mins wait; I was getting my X-ray done. The MRI scan took just over half an hour and within 15 mins of completing my scan I was back in the consultant’s room.

Dr Reza Ng looked at my scan and said it looks like I have a slight meniscus tear and I also have a cartilage lesion. Dr Reza suggested that they remove the liquid that has built up in my knee due to the bruising and to also inject me with Hyaluronic Acid. He suggested a follow up in two week’s time to asses my meniscus. Dear readers, based on my reading, a meniscus can heal it depending on where the tear is. The outer rims of our meniscus have blood supply therefore it is able to self-regenerate where as if the tear is elsewhere surgery would be required.

After my injection I was in tremendous pain. I could not stand up let alone walk. They had to put me on a Knee Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) Machine to help straighten my knee and to ease my suffering. Dr Reza at this point said my condition looks bad and I should get a surgery done within the next one week.

2Prepping my knee for injection with an ice pack

3On the CPM

  • Saturday, 27 June: I’ve never gone under the knife and the thought of surgery scared me. I had spent the previous night reading up on meniscus tear and what the surgery entails. I thought it would be best for me to get a second opinion and I turned to my mother’s orthopaedic doctor Dr. Tai Cheh Chin of Subang Jaya Medical Centre (“SJMC”). Now SJMC is a full fledge hospital and like all hospitals it was busy and hectic. I registered at 11am and only met with Dr Tai at 3.30pm…

Okay, so I had made the mistake of taking pain killers on the same day so when I met with Dr Tai, I was in near perfect condition. He ran his test on my knee and I felt no pain. When he asked if I was confident in my knee, I said 100%. He inspected my MRI scan and he said while the MRI scan showed some lesion but at the same time we need to be aware that it’s possible that it may be a false positive. An MRI scan is reliant on the patient being still during the scan, any slight movement could trigger markers creating a false positive where there is something shown on the scan and there is nothing in reality. He also said based on the pain I’ve had, I most likely have had a meniscus tear and I should wait two weeks. Dr Tai also told me to lay off the pain killers as it could be masking my symptoms.

  • Sunday 28 June: No pain killers for today and guess what….I was struggling to walk!!! I called up my good sister in law Nadia and told her to buy me some crutches on her way to my place for board meeting with the team including her kakak. This was clearly not a good sign 🙁

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Thanks for the crutches SIL

  • Monday 29 June: I had my follow up appointment with Dr Reza and he shared with me the radiologist report. It said I have a grade 4 cartilage lesion and suspected meniscus tear. This is bad news and the fact I was struggling to walk only confirmed this. He suggested I go in for surgery on Thursday and shared how he would be fixing me. First there would be cartilage shaving followed with drilling into my bone to release my stem cell from my bone marrow. This will be followed with harvesting stem cell from my blood cell and then injecting back into my knee to promote the growth of a new cartilage. KLSMC is really at the forefront of sport medicine. There are not many other medical centre in Malaysia that will carry out this procedure.

Scary stuff and I wanted my second opinion again. So I called Dr Tai and booked at appointment for 5pm. Again being a hospital and due to Dr Tai’s popularity, I had to wait a good 3.5 hours before I got meet with Dr Tai. He read my report and said seeing how I was in pain he agreed with the report but maintain that until he does arthroscopy, he would be ready to judge the extend of the damage. He explained to me the surgery procedure which was very similar to Dr Reza’s but one difference in terms of procedure is he instead of harvesting stem cells from the blood, he will instead harvest platelet rich plasma from my blood and inject it in my knee to assist the stem cells from my bone marrow to grow into cartilage.

While Dr Reza was the modern doctor with the latest procedures, Dr Tai was the conservative doctor with the more generic procedure. I deliberated for some time what would be my best option and I took into consideration the following factors:

  1. My age: I am just 28 yrs old and should avoid taking risk as I have my whole future ahead of me.
  2. Location: KLSMC is located in Damansara Heights while Dr Tai is located at both SJMC and Ara Medical Centre which is located next to my parents’ house.
  3. Reference: A close family friend of ours Dr Vijay knew of Dr Tai and had good things to share of Dr Tai.

