Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother's Day!

When I think of Mother's Day, I am always reminded by this quote by Abraham Lincoln:

"All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother." 

Me and my mum in Yogyakarta. She came to accompany me for an academic conference because hubs wasn't able to join me.

As a mother myself, I am always reminded of all the joy and love I feel for my daughters. The hopes and dreams that I have for them, the prayers that I make so that they are not only be successful in this worldly life, but also be good and pious Muslims, and attain success in the afterlife as well. Which is why I was affected by a post on social media which I read a few days ago from a daughter who is obviously unhappy with the relationship that she has with her mother.

As Muslims, we learn that we should always strive to maintain a good relationship with our parents (especially to our mothers). This is apparent in a number of hadith by the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h.:

A man came to the Prophet and said, ‘O Messenger of God! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship? The Prophet (PBUH) said: Your mother. The man said, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man further asked, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man asked again, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your father. (Bukhari, Muslim)
A man once consulted the Prophet Muhammad about taking part in a military campaign. The Prophet asked the man if his mother was still living. When told that she was alive, the Prophet said: “(Then) stay with her, for Paradise is at her feet.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
On another occasion, the Prophet said: “God has forbidden for you to be undutiful to your mothers.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
However, not everyone are blessed with a good relationship with their mothers or even with their parents.  There may be times where we may not be at the best of relationships with our mother (or both our parents). For some of you, like the post on social media that I read, may be estranged or in a difficult relationship with your mother (or both parents or other family members).

Do you know that our Prophets also have been tested with strained family relationships? Here are some examples:

Prophet Adam a.s. had a son who killed the other.

Prophet Nuh a.s. who even as his son was in the water did not accept his call to Islam. His son later drowned.

Prophet Nuh and Lut whose wives are non-believers.

Prophet Ibrahim a.s. whose father threw him in the fire.

Prophet Yaacob a.s. whose sons had a hatred so deep against their own brother i.e. Prophet Yusuf that they would lie to their own father so that they could kill Prophet Yusuf.

Prophet Yusuf a.s. whose brothers conspired to kill him and threw him in a well with the hopes that he would die.

Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. whose uncles (Abu Lahab and Abu Jahl) constantly mocked him and also conspired to kill him.

The thing that I've learnt from our Prophets is that, they have never wished bad things for their family members whom they are estranged from. Prophet Ibrahim a.s. tirelessly prayed for his father to accept Islam (Surah Maryam, verses 41 - 48) while Prophet Yusuf a.s. forgave his brothers and invited them to stay with him in Egypt (Surah Yusuf, verse 99).

We are not perfect and nor are we prophets. But we do strive to follow from the best example and the best example that we have is our Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h.

Let us take heed from this hadith by the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h.:

"The best of you is the best to his family and I am the best amongst you to my family."

May Allah protect our Mothers (and our Fathers too) and make them among the people of Jannah. May Allah protect our relationship with our family and forgive us all for our wrongdoings and keep us on the straight path. Ameen.

Alexa's handwritten Mother's Day card which she gave to me yesterday. Thank you to E'en and Eqa for helping her with the card =).

Happy Mother's Day everyone!

xoxo Fareiny

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

What would it take for you to renounce your religion?

This post is inspired by the apostasy cases which were heard in the Federal Court today. If you'd like to read about the case, you can read about it [here] and [here].

For some reason, the cases made me wonder: what would it take for us to renounce our religion?

I am somehow reminded by the story of Salman the Persian, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. He was born and raised as a Zoroastrian who then converted to Christianity (after meeting a Nestorian Christian group) and afterwards converted to Islam after meeting the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h.

Three different religions in one lifetime.

For Salman, the decision to renounce the religion of his family, Zoroastrian, was of his own making. And it was the same when he decided to again renounce Christianity.

Can we influence someone to convert to another religion?

A number of examples have shown that we cannot. Point in case: Abu Talib, the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. died without embracing Islam despite being a strong supporter of the Prophet and even though the Prophet asked him to pronounce the shahadah on his deathbed, he did not do so.

Even in the case of Salman the Persian, he was imprisoned by his family (which he escaped from later) after he converted to Christianity.

