Cotswold trip

Today involved a lot of walking and hence I’m tired to the bone and the kids are asleep without so much of a fuss by 8.30 pm. (They normally have a lax sleep curfew in weekend unless we’re tired and need them to go to sleep)

The morning involved walking around Bleinhem palace. I think I’ve been to the gardens but not inside ….. or maybe not! I definitely have not been in the palace itself. I usually find palace/castle tours boring and pretty-much-the-same-thing. Also its usually stuffy and/or narrow inside and there’s not much of a reflection when you’ve got 50 other people in the same small room as you gawking at the same wall/throne/costumes. Inside the palace is actually nice and not stuffy at all. I mean there are the usual costumes and bedroom-gawking but you can walk through it quickly if its not your cup of tea.

Two things to note:

1. Glad we didnt bring the stroller. The gravel around the gardens would not make for good stroller riding. 

2. The kids were only slightly bored towards the end. So I had to bribe with promises of ‘present’ (snacks). 


What a nice view for snacktime!

Rule no 1 on going out on trips: Bring a lot of food/snacks. 



Ayman is going through a phase now where his invisble thread is now broken! He will go soooooo far before coming back to us. And it involves stern shouting before he will stop. 

Me: Sayang! Tu Ayman!

M: It’s ok… 

Me: What’s down there? (as Ayman zooms to the edge of a ditch)

M: It’s just a drop. (said very casually)

Me: AYMAAAAANNNNNNN!!!!!! 

He stops just in time before the edge. Oh my jantung ku, you know that feeling where your heart stops for a second whilst you try not to regurgitate your breakfast. And all the while pretending to be cool about it. Ayman gives me his cheeky smile as he runs to me “Yes mamaaaaaa?” 

Baik jua ko kiyut.

I realise there’s a lot more of Ayman’s pics. Maybe cos Zayan was acting like a teenager and moaned about walking a lot/being hungry. He eventually behaves (stops moaning) after a telling off and starts playing/walking jauntily. 

Saw Nurul and family there (macam ku kenal suara urang brunei walau jauh di sana).

Had a late lunch and freshened up before realising we need to get a move on if we wanna go anywhere.

Unfortunately the weather turned even worse (raining, cold) and we went to the nearest attraction – Fairytale Farm.

Zayan has always been scared of feeding animals (but then again so am I). “Put out your hand!” I would squeal from afar. But this time he was brave enough to let the goats feed from his hands (uhhhhh….). Well done Zayan! Ayman as per usual ran away from us at every opportunity and tried to open the gates of the Alpaca enclosure/squeeze inside and climbed up the rabbit gates. 

Is it bad that I lament on how big the rabbits are and think of how meaty it would be to eat them? 

Not sure if I’ll ever eat rabbits. Mcm awww theyre so cute. But then again I have no qualms on eating cow/goat/sheeps – so why the problem with rabbits? Maybe its the thought of rabbits being a pet deters me off. 

Anyway, maybe a continuation next time! 

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We’re currently in the middle of nowhere somewhere in Oxfordshire. The parentals have been here for the last three weeks and finally there is a weekend that both M and I are off. So, I decided to book a place in Cotswold.

It also came a time when I’ve banned the ipad/youtube from the kids due to their appalling behaviour before we left for Cotswold (screaming, hitting, being untidy… typical kids behaviour I know but this was five notches up than their usual, so NO IPAD/PHONE FOR YOU TWO!). It might have come at the wrong time because the kids were driving up my wall all morning (its only 8… we’ve been awake since 6). Zayan wanted to write but I forgot to bring any paper/pen *face palm* Ayman was just in my face… like really, poking his hands on my face and pushing his cherls on me all the time. So I relented to them watching the Moana movie from laptop. Wow I can finally sit down and read and write. It’s such a bliss to actually hear myself think.

This place though has the best view. We came late yesterday at 9 pm… the wind bellowing, us chattering in the cold and just wanting to get into the warmth of the cottage. And the fireplace did just that.


All of us slept soundly last night. Maybe we were tired but the homey cottage ambience helped too. 

And then we woke up to this! MashaAllah.


Tempted to go for a run tomorrow morning (eseh sudah atu… tapi isuk karang malas jua takut sajuk). 

I mean, how can you not enjoy breakfast with a view and the breakfast made by le husband (sunny side up with toast)? Oh yes. Screaming kids, being a referee to their constant. battles and having eyes at the back of my head to make sure they (I mean Ayman) haven’t taken something and hid it somewhere else – his fave thing to do nowadays. Why did I say no to ipad again? (NO! One must stay true to your words!)


Also…. reminder to self: always always bring sos cilli maggi everywhere. 

Ok, over and out.

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Hello

I realise I’ve been neglecting this blog. So here goes….
It occured to me that there is a certain bond that you make with colleagues when you’re doing medicine. I mean, they’re the ones who are with you up in your arms, going through the throngs of patients to be seen, enduring the stick you get from relatives, standing by you as you shit in your pants together during a prolonged resuscitation (acting very calm and professional-usually- during those times).

