Tuesday, December 12, 2017

How to Look Good with Less Makeup

 How to Look Good with Less Makeup

Makeup is becoming the trending thing nowadays and it has become so popular that more and more tutorials, make-up products, make-up artists and make-up kits available anywhere and everywhere.
Image result for less make up clip artI have got two confessions to make. 
1. 2017 is actually the first year I've owned my own mascara. It was a brithday gift from Body Shop as I am a member. Actually they gave me a cash voucher and I chose mascara. 

2. Christmas 2016 is the first time ever I bought lipstick. I usually prefer the Nivea Fruity Shiney Cherry lip balm but while Boxing Day shopping with my friend, I was trying out the lipsticks and fell in love with some of them. I bought a Maxx Factor orange tint, I happen to like seeing myself in orange lipstick and my friend told me it suits me well, yaay. 

Even with these two additional things in my makeup bag, I only wear it once in awhile. Of course, I feel all of us generally look better with makeup but I feel that it is not necessary all of the time. Also, I would not want to wear makeup excessively that I start depending on it. If you wear too much makeup all the time, there is a high chance you will feel less confident to not wear makeup. Therefore, I feel and have always felt and aimed at enhancing natural beauty. 

Image result for less make up clip art
There may be loads of great tips out there but here are some which have worked for me. This year specifically I have been asked several times what I apply on my face and on some occasions, some people thought I wore makeup when I honestly did not. So, I am so thankful my facial skin is looking better and here I will share some things that worked for me to enhance natural beauty. 

  • Clean your face regularly with a facewash that works for you twice or thrice a day. 
  • Apply moisturiser at night before you sleep.
  • Apply sunscreen before you go out in the day.
  • Apply creams or oil to get rid of scars. I use Bio-Oil for scars.
  • The most important makeup for me are usually just a blush/bronzer and lipstick. I usually do not wear any eye makeup because I like wearing glasses. 
  • If I do wear eye make-up, I choose 1; eyeliner, mascara, eyeshadow or brow liner.
  • Remove the makeup thoroughly.
  • Apply a face mask once a week or when you feel you need to.
  •  For blackheads and pores, I go for basic facial every once in awhile. There is no specific timing, I go when I need to. Alternatively, you can use the blackhead nose strip.
  • Olive oil on your eyelash makes it thick, lush and better. I have not tried this but I have read that it works. 
  • If you wear glasses, please remember to wash your glasses with soap and water regularly once or twice a day. This avoids dirt and oil from your glasses to your face. 
  • If you wear scarves or head bands that touches the face, wash it regularly. 
  • Have some days with completely no make-up, no cream, no moisturiser at night and allow your natural facial oil to take over. I do this once in three weeks.
  • Before applying anything on your face after washing it, apply toner. It allows whatever you war after that to absorb better.
  • Apply facial serum or anti-aging cream. These are great to make your face smooth and avoid the wrinkes. 
  • Drinking juice and eating fruits is good for glowing skin. Yoghurt is also good for your skin as it makes the skin smooth and soft.
  • Try some of the natural DIY face masks when you have the chance like on a relaxing Sunday. Some of it works. For example, I have tried tea bags to reduce eye bags, cucumbers for lightening and dark circles. I personally do not like food on my face so I use the easy to remove ones. Some people use yoghurt and even honey.

Hope these tips help and have fun trying those DIY face masks ;)

Online Quranic Class: How it Works

If anyone one of you are interested to learn Quran recitation online, I will give you a brief overview of how it works. 
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So, last August 2016, a year plus ago, I decided to learn the Quranic recitation again. I looked online and discovered this new method of learning online with an ustazah in a group. I took the classes for 2 months then I went back to London and the timing of the class did not suit UK time so I stopped taking classes for a year until I returned to Malaysia. I started again last November 2017 and classes are now still ongoing.

For those of you who find it tricky to travel far or have very different hours day-to-day, I would highly suggest taking an online class. For me, the class is 1 hour and there are about 12 students in a class so we take turns reading. Not all 12 turn up, so it depends. Sometimes I get to read twice and sometimes just once. Classes are three times a week and at a fixed time each day. The ustazah will correct you immediately after you read and will give you homework on what to work on the next class. 
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At the end of each term (one term consists of 3 months, eg: Jan-March), there is an assessment. Since I joined in November, there was an assessment for December which was last Saturday. Basically, there are different levels. Each level is referred to as a colour: White (1), Yellow (2), Pink (3), Purple (4), Red (5), Brown (6) and Black (7). It reminds me of the Taek Won Do ranking levels hehe. Before starting class, the admin officer will ask you to send a recording via email of any verse in the Quran. From there, they will assess you and place you in a certain class. When I send my recording at the end of October, I received a Pink colour. After my assessment last Saturday, alhamdulillah I passed and got promoted to Red :) The accessor allowed me to skip Purple. 

I find it really relaxing and beneficial learning the Quran again. Although I have already khatam Quran, I still feel there are lots to learn and improve. Also, I have read the learning the Quran opens doors of sustenance (rezeki). It also makes you feel calm. Definitely worth your time and money. My class is only RM100/month. Any questions, feel free to ask.

May Allah bless you and your efforts :)

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Korean BBQ at Sweetree Review

Yesterday, my family and I went to the popular Korean restaurant in Ampang called Sweetree. It is said that they are the only certified Halal Korean food in Malaysia. I am not too sure about this but the place is wonderful, they even have a prayer room. The decoration is lovely and homey and they have two separate sections, one for the ala carte menu and one for the BBQ section.

