June 30, 2014

Holy monthly

It's the Ramadhan now and the muslims in the UK fast about 19 hours perday. Me. I'm nursing. It's very likely I am and will not fast for the whole month. I haven't fast for the past few years and if next year Allah wills me to do it, I am going to struggle a bit. I know.

I have to admit I do have a slight guilty feeling of not being able to fast. And last year (or was it the last 2 years? I can't remember), I tried fasting while carrying a baby in my belly. It was so hard I was on the verge of fainting. It was 16 hours of fasting at that time. So I completed only 2 days and decided to dropped it.

Some mothers are strong that they actually pay back by fasting for the whole month that they left. But because mine was about 3 years of not fasting, I choose to pay Fidyah instead.

The nights are short this summer so some of us choose not to sleep before the "sahur". We're afraid we might missed the small sahur window. Lets face it, keep snoozing off the phone doesn't help either. But to be honest, although it's 19 hours fasting it is not actually that bad. I mean, not that I fast or anything but this is based on my previous experience. Sure of course, if you don't walk past through a huge bigmac billboard to your uni like I did 3 years ago. I would say fasting during summer is A okay.

I love Ramadhan. For the non muslim there might not be much of a different but for me, Ramadhan is very peaceful to say the least. Don't you think?

I hope it is not too late to say Ramadhan Kareem to all Muslim in the world and may Allah accept our deeds throughout this whole holy month.

June 01, 2014

Boating and picnic-ing

Over last 2 weekends we had an opportunity to go out and enjoy a little picnic over the bank of a river. The weather was super wonderful so Fairuz hired a little boat for us to drive. And since we are now living outside of London, I'm starting to love being in a quiet little city, enjoying the space that we have and living among a nicer neighbourhood. Not to mention the people here are wayyyy nicer than London. Everyone seems to enjoy life even during winter time. I kid you not.

I could say I'm a bonafide city girl (I still am actually). But having 2 kids growing up in your house and realising that they need space and peaceful environment is vital for their development. So sacrifice is in order

A year ago Fairuz got a contract job to work here. So we thought after he finished his job, we'll be returning to London. The oil platform that he designed just sailed away a few days ago and that officially means his project has ended. Although I've been living in London during my whole UK living years and I love London so much, I secretly hope his current company has a new project and we'll be able to stay here longer than we plan to. Because...seriously! I love it here. And this place to London is not that far if we suddenly feel like going.

The broads that we went was really close to where we live. And it is absolutely beautiful.

I hope you had a great weekend too! Toodles!

May 08, 2014

Two rocks in my world

How to bake a star cookie with Wilwil. 
Open the recipe book and pretend that you can read at the age of 2.

Make a star shape from the cookie dough

Next, destroy the star shaped dough by pressing on them while eating them in interval.

Make someone else to make the cookie for you while you run and play with the other toys.

When finished baking, make sure you are the first to taste the end product.

I gotta admit that sometimes it is super hard to juggle between 2 children of your own on your own at the same time. Especially when one is a very active toddler who's eager to explore the world and want you to be there and the other is a baby who needs your constant attention. One or the other are bound to get upsets sometimes. And when they are asleep at the same time it's like winning a lottery (not that I know how that feels like but I'm just saying you know...)

And most of the time I can't help but feel crappy about myself which before I have these two I never or very rare feel crap about myself if you know what I mean. Motherhood brings life challenge to a whole new level really. Although you can plan your day but expect your day to change and you just need to be really flexible and creative and full of energy.

How did my mom juggled between 4 kids and with each of them just merely 2-3 years apart. Bless her.

While they are cute and adorable and make your heart grow bigger and I love them so so much, I  really am struggling with motherhood of two. How could I cook, do chores, shower and at the same time take care them two when my mom and sister go back? When one cries the other follows.

Cries a bucket. T_T

Oh dear me.

April 06, 2014

How you can shop with L'adorn

Nowadays there are a lot of ways to do business. Let me state the obvious. The net. In other word the Online way. In the UK, doing business online is already an established business. It's safe and convenient. Not to mention you are able to browse thousands and thousands of products just at the tip of your fingers. Here, there are rights to protect the customer. Like for example, if you do online you must have a return and refund policy. This will able the customer to returned the goods back to the retailer if they are unsatisfied with them. And we have not to worry about our confidential infos being keyed in at the checkout page. Because they have a very safe payment gateway system.