There is a certain camaderie amongst medical teams and if you all get along, you’ve hit the jackpot! (Like a big family, some may not get along but for professional sake, you try to get along with what matters most – providing care and service to patients) And the thing similar to other frontline services… you and your team shares these sacred moments, never able to explain fully to people outside it what has happened that day … those rollercoaster of emotions whether frustration, sadness, or elation (or all of them!). 

Anyway…. 

Thanks, team! 

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Kampung Ayer

  Sometimes the world is changing so fast that I wish it would slow down. And though Brunei is not changing that fast, every time I come back (once or twice a year btw), there’s a new building or a new road. Which ultimately changes the landscape of the place. And changes the Brunei I know from when I first left, at 17 years old.

It makes me nostalgic sometimes. I mean, Tiong Hin was the go to place back then! Ok it was the only shop within a 5 km radius back then for my neighbourhood but it had everything! Supermarket on the ground level (bakery, doughnuts stall as well) and the first floor selling everything else from stationery to clothes to toys. I bought my dad a pen in those shiny galleries up there one year! And those sticker photobooths – my hommies and I used to frequent Tiong Hin just for that! 

Anyway I wish my kids knew about the Brunei back then too. Because Brunei may be boring and dead but there were memories made. Of playing in wide barren soft sand and no worries regarding cars and someone kidnapping you. And of swimming at Kampung Ayer, the Water Village. Ok so I almost drowned in my first (and only attempt) of swimming but memories were made!

To be honest, I was pretty miserable half the time whenever we stayed over at Kg Ayer. Mostly because there were A LOT of cats and cat poos. But that aside, it was fun! 

My extended family used to live in a house which extends lengthways. You could say it was like a bungalow on stilts in the water and it is a loooong one at that. When you enter through the double doors, just imagine a big space in the front which is the living room/tv room and then a long corridor all the way to the back, which is where the kitchen and toilets are. The rooms branch out from the corridors and I think the whole house housed around 10 people — not sure how many rooms there are — maybe 6 rooms? Oh also at the back, there is a room that has fashioned into the local neighbourhood’s corner shop. I just remember buying the lined exercise books so I can write random things in (call it my early start to blogging). 

Whenever we (the cousins) have sleepovers, we would lie out in the front hallway in a row, a sea of mattress and blankets. In the morning, you may have breakfast with a packet of rice & chicken sold by a guy who rings his bell around and sell nasi ayam from house to house. I dont remember if its nasi lemak but I remember his ayam goreng to be finger lickin good.

Sometimes it might be a different man who goes around selling ice cream. Ice cream back then was so simple but so good. It either comes in like a lolly stick (white carboard cover with polka dots that you push the stick up to get ice cream — it almost always is chocolate flavour) or those lil plastic bags that looks like a mini rectangular sandwich bag (yam flavour is my fave). My aunty used to buy in bulk even after my family moved out of Kg Ayer & we get a taste of the silky goodness once again. The cream is soft and silky and you gotta lick fast because there was no air conditioning back then (except in the masters bedroom) and things melt pretty quickly in the 32 degree weather.

Not all, as I said, were good memories. The toilets used to be non-tiled but still cemented. The rest of the housebwas mostly wooden I think. The front hallway is anyway! So anyway the toilet — when its wet (which inevitably always is), its a bit yucky to walk through. The worst is that I go in there, decide not to pee (maybe mental blockade?) and then go out again. A couple of minutes later, I realise I really do gotta pee and the whole process starts again. I think if Zayan was in my place, he would be similarly cringing and I would say 

Man up, child! JUST PEE! Stop being a city kid! 

 I may or may not have said this when we were in Jordan. 

What was the best though that the doors aren’t closed (except when we go to bed). The front door, the back door and the windows are almost always open. Mostly I guess to keep air flowing and not stuffy inside – remember no AC, just fans. Zayan was astounded to see fans back home. FANS. When he was younger, he would keep staring at it and now he’s older, I’ve thought him the fan/robot voice. You know when you stand close to the fan and your voice oscillates and sounds like a robot. Cheap thrills.

So the open windows and doors… a lot of the houses were like that in Kg Ayer. And that meant anyone can pop by. And anyone can join you and sit on the porch. Of course this is made easier because each and everyhouse is connected by wooden bridges. So your neighbours are practically connected to you. Sometimes its hard to tell when one house ‘compound’ ends and the other begin. 

I wish my kids knew how living there is like. It’s one thing to visit and another to actually be there, like how it was back in the days. 


Zayan Age 2.5 years

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Night shifts

So I was on nights this week and it was the first time Ayman (at 2 years and 4 months of age) reacted to it. Usually he would just ‘let me go’ without much of a tear or complaint. It was Zayan as a baby who would be crying and clingy and I remember giving the umpteenth goodbyes and hug before I could leave.