The last time I went to this restaurant was the end of August and during that time we even met Luke Orang Korea. He was so friendly and welcoming and we had a great chat with him. I now follow his online pages on Instagram and Youtube :)

To be honest, I am not a super big fan of Korean and Japanese food because I do not really like raw food/fish. This place is nice though, the taste suits local preference. I am not sure if it is authentic Korean food but definitely worth a try. The price for some of the food is slightly above average but most are reasonable. We went to have BBQ and had the beef selection, so yummy. I think it was the boneless beef selection Gal Bi Sal and Jumulleog. We also tried the Kimchi fried rice, cream sauce topoki, Kimchi soft tofu soup and bul dok ramyeon (picture on the right) which is extremely spicy noodles with rice balls. Even though we asked for less spicy, it was still fiery hot!

At the end of lunch, I still had some room for dessert so I tried the Green tea Bingsu (Korean shaved ice with vanilla ice cream on top). I chose a small size instead of large but when the waiter came, I was surprised to see the generous size. To be sure, I checked with her and yes this was definitely a small size and not large. It was really good but I could not have finished it myself and find it suitable for sharing. 

They do parties too or private events and closed on Tuesdays. Anything looking for nice Korean food, I would recommend visiting Sweetree :)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Important Announcement

Hi guys :)

Hope you are all having a great week so far. Thank you for visiting. I appreciate all the support, kind words and hope the content of my blog benefits you. Thank you to all my followers here and the constant visitors, sending warm wishes your way :) Thank you for those who are here for the first time for making time out of your busy day to drop by my blog and read my articles. Hope you enjoyed your first visit and do come again :)

I am writing tonight to share some very good news. 1 hour and 30 minutes ago, I received an email on littlemissmeencollections@gmail.com. And the email was from.............................. Google!
I have been applying for Google Adsense ads for years ever since I started my blog in 2010 but my application often did not go through because of several reasons. I have tried to improvise every time based on their thorough rules and regulations but it still did not go through. I even tried last summer. Still a 'no' from them. I did not know that the procedures were quite strict and tedious. Now 1 year later, I tried again and yaay, it is now approved. 

Literally on cloud nine now, soooo happy. Imagine something you have been wanting since 7 years ago. It has been quite tricky so I was like its ok, I'll blog for fun because I enjoy it and try next time. And this time it's approved, alhamdulillah. Thank you Google :)

If you are wondering what ads I am referring to, they are on the right side bar and between posts in the main body section of my blog.

Thank you guys, please let me know if you have any new blog topic requests. I have created a new poll (refer to right side bar) for voting blog topics. 

Have a great week, lots of love

PS: You can even find an ad right down here ;)


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Diary of the EAGE Conference in Paris

I travelled from London to Paris for the EAGE conference in mid June. It was Ramadan time so I did not fast since I was travelling hehe. Here, I would like to share a short summary that I wrote about the 3-day conference. As a student, this was my first real geologist conference and it was really interesting. This may give other students an idea of what to expect in their future conferences. 

Day 1: Tuesday, 13 June
                On the first day of the conference, I attended the student short course on ‘Integrating concepts for source rock deposition’ in the morning. Something I enjoyed about this session was that they explained the concepts in a manner that was easy to understand. The background of the topic was clearly explained and the presentation flowed smoothly. One of my favourite speakers during this short course presented with enthusiasm and had a clear presentation as he projected his voice well. He used a pointer which was helpful and he was very expressive and interactive with the audience. The speaker maintained good eye contact with most of the audience. He did not use a microphone but was able to speak loud and clear. In addition, his presentation had excellent visual aids, mind maps, good colours and interesting diagrams with a good level of detail. I was very attentive during this presentation. Some learnings I obtained during the other sessions within the student short course was to be careful with the microphone. One of the speakers was consistently hitting against the microphone by mistake and this created a loud noise multiple times interrupting the presentation. Some presentations had blurry images and the wordings and explanations on the diagrams are smaller than the citation font. This was inconvenient as the citation font was usually smaller and less important. One of the slides even had a bright yellow ‘highlighter’ colour as the background and this was very glaring to the eye and the wordings were in white which made it even harder to see.
                In the afternoon, I was ready for the first oral presentation which was highly important for my 3000-word essay but unfortunately, they announced a power outage and everyone had to evacuate the conference main building. I decided to go to the exhibition building and waited for them to provide us with a hopefully positive update. During this time, I sat for a presentation by the Kuwait Oil Company. There were three speakers and all had different presentation skills. The presentations on power point were very professional with good font style, font size and a nice layout. However, some slides had too much text or long sentences and a lack of visual aids. There were also some incorrect capitalisation and spelling errors. One of the speakers only made eye contact with one of the audience and spoke in a very monotonous manner. After this, there was an announcement made that all presentations in the conference building were cancelled for the day and was postponed the next day. The power outage was still not resolved. They later informed us that the presentations would take place on Wednesday, 14 June during lunchtime and after 5 pm. They would be shorter and free lunch would be provided the next day which was greatJ I also used the remaining time to participate in the student challenge where I met a new friend and we both went from booth to booth completing each of the 6 challenges. Upon completion, I was eligible for a lucky draw for a free trip to EAGE Copenhagen 2018!

