Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Spring submissions update

I have four final essays to be submitted in early May. I just submitted one for Development Fieldwork via Turnitin and waiting for another submission window to be open for Development Research's final essay. Now I have another 2 essays to be completed in less than a week - Industry Competitiveness and Global Transformation AND Global Political Economy.

It is really a pain to read 3-4 journal articles, just to build ONE sentence. Imagine how many academic journals I need to read to reach 7500 words.

Gonna see you more in May, I hope.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Winter 2015 : Nazran and narrow spaces

He just like it there. These are among a few photos of Nazran in narrow spaces. Wherever we go, he will look for a narrow space and he will stand inside there for a while. All of us will wait patiently until he came out looking satisfied. His life is complete.
 @Manchester United Official Merchandise Store, MU Stadium, Manchester
@IKEA, Ashton-Under-Lyne

Winter 2015 : Moustache Straws

We just love novelty item!
It was hilarious watching them goofing around with fake Italian accent and talking gibberish the whole day with these moustaches. 

Winter 2015 : The mindmap converts

I didnt know my mindmaps have drawn a lot of attention in my class. I heard people talking about my mind map, lecturers acknowledged my maps and there were instances where a few people took photos of my maps. 

I have the habit of sitting at the same spot, in the front row, in all lectures. During the first semester, I sat with two good friends, Hanna from Indonesia and Hedy from China, for WEGE lectures every Friday. 

I was so happy one day when I saw both of them started mindmapping. Keep it up guys! It takes time to convert from linear note-taking to mindmapping. You'll get there one day :)

Winter 2015 : Asthma and Pap Smear

I have performed pap smear test in Malaysia in May, but they asked me to do it anyway. 
I got another type of inhaler and the result for pap smear test is normal.

Winter 2015 : Keep me warm in the winter

Friday, April 15, 2016

Winter 2015 : Homemade strawberry ice-cream

After a successful experiment making homemade vanilla ice-cream (here). I try making strawberry ice-cream using strawberries and strawberry jam. Oh, winter is allllll about food. We were hungry all the time. And we have endless craving for ice-cream. haha.
It is extremely tasty!!!! I made two tubs. This 1kg yogurt container is suitable for our homemade ice-cream. They fit our tiny freezer perfectly.
My aunt and cousin (while Skype-ing) were so impressed with my ice-cream. Definitely will explore other flavour after this!

Winter 2015 : Homemade Samosa

Nazreen is a big fan of samosa. I made samosa A LOT during winter and I froze them. These are among the samosa fillings I have made: black pepper chicken, scrambled egg and mushroom with barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese, vegetarian (carrot, spring onion and onion) and spiced minced lamb.
They love to eat it with Thai chili sauce (blended dried chili, garlic, sugar, salt and vinegar).

Winter 2015 : Fruit supply for one week

Not even one week. It lasted only for five days.

Winter 2015 : Highest mark

It is challenging to get good marks here and to compete with native speakers who could easily understand lectures, academic articles and who could write essay effortlessly. I, on the other hand, need to read ONE SINGLE academic article over and over and over again and take time to reflect the whole thing, in between cooking and cleaning the kitchen every night. It is not easy to do a Master in one year, in different country, with four kids. I cant describe the struggle here. You have to be in my shoes. I am not complaining. I just saying it is not easy.

No matter how hard I tried, there will be other people getting better marks than me. 

Until one day... I got the highest mark for a critical essay for my favourite subject. 
Alhamdulillah.
At least I know that I am capable of writing good critical essay. Alhamdulillah.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Move forward (Luiz Perez, 2016)

I just met a PhD student to discuss about one of my final essays. The whole pathway are struggling with hard essays, and we didn't have only one. We have FOUR.

He was so helpful and full of positive energy. He told me to MOVE FORWARD.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Winter 2015 : Staying up at AGLC

Staying up alone at Alan Gilbert Learning Commons. I have four essays to complete.


 Well not that alone. It is quite full at night.

Winter 2015 : Hot mushroom soup and garlic bread

Hot homemade mushroom soup and garlic bread to warm us up in a cold winter night.

Winter 2015 : Homemade vanilla ice-cream

On a very cold morning, I woke up and feel like experimenting with homemade ice-cream recipe.

I found a very simple recipe online and I successfully made myself a vanilla ice cream. It is time-consuming (because I need to put it in a blender and blend it every two hours until it reaches creamy consistency) but definitely worth it! 
I blended the ice-cream mixture three time (roughly six hours, once every two) and set it in the freezer for a couple of hours. Its taste and texture are similar to the store brought ice-cream. 

Winter 2015 : Knitted cushion

Winter is finally here!
My sons keep saying that our cushions are turning cold at night (because of the material). We turned on the heater for one hour every night. Then six of us will just snuggle up under a blanket, hugging cushions, while watching videos on my laptop. 

When you are a mother, you know you need to do something about it. I cant let them hug cold cushions at night. I need to make those cushions warm.

