An ice-cream each city, keeps me happy

Who can eat ice-cream almost any where and at any time? High 5, me too. Whether its sunny days or pouring rain or even snowing outside, you name it – ice-cream is always a good idea. Trust me, it is! During the my trip to both UK and  Europe, it wasn’t part of my plan to have ice-cream or gelato at each of the city I visited but looking back at the photos, I actually did that. In fact, one of my friends actually commented about it. Oops!

Having ice-cream is always comforting, especially the creamy texture. It has always been my favourite dessert or snack but why it became some sort of staple food for me is because back in 2007, I had tonsilitis and the only soothing thing to my throat was  ice-cream. Trust me, it was the advice from the doctor okayy. I remember after being discharged from the hospital vanilla ice-cream was like my best friend. I had to have it now and then especially during the 3 weeks recovery period. No one can share the tubs of ice-cream inside the fridge and no one dare to argue with that. They say there’s always a blessing in disguise and I am forever thankful on that part. What is there to complain when you have all the ice-cream tubs for yourself right? Since then, whenever possible in choosing desserts there must be at least a full spoon of ice-cream inside it ( ice-cream with tapai and chocolicious sundae from Delicious are my fav!)

It was early March last year I went to the UK and the weather was still freezing cold even in London and it lasted almost till the end of my trip. During the night in Croydon where I had dinner in Chennai Dosa with the Wandle Park, and we shared dessert and of course I ordered some dessert with ice-cream (couldn’t recall the name, ish) and there was this one with saffron in it, I think it was faluda. Mind you it was a night with a single digit (maybe minus) celsius outside and we had to walk to the tram station after. I personally think a good meal is when you end it with desserts.

During my stay in London, most of  the time I just bought the ice-cream whenever I see the rare ones, none you can get in Malaysia. But the only thing extra I had to do before buying it is to check the ingredients haha. Fast forward to Manchester, and to our (Afroze, Asrul and myself) surprise, it was way warmer up north. I left foggy -2 celsius Croydon and were welcome by a bright sunny Manchester. It was indeed warm, the temperature rose to 18 celsius and all of us felt feverish that day. (I actually open the bedroom window) But then again, it was the perfect time to go to strolling at the park bringing baby Amelia outdoor. At one point it was such a relief to finally seeing the sun again but when it hit 18-20 celcius, woooow it was way too warm.

Heaton Park, a baby and children friendly park near Cheetham Hill, Manchester where they actually have a mini animal farm for the family to bring their children, a spacious greenery site to play frisbee with your dogs, a wide path way for the kids to play their bicycles and ice-cream vans too.

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Mr Softee Ice Cream
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Rainbow sprinkles vanilla ice-cream
Such a rare view seeing people queuing up buying ice cream in winter but that one particular day in Manchester it was really warm, it felt like summer somehow. This Mr Softy ice-cream was so creamy, better than the McDonalds sundae. Smooth texture and not too sweet, just to my liking.

BICESTER VILLAGE

The day I arrived at Bicester Village was one of the coldest and gloomy days of the entire UK trip. The 4 hours driving from Manchester – London was so nice with the sun accompanied throughout the journey until arriving at Bicester, everything went grey. Pfft. But then, intstead of having hot chocolate in Pret – A- Menger, I bought myself the gelato and a nutella waffle.

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Having Amorino gelato at 4celcius outside

 

Then it was the Euro trip for almost a month. Probably it was during this time I had ice-cream almost everyday and in each city.

AMSTERDAM

Sunny Zaanse Schans
Pretty windmills under the bright sun
I remember when in Zaanse Schans, Amsterdam (No, wait. Mind you in Amsterdam, you might be lucky enough to experience all four seasons in a day. Well, true cos I did) I had the creamy vanilla chocolate ice cream while it was suddenly pouring heavily for 10 minutes. Upon arrival, it was sunny even the journey from Amsterdam Centraal to Zaanse Schans was so beautiful. Seeing the houses near the canals, the locals cycled to work and just seeing the windmill in such bright weather were amazing. And because of this I decided to try the ice-cream. Just minutes after I made the payment (and snap a picture), tadaaaa it poured heavily just like that with such strong wind.

