Thursday, 28 November 2013

Dry Shampoo

Honestly, this wonderful option didn't work out for me because I have to have my hair washed and blown dry once daily, even during confinement. In fact, I washed my hair 17 hours after Bean was born, with quick blow dry after.

During pregnancy, I bought this dry shampoo, tried to fool myself into not washing my hair and trying to further fool myself into following the traditional practice *what was I thinking?* as long as you keep your scalp clean and dry, you'd be fine.

Anyways, this dry shampoo was about the only type I could find in the local pharmacy...hope you have better chance of locating nicer ones.

I'd probably keep this for long haul flights.

Do share the name of dry shampoo that you like, I am willing to try!

Monday, 25 November 2013

How We Chose The Playschool

1. License for Taska and Tadika
We were not keen on institutions without license. Period.

2. Insurance
You never know when something may go wrong, so basic policies will cover at least the barest of exigencies like fire and third party injuries. Then pray very hard that nothing happens.

3. Security
Not just CCTV but English speaking Gurkha guards, access cards, camera and voice with autogate system, parent watch group and teacher/carer watchdog committee. Play schools that request for list of permissible persons to take child out from school is very important. Photo ID and NRIC details for parents, other members of family and drivers (if applicable) would be prudent to have.

4. Distance
Closest to home for short commute time,  short response time in case of emergencies and injuries, God forbid.

5. Programme, Approach and Method
Montessori with emphasis on respect to local cultures and multi faiths.

6. Weekly Menu
Halal food. Could not find one that would cater non-GMO, non-MSG, non-the-whole-she-bang-of-allergen but decent enough to exclude the usual suspects like nuts, salt, sugar, food colouring, strawberries. Good enough for us as the play school noted cow milk and egg white allergies The Little Girl used to suffer from, made notes and pasted the notice on the board so anyone who served her food and drinks were aware. The same applies to all the other children with various allergies.

7. Charitable Acts
The play school supports a Myanmar children home. Every Christmas, parents of the play school would donate school items, cash, story books and run the annual charity bazaar to raise funds.

8. Concert 
Not the Disney standard of production you would find with some schools; but realistically raw showcase of talents by those 18 to 60 months old. Annually, we purchase a professionally filmed DVD to fully enjoy and re-enjoy the concert. 

9. Sports Carnival
Sadly lacking in the plays school we chose, but daily outdoor play time when the weather is fine added with extra enrichment programmes of gym and Brazilian soccer more than makes up for it.

10. Culture
Melting pot of international cultures, customs, languages and faith. Exactly the sort of "United Nations" blend we were hoping for The Little Girl to experience and widen her horizon in her early childhood education.

11. Fees
Taboo topic for some parents. We chose what we could afford best given our budget, with some personal sacrifice for the pretty but frivolous indulgence in life. After all, early childhood education is important!

12. Hygiene
This is a no brainer! 

What are your criteria? Do share, especially if you have chosen a school for reception year onwards!

Why We Chose Gymboree

We had the options of:

1. Tumble Tots; 
2. Kids Sports & Gym; or
3. Gymboree 

Why Option 1 didn't work out:
Old apparatus - the wooden beams were so 1990s. We were put off by dirty toys. By toys we mean Fisher-Price models we already have in abundance at home.
Lack of enthusiasm from staff escalated our decision making process, without having to look into the modules and programmes available. The outlet at Great Eastern Mall is now close.

Why Option 2 didn't work out:
The Little Girl was 14 months old when we searched for a weekly activity, and the  activities at Option 2 were tailored for slightly older toddlers and young children. When she turned 3, it became her favourite haunt every rainy Saturday morning, every play date, every other random reason. We suspect that the big pool of balls and high slides are exhilarating to a girl going-on 4 years old.

Why we chose Option 3:
It seemed like a happy place and the proprietor/franchise holder Jasmine was able to explain in detail the different stages for different age/month group. Milestones and achievements, enthusiastic staff, fairly clean apparatus, flexible time slots and reasonable fees all worked in our favour. Location was also not an issue for us, as Bangsar Village was and still is within our comfort zone. We ended up using all the play, art and music passes in about 9 months, just in time for her transition into play school.

