Thursday, July 30, 2020

Eid Al Adha

Hari Raya Haji (or Eid Al Adha) this year is not the same like before. This is the first time ever that Makkah is shut for Hajj. Only those who are lucky enough to already be there are allowed to perform hajj this year. They must have done something right to be blessed to do it this year. Unlike any other year, performing Hajj this year will be done with a different SOP. No pushing and crowding like usual. It will be a bliss.
Back in February

I look back at our Makkah photos and wish we were there. My husband is already counting days for us to go back to Makkah. It won't be soon as all borders are still closed but I hope in the next 2 years we will be able to go back.

For this raya, I feel sad because I won't have my Tokmi with me. Things are different and this is our new norm. We're still getting used to it.

I would like to wish all my readers a Selamat Hari Raya aidil Adha. May Allah accept our Qurban this year and guide us to the right path from here on.

If you are travelling, stay safe. Remember that the virus is still out there. Keep your personal hygiene at the best and don't forget to wear a mask!
Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Missing her is so painful

My Tokmi loves flowers
Grieve is funny. Sometimes I'm totally ok and sometimes I find myself crying thinking about the loss. I miss her so much. I don't like to live my life with regrets. I refuse to think "I wish I had visited her more" or "I wish I had spent more time" or "I wish I had called her up more". Of course I do and no matter how much time I spent with her when she was around, I could have done more. So I refuse to say I have regrets when it comes to her.

But I do miss her dearly. I miss just having her around. Even though the last 5 years of her life she was already not her usual self, I still wish she was here. My only consolation is when I think she is not suffering anymore. My late grandma had Dementia and although she was not in any physical pain (alhamdulillah), living with Dementia was a struggle for her.

God gave me 40 years of my life having a grandmother. How lucky was I? 40 years is a long time. I am so blessed I can't even imagine. But ya, I miss her. I miss her so much.

I miss how she would answer me whenever I announce to the family that I am her favourite grandchild. I miss how she would just agree with me when I say that although we all know, she doesn't have a favourite because she loved us all equally.

I miss how she would twist her answers whenever she doesn't know how to reply to the question.

I miss her saying "wherever you go, my heart goes with you" and it will make all of us laugh.

I miss her calling everyone "sayang"

I miss her face whenever I said I'm going home.

I miss her asking to carry every baby in the house (although she is not strong enough to hold a baby)

I miss her asking everyone to eat

I miss her answering my salam

I miss kissing and hugging her

Ya Allah, please take care of my Tokmi. Forgive all her sins and please put her among the righteous. Have mercy on her Ya Allah. Expand her grave and grant her the highest rank of Jannah.


Monday, July 27, 2020

Back to school

My kids finally went back to school last week. We weren't really planning to send them to school at first as school term is almost finished anyway and they only have about 2 weeks before they start their summer holidays but they begged to go. I finally had to pray to God that they will be OK and protected while I send them away to a virus that can't be seen. Oh gosh!

I was pleasantly surprised at the SOP of the school. Traffic was smooth with many teachers helping out at the front. Parents were not allowed to get down from the cars. Temperature were checked whilst the kids are still in the car and once it is cleared, they get down and again, another temperature checked 10 steps away. Probably unnecessary to have 2 temperature checks but heck, I am happy.

I was told they were constantly reminded to practice social distancing in school too. That means, no hugging your friends. My daughter is a hugger and she loves hugging her friends but she told me that since it is not allowed, they air-hugged each other instead. That's the new normal, I guess.

Overall I am very very pleased with how the school are operating. Funny how it took them a global pandemic to get things right, especially with the traffic during pick up and drop offs but hey, they're doing it now so I'm happy!

Kids are happier to be in school too. I didn't realise how much I've missed their school stories and our chats in the car every day. It always makes my day. They grow up too fast and before you know it, they'll be on their devices or stopped talking in the car. I am going to cherish these moments while I can.

I hope they're safe in school. I pray they know what to do to stay safe. I pray Allah will protect them while they're out of my sight.
Sunday, July 26, 2020


After spending almost a week in Makkah, we made our way to Madinah. I heard lots about this city as it is the second holiest place in Islam. It is also the home of Prophet Muhammad and his final resting place. I heard that people in Madinah are different and friendlier than people from Makkah too. I heard you will find peace in Madinah as it is a lot calmer and relaxed there. I was excited!