Another thing why I like to try their local ice-cream is because it’s homemade (the creamy ones, especially having it with ice-cream cone) Yumms! I prefer these kind than the popsicles.

€2 creamy ice-cream

PISA & FLORENCE 

Arriving in rather warm and humid Italy which would be the perfect reason to taste their famous gelato. Florence is full of historic architectures and lots alleys and beautiful doors to discover, well I guess you can find that in most of the cities in Italy. If in the UK, I wouldn’t be  afraid to simply take a walk  but not  in Europe. Not even to just walk to buy juice at the nearby shop. It is somehow eery especially during the night.

My first gelato was at the Pisa tower. It was almost a 3 hours train ride from Florence and when we arrived here tho it was only almost 11am but it surely felt like noon. It was soooo hot but I had to stay on wearing the leather jacket because I wore a sleeveless jumpsuit. So lucky it was a jersey cotton material, somehow that helped. Bought myself a 3 flavored gelato, raspberry (my fav) + hazelnut + chocolate and cost me €4. Maybe some may say they tastes the same, but no. It’s the same when you drink coffee, you can taste the difference by the first sip. That is how well I know my ice-cream.

 

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Gelato in front of Pisa, checked!
When in Italy, you can find a lot of shops along the alleys or chic cafes selling gelato. Of course the price varies but I would say a standard 2 scoops cone would cost say around €3 depends on where you buy it. So there was this gelato I had in Florence, well I was aware of the shop before ordering it. This particular shop (below pic) sells it at €6 per flavour. How can it not be? Just look at the presentation and the size of the cones compared to the ones in Pisa.

 

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While everyone else were busy shopping – Lindt ice-cream
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One of the Gelaterias in Florence
LUCERNE

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Lucerne Old Town
Arriving in Zurich was such a relief after a bumpy flight due to the turbulence before landing. It felt like the longest 10 minutes in my life, sigh. Coming back to Switzerland after more than 2 decades surely bring back memories. It’s known as the most expensive and beautiful country in the world. Almost everything in Swiss are expensive. A lunch set (at a normal restaurant inside the train station) can cost you €25 and a tall Starbucks would be €9. Cray isn’t it? Well, we stayed in Swiss for just 3 days and the things that I bought were their famous Lindt chocolates, fridge magnet for own collections and Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream.

It was drizzling the whole day when visiting Lucerne, an old town with its own beautiful character. If you asked me, I would prefer Interlaken over Lucerne and Zurich. Their countryside is beyond words. You gotta see it to believe it. Beautiful is underrated to describe Interlaken. Anyhow, when strolling around Luzerne town, I noticed that it is similar to Italy. Each building has its own charming doors. Be it wooden carved, solid steel, colorful coloured doors, you will be able to see this along the alleys. I have a collection of pictures with doors now, lol.

 

So I went to this small pretty shop, (the ones you see in Pinterest) initially just to warm up myself. Then, I saw the ice-cream freezer and it was Ben & Jerry’s. Contemplating at first because: 1) it was still drizzling outside 2) a small tub would cost me 6euros (ahaa as if that stopped me from buying it) So yea this girl bought herself the ice-cream and enjoyed it like nobody’s business.

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why you so yummy?
Literally I had an ice-cream in each city I have visited during my UK and Euro trip. Some may said they rather spent it for shopping but when I travel, I like to taste local food and desserts myself. Shopping is one thing. Knowing and learning their cultures is another but to have a taste of their local food, you will not get that else where. Gelatos in Italy will not be as the ones we have here.

Did you know I have tried all 6 of the Kapiti ice-creams? Bought one each time I had Siva’s class last time, every week. It was really good, Google it. MAS (I think) used to serve Kapiti onboard last time for the Australia / NZ flights.

Who says you can only eat ice-cream in a sunny weather? No rules on that, so yes if you are like me, you would enjoy them in any kind of days. And I personally think nothing can beat Italian gelato, theirs the best!

