Coffee and Scone.

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ย A “light breakfast” and a cranberry orange scone along with a flat white at And All Things Delicious.

I have always loved a good coffee and a well-made scone. But for a new mom like me, with an increasingly active 8-month old and a little family to take care of, to enjoy a good coffee and scone ย – alone – while at my favourite cafe is seriously the best thing ever. Or at least, one of the best ways to recharge and have some much needed me time.

A fulfilling breakfast of roasted pumpkin on toasted multi-grain bread, with perfectly boiled eggs served with cherry tomatoes and arugula helps lift up the mood (and tummy) too!

I love the cosy vibe of this cafe that also makes me feel like I’m out of the country. My little escapade.

Korban; sebuah puisi

Setiap pagi minggu
Ku korbankan tenaga dan waktu
Ke madrasah mengejar ilmu
Menimba ilmu tentang Yang Satu

Namun hanya Dia yang tahu
Betapa hati ini sukar dan sayu
Meninggalkan si kecilku
Untuk sepeninggalan waktu

Wajahnya sentiasa di mindaku
Hati ini penuh rindu
Tapi harus ku cekalkan kalbu
Kerana korban itu perlu

Untuk aku menjadi seorang guru
Yang terbaik untuk anakku
Kerana al ummu madrasatu
Dan sekolah ini bermula dariku

Wahai anak, inilah korban ibumu
Wahai diri, inilah jihadmu

Dikarang di Madrasah Aljunied, 6 September 2015

Nota penulis: Sempena hari raya haji yang bakal tiba. Di bulan Zulhijjah yang penuh barakah. Setiap seseorang mempunyai pengorbanan mereka tersendiri, dan inilah salah satu pengorbananku. Seorang pelajar yang sedang menuntut ilmu, juga sebagai ibu baru. Bukan mudah untuk ditempuhi, tetapi inilah dia sebahagian dari perjalanan keimananku…

Of Endings and Beginnings

Recently, a dearest friend of mine lost her mother. She passed away peacefully in her sleep during the wee hours of the morning.

It was one day before the wedding day of another dearest friend of mine as she embarks on her new journey as a wife.

I was reflecting on how we go through endings and beginnings every single day on earth and shared this short poem in my facebook page:

Bismillahirrahmanirrahim.

Today a dearest friend’s mother passed away.
Tomorrow, another dearest friend is getting married.

One will begin life without a mother,
While the other will begin life with a husband.

Two new beginnings,
Two totally different circumstances.

The ending of a soul in earth,
And the ending of singlehood.

Life in dunya, filled with beginnings and endings.
An ending brings a beginning of something.
With a beginning, there is an end.
And our ultimate end – is back to Him.

“Therefore glory be to Him in Whose hand is the kingdom of all things, and to Him you shall be brought back.” – Yaseen, 83

It’s true isn’t it? One day our life in this world is going to end and we will move on to the world that we came from, to a world that is eternal.

Speaking about beginnings, currently I am going through a new beginning (MashaAllah, who knew a career switch would be really t-o-u-g-h). Another thing about beginnings is the importance of breaking out of your comfort zone and have the guts to learn new things. For my newly wedded friend, she has to adapt to having a new person in her life 24/7 and her new responsibilities as a wife. For my friend who has lost her mum, she will have to learn to slowly deal with her own emotions of grief – as well as her father’s.

May Allah bring us through our different personal challenges and may these tests that He has presented us with, only aim to bring us closer to Allah s.w.t. InsyaAllah ameen.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri from The Hakims & First Syawal as Husband and Wife.

1syawal

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to all my Muslim brothers and sisters! ๐Ÿ™‚

(You can also say “Eid Mubarak” which means “Have a blessed Eid to all of you.”)

This year is the first time I am spending Hari Raya with my husband, so it is kind of a big deal. Ok, not kind of. A really really big deal. Hehe. So this year we decided to go green! Why green? Well there is a story behind this actually.

