Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Winter 2016 : Storm G H

It stands for Gertrude and Henry.

Gertrude was on January 29 and Henry was on February 1-2. 
Scotland and Northern England was the most impacted by Gertrude (school closure, travel disruptions) but we can still feel the strong wind in Manchester. 

Henry? Horrid Henry. Northeast of England was deeply impacted with flood, fallen trees and overturned vehicles. Here, our storm windows were rattling like crazy at night. The wind was so strong. I cant imagine how people at the impacted areas put up with stronger wind, more than 100 miles per hour!
Poor man! I am glad that he is okay.
I have seen a few people blown off their feet due to the gust (sudden rush of wind) around my campus. There were times that I have to hold onto the wall or a bollard or my friend during the gust. It was so sudden and you can easily lose control, most of the time I felt like falling to the ground. Well, maybe because my backpack was so heavy. 

I still remember the time when me and my friends were walking from one lecture venue to the other in a chill winter afternoon. As the wind picked up, we have to walk backward or sideways all the way to the building. 

I am going to miss Manchester for this. Never in my life, I walk backward to attend any lecture.

Winter 2016 : ABC UK - Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch

Nazran borrowed this book from the library. The ABC to Z refer to everything unique about the UK, for example, A is for Arthur (as in the King Arthur), B for Beetles (the band), G for the Giant Causeway (in the Northern Ireland). For each letter, I will find some videos (about King Arthur, the Beetles, etc) and watched them together with Nazran so he can learn more about the UK. Night time is loooong in the winter so we read a lot to kill time.
When he arrive at the letter L, he said he cant pronounce the word. I asked him to try harder (I was washing the dishes and I didnt look at the book). He tried but still, he said it was too hard. I asked him to spell it. He did but I stopped him halfway because I think he was not making any sense. Until I look at the page.... then I understand his struggle.
 
Cool, isnt it?! Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch is a large village in the Wales. It means - Parish [church] of [St.] Mary (Llanfair) [in] Hollow (pwll) of the White Hazel [township] (gwyn gyll) near (go ger) the rapid whirlpool (y chwyrn drobwll) [and] the parish [church] of [St.] Tysilio (Llantysilio) with a red cave ([a]g ogo[f] goch) (Wikipedia). It is the longest place name in the UK and one of the longest in the world :)

Now, let's learn how to pronounce it!
It is surprising how much you can learn from a simple book of ABC!!!

Winter 2016 : Insect mosaic

We went to a charity event at a local school and came across this gigantic display of insect mosaic a la Christopher Marley created by a bunch of students. Marley used to be scared of bugs but now he is creating a wonderful artworks using colourful bugs.

Winter 2016 : THE BIRTHDAY PARTY

30 January 2016.
A day after the Storm Gertrude.

We were chatting with my parent via Skype when the guests started to arrive. My sons were so happy to see other kids came to their party. New friends in Manchester! They loves the cakes (of course!) and the M&Ms disappeared long before the whole cake finished, as I expected. haha.
 
We had a really fun art and craft sessions. I didnt mind seeing our living room like this as long as the kids were having fun and the guests were enjoying themselves, helping the kids to do some artworks.

My neighbour (who is also my junior in IIUM), a PhD candidate, was struggling to meet a submission deadline that day, therefore, she couldnt make it to the party. I asked her if she could send over her kids to my house and let them stay here until Maghrib so she could focus on her writing. I truly understand what she went through and that was the least I could do to help. And she did! 

It was good to see Naufal & Aesyah really enjoying themselves with crafts and the loud & colourful party poppers :) The kids made these, toilet roll ninjas (in our case, they were actually kitchen rolls cut into two) and straw sculptures.
I had so much fun baking, cooking and entertaining the guests! It is a good break from my study. Cleaning up that evening was a breeze.

I read the news online and surprisingly we are expecting Storm Henry the next day!

Winter 2016 : Planning for a Birthday Party for Nabil, Nazran and Nazmi

It was January 2016 and finally I had a free time (and extra money) for our sons' birthday party. Nabil and Nazran was born in December and Nazmi was born in February. First, to get things going, I designed the birthday invite. I just invited a few close friends.
It is going to be Nabil's 10th birthday, Nazran's 7th and Nazmi's 3rd. Good age combination. Those numbers (10, 7, 3) fit into the BIR7HDAY C3LEBRAT10N!!