So I made the call that I will proceed with Dr Tai to operate on me. Today is Thursday 2 July 2015 and I am due for surgery tomorrow at Ara Damansara Specialist Centre. I hope to share with the readers out there bout my experience as well as my road to recovery. Wish me luck!

 

6Radiologist report: Grade 4 cartilage lesion and a suspected meniscus tear

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Grade 4 doesn’t look good….

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Lovin my Bags

My sister and I recently brought our mum’s old handbags to Lovin my Bags, Bangsar Village 2. It’s a handbag spa boutique and the picture and screenshot below explain what the shop does.

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To be very very honest, I never knew that this sort of shop existed before. My sister did tell me about her sending one of her bags to a bag spa before and how that bag now looks very clean but I did not pay much attention to it. I came home this time and I got interested in cleaning one of my bags just so it would look fresher and newer. That was also when I recalled of two of my mum’s handbags that she had kept unused for a few years. 1 because the leather simply got stained due to the colour transfer from her jeans to that handbag. The handbag is in off white colour so the stain was obvious enough.

Before I write further, I just want to note that my sister went to a different bag spa boutique – MyBagSpa. MyBagSpa has more branches and I initially rang this shop to enquire about the price and duration of cleaning. From the information I got, I then went to my best friend again (Mr Google) and he suggested another shop – LovinMyBags. I called up the shop and the quotation I received was much more cheaper. And oh, the location is much preferable too (Bangsar Village 2). The comparisons are something like this:

 

MyBagSpa 

RM180 for A4 sized bags

Duration is 2-3 weeks

50% on top of the original quotation if express service is required

Express service is 5-7 days

 

LovinMyBags

RM150 for A4 sized bags

Duration is 2 weeks

25% on top of the original quotation if express service is required

Express service is 5 days

 

So back to the story, I did not leave my bag for cleaning as what I did was I bought the cleaning products instead (thanks to my sister for the advice) but we did leave both our mum’s handbags. We really loved the service offered to us and the bag advisor was also very friendly. She was super informative and she did not try to market the business by saying the bag would look 100% new but rather 80% new. Her exact words “the bag is after all used so there are things that are unfixable. But it will look newer and fresher I promise. I will let you decide because you’re paying for the service”. She explained to us the concept of scuffing and dirt. Scuffing is unremovable but dirt is. What usually happens is our bags get scuffed and then dirt would easily blend in hence why the bags would not 100% new. We are actually removing the dirt from the scuffing. However, I do think that our bags may look 90-100% new if they are only just stained by dirt.

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Here are ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures of my mum’s handbags for easy reference:

Before:

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2

 After:

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As you can see, my mum’s bag completely looks fresh! The scuffing remains but the dirt is gone.

Before:

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After:

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Okay. This bag is made of canvas. As you can see, this bag shows major ‘new’ effect after it’s cleaned. Yes, my mum was mostly impressed with this bag compared to the first one the moment she saw both bags. I would say value for money lies in cleaning canvas bags. However again, I have discovered many leather bags looking as fresh too so it really depends on the damage that your bags have.

I’m now going to share the pictures of the cleansing products that my sister and I bought for our bags.

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We bought Beauty & Shine Cleanser and Beauty & Shine Moisturiser for RM180. What we do is we take a clean microfibre cloth or white cloth and put a bit of the cleanser on it and start applying on our bags. Please don’t get worried if you see colour stains on the cloth. The bag advisor told my sister and I that it is perfectly normal to receive that effect as we clean our bags. The next step is to dry it (either leave to air to dry/use hairdryer) and then we can begin applying moisturiser to our bags before finally drying it again. Products review: I have used both of them on two of my bags and my bags now look 80% new and fresh. The time taken to clean is a bit of pain but the result is just worth it.

