what daniel and mariam learned this ramadhan

June 20, 2020

“This Ramadhan, I will maximise each moment and reallllyyyyyy make full use of my time,” followed by a list of things like full terawih, full fasting, full quran, full Islamic lectures, full everything! If can do extra, that goes on the list also – extra everything! Because that’s not enough pressure, I’ll add more things that my body laughs at because it’s self-aware,  like “wake up at 4am to cook for the family” and “not buy too much from the Ramadhan bazaars.” Basically, I have really high expectations of myself that I always end up disappointed with myself that I didn’t fulfil any of these in full. Ramadhan is always our peak period at work, so a lot of the past Ramadhans have been filled with work, and less with the Quran. I’ll always leave Ramadhan with a guilty “I’m going to do better next Ramadhan!”

So this year, I vowed to set goals that were more realistic. Just two, I told myself: to not miss any terawih prayer and to learn the meaning of one surah a day,

And it worked.

We took a selfie after every terawih prayer to commemorate this very different “date night” hehe. And it makes me smile looking at this. Who knew solat together could feel so romantic.

And as for the one surah a day, I didn’t complete it, but I still feel super good about gaining some knowledge of the Quran that I never knew before. I share my summaries of each surah on my instagram highlights in case it’s useful to anyone.

I dare say I had the best Ramadhan this year, thanks to coronavirus (weird to say that, but true!). The fact that we were all home made it easier to pray more and to read Quran more, and I didn’t have to take off hijab or take off makeup etc etc. Lame excuse I know, but it’s the reality being a Muslim woman. Anyway, enough with sounding preachy – conclusion is, BEST RAMADHAN EVER.

We asked the kids what they learned this Ramadhan.

Daniel first, since this year he fasted for a few days. First day he did it, I vlogged it.

Daniel: I learned that there are people are out there who cannot afford  food. And I got to feel how they feel.

Me beaming like a proud mom: That’s awesome, Daniel! 

Daniel: But I also learned that after a while you get used to fasting, so being hungry is ok. 

SLAP. FOREHEAD.

MISSING. THE. POINT. DANIEL.

Let me try with Mariam then.

Me: Mariam, what did you learn this Ramadhan? 

Mariam, thinking hard….: Hmm… Oh! I learned how to unbox Ramadhan gifts.

SIGH.

PARENTING FAIL.

I WILL TRY AGAIN NEXT YEAR.

Also, thank you to all those who sent us Raya packages! You guys are so so sweet! Mariam and I did an unboxing video,  apparently Mariam’s only lesson this Ramadhan, sigh.


an intimate raya for everyone

June 1, 2020

GUYSSSS HAPPY RAYA!!!

I chose teal for the boys and matching Biyan kaftans for the girls.

I had a nice Raya with family as usual – nothing much changed for us because our parents live near us so we could still go and visit them, Alhamdulillah. Morning started with us having our own Raya prayers with my inlaws (Fadza imam everyone, he suddenly looked 10 times hotter to me that morning haha), and then we moved on to see my parents. It was a nice and intimate day for us, and although I felt super grateful to be able to see my family, I really felt for those who couldn’t visit their parents in other states. I know some friends of mine who had to spend Raya alone in the city and I know they cried, must not have been easy to scroll through social media seeing everyone else’s family photos :(((( May God reward you for all your sacrifice and give you a more amazing Raya next year, guys. Made doa for you guys. <3

I think everyone tried to make the best of whatever they can this MCO Raya, and that also meant decorating their houses! Toots had all sorts of decor including flowers taped on a full wall, ketupats hanging from the ceiling, old school Raya cards hung everywhere – I mean, super OTT this girl. Mimak, of course la, forever with her peonies and fairy lights and Jo Malone candles – that one, Raya in Europe feels in her living room.

I also had decor, guys, don’t worry. I wasn’t gonna let my living room feel left out!

Ready to see….?

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TA-DAAAAAAA!!!

AHAHAHAHHA.

It took me almost 2 hours to do this guys – I had to measure and cut the wire, tape the thing on the wall while cursing myself for choosing grasscloth wallpaper because nothing can stick on it, and hanging each ketupat and FV Raya packet on it, while making sure it doesn’t tip the balance of the entire wire. I mean, it’s basically art mixed with engineering here guys. Serious skill stuff here.

“Why on earth would you put a backdrop in front of a busy backdrop?” Toots asked in the groupchat when I proudly sent them this.

Rude.

“I thought can create “depth”.”

*cross Interior design skills off resume*

A few minutes later….

God bless you, son, for wanting to save… umm, this.


moms are always the photographers

May 13, 2020

So Mother’s Day was 2 days ago.

The kids (basically Fadza) was so sweet they gave me a dried leaves thingy in a box… I asked Fadza what it was, he said decoration. Ok. Then they gave me a card that they found in the house that was obviously written Happy Birthday, but they crossed off Birthday and wrote Mother. And then they baked me a cake that Mariam already ate, and they put icing on it that made it look like Sarah made it. Hehehe. Bless them!

Fadza calls it art.

I call it It’s the thought that counts.