On Friday, January 29, the day we welcomed Storm Gertrude to the UK, after sending off the kids to school, we went to get some presents for them and ingredients for the main menu and desserts.(Northern UK was the most impacted, but we still get the strong wind)
The night before, after they went to bed, we hung the birthday bunting, pump some balloons and wrap their presents. We keep a few blankets ready to cover everything should any one of them came down to get some water (they did that sometimes, in the middle of the night). 
They will get the light sabers they were asking for quite sometimes, books, stationery and some cool clothes. None of them knew we planned this party. We cant wait to see their faces in the morning! Waking up to the house full of balloons :)
The next morning, YUP, as we expected, they were cheering and laughing and running around the house in joy once they went downstairs and saw all the deco. As I was preparing the chicken rice, they helped me to spread the chocolate topping on the cake I baked the night before and topped it with a few packs of M&M. 
25% of the M&M went into their mouth but I just pretended that I didnt see a thing.

It is officially begin!

What? The intense blogging to keep up with the changing seasons.

I am glad that autumn 2016 will starts on September 22, so I still have time to complete the whole entry (winter-spring-summer) before the summer ends.

I have submitted my dissertation and finally I have a couple of hours everyday to update on our experience in the UK before we go back to Malaysia soon. I need to do this for my sons. This is the only place they could recall good memories from their childhood.

Stay tune.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Winter - Spring - Summer 2016

Yes, it is already summer in the UK.
I am still updating on our winter experiences. A lot of reading and writing to do right now.

Please bear with me, especially to our family members and close friends in Malaysia.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Winter 2016 : The day somebody spilled his milk on my laptop

I left my laptop in the rice container overnight so it could soak up the moisture (of course, after I wiped the milk first). Flaked and basmathi rice are capable to absorb a high percentage of moisture compared to other types of rice. I am using basmathi.

The laptop is good to go the next day.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Winter 2016 : Crispy curly kale chip

This is my favourite healthy snack. Curly kale chip.

Kale is known for its superfood properties. If you did not know how it looks like, here, meet kale.

I bought a bag of curly kale which has been cut and washed. Spread it on a baking pan (I use pizza pan), pour a bit of olive oil and bake it for 10-15 minutes.
Tadaaa! Crispy kale chip. It has a natural savoury taste to it.
You can sprinkle a bit of salt (or paprika / garlic powder / curry powder / blackpepper - be adventurous!) before you eat. It tastes wayyyy better than potato chip!

Winter 2016 : The end of Semester One, you can go home, books

Alhamdulillah.
I marked the day by returning all the library books. We are allowed to borrow 20 book for the whole semester (not, 4, not 8, like other libraries. TWENTY and it is for nearly 4 months). If someone else wants to borrow the same book, they just recall the book the same day and I have to return it on the next day. 

Winter 2015 : Walking around the campus after 3 vaccination jabs

In mid January 2016, I was scheduled to receive yellow fever, typhoid and Hepatitis A vaccinations for my oversea trip. I received a box of malaria tablet to be taken for 50 days. I need to take it two days prior to the trip, during and four weeks after that. The nurse has shared useful tips for the trips and she warned me on the possible side effects of the jabs.

I walk around the campus after that, enjoying the view. 
Spring is in the air. This is the only time you can see daffodils coming out from the ground. They will hibernate after 2-3 months afterwards. The bulb will remain underground until the next winter/spring. 
By the time my husband picked me from the campus, 30 minutes after that, I started to have stiff neck, headache, feel nausea and I just need to lie down. It was the side effects of the jabs that I received. Luckily I had my recent tetanus shot while I am pregnant with Nazmi. So I didnt have to take another tetanus shot or else, I will also suffer with a painful arm and swelling where the jab was given (as my classmates!) on top of the side effects I am having.

Winter 2015 : Preparing for the trip

I need to fill in a health survey for a trip abroad. Counting days..

Winter 2015 : The day our boiler needs regular servicing

It is required under the boiler insurance. Annual boiler maintenance. It is free.