My sister-in-law bought this lace green fabric for my mother-in-law to wear for our wedding. My MIL then made a mini kurung out of it so she only used half of the fabric and had a balance of 2 metres. So not wanting to waste it, she gave it to me some time before Ramadhan. Since I had not bought any fabric or outfit for Raya, I thought, why not make this part of my outfit and go green this Raya. So I asked my husband and family to also wear green for the first day of Raya, because that’s what I tend to do as the eldest. Be the boss of my family. Haha. Actually there’s another reason why I thought of wearing green, because the last time we wore green together was a long time ago… I mean look at this:

An oldie but a goodie photo of us in 1996, I think. My mum sewed for me and my sister our baju kurung that time. This year, I sewed for them their baju raya. #fullcircle

The last time we wore green was when we still had my father with us, and my sister was still that small! So how long ago was that lah kan. Now forward to 2014, a group photo of us this Syawal with my grandma:

the mahmoods
Selamat Hari Raya from The Mahmoods.

We took this photo at night because I only managed to go to my grandma’s house in the evening because… I spent the first half with my husband’s family, my in-laws:

in-laws raya
With hubby’s parents, brothers, sister-in-law, cousin and grandma.

Previously when I was still single ehem ehem, I would go to my grandma’s house with my family somewhere in the afternoon after visiting elders from my mum’s side with my cousins. But of course, there are some changes this year. Because not only do I have my own dad and mum’s side to visit, I also have my husband’s dad and mum’s side to incorporate into the raya visiting schedules. MashaAllah! The challenge is to balance all four sides as fairly as possible.

masjid alkaff view
Colorful view of people walking to the mosque on the morning of 1st Syawal.

The day started with solat hari raya or Eid prayers at the mosque with my husband and my mum. After that, I got ready to siap-siap to go to the first house of the day, my husband’s grandma’s house. Hubby’s brother and my SIL usually spent the first day of Syawal visiting hubby’s grandma and then proceed to SIL’s side, so we decided to tag along before they left for visiting SIL’s side.

Left: Hubby’s grandma, Nenek Nima. Right: My grandma, Nenek Rahmah,

What is raya without visiting our grandparents and elderly family members right? Hubby is left with grandparents from his mum’s side and for me is my dearest one and only grandma from my dad’s side. Let’s treasure our grandparents while we still can… May Allah bless their years with tranquility, mercy and love… InsyaAllah.

Next up were to two houses – my father-in-law’s eldest siblings (hubby’s grandparents from his dad’s side have passed on). And finally, to my grandma’s house in the evening until night time when I finally got to meet up with my grandma, aunties, uncles and cousins.

my family
Ohana.

The night before, the night of 1st Syawal was the first time I did not spend (the first half of) malam raya at my own house. Hubby’s family has a gathering every malam raya for kenduri, takbir together and bermaaf-maafan because his father’s side is large and this was one of the times that they get to meet altogether. So off I go to follow the husband. Luckily for me I had my SIL to tag along with amongst my many new family members hehe Alhamdulillah.

It’s been an interesting experience to go visiting with a husband as compared to being single. The past week of raya roundings have been filled with introductions of the hubby to my relatives, neneks and datuks as they have seen him during the wedding, but not on a close-up level. “Nek/Tok Xxx, ini suami saya…” Hehe paisey dan malu semua tolak tepi lah. Coz you can’t just go into the house and leave your other half to introduce himself/herself to your relative, it’s you who must do the job. And my neneks and toks are the sweetest la MashaAllah. They even gave us presents and special duit raya for pengantin baru! Fuhlaamak, touching beb. Alhamdulillah… ๐Ÿ™‚

Speaking of touching moments, I want to record down this moment when one of my closest uncles gave me and my siblings duit raya. We were all like, “dah keje, dah kahwin da etc…” and he said,

“Even if I’m 60 and you’re 40, I will still give you duit raya coz you guys will always be my nieces and nephews…”

*inserts tears rolling down emoticon from whatsapp*

SubhanAllah, may Allah bless my uncle with more rezki InsyaAllah.

So that was my first Syawal experience and as a wife so far. We have 3 more weeks to go, and I’m sure it’s gonna be more interesting and colourful as we go along, InsyaAllah. Have a blessed Eid everyone! ๐Ÿ˜€

Outfit details: Mini kurung top sewn by me. Skirt is part of another baju kurung I already have which I decided to match with this mini kurung (had no time to make the skirt because I was sewing 3 other outfits for my family and closest friend). Satin pashmina shawl from Ameemoo – totally loving the mint green colour. Shoes from Vincci Malaysia bought a couple of years ago.