Before I end this post, I would like to share an additional information. My sister and I made the right choice by going to LovinMyBags because we received 20% additional discount for using CIMB MasterCard. So to CIMB MasterCard holders, this is an added advantage of going to LovinMyBags.

I hope everyone finds this post useful! It’s really not just face and hair that need pampering, I just learned that *insert wink emoticon* hehe.

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One satisfied customer there.

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Switzerland Day 2: Kleine Scheidegg – Jungfraujoch – Grindelwald

Woke up in the morning of Switzerland Day 2 to this view.FullSizeRenderCompletely magical – this pictures portrays only half of the actual beauty. Imagine having this view while getting ready for your new day, such a positive feeling.

Anyway,

Day 2 Details:

6. After breakfast and FaceTime with mama at the hotel, we headed to Interlaken Ost train station and took the train to Interlaken West to catch a different train that would take us to Lauterbrunnen. In summary: Interlaken Ost – Interlaken West – Lauterbrunnen. For everyone who is heading to Jungraujoch from Interlaken, this is the most identical and famous ways of getting to Lauterbrunnen.17. Arrived at Lauterbrunnen and we changed train again and it was a smaller train compared to the one above. Advice: Simply follow the direction given by officers around there or the people around you. Please note that you have to pay for a separate ticket here as Swiss Pass is not valid for this train to Jungfraujoch. We had no idea about it but were thankful that we carried enough cash. If I’m not mistaken, one ticket is CHF145. The ride took quite sometime and please again note that there would be another stop where you have to change train to get to your final destination. This stop is called Klein Scheidegg and it is 2061m above sea level. I wore enough layers but still felt the coldness (it was -10 degrees during my time). Please wear very very thick layers guys.

34567As you can see, we took a lot of selfies here while waiting for the next available train from Klein Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch. Note: It runs every 30 minutes.

8. The one hour train ride to Jungfraujoch was a totally different experience. Oxygen was enough but you could feel the difference but the view was as divine as expected. We got there and we were a bit surprised because the activities that they offered were within a large confined space. The only place that allowed some outdoor air was the viewing point. I guess this was somehow logical because it would be dangerous to be out from the space. My sister and I took about 2 hours to discover all the entertainment offered.8

9Ice Palace

11The viewing point121314

FullSizeRenderJungfraujoch is 3454m above sea level so the peak of the mountains were right in front of our eyes. The feeling was SubhanAllah, indescribable. God is definitely simply the most powerful of all.

15Hmm, there is Lindtt chocolate shop here at Jungfraujoch too.

8. We left Jungraujoch and took the train back to Kleine Scheidegg. We could take the direct train back to Interlaken West and that was what we did but we stopped at Grindelwald after being advised by one of the railway officers about how everyone should not miss visiting Grindelwald. He was indeed right, Grindelwald was a beautiful little village and my sister and I really needed that fresh oxygen air.1618 191920

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I may have just run out of possible vocabularies to describe these pictures. Shall I let you speak them out for me?

9. It was already 3pm when we first arrived at Grindelwald and we decided to call the day off at 5pm. Time to head back to Interlaken West and then to Interlaken Ost and then back to our hotel.

22Amazing amazing Day 2 that we had, alhamdulillah, and I hope this post proves useful to everyone planning for Jungfraujoch trip soon. Here is a map that I got from my trip which I think will be very handy.FullSizeRender-2See the circle? I think that is what most of everyone should try to cover in their Jungfraujoch trip (plus the cable car ride that my sister and I did not get to do). Please try to start your day early because you do need the whole day for this.

Day 3 and 4 to be continued in the next post in a bit.

