Monthly Archives: January 2014

english breakfast

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Food is for eating, and good food is to be enjoyed… I think food is, actually, very beautiful in itself. -Delia Smith

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. -Virginia Woolf

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. – J.R.R Tolkien

Hello again everyone, hope you’ve had a lovely weekend! As for us here, the sun managed to peek out briefly, enough for us to venture out for our full English breakfast at the local supermarket cafe. We tend to do so from time to time, just to get out for a bit particularly in the winter months. January is finally coming to an end now, you could say it’s the most depressing month in the year! Though February is usually much colder, the days also stretch a bit longer, more than the 8 hour sunlight we’ve had for the past couple of months. You don’t mind so much in December as it’s also the Christmas period, where everything around you seem so festive and cheerful. But come January, you just feel you’ve had enough of the winter months for sure!

Anyway, I’ve taken a few photos from our breakfast at the weekend to share with you. A typical full English breakfast normally consists of toasts with butter, fried eggs, baked beans, mushrooms, tomato, hash brown and sausages (vegetarian ones in our case). My hubby normally finishes everything quite quickly. I, on the other hand, tend to eat a bit slower. It’s quite a heavy going meal if you ask me, lasts for hours afterwards! When my sister visited me last winter I was supposed to take her out for a full English breakfast, but we left it too late and never got around to it. She’s still craving for it till today. But I keep telling her I would still prefer our Nasi lemak (traditional Malay breakfast) over the full English, even after almost 2 decades of living in England. Some things never change I suppose! 😉

oi

a typical full English breakfast

another version of it

hot chocolate’s great for the children on a cold wintry day

my youngest two

npkm

bon appétit!

living again

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Hello again everyone! I am feeling upbeat once again, after a few months of sorrow. Yes, it’s still winter here in England, in fact some say Spring might even come late this year (end of May). It’s not the season that’s cheered me up, it’s just me deciding to start living happily once more. With the passing of my dearest paternal uncle last November, I had plunged into the deepest darkest corner without even realising it. All I seem to hear around me afterwards were news of death or some calamity or another. I still do in fact, my best friend’s mother has been hospitalised for a month, an old school friend just lost her mother, and several 40+ year olds connected to people I know had passed away recently due to heart attack. It’s scary really, but then death is a reality. A lot of people shun away from talking about it, it’s almost a taboo. But once you’ve seen death in your face, like I did with my late father, there is no turning back. It will affect you for the rest of your life. It just stays with you forever.

Which is good in a way, as in my faith we are to keep this world at our hand, and the Hereafter (eternal life after death) in our heart. There should be a balance really. I realised however, one cannot go around in gloom, particularly when one has a young family to care for. My husband and children keep me young at heart, totally alive, so to speak. To keep them happy, I have to be happy too! So off I trotted to my hairdressers for an instant lift, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of having bouncy glossy blow-dried hair afterwards. The rage now is of course Kate Middleton, being brunette (you can experiment with different shades) is cool and blow-dried hair is a must. I also made a quick trip to the outlet, was surprised to find some lovely outfits (Kate Middleton replica amongst them), very cheaply priced in the winter sales. I came home with a happy heart indeed.

Then my close friends contacted me for a cuppa tea, it was nice to catch up again after a while. One is French and the other is English, they have been Muslims for 2 decades now. I always enjoy socialising with them, you could say my Western influence comes from them, the food especially! Speaking of which, I have to mention here how my hubby decided to bring me out of my winter blues recently by introducing me to the cheeseboard. This is specially sold during the Christmas period, where you buy crackers to go with a selection of specialty cheeses. They go very well with a bit of chutney and some grapes on the side, simply out of this world! To think that I never liked cheese at all when I was back in my homeland, I’m quite a different person now for sure! Which also brings me to another realisation, I may have been inspired by Kate Middleton when it comes to hair and few clothes, but I must admit I fail miserably to imitate her when it comes to watching my weight though. Not with my husband tempting me with delicious chocolates and cheeses all the time anyway! 😉