Precious moments and precious nights

SubhanAllah we’ve already reached the final days of Ramadhan.

These final days and nights are so precious, for Laylatul Qadr could be on one of these nights…

As I’m blogging now I smell a whiff of kuih tart baking in the oven… Mmm…

I haven’t blogged since my previous post and that is by choice. I thought I’d set some goals this Ramadhan after following emails by Productive Muslim and watching Productive Ramadhan videos on being more productive in Ramadhan. For starters, spending less time on social media and internet. I actually deactivated my facebook on the first day of Ramadhan simply because I can be a busybody and get distracted easily everytime I log in to fb hehehe. So deactivating it was actually one of the best things that’s happened, lol. But really. I actually do get a lot more things done Alhamdulillah!

A couple of weeks ago during the beginning of Ramadhan, I had the opportunity to volunteer at an autism school. So I got to see how special education teachers work as well as seeing children and teens with autism in school. It was an eye-opening experience, because it was my first time being inside a school specially for autistic students, hence my first time seeing their many various behaviours and antics. I discovered that there are verbal and non-verbal students. Meaning there are students who can express their words verbally and those that can’t. There are many highlights and moments that I took away from.

One of them was this. At one of the classes I was attached to, there was a Malay Muslim 12-year old boy. I discovered with a pleasant surprise, being told by his teacher, that he was actually fasting. SubhanAllah, my heart suddenly welled with emotions. Children who have not reached puberty and especially people who are not of “complete sound mind” are not required to fast, and here he was, a 12 year old child with autism and he had chosen to fast. I felt touched. Boy’s going to Jannah InsyaAllah. During the class’ snack time, he sat at another corner of the cafeteria so I accompanied him while he colored in his coloring book. I managed to have a short conversation with him (he is a student who is able to verbalise his words) and he asked me when is Hari Raya. I thought, Allah presents these moments for us to learn so much things from, SubhanAllah…

Beautiful moments in Ramadhan, when you’re praying taraweeh and you didn’t bring the sejadah because you just don’t bother to and you don’t mind sujood at the carpets, and suddenly the sister beside you chose to share her beautiful soft and puffy sejadah with you. MashaAllah. Love.

And that is my short post for now, InsyaAllah I will blog more soon! Meanwhile, I wrote a summary on my Ramadhan last year and here it is. (Don’t mind the slightly “sad” tone of the post, because I was going through some trying times mainly wedding planning stress and work stress and whathaveyounot so Ramadhan came as a saviour. But Alhamdulillah this Ramadhan I am feeling a lot happier Alhamdulillah). Smiley face to show that ๐Ÿ˜€

To my dear BTBs who are spending this Ramadhan as the last time being single, if you’re feeling stressed, hang in there ok sayangs? InsyaAllah all will be worth it when you get to spend the next Ramadhan with your significant other. If He brings you to it, He will bring you through it. And please do embrace your last single Ramadhan and do as many good deeds as you can as a singleton. Especially the personal time that you have with God, spend as much time to tahajjud with Him when you have more time for yourself now.

May Allah accept all our deeds, grant us Paradise, grant us His forgiveness and safe us from the Hellfire, InsyaAllah.

May Allah make us steadfast in our efforts and make our hearts gentle and peaceful always, InsyaAllah.

May Allah ease the pain of our brothers and sisters around the world who are going through calamities, and may Allah erase all their sins and grant them Paradise, InsyaAllah.

Ameen.

10 jobs I’ve had in 10 years

When I was in primary school, I grew up wanting to be a Teacher. Probably because that was one of the only jobs I was exposed to at a young age. When I was in secondary school, some classmates said I looked most like a reporter (perhaps I looked a little reporter-ish with my roundish-square glasses but definitely not anything like Rita Skeeter) but I never thought of becoming one until I did an internship at the local newspaper. When I was in polytechnic, I thought of taking my ACCA (an accounting professional certification) after my accounting diploma and then become a full-fledged accountant. But a 1-year stint in the accounts department made me realize I was not up for that occupation. So here is a list of jobs I’ve had since I first entered the working world at 16, right after my GCE ‘O’ Levels while waiting for entry to tertiary institution.

1. Factory worker

(Temporary) This was my very first job, after I finished my GCE ‘O’ Levels. I joined a factory producing spare parts along with three other friends. The sweetest thing was buying my first mobile phone with my first hard-earned pay.

