Let’s talk social media. By that, I mean random people you follow on IG.
I know social media is like a dimension of world that exists. I look at some famous people posts and get green envy. I wish I have their jobs (ie not mine). I wish I was more groomed and stylish. I wish my life was more put together. I know that these people have bad things in their lives too, that what is potrayed on that little box of a picture is not entirely accurate. So I try to avoid looking or following anyone who makes me feel negative. Detoxify if you like.
But there are some who I get a warm feeling when seeing the pictures.
(1) @drawings_for_my_grandchildren
by Grandpa Chan
He was pushed to draw and post his drawings/paintings by his kids. They lived in different continents… him and wife in Brazil, his son and family in Korea and another in US (I think). It was a way of him communicating with his grandkids. He didnt know how to navigate instagram, let alone familiar with facebook. His wife did the captions/writing whilst he focused on his drawing. And starting from just his family, he now has a following of 304, 000 people. I know number of followers arent everything but I just want to point out how famous his paintings became! He has held exhibitions now as well. The best bit I think is of how he tells a story of his past or how he remembers his grandkids. I just get a warm fuzzy feeling whenever I see a post of his. 



(2) @starringyouworldwide and @adiblubis

The first is a white Dutch/Belgian who loves to travel and send postcards to whoever asks for it. The latter is an Indonesian hijabi journalist/travel vlogger. They fell in love, got married and cutest couple ever. I like that these two different cultures/nationality combined together. As I’m married to a non-malay, non-Bruneian person, I always find it interesting on seeing other couples working it cross-culturally, cross-nationally (is that even a word?). Just shows… love has no boundaries!

I also have (positive) jealousy on seeing their travel photos/vlogs. They made me even more excited to visit Holland.

(3) @thedadlab 

Can’t believe I just discovered him. Cool science experiments that he does with his kid. Enough said.

(4) @justinpjtrudeau

I mean if you want to follow a president, follow this one! I know, I know, never trust a politician but you see after so many trump news, you just want to believe there are good leaders out there.

(5) Yoga with Adrienne

This is not on IG. She’s on youtube but I love doing yoga with her! She doesnt take herself seriously. She gives options of easy and more difficult moves. And she has different videos concentrating on different things – I tried her ‘yoga for back pain’ one and it cured it! (ok m a dr really but some of the exercies must have realigned my spine.) Currently doing 30 day yoga witg Adrienne, though I only do it every 2-3 weeks.
I love all the hippy talk. I love to ‘open up my physicsl space and by opening it, let more joy into my life’. I love feeling the energy crackling from my toes and travel up to my hips and to my core. And if I dont say have a block, I just ‘need to imagine I have one’. I heart her!
(Do I sound cuckoo? Embrace the yoga and you feel your energy and love opening up in your core too! )
Ok that is all.
Who do you follow?

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For the love of books.

I havent posted in a month plus!
Let’s talk about books though.

I love going to the library because the thought and reality of being surrounded by books is just exciting. Choices… all these choices!

Plus I can borrow and read books for free. FREE. What’s not to like about that?

Our local library is ok… as in, it’s got a nice area for the kids. It even has a train thing that kids love to go on. However, the adult book choices is a bit dire. I can never find new or recently-released books there. 

We’ve dropped in the Central Leicester library twice now. It’s much much bigger than the local one and the choices are so much better. M wanted to go to the bank, so I told him that we will wait at the library whilst he does his biz at the bank. It reminded me of the times as uni student where I would be walking around the central library (relocated but has the same ‘feels’) and eyeing the latest books. Seriously I can spend an hour or two just looking at books. Having a quick read, put it back and choose another one. 
Zayan loves going to the comic section at the library. Both local and central library have a big section on Marvel comics. He can’t read complicated or long sentences but likes looking at the pictures. Part of me thinks he’s too young for it but yknow I knew how it was like reading comics.

I used to love reading Archie comics and occasionally Doraemon. I used to eye the new comics at this bookstore… Bismi kah namanya? And then I’ll ask my dad tentatively if I can buy it. He will never say no! NEVER. If it meant buying me a book, he never refused.

I was such a Betty fan but felt Archie was soooo useless, shallow and annoying. Why would you still have your heart on him, Betty? WHY?