I ordered a set of Seriously Chunky yarn and I was jumping happily when it arrived.
I cant wait for another minute. I immediately grabbed my seriously chunky crochet needle and started working on my project. I made this cushion cover in less than one hour :) 
Finally, warm cushions for the kids! This is how you welcome winter. You dont blame the coldness. You just have to make everything warm.

Winter 2015 : WINTER and winter solstice

First entry on our experiences during winter in the Manchester.
Let's learn about winter!

From the Met Office:

When does winter start?

The day in our calendar that marks the first day of winter usually refers to the astronomical seasons which are a result of the Earth's axis and orbit around the sun. However, at the Met Office we often use a meteorological definition of the seasons. Let's take a brief overview of the difference.How you define the first day of winter depends on whether you are referring to the astronomical or meteorological winter.
Meteorological and astronomical seasons
Astronomical seasons are relative to the position of the Earth's orbit around the sun taking into account equinoxes and solstices. Meteorological seasons are instead based on annual temperature cycles measuring the meteorological state and coinciding with the Gregorian calendar to determine a clear transition and equal length of season.

Meteorological winter season

This year the meteorological winter began on 1 December 2015 and will end on 29 February 2016.
The meteorological seasons consists of splitting the seasons into four periods made up of three months each. These seasons are split to coincide with our Gregorian calendar making it easier for meteorological observing and forecasting to compare seasonal and monthly statistics. By the meteorological calendar, winter always starts on 1 December.
The seasons are defined as Spring (March, April, May), Summer (June, July, August), Autumn(September, October, November) and Winter (December, January, February).

Astronomical winter season

This year the astronomical winter begins on 22 December 2015 and ends on 20 March 2016.
The astronomical calendar determines the seasons due to the 23.5 degree tilt of the Earth's rotational axis in relation to its orbit around the sun (winter solstice). Both equinoxes and solstices are related to the Earth's orbit around the sun (more here).

Fall 2015 : AUTUMN & what is autumn equinox

So, I am going to start blog entries on winter. Before that, let's learn about autumn (or I use 'fall' throughout this blog title).

From the Met Office:

When is Autumn?
Autumn is the transition season between summer and winter, best noticed by the colour change in leaves and the harvest.

Perhaps the most noticeable sign of autumn in the UK is the changing colours of the leaves. As a result of the falling temperatures in autumn, the chemical in the leaves that makes them green (chlorophyll) begins to break down while other chemicals (including Carotene) remain to give the leaves their yellow, red and brown colours.
The most vibrant displays of autumn leaves are evident when a dry summer is followed by an autumn with dry, sunny days and cold, but not freezing, nights.

Autumn according to the meteorological calendar begins in September and ends in November. In the astronomical calendar, the beginning of autumn is marked by the autumn equinox which occurs around the 22 September.

During the autumn equinox the sun shines directly on the equator and day and night around the globe are of almost equal length - a day and night of roughly 12 hours each.

Autumn has been significant in many cultures throughout history and even today many festivals and events around the globe occur around the autumn equinox, for example the Moon Festival in China or Michaelmas in the UK (more here).

Fall 2015 : Astronomical seasons

Living in four seasons country is new to us. We didnt know what to expect because the temperature is constantly changing, our surrounding is changing and I need to check the weather forecast frequently before I could decide what to wear to my class everyday. No two days are the same here. Especially if you are living in Manchester.

Met Office is my favourite website here. I learn something new everyday from them.
Now, let's learn about the four astronomical seasons and when each season starts.
(Source: Met Office)

From the Met Office:

Solstices and equinoxes are considered to be the astronomical transition points between the seasons and mark key stages in the astronomical cycle of the earth. In a year there are two equinoxes (spring and autumn) and two solstices (summer and winter). The dates of the equinoxes and solstices aren't fixed due to the Earth's elliptical orbit of the sun. The Earth's orbit around the sun means that in early January, the sun is closest (known as perihelion) and in early July it is most distant (aphelion).

Interesting, isn't it?

Fall 2015 : The joy of having a car

We can move around a lot.

Fall 2015 : We won the bid!

There was no dining chair in the house when we moved in. Only one folding chair and a bench we recovered from the pile of old stuff belong to the previous tenant.

We take turn to eat at the dining table OR we just eat together on the floor. Being Malaysian, we prefer the latter.

Until I place a bid on a set of IKEA dining chairs on eBay. I won the whole set for GBP10 after intense bidding at the final minutes! We collected the dining chairs the next day in Bury, after I came back from my class. 
Now our house is complete.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Fall 2015 : Nabil enjoying the bus ride

He always sit on the upper floor so he can see more of Manchester.


Fall 2015 : Nazmi and Rainbow

My entry on Rainbow last time.

We are still fighting over it every night. 

Fall 2015 : What is that?

I found these guys wandering around campus.
I am not sure if those are eyes or some sort of breast cancer awareness campaign.

Fall 2015 : On a cold night

On a cold night, everyone wants to wear scarf at home, like mama did. haha. Only that mama wore it around her neck but the kids rock it like hijabistas!
Nazmi is adorable!

Fall 2015 : Nazreen and cucumber eye pads

He put on my eye pads and fell asleep.

