A Korean Taste


I had my very first taste of Korean food when I was studying in Sydney. It was Kimchi. It was introduced by my friends who were, at that time, crazy over everything Korean (DBSK especially). I love it so much I had to restock it everytime I gobbled it down till the last piece.

Kimchi is like a vegetable jeruk with some chilli paste, vinegar, and sesame oil perhaps? I am not really sure, but I know Koreans make their own Kimchi and refrigerate them and it tastes so so good. The closest to what I've had in Sydney is the one in Seoul Garden BBQ and Steamboat. Perfect!

And then, during my final year there, my housemates and I welcomed a new member, a Korean girl. We called her Kay Onnie (Onnie is kakak in Korean coz she's elder than us). That's when the Korean food galore began. She would cook her Korean dishes almost everyday and to my surprise they are not that hard to prepare, just like our Malay dishes. She even went the extra mile to buy halal meat (she didn't even stock pork in the fridge) so that she could cook for us and eat together.

That's my brother and I, with Kay Onnie, during my visit to Sydney in 2009 @Pancakes On The Rock

My favourite has to be the Chicken/Meat Bulgogi. And it's not even hard to prepare. The ingredients are :

Chicken breast/fillets or meat cut into cubes
(depends on the portion you're cooking)
3-4 tbsp of sesame oil
(I like it very much so I add more coz it adds to the taste and the gravy)
1-2tbsp of sugar
2-3 tbsp of soy sauce
(again, depends on your liking. If you want to add more no problem. It sort of balanced the sweetness from the sugar and it gives darker colour to the dish)
Capsicum
(depends on how much you want it in your dish. This can always be substituted with other vegies eg carrots)
Holland onions, sliced
(to me, a very important ingredient to make it look like a Bulgogi hehe)

Steps :
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Mix well. Then refrigerate. The longer you marinate the better because all the flavours will seep into the meat. When it's time for you to eat, just take it out and pour the marinated chicken/meat into a pan and stir fry. You can always add some more sesame oil or soy sauce while frying.

Serve it hot with rice. Nyum!

Apple and banana bread pudding

I finally made this sugar free dessert for my boy after so many times postponing and delaying. And I have never felt so happy!

Got the recipe here.

The ingredients needed are very easy to get, that is why it is a breeze preparing this dessert. You need :

2 slices of wholemeal/whole wheat bread
 1/2 apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2 eggs
2 tbsp of whole milk (breast milk or formula milk can also be used. I used fresh milk)
I small ripe banana
1tbsp of raisins
A pinch of ground ginger (optional) - I used ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

*You can follow the steps from the link I have provided*

Ready to be baked

After 35 minutes, this was the result :

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I thought it looked perfect - pale gold.

It tasted really good. No kidding! Yes, be ready to marvel over how good a dessert can taste with no sugar!

This portion can be served for three servings. Luqman seemed to love it :)

The only alteration I'd make if I am baking it again would be to puree the apple rather than slicing it thinly because it still is a little hard for him to chew (he only has two teeth). And I bet the taste will be even better!

So happy trying mummies :)

Hada Labo

Over the years, I have switched from one skincare product to another out of dissatisfaction, boredom or the 2 year itch. This time, it's the itch. I asked around and I was introduced to a brand called Hada Labo by a few friends. (More information here). Upon hearing the name, I went, "Whaatt??" it just sounds so wrong the first time haha I have never heard of it before. Have you?

Apparently, this brand is so well-known and it is a household name in Japan. I read somewhere that in its origin country, Hada Labo products are being sold for every 5 seconds or 5 minutes, I can't remember. Wow, it must be really good that it is always in demand, I thought. I decided to give it a try.

So I bought my first Hada Labo (which means Perfect and Simple) set at Watsons (seriously I didn't know they are being sold there and other major pharmacies all these while) a couple of weeks ago.


I decided to buy the small trial pack first to see how it works on my skin. My choice was the moisturizing set, which consists of the three bottles of skincare regime; facial wash, lotion (toner) and milk (mosturizer). It costed RM19.90. They have other sets too. Whitening set is among of them.

So what do I think of it?

It is perfect, alhamdulillah! After only 4 days, I can already feel the difference it made on my skin. It felt mosturized all the time, even when I woke up in the morning. The soft-textured cream absorbs well and it doesn't leave my skin oily, like most creams did. I have naturally oily skin, so this is such a good improvement! Plus, they are non-fragrant, which is a plus point. A friend who is also a user said it repairs her pores and her skin improves.

I am really really satisfied with this product. Every day I just can't wait to pamper myself with a touch of Hada Labo because I know my skin will be taken care of. Will definitely continue using this and I am recommending it to you too, if you're looking for a new skincare product.

It's perfect and simple! :)

The difference for No.2

Many people have asked me, "How is this pregnancy different?"

Well, I'd say it is different in a few aspects; emotionally (especially) and physically.