2. Tutor

(Part-time) The closest to being a teacher. During my polytechnic days, I tutored a primary 4 kid on 3 subjects – English, Maths and Science. It was a rewarding job but can be stressful knowing that the student’s improvement lies in your hands. Her family was very hospitable which made me feel welcomed every time I tutored at their house.

3. Telemarketer

(Temporary) Yeah I was one of those pesky telemarketers from an insurance company. But I wasn’t selling insurance, instead my job was to recruit people to join a team of advisors.

4. Purchasing assistant

(Internship) Assigned to a company producing CDs and electronics for my school internship. The company had originally asked for an accounting assistant from my school but filled up the position with a full-time employee by the time I joined. So I was attached to the purchasing department instead. Perks of the job included getting free CDs of movies before they were up for distribution.

5. Money desk journalist

(Internship) Joined the local paper for an internship shortly after I graduated from polytechnic. I joined the money desk department as I felt it was relevant to what I was learning in poly and keen to learn more about business reporting. This was my first foray into the world of journalism and I truly enjoyed the experience.

6. Accounting executive

(Full-time) Joined a media company finance department. Wanted to make use of my accounting diploma and put into practice what I learned. However I eventually discovered that accounting was not to be my career path.

7. Retail Shop Assistant

(Temporary) The same media company had a subsidiary company with a retail shop selling media-related items and they needed an urgent replacement for one day. I was involved with cashiering duties, assisting with walk-in customers’ enquiries and taking care of the shop for just that one day.

8. Editor

(Contract) In-charge of editing the content for a Ramadan website in SG as part of a yearly Islamic fasting month of Ramadan campaign. Liaising with freelance writers and working with a small team who were as passionate on making the site a beneficial platform for the community. This was one of the best jobs I’ve had. Best moment was interviewing Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, a Muslim astronaut from Malaysia who spent a few days of Ramadan in outer space.

9. Assistant production editor

(Full-time) Managed the production of scientific journals in a publishing house research arm. Contrary to the job title, my job scope did not involve any editing to the content of the publication but processes on making the final article suitable for print and online publication.

10. Writer

(Freelance) After my internship with the local paper ended, I continued to write with the paper on a freelance basis up till today. One of the memorable assignments was an overseas one, covering a group of student’s village homestay experience in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. I also write freelance for some online platforms in SG.

* * *

This week I chose point #5 from Anna Fonte for the Weekly Writing Challenge: List Lesson. I didn’t realize it’s been 10 years since I first entered the working world! I didn’t even plan the title this way but I only realized it after listing and writing them down – and it actually fit perfectly to be “10” (jobs) on “10” (years). Anna was right, this list ended up to something more.

“But certainly, editing is what pushes the list over the line into literature. You tricked yourself into thinking you were making a list but SURPRISE! Youโ€™ll see you made something much more.”ย 

It’s been an interesting journey with many life lessons and experiences Alhamdulillah. I shall pat myself on the back for being brave enough to go through these working experiences, regardless of my failures, successes and mistakes. MaashaAllah. I’m still finding my cup of tea, but let me consider that with a cup of tea in hand…

Three Sweet Months of Love and Daisies

When the wife beautifies the husband's desktop space... Fresh pink daisies and a Hello Kitty pack of tissues
When the wife beautifies the husband’s (boring) desktop space… Fresh pink daisies and a Hello Kitty pack of tissue instantly prettifies the space!

Happy 3-monthsary to us, Alhamdulillah. ๐Ÿ™‚

My husband and me, we sort of look-alike. That’s a wonderful thing, though it makes some people assume that we are also very similar to each other. Sure we have our similarities, but like every couple we also have our differences. Some are minor and some are opposites like the sky and the earth.

For example, last Saturday evening we went jogging and running at the park. I learnt that my husband likes to run in the morning while I prefer running in the evening. I like to run my stress away reflecting the day’s events while enjoying the cooling evening breeze. My husband on the other hand prefers to run as a kickstart to the day while taking in the freshness of the morning air.

I’m sure we will discover more of each other and I am enjoying as well as embracing the process thus far. That’s what makes marriage so interesting isn’t it? Allah presents you with differences in your partner so that you can find ways to work together and make it work beautifully for the both of you. I believe marriage is about letting these differences be and making it work to the best of our abilities.