The rest stop was nice and clean

We decided to take the car to Madinah instead of flying there. It would have saved us more time if we took the plane but my husband wanted to take a drive instead. We left Makkah after Zuhur and made our way to Madinah. It was such a long drive. I slept pretty much the whole time in the car. By almost 7pm, we stopped by for prayers and had something to eat. We arrived our hotel at almost 9pm and I was so tired. I slept really well that night.

The view outside my bedroom in the morning
We stayed at The Oberoi Madina, which is right outside gate 26  of Masjid Al Nabawi. The view of the mosque was amazing. Unlike our hotel in Makkah, most of the hotels in Madinah are much smaller. I was pleasantly surprised to see how small our hotel is. Our room was amazing. It had 2 big bedrooms and 1 large living room. I love that it only takes 3 minutes to walk from my room to the entrance of Masjid Al Nabawi. I would hear the azan from our room. When I hear the azan, I will slowly make my way to mosque and will be right on time for prayers. It is different in Makkah because I would need to come down from my room at least 10 minutes before the azan, otherwise I wouldn't be able to make it on time for prayers.

Our first day in Madinah, we went for a walking tour around the mosque with our own personal Mutawwif, Ustaz Zul. We walked around the mosque while he shared with us some history and stories about Rasullullah including history of its surroundings. It was such a beautiful day too that morning. The breeze was cold and the sky was the bluest sky I've ever seen. Although it is a big mosque and quite a long walk, it wasn't tiring at all. I couldn't help admiring the beauty of this mosque. Truly, one of the most beautiful places I've ever been in my life and definitely my most favourite mosque. I remember looking up at the clear blue sky feeling so grateful to be invited here. I was very grateful that I had my husband and my children with me too. We took lots of photos too during this tour.

During my stay in Madinah, I also got the opportunity to pray in Raudhah. It is one of the biggest attractions when you are in the Al Nabawi mosque itself. It is also known as 'Garden of Paradise'. It is opened to men pretty much all day but for the ladies, we are only be allowed in at a certain time.

The area to pray in Raudhah is very small too and each time, there will be hundreds of people trying to make their way there. My advice is, if it is your first time, get someone to go with you. For me, we hired an Ustazah to guide me where to go and teach me what doas to recite. You are only allowed to be in there for a short time. It is good to know what doas you want and what to ask for.

People are pushing each other trying to get into that small spot, best not to bring handbag and if you have your phone with you, make sure you have a pocket that you can zip in front of you.  You'd think that inside a mosque you are safe from pickpocket but trust me, you are not! Alhamdulillah, I got to pray in Raudhah twice during my short stay in Madinah. Once with the help and guidance of the ustazah and the next day, I went inside myself. It was still a struggle but at least I already know how to do it and where to go to get the best spot.  I was really grateful and I always end up in tears once I leave that area. I can't explain it but the feeling is just very overwhelming. As I am typing this, I am missing it so much!

We visited other places too in Madinah but I'll make a different post on that, someday. Missing Madinah so much. Cant wait to go back. It is truly one of my favourite places!
Saturday, July 25, 2020


Photo from google
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I'll be waiting for you!

Mengaji Time

Unfortunately, I have not khatam Quran yet. I'm ashamed of myself that at 40 years old (turning 41 in september) I have yet to khatam.

I started reading the Quran very young. I remember going to mengaji classes, agama classes but never consistent. I would be in one class and then would move school or move house and then won't continue. Or would be in agama school and then stopped (for whatever reason).

I was always very bad at it too. For some reason, reading Quran is very difficult for me to master. I would always do very badly in mengaji classes. It was just something I was never good at.

Sometime in form 5, my arwah tokmi found an ustaz to come over to the house to teach all the cucus mengaji. All 6 of us (including my brothers and cousins) would mengaji together. They somehow managed to khatam but somehow I didn't. I got to juz 20 something and then I flew to UK to continue my studies. Again, I didn't finish my quran.

Fast forward over 20 years later, without anyone forcing me to do it, during Ramadhan this year, I picked up a Quran (that was I think my hantaran gift) and started reading. Obviously I had forgotten how to read it and I haven't done it for years, I had great difficulty reading it. I didn't know if I read it right or wrong. I remember the basics but I don't know if my tajuweed is right. At the same time, I was wondering if it is berdosa to read it when I know I could be 100% wrong in my pronunciation and all that. Miraculously, I found a video on Youtube of this ceramah saying that you will get more rewards for trying to read. It is ok to get it wrong as long as your intentions are right. Wallahualam.