Then I moved on to Sweet Valley Twins and later on, Sweet Valley High School books. Again, never been refused. In fact, Bapa went to Miri once and bought me a Sweet Valley High book! (Tau ya alum ku ada that particular book)

Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield —- how did I tahan them? I can’t decide who I’m annoyed at if I read it again – angelic, rational Elizabeth or annoying, irresponsible Jessica!
I try not to say no to buying books for Zayan and Ayman. My dad never said no to us and I think that played a role in my love for books. 

I would read anything and everything at that time. I even read LAT (it’s cartoon style, lots of tongue-in-cheek moments but can be bit political) which my uncle bought and left it in his house (they lived overseas then). 


I love the ‘Kampung Boy’ series though. Depicts a lot of kampung life, which I miss even though I didnt live like that (only had glimpses of it in my childhood). Pretty sure a lot of my uncles and aunts learnt how to swim like that though (see pic above). 

I would also read my other uncle’s ‘Match’ football magazine because there was no other reading material in the house. Well, there was also ‘Gila Gila’ comic, which on hindsight had lame, silly jokes. It kept me entertained then!

Think I read ‘Match of the day’ magazines back in the day. I didnt play football but had an avid interest in following the English football teams – circa 1998.

Anyway bottom line is… I need to be less of a scrooge and buy whatever book kids fancies. As I did growing up, I hope they will learn to ‘filter’ what is good for them and of course, as parents, we have to help them in this. 

Also, it occured to me that I read a variety of books because I was forced to do so – we had little toys and did not watch much TV. This was partly because we stayed over at other relatives house in the weekend, who had no TV or limited shows. Also I had to fight over which TV show and I always lose – only girl in the house!

The kids are now cross because they both want ipad and wouldnt share. 


His reaction to no ipad.

Huh! No ipad for you guys then… just read a book like I would in the good old days.

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Running again 

Ran 3 miles today feeling likethe wind, though my actual speed is probably similar to a turtle’s speed. I surprised myself because I havent ran for MONTHS (did 5 minues in Tasek Lama, obvs that didnt count). And the best this year was probably a 20 minute run on the threadmills.

Much to my own amazement, I ran non stop for about 18 minutes before my lungs felt like it was gonna fail on me. And then another 10 minutes before my legs started aching. Well done, body, you have surpassed my expectations!

I dont know what happened though. I like to think all that yoga – eseh – helped with my breathing. And even though I scoffed at Adrienne (youtuber yogist), when she said the breathing and yoga poses would help with endurance, maybe she was right? 

Oh yeah, in case you havent checked out my IG/fb, on the rare occasions I said it …. I’m into yoga now. I did it 10 yrs ago and didnt get it, wasnt into it at all. Back in Brunei, I went to a small class and really enjoyed it. It was so much harder than I realise – bepaluh ani bah. Plus I love all the hippy talk. Opening up my heart. Let  the energy go through my spine.     I love it. I also like the soft way instructors talk and pretty much follows Adrienne on youtube (aptly named Yoga with Adrienne). I realise there’s different types of yoga and like how I can try different poses/classes for different mood I’m in — eg to focus on breathing, to relax, to tone up body, for more active exercise etc.

I have been off exercise for awhile because I havent found one that I really enjoy. I used to love running but dont enjoy running in the suburbs (only houses to see). I dont enjoy going to the gym because it feels monotonous – I’ve only started doing more this yr because I was desperate for an exercise. I like going to bodycombat classes but find myself too unfit and therefore, not enjoy the classes as much as before. Also I’m too lazy to go out esp in the winter! 

So where does that leave me? I wish there was netball or badminton I can join, though my skills are pretty much rusty now. So yeah, yoga is something new that I’m enjoying. 

And I do believe once you do the things that you DO enjoy, it pushes you to do other things. Get exercise one way or the other and the fitter you are, the more you will enjoy doing bigger challenges.
Anyway, my body is aching now, think it finally realised what an effort it did today. 

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How to read more books

I’ve thought long and hard on how I’ve managed to read more books this year. So here are my tips if your reading mojo is down:

1. Switch genres. 

For awhile, I was into non-fiction books especially autobiographies and social psychology kinda books. Then I was stumped and wanted some fiction books. I usually like light hearted books but have tried more thriller/drama books and actually enjoyed it! I didnt think I would like zombie books but enjoyed The Girl with All the Gifts. 

2. Read teenager-targeted books

It’s easy to finish and you’ll feel accomplished and hopefully kill your reading curse. 

3. And even kids books

I’m reading out books aimed for older kids for Zayan. Roald Dahl – I mean, its a nice throwback and reminded me of love for reading again. (Though I realise the language in some Roald Dahl books are not for the young ones!) 

