special moments

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A memory is a photograph taken by the heart to make a special moment last forever.

Life is made up of special moments which make it worth living. There are many cherished moments that are missed due to the stress and fast pace of daily living. We must slow down and remember how precious it is to be alive and to love.

Memories, a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.

Hello again everyone! Hope you don’t mind me postponing my Kilchurn Castle entry (from my Scotland holiday series) for a bit, I did say I was going to post about it next. But a number of things have happened since our summer holidays, so I’d better blog about them quickly. Time passes by so swiftly these days, with many events unfolding right before my very eyes. But from time to time (as you know), I like to return to my homeland Malaysia in my blog, for my heart is still partially there! My family, several relatives and closest friends remain dear to me, I try to share in their happiness and be there for them when they’re low in spirits. My late dad’s youngest sister is another auntie I feel very close to. For as long as I can remember, she’s always been there in my dad’s life. They had their ups and downs (as most siblings in a large family do), but at the end of the day, you can count on her to be there. Her youngest son, (half my age) tied the knot recently. Due to the huge age gap however, I never quite got to know this young cousin of mine properly. Unlike his two elder brothers and sister, who I can call my closest cousins during my adolescent years. They still keep in touch with me until today and I truly appreciate it. How I wish I could have been there with them during the wedding ceremony recently, which was held on Malaysia’s Independence Day (31 August 1957). I called my auntie that morning to wish her congratulations, I just wanted them to know that they were in my thoughts even though I’m thousands off miles away. The wedding went well, my young cousin looked really handsome next to his lovely bride. I can feel their happiness radiating through their beautiful pictures! Perhaps when I return home next (God Willing), they will be blessed with a little one or two! I pray for their happiness and hope their matrimony will be everlasting, like their parents before them. In the mean time, I’m sending lots of love and prayers from across the miles! I have also included a wedding song I like below, let us join in to celebrate!

MUBARAK/TAHNIAH/CONGRATULATIONS TO MY DEAR COUSIN!

my cousin and his bride after taking the marriage vows

my cousin and his bride after taking the marriage vows

the wedding stage

the wedding stage, I love the red!

the radiant couple

looking dapper, my handsome cousin and his lovely bride

my auntie and I along with my then 3 children (2006)

sweet memory; my auntie and I along with my then 3 children (2006)

scotland part 4

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A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It’s earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature - Henry David Thoreau

Make your heart like a lake, with a calm, still surface, and great depths of kindness - Lao Tzu

Greetings everyone! Hope you’re well! Been so busy with the children, what with the new school year and all. My son is doing his GCSEs this year, time for him to really knuckle down! My big daughter is now at secondary school too, having been taught at home throughout her primary years. It was the same with my son. We only ‘release’ them into the big world at secondary level, after having ensured they secure places at the top grammar schools available. To enter these grammar schools you need to pass the entrance exam, they get harder and more competitive each year. Whatever’s meant to be really, I just do my best to home educate my children for as long as I can. The benefits are immense, but that’s a story for another day! Let’s proceed with another adventure of my Scotland trip, this time it’s our loch cruise experience. We went on a cruise boat on Loch Etive, not too far from Loch Awe where we stayed at. This loch is really dark, looks like black ink spilled in abundance! We had a smashing time during this 45 minute ride, it was just us on the boat. The Captain served us biscuits and the best hot chocolates ever! He also let us drive the boat, it was great! The view was magnificent, huge mountains all around. The highlight of the cruise was seeing the seals on some rocks far out into the loch, we came quite close to them! The lochs here (we saw three during our trip) are really huge, it’s almost like being out at sea. Here’s some photos for you this time around! Stay tuned for my next Scotland outing to Kilchurn Castle!

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my 4 children by the jetty

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that’s our cruise boat!

all aboard!

all aboard!

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lil one and papa on the boat

Having a go!

loch looks dark!

loch looks dark!

my children soaking it all in!

my 4 children soaking it all in!

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magnificent view!

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we spotted the seals!

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seals up close

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lil one enjoying her snack, her siblings’ turn driving the boat

our ever so nice Captain!

our ever so nice Captain!

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thank you, we had a truly smashing time!

my older two, time to work hard!

my older two, time to work hard now!

 

scotland part 3

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Shall we have a cuppa tea now? After all the walks we had (I have never felt fitter in my life), we decided to check out this manor hotel about 10 miles away from our forest lodge. We saw a sign for it 7 miles in after we left the main road, but we turned right for another 7 miles to get to our accommodation. From that intersection (a small village called Kilchrenan) to the hotel it was about 3 miles to the left. But mind you, these country roads were all very winding, hilly and bumpy, so the journey felt twice as long! The scenery made up for the inconvenience though, I took a couple of shots along the way. We only passed by one or two other cottages, the hotel (and its massive grounds) itself was the only building at the end of the 3 miles! We almost thought we were lost at first. As we drove into the hotel driveway, I thought I saw a woman looking out from the the top window. She was brushing her long hair, dressed in Victorian outfit! I looked up again and the curtain closed. A bit spooky! I suppose it was just my imagination running wild, the hotel dated back to the 1800s after all. Anyway, we had a warm welcome inside, the staff were friendly and accommodating. They served us cream tea by the piano in their grand living room. We explored the two main rooms downstairs, took some photos as it was truly beautiful. My little ones and I went for a short walk in their gardens afterwards, the rest were not dressed appropriately. The rain is always a hit and miss in Scotland, best to be in your macs and wellies permanently like I was! It was chucking it down when we came out of the hotel! For those of you curious about this old manor, please click here for further information. Who knows, you might want to hold your wedding there, or go for your honeymoon. Or to celebrate your anniversary perhaps. Or like us, just go and explore and experience it all! The scones were the best I ever tasted, that’s for certain! :)

sign to the manor hotel

sign to the manor hotel

view of loch along the way

view of loch along the way

lots of farm animals here and there in the countryside

lots of farm animals here and there in the countryside

view of hotel as we approached it

view of hotel as we approached it

the reception

the reception

stairs visible from the main entrance

stairs visible from the main entrance

main living room

main living room

we were sat across the piano

we were sat across the piano

join me for tea!