Day 2: Tuesday, 14 June
I went to the most number of presentations today. Unfortunately, the speakers from the day before whose presentation I wanted to attend did not turn up at lunchtime or after 5 pm and apparently gave no news. In the morning, I attended the EOR 1 session until 1030am and then switched to the Shale Geology session until noon. During these talks, there were a few key points that I learned. One of the speakers was very hard to understand due to his accent but his slides helped a lot and were very clear. My favourite talk that day was on ‘Sedimentology of Black Shale in Turbidite at Semanggol Formation’ by a final year undergraduate student at University Teknologi Petronas, Malaysia. She spoke with great enthusiasm, at a good pace and she used pointers. She was very interactive with the audience and the most important thing was that she explained the introduction very well and went through her slides with a smooth flow. The diagrams on the slides were large and clear with some explanatory text which was visible. Her enthusiasm for the research topic was certainly reflected in her presentation. I was very impressed as she was a student presenting at the EAGE conference which was amazing indeed. She did receive some challenging questions afterwards, some of which she was not certain but she dealt with the questions fairly well.
After lunch, I attended an IOR-EOR dedicated session. Something I liked about the presentations was that the speaker was enthusiastic and had interactive slides with large figures and a clear introduction. One of the presentations was slightly dull. It was only in black and white with text only. There were no supporting diagrams and the speaker was speaking in a tone that was fading away at the end of every sentence. It was slightly hard to stay focused during this particular presentation. I then went for a lucky draw in the Exhibition Centre and returned for the ePoster 4 presentations. The poster had incredibly a lot of bulk text and complex equations which I thought were unnecessary. However, it could be that the content was too complex for me to understand but other professionals may have understood it well. The speaker made no attempt to project his voice or make eye contact with the audience. He was even standing sideways facing the wall to the right from where I was sitting so that the audience only had a side view of him. His poster did look neat, professional and clearly labelled but overall I think there was room for improvement in terms of presentation skills.

Day 3: Tuesday, 15 June
                On the last day of the conference, I attended the oral presentation on EOR 2 in the morning. I stayed for three presentations until noon. In the first one on Injection-falloff test, the speaker presented well with good intonation and explains every aspect of the research well with good reasoning. The speaker also addresses the uncertainties clearly which helps me understand the nature of the research and the limitations better. Overall the presentation was interesting but there were several aspects that could be improved. The slides were really plain with only black and white text and background, very long and complex equations were included, many graphs have no title and figure legend, the font used was very small at times and not visible and there were diagrams with no labelling. I would have thought at least a title on the slides with diagrams or a short text box would allow me to easily follow the presentation. The second one was on ‘screening of EOR chemicals’ and again there was a lot of bulk text but this time there was a lot of interesting graphic and animation related to the original research work. This was something different that I have not seen in the previous presentations and definitely captivating. The speaker was enthusiastic and explained his work clearly to the audience. When the speaker was done with the presentation and started opening to questions, there was an old person that stood up and commented directly that micro models are wrong. The speaker was taken aback as most of his presentation was focused on the micro model work that he did. The person added that there are many reasons why it was proven wrong in the 1960s and pointed to a literature paper that the speaker could refer to. The speaker dealt with the comment well and in my opinion, it could be an area that the speaker could improve to address this uncertainty. From my point of view, the speaker was either not aware of it or did not want to address this uncertainty openly to the audience as he did not comment much on it and simply thanked the person who made the comment. In the last presentation that morning during the Q&A session, the same person stood up to make a comment again saying that an aspect of her research was wrong. The chairman and many people in the room were obviously smiling but the person who made the comment gave a strong reasoning as to why he thought it was wrong and suggested a paper that could help the speaker. He seemed to have worked in both these areas from his PhD up to now.

                After the lunch break, I attended the ePoster 4 session. In my opinion, the poster session was very complex, specific and difficult for me to understand everything discussed. Graphs had no title, it was very wordy and the speaker spoke very softly in a monotonous tone.  Since I found the oral presentations to be more beneficial for me, I went to the session on ‘source rocks and petroleum systems’ directly after the student challenge lucky draw and another lucky draw to win a 1TB external hard drive. I did not get lucky in both but it was worth the try. The last two presentations I attended were fairly interesting and the last one related to the North Sea was commented by one of the audience to be a highly ranked abstract. 

What to Know Before Falling in Love

Love is a world-wide popular word. Love is what almost every girl dreams of, falling in love with Prince Charming and meeting Mr. Right, getting married and living happily ever after, The feeling of wanting to love and be loved is indescribable. Almost every human can relate to this, regardless race, religion, skin colour and social status.

Women are commonly very vulnerable when falling in love and often heads over heels when loving a man. It is sometimes true when people say that love is blind. When in love, often the flaws are overlooked. Over time, realisation kicks in and sometimes it is too late or difficult to turn back. It is not always the woman's fault completely when this happens but being careful before falling too deeply in love and choosing your partner wisely are often two things that can help create that 'happily ever after' every woman hopes for.

Before falling in love, I believe the first step is to love yourself and to be clear about what you are looking for in a relationship. List down the characteristics that are most important to you. The person you meet might not fulfill every single criterion and it's OK as long as both of you are able to work things out and come up with an agreement. 

Having misunderstandings are common especially in your first year. There are so many things to know about each other so it is understandable to have little arguments here and there. However, the most important thing to do is to find a solution and to solve it diplomatically. 

If you ask me personally, do not fall in love too easily. Get to know the person first and their background and their family and their friends before committing to a serious relationship. Do not jeopardise your safety and happiness before being clear about the lifetime commitment you are putting yourself into. It is true that sometimes even when you do that, there is a chance the person can change at a later stage. I believe that as long as you did your part at the beginning, that is the most important thing. Life is full of uncertainties. If a person is too cautious and unable to trust anyone, then the person will live a lonely life. It is a personal choice. You decide what is best for you and make the decision.   