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Capello by Nina in Bangi

“Where do you live?”
“Kajang”
“Whoa, that’s really far”

Everyone I know of would tend to make fun of where I live.. Not make fun but it does make people question why. But I’m happy and feel very content living here with my beloved family. My house area is not in Kajang town, only the address is. It’s much closer to Bangi instead so I would always feel like I live in Bangi. Plus almost all my relatives live around the same proximity so yay to the frequent makan-makan and meet ups. And Kajang is actually only 25 minutes from KL.

Anyways, those who have been to Bangi would know that it is a well developed area now. Name all the shops that you want, you can get them here. Those famous tudung shops, textile boutiques, car showrooms, restaurants and everything else honestly. I guess the fact that it’s Malay majority here attracts the shop owners to locate one branch in Bangi and recently, the famous celebrity couple, Jovian and Nina too decided to open up their second salon here!

Nadia at Capello
Capello by Nina
It’s now in operation for about a month and on Friday just before the family visited my brother, my sister and I booked for appointments here (we hardly go to UK salons because they are generally much more pricy because of the conversion factor and Asians are also known for their skills) and off we were to what only took us less than 10 minutes of driving. Sooo close.
I really recommend all Muslimahs to head here as the concept is indeed like what Nina promised the Muslim ladies – ‘Women only salon’ – really really religion friendly and you get to feel decent salon ambiance and meet equally good hair stylists just like at the other top salons out there. On top of those, there’s a spacious waiting area as well as kids’ play section (your kids can entertain themselves while waiting for their mummies).
Capello also offers manicure and pedicure services (such a plus point) at great prices. I was quite surprised to hear them because Nail Parlour now is definitely a slightly more expensive choice. While I waited for my sister I heard a young lady (she’s pregnant, bless her) being asked if she was ready for her foot reflexology session. That caught my attention – whoa, another plus point. I went to the cashier to make payment and saw the price book and guess what, waxing services are provided too.. I’ve never had these services but wow, just so convenient! No wonder the place is massive and there are many rooms there.
Kakak in the comfy robe as she had her pedicure session
Satisfied customer there
You made the best decision, Nina *insert thumbs up emoticon*.
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#syazwanibazil wedding Part 5 – Reception on the groom’s side

This beautiful beautiful Black Tie themed wedding reception that took place at Hilton KL was mostly BIL’s hard work. I seldom hear men handling weddings, they usually leave them to their moms and sisters. My BIL was truly an exception *bows to him*, he had everything planned well and even prepared a few surprises for his wife and now, I shall again let these magnificent pictures do the speaking for me.
 
Photographer: Daniel Zain Photography. Thank you Daniel. Instagram – @danielzain
 So creative!
 Beautiful piece Innai Red!
Chris wearing Scottish traditional highland dress with much pride and Andrii looking smart in tux while BIL looking fresh in his.. robe.
 Got everyone’s attention, not a nano doubt.
 Shirt on now, good start there.
 Most eligible bachelors.
 Okay fine, one selfie with BIL.
 Kak Liza’s touch. Follow @lizasaliza on Instagram. Skillful make up artist.
 Goddess beauty.
 Exquisite, BIL.
 Looks familiar doesn’t it? Shortbread by Shortbread House of Edinburgh. Chris’ family runs the business *drools* and how kind of Chris to sponsor these as wedding favours.
 The gorgeous Kazakhs and Russians.
 Ready..
 And action!
 Surprise 1
 Surprise 2
 Bestman giving speech. You beat my speech.
 Too adorable! He calls BIL ‘abang Donald Duck’
 Cake cutting
 The Imperial boys
 Surprise 4 (skipping surprise 3 for a reason)
Awesome awesome surprise. The lights in the ballroom suddenly turned off and the emcee closed the event by ushering everyone to leave the ballroom and then guess what greeted us all.
 Too brilliant.
He kept the surprises from everyone and especially from the person he wanted to surprise most and only his family knew about this. Every element was very well done BIL *thumbs up*.
I think my selfie picture already implied the continuation of Part 4. Yes, my dad – the problem solver, made me come home to make everyone (mama, kakak and myself too) happy. It was a challenging life for me I got to admit. I arrived in Malaysia on the 10th morning and 11th night was the reception and I took the 12th morning flight and got into Bristol safe and sound on 12th night. 13th was my final paper and alhamdulillah, I got an A and a B for both the papers. Those on flight studying did work with the help of my loved ones in Malaysia and in UK. And the cabin crew too for feeding me well (at one point, I got so shy to enter the plane because I knew I would be with the same crew hehe). But if I may say, never in my life that I felt so knackered. I didnt share my pictures in this post because I simply looked horrible that night. One of my cousins saw me from afar as I walked behind my sister and asked the other cousin ‘what happened to yaya’ and one of my aunties pulled me to the side and told me ‘you look so tired’. I was but I was also happy that I made it. I could witness and attend to my mom’s request to be there and also be my sister’s maid of honour on her big day. And really, I think that was all that mattered. Thank you papa for the idea and on top of everything, thank you God.
Now to this couple,
It has now been almost a year that you’ve been married to each other and your families are happy to see you doing well. Disagreements and arguments will not pass but it’s how you handle them that are key to harmony. We feel blessed that your hubby doesn’t take you away from us kakak. We still feel you’re always around and it’s thanks to the coolest and easy going son in law/brother in law.
May it forever remain that way, May Allah always keep your marriage safe and best wishes from us.
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#syazwanibazil wedding Part 4 – Akad Nikah & Reception Bride’s side