Fall 2015 : Etihad Stadium

I am not into football, but I can really appreciate the stadium design.
So, that makes me equally excited to go to the stadium with the boys. It is just 15 minutes away from our house. This was during the Storm Clodagh.
The visit marked our 11th wedding anniversary. Still going strong. No blue box this time.

Fall 2015 : New Smithfield Market

Car boot sale on Sundays at the New Smithfield Market.
This was our first time. We bought a few small furniture and toys for the kids (because we didnt have a TV and they didnt have much to do in the house). Nabil found a new skateboard for GBP3. Nazran got a cute green and blue gun for FREE! 
And the best thing was, we found a fishmonger! At last!!! We have not eat fish for nearly 3 months. Most supermarket sell fresh fish beside meat/pork section so we try to avoid that.
We bought one whole salmon for a start, enough for a week. 

Fall 2015 : Almost the end

I was busy since we came here and I didnt have time to update the blog.

Since I havent post anything since autumn and it is already spring (we have winter in between), I decided to allocate a few days during my Easter break to update the blog. Friends, followers and family have been asking for months. Thank you. I thought no one reads my blog ;p

So, here you are.
I manage to write about our experiences in AUTUMN (September-November 2015) for you. My blog got more than 500 hits yesterday. Thank you for reading!

Maybe I missed something, but I can add it in between winter or spring posts later, no problem. I need to focus on my essay now.

I will bombard you with entries on winter soon. Till then.

Fall 2015 : Cooking session at school

Before the half-term, we were invited to Nabil and Nazreen's school. They are having a cooking session and parents could taste their kids' cooking at 3pm.

We went to the school hall at 3. Nazreen's class bake Banana Magic cake. It tastes sooooo good, even for people who didnt eat banana (me!) It is gone within a few minutes. The kids taking their time to prepare the handwritten menu, as nice as possible for parents who wants to try the recipe at home. I bring home different recipes from all classes.
Then, we taste Nabil's Salad Lettuce Mango. He prepared the mango. I love it very much! It has different texture and variety of taste from different types of fruits.
We also taste sandwiches, pumpkin soup and soft bread from other classes.

Fall 2015 : Begedil aka Malaysian style potato patty

I grew really fast!

I made some begedil for my family for dinner. Begedil is a Malaysian style of deep fried potato patty with mashed potato, minced meat, fried onion, spices and spring onion. I didnt have spring onion at home, so I use the garlic chives. 

Fall 2015 : Mini version of supermarket

What keeps me smiling everyday. Sufficient food supply for my family.

Fall 2015 : Price Promise

Yup, we got this a lot. We save a lot.

Fall 2015 : Halloween

I love how the supermarket keep changing their display/products since they have many types of different celebration throughout the year. The first one was for Halloween.
Since I type this entry in April (spring), we have seen many interesting display/products for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Valentine's Day, Easter and currently, the Passover for Jews.

During Halloween, a couple of kids knocked on our door. We just sat still in the house because we didnt have anything prepared for them :(

Fall 2015 : Sunny side up

They made their own sunny side up with caramelised onion on a toast for breakfast. 

Fall 2015 : Wet Manchester

Manchester is wet. 

To be more accurate, the weather is unpredictable. One moment it is sunny. The next minute, you gonna have rain. And it get sunny again. Then rain. Sometimes the sun hides behind the cloud for a week. Sometimes it rains more than 10 times a day (I didnt actually count it, I read it in Manchester weather history). But overall, it is wet. It rains A LOT (but it is not as heavy as in Malaysia).

I bought two umbrellas since we came here. But the gust really makes it impossible to walk elegantly with umbrella in the rain. I saw a lot of broken umbrella at the road side when we first came here. Now I know why. I feel like flying in the strong wind. Just imagine what it can do to your fragile umbrella.

So, I gave up on umbrella now. I prefer to walk in the rain. Just like everyone else. I just use waterproof jacket, boots and put on waterproof backpack cover.

This is Nazmi in the wet Manchester.

Fall 2015 : Busy sky

Heavy traffic every morning.
There are times that we could see more than six plane trails in the sky.

Fall 2015 : Star Wars

We found them wandering around the Market Street.

Fall 2015 : Simple brunch

A lazy Sunday. We didnt feel like having early breakfast. So I made these for brunch. Quesadillas for big heroes. Wrap for the little one so he didnt spill the fillings.

Fall 2015 : Manchester Walk

Our lecturer has arranged an interesting Manchester Industrial Walk. As the name suggests, we are going to WALK, around historical INDUSTRIAL area in MANCHESTER. 

Not many people turned up but it was fun anyway. It was a guided tour. We learned a lot about the history of Manchester and what happened at each building/street pre/post Industrial Revolution. 
 Photo credit Twitter @rory-horner. I am the one in the light grey hood

It was raining and really cold. We walked together in the rain for almost two hours, exploring the interesting [and dark side] of the Manchester industrial history.
The historical canal to transport cotton for textile industry
Then, I just walked home. Another 30 minutes in the rain.