Why? Matters regarding faith rests in the heart of man, for we cannot lie to ourselves and bow down (prostrate) to what we do not believe in. We have been given free will, hence we have the freedom to choose and decide in which faith do we want to profess to.

"... And know that Allah intervenes between a man and his heart and that to Him you will be gathered." (Surah Al Anfal 8: 24)

In a hadith the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. mentions, "Verily, the hearts of all the sons of Adam are between the two fingers out of the fingers of the Compassionate Lord as one heart. He turns that to any (direction) He likes." Then the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. said: "O' Allah, the Turner of the hearts, turn our hearts to Thine obedience."

Thus we could say that matters of the faith is a reflection of the heart of man. If your heart turns to another faith, perhaps then, that is what it takes for you to renounce your religion to another.

I pray that we all be guided and may our hearts be kept steadfast on the straight path. Ameen.

xoxo Fareiny

Defining Me

What kind of person would you say you are?

A few days ago I saw a post on my Facebook timeline. It was a video of a socialite, showcasing her collection of designer handbags, shoes and clothes.

Seeing the video, I felt a huge sigh of relief... Because material things such as handbags, shoes and clothes does not define who I am. Perhaps it may have when I was younger (or I perceive it to be a definitive part of me then), but it certainly does not define who I am, now.

Who I was, but no longer am. Alhamdulillah.

So let's revisit my first statement: How do you define the person that you are?

I am going to be turning 40 in a few years and one of the things that I am grateful for is the ability to be comfortable (very comfortable, really) in my own skin, accepting me for who I really am (flaws and all) and not really bothering about what people say/ think/ talk of me. It does not bother me if people do not like me, because really, there's no pleasing everybody and no matter what happens, I will be the same person unless and until I decide to change. Besides, what people say/ think/ talk is actually a reflection of the person that they are so it is always best to let them be.

Back to the question of defining oneself.

Some people define themselves by the career that they have, the kids that Allah has bestowed upon them, the friends that they have around them or even the amount of wealth that they have amassed. I have discovered that as much as I love my career, my family, my friends and money (or the amount of comfort that money brings), I do not want to be defined by those things, for indeed they are fleeting.

Allah give what He wills and Allah can take back what He wills.

So, let's do a stock check, and find out:

(1) How do you feel about yourself?
(2) Are you happy with the person that you are/ becoming?
(3) If yes, Alhamdulillah.
(4) If no, then why aren't you happy with yourself?
(5) Is there anything that you wish to change about yourself?

Social media is a huge influencer in our lives. The purpose of this blogpost (and the main reason why I've decided to reactivate my blog) is simply because of how much social media has taken over our lives and how some people (especially the younger generation) are influenced by the amount of 'likes' and 'comments' that they have on their social media accounts.

One of the defining moments of my life, reaching the top of Mulu Pinnacles. The climb up and down Mulu Pinnacles took me 13 hours (a friend of mine completed the whole climb in about 9 hours). 

You are defined by the things that you do, and what you commit your mind to.

What people think of you and your posts should not be a benchmark of who you are. And besides, life is never about having a '5 seconds of fame' moment or being viral on the internet. It is so much more than that. It's about making a mark on this world and leaving a footprint of who we are - for which we will be judged upon by Allah in the hereafter.

So, define yourself carefully. You are unique. And don't let who you are be defined by someone other than you.

Love and positivity, always.

xoxo Fareiny

Monday, February 26, 2018

New year, new blog and a not-so-new, me!


Hello there! 

It's been a year and here I am dusting the cobwebs on my blog, trying to figure out whether I should continue blogging or just continue leaving it as it is and pursue my other non-interests such as wiping snot off Alexa's nose or changing Isabel's diapers now that she's pooped for the third time in the same day (kidding!).

It's challenging being a working mom. Though in good times and bad times, Allah's plans are the best of plans, Alhamdulillah.  May Allah protect them from all that is evil and make them strong like Khadijah a.s. (the wife of our Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h.). Ameen!

Anyway, since I've been away from the blogging space, my thoughts on I should be writing this and that, unfortunately, refuse to leave me, for I do love writing. So here we are, back here, with me thinking of the things that I should write more of and trying to fit blogging into my already packed schedule. 