On 4.1.14 after Isya’, this beautiful couple officially became husband & wife.

I still recall how teary I got that night. It was one of those touching moments where it just really hit you. ‘My sister is married, I’m going to lose her, she’s not going to be around as much, who’s going to hang out with me and mama’ and all sort of things. I guess I really do love my sister. Of course I do. Everyone does. I’m not going to write a lot because I believe the pictures below will do the talking.

 BIL – nervous much?
 The saksi/witnesses – My uncle and abang. Adik, you look stressed out here. Hehe.
 Make up by Kak Saidatulnisa. Quiet person but lovely and talented.
 Jo, great job here! Follow @iamjoeyjohari on instagram. He’s a great photographer.
 Groom helping out his Russian friend with sampin
 Dulang girls – gorgeous!
 Dulang boys
 Ello kakak.
 Mama, myself and kakak walking down the red carpet. Not fancy but good experience. Nerve wrecking too.
 Beautiful ladies with brains. Some taken some not taken.
 I heard that a few of the dulang boys were eyeing on the dulang girls. Couldn’t blame them..
 Pure love for the pelamin. Thank you KS Entourage.
 With the cousins.
Handsome huh.
 Pies

 Abang’s friends
 Abang and Sara
Mama’s side of the family. Mama has 10 siblings so big family there but some were missing in this picture.
 Papa’s side of the family. Fun gang always! Some were missing in the picture too.

 My pretty little cousin.
 Handsome cousins.
 UPM tutors – kakak’s future colleagues.
 My high school friends – i love you girls.
 Weeeeeee.
 Kakak’s high school friends.
 Will always love you kakak.
Alhamdulillah for a blessed wedding with wonderful crowd and before I start writing Part 5, I’m going to make a confession.. I did tear up the next morning because my sister wasn’t going to be around for a few days as the newly married couple (that time) was off to Langkawi with the international friends. I felt like I was losing her already so the tears were fair. That wasn’t long though as I had a flight to catch that night and an exam was waiting for me already. A little story as I got into the plane.
‘Cik Nadia? I dont reckon you recognise me but I was there at your sister’s wedding last night’. I guess I looked pretty lost that time so he continued ‘I’m your neighbour by the way’. I was still in the same state but said ‘oh yes my neighbour! Hope you enjoyed the wedding, thank you for attending!’ ‘Very much welcome and I did indeed, it was a beautiful wedding’. He excused himself and then it finally clicked to me that it was my steward neighbour. Touched down London safe 13 hours after and mama confirmed it to me and said he lives next door. Mama’s quite close to the mom and the steward is the son in law of our neighbour. Okay, cool mom!
I mentioned I had 2 exams with 1 coursework in the previous post. I did finish up my coursework in December so that one was no problem. The problem was my 2nd exam which fell on the 13th. And the reception on the groom’s side was on the 11th. My sister was insisting that I must come back for the reception. Initially she was okay about me not being there but she suddenly got all sulky as the date neared. I had no clue of what to do that time. So the problem solver came into action. And the story about it will be in Part 5..