Anyway Ayman has been clingy with me the last couple of weeks. A few nights ago, he kept wanting a hug and I basically couldnt leave. I gave him a last hug, pushed him (because he wanted to follow me) and shut the door quickly. As I drove away, his little chubby face was at the windows, expressionless and he just stood there as I waved him off. 

Then the next day, he didnt even want me to hug or hold him. I was like the plague! Screaming and pushing me away when I held him. Wouldnt look at me. Oh Ayman!!!

It’s ok. I won him back… with  chocolate (at 7 pm!). Bad mama! But uhhh desperate times ok.

Anyway I’m sorry kids… I know you miss me when I’m away. And you know Mama miss you too! In fact, I told this patient’s mum how you didnt want me to hold you Ayman and she gave her baby for me to hold as compensation (very cuddly and has similar chubby cheeks. But it just wasnt the same… also he started whimpering when I took him)

But kids, as Mama says, Mama will always come back. 

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Hard Questions from a 5 year old 

Post nights. 

SO sleepy still.

I was awoken yesterday at 6 pm (after pretty much sleeping all day post nights), still groggy and with Zayan in my face. 

“Mama, why do babies cry when they’re born?” Ugh. Do I really want to go through the whole ‘the first cry causes baby to take in oxygen and causes pressure to open up in lungs…’? 

So I settled for ‘all babies cry Zayan’. (Lame answer) 

‘Why?? Is it because their face is red?’

Wait what? 

I remain silent and pretend to be asleep again.

‘Why is baby’s face red when born?’ 

Seriously kid… do you wanna talk about polycythaemia right now? I couldnt not give him the right answer though. 

‘Because their red cell count is high, which is normal in newborns’

‘Ohhhh ok…’ That seemed to shut him up.

He then asked ‘how do people learn to talk?’ 

‘What do you mean how?? They learn it from listening to people and things surrounding them.’ 

‘No but how?’ 

Wait does he want the actual scientific explanation of the parts of the brain that learns languages?? I was tempted to answer on Broca and Wernicke but my memory was sketchy on this.

Anyway its ok because he then asked  his fave qs ‘WHY’. ‘Why do people have to learn to speak?’ Ok that’s easier to answer.

And on and on he asks. It’s hard enough on a normal day but post nights grogginess…! 

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Bucket list 2017

I have written a bucket list… for a few reasons.

1. I like making a list.

2. And then I like crossing them off. I also like putting a tick next to it. So much so that I think I should print this off so I can have the satisfaction of physically crossing and ticking things.

3. It’s fun to keep track of what I wanted to do and see whether it will materialize.

4. Maybe it will push me to actually do things.

Some of the things seems pretty unlikely but one must set the bar high! Like the martial arts bit – have always been interested and also feel like a bad-ass but I find myself categorising MYSELF as ‘non martial arts’. I mean I gotta unblock the mental wall first, I know. Also there’s the bit about writing a book. That feels too overwhelming but maybe I’ll get my act together… maybe I’ll write a short story first. 

Anyway, here goes – Bucket List for 2017:

1. Travel alone (only writing it here so I have something to cross off already) 


Yup, a double bed allll to myself. And wake up to the sound of nothing. I may have laid in that bed all afternoon. This was me on an impromptu hotel stay after realising I went on a course one day early (face palm). 

2. Go to Harry Potter studio (start local)

3. Learn how to make sushi – as in go to sushi-making class.

4. Publish something (for once)!

5. Go to pottery shop and make my own pottery (only cos I’m curious on how to make it… pretty sure my attempts would be at best hideous)

6. Go for Crystal Maze experience

7. Watch a musical

8. Learn martial arts

9. Run a race

10. Volunteer at soup kitchen

11. Write a book

12. Go on a hot air balloon ride — ok, not sure about this because someone had an accident in the UK last year on a hot air balloon ride! But hot air ballooning over Cappadocia seems like #travelgoals for me. 

13. Volunteer at refugee camp (anyone wanna join me in Greece?)

14. Girls trip away! (ok thanks sayang, loveyoubye)

15. Afternoon tea in London (cant decide which)

16. Take a cooking lesson

17. Create kids recipe book

18. Yoga whilst watching sunrise (not that m a yogaist but seems very serene)

19. Reconnect with old friends – this sounds vague but I have few in mind already that I am hoping to meet up and have long conversations with! And actually… connect more with new (social media) friends. 

20. Grow herbs

21. Go camping… or maybe glamping?

22. Make home made ice cream

23. Collect stories from bapa & mama of their childhood

24. Bake homemade buns

25.  Volunteer at a community organization

26. Go for Islamic classes

27. Learn (more) Arabic

28. Plant flowers in our garden

29. Go hiking

30. Save up for a house (maybe this year will be the year!) 

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