Ah well, I've made up my mind and hopefully you'll see more of me (my writing at least), in this space. 

Until then, love and positivity always!

xoxo Fareiny

Friday, February 10, 2017

Introducing Raden Isabel Asiya

So I've been busy lately. I haven't been able to update my blog due to me having shifted my priorities and making my PhD my number one priority these days. Any other events, have to take a backseat, unless of course, it involves birth and labor, which, like it or not, have to be the number one priority when the time comes.

Us in Sri Lanka, June 2016.

Anyway, we (me and hubs, obviously) discovered that I was pregnant after we came home from our trip to Sri Lanka in June. Alhamdulillah we've always wanted another child and we are extremely grateful to be granted another opportunity. Fast forward months later, just like my pregnancy with Alexa, the baby is 40 weeks overdue and there is a high chance of me undergoing a caesarian as not only the baby is overdue, but I also have gestational diabetes, which poses a risk to the baby.

Since I was overdue, and although the baby was already engaged, my cervix wasn't dilated as yet. My doctor suggested that I go for a balloon catheter induction which is available at the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) which would give me a chance to proceed with normal delivery. Otherwise, the alternative would be a caesarian delivery.

Because we were rooting for a normal delivery, we decided to try the balloon induction and my ob-gyn proceeded with a referral letter for SGH. On Thursday, 28th January I packed my stuff and then proceeded to SGH for the induction, and prayed for a normal delivery. Registered at the labor ward (Level 4) at 9 pm and my condition was examined by a doctor a few minutes later. She reported the results of her examination to a senior doctor about an hour later. The senior doctor conducted a vaginal examination and declared that my cervix was 3 cm dilated and that I did not need an induction. She even declared that I would deliver the following morning. Little did I know that she was right in her prediction.

The tiny person who's hijacked my sleep (for now).

At 12 midnight, I was wheeled to Level 5, given a bed and a change of clothes and was informed that if I felt any contraction or feel that I am nearing labor, I could request for a vaginal examination. If (based on the examination) my cervix was dilated to 4 cm, I would be brought to the delivery room at Level 4. By 2 am I was ready for bed; I had performed my prayers and there were some Braxton Hicks, but nothing to be alarmed about. By 4 am, the pain started to get more intense, so I asked the nurse for a vaginal exam. The nurse said that I had already dilated to 5 cm and would be wheeled to the delivery room once they had an available bed. 20 minutes later, I was in the delivery room, strapped with to a fetal monitor and by that time, the contractions were quite intense that I actually had asked the doctor for epidural.

The nurses proceeded to fill in some forms, asked me a couple of questions which (in my dazed state) some I was able to answer while the rest, I mumbled incoherent words. With almost zero sleep, an empty stomach and parched throat, I wasn't exactly on cloud nine. At 6.30 am, the anaesthetist came and proceeded to warn me the risks of an epidural. I insisted that I wanted an epidural. She then told me to sit up (I was lying down all this while), to which I tried to do with much difficulty. I then told her that I can't sit up properly because I felt a strong urge to poop. She told me to lie down and then informed another doctor to perform a vaginal exam to check if my cervix was fully dilated. Surprise, surprise, it was fully dilated to 10 cm and I (apparently) was in labor. Obviously, I did not get the epidural (much to the relief of the anaesthetist).

All of a sudden the delivery room was filled with nurses and they proceeded to cheer me to push when I feel a contraction coming. As a newbie (my first born was delivered via c-section), I wasn't able to push well, and the lack of sleep and lack of food obviously did not help my condition. The baby came out after three or four pushes later at 7.16 am, weighing 3.47 kg. Alhamdulillah, I only suffered a second degree tear and did not require any episiotomy. But I do need some stitches.

Raden Isabel Asiya, three hours after birth. Hubs liked the name Bella so we decided on Isabel which means devoted to God and Asiya is the wife of the Pharaoh and one of those who is promised Jannah (refer to the Quran, 66:11) or you can also read a Facebook post about her (click here).