join me for tea!

best scones ever

best scones ever, served on slates!

family relaxing!

family relaxing, entertaining my son’s dream of becoming a manor lord someday!

view of Loch Awe by the living room window

view of Loch Awe by the living room window

the other half of the main living room

the other half of the main living room

the study room, turned into another living room

the study room, turned into another living room

my girls played chess there

my girls played chess there

the fireplace

the fireplace in the study

lil ones after our walk in the hotel grounds

lil ones after our walk in the hotel grounds

 

 

scotland part 2

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Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction. - E.O. Wilson

Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. - John Muir

Nature, cheaper than therapy. - Anon

On with my photo series! On the second day of our Scotland trip (we slept extremely well!), we decided to explore the nearby forest. There was a nature trail that led to the Avich Falls by River Avich, which was about a mile away from our lodge. As I posted these pictures below, the memories of our walk and our quality time together as a family came rushing by. I wish I was there again, it was truly memorable. I came across a meaningful quote the other day, ‘Collect moments, not things.’ I am that kind of person. The love for things will fade once the next best object comes along, but precious moments stay with you forever. And when life gets you down and people stress you out, those memories provide you that escapism. You have those moments which have turned into memories to look back upon, they make you smile. I hope to return to my hideaway in Scotland again someday, far away from everyone and everything, save my nearest and dearest. Life is tough at times, why not escape now and then? ;) Will be back real soon with more stories to share, stay tuned ok!

we began our walk

we began our walk

little ones collected flowers to make a posy for me

little ones collected wildflowers on the way to make a posy for me

we went further into the woods

we went further into the woods

lil ones excited to find a mini waterfall

lil ones excited to find a mini waterfall

we discovered the waterfall

we soon discovered Avich Falls

me in mommy mode as usual

me in mommy mode as usual

reminds me of a scene in Lord of the Rings

reminds me of a scene in Lord of the Rings

we then came to a bridge

we then came to a bridge

we explored the forest further

we explored the forest further

we found another water fall!

we found another water fall!

found another waterfall, so serene, peace all around

so serene, peace all around

my beautiful posy from the girls

the perfect end, my beautiful posy from the girls

scotland part 1

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Where do I begin, hundreds of holiday photos, which ones do I select to go with my blog posts? And you can never do justice to the photos, the experience is something else altogether. You have to be there in person to soak it all in! Let me just dive in and take it from there, yeah? Our first summer getaway was to Loch Awe, which is to the north west of Glasgow, Scotland. It took us a good many hours to get there by car, we made several stops in between. This was my first time to the Scottish Highlands, somehow my visits to Glasgow and Edinburgh in the past seemed pale compared to this wonderful trip. Loch Awe is the third largest freshwater lake in Scotland, after Loch Ness and Loch Lomond (which we passed by on the way). It is certainly the longest, about 25 miles from top to bottom. We stayed in a forest lodge cabin about 200 yards from Loch Awe. My hubby wanted some peace and quiet, away from everyone and the hustle and bustle of life. We certainly got that there! All we could hear was the pitter patter of the rain, and oh boy, it did rain cats and dogs! We were well prepared however, I’m the sort who’s always checking the weather forecast. A bit obsessed with the weather like the rest of the Brits after living in England for almost 2 decades! I packed all our wellies (Wellington boots) and macs (rain coats), and that’s how we dressed throughout our 1 week stay there. Despite the not so bright weather, we still managed to have a very good time. We went for long walks, nature trails, loch cruise, castle tour, fly fishing and we had cream tea at an old manor hotel. I will try my best to blog about all these experiences! Although there were about 50 cabins altogether at the site, they were set fairly apart so we hardly saw anyone. The locals were extremely friendly, always with a smile on their faces, ready to greet and assist you. The landscape was breathtaking, I fell in love with it instantly. Mountains, forests, waterfalls, streams, lochs, castles; beautiful countryside all around. To be honest with you, I wouldn’t mind moving there at all. But I shall have to change my blog’s name to ‘Greetings from Scotland’! I was a bit sad to leave Scotland at the end of our stay, but we had our Devon trip to look forward to so it wasn’t too bad. I’ve heard people say, you need another holiday after a holiday. Well, that’s what we did this year! Right, let me share some of my pictures with you now. This shall be my first Scotland series, watch out for my upcoming ones, more to come hopefully!!!

welcome to our forest lodge, well hidden and tucked away!

welcome to our forest lodge, well hidden and tucked away!

in our macs and wellies, studying site map by our lodge to plan our first walk

in our macs and wellies, studying site map by our lodge to plan our first walk

we walked by a stream

we walked by a stream

a quick pose with papa

a quick pose with papa

we ended going down some steps

we ended going down some steps

and found ourselves by the shores of Loch Awe

and found ourselves by the shores of Loch Awe

explored the cabin site, my 4 children enjoyed being out in the rain

explored the cabin site, my 4 children enjoyed being out in the rain

our enclosed garden, view of loch from our verandah

our enclosed garden, view of loch from our verandah

we slept peacefully in this 3 bedroom timber lodge, only sound was the calming rain

we slept peacefully in this 3 bedroom timber lodge, only sound was the calming rain

np

my early bird at breakfast the next morning, stay tuned for our next outing!