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Melbourne 2018 (1)

It’s supposed to be London 2018 but let me jump the post since I’m currently in Melbourne and I’m taking advantage from the fact that I feel like writing today. This trip is very much planned last minute and I’m so happy that it happened. I’m only here with my parents because everyone just got back from London about 2 weeks ago. I got to highlight that my sister is just like me, she would not have said No to any holiday plan but she did not join this time because of her boys. London post will explain why I said this haha.

Back to Melbourne, my parents and I took the 9.30am MH129 flight yesterday and we arrived safely at around 8.30pm local time (Melbourne is 3 hours ahead of Malaysia). We are staying at Adina Hotel Apartment on Queen Street and it really isn’t bad at all. I actually took 4 hours googling about where to stay and my parents gave the final say as I couldn’t decide between staying at Southbank or right in CBD. I think it was the right decision as Adina is close by to all the main shopping streets being Bourke Street, Collins Street (designers boutiques) and Emporium Shopping Mall (I’ve been told by a good friend that it’s the biggest mall in Melbourne). I booked the One Bedroom Penthouse and here is a video of the penthouse for anyone’s future reference.

We got to our accommodation just before 10pm and straight away refreshed ourselves and prayed before calling the day off to prepare for the early start of a long day next day. I booked for the Great Ocean tour operated by the trusted and renowned Gray Line for my mum and I (papa being papa only enjoys alone coffee time anywhere we go) and the pick up time was at 7.30am today. There are various tour options to choose from and I opted for the one with earliest expected return time at the city by 7.30pm.

The coach was of course not surprisingly very punctual and we hopped on to the bus at 7.25am. Please note that you should check the pick up spots that they do and come early if you have to walk to the pick up spots. They have one designated pick up spot on every street and it is usually one particular hotel. My mum and I had it convenient as Adina was the pick up location for Queen Street. So we were driven to the main stop for Gray Line to change to another bus being the big Double Decker bus and we began our journey with our driver Russell at 8am sharp. Russell was such a great tour guide overall, chatty and informative enough that we learnt important facts about Melbourne from him.

There were many pit stops that were made along the Great Ocean Road and the views were breathtaking and spectacular at every possible angle that I turned to. I will let photos do the justice for me and narrate more from there.

Our first pit stop was at a small town and there was a Sunday market with many small stalls selling crafts, clothes and food. My mum and I tried the butter and maple syrup ‘Dutch Poffertjes’ which were like pancakes but little pancakes and they were delicious!

Second pit stop was at this photo op spot! Absolutely stunning view with the calming sounds of waves.

Third pit stop was at the famous Apollo Bay. We arrived here at 11.50am and we were given an hour to have lunch as well as roam around. There was a good number of restaurants around the area and we decided to have seafood basket for 1 at George’s and it was great. Apollo Bay also had little shops selling souvenirs and craft works.

4th pit stop was the highlight of the trip and it was the 12 Apostles. These apostles are actually limestones and there are currently only 9 apostles although people do argue about the correct count of the apostles. I counted myself and there were indeed 9 apostles. Needless for me to say, the view was fantastic and I could stay there all day admiring God’s beautiful creations.

5th pit stop which was not far from 12 Apostles was the Loch Ard Gorge at Port Campbell National Park. We spent around 40 minutes roaming around the area and took some really pretty photos.

The final pit stop was at Port Campbell foreshore where we were told to have our toilet and coffee break as it would be a straight 2.5 hours journey back to the city with no more stop. Port Campbell foreshore caught us mesmerized again by its calmness and beauty.

After about 30 minutes at Port Campbell, our coach departed from here and headed back to the city. While the journey to Great Ocean Road used the coastal road to let us experience the views, the journey back to Melbourne CBD got us the opportunity to experience the greenish sight of Victoria with farms and cows throughout the journey. The coach driver Russell also played us a movie on board (Note: forgot to mention that there’s free Wi-Fi on the coach). We arrived back at Melbourne CBD at the scheduled 7.30pm and Papa was already waiting with shawarma dinner hehe.

All in all, it was a splendid Sunday! I’m heading to bed shortly and before I do so, I wish to recommend to everyone about Gray Line. They really offer a good service and we have not a single complaint about their service. We paid 88 AUD per person and it was definitely value for money. Thank you Gray Line and Russell!

I’ll come back with another post tomorrow hopefully. Good night for now!

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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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2018

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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24. 

“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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Happy 

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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Phuket

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. 