The technology has helped someone like us and me tremendously in running a full business. Even long distance. Many Malaysian are not yet have the confident to buy things online. Especially from those sellers who sell in the social media. I really don't blame them. Take instagram for example. It's super easy you can snap an instant picture and upload them and write "pre-order them today. To buy please whatsapp". Haha how simple.

Although I have nothing against people who does business this way, I also think that it is very important that you buy something from a retailer that have a return and refund policy. Or an established retailer. I totally understand that it is also expensive to have an official online store. Take L'adorn for instant. We pay roughly about RM1000 permonth just for the hosting space. And that does not include any other bits and pieces like the payment gateway fees, extension for the website, cpanel etc. You may pay on average about RM1500 permonth depending on your traffic and spaces. It's basically like opening a physical boutique if it in Malaysia.

But having tell all this I am still an advocate when it comes to online shopping. Why? Because it is super convenient for a working mom like me. Plus, we got to reached a wider audience. From all over the country or even more from all over the world.

Anyway, we at L'adorn have tried our best to encourage people to shop online. For those who are new and never bought something online, here's your chance to do it. Here is the link on where we teach our new customers on how to shop with L'adorn. I swear you're gonna love it more everyday!

April 05, 2014

How L'adorn got born

Most of my family and friends know I am running a small business of online retailing named L'adorn. I haven't actually told the real story of L'adorn yet but it is actually a fulltime proper running business with staffs, an office and an online web store. The other day Hijabi Stailista from TV9 Malaysia came to London to interview designers and bloggers in Europe including the UK. And one of them was me. Although I am not a designer but I had the honoured of being interviewed by them. 

 When they asked what is the history of L'adorn, I actually paused for a while. 

L'adorn has long been a plan of mine since 2009 when I started selling Tie rack scarves to my friends and readers in Malaysia. With a love and passion for beautiful fabrics and scarves I wanted to bring together scarves from different types and different corner of the world and sell them. So I have been saving some extra money from my scholarship that I received for my capital. Naturally my audience was Malaysian. But then to actually sell something from London and to have orders and to post them to Malaysia was actually ridiculous because of the expensive shipping cost. My margin was peanuts. So I hold on to the idea until I could find the right time and resources. 

 3 years later on 2012 luck has it that this girl name Ayu, who was then my blog reader chatted with me about her business has stopped because her UK supplier increased the prices of the scarves sold to her. she lost her only supplier at that time. Ayu was such a nice girl. The first time I met her was when she went for a holiday in London with her family and she was kind enough to offered to bring my skincare routine from Malaysia to me. Although I didn't know her that well I was interested to know about her business in Malaysia. She sold scarves right after she went back to Malaysia from the holiday. I told her I could probably be her supplier if she wanted to but she wanted something more. She wanted me to be her partner. Obviously I didn't think it was feasible at that time as I was in UK and she was in Msia. And to be honest I'm not the type who simply do something so serious like this with a stranger or someone I don't know well enough but she was such a sweetheart about it I decided why not. 

 I suggested to her the name L'adorn and to use her old platform (which already had fans) and to rebrand everything. Surprisingly She was OK with it and went along the plan. So there you go, L'adorn was realised. Until today L'adorn is co-owned and run with a small number staffs of 6. Today, L'adorn has a whole new business model.  

Of course there were lots ups and downs when you are doing a business. Naturally with 2 different personality and taste, Ayu and I had many many different opinions and miscommunications. Especially when both of us do not live in the same continent. I learn a lot during the past 2 years I did business with her. In fact I learn a lot more the past 2 years compare to what I learn throughout my studies (well PhD is exceptional. That is a whole new story on what I learn. Haha!). 

One most important lesson I learn was to really really really think about who you choose to be your partner in doing business. You either worked it out or you loose someone. It's like marriage really Except in business it is much more easier to get out from when there are troubles. Like the saying goes, you will not know a person until you either live with them or do business with them. I was so so lucky that mine is Ayu. I could not thank God enough for destined me to work with her. And I pray to Allah s.w.t that L'adorn and the relationship that has been build stays forever.