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that smile when you see a pretty door and yummy gelato 😉

Pretty in Pleats

Pleat – noun a double or multiple fold in a garment or other item made of cloth, held by stitching the top or side. Pleats are categorized as pressed, that is, ironed or otherwise heat-set into a sharp crease, or unpressed, falling in soft rounded folds – Wikipedia

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Pleated Pants
culottes
Culottes
Pictures – Source: Google

So recently, I have been pants hunting for the past weeks since I no longer find wearing jeans comfortable enough in this sunny weather. Being a petite girl, I am lucky enough to find the pleated and culottes (especially) pants are still decent to wear it casual and formal eventho I wear hijab. Mostly because of my height. If you’re taller than 160cm and wears hijab you might find it uncomfortable wearing the pants hanging above your ankle. Or maybe somehow the culottes in Malaysia are a tad longer than the actual culottes, no?

These days most of the fashion style are somehow going back to the 80s and 70s days. We have the bell sleeves, peplum tops, pleated pants, wide leg pants, brocade material etc. This is when my mom will say “I used to wear that during my teenage days” or “Peplum top then, we used to call it ‘baju Saloma'” Well true tho what she said. I am not the type who will buy according to the intrend fashion (technically it’s going back in time) but rather I wear what I feel comfortable and will just mix and match every time.

It was in Langkawi where I bought my first pleated pants and since it was such a bargain I bought two colours and I fell in love with it instantly. You know how our country can get pretty hot most of the time? We need something breezy and comfy especially over the weekends – spending the whole day out with family/friends. I’m not saying Jeans is not comfortable, no but you know at times your leg too needs some breather. Jeans is still my favourite, combined with white top, classy! All time favourite!

Somehow the year end Sale was still on till end of January and it was then that I actually bought few culottes and pleated pants. The thing with me is, when buying clothes, pants or jeans especially, I must try it on so yeah I rarely buy them online. The best part during the shopping spree was all the shops that I went to, only S size were on sale. Woohoo! Blessed to be in such size. (Tho I am like the KLCC bridge when I’m with my friends especially the super tall ones) I’m not particular on any brands but the Zara culottes has the best design and material and it’s pastel colour. Bonus!

The other thing when wearing these kind of pants, you can cheat your weight and figure. For someone who is petite, I don’t look too skinny in it. Another reason to stock up more! haha. So yea, it’s always nice to wear something you feel comfortable and look good in it.

Posted on my igstory of the recent pleated pants I bought and mmm I bought 3 of it in different colours.The best part of these 3 is the material, you can’t see the panty lines tho it’s in pastel colours. Heehee. Nope not online, and again it was a great deal. Remember I told you how struggle it is to be an accountant and a girl at the same time? So yeah, need to be smart in shopping too. Must know where to shop, when to shop. (But, I may need to buy matching tops for the new pants)

To the designer who first designed pleated pants and culotte pants, thanks a bunch for such invention. You’ve made this one petite girl truly happy and excited to wear hers soon.

Sugargram

About three years ago, I volunteered along with my two good friends to join a charity organised by BNMFC. It was during the fasting month and the activities were a carboot sale whereby the money collected were donated to Gaza and the orphanage we have chosen and a day at the Pertubuhan Ukhwah Anak-Anak Yatim Miskin Sabak Bernam. It was my first time to be involved in such activities and I’m glad to be part of it till today.

Alhamdulillah we managed to collect such huge amount from the carboot sale and donation, to be honest we didn’t expect it to be that much. Anyhow, when we arrived at the orphanage, the kids there were very reserved people -to see such amount of strangers coming to the school. We did carpool so there were almost 20 of us. It took awhile to get to know the boys and girls during the ice-breaking session. Most of us, the volunteers are fortunate to still have our parents and to witness them at such age experiencing such loss, it was overwhelming. We then formed a group of 10 kids with 2 volunteers.