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​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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2017

2 weeks into 2017 and I’ve been happy. Plain happy. And busy. Plain busy. I’m thankful of the fact that I feel this way. I’ve been closer than ever to my family and I’ve been a good friend to all my good friends now alhamdulillah. What I mean by this is that I am getting better at keeping in touch with friends especially those that really matter. At this age, I know who are the true friends and I vow to treasure them better. In shaa Allah in shaa Allah. (I have the tendency to jinx things that I say but in shaa Allah hopefully not this time hehe). 

Oh yes, I started the year with baking. Which now reminds me that I’ve also been baking since I got back from Dubai. I realised I needed to do something useful (when I’m not in Sabah) and I remember the interest sparked when I had this really nice banana cake somewhere and I told my mum I wanted to bake the cake. Since then, I knew baking could be that one hobby that I was looking for. I mean I did bake before but it wasn’t a hobby. 

Anyway, I baked a fondant cake for my sister and BIL’s anniversary (4 January) and also cupcakes for my brother (3 January). I have to highlight that baking does get messy when it does. I’m however not complaining and I’m enjoying my time discovering, improvising and trying new methods and techniques each time. Pray for me that this will be ongoing!

Next birthdays for this month will be my brother in law’s and also Zachary. Yes, he’s turning 1 so so soon and how did that even happen. This time last year you were still in your mummy’s time eagerly wanting to enter the world. Now you’re just.. Zachary. The cheeky cheeky big boy that you are. Hehe. We are planning for a birthday party for him together with his daddy, uncle Man andddd.. Nenda and Jiddi’s 30 years Anniversary. 

That said, it will be another busy week for me but I’ll be sure to update this space about it, I promise. Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead! 

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Page 365 of 365 of 2016

And it will be Page 1 of 365 of 2017 in just a few hours from now.

Time really flies really fast lately. It feels like the day has just started and then suddenly it’s bed time already. What goes on in between is the time you go through the everyday life and grow as an individual. 

That said, I must say 2016 has been the year I’m journeying through the reality of life the most (a bit cliche since that’s what should happen every year). I learnt many invaluable life lessons and I’m grateful for each one of them as they have shaped me to become the person that I am today. Although it got difficult when it did, it was overall a wonderful great year. How could it now when I became an aunty to a cheeky nephew of mine. That compensated for every mishap there was in 2016 if there was. 


To my dear readers whom I know and don’t, I want to apologise for my wrongdoings be it via my actions or through words if there are. Being a blogger, I may sometimes virtually sound insensitive to you but trust me that I don’t ever mean it that way. 

I pray all of us get to have a blessed and great 2017 and may it be another best fulfilling year of our lives, in shaa Allah. 

‘May your days be as glittery as Diamonds, May your companions be as good as Gold, May your heart stay as green as Emerald, and May your soul remain as pure as Pearl.’

Happy New Year 2017 guys.

Love,

Nadia 

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Illegal Driver

Soooooooo, I finally finally realised that my driving license expired 3 months+ ago on my birthday… Which means.. I’ve been an illegal driver on the road for 3 months+. Nadia Nadia… My aunty, Umi and I went to a government office yesterday and she left her driving license to the security and then she took it back on the way out. It came to my mind how come my license was still the older version. That was when it finally finally clicked to me and I straight away took out my purse to check the expiry date of my license. 

‘Oh my god Miiiiii, you know what?’ ‘Whattt my dear?’ ‘My license expired! Thanks to your license I found out mine expired’. She laughed but still let me drive around oops haha. 

But anyway the feeling wasn’t the same anymore. I was feeling uncomfortable. There I was confidently handing around my license to the security guards when I went to my friends’ apartments and such for the past 3 months.. There I was driving unprettily (when I was rushing) and such for the past 3 months. Tsk tsk. I thought God really wanted to tell me yesterday and to have me renewed my license right away because we had to go to another office in another town after and while passing by the area, I actually saw a small post office. I told Umi and she without any hesitation said ‘Kak Ya, you better do it today. You understand right? This reflects back on our work’ ‘Yeah faham, okay mi’. 


The queue wasn’t long at all and I got my license renewed in less than 20 minutes, alhamdulillah. Apparently you can renew for 1/2/5 years. The cost of renewal for 1 year is RM30. Mine is 5 years for convenience sake (and for forgetfulness sake). Oh and there’s no penalty fee for late renewal (up until 2 years I think). 


Tadaaa. I’m back to being a legal driver now until 2021 (28 that time.. Gosh).

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