Will we pick Gymboree for Bean? With the new apparatus recently replacing the old ones, and Jasmine remaining as enthusiastic about the programme, we may just consider it again, especially because The Little Girl keeps requesting for play dates at both the Bangsar Village and Publika outlets! Tropicana Mall outlet somehow does not appeal that much to her. She wants what the brother will get, how awesome is sibling rivalry?!

We'll see...

Do you have a play group that you would like to suggest? Please share!
Wednesday, 20 November 2013


Taking a much needed break after an ER and minor surgery episode this week.

Road to recovery bring this to mind:

وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَا نُكَلِّفُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا أُولَٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ

And (as for) those who believe and do good We do not impose on any soul a duty except to the extent of its ability-- they are the dwellers of the garden; in it they shall abide.

Surah Al-Araf Ayat 42.

لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَعَلَيْهَا مَا اكْتَسَبَتْ رَبَّنَا لَا تُؤَاخِذْنَا إِن نَّسِينَا أَوْ أَخْطَأْنَا رَبَّنَا وَلَا تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْنَا إِصْرًا كَمَا حَمَلْتَهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِنَا رَبَّنَا وَلَا تُحَمِّلْنَا مَا لَا طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِهِ وَاعْفُ عَنَّا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا وَارْحَمْنَا أَنتَ مَوْلَانَا فَانصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ

Allah does not impose upon any soul a duty but to the extent of its ability; for it is (the benefit of) what it has earned and upon it (the evil of) what it has wrought: Our Lord! do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake; Our Lord! do not lay on us a burden as Thou didst lay on those before us, Our Lord do not impose upon us that which we have not the strength to bear; and pardon us and grant us protection and have mercy on us, Thou art our Patron, so help us against the unbelieving people.

And again in Surah Al-Baqarah Ayat 286.

Indeed Allah s.w.t. will not impose more than I can bear, and this brings me a lot of comfort in knowing He Knows I can face this test He has given me.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013


I have been to the ER and back. 

Summary: profuse bleeding from right nostril caused by broken skin and capillaries.

History: have tried all self-help first aid methods since 2010, but these methods have stopped working lately.

Provocators: heat, elevation, dry air, cold air, sometimes spontaneous without any provocation.

Treatment previously suggested by Dr. Ling Chie Kai: Cauterise.

Overnight hospital stay: None, at my insistence.

Here is what happened last Sunday on my way to lunch with family...

... it was a bloody mess, literally!

Well, the bleeding got out of control. I looked like I had been in an accident. Or worse, abused. 

After being stabilised at ER, I negotiated to be discharged after being stabilised. The blood test ruled out cancer, which itself was great comfort.

Clotting eventually happened so I was allowed home preconditionally. The condition was to return to ER if the bleeding persisted.

On Monday, I went for a follow-up consultation which turned out to be a fast and furious local painkiller and laser cauterise session. I did pack hospital bag, just in case.

Well, Dr. Yeo Sek Wee had done a very good job and the best part was his understanding of my situation as a breastfeeding mother. The antibiotics were Augmentin from the hospital with some antibiotic ointment.

I was told to take from my own supply of Panadol at home, if there is any pain. I didn't have to!

The experienced doctor was brief, concise, armed with confident hands, willingly and wittily joined in to say bismillah before the procedure. His friendly and polite bedside manners match the rave reviews I have read.

I do have a follow up appointment early next month so I will have to add the "Speedy recovery & take it easy" note to self until then.

Life goes on. Without the inconvenient and worrisome nose bleeds. 


Saturday, 16 November 2013

Pullman Putrajaya

We have re-learnt a few important lessons during this sad stay-cation.
1. Man plans, Allah decides.
2. If you have made a plan, said your bismillah through it all, and still something bad happens, it is qadar
3. If still frustrated, re-assure self with No.1.
How did we learn those lessons? Well. Get a cup of warm drink or set up your breast-pump and get going because this is a long rant.