During the session, I myself had the chance to share my stories with them, vice versa. The kids were around 9 to 16 years old. So there was this one activity whereby they need to express themselves through a collage of pictures found from magazines. They gathered pictures of their favourite things or ambition to form a story. One of the girl, cut a picture of the Eiffel Tower and said this to me “Kakak Ain, nanti dah besar Tira nak sangat pergi sini tapi mahal kan?” (I really want to visit Paris when I grow up but I’m sure it’s expensive) Another boy had a picture of a police car and said “Saya nak jadi polis macam arwah ayah sebab dia hero saya” (I want to be a policeman just like my dad. He was my hero) To listen to that from such innocent kids almost made me cry but I kept it inside and said things that encourage them instead. It wasn’t easy at first to adapt with them, there were some rebellious ones but we the volunteers had to be extra patient and understanding too and also show positive attitude even in handling the impossible ones.

The last activity before breaking fast was writing a Sugargram. It was one of the guys of BNMFC idea. A Sugargram is actually writing an appreciation note to someone. I did gave to all 10 kids of mine and to my surprise I did receive from all of them too but the one that really touched my heart was from the rebel boy. Reading his got me to know why he was behaving that way and his words were really beautiful. I may not remember their names now but the things that we, volunteers learned from the visit was something valuable. I guess writing a Sugargram should be a habit to us to show some love and appreciation to the people we care. It may be called a Sugargram but you don’t need to sugarcoated things in writing it tho. 

Sugargram
We ended the visit with breaking fast and Maghrib prayer together. If I have the chance to be involved in such activities, I would be happy to do it again. During the visit to the orphanage we came from different backgrounds but as one family and to experience their lifestyle even for a day truly opened up our eyes of how fortunate we are to have a complete family and a home. This experience was surely something I keep close to heart. Oh did I tell you my team won first place? Yup we did!

La Tahzan

Not a single day that The Almighty does not test us. From the tiniest test to the biggest ones. How we respond and handle it shows how firm is our faith to Allah. Every single person (including myself) will find it hard sometimes almost impossible to just accept and move on with the varies obstacles that we face in this world. But again, we forget this “If Allah brings you to it, He will bring you through it”

Currently reading La Tahzan

Bought this book three years ago and reading it again and it never fails to give such comfort.

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Being sad is not encouraged in our religion – page 83

In the book of La Tahzan (Don’t Be Sad) by Dr A’id al-Qarni, he mentioned that, the heart benefits nothing through grief.

Why?

Well when feeling sad, it prevents one from action instead of compelling one towards it. The most beloved thing to the Devil (Shaytan) is to make the worshipper sad in order to prevent him from continuing his path. Mentioned in the Quran

Secret counseld (conspiracies) are only from Shaytan (Satan), in order that he may cause grief to the belivers – Quran [Al-Mujadila:10]

Prophet Muhammad (bpuh) said “O Allah, I seek refuge in you from anxiety and grief”

Grief is coupled with anxiety in this hadith. The difference between the two is that if a bad feeling is related to what is going to happen in the future, then one is feeling anxiety. And if the cause of the feeling concerns the past, then one is feeling grief. Both of them weaken the heart.

He added despite what has been mentioned above, grief may sometimes be both inevitable and necessary. Therefore, the good kind of grief is that which stems is missing out an opportunity to do a good deed or from performing a sin.

All praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has removed from us (all) grief, most surely our Lord is Forgiving, Multiplier or rewards – Quran [Fatir:34]

As for the hadith; Whatever befalls the believer in terms of anxiety, hardship or grief, Allah will make it an atonement for (some of) his sins  – it indicates that the grief is a trial with which the believer is afflicted, and through which some of his sins are atoned for. However, it does not indicate that grief is something to sort after thinking that it is an act of worship.

And if the worshipper is tested by trials and he is perseveres through patience, then Allah loves him.

Kitty Cat, meowww

 This is for my dear friend, S. 

Those who know me (well enough) can guess what is this about immidiately just by reading the title. Cats, Rabbits, Dog, Hamsters and any kind of animals that has 4 legs creeps me out. Yes, I am scared of them since small and that has not changed ever since even though there is Neelo the cat inside the house. It used to be 3 cats but two died.

When I was small, at Tok Ayah’s house there were hmm more than five cats and none of it made friends with me or maybe I refused to (not that I remember) but I remember running away avoiding them. RMAs mostly are animal lovers especially cats but I did not inherit that part. Not that I hate them tho.