Ask for opinions but not for too many opinions. It is after all your love life. Identify those few very close people in your life that your partner will see often and you are most likely to meet them with your partner in the future. Ask those people's opinion and you can hope to get approval from them. It could be your parents, siblings, best friends, cousins, anyone who you are close to. They know you better as you have known them longer than the person you are dating so getting their approval and advice would be useful. However, you do not need to get everyone's approval because it is clearly difficult to please everyone. As long as you are happy and those particularly close to you are happy, then go ahead and be confident that he is Mr. Right. You still need time to get to know each other but now you can take the relationship to another level. 

Know your priorities. Your partner must be able to understand your work/study commitments and vice versa. Find common ground and compromise. It is easy to simply expect the person to understand but a strong relationship requires respect, compassion and compromise. You do not want him to call between 8-10pm because it is your study time. He needs to respect that but at the same time be kind to him and call him immediately after your study time or before depending when is more convenient for him. Be considerate when he has an important meeting or deadline. Try to not call him or interrupt him with unimportant issues. Although you really need to tell him about a lovely bag you just bought, that can wait. Be caring and kind and show him what is important to him is important to you too. 

It's OK to have standards. If you have standards, then it is OK to expect your partner to have standards too. You are not being unkind. You are being kind to yourself for respecting your standards. Of course, do not say it in someone's face. Identify and observe his character. His background, his career and his social life. This is very subjective because when you love someone a lot and compatible with him or her, you can work things out together. Do not put your standard unrealistically high, stay humble and accepting but at the same, acknowledge the standard you would expect from a partner at the beginning. 

Looks are not everything. For me, its character before looks. If you are good-looking but your character is horrible or incompatible, then it's a solid no. If you have a great character and compatible but moderately good looking, then that is an immediate yes. Looks can improve or deteriorate so do not get too caught up with looks alone. Look at the bigger picture.

If both of you are looking into long-term commitments, be really clear about your expectations after marriage. You should also ask him about his expectations after marriage. There is a quiz online that you can try doing together for couples before marriage. Technology nowadays, pretty excellent ;)

Love is an amazing feeling. When you are in love with someone, you should feel very comfortable and safe around him. You feel very excited every time you see him. He makes you feel like a princess and you know you can be yourself. He has seen you in bad times like when you are crying and still love you. He has seen you angry and upset and still can accept you for who you are. You can chat endlessly and always have something to talk about. He makes you laugh. he enjoys your company and makes you feel very special. He sees all the positive things about you and overlooks the negative traits. This is called compatibility. Being compatible with your partner is the #1 rule before taking the relationship a step further. If you are not compatible with a person, that does not mean that that person is unkind or that you are unkind. Both of you can be really kind and amazing individuals but you are simply not compatible. Since high school, I am very clear with the one kind of trait I cannot tolerate in a guy and that is too much ego. Urgh, please, no. There is a difference between a confident and an egoistic person. I can tolerate the former but not the latter. Know clearly what kind of behaviour you cannot tolerate and it will help you in your love journey.

Renew the relationship. Anniversaries are really meant for married couples but couples who are not married yet should have a special date that they celebrate, maybe the first date or any other special dates that you celebrate together. People often underestimate renewing the love but trust me, this is highly crucial.

Finally, I would like to say to all women, if you find someone who loves you a lot, compatible and fulfills most of the things you are looking for in a man, do not play it too hard and be accepting of his good intentions towards you. Someone who loves you a lot for who you are and adores you will make your relationship even sweeter. 

Have a lovely day, lots of love :)


Thursday, November 30, 2017

How to be More Light-Hearted

I like how there are more and more motivational materials to read online. There is an Instagram page I follow and I get new ideas on what to write and also able to gauge the popular topics based on the number of likes there. 

I was reading a book last night titled 'Enjoy Your Life' by Dr. Muhammad Al-Areefi. I bought this book in London, it was highly recommended by a close friend. She attended one of his talks and told me this is a best-selling book. It has 589 pages and last night I was reading a few topics including Topic 56: Do Not Care About What People Say, page 402.

From reading these topics, my observations, and experience in general, I concluded that one of the best way to lead a happy life is to be light-hearted.

Being light-hearted is often confused with the idea of 'I don't care'. It is different because the former suggests a more kind, positive and carefree approach whereas the latter imposes negativity, aggressive behaviour and resentment. 

