Thursday, July 20, 2017

Aiden and Ian Takes Europe: The Hague and Madurodam

(Apologies, this was written while we were still in The Hague, but only posted today!)

Salam Raya ke-5! (Or issit Raya ke-6 due to the time difference?)

Anyway, this is our 3rd day in Netherlands. The Hague to be exact. Slight drama at arrival; my travel agent provided the wrong hotel name to the Emirates chauffeur, and in turn, we were dropped off at an incorrect location. Fortunately (or issit unfortunately), we had plenty of luggage so our chauffeur was still unloading our bags from the boot when I ran out from reception, exclaiming "Wrong hotel, wrong hotel!" Poor him, he had to reload all our bags and graciously agreed to drop us off at the correct hotel (two streets away). We tipped him generously in return. *chuckles*

Check out who crashed into business class? Siap ade his own cup of hot chocolate and a plate of peanuts!

My travelling companion.

We arrived at 930pm at the hotel. It was still bright outside! Turns out, Maghrib was at 10am (and Subuh at 3am). That's European summer for you. Nasib baik we didn't have to puasa here! We dragged the kids to bed and they slept even before their heads touched the pillows, still decked in travel clothing and all.

In return, they woke up at 5am. (Jet lagged much!) The kids were famished so we fed the kids nasi lemak and nasi goreng (from our Brahim stash). Ian's first nasi! (We threatened no Disneyland if he didn't eat his rice.) We then spent the first half of our 'proper' first day, exploring the grounds of our hotel. Our hotel is in Den Haag Centraal... right smack in the middle of a shopping street! I literally have a Primark right outside my doorstep. Shopping heaven!

First time in black leather jackets and all.

We spent the second half of our day at Madurodam Miniature Park. It houses huge scale model representation of various parts of the Netherlands. Everything is recreated to a 1:25 scale with an unbelievable amount of detail. I've heard about this place ever since I was a child, and it was quite surreal to finally be stepping foot in it, in my mid thirties. Anyway, here are some pictures we took... we literally felt like giants who came to invade a country!

Cute giants.

Which building should we step on first?

Ian exclaimed, "Mummy office! Mummy office!"

Aiden forcing a smile because we didn't allow him to slot in 1 euro for some souvenir clogs.

It rained mid-way through the day so excuse our wet hairs at the tail end of the photos. We also took the opportunity to have Poffertjes (PO-fer-jus) - clouds of buttery goodness sprinkled with powdered sugar. Sooooo good! The kids gobbled up like 20 of these, in under 5 minutes, tops!

The second day, I had to start work so Hubby and the kids explored The Hague on their own. My office is in Rijswijk, about 30 minutes tram ride from the hotel. In fact, I'm actually writing this on the tram! While I was at work, Hubby brought the kids to a park near Den Haag Centraal Station to see reindeers and swans. They then explored the streets around our hotel, in the hunt for a pair of clogs, as Aiden wanted to bring one home as a souvenir. Aiden had his first kebab too! (Ian makan fries jer lah.) They also did a fair bit of shopping; everywhere we look there is a Sale sign up! And tonight, there will be a midnight sale happening everywhere in The Hague, so all stores will be open till midnight (instead of closing at 7 or 8pm). No prizes for guessing where I'll be tonight. *giggles*

The Dutch are really proud of their language. I mean, they speak English and all no problem, but there are rarely signs in English. Everything in Dutch so we picked out a couple of interesting words along our journey... Such as "Dames" means women, "Peskamers" is fitting room, "Danke" is thank you, "Patat" is fries. And "Volgendehalte" means next (tram/train) stop. We laughed our head off when Aiden said, "Ooo, mummy! Yummy Patat!" (Sounded so vulgar! *giggles*)

The weather is quite a see saw around here. Although it is summer, it is still quite chilly. It rains quite frequently too! We got caught in the rain in Madurodam, and I got caught in a surprise heavy downpour on my way to the tram station on the way home. Soaked my loafers right through. Never trust European summers!

My soaked loafers on the tram.

Tomorrow I will be having a team building session with my colleagues in Delft. Apparently we'll be doing a cheese tour and then some pottery painting, the classic Delft way. Did you know that the ceramics that are typically painted in blue, are actually made from painting using cobalt and the blue comes out only after it is baked? The intensity of the blue varies depending on the amount of cobalt you use. Hence the blue, is aptly called Delft blue!

Anyway, till next time!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Saya Dah Raya!

Raya came early for me this year! *shakes head in dismay*

My goals for this Ramadhan were to practice on my hijab skills (check!), not miss terawih (of course) and to do terawih berjemaah at the mosque or surau for the final 10 nights. Aunty Flo allowed me to do only two nights out of the ten. Le sigh.

The kids marked a few interesting milestones during this Ramadhan. Aiden cultivated an interest in local food; dodol, semperit and even mee kari. Also, he used to get disgusted with squid (tentacles and all) but one day I made him try salted egg squid and he loved it. Siap mintak masak lagi the next day. And since then, he's been asking for squid cooked in any form or matter. Latest craze? Sotong goreng Bob, the ones always sold at the bazaar Ramadhan.