So back to my friend, S. For as long as I had known her since school days, she was never comfortable with cats. We have that in common. The only different was I have two fat cats at home, then. How did I survived with Tiggy and Cheetah was hmm like I always did, will avoid them whenever they come near me. Penat, I tell you! My cats never, I repeat never entered my room and I will make sure the door is closed whenever I am having a nap.

So S got married and her husband is a cat lover. Recently he surprised her with a kitten, Arrow. Wow, amazing! The only thing, S is not afraid of cats just she is not used to it. Arrow is still at his active stage and she is now slowly adapting with him and she even can hold him, another wow! When she first told me about it my first question was “how am I going to visit you at home? Scared la” “Hehe can, I’ll put him inside the cage”

Today, I accompanied her to buy Arrow’s biscuits and wet food and toys. Seeing her all smiling choosing stuff for her kitten is a different kind of view. (her igstories nowadays are mostly about Arrow, haha cute) She went all excited seeing all kinds of toys, cushions and food. So proud of her for conquering her fears and I am still scared of Neelo at home.

No doubt that animals are such cuties, even whenever I go to a pet shop seeing those puppies, kittens and rabbits, aaa adorable. But thats it, you guys are cute and fluffy but don’t come near me please. To be honest if you dare me to hold a cat or  bungy jumping and I shall go for the latter, willingly haha.

The day Cheetah (the fattest) died, it hit me and I actually cried maybe of all the three, he knew I was not keen of them and yet never bullied when I eat, watching tv and resting. And the fact he was the most manja. So that was the only time I felt attached to a cat.

See people, I do have a soft spot for animals but the fact that I am still scared of them, that, have not changed. (Ish so many ‘scared’ in a post, but that is the truth, can’t help it)

Hello world, my friend S is now a cat lover too! All the best S of taking care of Arrow but I know you will be a great mommy to him and like you said, its like a training too before having a real baby.

I read, do you?

Read (verb) /  Look at and comprehend the meaning of (written or printed matter) by interpreting the characters or symbols of which it is composed –Oxford Dictionary

Seek (beneficial) knowledge,because seeking it for the sake of Allah is a worship. And knowing it makes you more God-fearing; and searching for it is jihad,teaching it to those who do not know is charity,reviewing and learning it more is like tasbeeh.Through knowledge Allaah will be known and worshiped.”

-Ibn Taymiyyah

Reading is just like any other activities that need interest or passion which normally was trained during our childhood time. Not everyone share this interest and some think it is only for the nerdy. Hmmph! I guess it is true that the first few years of your life (toddlers – kids) is when parents can help to develop their child’s interest as at this stage the kids are keen to learn and explore new things (and also they remember)

I cannot recall exactly when did I started having interest in reading story books by myself but I do remember starting it with the Peter and Jane series by Ladybird Books publisher which not only is a story book but also a medium to learn on vocabulary and spelling too whilst reading to all the series. Then it was the Disney books to Enid Blyton to Roald Dahl to Jacqueline Wilson etc. I must say I  started young and when we moved to the UK I had no choice but to speak in English (Scottish English to be exact, haha) which I forever will thank my parents for the Peter and Jane series and the friends and teachers back then. (Like I said at such young age, we easily copied and learned from our surroundings easily)

Fast forward to primary and high school days, my dad was my number one encourager (cum banker) since he will bring his daughters to the bookstore (back then it was only MPH) almost every weekend to buy at least one book. How I started to fall in love with the Harry Potter books was also because of him. He bought me the first three series of Harry Potter books way before the idea of making it into a movie. Thank you Ayah! From a little girl to now, reading is no longer an alien to me. Not sure whether it is a hobby or just a habit but up until today, I will read a book (either a fiction or non-fiction) every time before I sleep.