How to Be Light-Hearted 

  • Think good of other people's intention.
  • Do not take criticism too seriously.
  • Be open to learn from mistakes.
  • Do not take everything too seriously. Some things are funny, some serious, some only last a few minutes, hours then let go.
  • Learn to laugh at yourself sometimes.
  • Be kind even if someone is giving you a sour attitude, you may even surprise them with your kindness and they might respond positively to you (It's proven to work, I've tried this. Apparently, a person was having a bad day and felt that everyone was against her. When someone was nice, the person felt surprised and felt embarrassed. The person started feeling a little better and responded more positively.)
  • It's OK to be confused sometimes.
  • Believe that things will work out eventually.
  • Nothing difficult will last forever, there will be a way out.
  • Believe in yourself.
  • Be cautious but carefree.
  • Flexible with your schedule whenever possible, being too uptight can make you worry.
  • Always remind yourself to smile to neighbours, to colleagues and to those you meet in your day.
  • Say kind words to people, keep the bad thoughts to yourself unless it is really necessary to say.
  • Look at the bright side.
  • Have a good relationship with people.
  • Build a strong support system.
  • Help others.
  • Give to others and contribute to society.
  • Never underestimate the power of giving, even if it is something you think is small or simple.
  • Make someone's day:) With good words, with a gift or with anything sweet.
  • Never try to bring down someone.
  • Avoid ill-feelings like jealousy, hatred, revenge, too high expectations that lead to disappointments and anger.
  • Learn to let go what you cannot change.
  • Try before saying you cannot.
  • Identify people, places and things that make you happy and do what you can to stick around positivity.
  • Be aware that there will be negative people or those who try to bring you down. The fact that you are aware of this will make you less surprised when it happens. If it does happen, do not respond with negativity. Take the necessary actions you need to if it is serious. If it is not serious, let it go. Move on in life. 
  • Be the person you would like to meet and be friends or date. You can only attract what you are. Great people attract great people. It is pretty true when they say 'birds of a feather flock together.'
  • Remember to laugh, there is always something funny everyday.
  • Relax and take it easy most of the time. I know this is not applicable when you have something due but when you can, chillax ;)
  • Think good thoughts of yourself and focus on your strength.
  • Never think you are too perfect and always improve yourself.
  • Stay confident but at the same time respect others and acknowledge their strength and happiness.
  • Keep moving forward, you can look back at the happy memories but be happy at whatever stage of life you are at now.
All of these put together makes you a more light-hearted person and I feel that this is what most people should aim to be.

 Have a happy day, lots of love :)


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

What You Need to Know in Your 20s

This is ironic because I have not even reached my mid-20s as I am writing this. Perhaps a more suitable title would be 'What You Need to Know in Your Early 20s'. And then a few years from now, I will be writing this again from a mid 20s point of view and then finally another post in my late 20s (hopefully I'll still be blogging that time). I have lots to share from my own experience, from my observations, from other people's experiences and from what I read.

If you are in your late teens or if your age begins with the #2, here is what you need to know:

  • You are in the transition period between a teenager and an adult. There are lots of changes that are bound to happen internally and externally. Expecting change, being OK with more responsibilities and having general acceptance of this transition will help you through this new phase of life. Denying change and always wanting to go back in the past will make it harder for you to embrace this exciting time of your life.
  • Yes, being in your 20s is exciting. It is the youngest version of an adult that you will ever be. As a teenager, you are still considered a child, underaged and many limitations. In your 20s, life suddenly feels free and there are many choices to make. Appreciate your youth, you will miss your 20s.
  • There will be times that you will be confused. Many times actually. So many things will change from the time you were a teenager. Your body, your thinking, how your parents treat you, your friendships, your fashion style, your favourite things, your career goals and the list goes on.
  • Something to look forward to in your 20s is that you tend to become more beautiful, fewer pimples, better skin and body shape and it is the prime time of your youth. Appreciate yourself, your beauty and your body and take good care of it. There may be room for improvement but the first thing you need to do is to love yourself.
  • Know that people around you can and will change. Be understanding of this change because you do not know what other people are experiencing in life. Have the benefit of the doubt and think good of others. 
  • Some friendships will stay and some will drift away. That is the nature of life. Some people come to your life for a season to teach you a lesson and once you have learned that lesson, both of you move on and drift separate ways. Some friends stay for a lifetime. Whatever it is, always trust that it is for the best. 
  • Some people will constantly give you negative energy, negative vibes, and negative words. Stay away or if you cannot completely stay away, reduce contact with people who constantly drain your energy. It is for your own good, your self-esteem and your self-confidence. These people who are often grown-ups lack moral values and you should feel sorry for them. Do not respond with negativity, instead show kindness and set a good example and reduce associating yourself with them. If they are younger than you, then be assured that they will grow up and learn from those mistakes later in the future.
  • My favourite quote: Being in good company is better than being by yourself. Being by yourself is better than being in bad company. Be confident when you need to be by yourself. I always need me-time after socialising a lot. Reading a book, exercising, music and art are several ways I create me-time for myself. Me-time allows you to create self-reflection. After reflecting on yourself and realising what you need to improve, you can increasingly improve the relationships around you.
  • Have hope and believe that the future will be better and everything will be OK. Nothing will be perfect but believe in yourself and your capabilities. People often underestimate this but this often does wonders. If you have a problem and you think that there is no solution and you do not see light at the end of the tunnel, it often creates this depressing thought in your mind that you are doomed. Put a stop to this. Be positive about your future and believing in yourself will create light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Be OK making mistakes and learning from it. Do not be too hard on yourself. Some people learn better from making mistakes. Nobody knows it all. Learning is what we all should strive to do no matter what age we are. There is always something new to learn. Another way to reduce mistakes is by learning from others, people who are older and more experienced than you and from reading. 
  • Read a lot. Books are a great companion. I enjoy motivational books because I feel that I am learning new things as I read and I get to improve myself. When I was a teen, I enjoyed chic lits which I still do but now as a young adult, I enjoy more motivations and self-help books. Let's see what books I enjoy later in life. I am definitely a bookworm.
  • Try new things. If you have no commitments yet which applies to most people in their 20s, try to get as much experience as you can. If you have the opportunity to travel, travel. If you have the time to do as much work and jobs you can, work and work. If you enjoy certain activities, find all the opportunities you can to fill your free time. If you feel that you spent less time with family as a teenager, spend a lot of quality time with family. Relationships with people are equally important as doing what you enjoy. Both create a more fulfilled life and self-content. Identify what fulfills you and act accordingly.
  • Trial and error is a part of young adult life. You may not have it all figured out. It is absolutely fine. Different people require a different amount of time to adapt to changes.
  • Finally, realise that you are still young. Someone once told me 'You are still so young, your life is only about to begin. You have got a lot ahead of you to look forward to'. And that is what I want everyone in their 20s to know. Your life is only just about to begin. Fasten your seatbelt and have a safe and enjoyable journey :)