4. Join a book club

I joined a facebook book club and have been encouraged to read more books. And esp books I wouldnt normally read! It’s nice to discuss about it as well after. The best thing is that we have a general deadline to start discussions but if you finish later, you can still comment on it and discuss with others.

5. Read from Kindle more

I love holding a book. Flicking pages. I do love that.

BUT I’ve learnt that majority of books I’ve read this year was from the (phone) Kindle!

It was easier to download/buy. 

I almost always have my phone with me, so when I’m bored waiting in queues or something, I can open up my kindle from phone.

Win!

Ok gotta go, 

Love me

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Books Inventory

Following a friend’s footsteps (shoutout to Kat!), I have decided to document the books I’ve read this year. I tend to forget the books I read – particularly if not very memorable. 

My main aim this year is to read one book a month. I have a feeling I read less than 10 books last year, so this is a realistic/reasonable goal for me. So I’m happy to say that I have read this year alone!

My books this year:

(read in chronological order) 

1. Fast times in Palestine by Pamela Olsen


Love, love, love this book! I have never really understood the history of Palestine and Jerusalem. So this was a good and interesting way of explaining the history and politics. It’s a true story of an American bartender who uprooted herself and landed a job as journalist in Ramallah. 

Definite recommendation. ✨✨✨✨✨

2. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo

Sure I’ve written about this before. The title doesnt lie. Life changing for me! And my well- folded scarves and shirts remain well-folded and neatly arranged.

✨✨✨✨✨

3. Another book (cos I love her hippy words so much) by Marie Kondo titled ‘Spark Joy’

Actually enjoyed the former book more.

✨✨✨✨

4. The Reluctant Fundamentalist


Narrated so cleverly, I cant even begin to review this book just yet. Recommend this. Expected it to be heavy but actually an easy read and read it in 3-4 days. And I was disappointed when I finished!

✨✨✨✨✨

5. The Whole-Brain Child

I read this ages ago and stopped because I couldnt take in all the info. I probably have only taken 2-3 points away from it but this is an informative book on how kids brain works. How to approach when they’re having tantrums. How to communicate with them esp on distressing topics. How to get them to open up.

✨✨✨ (3 stars for being too jampacked info)

✨✨✨✨(but another star for learning new info and good pictures)

6. A Year of Living Danishly


This was an alright read, some humorous topics, some bit dragged out. It does make me want to live in Denmark and apply Hygge lifestyle! I would say I agree with the danish way of living!

✨✨✨✨ 

7. Not If I See You First


Someone once told me to read teenager-targeted books when your reading mojo is down as the books tend to be easier reads. This was an easy read and made me smile inside with the innocence of high school friendships/relationships. Also, it made me think of how blind people do sports! (Story about a blind girl runner navigating through high school and discovering athletics)

✨✨✨✨

8. Romance book

Cant remember the title. Neednt bother. Too predictable and cliche. I dont recommend it.

✨✨

9. Confessions of a Domestic Failure


Now I love this author! I love following her on facebook. Perhaps I was disappointed because I thought it was a non-fictional book (ie personal book about her). The story is predictable and the stories relating to main character was too cringe-y. Few hilarious spots in the book but in general, I wanted to smack the main character. Too exaggerated I feel.

✨✨

10. Yasmin Mogahed’s “Reclaim Your Heart”

Broken down into short topics, so you can dip in and out of the book. Lots of nice quotes and interesting perspectives. She writes just like how she speaks! (attended two of her talks previously)

✨✨✨✨

11. All the Light We Cannot See


Set in World War 2. Main character is blind. Story of how her life and another boy’s life was in WW and how their lives intersected at some point. I would not normally choose this book as thought it was bit heavy. It turned out to be a good read with beautiful, descriptive language. Didnt want the book to end! 

✨✨✨✨✨

12. Drop the Ball


The contents all made sense. I was annoyed in large parts of the book. I then realise that it was because I have followed the points already and wondering why the author took awhile to ‘drop the ball’. 

The book is about how women in general takes it upon themselves to do EVERYTHING. Juggle career, household and kids. She is basically saying how we have to drop the ball and (1) delegate to others esp partner and (2) to let go of high expectations on everything and pick your battles. I was like ‘uhhhh yeah’ –  my husband pretty much is 50/50 – maybe even more! – on household stuff whilst I will generally take care of kids stuff. We both tag team on a daily basis.

✨✨✨

13. Harmless Like You

Cant be bothered to give a review on this one. Depressing. 