Ian on the other hand, can stand still during a full solat jemaah at home. He used to last for one, maximum two rakaats. But this time he can even do the finger thing at tahiyat akhir! I haven't had the guts to try this at the surau though, so he's been playing with his toys and colouring his books quietly at the back of the saf during terawih. Good boy!

Anyway, since I dah officially Raya, I might as well share photos of us during our photo shoot Raya which we took about two weeks ago. Spoiler alert... these are our outfits for the first day. I'll be bombarding my Instagram timeline with photos of us in these very same clothes, come Hari Raya!

Definitely our official Eid family photo for 2017!

Aiden telling Ian to salam him.

Where are the Eid Raya money packets???

Cheeky faces.
Mummy and Daddy pun nak posing jugak.

Thanks Hubby, for putting up with me in my dramatic moments, trying to get this outfit online.

I'll pause the barrage of photos, with a candid story about my outfit from Kree. I saw this beauty on Zalora, and as I was busy trying to purchase it (it was the last piece), it got snatched out of my cart. I was devastated. A week later, the very same piece came back online (I think the person who snatched it from my cart eventually returned it), so I attempted to buy it again. In my excitement, I forgot to include the discount code so I pressed the back button. Silap besar... terus transaction cancelled and it showed up as sold out. OMG I felt like throwing my laptop to the wall. I was soooo close to tears. Hubby was such a good sport; even though he didn't understand why I was being so overly dramatic, he did not get angry... he even offered to buy it for me on pre-order! *awwww* An hour later, the system released it and I finally bought it. Longest one hour of my life!!! But, so worth it! :)

Sporting kiddos.

My adorable two boys. Baju Melayu from Omar Ali and matching loafers from Mini by Dhea.

I loveeeeee this adorable photo of Ian, and of course - this handsome photo of Aiden.

Posing with the boys.

Amazingly, Ian cooperated well that morning. Aiden, memang a natural at posing, so no problem.

The boys in my life.

Anyway, in case I don't get a chance to get to my blog before Eid rolls in, Selamat Hari Raya and Maaf Zahir dan Batin to all my readers. Let's count our blessings this Eid ul' Fitri, and make it a time to cherish our loved ones, both young and old.

InsyaAllah, we will be celebrating Hari Raya in Teluk Intan (Hubby's grandmother's home) as usual, before flying out on the third day of Eid. If you happen to be in Teluk Intan (or even the airport on Tuesday morning), do come by to say Hello! :)

Annual Iftar Weekend

Oh my! Last few days of Ramadhan and I barely blogged about my Iftar adventures.

As usual, I simply must blog about the annual SPK and BBGS girls iftar. Similar as last year, both events were held during the same weekend. Purely coincidental in nature!

On Friday night, the SPK gang came over. This year, we were five instead of six. *cries* The other family moved to Kedah and couldn't come home for our annual affair.

Potluck style as usual, but a simpler spread this time. My helper made ayam penyek (special request from one of the gang). We also had daging salai masak lemak, sotong telur masin, sambal tempe ikan bilis, sayur campur, telur dadar, ulam and sambal belacan. For dessert I made kek sarang semut and the rest supplemented with murtabak, roti john and tepung pelita.

Glorious food!

No pretty baju kurung photoshoots this year, since some of us were in jeans (moi included). Perhaps a proper gang picture session is required in Syawal! We also took the opportunity to celebrate Ayu's birthday. Since we've all been severely Ducked, we decided to give her a Duck gift card. Beautifully wrapped too!

A dUCk gift card for a special person.
After terawih, we moved to the garden for our yearly tradition. This will be our 6th year writing messages using sparklers. As usual, here's a compilation of our sparkler shots since 2012:

Six years in a row!

Raya 2017! We got this right in the first try!

This year, the anak anak dara dah besar, hence we decided to include them in our yearly tradition too.

"Iftar" with an additional underline at the bottom, and then all the kids joined in the fun too!

Fireworks galore.

The girls' lepak session at the outdoor gazebo.

Past midnight, the men decided that they needed a lepak session at the local kedai mamak. In return, the ladies decided to leave the kids at home and crash the men's party. When we arrived, we quietly took a table mere meters from the men, but behind a pillar... kononnya nak do some sleuthing as well. It was good fun, cos we were giggling away while looking at our spouses. But to the rest of the restaurant patrons, we must have looked suspicious, ogling at men in the middle of the night. *chuckles* But I guess the joke's on us, because after just 10 minutes, our men stood up and walked to the car (to go home). They saw us, smiled, and instead of joining us as we expected them to, they drove off! We laughed so hard that night. Thank god one of us had the decency to bring her wallet, kalau tak basuh pinggan la kitaorg kat kedai mamak tuh.

Spying on our husbands... not!

On Sunday night, Fiza hosted the BBGS annual Iftar. Since the host decided that KFC was the way to go this year, we simply supplemented with desserts and such. I bought murtabak!

For the first time in a longggggg time, we managed to get everyone together under one roof.

Lighting up our sparklers, for our now yearly tradition...


Kids in the garden, before they started throwing pop pops around.

The ladies then continued with our group photo shoot inside the house, while the husbands took care of the kiddos outside.

Formal shot.

Informal shot!

Thank you SPK and BBGS ladies, for a wonderful Iftar together. You know who you are! *smiles*
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