Hubs came in to the delivery room a few minutes later. He wasn't allowed to come in during the delivery because at 7 am, nurses and doctors would change shifts and while they hand over their tasks to the incoming medical team, no visitors are allowed until the new shift has settled in. Post birth, the nurses proceeded with allowing me to breastfeed Isabel right after the stitches were done.

Our first selfie, Day 1 of Raden Isabel Asiya.

So all praise be to Allah for granting me the VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarian) which I so desperately wanted, granting my wish of a vaginal delivery without episiotomy (which I kept praying for as well) and allowing me to breastfeed Isabel after birth as well.

And for those who are preparing for birth, here are some of the things that I did to prepare myself for birth:

1. Exercise - Towards the 9th month, I'd walk a couple of kilometres (almost) every day to ensure that my body is in optimum condition. Exercising not only helps during birth (we need our muscles to push), but also helps us to recover faster. Other than walking, in the final month, I did squats 100 times a day and also kegel exercises to ensure that my pelvic muscles are strong.

2. Educate myself - I have attended a hypnobirthing class before with Sister Nadine Ghows, and proceeded with a short refresher with Cikgu Chris in December. This really helped me to practice deep breathing (during the initial Braxton Hicks and in between contractions). The visualisation technique from the class also helped and without it, I do think I would be in a different state during birth.

3. Make dua'a - I made a LOT of dua'as during my pregnancy and even the night before delivery. I am a firm believer that Allah will grant you what you ask for (unless it is not the best for you, of course) and Alhamdulillah, I got what I asked for and more.

4. Perineal Massage - Unfortunately I did not do this enough. I only managed to attempt a perineal massage a couple of times before delivery. I personally think that if done consistently, you could avoid (or minimise) the tear in your perineum during delivery.

5. Aromatherapy oils - I am extremely grateful to Cikgu Chris for providing me with aromatherapy oils a couple of weeks before the delivery. I used them everyday and I do think they helped to quicken the labor as well as help me to be in a calmer state of mind during delivery.

6. Proper diet - I read somewhere that pregnant women who eat (at least six) dates everyday have shorter labor than those who didn't. So I included dates in my daily breakfast and although I am not sure how short is a short labour, mine was a little over 3 hours so to me I suppose the dates did help.

And that is my birth story with Raden Isabel Asiya. Those who would like to know more about hypnobirthing, you can check out Nadine's class at Gentle Beginnings (click here) or Cikgu Chris's class at Borneo Bellies, Birth and Babies (click here). Inshaa Allah once I have the time, I'll update my review on giving birth at SGH soon (I hope).

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Fashionista's Hotel Review: Memoire Hornbill Hotel


My internet connection has gone a bit bonkers the past few weeks (I had limited internet connectivity but wasn't able to upload photos due to the line disconnecting every 10 minutes or so), so am only able to complete and upload this blog now that I've settled things with my internet provider. My humble apologies on the late posting of this blogpost.

Anyway, a few weeks ago we had the opportunity to tour around one of Kuching's boutique hotels, the Memoire Hornbill Hotel located at Jalan Keretapi (3rd Mile, next to McDonalds), and here's a photoblog of the visit:

Hotel lobby. We were warmly received by Mr Chanthy and Mr Rock.

Rattan swings and lounges at the lobby. Such a relaxing ambience. I could hang out here all day!

One of the bedroom suites at the hotel. Each room depicts the warm Cambodian hospitality, with earth and natural hues decorating its interior.

Facilities and basic amenities available in the bedroom. 

Twin-sharing room. Plush comfortable pillows and snuggly blankets, what more could a traveler ask for?

Another bedroom suite, this time decorated in blue and yellow. I am sure kids (and adults too) would love the rattan swing =).

They have two bedrooms which can accommodate those with special needs. The room and bathroom is comfortable enough to fit a wheelchair. 

Bedroom suite. 

Food stalls in front of the hotel. 

Various choices await (they even have ice-cream!). 

Big screen, perfect for football matches and other sporting events. 

So what do I think about Memoire Hornbill Hotel?