Afterall, it did take us a quarter of a century to become the individual that we each are now, a beautiful person that God has specially moulded us to be. So with two beautiful individuals combined, the result should be an art that is profoundly beautiful. And that is what our marriage can become, if He wills.

May Allah continue to put love and blessings in our marriage, InsyaAllah ๐Ÿ™‚

Before you love someone else, you must learn to love yourself.

Before you love yourself, you must learn to love Allah and His Messenger.

Only then will you love easily.

As love is the root of all creation.

Mencari Ilmu Bersama Walau Perjuangan Berbeza

Note: Blog entry is in Malay language today.

sl2-2a muslimahs
Bersama Ustazah Majidah (di tengah, dalam tudung putih labuh), guru ilmu fiqh kami.

Minggu lalu kelasku yang terakhir buat semester ini.ย Semester ini, kami mempelajari ilmu tasauf, serta sambungan ulum quran dan fiqh munakahat dari semester yang lepas. Menghadiri kelas di madrasah aljunied setiap minggu walaupun kekadang sukar dan penuh cubaan, sesuatu yang menyeronokkan terutama sekali apabila bertemu dengan teman-teman seperjuangan yang gigih menimba ilmu setiap pagi Ahad.

Semakin aku belajar, semakin banyak yang aku tidak tahu…

Aku kagum dengan semangat teman-teman yang seusia dengan ibuku tekun mencari ilmu dalam usia senja, serta salah seorang temanku yang baru melahirkan anak pertamanya akhir tahun lalu tetapi cekal menghadiri kelas setiap minggu. Terima kasih Allah, kerana memberiku peluang mengenali hamba-hambamu yang istimewa ini.

“Seseorang itu sentiasa menurut kelakuan temannya, maka hendaklah seseorang kamu memerhatikan siapa yang dia berkawan dengannya.” (Riwayat Tirmizi)

Pada permulaan semester, aku seorang muslimah yang belum berumahtangga. Tetapi di akhir semester pula, aku sudah bergelar seorang isteri. Ada seribu satu perasaan yang bermain di minda apabila mengenangkan pernikahanku, yang telah berlaku dalam masa enam bulan ini. Bagaikan mimpi tetapi ia adalah suatu realiti. Aku tersenyum dan juga memikir panjang. MaashaAllah, suatu perubahan yang besar dalam hidupku.

Aku sedar perkahwinan adalah satu amanah dari Allah s.w.t, dan insyaAllah akan ku pelihara amanah ini dengan seerat-eratnya dengan kasih sayangNya.

Ahad depan dan yang seterusnya merupakan minggu-minggu peperiksaan pula. Setelah itu, kelas berhenti buat sementara waktu untuk cuti dan semester baru akan berlangsung pada akhir bulan Jun insyaAllah. Semoga Allah mempermudahkan urusan peperiksaan kami, dan menerangkan hati serta meluaskan minda kami insyaAllah.

Kepada yang membaca, mohon du’a ya! ๐Ÿ™‚

To the Mothers in My Life

mothersday
My mother in pink, while my mother-in-law in green during my wedding day.

It’s never too late to dedicate a post for the mothers in my life.

To my mother, thanks for loving me unconditionally and raising me with so much love, strength and determination. Your perseverance, adventurous nature and love of knowledge inspires me every time. I love you.

To my mother-in-law, thanks for accepting me unconditionally and raising a son who is the best husband I can ever ask for. Your sweet and gentle nature, tough yet soft-heartedness of being a mother of 4 boys amazes me. I love you.

Another mother that played an important role in my life was my grandmother. She took care of my siblings and me while my parents worked, making sure we were always well fed physically and spiritually. She taught us how to recite the Quran from an early age and her cooking always makes me crave for more. I love you.

Alhamdulillah for my mothers, and all our mothers, and grandmothers, and perhaps possibly even aunts who were involved in mothering us in the process of growing up.

Happy Mothers’ Day.

Look Up – Live Life the Real Way

This video is a reminder for me to get off the screen(s) when I spend too much time on screen with my smartphones, computer… and truly be present in the moment, without thinking of blogging or instagramming them.

Go out into the real world, and leave distractions behind. Stop watching this video, and live life the real way.