Monday, November 13, 2017

London Diaries Part 1

Today was a relaxing day for me, making the best of this time off before busy life kicks in again. I did some painting (can't wait for the masterpiece to complete), reading ( I literally finished the book I bought 2 weeks ago today and I bought 7 new books because there was a major sale in a new bookstore I discovered only a few days ago. If you know me, bookstores are a haven to me! I like the smell of books and everything about a bookstore. I can stay there for hours. And now that I discovered a new one, this is ultimately good news), went to the park for a walk, fasted today, chores and some catching up with friends. A friend had a favour to ask for like totally urgent, 2 hours before and luckily I was free at that time to create a short speech for her. The weekend is usually busier for me, so today (Monday) I get to wind down a little and get a few extra hours of sleep and relax. I totally need this rest after a hectic time this year juggling so many things, wrapping up my life in London after many years. 

I have been meaning to write this post for some time. I find it easier to write about something once it is done or when I have completed it. These London Diaries' blog posts are about my opinions/advice about different aspects of studying abroad and life in London as a student.
So I will arrange these blog posts in sections and elaborate each section as I go along, some sections I will include are:

  • First impression of London
  • How perspective changed about London
  • Food
  • People
  • Adapting
  • Accommodation
  • Transport and how to get around
  • Tips on saving money
  • How Year 1,2,3 and 4 differed
  • What was special about London
  • Best things I like about London

These are just a few topics that I plan to write in these London Diaries. There may be changes or additional topics later on. Today I will start on my first topic:

First Impression of London

The first time I visited London and the UK was in 2013 and that was the same year I started university in Imperial College London. I have never been to this country before so it was both exciting and overwhelming! So much preparation was needed beforehand; visa, accommodation, university admin, health checks on TB, IELTS, A-level results and the list goes on. I did not really research much about the UK before coming and I wanted it to be a surprise with no expectations beforehand. I wanted to discover new things and learn it by experience. When I arrived, I signed up for a British culture class that taught me so so much, more than I ever knew. It was part of the journey, learning as I went along. I did not know that British drank alcohol a lot and that was a common thing. This surprised me the most. Drinking culture seemed so common and people getting drunk was the topic of conversation everywhere I went. This was new. Odd but true. My first impression about the people was that their mood reflected the weather. When the weather is gloomy and dark, people are always frowning, in a rush, pushing, looking stressed, rude, unfriendly and unapproachable. That was the public. People at the university were not too different but better. Many people seemed to already know each other from the Open Days and interviews which I did not attend and only had a telephone interview from Malaysia. People did not seem as friendly as how they would be if I were a new student at a university in Malaysia. I also noticed everything, buildings, roads, gardens seemed very clean which was good but some aspects seemed artificial and less natural. These are just some of my observations. To be honest, I did not really like it all at first. I could not wait to go back to Malaysia, just counting days. Then I looked at my university. That, I really enjoyed. I liked my campus, I like the lecture halls, I like what I was learning, I liked most of my lecturers, I like how Imperial is so organised and has everything up-to-date, I like the food, I like the fact that my university is near Hyde Park, I like the South Kensington area and the security I feel there. I liked the study aspect mostly and because my main aim there was to study and get my degree, I told myself it will be alright. You will do well and you will stay until the last day and excel. Do not mind the external factors too much and focus on the main thing. That was my first impression of London. 

Stay tuned for London Diaries Part 2


Sunday, November 12, 2017

What I Learned from Yasmin Mogahed's Talk

Today I went to Matrade with my sister for Yasmin Mogahed's Talk titled 'A Sacred Conversation'. This was my first time attending a talk by her in Malaysia :) The last time I listened to her talk was in London last May. I like her talks, her humour and the message she conveys, it's truly inspiring and a good reminder. I feel that sometimes when I attend a talk, I hear repeatedly things I already know so it becomes a reminder and at the same time, I also hear new things and new perspectives/opinions. I like attending these events for spiritual reasons and also to improve myself, learn new things and become a better person insyaAllah.

So while it's all fresh in my mind, I am going to share a few things here that I feel most people will benefit. I have got my little elephant notebook next to me which I used to take notes today :) It was like a 4 to 5-hour talk with lots of Q&A sessions. I liked hearing the questions people were asking as I could relate to some of them, sharing sessions are always great. If you have got any comment or further questions regarding the points I will be sharing, feel free to drop a comment or email me directly, I'll try to elaborate as much as I can:)