Nonetheless, I’m just happy to be living wholly again, I want to enjoy my present life with my loved ones, I want to cherish and treasure them and those around me whilst I can. I stumbled upon a short piece on James Blunt a few days ago in The Guardian newspaper, and came across his latest video clip released yesterday. It depicts the crazy fast-paced life we’re living in today, but the focus remains on those we love, regardless of time and space. I love it, hope you’ll enjoy it too. Till next time, take care!!!

kate middleton hair

gorgeous Kate Middleton hair which is the rage here (courtesy of Google images)

ngpew

blue lace dress replica I found inspired by Kate Middleton (courtesy of Google images)

similar?

similar?

my cheeseboard selection

the cheeseboard selection hubby bought me recently

can't stop eating them!

he bought me another lot afterwards, can’t stop eating them now!

ENJOY JAMES BLUNT’S NEW UPBEAT SONG ‘HEART TO HEART’ AND THE FAST-PACED LONDON SCENE!

discover dartmouth

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Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories.

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.

I’ve had a simple lovely birthday, Alhamdulillah. I received well wishes from close family, relatives and friends, it was very heart warming indeed. I Skyped my mom, after all, my birthday would mean nothing much without her wishes and prayers especially. My beloved hubby got home in the evening; emerging from the dark night and cold rain, bearing beautiful gifts from the children and himself. Along with their meaningful birthday cards and my favourite chocolates. We then had a lovely dinner together followed by the chocolate cake I baked earlier. And more chocolates from a couple of thoughtful neighbours. A great cheer indeed for me during this depressing mid-winter month of January, certainly lifted my spirits up from my melancholy state earlier on. I  still have a couple of months yet before I see the first signs of Spring, Inshallah. A long way to go yet before I’m out and about again! Let’s get back to my summer holiday pictures for now, shall we? This time is of our visit to Dartmouth, a lovely little seaside town in South Devon. A memorable trip indeed for my family, hoping to return there again someday soon, all being well! Hope you’ll like the photos! Take very good care! 🙂

(Do read my other summer holiday posts archived under Sept 2013)

self-reflection

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Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful. – Margaret J. Wheatley

A soul without reflection, like a pile Without inhabitant, to ruin runs. – Edward Young

Your writing voice is the deepest possible refection of who you are. The job of your voice is not to seduce or flatter or make well-shaped sentences. In your voice, your readers should be able to hear the contents of your mind, your heart, your soul. – Meg Rosoff

the glow from my tea light candle

I shall turn 45 in a few days, InshaAllah (God Willing). How do I feel? Both happy and sad at the same time, to be honest. Happy that God has given me all these wonderful years, blessed with good health and surrounded by love. I remember my sister asking me whether I was happy and content with my current life when she visited me last winter. I answered yes, without a single doubt. I am exactly where I want to be, Alhamdulillah. Oh yes, I’ve had my fair share of tears too. I still miss my late father heaps until today. And yes, there are times when I wish I could have it all perfect, like being in close proximity with the rest of my family and friends back in my homeland, Malaysia. But such is life, it is not perfect. I cannot have it all. But I shall focus on my blessings and not my misfortunes. God knows what is best for me, always, to Him I rely entirely.

Lately, however, I feel a bit sad thinking about friends of my generation who have left this world before me. I remember one or two who passed away whilst we were still undergrads at University. And a couple more who left just after we graduated. One was engaged and the other just returned from her honeymoon. They were gone when the rest of us thought the world was our oyster. And several more had passed on in the recent years too, friends from both my alma mater and boarding school, leaving their beloved families behind. I do not know the length of my life span, nobody knows how long they will live for. I just pray that God continues to shower me with His endless blessings. I pray that I will continue to have the strength to please my Lord; by being a devoted wife to my husband, a loving mother to my 4 children, and a good daughter and sister to my mother and siblings. Last but not least, a real friend to those who consider me as one. I am not perfect, please forgive me for my shortcomings. I pray for success in this world and the next, with God’s guidance and mercy, Ameen.