14. All The Children

Wrote about this recently. Surprising good read. I’m not a ‘thriller/drama’ person and certainly not into the apocalypse kind but the story was plausible, gripping and un-put-down-able. Also taken from a different perspective of how mothers/maternal instincts kick in during survival mode.

✨✨✨✨

15. The Handmaid’s Tale


Wow, this is such a different story. Also didnt realise how old this book is already! Will write on another time when I can digest it all. I finished reading this in less than 24 hrs. It was difficult to put down and also, it wasnt that long!

✨✨✨✨

16. Good Mother Myth (half read)

I cant be bothered to finish this. But I never like not finishing my books. So maybe I’ll pick this up again on a later date. 

So those are my books this year. I’ve read 15 books! Almost twice the rate I expected myself to. A lot of 4 and 5 stars from me. Some life changing! I’m looking for more heart warming books though. And light hearted ones. 

Hopefully I’ll be able to read more in the later part of this year! 

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All the little kids that are not mine

I brought a toddler down for a scan under sedation the other day. Just like Ayman, he had chubby cheeks and has that cute curiosity/innocence that toddlers have. Toddler woke up in midst of it, totally in distress, probably confused why mummy wasnt there! Started spitting up and trashing around when we gave extra sedation. So I took him in my arms and started doing the swaying dance (you know, half jiggling, half swaying thing you do to make babies stop crying – by that I mean my babies!). He fell asleep within a few minutes and again, did the slow-put-down-onto-bed-gently-take-away-arm manouvre. As the radiographers put him in the ‘right’ position, he woke up and started crying. So I stroked his face and tried to sing ABC in my most soothing voice (as 4 radiographers looked on). He fell asleep to it. 
It was my most non-clinical part of the job that day but I think I enjoyed it most!

 But for some reason, it also made me feel wee bit sad (? giving my love to others when my sons are with someone else) so I gave extra hugs and cuddles to Ayman that day.

It reminded me of a book I just read titled ‘All the Little Children’. I’ll spare you any spoilers but basically involved two adults (who are mothers) in the woods with a bunch of children including theirs. One (main character) was made out to be work-driven, not-usually-there mum but obvs love her kids. It showed how, even though not usually of the maternal type, she extended her love and maternal instincts to the other kids. It played on the qs of: would you do things to benefit just your kids or would you sacrifice their happiness to save others? Morally we would choose to sacrifice for other lives, isnt it? But what if it meant risking your life and therefore resulting in your kids not having a mum? 

Anyway, obviously I wasnt in the woods but it reminded me on how I spend my time for other kids and leaving my kids to be taken care by others. 


I’m not a usual thriller fan but I finished this book within 2-3 days. It was a relatively easy read (as in not too heavy) but I think if made into movie, it will totally spook me! 

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Reminiscent

On my last visit to the homeland just a week ago, that recognisable feeling of nostalgia crept in, as it often does on visits back. I guess being away makes my memories of places and people stagnant and I tend to reminisice of the good old days. Heck, the small sign outside my bedroom door “Princess sleeping” is still up there. Gone are my lie in days – this princess is definitely not sleeping these days, what with my sleep-allergic, morning-loving boys. 

I think of my friends and high school mates and think of how our lives have panned out. Certainly for many, it didnt pan out as we perhaps imagined it to be when we were 16. Loss of loved ones. Heartbreaks (and all that comes) from the loss of a long term relationship and marriage. Career changes and career losses. And perhaps just the direction of life (and certainly for me, body). Is it just me still being clueless on handling mine or other’s life big problems? I bluff my way through hoping I’ve done and said the right things.

Imagine all those times during high school and wistfully looking at the pretty girls and popular girls (oh my extrovert friends! How I wished to be them and be like them!). And being shy and certainly feeling dorky around the cute boys. And now, as I am comfortable in my own skin and happy with my self worth, think how funny it was to feel that way. 

I wonder if we wrote a letter to our 16 year old selves, what would we like to say. 

For me, it would be to not worry on looks, popularity and to relax on thinking of class ranks and exam scores (I was always wanting to be top 10 in the year but never did!). Work hard yes, but mostly work smart. And believe in yourself a little bit more. Dear young one, it took you another 16 years to finally believe this and perhaps it would save up all those tears, self doubt and self criticism.
But I guess, going through those dorky, awkward stages is a must. After all, I do believe what (and how) you went through will shape who you are.

(more of mates from after high school but just had to include this) 



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