This proved that it is not impossible to do anything even when you live in another country and wanted to start a business in another country. Lots of people do so. It's harder but it is not impossible. I shall tell the stories of L'adorn bits by bits in this blog so that maybe one day my kids can benefit from it. Or probably someone out there can too.


Ayu and I circa 2011 in Harrods London

April 03, 2014

Pearl Daisy Asia Tour 2014

Most of hijabis + Fashionist know Amenakin - The famous inspiring muslim youtuber. Who doesn't? With a very supportive husband, we all love her dearly. I've watched her since she initially started uploading her hijab tutorial on Youtube. Those days her fans are still small and her PearlDaisy online Store is very simple. But now... She has graced mainstream TV in the UK talking about her journey and give lots of motivational talks to the public. Apart from that she's a mom of 2 and an entrepreneur who designed her own hijab with a hood called the Hoojab. Phew.. She's very inspiring guys.

Naturally, with a high number of fans followers of 200,000 on her Facebook page, she would love to meet them (or you guys!). Organized by Islamic Lifestyle Magazine Aquila, Amena will be having her first Asia Tour this year named after her online store Pearl Daisy.

So for those of you who (like me) love watching her doing tutorials online and give motivational speeches, you are now able to meet her face to face during this tour. The event will be more than just talks. It's a showcase of current fashions hosted by Pearl Daisy brand as well as art and music. Supporting acts in the tour are El Seed, a Tunisian artist, plus size designer Jane Watson, designer Lulu Alhadad and Singaporean rapper Daly Filsuf. The details are as below and for more info visit their official event web.

Kuala Lumpur
April 18, 3pm at the Duchess Place
MYR120 (early bird, closes April 17)
MYR150 (at door)
MYR180 (Aquila VIP, closes April 17)
MYR52.50 (Tertiary students and NS Men)

April 20, 12pm at the Orchid Country Club
SGD100 (early bird, closes April 19)
SGD120 (at door)
SGD150 (Aquila VIP, closes April 19)
MYR64.49 (Tertiary students)

Tickets are now on sale at www.pearldaisyasiatour.com

Official Facebook, Instagram and Twitter Hashtag: #AquilaPearlDaisyTour

March 28, 2014

What a mom to do

I once wrote that doing a PhD is one of the most challenging thing to do. That was a long time ago. Well...not that I'm gonna change my statement but now...being a mom...especially of two..take challenging to a whole new level. Oh my god.

There's not a day goes by without getting surprises. Kids are unpredictable. Su.Per.Unpredictable. You think they don't know a thing but they know almost everything. And it's true what they say, you learn a lot  new things everyday when you are with a kid. Not just things but you learn about them too. And most of the time it's just a failed attempt to handle them. Haha. I laugh now but usually I'm not laughing though (not in a bad way I promise).

At the age of 2, you realised that your kid has started to copy whatever you do or say. Parents have a major influence over their own kids. Let me tell you one very important lesson I learn. Everything starts at HOME. The way you teach your kids to discipline, the way you talk, the words you use in your everyday life, the way you treat people, the way you handle your work or your life. Kids downloaded all these and embedded them forever. That's why some parents take pride in their children.

As a parent we want to show the best example to our kids. So that one day they will grow up to be a fine person. Not only they deserve the best education or the best life but they also deserve to be the best person that they could be by following the examples that you have set to show them. If you are kiasu, they will grow up thinking kiasu is fine. If you are selfish, they might become selfish too without even realising it. You help to build their character. Especially for mom, where in Islam itself said that our job is to nourish and teach our kids (but that doesn't mean dad can cheat). So you gotta be kind to people, bring your boy to the masjid, read lots of book, love knowledges, show that you don't take things for granted and you work hard to get to where you are. Don't just give them, teach them. They deserve it. Because when they are 30, they will say and think "my mom and dad made me who I am today".

One time I forgot to do something. Wil was playing with Fairuz. I couldn't remember what I forgot but Fairuz reminded me and I immediately utter the word S*** loudly in front of Wil. Now you think kids they don't know but they do. As Fairuz was saying "Yanggggg!!" Wil was laughing at me while trying to utter the same word. He was laughing as if he knows what was going on. It was hilarious. I know I know. I did say a few times to him "Wil! Don't use that word okay. Mommy made a mistake. Don't use that word". But it was too late as he was still busy trying to imitate me.

*sigh my boy. He's a sulk champion nowadays.