For one thing, I love the fact that it's so convenient to get food. The availability of various food stalls within a few steps of the front door of the hotel. There's also a large screen tv within the compound which is perfect for football matches, the world cup or even the Olympic games. If you came to Kuching in a car, or if you have a rented car with you, there's plenty of parking spaces within the hotel's vicinity. What I found to be impressive about the hotel is the availability of rooms for those with special needs. There are not many hotels who are able to cater to their needs and provide specially designed bathrooms so that a wheelchair can comfortably navigate in and out of the bathroom. This makes it very, very convenient for those with special needs to attend to their needs. Other than the lobby, there's also waiting areas on different floors complete with rattan chairs for guests to hang out and chill.

Alexa trying out the swing. Don't worry dear, I don't think you're that heavy =P.

The hotel has other facilities such as a function room which is perfect for small and intimate functions, weddings and gatherings so do give them a call at 082-413551 if you want to check their other facilities.

One for the photo album! Thank you Tressa for inviting me, I absolutely loved the hotel and how it caters not only for the usual travellers, but also to those with special needs as well. 

Would I recommend the hotel? Obviously! A comfortable boutique hotel, with a huge selection of food (and McDonalds if you love the fast-food chain), charming and attentive staff and a very economical price, you can be sure that you're trip to Kuching will be a great one. Do check out the hotel's website [here] and Facebook page [here] for more info.

Happy holidays!

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Fashionista's Review: Grill Wine Cafe (GWC)

The other night we were invited by our friends at Memoire Hornbill Hotel to try out their new eatery, Grill Wine Cafe (GWC) at Jalan Keretapi, Kuching. Obviously we were excited, as the cafe does not only serve western food, but Cambodian cuisine as well. Having visited Siem Reap a couple of years ago and Phnom Penh about four years ago, I absolutely love Cambodian food. The Cambodian beef are tender and juicy and their dishes are simply scrumptious!

Here's a photoblog of our visit:

The exterior of the cafe. It has a very distinctive masculine design, the whole ambience was quiet and very private. The setting is great for a quiet and romantic dinner for two.

The interior of the cafe. The chairs and tables were very comfortable, the servers were absolutely polite and they catered to our every need. 

The interior of the cafe. Love, love, love the decor and ceiling of this cafe. As Cambodian food is one of their specialty, we asked for Cambodian food and these are what we had...

Cambodian Beef Lok Lak. 
A famous Cambodian dish, it is served with steamed rice, salad and sunny side up fried egg. What I love about this dish is that, it's not too spicy (because Alexa had some as well), the beef was tender and juicy and I love the gravy. Yummy!

Cambodian Red Chicken Curry. 
I unfortunately had a sore throat, thus was not able to fully enjoy this dish. Hubs loved it, by the way. The curry was fabulous, it has just the right amount of consistency, wasn't too thick and slightly spicy with just the right amount of curry. 

Cambodian Amok Fish. 
I also wasn't able to enjoy this dish due to the sore throat unfortunately. Hubs however, proclaimed this as his favourite dish in the cafe. The dish is has a slightly spicy taste, with a rich and creamy consistency.

 Us with Mr Chanthy, Operations Manager of Memoire Hornbill Hotel

So, what can I say about the restaurant?

As someone who loves eating out, I love both the food and ambience of the restaurant. In terms of Cambodian food, we were hoping to try Lembu Naik Bukit (a Cambodian dish that we had in Siem Reap) but unfortunately they didn't have it on the menu. Although we were told, you can try to ask the chef nicely if he can accommodate your request, and you might just be lucky! Anyway, the food was awesome, ambience, even more so. The place is a perfect setting I suppose for either a date night with hubs or even a catching up session with my girlfriends (can't wait to bring them there!).

Do take note that, all food are sourced from halal sources, but, they do serve wine and alcohol.

The restaurant is located in the same building as McDonalds (3rd Mile), just walk along the pathway from McDonalds and you'll find the restaurant to your left.

To know more, do visit their website [here] or their Facebook page [here]. For reservations, you can call them at +6082-413551.

Will definitely be back to try their steaks. Bon Appetit!

Did I mention that they have a hotel too? I'm going to blog about the hotel next. Wait for my next post!

xoxo Mrs Fashionista