We had booked and paid for two nights at this supposedly/reputedly iconic hotel via the ever reliable Agoda but left after only one night.

What happened, many asked.

1. The open season for flies.
Concurrent with our visit, unfortunately. We had to endure flies at lunch and breakfast at the buffet hall. It did not even matter anymore that the Deepavali buffet spread was a huge disappointment. No rezeki.

We even had one dinner in the room via room service just to avoid those pesky flies. The Other Half and I had a mild case of food poisoning for a few days.
2. The Bad Room Service.
The waiter who brought our cart wasn't too happy to serve us our dinner. Grumpy service is not good. Burnt kiddie chicken hot dog is even worse. The Little Girl refused to eat it, good for her! Which left her to drinking her fresh milk from home and pinching our food. Hungry in an isolated hotel is not good. we should have packed a bigger loaf of bread, whaddaya know.

3. The Children Playroom.
There was no one manning the Playroom save for one boy about 6 or 7 years old who seemed to be the resident soccer player there. This young Ronaldo wannabe kept aiming the ball to hit against the grubby glass door and there wasn't any hotel staff to warn him of the danger in so doing. Glass door? Breakage? Children Playroom? Danger to paying customers of the hotel? Hello?
There wasn't anyone else other than us at the Playroom so we left the dirty, dusty, sticky place after an uncomfortable conversation with the boy. 

Boy: Akak ni dari mana?

Me: Malaysia.

Boy: Akak ni orang apa?

Me: *why is this boy so racist?! Felt like replying "manusia"* Orang Malaysia. Kenapa?

Boy: Kalau orang Cina kenapa pakai macam ni? *he pointed at my headscarf*

Me: I am Chinese Muslim. Kenapa

Boy: Bukan orang Melayu kah? Akak masuk Islam ke? 

Me: I am Muslim, orang Muslim dari macam-macam tempat, some Europe, some Arab, some Asia. *malas nak explain panjang lebar about everyone being born Muslim, and that I am a revert/ I need to come up with a script for this defence since I am faced with this all the time*

Boy: Anak you orang apa?

Me: Malaysia.

Boy: Dia Cina kah? Tak pandai cakap Melayu kah?

Me: *lost my cool slightly and just wanted to get out quickly* Dia cakap English.

By this point I was quite annoyed and left the boy to continue hitting the glass door with his ball. The Other Half had quietly and cleverly taken The Little Girl out of the Playroom, put their shoes on and went out for a walk. Under the hot sun! with no sunscreen on!
I sat on one of the two toddler beds to quickly nurse Bean.

The Other Half was so mad at this incident he had wanted to leave Pullman before our room was even assigned to us! However, our patience set in and thought we'd give it a shot. This is the part we learnt and reinforced the lessons learnt. Sabar!

4. The un-welcoming Welcomer.
When I brought up the playroom incident to the "Welcomer" during check-in at 2pm, not only he did not quite comprehend what I was saying, he had this aura of "I cannot do anything about it." He didn't even offer an apology or seek to remedy the guest complaint. No, the Guest Manager/Manager on Duty was nowhere to be found.

5. The Room Service
Dare I dial Room Service? Absolutely dislike having to repeat my order and not have it repeated to me. Manners? English? Customer service? Sigh.

6. The Housekeeping
I am sorry I had to trouble them for extra towels. I am sorry for the previous occupant who needed his/her left side reading lamp light bulb changed. We answered a call asking us if we still wanted it fixed. Hello? Your guests have checked out, Pullman...maybe they were as unhappy as we were? Only too happy to leave?

7. The Porch
No proper signage to inform new guests as to where to go upon arrival, or where to park the car. Located at a somewhat basement level, it looked like we were arriving from a back lane of someplace dodgy.
8. The Carpark
Dark, dirty, dusty. Scary!

9. The Concierge 
Did not offer my luggage tag until after I had asked for it. Shame.

10. The Check Out
Please wish me a safe journey home at the very least? Thank me for my visit? No? Why, shame again.

Dear Pullman Putrajaya,

Nice architecture without good decent service mean nothing. 