Believing in God

  • Everyone has a Lord and worships something, be it God, desire, power, money, status, family, themselves, beauty, what others think, their child, a celebrity, etc
  • When you worship something, you will do anything for that you worship and you will be a slave to that which you worship. 
  • The core of your heart is designed for Allah and to love Allah only. You can love all of the above but do not put those at the centre of your heart, else you will be easily hurt. 
  • Make Allah the centre of your life and all the others will fall into place. 
  • Human beings love perfection because their soul and heart are designed to love Allah who is perfect. Heaven is perfect so loving beauty, perfection, etc is our soul missing the perfection in Heaven.
  • Allah gives you all the things in life, your family, your health, your wealth, your intelligence, your children. Do not love the gift more than the Giver.
Marriage and Relationships with People
  • Know your priorities in marriage. A happy marriage requires the married couple to give each other their rights. Do not make children the priority above the spouse. Each member of the family has their own rights. Often, a broken marriage is caused by a woman over-prioritising the children and neglecting the husband. Another reason is the husband being dissatisfied and unappreciative of the wife and engaging in secret relationships. There are many other reasons but these are the main reasons. In both cases, these are wrong. A husband and wife should always renew their love for each other, get a babysitter sometimes and spend quality time with each other. 
  • Have time for yourself, even after marriage. Once you have children, your duty is not only as a mum. Love yourself, do things you love, remember to care for your husband and have time for him, do not lose yourself after marriage and dedicate your entire life just for your children.
  • Often a mom makes her son the Sun and her world revolves around the Sun. This will make the son grow up being a mommy's boy, thinking that the world revolves around him. He starts to become a narcissist and unresponsible or selfish. It will affect the son's future relationship with the wife, etc and does not create the important qualities of a man.
  • When in the plane, the steward/stewardess often asks us during the safety briefing to put on our mask before helping others. Remember to help yourself before helping others. In order to take care of your family, husband, etc, you must take good care of yourself.
  • If your partner treats you in a violent, unfair or bad way, do not accept it. Speak out and be vocal. Do not let anyone treat you in a bad way and do not accept bad treatment from anyone. Do what you can within your capability to change it or make it stop. Accepting bad treatment lowers your self-worth and will make your children or people around you think that it is OK to treat you that way. Stand up for yourself. (LittleMissMeen says: Say no to bullies! Being accepting has its limit, say no to whatever you are uncomfortable with. Nobody deserved to be pushed around. Stand up for yourself. What goes around, comes around so be careful how you treat people.)
  • If you stop communicating with people, you grow apart. It is the same when communicating with God. Make prayers and have conversations with Him. You cannot hear Him directly but He will put an assurance in your heart and positive thoughts in your mind and sometimes you even see your prayers being answered if not immediately but at some other stage in life. 
Social Media (hot topic)
  • Social media portrays life as perfect and many people are putting on a show to make people think that everything in their life is perfect. 
  • Some people use social media to fill a void they have inside for acceptance and approval.
  • A new culture has aroused and that is the obsession with beauty and appearance as a consequence of the social media culture. This only shifts our focus on what really matters, not the virtual life..
  • It is OK to be fashionable and looking beautiful etc as long as it does not become our focal point in life. 
  • What you focus on, grows. Choose your focus wisely. 
  • Advertising your blessings result in 1) misalignment on what matters most and 2) inferiority whereby some people out there who do not have what you have will feel that they are not good enough. Those who already have a lot will compare themselves with those who are better, happier, richer, prettier and always feel insufficient to stand out. This is so unhealthy. 
  • Do not compare your lives with filtered lives on social media.
  • Everyone who is blessed can be envied by people out there to be subtle and discrete of your blessings. It does not mean you have evil people on your social media but even a good person is a human. And it is human nature to have feelings of jealousy or feeling inferior. People should avoid being jealous by all means and people should also be considerate of others who may be in a disadvantaged situation compared to you. It is not a white and black situation but a very grey area. It is common to feel happy upon any good news but also being considerate to others. The examples Yasmin Mogahed gave are like a mother sharing good news on her newborn baby. There may be someone on her social media who cannot get children and yes they may be happy for that person but it can also make her feel down for not being able to get the gift of children. Another example is a happy couple often sharing too many details of their happy marriage. It could be that someone on their social media just got a divorce or who do not have a partner. Of course, they are happy but if it is something the person wished for so badly, it can arise some sad or negative feelings. The point here is to be discrete of your blessings, not riak (showing off) to an extent it will negatively affect others. 
(LittleMissMeen says: I have lots of things to say about this and I will elaborate on a separate post but essentially I feel that your intention of sharing what you share is important. If you think it will motivate or benefit others, that is an excellent share. If it is just you sharing your life events/interesting things you so people are updated on where you are in life and you think people will be interested to do/go to then that is a good share. If it is just you sharing for fun in your free time then that is an OK share, neutral share. But if it is you sharing to show off and for any other reasons to make others feel inferior then that is a negative share. At times you do not even intend the last reason but people feel inferior due to their own insecurity, then let them unfollow you. Do not feel offended when they unfollow or do not follow you back, it is for both of your own good. You can do your part to avoid shoving things in people's face unnecessarily and also not feel jealous too easily. This will avoid unnecessary social media tension. When I was overseas, I enjoyed sharing because I felt the interaction with the people who are distant or who are not present at that moment. Likes, comments or direct messages can be created by sharing, there is something to talk about and that is the thing you shared. When I return home, it creates that interaction with friends or people who are not in my home country and all parts of the world now that we have gone separate ways. So, people have different reasons for sharing. I personally think I do not share too much but I share more than the people I am close to. Two people in my life who I love a lot do not even have Instagram hehe and they are against publicising private life too much. I feel it too, some people are merely showing off too much and when it gets too excessive, you can unfollow or unfriend. It is really easy. Or better some just do not have social media. Saves all the trouble. Do what you feel is right. What works for one may not work for others and people are all different :)

Guide to Building a Relationship with Allah

This is a prescription on how to make Allah the centre of your life and filling the centre of your heart with the love of Allah only. These are also ways that you can implement to lead a happy life and positive about any trials or tribulations you may face. It is all a matter of perspective and having a good relationship with God improves that perspective. 