Even tough some of you may not share the same excitement when reading this (haha sorry) but when I was young I had some trouble reading while being in the car or plane or any vehicles that moves. The motion sickness really bothered me last time and I complained that to Ayah since I will get bored especially on long hour journey. Well, that stubborn 8/9 year old girl forced herself slowly (there was this one time I had to smell the orange peel to distract the dizziness, no kidding) and probably after few months, tada, such an expert. I can even read while standing inside the cramped train now. Phew. Well the main reason why I wanted to read inside the car/plane/train so I could know  what’s next of the story (faster) and yes of course to pass the time. Imagine a long haul flight and from one movie to another, to the countless juices and water, why not grab a book and read. It helps too you know.

How interesting that by reading books you can somehow be in the story too? How books can make you travel. I get that a lot especially the non-fiction ones. There are times that I prefer light reading and there are times I will add flavour to more serious (knowledgable) or religious books. Say, the Quran itself I myself prefer reading it with the translations, just to understand it better.

Knowing something and understanding it were not the same thing” -Mitch Albom.

True enough.

A book is a magical thing that lets you travel to far-away places without ever leaving your chair – Katrina Mayer

No matter what kind of materials (books, articles, magazines – fiction or non-fiction) you read, there will always be new things you shall discover, just like travelling. Maybe that is why both are my favourite things to do.

How I survived UK, alone? (Part 2)

Being a Muslim and wearing scarf  is not a problem over there, so not to worry. In fact, when I was strolling around the park alone, walking around Oxford Street and Croydon Town by myself the locals smiled and even helped me with my shopping bags and gave me direction when I thought I was lost. None of the Islamophobia issue happened to me. There was this one time in Victoria London Station where few boys prayed at the pavement while waiting for the train without any disturbance. My friends had such experience and I am not saying there are non, but most of them are nice people. Even here, we hardly come across such how to say hmm considerate people. Taking the zebra crossing for example, the most common problem here in our country. In Malaysia, the pedestrians had to stop not the drivers. geeez!

After London, it was time to visit Manchester (again) Probably the only reason why I keep on coming back to Manchester is because of Afroze and her family. Back in 2010, my girls and I went for a trip to the UK and stayed at her place and 6 years later I am back again. I was not as keen as now when I stayed in the UK to go to Manchester but having a friend living therechanged that thought. It was late night when I arrived Salford and Manchester is not like London. Not at all. It is a smaller city and kinda scary I must say especially at night in certain areas. The Mancunians know whereabout.

( There was this one night near Piccadilly station, I was being approached by this stranger asking for money. He claimed that he is a Muslim (why he approached me in the first place) and the money was to buy a bus ticket going back to Liverpool. I was alone at that time waiting for Afroze’s husband to fetch me and there were only few people around the area. You would be surprised of my reaction, but I just listened to his stories but then rejected and said “I don’t have enough for me either” (inside I was praying hard he had no knife or a gun and for me to be safe) and he walked away right after. I was worried to be honest but I put on my confident look)

I left foggy Croydon just to be welcomed by a sunny Salford. Indeed it was warmer in Manchester. Which is odd actually.It was still a single digit celsius down south but suddenly the temperature rose to 18 degrees. Boy it was really warm and such a drastic weather change because few days before it was snowing in Manchester. The day we went to Salford Quay and Heaton Park was probably the warmest day in Manchester. Afroze said the city welcomed me happily.

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Sunset view in Salford
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King St, Manchester

When in Manchester there are few pit stops that you must go. Most Malaysian students who studied and still studying will definitely go to Al-Jazeera (you can see ‘free drinks for Malaysian’ notice inside the restaurant) The best ‘nasi arab’ and kebabs by far. I kid you not, they serve the best of those two and you will want more. Jazeera is located in Rusholme, a bit dodgy area but you find lots of students especially Malaysians living in this area because of the easy access for Halal food.

Opposite Jazeera, is Moonlight. If you are a dessert fan, you will enjoy going to Moonlight. Their Ferrero ice cream and Faluda are my favourite. In Manchester, almost everything is cheaper than London especially their food. So you do not need to worry if you splurge too much here because mainly the further you are from London the more you save on money (England I mean, Scotland is another story) There are many places to eat in the UK, here are the must have.must try:

London:

Tinsletown, Burger & Lobster, Stax Diner, Yolkin, Melur (I prefer here than Tok Din), The Hummingbird Bakery, Lola’s cupcakes (Harrods and Bicester Village), Drayton, Elgin and Wandle Park’s homecook. There was this pizza but could not recall the name.