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#syazwanibazil wedding Part 3

Disclaimer: Part 3 will be all about friends!

My sister and BIL studied at Imperial College for their Masters Degree. Same course, same class, same nationality. How could they not fall in love.. and while I just shared this I will also share the story that never gets old (to my sister at least). She said that they first met during orientation day. Everyone had to carry like a little banner/name tag that of course had their names on. So apparently, she heard a voice of a handsome tall man that said ‘Nur Syazwani Mazlan, are you Malaysian?’ that got her turning her head like those you see in tv commercial for shampoo. And apparently again, my sister said that it was love at the first sight for my BIL………………………………………………………

Oh well..

So anyway, studying together would mean you would be in the same circle of friends. And when two people get together and it works out until marriage and forever in shaa Allah, they would want their good friends to be around them. Same thing for my sister and BIL. Their friends from all over the European and Asian continents came down to Malaysia to witness their big day. My sister did her degree in Queen Mary and that meant more friends and my sister also studies in UoB now so more friends again.

The UoB friends arrived one day before the big day and we fetched them from the airport and straight to the hotel and at night we brought them to KLCC for dinner. I told my sister ‘Do you realise you’ll be married in less than 24 hours kak?’. Before we left, our family and relatives from Kelantan were already crowding the house so I think my sister did.

Ruby, myself and MP
The UoB group
We got home by 11.30pm with full tummies and I forced my sister to sleep because she needed it and we were going to have an early start for rehearsal with emcee, parents, bridesmaids/dulang girls and the usherers from KS team. The groom’s side rehearsal was planned by the KS team to be later in the evening, lucky them!
Morning came fast enough and kakak was so excited that she got to see all her dulang girls! Mira and Madina who arrived safely from Kazakhstan, Tharry and Bondi who reserved their whole day for their friend, Kak Niniey (kakak’s longest best friend since high school and we are also somewhat related), the pies who are always there through thick and thin and of course the UoB ladies!
Me.. I was excited to see Kak Adibah Noor! The friendliest, talented, awesome, witty and most natural emcee ever. My dad really particularised the choice of emcee because we needed one who has all the talents that Kak Adibah has to ensure balance and control of the crowd. She just touched down from Jakarta and made her way straight to the hotel – full respect to her as she was being really professional and did not one bit show the tired side of her and just carried on giving brilliant idea while joking around with my parents and the dulang girls as she wrote her scripts.
 You were amazing that night kak Adibah, thank you!
 KS briefing the dulang girls!
 Madina, Ruby, Bondi and CP
Kak Nini, Lily, Tharry and Madina
The rehearsal went smooth and since it was quite an early start, kakak told her friends to get their rest and myself, pies, Kak Nini and kakak made our ways to kakak’s honeymoon suite, a special treat to the couple, courtesy of the hotel. And kakak got a little surprise from her best friend…

So sweet of kak Nini, the cake was delicious!

Kakak requested me to also upload these pictures of her and BIL’s awesome friends enjoying Malaysian food.. (Who are of course my friends too now). Your friends are my friends kak, my friends are my friends. Haha kidding kakak, love you.
 Banana leaf with the Imperial group + BIL’s friend when in Oundle
Hello Durian King if you’re reading this.
 Lobsters
Had to share this one – best friends forever. Andrii in BIL’s baju Melayu at majlis kesyukuran.
My sister was unhappy with the yesterday’s dress fitting pictures so she sent me these pictures.
I think my choices are really gorgeous but just not in her eyes… But hope you’re happy now kakak *insert smiley face*.