I was reading it after every solat. Slowly but surely, I think my reading is getting better. I don't get to read much because I am a very slow reader. But by the end of Ramadan, I managed to read a few juzuks. The Quran I read had jawi on the bottom too so that helped me to double check my reading.

My friend posted about this digital Quran by AlQalam. She said it helped her read so much. I decided to get one for myself. Alhamdulillah, I am progressing really well and this digital Quran has helped me with the tajweed and pronunciation better.

InsyaAllah I will khatam by this year. Fingers crossed.

On another note, my kids are progressing well with their Quran reading too. Both of them have started Quran early this year and hopefully will Khatam this year too. My prayers are for all of us to khatam together this year. Pray for us!

We can do it!
Monday, July 20, 2020

Playing with Watercolour

I started exploring with watercolour last week. I saw a set and decided to get one. It was on discount too! I have zero experience with watercolour except for the time we painted using watercolours in school. This is all new to me.

This was one of my first watercolour painting that I did with the help of Youtube. I love it. I love painting flowers!

Once I know roughly how to paint flowers, I started to fill up the spaces on the paper with many more flowers. It is random and I chose flowers according to the colours I want. I am loving how it looks. The final result is beautiful. Isn't it?

My daughter saw it and she loved it. She asked for me to do one for her best friend. I have blank postcard papers that I bought for my art. I painted it and now she can send a postcard to her friend.

Do you like it? I'm so happy.
Saturday, July 18, 2020

Art of the week

I just came back from my cuti-cuti Malaysia. When I was away, the thing I missed most was being able to paint. I kept browsing for ideas and inspiration while I was away. I couldn't wait to start painting. I wondered if this is my true calling. Hmm...

This week, I did a few pieces that I am super proud of. I love that I don't need to go to art school or art classes because there's so many tutorials available on Youtube.

This is one small piece I painted on canvas. I followed a tutorial on Youtube but of course I ended up doing it my way in the end. It was supposed to be flowers but in the end, I thought why not make it abstract instead. It works and looks better somehow. I love the colours too.

I love the colours on this floral piece. Don't you? Since I'm a self taught painter, I'm still unsure of what my 'style' is. It really depends on what I feel on that day. Somedays I want to do abstract but some days I want to do floral. But most of the time, I feel floral works best for me. I always feel like painting flowers. With abstract, I feel like I don't know when to stop!

On Friday, I went back to my favourite store. I couldn't help going back there. It is really my favourite store. I ended up spending loads of money too. I bought a watercolour set. Don't know why.
I've always wanted to explore with watercolour too.

This is the piece I created thanks to youtube tutorial. I love it!!!!!

The best part is, I got friends asking me to paint for them and I also had an offer to purchase this piece I did this week. I'm not ready to sell but it does give me butterflies (in a good way) and makes me happy.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Blessing in disguise

2020 is cancelled. Pretty much.

Growing up, I always look forward to 2020. I was expecting to see cars flying in the sky but instead, we got a real pandemic to deal with. A lot of people are struggling and no matter how big or small, we are all dealing with something due to this pandemic.

I try my best to help others and in return, I think I am blessed with more rezeki. Rezeki don't mean having more money. But having good health and being able to sleep in peace at night, having my family all well and good is my good rezeki. Helping others don't mean giving away money too. You can help others in many ways. Doa for others is also a form of sedekah. I was told.

When I was in Makkah, I made lots of doas. That's the place to doa after all, isn't it?  I can't really remember all my doas because I made a lot of it but there are some that I remember making repeatedly. Some are for me, some are for others. Some friends asked for me to help doa for them and I remember writing them down and going in front of the Kaabah to doa for them. Alhamdulillah, almost everything I doa has come true. Some of it are really things that I don't expect at all. When I made the doa, I knew in my heart I was asking for too much but I did it anyway and then next thing you know, it came true. God is great, indeed.

What I'm trying to say here is although 2020 is not what we expected, for me, it is a blessing in disguise. I'm so grateful I got to be in Makkah and I'm so happy with my new image with hijab. Which is something I never thought would come so fast for me. So many blessings this year for me MashAllah.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

10th Birthday

Yesterday my daughter celebrated her 10th Birthday. Wow. What a huge milestone it is for both her and me. I've been a mum for 10 years. I can't believe it.