Please hold a good trouble-shoot  and follow-up action meeting. 

Put aside your pride and ego, re-look at your beautiful property with some dignity and sense of ownership. 

Be proud of your "soft" key deliveries.  Make manners your staff KPI.

Pull up your socks, step up to your Accor  service promise and maybe, just maybe, I'd come back with my family.


On a happier note, thank you so much for reaffirming my faith via The Little Girl through her sense of adventure. She truly created happiness out of the fresh air and big blue skies that Allah s.w.t. created.

Hope to see Pullman Putrajaya polished to its "former glory", and make us proud of being Malaysians who keep the tourist RM within the country.

Thank you for having us.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Play Mat and P/S

Just rolling and chilling.

Easy to clean, this play mat has been with us since 2010. It has served The Little Girl very well and now Bean is having tummy time fun on it.

One of the best purchase. Thank you, Mama!

Do you also use play mats? How do you keep them clean? Do share!

P/S: Yes, I do love my MIL very much despite our differences and my rants. We have over the years learnt to respect our differences and believe you me, we share more similarities than differences. I'd blog more about things we have in common, in my personal quest to say nice things, keep positive and share the love? Please pardon me my transgression against you, Mama. I love you. Very. Very. Much.

Love Reading!



Grandad Gets To Babysit

The Little Girl insisted on buying this for her dinner last night. 

So I mixed it up for her. 

In her favourite bowl.

Guess what she said?

"Looks like wallpaper glue!"

Here is why:

Get it? 

She is a drama queen! Sigh...

Back to reading more bed time stories!

Baby Led Weaning

See for details, if new to this concept.

With The Little Girl, we did not apply this 100% as we were spending half the week at The House. It would have caused The Grandparents too much distress and mess, and I had too little time to wipe down everything at every meal. 

So I cheated improvised.

On days when we were at The House, I fed her purée. Life was not easy as my MIL didn't enjoy her kitchen being shared, and we have two kitchens! I ended up doing double the work by steaming, making purée and freezing them in portions to bring to The House from the then apartment. At meal times, I had the frozen cubes thawed and reheated (same amount of work and time as cooking them fresh on my Beabacook). No wonder I was so slim.

Oh, the suffering I used to bear with just because of not having my own space and freedom...but Allah Kind and has removed that obstacle for me, for which I am eternally grateful!

So let me share with you how I "cheated" "improvised". 

On days when we were at our own place, I'd let The Little Girl feed herself with steamed, bite-size, "not likely to choke or gag size" food. Mostly pumpkin, carrot, broccoli, apple, pear, banana and occasionally treat of Heinz organic biscotti.

She loved it!

Messy? Well, we had the IKEA Antilop high chair. Removing the tray to be washed was relatively easy. The pelican bib was also comparatively easier to wash compared to purée mushy wet stains. Usually whatever crumbs that fell into the pelican bib was just be put through the insinkerator then the pelican bib itself wiped down and washed.

Now, I'd share with you how I further "cheated" "improvised" when out and about.

Organic jar food. Try travelling on long haul flights with nothing suitable to eat and hungry baby! Not much fun, I can confess. We brought along fresh bananas/apples with skin on. Except Australia. Nothing gets pass the immigration/quarantine. England is "more understanding" of baby needs.

In conclusion, we did not employ just one strict method. After all, eating is a mix of different cuisines requiring different skills, no? Don't be too hung up on quantity, just be sure to serve up the best quality food. No salt. No colouring. No sugar. No flavouring. No preservatives. That is a lot of NO!

My key consideration back then for The Little Girl (and will apply to Bean):

- She sure nursed through it all so I wasn't too worried about her calorie count etc. Breastmilk would have covered whatever shortfall in her diet.

- She ate breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner and sometimes even supper with us.

- She pooped and peed well.

This time with Bean, I guess we will employ the same mix. Some traditional and some baby led. Depends on what we will be eating and where we will be, I guess.

Recent research point toward early weaning at 4 months but Bean is not sitting upright as yet so I am not feeding him. Simple rule - avoid choking. After all, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. said not to eat lying down...