Emotionally
Like I have shared before, I have been grappling with my unstable emotional condition for quite some time, especially in the early trimester. It could be due to the excessive hormones or it's just me (or the baby hehe) I still experience it now and then but it's more controlled, unlike before. While I didn't experience this during Luqman's time, I'd say it's a totally different feel this time around.

Physically 
This, I can say, a tremendous difference than the first one. Firstly, a noticeable feature is that I am not gaining as much weight like I did before - a sign that I am carrying a girl (many would say). But it's true. I can feel it. At 28 weeks, I only gained 9kg so far despite my ferocious appetite. Before, I was a balloon at this stage and I had started to experience swollen feet due to water retention. None of that yet, for now.

My belly isn't as pronounced, but nothing to worry because alhamdulillah baby is growing well, active and kicking. She's been gaining weight and her size is proportionate, too, insyaAllah.

No symptoms of Carpel Tunnel Syndrome yet. Neither do I experience any jolting of the leg's muscle at night while sleeping (phew!) No itchiness or rashes on the belly (yeay!). But, the back pain still persists. 

As for morning sickness, nothing too serious, just mild ones like before. Alhamdulillah!

No heartburn, too.

Having said all that, there is one more thing that is totally different than the first. Ever since my earlier check-ups, I was told by the doctor that I have low-lying placenta. It wasn't to be worried because it will eventually rise later but up to the 6th month, it is still low-lying. I was lucky that I didn't experience any bleeding, like most cases. At that, my worry grew because the risk of having a low-lying placenta (if it still doesn't rise) is a c-sec or I'd be bed-ridden during the last trimester to avoid any sudden bleeding or emergencies. Yes, it is that serious. 

The cause? Nothing. I was briefed that it just happens even if I had a normal pregnancy and delivery before.

The doctor said to wait until the 7th month, when it would normally go up. So you could imagine how nervous and anxious I was when I went for my check-up this morning. 

And syukur, alhamdulillah, it's no more low-lying! 

"Tidak menghalang saluran bersalin"

I was sooooo relieved I couldn't stop smiling and praising the Almighty. Whatever the doctor said after those words were not paid attention to. In my mind, I was alhamdulillah alhamdulillah insyaAllah normal vaginal delivery

So yes, we are hoping for the best insyaAllah. A few more months to go. Oh how time flies!

Passion, interest and intention

I believe that whatever we choose to do it's because of the passion we have towards it and a profound interest we possess; especially if we're talking about our choice of vocation.

I am a teacher because I want to be one, no doubt. I have always known I'd be a cikgu, much to many surprise. I know all of us can teach but it takes a special person to be the teacher if you know what I mean. I know I am destined to be one because I can be the agent of change. And alhamdulillah, I am happy with what I am doing so far.

Of course nothing comes easy. What were taught in theory doesn't always coincide in reality. And that's the challenge. I have my downs more than my ups especially when I started service and I remember I even thought of quitting just after a few days of teaching. I wrote it here. Impulsive, I know, but I was young and immature. Looking back, who would have thought I am still here, in my 4th year of service.

To me, passion and interest are not enough. What's ultimate is our intention, our niat. Many people say being a teacher is easy, and I have had my ears immuned to such general and condescending judgment over the years. While I was easily ticked by that before, I only smile now and secretly wish that whoever says that really knows what they are saying. 

I am not going to rant on and on what a teacher really does coz I think you would know by now our job scope (after being scrutinized over and over again). Yes, jadi cikgu memang senang tapi susah juga. Senang dapat pahala and susah dapat pahala juga.This, I have held onto for as long as I remember just so I know how to menjalankan tugas.

You slack a bit and you have a generation menuntut di akhirat kelak. You come in late to class, you owe your students that time they missed. So again, it's all your niat. And sincerity. I guess this applies to whatever job you're doing, too.

So when a colleague asked me why do I seem so happy with my work, I said "Why shouldn't I be? And why aren't you?" Though she's much elder that I am, I told her that it's about time she checks her intention and why she chose to be a teacher in the first place. If you got your niat right, I am sure everything will be ok, insyaAllah.

True, interest and passion can fade but I believe we can control what we want to happen. I pray that whatever I do, the little sacrifices, the extra miles that I went will grant me Jannah points insyaAllah.

And that this passion and interest will stay with me, amin.

A legacy

I am just so lucky to be part of a legacy.

I will forever remember the place where I grew, spending my final 2 years of high school when I first stepped foot on the college grounds 12 years ago.

I wasn't one to explore every nook and corner, but I definitely had memories carved at some places.

Thank you, Tunku Kurshiah College, for being a great teacher to me where I learned most of independence and knowing one's potential. And also where I became acquainted with amazing souls and had the best years of my teenage life.


Tonight was definitely emotional. You moving will not change the legacy well-known, but the old place will always be carried in our hearts.

This year at work

School's been reopened for its second week now. Alhamdulillah, everything seems to be eased. The new year kick starts pretty good and I foresee 2013 to be a promising year for me not just family wise, but with work especially. 

