October 20, 2014

10 interesting facts I found after 6 years of living in London.

Six years I have lived in London. I have grown to learn the city that had partly shaped the person I am today. From taking her red double decker buses to where I am needed to driving and stopping at her generous amount of traffic lights every 2 minutes. I have grown to love the city and never get tired of it.

Like the saying from Mr Samuel Johnson goes "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford".

Busy but exciting. Crowded but interesting. Old but breathtaking.

For a Malaysian that lived, studied, fell in love, being married and gave birth there for all those wonderful years, I could not be more grateful enough for the opportunity. Most Malaysian that I've met are either intrigued or very interested in knowing life in and visiting London. Here's what I wanna share;

1. Everybody seems to be speaking their own languages but english there. Almost but not all people you've encountered are foreigner.

2. A Londoner would stands on the right side of the escalator. And walks up or down on the left side.

3. Bayswater seems to be a Malaysian Village. That would explained it as the Malaysian Hall is there and Malaysian tends to go wherever 'a Malaysia' flag stands even when we are traveling.

4. The Malaysian Hall offers the most cheap and affordable restaurant and accommodation. Although it is not the best in terms of cleanliness and the men and women have to be separated. But hey, it's super cheap. 1 tips. NEVER convert.

5. A Malaysian traveller would think of a Malaysian who lived in London is a snob and unfriendly because we never seems to smile or say Salam to them. But the fact is there are so many Malaysian in London that if we stop and say hi to each and everyone that we've encountered, the event could go on forever.

6. But we LOVE it when they smiled and said hi to us and we are more than willing to help them if they ever needed some help.

7. We prefer either to take the bus or walking than the Underground. The Underground could get a bit stuffy and crowded. Underground in the summer. Oh. My. God. Don't get me started it's the worst.

8. Pickpocket is everywhere especially in crowded places like the bus and underground. So try not to put your valuable in your most easy access bags or pockets.

9. If you are alone, everywhere you go there will always someone to help with your bags or your stroller. Or if you are pregnant, they will give you their seats. Makes you wish all the people in your country are like this.

10.  The renting home could cost us up to about 2/3 of our monthly income. It is that expensive. No we're not rich when we live in London. Except of course if we work in the investment area or got paid by the hourly.

There we go. 10 interesting facts. As much as I love London and I consider it's home, I love my kids more. My husband and I decided it's best we lived somewhere more suburban (sounded posh ey? Haha but it's not) and get the kids to enjoy a little bit more space to run around.

Hence I am no longer staying in London but every so often you could see me there.

September 30, 2014

Would Not Trade For Anything

When you are a mom everyday you're faced with what you think is a simple challenge but turns out they could be sometimes something that you lose your mind to. Like for example, with Wildan, he is a fussy eater. Super fussy that most of the time I cringed when thinking about what to give him for dinner. His taste buds are somehow enhanced to a level where even adults like us couldn't taste it. He even gets bored when eating the same thing everyday. It can be hard sometimes because his choice of food are not just quite limited but very picky too.

For instance, you think pizza is his favourite. No problem just order them and done! his lunch is sorted. But noooooo... he might say "No" to pizza just because he doesn't feel like eating it. This boy of mine rather starve than eating something his taste bud don't feel like eating.

I lose my mind.

Now Fairuz and I are struggling with potty training. He just doesn't want to sit on it. He was okay at first but after a while it become a battle to even just wash him when he poop or when it's time to wash. Do you guys experience this kinda thing or is it just us?

He's 2 years and 8 months now and I think he should be potty trained by now. All of his friends in his class are by the way. Which is annoying becuase everytime I have to bring nappies to his school I blushed and say sorry profusely to his teachers which by the way are awesome.

A few of my friends who knows me asked me what I do all day long and do I sit home and just take care of my babies. I said yes! Proudly. Although I know some of them might think it could be boring to just sit home and do nothing. Oh well, let me tell you. It is far from nothing. I wish I have an extra hand to help me take care of them. You got laundry to do, floor to vacuum, mouth to feed, dishes to unload, kitchen to clean, toys to pick up for the 100th times and business to monitor. And each of those chores have their own unique challenges that you have to faced. Every. Single. Day. It is quite exhausting by the end of the day I am so knackered I could just sleep anywhere.

To those teachers in Wildan's nursery I salute them to work around children every day.

But by the end of the day nothing beats seeing your babies growing up right in front of your eyes. Seeing them developed into their real own character, taking their first step wobbly, them smiling at you when you make funny faces and hearing them laughing everyday. I would not trade that for anything. I have pledged to myself that I will take care of my babies full time at least until they are in pre-school and then I will work full time. Because honestly, as their mommy I would want myself to be the first to everything that they do. Before you know it they are all grown up and ready to leave you *cries.

For those very fortunate could send their kids to their grandparents. I could send them to nursery at a very young age and work but for me taking care of them myself is my priority. And thinking other people will take care of my baby, doing differently than I would do it. No thank you.

In my case, I don't see a point in having kids if I were to send them off for someone else to take care of them just because I want to have extra money.

I'm sure any mothers who could have the opportunity to be with their kids would choose that too. After all 3-5 years of not working is not that long.

August 21, 2014

Business Takes A Lot

Running a business long distance especially when the business is not yet reached its maximum establishment is hard. Super hard.

Imagine dealing with your staff only through whatsapp (thank god right?) and emails. Not to mention, never meeting your vendors face to face and dealing only through emails. Bless them. You really gotta have a reliable staffs. Although L'adorn is a partnership base business, my partner works fulltime and does not have access to our server through her company. She could only do so much. And I could only do so much. Plus, the time zone. Oh god time zone. It's totally upside down 180 degree between UK and Malaysia.

Sometimes it does take a toll on me. Not sleeping properly, dealing with frustration. And did I mention the website I build it on my own? I mean the template of course. Not that I did it by scratch but small editing and customising as well as content management. Yup! All by reading through tedious and long documentation. Sometimes I think I lost a lot of my time fixing bugs and error whenever we have problems.

Let me give you an advice to those who are thinking in doing business online and have no idea on building a website. Get a developer! or better yet. Subscribe to readymade website building tools like shopify. I swear it helps A LOT. The support system is the best!

My other advice to those who are thinking of doing business long distance like myself. Get a partner or someone you really really trust that could handle the business for you in the other country. Make sure your partner can do fulltime preferably otherwise get someone who can. A manager. Seriously.

Business takes a lot of sacrificing. I mean look at all the successful people who plunged themselves into their business. They quit their job, sell their house, sell their car just to get the capital and to a have start. But honestly, I think most of them are just pushing themselves to their limit. Which is good. How else do you push yourself if not to get our of your comfort zone? And what about loosing your time with your family and friends? Competition? I told you business takes a lot.

But of course once you're in it you will try your best to sustain the business. Most business fails in their first year. And reached their plateau in their 3rd year. So it is best to plan a head. Planning and strategise your business so that you can be a head of the game. Do not care about other competitor. Just be yourself and pray a lot. Focus. Delegate properly. Build a strong system first.

Nothing beats the satisfaction of working on your own and be your own boss.

My most trusted comrade. My model. The most sabar person I've known who tolerate my bossy - ness. I love her so much!

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!