For my wish to my mom, I sent both my mom and mil their favourite orchids. My mom only likes orchids btw, because it’s the flower that can last months. #mostvalueformoney #sheshalfchinese And I was desperately looking for a photo of me and mom when I was small. I didn’t have any in my phone, so I messaged Dad to help me rummage through the albums at the house since I can’t do it myself (MCO). He said “On it!”

Btw, kids, if you’re reading this, albums are physical folders where you put physical printouts of photos inside. Once upon a time, we lived in an era where cameras were bigger than our palms and to view these photos, we had to go to a photo shop (too complicated to explain that) and actually get the photos printed from the roll inside the camera. Each roll can only store about 36 photos so you couldn’t take a gazillion selfies and choose which one to post on Instagram. Life was much harder back then. 

Ok so I didn’t hear back from Dad for hours.

“Did you find any? I just need ONE photo of me and mom.”

“Got. Here,” Dad says and sends me a whole bunch of me alone or mom alone or me and Dad.

-____-

“Me. And. Mom,” seriously my brief could not have been any clearer.

“Ok, ok. Be right back.”

Cricket sound.

The next day…….

Hundreds of albums in the house, not even one decent photo of me and mom.

You know why? Because:

(a) the first child’s photo: the second child’s photo ratio is 1000:1

and (b) the men never take photos for us women!

I have a whole load of photos of me and dad because Mom is the sweet one who thinks “Awww this is a nice moment, I’m going to photograph this memory” and snaps the photo. And when we have sweet moments with our moms, dads just smile and continue drinking coffee! -___-“

I went through my own photos on my phone. It’s a universal things, guys! The mom is always the photographer of the family. I have sooooooo many photos of the kids and Fadza. Me with the kids? NONE! Unless they’re selfies or the ones I actually remember handing my phone to Fadza saying “TAKE. MY. PICTURE. NOW. MUST. I. SPELL. EVERYTHING. OUT. TO. YOU.”

Men.

From now on, I’m going to make him take photos of me and the kids all day long because everyone knows if there’s no photo, it didn’t happen.

The kids need to know Mom existed during their childhood.

Mom. Happened. Too.


the ramadhan we didn’t see coming

April 24, 2020

Just finished our first terawih prayers together for this Ramadhan!

Happy Ramadhan guys!!!! We’ve entered into the holy month and we’re lucky enough to be given the chance to restart, refresh, reconnect with our iman. I know I’ve been slacking off so this is a good time to self-reflect and improve ourselves as Muslims. This Ramadhan is a huge shocker to everyone – how drastic the change is. The whole world is spending their Ramadhan indoors – no going to work, no bazaars, no mosques, no buka puasa events, no Ramadhan buffets with loved ones. Just us at our own homes this year.

I found myself tearing a little bit just now. It’s been 5 weeks that I haven’t seen my parents, and I think it’s hitting me a little bit. Miss spending Ramadhan with them, but told myself to toughen up and don’t be mengada because I can always videocall and communicate with them daily. Times like this it’s so easy to give in to your sad thoughts and layan them which will lead you to a dark hole of anxiety and self-pity. But if we really open our eyes, we can see the good in things. It’s really not that bad – I’m blessed to still have parents to love and care for and miss. And I’ll see them soon enough! *wipes tears, blows snot, flex biceps* I got this.

Quite honestly, as much as I feel a little tinge of sadness for this Ramadhan, I am actually quite excited for it. I set myself some goals this Ramadhan; to learn the meaning of at least one surah a day, and to not miss terawih this time.

For the first night, I re-learned Al-Fatihah again. I figured I might as well share my learnings with my followers on Instagram, maybe it can benefit them too!

I really hope I won’t disappoint myself again, and that I will see it through this Ramadhan. And I think being at home will actually make it easier for us to focus on ibadah because there’s no temptation to go out/work late/gossip with colleagues. And all husbands will suddenly feel the pressure to become imams at home, and memorise all sorts of surahs hehe. I think it’ll be a pretty good Ramadhan, Insyaallah. One that really will help us cleanse ourselves spiritually.

Anyway, I hope you guys are doing fine, wherever you are in the world. If you feel down sometimes, remember that you’re not alone k. We’re all in this together and we’ll get through this together!

And yes, Fadza desperately needs a haircut.


prestige april 2020 cover

April 21, 2020

I’ve been living in kaftans again and my makeup brushes are probably wondering if I’m still alive… so this is a nice change:

I’m on the cover of Prestige magazine this month! 

The magazine is out but they did an online version since they can’t print it during this MCO and they made it free for the public to read the whole issue. That’s pretty amazing.

This one is personally one of my favs because of the write up: I wrote it myself! The writer wanted to do a special angle where I write an open letter to future entrepreneurs of what I’ve learned in my 10 year journey so far. Honestly, it was hard to write because how do you pen down 10 years of ups and downs in 3 pages? I kept putting it off till the last minute, but finally one day the clouds cleared for me, the birds were chirping and I just felt inspired to write from the heart. Ok fine, they were chasing me for deadline. But still, I wrote from the heart.

Meant every word! Have a read here.