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#syazwanibazil wedding Part 1

Successfully submitted my two big QS courseworks yesterday *phew*. I usually try my best to have my work ready at least a day prior to the deadline but guess who finished her work just 6 hours before this time.. But alhamdulillah for completing and I hope all goes well, in shaa Allah!

So I’ve been meaning to blog about #inserttheabovetitle for a long time and here I am today bringing my mind to the memories of my sister’s big day(s). The getting hitched decision came when were about to return to the UK for 2013 university term. That was umm, late August 2013, yeap.. Everyone panicked with my father’s decision, I mean we all knew the marriage date would definitely be in January 2014 but when it was finally finalised, God.. Wasn’t that just a serious deal. My sister and I straight away put the bride-to-be hat and maid-of-honour hats on and our dad and mom put the easiest hats on instead – finance/location/food/invite guests. Hehe.
My sister has always and always loved weddings apart from make up which made it a bonus as she knew where to start first and who to look for. The major ones were:
1st in list – Location
2nd in list – Wedding planner
3rd in list – Wedding dresses
Location wasn’t as hard as my dad had either Pullman and Marriott in Putrajaya in mind. Pullman could accommodate only up to 200 guests and so Hello Marriott Putrajaya although that meant them  giving us the whole 1,000 pax ballroom when all that we needed was only half of that. Hehe. My dad  considered KL too as the location but he knew Putrajaya would be much closer to us which was a blessed idea honestly. We had to go to the hotel a lot throughout the course of the wedding for food tasting, discussions with hotel manager, payments, hotel room arrangements for the groom’s family and the bride’s friends and all the little little things. Further to that, our relatives live around the same proximity so another kudo point there!
So now 1st list sorted and then came the 2nd one. This one, oh God. Took quite some time.. Luckily again, my sister had a vague idea of which planners to consider and after the many meet ups successful and unsuccessful ones (available but unbelievably pricey, available but dad didnt agree, not available because someone else had the same wedding date), my sister made a final list and brought it to my dad and after hearing comments both she and I made about each wedding planner (that time my dad and mom trusted me more) o yeah, decision arrived and ‘KS Entourage’ got everyone happy.
KS is such a nice nice person. We went to his showroom at Hotel Istana and were immediately touched with his humble nature. He handed us the portfolio of the beautiful weddings that he made happen with the help of his assistants who were just as kind as him. When we told him where the wedding would take place, he took that happily as he had done numerous weddings there and one of the known ones was Lisa Surihani and Yusry’s akad nikah ceremony. I guess my dad liked the comments we made about KS so wedding planner checked! I still remember what my sister said to KS during the first meeting.
“We need to impress Nadia because she’s the reporter of the family”. What was that supposed to mean huh kak?
While looking for the above, my sister had to also decide on wedding dresses and so again after going to several boutiques, she chose to trust Innai Red to design her dresses. The shop was a bit far for us, it’s in Plaza Damas Mont Kiara but no worries for my sister because she had a driver to drive her around for all the wedding related errands *points to maid of honour hat*.
It was then just a week before our flight back to UK and alhamdulillah the family and us were happy that we managed to sort out the major ones including wedding invitation cards. My sister made it clear to everyone that she would only return to Malaysia 3 weeks before the wedding date and they were supportive enough to say “don’t you worry, you got us to handle everything, we will prepare the necessary timeline for you” – KS “sketches according to your requests done, we will start preparing them and the fitting can be done when you arrive. In any case you want to amend or change something, we can always Skype” – Innai Red. Cool people really..
3 months went by and my sister was dealing with the little little things like wedding cakes and door gifts from Bristol and when there were things that needed her to phone people, our mom and aunty in Malaysia would come in rescue. We returned to Malaysia on 13 December and my sister already showed me the dates that she would need me while on the flight – Man, errands to run almost everyday. And I had a coursework to submit on 9 January. And exams.. 7 and 13 January. What.. I foresaw tough life already that time but I shall share a story about that in the upcoming posts.
For now, I will leave this post with some pictures of my sister’s wedding dress fittings and food tasting sessions.
 Food critiques. Was writing my parents’ comments about the choice of food.
 Right guy. Biggest food critique. Sat next to him and he took one bite of everything and said ‘Sedap, tak sedap, kurang masin, kurang flavour, keras’. Oh well cousin.
 The handsome brothers during the second food tasting.
 Love.
 Bride to be akad nikah + reception dress. First fitting.
Second fitting.
 Ballroom wedding dress for the groom’s side of the wedding. You beautiful kak.
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Black Friday Part 2