I leave you with this wonderful Malay song entitled ‘My Return to My Lord’, written by a dear University friend who passed away in 2010 from battling with breast cancer. She was a bubbly jovial character, she was like a big sister to a big group of us back then. She loved to sing, I remember how she sang with all her heart at our 21st birthday celebration (myself along with 2 closest pals at Uni who shared the same birthday week). She was also a famous blogger. Al-Fatihah to Arwah Dalilah Tamrin@Raden Galoh (1967-2010) and to all my friends, acquaintances, family and relatives who have left this world, may your souls rest in peace amongst the pious, Ameen…

ABOUT THE SONG

(A Charity Project initiated by Dalilah Tamrin, an amazing woman whose final moments in this world were spent battling complications of metastatic breast cancer. The production is funded by her very generous personal friends, family and bloggers around the world. The words were originally penned by Dalilah herself, later edited and composed into a song and recorded in Dubai and then later mixed at Grooveworks Studio, KL. This song is about Dalilah’s sacred hopes and solemn thoughts during her quiet moments with God. It is also a message dedicated to those who are being riddled by life’s intricate challenges, trials and tribulations. May all of you be inspired by the words that came from the purest place in this amazing woman’s heart. I hope that you shall remember her in your prayers. Dalilah passed away peacefully on the 19th July 2010. May the memory of her heroism and positive attitude live on in the hearts of the people she’s touched. Amin…)

welcome 2014

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You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them. – Desmond Tutu

Happy New Year 2014 everyone! How has it been for you so far? I went downhill on New Year’s night, was blowing hot and cold. I know this sign very well, I used to get high fever regularly as a child. Even as an adult in my homeland Malaysia, I still suffered badly from it time and again. Alhamdulillah, since I lived in England 17 years ago, my health has improved a little in that sense. Only in harsh winters like now do I tend to suffer from a bit of cold, flu and fever. A couple of days of putting my feet up normally does the trick. Anyway, what have I been up to? You know the weather’s really bad here at the moment right, the lashings of rain seem to continue endlessly and the winds just seem to get stronger each time! It’s dark, cold, wet and windy, in other words, MISERABLE! But we got a bit of respite the weekend before New Year, so we headed off to my in-laws up north. The drive took us 4 hours, fortunately my children have all grown out of their whingy and whiny phase by now.

After a brief stop at the service station halfway through our journey (to stretch our legs, have a cuppa tea/coffee/McDonalds french fries and get out of the horrible traffic for a bit), we continued travelling till we got to my in-laws safely. It was dusk by then, 4pm, tea time. My sisters in law had organised a little birthday get-together for the family kids, so my husband’s cousins with children were also there. Along with my hubby’s aunties and his youngest cousin. It was nice to be together again, we only meet up a few times each year due to the distance, busy schedules and horrid weather! The few days there were spent socialising with my hubby’s family and relatives. My hubby had a cousin who just had a baby, another who’s just been to Hajj (pilgrimage in Mecca), another who has a lovely house we never visited before, as we usually meet up at my in-laws or their parents’. This meant visiting several houses and savouring many delicious food! My children had great fun bonding with their young cousins who they’re really fond of. It’s a shame they live so far away, but then they do say that absence makes the heart grow fonder!

My youngest sis in law also took my girls and I to a Christmas pantomime, Aladdin. It’s been a while since I’ve watched a stage show, I enjoyed it immensely, so did my girls. I felt really moved by my sis in law’s gesture to be honest. My hubby and his brother-in-law also took the children bowling, they had a memorable time. The night before we left we went out for a family meal with my in-laws, I truly cherish these special moments for they are rare. Even though my own family and relatives are thousands of miles away, I am fortunate enough to find family love within my hubby’s family and relatives. As a daughter in law, nothing compares to the feeling of being included and accepted in the family, Alhamdulillah. Right, enough chattering, here’s some images to remember the wonderful time we had last weekend. Till next time, take good care! 🙂

our party food

my older three amongst the relatives

my bubbly aunties in law

my bubbly aunties in law

my two girls with their grandpa

my children with their beloved cousin

my girls at the pantomime

the panto cast

the panto cast

night out with my in laws