She loves birthdays, this girl. She is always the one who will remember everyone's birthdays and will insist on celebrating every time. I love that about her. Kind of reminds me of myself as a kid because it is exactly how I was when it comes to birthdays.

She had an awesome birthday this year. Every year, she would request for a specific theme cake. We remember milestones based on these themed cakes every year.

1st Birthday: Mickey Mouse
2nd Birthday: Sesame Street
3rd Birthday: Gymboree
4th Birthday: Pocoyo
5th Birthday: Rapunzel
6th Birthday: Frozen
7th Birthday: Beauty & The Beast
8th Birthday: Unicorn
9th Birthday: Roblox
10th Birthday: TikTok

This year she wanted a TikTok themed cake. Upon doing some research on ideas for the cake, she decided she wanted her cat to be on the cake too. Balloons as decorations and marble skin to wrap the cake. What an idea!!! Our cake lady got a bit confused at one point. The outcome was amazing and I got the perfect reaction from her when she saw the cake. That made me smile!

We got some flowers too for her just for fun. She doesn't need flowers and balloons but I just thought it would be nice. Her grandma got flowers delivered to the house for her too.

This year, her birthday fell on Monday. We had a celebration with the cousins and family on Saturday before her birthday and that was a lot of fun too. She had a cake cutting session with the cousins and then another celebration on her actual birthday. How blessed is she?

Since it was a Monday, online classes were going on as usual. Some of her teachers made it special by getting friends to sing Happy Birthday during their zoom classes. She made sure everyone knew her birthday was coming days before her birthday and when they sang for her, it made her day a little bit. But the highlight of her birthday was when I surprised with someone so special. Her best friend came over to the house after online class ended and weeped with tears of joy.

She hasnt seen her best friend since end of February and missing her so much. They chat every now and then via zoom but of course it isn't the same. I told her I have a surprise for her and it was the last thing she expected. I was so grateful to her parents for allowing her to come over to surprise my little girl. It was truly the best surprise ever.

When they saw each other, all social distancing rules went down the drain. They hugged each other and cried buckets! Bless them. They spent the next 5 hours doing all sorts of activities together which includes jumping in the pool with their normal clothes on, disco dancing, musical chair, tiktok, releasing the helium balloons, balloon fight, watched movie and they laughed non stop.

She thank me for making her birthday special. But truth is, I should be the one saying thanks. Without her, I wouldn't be the mum I am today.

I thank God for blessing me with this most special gift. I couldn't ask for a better daughter. She's funny, she makes me laugh. She's cute, my heart flutters. She's the most caring person in the house. She always checks if I'm ok. She's always giving me hugs and kisses. The one who hugs me when I cry and always has my back. I love her and I can't imagine life without her. She's the perfect daughter.

Happy Birthday sweetheart.
Mummy is so proud of you. I love you with all my heart. I pray for Allah to always protect you and guide you on the right path always.

Happy 10th to us!
Monday, July 13, 2020

10 years ago

12 July 2010 at 8pm

I was heavily pregnant. I was already 40 weeks pregnant but my baby did not want to come out. She was very comfortable inside.

That night, my husband and I decided to go for our dinner at the Thai restaurant in One Utama. I had my hospital bag all packed for the past week or so. I was ready to give birth but unfortunately, my baby wasn't ready to greet the world. She was such a good baby and a good pregnancy. I wanted everything to be all natural. She will come when it is time to come.

At the carpark at my apartment, my water broke. OMG, is this what I think it is? I wasn't sure. There was no pain whatsoever. No signs and to be honest, I wasn't even sure if that was really what it was. On the way to dinner, I called my doctor to ask if it was OK for me to go out. She said "if there's no pain, go and enjoy your dinner but after dinner, drop by the hospital and we will check. I am at the hospital anyway" she said. We had our last dinner together with just the two of us. It was nice. I remember ordering pandan chicken and steam fish. I ate like normal and at the same time, I had no clue what was coming. I remember I ate a lot and we took our own sweet time.

After dinner, we stopped by the hospital for the doctor to check me. I was only 2cm. She said it is up to me to go home or stay but because we didn't know better, we decided it would be safer for us to just stay and see if it will progress.

At this point, there was still no pain. My husband stayed for a bit and then went home to pick up my hospital bag. My mother and youngest brother came.