Winter 2015 : Tiny Tots and Toddler Time

It is held on weekly basis at the local library. The librarians teach the tiny tots and toddlers nursery rhymes, play with musical instruments and they read story book to the kids! The parents/carers are involved too.  
It is good to mingle around with other parents and grandparents! Nazmi seems to be enjoying himself in the library, looking inside interesting graphic books (he cant read yet) and trying to communicate with other toddlers of his age.

Winter 2015 : Bread pudding and custard sauce

Since Nabil and Nazran did not eat the bread crust/edges, I made bread pudding and custard sauce on weekly basis. 

Winter 2015 : The books

...they borrowed.
Kid's book in the UK is a huge industry by itself. They have a lot of renowned kids' book writers, good books and interesting graphic. Some of the books has also been a textbook for my sons' class. This is something that I would like to venture in one day.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Winter 2016 : Homemade keropok lekor in Manchester!

Oh yes, I made keropok lekor in Manchester!

From WikipediaKeropok lekor is a traditional Malay fish snack originated from the state of Terengganu, Malaysia. It is also called fish sausage, fish stick, or fish fritters. It is made from fish and sago flour and seasoned with salt and sugar. The origin of the word "Lekor" is said to be derived from Terengganu Malay which means "roll".

We went to our favourite fishmonger to get fresh mackerels. I clean, fillet and blend it.
Then mix it with flour and lekor it.
Finally, deep fry it. 

Winter 2016 : Borrowing books

After the Maulidur Rasul celebration, we went to the local library, register the kids as a member and borrow some books. Their teachers said they need to read more, so I asked them to choose and borrow 8 books each - the maximum allowed for 2 weeks. They were excited to use the self-checkout machine at the library (well, I did as well when I first borrowed books from my university library!).
Look at those I-dont-want-to-read-8-books faces. LOL!

Winter 2015 : Maulidur Rasul celebration in Manchester

There were built up events on Saturdays before the main Maulidur Rasul celebration in Malaysian supplementary school in Manchester. The kids participated in poster and card design competitions, learned about the Prophet Muhammad, watch educational movies and learned the selawat

On the real day, they participated in nasyid competition and Maulidur Rasul quiz. And they bring home a lot of present from the competitions and quiz. Well done! 
Our first photo in baju kurung and baju melayu together, taken in front of our house. It was freezing cold outside!

Winter 2016 : Chocolate chunk cookies

I didnt have chocolate chips at home, so I cut topping chocolate into small chunks, and fold it in the batter. These yummy chocolate chunk cookies only last for 24 hours!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Winter 2016 : EU Referendum

The result is out today - it is Brexit.

Well, good luck UK! I might have limited understanding on the impact because I only look at it from international trade perspective. I am sure there are a lot of gains in other areas - politics, security, etc. Brexit is interesting. A lot of new things to learn :)

The best feeling..

...is when you managed to settle your student loan earlier than expected. okbai.

Winter 2016 : Meet the teacher - Nazran

It was too, a pleasant session. We were the last one. I purposely wait until the last minutes so we can chat with the teacher longer :) 
 The workbooks:
His classroom. They have a huge touch screen TV in front of the class. The students always watch educational videos before they went home, or while waiting for the parents to pick them up.
 
Nazran didnt have to bring any stationery or book to the class. No bag as well. Since he is in Year 2, he is entitled to get free healthy snack and dinner (lunch). It was a fun year for him. For me as well, to see him really enjoy attending school without any bag.

Winter 2016 : Meet the teacher - Nabil

A few days after a meeting with Nazreen's teacher, it is Nabil's turn.
It was really impressive to see him art work being displayed at the gallery. Our discussion was around his artwork especially his history of Manchester project. He also has a lot of reading and catching up to do.

They learned about Earth and Space this term. They designed a space buggy.
Nabil's design:
These are the report in his book:
They also learned about Ancient Mayans this semester. I was surprised to know about this. This is a very good exposure for their age!
Nabil's ancient Mayans' mural made it to the gallery:
I am proud to see the comment by the teacher in his book. It is really good to know that they actually record everything, every artwork (scanned and printed), in the workbook. 
The kids will have a very good memory of the school, their teachers, friends and their study when they came back to Malaysia this year.

Winter 2016 : Meet the teacher - Nazreen

It was a pleasant session to discuss about Nazreen's progress with his beautiful teacher. Although he has a serious catching up to do (due to the difference between Malaysian & UK syllabus), but Nazreen is progressing well. He needs to read more.