Bean has his whole lifetime ahead of him to enjoy food and drink, so why rush him when he is not ready? Chillax!

Have fun feeding your little one. May Allah s.w.t. bestow berkat to all those nutritious and delicious meals!
Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Post Natal Hair Loss

Hair, hair, hair everywhere but on my head!

Just kidding, I still have some hair left under my headscarf. However, clogged bath drainer signs that a big cat lives here !

Enter Kao Magic Dry Mop and its refillable fibre insert. Like magic, I can pick up hair and dust in a jiffy. Note: This is not an advertorial. I am just a happy consumer. I started in 1998 for pet cat hair and just never quit since. Good for all dry surfaces, I love how it satiates my cleaning mojo!

As for the clogged bath drainer, long bamboo satay sticks and disposable gloves both are indispensable arsenal to have.

Looks like I have new hair growth and hairstyle to look forward to *staying positive*.

How do you deal with your post natal hair loss? Do you get it at all? 
Saturday, 9 November 2013

The Week That Was

Dead tired!

Tomorrow is the last day of school holidays for The Little Girl and I am looking forward to Monday to catch up with work and stuffs.

Need some time to just bond with Bean! He seems to have grown so much over the last week of our stay-cation at Pullman Putrajaya and The House. He now weighs 7.2 kg at 4 months 4 weeks and is over 65 cm, alhamdulillah.

Sleep time for my weary self, sure hope Bean sleeps through the night again now that he is back in his own cot in his home sweet home.

Good night, peeps.
Friday, 8 November 2013

Open (Floor) Plan

The Flat we live in is an open plan design and over the last few days that we have been at The House, we realised that an open plan design has really saved us some precious time.

Opposedly, The House is compartmentalised. Each room has its own air conditioner, locked doors and some even come with baby gates to prevent The Little Girl from getting herself into real danger (stairs, steps, stored hardware, golf clubs and 1001 other hazards to a pre-schooler). 

Even the garden around The House has blind spots and when The Little Girl rides on her bicycle with trainer wheels, I have to hover over her and not be able to do much else. Cobras and squirrels aplenty - really scary for city folks like us. Then there is the baby snatcher to worry about, sigh! I don't feel safe even in a gated and guarded neighbourhood.
So the story goes. Without fail, every time we need to carry out a task, we need to leave a room and head toward another, opening and closing doors, turning on and off air-conditioner, locking and unlocking baby get the idea how tiring it can get because I get tired merely from describing it.

End results: tired parents and grandparents, one distracted pre-schooler and an annoyed baby.

Best get back to my little haven where one eye can see all. I could just stand at the dry kitchen island preparing food, watch The Little Girl play, supervise the rolling Bean and converse with The Other Half. Efficient super mummy mode, I would like to encourage myself! *syiok sendiri*

Oh, home sweet home!

Do you find such similar experience in your homes? Which floor plan do you prefer, and why?

Thursday, 7 November 2013

iCity Shah Alam

After one visit, we are of the opinion that this much advertised fun place is not suitable for our family.

Simply because we have two young children and a few other incidental discoveries:

Not stroller friendly.

Not baby and children friendly. 


Lack of ramps. 

No baby change room.

No feeding room.

No children size toilet.

Now, this post has been in my draft folder for a few days and I have finally decided to share it in the hope that you will go prepared. No malice intended.

Activities and lights come on after our children's bed time - something to consider for our jetlag nights after balik kampung return trip from England.

Our mediocre fun was at The Trick Art Museum. It lasted us a quarter of an hour. Sigh. There is only so much to do and imagine there. 

Do not let the word museum trick you into thinking about those tres chic art museum you'd find in Europe. The one we went to is a row of shophouses converted into a fire trap with bad stairs, lack of fire escape signs and reeked of stale air.

The entire place seems to be left to the devices of unmotivated teenagers as managers/cashiers.

The Other Half was a little annoyed. The proximity card took RM7 off without the barrier opening during "attempted" exit. Paid another RM1 with parking card to exit at KFC. Trust me, we were just sad that it (the proximity card and barrier team) failed to serve the purpose it was designed for.