1) Solat (prayers)
Prayers in Islam is like the oxygen of the soul. On the Day of Judgement, it is the first thing that will be questioned. The body will leave us one day but the heart and soul stay forever. Fill your soul with goodness. Put some time aside for the daily prayers and concentrate when you pray or try to understand the arabic meanings of what you recite in prayers.

2) Zikir and doa (praise of Allah)
There are short prayers for everything, for eating, sleeping, travelling, intimacy, entering the toilet that you can say briefly before doing. However, Yasmin Mogahed emphasised that if there are 3 doas you would apply daily they are:
a) morning doa as soon as you wake up
b) evening doa (ideally between Maghrib and Asr or during Maghrib)
c) doa before sleeping

Three Important Zikirs:
a) Istighfar
b) Lahaulawallahkuwataillahbillah...
c) Selawat to Prophet

Istighfar 100x a day opens a way from every difficulty, gives provision from places we never imagined and prevents depression/anxiety. 

The second zikir is considered the treasures of Heaven and helps you find a solution when you have a problem. 

Salawat will make you receive syafaat insyaAllah in DOJ.

3) Quran

Last but not least is the Quran. Recitation and understanding the meaning. Taking lessons from stories of the past and applying the teachings in the Quran are all essential in developing a good relationship with the Creator. It is not to do too much that you are not capable of. Do the wajib things then do what you can but be consistent. These 3 things mentioned will help you handle life better, protects you from a lot of harm and builds a healthy mind, heart and relationships around you. 

  • Nothing is easy if done by yourself. Nothing is difficult if done by Allah. 
  • When you make doa, remember to ask for EASE and help
  • Seek inspirations of stories in the past of the amazing people who stood up for Islam
  • Ask Allah to give you strength to always stand up for justice
  • Forgive the past but work to change the future.
  • Be the change you want to see in the world. You can only change yourself and not others.
Questions asked by the audience: 

There were like more than 10 questions asked and Yasmin provided long and complete answers for each one. I did not ask any questions as I was busy writing notes and wanted to give others who were already in the line. I did not have any specific questions so it was nice to listen. I am sharing just a few questions which I wrote most notes on. 

#1 Why do I make prayers but my life is not perfect?
Yasmin Mogahed answered: Life is not perfect. Only Heaven is perfect. The world is designed in a way that there is no perfection. Many things are flawed and there is no such thing as being problem-free. What we can ask of Allah is for ease and not for perfection. Ask for the ability to cope internally and for Allah to not test us with heavy trials but light things. 
(LittleMissMeen says: Essentially this life is temporary. After-life is forever. Working towards building a good and blessed life in this world will create an eternal, happy life in the hereafter. Heaven is beautiful, no sickness, no mean people or negativity, no dying, only happy vibes and perfect things, everything we ever wished for, yummy food and rivers that we can drink from, anything we ask for will be granted, everyone will be purified before entering so nobody will have ill thoughts, wow....We will be accounted for what we do but the truth is none of us is perfect. As long as we strive to become better each day or improve ourselves, insyaAllah our path to Heaven will be eased and we will all be united there in the afterlife. Oh gosh...this is so deep but it is true. I believe this. It can be hard to take in for some people but life and death will happen and there is nothing that we can do about it but prepare for it and do good in the world for a better future/investment later on).

#2 How do I deal with ego and how can I improve myself in that aspect?

Answer: This is once again human nature but not a good trait to have. It can be syaitan making you feel that you are better than others and ways to overcome this are:

a) Fasting can tame the ego. Practice consistent fasting outside Ramadan like Mon and Thurs. Remind yourself less of the physical needs and more of the spiritual needs.

b) Tame other desires like excessive speech. Be more conscious of what you say to others. Controlling the tongue us a major purification and practising silence in certain situations will allow us to tame our desires.

c) Control the eyes and heart. If the heart and intentions are set right, it will purify the whole body and improve the way we view the world. All that you take in from the eyes go to the heart. Ensure you see good things and this brings us back to the social media platform. Unfollow what is negative or bad. Do not be afraid to do what is best for you with good intentions and not intentions to hurt another person or being. Have a clean and good heart is key.

#3 How do I deal with feelings that I am not good enough so what is the point of doing good when I am not perfect? It is like being a hypocrite to myself. 

First of all, nobody is perfect. Second of all, never feel that you are being a hypocrite when you are doing good. That is syaitan trying to sway you away from the right path. For example, syaitan will try to convince you 'why wear the hijab when you are doing some things wrong'. Well, you can work on the wrong thing but that does not mean you need to take off the hijab. Even if you are not perfect and commit certain sins, continue praying and making doa with the hope you can improve yourself. Be happy with what you are already doing and thankful for all your blessings in life. Yes, you might hope for more but for now, do what you can and keep adding to improving from time to time. Syaitan also makes you feel waswas and overwhelmed that you stop trying. Do not stop doing the good you are already doing with fear that you are not good enough. Never. Make prayers that Allah purify your intentions and remember that Allah does not burden anyone with more than what they are capable of doing. 

Finally, please do not be too hard on yourself. Everyone has different capabilities, be accepting of yourself. Ask Allah humbly for ease and help.

Hope you enjoyed reading this short summary of my notes from the talk today :) May it be beneficial to many of you and any questions, let me know. Have a pleasant week ahead, lots of love xoxo