So far, I am satisfied with my timetable and the classes that I am teaching; two Form 1 classes and two Form 2 classes for English, and 2 other classes for PJK (yes, apparently I am also a PJK teacher for life! haha) My students have been really good to me (it's probably coz of the protruding belly haha). Teaching has been a breeze so far and where classroom management is concerned.

PBS (Pentaksiran Berasaskan Sekolah) issues aside, I am embracing every challenge and setting my goals right this time around. I am going to focus and complete my assigned tasks as many as I can (and perfectly) before I go for my maternity leave (peacefully) soon. 

This year, I am more calm and more at peace with myself and my surroundings at work so insyaAllah this will project in the way I work and what I produce. 

May Allah guide me all the way and never let me go astray

ABC - A Birthday Celebration

On the 5th of January, we held Luqman's 1st birthday celebration. I am so grateful that everything (well, almost) went as planned despite the heavy downpour prior to the occasion. I was worried that the party would be dragged to a later time and everything will be postponed but alhamdulillah all is well.

Didn't think that we could pull it off although it was just a small event. It gave me, especially, a great satisfaction knowing that most of the decos and ideas were DIY. I can't remember the last time I was this creative and dedicated and I have to admit they turned out pretty awesome, too! Haha Special thanks to my family who helped a lot and who willingly contributed ideas and energy to make sure everything goes as planned.

The theme was ABC Alphabet Party. 

The invitation :

 
 

Below are some pictures taken on that day courtesy of family and friends :
Table centerpiece







Birthday boy with his Alphabet Blocks Birthday Cake

 
 With my family and in-laws
Our button badges

 Badges for the guests

(Have to wait for more pics from the photographer)

Overall, it was a good get together and quite a number of dear friends whom I haven't met for quite some time turned up.

Luqman was a bit cranky that day as he was sleepy and tired but I figured he had a good time. 

Thank you so much to all who came and it really meant the world to us. To think that some came all the way from Semenyih, KL, and the jam that they had to endure (KESAS was jammed badly that day due to an accident) we can never be more grateful.

We were all exhausted, yes, but one that filled with so much love and joy alhamdulillah. 

"So, since Luqman had his first birthday celebration, I guess his sister will have to have one, too" hubby told me.

"You know what? Hers can wait until she's three" I answered.

Penat wey! haha

2 things that I miss

There are 2 things that I miss now that I am pregnant.

1. Pumping/expressing milk.

After religiously pumping for 10 months, I decided to stop. It feels really weird not carrying that bag around every single day and not hearing the loud yet funny sound of FS pump, which at one point, was called my 'lifeline' by a colleague (it was, actually). So, what made me stop? 

It is known that if you're a breastfeeding mum-to-be, a reduction in your milk production is unavoidable. I didn't realise my supply was decreasing bit by bit due to being pregnant until one day the amount of expressed milk I managed to get was short by 4oz. And that's frustrating if you ask me. But it was the fasting month at that time, so I tried to think positive. But the amount kept on decreasing and combined with nipple sensitivity (another sign to watch for in early pregnancy) I was experiencing, pumping became an unpleasant experience. Plus, I was tired most of the time, everything became arduous. 

So, when it was confirmed I am pregnant with number 2, everything just made sense. I tried pumping a few times after that, but it got painful due to the nipple sensitivity and I didn't want to take the risk of dealing with bleeding nipples. As much as I wished I could continue my routine, I thought stopping was the best decision. After all, I am not in this alone. Many bf mums-to-be are experiencing the same thing.

And that is why if you're a bf mum, planning your second pregnancy is vital because you don't want the bf journey to be interrupted for fear of some complications that might require you to wean your baby off.

As for me, alhamdulillah, I do not face any complications yet. I am still bf Luqman, he seems to be okay and doesn't show any signs of weaning, and syukur the EBM stock is still sufficient for now, insyaAllah. Lesson learned : Never take for granted your pumping session and keep on making stocks because you'll never now what's in store for you in the future. And I believe it is all Allah's doing and ada hikmahnya :)

2. Wearing my PB corset.

Just like pumping, my PB corset is my other best friend right after the 2nd week of me delivering up until I was known to be pregnant. I love love love what it does to my whole body - and the major one was to help me lose so much weight until I went lighter than before I got married!

I also love how it keeps my body intact, my back straight and it sorts of 'heals' the backache I was experiencing due to bf duty and post-pregnancy aches. All in all, a day with wearing PB makes me always on the go and it makes me feel good.

Now when I am faced with sheer exhaustion due to double-mummy duty, I wish I had my PB on, wrapped around my body, healing the backaches I am experiencing. It's okay, approximately 3 more months and you'll be attached to me again!

The Writer

The Writer
I am a wife, a mother, and a teacher by profession. At times a pessimist and one who is easily amused. I find comfort once entering the threshold of my bedroom. I write because I want to and it makes me feel good :)