I was not progressing and then the doctor decided to induce the labour. I didn't know what that was but as soon as she induced the labour, the pain started coming. OMG! I wasn't prepared for it at all. The pain was unbearable but at the time, I just had no choice but to bear with it. Time was going by so slow too.

I spoke to my best friend on the phone and she told me to drink coffee with ghee. I have never heard that petua before but apparently it will make the labour easier. What the hell, I will try anything at this point to end this labour pain.

I asked my mum to buy me a hot latte from Starbucks and put some ghee in it. Surprisingly, it didn't taste bad. It didn't taste like anything yucky so I finished it in no time. By midnight, nothing was happening. I was still 2cm and no where near. The pain was getting stronger but I am not progressing. My mum told me to take a shower to freshen up. I couldn't even stand at this point let alone shower but everyone was on my case asking me to take a shower so I did.

Maybe it was the (smelly)toilet, maybe it was the (oily)latte with ghee, maybe it was labour (pain) ... I actually threw up in the toilet. OMG. It was horrible. Imagine me in the most uncomfortable state, naked (obviously) as I was getting ready to shower, big as a whale, toilet full of vomit. Yucks!!!! I obviously had to clean my mess up. I can't just leave the toilet in that state because my husband, mum and brother might need to use it at some point. Somehow, I did. Don't ask me how but I cleaned the toilet up and finally managed to take a shower.

After shower I felt a bit better. The pain was there and it comes every now and then. Trust me, it was unbearable. I don't know how I survived it but I did.

Exactly 24 hours after I went to the hospital, my baby was born.

Beautiful 3.5kg baby girl. The sweetest little thing. The most adorable ... My life couldn't be more perfect.
Friday, July 10, 2020

Will traveling ever be the same?

We travel a lot as a family. It is something we always look forward to every school holiday. Near or far, local or abroad, it doesn't really matter. There is always somewhere to go to suit our budget. Just a click and off we go.

That is pre-covid days, of course.

Last year, we travelled quite a lot. We went to Singapore a bunch of times, we went to Legoland a couple of times, we went to Bangkok a lot too. We went to Kuantan, Penang, Desaru and of course, the highlight of our travels last year was our year end trip to Dubai. It was definitely a holiday to remember. Dubai is AMAZING!

Right before lockdown, we went to Makkah and Madinah for our umrah. That was the last trip abroad. Who would have thought, things will be so different just few months later? We had plans to travel to Europe this year too. Luckily, we didn't make any payment or bookings yet for that trip.
I guess you can say, you can plan all you want but Allah is the BEST planner.

Will traveling ever be the same again?

I don't know.

I worry about a lot of things. I worry about staying in the hotel. I worry about the cleanliness and food. I don't know if we will ever feel safe about traveling again.

Things are different now.

But in times like this, I do believe that it is important to support local. At the moment, our borders are still closed. Most countries aren't allowing and accepting tourists just yet. We don't have much options but to travel within Malaysia.

First stop, Kelantan!
You know you're in Kelantan when you see adverts like this

My husband has some business in Kelantan and since it is our school holidays, we decided to tag along. Although we come to Kelantan a lot, I can see that things aren't the same anymore.

A lot of shops are closed. Things aren't as lively as before. Food in Kelantan is amazing. Although we still got to eat the usual stuff we normally go for, the fear of eating out is there. People in Kelantan don't wear masks like we do in KL. They go about their day to day life as normal but not as full on like before.

The service at the hotel was disappointing. The rooms don't feel as clean. It appears to me that they were understaffed. They probably had to let go a lot of them during the lockdown and now only hiring the very minimum. Took them ages to get something sorted. Buffet breakfast was also very disappointing but luckily we know where to go for breakfast and it was amazing.
The amazing kuihs in Kelantan

Next stop, Kuantan.
Beautiful view from my room

The beach and view was amazing. I loved it and kids loved it too. The resort was full! We didn't get the rooms we wanted although we were a regular at that resort. We had a nice relaxing stay there and it was everything we needed. It is so good to be back.

Vitamin Sea
It was a much needed break. A short one but still very good. Despite the new norm, although not as comfortable as it was, it was still good. I don't now if traveling will ever be the same again but I'm hopeful. For now, we just have to make the best out of what we have. Support local and remember to practice social distancing! Soon, I hope we can travel like we used to again.