Parking lots were quite dodgy at the back lanes. We were quite shocked to see a hotel operating in the midst of it all. Pretty red light impression...but I pray I am wrong.

There is more construction near by, maybe this place will spruce up after the entire project is completed?

Have you visited this place too? Did you have fun? What did you do differently?

P/s: Blessing in disguise - Section 7 Shah Alam has lots of muslimah fashion shops! Too bad there is only street parking (hint double parking and getting trapped!).
Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Maal Hijrah 1435H

I make new year resolutions every Maal Hijrah instead of 1 January since reversion.
It has been some time since I last had a conversation with myself in my head. It is important that my heart and head communicate succinctly without the constant interruption of managing two children under 5 years old.

Tonight I have been given the perfect opportunity in resolving this. I have been given the gift of insomnia. The stirring and turning that keeps one to stay awake and pray. It is a vital follow-up step to pray after having my inner conversation with myself that I talk to my Maker.

It is the perfect Maal Hijrah gift and I thank His Almighty Allah s.w.t.

Well, my head has been busy with worldly affairs (the all important task of raising a family) and my heart has been aching (the desire to be a filial servant of Allah s.w.t.). Of course I realise that raising a Muslim family is part of being a filial servant to Him, but I feel like I have been back sliding as a Muslimah myself.

Perhaps this new year calls for a new faith resolution in improving myself in my fardhu ain and fardhu kifayah, both directly and indirectly, consistently. Steadfastly. Not easy but every small step will count.

My sincere supplication is that Allah s.w.t. will open His Bounty and allow me time to improve myself, separate my chaff from my grain. In being a better Muslimah as my core, I can be a better wife, mother, family member and friend. A more responsible citizen of earth. A person whose mission point toward Jannah. Less of the world and its decoration.

My wish to you is that may the new hijrah year be filled with ease for your hijrah from your own darkness to His Nur. Stay blessed, my lovelies.
Sunday, 3 November 2013

iPad Withdrawal Syndrome

My 3.5 year old has this issue and we are trying to address it.

We told her that the iPad is spoilt and we won't be seeing it for a long time. A consistent white lie.

Honestly, it is my bad for having introduced it to her (so that I could cook dinner on some evenings). My bad too for downloading some of the best apps like Dr. Panda - highly educational but also highly additive!

On the bright side, she can solve puzzles, sort, match, process sequences etc. really well.

Embarrassingly, The Little Girl once touched the screen on our long haul MAS flight which was unfortunately not decked out in the latest touchscreen. She kind of lost her cool from disappointment and having to use an adult joy stick!

Lesson learnt: Bean is not going to get any iPad or Astro. Gotta be cruel to be kind, kiddo!

Wish me luck. I will report on this again when we have some "we" I mean to include all the other mummies of classmates at the playschool! In fact, The Other Half and I now observe device-free weekends, just to be more present. Try it and see how much time you regain!

Crossing fingers and toes, may Allah s.w.t. make this recovery easy for us. Amin!

Avocado on Toast

Amazing yield of breastmilk, Allah s.w.t. is really Great!

Here is a really simple and fast snack if you have no time to make guacamole.

Slice ripe avocado and place onto toast. Place another piece of toast and press firmly. Eat immediately. Sorry, I ate so quickly that I forgot to snap a photo for you.

well, drink something warm after that too, then feel the amazing let-down and fully refilled breasts all ready for the next feed!

Bon appetit!

Note: green avocado = unripe, dark green avocado = firm ripe, almost black avocado = soft ripe. 

The wonderfully creamy fruit can ripen on kitchen tops in a wire basket. You can easily halve the avocado, scoop out the stone with a spoon and peel the skin off when the fruit is ripe. Great replacement for butter on toast!
Please share your tips on how you serve up your avocado!
Friday, 1 November 2013

Festival of Lights

Happy Diwali, folks!

Yum yum muruku and jelibi, here I week school holiday - I am going to need a holiday planned out too. Pronto!

Stay happy, folks. Travel safe and have yourselves a lovely break.