Manchester:

Al-Jazeera, Red Chilli, Moonlight and Afroze & Asrul’s homecook

Shopping time! 

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Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet

Yay like finally. If you are looking for high-end boutique brands by all means please visit the Bicester Village (honestly, since most of them are European brands it is better to shop in Milan France Italy for cheaper price) if not, please take a bus or a train and spend a day or two in Manchester and go to Cheshire Oak Designer Outlet. and again everything is way cheaper and here most of the high-street brands can be found. Oh yes, they have Celine too here. You need at least a whole day here. The place is huge and open. Similar to the JPO here but bigger. I scored my Flyknit 4.0 for only £22. Kaching!  You know it is hard being a girl and  an accountant at the same time. The struggle is real. I used the iPhone Notes to write my daily expenses including the 10 donuts for £6, short bus ride and Uber fares. Yes DAILY expenses for a month, people. haaha!

The other weakness was Paperchase. I still prefer the traditional way of giving away cards on birthdays, writing on notebooks and collect notebooks like nobody’s business and Paperchase understands me. This place, has tons of beautiful printed and handstiched journals to choose from but it comes with a price. So, when in Cheshire Oak make sure to visit their shop because the outlet price will make you want to have all but nah I just bought 5 tho. Hee.

Of course I had my shopping list just for the sake of keeping track of  where my money went and it helped. Phew. Have you heard of Accessorize before? They opened few outlets in Malaysia but did not survive long and it is not that cheap in the UK either. I remembered contemplating on whether to buy this backpack in Westfield. Ask Aliaa, she knows. £30 is considered pricey for just a fancy bag. Reluctantly put the bag and walked away was not the best feeling and kept mentioning about it to Aliaa (and even saw someone wearing the same colour backpack) during the train ride home to Croydon. Fret not, that was the best decision because I bought mine at the outlet for 10 freaking pounds only. Again, scored! How can you not love Manchester?!

Spend for things / place that you will appreciate for the rest of your life

I am referring to the football stadiums tour or matches and Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio tour. The ticket will be expensive but the experience will be priceless. I have not had the opportunity to watch any matches yet but it is in my bucketlist to experience it at least once. Trust me I really want to watch the World Cup match live at the stadium someday. Germany 4lyfe! Coming back to this, the Harry Potter tour cost me £47 (complete studio tour package – adult) but it was worth it for someone who grew up reading all the HP series books. I shall write on this experience in a separate special post. But really, if you have the passion for something why not spend some to gain such memorable experience. You will not regret it and it is worth every single penny!

Back in London Town

(Tips: Buy your entrance tickets online. If with family or pax of four, you can save more. Cheaper and some only provide online ticketing services – stadium tours and Harry Potter studio tour especially-)

As much as you are familiar with a place, you just want to know more about it. So I took the Big Bus London Tour for a change and see the town from the bus upperdeck view. Why I said familiar because UK was once home to me. My dad was transferred there but we lived in Aberdeen, Scotland. Unfortunately, I did get the chance to ‘balik kampung’ during this visit. Time constraint, hee another reason to come back. Anyhow, the bus tour was nice. You can simply hop on hop off the bus and walk to wherever stops you want. The breezy sunny weather was just nice for a tour. For the London Hop On Hop Off 24hours Tour, the ticket will be £27, online price.

The almost a month time spent in the UK was indeed something I will treasure for the rest of my life. Only when you travel alone you encounter things that you never imagined before. Different beautiful memories to be captured when travelling with family or friends but when you are all alone, that is when you know who you are. How you handle unforseen events, the happy and the creepy ones. When travelling by yourself, is when you will appreciate the time the money and the people around you more. I never experienced UK like this before compared to the last time my family and I stayed there for a few years.

“Always take home as many stories as you do photos” Alhamdulillah, I did and looking forward to many more adventures.