I was never around for boxing day every Christmas and I really only hear from people about how happening it always is every year with the longest queues you would ever be in. I feel thankful that I got to be a part of Black Friday this year because like the saleslady told me yesterday ‘omg, it’s like boxing day. Christmas came early huh’. I can’t even imagine how more packed boxing day could get because it was soooo packed already yesterday in Bicester Village. Never did I have to queue for almost every shop I wanted to enter..
My sister and I started our journey at 9am and arrived there at around 11am, alhamdulillah. It’s usually less than 2 hours but traffic got really heavy as we neared Bicester Village. Luckily I had my co-driver who was smart enough to use Waze to search for a better route. Waze is really amazing in that sense huh. I’m dependent on Waze in Malaysia and have always been impressed with it because it gets me to everywhere I want to go at the shortest routes possible. Or maybe longer routes when it knows there are heavy jams ahead. And not to forget, Waze loves bringing us to the smallest kampung/country side roads like this…
 Longer route but jams gone and got to enjoy this view even.
 My smart co-driver who would never stop talking to me the whole time I was driving.
And yay!
Thank you Waze but not quite done yet with the challenge yet because it was then time to look for a car park space. Which took us umm.. 40 minutes.. Yes. And guess what happened to our car? It is rather old in age and as always, the engine oil red light lit up. But no problem car and don’t you worry, we understand you enough now and have enough stock to help you out. Spent a few minutes filling up the oil and before we could finally start our shopping.
We had our time planned and aimed to head back home by 5pm. Our aunt asked us to help her get a new handbag and also a t-shirt for our uncle so we settled that one first.
Guys, we got our aunt’s Furla handbag for less than half of the original price! There was an additional 20% off for Black Friday and my aunt was sooo happy and excited, you’re indeed very blessed umi!
Done with that, I got hungry and started pestering my sister that I must must eat or otherwise I couldn’t function and she gave up and got us my all time favourite crepe.
 Chocolate banana crepe
Yay!
We realised it was already 3pm when we finished eating and knew for sure that our plan wouldnt work (to head home by 5) because we had more to get. And again, with those long queues.. Impossible. So we went home at 8pm instead. Mama sounded quite worried when we told her but everything took really long and the discounts were too great to handle. The liveliness was one thing too, the later it got the more people there were. Evidence as shown below..
Should have taken a video of this and other performances!
Tonnes of people really.
To sum up, alhamdulillah for a really great day yesterday. Managed to get everything for the family and ourselves except for what mama wanted but we will try to get it somewhere else ma.

All these things that we bought wouldn’t have been with us now if not for the incredible offers. 20-80% off, I am thankful. They still do this until Christmas except for the limited additional offers so I recommend everyone going to Bicester Village when you can. There’s also a prayer room next to Dior shophouse and some restaurants like Carluccio, Cafe Villandry, Starbucks and Pret A Manger. For now, I shall have my rest both body and bank account rest and get back to coursework and hope that happens very soon..

Have a great Saturday everyone!

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